Out in the Cold
Posted on Fri Jun 19th, 2020 @ 6:51pm by Ensign Briaar Gavarus & Ensign Fiona O'Dell & Petty Officer 2nd Class 'Big Ethel' Jablonski & Crewman Sharonne Washington
Edited on on Sat Jun 20th, 2020 @ 10:21pm
Heart and Soul
Location: Holodeck two, Ten-Forward
The wind was blowing hard and extremely cold on the snowy mountain peak as two shapes slowly and inexorably worked their way across the frozen tundra of Andor, the moon that was the home to one of the four founder races of the United Federation of Planets, the Andorians.
Or, at the very least, an extremely reasonable facsimile on the Holodeck of the U.S.S. Hera.
The two figures, one quite large and the other more than a little diminutive, were Ensigns Fiona O'Dell and Briaar Gavarus. The engineer and test pilot of the R&D department were clad in what appeared to be customizable EVA Armor that was beginning to frost over from the extreme cold.
"Damn, Fee. The heads up display in my helmet is reading… negative 33 degrees Celsius and DROPPING. I knew it got cold on Thex's planet, but this is nuts." The two-meter tall Tellarite engineer said as she hunched over a little to block the wind a bit. "But the suit seals are holding and… I can feel it a little bit so far so good. How are you doing?"
"Well, I've got the internal heaters cranked oop, and it looks like they're already strainin," came the somewhat labored reply from the midget Mariposan, who was hiking twice as fast to keep up with the tall Tellarite. But of course, she was still doing her job as she did so- finding the problems in advance of future pilots in similar circumstances, to anticipate their needs and provide for them. It was what had started the R&D department, and now that they were branching out beyond experimental spacecraft, Fiona O'Dell was determined to accomplish the same degree of excellence she had put into the Hera's flight designs.
After all, she and her porcine partner might just end up in one of these, and the work she did today would be employed by Starfleet moving forward. So that meant little Minnie might someday benefit from her labors today, assuming their daughter joined Starfleet, as it seemed was a foregone conclusion to both of them, and that gave the diminutive daredevil a bit more will to press on in the cold. "Me fingers and toes are me primary concerns, and the suit seems to bed strugglin to keep 'em warm, as they are the furthest from the heart. So I might recommend some larger insulating boots and glove cvevers for the EVA suits to start with, maybe with their own independent power sources for additional heating. Maybe an internal heater for the faceplate, because the wind and snow keep coverin it oop. I know Commander Peek-at-me-arse is g'win to complain if she has to rely on suit scanners alone to see what's goin on, and flyin blind on instruments is a scary thing when it's one foot in front of the other."
"Yeah... good idea. I can barely see my wrist computer buttons in this shit ass wind. Thanks." Gavarus said as she called up the heads up display in her helmet, and with the aforementioned wrist controls, started re-engineering the suit designs right there.
"Okay... so, with the strength enhancers, we can easily increase the weight on the gauntlets and shinguards to add battery packs. We don't want to RELY on forcefields for everything, so I'm thinking an insulated coil system in the gloved and boots to keep the digits warmer and an extra layer... no... two layers of that super-thin polymer under the armor plating to block the cold a bit." The portly porcine muttered as she worked Fiona's ideas into the working 3-D schematic in her heads up display.
"Aye I like the sound'a that, just let's make sure the heat stays internal. As cold as it is, we dinna want anything meltin then freezin on the armor to decrease mobility. Maybe some sorts oil polymer coating on the external surfaces to make sure nothin builds oop?" Fiona, as always spitballed the ideas even as Gavarus interpreted how it might or might not work- thus one of the basis of their partnership as experimental researchers.
"Oooh, yeah. Good idea. We have that polymer coating we use on the joints of the Banshee to keep it from icing up in space or when entering an atmosphere. I swear, other Engineers may gimmie crap for using oils and greases, but I swear by them. Gimmie something tactile that won't fail just because of a power hiccup any frickin' day. Awesome idea, Fee. Annnnd... okay. Transparent aluminum mono-filament grid built into the faceplate to defog it and keep it from icing over." came the gruff voice of the Tellarite engineer over their comm frequency. "Annnnnd... implement revisions."
