SIM:JP: LtJG Deven Zell & LtJG Sky Blake, "Taking Care"

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(( Turbolift ))

::The two men stepped onto the Turbolift and turned to face the now closed doors. ::

Zell: Science Lab 1.

::Deven hoped nobody else would be in the Lab before he and Ozera arrived. It might be a bit awkward when it came time to track down the missing member of their team. ::

Ozera: What’s the plan?

Zell: We'll try and narrow down the search fields for the internal sensors. She couldn't have gotten far.

Ozera: Let’s not keep our hopes up . . . and let’s hope that she didn’t manage to steal a shuttle right under our noses.

((Science Lab 1))

::The Science Lab's equipment had been activated, but thankfully it was unoccupied like Deven had hoped. They made straight for the main console in the room and hovered over it. Deven tapped a few controls to gain access to the Internal Sensor network. ::

Zell: Ok then, you said she masked Brekkian biosigns right?

Ozera: Unfortunately.

Zell: Then let's try something else. I'll scan for Betazoid signatures. Maybe *that* will show up.

::A few keystrokes later and the results showed up on the screen in a cross-section diagram of the ship. There were a few Betazoid signatures scattered throughout, but one in particular caught the Trill's eyes. He pointed his finger to the lone blip at the bottom of the diagram. ::

Zell: ::to Ozera:: I'll bet you a bottle of Saurian Brandy that our Miss Blake is right there. Deck 16, Section 19, Jeffries Tube 16 Charlie.

Ozera: Good thing I don’t drink Brandy

Zell: Let's go.

::Shutting down the sensor controls, Deven and Lix raced out of the Lab and back to the Turbolifts. ::

((Meanwhile: Jefferies Tubes))

::Sky leaned her head against the bulkhead. There was too many voices. Too many thoughts. For the first time in her life, she wanted to be alone in her own head, to be able to think clearly. She wasn’t able to block them out like every other Betazoid she knew. Her Brekkian side made that possible.::

Matthews: ~~ Damn she is frakin hot- ~~

Cain: ~~ That quote the Captain mentioned doesn’t sound like a very good ome-~~

Lowe: ~~ She shouldn’t- ~~

Cain: ~~ ...good speech though- ~~

Parker: ~~ ...things worse than I- ~~

Zell: ~~ Nailed it- ~~

Lowe: ~~ all- ~~

Vasilissa: ~~ Why does he keep worrying about me? I’m fine- ~~

Parker: ~~ Damn it Sky- ~~

::So the thoughts went on. It got to the point where Sky was gripping her head, trying to block them or push them out. Nothing was working.::

Ozera: ~~ Why did she have to go hide herself in the Jefferies Tubes? She knows we're here. She knows she can talk. If not with the Counsellor, than why not with me? She told me everything that she and Sully did while they were back at the Academy. ~~

::That pained her even more. It was said in such a tone that he might as well have been saying "she’s weak for hiding from her problems". She *would* have tried to work out where Lix was, but the other voices were so loud that she couldn’t work her telepathy easily.::

::Her head was in pain, and she was trying to push herself into the bulkhead. Why was her telepathy acting up?::

((Deck Sixteen))

::The only direct route to the Jeffries tube Blake had gone to was behind a specific access hatch. And, of course, it had been sealed. As much as she didn't want to be found, Deven knew hiding from a potential problem wasn't going to help anything... least of which being Sky herself. Deven and Ozera stood outside the hatch trying the control panel for access with no luck. ::

Ozera: She certainly wants to be alone.

Zell: That's an understatement...

::He tried to open the Jefferies Tubes hatch yet again to no avail.::

Ozera: Computer, unlock this hatch. Marine clearance code.

Computer: Unable to comply.

Ozera: Computer, unlock this hatch. *Intelligence* clearance code.

Computer: Unable to comply.

Ozera:::Looking at Zell.:: Would *you* like to try?

Zell: Let's see if my command codes carry a bit more weight. Computer, override the lock on this hatch, authorization "Zell Two Niner Sierra Foxtrot.".

::And finally, the hatch opened.::

Ozera: Maybe she didn’t think an Engineer would come looking for her.

Zell: Or someone with a higher security clearance than she has.

::Deven mused to himself about the new responsibilities as Ops Chief entailed, which required higher shipwide computer clearance. In this case, he was glad to have them. The two men climbed in and started crawling.::

Zell: So... you seem to know Blake fairly well I take it. Any idea why she would go to all *this* trouble?

Ozera: I don’t know. She was fine when she was working with Lieutenant Lowe in the Intelligence office, but when she went to Sick Bay to talk to Vasilissa, she didn’t come back.

Zell: Think she had a problem in Sickbay?

Ozera: Like I said, Tom Florence said that a counsellor manage to piss her off. Might have been Counsellor Asa, I don’t know.

::The Trill hadn't had a chance to meet the new Counselor, but if he was much different than Diego on the Challenger, it was no wonder Sky was having some trouble. ::

Zell: I guess I'm not too surprised if that's indeed the case.

Ozera: Well, if we don’t find her, there’s going to be a very pissed Parker and Tallis to answer to.

Zell: Don't worry about that Mr. Ozera. Let's focus on getting Sky out of here. Is she still in the same crawlway we determined earlier?

