|Grown Up Playground
||Sickbay, USS Hammersley
The Hammersley wasn't quite ready to go, and Ryan was probably driving the engineers nuts as they put the finishing touches on sickbay. His sickbay. But he was having the time of his life. He'd spent a year at the Academy, doing a years surgery specialty after receiving his medical degree. He was use to the level of technology. But He'd gotten his start at a tiny clinic in Monterey. Off the beaten path and catering to, well those who wanted to be treated and not noticed. Meatball surgery he'd heard it called, and he'd loved it.
Now he had a chance to have a sickbay set up just the way he wanted it. Some of the changes, while minor, got him weird looks from the engineers. Others got him lectures about time frames and ODN Access. He didn't care. When it came down to it, he had half a decade of muscle memory when it came to surgery. He needed to know where his .2 mm clamp was, not reach for it and come up with a .3mm clamp. If that meant a few changes so that when the time came, he could save that .5 second, well then he would annoy some engineers.
He'd also set up extra storage bins, more than the normal amount of mobile carts with everything from needles to sterile bandages, to a centuries old technology IV stand. You couldn't rely on power to always be there. He'd done surgery with a battery powered flash light, and a metal scalpel more than once.
The teams were swarming around him, and it made him think of a beehive. One he should probably step back from and let the teams do their jobs. Satisfied that his list had been received and would be completed, he retreated to his office. Their had really only been one request for his office, and that had already been filled. He grinned at the pull up bar hanging from the ceiling. He had to step on a chair to reach it, but it was worth it. He rolled one of his office chairs over and tried it out. Only a few pull ups. He was still in his full uniform with his lab coat on after all, it wouldn't do for him to get workout sweaty.
Satisfied that the pull up bar wasn't going to bring his ceiling down on him, Ryan finally sat behind his desk, sinking into the surprisingly comfortable chair. The next order of business was to start going over the crew roster. He had about half of them here already, but only about a third of those were in sickbay at the moment. He needed to see if Starfleet had gotten him a medical admin. It wasn't a position usually found on a starship, sickbay simply wasn't big enough to need one. Ryan had long ago admitted that he was horrible at paperwork though, and the specialty needs of medical didn't sync well with a yeoman. He skimmed the roster and let out a sigh of relief. Chief Petty Officer Samantha Davis, Medical Admin. At least his first starship assignment wasn't going to land him in a heap of embarrassment due to paperwork.
Dr Ryan Rose
|Somebody's Got to Do It
||Sickbay - USS Hammersley
'Life is ever changing' words that Captain Merith of the USS Pandora had taught her about a year plus ago when Janet was just a Lieutenant holding her post as Chief Tactical Officer and Security Chief aboard Merith's Luna class starship in the defunct 47th Task Force. The old Ba'ku woman was right...life was ever changing and Janet had been witnessing a lot of changes in her life over the short period of just a few years. Getting pregnant while aboard the USS Pandora, having to step down as Department Head only to end up getting reassigned to Captain Emily Wolf of the USS Challenger as an Interim First Officer until Starfleet found her a suitable posting aboard the USS Adelaide as Security Chief, but once her baby bump started to really show and she got into the whole morning sickness battle, Janet was forced to take a Leave of Absence for the next couple months until he gave birth.
Now, she was single mother to a newborn and Starfleet had assigned her to the USS Hammersley with the 38th Task Force. The Damn Delta Quadrant was all she could think of during her long trip from the Adelaide in the Beta Quadrant. What the hell were they thinking sending a single mother out to the Delta Quadrant? She honestly had no idea. It was about one of the most asinine orders she had ever received. Were she not a mother, Janet would have gladly taken the assignment and ran happily with it. But now she had more than just herself to think about. She had a child to worry about. "How the hell am I supposed to raise a child out here? The Borg...the Kazon, The Horogen, The Vaaudwaur, and Vidians!" she shouted slamming her fist into a bulkhead repeatedly as she walked down the corridor.
By the fourth time her fist had made contact with the unyielding object, she let out a loud yell in response to the pain. SON OF TARG! she thought as she let off some steam. She was pissed at Starfleet for sending her out into the Delta Quadrant and disappointed in herself for letting it all get to her. She was doing good with her anger management and temper control practices that Merith had taught her. Now her knuckles were going to be swollen like a jumja on a stick. "Computer, interior map. Approximate quickest route to Sickbay from my present location and display" she ordered. The computer complied. Whether it knew better than to toy with her today or not, she was happy if was complying.
Several minutes later she was walking into Sickbay which she had expected to be desolate if not entirely empty. Not all the crew were aboard yet and she was not yet made aware of Doctor Rose's arrival. There were no patients on any of the beds and the room was rather dimly lit at the time she came in. She went immediately over to a medical locker and started rummaging for equipment, anything that would help her with her busted hand. Cold day on Vulcan that I activate the Emergency Medical Hologram she thought to herself.
Ryan had been lightly dozing on the couch in his office when he heard noises in the main bay. He went to investigate and found Lieutenant Commander Glyndar rummaging. He approached, cleared his throat, and smiled. "Why don't you let me handle that, osteo regenerators are a bear to handle one handed."
Janet quickly spun around after a small gasp. Oh you are getting sloppy she thought as she instinctively reached towards her hip. No phaser. No dagger. No weapons at all. Though his words and uniform quickly caused her to relax and looks mildly embarrassed by her reaction. Surely he had seen her go for a phantom phaser. "Old habits" she said with a sigh. "Career security officer" she explained simply as she held out her injured hand.
"And a constant Sickbay patient if my history follows me here" she added with a small smile, her vibrant purple irises showing as she swiped her long dark hair aside, out from her eyes. "I was not expecting to find a Doctor on duty at this hour. At least not until we were fully or at least mostly crewed" she said making conversation.
Ryan had immediately taken a half step back, giving the woman plenty of room. His hands out of his lab coat pockets and visible, he had dealt with the type before, and knew how to make himself non threatening. "Understandable." Ryan gave her a small smile. He took a look at her hand, and grabbed the supplies he'd need. "I did notice your file was rather extensive." He offered. "I arrived a bit early and decided to get a few modifications taken care of. I'm a bit picky about my surgical suite."
Scoffing, Janet nodded. "Well it comes with the job" she said. "Security comes with its scars, Doctor. Have a long gander at my file and enjoy it. You also will take note that I recently gave birth."
"I did take note of that. I hope you'll bring them in. I haven't had a chance to pull on my pediatric hat in quite some time."
She nodded. "I will bring him in of course. Newborns are fussy...especially one with Xenexian and Orion heritage. I can only live in fear of his rough toddler years and then there's the teenage years" she said shaking her head. "Green skin and purple eyes. He's going to be a looker I think."
Ryan just smiled. "Well, it should never be boring."
"So, how's my hand? Will it be back to normal by morning?" she asked. "Not that I make a habit of going around punching people or things, but I do need my hands for other things" she added.
Ryan finished up. "It should be fine. Just let me know if there's still pain in the morning."
"Pain I can live with" she replied.
"I'm sure you can, but it's an indication that the minor bruising around the bone hasn't healed, I'm sure you don't want to risk further damage." Ryan replied.
Janet scoffed. "Not today at least. I will see you again soon, Doctor" she added as she proceed towards the exit.
|The Good Ship Lollipop
||USS Lollipop Room, Deck 68, Starbase 328
Damian stood in the Federation Museum- one of the many scattered across the galaxy staring at a massive scale model of the Ronin Class USS Lollipop staring at it intently, analyzing it's every curve and line. It had been Damian's dream to command one of these ships ever since before his posting to the Valhalla but alas the line was discontinued after a few catastrophic power failures that Starfleet Engineering could never pin down. Resisting the urge to grab a ladder and climb up to run his hands across it, Damian continued to stare, transfixed with an almost childlike wonder.
Tanner had climbed up the back of the ship, gaining footing on the back nacelles and making her way to top of the ship. Sure, it was a museum, but Tanner didn't take to the same concept of historical degradation as most people did. Some things were meant to be explored, discovered, touched. The concept of preservation was bullshit. What was the good of keeping something, if it wasn't so that people could gain a better understanding of it, and learn from it? How do you understand, learn or gain a better knowledge of something without being able to examine, touch and feel the object in question? She'd made her way up the saucer section to the front of the ship, at which point Tanner gripped the edge, kicked off and flipped over. She hung over the edge for a moment before doing a tuck-and-roll into the forward embankment. This was the controversial "forward weapon bank." Tanner had never believe it was a phaser bank, phaser banks weren't that big, weren't that open, even a torpedo launch point wouldn't require such an inset, not unless there was other aspect in play. She wanted to see what it was really meant for, and ....well... if museum security came and hunted her down, she'd spend the night in the brig and deal with it. It'd be worth it. She was already too far along for them to keep her from finding out the truth.
Hearing a metallic pinging sound above him, Damian looked up and saw a pair of boots disappear into the scale phaser turret. Shaking his head, Damian already knew who it was. "Damn it..." he grumbled as he scrambled up the ladder towards the model and peered into the massive phaser port. "Damn it, Tanner! Get down from there!" he yelled, his voice bouncing from surface to surface. Sensing that his quest was one of futility, he slid back down to the deck and looked up, perplexed.
Janet had walked through, catching sight of the whole scene unfolding and the exchange between a man and a woman. "Honey, you have things to learn" commented the Xenexian Lieutenant Commander as she joined the scene, taking a place by the man's side. "Nothing you say is going to get her down when you are shouting at her like a cat" she said shaking her head. Janet gave a long look up and crossed her arms and studied the situation further. "Girl can climb" added Janet with a small smirk forming on her face.
"So...." began the woman looking at the man beside her. "Lover's quarrel or Engineer on the loose?" asked the former Security Chief as she pieced together the dialogue she had heard and the sights she had been seeing. "Or both?" she then added not wanting to assume separately.
Damian chuckled slightly at the compliment and looked over to officer now standing beside him and stroked his chin, wishing he still had his beard. "I'm honestly not sure, Commander. She's an inquisitive one, to be sure. That's why she's such a damn good engineer." he said begrudgingly. Adjusting his uniform, he crossed his arms and waited. "She'll have to come down eventually."
"You really don't know women then" she replied shaking her head. "If she wants to stay up there...she will stay up there for however long she wishes" said Janet as she watched the woman. "The question really is how long does she want to be up there and when will you go up there after her?"
Crawling headlong into the apparatus, Tanner tilted her head back, making note of the panel ahead. Control hatch, wiring systems. They didn't put that type of hardwiring in place for phasers. Phaser power was an operational/tactical system, the wiring was all internal, very covert. Putting the power bank in the same area as the firing bank would be.... Stupid, nobody does that.
Tanner stretched out, laying on her back, head hanging out of the array. "It's brilliant and beautiful. Anyone who didn't know would see it as a torpedo launcher, and back off because of it, or just because of the threat... Her back arched and she once again gripped the edge of the ship. This time she was grasping the edge of the nacelle rather than the hull.
"Hey, you! You're not allowed to touch the displays!"
Tanner hit the ground, took two steps back, raised her hands and blinked at the museum security officer. "Not touching anything."
Janet sighed and shook her head. She put on her stone cold bitch face and glared in his direction as she slowly approached with a commanding strut. "Excuse me...." she began not knowing the man's name. To which he started to open his mouth and respond by supplying it "It doesn't matter what your name is!" she interrupted. "Does museum security now get involved in the affairs of Starfleet Security Officers? No, I most certainly would hope not. Do you see this uniform...look at my collar" she demanded as she tugged her collar down a bit. "Count those pips. Lieutenant Commander J'n'e't Gl'yn'dr, former First Officer USS Challenger and USS Adelaide Chief of Security" she added.
"I commend you on doing your job, but these two are with me" she said sharply. "Now my associate here will not be touching anything further, so I do not expect to need your presence any longer in my vicinity, so clear out" she said crossing her arms. "Unless your superior wants to have words with me and interrupt my business here. In which case, let me contact the Admiral...or are we finished here?" she asked.
The security officer looked bemused and perplexed at the woman in front of him. "N- no, ma'am." the rather short and skinny fellow turned on his heel and walked out in a huff.
Damian laughed hysterically at this display of as he climbed back down yet again from the ladder. Walking over to her, he put his hand on Tanner's shoulder and whispered in her ear. "You know, you could have asked before you climbed into the guts of a model starship." he said, struggling to contain his continuing laughter. It was hilarious to see Tanner's face as she displayed her expression of faux surprise and shock at the mere suggestion that she was doing something wrong.
Tanner's eyes lit up, "I don't need to ask before climbing into a model ship because... I've always been able to talk my way out of it." Looking over her shoulder, she made eye contact with Janet, and with a slight lift of her chin indicated her gratitude. "But it's always beneficial to have backup." Tilting her head to the side, Tanner sighed, and with that outward breath, her hand drifted from Damian's shoulder to his chest.
"One day, we're not going to be there to stop some overzealous security guard from catching you rummaging through his ships, regardless of how ridiculous it is." Damian responded. Feeling Tanner's fingers running over the chest of his uniform, he paid no mind as he figured that it was just one of her many sweeping gestures. Looking over the history of the ship, he couldn't help but snicker a little. He began to read from the plaque. "The USS Lollipop, commissioned in 2382 sailed for only two years under Captain James Merritt, who took her on such voyages into the Azure Nebula and the infamous Smythe Ion Storm field. She was tragically destroyed in 2384 when Captain Merritt crashed it directly into Tranador IV, where it was lost with all hands."
Lieutenant Commander Janet Glyndar looked at the woman that she was coming to learn was named Tanner. "Didn't mean to step on your toes and steal your show" commented Janet with a nod in Tanner's direction. "Thanks, I was hoping for a history lesson" added Janet scoffing. "One day we're not going to be here? Did you really just say that to her? She doesn't look the type to really need our help."
Damian turned to Janet and shrugged. "She gets herself into situations that she almost always manages to talk her way out of. Doesn't matter if it's a barfight, a Court Martial, or a relationship..." Damian trailed off as a bad taste entered his mouth as soon as he uttered the last word. "Hence my statement, Commander. One day, she's not going to be able to talk herself out of something and backup simply isn't going to be there." he said ruefully before he walked into the adjoining room where another group of golden ships were displayed.
Rolling her eyes, as she watched Damien leave the room, Tanner glanced up at Janet. "Thanks." Her eyes focused in on something in the palm of her hand, her thumb moving across the surface of some unknown object as though she were popping the cap off a bottle. "Really, I don't give out gratitude often, and apologies even less, but..."
Looking them over, he thought solemnly of the many people that these ships immortalized- those that had come and gone in the constant quest for exploration and peace. One name stood out in particular- Hammersley. Reading over it's history, he noticed that it's crews over the years had earned their place as explorers and peacemakers but were ferocious fighters when their time came to do so. They had taken on over 70 Dominion vessels over the course of the war and eliminated them with extreme professionalism, earning them more commendations than most ships in the fleet. All things considered, it was rather impressive. Checking his chronometer, Damian released a silent curse- he was slated to head to the Starfleet Corps of Engineers detachment to deliver a briefing in less than 15 minutes. Reaching up to his chest, he realized that he didn't have his commbadge. The realization that he had been played by a fool dawned on him- Tanner had stolen his commbadge when she decided to cop a cheap feel. Fighting the urge to release a silent curse, he stormed back into the room and stopped in front of the Lollipop, his face red with anger. There were points in their time together when he tolerated her insubordination, blatant disrespect to her superiors, and her antics but he could no longer turn a blind eye to her flouting of the rules.
Cocking her head to the side and lifting a brow, the engineer pressed her hands together. "I mean it when I do. So thanks, for seeing that I don't need help, and for giving it anyways, and sorry for what comes next." She tossed the comm in her hands to the woman she was speaking with, just as Damien walked back in the door....
"Master Chief Petty Officer Tanner Willeg, I believe you have something that belongs to me." Damian said with a hint of a growl in his voice.
Tanner blinked with faux innocence. "I have nothing that belongs to you." One corner of her mouth turned up in a smirk, "lest that which was freely given." Raising her hands in the air like someone caught, she turned a three-sixty, took one step forward and blinked. "Were you planning to frisk me? Over what?"
Janet shook her head. "If he doesn't frisk you, then I might" said the Xenexian. "I used to be a Security Officer. Frisking and interrogations were my favorite" teased Lieutenant Commander Glyndar with a small smile at the woman.
Tanner shook her head and laughed silently. "Go for it." She glanced at the other woman and tossed a glance at Damien. "Major?" She knew he was already irritated at the fact that she'd confiscated his comm. And now she was, in no uncertain terms saying it was his call as to whether he wanted to call her bluff or let her walk away. She also knew that he'd known her long enough to know whether or not she was bluffing.
"You'd do well to address me as Colonel, Petty Officer or should I make that Crewman?" Damian shot back. He was in no mood for disrespect and he wasn't going to allow himself to be publicly insulted in front of another officer.
This woman, however, this Janet, who Tanner had met only moments ago, could change everything, if she so chose. Still, Tanner hadn't gotten where she was in life by playing things safe... She'd spent half a lifetime waiting for people to call her bluff or place a bet. She did the same here, waiting to see who would act next.
Janet looked at the man "What is it exactly that she allegedly has, Sir?" asked Janet as she stood put. "I'll frisk if you deem it necessary, but if you want something more invasive of a search, I'll take her somewhere private for the squat and cough" added the Xenexian flashing her purple irises in Tanner's direction. "Now now, don't get too excited. He might cancel the special occasion on us" she continued.
Damian smirked slightly at this and flashed a look of slight disapproval to Janet.
Tanner glanced back and forth, noting the exchange, and laughing at the both of them. "The Major is looking for someone to stroke his ego." Throwing her head one direction, and then back, cracking her neck in the process, "for surely if he was assuming disrespect, he would understand that I didn't mean any. I was merely referring to him in the same manner he introduced himself." The Betazoid's raised brow was both a clear question You did get that, right? If you really thought I was trying to be a bitch... Shame. And also a challenge. Go on, push me. Try to win the argument. Whether or not I see it as reasonable, I will not lose with an audience. Your rules will lose to ridiculousness, to fun and charm and stupidity that sounds reasonable.
He could see that the two were becoming fast friends and it was slightly irritating but at the same time, humorous. "Well, she appears to have my combadge, Commander. So frisk her but let's not get into the cavity searches today, it's too much paperwork for both of us and I have to get to a briefing that is drawing closer the longer that we stand here." Looking Tanner over, his smirk grew as he inched closer. " You can either give me my badge back or I can have the nice Commander here frisk you. Your call, Chief.." he said, with a tinge of dark humor in his voice.
"Appreciate the pleasantries, Colonel." Tanner lifted her chin, blinked and stared up with nothing less than serentity, "but I still don't have your comm. Thanks for the free feel-up, though."
Gnashing his teeth together, Damian reluctantly realized that Tanner was telling the truth, despite her constant resistance. "Fine. I'll replicate another but should it turn up, my office in the Starfleet Corps of Engineers detachment on Deck 72."
Damian turn on his heel and walked away, his footfalls echoing on the deck as he exited the museum or rather attempted to as he slammed into the door, which failed to open at his presence. A meaty thump echoed through the museum space as he bounced off of the tritanium doors and slammed on the deck. A rapid stream of curses flowing from his mouth, he picked himself up and touched a hand to his nose, which he could feel a slight sting and taste the metallic tang of blood that was now trickling from his nose. Hearing a loud snickering, Damian wheeled around and saw a mother standing with her small child poorly attempting to stifle a laugh as he dabbed the blood away on the sleeve of his uniform. Tapping the door control, the doors finally slid open. Without his combadge, this day was going to get a hell of a lot harder and there wasn't much he could do about. He was now at the mercy of a woman who loved her humor and wouldn't relent unless he surrendered and today, that was not on his agenda.
||Federation Council Briefing Room/Palais De Concorde
||Mission Day 0, 0600
Admiral Percival 'Percy' Fitzwallace walked through the courtyard of the Palais de Concorde on the unseasonably cold day. As he reached the door, a Marine in full dress blues held the door open and snapped off a sharp salute. Returning the salute, Percy entered the building and hung a right turn, heading down the extremely long hallway, his steps echoing on the marble floors. Reaching the end of the hallway, he walked into the elevator and pressed his hand to the sensor. In a split second, the elevator shot downward deep underground towards a facility that was used to make decisions that were virtually unknown to even the highest levels of the Federation except the President himself. The elevator slid to a stop and the doors slid open to reveal a massive room that was occupied by four people: Fleet Admiral Alynna Nechayev- Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral John Mackintosh- Chief of Starfleet Intelligence, General Domingo 'Ding' Chavez- Commandant of the Starfleet Marine Corps, and the President of the Federation- Kellessar zh'Tarash. Each person in the room was seated around a massive triangular table and were having a heated argument. As soon as the doors closed, the room was overcome by an eerie silence and every eye was trained on him. Walking over to an empty seat, Percy quietly sat down and placed his briefcase on the deck.
After what seemed like an eternity, Percy spoke up. "Well judging by your silence and your penetrating stares, I'd say that you missed me." He said, his voice dripping with sarcasm. He was no friend of any man in this room, they were all backstabbing snakes, the whole lot of them and he was simply a rat there for the feeding.
Domingo spoke up. "Look, Fitz, the reason we brought you here is that our units in the Jathlin Arm have advised us that Borg activity has increased and they are slowly making their way towards the Solaria Gateway."
Percy raised his hand to stop the man and turned his attention to Admiral Mackintosh, who was at the other end of the table. “I read the report that your office put out this morning, John and it stated 'The Borg are currently remaining within established boundaries and pose a minimal threat to Starfleet assets in the area, provided no incursion is attempted'. So which is it? Are you people sitting here blowing smoke up my ass or are your Intel units just incompetent?" he asked, venom entering his voice.
