Part of USS Mercy: Mission 3 – “Lost in Space”

Of Engines and Engineers

Main Engineering
10.13.2400 @ 0845
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Carolyn waited patiently at the master situations display in the center of engineering.  Her chief had been called to a briefing at 0800 hours, and she had fully expected Chief Cordon back by 0830, but that time had passed.  Crawford worked through the status reports and the updated punch list.  They had changed course for Starbase 11 and the Chief had been clear in seeing if there was anything extra they could put on the wishlists for station resupply.  She glanced at the chrono and saw it click by 0846.

The clock ticked to 0850 as Neva stopped just inside the sliding doors, ebony eyes scanning her Sanctuary. Her crew, her children, if she were honest with herself. Without each and every one of them, her Iron Lady would cease to function.  Shaking her head to clear it, she headed for where her Assistant Chief sat. 

Setting a hand on the back of the chair, she cleared her throat softly and then spoke.

“Hello, Crawford. When you finish, can you meet me in my office, please?”  Neva tapped the back of the chair twice before heading off. “Maybe I can grab a sandwich…”She mumbled absently.

Carolyn watched the chief walk towards her office.  There was a level of mystery to the woman at times, and she wasn’t quite sure what to make of the Betazoid.  She finished the punch list and transferred it to the PADD on her belt.  She did one last check before she headed to the door to Chief Cordon’s office.  She leaned in, “You wanted to see me, Lieutenant?”

Neva was sitting down at her desk taking a drink out of a tall glass and tapping on her PADD. She looked up and waved Crawford in. “Have something from the replicator, Crawford. I’ve got a lot to discuss with you from the briefing.” She took a small bite of the sandwich, trying to collect herself. “Which do you want first? Good news or bad?”

Carolyn was curious.  She got a cup of iced black tea and took a sit across from her chief, “Bad news is always best heard first…then the good news feels good.  At least that’s what my dad taught me.”  She leaned back in her chair and waited.

 Neva tapped her PADD for a few moments, then put it down on the desktop and slid it to Crawford. “Ok, look at that. We’ve got new orders, and it’s going to be some coordinated chaos to accomplish. Granted, going to Starbase 11 will help us use that wonderful list you made; our new mission includes a Captain Pottinger & her assistant coming aboard. Don’t know much about her, but then, Brass is Brass right?” Without waiting for a reply, she continued. “Ok, on to the assignment. We’re going to a planet that’s studying a pre-warp civilization. We’re going to need to put our brood into teams to make repairs, do upgrades as necessary, and so on.” Neva sighed hard. “We need to make sure our brood also doesn’t ‘lip off’ on this mission. Not to mention, it’s not our ‘usual’ sort of mission.”

She continued, “Also, I want you to inspect the facility to see if there’s more we need to take care of. You’ve shown you have a knack to catch details some would miss, so… .” She took another sip of her drink and motioned for Crawford to give back the PADD. When she took it from her Assistant’s hand, she scanned it and tapped a few things in. “With all that in mind, I’m going to be analyzing the development of the planet’s civilization from an engineering standpoint. So I expect to be nose-deep into the facility’s records and my own observations.” 

Neva shook her head, head dropped down for a moment.”I see one glitch with this-we may have to select someone to oversee the work done by our lovely staff. What are your thoughts?”

Carolyn waited to make sure Neva was finished speaking.  “You do say a lot in those chunks, Lieutenant.”  She smiled as she said it, clearly appreciating the details that Cordon worked into her speel. “You said, Captain?  That’s a bit of a big catch to be riding along with us on this assignment.  Maybe she’s going to train us in this whole…thing?”  She thought for a moment longer, “It means you’re right about watching our words and actions.  As for your suggestion on overseeing the work – I could take that piece.  Helping to smooth out the rougher edges of our crew persona would do us good in the long run – the Mercy could make a name for herself.  We’d want everyone to know how to put their best parts forward.”

Neva nodded. “Yeah, a Captain running around our Lady. I don’t know exactly what to do about her or how she’ll want things done.” Neva sighed hard and looked at the work being done as they spoke. The crew had gelled pretty quickly, which helped her own nervousness about her new position.

Again, she shook her head and scrunched her lips into a muddled frown. “If you can help get the crew to mind their manners along with the workload we have, I’m all for giving it to you.”

The Chief looked down at her PADD and tapped a nail on her desk for a moment. The finger tapping changed to a hand making a quick slap on the desktop. Neva stepped to the side of her desk and leaned against it. Cocking her head slightly, she smiled.

“Carolyn, I know I’m not the easiest to work with.” She gave a soft chuckle. “I just want you to know that, without your help, I couldn’t have made this bunch of kids work together so well. I appreciate that.”

Neva bounced away from her perch and headed to the doorway of her office. Slapping the frame twice, her smile broadened to her usual one. “OK, my Assistant Chief,  it’s time to ‘assist’ and figure out who needs to do what when we get to the planet. I need to chat with the Captain about our decisions and appraisals of what our Iron Lady requires.”

Carolyn hid her bemused and amused face and simply nodded.  Her chief was, at times, an oddball.  Yet she’d heard plenty of stories of eccentric engineers filling several cargo bays.  So far, she liked this one.  She gave a nod and headed out into the engine room to being her work of assisting.