Obsidian Command

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Corvus' No Good Rotten Day

Posted on 29 Feb 2024 @ 11:50pm by Captain Corvus DeHavilland & Major Declan Finn & Delmer "DB" Holland
Edited on on 29 Feb 2024 @ 11:51pm

Mission: M4 - Falling Out
Location: Obsidian Command
Timeline: M4D18 - 0730HRS
7797 words - 15.6 OF Standard Post Measure

The day was not starting off well. Corvus had woken up to start her day and, as per normal, went straight to the sonic shower only to find that it didn’t work. While that wasn’t the end of the world, it was a massive early irritation that didn’t bode well for the day. She needed a shower, and since she couldn’t have one she decided she’d just splash some water on her face and call for maintenance to come and check out her shower while she was on shift. But when she bent down to douse her face in the sink, the water pressure surged and not only covered her uniform undershirt and pants in water, but doused her hair as well. And with no sonic shower, she was left to dry her hair with a towel - a task she failed quite successfully.

Suffice it to say that by the time Captain DeHavilland got to the lift that would take her up to the CIC, she was already done with the day. She was in a fresh uniform, sans shower, with a half mop of wet hair she’d elected to tie up in a bun to make its damp nature far less obvious. So far the only thing that had gone right for her today was that the lift showed up when called and was empty when it arrived.

It really couldn’t have been a worse day for things to go sideways, she had one helluva day waiting for her. She had multiple meetings with her senior staff first thing in the morning, from Commander Zayne to Doctor Llwyd. The Admiral had requested multiple different reports from her, she had a list of personnel transfers to approve on and off the station, an itinerary of ship refits to approve for the Dockmaster, requests for events and conferences on station to approve, a meeting with the civilian shopkeepers and somewhere along the way she had to find time to do her actual day-to-day job as well. If she was lucky, somewhere in there she’d be able to eat and/or sit down for a minute to catch her breath. Given how awful things had gone this morning so far, she wasn’t holding her breath.

Captain’s privilege generally meant that the lift went where she was going first before stopping for anyone else, but there was at least one Admiral aboard and it wasn’t all that uncommon for others of similar or even higher rank to make their way through so it was a bit of luck on her part that the lift went straight up to the CIC without a single stop. It gave her just enough time to refocus her mind, adjust her messy wet hair bun, and otherwise get ready for the long day she had on the books.

The lift doors opened to a crowded scene. Security, CIC staff and others were all milling about the central rotunda for no apparent reason and her arrival all but went unnoticed in the sea of people there. Everyone seemed to have their attention on the stairs heading up but she couldn’t really tell why, at least until a pair of Science officers appeared at the railing, the latter of the two holding what looked like a critter carrier and holding it up like a conquering hero. The gathered group of officers in the rotunda cheered, including the red-haired yeoman to Admiral Sepandiyar, swinging her left arm out as she cheered and splattering her cup of coffee all down Corvus’ front.

“Oh my God, I’m so so…rry….” Lieutenant St. John said, her voice falling as she realized who it was she’d just covered in her perfectly brewed hazelnut blend with just the right amount of cream. She’d spent a solid fifteen minutes to get it right, and now it was all over the stations Commander.

Corvus just stared down at herself, covered in coffee from her stomach to her toes, completely at a loss for what to say. She could feel the warmth of it seeping through her uniform and while thankfully not scalding, not at all a pleasant experience.

“I… I didn’t see you, Captain. I’m so sorry. I was… they caught the Tirket and… I just got excited… I’m so sorry,” St. John apologized, trying to reach out and wipe off the Captain. Of all her bone-headed mistakes this one might just have taken the cake for her. What would the Admiral say? Would he be mad? She knew she shouldn't but she could already feel the tears swelling in her eyes.

“That’s enough. Thank you,” Corvus replied, gently pushing her hand aside, heaving a sigh. “Just… clean up this mess,” she said, shaking her head and turning away to walk, parting the crowd a little less politely then she probably could have.

What a start to the day. Just the fact that her entire staff was relocated while the science teams caught a runaway zoo animal that shouldn’t have been free of its ship to start with would have been bad enough. Factor in all the rest of her morning and now a fully stained uniform, she was off to one hell of a marvelous start. As she walked down the corridor to her office, she seriously contemplated locking the door, parking it on the couch (in a fresh uniform) and just sleeping this day off. With a sigh, she turned into her office with the clear expectation that this day simply couldn’t get any worse, so best to just trudge on.