"If anyone is here is an expert in blowing smoke, Percy, you needn't look so far as to my direction...nor anyone else's for that matter" replied Admiral Jonathan Mackintosh. "Our intelligence is sound...my report is accurate, and your criticism is unwarranted" added the man, his pale white skin and glaciated gray eyes unyieldingly looking at Percy. "The Borg are remaining within established boundaries, but we do not know what goes on much beyond them" he explained
Alynna had been through these types of meetings before. 24th century as it were, there was still a sense of the 'gentlemen's club' when it came to the top brass in Starfleet. Sure, nobody was outwardly sexist and women had every damn right to serve in the positions of authority that they so rightfully earned. Nobody questioned that. Yet when you gathered a bunch of strong willed men in a room, it always turned to a silent pissing match. "Gentlemen, Please. Let's move things along and quit the formalities" said Fleet Admiral Nechayev interlocking her fingers and she rested her arms on the table top.
She looked around the room. "None of us got where we are today with taking things slowly" she added with a heavy sigh. "If we are going to discuss the Borg, then let's discuss the Borg. What are the latest reports stating and what is our present threat level in the Quadrant?" she asked as she awaited one of them to give her what she asked.
Domingo was the first to respond. "Sensor nets indicate that there have been fifteen small Borg incursions via transwarp gateways near Demeter, Tilamar, and the Solaria Nebula. Currently, there have been no land engagements and they've allowed us to scan their ships and conduct visual recon. However, one Marine Recon team aboard the USS Wollongong went aboard one and they suffered heavy casualties with six killed and four assimilated. They managed to get back to Starbase 900 and Rear Admiral Macedo transmitted this information to both myself and Admiral Mackintosh immediately."
"And we took the necessary counter actions and took additional precautions for a repeat offense" replied Mackintosh. "The Wollongong was an unfortunate casualty, but we have the best of the best out there."
Fitz laughed. "It seems like your best isn't enough, Mack. We need more ships out there with actual tactical capabilities because the ones we have aren't cutting it. We've got two Prometheus Classes, one Intrepid Class, two Sovereigns, and a Nova Class. Nothing short of the full might of the Fourth Fleet is going to push them back and keep them back, not that ragtag force that's spread too thin for its own good. "
Macintosh glared at Fitz. "What do you want out there, Fitz? What do you expect us to do? I'd order a task force full of Ronin class starships if that were a possibility, but you know how that will go" said Mackintosh shaking his head. "We'll be met with the Caplinger Maneuver if we even try to push a Ronin class out there."
Admiral Nechayev cut in. "If it takes some Ronin classes to get the job done, then I will do my best to get them out there" she said firmly.
Fitzwallace sighed for a moment. "Fleet Admiral, it's my belief based upon the data presented that it's the only way. Let me know what needs to be done and I'll do it. The Borg are a clear and present danger to the Federation and its assets in the Delta Quadrant and it will require a maximum tactical response. Leave Caplinger to me." he said in a steely tone. "Next would be the question of the ship's Captain." Turning to his desk, Fitzwallace opened the Starfleet Bureau of Personnel database. "Computer, initiate a search of qualified command officers, grade O-5 and above."
The computer beeped its affirmative and opened a list of over 750 officers that scrolled across the massive screen.
Fitz decided to break down the list. "Sort list by number of combat engagements completed in the Delta Quadrant." The computer beeped again and over 600 names disappeared from the list instantaneously. One name flipped to the top of the list. Tapping the small screen on his desktop, the face and personnel file of a Marine appeared on the list.
General Chavez chuckled slightly as this particular face stared out at the assembled party. Fitz turned to him, a slightly confused look on his face.
"Is something funny, General?" Fitzwallace asked.
Chavez controlled himself. "I remember this one. His name's Highsmith, a damn good engineer if not a little too 'by the book'. I trained him when he went through Officer Candidate School and I recommended him for his spot as Company Commander at the Academy back when I was a one star. He's gone through a lot in the Delta Quadrant and they pulled him back after an incident involving some fighters and a substantial loss of life-" Domingo stopped as he scrolled through the personnel record. "-the Mishap Investigations Board cleared him of any wrongdoing, apparently they blamed it on an improperly installed Warp Core." Continuing to scroll through his records, Domingo looked up at the rest of the officers assembled. "He's my guy for the job. He's not a career combat Marine so he knows to use his mouth instead of torpedoes when the need requires it."
Fitz interrupted him. "Are you nuts? We gave this man a ship once and he blew a hole in it, why should we give him another ship to take out?" he asked, practically foaming at the mouth.
Domingo looked up calmly. "Because, Fitz. We need a maximum tactical response and this man is the one to provide it. Also, Picard has twice as many ships as this one and taken each of them out. "
Mackintosh interjected with a deep clearing of his throat. "Before we do anything further...we need the right personnel for essential positions. If you are going to give Highsmith a command, then I will be sending one of my own to serve aboard under Highsmith and keep a close eye on him. We need someone who understands command, understands the security and tactical alertness needed for operating in the area, and someone who can keep up on the intelligence reports" he added strongly. "I know the perfect officer. A Lieutenant Commander with years of experience who will give Highsmith's 'by the book' philosophy a run."
There was a smattering of assorted chuckles throughout the room from other flag officers assembled. Fitz initially raised his hand to deliver a sharp retort and then lowered it. He had gotten what he needed for now, with very few concessions. "Our only issue now is Caplinger- “Tapping his console for a moment, Fitz stopped and had a moment of clarity. "Computer, open specifications for the Kelvin Class Refit. Authorization Fitzwallace-Delta-Six-Zero-Omega."
The computer beeped its affirmative and pulled up a miniature hologram of the Kelvin Class. It was larger than the Ronin and it was practically armed to the teeth. It was slightly older than the Ronin but it would suffice. Fitz smiled his signature half smile and closed the hologram. Tapping a few buttons on his console, Fitz selected a name for the ship sent a message to Starfleet Personnel Command and copied Fleet Admiral Nechayev for good measure. "That should get around Caplinger just fine. Now all we can do is wait..." Fitz said, his voice trailing off.
"Hah" replied Mackintosh. "The waiting is the best part. Let's see how it goes and take necessary measures from there" he said with a nod. "I'll have Lieutenant Commander Glyndar assigned to Highsmith’s command" added Mackintosh.
Fitz nodded. "Very well. It appears that my part of this is done. If anyone needs me, I'll be in my office." Picking up his briefcase, Fitz stood from his chair and wordlessly exited the room, his footfalls echoing on the deck.
||Chief Counselor's Office
Ryan was glad that the medical staff had mostly arrived. Things were shaping up nicely, and so far Ryan was very pleased with the staff. The only area that concerned him slightly was the Counseling Department. He'd been away from his Therapist for two months now, if he didn't sign on with another soon, no doubt she would start sending up red flags to Starfleet. But he wasn't quite sure how he was going to juggle his personal need for a Counselor, and his need to work collaboratively with the department. It was probably something to bring up with said Counselor Ryan realized. He made the short trip to the man's office and sounded the chime.
Cameron had been standing on his desk in the process of hanging a photo- his Creighton University class on the day they received their psychology degrees, when he heard the chime. Bumping his head, he turned to the door. "Come in!" he yelled as he jumped down from the desk and brushed himself off. He was slightly confused as he wasn't supposed to be seeing patients at this point and no one was supposed to know he was here yet. Taking a seat on the forward edge of the desk, he waited for his guest to enter.
Ryan took a quick glance around and saw that the Counselor was decorating. "Hi. I'm Doctor Rose." He introduced himself. "Want some help?" He then offered with a smile.
Cam looked the man over slightly. "I'm Doctor Thorne, but my friends call my Cameron.If you'd like, you can grab a picture out of that box by your foot and let me know where you think it should go. " Pausing for a moment with a finger on his lips, he contemplated the layout. This was his first shipboard office and it had much more space than his cramped one during his residency on Earth, so he didn't have nearly enough photos or shadowboxes to adorn his walls. Picking up a photo, he held it up and turned in a circle to determine where it needed to be.
Ryan went to the box and started perusing.
"Can I get you anything, Lieutenant? I like to keep a few cases of non replicated drinks and things from Earth as a part of my private stash if you're ever interested." Cameron said slyly.
"Ryan please." He responded automatically, his attention still on the box of pictures. He pulled one out. "Water would be great, thanks. And I think this one would look good across from wherever you sit your client, it's very calming."
Cameron looked over to the portrait- a constantly shifting portrait of assorted colors that swirled and vanished. He had picked it up from a traveling trader who had said it brought him luck. Walking over to the bulkhead behind his chair, Cameron affixed a magnet to the back and connected it to the bulkhead. Straightening it, he stepped back and examined his handiwork. Smiling, he dropped down to one knee and opened a container that appeared that was exuding a cold fog. Opening it, Cameron reached in and grabbed two bottles of water. Taking one in his free hand, he tossed one towards Ryan.
"So I know you probably didn't come to help me with my interior design skills, what can I do for you?" Cameron asked, taking a sip of the water.
Cameron had telegraphed his intent clearly enough. Ryan was able to catch the water bottle easily, without feeling something was being thrown 'at' him.
Ryan opened his water as well, and took a long sip before answering. "Actually I just wanted to introduce myself." Ryan had changed his mind sometime between deciding to meet the Counselor and standing here in his office. He no longer felt like bringing up his own need for a Counselor. He had some time hopefully before he needed to worry about his PTSD flaring up. "There's a few cases I'd like to consult on with you, but a couple of them aren't even here yet, and none of them are urgent, it can wait until you've settled in."
Cameron leaned on his desk as he peered at Ryan. "Bring them by and we can sit down and compare notes sometime. Maybe over lunch?" he inquired, trying to probe the walls he sensed were coming up the longer they stood there. "You don't have to decide right now. I'll be here for the foreseeable future and I'd like to be of as much help as I can." he said earnestly.
"That's sounds good." Ryan replied. He then turned back to the box of pictures and pulled one out. "Hide that one, it's like Rorschach and Van Gogh had a bastard love child." He grinned.
Turning his head slightly to the left and closing his right eye, he stared long and hard at the picture. "You know what? You're right, that IS hideous. Toss it back in the box, I'll keep it someplace dark where it can't cause any trouble." he said before he chuckled slightly. That particular photo was a graduation gift when he was commissioned in Starfleet and he had never had the courage to tell his mother- a fearsome woman, that he probably would never be caught dead with that picture on his wall. He had hung it up for special occasions but always took it down and stashed it somewhere until he needed it for yet another family visit. "So Ryan, I know very little about you besides your name. How long have you been in the fleet?" Cameron asked, taking another long swig of his water.
"Five years, since I graduated from the academy. But then there was medical school and a surgical fellowship. This is actually my first off Earth assignment." Ryan answered. "Yourself?" He asked in return. It was pretty standard small talk, but a good place to start.
Cameron thought for a moment as he tallied up the years. "It's been about eight years for me. I graduated with Doctorate and joined Starfleet right out of college. I've been to the Gamma Quadrant aboard the Stennis and out on patrols aboard the Coriolis with a tour at Motaran Sector Command." Letting out a smile, he thought back to his first tour aboard the Stennis, when he had gotten lost aboard ship, and the thing's he'd learned from a veteran Vulcan counselor aboard who had been in the field for over 10 years.
"That's some good experience." Ryan commented, a bit impressed.
Cameron shrugged. "It's not much. I just go where I'm sent and don't question it. Something I will say is that I can tell some great stories and there's more than one prominent Admiral with an interesting fetish out there." he said, letting out a belly laugh.
Ryan joined in the laughter. "Oh god, I don't think I want to know. That's some blackmail worth having though." He smiled, then realized he was taking up the Counselor's time. "I'll let you get back to settling in. It was nice to meet you."
Cameron walked over to Ryan. "It was good meeting you, Ryan. Before you go, take a piece of art with you. Maybe it can brighten your office a little bit?" he suggested. A feeling was nagging at the back of his mind. He knew this man wanted his help but he was hesitating and putting up walls, almost he was unsure of whether he wanted his help. Maybe this little interaction would help him open up a little and take advantage of a safe space.
"That's very kind, but I'm afraid I don't have room for anything else on my walls." Ryan politely declined. He'd seen what was in the box, and frankly it wasn't to his taste, even if he did have space on his walls. "I'm sure I'll see you soon." Ryan waved as he left.
|Assuming the Guard
||Sector Command Offices- Deck 29, Section B, Starbase 329
||Mission Day 2, 0900
Damian was sitting down in the conference room nursing a cup of raktajino in his right hand and tapping on the desk impatiently with his left. He had been summoned here along with Tanner for something important that was yet to be disclosed. Taking a sip of the hot and sweet brew, he sighed as he swallowed and a warmth spread from the top of his head to the very tips of his toes. For some reason it was cold. In fact, it felt like it was freezing- the goose pimples rising from the back his hand were proving that His tapping became more impatient and increased in force to a sharp staccato beat that became more and more arrhythmic the longer he waited in this frigid room . His frustration building, he rose from his chair and walked over to one of the massive floor to ceiling windows and watched as the ships came and went, jumping to warp as they approached the boundary of the station. It was almost like a beating heart, with blood rushing to and from every chamber and circulating it throughout the body. It helped distract him from his impromptu confinement and place him into a sense of Zen. Taking another sip of his drink, he felt another surge of heat spread through his body, although this one wasn't as strong. Clenching the fingers in his free hand, he felt the pins and needles sensation of blood flow back into his barely numb arm.
"It's beautiful, don't you think?" Damian posed the question to Tanner, looking her over like a scientist would a prized subject.
Years ago, the constant tapping would've grated on Tanner's nerves, she would've glared, then eventually, placed her hand over his, forcing the tapping to stop. But she wasn't who she was years ago. Now she simply waited. She was seated at one of the chairs around the conference table with her head leaned back, eyes closed, her motionless form portraying the outward effect of carelessness that betrayed the constantly working gears. A new ship always came with problems, even if it was fully refitted and ready, there would be kinks to work out with the system, with the crew. The scheduling alone would most likely be a discussion, if not a problem. And each department would have requests, both practical and personal, in terms of stocking each area and facility. Some of those requests would be reasonable, doable, and others ridiculous. Damian's voice broke her out of her reverie. "Yes." Tanner opened her eyes, spun her chair around to face the windows and nodded. "But I have a different reason than you for thinking it's beautiful." Her head tilted, one brow raised, and Tanner smiled.
Damian turned to look at Tanner, her hair in a signature state of disarray. To him, it was slightly annoying yet endearing at the same time. She was the embodiment of a walking contradiction- dedicated to her job but despised regulations and made it her mission to trounce them wherever they could be found, and she had always been sure of herself but now, Damian sensed that there was some hesitation, especially where the two of them were concerned. Raising his own eyebrow, he walked back over to his chair and slowly sat down.
"What would that different reason be?" he asked, leaning forward towards her.
There was something about the fact that he leaned forward. It wasn't what she hadn't been expecting; it went against character. Once upon a time, she would've just brushed it off, because he was speaking to her, not some random person, but after everything that'd happened, she didn't know what to think. It wasn't typical for Damien, at least as she'd known him, to be interested in the intricacies of the opposing viewpoint. Even when it'd been an issue, he didn't ask... More often than not when there'd been any disagreement it was a just that: they disagreed, it became a debate or heated discussion, and they either figured out a compromise or...
They eventually figured things out, or they didn't. They'd always been different. Tanner looked out the window, then returned to her previous position: her eyes closed, she settled back in her chair, and with a single motion she pushed, causing the chair to turn away from the window as her leg pulled up under her on the chair. Because he'd leaned forward, she could feel her knees brush against his as the chair spun. "You look out at the ships coming and going, and see it as part of the system, the way the world works. Everything keeps going... And it's beautiful. But you think it keeps going because it has a reason, because this that or the other thing makes it make sense."
"I see the beauty in the chaos. There are twenty-five ships, all with the same engine and specifications, but each of them is different, each individual piece has been touched by a different pair of hands, been sitting still for this length of time, been through this mission or that. It makes a difference. The level of stress, the amount of time it's been running, the people who've maintained it, the missions it's been on or the lack thereof. I see every engine, piece of machinery as unique, and having had it's own life. You find comfort in the system, in the fact that we follow the rules and do things a certain way. I see the beauty in that chaos. It's a miracle that despite the fact that Starfleet tries to make everything work within the system, tries to make everything the same, even something as non-sequitur as a machine still doesn't and cannot at all times conform to those rules. The idea and concept that we, as humanoids, insistent on patterns, can somehow keep all those ships in the air, keep things moving, despite our own differences, despite all the problems that are inevitable... That's beautiful."
Even after all these years, Tanner still managed to take Damian aback with her viewpoint. As always, she was correct- he did always see things in a lockstep form- it either worked or it didn't. He was a Marine, where they taught that everything was black and white and that gray areas were anomalies that needed to be corrected before they got bigger and caused problems that couldn't be so easily fixed. And then there was Tanner... she was a tempest- a whirlwind of contradictions, possibilities, and attitude. She had forced Damian to confront many feelings that he had kept to himself over the years and in a way he was grateful to her for it but there were other days that she filled him with a sense of sadness, longing, and anger. When they loved each other, they loved like there was no tomorrow and when they hated, they could strike fear into the fiercest Klingon warrior.
Deep down, Damian still loved Tanner but both of them had made some unconscious decision to keep a cautious distance from each other since she had decided to pursue her career ahead of parenthood- a strongly divergent path that had driven a particularly painful wedge between the both of them. Each day following their loss had been filled with tears and screaming that eventually subsided into pained silence to the point that they could barely bear to be in the same room as each other for a long time. Eventually, he had packed his things and left to try to make sense of his life and his place in the universe in the only way that he could- through his duty.
"You're right. In fact, you're absolutely right. It's chaotic but there is a sequence in it all." he said, sighing as he leaned against the rail.
"That sequence you see is a want for pattern, and it could go wrong, go against plan at any given moment." Live in the moment, fix the problem at hand. Tanner remembered some point in the past, building a shuttle craft out of nothing but what happened to be on the ship, random supplies and whatever spare pieces could be scraped together. It'd been a great ship, once it was built, not perfect, but workable, and... "The perfect combination of tactical and mechanical feasibility."
Realizing the statement didn't make sense, Tanner sucked in a breathe and stood. It wouldn't make sense to anyone other than him. But it did, make sense. It made great sense, which was why the Betazoid engineer found herself walking across the room and looking out the window. As he leaned against the rail. pretending to be at ease, she rested her hands upon it, pushing forward, staring out that window with anticipation. "I get it, I know you don't want to deal with me, and to be honest..." Her head dropped, then turned, her chin resting on her shoulder, her eyes meeting his momentarily before darting away. "We worked well together... at one point."
There was an uncomfortable silence in the room that lasted for what felt like eons. Then Damian decided to break it. Letting out a slightly sarcastic laugh, he launched into a rambling rant of feelings that he had been bottling up for months. "We worked well at one point? Is that the best you can say? I mean, we did more than work well with each other, Tanner, we were going to start a life together. Then... Then you decided to go off on your escapades as always, leaving me to wonder what you would or wouldn't do next." His hands were a flurry of motion as he gesticulated as if to make his points with sharp hand gestures. "There were points when I wanted to chase after you and bring you back but then I realized something- no matter how many times I searched for you, it would never be enough. You never wanted to settle. Not with me. Not with anyone." Damian sighed for a moment, a single, solitary tear welling up in his eye. Quickly turning away, he relented and fell into a pensive silence.
Still staring out the window, Tanner dropped her head, closed her eyes and sucked in a breath. After a moment, her head lifted, turned toward Damien and then once again dropped down, "we did work well together." Her eyes opened once again, staring out the clear glass, watching the constant motion, the coming and going of the spacedock. "I miss that. I miss what we had, working to build something new." Tanner sucked in a breath, finally looked at him, black eyes staring. She lifted her hand, her palm grazing his jawline. Pushing herself forward, and raising up on her toes, her eyes drifted closed as she brushed her lips against his cheek, kissing away the single tear. Tanner sighed and dropped back to the floor, "But you're right. I didn't want to settle."
Damian took a deep breath as he fought the urge to pace the room. Attempting to silence his racing thoughts, he was interrupted as he saw a pair of immaculately shined shoes enter the room. Slowly bringing his head up, his face drained of color as he saw who the shoes belonged to- General Domingo Chavez, Commandant of the Starfleet Marine Corps. Snapping to attention, Damian stared straight ahead, his gaze piercing the nearby bulkhead.
General Chavez looked around the room at Damian, then over to Tanner where his face began to reflect a look of slight disapproval as he noticed Tanner was still sitting on the deck. Turning back to Damian, he looked him over slowly, looking for any infinitesimal mistake in his uniform or bearing. "You know, I was really surprised when they picked you for another command, Highty-Tighty." Domingo continued his inspection for a few moments, his eyes razor sharp. Finally stepping back, he took his seat and beckoned to Damian, pointing to a seat directly opposite him.
Tanner cocked her head, interested to find out why she’d been summoned here in the first place. Highty-Tighty? Raising a brow, the engineer remained where she was, sitting on the floor. Ordinarily, she might smirk at the comment, for it did have some form of truth to it, but the General obviously wasn’t making the comment in good humor, and Tanner couldn’t decipher any reason why this person would be making the statement with such disdain.
"What's even more surprising is that they decided to give you a Kelvin to run around the Delta Quadrant with-" Domingo slid a PADD across the table, Damian deftly stopped it and spun it around. Reading it over, Damian was at a loss for words, he was finally getting back into the center chair where he belonged. In that moment, everything seemed to slow down to the point where everything was simply inching forward at a snail’s pace. His heart began pounding in his chest as he finished reading the PADD. Setting it down slowly, Damian tried desperately to project an aura of calm.
"-You'll even notice the name might seem a little familiar. I notice you spent a good hour in the museum judging by the security footage and you researched her pretty extensively so I figured I'd pull a few strings and get her named for you." Domingo said as if he had simply tapped a few keys as opposed to exercising the massive amount of political power that Damian knew that he had.
