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  Lieutenant Commander Malachi Styles, Ensign Kale Barron, Ensign Tigerlily Sheme, SD
"The Mex Is Back" JDL

“The Max Is Back”

JDL: Lt. Commander Styles, Ensign barron, Ensign Nokio (played by Tiger Sheme) & Max


    Almost twenty  minutes after he left the suite of the now deceased Holdens, Lt. Commander Malachi Styles stepped off the lift into C&C.  He stood at the top of the staircase, leading down into the Well, looking at his OPS and science officers.

    "Anything to report?" Styles asked the two.

    "Negative, Sir," replied Ensign Kale Barron.  He knew that the acting XO was inquiring about their search for the missing A.I.

    Ensign Nokio looked up from her console ad to the commander. "I haven't found anything, Sir, at all.  Max isn't anywhere on the station.”

    Styles nodded to the two.  He stopped short of giving the obvious order to continue searching, for he knew that they were doing what they could.  Instead the lt. commander walked around the perimeter of the Well and gave a brief report to Captain Darz of the situation with the Holdens.

    Ensign Barron looked away from the screen, to the science station.  "This really has me worried," he confided.

    “Has Max ever gone AWOL before?  I have to be honest, I miss his face on our consoles," she looked back at Barron.

    "Ah've never known him ta go AWOL before," Barron answered. "And, yeah. Ah miss him... "

    Barron's statement was cut off as he noticed a change in Nokio's screen.  It flickered several times, turning different colors.  A very quick, "HELP" flickered on the screen. The science officer saw Barron's quizzical look and turned around to look at her console, "Max, we read you can you hear us?;

    The screen blipped a few more times.  One "blip" looked like a partial image of Max, then disappeared into static. Ensign Barron started entering commands into his console and Nokio turned toward the XO's station on the upper level. "Commander, I think he's in trouble!  He just appeared on my console then vanished."

    Malachi had just finished briefing Captain Darz and she had turned toward her office.  Styles turned toward the Well and almost ran down the four stairs.  "What happened?  Where is he?"

    "On my screen. It was flashing HELP in many colors!” Nokio related to the lieutenant commander.  I think he's being taken, Sir!"

    "No," Barron said disagreeing with Nokio.  He was still tapping in command after command at a feverish pace into his console.  Still not taking his eyes from the screen, he added, "He'd been taken, aind he's trahin' to get back."

    Omce again, Malachi wanted to push his officers aside and start entering the commands himself, but he decided to allow the two ensigns the chance.  He watched each of Barron's commands and knew the OPS officer was doing just what he would have done.

    "Could it be the Holdens' lawyer behind them?" Nokio asked.

    "More like the people he works for," Styles conjestured without taking his eyes off Barron's work.  If he ever had any doubt of the ensign's skills, which he hadn't, he certainly did not doubt Kale Barron now.

    Nokio growled as she searched to get Max back, "I cant find him anywhere."

    "Ah got 'im!" Barron announced.  His fingers continued to race over the input. The screen flickered, blanked out, then flickered again.  Max's image, or a partial image of the A.I. came on, then threatened to fade out.  Ensign Barron entered yet another command and Max's image solidified.

    "W..W..Whew," the A.I finally said.  His voice, however, was not it's usual tone.  It was sort of a mix of high and low pitches.  His image was pixelated in parts and half of the A.I.'s face just wasn't there.

    "That's the best Ah cain do, Commander," Barron said with exasperation in his voice. Nokio types on her consoe to try to get the rest of the image of Max back.

    "That will do, Kale," Styles said, gratefully. His hand gripped the ensign's shoulder.  "Max? What happened to you?"

    "I..I..w……ttacked,... " Max answered in the two-tone voice.  "I... ought a worm..wor.... ogram.  Tho.... was lost.  Ano... ogram came to help. Show..showed me... way back." Barron entered a new command to try an clarify Max's audio more.

    "Max, are you okay?” Nokio asked. "I mean, they took part of your face."

    "You should see……see the o-o-other guy," Max joked. "I w.s f-following a lead... lead when th... orm attacked. It d-d-drug me though the-the ether.  I h-had it b-b-beat, but I-i-i-I lost my way... way.  Then the o-other A.I.... a l-l-looker too, sh-showed... showed up."

    "That would be Captain T'Pein's A.I.," Styles commented.

    " I  KNEW... knew sh-she had one on...on that ship," Max triumphed.

    "I am glad that you are safe Max,” Nokio said. “You had all of us worried, including your master."

    Lt. Commander Styles winced slightly at Nokio calling him Max's master.  Even though he technically was Max's owner, he never really considered himself that.

    “Awww, Mal! Y..you do care-care,” Max came out with, then he looked over to the science officer. "I..I.. don't know about safe, Nokiola.  "Th-there's m-m-more  of them w-worms out there j...just waiting."

    "Max," Styles said.  "I am going to have Ensign Barron send your compilation back to Mustang's core. We are going to have to keep you isolated there to make certain you did bring anything back with you."

    "T...too late for.. for that, Mal," Max said.  The good side of his face pixelated slightly then came back. "They're al..already in the system.  B..been there since th..the Holdens arr..arrival. I..I...I  just didn't rec..recognize them."

    "Ensign Nokio?" Styles asked. "Can you get a data read on what these invasions look like, so we can search them out?"

    "I can try commander,” she said.

    "I...I... can give you a head-head-head start, Nokiola," Max said.  Nokio's acreen blinked, and suddenly a small image that looked like an inch worm worked its way across her screen.

    "Th..the data is m...more complicated and enc...enc...enc... ummm. protected securely," Max said, " but if you come acorssssssss it, it will a..a...appear to you like that."

    Nokio looked for more of these viruses, "We should still transfer Max to Mustang just as a precaution. You might be able to purge the viruses out of him."

    "Max?" Barron asked.  "How do we eradicate the worms when we fahnd them?"

    "Gl..glad you asked, C..C..Country Boy," Max replied.  A small spray can appeard in the lower right hand corner of their screens.

    "country Boy,” Ensign Nokio commented quietly. "Cute nick-name for bBarron." Kale gave her a quick roll of his eyes.

    "The w...w..w.orms are baby ver..ver...versions of the one I f..f...fought.  Tap...tap... tap that can and...and... and that will wipe out what...whatever worms you f..f..find."

    Ensign Nokio tapped the spray can as instructed. The "nozzle" of the "can" emitted what looked like a spray.  It hit the image of the worm and the worm did a strange little dance before it fell over and then disappeared.

    Ensign Barron chuckled at the drama of it all. Definitely Max's style.  "Ah think we cain track them all down, Max."

    "Nice work, Max," Styles added.  "Now you can get some rest."

    "You deserve your rest, Maxie Boy," Nokio added.

    "And..and...and I nee.eee.eed it, too," Max said.  "Ready to go ni-ni-nighty night, Country B..b..boy."

    Ensign Barron chuckled. "Good nahght, Max.  Welcome back."  He entered some new commands into the console.  Max's image disappeared and Kale turned to his XO.  "He's back safe and sound into Mustang's core, Sir.  The computer acknowledged his arrahval and is rebuilding the program now."

    "Nice work, you two," Styles said quietly to both officers.  "I really appreciate all  your efforts."

    "At least he's back, safe and sound, Commander,” Nokio noted.

    "Well, partially sound anyhow," Barron added.  They all nodded in agreement.


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