USS Nightingale, Captain's Ready Room
Wilcox threw down the padd and lent back in his chair rubbing his eyes. Hans and he had been working out the finer details of the raid for the past four hours and John had been tossing and turning all night in his bunk worrying about the missions. Now he knew that Starfleet didn't trust the Gorn, he had moved that worry onto doing the dirty on the Gorn and getting caught. He reminded himself several times that this was necessary and that the Gorn were technically doing the dirty on them first. But he felt a little uneasy, Jenkins would probably attribute it to pre-mission nerves.
The Nightingale had left Starbase One One Two as scheduled last night, without a hitch and they were now speeding towards the Geckonian home world. Hans had been up all night on watch, but as he needed very little sleep he was helping out John come up with a infiltration technique in which to get to the research station and steal what they needed. John had been promised by the Geckonian government some of their latest intelligence reports, which would essentially allow any small craft to escape detection. But that did little to help them get them what they wanted once on the station.
"I could take a marine squad..." Hans started to suggest before being cut off quickly by Wilcox.
"For the last time Commander, you are not going," John paused for a second, "To start with Slov will expect to see you on the Nightingale. Your appointment as my executive officer was hardly a state secret, John paused for a brief second picking up a second padd and throwing it down, "And that research station probably holds several thousand metric tonnes of toxin that can kill reptilian species." John looked up at his first officer and smiled, "It is far too dangerous for you to go."
"Am I sensing concern for my wellbeing Captain?" Hans enquired. John could have sworn it was a mocking comment.
"Not at all," Wilcox replied, "I just don't want to get a record of losing first officers by the bucket full." Wilcox gave the Geckonian a cheeky smile and a chuckle.
"That would certainly ruin your reputation," Hans stated, in his normal neutral tone.
"I was thinking of placing Lieutenant Visitor in command of the mission," Wilcox stated, "She has a great starfleet record and has command training.
"She is slightly inexperienced Captain," Hans said, voicing his concerns in that characteristic monotone voice.
"She has combat experience, more so that Lieutenant Shrak," Wilcox added, "And apart from us, they're the only two who have the necessary command qualifications."
Hans sighed, something that John rarely heard him do, "I guess we have no choice."
John shrugged, "I was hoping to get Lieutenant Commander Burton and Lieutenant V'ras to complete the Bridge Officers Exam at some point. However I have had some resistance from V'ras."
"Illogical for him to come to the bridge," Hans stated, he had obviously heard that response from the officer before about something else.
"Exactly," John mused, "What's your opinion on him Commander?"
"He is a capable engineer," Hans hesitated a little.
"He's not a good field engineer sir," Hans continued under the duress of John's questions, "He is perfect for some of Starfleet's shipyards, but as a engineering officer on a Starship, he doesn't have the necessary qualities."
John smiled, "You mean he's too rigid to specifications, can't think out of the box and rarely utilizes every option?"
"Exactly," Hans replied, "I'm just glad that we have Lieutenant Regluan. He is filling the gaps where V'ras is struggling."
John smiled, he was glad he was able to keep Regluan, there were many ships around that could have done with excellent engineers that Regluan's profile made him out to be. But John thought that Regluan felt he owed something the Captain and the Nightingale for rescuing him from the Nebula. John had thought nothing more about it, he had after all been ordered to find the crew of the Brave. John tried to bring his mind back to the mission.
"I 'll have to send all eight of the marines along with Lieutenant Visitor," John said, "However that leaves me with another problem."
"Sergeant Rashell?" Hans queried cocking his head to one side, "If I can't go, he certainly shouldn't."
"Agreed," John paused tapping his fingers on the table, "Perhaps Lieutenant Shrak should accompany them as their temporary commander, leave Sergeant Rashell here as temporarily in command of security."
Hans shook his head, even John admitted that the idea was not the best one he had ever had. "That's a bad idea," he explained, "Rashell and Shrak don't exactly get along, if we swap them around, we could insult one of them."
John raised his hand, "Or it could make Shrak realise the marines are actually capable personnel," he countered. John had asked Rashell to run a couple of intruder drills in which Lieutenant Shrak would have to participate in. He had also informed the Lieutenant of his intentions to get Rashell doing some drills, and so far Shrak had not objected.
"If you think it is wise," Hans stated, "What about medical personnel? I heard Nurse Williams is an expert in contaminants control."
Hans passed John a padd, which held the records of the recently promoted nurse. John nodded, "Yep add her to the mission," John sat back in his chair thinking of the mission. "So if we drop them off in the Slophere system, they are only a day's travel by Argos to the station, a few hours beaming on getting the toxin and getting off the station. Blowing it up and meeting us back in the Slophere system, they should only be gone for two days."
Hans looked worried for a second, "Can the Argos shuttle take that many people for such a long time?" he asked.
