Posted by Lieutenant Faye Calloway (Mission Specialist) in 2378- An Incognito Life
Posted by Lieutenant Faye Calloway (Mission Specialist) in 2378- An Incognito Life
Megs just giggled at the play on his name. “Ahh, Abby, I’m glad you’re with us.”
Faye held up the coin and peered at it intently. “So am I,” she said softly.
“Come on,” Renn said, “There’s more to see.”
They ventured out of the room of murals into what Faye guessed was a lounge where she could hear deals being made. This had to have been where Dirk disappeared to when they came to the outpost. Watching the people gathered, Faye felt that maybe she wasn’t quite as wayward as she once had been. It wasn’t much, but it was something. And something felt good.
Faye fell hard into the bulkhead as the lights flickered and the ship rocked back, tossing her the other way. Her hands went out reflexively and while it cushioned her as she crashed into the other corner of the cargo bay, she could feel the sting radiating across her palms. Knowing trouble was afoot, she hightailed it out of there and to the relative safety of the bridge. Ten months on the ship and this was the first attack she had been witness to, though it was not uncommon for freighters to have their cargo stolen by pirates.
“Shields down to sixty-two, percent!” Temor called out. “I’m re-routing-” He was cut off by another rock of the ship. The lights flickered and a panel sparked.
Faye slipped over to the auxiliary station next to Temor. “Who is it?” she called over the din of the alarm.
“Orions!” Renn called out from tactical, sending a good shot out and managing a little bit of damage. But not enough to give them a break.
The Kodiak rocked hard and Faye had to hold on tightly to prevent being thrown to the deck. But it did distract her from the shudder that ran deeply through her body as she registered Jennson’s announcement. Bloody Orions.
Dirk twisted to the side, hollering at Megs. “Keep them forward of our engines!”
“What do you think I’m trying to do?!” she shouted back as the Orions landed another shot.
“Shields down to forty-nine!” Temor called out. “I’m running out of places to draw from unless we all don’t mind not breathing.”
Their only hope was to hightail it out of there. But the Kodiak was a freighter and not the nimble marauder that dogged them. While the Orions could chase them, they rarely bothered. Too much effort, unless the rewards were so worthwhile to waste their precious resources on. While their cargo was valuable, it wasn’t that valuable.
The only reason a marauder like that one would bother attacking them so boldly out of the blue was if the cargo and crew were worth it. Faye would rather die.
Settling in at the console, Faye’s fingers flew, stretching out and warming up, despite the circumstances. Now was not the time for careless mistakes. “I need five percent power diverted to the computer processors, Now!” she yelled, hoping they would take her seriously over the chaos.
Temor cast her a sideways look. “Are you crazy? We need that for the shields! And I’m going to lose them pretty soon anyway.”
“I know!” Faye said. “But I can help.” She turned and looked at Dirk. “I can stop them! But you need to trust me!” Jennson just stared at her. “Please, Dirk! Let me help!”
“Give her the five percent, Temor,” Jensson ordered. Faye turned back to her console and got to work.
Though Temor clearly was against it, he followed their captain’s order and diverted the power. Suddenly the commands Faye had been entering worked faster and she knew she could get somewhere.
But it had been so long! She hadn’t done anything like this in years and never under such dire circumstances. That and the Orions had complicated security protocols. Almost impenetrable. Almost, unless you had spent time with them before. Her heart beat hard in her chest and her breath quickened, but Faye’s eyes didn’t move from the screen.
From her other side, Renn watched her work, and his eyes began to widen. “Are you? What? Are you hacking their computer?”
“Shhh!” Faye said. “I need to concentrate, unless you want to be sold to the highest bidder!”
The ship rocked hard- hard enough to knock Faye out of her seat, her head bashing against the edge of the console. Her vision swam and momentarily went dark. Then she felt lighter and the dim light of the Kodiak’s bridge came into focus.
“Abby!” Temor said, kneeling beside her on one knee as he held her upright in her chair. “You need to finish. There’s not much more I can do. We’re running out of time,” he whispered.
With Temor making sure she stayed in her seat, Faye went back to work, channeling all her old lessons and the mental reserve that T’Lora had so carefully helped her construct. ‘Gla-tor k’fai wuh ret. Gla-tor mesakh.’ See through the spaces. See beyond. Inhaling slowly as her fingers raced, everything seemed to slow down. “I’m seeing it,” she whispered.