She had been really hoping that things would settle down here on the station. Despite being back in the job, doing it properly with a functional station, she still hadn’t managed to build the kind of rhythm that she had on the Praetorian. Sure, she hadn’t spent nearly as long here as she had with Captain Dansby but she had quickly built a schedule and a rhythm with both herself and the staff above and below her. Here on Obsidian Command, it was almost like a daily ritual that she had to get through her day like a tribble chasing a laser pointer. Never the same routine, never the same spot for her morning coffee or afternoon meetings. Today being the icing on that particularly chaotic cake with the mess she’d had to deal with so far today.

Corvus locked the door to her ready room and stripped out of the top of her uniform, groaning to see it’d soaked through to her undershirt. Her grumpiness hitting a fever pitch, she barked at the replicator to replicate her a fresh uniform and sat down to take her boots off and then change, remembering as he walked the soiled uniform to the replicator to be deconstructed that the uniform she’d been wearing was her last clean one. Tonight was supposed to be laundry night. She heaved another frustrated sigh as she realized that her night had just gotten a little longer now that she had to do that too. So much for the day not getting worse.

By the time Corvus had finally gotten a cup of tea to start the day, and before she could order the donut she’d been debating treating herself to, the door chime to her office rang. Hurrying, she went over to her desk and called out to come on. Only problem was, it was locked. Groaning as she’d just sat down, she got up and went to unlock the door. It swished open to reveal Commander Zayne, reporting exactly on time for their start of shift meeting.

“Captain?” He asked, surprised to see her standing at the door.

“Come in,” she said, turning her back without another word, returning to her desk. “Do you know what the hell was going on in the CIC?”

“A Tirket got loose from an Antican freighter docked,” Thad explained, clearly not impressed with the situation himself, taking his customary seat in front of her desk. “Commander De La Fuente said something about them liking to chew on power conduits, and being capable of moving through tight spaces. Not sure how that got it to the CIC, but that’s where it was. Scared the hell out of the gamma shift,” he explained, adjusting the data PaDD on his knee.

“What is a Tirket?” Corvus shook her head.

“Cross between a Gila monster and a Koala bear,” he offered dryly.

She paused, her cup to her lips. What the hell did that even look like? A furry, fluffy long-bodied lizard or a giant leathery-looking bear-creature. She was about to shake her head, confused when the point hit her on the forehead. “Is… that a joke?” She asked.

“Only if it’s funny,” he replied, smirking slightly. “You look like you could use one,” he added. Thad had never really been accused of being overly emotionally intelligent but it was obvious even to him that she wasn’t in the best spirits. He had no idea if it was just the Tirket debacle in the CIC or something else in her personal life because he was confident it wasn’t something in the work space as he had his arms around all of that. It was his job to. That was the purpose of these morning meetings, so he could not only give her comfort in that but to get in front of anything new.

Corvus smirked, “It has been one hell.of.a.morning,” she admitted, taking a sip and setting down her cup. “Alright. What do you have for me, Thad?” She asked.

If there was one thing Thad prided himself on, it was his organizational skills, most of which had been honed in an environment that hadn’t lent itself to data PaDD’s or even note pads for that matter. He’d had to learn to keep himself organized, keep all the moving pieces in check and plan his next steps all in his head. He sometimes used little reminders to help. In those early days, in his undercover role for Startfleet Security he’d used things like wearing his watch on the opposite wrist, a certain bracelet or shoe. These days though he had the full use of every data PaDD he could get his hands on as well as a host of yeoman’s and subordinate officers to keep his and the stations affairs in order. But despite that all, years of practice had made it impossible for him not to simply have it all memorized.

It was their typical morning discussion, just about the only thing that was really in any kind of rhythm, though they’d yet to have their morning meeting two days consecutively in the same place. This was where she preferred to have it, but they’d met everywhere from the docking bay control room to the tertiary comm’s array, following whatever new fresh hell Corvus was dealing with that morning. So despite the rest of the morning being an unqualified disaster, she was able to at least enjoy one thing going right.

“My thoughts are that it’d be good for the civilians for us to have that conference here, especially after the recent shutdowns,” Thad outlined as Corvus read through the data on the PaDD.

