A Family Affair
Location: USS Victory, Deck 5, Commander McCray's Quarters
Timeline: Pre-Launch 21 days, 22:14 hours local time
In amongst the thousand and one things on Commander Fiona McCray's 'to do' list for her second day serving as First Officer aboard the USS Victory came a summons from her captain at the end of the day, when she was finally going to wind down, take a shower or a bath or something and just not be running in a dozen different directions at once. But leave it to Captain Charybdis to make it sound somehow naughty.
"Your quarters. Drop what you are doing and be there. I'll be waiting."
Fiona looked at the delicate coil in her hands and snickered slightly, "Will be there shortly sir... boot I'll be damned if I'm droppin' this," she carefully put the expensive technobauble in place and sealed the leads then tucking her multi-tool into her pocket slid down the ladder to the deck below.
She checked off another project on her list of needs doing and double timed it to her quarters curious what the Captain wanted a private meeting for.
Fi arrived not terribly late, ever present PDD in one hand communicator in the other, working as she walked and talked. She bumped the sensor with an elbow then the door opened for her with a swoosh.
"Ye rang?" Fiona had started out the morning in full uniform, now she was down to what was swiftly going to become her standard. Neatly tailored trousers, boots, a fitted vest of fleet burgundy leather and a command ivory turtle neck - the jacket was somewhere on board the ship.
Charybdis, her faithful comrade in arms, had let herself in- a minor breach of protocol, but potentially forgivable, and she sat bolt upright when Fiona walked in. Apparently the captain was catching catnaps, which Fi knew from experience meant that she hadn't slept the night before, and likely wasn't planning to sleep tonight.
"Hiya Goldilocks," Fiona gave a snort of laughter. "Do I need to get tha toomble weeds tae chase ye duin an trank ye?"
"No, no, just these forty-hour days are a little bit harder than I remember them is all... and honestly I knew I would have a few minutes waiting for you and no one would see me, so..." The Vulcan vixen sighed as she visibly slowed down, and her front bangs almost literally sprang forward, trying to repopulate the space between her eyebrows and her forehead once more.
The first officer chuckled. " No worries, catch sleep when ya can." She closed her communicator and set her PDD aside as she dropped into a chair with a sigh, "boot eventually you are goin tae need real sleep."
"I will, I will, serves no one if the captain drops from exhaustion, I know, nagging noted." Char looked over at Fiona with a wry grin and stretched. "Okay, status report... how's our poor abused and mistreated girl today? I don't need specifics- I have reports for that, which are starting to come in nicely, I might add with my compliments. How's the beat on the streets, how is the pulse, how is she overall... what they won't let the Captain see?"
Fiona thought about her answer for a moment. "She's improving. There's a lot tae do and tha crew is still reeling fruim tha shock oov suddenly havin' well... a whole new command structure. They're a mite timid still boot they're comin round. Got some real talent here Char," she said with a wide grin. "Second officer Drake has a guid head on his shoulders, Chief Weaver is...a mad genuis boot give him tha tools and talent and let him go... he'll... well... I think we'll hae tha fastest ship in tha fleet." She shook her head, "It may look like a flock oov space monkeys had at the innerds boot she'll hold tha line and then some. He's been oopgrading thengs like mad," her tone was warm with approval.
"I agree... I like Drake, he's a good man. And I am glad to hear it about Weaver... I love his ideas but he could well be a crackpot, so I'm glad to hear an informed opinion that he's actually onto something. I've eliminated the navigator positions... from now on it is tactical and helm, and plotting course can be a shared duty that never really needed its own station anyway. I'm designing some changes to that station but it'll be a few days until I get it completely finished."
Char stretched a bit more, working out her shoulder... her right still gave her a bit of trouble after the dislocation, and apparently tension was having its way with her. "The crew seems to be taking to the meetings pretty well- they are being honest with me as near as I can tell, and a little respect without asking for any seems to be going a long ways with them. Each one is different and I've handled them all as my instincts direct... but frankly I just hope I'm not doing damage. That'll be a check in the win column at this point. How about you... I only hear the scuttlebutt when they don't know I am there, but apparently there are twelve of you around" She added that part with a grin as she pulled out a thermos of herbal tea from her messenger bag and poured a few cups to share.
Fi rubbed the back of her neck. "Makes sense... havin the combined helm post, especially with tha new bridge set oop." she sighed slightly " On tha whole th' crew's a mixed bag. Herod stocked tha damned ship with th'greenist recruits he cuid find in most departments...and in others he either worked on chasing the talent off or put in shady types. I hear thet the former Chief medical doc jumped ship aboot 5 minutes after our lads showed oop. I have MPs oot lookin fer her. Don't want her beck... joost want her in tha brig and her license yanked. I read Siivas' report," Fiona chuckled, "Only 12? I'm slipping..." She took the offered cup of tea with a grateful smile.
"Well, you are a woman in your fifties you know... and you're only human.." the pointy-eared minx added with a smirk, then raised her cup. "Cheers."
