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JP Ensign Manius & N'rila, "Silent Bombshell."


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((Manius’s Shared Quarters))

::Todd had been in a place of peace and hadn’t wanted to be disturbed. For
some time now he’d been vaguely aware of a piercing sound droning on in the
background. As time went on and it didn’t stop the sound seemed to grow
more insistent. A throbbing sensation in his temples started to accompany
it, dragging him from his half-asleep state. He rolled onto his back,
scrunching up his face as the pain in his head intensified. ::

Manius: Alarm Off!

::There was sweet silence in the room once again, broken for a moment by a
relieved sigh. Waking up more fully and blinking his eyes open, Todd
realised he had bad photosensitivity too and a slight nauseous feeling. He
rolled out of bed with the worst hangover he’d ever experienced in his
life. He wasn’t much of a drinker normally, so just what was going on with
him lately? ::

::He glanced at his pale face in the mirror, scratching his rough skin as
he shrugged off his night wear and began to get dressed. He had pulled on
his trousers and was zipping up his teal undershirt when a message arrived
for him. He immediately downloaded it to his PADD for convenience, thinking
it was a note from the boss. With Phos nowhere to be seen he took the
liberty of perching on the edge of her bed as he opened the message. ::

::Right away he saw there was a video attached at the top. Figuring he was
meant to watch that first he pressed play but the first sound and sight
that greeted him had him so shocked he nearly broke his fingernail when he
slammed it down on the screen in an effort to pause it quickly! ::

::This was not something he wanted Phos walking in on and he scurried to
the rest room, with his heart pounding hard in his chest. He looked at the
still frame, gathering his nerves. ::

Manius: oO What the hell is this? Oo

::The video clearly featured him doing something he could not remember a
single thing about! He searched his mind frantically to remember where he’d
been last night and who he’d been with but all he was drawing was blanks.
It looked like the answers to those questions, were right here in his
hands. ::

::He pressed play and watched. The more he saw the less he wanted to see
but he had to watch it. He had to know what he’d done since he couldn’t
remember it. Seeing and hearing himself like that filled him with disgust.
He felt the strength drain from him and he sank to the floor, watching with
a growing horror the unfolding scene. ::

Manius: oO This is completely depraved! Just what the hell is wrong with
me? Oo

::He could not believe what he was seeing. Had someone told him he was
responsible for this he’d have called them a liar. Even though he could see
it with his own eyes he really struggled to believe himself capable of such
terrible, shocking actions. What he saw was appalling and rocked him to his
core, he didn’t know what to do! ::

::Fear, self-hatred and loathing mixed with disgust. His feeling of nausea
amplified as the room started to swim like his jumbled, confused thoughts.
::

Manius: oO I can’t believe this. I would never do that… but I just did.
There must be some mistake… but how can there be? Who took the video? Have
they handed it in to security? Oo

::Todd worried greatly about what would happen next. He was terrified and
utterly certain that security would burst in here at any second and haul
him off to the brig. He didn’t want that to happen. He was a good doctor!
He cared for people and saved them! How could he be that man in the video.
That man would likely get court martialed, dishonourably discharged and
sent to the toughest penal colony in the Federation. He would be beaten and
maybe even eaten by the other prisoners because even they viewed people
like him as the lowest of the low. He didn’t want that fate but from what
he saw it looked like he deserved it. ::

::When the video finally finished he could barely look at it. Those sounds
were going to stay with him forever. His right hand covered his face
partially as it all sank in. This changed things for him forever. He almost
missed the fact there was a short message at the end. It was from N’Rila
and she needed to see him immediately. ::

::Obviously she knew what he’d done but he knew nothing else. Who had
captured this video, when, how and why? Had they handed it in to security?
All these questions and more buzzed around his head. This was all just far
far too much for him to handle. Not knowing what else to do he clambered
back to his feet and staggered back through to the bedroom to pull on some
socks and shoes. ::

::He was supposed to be starting his shift soon but all thoughts of work
had gone from his head. He needed to sort this first and headed through the
ship towards the docking port so he could meet N’Rila on Deep Space 6. His
heart was still racing and he was barely able to keep it together as he
crashed through the crowd. ::

((Deep Space 6, Promenade))

::N’rila sat quite comfortably on one of the seats outside the Nebula Bar,
legs crossed and a Saurian brandy in one hand. She could afford it, or she
would be able to afford it, thanks to a get rich quick scheme that she’d
just dreamed up. She was pretty pleased with herself, in all honesty. The
Takaran had tried to land herself a fortune in latinum on a number of
occasions before, but with very little success. This one was going to keep
her in the lap of luxury for the rest of her life.::

::She’d asked to meet up with Todd. Something told her that he would be a
little more likely to answer her request now that they’d met up a couple of
times. She knew he’d come back to her in the end. She didn’t believe in
destiny, but this was as close as it came. They were supposed to be a team
and she didn’t like that he’d left her in the lurch for so long. Not one
bit. It looked like that was going to be put right from now on.::

::Sure enough, he eventually pushed his way through the crowd and took a
seat opposite her.::

N’rila: Todd. About time.