The Starfleet Corps of Engineers had an annual conference in which all Engineering officers, crew and other interested parties were eligible to attend. Generally that conference was held in Sol, usually on Utopia Planetia, but every couple of years the Corps branched out and had their conference in someplace more exotic. Something with Engineering relevance. It was a bit of a reach, but the Corps had decided that Obsidian Command was one of those such places and so were making the request of Captain DeHavilland to allow them to set it up there.

It certainly wasn’t that Corvus minded having the conference on the station, it was that it came with a lot of baggage. Did they have suitable lodging space? How many vessels would be docked, would that hinder dockyard production, would it be a security issue considering everything in the area. There were a lot of angles to consider but, Thad was right, such an event on the station would be a huge boost for the civilian promenade. There would be potentially thousands of new customers, which could more than make up for the relatively dismal showing they’d been suffering since the station came fully online. Enough that they could shore up their shops and restaurants and be on better footing for the coming year.

“Alright,” Corvus finally sighed, setting the PaDD down. She checked the time on the display on her desk. She had another meeting in less than five minutes. “Tell Commodore Bence that he can have his conference here,” she acquiesced. “Once he confirms. Let the civilian shopkeepers know,” she smiled, “You’re right. They need this more than we do.”

“Will do. I do have one last matt-,” he started, interrupted by the door chime.

“Come in,” she called out, looking to the door and then back to Thad. “Go on,” she said.

“We need to talk about some intel I’ve received regarding the Alexander,” he said, glancing back to see Doctor Llwyd walking in. “We can discuss later. It’s not priority,” he added, standing up. Thad looked at the Doctor and gave him a nod, “Doc.”

“Commander,” Alwyn replied.

“I’ll be in the CIC if you need me, Captain,” Zayne offered, then turned and left.

“May I sit?” Alwyn asked.

“Course,” Corvus gestured to the chair. “What brings you up here?” She asked.

Truthfully, Corvus had no idea what the Doctor wanted to talk about. Since he’d taken over, she’d gotten his regular reports and was happy what his performance. Honestly, the only real difference to her between him and his predecessor was that she wasn’t hesitant to go down to the Infirmary to talk with him. She hadn’t gotten along well with Doctor Mazur, rest her soul, and had more than once actively avoided seeking medical care from her during alpha shift. Not that she’d needed much. So, there had to be something going on that would bring Doctor Llwyd up to talk to her.

“I wanted to talk to you about ongoing medical support on the planet. The Federation Medical Corps could use our support and, with your permission, I’d like to begin sending some of our medical teams down to the surface to support the FMC. As well as provide some supplies and equipment. We’re more than flush here,” he explained, presenting a data PaDD with a list of supplies and duty rotations, most of which included him.

The FMC was where Alwyn had come from and where he’d spent the majority of his medical career, so to say he had a soft spot for them was a bit of an understatement. But he’d joined and really come to enjoy his tenure in Starfleet so to him it made perfect sense to blend the two worlds together. Typically the FMC didn’t work all that well with Starfleet mostly out of frustration with their perceived lack of support from Starfleet, but it wasn’t often that the FMC deployed to a world with a massive Starfleet presence who had the ability and the resources to support them. It was a win-win here. If he could convince the Captain to support him, that was.

“This isn’t a short list, Doctor,” Corvus replied, eyebrows raised in surprise. “Our CMO on Praetorian was ordering less than this to keep the ship going for a full duty tour,” she said, looking up at him critically.

“I understand, Captain. But the supplies also won’t be far away, should we end up needing them here again. I can send a team to get them and we can use them as needed. But the FMC having access to them for more critical needs is huge,” he explained, shifting closer to the desk. He pointed on the PaDD to a few items. “Every ship in the Fleet has these,” he enumerated, “And there’s several at dock, three under construction in the yard. There’s extra’s,” he went on. “And if an emergency hits and we wipe out those stores, we go get these off the surface until more can arrive,” he went on, trying to convince her. “We really have a chance to make a difference here, Captain. On the surface. There’s a lot of people in need and the FMC is far more equipped to convince these people to take the need than we are.”

“You really think the FMC is going to be better received than the Fleet?” Corvus asked suspiciously.

“Without a doubt, ma’am,” he shrugged. “Without a doubt.”

She heaved a deep, pensive sigh. “I tell you what, Doctor. I don’t know enough about these supplies to determine if this is handicapping us or not. I do respect your opinion, but I need some validation. I know you came from the FMC, so I’m sure you have a soft spot for them. So if you can get Doctor Corduke to agree to this list, I’ll approve the transfer,” she negotiated. “Otherwise, I have to look to this station and say no.”

