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Part of USS Daedalus: Mission 1 – Measure by Measure and USS Mackenzie: Mission 12: Measure by Measure

DMBM 020 – Tomorrow Never Dies

Regula Station 354
7.26.2401
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“Here's the spanner.”  Greer Moore stood above a prone Elizabeth McKee, half in a Jefferies Tube on deck 2 of the station.  They were installing one of the refurbished EPS units.  Hossa had leerily accepted their offer to stay and do the repair work themselves.  He was up against a deadline, and his crew on station with him as operators wasn't an all-star team.  One had been assigned as an engineer, but he was more of a food engineer.  Another had been a medic on a few transport runs, so he was put in charge of medical.  The last one was a curious mystery.

Burton Thasta had claimed to be a washout from Starfleet Academy in his senior year, earning him the job of operations and engineering.  Greer had spent fifteen minutes with the man, coming away less than impressed.  His Starfleet and Federation knowledge wasn't what you would expect from someone who had spent nearly four years learning about either.  She hadn't been worried about him until she'd asked Chatsworth about him.  He said Thasta had shown up three months ago with a bonafide resume that confirmed his story.  That had been enough for Hossa.  They were shorthanded anyway; he had groused and returned to his work.

McKee made the final adjustments and slid out, activating the unit.  The flickering lights in the corridor slowed and then stopped blinking, casting a consistent glow down the hallway.  She returned the tool to her Chief, “Four down, ten to go.”  She hadn't seen any issue with Thasta at first, but his glances her way and his seeming to appear at odd moments had begun to give her pause.  She'd made a point of having her and Greer room together on the station.  They started walking down the next corridor to take the turbo lift down to deck 3 when suddenly the lights clicked off as if turned off at the source.  

Greer, without thinking, snapped up her torch, waiting for the emergency lights to kick on.  She counted out loud, “1…2..3…4…5..6…7…shit.  Should have been on by now.”  She listened carefully, putting her hand down against the floor, eyes closing, “The power plant is still active.”  She moved to the turbolift, pushing the call console.  Nothing.  “Shit.  We need to get to deck 1 and back to the shuttle.”

Her Deputy Chief frowned as she turned on her flashlight, “What about the crew?  What about Hossa?”

“I have a feeling our arrival may have sped up whatever was going to happen here eventually.  Hossa seemed indifferent about Thasta, but Thasta was interested in everything else.  Whatever either of them will do, it will be nasty.”  She moved to the Jefferies tube they had just repaired, “Let's get moving.”

 

Greer peaked out of the Jefferies tube.  The promenade was dark and listless.  Aside from a content clanging coming from over near the docking ring, there wasn't much noise.  She rolled out, followed by McKee.  Both had an older phaser in one hand while a flashlight occupied the other.  The Chief Engineer stalked forward, clearing as much of the world around them in the dank darkness as they could.

McKee followed up behind her and walked backward.  Her security training had been minimal, but one of the things she remembered was never forget about your flank.  Life and death came at you from the rear, she had learned.  Cautiously, they approached the docking area.  The sound was coming from the transport ship dock.  Elizabeth worried, “There wasn't a transport ship…oh god!”  She nodded at what stared back at them from the docking port.  The exasperated face of Chatsworth Hossa in an old EVA suit banging on the outside door.

Moore growled, “This assignment didn't get a chance to be boring.  Let's get him in and secure him.”  She looked severely at McKee's startled reaction, which hastened her to move.  “We don't know who is who, McKee.  I'd rather live to see Daedalus again.”

Elizabeth nodded and kept her mouth shut as she worked the still-powered console while her superior swept the darkness with light and phaser.  Something had happened that had put Hossa outside of the station.  The exterior door groaned open, and she watched worriedly as the station manager pulled himself in.  With a quick tap of the console, the door thrummed shut with gravity and pressure restored inside the space.  He hit the ground with a shout, and she could see there was blood splattered over his suit.  “Moore!”

Greer arrived and made her visual inspection, “Well, it wasn't a walk in the stars then.  Get what you can out of him.  I need to get some lanterns put down.”

McKee tapped the console, and the communications channel sparked to life.  She remembered that on some docking systems, a battery backup could handle docking operations minimally when the main power was offline.  “Hossa!  Can you hear me?”

He remained on the floor, but she could see his body moving, his breaths coming in spurts.  He rolled over to face her, and she gasped.  His face had been stabbed several times over.  His smile of recognition looked awful.  “Oh…hi.  You're probably wondering how this happened.”  He pushed himself up, the blood creating a scattered splatter pattern on the floor.  “You were right to wonder about Thasta.  He was here to check out my operation…which isn't really much.  I guess his boss thinks this would be a nice place to have.”  His cough was liquid and gave McKee chills.  He continued, “I don't know where he went…I think he took my shuttle…couldn't get into yours.  You might be connected with Harris Transport, but you are not Harris Transport.”  He spat at the floor, “Starfleet…or some Federation operation.  You're too good at your job.  Not that I minded…but he minded.  He was upset when he was talking about you two.  Said he'd be back to shut you up.  I think he thought I would die out there.  Is he right?”

McKee turned as Greer bounded up, her eyes furious at what she had found as she'd run through the rest of the main deck area, “He's gone.  The other two are dead.  Open it up.  Let's save at least one life today.”