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Every Breath You Take

Posted on Jul 15, 2017 @ 4:57pm by Ensign Lynette Ryan
Edited on on Jul 15, 2017 @ 4:57pm

Mission: The Romulan Way

“EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE"

(Continued from Jerome's "Queen’s Pawn"

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Location: USS Phoenix

Stardate: 2.17.1607.0130

Scene: Lynette's Bedroom

Time Index: Before Shawn’s (“All’s Fair In Love And Espionage”)

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Vibrations from the harnessed power of the Phoenix’s warp core rippled through Lynette’s fingers through to her shoulders as her hands rested upon the guard rail that surrounded the towering column of surging energy.



She let out a heavy sigh that reflected of both frustration and relief. It had been several minutes since the delegation from the Phoenix had beamed down to the surface of Romulus, Malin-Argo included of which she was grateful. The Captain had given the Grazerite no choice in being part of the delegation even arguing and objecting which had amused Lynette at the time. Equally amusing but mostly daunting was that of Kane’s suggestion of placing her in charge of engineering in the Chief’s absence. Amusing because she knew it would really annoy and grate with Malin-Argo but daunting to find herself in charge of the whole department. Even with others with way more experience under their belt than her like Asta, Jonathan or Chaucer but Kane had for some reason chose her.



“Wow...Chief Engineer….how does it feel?” Lynette felt the friendly tap of Asta’s hand on her shoulder.



“Frankly I am just glad to be rid of that asshat even for a few hours.” Lynette commented still maintaining her composure as Asta leant back casually against the guard rail beside her.



“Come on. He isn’t all that bad...he has a brilliant mind for engineering but just lacks the social graces.” Asta said softly knowing full well of her colleagues impression of their boss.



“Asta, he has been riding my ass ever since I stepped aboard this ship. He has had it in for me since day one...hell even moreso since I stood up to him.” The young Australian woman broke her composure with a heavy push from the railing that expressed her frustration.



“He probably feels threatened and intimidation is just his defense mechanism….Who knows that’s my brothers area not mine.” Asta shrugged her shoulders from in response to her own psychological analysis or her poor attempt at it. That was Lysanders field of study and Asta didn’t relish the fact of getting into other peoples heads and peeling away the layers of their psyche to get to the issues. Too complicated and too messy.



“Speaking of which….” A cheekish grin appeared on the Elgin twin’s mouth and this made Lynette cringe slightly what was to follow.



*Oh god I don’t like where this is heading* Lynette knew where her colleague was heading when she mentioned her brother and with that the awkward uncomfortable feeling she had felt the other night before the dinner and during began to return.



“So…..how did things go with him the other night?” Asta said with a teasing wink.



“Yes about that.” Lynette just wanted to scream and shout at Asta for what she did, but she kept her cool replying softly before pushing her gently towards an empty office nearby.



“WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING!? Out of the hundreds of people aboard this ship, why did you suggest for him to take *me* to the dinner!?” It took a few seconds for Lynette to realise how loud she had been as it appeared her voice had managed to carry draw the attention of a few of the crew even from behind the thick sheet of transparent aluminium.



“I’ve seen that you have been having a really rough time lately and I thought a nice relaxing evening at a formal function might take your mind off things. I couldn’t go...for obvious reasons...and there was a free spot that I figured you deserved.” The vocal tirade from her colleague didn’t seem to phase Asta at all as she explained her reasoning.



“I’m sorry Asta. I appreciate the thought, but it felt weird.” Lynette felt consumed by shame after letting her temper loose once again but even moreso having directed it against her closest colleague and her friend.



“How so?”



“Do you know if your brother has… an interest in me?” Vocalizing those words made Lynette feel even more uncomfortable as she asked the question.



“Not that I know of...but I doubt his sister would be the first person he would run to tell about. Why?” Asta replied plainly.



“Things felt very awkward. He seemed very nervous and shy around me.”



“Ooookkkkaaayyyy...that’s not usually like my brother.” The usual laidback expression she carried on her face changed to that of both slight puzzlement and curiosity.



“Don’t get me wrong. He is a really nice guy but not really my type.” Lynette paused and looked at Asta’s reaction, hoping that her words hadn’t offended her close friend but Asta did not seem to flinch even an micrometer.



“And I’m not ready to get into...another relationship for the moment.” Lynette concluded as she felt her heart sink a little as she remembered a tender moment with Sam.



“I understand. If you like I can pump my brother for some information and find out for sure if that will help.” The cheekish smile on Asta’s face grew even larger upon her face.



“Don’t want you going out of your way for me.”



“What’s a little thing like that between friends. Anyway it has been a long time since I’ve hung crap on my brother. It will be fun.” The pair of engineers, close friends, laughed in unison with a smile developing on Lynette’s lips for the first time in their conversation.



