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Let Them Eat Cake

Posted on Tue Nov 23rd, 2021 @ 10:42pm by Kalahaeia t'Leiya & Commander Kaleetha Sloan (*)

Mission: Holoworld
Location: Holoworld
Timeline: MD -07
2244 words - 4.5 OF Standard Post Measure

It had fit with her life, really, that the crash had happened while had been winning. When Kali came to, the bottom part of the right side of her shirt was stained and sticky with the remains of her drink, or someone else's; scattered chips and cards strewn about doused in equally sticky half-congealed puddles. "...are you fucking kidding me..." She muttered, bringing up her left hand to brush against her pounding head; it came away sticky with blood from the lump on the back where she'd obviously hit it; but not an amount that concerned her immediately. Eyes blinked rapidly; then flicked around the room, assessing the situation, but aside from the strewn chaos, it seemed eerily empty. She cautiously rolled to a sitting position and into standing; this earned a few more inventive curses at the stabbing pain in her side and chest all the way up to her collarbone on the right side.

"Gonna have to pay me triple for this one." Kali muttered as she looked around again, finally planting a foot on a discarded tablecloth and ripping a few long strands off with her left hand, binding the ribs and tying off a makeshift sling for her right arm before pulling a tiny phaser from underneath her jacket and keeping it cautiously low but ready in her left as she set out to search for...Whatever had happened and wherever the hell anyone was gathering in response.

But Kali had found....Nothing. That had been several days ago, and she had run out of stale appetizers strewn around the lounge and the casino area; so far, every replicator she'd encountered had been offline, and she had yet to find more than a paltry few emergency rations. Clearly this was not the crown jewel of the open spaceways when it came to emergency preparedness. A brief drop in on the bridge - just as eerily empty as the rest of the place - to try and make a distress call or otherwise assess the situation had revealed a console seemingly rigged for it, which raised one petite eyebrow high: So. Someone was on the ship besides herself, then. "Make that paying me quadruple..." She had acerbically raised the payment owed for this ill fated contract, cautiously keeping the weapon up on the way back to her hide out but encountering, once again, no one.

It had come belatedly to her mind that a place like this might have a kitchen; if not all food was replicated in complete form....Or even if it was, maybe there might be some left over that had been made prior to the crash and not yet distributed out.

"Finally..." Kali sighed once she actually located it (the ship was, she was discovering, frankly quite poorly laid out), clumsily fumbling one-handed with the override for the door and then looking cautiously around on the other side: Counters, abandoned utensils and plates; a wall of gourmet replicators, offline like the damn rest...and the opposite wall; industrial sized coolers whose doors opened to reveal a veritable spread of cocktail appetizers and desert plates, replicated and in waiting for a party that would never continue. "Let them eat cake!..." she muttered with irony and exhaustion, risking setting down the phaser for just a moment long enough to stuff a bite of cheesecake in her mouth off one of the plates, before an unexpected noise had her snatching it back up rapidly.

Kaleetha had seen the woman as soon as she came into the location she had been using as a base from where she had been stood in the small locker room that was to the side. It had seemed like the place had been a real-life living and breathing worker-run compartment so no emitters in there but you could never be sure but a quick sniff of the air with her more sensitive nose told her the person was no hologram. "The chocolate one is better." The Science officer called out watching as the woman instantly grabbed back up her phaser. Kaleetha offered a small wave from the doorway.

"...You were one of the passengers?" Kali asked cautiously, she didn't lower the weapon completely, but it dropped from a direct aim to more of a low ready. For all she knew, the woman could be a pirate planning to claim the place after shooting it down; but at this point she might take her chance with pirates even. Besides, thinking back, she was pretty sure she'd seen her at least once; and she wasn't a hologram so that probably meant she'd been aboard prior to the place going down. Maybe whomever had left stuff rigged on the bridge. "Any idea what the hell happened to the rest?"

"I was one of the passengers." Kaleetha agreed looking down at the clothes that she wore. It was a mismatch of workout leggings and crew t-shirt. It was what she had found in one of the lockers when she had realised that the place was safe from the hologram not that they noticed her at all. "I have no idea what is going on. I woke up and... well there was a lot of bodies and a few hours later when I went back the bodies were not there. You?" Kaleetha slowly made a move to the old fashioned stove and turned it on.

"Must've woken up later than you." One of Kali's slanted eyebrow rose a bit. "No bodies, just a ton of stuff that had gone flying around the room, broken, or spilled." She sighed, and stowed the weapon. "That implies someone else is on the ship though besides us, or has been. Someone that might be a threat to us, too, if they're looking to get rid of the evidence. Because as long as we're ruling out zombie movies, the dead don't usually move themselves." If the statement was somewhat incongruous when paired with the pointed ears and upswept brows, well, that mismatch was her entire life in a nutshell basically.

“I was not where I last remember being but…” she shrugged. Kaleetha looked at her and frowned. “The holograms is my theory. They seem to not see me when I run into them. Do they treat you as invisible?” The woman wondered. She had considered everything that was within the realm of science but nothing was coming to her.

