Ensign Theo Lambda
Ensign Theo Lambda
It was no ordinary day for Theo. For starters, he managed not to throw up in the shuttle pod during assent. That right there was cause for celebration, maybe a shot of whiskey in ten-forward. That is of course, if the ship he is heading for has a ten-forward. Maybe a lounge? The best he could hope for was a replicator within quick walking distance of his quarters. It would be a minor miracle if there was one on his deck. He was assigned to “Biological Processing”, a complete oxymoron since it was waste from ships systems that were “pumped” not processed and then, de-synthesized. The easy way to put it, he was a janitor.
It was his first posting after graduation and he was the last in his class to get an assignment. In fact, the next graduating class had already been posted as well as the one after that. He wasn’t in a hurry and the posting didn’t matter to him. His test scores indicated he could give a shit less. So that's what his duty was, other people's duty. He ignored the other arrogant cadets in his class, no one else had been assigned to his duty task. It didn’t phase him, he was leaving Earth for the first time since he arrived as an orphan. That was the only thing he really cared about, getting out.
Life on Earth wasn’t hard. The orphanage was nice enough. He was just tired of all the pressure. Everyone always expected more from him. Even the few friends he made put pressure on him to ‘act’ as they put it. Getting adopted was a game to them. To him it was a bore. He just wanted a way out, joining starfleet the minute he could seemed like the only option a 16 year old orphan had.
As he disembarked from the shuttle and grabbed his bag he ran into a short, fat, bald man.
“Excuse me.” He said
“Sir, Excuse me sir. You Theo?” The bald fat man said.
“Uh Huh.” He replied
The man shook his head and muttered under his breath, “they get worse every year”, as he motioned for him to follow along. The man who appeared to be a Lieutenant Junior Grade or something like that had never given his name. A small part of Theo was worried that he wasn’t going to wind up where he was supposed to be. The larger part of him didn’t care, as long as it wasn’t back to the shuttle. That had happened once before and it was about the only time in his life he felt embarrassed. They wound their way through a small crowd of young cadets on a tour, one of them made a comment about how old the ship was. Theo wanted to stop and listen. He knew the ship was a Miranda Class, the USS Princeton. That was all the farther he cared to read into the transcript that showed up on his pad. It was an assignment, as a janitor, who gives two shits about the rest. The thought made him smile for a second, two shits.
“Hey, keep up Theo, you’re behind schedule!” The fat man yelled from down the hall.
“Schedule? What?” He was getting concerned, a schedule? This couldn’t be right, there was no schedule. There were assigned shifts, it was either working, or not. An engineering crew would fix anything. He didn’t know or care to know the first thing about fixing the “Biological Shitter Thing”
“Yeah, the schedule, you’re on duty and have a schedule to keep. Now let's get moving! I’m Dan by the way.”
He shook Dan’s hand and nodded as they picked up the pace. They ducked into a side corridor and opened up a small hatch. It was half the size of a regular door and he had to squat down to step thru.
“Guess I can go to my quarters after shift huh.” Theo said as he hit his head.
“Your quarters are to the left, the processing units are over there to the right. There is a pad on the terminal coded to you. Your personal pad will need to be coded for clearance in your quarters but I would suggest you worry about your shift first. Good luck.”
Dan patted him on the back and ducked back out of the small door. He glanced around the small walkway between his room and the duty station. His first thought was this was a real shit posting. Then he realized no one would ever find him here. It was perfect. He might get an occasional call from someone, but this was the kind of setup that no one ever visited. For the second time in years he smiled.
His first real shift aboard a starship was everything he had ever hoped for. Apparently Dan had no idea what went on in his little corner of the ship, the schedule on the pad had him checking off tasks that took all of 3 minutes. It was the easiest thing in the world to look over a few screens. They all had little symbols on them, if green, tap the box and move on. A trained Andorian could do it. He supposed that's why he got the assignment, he was one level up from that, barely. The rest of the shift he sat at the little desk in his quarters making sure his door didn’t shut in case someone called the terminal. He got his pad accessed to the system and loaded up the layout of the ship, there was a lounge, one deck up, farside of the ship. The closest replicator was on his deck, but it wasn’t assigned for food replication. He would have to see how busy that area was. A walk all the way around to the other side of the ship and going up a deck seemed too far. That and he would run into more people than he cared to think about. The schematic started to pull in more information he didn’t cared to read, crew size, commanding officers, the Captain was some guy named Daniel. He tossed it down on his cot, it wasn’t a bed, it was a cot. As he took in his surroundings he tried to imagine how many ships there were in the fleet with a room like this, with guys like him stationed in them. There was no way this was a standard configuration. It seemed like a Klingon design, not the kind of degrading accommodations that Starfleet would assign an eager young graduate. Who ever came up with, he was glad.
