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The Sins of Cadets

Posted on 17 Jan 2016 @ 11:49am by Ensign Kelly Khan & Ensign Quinn Mackie

Mission: Rude Awakening
Location: Recreation
Timeline: Sometime in the Past

The moment Kelly got off duty, she headed back to the tiny quarters that she shared with another cadet. Pulling her wavy brunette hair out of the braid she had it in while on duty, she checked to see if the sonic shower was in use before she ducked in to get clean of the day's buildup of particulates before she stripped and jumped in. She would have preferred a real shower, but she took what she could get, when she could get it.

Five minutes later, she got out and got dressed in a pair of tight fitting khaki pants, a white shirt with a black vest over it, and pair of running shoes. She shook her hair out and ran a brush through it before she was satisfied. "Computer, where is the recreation room?" she asked as she finished tying her shoes.

"The recreation room is located on deck five, section twelve." The computer responded.

"Thank you," Kelly said automatically before she headed out to the nearest turbolift to head to deck five. There, she bopped down the corridor as she approached the recreation center and a song sprang to her lips for no particular reason.

"All my life I wanted to fly
Like the birds that you see way up in the sky
Making circles in the morning sun
Flying high in the sky 'till the day is done..."


***

It was a miracle. For the first time in two weeks, Quinn hadn't pulled the short stick. Everything was working perfectly and Petty Officer Tav actually volunteered to handle the evening checks. Quinn was finally able to actually enjoy an evening off duty.

The trouble was he didn't know where exactly to go. The holodecks were booked, so a mountain climb was out of the question. He thought about the pool or one of the gyms on deck sixteen, but their appeal didn't strike him tonight. "Quinn, you're pathetic," he muttered. Maybe one of the lounges or the rec rooms would offer something interesting. What did people around here do in their off hours anyway?

Quinn quickly changed into a muted yellow t-shirt and a pair of jeans and took off for the nearest turbolift. The trip to deck five didn't take long, and he was surprised to find the corridor mostly empty. He hoped this wasn't an indication of true life aboard the Black Hawk, though it didn't take him long to hear someone singing in the distance. A song that grew louder with every step he took towards the recreation room.

"Well mama told me,
When I was young,
Stand tall girl, you're number one
She said you can't be what you wanna be
But you can change the course of your destiny!" Kelly finished as she paused outside the recreation room and peered inside. "New ship, new people. Just remember not to threaten to bite them until you get to know them," she told herself.

Quinn turned a junction to see a somewhat familiar face hesitating outside the entrance to the recreation room. For some reason, the name escaped him. Smiling, he walked up beside her and said, "I don't think they'll bite."

Kelly looked around when she heard the voice and smiled. "Who said anything about them biting? I'm the one they have to worry about." She offered her hand as she tried to place him. "Khan. Kelly Khan," she said.

He chuckled nervously, accepting her hand. "Quinn Mackie," he said, recognizing the name at last.

Kelly gave him a bright smile as she shook her hand. "Engineering, right?" she said as his name rang a bell in her memory.

"Warp mechanics," Quinn said, letting the hand shake naturally end and stepping inside the rec room. "You're a pilot, right? Or on a command track?" He'd thought he'd remembered her in a red uniform.

"Exactly," she said as she went into the room with him. "I want to be a test pilot one day and you have to be a Commander for that as well as a pilot. I have a secondary in Engineering just so I can fix my own ships."

"Careful now," he joked, looking around the busy room trying to find something to do that would meet his interests (though he didn't know what those were either). "You'll be putting me out of a job."

"Considering the fact that you're cute, you can be my engineer one day," Kelly offered with a smile. "Just don't try to sandbag me and say that it'll take three hours to do a job that I know can be done in an hour and a half."

"Normally, I'd say two hours." Quinn shrugged his shoulders. "Gotta factor in coffee breaks, and you can't have liquids around EPS taps." He looked around and spotted a couple empty seats, though they were at a table for eight and the occupants were already very much engaged in some kind of game.

Kelly sat down beside of him. "Yeah. That's bad juju there. I was told to sandbag so when the Captain asks for an estimate, he's going to demand it be done in half the time. It makes engineers look like miracle workers."

"Looks like?" Quinn asked. They were all trained to be miracle workers! "Sounds like our secret is out of the bag. My career just got really difficult."

"Not at all," she insisted. "It's an Engineer trade secret. Try to sandbag as a helmsman or navigator, though. No chance. You're right there in front of everyone and you can't make excuses."

"Or mistakes. Otherwise, that's a lot of work for those of us in yellow." Quinn smiled. "What all do you fly anyway?"

"Anything that can get off the ground without going off a cliff," Kelly said. "It's my dream to fly the newest and greatest ships to ever leave a space dock."

