SIM:Meanwhile, on the Mercury (Part 1)

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"Ghost Ship" SIMs
Prelude: Meanwhile, on the Mercury

Other SIMs by Rich & Deliera

The events in this SIM occurred on stardate 239106.08.

Meanwhile, on the Mercury (Part 1)

JP by Deliera and Rich

((Strategic Operations Office, USS Mercury))

Falls: I’m not sure I like the idea of a Strategic Ops office. I mean, we’ve already got a briefing room . . . so we’ve basically got *two* areas for briefings. What’s the point! Was the ship meant to have a super-secret mission when it was first commissioned or something?

::Jess Webber rolled her eyes at her colleague, the Mercury’s tactical officer Nick Falls. They’d only known each other since they were both assigned to the science vessel a few weeks ago, but the two had quickly developed a good rapport.::

::The Human/Gideon hybrid ignored the question as she continued pulling up the data reports of the Community and Myr Luuk on her console.::

Webber: Don’t let Lieutenant Sanchez hear that. After she and engineering spent the past two months refurbishing this ship, I think she’d toss you out the nearest airlock for complaining.

Falls: Sanchez has to *catch* me, first. And considering I am very, *very* skilled at running, she’d have a hard time.

::Damn it, she couldn’t help but crack a smile. Why’d the Trill host have to be such a charmer?::

Webber: Well, anyway, are you getting the log data from Garuda or not? The captain wanted a full report before we arrive at Zeta Equulei, and I still have no clue what these two species are fighting on about.

::She still was trying to get a read on Commander Mirza. The Mercury’s commanding officer seemed to prefer a more soft-spoken approach when leading from the center seat, letting her first officer Lt. Commander Evanston get more involved in the day-to-day operations to ensure that her orders were carried out. The two certainly made an interesting study of contrasts in command styles. Still, if the captain asked for a comprehensive report by 0800 tomorrow, then that’s what she’d get.::

::The Trill glanced down at the PADD.::

Falls: Fighting is overrated.

::Another eye roll.::

Webber: ::under her breath:: Says the tactical officer.

Falls: Yes, the log data is coming. Coming *very slowly*, but nonetheless, should be finished downloading within the next couple of hours. And yes - I do say that. Because as a Tactical officer, it’s my job to *stop* the fighting just as much as I am to make up the moves to our success.

::She stopped in her work and turned around, flabbergasted.::

Webber: Did you say next couple of *hours*? By the Mercies...

Falls: I know. They might as well be sending a hologram.

Webber: I’m beginning to think Garuda dumped this mission on us on purpose.

Falls: ::frowning:: Why would you think that?

Webber: Trust me. I know how these Galaxy class crews think. “Best of the best” and all that. Too smart and fancy for the mundane work. They make the initial contacts, and then they just move on to the next planet. ...leave the follow up to “the rest of us.”

::Jess had dated one particular cadet at the Academy, Johann “Johnny” Schultz. Top of his class, he’d been accepted into the Nova Squadron flight team as a sophomore. Beautiful and brilliant, with an arrogance to match. Johnny was convinced he’d make captain before 30.::

::And of course, it wasn’t going to be some obscure survey ship either but a top of the line explorer. Thank the Mercies that she finally came to her senses and broke it off before they graduated. Curse the Mercies that it was only after she’d come back to her dorm early one afternoon to discover him in bed with her roommate.::

Falls: You’re mistaking the Galaxy class for the Sovereign class. And either way, *I* heard they got benched from this mission.

::Her eyes widened. Now *that* was something she’d want to hear about.::

Webber: Really? ::She could barely contain her excitement.:: Tell me the details!

::Nick shrugged. It wasn’t really anything exciting, but he assumed it was something Jess would love to hear. It wasn’t every day that Galaxy class ships were told to hit the road from missions they were first involved with.::

Falls: Well, it’s obvious isn’t it? Garuda first gets involved with this conflict, then they just randomly leave the work to us? It’s entirely possible that one of the higher ups weren’t pleased with their progress, leaving the work to a new crew that would be more likely to succeed. And let’s face it - the Mercury’s new crew doesn’t have as many experienced members as the Garuda. New minds, new ideas.

