Location: Engineering Office
When she was the Chief of Engineering, things were so much simpler. Caradan had only one report to turn in; the Engineering report. A promotion to second in command later and now Caradan was having to look over all the reports from all the departments in generation of a Ship's Report to the captain.
After having both the Security and Astrometric reports synced to her PADD, Caradan scrolled through them really quick to check for completeness. Shaqdac made it clear that he wanted to reports to be complete and sighed and spell checked and accurate and...Caradan put her PADD to standby and thrust it into her torso.
Know there was still some on the crew who were uncomfortable working alongside a Changeling, Caradan would sometimes slide the PADD under the back of her uniform coat and pull it into her being. That way, many would think she is just stuff it in the back of her trousers or something; as a way to stop reminding them that "HEY. CHANGELING HERE!"
This time though, Caradan could not have cared less as the front of her torso, uniform and all, liquefied, flowed over her PADD and then reformed.
Caradan had but one more report to sync to her PADD before generating her ow report for Shaqdac; Engineering. Though Mindo still had an hour before the deadline Caradan gave him, she was hoping he was done or nearly done.
"He's in the office," said Keselowsky as Caradan stepped up, "you know...in case Little Mindy is the reason you are here," he finished.
"I'm here for the Engineering Report," said Caradan. "Is it done?"
"Sheesh," he said as he started working at the terminal, "sounds like someone woke up on the wrong side of the bowl this morning."
Caradan only glared at him. Her wits were nearly depleted. It was only an hour since she oozed out of her bowl and was already feeling the weight of the day on her.
"Here it is," Keselowsky said. "Ooh." He leaned in on his terminal. "It is not done yet. Still in edit mode."
Caradan simply turned and started away toward the office.
"Lieutenant," Keselowsky called after her. He jogged to her as she turned around. "I know it is none of my business, but you really should not have taken that promotion. If nothing else, you need to see about taking some leave."
"I will take that under advisement. Now, if you will excuse me." Caradan turned and marched on to the Engineering Office.
Being the XO, she didn't need an invite as the doors opened immediately and she stepped in.
Mindo was working on his PADD when she walked in. He looked up and saw her, and got that look on his face that only Caradan could see. A small hint of a smile, and a more relaxed demeanor. Caradan loved that look and, for a moment, all the weight and responsibility of being the second in command under an animosity-ridden Bajoran had vanished.
"I'm finishing my report now," said Mindo. "Give me... one... more... alright. It's finished. Here you go." He stood and handed her the PADD as she entered the room and the door whished behind her.
"Finished," she said in more of a questioningly manner. Suddenly there was nothing stopping her from completing her task well before schedule. It only meant that Ari would have something more for her to do, something relayed to her through the Trill. "You know you still had an hour to finish this."
Caradan marched up to Mindo snatched the PADD from him and started tapping away. "You know that Shaqdac is watching everything I do." She brought up Mindo's report. "If he sees the Engineering Report highlighted in green," she bypassed protocol and overrode the security features and removed Mindo's signature," then he will expect my Ship's Report within the hour." She saved the, now incomplete, report and handed the PADD back to Mindo. Caradan went to the chair opposite Mindo's desk and allowed herself to fall into it.
Mindo smiled and set the PADD down on his desk. Activating his LEGs apparatus, he floated over the desk and into Caradan's lap.
"Mindo. No, I..." then Caradan found she could never refuse a moment with him.
"I hope you don't mind if I get more comfortable," he said with a smile, using the backs of his fingertips to gently brush back a lock of her hair. He absolutely loved Caradan's attention to detail.
She enjoyed his touch. Not that she knew precisely how humanoids perceived the sense of touch, she did enjoy that he was soft and gentle. Caradan especially enjoyed the little details he noticed.
"Mindo. I can't right now. I have work to do." She felt his fingertips on the side of her neck and realized the irony in her own words. "She says as she has just removed her lover's signature from his own report." Caradan put an arm around him and pulled him a little closer.
Mindo smiled and kissed the tip of her nose. "You said we have an hour..."
"Yeah," she said holding him away so as to look at him. "That's why I made the other departments finish their reports a little early." She smiled at him. "So we can have a little time to ourselves." Holding him close again Caradan sat back and let her head rest on top of his.
She was finally sensing something. Becoming more disciplined in her mimicking a human form, her sense of smell was reliant totally on her nose and a certain smell in particular seemed in higher concentration right after he last spoke. It was also something she had grown accustomed to during her time with Mindo.
