Posted by Commander Jacen Drayke (Chief Engineer/2O) in Engineering office- It happened one day on the fifth grade field trip
Posted by Civilian Maybelle Spunkler (Maybelle Spunkler) in Engineering office- It happened one day on the fifth grade field trip
Posted by Commander Jacen Drayke (Chief Engineer/2O) in Engineering office- It happened one day on the fifth grade field trip
Posted by… suppressed (14) by the Post Ghost! 👻
It was Tuesday. That meant lunch with the Irish chief. When Maybelle started having lunch with the crew, it was difficult at times, especially with Mr. Jacen. People said she had ants in her pants but Mr. Jacen never sat down. Lunch with him was always sandwiches because he complained he didn’t have time to sit and eat. Walking down the hall, Maybelle pondered a career in engineering. Of all the departments, they had one of the coolest layouts. Stairs, ladders, and turbo lifts meant one could pop up and down the levels anyway they chose to go. Very few places had stairs on the Atlantis and even fewer had ladders. This was why Maybelle used them every chance she could get. Sticking the brown paper bag in her mouth, she began to climb down the level to reach the chief’s office. She could have done it one-handed but the adults just hissed and moan like she was on a trapeze instead of a metal rung. Using two hands she was also able to practice her ladder slide. This is what she called the emergency move all engineers did in a crisis.
Twice the warp core burped, as Maybelle called it, sending all the adults into a frenzy. It was not that Mr. Jacen was old but he was old enough not to horse around in the halls like some of the other crew. On one day , however, when the warp core burped, Mr. Jacen showed he could not only run but probably would have been a state champ in track and field events. The day was like any other until the burp. One second they were eating and chatting. The next, Mr. Jacen hurdled his desk in one leap for apparently no reason. It was then Maybell noticed someone yelling Jacen’s name as warning lights flashed and klaxons began to ring out. Maybelle, close on his heels trying to see what was going on, watched as the chief deftly lept over two crew bent over fixing a console, slid under a panel like a baseball player scoring a home run, and jumping over the floors safety rail. Her heart stopped for a second before she saw Jacen catch the rail to the ladder and slide down it like a fireman. It was well worth the detention skipping school for the next hour as she watched Jacen and his men scurry about the warp core as it made burps, gurgles, and what sounded like hiccups. If Mabelle hadn’t mentioned that the bizarre colors the core changed into during the hour-long emergency was something Jacen should keep because it looked so cool, she was positive Mr.Jacen wouldn’t have thrown her out of engineering.
Sliding down the three rungs, Maybelle pushed away the hope that something fun would happen today again in engineering. She had important business and didn’t need something dumb like a nacelle sparking pulling Jacen’s attention off of her. Reaching his door, Maybelle walked in without knocking. That was another awesome thing about Mr. Drayke’s office. The entire wall was glass so it wasn’t like he wanted privacy. If he did he would have real walls like the rest of the officers.
“Hey, Mr. Jacen. Today is your lucky day. Iiiiiiiiit’ssssss Tuesday lunchtime with Maybelle Spunkler,” she said happily plopping down in the large chair across from his desk.
Jacen was working at his desk as he had his feet up. He didn’t seem angry be he held a deep sigh. Above him, she would see a display of all of the ship that seemed to follow the direction Jacen was looking. Maybelle most likely hadn’t noticed on the side of his head a small device attached to his right ear that was giving him a look at the ship. “Come in…” Jacen said as he looked over at her, the display moving as he moved his head in her direction before he turned it off.
Getting up from his chair he removed the device as he pointed at the couch, as that was the designated zone she knew he wanted. “In fact....” he said as he looked over the device with a small smile. “You just might be able to help me,” he said as he walked over as he plopped down on the couch as he tossed the device into her lap.
“Lt. Spunkler at your service,” she saluted him with a grin. Of all the places she had been, Cap’n Kelly was the most relaxed about the saluting thing. Some ships had people snapping off the gesture so much as they transversed the halls, the crew looked like they were part of some jazz Broadway musical. On the Atlantis, the officers only tended to use it when they were in trouble. Maybelle thought back to the day she learned the proper salute from Mr. Mardusk. Her leg had gotten caught in his climbing net and the security chief rescued her. He had seemed so scary until that day. Now she found the huge Orion fascinating and loved spending any time she could get with him. After teaching her the proper salute, he had promised to take her to the armory. Well, he never actually said that he would let her shoot a firearm but he did say she could come back and train with them in PT so armory training had to be on the table as an option sometime in the future.
