Episode 4 - The Fires Of Hades
Location: USS Copernicus
Timeline: -584,948 @ 1720 Hours
By now, Tyrion really hated being a telepath. Of course, he was devoted to his family, like he had vowed to be, but currently his entire family was driving him crazy. With three small babies, and a five year old, their quarters were just a cacophony of noise. And he wasn't able to shut it all out. Danya vying for attention, the babies were totally incoherent and their cries of hunger -even when they weren't crying- were getting too much to bear.
He hadn't been sleeping well the past days, and it was starting to show. "I'm really sorry Tee," he murmured as he scrambled out of their home, "I just need to get out for a moment." He did have the sense of clarity to activate the holonanny, before the door closed behind him.
Without really looking where he was going, he suddenly stood just inside the hatch that'd taken him to the Copernicus. And right in front of him, stood the station's Chief Dry Dock Operations Officer . "Oh... hi," he mumbled, "uhm... lieutenant..." Why didn't he remember the man's name?
"Tyrion? What are you doing here?" Hiro said surprised. He'd been on his way to the Bridge of the Copernicus after having successfully bring the ship back to life with a relative quick startup of the Warp Core, with no small help of Petty Officer 1st Class Amalia Darcy and Lieutenant JG G'Rani. "It's Hiro, remember? Hiro Yoshida. Is everything alright?"
The Betazoid looked up and his exhaustion was instantly clear. "I don't know," he admitted, "three screaming babies, another young child wanting attention... I honestly don't understand how women do this. It's like I can't have a moment of quiet at all when I'm home. I love them to bits, I really do but... I want some quiet too, you know?" Of course there was no real quiet unless there were no people around, but at least adults somehow managed to sort their thoughts and feelings better than an infant did. "You got a little one too right... how do you do it? How did you do it with a newborn?"
"You mean Múireann. Well, she can be a hand full every now and then, but..I'm not a Betazoid. That, and she's the only baby in the family. Rowan is five years old already. I guess that makes it much easier for me." For a brief moment a grin appeared on Hiro's face. "Care to walk with me? We can talk if you want."
Tyrion nodded gratefully. "Lucky you... I've got three... I didn't get Danya when she was a newborn, she was already a few months old when she was left at my doorstep. And she's not a full Betazoid either, but the triplets...they're full. And I'm exhausted." He sighed. "How do you do it?"
"I'm not sure if it will help you, but I talk to Miri. The same way I talk to you or anyone else. Okay, maybe not really the same way, but close." They came to the Turbo lift at the end of the corridor that would take them to the Bridge and Hiro stopped. "For some reason she likes that and it calms her."
"Danya liked to be carried around as a baby, I'm still not sure why. But they're only one...how am I going to manage three at once? And how am I going to do it, without tearing myself to pieces, or hurt Teena in the process? I can't shut everything out, like it or not I'm still a telepath." But he said it with such venom it was clear he did still hate his 'gift'.
Hiro didn't miss Tyrion's emphasis on being a telepath. It was the first time he'd heard him mention it in this way. "Have you talked about it to a Doctor?" The Turbo Lift arrived and Hiro stepped in when the doors opened. He wait for Tyrion to do the same. "Maybe there's a way to inhibit it or lessen your sensitivity."
"No... trust me if there was a way I would've done it a great many years ago. and even if there was they probably wouldn't do it anyway. After all isn't this what makes me a Betazoid?" Tyrion grimaced, shaking his head as he followed Hiro inside. "I tried to deny myself who I was for so long....I denied my heritage and it came back to bite me. I'm just so tired Hiro... I love them all but I don't know how to do this without going nuts."
"I wasn't thinking about, you know, making it permanent. Your heritage is important, I'm with you on that one hundred percent." Hiro's eyes went from Tyrion to the Turbo lift doors. "I was more thinking about seeking help from a Vulcan. Perhaps he or she can help you put up some mental barrier."
"Yeah..." Tyrion hesitated. "I'm not sure what Vulcan to turn to and whether to trust him or her with my secrets. Perhaps permanent would be better...but there's no hiding who we are, is there? And even if I did that, my mother would probably find more excuses to come visit and make my life miserable." He cast the man an imploring look. "What is it like, not to have a mother put her nose in all your business, simply because she can as family matriarch?"
It went quiet for some long seconds. At last Hiro spoke up, though there was no emotion in his voice. "How do you know I have no mother?"
"That wasn't what I meant," Tyrion clarified, his expression apologetic, "Human mothers don't boss their sons around, like Betazoid mothers do, do they? What I meant is, what is it like, not having your mother meddle in your affairs."
"I..don't really know." was all Hiro said, and for a brief moment looked down. At that moment the Turbo lift reached the Bridge and the doors parted with the familiar hiss.