He nodded slowly, “That’s… that’s reasonable,” he finally admitted. While not the answer he was hoping for he couldn’t exactly complain either. Anson wasn’t unreasonable either, though he may have considered it a favor that Alwyn would have to repay later. But he could be sure that the Doctor would review the list critically and give an honest assessment. He might lose a few things he may or may not have padded on the list hoping that the Captain wouldn’t notice, but he was pretty confident that he could get the FMC more support than they’d ever had from Starfleet.

“Ok,” Corvus smiled, pushing the PaDD back. “I look forward to seeing Doctor Corduke’s approval.”

With the door closing behind Doctor Llwyd, Corvus picked up her tea cup only to taste a bone cold tea. She pushed back from her chair and walked it over to the replicator to get a fresh cup, setting it on the pad.

“Computer, black tea wi-,”

“Zayne to DeHavilland,” Thad’s voice cut her off, following the gentle chirp of her badge.

Corvus looked up at the ceiling, closed her eyes, took a deep breath and tapped her badge. “Go ahead, Commander.”

“Ma’am, could you please report to the CIC, tactical control. We may have a situation…”

.: Derby House Fine Dining - Obsidian Command Promenade :.

The bar top was pretty well occupied, despite it being midday, but for the most part it was all civilians with only the occasional scattered Starfleet personnel within the mix. Generally places like this on Sol didn’t open this early in the day but with shifts spanning the full twenty-four hour standard day the proprietor had sagely determined it was best to keep things going. Thankfully for her the Derby House was a true Terran ‘steak house’ with a dark wood bar top, dark wood floors, dim lights and white linens. That meant that Corvus’ spot at the far end of the bar, on the right hand corner, her back to the partition that blocked the access to the kitchen was hard to spot. Making her hard to spot. The harder she was to spot, hopefully the more likely she could enjoy her meal in peace. Something she hadn’t had all day long.

Unfortunately for her, the mornings shenanigans had been just the tip of the iceberg and had been non-stop since the moment she put her feet on the carpet beside her bed. If it hadn’t been against regulation, she’d have been sitting there with a stiff drink and a shot of something stronger. Best she could manage right now was an iced tea, practically moaning with longing as the bartender put her wedge salad down on the bar in front of her.

“Lunch is on the way,” he smiled as he handed her a roll of silverware.

Corvus cut a bit off and was just chewing the bite, having a nearly religious experience about it, when a voice interrupted her.

“Captain, Captain, there you are, I’ve been looking for you everywhere?” A man’s voice declared, his accent unrecognizable to her. Chewing now almost as if she were viciously murdering the piece of lettuce in her mouth, she finished the bite and turned to the man that had just dropped onto the recently empty stool to her left to see Declan smirking back at her. “You asshole!” She shoved his shoulder angrily.

Declan laughed brightly, adjusting on the stool a little closer to her. “Word on the grapevine is the skipper’s in a right state today,” he grinned. “Any truth to that?”

“Shut up,” she growled in reply, turning back to her salad, but as she cut it she couldn’t help but look over a smirk. “How’d you find me?”

Declan shrugged casually, “I’ve spent my life learning to track. I’ve been to some of the best schools and have more than a decades experience in the field, in some of the most challenging bush in the galaxy,” he answered confidently, looking over at her, and then at the bartender.

“Welcome back. What’ll you have?” The bartender asked.

“I’ll have what she’s having,” he ordered. “And a lemonade,” he added. He’d have preferred to sit at this bar and have a beer, or a whiskey, but it was still working hours and even though he knew he’d have been fine, it was a bad example to set for his Marines. The one’s he was sure were watching him as they had their lunch (or dinner, depending on their shift)

“You broke into the internal logs?” She asked, one eyebrow raised. It wouldn’t be that hard for someone in his position to do, it just was maybe a little stalker-like. She was hoping not.

He chuckled, “Nah, I saw Eindorf in here and dropped in to say hi and saw you over here, hiding out,” he grinned. “You know you could have called, I would have joined you. We could have sat at a table… had a proper lunch date?”

“Oh, is that what this is now, a lunch date?” She smirked playfully back.

“Well… I’m here… you’re here…” he shrugged, “It could be if you want it to be. We are allowed to have dates right. It’s not just us meeting up in yo-,”

“Stop it,” she hissed, cutting him off, but smiling regardless. “Fine. It’s a lunch date…” she said, turning back to her salad. “I didn’t realize you were so high maintenance,” she added with a smirk.

