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An Unexpected Transfer

Posted on 05 May 2016 @ 7:52pm by Ensign Quinn Mackie & Lieutenant Commander Temerant Bast

Mission: Outbreak
Location: Operations Office
Timeline: MD 7 || 0715 Hours

Quinn couldn't believe his eyes when he saw the duty roster. For the first time, he'd received an Alpha shift! Aidan was in the other room, and somehow, Quinn miraculously funneled all of his excitement into an exaggerated fist pump. "Yes!" he silently hissed. Lieutenant Rykov had finally trusted him enough to assign him alongside some of the ship's best workers.

And then he saw the billet.

In that instant, all of his excitement faded. A multitude of emotions fought to fill the void. Anger, frustration, confusion, trepidation...

He would be working with the Chief of Operations, the man who up until a few days ago was part of the Consortium. The man who had made part of Quinn's job a living hell by messing with the power grid on the last mission. Quinn was not looking forward to it. Were he not a cadet, he might actually have some leverage or ability to be reassigned. Unfortunately, he had none.

Quinn sighed and finished putting on his uniform. After taking a moment to try and pull himself together, Quinn departed his quarters bound for the Operations Office.

* * *

Bast looked up from his console as the door to the Operations office opened. He had just received notice from the First Officer that he'd be getting some much-needed help, but the First Officer's message had been a bit less than clear as to what form that help would take. He was a bit startled at the appearance of the young cadet who now stood before him, data padd in hand, with his assignment notice.

"Cadet," he greeted, as he stood from his chair and extended a hand.

Quinn hesitated, ultimately deciding not to accept the hand. "Lieutenant," he responded in a tone that was neither friendly or cold.

Bast retracted his hand, and examined the young cadet standing at attention before him. "I understand you were just assigned to the Operations department, which had become severely understaffed." He looked into the young man's eyes, and could detect a glint of resentment. "And you don't look too happy about it."

The cadet wasn't sure how to react to that. Immaturity would strike the man's involvement with the Consortium, which really was the true reason why Quinn was having issues with this assignment. There was however an alternate approach. "With respect, Lieutenant. I'm a warp major. I know I'm a cadet and I have no say in the matter, but it doesn't mean I have to be happy about this assignment."

Bast nodded. "I understand," he said. "A lot of people seem to resent my continuing presence of the ship, and I suspect that has a lot to do with your dissatisfaction about this assignment. I can't reveal the entire circumstances, since that information is classified. But what I'm allowed to tell you is that I wasn't responsible for my actions, and wasn't acting of my own free will. Starfleet Command cleared me of any wrongdoing, the Captain reinstated me, the Security Chief got over it. That should be enough for everyone else aboard the ship as well."

He sat down in his chair, and motioned for the young cadet to do the same. "You get two questions. After that, we need to get to work, and I will consider the matter closed."

Quinn eyed the chair for a moment, and decided to give the man the benefit of a doubt, at least for the two allotted questions. "Are you acting of your own free will now?" he asked bluntly.

"Yes I am."

The cadet nodded. Several other questions entered his mind, but Quinn doubted the answers would result in satisfaction for either person. Instead, he asked, "What is it you expect from me, sir?"

"That you keep an open mind, and do your job with professionalism."

Another simple and straight forward answer. Quinn nodded slowly, at least appreciating the directness of the Lieutenant. Apparently he did not have time for placating anyone. "That I can do, sir," he responded.

"Good," replied Bast, nodding. "How's your working relationship with Lieutenant Rykov - Doctor Rykov?" he amended, catching himself as the words slipped out of his mouth.

"How is anyone's working relationship with Doctor Rykov?" Quinn replied before he realized what he said. Embarrassed, he quickly gathered his composure and added, "I get along with Doctor Rykov just fine, sir. She and I haven't worked together that much, different shifts, you see. Most of my interaction with her was before she became Chief Engineer."

Bast nodded, and handed Quinn a data padd. "Now you'll get to work with her on a more equal footing," he said. "She won't be your superior officer in this assignment. We have to upgrade the firmware in the EPS power relays, starting with the aft sections of the ship. This means that the power relays need to be taken off-line for the duration of the maintenance, and power rerouted to the secondary relays. I need you to coordinate the schedule with her department."

