Road Trip

OFF: Challenge Post

Lieutenant Jack Sparrow-yes, yes, make all the jokes, he’s heard them all before-had a very long day ahead of him. The mission was horrible, and while he and a spare few weren’t affected, the other crewmembers were yanked into a nebula or...hologram? Something. They came back changed.

They came back hurt and afraid and some of them dead.

Their Chief of Security and their CMO both came back with surprise pregnancies. He wasn’t sure, but man did the gossip wheels turn on that.

Bolak...he hadn’t heard anything, the doors to his personal quarters were shut tightly.

Today, however, Jack was able to reach out to their CMO and Chief Engineer. They hadn’t been close before now-to be fair this was their very first mission all together, no one knew each other-but Doctor Zazi had fled the sickbay with only the intent on seeing Chief D’Moonh.

Neither of them would speak as to why or what had happened, but finally the other doctor in sickbay put his foot down and demanded Jack to at least get them to talk to him. None of them had visited the Counselor since the incident, but he pushed and pressed and now had both ladies in front of him, sitting on a long couch.

Zazi sat, her back straight, looking at him impassively, almost bored like. He’d heard her bedside manner...left much to be desired. She stared at him without blinking, and, okay, his eyes darted down without thought. She did have a bit of a bump, but if you didn’t know what you were looking for, you’d never notice.

Other than that, and saying absolutely nothing, she seemed...okay.

Aji had bags under her eyes...or...what he thought were bags. Her hands were pressed onto the couch, but one thumb kept sliding over the seam of her pants, over and over, plucking at a string. She didn’t look down, black eyes staring at him just as Zazi did.

He’d heard rumors of drinking and confusion. He hoped this would help them both. Jack cleared his throat.

“Let’s talk, okay? I don’t want to push, I promise. But I think you’d both feel better if you talked about what happened.” He waited a beat. “Or, well, if you have something you want to discuss with each other, that would be beneficial as well.”

Zazi stared at him, her stance never wavering, before her head slowly swung down to look at Aji. “How was lunch?”

The diminutive engineer gave a conspiratorial grin to the Doctor. “Hard to recall, I’ve been famished today. There was a hard boiled egg this morning, two granola bars, a cup of mushroom soup about 9:30, a pair of tamales, those were actually quite good, I never ventured into the Mexican section of earth food, that’s gonna require some additional exploration...”

...were they serious? As a doctor, she should know how serious a counseling session was! Jack shook his head. “Ladies, please. Serious conversation. Let’s talk about ah, if you met in the other world. Yes? Would that help?”

Zazi raised her head up, staring at him. Her eyes made him uncomfortable, as did the burning stare from Aji. Okay, maybe he was pushing too hard then…”Or, or, maybe we could talk about how things are now? Are you both sleeping well? Has being on duty gotten...harder…?”

Aji just shook her head. “Counselor, I have been awake for 72 hours living on Raktajino and technical manuals. This ship was wrecked in that Nebula and then those Romulans did god knows what to her. There is no such thing as an easy day. Trying to deal with the memories of some 19th century human in my head doesn't help either.”

Jack sat forward in his chair a little. Success at last, a slight crack in the detached aloofness of these two women. “Yes, yes. Tell me more about that. How is this human affecting you?” Zazi shot a quick dagger look at Aji. The little rodent woman winced slightly, realizing she just lengthened their stay at the Counselor’s office. She stroked her long bushy tail nervously.

“I would say its blurry... but its not. I remember living 28 years as a human female on earth between the years of 1855 and 1883. She was sad, lonely and brilliant. How does it effect me? I find myself eating curry and ordering parts for engineering that haven't existed in 400 years. Besides that, I am dealing with it fine.” she chirped with a hint of anger.

Jack nodded along slowly. “ may be similar to how Trills feel at first...and, you, Zazi?”

Zazi stared at him sharply. “I’m pregnant. That’s how I feel.”

Jack winced, covering it with a cough. “Yes, well. Well.” He skook his head. “I’m sorry but we won’t get anywhere at each other’s throats. How about an exercise! What would you say the other person if they stood in front of you right now? Hm?”

Zazi blinked, then looked down at Aji, then back at Jack. “A lot. I suppose.”

“...I see.” Not the reaction he was hoping. “, Aji?”

