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LtCmdr Danny Wilde & Lt.jg Luna Walker - The Caper of the Century,


Tracey
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((DS17 - Engineering))

Wilde: We need to move. We've just broken lockdown, and I don't have a holographic Luna. We need to get to Mitchell's office and switch the programs before he or his aide realise.

Walker: Ok, so if that's all, we should be back in plenty of time. Thankfully I don't think anyone's looking for me. Did you guys do something to prevent the sensors from detecting a transport?

Reed: A transporter tracker code. It's designed to pull a transporter beam to a location without leaving a trace in the transporter logs or the pattern buffers.

Wilde: Ingenious, isn't it.

Walker: And are you sure you're not crazy for doing this?

Wilde: Of course I know what I'm doing. You can take the man out of Starfleet Intelligence, but you can't take Starfleet Intelligence out of the man. When I was a Jaygee I used to get up to these schemes all the time. Never been caught yet...

Walker: So nice to include me on the first time. So other than your obvious planning skills, any idea on how we're going to swap them out?

Wilde: We can debate that later. Move it, ladies!

::Sarah had her instructions, so Danny and Luna quickly and quietly left Engineering for Ops. Luna was grinning as they walked forward::

Walker: Ok, so what we are saying is we need to get in the room, swap it out, without being detected. :: Turning to her fellow engineer:: I presume that we won't trigger any station alarms?

Wilde: Maybe just a few...

Walker: That's...kind of limiting isn't it? Do we have a portable holoprojector?

Wilde: Why would we need one?

Walker: :: Grinning:: Oh come on, you don't see the irony of delivering the package using the same method? Commander, have you no sense of Style?

Wilde: Lieutenant, I am style... However time is of the essence and I've just lost about ten minutes thanks to your misunderstanding.

::She smirked and the devious double-act entered a turbolift.::

((Timewarp - Outside Fleet Captain Mitchells office))

::They had the advantage of it being evening, and so only the late shift were on duty near the visiting flag officers temporary office. Quietly, Danny and Luna crept up to the door, and acted nonchalantly. No one seemed to wonder why they were there, and Danny flipped open his tricorder, scanning the interior of the room.::

:: Luna stood with her back to the Commander as she murmured quietly, doing her best to cover his actions without being obvious and brining notice to herself. ::

Walker: How are we doing? Have you found it?

Wilde: It's in there, behind some kind of safe. Looks like the Fleet Captain plays his cards close to his chest.

Walker: A safe? Kind of surprising even there. So, you going to go in or is the door lock too tough for you? :: Without meaning to, she fell into the camaraderie of a caper, harassing her co-conspirator::

::Surprisingly the door opened after just pressing a few keys on the door chime. The half-romulan nodded in respect, normally it took longer to trick the locks, unless someone chose 1..2...3..4..5 as the code. ::

Wilde: Ok, I'm going on. Keep a look out.

Walker: Just hurry up, I'm in double trouble if we get caught.

::Slipping into the office was easy. It looked as though the Fleet Captain was departing soon, as all his belongings were packed and ready for the morning transport. Danny scanned the room again to get a bearing on the safe. It was on the wall behind his desk. The tricorder couldn't pick up an energy signature, so he knew it was just a case of cracking the combination.::

:: Outside, the Tiger's engineer tried to remain unassuming as she waited. However, seemingly moments later, she saw an ensign, likely one of the flag officer's aides, coming down the corridor. Not wanting to reveal anything, she made the snap decision to walk into the room. ::

Wilde: Is anyone coming?

Walker: Just an ensign, but looks officious, likely an aide. Someone who would definitely ask questions about a Junior loitering in the area. How are we doing?

Wilde: Shouldn't be too long. The sequence is basically a bog standard combination lock...

Walker: That's odd. You'd think if he was going to be paranoid enough to lock something away, he'd put it in something more secure.

Wilde: Indeed...