“Well… there’s a lot lads about. Lot of contenders. Gotta stake my claim, don’t I,” he grinned.

“I think your claim is well established,” she smiled crookedly as she ate on.

There had certainly been no distance between them since they’d returned to the station. She’d been a little worried that she’d pushed him too far, that he wasn’t ready for any kind of ongoing thing or to have one with the senior Starfleet Officer on the stations when he himself was the senior Marine officer on the station. But her worries were unfounded. Declan stepped right into the connection and they’d been together pretty regularly most days since they’d returned.

Neither of them had really defined it though. Her urge was to. To put a shiny label on this thing she hadn’t really experienced for a long, long time, but at the same time she was afraid to. She was worried that once she started to label it, box it up and package it up that Declan would hesitate. That he’d rethink his intent and that would leave her hurt again. That was what she feared the most - getting hurt. So much so that she was all but completely convinced that if this didn’t work out. If she put herself into a position for Declan to hurt her the way that Quincy had, that she’d never recover. That this time she’d take twenty years to recover and by then any chance of a relationship or family would be gone.

Was that what she wanted, though? Family? Part of her said yes but is that what Declan wanted? Was he the sort? Was she just placing her own wants on him without really considering his? Slow down, Amélie. Slooow down, she told herself as she took another bite.

“Well. If that’s the case,” Declan said, pausing as the bartender brought his salad and a napkin roll. “If that’s the case,” he repeated. “Are you free tomorrow night? The Supper Club is having a dance-night. We could do a little two-step. I could show you how it’s done.”

She didn’t reply immediately, just cut another bite of salad, her eyes flicking briefly over to him, trying not to smirk. Of course she wanted to go, it was just starting to push the boundary. What they had going was, for lack of a better word, secret. If they started being seen having dinner and dancing in the Supper Club, people would start to speculate. And once they speculated then you had full on gossip. Was he ready for that? Was she for that matter?

“Amélie?” He asked, quietly.

“Bringing out the big guns, are we?” She asked with a chuckle.

“I was told to call you that,” he grinned, leaning slightly closer. “Am I not?”

She smiled infectiously back, “You are allowed,” she said, but retreated from him all the same. “And… I would love to go dancing with you, Declan… I just…” she trailed off, trying to find the words she wanted to use here.

He stiffened up slightly. Declan was no stranger to romance, fleeting or otherwise. He’d been married three times and divorced three times, all for the same reason. For the same Mistress - the Corps. But he wasn’t a field Marine anymore, MacTaryn had seen to that when he put him in charge of the Marines on this station. He still had the skillset and he still had the drive to be the boots on the ground but he was being forced to come to terms with the fact that he’d never be that Marine again. He’d ascended out of that, reluctantly no doubt, but ascended nonetheless. So he knew the game and he knew the rules, and with his mistress gone he knew he could be that person that three wives wished he could have been. He thought that was the path he was walking now with Amélie but, maybe he was mistaken. Maybe this was just good fun. Not that he minded that, it was just… not what he’d expected.

“It’s ok,” Declan shook his head, “We could… just do a movie night at your place,” she said, accepting that she thought this was a fling. “If you’re free. We can rain check if you’d rather,” he added, now starting to feel a twinge of embarrassment unlike any he’d felt in a long time.

“That’s not what I’m saying,” she replied tenderly, putting her fork down and turning more directly towards him.

“So… you do want to go dancing?” He asked thickly.

“If we go dancing, Declan. People are going to wonder. They’re going to look at us dancing as close as I’m sure we will,” she smirked wickedly, “See us together and gossip. They’re going to assume that this is a thing…” she said, gesturing between them. “I’m just… worried… that’s not what you’re looking for. That that isn’t what you’re ready for. I don’t want to force you into anything or put you in a situation where you feel like you have no choice but to accept that reality,” she explained clumsily. “What I’m trying to say is th-.”

“If we go dancing, the crew will think we’re dating,” he summed up succinctly.

She nodded, “Yeah. Exactly.”

He nodded along, pushing a bit of bacon around his plate, “So… what exactly have we been doing if we’ve not been dating since the Pathfinder?” He asked.

