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Crewman Ghost Reporting For Duty

Posted on Fri Jun 10th, 2016 @ 12:24am by Ensign Otoha Takahashi RN
Edited on on Fri Jun 10th, 2016 @ 12:30am

Mission: S1E1 - Booby Trap
Location: Quarters, USS Vindex
Timeline: Off duty hours


Otoha might have been off duty, but she still had a task or two to perform in preparation for duty. In her quarters, she powered on a robust tech-comb and carefully locked in a setting. She didn't want anything to become a distraction, including her own hair. Slowly, she began combing the computerized grooming device through her hair. At precisely the correct place on each strand, it made the cut. After a minute of combing, her hair was now closely cropped in a style that she liked. After turning the head right and left to inspect in the mirror, she powered off the device and pulled a vacuum cleaning hose from the wall to dispose of the clippings.

A playful female voice spoke behind her, "Remember the time your brother sabotaged your tech comb settings?"

The startled Otoha jumped, snapping around to see the intruder. Calming her pounding heart, she closed her eyes and sighed deeply, "Mai! What... are you Doing here?"

Her spritely visitor laughed through a bright smile, "What a silly question!" She happily leapt into a landing in an easy chair. "If for no other reason, to help you redecorate. These quarters feel like a technological tomb... no beauty at all!"

Otoha checked her room console to ensure that privacy mode had not been suspended. "You shouldn't be here! What do you want from me?"

The worried friend shook her head, "What have I ever wanted? To be your friend!" She watched as the nurse had to turn away. Slowly, the visitor stood and walked up behind her, "What have I always been to you?"

Otoha impulsively reached up out of nervous habit to twirl the end of her hair.

"You just cut it, sweet one."

The nurse radiated tenseness, turning with a sigh to face her, "I'm sorry. It's just..."

"Buried fears will always torment you, Otoha. What can you hide from me?"

Wishing that she had familiar floor cushions, she settled into a chair, "I never want to hurt you or offend you."

Her visitor settled right beside her, mood changing from playful to tender. "You are allowing other people to put fears inside your mind."

"Yes." She looked to her with misting eyes, "I shall always cherish you. You came to me when I was a desperately lonely child, and you stayed with me."

"But now?"

Tears welled up, "I don't know how to live with you and serve in Starfleet at the same time. They... I don't want to..."

"You remember what happened as a child when you told people about me. When you were small, people thought it was cute that you had an imaginary friend. But as you matured, they worried that you had some sort of mental problem. They even put you in counselling." She received subtle nods. Her tone became even softer, "And now, if you were to report a special friend that only you can perceive, they'd study you under a nano-scope. If they found no evidence of me, you would receive a medical discharge. If they did see something anomalous, they would isolate you from active duty and keep you in a laboratory."

Otoha looked at her and pleaded, "Who are you? Are you a xeno life form who chose me so that you could study the Federation?"

"Would you blame me if I was?"

She shuddered in a sigh and shook her head, "No. But... Malevolent species have secretly infiltrated the Federation before to collect intelligence." Worried, she hastily appealed, "Such possibility is no reason for my heart to pull away from you. Friendship always comes with vulnerability. But... I must also honor legal responsibilities."

There was silence for a time. Mai nodded, "That's why you always reject offers for command positions. A humble servant of low rank is far less a security threat."

Otoha met eye contact, "I am proud of being servant! I never regret it. Power and rank mean nothing to me in comparison to having you in my life. If you are a xeno scout, then let my friendship be a gesture of goodwill in behalf of my species."

Mai smiled brightly, "Can't I just be a symbiotic friend without having a secret agenda?"

The nurse wasn't fearful, but she shook her head, "But you are secretive about both your origin and your nature."

"Does that hurt you?"

"No. What I myself don't know, I am incapable of betraying. I am loyal to the Federation, but I have reasons to fear it."

"Otoha, you will find that in any world." She snickered, "I promise to not cause trouble. Well... not too much, at least."

The nurse finally found a chuckle, "Your definition and mine for 'not too much' have never been the same."

Mai leaned in to give her a kiss to the cheek, "Somebody's got to keep you on your toes!"

Otoha rolled her eyes and turned to speak, but her friend had vanished. She sat for a little while and then took a deep, restful breath. It was time for bed. "Thank you, Mai."


Ens. Otoha Takahashi
possible figment of the imagination Mai

USS Vindex
Bravo Fleet


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