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Story - Star Trek: Disavowed Part 3

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WelshAvenger, Wed 22 Aug, 2018 7:46 PM
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  1. Ares Executive Officer

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    #31
    Chapter 29 - Enigmas

    Laz finally left the bridge. He secured his station, and walked up to the turbolift. He held the door as a security guard, also just relieved, got into the lift.

    "Deck 4" Laz told the lift. The guard waited patiently, not giving a destination. Laz found this either unusual, or he wants privacy. Laz got off on his stop, and nodded to the guard as he walked past him, and into the corridor. He was near his quarters, so he walked over.

    He paused for a moment, just outside the detection range of the doors. There was nothing there for him. Nothing but the past and the future. There was a holodeck nearby. Laz made his way over there, silently brooding. The door opened, and Laz walked in, to late aware that someone else was already in there.

    Jade looked round as the doors opened, but her senses told her that no one was there. She turned to look.

    "Hello Laz.... sorry... Lt" she smiled.

    "I'm off duty. Call me Laz." He looked around the simulation that she was running. It was a world he did not recognize. Her home? Maybe. I'm sorry for intruding." He turned and started to leave.

    "It's alright, really" she motioned for him to join her. "I was just trying to get some r and r, won't you join me?"

    Laz felt his heart tug at the invitation. 'Leave', it seemed to scream. 'You have your heart to someone else. Walk away.'

    Laz smiled. "Sure. I could use the sun."

    "Great" she smiled as he walked over and sat down. "we're on Drax Prime, my homeworld."

    "Drax, Drax... I think I've heard of it. Is it all this nice?" A lie.

    "Some." she looked at him, his face and body language saying he wasn't as keen as he seemed. "Haven't been home since I joined Starfleet, a lot of years this way I can visit whenever I want." she looked out over the water. "I really miss it sometimes."

    Laz thought of his own home, so close, yet so far away, never to be seen again. "I know how you feel. But that is the price we pay for the lives we choose to lead."

    Jade looked curiously at Laz, she couldn't sense anything from him and she wanted to know why. "Is there some particular reason I can't sense you?." she moved so she was sitting facing him. "It's strange for me.... I'm used to being able to sense everyone and I can't sense you."

    Laz blinked, and scratched the back of his neck. "Why? Is it disturbing that the only way you have to know of my presence is that fact that you can see me, and touch me?"

    "It's not disturbing as such" she paused, "It's.... fascinating I guess. Someone I can't read and is therefore a mystery."

    Laz laughed. His foul mood dissolving away. "There are more things 'tween heaven and Earth. A mystery can be good for you. Besides, it would probably make a diversion from all the complaints you hear in your line of work."

    "Yeah that's true." she nodded noting a slight hint of an accent in his voice, "so you're..... Scottish?" she smiled.

    "Aye. I'm a Scottish lad." He dropped into a thick and drawling highland accent. "Mae uncle Ian, (bless his soul) was a good man, who still lives."

    He dropped the accent. "Is that good enough for you?" He grinned.

    "I always did like Scottish accents" she smiled, "gonna give me any more clues about the mystery that is..... you?"

    "Don't you Doctors of body and mind have such a thing as secrets?" Laz looked up into the false sky. "We all do."

    "Sorry!" she smiled, "it's just..... as much as I love a good mystery I love solving them even more!!"

    "I never had that problem. I don't worry about mysteries." Laz realized that was an odd attitude for a scientist. Maybe he should work on that. "All solutions will come in time."

    "Okay change of subject, why is it you don't mind being around me when quite a few others on this ship consider me no more trustworthy than a borg drone?." she let her senses train on him awaiting an answer.

    "Oh! Is that what they are?" Laz looked at her. "I thought it was a fashion statement!" He looked down. "Oi. No wonder."

    "Can't say I blame them, I was borg." she looked out over the water again. "I have the memory of every single face of the people I helped to assimilate. I wish I didn't but I do.... I think that is more than enough punishment for what I used to be." she looked back at him and grinned, "Okay enough of my whining, what's up Laz?”

    "What's up? Oh, our bounty hunter friends, and I use that term loosely, decided to shoot the Fleet CO. And got away with it." Talking about something else while he prepared his real words. You know, I've been on this ship for a week, and no one has bothered to talk to me outside of being on duty. I mean, you have the excuse of the borg, but my problem is slightly more unusual."

    "What's that?" she looked at him.

    "I am a nice guy!"

    "So what's wrong with that?." she smiled, "nice guys are the best sort or so I thought."

    "Well, I am talking to you. With both of us off duty."

    "So you are" she grinned "and you're quite welcome to talk to me for as long as you wish. To be honest I like talking with you."

    Laz tried to stop from blushing. How was he going to respond to that?

    Jade smiled, "so you free later?.... I don't have an ulterior reason, just wondered if you wanted to meet up again?."

    Laz swallowed. This was not what he expected. Was he being drawn into the web that he had sucsessfully kept out of for years? "S.. Su... Sure." He managed to stutter, Jade laughing the entire time. "Talk to you later?"

    Laz managed to keep his dignity as he left the holodeck, thankful that his quarters were just a few steps away.
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    #32
    Chapter 30 - Catching up with the past.

    Christopher swirled the rich brown liquid in its glass, relishing the aroma. Tawnia was sprawled out across a sofa, fast asleep. She had liked Magnus and had said so after her ninth drink shortly before passing out. He looked across at the new chief engineer, wincing slightly at the memories that were brought back, "You know, after the Nightingale and lots of counselling, I was assigned to a science vessel. I went a little nuts after finding evidence that a Cardassian planet was still holding Federation prisoners of war. I shot a probe into their atmosphere which released a biotoxin. This poisoned the planet to all Cardassian life but wouldn't harm humans. We rescued a few Federation prisoners and I was held in the brig for court marshall. I got solitary confinement in a forgotten prison for that. That's when someone came and asked me to be in S31." He looked at his glass and realised that it had emptied itself.

    "Yeah well, at least they locked you up for a decent reason." Growled Magnus. "I saved not only the crew of my ship, but a whole bunch of colonists after I got stuck in command. Just because my methods were a bit unorthodox they kick me out of the service. I mean, how was I supposed to know the other ship was only acting in self defence?" Magnus stared into his own empty glass, "Starfleet was my life you know and they just took it away from me. Didn't think I'd ever wear this uniform again. I'm still not sure why I'm wearing it now".

    Christopher tried to concentrate on pouring another drink, "That's harsh Magnus. So what do you think of our little ship?"

    Magnus grabbed the bottle from Christopher and refilled both their glasses. He was so lost in his thoughts of the past that it took him a few seconds to realise that Christopher had spoken, "Hmm? Well I've been over the specs a few times and she seems quite impressive. But there's normally a big difference between the specs and reality."

    "Well," Christopher said, "she's tough in a fight. I should know."

    "You? You're a doctor not a tactician! All you medical types do is complain about the number of casualties we send your way. How would you know how good a ship is in a fight? "

    "That's easy, I took her into battle myself against an Akira class. USS somethingorother. Their Captain was very rude so I blew one of his nacelle struts off." Giggled Christopher.

    "You're drunk!" Accused Magnus.

    "Damn right I'm drunk! It's only synthehol anyway, so I can be sober whenever I want." Christopher explained.

    Magnus pushed his still full glass away from him, ignoring the disapproving look from Christopher. "I'm supposed to report to the captain," he said pulling himself out of the chair. He realized that this clearly sounded like a transparent excuse to get away from Christopher, but he couldn't explain to his old friend that seeing him was bringing back bad memories that he just couldn't deal with right now.

    "Well, the Commander is probably in her quarters if you want to catch her there." Christopher said, shaking off the effects of the synthehol. "I'll probably see you around Magnus." He said, lifting Tawnia gently, "Come on you, it's time for bed and it's your turn for the sofa." Looking up he found that the engineer had already left.




    Hawkins made his way directly to his office on the Marine decks. It only took a second until he noticed that he had an incoming transmission waiting for him on his comm. Taking a seat, he opened the channel.

    "Well hello, Major. It's good to see you again."

    "Son of a bitch." Hawkins said disgustedly as he looked at the face of General William Hothorn, UFMC top commander. "How the hell did you get this line?"

    Hothorn nonchalantly shrugged. "Come now, Curtis. You really can't tell me that you never thought the Marine brass was totally oblivious of Section 31."

    "The thought has crossed my mind."

    "Only the heads of the government and the public are shaded from our presence." The General replied. "Now listen, because I don't have a lot of time..."

    **Later**

    Hawkins walked in to the training centre and up to Shea. "Need to have a word with you, Lieutenant."

    Shea looked up from her work cleaning and reassembling her weapons and stood quickly, "Aye Major."

    "You remember good 'ol General Hothorn?"

    She nodded, groaning a bit, "Unfortunately." Then she muttered, "Bastard."

    Hawkins sighed. "Well the old bastard just contacted me via our supposed private comm line. Says he says a little job for us."

    Shea perked up at this and raised a dark brow, "Oh? And what does he want us to do for him?"

    "I'll tell you that in due time." he replied. "As of right now we need to gather the NCO's, Taylor, and the noobies."

    Hawkins and Shea walked around the facility and one by one gathered the respected people.

    "Markal, reporting as ordered, ma'am."

    Shadi joined the group, nursing the thick protein and carbohydrate drink that was doctor's orders to keep her weight up. "So, we're getting more info?"

    Taylor was the last to join the group. "What's the word, Major?"

    "Seems our friend Hothorn wants us to conduct a private little OP once we reach our destination." Hawkins said and pulled out a recon photo. "We're supposed to locate this weapons factory and destroy it. Seems this place puts out most of the munitions that supply the Gorn. The operation is supposed to only consist of a few people, maybe two squads max. General asshat also informed me that there will indeed be heavy losses if we are encountered."

