and Fleur Le Marc
Hours after One Big Sky
"Three? But sir, why three?" February Grace pursed her lips and put a hand on her hip.
There was also the echoing sound of her foot tapping on the marble floor of the museum, where everyone was currently assembled. Specifically, in the office of museum security. On the opposite side she tried to balance a fussy baby Sophie, who was way past nap time.
As was her father.
"This is a freakin' side show," Reece complained. "Get Liisy on the horn. She'll straighten this all out."
"Dabin," Vol bit his lip thoughtfully. "Perhaps it would behoove you to..."
"Or that Admiral chick. I know she hates me, well, she doesn't hate me but she doesn't love me either. I know she thinks I'm hot. She'll vouch for me."
Jariel Camen slapped himself on the forehead. Fleur widened her eyes at him, and he looked up at her apologetically.
"Did I actually do that? I'm sorry, I thought I only thought I was doing it."
February handed Sophie's squirming form off to a dazed and confused Gillan Pace.
"Um, what just happened here?" Pace asked, as Sophie flopped her head down onto his shoulder and immediately fell asleep.
"Jariel, do something!" February whispered frantically. "He's really done it this time."
"What did I do?" Reece objected. "I'm telling you the thing looked like my great-grandmother's table cloth. Only she took much better care of her things and there weren't nearly so many stai-"
*DABIN!* February thought. *You have the right to remain silent, I suggest that you use it!*
"We are going to need three witnesses to attest to Commander Reece's character if we're going to even consider overlooking this...travesty," said the security guard who held the card key to Reece's cell.
"I'm tellin' you, Dude, I so did not mean to spill my cherry Slurpee all over your- what was it? Your big-time paper dealeo?"
"THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE!" The guard snarled, wishing he could bang his head into the nearest available wall, or perhaps Reece’s instead.
"And the nougat smudge on the Bill of Rights was an accident too..." Fleur mumbled under her breath. "Good thing we didn't take him to see Statue of Liberty or her head would now be floating upside down in Hudson River."
"Actually, it would sink," Dabin pointed out, as Fleur rolled her eyes. "You're thinking of what would have happened if I’d knocked the head off the statue of Zephram Cochrane. That's made outta wood."
"Like your head, little boy." Le Marc shot back. "Excuse me if I lack your scientific acumen, and respect for priceless historical documents."
"Focus, people!" Bru blurted out, interrupting. "We need three trustworthy individuals, and we need them now."
"Hopefully at least one of which has experience removing nougat from parchment," Dabin said, stroking his non-existent beard thoughtfully.
"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Isn't Rada Dengar here on Earth as well?" Jariel asked, brainstorming. "Along with Wren?"
"Yes! And Lance left after the movie so he was not present for the..." Bru was trying to look for the correct word, not wishing to say crime.
"Travesty." The guard chimed in once again.
"Then we will need to find a way to contact them. Commander Dengar could be anywhere," Jariel postulated.
"Could it be as easy as a combadge? Maybe Wren took one with her." Bru asked hopefully.
"This isn't getting me out of here any faster!" Dabin tapped his foot in annoyance. "Someone just give them a jingle! How hard can it be to find anyone here? There aren't even any symbionts. Ten billion? That's nothing."
There was the sound of a buried snort coming from somewhere among the assembled group. Bru looked about her and saw the Counselor resting his nose on his propped up fist. She was staring at his profile, which made it very easy to see the corner of his lips which the Betazoid was forcing into a frown although it was obvious he was trying to hide a smile.
Dabin piped up, "What's so funny?"
Vol gave up his charade as he inhaled and then exhaled, trying to control himself from bursting into giggles.
"I'm trying to imagine the Captain's reaction to... all this..." Vol released a few chuckles, rocking back and forth before composing himself once more.
"You think this is funny?" asked the security guard.
Vol shook his head, but once more he emitted sounds that indicated he was trying not to make the situation worse.
Bru pinched her fingers to either side of her nose, trying to combat the headache which had set in the moment she saw the first red, syrupy stripe of sludge dripping across the words "When in the Course of human events..."