"I've only encountered like, two; so..." Kali considered the statement for a moment, thinking back while stuffing additional cheesecake into her mouth with her now-free functional arm and swallowed it. "....Yeah, maybe. None of them would answer me and just ignored me when I asked what the hell had happened to the ship, but I figured maybe that was just cheap programming."

The younger woman nodded. She was invisible to any hologram that she had met which was creepy as hell. She had considered that herself was dead for a moment before she had checked herself over in sickbay. The only injuries were the ones she had received in the crash. “Are you wanting something more than cheesecake?” Kaleetha wondered as she tried to connect the dots that were starting to form in her theories.

"As long as it isn't stale cocktail appetizers..." Kali nodded back. "And I wouldn't say no to wherever you're getting clothes not covered in spilled martinis." She looked at herself, then at the other, rather taller woman. "Though finding my size is probably a harder sell..." She paused abruptly, and did a full on facepalm, processing her own words. “Aw hell. Maybe this is a zombie flick; we’re scavenging supplies from the dead now.”

“I will make something.” Kaleetha assured starting to put something together they would be better than cheesecake. “There is a locker room back and there where I came from. Maybe? Maybe not.” Kaleetha had found something suitable in the locker room. “Possible dead.” She offered hopeful. Maybe the few bodies she had seen had been that just a few. Maybe the rest of crew and passengers had escaped.

"The way I see it; there's a couple of options and none of them are great for us." Kali counted off on the fingers of her left hand. "One, everyone is dead and whoever killed them will come back at some point for the ship." She stopped finger counting long enough to slide a hand under her martini-splattered tunic, flashing an elegant dagger with an inlaid hilt as if it were a message to anyone might try that. "If they do, we might be able to take them, and whatever they come in, depending; but the odds aren't great if they had something that could take down a ship this size."

"Two--" Kali stowed the dagger again and resumed the finger-counting "--everyone was taken prisoner by...whoever did this to the ship; and left us for dead, and the actual dead. Three, whatever happened was something intrinsic to the ship, a malfunction or navigation error; and everyone escaped and, again, left us for dead. Either way if no one finds us before the food runs out that'll become 'actually dead'. And if the holograms were in fact trained to pick up and dispose of dead bodies and are doing so, that is not only creepy as hell but gives me less than zero confidence that the cruise line programmed or built this place well enough for even the life support to keep holding out that long potentially."

"We are crashed on a moon above an inhabitable planet. Highly likely they have moved on as there are very few resources to warrant someone coming back." Kaleetha pointed out brightly. "So we need to just hope the distress call gets picked up by some friendlies before then but the ship is top of the line. I researched it, less than a year old." She was not going to comment on theories anymore as it could be for all they knew a combination of it all.

In memories of a past that sometimes seemed like another life entirely, Kali could recall a time when she did that sort of thing. Researched and analyzed, and gave reports to people whose questions sometimes crossed over into either the kind that made you want to roll your eyes flat out at them, or occasionally the kind that made you want to slap them. Until, well, she actually had. Not that she never did anything similar anymore; just that it tended to be rather more abrupt and limited. She had never been a great fit for SFI in the first place, and suspected mostly what they'd regretted (if anything) about dismissing her had been losing their only 'native' speaker of one of her two childhood languages.

"Spent all their money on hardware and tried to spend none on staff then, apparently. Or decent programming." The snark in her voice directed at the absent owners of the operation was apparent, but followed next by a weary sign and a far less acerbic tone. "Because if there's an EMH it's either offline or wouldn't active for me like the other ones you mentioned." Kali waved her free hand at the makeshift sling holding her right arm--near as she could tell the arm was fine; but she was fairly certain her medical skills and acumen didn't extend to 'setting your own collarbone'; then pulled up the corner of the ruined shirt, flashing the ones around her chest and ribs--ironically the survival courses she'd had as a pilot were doing more for her of late than anything SFI had ever trained her for, for all that they'd been the ones to fund her ticket to this ill-fate cruise. "...I'm Kali."

“Kaleetha Sloan. I am not a doctor of medicine but I should be able to help.” The woman quickly answered as she moved what she had cooking from the pot to a plate for the woman. “It’s human food as the ship catered more for us than anyone else.” Kaleetha put the plate down on the small table set in an alcove close to the locker room for the woman

"Thanks." As she moved to the table, it took about all of Kali's practiced gamblers' skills to avoid one eyebrow rising or twitching as if it wished to, at this all: It was easy enough to see the signs that the human blood the woman referenced wasn't purely so, but while not precisely common, human/Vulcan hybrids were no longer exceedingly rare, either. All other things being equal she would have assumed she'd run into one of them; probably more than one generation past for that matter given the subtlety of certain features. Except that if there was one group that had been so rare as to be smaller than small in numbers indeed, at least until the last twelve years or so, it was anyone (well, anyone known to be so at least - the Federation supposition had been that there was likely a rather unfortunate number of undercover agents in play) in Federation space with Romulan blood; and the name tickled at the back of Kali's memories like she had seen it before. "...And I like human food." She grinned for a moment. "It was pretty common where I grew up, on Earth."


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