“Put this on guinea…” he said as he looked in the bag wondering what she brought. “What… is this?” he asked as he took at the items and laid them out on the table. She had gone off course, there were some sandwiches and pizza which was a nice change and fit his on-the-go wish, but there was a third item.
Maybelle fiddled with the device as Jacen inspected their lunch. “Haggis loaf,” she replied in a neutral tone not caring at the moment as she inspected the tech. It was rare that she got to tinker with things and even rarer that Jacen gave her the item to tinker with. “It smelled kinda weird so I used ketchup. A lot of ketchup,” she emphasized breaking her attention off of the device to ensure Mr. Jacen understood how critical this information was.
“Haggis? What… what made you think I eat that?” he asked her as he looked over.
“Well ‘cause your Scottish. I mean you sound Scottish so if you sound like you are Scottish you kinda have to be from there.” Her tone had the duh quality kids slowly began to learn almost as soon as they began to speak. As they aged this duh tone would have more of a snark edge culminating in the oh so wonderful teenage know it all stage but at twelve, Maybelle hadn’t yet learned that manner of speaking. Right now duh meant simply what someone said was either obvious to the galaxy or it wasn’t.
“You think I am Scottish?”
“Well as Fern says if it walks like a duck or in your case Nessie, it has to be a duck....or lake monster,” Maybelle pondered her response. The saying if it walked like a duck and talked like a duck it had to be a duck was well known however the only Scottish animal she knew of was the loch Ness Monster so if she was going to prove Jacen was Scottish, she had to go with something authentic.
“You know if I wasn’t time crunched I would be insulted… we can circle back on that but I am Irish, not Scottish, different people,” he said as he watched with amusement as she began to try and place the device on the side of her head.
“Are they,” Maybelle said. “Are they really?” The first reply might have been a question but the second repetition of the statement clearly showed Mabelle saw little to no difference. “I mean you live on England’s island soooo does that mean you are Irish, Scottish, and English or Irscotlish’cause you don’t sound English?” Fiddling with the head set as she talked, Maybelle continued to probe Drayke’s heritage.
“Wait… wait… do you think Ireland is connected to England? What is EMMA teaching you? We are a whole separate island… we are not the part to Great Britain…” Jacen said with a since its indignation in his voice as he looked at her.
“Fine fine you are British, not English but you speak English so why don’t you call yourselves English?” Maybelle was not only having this conversation with Drayke but she was filing it away for the Thursday Diplomatic lunch with Ian. Part of her wondered if Mr. Ian knew about the trifecta of titles Mr. Jacen seemed to claim his heritage possessed.
“Child I will throw you out an airlock, I am not English either. Our heritage is Gaelic and Celtic. Not English… we have poets and history that’s far more rich than those tea sipping braggarts across the spit!” He said with a level of agitation not often seen in Jacen.
“So tossing logs around is considered rich history?” Maybelle was getting far more history today than she expected. “I have always wondered....do you yell timber when you do that or just when you cut the trees down?”
“Okay… okay, we will discuss your lack of education and uncouth behavior latter. First… let’s get this on you.” Jacen said as he calmed down as he looked back over at Maybelle.
“Yes,” Maybelle fist-pumped the air. It was not that Mr. Drayke’s culture wasn’t interesting but it definitely was not as interesting as the headset he gave her when she entered the room. “So how do you turn it on?” There weren’t any obvious buttons or toggles so maybe it was motion activated like the lights in the halls at night. Shaking it, Maybelle waited for it to come up as she inspected it from every angle. “I think its broke.” Knowing she was most often cited as the one who broke things she quickly added. “I think you broke it when you threw it on the couch.” Hoping this wasn’t the case, she shook it several more times.
“No no no… not that way, you will burn out your retina. Here…” he said as he adjusted the device as he lifted her up from her spot and had her sit on his lap so he could make an adjustment before he turned on the display.
“Does Miss Emma know you are Irish,” Maybelle asked as Mr. Jacen placed the device on her head? While he was moving on with the conversation, Maybelle was fascinated by it. The adults on the ship were so interesting. They did things like paintball, played instruments, and danced. It was hard for Maybelle to see them as officers and people much like it was when you saw your teacher not in a classroom but on a roller coaster or hanging at the beach.