It was almost a week into his assignment before anything different happened. There was a slight bump and he could feel the little cot slide out from under him. He must have dozed off. From the floor of his little room he sat up and glanced around at the walls. As if they would somehow reveal why he was there. There was some kind of alarm going off out in the corridor but he couldn’t make out what kind. Maybe a yellow alert?
He didn’t bother pulling on his uniform as he opened the little hatch and peered out. The lights along the ceiling were flashing red, but the sirens were quiet. Another slight bump thru the ship and he hit his head. He walked back to his quarters and pulled on his uniform. It didn’t smell right, but there was no time to go clean it now. Besides, in a red alert the only thing he had to do was sit at his terminal and make sure, make sure something bad didn’t happen. He really wasn’t sure what he was supposed to do.
As he sat down, he tried to pull up some details. Had to be a drill. He wasn’t sure where the ship was, there had been some kind of briefing on his pad a few days ago but it popped up while he was watching a vid so we swiped it away. Every time he tried to pull up some data his access was denied. He couldn’t even pull up the briefing from a few days ago. Maybe he should have checked in with someone. Someone that would know he was here. He tried pulling up the roster, that loaded. It showed him exactly what he figured this ship was. He could not imagine there was a single ship in the fleet with this many ugly people and aliens on it. For one, it looked like all of engineering was made up of Tellerites. That should have been a red flag to anyone coming on board. The security crew was almost all Andorians, that was a mistake. Apparently the communications officer was a Vulcan, so much for diplomacy. He counted 8 humans on a ship with a total crew complement of 36. He wasn’t sure how many people should be crewed on a Miranda but that seemed like a lot for the size.
He saw Dan’s name in the list of humans, decided he should call him and tapped on his name. The sound that came thru his combadge made him wince. Now was not the time to call Dan. There was a scream, some screeching sound followed by a fizz then.
“What!” Dan screamed, Theo couldn’t tell who Dan was talking to.
“Dan, its Theo, whats up?” As he said it, he realized his tone was probably out of place. He was trying to sound nonchalant.
“What? Theo? Are you fucking crazy boy, get off the comms, a bit busy here!”
“With what? What's going on? I can't get access.” The link cut off. He thought for a moment about heading out into the corridor and flagging someone down. One glance in the mirror would have stopped him. He hadn’t shaved since he came on board. He was sure that was against some regulation. But he strolled out into the hallway anyway. The first person that ran by was a science officer, a girl actually. Seeing her made him reflexively scratch at his little beard.
“Hey what's happening?” Theo blurted out as she was running past.
“How do you not know?” She stopped and yelled at him, as she walked back towards him she got a better look at him.
“That must have been some impact on your head, can you make it to sick bay?”
He instinctively touched his forehead, sure enough there was blood.
“Never been, where is it?” He realized he probably should have looked over the layout a bit better.
“Deck 5, take the lift down the hall, walk straight ahead.” She was starting to turn to run again.
“I thought this was deck 5?” Theo called after her.
“Deck 9!” was what he thought he heard.
He had been on the ship for a week in the same small cramped quarters and work area, having moved around less than a couple meters a day, and he didn’t know what deck he was on the whole time. He shrugged it off and figured sick bay was probably a better place to be than the bottom of the ship. As he reached the lift and stepped inside he wondered how many decks there were. As the doors shut and the lift started moving the ship had another bump. This was the worst one so far, the lift stopped, the lights shifted to emergency battery backup as the power failed. All he could think of was, I should have used the stairs.
There was no way to know how long he sat in the lift. Maybe just a few hours, maybe a few minutes, maybe a whole day. He was thirsty, so it had to more than a couple of hours but that was the only indicator of time. He was used to wasting time, sitting alone, in thought, about nothing in general. The first sounds he heard in a long while were not encouraging. It was phaser fire, that he knew for sure. He couldn’t make out the type, he just knew someone was shooting at someone else and they were firing back.
