Doffside Stories #1
05:30 Generals of Production Offices, Qo'noS, First City Foundry District
An empty Bloodwine bottle shatters again the wall. Commander Kar raises an eyebrow stepping in the door. Witnessing the all too common event of shattered glass for the past 2 weeks has only ment the something interesting would soon unfold.
Kar snaps to attention, slamming his fist to his chest, smirking, "Good morning General. I take it we won J'mpok's favor with the wine?"
General D'arz looked across his desk at two empty bottles and a dozen data pads scattered across with a look of distant concentration. Kar let his smirk turn to a more serious tone, for he knew when the General mixed his wine with assignment reports, something had gone seriously wrong.
D'arz looked at his First Officer and asked, "How long has the Targ of Grethor's refit been complete? 2weeks?"
"Yes sir," Kar replied. "All diagnostics say we are ready for her shakedown patrols next week. Although we could be underway tonight, if that is what your really asking?"
It was D'arz's turn to smirk. "At ease and look at these", indicating the data pads while producing another bottle of wine from behind his desk. After taking a long drink to clear his throat, he began to inform Kar of the happenings of the past 12 hours.
"The wine vintage J'mpok comissioned for his 'Winter Holiday' was indeed well recieved, but I believe this was more of a political maneuver. He pit us against the House of Bra'thing for his favor."
After another drink he continued, "At 1800 last night, two of our officers were killed in an explosion while working on an experimental Diburnium body armor. The forge they were assigned for use was a 300 year old antique heirloom of Bra'Thing's. The foundry master on duty swears that the forge was in perfect working order, but when I had seen it last week, I would swear it couldn't produce Tin cans, let allow Diburnium"
At this Kar stopped reading and looked at the General, his brow pull tight with understanding. Before he could ask, D'arz continued, "Yes Commander, we won J'mpoks favor from Bra'thing and looks like we willfully destroyed their property, that junk metal maker, to boast of that favor. That foundry master by the way, is a loyalist of Bra'thing's"
Kar's eyes opened wide, not is concern, but in the realization that a break from their stagnant, boring duties may finally be over.
"That isn't all Kar," D'arz said quiter, stepping close to him. "3 days ago, I recieved from Captain Mo'tor, instructions from J'mpoks offices, that he suspected traitorous acts within the House of Bra'thing. The 2 officers I personally assigned for the mission, did not make their appointed check-in at midnight."
At the sound of a scuff and click at the steel door, theirs heads and eyes snapped towards the sound. Disruptor pistol in hand, Kar stealthfully stepped to the side of the door and reached for the door trigger.
Glancing back over his shoulder, he saw the General taking a shooting stance with his own pistol pointed and ready. At a slight nod, Kar tapped the door release, revealling a stout Gorn crouching on one knee, with a listening/recording device in his hand. The Gorns eyes went wide the second before the loud report and bright green flash of a Disruptor Compression Bolt slammed into his scaley face. With his teeth oblitered and smoke burning up out of his throat, the Gorn's body flopped dead to the floor.
Stepping over the body, the two cleared the hallway of anymore spys. Satisfied the way was clear, Kar knelt down to the body and pulled off from it's belt a comminicator with the Bra'Thing crest adorning the front. Showing it to D'arz, who spat and swore, Kar opened it and tuned it's channels.
"Targ of Grethor, this is Commander Kar. Lock onto this signal and prepare to transport." The Bekk on duty sounded, "s-Sir... locking on sir!"
D'arz butted in, "Get aboard and ready the ship for combat. I want her operational as soon as possible."
Kar replied hastely, "Half her crew are fresh Bekks and officers from the Academy, and most of her systems haven't been properly tested, sir. This is gonna be rough."
"J'mpok has set Bra'Thing and us against each other. For whatever his reasons. We must win the day and maintain his favor, at least publically. I need to look in that pa'tuq foundry master's office for proof the forge was ill maintained, to show Bra'Thing is incompotent and unable. I will signal for you when I'm ready."
"Spys, four officers dead, and all we have is Bekks and Bloodwine? I'm not really sure I dislike these office politics", Kar said with a smirk.
A dark shape flies into view of the sun of Forcas III three; To'duj fighters launching from it for a patrol run.
"You mean to tell me you lost the target..."
