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Irene Mincine

Need and a Mystery

Valerie Carillon exited the turbolift near the crew quarters. Alpha shift had ended and with it ended her day at the helm. She knew the ship was in good hands with Ensign Lomar, her beta shift relief.

Val, though, wasn’t feeling so well. She had not had much of an appetite lately. The headaches she had been getting were accompanied by bouts of nausea that made scarfing down a replicated sandwich difficult at times.

She held her head as she entered her quarters. “Computer, dim lights 50 percent.”

The computer acknowledged her order with a chime. The bright lights in her quarters lowered to a level that didn’t make her feel like she was in a dentist’s chair.

Having her own quarters wasn’t something Val was quite used to. Back on the old Excalibur, the flight crew generally slept in bunks, if they slept at all, and were ready to spring to action at a moment’s notice. As bridge crew on the new Excalibur, off duty meant off duty. She could still be called up in an emergency, of course, and at this point in the mission you couldn’t discount that possibility.

She had become good at hiding certain things over the past few months. It seemed like the only way to ensure that she still had a spot on the crew roster as a 38-year-old pilot with a several-year medical leave of absence on her record, anyway. The headaches, the strange operation of her prosthetics in the morning and evening, the constant feeling that you’re not quite ‘there’, it was all going to be hard to explain if it ever came up on duty, wasn’t it?

She was the helmsman of a brand-new Federation cruiser. As long as she was on duty, she could push it all out of her mind and focus on only what needed to be done. But once she was off, or once the medication wore off…

Nothing could jeopardize her position. She was too driven to let that become an option.

Her shaking hand dug through the drawer next to the sink in the small bathroom area. She picked up a vial and a hypospray, swirling the vial in the air before assembling them together and injecting the vial’s contents into her neck. She closed her eyes with a look of relief on her face while the trembling came to a gradual stop.

‘Is this what I am,’ she thought, ‘a busted toy? I should have been left in pieces in the debris field…’

She had gotten the bioxedrine from a doctor at the starbase she had been stuck on in limbo between Excaliburs. He had a thing for pilots, she was a pilot in need. It was only natural, and totally off her medical records so she could maintain her status. It seemed to keep her in control of her faculties, and she had enough for months…


Some ops flunky sent Val a message soon after she rose to get ready for duty. There was a yearly audit of personnel records that began a few days earlier. There were several classified personal logs in her personnel file. That’s not entirely odd.

The normal assumption would be that it was cover for some clandestine activity, but that plainly wasn’t possible here. The first one on the list was timestamped during her fateful sortie at Chin’toka, which wasn’t exactly a covert op. She didn’t remember recording it, either. Though, she didn’t exactly remember much from around then.

Val sighed. Might as well figure out what was so important that it was classified. “Computer play personal log, stardate NNNN.N.”
The computer beeped back at her. “Unable to play back log entry.”

“Why not?”

“Lt. Carillon is not authorized to view this entry.”

Problem with the new computer system? Valerie tapped the console in her quarters. “It’s my log entry. How can I not read my own log?”

The computer repeated its earlier declaration. “Lt. Carillon is not authorized to view this entry.”

Val shook her head. Maybe R’han would be able to figure out what was going on with the lockout.

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