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[Deniaud/Salieri] Collaboration Log
AUTHOR'S NOTE/WARNING: Alludes to adult situations. It is designed to be read by adults and not intended for children. Caution is advised if any of the above is offensive. WARNING TO THE WARNING: You've been warned.
With the Dumoe gone, the ship was slowly returning to normal as the crew fell back into a normal routine. They were on route to Starbase 117, where they were to replenish their supplies. There were some issues with the warp core and the plasma conduits after the use of the slip steam engines that kept engineering fairly busy. Medical and science departments were buzzing with the information they had gathered from the many scans taken and the officers were scrambling to account for the medical supplies they needed to have replenished. Security were combing through the ship for anything that could have been taken or left purposefully. Despite the busy schedule, it was a great relief to everyone that they didn't need to pull double shifts.
Marielle smiled as she entered the security department. Her gaze moved over the large space. Briefly, she wondered just how long it had been since she had last stepped foot into the main security department area. Flawless emerald hues swept over the familiar faces and a tender expression lifted the dull haze of exhaustion and sadness that had became increasingly present.
“Ellie!” The resounding chorus of voices filled the space and security officers pushed into motion to greet her. Two notable faces were absent - Ryan Winnetka and Gideon Salieri. The former was simply hanging back from the crowd, nearly sulking at his desk. The latter was nowhere to be seen. Rico Suave approached first, giving the diminutive woman an exuberant hug without thought to her personal bubble.
Her smile was small and genuine, though she tensed the moment arms wrapped around her tiny body. Panic nearly had her pushing him back, but the simple innocent glee that Rico seemed to exude was infectious. A quiet chuckle escaped her and her eyes closed to relish in the feeling of having a friend - to have someone simply be happy at seeing her. For half a second, she could believe all was well in her life. “Hey, Rico,” she whispered. When the junior officer pulled back, she kept her appreciative smile. “I was looking for Gideon. I was wondering if any of you have seen him?” Her gaze swept through the group of men. “CASSI said he was in Helios, but I think there must be something wrong with her programming. He wasn't there.”
Murmurs moved through the gathered security officers and they gave a general …€Â˜no clue' response while shrugging shoulders. A few failed to meet Marielle's gaze and Mark Huntsman made an effort to pull Jessie Jessup away from the diminutive woman so he wouldn't open his mouth.
“Jessie?” Marielle turned her attention to the Indiana farm boy, knowing that his curse for telling the truth would result in receiving the answer faster. She shifted her weight from foot to foot, clearly uncomfortable. She didn't want to get caught in security. Gideon wouldn't be happy. His jealousy had taken quite a turn for the worse since the amazing gifts she'd gotten from an unknown suitor. “Do you know where Gideon is?” Her gaze was nearly pleading. “I haven't been able to catch him at all. I feel like I haven't seen him for weeks- I thought after the Dumoe left, our schedules would match up, but- I'm starting to get the sense he's avoiding me.” She gave an awkward laugh, the sound devoid of any warmth. Magnus Morgensen's words echoed in her head. …€Â˜Apparently, he was …€Â˜checking the tonsils of a woman' in the turbolift,' the Scandinavian claimed.
Jackson Mccaslin jumped forward and clamped his hand over Jessie's mouth. He gripped the Indiana native by the arm and forced him into motion, dragging Jessup toward the door. “We've got patrols, Ellie. Sorry!” There was no way that didn't look awkward, but it was better than the junior officer blurting out the truth.
The Rigelian stared down at the researcher, sorrow and guilt in his eyes as he stepped closer to her. “He told us he was going to Helios.” Sreagon spoke the truth because he heard the half-Bajoran announcing quite loudly and perhaps too frequently that he was leaving for the smaller officer's lounge. The guys knew that something had happened between the chief and his best friend but neither would say what it was. They'd tried to do their own investigation and what they found was heartbreaking.
“Oh- Okay. I guess I'll just have to see to CASSI's programming. Do you mind if I use one of your consoles? I know this was his last point of entry. I need to use it to reset CASSI's location algorithm.” Marielle's gaze dipped away and when she heard the murmure of …€Â˜Sure, Elllie,' the woman made her way to the first empty console she spotted. It happened to be situated by Ryan Winnetka and she settled into the empty chair. Her hands moved over the glassy surface. The researcher waited until the other men finally returned to their duties before she quietly cleared her throat to catch the Chicago native's attention. “Hey Ryan,” she whispered softly. Dulled jewel green hues remained over the information that scrolled under the clear surface.
