Revision has eventually occured, and I didn't even change that much.

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Subject: [PacKage] Speed Challenge - Interiors (e.a.v.) PG-13, 1/1.
Date: Wed, 03 Feb 1999 21:38:11 +1100
From: julad <julad@bigfoot.com>
Reply-To: PacKage@onelist.com
To: PacKage <PacKage@onelist.com>

From: julad <julad@bigfoot.com>

More than a day late, a hell of a lot more than a dollar short... I emerge
briefly from the DMZ (Mykkhals name for the Duncan/Methos Zone <grin>) to
have a go at this challenge because I like it so much.

>Gimmick: Use the word "verfluvum". What's it mean? I have no idea, I just
>made it up <grin>. Get creative.
>Setting: It happens solely on a shuttlecraft
>Style: No dialogue, except for what the shuttlecraft computer may say.

Okay, I'm just gonna type as I go. I just made up the title so I could put
something in the subject line. This will be... god knows what, actually.

*****************************

## It's too quiet in here. ##

++ Something about this situation is very wrong. ++

## So much for 'expected turbulence' in an 'unstable nebula'. Another fine
moment for the Alpha Quadrant's greatest pilot - siting here and chewing on
my fingernails while I wait for His Divine Highness Ensign Kim to stop staring
at a bunch of stupid readings as if he's not really ignoring me. ##

++ And somebody else could probably put their finger on it in an instant.
But I sure as hell can't go all the way back to Voyager and say, 'you're
right, Captain, something doesn't add up. Why don't you waste *another* day
sending somebody *else* to examine this situation'. ++

## I suppose he's pissed at me for not telling him myself. ##

++ The clue has to be in the latent refraction of the cloud cover. It's the
only thing which makes these different from any other planets formed within a
nebula. ++

## I hate this silence. Why doesn't he fucking say anything? ##

++ The most obvious reason would that it's been seeded with some
radioactive compound... but even if the minimum level necessary to stabilise the
form were used, the compound would have a half-life of at least several thousand
years... ++

## He can't be angry because he's jealous. It's not like he and Megan were
a couple or anything. ##

++ ...which is inconsistent with the results of the surface scans. ++

## And he'd better not be angry at me for moving on so soon after B'Elanna. ##

++ I'll have to get Seven to confirm that the cloud cover has been in place
long enough to make the nuclear winters irreversible, but even if it has been
that long... it doesn't explain the fact that the mining technology
abandoned throughout this sector is obviously post-warp or even transwarp. ++

## I mean, I guess he's *disappointed* in me; it would be just like Harry
to expect me to conform to his lofty ideals of personal interaction. ##

++ So if somehow the refraction is related to, caused by or has caused the
sudden ice ages on all these planets, the puzzle is... why is it that a
significant proportion of the reactors in this refinery can be easily
converted to perform planetary rehabilitation... ++

## I suppose I should be flattered that he believes I'm capable of
maintaining a normal, happy relationship, but I wish he wouldn't. ##

++ ...yet none have been, and all the inhabitants of all the colonies have
perished as a consequence. ++

## I mean, it's only a matter of time before I blow my cover, make a
drunken pass at him or something... ##

++ Oh, wait, *that* is interesting! As duranium purification processes go,
it's not the most efficient I've ever seen. In fact, I'd say that this
equipment was *designed* with the possible conversion to terraforming
technology in mind.

## ...And I know he'd think it was love, he'd dive in headfirst... or
heartfirst, really, like he always does. ##

++ Which actually, now that I think about it, makes this situation much more
bizarre. A nebula unbelievably rich in stable isotopes, filled with planets
practically *composed* of duranium and latinum... ++

## And I'd never be able to keep my hands off him once I started
anything... ##

++ ...all of which are in an artificial ice age which could have been
easily prevented, and was possibly even *expected*. ++

## ... which would make it all the worse for me when the inevitable *did*
happen. I mean, I could probably recover from a one night stand with Harry,
but oh! once getting my hands on that skin and my tongue on those lips,
breaking up would be... ##

++ UNLESS... ++

## Why do I think these things, over and over? Shut up, you dumb fuck.
You can't have him. So just

Shut

The

Fuck

Up. ##

++ Of course!! I'm so stupid, it was terraforming equipment *originally*.
Damn, how did I miss it? It's right there in the structural reinforcement
of the power conduits. ++

## But I WANT him! ##

++ But that *still* doesn't explain the refraction in the cloud cover or the
fact that it wasn't converted *back* to prevent the nuclear winter. ++

## AAAAAARGGHHH!!! ##

++ AAAAAAAAAARGGHHH!! ++

## Okay, get over it. Now. Don't think about him just a chair away,
chewing on his lip as he stares blankly at the readouts, the scent of him filling
the shuttle. Don't imagine him responding to me, smiling up at me, opening
under me... Hurt by me, trust shattered by me. ##

++ Okay, now we're getting somewhere. Somewhere... Oh, *gods*. The remains
of the planetside technology don't match the mining/terraforming equipment. ++

## Oh, *gods*, he's upset. He's blinking too fast, his nostrils are flaring
and he's staring at the viewscreen as if he's going to burn it out of existence
with his eyes. ##

++ This can't be true. ++

## Harry, I'm sorry! Oh please just speak to me and I'll tell you
everything. I'll tell you I love you, I'll admit that I know your feelings
for me. ##

++ This was fucking xenocide. I am sitting in a shuttle in the middle of
the largest graveyard in the fucking *universe*. Oh, *shit*... ++

## I keep us apart because I couldn't stand to hurt you, I couldn't stand
the guilt I'd feel, but here I am stabbing you through the heart every time I
leap into bed with another crewmate, another guest on the ship, another person
who isn't you no matter how much we both want it to be you. ##

++ ... over three *hundred* planets iced over, without regard for the
civilisation which occupied them, obviously so that the nebula could be
mined bare and then abandoned. ++

## I have to do something, look how upset he is, I have to have to have
to... I have to stop hurting him like this. ##

++ Nobody could be that callous or materialistic. It's not possible. But
if the ice age was induced from space that would explain the refraction,
explain everything. ++

## I guess if I can't not hurt him by not being a lover, I could try not
hurting him by being his lover. Couldn't I? ##

++ I can't tell Tom, he's already looking at me like he's terrified of what
I might say next. He knows I'm upset, but this would upset him worse. ++

## I could be the best lover I humanly could. I could treat Harry like a
prince, who wouldn't? I can make us happier together than I can keeping us
apart, surely! ##

++ Turning the shuttle around myself isn't subtle, but at least Tom's got
the idea. I have to get out of here. I don't even trust my voice to give
instructions to the computer yet. ++

## Looks like we're going back. In silence. But that's okay, Harry. I'll
use this journey to plan the world's most passionate seduction. I start making
up for lost time tonight. ##

**********************************end1/1

Oh, and I totally forgot 'verfluvum'.
<sigh> Just pretend I shoved it in there somewhere. The end.

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