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Where No Greep Has Gone Before

Posted on Sun Sep 10th, 2017 @ 10:03pm by Lieutenant Cailus Griffin & Lieutenant Mindo & Petty Officer 1st Class Greep

Mission: Into The Wild
Location: Main Shuttlebay
Timeline: Current

As the Pandora sped towards Sylvaxe, the ever-stern Chief of Security entered Main Engineering. It wasn't a place that Cailus frequented, of course, since his own technical expertise was spectacularly inadequate, but he was at least familiar with the room. He walked with his usual firm stride, nodding politely at the various faceless engineers as he passed.

Making a beeline for the Chief Engineer's office, Cailus was nevertheless relaxed. It was just an ordinary day, checking in with Mindo about minor repairs to the shields. As Cailus approached Mindo's office and tapped the chime, he felt oddly relaxed and loose, pleased that he didn't feel any kind of need for the phaser on his hip.

Mindo was standing at the center of the rail overlooking the gigantic warp core. The massive blue undulating tube pulsed through the center of the catwalk. As Cailus approached, he was aware of wary stares from all of the officers there. He couldn't shake the feeling that something wasn't right.

Mindo turned around slowly. "Hello, Cailus," he said, looking Cailus square in the eye. "You were right about me."

Cailus suddenly noticed the phaser in Mindo's left hand and had no time to react as Mindo pointed it and...

Cailus woke up with a jolt, his heart hammering as if he'd just run a race. Startled, he sat up, rubbing his face with his artificial hand, using the coolness to calm his heartrate. He glanced over at Shae beside him and was relieved to see that she still slept soundly, her face serene on the pillow as she faced him in sleep, apparently undisturbed by his nightmare. Their bedroom was still dark and silent, the only light coming from the stars outside.

A quick tap on the bedside table's controls showed that it was still only 0345 in the morning, and Cailus sighed. He didn't get out of bed, mindful of waking Shae, and instead just sat there, waiting for his body to relax so he could return to sleep. Even so, when he finally lay back down, a thought kept coming back to him.

What the hell kind of nightmare was that?

The next day, the nightmare was long forgotten as Cailus walked to the shuttlebay, his stride quick. Only five minutes before, a Starfleet corvette had raced up and caught up to the Pandora, easily matching the starship's warp speed. Nobody had been expecting the sudden arrival, of course, and thus Cailus was the only senior officer available at short notice to greet the corvette as it gently eased into the bay.

As he watched it, the lieutenant snorted derisively. Corvette, indeed. The thing wasn't much bigger than a shuttlecraft, and even then, it looked nothing more than a giant engine with a cockpit attached. He certainly couldn't imagine any more than one or two people being inside there. The nacelles seemed grossly oversized compared to the hull, far larger than even a runabout's nacelles.

The cockpit opened upwards and revealed a tall figure with shaggy blue fur. Cailus recognized the person immediately, even before seeing the being's yellow beak. It was Greep, an old acquaintance from the Tornado... and possibly trouble. Greep stepped down the short ladder onto the deck.

"Crewman first class Greep reporting for duty," he squawked. "Permission to come aboard."

Considering the Ontarion for a moment, Cailus nodded stiffly. He'd expected Greep, yes, but the brief communication from Starfleet hadn't mentioned when he'd arrive.

"Permission granted," Cailus said formally, his hands behind his back, as a second individual climbed out of the cockpit. The woman, a Vulcan, somehow looked none the worse for wear despite having spent time in the cockpit. Wearing the solitary pip of an ensign, she walked directly up to him, her uniform and black hair seemingly unaffected by the extended stay in the cramped corvette. Vulcans always seemed to have a near-magical ability

"Sir," she said curtly, "I am Ensign T'Cel of the starship Palatine. I am under orders to meet with your captain to secure a copy of your sensor data, sir, and to do so with expeditiously."

Long used to Vulcans, Cailus nodded again to the ensign, even as he struggled to restrain his curiosity about Greep's arrival. With only a second's thought, he tapped his combadge. "Griffin to T'Kemi: report to the shuttlebay immediately. Ensign T'Cel will be waiting for you. Escort her to the captain's ready room with all due haste."

As T'Kemi acknowledged, T'Cel bowed her head briefly before moving to the door, leaving just Greep and Cailus in front of the corvette. Silent, Cailus simply observed Greep, waiting for him to say something.

