Part of USS Mackenzie: Mission 1 – Back to Work

The New Ones

USS Mackenzie - Bridge Lounge
10.17.2400 @ 1100
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Presley sat alone at the table, gripping her cup of iced green tea.  She’d been staring out the wide windows at the stars as they whipped past for the last half hour. The whirlwind of activity in the last forty-eight hours had been a lot, and there wasn’t much need for a communications chief on the bridge as they traveled to their destination.  The captain had suggested she check out the lounge for the bridge crew, and she’d found it soothing.

“Ensign Atega?” She glanced up and found Lieutenant Tir standing at her table with a mug of steaming green and lemon tea.  “May I join you?”

She blinked and then gestured to the opposite seat, “Su…Sure.  It’s pretty quiet in here anyway.”

Tir tittered, She’s nervous.  Wonder why?

Calog groused back Because she’s an ensign, and this is a very big ship with many people.  Let her prove herself first, Tir.  He accepted the offered seat and set his cup on the table, “Coming into an established crew is hard.  I didn’t think it’d be so…stressful.”

Atega gulped down her iced tea. “Mmmm.”  She had found the sheer size of the Excelsior II class ship to be her biggest struggle.  Twenty-four decks.  A battle bridge.   A massive sickbay.  And her own office with her own team of communications specialists.  The sudden reality of working and managing others had sent her skittering to the privacy of the bridge lounge.

The operations chief took another sip from his cup, “How have you found it?”

She swirled the dregs in her cup, “I’ve been working on being a part of a crew.  My previous ship…I was working….with a counselor.  To help make this, ” her hands pointed to the distance between them, “…better and less…awkward.”

Tir groused, “She’s an idiot.  Maybe an idiot savant, but she’s an idiot.  You need to stay far away from this one.  She’ll screw something up, and you’ll be standing by her while it all blows up around you.”

Calog felt his smile falter as his symbiont pushed against him, and he shook her loose.  Atega’s eyes watched him and grew wider at the odd behavior.  He hated explaining this bit, “Sorry.  I’m a joined Trill, and my symbiont…her name is Tir.  She’s very opinionated and outspoken – she doesn’t have much of a filter.”  He thought about it for a moment, “I guess I’m her filter.”

Presley searched his face.  She was faintly familiar with Trills and their relationship with their symbionts from her classes in the academy.  She was also wondering if he was putting her on or something.  The cruelty of others had been a theme in her early life.  “I…I am glad you can filter her.”  She attempted a weak smile.

He chuckled dryly, “So am I.  It would make social interactions and service in Starfleet downright impossible.”

Tir growled, “I can hear you, you know.”

He shot back, “Good, then maybe you’ll start listening one of these days.”

Atega looked up as the kitchen officer delivered her plate and took Calog’s order.  He eyed her plate curiously.  It was her turn to explain, “It’s Pancit. I’ve been missing home a little more lately, and this always helps me get my heart back on track.”  She felt his eyes continue to ask, and she remembered the detail she had left out, “It’s a Filipino dish.  There’s something about it that just…puts my world right again.”

A nod from him, “I’ve been a cook since they let me get my hands on the pots and pans.  I’m hoping to do some of my own cooking in my downtime.  Home is a funny thing when you’re across the stars with Starfleet.”

She wondered on that statement and agreed.  “They say home is where the heart is…I wonder if it’s actually where…your family is…be it blood related or crew.”  She thought about it for a moment longer, “Captain Harris told me this crew was woven tightly.  I think we’re the adopted kids.”  She blushed as she said it, but the operations chief smiled in recognition and held up his refilled cup.

“To being the adopted children of the Mackenzie.”

She lifted her glass, “I can toast to that.”