Aji turned her large black eyes to Zazi. She opened her mouth to speak and stopped. She began again… “I don’t know what to say. You are my friend. You were before this ordeal, and you… I am sorry for what I made you endure, but I would do it again for you. I don’t know what to say, because I don't know who I am speaking to. We are two strong women in a universe that doesn’t belong to us.”

Zazi blinked, her stare trailing from Jack down to Aji as she spoke. “...weird, isn’t it?” she mumbled. “Like everything’s the same, but new, but not. Too many copies going around, can’t keep track.”

Jack nodded. “Yes, memories can confuse us, but it takes time and patience to wade through them!”

Zazi stared at Aji, ignoring Jack. “Sometimes I think we should just chuck it all out the airlock and head out...but that’s not exactly the best idea, is it?”

Aji’s large almond eyes narrowed throwing a hard look toward her friend, her heart started to beat faster. “No. That would be a poor option at the moment.”

Jack looked at his patients, growing a bit concerned. “Ladies, it is important that we understand that everything we say here is in complete confidence. It seems to me the both of you have some shared experience, some event you both were part of that is keeping you from being completely honest with me.”

Zazi swung her eyes up to stare at him fiercely. “You’re very astute. And annoying. You tell us to talk, and then you tell us we’re not talking. Which. Is. It.”

Jack frowned, “Doctor, I don’t think I appreciate your tone, I’m merely…” She didn’t seem to calm down, her eyes narrowing at him as he leaned over the coffee table, trying to smile. “I’m sorry, I know this is frustrating, but if we all take a breath…” his hand reached out, to offer a companionable presence, a hand on hers, something he did in all his sessions.

A sharp sting, and he suddenly can’t move his hand.

Zazi’s eyes are boiling black as she leans forward, a jagged knife piercing Jack’s hand to the table. “Don’t touch me. Ever.” With a yank she got back her knife, slipping it into a holder on her leg as Jack started to scream, now that his brain caught up with what happened.

Aji closed her eyes. “Seriously. You had to do that. Couldn’t you just get through this. I mean we are almost ready!” she chirped angrily. The pathetic human clutched his wounded hand, howling in pain. The Tamian ignored him. “What are we going to do about this. I’d send him to the doctor, but seems that she was the person who did this to him. Did you totally forget why we are here?!”

At that, Zazi finally cracked a grin, letting out a breathless laugh. “Heh. Doctor.” She cracked a large yawn, covering her mouth with a groan. “You know I don’t like people touching me. He deserved it. Besides, now we can leave.” She clapped her hands, grinning down at Aji happily.

Jack scrambled out of the chair, a smear of blood trailing after him as he babbled and raced to the back of the room. Zazi frowned. “...ugh. He’s so annoying.”

“He did have it coming.” Aji admitted a wicked smile growing across her face. “No one touches you… except me.” She scampered after the fleeing counselor. She leveled a type one phaser at Jack and fired. Scarlet beams lanced out striking the unfortunate psychiatrist in his head. Aji stood atop him as the Red Alert klaxon sounded. “Unauthorized Phaser discharge on Deck 8.” the computer reported. “Oh hell, they seriously have that here? How the hell are you supposed to shoot someone?” Aji chirped angrily at their change of fortune.

Zazi winked at her, fishing out a long cigarette from when she was back in the other world, nipping onto it. “Love ya too. That’s freaking loud.” She patted at her pockets, then groaned, and shook her head. “I lost my damn lighter.” She stood up, putting it away with a scowl. “This sucks. Anyway, we better get scarce, do you think they know it’s your phaser signature?” She looked over at the dead body. “...ew. We better get either way, I’ll be sick.”

“Back home, the signature was necessary to document succession. This is something different. That infernal Vorta security chief will have her yellow shirts all over us shortly. This was poorly executed. We had a plan.” Aji squeaked as she started towards the office door.

Zazi sighed, but followed after her as the door opened to let them into the hallway. “Yeah but, he popped my personal space bubble.You know I get stabby when that happens.” She looked around the corner, then to the other side. “Clear, let’s get!”

The corridor outside was devoid of crewmembers. “We need to get down to Deck 15. The turbo lift is fastest, but can be shut down by security. The Engineering access tunnels should be able to get us there around their patrols.” Aji stated, handing her phaser to Zazi and pulling out her tricorder, she started pushing buttons rapidly. “We were supposed to have a distraction set up before we tried this.”

Zazi just grinned, wiggling the phaser in her hand as she kept an eye out into the hallway. “Red alert’s a nice distraction.”