    "Bloody hell." Mad Dog was able to mutter. "Seems it hits the fan for us every other day."

    "Eltee, I want you to put together the patrol. You can have anyone you want from all the squads, but I don't want more the 15 people going."

    Kennedy smiled, "Aye Major, 15 max. I'll make sure I pick the best."

    "Corporal Markal, as head demo it is mandatory that you go. I'd rather have the best man blowing the factory up, compared to some slacker. Clear?"

    "Crystal sir."

    "Now Eltee, I want your picks in about twenty minutes. I'll be back for them then." With that Hawkins left the facility to go run his errands.

    Shea gave Hawkins a little salute and turned to look at the NCO's, "Anyone want to volunteer before I start picking?"

    Every NCO raised their hands, including Taylor.

    "That's eight so far, Lieutenant, including Private Jacobs. I know his little ass will want to come along." Taylor said

    She knew the response she was going to get, "Good, I have a few more in mind, I'll give you my picks, make sure you get them up to speed and outfitted for this OP. Any questions?" she said to the NCO's.

    Of course there was no reply.

    Hawkins walked quickly back into his office to grab a few items he needed. Just as he picked up his things and turned away to leave, his padd chirped and he looked it over. "Damn."

    "This is going to be a piece of cake. The bloody factory hardly has any visible defences, according to the photos." Mad Dog said evenly. "Any chance that we might get to scout around a little, Eltee?"

    Shea looked up from a padd she was studying, "No I don't think that's the best idea. We have our job to do, and we're going to do it. I want everyone coming back on this one."

    "I agree." Halloway replied. "Leave the recon to the s31 boys. I just want to blow the damn place up and get home before dinner. Plain and simple."

    Taylor placed his padd down and rubbing his temples. "I don't know, fellas. No visible defences, or even a simple chain linked fence. Somethings up. I'll bet they have at least a few thousand battle capable Gorn in that factory."

    Nodding Shea, set her padd down as well, "I agree, I don't like the looks of this, but we have a mission and as I said, we're going to get it done. If we can wound these bastards in the process, all the better."

    "At least they'll all go down once the factory is destroyed." Walker cut in. "We're going to have a transporter lock on us the whole time, right Lieutenant?"

    Shea walked over to the weapons locker and did a quick visual inventory, "Thats the plan. I don't want anyone going off playing hero however."

    "The important thing is that we be smart about this..." Shadi liked a good fight, but wanted her whole group to come home. "Any chance of getting some fuller recon once we're closer to the target?"

    Shea chuckled, "Probably not Corporal, no one said that being a Marine was an easy thing, more times then not we need to improvise."

    She turned and looked at the group that would be going down with her, "Let's meet back here in about thirty minutes, you need to go take care of your personal business before then." She narrowed her eyes and promised herself that all of these grunts would be back safe and sound, "Dismissed."




    Following instructions from the computer, Magnus made his way towards Commander Summers quarters. God! Why did he feel so nervous? Probably because he knew that sooner or later he was going to do something that would get him into trouble again. Oh well, best not think about it, just concentrate on making a good first impression. Before he knew it he was outside the captain's door. Straightening his uniform and running a hand through his hair he signalled his presence.

    Kendra was sitting on her couch, pouting. The door chime didn't really do anything to alleviate her grumpiness. "Come in!"

    The door slid open and Magnus, appearing more confident than he felt, strode into the room and came to attention just inside the doorway. "Lt Magnus Darque reporting ma'am".

    She stared at him. Another newbie! Woohoo! "At ease," she said, not budging from her own spot. She was slouching and had her feet propped on the coffee table. "I'm Commander Kendra Summers. You can sit if you want."

    Magnus relaxed his stance, "I apologize for coming to your quarters, I was expecting to report to you on the bridge."

    "I wish I was on the bridge," Kendra sighed. A lock of red curly hair fell in her face. She finagled her mouth and attempted to futilely blow it back in place. "I got shot in the arm and now the Doctor has ordered me to be practically under house arrest. Well, I don't have to stay here, I just can't work. So it might as well be house arrest because I can't do a damn thing," she rambled on.

    "I see". Magnus shifted his weight to his left foot, the right one had gone numb. This is ridiculous, he thought. I'm as nervous as a cadet up in front of the Academy Commandant. Doing his best to appear outwardly calm he took a deep breath to settle his nerves. "I can't wait to get down to engineering and see what my predecessor has left me with."

    "Well, I wish I could tell you but I dunno. I've been here and haven't been down there. You've actually got two predecessors to work after. Hope everything is a-okay down there, but if not, I'm sure you'll fix it right up."

    "Yeah. I understand that you have a pretty advanced ship here." This was better, talking about engineering always relaxed him. "I've been out of the loop for a couple of years so some of the systems are new to me, but I'm sure my staff will be able to get me up to speed in no time."

    "I think so. They are a good crew. They've been running pretty well on their own for a bit now. Though they'll be glad to have someone to blame if something goes wrong," she said with a grin. "We're glad to have you."

    "It's good to be aboard, captain" said Magnus. "I never did feel right without the vibrations running through the deck plates, comes from being a boomer I suppose."

    "I understand that. I was grounded for a time myself. No fun at all. Well, it was fun screwing with the doctors' heads, but that's another story in itself..." Her mood was improving. This was good.

    "Well, if you've no further need of me I'll be heading down to engineering, I've got a lot to catch up on."

    "Alrighty then. Well, have fun. And welcome aboard. We're glad to have you." she replied with a smile.

    Magnus once again came to attention. "Thanks captain, I'll do my best for you." He turned and marched out of the door. As soon as it closed behind him he let out an audible sigh of relief. Why did he always feel that his commanding officers were trying to psychoanalyse him? He made his way towards his cabin intending on changing his uniform that had become damp with sweat from the meeting. Soon he'd be were he belonged, up to his armpits in interface links, gel packs and warp drive components.

    After the engineer had left, Kendra was bored out her mind. She'd given Pig so much attention that she'd worn the poor bird out. He was now asleep in his cage. She'd watched a couple of holovids and just couldn't seem to get into any of her books. There was only one thing left to do:

    Disobey the Doctor's orders and head up to the bridge. She could just see how things were going. It wasn't technically breaking the rules.... Besides, she needed to kept abreast of what was going on.

    She hit her commbadge and summoned Steve. "Hey, Steve-o, could you bring the Bounty Hunters to the bridge? I want them to help manoeuvre us through this area of space."

    =/ Yes, ma'am. Hollins out. \=

    Kendra arrived on the bridge and people kind of gave her funny looks. "Relax," she said. "I'm just here to see how things are going. I'm not working. So no one call Doc..."

    Ginelli and Conway walked through the turbolift's doors, and he was able to hear the last few sentences she spouted out. "I don't know, Commander. The CMO might be interested in knowing why his patient is out of bed."

    Kendra turned around to stare at the newcomers. She really didn't like these people but Hawkins was right. They needed some kind of guide. "For your information, I was confined to bed rest. It wasn't that bad."

    "Damn," Karrie said. "I must be losing it as I get older, Ginelli. Usually the flesh wounds are that bad...."

    Ignoring her, she looked around the bridge. "Hey, where is Hawkins? I'm not on duty so that means he is."

    PFC. Donald Greene looked up from his auxiliary control station and looked at Summers. "The Major is indisposed at the moment, Commander. He has sent a few people in his stead. They should be here momentarily."

    "Oh, okay," Kendra replied. She turned to Ginelli, not wanting to talk to the woman anymore than she had to. "Now how about you tell me about this system..."

    "You see, Commander, the Foldor system consists of 8 planets, 3 of which are occupied by the Gorn. The rest are inhabited by colonists, or uninhabited due to toxic gases. Most of the possible Gorn opposition are located in the first planet, known as Sestus."

    "Sestus was a famous landmark in Federation/Gorn battles." came a voice entering the room. "Lots of fleeters lost their lives, but more Gorn were knocked off by Special Forces."

    "Oh crap." said an anonymous person the the bridge.

    Kendra and the Bounty Hunters all turned to see not only the source of the voice, but the reason for the expletive on the bridge.

    Sabien led SEAL Team 2 on to the bridge and they were followed by Team 1, led by Sgt. Bednash. "Seems 'us people' are always called in when it hits the fan."

    "Yeah, but that's what you guys do best," Kendra countered with a grin.

    "We do have a knack for it," Aspen Sato piped up.

    "Yes indeed." Sabien said calmly. "We're here to observe the current situation. From there we will assess certain scenarios, come up with a plan, and destroy all the opposition."

    Karrie looked over the newcomers. "Who the hell are you people?"

    Ginelli smiled. "Federation SEAL Teams. Cream of the crop."

    "Oh," she replied with a shrug. "I thought you people would be, I dunno, taller. More intimidating or something. Except for you," Karrie said, pointing at Sabien. "You're kinda scary looking."

    Sabien looked at the woman. "Thank you."

    "You're welcome."

    "Didn't know the fleeters relied on SEAL Teams to do their dirty work." Ginelli said.

    Right before Summers could answer, Sabien cut in. "Unlike you low budget Green Berets, us SEALs are trained for everything. You watch your mouth when you are talking to a CO of this ship."

    Kendra looked at him with surprise. And gratitude. Nice to see that the SEALs, especially team 2 had such respect for her, considering that she was a 'fleeter.

    Ginelli went to retaliate, but Conway took his arm. "Don't even get me started."

    Sabien smiled. "Don't worry, I won't. Now Commander, what is our current situation?"

    "Right now, we are approaching Gorn space. We're gonna make the Andorian's rendezvous for him."

    "And our ETA?"

    She looked over one the consoles, drawing a look from the crewman near by. "I'm not working," she told him. "Looks like about 40 hours from now."

