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Gless Don't Mess

Posted on Fri Jun 11th, 2021 @ 1:58am by Ensign Noah Balsam & Debbie Gless

Mission: The Place of Skulls
Location: Mess Hall
Timeline: Mission Day 1 at 1419

[Mess Hall]
[Deck 2]
[Day 1: 14:19 Hours]

“These are so…boring,” Debbie said, slack-jawed even as she chewed her gum. “Which bean-pusher at Starfleet Command designed these holographic ‘skins’ to be as drab as fucking possible?”

Standing in the middle of the Mess, the hostess’ hands were on her hips as hawkish eyes roved and mentally razed the place. “I wouldn’t throw a funeral in here, much less a party,” Debbie lamented with genuine ire. With a tap-tap-tap on her PADD, she activated yet another holo-skin preset, this one even worse than the others. “Good grief!” she blurted out in exasperation, her frustration mounting even more in response to the latest skin.

The few people gathered in the Mess Hall looked up from their refreshments in alarm. Hurricane Gless was clearly rolling towards the mainland, ready to hammer her complaints home with torrential rains, blazing bolts of lightning, and thunder booming that just wouldn’t stop. It was a clear sign that it was time to wrap up their snacking and get the hell out of dodge. Which is why those same few people quickly recycled their trays and darted out of the lounge, leaving Debbie alone.

“Fine. Maybe it’s just me then,” the proprietor huffed and puffed. “But as this is my place, I’ll be mad about it if I want to,” Debbie said to herself. Looking something akin to a clucking hen, she pecked forward, stowing the PADD at the host station and looking up into the air. “Computer,” more hands-on-hips, “who the hell would I talk to for help reconfiguring the holographic skins of this place?”

”Midshipman Noah Balsam,” the computer helpfully intoned.

“And where would I find this Noah Balsam?” Debbie grunted, relishing the idea of a walk to help her clear out some of her mounting steam.

”Midshipman Noah Balsam is located in the Computer Core on Deck 5,” came the computer’s added reply.

“Got it,” Deb said, marching out of the Mess Hall and striding down the hall. Deep space exploration assignments mean people going stir crazy. And you give them fucking beige tables and walls? If there weren’t windows to stare out of, people would probably be driven to kill themselves, she thought to herself, stepping into the turbo lift and giving her destination.

The car whisked her down three decks and along the breadth of the Sojo, its doors opening to deposit her near the core. However, staring at the wall ahead, there was no indicator of which way to go: left or right. “Computer?” Debbie sighed, her tone an expectant command for help.

A holographic chevron appeared in mid-air, spinning once and then pointing to the right. ”Please follow the glowing indicator,” the computer prompted, sending the chevron down the hall at a pace it figured Debbie could match.

And match it she did, all the way to the door of the Deck 5 computer core access door. Debbie barely paid any attention to the disappearing chevron as she stepped into the core, her eyes instead drawn to the sprawling chasm of computer chips, chits, and gel packs. The core itself rose upward in dramatic fashion, though Debbie’s prey was apparently the young man currently located at its base.

“Are you Balsam?” she asked, her voice charged.

He was quite lanky and pale to the point of being almost unhealthy, who spun at the swish of the door. Betazoid-like eyes flicked up from the food replicator that he hovered in front of, its matrices spinning sprites and energy to form food. The Midshipman, who seemed only in a Sojo t-shirt and uniform pants, smiled at her and picked up the two dishes he'd made for himself. It was quite warm in here. A waft of melted cheese carried itself on a scent of something fried: a spoke-shape of fried mozzarella sticks with a cup of some kind of creamy dip in the center. In his other hand was a small ceramic dish of what appeared to be an assortment of saltwater taffy.

The youth grimaced and blinked. He looked at her, down at his food, and then back. He grimaced again, "Hi. Um. Please don't judge me on my nutritional choices," he said with a softness of humor as he turned and set his food down at his station. "I-I am. I'm Noah." His brows knit above his beakish nose, "Cuh-can I help?"

"Debbie Gless, ship's mess proprietor. Nice to meet you," she offered the briefest of smiles before staring at the items in question, a hawkish eyebrow rising. "Honey, if I wasn't in such a twist right now, I'd probably order up some of those myself," she said, emphatically gesturing at the cheese sticks, her various gold and silver wrist-bracelets clinking against each other. "But food'll have to wait," the woman nodded with vigor, age-drooped jowls jiggling slightly as she did. "The Mess Hall was supposed to have this fantastic holographic system that would let me reconfigure it to be whatever I wanted. For instance, my diner. 1960's Earth, USA...booths, rock and roll, and lemon bars," she clarified. "Not fucking earth tones and thin metal chairs."

