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Faking it is half the job.

Posted on Wednesday November 22, 2017 @ 7:29pm by Ensign Eleanor Frost

Mission: A Day In The Life...
Location: Engineering.

After a few hours in operations, doing various diagnostics, and speaking with several people who had various concerns, be they about Eleanor, or one of several ships docked, for whom the engineering department was starting to fall behind upon, Eleanor leaned back in the chair to her office. It was a surreal feeling.

A chief warrant officer walked in, carrying a strange device holding a coffee cup, and several PADDs.

"Hello." Eleanor said, in what she hoped was a friendly, and not overstressed tone.

"Ma'am." The chief warrant officer nodded. "Jeanette Vash. Those reports on the inefficiency to the Engineering department's repairing of guest ships, and a house warming gift."

Eleanor tilted her head at the device. "What is it?"

Jeanette's face became mischievous. "It's a magnetic coffee cup in an antigrav device."

Eleanor blinked. "Is... Are you screwing with me?"

"It has practical uses, in your case, ma'am." Jeanette pointed out.

Remembering her introduction to the Captain, she nodded. "I suppose that's fair." Eleanor looked at the PADD. "What's... All this?"

"The Chief Warrant Officer who does scheduling for the repair crews is Vulcan. He's got things structured wrong, according to the gossip. He's trying to keep a well rounded team of general repairs on at all times, and has completely disregarded the complaints of various people who don't like working together." Vash explained. "That PADD is all the complaints that have been filed, and that PADD is a compilation of people suspected to be dating, who would become significantly more efficient, were they functioning on schedules that lined up better."

"How did you even put this all together?" Eleanor asked.

"My roommate is a big gossip. Sociology major. Diplomatic assistant. I kind of... Borrowed her last night, in exchange for a couple hours of her drinks going on my tab." Vash scratched her head. "I mean. It's just... A suggestion. But."

Eleanor looked through the proposed revised schedule, then nodded. "Look, I'm not exactly great at Team sports expressly because I am kind of oblivious to stuff like this. This is a good initiative that you took, without being asked, attempting to impress your new section chief, and jokes about my method of drinking coffee by absorbing it through my clothing aside, I appreciate the help, Vash." Eleanor nodded. "Override the schedule. If you get any grief, send them to me, or the Captain."

"This might make you... Unpopular... With some people." Vash pointed out. "You're kind of stepping on toes."

"I'm not exactly known for being a popular person, Vash. I want this base running on something akin to efficiency. I already expect people not to like me. I'm skittish, prone to causing myself, and occasionally others, harm, and have a bad habit of showing off my repair skills in such a way that people tend to use words like 'pompous' or 'arrogant' to describe me." Eleanor said, sourly, before collecting a coffee refill from the replicator. "When you do things like this, I see someone who bothered to read my file, and understand my limitations, offering help, rather than criticism. I tend to catch a lot of criticism. This matters. Thank you."

There was a silence in the room, before Vash chuckled, watching Eleanor set her coffee down on the floating device.

"I just... Want to do my job, Ma'am." Vash said, after a few moments.

"And, now you are." Eleanor inclined her head. "The computer listed you as the one doing my job, when I got here. I would feel more than confident assigning you as one of the assistant chiefs of this department after... This. I hope your friend enjoyed her drinks."

Vash chuckled. "It's a good thing she stuck to synthehol. She would probably be in sickbay with alcohol poisoning, otherwise. She drank 3 days pay. Straight. In one sitting."

Eleanor shook her head. She pulled a PADD off her desk, and handed it to the Chief Warrant Officer. "These are the parts of the Base starting to show wear and tear. This is my proposed schedule to fix them, with teams not exceeding 15% of any given operations department shift, so we can adequately handle emergencies as they arrive. I don't know who to assign to which shift, as what, yet. I haven't seen them work."

Vash tilted her head. "I think we can handle this. For the holodeck repair, I recommend going for 20% of three consecutive shifts, rather than 15% of four. The less time we have each of those holodecks off, the less complaints people are going to file about getting bumped off holodeck schedule."

Eleanor shrugged. "People complain about things all the time. It's our job to fix the complaints."

"It's also our job to prevent them, ma'am. With respect, you have to remember where you're standing. There are a lot of people, some of them in your department, who want to see you fail. All it's going to take is something as miniscule as having a higher than average unresolved complaints file, and some Lieutenant will dance in here next week, glad to take your job." Vash pointed out.

"You don't want to see me fail?" Eleanor asked, now intrigued by the conversation's unexpected turn.

"I don't want to see anyone fail. People want to see you injure yourself. They want to see you taken down off of your supposed superiority trip, which I call tribble droppings on. There are going to be people high up who want to see you fail because of your..." Vash shook her head. "I can't believe YOU married Antimatter Atwood. She was such a terrifying person to take a class under."

"Oh. The scariest." Eleanor nodded. "But... She taught me something. Being afraid of something doesn't mean you shouldn't try and understand it. She was afraid of my more destructive habits, before understanding that they arose from nervousness."

"Well. Okay. But. She actually decked an Admiral." Vash pointed out.