“Okay Chief, where do you need me?” Asta said still in a joking light-hearted mood. Lynette still couldn’t get used to the fact that she was temporarily in charge of the Engineering department of the Phoenix. Highlighting it even moreso was that they were in the heart of Romulan space where they could very well find themselves in a critical situation within a moments notice and other than exams at the academy testing her leadership abilities, she had no other experience. On a positive note though she guessed that the Captain wouldn’t have chosen her if he didn’t believe she wasn’t up to the task.



*So here I am. In charge. Let’s just I hope I don’t screw this up.*



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Scene: Conference Room

Time Index: After Shawn’s (“All’s Fair In Love And Espionage”)

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With the briefing concluded its members began to file out towards the exit, returning to their duties Lynette approached the Executive Officer as he began to rise from his seat.



“Commander, can I have a few minutes?” The young engineer asked standing before him.



“Sure. What’s on your mind, Ensign?” Jake replied.



“It is very likely that the Chief has spoken to you at some stage with complaints about my behavior or performance?” Lynette had been curious about this ever since had initiated a verbal fight with her superior. Suspicions of this were made apparent from the business call from Eve weeks back. She wanted to know for sure as it had been itching at her brain from some time now.



“Probably has asked for me to be transferred. Deemed me unfit to be an engineer on this ship.” Lynette added with an apparent stern tone within her voice.



“Malin-Argo has reported to me a few incidents that have occurred between the both of you. Namely one.” There was a moments silence as Jake gathered his thoughts before he could respond to the young engineers question and comment.



“I understand.”



“And the concerns he has voiced are in regards to your psychological condition affecting your performance.”



“With all due respect, that….man… all he cares about is his work. He is a slave driver and pushes us nearly to the brink of exhaustion both mentally and physically.” The stern tone that grew within her voice was like that of a twig, bending more and more before finally snapping sharply. That was what it was like at that moment as the twig snapped and Lynette’s temper got the better of her once again.



“And he seems to have it in for me ever since I stepped aboard.”



“Look Lynette. Malin-Argo is a genius in engineering studies according to all of his prior assignments. Extremely efficient in all fields,but suffers from being a perfectionist when it comes to his work. That is according to his personnel file.” Jake gestured for Lynette to take seat as he continued to explain.



“Off the record though. I agree with you. The man has less tact and leadership skills than that of a drunken Klingon and personally is not someone I would recommend being in charge of my engine room.” The Commander’s tone changed as he expressed his personal opinion of Malin-Argo that had been put in charge of his old team and domain since his promotion to XO. Ever since he had started he had witnessed the extreme change in dynamic in Engineering.



“But with his assignment orders coming straight from the higher ups at HQ and if not for his abilities and experience in the engine room, I would toss his pompous ass out the nearest airlock the next time we dock for shore leave and leave it behind.” Lynette smiled at the XO’s comment. It was refreshing to think that someone else, especially at command level, shared her opinion.



“Unfortunately, that’s not my decision to make.”



“On a serious note though in regards to Malin-Argo’s report. I have no problems with your performance. You have exceptional potential, you know how to get things done and you have an unconventional way of seeing and thinking things which is remarkable.”



“And I don’t know if you have ever thought of this about yourself. But you are a hero Lynette. Back on Earth you hacked into the satellite network that was threatening millions of lives and by changing the IFF routines you managed to stop Edgerton from carrying out another scorched earth order. You did this under pressures so extreme and for someone so young especially after...seeing someone so close to you killed.”



“So I have complete faith in you and can see the potential you have.” Jake felt justified in the praise he gave to the young woman, not so long ago, a cadet with little experience who had to endure such mental brutality but in the face of those extremes, she pushed through.



“In parallel though, you are still carrying and suffering such a heavy burden from the events that occurred that day. That is why I cannot ignore that portion of his report.”



“If you leave this unchecked and simply ignore it then I will have no choice but to agree with him and seriously consider his recommendations.”



“So please, I urge you to go and see Eve or one of her team. Get some help to see you through this. That’s what they are here for.” Crichton felt sympathy for the young woman who had suffered so much tragedy and burden within one day and he did not wish to see her simply fall apart from the mental strain.



“Yes….Commander.” Lynette felt a little dismayed as to Crichton’s recommendation as she found opening up to and being psycho-analysed by counsellors and shrinks very distasteful and unnerving. Though it was a small sacrifice to make if she wanted to stay aboard the Phoenix as the alternative was far worse as it could spell either an end or a significant hurdle to her Starfleet career.



“In the meantime, *you* are the Chief Engineer of the most powerful and important ship in Starfleet. So head back down to the engine room, lead and direct your team and prove to everyone that you can kick ass at what you do.”