    The SEAL looked over her bandaged arm, then remembered the situation in the ready room. "Thought you were confined to bed rest."

    She shrugged. "I just wanted to see what was going on. No one was here, keeping me abreast of what was going on, so I decided to talk a little walk."

    Sabien half grinned. "I don't blame you for being nosey. This is a dangerous situation. Now, seeing as we received our updated news.." he turned to Team 1. "Sgt. Bednash, I believe you've heard everything. Might want to take you boys on some training exercises."

    Bednash nodded. "Read my mind, Lieutenant. You heard him boys, let's go."

    Chris took a seat in Hawkins' chair and viewed the viewscreen. "Got a bad feeling, Commander."

    Kendra propped down beside him and swung a leg over the arm rest. Then cringed. She didn't know why but, for some reason, that made her arm hurt. "Oh, come now, Lieutenant. Optimism!" she said as she untangled herself from the chair.

    "I don't know." he said. 'All I know or felt, is that something bad is going to happen."

    "His premonitions are usually dead on." Monk said. Aspen nodded in agreement. "Yup. Trouble has a knack for feeling out it's own kind..."

    "Saying that Sabien is trouble?" Kendra asked in amusement.

    "Damn right. But it's a good kind of trouble," Aspen explained.. "If you're on his side, it's great. God forbid you end up on the other guy's team, though...."

    "I'm not that bad. "Sabien said modestly.

    Kendra grinned. "I think this whole ship is full of trouble, if you ask me."

    "Perhaps." Sabien said. "But staying in the trouble zone has given me a 6th sense and now that sense is calling loud and clear. Something is going to happen on this particular mission."

    The commander sat up then. "I have to kind of agree with you, though, Sabien. Something is gonna happen. Something bad..."

    He nodded in agreement. "I think our only open is to be prepared for every possible situation. Look, I don't mean to insult the fleet training, but take it from me. Prepare for anything and I mean ANYTHING. The last thing we need is a ship full of dead people."

    "I agree one hundred percent. They tend to frown on ships that have corpses for a crew...." Kendra agreed. "But is there anything in particular that you are referring to?"

    "For instance, I think you should focus a lot of attention to engineering. We want our ship to be tip top and in working order. Never can tell if the Gorn or Dominion can see through our cloak. We also need to know where a majority of the Gorn soldiers are. We need to take them out asap. Hawkins is on top of that now."

    Kendra raised an eyebrow at that comment. "Oh, really now? Is there something you would like to share?"

    "I'm not at liberty to discuss marine business." he said. "But I'm sure he has every intention of telling you. He respects you like that."

    Visions of the Illustrious suddenly came flooding back into her mind. A crazed General Hothorn ordering Hawkins to directly contradict the Captain's orders... The mutiny.... Their lives all spiralling out of control two years ago... "I see," was all she managed to say.

    Sabien nodded. "If you'll excuse me, Commander. We need to prep. Curtis told me he'll be back up here soon."

    "Okay, I'd probably better be getting out of here myself, since I'm not supposed to be up here," she said as she got up from her chair, lost in thought. Kendra and Curt didn't always get along but she felt that they had formed some sort of working relationship. Hell, she was beginning to see him as a friend. He wouldn't keep something from her. Would he?

    She wondered if those were Captain Pierce's thoughts shortly before they took over his ship....
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    #33
    Chapter 31 - Hunger

    Again, Kendra sat in her quarters, bored as hell. Pig was alternating between sleeping and eating, and really wanting nothing to do with her. He was perfectly happy all by himself.

    Kendra wished she could say the same thing. Instead, she found herself propped up in the corner, standing on her head. It was a good way to think, to relax. She hadn't been doing it to much lately.

    The door chimed. "Come!" she called out.

    "So what did you do to yourself now?" Taylor asked as he walked into Kendra's quarters with flowers in hand.

    Kendra grinned and flipped over to her feet. She walked to the couch to motioning for him to sit down beside her. "Awwww. That was sweet," she said with a big goofy smile. "The stupid bitch bounty hunter shot me. With a projectile weapon."

    He walked over and handed her the bouquet, then sat beside her, cradling her body on his. "Shouldn't have made the bounty hunters mad. Those types are well known to react without thinking while in a hostile environment."

    "They were pissy when they came in. Besides, I think it was Hawkins who pissed them off. They just shot me for the hell of it."

    "Are you ok though?" He rubbed her arm right after he asked his question. He felt bad he wasn't in the position to protect her. As a man, he felt it was his duty to do so. Wasn't politically correct, but he never fell into that crap. He was a traditionalist.

    "Yeah, I'm fine. Hurt like hell when she did it, but Doc fixed me up. Now it's just a little tender, that's all," Kendra replied and snuggled against him. It was so incredible girlie, but she didn't care. "I'm thirsty." she suddenly announced and started untangle herself from his arms to get up.

    "No." he said. "Just sit still. I'll get it." Taylor arose from his seat and went to the replicator. "Cherry coke."

    Kendra laughed. "Smart man. Read my mind. Are you sure you aren't telepathic?"

    He retrieved the drink and brought it too her. "There you go, baby."

    "Thanks," she said and took a sip. She waited for him to sit back down. "So you just come to see little ol' me?"

    Taylor smiled. "Of course I did. You're...we'll you're my girlfriend."

    Kendra looked at him in amusement. "Oh, I am, huh? Since when?"

    "I don't know." he said. "We never actually made it official. You know?"

    She shrugged. "No, I guess we didn't, did we?"

    He looked at her right in her eyes and all seriousness was cast over his body. "Well you are, aren't you?

    Kendra smiled. "Of course I am. Some things you just don't need to be so formal about..." Kendra gave him a slow, lingering kiss.

    Dan returned the kiss and smiled at her after it was done. He loved her, but he would not say that right now. He wanted to take it slow.

    "Although," she added lazily, "it's still nice to hear sometimes. 'Girlfriend'. 'Boyfriend'. It has a nice ring to it."

    "Damn right it does." he said. "My boys are already referring you as my girl." Taylor grew silent, leaned forward, and kissed her forcefully.

    Kendra returned the kiss with just as much passion. "Whoa there, Cowboy," she said when she managed to pull away, breathlessly. "Methinks someone has naughty stuff on his mind..."

    "Of course I do. When don't I?"

    Kendra grinned. "Good point."

    Taylor put his hand on her shoulder and kissed her one last time. "Not right yet though. Want to actually talk first."

    She shrugged nonchalantly, though she was somewhat disappointed. "Sure."

    "How was your day? Besides getting shot?"

    "It was okay. Got sent here. I feel just like I'm five years old again and I've done something bad so I've been sent to my room. It sucks." Kendra grinned maniacally. "But, just like every other kid, I did manage to sneak out. Went up to the bridge to see how things were going and the SEALs were up there. That Sabien guy... He hinted that Hawkins may have had some contact with someone else...?"

    He grew silent suddenly. "Sabien brought that up? He has no right too. As a matter of fact, I'm questioning on how he received that information."

    "I don't know how he knew or why he told me." she told him with a shrug. "Look, I'm gonna be honest with you here. We've played this game before and it just so happened that we were on the same team. But, Taylor, I don't have the kind of freedoms I used to have... And if this whole thing is gonna work, we can't work against each other..."

    He stared at her as she spoke her piece, then lightened as he knew what she was talking about. "Oh no, trust me on this. This is nothing like the Illustrious. The Major has too much respect for you. You got him out of jail. There is no way he can repay you for that."

    "This is true..." Kendra said thoughtfully. "I did bail you guys out, huh?"

    "Damn right you did. If it wasn't for you, we'd be rotting in our cells right now."

    "I just don't want to go through this again. I was having some major deja vu."

    "The whole situation isn't anything bad, baby. Just a special OP that required our expertise." he said.

    "Can I ask you a question?"

    Taylor nodded and smiled. "You know you can."

    Kendra settled back on the sofa and looked at him. "Are the marines taking well to this assignment? I mean, when we first started, the tension between 'fleet and marines was so think you could cut it with a knife. I'd be an idiot to say it completely gone now, but it has definitely subsided a lot...."

    Now Taylor sat back. "Yeah. You have to understand that marines are trained to adapt to any situation. Don't get me wrong, we're people just like you. We have feelings. And if we meet somebody we would like to call a friend, we'll get to know them. Tensions are still high, but things are defiantly better."

    "Okay," she said, happy that she wasn't the only one who felt that way. "Good to hear."

    "I actually saw a few fleeters on the marine decks the other day." he said. "It's something about us marines that attract you fleet women."

    "What can I say? We just can't help ourselves."

    "Oh yeah?" he asked and took her in his arms. "We are just manly men."

    She grinned as he started to run his hands over her body. "I don't know that I'd go that far..." Kendra leaned forward and nibble his ear lightly.

    "Oh you wouldn't now?" he asked with a grin.

    "I think it's just because you guys are good in bed..."

    "I just think you fleet women just can't settle down with a fleet guy." he replied. "They seem too weak."

    Kendra laughed at that. "That could be it too." She kissed him then, hard. It almost felt as if she were gonna bruise themselves.

    The kiss broke and he thought for a second. "Let me retract my earlier statement. Cushing doesn't fit into that weak category. He's the type of sicko that would laser saw your balls off and hand them to you."

    "That's why it's a good idea to stay on his good side." she simply said.

    "Anyway, do you mind if I get something to eat? Haven't eaten since breakfast."

    Kendra shrugged. "Sure, the replicator is at your disposal."

    He kissed her one last time and went to the replicator. "Any suggestions?"

    "I dunno. What kind of thing are you in the mood for?"

    He just stared at her, obviously oblivious to what he wanted to eat.

    Kendra laughed and turned around to hang over the back of the sofa. ""Well, while you make up your mind, how about you replicate me a chef salad? You said something about food and it made me hungry, dammit."