With the press of a button, the suits they were wearing, which were a part of the simulation, shimmered and updated themselves. The wrist gauntlets and boots got a bit larger, with a bit more mass, but as predicted the suit's strength enhancements kicked in to compensate. "How's that feel, Fee?"
Reaching for the phaser clipped to her belt, Fiona struggled with it a bit, but managed to get it out, get the power and beam setting adjusted to her liking, then she pointed and vaporized a nearby snowbank. Turning back to her porcine partner, Fiona gave a thumbs up. "I kin see, and I kin still work a phaser. So that means joost aboot any Starfleet equipment should still be workable in the bigger gauntlets, so winner."
"Alreet, noow that we're less worried aboot frostbite takin oot me wee fingers and toes, let's address fatigue. Between the winds and ploddin through snow up to me waist, I'd get tired fast. Maybe run the oxygen mix a little richer to compensate. Meanwhile, I need some skis or snow shoes or somethin to get me on top of the snow instead of pooshin through it. Even a boogie board would help in the right situation... what do ye think, Briaar?"
"Hmmm..." Gavarus pondered, going to scratch her chin out of habit and clinking on the glass lightly, which gave her a bit of a chuckle. "Yeah. Totally. Let me... hmmm."
Reaching around to her back where the currently larger power pack was located, the tubby Tellarite found the flexibility of the arms with the current armor a bit limiting. "Okay... we could make them something replicable, but screw that. Too much can go wrong. So... something that can be magnetized to the armor but out of the way normally and not too heavy."
"Computer... project a touch screen drawing surface in front of me. I need to doodle. And... ya' know... pause the crazy weather until I say so." Briaar said as, with a chirrup, the wind slowed to a halt and a holographic screen not unlike a whiteboard appeared in the air in front of her. "Okay... so... something that can... double as snowshoes and maybe... even like a boogie board."
As she spoke, she started doodling with her finger on the holographic surface. As she did, she muttered to the computer. "Okay... Computer. Extrapolate from the drawing. Two, connectible planks, 5-degree incline on the front, and rear edges as shown in the drawing. With magnetic boot interlocks here... and... retractible cleats. Use... use that poly-alloy we're using for the interior plating on the cockpit of the Banshee that's frost resistant. Black for now. Magnetic link in the center. Maglock fasteners here... and here. And. Close screen and render at 35 poooooooint 5 centimeters long."
A few seconds later, with a chirrup, the drawing pad vanished and what appeared to be a long, wide shovelhead appeared in the air between the two Ensigns and fell, flumping in the snow before them. With a grunt, the pudgy porcine bent over, picked it up and wiped the snow off of it. "Sweet. Okay, check this shit out. Your idea, but two in one. Right now, It can be used like a small boogie board or a kneeboard. You can slide on it and it will maglock to your suit's kneepads. Slide the two sides apart like this..."
As she spoke, Gavarus pulled up on one side and down on the other and the two sides separated. "... and they can be mag-locked to the sides of your thigh armor for out of the way storage. Then, slap them on your feet, the cleats will pop out and WALL-A, snowshoes. Try 'em out."
"Fook yeh, lookit me clever engineer!" The leprechaun's eyes were alight as she first strapped the pods to her thigh armor, waddling around in the snow for a moment to get a feel for them. "Aye, wi' the concave forward they dinna hinder ye in the snow. Alreet, field test.... they go back together..."
Taking the two halves off the thigh mounts and once again bringing them together, the picayune pilot figured out the clasp, snapped them together, then looked for the lock button. "When they're engaged together like this make the button pulse on a one second timer, to alert them to lock it doown," Fiona reported absently, knowing Briaar was taking notes. Once it was together, O'Dell set the board down in the snow, then knelt beside it, sliding it experimentally across the snow.
