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CEO Lt. Commander Rodney Quinn
Posted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 8:42 pm
(Okay, so the first Quinn log isn't actually Quinn, but I said I was going to post this awhile ago, and sadly haven't had the chance to finish it until now. And I fear I've grown a little rusty, but even so, here we go! One last case, as it were.)
“So!” McKnight began without preamble, walking unhurriedly into Interrogation Room 1, lightly steaming mug of raktajino in hand and a PADD in the other, almost as if the man he was addressing had not been ushered into this room more than an hour ago. Placing said mug on the table that separated the two of them, he then slid into his chair with equal nonchalance, although simple close proximity to a detainee was generally not a great cause for concern. Part of that was a regrettable deal of experience sitting at this very table – Although, truth be told, he suspected a not insubstantial part of him would soon miss even this aspect of his posting here. – but more than that, the softly illuminated blue line bisecting the table was a subtle but concrete reminder to anyone that the forcefield dividing the room down the middle would make any outbursts pointless.
“I have to admit, I get the basic idea, but I have no clue exactly what mood that’s supposed to convey.” He continued, gesturing to the pattern of pinkish lines painted across the Ahn’Sati’s face with his off hand as he took a small first sip. Too hot for now, but you wanted that. Cool enough at the outset always meant cold by the end of the cup. But it was an interesting concept, as Miraak had explained it. Different colors suggesting different frames of mind, and therefore advising different ways to approach one so colored…if it was advisable to approach them at all. It had occurred to Doug more than once that such a system might have stood in the way of any number of regrettable encounters, on Earth and most any other planet he’d ever visited. Probably a pain in the ass, though. Having to carry around a full pallet of face paints with you…and did you have to excuse yourself to clean and re-apply whenever your mood changed? Wouldn’t having to put yourself through such a production all day be a mood changer in itself? And aside from the color, did the pattern of lines also carry some significance?
Later on, he’d hopefully have an opportunity to ask someone about all that. But now, to the job.
“But I’m guessing you’re not thrilled. And based on the evidence at hand, I definitely think you’ve taken what your people would call an uncharacteristically rash action. So, Ravada Kevan, technician third shift, before we get started, wanna get anything out of your system? Call this an outrage, protest your innocence, and so forth?”
For a moment, the prisoner remained silent. Honestly, at a glance it would have been difficult to tell if it resulted from guarded anxiety, or simple fatigue slowing him down. The grungy appearance of his clothes and person certainly spoke of a trying day down on that station, even if he was the apparent architect of it all, and the light scaling of Ahn’Sati skin rendered their faces less expressive than some. Another cause for the paint, perhaps. But soon enough, the man spoke, his tone confirming the wariness was the more likely explanation.
“No. I don’t want to speak to you at all. You don’t even belong here. If you expect some demand from me, then return me to my people.”
This time, it was McKnight who gave no immediate reaction. Well, no verbal reaction. He DID lean back in his chair a little, blow across the surface of his grey metal mug, and take a rather longer sip. And while the response had been too typical – And, from a certain perspective, fair. – to garner any real anger, he did not break eye contact until the prisoner broke the gaze, staring off to the side.
Well, that was pretty universal, at any rate.
“Fair enough.” Doug at last replied. “As you say, we have no jurisdiction here. In fact, the only reason we’re being allowed to run the show is because all your League ships are either not equipped to help, or not designed to descend even this far down into the planet’s atmosphere to begin with. But I think they’ll definitely take an interest in you. So sure, we can pass the word along, and I expect you’ll be on your way within the hour. If that’s the play you want to make, of course.”
“You haven’t told them about me already?” Ravada asked in guarded confusion, not picking up on precisely the part of his sentence that McKnight would have expected, but at least it was a dialogue. “Why not?”
“Oh, calm down. It’s nothing sinister. I was just hoping to have a word with you in private first. Clear some stuff up before this gets thrown to the courts, or…whatever it is you folks have around here. Because I’ve been running this through my head a whole lot, and try as I might, I can’t seem to make this make a lick of sense.”