"Yes, I mean, no, I mean, We didn't lose him, we acquired the wrong information." a Gorn stated, to a -much- larger Gorn sitting behind a desk in his off duty uniform; bare chested, with only a lether strap crossing his musclebound chest, a smaller female's arms wrapped around him
"Slithath, Tell me, do you think me stupid?" the larger gorn rebuked his hand going to the females tenderly before he stood up and picked up the PADD before him "These reports indicate that your team, spent the whole of the two days allotted, sitting in the bar staring at Orion women. Your men, not mine, were gawking at females, when I know for a fact the vast majority of the five man team have mates on this ship. Your men, not mine, just screwed up a carefully laid plan to trap the assassins from the house Torg, your men!"
"I know, sir, but-"
"Enough! I do not want to hear excuses, I want results! Talash!" The larger Gorn called as another smaller gorn came rushing in and snapped into a Klingon salute "At ease, escort the five man group to each quarter, and explain the results to their women, Slithath, you are to go with them, and decide what is best for each. Should a failure of this magnitude, and this dishonorable happen again, I'll have the entire team executed for incompetence, and inability to follow orders, am I clear?" He ordered, his voice raised
"Qapla'" came their muffled responses
"Am I clear?" The larger gorn said, this time with a more menacing stance
"Qapla' General Odahviing!"
"Good. Leave me." Odahviing said as the two hurried out, much to the females enjoyment which glided up to him a worried expression on her face
"Love, do you really mean that?" She asks licking his cheek, while standing on her toes, a familiar gorn sign of affection
"If I didn't I'd be a dishonorable dog who doesn't deserve this position, or you." he growled out looking over the report once more "As much as I dislike it, I have to tell their mates, and wives. This was a dishonorable thing, gawking, and even sleeping with a few of them. Gre'thor take them if they don't prove their worth to their loves again." he sighed once done, the female gliding up to sit on his lap and wrap her arms around the nape of his neck
"Love, you are my only choice, and that is how it will stay, our little ones would be so proud of their father." She murred, licking his cheek again, as Odahviing sighed once more
"I pray that they restore their honor with their loves, I don't know how I would continue if it wasn't for you."
As the doors to sickbay hissed open, Captain Hayden paused a moment to take in the sight before him: Lying in two biobeds, were two of the security staff. Doctor Palmer was busy at one of them scanning what looked like a nasty burn mark on the young officers face. At the foot of the other, the Excalibur's chief of security, Lieutenant Ferris, stood silently shaking his head.
"Report, Lieutenant," said Hayden as he walked up to join Ferris.
Ferris took a deep breath. Not the kind one took when one prepared to deliver unpleasant news to a superior, but the type that implied immense frustration. He's peeved, Hayden realised suddenly. Ferris had worked his way from the bottom up. He started his stint in security as a simple petty officer and ultimately earned his way to an officer's commission. It made him one of the oldest lieutenants onboard, but also made him one of the most experienced and disciplined officers Hayden had ever known.
"I take full responsibility, sir," said Ferris, continuing to stare at his men. Hayden could certainly understand the sentiment; two men were injured, and one holodeck was in the process of being rebuilt after damned near blowing itself apart from the inside out, all because somebody screwed up. As the security chief, Ferris wanted to take the blame. But Hayden wasn't about to be put off so easily.
"That's not what I asked, Lieutenant," he said, "I'll ask you again, what happened?"
There was a brief, almost imperceptive exchange of glances between Palmer and Ferris, as the security chief turned to answer.
"One of my men brought a live phaser into the holodeck," he said. Hayden's eyes widened a bit but he remained silent.
"Evidently," Ferris continued, "Crewman Thorn was under the impression that we were conducting our training exercise with live phasers set on the lowest possible setting." Hayden looked over at the other biobed with the far more injured crewman.
"But..." Hayden pressed.
"But," Ferris said, his tone growing more frustrated by the minute, "Mr. Thorn not only entered the holodeck with a live phaser, he entered the holodeck with a live phaser on the wrong setting besides."
"What setting was the phaser on?" said Hayden. Ferris looked back to his injured officers. "Maximum stun," he replied.
That explained a few things. "So when the training exercise got underway..." Hayden began.
"Mr. Thorn eventualy fired his phaser which, unlike the holographic replicas he was supposed to be using, overloaded an already fully charged holo-grid, blowing out the holodeck relays entirely and seriously injuring two fellow officers in the process," finished Ferris.
"No critical injuries, Doctor?" asked Hayden.
Palmer shook her head. "Not a one, these burns will heal up good as new with a little dermal regeneration, and that one," she said, pointing to the other man, "...will be discharged within the next few hours, though I'll probably place him on light duty for a couple of days. No real harm done....less one holodeck," she corrected.
"Where is Mr. Thorn?" asked Hayden.
