Star Trek: Lineage Ch. 08byMagicMouse©
2304, Deck 10, Main Crew Lounge, USS Athena, 0830 hours
Casana pressed her nose against the glass, staring intently out the window into the depths of space. Seeing nothing, she frowned and turned her head to one side and then the other. As she went back to staring straight ahead, she unconsciously lifted one heel and twisted the foot back and forth on the toe.
"What are you doing?" Sahar asked from the table a few meters away.
"I'm watching for the ship!" she chirped back exuberantly, tapping on the glass.
"The Republic is approaching at warp velocity," Suvak stated. "As such, it will enter the system traveling faster than any photons emitted by or reflected off of it. Your efforts are therefore in vain."
Casana's shoulders slumped and she pushed herself off the glass. She trudged over to the table with a forlorn look on her face and flopped back into her chair. "Sue, did anyone ever tell you that you're kind of a buzz-kill?" she said, looking up at Suvak.
"You have told me that on numerous occasions."
"Well, they're late, and I'm bored," Casana said with a pout.
"We go through this every time we get new crewmen," Kara smiled, leaning back in her seat.
"I like meeting new people," Casana sighed before taking a sip of Sahar's lemon sharbat when she wasn't looking.
"I just hope they know wha... hey!" she yelled, grabbing the glass out of Casana's hand. "You're like a child!"
"Oh, you can only pray your child is as adorable as me!" she cooed back, batting her eyes and sucking her thumb.
"I'd settle for marginally more mature," Sahar scowled at her.
"Oh, don't mind her, Cass," Kara laughed, putting a hand on Sahar's shoulder. "Sahar always gets grumpy talking about our daughter."
"When are you actually gonna to have her?"
"We haven't decided yet," Sahar answered, looking away. Casana and Suvak exchanged looks.
"You have had a considerable amount of time to plan," Suvak said. "I am surprised that you have not yet decided."
"So, who's going to carry the little kid?" Casana asked, looking anxiously out the window.
"We aren't telling!" Kara smiled wickedly. "You'll have to wait and find out."
"Lieutenant Tehrani," Suvak said casually, taking a sip of her tea.
Sahar and Kara looked wide-eyed at each other, then at Suvak. "How did you know that?" Kara gaped.
"She doesn't," Sahar scoffed. "She's guessing."
"Vulcan's do not 'guess'," Suvak replied, almost offended.
"They're here!" Casana shouted, knocking her chair over as she leaped to her feet. "They're here!" The others turned to look out the window. Sure enough, a few kilometers in front of the Athena was another ship.
"USS Republic," Sahar sighed as she got to her feet. "Constitution-class."
"Haven't seen one of those in a long time," Kara said, wrapping an arm around the taller woman's shoulder. "Hard to imagine that there's only a handful of them left in service." Casana bounced out the door, with Suvak, Sahar, and Kara following behind.
"You know, when I was a kid, those ships were legendary," Sahar said as they walked down the corridor towards the turbolift. "Enterprise, Constitution, Lexington. I knew all of them."
"I knew the name and designation of every Constitution-class in service as a kid."
"That's... kind of sad," Kara teased.
"My parents met on the Potemkin," Sahar said to no one in particular as they stepped into the turbolift. "Fuller served on the Enterprise. I remember when I first saw a Starfleet vessel. It was the Kongo, in orbit after undergoing a refit. Me and my brother were taking a shuttle to meet my parents on Luna, and we flew right by it. We pressed our faces to the glass, staring in awe."
"Awww," Casana grinned as the turbolift door opened on Deck 6.
"That was the face of our parent's generation," Kara said. "Not ours. Things move forward, and the next generation takes over. Like our daughter will."
"Or these new crewmen," Casana added.
"Hey, you saw the list, Kara, anyone we know?" Sahar asked, her nostalgia gone.
"Any officers?" Casana added.
"I didn't recognize any of the names, and there's only one officer," she said, shaking her head as they neared the transporter room. "A security officer. Lieutenant-"
"Holy shit," Sahar gasped as the transporter room door opened and a tall, muscular man stepped out carrying a small bag. When he saw the four of them he stopped in his tracks. Zula emerged from the transporter room behind him and smiled.
"Hey, look who I found."
"Interesting," Suvak said, arching an eyebrow.
"Lieutenant Tehrani, Lieutenant JG Jeffery Black, reporting for duty, sir."
