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Scavengers Like No Other

Posted on Sun Jul 31st, 2016 @ 5:42pm by Lieutenant Samantha Winters

Mission: The Ties That Bind
Location: Seclusion, Faidon IV
Timeline: After "A Town Called Seclusion"

Sam strolled through the town of Seclusion, swinging her toolkit at her side as she looked around, trying to figure out just where to start. Half of the buildings around her were incomplete or looking as though they were about to fall apart, let alone any of the other equipment she had been brought down to asses. She'd checked the orbital scans before they had beamed down, so knew the general location of each of the shuttles on the ground, but even then they were just parked hap-haphazardly. There was no defined landing area, they shuttles just seemed to have been parked wherever their pilots felt like, and just left there, gathering dust.

She finally picked one of the shuttles to check out; it was an old thing, probably having just seen out its service life in Starfleet before being sold to the civilian sector at around the time the colony was settled. That already put the equipment at least as old as she was, but she ducked in the open access hatch anyway, and set about scanning the systems with her tricorder. She got no power feedback at all, which she wasn't overly surprised about, given the state of the rest of the shuttle, and she pulled up the deck plating to check the backup power cells, expecting to see two ancient, out-of-juice husks in need of replacement. Instead, she found an empty compartment. The power cells were gone, but more than that, the leads that would connect them to the ship had been stripped of their connectors; bare, frayed wires were all that emerged from the insulated tubing.

She looked around the shuttle, down on her haunches as she was, and took stock of the condition of the rest of the shuttle. Replacing the connectors and power cells was a simple enough task; she could replicate them on the Manoora in less time than it took for a dog to find a bone, but something about it didn't make sense to her. Stealing the power components was a common sign of scavengers, but yet the rest of the systems looked relatively intact; the aged control panels were still there, as were all of the seats and other equipment, both bolted down and loose. If scavengers were so desperate to come and rip out the power cells, why leave everything else?

She set off for the next shuttle, uncertain as to what she would find. This one was a civilian model, designed purely for moving people and small cargo about. The sort of thing an uncle distrusting of public transit would buy to ferry his family around and show off at extended gatherings. It was capable of generating its own power through solar cells on its hull (even when they were caked in dust), to augment its own small power fusion plant (which was present and intact). But the engines had had a third of their drive coils removed, rendering the ship unable to fly anywhere, no matter how much power it was able to generate.

Her checks of the next three shuttles all ended up similarly; they had each had certain components removed that rendered them only slightly more likely than the buildings around them of taking to the air. And nobody she asked about it was forthcoming with any answer, all referring her to go and speak to somebody called Pim and insisting that maintenance was his domain. Whenever she tried to push them on it, they insisted they get back to whatever task it was they were doing, reacting as though stopping to talk to her was giving them a migrane. Fed of up getting nowhere, she set off in search of this 'Pim'.

She found her working at a water reclamation system, on a pump that presumably sent the clean water through the pips she had seen around the town to feed into people's homes. "You Pim?" She asked. "I've been told you're responsible for maintenance around here."

"Yeah, that's right," the other woman replied, as she tightened one of the valve heads on the pump, checking the torque every now and then. "What of it?"

"The shuttles you've got here; they're all missing components. None of them are air-worthy."

"We've had some problems with people scavenging parts they need. We've not had much use for the shuttles, so they've not been very high priority."

"Scavengers?" Sam asked, not buying the lie. "What would anyone here need with drive coils? They planing on trying to fly their houses out of here?"

"Nobody is planning on going anywhere, Lieutenant," Pim replied, flatly. "We are all focussed on the colony."

"Yeah, well you had better start focussing on getting off of this colony, otherwise the Dominion will come and take more than your drive coils and power cells. That water pump is running fine enough, why don't you come with me and help me figure out what other parts we need to replicate to get these shuttles of yours airborne?"

"No, I can't." Pim seemed genuinely distressed at he thought.

"What? Of course you can, you're in charge of maintenance aren't you?"

"No, I- I must work on getting the water system working at a hundred percent. I must." Again, talking to Sam seemed to be giving Pim the mother of all migraines.

"Fine..." Sam said, as she turned away slowly. "You work on your water pump." She glanced over her shoulder once she was far enough away not to be overheard, and then tapped her combadge. "Winters to Manoora. Something strange is going on down here..."

Lieutenant Sam Winters
Chief Engineer
USS Manoora


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