S.S. Fawkes - CF-142AC
Previous Next

Changing Bunks

Posted on Friday July 31st, 2020 @ 06:20 hours by Kala Marika & Lozen Nachtnebel

Mission: Safe Passage
Location: Deck Five, Lower Engineering, SS Fawkes
Timeline: MD03 - Somewhere after lunch

Tucked into the middle of the Fawkes on Deck Four, the main rooms of Engineering were about as spit-and-polish as anyone could manage to make them. Fawkes, being well beyond her normal operational span, could never wow the eye with an appearance of freshness, but Lozen could see and feel the care which went into the upkeep of her vital systems. She also felt relatively certain that, while May knew some of the basics of keeping a ship running, the woman knew very little about what really went into keeping a ship like this operational -- at the nuts and bolts level. May, Lo felt, harbored strengths more in the talent-recognition category; the Captain knew how to put together a crew that did their jobs. From what Lo could tell, whomever ran Engineering knew their stuff.

She had come down in the mid morning to do her own inspection, intending to do a proper survey of each vital department before heading into the cargo sections the following day for a quick inspection of their current load. Another thing Lo quickly realized about her new Captain was the hands-off approach the woman took to her crew, once she'd settled them in. It spoke of a degree of trust, perhaps -- or a degree of neglect (Lo did not feel she understood May well enough to be sure of which). it also made settling in difficult, when your job intersected with every other job on the entire ship. No wonder difficulties arose when May started searching for a Quartermaster. The night before, going through some old files on Fawkes' mainframe, Lo encountered a few trashed messages with the header "Quartermaster Application." Curious, she had opened them, discovering that in all seven cases the applicant themselves withdrew from the posting, each only a short while after their scheduled interview.

Apparently, everyone else took one look at this job and realized how much work it actually entailed. Lo had shaken her head and deleted the files for good. She had her reasons for being okay with a spot of extra labor. It kept her mind off the ruins of her career.

Now, she sat in a far corner of the entirely deserted engineering subsection on Deck Five, which sat directly beneath (or behind, depending on your three-dimensional perspective) the main engineering compartments and seemed a little quieter than the rooms above. Her seat, an overturned and empty parts crate pushed against the wall, provided her with a somewhat expansive view of the main room. On another such crate, this one stood on end, half a sandwich wrapped in paper and a plastic container of carbonated lemon water comprised a late lunch. She munched the other sandwich half thoughtfully, slowly planning her next steps in this new and cumbersome job, but enjoying the puzzle of it all at the same time.

#

To say Kala's first day aboard had been exciting would be an understatement. She'd started her day as an Able Seaman, and now here she stood, looking over the entire engineering section of a ship older then her, powered by a warp engine design as old, older in fact, then the federation. She studied them in school, and here she was, keeping one running. Mercy's care & feeding of the core had impressed the Bajoran woman.

Now, a couple hours out of port, and the engine settled into it rhythm, she could finally climb down from the pedestal at the front of the core. The horizontal design was odd, but back when this was cutting edge, many of the refinements Starfleet took for granted hadn't even been conceived of yet. Walking along the side, she placed her hand on the core, wanting to feel and understand how this one ran, what was normal for the girl. Engrossed as she was, she didn't notice the quartermaster sitting in a corner of the bay, an empty crate her seat.

Lo, for her part, stayed silent for almost a whole minute, munching the sandwich and watching the golden-haired bajoran woman. She presented Lo with an interesting image: she seemed utterly engrossed in the ship's hardware; she even softly ran her hands across the underside of the warp core's belly. The main part of the warp core, on Deck Four, looked like something from a museum piece to Lo's Starfleet-trained eyes, but down here, in the guts and pipeworks of Deck Five, the machinery really showed its age.

"She's a bit of a relic, isn't she?" Lo said at last, deciding that she better speak up and alert the other woman to her presence before things became awkward.