Deck 18, Aft Cargo Bay, 1215 hours
Sahar, Suvak, and Kara sat on a small cargo crate watching as Casana paced in front of them, chewing on her lip and rubbing her hands together furiously. They had been like this for an hour, ever since they found Casana after she ran from Black outside the transporter room. Suddenly, Casana darted behind a cargo container, peeking out at the doorway.
"Did you hear that?" she whispered nervously.
"No," Suvak replied calmly. Casana remained behind the container for a few moments, staring intently at the door.
"Could you possibly relax?" Kara said, concern starting to creep into her voice.
"No!" Casana hissed back desperately. "I can't let him find me!"
"Why not, exactly?" Sahar asked, cocking her head to one side.
"Because, the last time we talked, he asked for a transfer! I broke his heart, and now he's come back! For revenge..." she said, letting her voice trail off dramatically.
"What?" Sahar laughed. "It's not like you killed his father. You broke up with him, that's all."
"Shhh!" Casana hissed, bringing a finger to her mouth. "He'll hear you!"
"He's nowhere near here," Kara said, trying to reassure her.
"I tried to go to my lab a few hours ago, and he was waiting for me!"
"He's stationed there!" Sahar cried.
"Convenient, isn't it?" Casana whispered, looking back around the container. Sahar shook her head.
"What is your plan of action?" Suvak asked, leaning forward in an attempt to see the doorway.
"Your plan. How do you intend to deal with Lieutenant Black?" she explained, stepping off her seat and coming to stand next to Casana.
"I'm hiding," Casana said slowly, as if to a child. "I thought that was obvious."
"Indeed," the Vulcan replied, undeterred. "I was referring to after you are done hiding."
"What do you mean 'after I am done hiding'?"
"Logically, you cannot hide forever," she explained, folding her hands behind her back. "Assuming you are not discovered, you cannot remain here longer than 72 hours without water."
Casana stopped and looked at her. "I hadn't thought of that."
"There are no provisions in this hold, so you will have to leave the hold in order acquire supplies," Suvak said. Sahar and Kara looked at each other.
"It'll be hard to avoid detection," Casana said to herself.
"And if you do not report for duty in a few hours, security will likely take notice."
"That's right," Sahar said. "We'll be forced to search the ship for you."
"Oh, crap," Casana frowned.
"Logically, then, you have only one option: you must confront Lieutenant Black," Suvak said matter-of-factly.
"You're right," Casana said, folding her arms. "I know what I have to do. I have to ki..." She stopped midsentence when Lieutenant Black walked out from behind the container. He was looking at a PADD, but stopped the moment he came around the corner. Black raised his head and turned it to look at Sahar and Kara. They simply stared back at him, and he turned to look at Casana and Suvak.
"I-" Black started to speak, but Casana interrupted him.
"You'll never take me alive!" she yelled and started to run for the exit, but Suvak grabbed her by the shoulders.
"A moment, Lieutenant," Suvak said, holding on to her firmly but gently. "I believe you came to speak with Lieutenant Shen?" she said to Black, still holding on to Casana.
"Actually," Black said, "Chief Zula asked me to come down here and get some spare phaser charge packs out of storage. I believe you're sitting on them," he nodded to Sahar and Kara. "But, now that you mention it, I think maybe we should talk," Black said, looking back at Casana.
"Time to go," Sahar said, hopping off the crate and heading for the door.
"Yup," Kara added, following her out the door.
"I believe I should leave the two of you in private," Suvak said, nodding to both Black and Casana in turn before she, too, left the room. Black and Casana looked at the door, then at each other.
"What were you guys doing back here? And who's the redhead? Wasn't she with you in the corridor?"
"Hiding, Harry's lover, and yes," Casana answered, looking at the floor as she shifted her weight back and forth.
"Okay," he said. "Let's start with the easier one. She's Sahar's girlfriend?"
"About five years now. She actually arrived aboard the same ship you left on."
"What's her name?"
"Lieutenant Kara Anwen Morgan. They met in a shuttle craft crash. They're gonna to have a kid soon."
"Good for them," Black said with gentle smile. "They'll be glad they did."
"Oh, I'm sorry. I'm married."
Deck 7, Officer's Quarters, 0810 hours
Sahar walked slowly into her quarters, rubbing her neck with an exhausted sigh. She sat down on the bed, kicked her boots off, and then simply collapsed, intent on not moving unless absolutely necessary. For a long time, she lay blissfully still, letting the tension of a long shift drain away. She had stayed in the Armory an extra hour getting the new personnel settled in and planning the new duty roster with Zula and Fuller. For a moment she wondered where Kara was, but exhaustion quickly overwhelmed her mind and she drifted off to sleep.
