An Altogether Different Mood
Posted on Sat Jul 24th, 2021 @ 2:40pm by Petty Officer 1st Class Kotri Tesren & Petty Officer 1st Class Amber Hartree & Petty Officer 2nd Class Joselyn Brand & Crewman Mateo Longhorse & Ensign Noah Balsam
Edited on on Sat Jul 24th, 2021 @ 2:44pm
The Place of Skulls
Location: Yeoman Pool, Deck Four
Timeline: Mission Day 4 at 1050
[Yeoman Pool, Deck Four]
[Mission Day 4]
[1050 Hours, concurrent to posts on the Bridge and the Away Team]
"Whoa, 'ey! No, Lembo! That's against regulations!" Yeoman Amber Hartree slapped Mateo Longhorse's hand- hard- her Welsh brogue thick without her usual speech pattern check. Mateo recoiled, chuckling while his fingers stung from impact. Amber guarded her PADD stack jealously, "These are private medical files. And none of your business, Crewman Longhorse."
"Well hurry up. I'm hungry. And I don't think Debbie's delivers." The normally morose Apache was on a roller coaster of highs and lows- Engineering had finally released him from the double duty shifts needed to get this ship into shape. But he hadn't eaten breakfast.
"These things take time," said a calculated, measured monotone voice, its owner cluing into the Operations Yeoman just long enough to respond. Ashen-skinned with white hair and gray eyes, Joselyn Brand stared down her pointed nose at the man. "There is currently eighty-one personnel aboard this ship. They all have to have their annual wellness checks, flight hours, and-or firearm training credentials on file and sent back to Starfleet Operations."
Mateo wasn't sure what annoyed him more: Joselyn's cool, archivist's sense of duty, or the fact that she actually used- spoke- the term "and-or." He folded his arms across his chest, the sweep of his luxurious black-brown hair cascading in a ponytail over his shoulder. His hair was pulled tight, which gave him a stoic severity and sharpness of face shape. But neither of the other two Yeomen looked up. Mateo studied their faces, their jaundiced, cast in yellow holographic LCARS faces. In particular, they made Brand look more waxy and sallow.
"If you're that hungry," Joselyn piped up while her fingers waltzed her keys. She didn't even look at him. "Use the replicator." Then she stopped and stared narrowed gray daggers at him. "Oh. Right. You can't. Because it doesn't work. Because Engineering is too busy to fix whatever went wrong yesterday night."
"Don't blame me," Mateo said with a huffy chuckle, hands raised. "I didn't break the computer. You're a Yeoman. Put in a work order and move it up the priority list."
"You've been playing Engineer all week," Joselyn snapped, her nickel-colored gaze returning to her work. While her voice fell back to competing with the computer in tone, her fingers never seemed to hiccup with the change of topic. "You're just standing there. Be useful. If you're hungry, fix the thing that makes you food." She suddenly halted and dropped her hands into her lap. Her eyes narrowed with a sourness, "Do you have any idea how weird it was to order a glass of juice, and it had Ferengi ears for a glass?"
Amber chuckled from her position while Mateo rolled his eyes. He turned hard on his heel and strutted to the wall alcove. With a swift and metal-scraping flourish of dexterity and muscle, he pulled off the access panel of the replicator. He dropped it- deliberately- with a clang just to annoy Joselyn. When he looked over his shoulder, she was still like a mobile mannequin.
"Damn, really thought that'd work..." Longhorse muttered under his breath. He sighed and started to fidget- he pulled isolinear chipsets out, checked them, and slotted them back in. His eyes glazed over. He'd been staring at isolinear banks and conduits for so many hours by now. Mateo sighed, "Fix the stupid replicator so I can have stupid replicated food. Have either of you had real food lately?" He announced over his shoulder.
"Psst," Joselyn pushed air out of the side of her mouth. It was directed at the Medical yeoman next to her. Amber blinked from her fitness evaluations, compressing the next packet of files for subspace. Joselyn hasn't looked at her but surreptitiously chinned at Mateo's back. When Amber's brows knitted confusion, Joselyn mouthed the word, Booty.
Amber glanced and guffawed with a laugh. "Um," she said around laughing, "It's been... a bit... ahem, since I had cooked food," she replied, "Does the Diner use real ingredients?"
