Jeepers Creepers 2: Creepers In Flight
Lieutenant Astor Sauvageon cast a critical eye over his appearance. The holo-mirror showed a tall, solidly built man in his mid-thirties. His features were attractive, if lacking in refinement somewhat.
Astor was rarely satisfied with his appearance. In truth, the Engineer was rarely satisfied with anything he glanced at, instead seeing all of the little flaws.
He stepped out of the small quarters and into the main cabin of the space yacht called the Obsidian. A gift from his father, the vessel had been with Astor nearly every step in his career. Named for her completely black hull, the ship was sized somewhere between a shuttle and a runabout, and had been the recipient of a dozen refits at the hands of her obsessive owner.
“How long till we reach our destination?” Astor called out to the empty cabin. A voice responded, in a tone that was somewhere between bemused and annoyed.
“This is so strange. I know there isn’t anyone else on this ship, and yet it sounds like you’re addressing me.” Came the voice through the ship’s speakers. As she spoke the lighting took on a somber color
“Nikita, pozhaluysta*. I don’t have time for your dramatics.” Said Astor in frustration.
“Don’t Nikita me, Detka**. And how would you know what you have time for? You have no clue where we are.” The AI rebutted, smugly.
The Frenchman sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. “Ok…finish your joke, please.” He said resignedly.
The lighting in the cabin brightened significantly as she began speaking. “They both orbit Uranus in search of Klingons!” Said the AI before erupting into musical laughter.
Astor clicked his tongue impatiently before breaking and chuckling himself. Nikita was the ship’s computer system personified, and she was the undisputed queen of bad jokes.
“Remind me to rip out your circuitry when we arrive at the station, will ya?” Astor said darkly.
“Oh please, I think you’ll have your hands in plenty of other computer’s drawers when we get to this station. If I was the jealous type I’d detour us to Risa and maroon us someplace nice.” Nikita said.
Astor eyed the Nav display in response. Nikita was absolutely the type to do something like that. The display showed an arrival in three hours.
“Why don’t you obsess over those schematics some more. I’ll find some new material for jokes and call you for the final approach.” She said.
The engineer’s shoulders slumped and he disappeared into his quarters once more.
((Four hours later, at the captain’s office aboard DS3))
Astor patted his hair into place once again and chimed the door, before tugging his uniform smooth.
“Come.” Tobias snapped as the door chime continued to ring, indicating that someone was standing in front of the door, but failing to come in.
Astor stepped in, involuntarily bending his head slightly as he cleared the threshold, a habit carried over from the Obsidian.
“Lieutenant Astor Sauvageon, Engineering Inspector. I didn’t see you on the flight deck so I’ve sought you out, sir.” He said flatly.
The thought of this inspector possibly getting lost and thereby being avoided is what kept Tobias from meeting him on the flight deck, but it was improper to voice such thoughts, so the Captain simply stood to greet the odious functionary.
“My apologies Lieutenant, station business prevented me from greeting you personally. I trust you found your way up to the Operations level with little trouble?”
“Yes Captain. I can take comfort in the fact that the layout of the station has remained true-to-form, even if the rest of DS3 has been significantly altered.”
“Mm-hmm, yes, significantly, that is a very good choice of words.” Bishop replied.
Astor bit the inside of his cheek to avoid showing any emotional response. “I’ve read the briefing, but why don’t you give me your account of what has occurred here?” He asked.
“I am not exactly sure as to what else I could add that is not already in the report. The being arrived on the station, demonstrated abilities on par with the entity known as ‘Q’, and then departed just as suddenly.”
“Which systems do we know were altered? Can we assume your computer system was compromised entirely?” The Frenchman asked, unswayed.
“That is just it. None of the systems were altered or compromised. Everything was merely brought up to date and left in brand new condition.”
“Nothing was compromised…Captain, I am not at liberty to question your fitness for duty. However you have just agreed that the station was significantly altered by an entity appearing to possess Demigod-like powers and yet now you assert that nothing was compromised.” Astor said in astonishment.
“Allow me to remind you of my purpose here, Sir. Starfleet has sent me to this station to judge whether or not it can remain in service after such an event. If this seemingly altruistic being has compromised DS3, that would have ramifications for several sectors of space. For the thousands of individuals who habitat, trade, and hub here. And for every one of the Starfleet officers who are assigned here. So I suggest you start taking my purpose a bit more seriously before you’re onboard the last runabout, watching the station’s lights go dim.” He said in a tone that implied he meant every syllable.
Tobias was already weary of this self important windbag. He re-took his seat behind his desk and quietly took a drink from the steaming mug of coffee that was, as ever, present on its surface.
“Lieutenant, I understand how this must seem, but I assure you that while things physically changed, the information contained by our systems was unaffected. I do not understand the how nor the why, but I can report with all confidence that my crew has gone over every affected system and we have found no conflicts nor inconsistencies. You are, however, more than welcome to spend as much time as you would like going over every self sealing stem bolt and micro-welded seam of the entire station. Search all you would like. Do whatever it takes to make yourself and Starfleet Command comfortable with the situation that we find ourselves in. As long as you do not get in the way, or prevent my staff from carrying out their duties, you are welcome to investigate to your heart’s delight. I will give you carte blanche and the full cooperation of the entire staff during your stay.”
Astor winced at the captain’s pronunciation of ‘carte blanche’ and decided that this conversation would no longer be useful.
“Thank you for your assistance in this matter, Captain. I’ll make a note of it.” And nearly forgetting decorum, he almost turned to leave. “Will that be all, Sir?” He asked, staring a hole through the bulkhead above the impertinent CO.
“By all means, Lieutenant, feel free to take your leave.” Bishop answered with a tense smile.
:: OFF ::
Captain Tobias Bishop III
Deep Space Three
Lieutenant Astor Sauvageon
Starfleet Corps of Engineers