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To Save Gizmo and Sanity

Posted on 21 Oct 2018 @ 10:22pm by Ensign Kelly Khan & Ensign Quinn Mackie

Mission: Fractured
Timeline: MD1 || 1500 hours

Quinn, having finished his business on Deck Eight, entered the turbolift. He really had to get to Deck Five, but he knew he was overdue for something else. No, he chided himself. Someone else. He did not give the computer a command, instead he tapped his badge. "Mackie to Khan. What's your location?"

"In our quarters," came the response. "Getting ready to go to Medical."

"Don't go anywhere," Quinn called out. "Be right there." He tapped his combadge to close the channel then directed the turbolift to take him to their quarters. A short ride and corridor trek later, Quinn found himself entering their quarters. "Kelly?" he called out, not seeing her immediately after entering.

Kelly wondered why he didn't want her to go anywhere, but figured a little while longer wouldn't hurt until she got her radiation treatment. When she heard his name, she came out of the head where she had freshened up and managed to brush her hair after putting on a clean uniform. "Hey, Tiger," she said with a wan smile. "What's so important that it couldn't wait?"

Quinn leapt across the room only to embrace Kelly in the tightest hug he could muster. "I just had to see you," he confessed before removing his embrace so he could look into her hazel eyes. It'd only been a few short hours, but the threat of not being able to see someone again clearly warped one's thinking.

Kelly squeaked, but returned the hug with a smile. "I was really worried about you, but so busy that I didn't have time to...and then I picked up Lieutenant Geisler's head on the bridge...and had to fly one of the Gryphons around the ship to act as our sensors...and...and...." Tears sprang from her eyes and she sniffled. "And I really just wanted to be here with you and couldn't and..."

"It's all right," he said softly. "I'm here now. We're together again." He didn't release her or himself from the embrace this time, instead just tightened his hold. "I really wanted to be here too, and when I couldn't find you, I just lost myself in figuring out what happened."

Now she pushed back a bit when his hold got tighter on her. "Quinn, I can't breathe," she said. "And I really missed you, too and did what I could...but we both should get to Medical. Afterwards, we can have all the time in the world together."

Quinn's eyes shot open as he realized what he was doing. "Oh! Sorry!" He quickly released her and took a look at her. "Medical, yeah, I definitely need to do that. The place has been flooded by the whole crew pretty much, and there's a blown distribution center I've got to go fix on Deck Five."

"Don't worry about that for now," Kelly said as she gave him a kiss. "Will you do me a favor and take Gizmo down when you go? I need to head to the flight department to check in before I go to Medical."

"Sure," Quinn said, taking a moment to look around for the little kitten. "Where did Gizmo run off to anyway?" he asked, not seeing their pet anywhere around. "Gizmo?" he called out.

"He's probably sleeping under the bed," she said as she got down on her knees and lifted the blanket so she could look. "Gizzy? Where you you, furball? Come to mama!" she called and made kissing noises.

A muffled meow came from the opposite side of the room. "Gizmo? Quinn called out again, this time getting down on his hands and knees to look around. He spotted an open vent in the wall, along with a muffled mew coming from inside of it. "We're right here, Gizmo," he said, peering into the dark vent, but unable to see anything. "Do we have a flashlight?" Quinn asked.

"Gimme a sec," Kelly said as she crawled from under the bed and went on a hunt in several kits stuck to the walls with adhesive before she found one. "Got it." She activated it and headed over to where he was. "How did the vent even get open?' she asked as she got down beside of him and shined the light in. "Gizzy! Come on, furry one!"

Quinn spotted Gizmo a couple meters inside the vent, surrounded by some webbing. Based on the angle and distance, Quinn couldn't tell if he was caught or if he was just hiding. "Do we have anything that can reach back that far?" he asked.

She saw that the little orange ball of fluff looked to be in distress and it broke her heart, but she quickly moved backwards and began scrounging again. This time, she pulled out a telescoping rod used to retrieving tools that had been dropped in places too small for humanoid hands to reach and came back. "Here, try this," she said. "Just extend it and use the hook to try to break that webbing so he can get free."

