USS Traveller
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In Memory Of Phil Tippett

Posted on Tue May 5th, 2020 @ 10:07pm by The Narrator & Lieutenant Commander Shadi Zatra & Lieutenant JG Addison Wheeler

Mission: S2:1: Good Will Gunboat Tour
Location: Main Engineering
Timeline: MD1: 1530

It was quiet...too quiet.

After the refit and upgrade, Engineering just had not felt the same. Things were to clean, too orderly, to shiny and new. Some of the control consoles up on the higher catwalks still had the protective plastic film over their haptic interfaces. It was like working in a tech emporium in a mercantile centre.

And the section heads for Matter Reclamation, Tertiary Maintenance, and Fabrication had been gathered by mutual agreement to bring a serious grievance to the attention of the Chief Engineer. All the new additions to the ship weren't full accredited, so knowing what could and could not be reclaimed into the ships matter stockpile was problematic and time-consuming. Everything was too new and barely tested for reliability, and tech call-outs were a round the clock nightmare. And it was hard to Fabricate replacement parts when the parts needing replacing were littered with proprietary corporate replication DRM's on every other molecule, making reverse-engineering them impossible.

So whilst it was not a mutiny in the truest sense of the word, it was a collection of workers bringing before their betters' a call for a work stoppage until this was all sorted out.

Which was why they had voted on the turbolift up to engineering to push Wheeler ahead of them as a combination leader and meat shield. That and the round of rock/paper/tribble had just not gone in anyone's favour.

Shadi felt her nostrils flare as they detected an all too familiar scent. Adrenaline. Somebody, no, wait, an entire mob, was engaging their fight-or-flight reflex. Muscles began to ripple beneath Shadi's scaly hide as her four hearts began beating at an accelerated rate. Saurians did not engage fight-or-flight. At least, Ragolar Saurians didn't. They only knew the first thing.

"What isss the meaning of this?" Shadi asked, not caring to mask her excitement.

Addy had been with the group, because, well, they were a group of engineers and she was an engineer...but she hadn't really been paying attention to what was going on around her. Her brain and ears were tuned to certain phrases, and she had some kind of sixth sense that let her know when it was an engineering problem to be solved. This sounded like a discussion about people so she had no interest in that.

Instead, she was scrolling up and down on her PADD and trying to solve the latest glitch in the latest version of her latest brilliant creation.

She wasn't even really listening when the CEO's voice entered the picture.

Someone behind her hissed her name, which made her head pop up and then jerk to the side. The movement was so fast that the twirls of hair smacked back into her own forehead as she looked at the people behind her. Wait, all behind her... No one in front or aside. Only the CEO standing and staring expectantly at her, a look that she was giving to the other engineers. Well, maybe questioning rather than expectant.

It seemed that Addison Wheeler had missed something important.

"We-"

A ruddy-faced man with a widow's peak of black hair and a nose fit for deep-sea fishing stepped forward. Eldos Rippen, Lieutenant in command of Tertiary Maintenance, was the sort of man who had missed out on becoming a fearsomely terrifying head waiter by dint of not having many social skills. He was the sort of man who liked to think he was destined for great things, and yet would never truly rise higher than the tinpot dictator of a machine shop that fixed replicators and sonic showers.

His most prized possession was a copy of Doctor Benjamin Ingram's monograph on departmental management titled 'Don't Make Me Come Over There'. Not only was it a signed copy, but it was a second edition print. The same second edition that had been banned by all seven popes and the Bajoran Vedak Assembly.

Eldos cleared his throat.

"We of the second line engineering staff wish to bring forward a list of complaints," Eldos said in a voice that was part oiled like a guillotine blade. "We all agree that conditions aboard this ship need to be addressed, or by Blue Fire there will be hell to pay!"

There was, if not a rousing chorus of agreement, then at least a vague leaning towards an affirmative agreement that there was in fact a list.

Shadi sniffed at Addison, then at Eldos. "Conditionsss?" she hissed. "Were you milk-drinkers unaware that we just had a major refit?! If the Canopus dockworkers forgot something, pleassse, tell me now. Otherwise..." Her tone had an inverse relationship with her hairless brow, the former dropping as the latter raised. "... in this department we resolve disputes as prescribed by the Ragolar Warrior Code, which is basically a tessst of might and skill ending with the winner trepanning the losers." She grinned at the second line engineering team in a way that probably passed as sweetly on her homeworld. "Now, just what exactly would you like to tell me?"