“Yes she knows I am Irish, I designed her… she has full access to all the ship systems and knows who we all are.” Jacen said as he looked at Maybelle with a quizzical look.
“So she knows everything about us,” Maybelle raised an eyebrow at him. This new information surprised her. “Just for the record, I did not build a fort in the Jeffery tube.” Letting Jacen fit the device more securely to her face Maybelle contemplated all her new found information.
“So… what do you see guinea?” he asked her as the display turned on as her vision would light up with a new heads up of the ship. “Here you will need this,” he said as he took off his badge as he slapped it on her chest so it made a new image pop up showing a little red arrow of her.
Suddenly the sight in front of Maybelle changed. No longer was it Mr. Jacen’s office but something that looked like a scene from a movie. “I can see the replicator you took from me. Oh my god, this is sooo cool.” She stuck out her hands in the air as if trying to touch something in mid air.
“Yes, the replicator needs to be fixed… in fact if you want we can work on it later. I know you wanted to fix it.”
“Yes,” she wiggled happily doing a fist bump. “There is no way I can lose the science fair if I can replicate grape juice plus for the adults and ice cream for the kids,” Maybelle said confidently.
“You got good eyes, what do you see wrong?” he said as the display narrowed down on their location. The first thing someone might notice was the north-south directions seemed to be going the wrong way. As she moved around her head though there would be words pop up describing objects and reading off the diagnosis. This is where he wondered how much she would pay attention cause it didn’t seem to always display in a language that could be read in. The universal translator wasn’t working properly and giving languages outside of the one the user could read.
“Hey this is so cool. All the machines tell you what is wrong with them.” Moving off his lap, Maybelle sat down on the couch next to him but instead of sitting, she hung her head over the edge of the seat so she was upside down. “So does everyone have to be upside down to use these,” she asked. “If so that is so cool but,” she wiggled her head back and forth, “if Miss Kelly finds out you are buying stuff from IFEA she is gonna be so mad.”
“Well because some of the words next to the objects don’t make any sense so they must be in Ferengi right?”
“IFEA?” Jacen said with a sense of indignation and repulsion as he took the device from the side of her head. “IFEA wishes they could make something like this… I am the CHIEF Engineer child, CHIEF. That means I am the top, cream of the crop. I made this, 6 weeks of work… with the help of EMMA. Maybe we got some of the wirings though wrong…” he said as he looked at it.
“Here hold this,” he said as he stood up and walked over to the wall, pulling a book from a shelf as the wall began to pull back and slide to the right to reveal a personal engineering lab. “Come here munchkin,” he said as he lifted her up and placed her at the top of one of the counters as he goes to the center console as he began to bring up his diagnostic tool. “Toss that here… carefully,” he said as he caught the device from her as he placed it in the center of the table as it began to bring up a holographic display of the device.
“It was not like I was going to pitch it at your head like Baron Judge the Satelite’s star pitcher,” she rolled her eyes at Drayke. Why adults always assumed kids were going stick something in a conduit socket or dart out between two vehicles frustrated her. Sure kids took risks but never when adults could see them. That was just inviting lectures. Rule 101 of being a kid....if they didn’t see you do it they really couldn’t ever prove you did it, except if you were an only child. In that case, you were screwed on everything that went wrong because nine times out of ten you really did cause it. The one out of tenth time it was your friend that did it. Scooching closer to Jacen, Maybelle looked at what he was doing and debated about asking if she could use the tool instead of him. “So what is that thing called,” Maybelle asked him.
“So… this is what I got here, universal translator matrix… which doesn’t quite work. It’s trying to cram a lot of data into one small device, you try having a device half the size of a baseball card access to nearly 9 trillion bytes of data in under .2 milliseconds. Something has to give… it’s why I try to have it link to the com badges, but if someone doesn’t have one…” he said looking over at her as he walked over. She still has his badge on her chest as he took it back before playfully ruffling her hair.
“They should be thrown off the ship. Could be a Perkins mole if they don’t have a comm badge,” Maybelle replied with a dead honest expression.
“Oh lord you have been hanging out with the Captain too much… which does beg the question how are you getting one on one time with the captain so much?”