"Should be okay," John replied distantly, "It will be a tight squeeze but then living on this ship isn't exactly a pleasure cruise."
Hans nodded, "I better get to the bridge," Hans announced rising from his seat across the desk from John. John gave a nod and watched as his first officer left the room.
USS Nightingale, Deck 2, Armoury
Sergeant Rashell placed his rifle back into its storage locker in the armoury. His fellow marines had already returned their weapons and were now exiting the armoury. They had completed nothing more than ten hours of worthless weapon testing on every single weapon on the ship. Not that he thought that it was a bad job; after all testing a weapon ensured that it worked when it was needed. However he thought that the job could be completed by any of the junior and inexperienced fleet crew and that his land based forces could be better utilized.
Just as he was about to turn around, Rashell felt another presence in the room, something that made him feel uncomfortable, it must be the illustrious chief tactical and security officer Lieutenant Shrak. Rashell turned round to confirm that it was her behind him.
Lieutenant Shrak, dressed in her gold uniform stood leaning against the frame of the door looking hostile towards him. "Can I help you sir?" he tried to restrain the hatred in his voice he had for the Andorian, but she was making his life difficult on the ship. It was bad enough being one of only a few reptilians on a vessel full of mammalian species, having to cope with the smells and the sweat, but to actually have one of those mammals be so hostile towards him for nothing more than being a marine and not a regular starfleet security member was almost unbearable. The only thing that kept him on the Nightingale was that field positions were not easy to come by.
"How were the weapon tests?" Shrak asked, her eyes slightly closed, obviously she was not attempting to hide the fact she hated him in response.
"Everything passed," Rashell spat out, "There are no problems with the rifles or hand phasers what so ever."
Shrak nodded, not keeping her eyes of him, Rashell gritted his teeth, something he tried not to do very often. "Have you got a problem Sergeant?" she blurted out angrily.
"Permission to speak freely sir?"
"Permission granted," Shrak answered, "But if you speak out of line I will report it."
Rashell felt she was trying to make it difficult for him. Where was this line between them? Who defined it? "I think you are restricting my duties unfairly sir," Rashell responded, "I have more combat than you sir and so do most of my team; you should use that to your advantage."
Shrak walked fully into the armoury letting the door close behind her, "You have no right to be on this ship," she responded angrily, "You are only here because we couldn't get the crew necessary to man this ship last time and you fought the Gorn on our maiden voyage." Shrak paused and opened up one of the weapon lockers grabbing a rifle and passing it to Rashell, before grabbing one herself, "You are lucky to be on this ship now. My people are just as capable as you." she screeched.
"I'm not here to say they aren't as capable as us," Rashell responded defensible, "But it is a mistake to waste my team's talent."
"My people will never get experience unless I give it to them," Shrak responded throwing a practice round pack to Rashell.
Rashell looked puzzled as she placed another pack of special practice rounds into her marine issue rifle and gestured for Rashell to do the same. "What?" Rashell sneered, "You expect me to do some sort of ritual competition to settle our differences?" Shrak only nodded a brief confirmation. "Don't be so stupid sir," Rashell continued putting the rifle back in the locker, "I am not going to play your games."
"I promise you Sergeant," Shrak said, "One way or another, one of us will not be on this ship."
Rashell turned round and stared at the Andorian, who still had her angry face on, but was no longer carrying a weapon. "Are you threatening me sir?"
Shrak pushed past Rashell, bumping him into the side of the wall, "I'll see you tomorrow for the intruder drill sergeant." Shrak walked down the corridor and out of sight. Rashell paused for a moment, concerned at what had just taken place and wondering what to do.
USS Nightingale, Lower Engineering
V'ras looked at the readouts of the power output going through the phase inducers that were connected to some of the ODN relays. According to the readouts there was a reduction on the power output by six terra watts in the last few minutes. V'ras noted that the problem had not been there when they had left the station. Instead it had only occurred since he went off shift late last night. V'ras ran some scans of the system, but could invariably see nothing wrong.
Regluan approached from behind and looked at the readings, "The phase inducers still not working correctly?"
V'ras shook his head passed a padd towards his assistant chief engineer. Regluan took a quick look at padd and sighed. "Looks like a misalignment problem," he stated moving to the console and running a quick diagnostic. "Look there," Regluan pointed to the screen showing a diagram of some of the inner workings of the Nightingale, "three relays are misaligned by six microns."
V'ras felt a slight resentment bubble deep down and concentrated hard to control it. "I must have done it last night before I went off duty," he paused for a while, "I realigned the OND relays." V'ras contained his shame as best he could.
"It's an easy mistake to make," Regluan announced.
V'ras stared at Regluan a look, "For a first year cadet maybe."
Regluan started to say something, but V'ras had enough and walked out of the room.