Author: Alan Decker, Anthony Butler
STAR TRAKS: BOLDLY GONE
“Let’s Get Physical”
By Alan Decker & Anthony Butler
Lieutenant Commander Tovar’s blood ran cold as he watched Ensign Hector Arroyo exit the turbolift and gingerly retake his seat at the helm console. The poor man looked like he’d been through hell, which, undoubtedly, he had.
Arroyo swivelled around in his seat to look at Tovar. “He wants you next,” Arroyo said weakly. “The monster.”
“Buck up there, Arroyo,” Captain Reginald Bain said, stepping over to Arroyo and clapping the shaken officer on the shoulder.
“With all due respect, sir, that’s easy for you to say. He hasn’t asked for you yet.”
Tovar listened to this exchange with growing dread. So far, each and every member of the Anomaly crew except he and Bain had been subjected to horrible torments. And now “the monster,” as Arroyo had so appropriately put it, had his sights set on Tovar.
Five or six of his different past lives (it was hard to tell with all the screaming going on in the Yynsian’s mind) weighed in their opinions on the subject. “Run.” “Hide.” “Escape.”
But what was the point of running? As those blasted Borg used to say before they got new writers, “Resistance is futile.”
How had they gotten into this predicament? Here they were, just barely away from Earth awaiting their first assignment after wrapping up that whole mess with one of Kasyov’s rogue brains, and the crew was already captive to the whims of a madman.
“I guess you’d better get down there, lad,” Tovar heard Bain saying gravely as the captain took a seat in his command chair.
More voices in Tovar’s consciousness pushed their way to the surface. This was the intruder life-force. The one that had forced its way before Tovar’s birth at great risk both to Tovar’s sanity and the well-being of the other life-force Tovar carried.
“You, perhaps more than anyone on this ship, are aware of the many places to conceal yourself on the Anomaly. Use your knowledge. Go!”
“Kill all of the puny mortals!”
“Find a new tailor.” Well…that last one was kind of off the subject, but he was certainly persistent.
Tovar closed his eyes, trying to clear his head and concentrate…never an easy task with sixteen other lives crammed into your brain. The Anomaly specs. He’d studied them carefully on their way to intercept the ship during the Anomaly’s first encounter with Cabral. Where could he go? How could he get there without being spotted?
The Emergency Intruder Avoidance System. Thank you, Marsden! Tovar made a mental note to recommend the chief engineer for reincarnation next time he was on Yyns. Until then, he needed to get the hell off the bridge.
He reached under his console, fumbling for the switch he knew was there. Lieutenant Marsden, in her infinite wisdom, had created the Emergency Intruder Avoidance System for use by the Security Chief/Operations Officer in case the bridge were ever overrun by hostile forces. With the flip of a switch, the floor below the tactical/ops console would open, allowing the Sec-Ops Officer to escape into the Anomaly’s jefferies tubes.
After finally finding the switch, Tovar threw a silent curse at the monster terrorizing the Anomaly and activated the escape hatch. In one smooth movement, the floor opened, sliding Tovar down into the tubes.
Bain, after not hearing a thing out of Tovar for the last few moments, turned his chair around to face his Sec-Ops officer. “Tovar, I thought you were going to report to Doctor Nooney…” But Tovar wasn’t anywhere to be seen. “Oh. Good show. Arroyo, get someone up here to make the lift doors more noisy. I don’t like people being able to creep in and out of here without me hearing them. It’s damn disconcerting.”
Tovar raced through the jefferies tubes, putting as much distance between himself and the bridge as possible as fast as he could. Let that Nooney psycho try to find him. The mad doctor didn’t have a chance, and there was no way Tovar was submitting to one of his “physicals.” He’d seen the results on poor Arroyo…and Prosak…and Ensign Hifflin still hadn’t left his quarters. Normally, Tovar would just order Hifflin, who was one of his security officers, to see the counselor. But Nooney had that job as well! Damn Starfleet efficiency experts and their damn job consolidation.
