Deadly Poison
Deadly Poison
Summary: Rhea, Snatch, and Nicholas make a disturbing discovery in the depths of the Carina.
Date: 115 ACH
Related Logs: Our Duty

48 hours after the Great Engineer Combine, things have been unusually quiet. And rather abruptly clean. Sweeps every hour with their equipment have come up pure water, with nothing more dangerous than a couple flakes of this or that. Nicholas has been around as he could be, suiting up in coveralls and crawling around in plumbing ick with everyone else. Yeehaw.

Another round of checks is on now, way down in the belly of the complicated system. Down here is where accidents happen if you're not careful. A slip of the boot and one could go tumbling off the large pipes, smacking your head on multiple things on the way down.

Rhea is down, mucking around, in the belly of the beast. Or the Carina, as the case may be. In addition to her coveralls and toolkit, she's also gotten a hardhat from the Engineering supply closet. Complete with one of those lights mounted on its brim. Better to keep her path lit, and avoid tumbling. She watches Nicholas as he mucks around. Curious. "You really were a technician in a former life, weren't you?" she observes wryly. Though her attention is on work rather than conversation. Her eyes are alert, taking in the unfamiliar ship with a technical sort of curiosity.

Snatch isn't, for her own part, particularly curious, nor particularly alert, maybe not the best frame of mind to be in, way down here, but long hours of repairs, followed by extra hours scrubbing duck hatches, in conjunction with quarter rations makes for en enginesnipe more hungry than anything else, the hunger hitting not just her stomach, but her neck, shoulders, and her head, which occasionally swims and almost constantly throbs as she trudges through, counting off tap roots as she goes to keep herself focused on something other than being perpetually three-quarters empty.

The belly of the Carina makes a constant, low rumbling hum that gently vibrates the pipes. Nicholas doesn't seem to really hear Rhea until he happens to look at her, and he glances at her mouth until she stops talking. "I wasn't lying," he calls back, then points at an upcoming area. "Watch out right here, there's a flared junction there. Don't trip." He goes over it first himself, climbing over the big piece of metal, and scoots carefully over the rest of the pipe. "Can you test here? I'm going to move a couple feet over."

Rhea slows, making her way carefully over the big piece of metal. "Got it," she says, getting her equipment ready in her gloved hands. She looks behind her, taking a quick assessment of the Genesis techs along for this ride. "Watch your step, Del Boccyo," she cautions the younger woman, holding out a hand to assist the petty officer should she require it.

Seven… eight… nine… "Han?" Mopsus Doe asks as the Cap'm tells her to watch her step, pivoting her head toward the Cap'm just as one shin moves directly against the piece of metal, sending a shock of pain through her body as if in an effort to wake her up. And now her head's swimming from turning it too quickly, and so one hand reaches out for Rhea's while her other foot falters in lifting itself to brace against the edge of metal she nearly tripped over, steadying herself before she can go quite face-first. "Ou-ais, thanks, Cap'm," she finally manages to murmur, getting her other leg over the bump.

Nicholas has to check on his little handheld that he's in the right place, crouching down on the large pipe with the agility of a cat. He punches in a few buttons with his thumb and unscrews something around the pipe junction, inserting a long test strip into the gap. Couple seconds, pull it up, stick into the little machine. Wait. Beep beep. "Clean. How's it look over there, Rhea?"

"Watch yourself," Rhea says to Snatch, firmly, though not without concern. There's only so much any of them can do to keep sharp, running on so little fuel. She kneels, not exactly catlike. More a sure-footed goat sort of agility. But, it gets her by. She looks down at a piece of scratch paper, then punches in in similar fashion to Nicholas on the pipe she's working by. Unscrew, insert, test, wait. She shines her headlight down once the results hare beeped in. "Clean here, too."

"Mhm," is all Snatch replies, rather glad for the throbbing in her shin to outweigh the throbbing in her skull, in fact. She squeezes her eyes shut and turns to the pipe wall not far from the Captain, slipping her wrench from her toolbelt and clamping off the tap root tenth from the last one she tested at its sub-washer, unscrewing the rest of it and swapping out her wrench for a flashlight to examine it for troubling-looking residue.