He did as she suggested, grabbing the rod and slowly sliding it down the tube as to not alarm or spook the kitten. “Webbing,” he muttered. “Kinda looks like something a spider would do, but that’s more than I would expect from a spider.”

"Didn't we have some kind of infestation of some critter that came aboard at DS15?" Kelly asked as she searched in another box and pulled out a small blade and some adhesive. "Can you attach this to the end of the rod and cut him free?"

Quinn looked at the blade, then back down the shaft where he’d already extended the rod to. Unlike before, Quinn quickly withdrew the rod all while Gizmo looked on. “I heard something about that, I think. So much has happened in the last week, I’m not sure what all I remember anymore.”

"It's only been a week?" she squeaked. "It's felt like a year." She ducked her head back into the vent. "Gizzy, baby. Come to mama. I'll give you nip and all the treats you want."

"Only since Alpha Trios," Quinn said, having affixed the blade. He started to gently slide the rod back down the shaft. "I'm not sure how long we've actually been in the zone." Very carefully, he started to cut away at the webbing.

Now Gizmo fought, mainly to get away from the sawing blade that jerked the webs and partly to get to his human after hearing the word treat that he normally associated with the word good boy and her tone of voice encouraged him.

"Come on, buddy," Kelly encouraged. "You can do it, Gizzy!"

Quinn continued to carefully tear away at the webbing. Eventually, he'd cut enough out for Gizmo to shoot out of the vent and under the bed. "You got him?" Quinn asked, starting to retract the rod so he could seal the vent.

She dove for the kitten as he ran under the bed and managed to scoop him out before he got too far away. "Got him!" she told Quinn as she cuddled the little kitten to her. "Did you get a sample of that web? It has to be incredibly strong to hold a kitten."

"Looks like there's some stuck to the knife," Quinn remarked, setting the end of the rod down beside him and pressing the vent cover back in place until it clicked. "There," he said. "I'll replicate a newer cover when I can and replace this so it doesn't pop off again." Quinn wiggled it a bit to confirm that the cover had indeed become faulty.

Kelly went to the replicator and selected a catnip infused treat for Gizmo and gave it to him as she set him down, then burst into tears for reasons that she couldn't verbalize.

Uh oh thought Quinn, rising quickly to his feet. "What is it?" he asked, crossing the room to stand next to her and put a hand on her shoulder.

"I...don't....know!" she sobbed and clung to him like he was a rock and she was a tenacious form of parasitic moss while the tears flowed and her body shuddered with her wracking sobs.

All Quinn could do was hold her. He'd seen his first assignment overrun with intruders, then the Consortium. He remembered there being a time where there was no one to trust save the person beside you. Through all of that, he'd found Kelly, but none of those times compared to what they'd just experienced. '"I know," Quinn said softly, embracing her and using a free hand to gently stroke her hair. Fighting for survival along someone you loved was one thing.

Not knowing whether or not that loved one had survived and you were all that was left... That was different.

"Why?" Kelly sniffled and released him with one hand to wipe her eyes which did little to stop the tears. "Why does this shit keep happening to us?!"

Quinn could not answer that question for many reasons. He stroked her hair and sighed as he glanced down at little Gizmo who just stared up at them with occasional glances while consuming his treat. "I wish i knew," he said softly.

She made a muffled noise as she buried her face in the crook of his neck and shoulder and simply held him. "I..I'll be okay. I have to be. I'm an officer and hell will have to wait until I give it orders," she mumbled into his neck.

"Just think of everything we've overcome thus far," Quinn pointed out. "If hell meant to claim us, it would have by now. If anything, we're the flagship of the Gamma Quadrant. For that alone, we attract all of the hell."

"The flagship that gets sent into the nastiest parts of hell to make nice nice with the locals who want to eat our kidneys," Kelly mumbled again.

"Who tried to eat your kidney?" Quinn asked. He bore a quizzical expression on his face; although, Kelly couldn't see if due to the embrace they still shared.

She pulled back a little and dried her eyes with an angry swipe of her sleeve. "It's not about who or what tried to eat what organ, Quinn! It seems like everything and everyone out here hates us. These all should have been first contact missions and we barely get in system before someone or something is trying to pry our headbones open to have a taste of our brain meat."

