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Making the Rounds

Posted on Mon Jul 23rd, 2018 @ 5:05am by Senior Chief Petty Officer Coltan Xan & Lieutenant Xiulan Song

Mission: Stranded
Location: Engineering
Timeline: Current

Colt was on one of his walks through the ship when he stopped by Engineering. The Defiant was a very small ship and it didn't take him long at all to walk around and stick his nose into various goings on around the ship. Somethings he corrected, somethings he asked questions about, some people the same. Sometimes he found people doing things that he either chose to ignore or to say something about. Like, just now he had to stop and tell two crewmen whose make out session in an alcove was about to go to the next level to go get a room...any room...anywhere, as long as it had a door and there was no one else in it. Then he stopped in Engineering. There were some NCOs and Crewmen working on things, and there was Lieutenant Song. He decided to stop off and chat with her for a moment. He'd always thought Arturo was a good guy and he thought it was great that he had someone.

"Excuse me," Colt said as he approached the lieutenant. "Lieutenant Song?"

"That's what they tell me," Xiulan replied as she studied with her fingers some powerful diagrams on a console. "Can I help you?"

"It's Senior Chief Xan," Colt said. "I don't know if Commander S'Rohass mentioned me, but we met a while ago and we've kept in touch since. He's mentioned you, of course, all good things. It's nice to meet you in person."

"Oh yeah, he did recently mention you," Xiulan replied with a nod, her fingers still moving over the textured surface of the console. "He mentioned that you got him out of a rough situation and then he returned the favor. I think it's neat how you two got assigned to the same ship after all these years."

"Yeah, life is funny like that," Colt said. "How do you like it here on this ship of fools? Present company excluded, of course."

"Honestly, it kinda feels like home," Xiulan answer with a grin. "I don't know if Arturo told you, but we spent a while running in a Defiant-Class ship trying to get away from saboteurs trying to stage a coup. It was pretty crazy, we were out-manned in the middle of nowhere, but we managed to survive. After all that, it was kinda hard to call any other ship home."

Colt laughed.

"Ha!" Colt said. "Yeah, he mentioned that. And something about having to listen to some Starfleet captain use nasty language until he just got sick of listening to her and shot her with a phaser set to stun. Sort of fits with him, trying to give a lady the chance to say her piece before he shoots her. He said something about you taking down a Lethean? Single-handed? That's pretty bad ass, if you ask me."

"Well, I turned out the lights, so I kinda had an advantage there," Xiulan said, snickering mischievously. "But in my defense, he was trying to that brain-frying mind-fuckery to me, so it was me or him."

"Brain-frying mind-fuckery is sort of the go to move for Letheans I've found," Colt said. "We'll have to all go out for a drink when we get to Starbase 239. Listen...what do you think of our hitchhiker? You know, Deacon Kane? I knew Kane years ago and he was a decent sort back then, and I hung out with him a little and shot the breeze about things since he's joined us and he seems okay to me but...he's been missing over 20 years. As plausible as his story is, if you're willing to accept the premise that someone at SFI was up to no good when they sent him on that mission he got lost on, 20 years is a long time. Anything could happen in twenty years."

"You know what's funny, Arturo called him a hitchhiker, and so did I!" Xiulan remarked with a laugh. "He seems to be alright, I guess. I ran into him the other day, we talked; well, mostly he talked, I listened, made a few remarks... I kinda got the feeling that he kept himself kinda isolated for a while. I mean, people can say one thing, but their voice can betray them, and I didn't hear any of that kind deception in his voice, and believe me, I can hear that shit."

Colt chuckled.

"I bet you can," he said. "Arturo is lucky that he's a basically honest guy. He'd make a terrible spy, but at least he doesn't have to worry about being caught by you in a lie! Something tells me he'd throw himself out an airlock rather than lie to you!"

"Heh, yeah, Arturo's pretty much an open book," Xiulan responded with an agreeing nod. "But not that Deacon guy... When we talked, it was like, I dunno, maybe he was unburdening himself? No, that's not quite right..." Xiulan took a breath and released it slowly. "He wanted to see some kids on Janos III, and I don't know what his connection to them was, but I didn't see any harm in it so I let him do it, and then we talked and it was like I was the first person he'd had a conversation with in ages. I could tell he was holding something back, but people are like that, you know; like me, got nothing to hide but I'm just a private person like that."

"Yeah," Colt said. "Thanks. Some kids, huh? Yeah, Deke mentioned that he met a woman there. She already had some kids and he made a life with her and those kids and watched them grow up and even have some kids of their own. The only reason he was even in that town and not with that new family of his was that she died of cancer. The kids were all grown, so he went back on the road and ended up in that town where I ran into him. Ha! I didn't recognize him at first and he must not have recognized me either because instead of telling me his name, he just spouted his identifier code! I don't know why spies do that. Maybe he thought I'd been sent there to retrieve him or something. I mean, that's the only way I would have known his code. Anyway, my phaser pistol was set to stun, so I just shot him and carried him to the rendezvous point and you beamed us back aboard. It wasn't until we were in the transporter room that we recognized each other. Anyway, thanks for that piece of information. It helps confirm his story...a little bit, anyway. He could have locked onto just some random kids and made the whole thing up. He's trained to do that. But it helps a little bit anyway."

"Well the kids were playing football, which I don't think is a thing on Janos III," Xiulan pointed out. "I do admit that it is hard to discern lies from spooks, but..." Xiulan shrugged. "I believe him. Not that he told me too much, but the kind of weight in his voice is hard to fake."

"I hear you," Colt said. "But if anyone could do it, Deke could. That's what makes him such a good spy. Of course, that's the problem with being a really good spy. You get a rep for convincing people something that's true, isn't, and vice versa. Then, when there's a question as to whether or not you're telling the truth, a lot of people don't trust you to tell the truth. I couldn't do what Deke does. Oh, I've done some SpecOps stuff in populated areas and moved through them dressed as locals. I can get by in a black ops situation. But that really deep cover Deke can do...I just don't see myself doing it, or at least not with the skill that Deke does it. The Deacon Kane I knew was a good guy. He shouldn't be penalized for being good at his job. So I'm giving him a cautious benefit of the doubt, but keeping an eye out for things that don't make sense."

"Well on the side of caution, I can keep watch on sensors and communications and alert you if anything suspicious pops up?" Xiulan offered.

"Sure," Colt said. "That would be great. Anyway, I'll let you get back to work. It was nice finally meeting you. Let's all three of us get that drink back at 239. Oh, and about Arturo being an open book...you know he's really into that sword and dagger rescue the damsel stuff. It's not a put on...usually. But I think sometimes he uses it to shield himself from things that really bother him. That's just my observation of course. He was in a really dark place when I first met him and for years after that. He seems much happier now, and I think you're probably a big part of that. Just...don't let all the noise he puts out distract you from really 'seeing' him, if you'll pardon the choice of words...from hearing him? Whatever. I think you know what I mean. Well, I'm off. If you need anything, including having me chew out some wiseassed petty officer who thinks he's smarter than you, don't hesitate to ask."

"Yeah... Yeah, he's really, really into that..." Xiulan said with a chuckle. "And I do really see him; and I appreciate him for really seeing me and not just some helpless damsel for him to rescue. But he really does like that damsel gig." She laughed with a shake of her head. "But thanks for stopping by, I'll give you a call if I need anything."

"Thanks again, Lieutenant," Colt said. "Well, I guess I'd better go see if I can catch anyone else slacking off or otherwise misbehaving. This is a pretty good crew so I actually don't find too many."

Colt waved to Xiulan and then to the other crewmen and petty officers in Engineering as he went on his way.

 

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