"Aren't you a little far away from the core worlds for that?" Quinn asked. Of course, after he'd said it, he figured she had a lot of dues to pay and a name to make for herself in order to get that far.

"I'm not even an Ensign yet," she said. "I have to get a lot of experience under my belt before I can reach that goal. I'm lucky that I didn't get booted out of Academy the night I made Nova Squad and earned my call sign."

Nova Squad? He hesitated to ask, but his mouth opened before his brain could stop it. "And what is your call sign." Quinn! What are you doing?

"Conga," Kelly said, blushing a bit.

"Conga?" repeated Quinn, unsure if he really wanted to find out why.

She took a breath. "It's from a song of the same name by an old band called Miami Sound Machine. Anyway, the night I got inducted in, one of the other Nova Squad members decided it was a really good idea to celebrate with some Romulan Ale. One thing let to another and I ended up dancing naked on the quad to the song. The name Conga stuck and the entire squad got to see me shake everything."

Quinn's jaw dropped open. He leaned back in his chair in surprise. After a moment, he began to chuckle. "That was... That was you?"

Now the blush crept up her face like a warp core that was ready to blow. "That was me," she squeaked the words out. "Please don't tell me that you saw me, too."

"I was working late in the Engineering lab," he answered. "It was the only time I could get with the simulator until I finally had to give it up to another cadet. I was walking back to my dorm when I heard the music and... well... saw you." He immediately snapped his fingers and his smile got wider. "That's why I know your face!"

Kelly hid her face. "I don't think it was my face you remembered," she groaned.

Quinn didn't admit the truth, mainly because he wasn't able to get a full view of the action. The quad had become quite occupied by the time he left the lab, and with his short build, there wasn't too much he could see anyway. "At least campus security did a good job of breaking it up quickly."

"Umm...yeah," she said as she finally looked up. "It took me a month of extra duty just so I wouldn't be put on report by Commander Butthole...er Bannerman. He was a real jerk of a Flight Instructor and lectured me for two hours straight before he took a breath."

"Can't be all bad," Quinn mused, leaning forward again, and taking note that the gamers beside them hadn't even budged or otherwise involved themselves in their conversation. "At least you'll get to make a name for yourself out here where people don't even know that happened."

"Unless Romulan Ale gets involved again," Kelly said with a laugh. "I did learn one thing: that stuff removes inhibitions, clothes and everything else after two drinks."

"I'll keep that in mind," Quinn replied gently, making a mental note to stay away from the blue temptation. He'd heard of its miracle and painful powers from others. "Just don't drink and drive. I'd hate to be the one to clean up that mess."

"Not me," she said. "Never business and pleasure shall mix. It ruins all the fun. So I'm sure you've had a moment or two while there. No cadets other than Vulcans were ever squeaky clean."

Quinn shook his head and leaned back. "Not really..."

"Come on, there has to be something," Kelly urged. "Don't tell me that you're one of the Mister Clean's."

He shrugged. "You know how it is. Sometimes the only way to get good at tinkering... is to tinker. No... matter when or where. Or with what."

"No who?" She asked with a Cheshire cat grin and waggled her eyebrows.

"Whos are for doctors," Quinn said with a shy smile. "No... I... uh..."

Kelly blinked and cocked her head. "You mean you spent all your time in the lab?"

Quite a bit actually... "Do you remember how furious Boothby was sophomore year?"

"Who could forget that?" She asked. "I thought he was going to ban cadets from walking near anything green."

"I was working outside the lab," Quinn replied, not exactly keen on revealing where he was, "trying to increase the power flow to some highly specialized weather equipment. Unfortunately, I was working with the wrong set of conduits and I dumped gallons of electroplasma into Boothby's irrigation system..."

"Ohhhhhh," Kelly's eyes went wide. "You did that? How did you manage to avoid getting turned into fertilizer by him?"

"I never let him find out," Quinn simply replied. "I ran like hell."

"Smart man," she said solemnly. "I promise I'll never tell." She met his blue eyes for a moment and smiled. "In fact, to my knowledge, no one ever found out who did that. Thank you for sharing that with me, Quinn. I'm really glad that I ran into you. Sometimes, it's good to have a fellow officer who you can laugh and share things with."

"It is," he said with a smile and a chuckle. "Though we're not quite officers yet."

"I won't tell if you don't," Kelly said with a matching smile.

"Deal," Quinn extended a hand.

She took his hand and gave it a firm shake. "If you're really good, I might share more secrets with you."

"I dunno. I don't have too many more hidden in my closet."

"I didn't say what you had to do," Kelly said with an impish grin. "I just said if you're really good."

Quinn merely smiled. "Then we'll just have to see." If he had a glass, he'd have raised it at this moment.

 

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