Attired in a purple shirt, denim jeans, and an apron that said "Kiss me, I'm an Engineer," Debbie looked quite out of place in the computer core. "I tried changing the controls around," Debbie explained, "but they seem locked to just a few preset skins, all of them about the worst configurations imaginable. The computer said you could help fix it? I hope that's true because after four hours of being onboard, I can't stand looking at that mess one iota longer, you got me?!" she clucked before popping a bubble with her gum.

Noah fished a couple of taffies from the bowl- a creamy green one, a brown one, and a mottled one- and cradled them in his hand while he listened. He was feeling shaky from the heat in the room and having skipped both breakfast and lunch. He smiled again, his overbite, too-large smile toothily showing. "Oh uh. Yeah. They, uh, pushed this ship out the slip a few days early because of something happening um, on-on the border," he shook his head, "The holodecks aren't online yet either. Everything is there, but none of its been decompressed and put into the active library. You're um, probably looking at the holodeck basics they used in the uh, the-the labs. To calibrate the emitters."

Noah reached long arms for his badge and slapped it onto his chest. "Maybe we um, can take a look and I can design an environment you'd like?" he offered.

"I'd like that a lot...if you're sure you have the time?" Debbie peered narrowly at the taffies, an eyebrow pointedly arcing upward. "Tell me taffies and cheese sticks aren't all you're subsisting on?" With a motherly huff, her hands went to her hips as Debbie looked the young man up and down with disapproval. "You look thinner than a Bynar! Let me guess. Too busy for actual meals down here? Baby, I was an engineer for over thirty years. I wrote the book on busy," her eyes dared Noah to challenge that assertion. "But look at me?" she thumped her curvaceous hips. "There's always time if you make it."

"Now," she began again, "how bout we put those," she pointed to the cheese sticks, "back in the replicator and I'll make you something worthwhile to eat while we brainstorm, hmm?" Debbie stood unmoving, hands once again on her hips. The look on her face clearly conveyed that this wasn't an invitation to be declined or deferred to another day. She obviously intended to fix her holographic conundrum sooner rather than later. "Do you like meatloaf? Spaghetti? Fried chicken? Not all at once, mind," Debbie chortled, "else you'd have the shits for days. But pick one and let's head up to the mess. I'll cook while you design and program."

Noah nibbled at his lips, his finger fishing at a cheesestick's beer-battered, golden fried butt-end. He picked up the tray and moved it back to the replicator, slipping it into the receptacle. He tapped the key and with a whisk of energy, it was taken away. "Oh." He shrugged a shoulder, "I just had a craving." His almost-black eyes glanced at the woman. He moved back to his desk and made a few quick gestures at his golden yarns of a holographic interface. "Index, run a level-two diagnostic on memory cell-bays One-One-Four-Alpha-Charlie-Two-One-Charlie-Zero-Zero, through One-One-Nine-Omega-Omega-Nine-Delta-Nine-Nine." Then the boy opened a locker panel on the wall and fished out a few handheld devices- one was definitely some kind of spatial recognition device.

"OK, I-I have what I need. At-at least to make the measurements and then um, start the interface map." Noah assured with his too-wide smile. He shouldered a satchel with the Engineering Academy logo on it, its shape bright red. "I-I like those. Do you know how to make quesadillas?"

Debbie stare-blinked at Noah for several long moments. "A quesadilla. That's like asking Michaelangelo to do a finger painting. But sure, kid," she popped another bubble, "I can make you a quesadilla. And a damn good one, if I do say so," she smiled, the expression reaching her eyes this time. "I appreciate the help so it's the least I can do. Might wanna grab your uniform jacket though, hmm? Not that I mind a tight t-shirt," she clucked, "but you don't exactly look the part for above decks." The last was said with the raising of both eyebrows and a tilt of her head, the expression causing her hoopy earrings to sway a bit.

"Oh. Uh." Noah eyed his jacket, "Good- uh- good idea, thanks Ma'am," Noah said. He quickly pulled on his jacket and did it up, then turned circles to try and find his commbadge. He smoothed down his chest and over his butt to try and find any texture that signaled where it'd gone. He found it- under his jacket where he'd pinned it a few moments ago. Noah undid his jacket enough to reach in and pull it out. He slapped it to his chest. "Okay, ready."