“Dude who doesn’t want to hang with me,” Maybelle lowered the glasses slightly down the bridge of her nose peering at Jacen Drayke with a confused expression on her face. The gaze was just long enough that if the roles were reversed with Jacen being the child and her the adult, he might have felt compelled to provide an answer.
“How Kelly and I hang out is a whole other story. See she caught me , Mikey, Raul, and Torga with a nail gun in that abandoned room on deck 41.” She seated the glasses on her nose again watching Drayke at the console. “We found it when we were playing Borg Tag. Its a game we invented where we pretend everyone but us is a Borg in the Jefferies tubes and we have to run and hide from you as if you were a Borg invading the ship. Can’t be too careful and Mr. Mardusk always says there is a plan for everything and if you don’t have one make one.” Her tone was so sincere and serious it would have been hard to hold a straight face. Right now it was clear Maybelle was not talking to an adult but a peer. “One day the ship will be taken over and our crew will have to save you all because our small bodies and be stuffed into all kinds of crazy spots. You won’t believe how small an eleven year old Klingon boy can get in a pinch. Anyway we were playing last week and had to pop open a vent to a room so we weren’t caught by whatever you had Ensigns Klaus and Fritz doing with that sparking panel. Low and behold we tumbled into this huge room that was just empty.”
Disbelief laced her voiced like thick sauce covering her words. “People keep saying space is a premium on the ship but we find all kinds of cool abandoned places. So we decided we were going to make the room into a playground and training area. We found some weird netting outside of the Marine area and some rope outside of security. I think they were throwing it away because it was just laying in the hall and as Darlene says nothing should ever go to waste. We took it. Found a few nails and hammer and started hammering it into the walls. It was going perfect until Mr. Ian showed up. He called Ms. Kelly down. One thing led to another until Ms. Kelly put me in charge of the Division of Children’s Interest. We meet every couple of weeks or so. Right now we are working on the plans for the playground in that abandoned room. Its fun and all but if I am going to be honest, how do you handle all those staff meetings?”
“Anyway back to the glasses, if they don’t have a comm badge, it can’t access as much data… the comm badge creates a bridge, but I need to bridge to be faster… which is part of the problem. Synchronization doesn’t quite work in real-time… everything is off, just slightly… but that is for another time. You said you wanted to try and make a replicator right?” Jacen said with a wide smile as he took his tool from the dias as he opened up the table grabbing a Ferriday case to place it in as he wondered if he could help her with that wish.
“Oh hells yes. This is so going to solve my humus problem,” she air punched the space above her as she wiggle on the console. “I hate humus and we have it like twice a week,” she said settling down. ” Nasty little sad chickpeas that not only are bland and tasteless but also smashed half out of existence you gotta spread its sad brown existence onto something else just to consume it. At least with this baby I won’t starve two nights a week. How do we start,” she picked up a sonic screwdriver and poised it above the machine.
“Hummus is just something adults try to trick children to eat cause we were told as children to eat it. It’s like fruitcake, no one really wants one but everyone is gonna get one but no one wants one.” Jacen nodded in agreement. “It’s like how someone also decided avocado and toast was a thing, it isn’t a thing… it’s just something someone who had an avocado farm tricked some people in California to buy.” Jacen said as he ruffled her hair as he walked past her.
“If you can show me a basic understanding of the mechanics of the device, and I will give you a big curve for your age munchkin, I can help you create a miniaturized version that can access protein and nutrients for snacks that could be portable for you. About the case of a lunch tin, but I want you to work with me on it… but that means you need to come by more in order for me to quiz and make certain you are understanding everything I feel you should for your age…” Jacen said with a small smirk as he smiled over at Maybelle.
Turning around he looked behind a large piece of equipment was that looked like a container, opening it up he took out two blueberry creme tootsie pops as he tossed her one and began unwrapping one for him as he popped it in his mouth. “So… what do you say munchkin?”
“Dude I will come every day and wice on Wunday if dat is wah it takes,” Maybelle spoke with the lollipop in her mouth muffling her words. Sucking on the treat for a few seconds she shifted it to the corner of her mouth making her cheek pop out like a hamster with stuffed cheek pouches. “Hey what are you doing next Tuesday at eight am?” Her mannerisms were nonchalant but her words did not carry the confidence it normally did. She wanted to as him something but clearly was hesitant to do so.
