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Eyes and Ears

Posted on 02 Sep 2020 @ 10:41pm by Captain Martin Collins & Lieutenant Harlow Harcrow & Senior Chief Petty Officer Alanna Morrison & Kibyr

Mission: Fool's Errand
Location: Main Bridge
Timeline: MD 3 || 1400 hours


"Go right ahead," Marty confirmed to Alanna. He crossed the bridge to the engineering station and placed his phaser in its holster. "Harcrow, move to the helm and perform a full diagnostic. Tell me if the repairs to the console were complete."

Marty, in the meantime, began to tap away at the controls to the engineering console, accessing the diagnostic mainframe. The response speed between the controls and the duotronic computer appeared to be slower than normal, but this was a computer that hadn't been properly maintained for two decades. The displays appeared to functioning normally, and their gauges were accurate, especially since they had nothing to report.

The rest of the console appeared to check out fine. Several of the systems, while offline, still were accessible, as well as their diagnostic features. "Accessibility doesn't seem to be a problem. Most diagnostic functions indicate that the ship is closer to operational status than our green friend here thought. Let's just hope the rest of the team has as much luck as we've had so far."

= = = = = = = = =

While Marty waited for Harcrow's report, he crossed the bridge to the science station to take a look at Kibyr's work for himself. Marty soon found himself surprised to see that repairs to the sensor grid were mostly complete, aside from a few non-standard repairs. "Not too bad," he remarked to Kibyr. "Rerouting sensor processing through the navigational array is a pretty nice touch."

"It was only a temporary configuration," Kibyr said, sitting calmly in the center chair. "The idea was to get the main sensor array online to use it. That's proven...difficult for the intelligence level of my brother's crew."

"I suppose I should be grateful for your brother's lack of ability then," Marty retorted, before returning to look at the controls. He tapped away at a few of them, knowing how sensitive his probing would be, and worked to ascertain a full understanding of the system. Having the navigational array handling the sensor processing would take a massive amount of power, especially away from the navigational computer, but if one just had a set of offline star charts, the navigational computer wouldn't have to worry about navigation at all.

Marty had to be cautious though. If the grid suddenly started working, then their Interceptor would undoubtedly be detected.

Harlow had been working the helm console, between scratching his head and deciphering whatever information was passing him by. He was tasked with performing a full diagnostic and whether repairs to the console had been completed. He huffed, running a hand through his hair. "Good news, the console is functioning. I reckon a good thump might-" He'd look over to Marty, clearing his throat, bracing himself to deliver the not-so-good news as the words flashed up. "I've been locked out, cap. Can't say if it's the green skin's doing or my own."

Marty looked over to the helm from the science station and simply frowned. He knew their string of good luck would have ended at some point, and it was probably better that it happened now and not when they were trying to leave. "Can you bypass it?" he asked Harcrow.

"Yeah, sure cap. On it." Which should have been followed by a 'no can do, cap' but his own pride had kicked in, planting a growing lopsided grin on his boyish features. The situation had proved a challenge and Harlow only knew how to tackle a challenge.

Head on.

He braced himself with both hands either side of the console, looking at it quizzically as he watched the letters flash rhythmically. Harlow had no technical know-how, piloting - sure - but being able to bypass it was more jumping jacks than he thought he would be doing. "C'mon, c'mon. Work with me...." He muttered to himself, tongue stuck out as he concentrated. The console continued to bleep at him, in protest against whatever he was trying to bypass.

So he crouched down to check the wiring to see if he could do something manually before deciding that there were just too many wires to concern himself with and then proceeded to stare at the console, his brow furrowed. He began to tap a couple of buttons, fighting against the system with huffs and puffs. "No, no, no, don't you do that!"

He kicked the base of the console in annoyance.

"I had a similar issue at the science station," Kibyr stated. "Wasn't as hard for me to bypass," he said with a shrug.

"I bet it's a faulty memory checksum," Marty said to Harcrow. "The checksums used in these stations had a lifespan of ten years, but even then they were recycled every refit. The Lexington is a bit overdue, but it can be overridden pretty simply with a feedback loop."

Harlow raised a brow, cocked his head in a way which definitely now suggested that he was out of his depth with all these words being thrown around. "Right, and how do you set up one of these feedback loops? This a physical thing or do I have to get all engineer on this console?"

"Captain, I see that you and I have a lot in common. Not a lot of intelligence floating around in the rest of your crew. tsk tsk." Kibyr shook his head as he looked at the blond man with pity. "Such a shame you don't have better men under you. You Humans should be able to get this ship up and running a lot faster than I can."