"She decked an Admiral who was trying to get me expelled, Chief Warrant Officer." Eleanor said, unexpectedly harshly. "Because I have feelings, and dared to act on them. A crime that would have prohibited my graduation from Starfleet Academy."

Vash raised an eyebrow. "Sore subject. Got it."

"Not sore." Eleanor countered. "Defensive. She has repeatedly risked her career for people other instructors deemed dangerous, hazardous, or simply too bitchy to work in a team environment. She told me once, it was because of an old friend. Regardless, I don't think someone who would stand up for those who either can't, or won't stand up for themselves is someone to deride, or speak poorly of. I was under the impression that that's why most people join Starfleet in the first place."

Vash raised her other eyebrow. "Yeah. Okay. Starting to see it now. Alright. Fine. I'm dropping it." Vash held up her hands, and shook her head. "You certainly... Aren't what I was expecting."

"Neither are you." Eleanor admitted, raising her hovering mug. "A practical joke that is practically useful. I'm sure the Base Commander will appreciate the lack of pumpkin spiced latte used as hair styling product."

"I think everyone will, ma'am." Vash chuckled.

"Probably." Eleanor admitted. "Now." She held up a PADD. "This Ensign keeps sending in these proposals for upgrading various things, to make them more efficient. Why do they all normally get discarded?"

"B'vel?" Vash asked, bemused. "The Ensign is not especially known for thinking out safety protocols. The one you're holding in your hands would increase the efficiency of base projected energy weapons by 5%, and their destructive capacity by about the same, but the local EPS grid can't take it. We'd burn out half the station if we fired more than twice. It's too... Brazen. It might work on a Klingon base, but our exchange student views Starfleet's redundant safety protocols as 'unnecessary'."

"But... Theoretically. If we WERE to bulk up the EPS conduits along the way, we could implement SOME of these upgrades." Eleanor pointed out, handing Vash another PADD from her desk, that she had been working on between interruptions. "You are altering her facts to suit your theories as to what this station is capable of, but if we look at some of her more out of the box facts, and adjust the facts of our station's capabilities to match, we can impress the Captain, the next time the station has to defend itself."

"You're talking about rewiring a fourth of the station to accommodate a 5% weapons efficiency boost that we don't even need!" Vash exclaimed.

"Right now. We don't need it. Right now." Eleanor pointed out. "I wasn't sure about this idea, until you went on your prevent complaints speech. Now. I'm sure. We are Engineers, Chief Warrant Officer. Starfleet didn't make it from maximum warp 2 to maximum warp 9.999 in one leap. It took dozens of generations thousands of little upgrades that pushed it 1 and 3 and 5 percentage points higher. This is why I'm here. This is what I love seeing. New, and inventive things that make our world safer."

"You're ACTUALLY quoting her now." Vash pointed out. "That was her speech, about her warp core redesign from two years ago."

"She wasn't wrong. Do a feasibility study. Run it past tactical, once that's done. Then, I'll bring it to the Captain." Eleanor instructed.

Vash gave her an annoyed look.

"That is a direct order, Chief Warrant Officer." Eleanor instructed, in what she hoped was a passing impersonation of her wife.

"Ma'am. With respect. You're suggesting we waste someone's time to review a theory on something that might not work, while we have several other projects on the go?" Vash shook her head. "This might come across as misuse of resources, given we're two days behind on docked ship repair."

"Vash. With respect." Eleanor set her coffee cup on the desk. "I'm specifically ordering you to do it, because you're now my assigned assistant chief. I have an entire stack of proposals and theories to wade through, some of which have been forwarded by other departments, others from Starfleet. Just as it's our job to prevent complaints, It's also our job to wade through ideas like this, and do feasibility studies on each one. The fact that you are outright discarding ideas without doing so is a failing on our department."

"They're crazy ideas!" Vash exclaimed.

"Not all of them." Eleanor shook her head. "Besides. You are talking to Mrs. Jane Atwood. Crazy is kind of my thing. I would have thought that was obvious, at the point you called her 'antimatter'."

"We're going to clash like this a lot, huh?" Vash asked.

"Depends on how much arguing I can fake in any given day." Eleanor shrugged. "Most of this is just trying to hide first day nervousness."

"You're doing a pretty good job." Vash grumbled. "I'll have it done for you in a couple hours."

"Thank you, Vash." Eleanor looked down at her coffee cup, amused smile breaking out. "And... Thanks. For the cup."

"You're welcome." Vash shook her head, and left.

Eleanor took a deep breath. She was alone now. Now, she had the space to have a mild panic attack about how much arguing she had just endured.

Her brain had a better suggestion.

It wanted pancakes.

Eleanor walked back to the replicator, and looked at the selection of pancakes, groaning at the fact that she now had to make a decision as to which ones. Panicked brains weren't overly fond of making decisions.

She stared, blankly, for several seconds, before closing her eyes, and picking one at random.

Blueberry.

It was only right, then, that she decided she wanted banana.

Well, drat.

---
Ensign Eleanor Frost
Chief Operations Officer

Chief Warrant Officer Jeanette Vash
Assistant Chief Operations Officer(beta shift)

 

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