By now he had come to the conclusion that the ship got into some sort of fight. One it clearly did not win, or at least was about to lose. He figured the best course of action was to sit still and make as little noise as possible. Any hand held would spot his life signs, if they were friendlies then great, they would rescue him. If they were foe, they would see he was trapped and just leave him alone. Either that or they would start shooting the lift doors and kill him. So he took the third choice. It was the best choice, he decided to run away.
Climbing up out of the emergency hatch in the ceiling of the lift was harder than he thought it would be. If he could make it back to his little corner of the world he could grab a sandwich. Food was a comforting thought as he stared straight up the empty lift tunnel and right out into space. An emergency force field was in place a few decks up. His heart was pounding in his chest, he had never felt fear before, not like this. It was all he could do to move. Then something floated past the opening, it was the right size and shape to be a person of some kind. He couldn’t make out the species. A large red beam shot across the dark of space and almost at the same time another smaller one shot across the hole he was staring thru. It had come from one side of the hole and struck the back side of the empty lift tunnel.
“That’s enough looking up Theo….” He said to himself. He started climbing up the ladder on the side of the tunnel to a little hatch, he had to punch several buttons until it just opened. It was probably just tired of being hit. He crawled into the tube and started crawling. He had no idea where he was or where he was going. He realized he didn’t know what deck he was on, nor was he really certain what deck his quarters were on. He thought Deck 9 but wasn’t sure anymore.
He found another access hatch and pried the lever free to open it. There were no lights down the tube, Jefferies Tubes. That's what they were called, he remembered that now. He had answered that question on the exam wrong several times. He couldn’t help but answer Geoffreys Tomb. It was clearly a better name, especially when it wasn’t lit up. He put the hatch back on, trying to be quiet. The next two were no better, both had burn marks and were hot to the touch. The last one he came to had a keypad, when he tried beating on it to open up, nothing happened. He pried it open, when he could get his fingers thru he glanced in. Beyond the small hatch was the lift tunnel he had exited. He glanced around behind him. Noticed the slight arc in the tube and that's when it dawned on him. He had crawled in a circle, like an idiot.
He crawled back into the lift and started pulling up the floor to see if there was access to the tunnel below. Sure enough he could see the tunnel below as it extended down into darkness.
“At least the hull is intact on that side…” He mumbled. As he crawled down the ladder he could see another access hatch, it was on the opposite side.
“Remind me to file a formal complaint about this ships layout…” He was falling into an old habit of mumbling to himself, out loud. It was his nervous tick. The caretakers at the orphanage had tried to teach him how to control it. Never failed, he would get nervous during an interview with a prospective family and he would mumble.
The panel for the next hatch was easier to open this time as hung onto a small ledge that ran around the lift tunnel. He almost thought he was getting the hang of the buttons. The lettering on them never made since and the print was so small he wondered at times if everyone had retina implants standard at birth and just forgot to tell him. The jefferies tube was straight, not curved, so bonus there. As he crawled ahead he could see a small blinking light next to a hatch, it indicated that the other side of the hatch was sealed and pressurized. The panel to the left read Deck 9. He tried to think back to what deck he was on when he came off the shuttle pod. It had to be one of the lower decks but he couldn’t even remember how many decks were on the ship. He knew that the first couple of decks were small as the saucer section tapered out with crew quarters taking up the bulk of the middle decks. Then it started to taper down to smaller and smaller decks with the lowest deck on the saucer section being the sensors and maybe the tractor beam. He was starting to regret not paying attention more during training, or at least looking over the specs more. This posting was turning out to be the exact opposite of what he expected.
He struck paydirt once he gambled and opened the hatch. The small room was the emergency shuttle pod launch control station, on the other side of some shattered glass was the pod. The round seal was glowing green, good seal. He quickly looked over the terminal to gain access to the pod and get it ready for launch.
He had just managed to gain access and was heading to the pod doors when all hell broke loose. The door to the small hangar was being forced open by some one, green phaser fire slipped through the crack and hit the seal around the pod. The face of an Andorian was looking at him through the crack.
“Help us! We have two wounded, we are about to be over run!”
He grabbed the door on one side and was able to get it open just wide enough.
“What is going on! Who is attacking us?” He yelled over a brief exchange of phaser fire.
