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Kicking Tires, Starting Fires

Posted on Thu Oct 5th, 2017 @ 11:38pm by Lieutenant JG Mindo & Petty Officer 2nd Class Seepok & Petty Officer 3rd Class Vaimera Gherr & Petty Officer 3rd Class Tiffany Crismore & Ensign Ixelom Vejeem & Ensign Bradford Keselowsky

Mission: Weeping Woman
Location: Engineering
Timeline: before "A Little Too Easy"

Twirling her hair as she ran down the checklist in front of her, Officer Tiffany Crismore hummed quietly to herself a song from the Cardassian opera "The Deceit of Gul Rakoth," one of her favorites and one she and Brad had watched more than a few times. Finishing the checklist, she exited the screen on her PADD and brought up the home page, where she had two messages from Ensign Keselowsky.

The first was...
♫Your lips so soft and red,
the thought of kissing you is stuck in my head.
Your beauty so bright and warm,
shinning through the darkest storm.
Your eyes sparkle like...♫

And the second was…
“Damnit! That was supposed to delete. Not send. Forget that one.”
-For my Tiff-
♫Why are you so beautiful?
Why do you take my breath away?
How did I get so lucky?
How are you perfect in every single way?
Your laugh should be illegal because it's too cute.
I never want to spend a minute without you.
The way you kiss me takes my breath away.
Seeing you is the best part of my day.
You are so special,
And I'm glad that I can say you are mine,
Because when I'm with you I feel extraordinary
All of the time.♫

Tiffany stifled a laugh. The poems were rather cheesy, but a girl couldn't resist such things. As much as Brad drove her crazy, he had his moments, and this was one of them. She shook her head and hit "Save," just as she had the last twenty or so poems he'd sent her that week.

Meanwhile, Officer Seepok was headed downward from the third level of the warp core to the ground on one of the small lifts on either side. Once grounded he headed to the Chief Engineer's office, where Mindo was finishing some reports of his own before calling it a night. As he entered the room, the aging Vulcan saw the other new addition to the Engineering crew, a young unjoined Trill named Vaimera Gherr, with whom he'd had little interaction.

"...but before you go," Mindo said to Gherr, "I want you to give this report on the aft shields to Brad. Make sure he approves of what you have here. I think it's a good idea, but Brad gets cranky if I don't include him in such decisions."

Gherr nodded and headed out of the office, with Seepok letting her pass before stepping in.

"Seepok," said Mindo. "How is the core's stability?"

Seepok handed Mindo the report. "It remains intact, with only minute structural anomalies."

Mindo scanned the report, not reading every word. Structure analysis was critical in Engineering, as a warp core breach could destroy the whole ship. A report on the subject was required every hour. It was tedious, and only ever got exciting when in battle or passing through some kind of strange particle storm or other such volatile occurrence. Then things got serious.

"These are indeed minute," said Mindo. "Normally I would ignore it, seeing as how these are... wow, microscopic. But I'd hate to tell Shag we saw an error and did nothing about it."

"Yes, sir. I will get on it right away."

"Don't tire yourself, Seepok. 'Anomalies' this small hardly deserve attention. When your decimal point goes three zeroes back, it's a safe bet we're not in any dire danger. Next time only two zeroes," Mindo said with a small smile.

"Yes, sir," said Seepok, already heading out the door to grab a sealant tool to patch up the microscopic errors on the core. Mindo would no doubt have him cut it short later, as such a task would take days to finish, assuming no other microscopic problems arose, which was impossible. Seepok would not be as eager to please next time.

Mindo walked out of his office to check on things, make his last round before retiring for the night.

As the engineers worked, Ixelom passed through the main doors, her expression a mix of curiosity and geniality. It was, she had to admit, partly deceptive. The counselor did love meeting people, that being the primary reason she had chosen the job. That was entirely true.

However, as she looked at the massive, cylindrical warp core, Ixelom couldn't help but shudder. She had only just graduated from the Academy, and thus her mandated study of starship engineering was fresh in her mind...as was her discomfort at just how unsettling a warp core was. Truth be told, if crew morale wasn't the literal definition of her job, Ixelom wouldn't have gone anywhere near Main Engineering.

Still, it was, and thus she looked quite cheerful as she saw Mindo leaving. "Hi!" she said to the chief engineer, choosing him as her first target. It was his domain, and if his people saw that she was being polite and proper and respecting his authority, it would encourage them to accept her presence.

"Hello Counselor," said Mindo. "Nice to see you again. Coming to check on us grunts? We've got a few new faces down here."

