No Place Like Home
Posted on Thursday August 8th, 2019 @ 6:36am by Captain Cayne Morrigan & Lieutenant Carmina Barbossa & Lieutenant Mavet & Civilian . & Ensign Murray Campbell-Mckay & Lieutenant Katherine Briggen & Lieutenant Maerynn
Welcome to Union Mining Station Number 42
The returning crew landed in the shuttlebay and the ramp was lowered for them to disembark. Cayne was pretty proud. They had successfully completed negotiations with the miners on the planet below. After the treaty was signed then maybe they wouldn't have to ever do this again. The captain sighed in relief and stepped down out of the shuttle and looked around the large, open space. He waited for the rest of the crew to join him.
"So, do you think this station's shields are sufficient to withstand a Krill attack?" Namira asked. "I'm not certain whether this fresh armistice is really going to hold up in the long term. Soon, the Kaylon threat might be forgotten."
Cayne nodded. "We're going to have to make sure that the shields are up to par." He looked at Murray. "Get with the Chief Engineer and make sure those shields are up to specs and make sure we don't have any giant, glaring, security holes," he said to his Chief of Security.
"Haven' ya had a look aroun', Captai'?" replied the Security Chief. "The whole bloody thin' is nuttin' but security holes. I do my damned best, but if they punch a hole in the shields an' board us, we may as well just determine where the Avis alters are goin'," added Murray.
The Executive Officer was not amused by that witty sharp-tongued response. "Ensign," she said sharply, her tone elevated with authority. "Your job is not to complain about security issues. Your job is to take care of those issues. Make sure those shields hold if you are so concerned," she added.
"Who gives a shit?" Mavet blurted. "Somebody make sure the damn escape pods are ready to go!"
"I give a shit," replied Lieutenant Barbossa.
Cayne looked down at the Gelly and chuckled. "Afraid the Krill are going to blow us up, Lieutenant?" he asked. "I mean... I hear that they're trying to establish a treaty with the Krill or something like that... or they already have... maybe that will help. Probably not, but we can hope, right?"
"What's got my hopes up is a Krill attack," Mavet corrected. "Just think--if a Krill armada showed up and kicked us out, then we'd be war heroes surviving a battle AND we'd get reassigned somewhere that's not the universe's asshole. They'd be doing us a favor, but only if those damn escape pods are prepped in time!"
"And here I thought you enjoyed this posting for the many opportunities to flow around a great diversity of people for the fun of it?" Minara asked. She wasn't quite sure how to read Mavet yet. Sometimes, he came across as an arse, other times he seemed almost vulnerable, defensive because he didn't want to get hurt.
"Man your stations, tighten your lips... if you have any, and curve your pessimism, Mavet or I'll have to find someone who can do your job without panicking at the sight a few Krill vessels."
"Might I suggest that we hail the Krill as they arrive and offer them the hospitality of this station?" Namira asked. "I'm sure they'll understand we need them to come aboard unarmed, and once they're here, we can show them that we're actually nice people." She glanced at Mavet. "Mostly." After a short pause, she continued. "Anyway, might not win us the Nobel peace prize, but someone has to start building trust if that ceasefire is supposed to develop into an eventual peace accord."
Mavet scoffed. "Do I look scared to you? Just think of it--one typo in that message that turns Avis to Anus, and the Krill will drive us out before nightfall! No more shithole mining station!"
"If the Krill show up, kiss your asses good bye. The shields are in worse shape than I am!", she said. "Me got holes here and there an' it looks like a bloody checker board shield. How in the name of Mary you expectin' me to keepin' shields up wit the cruddy equiptment we have", Kat spat out.
"For some of us, it gets worse if we fail this," Cayne said softly, then he grinned and clapped his hands together abruptly. "Alright... So security! Step it up! Get Engineering to help you. Patch the holes as soon as possible." He turned to Namira. "That's not a bad idea to extend a hand. We have supposedly signed a treaty with them. Not that I think this place is prepared for guests... but it is what it is."