Vol couldn't help but read her thoughts loud and clear, which were: *More children, just great.*
"The Captain's reaction? She should be worried about my reaction. After all I've done for her! I'm left to scour the Earth, literally, for people to bail me out of jail!" Dabin stalked back and forth in his cell, quite serious about the absurdity he was currently spewing.
“It is strangely difficult on a planet of ten billion to find three who can attest to Reece being a responsible adult,” Fleur thought aloud.
"Hey! What about Keiran's family? There is a whole country just dripping with O'Sullivans and they all love me! We all basically married into the family."
"I think we are going to stick with the original plan. Testimony from our crew mates will go farther than that of civilians, no matter how charming those civilians might be." February said. She pointed hopefully at the panel that the guard was sitting at, asking with her eyes if she might be allowed to use the communications to try and hail Wren or Rada. He stared at her blankly.
"May I, sir? Please?" she asked in her smallest, most polite voice.
Finally the guard stepped aside, allowing her access, after taking just a moment to isolate the forcefield controls.
"Excuse me, Mister... what was your name?" Dabin asked the guard.
"Sergeant Sims, it’s really dry in here. Could I have a drink? Maybe...."
*Don't say it!* Bru's voice rang through his mind, the same three words everyone else in the room was thinking.
"A Slurpee? I never got to finish mine."
Sims turned to face Reece with his hands on his hips. "We serve water. For you, in a sippee cup."
“Dude, that’s so not fair! Isn’t there something in your Bill of Rights about Slurpees for all?
“I know now there’s a section about the right to fair nougat,” Fleur mumbled.
Bru quickly cleared her throat, and even more quickly raised her voice as she opened a channel, to silence the room. "Lt. February Grace to Wren Elton. Are you there?"
The voice that answered seemed to suggest that if they had gotten through to Wren then her time on Earth must have involved at least one gender reassignment surgery, if not three.
[February?] the man asked, not having at all expected to hear from her. [It’s Rada. I can…get Wren if you need her.]
His voice seemed somewhat quieter than usual, like a whisper, but also much happier than Bru could remember hearing it in quite a while. Her eyes widened as she put the pieces together that after a very long time apart Rada would be answering Wren’s communicator, and she felt instantly like she should apologise for the call.
“I’m not interrupting anything, am I?” she asked carefully.
[No,] Rada replied instantly and more loudly than he’d intended, trying quickly to explain as he realised what Bru was probably thinking. [I was just…]
“It’s okay. Really,” Bru cut him off, knowing Rada well enough not to actually expect he was about to go into detail about things she’d really rather he didn’t, but cautious because she had enough of Deveral’s memories to know there were some experiences that should definitely be kept just between two people, and others even they should forget. So Rada was given no chance to lie, or to explain that in actuality he’d just been watching Wren sleep.
“If you’re sure I’m not interrupting anything then we could use your help and Wren’s, too. Dabin accidentally..." She stressed the word as she tried to smile apologetically at the guard, but he wasn't buying. She frowned and tightened her fists at her sides. "...turned a large patch of a treasured historical document into a sticky red mess, and now he needs three character witnesses.”
[Pardon?] Rada asked, sure he’d heard that wrong.
“I know!” Reece said, throwing his arms into the air as he leaned as close to the panel as he could and shouted. “It’s totally unfair. Last time they only wanted one!”
“Last time?” Sims asked in disbelief, knowing he’d have heard if this had happened on Earth and so wondering how many official pieces of history on how many worlds one man could possibly have spilled sugary, brightly colored drinks on.
“We’d really appreciate it if you could both get here as soon as possible,” Bru stressed, hoping to get the three witnesses before Reece convinced Sims that anyone who’d attest to his responsible character should be locked up too.
[Okay…] Rada said, pausing momentarily, still sure he was confused about at least some of the details. Then again, he considered, Reece did once attempt to burn off his tastebuds as an act of friendship; something which still today gave him those strange nightmares in which his tongue was a fuse and Reece was some sort of animated coyote, and so this really made no less sense. [Where are you?]
“We’re in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s security office.”
Rada paused again, ready to question just exactly what had happened, but he quickly decided better of it. [We’ll be there as soon as we can.]
“Thank you so much,” February answered with relief, closing the channel then opening another. "One more?" Her eyes plead with the guard and he threw his hands in the air.