"Oh. Yes. The same," Joselyn said with a lip nibble, glancing past her holographic console to the view. "That's Starfleet."
Mateo muttered, "Well. We had real food on Gault. We didn't just eat our own shit..." he pushed an isolinear bank into its slot harder than he needed to: the computer buzzed and chirped distress over the rough treatment. "Oh shut up," he muttered to the machine.
"It is not shit," Joselyn protested with a hard, schoolmarm's gaze. "It's bulk matter from several sources that have been broken down on the subatomic level, and reconstituted as needed."
"It's butt tofu. Call it for what it is," Mateo sneered without looking at the pale Lunar. He sighed again. "Come on... re-initialize. I don't give a damn about kappa recursive subroutines needing a patch, just bypass. I just want a cheeseburger."
The doors of the Yeoman Pool opened and Petty Officer Kotri Tesren strolled inside, rubbing her neck. She paused at the colorful metaphors coming from Mateo Longhorse. "What's wrong with him?" She asked, sitting on Joselyn's work console. The Lunar gave her an interrupted, pointedly territorial glare for the intrusion. She pinched at her holograms and, like light straining with a pinprick black hole, it skewed. She flung downward so the data in front of her would stay private.
"He's hangry," Amber's voice interjected. Kotri had leaned on her hands- she twisted to look at the redhead with confusion. "Hungry-angry. He's hangry."
Kotri man-spread, legs a-dangle off the edge of Joselyn's console desk. "So. Wherever we are, I just signed out a case of phasers for an Away mission." Kotri smugly smiled, leaning back on her hands. "Any idea where we are?"
Joselyn sighed, "Somewhere in Klingon space," she muttered with the first note of fatigue. She pulled a stylus out from her white hair bun. Her snowy-fine hair dropped in plaits. "I've been getting transmission packet denials all morning. The Klingons cap how much data can go through their subspace repeaters. You have to do things just the way they want them. So I'm having to point our transmissions toward Archanis and Xarantine. That's a long way without a repeater."
In her pedagogy, Joselyn had missed that Amber had risen and had popped her back. She strolled over to a wall console and tapped several keys. A strangely grey-green planet with a backdrop of stars appeared. "Well, wherever we are. It's green." She commented. "See?"
Joselyn shrugged with the briefest of glances up. "I see." She could only because Kotri Tesren had slid off the desk and joined the redheaded Human who was studying the screen with her cybernetic azure gaze.
"We could find a window," Kotri said, squeezing her folded arms together.
"Here is fine," Joselyn countered.
"No, don't time out, you Antarean-built piece of-" Mateo growled next to Kotri. She split a wild grin, pushing her thick black hair behind her small ears. Her earring glinted in the low light of the Yeoman Pool.
"Bhala do Kosst'amoja," Kotri flinched- then slipped into a braying laugh, pushing up her uniform sleeves to her elbows when Mateo hit the computer panel with a palm. "Red Alert."
Amber was burning holes into Mateo as she came around, her arms crossed. "Oh very nice," she said with acidity. Fingers touched at the panel of cool, dark metal, "You dented the panel."
"WORK!" Mateo hunched, arms ready to bear hug, and bellowed. A moment later the doors of the Yeoman Pool opened again and a quizzical Lieutenant glanced in.
Amber spun and smiled, "It's fine," Hands were up in a dismissal-distraction of a queenly wave, "Replicator problems," she reassured. The Lieutenant bobbed their head with a thick, sticky wave of uncertainty on their rictus of a smile. The doors closed when they were out of the door frame. Amber set her jaw with a cock and sighed. Her cybernetic eyes settled on Joselyn, "Right then, can we go eat before this Lembo breaks the cnychu ship? Or lands his arse in the Brig?" Amber tersely suggested. "All our arses?" She snorted at Mateo with a shake of her head and proceeded for the doors.
"Well not mine," Kotri drawled with the smug glee of an imp who'd skipped an eternal sentence in Hell, "I have the passcodes."
Joselyn swung her legs out from her console, stood, and tugged her skant into a comfortable place. "Red Alert indeed," she purred toward Kotri, sly gray eyes turned toward her. "She's gone full Welsh." Kotri raised an eyebrow in a Vulcan way- albeit with a bubbling, held-back bemusement that tickled her mouth. It was hardly worthy of a Kolinahru. The Bajoran pushed off her perch.
