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Mark Garrison

"A Romulan Connection?"

((OOC Note: This log takes place prior to our receiving the Scorpiad distress call that kicked off this current plot. It's been lost in translation, editing, and other traps of having a RL :) Regardless, here it finally is. Enjoy :lol: ))


"A Romulan Connection?"


The armory flashed green for a moment, as the characteristic hue of Romulan disruptor fire went off. On one of the walls hung a square slap of tritanium, now scorched black and slightly smoking. In a straight line from that stood Mark Garrison, shouldering one of the smuggled disruptor rifles, looking at the damage he'd inflicted with a satisfied smile.


He and Charlotte had been running tests on these damned weapons for hours...maybe days. The passage of time had begun to blur for him. So far, nothing conclusive. Either these were bonafide Romulan made weapons, or extremely well put together forgeries. Scanning them, and disassembling them hadn't yielded anything, so test firing was the next step. Not to mention their only hope of staving off "death by boredom".


"This is a lot more fun then waving over these things with a tricorder..." Garrison smirked, putting the weapon back on the pedestal with the others from their sample group, before walking over to the tritanium slab, and beginning to run scans on it.


Charlotte chuckled softly, stepping into the place her division officer had vacated, drawing a rifle to her shoulder. She replicated his shot, right down to the scorched, smoking sheet of tritanium. She then lowered her rifle and looked it over. "If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck..." she said, pursing her lips, "it should be a duck." Sighing, she shook her head. "But surely even the Romulans couldn't be this ambitious."


"It stands to reason that even if we, the beacon of freedom across the galaxies, aren't inclined to get involved, the xenophobic Romulan Empire isn't going to lift a finger, either."


"Yeah. I can't see what the Romulan's would stand to gain out of trying to help stage an open rebellion. However, it wouldn't hurt them to see the Federation embroiled in a scandal with the Dominion over delivering smuggled weapons to one of its client words. Though, then they'd have to be knock offs, so they could claim deniability. So...ugh. I hate politics...." He trailed off, as his tricorder waved over the smoldering metal. After a few moments, a deep sigh emanated from him.


"Nothing. No odd radiation signatures, energy discharges, anything to tell us if these things are the real deal or not. We're going to end up living in this damned armory, since the Captain isn't going to take an 'I don't know' for an answer."


The junior officer grimaced. "No, he won't. And he'd be wearing his 'We are not amused,' expression, as well." She pinched the bridge of her nose. "Do you think he'd mind if we took a break? I've been digging through boxes and firing counterfeit-not-counterfeit weapons for almost a week now. If I don't get out and get moving a bit, I'm going to go stir crazy."


"What he doesn't know can't hurt him. Well...unless they're Romulan distruptors. Nasty burns, and what not. But yes, I think I shall wield my authority as Chief of Security, and call it a night." He tossed his tricorder into the plastic tote next to the weapon, causing a secondary bounce and a thud. "A few kilometers will help stuff these last few hours in the past proper. And what does the young Lieuteant plan to do with her newly liberated time?"


"Like I said... Get moving. I'll probably take a spin around the ship. The holodecks are fine, but sometimes you need the uniformity and monotony of spaceship corridors." A wry grin twiched at her lips. "That, and it terrorizes some of the crew. 'Scuse me! Pardon me! Coming through!"


"Yes, nothing gets a sci department member flustered like something running into the path of them and their precious pads." He paused, pondering something for a moment. "And it’s doubly effective when you have two people side by side charging them down. You should join me."


The grin that had threatened her features blossomed fully. "I think you're on to something. Meet you back here in fifteen?"


"Yes. This," he gestured over his uniform, "won’t do at all."


Fifteen minutes later, Charlotte entered security once again, clad in a pair of moisture-wicking running pants, shirt, and appropriate shoes. Her long, dark hair had been braided and tucked; her communicator in a hidden pocket at her waist. She received a few strange glances from those on shift, but pointedly ignored them. She folded her arms across her chest and leant against the watchdesk, waiting for Garrison to make his entrance.


Mark entered not long after, clad in similar clothing. Starfleet work out attire had about as much flair for individuality as the uniforms. Still, it showed off more then the drab grey uniform did, and a few people were already whispering as he approached her. More toned then bulky and muscular, Garrison preferred flexibility and agility to brute strength. Biceps the size of your thighs meant nothing when you couldn't land a punch, and, as he took a glance at Charlotte, he had to admit that this was much better then running the decks by himself.


"Well, you ready?"