Amélie blushed, tucking a few loose strands of hair behind her ear, “You… thought we’ve been dating?” She asked, barely containing the peal of girlish laughter she wanted to let out. It’d been a long time since she’d had reaction like that. Suddenly she felt like the little girl she’d been on the Zhukov when Wally Benning had asked her out to the ship’s Spring Formal.

Declan laughed nervously, “I thought that’s what we agreed on, on the Pathfinder,” he admitted. “You made your choice. I made my choice. Here we are,” he outlined.

She nodded, “Ok,” she said quietly. “Ok…” she said, turning back to her plate, now smirking at it.

“So,” he replied uncertainly.

“So,” she answered, taking a bite. “What time are you picking me up for dancing tomorrow night?”

“Well. I mean…” he shrugged, “Now that we’ve settled all that. Maybe we should have dinner first?” Declan grinned. “We could come back here,” he suggested. “Sit at a table?”

Amélie nodded, but didn’t answer as the bartender was bringing their food. She’d ordered grilled salmon on a bed of risotto and was smirking as it came over knowing that it wasn’t what Declan was expecting. He’d probably assumed there was red meat on the way. Glancing over at him she saw him roll his shoulders and accept that this was lunch.

“How about Klingon noodles,” she suggested as she settled into her plate. “Have you tried it?”

He shook his head, a concerned look on his face, “What’s it like?” He didn’t have the most eclectic food tastes but, as with any budding relationship, it was worth the risk just to have time with them. So he was willing to give it a try.

“Sort of a mix between Vietnamese Pho and Gagh, the kind that’s still kicking,” she smirked back, laughing at his reaction. “I promise. It’s good. It really is. I think you’ll like it.”

“If you say so,” he said, spearing a bit of salmon, staring at it sadly and then taking a bite. A few moments of pensive silence passed between them before he had a thought and looked over at her, holding a bit of fish on his fork. “The last time I went dancing at Dixie’s, you were there,” he said, “Dancing with the owner,” he went on. “There’s… nothing there?” I asked.

Amélie laughed brightly. In all her no-good-rotten day so far she had hardly cracked a smile, she certainly hadn’t laughed. But his simple, innocent, insecure question made her laugh deep down in her belly, something she sorely needed. Reaching over, she put her hand on his thigh and said, with absolute conviction. “Nothing there. At. All.”

He smirked crookedly back, “Alright,” he replied happily, “Alright.”

“I was dancing wit-,” she started to say, interrupted by the chirp of her commbadge.

”Starwood to DeHavilland,” The Quartermaster’s voice intoned from her badge.

“Go ahead, Chief,” she replied, her good feelings melting away at the simple statement.

”Sorry to bother you, but there is a slight situation in the civilian storage bays. Could you come down here and assist?”

“I’m in a meeting, Chief. Is it important?” She countered.

There was a commotion of voice on the comm that sounded angry, or irritated. Perhaps both. ”I’m really sorry, ma’am, but it’s kind of urgent.”.

With a profound sigh she set her fork down with a clink. “Fine. I’m on my way. DeHavilland out,” she said, tapping her badge. She wiped her mouth with her napkin and tossed it on the plate. “Just the measure of my freaking day,” she said, getting off the stool. “See you later,” she said, moving to leave but Declan caught her arm gently but firmly.

“That’s it?” He asked. “Not even a handshake?” He asked playfully.

The request wiped the frustration off her face and she smiled back, “Fine,” she said, and leaned in and kissed him on the cheek. “You’re making dinner tonight,” she added, then turned and walked on.

Declan watched her go, aware that there was at least a couple Starfleet crew at the bar that had seen that and were now hurriedly gossiping with one another, but he was ok with that. In a way, he was kind of proud of it. Once she was gone from the restaurant, he turned back to the plate.

“How’s the fish?” The bartender asked.

He shook his head in response, “Got anything that might have once gone ‘moo’?”

.: Civilian Storage Bay - Obsidian Command :.

It was hard not to smile at least a little bit on the long ride down to the storage or cargo bay of the station. Sure, she was still hungry and really needed a stiff drink, but even then in that brief interaction they’d crossed a bridge she didn’t realize she was ready to, or that he was either. Though, apparently, he had already gone across it and she was the one standing on the other side wondering what was up. Part of her felt sheepish, but another reminded her that she’d been badly hurt wandering off blindly with a man. She wasn’t keen to do it again so her apprehension was warranted.

