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Ghosts of Christmas Present

Posted on Mon Apr 15th, 2024 @ 6:28pm by Teresa Forrest & Laurier Cami

Mission: Fractures
Location: SS Mary Rose - Engineering
Timeline: After "Ghosts of Christmas Past"
975 words - 2 OF Standard Post Measure

Cami practically tumbled to the deck plate. The jarring nature of these apparent 'fractures' was getting to be ridiculous. At least Engineering was a place she could figure out more easily; like a second home. And perhaps it would help her figure out what was going on.

With a grumble, the Bajoran picked herself up, dusted off her coveralls, and glanced around. Engineering was basically empty, the gentle hum of the warp core in idle mode and not much else going on. Except for the sounds of someone else moving around just out of sight. She tensed herself, not completely sure if she was in her 'present' time or some random nightmarish offshoot...

"Hello?" she called out. "Please don't be some crazy psychopathic killer on the loose...I...have a stick." She cringed, knowing that it was a stupid thing to say. Not only because it sounded like she was the psychopath, but also because she did indeed not have said stick to hand.

"Ah, no. I'm an engineer," The voice replied. Definitely female, with an accent from Earth. American, to be precise. Montanan, to be pedantic. "Psychopathic killer was my other choice but my family pressured me into something more mainstream," the owner of the voice made herself visible, pushing out from underneath the console she'd been buried in to, grease stains on her hands and face. "Hi," the strange woman lying in engineering flashed a grin. "Sorry. Didn't know someone else was in here. Would've sung something more appropriate than th - you know, nevermind. Hi."

"Oh. Oh, good. That's a relief, because I really wasn't prepared to whack any..." Cami shrugged and shook her head. "I don't really need to explain all that. You're one of the newer crew, right? We've bumped shoulders a couple of times on different shifts. Burnie probably brought you in to help out while I was on leave..." A vaguely guilty expression crossed the Bajoran's face before she shook it off. "Things, as you can tell, are pretty messed-up at the moment."

"I am, yes," Teresa offered as she stood up from the ground, with a bit of a wince and a groan. "I should get that looked at, maybe," as she rubbed her side a bit. Her expression of discomfort making way for an easy smile as she offered a hand in greet. "Teresa Forrest, Tree to friends. Actually Gregnol brought me in, which was a surprise to Burnie as well."

"Tree. Like, as-in a big wooden thing...?" Cami frowned, not sure she was quite clicking with the nickname. She took and shook the hand anyway. "Burnie needs the odd torment from time-to-time, it's totally normal," she explained. "Oh! I'm Cami; I'm one of his long-suffering greasers too."

"Yeah, big wooden thing," Tree snickered. At first she'd hated the nickname, but as the years went on she'd come to see the humor in it. "Apparently 'Tree Forrest' is the height of comedy for twelve year old's, and the name stuck," she answered with a shrug. "Fellow engineer, huh. So what's your story?"

"Ah the usual; grow up on a ship, apparently that means you learn everything about fixing them. Or something like that. Orphan prodigy kid. Pretty archetypal." Cami shrugged. "Anyway, if you're okay, we should make sure all of the power systems are secure and we're not about to blow up the core or anything..."

Tree looked around now, seemingly worried. "What, are you expecting things to blow up? Last time I checked everything was within nominal - well, everything that matters for not blowing up - do you know something I don't?"

"You work with Burnie, you sort of expect things to blow up," Cami replied with a faint smirk. "You get used to things spontaneously bursting into flame or sparks on these old Starfleet ships. Feels like they designed them to blow up in their crew's faces. Honestly, the number of times I've had to dodge falling debris and fireworks..." She shook her head. "Let's just do a full diagnostic. What's your specialty?"

"Computer systems," Tree answered readily. "The hardware aspect. With networking as secondary," A nod. "Sounds like Burnie keeps you on your toes if he's that prone to blowing things up," A pause, a smirk as she folded her arms over each other. "Sounds like a fun place to work."

"It's never dull. Case in point," Cami shrugged, a wry grin on her face as she indicated the empty engineering section. "Weird time-bending anomalies covering the ship? Normal Tuesday afternoon." Her fingers danced over the main diagnnostic control panel. "On the bright side, the core isn't about to blow up. So that's good. But these time anomalies are playing havoc with the EPS grid. Think you can help me jury-rig a workaround, Tree Lady?"

"Is that's what's going on?" Tree looked confused, furrowing her brows and tilting her head a bit. "I'd been wondering what was going on. Can't say I've experienced it myself though," She added, though Cami's question called her to order. "Yeah, sure. Shouldn't be hard. On that Miranda I served on I once kept the shields from going down by routing the power through the deck plating," Beat. "After evacuating the affected deck, of course."

"You can do that?" Cami blinked, not sure whether to be impressed or disturbed. "They teach you Starfleet types all sorts of crazy tricks." She tweaked some controls. "I expect you'll need them all while you're aboard this boat; systems are cross-wired all over the place. Sometimes I wonder if that's actually how we keep this ship going when it probably should have fallen apart years ago."

"Necessity is the mother of invention," Tree replied with a shrug. "The old girl's got character, that much is for sure. Now let's jury-rig a workaround," She added with a nod.


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