Lifting herself from the floor, Tanner came across the room to glance at the PADD over Damien’s shoulder. Her eyes lifted to the General, a clear question in them. She didn’t ask out loud, but it was obvious she was curious about something.
"Colonel Damian Highsmith, please stand."
Damian, still slightly surprised, stood and came to the position of attention.
For whatever reason, she’d been summoned here to witness the pomp and ceremony of the changing of hands, changing of ships, and general orders. Considering this wasn’t some kind of party, or official ceremonial with the presence of the entire crew, she didn’t see the purpose of another person/herself being there. And despite her own questions on the general interaction, knowing they wouldn’t be answered here and now, possibly not ever, she didn’t see the point of standing at attention or even paying attention.
"Colonel Damian Highsmith, effective immediately, you are hereby authorized and ordered to assume command of the USS Hammersley. Select your crew and depart within the next 7 days to the Delta Quadrant. Prior to your departure, I will be delivering a more detailed briefing detailing your mission. Until then, you're dismissed."
Tanner had resumed staring out the viewport, watching the ships entering and leaving the docking bays. When she heard the General say that Damian was dismissed, she waited a beat, wondering if the man would even acknowledge her ever being in the room.
"Sir, I accept these orders and will carry them out." Damian said, the same rehearsed script that he had heard several times.
Domingo looked him over again and let out a sly smile. "Then you're dismissed, Colonel. I'll see you in six days."
Damian nodded and turned on his heel to exit the room. Reaching the door, he stopped and turned to Tanner, who was still staring out of the viewport. "Master Chief, let's go." Thoughts raced through his mind at one million parsecs a second. The general did know that a full overhaul of a ship that size would take weeks, if not months if the engineers were working on normal shifts. Turning to Tanner, he smiled a highly uncharacteristic and devious smile. "Tanner Willeg, will you go on one last crazy adventure with me and soar through the stars?"
"Seems it's never one last, Colonel." She raised a brow as she walked across the room, "but you know I'm always ready for another round."
|The Dreaded Check Up
||Mission Day 3, 0845
Damian walked through the corridor on Deck 7, stepping over ODN transmission cables and pieces of plasma transfer conduit. Finally reaching Sickbay, he entered and looked around. Smiling slightly, he could see that the ship's designer had elected to go with a larger version of the sickbay of the Intrepid Class but with much more updated equipment and a much larger office. Walking through, Damian let out an impressive low whistle at some of the modifications that had been done.
Ryan was speaking with a couple of nurses when he heard the whistle. He turned his head and recognized the Captain from his medical file. Ryan had made sure to check the senior staff's first. He'd finish the rest as he went. He made his way to the Captain, staying well out of his personal space. He smiled politely. "Sir. Doctor Rose." He introduced himself.
Damian gave a slight smile. "Colonel Damian Highsmith. Pleasure to meet you, Doc. I've read your service record and I've got to admit, I'm quite impressed with your record." he said, looking the junior officer over. From what he could tell, this Doctor Rose was pretty squared away and his medical prowess was unparalleled compared to other officers of his rank.
Ryan gave a small smile. "Yes well, let's see if you're still singing that tune after the first report you have to sign if I'm stuck with the paperwork." Ryan made his way over to the nearest bio bed, deciding he would try to sneak in the man's physical while they talked. Well maybe not so much sneak, as simply not make an issue of it. "I have to say I'm very impressed with this sickbay. The station engineers have done a fine job making a few small changes as well."
Damian smile turned into a full grin. "Good to hear, let me or the Command Master Chief know if you need anything else in the next couple of days before we leave and I can arrange it. If you're concerned about paperwork, bring in a senior Corpsman or two to help out. Those guys are amazing at it, trust me. " chuckling a little, he moved over to the bio bed and hopped up into a sitting position.
"Thank you. I've got everything I need though. I'm glad I was able to arrive a bit early and get everything set up to my liking though, makes settling in with the new crew that much easier. I've already got a medical admin on staff. We really aren't large enough to warrant one, but I'd rather not take the time away from my nurses and since it got approved, I'm certainly not going to complain about it." Ryan worked as he talked.
Damian shrugged. "As you wish, Doctor." Looking around, he noticed that the lighting was softer than normal, detracting from the cold, antiseptic feel that many sickbays tended to have. "How are you liking your quarters? Are they big enough?" he asked. Damian had taken a look inside of his and they were bigger than his previous quarters aboard the Valhalla, so big that he could practically house a small platoon.
"Oh they're fine." Ryan responded. "Certainly better appointed then anyplace I've ever lived. It seems they paid attention to some of the creature comforts. Should help with crew morale and such." Ryan paused his scans to take a look over the data. "How'd you break the arm." Ryan pointed towards the man's left forearm, but didn't actually touch him. "It's an interesting break." He mentioned. The CO had plenty of healed breaks, but then so did a lot of Starfleet officers, it wasn't exactly a safe lifestyle.
"A mission about 4 years ago, I decided to rappel down a cliffside and I got hit with a strong crosswind that blew me sideways and into another rock face. You'll probably note the various other fractures there as well. " Damian winced at the memory, as he remembered the sharp snapping sound that his arm made.
Ryan had a mental picture, that angle and force would explain the unique break. "I did, but that particular one was interesting and I was curious. Didn't mean to dig." Ryan quickly apologized.
"No worries, Doc. It just stings a little when I think about it." Damian tried his best to muster a smile as he continued being scanned.
Ryan nodded, and finished up the routine scans. "Well everything looks good. Thanks for setting the example and coming in a timely manner. Hopefully security will follow suit." He grinned.
Damian simply nodded at this remark. "If they don't, let me know and I'll light some fires." Extending his hand, he mustered up a smile. "It was a pleasure meeting you, Doctor. Please feel free to ask if you need anything." he said.
Ryan shook the offered hand. "I will sir, it was nice to meet you." Ryan finished resetting the bio bed and got ready to update the Captains medical file. The meeting had gone well he thought.
|Checkup for Counselor
||Mission Day 4, 0700
Ryan was sitting up on a bio bed going over a PaDD. Not that he had anything against his office, but sometimes he just liked to be in the center of everything. He wanted his staff to feel free to approach him about anything, and staying holed up in his office when it wasn't strictly necessary for him to be there went against that. He was pleased with how things were going. More physicals had been accomplished than he expected at this point, but no doubt he'd still have to chase a few stragglers down eventually.
====Deck 5, Gymnasium====
Cameron ran down the corridor, sweat dripping down his forehead as he felt his feet hit the deck. This was a daily ritual for him, before he started his duty day, he could often be found either running the decks of any ship he was on and finishing off with a bit of lifting or simply climbing through the Jeffries tubes to give himself a bit of exercise. Stopping outside of the gymnasium, he attempted to enter but smacked against the door. Rubbing his face tenderly, he tapped the console to open the door but was stopped. He wondered if the refit teams simply hadn't gotten to it yet, so they had it secured. Entering his access code, the computer beeped it's denial.
"Entry Denied. All personnel must be cleared by the Chief Medical Officer prior to use of fitness facilities."
Cameron shook his head. "Computer, override lock. Authorization Thorne- Delta-Six-Five-Iota"
Several members of the crew walked into the gym. Attempting to enter, the doors rapidly closed with Cameron narrowly missing being smashed between them. Tugging his uniform down, Cameron walked down the corridor and entered the turbolift, a bemused expression upon his face. It was odd that someone wouldn't be able to use the gym without the permission of a doctor. He had never had as much as a broken bone in his life but now he was being babysat by a computer.
===== Deck 14, Sickbay =====
"Main Sickbay." Cameron said, taking a slow breath as he leaned against the bulkhead, closing his eyes. As the turbolift stopped and the doors slid open, Cameron walked out and hung a left, entering main sickbay. Making his way over to the spacious office, he stopped and knocked on the glass, a look of consternation on his face.
Ryan looked up at the sound of knuckles on glass. "Doctor Thorne?" He called out, half in question. "I'm over here." Ryan was still sitting on the bio bed, but he'd placed the PaDD in his lap, his attention now on the Counselor.
Cameron wheeled around, he hadn't even noticed Ryan as he walked in. Walking over, he huffed. "Is there a reason why you've locked the gym from people who haven't had a checkup? I mean, I've heard of checking for problems before strenuous activity but that's a little overboard, don't you think?" he asked, slightly edgy. It irked him to no end when his workouts were interrupted for no reason.
Ryan tensed a bit and sat up straighter. A quick glance tossed at the sickbay doors, as if checking escape routes. "Actually that was a new protocol set by the CO, but I like it. It's making it a fair bit easier to make sure everybody comes in for their mandatory physical." Ryan hopped off the bio bed, and scooped up a medkit that was on the ground. "I'd be happy to get you cleared and to the gym Lieutenant."
Cameron sighed.That newly revealed fact was incredibly odd, considering that Marines loved physical activity- it was practically embedded in their DNA. Hopping onto a biobed reluctantly, he tensed up. As he did so, he noticed the all too familiar smell of antiseptic in the air. Staring straight ahead, he tried to breathe normally. "Do it." he said quickly.
Ryan just nodded and went to work as succinctly as possible. He was quite use to this reaction, and was also use to working quickly without loosing efficiency. Ryan decided to bring up work as a distraction. There was a case he'd been meaning to bring up specifically. "Has Petty Officer Quinn come to see you?" He asked, changing a setting on the bio bed as he spoke.
Cameron, still staring straight ahead couldn't recall the case specifically. "Not that I recall. Care to give me a little background?" he asked, his heart hammering in his chest. "And are you almost done?" he asked, his voice becoming more edgy by the second. He had always hated going to the doctor's office since he was a child.
Ryan answered the second question first, as it seemed the more pressing of the two. "Almost, and I'll have to pull his file for the specifics. He's been having a rough time, and I prescribed some Xanax, but I'm not comfortable making that more than a very temporary solution. I wanted to go over his case with you so we could discuss his medical options." Ryan pressed a couple of more buttons and then took a large step back.. "Ok, done." He smiled politely at Cameron.
Cameron hopped down and rolled his arms, which had become stiff in the time he had sat there. "If you have his file, I'll be more than happy to look over it- " he said, as his heart started slowing down to a normal pace. "After I get back to my office. Sickbays kind of give me the heebie jeebies." he said as goosebumps popped up on his arms.
"Of course. I understand." Ryan nodded. "I'll bring it by later this morning if that's ok?"
Cameron nodded. "That'll be fine. I'll be in my office in an hour." he said quickly before he quickly walked towards the exit. Turning around, he smiled slightly. "Pineapple."
Ryan chuckled. "I'll see you then." Apparently he'd need to bring pineapple to the meeting.
|Tears and Gears
||Mission Day 5, 0630 Hours
It was the hum, the vibration: even amidst the shouts, grumbling, and general conversation, Tanner could feel the hum and vibration of the engine. It was something that calmed her, put her at ease. This was what she knew and recognized, it was familiar, and something she understood. This was her crossword puzzle, her Sunday newspaper, her daily report, her status update. More than that, it was her bedtime story, her lullaby, it was what kept her going. Engines and food. Functionality and sustenance. Both soothed her nerves, and sometimes caused her to wrack her mind. But it was a beautiful thing, a thing that kept her moving, kept her thinking and gave her purpose. In both regards, the answer was simple: it's better to do something than to do nothing, and if it doesn't work, adjust, fix, or start over as needed. Start over, and find a new path, a new answer, because there is an answer. There's always an answer. Standing this close to it, she could feel the vibration of the engine run through her, could almost hear the tone of it, or so she thought. Everything has a rhythm.
Damian strode through the massive doors to Main Engineering, two steaming cups of coffee in one hand and a PADD in the other. Sliding to one side as a rather flustered Senior Chief walked past him yelling, “Damn devil woman telling me how to do my job! That’ll be the day!” As the man walked through the door, steam coming from his ears, Damian knew exactly what could cause that level of frustration in a normal human being- Tanner. Continuing to move at a leisurely pace, Damian noted that things were still extremely chaotic, with engineers screaming orders and notations at each other. For reasons Damian couldn’t fathom, Tanner enjoyed working amongst this chaos, with its constant noise, odd smells, and strange problems. He swore to himself that one day, he would attempt to convince Tanner to try something new that didn’t involve a warp core or twisted machinery.
Walking over to Tanner, he placed a cup of coffee next to her. “I hope it’s the way you like it. I picked it up from Sam this morning.” he said sheepishly, looking around. “Judging by the reaction of that Senior Chief, you really pissed him off.”
Still standing in front of the warp core, eyes closed, Tanner sucked in a breath, and let her head fall back. One hand reached out to pick up the mug set beside her, bringing it up to her face, she drank half of it down, not caring if it was to her preference or not. “Coffee regular,” she noted and finished the last of the glass before setting it down again. “You remembered. But actually, I drink it black, these days.” Tanner smiled as she turned and placed a hand on Damien’s shoulder, “McGarry’s just upset because he spent the last five hours re-calibrating the engines, and I just told him it’s still off. He disagrees, which I understand, because he’s put in the time and work. And he doesn’t like the fact that I insisted, yet haven’t run a diagnostic of any kind. Thanks for the coffee.”
Damian frowned. “You’re welcome but you can’t go running off every single senior engineer that the Corps of Engineers sends down here or Captain Bartlett is going to have my ass for breakfast.” he said, sighing slightly. Captain Josiah ‘Jed’ Bartlett was one of the most well-known Engineers in the fleet with over 100 design credits to his name. He was also a notorious drunk who was quick to anger and had a tendency to turn the hardest men to babbling fools.
“I don’t intentionally run off engineers, senior or otherwise. If they have a legitimate idea, I listen. If they don’t like or understand my ideas, it’s because…” Tanner sighed. This wasn’t an argument worth her time. He knew who she was, and he wasn’t asking her to stop being herself. Damian was basically asking her to not get him into trouble, not to force him to choose between backing her up or keeping his command. She tilted her head, slightly curious as to the reasons he thought he might need to back her, she'd always been more than willing to do that herself. Then she bit her lip, there was a time you wouldn’t have minded someone having your ass for breakfast.
Erupting into a fit of sputtering coughs, Damian cleared his throat and attempted to breathe normally. Bending down, he whispered into Tanner’s ear seductively. “And I still don’t mind, mi amore.” he said, his face slightly red. He recalled their occasional trysts in the Jeffries tubes of the New Jersey when they had both managed to run off from their respective duties for a while and forget about performance reports, supply requisitions, and repair orders. Looking up, he noted that this particular ship only had three Engineering decks as opposed to four and the core was more streamlined than he had anticipated. Sneaking a peek at the console, he pointed for Tanner to look. “Your core revolutions are a few thousand cycles higher than they should be.” he said playfully.
“A minor adjustment with a major difference. I’d say….” Taking a breath, Tanner took a step back, needing the distance to pick up on the vibration she’d felt earlier. “Twenty-eight fifty. But it’s going to take another three days to readjust the ODN to refit the new cycle, just to avoid any other issues, because the internal systems have been reflexively working within the parameters they’re currently running on.” Tanner pulled her hands behind her back, straightening her spine and made the intentional effort to appear professional, “which is why the Senior Chief is upset. Nobody likes hearing they’ve got a week’s worth of all hours shifts coming up. There will be complaints about the hours. Maybe from him, definitely to him, and…” Tanner shrugged. “It needs to be adjusted. He’ll get over it and/or figure it out after a level two diagnostic confirms it.”
Looking it over, Damian thought for a moment. “At this point, we don’t have a choice. We’re slated to depart in less than three days and I really don’t want us having a warp core breach because someone was too damn tired to show up for work!” he said, frustration building in his voice. He had already lost one ship to an engineering mishap and he did not intend to lose another. He trusted Tanner to do what needed to be done but he had his own concerns about the engineering teams that were being brought in just based upon the fact that they weren’t his people. These were engineers and civilians brought in to fill a temporary need, and if something happened when they were thousands of lightyears away, there wouldn’t be a way to rip Bartlett a new orifice for his mistake.
With anyone else, Tanner might’ve gone on a rant, felt affronted, and taken a moment to list off her qualifications. She knew her personality had caused issues in the past, but she knew her job, and anyone who questioned that… The black eyed engineer blinked, her chest rose as she took in a deep breath and let it out, once, twice… After several moments she stared up at Damian, “I’m capable of getting along with people.”
She’d been a COB too long not to figure out that she needed to find a way to soften the edges, and appear more diplomatic. The last time they’d crossed paths that hadn’t been the case, so she couldn’t begrudge him the concern. Tanner had been the person who shouted, argued and just kicked things until they did what she wanted. She’d poked at people the same way she poked at machines, and people weren’t as unbiased or reasonable. “I’ll make it work.”
Damian gave Tanner a look of acknowledgement. “I know you will. You’re the best engineer I know and you’ve managed to repair worse problems than this with nothing more than a bubblegum wrapper and a ham sandwich.” he said, in all seriousness. “So this is going to be nothing compared to this.” he said, stepping closer and kissing her on the forehead. Not even realizing what he’d done, he immediately pulled back. Kissing her had always been sort of a reflex for him but he was never one to do things like that uninvited.
“It was a tomato sandwich. And that wasn’t me, it was…” Rolling her eyes, Tanner turned and leaned against the rail. “I’ve never been great at electrical work, merely feasible, but I did learn something new that day. Something about acidity.” She laughed-- not just because of the memory, and the entertainment of it, but there was also something wonderful and amusing about the fact that he’d remembered it. It made her look back and remember telling the story. He’d been both shocked and amused when hearing it, and Tanner remembered the greatness of someone who got the joke, and also understood and respected the impossibility or perhaps the kismet of the mishap.
It was always a haphazard effort to keep up any defenses with Damian, and always had been a problem. But that was then, and this was now, so rather than making an issue of it, Tanner simply let out a breath and reached out a hand. Her finger tapped the end of his nose, she smiled, head tilting to one side, and her finger trailed along the ridge of his jawline. No shame, and no regrets, Imzadi.
Damian felt the familiar buzz of excitement and a slight tingle in his skin as Tanner moved her fingers ever so slightly near his jaw. Bringing his own hand up, he held hers in his and felt the warmth of her skin. Smiling slightly, he let go. “No regrets.” he said, letting out a small sigh. Thinking for a moment, he remembered why he was there in the first place and handed her a PADD. “Just to make things official.” he said “You’ve been assigned as my Command Master Chief. Unofficially, you could still do things down here if you wanted to.” he said, preparing for the backlash that he was about to receive. If there was one thing that Tanner had despised, it was being behind a desk and he wasn’t going to try to sequester her in an officer for the remainder of her career. “It wasn’t my intention to yank you out of here but Personnel didn’t exactly give me a choice in the matter.” he conceded. “Something about a computer glitch that they couldn’t rectify.” Damian couldn’t shake the fact that no matter how far across the cosmos they ended up from each other, they always managed to make it back to the same assignments time after time. It was almost like some Personnel Officer was having fun pulling them apart and putting them back together.
It’d been years, but Tanner flashed back to the moment they’d met. She raised a brow and smirked, “If I wanted? You couldn’t keep me out of the engine room if you tried.” It only took a fraction of a moment for her to realize her mistake. Part of the reason they’d drawn apart was due to that very characteristic. “For someone without regrets, you’re making way too many excuses. You don’t have to explain yourself to me.”
Damian leaned against the railing. “I’m only making excuses because I know how much you love this.” he said motioning to the expansive engineering decks. “If I pulled you out of here, you’d be unhappy and despite my need for a Command Master Chief, I need an engineer more.” Sighing again, he looked at her. “I still care about you, much more than you know and I need you here.” Taking another long draw from his coffee, he looked Tanner over. She was as beautiful as ever with her hair out of place and smudges of oil on her cheek. She was home here and it would be the epitome of stupid to remove her from something she was naturally good at.
Thank you. Tanner understood that what he was doing was taking care of her, something he’d always wanted to do, and something she’d often rebelled against because of the way he wanted to do it. But she was, at this point, honestly grateful that he seemed to understand that he couldn’t change her, that despite whatever instincts he had or care he had for her, she was going to make her own decisions, and he wasn’t always going to agree. She’d spent a significant amount of time hearing Damian tell her she shouldn’t be in engineering, that she shouldn’t work so much, that she needed sleep, that she should take a break. At first, it’d made sense, she was a workaholic, to a degree, and a pseudo-insomniac, and he had a point. But there were circumstances where that mentality had shifted from someone trying to make her better, help her relax, into a set of circumstances that didn’t allow her to be herself.
She was already ruffling feathers, and while she didn’t have a problem doing so, that wasn’t her goal. Scanning the room, Tanner once again lifted her chin and looked Damian in the eye. She considered reaching out a hand, as though to shake, but instead decided it wouldn’t be inappropriate to simply place her hand on his shoulder. When she did, everything she felt, everything she knew passed between them. Tanner immediately turned away, but she couldn’t undo what’d just been done. Things just hadn’t been the same since Dany. I do know. There might not be any such thing as more than I know… Not with you, anymore. There was something sad about her tone, as though she regretted it, hated herself for it, but she didn’t know what to do about it. She hated that she’d taken some sense of privacy from him, where once she’d been able to sever that connection and allow him that, but she couldn’t not tell him the truth.
With a sharp intake of breath, Damian grasped his chest as if he was drowning. His head was pounding and he felt a flood of tears well up in his eyes. There were new and foreign memories rushing through his head and connecting with his own. Looking down at her, he pulled her close and simply held her, the tears falling freely now. It had been years since he had cried and this was one of those few times. His body became wracked by silent sob as the memories continued to flood his mind and crush all reason that had been there before. “Why didn’t you tell me?” he asked, the sadness apparent in his voice.
