Reginald Barclay knew that he shouldn't be this close to the holo-decks, the temptation to go back and lose himself in one of his little worlds was still greater than it ought to have been. And he really did intend to keep from loosing himself in fantasy again – honest – but Data asked him to consult on the holo-program holding the Giant of Antiea. Reginald didn't often praise his own work, but he was very good at constructing holographic programs.
Reginald was a lonely man. Nobody called him “Broccoli” any more, well not to his face anyway, but he still never quite felt like he fit in. Geordie did his best to make him part of the group but the truth was that he wasn't quite part of things. He stuttered and slurred his words. He grew quiet when women spoke with him. Lanky and awkward, he never quite seemed to fit into his own skin.
Reginald tried to fit in. He went to meetings with Deanna Troi, he told her how he felt, but there was always that damn barrier that he couldn't get past – separating him from forging lasting relationships. How was someone like him supposed to be on even footing with someone like Commander Riker? The man oozed sexual charisma from every pore. Or Worf? The Klingon had no respect for anyone who was not up to his code of honor – something Reginald could not hope to be. Geordie was probably his best friend – if Reginald even had such a thing – and no matter how hard he tried he knew that Geordies relationship with Data would be stronger than anything he could manage.
And Data wasn't even capable of emotion. How was he less charismatic than someone incapable of comprehending charisma? But there it was, all the same, Data had managed to woo more women than he.
No – If he was honest, Reginald knew what they had. They had respect – respect for doing important things. How could someone not love Data? The man had saved the lives of the crew a hundred times over. He'd sacrifice himself for them without blinking an eye simply because 'that was the most logical course of action.'
“More Vulcan than most Vulcans,” He muttered to himself, nodding to the security guards as he passed the first check-point. Security was abnormally high. Shields separating the holo-decks from the rest of the ship were guarded by teams of three security officers. They were only armed with their phasers, but any obvious armament on the Enterprise was uncommon.
He smiled at the security officer and was rewarded with an irritated grunt from the guard for his effort. The man didn't even bother to glare at him, dismissively waving him along as though he hardly merited notice. Reginald was used to it.
But that was about to change. This was finally his big break, a chance to do something that for which his fellow crewmen would respect him. If he could find some way of breaking though to the Giant, his name would be in the history books. People would want talk to him – maybe even women – maybe even Troi.
He bit his lip, thinking about Troi as security rifled through his bag – checking it's contents, two padds and some tools. Deanna had been especially kind to him. She was a beautiful, caring woman. He had developed feelings for her - strong feelings. The sort of feelings you really don't want to be having about a telepath. She never looked down on him. She never made him feel small.
He really liked her. And maybe, just maybe, if he did something important enough she would see him as a man. Maybe he would do something big enough for him to seem as wonderful as Riker.
He could dream.
As he passed the third barrier Reginald had a horrible thought. What if he couldn't help? What if they blamed him for the failure of the project? That would be a convenient way of dealing it, bring in a patsy who could take the fall. His heart beat a mile a minute as he imagined a court martial for his ineptitude.
“No,” He reminded himself. “Data wouldn't do that to me – neither would Geordie.”
He knew it was true, but his palms still sweat all the same. Damn it, why couldn't he just ignore stupid thoughts like that? Other people did.
“Other people weren't Reginald 'Broccoli' Barclay though, are they?” He muttered to himself as he fed the cables from his padd to the holo-deck door, checking the current readings.
“Not bad, Data,” He muttered to himself. “But not quite perfect either.”
Data had been very precise in his re-creation of the Vulcan Archive's subterranean chamber. The temperature, lighting, physical items, and even the smells of the archive were being mimicked with a 4% margin of error. Not a mean feat for something he'd put together in a couple of hours.
Reginald could get that up to a 2% margin of error. He smiled, highly pleased with himself. Data was highly efficient but as an android he lacked certain qualities necessary in writing the proper holo-program. He couldn't quite get the ambient noises and sensations of a place correct – he couldn't feel out the space.