Winnetka hesitated before lifting his chin to look at the researcher. He forced the sullen expression from his features and gave her a pitiful smile. “Hi Ellie,” he murmured in greeting. Ryan leaned back in his chair and folded his hands over his stomach in an attempt to calm the flopping in his gut. He wanted so badly to say something, but his relationship with the nurse was more important. Silently, he apologized to the theorist again.
“How's Cana?” Her chin dipped and her eyes lifted to glance at the entrance. Worry that Gideon would enter and grow angry for her trespass into his domain grew steadily as the seconds passed. Her finger sluggishly moved over the console as she accessed the half-Bajoran's biological signature in CASSI's systems.
“She's doing great. Using the recent invasion of Dumoe as her thesis to get accepted into Starfleet Medical.” His voice was soft and lacked the usual warmth that he normally exhibited when speaking of his girlfriend.
The smile that graced her features was genuine and she couldn't be more proud of the nurse. “I'm glad. She'll make an amazing doctor.” Marielle spoke softly, her voice missing the brightness that was so intrinsic to her character. “I bet she had a field day while the Dumoe were here- I think we all went a little crazy trying to deal with so many of them.” Her fingers danced over the console but her tapping stilled briefly as she accessed the algorithm. There was no mistake in CASSI's programming. The sentient being could account for all the security officers in the department but Gideon's. It was odd and she couldn't help the suspicion that crept into her mind. “I had too many bouts of that these last few weeks,” she attempted, fearful of what she was about to insinuate. “Sometimes, I thought I smelt some weird perfume on Gid's clothes. But- That's- That's ridiculous. Right?” Her voice had dipped to near inaudible levels as she attempted to swallow the dryness in her throat. She accessed the programmable files.
Ryan closed his eyes and sighed heavily as he turned the chair to keep Marielle from seeing the anger and hurt in his features. The argument he had with Gideon was still fresh and the threat to Cana's career kept him silent. His jaw clenched and he forced himself to look over the department. …€Â˜Leave him, Ellie. You deserve so much better than his two-timing ass.' The words were on the tip of his tongue.
He secured the pips onto his collar as he crossed the threshold into the security department. Gideon didn't bother to look up at the junior officers in the common area but there was a familiar presence that had his stride halting. His heel scuffed against the carpet and he lifted his gaze to sweep over the space. He blinked when he spotted Marielle and quickly moved into his office. His actions were precise as he dropped the privacy blinds, pulled open the top drawer to spritz his uniform with an oxidizer to remove the scent of alcohol and perfume, and checked his reflection to be sure there was no lipstick staining his lips. He reached up quickly to rub away the streak of red on his neck and hissed at the diminutive woman for being in his department.
Her brows furrowed as she watched the lines of code scrolling past her screen. “That can't be right,” she murmured softly. Marielle's finger slid up and down repeatedly as she compared lines of code. “Why would someone enter this into CASSI's programming?” With a shake of her head, she removed the line of coding and set about trying to find out who had created the protocol to hide Gideon's biological signature from the internal sensors. Magnus' words echoed in her head yet again. She knew of the half-Bajoran's wandering eye, but surely it wouldn't go beyond that. Then again, he had an appetite and she had been busy for over three weeks. Though it had been no fault of her own, the diminutive woman couldn't help but blame herself. The sadness threatened to drown her and it took considerable effort to remind herself that fiance's brush with infidelity with Tasse Mero had been caused by pheromones and not a flaw to his character.
Gideon straightened his uniform and lifted the privacy blinds before moving quickly out of his office. “El!” he called to her with an easy brightness in his tone as if he was glad to see her. A wide smile graced his features as he approached the theorist and the half-Bajoran willed himself not to look at Ryan. He wove through the desks and rested his hand on her back when he reached her.
Her chin lifted and she stared at him, wondering how she'd missed him. Her eyes drifted from the entryway to the department and the door to his office. …€Â˜Was he there the entire time? But the guys said he left-' The smile she gave him was lacking any warmth. The pull to her lips was simply muscle memory. “Hey Gideon,” she greeted softly. “Have you been in your office this whole time?” Her hands stilled but remained on the console.
He fought against frowning at her question. “No, I just got back from Helios,” he explained, keeping to the lie that he'd built to mask his whereabouts.