::He sat in front of her, looking dishevelled and harassed saying nothing
for a while. What had happened was bad enough on its own. It was an
extremely serious matter and he could not be more deeply ashamed and
disgusted by what had happened. Even now he could not remember it and found
it hard to accept. Yet here he was because someone else knew his dirty
secret and in typical fashion it was the last person in this universe he
wanted to have anything to do with. ::

::He didn’t even know what to say to her, or what she would say to him. He
had so many questions and yet he was afraid to ask any of them. He wasn’t
sure he wanted the answers. He certainly didn’t want to discuss any of this
but it was inevitable. He looked around, not wanting to be overheard by
anyone and started with a greeting of a sort. ::

Manius: N’Rila.

::The Takaran’s tone was sympathetic as she brought up the topic that was
obviously on Todd’s mind.::

N’rila: Quite the night you had. You want to talk about it?

::Todd felt pretty close to freaking out and could already feel his face
colour and his temperature rise. This was deeply embarrassing and he
absolutely did not want to talk about it. One hand went to cover his mouth
again and the other raked through his uncombed hair. ::

Manius: ::Shaking his head:: Not a good night, so no I don’t want to talk
about it. How did you get that?

N’Rila: Musia runs the internal sensors in her quarters to visual record
constantly. Paranoid about having her quarters broken into. In this case,
it looks like her paranoia paid off…

::She couldn’t finish the sentence. The fact that Todd had done what he had
done had her surprised. Or did it? Perhaps that was the most difficult
thing to wrap her mind around.::

::Todd could barely believe it but had little other choice. He could speak
of all the rotten luck he wanted but ultimately he couldn’t get away from
the only fact that mattered. What he’d done wasn’t just immoral, degrading
and wrong it was a serious crime. It was clear that there were a few people
with the power to turn him in right now, himself included. He was so deeply
angry and disgusted with himself that he was tempted to walk right into the
nearest security office and confess all his sins. Surely that was the only
right thing to do. Yet he was a coward and deeply deeply afraid of where
that path would lead. ::

Manius: Who else knows?

N’rila: Just her and me. She was pretty cut up this morning.

::The Takaran had met with the Orion just a few hours ago and she had
passed her the video then. N’rila hadn’t wasted any time in getting in
touch with Todd after that.::

::Todd nodded and kept his eyes lowered, choosing to focus on something on
the table. He couldn’t blame Musia for being cut up about it. It was a
pretty horrific thing for anyone to experience and he sincerely wished that
none of it had happened at all. He would give absolutely anything to take
it back but it was impossible. ::

:: He may have seemed very callous or at least cold in his responses, at
least verbally. He seemed to retreat into himself at moments like this even
though the pain and stress of it was unbearable. A wave of nausea hit him
and for a moment he thought he might break down completely. He pinched the
bridge of his nose and hardened his expression, trying to control his
breathing and bottle the emotion that was trying to pour out of him. ::

Manius: Ok. What do you intend to do?

N’Rila: Well, it’s more what you intend to do, isn’t it? I assume you don’t
want anyone else to know?

::She would have thought that was a given, what with his Starfleet career
and reputation resting on the fact that he had to be squeaky clean.::

::He didn’t know what he was going to do actually. He was torn about
turning himself in and facing the consequences of those actions. If anyone
else had done what he had, he’d want them to face the consequences. He
hated the kind of person that did that sort of thing and now he was one of
them. If he didn’t turn himself in he would live the rest of his life
looking over his shoulder. ::

::Yet another part of him was afraid. He knew he should face up to it but
he didn’t want to. He didn’t want to face the humiliation. His friends,
family and colleagues would never look at him the same again. He would be a
hated man and once he was stripped of everything he cared about he would
end up in a tough penal colony. There he would be broken and beaten. That
was the part that scared him most. ::

Manius: I don’t know what to do. ::A desperate new plan formed in his
mind:: I guess I could top myself. ::With slumping shoulders::

::The Takaran narrowed her eyes, weighing him immediately in judgement. She
had never heard anything quite so pathetic.::

N’rila: What, so Maviv really has nothing to live for? I imagine that will
probably push her over the edge and she’ll no doubt be joining you. Is that
what you want?

