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What Lies Beneath
A Quiet Morning

The sky hides the night behind it, and shelters the people beneath from the horror above.
--Paul Bowles

(We open on a shot of the station, Captain Hawkins providing voiceover to shots of various activities aboard.)

Captain's Log, Stardate 53337.6

The station is quiet again--as quiet as this place ever gets, anyhow. It's hard to believe that I've been here for three months, but that's what the clock tells me. Three months, I've been commander of this starbase... and this may be the first week that's gone by without anything going terribly wrong.

The investigation into the bombings has been postponed, but while that is... upsetting, it's provided us some breathing room. And finally we're getting an exploratory ship back... the USS Montgomery. She's been gone so long she missed the war, but she's bringing back a wealth of information and some ancient artifacts for our science teams to research. She's due in any moment now.

Speaking of science... the Maelstrom team tells us that the Maelstrom is heading our way, and should be in the system and over the base sometime in December. This is distressing, but we've put our people on making evacuation plans, and as long as the storm doesn't speed up or change course, we should be able to handle everything when it gets here.

We know chaos is coming in December. I can only hope it will remain relatively quiet in the meantime. I'd like just one week where nothing falls apart around my ears...

[Current Time]

OOC Time: Thu Jun 21 22:26:04 2007
Earth Time: May 04 05:07:29 2376
Star Time: 53337.6 12:34:13

Officer's Lounge <Deck 30> [Gibraltar Station]

The Officer's Lounge is a quiet, subdued space, perfect for relaxing and socializing. The doors are ribbed mahogany, inlaid with circular windows, each with the Starfleet Delta etched in its center. They are placed to fore and aft of the room, on the port side. Between the doors is a long bar, swirled black marble supporting a white top rimmed with mahogany. The bar curves slightly at either end to enclose the area behind, where twin replicators serve the mundane orders. There is space under the bar for exotic liquors from many parts of the galaxy, and an Antarean ice-crystal sculpture is placed on the wall for decoration. Seven low stools, each made of dark metal with navy blue cushions, sit before the bar for use by the patrons. There is an open space starboard of the bar that extends for a few feet until a step up to a raised platform. Just before the steps are two tables, each a white quarter-wedge with two dark chairs. The room's fore and aft walls widen a bit at the platform to create a large seating area. Four square white tables, each ringed by four dark chairs, are the main seating. Couches built against the fore and aft walls provide more, each with a half-wedge white table before it. Three more small white tables complete the arrangement, each set in front of one of the windows, two dark chairs complementing every one. The central table of these three has a 3-D chess set upon it for use by the lounge's patrons. The windows themselves look out onto the black of space, providing an excellent view of the planet below. The carpeting is a deep blue, the walls paneled in a light gray that almost looks maroon under some lights. Soft mood lighting is provided by panels on the steps, decorative lights at the doors and behind the bar, and by hidden panels in the ceiling.

Jaran Salvir
Ed Danley

Salvir is sitting next to the chess board, a glass of tea sitting on a coaster on a table next to him.

Solvek walks into the Officer's Lounge with his usual bland expresion. He sees Salvir and heads over to the chess board. "Good evening, Mr. Salvir. I believe we have an appointment." His eyes shift to the chess table and he takes a seat.

Danley steps into the lounge and heads over to the replicator. After taking a moment to punch something up on the replicator, a bowl of popcorn appears which Danley picks up before looking around the lounge.

Salvir chuckles. "That we do. How are you doing today, Commander?" He takes a sip of his tea before setting up the board.

"I am well. Today has been quiet, thus far." Solvek watches Salvir setting up. "We have a ship docking later that is returning from an exploratory cruise, and they will be bringing aboard relic they discovered for preliminary tests. It is supposed to be an 'extraordinary' discovery. I look forward to it."

Danley takes his popcorn and sits down by the chess game while quietly eating his popcorn.

Salvir nods and finishes setting up. "Sounds exciting. Was the find out towards the Delta?" He takes one pawn of each color and places them in his hands. After a few moments of shuffling the pawns behind his back, he holds out the closed fists for Solvek to choose.

Solvek looks and chooses Salvir's left hand before replying. "Actually, it was discovered on a planet near the border of the Gamma and Delta quandrants. The ship bringing it is the USS Montgomery."

Danley tosses up a piece of popcorn and catches it in his mouth.

Salvir opens up his hand to reveal the white pawn. "Well, an unknown artifact to examine." He chuckles. "Not like the science department doesn't already have enough to analyze... Your move, Commander. Or would you prefer Solvek when not on duty?"