"You don't?" The apologetic expression turned to one of surprise. "Why not?" It was incredibly obvious now that Tyrion really didn't want to read someone's thoughts, and did do his best to ignore the waves of emotions that hit his barriers.
There was a sigh when Hiro stepped onto the Bridge. "Because I don't know." His answer was curt but still polite. Tyrion couldn't know about what had happened to his parents so long ago.
"Hiro, stop." Tyrion turned to face him and grabbed the Human's arm to turn him back. "You don't know what?"
Hiro looked down at his arm where Tyrion had grabbed him. Then he looked up again. "Tyrion, let go." he said slowly. "I have work to do."
"Don't we all?" Tyrion questioned, not letting go just yet. "What's going on Hiro... I can tell that my question did something to you.... please.. what is it you don't know?"
By now Hiro's facial features had hardened. Not because of anger towards the man before him, but because he didn't want to show the emotional turmoil inside of him. He wasn't ready to lay bare the scar that was almost as old as he was. He hadn't even talked about it with Melinda and now he had to open up to Tyrion? No, that was a bridge too far. Make that a few bridges. "Don't push me. It's a private matter, and I don't want to talk about it."
Except that Tyrion had no problem sensing the anger, and the doubt, and it only seemed to trigger him to persist. "Please... what is it you don't know..." The Betazoid's expression was pleading, his black eyes boring into Hiro's. He refused to search for the memories, easy enough as that might be -to some anyway-, but the feeling was hard to miss.
"Let it go, Tyrion." Hiro pulled his arm away from Tyrion's grip. "Just..forget about it." With that he turned away from the Betazoid man and walked towards the Engineering station. "If you want to help me, fine. Else..."
"Help you with what... I can hack systems, but I'm no engineer. I don't know how to fix things," Tyrion replied, stumbling a little as the arm was yanked from his grasp.
"The Structural Integrity Field needs to be calibrated and Plasma flows need to be checked. You can stay here if you want and keep and eye on output levels while I try to get them to optimum levels." The Asian man kept his eyes locked on the computer display before him as he talked. He didn't want to look at Tyrion, worried that his pitch black eyes may uncover some stray emotion that would betray his thoughts.
"You do know that I don't need to see your face to be able to sense your feelings?" Tyrion asked softly, as he accidentally caught the stray thought. "If you tell me how I'm sure I can check those readings... like I said... I know computers and how to get into them even when someone doesn't want someone else to get into them... I know how to get to information if needed, but this is well beyond my comprehension."
Hiro didn't answer Tyrion on what he could sense and how. He knew that, though he chose to act like he didn't. "You see that blinking deep yellow button?" He pointed at the screen right beside the one he was working on. "Activate it and it will give you an overview of systems that need calibrating. Then choose SIF."
"What's a SIF?" the Betazoid asked as he dutifully pressed said button, and chose the indicated header.
"SIF is an acronym for Structural Integrity Field. It helps maintain the integrity and shape of hulls and bulkheads against the extreme stresses caused by warp fields, weapons, and other motion." Hiro briefly looked in Tyrions direction. "Don't tell me you skipped basic Warp Drive courses at the Academy."
"I'm not an engineer, but I can hack into any system. I just don't know anything about warp engines." Tyrion shrugged. "So... what should this show me?"
"You should see a list of all sections from the ship. When the SIF has been calibrated correctly, the numbers shown must fall within a specific bandwidth and they will lit up in green." The Chief Dry Dock Ops Officer called up the sub-routine he needed. "I'll start the calibration procedure now. You'll know what I mean soon enough."
"So... if they're not green I give you a shout?" Tyrion mused as he kept his eyes on the screen. "That should be easy enough then, right?"
"Yes, that's good enough." Hiro nodded a few times while he watched the programming doing it's technical magic of the screen. "It should take the computer a few minutes to determine the correct configuration."
"Okay..." Tyrion sat staring at the screen, trying very hard to ignore the whirlwinds of emotions that were flying around him. It was getting to be pretty difficult. "You know...if there's something you don't want me to know about it... can you please try and tone down that whirlwind? It's pretty hard to ignore emotions and feelings..." He honestly wasn't trying to be rude or curt, but it was honestly difficult.
Hiro clenched his teeth. Normally he was quite able to control his emotions. This time however he failed to do so. What had happened to his parents lay too close to his heart, even after 21 years. "I'll try.." he said softly on an even tone.
Tyrion turned his head and watched the man for a moment. "Perhaps, I should do these diagnostics elsewhere," he suggested slowly, "and leave you alone with your anguish."
"No, that won't be necessary. We should be done here in another minute." Hiro kept looking at the screen before him. He started to feel embarrassed that he'd let his emotions get the best of him in this way. "What do the readings tell you? Was the first calibration round enough?"
