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Old June 25 2010, 01:39 AM   #1
Vice Admiral
Admiral2's Avatar
Location: Langley
June Challenge: Good Order and Discipline

by Darrin Colbourne
3333 words

1935 HOURS

“And that’s that,” Doctor Sandra Langkowski said as she put her PADD on standby. “You have an almost perfectly healthy and therefore utterly boring crew.”

Captain Dian Phua smiled as she used her own PADD to skim through the Crew Fitness Report that Dr. Langkowski had just summarized. “I’m so terribly sorry none of us has contracted a new infectious disease for you to pick apart, Doctor.”

Sandra blew an errant strand of dirty blond hair out of her face and sat back in her chair. “Honestly,” she muttered, “it’s like you people aren’t even trying.”

Dian chuckled as she used the computer on her desk to check the ship’s progress. The doctor and the captain were in the ready room of the Federation Starship Sundown, a Nova-class starship currently surveying the major bodies of the Nikomi star system, one of several systems near the region of the Galactic Barrier. As she made sure Sundown was on course and speed for the system’s largest gas giant, Dian quipped, “Where exactly is it written that we’re supposed to risk disease and death just to keep our Chief Medical Officer entertained?”

Sandra grinned and waved her PADD at Dian. “Right here, in a file marked ‘Things my good friend Dian owes me for taking this assignment.’ It’s number four on the list.”

Dian chuckled again, then a moment later she looked at Sandra with a raised eyebrow. She turned her attention back to her PADD and tried to call up the file. She was shocked when it came up, and even more shocked as she opened it and scrolled down the list. She turned back to Sandra, incredulous. “Seriously?!”

Sandra shook her finger at Dian’s PADD nonchalantly. “Number seven’s a deal breaker. I don’t get that, I put in for a transfer.”

Dian rested the PADD on the desk. “And where do you expect me to get an Orion slave-boy?”

Sandra dismissed the question with a wave. “You’re resourceful. I’m sure you can handle it. You’ve got plenty of time. The posting I really want has no openings right now.”

“I appreciate your patience in the matter,” Dian deadpanned. Sandra grinned wickedly as the captain turned back to the desk computer. After a minute or two an inquisitive look came over her striking Asian features. “That’s odd,” she muttered. She was looking at hourly status reports scrolling down the left side of the computer display. “The Operations Officer sent an electronic inquiry to the Engineering Section about an hour ago. The personnel airlock cycled open and closed, but there was no EVA scheduled.”

“Did it malfunction?” Sandra asked.

“Doesn’t say. The Engineer on watch was about to send someone to check it, but he was countermanded by…” She suddenly straightened up and tapped her commbadge. “Commander Alenn, please report to my ready room.”

“Uh-oh,” Sandra muttered. This was likely to be very entertaining.

It didn’t take long at all. Lieutenant Commander Alenn, First Officer and Science Officer, had been on the bridge when Dian summoned her. She walked straight into the room with the regal bearing that was a hallmark of her former royal status, a status emphasized by the long, meticulously styled braids she always wore her jet black hair in and the jeweled tiara that contrasted severely with her otherwise standard Starfleet uniform. She strode to within a few inches of the desk and stood at ease. “You called for me, Captain?”

Dian took a moment to study Alenn’s dark features. The commander was also Dian’s friend, but she was often unreadable. Right now, Dian was almost sure Alenn was hiding something, but her look and body language gave little away.

Then again, Dian didn’t need those things. She folded her hands on the desk and smiled at Alenn. “Alenn, about an hour ago the personnel airlock cycled open and closed for no discernible reason. The engineer tried to send someone to find out what happened, but you called him off. Why?”

Alenn smiled back and said, “Because the airlock is functioning properly. There was no need for the engineer.”

It seemed that Alenn didn’t feel the need to elaborate, so Dian prompted her further. “Which would mean someone had to open and close the lock, either remotely or from the door controls.”

Alenn’s smile didn’t waver. “Of course it would.”

“Alenn, did you open the airlock?”

“I did.”

“Were planning to tell me why you opened the airlock?”

“I was not. It was nothing to concern yourself with.”

Dian and Sandra glanced at each other, then Dian said to Alenn, “What exactly does that mean?”

“It was a matter of good order and discipline. It is my duty to handle such matters so that you are not bothered by them.”

