Chapter 10 - Connections

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Rick's variable bluish-greenish-grayish eyes scanned around Engineering. It was the modified pulse cannon. That was what he had to be careful about. And Tamsin Porter was standing right by it, all the way in the back of the crowd. He strolled over, playing it cool, as Wesley and Geordi continued to lecture about the Cookie. He murmured to her, "Excuse me." He looked her up and down, despite the fact that he'd promised Carmen he would behave. "You look bored. Want to get a drink after?"

"What?" She shuffled a little away from him and mumbled the word "creep" under her breath.

Rick had Augment-style enhancements designed to make his job as a time traveler go better and more smoothly. So he definitely heard her. He moved over, positioning himself between Yi'Imspi and the modified pulse cannon. He tried the same line on her – what the hell. He had already propositioned Dana during more than one of the temporal iterations. And sometimes she had even been interested. If sex could keep Yi'Imspi's hands off the modified pulse cannon – and on something else – then that could work. It was a tactic he had not tried yet but he figured it wasn't a bad idea all in all.

The Calafan turned to him. "I am busy."

"C'mon, this isn't exactly fascinating."

"I've got things to do," she whispered.

"So do I. And I've got people to do, too."

"I believe the human expression is, 'Go to hell'."

He shrugged. Getting her angry at him was another plausible tactic. He was getting desperate with all of the iterations and was more than willing to throw anything against the wall, hoping it would finally stick this time.


"Now, when we engage the engines," Wes said, "we get a humming sound and then everything springs to life." He flipped a switch and, as expected, a humming sound filled the air. "And it'll get hot in here really soon. With retracted nacelles, there's no place to vent the heat into space, like a more traditional ship does. But don't worry about the heat. The Cookie pipes it all back in. So we heat up cabins that way, and also run everything from replicators to the holodeck. This means the engine is exceptionally efficient in that we don't need other power sources to handle those other power needs. It also makes the ship lighter. As a result, we don't need to refuel as often as other ships our size."

He flipped a switch and the humming noise stopped. Immediately, the area started to cool down – and a good thing, as Mack could feel she was starting to sweat and saw Marty was, too. "Since we're not going anywhere, it doesn't make sense to keep the engines on."

"Excuse me," Yi'Imspi said from the back. "But there are a lot of things back here. What do they all do?"

Daniya glanced at Mack who glanced at Marty. It was obvious – whatever she was referring to was the very thing Rick said she shouldn't touch.

"I reserve the right to keep some of my stuff private," Mack called out.

"Suit yourself," Yi'Imspi sniffed, and Mack got the distinct impression the Calafan was annoyed that they were cramping her style.

But it was true in a way – except it wasn't Yi'Imspi's style that was cramped. It was Mack's. And, she figured, Rick's as well.

"Coach," Tag said, "I don't want to hear about anything you don't want to tell me. But I gotta say, I don't think we've really been told anything yet."

"You're right," she said, "you haven't."

Rick batted a little at his left earlobe so Carmen could listen in. "I take it we're close?" she whispered.

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