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Hello? Is there anybody out there?

Posted on 10 Oct 2023 @ 8:23am by Ensign Orion Belmont & Petty Officer 2nd Class Alizabeth Omari

2,879 words; about a 14 minute read

Mission: Miranda
Location: Sick bay, gymnasium

Alizabeth had been rearranging certain files and procedures to make them easier to find before she had become ill. It was a task that should have taken moments and no one would have noticed as the computer would have linked them to the previous structure but, things as they were, that process was not completed. This meant that some of the guidance the limited staffing needed was not in a place that could be found, a complication that ended up with Aliza not being provided with a PADD, but a com link to walk someone else through the locations and rebuilding the filing system so anyone with access could find them. A minor connection to the world outside of sick bay was granted as the device was not taken away from her in case there were more questions.

Later in the day she looked around to see if any of the staff was close, then tucked her head under the thin blanket she was beneath cupping her hand over the device. If she kept form interrupting others that were resting there it was a possibility that no one would take that link from her, so she was making doubly sure in muffling her voice.

Trying to think of where someone might be that would have time to talk to her and not interrupt their work, a smile curved her lips and she quietly reached out to the gymnasium. “Hello?” She hoped someone would be there, not that Callisi was bad company, but she desperately wanted to talk to someone, anyone, that was not confined to sick bay.

One of the main ways Orion had tried to deal with his problems, including sickness, had always been exercise. Sweating things out usually helped with most things. And even if it didn't he had at least had a decent workout and would be a bit healthier for it. Ironically the other extreme, drinking his issues away, also existed. He hadn't gotten that far yet and so he could be found, shirtless due to the mild fever and covered in sweat from the past half hour's exercise. He had been alone the whole time, more was the pity. His AI friend didn't need exercise and most others were laid low by the plague. He had taken a pause from trying to force the damned sickness from himself as the voice came out of the ether. For a few moment he blinked, wondering if he had lost his mind, before realising there really was someone there.

"Yes? Hello. This is Ensign Belmont, who is this? Something up? Ship hasn't been boarded or something has it? Wouldn't be surprised at this point"

“Oh no, no ship boarding, yet.” Aliza said, then laughed lowly. “I am Petty Officer Omari and very pleased to hear you. You are..” she tried to place a name with the roster in her mind but thanks to the brain fog, “someone I do not think I have met yet.”

"New guy Petty Officer Omari, for my sins. Jester is my call sign, I'm a pilot. Orion is my actual name. And good, I'm not sure I have enough energy left to repel boarders after this workout. Where are you tapping in from by the way? And is there something I can call you other than Petty Officer, it's a bit wordy and honestly rank seems pointless on the ship these days, hardly anyone left not laid up"

That was a lot of information for her normally quick mind to process with the fever. “Jester, Orion.” The words came out then she focused on the questions. “Ugh,” she almost sounded like a disgusted teen, “on a mat in sick bay, have been for I don’t know how long at this point. I am Alizabeth or Aliza, new yeoman on the ship. A good workout, hmm? I am jealous.”

"Of course you are, not everyone can have the athletic abilities that I do," he said with a grin she wouldn't be able to see but possibly hear, wiping his brow and then settling in to continue his cable crossover reps and speaking between breaths, "nice to hear to Aliza. Pretty name. I take it you like to get active then? How did a fighter like that let a little virus thing take her out?" he asked, a little cheekily perhaps but it had been a while since he had had anyone to talk to, much less banter with.

“Pfft,” she said with another of those laughs that she was keeping as quiet as her almost whisper. “I was seeing things and had a high fever, both are still true really so there is a possibility that I will just think this is some delusion after.” Aliza smirked as they talked. “Thank you, and I love being active. I can’t wait to get out of here to hit the gym or go do something, anything, in the holodeck. Are there not others you work with not sick? I can see how many are here, but I can’t get numbers for across the ship, well, no one will tell me the extent this stretches.”

