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JL | Atarah, Merlin | Troublemakers, part 1

Posted on Tue Feb 6th, 2018 @ 9:52am by Commander Evan Merlin & Danielle Atarah

Mission: The Round Table
Location: Cold Station Theta
Timeline: SD 241802.06

Dani yawned, her feet dangling at the edge of the observation deck looking over the promenade. Her hand stretched out, covering her mouth with her elbow, balancing herself backwards to not fall through the railing and onto the bustling floor below. Cold Station Theta's promenade wasn't quite Dani's idea of a "good time", not anymore, not when she was pretty much the owner of a couple of bars of her own now, but the restaurants and bars below looked much better than she'd have expected. Or remembered. And that is what it was, really; the memories. The undeniable sense of nostalgia that encompassed her as she sat, bringing up memories of RnR and station bars, and laughing, and getting intro trouble.

The good ol' days. She smiled to herself and lifted the cup of ice tea to her lips, noisily slurping through the straw, watching the people below, considering whether she should go get a real drink at one of those places, for old time's sake.

Down below, a man walked by, already in uniform (or still in uniform, depending on the shift) but with dark curly hair standing out in all directions, which bounced with every step. In one hand he held a glass ball, which he idly moved around. He calmly strolled through the crowd, intuitively seeking every opening which naturally appeared, heading to a small Klingon café or restaurant or bistro or whatever it was – a kind of odd mix, apparently. His keen eyes darted around, and even up, once in awhile. He even glanced at Dani, saw her staring down, gave her a quick wave and continued on his way.

Dani blinked, clenching her teeth around the straw as her lips expanded to a lopsided smile. Well. That was different. No, not different, familiar. Very familiar. She suddenly had an urge to check the guy's service record, betting with herself what she'd fine there. And yet -- he wore red. That was interesting; most Command and Tactical officers would be way too uptight to allow for the attitude she recognized under the surface. Under that hair... He could be a helmsman, she mused, her eyes narrowing in amusement, but he seemed to have known the station too well to be an outsider, and how many helmsmen serve on a stationary starbase...

The lopsided smile expanded, painting her face with excited interest and amusement. She twisted around the railing, lifting herself up with a bounce, hopping towards the stairs. She didn't really need to look, she knew what it would say, and what it wouldn't. The cup, not empty but completely unimportant now, was summarily tossed into the recycler as she hopped over the bottom four steps and ducked through the crowd and slipping into the restaurant the hair vanished to, ignoring the signs or waiters. Klingon food was probably the farthest from her usual preferred diet, but she wasn't here for the food. Her eyes darted around, looking for her target. This deserved exploration.

As Dani entered the restaurant, the Lieutenant strolled out, a cup of raktajino in one hand, the glass ball appearing and disappearing at random in the other. Just before they would pass each other, however, the man stopped and gave her a slight bow, grinning widely. "Ah, the lofty lady from above, descended to join us mere mortals down below! Good day to you." His face, under the twinkling eyes, was friendly and there was no mockery in his tone.

"Oh, I'm conducting a sociological study," Dani couldn't block the satisfied grin that kept spreading on her face as she examined the man in front of her, recognizing the gate and attitude of a fellow free spirit, yet unsure just yet how far that reached, considering the uniforms. "I just decided to break cover and interact with the specimen." It wasn't too far from the truth; being on a Starfleet base and ship, surrounded by so many Starfleet officers and crew as an outsider, a civilian, felt very much like participating in a scientific study. She was observing from the outside this time, and her conclusions so far fascinated her. Was she really like this, only a few months back? She wondered what Zett would have to say about this place.

The man spread his arms, as if inviting her to take a good look at him. At first glance, there was nothing special to see: just another Lieutenant in a Starfleet uniform, human or humanoid – no spots or ridged forehead, nose or pointy ears in sight. Yes, the grin and the wild hair were at odds with the image, though the most startling effect came from the intense, sea-coloured eyes. "So, interact away," he invited.

Dani didn't really need to look that hard to sense what she already knew, but she smiled and gestured a full look-over anyways, nodding. "That's the beauty of sociological studies," she smirked, "I already have. I'm Dani," she extended a hand, giving him the once-over for the third time, "I used to be a specimen too, but recently got liberated into the wider world of varied fashion choices." Zett's face popped up in her mind, repeating 'Star fleet pajamas' and laughing. She chuckled to herself.

"Pleasure to meet you. Evan Merlin," the man said, shaking her hand with gusto. "Also known as 'Talks To Turbolifts', Weirdo' or 'He Did What?' And don't mind the garments, I just came off duty and couldn’t be bothered yet to change. Besides, most people know that the moment I get off shift, my hair explodes, so it's generally easy enough to tell whether I'm in business or not." He grinned again and flipped his hair back. Immediately a stray curl slid across his forehead again.

"The true magic is to get the Turbolift to talk back." Dani laughed, not surprised in the least, but curious nonetheless. "Done that a couple of times. Only got got in trouble once for it. Totally worth it." A 'weirdo' officer in command uniforms... That was still... well, curious. "You definitely caught my attention, but it wasn't just the hair. Not that it's not," she gestured, smirking, "noticeable..."

"Oh, most stuff does talk back, though somehow I usually get only the Engineers to agree with me when I say that," the man said earnestly. "My guess is that people just don't know how to listen. Even space sings, did you know that?" He shrugged and gave an idle wave with the hand not holding the mug of raktajino, as if to wave away the thought. "So what bit of me did catch your attention, then?"