“Were you inspecting the airlock?”

“I was not.”

“Then what were you doing?”

“I was teaching Ensign Leadbottom an object lesson.”

Dian and Sandra traded looks again, then Dian indicated the other empty chair in the ready room. “Have a seat,” she said. Alenn sat down and made herself comfortable, but kept her back straight.

“Now, this is the wayward ensign you were telling me about, yes?”

“Yes, it is. Ensign Leadbottom has been consistently late for his duty shifts, out of uniform and slovenly. He has repeatedly disobeyed my orders to refrain from bringing food onto the bridge and he has been a distraction to his fellow officers. He daydreams at his post, his reports are written in the manner of sweets-addled elementary school children and he will soon have to start wearing uniforms made for Tellarites if he does not lose weight.”

“I understand all that, but you assured me that you’d find a way to bring him in line.”

“Well, Captain, you said you wished avoid discharging him or stripping him of his rank.”

“He does have some good qualities. I just don’t want the bad ones to deprive me of a good officer.”

“Of course, but taking that tack deprives me of the best object lessons a wayward officer may be taught.”

“And you came up with a new one…that involves an airlock…”

“Yes, Captain.”

There was silence in the room again. When Dian couldn’t stand it anymore, she asked, “Are you going to make me wait for it?”

“Shall I begin with his latest infraction?”

“If you must…”

1821 HOURS

Alenn was in the center seat when she heard the turbolift doors open and close. She was looking at a PADD, but didn’t need to turn around to know it was Ensign Leadbottom trying to sneak over to his station late again. She’d decided to ignore him for the moment, intent on dealing with him at the end of shift.

Unfortunately, she’d had to scrap that plan after she’d heard a whispered conversation behind her. “Where the hell have you been?” A female voice hissed. There was a strange noise, like a garbled shh-ing sound. “I will not shut up!” The female hissed again. “I’m supposed to be on my meal break right now! It’s not like you’ve ever missed…!” More garbled shh-ing, then the female voice said clearly, “Disgusting!”

This made everyone on the bridge turn and look. Alenn stood and turned to find Ensigns Miora Vin and Stanley Leadbottom standing by the Communications console. Vin was alternately glaring at Leadbottom and at her tunic. Meanwhile, Leadbottom had turned to look at Alenn with wide, frightened eyes.

It was obvious what had happened. Alenn saw that Leadbottom was holding a partially eaten sandwich in his right hand. It was dripping a gooey white substance – what did the Earthlings call it? Mayonnaise? – on the floor. A blob of it had also found it’s way onto Ensign Vin’s tunic, most likely during Leadbottom’s second attempt to silence her with a half full mouth. Stupidly, he tried to stave Alenn off with that same mouth. “Ah can eshplain…”

Alenn held up a hand to silence him. She approached the station and looked down at the sandwich, then looked Leadbottom in the eye as she pointed to the disposal hatch. Forlornly, Leadbottom nodded and went to incinerate his meal.

When he was gone, Alenn turned to Vin. She’d heard stories that the Trill’s spots darkened whenever she was really upset. Alenn compared the color of the ones on Vin’s neck to the last time she’d seen them. They were so dark she assumed even the Vin symbiote was enraged.

“You’re relieved,” Alenn said quietly. “Go change your tunic and have your meal.”

“Aye, Commander,” Vin said through her teeth. She spared one final, hateful glance at Leadbottom before getting on the turbolift.

Alenn gestured to the officer at the Science station. “Take over here,” she told him, and get someone up here to clean up.” When he acknowledged, her gaze fell back on Leadbottom. He’d swallowed the food in his mouth and wiped his hand on his partly open tunic, leaving a stain.

The First Officer’s eyes narrowed, and she fairly growled at him, “Follow me.” She didn’t wait for a response. She just turned and went to the lift. Leadbottom was a step behind her, wondering if she were going to throw him in the brig or something.


“But, I just...” Leadbottom managed to blurt out.

Alenn ignored him. “But we are not on my world and I may not do these things, for we are Starfleet officers, and as a Starfleet officer I am obligated to mentor and inspire you to reach your full potential. Very well” – suddenly a feral grin stretched across her face – “I shall inspire you to orderliness!” In one motion she slammed her hand on the airlock control, opening the door so that she could shove Leadbottom in with her other hand. She had the door shut before he could fully react, and she grinned maniacally at the look of sheer terror on his face.

