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USS Excelsior Logs and Narratives
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  Captain T'Ashal, Lieutenant Jared Rawlings, Ensign Kovak, SD
JDL: "I Smell Rats!"
Login JDL: "I Smell Rats!"
by Lieutenant Rawlings, Ensign Kovak, and Brox (played by T'Ashal)

    As the lights of the transporter faded, Lieutenant Rawlings and Ensign Kovak found themselves aboard the Tchopitoulas. The two engineers immediately exchanged looks as the smell of the ship hit them like a slap in the face. The lighting was poor at best and although he couldn't see or hear them, Rawlings had the distinct impression there were vermin on board. The surroundings sure were fitting for such creatures.
    "You know when the Chief asked me to head this one up, I was excited, but now I'm wondering if this was meant as a punishment for something."
    Kovak stepped away from his companion, examining their surroundings. "I'd rather be on the bridge right now, and my fingers are imprinted on that console permanently as it is."

    Another shimmer of light announced the arrival of the Narrasi called Brox. Since Narrasi ships were not equipped with transporter functions, the Excelsior had done the honor of beaming him aboard the orbiting freighter.
    The tall alien looked around. "Ah. Pleasant lighting," he remarked, seemingly unperturbed even by the putrid smell. "Though I must say, I don't think I'd ever get used to this transporting," he noted, rubbing his arms vigorously. "All the nerves under my skin tingle." His eyes, glowing faintly greenish in the dimness, focused on the two Engineers. "Greetings," he made the arching hand gesture from his chest toward the two men, "I don't believe I have met you two yet."
    Rawlings turned to face the new arrival, and made his best attempt to mimic the greeting. "No, I don't believe so. I'm Lieutenant Rawlings, and this is Ensign Kovak," he said, motioning to the Denobulan just behind him. "I hope we can find everything you need to repair your ship. We'll certainly do our best."

    "I appreciate all your help," Brox nodded to both with a smile, "you've been so kind already, I was worried we'd be stretching your generosity by asking for engineering materials." He sighed. "What exactly do you think we can salvage on this... prison ship?"

    Kovak reached into his kit and removed a light, shining it ahead of him as he ventured a short ways down the corridor.
    Rawlings returned the smile, relieved that Brox seemed friendly. He was getting a little too used to the frigid welcome of the Romulans. "Well, in addition to the cargo they're carrying we should be able to find some basic tools you can use on your own ship and I'm hoping a functioning EPS manifold that will work with your ship's systems." Although that was just one of several items he'd requested. Rawlings started after Kovak, hoping the Ensign knew where he was leading them.

    "Anyx told me that the freighter was carrying kemocite." Brox followed the two men, carefully ducking beneath low cross-section bulkheads. He was in no need for light, his eyes were well adapted to the darkness. Narrasi were cave dwellers, after all. "She said your Captain agreed to let us have it."

    "Yes," Rawlings agreed. "Our people have very stringent regulations in regards to kemocite, so it's not permitted for us to take the cargo."
    "In here," Kovak called to them, disappearing into an open door off to the side.
    Rawlings motioned Brox in ahead of him. "How long has your ship been grounded?"
    Kovak was busy with a tricorder, scanning in every direction and following a seemingly invisible trail around what seemed to be the engine room.

    "Oh, probably about 300 cycles or so," Brox answered and slipped into the compartment behind the Denobulan.

    "Hm," Rawlings mused, trying to figure that time frame into an earth equivalent. "Well, with any luck it won't be that way for long. I've already got some duranium set aside for your ship's hull, and deuterium to get the thrusters back online."
    Kovak began stacking items into a small pile on the floor. While some were similar in appearance to their own engineering tools, he wasn't entirely certain what any one of them did. "No EPS manifold," he announced while grabbing a few more tools.
    "Where would it be?" Rawlings looked to Brox. "Any idea?"

    "Are you looking for spare parts, or pulling the existing one?" Brox inquired.