"EPS firmware?" Quinn repeated, accepting the PADD. He quickly skimmed the information there. "This... This is a massive project. Shouldn't this be done at a Starbase with some extra personnel?" Something like this on their own would take weeks, if not more. A Starbase could knock this out in just a few days.

"If this were a major pgrade, yes, but that's not the case. This is just patching the firmware that's already in place. We can roll them out in sequence, and that's why we have secondary relays." Bast touched a key on his console, and a holographic representation of the ship appeared, hovering about thirty centimeters over his desk. Red points were blinking where there EPS relays were installed. "There are fifty-three primary relays installed throughout the ship, and twenty-seven secondary relays. The secondary relays are already patched, ready to be activated. This week, we're doing the first fifteen primary relays; fifteen next week, twelve the week after, and the final eleven in three weeks. The relays have to be deactivated for forty-five minues while the firmware is upgraded. It'll take three minutes to reroute the power to the secondary relays and shut down the primary relay, and another three minues after the install to reroute the power back to the primary. You need to coordinate with Engineering to determine the best time to do it."

"Sounds like the perfect waiting game," Quinn replied, doing the math in his head. He'd have to work on two relays a day, and fit in the extra relay in the odd hours. He examined the schematic floating in the air in front of him. "Are you sure aft to fore is the best approach? What if we start with the relays servicing the critical systems first, and then branch out to the not-so-criticals?"

"There are enough built-in redundancies so none of the relays can be labeled as 'critical', at least on an individual level. There are certain combinations that can't be shut down simultaneously, but overall, it should be a fairly straightforward process. Check the data padd, and you'll find the schedules for the previous maintenance cycles. These things need to be patched on a regular basis."

Quinn referenced the PADD and studied the schedules for a moment. "Looks like we're well past due on this," he commented. "Looks like about five months since the last maintenance cycle." He looked up at the Lieutenant. "I don't suppose I'll need to clean these too?"

"Naah," replied Bast, with a wink. "We turf that out to the engineers."

A smirk appeared on Quinn's face, though he was sure that was a result of the awkwardness he was still sensing. He was an engineer. Did this mean that this was a permanent transfer?

Bast watched the smile appear on Quinn's face, and fade just as quickly. He could see the young man's discomfort in the way he shifted in his seat. "Don't worry," he said. "I need an extra set of hands to help me take care of this maintenance list, but I'm sure sooner or later Gamma Command will send me some bona fide Operations officer, and we can get you back to regularly scheduled programming. And who knows? You might like it here. Believe it or not, your engineering expertise is truly an asset in Operations. I was an engineer, too, before switching to Ops."

"Really?" The young man said in surprise, both to the revelation that Bast was more understaffed than the cadet realized and that the Trill had changed professions. "Why'd you give up Engineering?"

"Being Joined can broaden your perspective a bit," summarized Bast. "Temerant, the Host, was a great engineer. Wilem, my previous Host, was a scientist. Through Ops, I get to merge a little bit of both. And in Ops, you have to work with every other department, and see that their needs are fulfilled. People tend to think of Ops as solitary work, but it's just the opposite."

Quinn nodded. "So, for you, working Ops is like the interaction between your symbiont and hosts." It was a crude analogy, but Quinn thought he got the point. "Look, Lieutenant..." The Cadet looked down and waved the PADD he was holding. "I'll give it a shot. Firmware updates are easy compared to warp plasma. At least, I hope they are."

"They should be fairly easy. Look at the installation plan, there's a section at the end with a list of common errors, and how to work around them." He pointed to an auxiliary station. "You can get set up over there, and if you have any questions, I'll be right here." He checked the chronometer. "Doctor Rykov is expecting you in ten minutes to go over the scheduling."

Nodding again, Quinn rose from his chair. He knew better than to keep the good Doctor waiting, especially since he know knew she was expecting him. "I'll get right on it, sir." With that, he nodded at the Lieutenant and moved over to the auxiliary station to give the relay system a good once over before heading to Engineering.

Bast watched the young cadet get settled at the desk, grateful to have a bit of help. It was a fairly simple maintenance, but quite time-consuming. The perfect introduction to the wonderful world of Operations, since it would also require him to coordinate the schedule with another department, one he was familiar with.

He enjoyed playing the part of the teacher. As a scientist, Wilem Bast had been required to teach at the Trill Science Academy, a task that he had particularly enjoyed. Having the opportunity to work with a bright young man like Mackie reminded him of those days. He smiled, and turned back to his own workstation.


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