Declan wasn’t Quincy though. He wouldn’t even have been able to stand Quincy. Declan was the man’s exact opposite in so many ways, and hers at the same time. She didn’t really like Marines. She understood their place, to a degree, but they were to her mind antithetical to the entire Federation and Starfleet ethos. Yet she’d just seen first-hand the benefit of having them and now was in a properly defined relationship with one. It was, for lack of a better word, baffling. Yet… it felt right. It felt right and that was what made her smile most of all.

The doors finally opened and she left the lift, walking along the more utilitarian corridors of this section of the station until she found the big double-doors that led into the storage bay. No sooner than the doors had opened, she heard the chaos within. There were at least half a dozen raised voices, all talking over one another.

Corvus rounded the corner of stacked crates, following the din, and stepped out into a strange scene. There were five civilians all standing next to a crate that had been unpacked and its contents put out onto the floor. She recognized the men standing there as some of the proprietors of the stations restaurants: DB from Whistlin’ Dixie’s, Matthieu from Hula Pete’s, Chef Geist from the Derby House and two she didn’t recognize.

Standing with them all were two security officers and Chief Petty Officer Lawrence Starwood, one of the stations senior quartermasters. Managing storage, who came and went and what was taken was his job. But what he would be dealing with that would require her involvement was not immediately clear. What was clear was that the five men were arguing over a large container that DB and and Chef Geist had between them with the other three men trying to get their hands on it as well, but simply beaten to the punch by the first two.

“Captain, thank you for coming,” Starwood said with relief as he spotted Corvus. This whole thing had been one enormous farce from the off. The last thing he’d wanted to do was to call the Captain down her and have her mediate this but these guys were being wholly unreasonable. They might have been just civilians but they were some of the more senior civilians here who had the ability to make a mess pinned on him if he didn’t call in reinforcements.


“Listen, I!”

Corvus raised her hand as all of the civilians tried to jump in and say something. She just put her hand up and shook her head silencing them to the man as she looked at Starwood and pointed. “What’s happening here?” She asked. Nothing about this situation looked worthy of her time, so surely there was a reason he called her down.

Starwood let out an exasperated sigh, “There’s a manifest issue,” he began quickly. “We received a shipment of goods this morning. The manifest says that there are five crates of peanut-based fry oil from Sol. All five of these guys ordered the same exact crate of oil from the same manufacturer. Apparently it’s the gold standard…” he said with a sigh. One of the men tried to pipe up and Corvus glared at him, silencing him once more. “The freighter delivered one crate of the oil in question, and four crates of pickled rutabaga’s instead of the other four. To make matters worse, the freighter didn’t label who the crate was deliverable to, so now all five of these men are claiming that the one vat of fry oil that was delivered should go to them. So much so that they’re willing to fight me, and each other, to get it,” he finished.

“For fry oil,” Corvus replied, turning to the men. Was that seriously why they were here, fighting over a vat of oil?

“You don’t understand!” DB barked immediately.

“This is a requirement for so many of my dishes!” Chef Geist bellowed.

“Crisps, fries, wontons, I can’t make any of my appetizer dishes! C’est impossible!” Matthieu called out.

All three men cried out at the same time and she had to once again hold her hand up for silence, this time using her opposite to pinch the bridge of her nose in frustration. “I can’t believe that the five of you can’t work this out. That I have to come down here and mediate. There are almost one-hundred thousand people on this station, but I have to come down here and manage… fry oil… for five grown adults?” She asked, not bothering to take the insult out of that simple statement.

“Ç'est ne pas cette simple,” Matthieu said, stepping up to the vat that Geist and DB were each holding one side of. Almost like he were waiting for either of them to have a moment of weakness so he could snatch the vat and run with it.

“You’re doing it again,” DB rolled his eyes and shook his head.

“Doing what?” Matthieu barked, “Standing my ground?!” He declared, rounding on him.

“Talking in… whatever it is you’re talking in,” DB replied dismissively. “UT ain’t on here. Speak Standard.”

“I understand you just fine, Matthieu. Why is it not simple?” Corvus asked. It wasn’t something she readily advertised but she was fluent in French herself. She hadn’t actually realized Matthieu was and immediately thought it’d be nice to converse with someone, meaning she needed to stop by the Tiki lounge. “Why can’t the five of you split up this vat of oil five ways, and go on with life until Chief Starwood can figure out where the four other crates went,” she asked.

“One fifth is not enough!” Geist barked, “I need every drop of it to provide what is on my menu!” He declared, yanking the vat his way. She heard the contents inside slosh about.