"Lay on, MacDuff." Charlotte gestured to the doors leading into the corridor.


He flashed her a smirk, leading them out into the hall and breaking into a light jog to get warmed up. By now, Gamma Shift was in full swing, so the corridors were mostly empty. Still, he was confident they could find at least one crewman would have to sidestep in a fluster to make way for the blazing security officers.


Charlotte fell into step next to him, matching his pace. She was disappointed the corridors were so vacant; she supposed she really had lost track of time while cataloguing and test-firing weapons.


As the rounded the first turn, she could feel the blood beginning to flow through her extremities, warming to her efforts. There was a freedom in the movement that had been sorely lacking in the tedium of the past few days.


She said as much, in between breaths.


"I couldn't agree more," He said as they broke into a proper run. "I suppose, there is an upside to ordeal. I was dreading the idea, of being security muscle for some diplomatic convoy."


"Leave it to our esteemed captain," she began, matching his pace, "to find trouble." They ran a few paces and she added. "Or rather... for trouble to find him."


"He does have that quality." He chuckled. "A few more missions on Excalibur, and I'll have probably seen more action, then my seven years on the Mercutio."


"That's saying something, I take it?" Charlotte was familiar with the mission profile of the Mercutio, but had not read much on her exploits. It had been on her "night table" since departing Camelot, but other issues -- including the smuggled weapons -- kept getting in the way of her background reading.


"Saw action of course. We were deployed to border patrol after the war. Dealt mostly with pirates, smugglers, syndicate. This kind of thing actually." He let out his next exhale as a frustrated sigh. "Seems I've gotten rusty."


Matsumura gave a snort of sarcastic laughter as her own exhale. "If this continues," she said, "you'll be back into shape in no time."


He chuckled, and picked up the pace. "I hope they haven't been lax, on the physical training at the Academy, Lieutenant."


"Hardly," Charlotte replied. She cast a sidelong glance in his direction. "I'm merely keeping pace with you. If we're doing this right, I shouldn't be able to sing..."


"One of these days, I'm going to have to put you in your place…" They rounded another corner, to finding themselves coming up on a medical crewman from behind, glancing down at his padd. Perfect. Mark nearly broke into a sprint as he shouted, “Coming through!” The poor crewman barely had time to glance back and jump out of the way before he and Charlotte ran by. He stood there for a second, looking bewildered in the direction they ran, clutching that dear padd to his chest.


Charlotte broke her stride to catch up with the CSEC, grinning madly as she saluted the medic in passing. "I was more thinking... 'Joy to the World' -- the one with Jeremiah, the Bullfrog. But you can rarely go wrong," she said, "with Classic Queen." She puffed a bit, finding her rhythm again as they fell into step.


"I hate that song," He glanced over to her, flashing his trademark smirk, before breaking into a full sprint, sharply turning at the next corner. "Try to keep up!"


Matsumura sprinted, attempting to catch up with him, but by the second corner, he was gone. It wasn't until she resorted to searching by his heart signature that she was able to locate him -- hiding in a Jeffries tube near his apparition point. Keying the security entry, Charlotte waited as the hatch slipped open. She regarded the chief of security with her arms folded across her chest, a brow arched. "That," she said, pausing for emphasis, "was very dirty."


Mark was sitting half in the in the Jeffries tube, holding a bottle of amber colored liquor, two glasses sitting next to him, courtesy of the nearby workstation replicator. "Had to do something to keep you from singing," He chuckled. "And it just so happened that we passed my hide away on the ship." A devilish grin formed, as he swished the bottle in front of her.


Charlotte allowed her own smirk, easing gracefully into the Jeffries tube. "Not as good for you as water, but infinitely better tasting."


"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." He grinned ruefully and poured the glasses, handing her one. "I've got to admit Matsumura, I'm a bit surprised. I don't think I've seen anything from you but duty, duty, duty since you came on board. Drinking with your chief in the Jeffries tubes...now that's something for the scuttlebutt."


"I won't tell, if you won't. After all, what's there to be said about a department head corrupting the junior officers under his command?" Her eyes twinkled with mischief as she waved the glass under her nose, then swirled it gently. "Mmm. And dare I ask where this has been hiding? Grandfather Blair would have killed for a vintage like this."


"Oh, it's been here all along. One of the advantages to growing up on starships, is that you're a curve ahead of most of the green ensigns when it comes to the finer nuances of ship life. Lord knows how many keep it all locked under their beds, or hidden in the cargo bay farthest from their quarters. Myself, I've got bottles floating all over the ship, and I know every engineer on a first name basis." He chuckled, then took a sip.