It would only take a matter of - Reginald paused, examining the radiation readings within the program. “That's not supposed to happen.”
Reginald checked the rad-scrubbers to make sure that nothing was malfunctioning but be damned, there it was again. There was a concentrated source of radiation coming from within the chamber – some sort of a fission emission coming from within the chamber. A rapid reaction of concentrated microwave fission, but that could only mean – Reginald dropped his Padd and ran towards the security officers screaming, “It's a bomb!”
He hardly had time to slap his hands over his ears before a concussive wave of holo-deck door fragments and melted bulkhead burst forth, thick smoke poring down the corridor. Shrill klaxons howled, warning that main power to the section had been cut. Dull red emergency lights automatically switched on as the primary illumination died, bathing the smoke-filled passageway in hellish light.
Barclay coughed, squinting through the smog as he dropped the the floor to be closer to fresh air. He crawled along the ground, edging towards the turbo-lift. He felt the floor shake as a massive yellow greave collided with the floor next to him, the foot of a titan. The Giant ignored him, running through the thick smoke as though it were not there. He charged towards the nearest trio of guards, disabling them with laughable ease.
Barclay winced in sympathetic agony as he watched the Giant twist Bolian man's arm the wrong direction, crushing the bone and pulping the arm. He tore the Bolian man's phaser from him and fired it at the other two security officers, rendering a Vulcan and an Andorian inert.
The Giant stared at him with wild, crazy eyes the phaser held in his massive fingers like a child's plaything. Reginald was too terrifed to run as the Giant picked him up, lifting him by the shirt collar and lifting him so high that his feet dangled in the air. Barclay whimpered as the Giant sniffed him twice, tilting it's head in confusion. “Du bist nec aliena – nec xenos.”
“Oh god,” Barclay felt hot tears in his eyes. “Please don't kill me. Please don't hurt me. I just wanted to help.”
The creature sighed in apparent exasperation, dropping him to the floor. “Ich werde nec vyksta morte.”
It was not till the giant strode off into the thick smoke that Barclay reconciled himself to the fact that he was not going to die. For once in his miserable life, Barclay was thrilled to be unremarkable. Barclay tapped his comm-badge, “Barclay to – well anyone – can anyone hear me?”
“Status reportLt. Commander Barclay,” The worried voice of Commander Riker replied nearly instantly.
“Sir,” Barclay wandered though the smoke. He was following the Giant, though God alone knew why. “The Giant has escaped. He incapacitated the guards – they need a doctor, fast. Three to beam directly to sick bay.”
“Are you alright Lt. Commander?” Riker riker asked.
“Yes sir,” Barclay stuttered. “But I couldn't stop the Giant – he's heading towards sector 3. You have to beam him to the brig.”
Riker swore, “Barclay, I need you to listen to me. Our sensor readings for the sector are going wild because of whatever it was that he did. We can't get a lock on him. Worf is leading a team to you, but they're going to take time. I need you to stand near the wounded so we can get a lock on them. ”
“Sir I don't think he's going to wait,” Reginald shuddered as he moved closer, looking at the still sobbing Bolian with pity. He was very pleased to see pale blue light enveloping the three men.
“Is Data with you?” Riker's voice colored with concern. “Is her harmed?”
“I don't know sir,” Reginald coughed as he fiddled with an emergency wall panel behind which would be breathing masks and survival gear. “Power is out to the deck. Has he contacted you?”
“Communications are misbehaving due to power fluctuations, you are the only one on that deck we've managed to hail so far.” The Commander grew deadly serious. “Lt. Commander – what direction did you say the Giant was heading in?”
“He was heading starboard towards the – oh no, he was heading towards the school!” Reginald wrapped the mask around his face, grabbing the emergency cutting torch from the wall as he went. It was an engineering tool intended to break open doors in a crisis but he suspected it would work on the Giant's armor just as well.
“No, no, no, no,” Barclay muttered to himself. “What are you doing Reg? What are you thinking? That guy is the size of a house.”