“I’M GOING TO SHOW YOU THE ULTIMATE EXAMPLE OF ORDER!” Alenn screamed through the little window in the door. “I’M GOING TO SHOW YOU…THE ORDER OF THE HEAVENS!” She could see him screaming, but couldn’t hear him. It made her laugh as she slammed her hand down on the outer door control. She laughed harder as Leadbottom’s arms flailed in the second it took for him to be blown out the door.

Alone in the EVA section now, she calmed down, and her maniacal grin devolved into a self-satisfied one as she left the space. In the corridor, her commbadge chirped. “Bridge to Commander Alenn,” a voice said.

She tapped the badge. “Alenn here. Go ahead.”

“Commander, it looks like the personnel airlock just went through a cycle, but there are no EVAs scheduled until we reach Nikomi 7. I contacted Engineering and the watch engineer said he’d send…”

“Belay that,” Alenn said. “Contact the engineer and tell him I was just at the airlock. It’s working fine.”

1941 HOURS

“…and that’s essentially what happened,” Alenn concluded.

“I see…” was all Dian could think of to say. She looked stunned.

Sandra looked horrified. “You threw Leadbottom out of an airlock for eating a sandwich on the bridge?!” She screamed.

“I wanted to give him an uncompromised view of a truly pristine environment to give him something to aspire to,” Alenn said as she examined her nails.

“Yeah, it’s pristine all right,” Sandra said, “there’s no clutter and no litter…oh, and by the way, there’s also no air!”

“But there is radiation, and there are micrometeorites, and gases and planets and stars, all kept in their proper order by gravity,” Alenn said. “A true inspiration for the disorganized among us.”

“You have to live through a learning experience for it to have any meaning! Did that occur to you at all?! Did you take one second to think of the consequences of your actions?”

“Of course I did, Doctor, which is why I ordered him to put on an EVA suit before I tossed him overboard. Didn’t I mention that?”

Sandra was taken aback. “Wait…you what…?”

“There would have been no value in the lesson if I had succumbed to the violent impulses you are so fond of pointing out that I have, so I made sure he would live to apply the lesson he’s learning at this moment.”

“Oh,” Sandra said. “Oh, man…” She started chuckling. “You had me going for a minute. I was ready to testify at your court martial…”

“Doctor…” Dian said. She still looked stunned.

“I mean, I thought you actually…wait, didn’t I permanently excuse Leadbottom from EVA duty?”

Dian nodded. “Yes, because he suffers from moderate claustrophobia. He can’t stand being in an enclosed space for more than a few minutes.”

Sandra was horrified again. “ALENN!”

Alenn grinned. “Well…I couldn’t keep all my meaner impulses in check.”

“He’s been trapped in an EVA suit for an hour?!”

“Well, it is not completely enclosed! He can look out the visor and see all the space he wants.”

“That isn’t funny!”

“Alenn,” Dian said, “Why hasn’t he tried calling the ship?”

Alenn thought about it. “I believe I might have disabled the communication system in the suit…”

“Well, do you think he’s still within commbadge range?” Sandra said.

“He would be,” Alenn said. Then she reached under her tunic and pulled out a commbadge to show them. They presumed it was Leadbottom’s.

“Dian, do something!” Sandra said, nearing panic.

Dian sat back in her chair and closed her eyes, took a breath, centered herself, and when she spoke again, it was in the overly patient tone of voice both Sandra and Alenn knew meant her patience had actually run out. “Commander, now that you’ve had your fun, I would appreciate it if you would return my officer to the ship, immediately.”

Alenn pouted as if she had been told to give up her tiara. “Aye, Captain.” She started to get up.

Dian held up a hand. “It’s not that I don’t trust you…well, actually, I don’t, so I want you to stay right in that chair so I can watch you give the necessary orders.”

Alenn looked hurt, but she settled back into the chair dutifully. Before she could do anything else, Sandra said, “Are you sure you can find him? You just threw him out into space, after all!”

Alenn glared at her. “Don’t insult my intelligence, Doctor.” She tapped her commbadge. “Alenn to McCann.”

