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Jarred Thoran

PNPC Ensign Ferentis: Dots

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@Randal Shayne yet another incredible Ferentis post. Such an enjoyable read :)

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((Deck 10, Near Holodeck 1, USS Blackwell))

::For the first time in many years, Ferentis was distracted on the job.::

::He was a dinosaur with a keen, active mind. Despite his somewhat deliberate, lethargic appearance, beneath the massive dome of leathery skin and scaly hide that roosted upon his broad shoulders, a powerful intellect snapped and explored. Multitasking was often a breeze, with his attention rationed equally on his often delicate engineering tasks and the music he so frequently tuned into, or conversation (something that happened with far less frequency), or on the great mysteries of the universe.::

::But now, he was kept from focusing on his labors by the nagging task ahead of him.::

::He squinted and shook his head slightly, the bulbous cranium whipping back and forth. Now it was time for systems diagnostics. Now was not the time for dwelling on what awaited him in his quarters.::

::A grumbling sigh emerged from his lips as he reexamined the task before him. The holographic systems were suddenly clamoring for more maintenance than usual. In particular, Holodeck 1 had not seen a rest for hours. This wasn’t unusual- holodeck time was a highly prized, highly valuable commodity, especially during a journey of this length. Indeed, oftentimes they received no downtime for days at a stretch. Generally, there was no trouble, but this time around, the strain on the machine was more visible, as was the toll it took on the circuits and relays. Ferentis had been at a loss until he was informed that what seemed like the entire senior staff was in that single holodeck, playing games. “Team building”, the crewman had called it. Team building. Why did they have to use a holodeck to build a team? For that matter, why did they all have to share the same one? One or two or three or four or twenty people in a single simulation could usually be handled without difficulty, so long as they all stayed in one another’s general proximity, and didn’t push the limits of the holodeck’s capabilities. But if the entire senior staff had gone inside, and if the program was detailed enough, and if they’d split up, that might very well stretch the capabilities of the computer. Once he’d heard that information, it made sense. A millisecond after, he realized what it would take to keep the whole confounded thing going perpetually.::

::Though he was mildly displeased, the real irritation came in the realization that he’d likely have to wait many hours before he could open the letter.::

::He’d been putting it off for days, letting the icon on the monitor blink its mournful announcement without cessation. He didn’t want to see who it was from, nor read it. In fact, he was utterly convinced that things would have been better were he to have not received it. Much thought had gone into deleting it, and foregoing its examination entirely. But something stopped him. He was caught in limbo.::

::The icon blinked on…::

::He was sleeping, his great thick tail wrapped around his body like a cat’s, when the dream came. There was too much to follow- it wasn’t sensible. Ferentis tried to keep up, and had some limited success. If someone had asked him to recount it, he would have been utterly unable to. All he knew is that when he finally awoke to the alarm overhead, he had an overpowering desire to read the letter. It was the kind of gnashing, hungering desire that one was only blessed with on the rarest of occasions, the type that stuck with you until you performed whatever deed the urge demanded. He got to his feet- a remarkable process, to be sure- and was nearly to the console when he realized just how astonishingly late for his duty shift he was. Normally, he’d leap to action, and bolt out the door as soon as he slipped on his regulation duty smock- well, normally, he wouldn’t be late at all; Ferentis just wasn’t that sort of Pakhwa-thanh. And yet, now he stopped, glancing toward his closet and the console that housed the letter. Closet. Console. Closet. Growling low and dangerous-like, he stomped toward his clothes and draped a uniform over his green, semi-awake carcass.::

Ferentis: Later.

::With that he’d left, moving quickly, and preparing the words he’d use to plead his case to the commander of his watch. But the letter never quite left his mind for the whole day.::

((Timeskip, several agonizing, button-filled hours later, in his quarters))

::And now he crouched in front of the console that had been haunting his dreams.::

::Blink.::

::Blink.::

::Blink.::

::In one fluid motion, he pressed the control that would open the letter.::

::When he soaked in enough courage to open his eyes, he took in as much information as he could.::

::Dots.::

::The screen was filled with dots.::

::Hundreds- no, thousands- no, tens of thousands, littered the screen, in no pattern whatsoever. Ferentis scrolled up and down the document, looking for something further. Nothing.::

::Was it a code? A symbol? Had the transmission been corrupted? With haste, he checked the address.::

::”To Thordic Sende Ulthex Ferentis”. Yup, that was him. “From”...::

::He squinted.::

::”From the Eyeless”.::

Ferentis: Well, that’s just maddeningly unhelpful.

::On the one hand, his desire to read the message had been relieved. Further, he was glad that it didn’t contain news from old acquaintances- or any news, for that matter, especially any that came from Dupwa-thuv, his homeworld. But the fact that it contained nothing...at all, really, deeply disappointed him. For the next three hours, he ran every sort of analysis he could think of on the array of screen pimples. It was three hours wasted. In frustration, he finally gave a groan, and then a sorry little whimper, and resolved to turn in early. As his tail wrapped around him again, he couldn’t help but notice the symmetry. He’d gone to bed dreaming of the letter. Now he’d go to sleep dreaming of how to read the letter. His heavy eyelids shut, and he was again cast into the ether of unconsciousness…

TBC…

PNPC Ensign Ferentis
Engineer
USS Blackwell
NCC 58999

=======As simmed by=======

Lieutenant Commander Randal Shayne
Helmsman/Ops Officer/Second Officer
USS Blackwell
NCC 58999

G239202RS0  

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