NCC - 81102
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In the Middle of the Night

Posted on Fri Jul 17th, 2020 @ 9:10pm by Lieutenant Aurora 4827/A & Lieutenant Commander Bear Jasper

Mission: Mission 1: Dirty Little Secret
Location: USS Odyssey
Timeline: MD1: Just around midnight

He'd been dreaming, mixed up imagery from far too long ago that generally only haunted his mind after too many drinks. Confused imagery, but recognisable enough by the repetition it had enjoyed over the years. A warzone. Sounds of heavy fire. And a brother Bear hadn't seen since his enforced exodus from what had once been home.

The alarm seeped through to nag at his unconscious mind, remaining as Bear opened his eyes and squinted at the screen beside his bed. Damn... That was weird.

Duplication. No, triplication. Was that a word? Bear stood up, pulled on a shirt, trousers and boots and ran a hand over his head as he interrogated the computer verbally. Yes, three signatures, but all for the same name and ID. Not a glitch, apparently, though that remained to be proven, and the only way to be absolutely sure? Was to go out there and check manually.

Closest of the mysterious trio was on the same deck as he was - deck 3 - and the other two? One was headed this way at the speed of an elevator, the last was down on deck twelve. Bear headed out to intercept that closest signal, and stopped short in his tracks as he came face to face with the first part of the triple-edged question.

"Hey!" He called to the dark-haired petite young female officer who appeared to be moving a bed on a grav pallet. No, she was definitely moving a bed on a grav pallet.... "One bed not enough for you?"

Gray was busy moving stuff around, which was for the best because that one couldn't hide her emotions to save her life. Meanwhile Green was in engineering having an impromptu conversation with the junior officers on hand. Naturally they were nervous talking to the new boss. She was about to answer a question from a curious crewman when-

"Sorry," she murmured, "Something's come up." She made sure to favor the crewman with a smile lest she thinks she had just pissed off the boss.

Violet turned...and wow, he was a big one. She smiled and said, "Well, there's a story to that, but it will have to w-" as he approached she noted the pips on his neck. So...Ops, or Tactica? Security? Security.

"I'm Lieutenant Aurora," she explained as she stopped the pallet, "You probably want to come to my quarters to hear the whole story. It's easier to show you than explain it. And I can offer you a drink."

Wonder if he's single, she single, she idly thought as Green entered the turbolift on deck twelve.

"It's a little late for moving house." Bear intoned the words with a distinct lack of amusement, but he paid particular attention to the young woman before him as she spoke. Violet eyes, and a cute smile. Neither of which excused her from her current activity, though both did make the unscheduled wake-up a little more worthwhile.

"Lieutenant Aurora?" The question rang with mild confusion and a light frown. "I don't recall your name on the roster."

Bear noted the pallet had obediently come to a halt though, even as he raised an eyebrow at the other officer's invitation. The merest hint of a half-smile caught at his features as he considered the offer. "What do you mean, you need to show me?" That was all kinds of confusing, but despite the frown on his face, Bear hadn't dismissed the idea out of hand yet.

"Lieutenant Aurora," he checked, expression and tone utterly serious. "Are you inviting me back to your place for a drink and a bedtime story?" He didn't, however, sound entirely averse to the suggestion.

"Well, a story, certainly," Aurora replied with a grin, "But it's so involved a friend of mine actually created a holoprogram to explain it all. Just don't shoot me until you hear the whole story, all right? I had a security officer panic once."

The turbolift doors opened, revealing the green eyed one.

"Getting stunned isn't fun," Green said with a frown.

Damn it, Bear internally chastised himself. This sounded suspicious as hell. But he was still aboard a Fleet ship, and despite the lack of warning or information, she was still a Lieutenant in Starfleet. That counted for something, even if this was some elaborate prank.

"I'm not gonna shoot you, lil lady," he noted. "And I'm not the panicking type. But..."