"Alreet, that outer plating will let 'er slide right nice, but the problem's g'win ta be sloowin doown, stoppin or wishing ye hadnae gone over that cliff. These're still hollow, so there's room in ''em for survival gear if we're judicious, y'ken?" Picking up the board, O'Dell tapped at the aft of the conveyance. "Maybe a piton launcher that'll slam into somethin solid, a hundred meters of line and a winch wi' enow power to pull, say 600 kilos?"
Looking at where O'Dell was tapping, Briar visualized the physics and winced slightly. "Piton, yes. But... the suit has a strong enough structure. If we put the piton on the sled thingy, it will stop and you'll either go flying or hurt your knees or something. I can..."
"Computer. Let's see a... 12 centimeter long cylindrical piton launcher... 100 meter cable... powered winch with a 600 k capacity, mounted on the rear of the lower back of the armor casing riiiiight... here. Thick as it needs to be to cover the mechanics and cable." Pointing to Fiona's lower back just under the rear of the armor immediately above the small of her back. "Gimmie my drawing board back."
With a chirrup, the floating screen reappeared and the excited engineer starting talking while she doodles. "Okay, check this out, Fee. We miniaturize the cylinder casing design from the grappler component on file for the manual recovery winches on the flight deck. Add a flexible spinal support from the rear armor to the hip armor with... this kind of segmented telescoping spine up the back. We fill the segments with the same non-freezing gel we use as shock absorbers in the legs of the Banshee and the Chicken and this way... when it stops you at speed, you've got max support."
"And we link the piton to the suit's tricorder and active area scanner so it doesn't shoot through the LC or puncture a giant boob or something. The suit's onboard can do an emergency area scan and aim and fire the piton under the right circumstances automatically, even." Gavarus said with a smile. "What'cha think?"
"I think it's bloody brilliant, and less likely to have an 'identify friend or foe' factor. Aye, put it in. On that note, lessee here.... still need some brakes on this thing though, because tis unlikely innyone involved is big on winter sports. Oi, that's one, retractable skates in the booties, because they're defensive blades as well if yuir g'wqin ta be eaten. Which we'll circle back to. So, brakes for the board or the skis.... maybe... fook, I got nothin, but we canna joost send 'em pell mell doown the moutain wi' no way to stop is all."
"Hmmm... yeah. Maybe... drag flaps on the backpack or..." Briaar was running a blank on anything related to skiing as she looked over Fiona's armor and the board itself. "Well, we don't want to be completely dependent on powered stuff, but we could work a... kind of reverse tractor. Maybe some kind of force pushback like we're developing for Minnie's Boffer Belt. That could provide some breaking force."
"We could design the little retractable cleats to be like little fins in the snow that can turn. Make them duranium and they should hold up to breaking force, or at least slow momentum down. But... how do... like skiers... OOH!" The portly porcine perked up. "We could also... put retractable stick thingies..."
Holding up her own arm, she patted the underside of her own wrist guard. "Right here, on the L-C's customized armor, she's got that big ninja staff thingy that extends so she can whoop on people. What if on each arm, we mount two handles that extend into those ski pole thingies that help you steer and shit? Make 'em with little lanyards to the wrists so you don't lose em?"
"Aye, and a parachute. Because if it dinna have one it needs one. Cleats- aye, there like toe spikes for climbin, aye? We should make sure they have those too. Maybe one a'them launchers on the back of the left wrist with the comm unit? Kin ye tell I'm worried aboot fallin? Ach, and what're we g'win ta go-" O'Dell's eye lit up and she jumped up and down excitedly. "A bubble! Like an airbag, a deployable system so's if yuir in an avalanche or something, once the gyros figure it out, floomf! or if ye go over a cliff or whativvir! A, ah, a survival sphere...?"
It was clear that the inventive miunds of the two misfits of science were on a roll now, as the ideas were coming faster than the eager engineer could get them designed and installed in their holographic prototypes.
