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(Lt. Jona ch'Ranni) MSNPC Chief Scientist Bert Hankins - Something's Broken


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@Jona ch'Ranni - I'm not the only one on the Gorkon who's been watching the steady progress of Bert's character arc throughout the mission, and this felt so satisfying to read. Like a culmination of it all into one blowout. Brilliant stuff. 

---

((Weather Net Control Room))

Bert flicked the activation switch on the now bug-free weather station console and held his breath. The batteries on the floor still cast a small bluish glow as the final creatures entered the power cells. He didn't know how long they would last but he hoped it was at least a second longer than what they needed.

Hankins: I think it's starting up.

Not only the central console, but the entire room was reactivating. At least the stations that still functioned after the earlier pyrotechnics. Seconds crawled by as the system ran through its initiation process and Bert glanced up at a screen at the edge of the room that had been spared from the overloads. The station cycled through feeds from secure areas of the park - the Aquatic Exhibit's Command Center, an exterior of the Weather Net station they were occupying, a view from his own lab.

The color drained from the middle-aged man's face and the expression on his face made it look like he'd been sucker punched in the gut.

Hankins: My god ...

Thornton: What's wrong? 
 
Hankins: ::steadying himself against the console:: The Reclassifer. It's gone.

Loxley: How could it be gone?

The rest of the interplay between the Starfleet officers and the few BetaGen people they had in tow was drowned out by the dissonant violins screeching in his brain. Bert's vision grew dim at the edges and he had to remind himself to take a breath lest he pass out. Leaning forward on the console, the scientist noticed clinically that his left hand was shaking. He clenched his fist shut and brought it to his mouth.

How could this have happened? Why was someone targeting his life's work? The video loop from his lab lasted a few scant seconds but it was enough to show the reality of the situation. The Reclassifier was far too large to move by one person. And yet the connections to the room had been cleanly disconnected. How it had been moved at all was a miracle - though, not really. Even now he was realizing the device could be stored in a portable transporter buffer and rematerialized later.

The droning words from the others reached his ears, but not his brain. Here they were prattling on about the storm's intensity lessening when the storm in his mind was raging and pounding even more. And what was that about a message received and finding a way to a landing pad? Who cared? The greatest breakthrough in the past hundred years was now in the hands of some nefarious criminal who would probably sell it to the highest bidder. The thought made him sick and he had to use all his willpower to keep the surge of bile down.

Hankins: oO How dare they! I'll make them pay for this. Oo

The words from those around him slowly began to make their way through the cloud mass of hate and anger.

Vargull: There's a short path, maybe twenty metres, through the bushes out back, it opens out into the parking area.

Hankins: Shut up, Vargull!

Thornton/Neathler/Fortune/Loxley/Any: Response.

Hankins: Shut up, all of you!

Anyone: Response.

Hankins: ::cutting off the reply:: You don't understand. The Reclassifier is more powerful than you know. With the right tweak someone could use it to unleash ungodly hell on an unsuspecting planet. ::tone changing from anger to pleading:: We have to recover it. ::beat:: You have to recover it. This entire sector is in danger if it falls into the wrong hands.

Thornton: Response

Bert buried his face in his hands and slowly moved his palms back across his smooth head to the back of his neck.

Hankins: I'm sorry. Yes, I understand. Of course, we have to get out of here first. I'm sorry ... so sorry.

Bert couldn't tell if he was apologizing to the group standing around him or to the galaxy itself.

Hankins: ::reasserting his control:: What's our plan?

Neathler: Response

Bert nodded his head but was only half-listening. He was far too busy with counting the many ways he could exact revenge. Currently he was all the way up to 22 but that number was steadily climbing.

Loxley/Fortune: Response

--
MSNPC Bertrand Hankins
Chief Scientist, BetaGen Inc.

as simmed by
Lt. Jona ch'Ranni
Chief of Operations
USS Gorkon (NCC-82293)
C239510JC0
 

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