"Do you think I should make sure there won't be a typo in the invitation?" Namira asked.
The captain laughed and eyed Mavet. "Please. I think it would be best for all of us if it didn't mention anything about anyone's anus... or lack thereof."
Phelan, who had been passing by to check one of the other shuttles, chuckled at that. He didn't really understand Mavet's attitude, but then, he was Human, not... what the hell did they call themselves again? Anyway, maybe it was just a species thing. He stopped and looked at the station's commander. "Are we having guests?" he asked, not having heard the beginning of the conversation, just something about Mavet wanting to talk about someone's anus and get the Krill to kick them off the station and the other two talking about invitations. What the hell was going on here?
"Yes, we're hoping to invite the Krill to come over," Namira said. "Maybe one of them can explain to us where those grenades came from I found last night."
"Grenades?" Kat said looming on in shock. "You found grenades here?", Kat was now getting a bit antsy.
Phelan frowned. "Grenades? People just leave live munitions laying around here?" he half teased, though the idea that they had been left by the Krill was... disturbing. Well, if they had, at least the Krill were not near enough to set them off. "But an invitation might be an interesting idea... as long as we don't accidentally offend them." That was a concern; only so much was known about what offended the Krill. Not enough in his opinion. Thankfully, none of this was his problem.
"I found a case last night, clearly Krill," Namira said. "I left them with Carmina." Looking at the first officer, she asked, "Have you finished turning them into paperweights yet?"
Captain Morrigan looked at Namira and then at Barbossa. His crossed his arms over his chest, looking rather displeased. "Last night? So when were you two going to tell me about those?" he asked. "And just because there are explosives here and they're Krill doesn't mean the Krill are responsible for them being here. Unless you have more information to share to the contrary." His tone was serious and stern.
Namira shrugged. She wasn't taking this thing terribly seriously. "They've sat there for a few weeks, probably brought in by the miners, should they see the need to escalate things. I suppose some of them had a Krill connection before these negotiations."
Cayne wondered briefly if Rusty was aware that some of his people could potentially be Krill sympathizers. He also wondered if he should let the mining leader know. "Interesting. Let's keep those. They might be useful later. We might need the ammunition..." he joked, meaning both uses of the word. He chuckled and turned his attention back to the shuttle pilot that was standing nearby. "What do you know about the Krill?" he asked of the man. "I've also heard that they're easily offended..."
"We can hope," Mavet quipped, still holding out hope of an attack and forced evacuation.
Phelan shrugged. "I know what any Union officer knows, Sir," he answered. "But there are the rumors too. That they're touchy, is only one of them. I don't usually listen to rumors, Sir, but that one seemed to have... backing, in the Orville's encounters with them." He paused for a moment, thinking. "Though it would be helpful to know more clearly what grinds their gears so we can avoid it. But the only way to do that is to ask one, and I'm not sure they're going to answer that question."
Cayne took a deep breath. The Krill were not only touchy, they were a touchy subject. He glanced at Namira before he said anything. "Religious fanatics are always a little touchy. What we need to do is learn more about Avis. Then we will know what grinds their gears..." He chuckled. The expression was colorful.
Phelan frowned slightly, but more in thought than anything else. "I'd be happy to, but how? I mean, it's not like we can call up our neighboring Krill and say, 'Hey, Mr. Krill, would you mind coming over and giving us a run-down on your god please?' or something," he said with a light chuckle. He could actually picture that call, and the look on the Krill's face would likely be priceless!
"I'm sure there are many among them who wouldn't mind proselytizing," Namira said. "However, most will likely consider us 'unworthy'. What we need to ingrain into their minds is that whatever it is they want to believe and do in the name of their imaginary friend, they can't expect everyone else to agree with them and have their actions dictated by it. I will tell them, but you'll have to be ready for a fight. I am not good at that part."
