Literary Challenge #36 : The Haunting of Deck 13
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Join Date: Jul 2012
01-09-2013, 09:37 PM
The deck shuddered, and Lieutenant Christina Bellesini glanced down at her console.
"Captain, the warp field's destabilizing," she reported."We're entering the Lantaru sector."
"Drop to impulse, and continue on our heading," replied Captain Amanda Palmer. "Yellow Alert."
"Aye, Captain," acknowledged Bellesini, her fingers dancing across the helm. "Dropping out of warp, and maintaining heading at full impulse. Revised ETA at the outpost is now six hours."
"As predicted," Palmer replied, making a notation on the console next to her command chair.
"Yellow alert?" inquired Commander Rynar Lambert. "Captain, we're delivering medical supplies to a research colony, not entering the Neutral Zone to deploy troops."
Palmer smiled, and turned toward her first officer, unconsciously brushing a strand of her black, shoulderlength hair behind her ear.
"This is an unusual region of space, Ryan," she said. "The last time I was here, I was just an acting ensign aboard the
. We were returning from a diplomatic mission to Pentaxia, and had to cut across the outskirts of the Lantaru sector. There were some... unusual occurrences."
"What kind of occurrences?" inquired Lambert with a raised eyebrow.
Palmer folded one long leg over the other at the knee, and sat back in her command chair.
"I suppose I have time to tell you," she replied.
The turbolift drew to a stop, but the doors remained closed. Had she not caught herself in time, Palmer would have walked into them. Instead, she stepped back, scowling at the doors.
"Computer, am I on deck thirteen?" she inquired, addressing the roof of the turbolift.
"Confirmed," replied the computer's synthesized voice. "Acting ensign Amanda Palmer is currently located on deck thirteen, turboshaft beta."
"Then why aren't the door-" the doors suddenly slid open, and fearing this may be her only chance, Palmer jumped quickly into the corridor, earning an amusingly distainful look from Ensign Lucy Bellingham.
"Having fun there, Manda?" she inquired, her heavy lips drawn into an amused grin.
"The doors wouldn't open," Palmer replied, falling into step with her roommate and lover, as they headed down the corridor.
"I've just spent my duty shift in the Operations office," Bellingham said. "There've been system outages all over the deck since we entered the Lantaru sector. Replicators confusing orders, turbolifts being re-routed, fluctuations in the gravity net, all seriously wei-." she was cut off, as some unseen force pushed past, pushing the young women back against the corridor bulkheads. "Hey, an excuse me wouldn't..." she trailed off realizing the corridor was empty "...kill you..." she finished, somewhat redundantly.
Regaining her footing, Palmer reached up and slapped her comm badge.
"Palmer to bridge,"
"Go ahead, Ensign," came the confident, assured voice of first officer Jedda Tobin.
"Commander, Ensign Bellingham and myself just experienced an unusual phenomenon on deck thirteen," she reported. "Something seemed to push past us."
"I'm getting reports of unusual activity all over the deck," Tobin replied. "If you experience anything else, report it, and I'll inform the captain."
"Aye, Commander, Palmer out."
"Wouldn't kill her to come down here herself," Bellingham muttered, fastidiously smoothing the front of her uniform jacket, as they continued towards their quarters.
"You heard what she said, Lucy, other people are reporting in as well, we're hardly a priority."
Bellingham snorted derisively.
"Well if I was in her position, I'd want to check it- Oh for frak's sake!" she snapped as the door to their quarters refused to open.
With a sigh, Palmer jammed her thumb against the control panal, and the doors sighed open. Bellingham entered first, then stopped and screamed.
"What is-" Palmer stopped as she surveyed their quarters in mute horror. Every piece of furniture, every personal effect and ornament had been forced into a random pile in one corner. Bellingham turned, and tried to push Palmer backwards.
"Let me out, letmeout,
!" she screamed hysterically, forcing her way into the corridor, and pressing her back firmly against the bulkhead.
Palmer slapped at her comm badge.
"Palmer to bridge!"
"Go ahead, Ensign," said Tobin's voice, a note of irritation clear in her tone.
"I... I'm sorry to bother you, Commander, but could you send someone to my quarters please?"
"Have you ever seen anything like it before, Captain?" Palmer asked five minutes later.
Fleet Captain Marcus Kane shook his head.
"Never," he replied, absently rubbing his beard and leaning casually against a bulkhead, as in the corridor, Counselor Nicola Devereaux attempted to restore Bellingham to some semblance of calm.
Lieutenant Commander Roger Hunt and Lieutenant Anthony Polizzi were scrutinizing the suite of rooms, analyzing every millimeter.
"What can you tell me, gentlemen?" Kane enquired.