"That's better," Debbie nodded and then strode from the core, once again thundering down the hallway. This time, however, she was mollified by the presence of her new assistant, who was currently trailing in her wake. Stepping into the turbolift, she smirked at Noah as he slipped inside just before the doors closed. "Deck 2, Mess Hall...if you know what's good for you," the woman groused at the turbolift. It whirred as it began to move, the lights shifting as decks were ascended and traversed. When the doors swished open again, the pair were deposited within a few steps of the mess.

"C'mon inside," Debbie waved to Noah, leading the way through the double doors. Gathered inside were several officers and enlisted personnel, all attending to their dietary needs and getting in a little socialization. But to Debbie, who was already cooking about the state of her Mess Hall, they looked entirely too comfortable sitting in those thin metal chairs and at those boring beige tables. "Listen up! Cause I'm going gonna say this once. This place?" she waved all about her. "It's drab and lifeless. Don't get too attached to it because this young man," she chucked a thumb at Noah, "is gonna help me redo the place. So eat your food and then get out. We have work to do."

"Baby, go ahead and get started with your measuring," Debbie nodded down at one of the devices in Noah's hands. "Didja want chicken, steak, or vegetarian? I'm guessing you don't need gluten-free cause those cheese sticks certainly weren't," she guffawed, moving behind the counter that separated the main section of the Mess Hall from what had been transformed into a tiny kitchen.

Noah nervously waved, a dappling of finger movements with his teeth sinking into the inside of his cheek when several sets of eyes swung to him with the attention he very much had never craved. They regarded him- some had understanding or curiosity but a few seemed irate that this junior officer in training was ousting them from their afternoon meal- or downtime. Noah's empathy wondered how many of these people had just gotten off shift and had looked forward to their first sit-down meal on this new ship. "Sorry," he husked.

Noah nodded- and paused- as Debbie suggested he get going- then checked his gear and nodded at her with more confidence. "Sorry.... sorry...." he said to a couple of passersby. He flushed and tucked his wavy hair behind his ear as a group of Security types passed by him- one was the Nausicaan woman who had come to Parsons' aid with his holographic butterfly.

Noah began by opening his case and telescoping out some kind of a tripod. Then he picked up some kind of square device with a glossy front. He set it onto the top of the tripod. It chirped and initialized with a pulse of turquoise light. He took up his PADD, and swiped for the holo-interface which bathed his face in an amber glow- which sort of gave him a jaundiced hue. He swiped with fluid, confident motions and began to run a diagnostic on his equipment.

"So... why the 20th century, Ma'am?" He asked toward Debbie.

"I grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Pitts, as they call it," Debbie smirked from the kitchen. There was room enough back there for exactly two people, which meant it was just about perfect for the matronly proprietor to do her thing. She did have to raise her voice a bit to be heard but not in an unpleasant way. "When I was a little girl, my mother used to take me to a little diner with a similar setting. I remember being so small, my legs kicked freely sitting in those tight little booths," she clucked, getting some of the utensils and the skillet she'd need from the storage cabinets and drawers. "Getting a milkshake from there was just about the best thing ever," Debbie lamented with nostalgia.

Utilizing the replicator inset behind the counter, she then materialized the ingredients she would need: flour, salt, water, and olive oil would go towards making the tortilla, hence she also called up a tortilla press. Then came some chicken and steak -- since Noah hadn't indicated a preference -- as well as some cilantro, bell peppers, jalapeños, onion, garlic, and cheese. With the practiced hand of a short-order cook, Deb began assembling the tortilla ingredients into a bowl while her skillet slowly heated a modicum of oil.

"The Adelphi used to have a boring old lounge like this one," she said, chucking a thumb back towards the humdrum environs over the counter. "Took a chance to turn it into a diner -- you wouldn't believe how much people enjoyed getting away from typical Starfleet environs. Plus," Debbie looked up at Noah, even though he was busy measuring, "so many people have never heard of Elvis. Aliens I get but how the hell does that happen when you grow up on Earth?" she sighed, shaking her head and returning to mixing the tortilla ingredients with her hands.

