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JL | Atarah, Merlin | Troublemakers, part 2

Posted on Tue Feb 6th, 2018 @ 9:53am by Commander Evan Merlin

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

"On the list," Dani muttered, and her head shook slightly. It took her a moment of reflection on the sudden internal anger that boiled under her breath to realize the meaning of things; she was, at heart, still a Chief Engineer, and that realization struck a chord deep in her gut. She may have left Star Fleet, but it seems there's still some 'Fleet left in her. Zett would be amused; not so much for the specific realization, but rather how long it took Dani to notice it. She cleared her throat and stretched her lips back into a smile.

"I don't think it's the noise that's the problem," she noted, following along with a shake of her head, the forced smile easing on her face, settling into an easy smirk.

"No, it's their attitude," the man said, nodding his head. "If they were just a little bit more cooperative, there'd be some new guiding rails, a drop of oil here and there and they'd be fine. But no, whine whine, complain complain, scare the hell out of the station CO, which is seriously not a smart thing to do if you want to avoid being replaced altogether… Anyway, let's see if the room's still here or if they managed to destroy it since I went." He turned into another corridor, one which hadn't been walked in in years by the looks of it. Automatic cleaners had kept the dust from settling, but it just had that desolated atmosphere. Maybe people had walked through this area when the station was added to and renovated, but this specific section, leading from nowhere to nowhere, hadn't been visited much, if at all. He opened a wall panel, rummaged something, and a door slid open. "Testing room," he said, waving Dani in.

The room was large and circular, not quite stretching across the whole deck but certainly taking up a major segment of it. The walls were thickly coated with fire-resistant materials. A few work benches stood in one corner, one empty, the other one had some PADDs scattered around on it, one of which had a crack. And in the exact middle of the room, standing in a painted circle as if it was some kind of engineering's summoning ritual, was… something. Junk, most likely. And this did look dusty.

Dani snorted; he was talking about the Engineers - she was talking about the turbolifts. Perspective is everything. She followed through the new room and stopped so abruptly she almost stumbled. Her eyes ran through the scene, cataloging everything around, scanning and absorbing information about equipment that could keep an Engineer busy for centuries. "Wow," she marveled, and her eyes finally landed on the object at the center of the room, cutting the sentiment short. The smile came back, recognition tinting it with excitement, her body moving towards the big circle as if by magic. Maybe the circle on the floor was a summoning magic. A summoning magic for Engineers.

"Where... did you get... that." The tone was measured, but her eyes were filled with excited curiosity as her fingers ran across the cover, marking it with trails of clean among the dust. "I didn't think those existed anymore. You didn't try to turn it on in here, did you?" she spoke to Merlin without averting her eyes, the smile on her face growing. "A low-fuel attempt might explain the scorches on the wall," she gestured, still marveling the object, the smile twisting to an impressed smirk. "What are you planning to do with it?"

He shrugged. "Actually, I only remembered today that this room even was here, so I haven't been here since I left the station, and that's what, thirteen years ago?" He gave an airy wave with his hand, as if the actual time period was hardly relevant. "So I have no particular plans with it whatsoever. However, it's quite likely they tried to turn it on. It's not called the Testing Room for nothing. Although we also called it the Mad Scientists' Room or 'Hey, I Wonder What Happens When I Do This Room'," he added with a grin. While he talked, he strolled over and examined the object in the circle. "So, what is it?"

"You've had this in here for thirteen years?!" Dani exclaimed, pained, running her hand over the device as if it was a precious piece of jewelry covered with diamonds. "Well," she finally managed to tear her gaze off the object and lifted her eyes to the man next to her, "this here is a piece of history! Whoever tried to turn this puppy on was two things," she sighed, as if it was an absolute tragedy, "a terrible person who didn't appreciate the atrocity in turning on a classic, beautifully preserved, retrofit original 2310 class C micro thrust booster, and," she caressed the metal lightly as she spoke, smiling up at him, "a goddamn lucky bastard. I'd say the fuel tank was almost empty, or you'd be looking at a big gaping hole right about there," she gestured at the other wall casually, looking at the device with the smile of a mother appreciating a wayward child. "This beauty should be fixed up and inserted into a 2302 model double seater shuttle. It's practically a collector's item... and you've had it hidden here under dust in a hidden magic room." She tsk'ed, shaking her head, petting the thing. "I take it back, Rapunzel. You're clearly not an Engineer."

