Meanwhile, in Shuttlebay 2
Location: Shuttlebay 2
In the main shuttle bay of the U.S.S. Hera, the senior staff and a selection of guests were assembling for the final preparations for the wedding of Chief Engineer, Lieutenant Commander Thex sh'Zoarhi to Ensign Tathaa. It was coming together to be quite the event, with the main shuttlebay doors scheduled to be open to provide a stunning view of space, and potentially the Bajoran Wormhole.
But even during downtime and celebration, a Starship is never fully inactive. As such, Shuttle Bay 2 sat, jammed with the extra shuttles and Runabouts that would normally be parked in the main bay. It took considerable planning on the part of the Flight Control Chief, Lieutenant Mnhei'sahe Dox, but everything was in order. Manning the bay were a few members of the flight crew that had volunteered to be on duty during the event, although the proceedings to come would be simulcast holographically for them to see.
In charge of the department was the young human woman, Ensign Barbara Ann MacNielle, who was reviewing the flight schedule with two other flight control officers. Ensign Raphael Paulson, also from Earth, and Crewman Snart. There was also an extra security presence to insure that the overfilled flight deck was operating smoothly, and so far everything was. MacNielle was a tall, lanky woman in her mid 40's with straight, shoulder-length black hair and a somewhat severe, thin face that was buried in her work PaDD, reviewing the limited flight schedule during the wedding to come.
Walking over to her duty station, Paulson had a slightly smug looking half-smirk. "Ya' Know, you aren't going to get any brownie points with Dox for putting in extra work. She gave us the schedule, all we have to do is sit here, ferry out a few type-15's and twiddle our thumbs."
Rolling her eyes, MacNielle barely looked up from her work as she responded. "Paulson, this is why you're almost never on helm duty. You don't put in the work. You don't advance if you don't put in the work. Lieutenant Dox is usually here after hours working and putting in overtime to be ahead of whatever might be needed."
Tilting his head, Paulson had a half-lidded, sarcastic expression. "You've got something on your nose there, Babs. And there's nobody here to appreciate it. Speaking of which, where's Harnell?"
Referring the missing third member of the unofficial trip of flight officers, Paulson looked around the crowded bay, as crewmembers scurried back and forth, moving cargo and running maintenance drills. MacNielle waved her PaDD in the air. "Ensign Harnell is running a sim in the flight control office right now. Lieutenant Dox has him scheduled to take Runabout 7 to a supply run through the wormhole at exactly the moment of the declaration of union at the Lieutenant Commander's wedding, to ensure that the wormhole opens to bless the union. It's really romantic, isn't it?"
The slightly older officer had a broad smile on her face as she spoke, but kept at her work, reviewing the schedule. "I'm really looking forward to the holocast."
It was at this point that Snart who had been silently listening from the dock control board chimed in.
“So since Gonadie and Dox are canoodling, how long do you figure until we’re doing this again for the two of them?” Snart asked casually, even as the Security officer on duty bristled.
“It is improper to speculate on the relationships of officers, and less so when one is enlisted. You should watch your tongue and not engage in scuttlebutt.” The stoic Amazonian Klingon security officer said frostily, although why Security was being defensive of the flight control chief wasn’t quite clear.
Looking up, slightly surprised at the interjection, MacNielle nevertheless smiled. Then she looked over to Crewman Snart. "What Petty Officer V'Nus said. The Chiefs are professionals on duty, and any relationship beyond that is not our business. Or should I expect you to be chittering about me if I started seeing someone?"
With a smug smirk, Paulson replied. "You? Probably not. You'd have to pull yourself out of that PaDD long enough to actual meet someone." Then he crossed his arms in an exaggerated manner as he paused for a second. "But if that ever happens, yes. Yes, we will absolutely be talking all about it."
Then the young pilot looked up at the thickly built Klingon security officer. "What else are we supposed to do around here when Dox does half the work herself?"
Looking down at the smug young officer with a mixture of surprise and disdain, the Klingon answered. “Respect the rank, respect the position, sir. Look for ways to be helpful. Strive to better the unit, the starship, the fleet. Do not engage in casual speculation and scuttlebutt, because it may very well make its way back to the Lieutenant, who might not be so forgiving. Sir,” the tall and stout Klingon officer replied, as Snart unsuccessfully stifled a snicker.
Following up V'Nus' comment, MacNielle added. "And wasn't it just yesterday that you were complaining that the Lieutenant assigns out too much work? And she's right. Ensign Hovind is still on probationary duty after he thought he could mansplain her job to her."
“Hovind is a toolbag that leaks coolant,” Snart chimed in. “He’s lucky it was only the Lieutenant he mouthed off to. If the Captain or the Commander had gotten wind of him, he might be scraping paint off the hull without an EVA suit.”
“Still not our place. Respect the rank, crewman,” the petty officer fairly snarled, irritated that she had to reinforce this lesson to those who were clearly fleeters long before she had arrived, yet were clearly lacking in discipline.
With his mouth still slightly agape from a snarky follow up he had wanted to express after Snart's last comment, Paulson instead decided it was best to not poke this particular proverbial bear.