It was too late for Hifflin now, though, but Tovar still had a fighting chance. All he had to do was avoid Nooney until the ship encountered something exciting. Then he’d be needed on the bridge, and everyone would just forget about the idea of physicals…he hoped. Otherwise, Tovar would just have to spend his time between bridge shifts on the run. He could live with that. But this kind of lifestyle would require some preparation. He needed provisions. His goal set, Tovar quickened his pace through the Jefferies tube.
Meanwhile in Sickbay, Dr. Fred Nooney sat with his feet up on his desk playing a video game on a padd while he waited for his next appointment to arrive.
“Not so fast, you bad little mousey!” Nooney said, his fingers frantically pressing controls on the padd. “Gotcha!” With the sweet taste of success still in his mouth (and the bad little mousey trapped in a cage with a lovely hunk of cheese), Nooney glanced over at the chronometer displayed on his desk console. 1312 hours. Lieutenant Commander Tovar was late.
Nooney put the padd down and stood up, gently easing his rear end out of the chair. These chairs just were not designed to be sat in while naked. His rear stuck to the seat every time. Of course, Starfleet’s chair designers most likely didn’t imagine that their chairs would be used by too many naked people, but Nooney had a policy: if he got to see his patients naked, they should get to see him naked. He felt that it would make them more comfortable and break down the barriers standing in the way of a fulfilling Doctor/Patient relationship.
Stretching himself to his full six feet of height and brushing his hands through his sandy-blond hair, the Anomaly chief medical officer wandered out into the main area of Sickbay on the small chance that Tovar had slipped in without him hearing.
Ih’vik, Nooney’s Andorian nurse, was at her small desk going over results from the previous crew physicals. She glanced up at Nooney, her face quickly filling with disgust, then, just as quickly, she turned her attention back to her work.
“Any sign of our next patient?” Nooney asked.
“No,” Ih’vik replied flatly.
“I sense tension between us. Have you felt this?” Nooney said, walking over to her. “We need to share. Get this out in the open.”
“You have shared with me more than I ever wanted you to,” Ih’vik said, trying desperately to ignore the fact that a naked human was standing next to her seat, putting her at eye-level with his nether-regions. That was bad enough, but this human was desperately out of shape, his stomach hanging unattractively, not to mention the pathetic patch of hair in the very center of his chest nestled right between his…ugh…man breasts.
“I know, but you haven’t shared with me. Maybe if you undressed, we could rid of some of this darkness.”
“Doctor, f’vartinxxzs will kvartz first.”
“Um…okay. I’ll give you some more time to work through this on your own, but I want you to know I’m always here for you. You’re my nurse, and I firmly believe we should have a special bond,” Nooney said, stepping away from Ih’vik.
Ih’vik grunted non-committally, engrossing herself with the minute medical details of each of the Anomaly’s crew. Nooney turned his attention back to his missing patient. “This Doctor Nooney to Captain Bain.”
“Go ahead,” Bain’s voice said over the comm line.
“This is Doctor Nooney down here in Sickbay.”
“I got that part, Doctor,” Bain said. “How can I be of assistance?”
“Well, I have Lieutenant Commander Tovar booked for a physical right now, but he isn’t here.”
“Don’t know what to tell you, Doctor. Tovar left in quite a rush several minutes ago. Can you just move on to your next appointment?”
“That would be you, Captain.”
Up on the bridge, Bain grimaced. “Er…I see. Well, Doctor, I’ve got a real load on me at the moment. Just frightfully busy…”
Arroyo looked back at Bain in annoyance. Bain silently waved for him to turn back around and watch where he was flying.
“I’m sure Tovar will be along presently,” Bain continued. “He’s a good man. Best and brightest and all that. You just wait for him. Bridge out.”
“Do you want me to try and find Tovar?” Arroyo asked, turning back around to face the captain.
“No no no,” Bain said. “Don’t trouble yourself a bit about it. I’m sure Tovar is just fine. There’s no need to rush these things.”
