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Hollow

Posted on 14 Jan 2018 @ 1:55pm by Lieutenant JG Zitla
Edited on on 14 Jan 2018 @ 2:08pm

Mission: New Beginings
Location: USS Phoenix
Timeline: 00:00 - ~ 11:30

“Are you sure you don’t mean to spend the night on the station?” the officer on duty in the transporter room asked as Zitla hefted her bag onto her should and stepped down from the platform.

“Things are just livening up over there and I’ll be heading down myself when I’m off in fifteen.”

Zitla smiled and at the same time shook her head, “Its been a long journey.”

“Is that why you changed your plans?”

He was a nosy one, she thought, but the questions were understandable given the short notice change to her itinerary.

“One of my sisters was taken ill on the journey,” she replied diplomatically. Zitla felt no need to go into the real details of why the planned jaunt on Deep Space Five was abandoned. “It just wouldn’t be the same without them.”

“One of your sisters?” he asked.

“I’m the eldest of quintuplets,” she said pausing by his station. She allowed herself a flutter of amusement as he processed that information.

“Are you all identical?” he asked.

“Each and every one – in looks at least.”

“Hot damn. I wish I’d seen that,” he seemed to be regretting that he would not have any chance of running into that party as the night drew on.

“Look me up and I’ll show you a picture,” she said with a grin, “Can you confirm that my goods have been transported to my office and my quarters?” she asked.

“Yes, of course … ma’am,” he said as if recalling that she was an officer and not just a passing stranger.

“Zee will do, tonight at least.”

“All confirmed. Three cases to the Chief Science Officer’s Office – Deck Six - and three to your quarters – Deck three, section –“

“I’ll find them,” she said. “Tell me, is it true that we have the equivalent of three fully equipped ships?”

The man’s face wrinkled a little as though he was chewing the inside of his cheek. “In a way,” he said, “The auxiliary bridges are fully functional and exceptional, but I’ve heard that the back up facilities aren’t quite as great as the main ones.”!

“A bit of shared space?”

“A bit.”

Well, she could not ask for everything and in the event that they had to rely on the back-ups then functioning would be all that mattered.


Zitla ran her thumb under the strap of her bag, repositioning the weight on her shoulder. “I’ll be getting on, mister?”

“Endive,” he replied, “Chris P Endive.”

“Enjoy your night on the station,” she said with another quick grin, “My lab awaits.”




As she entered her office Zitla confirmed that the cases were indeed there. She tugged the top off one, not the largest, and ruffled her hand through the layers of packaging. Her fingers touched the cold, smooth surface of the shell that lay within. She imagined it hummed at the touch of her fingers, the one familiar thing to her on this brand new vessel.

With reluctance she withdrew her hand and tucked the shell back in before replacing the lid of the crate. She would unpack it later and find the perfect place once she had taken the time to explore.

Zitla took up a padd and for several hours checked and rechecked the inventory and status of the equipment. There was nothing out of line or even pushing the parameters in the main lab. The same was true of the auxiliaries though she could see what Endive had meant when he suggested there was some shared space.

Still, she thought, in an emergency situation the need for medical space is likely to be more important than that for painstaking and often obscure research so she accepted it without question.

Again it was true that the auxiliary bridges were up to standard – she drifted in there as she passed having assessed her own territory in each area. For all her pragmatism she hoped they would not have too much call to use those spaces.

As she had done throughout the night whilst her colleagues to be were presumably indulging themselves elsewhere Zitla entered the turbolift.

“Hello again,” she said knowing that the computer would not acknowledge her until she gave an instruction, “It amuses me anyway. Main bridge.”




Despite the quiet thrum from the stations the bridge was silent – it hardly needed to be manned when in dock and pre-launch. Zitla drifted between the stations examining the consoles that her colleagues would be using, trying as she reached each to recall the brief and asking the computer for details to remind when her own memory failed her.

The one she hesitated to approach was her own station. For some reason, perhaps because her sister's words were still with her, she did not want to find out that this all was a mistake, or for it to answer her instructions with a wry and dismissive tone that suggested that there was someone better who could have fitted the slot but they were not available so they had taken Zitla in desperation.

The Bolian reasoned that the unfamiliarity of being alone was playing on her mind, the effect of isolation multiplied by the lack of life forms aboard this night, or this morning or what ever the time was now.

If I doubt myself now, what would I do if I was in charge of us all? She wondered.

Her movement away from the science terminal was not conscious. When she thought again Zitla found herself in the centre chair. The upholstery both squeaked and yielded beneath her weight as if to make itself an extension of her body. Maybe that was what she needed to do.

Her fingers curled around the armrests – she did not have responsibility for all, only for her own department but perhaps she could take this inspiration and apply it there. It was with a little reluctance that she eased herself to her feet and with darkening cheeks that she hoped the captain would not notice the imprint of her buttocks on the soft and very welcoming chair.




“Computer, to the main science labs please, and repeat again all staff details, alphabetical order, then by speciality, then by …”

Several hours she spent listening and talking to herself and the computer as she rechecked the main complex. Zitla was thrilled at her new domain and hoped she could do it justice.

It was only by chance that she wandered back into her own office. She passed her crates and tested her own chair.

It was hard and unyielding.

Zitla closed her eyes and hook her head.

What am I doing? She thought. I must be crazy.

When she opened them she noticed the message light on her console was blinking red against the stark white of the lab.




Lt JG Zitla
Chief Science Officer

 

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