Hunt turned to face the captain, the lights of the room glancing off the dark skin of his shaven head.
"Internal sensors don't show any unauthorized presences on the deck. There are no residual thermal imprints nor DNA traces," the chief of security reported. "All I can tell you, Marc, is that no one broke into the girls' room and did this."
"Tony, can you add anything to that?" asked Kane as all the lights in the room went out.
Light from the corridor and the stars prevented total darkness, and Polizzi shrugged as he holstered his tricorder.
"Hard to say, Captain," he replied. "We're in an unusual area of space, there're subspace ruptures for lightyears, who knows what emissions may be coming from them which we're simply incapable of detecting."
The echo from the bulkhead made Polizzi pause, but he then continued. "What I can tell you, is that the room is partially saturated with huon particles, there are micro fluctuations in the gravity net and there's a massive drain in the EPS waveguides. The lights in the room are actually on, they're just not receiving any power."
Kane raised an eyebrow, and folded his arms across his chest.
"Where're the huon particles coming from?"
"According to my scan, they're coming from directly below us. To be precise, the main cargo bay, and the Doctor's... vehicle," replied the strategic operations officer.
"Huon particles shouldn't interfere with the ship's systems like this," Kane muttered. "They can be toxic given long enough exposure, but I doubt the Doctor will be on board for the six months required for exposure to become a danger."
"Is there anyway that these systems outages could affect the crew biologically?"
"I'm not sure, Captain," Polizzi admitted. "I really wouldn't like to say. Have you noticed any effects?"
"I did have a rather unusual dream prior to coming on duty," Kane admitted. "But I don't see how that could be linked to..." He paused, and indicated the pile of furniture with a gesture. "Well, to this..."
"I don't mean to eavesdrop, Captain," said Devereaux, entering the suite. "But I couldn't help but overhear. Could you share the details of your dream?"
"It was more a memory than a dream," Kane said, turning to face the counselor. "I recalled the events leading up to my sister's death, over twenty years ago."
"She committed suicide, didn't she?" enquired Deveraux.
"Accidentally," Kane snapped, before holding his hands up. "I'm sorry, Counselor, this is a difficult subject for me, my sister and I... We were very close..."
"I understand, Captain, but maybe if you could go into detail?" Devereaux probed, her dark brows drawing together beneath her mass of curly blonde hair. Sensing the change in tone of the conversation, Polizzi discretely walked over to Hunt, where they began to confer on their findings.
"We'd gone to the Pyramid Club in San Francisco for dinner," Kane began. "After a while, we went back to my apartment and retired for the night."
Devereaux's eyebrows raised and her cerulean eyes became wide.
"We were identical twins, we had shared a bed since childhood," Kane interjected quickly. "It was a habit we never grew out of, even as adults."
"I'm not judging you, Captain," Devereaux replied softly. "Go on."
"Well, we'd retired for the night, and that was when I told Alix what had happened to me. How I had been killed during the test flight, but resurrected as an immortal. She immediately grasped that the Lazarus gene was a part of my, a part of
genetic makeup, and before I could stop her, she picked up a phaser and shot herself in the head. She was dead before the phaser hit the floor."
Devereaux opened her mouth to say something, but no words came out.
A small object fell from the pile, hitting the deck by Palmer's feet. Kneeling, she picked it up, and silently passed it to Kane.
Taking it, he saw it was a smooth pebble, which had been engraved with a word. He tilted it toward the light so he could read it.
As he closed his fingers round the pebble, Kane's eyes closed, and he sighed.
Opening his eyes, he turned to Polizzi.
"Tony, what's causing that noise?"
"I have no idea, Captain," Polizzi replied. "There's no unusual internal pressure on the bulkheads, nor any external impacts."
"You're probably going to think I'm crazy for even mentioning this, Marc," Hunt said. "But before she died on Pentaxia, Cameron thought she saw Alix. She spoke as if she saw her."
Kane nodded and looked down, deep in thought.
"Yes, but I just put that down to some kind of hallucination, a neurological misfiring as her body shut down..."
"Captain," said Polizzi. "While we were searching for you and the Empress, Cameron said that you had crashed in an area where people frequently reported seeing the spirits of their loved ones while on spiritual retreats."
Kane looked up to face his officers.
"What if she wasn't hallucinating..."
Realization suddenly dawned on Kane's youthful features, and he looked up as if addressing the ship's intercom.
"Alix? Is that you?"
"Did Mama like it on Vulcan?"
"That's true. When we were ten, she died the weekend before we were due to relocate," he said, turning to Hunt.
"What do you think, Roger, one for yes, two for no?"
"I guess that settles that," Hunt muttered. "How many people are in this room?"
BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG
From the corridor, Bellingham screamed, and fled. Kane turned to Devereaux.
"Go after her, calm her down. Take her to sickbay for a sedative if you have to," he said.
"Captain, I really think I should be here for this communication..."
"That's an order, Counselor," Kane insisted. "I had conversations with my sister for twenty eight years, I don't think I'll need any supervision now..."
"Aye, Captain," Devereaux conceded, before leaving the suite.
"How many people do you see now?" Kane asked, once more folding his arms across his chest, and unconsciously stroking his beard.
BANG BANG BANG BANG
"How many do you know personally?" Polizzi enquired.
"Alix met Roger when we were on leave from the Academy," he explained, turning to Polizzi. "How is this possible, Tony? What do your scans show?"
Polizzi drew his tricorder, and began running more scans, pushing the device to the limits of its capabilities.
"It's the huon particles, from the cargo bay, Captain. They're not only interacting with the subspace ruptures, but causing a kind of sympathetic harmonic resonance with the bioelectrical field of your body," he reported.
"Which is considerably more... energetic than Human norms," Kane realized. "Am I acting like some kind of, I don't know, genetic magnet?"
"Actually more like a tuning fork resonating at a specific frequency," Polizzi clarified.
"Marc, I've had an idea," Hunt said. "I've just done some research, and apparently during the late twentieth, and early twenty first centuries, paranormal investigators used a tool called a franks box to try and communicate with spirits. I can modify my tricorder to behave in the same manner, emitting phonetic elements which could form words."
"Do it," Kane said. Moments later, a stream of incomprehensible word fragments began to emanate from the tricorder, which Hunt put on the deck, well away from any of the officers.
"Ali, is that really you?" he asked.
"Were you really present when Cameron was killed?"
I'm always with you. she was so pretty, mama would have loved her
"Are Mama and Cameron with you now? Can I talk to her too?"
no darling, there's only me here
"If that is you, Ali, tell me something only I would know," Kane insisted.
you were the first, the last and the only person I kissed
"Why did you do it?"
because I was always in love with you Polo
Kane closed his eyes. To hear the nickname only his sister called him put a lump in his throat, and his chest felt tight. He shook his head.
"I know that, I always loved you too. Why did you shoot yourself? Did you think you would become immortal too?"
that didn't quite go to plan, did it
Despite himself, Kane was unable to not be amused by Alix's sarcastic humor.
my mind was transposed, shifted here
"Where are you?"
a place of pure thought a place of energy a place of the mind
"Do you mean subspace?"
I don't know, maybe
"That's not possible," Hunt interrupted. "There is no subspace in this region. That's why ships can't travel at warp."
all I know is everything and everyone looks blue
Without remembering having sat down, Kane found himself sitting on the deck, and turned to Polizzi.
"Is it possible that the phaser beam somehow altered the phase of her neural patterns, shifting them to a layer of subspace we don't yet know about, or even a different temporal phase?"
"I'm a strategic tactical officer, not a theologian or a physicist, Captain. I'm really not qualified to answer that question, but maybe some quirk of your sisters biology... A coincidental resonance frequency maybe... I really can't say, but it would certainly appear so."
Closing his eyes again, Kane visualized Alix as he had last seen her: Long, slightly wavy dark hair cascading onto her shoulders. Her slate grey eyes, and straight, elegant nose, just like his own, and her full lips quirking as if contemplating a joke which only she understood.
"I'm so sorry, Ali," he murmured, tears rolling down his cheeks. "I should never have told you."
we never had secrets did we, you were right to tell me, it was my choice to make
"But you're dead," he replied. "And now I have to spend eternity without you..."
I would rather be a ghost drifting at your side as a condemned soul than enter heaven without you
Even the years of training at the side of a Vulcan Master were unable to contain a hurt this profound, and he broke down completely, great hacking sobs shredding his soul. He felt a firm hand upon his shoulder, then slender arms wrapping beneath his own, and a small, firm bust and cheek pressing against his back and neck. He smelled Hunt's cologne and Palmer's perfume. His best friend since his first day at the Academy, and his beautiful young protege: His closest friends comforting him as he grieved anew.
because of your love I will never be a lonely spirit
Bellesini wiped the tears from her eyes with the backs of her hands.
Lieutenant Brandon Mayer leaned forwards against the Ops console, an astonished frown on his handsome face.
"That's quite a story, Captain," he said, pulling his hand through his dark blonde hair.
Palmer turned in her chair to face Mayer, her lips pursed in amusement.
"Is that so, Lieutenant?" she asked wryly.
Mayer opened his mouth to speak, mindful to choose his words carefully.
Last edited by marcusdkane; 07-30-2013 at
. Reason: Reformatting