"Why don't you ever want a window seat?" Kotri asked, still hung up on Joselyn's poignant clampdown earlier.
Joselyn stared at Kotri like a patient- but tested- librarian who had just been asked a very stupid question. She lifted her chin. "If you must know," she pointed out, "I'm agoraphobic. Many Lunars are. What to do expect," It wasn't a question, "We live under a hundred meters of rock and dust."
They emerged from the Yeoman Pool as a pair of their compatriots in red returned toting PADDs. Joselyn fought the impulse to fussily check what departments they'd come from, and the pinched sourness of her default face was mute testament. This was a new ship and it seemed the operational readiness, the requests, the updates came far too fast or frequently for such a small vessel. She considered turning back and letting the rest of them go. Reluctance dragged her feet but she kept going. Her eyes swung when she detected a stop- and Mateo's voice.
The Apache had his fingers outstretched and resting on the black-clothed pec of another. His shouldering was yellow. "You're a Systems Analyst, right?" Mateo said, the tail-end of his tantrum making him sound terse. The curly-haired waif on the end of his fingers nodded. Noah Balsam was carrying what looked to be a heavy- or at least awkward- portable system. Some kind of a signal booster. "Right," Mateo said with a spin. He pointed at the Yeoman Pool, "When you're done, the replicator in the Pool needs fixing. And we're tired of waiting."
Noah's brows furrowed, "I-I have to get to the Holo-Lab...s-sorry," He said, mind racing toward needing to support the Away Team. Bad signal strength had prompted him to head back to the core for some signal boosters and image rendering buffers. When Noah made a move, Mateo stepped in front of him.
"I mean it," Mateo said, swinging down a pointing finger toward Noah's nose. "Fix it."
"I think that's enough," Amber said, putting a blocking arm up between Mateo and Noah, and lowering Mateo's hand in the process. She took Mateo by the shoulder and turned him.
"Fix it," Mateo emphasized again over his shoulder, though he let Amber turn him. He said with his frustration and shrugged off Amber's hand. "Hey, get off me. I wasn't gonna hurt him." Noah watched on, not understand what he'd done wrong. But he didn't have a lot of time to think about it. He pushed on with a grim grunt, clenching teeth as he got moving again toward the Holo-Lab. "Engineering calls us in to help fix their problems, but they can't reciprocate? Now we're backlogged." He forcefully rolled up his sleeves, "How's a holodeck program more important than replicators?"
"Would you breathe, already?" Amber snapped. She glanced at Kotri, who looked simply bemused at their fiery companion while Joselyn just looked highly embarrassed. "Let's get some food." She looked back as the skinny Engineer vanished around the bend. She very much wondered if Mateo was about to end up on a report. She wasn't positive, but she thought she'd seen anything other than an enlisted pin on his chest.
"Should we invite Jyl-eel?" Joselyn asked as if fully trying to distract from the unpleasantness. She swayed up to the rest of the group, arms behind her. Amber shrugged as did Kotri. "What decks the Botany Lab on? Five or six?"
"I thought it was three?" Amber said, "Literally under the Bio-Lab. Across from the Morgue, supposedly."
"You go get her," Mateo said plainly, "I'm going and getting food. And a table." And the operations Yeoman immediately set off without another word.
Kotri and Amber watched on as Longhorse stomped toward food at the opposite end of the ship. "And he wonders why he's still a Crewman..." Amber breathed out. "Maybe we can have him reassigned as the Diplomatic Attache to the Zaldan Embassy." Joselyn looked on, more concerned. Mateo was a plain, morose person but he wasn't snippy or bellicose mostly. But she kept, for the moment, her desire to investigate to herself.
"I set him off when I said get your own food," Joselyn said with a wave of apology from an ashen hand. She took footsteps toward the turbolift but only when it had swished open did the other two join in. "Deck three." The turbolift warbled and lifted to life, the slow woosh of velocity cut short by a sharper halt. The doors hissed again. Kotri was out first.