“You don’t know?” She was short for an Andorian, all manor of blood was streaked across her red uniform. Some of it was green. The only Vulcan on board was assigned to the bridge. That wasn’t a good sign. He shook his head no as they pulled the two wounded officers into the hangar. Once in, the two other Andorains that were guarding the door on the outside stepped in and closed it. The attackers were at the door, he could hear a scraping sound.
“We need to get into that pod and get off the ship, the self destruct has about a minute left.” The Andorian woman said.
“Who is on the other side of the door?” Theo was still standing by the door, listening to the scraping sound. She turned and gave him a curious look.
“No, no, no, no, no. We can not all fit in there, we will suffocate before we can find a planet to land on. That's if the Borg don’t blow us out of the sky before hand.” Theo was standing in the open airlock blocking the rest of the crew from loading the two wounded officers. He was shaking his head. These people were crazy he thought.
“We have less than thirty seconds before we all die, I will shoot you if you don’t move you coward.” The larger Andorain security officer was already pointing his phaser at him. He nodded and moved out of the way. The rest of them filed in and took seats along the back as the small Anodrian women sat in the pilot's seat. They worked together quickly and the little cramped pod launched so fast from the ship it startled him. All he could think about was not puking. The shuttle was lurching up and down, side to side as the pilot dodged debris. He could see large chunks of something all over the place. It would be a nightmare to pilot around it. For once he was glad for the company, he would have killed himself already.
“I don’t recognize you, what's your name?” The large Andorain security officer that had threatened to shoot him was staring at him. He was still holding the phaser, sort of pointing it in Theo’s direction.
“Ensign Theo Lambda, just came on board at Earth Spacedock. This is my first assignment.” He could hear the nervousness in his voice. His hands were shaking and he was slightly bouncing his right leg.
“Shit first posting, you only get assigned to the Princeton if you screw up. Bad timing to. I’m Lieutenant Akan Th’tiaros, head of security. I do not recall seeing your name on any duty rosters.”
“You wouldn’t, I am assigned to Biological Processing” He said it as flatly and plainly as possible. He a look of confusion from everyone but the pilot.
“What is that? Never heard of that, and I know about everything on the ship.” The officer was leaning in and staring intently at Theo. The pilot spoke up.
“He’s the janitor Akan, he takes care of ‘waste’. No wonder we never saw him. I don’t even know what deck that's on.”
“Neither do I….” Theo began to say more when the pod was hit by something and they went into a spin. The straps were digging into his shoulders keeping him from sliding up the wall, his head was smacking the wall again and again. He tried to glance at the pilot but everything was going black. He couldn’t tell if that was from the power failing or if he was losing consciousness.
There was a loud thud, far off in the distance. It echoed a bit as he tried to open his eyes. Someone yelled from the other direction. There voice muffled as it echoed off some far off wall. Then he was out again. The next sound he heard was the beeping of a medical bed, some device hovering over his head. He opened his eyes but everything was black. He tried to speak but the pain in his throat kept any sounds from escaping his mouth. He passed out from the pain.
He knew he was awake, he could clearly hear the voices of doctors and nurses moving about. He could hear other patients answering questions. None of their voices were familiar. He opened his eyes to look around but the world was still black, he started to speak. The pain in his throat was gone, his head felt light and the words came out like someone else was speaking for him. He didn’t recognize his own voice.
“What happened?” He croaked
“Lay back, you’re going to be ok.” A nurse had come to his bedside when the monitors had picked up he was awake.
“I can’t see.” He whispered, his voice sounded more like his own.
“I know, we’re working on it, should take another week for your eyes to heal. Now lay back and try not to move.” She waited a moment for him to comply before she patted lightly on the chest and walked away.
He had so many questions from that statement. The most obvious being, how long has he been out? The second question would be, where the hell was he? Some time went by before another nurse stopped to check on him. It took him a moment to decide whether or not to say anything.
“So how long have I been here? Where are we?” He said it as flatly and calmly as possible. He hoped his tone would help get an answer.
“You’re in the medical bay, that's all I am allowed to tell you. Not until you have been de-briefed.” She touched his shoulder, gave it a slight squeeze and started to walk off.
“And when will that be?” He asked with as little emotion as possible. His heart rate was jumping, threatening to come right out of his chest.
“Do you think you can answer some questions now? Do you feel light headed?” She asked
“Yes, no.” He answered curtly. He was getting annoyed by the way she was speaking to him. He got the sense there was something she wasn’t saying.