    Taylor's face grimaced. "Damned rabbit food will kill you quicker then a bullet."

    "I like salad. Besides, it's got meat in it so it's not complete rabbit food..."

    "Still though. I hate salad with a passion." he said. "I was raised on all-American food."

    Kendra smiled and blew him a kiss. "Shut up and get my salad."

    Taylor ordered her salad and brought it to her, then went back to the replicator and began thinking again.

    She stabbed the lettuce with her fork and then grinned to herself. "Don't hurt yourself with all that thinking." she told him as she began to eat.

    Taylor ignored her, then smiled as something came to mind. "4 A1 burgers, 3 orders of fries, pasta with marinara sauce, garlic bread, mashed potatoes, rack of ribs, and a new york strip steak."

    Kendra damn near choked at his order. "Aren't you gonna order a drink to wash that down with?" she said semi-sarcastically.

    "Oh hell." he muttered. "Can I also get a cheese steak with A1 and a glass of raspberry iced tea?"

    The replicator began to hum to life and quickly started producing his order.

    She watched as the replicator produced the food. It was too big to get in one order. He had to remove some of it first before it could finish.

    It took two trips for him to bring the plates to the table. Once he was settled in, he blessed himself and said grace. Then the gorging began. "Thanks babe."

    "Oh, no problem. My replicator is probably cursing my name now, but it'll live," she told him with a grin.

    Taylor chuckled before he took a bite of his burger. It was good, but not like a home-made one. He had noted earlier that she was surprised by his hefty appetite. Guess he never told her that he had to stick to a high carb/protein diet to keep his strength at peak performance. That and it was necessary to help him keep his large frame.

    Kendra finished her salad long before he'd finished his meal. Hell, she finished before he was even half way through it. "Is it tasty?"

    Instead of talking with his mouth full, he nodded in reply.

    "I'm stealing a fry." she told him as she reached over and grabbed one.

    He made growling sounds like a greedy dog warning a subservient dog to not touch his food.

    "Ohhhh," she said, feigning that she was scared. She reached over to get another one.

    Just as she picked up one, he smacked her hand. "No! Mine! All mine!"

    "Damn! Well, if you're gonna be that way about it." she said in a little annoyance.

    Now he laughed and pushed the plate of fries over to her. "Help yourself."

    Now she beamed. "Thank you. About damn time."

    "Oh crap." he suddenly said. "What time is it?"

    "I dunno. Computer, what time is it?" she asked. The computer responded in it's disinterested monotone. "There you go."

    He stood up, leaving 1/4 of his food on the table. "Dammit, I have to get back down to the M-Decks for a briefing. Think you can finish the rest of that?"

    Kendra looked at him as if he was on drugs. "I could probably finish about half of it. Maybe. I'll put it in the replicator to keep it for you. How about that?"

    He smiled and walked over to her, then leaned over and kissed her softly on the lips. "Thanks. I'll be back later on tonight. Are you going to be awake?"

    She nodded. "Probably. I've been sitting in here all day with nothing to do. Can't really be all that tired..."

    "Ok, I'll see you tonight then." he said and made his way to the door. "Bye babe."

    "See you later," she called after him. Kendra stared at the remains of his food on her table. Damn, did this man have an appetite....




    Molly returned to their quarters from her meeting with Jade, feeling much relieved. She was very comfortable already with the woman, having now both worked with her and had the chance to spend some off duty time with her. If anyone on board could help Shea, it would be Jade - Molly was sure of it. She stripped out of her uniform and stepped into the refresher, switching it from 'water' to 'sonic.' Water rations on board a starship were strictly regulated, especially for such a luxury as a shower. She finished her shower in record time, not knowing how long until Kennedy would return from her meeting.

    Kennedy meanwhile was already on her way back from the meeting. She had dismissed everyone to take care of their personal business and she herself was heading to take care of her own. She had a date to cancel with Molly but knew the Risan woman would understand. She also had to pick up her 'baby,' a double barrel shotgun she'd carried with her for many years. It would feel good to take it out again, she thought.

    Finished with her shower and wrapped in a loose cotton robe, Molly headed into the bedroom and picked out two choices for their date: a cream colored sundress with pale lavendar flowers adorning it, or a shorter but no less comfortable blue sundress. The latter was momentarily returned to its appropriate hangar, and she began to dress.

    The door opened, and in stepped the Marine. Not immediately seeing Molly, but knowing she'd be here, she peeked her head into the bedroom - and caught a glimpse of her nude partner just slipping into bra and panties. She stood there watching silently for a moment, and then cleared her throat, which caught the Risan woman's attention. Instead of being upset at being watched, she turned with a sensuous grin, and winked at the Marine.

    "You know, if you'd rather stay here instead of going to dinner ... I'd understand." She smirked, but knew this dinner was important for both of them. They needed to get this misunderstanding behind them and move forward with their lives.

    Shea felt a little more warm then she did before she had come into the room and once she was able to control herself, she responded to Molly's statement. "Well, that's kinda what I came to talk to you about darlin'. I'm afraid I'm going to have to take a rain check on dinner."

    The Risan glanced up at her, the smile fading a bit. She couldn't decide if Shea was serious or joking, but when she didn't crack a smile after a moment, her own smile faded fully. "Why? What's going on?" She tried to tease her Marine. "Another woman?"

    Kennedy actually looked hurt at that comment. "Of course not!"

    Molly sighed softly. "I was just kidding, sweetheart." She lay the dress back on the bed, and slipped back in her robe and moved over towards her.

    This being Shea's first real relationship, she'd been a little stupid about some things. "I'm sorry, I overreacted." She reached out and set her hands on Molly's waist and pulled her closer. "The Major just came to me, we have a special OP that he wants me to run."

    Molly nodded softly, and let herself be pulled closer. "What sort of special OP, or can you talk about it?"

    Shea knew that there were always going to be conflicts between what she could tell Molly and what she couldn't because of the different branches of the services they were in. "Well darlin' all I can say is it's an away team mission. I'm taking about fifteen grunts with me."

    Molly reached out gently with one hand and placed it on Kennedy's side. "Can you at least tell me how long you'll be gone?" She bit her lip, a nervous habit.

    The tall Marine put on a confident look. "Won't be long darlin', just an in and out type of thing."

    Molly still didn't have to like it, but she accepted that her Marine had to go and do her job every once in a while. She nodded, a resigned look on her face. "Think we'll be having dinner tomorrow night instead, then?"

    Shea reached up and caressed her cheek. "That's the plan darlin'. I'm looking forward to wining and dining you and then bringing you back here for a long night of making love."

    Molly laughed softly at Kennedy's openness, turning her head to kiss the caressing hand. "Sounds like a plan to me, sweet pea." The Risan winked at her, nuzzling briefly before stepping back. "Well Marine ... you'd probably better be going. All those grunts are going to be waiting for you."

    The pair lovingly embraced, and Kennedy gathered up her favored weapon from a locked box. She carefully checked the weapon to make sure it was loaded and ready to go, and with a final whispered, "Goodbye, love you" she was out the door and on her way to meet up with her team.
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    #34
    Chapter 32 - Sneaky

    He planned on being back in the training facility with his Team, but apparently being one of the top officers on board had other plans for him. Sabien sat in Hawkins chair and gazed into the viewscreen, watching the stars fly by.

    The door to the turbolift opened and the young dark haired Xenexian woman known as Azura walked out. She looked around to see who else was on the bridge, and her eyes fell on the SEAL Team 2 CO.

    Sabien looked at the ACSO as she walked in and took Summer's seat. "Guess it's us two manning the vessel, huh?"

    Azura nodded. "Guess so."

    "Chris Sabien, SEAL Team 2." he said and extended his hand.

    She looked at his hand for a moment, then decided to take it. "Azura Skyler. Acting Chief of Security."

    "Oh..." he said with an impressed look on his face, then he looked her over intently.

    Now he had managed to draw a look from her. "What?"

    "So you're the one that my cousin refuses to admit that he likes...a lot."

    A smile came to her lips. "Oh really? Well, I'm glad to know that I've got at least a slim chance. Wouldn't know it from him..."

    Sabien smiled, but remained professional. "He has good taste."

    "Naughty, naughty now. No flirting on the bridge."

    Now Sabien genuinely smiled. "Not flirting. I already have a beautiful woman who gave her heart to me. I don't need anything else."

    "Ahhh. Already spoken for. That's good. See her much?" Azura asked.

    "Everyday of my life."

    "Well, that comes in handy. Take your girl around with ya everywhere."

    "Of course." he said. 'I have to. She's the second on my SEAL Team."

    Azura grinned, but then that faded as she studied him for a moment. "You said Hawkins was your cousin?"

    "That's what God had in mind for us." Sabien said. "We grew up together, so he's more like a brother than a cousin."

    "You guys look alike," she told him.

    He shrugged. "That's genetics for you. Our mothers look similar as well. Hell, they were known to take each others kids home by mistake. Especially me and Curt. I joke sometimes that one of our fathers had an affair with the aunt."

    "Careful, you might stumble onto something you wished you hadn't with that one." she joked.

    "I've heard a lot about you." he said. "Seems you have a major thing for him. Is it the muscles or the boyish persona?"

    "Am I really that popular? Damn, need to work on that. Can't stay in this line of work and be visible..."

    "I hear that. What is it that the higher ups say?" he asked.

    "Section 31. We do not exist. Of course, I guess we do on this ship so it's not so bad to be known. At least you know you're alive, no?"

    Sabien looked at her. "You never answered my question. Seems you jumped around it."

    "And what question was that?" she asked innocently.

    I asked you why you were attracted to him."

    "Did you ask that? Are you sure? I don't remember you asking that."