“That’s my girl… gonna get you that field promotion sooner than you know… you can defend us against Borg any day now.” Jacen said with a small smirk. “So, what do you wanna learn first?” he asked her.
“If you are free next Tuesday at eight am,” she replied back repeating her question. In her short twelve years in the galaxy, Maybelle had learned there was one ailment all sentient being suffered from. It was called Selective Hearing Loss. Ms. Kelly accused Mr. Ian of Selective Spousal Hearing Loss all the time in private. She said is was when she knew Mr. Ian heard her but seemed to have no idea what she was saying. Right now it seemed Mr. Jacen was suffering from a case of Selective Child Hearing Loss.
“Look at you miss sassy pants, yes I can make it at 8 am, I just need to verify with… who do you live with again?” Jacen asked with a crooked look as he looked over at Maybelle. For all, he knew she could be some orphaned child wandering the ship getting free food with the crew. He never meets her parents or knew who she lived with. She just showed up at EMMA’s school and seemed to be everywhere like some old Earth sitcom character that needed a spunky next-door neighbor kid to cause shenanigans.
“You need to tell Ms. EMMA. She is the one that needs to know how many chaperones are coming. She was worried that there would not be enough adults but that confused me. I mean it’s not like we are really going anywhere on a bus or shuttle or a transport. Just down the hall,” Maybelle hooked a thumb over her shoulder. “I am in charge of the lunch that day because the chaperones always make me in charge of lunches on those days.” The excitement was evident in her voice as she did a little happy dance.
Grabbing her PaDD, she swiped several times rapidly until she found the form she needed. “So I need you to initial all the boxes dealing with being a chaperone which are here, here, and here,” she pointed to the blocks. “Don’t waste your time reading it. It the boring typical adult stuff.”
“Wait wait wait....” Jacen said as he eyed Maybelle carefully. “Why do you already have this form in you? You just asked me about it 5 minutes ago?” Jacen said with a discerning look. “I thought I was promising to show you some things not…” Jacen stoped as he just gestured at the PaDD.
“Fine fine… be thankful your cure, I’ll read up on it though, I don’t trust people smaller than me.” he said teasingly.
I give permission for Maybelle to participate in this field trip. As a chaperone, I acknowledge I am aware of:
✓ Risks including but not limited to slips, falls, pinches, scrapes, twists, jolts, scratches, bruises, sprains, lacerations, fractures, concussions, or even more severe injuries.
✓ Potential hazards associated with travel to and from the field trip site.
✓ Possible contact with plants, animals, or insects that could result in stings, allergic reactions, and associated diseases.
Further, I confirm I have provided:
✓ Appropriate and available emergency contact information for the duration of all field trip and travel hours.
✓ I understand I will be given as the chaperone *All necessary medical information, including a list of allergies, instructions, and medications to ensure adequate care is available while the students are under my supervision.
“Wait, where are we going exactly? This sounds like I am taking you to some uncharted planet…”
Ten hours later
Jacen’s quarters were dark and silent except for the documentary that was droning on in the background. Whether Jacen was fascinated by elongated cranial skulls and ancient aliens or did he fall asleep hours ago never turning off the holovision didn’t matter. What did matter was the sharp trill that cut through the room like a knife?
“Hello. Maybelle told me that you needed to be sure that I knew she was going on the trip. I am just calling to confirm that yes I do know and thank you for filling in. I would love to go but parent to parent you know how crazy last-minute schedule changes can be.” The voice on the phone was happy, friendly, and exceedingly perky for zero two hundred hours. “I don’t want to keep you up but I just wanted to say thanks. Night Commander Drayke,” she said and then disconnected the call.
Jacen bolted up as he looked around, he wasn’t sure what just happened. Was it the tv, no… there was a voice though as he looked around confused and bemused. “Computer… what just happened?” Jacen asked as he knew someone said his name, and he felt like they where telling him something.
“There was a message sent to you from Deck 8, from an unknown source. The message was sent using a computer comms terminal. Starting playback now…”
Jacen scooted up as the call was played back. He was expected normally to talk to people when they commend but it seems Maybelles mom liked to jump in last minutes notice.
“Well it explains where she gets her nature of just jumping up and surprising people while they work… why didn’t she use her comm badge though?” Jacen wondered, not sure why anyone would use a comm station when they were crew.
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