"You wound me with my lack of memorable aura. But no, not that many are not sick. We haven't been told numbers but if the flight deck is anything to go by...I dunno...60 percent down? Maybe a bit more? I'm bad at math though, I warn you. Damn, I'm sick, just not as bad as others like you. Mostly trying to sweat it out, for now. If I get worse I'll make sure to request a spot near you, you sound fun. I'd break you out to come climbing or something, but between you and me I'm not good enough to pull that off. Now flying away and escaping, that I can do. You'll have to engineer your breakout yourself" he continued, ending his set and wobbling slightly, steadying himself and sitting down on a bench. "What's your favourite thing to do, sweating wise that is? If we make it through maybe we can see who's better"

Aliza listened and nodded her head, not that he could see it, taking in his assessment with a seriousness, and a hint of care, that is conveyed in her whisper. “Be careful in there, I was working out when the bulk of this hit me. Imagine my surprise when my mother was staring back at me from the mirror.” Letting the edge of that sit with him, her warm humour returned,”My spot is a bastion of fun and distraction. Another here and I have played a version of the child’s game I Spy and made it through two rounds before we ran out of things to list, we also have talked about our childhoods and books.” The dark skinned woman paused for a moment in thought, “If I am in the holodeck I like climbing, running, surfing, pretty much anything that gets my heart racing. In the ? I think dead lifts would be my favourite, though all of it helps me focus. I look forward to the idea of competing, but am thoroughly disappointed in your breakout skills. With me it is to be excepted, I am the epitome of serious attentiveness and force of will, I could not abandon my duty to hold down my place on the floor unless I was rescued, err escaped, errr,” she but her bottom lip and her eyes twinkled, “medically released.”

"Thanks for your concern," he said after he sat down, eventually laying down upon the bench to close his eyes and try to regulate his breathing, he had pushed himself hard, "no visions...yet. But if I do get them may they be more engaging ones than my mother," he snorted, though he wasn't sure that would be heard across the comms, "you sound quite capable for a damsel in distress. Tell you what, I'll work on my breakout skills and see what I can do. No promises though. Is that why your joined up then, a strong sense of duty and an attention detail...willpower? Or was it to get the heart pumping plumbing the depths of space? Such a stalwart figure of an officer though, I respect you for you cheekily comms out all hush like from the sickbay" he chuckled, his tone clearly not one that was cutting and more jocular, enjoying the back and forth.

He was nice to talk to, though she was not sure if it was just having someone outside the room filled with others like her that was making this hidden conversation so fun. She usually found some way to have a humorous attitude to most of her interactions so it was not an entire surprise. “Well mother’s kaftan changed to the face of a cat, then jewels in a fall. Advice, unwanted, from a far off parent is quite common I imagine in people’s minds. Believe me when I say that I very much wished it was a different delusion, up until the images I see now.” Golden eyes twinkled from under her blanket, “In a bit of irony, I was escaping when I joined the Academy. Now look at me, begging for the same fate. Yeoman came from the attention to detail, and my general nature, one is accounted for from my mother, the other from my father. The jaunts into the gym and holodeck is where the heart pumping action comes for me, adventure at space will be nice, this kind of adventure right now I could do without.” A small pause and then she laughed once more, “Are you often so easygoing with strange voices from the walls?”

"I don't really have the energy to be surprised right now. And, honestly, you could be a hallucination for all I know. I hope not, I'd like to see you dead lift...but since coming aboard I've seen new species, an AI that can change shape and talk as a dinosaur. Voices from comms in the walls...seems a bit tame right now. I am a Jester, I am supposed to be a bit strange," he responded, massaging his temples and then rolling sideways, trying to get to his side but simply falling face to the floor before sighing a pushing himself to his knees, "it's funny you say that you were escaping. Parents couldn't get rid of me quick enough. Don't hate me, just never did measure up. They were both great at what they did - science and engineering. Probably be happy I was just talking to a lass as impressive as you. I can fly like no other though, did enjoy those joyrides. Guess we both need adrenaline. Very active you are, Aliza, until now. Always running around speedily somewhere?" he asked, his voice straining slightly as he stood up and wobbled before steadying himself. His tone was engaged but growing slightly more distant, as if his concentration was slipping.

