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Meanwhile, Back On The Farm

Posted on Jul 14, 2019 @ 12:06am by Captain Kassandra Thytos
Edited on on Jul 14, 2019 @ 12:07am

Mission: Last Days of Empire

“Meanwhile, back on the farm”

(Cont. “I had a plan for that”)

* * *=/\=* * *

Location: USS Phoenix
Stardate: 2.19.0712.2219
Scene: Bridge

Sgt. Enrique ‘Rico Suave’ Salazar and Lieutenant Byte were sitting hunched over the communications console working on tuning into and monitoring comms chatter from the station. More accurately, Salazar, the Marine’s radio technician was isolating the different channels, and Byte was monitoring them as Salazar found them. It was keeping track of the chatter, its fingers flying across its console, keeping track of all relevant conversations and compiling any useful information into a living report for Captain Kane, who was standing behind them, watching their progress.

“Lieutenant, you’re quite something. You’re wasted in Starfleet. The Corps would properly appreciate some of your talents,” Salazar was commenting, his deep, velvety voice and posh accent eliciting a giggle from Ensigns Pierrepoint and Shaphi, who apparently felt the Marine’s voice in addition to his muscular build, dark, slightly wavy hair and rakish mustache put him directly into ‘dreamboat’ territory. The giggles were abruptly muffled as Kane turned around to see what the fuss was. The two women sheepishly went back to working at their consoles, though they still watched Byte and Salazar out of the corner of their eyes.

{{My processors are capable of handling more than ten thousand times the amount of information of the human brain,}} Byte said in a tone that could almost be called dismissive. {{My skill at my job is merely a function of that. But I do not think I would like to be a Marine. There would be insufficient intellectual challenge in that position. I believe I would be… Bored.}}

“You’re pretty shady for an android,” Salazar said with a laugh. He turned to Kane. “I think I’ve finished with most of the unsecured communications, though I’d imagine that there’s not going to be much of interest there, besides giving us a better idea of what life is like on the station, and the general reaction to our arrival. I have not been able to find anything that appears to be Starfleet Intelligence encryption though. There are of course encrypted channels as well, expensive ones, that likely belong to key players on the station. With Mister Byte’s help, I think I could manage to crack the encryption and get him looped into the data feed so that he can listen in as well. Not all of the encrypted channels, though. Some of them are locked up tighter than Fort Knox. Unfortunately those are likely the ones that would provide the most useful information.”

“Hacking into private citizens’ communications would be highly illegal,” Kane said, raising an eyebrow at the Marine.

“Yesss,” the Marine hissed out the ‘s’, then flashed a roguish smile atKane. “That would be the letter of the law, of course, but....”

“But?” Kane’s eyebrow migrated a fraction higher, and Salazar shrugged elegantly.

“But of course, the people here are not citizens of the Federation, so one might argue that the rules against hacking into their private communications would not be illegal.”

“That’s playing fast and loose with the rules, Sergeant.”

“I was given to understand this operation was spook stuff, and that the rules were flexible, but if I’m wrong, sir, I do apologize.”

“Let’s keep it on the back burner for now. If someone were to realize their communications were being accessed, we’d no doubt be the main suspect, and I would rather obtain information through cooperation, rather than antagonism,” Kane replied, stroking his chin.

“You got it, boss,” Salazar saluted smartly, to another round of admiring sighs from the helm and sensor stations.

“Mister Byte, what have you got for me?” Kane turned his attention to the Android, who was sitting still, it’s watery blue eyes unblinking.

{{I have the names of several people who appear to be at the center of, or tangentially related to enough of the intercepted transmissions to suggest that they are likely to possess substantial information related to the daily goings on the station. I have also calculated several hubs of illicit activities that may be worth checking out to see if the missing crew stopped there to obtain black market goods or information.]] Byte said, nothing but it’s mouth moving.

“Good work, Mister Byte. Keep monitoring, and forward those lists to myself and the crew on the ground,” Kane said and turned back towards his chair.

* * *=/\=* * *

Kassandra walked towards sickbay with a swagger and a self satisfied expression that she only wore when she had devised a brilliant plan for tormenting her underlings.

“Yo, Doc! I need-” Kassandra said as darted through the doors to medical and swung herself around Doctor Bartlett’s office door. “Hey, wait, you’re not Doc Bartlett.”

“No. I’m not,” the young woman sitting at the desk responded. Kassandra waited for her to say something, but her eyes had already dropped back to her screen. Kassandra coughed slightly, and the woman’s head snapped back up to look at her. Kassandra’s sensor nets picked up the other woman’s muscles tightening subtly around the shoulders, and Kassandra had a distinct impression that the woman was wishing she would go away.

“Who are you?” Kassandra asked, putting on her best charm offensive smile.

“Doctor Allison Samson.” There was a long pause. “I was transferred here just before we left Earth.”