“I already told you, I only want to talk to my own people.”
“Well, that’s too bad, friend. Whether we’re involved or not, there are all sorts of folks from out of town making noise up there. Not sure about the Xe, or any of the no shows, but the Jarfa don’t seem the type to stay out of this.”
“And? So what?” He wasn’t positive just yet what to make of it, but there was definitely a little more volume behind that question. But were this Ravada human, he’d definitely call that tone defensive. Time to push, in other words.
“Okay, here’s the thing. Chemical analysis from the tricorder scan I made of that bomb that almost went off in my face was passed off to the League, who confirmed it as a Red Sun design. Which, so they say, means the Red Suns must have somehow broken containment. The fact that it coincides so closely with our arrival means, to them, that they somehow acquired the means from us. Which, speaking as the man in charge of the internal security of this ship, they sure as hell did not. But then, once my wounded pride stopped aching so much, I gave it some more thought, and realized that’s completely irrelevant. How, when, whatever aside, they’d still need to GET out here. Past that sensor net along your frontier, which seemed pretty comprehensive, and without cloaking technology. Which, if they had it, they’d have had a grand opportunity to show it off as they tried repeatedly to kill us. So, they somehow work around all of that, go to the further effort of subverting a man on the inside instead of just launching a strike, and all to blow up some mining station?”
“The Telthis Company IS the largest and most productive source of H3 fuel across 4 sectors.”
“Super. Still not buying it. Don’t get me wrong. The Red Suns didn’t seem that bright, but they were at least stupid with a purpose. This wasn’t them. So, I took to wondering, how ELSE does one acquire Red Sun technology? Who’s had the most direct exposure to them? Who, I dunno, might have lived under Red Sun rule for more than a century? Who, for much of the time since then, has been advocating precisely the course of action against them that the Jarfa captain present is now saying this development here makes necessary?”
“No League Court, of any race, will act on the basis of some alien’s speculation. This is a waste of time.”
“True again.” With a nod, Doug took a third try at the mug, and found it at last still a bit hot, but in the right range for sustained drinking. “Mind you, this whole thing has the feel of being rushed, ham handed and just plain stupid. I can’t imagine winding up stuck on the station you were trying to send to the bottom was part of the plan, or that that was the only wrinkle. I doubt it’ll take whoever’s assigned too long to get to the bottom of it. But for now, there’s just you, your story, and a whole lot of folks waiting to hear it. Or…not. Embarrassing stories often stay quiet. ”
“What are you saying?”
“Oh, I think I’ve talked enough, don’t you? I have what I think, about what you did and who you might have done it WITH. Whether that’s something they want getting out, how happy they might be with how this has gone so far, how far their reach might extend once you’re off this ship…that’s all on you.”
With that, Doug tapped a few keys on the table, and the blue line across the table momentarily faded out, long enough for the PADD to be slid across the table before it lit back up and the marine stood back up, taking his raktajino with him and trusting the implications to sink in at their own speed.
“You want to say more, we can talk more. Otherwise, have a safe trip.”
Re: CEO Lieutenant Rodney Quinn
Posted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 11:12 pm
Brilliant! I see no rust, sir.
The Soft Touch
Posted: Wed Sep 24, 2014 10:33 pm
“That was good, Quinn.” His voice muffled even from the engineer assisting mere feet over to his right by the racket of the balloon/grappler assembly, among the last and also requiring a bit of brute force to get aligned just right, Rodney allowed himself the indulgence of the muttering to complement the rolling of his eyes. “Real ‘Take no prisoners’ hardass.”
He wasn’t about to complain, even to himself, about all that had come with his recent promotion. He’d earned it, and a full Lieutenant… well, that did not suck. All the same, though, there was still that gnawing worry, that he’d bitten off more than he could chew when he’d accepted the responsibility of succeeding Chief Busard. It was normal, he knew. Running a department was a big responsibility for anyone. For the first time, and on a flagship… and even most folks who contended with all of that needn’t worry about the inevitable comparison with someone who’d possessed the raw intelligence and mechanical aptitude of half her department put together.
