No Time Like the Present
Episode 4: Infiltration
Location: Main Engineering
Timeline: MD 02 - 0800hrs
1860 words - 3.7 OF Standard Post Measure
Mark's request came straight over the top of the young Crewman as he had a sudden change of heart, his mind working overtime even after an exhausting travel period in order to rendevous with his newest posting. It wasn't that he didn't trust non-Starfleet personnel to carry out the repairs to his new steed properly...he treated everyone, Starfleet or not, with at least some small amount of distrust when it came to the bird he was flying aboard, but as he continued to develop into the role as Head of Department, he began to understand that he couldn't monitor everything to minute detail. That didn't mean he couldn't still keep a watchful eye, however.
"Sir, don't you want to go to your Quarters?"
"No time for that Crewman, I'll find them."
As the turbolift doors slid open, revealing the hive of activity that was Main Engineering, he set off out of the doors with purpose, leaving a speechless Crewman to stand and watch him leave. He ducked his head into the small side office that would become his 'desk' in the belly of the beast, only staying in there long enough to sling the container holding his worldly possessions into a corner, before he set off to make himself useful.
"Report? Sorry..." The brashness that a junior Starfleet officer would have thought little of clearly caught the member of the Illiran repair team off-guard, and he rephrased right away. "Could you tell me the progress of the repairs, please?"
Carter craned her neck and leaned to one side. She was sitting on a holographic chair positioned at the situation table. She had been keeping Jax company, she knew her fair share in regards to how the ship worked, but this was not the time for everyone with engineering experience to pitch in, but she had been in meetings for the last few days and right now she didn't want to adult. Thus she had drew up a chair and was pestering Jax while the chief worked. However, she had over heard the exchange and she had a feeling it was her new Chief of Engineering.
"Looks like the new boss is here" Ajani said to Jax and nodded towards the door. "Oh, thank you" she added taking an offered cup of coffee... well mug of coffee. She took a sip and smiled leaning back in her chair and putting her feet on the table. Jax frowned at her but ignored it moving back under the table.
"That it?" she asked leaning over her chair to look under the table. "Yup, I am sure he will make his way over here shortly. Are you covering your rank on purpose, by the way?"
"I'm hiding, if someone knew i was here i would be found" she said it with such conviction it made Jax snort with laughter. They both knew that as the CO of the ship it was impossible to 'Hide' in Engineering!
Mark took a slow walk around Main Engineering with the civilian, who to his credit was surprisingly helpful, and didn't try to 'wing it' when he didn't know the answer to one of his questions, which was refreshing. He'd gotten a reputation for having a short temper on a few previous assignments, meaning the juniors would sometimes try and appease him with answers, even though they weren't entirely sure. That sort of thing could land the whole ship in hot water, not just that one individual.
Fresh start...fresh chance to be taken at least a little less seriously...although he doubted whether he was going to change that much.
"Ah coffee, my favourite." In what was a relatively long journey to reach his new assignment, Mark had plenty of time to pour over the crew manifest and as such, had clocked his new Commanding Officer from a distance as he took his tour around his new home. He had one chance at a first impression, and he was choosing to scoop up her mug of coffee and take a sip from it as his. It was a good chance to see if his sense of humour was likely to go over well here or land him in a court-martial in the near future.
"Lieutenant Mark Cross, reporting for duty Commander. How did you know how I like my coffee?"
"Oh no you didn't" she said but remained seated "You had better get me another one young man" she winked at Jax and she in turned said "Oh Chief, you never take a womens morning coffee, not if you value your future ability to reproduce". Of course the two women were joking, it was clear the new chief was a bit of a joker. A welcome quality, even so you didn't mess with Carters morning coffee.
"That's also...not how I like my coffee..." Mark finally admitted, no longer needing to keep the poker face. It was his first time aboard a Saber-class, but he had already spent some time getting to grips with the layout, the schematics of it anyway. Priority number one was where his nearest fix of caffeine would be coming from while he was working. He headed to the replicator, finding it exactly where he thought it was, replacing the mug he'd contaminated with two fresh ones.