"At the moment, confined to quarters and as much as I'd like to charge him with gross negligence," said Ferris, "I feel I must accept the responsibility for not being clear with the training instructions."
"What did he have to say for himself?"
Ferris sighed, as though conceding a point, "He claimed his last posting didn't have holographic simulator training and that standard proceedure was to use live weapons on minimal stun settings."
Hayden nodded, "Except he didn't have his phaser on the right setting..."
"...and someone could have easily been killed in the process," said Ferris. After a moment he added, "I should have specified that all weapons were to be holographic sims."
"Yes," said Hayden, "you should have. But, as they say, accidents happen. We tend to take it for granted that everyone uses holodecks for training these days and luckily no one was killed. Look, Mr. Ferris, I know it pains you to make a mistake, but we need every man we can get. We're at war and I can't afford to kick people out of the service for something as idiotic as this."
Ferris turned to face his captain, looking nothing short of pathetic.
Hayden continued, "Put a reprimand in Mr. Thorn's file, make him purge the waste extraction tanks if you like, but we're not going to dismiss him over this, understood?"
The Admiral sat there alternatively scanning the PADD in her hand in disgust and ensuring the two senior officers standing in front of her were not giving any clues that what she had just read was a joke on her for their amusement.
"You two are sure this information is accurate?" ask Vice Admiral Hayase
"We've checked the results three times! Twice by Dr. Leeds here, and once again by myself, just to make sure. Dr. Leeds wasn't even looking for it" stated a flumuxed Commander Grant
"That's right Admiral! I was only putting hte medical computer through it's paces after a recent upgrade, and this is what it spat out" stated Dr. Leeds
"How is this even possible?" asked the Admiral
"I believe the joke is 'the usual way'" blurted Dr. Vanessa Leeds, then suddenly thnking maybe she shouldn't have chosen this moment to try humor with the Admiral.
Dr. Leeds recieved a short scathing stare from the Admiral, before she relaxed and through a small little smile, which allowed Dr. Leeds to relax a bit. "No, Seriously though, how? And how did it get so widespread? There are three names on this list, who are from species that the Federation hadn't even made First Contact with during when this was even possible"
"We're not sure how that happened either, unless there were some unofficial contacts with those speicies before Official First Contact, that were kept off the books, although we do have some close mouthed crewman making discreet inquiries." stated Commander Grant
"This says 80% of the crew, inculding myself, are affected by this... How did you term it in your report Doctor? 'Genetic Marker' "
"That's right Admiral, but we don't think their are any long lasting effects of this condition, even in those rare instances where two people with the same Genetic Marker have had children together." And then Dr. Leeds went on "As long as those children don't have children with other affected members of that generation, everything should be fine... genetically"
"That'll be all, Thank you for your time Claudia, Dr. Leeds, I'll make an announcement about this later to the crew... Once I figure out how to put this into words"
Commander Claudia Grant and CMO Dr. Leeds, said their good by's to the Admiral and quickly made their way out of her Ready Room, before the Admiral could ask anymore questions.
Finally, after a last look at her PADD, the Admiral let loose a sigh and said to herself "I can't believe James Kirk got around that much!"
Captain Zal sat at her desk in her ready room aboard the good ship Sir Horace. It was more like a ready closet, but space was at a premium, especially now. She shifted the foot stool hidden under her desk to be just a bit closer and thanked whatever deities who were listening for hydraulic lifts on her chair. Being five feet and **cough** some inches was normal for a Tellurite. Well, on the low side of normal. But being surrounded by all these Vulcans and Andorians and Betazoids, not to mention the Caitain shuttle pilot. She’d found herself going to the sick bay with neck strain and headaches more and more.
Maybe the next load of barrel scrapings…errr…team of crewmembers would have a nurse who knew chiropractics. But she wasn’t going to hold her breath. She snorted as she looked over her roster. Her ship was not large, and if Starfleet kept sending her such useless personnel, and expecting her to deviate from her prime missions to chart every anomaly and support troops on every backwards neo-barbarian planet…Bah!
The door chimed and she snorted, just on time, of course. Her most recent first mate. A fine, upstanding young man whose only fault seemed to be that he was afraid of his own shadow, not to mention his Captain’s temper.
“Come in, stop lurking out there like a best man at a wedding. I haven’t got all day.” She said politely, well, politely for a Tellurite. “Hmph, your uniform looks like you’ve slept in it again, and your hair’s dirty too.”
“I..um…I’ll take care of that right away, Sir” the young human man stammered. Captain Zal just sighed, why did Starfleet keep sending her young kids who had no concept of diplomacy?