He wasn’t Percy. But everyone knew that, and he WAS darn good in his own right. In time, he’d find his own style, build a new and vibrant rhythm for what he would eventually be able to call HIS engine room. And if he couldn’t say that with utter confidence just yet, if rationalization hadn’t completely dismissed the butterflies, then that was okay. He hadn’t had any time to dwell on any of that useless stuff anyway.
He’d found himself worked pretty damn hard on this one. Modify the crush cans, come up with a way of getting the station back up, modify the cans again, build the means to get the aforementioned done, needed ship repairs hovering over it all… he’d barely had the time to think about HOW to do half these things, much less actually put it in practice before the next project came down. Workload enough to tie up every gold shirt he had, until no amount of delegation would keep him from sleeping like a rock once the opportunity presented itself.
And he was loving it, having never liked passing off a project anyway. Something he and Percy might share in common after all. This, he could say proudly, was just what engineering was: the house of ideas. Well, that was Science too, of course, and the work which had passed his way from the bridge was extraordinary as always, but Engineering was still the machine shop that took the idea and built it. A steep challenge, worthy of the Federation’s finest resources he had to throw at it? That part was just plain fun.
But that was just the thrill of being an engineer. And he wasn’t just an engineer anymore, was he? He was the one who was supposed to bring order to all of this, and keep it there. Not a trivial task; yes, these people were all supremely competent, good at their jobs with or without him looking over their shoulders. But he also knew all too well that the most brilliant minds were often the most prone to wandering. More thoughts, more ideas to prioritize.
Especially if that brilliant mind belonged to someone who liked to tell stories. And persisted in telling them even as the mission had entered a crucial juncture. Yes, he could see himself that Ilaihr and T’Lira made an effective team, two skilled technicians managing a good pace. And ordinarily, he had no problem with a bit of chatter on the job; it eased the workload. But with that station caught in the middle of a storm down there, and no reliable data available on precisely how long it could safely endure the turbulence, he would happily take every extra second their focused talent could give him. He didn’t want to call them out in particular right now, though. He suspected that would only slow things down, and besides, he’d already decided he wished to speak to the Andorian about how he meant to run things in private.
Thus, his attempt to kick the shuttlebay as a whole into a last spur of action via the comm. And he had to wonder, if he just felt like a child puffing out his chest because the folks made him the sitter over a younger sibling, how seriously did the recipients take it? At the very least, he doubted he’d hit the balance of stern yet respectful that he was hoping for.
“Keep practicing.” He finally concluded to himself, nodding to Price with some satisfaction at least at the crush can ready to go.
“Okay! Number 8 is good to go! Anyone who can’t make an announcement like that within the next five minutes, raise your hand, and let’s see what we can do!”
Re: CEO Lieutenant Rodney Quinn
Posted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 1:55 am
Yep, he's the Chief. Big shoes to fill, but with that insight, I think he'll manage juuuuust fine.
The Joys of Management
Posted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 2:44 am
Rodney hadn't had a whole lot of time to spend on his sickbay confrontation with Ilaihr, but that was really just as well. He'd needed to know just what the hell was going on the next deck up, if it was as much of a headache as it had sounded over the comm (Verdict: Yep.), and he'd left engineering in damn good hands for his few minutes of fact finding, but even so, the cocky old Andorian WAS right about one thing: Engineering's priorities lay elsewhere. And given his mounting shock and anger which fairly assaulted him in the wake of a subordinate's unrepentant insubordination, it seemed only prudent to cut the conversation short before he embarrassed himself by making a scene in front of the medical staff. He HAD made one last attempt to spell things out clearly: Ilaihr was relieved of duty until he could present written authorization from Doctor Tav. Which would be independently confirmed. And while the ensign was already guilty of disobedience to the instructions of two superior officers, he should feel free to attempt the threatened escape, provided he wished to try for a repeat performance with security. A short, private conversation with Doctor Tav had followed. An update was requested, the necessary apologies were made, and Quinn held the matter dealt with.
