Canopus Station
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The Case Of The Missing Combadges. And Uniforms. And Deck Plating.

Posted on Wed Jun 16th, 2021 @ 2:34am by Senior Chief Petty Officer Sharona Deluna & Lieutenant Commander Meilin Jiang & Commodore Theodore Grissom

Mission: S2:3: Snow Drift
Location: Canopus Station, OSI Secure Storage


Grissom turned to the phalanx of aides that followed me around like a defence picket and gestured to the OSI security officers who had roused the three Maggie-Verse officers from their quarters.

"Next time I want them on the response team when the balloon goes up," the Commodore muttered angrily. He then turned back to the three escorted souls, his aides scattering to the four corners of the globe to do his bidding. "I clearly recall stating that any devices with active or live parts of a nanotechnology nature were to be earmarked for special care."

He then pointed to a corner of the cargo bay where a medical bubble tent had been thrown up, and the ghostly images of two figures stood within.

"Spacers Goldstien and Whitman were doing the night run in here, when something in a crate of combadges got up. From what we got from the sensors and their statements, it was nanotech. A few kilos of the stuff moving in a swarm, and it was growing. Not a lot, but enough to know there were disassemblers and assemblers in the cloud," Grissom shook his head. "At least the only thing they're eating is non-organic polymers and metals, so at least your egg heads didn't make meat-eaters thank god."

"Combadges are inert, just dumb matter, no need to make'em all foo-foo-rah," Reggie said with a yawn.

"I couldn't tell you what or why whatever happened, happened," JT said in a flat monotone. She had been stripped of everything and offered choices she didn't have a choice but accept the lesser of evils. Turns out, evil was evil here and it had a name. Captain Benjamin Fucking Ingrams, the commanding officer and bastard who had yeeted Laughie.

"And yet we have a loose swarm of nanotech missing in the station. Once it left the cargo bay it went stealth, dispersed to the point the sensors couldn't detect it," Grissom said in a tone that broached the opinion a fuse somewhere had been lit.

"And like I said, shouldn't have been. Now if this had been one of the Blackfire warheads we told you about, then yeah pant breaching fear would be the right response. But a combadge ain't a anti-personnel weapon, ain't no nano in'em 'cept..." Reggie said before clamming up rapidly.

"Besides which, that tech doesn't exist," JT monotoned. Again, following what she had been told, she chose to reveal nothing, which was only a little less than she actually knew.

"Believe me when I say that if there had been sapient nanotechnology on board the Magnificent, I would not have been in need of personal lubricant," Justice said with his cybernetic finger raised in pontification. "Of course, I am a physical eunuch, but bodily augmentation has come very far, at least in our universe." A faint smirk ticked up the corners of his mouth as he waggled his eyebrows at one and all. " If you indeed have nanobots on the loose, which must be from another source than our ship, I nonetheless promise to dedicate my time to pinning down its location and penetrate its codebase until completion--I mean containment is achieved."

Grissom looked at Justice and squinted.

"The Borg really did fuck the smarts right out of that noggin of your's didn't they?" he asked. He pointed at a finger at JT. "Regardless the mess came out of a box filled with your tech leavings, ergo this is a problem that has three janitors on my staff eager to help. That would be your three. Find the nano, shut it down or destroy it. But I want it contained. Concordance fungus is one thing I can handle, but loose self-replicating machines is not something I want. You hear me?"

"And if we don't, Sir?" JT asked. "Also, keep pointing that finger at me, Sir, and I'll bite it off. No disrespect intended."

"She is not lying, sir." Justice again presented his cybernetic finger. "If you were to ask me for proof, then I would tell you the augmentation of this digit was not the result of Borg assimilation but reattachment after pointing it at the lieutenant for an extended period."

"If you don't you go back to your quarters and our deal to keep you and yours in active service goes on a very back burner. Think of this as one of those trust exercises the counsellor's always blabber on about. I can have my people do this, but they do not have the expertise you and yours have with this technology," Grissom said, withdrawing the hand and pressing his thumb and forefinger into his tired eyes. "It ain't customary for a commanding officer to say please, but I'll say it if it'll help sway your decision making process."

