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    Out Of the Box

    Posted on Tuesday 1 January 2019 @ 20:55 by Lieutenant JG Stephanie O'Hara & Commander Caroline Miller
    Edited on on Tuesday 1 January 2019 @ 21:01

    Mission: The New Collective
    Location: Sickbay private room
    Timeline: Current

    "Finished with my woman 'cuz she couldn't help me with my mind. People say I'm insane because I am frowning all the time. All day long I think of things, but nothing seems to satisfy. Think I'll lose my mind if I don't find something to Pacify... " - Black Sabbath, "Paranoid"


    ON:


    Caroline handed the other woman a glass of water, she was showing a slight dehydration. Settling into her seat, wondering if this was going to be another chief of staff with a chip on their shoulders at her profession she geared herself up for more anger and hostility. She kept her face completely neutral though, "What happened Lieutenant. I need you to tell me everything."

    "Ye've heard th' story already," came the response. Stephanie sat across the table, her arms crossed and a scowl curling her lips. "I'm na sure why we're remainin' committed t' this farce. I told ya before. I'm fine. I don' know a plainer way t' say it. I'm a little sick of bein' treated like a criminal jus' because I did my duty. A duty which, I may add, is na gettin' done now because everyone seems t' be under th' mistaken impression that I need help. Is my word na good enough ana more?"

    Caroline sighed inwardly, this was going to be long and painful she could tell. "Lieutenant I have been aboard this ship roughly 3 hours, in which time I have been grilled by the XO and thrown directly into helping with triage. I have had one conversation with you in which I have known you even less time. Plus you felt it appropriate to refer to me as Missy completely ignoring decorum, rank and protocol and from observing your interaction with the Captain pushing as far as you can to flout the chain of command. Your word, as a Starfleet officer I'm sorry to say at present is questionable. However I am hopeful we can come to a point where that's not the case. A big step in that will be your cooperation."

    Stephanie sat the glass of water aside. "Then I'll offer ya a bit o' insight. I am na now, have never been, nor will I ever be th' model Starfleet officer," She said. "What I am is very good at m' job. An Engineer is really all I ever wanted t' be... What I am na is a bloody liar. So th' fact that ye're stoppin' me from bein' an Engineer an' treatin' me like a liar isn't really goin' a very long way t' encourage any level of cooperation on my part..." She screwed up her features in thought for a moment. "But I think I've a way t' fix that." She stood and walked to the door. "Come wit' me." She thought for a moment. "An' if it please ya, ya can have yer pet jarhead follow us jus' t' make sure I'm on the up an' up."

    "Lieutenant stop right there," Caroline said her voice low and authoritive. "There are two security or marine people - Im not sure probably marines they are very large ... but they are posted outside. We are not going anywhere at this time. You just linked with the Borg. You are the only person we know of who has done something like that. There is no data so this "farce" of observation is definitely required. You could be compromised and you think you can go running around straight away after that? And if you did for some silly reason decide to make a dash for it and got past Rocky and Bullwinkle out there I will be forced to send more people to retrieve you. Then we get to do this sit down again but in the brig. Please don't make me have to do that on my first day.

    And you might be a good engineer but I know plenty of good engineers. There are plenty in starfleet. My best friend Melody for instance. Being a good engineer is no excuse for a bad attitude. And no one has called you a liar. Thats your perspective. How you chose to look at things. Something we may well be working on in future.

    If you were compromised, would you know it?" Caroline stated.

    "It's na an excuse," Stephanie said. "More o' a causal relationship. I've a 'bad attitude' as ya say because I'm a good Engineer. Surely ya've read my personnel file by now. This is th' way I am. I would know if I had a Borg swimmin' around in m' noodle. There were three layers of encryption in place and an an untraceable signal that piggybacked off their own subspace carrier wave. It's in every way inconceivable that th' trauma ya lot have assigned t' me has any connection t' reality."

    "So what if I'm na perfect? It's taken my pasty white Irish ass a long feckin' time t' get here. There were days I thought I wasn' gonna make it off New Sydney. There were days I thought I was gonna spend th' rest o' my life in prison. All things considered, I'm pretty damned proud o' who I ended up as. I'm th' best Engineer an' data encryption specialist the human race has t' offer. I'm also a stone-cold bitch, a ragin' lesbian, a bad kisser, a sloppy drunk, a hot mess, an' a holy terror at Karaoke night. This is me. Scars, imperfections an' all. I don' see th' point in sendin' ya in here anaway. Yer obviously na' telepathic or ya'd have scanned my mind and told me what I'm thinkin'. What's more is tha' ya don' know me from Eve. Ya couldn't tell if I was actin' out o' th' norm because ya've nothin' t' compare it to."

