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Sensory Issues

Posted on Thu Feb 25th, 2021 @ 3:38pm by Lieutenant Eklisa & Lieutenant JG Alex Lockwood

Mission: Swarm
Location: Lateral sensor array #14

Eklisa emerged from the Jeffries' Tube to the sensor bay to work on the long-range sensors, as Sukan requested. She wasn't much on an engineer, but engineers were in short supply and the sensor arrays were her responsibility, as CSO. Bits of the ship seemed to be falling apart, where it had been stripped clean, but the close quarters of the tubes and the bay weren't uncomfortable to her. They reminded her of home.

With a private grin, she got the sensor beeping pleasantly. Whatever that meant, she couldn't say, but she scanned the sensor to find out.

Alex Lockwood having taken a brief break from the warp core job, noting a reference to the sensor arrays made his way to the sensors were located, only to find someone there, in the form of a female who was working on the sensors "Oh i didn't realize anyone was here," he said to the female.

Alex hadn't expected to find anyone here working on the sensors, given the shortage of engineers but it appeared someone had taken the initiative.

"Hello there! Don't mind me, I just have to get the sensors online for our navigator." She took a short break and tied her braid up into a bun, scanning the individual who'd just joined her, "You're an engineer, right? Do you know anything about the sensor arrays?" He looked pale, but who didn't after months in space. Whatever he was, he could help her and he didn't seem hostile. That was enough for her. "I'm Eklisa, by the way, Science division."

Alex studied the Denobulan female for a few moments "Alex Lockwood, engineering, and yes I know a bit about the sensors," he told Eklisa and moved towards where she was working "I haven't met many Species 5200, i mean Denobulans before," he said blurting out the Denobulan Borg species designation before he could stop himself.

"5200. Nice round number! We don't usually get out too far from our native system, I'm a bit strange in that sense. You're a Borg- or at least a 'free' one, right? How interesting! I've never met a Borg, myself. Star Fleet- got to love their 'infinite diversity', yes?" She had a million questions, but she'd found most species thought it was rude to inquire about body modifications, personal history, family life, intimate life, species differences, or nutritional requirements- at least in the first few minutes. Patience, her second mother's voice echoed in her head.

"Soval asked me to prioritize the long range sensors, but I've been put in charge of making sure they all get operational in time for our first excursion. It keeps beeping at me."

"I was Borg once yes, assimilated trying to reach Wolf 359 to fight Locutus, yes that was a long time ago, but its all in the past," Alex assured Eklisa.

Alex walked crossed the distance between them and examined the sensor "It means that its powered up but needs to be tested to verify it is working properly, if it is it will stop beeping, if not then there is an issue," he told Eklisa.

Alex could tell Eklisa was curious about him, which was understandable given not many who are turned into Borg escape the Collective, let alone serve on a Starfleet vessel/station given many fear that they are still a threat to them and the Federation regardless of if they were still 'plugged in' or not.

"That's still fresh in some longer memories, I'm sure." She spoke uncharacteristically gravely for an instant, then her shallow smile returned- she'd policed her oversized grin when he'd come in. "Well, I'll just have to test it then! How do I do that?" She showed no sign of fear, but inspected the augmented side of his head and experimentally took note of how he smelled- oh not like other humans, not exactly, bit of the metal and heated computer parts- reminded her of the biomechanics lab, actually. Her eyes didn't linger long on his head, though, flipping back to her task. There would be time to get to know Alex better and learn about his implants should he be willing to share.

Alex indicated to the control panel in front of them "See that button right there, the one glowing yellow, press it, if it turns green the sensor is good, if it goes red, we'll need to run a diagnostic scan and repair or replace what's missing," he told Eklisa.

"Forgive me asking, feel free not to, but what makes a Denobulan leave their home world and join the ranks of Starfleet?" Alex asked Eklisa from her comment earlier and his knowledge of Species 5200 her presence seemed odd.