::Todd felt shocked and alarmed at that, his face flinched and twisted in
horror. That was the very last thing he wanted! ::

Manius: No! Wait no, that’s not what I want but what else can I do?

N’rila: You can never speak of this to anyone and you can make it up to
her. That’s what you want, surely?

::N’rila smiled the same smile her friend had seen for years. It came as
easily to her as it always had.::

::Make it up to her? How could be ever make it up to her? He would never
ever expect forgiveness for something so grave. Even so there was nothing
he wanted more than to make this right somehow. It just sounded too good to
be true. ::

Manius: There’s nothing I want more N’rila but come on, how can I ever make
up for that?

::The Takaran answered in as nonchalant a way as she possibly could. It was
all so simple, really, when they looked hard enough at the problem. Sure,
this was pretty serious but, when it came down to it, there was enough
power still in Todd’s hands to make sure it went away. Maybe that wouldn’t
happen straight away but eventually… who knew?::

N’rila: Well, as you know she’s very keen indeed on her racing. Perhaps the
thrill and rush of that would be enough to help her forget? At least for a
little while?

::Todd didn’t dare laugh even if the very idea that racing could somehow
make up for this in any way was completely laughable. He ended up looking
up at her with a slack jaw but not quite making eye contact. ::

Manius: Seriously? Racing? You think racing can make this better?

::If so he was wondering how exactly he was to fit into this. ::

N’rila: Well, it’s been a while, so I don’t expect you to remember how
focused your mind gets on doing your job during the race. And maybe winning
will help to restore her self worth. I don’t know. I’m not a counsellor.
All I know is that if we do win then maybe she could afford to see a
counsellor. Unless there’s some other way of us getting hold of some money…

::She looked at him, face carefully neutral, waiting to see how he would
respond to that particular statement.::

::This was incredulous. Did she really believe this was the answer, or was
she just using this to recruit him into her team? That would be pretty
tacky or her and in all honesty he really didn’t think she would stoop that
low. They’d all done questionable things in the past but this went far
beyond their combined sins. N’Rila was pushy and determined and Todd didn’t
know Maviv enough to know how much she cared about the win. He did know how
hard she’d been working for the team though so she had to be pretty
committed. ::

::He hadn’t raced in a long time and it took much more focus and skill than
plain shuttle flying alone. His reactions would have to be at their very
best, he would have to remember team tactics and be familiar with their
machine. Even if he agreed to race, the probability of him winning it was
very low indeed. Maybe there was another way, preferably one that didn’t
involve him transferring the entirety of his earnings to them forever more.
::

Manius: How much money are we talking about?

N’rila: Probably more than you’re earning, but not something that say… *she
dropped her voice* a hundred litres of biomimetic gel couldn’t fix…

::The gel was banned outside of the Federation, thanks to the Khitomer
accords. If he was caught with it in his possession then there would be
more than just a couple of questions asked, that was for sure.::

::Todd recoiled because that was no small request. The saying that two
wrongs didn’t make a right seemed particularly appropriate right now. That
was a lot of gel. As a doctor in Starfleet he stood a much better chance
than anyone else of obtaining it He would have to be pretty smart though
because if he took all of that from the one location it was going to be
missed pretty quickly. ::

Manius: You do know what you’re asking right? That’s a lot of gel. I can’t
get that all from one place and certainly not all at once. That and there’s
nothing I can do for you when out on a tour of duty.

::It was going to be very hard to try and put things right with anyone from
the cold confines of a prison colony. ::

N’rila: But you can get it in twenties, can’t you? I mean this stuff will
definitely shift, so we know we can start making upgrades to the ship as
soon as we have a buyer.

::Actually, she already had one, but there was no way she was going to tell
him that.::

::Yeah he could, and he could probably get 20 to 40 if not a bit more today
if he put his mind to it. The question was whether he was going to cross
the line and do it and even in his current mental and emotional state he
wasn’t quite ready to fall that far. Perhaps he would be better off
torpedoing that line of thinking and sucking it up with the racing. He
could get in a shuttle and fly it one last time to settle a score, they
would have to accept the result, even if it saw him finish in last place. ::

::He needed space and time to think about it. The fact she was offering him
an out seemed to indicate that he didn’t have to worry about being
immediately turned in. He also needed to get to work before his boss
flipped because technically his shift should have started by now. In the
rush to make the meeting with N’rila he hadn’t even pinned his commbadge
on. It was still on his jacket back in his quarters. ::

Manius: ::Rising to his feet slowly:: I need to think about it.

N’rila: Well, don’t think about it too hard. The decision’s pretty easy,
Todd.