Nicholas mms. "This is the last of our area. Everything's been absolutely clean." He twists a bit, rubbing his chin as he glances at the maze of pipes behind them. "You see what I was saying about how odd this is?" He stands up carefully, stepping onto a panel between his spot and theirs. As his weight comes onto it, he abruptly stops and looks down.

"Damned odd," Rhea agrees, straightening, slim frown on her lips. "Truth be told, I was almost hoping we'd undercover something. At least if there's a clear problem, you can get about fixing it." She looks down as Nicholas stops, eyes narrowing at whatever his feet. Or whatever has attracted his attention down by them, more precisely.

Snatch thinks its odd that she's gotten so hungry she actually feels like she needs to throw up. Shouldn't that— not be how being hungry works? Keeping things in the belly, good. Oddly enough, poking around in the sludge inside that tap doesn't provoke the urge any further, and, finding nothing, as has been mentioned, wrong, she screws it back into place and releases the washer.

Nicholas wobbles his foot on the panel and steps back from it. He frowns and peers down, crouching. "There's a screw missing. It's loose."

Rhea a soft "Huh" sound, kneeling again, creeping carefully over to the area by Nicholas' foot. "Can we pull this panel up? Take a look underneath?" She shrugs. "Likely nothing, I know, but we might as well check since we're down here." All the clean readings have, conversely, made her more paranoid.

The news of a missing screw just seems to irritate the hungry enginesnipe. First the food's gone off, now parts are going missing. Nobody ever bothers to get aggravated over missing screws, but Mopsus Doe can't help but wonder what they'll do once all the screws have gone missing. Nonetheless she kneels down by to see what sort of a screw it is, to see if she happens to have a spare on hand, more interested in getting it down flush again than in peeking underneath. She looks up at the Cap'm at the question, looking a little baffled at it, but— she's the Cap'm. She looks to Nicholas for an answer, getting out her industrial screwdriver and switching the head over to the right shape, anyhow, whether she needs to take a screw out or put one in.

Nicholas again looks directly at Rhea when he expects her to speak, watching her mouth. Then his attention flickers to her eyes again. "There are still a few screws in." He gestures to Snatch, resting his arms on his knees. "She's got the right size to get the rest off. I don't see the missing one anywhere…might've been kicked off. Or taken."

Rhea crawls clear of the panel, so Snatch can pop it at her leisure. "I've got some spare crews in my kit. We can put one in before we go. What's under there? System-wise, I mean. I reviewed the design schematics, but it always takes me a few crawls through the tubes before I get a real sense of what's where."

Snatch keeps quiet, inserting the head into the screw and steadying the tool with both arms as she crouches over the instrument, grunting into it as she switches it on and feels it growl against the tightly-embedded screw. Finally, the push over, the screw eases up under the tool, Mopsus Doe lifts the big screwdriver and carefully collects screw and washer both, putting them in a low pocket near her boot for safe keeping, then crawling to the next, repeating the process until the panel's ready to come up, then, after a breath or two, she grabs the thing and lifts with her legs, pushing the thing up and back.

Nicholas has to check on the answer to Rhea's question himself, consulting the tiny handheld their own ChEng had provided so all the visitors didn't get lot. "It's…looks like it's empty now. Used to be a connector between these two flows, but it's not now." Meanwhile the panel hatch doesn't resist Snatch's charms. It comes up easily, revealing a deep hole. Empty…or is it? There's something white barely visible down there.

Rhea squints down into the hole, craning her neck. To try and aim the light on her hardhat directly at that bit of white something. Which puts her eyes at the wrong angle to really study it, but it might assist the others around the panel. "Empty? You sure? There's…I think that's something. Can't quite make it out."

Snatch lifts with a breath, then carefully steps from the front of the hole to its side, then back behind the heavy bit of plating, holding it up so that it doesn't fall either forward or backward while not having to lean over the hole and obstruct the view to do so.