“Right,” Arroyo replied. He couldn’t really fault Bain for it, though. First rule of command: use subordinates to protect your own ass. And in this case, that kind of protection was definitely required.
Tovar made yet another mental note, this time to remember to put a pair of knee pads by his console for the next time he had to use this escape route. Crawling through all of these jefferies tubes was murder on his knees. On the upside, he was approaching an intersection where he could start climbing down ladders for a change.
At least he was supposed to be approaching an intersection. Instead, he reached the end of the tunnel and found himself faced with some kind of black drape. He was pretty sure this was not standard Starfleet engineering equipment.
Pushing the drape aside, Tovar crawled into the intersection. But this intersection looked more like some kind of galactic flea market. Small platforms had been built along the walls, each covered with various bits of technology and other knick-knacks which softly hummed, beeped, and blipped as the occasional light blinked or flashed. On one platform at the upper reaches of the intersection stood a small man, probably no more than four feet tall, dressed in an sciences uniform with lieutenant’s pips. From his height, skin coloration (slightly orangish with large maroon splotches) and facial structure (two nodule-like bumps on his forehead, longer than average chin), Tovar concluded that this figure was Moglodin. The real question was what was he doing in the jefferies tubes with all this junk.
“Watch where you move!” the Moglodin shouted suddenly. Tovar hadn’t realized that the Moglodin was even aware of his presence until that moment. “And don’t you dare take anything! This is all MINE!”
“Of course. Lieutenant…”
“Polnuc!” the man spat. Tovar was confused. Was that a name or a curse?
“What is all this…”
“None of your business. On your way!” Polnuc, if that was his name, moved over to another bit of flashing technology, his small height and odd build causing him to waddle slightly.
“I am Chief of Security on this ship, which makes it my business,” Tovar replied. Really, he didn’t have time for this. Nooney could be closing in on his location as he sat wasting time with this strange being. It certainly would be easy for Nooney to use a quad-corder to locate the one Yynsian on the entire ship.
“No security risks here. Just MY stuff.”
Tovar narrowed his eyes at the Moglodin. “All right. But I’m going to be watching you. Carry on.”
“Yes yes. Whatever. Just go!” Lt. Polnuc (which actually was his name; although, the word polnuc is considered to be a hideous slander against one’s gardener on Fuytobis Six…not that anyone on the Anomaly had ever been there.) spat as Tovar made his way down the ladder to the lower decks of the ship. Tovar tried to refocus his mind on the matter at hand. Again, the voices inside him made their presence known. “Run.” “Must keep moving.” “Get provisions.” And then the intruder minds spoke, “That uniform does nothing for the Moglodin body structure.” “That Polnuc person had a multiphasic interplexing quantum imager!”
The intruder briefly fought to take control of Tovar’s body in order to retrieve his multiphasic inter…whatever it was, but was quickly pushed down by Tovar and the other past lives that were supposed to be there. Tovar made yet another mental note, this time to remember to sign up on the Interloping Past Life Assessment and Removal list. He knew he wasn’t quite old enough yet (he had another year to reach what the Yynisans considered mature enough to withstand the procedure), but this was getting out of hand.
Mental note complete, Tovar continued his descent toward the mess hall. He needed provisions…and he needed to keep moving before Nooney could get a lock on his position.
Dr. Nooney, now fully dressed, headed out of Sickbay after leaving orders with Ih’vik to page him the moment that Tovar showed up. In the meantime, there really wasn’t any reason not to enjoy the glorious day. Of course, considering they were in the controlled environment of a starship, everyday was glorious.
With some free-time on his hands, Nooney went back to his quarters feeling the desire to get out for a bit. He doctor’s quarters were considerably brighter than most rooms on the ship, mainly due to the yellow paint he’d put on the walls and the extra-bright lights he’d had engineering install in his ceiling. Starship life could be so drab, but there was no reason his quarters had to be that way. It could be all dull and military in the corridors, but his quarters would always be bright and sunshiney.