::Her tone was less friendly now. He would do what she wanted. People
always did what she wanted.::

::Todd didn’t like her tone there and the conversation had just taken on a
more menacing feel. It was easy for her to say that, she had done nothing
wrong. It was him who had everything to lose here. It was scary how the
whole night was a blank and he didn’t quite feel like this was reality. He
had no close friends and absolutely no one he knew and trusted well enough
to turn to for help. The closest thing he had right now was N’rila and that
was more than a little depressing. ::

Manius: See you. ::Stepping away from the table and hoping to make a quick
escape. ::

::There was no way he was getting away from her that easily. The Takaran
woman didn’t turn in his direction so much as lean a little further in her
seat as she called after him.::

N’rila: ::Louder:: I mean, I would hate for Captain Reinard to get a copy
of this video. That is your captain’s name, right? The first Laudean
captain in Starfleet? He seems pretty important…

::The thought of it turned him weak and he had to steady himself on the
back of the closest chair for a second. His face went completely scarlet
and he thought he might spontaneously combust. Captain Reinard could not
get a copy of the video, no one could. It was increasingly clear that the
terms had been set and he had but two choices. Race or steal. The choice
between a legal option where failure seemed inevitable and an extremely
high risk illegal one was simple. ::

::He turned back to the table and leaned over N’rila, hoping to settle
this. He thought back to what she’d said and hoped he’d understood it
right. ::

Manius: If I agree to race. That will be enough?

::N’rila’s friendly smile returned.::

N’rila: Oh, Todd. You already agreed to race and get the gel. I’ll be at
this same spot on the promenade in three days, at the same time. I expect
you to meet me with an access code for the cargo bay you have the gel
stored in by then, or Captain Reinard is going to be most disappointed…

::All she had to do was just transmit one itty bitty file, after all. The
Starfleet medic had made a grave mistake, and she would see to it that he
paid for his sins.::

::There didn’t seem to be any come back from that. The illusion that he had
any choice in the matter had been thoroughly stripped away. Three days was
no time at all and he could feel the start of a panic attack coming on. The
throbbing of his eyes and head seemed to intensify. He was scum and now he
was going to be under N’rila’s thumb for as long as she deemed fit. ::

Manius: Three days! ::spluttering:: That’s crazy… I need more time than
that.

::She didn’t buy it for a second. She knew what Starfleet officers were
like, so high in integrity that they would lie to buy themselves enough
time in situations like these that they could get the authorities
involved.::

N’rila: Well then you may as well head off to the security office and hand
yourself on in. Three days is your limit. I’ll be waiting.

Manius: Wait a minute. Maybe I should speak to Maviv first… ::If she was
prepared to talk to him of course.::

::N’rila’s lip quivered as she tried to hold her mouth shut, but it was no
good. She flat out burst out laughing, drawing the attention of a couple of
the passersby.::

N’rila: Are you a total idiot? What makes you think she’d want to see you
after what you did? Are you trying to scare her witless?

::Todd sneered, she made him sound like a monster and it was hard to look
at himself that way too. He didn’t expect she would want to see him but
since it was her that he was trying to make amends with it seemed
appropriate. Besides if he was effectively joining their team then she
could end up seeing more of him than she wanted. ::

Manius: She’ll have to see me sooner or later if I’m doing all this for
you. For all I know joining the team could be the very last thing she wants.

::N’rila folded her arms, all hints of a smile vanishing off her face. Todd
seemed all too ready to forgive himself and the Takaran wondered whether or
not his commanding officer would see things in the same light quite so
readily.::

N’rila: I would say that for all you know, you’d better do as I say. Get me
the gel, be here in three days, or bye bye career and the whole galaxy will
know exactly what kind of a man you are, Todd Manius. Now hurry along. The
clock is ticking.

::That was it, Todd was truly beat. He was out of options and it couldn’t
be more clear who was calling the shots. There was nothing more to talk
about. He had to meet her demands. He had never loathed anyone as much as
he loathed himself right now. His original crime was unforgivable and he
hated himself well and truly for that and now things were set to get worse.
With a tight jaw and thoroughly dejected look Todd nodded. ::

Manius: I get it. See you in three days.

N’rila: oO There’s a good little minion. Oo

::With that he set back off to his quarters. He should be in sickbay
working right now and his presence was probably missed. The trouble was he
really felt like he just couldn’t face anyone right now. He just wanted to
lock himself away from people and cry and kick and scream until all the
emotion was drained from him. The funny thing about his job was that he
couldn’t even call in sick without having to see at least one of his
colleagues. ::

A JP By:

PNPC Ensign Todd Manius
Medical Officer
USS Darwin-A
Simmed by Reinard

and

PNPC N'rila

Deep Space 6

SIMmed by: Lieutenant Chen

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