Part of the unit-wide mission Task Force 86: Headquarters and Task Force 86: Headquarters

Ale and Tridents

Starbase 86, Cargo Bay 16
January 16, 2400
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It was the closest thing to night time that existed on Starbase 86. Between the hours of 0300 and 0500, activity on the promenade levels had dropped to a thin trickle of passers by. Most shops and services had shuttered to allow those who manned them respite from the usual frenetic pace of life. Only Starfleet personnel monitoring essential systems remained on duty. They slept, most within the central dome beneath the base’s tall administrative spires and offices. But not Commander Saveq Dreylenn. The base’s Chief of Security had chosen instead to take a walk, relishing the chance to be far from the maddening crowd. She whistled a tune, proceeding along a maintenance walkway that ran the length of one of the bases’ structural connecting arms from the habitat ring to the central core. Up ahead, to his left, he made out the indent of a cargo bay entrance in the duranium panelling. The lanky Retellian approached the LCARS panel beside the door controls, punched in an access code and began to peruse the cargo bay’s entry/exit logs. She paused.

“Hmm,” She mused, audibly. A recent entry at 0328 hours, and no exit recorded. Her brow furrowed for a moment before she unclipped a flashlight from the wall mounted utility box. The cargo bay door opened with a whirr and she stepped inside. A few more steps forward, then quiet. That was when the faint rustling sound made itself known. She looked from one side, nothing. From another, also nothing. But once she went over to the back of the cargo pile, the sight shocked her. There was a young Caitian man, no older than 22, sitting next to a pile of Romulan ale, bottle in hand, looking really drunk.

“Wha…” Dreylenn paused, mouth agape for a second as she took in the scene, “What in the stars… On your feet, Ensign! Get up!”

“Ah shit.”

 

***

 

[A day earlier]

Mek was intrigued by the latest transfer in from the Academy. He held up the PADD containing the new officer’s particulars, making sure he’d read it correctly before glancing over to Commodore Tharc. The station CO sat across from him on the long conference table, signing and inspecting her own monthly personnel changes.

“Got a temporal medicine specialist…” He raised his eyebrows, pointing at the PADD.

“Huh?” Tharc looked up, “Oh… Maybe they can temporally de-age me.”

Mek exhaled sharply through all four of his nostrils in a stifled laugh, “You know, that kind of treatment is available now, I hear.”

“Yeah, but who’s got the time for it?” Tharc replied instantly.

“True,” Mek nodded, knowingly, “Wouldn’t be doing this job if we cared about that kind of thing, anyway.” He put the PADD down, pushing back his chair, “You know, I’m just about done here, and I need to go and see someone about this back pain. I’ll let this…” he slid the PADD back over to him and skimmed it, “Ensign Sh’Ill know you’re interested if I see him.”

“Wow, thanks.” Tharc rolled her eyes, “Get out of here. This tea’s still hot, wouldn’t want any more injuries to go along with that back pain.” He recessed Tellarite eyes glared at him, menacingly. Mek scurried out with a grin.

 

***

 

The turbolift ride felt comparatively short compared to Mek’s usual excursions on Starbase 86. There were two main medical hubs; a hospital spanning several decks in section 23 of the habitat ring, and the Starfleet run specialist clinics and research labs in the upper mid-section of the central core. Mek made for the latter. The entrance to the lab complex was marked by a set of glass double doors, marked with the winged pendant insignia of Starfleet Medical. He approached the front desk and, as if on cue, he felt the twinge in his lower back flare up. He massaged it with a clenched fist as he spoke to the teal shirted crewman in front of him, “Excuse me, been having some terrible trouble with my back that I really can’t ignore for much longer.”

“OK, Captain, please take a seat and we’ll have someone with you shortly.”

“Thank you,” Mek complied, feeling his age as he sank down into a chair in the waiting area.

“Good evening, Captain, how may I be of assistance?” Sh’ill approached him, and happily asked.

“Hello, Ensign. Yes, well, my back has been acting up and I was wondering if you could help me out.” Mek replied, still sitting in the chair. He made to stand up, but a sudden flare of pain quickly put an end to these aspirations.

“Well, that should be easy to fix.” Sh’ill continues in his happy voice.

“Glad to hear it, Ensign. So how does this work?” Mek expected the Caitian to pull out a medical tricorder of some sort, or at least a scanner. Instead, Sh’ill shill stood the Captain up. Mek made a groan as Sh’ill, arms around Mek’s midriff, compressed Mek’s back with an almighty crunch. Mek could feel the decompression in his spine, accompanied by a clearing of his thoughts. He stood straight, the pain melted away.

“How…” Mek said, confused.

“An old Caitian trick.” Sh’ill responded, still in his happy, go-getter voice.

Sh’ill then started walking in the direction of his office, “Do you need anything else?”

Mek followed, “No, thank you. But I would like to ask you a thing or two about your specialism, if you don’t mind?”

“Happy to help.”

“It’s just I can’t recall ever hearing of someone specialised in temporal medicine. Tell me, Ensign… I don’t think I quite caught your name?”

“Sh’ill, sir. Well, temporal mechanics and medicine have a weird way of colliding with one another. Diseases that are affiliated with time often revert certain parts to fetus-like statues, whilst aging others to a near-death state. Some others mess with your memory.” Whilst he was explaining this, they started walking in the direction of Sh’ill’s office. “Some others completely transport you in time, and then cause illnesses there. In those cases, I have to collaborate with the Department of Temporal Investigations. I can show you how all of these illnesses play out.” By that time, they were next to Sh’ill’s office.

“Most intriguing, Mr. Sh’Ill. I have to admit, I’d never considered that medicine might have a temporal dimension. I’d be very interested in taking a look at some of your research. Perhaps you could send me a paper or two over the station net? If you don’t mind, of course.”

“No, not at all. “The basics of temporal medicine” coming your way.”

Sh’ill then entered his office. He sat down in his chair, and pulled out a bottle of beer. “Come on, Sh’ill, the show must go on, or whatever the saying was.” He took a sip of the beer, and slunk down into his chair. “The show must go on, Sh’ill.”

 

[Some time later]

Sh’ill was resting in his quarters, when he heard the doorbell ring. “Who’s there?” Sh’ill yelled. “Commander Saveq Dreylenn, Ensign.” Sh’ill hurried to the door, and opened it. “How can I help you, Commander?”

“We’ve been informed that something is being smuggled aboard the station. I am here to ask you if you know anything about this.”

“No, no I don’t.” Sh’ill hurriedly responded, and then quickly closed the door. “How does she know? I need to talk to him.”

Sh’ill sat down at the table, opened a secured channel, and called his smuggling contact, Koth. “KOTH!!! You told me that no one would know.”

The Klingon started yelling too. “Sh’ill, you piece of qu’may! Why are you calling me? I’m just the supplier, I don’t ship it, and I don’t inspect the cargo. Now get off this channel, before I take that kitten fur of yours, and put it on my wall!!”

Sh’ill quickly closed the channel, fearing that the Klingon might not have been lying. “I’ll check out the cargo later, but for now, I’ll go back to the lab.” Sh’ill thought to himself.