…€Â˜But he came out of his office? Did he go straight there instead of saying hi? Why would he do that?' Her smile dipped ever so slightly but remained on her features. “Really? Were you there the whole time?” Her eyes searched his. Her breaths came faster as her heart beat furiously against her chest.
The security chief chuckled quietly and he raised his brow playfully at her line of questioning. “No,” he answered softly. “I went there first because there was an altercation, then had to escort an ensign back to their quarters.” There was enough truth in the statement that he didn't have to act much for the lie.
…€Â˜Is he lying to me? I think he just lied to me- Biharos would kick any ensign out who isn't part of the Karmanori. It's the senior officers' lounge, why would ensigns be there?' Marielle studied him for some time. “Who?” The question slipped from the tip of her tongue before she could stop it. She was so focused on the half-Bajoran that she failed to notice how the other officers in the department were watching them intently.
He tilted his chin and raised the other brow, silently berating her for pressing him for answers so boldly. …€Â˜I never challenge where you've been in front of everyone.' Gideon grunted quietly and lightly curled his fingers into her back. “Ensign Mackenzie from Science. She got into a fight with Crewman Sutton over the Dumoe information. After a few drinks, they just couldn't agree to disagree.” It was a weak story but partially true. He'd escorted Mackenzie to her quarters. …€Â˜Gods, what she did with her tongue.'
…€Â˜He's lying to me.' The realization hit her hard and her eyes dipped to keep him from seeing the pain that glinted in what had once been bright hues. “Oh.” She sighed softly and turned her attention to the console in front of her. There was a sense of dread - as if her body was trying desperately to combat what her instincts were attempting to tell her. His story didn't make sense and the internal sensor bug didn't make sense. There was no way to avoid jumping to conclusions, no matter how hard she tried to avoid it. Her gaze settled on the line of programming. With a shake of her head, Marielle's fingers hesitated before they moved freely over the glassy surface. There was no way to know if he was telling the truth without accessing CASSI's secondary backup systems. “I'm sorry you had to deal with that,” she whispered, her voice devoid of emotion as she prepared herself. The truth was hidden beyond the coding. “Just give me a few minutes and we can get going. I thought maybe we could have dinner together.”
He nodded and straightened, sliding his hand to her shoulder as he turned his gaze toward the screen. “Sure. What're you doing?” Gideon had noted the changes in her emotion and her voice, but he blamed her. …€Â˜You chose work over me. You brought this on yourself. Stop acting like a child.' His fingers curled lightly into her uniform. …€Â˜I expect better from you. You should be happy to see me, doting on me, showering me with affection. What's wrong with you?' The half-Bajoran furrowed his brows as he glanced at the diminutive woman briefly. There was no inkling that she was searching for his whereabouts, that she was close to discovering the truth.
“Someone masked your bio signatures from the internal sensors. I'm removing the programming, setting an authorization lock, and pulling your actual location from CASSI's secondary backup systems for the records.” Her fingers continued to dance over the screen. “Can't have people willy-nilly messing around with the internal sensors like that- I'll have to find out who did it too and tell the Commander.”
A quick laugh fell from his lips and he pushed her shoulder to turn her from the console, though it was done as if in play. “Somebody did what? That's preposterous.” Tension had his gut tight as panic started to build within him. The internal scans would show he'd been drinking while on duty, which would lead to dishonorable discharge from Starfleet. His career would be over. …€Â˜She can't find out where I've been, she'd know about the women too- she'd leave me in a heartbeat. I can't lose her.' Gideon nearly blanched at the idea of living without the diminutive woman to care for him.
“Someone masked your bio signatures from the internal sensors,” she repeated as she looked up at him. “Morgensen mentioned a problem with the internal sensors. I didn't believe him, but I was trying to find you and CASSI told me you were in Helios. I went in there to find you, but only Biharos was there. CASSI said this was your last point of entry, so I've got to retrace your bio signature and set the record straight for the sensor logs.” Marielle tilted her head as she looked up at him. The smile that pulled at her lips didn't reach her eyes, which remained empty and despondent. “It'll only take me a few minutes.” She attempted to turn the chair.
