Huffing, puffing and sighing heavily, Commander Tremt Hunsen couldn’t believe how much work was being done to the Odyssey. Her trip through the Paulson Nebula had aggravated the already damaged systems she had from their hasty return from the Delta Quadrant. His engineers were finding faults and problems in almost every system.
Rubbing his forehead, he wondered what he needed to do so he could get the ship back up and operational. Back to her old self. Standing in engineering on the upper level, he had asked for some private time with the rest of his engineers to try and work out the solution. The upper levels of the ship’s main engineering had several separate sections to them and one was solely designated as a work area for the chief engineer. Though he had his own private office, this space had a large MSD on one screen while in the centre an interactive command ‘pool’ station allowed for the use of holograms to assist the chief engineer in whatever project they were undertaking. Right now Hunsen had a holographic diagram of the ship showing the different systems that had major faults in them. They were in red while those in orange had minor faults in them. There was barely any green to show what systems were working properly.
Walking around on the catwalk structure that connected the upper level and approaching him was Lieutenant Commander Jen. “Never fear Lukiz is here!” He announced his arrival as he jogged a bit down the small steps into the commander’s work area. Noticing the floating schematic, Jen pulled a shocked look. “Ouch, that doesn’t look good.”
Hunsen nodded in agreement as he looked at the operations officer. “Yeah, tell me about it. I conducted a shipwide level one diagnostic on everything.”
“How come?” Jen asked, hearing such a thing to take place was rare, especially on the Odyssey.
“The repair teams kept on encountering so many issues with anything they touched their hands on to repair, it was easier to work out what the actual issue was.” Hunsen replied as he pointed at the hologram. “Instead I found multiple issues and each one of them is as complex as the next. I could do with your help Lukiz. It’s like a mind-maze and my mind isn’t up for working where to start at the moment.”
“Well two heads are better than one but as you say,” Jen said examining the results of the diagnostic. “This is a lot. I mean where do we even start?”
“The moment you pick one issue, it’s like a thread and several more get unravelled.” Hunsen explained.
“Okay, okay.” Jen said, speaking to himself as he considered the problem before them. Rubbing his chin as he looked at the various systems that were damaged and how they were interconnected, he was hoping he could see a pattern or a starting point but he couldn’t. He understood why Hunsen had called for him. “This is tough.”
“I’m glad I was going mad.” Hunsen replied as he looked at the Trill. “How’s your debriefing with D-T-I go?”
Jen looked up, “I’ve not had it yet and to be honest I’d prefer to focus on starship mechanics instead of temporal mechanics right now.” Pausing to think, Jen returned his gaze back to the hologram. “There really isn’t anywhere that looks like it could do with being a priority or even a pattern to show if the damage sustained has affected similar systems.” He looked at Hunsen, “I hate to admit it but for the first time in a long time, I think we need to send teams out and have them begin work on primary systems and while they’re there if they encounter a problem with a secondary one or any other system they need to repair it as well.”
Sighing heavily again, Hunsen hated Jen’s idea. “I had a feeling you were going to say that. It’s such an inefficient use of our time though Lukiz.”
“I agree but we can’t have all of these malfunctions keep on cropping up. At this rate if we don’t start work on repairs then we’ll be dependent on the dry-dock a lot longer than we need to be.” Jen stated.
“Again, you’ve come to the same conclusions as I had earlier.” Hunsen muttered before changing his mood slightly. “Thanks for coming down to have a look, Lukiz. I do appreciate it.”
“Anytime,” Jen replied, “let me stay and offer a hand in organising teams and see if could prioritise what is the most urgent repairs and go from there.”
Hunsen didn’t have a chance to say anything when a call came in for him from the bridge. “Duncan to Hunsen, report to the office of Commander Banfield on the double.”
Sighing at hearing that order from the first officer, Hunsen exhaled once again. Tapping his combadge he replied, “Hunsen here, sir we are just in the process of organising an updated repair schedule. Can the commander give me an hour, just so I can get this done please?”
“I’m afraid not, Tremt.” Duncan replied over the intercom. “On the double means exactly that. Good luck!”
Confused by that last statement, Hunsen acknowledged his new orders and tapped his badge.
“Don’t worry,” Jen said, “I’ll get this all sorted and get people going. Plus if you go now you’re doing me a favour in delaying my debrief.”
“So does that mean you owe me?” Hunsen checked with a smirk.
“I think we’re even if I’m doing this work for you.” Jen replied as he gestured towards the console around them.
“Agreed, but let’s get a drink later once repairs are underway.” Hunsen said as he started to make his way out of his work area.
“First round is on you.” Jen answered back as he watched the chief engineer make his way out of this situation and off to meet their DTI lead investigator.
“Thank you for coming to see me so swiftly.” Banfield remarked after she gestured for Hunsen to take a seat from the many armchairs that were available to choose from. The office she had been given to conduct her interviews and investigation from was normally reserved for high-ranking admirals, diplomats or VIPs. No-one was using them and it was an area of the ship that, as Hunsen had already reported, was not in need of any repairs or maintenance.
“It’s not a problem commander,” Hunsen said as he smoothed out his jacket and took one of the chairs she had offered. “Though I am surprised, especially as I’ve already met with D-T-I over eleven years ago about this incident.”
