And here's Act III. It's a little shorter, but like I said, there's not a whole lot of word count to go around this time. The second part has more scenes, though.
Doctor Sovera adjusted the display on her desktop terminal within the office of the chief medical officer aboard Farragut. Four of the sixteen physicians on her staff had already reported for duty, and of the entire staff, only a quarter had reported in so far. Although she did not feel displeasure at the fact that the rest of her medical staff awaited pick up at Starbase 310, she would have to make do with the four doctors and ten medics.
The doors to the main area of the sickbay opened and a loud and raucous conversation suddenly occupied her area. Annoyed by this, Sovera rose from behind her desk and began with a simple, "Please maintain a low volume when spea-" She stopped as soon as she recognized who it was. "Captain, my apologies."
"No, no," said Leone with a smile. "We were just taking a tour of the ship, and I thought I would drop by and say hello."
"I'm really very glad you were willing to take this assignment."
"It seemed like a logical choice, Captain, given the list of available officers."
"It wouldn't have been the same without my favorite doctor. I don't let just anyone work on my person, you know."
Sovera merely inclined her head.
Leone gestured to her companion. "You remember Ariel, right? She's agreed to join us as our new chief of operations."
"Good to see you again, Sovera," said Ariel with a wave of her hand.
She turned to Ariel and nodded. "And you, Commander Elannis. It is fortunate that you're here. Your last physical was more than twelve months ago."
Leone chuckled. "You heard the doctor, Ariel. Time for your physical."
Ariel looked as though she wanted to fight it, but instead let out a breath and nodded. "Fine. Let's get this over with."
"I'll see you later, then."
"Actually, Captain," said Sovera, "your physical has been overdue as well."
"Uh, yes, well..."
"I would appreciate it if you would please take care of that, now."
Ariel grinned widely. "You heard the doctor."
"Yes," Leone said with a hesitant nod. "However, I am going to have to postpone that another couple of days until after I have a chance to see the ship and assume command. Technically, I'm not assigned to this ship, yet."
"Hey!" said Ariel. "What kind of switch is that?"
"R.H.I.P, Commander," said Leone with a waggle of her eyebrows. "Enjoy your physical."
Sovera called after her, "I will hold you to that, Captain." Once she left, she turned her attention to Ariel. "I am expecting to pursue that matter with Captain Leone in two days. Please sit on the biobed, Commander."
Ariel pushed herself onto the biobed, as requested. "She's just going to shine you on, like always."
"I do not understand the human compunction for avoiding regular medical maintenance." She picked up her medical tricorder and ran it over Ariel's body. "You are eating too much fat, Commander."
"Oh, damn, Doctor. Don't sugar-coat it for me."
"Reduce your intake of foods high in fat, or else you will be in danger of not meeting Starfleet medical requirements for the well-being of its officers." She continued to take her readings. "If you require assistance in this area, I can schedule an appointment with a nutrition specialist once we reach Starbase 310."
"Yes, sir," replied Ariel. "Hey, what does R.H.I.P mean?"
"Rank Hath Its Privileges, Commander."
Ariel snorted. "Figures."
---- Scene Change ----
The liaison officer between the civilian and Starfleet engineers was a young ensign named Thaddeus Symonds. He was not a member of the official crew, but on loan from the yard's engineering pool. His job was to coordinate the activities of the civilian engineers with the Starfleet engineers, including seeing to their housing and other necessary accommodations to ensure they're able to complete their work on schedule.
Saleb hated him. "He's a humorless man who wouldn't know a good time if it slapped him in the face."
"I like him," admitted Belkis with a snort. "He knows how to be efficient at what he does."
"You talk to him, then. I'm sure you'll be the best of friends."
"Fine by me. At least I know he's not here to do some sight-seeing."
Symonds saw them approach and he immediately took out his padd. His fingers flew across it as he looked at them expectantly. "Report, gentlemen."
"Ensign, we have completed our diagnostic on the navigational deflector subsystems," said Belkis. He handed over a padd to the ensign. "Our final report, sir."
"Thank you, Mister Belkis. I will pass it on to my superior officer."
Saleb forced a smile on his face as the ensign directed his attention to him. He gave Symonds a little wave, to which the ensign did not respond to. Instead, the ensign sniffed at him and returned his attention to Belkis.
"Is there anything else we can do for you tonight, Ensign?" asked Belkis.
"No, Mister Belkis, Mister Saleb. I have you down as part of the civilian detachment to observe the warp trials tomorrow. You may enjoy your evening until tomorrow morning, oh-eight-hundred hours."
"Thank you, Ensign."
"Thank you," added Saleb, his tone dripping with sweetness.
Symonds grimaced. "Good night."
As soon as they were out of his earshot, Belkis grunted. "You shouldn't annoy him."
"He is in a state of constant annoyance. I'm certain nothing changes before or after I speak with him," replied Saleb, as they moved toward the engineering junction on deck twenty.
In the opposite direction, a female Starfleet captain entered the junction and passed by them without paying them much attention. Both Belkis and Saleb noticed her, and their formerly jovial demeanor quickly switched to serious.
When she passed out of range, Belkis leaned in and asked, "Was that her?"
Saleb's mouth was dry. He didn't realize they would get so close before the time was right. "Yeah."
"You're sure this is going to work?"
"Damn. It'd better, right?"
"For your sake."
"For our sakes, Belkis."
They continued down the corridor until they reached a turbolift. They shared a junior officers' suite on deck ten, just a few doors down from the lounge at the bow of the ship. Once there, they felt safe enough to begin accessing the ship's primary computer system, and monitored access to the navigational deflector control computer.
"I'll take the first shift," offered Belkis. "Get some sleep, and I'll wake you in eight hours."
"That's right kind of you," said Saleb with a large smile. "Unless you're planning to torture me in your sleep?"
"It's better to be awake while your gullet flaps so loud, that I think you're drowning in your own spit."
Saleb's smile dropped. "Oh."
"Also, you worked most of the day to secure our little project, and I'm sure you could use the rest. Since I'm still lucid, I trust myself to react quickly to any situation that may come up, while you would be wrestling your own fatigue at the same time."
"Why, Belkis..." said Saleb, grinning. "You do love me."
Belkis did not turn his head from the common area, instead he activated the display and watched. "If you're not asleep in the next ten seconds, I'll be happy to help you lose consciousness."
"Night!" said Saleb quickly.
Thus passes Act III.
I'm sure one could tell that I'm having fun with Saleb and Belkis. They crack me up.
Act IV coming soon to a TrekBBS near you!