And then there was another one. Just standing there, looking back at him from within the turbolift, mocking him with the contradiction in her eyes.

"Twins?" Bear asked, but that didn't entirely make sense. "But you have the same ID badge..."

"And this is why my friend made that instructional holo program," the green eyed one explained as violet guided the beds into the lift. She allowed the man time to enter the lift before saying, "Deck three," to the man green said, "Granted, if you are as wary of the holodeck as I am there is a version you can watch on a screen. But the short version-"

"We are clones," Violet said.

"Refugees from a tyrannical government," said green.

"A science experiment presumably to create an organic matrix not unlike the Borg." Violet.

"The result being one consciousness-"

The turbolift doors opened, gray stood there and finished, "-in three bodies. Hence the need for three beds," Gray frowned, "What's your name again, sir? I don't think you gave it."

Bear really wasn't sure he wanted or needed an instructional program to understand this situation. His first immediate thought was a little chaotic and work-related, but the second thing that jumped into his brain was far dirtier and more carnal. He tried to find a less controversial stance on which to settle while his gaze took in the three - mostly - identical triplets and the facts settled into place via three mouths that took turns with sentence structure.

"Clones?" Bear said, his voice making it a question as he caught up on current events. "An experiment." His tone was darker now, less happy about this situation. "Y'all are a science project?"

"Was," the three said in unison. There was a pause and green added, "I am a Starfleet officer now."

A moment of silence followed as he forced up a grin at the simple reason behind the nefarious bed moving activity.

"Lieutenant Commander Bear Jasper, Chief of Security," he said, his tone warmer and mildly amused. "And I will take you up on coming back to your quarters. Seems like you could use some help with the furniture."

"I get by," Gray replied as Violet guided the grav pallet down the hall, "I remember my first assignment on the Resilient. A Defiant class. I was spread out across three cabins. I had three bunk mates."

Green scowled, "Two of them snored. Some idiot at personnel thought they could get three times the work out of me; they actually had me first assigned to three different shifts!"

They reached her quarters, inside space had been made for the two extra beds. Bear also saw some sort of work bench had been set up in lieu of a desk.

Bear simply smiled. He'd had his own fair share of unpleasant sleeping environments, but he saw no need to get into that backstory right now. War stories were better kept private in new company.

"Well," he said, amicably. "Looks like you've lucked out here then, enough room for all three of you and a big old desk. You our Chief Engineer by any chance? I mean.. Engineers... or... how does that work exactly?" Oh yes, he had questions. "Let's get this stuff all moved into place," he declared, allowing them to lead him on where they wanted the beds to be positioned.

With Bear on hand it was an easy enough matter to get the beds in place, Aurora's three bodies compensate for his presence and were able to attach the legs so the trio of singles formed into a queen.

As they worked green eyed Aurora explained, "Yes, I'm the new Chief Engineer. As to 'how it works', like I'll be having one of me in Engineering, with another on the bridge more often than not. The third will probably be performing physical maintenance, which means exercising."

Violent frowned thoughtfully and noted, "The captain seemed surprised at my nature. I have been wondering about that,like if perhaps I had been a last minute assignment."

"So," Bear was thinking out loud, valiantly trying to wrap his brain around this new concept. "You're not all the same person, exactly. You're three separate versions of you?" That just raised even more questions. "You need separate IDs," he said, quietly, a frown developing as the set the now bigger, fully assembled bed down.

"I am one being with three bodies," Green explained, "However, after all these years the bodies aren't exactly alike. Somewhere along the way gray started emoting a bit more. I blame it on that trip to Risa and one too many of what I later discovered was an Earth import called the 'Long Island Iced Tea'. Gray's eyes rolled up into her head and collapsed face first onto the bed. Green continued, "Violet's sustained the most physical injuries. A pair of concussions, a broken arm, stunned seven times," violet held up both hands, seven fingers, "sprained ankles and a broken nose. This one," green waved a hand down its front, "is pristine."