She awoke to the sensation of something pulling on her jacket. Sahar could also feel a presence next her, a weight on the bed, and heard soft breathing above her. Hands massaged her shoulders and arms, and Sahar's body relaxed. A happy smile spread over her face, and she felt someone gently brush a bit of hair off her cheek.
"Hey, Kara," she whispered tiredly.
"Guess again," sang out a familiar voice. Sahar's eyes snapped open, and she found herself staring up into Casana's grey eyes, a triumphant grin spread across her face. Sahar sprang to her feet, nearly tripping on her boots, and spun around to face Casana.
"What the fuck are you doing here, Cass?" she yelled in alarm. "What the hell were you doing?"
"Relax," Casana grinned, "I just wanted to see if I could fool you. I just want to talk to you."
"Jesus Christ..." Sahar breathed, trying to catch her breath.
"Hey, you're lookin' kind of pale."
"I'm fine," Sahar panted. "You just scared the hell outta me. How did you even get in here?"
"Are you sure you're okay? You look like you're gonna pass out," Casana said with some concern.
"I'm fine, dammit. What do you want?"
"I don't know..."
"Okay, okay," Casana relented, raising her hands in surrender. "Geez, you need to relax. Oh, and you should change your door code more often."
"I need to talk to you about Jeff."
"How did you get my door code?"
"I'm not sure I can work with him. I mean, I've still got some feelings for him," she sighed, taking a brief pause. "Plus, he's really hot. I mean really, really hot. Seriously, have you seen his ass? Holy crap! It makes ya' wanna-"
"Casana!" Sahar shouted, taking Casana by the shoulders. Casana snapped back to reality and looked up into Sahar's eyes. "Why are you coming to me?" she asked slowly.
"Well, we get along pretty well, and we used to be involved. Or almost involved, I guess. And you still have some feelings for me-"
"What?" Sahar's eyes widened, and took a few steps back. "I do not," she muttered and looked away with a blush.
"Uh-huh. Just a thought: poker is not your game."
"So, you want to know how I get along with you despite having 'feelings' for you?" Sahar asked, putting air quotes over the word "feeling".
"Yes," Casana answered with her own air quotes.
"Well, it's simple really: I didn't have a choice," Sahar shrugged. "You weren't going anywhere, and I wasn't going anywhere, so I was just sorta stuck with it."
"Seriously?" Casana said after a moment's hesitation, suspicion in her voice.
"So, your telling me to just get over it? Easy as that?" Casana asked, still suspicious.
"Well, not exactly. I mean, it's not easy," Sahar admitted, sitting down in a chair next to the bed. "Hell, I went on five-year sex-fueled downward spiral 'til I met Kara."
"Yeah, I already tried that," Casana frowned.
"No," Casana answered. Sahar was somewhat off put by the ease with which Casana had lied to her.
"Oh, umm, that's a relief," she said.
"Wait, yes to which part?" Sahar asked, again not sure if Casana was lying. "Yes, it's a relief, or yes to the sex thing?"
"Maybe I should go talk to him," Casana said to nobody in particular, ignoring Sahar's confusion. "I mean, I'm 97 years old, I should be able to handle it, right?"
"Whoa, back up a moment. Who, exactly, did you have sex with?"
"I've been married, and I've been divorced. I can totally handle this," Casana said with a nod of her head. She bounced to her feet and walked confidently out the door. "Thanks, Harry!" she called as the door closed behind her.
"Don't call me Harry," Sahar snarled at the closed door.
Deck 5, Port Navigational Sensor Cluster Diagnostic Station, 0810 hours
Kara scratched the back of her neck and stared at the screen in front of her with confusion and annoyance. "Yeah, that's gotta' be wrong," she mumbled, and started running another diagnostic. After recalibrating the system, she re-entered the test data, and the sensor read it correctly. Next, she switched the sensor from diagnostic to scan mode, and whispered a silent prayer.
"Shit! God-bloody-damned fucking piece of crap, what the hell is your bleeding, fucking problem, you worthless sack of rubbish!" she screamed and slammed her fist down onto the console in front of her.
"Is this a bad time, sir?" Black asked from the doorway to the small room Kara was working in.
"What? Oh, Lieutenant Black," Kara said, looking up from the terminal with an embarrassed blush. "I'm sorry, I didn't notice you there. Please, come in. Jeffery, right?"
