Lower Decks: Tales From The Creche

by: username | Story In Progress | Last updated Nov 12, 2022

Chapter 5
Facing the music part I: “I won’t back down”.

Chapter Description: Mariner faces the captain and a deep-seated fear.

At 1000 hours, Cerritos ship time, the crew presented their findings to Captain Freeman. Their report, delivered by Ensign Boimler (Detail Leader), could be roughly summed up as

- They found the hard light holographic projector by luck.

- They found DNA evidence that the crew experienced their demise by regression until they became unborn.

- They couldn’t determine what had caused the regression. All tests showed negative and temporal anomalies were unproven.

After returning to the Cerritos, they submitted to quarantine, were poked prodded and tested, and released as not being infected or altered in any way that would be dangerous to their fellow crew mates.

Ensign Mariner, Boimler, and Tende soon found themselves cleaning out the muck traps in one of the holo suites.

Gotta love the fact that we practically solved the mystery on the De Leon and our reward is to be ignored then put back on active duty,” muttered Mariner.

Boimler felt what she had griped about and added, “And one of the worst jobs to boot! Careful not to get any of it on you!”

Thanks for the warning. It’s too late for my deck boots, though!” said Ensign Tende. She normally enjoyed playing with molds, spores, and fungi, but the stuff coming out of the trap sent a deep shiver of disgust down her spine.

Mariner’s comm badge beeped, “Ensign Mariner, please report to the captain immediately!” squawked the badge.

She acknowledged it and turned to her crewmates, “Her nibs is calling, I’ll catch you later! Let’s meet up at four-ten at sixteen twenty if I don’t come back right away.”

(Four-ten is the active bar on all star ships above a certain size and sixteen twenty is 4:20 PM in military time.)

See you later!”

Hope your meeting will be better than these traps!”

You and me both!” laughed Mariner nervously as she ran for the nearest turbo-lift.


Ensign Mariner reporting as ordered!” she said as she gave a snappy salute and stood at attention in front of Captain Freeman’s desk.

Captain Freeman looked up from a small stack of numerous data pads to give her daughter a quick once-over for appearance, then turned the pad she held off and placed it on her desk. She picked up an identical pad, scanned its contents, and gave Ensign Mariner the order to relax.

At ease, Beckett. I’ve just been going over the reports that the cleaning crew turned in. I’ve also looked at the preliminary lab results for the,” she glanced at her pad, “Solid-light Holo Projector.”

Beckett said nothing. Her return stare conveyed calmness and the impression that she’d done no wrong during the cleaning.

Captain Freeman continued, “It’s an interesting device that’s very advanced compared to our holo-projector technology. If they manage to replicate it, we could see solid holograms walking around in the real world within a few months.”

Again, she looked Beckett in the eye and found nothing to give any reason to doubt her view on the De Leon incident.

All in all, a very good job that showed initiative, good judgment, and leadership. For that, I congratulate you.”

The stare returned from Beckett’s eyes while almost as bland as her prior ones, had the tiniest little tell that only a true poker player would be able to see. Captain Freeman did her best to suppress her smile and proceeded.

So, why then did you and three other crew members suppress information about the holo projector being sentient? I would think that would be a major point of interest, don’t you?”

Captain Carol Freeman looked at her ensign daughter, Beckett Mariner, and felt the weariness that her repeated disregard for the rules, and hidden agendas during the everyday dealings of Starfleet caused problems for every mission that they undertook.

While true that she often improved the situation for all concerned, it became an enormous thorn in Carol’s backside when she had to intervene in her daughter’s schemes.

The disappointment of her daughter’s latest action came through louder than she would have liked, but if she kept avoiding her daughter’s issues, she wouldn’t be able to function due to the stress involved. She sat down heavily, still staring at Beckett, and rested her chin on her hands.

You have my permission to speak freely, Beckett. You can talk to me as a daughter or as an ensign that keeps going out of her way to not advance in Starfleet ranks. Frankly, I’m losing interest in seeing that you stay out of trouble.”

If only I had the energy I had twenty years ago I wouldn’t be so tired of all this shit!” she thought to herself. At least, she thought that she did. It verbally slipped out as a mutter causing Beckett to stir uneasily. “Oops, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to say that, please ignore it!”

Beckett’s face lost all rigidity as her mother’s off-hand remark hit her in a tender area. Her memories of her being a little girl playing with her toys as her parents fought came up as fresh and vibrant as if they'd just happened.

While young, most children tend to internalize the fighting that goes on between their parents. If it persists, unhealthy habits develop as a coping mechanism.

With Beckett being precocious, her coping took on the form of daring do and taking on insane physical risks. Fortunately, the outstanding crews of the various ships her mother served on recognized her as a fellow brave, intelligent warrior. This often ended up with her going from one mentorship to the next and learning about the more exciting parts of Starfleet early.

While she had found an outlet via her “big brothers, sisters, and others” the initial problem remained buried for decades under a superb and savvy adventurous exterior. All that came to the surface after her mother, feeling overwhelmed by the load she performed as a Starfleet captain, carelessly let her personal opinion slip out in an unguarded moment.

Becket became livid. She did every mental exercise she could think of to not emotionally blow up and attack her mother verbally. With great restraint, she answered the question.

If I’d let Boimler put in the report,” she paused for breath as a wave of pure anger from a part of her internal make-up that had been scabbed over for decades ripped and bled anew, “that we’d discovered a sentient entity with magic powers and that it‘s attitude is amicable, how fast do you think we’d be in serious trouble as the Federation used it to make infinite wishes and destroy existence as we know it?”

Carol took in her answer, she’d managed to put on a mask of indifference, but her daughter knew it to be a sham.

And you were going to inform someone of authority, when exactly?”

I had hoped that it wouldn’t be necessary. I decided to wait and see if Genie preferred being laid-back or proactive. I guess he's proactive, huh?


"It's the name he chose for himself."

Carol felt the tiredness that she’d convinced to wait a little longer before disabling her as it overtook her weary soul. She didn’t want to have this conversation, but it was clear that she was, like it or not.

When you find something like this, you report it immediately to your superiors! That’s Starfleet 101! The only way that you’re permitted to handle something so huge is if you’re at the highest levels of command!”

Beckett said nothing. Her stormy expression and arms crossed in front of her said it all, “Not in my universe!”

Carol looked at her fantastic, brave, fierce, intelligent warrior that she and so many others had come together as a community to raise and realized that for all her accomplishments, for all her confidence, inside her was a small child taking the blame for her loving parents’ bad relationship. The epiphany hit her like a ton of bricks.

She rubbed her eyes. She should really put this confrontation off or have someone else continue the conversation and give her a briefing. She gathered the remainder of her strength and just before she could tell her daughter to give her viewpoint to the first officer, another slip of the tongue came out.

I’m sorry for all the hurt and pain that you’ve held back for all these years. I never realized that my beautiful daughter could be so hurt and never notice it. I wish we were both twenty years younger so we could start all over again! But I know that's not possible. I am so sorry!”

With a look of stunned shock on her face, Beckett became silent. She had been exposed to the biggest motivator of what had caused her to become what she was today. As she tried to come to grips with all the emotions and associations that were storming heavily in her mind, her comm badge spoke up.

Wish granted!”

End of chapter five.



End Chapter 5

Lower Decks: Tales From The Creche

by: username | Story In Progress | Last updated Nov 12, 2022


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