After a few more minutes of back and forth brainstorming and tinkering, the projected suits had been updated with parachutes, cleated toes and gauntlet hooks for climbing, a deployable exoshell for avalanches queued into the suit's sensors, retractable ski poles, pitons and everything of which the pair could conceive. Creative problem solving was where they shined the most as a team, and they clearly enjoyed it, even under the extreme, albeit simulated, weather.
"Okay. Computer, resume weather." Gavarus said as, seconds later, the pair got slammed with the intense wine that staggered them both a bit from the force. "We got these add-ons and the suits aren't overloaded yet. The computer was programmed to give us shit to deal with like the away team might have to actually face on this mission. Wanna keep going down the hillside and see what else we need?"
"Aye," Fiona replied, gesturing down the hillside and beginning to walk that way. "Let's see what the local simulated weather conditions offer us before we start playin pattycake with the local-"
That was a when a roaring, ragged screech was heard, and out of the whiteness a gigantic rhemoraz, an insectoid polar worm a full dozen meters log, reared up out of the ice and snow to open it's segmented mouth and roar at the duo.
"....wildlife. Phasers y'ken?" Fiona asked, trying to sound calm but still clearly rattled by the sudden appearance of the Andorian monstrosity.
"SQUUUUUUEEEEEEE!!!!!!!! For her part, Briaar Gavarus wasn't particularly good at 'calm', and let out a loud and ear-piercingly porcine squeal as she leapt in surprise, stumbling onto her back in the snow.
"Gyaaagh!!!! What the effin' F***!?! Stupid... frickin'... Holodeck trying to make me test the crapper in this suit EVERY damn time!!!" Gavarus said, embarrassed at her initial reaction to the creature, in spite of the holodeck safeties being fully engaged, as she staggered to her feet and drew the phaser off of her hip. "I can't hit a frickin' thing with these things. Even with a wide beam setting."
"Aye, well, that's what yuir HUD is for, mate. Use it to triangulate the shot... if yon beastie'd hold still, at least," Fiona muttered as she was having trouble following her own directions. In a starship she could pilot it through the narrowest of openings at tremendous speed, and using the weapons systems made her look like a great shot. But here in the snow, in armor, with a hand-held weapon, O'Dell was no gunslinger to be sure.
Then, standing behind but leaning slightly over O'Dell, both intrepid inventors opened fire on the roaring beast that loomed over them both. The wide beam of the phasers blanketed the rhemoraz with a golden-red glow as it seemed to inexplicably be... enjoying the sensation as it stretched as broadly as it could, exposing itself to the full beam.
"Bloody thing is showering in the phaser beam. Crank it opp a few notches, aye?" O'Dell said with an exasperated tone as both women increased the power to their weapons.
The reaction was unexpected, to say the least, as the creature began to writhe and contort, but as it let out a strange moan, both women realized it clearly wasn't in pain.
"Ah jaysis, I think he's sexually excited noow... crank it oop a bit. Hey computer, gimme one of those big honkin rifles the Security team uses," Fiona called out, then practically fell over in the snow as the weapon materialized in her hand. "Christ, this thing weighs a ton! Alreet, lessee here.... autofire, check, burst, check, rubber bullets, alreet..."
With all of that said, O'Dell managed to rip off three quick bursts of autofire, the rounds spraying wildly and not hitting the fearsome creature. Instead, in the distance, the echoes of the gunshots began a rumbling reverberation that both women picked up on.
"Aye, most likely."
"Time to test the security sphere feature?"
They reached for one another's hands, but the sudden onslaught of cascading snow and boulders pouring down the mountainside like a solid turned semi-liquid again swept them apart, as to be expected in such a cataclysm.
The instant they began to tumble, the sensors in their simulated suits recognized the danger and with a decidedly pronounced 'FLOOMP' sound that resonated above the thunderous din of the avalanche, the twin inflatable security spheres deployed and surrounded both women in a large, bright orange ball.
Immediately, both spheres were caught up in the flow of devastation as within, Gavarus began to roll end over end, her back fixed to the inside of the sphere. "GYAAAAGH!!!!"