Nooney walked past his easel, paint set (minus black paint, of course. Who wanted that?), and sculpting block (everything painting and sculpture in the room were Nooney originals) while stripping his uniform back off. He really needed to write up a proposal for an all-nude starship. It was so liberating, and the benefits to crew performance would be immeasurable. Considering they had now reached the dawn of the 26th century, people were still awfully stiff. Maybe they were still shaken up by that whole Y2.5K bug mess. Fortunately, it had really only affected replicators on Earth, but still, cleaning up the putrid slush each and every one of them spewed out on New Year’s Day 2500 had taken weeks. But that was all over with now. It was time to move ahead into the new century. And Nooney felt this should be the Century of the Body. Beings all across the galaxy needed to get past their need for clothes as face each other as they were created. Everyone would be a lot more comfortable, and the whole galaxy would reach a new level of closeness.
Now wonderfully naked and free, Nooney stepped over to the holopod in the corner of his bedroom. With advances in holographic technology over the years, Starfleet was now able to equip each set of quarters with a personal holopod. This miniature holodeck was basically just an eight-foot cubed box, and it alleviated the inconvenience and lack of privacy of the older holodecks that a whole crew had to share. Of course, the holopods presented a whole new set of problems. For example, if you jumped too far in any direction, you could easily find yourself smacking into a wall.
Nooney activated his desired program and stepping to the holopod, closing the door behind him. As soon as the door shut, the hologrid vanished, replaced by a grassy mountaintop in the Alps. A cool breeze brushed past Nooney, energizing his skin. He stretched his arms out and began to spin…and sing.
“The hills are alive…with the sound of music!”
Opening the jefferies tube hatch just a crack, Tovar peered out into the corridor to make sure the coast was clear. No Nooney. Good. Moving quickly and silently, Tovar crept out into the hall, closed the jefferies tube hatch, and dashed across the corridor into the doors of the Anomaly’s dining facility.
Tovar found himself in what appeared to be a large kitchen in a 20th century home on Earth. Once again, he questioned the wisdom of allowing the holo-chef to create a new eating environment whenever it felt like it.
“Did you wipe your feet?” a shrill female voice shouted. In front of a large oven, an even larger woman dressed in some sort of horrifyingly-patterned dress shook a rolling pin in Tovar’s general direction.
“There is nothing on them to wipe off,” Tovar said confused.
“Don’t you talk back to your mother!”
Ignoring the shrieking demon at the oven, Tovar approached a small round wooden table where Commander Prosak, the Anomaly’s Romulan first officer, sat contemplating a plate containing a rectangular meat-like substance next to a pile of white glop covered in brown liquid next to a pile of greenish-brown round objects that almost resembled peas.
“Is there a problem with your order, Commander?” Tovar asked, taking a seat across from Prosak.
“The problem is that I wasn’t allowed to make an order,” Prosak replied. The large “mother” figure the holo-chef had turned itself into plopped a plate full of the same contents as Prosak’s down in front of Tovar.
“What is this?” Tovar asked.
“It’s meat loaf!” the holo-chef screeched. “Eat it!” She turned on Prosak. “And you’d better do the same, missy!”
“But I’m a vegetarian,” Prosak protested.
“Well, that’s a fine how-do-ya-do!” the holo-chef snapped. “Do you know how long I slaved over a hot oven to cook this?”
“Considering the speed of the average replicator, 2.4 seconds,” Tovar said.
“You shut up, buster. Or it’s off to your room with no supper! Or dessert!” In a huff, the holo-chef stalked back over to her oven and sTovar.
“I guess you could eat the peas and potatoes…assuming that is what that white material is,” Tovar offered.
“There is beef gravy on the potatoes, which defeats the purpose of being vegetarian. And these peas stretch the definition of vegetable to the limit. I would just eat in my quarters, but I don’t want to seem anti-social,” Prosak said.
Tovar looked around the room. As he thought, they were the only two people present. “How can you be social if you are here alone, which you were until I arrived?”