Walker: May I? :: She knelt down near the safe, then carefully ran her fingers around the edges before she found the thing line she'd been looking for. :: Thought so, trigger circuit. If you open the safe, it triggers whatever is on the other side.

Wilde: Well I'm impressed. ::He grinned.:: I see you have your uses after all.

:: Something about the response soured her good mood::

::Danny hadn't meant for it to be a snarky comment. Based on their past, yet brief, relationship, he knew that Luna enjoyed a bit of tormenting banter as much as he did.::

Walker: Oh you know, us "filthy Romulans" have to be good at something.

Wilde: I beg your pardon?

::He was only half listening. One portion of his mind was focussing on unlocking the safe to complete their task, and another part was worrying whether or not that Ensign would happen in to the office and see them snooping around.::

:: The distracted way he responded added fuel to the fire. With effort she kept her voice pitched low, despite the venom it carried::

Walker: You should "Beg my pardon"! I can't believe you make a point to include me in this caper, but don't have the courtesy to even treat me as a human being!

Wilde: What the devil are you talking about? And is this really the time to bring it up?

Walker: The devil indeed! What you said...on the shuttle... :: She gritted her teeth to prevent her voice from carrying:: That I was a "filthy Romulan".

::He thought back. Absent-mindedly, he had unlocked the safe and retrieved the original holo-program. The shuttle on the mission? He'd suffered head injuries...::

Wilde: What I said... I said... ::he remembered.::

::He remembered the fear. The cold sweat running down his back at the sight of the Romulan Warbird hanging in the shuttles viewer like a giant predatory hawk. They weren't called Warbirds for nothing. He also remembered how he felt on Deck 7 before breaking into the holodeck to assist security.::

::They would get him. After all his years of training, of service to Starfleet and sweet-talking his way out of tricky situations, he couldn't escape the cold steely grasp of the Romulans.::

::They had hurt him. Not just physically. Emotionally and psychologically. They'd made him betray his own mind. His own eyes. His own sense of right and wrong, and without any of those things, what was he?::

:: She thought back to the Shuttle, the feeling of being on a team again. Feeling the rush of an impossible task, adjusting on the fly to make it happen. Then, the look of revulsion from the man who'd invited her. The sense of teamwork falling apart, the isolation surrounding her again. ::

::He gulped.::

Wilde: If I offended you, I apologise. They were careless words spoken in a tense situation.

:: For a moment, Luna thought he was going to apologize. To actually say that he'd done wrong and own up to it. Instead, he fell back on a slimy non-apology. ::

Walker: That's it? That's how you don't apologize? "It was a stressful situation?" and everything's all fine and dandy?

Wilde: Yes, as a matter of fact. That is the end of it. I've apologised. Whether you take my word or not, I consider the matter closed.

Walker: You know what? Fine, Commander. Forget I said anything, what could I possibly know.

::He could feel it again. That hateful sense of fear creeping up on him. Danny Wilde was afraid of nothing! Or so he thought. He'd never, ever, thought of Luna, or her brother Ben as enemies. They were half Romulan, and chose to serve Starfleet and the Federation. They were not affiliated with the pointy-eared monsters he knew and feared. Ben was one of his closest friends. He'd served under him as First Officer of the Ronin. How could a friendship, or indeed a Command structure work if the two parties despised each other?::

::Steeling his jaw, Danny made the final switch of the holoprograms and closed the safe.::

Wilde: Luna, what the hell do you want from me?

Walker: What do I want? I want you to treat me based on what I do...not what my DNA reads. I want to know why you feel you can lash out at someone and then give a half-hearted apology in passing. Or at least give me some reason why it happened!

Wilde: My reasons are my own! What business is it of yours anyway? I've said I'm sorry. If I hurt your feelings I am indeed sorry, but that's the end of it.

:: Her voice came out colder than deep space. The pitch of her voice was low, but her voice could have been coming from a cobra for all the humanity in it. ::

Walker: You sanctimonious....racist... PIG! How dare you condescend to me witha fake apology and then make me out to be the bad guy here.