Tanner was surprised that he seemed to be hugging her, pulling her closer and pressing her to him. Her brows furrowed, “I couldn’t, I just…” Biting her lip, Tanner let out a breath, “I thought you’d hate me for it. It was just easier…. well… It was just easier.”
Damian simply stood there, holding Tanner as he tried to process the waves of sadness that were washing over him like a sailboat in a hurricane. He couldn’t speak since it took all of his energy not to erupt into tears. What hurt him the most was that Tanner thought that he would hate her if she actually opened up. Damian had never been one to push people away for their emotions, especially something of this magnitude. Wiping away the last of his tears, he tried to steady himself and breathe normally but the spasms in his chest were still there no matter how hard he tried to suppress them.
The people in engineering were, at this point, intentionally and consciously ignoring them. Tanner really couldn’t blame them. Nonetheless, it was foolish at this point to pretend to be detached, pointless to attempt to regain appearances. Reaching up, the Betazoid engineer placed her hand at the back of Damian’s neck, she pushed herself up on her toes, and pulled him down until her forehead pressed against his. “Overwhelming, isn’t it?” That’s all it is, Damian. It was very overwhelming, and I couldn’t tell you, couldn’t tell anyone, could hardly talk about it without feeling like I was crazy, without feeling like… “It used to be hard for me to let people in. It was easier with you, but you know…” I never was entirely comfortable with it, or knew how to handle it.
Damian sighed for what seemed like the umpteenth time and held Tanner tight and closed his eyes, taking in her scent and the sound of her breathing, his muscles finally untightening.
=A= Corporal Lansley to Colonel Highsmith, Priority One transmission from Starfleet incoming to the SCIF, sir. =A=
Letting out a huff, Damian looked ruefully in the direction of his commbadge as he heard the slightly whiny voice of his aide, Corporal Simon Lansley, who, despite repeated warnings had refused to stop identifying himself by rank over the comm channels. Damian felt that it was not only annoying but incredibly pretentious as well, especially for a man who had been denied an officer’s commission more than three times. It was almost like a cosmic joke at Simon’s expense.
Finally deciding to respond, Damian spoke. “Patch it through to the Chief Engineer’s Office, Corporal.” Damian responded wearily. This must have been incredibly important for Starfleet to need to locate him in the middle of a refit. Letting go of Tanner, he walked the twenty feet into the nearby office and took a seat. Tapping the button to accept the transmission, Damian was greeted by the face of General Chavez. Raising his eyebrow, he regarded the man suspiciously.
“To what do I owe the pleasure, General?” Damian asked, his voice slightly sarcastic.
General Chavez smiled, apparently relishing what he was about to say. “Colonel, I’ve got new orders for you.”
Damian leaned forward. “I’m listening…”
||Mission Day 5, 0900 Hours
Ryan wasn't sure exactly what Cameron had meant by pineapple, but figured pineapple chunks were the safest bet, so he brought a container filled with them to his meeting with the Counselor. He sounded the chime, making sure he had the needed PaDD as he waited.
Cameron looked up from his desk and the reports he needed to sign off on when he heard the chime, closing them out, he rose from his chair and waited in front of the door. Exhaling slightly, he clasped his hands in front of himself. "Come in." he said quickly, his face reddening.
Ryan opened the door, immediately taking a step back before he even consciously registered that the Counselor was standing right at the door. He recovered quickly and offered the man a smile. "Hello. I didn't actually bring a whole pineapple. I hope chunks are ok."
Grinning from ear to ear, he took the container. "That smells amazing. I've been craving pineapple since I got here but the replicated stuff just doesn't cut it." he said, popping a chunk into his mouth and chewing thoughtfully, savoring the sweetness and the sour tang that followed. "Mmmm." Stopping for a moment, he swallowed the pineapple slowly and motioned over to his couch. "Did you want to go over that report that we talked about earlier?" Cameron asked as he took a seat in the chair across from his couch.
Ryan nodded and headed towards the couch. He reached into his labcoat for the PaDD he'd brought with him. "Petty Officer Quinn's case." He said by way of a reminder.
Cameron reached over and took it. Popping another pineapple chunk into his mouth, he chewed for another few moments as he read the report. " So Petty Officer Quinn has been having sudden onset anxiety and panic attacks when placed under stress and you've prescribed periodic dosages of a miligram of regular release Alprazolam." Continuing to read the treatment history, Cameron placed the PADD down on his lap. "So you know Petty Officer Quinn best, when did he start having these attacks? What are they characterized by? Does he have a tell that precludes the attacks themselves?" he asked, firing off rapid questions.
Ryan gave Cameron the details on Quinn's case. "I just don't want to continue medicating without him being evaluated by you. Though he's tolerating the Alprazolam well. I've scheduled him to see you." Ryan double checked the timing. "Tomorrow morning."
Cameron nodded thoughtfully. "Good. Bring him in at 0800 and begin tapering off of the Alprazolam to avoid any withdrawals that may occur because we'll need to cut him off soon before he develops an actual dependency." he said, thinking of the potential that it could have on any non psychiatric treatments. "Also, can we place him on leave for a day or two? It might help him de-stress a little bit."
Ryan ran a hand through his hair with a small sigh. "I think that might just make it worse, if he feels useless or like a burden he may just become more stressed. He seems to have that type of personality. I haven't actually brought it up though. I can if you want, or you could discuss it with him?" Ryan offered. There was a reason he preferred not to treat PTSD cases. He could remain objective, but it was a real struggle. It was difficult to take the necessary step back to provide unbiased care.
Cameron's hair was now extremely unruly as he had run his hands through it more than once as he read the file. "Okay, let him come in tomorrow but let's not make it sound like an order or he's going to shut me out faster than a Tendarian Mining Bear." Looking over to Ryan, who looked slightly nervous, Cameron smiled. "Don't beat yourself up over this, you did what you could and you were right to bring it to me. We're going to be a great team in this and I'm going to need you, so keep that chin up." he said quickly.
Ryan nodded. "I just wish I could do more for him. I avoid PTSD cases whenever I can, but he was an early arrival like myself, and I couldn't just let him suffer and wait. He seemed fine with coming in tomorrow to see you, so hopefully no Tendarian Mining Bear." Ryan cracked a grin. "Whatever that is."
Raising his hands wide, Cameron launched into an explanation. "Imagine a massive, armored, and pissed off Polar Bear with sharp shovels on it's claws and the ability to spit acid." Spearing another chunk of pineapple, Cameron chewed quickly and swallowed. "They use them on Tendar IV in their quartz mines. Trust me, not something you want to encounter on your way to breakfast." he said quickly, a glint in his eye. He had the displeasure of meeting one when he was stationed at the mining station on Tendar. Ryan was clearly as nervous as Cameron was and it was showing but Cameron forced himself to project a slight air of indifference. "I'll keep you updated on Petty Officer Quinn's case as best I can. In the meantime, if you have anything else, please let me know." he said, getting back down to business.
Ryan took a breath and steadied himself, he couldn't put this off any longer. "Actually can you put me on your rotation. I'm not picky about the time, whatever works for you."
Cameron was slightly surprised. He had read over Ryan's previous records and had noted that he had been seeing a therapist but didn't think he would attempt to utilize his services so soon. "Uh, sure. If you want, we can have a session at 0700 before your duty shift starts and go from there, sound good?" Cameron asked, his voice uncertain.
Ryan nodded. He'd have to get up early to make time for the gym, but that was fine. "Yes, thank you. I'll see you in the morning."
Cameron nodded. "Very good. I'll see you then." Turning back to the report on Petty Officer Quinn, he thoughtfully speared the last piece of pineapple in the bowl and twirled it on his fork.
|Just Getting On Board
"Energise." Said the Transporter chief. The pads lit up, the three lines appeared and Luke appeared on the pad. He had a PADD in hand, "Yes, well those will need looking at........thank you." Luke said as he walked off the pad, dressed in marine dress uniform with shiny marine captain insignia. The transporter chief and his partner didn't even know what he was talking about, they looked at their systems and saw nothing wrong with it. Then checked the buffer, "Oh.....I think his dinner is still in the buffer." The chief smiled.
"Reconfigure and.....energise. " The pad lit up and a packaged sandwich appeared in the center. The chief walked up and picked up the sandwich, "Ham and pickle."
"Guess he doesn't want it."
"No....he would have asked."
"Mmmmmm......good stuff." He said as he took a bite.
Luke walked scrutinised the PADD, there was a list of checks he had to do and so he reorganised and that matched his precise location and where he'll tell the turbolift to take him. He stepped in, "Shuttle bay one." The lift moved for a bit then the doors opened, Luke stepped off and headed for shuttle bay one.
As he walked in, the crewmembers braced up, "At ease. Shuttlecrafts intact and present?"
"Shuttlecaft three is just on arrival." The klaxon sounded, force fields erected. The doors opened and luke continued to watch as the doors revealed the approaching Shuttlecraft. I when it got close, the force field fired, gripped the craft and brought it 8n and onto the landing pad. Luke was satisfied that the procedure was carried out correctly, mission ops officer was then contacted to say that landing was complete. The doors closed and the force field was dropped. Luke then exited the Shuttle bay to head for the Transporter Room. He wondered whether his ham and pickle sandwich had survived the trip.
|Walking in Memphis
||Troop Transport Sinensis/Starbase 329 - Promenade
Briggs only let out a sigh as he shook his head. He'd already been over this and he didn't feel like arguing about it anymore. What had to be done had to be done. Gently he set the corporal's leg back on the singular biobed. "I done told ya that I can use the dermal regenerator to repair the damage from the sprain but that don't mean ya get to go hoppin right back to doin' tha things that hurt ya in the first place. The orders gonna stand."
"Aw, c'mon, doc-"
"I ain't no 'doc'," Briggs said, flustered at the attempt to sweet talk him. It was irritating after the cussing the Marine gave him when he first told him he was going to put him on medical restrictions. "Doc" was a title that was earned and he hadn't earned it in any of its incarnations. Hell, he still didn't even know if he fully passed the FMF Corpsman testing. He wasn't supposed to get those results for awhile. "And iffin ya don' like it ya can limp over to the starbase medical when we get there and ask them for their 'pinion on tha matter. See iffin they want to go ahead and let ya be a fool and hurt ya'self more."
"Look, I've already been through this a couple months ago. The dermal regenerator healed it up fine and I was able to go right back to PT and training." The corporal looked at him as if this was the end all be all of the argument. "So I don't see why some hyped up nurse thinks he's better than starship doctors."
"I ain't no 'hyped up nurse' neether," Briggs said, trying not to take offense at anything the corporal said. From the time he spent in close proximity with enlisted Marines, he understood the macho, alpha male need to continue proving himself in displays of purely physical prowess.
Too many people saw them as being that and nothing more. A sentiment that Briggs understood as he was often seen as being little more than just a walking bandaid himself. "An I told ya, long as I have a say in it, then ya on medical restriction for a week and then a re-evaluation. Possibly some physical therapy to teach ya how to run and jump without hurtin' ya'self so much. Computer, send orders for medical restrictions on Vatoyva, Christopherp; Corporal."
"Orders noted and sent." The voice of the computer always reminded him of Missus Darlecy who lived in the other side of the building where he grew up with his mother. A bit condescending and disapproving. But she got on well enough with his Ma, well enough that she most times even shared what she had so that Ma didn't have to 'work' for a few days.
"Next," Briggs said, turning to the counter where his pack lie, the front of it opened so that it lay open like a weird butterfly, full of various medical accouterments.
"That's just fungal infection," Briggs said after the Marine took off his boots and socks and Briggs could brave getting closer. "Ya need to change ya socks more often and use the powder they supplied. Ya ain't doin that and wearing ya shower shoes, ya feet gonna tear up." He grabbed his PADD and pulled up the only thing that seemed to actually scare the young Marines into understanding that it wasn't just a 'burning sensation'.
He tapped through the photos of severe fungal infection with blistering or open sores, gouges of blackened and deadened flesh, some photos of toes barely attached to the foot still. It was a collection he started taking up since he started AT training as a corpsman. His own former recruits never took hygiene as seriously as they should. Briggs, since being trained as a medical first responder, was nearly obsessive about it now.
Spending years homeless and infested with various parasites was also a motivating factor.
"I do, I just don't think its working," the lance corporal said, staring at the succession of photos and seeming to go green as his uniform.
Briggs sighed. He'd seen him already, weeks ago when he was in rotation. The problem was the same then. "Alright," he said, turning to his pack and pulling out a tube of ointment. "Try this, rub it in morning and night, always putting on fresh, clean socks. Don't let me hear ya been neglecting ya use of the 'fresher and wearin dirty socks mind ya."
He was just about to vocalize his notes on this case when a corporal broke into the makeshift medical compartment set up on the Sinensis troop transport. "Doc- I mean, HM, you need to come. There's been an accident and Sergeant's out cold. We think he's still breathing but he's not waking up so you need to come right now." The Delivian corporal was out of breathe, his vestigal lung flaps waving madly as he spoke.
"Ya do what ya told," Briggs said as he stood quickly and smashed the two halves of his pack together and zipped it enough that it would stay closed and not spill anything out of it. Shrugging quickly into it he indicated the corporal should lead the way.
He was sure the Marine didn't give it a second thought, he was a Marine after all, but after his most recent training, Briggs had no trouble keeping up, even with the heavy pack bouncing on his shoulders since he didn't take the time to strap the waist belt. He heard the muttered remonstrations and curses as the Delivian raced down the passageways but most of them stopped when they saw Briggs, in his obvious medical uniform, chasing after.
Then the irritation at being nearly ran over changed to curiosity.
"What happened?" Briggs asked as he set the PADD on the ground and reached into his left pocket where he always kept his field tricorder. The Marines surrounding the prone sergeant appeared to be in battle dress. Most still held phaser rifles.
The sergeant, a Terran male, well built and trim, lie on the deck, flat on his back, arms at his side. Briggs suspected he was moved into that position - a common enough one for those who exhausted their very short course in basic first aid. In the lower rightt quadrant of his abdomen was a single phaser burn in his uniform but Briggs didn't spot any visible blood. Which he shouldn't. If protocol were being followed the 'live fire' would be less than a stun setting while aboard the ship.
He looked around him, pegging the PFC who was staring away from the excitement of the injured sergeant. Briggs surmised enough to know what was going on. "What settin ya got on your weapon, Private?"
"It was the proper setting," another corporal spoke up. He was standing near the PFC so Briggs figured he might be the team leader, sticking up for his team member. The results from the scan came back and Briggs let out a sigh of relief.
"Ya can relax, ya misplaced shot did nothing that weren't gonna be done anyway," Briggs said. "Only hastened the burstin of his appendix. He'll be okay once we get it out."
"You're gonna...you're gonna remove it here?" someone asked. Briggs scowled as those around him showed mostly one of two sides to that thought - eagerness to see it or eagerness to get away from it.
"Don't be stupid, ya gonna run to the officer's deck and get Ensign Sloane, he's the doc this voyage and he'll be able to take care of this. Tell'im we got an acute case of appendicitis, strong vitals, loss of consciousness after secondary injury. Ya tell'im as I just told'ya, don't be makin up a story, just acute appendicitis, strong vitals, loss of consciousness after secondary injury." He turned away from the Delivian. "You and you, help me get him back ta the medical room and get him ready."
[Several hours later]
Briggs stepped back away from the biobed as they materialized into the medical facility on Starbase 329. It wasn't the way he expected to arrive on the station - and much sooner than he expected as well. But someone had to be transported over with the injured, which fortunately for this cruise, was just the one sergeant recovering from appendectomy surgery. All indications were that it went well, they were able to get to the appendix and remove it before it had a chance to really get septic in the abdominal cavity.
It was probably a lucky thing the phaser blast hit him, as it caused a neural overload that caused the sergeant to faint from the sudden burst of pain. That happening during a training exercise where several Marines saw him get shot disallowed the sergeant to continue 'toughing it out' with the signs of appendicitis he must have been having for days.
Briggs handed off the PADD along with a verbal report on the patient, including the after surgery care and medications he was provided. The sergeant was conscious now, but still on pain medication so he was only half aware of what was going on around him. But that was okay, what mattered is that he'd make a speedy recovery and would probably be up and about enjoying the few days of leave he was granted, along with the rest of the passengers that were transported by the troop carrier.
Including Briggs himself. His assignment put him off leave half a day before others, but that was okay by him. It just meant he got back to earning his room and board once again. Officially, now that he handed off the patient properly, he was on liberty. He knew he should go to the Quartermaster and arrange a bunk til time came to report to his new assignment but...as he stepped out of Starfleet Medical, the deck reserved for Starfleet personnel, he decided that could wait.
He was sure there'd be bunk space for him whether he went now or if he tallied a bit. Plus, with the troop transport letting out, he was sure the quartermaster was going to be busy so if he gave it a bit of time, then he'd not be adding to their burden.
Instead, through careful questioning of definitely not security personnel, he found his way to a lift that would take him to the Promenade, or shopping district.
Even four years on, there was so much about Starfleet that he found amazing. The sheer size and scope of a starbase, an artificial constructed city in the dead of space, where even now hundreds, if not thousands, of people went about their daily lives as if relatively thin sheets of plasteel wasn't between them and the utter, cold, vast, dark vacuum of space.
But, strangest of all was that, well, he still found it hard to believe what he was told when he mistakenly walked into that recruitment office. He only wanted to see if he could get information regarding a cousin he believed to be in Starfleet somewhere. The deal the recruiter gave him was too good to be true. Yet, here he was, years on and a bit more experienced and wiser and he still had a hard time believing it.
He got free clothing, free food, free boarding (granted, often with as many as seven others depending on the assignment and ship size), they trained him to know what he needed to know to do what they told him to do. He'd been across the quadrant several times and now was gonna go so far away from 'home' that he wouldn't even be able to see the sun around which it revolved at all. They took care of him medically - hell he could do most of the taking care of himself from te training they gave him - and made sure he stayed healthy, and even provided the means to stay in shape as well. Plus, and he couldn't stress this enough, plenty of good food that he didn't have to fight over or dig out of dumpsters or try to scavenge what good little good was left.
All that was fantastic enough. All of that was more of a deal than he could have ever believed possible growing up with his Ma on Turkana. And all he had to do for his part of the deal was what somebody with a better pin on their collar told him to do.
And if that wasn't enough, they also gave him a bit of money each month. Money to spend how he wanted on what he wanted. They didn't make him give it back to 'pay' for his food or clothes, training or lodgings or even health care. It wasn't "we're gonna say we're giving you this money but then take it back because" system. They kept a little bit of it for 'taxes', which he was okay with them having. It wasn't his money in the first place and he understood the 'taxes' went to keeping all of it going.
But...in all the times they were struggling and scraping to get by on Turkana. All the time he watched his Ma do what was necessary so they could have the meager food they subsisted on, or the hovel where they lived. All that time he could only dream of living such a princely live that he had now.
It wasn't all perfect, not by a long shot. The Federation's history wasn't as bright and shiny and pretty as they'd like everyone to believe, but none of that mattered.
He looked at the figure on the PADD. It was supposed to represent how much money was held in account for him. It was surely much more than he ever believed possible. Probably more than his Ma had ever seen the fourteen years he was alive with her, them living on that rathell of a planet with the colony being nothing more than some demented version of hell.
He'd spent very little of the pay they'd started giving him once he reported to basic training, raised his hand and swore to do what he was told when he was told (the oath was something different, something about a Federation constitution, but he hadn't the first clue what that was when he repeated the words he was told to repeat). He didn't need to spend much of it, because as he knew, Starfleet gave him everything he needed to live.
And, to top off the craziness that he was sure was some kind of mistake, every time they gave him a new decoration for his collar, meaning they said he was one step better than he was the day before, they added a bit more to the money they gave him each month.
He'd tried, once he first understood that there was money going into the account they set up for him that first week of basic, to tell them about the mistake that was being made. He didn't want somebody coming back and calling him a thief and then they'd take a good hard look at his history. Once they did that, and they discovered the lie he'd been telling them for years, he was sure it would all go away. He tried to fix it, telling him that they were putting money that wasn't his into the account and he didn't need to have an account set up anyway because he didn't have anything worth accounting for that he didn't keep with him.
It didn't seem right, but he got the feeling that he was being laughed at. Personnel officers said there wasn't a mistake and that he was getting what was alotted for him to receive. It took him awhile to figure out that they thought he was complaining he wasn't getting enough. He tried to clear that up and, in that respect, he thought he did. But they still didn't think it was a mistake that Starfleet gave him everything he needed and then money so that he could buy other things as well.
He finally stopped worrying about it when he found out others were getting paid as well. Some of them were sending most of their pay back home to help take care of families. Briggs only wished he had someone to send money that they needed. Instead, it piled into the account except for the few times he spent a bit of it, splurging on items that were completely unnecessary and frivolous. But nevertheless, he allowed himself the small luxuries so often, reminding himself not to get too used to any of it - because all it took was for him to get noticed to the point where his background was checked and they discovered he wasn't living up to the terms of their bargain in good faith.
It was a constant worry, and one that kept him from interacting much with security personnel, but there were times when it was less worrisome. Such as now.
He entered the shop on the Promenade and eagerly looked for the packaging. They were across the quadrant from where he usually bought the bags of meat jerky, but the Federation was so big and well maintained that he never once considered that he wouldn't be able to find the exact same jerky all the way out here.
And in that, he wasn't disappointed. He grabbed several bags and then considered. What he knew of his new assignment would put him in the Delta quadrant. Which was far away. Now he considered he might not be able to get more for a long time. Not til they came back this way, at any rate. When that would be wasn't known to him, and junior as he was in the ladder of command, he wasn't expecting to be told straightaway. He doubled, then tripled, what he originally thought to purchase, not sure how much he'd really need - or where he could put it all.
That, however, was answered for him. "That what I think it is?" he asked one of the employees as he looked at the small, cylindrical device. A control padd was wrapped around it, the only mar to the otherwise chrome finish.
