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Part of USS Atlantis: Mission 5: Meet the People

“Yes sir, Commander MacIntyre.”

USS Atlantis
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“Commander, I was wondering if I could perhaps have a moment of your time?”

While the Atlantis was still in sitting in dock, half her crew on leave, the other half either working to make good her ills or guarding those parts even the captain had considered still too sensitive for free access, Mac had decided to adopt an open-door policy to his office. Literally an open door, to let those roaming the ships near vacant halls to come and speak to him if they needed.

And while the policy had elicited more then a few drop-in visits ranging from those asking for career advice to those just wanting the chance to talk with the lofty senior staff, he hadn’t really intended it for the People’s Navy officers assisting in the repair to visit. They however had heard about the policy and decided, with no consultation to him, that it applied to them. Likely an issue with his specific wording around ‘available for all those aboard ship’ and since they were technically aboard ship during duty shifts, they could visit.

“Administrator-Commander Dallin, certainly, please come in, take a seat,” Mac said as he stood from his seat and the Command Course training manual that he’d been staring at for over an hour in the forlorn hope of ingesting it via some magical means. As the man approached, they exchanged a hand shake and he sat himself back down as the rotund little man claimed a seat opposite his desk. “Usually you don’t come to see me till fifteen hundred. What’s the problem?”

The Administrator-Commander looked down at his hands for a moment, considering the backs of his hands, then the palms before be looked up at Mac. “Commander, some of my staff have reported seeing some of your crew members in what we normally consider sensitive areas aboard the shipyards. Not restricted, but…areas where only approved individuals should be unless there is a good reason.”

The paused and Mac took this time to straighten his back, to give the man the impression he had Mac’s full attention. “Do you happen to know who these individuals might be?”

“While I’m not familiar with your entire crew Commander MacIntrye, we did manage to capture surveillance footage in certain sections and my workers have verified their accounts with our records.” Dallin pulled a small holoemitter from his pocket and set it on the desk between the two men, tapping a button to bring the device to life and showing busts of two Starfleet officers, both in either Operations or Engineering yellow, both ensigns.

Mac couldn’t help himself from using his whole left hand to rub at his face, covering his eyes momentarily and accompanied by a sign. “Any damages or missing property?”

“Oh, no, nothing of the sort. If that had been the case Commander, I assure I wouldn’t be reaching out as colleagues, I’d have had to take it the Administrator-Commodore per policy and…well, I don’t think we have a policy for handling such breaches with visiting aliens.”

“I’ll make you a deal then,” Mac said as he pulled out a padd, synced with the holoemitter and captured the images aboard it, giving Dallin the go-ahead to turn the device off and pocket it. “I’ll have a word with my wayward crew and make sure no one goes aboard your repair slip without knowing full well to stay where they’ve been allowed to and in return, I’ll give you our inter-species policing policies so you can look them over and present them to your boss. The People are expanding, you’ll start making more and more contacts, visitors will be more common and you’ll need a good policy.”

Dallin smiled, a sly thing but with some charm. “And so wonderful for little Administrator-Commander Dallin to have had a thought or two in his spare time help draft such a thing. Maybe some of your other inter-species policies and procedures wouldn’t go amiss?” he asked, trailing off hopefully.

Mac smiled, nodded his head. “Get me that extra work crew for tomorrow like I asked for and I’ll give you every policy, procedure and guideline in our database that isn’t sensitive material. You can mine it for good ideas till the heat death of the universe.”

“Ah! Your people and my People share a passion for bureaucracy as well!” Dallin saw his expression and cracked out a laugh. “I jest! But come, come, I want to you show you something. Some of my workers think we can offer you an improvement to your lightspeed sensors without any major work. Your subspace sensors on the other hand are marvels! Only fitting we can make your lightspeed ones just as marvellous!” The man stood and was most of the way to the door before Mac could even rise, his enthusiasm infectious.

Riot acts would just have to wait a little longer.

“Ensigns Jamie De León and Grant Corrin, any idea as to why I’ve called you both to my office?”

Grant gulped, both he and Jamie standing at attention opposite the XOs desk, who had made a point of ordering the computer to close the door after they had both arrived. They’d entered, stood there, waited for him to sit at his desk from where he’d been looking out the window watching an external work crew, still in the distance. They’d waited an intolerable minute and a half after he’d sat down and just stared at them with that sickly sweet-smelling tea in his hands.

He tried to look to Jamie, to try and non-verbally confer with her, but a clearing of throat from Commander MacIntrye got his attention and his eyes were firmly front and centre once more. Another gulp.

“Don’t look to her Mr Corrin. I want to know why you think are you are in front of my desk.” The commander’s tone of voice was cool, quiet, conveying menace while forcing you to stay quiet to hear what he was saying.

Grant’s mind responded to the situation by shifting between Fight or Flight constantly. He wanted to blurt out any, every defence, for things he knew he’d done, things he hadn’t done, things he’d never do. At the same time his senses went into overdrive for Flight. He could hear the air vents, his own heartbeat, the intolerable sound of a seat bead rolling down his face.

“Sir, if we could,” Jamie started to say during his own indecision and was immediately stopped as the commander spun his computer monitor around to show what looked like security footage, though the characters along the bottom weren’t readable but looked to him like the written language of the People, simply called Script.

“Just know what this is about?” the commander continued Jamie’s question for her. “I’m waiting to learn that myself.” He sipped at his tea, waiting for them to start.

“It’s a stupid mistake Sir,” Jamie blurted out.

“It won’t happen again,” Grant found himself saying reflexively.

“You’re damn right about that,” the commander said after raising a hand from his cup to stop them from both from piling more apologises on top. “But that still doesn’t answer why you were in a sensitive area aboard the People’s shipyard. Ensign De León, you seem to have a bit more of a way about yourself. Answer the question.”