"NOTE... TO... SELF!!! ADD... GYRO... STABILIZA...BLERRRRRRGGGHHHH!!!!!" She yelled to herself, curling up as tight as her rotund frame would allow within the sphere, trying and eventually failing to not vomit in her helmet as she rolled blindly down the mountain.
"Nah, better to let it ride. But maybe have the medical suite inject an anti-nausea at the same time for those of ye nae used to sooch things," Fiona replied once they had stopped moving. Taking the suit readings, she was close to the surface, so she collapsed the bubble, crawled up onto the new snowbank and scanned for her porcine partner, who had been scattered nearly two hundred meters to the southwest of her position. Strapping on the skis and poles, the lightweight lass began making her way to where her nauseous engineer waiting, buried in the snow as the vacuum in her helmet began clearing her mess so that she did not aspirate in her own helmet.
"Joost take it easy, Briaar, I'm comin for ye, aye?" While it wouldn't help Briaar calm down in the least,. knowing Fiona was alright and moving would at least keep her from panicking. After all, she was protective of her diminutive dame, which Fiona both acknowledged and appreciated. In this case, simply letting the big pig know she was okay would keep that anxiety from flaring up while she was marinating in her breakfast omelette.
As Briaar's bubble opened and retracted back into its housing, the much heavier Tellarite found herself at the bottom of a somewhat deeper crevice of snow made when her sphere settled. "Ughhh... this succccks. Just once, Fee. Just once I want to get in one of these frickin' suits and not purge from at least ONE frickin' orifice. What the hell."
The portly porcine lay prone on her back at the bottom of the snow waiting for Fiona to show up, but in truth, her tiny ginger partner knew full well that if Gavarus was griping, she was fundamentally okay. "At least... ugh... we're getting good data, right?"
"Aye! We're havin; ourselves an awful adventure. because that's our job, aye? To go oot and see what all's involved in gettin in over our heads like this. See, we do alla this so's the crew'll be prepared when they're in the thick of it like this. That's what bein' a test pilot's all aboot!" Fiona chirpily declared as she unsteadily skiid down the fresh snow of the avalanche, homing in on her partner's EVA suit's signal.
"Ooh, how are you this chipper? Hey, will you have a little barrel of booze on you like one of those dogs in the old cartoon holos?" Gavarus muttered, chuckling a little. "Ooh. Maybe I should design a flask into the suits."
"Alreet, turns oot ye kin use the onboard scanners an' computer to plot courses an' trajectories, so her we go.... hup!" With that said, Fiona O'Dell rode her skis off the side of the crevasse, tucking them behind her as the piton in her backpack fired, targeting on the fly from the onboard computer, as Gavarus had designed it to. As she fell, the scanners indicated the distance to the bottom, and the winch on her back whined until it brought her to a halt. The tips of her R&D blue skis were a dozen centimeters from the crested belly of her paunchy partner in peril. Grinning like a lunatic, O'Dell poked her bestie with the tip of her ski.
"Oi, rise and shine, yuir rescued!" O'Dell chirped, then retracted her helmet. The look in her eyes took about a second to go from cheerful mischief to panicked horror as she snapped the helmet back into place and cranked up the suit's heaters. "HAHHHHH SWEET MOTHERA MARY that was c-c-cold! Hoods! Masks! All available but retracted, cuz if the helmet fails some of us'll freeze to death right quick. I took one breath and I got brain freeze..."
"Hoods... and masks. good idea." Gavarus groaned as she slowly sat up and looked around for a second. Then, out of morbid curiosity, she retracted her own helmet and gasped for a second, holding her own breath. A couple of seconds later, she pulled it back over. "Y... yup. I'm... way thicker than you and... yeah... that sucked. Thermal netting in the mask for sure."
Raising her suits heat up, a bit, Gavarus tried to think about the engineering issues to distract herself for a second. "Okay... uhhh... new problem, Fee. The WINCH is strong enough to pull us both out, but... hmmm..."
