Lieutenant JG Etan Iljor - A Suspicious Mind Part I

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Michael Meir-Wright

Sep 24, 2021, 5:51:39 PMSep 24

(( Science Department, Rinascita Station ))

Less than a minute after Iljor had expressed surprise that the away team had beamed over into an empty transporter room, they were joined by two denizens of the station. One of them- a short gentleman that Iljor guessed was human- had a phaser attached to his hip and a cheerful demeanour. The other was contrast personified; towering above the human man and bore an expression that suggested he wanted to be anywhere else but there. He had skin so pale that in places it was a light grey and in others, almost white. There was something familiar about the latter. Iljor was sure that he had never met the man before- but his species seemed to trigger something within his mind, just out of reach. Carefully not to stare, Iljor made a point to look at the human as he spoke.

Careswell: Greetings, and welcome to Rinascita Station. I’m Nat Careswell, Chief of Station Security.

Grendle: I am Grendle.

Adyr: Lieutenant Commander Cayden Adyr, Mission specialist and team leader. This is my team.

She gestured to each of the officers.

Sherlock: ::giving their hosts a nod:: Lieutenant Aine Sherlock, USS Resolution’s Chief of Security.

Yellir: ::bowing slightly:: Junior Grade Lieutenant, Hallia Yellir. I’m a Science Officer aboard, it’s lovely to make your acquaintances. I’m certain I will thoroughly enjoy looking through your science facilities.

Etan: Lieutenant Etan Iljor, also from the Science team. ::he said, bobbing his head to Creswell first and then Grendle.:: It’s a pleasure to meet you both.

Careswell chuckled as he spoke again.

Careswell: Heh, I could tell you anything you want to know about our security arrangement, not that we have many. But for the sciencey stuff, you’ll have to ask my friend Grendle here.

There was something about the way that the human looked up at the taller, paler being. It seemed laced with something untoward- although what remained frustratingly out-of-reach of Iljor’s comprehension. All that he could tell was that Cresswell might have been affable on the surface, but there was something else just lurking beneath. As he watched the two denizens of the science, he felt his lips purse together ever-so-slightly as he wondered just what was going on.

Careswell: ::pleasantly, never breaking eye contact:: Right, Grendle? You can answer our guest’s questions, can’t you buddy?

Grendle nodded slowly before replying. A frisson of tension seemed to have developed between the two, which only served to deepen Iljor’s nascent unease.

Grendle: I am certain of my ability to do so, yes.

Adyr: Good. Then perhaps we can get started.

Yellir: What does this station specialise in? Do you have multiple officers that work towards a singular purpose? Or do you prefer to generalise?

Hallia had taken the words right out of Iljor’s mouth, having been about to ask the very same question.

Etan: You see, we have very limited information about your operations here.

Grendle: We are a simple station, reclamation of water from the atmosphere is our primary goal.

Though he kept his face perfectly neutral as he nodded in understanding, Iljor found himself suspicious of the answer. Water reclamation was a basic process of most Starfleet and Federation outposts and supported a myriad of other functions such as environmental controls. For Grendle to suggest that it was the station’s primary reason for existence did not make sense, at least to the young Bajoran science officer. He filed the unusual nature of the station’s mission profile and turned into the conversations around him.

Sherlock: And what about you, Chief? You have many security issues here?

Careswell: Heh, heavens, no. We’re a little group here. We’ve all gotten to know each other. To bond. It really is like a family here. And you don’t mistreat your family. You just don’t. ::long bear, chipper:: Right, Grendle, buddy-ol’ pal?

It was a rhetorical question since Careswell did not wait for Grendle’s reply as he continued on.

Careswell: Yeah, I’d imagine you’re way out of our league, Lieutenant Sherlock. Way out here, our security needs are pretty minimal.

Etan: oO So minimal that this man walks around with a phaser… Oo

Adyr: Seems reasonable for a small station.

Yellir: What sort of technology do you use for your procedures? Have you modified any of your instruments to better streamline such a task?

Grendle: It is a mundane, yet common enough procedure. I am certain you have better things to observe than an old scientist bringing hydrogen and oxygen together to water their plants?

Etan: Then your work is botanical in nature? ::he asked, thinking back to the earlier statement Grendle had made about water reclamation. Had he really just contradicted himself so easily?:: oO What is going on here, really? Oo

It was as if Careswell had not heard Iljor speak.

Careswell: Good thinking, my man man, “Monumendal Grendle”. ::beat:: My buddy here has got to get back to his work, but I’d be happy to show you our games rooms and cafeteria. They make a great kedgeree. The haddock almost tastes like real fish.

Iljor by now was certain that whatever relationship existed between Nat Careswell and Grendle- whose presence was still playing upon his mind- neither of them really considered the other a ‘buddy’.

Adyr: Oh, but we are here to observe your work. It is fascinating, research on the edge of the frontier.

Yellir: You sound like an expert in your field, perhaps… a demonstration would be in order? I’ve always been very fascinated by the process of water reclamation. It’s such a noble goal for a scientist to dedicate themselves towards.

Etan: Indeed. ::he agreed, wondering if Hallia was having the same misgivings about the apparent nature of the station’s research.::

Sherlock: Yes, we’d love to see the work you do. ::pointing to Iljor and Hallia:: Especially these two.

Careswell: Well then they’re in good company with my Dokkaran Doge over here.  Grenders is the eminent waterizering specialist in the quadrant.  If you want to learn more about H or 2O, you spend an hour or two in his presence.  I swear, you three ought to prepare to have your minds blown.

Dokkaran! That was it, Iljor realised. He had read about Dokkaran society during his anthropological studies at the Academy on Betazed. He had been fascinated by how the species had come to be and the direct role that Starfleet had played in it. He had not realised that members of that small culture had travelled beyond their homeworld of Ceata.

Adyr: These are our two brightest science officers. While I am certain to be awed by the work, they will find the meaning in it.

Grendle: The meaning is more water. ::glances at Careswell:: But if it is permitted, I see no reason why you may not observe.

Careswell: Heh, Grendy, what do you mean, “if it is permitted?”  Of course it is permitted!  We’ve got nothing to hide from these people.  ::chuckles::  Honestly, why you gotta be like that?  ::long, post-laugh sigh; gestures to Grendle::  He kids, really.  You’re welcome to stay and watch a demonstration.

Sherlock: ::feigning enthusiasm and smiling big:: Great. We can't wait to see the lab.

Iljor nodded, attempting to disguise his growing suspicions with faux-eagerness.

Adyr: Yes, I look forward to seeing it. So far the station is quite unique. How long have you been here?

Careswell: I’ve been here for sixteen long, lonely months.  My position doesn’t permit me to bring my family, so my hubby Kenny lives on Starbase 118 with our kids, Dottie and Kenny, Jr.  I don’t get to see them nearly as often as I’d like.  That’s why I’ve gotten so close to the crew here.  I’m not exaggerating when I say it is a family.  ::beat::  There are a couple more of us, besides Grendissimus here, who’ve been here since the project began.

It sounded like a lonely life for Careswell on Rinascita and despite the increasing feeling that something was amiss aboard, Iljor felt a pang of sympathy for the Chief of Security- although that was quickly extinguished when he referred to his Dokkaran colleague with another decidedly cheesy nickname.

Sherlock: That is some time together. You all must be very close…

Yellir: Ooh?! That long? I would never have guessed! Everything looks brands new, even the environment is quite sterile and incredibly clean.

To Be Continued....

Lieutenant JG Etan Iljor
Science Officer
USS Resolution

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