    Sabien straightened himself in his chair and rested his arm on the arm rest. "Yes you did. But I think you're trying to screw with my mind."

    Azura smiled. "I have a minor in psychology and I'm in security. I love to screw with people's heads."

    "Can't do that with me, doll." he said. "SEALs are a different race of people."

    "Is that a fact?" she asked rhetorically.

    "So answer my question. What is it about him that does it for you?"

    Now she leaned back in her chair to get a good look at him. "You're gonna go back and tell him, aren't you?"

    "Of course I'm going to tell him." he said "It'll hurry the relationship process up even more quickly."

    She shook her head. "You know, somehow I don't think that would happen. Hawkins seems like a stubborn person. I don't think a damn thing would hurry up. Actually, I think it might even retard the process."

    "We'll see about that. Now tell me."

    "So what are you guys doing to prep for this? You've got that Warhammer and, rumor has it, that it might come in handy on this mission..."

    Sabien's eyebrows raised. "Hey, you can't just answer a question with a question."

    Suddenly, the console beeped beside her. Azura turned away from Sabien to see the cause of the alarm. "It seems we're picking up an encrypted message. It's being picked up my the Bounty Hunters ship and then re-routed to their quarters..." She looked back at Sabien. "Seems they've been busy. Managing to forward their mail without setting off the alarms in the computer.? That's damn impressive."

    He stopped caring about his question once she mentioned the hunters. He might've made fun of the male hunter early, but truth be told, a Green Beret was nothing to screw around with. They were evil bastards. "Very impressive."

    "I think we need to talk to our new friends again...." Azura announced. "What do you think?"

    "I think we should go pay our new friends a visit and show them this info we've just gathered."

    "Damn right," Azura said as she stood. She looked around the bridge until her eyes fell on Laz. "Lieutenant Longsmith, you're in charge while we're gone."

    Sabien stood up from his chair and let Longsmith take command for both personnel.

    Laz stayed at the science station, wary of sitting in the centre seat, “Have fun!”

    Azura had already made her way over to the turbolift and called for it. The door slid open. "Are you coming?"

    He walked into the turbolift and called for the deck, once she entered. "So what is it about my cousin again?"

    "Dear God, you just don't give up do you?" she said with sigh.

    "Told you I'm well trained." he said.

    "So am I. And seeing as how it's my personal business I would like to keep it to myself. How about that?" she told him.

    "Hey, was just trying to help you out. Don't have to be an ass about it."

    Azura looked at him amusement. "Now, don't go getting all pissy on me. I don't just tell someone I just met my life story, ya know."

    He raised his eyebrows. "I can understand that. You just screw them, right?"

    "Oh, see, now you're not gonna get a damn thing," she told him coldly. The turbolift doors opened again and she walked out.

    Sabien chuckled lightly and followed her out. Sabien 1, Skyler 0. They quietly made their way to the hunter's quarters and as Azura rang the klaxxon, Sabien removed his pistol and held it behind his back.

    Now Azura raised an eyebrow. "Gun?"

    "Never can be too careful, Lieutenant."

    She shrugged. Good point. Especially after shooting the Commander.

    Ginelli opened up the door and peeked out. There in front of him was the SEAL and the Security Officer. "What do you two want?"

    Azura put on her best smile for him. "We'd like to talk to you," she told him, her purple eyes showing nothing to him.

    "Sure, come on in." Ginelli said. "Karrie get dressed, we got visitors."

    "Did we come at a bad time?" Azura asked flatly.

    Ginelli stared at her. "You people always do."

    "Oh, well, pardon us." They all knew she didn't mean it, but oh well. Azura and Sabien walked in the quarters. She didn't see the woman. She must have ducked into the bathroom.

    "So what may I ask brings you to our humble, but temporary abode?"

    "Well, you see, we got a very interesting reading on the bridge a minute ago..." Azura began.

    "I don't have a clue what you're talking about, Lieutenant." Ginelli said. "We were just watching holovids all day."

    Sabien walked forward. "Not according to our scans."

    Karrie emerged from the the bathroom, her hair wet. Ah. She'd been enjoying the ship's showers with real water. "Okay, so we decided to have all our calls forwarded to us. Is that a crime?"

    "Yes it is." Sabien said flatly. "You are unauthorized to do so while on this ship."

    "Like I said before. It seems we're more like prisoners than guests."

    "This is damn ridiculous. We are Bounty Hunters. We make our living by having people hire us to find people for them."

    Sabien looked from Ginelli to Conway. "And you point is?"

    "My point is that we need to be able to get in contact with the people so that we can get jobs. Yes, we are getting paid a lot of money by your Doctor, Executive officer, whatever the hell he is, but we still need to be able to take on other jobs," Karrie explained while she went to go sit beside Ginelli on the bed.

    "Other jobs, huh?" Sabien asked. "Don't you guys make enough money to last you awhile?"

    "Our minimum fee is 100,000 bars of latinum. But that only lasts so long." Ginelli said. "Keep in mind that we have to maintain our ship, stock it, keep our weaponry tip top, the list is endless. The messages we get are from possible customers telling us their problems."

    "Then if that's all it is, then you wouldn't mind if we took a look at it..." Azura suddenly said.

    Karrie looked at the woman suspiciously. "I would mind. That message is for us, and us only. You already took our Andorian. You might decide to bully in on our next job, too."

    "Do all of your transmissions come in encrypted?" Azura asked.

    "Yes they are. Never know when rival hunters are listening over the waves." Ginelli added.

    "Well, I give you my word. We are not going to try to take your bounty from you. Now, let me see what was on that transmission." Azura told him in a voice that told him that she was not going to play around anymore.

    Now he stood up from the bed. "This is bull♥♥♥♥. We come along to help you out and we get treated like crap."

    Karrie was eyeing Sabien from her seat on the bed. "Why do you want to know?"

    "Because as members of this ship, it is our sworn responsibility to gather all information that might lead to a hazardous situation on board." Sabien said.

    "Can I just tell you who it was and you go away?" she asked.

    "Oh Jesus." Richie muttered under his breath.

    "Shut up, Ginelli," Karrie said, her eyes never leaving Sabien. She could sense something about him. He was like them, but there was one major difference. He was still a Federation boy. "What say you?"

    Sabien nodded. "Sure. That will suffice."

    "It was our employer to bring back the Andorian. Satisfied?" Karrie said.

    The SEAL shook his head. "No, I believe we will see the logs." Now he moved forward to their computer terminal.

    Karrie sat completely still on the bed, continuing her steady gaze at the SEAL. "Computer, encrypt and lock all transmissions. Authorization Conway-gamma-alpha-one."

    Azura stared at the woman. "How'd you do that?"

    "Same way I bypassed your systems the first time. You give me enough time and I will figure out how to play with all the toys." Karrie smiled evilly and lay down on the bed like a big cat. She was very satisfied with herself.

    Sabien eyed the hunters. They had thought they one, but they were seriously mistaken. "You don't mind if I try to bypass it, do you?'

    "Oh, go ahead and try. Even if you do manage to break through the encryption it won't do you any good. The transmission itself needs a password before you can view it." Karrie explained as she stared up at the ceiling.

    Sabien nodded and tapped his commbadge. "Sabien to Sgt. Frost and Private Connolly, please report to quarters 374."

    Azura smiled. "Bringing in the professionals, huh?"

    "What are you doing?" Karrie demanded.

    "You don't mind if our SEAL communication experts crack your encryptions, do you?"

    Karrie shrugged. "I have no doubt that they will crack them. Eventually..."

    Ginelli literally mouthed the word 'Crap'. The situation was definitely getting out of hand. Goddamn SEALs stayed one up on everything.

    Karrie got up and walked over to him, seemingly giving him an embrace. "It's encrypted to hell and back. It will take them some time to get to it." she whispered in his ear.

    "Yeah, but they'll eventually get it and we'll be pissed!"

    "Well, what would you rather do?" she hissed. "Show them the damn communiqué? I think not."

    "God you can be a stupid bitch sometimes." Ginelli said seriously. He was pissed at the situation, but it bothered him to see her give the SEAL too much credit and praise. Typical male jealousy.

    "What did I tell you about flattery?" she grinned before giving him a kiss on the cheek.

    The klaxxon of the room beeped and without waiting for an introduction, Frost and Connolly walked into the room.

    "That was fast." Sabien said.

    Frost set his case down by the comm. and opened it up. "We were right down the hall."

    Azura raised an eyebrow. The marines and 'fleet personnel seemed to be getting rather friendly with each other lately...

    "How long?" Sabien asked.

    "A little while." Connolly replied. "This is a sophisticated piece of S31 equipment. They make it to last."

    Sabien looked at the Hunters. "Last chance."

    "Last chance for what? You're invading our privacy. End of story." Karrie said.

    "Okay, well, since we have no time frame of when they will be done, I'm gonna move you to some different accommodations. Sound good?" Azura said.

    Karrie laughed. "You say that as if we have a choice..." She motioned to the door. "Lead on, Princess."

    "Oh, no, after you." Azura replied curtly.

    "Don't trust us behind you? Wanna keep on eye on us?" Karrie said as she started towards the door, Ginelli close behind her.

    "Lemme see. You shot my Commander and then you think I'm gonna trust you at my back?" Azura asked sarcastically. She turned around to the SEALs. "Hey, boys, it might not take you as long as you think. She's obviously not as smart as she thinks she is."

    There was a moment of silence. Karrie started forward to the ACSO but Ginelli grabbed her arm and started dragging her out the door. "Bitch!" she called back.

    Azura smiled and followed along behind them. "Oh, honey, you have no idea..."
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    #35
    Chapter 33 - Timely arrival

    Sloan stepped off the shuttle and looked around, before she finally turned back to see the pilot wiping sweat off his brow. She winked at him and said, "Thanks for letting me bring her in, that was fun mate."