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Scene: Corridor -> Main Engineering -> CEO’s Office

Time Index: Fifteen minutes later

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Lynette had her back against the wall in the corridor just outside the doors of main engineering as she tried to absorb all of what was said in the conference room. Her mind trying to cope with the Commander’s words. The expression of his belief in her and her potential in addition to his own opinions and feelings on Malin-Argo. He too had a personal dislike for him but on a professional level he excelled as an engineer so until something went really wrong, there was little he could do. On that same professional level, he had to ensure the wellbeing of his staff and the smooth operation of all the starship’s departments so Lynette couldn’t really blame him for pushing for her to attend counselling. Though with the Phoenix parked in orbit of Romulus, a massive space station looming in the distance and probably every disruptor in the Romulan fleet trained on them she stood justified for not having time for any psycho-babble.



For now she had to adjust to being in charge of not just a team but the whole Engineering department until Malin-Argo returned. She couldn’t help but feel a touch of anxiety at the very thought as with no formal command or leadership training, she didn’t want to screw up.



“Take a deep breath.” Lynette whispered to herself as she drew in a large pocket of air into her lungs before expelling it again, calming both her body and mind.



“Okay, here it goes.” Extracting a sample of courage hidden inside her she pushed herself from the wall and made her way inside. The twin doors parted revealing main engineering, her workplace same as every other day, except she could instantly feel the lessened degree of tension in the air and everyone seemed more relaxed that the Chief was not around. Lynette stepped up towards the towering column of pulsing energy in the center of the room before turning.



“Can I have everyone’s attention for just a minute.” Lynette’s voice boomed with enough volume to reach any personnel working on the upper level. One by one the engineering staff gathered in front of her and as their eyes focused upon her that anxious little voice started to whisper into her ear, but she quickly swatted it away as she began to speak.



“Thank you. As you probably all know, the Captain and a small team including...Malin-Argo are down on the surface of Romulus at the request of their government. Meanwhile we have detected a signal that has been attempting to access our computer systems and scan our databases. Most likely it is the Romulans trying to retrieve the schematics of the Phoenix.” Lynette relayed the main points of the briefing she had been involved in moments before to the team.



“If the Romulans successfully access the ship schematics they will have all the knowledge they need to get the upper hand over us.” Jonathan piped up with a sense of alarm in his voice.



“They already have the upper hand on us. We are in orbit of their homeworld. Do you not expect that they would have a whole armada of warbirds out there under cloak?” Asta responded to counter his argument.



“Byte has managed to re-direct the signal into a specialized partition he has setup in the main computer so all the Romulans are downloading at the moment is useless information.” Lynette felt a little bit unnerved but in a greater degree she felt empowered as she had every pair of eyes in the room looking at her and listening to her every word.



“The Romulans will be monitoring the download and soon realise what we have done.” Chaucer’s Vox crackled as it translated the mute Gorn’s thoughts into audible words.



“That is why the Commander wants us to play their game, but he wants us to play it better.” Lynette paused for a moment before continuing. “We are going to shadow their own signal and do a back-trace. Our goal is to find out where it is originating from and see what information *we* can extract from them.”



“Isn’t that highly dangerous...if they find out what we are doing?” Again Jonathan was the voice of caution and concern in this moment, his voice getting intense. “The Romulans invited us here as a gesture of goodwill in the aims of establishing peace again. They wouldn’t jeopardise all of that…”



“Except if the whole peace idea was a farce and they just want the Phoenix.” Asta replied matching that same intensity. The argument was building and building and Lynette couldn’t stand by to watch it eventually turn into a fist fight between the two officers.



“SHUT UP THE BOTH OF YOU!!!!” Silence once again filled the deck and the argument instantly ceased and to the point that she thought for a moment that her voice had silenced even atmospheric hum of the engine room as well. What she then realised was how much she felt like she was channeling her uncle especially when he was awoken at 5am by the crowing roosters that had once again inexplicably escaped from their pen.



“In any case, the Commander has spoken and this is what we are going to do.”



“Jonathan, I want you to keep an eye on the main operations. Putting in priority on the engines and shields just in case the Romulans have a change of heart or reveal their true intentions. If we come under attack we will need to get the hell outta here fast.” Jonathan had taken up a defensive posture since the end of the argument as his arms were now folded tightly against his chest. Lynette had a faint sense that he was jealous that she had been placed in charge instead of him, but she knew that he was a career driven man but it was the Captain’s decision to put her there so she didn’t let that bother her. Jonathan gave a slight nod acknowledging his assignment even if he wasn’t so enthused.



“Chaucer, coordinate with Byte and see you can patch the signal down here.” The Gorn nodded with a bit more enthusiasm than his colleague.



“Everyone else return to your normal duties but be prepared to act fast as we could end up in a critical situation in a moments notice.” Lynette watched as the engineering personnel moved away to each of their tasks.



“Nice work.” Asta gave Lynette a friendly slap on the back.