It was stupid – monumentally so – to believe that he could do anything to harm the Giant if it came down to it. But if he could delay it for even a couple of seconds that might be enough for the power to come back on and for someone to trap him with shields – time for Worf to come.
Cowardice be damned, he wouldn't let the Giant harm children.
The Giant had simply run roughshod through the ship's security personnel. Broken, bleeding and stunned men lined the corridors heading towards the school. Stunned – it seemed that the Giant did not know how to switch his stolen weapon's settings. Small mercies were still a blessing.
His eyes still stinging from the smoke, Reginald ran towards the massive yellow figure as it pried open the school room doors.
He could hear the children's confused and frightened voices as well as the soothing voice of Miss Kyle shouting, “It will be alight children – just file into the back room – over the din.”
The Giant grunted in frustration as his fingers slipped, slamming his arm between the pressurized doors. He struggled against the pneumatics, trying to get leverage with a single free hand.
Reginald activated the cutting torch, waving it around to get the Giant's attention. “Hey! Hey you! Over here. Look over here.”
The Giant's eyes focused on the flame, his free hand batting at Reginald in frustration as the federation officer jabbed blue flames towards the behemoth. The flames sparked and scorched the man's armor-doing little visible damage but irritating him immensely.
“Th-that's right y-you bully,” Reginald's stutter accompanied the wave of terror he felt as the Giant yanked his arm from the door and strode towards him with deliberated menace. “Follow me!”
Dropping the still lit torch, Reginald cut and ran in the opposite direction. His heard beat a million miles a minute as he heard the Giant's lightning fast footfalls behind him – quicker than he could hope to outrun.
Luckily he wasn't going far. Reginald knew the ships internals inside and out, giving him a unique perspective of the Terrain that the Giant couldn't hope to match.
Ducking down a jefferies tube as the Giant grabbed for him, shoving his hand through the wall in fury. Sparks showered down from shattered circuitry as the man tore his gauntleted fist from the wall and reached down the tube, struggling to reach him.
“No-not so b-big now are you!” Reginald yelled as the scooted down the tube. “Catch me now – oh no!”
Reginald flinched as a gauntleted hand holding a stolen phaser poked down the tube, firing energy beams blindly into the passage. He tucked to the right, hiding behind a support strut as the phaser beams cut down the tube, the bright red hue of them a clear indication that the Giant had discovered alternate power settings.
He flinched as a beam bored a hole in the strut he was hiding behind, missing his big toe by centimeters. Feverishly tapping his comm-badge, Barclay stuttered into communicator, “Th-this is B-Barclay. I'm at the p-primary school. I n-need help.”
“Acknowledged Lt. Commander,” Replied the precise tones of the Android Data. “I will be there imminently.”
Reginald did not even have time to thank him before the sound of tripolymer alloy colliding with ancient armor clanged it's way down the tube. There was the sound of struggle as Data's unconcerned retort of, “Two to beam up, contingency plan Data 3 Echo Charlie 9 commence,” preceded the flashing blue light of a transporter.
Curious about the sudden silence Reginald hesitantly poked his head from the tube, looking to where the two men had been only moments ago. There, still frozen in the throes of battle, was the massive suit of yellow armor – noticeably bereft of an occupant. It's legs moved forwards once, some mental command still being processed by the armor's internal computers before it fell to the ground – dead.
Reginald tapped it nervously with his toe before calling up to the bridge. “Barclay to Riker – can you hear me.”
“This is Commander Riker,” The furious voice of the first officer replied. “Reginald just what the hell is going on down there?”
“Data transported the Giant away – I don't know where,” Reginald flinched as the armor's fingers pulsed. “It's safe to send repair crews when you can.”
“Oh you've got to be kidding me.” Riker sighed in exasperation. “Data why?”
“You found him?” Reginald asked, worried for the Lt. Commander.
“Oh I found them both alright,” Riker whistled, “Ten kilometers off the port nacelle.”
Last edited by Todeswind; 01-20-14 at 04:35 PM.