To Kotri, deck Three had a lingering aromatic "hangover" from Sickbay being above- a distinctive medical tang of disinfectant... and preservative. It at once was somewhat repulsive, but all too familiar. She was Imutta, and though the D'jarras had been cast aside, there was still de June "traditions" that locked some into their roles. The Imutta dressed and handled the sick and dying, and their D'jarra was supposedly unclean. They made funeral urns and lit the pyres. They were also, in eons past, the retained torturers and dissection assistants for the courts.
"Here it is," Kotri said. She ushered herself inside quickly, like an eager spaniel ready to tree. The scent from inside and outside was night and day. They entered a deeply humid realm bathed in the odor of soil and petrichor. Odd samples of scent brushed the nose from differing flowers. And it was immensely bright, even by the standards of the corridor. And quite warm. The light was hued like sunlight.
Jyl-eel Tor was hunched over some kind of twisty bamboo-like plant with large, scaled fruit on the end that resembled dragonfruit or a closed artichoke. "Jyl?" Kotri said. Jyl-eel's eyes shot to her friends and she smiled.
"Oh hello." She straightened and wiped a silvery cloth over her fingers, "I don't see your three around here. What can I do for you?" She turned and leaned a hip against the ledge she had been working against.
Kotri was examining some kind of a plant that seemed to be turning its unopened flower while the Bajoran turned her face. Jyl-eel put her hand on Kotri's shoulder. "That's an Arbazan Trak-Drak," she said. "It's deciding if you're mobile enough to spew its spores on you."
Kotri rictused a grin of amusement. "Better buy me a drink first." The Bajoran curled her fingers into her hair and pushed it behind her D'jarra earring. "We thought you'd want to join us for early Lunch."
"This flower smells like saffron?" Amber interjected. It was a small crocus with a bright red set of stigma curling out of it.
Jyl-eel smiled and nodded. "That's because it is. Crocus sativus."
Amber was pleased while she straightened up, eyes on the bright red lines that were still so prized, "I'll come by for Paella later?"
Jyl-eel's green eyes narrowed with a spike of annoyance at her own ignorance, "What is Paella?"
"An Earth dish, from Spain," Amber said, "Try it in the replicator sometime but the replicators don't give it justice. I had it once in Ibiza, on holiday."
"Oh," Jyl-eel smiled pleasantly. She folded her fingers, "I wish I could but I have a lot of work to do. Maybe dinner?" The grouping nodded tentatively, full agreement on a time and place were fleeting. Joselyn led Kotri and Amber out into the corridor.
"Clear the corridor!" Someone barked- and their voice really carried. Three paramedics in white came barreling up the corridor in delta formation, carrying medical equipment. They halted at the turbolift. "Vasquez, Alpha-Four-Nine. Emergency Medical Override." The turbolift snapped open, the buffering bezels around the doorway emanating a sudden medical blue. The door closed.
"That doesn't look good," Hartee drawled in her Welshness, looking on. "There's another turbolift over here." She thumbed down the aft direction. As they rounded a corner, three more crewmen in white had just approached a door. "Janussen, Sigma-sigma-eight." The doors hissed open- with a strong waft of that medical disinfectant, its chalky, sweet unpleasant awash in the nose. Kotri's nose wrinkled at it.
They had scarcely reached the next turbolift when a disembodied voice broke out of the comm. The lights dimmed and warmed and the first pulses of yellow light began to lance down their emitters on the bulkhead. "All decks this is the Bridge, Yellow Alert. Go to Yellow Alert."
Kotri sighed, her head lolling back. She rubbed her neck. "Lunch is off. I have a feeling I'm about to be handing out more phasers. I'd better get back."
The Yeomans exchanged rueful glances, "Us too." The trio broke- Kotri took the nearest ladder access while the Yeomans sidled into the turbolift with three other personnel. The mood had shifted from the easy time of waiting, of casual morning shift-work, to uncertain tension. The lift stopped on deck four and Hartee and Brand pushed their way out. They walked by the Emergency Response Team's station where two crewmen were fitting themselves with gear.
"I don't think I like this..." Joselyn murmured while they stepped back into the Yeoman Pool.
A Post By:
Ensign Jyl-eel Tor
Midshipman Noah Balsam
Crewman Mateo Longhorse
Petty Officer Joselyn Brand
Petty Officer Amber Hartree
Petty Officer Kotri Tesren