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Unstoppable Security Task Versus Immovable Imaging Unit

Posted on Fri Nov 17th, 2023 @ 8:58pm by Ensign Rimal Iska & Lieutenant Leah Bailey

Mission: Character Development
Location: USS Athena :: Deck Four
Timeline: Before "Some Idiot Blew Up The Ready Room"
1474 words - 2.9 OF Standard Post Measure

It was safe to say that deck four wasn't Iska's favorite place at the moment.

Even after the damage from the pirates had been cleaned up, there were little things, like a faint smudge on the wall or some place still missing a door, that reminded him of the numerous pirates that were scampering around a few days ago. He and Kivel were tasked with checking the weapons lockers that had been accessed, and Kivel insisted on doing the odd-leveled decks. Which left Iska looking rather tense as his eyes went between the corridor and the PADD in his hand. His next stop was the science labs, and he paused at the door before entering.

The place was in the middle of repairs, evident by a handful of engineers moving around and computer bits scattered across the floor. Being careful to not step on anything, Iska tiptoed around the parts as he weaved his way into the room. He was paying attention to where he placed his feet and was surprised when he bumped into someone. "Whoa!" His arms did a little wave as he fought for balance, then looked at the figure in blue he ran into. "Sorry about that!"

Her eyes closed with momentary annoyance, but Leah opened them again with a polite - if mildly terse - apology. "Excuse me." She glanced down. Ensign. Security, or Engineering? she wondered. "Are you here to help with the repairs, Ensign...?"

"Iska," he finished her sentence, after a moment's pause. "I'm from security, ma'am, uh, here to check the weapons lockers?" His gaze happened to wander, and he saw a giant... something science-y in front of one of them, which he was certain was some security violation. "Um... the lockers shouldn't be blocked off like that," he added, pointing out the locker in question.

Leah glanced over her shoulder. "They're rebuilding a quantum imaging unit," she explained. "Quite why we'd need access to a weapons locker while docked in Spacedock is a rather over-cautious question, isn't it Ensign Iska?"

The Bajoran paused to consider her words. "That's a fair point," he admitted, glancing at the blocked weapons locker again. When he returned his attention to the officer in blue, he felt a pang of intimidation that put hesitancy into his next words. "Starfleet security regulations say to not block weapons lockers, though, and they don't list 'being at spacedock' as an exception."

The science officer touched the bridge of her nose. Another young officer with a stick up his butt for rules, it seemed. She put a hand on his shoulder. "Excuse me, Ensign; my common sense is tingling." She started to turn him to angle away from the room. "Why don't we pretend, just between us, that you didn't see anything and forget all about it?"

A bit of stammering came from Iska's mouth as he tried to justify his presence, only to find himself facing away from the weapons locker. Was it worth trying to argue with a Lieutenant over regulation? "I suppose I could check this locker later..." he attempted to compromise. "I do have to check it, but there are other areas I can inspect first."

"Oh I'm sure you do," Leah nodded, almost mothering the Ensign into the corridor. "Later. Much later."

Did the science lab have a transporter? Iska found himself suddenly pushed outside of the labs, the door hissing shut behind him, and he blinked for a moment before turning to look back at the door to the science lab. "Right..." Perhaps he could start with the lockers on the rest of this deck and circle back.

=== One Hour Later ===

Iska shut the locker in the computer core, marking it off on the PADD he'd been using to keep track of which lockers were inventoried. He had gone down to deck six to inventory, and came back up to deck four to finish the rest of the lockers. Well, all but one. He still had the rest of the ship to go through, but he wanted to clear each deck as he moved. Straightening his back a little, the Bajoran walked back to the science labs and entered. Looking around, he spotted the officer in blue he had spoken to earlier, talking to some engineers.

With half the day finished, Leah was a little surprised to see the familiar Bajoran Ensign reappear.

"Ensign Iska," she excused herself from the engineers. "I didn't expect to see you back so soon. How goes your search for breaches of Starfleet security regulations?"

"Fairly easy when accessible, Lieutenant," Iska responded in a light tone. He briefly glanced down at his PADD, "I got deck six inventoried and figured I could finish deck four before I move on."

"I see. And have you finished deck four?" she asked, suggestively indicating that he had in fact finished and the lab behind her was 'finished'.

Iska frowned. He knew what she was trying to do, and he didn't like what she was suggesting. "I'm sorry, Lieutenant, I haven't finished deck four. I'm not going to lie on my report," the Bajoran said.

"That's quite a gutsy statement, Ensign Iska," she chided. "I tell you what - give us another hour to finish calibrating the imaging unit, then we can discuss access to the locker. How does that sound? You can even get started on deck five...or six..."

That gutsy statement is what you implied in the first place, the Bajoran thought, knowing full well that if he said it out loud, he'd get in trouble. There was a growing impatience, both with the science officer and with the engineers who were clearly aware of the conundrum, but for now it merely took the form of his grip tightening on the PADD in his hands. "Sure, Lieutenant," Iska replied, trying to remain professional. "See you in an hour."

=== Two Hours Later ===

Iska tried to keep the frustration at bay when he exited the turbolift to deck four for a third time. He went to deck eight, but there wasn't much to inventory, so he finished inventorying the rest of the decks assigned to him before returning for the one locker on deck four. The doors to the lab opened for him, again, and he looked around for the science woman.

"Well aren't you the persistent one, Ensign?" she spotted him before he did, almost making him jump out of his skin as she approached from his blind spot. "You must have been very efficient checking off all of the other decks on the ship already."

The primary sign of Iska's startled state was him momentarily fumbling with the PADD in his hands. Lingering tension left his shoulders halfway up to his ears as he turned toward the science officer. "I'm nearly finished, ma'am," he responded. "You said an hour, and my detour..." he stressed the word before glancing at the PADD in his hands, "... ended up lasting two hours and ten minutes. I hope that was enough time to calibrate the... thing."

"The quantum imaging unit. It's rather more complex than a hand phaser or a photon grenade," she explained. "Calibrations are often a very arduous process. You have to align the flux regulator and get just the right amount of quantum resonance frequency refraction or the whole phase assembly could end up looking like the back-end of the Horsehead Nebula. I'm sure you know what I mean."

"S-sure," Iska responded, unsure if he actually knew what she meant. He glanced at the equipment still blocking the locker and, in the interest of trying to be diplomatic instead of a grumpy Bajoran, changed his tone. "So both of us can do our jobs effectively, Lieutenant, how can I help you with this imaging unit? I'll admit, I'm not a quantum scientist, but I have hands. I can pass tools, I can help move things..."

Leah regarded him, with an expression that mixed surprised amusement with impressed approval. She held out a tricorder. "Perhaps, since you're keen to teach me about security regulations, I can teach you a couple of things about quantum physics?"

Diplomacy... this is all diplomacy... Iska forced a faint smile onto his lips as he accepted the tricorder. She had redirected the conversation enough to imply that the imaging unit wasn't going anywhere, which was annoying. He was definitely going to complain later about the decision-making process when placing this unit. Would that be to engineering or to science? "Sure... on the condition that you to listen to security regulations for as long as I listen to quantum physics."

"Steady, Ensign. That sounded almost insubordinate..." She replied with a wink.

Iska sighed, clearly frustrated with this ongoing back-and-forth. "Fine, let's play it by ear then. What's first?"


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