Chapter Eighteen (cont.)
The doors to Shuttle Bay 1 slid open with a hiss and Matt limped around to the hatch on the side of the old Vulcan shuttlecraft that filled the bay’s interior. The thing was so large that two of the four Star Fleet shuttles normally stored here had been moved to Shuttle Bay 2 to make room. Several engineers were closing up access hatches on the outer skin of the shuttle, gathering up their tools and equipment, and slowly leaving the bay; each nodded to Matt and the XO, one even giving them a thumbs-up.
The pair came around to the side of the shuttlecraft, and Matt suddenly came to a halt. “What are you doing here?”
Quincy Talbot looked up from where he was sitting down on the ramp leading up into the shuttle’s interior. “Waiting for you, Captain Dahlgren, Sir.”
“Quincy, I don’t have time for another lecture on the leg . . .”
“Oh, you have plenty of time because you aren’t flying this thing, Captain.”
Matt glared at his chief medical officer. “Excuse me, Doctor?”
“Beaming down to Hak’ta-thor was necessary. I understand. Getting almost no sleep so that your leg can heal, in order to get this ship motivated and worthy for the Fleet was necessary. I don’t like it, but I understand. But this?” Quincy shook his head. “You aren’t some twenty-two year old space cadet, Captain. You have officers whose duties encompass missions just like this, good officers.”
“Quincy, I have to talk to them . . .”
“That’s what sub-space radio is for, Sir. Your officer assigned to this mission will contact the Nephkyrie, and he will patch you through to them. Putting yourself out on the ledge isn’t part of your job description anymore, Captain—and it damn sure ain’t necessary.”
“Thank you for that opinion, Doctor. Now step aside,” Matt growled.
“No. Matt, I’ll declare you medically unfit for command if you so much as place a single one of those six eleven boots in that shuttle.”
Matt started to snarl, and then he saw the seriousness with which Quincy was stating his position. Instead the Captain turned to Chan.
“The two of you think this up together, Chan?”
Before the Andorian could answer, a fourth being cleared his throat from inside the shuttlecraft. Natantael Malik descended the ramp. “Actually, I called him, Skipper,” the Trill admitted. “You don’t need to be doing this, Sir.”
“And while I was willing to let you go, Captain Dahlgren,” the Andorian added, “I can’t say that I am sad to see the good Doctor here and prepared to stop you.”
Matt started to open his mouth, and Quincy shook his head. “I will do it, Matt. Don’t force me to.”
The Captain let out a long breath, and he nodded. “If my executive officer, my second officer, and my ship’s surgeon are in agreement then fine; we will do this your way. I trust you gentlemen are happy now?”
“Happy?” Quincy replied. “Nope. Because that blue-skinned, ice-water in his veins executive officer of yours should have already knocked some damn sense into your head; instead of me having to come into this hanger to pull out the big guns. And you, Captain, Sir, should have more sense than to think the two of you could get away with this.”
“I think he is happy, Chan,” Matt said. “Remember for when you get your own ship: if the chief medical officer isn’t whining he isn’t happy.”
“I’ll make a note of it, Sir,” the Andorian answered.
? Why I’ll . . .”
“You’ve made your point, Quincy—don’t push it,” Matt warned. “Mister Malik, I presume that since you and the doctor have grounded me, you have arranged for a pilot?”
“I have,” the Trill beamed.
“In that case, gentlemen; let’s get this show on the road.”