It wasn't that Quinn was unable to comment, but it was becoming more and more clear that he couldn't continue until she could be converted. And, unfortunately, that wasn't up to him, and he would require resources not in his possession to make that happen. Therefore, he was forced to do his best to placate her. "Then we do our best until the Captain can get us to whatever mission we need to accomplish in here and move on. That's our job."

Grumbling, Kelly pulled away and went to the replicator. "K'tarian Chocolate Puff with chocolate syrup from Earth, circa 2000," she ordered in a grouchy voice. "Well, the Captain has made every attempt to get us all killed so far. If we weren't stuck in this hellhole of a Convergence Zone or the Gamma Quadrant, I'd be tempted to transfer ships." Of course, it was her anger at the injustice of the galaxy speaking, but she refused to retract the statement.

"It's not a bad idea," Quinn said, really just doing his best to stay in sync with her. After all, it would help the most when the real time came. "We could do something peaceful like running around in an Excelsior supply chain or aboard an Probert tug."

"Oh, won't that be fun?" she asked sarcastically as the chocolate dessert appeared. She snatched it and went to flop on the bed and grabbed the spoon. "Cap'n Tuggy Khan and her first Mate Tiger Mackie, reportin' to tow yer blighter o' a ship and resupply ya."

Quinn could only chuckle. The word tuggy presented several different mental images in his mind from him the one being tugged around the ship to Kelly sporting a swelling belly on the bridge as she incubated one or more spawn from their evening escapades. "There's always places like Minos Korva near the Cardassia border, secure, but always experiencing something."

Kelly growled around a spoonful of the rich chocolate and pulled the spoon out to lick it clean. "Oh yeah. Then we'll really be ready to rock out with our Spock out, won't we? Yeah, buddy! Maybe we can get assigned to the Neutral Zone to scan dust particles after that. Won't that be a feather in the old cap?"

"See," Quinn said, tapping a button on the replicator to produce a cup of coffee, "it's either boring stuff, or risk your body and sanity for a chance at something new and exciting. Unless, of course, the zone's finally rising to be a challenge for Conga."

"Pfft! What challenge?" she retorted after another violent stab at the dessert. "I barely got to fly long enough to go in circles around the ship in a Gryphon. I never see helm duty unless it's at zero dark thirty and the computer can handle it. I sit and drool mindlessly."

"You won't be stuck there," Quinn reminded her, taking a sip of the hot bean flavored water. He nearly choked at its unexpected bitterness. Sounds like replicators are on the repair list too. "We only lost three department heads this go round. Who knows? Your number could be up."

Kelly sputtered and nearly choked on a bite of the chocolate confection. "What? Lieutenant Danth was one of the casualties, too?" she asked in a quiet voice after she wiped her mouth of the involuntary spray caused by her choking ."I didn't even have a chance to break him in."

"That's the rumor anyway." Quinn tried the coffee again, only to spit it back in the cup. He wasn't a major coffee drinker, but he knew what bad coffee tasted like, and this certainly was it.

She saw the look on his face as he spit the coffee back in. "Try Khan Four," she suggested. "It's a mocha and a lot sweeter than that dirty dishwater you're trying to drink."

He almost asked how she knew, but then again, Quinn was always one to wear his emotions and expressions on his sleeve. "Thanks," he said as he recycled the drink and produced a cup of her blend. "Much better."

"I'd never steer you wrong, Tiger," Kelly said as she set the dessert aside, got up and went to him. "Ever. We may be an oddball couple, but I love you, Quinn Mackie, and I'm sorry that I vented on you."

He enjoyed a sip of the mocha before he put it aside to place both hands on her shoulders. "Don't be sorry," he said to her. "That's what we're here for. Through thick and thin, right?"

"Right and don't you forget it," she said. "Now shut up and kiss me."

"Aye, aye, Cap'n Tuggy," he said with a smile, moving his hands so he could embrace her fully. "Brace for impact," he declared before landing a kiss on her chocolatey lips.

Kelly returned the kiss and finally had to come up for air. "Rawrrrr," she said with a mischievous smile. "Now that's a kiss. Want to turn off the light and practice more before we have to get moving again?" she suggested before she ordered the lights out and pounced him.


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