I've been mulling over posting this for a while since the Literary Challenges stopped. I used it to further explore my main crew and some of the ideas I had about them. It's bitty, but ties in with the sections I've submitted for some of the challenges.
Kyle Tremayne leant against the railing of the Space Sock observation deck and gazed out at the compact vessel hanging in the brightly lit enclosure of the drydock.
For the last six days the USS Scimitar had been undergoing what Starfleet called, “refit and assessment” following its last assignment on the borders of Romulan space. To Kyle it seemed like the first time the ship had been truly stationary since he assumed command a year ago.
A gravelly voice interrupted his musings, “Not exactly her best angle Sir.”
Kyle chuckled and looked up at the rugged grinning face of his chief engineer, “Jaro! Fleet finally let you off the ship?”
The Bajoran shrugged, “Louisa is shepherding the Inspector, if he doesn’t give us the all clear for tomorrow she can always threaten to assimilate him.”
Kyle shook his head in mock despair as Jaro Antar settled on the rail next to him, “Any problems?”
“Just the usual sulking, I had to use a shuttle to get here and there is a grouchy Klingon whose sonic shower is playing a selection of “Zefram Cochrane’s Favorites” rather loudly.”
Kyle frowned at the engineer who raised his hands to placate his captain. “Oh don’t worry, she’s behaving where the Inspector is, this new computer A.I. is quirky but it isn’t daft.”
“What did B’toria do this time?”
“Something about deflector control being an outpost of Grethor.”
Kyle winced, “Out loud?”
Jaro picked an invisible piece of lint from the sleeve of his uniform. “Lieutenant Commander Tharg is trying to coax an apology out of her, but you know how B’toria can be when her aristocratic ego gets dented.”
“Never the less that’s the most reassuring thing I’ve heard all day.”
“Function, is the essence, of control. I am in, Control.” T’Lara slowly opened her eyes to look at the tightly packed tower of precariously stacked Keethara blocks. It had been a trying day and the slightly misaligned blocks echoed T’Lara’s somewhat shaken mental pillars of logic. Other Vulcans made her... uncomfortable and Fleet Inspector Sokor with his Kolinar discipline seemed to loom in judgement of her. T’Lara had always been rather volatile, and the unshakable sense of not being up to standard had ultimately driven her to join Starfleet, both to escape the cold appraising gazes and to disprove the nagging uncertainties lurking at the back of her mind.
The comm. unit chirped into life, the voice was the same Starfleet computer standard that had been in use for the last forty years, although to T’Lara, this one carried a whiney edge, “Commander, I do find this invasive inspection quite insulting. Mr Jaro’s staff has been quite efficient in maintaining my systems even if the Bajoran iconography around my warp core is non-regulation. Have I not performed beyond design expectation?”
T’Lara buried the urge to sigh beneath a mental chant. “Computer, given the unique nature of your situation, it would be logical for Starfleet Command to be curious about the status of this ship. This is only the second instance of a self aware A.I. developing from the combined systems of a ship.”
“Commander, my duty as a Starfleet Vessel is to explore and protect. I can do neither while confined in Drydock. I am experiencing... impatience?”
“That would be a logical conclusion; such a response is exhibited by other members of the crew during periods of enforced inactivity.”
“Like Captain Kyle?” The enthusiasm, T’Lara noted, was almost childish.
“I am sure the Captain is more than capable of enduring a week here at Drydock. Perhaps you could quietly observe the crew while they perform their duties. It may help you to better understand them.”
“Stop teasing my Chief Science Officer. That is an order.”
“Awww.” The com-channel chirped off.
Lieutenant Commander Tharg N’Freem grinned across the three dimensional chess board, showing a mouth full of metallic teeth. “Come on Bee you know better than to get into a fight with the computer, it’s more stubborn than you to start with.”
The young Klingon snarled before snatching up a pawn and advancing it across the board. “If you think, you can talk me into apologising then you are risking offending my honour.” She glared at the diminutive Orphasian. With his scarlet skin and slicked-back white hair.
Tharg’s mirror-like eyes didn’t waver. “Bee, you may have me at checkmate in seven moves, but don’t try and kid me into thinking that batleth in your quarters is for more than display.”
Trembling with rage the Klingon slowly rose from her chair and silently left the mess hall. Tharg watched her calmly and then carefully picked up the white queen piece. “Check.” He whispered.
“Commander, of all the stunts you’ve pulled since I came aboard, that has to be the stupidest I’ve seen. You are lucky to be alive.”
Tharg looked up at the still horrified young face of a Bajoran woman and grinned.
“Lieutenant Varis, when you have known B’toria as long as I have you will learn that the little slap I just gave to her ego was the best favour I could do.”
Lieutenant Varis Sharla settled into the vacant chair and nervously looked at the mess hall door, “Are you kidding? She’s probably already on her way back from her quarters with that batleth!”
“Ha!” barked Tharg. “It will take her three minutes by turbo-lift to reach her quarters. A further twenty seconds the collect said batleth, and a further two minutes to walk to Holodeck two.”
Varis shook her head in disbelief and again looked nervously at the door, “Holodeck two?”
“The Klingon calisthenics program is stored in its database. For the next hour or so she will run the program until the difficulty level produces an opponent that will finally knock her senseless.” Tharg proffered the chess piece to the bemused lieutenant.
“And then what?”
“Hmm? Oh, an epiphany of course, well a headache and an epiphany.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Lieutenant, our esteemed Chief Science Officer has entrenched herself in a battle she cannot win. Her upbringing and personal pride forbid her from simply conceding defeat. She will fight until the computer beats her, only then can she accept the course of action she has so far avoided.”
Tharg’s confident grin faded and he stared at the empty doorway as a line of thought barged its way to the front of his mind. “Bee didn’t say anything you idiot! She just left.” Tharg grimaced mentally, he had a lot of apologising to do and that was only if Doctor Zarat didn’t kill him first.
The bustle of main engineering faded leaving only the regular pulse of the warpcore audible above the measured steps of the Fleet Inspector. Lieutenant Commander Louisa Hendricks had long ago noted the sudden drop in efficiency caused by the presence of the Inspector wherever they went, it was... frustrating. The man had walked around the Scimitar like a disapproving mother-in-law, but this was going to be the toughest challenge of the inspection.
The Inspector stopped abruptly and raised a pointed eyebrow as he surveyed the room. Suspended around the warpcore were dozens of small pieces of inked parchment and the core itself appeared to be etched with arcane symbols, all non-regulation.
“Lieutenant Commander, perhaps you can enlighten me as to why main engineering looks like a temple?”
Louisa stood sharply to attention and focussed her gaze on the tip of the Inspector’s left ear. “For efficiency Sir. The cumulative effect of the Bajoran iconography has resulted in a five percent increase in efficiency. I have performance figures if you wish to verify this Sir.”
The inspector tapped a note into his PaDD, “Lieutenant Commander, do these objects emit any radiation?”
“None we have detected Sir.”
“Do they contain any devices connected to the ship’s systems?”
“So these objects are essentially inert?”
“Essentially, yes Sir.”
“Yet, you expect me to report to Fleet Command that a few inert... trinkets, have had such a significant effect on effect of engineering performance? This is not logical.”
“If I may Sir, I initially shared your scepticism when I first took my post here however, the numbers do not lie.”
“Very well Lieutenant Commander, I will review your efficiency statistics. However I expect such a practice would raise concerns with Fleet Command.”
Louisa watched the Inspector make a brief note on his PADD and followed him out of Engineering.