His brow furrowed as he heard the name. …€Â˜Morgensen? Why is he talking to El?' The half-Bajoran shook his head slightly and then realized what would happen if Marielle discovered the truth. …€Â˜No! You can't see!' Gideon shook his head and tugged at her arm. He hadn't intended to use much force or grip her bicep too hard, but the panic that budded had him forgetting his own strength. “Let's just grab dinner and-”
“Ow!” She wasn't able to help herself and she yelped softly when his tug was more gruff than normal. “That hurts, Gid.” A soft sob escaped her and her chin dipped to her chest. “I'm just trying to do my job- Please don't be mad.” She fell back into the seat and tears quickly gathered in her eyes. Her head shook slightly but quickly. She avoided his gaze. “Please don't be mad. Please don't be mad at me.” Exhaustion had her breaking down far faster than normal. She'd been running on little to no sleep for nearly three weeks. In that time, she barely saw him. Marielle had simply thought his schedule kept them apart, but the Dumoe had been gone for nearly for two days. She barely saw him in that time.
Several eyes watched the couple carefully. A low growl from the Rigelian managed to hover over the group and eyes narrowed as they watched Gideon. Mark gently grabbed his best friend by the arm and pulled Sreagon back to keep him from surging forward. They couldn't do a thing until it was clear that the situation was going to escalate.
“Did he just hurt Ellie?”
“No way? He wouldn't?”
“What the hell is wrong with him?”
“Should we get in the middle of this?”
He flashed the security officers a quick …€Â˜don't think about it' glare before focusing his attention on the diminutive woman. “I'm sorry,” he lamented quickly and quietly. The half-Bajoran knelt beside her, his hands rubbing her sides as he tried to soothe Marielle. “I'm not mad, I just thought you might like a break from work. You've been putting in fifteen- eighteen hour days for over three weeks, now. The sensor logs can wait until tomorrow.” Gideon stared up at her, apologetic in his expression but silently pleading with her to let it go for now. It would give him some time to go back and erase his tracks. …€Â˜I can't lose her. What would I do- I'd never hear her laugh or hold her while she slept- Oh, fanculo.'
Marielle hesitated for several beats before she could only manage a weak nod. There was the slightest tremble to her limbs. “Oh- Okay,” she whispered weakly. Avoiding his gaze, the diminutive woman slowly pushed to her feet and made her way towards the exit. She avoided meeting anyone's watching eyes, shame overwhelming her for letting them see her cry. “All I want to do is crawl into bed and sleep for eternity,” she whispered under her breath. The thought of never waking again was appealing, and that was a thought that had only crossed her mind once in her short lifetime. A stuttering breath filled her lungs and she hugged herself.
The half-Bajoran wondered if he'd heard his fiance correctly. His brows furrowed as he started questioning everything that he'd done the past few months. There really had been a change in the researcher, and many people blamed it on him. …€Â˜Did I really do this? I couldn't have caused her to change so drastically.' Concern moved through him but he wondered at its source. His gaze shifted over the other officers that had gone quiet and he gave them another warning glare. …€Â˜Can't have them thinking badly of me.' Gideon draped his arm over Marielle's shoulder to walk with her toward the door. “I'll make you something for dinner. How about a blue steak?”
Her head shook slightly. “You don't need to do that,” she assured him softly. Marielle rested her head against his shoulder as they walked side by side. “It sounds like you had a rough day. I can take care of you.” The diminutive turned her chin to look up at him and her eyes searched his face. It was not just exhaustion that reflected in her dull hues, but near utter defeasance. Her voice was soft, heavy with emotion. “I love you, Gideon. I hope you see how much I love you.” She could only hope that he believed her. The diminutive woman so desperately needed him to see what he had nothing about which to worry, that she was not one to stray despite her once flirtatious behaviour. She cared only for him. Instincts had told her to remain at his side, though lately it'd been telling her otherwise.
They stepped into the turbolift and he turned to face her, cupping her cheek in his hand as he stared down at her. …€Â˜Gods, she looks like Hell. I can tell she loves me, I can feel it. It's just- I have been pretty selfish- but she knows I have needs more than the average guy. That's part of what drew us together, wasn't it?' The inner battle continued in his mind as he gazed into her eyes. Gideon nodded finally. “I do,” he assured her quietly. “And I love you, El. Let me take care of you tonight. I think your day has been worse than mine.” The guilt that he'd first felt resurfaced and he wondered why it seemed so much stronger this time. …€Â˜If she's going to be watching me, I can't sneak around anymore. I'll give her a couple days, show her- I do love her. She's a good woman, most of the time. The conference will be- dannazione.' The half-Bajoran called out their deck number and pulled her against him, wrapping his arms around her. It took considerable effort not to squeeze her so hard that she winced. …€Â˜Gods, I've got to fix this.'