He was reasonably certain he kept most of it from his expression for the sake of wandering eyes, but he was still inwardly berating himself as he signaled the turbolift, and without the attempt at restraint once the doors had swished shut behind him. It wasn't because he saw himself as being in the wrong in this particular case, of course. If the man could hear the same instructions from his boss THRICE over the span of five minutes, ignore them anyway, and still fail to see what all the fuss was about, then there was a real problem here, one which he felt comfortable saying did not originate with him. But as shocked as Rodney was by this turn of events, it would be disingenuous of him to claim, even to himself that he'd not had some concerns regarding this particular new officer prior.
It had just been little things, of course. Hardly worth mentioning, unless he was being a jerk about it. Sure, the repeated and open references to the good old smuggler days might have made him a little uneasy, but if Starfleet hadn't been concerned about it, then it wasn't Rodney Quinn's place to make it an issue, and it was really no different than if he'd told a story about his pizza delivery boy days. Now, referring to him as "Mr. Quinn" in front of a cadet WAS an actual breach of protocol, and critiquing his social skills to that same cadet added another dimension to it entirely, but come on, really? Demanding his title? He needed competence in his people, and he had it, in spades. He didn't need to be so small as to puff out his chest and remind those around him of his rank just for his own validation! No way, no how.
And now, the genial and easygoing engineer who everyone liked had failed one of his people as thoroughly as he'd been failed in turn. Because he hadn't wanted to press the little stuff...he hadn't. And now, it wasn't so little anymore. So NOT little, in fact, that he was struggling to see any available alternative to writing up a formal reprimand. Maybe he could seek some bright spot in all that? He couldn't think of much now, but then he was angry, a distraction he simply could not afford right now. And in the past, particularly back during his Academy days, he'd often found that taking a break to do some writing was a great way to clear his head. Creative Writing may not have been an elective one typically expected an Engineering major to excel in, but it had been a Godsend.
Maybe, once things had calmed down a little, he could find and dust off his old lucky PADD. Possibly even pay another visit to the Seven Scattered Sons of Kodos...
"Chief!" Gant's strained voice suddenly broke in over his comm, interrupting his musings, but proving writing wasn't the ONLY thing that could at least temporarily banish his stray thoughts. "They just transmitted via the probe."
"The vacuole's sped up its expansion. And we're not talking just a little here."
"Relay everything to the bridge station." he instructed, hurriedly redirecting the lift to deck one. "I'm on my way."
Well. So much for bright spots.
Re: The Joys of Management
Posted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 11:32 pm
Very nice character development here! The internal struggles of being the new chief are quite apparent, and contrast well with his former job.
Drinking Buddies, Part Two
Posted: Wed Aug 10, 2016 12:56 am
By Douglas McKnight and Ian Blackthorne
“I don’t know how you Marines like to do it, Colonel. But when a Starfleet Captain gives you a gag order, it doesn’t come with an expiration date. In fact, if you wanted to endanger your career by poking your nose where it doesn’t belong, you’d have been better served by doing it decades ago. You’ve built up plenty to lose these past twenty years.”
Even pushing 80, with all the wrinkles, thinned out hair and everything else that came with it, Doug had to admit that Commodore Daniel Philips (Ret.) had maintained what he remembered as the man's most striking trait: an intense, unwavering stare, backed by brilliantly blue eyes that betrayed not one iota of warmth. Now, as 25 years ago when that stare had made him feel a bit like an ant under the magnifying glass, he suspected that was quite a sought after trait among intelligence people. Yet now, decades and a couple of interstellar wars later, it somehow didn’t hit quite the same way.
Everything WAS bigger when you were a kid, he supposed.