::It was a diplomatic answer. Something an admiral or a bureaucrat would say.::

::Jess frowned. So much for juicy gossip.::

Webber: ::crosses her arms:: You are the worst storyteller, you know that?

Falls: Unfortunately. ::He smiled.:: I do *try*.

::She turned back to her console to see how the data transfer was doing. It’d barely moved a few tenths of a percentage point. She let out an exasperated sigh.::

::Jess had never been known for her patience. She’d gotten that from her father, she supposed, who’d always been moving from one trading stop to the next in his job before he came across a colony of Gideons on Dracos V who’d settled there decades earlier to escape their homeworld’s overpopulation. Meeting her mother there finally convinced him to settle down himself.::

::After a few more minutes of silence, Jess turned back to Nick. She smiled, trying to stir up some fun again to pass the time.::

Webber: Did you catch how the doctor and counselor were looking at each other during the briefing?

::Truthfully, he’d been too busy reading his PADD to have paid attention to anything going on - even missed some of what the Captain was saying.::

Falls: Can’t say that I did. Why?

Webber: They are smitten with each other. In fact, I’d say there’s more than a likely chance that they’re already sleeping with each other.

::Nick gave her a skeptical look. Those two? Together? Honestly they looked more like really good friends then that they were lovers.::

Falls: I don’t think so. They look *too* friendly, like he was her brother or something.

::She shot him a coy smile.::

Webber: Like I said: trust me. I know how these things work.

Falls: You just keep thinking that, Webber.

::Jess frowned again, but it wasn’t because of what he said but rather what he didn’t say. Relaxed and disinterested, this was not the man she’d gotten to know over the past few weeks. And if there was one thing the operations officer had no patience for, it was from getting to the bottom of an issue.::

Webber: Okay, what’s going on, lieutenant?

Falls: What do you mean?

Webber: I mean with you. You barely said two words during the briefing. ::Tilts her head.:: I believe they were “yes” and “ma’am” to the captain. And now you’re acting like we just met or something.

::Actually, he hadn’t even said “yes”. The “ma’am” came as he was leaving the room. He sighed to turned towards her.::

Falls: Your point?

Webber: Just an observation. Ever since we left DSX, you’ve been acting a little different. Quieter.

Falls: There’s nothing wrong with being quieter. Maybe I’ve just decided to tone it down a little.

Webber: “Tone it down a little?”

::She echoed his words with disbelief.::

Webber: Why in the Shadows would you want to do a thing like that?

::He sighed and looked down. Something had happened. Something pretty big in his life that he didn’t think he’d ever have to go through - never thought that he himself had to initiate. Sure - his previous host, Xolak, he got married (and consequently divorced) five times during his lifetime. But it had not been Xolak that convinced him to get the divorce from Theo Casey.

::It had been Stace Falls - the host before himself. To make his situation more complicated, Stace knew Theo during her lifetime - her unfortunately short lifetime. She had had somewhat of a crush on him, and to this day, Nick remained uncertain if their relationship had been based on his own feelings or Staces. It had been a dangerous thing, falling in love with your previous host’s love interest. Who knew what those in charge of the symbionts would say if they had found out?::

::Their relationship had begun to crumble since the two had been on the Avandar. Nick had *died* on Eden, and he was told that Casey lived on no problem during the dream. As much as he knew they had been living other peoples lives, that had been hurtful to the Trill, and their relationship had never recovered.::

Falls: I’m getting divorced.

::The words sank in for a moment in silence before Jess spoke again, quieter.::

Webber: Oh, Nick, I’m so sorry…

Falls: Nothing to be sorry about - I’m the one that filed the paperwork. I guess I’ve been stressing out about what his reply might have been ::he rubbed his eyes:: I got it at the briefing, and it was not at all kindly worded.

Webber: ...I see.

