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A Beautiful Universe: Protector
“I’m telling you, he was blue.”
“Are we talking Andorian blue? Bolian blue?” Jessie Jessup looked up from his PADD and stared at Rico Suave. The Indiana native stared at his best friend and smirked. He tried to visualize a newly dyed blue-skinned human, but he couldn’t wrap his brain around the image. He could only chuckle.
“The kind of blue that’s embarrassed to make a report about it.” Gideon Salieri sat back at his desk, his legs lifted so his heel rested on the surface with his other ankle crossed over it. He held a PADD in his hand and looked at the device, but couldn’t be bothered to read it.
“He claims it’s the new girl who did it,” the Brazilian offered as his hip leaned against Jessup’s desk. Rico looked around at the gathered officers. “What’s her name?” He furrowed his brow and attempted to recall the name. “It’s some really old sounding name too.”
The tablet lowered to his desk as he sighed softly. “Marielle Deniaud.” The half-Betazoid had abused his position and snooped into the personnel file of the young woman. The glance had only served to confirm what Ryan Winnetka had told him before - that she was way out of his league. She knew dance and played instruments, was working on her doctorate in physics, and was stunning on the eyes. Gideon wished he knew why he was still drawn to her, and not even in a conquest sort of way.
“That’s it!” he exclaimed and nodded in Gideon’s direction. “That’s her.”
“Wait. Is she the one that ripped him a new one?” Jonathan Battey, who had been mindlessly listening while he was reading a PADD, lifted his head and looked around the room. “I heard from Anya, who heard from Sen, that some new engineer and Peterson have been at it since she got on the ship. They got into some verbal spat and she just- String of words that makes no sense. If it’s the same girl, then maybe it really was her that turned him blue.”
“But how do you turn someone blue?!” exclaimed Rico as he waved his hands furiously in his confusion. “You can’t just turn someone blue!”
Sreagon snickered. “Is she the one who started calling him Periwinkle Peterson?” At the comment, the men chuckled.
He straightened and pushed to his feet. “Maybe this does need investigating.” The junior security officer tugged at the hem of his uniform. Cobalt moved over the gathered officers and he shrugged at their general look of confusion. “Public safety.”
Ryan Winnetka had been quiet through the whole conversation, but he eyed his best friend knowingly. “Public safety? Explain to me how this is for public safety?” He had been sitting on the edge of Gideon’s desk. He folded his arms over his chest and simply raised a brow as he looked up to meet his eye.
The half-Betazoid paused as he formulated his response. “We can’t have someone running around and terrorizing people like that. If we let blue slide, what’s next? Green? Purple?” Gideon shrugged and raised his brow for dramatic effect. “Glitter?”
He chuckled. “Right. Because this has nothing to do with you wanting to ask the new girl out.”
“Wait. He has the hots for the new girl?” Rico widened his eyes and his smile grew at the prospect. “Yes! I was starting to worry about you! The women are talking about how you haven’t made the rounds in a while. They’ll be happy to know better.” He dashed out as excitement carried his legs quickly out of the security department. “I got to tell Allister.”
His brows furrowed as he stared after Rico and then glanced to the others in question. “I didn’t realize my sex life was such a hot topic.”
Winnetka chuckled and shrugged. “I’m thinking he’s just looking for an excuse to talk to Allister.” He shook his head. “So. You going to go investigate- Which means you’re going to go interrogate her?” The Chicago native kept his knowing smile. “You know that actually means talking to her.”
Gideon grumbled as he pushed into motion away from the group. “I know how to talk to women.” As he made his way out of the security department, he knew that was as far from the truth as he could manage. The Bajoran mix knew how to talk women into bed. While the prospect of getting Marielle Deniaud between the sheets was exciting, there was actually more than lust on his mind. The thought kind of frightened him.
“How’s that investigation going?” Ryan Winnetka raised a brow as he leaned against Gideon’s desk. There was a wry lift to his lips as he smiled down at his best friend.
His shoulders hunched slightly and he mumbled to himself before leaning back so he could look up at his comrade. “I started with Peterson and got an earful about the new engineer.” The Betazoid mix did his best to appear nonchalant as he shrugged a shoulder. “I’ll be talking to her later today. Peterson said he didn’t want me bothering her because he’s loaded her up with work.” That wasn’t what he’d said at all, but there was enough implication in his words that the truth could be stretched.
Rico Suave tripped over his legs as he crossed the threshold of the security department. He ignored the soft snickering of his colleagues as he jumped to his feet. Smooth fingers ran through his dark hair and he leaned over his legs as he attempted to catch his breath. “Guess- what,” he managed through his pants. “She’s- totally- easy.” He groaned as he straightened, his hand pressed into his side as he attempted to ease away the ache that radiated through his muscles. “Gah- Why the hell is this ship so big?!”