“McCann here,” a male voice sounded. Lt. McCann currently had the conn.

“Modify the port lateral sensors to pick up small targets at close range. You should find Ensign Leadbottom conducting an EVA at 233 mark 1 at approximately 7,429 meters distance.”

“Hold on, Commander,” McCann said. A moment later: “Found him. He’s right where you said he was, and receding. Um…guess there was an unscheduled EVA after all…”

“Yes, there was.”

“Odd that he wasn’t tethered or…”

“Lieutenant, further commentary is unnecessary. Simply lock onto him and beam him directly to the Captain’s Ready Room.”

“Yes, Ma’am. He’ll be right there.” There was silence for the next few minutes, then a transporter effect materialized in front of Dian’s desk, leaving a man in a micrometeorite impact-scarred EVA suit standing there when it faded. The man was screaming, but his words were muffled by the visor. Dian reached over the desk and opened the visor from the outside.

“…MEEEEEEEE!” Stanley Leadbottom was screaming. “HEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLP MEEEEEE! HEEEEEELLLLLLP MMM…!” Dian rapped him on the nose hard with her knuckles. He stopped screaming and focused on her as he tried to hold his nose with his gloved hands.

She shrugged. “I couldn’t slap you with that helmet on you. Feeling better now?”

Leadbottom broke into tears. “Oh, thank you, Captain! Thank you! I could see the ship, but it was getting farther away and I didn’t have a communicator, and…” He gasped and his eyes went wide. “Captain! You’ve gotta do something! It’s Commander Alenn! She’s gone crazy!” He turned to point out the door. “I was just coming on shift and…GAAHHH!” The sight of Alenn sitting nearby made him fall back against the desk.

Sandra stood up and came over, taking a medical tricorder out of her lab coat pocket. “Relax, Stanley, she can’t hurt you now.” She started scanning. “Let’s see…elevated heart rate and adrenaline, not surprising…no other physical…wait…oh. I guess you had an accident in the suit, huh?”

Leadbottom’s face turned from pale to beet red. “That…happened just now…” he said sheepishly.

Sandra smiled and nodded sagely. “Well, why don’t you go down to Sick Bay and we’ll get you out of that thing and get you cleaned up, okay?”

Leadbottom hesitated. He turned to look at the Captain. “Before you go,” Dian said, “I offer you two pieces of advice. The first is that you should spend your recovery time contemplating what led to your traumatic experience today. The second is that you should keep in mind that I cannot watch Commander Alenn every second of every day and that you may have seen the last of her mercy in that she let you put a suit on first.”

This made his head snap around to look at Alenn. She was staring at him with a devilish smirk on her face. He kept looking at her as he said, “Th-that’s very good advice, Captain, thank you. I think I’ve learned a whole lot today and I believe…no, no, I’m sure I’ll be a better officer from this day forward. Yeah. Absolutely.”

“Go on to Sick Bay,” Dian said.

“I’ll be down in a few minutes,” Sandra said.

Leadbottom nodded to each of them in turn and walked gingerly to the Ready Room door, being sure to give Alenn’s chair a wide birth. Alenn chuckled at the sight.

With the ensign gone, Dian beckoned Alenn with her finger. The Commander stood and came over to the desk. Dian crossed her arms and began. “First, there will be no more unscheduled EVAs for any reason.”

Alenn nodded. “Aye, Captain.”

“Second, if at any time you feel the need to conduct another of these ‘object lessons’ you will propose it to me first for my approval.”

“Aye, Captain.”

“Third, these are standing orders, and I will note such in the letter of reprimand I’m adding to your file.”

Alenn sighed. “Aye, Captain.” Another letter of reprimand? She thought. Very well. It will be company for the other two.

“Commander, I’m being lenient because I’m partially to blame for tying your hands in this particular case. Do not mistake this as blanket approval for extreme methods.”

“Understood, Captain.”

“You may return to your post.”

“Aye, Captain.” Alenn turned sharply and walked out of the Ready Room.

When the door closed behind her, Dian sat back down and put her head on her desk and just moaned.

Sandra huffed. “You were wrong. You’re totally to blame for picking a former Dolman of Elaas to be your First Officer. That whole bloodline is nuts."

“I thought she got all of that out of her system back when we were stationed on Hybernia,” Dian whined.