::Except, she didn’t. Not really, anyway. She’d always figured both parties in something like this would come to the realization together. But then, her own experience with Schultz proved she didn’t know better either. Maybe she just hoped the way things worked in a marriage would be different. Maybe she just wanted something to believe in.::

Falls: Anyway, I’m doing my best to ignore it. I’m pushing through. Everything that’s going on with the Mercury and this taskforce or whatever is more important. Saving *lives* are more important.

::She nodded. A noble sentiment. But sometimes such sentiments were just a cover for the more painful, selfish decisions underneath.::

Webber: Have you thought about maybe speaking to the counselor about it?

Falls: Nope. And I don’t plan on it either. I’m capable of working. I know when I’m pushing myself too hard - and in the event that I *am* pushing myself too hard, I know you’re gonna kick my ass for it.

Webber: This is true.

Falls: *Then* I’ll go to the counselling offices.

Webber: Fair enough.

::She glanced over his shoulder to see the slow creep of the download’s progress.::

Webber: Well, until then, if you do need someone to talk to…

Falls: It’s fine, Jess. I’m fine. It distracted me, that’s all.

::The operations officer crossed her arms with another frown.::

Webber: That’s a steaming pile of targ $#@%, and you know it, Nick.

Falls: Do I? ::he grinned.::

Webber: Yes. You’re too damn smart to believe that. ::beat:: How long were you married?

Falls: Three years. Half of that, happily. Ornarans don’t share feelings very well.

Webber: Do you two have any kids?

Falls: I wanted to. He was not as willing. ::he shrugged.:: Either way, life in Starfleet makes having kids more difficult than what it would have been if I remained on Trill. Or Earth.

Webber: ::nods:: So why now? What made you decide to file the papers?

Falls: We’ve been arguing for the last year and a half. Or, really, argued last year and spent this year not talking at all.

::Apparently Theo even had plans to resign his commission. It was nice for him to discuss this decision with Nick, wasn’t it.::

Webber: So a slow burn…

Falls: Pretty much. ::he paused.:: I’m sick of talking about myself. How’s your side of “personal” going?

::She snorted a half-laugh at the thought.::

Webber: You want the complete chronicle or just the abridged version?

Falls: Whatever version fills... ::he paused, checking how long the upload was meant to take:: an hour and a half.

Webber: Well, let’s see...

::She thought it over as the string of romantic flops in her life played through her head. She normally didn’t consider herself an open book, but there was something about Nick that made her feel safe to tell him. Perhaps the man should have gone into counseling himself.::

Webber: First, there was the jackass at the Academy who ended up cheating on me with my roommate. Then there was the piece of #%$ on the Endeavour who I found out had a wife waiting for him back home the whole time. ...and then there was Anton... oh, Anton...

::She sighed. Maybe some things were still too personal to reveal just yet.::

Webber: Let’s just say I’m taking a leave of absence from that side of life myself for the time being.

::Jeez. The entire ordeal sounded vaguely familiar from Xolak’s life.::

Falls: If it makes you feel any better, I’ve been there, and I’ve done that.

Webber: Broken a few hearts?

Falls: One of my previous hosts managed to score a broken heart no less than five times in his life. All except *one* not his fault. And, to be honest, I don’t know how any of those guys are still alive - were you merciful or something?

::She raised an eyebrow at his choice of words. By the Mercies indeed.::

Webber: I was ::She corrected herself, in the presence of the Trill.:: More idealistic. Weren’t we all?

Falls: That’s the good thing about me. I can be young over and over again.

Webber: I see modesty isn’t a Trill virtue…

::She gave him a sideways glance before another thought occurred to her.::

Webber: ...still, does that make the pain of lost love any easier?

Falls: ::he sighed again.:: Nope. And it never will.

::She frowned once more before glancing at the status of the data transfer.::

::32%. In bright flashing white letters, the words “In Progress” shone on the display.::

::Wasn’t that the way it always was?::


Lieutenant JG Nick Falls

Tactical Officer, USS Mercury


Lieutenant JG Jess Webber

Operations Officer, USS Mercury