"Ah, yes, a fine eye the young man has," the worker said, his voice too unctious for Briggs's liking, it reminded him too much of shady, unscrupulous traders that never lived up to their promises and it always cost more to be forced to accept the lies. The worker picked it up in hands that were long fingered, fine boned and appeared extremely delicate...or would once he got past the chitinous outer layer of dermis. "A portable, selfpowered transporter buffer. This will allow you to carry that entire large pack you wear so well on your back in a single pocket."
Briggs scowled at the idea. That he was being sold a "flim-flam" to use Missus Darlecy's term for useless junk. The price on the sticker was as much as Starfleet gave him in two months. But he saw that there was more than one, well, more than just the one box. And this wasn't a small, privately held shop, but one of many that he'd seen across the galaxy.
"You have a guarantee that you're willing to put in writing that this does what it says it does?" Briggs asked.
The creature's face, despite being chitin, still managed to look afronted. "Of course, this is a reputable shop run by a reputable company. You have a full month to test it out and if it doesn't work as promised, then you get a full refund. That's printed on every receipt with every purchase."
Briggs considered. Printing guarantees on receipts? Even getting a receipt for merchandise was also a crazy idea for him. But one crazy enough that he found he liked.
He'd be able to test it out over the next couple days, make sure it actually held everything he needed it to hold and, well if it didn't, he'd come back before the ship left the station and get the money back. Because it was a lot of money, more than he was sure he knew how to get if Starfleet suddenly agreed with him that it was all a mistake and he had to give it all back.
He heard of that happening sometimes.
Still...in the end, after the salesperson gave him a demonstration of how to use the transport buffer, he walked out of the store, carrying several cases of the jerky and the transporter buffer.
Since he now had more than he could reasonably carry in his pack, he decided he needed to head off to the quartermaster and get a bunk assignment. Once there, he'd set about charging up the transporter buffer and then testing it out, to make sure it would work.
But, after seeing there was still a line, most of them faces he recognized from the Sinensis, he decided to get a storage locker to put his purchases and then detour toward the docks and get a rare chance to see the ship where he'd serve from the outside.
He found a nearby bench and sat down, staring at the lines of the ship and wondering where his quarters would be. He didn't bother looking at the viewports all along the side of the ship, wondering behind which of them would be his bunk. His would be more interior and he doubted there would be a window looking out into the great beauty of space and the incalculable stars.
There might be windows looking into Medical, where he was sure he'd do most of his work. Going back from being the only medical crew on a ship that was too small for a crew and the captain's ego to just another 'hyped up nurse' on a starship. Still, he thought as he opened a package of the jerky and propped the PADD up on his lap, it was still a damned sight better than working in the sewage department.
"Computer, begin recording," he said, chewing slowly on a thick piece of the jerky, savoring the spicy, rough texture. "Aityana, I've arrived at Starbase 329. They sent me onna troop carrier carryin mostly Marines. The same platoon I'd done the last bit of mah recent trainin with. it weren't so bad, not much doctorin need doin 'xcept Marines ain't never knowin how to care proper for their feet. Always blisterin or gettin the fungal infections, or spraining, fracturin or breakin small bones in they feet or ankles. Weren't bad mostly. I got to help with a surgery right before arrivin though...that was good. Reminded me of when Doc was alive and I was with him. Ensign Sloan wasn't bad, just full up on his Academy teachin' 'bout how much better officers are than us 'listed folks. Was okay, cause of it, he spent most of his time in Officer Country and didn't bother me hardly none.
"Oh, here's the ship I'm gonna go out on," he said as he turned the PADD around to record the Hammersley for part of the message. "Heard tell I'm gonna go out to the Delta Quadrant, so ya might not hear from me as regular and soon like we do now. Don't worry none, though, ya will be the one told should somethin happen to me. Had to put down a 'emergency contact' in case somethin did happen and, well, ya and Simpson and Brownell 'bout the only persons I know that it would matter if somethin happen'ta me. Ya the only one, though, that knows most about me so I had to make a decision and it was ya. Hope that's okay. I think I can still change if its not.
"Not sure how I did at trainin, they just said they'd notify me and that's not come through yet. Maybe the message just waitin til I check in with my assignment. In the meantime, I got me more of that jerky ya made me like so much..."
He finished up the message, encoded it and set it to send when he connected with the central computer on the ship, right after he checked in and received is clearances. Though it struck him that it was the last message he'd send before entering the Delta quadrant, that information was flat.
He had to be somewhere and he guessed the Delta quadrant was as good a place as any.
|Wolfmom has Arived
||Starbase 329 - Airlock Sixteen
||MD3 - 0800Hrs
Lt Commander Plataea Yamaguchi reached her destination, a large duffel over her back, a rather evil looking sword ensconced inside a large sheath between her pack and her back but it was easily accessible should she desire to draw her blade, also she had a rather custom rifle which also was slung over her shoulder.
She wore a heavy duty uniform jacket and the armored boots and pants once normally saw the tactical guys wearing rather then an engineer. a tricorder on her belt completed the look.
She was looking out the viewport as she regarded the Kelvin two class starship she was to be assigned to as a male officer about the same size and height as her stood next to her. "You alright?" Rear Admiral Jake Yamaguchi inquired of his wife.
"Yeah... I was just thinking... It's going to be a long time before I see you or the twins again." Plataea responded with a soft sigh.
"We'll miss you.. but we'll be alright."
"I know... It doesn't mean I have to like this."
"Colonel Highsmith knows his stuff and he's no slouch as a diplomat either. If anyone has it to go.. its him."
"I've not served or heard of him... I wouldn't know." Plataea responded as she shifted her attention from her new assignment to her husband.
"You are expecting trouble... I know how you think."
"Is that a bad thing?" Plataea inquired. "Its saved my hide from death in more then one firefight I've been in." she slowly smiled.
"Nah. I would not presume to tell you about which you know so well." Yamaguchi gently rubbed his wife's shoulder, it was a deeply intimate act which he was normally so reserved in public. It was also a sign into his thought processes.
"This assignment should be over in a year and then I can drop my retirement papers... Twenty two years is good enough..."
"Fair enough." Jake responded with a smile. "Then I will see you.. then you get back."
With that, husband and wife shared a gentle kiss before they went their separate ways. Jake back to his command. The USS Song of the East, the nineteenth of the Pathfinder Two Class starships that had entered service a decade ago, they had proven themselves and now they were being mass produced.
Plataea Yamaguchi meanwhile was making her way over to the airlock. "Permission to go aboard?", the taller then average woman inquired of the guard by the airlock, she handed him a PADD containing her orders.
The guard did not respond at first, he accepted the PADD then he read the details contained on the page before him. "Granted sir. Welcome to the USS Hammersley."
"Thank you." Yamaguchi accepted the PADD back before she went aboard, her first stop was the armory and she proceeded to check in with the Armory officer as she produced her sword, rifle and a dozen throwing knives. "Secure these for me please?"
"Willdo Commander." the nameless man responded as he lifted her items. "That rifle is custom made, Its one of a kind."
"Understood. Thank you sir." as Yamaguchi's next stop was finding where her new quarters were located, she made her way to the quartermasters offices, she obtained her room assignment before she made her way to her new home.
The door opened as she tapped the 'open' toggle on the panel before her. Yamaguchi stepped into her new home as she looked around. The place looked like the average set of crew quarters one saw on the average Federation ship as she dropped off her pack and jacket, she then shrugged off her heavy boots.
Yamaguchi moved into her quarters as she checked where everything was located, there was a main sitting area combined with a kitchenette, two bedrooms, and two bathrooms. One of those bathrooms was connected to the master bedroom.
Yamaguchi opened her pack as she began to produce a new uniform which she then changed out of her heavy engineers garb which she would need later when she was going on duty as she quickly donned her new standard duty uniform. She then slipped on a pair of shoes and out the door she went as her next stop was to report for duty.
|Reporting for Duty
||Commanding Officers Ready Room - USS Hammersley
||Mission Day 2, 0930 Hours
Lt Commander Plataea Yamaguchi had just arrived not twenty minutes before hand, she had been to the Quartermasters offices so she could find out where she lived and then she had gone by the armory to see the state of what she would be walking into where she turned in two kukri knives, a katana blade, a set of thirty throwing knifes and lastly a phaser rifle that she had built almost from scratch.
Yamaguchi regarded the bridge as she noticed a lot of things that were just being finished or were in the process of being finished before someone approached her. "Can I help you Leftenant Commander?"
Yamaguchi regarded the shorter male officer, his accent identified him as being either from Earth or from Cestus Three. Also his uniform identified him as one of her personnel as he was wearing mustard yellow like she herself was. "I'm just here to report in then I'm going to see what people need."
"Ahh.." Lieutenant James Smithson responded with a pause. "He's in the ready room at the present time sir."
"Thank you El Tee." Yamaguchi nodded, the other man moved off leaving her alone as she tapped the door chime.
Damian looked up from his desk as he read the long and monotonous readiness report that he would need to submit to General Chavez before they set sail for the Delta Quadrant. Reaching for his cup, he took a sip of the cold coffee inside and forced it down, tasting the acidic bite of the old coffee. Setting the cup down as he heard the door chime, he looked up. "Enter!" he commanded.
She was granted entry a moment later as the Colonel inside permitted her to enter. The doors slid open and she stepped in to the office. "Good morning, Sir. Lieutenant Commander Plataea Yamaguchi reporting as ordered." she explained why she was here.
Damian looked up at the extremely tall officer wearing a mustard yellow turtleneck with Lieutenant Commander's pips. Rising from his chair, he extended his hand. "Stand easy, Commander. If you have your orders, I'll take those from you as well." he said quickly. This woman had a rather hawkish look about her, looking at every aspect of the ready room and scrutinizing it.
Yamaguchi produced a PADD before she handed it to him. "Yessir." as she took a moment to look around the room, before turning her attention back to the Colonel seated before her.
Damian took the PADD from her and gave the orders a perfunctory read. He knew what he was looking for. Setting it down on the desk, he remained silent and waited for the junior to squirm or even twitch but he had no such luck. Motioning to the chair on the other side of the desk, he tapped the PADD twice with his index finger. "Have a seat, Commander. Can I get you anything?" he asked, not taking his eyes off of the woman. From his review of her record, he had noticed that she had served in almost every major combat engagement of the Dominion War and had her fair share of scrapes with enemy forces after that. It was a wonder that their positions weren't reversed...
Yamaguchi sat down in the chair he had indicated. She had six hundred and sixty two combat engagements and she'd walked away from every single one of those. "Nothing for me, thank you." Plataea responded as she regarded him with her brown eyes. "Is there anything special you wish to know about me?" she inquired.
Picking up the PADD, Damian motioned with it. "Most everything that I need to know is right in here, Commander. Although I do have one question- How are you only a Lieutenant Commander?. You have more combat engagements and decorations for valor than almost every senior officer in Starfleet combined with the exception of James Kirk himself." he asked, waiting for Palatea's response.
"Because I made my family a priority Colonel." Yamaguchi responded evenly. "I have five children and three of those are adults." as she shifted her weight while seated in the chair.
Damian nodded. "I can't fault you there. No number of awards or rank can replace family-" Damian stopped, feeling the words ring hollow. He had never had time for a family and the only time he had tried to start one had caused nothing but pain. Changing the subject, Damian reached for a yellow PADD and handed it over. "That contains a department readiness list- since we leave in two days, I'll need it done in 24 hours. Think you can swing it?" he asked
Yamaguchi accepted the PADD, she tapped the PADD as she gave it the once over. "I will remind you that this is my first assignment as Chief of Security and Tactical.... my career has been as an engineer." she paused. "But yes. I can have this done in one day."
Damian nodded. "Very well. You're dismissed." he said, turning back to his report.
Yamaguchi rose to her feet in silence and turned to leave but his voice made her turn back to face him once more.
Looking up from his desk, he addressed the Commander before she walked out of the office. "Commander, someone at Starfleet Personnel has determined that in their infinite wisdom, you're more than qualified for the job. Now I have absolute faith based on your combat record and qualifications so I'll make you a deal: If we make it through this mission and you decide that you'd be a better fit as an Engineer, then I'll transfer you with no questions asked. Understood?" he asked, looking Plataea dead in the eye.
"Colonel. I will consider it." Yamaguchi responded with a smile. "However for now I'll do the job I've been assigned to the best of my ability sir."
she responded, with that she turned and quietly departed.
|Not This Again
||Sickbay - USS Hammersley
||Mission Day 2, 1200 Hours
Lt Commander Plataea Yamaguchi slowly blinked her large brown eyes while she looked around sickbay, the doors to sickbay closing behind her. She was almost six foot one inches tall and very large for the average woman but shen she was not human and many who knew that knew she wasn't to be taken lightly. She wore her duty uniform with the pants rather then the skirt, she slowly smiled as a nurse approached her.
"Can I help you?" the younger woman inquired politely.
"Yes... I am here to do my physical..." Yamaguchi responded quietly. "I wanted to use the gym and the system wouldn't let me in... So... rather then put my fist though the bulkhead.. I decided to come see our Doctor first and then go hit something." Yamaguchi explained.
"Oh..." the nurse responded. "Let me go and see if he's free."
"Thats fine.. I'll wait." before she regarded the replicator. "Let me get myself something to drink while I wait." before she moved over, she quickly tapped in her selection before shifting her attention back to the nurse who had remained motionless. Plataea lifted the tankard to her lips before she downed half the drink in one go. "Mmmmm good. Want some?"
The nurse watched in silence before she made what sounded like a strangled sigh. "I ummm.." she paused before she turned to flee.
Yamaguchi raised an eyebrow as she watched the nurse, before she sipped her drink in silence. "Mmm.. not bad.. the replicators on this ship will need some fine tuning of course... Work I will be happy to provide." she spoke aloud to herself as she finished her drink. "Still the drink was good." before she tapped 'recycle.' before she settled in to wait.
Meanwhile the nurse calmly walked into the Doctors office. "Doctor, the new Chief of Security is here to see you."
"Oh, Thank you." Ryan stepped out from behind his desk. He was eager to get away from the small bit of paperwork he couldn't avoid. As he stepped up to the biobed LtCmdr Yamaguchi was on, he greeted her with a professional nod. "Commander. I'm Doctor Rose, the Chief Medical Officer."
"Doctor." Yamaguchi had decided to sit down while she enjoyed her drink and now she was getting to see the Doctor which she had not expected for some time. "The ships computer won't let me into the gym." she mentioned in passing. "Something about I need authorization from the ships Chief Medical Officer." as she gave him a pointed look.
Ryan gave a small smile and a nod. "Yes, the Captain has been of great assistance in getting everybody in for their physical with that requirement. I can take care of your physical and get you back to the gym quickly." Ryan grabbed a PaDD from the pocket of his labcoat. "Welcome to the Hammersley by the way."
Yamaguchi raised an eyebrow. "I've found that people tend to be spineless when dealing with the physicals." she shook her head. "Thank you... How many people from security and tactical need to report for their physicals?" she inquired. "Can you provide me with a list?"
"I can provide you with a list sure. I actually don't know off the top of my head, but there aren't too many stragglers. I'll get it for you when we're done here." Then he chuckled. "I'm not sure about the spineless, sometimes I think they're just a bit worried I'll lecture them about what they've been up to on shore leave."
Yamaguchi raised an eyebrow. "That sounds ominous." she responded. "I'll try to behave next time I meet my husband." and with that she smiled. "So... will I live?" she inquired.
Ryan smiled in return. Once all his readings were done he took a minute to do a quick review and see if there was anything he needed to bring up. There was a higher level of wear and tear, but then that was the case for a lot of security. He had some of the same markings from fastidiously hitting the gym for over a decade. Some of the more 'recreational' markers were borderline, but they were still within bounds, nothing he was forced to report. He'd keep an eye on it and step in if he felt the need, but what people did on their time off was none of his business. There was no sign of non consensual anything, so Ryan let it go. "You'll live. I've signed you off for gym access as well."
"Thank you." Yamaguchi smiled. "I'm gonna go get things sorted out then I'm going to swim some lengths in the pool."
"Sounds like a plan." Ryan nodded. "Enjoy the rest of your day."
"Thank you." and with that, Yamaguchi turned and departed in silence after she dropped her glass of at the replicator to be recycled.
|Last of the medical staff to arrive
"Sam, has PO3 Briggs reported in yet?" Ryan asked the Lead Petty Officer. Samantha Davis had so far shown herself to be a master of paperwork, and Ryan was thrilled to have her on staff. It was a luxury not many space bound CMO's received. Right now she was proving herself yet again by keeping him on task with the last of the personnel arrivals.
"He's checked in sir, but he's not due for a shift until tomorrow, 0800." Sam told him.
"Oh." Ryan scratched at his chin, thinking. Once decided, he tapped his combadge. "Rose to Briggs."
Briggs had checked into the ship a while back, wanting to make sure that he knew where his quarters were going to be and, if possible, meet some of his bunkmates before the pressure of having to try to get to know his new duty crew. None of them were in, so he just poked around the small room - comprised of the four beds (two to a side) - several cabinets and two desks, one each on opposite sides of the beds.
A door at the other end of the room led to the communal head and, with wonders, sonic showers set up. Two of the beds appeared to be obviously occupied but the other two were unknown and Briggs didn't want to get off the wrong foot by claiming the wrong bunk.
Instead, he worked to begin memorizing his route from his quarters to the medical facility, gym and - most importantly - chow hall. Other places would come later because they weren't necessary for his immediate needs.
Which is where he found himself at the moment - in the chow hall, having a late lunch. He filled up on the jerky earlier, having found a supply on the starbase, so wasn't really hungry until now. His supplies were stocked and, well, he didn't have much anything else to do until the start of his shift tomorrow morning.
In fact, except for the duty officer aboard the quarterdeck and the Ops petty officer that helped him with his room assignment, he didn't think anyone else knew he was aboard yet. Which is where he found it surprising to find himself being paged. He didn't know anybody in this sector of space - one of the appeals for him - and the name "Rose" struck a chord.
"Petty Officer Briggs," he said around a mouthful of something referred to as 'shepherd pie'. He wasn't sure what a shepherd was but it tasted delicious.
It was clear from the man's voice that Ryan had interrupted him with food in his mouth. "Sorry to disturb you Petty Officer. I know you aren't scheduled to report to sickbay until tomorrow morning, but could you swing by when you're free?"
That was the connection that he was trying to make. Rose. Sickbay. Chief Medical Officer Rose. His new CO. He hurriedly swallowed and stood, shrugging into his pack. "Okay I can take this with me?" he asked one of the chow hall staff, indicating the bowl and cup. Of course he completely forgot that the comm was still open.
"Sure, but you're boss doesn't need to konw that," the crewman said, indicating the commbadge.
"Crap!" Briggs said, shaking his head. "Sorry sir, on my way, sir. Be a few minutes, sir," he said, contemplating running, but not with food. Without waiting for the response he set out, shoveling his food along the way so that he had the rest of his lunch finished by the time he arrived. He washed it down the remainder of his juice and entered into Medical for the first time.
His pace slowed as he stared around him, wide eyed with wonder. He looked around at the space, suddenly confused that he didn't somehow find himself taking a wrong turn and winding up in the medical facilities on the starbase. This place was much nicer than any other ship facility he'd seen.
Certainly much nicer than his last posting. "Now ain't these some fancy digs," he said, his wonderfilled pace carrying him to the center of the room.
Ryan met him there with a smile. "They are indeed. I really did mean it when I said when you are free." He grinned, "But thank you for coming so soon. The Mess Hall is impressive though, isn't it. Best Starfleet food I've had."
"Well, sir, it's plentiful and freely available, that's all I can ask for and expect. And I ain't in trainin or on duty so that makes me free now, Lieutenant." He sighed as he fiddled with the dishes. "I ain't in trouble am I? For not comin by sooner? Only, I ain't supposed to start duty til t'morrow and I figure you don't need no corpsman gettin in the way afore ya 'xpect them to be there."
"No no, not at all, and please it's Ryan, or Doctor. I won't know you're talking to me if you go around calling me Lieutenant." He had an easy smile on his face. "It's just that you're the last of the staff to arrive, and I've already held the department briefing, I just wanted to get you up to date so you're not behind your very first shift." Ryan explained.
"Ah." The relief was evident on his face as he seemed to relax a little bit, shrugging his pack back into place. "Yes, sir, Lieutenant Doctor. Only, ya mind I take notes so I make sure ta git it all down right?"
"Not a problem. Why don't we go to my office so you can put your stuff down and be comfortable at least," Ryan offered.
"Yes, sir," Briggs said as he followed the doctor toward the office, juggling the dishes with one hand while he removed the PADD from one of the pockets on his thigh.
The office was much bigger than he expected to see - but it shouldn't be a surprise considering the medical facility. Truth be told, the last medical section on the last ship he was on would fit inside this office alone. His eyes roaming the room found a bar on the wall behind the desk and he stopped there for a moment. He didn't know why the doctor would have that on the wall, but he most definitely knew why he'd have one. Fortunately, he had access to the ship's gym so his jealousy at the little luxury was only minor.
"Uh, Doctor Lieutenant Ryan," he said, tearing his gaze away from the strange fixture, "Ya mind I use the replimat thing to get rid'a these dishes? I don't want the remnants offa my lunch to be stinkin up your office."
"Oh geez, of course. Sorry." Ryan had noticed the man was holding dishes, but it hadn't really registered. He had three other items on his mind, and that one peculiarity hadn't really made itself known. "And help yourself to anything else you want while I dig up the information for you."
"Thank ya, sir," Briggs said as he returned the dishes to the replicator and ordered up an extra large ice tea for himself, in a closed cup with a straw, so that he didn't risk spilling it all over the CMO's fancy desk. Having done that, he set his PADD for voice recording and waited to be briefed.
Ryan pulled up the needed info then explained things to Briggs. "I'm sure you know more about it then I do." He grinned. "This is actually my first starship assignment."
