NCC - 81102
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Pacem Para Bellum

Posted on Fri Apr 1st, 2022 @ 6:20am by Ensign Alex Dalton & Commander Magnus Hawkins

Mission: Mission 2: Chemicals React
Location: Main Engineering
Timeline: MD 1

Ensign Dalton rubbed his heavy eyes wearily. It was late, or was it early morning already? He couldn't tell any more, the staged destruction they created to disguise Linn's escape was taking an age to correct.

Even the multiple versions of Lieutenant Aurora looked haggard last he saw, her normal chipper demeanour had soured somewhat. Considering what had transpired since Linn was apprehended, the story of the Director seizing the power formerly held by the infamous Section 31, the death of Cassandra and Inahr's decision to lead them off the garden path into treachery it wasn't surprising. Add in the order to sabotage your own ship Alex wondered how long it would be until Aurora forgave Inahr or at least stopped cursing his name under her breath.

Alex had toyed with the choice the Captain had laid out before them after the staff briefing for several long hours before reaching his decision. He was worried the career he'd strived for would be over before it even started, however that was only if they were caught as Inahr had said. The young Ensign, perhaps blinded by his dedication to the uniform trusted the Captain to make the right choices therefore had finally concluded he'd remain part of the crew leaping down the rabbit hole together.

Stifling a yawn he stretched privately enjoying the jarring creek from his shoulders in the process Alex heard footsteps approach.

"Good morning, Ensign," said the baritone voice of Commander Hawkins. "Can we speak in private?"

He gestured toward an adjoining science lab which connected Main Engineering to various ship systems and began walking as if it was not a question. The lights were off, indicating it was currently vacant and would be an unlikely place for Hawk to run into Lieutenant Aurora whom he was particularly after their spat.

With the Commander out of earshot Alex felt himself groan with displeasure at summons by Hawkins. It wasn't a secret that the two of them didn't see eye to eye and the Ensign had been within whisker of reporting things to Commander Jasper.

Begrudgingly he followed behind the XO wishing dearly they could have delayed this conversation after he'd slept for several hours thus giving him fuel should fireworks ensue.

"Lights."

The room illuminated before Hawk made it three steps inside, but he continued until the middle of the auxiliary science lab before turning around to face Alex. Even with the delay, it was clear Alex had been dragging his proverbial feet.

"Thank you," Hawk said, not awkwardly. "I'm not going to mince words: we got off on the wrong foot. But things have changed since we first set out on our mission. If we can't trust each other now to have one another's back, then we're doomed."

Even though his tone was still rough and gravelly with an edge that his Klingon half could never fully banish, his eyes were wide and emphatic.

"More specifically, Inahri and I are in agreement that we need some sort of failsafe capability to stop Five of Seven in his tracks in the event he ever turned against us. I know that was a sore spot for us last time we discussed it." Holding up his hand in a nonverbal request to hear him out, Hawk continued. "Now, given the assistance he's already provided, we don't suspect him of harming us. But it would be unwise not to have any countermeasures in place. What those countermeasures ought to be remain up in the air."

The look Hawk gave Alex turned very solemn. "That was where I'd hoped you would come in. We could always beam the sorry bastard into space if he ever stabbed us in the back, but we need less extreme options. We need nonlethal options available to us, and you're our guy."

Hawk pressed his hands out and gave a little shrug as if to ask for Alex's take on the whole issue.

Alex had started to fidget as the XO spoke concerned they would repeat their previous engagement. However, it seemed the Commander had either been truly knocked silly by Linn or Aurora had miraculously softened the Klingon heart and taught him a humbling lesson in mending bridges. One way or another his soft, honest approach was surprising and certainly wasn't what the Ensign was expecting.

"Well," Alex started thinking on the hoof having been caught out by the enquiry. "Aside from the normal techniques that would work on any humanoid such as sedation or a stun phaser setting. We could tap into one of his remaining cybernetic implants or the miniature regeneration disc we created earlier to force a malfunction, thus incapacitating him."

"You lost me as soon as you went past mention of armaments and ordnance," Hawk admitted without a hint of shame. "But all of that sounds like a good start. What do you need to get started?"

"I assume we're only talking about disabling him temporarily?" Alex asked with caution still weary of Hawkins soft approach. "Anything long term you'd need to assign to someone else."

"That is correct," Hawk said with a nod. "Should anything more than temporary be required, then Commander Jasper or myself will execute it the conventional way." It wasn't exactly diplomatic phrasing, but it was still tact.

"Good," the young man sighed relived they'd overcome the previous sticking point. Perhaps being very tired had its benefits such as reducing his inability to overthink every word and to take things at face value for a change. "I'll happily leave that in your capable hands, though I hope it won't come to that."

Hawk's face held neutral, but his eyes flashed with the darkness of a combat veteran. "You and me both, Alex." The darkness faded away as the light of humanity returned to Hawk's eyes. "If there's anything you need, don't hesitate to let me know. We want this done right."

"I'd need to run some scans on Five," Alex said thoughtfully. "To identify which implant would be must susceptible to utilize. I can't imagine he would be forthcoming or agreeable if he knew what we were doing." He paused be fore adding sheepishly quashing the memory of how Five gave him the jitters: "I might need some help with that."

"That sounds like a good start," Hawk agreed. "A medical evaluation would be too obvious. Do you have any ideas for an alternative?"

"As insightful as a medical exam could be I agree it's too obvious and may arouse suspicion," the Ensign nodded. "I could examine the performance of the portable regenerator with the intentions of improving its efficiency."

Hawk waffled his head back and forth as he considered that suggestion. "There's the direct approach. I can respect that," he said. "But just asking him outright to permit a technical diagnostic would tip him off just as surely as a medical exam would. Let's call that Plan B. Got anything else?"

"Aside from trying scan him subtly during a visit, which I'm pretty confident he'll detect I'm drawing blanks," Alex sighed feeling weary. "The internal sensors aren't capable of capturing the sort of detail we need."

"Hm." Hawk let out a grunt. It wasn't in his nature to accept defeat, but he was out of his element with all this technical stuff. All he had to draw on was the basic engineering training from the Academy, but that was a long time ago. He could do basic stuff like deactivate EPS taps and fine tune transporters, but anything complicated was--

"Wait a minute," Hawk said as an idea interrupted his thought process. "What about the transporter's pattern buffer? Maybe there could be a way to leave Five in limbo for an extra minute, long enough to scan his tech and use the data to build a schematic." It was a shot in the dark, but Hawk knew technology was easier to scan than biology. "Would that even be possible?"

Blinking with thought Alex nodded slowly: "Yes, I think that could be done. In fact," he paused. "I might be able to retrieve some data from the transporter logs from Five's arrival. The transporter would have paid him particular attention being a anomaly to the crew roster."

"Excellent." Hawk hazarded a smile. "Look for the necessary data missing from the previous log and then be sure to grab it on the next go." The more he talked, the more he liked it. "How soon can you prep the necessary transporter diagnostic?"

"I can have it by the end of the day," the Ensign replied. "Sooner if we bring MacArthur and O'Sullivan onboard."

Hawk gave a nod. "Yes, whoever you need, but make sure they understand the need for utmost discretion. Nobody outside the project or senior staff ought to know about it."

"Of course," Dalton nodded in agreement.

"Then I'll leave you to it," Hawk said. "Thank you, Alex."

 

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