    "For someone who has worked so hard to get where they are, I fail to understand why you are willing to risk it all and throw it all away by acting in such an inappropriate manner. When you get yourself thrown out of Starfleet again or back in prison perhaps then you might want to reflect on things. For the record I'm now putting you on report for insubordination. Your language and behaviour is unbecoming of a Starfleet officer with the rank and respect you currently have in the chain of command.

    I am not intimidated by you in any manner Lieutenant, don't be fooled in thinking I'm a dewy eyed first year cadet. And I will put you on report every time you continue with this kind of behaviour so bare that in mind.

    And your very wrong, I'm very capable of working out if this is the norm. I have previous reports, things your superiors, peers and subordinates have stated about you and the all important prior psych reports. At present I'm leaning towards you are who your supposed to be as right now the Borg actually seem to be friendlier.

    Do you want to keep going round and round in circles and have me make this observation 72 hours instead of 48 or shall we cut to the chase and you tell me what happened and answer my questions," she said.

    Stephanie smiled broadly. "I'll take that as a compliment!" She beamed. "Ye'll find I'm hard an' crunchy on th' outside an'... Well... Just as crunchy on th' inside." She laughed mirthfully at her own joke, then sobered her demeanor and continued. "But if ya insist, th' story I'mma tell ya is th' same one I told before. If ya didn' like it then, I'm fairly certain it won't have grown on ya overly much." She crossed her arms over her stomach. "But if tellin' ya again'll end this sham, then get a bowl o'' popcorn an' settle in."

    "You can take it anyway you like Lieutenant, just tone it down and be more respectful. Crunchy, I don't care for. Now what did that voice you mentioned say to you?" she asked directly. "You said very little to be honest. It was like a dream, You remembered being attacked and there was lots of borg then you touched on a voice and changed subject. You see I was listening."

    Stephanie heaved a heavy sigh and started by running The Counselor though the mission parameters, the place where she went 'Off-Script', and when she tapped into the Borg Collective.

    "... This is th' bit where it gets somewhat fuzzy. I'm na sure how t' describe th' sensation of a data dive. Th' mind interprets signals inta somethin' that makes sense t' ya. Th' human grey matter wasn't designed t' process that much raw data, so it's easy t' get overwhelmed. Yer mind dismisses the encounter as a dream t' keep ya sane." She paused and took a few sips from the glass of water. She took a deep breath an' began to massage the bridge of her nose with her thumb and forefinger.

    "It was th' weirdest thin'," She continued. "But it felt like someone was there with me. An' at first, I thought it was th' Borg I had on th' shuttle, He had enough sedative in him t' put him out f'r an age... There was somethin' else. A carrier signal piggybackin' on top o' th' Borg subspace link. An' I don' know how... but it felt like it hated me. I tried to trace th' link, but I kept hittin' walls. Then he released th' attack drones. Th' last thin' I remember is keyin' in th' exit protocols just as one o' th' buggers was about t' grab me."

    "After that, I called the ship, told them mission was complete an' had Miles get rid o' th' bloody thin'... Then I was in Sickbay. I'm guessin' it was too much data..."

    "The human brain is not equipped to deal with such overload as you have stated. Can you remember what the voice said? Who it possibly was? As you are no doubt aware Lieutenant the Borg Queen was by all accounts from Voyager destroyed due to Admiral Janeways actions. The concern is could another queen be rising?" she asked the other lady.

    "Or worse, sorry my understanding of engineering is probably as good as yours on counselling. But when you say signal piggying back on top of the borg link, is that a third party effectively using them? That situation could be just as dangerous," Caroline stated darkly.