::Danny turned on her, his eyes flashing bright blue.::

Wilde: You better watch what you say, Lieutenant. Things like that can ruin peoples careers. You think I'm racist? Is that right? Tell me, because I turn my nose up at the way Klingons eat Gagh, is that racist? I admit, the Wilde name has been synonymous with some narrow-minded views in the past, but I can count on both hands the number of different species who have married into my own family - Trill, Ktarian, Bajoran, Betazoid, hell, I think there's even a Bolian in there somewhere too.

Walker: So it's not racism overall then, just Romulans is it? We're good enough to get you out of tough s[...]es, but not polite folk like Vulcans right?

Wilde: You know, Luna, sometimes you just don't understand a word I'm trying to say!

Walker: So why did you bring me? Just to keep an eye on me so I wouldn't tattle?

Wilde: Bring you? I had no choice! Now you're demanding answers for a comment I made whilst under attack in a shuttle?

Walker: Well excuse me for thinking I could talk to you about it Commander. See, I had this crazy notion you'd actually listen and explain to me some reason for your actions...not just shut me down with a "oops didn't mean to debase your identity with a racist stereotype, must have been the stress" comment.

Wilde: Oh please! I'm not as two-dimensional as that!

::Just then, someone knocked on the door. Danny and Luna stopped arguing and looked together in shock.::

Ackbar: Fleet Captain? This is Ensign Ackbar, you'd said to come by to discuss the reviews?

((DS17 - Temporary Offices))

::The Ensign knocking on the door took them both by surprise. Luna shot the Englishman a furious look, visibly blaming him for the situation.::

Wilde: Ackbar? It's a trap! They're onto us...

Walker: :: Rolling her eyes, she loudly giggled :: Oh yes...he's VERY busy right now.

Wilde: ::quietly:: Luna! Are you out of your mind?

::He took a step toward her and grasped her uniform by the neck, removing her rank pips in one fell swoop. Another hand removed his own insignia, demoting them instantly to able crewmen.::

Walker: Prepping for our new rank? :: Despite her words, Luna grabbed a smallish piece of cloth from one of the boxes, tying back and covering her hair and ears in a makeshift scarf::

Wilde: Follow my lead...

::He rushed to a packed box belonging to Fleet Captain Mitchell and urged Luna to do the same. He grabbed the box and made for the door.::

Ackbar: Who are you?

Wilde: Crewman Wilde and Crewman Walker: Station Ops. We've been ordered to take the Fleet Captain's belongings down to the transporter room ready for the morning. Who knew he'd have so much stuff to move?

Walker: Or that he'd pack so heavy. You'd think he was transporting bricks.

Ackbar: Where is the Fleet Captain now then crewman?

Wilde: I assume he still in his quarters. You know what the brass are like, eh...

::He grimaced at the realisation this Antedean pipsqueak outranked him in this situation.::

Wilde: ... sir.

:: Something seemed fishy about the crewman's responses, not to mention the long pause before the sir. Obviously these two thought they knew better than an academy trained ensign. Didn't they know, that despite the pitfalls and traps of command, eventually he could be an Admiral?! He gave his coldest gaze to the two of them as he responded. ::

Ackbar: What the senior Officers :: he emphasized the rank:: are, or are not like is of no relevance to your task crewman. I suggest you get to it. And put some effort into your work! Your tasks may not be as important as any officer's, but your miniscule assistance allows us to get the real work done.

:: Hearing the trash spewing forth from the ensign's mouth almost made Luna lose it. Instead, she mocked a contrite look before nodding. Out of the corner of her eye, she didn't trust the look on the Commander's face. She tilted her box as if losing control of it, and stumbled into Wilde. ::

Walker: Whoa, sorry there. This is heavier than I thought. :: Turning to the ensign:: Sir, permission to continue carrying these to the pad? They, uh, aren't getting any lighter.