She pressed the button, "Oh, curiosity more than anything. The space around Denobula is full of interesting mysteries, of course, but there are so many more mysteries out here. For instance, I'd never meet a Borg in Denobulan space. Rarely meet anything other than a Denobulan, actually. Curiosity and I'm young and skilled and useful, who doesn't want to see other stars while they can? "

Alex nodded "I can understand wanting to get out and explore the galaxy, hence i joined Starfleet, didn't expect to spend most of my life a Borg drone, but I did," he told Eklisa "Right the button turned green so its fully operational, and no beeping," he added moments later.

"Quite a sizable diversion in your life's itinerary I'm sure." She nodded at the sensor, "That's good then, the sensor I mean. I've just got to update a few of the other sensors in here and then I can move to the next sensor bay. Do most of them work similarly?"

Alex consulted his PaDD as he wasn't 100% certain "If this information is correct yes," he said after he'd double checked the data "Do you miss Donobula?" he asked Eklisa.

Alex having noticed something looked amiss with a wall panel moved slightly further down from where she was and examined the panel and what was behind, the wall panel had buckled but none of the wiring behind had been damaged.

"Yes." She admitted, "Everywhere is so big here, so far apart, and no one wants to talk about the little details that are often more important than what movie they watched last. When you were in the collective, privacy didn't exist, if I'm remembering Borg hiveminding correctly? You might understand me somewhat. On Denobula, there is a bit of a similar nature, though in a much less invasive way. Instead of wires projecting our thoughts to strangers, we have a multitude of family and friends we'd happily share our closest thoughts with. 'Privacy' is strange to us at the best of times, but humans and vulcans and the like don't even want to discuss who they're romantically interested in- as if the sharing of such would hurt them." She found herself ranting, but couldn't help it. She scoot over to watch what he was doing. "I miss climbing trees with my sisters and discussing some boyfriend a few of us had shared- discussing his psychology and compatibility with a friend or another sister. I miss my bedroom, all the siblings I shared it with, my mothers, my fathers. I miss my friends and kissing them when we were happy, or shouting when we were angry. I miss grudges I've held for years only to forgive them when they bring me tea for the fiftieth time. Everyone's so impatient and guarded and far away. But I wouldn't trade here for Denobula in a hundred years. Everything's so interesting, despite the vastness of space."

Alex understood what she meant "You are correct, I know it might sound strange, but the one thing that i miss about the Borg, is being part of the Hive Mind you knew you were not alone in what was going on, there were trillions of others all in the same situation, but all those voices kept you enslaved to the Hive, the sheer numbers overwhelmed your own sense of self, and you did as the Hive commanded you could not resist, nor like her be blamed if something went wrong, cause if it did you were in all likelihood dead or damaged beyond repair, and few survived to recount what happened,"

Alex regretted any harm he had done whilst plugged into the Borg Collective, but there was zero chance of it coming back to haunt him, he was a long way from where he'd been as a drone, and the likelihood of a drone he assimilated being free was minimal, drones do not escape the Borg easily.

Eklisa nodded as he spoke. “I’m sorry if I brought any discomfort to the surface, Alex, but I’m glad you can understand what I mean about the feeling of connection. Being on Denobula is being an animal in an ecosystem the way being a drone is being a cog in the machine. The only difference really is that on Denobula you get to be yourself, and people will love or hate you for it, and all your actions will be your fault. I could not take a step without the whole town knowing about it, but I would take that step on my own choice with only myself to blame, whatever happened. I miss being known and knowing people intimately, down to the last time they ate or slept, all without effort. I can’t imagine I would enjoy being a borg drone for any reason, really, but I would be familiar with the lack of privacy.”

"No need to apologize, it is not a topic I discuss often, most people prefer to avoid me," Alex told her "I doubt anyone enjoys being Borg, well except for the Queen who rules over all Borg, but she must be the only one, I recall from the briefest memories of some new drones the thrill of finally being assimilated, is soon drowned out and they lose any sense of self the grim realities of Borg life settle in and any of those thoughts are erased quickly as being irrelevant, some seek to become Borg and achieve the end goal, others resist and become Borg regardless, how you become a drone matters not to the Borg," he added.