Taking her own sip, Charlotte then looked on the glass with approval. The smoky flavor was still perfectly in tact, the alcohol tracing a warm path as she swallowed. "Bribery will get you every where, then, it seems... including into the sacred snack chamber."


"The engineers run this ship. I heard one made off with one of the Captain's own bottles not too long ago. A lesson for you, incase you haven't learned it yet." Garrison paused, taking a moment to watch the amber liquid as he swirled it in the glass, before taking another sip. "So how has your first assignment been? Lived up to your expectations?"


The junior officer allowed the ambrosia to roll across her tongue a bit, furrowing her brow as she considered his question. "I'm not certain I came into this position *with* expectations, really," she answered. She realized as she said it that it seemed to describe her approach to both her "regular" duties and her "additional" duties -- those that Garrison knew nothing about. "I will say that service aboard Excal has been very... eye opening...about the nature of deep space politics."


"Yes, there is that," He furrowed his brow for a moment. "I'll admit, my first year here, I didn't think I'd make it. I had been on extended leave for a year. I was rusty, and honestly, this has to be one of the most demanding jobs in Starfleet. After I was promoted to chief, I told myself to give it a second chance, third chance, I suppose because that's what I said when I decided to transfer to the Excalibur. I'm glad I did. My stint as a chief on the Mercutio had been short and disastrous, and I felt I owed it to myself to improve on that. Now, I don't think I could do anything else. I thrive on the stress and strain. Because it makes moments, and drinks like this taste all the sweeter."


"We've certainly been under a lot of strain... even as boring and tedious as the testing and reporting cycle has been." She paused, pursing her lips. "Do you think... Rather, is it possible, that those weapons -- their presence on the ship -- is the result of an inside job?"


"It's certainly possible," He sighed, finishing the last two sips in the glass with a large gulp. "As much as this ship calls to the best of us...the worst can certainly see the advantages as well. As much confidence as I have in my department, there are enough people with the knowledge and ability on this ship to make it an undeniable possibility."


"An undeniable, but unpleasant possibility," she echoed. Matsumura downed the last of her own drink, filing the note away for later contemplation...and reporting. She did question the timing: Corizon's return to the ship coincided with the illegal shipment. But would it really be that obvious? She inwardly shook her head. The captain may have been many things but careless was not one of them.


Shoving the thought aside, she looked back up at Garrison. "So...we've had our run, and a bit of a drink. Now what?"


"One of the disadvantages of starship life..." He trailed off, leaning into the Jeffries tubes to replace the bottle, then moving over the replicator and recycling the glasses. "...Is that when interacting with the fairer sex, I'm at a bit of a loss."


He let out an amused huff, before turning to face her. "So what would you like to do?"


"It seems rather pointless to continue firing test patterns; we've gleaned about as much information from the fake-not-fake weapons as I believe we're going to."


"Seven years on the boarders...these are the best duplications I've ever seen. If they even are duplications...and it's too pleasant an evening to discuss the ramifications of them being the real deal." He shook his head, letting his gaze land back at the Jefferies Tube where he had sat. Suddenly another drink sounded pretty good.


"I doubt the Romulans would reach that far out of their comfort zone... even if it meant gleefully stabbing the Federation in the back....which still leaves the question as to whether they're copies or fabulous fakes." Charlotte sighed, leaning back against the wall of the tube. "I wonder if this is what chasing your tail feels like."


"Pretty much. I wouldn't get too stressed over it though. More often then not, things tend to sort themselves out."


"Yes, but in this case, I'd really rather not be caught unawares." Brushing an escaped lock of hair from her eyes, she waved her hand, dismissing the heavy discussion. "I have a suggestion."


He watched her movement, and couldn't deny she looked very good in this lighting. From that, his distracted brain could only produce an, "Oh?"


"Return to our respective quarters, clean up, and then reconvene to finish those bloody reports for the captain. There might or might not be a working dinner involved." Her stomach growled, as though to emphasize the point. She blushed.


He glance down to her middle, chuckling at the sound. The workout had certainly built up an appetite in himself as well. "Best plan I've heard all day. Thirty minutes enough time for you?"


"More than." Charlotte shifted slightly, edging feet-first out of the tube. She pushed herself to her feet, looking at the CSEC over her shoulder. "See you in thirty."


"It's a date. Work date. Yeah."

Edited by Mark Garrison

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