“But you are here now, so if I wasn’t here, you would be alone, and I would, therefore, be antisocial. It’s simply logical.”
Not in any form of logic I am familiar with, Tovar thought to him. Prosak’s interest in Vulcan logic was admirable, but she had a ways to go in applying it correctly.
“So, have you had your physical yet?” Prosak asked, pushing peas around her plate idly with her fork.
“Why do you want to know?” Tovar said, suddenly suspicious. Had she been told by Nooney to find him?
“No reason. It is simply the one experience we all will have shared as a crew and, therefore, seemed like a logical conversation starter.”
“Right,” Tovar replied, unconvinced. He shoveled a big fork full of meatloaf into his mouth. Celery? Who the hell put celery in meat loaf? But he needed the protein from the meat and carbohydrates from the potatoes to keep himself going.
“I believe our first mission may take us to Romulan space,” Prosak continued. “Have you ever been to Romulus?”
“No,” Tovar said between huge bites. The voices started again. “She could still be with Nooney.” “Why else would she be making this incessant small talk?” “Sever her head from her body and use it for an ale tankard!” “I could make one fantastic gown for that body! Just give me a chance.”
Tovar finished eating and rose from his seat. “Excuse me, Commander.” He made a hasty retreat toward the door, leaving his plate on the table.
“Haven’t you ever heard of a dishwasher?” the holo-chef screamed. “Were you born in a barn?”
“Oink,” Tovar remarked, then left the mess hall.
Prosak shrugged and attempted to dislodge a somewhat edible-looking piece of celery from her chunk of meatloaf.
The holo-chef turned on her in fury. “Don’t pick at your food!”
After hearing a slight grunt, Bain turned his chair around to look at the starboard turbolift doors. Two legs belonging to Chief Engineer Shelly Marsden shifted a bit as the stuck out of the access hatch by the doors.
“You ship-shape in there, Marsie?” Bain asked.
“Yes, sir,” Marsden replied. And if you call me Marsie again, I’m going to jam this attenuator into your ear, she finished to herself. This whole assignment was ridiculous. The doors whooshed plenty loudly. Get a damn hearing aid if you can’t hear the doors. Don’t waste my time installing this stupid device.
She made one final adjustment, then crawled out of the hatch. “There. Both turbolifts are done.”
“Capital! Let’s hear it,” Bain said happily.
Marsden remotely activated the lift doors, which obediently whooshed open.
“You’ve got visitors!” the computer said cheerily.
“Wonderful!” Bain said, slapping the arm of his command chair.
“I’m glad you’re happy,” Marsden muttered. “I’ll be in engineering if any other emergencies should occur.” She stepped into the lift, which obediently closed, cutting her off from the bridge.
“Goodbye,” the computer said warmly.
Bain had just finished swivelling around to face the viewscreen when…
“You’ve got visitors!”
Bain turned back around to see Dr. Nooney, thankfully dressed, exiting the turbolift onto the bridge. The captain instinctively jumped out of his chair and back up toward the conn console.
“Oooh, I like that!” Nooney said, clapping his hands happily as he looked back at the turbolift. “It creates such a friendly atmosphere.”
“What can I do for you, Doctor?” Bain asked, forcing the congenial smile to stay on his face.
“Who do I talk to at Starfleet Command about nudity?” Nooney asked seriously.
Bain blinked a few times, processing the information, as Arroyo clapped his hand to his mouth stifling what appeared to be a coughing fit.
“I couldn’t say off the top of my head, Doctor,” Bain said, relieved that the doctor’s request didn’t involve order Bain to get his physical. “Why don’t you just head back down to Sickbay, and I’ll have our people look into it.”
“You promise?” Nooney said, waving the padd he was holding in the air. “This proposal may just be the future of Starfleet.”
Bain smiled weakly. “Don’t you trouble yourself for a moment, Doctor. We’ll get right on it.”
“Thank you, Captain. I look forward to seeing you for your physical,” Nooney replied, heading back toward the turbolift.