Phelan shrugged. "Well, I'm really better at the Getting The Hell Outta Here Maneuver, but I can certainly try." he half joked. Truth was, he was an excellent pilot, but he wasn't braggadocious about it. "But I doubt the captain here wants me to try to talk to them either. I'm not really a diplomat." He grinned, having spotted Maerynn not far away. "Maybe boss lady could talk to them though. I hear she's pretty adaptable."
"No one is talking to any Krill without letting me know before they talk to them," Cayne said firmly. "Just feel I need to make that clear." He rubbed his hands together and grinned. "So, everyone back to work. I need to look into some things... as long as they aren't attacking us now, let's try and leave them alone as well. I'm not saying ignore what they're doing, but act... casual. Any questions?"
Phelan shook his head slightly. "No, sir. But just for the record, Captain, I wouldn't even try talking to the Krill without asking... or with asking, for that matter. My last statement was meant only as a joke."
"Mine wasn't," Mavet clarified.
Cayne looked down at Mavet and shook his head. "Exactly my point..." He was going to say more when the deck under their feet shook. It wasn't enough to knock anyone off their feet, but it was definitely enough for the crew to feel it happening. Cayne immediately put his arms out, palms down, his eyes widening in alarm. "So... everyone felt that, right?"
"Just as long as you keep'em outta me enineering area thee happier me be," Kat said sternly.
The shaking was not strong, but it was enough to make Phelan shift his feet to create a more stable stance. He was about to ask 'what the' when the captain spoke. "Um, yeah," he said with an odd note to his voice. "What the hell?" That didn't feel like an attack; but then, what?
"Now can we check those escape pods?!" Mavet yelled.
"Oh shit! What the hell was that?", Kat said with a note of concern in her voice.
"Stop being such a bloody coward," Namira said. "Carmina, are you sure you didn't give away some of those grenades to play with?"
"Hey, I liked playing in that sensuous sand just as much as the next Gelly, but it's not cowardice to long for a better place." Mavet made a popping sound at Namira. "Know what I'm saying, doll-thang?"
"Why don't you resign and take the next transport out of here?" Namira asked.
The forward facing facade that usually featured Mavet's mouth morphed into gelatinous cloven buttocks. "Why don't you kiss my ass and then make sure the escape pods are in working order?" He rose up into a higher vantage point and pleaded with the surrounding group. The simple mouth returned to plead his case. "I feel like I'm talking to myself here. Why does nobody want to make sure our exit strategy is actually working? I promise I won't start an interstellar war. Somebody just go check the pods!"
"Mavet! Check them yourself! You only need one," Cayne said, already making his way out of the shuttle bay and into the hallway. He grabbed a random crew member as they ran past him, pulling the man roughly to a stop. "What's going on?" he demanded.
"Why didn't I think of that?" Mavet said sheepishly.
The crewman looked annoyed and then realizing it was the station's Captain he regained his composure. "We've been having power outages all over the station, ever since you left. No one knows what it is... one of the orbital supports lost power, but they're getting it back online now... Sir..."
Cayne let the man go and pulled his comscanner out. "Engineering, report!" he demanded into the device.
Kat tapped the captain on the shoulder. "Captain', we have bein' having issues all day. There is a rodent problem here on the station. Whatever it tis, it is chewing through wires, cables, hoses and various other systems. At first we thought it a rat but now it seems ta be larger than' a simple rat."
The captain jumped in surprise and whirled around to face his Chief Engineer. "A rat?" Cayne's eyes were wide, still surprised at being surprised like that. He wondered for a moment if his engineer was some sort of ninja. "Rats? There are rats?" He started to look around the floor as if the offending rodents were just going to show up. "How did we get rats? Space rats? I've never heard of space rats..." It occurred to him at that moment that perhaps the engineer was playing a joke on him. He looked at her incredulously.
"Mavet to Captain Morrigan," came the Gelatin's voice through the comms from a comscanner whose location on Mavet's person was best left to the imagination. "There are rats in the escape pods! What in the actual fuck?!"
To be continued...