Marty shot the Orion a strong glare. "We've only been aboard a few minutes," he reminded Kibyr. "Give us a little credit."

"So far, you're the only one who deserves any credit," Kibyr said with a shrug.

To Harcrow, Marty instructed, "Pop off the rear access hatch. Route two of the three duotronic distributors back into the checksum. It will overload the unit and force it into a diagnostic mode, conveniently unlocking the console."

Without warning, the comm system chimed. A gruff voice echoed over the bridge's concealed speakers. "Little brother, there is a human on board. Your precious sensors will have to wait."

Marty thought he heard the channel close, but he couldn't be sure. He'd quickly turned to look at Kibyr, while his hand went straight to the pistol in its holster. He didn't pull it out, instead, he stood at the ready. Marty's worst fear had been realized, with their team now discovered. The bridge was secure, and Engineering most certainly not. They needed to make a move, and fast.

"Is the turbolift operational?" he asked Kibyr.

"It is not," Kibyr said. "Enjoy crawling back through the tubes."

The Captain stood there for a moment, considering his options. He didn't have a single doubt that the turbolift was offline, but using it would definitely make any of them easier to track. He wanted to head for Engineering and assist Mayhew, but he also knew Roscoe's capabilities. It was why Marty purposely sought the man out for this assignment.

"Continue working," he told the team. "Alanna, keep an eye on the Jeffries access. The rest of you, let's get this ship ready to move."

Kibyr smiled, knowing his lie was believed. "Safe travels, Captain. Say hello to my Brother for me," he said with a grin.

Marty still didn't move, and he continued to think about their predicament. Surely Roscoe hadn't been so careless as to be discovered, and the communique had only mentioned one human. He believed Roscoe had a plan, but he was also walking right into the worst of the entire Orion group on board the ship. Their numbers had definitely been lopsided in both directions. More went to the bridge than was actually needed to take it, and there wouldn't be enough in Roscoe's detail down below.

There was one thing he could do that might give Roscoe an extra leg up on those Orions. Marty reached into his pocket and pulled out his communicator. He flipped it open, thankful that he'd muted the typical series of chirps that followed with the action. He pressed a button at the bottom three times, each one lasting half a second with a brief pause between. This would cause a series of three red flashes on the other communicators to let the teams know that one of the locations was now secure.

Marty's communicator chirped no more than four seconds later. "Mayhew to Collins. Congratulations. You secured your AO before we did."

The Captain was able to contain his surprise. Based on Kibyr's own admission, most of the Orions were down on the Engineering level, and Marty had no way to warn Roscoe since their efforts were timed to strike in unison. "And with no injuries and shots fired," Marty admitted to Mayhew. "Even made ourselves a new friend. But we also heard a member of your team's been spotted. What's the situation down there?"

"Not great," Mayhew admitted. "We've laid a trap for a dozen frogs but only two fell into it. Sounds like the leader is named Jalan, but he's been too preoccupied to take the bait himself." Then, as an afterthought, he added, "Should also report we encountered two friendly noncombatants who report two additional. No intel on taking the ship, however."

Noncombatants? Marty thought to himself. He'd assumed that at least some of the crew had survived, given the ship's partially repaired condition. What he hadn't planned on was the number of survivors to be so few. He had many questions for whomever had been trapped aboard this ship all these years, but this was not the time. What mattered now was taking Engineering and removing the Orion threat.

Marty looked over his shoulder to the single Orion male sitting in the Captain's chair. An idea struck him, but he would need time to develop it. "The friend I mentioned. He's Jalan's brother. They haven't spoken since before we took the bridge."

"Did you squeeze him for intel? If not, we'll retreat to your position and I'll take a crack at him."

"And leave Engineering unchecked without eyes and ears? I don't think so." Marty frowned. If everyone consolidated to the bridge, then it would be that much harder to head back anywhere. Sooner or later, the team on the bridge would be discovered, and since environmental controls were tied to Engineering, it was very possible that the Orions could quickly gain an upper hand. Marty sighed. "I'll bring him to you. You have a good rendezvous point?"

"We've secured a corridor and supply room off main Engineering. Get down to this deck and we'll find you."

"Hold on," said Kibyr from the Captain's chair. "I'm not going anywhere with you. That wasn't the deal."

"Acknowledged," the Captain said, then closed his communicator, preventing Kibyr's further remarks from being heard by Roscoe. "There was never a deal," he reminded the Orion. "We only want the ship, and I'd rather not have to take it by force. Either you help me, or my team down there will storm Engineering. If they can't overcome your brother, they have orders to destroy the ship, which one phaser on overload near an antimatter injector will do that nice and easy. Earlier you chided me about who we are. Well, I like peaceful solutions when possible. Do you want to help us achieve one of those?"