“Ok, I will have you moved into a side room for privacy and let security know you are ready to talk.” She turned quickly and walked away.
It was only a matter of minutes before someone else came by, made some kind of adjustment to the bed he was lying on. With a swift motion the bed began to roll across the medical bay. He still couldn’t see but he was aware of different levels of black, maybe grey passing over head. If he had to guess the lighter patches were lights. The bed stopped and turned, the quick motion made him feel like he was going to throw up. Someone was already in the room and most have seen the expression on his face, they held a small bucket up to his face and placed there cool hands around the back of his neck.
“If you need to throw up, please do so. There are two officers in the room that want to talk with you. Can I raise your head up a bit?” Her voice was soft, he couldn’t place what species she was, clearly not human by how thin and cold her hand felt on his neck. There was something familiar about her voice but he couldn’t place it.
“I’m ok.” He tried to sound as confident as possible, even as he said he fought back the urge to throw up.
“I would like to know where I am before we begin.” He said.
“So you don’t really know where you are?” A stern voice answered. He couldn’t tell where the voice was coming from. He glanced around as if his sight had returned trying to figure out where to turn his head.
“No, why am I supposed to know? Have I been told before?” He really did not like the feeling that was creeping up his spine.
“You actually shouldn’t know. You were sedated when you were brought here. With some very heavy doses I might ad.” This was the other voice, he was to the right of the first man.
“How long have I been here? What happened? Did the others in the shuttle pod make it?” His mind was racing, trying to remember the last few seconds in the pod. “There was a loud whack, something hit us, we started spinning.” His voice trailed off at the thought.
“That was almost three months ago.” The first voice said.
The statement hit him as hard as the wall had in the shuttle pod. The confusion most have been written all over his face, the nurse spoke up.
“His readings are elevated, he does not believe your last statement.” It was cold how she said it.
“You must be Vulcan, readings elevated, you think? I have been out cold for 3 months. No clue what happened? Didn’t even know who was attacking the ship until I boarded that stupid little pod. I wasn’t even aware the attack was still going on until after we launched! Idiots, taking a shuttle out while the Borg are attacking, suicide.” He shook his head. His whole body was tingling now, on the verge of shaking.
“So you know it was the Borg who attacked. What happened when you undocked from the USS Princeton?” The second voice asked.
“We got hit by something, maybe ran into some debris, I don’t really know. That's it.” The tingling was subsiding now. His head didn’t feel so hollow. For a moment he thought he could make out movement in the room. He could certainly see different shades of lights now. Somewhere off in the distance he heard several voices say something in unison. The sounds were strange but familiar. It had a calming effect on him.
“His readings are back to baseline.” The Vulcan nurse said.
“Does he still have the drug in his system?” The stern man asked from his left.
“Negative, it has been broken down already.” The nurse replied
“I think I am starting to see again.” He said in almost a whisper. The voices called out again in unison. It made him feel better each time he heard them.
“You’re not telling me something, what happened to me in the last three months?” He said it as forcibly as he could. Realizing for the first time since he woke up that his legs and arms were in restraints. He tried to lift them up, feeling the pressure against his arms, gauging the amount of force it would take to break free. He could tell by the effort that he could do it. The nurse backed away from him. She was standing on the left side of the bed, a hypo spray in hand. She was Vulcan, pretty in that Vulcan uptight way. He turned to look at the two officers who were asking him questions. They looked weary, uniforms dirty, one torn, both had phaser rifles at the ready.
“What is going on? Release me! NOW!” His voice was not his own, he could hear at least three other people in the medical bay say the same thing at the same time he did. It was alarming. At that stunned moment the two officers raised there rifles and fired at him. Nothing happened. There was a blur in front of his face but he felt nothing. The Vulcan nurse and the two officers ran from the room. He broke free of the restraints and stood up. He felt good, invincible. He had never felt like this in his whole life. Something had changed in him. He felt a drive, a purpose. He had something he needed to do but couldn’t tell what. He walked out of the room and saw three Borg Drones standing in the middle of the medical bay. They were staring at each other, a look of confusion on there faces.
The distant voices grew stronger and he was aware of the others' thoughts. He glanced down at himself taking in the site. He had implants on over half his body, they were Borg implants. The voices grew stronger.
“Investigate and Assimilate all life forms in this sector, Wolf 359.”