"A lot of music I like," Noah confided, "Is from then. Well, a little later but I like 20th and 21st-century music." The youth mostly just listened to the hostess spin her tale as he calibrated his equipment then set about accessing the Federation and Old Earth archives in the core memory. He began by searching for diners but as he listened to Debbie describe her place, he started to filter out certain things: rollerskate and drive-up places, jazz bars, something called "Prohibition." He focused his search on the 1950s and 1960s. The scent of the cooking began to stir at his already hungry stomach, his dark eyes focused on his equipment. He subconsciously unraveled a taffy and popped it in his mouth.

"On Enceladus," Noah started, "There's a place a little bit like what you're saying. It's called Dingo's Deep Dive... dive like a sketch place. And deep-cuh-cuz well.. Enceladus." He chewed his lip, adjusting some of the parameters of his device before he set it in motion. It began to hum and whir. "They served, um, Detroit Style Pizza. Have, um," he glanced back at Debbie in the KItchen, "Ever had that? You bake in the pepperoni... but you, um, also leave some on top that get all crispy and curly."

"Elvis..." Noah finally circled back. "Was he The King, or The Boss? I-I-I've forgotten." He grimaced. "Or was he the Prince?"

"Really?" Debbie asked when Noah proclaimed his musical tastes, delighted to have something in common with the young man. As he went about his own business, Deb continued assembling the young man's requested meal. With the tortilla hand-pressed and ready for heat, she set that going before shredding a small block of cheese to hold together all of the other ingredients that would go inside. "Elvis was 'The King,'" she clarified from her small kitchen, calling out into Mess beyond. "And yes!!" Debbie exclaimed, popping her head back out into the main space to enthusiastically respond to the question about Detroit-style pizza. "I love the stuff, are you kidding? We should totally have a pizza night," she thought out loud. "Think people would like that?"

Noah nodded from his calibration, his eagle-like nose almost touching his screen, "I think they'd love it. It's, um, thirty-five centimeters of happiness." Or roughly the diameter of a typical large pizza. He nodded at his mix-up between the Boss and the King. "Dingo would personally make sure each pizza had a good, crisped-up cheese crust. He was an-an artist." Noah glanced back, "He-he's probably as old as the colony. The-the joke was the Earthers showed up and he, um, waved at them and asked what took them so long to get there."

With a practiced hand, Debbie layered some of the cheese on the tortilla happily heating in her fry pan. The mixture of blanco and cheddar quickly melted into a gooey bed ready for glueing. In first went the big chunks of chicken and steak: she made sure to evenly distribute the two kinds of meat so that no bite had more of one type than the other. Then came diligently placed bell peppers and jalapeños, mixed in with chunks of onion and some diced garlic she'd reduced down in another pan. Last was another layer of cheese, this one heavier than the first. With a last blast of heat, the cheese melted beautifully as Debbie folded the tortilla over and then plated the quesadilla.

Grabbing a sharp knife, the proprietor quickly sliced the pocket into several triangle-shaped pieces. A quick order in the replicator provided a small side of chips and queso and -- because she wasn't a monster -- a few mozzarella sticks and a little dish of marinara sauce. Debbie understood cravings and while cheese sticks alone would not sustain someone, the combination with a main dish might just do the trick. Turning off the cook fire, she came back into the main area, the plate in one hand and a large glass of ice water in the other.

"Take a break. Order's up, sweety," Debbie beamed, setting both items down on the table closest to Noah. She took a seat opposite the food, also producing a set of silverware wrapped in a cloth napkin. "Look OK?" Debbie asked, suddenly looking a little unsure. "I'm a bit rusty after a couple months in the lap o' luxury," she chuckled.

Noah obeyed, flipping his scanners into full automation. He checked its percentages and luminosity factors, reminding himself to account for the spatial change a padded-out booth would be compared to the minimalist seating now. Then the stick insect of a youth came over to the bar and sidled into the chair to behold the bounty. "Thanks," he said with an eager note of hunger. He pulled up one of the triangles of the quesadilla, a piece of cheese-laden chicken dropping off its edge. "Did um, did you like Risa?" Noah asked. His Betazoid-like eyes blinked and he looked at the matron. "I-I came in on the ship from Antares. I didn't see much of Risa."

"Oh, very much so," Debbie nodded slowly, her eyes reflective as she thought about her time on-world. "So many beautiful places there. I've always been something of a beach girl at heart," she chuckled before popping a bubble with her gum, "but I tell beautiful as it was, Starfleet kept us down there too long, if you ask me. It's one thing to take a couple of weeks of shore leave. But a couple of months? Man," she shook her head in disappointment, "it's left a lot of rust to shake off. Like, who even remembers how to diagnose issues with the computer core? Good thing we have you, baby," Debbie burst into a grin. "I know your opportunities down there were limited but did you get to do anything fun?" she asked, content to keep the young man company as he ate his meal.