Kassandra was trying to decide whether to try to keep the conversation going when her sensors picked up Doctor Bartlett exiting a nearby room and heading in their direction.

“Ah, Allison, I see you’ve met our frequent flier, Major Kassandra Thytos. What is it today, Major? Cracked knuckle? Black eye? Tweaked a muscle trying to outperform kids thirty years your senior?” He reached out towards her and she smacked his hand away with a grin.

“You callin’ me old is like the pot callin’ the kettle black. I ain’t hurt, anyway.”

“The Major,” Bartlett said, turning his attention back to Allison, “is the commanding officer of the contingent of Marines that is assigned to the Phoenix. You won’t see any of them except in cases of catastrophic injury, as they have their own Corpsman, Sephian O’Keefe who deals with their day-to-day medical needs. You’ll probably see him around on a regular basis, he restocks their medbay with our supplies, and they don’t have a full medical replicator there. You’ll know him when you see him, tall, well built, cornsilk hair-”

“What the Doc means to say is O’Keefe is a tall drink a water on a hot day,” Kassandra said dryly. Bartlett made a slightly huffy noise, and continued on as though he hadn’t heard her.

“Now, the Major is the only Marine we see on a regular basis, one because she has a subcutaneous sensor net which the Marine equipment isn’t able to deal with, and two because she’s a terrible patient and has to have a doctor she can’t order around. Does that sound about right, Major?”

“Yeah, yeah,” Kassandra grumbled back at him.

“Now, Doctor Samson will be taking my position as the CMO here after this mission, as I am going to have a well deserved retirement on a tropical beach on Elandipole, so you better be nice, or I’ll teach her how to limit your replicator offerings to special diet only.”

“I’m always nice! An’ it’s a pleasure to meet ya, Doctor Samson.” Kassandra held out her hand.

“Likewise,” the woman shook her hand firmly, then cocked her head at Kassandra with an inquisitive air. “It seemed like you wanted something when you first arrived?”

“Ah, yeah. I wanted you guys to replicate me some Orion pheromones, ones that would work with Lieutenant Flannigan’s body chemistry.”

“Why?” Allison asked slowly, considering Kassandra with an intense stare.

“The answer to that question with the Major is always that she’s found some new way to torment her subordinates,” Bartlett said with a knowing look and a slight smile to let her know it was tongue in cheek.

“Hey, ain’t tormentin’ it’s gettin’ them prepared. Say we run into Orions, right? Do you wanna whole bunch of armed Marines losin’ their heads over some Orion chicks? So I gotta get them used t’ how it feels t’ be under the influence, an’ then I gotta teach them to still do what *I* tell ‘em to do even when they are. Hence pheromones. Gonna douse Flannigan with the stuff, then I’m going to start them doin’ drills, an’ she’s gonna try to get them to stop doin’ what I tell em to, and start doin’ what she tells em to, and then every time they listen to her, an’ not me, I’ll give ‘em a thumpin’, until they learn not to listen to her.”

The two doctors stared at her like she’d grown a second head and Doctor Bartlett’s head sunk down into the palm of his hand. Kassandra’s sensors picked up the slightest tremble of suppressed laughter through his muscles. When his face came up, he had composed it into an indulgent expression.

“Why…” He suppressed a slight chuckle and covered it with a cough before continuing. “Why… wouldn’t you just make all of them wear rebreathers?”

“Uh,” Kassandra stopped short. “Because they can get knocked off?”

“Of all thirty six of your Marines at the same time?”

“No, but… You’re no fun,” Kassandra said sulkily. Bartlett smiled kindly and patted her hand.

“Major, you wouldn’t happen to be feeling a little bored, being up on the ship while everyone else is on the station, would you?”

“Maybe a bit-” Kassandra conceded.

“Mhmm. That’s what I thought. Now, ignoring the fact that it would take quite some time to synthesize some working Orion pheromones, wouldn’t you say that if you’re thinking we might run into trouble it would be better to *not* have a bunch of tired Marines that you’ve put through the wringer?”

“Fine, I’ll pull out the rebreathers. But you’re still no fun.”

“I am loads of fun, you should see me play bocce. Now, it just so happens, I do have a cure for boredom. Why don’t we all go to the Vulgar Tribble, and keep monitoring the away teams from there? We can get lunch, introduce Dr. Samson to any of the crew that’s there, and maybe you’ll stop thinking up overly complicated ways to torment your Marines.”

“Ooh. It is always entertaining to watch someone weather Hurricane Iphie,” Kassandra perked up. It was always fun to watch Iphie meet someone new. She turned to Allison with a gleeful smile. “You better start trying to remember every meal you’ve eaten, ever.”

* * *=/\=* * *

A post by
Alix Fowler
Captain Kassandra Thytos
Proof idle hands are the Devil's workshop
USS Phoenix


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