Chapter 6 - The Bare Necessities

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USS Hou Yi – Ops Chief’s Office


Diruga hadn’t been aboard long when he realised he hadn’t made any requisitions yet, and soon enough his wants would become needs, and an inability to meet those needs might start making people unhappy, first and foremost himself. Most of the usual infrastructure he put together had been left with the crew on the Andromeda. He wasn’t disappointed about starting again, in fact it kind of excited him. But the Ops Chief was always the first obstacle in his plans, and now he had his thumb on the chime on the door to her office.

Through the temporarily transparent doorway, T’Shan saw a Trill she didn’t recognise, and ordered the computer to raise the temperature to 20 C. She pulled out the tab hidden in her sleeve and pressed the button, activating the cooling underlay beneath her uniform. “Come.” She instructed, deactivating the door transparency.

“Afternoon, El-Tee. SCPO Diruga Orliss, COB and Deck Crew Chief. Got a couple of things I was hoping to go over with you, if you’ve got a few minutes. May I sit?” Diruga asked as he approached her desk.

T’Shan stood as the man entered, and gestured to the seat as he asked, taking her own. “Please. I am T’Shan.”

“Thanks. You got a unique look about you, if you don’t mind me saying. And I’ve been around a long time. Not much stands out after three centuries.” Diruga said in a way he hoped came across as polite.

“My father is Vulcan, my mother Andorian. My biology is unique, a result of the circumstances of my conception. I can recommend further reading, if you are curious.” T’Shan responded plainly. “What did you wish to discuss?”

“Sorry, don’t mean to pry. That was my first thought, but I didn’t think that was possible. Hoping to discuss a few requisitions, some kinda non-traditional. There should be a list of what I’m after on file, I sent it through just before I left the flight deck.” Diruga explained.

“No apology is necessary. I understand that there are few who share my heritage, but none with my appearance and characteristics. Curiosity is preferable to the reaction among many in my ancestor races. If I might also pry, may I ask if you are the host of the Orliss Symbiont, or if the name is a family one?” T’Shan asked as she brought up his proposal on her desk’s display surface.

“Original Orliss. Life number six. If I was a Terran feline, I might start worrying about my mortality soon.” He said with a grin. He leaned back into his chair, wondering when the last time, if ever, was that he moved his hands as dextrously as hers.

“Fascinating. I believe that we have met once before. During one of my visits to my father on Starbase 51. It was the evening the Gamma Quadrant accords were signed, if I recall correctly. I sat at the table with Masdri.”

“Really?” Diruga was suddenly alert, furrowing his eyebrows, trying to dig back through memory. “No, no recollections after the Founder left. I got pretty lit that night. And Tyell could party, too. Don’t feel bad, the whole evening is gone. She certainly didn’t talk to Masdri at all. Nice to be able to meet you again, anyway. How is your pa?” He asked warmly.

There was a slight momentary tremor in her knuckles as she considered an answer. “He has chosen to retire from Starfleet and pursue spiritual solitude on Vulcan.”

“Really? Rovak? He wanted a command so bad I can still taste it. Wasn’t he working for the Security Directorate? That was the dream, wasn’t it?” Diruga asked incredulously.

“He made unsubstantiated accusations of murder against the Director of Starfleet Security.” T’Shan said casually, keeping her eyes focused on the requisition request.

“Oh. That was him. I didn’t see any feeds where they named him. There may not be any proof she’s a murderer, but she’s still a paranoid bitch trying to turn the Federation into a police state. If she hadn’t been so central to decisions that killed billions of them and fractured the Empire, you’d think she was a Romulan. Good luck to your dad, though.” Diruga said with his usual level of comfort, still quite relaxed in the chair, though his passion about the politics of it was obvious.  “What do you think of the list, can it be done?” He asked.

“There are items here that do not seem standard for deck crew functions. Two hydroponic bays. Components for what I can only deduce is a distillery and a spa, among other parts that while theoretically of value, could easily be replicated piecemeal as required. As if to disguise the other components and their possible relation.” T’Shan explained, cocking an eyebrow.

“I see you’ve dealt with amateur tricks like mine before.” Diruga admitted, looking momentarily sheepish. “You’ve got your dad’s eye, that’s for sure. But hey, I got a team to take care of. And that includes all the enlisted. Withhold the rest if you have to, but don’t deny my boys a bath. You spend all day with a sonic scourer tickling your inner ear, you don’t want to get into a sonic shower to wind down.”

“I will approve your requisition orders and facility alterations under the condition that Operations staff… Enlisted Operations staff are able to inspect the facilities regularly to ensure compliance with health and safety standards.” T’Shan said, closing the display of the list.

“You’re speaking my language, El-Tee. Who have you got in your employ?” Diruga asked.

“CPO Richard Thurman. That is all. We are in the process of awaiting further transfers.”

“Dick Thurman’s here? Hot damn. You’re a gem, T’Shan. Sir. If you’re half as useful as your father you’ll be in high demand.” Diruga, sitting up in his seat and leaning forward, prepared to get up.

“My name or El-Tee will suffice, Chief.” T’Shan told him. “Thank you for your time. I look forward to working with a man of your vast experience. My father held Tyell’s skills in very high esteem, even if her personality left something to be desired.”

Diruga couldn’t help but laugh at that, even if it did offend whatever remained of her within him. “No problem, El-Tee. I know you won’t, but call me Iru if the mood strikes you. After all, we go way back.” He said with a smile, raised himself and turned for the door.

As he left, T’Shan realised he was right, and for the sake of propriety she would not call him Iru. But she began to think of him as such.