"Jaysus, I feel it too," Fi chuckled and raised her cup, "boot damned if I dinna look guid fer me age!" She took a sip of tea and relaxed a bit. "So...was there anything specific oor did ya joost need to get away fruim yer bridge and meetins?" She knew that Char had called her here for something it was just a matter of ferreting out what was going on.
"Honestly, I just need a reading Fi... they talk to you and you get to hear what's going on, and... yes, I needed a little time to mentally unwind. I took a little cruise with Selune to talk with her, and that helped, but I still worry about her... oddly enough we really are alike in many respects, she and I, but she's... shy. I think she's okay though. As for me..." she paused and considered her tea before continuing.
Her gaze rose, those large violet eyes open and clear, and she smiled. "I still dislike sleeping alone... but I am getting used to it again. And with all the problems, all of the meetings and all of the needs and demands on my time and the challenges and the hurdles... I can honestly say that I've never felt more alive, and that I'm having the time of my life." She stroked the bulkhead next to her and patted it affectionately. "We'll get her up and going and she'll be the best in the fleet, my girl will, I just know it."
Fiona nodded and smiled " Aye... she's goin tae be grand" her eyes widened, "Ah shit... Alejandro! He got left beck in that cabin didn't he?" she asked.
Feigning a swoon, Char put the back of her hand to her forehead. "Oh Alejandro! Would that you had waited for me, lo these many years! How shall I go on without my one true love, my stuffed comforter of passione, mi cushionne de corazon!"
Fiona nearly snorted her herbal tea " You are WAY too attached to thet pillow boot ...we'll have tae see if we can find one oov his ..umm.. younger cousins. I'm afraid poor Alejandro probably perished in tha fire. I shuid have pitched him oot tha window with me duffle... would have made a softer landing."
"Oh no, he was safe and sound on the Bonnie... which means that given how much it probably still smelled like me my ex probably... ew," she shuddered with revulsion. "Ew, why did my brain go there, oh ew ew ew!"
"Oh EW! I did not need thet image!" Fiona tossed one of the throw pillows on the compact lounge couch at her friend" Jaysus... my mind!"
They both shared a laugh over that, then sighed in unison. "Good work, Commander. Couldn't do it without you," Chary offered as a toast with a cheerful grin.
Fiona lifted her mug in a mock salute and wiped her eyes, still chuckling " We're both punchy as all hell boot damned if it didn't feel good tae laugh like thet. I needed it"
She grew a bit more serious. "Reet now th'crew is still shell shocked and gettin used to not being lashed for every infraction... boot once they settle duin from thet they're goin tae start testin' yer boundaries," she warned, "I feel it in me bones."
"Would you believe the best book on starship leadership I've read was a book on child care written three centuries ago by, of all people, an author named Doctor Spock? It was an accidental find, but the more I read, the more it made sense to me. Just don't tell anyone..." the curvaceous captain confided to the commander.
Fiona gave a snort. "Makes sense, " she nodded ."Ships pretty mooch have tha same dynamics as a kindergarten playground some days." she chuckled "My personal favorite book on leadership is 'Guid dog, Bad master' by someone called tha dog whisperer. Hey.. it works!"
"I'll put it on my reading list. Admiral Jones seems bemused by our 'antics' as he calls them, and he is 'watching the proceedings, as are many other sets of eyes at Starfleet Command, with great interest'. I'm still trying to decide if I like the man... at least I know that I can only trust him in a limited capacity, so that helps."
"Oh looverly" Fiona grimaced, "remind me tae moon him suim time." She shook her head. "Dinna troost him as far as I kin throw a shuttle"
"Well, he did come through with the plans for this, so tonight I'll be assembling a prototype and trying to make it work since someone so considerately assembled my lab for me when I wasn't looking... thank you for that." She tossed one of the numerous PDDs on her bag to the comely commander, and waited for the reaction.
Fiona caught the PDD easily and peered down at it. Her brow furrowed and she let out a long low whistle. "Is this whut I think it is?" she asked slowly.
"It is exactly what you think it is. Commander Scott jury-rigged it to work once and it has never worked since, so they're turning it over to me to try my hand at it... they think I'll have an unfair edge, I suppose, or it is another test. Whatever... we could use it, so I will make it work somehow." Char let out a long sigh. "I have to..."
Fiona tapped at the screen enlarging the images " Hmm... oh, yer welcome, tha lab needed doin..." she chewed her lower lip a moment. "Char... if I ware goin tae build a device one oov tha ways I'd theif proof it is with a... well... failsafe that'd shut it duin or burn oot bits if someone stole it and put it where it wasn't supposed tae go"
"Agreed, and that's soooo Romulan, believe me. But I can make it work, Fi. I need to," she said, and the first officer could tell there was more to it than just rising to a challenge.
Fiona nodded slowly " Aye... Um... here..." she tapped an area that was empty " There needs tae be some kind oov connection..." she looked up slowly Char's tone finally registering on her past the intriguing images on the screen. "You need to?" she asked, the question obvious in her tone.
The captain tabbed through a few images to bring up that of the Romulan commander from whom the device had been liberated, and enlarged it. The resemblance was marked and unmistakable.
Fiona's eyebrows notched upward "...oh."
"It's a family affair..." the masquerading Romulan captain explained.