“We have ai that can become a dinosaur? Are you sure you are not having delusions?” Aliza smirked again, “Well, I have seen a number of interesting individuals so far as well, not sure there are limits to the wonderful people/beings/programs on this ship.” Listening to the sounds that she was picking up faintly, but not wanting to be overbearing, so she kept him talking, “Youngest of six, family business that goes back at least eight generations. There were expectations, every single sib of mine is involved in the business in some way. Five brothers and sisters also explains why I was always on the move, do you know how nice it is to just get out and run and not have to have their presence constantly? I guess Starfleet was a good place to eventually run too since I am having such a good time on my new tour after just leaving port.” Sarcasm was heavy in her tone, but that humour of hers could not help but be heard. “Jester hmm? Is that just from how humorous you are? Practical jokes? You don’t really seem the playing a fool type to me, but I suppose that is an option for when you are not keeping a woman locked away sane.”

"You know I was thinking of hiding a half-full bucket somewhere there commander of the flight deck might walk under, have it drop on them, if I ever felt that I had had enough. So...maybe," he chuckled, coughing slightly at the end and shaking his head, "maybe jokes too, sure. But no, I got the sign...because I was the joke. The fact I see the bright side just makes it more amusing. Can't imagine having that many siblings, sounds like a snake pit of fun" he said, closing his eyes and starting to see blotches of random colours on his eyelids. "I don't think there's a limit to any surprises here - didn't expect a damn plague that's for sure. Think we can get a refund for our tickets on the ride?"

“Jester, do you prefer confinement over hanging out in the gym? I haven’t met the flight deck commander, but they have to have a really good sense of humour with that trick.” Hearing the cough Aliza frowned a bit, that sound heard around her all too often, but strove to not let a hint of worry into her voice. “Well, your sense of humour is welcome, I need to find more friends I can just relax and have fun with. As to my siblings? We all worked with our mother as she did not want her family to act wild, we had an image to maintain. There was much teasing, competition and those hints of familial angst that happens, usually they say the youngest are spoiled, but I carried my own weight.” With a sweet laugh that she clapped her hand over her mouth to remind herself to remain quiet, “My aunt did her best to so that though, she would travel all over and I would bother her for all the information she would share, and there lies my desire to see the stars.” Rolling almost to her stomach and turning her head to the side as they chatted. “No refunds, I read the small print, small print is part of my job description.”

"Oh, I think I've had enough of isolation thank you very much. But I do like a good giggle. I suppose I could be crackers, as if that matters right now. You're welcome to come find me whenever you like, this ship could do with a party. You sounds fun and I'm all about more friends with voices easy to laugh with. I had no siblings, so I'll take your world for it Aliza, but I've had many brothers and sisters in flight - I miss all of them. And am glad I found at least another one here too. refunds. Well, I suppose that means we're in this together. As for what I like climbing, running, weights, martial arts, puzzles, reading...and many things, you'll have to find out"

"I hate to leave a lady in need, but I've got to go Aliza, one of the only few left on much duty as I can muster anyway. Probably...throw up first. If I don't start hallucinating as you did," he barked a laugh and cleared his throat, " you fancy talking again patch through to deck 13, quarters 22. If I'm there, and you know not going delirious, you'll find me. You going to be alright for at least a couple days whilst I brush up on breakout skills? Not going to be tortured horribly by that most heinous of things...doctors are you?"

Aliza sighed softly, dreading the end of this, but she understood duty. “If you hallucinate, try and make it something better than your mother, or horses with rainbows, or the walls bending, or toddler Klingons. The worst the doctors are doing to me now is keeping me here, which really is not their fault.” A gentle laugh warmed her words, “You should not invite me to talk freely, Jester, you have no idea what I might say. After this though? You better be prepared to scale a mountain as well as drink. Please be safe, and thank you for your work, I would be there helping if I could. It was very, very nice to get to talk with you.”

"Well I'm definitely going to hallucinate toddler Klingons now aren't I?" he laughed, "and I hope the docs take care of you. And then me once they figure out what this is. And sure, I'd be happy to kick your arse scaling a mountain. You'll get the chance to drink me under the table for sure. Don't worry about it, I'm sure my past commanding officers would say that I had never done enough as it was. Maybe Karma is real, no? That'd tickle me. Remember the offer, nice to hear you, better to see you when you're better. Well...both of us better. Now, time to go find these toddler Klingons, rest up damsel of the sickbay"


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