Briggs shrugged. "Well, it ain't so difficult, ya just patch up the ones that need patchin and tell off the ones that doin' stupid stuff that gets 'emself hurt. But," he sighed. "I see we got lots of Marines on this ship and after recent stuff they had me doin', I'm thinkin' maybe it's time to do the class on proper care of the feet again. And maybe for the regular crew as well."
"Not a lot of marching done here." Ryan grinned, "but if you can get it by the Marine Commander and want to run with it, be my guest."
Remaining quiet for a bit while he let that sink in not a lot of marching done here, Briggs finally spoke, but cautiously as if he were expecting trouble for speaking up. "Sir, ya ever serve with Marines afore?"
"Served no, treated, hundreds." Ryan replied, his gaze questioning. Clearly, he was missing something here, and was curious for Taylor to explain.
Briggs played with the top straps of his pack while he shrugged. "Well, sir, the Marines, they ain't just about marchin all over the place, though, you'll see they'll be doin plenty a'that also. But they gonna be runnin all over the ship at all times and then there's lotsa downtime for'em cause they ain't got much else to do with their time and they judge themselves by physical prowess."
He dared to look up at his CO to see how much trouble he was getting himself into for speaking his mind, realizing he didn't ask for permission to do so. "Earlier, I heard tell sum'a them plannin a way to break down the door to the lower level gym cause they got told they ain't allowed in 'lessen they pass some sort of physical test and they ain't knowin what that is or when it is but they got locked outta the gym anyhow."
"I was teasing about the marching." Ryan replied, rather out of context to the current conversation, but it was where his brain had stuck, and he couldn't move passed it until it was out of his mind. "I wouldn't deign to interfere with how the Marine CO handles his department, and gossip doesn't interest me." Ryan hoped that would be enough for the Petty Officer to realize he had no interest in being drawn into well, whatever it was. He thought the man's view of Marines judging themselves by their physical prowess to be borderline prejudice, but he had to admit he knew very little about the goings ons inside a Marine unit, he couldn't speak to the matter. "Was there anything else?" Ryan finally got his train of thought back on track.
"Yes, sir, I mean no, sir," Briggs said, flustered as he dropped his gaze to the top of his pack and frowned. Just keep your mouth shut and 'yes, sir' and 'no, sir', he reminded himself. "I mean, I understand 'bout you not wantin to have gossip and rumor, sir, and I know I'm just an 'listed corpsman and you don't hav'ta worry 'bout me steppin outta my place, sir. I just do what ya and the others tell me ta do, that's it."
Ryan gave the man a calming smile. "I'm a doctor first, and an officer second. You don't need to worry about stepping on my toes, unless of course you are worried about literally stepping on my toes." He teased. "I'll see you in the morning, Briggs."
"Yes, sir," Briggs said, standing and putting on his pack, the dismissal evident and - truth be known - he wanted to get out of there before he did something even more stupid than speaking out of turn. With that, he walked quickly out of the office and, despite wanting to look around the medical facility a bit more, decided it was best if he left and removed himself from the CMO's presence until the next morning when he had to start his first official duty shift.
|Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
||The Lounge - USS Hammersley
||Mission Day 5, 1300 Hours
Lt Commander Plataea Yamaguchi approached her destination as a smile appeared on
her lips which didn't quite get up to er eyes as she remembered her children that she
missed and who's company she would not be seeing again any time soon, especially
the twins who were really too young to be parted from their mother. However she
kept all of this to herself as the doors parted before her.
Yamaguchi was wearing her standard uniform but she was wearing an overcoat which
she had not yet taken off after arriving.
She took in the scene at a glance as she turned and went over to the replicator, before
someone bumped into her. "Sorry." the younger male officer replied as he thought to
himself. 'Holy shit, she's bigger than me!, and she's hot too!'.
Plataea held her tongue a moment as she regarded him. "Easy Ensign... You might want
to stand easy before you pull something."
"Yes." Yamaguchi responded as she glared darkly at him. "I am who and what I am... Please,
go get your food.."
Janet had been standing there keeping to herself as she observed the whole ordeal. After a
little while, she moved in a bit, advancing on them and butting in. "Well, that remains to be
seen" interjected Janet with a pleasant nod.
Yamaguchi slowly blinked her eyes as she stood waiting for the Ensign to move along, and
for him to stop staring at her chest. 'Men... why do they always mentaly strip me...' she
thought to herself. "Ensign... Please?"
"Oh.. Um... right yes." and with that he turned and moved off as Yamaguchi remained motionless.
"Some peoples children." she said more to herself then to the other woman who had just
The Xenexian smirked. "Different cultures have different views" she said broadly. "Were this
a Ferengi ship you and I would not be here" added Janet. "On Angel I, he would practically
be our slave...as if he is not already" she jested.
Plataea smiled at the other woman who was much shorter then she herself was. "No he's
one of mine." she sighed gently. "this little story will soon make the rounds and be changed
to suit the needs of whoever is telling the story." she shook her head. "Plataea Yamaguchi..
Your new Chief of Security and Tactical on this ship." as she offered her hand to what she
assumed was a human woman in the human custom.
"Janet" replied the woman who had served long enough with humans to understand the
gesture. She shook the other woman's hand. "Lieutenant Commander Janet Glyndar to
be more precise. But You can just call me Janet" she added. "I'm the Chief Strategic
Assessment Officer as well as the ship's Second Officer" she added simply.
Plataea looked down at the shorter woman. "Strategic Assessment Officer.... I've never
heard of that position before." the taller woman admitted, a sheepish look crossing her face.
The Xenexian Lieutenant Commander shrugged. "Neither had I" she said with a small
smile flashing. "I had been a career a Chief Tactical Officer though I did briefly serve
as First Officer of the USS Challenger. From what I have learned, the SAC Officer has
a combination of duties often attributed to Intelligence and Strategic Operations, though
some Diplomacy is also involved" she explained as best she could.
"Well I spent my entire career as an Engineer... and now I'm being assigned as Tactical."
Yamaguchi explained. "My children would think I was nuts... My grandchildren already
think I'm insane... especially Saki. She's a little... off."
"Interesting" replied Janet as she looked at the woman. Her comm badge then went
off and she looked apologetically at the other woman. "I'm sorry, but I do have to take
this. I will see you around the starship, Commander" added Janet as she broke away
and headed to a more quiet area to answer.
Plataea nodded her head in understanding. "Of course." as she withdrew and went to
find a table so she could eat her lunch.
||Mission Day 3, 0830
"You lost my stock?! How do you lose 3 crates of liquor?!" a tiny half Caitian woman bellowed to the station Quartermaster as they stood outside the Cargo Bays. Aelyn Radt had just been informed that the ship she was to board had finally arrived from the mothball fleetyard and was now beginning the refit; so Aelyn went down to the Cargo Bay to see to it her stock of real liquors would be transferred to the USS Hammersley, but when the Quartermaster went to retrieve the crates, they had somehow gone missing! "Seriously, you had better find it or I'm holding you personally responsible for the cost! And I can promise you, it wasn't cheap," she stated firmly.
Damian was reading a manifest for a cargo container that was supposed to contain several portable generators and moisture processing units that were supposed to go to Molodaria Prime to assist in humanitarian efforts. Only a few days before, an unprecedented series of solar storms and hurricanes that had decimated their infrastructure and crippled their response. Despite the fact that he could have delegated this to an enlisted team but he needed to exert and had decided to take on this particular task himself. Finding his target, Damian was in the middle of counting the moisture units as he heard the exchange. His interest piqued, he walked around a processing unit and stopped to watch a half Caitian woman fume. He could sense a vibration- a telltale sign of telepathic abilities being used nearby. Striding over to her, he tried his best to smile.
"You know, yelling at the him won't help. Commander Gianelli has a tendency to close up when he senses danger, kind of like a turtle. I will say that if you want your booze, then I'd suggest Ktarian Chocolate Puffs or Alderbaran Whiskey. I yelled at him when he lost a shipment of parts a few months ago and he didn't speak to me for weeks- after I gave him a chocolate puff and a fifth of that whiskey, the shipment I needed was found and accounted for 12 hours later."
Looking over the crates, Damian looked to them, then her. "What sort of liquor were you planning on sneaking aboard my ship?" he asked slightly jokingly, searching for a name of this woman who wasn't on his crew manifest.
"How does a person reach the rank of Commander with that kind of reaction to stress?!" Aelyn rebutted, throwing her hands up in the air in frustration. She sent a glare in Gianelli's way. "Seriously, find my crates before the end of the day and there's a whole bottle of Alderbaran whiskey with your name on it waiting for you," she said to the poor, overly stressed Quartermaster. The incentive for a whole bottle of whiskey was enough to light a fire under him and he bolted to go find her stock. Aelyn took a breath to recompose herself then looked to the interloper Marine who had so graciously interrupted the satisfaction of her ranting.
"So, your ship?" Aelyn said as she put the pieces together from his last statement. She hadn't been told that the Hammersley's CO would be a Marine, not like it was a bad thing, but as evident from her rant with the Quartermaster, Aelyn wasn't fond of surprises. "Only the one case is real liquor, and it's to be used sparingly; the rest are really good variants of synthohol, better than the average replicator can create and taste tested to be indistinguishable from the real thing. I'm used to serving just real alcohol in my uncle's bar, but Starfleet rules and regulations... Still, he said I should bring a good selection for special occasions," she explained with a half grin.
Damian had never been en excessive drinker but he knew that alcohol was a useful morale builder when synthohol simply didn't cut it. He recalled a fond memory of when his team had been deprived a liberty call and they raided the general's personal bar while a senior NCO had subdued the general as they made their way out with a small haul of very rare and very expensive hooch. Smiling slightly, he turned to Commander Gianelli. "Bruno, if you find those cases, I'll toss in a bottle of single malt-" Checking his watch, he looked up. "You might want to move quickly, you only have five hours and this an incredibly large station. Allons-y!" he said, the sarcasm dripping from his every word. Gianelli shot him a look of pure venom and walked away in a huff, muttering something about the Starfleet supply system and petty bribes.
Aelyn chuckled softly as she turned, clasping her hands neatly behind her back as she started down the corridor to leave Commander Gianelli to his work. "I apologize if I made a scene, sir; I know a few crates seems trivial, but the contents were expensive, and I take my responsibilities tending to the crew's morale quite seriously. And... well, this is my first time running a lounge by myself, let alone a Starfleet lounge, so I didn't quite know what to expect," Aelyn admitted candidly, her tone conveying the respect she had for his position.
Damian laughed at this. In all honesty, she reminded him of a Marine he once knew- Karen Burdette. She was small but fierce and fiery and during her time as a combat engineer, she was known as the 'Tiny Terror' and no one would have dreamed of messing with her on any day of the week. "Don't worry about it, sometimes Bruno needs a good kick in the ass." Stopping to think for a moment, he raised a finger as an epiphany struck him. "Think you might be able to rustle up a few extra cases of that whiskey, say about ten?" he asked.
"Ten?!" By the Sacred Rings, what did he need ten cases of whiskey for? "Ahhh, real or synth? And is there any particular preference for what kind of whiskey or do you want a variety?" Aelyn asked, trying to acquiesce to his demands. "Depending on what you ask for, it might take a while to get it, but I think I can get it stocked by the time the refit is done."
Looking around for any listeners, Damian whispered. " Surprise me with some of the real stuff, none of that synthesized crap.I know of a few places planetside that sell good single malt but I think the crew would prefer a wider variety. It'll be our little secret" Damian said slyly, winking a little. He knew that he was ducking regulations by requisitioning alcohol but he had a feeling that his crew would appreciate it. Looking down, he eyed the ring on his finger- it was gold with a black stone with an ornate coat of arms inset in the center. Removing it, he handed it over to Aelyn.
"Make a call to a bar called 'The End of the Universe' on Epsilon Eridani and show the owner that ring. It'll get you any supplies you need- that old Bolian owes me big time, so he won't be in a position to say no." Damian smiled at the thought of the rather large and boisterous Bolian who he had nicknamed 'Big Blue'. The man had been a rather capable combat Marine but after nearly 20 years, he had elected to retire and run a bar in an odd corner of the quadrant.
"Wait, you know the owner of 'The End of the Universe'?! My uncle has always said great things about that bar, I've always wanted to go there!" Aelyn said with a wide, excited grin. She took the ring and gave it a quick glance over before carefully placing it in her pocket. "I'll contact him right away so I can get this ring back to you as soon as possible. But if I may ask, sir, why so much? I mean ten cases in addition to the three I already have, that's an awful lot of alcohol for a ship of this size."
Damian smiled a sly smile. "Well, where we're going, we won't exactly have a chance to restock. So I'm keeping as much as I can on hand." he said, checking the supply load status on his PADD. Satisfied, he looked over to Aelyn. "By the way, I never got your name, civvie." he said jokingly.
Aelyn nodded understandingly; she hadn't know that they would be gone THAT long or she would have stocked up accordingly, and it made her wonder if she was truly prepared for this job. "Oh, I'm sorry. I'm Aelyn Radt. My uncle is the owner of Four Treasures on Deep Space 5, and he hooked me up with this gig. I hope I can serve you well, sir."
Damian extended his hand. "I hope so, Miss Radt. I've been to the Four Treasures and your uncle makes one of the best Slushel Mixes that I've ever had the pleasure of tasting. If he got you here, then I have faith that you'll be able to handle this assignment." Thinking for a moment, Damian spoke again. "Think you can set up a going away dinner for the crew in a day or two?" he asked her.
"A day or two?" Well that wasn't asking much! "I can't promise anything grand on such short notice, but I think I can manage something," Aelyn replied with a dubious nod. "That is assuming the mess hall will be up an running in time."
Damian shrugged. "Well, we leave in three, so I'd get any supplies you need and saddle up." he said, a hint of sarcasm in his voice. "Also, you'll be in charge of all food services and morale activities, if you're up to it. So you might want to check on your supply orders." he said, sneaking a look in Commander Gianelli's general direction.
"Those supplies are already in order, it was my personal stash that he had misplaced," Aelyn said with a slight chuckle. She had already been prepared to tend to all the food services as well as morale; it was, after all, what her uncle had done on DS5 and what he had trained her for. "I'll have the lounge ready for dinner in three days then," she added, some ideas rolling around her head of maybe a buffet to keep things simple given the time crunch.
Damian smiled. He was already quite impressed as this civilian had managed to do in less than 2 days, what many officers had failed to do with weeks of preparation. Food was a way to the hearts of many and he would be sure that this woman would do this new ship proud. "Just by the way, if you need people to work the galley, let me know and I'll rustle you up a few crewmen before we leave." Damian said before heading for one of the massive cargo elevators.
"I believe Starfleet has assigned a couple of uniforms as chefs, but I can always use a few extra hands here and there, and of course I'm familiar with the Command Chief sending misbehaving Petty Officers down to my uncle's bar for menial tasks, so I'm well prepared to do the same here," Aelyn said with a fanged grin, cutting a glance at the man as they walked along. She couldn't get a solid read on this man; on the one hand, he seemed rather outgoing at first glance, but she sensed something else... He was a soldier, so clearly there was honor and integrity, but she felt like she was only just tapping the surface of him. "And please, let me know if there's anything you require of me. I'm still new to being in charge, but I'm fairly flexible as these things go, so I'll do what I can to accommodate any special requests."
Reaching the door, Damian turned to her. "Understand that as a Morale Officer, you have a lot of leeway in doing what you need to do. So if you feel like teaching anti-gravity yoga on the holodeck, then be my guest. You're welcome to do whatever the hell you need to do, as long as you don't blow up my ship or hurt any of my crew. Get my drift?" he asked her, his eyebrow raised once more.
Goodness, anti-gravity yoga? He really wasn't holding back, was he! "You know, I bet you would love some anti-gravity yoga; it's very relaxing," Aelyn stated in an amused tone. "But I promise to do my utmost not to blow up your ship, as that wouldn't be very good for business," she added with a mischievous smile.
Damian laughed throatily, his voice echoing off of the bulkheads. "You'd love that, wouldn't you?" he asked jokingly. "But in all seriousness, I wouldn't be caught dead doing yoga if someone had a phaser to my head." he said quickly. "I'm not flexible- at all." he said rather matter of factly before the cargo elevator began slowly moving upward.
"Then shall I take it as a personal challenge to change that?" she replied. "You never know, you just might like it..."
Fighting the urge to chuckle, Damian kept a straight face. "We'll see about that, Miss Radt. We'll see..." he said before he turned on his heel and walked towards the massive exit door. Latching onto a massive cargo mover with one hand, he felt himself being whisked along towards the door, his feet a mere inch off of the deck.
Well look at that, a man who knew how to make an exit. Aelyn chuckled with an amused shake of her head as she watched the cargo mover carry off her Commanding Officer. 'And not in bad form, too,' she thought with just a hint of admiration. At least now she knew this posting wouldn't be boring!
|Home By Now
After the doors to Medical closed, Briggs had to go somewhere and deal with the frustration that filled him. He'd done everything wrong from the get go and now he'd soured his relationship with his new CO before he even started his first duty shift. Why didn't he just keep his mouth shut?
Of course the lieutenant knew more than he did...he was a lieutenant for crying out loud! A doctor! And it was something he probably did by choice - learned what he needed to learn, studied hard and went to school to learn the difficult field of medicine. Who was he to question a lieutenant and a doctor? He was just a nobody from a torn up colony who was only a corpsman because he was randomly assigned to the field.
He started to walk down the hallway, away from Medical when he stopped, turned around and went the other way, until he was several paces past the door to Medical and then stopped again.
He had no idea where he was going. He had no idea where to go. He didn't know anybody on this ship and anybody that he would know would be in Medical and he already screwed that up. He had quarters but, then again, wasn't sure which bunk was his. What if he claimed one that was already claimed by another person and then screw up harmony in the quarters he'd be sharing with others.
He'd already eaten so there was no reason to go to the chow hall, he could go to the arboretum but all he could do in there would be sit and stew on what just happened. He was enlisted so that limited the places on the ship he could go to just be alone or to work on forgetting about what the stupidity of what he just did.
Which left him, standing in the middle of the hallway, vaporlocked and covering his face with his hands to keep from screaming out because of how frustrated he was. He considered, several times, going back to Medical and trying his best to apologize for his behavior and hoping to not make it worse. But...the possibility of making it worse kept him from trying. Which left him right back where he was, standing in the middle of the corridor with nowhere to go.
If he'd only kept his mouth shut.
He tightened the shoulder straps and belted the waist strap to keep his pack from moving around, or the weight of it digging into his shoulders. There wasn't any hope for it, he'd just have to risk going to his quarters and hoping whoever's bunk he was on would be understanding and direct him whichever one would be his. From what his Lieutenant said, he was more sure than ever the other bunks were already claimed, since he appeared to be a late arrival to the ship.
His feet dragging all the way, while he stewed over screwing up the first meeting with his commanding officer, he managed to get back to his quarters. His plan, once he arrived and since he didn't have anything else to do until tomorrow morning, was to deblouse, take off his boots and stretch out, maybe take a nap.
That wasn't to be as he opened the door. The first thing he spotted was the gold uniforms of the two security personnel. His breath caught in his chest and he took a step back as they turned to look at him. It wasn't until the door started to close that he thought he was clear but why was security in his quarters? Had Lieutenant Rose decided that he was insubordinate after all and sent them to take him to the brig?
Again, he didn't fear being in the brig, only what it meant for his future going forward. It didn't help his sudden undecided anxiety as the door was closing and he heard "Briggs?"
"Briggs! It is you!"
His frown deepened. "Brownell?" he asked, more out of surprise then anything else.
"Well I'll be damned! I saw the name on the quarters manifest but I didn't think, I mean, what are the odds we'd both be on the same ship in the same ass end of space?" Brownell came right up to him and gave him a light punch on the shoulder. "How cool is this? And look at you! They put you in Medical?"
"Yeah," Briggs said, still confused. "Why are you in my quarters?"
"Our quarters, buddy, ours. Locke and I are assigned in there, as is Pardone, he's stationed in one of the science labs. Isn't that weird? Not just assigned to the same ship but the same quarters? Like old home week at boot isn't it? Only I'm not planning on getting up at o'dark thirty to go doing some useless PT and marching before breakfast."
Somehow Brownell and he arrived back at their quarters. "Locke! This is Briggs, you'll love him, accident prone as you are. Briggs, this is Petty Officer Brian Pardone."
Briggs shook the Terran's hand while he looked around. The room seemed much smaller with all four of them in there. "I, uh, I came by earlier, but didn't know which bunk was mine?"
The three looked at each other. "Well," Locke said - he was also Terran, but a large, bulking one with a shaved head and dark, suspicious eyes. For Briggs, growing up in a place where security were often more criminal than the criminals, he appeared to fit right in with the security forces. But as he spoke, his tone and mannerisms were very gentle, almost as if he were afraid that if he raised his voice, he'd break something. Or someone. "That's what we were just talking about. We got a difference of opinion regarding how to assign out the bunks."
"Oh, well, I ain't too particular 'bout it," Briggs said, but glanced at the top bunks, which he preferred. Back home, he often found lower spots that could be easily concealed - holes that could be covered, breaks in walls, abandoned cellars, that like. But, since joining Starfleet, he found he preferred the top bunks. Something about them made him feel safer and, considering the set up of them, safer.
"Locke and I think we need to be on the bottom because we're security, and if there's a red alert sounded, we need to be able to get up and out quickly because security has to respond so quickly. Much quicker than science personnel. Pardone here reasons that getting down from the top and out would be just as quick. But he discounts the time it'll take to dress and get out, where a bottom makes that faster."
"Okay," Briggs said, shrugging. He didn't really care, they all had the same mattress type so it wasn't as if anyone was more comfortable. And, at least, they weren't sharing the racks with others while they were on duty. "I mean, yeah, that makes sense," Briggs said.