"Yes, sir," Black said as he entered the room. He came in just far enough for the door to close and stood at attention.
"At ease, Lieutenant," Kara said with a half-smile. "Any friend of Sahar's is a friend of mine. Do you prefer Jeffery, or just Jeff?"
"Jeff, sir," Black answered and relaxed ever so slightly. "Is something wrong?"
"Oh, the graviton detector in one of the navigational clusters is acting up. What can I do for you, Jeff?"
"Well, I need your advice. About Casana."
"Go on," Kara said, turning back to the terminal.
"Well, a few weeks before I transferred off the ship, she left for some award ceremony on Trill," he explained, leaning against the wall. "When she got back, the first thing she did, the FIRST thing, was break up with me."
"Perhaps she needed time to think about it before she told you," Kara said, immediately realizing what kind of ceremony he was referring to.
"I thought that at first, too. Be she started acting different. Stranger."
"You mean she was normal at one time?" Kara said with a smirk.
"Well, not really," he replied with a brief laugh. "But more normal than when she returned. It was like she was herself one minute, and a totally different person the next."
"Maybe she's possessed."
"Ha ha. Sir," he added quickly. "I'm serious. For example, she still had the same energy, the same flirty attitude, and she still tortured Sahar. But she also stopped using the transporter, started spending more time alone, and she even changed how she walked and stood!"
"Well, except for the spending time alone, that sounds like the Casana I know."
"And that's why I'm here," Black explained. "I need to know how to deal with the new Casana. I mean, that stuff in the cargo hold was totally unlike the Casana that I knew."
"I'm still not sure what you mean. Damn," Kara frowned after her latest attempt to fix the sensors failed.
"For example, if she starts flirting with me, is she serious? Because the old Casana would do that all the time and it didn't mean a thing, but now..."
"Look, Jeff," Kara said, choosing her words very carefully. "Casana has... matured. I don't think you have anything to worry about."
"So what do you suggest?"
"I suggest you just behave normally around her. Fuck!"
"What's the problem?" Black asked, leaning over the terminal.
"This sensor cluster is detecting a weak graviton source off the port side, none of the other clusters read anything, and when we maneuver the ship, it keeps a fixed bearing and distance."
"Sounds like an error in the computer."
"Yeah, but the calculations all come out fine."
"I assume the test input comes out fine?"
"Yeah," Kara sighed, rubbing her eyes.
"Maybe the test input doesn't cause the error to occur," Black said, taking a moment to think. "What if you routed input data from another sensor cluster through this one, and sent this one's to that cluster?"
"Yeah, that might show us were the problem is!" Kara smiled. "We'll have to adjust some of the filters to compensate for the different orientation of the clusters, but it should work."
"I'll make the adjustments, you reroute the data," he said, walking over to another console. "What do mean, 'behave normally'?"
"Oh, come on," Kara teased. "Don't tell me a good looking guy like you doesn't know how to deal with an ex."
"This is no ordinary ex, sir," Black answered. "Making the filter adjustments now."
"I'm going to use data from the forward cluster. Sure she is. I know Sahar and Casana have a history, and we hang out all the time. You should join us. After a few times, I'm sure everything will be okay."
"I don't know. Whenever Sahar, Cass, and I are together, something bad happens, and frequently it happens to me. Filter adjustments complete."
"Oh, don't be silly," Kara laughed. "Nothing is going to happen. Rerouting sensor data. Check the output from the forward cluster." Kara stared down at her screen as the readings came up. "Huh. It looks normal over here."
"Mine isn't," Black frowned. "Reading a graviton source off the port side. The problem has to be in the sensor cluster itself. Someone is going to have to go out there and check it manually."
"That's what engineers are for," Kara grinned and reached for the comm panel.
Deck 7, Officer Quarters, 1630 hours
"Hey, sweetie, how was your day?" Sahar asked from her comfortable chair as Kara shuffled into their quarters.
"How was your nap?" Kara sneered half-heartedly.
"Ouch," Sahar laughed quietly, setting aside the PADD she was reading. "What happened?"
"Sorry," Kara said with a weak smile as she tossed her jacket onto the bed. "I spent eight hours chasing a sensor glitch in the graviton detectors."
"What was the problem?"
"No fucking clue," she sighed. Kara walked into the bathroom and splashed some water on her face. She struggled to let the built up tension in her body fade until she felt Sahar's strong arms around her waist.
"Don't worry about it, baby," Sahar whispered into her ear, slowly rocking from side to side. "You just take it easy now, okay?"