S.S. Fawkes - CF-142AC
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Yet another mystery Box

Posted on Sunday July 5th, 2020 @ 23:14 hours by M'erah & Mark Cross

Mission: Safe Passage
Timeline: MD06 - 11.30 hours

The deckhands had been interested by the workings of the mystery box for about as long as it had been on board. They had been explicitly told not to touch it, and that only made things worse. Mercy had set up a feedback buffer before she was kicked off for some sort of assault (rumours were in abundance, solid info rare) on the power grid and a Faraday cage to disrupt some of the electrical interference it might throw out. All of this didn't stop the deck hands from having stuff to do in the cargo bay that it was situated in. Even when nobody ordered them to. It was the most frequented, and the cleanest, cargobay on the Fawkes during this flight.

"So what do you think?" Keith Emerson remembered the last time they were transporting a big ominous box with a Starfleet insignia on it. It wasn't a pleasant occurrence.

"Probably some kind of munitions..." Mark shrugged as he nonchalantly eyed the crate. In his former career, similar containers usually held the tools he and his unit needed to really ruin someone's day. Of course he figured they used the same style of container for any number of different things.

A second issue was that, unlike a lot of his fellow deckhands, he cared a whole lot less. If this was the extent of their excitement, then perhaps this wouldn't be the most fun assignment he'd ever have.

"Go and take a peek Keith, you'll be a hero amongst deckhands"

"Ha, right, and kicked out of the nearest airlock by the Captain," Keith shook his head, "No sirree, bob, I've learned my lesson." He remembered how on his first assignment here one of the Starfleet crates they were ferrying opened up and spilt a hallucinogenic into the atmosphere. He had spent three days crawling across a desert trying to find water... or so he thought. The security footage had been hilarious, at least that's what his colleagues had thought.

He was more than content to just stay far away from it, but couldn't quite curb his curiosity not to take assignments in the bay, "Come on, let's finish up around here, so we can get back to actual work." He looked over his shoulder at Mark as he continued sweeping.

"I could probably do with being flushed out of the nearest Airlock..." Mark figured if he was being tracked, getting booted off the ship at the next port might be a way to shake his tail for a while longer.

"I might open it."

Mark hadn't really stopped to pay the crate any real attention, and his task was nearly complete.

"Really?" Keith shook his head, "You really don't want to do that man..." He tried to pull his attention towards a camera up in the corner of the bay, "there's cameras everywhere." He looked around the rest of the bay, "unless..." he walked up to a cylindrical crate, that was tied down properly, "unless, there's nothing we could do..." he swept against the strap loosening it enough, "unless somehow, something, cracked it open by falling against it."

"Is there anyone on the ship smart enough to work out the Pythagoras on that?" Mark tried to figure out what kind of angle you'd have to hit a crate at to pop open the lid. The other option was just hitting it hard of course. As he worked away on his own list of tasks that were left to wrap up in the bay, he was completely oblivious to what Keith was fiddling around with a short distance away.

"Although I guess in that case the responsible thing would be for the nearest people to get it sealed back up as quickly as possible."

"Yeah, we should act in the interest of the crew and cargo. Make sure nothing inside broke, then seal it back up." Keith walked away from the container, he wouldn't be able to figure out how to hit the crate without the use of a holographic interface. He was terrible at pool, he figured he wouldn't fare much better with this.

"Some things are probably better left alone..." As Mark ticked his final assignment off in this bay, he weighed up the options. Knowing that the prospect of the crate being here, and the mysteries it held, seemed to be driving his fellow deckhands crazy, and it was amusing to watch, but by the same token it seemed to be all anyone was talking about, and the conversations over coffee were already starting to get tiresome.

"I'm all done here, need a han-WHOA!"

As Mark headed over in Keith's direction, he stopped and leaned casually on a stack of crates while he waited for a response. Rather unexpectedly, and having trusted in the strapping work of one of his colleagues, he was surprised to feel a barrel-like container slip clean off the top of the pile under his weight, bouncing and spinning at speed towards the mystery container. As fast as he could be, he knew there was no way he'd catch up to it in time.