"Solvek will be acceptable." Solvek looks over the table carefully, "I believe this station has sufficient resources to fully examine this artifact. Our crew is to assist the science department of the Montgomery. The specified number of people have already been delegated to this task."

Salvir nods. "That's good. And you may call me Jeran, if you wish."

"Very well, Jeran." Solvek moves one of his pawns from the neutral level forward.

Salvir studies the board and makes a counter move. "I saw your sister today. And I'm afraid I didn't make a very good impression."

Danley rocks back and forth in his chair as he idly watches the game.

Solvek frowns a bit. "What do you mean? Was she upset by your evaluation? I do not want to break the lines of patient confidentiality, but she is my sister and I am entitled to an amount of concern." Solvek looks to Danley and slightly smiles.

Salvir smiles a bit. "Oh, no... nothing like that. I was up late speaking with the Captain and I made the mistake of forgetting that you two have different mothers. I inadvertantly called her half-Human." He chuckles some. "And I also think I may have pressed a bit too hard in wanting to talk about things she may have on her mind."

"An easy, yet volatile mistake to make. One I believe she will forgive quickly. However, the pressure of your questions are something that is necessary for your position." Solvek moves his rook from a top tier. "If you wish I can explain to her your duties and reasons for probing."

Salvir shakes his head. "No. I'm sure she'll forgive and forget in time." He thinks for a bit before moving his knight up a level.

Danley pats his shirt down as he searches himself for something. After a moment he produces an isolinear chip from a hidden pocket and places it in front of Solvek. "That's the only copy of the holoprogram I've got. Feel free to tell Winifred you convinced me to come to my senses. Or whatever works for you."

Solvek seems to forget the game for a moment. He turns to Danley, "May I ask you a question, Mr. Danley?" Without waiting for the man to answer he continues, "Why are you giving this to me?"

Danley shrugs a bit, "Honestly, a couple of reasons. The first is if I give it to you then Brooks can still think I'm a schmuck. It keeps me from having to look understanding and all that crap. The second is I know you'll give it to her without feeling the need to load it up first, some Vulcan sense of honor or something I'm sure. Not to mention it may help your relationship or something. Maybe she'll think you had a talk with me or something to defend her honor. Finally, I hope that it will convince you that I didn't have any ill intent in acquiring the program other than seeing if it did still exist."

"Another question, Mr. Danley." Solvek quirks his brow. "How good are you at reprogramming holodeck programs?"

Danley says, "Ehh... it's not my speciality but I can find my way around normally. Why? Do you think I did something to the program?"

"Actually, I was wanting to know if you could overwrite this program with another sequence and hide it. I wish to send a message to Ms. Meadows." Solvek's tone is slightly threatening.

Danley chuckles and nods, "Yeah I could do that. Course... I wouldn't want to do anything illegal that would get me in trouble."

Salvir listens to the conversation as he contemplates his next move. He moves a rook before getting a call from the counselor's office. He looks at Solvek. "I have to go now. Would you mind saving the game and we can continue it later?"

"Of course, Jeran." Solvek taps a few buttons on the gameboard and removes a small circuit. "I'm sorry our time was cut short. I do hope the counseling department does not have an emergency." He turns back to Danley. "Nothing illegal, Mr. Danley. Just a short, vocalized message from me."

Salvir nods. "Small emergency. A bit of a breakdown from all the tension. It'll be okay. Take care. Both of you."

Danley nods a bit, "I imagine we ould do that. Shouldn't be much of an issue."

"Very well, then. I will go ahead and record the message and turn it into you as soon as it is completed. You should keep this." Solvek hands the chip back to Danley.

Danley shrugs as he picks up an isolinear chip and returns it to a pocket before tossing another piece of popcorn into his mouth, "Sure, works for me. And sorry for getting you upset the other night."

(Roll opening credits and a commercial or two...)

(We return from commercial in one of the main cargo bays.)

Cargo Bay One <Deck L25> [Gibraltar Station]

This is a large room with walls paneled in light gray and floor covered in black padding. Multiple cargo containers are stacked here at any time, with space left between stacks to allow crewmembers to walk about. A crane to one side of the bay is used to move cargo around between stacks and also to and from an elevator that leads to equipment elsewhere that both loads and unloads containers from ships in the docking bay. Lighting is provided by strips along the juncture between walls and ceiling, as well as vertical alert tracers along the sides of the only door.

Bunni Aventino
Winifred Brooks

Aventino mans the transporter console, "Cargo bay one to USS Montgomery. We are prepared to receive the first order of cargo. Proceed when ready." She watches over the transporter console, making sure everything goes smoothly.

