NCC - 81102
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Until It Breaks

Posted on Sun Jul 26th, 2020 @ 6:23pm by Commander Magnus Hawkins & Lieutenant Aurora 4827/A

Mission: Mission 1: Dirty Little Secret
Location: Observation Lounge
Timeline: Mission Day 6

While it wasn't her shift Violet was in Engineering handling personnel reports. She had explicitly told her NCOs that she did not want to know about any possible issues regarding her new people; she wanted to see for herself if there were potential problems. And it was also possible the arrival of a new boss would cause a shift in attitude that would obviate any need on her part to discipline or remove a crewperson. It was a tough balancing act because over the years she had grown to trust the judgment of senior NCOs a great deal, but at the same time she needed to deal with her staff free of bias.

Meanwhile gray was jogging along deck ten, leaving green to track down the ship's XO. As she hunted the man down she kept telling herself that what she was doing was not going behind the Captain's back. She just wanted some further insights, that was all.

Really.

Hawk was staring out the broad observation window in the conference room. Nobody was ever in this room outside of briefings, which meant it was a quiet refuge for when Hawk desired solitude...which was often.

This entire mission was shaping up to be one of the most unorthodox assignments of his career. While he thrived on challenges, sometimes he wondered why nothing could be simple.

And then the door swished open. Hawk turned around to dismiss whoever it was in hopes of preserving his solitary contemplation, but the comely woman who walked inside was so comely that he took pause.

"... Lieutenant," he said at length.

"Commander," Aurora replied after a pause. She knew next to nothing about the ship's XO. Him being the same rank as the Captain was a bit of a surprise. The fact that he was half Klingon doubly so. She was so surprised that gray almost ran into a bulkhead.

"Commander," she began again, "Lieutenant Aurora, ship's Chief Engineering Officer. I was hoping I could discuss the upcoming mission with you."

She looked about and noted the man had been alone. As if he had...wanted to be alone.

"If this is a bad time I can certainly schedule a meeting with you?"

Hawk let out a sigh. Of course he'd rather be alone, but duty called. At least she hadn't notice his slight lapse in composure at the sight of her. "No, that's alright. What can I do for you, Lieutenant?"

Aurora considered insisting they could talk later but the Commander had already conceded. Best to press on and make it brief. "It's the mission, sir. I was going over the notes and I can certainly work with Ops to see if there is some way to refine a search for the target's unique biology. I would also like to volunteer for the away mission as I feel I could provide a unique and secure form of communication."

She took a breath, "But the principle reason I wished to speak to you, sir, involves the transcript for the mission briefing. Is there anything you feel as a department head I should know?"

At first Hawk nodded with approval. Interdepartmental collaboration, programming sensors to identify their target's bio-signature, general yet studious attention to detail. All sounded like music to his ears. But then, when hearing Aurora's question, Hawk resisted the urge to sigh.

"The Odyssey's commanding officer has a prior history and relationship with the target. Evidently the admiralty is hoping to exploit that as a potential vulnerability to allow us to get closer than on previous attempts."

It felt a little awkward to be having this discussion after the dressing down Hawk had received in the Ready Room, but as a man of principle Hawk held no regrets. He wouldn't deprive a senior officer of vital mission intelligence simply because he was uncomfortable repeating it.

"Therefore, all departments ought to be prepared for a potential covert intrusion. Our target may very well come to us."

Aurora nodded, then frowned thoughtfully, "From what I understand there is no Operations department head at the moment. If our target is formerly Starfeet then there would be old medical records. I could speak to the Chief Medical Officer, retrieve those files and with your permission work with Operations to begin fine tuning short range sensors now."

"I like the way you think, Lieutenant. Until our Chief of Operations reports on board, consider its entire department at your disposal." Hawk perked up as a thought occurred to him. "In fact, if you have an assistant in mind, we could see about making them the acting Ops Chief to better liaison between the departments. At least until our assigned Ops Chief arrives."

"Thank you, sir," Aurora replied, glad she hadn't used gray for this conversation; chances were there would have been an idiot's grin plastered across her face. Fortunately green could maintain a mildly pleased smile, "My understanding is Operations has a larger office than mine. As for my liaison..." now a wider smile crossed her face, "...I am used to doing the work of two...or even three people. And I think you will find I am uniquely qualified to...be my own liaison. All I ask," she quickly added, "Is you allow me to prove myself. I've worked Ops before, I know my way around."

