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Lt Zola & LtJG Barnes - "What Do You See When You Turn Out the Light?"

Posted on 2017-04-22 11:56 by Lieutenant Zola & Lieutenant JG Catalina Barnes

Mission: Cup O Noodle

Zola approached the Erebus infirmary at a fast pace. She scratched at the back of her head with a PADD as she entered, and immediately drew the attention of one of the nurses on duty.

"Can Barnes take a visitor?" Zola dropped the PADD to her side, instead tapping it repeatedly against her thigh.

"Short visit only. We need to keep her under observation to make sure there aren't any lingering affects, ma'am."

"I'll keep it short, I promise," Zola insisted, and headed straight for Catalina's recovery room. As the small door slid shut behind her, Zola pulled out her tricorder to scan the room. After a moment she closed it again. "Good, all clear."

Catalina looked up as Zola came in and gave her a wan smile. The period of time she had been connected to the computer had seemed to temporarily increase her mental activity to new levels, and now she felt like a slug trapped in her own mind. "Hey, Z," she said. "What's up?"

"How are you feeling?" Zola pulled the nurse's stool up to Catalina's bedside and climbed up on it.

"Like a slug," Catalina said, expressing exactly how she felt. "I had all the mental processing power of a ship computer and now my thoughts feel sluggish and I'm getting impatient with myself."

"I can only imagine what that's like. And that makes me reluctant to ask you about this, but it really looks important. Particularly for Caine's safety." Zola held up the PADD. "Obviously the data you grabbed was from the training scenario's drones, but the program seems to have gone through our database, then possibly even pulled info from the greater Starfleet database... And well, it seems like Starfleet Command knows about the S'blen thing. Can you remember anything of the files you grabbed?"

The young human woman laid back on the bed and thought for a moment. She felt a headache brewing at the slowness of her thoughts before she was able to recall what she had learned. "Yes," she said as she began to tell Zola everything that she had access to about S'blen's case when she had cracked the false Borg encryption. When she finished, she shook her head with a pained look. "I really wish I could sort it out in order that I got it in, but everything is jumbled. I feel like my own brain has been hacked."

"As well as I could follow what you just said, that sounds like what I've read in your data dump. So the next question is... How do we verify that it's legitimate? Not the training program glitching?"

"It could have been false information to throw us off the track if we went back, it could have been entirely fictitious or it could be the real deal," Catalina said with a shrug. "It was enough that I got hit with so much data that I was virtually comatose and didn't know what was going on until the simulation ended."

"Did you hear what happened to Waterhouse and Lexil? The system beamed people out covertly when they are assimilated, but the safeties weren't working right, and Lexil actually had her wrist shattered, and Waterhouse got half her face burned off. That shouldn't have happened." Zola shook her head.

"Are you serious?" Catalina asked in disbelief. "I wonder if they were trying to kill her," she mused and looked at Zola. "Is that why you scanned with the tricorder when you first came in?"

"I don't know who we can trust. Why would the training scenario have even had this information? But if they were going to release it, and were afraid that she would say something..." Zola clasped Catalina's hand. "We have to tell Waterhouse, let her decide what to do with it."

"Because I went in hard and deep with the encryption," Catalina said. "I was knocking firewalls and layer after layer of traps and everything else aside. It's possible that they hadn't made plans for an actual person to be working at the speed of a computer and couldn't keep up with the thousands of different approaches that I was hitting them with. I even made new ones on the fly. As for speaking to the Commander, I wouldn't do it over any comm. We need to see her in person." She made to get up off the bed and started to go pale, then pushed herself to her feet. "I'm done laying around here."

"I think we have a couple more days before they shove the Emperor into the USS Rico for our ride back to Utopia Planitia, and if the nurse on my way in was any indication, they're not going to want to discharge you until they absolutely can not argue it anymore. If you're going to try to walk out of here, there's going to have to be some creative talking involved." Even as she protested, Zola offered her arm to Catalina to stabilize her.

Catalina took a breath and steadied herself, then looked at Zola. "There's nothing physically wrong with me and the longer we wait, the more chances the opposition has to get even further ahead of us," she said. "As for creative talking, I'm just going to tell them that if they can't prove I'm unfit to walk out on my own, I'm going. They can't legally hold me unless I have charges being pressed against me, which I don't."

"Well, take a minute before you walk out there. It'll be harder to stop you if you're at least steady on your feet."