    "Either, but a spare would be better. That way we won't have to take anything apart." It would also mean less time in the rancid stink, but he wasn't about to voice that.

    "Usually these types of ships have another engine room in a deck below, or a half-deck at times," the Narrasi recalled, "where manual access to some power conduits lie and other propulsion functions. Maybe there are spare parts there, aside from the ones in use."

    "Why don't we split up then?" Rawlings suggested. "Kovak when you finish up here, head to the cargo hold and make sure the kemocite containers are suitable for transport." Then turning to Brox, "If you'd care to join me, maybe we can find your manifold." He was tallying the supplies in his head, and aside from prepping everything for transport that was the only item they'd yet to acquire.

    "There should be some sort of access hatch closer to the front of the vessel," Brox pointed down the dim corridor. "They tend to keep control functions and power supplies close together."

    Rawlings followed along behind the Narrasi, chuckling lightly. "I wish we did the same on our ship sometimes." He tripped over something in the corridor, unable to see clearly in the poor lighting. Catching himself on the bulkhead, he continued forward.

    Brox stopped, squatted, and suddenly sprung behind Rawlings. A loud squeal, then silence. When Brox stood up, he held up a rabbit sized hamster creature with a gratified smile. It dangled lifeless in his big hands. "Chomi," he noted, "Chomi-Kulu. Makes good dinner. I wonder if they have more..."

    The look on Rawling's face was priceless. A mixture of surprise, horror, and utter disbelief. "I-it's huge!" was all he could say to the rodent Brox grabbed. Is that what he'd tripped over, he wondered.

    "It's delicious," the Narrasi remarked. "You should come to the surface and have a meal with us," he suggested. "We keep these in cages in our food storage. Catching big ones like these are rare, but we try to breed them some. We have mostly medium sized ones, Chomi-Mezu, in our storage. They procreate quite prolifically," he explained. "They feed us well, but these," he shook the dead animal vigorously, "these are great." He looked around the place, carefully searching along the walls, "I do hope we find more."

    Rawlings hoped just the opposite. He didn't want to step on another one. In favor of avoiding them, he withdrew his tricorder and began to scan the area. "Holy cow!" he exclaimed, turning the device so Brox could see the readout. At least 5 red blips indicated the possibility of another living thing, and the speed at which they darted across the display only confirmed it had to be some kind of rodent. "You just might be in luck, they're all over the place."

    "I'll catch them if they cross my path," the Narrasi smirked. He motioned ahead to were the bridge was located. "We should come across a hatch to the deck below soon... I think."

    Just a bit further down the corridor, Rawlings came across the aforementioned hatch. "Here we are." He reached down and opened it, then aimed his tricorder into the hole. Now that he knew these Chomi were roaming the ship, he wanted to be sure he wasn't climbing right into one. With the coast clear, he started down to the next deck and emerged in another room as badly lit as the rest of the ship.

    And with a whole lot lower ceiling. Brox climbed down behind Rawlings and had to permanently duck. His extraordinary audio and visual senses were not only scanning for Chomi but also the parts they were looking for.

    Rawlings barely looked over the room before he made a b-line for the corner. Even in the inadequate lighting, he could identify the manifold from across the room. "Hmm." He frowned, giving it a once over. "Hmm," he said again, scanning the device with his tricorder.

    Brox stepped up behind him. "I don't like the sound of that," he noted. "Something wrong?"

    "Well, that depends how much faith you have in your Engineers," Rawlings said with a half-grin and pointed to the device. "This won't work with your ship, at least not according to the specs I saw, but you should be able to modify it so it will. It's similar enough."

    "Jehlan is good with mechanical things," Brox replied. "I'm sure he could modify it." He looked around the room, then pointed to another corner, "There are some sort of lockers over there. Maybe more equipment. I'm still thinking they should have at least one spare... or hoping, I suppose."