Temor looked at her with concern. “What was that?”
Faye just shook her head and kept working, breathing deeply and letting everything flow. It was like an out of body experience, but one she was far more aware of then ever before.
“The Orion ship is dead in the water!” Renn called out. Faye’s fingers hovered over the console. Had she done it? Was it over?
“I’m getting us out of here!” Megs said and a moment later the ship jumped to warp.
Faye stood up and immediately regretted it. Her head hurt badly and everything spun again. This time the darkness claimed her.
Her eyes blinked and she murmured at the bright light above her. “Sorry,” a voice to her right said gently. The light dimmed and Faye was able to finally open them. Megs was sitting at her side and Dirk was a step away to her left. Blinking, she realized she was in their tiny and rather sorry attempt at a med bay. Faye tried to sit up but Megs held a hand down on her shoulder. “Easy, Abbs. You’ve got a concussion. That was a pretty nasty hit you took. I’ve healed everything but you’re going to need rest. And don’t you dare make me confine you to our room. I’ll sedate you if I have to.”
“Okay,” Faye said tiredly, relieved at the orders actually.
“Megs, can you give us a few minutes?” Dirk said. Their pilot-slash-medic looked between the two and nodded, slipping out quietly.
Silence stretched between them and though Faye turned her body careful to face him, she didn’t quite meet his gaze.
Jensson sighed. “Abagail Blair. I promised you I would let you go about life here with us with your pseudonym and few questions, but I’m beginning to think Renn was right: I should have asked more questions.” Faye swallowed. Grabbing a stool, Dirk settled in next to the old biobed. “I’m going to ask you only a few questions and you will not lie to me, got it?” Faye nodded. “Are you in trouble with the authorities and will it cause trouble for this ship and crew?”
Faye shook her head. “I did stuff a few years ago that some would think is problematic but no one is looking for me or knows I’m alive.”
“Okay,” Dirk said, gazing at her intently. “Now tell me what that was all about on the bridge? Both Renn and Temor saw you working and Temor said that it was advanced computer work. No random deckhand would know how to hack a sophisticated system like that. So… how is that possible?”
Faye was tempted to remind him that she took the job as a deckhand because it was what had been available, not because it was her skillset. But it was beside the point. “I can’t tell you everything, but some of it. Someone taught me when I was younger how to build, secure and hack systems and I spent some time with Orions.”
Jensson rubbed his face tiredly, his hand dropping into his lap. He chuckled to himself and shook his head. “Ahhh, Abbs, you drive me crazy but you certainly do keep things lively around here.”
“Hey, I try,” she said with a smirk.
“But you can’t stay,” he said softly, his eyes fixed on her.
Dismay swept across her face. “But I haven’t lied to you! I do good work, Dirk. You need me!”
He shook his head. “This isn’t a punishment, Abagail, but an opportunity. The kind of skills you have are wasted on this ship. You shouldn’t be on a goddamn freighter, Abbs! You should be out there, doing incredible work with all that intelligence of yours you think we haven’t noticed. You can do more Abbs, and you know it.”
Chewing on her lower lip, Faye said nothing. He wasn’t wrong.
Dirk watched her for a few moments before he spoke again. “Have you ever thought about doing something else?”
The answer was always yes. But those memories had been dangerous for so long. They threatened to tear her apart if she lingered there too long. But maybe now was the time to revisit them. Closing her eyes, Faye reached back into her memory, pulling the long study sessions with T’Lora forward. “I had a wonderful tutor a long time ago,” Faye said, opening her eyes. “She saw my mind for what it was. Saw its potential. She suggested I could do all sorts of things if I was willing to leave our colony. The Daystrom Institute, Starfleet, The Vulcan Science Academy, the Corgal research Institute. You name it. They were all on the table. I never really had a chance to consider any of it before… stuff happened.”
Dirk reached out his hand and placed it gently on her forearm. “You should… consider it I mean. But you can’t go running about the galaxy as some made up person. They won’t abide the lie, Abbs.”
Faye nodded. “I am-”
“No!” Dirk said with a raised hand, and Faye widened her eyes. But his expression was gentle and so she relaxed. “Keep your name for others. That way we can absolve you of anything and should anyone come asking, we only know an Abagail Blair who was the best deckhand I’ve ever had and smarter than most people I’ve ever known… put together.”