    "Th' way I understand it, If that were really true, Th' Borg everywhere in th' whole bloody galaxy would have switched themselves off... It's likely she was backed up somewhere an' is jus' fine." Stephanie postulated."As f'r th' rest, I couldn't complete th' trace. I was bein' blocked at every turn... So I don' know what it was or where it came from. Th' best way I can describe it is like bein' at a party. Ya hear a buncha people havin' their own conversations for a while, then someone stands on a chair an' starts hittin' their wine glass with a fork. Except ya can' see 'em but ya bloody well know they're there." She shrugged. "I can' be more specific than tha'. She sighed heavily. "Mista Rejal should be gettin' th' data from th' PoVI ana' time now."

    The redhead stood and stretched. "Now Really. If ya wanna talk, ya could buy a girl a pint... or at th' very least a cuppa raktijino. Oh, an maybe somethin' t' eat. I did, ya know, jus' put my life at risk for the sake o' this mission, ya know." She let the statement hang in the air for a few moments as she crossed her arms over her stomach. She was trying to make a point. "Gives a girl an appetite."

    "Lieutenant, a couple of things. First of all starfleet officers put their life on the line every single day so you putting you life at risk for the mission is exactly what one would expect, also you agreed to the mission," Caroline informed her. Did this woman think she was due a round of applause or something?

    "I'm na expectin' a bleedin' medal!" Stephanie found herself on the edge of a tirade, so she took a deep breath and a moment to compose herself. "I wan' you lot t' stop treatin' me like a bleedin' criminal f'r doin' my job." She waved a hand indicating that Caroline should continue.

    "Secondly I am not sure if you are hitting on me or genuinely hungry. If its the former, I'm not a "pint" kind of girl," she informed the self confessed "raging lesbian".

    O'Hara quirked a bemused eyebrow at her. "Awfully full of ourselves, ain't we Counselor?" She asked, Then scoffed. "I assure ya, it's th' latter. Trust me. Yer na even remotely my type... An' even if ya were, yer still a muppet. I wan' a good meal an' t' engaged in at least two of the three vices still available t' me as an enlightened twenty-fourth century woman. A bit o' caffeine an' a wee nip o' th' creature."

    "If the later then thats a good sign. Your body is recovering if your requiring substance. In which case I will go get you something to eat. Then we continue talking after you have had a comfort break. What would you like to eat?"

    Stephanie sat back down, opened her mouth to speak, then said "I wan' a Cheeseburger with sauteed mushrooms, Swiss cheese, lettuce an' tomato an' carmelied red onions. An' I've been meanin' t' fix it, but make sure ya specify no mayo. I don' know what cloth-eared nonce decided tha' a replicator pattern for a cheeseburger should have mayonnaise, but he should be tired for crimes against humanity. Oh, an' a double order of steak fries. A Raktijino, double strong, double sweet, an' a pint o' stout."

    Caroline left the room to go get the Lieutenants desired dinner. She wasn't getting stout as her mind was all over the place and no way was she as medical profession introducing alcohol into the mix and she certainly wasn't getting into a debate with the woman about mayonnaise. Infact Caroline was uttering the words, one cheeseburger and fries to the replicator that was it. In reality the way that officer was behaving she should be getting standard ration number 1 and water but she figured having her hungry wouldn't make her any more amenable.

    Also as she walked through sickbay she thanked every deity she knew that the woman was not hitting on her. Someone that aggressive in their work life, she would dread to think how they would act towards a partner. The mind boggled.

    When Caroline left the room, O'Hara, sitting in the chair went stock still.

    NO! The voice demanded. Stop fighting me, Human! This shell is mine to control now! Such delicious knowledge you have about the inner workings of this ship. You will serve me well.

    You are a figment o' my imagination, Stephanie intoned in the confines of her skull. You do not exist. Yer m' brain playin' silly buggers. You are na real, an' you control shite.

    I am quite real, child. Observe.

    After a moment, the thing that was looking out through Stephanie's eyes began examining the room as if she had never seen it before. She crossed to the door, cocked her head to one side, staring at the control panel as if she were trying to remember how it worked. A few taps on the keypad opened the door on a very surprised looking Marine.

    It seemed shocked to see the door open, but not as shocked as he was when O'Hara's boot connected with the soft tissue of his groin. She then bent her knee and the momentum of him doubling over drove his jaw right into it. He crumpled in a heap of arms and legs.

    Before she ran off, O'Hara reached down and freed his sidearm from it's holster, tucking it into her belt.

    END

    LTjg Stephanie O'Hara
    Chief Engineer
    USS Merlin

    Counselor Caroline Miller
    Chief Counselor
    USS Merlin

     

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