259: The Darkness Part One

by Ensign Vol Tryst and LT. Rada Dengar
Hours after New Digs, Old Tricks

-=Turbolift Four-Alpha, USS Serendipity=-

"Three of clubs, no good. Seven of Diamonds, no good." Vol sighed as he pulled out another card, it was a Queen of clubs. "Your Majesty, no offence, but it's your husband that I want right now." Vol was aggravated.

The Betazoid had decided to use the gap between appointments to refresh his poker playing skills on the Holodeck. After discovering that the rust would not clear even after losing his thirtieth hand, he made for a retreat back to his quarters.

The Sera however, apparently thought he was a sore loser and did not want to make his retreat easy for him. Ergo, the Ship's Counsellor was currently sitting on the floor, of the stalled Turbolift. He'd been here for over a half hour now, and yet his luck still would not improve given he'd just lost his fifth round of solitaire.

"Complete and utter rubbish. What I wouldn't give for some tea right now. Although, getting this damned thing to move first would be preferable." Vol sat still looking at the top of the Turbolift, his doomed game still laid out before him on the ground. Someone would undoubtedly show up sooner or later.

Eventually the Turbolift door swished open and Vol observed that this wasn’t his requested destination; his luck it seemed hadn’t completely changed. He was however still glad to be able to get out of here as Solitaire wasn’t much fun to play alone.

“Stay where you are, everything’s going to be okay,” commanded Rada Dengar, his voice reflecting a level of concern and his arms spread to prevent exit from the Turbolift.

Needless to say this site wasn’t overly reassuring for Vol, nor was the undue calm he sensed from Dengar.

Rada wasn’t exactly riveted by the situation either. He would have much preferred the person trapped in this Turbolift have been a nice emotionless Vulcan as he had experienced quite enough of Betazoids trying to read him as of late.

As if triggered by something, Vol immediately sensed a change in the Angosian. Normally this race was simple to read, their minds much like Vulcans. The difference being that, in Vol's opinion, Vulcans had been extensively trained not to have emotions. Their minds rather like flat plains that stretched for miles with only the occasional disruption. Angosians on the other hand had large veils over their emotions, their shape distorted. Still, they hid their feelings from others, not themselves.

This man was different, or at least he just became so. Vol sensed his presence, but his feelings and thoughts were slippery to the Betazoids empathy. Vol couldn't grasp at anything, something that made him instantly uncomfortable.

To add to his lack of reassurance was the manner with which Rada approached the Turbolift. He first removed a Hydrospanner, it didn’t appear to be his favourite Hydrospanner, and he cautiously pushed just the end through the entrance into the Turbolift.

Upon feeling a little relief he slowly pushed the rest of the Hydrospanner through the door and then withdrew it. Next he placed it back within what was clearly a very valuable tool case. He then bent down and picked the case up with one arm, lined himself up with the doorway, visibly inhaled and finally stepped through. What Vol found strange about this was that he still didn’t sense any concern from Rada although he must be concerned about something. Rada was visibly relieved as he looked around and observed that he was still alive.

He quickly moved away from the doorway for safety reasons and ordered “Computer Seal Turbolift, authorisation Dengar 8-3-9-Mu-Alpha-Rho.”

The Turbolift door quickly shut and locked to prevent access.

“I can’t risk anyone walking in or anything getting out,” explained Rada, this for some reason didn’t put Vol completely at ease and neither did the fact that the contradictions in Rada’s behaviour were leading Vol to conclude that not only were the emotions from the Engineer slippery, but it was almost as if he were being given false emotions in his hands as the truth slipped away from him.

Vol began to fidget with his fingers. He remained sitting, collecting his cards as a means to look somewhere other than up at the man in the Turbolift with him.

Rada misinterpreted this as a need for more explanation. After all, he felt that if anyone should feel uncomfortable here it should be him.

“There is a problem with the inertial dampening system installed in this lift,” he elaborated “You see all of these lifts have a rollback safeguard in place…”

*Why did I have to start explaining?” Rada asked himself in a panic whilst seeming perfectly calm *How do I keep explaining about this?*

The problem which Rada faced was simple. If he covered anything which Vol already knew he risks coming off as condescending, telling someone something as obvious as this seemed to Rada would be nothing but condescending if they already knew the concept. It’s a well known fact that even in this day and age there is prejudice against Betazoids intellectually and if Vol thinks Rada’s being condescending then he’ll think he’s prejudiced. As far as Rada was concerned the only plausible result of this would be Vol getting all of his Betazoid friends to gang up on Rada and throw him out of an air lock for said prejudice.

Alternatively if he didn’t explain things in enough detail then he risked Vol assuming that he wasn’t explaining it because he believed that a Betazoid should simply be able to read the information from him. Since Rada observed Vol to be a half-Betazoid hybrid he realised his abilities would be limited by this and so Rada was worried that Vol would take under explanation as a presumptuous ‘Betazoid or not’ attitude and consequently as an insult against Hybrids. As far as Rada was concerned the only plausible result of this would be Vol getting all of his Hybrid friends to gang up on Rada and throw him out of an air lock for said insult.

Rada didn’t like any of these options and was couldn’t help but considering how much nicer it would have been if the lift’s victim had in fact been a Vulcan instead. Still he had started and now would have to finish.

“The programming for these Turbolifts contains various earlier versions and when a malfunction is detected it will rollback to an earlier version to avoid this malfunction. Unfortunately a faulty isolinear relay meant that the only version which this system could have access to was over a hundred years old and went back to the times of a tactile interface. Back in those days the use of the inertial dampeners would compensate around this interface to avoid wasting energy by concentrating on the fixed position of the interface. The increases in efficiency of the inertial dampeners since that time means that any activation of the inertial dampening system now would result in an over application of force and the results could be very damaging to anyone in the Turbolift at the time...”

Vol knew that this could only mean one thing. Activate the inertial dampeners and: squish.

“Then you’re here to make sure that these systems don’t come on? Then why is it so important that I don’t leave?” Vol asked, still uncomfortable about not being able to read Rada and now about the whole squish concept. Vol couldn't shake the feeling of being at a complete disadvantage. He had been looking forward to meeting this man in particular, but this was far from the scenario he had wished such a meeting.

“Actually…they’re already on,” explained Rada “That was part of the initial malfunction. Due to the incompatibility of the earlier code with out sensors however, it seems as though everything in this here is being recognised as the interface and is exempt from the inertial dampener’s effects. That’s why you and I aren’t affected and why I was so cautious coming in here. I’m not sure about the affects of removing a large mass from the Turbolift which is why you can’t simply walk out and I’m also not sure about the affects of using the Transporters which is why they’re out of the question. So, until I can fix the systems it looks like we’re both stuck here.”

Ensign Vol Tryst
Ship's Counselor
USS Serendipity NCC-2012


LT Rada Dengar
Chief Engineer
USS Serendipity NCC-2012