"It's good to see you again, Lieutenant," said Greep, trying to break the awkward silence. It had been months since the two had been in the same room together, on the Tornado when Greep and Mindo confessed to crimes committed aboard the USS Rhys. Cailus had been especially wary of Greep when he learned Greep was a hired gun from Starfleet Intelligence, and now quite possibly an agent with Section 31. Greep could mean all kinds of trouble for the Pandora, though his loyalty was still in question.

As a couple of engineers moved to the corvette, Cailus gestured for Greep to follow him to a corner of the shuttlebay where they'd be afforded relative privacy. Turning to the petty officer, he sighed. "Look, Greep, I'm not one for subtlety so I'll just be direct. Why did you come here?"

"You're not going to like my answer," said Greep.

Cailus crossed his arms, glowering. "Maybe not, but I like dishonesty even less."

"I know. I'm not going to lie to you. But I have to warn you, it's not pretty."

Unimpressed, Cailus nevertheless relented slightly. "I'm not going to bite your head off, Greep," he said, easing his confrontational tone. "Just spit out."

Greep held up a PADD and handed it to Cailus. "I've been assigned here. In Engineering."

Taking the PADD, Cailus frowned, skimming through the orders. It was all just the usual dry language, familiar with millions of Starfleet personnel across the Federation. Glancing up at the Ontarion, he raised a skeptical eyebrow; if Greep was being a smartass, Cailus was distinctly unamused.

"And?" he said expectedly.

"Nice to see you too," said Greep. "I left Starfleet Internal Security. I'm an Engineer now. I'm sorry, but you'll have to find another reason to lock me up." He added, "I told you you'd be disappointed."

That did it; Cailus rolled his eyes, growling inaudibly under his breath. "So you came here purely to serve with your friend, Mindo," he said, scowling. "There's no hidden agenda, no secret mission, no classified orders. Your former boss, who's a damn criminal and a traitor with a vested interest in Mindo, just let you leave to go serve with him on a remote deep space posting."

"Mindo is not my assignment," said Greep. "In fact, I hear he's a new man."

"Fine," Cailus replied, frustrated. It was just like before; Greep seemed utterly incapable of actually giving a straight answer. He handed the PADD back to the petty officer, trying to read something in Greep's beady eyes or the movements of his large beak, but it was a futile effort. If he wanted to reach the Ontarion, there was one last thing to try.

"Look," he said, "if you can't tell me your orders, then so be it. Just...tell me this." Cailus took a breath, his glower weakening. It took a serious effort to lower his guard like this, especially with someone like Greep. "There is a little girl on this ship who is...very important to me. She can't even walk yet. Whatever you're here for...will it threaten her? In any way?"

"I don't know who you're talking about," said Greep. "But I am not in the business of harming children, walking or otherwise. You should know that."

Peering at Greep for a long moment, Cailus shook his head, his eyes locked on Greep's the entire time in a dark glare. "I was married to a politician, petty officer. I know evasion when I hear it. Be direct with your answer and I give you my word that I will leave you be to perform your duties. Is there a chance that she, or anyone else on this ship, could be at risk?"

Greep glared at Cailus. At least, it looked like he was glaring. Without a proper mouth it made it hard to read his expression.

"Right now no one's at risk," he said. "My orders are to report to Mindo upon my arrival and begin my duties as engineer asap. Whatever my... prior employer has planned, I am completely in the dark. And you have my word that Mindo knows even less than I do." He paused. "And you have my word no harm will come to Aoife. The difference between me and Chase is that I have a conscience, and I don't want a dead or hurt child on it."

Cailus' eyes flashed at the mention of Aoife's name, especially since Greep had just professed not to know about her, but nevertheless, Greep had done as asked. There was nothing more to be done.

"Very well," he said, and finally Cailus stepped to the side, visibly relaxing slightly even with his arms crossed. "We took some damage in the Killing Field and we'll be arriving at Sylvaxe soon. I know the engineers have been working hard on repairs, so you've got some work waiting for you down there."

"Then I'd better report in," said Greep. He held out a hand. "It really is good to see you, Cailus."

Cailus reluctantly took Greep's blue furry hand in his own, nodding curtly. "Welcome aboard, petty officer."


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