He seemed – or actually was – totally unfazed by her remarks. "Nope, I hadn't. It wasn't here when I left, so it's been here somewhere between twelve years and… Hmm, lemme guess…" He wandered around the room, blowing on surfaces, then slammed the heel of his hand against his head and walked to the bench with the padds. "Aha!" he exclaimed, starting one up. It flickered a few times and came on. "Let's see… Stardate 240903.26… Yah, that's after I left, alright." He grinned. "Seriously, you'll go bananas if I show you the stock room. That's where the old CEO kept as many spare parts and odd stuff he could get his hands on, seeing that supply runs to the Cold Stations were somewhat… erratic, back then. Stuff they didn't quite know what it did or which they wanted to test was brought here, as you can see."

"If this is what you have rotting under dust here, I can't decide if I should be worried or excited about what you might have in your stock room," Dani muttered, not unkindly, brushing the dusty metal of the old booster like it was a lost pet.

"Tell you what, not-Engineer. How about I take this baby off your hands, and then you can show me the stock room. I can give you a fair price for it, and I can promise you -- it'll be treated much better under my care than rotting under dust in here. Can free you some room for whatever else you got going on with those noisy turbolifts of yours," she smirked, winking.

The man shrugged. "It's not mine to give away," he said simply. "And for the stock room, you'd have to convince Commander th'Zarath, not me. I just showed him the stuff." He placed the PADD back on the desk and strolled back. "I do have something else to show you that you might find more interesting still. Thus far I haven't found anyone who could tell me more about it. Maybe you can." His grin had faded and he looked quite grave and serious, all of the sudden.

"Alright, I bet I can find something your Commander th'Zarath wants. At the very least, I might be able to convince them to stop this miserable waste." She smiled at him, shrugged in disappointment, and finally tore herself off the device, noticing the change in his expression, her eyes narrowing ever so slightly as she tried to decipher the meaning. "You have a way of piquing a girl's interest," her smile was weak, but honest, curious. "If you need information about anything mechanical or computerized, you're in luck. I'm the best." The smile grew now, as it always did in these situations, turning lopsided and more than a little smug. "Show me."

"Okay, follow me!" He bounded out through the door, absentmindedly tucking the PADD he still had in his hand away. When Dani stepped out as well, he closed and locked the door behind them both and replaced the wall panel. The turbolift took a few moments to arrive, but when the man stepped in, he wagged his finger at the sensor plate. "Now show the nice lady you can be good," he said sternly and rattled off a deck number. The doors closed and with a remarkable lack of rattling, wheezing and groaning the turbolift rose, moving as smoothly as any lift on a ship of the line.

These decks were considerably more often used, they saw when they exited. Here were the storage rooms and docking bays, and the man walked unerringly to a smaller room in one of the unremarkable corridors. He pressed his hand against the lock, which slid open. The room contained what appeared to be a stasis pod, but of a completely unknown design or make. It was ovoid, dark grey and had, aside from a small identation on the top, no outward markings or openings. "There," the man said, staring at the pod and crossing his arms. "What do you make of this?"

She walked in slowly, her eyebrows furrowing as she circled around the device, examining it visually first before pulling out a small scanner from her jacket's inner pocket. Always an Engineer, she always had a scanner on her, and this one in specific was modified to work specifically with the transceiver on her wrist, communicating with her eye implants, displaying information directly through to her vision. It was one of the only things she allowed to interface with her implants, and even that was a late addition, an improvement made in the past months, and used rarely. Having computer related output overlaying her field of vision was still creeping her out, but the effect made analyzing these types of inputs much easier, which was, she concluded, a decent trade-off, if not overdone.

"Hah." She muttered, watching the device glow in front of her, different field configurations swimming around it. "The material is marked as unknown, which, considering my scanner is updated to about three versions higher than normal Starfleet ones, is highly suspicious. It can't even recognize partial compounds." She glanced at the scanner output again, orienting her visual field with the details that it intercepted. The analysis ran long, outputting lines of raw data that ran long.

"Woah," she gasped, blinked, and looked up at Merlin, almost accusingly. "This thing is swimming in Chronoton radiation. Low level, thankfully, but clearly visible," she gestured, as if the chronotons were obviously swimming around it -- which, to be fair, they were, in her vision. "I thought time displacement objects are illegal in Starfleet, Lieutenant," she looked at him, questioningly, with a small 'what are you up to' smile on her face.