Noah listened intently but so intently that he was neglecting his food and it was slowly seeping heat. He skewed his mouth with a nod, his long body leaning some over the space between them, "Ih-it's not just you Ma'am," he said. "I know s-some, um, Cadets who are still waiting for their first assignments. I was lucky. But well... I also wasn't, um, picky." He chewed his lip. "We," his brows knitted at his aquiline nose, "Losing Mars did a lot of damage. Things just don't come online as fast as they used to. I hear. But it's um, getting better too. Finally. I mean they-they can finally start to retire some of the ships that should've been gone post-Dominion."

He grinned, "To be, um, honest. I sort of like it down there. It's quiet and... it doesn't, um, have the same craziness as Main Engineering. The new guy's got his hands full," Noah added. He smiled again, a smile that was wide for such a narrow face. "No, not really. I went to the beach party but people were just so happy to see each other..." he shrugged a shoulder, "And-and to finally get a ship. And I didn't know anybody. So I beamed back up." His eagle nose crinkled, "It was beautiful though. In a really alien way."

Mars. The mention of the event gave Debbie pause. After a few moments of reflection, she nodded and said, "I guess I should cut Starfleet a little slack there. I imagine it's not easy with everything we lost there. I'm just glad we're on the road again," she smiled, jutting her chin towards the rainbow star streaks beyond the mess hall's windows. "I'm glad you were able to enjoy yourself at least a little bit down on Risa but I know what you mean about not knowing anyone." Like a mother hen, she gestured at Noah to keep eating. "When I came aboard our last ship -- the Adelphi," she said, smiling, "Björn...sorry, Captain Kodak," Deb clarified, "was the only person I knew. But you'll find your place here, baby. And I don't just mean the computer core. There are some very lovely people on this ship."

The gentle systems engineer smiled at that. "I hope so. I met my roommates. I-I have three of them. Um," Noah took his skinny butt off the stool, stood up and walked to the replicator. "Ranch dressing, traditional style, cool." He picked up the small container of white that appeared and settled back down in his seat. "Do-um, do you know about this?" He studied Debbie as he picked up a cheesestick and dunked it in the white. He handed it over to her. "Ah-anyway I met my roommates. Uh, Parsons," his eye winced as he recalled names, "Walsh and... her name was Eerie? I think?"

Debbie's eyes widened as a cheese stick was offered. "Thank you, baby," she said, reaching over to gently pinch Noah on the cheek. Her earlier huffiness had entirely evaporated in the face of such a sweet kid as he was. With a large bite, half the savory vittle was cleaved off, a little ranch lingering on the matron's lips. With a quick swipe of her tongue, the white was gone. "I love ranch on a big salad," Deb replied, "but this is my first time having it on a mozzarella stick. It's not half-bad," she smiled.

"It's decadent huh." Noah said, eyeing one that he'd also treated and eaten in the same fashion. "Ssso you know the Captain?" Noah then asked. "I haven't seen him yet, I don't think. But," his kind eyes rounded with a playfulness, his shoulder shrugging, "There's no reason he'd know me yet either. I'm way below his, um, pay grade."

"Oh yes. I've known him for a very long time," Debbie nodded slowly. "Awhile back -- this was years ago," she explained, "I was the Chief Engineer of the USS Lancelot. Björn was our Chief Tactical Officer. Back then, he was much better at shooting things than he was leading anyone," Deb laughed lightly, the sound like wind-chimes. "I remember him being this kid -- compared to me at least," she clucked hard, "who just wanted to make a good impression on his Captain. You'd never see Björn fumble over himself these least, not like he did with Captain Smith."

"Oh, um, uh...well, ah, hmm..." Debbie playfully mocked the Björn-of-old, fully aware that Noah was exhibiting some of the same verbal ticks in the present. "I think we all struggle there at one point or another and that's perfectly OK. But I guess I bring it up become, high or low pay grade, everyone on this ship is important, baby," Deb smiled softly reaching over to place a hand atop Noah's shoulder. "You should make an effort to meet him, assuming he doesn't beat ya to it," she encouraged. "He's a nice person. Still a little prickly sometimes but for the most part, he's a sweetheart. I'm sure he'd like you," Deb nodded.