The cargo bay is busy this time of afternoon, with plenty of civilian ships moving sensitive items in and out. The Montgomery calls, "Aye, order on the way," and soon a stack of boxes has materialized on the bay floor.

Brooks comes into the cargo bay with a PADD in hand, peering at it through her glasses. "Hey, Bunni," she calls, seeing who's manning the transporter. "Is the Montgomery's shipment here?"

Aventino checks the stats, "Order received, Montgomery, prepare to transport order two, will notify when we're ready over here." She clicks off the communications panel and saves some data before resetting the transporter panel, fingers easily moving over the buttons as she looks up. "First part of it, yeah." She smiles, as the cargo bay crew moves the crates carefully from the cargo transport pad. "I think your thing is coming in the next batch."

After another moment another load of boxes comes through the transporter. "You got everything, 247?"

Brooks nods, looking over her PADD again. "I have a few things... but yeah, mostly that relic. It's supposed to be pretty interesting."

Aventino blinks, and looks down to the panel, "Montgomery, please await signal before beaming anything into our cargo bay, you nearly dropped that on some heads down here," she exaggerates a bit with a slight laugh, shaking her head and checking to make sure that the cargo came through alright. "Affirmative, Montgomery, we've got it," Bunni adds a moment later, once she's confirmed it.

Brooks walks over to the boxes, checking numbers against her PADD.

"Alright, 247, great. Anything else?"

Aventino grins at the comm panel, not like the person on the other side can see it, "I dunno, Montgomery, what d'ya got?"

There's a pause, then, "Nothing that's marked for you... just want to be sure we've sent everything you say you should have."

Brooks finishes checking her list and looks to Aventino. "It looks like it's everything science should have." She reaches to open one box in particular, carefully pulling out packing material.

Aventino's smile never dims, and she replies, quite chipper, "Yeah, we're set over here, Montgomery. 247 out!"

"Alright, then. Montgomery out." Some of the people in the cargo bay chuckle and then turn back to their work.

Aventino smiles impishly at some of the chucklers, then goes back to the business of that paperwork Ops loves so much, registering the inventory as present and accounted for, Stardate 53337.8, 1400 hours, nine minutes. Blip blip-- bleep.

Brooks digs through the box until she comes upon a certain package. "Ah-ha! Ohhh, they've been buzzing about this... supposedly it's, like, 3,200 years old, part of some long-lost civilization." She unwraps the relic.

Aventino can't help smiling at Fred's enthusiasm. It's nice to see her both not terribly reticent and not perfectly smashed at the same time.

The thing that Brooks unwraps is around two hand spans wide and one long. It's solid but not too heavy, and looks like nothing more or less than an eye made entirely of silver.

Brooks grins, looking the thing over. "It doesn't look like much, but this whole thing is packed with circuitry we can't begin to understand. Not my department, but it's nifty just to look at..." She blinks and then turns to Aventino. "You want to hold it?"

Aventino finishes up a few things on the console and heads over, "It... it's an eye?" she points out, quite astute, that one, holding out her hands to take it and feel it, seeing how dense or hollow it feels, just from its weight, "So, what, are we going to open it up and poke about inside?"

Brooks hands the thing over, shrugging. "I doubt that. Probably scans of it before we take it apart... this thing belongs in a museum."

Aventino mutters, "Christ, packed is right, this thing's heavy," she doesn't seem to have too much of a problem holding it, though, turning it over in her hands and ending up staring at the pupil of the thing, almost holding it like a baby and using her body to support the weight, a finger moving to touch along the iris as she stares at the thing. "It is kind of pretty," she offers absently after a while.

Brooks peers at Aventino for a long moment. "Uhh... Bunni... that kinda has to go down to the lab. Can I have it back? So I can pack it back up?"

Aventino looks sort of startled and then just nods her head, "Sure," she replies, coming closer to Fred and pressing a leg against hers, then closer, hip-to-hip, as she transfers the thing back to the science officer like she'd hand a baby off, carefully, and over as short a distance as possible. "Are you unpacking any of the other shinies, or are you going to leave some fun for the others?" she wonders. "I think I'm going to go hit the lounge for a while. Wanna come?"

Brooks shakes her head and starts packing the relic back into its packaging. "I just wanted to have a look at the thing that's going to be keeping S--Commander Solvek busy for a few days. Which'll keep him from, y'know. The Maelstrom Project." Sure, Fred. She packs the thing away. "Well, now that this is all set, I can send it down there and come on up, sure. You go ahead, okay?"

Aventino steps back after a moment, giving an easy nod, "See you there," she says, a cheerful bounce in her step as she turns and heads out of the cargo bay.

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