Commander Stragey stood at attention in the briefing room and mentally began counting down the seconds until the impending response from his captain emerged, it was not a long wait. Seated acrossed the table, Captain Hayden quickly looked up from his padd and asked simply, "Is this some kind of a joke, Commander?"
"No, sir," replied Stragey. Hayden returned to studying the padd once more, and began slowly shaking his head.
This promised to be an interesting conversation, Stragey decided. First off, a random crewman had comitted a minor infraction, one which required that he be disciplined. Normally, this wouldn't have been a serious issue. However, the offending crewman obviously didn't take the lesson to heart because the Quartermaster assigned to the task was now lying in sickbay, with the crewman now looking at a general courtmartial.
To make matters even worse, the Excalibur had put in a requisition for additional duty officers. Even though this selection was completely random, Stragey knew the captain was hoping for additional personnel for the fields of Security and Medical in particular. What Starfleet Command had sent them in return left much to be desired to say the least.
"FOUR civilians?!" Hayden asked incredulously. "Two entertainers, a bartender and...what the hell is this: A refugee?! What the devil is wrong with Command?"
"We did get a new science officer," Stragey offered helpfully.
Hayden slapped the padd on the table and looked his First Officer straight in the eye. "We got a lab technician, Bob," he corrected. "A damned 'lab technician', no specialty even LISTED in their file. I ask Starfleet Command to send us some new officers and instead they me send all the personnel I need to open my own bar on Deep Space 9, complete with the poor devil who lost everything and is ready to drown his sorrows. They literally couldn't have shipped us anyone more useless."
"Agreed, sir," said Stragey. A few moments passed and then he added, "Shall I inform them that you'll be meeting with them for the standard 'welcome aboard' or shall I simply escort them to the nearest airlock and be done with it?"
Hayden allowed himself a small smirk. Stragey's attempts at humor were far and few between, and the fact that he chose this moment to attempt it, Hayden knew, was his First Officer's way of agreeing whole heartedly with him while at the same time saying, "Don't phaser the messenger."
"All right," said Hayden, conceding defeat. "Inform the new arrivals that the "Captain's Welcome" is scheduled for 1100 hours tomorrow. But make a note to request another group of officers the moment Command has some to spare."
"Aye, sir," said Stragey, "Are we keeping the new arrivals, or should I assign them to temporary quarters?"
Hayden picked up the padd once more and studied it for a third time. "Oh hell," he said at last, "Add them to the permenant roster. Who knows? Maybe they'll come in handy down the line. If nothing else, we'll have some fresh entertainment for the rest of the crew to enjoy. Dismissed."
Stragey nodded and headed for the exit, noting that Hayden was still shaking his head and cursing to himself as the doors hissed shut. Only after he was a good thirty feet down the corridor, did Stragey allow himself to begin to chuckle. By the time he reached the turbolift, he had tears in his eyes.
USS Kindjal, Outside the Bolarus System
Captain James Corgan, after reading the after action report, dropped his PADD in disgust. He paced back and forth across the ready room, alternating his withering gaze between the floor, the aforementioned PADD, and the three crewmen standing at rigid attention, waiting for his response. All three crewmen were covered in bruises. One even had his arm in a cloth sling. All were noticably nervous.
"So let me get this straight." James Corgan grumbled, a hard stare at the highest ranking non-comm, urging the crewman to adjust his stance even stiffer and straighter out of fear, "I assigned your team to beam down to Bolarus to take care of a civil dispute."
"Yes sir." Coughed the non-comm, his lips moved to show missing teeth.
"And you beamed down to talk to the peaceful protestors at the capital city..."
"That is correct, sir."
"The peaceful protesters."
"The peaceful protesters that actually wanted to talk to us."
"And the same peaceful protestors who wanted to do nothing more than to state their grievances and be heard, correct?"
"Ummm... yes sir."
"Ok, we have that straight." James said with eerie calm.
Captain Corgan returned to his pacing, one lap back and forth from before stopping with a snap of his feet. He retrieved his PADD and took another glance.
His face turned instantly hostile.
Captain Corgan barked viciously, "And yet you stooges managed to turn a peaceful protest on a normally docile Federation member world into a scene from DANTE'S FREAKIN' INFERNO, complete with a full blown riot, looting, destruction of property and the destabilization of the local freakin' government!"
The non-comm peeped, "Yes sir."
"And then on top of that, somehow, without having anything in your psyche profile to indicate that you idiots were aggressive or unruly, managed to incite said angry mob of formerly peaceful protesters to attack the entire away team, putting two in the MORGUE and the rest of you in the damn SICKBAY!!!!"
The non-comm hesitated to respond, "It is as you stated it, sir."
James snarled, "It is as I stated it... no kidding! Honestly, I thought this assignment was so simple even a team of academy washouts could do it, but instead I picked you guys under the false assumption that you could all handle it. Seriously... I have to ask... what the hell could you guys have possibly done to kick off such a monumental SCREWUP?!"
He waited a moment, unsure of what to say. When he did speak, the non-comm was sheepish, "Maybe it was something we said to the protestors?"
James pivots and stops in front of the non-comm, a finger thrust at his face, "You could have called a Klingon a coward while doing unspeakable acts to his pet targ and still not turned the situation as bad as THIS!"
Captain Corgan threw his hands up in the air, tossing his PADD away to let it clatter into his seat, "You know what, fine. You'd all be transferred to the Breen Embassy by now, but the Ambassador over there told me to stop sending my rejects over there to fill up his staff! You are all confined to quarters. DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING until I find a suitable Class Y planet with a functioning Federation Embassy to drop you into! DISMISSED!"