Nicholas squints into the hole as Rhea bears the light and Snatch keeps them all from getting decapitated. It takes him a second to peer at the thing before he realises what it is. White, side handle, cap. "It's a…plastic jug."

Rhea tilts her head up, now that she has a better idea of what she's looking at. "Keep a hold on that, PO," she says to Snatch, not wanting to get squished by dropping panel. She scoots, steadying her belly against the floor, and reaches down to grasp hold of the jug. Delicately. She's as concerned with not tipping it, and possibly spilling its contents, as she is with hoisting it up.

Snatch does so, keeping her feet firmly planted on the flooring and the panel firmly upward and slightly back toward her so that she can brace it more easily. She closes her eyes and grimaces, though, briefly, as it seems heavier than it should be.

Nicholas raises an eyebrow as Rhea hoists the jug up. It looks like it was put there in a hurry, as the cap is on but there are smears of viscous blue fluid on the outside. Sharp smell. He sniffs gently as it's raised up. "That smells like cleanser…" Cleanser, one of the chemicals that showed up on their analysis of the Carina's acid water.

Rhea wrinkles her nose, nodding in agreement as she gets a whiff of it. "That it does." She gives the cap a twist with her gloved fingers, to make sure it's on as tight as possible. "Looks like it was stashed here in a hurry." She backs out of the hole and gets back on her feet, frowning at the jug. She holds it gingerly. "We should get this to your security folks. Let them go over it for prints and the like. The area around this panel, too."

Snatch keeps her eyes closed. Just keep the panel up. Urge to vomit rising, temples and back of her head throbbing. Even breathing hurts, but holding her breath isn't a good idea, either.

"Gods." Nicholas breathes out the word. He stands up, rolling backwards carefully so his head doesn't smack into the panel Snatch is holding. He gets his fingers under the lip, taking some of the weight. "I've got it, Miss Del Boccyo. Down easy."

Rhea keeps a firm hold on the jug, as if it were a snake that might escape if she didn't mind it. "Easy, PO," she says to Snatch softly. "We're near done here." She doesn't sound quite sure how to feel about what they've found.

Oh, they're putting it down, now. Relief floods her features as Nicholas takes some of the weight off of her hands, and she helps him ease it down, bending with a grunt and a nod of thanks. As she bends to the point where her head's near her knees, though, the sudden rush of blood feels like it's shattering her skull with its loud throbbing, and the hunger is a noise in her ear like some horses snorting as they drag the plow through the furrow. She almost thinks she smells the dark soil of the old homestead as she falls forward, dropping the panel the remaining inches into place and landing half on top of it, body simply unwilling to proceed without proper feeding.

Somewhat a good thing Nicholas was crouched down to fit the panel back into place. He rocks foward onto his hands on sheer reflex as Snatch starts falling forward, ending up with her draped heavily across his shoulders. Thud. He struggles awkwardly with the weight for a second, trying to wrassle Snatch's body into a fireman's carry while still on his knees. "Well. Goodness."

"Frak," Rhea mutters, softly, tone thick with concern when Snatch faints. She shrugs at Nicholas, when she notes her own swearing, but doesn't apologize for it. "Thanks. She's exhausted. We all are, with the state of the food supply. Let's get her out of here." For her part, she gets to screwing the panel back in place.

Nicholas didn't seem to hear the swearing. Matter of fact he doesn't seem to hear anything Rhea just said, not answering her. His eyes focused elsewhere, he adjusts Snatch on his shoulder with care, doing his damndest not to have to grab her butt in the process.

Rhea straightens again once the panel is secured, still watching Snatch with concern. "You need some help with her?" she asks, stepping alongside him.

Nicholas stands up once he's decently sure the woman won't go tumbling off. He happens to looks at Rhea and there's a second of grasping silence. And that loud humming. "It's just that way." He nods towards the way they'd come.

Rhea nods, taking the jug and picking her way carefully back the way they came. She keeps her light shining along the path for Nicholas, so he at least has a good idea of where to put his feet as he hauls her snipe along.

Nicholas seems to relax when she doesn't give him a weird look, exhaling quietly through his nose and turning to follow. Out of the belly of the beast.

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