“Wouldn’t miss it,” Bain said unconvincingly as Nooney stepped into the lift and left the bridge.
“Goodbye,” the computer said obediently.
“I don’t know, Arroyo. I’m starting to think that’s damn annoying.”
“Nooney’s nudity?” Arroyo said.
“No. That blasted talking door. Get Marsden back up here to remove it.”
“Yes, sir,” Arroyo said, turning back to his console. Hopefully, Marsden didn’t believe in killing the messenger.
Tovar was starting to feel desperate. Being out in the corridors like this wasn’t safe, but he couldn’t very well go back into the jefferies tubes either. Nooney would be ready for that. Tovar needed to mask his lifesigns somehow, find a place where he wouldn’t be detected.
Minutes later, Tovar rushed into Science Lab Four, the lab dedicated to Cabral, the brain that ran the ship’s anti-singularity drive. Cabral, who was basically just a brain encased in a giant black sphere, spent most of his free time conversing with Dr. Natalia Kasyov, the Anomaly’s science officer and an expert in disembodied brain research.
Kasyov looked up, annoyed, as Tovar burst into the lab. “Can I help you?”
Tovar’s eyes darted around the large, mostly bare room. Other than a couple of science consoles, chairs, and the large housing Cabral’s sphere sat in, the room was remarkably free of…anything.
“Must…hide,” Tovar gasped, trying to catch his breath from running all the way to the lab. He quickly dove behind Cabral’s housing, squeezing himself in between it and the wall.
“The poor man is out of his mind,” Cabral said, his disembodied voice booming through the lab.
“As opposed to out of his body like you are,” Kasyov replied with a smirk.
“Now, Doctor, you know I never had a body.”
“What a loss to the galaxy.”
“But their loss is your gain. Otherwise, I probably would have found some nice woman and settled down as opposed to chasing around the quadrant in my sphere.”
“Chasing after a female sphere, I might add,” Kasyov said.
“My nature is my nature, Natalia.”
Tovar suddenly re-emerged from behind the sphere, his eyes blazing. “Would you shut up? Just shut up! You call this drivel scientific research! Can’t…stay…here!” In a blur, Tovar ran out of the lab leaving Kasyov and Cabral alone again.
“Computer, lock door,” Kasyov said, then turned back to her scans. She gasped softly. “Cabral, you have the biggest parietal lobe I have ever seen!”
“Why thank you, Doctor,” Cabral replied. “Others have always admired the size of my parts.”
After leaving the bridge, Nooney was left at bit of a loss for anything to do. He’d checked in with Ih’vik, who told him that Tovar had yet to arrive for his appointment and that no other patients had happened by, so now Nooney was once again free to do whatever he wanted. Well, it was as good of a time as any to see what amenities the Anomaly had. He’d only been on board for a couple of days, so he hadn’t really had time to look around. He pulled up the ship’s directory on the monitor in the turbolift and began scanning through it. He saw the Mess hall, Holodeck (the ship had one regular-sized holodeck, should the situation require it), Rec Room, Arboretum…arboretum! Now that sounded absolutely lovely!
“Arboretum,” Nooney said. The lift obediently altered its course.
Meanwhile, in another turbolift car, Tovar was scanning through the same list, still looking for a place to hide. Mess hall - already tried it. Holodeck - that’s the first place he’d look if he were looking for himself. Rec Room - probably deserted. Arboretum…perfect! Secluded, but filled with lots of life-signs. With the proper hiding place, he might be able to mask his own signal from the mad doctor.
“Arboretum,” Tovar ordered. The turbolift obediently altered its course.
Moments later, the turbolift stopped near to bottom of the ship just outside of the arboretum. Frankly, Tovar was surprised the ship had even been equipped with one, considering the overwhelming idiocy of Starfleet’s efficiency experts. Some genius must have decided the potential oxygen output was worth it. Either that or Captain Bain had insisted. He did so love his petunias.
