"Thinned Patience"
(Cont. from "Beneath it All")

Setting: USS LANCELOT, Corridor
Stardate: 63072.1500

Hex had taken point, her attuned senses scanned the barely recognizable corridors while Aki followed behind with her tricorder, the two of them in search of survivors while Drell and Captain Morningstar followed behind.  The thought that the LANCELOT could have been boarded by some sort of scavenger had weighed heavily on everyone's mind, and had even made the Kzinti Security Officer a little jumpy.  Over the last hour of their search the four officers had managed to find only a handful of crew members in the areas that they had been able to reach, all of them trapped behind or under fallen debris.  Those few survivors had all expected to be the only ones still alive and had pretty much given up hope of a rescue, a rescue that had unfortunately been painfully slow in coming due to the group's inability to quickly move about the ship and the limited range of their tricorders.

"I am really starting to dislike this nebula," Aki said while she glared at the small scanning device in her hand.  "Tricorders have a very limited range because of this interference and now it seems that it's not even working properly."

"Explain," the CO demanded as he studied his own tricorder.

"Getting an accurate bearing on life sign readings was already tough, but according to these readings, there is someone about 5 meters in that direction," the CSciO explained, her finger having pointed downward through one of the walls.

"You are getting life sign readings from the *floor*?" The Klingon FCO said with puzzlement.  "Are you sure you know how to use a tricorder?"

Having found so few survivors compared to the number of broken bodies that they had discovered over the last hour had thinned the patience of the entire group, Drell's comment and Aki's reaction having been the best proof of this to the CO.  As swift and accurate as the throw had been, the CSciO's effort to hit the FCO with the small device that had been in her hand was easily countered by the Klingon who simply deflected the tricorder with his rifle.  The growl that immediately followed indicated that he had accepted Ensign Mitshiba's challenge, a posture that the Kzinti Security Officer echoed back at him as she sided with her friend.

"AT EASE!" Captain Morningstar snapped to regain control of the situation before it went too far.  "We are all tired, and our feelings have been rubbed raw with all that we have had to deal with, but this is no excuse for this kind of behavior.  Ensign Mitshiba's readings are correct, there is a Jefferies Tube junction in the direction she indicated.  There might be someone there in need of our assistance," the CO said, his hand having landed on the FCO's shoulder both as a sign of support and a way to insure his compliance.

Drell's expression slowly changed from anger to sorrow as the reality of what he had been about to do sunk in.  Not wishing to have both Hex and Aki suddenly against him, and as a show of apology the FCO reached down for the tricorder he had deflected and handed it back to the CSciO with a stern "Sorry".

Pleased that the situation had been defused, the CO directed the group to the nearest access point to the Jefferies Tubes which had been several meters further down the corridor.  Hex and Aki went in first but before the CO and FCO followed, Drell stopped and suddenly turned his head to look down another corridor.

"Something the matter?" the CO asked.

"I thought I heard noises coming from that direction," the FCO said. "Like heavy footsteps."

The Captain verified his tricorder.  "I'm not detecting anything in that direction, but as Ensign Mitshiba did point out, the range is rather limited.  We'll investigate this after we take care of this matter, I do not want us to separate."

"Aye Sir," the Klingon nodded before he followed his fellow classmates into the bows of the ship once more.

The CO stayed behind for a few moments, his eyes locked on the corridor that the Klingon had indicated.  The rhythmic sound of heavy footsteps had been barely audible, but it had been there nonetheless, still the Captain had decided that helping a fellow crewman had been more important than to confront whatever had been approaching, especially since it appeared not to register on their scanners.

Dawn Bohr <serra.moon.angel@gmail.com>
Ensign Akira 'Aki' Mitshiba
Chief Science Officer