Brownell smiled as he threw his arms out. "Well, you're the last vote, I mean, it was already two on one but Pardone said it wouldn't be fair until we had the fourth vote because it would affect our fourth roommate."
"You're really saying you agree with them?" Pardone asked, rounding on Briggs.
"I'm jus' sayin it makes sense, don't want them tryin' to jump off a bunk and rushin around while we also tryin to rush around. This way they get gone and we can get to our duty stations," Briggs answered, shrugging. "That mean I side with them, then I guess that's so."
Pardone shook his head. "Okay, well, I don't agree and like it, but that was the agreement." He patted the bunk on the left, claiming it, leaving the one on the right for Briggs.
"Well now, since we have that worked out and we're all here now, I think we need to get to know each other. How about we go up to the lounge and do that?" Locke said, already noticing the difficulty in moving around the space with the four of them in there at the same time. "Let's hope that we're not all on the same shift!"
"I'm game, how about you Briggs? This is so wild, wait until I tell Simpson!"
"He aboard ship too?" Briggs asked.
"Nah, they got him stationed in the Beta Quadrant, on a planetary base."
"Oh," Briggs said, not sure if he was disappointed or not.
"So I take it you two already know each other?" Pardone asked, heading for the door. "Which means that embarrassing incidents are about to be revealed!"
"Nah, Briggs and are I are too tight for that," Brownell said, clapping Briggs on the back and toward the door. "Which, interestingly enough, we only really became friends at basic after that first bivouac in our second week."
"Nah!" Briggs said, shaking his head. For a moment he forgot about his disastrous meeting with his CO in the possibility that story was about to be told. "Ya said you wouldn't ever tell 'bout that!"
"No," Brownell grinned, "I said I wouldn't tell any of our fellow recruits. Neither these guys are our fellow recruits."
"Oh, this has to be good!" Pardone said, rubbing his hands together.
Briggs sighed as he shook his head. Apparently what happened at Basic didn't actually stay at Basic. "It ain't my fault, I ain't never really been out campin' afore," he protested for himself before Brownell launched into the story, ignoring Briggs's protests of his embellisments to make the whole situation worse.
|Some Down Time
Ryan looked up from the medical journal he was browsing when he heard his own stomach growl. He was not surprised to note it was already 7pm. He'd once again gotten distracted by the latest surgical procedure posted in Starfleet's medical journal. It was probably time for him to at least peruse it outside of sickbay though. He hopped off the bio bed he'd been sitting on and headed out, making his way to the lounge. He didn't quite feel like going to a set of empty quarters and eating alone. At least in the lounge there would be people around.
The lounge was fairly busy, and not just because the Alpha Shift was due for dinner, and a lot of crew were currently occupying the table and bar while the work crews worked to finish the refit by the windows and upper observation deck. Ryan made his way to the bar instead of the replicator, deciding he'd have something besides just water.
It took a moment before anyone came to check on him, and she came in the form of a half Caitian woman in lovely robes with long flowing sleeves. "Sorry for the wait there, cutie, we're still getting things up an running. What can I get for you?" she asked as she pulled some used glasses from the bartop and wiping the surface down with a clean rag.
It was a bit embarrassing. At twenty six years old, being called cutie was still enough to make the tips of his ears blush. He just hoped it didn't reach his cheeks. "It's fine." He assured her. "Half cranberry juice, half club soda?" He asked.
"Coming right up," Aelyn replied with a smile, grabbing a clean glass and mixing up the drink. "So, how are you enjoying the Hammersley so far?" she asked in an attempt to make idle conversation as she set the drink before him.
"Actually this is only the fourth place I've seen. Sickbay, the gym, my quarters, and now here. But so far, from what I've seen she's a fine ship. Sickbay is top notch." He looked around. "And this is quite the lounge for a starship, very impressive."
"We're still getting things situated here, but I am loving the space I have to work with," Aelyn replied as she tidied up some things behind the bar. "So Sickbay, does that mean you're a medical officer?" she asked.
"Yes. I'm a doctor." Ryan replied. Ryan didn't have an ego about being the CMO, and didn't feel the need to mention it. But he did take pride in being a doctor. It was the main reason he preferred to go by Doctor rather than rank. "How does one become..." Ryan paused. "Bartender, bar owner?" He really wasn't sure how it worked.
Aelyn chuckled slightly. "Well, I hardly own the space," she admitted as she continued to keep herself busy with tasks behind the bar, which at the moment included cutting up some fresh citrus fruits for drink garnishes. "My uncle got me into it. I, uh, needed a change of pace, so my uncle took me on at his bar. At first I was just waiting tables, learning to make drinks; I found it to be rewarding, so I learned more, then my uncle pulled some strings got me set up here. What about you? I'd imagine being a doctor would have to be an aspiration you strive for over a long time."
"Usually that's the case, yes. I'm not different in that respect. Of course it was sewing up teddy bears and mending tears in jeans long before it was medical school." He sipped his drink. "You make a mean half cranberry juice half club soda." He grinned.
"Well, I'd have to be a really bad bartender to mess up a drink that simple," Aelyn countered with a grin. "Can I get you anything else?"
"Got any pretzels or peanuts?" Ryan asked. He really wasn't craving a full meal, but he was up for a snack.
"Yeah," Aelyn replied, wiping off her hands to get a bowl and scooped up some mini pretzel sticks stored under the bar. She set the bowl near Ryan and continued with her tasks behind the bar. A waiter came up to the bar for a few drinks, which Aelyn then started making; it was starting to get busy with dinner to be served soon, but she loved all this energy around her, and she smiled as she worked on the drink order. "Dinner is going to be served soon, you sure you don't want more than pretzels?" she asked Ryan as she worked. "I hear the chef makes a killer onion soup; he even makes the mozzarella on top by hand," she said to tempt the cute doctor.
Ryan thought about it, but not for very long. "That does sound good. I'll have a bowl." He did have a few more pretzels while he waited though. He decided to sit back and people watch for just a bit. As the CMO he knew everybody, but he didn't know any of them well. Sure, he could tell you when and if they'd had their appendix out, but not their favorite color. It was something he hoped to rectify with a ship posting. The crew wasn't so large that with just a bit of time he couldn't know all of them by more than just the outline of their medical file.
Aelyn nodded, then finished up the drinks she was working on and sent the waiter back out to deliver the drinks to their appropriate tables. Then she popped back into the kitchen to check on dinner, returning with a tray in hand with a steaming bowl of savory onion soup, a thick slice of toasted bread topped with a gooey broiled mozzarella floating on the surface. "Let me know if you need anything else, cutie," Aelyn said, setting the soup before him, popping some salt and pepper on the bartop in case he needed them.
Ryan managed not to blush, this time. The soup was remarkably good, and Ryan finished it and the bread. He was just about to contemplate dessert when his combadge chirped and he got called back to work though. "Thanks for the drink and the soup." He called after Aelyn.
"Anytime," Aelyn called back with a smile. "Don't work too hard now," she added, giving him a friendly wave before returning her attention to her lounge. Yep, good first day!
|Off We Go!
||USS Hammersley, Various Locations
||Mission Day 6, 0430
***** Commanding Officer Quarters, Deck 2, Section Alpha -3 *****
Damian rolled over in his bed as the communications console beeped rapidly at him, its alarms steadily growing in volume and pitch. Holding a pillow over his head, he groaned slightly. He had gone to bed after midnight after spending a late night in Engineering correcting a cycling error in the warp engines. Checking the glowing face of his chronometer, he saw that it read 0430. Coming to the sad realization that he would never be able to get back to sleep in time, he rolled himself into a sitting position and launched the pillow he was holding across the room, where it struck the console and shut off the awful noise. Pulling a t-shirt over his head, Damian walked over to the console where he saw the characteristic smirk of one Corporal Simon Lansley.
Running his hand through his hair, Damian sighed. "What do you want, Corporal?" he asked, his frustration becoming more evident as the seconds dragged on.
Apparently protocol dictated that he should have an enlisted aide based upon the technicality that he was between a Brigadier General and a bog standard Colonel. This, coupled with the fact that he now commanded a ship, annoyed Damian to no end and his many attempts to rid himself of the Corporal had proved fruitless. In fact, the personnel officer at Starbase 329 had informed Damian with no shortage of glee in her voice that he had no choice in the matter and he would be stuck with Lansley for the duration. This, compounded with Simon's smug attitude and his annoying tendency to attempt to be helpful- and bungle them, was incredibly frustrating and Damian feared that Simon would drive him to commit murder if he wasn't careful.
Simon smirked slightly. "Sir, just providing your wake up call. We're scheduled to depart at 0600-"
Raising his hand to stop the overly helpful Corporal, Damian sighed again. "I'm quite literally directly below the bridge and it takes me less than 30 minutes to get ready. If you decide to pull something like this again Corporal, I'll personally demote you to Private. Highsmith Out." Damian terminated the link and looked longingly at his bed, fighting back the urge to climb back into it and snuggle with his pillows. Reluctantly rising from his desk, he walked over to the counter and flicked on the coffeemaker and heard a small hiss as superheated water rushed through the fresh beans he had managed to procure. The smell of a dark roast pervaded his quarters as he Damian walked over to his closet and pulled out a fresh uniform. Selecting a green turtleneck, he laid it out on his bed and entered the bathroom, activating the sonic shower. Stepping inside, he let the hot steam wash the dirt and the cares away for the moment...
****** Chief Security and Tactical Officer's Quarters, Deck 2 *****
Meanwhile across the USS Hammersley's saucer section, an alarm clock started ringing, only for a fist to smash into it, effectively silencing it. "I know what time it is...” Yamaguchi growled softly as she blinked her eyes awake while she sighed softly. "I need another new alarm clock..." she paused. “Maybe while I'm tinkering with the guns on this flying crate, I can get a metal one that stands up to my abuse." she said aloud. "Plastic doesn't cut it... Ahhh... I hate these early morning starts." as she hauled herself out of bed.
Plataea's sleep attire was a pair of shorts and a tank top, simply because of the fact that her youngest children might sometimes climb into bed with her, it was something she did not miss as she staggered to her feet. "I'm an Engineer that’s playing with ordinance... I bet Elizabeth must think her mother has lost it." Plataea muttered to herself as she stripped off what little clothing she was wearing before she padded into the bathroom.
Ten minutes later she came back out and then she donned her uniform before she pulled her hair back into a simple but elegant ponytail. "Asa no sekai. Watashi wa anata no subete o korosu tsumoridesu." she said to herself in flawless Japanese as she replicated herself breakfast.
Plataea ate breakfast and then it was out the door she went after snagging her boots from where she left them, she quickly slid on her boots one at a time as she moved down the hall towards the turbolift.
******* Sickbay *******
Ryan stepped into sickbay. He'd gotten up at 3am to have time for the gym and once least check over of sickbay before they left. He greeted the
Gamma Shift and started looking over the inventory and other last minute matters. This was it, they were about ready to go.
The turbo lift doors opened and like stepped off, he looked around for his display and headed towards it. It was a while since he's seen a starship like this one but was happy to serve on one as agile as this one. He had versions of wearing body restraints as the helmsman would negotiate tight turns in a nebula or an asteroid belt. He walked up and relieved the lieutenant, who nodded before he took over. The LCARS display was a simple standard display with different icons flashing at him, "Computer, register Marine Captain Luke Smith to Operations."
"Marine Captain Smith is now assigned as Chief Operations, you may configure this panel."
He navigated through it and reorganized it slightly so he could bring up what he needed to bring up at a moment’s notice.
Damian stood in the turbolift as it shot upward from Deck 2, a fresh cup of coffee in his hand. With his jacket slightly unzipped, he could feel a slight chill in the air in spite of the incredibly warm uniform he wore. As the turbolift stopped, Damian checked himself over, took a deep breath, and stepped out onto the bustling bridge. Taking a quick look around as he walked around the Security and Tactical station, he could see that Captain Smith was tapping away at his station. Placing a hand on the armrest of the command chair, Damian watched for a moment as he took a seat. Taking a careful sip of his coffee, he simply absorbed the noise and waited for the rest of the bridge crew to arrive.
A moment late the turbolift doors opened and out came Lt Commander Plataea Yamaguchi, she went over to the tactical station, and ran her fingertips over the edge of the railing, a soft smile appearing on her face. "Mmmm... You ready to go girl?" Yamaguchi inquired aloud in a soft tone.
***** Main Bridge, 0530 *****
Damian walked out of his ready room and back onto the bridge. After a lengthy chat with Captain Bartlett, he had decided to take his station and ready the ship for departure. Striding out, a fresh cup of coffee in hand, he quickly sat in the firm blue Captain's Chair that was reminiscent of the ones aboard the Excelsior Class. Swiveling as far as he could to the left, he turned his head towards Commander Yamaguchi and Captain Smith.
"Commander, bring us to Alert Condition Blue." Damian lifted his coffee cup and took a long draw from it. "Captain Smith, open a ship wide channel and sound departure stations." Damian ordered, turning to face the front of the bridge again. This feeling he was getting deep in his gut was beyond exciting- they were about to take a journey further into the cosmos, further than anyone had ever gone before- truly allowing them to live up to the immortal words of the officers who had come before them.
Luke was continually navigating through the LCARS, " =/\= All hands to departure stations, base side docking bay crew to mooring control, shuttle bays, secure craft, transporter rooms, are all crew aboard? =/\="
"=/\= Just got the last of the cargo =/\="
"=/\= Removed the last tribble =/\="
"=/\= Late arrivals have turned up and sent to security =/\=
"=/\= Thanks guys =/\=" Luke heard from the various transporter rooms that had different or multiple tasks.
Taking the PADD in his hand, Damian typed out a quick message to Tanner.
== GOOD MORNING, SLEEPYHEAD. IT'S TIME TO GET MOVING... ==
Yamaguchi nodded her head. "Going to condition blue." she responded to the Colonel's order. "All decks checking in.... and.... all decks report ready to proceed." she added.
Damian nodded. "Very well." Taking another sip of his coffee, he began rattling off orders. "Ops, signal for departure clearance and detach umbilical." Standing from his chair, his face bathed in blue light, Damian looked to the assembled bridge crew. "Alright, boys and girls, this is our last chance before we head to the other side of the galaxy. If anyone wants to step back, now is definitely the time. No one will think less of you for it." he said.
Turning to the helmsman, Lieutenant JG Jordan Maledon, Damian nodded. "Helm, take us out and lay in a course for the Epatha Gateway. Warp One, if you please."
Maledon gulped and nodded. "Aye, sir. Course is laid in. ETA 9 hours." he said as he rested his hands on the helm console.
Yamaguchi gently tapped the tactical display before her. "Soon... We will see if the shipwrights made you as good as you look... Besides the Avalanche has already started, it’s a little late for the pebbles to vote." as she watched the stars stat to elongate as the warp effect began, she could rattle off the warp formula that made the entire effect possible but she opted to keep her mouth closed as she appreciated the view.
Damian tapped his commbadge to open a shipwide channel. "Attention all hands, this is the CO. We have taken the first steps on a journey that will take us into the Delta Quadrant. Please know that once we cross into Gateway, we will lose contact with the Alpha Quadrant until we can re-establish communications with the MIDAS array. Since we don't know how long it could be before that happens, I urge you all to say your final goodbyes to your families. Furthermore, I urge you all to remember your oath and not simply obey, but to live those ideals." Taking a breath, Damian continued. "Department heads will report to the Conference Room at 1300 for a mission briefing, after that you will receive further information. Highsmith out." Closing the channel, Damian sighed and looked forward, taking in the vibration of the deck plates and the dimly lit bridge. Everything he surveyed within this saucer of metal, circuitry, and wires was now his to command and safeguard. He only hoped that he could handle this responsibility again.
|Enlisted Medical Meeting
||First Day of Duty
Sam was sitting on top of a bio bed going over paperwork. There was always a never ending stream of paperwork in medical, and she loved it. Most would say it was an odd thing to love, but Sam didn't care. She'd had a keen eye for paperwork as long as she could remember, and she'd greatly enjoyed putting it to good use in Starfleet.
To say he was nervous was an understatement as he returned to Sickbay. But he had orders and he needed to follow them. Plus, a small part of him really wanted to walk around and take a look at a medical center that seemed to be right at home on some of the newer bases. Plus, he doubted he'd even run into the CMO again, not as low as he was in the department. It was with that spirit that he tried to pep himself up as he walked through the doors, his hands gripping the straps on his pack. He had his PADD in a side pocket, easy to get to for when he needed it.
As he crossed the room, he shrugged out of the pack. He only saw one patient sitting on a bed. Reminding himself that being a corpsman in a medical facility was different than being a corpsman out in the field. "Hello, I'm Petty Officer Briggs, or just Briggs if you'd like," he said as he automatically looked for the patient's information. And wondered why her vital information wasn't displayed on the screen. "How are you today?"
Sam looked up and smiled. "Hello. I'm well, thank you." She answered politely. "I'm Sam Davis, lead Chief Petty Officer." She introduced herself. "Let me grab your file and get you signed in. Doctor Rose already cleared you, so that won't be a problem."
"Dr. Rose?" Briggs repeated, frowning. The blue collar and CPO rank insignia confirmed and, even if she were here for a psyche eval, rules said that they had to be monitored, but the bed didn't even appear to be activated for a patient. "He talk to ya 'bout me?"
"Hrrm? No." Sam answered. "I'm more of a glorified yeoman." Sam chuckled briefly. "I handle all the paperwork, you're the last file I entered is all." She unfolded herself and climbed off the bio bed. She stretched, showing off her tall, lean frame, then hunched just a tiny bit as she headed towards the nearest console. "So have you had a chance to settle in?" She asked, as she logged into the mainframe.
Well, least not ever'one's knows what a bumblin fool I made a'myself, yet. he thought to himself. "I just came 'board ship yes'erday, Chief. But got my quarter assignment and bunk space all figured out right quick. An' if'n ya can belief it, I'm back to bunkin with a bootie! Gonna be tough tryin ta get back to the habit a'bunkin with others 'gain. Been spendin' too much time spoiled with my own space. Though Lieutenant Doctor right, the chow herebouts pretty darn good. Least in the 'listed mess, don't know how they got it in the officer mess."
Sam had to concentrate to get through his accent, but she nodded appropriately. "That's good. At least you always have company." She stepped aside and let him access the console. "Well aboard corpsman." She smiled.
"Thank ya, Chief," he said, as he looked around the room again. "What ya want me to do when we ain't got patients?"
Sam looked surprised by the question. Her rank would normally denote her as somebody in charge, but it was an administrative rank, not a command rank. Sam was almost pathologically incapable of giving orders. "Ummm, I'm sure one of the nurses or doctors could use your help."
"Aye, Chief," he said, giving another look around. Didn't seem to be much of anything going on, at all. To the point where he was immediately wishing for an away mission or something where the waiting was fraught with possibilities of the need to use his skills. But, at the moment at least, medical had the air of everyone being on liberty. He shrugged. "Guess, I can find sumthin ta clean or organize."
"If you need anything just let me know." Sam offered with a smile.
Briggs looked at the floor as he rubbed his head. "Well, I was kinda wonderin' iffen ya don' mind tellin me where I might find cleanin' stuff?"
"Cleaning stuff? To clean what?" Sam asked, now curious.
"Well, the counters and beds, an maybe the heads iffen they need it and they usually do. A clean sickbay helps make it easier for people ta get well. Plus makes it a nicer place ta work iffen ya know it's clean and we don't get sick from it."
"Oh." Sam smiled. She liked that he didn't see himself above such things. "The orderlies keep the cleaning supplies over here. I'll show you."
"Thank ya, Chief," Briggs said as he followed her toward the cleaning supplies. Just as he reached them, however, an enlisted Marine came into Medical, debloused and appearing on the run.
"Excuse me, sirs," he said, in general as he looked around, but despite the evidence that he ran here, his breathing was barely above normal. "But I've been asked to have someone come down to the training room? We've got someone that's hurt his leg?"
Briggs turned to Davis, "Iffen it's okay, I can go take a look what's goin on?"
Sam nodded. "Of course. go." She urged gently. "It was nice to meet you." She offered politely.
"You too, Chief," Briggs said as he grabbed his bag and slung it onto his back while following the Marine out of Medical.
||Armory and Firing Range- Deck 8
||Mission Day 1, 1315
Damian had been walking through the corridors on Deck 8 with a clear objective in mind- he needed to stop by the Firing Range to complete a weapons qualification. Over the past year he hadn't had the time to complete a formal course of fire and he felt that if they were going back into combat, he'd need to keep up, especially if he was going to require it of all crew members. Walking inside, he stopped at a desk that extended around the perimeter of the room. Mounted on the bulkheads were a veritable collection of impeccably arranged weapons, everything from combat knives to massive isomagnetic grenade launchers.
Looking around at the heavily adorned walls, Damian waited for the armorer to come out from the range.
Briggs entered into the room and took a quick look around, his tricorder already out of his pocket and in his hand to save time. He'd been called down here and, really, the only reason he could think he'd be called anywhere was because there was some form of mild medical intervention that needed to happen. For the most part nothing life threatening but could require someone to take a look and make a decision to take care of it on the spot or send it higher to medical and the doctors there.
He stopped as he noted all the weapons, his mouth going dry at the idea of so many of them. But he also noticed another person in the room. The tall, fit Terran appeared to be quite a few years older than Briggs, but in no manner into his elder years. He wore a Marine uniform and, trying not to be too noticeable, Briggs only recognized his collar device because of his recent training and travel with the Marines. Rank recognition was drilled into them, especially the Fleeters taking the training with them.
He nearly dropped the tricoder as he stiffened, the straps of his ever present backpack momentarily digging into his shoulders until the weight resettled on the waist strap. "Sir," he said, casting another look around for anybody else in the area, hopefully somebody gushing blood so that it gave Briggs a chance to focus on that instead of the Colonel before him.