    The young man just nodded and withdrew back into the shuttle to sit down, relaxing his jumbled nerves. He'd never been that up and close to a starship while in a shuttle before.

    Slinging her duffel over her shoulder Sloan walked to the closest console and tapped it gently, "Sgt. Sinclair for Lt. Shea." The computer worked slowly and finally answered, "Lt Shea is in route to the shuttlebay."

    About a minute later a tall dark haired woman walked into the shuttlebay, she had Lt's stripes on her camie uniform. Sloan didn't really anticipate a female CO, but she walked over and snapped to attention with a salute.

    Shea looked the short woman over and saluted back, then told her to relax, "Well I guess I should get right down to it Sgt., we have an OP in 20 hours, you'll be the dropship pilot, so you need to read the specs and be ready, understood?"

    Surprised Sloan nodded, "Aye Eltee. Can you tell me where the hangerbay is then?"

    Shea was happy that the smaller woman didn't give her any guff, "Yea, just follow the console, it'll get you there without a hitch." she said in an obvious Southern accent.

    Sloan responded in an obvious Aussie accent, "No worries, I'll make sure the ship is up and ready to go. Can you tell me where I'm gonna bunk down?"

    Nodding the Lt said, "Yeah, you'll be assigned to my squad, Bravo. Once you're done in the hangar bay, just head to the barracks and I'll make sure one of my Corporals assign you a bunk."

    Sloan saluted the taller woman one more time and picked up her duffle again and left the shuttlebay to find the hanger.

    Kennedy watched her go, impressed with her commitment to work, knowing however that they still needed to sit down and have a chat.




    Exactly 30 minutes after he left earlier, Hawkins walked up to Shea's office. He rang the klaxxon and waited patiently.

    Shea had just gotten back from her quarters and saying good-bye to Molly, she had her shotgun next to her gear sitting on top of her locker, she glanced up and answered, "Come."

    Hawkins walked in a casually saluted Shea. "Got some bad news, Shea. Seems S31 put in orders for Markal's transfer. I swear, these idiots are only out to screw up our way of running things."

    Shea groaned, "Amen to that Major. So are we up the creek or what without a demo expert?"

    Hawkins sat down in the chair in front of her desk and shook his head slowly for a second. "It's not bad, Markal was new, so it's not like I've lost my right arm. It's just a pain in the ass now. I have to rearrange my squad again, and give somebody the demo slot again."

    Shea nodded, "Sounds like fun Major." she said with a grin.

    "How's the picking coming, Eltee?"

    Shea rubbed her jaw, "Good actually. Never let it be said that Marines don't volunteer. We also just had a new dropship pilot sent to us from S31, but I'm sure you know that. I met her shuttle and she went right for the hanger bay."

    "Yeah, I caught her transfer sheet the other day." he said and slouched in the chair a little. "It'll be good having a dropship pilot again. I hate using those damned transporters. Anyway, what are the away team members doing?"

    Kennedy sat back in her chair and took a deep breath, "I made sure everyone took about thirty minutes personal time to take care of what they needed to as well. I'm not planning on losing anyone, but I hate to not be prepared for the worst."

    Hawkins let a crooked grin come on his face. "Personal time is great. Chug that last beer, take a little nap, get a little nookie from a certain Risan..."

    At that she rolled her eyes, she knew it was only a matter of time before the Major started teasing her about her relationship with the 'Fleeter doctor.

    Now he laughed as she started rolling her eyes and what appeared to be squirming in her seat. "I won't be here too much longer. I'll let you have your private time."

    Trying desperately not to blush Shea waved his statement off, "Thats okay Major, I'm here 110%."

    "Now how about telling me who's going along on the mission?" he asked.

    She grinned, "Well all the NCO's, Private Dawkins and Stark from Bravo and Lance Corporal Justice, and Taylor has thrown in a couple from his squad, a Private Savard and Roth."

    "Damn he muttered. "All the damn NCOs, huh? Figures they'd do that, but that's basically leaving me with nobody."

    Shea bit her lip, "I can go through the list again Major and leave a few behind, if you'd like."

    He looked up and shook his head. "Oh no, that's fine. Not surprised that they all volunteered. Besides, I just want the best out there. Now I'm not up to date on all the enlisted. Tell me about the others."

    Shea picked up a padd with the four enlisted men she was taking with her, "Stark and Dawkins both have demo as their secondary, so that will hopefully make up for Markel. Savard and Roth from what I can tell here are experienced ground pounders. They'll fit in well with the group." She continued, "Lance Corporal Justice was my second before Corporal Alexander came along, so there is a bit of a competitive things going on between them, he wants his job back and she enjoy it already, so I'm giving him a chance."

    Nodding slowly to himself as he took in all the info, Hawkins was finally satisfied. "And your feelings?"

    Nodding, "Overall Major, I feel like we have a solid ground team. I'm anticipating a secure and successful OP."

    He arose from his seat and started his journey towards the door. "That's what I like to hear, Eltee. We're not due for another 19 hours, so you take you quiet time with your girl. I'll see you off tomorrow for the OP. Ok?"

    Shea was surprised that she was actually going to get more time with Molly before they took off. She thought this was the most opportune time to set a little plan of her into action. With a large smile Shea responded, "Yes Major, thank you."

    "Oh and Shea."

    Giving the Major her full attention she nodded, "Yes?"

    "Watch your ass and come home safe. You hear me?"

    She gave him a little salute and a confident smirk, "Aye Major, I intend to."

    He nodded and walked out of the door. Thinking positively about the mission.

    Shea watched Hawkins walk out of her office and she tapped a few buttons on her computer console, reserving a few hours in the holodecks, after that she hit her com, "Lt. Shea to Corporal Alexander, I need you to do me a favor. Please escort Lt. Patamon to holodeck one in two hours, and don't tell her anything, if you know what I mean."

    The com chirped back with her Corporal sounding rather confused, "Aye Eltee."

    Shea smiled to herself and rubbed her hands together, thinking it was now or never.




    Again, like the twelve other times Hawkins looked up from his work, he felt her eyes tearing into him. Only this time he caught her looking at him. He smiled and nodded, receiving the same gesture in reply. Having done that, he went back to work.

    Kendra was sitting in her chair across the desk from his. It was a wide desk, one big enough for them to both work on at the same time. She continued to stare at him, her eyes never wavering.

    Hawkins felt her looking at him again and he met her eye. "What?! What the hell are you looking at?!"

    "You," she said simply. Then Kendra grinned. "you're just so damn cute!"

    He set his reports aside and gave her his full attention. "Bull, you aren't just staring at me because I'm an attractive person. Now tell me what's wrong."

    Cut right to the chase. Gotta love Hawkins. "I've been hearing some rumours..."

    He clamped his jaw shut. He kind've hoped he could put this off a bit longer, but apparently that wasn't the case. "What kind of rumours?"

    "The kind that says you have something that you aren't sharing with me...."

    Damn Taylor. He was the only person he knew that would spill the beans. "Be more specific."

    Kendra looked him right in the eyes. "The kind that sounds just like the crap that happened on the Illustrious, if you get my drift."

    He nodded. Now was a good time as any. "I was ordered to send an away team on Sestus and to destroy a huge weapons facility. I didn't tell you because it was on a need to know basis and you didn't need to know at the time."

    "So this is gonna be another Illustrious type thing. Are we gonna divide the ship and turn on each other again? Is that it? We've been there, done that, got that t-shirt. I don't need another one," she told him sternly.

    "It's nothing like the Illustrious." he said in reply. "I have my own Command this time around and I don't have to deal with a fleeter that thinks he has control over me because his rank his higher compared to a marine rank and because it's his ship. And a guy who thinks because I was his 'friend' that I would pick loyalty before duty."

    Kendra sat there, mulling this over. He had a point. She didn't expect him to side with her just because, just like he didn't expect her to side with him. "So why even tell me now?"

    "Unlike him, you..." he paused and tried to express his feelings without sounding like a wuss. He quickly decided to say screw it. "We've had our differences and we are both hard-headed people. But out of everybody, you helped me out on numerous occasions. So forgive me if this sounds silly, but I call you a friend."

    She just kind of stared at him for a moment. "Wow." was all she managed to say in reply.

    "Wow?" he asked. "Is that all you can say? I just tried to be very civil and all you can say is 'wow'? What's with that?"

    "I dunno. We've just fought like cats and dogs since we met. Of course so did me and Taylor, and look what happened there.... But you didn't like me. Especially since the Ajax when I blew the doors off the holodeck and let holograms loose on the ship.... You didn't really care for me after that..." she said with a sheepish smirk.

    "Well you really did muck up on that one, genius. Anybody would have used better common sense then you did on that day."

    She shrugged. "I was new. How the hell was I supposed to know that we had shipwide holo-emitters on that damn ship?"

    He mocked thought for a second. "Hmmm, I don't know. Maybe reading the ship's layout once in awhile?"

    "Anyway, back to the subject. I really appreciate that. For what it's worth, you're alright yourself. I consider you a friend, too," she said. Then Kendra smirked. "For a marine."

    "Likewise Fleeter." he replied. "Now enough of this mushy crap. You have any further problems with my mission or my eventual take-over?"

    She shrugged and shook her head. "Nah. Take me and shoot me out the torpedo tube. Just be aware that I have rigged this ship to self-destruct as soon as I leave it... I go and I take you with me."

    In the first time they had known each other, Hawkins gave her a genuine laugh and smile. It was a rare occasion. "Stupid fleeters don't know any better. I swear."

    Kendra grinned. "Yeah, we all be stupid." she smirked. Suddenly her commbadge chirped.

    =/ Cushing to Summers. How's the time off going?" \=

    Kendra froze and put her finger to her lips, motioning for Hawkins to be quiet. "It's going just fine, Doc. Just sitting here relaxing with Pig."