"Apologies for the misunderstanding!" he placed the Commander's fresh coffee in front of her, taking a sip of his own. "So it looks like the repairs are very well in hand. In fact, we may be a little ahead of schedule. Might have to bring a few of these Illiran engineers with us if we have any spare bunks"
Carter took the new cup of coffee. Took a sip and approved... inwardly of course. "Ah, if only it were that simple" she said "But the repairs are ahead of schedule at last check in. They tell me that the Bridge and Medical bay will be replaced starting tomorrow. I do believe that they will have the shuttlebay repaired in a day or two." she took another sip of her coffee. "This is Staff Jax, she is maybe the best engineer you have here. Yet she wont let me promoted her" Carter said with a teasing smile, but there was a slight undertone to her statment.
"By any chance, does Staff Jax have a keen interest in fixing things that break, but very little interest in paperwork, politics and red-tape?" Mark took a long sip of his coffee as he kicked an idea around in my head. "I mean...I'm sure I could find room for an Engineer's assistant, who I'd want to be on-hand as my 'eyes and ears' on all the crucial repairs, and since I'm going to get so many reports on my desk as the Chief, will never land herself in hot water with me if she never submits one. Is that a creative enough way to solve both of your problems?"
Jax shock her head "Ten minutes. But I think you promoted this offer so I am not sure I owe you anything" she said to a smirking Carter, who was not doing a thing to hide her amusement. To her new boss she added "Thank you Chief. Chief's mate would be a fine addition to my service jacket. However, the paper work wasn't the problem" she didn't continue but instead went back to the minor repair work she was conducting under the situation table.
"Interesting. Well since I don't have an Assistant Chief as of now, then I could certainly make use of a Chief's mate" Mark decided not to pry too much into whatever this situation was, at least not for the time being, but he would be foolish to ignore such a glowing recommendation from his Commanding Officer. "Leave that to the ship's second-best engineer...hopefully..." he hoped. He himself would find the transition from front-lines to desk a little difficult at times, it'd be something he'd have to juggle, making sure he could keep his hand in.
Seemingly sensing his thought Carter looked around at him, "Oh not to worry Mark, We are a ship of the line, your job is unlikely to be boring. In fact i would like to enlist your skills." She beckoned him closer and gestured to the chair next to her.
Mark pulled up a chair as instructed, finding a safe position for him to rest his mug of coffee.
"I need you to work with Lieutenant Bras. There is a Borg infiltration happening. Teams from the Eagle are searching for clues. However, I am unable to put side the thought that this is going to be a prelude to a larger invasion. I need you and Brash to look for the Borg transwarp signals, if there are any and pin point the points of origin.
"I'll be sure to get in contact with him next shift." One thing that was on their side, as far as the Borg went, was that there was no shortage of information available in the Starfleet databanks to cast your eye over and digest, including some of their tricks that would throw you off the scent. The main problem with this of course, is you wouldn't put it past them to learn another trick or ten in the meantime. They'd have to cast the net wider, almost try and out-think them. "How much do we know so far?"
"We think a vessel that was attacked and rescued by the USS Potemkin a month ago is the source. We know the org boarded and we think something was missed, a few nanites hidden away somewhere. a Team is going over to investigate soon. The Illiran government is reporting people going missing, and then returning to their daily lives with no memories of where or how they went missing. A team will investigate that. It is not their normal way of doing things, and i personally think that it is happening independently or the hive to remain hidden for as long as possible. However I do not want to underestimate them, so look for any way that they might be communicating. Also run scans for any possible Borg signatures in or near the system."
"Maybe some new tactics, that's all we need." Mark thought aloud as he made a mental note of the information. His brain was pretty scrambled from his journey to get to this point, and he figured some of the pieces would start to fall into place after a good night's sleep. "At least we have no shortage of records on the Borg, maybe we can find a way to get ourselves a step or two ahead. Either that or it's some serious wishful thinking on my part."
Carter tilted her head "Maybe a little wishful thinking wouldn't go a miss. But i am sure you will think of something." she said getting to her feet "Guess i should come out of hiding and do some work?" and headed off towards one of the less used doors, "Try not to destroy my ship" she added over her shoulder as the doors closed!