Alex found several burned out wiring looms behind another buckled panel and tagged them as needing to be replaced "Keep testing the sensors, these wires won't affect the sensors," he told Eklisa, "Looks like the wires connect to the interface unit which isn't working," he added.

“Well that can’t be useful.” She got up and set about fixing one of the planetary scanners, “I have no intention of avoiding you should our paths cross again I assure you. You’re about as likely as anyone else to suddenly turn violent and if I avoided everyone who looked different I’d still be back home. If you ever need someone to talk to who isn’t a counselor, you’re welcome to my ear. I do not sleep and am often working on something or another so time is not an issue.” She got the sensor beeping and pressed the button. “How old were you when you were assimilated?”

"I was 23, out of the academy a year, I wanted to be assigned to an Excelsior or Galaxy class, but I got sent out to an Oberth class instead, cramped, old, slow, poorly armed, in major need of an overhaul or scrapping," Alex replied "The USS Adelaide was headed towards Wolf 359 to reinforce Admiral Hanson's fleet but wouldn't make it, her warp drive was overtaxed and a Borg vessel picked us up, and as far as i can tell we got assimilated before the Battle of Wolf 359," he added.

“That’s pretty young to lose yourself in a hive mind. Do your implants ever hurt?” Eklisa decided to get all her big questions out of the way, if he was tired of people too scared to approach him maybe he’d appreciate that she was open about what she wanted to know. Also, it was usually a good idea to get the big questions settled first. She waited for the sensor to stop beeping. In truth, he was a little intimidating to look at, but not overwhelmingly so. He was tall and unnatural and a little trepidation about him might be appropriate in some but Eklisa didn’t get the sense he held any malice in him, just a little anxiety.

"Not anymore no, although having an artificial left eye took quite some getting used to, I was fortunate as a General drone i kept both my natural arms, had I been a specific purpose drone I would have like my eye needed an prosthetic arm to replace the Borg prosthesis," he replied the thought of having one arm cut off was appalling.

“That would be unfortunate! I’m glad you got to keep your arms, and that there isn’t pain in your eye and all that. They clearly meddled with more of your biology than just your eye, though, didn’t they? I’m sure the doctor must keep extensive files on you and your new requirements.” She frowned at the red button as it lit up and ran a simple diagnostic, “I had to send for basic Denobulan anatomy information to be made available- it’s not a secret, it’s just we rarely see any doctors who aren’t Denobulan- but each drone has been augmented uniquely, so they didn’t have a book on you. They just had to study from observation I’m assuming. Was deassimilation particularly difficult?”

"The medical file on me is quite sizable yes, all drones have the same features built into them, however depending on species and purpose that is where they look different, some species have poor eyesight in which case both eyes are replaced, some species are more intelligent than others & thus are ideal for specific roles within the Collective. All drones need to regenerate regularly even me, they do not need to eat or drink as their power comes from regenerating, they don't need to breath hence they can survive in the vacuum of space. the moment nanoprobes are injected into a new drone the billions injected into the victim begin to rewrite your DNA, install devices that make you a slave to the Hive Mind, strengthen your bones, the first thing they attack is the blood, hence the pale skin, exoplate armour worn by all Borg drones is attached to their bodies, the installation of the ocular implant and eyepiece, as well as the removal of the 'useless limb' and installation of a prosthesis is apparently painless, but any notions of pain are removed. The fortunate ones are those too young to be Borgified immediately," Alex told Eklisa.

