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Insecure in Security

Posted on Sun Jul 5, 2020 @ 10:57pm by Danielle Mercursi-Mallory & Lieutenant Commander Arrda

Mission: The Nanjing
Location: Personal Quarters
Timeline: MD 1 || 1425 Hours

As the door closed behind him, Arrda stepped aside and leaned against the wall for a moment, taking in a deep breath and letting it out slowly. For just this one moment, he was simply absorbing the feeling of being home. He could feel his wife, sense her, in the quarters, and that made him smile as he levered himself off the wall and removed his uniform jacket to hang it on the hook nearby.

"Where're you hiding, my Love?" he called with a note of humor in his voice as he moved farther into the room, heading toward the bedroom to take a shower and change into something more... relaxed.

On the ceiling above him, Danielle clung with a pair of antigrav boots and suction cups fastened to her hands. She smiled and tried not to laugh as she wanted him and waited for his next move before she pounced on him. She crept along the ceiling as she followed him and wondered when the big bad Chief of Security would think to look up.

As he approached the bedroom door, his awareness was caught by the feeling that he was being watched. He paused, frowning, and glanced into the bedroom. Empty. So where...?

Never forget, Trainees, the universe exists in three dimensions, not two. Never assume that your target or attacker is on the ground. Teleth Norr's words shifted through his mind, and he tilted his head back, turning in place to get a look at the space above him.

She looked down at him and gave a cheeky grin. "Darn. You just had to look up right when I was getting ready to pounce you," she said with a laugh.

Arrda chuckled, spreading out his arms. "Well, that's what you get for playing hide and seek with someone my age," he teased, adding, "But why should that stop you?" he asked with a wink.

"I'm stuck to the ceiling," Danielle admitted. "I can't get to the controls on my antigrav boots."

Arrda knew he would regret it, but he laughed softly. "Didn't think that one all the way through, hm?" he teased even as he moved to get one of the chairs that sat around the table in the outer room. Returning, he set the chair beneath and to the side of where she was attached to the ceiling so that when he released her, she wouldn't come crashing down on top of him but he was close enough to catch her. Pausing next to the chair, he got a contemplative look on his face, though his eyes gave him away as still teasing. "Hm, maybe I should let you hang up there for a bit for trying to sneak-pounce me."

She gave a growl and reached for him with one of her hands. "My hands are still free and you're a tall sack of man meat."

Arrda chuckled, dodging slightly to avoid being smacked as he stepped up onto the chair. "Relax, Love. I'm not suicidal enough to do that. If and when you got down, I'd likely be slowly murdered." He laughed softly as he grabbed hold of one boot. "Now, when I release your foot, lower it onto my shoulder, and I'll get the other." Yeah, he could just see what she'd do to him if he just unlatched her boots and let her crash to the carpet!

"Got it," Danielle said as she gave a nod. Not that she could do much more than that at the moment. "Ready."

Arrda turned off the mechanism in the boot he was holding, then released that boot so she could lower it to his shoulder. He then repeated the process with the other, staying perfectly still to allow her to either sit on his shoulders or get down or whatever else struck her fancy.

She lowered her feet to his shoulders, then reached up to touch the ceiling before she crouched down, then did a neat flip over him to land on her feet behind him. She wrapped her arms around him from behind and layed her head against his shoulders. "My hero."

He stood still for a moment, smiling, absorbing the feeling of her against him. Then, slowly, he turned in her arms so that he could wrap his around her. One arm went around her, and the other lifted so that he could run his fingers through her hair. "Well, I'd hardly call you a Damsel in Distress," he said with a smirl before his expression became serious, sincere, "but I will always be here for you." He leaned down and placed a soft, tender kiss to her lips.

Danielle returned the kiss. "I love you Arrrrda," she purred as she wrapped her arms around him front. "My big teddy bear."

That purring of his name always got him, and this time was no different. He gave her a squeeze and grinned. "I love you, Danielle, my little Ninja, sneaking about the house trying to surprise me." He paused to kiss her softly once more then lean back and look down into her eyes. "So besides plotting to mug me," he smirked as he said that then returned his expression to the sincere desire to know, "how was your day, my Love?" he asked.

She sighted after she gave him a kiss. "Boring. I never should have retired. How about yours?"

Arrda placed a soft kiss into her hair. "I'm sorry, Love," he commiserated, and he meant it. "It was... odd, my day I mean." A moment of thought, and he half-teased, "Well, if you're that bored, you could always come out of retirement."

"Odd?" Danielle echoed. "I'd heard that we found a Borg Cube, but it was wrecked. Is that the odd thing?"

He didn't bother to ask her where she had heard it since, being former Security herself, she had her ways. "Well, yes and no. It being destroyed was not completely unusual. It was the way it was destroyed." He frowned. "I'm not sure I'm allowed to tell you much more, but suffice it to say it was odd."

He shook himself a bit and looked down at her still in his arms. "But do you really want to talk about Borg Cubes, Love?"

"No, not really," she said but had noted his expression when she revealed she knew about it. "I looked out the window and saw it before it blew up," she admitted.

