749: Up and At 'Em: One

by -=/\=- Zanh Liis
Two days after Once Around the Block


Captain's Personal Log, Stardate 90115.8

It came to my attention recently that, as part of a primary-school science project, Lair Arie managed to override certain security protocols and hijack the omnidirectional holographic diodes and magnetic field generators on deck eight of this ship.

In doing so, and in additionally rerouting certain data through one of the holodecks she was able to alter the subroutines controlling the LMH's appearance and vocal processors and reprogrammed them so that he would take on the likeness of one Twenty-first century musician, a shaggy-haired kid by the name of Joe Jonas.

She didn't understand, she said, when asked what she'd done "Why the hologram 'retained the strong vocal inflections of the doctor's original subroutines."

She then blinked and asked if there was a problem with what she had done.

The LMH was not amused.

I was not amused.

Security was, most certainly, not amused.

Arie's parents were unsure exactly what they should do.

Arie's teacher threw her hands into the air and gave the girl an 'a' grade on her 'project'.

In exchange for explaining to Security and Engineering exactly which flaws in the system she had exploited to pull the changes off without detection, her promise never ever to do it again and her agreement to write an essay on why it is not acceptable to override the subroutines of a sentient, photonic being for entertainment purposes or school assignments, we decided not to file any formal charges.

Or send her to boarding school.

I swear, maybe she had the right idea after all.

If Dalton doesn't let me out of here soon, I am going to let Arie have at it again and the LMH will be singing a different tune.


No, I wouldn't really but damn, is it tempting on days like this.

End log.


-=Sickbay, USS Serendipity=-

"You think I'm joking? I'm not. I want out. Today." The Captain of the Serendipity held the gaze of the man she was speaking to, and he returned her stare with equal intensity.

"In the all-time rankin' of brilliant ideas, this is right up there with spray-on hair and Lincoln's decision to take in a show."

Liis had no idea what either of those references implied, and so she just shook her head to try to keep herself from getting distracted by wondering. "Dalton, you're being just a bit overly dramatic, don't you think?"

"No, don't think I am!" Dalton McKay, long-suffering LMH to the crew of the USS Serendipity tossed the PADD he was holding at Zanh Liis in frustration.

She caught it out of the air with her good hand, and gave him an exaggerated frown in response.

"Are you forgettin' who had to toss you in the freezer a year ago like a half-rate dinner entree just to keep you from dyin' until your aorta could be repaired? Are you forgettin'..." he had a lengthy list ready to jog her memory if need be, but she didn't need, or want, to hear every entry.

"No, I'm not forgetting any of it." Liis softened her expression, and her tone. "I'm grateful, truly, for all that you've done for me Dalton. Honestly. It's just that I've got a ship to run, and a crew to look after. I can't do it effectively from this bed, and I'm ready to go."

McKay sighed again. "Are you also forgettin' that there's a big Irish guy out there who expects me to do my level best to take care of you and will happily scramble my program like eggs at breakfast if I don't keep you from doin' what you usually do?"

"What do I usually do, Doctor?" Liis folded her good arm over her sling defensively and glared once again, waiting. Many members of crew would wither under such a look- but it seemed Photonics were immune to her trademark brand of intimidation.

"Keep on goin' until somebody has to pick you up off the floor."

"Oh, right. That." Liis tossed the PADD he'd given her aside without looking at it.

"You've already dropped like a fly meetin' the swatter once this week, Cap'n. Last thing I want you to do is fall and hit that noggin' of yours and end up back in here. I don't know how many times I can keep patchin' you up. Tinkerbell over here is plum outta Pixie Dust." He turned away, making notations on the computer panel updating her medical records. "Of course, your head's so hard, you'd likely do more damage to the floor."

"You took the words right out of my mouth." Liis reached for the cup of coffee that was perched on the bedside table and tasted it, wincing when she found it'd gone cold. She set it back down and sighed heavily. "You've already let Lair go home. You finally released Will and Thomas to their own recognizance an hour ago..."

"Lair had a head start on all'ya'll in the recovery department and both of those gentlemen have to have follow up breathin' treatments three times a day for a couple more days and they know it. They, unlike some people..." Dalton raised an eyebrow at her, "...can be trusted to follow their discharge instructions."

"Yeah, yeah. I know. But are you forgetting that there's a big Irish guy out there who considers it his sworn duty to make sure that I follow my discharge instructions?"

Dalton harrumphed and continued with his data-entry.

Liis' eyes wandered across the bay toward Blakeslee, who was taking another breathing treatment of his own.

He tried, every time she'd noticed, to sit up a little more, to hold his head up a bit longer. Watching Zander struggle so valiantly had forever reinforced what she already thought about him; that he was loyal, and dedicated, and there wasn't anything he wouldn't do for his family and his crew. His courage in the face of such physical agony was truly inspiring.

"Yeah, well I," Liis stopped as she heard the doors to the bay swish open.

She thought it would be Keiran coming to check on her...for the sixth time today.

She'd finally been forced to order him back to duty a day ago. Standing constantly at her bedside fretting he wasn't eating, he wasn't sleeping, he was just... hovering. She knew it wasn't going to do him any good, or anyone else trying to get better around her.