Ackbar: ::The Antedean Ensign shook his head as he turned away. :: Fine. Go. Dismissed.

::With a polite smile Danny and Luna walked straight out of there carrying boxes. They got as far as the end of the corridor before a word was spoken.::

Walker: So. Do we put these back in there, or carry them down to a transporter pad?

Wilde: I say we just dump them here in the corridor. That obnoxious Ensign can take the rap for it. Good idea with the disguise, too...

Walker: :: She let out a short laugh:: Well, I had to do something to cover my hair and ears. Our names might not be known...but...

Wilde: Something wrong?

:: She sobered::

Walker: It was just the last thing I expected. :: she lifted the box in a gesture of their situation:: It was like this, working together where rank wasn't really an issue. Being part of a team, you know? Then when I reached out to you...

Wilde: I think I understand what you mean...

Walker: Yeah. I just figured it'd be different here.

Wilde: It is. I am sorry you feel otherwise.

::They made their way back to Engineering to be transported back to the Tiger. Danny handed Luna her pips back, and he replaced his own on his collar.::

Wilde: Ever since I came aboard the ship, I've tried to extend the hand of friendship, because I hoped to have as much fun and adventure with you as I have done with Ben.

Walker: I'd actually thought you were ok. Irritating and arrogant at times, but had hoped for something similar. Of course after the shuttle... Well I just felt betrayed by that hope.

::Irritating and arrogant? Well, he'd been called worse.::

Wilde: I realise that. I have nothing against many people, but if you want to know the truth...

::He sighed.::

Wilde: I... am afraid of Romulans.

:: She was shocked. That he was scared had never occurred to her in her wildest imaginings. ::

Walker: What? Why?

Wilde: It stems from a mission a number of years back. I was abducted from my away team and held prisoner on the Prison Ship Torval... The Tal'Shiar thought I'd know secret command codes for an experimental starship.

:: At the mention of the Romulan secret police slash intelligence agency, she bristled before putting a hand out to his shoulder in sympathy::

Walker: I can only imagine what you went through there. Ben said some things about what he went through, but anytime I asked he clammed up. Well..more than usual.

Wilde: I've been dealing with it ever since. Seeing the Warbirds in the recent mission, it took me back to that terrible week on the ship.

:: Understanding flooded through her::

Walker: And in the smoke, you saw a Romulan grabbing you. Not a oO friend Oo comrade coming to help.

Wilde: I'm afraid so. I really didn't mean to cause any offence. It's nothing personal, but it seems I have a lot of work to do in getting over my shortcomings.

Walker: :: Her mouth turned up in an embarrased smirk:: It's ok. In fact, there's the smallest chance that with everything else going on...I could have possibly taken it worse than it was.

Wilde: ::Chuckling:: You think?

Walker: :: grinning:: I said maybe. But :: She hesitated before looking at him:: if that offer of friendship was still open... I could use one. :: she barked a brief laugh:: Just promise not to get pregnant and leave the ship ok?

Wilde: Well unless we get transported to a parallel universe where that could happen, I think I'm safe. Why are you concerned?

Walker: Oh, Mikali. An andorian I know.

Wilde: I see...

::They arrived back in Engineering, much to Sarah Reeds relief.::

Reed: I take it the mission was a success?

Wilde: ::sharing a look with Luna:: Absolutely.

::DS17's chief engineer activated the transporter tracker again, ready to beam them back to the Tiger.::

Wilde: Don't worry, Sarah. I won't be calling upon your mischievous talents again. ::He double-tapped his com.badge, and the blue transporter swirls engulfed Danny and Luna.:: Until next time.

::He winked, before being sent back home.::

~Fin~

Lt.Commander Danny Wilde

Chief Tactical Officer

USS Tiger-A

&

Lieutenant(jg) Luna Walker

Chief Engineering Officer

USS Tiger-A

Edited by FltAdml. Wolf
Adding Round 4 prefix.
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