"Most readings seem to slide into the green, but there's one that keeps teetering on the edge of orange," the Betazoid reported dutifully, waving the man over. "I'm not sure but these look like the shield matrices?"
"You mean that section of the shield grid." Hiro looked at the results Tyrion pointed at. "Yes. I guess that part is more damaged than we thought. Perhaps I can find another route to make the SIF work there. Hold on." He went back to his own console. It took him about five minutes to get it done. "I'll do a rerun of the calibration procedure using the settings the computer figured out in the first run."
Tyrion nodded slowly. "Why not just repair that section?" he queried curiously."
"Eh, yeah, we would...if we had more time. But I have the feeling that whoever is out there won't wait on us." Hiro's fingers punched a few commands on the console before him. "Calibration is done. Can you take another look at the results?"
"Sure." Tyrion glanced sideways. "It's green, but it's teetering on the edge of green and orange....so it SHOULD work....technically. Right?"
Hiro nodded. "It should, yes. Can't say I'm happy with this, but it will have to do. The Captain said he wanted the ship to be ready as soon as possible."
"Well if this has to do then you... well you being the engineering team... fix that right? Because as long as this works it does but why not fix it while the workaround works?"
"Normally you're right. But we're on the clock. This is not something we can fix quickly. As far as I can see the grid in that section has been damaged to such a degree that it can't sustain the SIF field to a nominal level." The Chief Dry Dock Ops Officer shut down the calibration program and after turned off both console he and Tyrion had been working on. "No, this have to wait if we want the Copernicus to fly again within the next 10 to 15 minutes."
"Perhaps she shouldn't fly at all if she's in this bad a shape," Tyrion commented without thought.
Hiro took a breath and let it out slowly. "Tell that to the Captain. I tried to tell him the Copernicus will be losing parts if she go to Warp. For her to be really flight worthy again I, or rather my team, need more time."
"You're the chief engineer... make him see it's dangerous?" Tyrion suggested. "He's a Betazoid, I mean really... make him see."
"You make it sound easy. No Betazoid here, remember?" Hiro smiled, the first in since they'd come to the Bridge. "I'm able to do that with Melinda if I put some effort in it. At least, at time it seems that way. But with the Captain? I don't believe I can."
"You're not, but he is. I already explained that it's sometimes very hard not to see what someone's thinking right? If the thought is loud enough it's extremely hard to miss." He smiled at the mention of the woman. "If you can with her, then your bond must be strong indeed. But then, she's a telepath, she can probably just very easily read you if she needs to."
Hiro nodded and smiled briefly, remembering the times Melinda had just done that. With his permission of course, though he wouldn't mind if she did it without. "So, how do I go about it then? Just play some short movie in my head where I see what happens when the Copernicus is forced into Warp?"
"I think so... Just think about what you think will happen and ask him to well...read it?" Tyrion actually wasn't sure how to best explain what was natural for him to do. "Feels pretty weird explaining telepathy to a non-telepath," he chuckled, "but yeah I think that's the gist of it. Just think about it and ask him to see what you're thinking. Probably need to make him understand this is not a permanent permission for him to always read you." He shrugged. "Again though, telepaths can't help reading feelings, that's utterly unavoidable, but thoughts can be helped. Though in our defense, it would help if people who really don't want to be read, learned how to better protect their fleeting thoughts."
Hiro mentally made notes of what Tyrion told him, including his last remark. "Noted. I'll let the Captain know in the way you described." he said. Next he decided he owed his Betazoid friend at least some sort of explanation of his behavior. "I.. I apologize for what happened. Usually I've got no problems controlling my emotions. But with certain memories,..it's difficult. I hope this won't come between our friendship?"
"Of course not." Tyrion smiled. "Hiro, your thoughts are your own. You've every right not to want to talk about certain things, even if we do catch stray feelings. No means no."
"Thanks. I appreciate that." The man of Asian descent replied. "What do you say we head back to the station? We've done what we can here. The Copernicus can fly again."
"Yeah..... but how far and for how long?" the Betazoid queried as he powered down the station he'd been working on.
A frown appeared on Hiro's face. "I have the feeling the Captain will ask the same question. Truth is, I simply don't know."
"The truth does last the longest," Tyrion commented as he stood. "And we best come home alive too or the missus will be thoroughly crossed." He cast the man an impish smile. "Don't want to leave her alone with the wee ones, do I? Speaking of which, I probably should go help and tend to them now." If anything, the Betazoid was clearly a devoted father and husband, even if the marriage hadn't been one of free choice.
Hiro nodded his agreement. "I won't argue with that. Besides, we probably never hear the end of it if we don't come home." That last part was kind of a lame joke, since it didn't really work. Though somehow it sounded okay-ish.
Tyrion chuckled. "I'll second that. C'mon, let's get out of here."