“I assume you’ve brought the roster of assignments?” She finally said, trying to ignore the way her first officer blanched and trembled as he held out the padd.
“Yes, Sir. I’m sorry to say that we’ve hit a snag….Sir”
“A snag…what kind of snag?”
“The newest group of personnel have been delayed, two more days”
“Hmph, at least that will give us time to find somewhere to put them, have the engineers finished sectioning off the secondary storage hold for temporary quarters?” Captain Zal asked gruffly.
“Yessir, we’ll have room to house twenty seven more crewmembers.”
“Good, good, after this it’s going to have to be doubling up and hot bunking, Can’t anyone at Starfleet read ship specs? We’ve only got room for fifty crew, how do they expect us to fit a hundred souls in here?” She saw her first officer take a tiny step back, away from her desk and reined in her temper. “What other bad news do you have for me?”
“Well, Crewman Ryan Elliott Richardson was to present a security briefing for the Donatu sector. It seems he..um.. was unprepared.”
“Unprepared…” Captain Zal tried, really tried not to snap at this…this…officer… in front of her.
“Yes, it seems he overslept and showed up three hours late, also, it says here he was out of uniform, and had evidence of green lipstick on his face.” The first officer said in a rush, as if trying to get all the bad news out at once.
“Green…Number One, you know that Starfleet has no prejudice regarding personal adornment as long as it doesn’t violate the uniform code….oh, THAT kind of green lipstick. I see.” Captain Zal tried to stop a snicker, failing miserably and sounding more like a panther with a hairball. “Well, enter a reprimand in Crewman Richardson’s file, and assign him to…hmmm polish, by hand, all the photon torpedos. That should keep him out of any more trouble….What next?”
“The crew you sent to investigate rumors of Klingon spies on Earth Space Dock. Ensigns Sang Wilber Fudge and Kaitlyn Eloise McMillan. It seems they were caught by ESD security ‘behaving in a lewd and inappropriate manner’ behind one of the standing plants outside of Admiral Quinn’s office. Further, charges of ‘conduct unbecoming of an officer’ ‘resisting arrest’ ‘public indecency’ ‘public drunkenness’ and ‘assault on a security officer’ have all been leveled against Kaitlyn..*cough* I mean Ensign McMillan. To top it all off, Ensign Fudge is being treated by the ship’s counselors for emotional trauma from nearly being shot while running away from ESD Security. Charges of public nudity against him have been dropped after he proved he was still wearing **cough** a sock.”
“A sock.” Her first mate suddenly seemed very interested in the wall behind her desk.
“Yes, Sir. A sock”
Captain Zal let the silence stretch out with a gleam of amusement in her eye, but finally took pity on the poor man and dropped the subject. “So, Ensign McMillan is to return to Earth Space Dock to answer her charges, and Ensign Fudge will be returned to duty as soon as the Counselors have released him. I see…Well run him through a refresher course on espionage and dock him two day’s pay.”
“Yessir, thank you, Sir”
“Anything else?” The young officer gulped and went from sickly pale to even more sickly green.
“Only the..um.. requests for transfer, Sir” he stammered.
“Well, don’t stand there like a little old lady in a brothel, how many are trying to abandon ship this week?”
“Only…um.. twelve, Sir.”
“Twelve out of fifty, good, I must be weeding out the weaklings by now, let me see the list” She said with a grunt. Her first mate handed over the second padd he had brought to the briefing. Captain Zal took it and leaned back in her chair as she looked it over.
“Number One” she said softly.
“Yessir.” The young officer gulped.
“I notice your name is on this list, would you care to explain?” She said even more softly, which, in a Tellurite is a very, very bad sign.
“I…umm… Nossir!” he said and came to attention with a parade ground precision.
“I…see. Well, Number One, as soon as your replacement arrives from Starfleet you will be transferred to a…” She reviewed the request for transfer again. “place that is less aggressive and argumentative.” She said with a snort.
“Yessir, thank you Sir.” He said in a perfectly emotionless voice.
The young man saluted and beat a hasty retreat from his Captain’s ready room. Behind the door Captain Zal opened a drawer in her desk, pulling out a soft purple tribble, a bottle and a glass.
“There, there, Precious” she cooed to the purring tribble as she poured herself a healthy slug of terran whiskey and knocked it back in one gulp. “I don’t know why I called him ‘Number One’…maybe ‘Number Eight’ will last longer, though I think three days before requesting a transfer is some kind of record.”