Hawk narrowed his eyes as he regarded the evidently self-assured engineer. If she was as competent as she was easy on the eyes, then that would be one favorable development on this assignment. Realizing how inappropriate such thoughts were, Hawk internally quashed them and focused on her boast. "Is that a fact? And how exactly are you uniquely qualified to be your own liaison between departments?"

Aurora had thought the XO might be understandably skeptical. How many young hotshot officers made assurances they could not deliver on, eager to prove themselves to their superiors? So once she offered her services as interim head of Ops she made preparations.

She turned towards the and realized the Commander Hawk had probably found the view outside the observation window conductive towards contemplation. Without turning to him she said, "I spend most of the first half of my life without much opportunity to appreciate a view; most of the facilities I grew up in were underground. The first year at the Academy I suffered from a mild case of Agoraphobia. I was a science experiment, you see."

The conference room door opened. Violet looked composed, while gray was breathing a little hard. As gray made for the replicator in the corner violet, smiling, said, "My creators considered me a failure. I consider myself a success."

Looking back and forth, Hawk thought he was looking at twin sisters. Double the pleasure, double the fun, his Klingon id suggested to his conscious mind in remembrance of the twin firebrand redheads from Aberdeen. Those two had taken him places in his adolescence without ever leaving a bedroom... Stop it, Hawk scolded himself.

The way gray had finished Violet's sentence helped snap him back to the moment.

"Creators? Science experiment?" Hawked repeated. So, not sisters, then, but... "Clones." The realization gave Hawk pause as he let it sink in to his brain.

"Water," gray said at the replicator, "Cold."

"Yes, clones," green replied, "Three bodies-"

"-but one mind," violet said as gray sipped the water, "The three brains are connected by a quantum network. Apparently the scientists were attempting to create a sort of organic collective similar to the Borg but, well..."

Gray sighed, "...none of the experiments worked," she grinned, "But at least I have three brains. Multitasking is something I am used to."

"There are... three of you," Hawk said, glancing back and forth. "But... still only one." It was too much of a shock for even his fetid Klingon half to lewdly consider. "I suppose I should have read your personal file a bit more closely..."

"If it makes you feel any better, sir," green replied with a sympathetic smile, "it caught Captain Inahri off guard as well. Seriously, Commander, I'm up for the job. It's only temporary, after all. If things get a little out of hand I promise I will come to you for support."

Hawk gave a barrel-chested chuckle. "I'll have to clear it with Inahri, but I say you've got yourself a deal. Just..." He paused long enough to look all three of them in the eyes. "... don't be afraid to admit if you're in over your head. You find that's the case, you come straight to me."

As he said it, Hawk wondered if he was coming on too strong. But then why wouldn't a junior officer come straight to him? It wasn't inappropriate. They were both professionals. Hawk made a note to extend his workout that night by an extra half an hour.

"Did that address your concerns, Lieutenant, or was there something else?"

Aurora missed any sexual or romantic subtext, her mind was already on tackling the problem of running two different departments at the same time. It would be a challenge and complications could arise but if she did well that would look good on her record...and be a horrific blemish if she botched things. Think positive, she told herself.

"That's all that comes to mind, sir," green replied as gray placed the empty glass back in the replicator and manually touched the recycle button, "You won't regret this, sir, I promise!"

Grateful that his private mental indiscretions had remained private, Hawk gave Aurora a pleasant smile and offered a handshake of agreement. "I'll count on it."

Green reached out and shook Commander's Hawk hand, while behind him gray did little to hide the fact she was checking out his behind. Stop that, Aurora chided herself. Last thing she needed right now were interpersonal relationships derailing her career.

But damn it, she thought. Why did Starfleet keep hiring such attractive men...?

Hawk shook Aurora's hand and pointedly ignored the tingle he decidedly did not feel in his palm. It was nothing, just the soldier's sixth sense of being watched. Craning his head over his shoulder, he looked at gray and just missed her eyes being where they didn't belong.

"Dismissed," he said at length, and then turned around to resume facing the lounge window where his eyes were safe.

"Sir," green replied with a nod, trying to ignore the tingle in her palm as the handshake ended. The trio departed the lounge.

It was all the three bodies could do to not skip their way to the turbolift...

 

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