Arrda nodded, chuckling at himself. "Good point. I should have thought about that." He sighed. "What did it look like to you? I mean, I know it exploded, but did you see anything unusual about it?"

"The fact that it exploded without a shot being fired is what I noticed the most," she said.

He nodded. "Yeah. What we're trying to figure out is why." He sighed again. "I'm no scientist, but it seemed wrong somehow. And I can't shake the feeling that I'm missing some vital piece of information, that it's right there and I'm not seeing it." And that said piece of information might be needed to save lives, that we're all in great danger.

"Did the sensors or your Cybersecurity geeks figure it out?" Danielle asked as she went to the replicator to make his favorite drink and brought it back to him.

Arrda smiled as he watched her. She knew him so well, always knew what to do to make him more relaxed or just feel better. Taking the drink in one hand, he caught her hand with the other and drew her with him to the couch where he sat and leaned back into the cushions for a moment before taking a sip of the drink and then speaking. "So far, no. Science and Engineering are working on it, but all I can do at this point is wait and trust my people to do their jobs." He sighed. "Though I don't suppose I'll be the first to know anything when they do find it." Sometimes this frustrated him. How could he protect his crew when he had no idea what he was supposed to protect them from!

"With the Borg, I'd be prepared for anything. It could have been a trap to spread their poison in other ways," she said as she settled down on his lap. "I'd do constant scans for their environmental requirements and if any crew members have stopped reporting for duty."

He nodded as she spoke, having thought of the first part of that. He had expected that the last bit would have been reported by someone, but maybe not? Maybe he should have his teams actively check into that? Make sure everyone was where they were supposed to be. "I agree. No one has reported anyone out of place, but maybe I should have my people actively look for it," he said, giving voice to his thoughts. "There is just this feeling I can't shake, like something is wrong and i'm not seeing it." He sighed. Had he said that already?

Taking a sip of his drink, he closed his eyes and tried not to think for a moment, let his mind go blank, just feel this moment. Concentrating on the sensation of his wife's weight on his lap, her scent in his nostrils, the sound of her breathing, the taste of the beverage lingering on his tongue and the sense of her, the telepathic feeling of her. He was creating a Concept, the visual aspect of it filling itself in for him. He filled his mind with it, let it be the only thing there for a moment. This was a focusing exercise he had learned long ago, a technique for re-centering himself, and it was working now as well.

He opened his eyes and smiled at his beautiful wife. "Thank you, Love."

"You're welcome," Danielle said softly. "However, now to put thoughts and words into action. Just because something might be wrong doesn't mean it's obvious. Especially where the Borg are concerned."

He thought about her words for a moment, then nodded. "So true. Not every assimilation is overtly done in a Cube." He frowned as he thought more carefully about that. "Give me a second. I'm going to send a coded message to my teams to have them check crew locations as you suggested a moment ago."

There was one problem with that. His PADD was in his jacket which he had hung by the door, and she was on his lap. He frowned, not waning to dislodge his wife, but the situation was such that he felt that it was necessary for the moment. He smiled softly at her then. "I do need to get my PADD though to do that."

She climbed off of him after giving him a kiss, then headed for a table console. "Dinner from The Black Hole?" she asked him.

He smiled. He always thought that he could not love her more than he did at that moment, but he was always wrong. Every day made him love her more. "Sure. You know what I like," he answered with a smile as he rose and retrieved the PADD from his jacket on the hook by the door. Quickly, but carefully, he entered his encryption code then sent an alert to each of his team leaders, telling them to discreetly -- he didn't need any potentially compromised crew realizing this was happening -- make certain that everyone was where they were supposed to be and report back to him using this encryption. He then returned to the couch, setting the PADD on the end table beside where he sat. "I've sent the message; now I just have to wait for the team leaders to report back."

"Sounds like fun," Danielle said as she placed their orders. "As for them reporting back, it should be soon."

Sure enough, his 'team leaders' began checking in one after the other until they were all accounted for.

When his PADD informed him that they had all reported in, he looked at the information. Normally, entries for moving crew around didn't phase him; that happened from time to time. But the situation being what it was, he was questioning everything. He looked up at Danielle. "I may be just being paranoid, but would you look at this? It seems that a few crew are not at their normal places, but there appear to be authorizations for them to be elsewhere. Normally, that wouldn't make much difference unless it was a lot of them. But with what we've been discussing, I'm feeling a bit... cautious."

She took it and looked it over, even though she wasn't authorized to do so. After a minute, she handed it back to him. "It looks good to me, Arrda. I wouldn't worry too much since everyone checked in."

He knew she wasn't authorized. He knew he broke a regulation just then. But he also knew he could trust his wife. And she had been Security before she retired, so she made a good, objective set of eyes. Maybe he should ask the commodore for special allowance for her to view his work after this was all over. He sighed. "You're right, Love. I'm sorry. It just feels like I'm missing something crucial." He shook his head slightly to clear it then smiled. "I will try not to worry about it tonight." He put the PADD on the end table and sat back into the couch.

Danielle came up behind him and began to work her hands into his tense muscles. "Good," she said. "Now just relax and let me."


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