"We... probably need some kind of emergency harness or line from one suit that can attach to another suit or... something. Some kind of rescue harness where the winch on your suit is doing all the pulling so your hands are free. Whadda ya think?"
"Gravity magnets in the palms of the gloves to offer a great grip regardless of grip strength," Fiona somewhat mumbled as she flipped through the suit's manual in her HUD, comparing the possibilities of her suit in such a crisis. "Says here the suits can boost strength up to three times, but that still wouldnae let me lift you. Hmmmm... maybe an ab mounted net deployment, like cargo netting? Might serve a number of purposes, but if it's anchored to the suit, that could let you hands-free the winch for a lot, aye?"
"Yeah. That could work." Gavarus said as she tried to scamper to her feet before lumping back into the snow. "Well... in theory... I might not be able to help you in an emergency, so it would have to work if I was just layin' here."
"Okay. What if the cargo netting has ends that can lock to the suit with... not magnetically. That would take too much power from the other suit systems to be strong enough." Gavarus muttered to herself as she tried to suss out the problem in her head. "OOOOH!!!! Hold on! I just remembered something. Hold on."
Calling up her own HUD, Gavarus began rifling through the ship's scientific library for a second. "We make the net STICKY! Not with, like, an adhesive or glue, buuuutttt, with Carbon nanotubes. They are microscopically fine and can line the interior of the netting surface can hold a LOT of weight with enough surface area. It uses what are called... how do you say that? van der Waals interactions. Like MOLECULAR surface tension that will hold fast if it's being pulled but can just be peeled off like tape when the person is rescued. It's... it would be like a big ass SPIDER'S web you could shoot out, Fee!"
"Fook yeah, and it wouldn't be affected by the ambient humidity of the snow and sooch, would do exactly what we need it to and might come in right handier! Briaar, yuir a genius! O'Dell poked her inventive engineer playfully with a ski as she dangled there, giving the Tellarite time to rough out what she wanted to design for the computer to upload and test. Once she had stopped tapping, she nodded to the diminutive daredevil, who then eyed the new canister on her stomach. Activating it, a 'cargo net; of reinforced interwoven net of carbon nanotubes spilled out over Briaar Gavarus.
"So how do we get it disengaged I guess is the question, cuz I'm feeling confident the web will hold ye- ah,Web deployment system, aye, that's a good name for it," Ever the innovator, the test pilot was always looking for a catchy name for a ship or system, to help it catch on with users.
As Fiona began having the winch slowly pull them up, there was a minor groan for a moment and the simulated rig was slow to start, hoisting at the very real 200 plus kilograms of combined Ensigns, but within a couple of seconds, they were slowly ascending up the snowy embankment.
"Oi, there ye go! Initial field test of the winch is a success!" Fiona remarked as Gavarus recorded the result. "Let's run like a thousand simulations and see what the fail rate is, see if we need to replace the winch or the cable, aye? Chief'll like the round number."
As small drifts from the top of the crevice fell back in on them, little more than a minor irritation, Gavarus pondered the question as she dangled underneath Fiona's legs. "This is SOOO weird, heh. Anyway, the surface tension pulling sideways is what's keeping me stuck. It would take a few minutes, but we SHOULD be able to peel the netting off slowly. Still... that's a pain in the ass, especially in the field."
"Hey, the stuff sticks with a molecular electrostatic charge. I wonder if the armor can be given a reverse charge to REPEL the netting?" As she asked, she worked out the science on her HUD. And after a long few moments, O'Dell's dorsal-mounted winch brought them to the top of the crevasse, where they were able to then use the suit's strength enhancements to more easily pull themselves back to more solid footing on the top snow, now settled after the avalanche.
"Okay. This shouldn't even touch the suit's batteries really. Let's try it." Gavarus said as she tapped a button on her wrist-mounted control and with a faint buzz, the netting stuck fast to her came loose enough to be more easily pulled off. "Hot DAMN, it works! Frickin' sweet!"
