S.S. Fawkes - CF-142AC
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Spiders in the Freeze-dried Beans

Posted on Tuesday October 20th, 2020 @ 16:44 hours by Lozen Nachtnebel

Mission: Safe Passage
Location: Cargo Bay 27, Deck 11, SS Fawkes
Timeline: MD04, evening
785 words - 1.6 OF Standard Post Measure

Lozen Nachtnebal contemplated a quote she once heard, "The Universe is a comedian," and decided that if this were the case, it specialized in the kind of really bad comedy found on the strip club stand-up circuit.

In front of her, where the bright beam of her flashlight illuminated the back of cargo bay twenty-seven, the surface of a huge metal shipping crate seemed to be moving. In fact, the material of the crate itself was not moving, the illusion of such coming from the half-inch mass of baby spiders which writhed across its surface.

Lo did not especially mind bugs, even those with mandibles and many legs, but this pushed her past the point of comfort. That evening, believing that the sensor warning on her PADD came from a mechanical default or some errant condensation, she had instead found herself confronted by a ravening hoard of some fifty-billion baby Denoblian tree-spiders. After dealing with passenger problems for two days straight, this seemed like a really low blow by a universe already determined to set her life on fire.

"Quartermaster to maintenance team, you're going to be needed in Cargo Bay Twenty-Seven."

Her comm crackled after a moment of silence. "Sure, u-uh, heading there now. What's the sitch?"

"Spiders," Lo said, "Denoblian Tree-Spiders. Look like they're hatching."

She caught the tail-end of a loud curse-word as the comm disconnected. Well, at least this is a job I can pass along to the normal folk, she thought. It's good to be an officer.

She backed out of the cargo bay and prepared to await the arrival of the maintenance team.

Crewman Argyle did not particularly like working aboard the S.S. Fawkes. He found the experience humbling, however. After ten years service in the Ardana military his hopes of retiring to Stratos or one of the other floating cities had been dashed to pieces. And now, here I am, a wazzock on a barge. The thought pained him. First in my class, distinguished medals during the neo-Disruptor uprising, and this is what it all amounts to...

He arrived at the cargo bay in short order, however, and made certain to not let any hint of his dissatisfaction show through. One thing he prided himself on above all else was his ability to maintain the decorous personality that his people were known for. I might not be a General's-man anymore, but I can at least remain civilized.

Lozen saw Argyle approaching and, for a moment, thought that she had caught him in the middle of a holodeck session (before remembering that she was not aboard a Starfleet vessel and that there therefore was no holodeck). He was a tall man, over six feet, and he wore a formal suit, neatly pressed, a waistcoat buttoned neatly beneath his dark grey jacket. She might have expected someone like him at a reenactment or a fancy party, but aboard the Fawkes his appearance made no sense at all.

"Quartermaster Nachtnebel?" he asked as he approached.

Lo shrugged, caught herself. "O-oh, yes. We have a problem. Crewman...?"

"Argyle, ma'am. James Argyle."

"You don't need to call me ma'am, Argyle. Did--were you Fleet?"

Argyle smiled, faintly. "No, not Starfleet. I served with the Ardanan military for some years."

"Have you ever faced Denobulan Spiders, Mr. Argyle?"

"I cannot say that I have, no."

Lo sighed.

The work took several long hours, by the end of which both Lo and Argyle were soaked with sweat and quite exhausted. Argyle's slicked-back hair and carefully-maintained appearance had taken a bit of a beating during their forays into the infested cargo bay.

"I'm going to need to speak with the captain about where she gets her cargo from," Lo muttered as she leaned against the cargo bay wall. The smell of burned spider lingered in the air. The little bastards could survive just about anything, even exposure to vacuum, and worse, they could reproduce asexually, meaning that even one of them could cause an epidemic.

"Yes, please do," Argyle said, but he smiled at the same time. Lo had the impression that he had rather enjoyed himself. "Did we get them all?"

"Nothing left on scanners, the tricorder would pick them up by the radioisotopes in their system. That's what makes them glow."

"It's a bit of luck that the cargo bays are kept isolated from the main systems."

Lo nodded. "The Cardassians build well. I think we can put this behind us for the time-being. Can I treat you to a drink, Mr. Argyle?"

"James, please. And yes," his smile caused the corners of his eyes to crinkle, "I'd quite enjoy that."


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