That took some of the wind, if not out of the wind bag that was Eldos, then at least out of the groups sails. Hey were more used to the abrasive, but hard working Ari, or the much remembered but gone far to soon Daton. It seemed as though the role of Chief Engineer was cursed. Case in point; Shadi, the warrior princess.

"We...er...we...well," Eldos cleared his throat, and patted Addison on the back. "We want a voice within the engineering hierarchy, and with the position of Assistant Chief Engineer open..."

Like a sacrifice to an ancient volcano god, Addison was being thrown over the edge.

Things were moving very quickly, and people were talking. Addy didn't always do well with that part of that, since people were far more nonsensical than machinery. She frowned, her head snapping between the CEO and the rest. "What on Luna are you talking about?" She was getting bruises on her head from her smacking her forehead too often, swinging back and forth like that. "Why did you touch me? What?"

"I think they want me to eat you," Shadi said to Addy, "but what I don't know is why. You have not offended my honor or threatened my tasty ship."

"What?" Addy repeated, although this was more of a squeak sound, her gold eyes widening to near-supernatural sizes before she turned to the others. "What are trying to do to me!" She really needed to start paying more attention.

"Now, now Addy-...Addison calm down," Eldos said placatingly. Some of the other minor department heads also making noises that hopefully didn't sound like the frightened mews of herd animals. "This would all be for the best, you'll see. And having someone from among the rank and file standing beside the Chief Engineer as their deputy department head, well it makes all the sense in the world. I mean, Commander Zatra? You've not chosen a second in command of Engineering yet, have you?"

Shadi scratched her jaw with a talon in thought hard enough to make her scales click. "Well, let me see... no, no, I don't think I have." She turned her slitted huntress eyes on Addison. "Why do you think you are worthy to be my apprentice?"

Addy just blinked rapidly, but then a word poked at a part inside her brain. "Apprentice?" she repeated. "I don't need to be apprenticed! I'm already an engineer and a pretty damn good one!"

"She doesn't want to be my apprentisss," Shadi hissed to Eldos. "What in starvation do you want me to do now?"

"Neither do we!" Eldos said, a note of exasperation in his voice. He reached up with one hand and pressed thumb and forefinger against his eyes as though somehow willing the gargantuan headache of this task to be squeezed from his head. "The role of Chief Engineer is one of overseeing, and the role of Assistant Chief Engineer is one of ensuring that vision is accomplished. Right now Commander Zatra you are in the position of attempting to plot a course and man the helm at the same time."

"Eldos, do you think it's wise to use an allusion with her?" one of the others asked.

"You need a second in command!" Eldos blurted, "And we volunteer Miss Wheeler to the consideration of the post."

Shadi looked back and forth between them. "Wait, what's this talk of an illusion? I won't tolerate any more space ghosts on this ship!" Giving Addy another look, Shadi said, "You ever met a space ghost, Ensssign Wheeler? Have you ever stared into the gossamer eyesss of an incorporeal abomination? Have you smelled its foul odor not unlike a chemical fire or a week long orgy between sentient power couplings inside a warp nacelle?" She leaned into Addy's face and lowered her voice to a hissing whisper. "It'sss not prettttty."

"Oh by the Prophets, the rumours were true!" one of the other Engineers at the back of the party said, covering her mouth. Eldos rounded on her, a look of shocked horror on his face at her outburst.

Meanwhile, bizarrely, this was probably the part that Addison Wheeler was the least freaked out about. "I can't say I've ever seen a space ghost that smelled bad," she commented distractedly. "Although I was pretty sure the engine room of the Mai Sung was haunted."

Shadi gasped. "And what did you do?!"

"Well, Ensign Wilkes said she'd heard about this thing called a Ouija board. I hadn't heard of it myself, but she said it could come in handy, so I looked it up and then constructed one. Have you heard of Ouija boards?" It seemed that the panic was gone from her amber eyes.

"Am I familiar with wedgie boards?" The words made Shadi scoff. "Find me a Saurian hatchling who isn't familiar with a wedgie board and I'll show you an undisssciplined waste of scales! Never mind that... it's settled!" Grabbing Addison's hand hard enough to nearly dislocate her shoulder, Shadi held it high in the air. "A great warrior has been found in our midst! She has battled space ghosts under the admonition of a code of honor worthy of the Blood Goddess Herself! I hereby anoint you--" Shadi paused long enough to spit on both sides of Addison's face. "--as my Assistant Chief Engineer and grant you all the honor and privilege of the posssition!"

A thought then occurred to Shadi. "Your mandible seems a little weak. Perhapsss you should leave the combat trials to me. Just stick to exorcisms and I think we'll make a great team."

 

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