    =/ Oh really? Then how come the computer says that you're in your ready room? \=

    "Uhhhh, I left my commbadge there?" she tried, sounding pathetic even to herself.

    =/ Then how am I talking to you? \=

    "Busted." Hawkins muttered and continued working on his reports.

    "Damn you, Doc. I'm losing what I have left of my mind. And, trust me, you don't want to see that. I feel fine. Lemme come back to work." she said, almost sounding as if she was begging.

    =/ If you don't get out of that ready room right now then I'm going to keep you off duty for two more days... \=

    There was a long pause before she responded. "I really don't like you."

    =/ Awwww. Nice to know how loved I am. Cushing out.\= The comm was cut.

    "Well, I guess this means that I'm going back to my quarters now. Stupid flesh wound," she grumbled. Kendra stood up and started for the door. "Stupid bounty hunters." The door slid open and she walked out. "Stupid Doc."

    Hawkins looked up and watched her leave. As soon as she exited, he shook his head. "Stupid Fleeters."
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    #36
    Chapter 34 - Discovered

    Kendra was propped up in the corner of her living room, standing on her head. She had her eyes closed and was attempting to relax. That is, until the she was rudely interrupted by her door chime. She opened them and growled. After what seemed like forever, she finally managed to relax and then she gets disturbed. "Come in!"

    Hawkins walked into the room and watched as his Co-CO was currently upside down. "Am I interrupting something?"

    Kendra furrowed her brow. "Hey, didn't I just leave you up in the ready room?"

    "Yes and I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for a good reason."

    "What's wrong?"

    He didn't reply right away. Instead he pointed at her somewhat and furrowed his brow. "Do you mind?"

    Kendra blinked. "Oh, sorry." She flipped her legs over and stood up now. "Now, what's wrong?"

    "Seems Sabien and 'your' ACSO has picked up some private messages being relayed to the bounty hunter's room. They went to investigate and received hostile behavior. Sabien had his COMM boys figure out the messages and what they found out wasn't pretty."

    "Oh, really? What exactly did they find?"

    "As you know, they were hired by a Feddie diplomat to retrieve the Andorian for the death of his daughter, right?"

    Kendra nodded. "Yeah..."

    He took a deep breath before he said the next part. "They were also sub-contracted by Gantz and S31."

    Now her jaw dropped. "You're joking..."

    "Seems that they are hiding more then we figured."

    "Ya think?" she said as she began to pace the room. "Have you told the bounty hunters what you know?"

    "Not yet." he replied. "Wanted to consult you first and maybe my cousin and your sec officer."

    "Does Gantz know that we know?"

    He shook his head. "Doubt it, but you never know with these S31 people."

    "I wonder what else they aren't telling us." Kendra thought out loud. Surely they must've known that they would run into the bounty hunters...

    "Want my opinion on this?" he asked?

    "Anything you got is good. I'm at a loss."

    "This is a trade secret, so it is considered top secret." he said. "Sometime when special forces have too much to handle at one time, we hire outside help to track down certain people. Now the diplomat wanted the Andorian for a specific purpose, but S31 wants him because they need to stop an oncoming war. I figure once the war is stopped, they will deliver the Andorian into feddie custody."

    Kendra studied him for a moment. "That wouldn't be very... moral." she said. With lack of a better word...

    "Hey, never said that we were moral." Hawkins stated.

    "True," she said. "None of us are all that moral. Or, perhaps, are too moral in some cases...." The door chimed again and Kendra stared at the door. Okay, she'd be getting some unexpected visitors but this was getting ridiculous.

    Hawkins turned to the door. "I took the liberty of calling up the hunters and Skyler. Hope you don't mind."

    "Oh, no. Not at all. Gives me something to do. Maybe I should make some snacks..." she quipped. "Come in!"

    Azura made her way into the room. "Commander, Major," she said in greeting, her eye lingering on Hawkins for a moment.

    Hawkins watched Azura walk into the room and he replied to her greeting. "Hey."

    "I assume that you've told the Commander what we've discovered?"

    Hawkins nodded. "Yes, just briefed her on the situation."

    Azura nodded. "Good. Hate to have to sit through a re-hash sessions of stuff I already know."

    Kendra raised an eyebrow. "Yeah, being the first to know is always such a burden...."

    "Better than being the last." Azura countered.

    "So now Commander." Hawkins said. "What do YOU think we should do with these two?"

    "Me?" she asked. "Well, if I had my way, I'd drop kick them out the docking bay. And make sure that I kicked the woman off myself. Get them the hell off my ship."

    "Oh, so you think you can just get rid of us?" a woman's voice said from the door. Karrie strolled in. "Hope you don't mind. We rang, but you didn't answer, so we just came on in."

    "Hmmmm. I think that's grounds to drop kick you now..." Kendra smiled.

    "Don't have to do a damn thing." Ginelli cut in. "Fact of the matter is, we're civilians. Can't do anything to us."

    "Well, nothing legal. Now that illegal stuff... There's a myriad of things we could play with there..." Kendra said thoughtfully.

    Hawkins laughed. "And we could always sent your ass to Leavenworth for desertion."

    They now had Karrie's full attention now. "Like hell you will."

    Ginelli followed in behind her. He was hoping to get through this without any arguments, but he guess that wasn't in the hand he was dealt.

    "If you thought we were bad before, wait 'til you see what happens if you even try..." she growled.

    Now Kendra smiled. "I'd like to see you try something. Just give me an excuse."

    "Please give her an excuse." Hawkins chimed in. "I'd love to see her put her money where her mouth is. But back to the subject at hand, my boys found some nice information about you two. You know, concerning S31."

    "So you did get through the encryption? Well, then you know the Leavenworth threat is useless. Your own people contracted us." she replied as she sat down on the sofa. "Mind if I sit?"

    "Yes, I do, but I guess it's too late now. Make yourself at home." Kendra said, irritated.

    Richie gestured to the sofa and looked at Summers.

    "Oh, no. Please, sit too. Would you like something to eat or drink? I'd hate for you to feel unwelcome." she continued dryly.

    "Oh, how sweet of you. I'd love a glass of wine, please. And maybe a little cheese and crackers. Kinda hungry, but not starved..." Karrie told her.

    Kendra crossed her arms. "Oh, damn. I forgot. My replicator is broken. Looks like you're just plain out of luck."

    "Ohhhh," Karrie said, feigning she was scared. "Using the foul language... Unbecoming of an officer..."

    "Back to the subject at hand." Hawkins said loudly, cutting off their conversation. "When did 31 approach you two and offer this job?"

    Karrie looked to Ginelli. "About, what, two weeks ago?" He nodded and she turned back to Hawkins.

    "Were you in anyway obligated to track us and observe our mission?"

    "Hell no. We never wanted to even see you. We didn't know that you were gonna be here at this point." Karrie told him.

    Hawkins looked at them suspiciously. "Some how I doubt that."

    "Believe what you want, Major." Ginelli said. "Our orders were clear. Get the Andorian by any means necessary. If you hadn't guessed by now, we were sent to help you out."

    "To a point. We didn't know you were gonna be here, but we all want the same thing. Sort of."

    "And what's that?" Kendra asked, completely unamused.

    "We both want the Andorian. Our reasons are just different, that's all," Karrie explained as if it were obvious.

    "So you don't want to prevent this war?" Hawkins asked.

    "Nah," Karrie grinned. "I just want money."

    "You really do have a one track mind, don't you?" Hawkins asked. "Seems you are only concerned with profit."

    "Why yes, I do have a one track mind. Well, make that two, but that's been taken care of recently, so it's a one track mind now..."

    Hawkins looked at Ginelli and Ginelli replied with a sly grin. "Disgusting." he muttered. "Now tell me one thing, do you know this system well?"

    "We know this system damn well," Karrie nodded. "Most criminals like to come here and hide because it is so unknown to the Federation. So we got to know it out of necessity."

    "And you basically know what the Andorian is planning?"

    She shrugged now. "Basically. Not anything exact. We've been tracking him for a while."

    Hawkins arose from his seat. "In that case, it's time to earn your money. You both report to the bridge now and navigate us through this system."

    Karrie tossed a look at Ginelli. "Oh, really?"

    "Yeah, what she said," Kendra said, now turning at looking at Hawkins. "Why in hell do we want them on the bridge?"

    Hawkins looked at Summers. "The Dominion is expecting the Andorian in the next few hours, right? Well I say that we put him in his ship with some of our people, cloak and follow him to his rendezvous point, then attack."

    Ginelli actually raised his eyebrows in approval. "As a former soldier, I must say that is an impressive plan. I was figuring that you were just going to stay cloaked the whole time and keep the Andorian MIA."

    "That would be no fun, now would it?" Kendra quipped. "We were sent here to stop this mess, not sit by and eat popcorn."

    Ginelli sat back in his chair and sighed long and hard. He then looked at Conway. "Believe it or not, if the Feds go down, we go down. Not many Dominion members likes humans. Besides, people of the Federation makes up 70% of our profit."

    Something occurred to Kendra now. "When is the Andorian's rendezvous?"

    "In twelve hours." Ginelli replied.

    "What about that other thing?" she asked Hawkins, referring to his mission on the planet. "WE have time for that and make the rendezvous?"

    "Don't see why not. Both objectives are on Sestus. My people can do what they have to do, while your Fleeters monitor the rendezvous."

    She nodded. "Okay, then you two have to get us there fast. Think you can do that?"

    Ginelli nodded and stood up, taking Karrie by the hand in the process. "See you up there."

    Azura looked to the commanding officers and nodded. She escorted the bounty hunters out of the room without a word.

    Hawkins focused on Kendra. "Finally a solid plan. Hell, at short notice too."