Damian turned as he was addressed by a young Petty Officer Third Class wearing medical teal. He was rather young but he appeared to be fit and rather nervous. "Stand easy, Petty Officer. We can't have you passing out on the deck. It could lead to a lot of paperwork for me." Damian joked. Looking the man over, he could see that nothing was out of place and he was obviously prepared with a full field trauma kit wherever he decided to go. Extending his hand, he smiled slightly. "Damian Highsmith. A pleasure to meet you, 'Doc'." he said, using the Marine term for Corpsmen.
Briggs was still frozen in spot for a few more seconds. He was just a lowly enlisted man, a walking bandaid and this was a colonel and the commanding officer. He shouldn't be talking to him, he should be talking to Lieutenant Rose and then it filtered down to him. But...out of somewhere he slipped the tricorder back into his pocket and accepted the hand. "I'm Briggs, sir, but, sir? I ain't no 'Doc'. Ain't earned that," he said, hoping honesty would serve to cover for being a spazz. "Though I'av takin courses that could get me a spot in FMF."
Briggs looked around, pulling the tricorder out and fiddling with it. "I gotta call I gotta come down here, and only reason I can think is somebody needs some patchin'?"
Damian extended his arms and looked himself over with an expression of faux shock upon his face. "Well I think I'm alright for the most part, with the exception of a few loose screws." he joked, smiling at the young corpsman who looked extremely uncomfortable. "If you're looking to get a spot in the FMF, here's a good a place to start as any. You'll need to complete initial qualifications and familiarization on a few weapons if you want to even hope of being assigned to the school, much less an operational battalion."
Briggs looked down at the tricorder as he considered. The Colonel was telling him that if he wanted to do the FMF thing, then he had to go through weapons training? He didn't want to lie to his Ma when he promised her that he wouldn't join a gang and go off harming people. He told that to the Starfleet recruiters and they told it him it was okay, he could go in 'objecting to consiciousness' and that would help keep him away from weapon specific jobs. He suspected that's why he wound up as a corpsman. But...as long as he stayed a corpsman he was learning he could do more good by having the FMF certification and going with the Marines.
Which meant, he'd have to learn to use and then maybe even carry weapons. What was he to do? His promise to his Ma was the last he made to her the last he could ever make to her but...he had years left and how did he want to spend it? And, it's not like shooting at the range was harming anybody. All he needed was the certification, its not like he had to use the weapon. "Understood, sir," he mumbled while he continued to stare at the display of the tricorder as if there was some magic answer to the problem there.
As they talked, Damian could hear the footfalls of a set of boots walk over and stop. As a heavily accented voice spoke out in a Scottish brogue, Damian finally turned so that the voice was within his field of vision. "Excuse me, gents. I hate to interrupt a good conversation but technically you're not supposed to loiter here. So what can I do for you?" the man asked. Damian turned turned to the source of the voice and noted that he was a Marine Chief Warrant Officer Four with a small, gold bursting bomb on the left side of his turtleneck collar which signified that he was an Infantry Weapons Officer- an expert on all weapons that the Marines and Starfleet used.
"Well, Gunner. I'm a little short on my weapons qualifications, so I'll need a course of fire on the Type III and Type I." Glancing at the Corpsman, he spoke up again. "And if HM3 Briggs feels the need, I'm authorizing him to complete the Marine weapons familiarization and qualification course."
"Yes, sir," Briggs said. He didn't have to make the choice now, but if he failed to take the opportunity that was pretty much making the choice by default. It was also closing the door on further opportunities which closed off all those choices. "I, uh, well, sir, I guess so."
Damian nodded. "Well feel free to proceed whenever you want." he said before the Gunner handed him a Type III Phaser.
"Sir, the range is ready for you. I'm sure you know the rules already, so I won't bore you with them." the Gunner said as he motioned to the door that led to the firing range. Walking through, Damian noted that a holoprojection of a desert plain had been set up with humanoid shaped targets at various ranges.
Briggs selected a Type III and a more conventional pistol gripped phaser which could be worn in a drop holster in order to help keep his waist area free for other areas. He strapped it on, quickly, before rushing to follow the Colonel into the firing range. Unease flooded through him as he saw the environment - Trill had notorious issues with heat and the type of histamine inducing bugs that came with it. Not only that, but the targets he used in boot weren't holoprojections of humanoids. More like shadows. But...he swallowed against a dry throat and tried to control his breathing.
The Gunner stood by at the edge of the range, holding a remote in hand. "The range is hot! Commence Fire!" the gunner commanded. Damian immediately brought his rifle up and began firing on the targets, using one, one shot burst per target. Controlling his breathing, he fired at each of the targets center of mass until all 20 were down before they had a chance to move more than 15 feet towards him.
After the final target fell, Damian noticed the range safety light turn red and deactivated his weapon, rising from the ground. Walking over to a small metal table, Damian tightened the sling and set down the rifle upon the table and picked up a Type II phaser. Leaning on the wall behind him, he took a moment to rest.
Standing well back, to make sure to stay out of the way, Briggs watched the Colonel as he went through the course of fire. It reminded him of the Marines he trained with before coming out here, as he prepared to go through FMF. They too took weapons training seriously and they, like the Colonel, showed a proficiency that Briggs never had. Suddenly he didn't want the Colonel or rangemaster around to see him perform.
That nervousness continued, and worsened, as the rangemaster indicated he should take the line and make ready. Briggs put the butt of the rifle to his shoulder, and nodded that he was ready. As ready as he would ever be at any rate.
Once the course started, Briggs tried to do what he did in a medical emergency and let go of anything extraneous that wasn't what he was doing right at that moment. Which included the presence of the ship's commanding officer as well as the rangemaster. Keeping the rifle tight against his shoulder, he began firing.
And showed that he was definitely someone that objected to consciousness. It took several wild shots before the first target dropped, several more for the second. The humanoids continued to advance on him and, seeing the line in the sand, he suspected if they got past that line, the course was over and he'd have failed. Forgetting breath control, trigger control and anything else about weapons fire that they tried to teach him in boot, he fired wildly, hitting more by sheer dumb luck than anything else.
When the first wave came close to the line, he dropped the rifle and pulled the pistol, doing worlds better with it - for him at least. When the first of the 'targets' crossed the line bringing the course to an end, he managed to drop at least seventeen of them. Not that they were all dead, but they weren't moving to the line anymore.
Slowly the young Trill replaced the pistol in the holster and stared down at the sand, waiting for the berating sure to come from the Marine CO and the NCO regarding his performance. But what worried him so much: did he just perform so badly that the Colonel would put a stop to any further attempt for him to go FMF?
Damian watched the corpsman complete his course of fire, wincing slightly as his fire went wild. Fighting the urge to correct him, both he and the gunner swapped looks of slight apprehension. As Briggs stopped firing, Damian clapped the Gunner on the shoulder and stepped forward as the safety light turned red again. Being careful not to become too friendly with the Petty Officer, he pointed to the furthest target. "You know, your aim is pretty good on that target-" he noted that two shots had landed square in the center of mass. "But what about that little guy?" he asked as his finger pointed to a burst that had landed on the far side of the 'neck' of the target.
Keeping his gaze on the ground, Briggs shook his head. "That one was far 'way an' I had time ta get'em. This one was close and I..." He swallowed hard, not wanting to finish the sentence with 'I panicked'. Plus, his mother always told him not to pick on smaller people, that it wasn't right for bigger people to hurt smaller people. "I can do better, Colonel!" he said, hoping he hadn't ruined his chance to advance his skillsets and do more than just stay on the ship. "My bunkie's are security, maybe they can help me out?"
Putting his hand down, he looked over the target. "They definitely could but also keep in mind that if you're planning on going 'greenside', then the best people to teach you would be Marines." Damian looked back to the Gunner. "In fact, that's what this range is for. Arrange some time with the Gunner, he'll be able to show you the ropes if you ask." Damian pointed out.
Briggs stood up straighter as he seemed to brighten. He hardly believed what he was hearing. He did horribly, the Colonel confirmed it but not so horribly that the Colonel didn't seem to think he could improve. "Ya mean ya ain't gonna cut me from tryin more?" he asked, just to make sure. "I promise I'll try hard and get better."
Damian sighed. "How do you think you learn? You practice until it's practically second nature." he said, sighing slightly. "Do you want to know what happened the first time I handled a phaser rifle?" he asked, rhetorically. "My shots went everywhere and they nearly pulled me off the range until they decided that I could be redeemed. The point that I'm trying to make is that if you practice, you'll be shooting expert in no time. Think about it." Damian finished his monologue and strode back over to the table and picked up the phaser rifle. Making sure it was rendered safe once again, he walked back into the weapons storage area and handed his weapon to a Staff Sergeant standing behind the barrier.
While there seemed to be a rebuke in the comments, Briggs didn't care. That the Colonel not only took interest in helping him to further himself and his career already put him leagues ahead of his previous CO (where he wasn't the lowly man in medical, but the entire medical team). Also, the Colonel was going to let him try to get better. Despite the vow he made to his mother, he was determined now that he would become as proficient as any of the Marines aboard ship, even, if he put in the effort, the Colonel himself. Plus, maybe if he showed the Colonel that he could improve in an area that he was so clearly deficient in, it would get him FMF status.
"Yes, sir, Colonel," he said, maybe a bit more formally than was required, but then again, it was kind of a formal moment. He sighed as he turned to the gunnery sergeant. "Are there any holodeck programs that'll help me ta work on gettin better?"
Damian thought for a moment. "The Marine Close Quarters Battle simulations should help with the quick fire exercises on the Type II. I'd also recommend the Parris Island Marksmanship Simulation- it's actually the way I boned up on my proficiency on the phaser rifle." Thinking for a moment, Damian continued. "I'd recommend learning the ins and outs of these weapons as well- you'll be tested once you go before the board after you pass the exams and serve your time."
For a moment, Briggs heart rate shot through the roof when he heard 'serve your time'. For him that phrase normally meant an arrest and conviction and made to serve jail time. But, after a few moments the context didn't add up and he slowly relaxed. "Thank you, sir, I'll do my best." He repeated the names of the programs to himself, trying to secure them to memory in order to get them loaded into his personal holodeck profile. He checked his chronometer. He was still on duty for another couple hours, then he was going to hit the gym and get chow after that. But later tonight? He felt he could definitely get started. And surely he'd be able to find something in the ship's library about the weapons so he could start learning them as the Colonel said?
Damian nodded. "You're welcome, HM3. Have a good day." he said before he headed for the door.
"Colonel, sir?" Briggs said, chancing it as the CO was leaving the room. He swallowed, but was determined to say it. "Ya ain't as scary when ya ain't doin a briefin. Ya 'lmost 'right good guy for a commandin officer."
Damian turned and looked back. "Thanks for the compliment, Petty Officer. I just try to treat everyone the way I'd want to be treated because I never know who I'm going to have covering my back when the crap hits the fan." he said thoughtfully.
"Understood, sir," Briggs said as he continued to work to commit to memory the things he was taught and told. The Colonel was giving him a chance and he wasn't going to squander it.
|The Manly Art of Sniping
||Tactical Offices - USS Hammersley
||MD1 - 1000Hrs
Lt Commander Plataea Yamaguchi was busy unpacking in her office, she had only the one duffel with her as she was a woman who could pack light and still toss everything into a bag five minutes before she was due to turn over her living space to the quartermaster as she almost always preferred a spartan lifestyle.
She was a dedicated Engineer and it was something she took most seriously, she smiled as she plucked a PADD out of her pack which she then connected to the computer terminal at her desk which was adorned with only two pictures, one of her and her husband and one of her, her husband and all of her children, three of whom were adults and off with their own husbands and wives. Plataea was a grandmother and she was happy with how her life had turned out. Not bad for an outcasted woman with no family to speak off. Her husbands family, who in their collected outrage at how Plataea had been treated, had taken her in and given her a family and a future as one of them.
Yamaguchi tapped the display before her, the replicator suddenly lit up as a soft humming sound could be heard. She suddenly grinned. "Hello girl." as she reached over and picked up the rifle which was really heavy but then it had to be considering it was a TR-166 Anti Armor/Heavy which she cradled in her arms. "Now its off to the range." as she placed the weapon on the table before she replicated four magazines of bullets, about sixteen in each magazine.
Yamaguchi collected her items before she went out the door and down the hallway towards her destination, rifle in hand.
A few minutes later. Yamaguchi entered the range, a smile on her lips as she looked around. While she did so she couldn't help but hear a set of steady footfalls as a Marine Chief Warrant Officer Four with a small, gold bursting bomb on the left side of his collar which indicated that he was an Infantry Weapons Officer, a master of his craft. "Can I help you Lieutenant Commander?"
"Morning Chief Warrant.. I'm a little shy on my various qualifications... I brought my own weapon..."
"A TR116... Starfleet doesn't use those.."
"Its either that or I use an old style ballistic rifle. In my case that the Barrett .50 Cal. Same with my Barret M82 Its a few hundred years old but it still works and doesn't deal with a lot of the gunk on the modern battlefield." Yamaguchi clarified for the marine before her.
The Marine smiled before he chuckled. "Had I known you were coming Lieutenant Commander. I would have prepared for you." The Marine added.
"I understand." Yamaguchi responded, her smile losing none of its luster. "I like to keep my skills sharp. I refuse to be protected by others... I specialize in various fields... of mayhem on the battlefield." she then added a grin for added effect. "So nothing on the range is open for me then?"
"You caught me at a bad time. Sorry Commander." The Marine was disappointed, his mien showed this too.
"Alright, well let me sign these into your armory so people don't have panic attacks when they see me walking around with a sniper rifle that can cut ten men in half with a single round."
"I've heard of the M82 but.. stories only." The marine was forced to admit.
"Its made before Earths third world war and I resurrected it... Also the TR116H I have with me is my own design. I'm still trying to get it approved.. But considering its based off of a none starfleet weapon.. Its proving to be... problematic." she sighed. That one word said a lot and nothing at the same time.
"Commander... you ever shot the Barrett XM500 or the XR650?" a second marine inquired.
"I have actually. There is something about the M82 I prefer... I don't know if its the intimidation factor or what but I prefer big heavy weapons." Yamaguchi explained to the two marines. "Besides.. the last Marines didn't like me as they saw my weapons skills as a threat to their manliness."
she sighed as she shook her head. "I am really hoping things here will be different."
Gunner shook his head. "Were you assigned to a headquarters unit or something?"
"Starbase 400." Yamaguchi responded.
"Ahh.. well thats explains so much..." Gunner responded as the second marine added. "Gunner. the upgrades to the range are finished, we can open her up now."
Gunner smiled. "Twenty minutes early. Very nice. Looks like your trip down here was not a total loss Commander... You still want to drill things with bullets?"
Yamaguchi's smile widened considerably but she held her silence. "Love to... After you." Yamaguchi fell into line as she followed the two marines in silence over to the range.
|Checking out the SAC
||Deck 14, Section Delta
||Mission Day 1, 1000 Hours
Damian walked through the increasingly chilly corridor of Deck 14 as he observed the crew moving to and fro with a sense of newfound initiative since the ship had set off. Rubbing his wrists, he continued his stroll until he reached a thick tritanium door, similar to those used on the shuttlebay. The only difference with this one was that it was guarded by two enlisted Master-At-Arms with Type II phasers at their hips. Halting before them, Damian looked them over- even under his intense scrutiny, their eyes did not waver from the bulkhead in front of them. After an eternity, the guard to his right addressed him.
"Sir, this area is restricted. I'll need you to complete a voiceprint analysis and a retinal scan before you can enter." the young enlisted man said. Damian took a quick glance at his collar and noted that he was just a Private First Class. Letting out a small huff, he debated whether he wanted to offer a hint of resistance to the man. Sadly realizing that nothing would actually be accomplished if he did, he simply remained silent. Nodding, Damian kept his eyes open as the Marine pulled out a handheld unit and held it up to Damian's right eye. His eyes watering as a puff of chilled air shot out of the device followed by several rapid pulses of blue light, Damian struggled to keep it open. As the scan stopped, Damian blinked rapidly. Next, the PFC held up a small device similar to a tricorder.
"Sir, I'm going to need you to speak your full name and serial number into the device." the PFC said in an almost robotic fashion.
Damian cleared his throat. "Highsmith, Damian Keller. Serial Number: HI-Two-Six-Eight One, Seven-Two-Three- Eight" he said quickly. He watched the device flash green with authentic verification. The PFC and his counterpart stood aside as the door opened to reveal a massive room that spanned at least two decks- The Strategic Assessment Center. He hadn't had a chance to actually visit it before he had set off but he knew that he would find a familiar face here- one Lieutenant Commander Janet Glyndar. He could see that there were at least 50 analysts sitting at stations in the darkened room with a few Warrant Officers and junior officers hovering over their shoulders. Looking up, he could see a second level that held a hybrid office and conference room that had floor to ceiling windows to enable its occupant to see outward and survey their domain. Climbing a side set of metal steps to the entrance, he stopped outside of the sealed glass doors and knocked.
Lieutenant Janet Glyndar was looming over an illuminated work computer console in an otherwise dark room. Not good for your eyes was one thing she had heard enough of about her love for the dark, but she did not care to listen to any sort of medical advice. The knock on the door had broke her from an otherwise unyielding focused gaze. "What is it?" she called out. "I mean...Come in" she said taking a deep breath.
Damian entered and looked around. The room was sparsely decorated with the exception of a desk where a large console occupied most of the space. If there was one thing he noticed, it was the darkness. Looking towards the dark haired form sitting behind the monitors, he stood and tapped his foot. "Lieutenant Commander Glyndar. My orders stated that you'd be taking a position aboard my ship, I didn't realize that it would be this one." Looking for a chair, he took a seat in one at the opposite end of the desk. "They have you in rather nice digs. I think your office might even be bigger than my ready room." he said, looking around.
She cocked her head and then nodded. "Yeah, well...you know how it goes. Just off maternity leave and raising a child as a single parent. They do not tend to let you serve in Security or Tactical much long after than unless they put you on cargo inspection duty or guarding some fertilizer needed on some desolate colony suffering from blight" she replied shaking her head dismissively. "So, here I am up here in these...'digs' as you said" she added.
"My office" she scoffed "I like to consider all of SAC my office. This just happens to be where I can work in private and stand here looking down at them seeing who is actually working and who is pissing around" she added. "I also feel this would make for an excellent interrogation room if ever needed" said the woman, flashing her purple irises at the Colonel.
Damian nodded, this woman was rather matter of fact. Most likely from her years in the Tactical Department. "It seems like everyone is getting their positions switched about lately. I have an Engineer that's sitting up on the bridge that's sitting on several hundred antimatter warheads and an ex circus performer that's sitting on all of the good booze." he said dryly. "And you know you have your own facilities for that, right? No need to smudge up the nice new flooring in here if you wanted to knock someone around." said Damian, his statement a feeble attempt at a joke.
"Even if it is you?" she replied teasingly. "I know I know. We have proper rooms for interrogations, and I promise not to step on security's toes...well, I'll try. I cannot really promise that I wont peek my head into see how things are going. I still am not in love with the idea of not being behind a tactical console or being assigned to 90% of all away teams or at least having the say in the security personnel assigned" confessed Janet. "So what brings you down here, Capt-" she began, but quickly corrected herself "Colonel?" she finished. "Did you have orders for me or did you just want to inspect my SAC?"
Damian bit back a sarcastic retort- this was not the first time that he had been called by the incorrect rank and it certainly would not be the last but it was beginning to annoy him. "A little of both, Commander. I'm here on a SAC inspection, making sure everything is firm and consistent. Although after even this brief look, I'm sure that I don't need to worry. Now, because the Hammersley left port without an XO on board, I'm going to need you to fill in on the bridge for the time being-" Damian stopped for a moment as he reached into his pocket and withdrew a red, two-pronged key around a silver steel chain. "-and you'll probably need that if you want to launch a tricobalt device. That key is coded to you and only you, so hold onto it. I'll be expecting you on the bridge beginning tomorrow morning at 0800."
"You couldn't help yourself could you" she said shaking her head. "Coming down here, touching my SAC and making me come up to sit on your Bridge" she said shaking her head continuously before throwing her arms up in a groaning sigh. "Fine fine fine. 0800 hours, I'll be there. But I will not enjoy it" she added. "Also, speaking frankly, Sir, I am an intelligence Officer...I hear things. You shot yourself in the foot. You had people wanting to serve as your XO and you rejected them" she said crossing her arms.
Damian squared his shoulders and looked Janet right in the eye. "I have a track record of having great Executive Officers. Thus far, I had a strategist who has never left an Academy classroomand a complete asshole who didn't know how to treat the people he worked with so forgive me for not bringing someone onboard who I couldn't trust. Based on your record and experience, I trust you. So you can either take that trust or you can toss it, it is completely up to you. Understood?" he asked
"Yes" she said simply. "You took a command in the Fourth Fleet of all places, clearly you did not do your research" added Janet with a small cackle. "We are about as well put together as a fleet as a Malon recycling force under the leadership of a Pakled. Or as well respected as a humanitarian aide service with a Ferengi Director" she quipped. "Did you seriously expect them to have good XO candidates?"
"Not particularly, Commander. I've seen people with stars and pips on their collars that couldn't lead a rat through a straight tunnel, much less a fleet but ours is not to reason why, only to do and die. I think we'd both do well to remember that." Damian said, a hint of sadness in his voice.
She shook her head and scoffed. "Marine" she adeed somewhat bitterly. "You lot are never optimistic about anything. It is always doom, gloom, and honor with you. I swear you are all Klingons at heart" she said with a sigh. "Personally, I plan on the do part and I'll hold off on the die."
Damian smirked. "I'll do my damndest to make sure this ship and crew get back in one piece, Commander. Just make sure I don't do anything stupid, okay?" he said, the humor draining from his voice. He had made his share of mistakes in the past but he was determined to not make them again.