"It's only Starfleet because I'm in it, these days," the man said, smiling faintly in return. "It's my personal property." He rested one hand on top of the pod. "It actually did radiate low-level chronitons when it was first found. What you see now is only the residue. And it came from the Nebula, out there."

"Private property," Dani's eyebrows furrowed, partly in suspicion, partly in doubt, as her gaze shifted from him to the object and back again, glancing towards her scanner's display. "I didn't know Starfleet officers had the privilege of holding unknown timey-wimey objects from outer space as 'personal property'." She smiled, the suspicion turns to amusement, but the doubt remains. "Did you fish it out yourself, or did it just pop up? With this amount of residual chronitons, I wouldn't be surprised."

"It came drifting out of the nebula thirteen years ago, the people on the station then picked it up." The man hopped on top of the pod and sat there, cross-legged. Once again, his smile had disappeared. "When they opened it, there was first some kind of light show and when it dimmed they found me." He still remembered how it was, opening his eyes and seeing that ring of faces looking down, curious and cautious at once. It was his first actual memory.

Dani stared, ready to speak, then rethinking it, her lips moving for another moment, as if preparing a question, then stopping again, blinking. She was trying to make sense of this sudden statement, said so casually as if it's the most regular thing in the world to pop out of a nebula in a chroniton-filled pod, as a grown man.

"You..." She managed, her expression shifting to curiosity and doubt, her finger flicking a button on her scanner to switch to bio information, the data swimming in front of her, overlayed with colorful swirls around the room, around his body. "You came out of that..." Her brain finally produced a proper sentence. "Out of..." she gestured at the wall, the direction of the nebula, confirming, "...there..." she was still working through it, thinking, absorbing the data from the scanner, but a smile, small and thin, still appeared.

She took a breath, shook her head, and started again. "You came out of that, out of that nebula out there... and you've... joined Starfleet?" Maybe it was her brain's defensive move, retreating to its most familiar comfortable space as it raced to analyze the implication and data; humor and sarcasm. "No cape? Glasses? Fortress of solitude somewhere frozen? ...Starfleet? Really?"

He actually understood that reference, thanks to Starfleet Academy's Classic Movie Nights and his own unsatiable curiousity. "Nah," he said with that airy wave of his hand. "Spandex is not my thing. And why not Starfleet? The Federation and the Romulans are the only ones actually exploring that Nebula from time to time and the pointy-ears aren't the information sharing kind. I mean, it's possible to get something, but they always want boring stuff back and getting them to volunteer information is like pulling a shelat's tooth. Federation is much easier in that regard." The easy grin was back, but that grave expression was still there, underneath it.

"Hah, well, you know, Federation and Romulans aren't the only ones that have ships that are able to explore that Nebula." She snorted, making a point, pointing generally upwards, where she guessed was the general direction of where the Bristol was hovering, somewhere above the station. "There are... options." She gave him a look, winking lightly, and turned the scanner towards the device again, letting it gather all the information for her.

"Oh, I'm sure," the man said with an easy shrug. "And maybe I'll explore those, if I ever get bored with Starfleet life." The glass ball made a reappearance and started its dance across the palm and back of his hand. "Like you have, sometime in the past?"

"Well, if you ever need someone to go into that Nebula, you give me a call." She smiled at him again, a smile that was somewhere between excitement and curiousity and yet was filled of both. "I know people who'd be very interested in wherever this," she tapped the pod, "came from." Hell, she was very interested. "And in return," the smile turned sideways, "I'll keep your secret identity safe... Clark Kent. I do want that cape, though."

"Yeah, me, for one." The man tossed his wild hair back and grinned as he slid down from the pod. He landed lightly on his feet. As they left the room, he said: "But yes, if I want to head over to the Nebula myself, I'll give you a call. Catch you later at the ball, Lois?"

Dani laughed and followed to the turbolift, glancing at her scanner, unable to tear herself from the results. "You get the cape, I'll get you a pair of glasses." And she would. This was definitely not the end of things. She glanced at the scanner again and smirked. Definitely not.


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

Danielle Atarah
Privateer, Ex-Engineer
Earth Syndicate


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