Sreagon raised a brow as he sat straighter in his chair. “What? Who?” He frowned and rolled his eyes at the Brazilian. “You should really hit the track more, Suave.”
The short Latin man made his way to Jessie Jessup’s desk and leaned heavily on it. “That Deniaud chick. Word’s going around the ship,” he took several more deep breaths. “Apparently Sen caught her kissing the transporter chief during the war games and now all these things are coming out about her.”
“Like how she’s been moving up the ranks so fast,” Rico waved his hand in the air. “I mean. Think about it. She was an ensign and then three months later she’s a lieutenant? Makes sense right? She’s got to be polishing some big wig’s di-”
“No,” Jonathan Battey waved his hand dismissively in the air. He kept his eyes on the PADD on his desk. “Anya heard that it was some woman. It’s some big scandal back on Earth. She apparently had this hot and heavy thing going with an admiral, but she was married.”
Sreagon perked up and shifted slightly in his chair. “So- She what? Swings both ways?” A murmur moved through the group.
He frowned and folded his arms over his chest. ‘That doesn’t seem right. She doesn’t seem like he type.’ His brows furrowed. ‘Then again, what do I know about types?’ Gideon scoffed lightly and shook his head. “Guys, no matter. We’re not about spreading rumors and gossip. That kind of thing gets dangerous.” He raised his hand to scratch at his chin.
The Rigelian didn’t seem to hear and he turned to Jessie Jessup. “You know what they say about swingers- That’d be kinda fun.” He pushed to his feet. “I’m gonna ask her out,” he proclaimed proudly. “Maybe I’ll finally-,” he stopped and his markings grew dark with embarrassment. “I mean. I get her first!”
“Hey!” he shouted to get Sreagon’s attention. “You’re not getting her first- she’s not a horse we’re all taking turns riding.” Gideon pointed in the Rigelian’s direction. “You want to ask her out, that’s fine. Better respect her and your damn uniform, capiscimi?”
All eyes turned to stare at the Betazoid mix. “No fair, Sal!” exclaimed Sreagon with a whine. “Can’t one of us get the girl first? I don’t want your sloppy seconds.” He pouted. “No one can compete with you.”
Ryan rolled his eyes. “You heard him. No one touches her,” he repeated in support.
“Why?” whined Rico. “It’s not like Sal’s claimed her or anything. She’s totally up for grabs.” His pout mimicked Sreagon’s. “I want a turn!”
“She’s a young woman, a Starfleet officer, not some toy for you to fight over,” he reiterated. “You want to ask her out, I said that was fine. But if I hear one word about the rumors, your asses are getting thrown out the airlock.” He pushed to his feet and made his way out of the security department.
A few of the men grumbled in complaint but relented. Jonathan Battey watched Gideon leave the department and he turned his attention to the Chicago native. “What’s that all about?”
The Brazilian huffed as he fell into a nearby seat and he slumped back into the chair. “This blows. He’ll get her first and we’ll get his sloppy seconds.”
“You hear what happened?” Sreagon crossed his arms over his chest. “She got demoted. It’s all over the ship. Apparently that admiral she, you know, with had her demoted back to ensign. To save her marriage.”
“What?” Rico’s eyes widened. “No way. I heard she got demoted because she tried to hit on the Commodore and the commander heard about it. Kay went crazy, nearly sent her out the airlock!”
The Rigelian shook his head. “I heard that Fisher has his eye on her. He’s been talking to his buddies. They’re talking about a wild party of some kind. They say she’s up for it. I heard she was easy, but man. Three guys? At once?”
He had walked into the security department and frozen when he heard the conversation. His brows furrowed and he shook his head before lifting his arm to point toward the door. “Sreagon, Rico, airlock,” he ordered them without question. Gideon leveled them with a stern gaze.
“What?! Why?!” whined the Brazilian.
“Spreading rumors.” He motioned again to the door.
“We’re not!” Sreagon protested pathetically. “I heard it straight from Fisher! He says she’s totally going to- with him and- Shoot, what are their names. Ah, screw it. It doesn’t matter.” He growled and smacked Rico lightly on the shoulder. “Come on. Let’s do rounds.” He waited for the Brazilian to push to his feet and the pair walked out together.
The half-Betazoid turned and glanced around at the others. He frowned and stepped back to retreat from the department. Gideon had one of two destinations in mind- Engineering or her quarters. “ALICE, locate Marielle Deniaud.” He walked toward the turbolift as he considered how to address the situation.
The sentient program paused briefly. “Why?” she finally answered flatly.
His step stuttered and he stopped to look up at the ceiling, as if the artificial intelligence was located in the tiles. “Because I asked.”
“She’s in her quarters,” came the curt reply. “But, no visitors are allowed.”