    "About damn time, too." she said. Then she frowned. "Of course, I can't go anywhere. I'm still stuck here..."

    Hawkins nodded, then thought. "By the power given to me by the UFMC and UFST, you are hear by cleared for duty. Get your ass up on the bridge with me."

    "And I reiterate, about damn time!" Kendra said, her smile almost as big as her face. "Let's get the hell out of here."




    Magnus strode down the corridor towards the turbolift, at last he was going to get to see engineering. His thoughts wandered to the last time he had been chief engineer on a starship. There had been good times and there had been better times. The bad times he could probably count on one hand. Although to be honest the bad times were spectacularly bad. Best not to dwell on those though. Hopefully he wouldn't add to the tally whilst on board the Apocalypse.

    The door to the turbolift hissed open and Magnus stepped inside. His thoughts were still in the past and it was only the computer's query of 'Destination?' that brought him back to the present.

    'Engineering.' stated Magnus, slightly embarrassed that he had been caught daydreaming.

    The lift moved towards his destination. You weren't supposed to be able to tell when it was in motion but Magnus always could. He counted under his breath how long it took to get there. A strange habit for anyone that was travelling with him, but he could remember the exact times for every turbolift between any two points on all the starships that he'd served on.

    Fifteen seconds later the door opened. Instead of the expected bustle of a busy engineering room, Magnus was greeted with a neat, tidy and quiet work area. Quiet that is apart from the low thrum of the twin MARA's that took centre stage.

    'Where the hell is everyone?' asked Magnus.

    In answer to his question a young women appeared from the far side of the room, she was staring intently at the padd in her hands and didn't notice him stood there.

    'You!' shouted Magnus, pointing at the woman, 'Name?'

    The woman looked up from the padd and noticed Magnus for the first time. 'Master Chief Petty Officer DuBois sir'

    'Good god woman' blurted Magnus, 'What sort of name is that? Did your parents have something against you?'

    'I..I'm sorry. I don't understand sir.' Stammered the woman.

    'I asked for your name.' explained Magnus, 'I can see what your rank is, I've not gone blind just yet.'

    'Sorry sir.' The woman blushed, 'Veronica DuBois.'

    'Much better' grinned Magnus, 'Pleased to meet you Veronica, I'm Magnus Darque, your new Chief Engineer.' Magnus offered Veronica his hand which she hesitantly shook, not quite sure what to make of him. 'I would like to meet with the rest of my staff later, but for now perhaps you could give me a run-down on the systems?'

    'Sorry sir,' said Veronica, 'weren't you sent a copy of the specs?'

    'Of course I was, but they only give a rough estimate of the ship's capabilities. Everyone knows you only get the real story by first hand knowledge.' Magnus nudged her with his elbow, 'I'm willing to bet that my predecessors have made a few modifications which the specs don't show.'

    'Yes sir they have, if you'd like to take a look at the plasma coil readouts over here I'll show you something interesting.' Veronica led Magnus to a display on one side of the room.

    As they bent forward to check the display, Magnus turned to Veronica and gave her a big grin, 'Please. While we're in engineering call me Magnus. I never got called sir at home and this is going to be home for the foreseeable future.'

    As they went from system to system inspecting readouts and checking on the numerous upgrades, Magnus really did feel that he was home at last.




    Laz dashed down the hall way, desperately trying to remember where he and Jade said they were going to meet. After 8 hours trying to figure out how to make this vessel more stealthy, and with only 3 ideas, he had finally managed to get himself relieved on the bridge.

    Now he was late.

    "Computer, where is Jade Taggart?" Laz asked the computer. Baka, he should have done that earlier.

    "Lt. Taggart is in the crew lounge." The computer was as emotionless as ever. Thankfully.

    Laz jumped in the nearest Jefferies, and climbed down the two decks to the lounge, and managed to walk in in a composed manner.

    Jade was sitting quietly at the table she and Molly had been sitting at together when she saw Laz walk in. As he walked over she miled, "Hi there, what are you up to?."

    "Ah, nothing much. Just doing the impossible, as usual." He smiled, "I hope I'm not to late."

    "Not at all" she smiled, "actually you're timing is perfect, I just finished dinner with Molly. It was kind of a quick invitation so I didn't get chance to call you and tell you."

    Laz gave a sigh of relief. He got lucky. Again. Wait a sec... "Where is Dr. Patamon?"

    "She had to go" Jade smiled, "so what would you like to do?, shall we stay here or would you like to find somewhere else?."

    "I haven't a clue. Not that I've eaten recently, but then again, I'm not all that hungry." He shrugged. "You?"

    "I'm not bothered either way" she grinned, "you kind of got stuck in my idea of a good program at the holodeck last time..... even though you didn't enjoy it."

    A surprised look shot across Laz's face. "Where did you get that idea?"

    "It's the truth!" she laughed, "you hated it and I knew it. So this time it's your choice." She sat and looked at him waiting to see what he'd choose.

    So he never liked planets. Born on a ship, and spending the first five years of your life on one can do that to you. If you are going to visit a planet, then visit it, don't go to some simulacrum.

    "O.K. Fine." Laz stood up abruptly. "I saw Drax, you get to see Scotland."

    "Sounds good to me" she smiled.

    He knew he had been played, but what was he supposed to do? Act like an android? "Shall we go?"

    "By all means" she stood and the two set off.

    A few minutes later they were standing outside the holodeck as Laz chose the program he wanted.

    "I really don't have an ulterior motive here you know." she looked at him guessing that maybe he was more than a little wary of why she'd asked him to meet her. "I just like to make new friends and you've been more than friendly towards me...." she paused, "I'm sorry I'm babbling!."

    Laz's mouth twitched, but he brought the smile under control. "Don't worry about that. It can be hard getting used to a new ship."

    As the holodeck doors opened she looked upon the Scottish landscape. Walking in she looked back at Laz and smiled. "I never realised Scotland was such a lovely place. I guess you can tell I've never been to Scotland before."

    "Yep. You called her beautiful." Laz smirked. He held out his hand, and it started to rain on the holodeck. Within moments, a torrential downpour had covered the everything in sight.

    "It's beautiful" she looked back at the walls of rain.

    "Now you've seen Scotland!" Laz yelled to be heard over the storm. He laughed. For a simulacrum, this did make him feel at ease. The storm... It faded, and so did his sense of calm.

    "I wish I could sense you" she smiled, "it's really distracting being round someone that I can't even sense is there!.... and before you say it, I know a little mystery never hurt anyone."

    "You are right." The storm had moved away, and was now just a projection against one wall. "But then again, part of enjoying the mystery is taking the time to solve it right." He sighed. "Shall we eat?"

    "I'll try" she smiled, "I haven't long eaten but lead the way and I might just tempt myself into another dessert!."

    Laz smiled, and called up the arch. He punched in a light snack for the both of them, and a place to eat, along with the food appeared in the simulacrum. At least the food was real.

    After they had finished their meal, Jade smiled at Laz as they made their way out the holodeck, she had to admit she'd had an interesting evening.

    "Can I tempt you into a nightcap?" she smiled, "I promise no funny stuff just two friends and a drink."

    Laz didn't worry about the drinks. He never got drunk. Didn't like the taste of alcohol.

    A little while later they were sitting in Jade's room, she could see Laz was uncomfortable.

    "I'm sorry I shouldn't have asked you here, you're obviously not comfortable being here."

    "No, no, that's alright. I can manage." Something at the back of his mind was screaming at him. Don't do this. You have another.

    "You sure?" she smiled. "I'd hate to think I made you uncomfortable."

    He shook his head. "No. It's fine. Just, there are other things, like work."

    A little while later they'd finished their drinks.

    "Well thanks for an interesting evening, I really have had fun." she got up collecting his empty glass and taking it with hers to the kitchen.

    Laz got up, and knew what he had to do. "Thank you for the evening. It was nice to actually talk to somebody." He gave a quick bow, and shook Taggart's hand. "But I really should be going. See you later." Laz left Taggart's quarters behind, and once he was out of earshot, began to run away, back the sanctuary of his own quarters.

    Jade smiled as she sat down on the sofa, Laz certainly was a curious one. He was a mystery and like he'd said part of the fun was solving the mystery.

    After Laz had left her quarters she'd spent a few more minutes reading over reports and other items she had on padds before finally deciding to head to bed and get some rest. With where the Apocalypse was heading she'd no doubt need to get some rest in as no one would be resting easy in Gorn territory.

    Heading to the bedroom she changed out of her uniform into her evening attire before sliding back the bed sheets and sliding inside. She hadn't realised how tired she really was as she had soon drifted off to sleep.

    Jade stirred, hearing voices that couldn't possibly be. The voices that had been a part of her for so many years of her life now intruded on her sleep.... she stirred again as the voices of the collective called her name.....

    Awaking from a nightmare she opened her eyes to find herself in another nightmare, she looked around seeing the inside of a borg cube.... assimilation chambers and drones as far as the eye could see. Stepping forward she realised she'd just stepped out of a Borg alcove, but she didn't use an alcove. What in the hell?. She thought she was still dreaming, so there was one way to be sure. She pinched herself as hard as she could suddenly realising it was all very real.... there were only two possibilities either she was on a cube or..... “Computer end programme and exit!”

    As the cube suddenly vanished and the holodeck grid appeared she breathed a sigh of relief. Now the only problem she had was how she'd got from her quarters to the holodeck and even started the program. It wasn't unknown for people to sleepwalk but it had never happened to her before.... and why a Borg cube?, she hated the Borg!.

    Walking out of the holodeck she did the only thing she could think of to do.

    “Taggart to Cmdr Cushing, I need to see you as soon as possible.”

    Heading off in the direction of sickbay she hoped he'd be able to shed some light on what was going on. She hoped it was simple problem with her implants, if not she had bigger problems to think about.
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