So he'd been working since finally accepting that she was right. She didn't know if he'd been eating or sleeping, but at least he was keeping himself busy, and that would make the time go faster for him, even if it dragged on for her.

She found that it was another man who had just come into the bay, though. He was also, she believed, here to talk to her.

Dalton saw Salvek approaching and nodded to him. "Maybe the Vulcan can talk some sense into you, since I can't seem to."

"Don't count on it. He's been trying to do that for years."

Salvek, who had not been to Sickbay to see her before now, approached slowly.

His hands were clasped behind his back, but the usual air of serenity that enveloped him seemed to be forced.


Instead of a calm and placid lake Salvek's soul was a troubled and storming sea, and as soon as she saw him, she knew it.

Others who did not know him as well would not have been able to detect the change, as subtle as it seemed on the surface.

Liis, however, saw that surface rising like a swell; violent winds and rising pressure having disrupted the normally even katra of the man- threatening to drown him in the undertow.

McKay moved off to give them the privacy to speak, and Salvek pulled the curtain closed to block the view of all others in Sickbay.

"Hello." Liis said at last, softly breaking the silence.

"Captain." He lowered his eyes. He hated thinking that if he hadn't insisted on staying with Taris as long as he had, Zanh Liis would not be lying in that bed. He could only hope that she understood why he had needed to do so, as illogical a choice as it had been.

"Salvek," Liis extended her hand toward him, but he was hesitant to take it. He remained where he was and spoke over her, interrupting in a most uncharacteristic fashion.

"Captain, Admiral Lassiter wishes to speak to you."

Liis emitted a low growl of frustration. "I had a feeling she would." She tilted her head back into the pillow and glanced up to the ceiling. "Did she tell you what about, exactly?"

"I have given her my report on the outcome of the mission, as have Commanders Blane, O'Sullivan, and Captain Lindsay. There is some debate as to...whether or not I should be brought up on charges."

"What?" Liis bolted straight upright in bed, ignoring the pain the motion caused. "You're not serious?"

"Several ships were lost, not to mention the injuries suffered by the Away Team." Salvek informed her emotionlessly. "It was my decision to stay with Taris that-"

"No." Liis raised her right hand, refusing to allow him to continue. "It was my decision to keep the team together. You would have stayed behind alone, and I knew it. Keiran knew it. So did Thomas and Will. Salvek..." Liis reached out as far as she could, grabbing hold of his sleeve. She pulled him closer and Salvek sighed, almost imperceptibly, as she grasped hold of his hand.

"Salvek, look at me."

His gaze remained fixed on the wall.

"Damn it, I said look at me."

Salvek finally raised his eyes to hers, struggling with all his will to restrain his conflicting emotions.

"She killed your parents. She's tried to murder you more times than we could count even if we wanted to." Liis whispered. "Her troops almost killed Kellyn on Lethus. They took Arie." She knew that he was more aware than anyone of Taris' list of crimes against him and those he held dearest. He couldn't for the life of him, understand why she felt the need to repeat them like this now.


"So, it may not have been the wisest decision to stay and they can note that on your record, if they want to. But you can't be held accountable for a decision that I made." She drew a slow, deep breath before continuing.

"If you think for one second that, after all, after everything, that a single man there was going to leave you behind, on that dying ship with her?"

Liis shook her head, tears forming behind her eyes. She bit her lip, hard, before continuing to try to keep her composure.

"If you think I would have done it? Then you have no idea just what it is that you, and your family, mean to us."

"You could have,"

"But I didn't." Liis replied, cutting him short once again. "We all came home. That should be, as far as I'm concerned, the end of the matter. She's gone, Salvek," Liis tugged him even closer by the hand, and Salvek, feeling his resolve to contain his sorrow and the stress of recent days slipping, dropped heavily down into the chair beside the bed.

He leaned forward, and, just for a moment, rested his forehead against Zanh Liis' uninjured shoulder.

Liis reached out and gently placed her hand upon his cheek. She tilted his face up so she could look upon it. "She's gone, Salvek." Tears finally spilled down her cheeks. "I'm only sorry that it took me so many tries to get it right."

"You..." Salvek gasped in disbelief, "are apologizing to me?"

Both officers startled as the curtain was pulled back, and McKay stood there, glowering. "Admiral Lassiter is demandin' speak to ya, Captain. Right now."

"Then I guess I'd better speak to her."

Salvek jumped out of his chair and immediately offered his arm to his friend, and Captain. The rest of their conversation would have, for the time being, to wait.

She slowly swung her legs over the side of the bed and accepted his help in rising. "Can we use your office, Dalton?"

McKay shook his head.

This was the thing about this woman he couldn't wrap his photonic mind around.

She could be so exasperating, ninety-nine percent of the time. But then in that remaining one percent she'd do something that no other captain in the fleet would bother to do, like asking him if she could use the comm station in his office. Most captain's wouldn't bother asking if their doctors were organic, let alone ask a hologram for his permission to do anything.

"'Course, Zanh Liis," was all he could say. "You make yourself right at home."

-=/\=- Zanh Liis
Commanding Officer
USS Serendipity NCC-2012