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Part of USS Edinburgh: Prologue

Same Ol’ Same Ol’

Engineering, USS Couer d'Alene
May 14, 2400
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This post was written before a change in the nature of the ship was needed.  This post still exists as written and for credit but is not part of the story.

USS Couer d’Alene – Engineering – 0830

The New Orleans class USS Couer d’Alene was docked at Starbase Bravo.   Lieutenant Alexander Willis, Assistant Chief Engineer lay prone under one of the engineering consoles with the access cover open and optical cables and various other components spilling out. A spanner in his left hand let out an electronic hum as he disconnected various circuits. 

“Sir?” An NCO said kneeling next to Willis.

“Chief, how many times do I have to tell you not to call me ‘sir’? I work for a living.” Wills said without looking away from his work.  Transferring the spanner to his mouth he buried both hands into the console.   With several grunts and curses to God, he extracted an internal component with signs of charring all around it.

“Uh… Lieutenant?” The Chief Petty officer looked over his shoulder at Commander Harris and back at Willis.  “You have a visitor.”

“Chief,  I’m busy. I have this console and a PADD full of repairs to complete by the end of the day.  I don’t have time for visitors. Unless he’s the captain tell him to kick rocks. I have work to do.”

Harris let a small cross his lips, “Well if the captain has to kicks rocks, I’d hate to see what a commander would have to do.”  He turned to the NCO, “I can take it from here.”  The man looked to Willis and then to Harris and skittered off.

Willis sat up his head striking the underside of the console with a painful thunk and a flurry of profanities. Rubbing his head with his fingers and squinting through the pain. “Sir, sorry sir.”  dragging himself to his feet he stood in front of Harris on a loose attention. 

Ambrose chuckled and extended his hand, “Commander Harris, USS Edinburgh.” He looked at the work the man was doing and knelt down to examine it, “What’s got you pulling this girl apart?”

“A Romulan torpedo overloaded the EPS grid. Nothing major sir.  What can I do for you?  You replacing Charlie-Oscar?”

He shook his head, “I’m not replacing anybody…you’re the one doing the replacing actually.  I’ve been assigned the USS Edinburgh – we’re coming from a Raven class.  I was her commander and chief engineer – made things a little challenging handling the center chair and making sure the old girl was holding together.”  He was still kneeling as he looked at the EPS conduit, “That must have been once nasty Romulan torpedo.”

“Just a normal one Commander,” Willis responded. “Unfortunately it’s timing was too good.”

He stood with a nod, “We had a few run-ins in our previous assignment.  I’m here because the Bravo Personnel Office flagged me a few possibles for Chief Engineer on the Edinburgh.  You were on the long list…and then you made the shortlist.”

“Did I now?” Willis replied.  “Well, you probably won’t find anyone with more experience.”

“Well, there were three on the shortlist. You’re my last interview if you can call it that.  Edinburgh needs a Chief…you were an Assistant Chief of Engineering and then you shifted over to Ops…what pulled you there?”

“Boredom,” Willis said simply. “Been doing this for twenty-some years. Was looking for a new challenge.  I suppose I could have hung up my boots went back to Oklahoma and found me a wife.  We could even pop out a few kids, but family life just isn’t something that appeals to me.”

Harris nodded as he glanced at his PADD.  The other two interviews had happened in their offices on their ships.  He wasn’t sure the last time they’d looked at a Jefferies tube.  Willis struck him as someone who wasn’t caught up in his rank.  On the island of misfit toys, he would fit right in.  “Well, the job is yours you’re interested.  We’re a young crew and we could use a longer serving Chief in the mix.”

Willis chuckled,  “I ain’t looking to be your daddy, but I’ll hold your ship together.”

The CO burst out laughing and clapped his hands together in amusement, “I’ve already got a daddy, so that position is filled.  Holding the ship together, I’ll take that any day of the week.”  He tapped at his PADD carefully, “I’ve gone ahead and submitted your transfer paperwork.  Soon as the Edinburgh is here we’ll go aboard and start her up.  Welcome aboard, Lieutenant Willis.”  Harris gave the man another handshake and headed back where he came.  His command team was coming together.