“We were inspecting the atmospheric field generators and trying to figure out how the people are running so many overlapping fields without interference. We didn’t want to ask because that would distract from the work.” Jamie gave him a sideways glance, he tried to plead with her with his eyes. “But, well sir, it turned into a bit more. There was risk of being caught, it added…” she trailed off and Grant could just imagine the sound of his career imploding upon itself. Doomed and he’d only been in the fleet for a mere year.

“Christ,” the Commander said, real quietly. “Lower decks never change. Mr Corrin, is what Mr De León saying true?”

Grant only nodded. Might as well making it quick right?

“Did you at least figure out how their field generators work constructively in such close proximity to each other?”

Both he and Jamie actually looked to each other, both raising an eyebrow quizzically before looking back to the commander. “Yah, second visit,” they both replied in unison.

The commander sighed again, sipped from his tea and then looked them both over, shaking his head disapprovingly. “I’m moving you both to gamma shifts within your departments. Your department heads will hear of my pronouncement by morning. You’re also going to be pulling double shifts until we leave, which should keep you busy or to tired for any more mistakes.”

“Gamma shift sir?” he asked.

“Gamma shift Mr Corrin and be thankful. You’ll both stay there until I’m happy. You’ll also report to Lieutenant Velan once we depart and provide him everything you learned. If you’re unlucky he’ll put your name on the report where someone can read it. You’re also going on report for two months. Maybe some bottom of the rung tasks will convince you both to respect our hosts next time?”

No brig time. No yelling fit? No end of career?

“Yes sir, Commander MacIntyre,” they both said, nearly in perfect unison.

“Dismissed. Report to Lieutenant Maxwell, he’s got work assignments for you both.”

Another round of ‘yes sir’ and they both escaped the office, both only catching their breaths a good fifteen meters down the corridor.

“I thought he was going to tear a strip off us,” Jamie said, an actual smile forming on her lips, which infected his own and he smiled back.

“Gamma shift and double duty is probably getting off light,” he responded. “We’re going to be run ragged by the time everyone else returns.”

“Not to tired I hope Mr Corrin?” Jamie asked as she planted a kiss on his cheek and then headed off down the corridor, pausing to throw him a glance. “Coming?”

The computer monitor finally flicked off from the People’s Navy seal to the face of Administrator-Commander Dallin, safely ensconced within his own well-appointed office station side. Mac offered a smile, a salute with his mug of tea and then spoke. “Found and spoke to our culprits. They wanted to know how your people are managing your double layered atmospheric fields without interference.”

“They could have just asked. We have nothing to hide and would gladly have shared with you. Everyone can benefit from sharing health and safety ideas, yes?” Dallin asked and Mac nodded in the affirmative. “Well, youths will be youths. No harm was done. Would you like me to send across the specifications?”

“Yah Dallin, that would be appreciated. They think they’ve figured it out and we’ve got a few months to get home. Might as well have the answers to compare their findings with the real thing. Oh, and I’ll have a runner bring across everything I promised on separate storage so it’s not sitting in your inbox for someone else to look over.”

“And I’ll make sure he brings back a bottle of 32 Dorel Blue for you.”

“…and aside from a pair of horny ensigns, we haven’t had any problems up here over the last three weeks. At least not until the regime of Charles, first of his name, came to an end and was dutifully supplanted by his much-respected captain upon her triumphant and tanned return.” Mac was sitting opposite her on the coaches in her ready room, a stack of padds on the coffee table, the remains of tray of nibbles and a half-empty carafe of coffee to show for the nearly two hours of briefings Mac had ready for her upon her return.

“Horny ensigns? Mac, you’ll need to be more specific. Three quarters of them are barely post-adolescent bags of hormones, the other quarter literally have horns.” She snorted at her own comment

“De León and Corrin decided to engage in a little light-hearted engineering curiosity aboard the shipyard and it would seem the possibility of getting caught, well, you know…” he trailed off and she could just feel the uneasy emotions radiating from the man.

“It’s just sex Mac,” she quipped.

Hey, maybe those ensigns were on to something?

Shut up you. We’re focusing so we can get out of here.

I shall not be ignored!

Yes you will.

“Hey, not all us of are open to talking about it as you are Cap,” Mac said. “I moved them to gamma shifts, double duties for a bit, put them on report. If they do good, I won’t even write it down on their records.” He waited for Tikva to nod in agreement, which she did after considering his punishment for merely a moment.

“First offences, eh?” she asked, the affirmative nod all the answer she needed. “Should be able to scare them straight enough. Let them have a bit of fun. What are launch preparations like?”

“Ra says Engineering should be good to push off in a few hours which gives him plenty of time to find any disasters and resolve them before our departure party tomorrow night. I’ve told him he’s coming even if I have to get Ch’tkk’va themselves to manhandle him there.”

“Hey, we’re not to use our resident Xindi to threaten people,” she replied.

“It’s full dress uniforms, Cap.”

“Ugh, yah, okay.” She sighed, picked up the top padd from the stack and ran her finger over the print-scanner, signing off on the paperwork Mac had dutifully compiled. “Right, give orders to get Atlantis ready to get under way. All crew are to be recalled and aboard in six hours, work with planetary security to round up any stranglers. And get Lieutenant T’Val to prepare all our fighters for escort duty. No doubt our little trip out-system will be captured for posterity, so might as well show off.”

Mac stood, indicated the mess on the coffee table and surrendered with she waved him off, the non-verbal ‘I’ll sort this mess out’ clear to both. “Aye aye ma’am, round up the children and polish the silverware.”