"I did know that," she nodded and paused a second, examining his expression again, the interest growing in her smile. "See, I was an Engineer. We hear the entire station speak right now," she gestured, almost mimicking his movement, except with purpose, "and yet here you are, a..." she lowered her gaze to his uniforms and shook her head, "a not Engineer. You're not even Science. What are you, Ops? Helm? I could see hearing space as a pilot," she mused, not letting him answer, "but that wouldn't be that fun on a stationary base. So what is starfleet wasting your potential on? Don't tell me you're the station's cook," she huffed a laugh, "that would almost be poetic."

The Lieutenant laughed. "No, though I can cook a mean steak. Knifes aren't really my thing." He finished the last of his raktajino and the cup disappeared as if by magic. "No, I work in StratOps. Which sounds exciting, coming from a station so near to several big powers, but it's a lot more dull than it seems. Lots of padds, lots of data analysis. This station in itself is marvellous, though. Did you have the chance to explore it yet?" He regarded the woman he was talking with, studying her in turn. An interesting woman with a lot of layers, some buried lightly under the surface, other layers were a lot deeper. Interesting.

Of course she's explored it; however many ways she managed to, without raising alarms. It wasn't the sort of detail she thought she should share indiscriminately. "Whew," she whistled, raising her arms up in mock appeasement, "Strategic Operations. That's like grandiose security, except at a desk." She smirked, "with battle simulators." The smirk expanded. "And lots of PADDs. Sounds exhilarating."

"It does, doesn't it?" He grinned again. "So, which bit of the station did you like best?" He began to stroll casually as he asked the question, walking across the promenade in the direction of the turbolifts.

"The insides," Dani chuckled, following along. "The insides are always the best. That's how you really judge a place. And this," she tapped the bulkhead quickly, scraping it with her palm gently as she walked, "this one doesn't talk, it sings. Not a bad place to be stationed," her voice had a tinge of longing in it, but only just barely. The smile came back, stretching to her eyes, overcoming the nostalgia with wistful amusement again. "Not that you are enjoying it fully, being... you know... not an Engineer." 'What a waste,' was on the tip of her tongue, but she bit it, smirking.

"Betcha I can show you places you haven't found," the man said, eyes twinkling. "I lived here for awhile before I joined Starfleet and helped occasionally with maintenance and repairs. This was before the station was refitted and expanded, of course. And you're right, this station sings. It's a weird mix, old and new, and it really shouldn't have worked, but it does, somehow. Of course, there are quite a few kinks to be straightened out still, you should hear the Chief Engineer of the station – he's trying to fit thirty six hours in a twenty four hour day." They reached the turbolift column and he touched the sensor plate, calling it up. "Now, let's see…" he murmured. "The Commander has probably dismantled the still by now… spare parts are boring, hidden or not… hmm…"

"A still!" Dani marveled, amused, following the man with a grin on her face. "And you let your Commander find it? You know, in my time, we knew where to hide things better." Her smile shifted sideways with a wink. "We being... you know..." She huffed a jokingly mock chuckle, "Engineers."

"Nah, I showed it to him. He'd never have found it on his own," the Lieutenant said with an offhand shrug. "It was a crappy old thing anyway. No idea if a new one has been built by now, but we've got plenty of bars here these days, so if they built a new one, it's only because they could." He grinned. "So I'm almost sure one will spring up again, sooner or later." The turbo lift rattled down and down, making a wheezing, groaning noise but running surprisingly smooth for all that. "Ah!" he cried out, suddenly pointing in what seemed to be a random direction. "Got it. The testing room! Yes. Absolutely. That's all the way down, away from nearly all critical structures, where the occasional explosion can't do any harm… Okay. Wait for it, wait for it…" he slammed his hand against the sensor plate. "STOP."

With a final rattle, the lift stopped and the doors slid open. 'Down here' turned out to be a dimly lit corridor. "There's said to be a ghost here," the man said, bouncing out of the turbo lift, "but I've never encountered it. Pity, I'd like to see a real ghost one day."

Dani blinked, her eyes narrowing above her thinning smile. She was on good ships and bad ships and handled and fixed very not safe equipment, but this... she couldn't remember having seen this. "You know modern turbolifts respond to spoken voice commands, right?" She muttered, somewhere between amusement and horror, not being able to completely decide where she stood on that one herself, taking a step off the damned thing before it decides to break apart with her still in it. "I wouldn't be surprised if your ghost got spooked by the noise your turbolift is making." One thing was certain -- she was making her way back up on foot, the old fashioned way, however far that was going to be.

"Do you even have Engineers here, or are you just waiting for an excuse to do a complete a retrofit?"

"Oh, we have a good few decent Engineers here," the wild-haired Lieutenant said with a grin. "And the lifts are on the list, yes. There has been some trouble with them…" He remembered the wild look on his CO's face and shook his head. "But if you just treat them nicely, but with a firm word here and there, they don't give you any. All that noise? Really, it was just trying to intimidate you." He pointed a finger at the doors, which were about to close. "So, next time, behave for the nice Engineer, will you?" he added a bit louder. The doors slid close with an obvious 'Pffffffft'.

"Bloody cheek," the man muttered, shaking his head. "C'mon."


Lt. Evan 'Weirdo' Merlin
Chief Strat Ops
Cold Station Theta

Danielle Atarah
Privateer, Ex-Engineer
Earth Syndicate


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