“I can only imagine how terrifying that must be- and how painful it would be initially, before they got to ‘fixing’ your pain response. I’ll have to do some research into Borg nanoprobes sometime. You don’t need to sleep either, then. I wasn’t entirely truthful when I said I don’t sleep, Denobulans hibernate for about 170 hours straight once a year. I just plan my hibernation for when I can get away for a few days and take medicines to help my hibernation last a little less time than it might. I just don’t sleep often. It amazes me how much the Borg is capable of, yet how little they really wanted. No art, no culture, no food, no love or hate or even ambivalence. They tried to take it all away from you, too, but I’m glad you’re here with us.”

Alex had to agree with Eklisa on the lack of any culture of the Borg "Unless such things as art, culture, food, love, or hate benefited the Borg quest for perfection it was disregarded as irrelevant," he told Eklisa "When you do your research on nanoprobes you might find another topic of interest, Maturation Chambers, and what they do," he added.

“Thank you, I will research those as well.” She ran the diagnostic again, “Have you made any good friends on the station yet?”

"Aurelia Garret, an Ensign and i had lunch together, she like you wasn't afraid to talk and ask questions, besides her, no, i've kept to myself for the most part, adjusting to socializing takes time, it took a long time to learn to speak again, drones rarely if ever speak," Alex replied.

“Ah, that’s just like her to befriend whoever she deems lonesome. She is a dear friend of mine as well. Socializing is a perishable skill, I’m afraid, but I’m sure you’ll find it even easier as time goes by. I’m glad your vocal chords didn’t atrophy entirely. You’d be a little more intimidating if you were silent. Now, don’t upset Aurelia too badly, please. Sometimes I feel she’s a little more fragile than she cares to admit.” She smiled warmly as she pressed the button again, thinking about her friend. “And if you’d like to you can consider me your friend as well.”

Alex smiled to himself "Likewise," he told her Eklisa was like Aurelia in showing that they were not afraid of the unknown, she reminded him of another Ensign he'd met at the academy, she perished at Wolf 359 or when the Cube was destroyed she was inquisitive and sought out all sorts of information he stopped himself from showing emotion about someone who'd been dead for a long time now.

"How are the sensors?" Alex asked trying to focus his mind on the job at hand.

“Coming along slowly but surely.” Eklisa was comfortably nestled near the sensor she was working on, toolkit beside her, “they all have different issues with the ship’s amenities for them. This one needs more power, this one doesn’t want to link up with the computer system. The joys of refurbishment. I get the feeling that reestablishing the sensor array is going to take longer than I’d hoped, but I’ll manage. I’ll have to let Viradi take over some more of our work so I can focus on this.”

Alex studied what Eliksa was referring to "Irs a damn shame Starfleet stripped this place of all useful stuff and viable vessels," he said "i would love more engineering personnel so we could help do these jobs more quickly," Alex added.

“I completely understand. Being both short-staffed and under-equipped is dangerous in space. Somehow though, I feel certain that our crew will manage. I trust Captain Xerix to keep us from destruction, and I trust everyone else to follow her orders. I just wish it wasn’t so much work for our engineering department. That’s why I’m trying to fix the sensors myself.”

"Much appreciated, i'd best go back to Engineering, it appears you have things under control down here, unless you require assistance," Alex said feeling that it was past time he left the area as he was feeling a touch uncomfortable.

“I’ll be fine here, thank you for your help earlier. I’m sure you have plenty of work in engineering to keep you busy.” She nodded to herself when the beeping finally stopped, “but don’t forget to take a break if you get overwhelmed, I’d rather you pause your work for a few minutes than work yourself to a mental breakdown, you know?”

Alex nodded "I do not wish to have a mental breakdown, so i won't work too long and too hard, despite being overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated," he told Eklisa "Don't work down here too long on your own, i recall a Petty Officer on the Adelaide went nuts working down here alone, from what i can recall she was insane when they found her," he told Eklisa.

"Perhaps I should head back sooner than later, I get the feeling solitude would break a Denobulan faster than mot other races." She smiled her wide unsettling smile at him.

Alex stowed his PaDD and crawled out through the tube "Until next time Denobulan," he said and then he was gone, headed back to Engineering.

 

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