"Look, Sir. Commodore," JT began. "I'm a Lieutenant. I have a terrible track record. I can't take orders. They saddled me and every Academy misfit they could fit, and these two yo-yo's and packed the Magnificent with a lot of tech that they didn't bother to explain to me at all other than 'this eats inorganic matter. Don't let it on your uniform or important things. Got it?' and left it at that. Now, I can try to help since this stuff came from our universe, but please, just try a little respect like you just did. It can't hurt. We're who knows how far from home and we can't get back."

"I am beginning to see why your Starfleet Command assigned you a misfit crew and the two jokers here," Grissom said. In doing so he noticed that one of the Jokers had gone missing. During the sparring match, Reggie had gotten bored, or his attention had been caught by a shiny thing, and he'd go off to investigate.

"Its not weapons-grade nano," Reggie said from where he was peering at the remains of a standard station uniform that was suspended in a gel substrate. It looked worn out, with the sleeves and seams coming apart. "If it was the person wearing this here fetching garb would have a hole bored in their chest. Which is good, because weaponised nano tech is terrifying on a scale that makes me some what giddy."

He rubbed his chin fuzz, and clicked his fingers.

"It consumed raw matter from the combadges, and it had intent and direction so it's operating an AI, or at least a passable best guess. I'd put the money we're dealing with a Fetchers Mite. Rich folks on Montana would buy'em, make the nano look like something else. It gets stolen, and once it's passed out of a geo-located area and a timer counted down it activates: seeks out it's the owner and tell's them where their stuff was taken. Starfleet uses it from time to time to track high-value materials and personnel." Reggie info dumped.

"Look, I'll do what I can, but I need full access to the databanks that you took from Magnificent," JT said. "And Reggie here." She hesitated. "And Song."

"She means as personnel to aid in the investigation," Reggie said, before looking over at Justice. "Just in case you wanted to speak up about her having 'full access'."

"Access is access," Justice said plainly. "It cannot be helped if business and pleasure become mixed. That is merely the perfection of the Borg."

"Fine. Full access to the data banks, but supervised access to any technology or material we have in storage from the Maggie. Consider yourselves field agents of the Office Of Special Investigation, get the nano under control and then we can talk about everything else." Grissom said.

"Supervised with the restriction that they cannot have anything they see," JT amended.

Justice sighed. "Possession is a social construct that has no relevance to an object's utility," he pointed out. "I need not 'have' anything in order to make use of it."

"I'm just lovin' the sense of team work we got going on here," Reggie said. "I, for one, am happy to be workin' again. Now, does this OSI Agent thing come with good coffee?"

"Reggie, I have already promised to program any coffee program you desire for the replicator," Justice said. "And I can virtually guarantee there will be no additional proteins present like the first attempt."

"And just when the PTSD was beginning to fade," Reggie sighed. "At least tell me we get jackets. Or hats. A badge?"

"Judging by the lack of extraneous jackets, hats, and badges worn by the Commodore and the nascent scowl on his face, I surmise that such apparel is unlikely," Justice offered.

"Here, Nanotech, come on back home!" JT called hopefully, but with the force fields and everything erected, none could respond to her.

Justice shook his head in disapproval. "No, Lieutenant! You cannot just order machine life around like mindless homunculi. They need a gentle hand, a soft touch, some tender, loving care." A lopsided, lecherous grin began to spread across his face. "The nanontech needs to be finessed." Rolling his head around his neck, Justice took a deep breath and exhaled. "Come, darlings, to your garden of delights! Come upon us with your sensual particles, loveys, and let us bathe in the golden shower of your splendor!"

"Gentlemen, lady?" Grissom said and pointed to what looked like a drain in the floor. In actuality, it was an irregular patch of deck laced with tiny holes. "We're pretty sure they bored through the deck plate. Just a hunch."

"Yes, but they might still be able to hear us," Justice said. "If you've never tried talking to a machine, then you should do so and see if it isn't more compliant and docile."


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