"A Coin For Passage – Part One"
by Lieutenants Waqas jilani
and Nimue Andraste
= The Brig =
= USS Charon =
Petty Officer Craig Thorburn was not the kind of man who broke rules.
Truth be told, he was not even the kind of man who broke his routine.
He had come aboard the Charon five years ago, and since then had
gotten up at precisely the same time each morning, gone through the
exact same workout routine and eaten the same breakfast before
reporting to his post. He liked constants. It was comforting to know
that in the ugly chaos and unpredictability of the universe, in a
time-space continuum as vast as it was fluid, an individual could have
absolute stability in all his dealings if he wanted to. It was, he
was quite convinced, one of the greater miracles of the universe.
No one who knew him, therefore, would have been able to explain why he
had agreed to give his maintenance override codes to Nimue Andraste,
so that the young lieutenant could go sky diving in the holodecks with
the safety off. No one could explain why he was walking to the
Charon's brig now, fully intent letting her out of the brig. Under
ordinary circumstances, it was not something he would ever do. But
these were not ordinary circumstances. Nimue Andraste was involved.
And Craig Thorburn was ensorcelled.
It wasn't that she had a habit of looking to the side, away from you,
when you made her smile that had this effect on him. It was not the
animated, mischievous light that glimmered light brown eyes when she
spoke. It wasn't her quick smile or the way she only used just one
finger to tuck stray hair behind her ears. At least, it was not just
those things. Nimue Andraste had a magnetism about her the source of
which Thorburn could not identify. It was like he was a man who had
discovered the one rose that would not die in autumn.
He did not quite know what name to give the strange stirring in his
heart when he was around her. Certainly, it was not love...but there
was something there. Enough to make him ignore the greater miracles
of the universe for a time. A smaller one had seized his imagination.
Only Chief Gromley was on duty at the brig just then. It wasn't like
there was a lot of activity here. That would make things easier.
Gromley had known Thorburn for a long time.
"Ah…got sent down here to escort that Andraste girl you have locked up
in here to the shuttle bay. The fighters are going on an escort
mission and you know how they like her to observe those."
"Yeah? Thought she'd be in here for a while. Fourth time she hacked
the safety on the holodeck. Girl is a nut. She tried pretty hard to
escape. Now she's down to throwing her boots at the forcefield and
watching 'em bounce back. Think she knows that ain't gonna work?"
Thorburn smiled and neglected to mention that Nimue Andraste lacked
the technical expertise to hack a adult content protection lock that
she had set herself much less the security codes for the holodeck.
"I dunno, Chief. I just do as the officers say."
The Chief sighed and put upon sigh. "Yeah. Don't we all. All right
then. Go on and let her out."
Thorburn smiled. That had been easy. He knew it would be. After
all, Chief Gromley had known him for a long time. For her part, Nimue
looked up when she heard his footsteps and, with a brilliant smile,
jumped to her feet.
"Tell me you're finally allowed to let me out of here."
"Allowed isn't the word I'd use. Chief Gromley is going to let you
out. Don't say anything. Act natural."
She gave him an odd look. "How else would I act?"
"You ought to act like someone who wants to stay out of the brig."
"I just get in a little trouble because of the holodecks. It isn't a big deal."
"Uh-huh. I've heard of other things. Wasn't there a time you were in
an illegal race and you drove your vehicle into an Admiral's private
She scratched her head sheepishly, "It was only a little dent."
"There was major hull damage. Worse, I heard you told the Admiral you
were a Starfleet officer and that that made it okay. And then you
tried to bribe him so that he wouldn't tell...well, himself."
"He wasn't wearing his uniform," Nimue answered with a slight scowl,
"How was I supposed to know who he was? Anyway, fine - things got a
little ugly that one time."
"Well…just so that doesn't happen here, we're going to get you away
from the ship for a while. You wanna grab your boots?"
= Shuttlecraft William Hurst =
= USS Charon =
Lieutenant Waqas Jilani recognized her from his recent survey of the
crew manifest. Lieutenant Nimue Andraste, Helm Officer. Her deep
quicksand eyes had captured his attention even in her record
photograph. Now he found the svelte woman lounging on the Hurst, as
the shuttlecraft was prepared for the upcoming away mission. Her feet
were propped up on an inactive console as she sat reading a padd, her
pretty face a picture of concentration, though partly veiled by her
wavy brown hair. There was just something about her manner, though he
could not say what, that made Waqas smile.
Clearing his throat so as not to startle the slender woman, Jilani
asked, "What are you reading?"
"A flight manual," she replied cheerfully in a sweet, soft voice. "I
need to figure out how this thing works and then I'm going to fly you
out for the mission."
Jilani chuckled. "That's funny, Lieutenant."
A perfectly earnest face looked back at him with unblinking innocence. "It is?"
"You haven't flown one of these before?"
"I don't do shuttles," Nimue replied airily, "I'm more of a 'ride the
big boys' kind of girl. I can fly the Charon with my toes but this
little dinky thing? No can do. I got news for you, bub, size does
Jilani stared at her. "You're serious?"
Nimue rolled her eyes at the counselor. "No. Well…yeah. I mean, you
know, it matters for other things. What I mean is that of course I
can fly this thing. A pig could fly this thing."
"Doesn't mean a pig should fly this thing." Jilani pointed out.
"You let Beyla know that."
"And Beyla is your pig?"
"Our resident Tellarite pilot."
"Not the same thing then."
"You only say that 'cause you haven't seen her eat." Nimue muttered
under her breath, rising to her feet and stretching out to yawn.
Catching Waqas looking at her, she smiled. "What?"
Andraste folded her arms across her chest. "Hey!"
"I meant you are short."
"Petite. Not tall. Compared to most Starfleet Officers, that is,
which is the pool against which you are measured." Jilani paused.
"Have I sufficiently covered my butt now?"
"I've seen asses more naked." Nimue granted magnanimously.
"So what are you? Around five four? Five five?"
"Five six." Nimue snapped. Then added, "Almost."
"My point," Waqas commented mildly, "Is that perhaps you shouldn't be
going around making cracks about size."
"Prolly. So what is going on here anyway? You guys found a giant
space glow worm or something, right?"
"Aren't you part of this away team?"
"Yup. I just don't really care what it is about. I'm not, you know,
an official active participant or anything. I'm just here to
observe." Seeing Jilani's confusion, she added hastily, "They let me
come along whenever the fighters are going to be in action. To study
them. I'm in training to be a fighter pilot. Have been for a while
"So you aren't a very good pilot."
"Pfft," a new voice snorted, "Eltee, Nimue here is probably one of the
best damn pilots in the entire Quad." The Tellarite officer who had
entered waddled in and, roughly shoving the much thinner Andraste out
of the way, collapsed in the pilot's chair. "It ain't the flying
that's her problem, Eltee. It's the fighting. She goes and keeps
getting herself blown up all to bits in those simulations they run.
Keeps dying, she does."
"I happen to like little deaths." Nimue commented with a grin.
"Point is that there ain't no one too eager to put this little pixie
here in a fighter. She's just tagging along." The Tellarite paused
to give Andraste a long look. "Anyway, Ensigns Jim Dodd and Jorge
Castas are on their way. Just as soon as they're here, we can blow
the hole on this space bowl."
"What does that even mean?" The Counselor answered.
"Let it go," Nimue mouthed silently, grabbing a seat and picking up
her padd again. Jilani looked at the two of them for a moment, made a
mental note about checking on the sanity of the pilot corp on his
ship, and began to wait.
= End Log =