<USS Banshee> "Clues" Pt. 2

  • From: "Brad Ruder" <GroundZero@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: ussbanshee@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2003 22:45:29 -0700

?Clues? ? Part Two
by Lieutenant Joshua Asper

Trading a shift with Thomas Lark was like selling your soul to the devil himself. It wasn?t that Tom had horns, a pointed tail, or a pitchfork that was set instantly aflame the minute that his temper overflowed, no, it was more like he?d never let you forget it until the second you fulfilled the deal.

?Remember that time that I took your shift,? Thomas would say when he wanted some time in the holodeck, or to be allowed to fly with the Shoguns on a training run. He was training run certified, but it was still a hassle and inconvenience to ask a pilot to give up his or her spot.

Joshua Asper and Thomas Lark were in the middle of a torpedo tube diagnostic and recalibration and were snugly fitted in a jefferies tube. Tom turned to Josh in the middle of a debate and tossed his tools ever so eloquently into the toolkit, ?I think I?m going to leave now.?

?You?re not leaving until I say you?re leaving, Ensign.?

?Remember when I took??

Josh shoved a PADD into Tom?s hand, ?Modify the loading parameters to fit an object of this size into the launching mechanism.?

Tom?s eyes danced across the information and his eyebrows perked as he finished reading it, ?Why? The torpedoes are much larger and much wider than you have specified here. Is there a new project at the Tactical Command Research Facility that I?m not aware of??

?No, Tom, those are your parameters. If you don?t stop your whining I?m going to shove you in there and launch you out of the torpedo tube.? Josh smiled and finished the reset of the EM relays passing through the torpedo systems, ?Now, we?re done so you?re more than welcome to leave.?

?Fine,? Tom said with a grumpy look on his face, ?I didn?t want to be your friend anyway. I guess I?ll see you at the next poker game then??

Josh smirked, ?Yes, when you lose even more to me. I do have one favor to ask of you Tom. I can?t go into details, but I?m covering a shift for Lieutenant Paulson tomorrow night and something has come up and I desperately need to have that night free. So??

?You already owe me a shift, Josh.?

?Well, I?ll owe you two, please??

Tom looked down the baron tube and then back at Josh, who had thrown on his puppy dogface that man nor woman could ignore. Tom smiled, ?I?m going to pull that lip up and over your head. Yes, I?ll take your shift.?

?Thanks, Tom, you?re a lifesaver. I owe you one.?


Josh smirked and he continued on down the tunnel while Lark backtracked the way they had initially come. Josh couldn?t go into details obviously about Telsia and her encounter with the abusive monster that was her husband. He?d decided to step in and play the part of Eric and watch Cameron while Telsia was pulling her shift in Engineering.

The corridors were a bit less crowded and loud than they usually were, but the shifts weren?t supposed to trade for another five minutes. The doors hissed open and Telsia flew past him. ?Thanks, got to jet or I?ll be late.?

They closed and Josh smiled, waved a hand to no one in particular, and laughed, ?Hey Telsia. How was your day? Oh, thanks, mine was excellent.? He shook his head and picked up the boy who was standing in the middle of the floor with a replica of the USS Banshee. He flew it around and made a buzzing sound that only a child could pull off.

?Hey there, bud, do you want to fly around too??

Cameron smiled.

Hoisting the small child above his head Josh flew him around. Among fits of laughter and his own buzzing sounds came the sound of the communication terminal on the desk behind him. He dropped the child down into his arms and walked over to it, tapping the button gingerly attempting to keep the young boy somewhat amused.

The young face of his brother popped onto the screen. It took a fraction of a second for the cadet to realize and understand the child in Josh?s arms and his eyes widened noticeably. ?I know we haven?t talked in that long Josh, but I know that it hasn?t been THAT long.?

?Cameron this is Jerrad; he?s my little brother.? Josh?s words echoed lifelessly as the toddler returned to his antics of waving a toy starship around. Josh sat him on the floor and he scurried away to the couch and table where he could support himself in case he fell. ?He?s not mine, but I?m watching him for a friend.?

?And here I was going to say that he had your eyes.?

?Shut up.?

?Yeah, I see what I see.? Jerrad scratched his neck, ?So what has been happening in my big brother?s life? Something productive I hope??

Josh shook his head, ?No, not really. It?s been the same since the last time we talked. Poker nights every week, running with Castillo in the mornings, and going to work every day; you know, rowing with the slaves.?

Jerrad nodded his understanding, ?Yeah, tell me about it. I have the worst classes, but I?m dealing with them. I?m into some intense physical athletics programs. It?s actually quite a pain in the ass because we?re running at four in the morning along the beach. Nice views, but it?s cold as all get out.?

?Yes, I know, I?ve been there. Keeping your grades up??

?Yes, mother??

?Don?t even Jerrad.?

His face went blank, ?What? Mom says the same thing.?

?She SAID the same thing. She?s not around anymore Jerrad. If you mess things up you have no one to blame but yourself and there isn?t going to be any place for you to go because there isn?t a home on Kessik IV anymore.? Josh?s hands clenched into a fist, but slowly relaxed as he got his emotions back in check.

Jerrad bobbed his head, ?I know, Josh, I was just making a joke. I know that mom is gone. I know probably more than everyone. Whenever I do something good I want to call her and tell her what I?ve accomplished. Only to realize, in a blunt moment of complete incompetence, that the only people I can call is Olivia and Hiayden.?

?And I?m what? Chopped up Targ??

?You?re never around. I can never seem to catch you.? Jerrad seemed to becoming angry and it was a sign that Josh had seen in himself so many times before and knew what it led to. ?I don?t know how to explain it??

?I understand exactly what you?re saying, though. Jerrad, to be honest, you have the same outlook on me that I had on dad when I was younger.? Josh would admit to most people that he had a rocky relationship with his father and it hadn?t gotten back on track until the end of his father?s life.

Someone called Jerrad from off-screen. Jerrad said a couple of inaudible words and turned back to Josh, ?I?m going to go running with Bree. I?ll see you later and I?ll try and contact you later ? try being the keyword in that sentence.? With a wink the transmission was closed.

?Who?s Bree?? Josh smiled and rubbed his neck. He swiveled in the chair and the room was empty. He perked an eyebrow as he fell to his knees and scoured underneath the couches and behind the chairs. Josh rubbed his chin, ?Computer, locate Cameron Moore.?

?Cameron Moore is in Lieutenant Joshua Asper?s quarters.? The computer responded matter-of-factly.

?Hide and seek? I see. Well, Cameron, ready or not ? here I come.?

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