Standing up and stretching her back out, which made her prodigious paunch pooch out significantly, Gavarus looked around at the windblown virtual snowscape. ""Well... I guess we better get the rest of this checklist taken care of, so we can get out of here and get a drink...Or ten."
With the sticky web still attached to her torso, O'Dell struggled to stand. "Aye.... alreet, so either this needs to retract like spaghetti, which we dinna design it to do, or it needs to have an easy unbuckle/detach, somethin manual as well as powered I'm thinkin, like a latch ye grab here, and poosh doown... aye, like that..."
As she improvised and adapted to what was needed, the test pilot relayed it to the engineer, who made the changes on the fly with the equipment they were using. The odd couple were a very far cry from those astronauts of old, and their craft was a far more fluid one, as they went from concept to production practically immediately. With the webbing ejector discarded, in the same manner one would in the field, the midget Mariposian and the towering Tellarite trudged on through the extreme snow, wind, and bitter cold, testing each of the suit's capabilities, and determining the suit's drawbacks.
Walls of ice inspired climbing treads in the gauntlets and boots. Permafrosted stones covering a cave led to glove mounted phaser cutting tools to be refined. Whiteout blizzard conditions lead to boosting the signal to produce enhanced sensor capabilities. A clever turn had Gavarus using the suit's systems as a mobile Transporter signal enhancer to enhance the success possibilities of emergency beam-outs.
One challenge after another, and after a time the programmed modifications for the powered EVA suits that the crew of the Hera would be using for their upcoming mission of exploration to the icy moon of Andor were saved and ready for immediate real-world fabrication.
As for the two R&D Ensigns, they were exhausted, cold, bruised, and battered. Yet both carried themselves with pride. They endured what they had to protect the rest of the crew from those dangers. The bruises they carried were scars of battle, earned challenging the very forces that would challenge the crew. Bravely they had sallied forth to face whatever obstacles the computer could toss at them on the list of 'Top 20 Danger of Exploring Andor'.
And VERY ready for that aforementiond drink.
"Hey, c'mon! Where's our damn drinks, already!? Don't make me have to flag you down again!" Gavarus yelled from the raised table she sat at with Fiona in the Hera's lounge, lowering her voice as she chuckled to her pint-sized partner. "Seriously. I don't think I could wave my arm again. That was a hell of a day. My frickin TAIL is sore."
"Ach, I forget yuir nae used to field work, me darlin," O'Dell patted the thick three-fingered hand of the rough-skinned alien. "But tis alreet, we made it, we're warm and cozy and Mrs. Dox said we dinna hafta pick Minnie oop til six. How aboot that, eh? We even get an hour anna half after work to ourselves wi' this dealio. I am likin' what the chief's set oop for us here in the middle of alla this Staarfleet stoof. Our own weird little family unit, aye? Complete wi' babysitter no one this side'a Mary Poppins would cross."
"AN FOR FOOKSAKES WHERE'S ME PINT? Tisnae hard, fookit I'll go do it meself," O'Dell was in the process of scrambling off her barstool when the waitress arrived.
"Keep your short pants on, I'm here," the waitress snapped, then began unloading a rather loaded tray onto the table, declaring it as she set it down. "Okay, nachos, large, loaded. Jalapeno poppers, better be hot. Natty Ice, bottle. Make it two, save yourself the trip. Shot of Saurian brandy. Pint of Guinness. Side of black and tan in case you're feeling peckish. Glass of water for each, with straws because by the time you need the water you need a straw not to wear it. What, I gotta kill somebody for some popcorn around here, maybe a pretzel? I gotta kill somebody for some peanuts maybe?"
As she set the bowl of peanuts down on the high-top table, the bisected black and white beauty who had just sassily laid out any and everything they could possibly ask for, she raised her eyebrows up into her blonde bangs and looked at them expectantly.
Looking the tray over with a raised eyebrow, Gavarus was doing her level best to put on her best impression of their stern, Romulan babysitter and R&D Teammate, Jaeih Dox. But the mock indignation only lasted a second before she smirked and took a big swig of her first bottle of beer. "What? No mustard cheese sauce for the pretzel?"
