Eridani empath, a certified, first responder EMT and…a surgeon — a neuro-ophthamologist and a transplant surgeon.” Patel’s eyes widened. “She gave up a stellar medical career to become a circuitry Mech-Tech? What? Why?” He had to know.
Patel logged a request, via her yeoman, to report for a required physical, even though Station Four had just done a thorough exam.
“How’d she know?” Ensign Landers groaned, downing a second shot of Tritian gin to celebrate the end of a long and brutal shift.
“Has she got circuitry diagrams memorized?” Ensign Lewis growled, nursing a tall beer.
Landers shrugged. “She looked at the blasted thing and knew it was jury-rigged. Amazing…I’ve never seen anyone just look at something and know it wouldn’t hold.”
“Spooky…downright spooky,” protested Lewis, “and what’s worse, she was right. It would have failed at some point.”
Chief Mansfield set his empty glass on the bar and wordlessly started for the door, leaving Starboard-Seven, the officers’ lounge.
First Officer Nichols oversaw the departure from Four, and authorized a course that would put Lancer back on their regular patrol route. Captain Macao never reappeared, though he called orders up from below.
For Dana, the six-hour shift — like six days — drew ever so snail-like slowly to a close. At the sight of Specialist Matthews at her elbow, a lanky, young Betelgean Exchange Officer with sleepy, silver eyes and dark blue hair, Cartwright let out a sigh and vacated the chair.
Shifts at base had never dragged on so long.
She took a last look about the Main Bridge before crossing to the lift. Once inside, she shut her eyes and requested, “Deck Six.” She decided on a relaxing shower and a light meal, then would head down to supply and ream them over the ill-fitting uniforms. The Captain had other plans. He paced in the corridor outside her quarters. Hers would have to wait.
“Mister Cartwright? Yeoman Napa relayed your request for an interview. Will now be suitable?”
She didn’t let his pleasantries dissuade her. Dana had taken on tougher men; Macao at his worst would never match Doctor David Cartwright, her guardian.
“If the Captain wishes, now is quite acceptable.” She led inside her quarters, letting him follow.
He paid her meager belongings some attention and even thumbed through the list of reading material on her personal padlet. “Physicians Desk Reference?”
She shrugged, regretting that, in her haste, she’d left the device precariously on the edge of the desk.
Macao noticed the trio of vintage books — the three Shakespearean tragedies — stacked there, and settled down, sitting on the edge of the desk, about at arm’s length away.
“Well, what is it, Mister Cartwright?” he finally asked, though he didn’t bother to make eye contact.
“Permission to speak freely, sir?”
“Please do…” He set the padlet aside.
“On the Bridge today, you made three clearly inaccurate statements, which may severely undermine my effectiveness in the eyes of the command crew.”
She had his attention now. He came back, defensively, with a glare in his blue eyes. “I cited you for being late. Don’t bother denying it.”
A Galaxean could not have responded with more composure. “With all due respect, sir, the record will show that I was one point two minutes early, but was summoned to Engineering, Deck Twelve, to perform a mandatory inspection of computer circuitry after a malfunction was reported and corrected. I went to prevent a departure delay, since Commander Mansfield was unavailable.”
His eyes finally met hers and stayed there.
“Nichols will have to verify that.”
“The Bridge log will confirm it,” she said, continuing calmly, “your second inaccuracy was the insinuation that I might fall into the category of ‘squeamish females.’ I thought I made it very clear down on the Shuttle Deck at Four that I do no fall into