She signed, but decided Zola was right. "What if we just beam out of here?" Catalina asked Zola. "That would just cut through all the red tape and get us to where we need to go."

"And cause the nurses to call security to search the base for you. And considering that it's intelligence officers running security here..." Zola shook her head. "We have a better chance of talking our way out if we want to go mostly unnoticed."

"Okay, okay," Catalina conceded with a frustrated sigh. "I just want to get out of here as quickly as possible."

The door into the room slid open, and the nurse entered paying more attention to her PADD than anything else. She looked up, eyes moving from Catalina to Zola, then stayed firmly locked on Zola.

"I told you Barnes is on bed rest, out with you." She stepped to her left, and pointed out the door with her PADD as her other hand landed on her hip in a fist. Zola looked up at Catalina.

"Now or never," Zola directed at her.

"I feel that laying on my back has become a waste of Starfleet assets when I'm perfectly able to perform my duties," Catalina said. "As such, I am checking myself out. There is nothing wrong with me mentally or physically, so if you could get me the release paperwork, I'll be happy to sign off and go."

"Overall, Ms. Barnes, you do appear to be fine, but the unusual circumstances of your... merging with the Norton's computer core during the training scenario by way of that neural interface—" Here the nurse paused a moment, made a face. "We still haven't been able to get a straight answer from Fleegman on where that thing came from, but that's irrelevant for the moment. That connection put a lot of strain on your basal ganglia, you had a lot more going through it than is normal for a human. We don't know how that'll affect you long term. You need to rest."

"I'll see to it she does get rest, but she's getting agitated here... I told her to stay in bed, that you wouldn't want to let her leave, but she insisted on getting up despite my protest. Look at me, I'm tiny, how was I going to stop her?" Zola shrugged her shoulders and smiled at the nurse.

"I'll let you go on one condition. You agree to wear a cerebral monitor, so that if something happens we're notified right away and can take care of you. Agreed?" The nurse narrowed her gaze at Catalina, and crossed her arms.

"That'll be fine," Catalina said. "I just need to get back to what I was doing before and I promise not to interface with anymore computers."

"Your uniform is in that cabinet, but it's singed, you may want to replicate a new one. I'll be right back with your monitor and discharge paperwork." The nurse shook her head and left the room again.

"How did my uniform get singed?" Catalina asked as went to get her uniform and began to strip out of the hospital gown. "Was I on fire, Z?"

"It was probably that blast in the corridor when Dragomirov got," Zola held up both hands and crooked her pointer, middle, and ring fingers on each, "assimilated. The one that disrupted your temporary servos we hacked together for you?"

Catalina shrugged and put her old uniform on. "I just want to get out of here as quickly as possible," she said. "And while this information is still in my brain. I feel like someone stuffed a large melon inside of my skull with all the information I still have in there."

"Your head doesn't look any bigger," Zola insisted, trying to keep a straight face, trying to joke with Catalina to relieve a little stress while they waited for the nurse. She stood on tip toe to try to look closer. The nurse returned and stopped just inside the door with a look directed at Zola. The little Ferengi grinned wide and stepped back.

"Your paperwork," she said holding the PADD out for Catalina. "And if you'll hold your hair aside, I'll attach the monitor behind your left ear."

Catalina glared at Zola, but gave a chuckle before she brushed her hair aside for the nurse. "That's the problem, Z," she said. "It's in there whether my head is the right size for it or not."

"Well, if your head starts hurting, or anything else unusual, because of all that's packed in there," the nurse said as she pressed the cold metal device to the skin behind Catalina's ear, "you come see us right away, you understand? Once you sign off on that paperwork, you can leave. Just understand that it's against the carefully considered advice of this medical team, and if we find out that you have removed the monitor, we will seek your commanding officer to order you to report to medical care."

"I understand," Catalina said. "I'll let you know the moment something doesn't feel right."

"Keep an eye on your friend, we're only looking out for her health," the nurse directed as Zola on her way out of the room. Zola nodded, then shrugged at Catalina.

"You ready to go?" the little Ferengi asked.

"I've been ready since I got up, Z," Catalina said even as she wondered if she should remain, but knew there was important business to take care of. "Let's blow this popsicle stand!"

=/\= End Log =/\=

Lieutenant Zola
R & D
USS Joshua Norton

Lieutenant JG Catalina Barnes
Cryptographer
USS Joshua Norton

NPC by Amy: Erebus base nurse

 

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