She gave a lopsided grin. “Okay. But how? I’ve been so many different people, Dirk. For several years now. I’m not sure I can just go back to being me and apply to places. I’m noone. They’ll laugh me out of every intake.”
Chewing on the inside of his check, he nodded. Her dilemma was a real one. “I have an idea. Let me look into something and see if it can work, okay?”
Faye gave him an appraising look. It was a risk, and she wasn’t afraid of those. But this time she was putting herself on the line with nothing more than a little hope and Dirk’s assurances. She nodded. It was enough. It had to be.
A couple months later, Faye stuffed the last few items into her bag and, with a flicked toss into the air, tucked her Tortuga coin into the pocket of her leather vest.
They had docked at Starbase 117 an hour ago so that Faye could disembark. It was strange to be in Federation space again, though her time before had been brief.
At the airlock, the goodbyes were hard and tear-filled, much to everyone’s surprise. “I’m going to miss having a roommate,” Megs said amidst a big hug.
“I’m not going to miss your red hair everywhere,” Faye teased, earning an elbow and a laugh from Megs. Small hugs from Temor and Renn ensued, but Renn’s gaze on her lingered long past the point of comfort. There was so much unsaid between them, but that was just how it was going to be.
Finally she stood before Dirk, silence saying as much as words could. “Try to keep the rust bucket together, will ya? I’d hate something to happen to you all.”
As stern and hard as Jensson to be, he was not afraid of his emotions. But still Faye was caught by surprise at the tears in his eyes. This was not a farewell and they both knew it. In all likelihood, if everything went well, they would never see each other again. Starting over properly meant letting all this go. “Thank you,” she said as he enveloped her in a massive hug.
“Ahhhh Kid! Promise me you’ll go kick some ass and show them what freighter folk can do. Well, maybe not literally.”
Faye laughed and pulled back. “Promise.”
“Good luck, Abbs,” Dirk said fondly.
“Be good to yourself and them, Captain Jerk,” she said warmly, stepping away before she lost her courage.
The SS Temple was a cargo ship like all the others, but it was modern and up to date. Shiny and new almost. Life had seemingly been good to Captain Ewa Atkinson and her crew and as she stood before the petite dark skinned woman in her little office, she could see why. She was entirely no-nonsense, though not unkind. Tough and demanding, but sympathetic. She somehow thought Dirk’s friend was probably not going to be so different then the authority figures she would soon come across.
“So… Faye Calloway, is it? You’re going to be one of my engineers?”
Faye nodded. “Yes.”
Ewa gave her an appraising once-over. “Jensson speaks highly of you. Says I should push you. Make you try new things. Is that what you want?”
“Yes, Ma’am,” Calloway said with a nod. “He told you this was likely temporary, yes?”
Atkinson nodded. “But I am curious what your plan is. I’m happy to have good reliable help, even if it’s just for a year, but I want to know what I’m getting myself into. What is it you wish to do when you leave here?”
Faye inhaled slowly. “I’m going to apply for Starfleet Academy.”
Whatever Captain Atkinson was expecting that was clearly not it. “The Academy? Those precious spots are few and far between. Especially for a former deckhand with an incomplete education roaming the galaxy.”
“I know. But I plan to study on my down time and fill in the gaps of what I’ve missed. I have a good memory, so I can catch up,” Calloway said confidently. She had to catch up. There was no other choice.
“It would be easier to just enlist. Why bother with the officer route?” Ewa said, leaning forward in her seat.
“Because… I want more. I can do more. I don’t want to limit my options.”
Silence settled into the room and Faye shifted uncomfortably. Atkinson seemed perfectly comfortable in that silence until she chose to break it. She reached out and offered her hand. “Welcome aboard the Temple. Work hard and follow my rules and we’ll see if we can’t get you closer to your goal.”
Faye shook Ewa’s hand. “Thank you! I promise you won’t regret this.”
Leaving the captain’s office, Faye exhaled a breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding. It felt weird to be her again. But it was just a name. She wasn’t sure who Faye Calloway was, but she was starting again and maybe somewhere along the way she’d find out.
~A Woman Named Faye Calloway
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