Kibyr shook his head. "No, not really. Not unless there's something for me in it."

"Living," Alanna said, frankly with a little shake of the phaser she still had pointed his way.

Marty fought to contain his frustration. "Okay, so you and your brother don't get along. That's why you're up here, alone, and far away from Engineering. Something tells me you're looking for a chance at a better life. What if I offered you that?"

Kibyr considered that for a moment. "You presume a lot, Starfleet. You have very little to go on and you're grasping at circumstantial information to assuming that there's some sort of animosity between my brother and I." He smiled, "How incredibly pompous of you."

"Perhaps," Marty supposed. "And, since I'm still assuming things, I will note that you didn't deny it."

A sly smirk crossed Kibyr's face. "Perhaps you're not as stupid as the others of your race. What exactly are you offering me, Starfleet? Besides removing the phaser pointed at my head, there's very little your kind can offer me that I can't find on my own."

Marty shrugged at the Orion. "That so? We are, after all, on one of the grandest ships Starfleet ever constructed. Her sensor array is still unmatched in the quadrant. I'd be willing to keep you around, let you live a comfortable life, instead of having to scrounge all the time."

Alanna's mind was starting to drift, this was boring, why didn't they just shoot him already?

What if they could never get off this ship? They could be stranded... forced to make a fortress out of the ship embedded in the asteroid. What would they do if they couldn't get the replicators to work?

"What do Orions taste like?" A soft but somewhat panicked question came blurting from Alanna's lips.

Kibyr may eyes went wide as he looked at the woman with a look of horror. “This one’s a fucking savage,” he said. “These the kinds of people you employ, Captain? Cannibals?”

"Wait, what?" Alanna said, feeling like her heart and stomach shot into her throat suddenly. "That was an inside thought not an outside one..." she said, shaking her head, she turned red and her phaser dropped to her side with her arms as she became embarrassed.

"I'm so sorry I don't want to eat you... It’s just if we get stranded and have no food." Clearly, if she explained herself it would make it better, Alanna thought.

“I think it’s probably best you and I stay on opposite sides of the room,” Kibyr said. “We wouldn’t want you feeling peckish and try to bite off my fingers, or worse, something I’m more attached to.”

Marty frowned and shook his head at the exchange. "That's enough, you two. No one's going to eat anyone, especially..." He grunted, frustrated by the situation. "Not ever. We don't eat people. Now, I need a decision. Are you going to help us? Or not?"

"Sorry," Alanna said, looking down in embarrassment.

"I won't be your prisoner," Kibyr said to Marty, looking him dead in the face. "You're asking me to betray my people, my own brother. My flesh and blood." He took a deep breath, sighing a little as he set his jaw. "If I'm going to do that, it needs to be worth it. I don't want to just be here, I want a job. A good job. And I want the right to leave any time I desire. Might be fun to roam the galaxy for a bit, but eventually my goal is to go back to my life on Devoras."

"I'm not asking you to betray your people," Marty cautioned, worried that Kibyr might be getting the wrong impression. "I'm asking you to help me save mine. This ship can help us do that. You help us get this ship out of here, I'll let you stay aboard, not as a prisoner, but in a position worthy of your skills."

Kibyr sat there for a moment, considering the offer. "I want good quarters, as well. Not those shitty ones below deck 3."

"I'm sure we can find something," Marty reasoned. There were, after all, just twenty people in his team, and the ship was designed to support close to three hundred.

"I'm not enthusiastic about this idea," Kibyr said, standing from the Captain's chair. "But frankly, it's long past time I left my brother's ship and went back to living my own life. I saw this ship as a sort of...salvation. I suppose it still can be, despite who's in charge." He walked towards the man. "Alright, let's go."

Marty did his best to not be offended at the remark, but he couldn't blame Kibyr in the slightest. It was not easy to give up on flesh and blood. In fact, the only reason that Marty had remained in the poor excuse of a Starfleet was a chance to reclaim Earth and learn whether or not his own family was still alive. "Right this way," he said, holstering his communicator and heading for the access tube.

"Actually..." Kibyr grinned. "I lied earlier. The turbolifts are working just fine. I was just hoping to watch you crawl through the bowels of this ship like good worker ants."

The Captain smirked and stifled a chuckle. "I just hope you're not holding anything else out on us." He made way for the turbolift, gesturing for Alanna and one security detail to follow him. The rest, including Harcrow, would stay on the bridge to keep things moving. "Of to Engineering we go..."


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