Literary Challenge #36 : The Haunting of Deck 13
View Single Post
Join Date: Sep 2012
01-09-2013, 04:00 AM
"Captain, there are... tales... going around the crew that deck 13 is haunted. Have you heard them? I've already had several crewmen book sessions with me to put their fears to rest." Vranlek was sitting in Jinx's office, just off the bridge of the Nightingale. Jinx was on the other side of the desk, looking slightly confused.
"Vranlek, this class of ship is based on the Defiant design. Neither the Defiant, nor the Nightingale even
a deck 13. Hell, we don't even have a deck 7."
"I know, Captain, but telling that to the crewmen who come to me has no apparent effect. For the most part, they just tell me that the ghosts must have gotten into my head. Then they refuse to talk to me, so I stopped telling them."
"Could this have anything to do with that anomaly Two is investigating?
"We have detected no unusual activity from it that could explain such an occurance, but I will talk to Two and see if there is anything out of the ordinary."
"Very well, Commander. Keep me informed on this deck 13 thing. It sounds like it could be trouble."
Vranlek left, and Jinx leaned back in her chair, a slightly puzzled expression on her face. Reaching out, she tapped a few keys on her desk and an image appeared - the technical schematic for the USS Nightingale. There they were, right where they should be. Decks one to six. No deck 13 anywhere to be seen. Giving her head a quick shake, Jinx cleared her screen and stood up. She crossed through the bridge to the turbolift calling out "Mat, you have the bridge" in passing and hearing Mat's warble in response.
Inside the turbolift, Jinx said "Deck three," and the lift started moving. When the lift stopped and the door slid open, Jinx was about to leave when a small boy threw himself into the lift and, upon seeing Jinx, hid behind her, glancing fearfully out of the doorway.
"Ghosts." He said to Jinx's puzzled expresssion. "Don't go out there. The ghosts will eat you."
"It's ok Toram. I'm not going to let the ghosts harm you, or anyone."
The boy smiled and relaxed, visibly reassured by Jinx's words.
Of course he is reassured
, she thought,
He thinks I'm a great hero out of myth and legend
Jinx reached down and keyed a few buttons on the personal buffer each member of her crew wore, and a tricorder materialized in her hand. Standing at the door to the turbolift, Jinx scanned the corridor outside. Since this was the first time she got a look outside the turbolift, she quickly came to the conclusion that there was definitely something odd going on. This deck was not on her ship. Her tricorder flickered. There was some motion ahead. Then, nothing. A few minutes later, there it was again, the same flickering, a little closer this time. Jinx could still see nothing moving. Turning back to look back into the turbolift, Jinx noticed the sign by the turbolift doors. 'Deck 13'.
"I think you're right Toram... Ghosts." A pained expression crossed Jinx's face. "I just hope it's not Devidians." Jinx tapped her comm badge. "Jinx to bridge."
"Jinx to Vranlek, please respond."
"Jinx to Mat. Does anyone read me?"
Jinx backed up, back into the turbolift, and said "Bridge." The door shut and the lift started to move. A few seconds later, the door slid open to reveal the Nightingale's bridge. She stepped out and walked over to Vranlek, closely trailled by Toram.
"Vranlek, I think I need to book one of those counselling sessions myself. I took the turbolift down to deck three, and it sent me to deck 13. Toram was already down there." Jinx nodded towards where the small boy was peeking up at Vranlek from behind a chair. Aliens that did not remotely look human were still unnerving to him, and as a Reman, Vranlek definitely wasn't human.
"I believe we may have found out what is causing deck 13 to appear, Captain," Vranlek said, while attempting to smile at the boy. He cowered further behind the chair though. "The anomaly Two is investigating is giving off an unidentified subsonic pulse. I've asked the Doctor to examine a few people who have reported to me, and the pulse is causing a chemical imbalance in their brain, leading to disturbing hallucinations. There is no immediate danger, and the crew will return to normal once we leave the anomaly. Two says he will have completed his analysis in a few hours. We should be safe until then."
"I see. Thanks. Open shipwide communications."
"All hands, this is your Captain speaking. We are currently investigating a spatial anomaly which is having an unusual effect on everyone on board. Please remain on your current deck until I announce it is safe to move between decks again. Jinx out." Turning back towards Vranlek, she said "Well, I was going to the mess hall, but I suppose the replicator in my office will do just as well. Coming, Toram?"
The next few hours pass fairly uneventfully, although several people report that simply entering a room is sometimes enough to wind up on deck 13, although it is always just a simple case of turning around and stepping out again.
Finally, Two has completed his analysis, and the order is given to depart the anomaly. Within an hour, all instances of deck 13 being encountered have stopped, and the ship seems to return to normal.
Late that night, Jinx is carrying Toram down to their quarters, since he fell asleep on the sofa in her office, when she enters the turbolift. "Deck three," she says, and the lift starts moving. It opens, on deck three as Jinx quickly confirms, and Jinx steps out. As she iss tepping through the door, she notices the manual control panel on the wall of the lift.
There, clearly marked at the bottom of the control, is a button for deck 13.