As he stood, fidgeting, MacNielle instead looked over to the tall Security officer. "If I may, you're one of the recent additions to Commander Paris' security team, right? Have you been enjoying your time on the Hera so far?"
“I am new to the Hera, yes. There is honor in duty, and I serve my duty with honor,” the Klingon woman replied, then she smiled. “This ship… is exciting. The Commander does not view us as disposable assets. She sets a high standard, and while she makes her wishes plainly known, she encourages us to think for ourselves while obeying orders. It is… a far better assignment than my sister and I had hoped for in our first fleet assignment.”
“Also, your Lieutenant Dox is quite the quvwl. I accompanied her on an expedition to the station, and she is smart, capable and dedicated. She brings honor to her position, and comports herself as one would hope of an officer.” V'Nus did not comment on present company, instead choosing to voice her observations of the chief flight control officer
Slightly embarrassed, MacNielle knitted her eyebrows for a second. "I apologize. I know Lieutenant Dox speaks Klingon, but I'm lost. What's 'quvwl' mean?"
That got her an upraised eyebrow. “Does she? I had no idea- I know she curses fluently in Romulan, but have yet to hear her speak a word of my mother tongue. Quvwl is ‘an honorable personage’.”
Smiling slightly, MacNielle replied. "Yeah. Well, it's in her personnel file anyway, but I've never heard her say anything either." Then she tilted her head as she chuckled a bit. "So, wait. She's cursing in Romulan? So that's what she's been saying. So, do you speak Romulan?"
MacNielle was genuinely curious now and somewhat enthralled as Snart and Paulson listened on, seeming bored.
“Only the dirty words,” the security officer answered with a sharp-toothed smile. “You read the personnel files of your superior officers… that is smart. Knowing under whom you serve is important, and their deeds and recognitions can inspire those beneath them. Unless you are seeking weaknesses in your commanders…?” the Klingon warrior turned Starfleet Security asked, raising an eyebrow as a growl entered her voice. Clearly, she was defensive of the chain of command.
Slightly taken aback, MacNielle stammered a little, Intimidated. "Um... Uh... No... No, not at all. I just didn't want to say anything stupid on duty that could've been answered that way, is all."
“Of course, Ensign. That is not the Starfleet way, no? Here we support one another mutually and we seek to support our commanders, not supplant them. This was made very clear to us in training,” The sturdy security staffer explained, backing away from potentially insulting the young officer.
“You got guts, Petty Officer,” Crewman Snart expressed.
“If that is your way to say I have courage and conviction, then I thank you, shipmate. I will honor my house in service, and I will honor my ship in word and deed. I will honor my shipmates with my actions. Is this not the goal of all Starfleet personnel?” The Klingon warrior cocked her head quizzically.
"Well, that's the idea, but I think MacNielle here read the file because she heard that that's what Dox did with half the crew when she came on board." Paulson's jovial tone was taking on a somewhat more confrontational one as he spoke.
The Klingon woman’s eyes narrowed slightly. “There is no dishonor in following the examples of the superior officers, unless they act with dishonor. Why is this something you sneer at so, Ensign?” While there was curiosity in her voice, and her eyes continued scanning the area, ever vigilant, the security officer was clearly rising to the challenge. “Do you find dishonor in the ensign’s actions? Or the Lieutenant’s?”
Realizing he had stepped In it, Paulson tried to backpedal, being stared down by the imposing Klingon security officer. "Um... Dishonorable? No. It's just..."
He trailed off a bit but MacNielle chimed in to cut him off, irritated. "Oh, just say it Raphael. You think I'm brown-nosing by trying to do my job as well as I can."
Rolling his eyes, Paulson just gave up. "Look, I'm sorry. No, okay. I didn't mean to. Sorry." What it lacked in sincerity, it made up for in frustration.
"Yeahhhhh, thinking you and me should maybe inspect the perimeter, big girl? Give the officers a little time amongst themselves away from providing sterling examples of Starfleet for we enlisted crew." His delivery was snarky and snappy, but Snart still managed to get his point across by getting the Klingon warrior's attention. "Whattya say, Petty Officer...?"
Looking between the officers, the ridge-headed rumbler nodded toward the flight deck crewman. "Petty Officer Third Class V'Nus Wil'I'ms. Yes. This is a sound strategy you propose, let us do this thing. Sirs," With a curt nod to the two flight officers, the somewhat intimidating security officer stepped off with the humanoid with the short-cropped grey hair.
"The traditional naval nomenclature for enlisted working on the flight deck is 'deck ape'. D'ja know that?" Snart struck up a conversation as the duo stepped off to secure the perimeter.
Watching as the two walked off, Paulson knitted his eyebrows indignantly. "Seriously, Snart started all this talking about Dox and Gonadie 'canoodling', but suddenly we're unprofessional?"
MacNielle looked at her fellow ensign with a mix of disgust and embarrassment at both his behavior and her own poor reactions. "Oh, shut up, Raphael."
"Now you too? What is this, dump on Paulson day? Augh," the ensign grunted in frustration and got up to storm off.
"Where are you going?" MacNielle called after the other officer on duty.
"I'm going to the reclamator, you wanna hold my hand?"