It's the Little Things pt2
Episode 5: Escalation
1155 words - 2.3 OF Standard Post Measure
"Who ever needs to take a shower the most," she snarked, giving him the first turn. The mal-odor of Mark's hard work was already permeating the confined space.
"I shower before every shift without fail..." Mark shook his head, figuring that with all of the technological advances that allowed for space travel, they couldn't come up with a breathable fabric for a uniform that could stand the rigours of a day in the engine room. "...not my fault today has been particularly busy, although very unlucky for you I guess!"
Making his move, managing to get rid of a couple of cards early, he figures he'd get the hang of this game the longer they played.
She found a couple of cards to lay out before she ran out of play options. "I fit a run and a rinse in this morning. But with all of the drills to manage, it was a quick workout."
"See, I admire your commitment!" Mark took a glance down at his cards, trying to figure things out. His brain was a little slow, but he figured it'd sharpen up by the time a game or two was through. "My gym routine in the Academy was unbreakable, iron-clad, figure I would have given some of the Security cadets a run for my money, ya know? Now when the day's done and the coffee wears off I crash on something soft and I'm gone. Chief's hours are no joke..."
She'd noticed he still carried the look of some one who knew how to weight train muscle groups. "Clearly the job is a work out in itself. Some Engineering Officers I've known are content to be the brains of the operation and delegate all that labor. You get right in there with them."
"It's kind of..." Mark scratched his head, trying to figure out how to answer that as he lays down another card. "...and I'm going to try and fail not to sound arrogant, but the promotion almost became a given, if that makes sense? You see an engineer crawl out of a hole with his uniform ripped and sweat dripping down his face every shift, people want to be more like that guy. I lead from the front, which gets me the respect to hold the position...and earns a whole stack of paperwork, bureaucracy, and red tape that I grew to resent real fast..."
"Hey, you know what they say," she teased drily. "If you can't take the heat, get out of the engine room."
"Next step towards my own Command though, right?" he wasn't sure if she meant about the Chief duties he disliked or engineers who didn't like to get their hands dirty. With his answer, he assumed option one.
Sibyl restacked some cards, spent out her hand and redrew. "How'd you end up on the flying monkey wrench side of operations' yellow brick road?"
Mark found himself a couple of moves he could make, so far it felt pretty close. "My Dad was an engineer, and I loved taking things apart as a kid, figuring out how they worked, so it was kind of a given really. Besides with both parents in Starfleet I guess my path was pretty much set from minute one. How about you, excuse to kick people in the face and not get in trouble?"
"I won't deny it was a factor. But I think it was the overall weapons, gear, tactics, psychology, investigations mix. I used to help out passing spanners and drivers to the engineer aboard my dad's freighter, though. It just didn't take as a special interest." She completed another hand drew five more, leaving her draw pile slim, and played down to three cards before running out of moves. "That was a good run..."
"Too right it was a good run! Feel like you're trying to hustle the new guy..." Chances are I might have missed some opportunity, even if the game wasn't super-complex. I decided to take my time here as if I couldn't put anything together I was dead in the water. "I figure that's how it goes, I probably could have wound up anywhere, even followed my Mom into Medical to be honest...but the idea of that much time studying put me off. I'm much more interested in getting my hands dirty and doing something, achieving something so the sooner they let me at a ship the better. At that age anyway...although...I figure you already knew that about me huh?"
Sybil smiled half awkwardly. "How would I possibly have known what you were interested in as a kid before having talked with you?" She finished out her cards. "You should still go. I think you would have been out in the next turn anyway. You'll probably have this all figured out by the time we're found."
"Oh, you commented on it earlier. Probably because you saw me with my arms getting very intimate with some of the harder-to-reach parts of the ship!" He shrugged as he made as many moves as he thought he had available in his hand, which wasn't really too many, shrugging as he expected to get thoroughly beaten next time around. "How long have you been aboard anyway? I figure I'm 'the new guy' to everyone so I'm still getting a figure on who the old-hands are around here, the people I REALLY need to stay on the good side of."
"Just before we arrived in the Illiran system. Not very long, practically speaking. So you haven't anything to worry about on my account, as I'm not much of an old hand here. Just a newly reassigned, Junior Officer." It was plain from her demeanor that she still had a confidence streak to counter balance her humble sounding claims. "In my limited experience, it's usually best to befriend engineers though." Calmly, she reshuffled the cards as she talked. Then cut the deck and turned over the ace of spades, tapping it for emphasis. "You guys are usually the ones pulling miracle rabbits out of quantum hats."
"Ahhhhh...so some of your first actions aboard was seeing some vital parts of the ship blown off into the stratosphere huh?" Mark thought aloud, and while he came aboard at the tail end of repairs, it was pretty plain to see that the old bird had been through the ringer. "Well...whether you like it or not, getting stranded in a turbolift basically means you've earned a friend in me. Judging by my dating history, I seem to want to gravitate towards Medical but uhh..." he shrugged. "That hasn't worked out great for me so far."
Watching the next hand get dealt in front of him, feeling like he was starting to get the hang of things... "Now let's see...maybe I can figure out this game fast enough to snatch a win from you...I'm sure it won't be long..."