"I-I will. I just need to stay out of his way for a while... um... know, just everyone has a lot of work to do. But once it all, uh, calms down a lot." It was nice to be told that everyone was important. And Noah would agree. But some functions, perhaps, had bigger impacts. Some stones, when thrown, made bigger ripples. "Right now, I-I need to make a good impression on my roommates. And the new Chief Engineer. But you know... s-soon enough." He smiled again. He nibbled at his quesadilla again, a glomp of guacamole having to be fished by tonguetip from the corner of his mouth.

"Scan complete. Compiling wiremesh." The machine chirped in a feminine sound. Noah's brown eyes widened at that.

"Jus-just a sec," he wiped his mouth and spun in his stool. He came off and tugged on his jacket. "Index." He stated. Suddenly a hairless, androgynous being appeared in gray, her arms folded. "Access wiremesh compilation resolutions. Set to 7,000 ppc. Access haptic interactives. Set as adaptive-dynamic environment and augment.. Set realtime track interface maximum to 100." At each command, Index blinked. "Close index and apply changes." The being disappeared.

Noah smiled and turned back. "OK, its compiling," he assured with his big, geeky smile. "It'll take a while with that resolution, but in the end, it'll look a lot more real than the Holodeck." His eagle-nose wrinkled some, "It's set so high even a VISOR won't be able to pick out the pixelations." He blinked and set his butt back on his stool. Fingers resumed his quesadilla. "I'll start looking up archives after I eat. Then I can build the skin."

"I really appreciate all of your help with this," Debbie smiled, nodding as Noah returned to his meal. "I have some holos of how I had the Adelphi crew lounge setup. That was all done with physical pieces that are now in storage back on Earth. But if the pictures help you get a feel for what I'm looking for, I'm happy to share them." She produced a PADD then, calling up the referenced visual files. Some were stock photos taken to advertise the space; others were pictures from various events held in the diner, showing various faces Noah wasn't likely to recognize just yet. Or at all, the woman sighed, lingering on a photo of Timmoz and Nico looking very happy together in one of her old booths.

"I'll just send these your way, hmm?" Debbie asked, gesturing her PADD towards Noah's. The image files transferred, a beep confirming the process had completed. "I'm afraid I've got to take care of a few more things this afternoon, so should probably get going. But listen...a little motherly advice from one former engineer to a current one." She made sure to establish eye contact with Noah and held it intensely. "Poke your head up. Get out of that computer core as much as you can, baby."

"And I don't mean just spending time with your roommates, as lovely," her mouth quirked oddly, "and quirky as Parsons may be. Irynya's a peach, I adore her," Debbie smiled wide, "but I don't know much about Walsh yet. Even if they're all the cat's meow, though," Deb clucked, "make an effort to meet people. Take it from me: if you don't, one day you'll look up and realize you've made yourself an outsider on your own ship. You got me?" she asked, pointing a finger at Noah that dared him to refuse. "Now, I have to see someone in Operations about our monthly power allotment. Thanks again for your help, sweetie," she said, reaching over to gently pat and squeeze the young man's shoulder before moving away towards the door. "Better see your butt in here pretty often," she called back before slipping into the corridor beyond.

"You're welcome," Noah nodded with each instruction. The battle within was the same battle he fought at the Academy, at school. People were hard. Machines were easy. He'd been lucky a group had taken him under their wing as their own at Academy. And then, he still was a bit of a weirdo to their eyes sometimes. "Oh I will," he tried to assure Debbie. But anxiety was hard. He smiled at her again when she squeezed his shoulder. "I will," he assured more certainly when she said his butt better be in here.

He finished his quesadilla with large mouthfuls before he napkined off his fingers and went back to his work. He eyed the PADD that had chirped when Debbie had data transferred them. Seemed simple enough. But he wanted to model it in the Holodeck before he went live with it. He tapped the PADD against his palm, thinking. Then he secured his gear, collapsed it where it could be collapsed and hauled it back to work.

He mentally noted, as he ducked his head down with a shy smile at passerbys, that what he just did probably didn't exactly meet with what Debbie had suggested. And he thought about that up until he was depositing his gear and then checking the status of his diagnostics. But people were so hard. Machines were easy.

A Post By:

Debbie Gless


Midshipman Noah Hyman Balsam
Systems Specialist


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