"Question of Time"
[previous post was "Vacation is Over" by the happily active Jayson]

Setting: MASQUERADE DREAMS, Lower Deck

Stardate: 30152.1345

How could a bomb have been brought on board the MASQUERADE DREAMS?  Cruise liner had been equipped with countless safety measures to insure that such occurrences would never happen.  Terrorist of all over the galaxy saw these types of ships as perfect targets to bring attention to their causes, so the safety measures had been a required necessity.

Despite his imposing size, the black haired acting ExO / ILO found it difficult to keep up with the Hirogen hunter who had taken the lead.  Maybe it had been due to his genetic predisposition to this type of situation, or maybe his Starfleet survival training had made Uxtar to be just that much faster than Shar'El had been.  More likely had been the fact that the Ullian kept sneaking peeks into the towering man's memories in search of some answers.

Their mission had simply been to gather intel, at least that was what Admiral Koniki had made them understand. If he had known, even of only a remote possibility of a bomber being on board, why not mention it?  Why send the Hirogen alone on this quest without letting him know of the undercover crew's presence?

Whatever snippets of memories Shar'El could catch as they rushed down the lower corridors of the cruise ship made it clear that Koniki had said nothing to Uxtar.  This only served to add even more questions that the acting ExO / ILO had no time to contemplate at this time.  If they did not catch up to whoever that bomber was in the next 14 minutes, there would be no way to know just what kind of chaos they would be faced with.

Shar'El managed to catch up to the Hirogen when he stopped at an intersection, listening for something to help him figure out which way the man had gone.

"I hear footsteps from the left," the acting ExO / ILO said but before she could start to head in that direction and massive hand was thrown directly in front of her.

"What you hear is the echo," Uxtar said, his head slowly turning to look in the opposite direction.  "This way," the Hirogen whispered before bolting around the corner.

There had been no denying it, Uxtar was an expert tracker. Shar'El could understand the reasoning behind the Admiral's decision to send him on this mission, but the questions about why the crew of the ANUBIS had not been included still remained.

Just a little over 12 minutes remained according to Shar'El' mental count.  Finding the bomber had only been the first step of this crisis, dealing with the explosive device before it went off would quickly follow.

=/\= Commander Shar'El, this is Stark. Where are you? =/\= The question was heard by everyone with the exception of the Hirogen hunter who would have likely not even heard the words spoken, his fullest attention having been focused on tracking the bomber.

"Lower deck 26, section 17 I think," the acting ExO / ILO replied trying to find some sort of indicator to confirm her answer.  The layout might have made sense to someone working on board, but to Shar'El the sections and corridors of this ship all seemed to look exactly the same.

"Footsteps down a metal stairway," Uxtar said as he quickly glanced over his left shoulder at the raven haired woman following him.  "He's gone down to Deck 27, likely making his way to section 15 where the aft power generator is located."

"Jayson, get to deck 27, section 15," Shar'El relayed knowing that everyone else would also be made aware of the plan.  "Uxtar believes that the bomber is heading to the aft power generator."

=/\= Roger that. =/\=

=/\= Although the proximity of a power generator would amplify an explosion, the support structure of the ship in that section would greatly limit the effectiveness of any blast.  The final result would likely only be a temporary power outage throughout the ship causing the auxiliary systems to kick in seconds later, =/\= Maya said, the CSciO obviously having followed the progress of the hunt through whatever verbal report had been made.

=/\= Flat out destroying the MASQUERADE DREAMS is unlikely his goal, =/\= Captain Morningstar said.

=/\= Glad to hear that, =/\= Ya'Han said with a faint sigh of relief.

=/\= The explosion and the following chaos is likely meant to cover something else, but what? =/\= Eve Dalziel wondered out loud.

=/\= I would rather us not find out the way the bomber has planned, =/\= the Captain continued, wishing that there had been something more that he could have done.  The problem had been that sending too many people after the bomber could lead to complications, so Erik had reluctantly agreed to a more covert and limited effort.

=/\= I think I see him, =/\= Stark said in a whispered tone, obviously not wanting to alert the bomber as to his proximity.

Just about 9 minutes left before the dreaded 1400, and as crazy as it sounded they were heading closer to what would be the center of the blast instead of away from it.  Some vacation this Intel Gathering mission had turned out to be, but at least there were a  couple of officers who seemed rather pleased with the rush to action.

Tiffany Reeve

Lieutenant Commander Shar'El
Acting Executive Officer / Intel Liaison Officer