With his mind occupied with thoughts of Starfleet bureaucracy, Tovar didn’t notice right away that there was someone else in the arboretum when he walked in. The other person, who had been busy smelling the flower of a Cardassian Humjin tree, turned around upon hearing the doors open and close. At that moment, Tovar realized he wasn’t alone and looked up at the other arboretum occupant.
It was NOONEY!
Tovar gaped in stunned silence at the smiling doctor.
“So there you are,” Nooney said warmly.
Tovar just nodded dumbly. He’d been outsmarted at every turn. Nooney had been aware of his every move, his every thought, and just came here to wait for Tovar when he was at his weakest. The man was an evil monster!
“Are you ready for that physical now?” Nooney continued, walking over and wrapping an arm around Tovar’s shoulder. Defeated and still shocked, Tovar obediently followed Nooney out of the arboretum, into the turbolift, and up to Sickbay.
“Where the devil is Marsden?” Bain said, looking again at the chronometer in the armrest of his command chair.
“She said something about stopping by the lounge before coming up here, sir,” Arroyo replied. “You could wait in your ready room until she arrives.”
“Blast. This is no time for a drink!”
“She might disagree with you, sir.”
“You’ve got company,” the computer said happily as a shaken Tovar stumbled out of the turbolift.
“You all right, my boy?” Bain asked. Tovar just shook his head and sort of drifted over to his console.
“You’ve got company.”
“What in the hell is that?” Dr. Kasyov demanded, glaring at the turbolift as she stepped out onto the bridge.
“Never mind. What can I do for you, Doctor?”
Kasyov made a beeline straight for the science console.”Cabral thought he detected a distortion off to port. I came up to check the sensors in case it’s something that could damage him.”
“You’ve got company.”
“Bloody hell!” Bain snapped.
“You want me to leave?” Lt. Marsden, who’d just stepped out of the turbolift, demanded.
“No. Please no. Just get rid of that.”
“Nope. Everything’s fine.” Kasyov said, darting into a turbolift.
“Now with all due respect, Captain,” Marsden said.
“You’ve got company.”
Commander Prosak looked back at the turbolift she had just exited. “Is this supposed to do that?”
“Not for long,” Bain said, rubbing his temples.
“Like I was saying,” Marsden continued. “You can’t just keep ordering me up here to do little things like this.”
“Of course I can,” Bain said. “It’s your job.”
“Should I come back?” Prosak asked.
“You’ve got company.”
“Sorry. Me again,” Kasyov said, heading back to her console. “Forgot to check the passive prion scan.”
“Marsden, remove that bloody voice box!”
“Fine! I’ll be back!”
“No!” Bain shouted. Too late. Marsden was already in a turbolift.
“Sir…” Prosak said hesitantly.
“What is it, Prosak?”
“I have received word from my father that we will most likely be ordered to Romulan space within the hour. I thought you should know.”
“Thank you. I’ll see you back here at the shift change.”
“Yes, sir,” Prosak bowed her head stiffly in acknowledgment, then headed into the starboard lift just as Bain realized what he’d just said.
“You’ve got company.”
“Now what kind of welcome is that, Captain?” Dr. Nooney asked as he stepped onto the bridge. “You should be nice to me. It’s time for your physical.”
“Can this wait? I’m in the middle of a breakdown at the moment.”
Out of the corner of his eye, Bain saw Tovar slip from behind his console and stalk over to the turbolift access panel. In one violent burst, he ripped open the panel, reached inside, and yanked just as the turbolift doors opened, revealing Marsden returning with her tool kit.
“Good show, Tovar!” Bain said relieved.
Nooney turned on Tovar, shaking his finger scoldingly at the Yynsian. “You need to come see me again about this aggression of yours. We can’t have you just yanking bits and pieces of this ship apart.” He turned back to face Bain. “Now about that physical…”
But Bain was gone. Vanished into thin air.
“Now where did he get to?” Nooney asked confused.
Tovar just smiled, and silently wished Bain all the luck in the galaxy.