Aji typed her access code into the tricorder and a maintenance door popped open in the corridor. The passageway inside was narrow, but clearly lead to a ladder between decks. Aji flipped her tail to the side and looked down the ladder.

“Sweet!” Zazi looked back, groaning when the turbolift opened with security people started pouring out. She looked back. “We got problems.”

“Let’s go!” Aji called. “It’s only 7 decks. Get in there.”

.”Roger that one.” Zazi ducked under, cursing the narrow passageway, her legs bumping the walls before she hung onto the ladder. “Only 7 decks you say…”

“It won’t take long….I think….” Aji said as she started to lower herself down to the first rung of the ladder and then the next.

Zazi looked down at Aji with a frown. “I know you can do better than that.”

Aji grimaced, “Sorry, I was trying to let you come down carefully because… you know…”

Zazi rolled her eyes. “I’m pregnant, not an invalid. Move it!”

“Fine.” Aji replied. “Just try and keep up.” With that she leapt down crossing from side to side of the narrow tunnel dropping nearly a floor at a time.

“I’m goin’!” Zazi started slipping down instead of just climbing. It was faster this way, and she counted the decks as she sped by, one foot kicked out to slow her descent, catching on a few pipes here and there, making her yank it back.

She finally gripped the ladder tightly as they passed Deck 14, nearly doing a split to get her balance. “We’re near it! Next deck down!”

Aji dropped in a final bound and smacked into a force field covering the next bulkhead to deck 15. She let out a surprised chirp smacking her tiny fist against the invisible barrier. “Damned Vorta!” she chirped, just as Zazi’s feet crashed down next to her.

“Open it already.” Zazi directed.

“I’m working on it.” Aji responded fumbling with her tricorder. Moments later the bright blue light framing the hatch vanished, as did the floor they were standing on, and they dropped in a heap to the final deck.

Zazi cackled as she stood up. They had reached the highlight of the evening: the Captain’s yacht. If they were gonna go, they were gonna go in style! “Yes! Let’s-”

“INTRUDERS ON DECK FIFTEEN” blared the klaxon, shutting the bay into a bright red light. Zazi tossed back her head with a long groan. “Craaaap...that’s loud.”

Aji squinted The throbbing emergency alert lights made reading the tricorder a challenge, as Aji squinted at the small read out screen. “Almost got it…” she typed on the device. The hatch to the Captain’s Yacht slowly opened.

“Fine fine, no time to ah, take in the beauty, I guess.” she grumbled as they rushed for the yacht. It had a screen and several locks in place, as, well, only the Captain could take the big beauty for a spin.

“Ok, with the recent absence of the Captain, that gives the key authorization codes to the ranking crewmembers, who just happen to be… you and me. Sort of. Let’s give this a try.” Aji said with a grin.

She scampered into the main hatch for the yacht and reached the terminal for the main computer. She placed her tiny palm against the terminal scanner.

“Emergency Startup and Ejection sequence initiate. Authorization D’moonh Epsilon Delta.”

The computer responded back. “Authorization code and biometrics accepted.”

“Your turn.” she squeaked to Zazi.

“Emergency Startup and Ejection sequence initiate. Authorization Code Sh’viakrik Alpha Beta.”

The computer again replied. “Authorization and Biometrics accepted. Welcome aboard Captain.”

Aji grinned and looked at Zazi with her big dark eyes. “We’re in. Let’s get out of here!”

Aji triggered the hatch to close and lock as she followed Zazi through the cabin to the cockpit. A Captain’s Yacht was certainly no regular shuttle. Accents of polished wood and chrome displayed a level of opulence uncommon for Starfleet vessels. The two of them could live here quite comfortably for some time.

Aji strapped herself into the pilot’s couch. “Oh Damn! These controls are not made for small beings. Can you fly a shuttle?”

Zazi pulled on her own straps, snickering. “They revoked my license to steer when I blew up the last one. Nooope. Can you?”

Taking a deep breath, Aji disconnected her restraints and hopped over onto the Andorian’s lap. “Can you follow directions? I watched Captain Nablesse do this a dozen times when she kept me on her ‘party detail,’ while I belonged to her. Just pull the control panel up here.”

Zazi shook her head. “Sucks to be a slave. Damn Terrans.” She reached forward and twisted the blinking panel up to where Aji could reach the controls. The little Tamian typed in a long sequence of commands, then turned to Zazi. “Reach up to the long silver paddle above you, count to three and pull.”