Bear let that sink in, then nodded as if it all made perfect sense while he tried to figure out if it really did or not. They seemed to be able to function entirely independently, which was great, and yet he wasn't entirely sure how the whole one being, three bodies and three brains thing truly function. "I think we need more time on this subject," he noted with the merest hint of a smile as he added. "And if Long Island Iced Tea was involved, I'd be okay with that too."

She was, he nodded to the green-eyed one, and he didn't mind admitting that. "Yes, you are indeed," he said.

"So... Captain didn't know you were arriving? Or he didn't know the nature of your... situation?" Bear asked, that frown darkening somewhat. This was worrying, it was bad enough that he hadn't known anything. "Who sent you?" Tau?

Gray rolled over and sat up, Violet dropped her hands, Green shrugged, "Word came down Odyssey had an opening for a Chief Engineer and I applied. Captain Trent and Commander Stroheim put in a good word, and here I am."

"Oh, okay," Bear noted. "I'll check that out, verify a few things. Thanks." Seemed off, but didn't mean it wasn't true. He looked to Violet. "So you're the one who does the real dangerous work, then, right?"

Green walked over to the replicator and said, "Two waters, cold. Fruit juice, cold," as the replicator delivered violet said, "Not really. Statistically the damage should have been evenly spaced out," green gingerly held the three glasses out, violet and gray accepted the water. As they drank green said, "Why violet keeps getting hurt, I have no idea. You want something to drink?"

"Just water, thanks," Bear said with a nod in the affirmative. Since no one else was drinking beer, he felt kinda obliged to follow suit and set a clear example. "Seems statistically unfair," he noted, curious as to why. "So... anything else important I should know?" He asked, raising an eyebrow and offering a lopsided smile.

As green sipped the juice violet said, "Nothing that I can think of," gray brightened, "Oh,there is one thing," she unzipped her tunic and tossed it on the bed, then rolled up her left sleeve, revealing a cyan colored tattoo with Aurora's name and a number designation, "This is genetically coded; it won't come off. It might sound really paranoid but if you see someone that looks like me that you think is, well, off, you can always ask to see it. If I balk then you know it's another clone."

"Or you could ask me what a muscle car is," violet noted, "Trust me, no one from 'home' will have any idea what the hell you are talking about."

Bear frowned lightly at the mention of 'other me', but grinned at the mention of muscle cars. "Nice," he told Violet. But then he obviously had to ask. "There are only three of the actual you, right?" A deeper frown as his brain turned slowly around this problem. "But you're saying other clones can maybe change to look like you?"

"On my home world the Auroras are space scientists, astrophysicists, astronomers," violet explained, "Maybe part of the reason I became an engineer was to differentiate myself from the rest of them. They have brown eyes; our theory is the our eye colors were to make it easier to find me in case I got away."

Green finished the juice, "Well damn, I spent all this time talking about me, and none about you. Maybe we could do something to fix that. Maybe...dinner some time?" she smiled, "I promise to just have one show up so you don't feel out-numbered."

Taking a long drink of ice water, Bear nodded gently. "Sure," he agreed easily enough. "Dinner sounds good. We have a couple weeks left before we get to the station, might as well all get acquainted," he added with a wry smile. That broadened into a grin as Green pre-empted a concern around numbers. "Oh," said Bear, the look in his eyes impish now. "Don't worry, I think I can handle more than one lady at a time without too much damage."

"Sounds like a challenge," gray murmured, a saucy smile on her face.

"I have to be up early tomorrow to address my new staff," green noted, "Last thing I need is for my chiefs to think I'm a slacker."

Bear grinned back at Gray, then handed over the empty glass and nodded. "It's late," he agreed. "I'll head out, let you all get some sleep, but I'll see you ladies tomorrow."

As the door closed behind Bear three voices murmured in unison, "Count on it..."

 

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