Kala hadn't expected to see another person down in here, and while she didn't jump, it did take a second or two for her to respond. "The design is old, from before the Federation, but it's solid. I just hadn't expected I'd ever see one in person, the design hasn't been used by starfleet in over a century, they're discussed in basic warp theory, but that's it." She smiled, "Now I have one doing a nice Warp 4 and the bubble is as stable as any fleet vessel."

Lo smiled. At the Academy, she took basic engineering like everyone else, but her marks in the subject were nothing special. The one thing she did take away from the courses that she loved were the aspects that concentrated on the history, on the remarkable evolution of the various technologies that people so often took for granted.

"Sounds like you have a bit of experience with these things," Lo said. "Fleet Academy, or...?" She let the question hang.

"Academy, Class of 85." Kala remarked, turning to face the women, leaning up against the core. "Power systems engineering was my major." She wasn't about to explain her training in great detail, most folks didn't care to know she'd found out quick enough after she went into civilian life. "We studied these cores in design theory. The biggest limitation was the injector design."

She paused, realizing she was beginning to 'geek out' a little. "I... I don't think we've met. Kala Marika. Kala or Kali my friends call me."

"It's my pleasure," Lo said. She stood and went across to the woman to shake her hand. "Lozen Nachtebel, but I go by Lo." Kala had a firm grip, she noticed, stronger than the bajoran's frame suggested. Something about the way the woman held herself hinted at a certain confidence which Lo appreciated. So many of her other new shipmates seemed on edge, in one way or another, that she'd started to feel out of place.

"So," Lo said, "been here long?"

"Nice to meet you Lo," Kala remarked. As new as she was, Kala was in her element, in an engine room, and it must have showed. "All of about twenty four standard hours. I signed on as a Able Deckhand, and a few hours into my shift the Captain approached me to move here. I guess Mercy did something she shouldn't have and got canned." She grinned, "So they promoted the ex-starfleet engineer."

Lo laughed, "I'm beginning to think that crew rotations on a ship like this are a pretty standard affair. I didn't even have a chance to meet Mercy properly before she got booted." It felt nice, Lo thought, chatting with someone else from the Fleet. Shared experiences and all that; it made for a companionable experience, though some awkward questions no-doubt lingered in the background for both of them with regards to why an "ex" came before Starfleet in their histories.

"I also have the feeling that us ex-Fleeties get a lot of the tough assignments on these parts. Seems like the farther away from central Fed space you get, the more there's a premium Academy skills."

"Well, this would be the first assignment I've gotten placed in the engine room, spent most of the last couple years on the deck hauling cargo and lashings around. But, like you say, my skills came in handy so here I am." She glanced back at the core for a second, hearing an expected thrum, but it settled out and she turned back to Lo. "So now we know this is my space Lo, what end of the hip is yours? Haven't seen you with the deckhands so your not deck department, or at least not ever expected to go on the deck."

"Me? I've been hired to keep the whole damn ship in line," Lo said, laughing as spoke. "Quartermaster of a tiny merchant ship is not the career trajectory I had in mind when I joined Starfleet, but I think I'm warming to it somewhat."

"Deck hand and Chief Engineer of a freighter wasn't what I had in mind when I went into the academy, but especially not having a ship nearly destroyed on my watch." She paused, "Long story. Not in the mood to discuss it."

"Makes sense," Lo said amiably. She didn't much want to go into details about her own experiences either. Then something occurred to her.

"Well, there's a piece of good news. If you're moving up in rank, don't you get one of the nice rooms?"

"I did not actually know that. Makes sense I suppose." Kala remarked, "So how much paperwork is involved? And which Ferengi has to be paid off?" The grin on her face was a dead giveaway she was joking, but with one aboard, or at least had been when she'd checked aboard yesterday.

Lo shrugged, "Not as much paperwork as the Fleet makes you do, and a lot more paying off Ferengi. Not that I've done that myself. yet," she added, grinning. "But your new quarters come with a desk, so the paperwork side of things is that much easier."

END/FIN.

 

Previous Next

labels_subscribe