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Below Decks

Below Decks

Senna Matise poked her head out the entrance to what had become their quarters in the unfinished section of Aegis known as Below Decks. She heard the children chattering enthusiastically, but couldn’t quite understand what they were up to, so she rounded the corner to find out.  A group of pre-teens sat on the floor half way down the corridor, fiddling with what looked like metal. 

She and her husband Glen, both undercover security, blended well with the natives.  They scavenged for the comforts of home: a bed, a worn out carpet, a few chairs—none of which matched—a small table and replicator, and other paraphernalia.  They got to know their neighbors, most of whom were congenial.  

Senna had left her teaching profession to join Starfleet Security, but Below Decks lacked a teacher, so she volunteered for the younger group.  Since Glen was smart—according to the neighbors— they snagged him to teach the older group physics and advanced mathematics—along with basic defensive tactics because the teens said it was “so cool”.  Eventually the defensive tactics class added what they dubbed "scramble teams", a little wrestling and a lot of just plain scrambling on the deck. They enjoyed that part more than anything else.

Today Glen had his teens in their makeshift gymnasium working on defensive tactics.  As Senna moved around the corner to check on the younger set, Glen came up from behind.  His towel barely absorbed the sweat dripping from his scalp to his forehead, he smelled of gymnasium, and his workout clothes were in desperate need of washing.  Senna’s how did it go look elicited an eyeroll and a whispered, “Pretty much like skipper’s training.  Damn, they’re good,” he sighed.  Another swipe of the towel and he leaned against the wall to watch.

A gaggle of giggles preceded, “No, no, no,” that came from down the corridor followed by “Let's change it around, Benji. That way they don't clang together and make such a weird sound. We can use… let me see… wood!  Yes, wood will do it!"  

A few clanks against several metal objects echoed in their direction.

Somewhere the children had found different sized sections of metal pipe, strung them together to make a rudimentary chime, and hung it between two chairs.

“Yeah, Penny. That’s lots better,” said Benji, excited.  “Can I try it out?”

“Sure.” She shrugged.  “You’re the one who found ‘em.” 

Benji grinned, looked at the chimes, and considered the smooth piece of round wood, holding it as though he was a conductor.  

“Okay, so… um….”  Benji scrunched up his face to think, then took on a serious expression.  “How about... Mary Had a Little Lamb?  Mrs Matise really likes that one.”

The others nodded agreement and began to sing as he played.  Sitting on the decking cross legged they launched into Mary Had a Little Lamb in full voice.  The metal pieces didn’t respond very well, but the children seemed to enjoy it anyway.  They rocked to the meter and shouted at the end.

“Bravo! Bravissimo!” Senna clapped vigorously, admiring their enthusiasm as she walked toward them.  Within seconds the children surrounded her, talking excitedly all at once as she sat on the floor next to them.  Glen hung back, still leaning against the wall near their quarters, beginning to smell himself.  The children waved.  He held up his towel and waved back.  They obviously understood.

“Did you like it?  Did you really, really like it?”  Really, really, really???”

“Oh, of course I did.  Excellent job. In fact, I would give it an A plus.  And the chimes? Oh, Benji, you are worthy of a concert conductor.  But where did the metal come from?  Not from someone’s cabinet, I hope?”

“Oh, no.  You know that play room two decks down? The one we use for our clubhouse?  We went to play in it yesterday and could hardly get into it.  It’s loaded with stuff. You know, boxes of equipment, lots of different sized pipes. Like I said, lots of stuff.  These sawed off pipes were in a trash bin—at least I it looked like a trash bin—so I took them for play.”  Benji stopped suddenly.  His eyes widened.  “Was that okay Mrs Matise?  I mean, it looked like…”

Senna smiled.  “I’m sure it’s okay, Benji.  Don’t worry about it. But it’s best to stay away from there, just in case.”

“Oh, I’m not going back in there.  It stinks. I mean, it really stinks.” The children pinched their noses with an “Ewww”


After a shower and clean clothes, Glen moved into a back room, engaged a small unit, and called quietly, “BD base, BD 7. Information incoming.”

BD 7, BD base.  Go ahead.”

“BD deck one eight eight, room three seven, contains unknown equipment, possible breach.”

BD base, BD 7. Stand by.

Glen relaxed in his chair, notating information as he waited.  A few minutes later, “BD 7, BD Base.  Confirmed.  Quarantine that area. We will monitor. Copy?

“BD 7 copy.”



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