"I heard," Ixelom replied, smirking as she looked around. Main Engineering was relatively small compared to larger starships, but it was still a sizable chamber, and she could see a variety of engineers scattered around the place. "I won't hold you up from getting some rest," she said playfully to Mindo, "but who do you think should be my first target?"

Mindo smiled conspiratorially. "I'd start with the Trill, Gherr. I know the least about her."

It took a few moments to identify Gherr, but finally Ixelom did. The Trill engineer was talking to Keselowsky on the other side of the warp core, and she smiled devilishly; two birds, one stone.

"Thanks," she said quietly to Mindo, even comically rubbing her hands together. "Now get the hell out of here and relax, Mister Chief Engineer. I've got work to do, and they won't respond as well if you're here too."

Mindo grinned and turned to leave. "Go easy on them," he said. "But not too easy."

’37. 38. 39. Damn, how many spots does a Trill have?’ Brad looked down at the PADD quickly as Vaimera looked up at him. “I like what you have here Vai. Can I call you Vai? You see this right here?” He pointed at a schematic included in the report. “That’s my design. I came up with that. Yep. That’s my work.” He scrolled through the rest of the report a bit too quickly to have actually read every word. “Looks good. This gets the Keselowsky seal of approval.”

Vaimera nodded and smiled a little. "Thank you, sir. And you're not the only one to call me Vai. It's fine if you do."

“No need to call me ‘Sir’,” Keselowsky said with a smile. “Us lowly Ensigns do not get that much authority. Brad will do. Or Bradford. Or just Keselowsky. Kes even. ‘The Man’ also works well.”

"Brad, then," said Vai with a smile.

“Oh and…I do not know much about Trill social conventions, so stop me if I am wrong, but we have another Trill on board. A yeoman named Davmorda Rex. I think that means she’s Joined or whatever that’s called. We sometimes call her T-Rex, because she always seems to be on a rampage. But if Trills need to socialize with one another, then she would be your best bet.”

"Oh, thanks. I'll look into that," said Vai. She had seen the young Yeoman around, but hadn't had any interaction with her.

“Don’t look now,” Keselowsky whispered. “Here comes the shrink. She’s a Tellarite. I know how to handle them.”

The Tellarite in question approached slowly, looking around the vast chamber in apparent fascination as she walked around the warp core, before coming up to Keselowsky and Gheer.

"Hi" Ixelom said, her smile set on maximum cuteness, aided in so small part by her friendly, beady eyes.

“Well aren’t you as pretty as a hairy butt,” said Keselowsky to Ixelom in his attempt to converse as a Tellarite would.

The whole room stopped. Everyone was now staring at the obnoxious young Ensign and the ship's counselor. Keselowsky just smiled real big.

Ixelom blinked, astonished.. She looked over Keselowsky head to toe for a long moment, her gaze unashamedly lecherous, before finally smiling with unquestionably evil intent.

"Bradford, I really had no idea," she said seductively. "I've never done human before, but if you're really interested, we can go up to your quarters and make mad passionate love to one another.”

“Oh,” Keselowsky tried to form words. “No. I. But…”

“Nobody has called me ass hairy in such a long time, and I didn't know many humans knew about that custom..." Trailing off, Ixelom glanced at Tiffany from across Engineering, twisting her hands together absent-mindedly. By now the counselor's eyes were set on full adorable, oddly similar to a piglet. "Will Tiffany be joining us?" she finished demurely.

Taken aback and blushing blood red, Brad nearly tripped over nothing at all as he took a few awkward steps back. “I…no…but…Tiff…no. No! I…I think the Tellarite…I mean the teleporter may be sex…sex…sex…AH! SUSPICOUSLY acting up.” He turned quickly and marched off. “Let me just go and,” as he passed Tiffany he lowered his voice and finished with, “die in a corner somewhere.” He went to a nearby terminal and brought up a random schematic, cringing infrequently.

Tiffany was first to break the awkward silence as she busted out laughing. Everyone else gave a rather nervous laugh, trying to be polite in the impoliteness.

"Oh god," said Tiffany between breaths. "I'm sorry... I'm so so sorry!"

Carefully maintaining a disappointed look, Ixelom nevertheless winked at Tiffany before shifting her attention to Gherr.

"So how are you settling in, Vaimera?" she asked the Trill girl dourly.

"Well," said Vaimera, "It's been almost a month since I've been here, and I think I'm beginning to call this place home. This is my third assignment and I'm finding it rather easy to fit in here. Lt. Mindo, sorry... 'The Chief,' as we call him down here, has been great to work with. I've never served on a ship this small, but I'm finding the crew is a lot closer than normal, and I really like that."

