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Part of USS Odyssey: No Good Deed

No Good Deed – 7

USS Odyssey (NCC-80000), Gerina IX, Gerina System, Swallow Nebula region, Delta Quadrant
Stardate: 78623
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As Captain Duncan handed her the alien PADD, Tierra’s frustration and exhaustion were palpable. She had spent the previous day tirelessly repairing Cloudbase, hoping for a quiet day in engineering to catch up on the mounting reports on her desk. Yet, here she was, faced with yet another task. 

“Thank you, sir,” She said, sounding almost sarcastic. 

Duncan smirked at her, a playful glint in his eye. “Don’t say I’m not a caring superior officer!” he teased, winking at her before leaving her office. Their banter was a testament to their unique relationship. 

The moment the executive officer was gone out of the door, and it was shut behind him, she gave out her sigh.

“Is it that bad?” Westerham asked as he moved from the replicator with their drinks to Tierra’s desk.

She nodded, “Knowing what I’ve learnt about this Korvain guy, he is certainly someone who has his hands in some of the seediest deals known in the system.”

Passing her coffee over to her, Westerham looked at her. “Really? And how do you know that?” 

“Well, based on how over the top his daughter was yesterday in protecting her secrets and the fact her father is one of the wealthiest and most influential individuals on the colony, I put two and two together and made my own answer,” Tierra responded as she took her drink and had a sip from it. “I’ve known guys like Korvain before. They only think about themselves first, above anyone else. They must always prove themselves to the best, whatever the cost.”

“So Corella is right; he is worse than a Ferengi,” Westerham remarked with a chuckle as he sat opposite Tierra’s desk in one of the armchairs. 

“At least with a Ferengi, you can bargain with them, and then they will leave you alone once the transaction is complete. Korvain is in a completely different league.” Tierra said as she connected the PADD to the office’s holographic systems so she and Westham could review what Korvain wanted to offer them. Within seconds, previews of schematics and demonstrations of the systems, if they were attached to the Odyssey, began to play silently across the room. 

“Why is it always weapons with these guys?” Westerham said, shaking his head as he looked at the demo for the new and improved isokinetic cannons. 

Tierra chuckled. She had been looking at the tetryon reactor schematics. She wasn’t impressed. Nothing stood out that amazed her or made her think it was worthwhile. The Odyssey was already a fine ship in her eyes. “I don’t know, Carter, most of these just look like gimmicks to me.”

“Some of this technology is advanced compared to our standards, but what happens when it breaks?” Westerham posed as he crossed his arms. “It’s us that needs to fix it.”

The door chime went off, and Tierra spoke up, permitting their visitor to enter. The doors hissed open, allowing Jen to enter. He held a PADD in his hands. 

“Lukiz, what do we owe the pleasure?” Tierra said, looking at the joined Trill.

Jen greeted them both with his usual boyish smile. “I come bearing gifts from our newest fan.”

“Korvain?” Carter assumed.

Nodding, Jen confirmed as he passed Tierra the PADD. “Mister Korvain’s generous supply of deuterium, gallicite and dilithium crystals have arrived. Craigen asked me to oversee their arrival. I’ve put them in the usual reserve storage, ready for engineering to use them.”

“Thanks, Lukiz,” Tierra said as she took the PADD and reviewed the latest inventory update. 

“What are you guys working on?” Jen asked as he looked at the holographic projections dancing across the room.

“Our benevolent benefactor’s possible extra gifts,” Carter stated. 

“Oh, Craigen and Tomaz told me about these,” Jen said, placing his hands on his hips to look at it all. “Self-replicating torpedo launchers and quantum multi-spectrum sensor array, is this guy for real?”

Tierra stood up from her desk and moved around it before sitting on its edge. “Apparently so,” she said, still holding her coffee. The boss wants us to review everything Mister Korvain has offered to install on the Odyssey.”

“Seriously?” Jen asked as he looked at other schematics. “Do we really need a multi-adaptive phasic cloaking device?”

“I’m not sure where we stand on the political and legal ramifications regarding the Treaty of Algeron, but if it is something that can defend us against the Borg, the boss wants us to take this review seriously,” Tierra answered. “Fancy joining us?”

Jen looked back at Tierra and nodded to offer. “Sure, and if we end up installing any of this, then I suppose it will be my job to ensure we have the resources to maintain them.”

“That’s spirit, commander!” Westerham said with a smirk. He looked at Tierra. “Shall I rally the troops and start getting some teams together to review each piece of technology?”

Tierra bobbed her head in agreement. “Seems like a good place to start. Maybe once Gray returns from Cloudbase, we can borrow him, Jayshon and Jaceon to help us, too.”

Agreeing to that idea, Westerham excused himself as he left Tierra’s office to head back into main engineering to assemble their teams.

“Do we really need to put so many people on this task? The way Craigen spoke earlier sounded like Fleet Captain McCallister wasn’t interested in accepting any of this,” Jen gestured to the holograms. 

“I know,” Tierra said as he got up from the desk’s edge and headed to the replicator to fill up her coffee mug. She offered Jen a mug of raktajino, which she knew he liked. He accepted the offer before she continued to clarify her thought processes. “I also know that the boss wants a fool-proof response that he can use as he declines diplomatically.”

“So he doesn’t want to offend Korvain but leave, keeping him sweet,” Jen said, grinning at their commanding officer’s plan.

“Exactly,” Tierra confirmed as she passed Jen his raktajino. “Talking of keeping people sweet, how are things going between you and our ace fighter pilot?”

Jen almost spat out his Klingon coffee at hearing that question. “What do you mean?” he replied as he composed himself.

“I’m married, Lukiz, and I know you have been in the many lifetimes you’ve been around. So I’m no fool when I say I noticed a spark between you and Rosle the other day in the turbolift.” Tierra answered. She smiled at her friend. “I think it’s great if you two are taking things further.”

Jen went a bit red from embarrassment. “It’s going well; we’re taking it slow and keeping it fun.”

“Hey, that’s how Abbej and I started out,” Tierra winked, referring to her wife. 

“How are you two finding working a long-distance marriage?” Jen asked. “My eighth host, Razrim, struggled with that.”

“It’s taking time to repair, but it’s going in the right direction,” Tierra replied with a smile. “Once the Themis is back with us, perhaps we can have you and Rosle over for dinner.”

“Hang on, I didn’t say we were exclusive,” Jen said, worried he had given off the wrong idea.

Tierra chuckled; she knew how to wind Jen up. He was too easy sometimes. “Then come to ours as friends. But no excuses!” 

Jen surrendered to her and accepted the offer.

“Right, shall we get on reviewing technology that could be nice but also be a pain to maintain?” Tierra signalled for them to follow in Westerham’s footsteps.

Jen nodded and took his raktajino with him after Tierra told the computer to transfer the alien PADD’s contents to the engineering central command console. 

The alien PADD on Tierra’s desk sprang to life the moment they departed. Sinuous robotic tentacles unfurled from its casing, moving with the eerie grace of an octopus gliding along the ocean floor. Silently, the device slithered across the desk until it reached Tierra’s computer terminal. It coiled tightly around the console, its appendages probing with precise intent. Within seconds, it effortlessly bypassed the security encryption, infiltrating the ship’s computer mainframe with unnerving efficiency.