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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Posted on Mon Mar 27th, 2017 @ 10:41pm by Lieutenant Tabetha Relton

Mission: S1E5 - Unknown Territory
Location: Main Shuttle Bay
Timeline: MD 72; 10:00

Ryland had flown aboard with the Vindex's replacement shuttle rather than beam over. He was rarely behind the stick these days, so even a quick hop was not to be wasted. The slow, meandering course from one ship to another felt nothing like his time in the cockpit of a starfighter. The itch to barrel roll, the brief lag in the inertial dampers that would push him back in his seat before artificial gravity took over, the feel of thrusters 1.7 meters below him pushing him at sublight yet supersonic speeds...

Nope. Not to be had. He flew a due course that had the faintest of arcs to it straight into the shuttle bay that would be his home for the foreseeable future. For conduct unbecoming of an officer, Ryland had been grounded by the highest authorities. He should be grateful to have kept his commission, he was told, and that had elicited a half-Vulcan hand gesture in response. Now... this.

Well, time to get to it. Ryland brought the thrusters offline and depowered the main engines. His rough hands lingered on the conn as he stood up, not wanting to part from it. There was no telling when the next opportunity to fly would come his way.

Sighing in assent to his situation, Ryland grabbed his gear--a lone duffel bag--and exited the shuttle. The door hissed closed behind him with finality.

When his boots first clacked on the floor--shoes were for eggheads, ladies, and other genteel folk--they echoed across the entire bay. And that was just fine by him. If he was grounded, then he was going to pound that ground until they gave him back to the sky.

As engrossed in his sullen disposition as he was, he didn't even notice his superior officer standing near the shuttle bay manager's office until he had nearly stumbled into her.

"Well, hello there," he said, flashing a grin. Gone was the long face, replaced by a cheery and sportive body language. "Aren't you just a piece of slap-yer-mama gorgeous?"

Tabetha was busy checking over the new arrivals, with the Vindex receiving some new replacement shuttlepods after some which were damaged beyond repair were taken away for recycling. Once she'd finished what she was doing, Tabetha turned and faced Ryland, giving him a look which suggested his compliment hadn't had the effect the man obviously wanted it to.

"Oh, you must be Ryland Dedeker, I read your file." Tabbie said, folding her arms. "I'll remind you who you're talking to, and before we go any further with 'slap-yer-mama gorgeous', you aren't my type. What can I do for you that doesn't involve you asking me for a few drinks and going back to your quarters?"

"I'm afraid you have me at a disadvantage, m'lady, since I don't know your name and you clearly know mine." He lowered himself in a stately bow, and rose with a crooked smirk. "As you said, I am Ryland Dedeker, at your beautiful service."

Tabetha leaned against the side of the shuttlepod while spinning the tool she was using between her fingers.

"I'm your superior officer," Tabetha said. "I'm Lieutenant Relton, so I'd be careful who you flirt with and try not to aim too high, because no matter how hard you try, you aren't going to be my type. Besides, I've been checking over all of these shuttlepods of yours when that's actually your job, so I suggest you get started. The tools are over there, this shuttlepod needs work to its impulse manifolds because Starfleet decided to send us a faulty shuttle which is supposed to be brand new. Because you're the shuttle expert, you can fix it. I'll stand here and make sure you don't try to flirt with anyone else in the meantime, okay?"

"Sir, yes, sir," Ryland said while biting his lip to suppress a laugh. "I will do my best not to be charmed by your sunny bit of sass each and every morning."
He turned to assess the exposed manifold. "Ah, lookit, there's your problem." He reached through some wiring to disconnect a component between two plugs.
"Like most problems in life, this one is fixed by tossin' out the cockblock," he said with a wink. "Drydock puts a boot clamp on the driveline to prevent full impulse during initial transfers. They're all over the brand, spankin' new shuttlepods these days. Your grace must be more familiar with the old, broke-in models."

Tabetha resented being called 'sir', she was female and preferred to be called by her rank, or as a last resort, 'ma'am', but definitely not 'sir'. Almost immediately she took a dislike to the man and was glad he'd be down here in the shuttlebay while she was up on the bridge.

"Oh, I'm very familiar with new shuttles," Tabetha said, irately. "I just want you to do your job without flirting with your senior officer, who for the third time is reminding you she isn't interested. Now, I want you to stop calling me 'sir' and organise these shuttles so they're using both shuttle bays and not the same one. Captain Ainscow will be pretty pissed off if she finds there's next to no room to move in here, so before you annoy her as well, get it done."

"Yes, ma'am, Lieutenant Relton, ma'am." Ryland pressed his mouth together in barely contained laughter. A snigger slipped out.
"Don't you worry none about this shuttle bay. I'll keep it so spit-shined and polished that your pretty lil' head won't never take two licks away from the helm."
He jostled the duffel bag in his hand.
"If it pleases m'lady, might I drop off my gear before rollin' up sleeves?" He winked as he added, "Didn't you say you knew where my quarters are? Maybe you could show me the way."

Tabetha shook her head in despair, Ryland clearly wasn't going to give up trying to take her out on a date. That wasn't going to happen, Tabetha's last relationship had ended sourly, and she wasn't in a rush to find the next one either.

"I'll hold you to that, because if I find one thing out of line, you won't be finding yourself any closer to being in my good books." Tabetha replied, still spinning the tool between her fingers.

Tabetha watched Ryland move his duffel bag, and in truth, she didn't know where his quarters were, so as much as she would been happy to tell him where his quarters were without the guided tour, Tabetha couldn't even tell him.

"Oh," Tabetha said, sincerely at first. "I can't help you there I'm afraid. Your best bet would to be find the new Operations Head, or better still, just ask the computer where your domain is. Wherever it is though, you won't be finding me there whether you're there or not. Your obsession with flirting with me really isn't going to end very well, so, unless you want to find yourself with yet another demotion for being a royal pain in the backside, stop flirting with me and report in to the Captain before I drag you there myself and tell her how these buckets of shit aren't ready because you were too busy flirting with me instead of fixing them, okay?"

"Take a good look at me, sweetheart," Ryland said with all mirth drained from his face. His eyes were raw. "I am a starfighter pilot, and a damned good one. You can give me the devil treatment all you'd like and it won't make a lick of difference, because that's essentially what I am--without my wings, I'm a fallen angel."
His smile returned, but it didn't touch his eyes. "So you can go on being Queen Bee, I'll go on not givin' two shits about it in the performance of my job, and we'll do this little dance failing to impress the other, and we'll still get along just fine." He gave her a half wink and hurried to the bay doors to the corridor, calling back over his shoulder. "Don't wait up."

Tabetha would have replied, but she couldn't be bothered rising to it, and Ryland was still more interested in flirting with her instead of doing what she'd asked. She was Ryland's superior, and if Claudia came down and saw the mess of the shuttle bay it was Tabbie that was going to get the flak from Claudia, not Ryland.

"Yeah, you'd better get used to it..." Tabbie muttered, getting back to work.


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