“Did she actually crucify a guy?”

“I never should have explained the concept to her.”

"Understand, Commander: That torpedo did not self-destruct. You heard it hit the hull, and I was never here."

-Admiral James Greer
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Old June 25 2010, 02:22 AM   #2
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Re: June Challenge: Good Order and Discipline

A Dolman of Elaas? That's freakin' terrific! Too many high points to count, and that's saying something for so short a story.

Blowing a junior officer out the airlock as an impromptu 'come to Jesus' meeting and making him crap his EVA suit is pure, fiendish genius. No doubt what Lt. Commander Alenn's response would be to the age old question of leadership: "Is it better to be loved or feared?"

A captain having a good, fear-inducing XO is like a principle having an effective vice-principle... it make's the leader's job ever so much easier.

Phenomenal work, Admiral2. Eyebrow raising and laugh-inducing all in one.
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Last edited by Gibraltar; June 25 2010 at 05:54 AM.
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Old June 25 2010, 03:07 AM   #3
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Re: June Challenge: Good Order and Discipline

Oh wow, thats to funny. Great job, I'm not sure which part was my favorite. Although the "Well it'll be company for the other two" bit was priceless.
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Old June 25 2010, 03:23 AM   #4
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Re: June Challenge: Good Order and Discipline

Very funny! A priceless way to teach an ensign a lesson! I don't see any of the other junior officers acting out of line around that XO.
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Old June 25 2010, 06:40 PM   #5
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Re: June Challenge: Good Order and Discipline

I thank you all for your kind words.

Gibraltar: I came up with the main characters ages ago but I hadn't used them in a story yet. I was planning a more elaborate introduction to the whole "Sundown" concept, but when I saw the challenge this was the first thing that came to mind and I figured I should not deprive the forum of Alenn's charms any longer.
"Understand, Commander: That torpedo did not self-destruct. You heard it hit the hull, and I was never here."

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Old June 25 2010, 10:45 PM   #6
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Re: June Challenge: Good Order and Discipline

A Dolman of Elaas as a Starfleet officer and an XO, no less? Now that's inspired! Great story - poor Leadbottom - he picked the wrong officer to tick-off.

I hope we see more of these characters. Nicely done!
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Old June 26 2010, 01:41 PM   #7
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Re: June Challenge: Good Order and Discipline

Gotta admit, this had me fooled there for moment. Maybe not as long as the doctor was but close.

Besides terrifically funny, this story was also extremely well structured, giving us just the right information at the right time.

Also loved the revelation of the XO's race. And all of a sudden it all makes perfect sense ...

Awesome story and bunch of characters I wouldn't mind revisiting in a longer endeavor.
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Old June 26 2010, 06:05 PM   #8
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Re: June Challenge: Good Order and Discipline

Thank you TheLoneRedshirt and Cejay.

TLR: I think people around here should use more stuff inspired by TOS in their stories, and an homage to the original Dolman of Elaas (TOS S3, "Elaan of Troyius", for the uninitiated) was too good to pass up.

Ceej: I wasn't trying very hard to fool anybody. I expected readers to think that she wouldn't actually toss Leadbottom out an airlock in just his class-A's (this is Star Trek after all, not nuBSG) and she didn't really need to to get her point across. This time.

As for further stories, I'm almost ready to commit their feature-length debut to screen, but I can't promise Leadbottom will be in it. Alenn will be prominent, so he'll be staying well clear of her.
"Understand, Commander: That torpedo did not self-destruct. You heard it hit the hull, and I was never here."

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Old June 28 2010, 08:29 PM   #9
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Re: June Challenge: Good Order and Discipline

That was a lot of fun. Original, adhering to the topic and, well, a lot of fun. I loved the last 2 lines, btw! Almost snorted Del Taco through my nose!
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Old June 28 2010, 08:39 PM   #10
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Re: June Challenge: Good Order and Discipline

Mistral wrote: View Post
That was a lot of fun. Original, adhering to the topic and, well, a lot of fun. I loved the last 2 lines, btw! Almost snorted Del Taco through my nose!
See? That's what I was going for! Nose Snorting!

I thank you, Mistral.
"Understand, Commander: That torpedo did not self-destruct. You heard it hit the hull, and I was never here."

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