Reaching up Zazi grabbed a hold of the paddle with both hands. She closed her eyes and her antenna curled up. “Off we go on a wild adventure!” she states as she pulled down.

The shuttle shook for a moment, “Emergency Life Boat protocol initiated.” the computer said calmly. Then in what would have been an explosive bang had there been any atmosphere, the Yacht plunged away from the structure of the Endeavor.

The stars reflected brilliantly in Aji’s dark eyes as the openness of space filled the viewport. “Shields are up. Transporter dampers engaged. Where you wanna go?” ske asked of her friend.

“Somewhere cold, I’ve been sweating to death on these ships!” Zazi laughed.

“Goodbye do-good Federation. Goodbye Terran Empire. Freedom here we come.” Aji exclaimed as she initiated the warp drive and… nothing.

The Tamian looked at the control board in horror. “We woke someone up. Endeavor has their Tractor Beam on us.”

“What?!” Zazi leaned, staring at the buttons that blinked back at them. “So, what, they’re gonna yank us back in??”

“Not if I can help it!” Aji exclaimed, typing furiously on her console. “Computer. Autodestruct Zero, Zero, Zero, Alpha One.”

“You’re gonna-!”

“It’s not for us. It’s for them!” Aji shouted back.

Zazi relaxed, grinning. “Oh, cool, I’m fine with that.”

“Computer open a channel to the Endeavor.” Aji stated.

On the main screen Lt. Kennedy appeared, “Shuttle DeGamma, power down immediately, we are bringing you back, or we will open fire.”

Aji sneered at the woman. “I don’t think you understand the situation Lieutenant.” moments later the red alert lighting kicked in on the Endeavor’s bridge. Kennedy cut the audio as she spoke off camera.

Aji grinned broadly. “Ah, I think you understand now. You have five minutes to cut your tractor beam and let us go, or we will just wait until your warp core breeches and leave anyways. Your choice.” Zazi put her feet up on the control panel to emphasize their leisure, throwing off Aji’s balance, she adjusted her large bushy tail and recovered quickly then cut the audio transmission. “I guess we wait and see.”

Zazi whistled a sprightly tune as Lt. Kennedy glared at them both. The alarm kept sounding, and it counted down to four minutes and twenty-three seconds before Kennedy spat out a ‘fine’, and the screen blipped away. Zazi perked up. “We out yet then? Are we really gonna turn it off?”

The Federation blinked. Aji leapt to her controls,“I figure we can turn it off in a couple minutes…. If the signal still reaches them.”

“Eh.” Zazi shrugged as the yacht finally started to drift away from the ship grinning brightly. “You and me, free out there in the big ol’ universe, not havin’ ta listen to anyone.” She paused for a moment. “No one around to you know, demand us to get things and stuff.” She shrugged. “Betcha they’re missing their doc though, that’s on them.”

“Like you were ever a Doc.” Aji said with a wicked smile.

Zazi tutted. “Well, they used me to scare the new recruits either way. I do like poppin’ folks with hyposprays.” She laughed, shaking her head. “Eh, I’d rather just not do anything. Maybe mess around with plants, have this little jerk that’s kicking me constantly.” She snickered.

Aji shifted her weight slightly on the Andorian’s belly. “Won’t be long now.”

“Yup.” Zazi paused as the yacht continued on its route. “...wanna skulk around and see if they find the other us in time ta save their ship? I wanna see firewooorks!”

Aji chucked a little. “If we don’t get some distance between us and them, we’ll be part of those fireworks.” she brought up the controls and whisked her hand across the warp engines. “Here we go.”

“Sweeeet. Popcorn is needed...oh I can make another lighter!” She brightened up, poking Aji’s cheek. “You want a smoke too? They’re pretty ‘swift’ or whatever they said in the other, whatever.”

The Nacelles glowed a bright blue as the Captain’s yacht blurred into starlines. “Sounds good to me Zazi. I’m sure I can buy you a whole crate of lighters for what we will get for this thing.” Aji said, relaxing for the first time since they fell into this universe.

As the ship Endeavor vanished into the distance Aji asked, “Did I send the disarm code? Oops.”

Zazi's cackling laugh echoed around them.

Aji D'moonh
Maintenance Technician
ISS Endeavor

Zazi Sh'viakrik
Medical Assistant
ISS Endeavor

Corliss Venture


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