"That smell. Mindo, have you been drinking?"
Mindo had rested his head on Caradan's chest and closed his eyes. The question hardly caught him off guard. He responded with a simple, "Yes."
"Whilst in uniform?" she asked. "Whilst on duty?" Unknowingly grabbing him like a mother would grab her small child, Caradan stood and sat him on the desk. "Mindo, you can't be doing that." She looked him in the eyes. First his left eye, then his right, then back and forth as she continued. "I know you have a great deal of tolerance, but we are deep inside Klingon space in the middle of a Civil War, our captain hates me, probably disapproves of our...relationship, and he is, in the eyes of the Cardassians, a former terrorist. And if there is even the smallest incident where alcohol could possibly be a factor..." she fell back into her chair and shrugged, "well, I don't know what he would do then." Caradan looked to the floor as though defeated and left with no other option. She looked back up at Mindo and hesitated shortly before saying, "As your superior officer, I have to order you to nothing above synthahol whilst on duty or in uniform."
Mindo smiled and looked down for a moment, trying to divert his gaze. In the months he had known her, he hadn't ever explained his apparent alcoholism to Caradan.
"Cara," he said, trying to be serious, but suppressing a grin. "I... Feserians don't get drunk very easily. At least, not on alcohol. We are a very... fertile breed, in that we breed a lot. Or, more bluntly, we have sex. A lot. The average Feserian has sex about twice a day. In some provinces there are even work laws that allow a one-hour break for sex, kind of like a lunch break. The urges we have are just too strong to handle. It's well-known on Feseria that alcohol can suppress these feelings if consumed at a moderate rate. Feserians will have sex any time, but there are other species who don't work the same way." He paused for a second, trying to come up with an explanation that made sense. "I don't drink to get drunk," he said carefully. "I drink so I can do my job."
"I," she started then Caradan looked around in something of an embarrassed state. She took a chair and scooted closer to him. "I'm sorry, Mindo, about that tirade. Starfleet Regs are clear on alcohol consumption but I suppose there has to be some exceptions, especially for Feserians and you must know them better than I." She sat back and slouched a bit. "It's just all the work Aki is pushing onto me. I have to multi-task a great deal. It's like I am being pulled in all these directions." She looked to the floor and her voice dropped to a depressing level. "Maybe I don't have what it takes to be a functional XO."
"Well I can understand that statement," said Mindo. "I mean, the Shag isn't exactly stable. There's something wrong with him. But you, you probably do more work than anyone around here. You're literally running the ship, talking to department heads and minions alike, you're responsible for everything that goes on here, and on top of that, you're working yourself even harder to stay in the same form for hours and hours." He took her hand in his and held it with both hands. "But who says you have to? Everyone knows you're a Changeling. What if you took your normal form while on duty? Form a mouth when you have to talk, hands if you need to hold something... it might make things a lot easier on you."
Caradan smiled upon seeing how much Mindo cared. She could see it all; the care for her in his eyes, hear the care in his words. "I still have my contract with Starfleet. Eventhough Captain Takato released me from it, I do not know about Shaqdac. He would most certainly take offense to that. Besides," she reached forward, even lengthened her arm just a bit, to place a hand on his leg, "I like this form. I like the way you look at me."
Mindo smiled back. "I like the way you look."
Caradan did not have to mimic a smile then. One formed naturally. "Let's get out of here. Go somewhere for a bit. Lounge, my place, yours. I don't care. I can get back to the report later. What's the saying, 'Skewer it'?"
Mindo laughed. "I think you mean 'screw it.'" He looked back at his desk, the unsigned report, the various other things stacking up as well. He turned his gaze back to Caradan, but his smile had faded a bit.
"Cara," he said, "maybe you should finish your report first. Then maybe we can call in sick the rest of the day and head to our cabin in the holodeck and screw it there... we'd have more time," he added.
Caradan stood almost violently. “OK, who are you and what have you done with Mindo,” she said as she pointed right at him. “Because MY Mindo would never declare work to be done first.”
"You have no idea how difficult it was for me to say that," said Mindo.
“You are right of course,” Caradan said as she relaxed. “It’s just the Ship’s Report that Aki needs. Besides,” she smiled at Mindo, “now that I know what follows, doing it seems far less dreadful.”
"Then get on it!" said Mindo, hopping down from his desk. He pulled his hand up to his brow in mock salute. "Sir!"