Gideon hummed quietly and shook his head. “That could be a problem,” he muttered. “Locate Samuel Fisher.”
“Lieutenant junior grade Samuel Fisher is in engineering.” There was a soft chirp before the sentient program grumbled. “I don’t know what you’re doing, but if it’s about her, I’d just leave it. You’d be better off.”
He entered the turbolift and called out the deck for engineering. “It’s not your job to dictate why I do things, ALICE.” If he couldn’t talk with Marielle, he would talk with Fisher. As the lift moved, he leaned back against the wall and furrowed his brows. ‘Why am I even doing this?’ He raised his hand and rubbed his palm over his face.
“The safety of this crew is my first priority.”
“So is mine, but you seem to have forgotten that Marielle is part of this crew.” The sentient computer’s animosity toward the young engineer was a bit frightening. Gideon had to find out why it was happening and do what he could to protect her. ‘I still don’t even get why- because no one else will look out for her, they’ll just all try to take advantage.’
She huffed. “It’ll be much safer without her here.” There was a soft chirp as ALICE ended their conversation.
He shoved his hands into his pockets and stepped out of the lift once the doors opened. He frowned when he found himself on a random deck. Gideon glanced up again toward the ceiling, as if he could glare at the ship’s computer. “This is not cool at all,” he muttered as he made his way down the corridor.
He chuckled as he leaned back on the console. The hum of the engines filled the bouts of silence. “I’m telling you. She’s much better on her knees.” Samuel Fisher was a tall and lean man, more lanky than thin. Dark eyes and dark hair gave him an easily overlooked appearance, but he was neat in how he carried himself. “She said she’s up for it if I find two others to try.”
“Lieutenant Fisher,” he called to the engineer as he stood away from the gathered officers. “May I have a moment?” Gideon put on his best professional face despite the thoughts racing in his mind. The most nagging question was ‘why?’ ‘Someone has to protect her, especially if ALICE won’t even look after her.’ He frowned slightly when he realized that literally the entire ship was out to get her.
Fisher turned his chin and raised a brow at the security officer. He pushed off the console and dismissed his two friends, promising that they’d chat about his plans later. He made his way to Gideon and met the stern gaze he received with a hint of curiosity. “What is it, Ensign?”
His voice was low to keep the others from overhearing. “There’s been a lot of talk circulating the ship about another officer on board.” Gideon kept his tone even and his features hard as he stared at the engineer.
“There’s always talk about people on a starship,” he chuckled and shrugged. “Didn’t think that was a security matter.”
“These rumors are dangerous and need to stop.” He raised a brow and leaned forward slightly. “Did you enjoy the tattoo on her neck? The scar on her back?”
The engineer raised a brow as he tensed. He attempted to appear at ease as he shrugged. He could only guess that Gideon meant the diminutive woman who had captured so much attention. “I’m pretty sure half this ship has enjoyed her,” Fisher chuckled as he shook his head slightly. “Why? You want a turn? You’re gonna need to wait in line. She said me and my buddies are next.” The lie was easy to repeat. He’d been slowly taking claim.
He stepped closer and smirked. “You’re a pitiful liar, and unless you stay the Hell away from Ms. Deniaud, I’ll be more than happy to tell your friends how you’ve never so much as seen her outside of Engineering.” Gideon was surprisingly calm through his threat. “You’re slandering her, which isn’t such a bad offense in itself, but it’s going to lead to someone doing something stupid because they believed the lies you’re spouting. So when that happens, it means you’re an accessory.” His brow raised as he straightened. “Am I understood, Lieutenant?”
Fisher took a moment to simply stare at the security chief. There was a brief moment of fear that moved through him before a smirk moved through his features. “Who are you? Her boyfriend? Nah- That can’t be it.” He took a moment to study him further. “She doesn’t have one.”
“I’m watching you, Lieutenant.”
“Is that a threat, Ensign?” Fisher grinned. “Cause as I see it, you got nothing.” He shrugged and turned to make his way to the warp core. “Besides, if there was any trouble, ALICE would take care of it. You’re just here to take care of the drunks.”
His lips formed a thin line and he turned to leave the engineering department. It was then he knew he had to reach out to Marielle. She had no one else, and his vision of her was of bright laughter and warm summer breezes. There was no way any of these rumors were true. Gideon stepped into the turbolift and called out for her deck. He scowled when ALICE appeared to read his mind and deposited him on the bridge. ‘What the Hell happened?’
Copyright 2018. All works involving Mariëlle A. Deniaud and Gideon M. Salieri, including character biographies and published stories, are the property of the United Space Federation and its author. It cannot be reproduced, imitated, and copied without written permission from the authors. All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction using aspects of the Star Trek universe as created and copyrighted/trademarked by Gene Roddenberry, Paramount, and their affiliates.