Banfield nodded in confirmation. “I know that Tremt,” She paused as she took her seat, “can I call you Tremt?”
Hunsen just nodded as he pulled his right foot up and placed his ankle on top of his left knee as he got comfortable.
“It’s just now that the paradox has taken place, I wanted to follow up with a couple of things.” Banfield explained.
Sensing there was more she wanted to explore, Hunsen squinted his eyes at her for a brief second before agreeing to discuss the matter further. He couldn’t quite workout where Banfield was going or what her motives were. For someone with Klingon heritage, she had a strong sense of serenity around her. It was most unusual, as he had only encountered Klingons who were quite active with their emotions and feelings. Not many of them were reserved. He felt like he was sensing a Romulan more than a half-Klingon.
Picking up a PADD and a mug of hot raktajino from the coffee table that sat between them, Banfield looked at her notes while she sipped on her beverage. “In your initial interview with the department, you explained that you could sense originally that the alternate future version of Max Duncan and Tomaz were concealing their true identities and intentions,” She looked at him, “can you tell me more about that?”
Still baffled that she wanted more, though he had been quite thorough and detailed when he was debriefed over eleven years ago, Hunsen sighed and tried to recall what he remembered. “I’m sure you’ve worked with Betazoids before, so you know that we have a natural talent of being able to tell when someone is hiding something. My mother said my people are the perfect lie detectors as when both our empathic and telepathic abilities combine we can almost read people like a book.”
“But aren’t Betazoids meant to seek permission first before reading someone’s mind?” Banfield questioned.
“We are, it is a custom, however our empathic abilities are quite powerful in sensing emotions. It’s like your smell, it happens naturally and you can’t always prevent it.” Hunsen answered. “So, back to your original question, as I knew Max quite well I knew how to sense his emotions. Max has allowed me to read his mind before, so I knew it wasn’t the real him.”
“And what about Tomaz? You had yet to meet him at that point in time?” Banfield probed.
“True, but like most humanoids, Barzans and to use a human idiom here, they wear their hearts on their sleeves. Tomaz was very easy to sense.” Hunsen said.
“Yes, you said that in your original interview.” Banfield stated before raising her PADD up and staring at its contents. “After you excused yourself from Fleet Admiral Duncan and you discovered their true identities, you proceeded to assist them with the modifications. Why?”
“Why not?” Hunsen answered back.
“You’re telling me that if you encountered a future version of a colleague you had only known for two years you would just go along with their explanation, especially when a high ranking superior was standing around the corner from you?” Banfield checked, her left eyebrow rose and made her look more like a Vulcan.
“As I said earlier, Betazoids are good lie detectors.” Hunsen started to answer but was stopped before he could continue by Banfield.
Raising her hand after placing the PADD in her lap, Banfield became a bit agitated with that response. “That’s quite a casual attitude to have, commander.”
“It’s not.” Hunsen said as he now sat up straight to defend himself. “Max and I became quite close friends during our first two years on the Odyssey, we had survived a month together stuck in a Romulan labour camp. He kept me alive and for that I trust him explicitly.”
Peering down at the PADD and back up, Banfield had remembered reading that in Hunsen’s file. “Yes, during a mission to help Romulan refugees along the neutral zone your shuttlecraft had been captured by a Romulan warlord. He tortured you before Odyssey was able to rescue you both.”
“So a sense of strong loyalty exists between you and Commander Duncan?” Banfield asked.
Hunsen was now close to losing it with her, as he couldn’t work out what she had against him and Max. “It does, but that’s to be expected when a crew like the Odyssey has known one another for a long time.”
“Indeed.” She placed her drink down and went back to her questions. “I want to know what your thoughts are around the fact that in the paradox, you died trying to save the ship.”
Hunsen inhaled deeply. “I wasn’t aware of that.” He replied.
“I believe you are, as I have a visual log entry here of Counsellor Horin hugging you tightly shortly after Captain McCallister and Commander Jen activated the chroniton field.” She tapped a few buttons and showed the visual log entry from engineering where Horin had entered and just as the ship went to red alert, Horin remained by his side as he quickly worked. However, the moment the ship’s warp core was powered down and the captain spoke over to Hunsen over the intercom, both of them looked at one another deeply. Horin then proceeded to hug Hunsen for a long time. They then finished their embrace, a tear was on Horin’s cheek and they looked at one another deeply.
“From what I’m aware of Commander Hunsen, Commander Horin is your former Imzadi. That’s a bond from what I know is a close one for Betazoids. Are you telling me truthfully here that you two in that moment didn’t sense something for you both to hug one another?” Banfield asked. “Do you really think I am naive not to know how close the crew of the Odyssey are? I know you probably sensed something from the captain and the way he spoke. I know good Betazoids can hear people’s thoughts from a distance. I believe you read the captain’s thoughts at that moment and even by human standards, I could hear he sounded relieved to hear you.” She leant forward. “Now answer me again commander, did you know?”
“Yes.” Hunsen answered straight away. “Horin and I both sensed it from the captain and Lukiz.”
“Thank you.” Banfield said, sounding almost pleased with herself as she relaxed back in her chair. “We are finished here.” She remarked.