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A Favor

Posted on Wed Jul 17th, 2019 @ 7:59am by Lieutenant Commander Mel Torma & David Hawkins

Mission: A new perspective
Location: Torma's Personal Quarters - U.S.S. Gladiator-A

/// ON ///

The flicker of Hawkins came into existence into the living quarters in the Gladiator, which was darkened and only lit from the internal lighting from the starbase overseeing the Memphis Island and her planet. He looked around for a moment before he spoke aloud. "Computer, lights."

Withn moments, the room lit up and he could see doubles of everything, like chairs, table plates, couched and beds in the sleeping quarters. He hadn't been in her quarters before but this was a meeting that he was truly needing.

After a long day at the labs, grueling and essentially unproductive, the twin forms of Mel Torma all but trudged across the mantle of her quarters. "Honey, I'm home." she said out to the seemingly empty room, before she gave a dry chuckle. Something was amiss, though. Her lights were on. She NEVER left her lights on. She was a breath away from calling operations when she saw the figure in her room, and she was a hair away from calling security before she realized who it was.

"Mel, hey!" he turned at the door and nodded at her two forms that walked through the door. "I am transmitting a holographic communications through the computer's secondary systems. So far, no one has been able to piggy back on this transmission, but that may change."

"They grilled me for an HOUR! Security this, loyalty that." she rubbed both her temples. "Okay, okay. Less details, more talking. I'll get you something better than a..."

"... piggy back rear hatch later. Talk." she spoke in a hush. This was too much of a conspiracy for her liking, but this was David.

A smirk grew on David's face as he took her positive outlook and started to feel that he was going to miss that. "How are you doing?"

"To be honest, confused and a little afraid, but we're way past the part where either of those will help. Don't tell me..."

"... what happened. If they question me, I don't want to accidentally know." she started off. "Dalacari confuse telepaths but I don't..."

"... want to take the chance of even *knowing*. But, you didn't call me just to say hi. Unless you did, then ..."

"Hi." the pair said, together. "What's up? That's the right phrase, right?"

"I had a favor to ask, but first things first. How are you doing?" David asked as he flickered as the holographic projection he was in.

She chalked it up to the terrible connection. "A little confused, a little afraid, but I'll make it through. Thank you." another pause, she started to fidget.

"Whatever happened, don't tell me. If they ask, I don't want to accidentally know." she stated simply. "But, you mentioned a favor, and what kind of..."

"... Dalacari would I be if I didn't accommodate a friend?" she asked with a nervous smile. "What do you need?"

"You know that Dalacari Engine you briefed us about and even showed us? Can one of those be adapted to manage multiple technologies to work as a single operating system?"

Mel gave the matter a little bit of thought, "You know, I don't honestly know. We've never been able to see about cross-species technological adaptation. The Ts'usugi never let us install an Engine on one of their..."

"... ships, but the kit bash Delta Eighty Six that I built while everyone was in cryostasis was able to operate the moment to moment calculations, but that was also because..."

"... I was able to spoof my access by fooling biometrics. I honestly don't know." She said, sounding a little disappointed in herself. "You'd need a lot of energy to power it, and it would have to..."

"... be kept cold. The colder, the better. Now, I know you can hear me, but can you also see me?" she asked.

A smile grew across his face for the first time in the past several days as he nodded. "Yes, I can see you. You look great, stressed but great."

She gave a pair of smiles, "Thank you. I wasn't digging for a compliment, I promise. What I *was* going to say was that, see... If I transmit the schematics for Delta Eighty Six to you, that would trigger as..."

"... a massive data transmission over an unusual channel. Now, if I were to, you know, reminisce about my old home-built Thinking Engine and leave the schematics..."

"... on display on this desk here." she stated with a smirk on one form while her other form pulled up the schematics of the home-brew kit-bash Thinking Engine. Woefully inefficient compared to a true Engine, but it could be built with items that anyone could find and cannibalize from a starship.

"I mean, anything's possible."

"Yes, anything is possible," David smirked as he nodded before he closed his eyes for a moment. It was several minutes before he opened up his eyes. "Mel, I want to thank you for being such a good friend. I do need to say that I am sorry, once again, as my actions have caused your stay with us a little, rocky."

She smiled, a pair of honest smiles, "Would it make you feel any better if I said I expected nothing less? Single instance life forms are so dramatic." she teased, turning back to face the hologram.

"The Ts'usugi say that we make good friends because we're born so vulnerable. I just, before you go, I want to say thank you. I've never..."

"... felt vulnerable around the crew here, and especially whenever you were involved. I'm way out of my depth out here but you and the others were..."

"... always patient and understanding, willing to explain something to someone who stepped out of her pond and fell into the ocean."

She fiddled for a moment, a motion that crossed over to both forms. Then she changed the PaDD on her desk to something else. Something simple. A subspace frequency and a series of credentials. The frequency was far out of the range of what Starfleet usually used. Deeper. Lower.

"My gift to you." she started. "These are my guest credentials to the Ts'usugi Buoy network. I... I'm not allowed to tell you how it works. Just know that it's instantaneous..."

"... communication to any location the Ts'usugi have a buoy set up, and from there, subspace comms can be established. Their comm network is hyper secure." she started.

"I'd almost say unbreakable. The only vulnerable parts are from ship to buoy, and from buoy to ship. Buoy to buoy is beyond secure. The Ts'usugi trust it with..."

"... details of high government official locations, movements of troops and supplies, even the destination of the Emperor when he moves about." she let that sit in.

"These are guest codes, so they expire after three uses. The Ts'usugi enjoy the number three, so go figure. If you need to send a message to someone on a ship, and you..."

"... can't risk anyone picking it up between point A and point B... I just gave you the keys to the kingdom. Please don't ask how it works." she gave him a smile.

"It'll put my account on lockdown. I need that to call home every month."

David nodded out of respect as he noted the information as well before he looked back at the twin form. "I want to thank you again. I'll make sure to keep this for emergency purposes. So far, the encryption protocal is working for this holo-communication. But it won't last forever. I'll pop in from time to time, to see how you are doing, if that is ok with you."

"Just... not while I'm in the shower. Or asleep. I mean, I'm a Dalacari and you're not, so you really don't know what to look at if I'm not dressed but still." she held up a finger on one form.

"I will shriek, and it'll summon security. So please, holo-knock first I guess." she offered a smile. "Now get out of here before someone finds you."

With a quick chuckle, David nodded and waved as his holo image dissipated and left the Dalacari to herselves. It was good to see her, but she was right. He just hoped it wasn't going to be long.

/// OFF ///

David Hawkins


Lieutenant Commander Mel Torma


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