"Are you kidding me with this? Okay, so the staff over here made me a bet. That you two aren't just impossible to please, but that you're contrary. So we used the computer to predict an order that would encompass everything you ever order in an initial order from the bar. Comprehensive, from a thinking machine smarter than you two." The black and white beauty snickered.
"You bust people's chops, and for what? Because they're in a lower station than you? That's not the Federation way, and that's not legal. We're filing a formal complaint against you two." The beautician cum bartendress stood defiantly as she spoke, chin up, as the staff of 10-Forward came to stand behind her in unison.
The diminutive O'Dell gulped rather loudly.
Almost dropping her beer, Gavarus' jaw fell open, and for a rare moment, the portly porcine was legitimately speechless.
At least for a moment. "Uh... I... uh... wait, what?! For what? You're pissed that I made a joke after you came out with all of this busting OUR chops with all that, 'What, I gotta kill someone for peanuts" stuff?
"You were b... busting our chops right back? We mess around, you guys mess around b... back." The temperamental Tellarite protested, legitimately upset as her cheeks went flush. But instead of trying to apologize, she defaulted to her people's argumentative nature and dug in instead while her nervous stutter kicked in.
"No, we're really not, the binary beautician smirked, a mirthless smile. "Being abusive to the wait staff may be fun and games for you two, but it's bullying, and it's illegal, and we don't have to put up with it on a Federation starship. The civilian services staff has put it to a vote, and with mine it's unanimous. You're banned from 10-Forward from this point forward."
The color drained from both women's faces as stunned silence rigned for all of five seconds, then both of them began to argue.
"Noow that's a bit extrreme doncha think-"
"Heyy, we got rights, you can't just-"
Which was when Petty Officer Jablonski, the good-natured mass of muscle who was often found taking duty shifts in 10-Forward, who was friends to both women, who stepped in apologetically. "They're in the right here, and if they kick you out, you're out girls. I'm sorry about this but you kinda made your own bed here. Now c'mon, just leave on your own, don't make me haul you outta here. Have some dignity, okay?"
At that, O'Dell looked to Gavarus with sad eyes. While they knew their escapades made them less than popular with the wait staff, they never dreamed it would come to this. Heroes facing the unknown, bruised, and battered for the betterment of the crew, now they were being thrown out of the only pub on the ship, and it had become a dark day indeed. Grabbing her Guinness, O'Dell gulped down perhaps half the contents of the glass- more than enough to leave her absolutely smashed- and with a wave of her hand encouraged Briaar Gavarus to do the same.
Standing there, Briar wasn't sad, she was angry. Angry at the entire staff of Ten-Forward for purposefully setting them up to make this happen. Angry at Ethel for not caring about any of it. Angry at the entire ship for deciding that Fiona literally saving all of their lives meant nothing. Angry at herself for getting her pint-sized partner banned from the one place on the ship she liked going because she didn't know how to act.
Picking up her own glass, she looked at it a second and seriously considered throwing the entire tray off of the table. Setting it back down without touching it, she looked at Jablonski with cold anger and hurt feeling that she didn't like having to process as she walked around the mountain of muscle to follow the diminutive O'Dell. "Yeah. Whatever. We're leaving petty officer. Everyone have a great night. Through an effing party. You finally got RID of us."
"C'mon, Briaar," O'Dell said, firmly taking the larger woman's hand in her own and taking the lead. "We'll nae darken the door of this pub again. If we're sooch terrible patrons then we'll find someplace else to do our drinkin." Already a plan was being formned in the mind of O'Dell, who could see how much the rejection from the 10-Forward staff had hurt her partner. O'Dell had expected it long ago, and today was a surprise, but not an unexpected one. But it seemed that way for Briaar, and when her big girl was wounded, Fiona moved to action.
Fiona muttered under her breath as they departed the lounge, their shame on display for the early crowd. "Start our own fookin pub and show the lot of ye how tis done..."