::Lix looked down at his tricorder to find no signs of Sky anywhere. He closed it again.::

Ozera: Tricorder’s not picking up anything. There’s-


::Lix shuddered, shivers running down his spine. She was loud, and she was angry, but it was just a cover up and he knew it. If she was really angry, she would have tried to do something else to get them away – say, like threaten them in a calmed voice. Deven saw him lose his composure and felt a pretty strange sensation himself. ::

Zell: Was that Blake?

Ozera: Certainly sounds like it. She’s definitely not happy.

Zell: I've never felt a telepathic outreach before... so I suppose you're right.

::Turning back to face the oncoming tube, Deven made a choice. ::

Zell: No offense Ozera, but I'm going to go on ahead without you.

Ozera: Probably not the best idea.

Zell: Maybe, but it seems she has much more of a fix on you than she does on me... maybe I can talk her into getting out of these tubes...

Ozera: Good luck. I’ll head back up there. ::He said as he pointed up towards the Deck above them.::

Zell: Well then, try and keep her mind occupied then.

Ozera: Aye sir.

::Without waiting for a response, Deven started crawling again. He figured he was close as the hatch in front of him at the end of the crawl way was open. The Trill approached the junction and poked his head through. He saw Sky, sitting on the deck with her back against the bulkhead. She was sweating and obviously on edge. He put on a disarming face and spoke in a calm manner. ::

Zell: This doesn't look like the Science Lab...

Blake: That’s not funny. ::She snapped.::

::Her tone was a mixture of anxiousness and anger. But at least she didn't try to run away. Seeing that might be a good sign, Deven climbed out of the crawl way and sat across from the Brekkian hybrid. She looked terrible, and though they weren't exactly friends, the Trill certainly didn't want to see any harm come to her... self-inflicted or otherwise. ::

::Her eyes stayed away from his. She was panting.::

Lowe: ~~ She needs to stay- ~~

Vasilissa: ~~ I’m not going to do- ~~

Ozera: ~~ ...needs to focus- ~~

Florence: ~~ Another serve of vodka- ~~

Cain: ~~ ...still a learning experience- ~~

Fanel: ~~ and snacks- ~~

::Deven, thankfully, had brought her out of the thoughts again.::

Zell: Ozera tells me you got a visit from our new counsellor... I take it you're not a fan?

Blake: He thinks. . . . thinks *I’m* the bully. ::She panted.:: After everything-everything that’s happened on the Challenger, he thinks that he can go around and make accusations-. A-Accusations about people that-that he doesn’t *know*. You’d think that. . . that after everything that’s happened on the Challenger . . . that I’d be stronger. After being stabbed by an Other, Aperon, and then a Bajoran, and then losing Diego. And-and after being told that if I’m not careful, I’ll never walk again? It gives me nightmares every time I try to sleep.

::He just nodded and genuinely listened to what she had to say. Sky had been through a lot in the past weeks, things Deven couldn't even imagine. ::

Zell: You know, I'm not going to pretend I know what you're going through. I'm just an Engineer; but I do know you could benefit from a little sleep.

Blake: I’m *not* going to sleep. I *can’t*.

::The angrier Sky got, the more relaxed Deven reacted. He knew yelling at her wasn't the answer; then again he wasn't a Counsellor or even a Doctor. Instead, he tried to just listen and be a more logical sounding board for the stressed-out Security Officer sitting across from him. ::

Zell: Fair enough, but do you *really* want to spend the whole mission down here in the bilges? I mean, we're going to need someone with your expertise on this one Sky...

Blake: Expertise. ::She scoffed.:: *What* expertise?

Zell: You can read people. Don't you think having that at our disposal would help take down these criminals?

Blake: You can forget it. ::She snapped at him.:: I’ve done what I could do for the Federation and StarFleet, and they’ve done nothing but take things away from me. I don’t want help from people who think I’m useless. And that includes *me*.

::Deven stood up and stretched his back, figuring it was about time to get back. He'd done all he could and said what he wanted to say. But there was one last thing... ::

Zell: If you don't want help, I'm certainly not going to force any on you... but ::pointing himself then to her:: *I* need *YOUR* help here Sky. We *ALL* do, whether you think so or not. So please, go get well for us... for me... and let's go take those bastards down.

::Like he did before, Deven turned without waiting for a response and turned to the craw lway he'd came from. ::

::Until a force pushed him into the side of the tube.::

Blake: First things first. ::She said as she let go of him and put her hands back on her head.:: If you expect me to read someone *then*, I’m getting a telepathic deter for *now*.

Zell: Wait, what do you mean?

::She slumped herself back on the opposite side of the tube and wailed.::

Blake: Too many voices in my head. And that *includes* yours.

::So there it was, the truth. She had her telepathic abilities restored but had couldn't control what she was "hearing". It was all making sense to the Trill... ::

Zell: You know, if you had said that in the first place, we could have taken care of that.

Blake: With everything that’s been going on, I don’t think anyone would have noticed.

Zell: Well, I think you should go to see Doctor T'Pen after our meeting in the Science Lab. And I know what you're thinking, you don't have to be a telepath to have you figured out at least that much. Plus, I'll go talk to Asa and tell him to back off about things he doesn't understand. But, if you *DO* talk to him again, try to make him see things from your perspective. Sounds like he's assuming way too much.

Blake: That sounds fantastic.

Zell: Ok. Thanks Sky.

Blake: I really appreciate this. ::She said uncertainly.:: Now that I think about it, I really *was* going to stay down here for the whole mission.

:: Deven just smiled at the comment, a genuine smile, as the two headed for the Science Lab. ::