"Sure, why not? Why don't you just call up the President of the Federation while you're at it!" Sims exclaimed.
"Dude owes me a favor, actually..." Dabin interjected.
Bru widened her eyes at Reece and again he fell silent, but not before crossing his arms and huffing mightily.
“February Grace to Dr. Lance Hartcort.”
[Ummm….hello?] A unfamiliar female voice answered back. [This is Lance’s communication thingy.] A giggle followed.
February exchanged glances with Reece who simply smiled broadly and winked knowingly. Vol snickered quietly to himself as Jariel hung his head down and Fleur once again rolled her eyes.
"Careful, Frenchie. Keep that up and you might sprain an optic nerve." Reece grumbled.
“I’m looking for Dr. Hartcort," Bru continued. "Is he there?”
There was another playful giggle and mumbling could be heard in the background.
“Sounds like he’s there.” Vol commented as he tried to regain his composure.
[Um, he is around here...] the voice answered with a sultry laugh. […somewhere. Who can I say is calling?] A louder laugh followed.
February sighed. She knew Lance had to be there and really did not have time to deal with…whoever this was.
“Can you please tell him that February Grace needs to speak with him right away.”
There was another pause. [You sound like a girl, you're not his wife or anything are you?]
“What?” February looked at Reece who simply shrugged his shoulders. “No!”
[Girlfriend?] There was more muffled laughing and it sounded like the communicator was dropped and picked back up. [If so…you’re a lucky girl.] The last part was more of a sigh then a statement then it sounded like the communicator was dropped again.
“No I’m not, well I am lucky but not because of Lance, I, I mean I’m not his girl…goodness gracious…just give Lance the communicator please.” She blushed bright red.
“Is it hot in here or is it just me?” Reece asked amused by the whole situation despite his current predicament.
There were more sounds of the communicator being moved around and being banged against things before Lance’s voice came across. [Hello, this is Lance; doctor extraordinaire and anatomy expert, what can I do for you?]
“Well about time. Didn’t you hear me on the communicator?” February asked, ignoring the doctor’s flair.
[Well, no actually. I was…well…indisposed.] A tired giggle could be heard in the background.
“Reece is in trouble and we need you help.”
There was a pause and a harsh “Shush!” followed. [Is he alright?] Lance's voice now carried obvious concern. [What’s the problem?]
“There has been an…incident…at the Smithsonian. We are at the main security office. Can you get here?”
[Yes, I will be there shortly. Lance out.] The channel closed.
Jariel looked at Reece. “You are going to owe him BIG time.”
"Not only that," Bru groaned, once more rubbing her throbbing temples, "But I don't want to be present when TC Blane finds out what you've done to one of the most important historical documents in the history of his planet..."
"Sergeant...Sims, was it?" Jariel stepped forward, again putting on his diplomat's hat and mentally straightening it.
"Well...I would ask that as you...ponder the charges and factor in the possibility of any premeditated, malicious intent on the part of Commander Reece that you imagine the innocence of a wide-eyed child. Overwhelmed and overstimulated by all the sights and sounds around them...curious, and fun-loving..." As Jariel spoke, a sugar-wired Tress began to spin in circles at his feet.
She put her finger up to her lips and began running it over them quickly, making a blbblblbelbelbelbebbllll noise as she started to get dizzy. Her goggles slipped down over her chin as her beloved aviator's cap slid down too far, as Sims gaped down at her, speechless.
"Imagine if an actual child had done it," Jariel continued, "...someone like, well, like..."
Everyone watched in silence as Tress lost her balance and fell to the floor, giggling maniacally from both exhaustion and the after-effects of too much candy.
"Someone like that?" Sims asked, arching a brow.
"Yes," Fleur replied, picking Tress up and holding her against her hip. "Someone exactly like that."
Commander Dabin Reece
Chief Science Officer
USS Serendipity NCC-2012
Lt. Commander Rada Dengar
Chief Engineering Officer
USS Serendipity NCC-2012
Lt. Vol Tryst
USS Serendipity NCC-2012
Commander Lance Hartcort
Chief Medical Officer
USS Serendipity NCC-2012
Fleur Le Marc
USS Serendipity NCC-2012