“Now you just wait a gal-darn minute, hoss,” DB replied hotly, “I can’t make any fried chicken, fried pickles, or just about everything on my menu without some of this here oil. Now… I might be willing to part with a fifth, but I need as much of this as I can get. Used oil, well that don’t taste right,” he declared, yanking the vat back towards him.

“Yes, this,” Matthieu declared in agreement, approaching it again so that both men collectively moved it away from Matthieu. The other two were edging in as well, looking for their shot. She could already see that these men were prepared to throw down to get what they needed.

Corvus drew her hand down her face, “Why can’t you just… replicate it?” She asked.

All at once, all five of them cried out in offense, each of their protests as colorful as the next and all on top of each other so that the only thing she really got out of it was that it was clearly a world-class faux pas to do that. It was real or nothing. The whole thing was so absurd she didn’t know quite where to start.

“Look. Gentlemen. If there is no indicator of who this shipment was meant for, which I presume we’ve all looked for?” She asked. All five of them nodded and she looked back at Starwood who did as well. “Then this belongs to Obsidian Command,” she declared emphatically.

It certainly wasn’t the answer she wanted to give but if they weren’t willing to be reasonable adults here and split this thing five different ways so that they could each get some benefit than none of them would get it. Is this what I’ve been reduced too, babysitting grown men, she thought to herself. It was like dealing with children. If you can’t play nice with the toys, I’m going to put them away.

“No!” All five of them cried out at once and began immediately pleading their case as she groaned loudly, heaving a long, low sigh of frustration.

Corvus let them rant and rave but only because she was in her own thoughts, trying to see if there was another option she had missed, but there didn’t seem to be any other reasonable conclusion. If they wouldn’t share one-fifth with one another, then the crate was staying in OC’s custody until the shipment issues could be resolved with the freighter. That was really all their was to it. Surely they could wait for that?

She raised her hand for silence again, shaking her head. “I don’t see another way, guys. Either one fifth each, or nothing. Simple as that,” she declared emphatically.

“NO!” All five chorded again.

Geist and DB put the vat down, now pleading desperately but Corvus was shaking her head as the pressed in on her, emphatically trying to convince her that they deserved the whole thing themselves (Geist) or at least four fifths (DB). That fired up the two men she didn’t recognize, who came around either side of Geist and DB to chime in why they were more worthy and none of them were responding anymore as she tried to hold her hands up for silence. One of the men on the right tossed out an expletive aimed at her and she colored up fast.

“You watch your mouth, sir. You being here on this station is at my disc-,” The other men cried out suddenly, cutting her off, as Matthieu took advantage of everyone’s distraction and grabbed the vat with both hands and turned to run with it.

Geist and DB were the first one’s to grab a handle and try to stop the man from running off with it, but now that it was down to this the other two weren’t about to go without a fight. They charged in as well. Starwood ordered his security guards to break it up and Corvus hurried forward as well.

“Stop this now! This is absurd!! You’re acting like children!” She bellowed over their screaming at one another.

One of the security officers tried to peel a man from the vat, who tried to elbow him off, smacking Matthieu in the mouth. He loosed a viscous expletive in French and tried to kick the offending man, but only succeeded in loosing his footing as DB and Geist yanked at the vat to get it away from him and to themselves. Matthieu stumbled into the security officer, making him trip, and in turn making Matthieu fall on his butt. He pulled the vat with him. DB and Geist, fighting off security and Starwood and Matthieu trying to take the vat down with him yanked even harder.

As Matthieu hit the deck, he lost his grip on the vat and the force of DB and Geist pulling it away from him was suddenly met with no resistance. The entire vat flung forward and the weight of its momentum took it out of their hands and the entire thing hit Chief Starwood across the chest, knocking the lid off and dumping the entire contents of the vat into the thing right next to him. Captain DeHavilland.

The room went deathly silent. All five men stared at the now completely peanut oil covered woman in front of them. Even Starwood stared, dumbfounded, holding the vat in his hands looking as guilty as the others, as if he’d done it.

Corvus stood there, stunned, shaking and so angry it was a miracle she wasn’t heating the oil that covered her. She wiped the oil from her eyes carefully, and then her nose, gently opening her eyes to look at the five men in front of her. Starwood quickly turned away and set the now empty vat down. She took a slow, steadying breath, looked up and said simply, to all of them.

“Get. Out.”


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