Ixelom smiled. "Yeah, I do too. It's a really lovely community here. How are you finding the computer systems?"

"Easier to handle than the last ship I was on. It was an old Galaxy-class starship, so there are things the Tornado does better than that ship ever did. Have you ever served on a Galaxy-class?" asked Vaimera.

"Oh, no, this is my first assignment," Ixelom said cheerfully. She surreptitiously kept an eye on things going on behind Vaimera, already planning her next move. "I only graduated from the Academy a few months ago. I've heard that Galaxy-class ships are gorgeous places to work, though, and their diplomatic facilities are supposed to be resplendent. Are crew quarters really as big as they say?"

Vai gave a small shrug. "Mine was small compared to the senior staff, but bigger than the one I have here. I had to get rid of some of my furniture when I transferred."

"Furniture logistics: not the kind of thing they teach in the Academy," Ixelom said with a toothy grin. "So...The Chief, Bradford, Tiffany, you, and...uh...what's his name?" She looked pointedly at the Vulcan engineer laboriously examining the warp core. "Seepok? Seipok? Sin...pok?"

"That's Seepok," said Vai. "He's new here too, but he's been in Starfleet for almost seventy years!"

"Seventy years!?" Ixelom whispered, her eyes wide. "Okay, that's actually a little...um...intimidating. Do you have any advice for talking to him?"

Vai shook her head. "Not really. I haven't conversed with him much, but he seems nice... at least, in his own Vulcan way."

"I know what you mean," Ixelom said with a conspiratorial smirk. She glanced at Seepok again thoughtfully before seemingly changing her mind, instead focusing on Tiffany. "Okay Vaimera, thanks! I'll let you get back to work now, but if you ever want to chat, let me know and we can schedule a time. And I do mean anything, sweetie. Even if you just want to gossip."

Vaimera snickered at that. "I'll keep you in mind, Counselor. Thanks."

Now the squat counselor began advancing on her new target, although this time she was a little more stealthy. She walked slowly around the perimeter, looking around with apparent curiosity, before eventually coming close to Tiffany as she tapped away at one of the consoles.

"Sorry about that," Ixelom said quietly, her smile now sheepish.

Tiffany grinned again. "He had it coming, believe me," she giggled. "On his behalf, I apologize."

Unable to resist, Ixelom giggled too, the sound coming out oddly high-pitched, and she moved a hand over her mouth to try and muffle the noise.

"Not to worry, dear, he was sweet," she said quietly, still grinning toothily. "How are you two doing, anyway? It must be nice to work together."

Tiffany stepped closer to Ixelom and spoke quietly. "It can be a living hell. He's pompous, impulsive, loud, and irreverent almost all the time." She glanced at Brad, who was definitely out of earshot, then looked back at the counselor. Her face softened. "But there are the times where he's just so sweet and caring. The weird thing is, he has no idea when he's doing it. He's so worried about his own image it's nauseating. But then he slips up and says or does something and I see the real him, the bumbling sweetheart underneath. He's much more complicated than he seems. Most of the time, I want to punch him. But I have to admit, I kinda like the poor guy." Tiffany giggled. "I don't know if I'm making any sense!"

"You're making perfect sense," Ixelom whispered with a grin, watching Keselowsky at the corner of her eye to make sure he wasn't watching them in turn. "How are he and Mindo getting along? They're both such sweethearts in their own way but weren't there some problems at some point?"

Tiffany sighed. "Brad still calls him 'Little Mindy,' even to his face. But they definitely get along much better now. To be honest, they have me to thank, though I don't think they know it. The Chief is a very sweet guy underneath that hardened exterior. And he's a great boss. He doesn't tolerate insubordination from anyone to everyone. He treats us all equally, even Brad, and he's a good leader. But yes, at first he and Brad clashed a lot. Lately, though, they haven't really been in each other's faces at all. In their own ways I think they respect each other."

The counselor grinned. "That's an improvement! I really thought things were worse than that from what I've read, but their ameliorative curve is steeper than I'd expect. Thanks Tiffany!"

"No problem," said Tiffany. "How have you been, Counselor?"

Ixelom blinked, plainly surprised by the question, before her smile returned, this time notably warmer. "Do you know how few people ask that question? It's hard work, much harder work than in a hospital back home, but it's just so rewarding!"

"I've always felt that way about being a Starfleet officer," said Tiffany. "Thank you for your visit, counselor. It's good to see you again."
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