"Well I guess we're gonna find out..."

The barrel container hit the mysterious box that had been humming away quietly in the corner of the bay. The Faraday construction around it provided little protection as the heavy container rolled into it with a thud that rang around the bay. There was a momentary lapse in the box's hum before the top popped open and pushed itself upward for about ten centimeters. There seemed to be about a dozen lights on each side flickering and buzzing. The gentle humming continued and was only interrupted when the cargo bay doors opened.

"I don't think you're supposed to touch that," The voice was soft, uncertain, it belonged to a young dark-skinned Trill woman, dressed in a long flowing purple dress, bare feet. Her black curls tied in a messy bun on the top of her head, hairs springing out all over her head, "Where is Hirral?"

"Who's Hirral?" Mark glanced around to Keith, who it seemed had vanished behind a stack of crates as soon as the door opened, leaving him standing out there alone in the middle of the cargo bay.

"And you're right, the crate fell...is this...do you know anything about this? How it works?"

His instinct was to sprint over and jam the container closed, if nothing else but to limit the damage, but if the Trill was familiar with...whatever this was...then maybe they would be the better person for operating it safely.

The woman blinked and looked around the cargobay, "I don't. Hirral knows, maybe you should call him," she pointed at the container, "did you get his permission to activate that?"

Keith appeared from behind the crates, "Hirral, that stuck up Trill dude?" he shook his head, "what's he to you?"

It seemed that the deckhand surprised the woman, "Oh, I hadn't seen you there," she smiled, "what are your names?" Her gaze switching between the two men in the bay.

"Deckhand M'erah..." Mark blurted out, instantly regretting the decision. For a start, he was a whole lot less...furry. He shook his head at his own stupidity.

The woman frowned a bit and looked at the man that had identified him as M'erah, "What a lovely name," She gave a smile before turning to the other man in the room, "And you?"

"Keith," He didn't see the need to lie about his name to this woman, but he was starting to wonder where she had come from, so quickly after the box had opened. It was almost as if she had been lying in wait, "So, what's your name?"

Just as she was about to answer that question the doors to the cargo bay opened, Hirral Furx, the Trill man that had paid the Fawkes to transport him and his cargo over to Betazed, stepped in, "What the hell is going on here?"

The woman looked up and took a step away from the man that had just entered, "I'm sorry." She immediately whimpered.

"I'll deal with you later," Hirral practically ignored the young woman and looked at the nearest man in the cargo bay, "You, what did you do?" He poked a finger at him.

"Leaned on a container that wasn't strapped on, it rolled into that container over there." Mark replied. He made a note to try and find out who'd strapped it down and give them a lesson or two. If he wasn't booted off for this whole charade.

"I thought about going to close it myself but maybe it was better left to someone more..qualified..."

Hirral shook his head, "I've heard you all talk about it in the mess," he jabbed a finger in Mark's general direction, "You can rest assured that I'll be talking to your Captain about this." He walked towards the device and tapped a couple of controls, did a quick diagnostic to make sure the thing was still in working order, "I thought I told you to go back to our quarters, Liliah?" He looked up at the woman, eyes shooting daggers at her.

The woman called Liliah hung her head and headed for the doors, despite the fact that there hadn't been any mention of quarters before that moment she seemed to accept his command. The doors parted and she stepped outside, looking over her shoulder right before the doors closed behind her.

With a few swift keystrokes Hirral shut down some active processed and finally the top of the box started to descend back into itself, "This is not the last you've heard of this." With that he stormed off in the direction of the exit.

"At least he didn't ask our names, huh? The cat would have been in trouble..." Mark chuckled nervously as he watched the Trill turn tail and leave.

"That's a rrrelief," Keith joked invoking M'erah's way of talking, "Let's tie things back up and get the hell out of here."


Mark Cross
Deck Hand (Able)


Keith Emerson
Deck Hand (Ordinary)

S.S. Fawkes


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