    Rawlings was relieved to hear that. He liked a challenge, but learning the inner workings of an alien ship in order to modify a singular part wasn't something you could do in a single duty shift. "No point in letting good parts go to waste," he agreed. Turning towards the lockers, he opened one up to look inside.

    A surprised squeak. A scuffle of feet on the metallic shelves. And a Chomi came jumping out of the open door, right in between Brox and Rawlings. With an unbelievably swift move of his hand, Brox caught the critter in mid-air. It squealed loudly. Rawlings could hear the cracking of bones when Brox snapped its neck.
    Then the Narrasi held his trophy up in front of the Engineer's nose. "Aha! Two down. This is good." He smiled broadly at Rawlings and affixed the dead creature to his belt where the other one was already dangling. "I wish I could catch them alive, so we can breed them, but I don't have any container to trap them in until we're done here. This'll have to do."

    Rawlings felt a chill travel up his spine at the sound of cracking bones, but he couldn't deny that Brox sure knew what he was doing. "You know," Rawlings began, picking up an item from within the locker and examining it. "We can modify our sensors to pick up their lifesigns and beam the lot of them to… well, wherever you'd keep them." He set it down, seeing it had been chewed by the Chomi and opened the next locker, which revealed an undamaged EPS manifold.

    "I knew there had to be one!" Brox exclaimed at the sight of the item they had been seeking. He looked to Rawlings with the biggest smile on his face. "I'll reserve the fattest Chomi for you when you come visit with us," he promised, then suddenly realized what the Engineer had said, "Ohh... you can do that?"

    Rawlings removed a tag from his kit and set it on top of the manifold, marking it for transport. That was everything they needed. Kovak had already gathered a number of tools, and the rest of the materials were on board the Excelsior.
    "I don't know if I could eat an entire Chomi. That's got to be a lot of meat." He smiled, pleased to see Brox happy with the outcome of their trip. "Yeah, well whoever's in the transporter room will have their work cut out for them locking on to that many at once, but it'll be faster than you trying to trap them one at a time."

    "I prefer the thrill of the hunt, catching them with my own two hands," the Narrasi held out his two large hands in front of him to emphasize, "but it would replenish our supplies," he had to admit. "Wait," he slapped a hand on Rawlings' shoulder, "you could transport them to the planet, right? Anywhere?"

    Rawlings chuckled, wondering if all the Narrasi were like Brox. He rather liked the idea of visiting some friendly people for a change. "Yeah, we can beam them directly to any coordinates you give us, provided there's nothing underground that would interfere with the transporter."

    "That'll be great," Brox was excited, "we can have them transported in the region around the settlement. That way they can breed in the wild for a few hundred cycles, and when they have multiplied, we can start hunting them." He chuckled and gave the Engineer a friendly clap on the back. "We won't miss out on the fun!"

    "I'll bet the rest of your people will be glad to hear it too," Rawlings said, but silenced as he heard Kovak's voice over the comm.
    "I've finished in the cargo hold. The repair tools and the kemocite are marked for transport."
    "Good work, Kovak. We found everything we needed here too." A quick tap to his commbadge, "Rawlings to Excelsior. We're ready to transport the supplies off the freighter."

    Brox smiled, contemplating the great hunt in a few months with a far off look.

    "Oh," Rawlings pulled out another tag, quickly handing it to Brox, "as soon as I get back to the Excelsior, I'll instruct them to locate and transport as many Chomi as we can find down to the outskirts of your settlement. Good hunting."

    Brox turned to face the Engineer. He grabbed him by the upper arms and shook him ever so slightly. "It was great meeting you, Lieutenant Rawlings. Thank you. You're a good man." He bowed his head as he began to shimmer away.

    "Goodbye, Brox. Pleasure working with you." Rawlings watched as the Narrasi dematerialized and moments later he found himself standing on the transporter pad on board the Excelsior with Kovak at his side.
    As they stepped down from the pad, Kovak looked to his fellow Engineer. "Didn't that ship smell like rats to you?"
    "You have no idea…" Rawlings said with a small laugh.

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