*God I’m nearly shitting bricks, as my uncle would put it* She thought as she let out a big heavy sigh. It was her first direction and experience in team leadership and although she was still a bundle of nerves she felt really good because of it.



“Asta, I’m going to need somewhere quiet to work and go over the data. I’m going to use...his...office.” Lynette explained as she glanced towards his office… Malin-Argo’s personal sanctuary wherein the Grazerrite worked on his projects and even ate his meals, but it was the best place also for Lynette to work on the back-trace with little distraction.



“You’re the chief.” Asta replied giving her a slight wink as Lynette turned and headed towards the Fortress of Solitude.



As soon as Lynette stepped inside she felt an instant wave of discomfort and now she had started to second guess herself in doing this but her justification as to why overruled it. She carefully made her around to the workstation in the corner delicately shifting a stack of PADD’s to one side before she sat down.



“Okay. Here we go.” She whispered to herself again breathing in and then out.



“Computer, access live stream designated Iota-Rho One-One-Five.” Within seconds packets of data appeared on the display screen. To the unknowing eye would just look like a scramble of lines with no distinct shape or pattern but Lynette at least had an idea of what she was dealing with.



“Well this is certainly different than what I’m used to but will give it my best shot.” The problem that she faced was that she had never really experienced anything like this before and especially when dealing with Romulan waveform patterns and technology. Even with her computer skills, this was going to be tough to crack and she needed something to help her think.



“Computer, access my personal music library. Play album seven, beginning with track one.” It took a few seconds for the computer to access her play-list but then her lips widened into a large gratifying smile s the familiar guitar riffs began to play and her fingers returned to the panel as she began to work.



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Scene: Main Engineering -> CEO’s Office

Time Index: An hour later

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Main Engineering was a hive of bustling activity as Arak entered looking around as he stepped into its center. The Science Officer’s eyes darted about the chamber as he tried to locate the person he had travelled down from the upper decks to see.



“Excuse me, where may I find Ensign Ryan?” The Aaamazzarite approached the nearest manned workstation where he found Asta working at the panel.



“She’s in the chief’s office.” Asta replied. Arak turned his head towards the office that Asta had spoken and his ears immediately came to attention as to strange sounds that seemed to emanate from within. It had almost like a pattern or melody like music, but it was the strangest that he had ever heard.



“What is that noise?” Arak asked with a puzzled, confused expression.



“Music. Obviously it helps her to think.” Asta replied. Arak thanked her and proceeded towards the office. As the door opened the Aaamazzarite was hit with the full force of the deafening sound that almost seemed to push him off-balance.



“Excuse me Ensign Ryan!” Arak shouted to the point that it slightly hurt his lungs.



“Computer, lower volume on music track by eighty percent.” Lynette had been engrossed within the tune that she had originally failed to notice the new presence within the office. It was only that she heard the faint sounds of a voice that did not fit in with the song that she took notice.

As the volume significantly dropped, Arak felt a sense of relief as he approached Lynette his ears hurting less now.



“Apologies for the interruption.”



“Don’t be. It just helps my brain juices flow.” Lynette smiled at him full of energy.



“That is...an interesting image.” The Science Officer knew that it was just a phrase but his mind couldn’t help but visualize literally in his head.



“What can I do for you Arak?” Lynette asked, her feet were still tapping to the music even at its low volume.



“I am having little success in decrypting anything within the data stream.” He explained with a sense of self-disatisfaction in his voice.



“I am not having much luck myself. This is the first time I have ever been involved with a Romulan interface so this is all new to me.” Lynette sighed feeling the same as her Science colleague.



“Perhaps we need to coordinate our thoughts… taking the human phrase...two heads are better than one.” The Aaamazzarite suggested.



“Sounds like a plan. Pull up a chair.”



“May I ask what is this...music that you are listening to?” Arak asked with curiosity as he took a seat beside her, his eyes already fixed on the data that spread across the display screen.



“It’s from my uncle’s collection. He has very old, classical tastes when it comes to his music. I happened to get hooked on them as well.” Lynette explained. “It’s from a group from the last quarter of the 20th century called The Police.”



“Well shall we get started and see if we can crack open this bad boy.” Lynette turned her focus back towards the display and the sprawling data. In the background a new track on the album had started to play and before the lyrics had even begun she pondered on the irony of the particular song and in the situation they found themselves in as they attempted to out-espionage the Romulans.



[[Every Breath you Take,

Every Move you Make,

Every Bond you Break,

Every Step you Take,

I’ll be watching you.]]


===================================================================
NRPG: Firstly I wish to thank everyone for being so patient with me as I tried so many times to get this post together. It was one of my most dialogue intensive ones which many of you know has not been my strength.



SHAWN/SARAH: Thank you for the positive feedback in its early stages.



JEROME: Can I blow something up now?

 

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