rating: +9+x

10/19/2014, 2130 hours

Halsey reclined in his chair, legs propped up on the desk. He sipped his flask of mountain dew while staring blankly at the screen. He had been depressed ever since he lost his new favorite toy, item 392. He couldn't find the energy to do anything other than file the most basic reports, and attend his mandatory medical appointments. He was just about to head out for the night when the order came in. He fell out of his chair with a start as the computer in front of him began to beep. After clambering back onto the chair, Halsey looked at the screen with curiosity.

Involved Staff: Dr. Halsey.
Time: 2200 hours.
Assignment: Quaesitor security detail.
Location: Quaesitor Division, Defense satellite 3 control booth.
Note: The Orionid shower is tonight and we need our best in the hot seat.

Halsey sighed resignedly as he cleared the message. 'I should never have hosted that retro game festival,' he thought to himself. Ever since that fateful night when Halsey had ousted the entire staff at asteroids, whenever someone needed an out on 'quasi' duty, they would just say, "make Halsey do it, he's much better at it anyways." Grabbing a specialized ID from a manila envelope stamped "THIRDEYE", Halsey rolled his eyes, powered down the terminal, and headed out the door.

Halsey turned down the hall into the Base four aeronautics wing, stopping mid-stride under the sign, he paused and looked up. With a frown he pulled a post-it pad from his pocket, the janitor had been up to his work again. Grabbing a pen off a nearby end table Halsey scribbled 'Montgomery Five' onto the top most note, and carefully stuck the adhesive onto the well worn lower right corner of the display. Even though they weren't a Montgomery station, Base Four had about the same amount of com traffic with the satellite. Satisfied with his work, he took a step back to admire it. Suddenly his watch beeped, reminding him of the time sensitive nature of his assignment, with another sigh Halsey entered the labyrinth of halls, doors, and lifts that was the Quaesitor division.

after what felt to be an eternity of walking about Halsey plodded up to defense net control, and stopped at the third of the six doors. He looked back down the way he had come, 'leave now,' he thought to himself, 'make yourself scarce and someone else will do it'

'No!' the more responsible part of him retorted, 'this is important, we can't lose Quaesitor.'

His lazy half stuttered for a minute before conceding. Halsey took a deep breath and pushed the door open.

Halsey stared for a minute at the man in the booth, shocked that a man of his rank was stuck on 'quasi' duty. His mouth opened and closed a good number of times before he gathered up enough wit to ask, "Martin?"

The man in the chair spun around, it was Martin alright, but not Martin as the rest of the staff knew him. "Halsey?" he said with genuine surprise, "what are you doing here?"

Halsey stared in disbelief, wondering how long Cad had been in there. "Check the date," he said, "the Orionid starts in a few minutes."

Caduceus checked his watch, "It's been a whole day, already?" His attention shifted to the man in the door, "I was … just, uh…"

He stood there for a moment before it hit him. Halsey pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed in exasperation, he knew exactly what his coworker was doing. For the past two months Martin had been on loan to Base Four he had fostered a crush on Quaesitor; only god knew how long he nurtured the relationship over at Base Eleven with its easy access to the nearby Montgomery-1 station. He spent as much free time as he could on guard duty, chatting it up with the AI since he had gotten off the plane from his long flight. Halsey finally stood aside, freeing up the doorway, "just go Cad, save whatever dignity you have left."

Caduceus logged out of the terminal, gathered up his things, and shoved them into his pockets. On his way out the door he hissed to Halsey, "you saw nothing."

Halsey knew better than to rat on the doctor, one wrong move and he would be the next person to 'accidentally' die during one of Cad's 'surprise invasive medical checkups'. Halsey shivered as he closed the door, remembering Jenkins, who did nothing but advise Cad to the staff well being center. By the time Cad was pulled away by base security, Jenkins was nothing more than a scalpel porcupine.

Halsey sat at the terminal, shook his head clear of Jenkins' corpse, and pulled up the satellite defense grid. With a crack of his knuckles Halsey got to work.

To: Doctor Halsey
From: ALPHA Stargazer
Subject: Orionid Shower

Good job on the Quaesitor defense yesterday. You exceeded projections for the Orionid shower, and came away with with no losses. That was good work, I know you're feeling down about losing 392, but think of it this way. If you do well and get a promotion, you might be able to get that item under your supervision once project show-stopper is done with it.

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