Plans for the future
Episode 6: War Crimes
Timeline: MD135, 2055 Hours
Andy looked down into the bin in her arms with a sigh; the bin looked empty, but it wasn't, and she wasn't looking forward to dealing with the contents. She had just spent a good two hours crawling through through the fire-damaged Jefferies tubes searching for more invisible pieces, some of which were damn near microscopic, and now she had to put it all together! She wad headed for the science lab for that, as hopefully the lab sensors would be able to detect the pieces so she wouldn't have to use her eye to see them, because that had already given her a massive headache. What a day, this was supposed to be a good day, because she had finally started mending the bridge between her and Mitch, they were even getting lucky, and now here she was with a headache and covered in soot! It didn't seem possible for a day to go so horribly wrong, but at least she wasn't barbecued like the Andorian Engineer.
Approaching from aft, and with a pace in his steps that showed the importance of achieving his objective, the middle aged Admiral who had been a guest on Nogura until now, made a beeline for his partner. He'd tracked her via the internal sensors and knew exactly where she was headed. He caught a glimpse of her as she turned a corner some distance ahead and beckoned to her. "Andy!" he bellowed, picking up his pace a little more.
"That's what they call me," Andy called back without halting in her stride. She glanced back at her on again off again boyfriend who was now possibly her fiance, assuming she hadn't hallucinated the past 24 hours. "How's JP? Did he handle the relocation okay?" she asked, mindful that their guest quarters had been in the evacuation zone.
Mitch nodded as he finally caught up with the engineer and placed a hand on her arm in order to slow her; he was not the young spring chicken he used to be. "Yeah, he's with one of the families on the station. I told him I'd check in later," the Admiral assured her. "What's the situation? Captain Drayton is proving to be somewhat elusive, supporting the rumours I heard earlier..." he trailed off before chastising himself for gossiping.
"Rumors? What kind of rumors?" Andy asked. "Please don't tell me he's another double agent hell-bent on blowing up my baby!"
Mitch grabbed her arm and pulled her into a corridor alcove where he lowered his voice. "There are rumours that he doesn't trust Nogura personnel; he's been reassigning them to less significant roles in the search of the ship, with his allies from the Ulysses put into position to conduct more sensitive search protocols. He even had the Chief of Security lead a partial evacuation, rather than co-ordinate a search of the ship. Not to mention he reassigned Garen to the starbase."
"Mitch, I think you're getting paranoid in your old age," Andy said with a roll of her eyes and resumed her trek down her intended corridor. "Assuming you're right and he is doing these things by design, is that really such a big deal?" she asked, keeping her voice low simply for the sake of discretion, just in case he was right. "Ship crews get consolidated all the time, it's no surprise that he would prefer the crew that he commanded and knows he can trust. Last time I checked, cherry picking your crew doesn't make you a bad guy, and don't even try to pretend that you've never had to do something similar. As for the evacuation and the search, he left the search in the hands of the Engineers because it turns out whatever is causing this mess is cloaked." To illustrate, she jiggled the bin she was carrying so he could hear the invisible debris rustling.
The sound of nothingness rattling away in her bin caused a surprised look to fill the Admiral's face before he threw his hands up to cover it and lent back against the wall. "Frak me!" he exclaimed. "This whole th'Zorati debacle has got everyone on a knife edge. Of course he's going to do that, you're right," he gave himself a strong, mental slap to the face for being such a paranoid freak-show of late. Of course she was right, she nearly always was. "So, cloaked crap, huh?" he queried after composing himself.
"A-yup, and guess who's the only one who can see it?" Andy replied, looking down into the box, then resumed her walk once more. "Sometimes I hate being me; I deserve one hell of a vacation after this, assuming I can put this shit back together and figure out how it works so the ship don't blow up. I'm on my way to Science-land to see if the lab sensors can pick up enough that I can catalog the pieces and rebuild it in the computer, otherwise I'll have to do it by hand and that's gonna suck. It's not actually a bomb or anything, no explosive residues, so we don't rightly know what it's meant to do, all we know is tachyons are involved somehow."
"Speaking of the future..." Mitch trailed off as he caught up with her again, "I've been approached by the prospective new First Minister on Bajor about joining her administration as her security advisor."
"Wow, you're really giving this retirement thing a lot of thought, aren't you?" Andy said with a hint of amazement; it wasn't that she thought he didn't mean it, but they both had trouble letting go of the job, so this was one of those things that she would believe once she saw. "Damn, I almost feel bad that I haven't given it much thought yet, but then again I have been kinda busy since that explosion that interrupted that moment we were having, and by moment I mean sex, really really good make up sex..."
Mitch decided not to let her get a rise out of him with regards to the comment about their personal encounter, instead focusing back onto the topic he had brought up. "If anything, this whole th'Zorati mess and the explosion earlier have shown me that it is time for a change. I don't think there's anywhere more beautiful than Bajor to make that change."
"I can't say that I can argue with any of that," Andy admitted with a reluctant nod. "I know I hadn't meant to expose JP to this kind of danger... Although, I'm still not sure I'm ready to call it quits on my career; being part of the Nogura's build team was rewarding in ways I never expected, but if you're really serious about this, maybe I can find work with Bajorans. They must have a ship-building operation going on by now, or at the very least I could run repairs at whatever passes for a ship port."
"Well, if all else fails, you can still work in the Gamma. It's not a million miles away thanks to the wormhole and I can always come and visit at weekends," the Admiral told with a smile as they walked. It was the first time he actually had a possible way out of Starfleet and he was seriously considering it. "Eniara makes an interesting offer," he added.
"It certainly is an interesting offer, but I'm more surprised by you; you've always had Starfleet in your blood, I think it's going to be weird to see you permanently out of uniform," Andy remarked. They finally arrived at the lab and Andy stepped through the doors and set her bin on a nearby workspace. "Anyway, I've got to focus on this now, but maybe we can talk about this more when the crisis is resolved? Maybe over dinner? And a head massage, my implant is giving me the worst headache having to look at these things."
"Dinner. You cook," Mitch said, a devilish grin on his face as he reached around and slapped his partner on the backside before side stepping a swipe from the former drone and turning to look at her as he walked backwards. "If you're lucky, you might get one of my famous head massages. If you're lucky..." he trailed off before winking at her and disappearing around the corner to embark on his next adventure of the day.
"Oh I'm getting lucky," Andy said with a waggle of her brows as he disappeared from sight, only then turning her attention in full to her invisible puzzle. "Now, let's figure out what you are..."