“A Marine takes that much like any other order, Commodore.” he answered, meeting that gaze head on with a tight smile. “He follows it. To the letter.”
Ah, there it was. Not warmth, per se. But as those blue eyes narrowed, McKnight definitely detected some heat, even over a subspace channel.
“What the hell are you on about, McKnight?”
“You told me never to speak about that mission. So, up until this very moment, I haven’t. But you never told me not to LOOK into it, with whatever resources I might amass over the years. Which might, in turn, allow me to discover that the folks you had my team extract from that shit show on Vendikar were not, as your briefing claimed, Starfleet Intelligence. Or, indeed, associated in any way with any branch of Starfleet or any of its subsidiary agencies. Which would make sending me and mine down there, by definition, an illegal misappropriation of Marine Corps resources, and any nondisclosure order given after the fact a coverup. So, I’m curious. Where do you figure the official axe would REALLY land if it starts swinging?”
“You need to listen to me, and listen good.” Philips began quietly, after several long moments of shocked and furious silence. “I know full well how unassailably tough you jarheads all think you are. But for once in your life, you need to to be smart about the fights you pick. What you’re trying to barge into-”
“A Starfleet Captain is dead!” Under other circumstances, perhaps he could have taken more satisfaction over shouting down a flag officer, particularly one who’d taken that kind of high handed tone with him. As it was, he’d at least content himself with it having worked. “Murdered! Now that’s all I should have to say. But I’ll add anyway that whoever did it also assassinated the Admiral in charge of the entire Third Fleet. That is, again by definition, a strategic attack on the Federation itself. I didn't pick this fight, Commodore, but you better believe I want in on it."
Well, it was all just about set. And after more than a decade behind him as part of the Atlantis’s marine complement, a unit he’d known simply and far more gratifyingly as HIS men for nearly as long, part of him wished it had been a longer and more complicated process to leave it all behind. And in a sense, it WOULD be harder. Impossible, in fact. How often did Admiral Zuriyev stake his claim to Atlantis, his mind drawn back to those grand, sleek lines and their promise of speed and the infinite horizon, even years after his own departure? Perhaps Doug’s own time in the command chair had been a fleeting novelty, but all the same, part of him would always remain with that ship. And he didn’t mind saying, he hoped it always showed.
But the actual logistics and such? A combination of his record and the wonders of 24th century subspace communication had made that a breeze. The biggest hurdle had been making the simple decision to start looking for other opportunities, finally take that next step in his career. And while it would be a lie to say he hadn’t considered Ron Gerard’s long standing job offer from time to time, it had only been once in his tenure, years back that he’d ever entertained serious thoughts of leaving Atlantis. But that was before marriage, a milestone he’d expected never to achieve, and the further conversation he’d not planned. But once he and Percy reached the mutual decision that they wanted to try starting a family, the rest naturally followed. A love one had for their ship was a special thing indeed, but all the same, they wanted their children to have a homeworld. And they wanted that to be Earth.
And that’s where Persephone McKnight was waiting for him, waiting on his help with the homestead to be. They’d closed the deal months back on some property up in the Coast Ranges north of San Francisco, but Percy’s wish list turned out to be a fair bit more extensive than that. She wanted a stables. Yes, and he’d had to ask for clarification on this point even in spite of having seen the virtual version she kept on the Lost Harbor program, for horses. And that WOULD be done in person. He’d be there giving it his best shot now, were it not for the circumstances of his wife’s new posting. The admin staff at Starfleet Academy had been just about beside themselves when a woman of her experience and proven ability agreed to a teaching position, but once the “honeymoon” ended, there was a syllabus to plan, a new department to meet, and it was HER who needed to be there in person. So off she’d went, with a promise that he and Hobbes would follow once their stuff was properly packed up for shipping.
He didn’t imagine his wife would hold the delay against him; she understood in ways that he never would just how fragile the quantum slipstream drive was at this early stage in its deployment. All the same, it was time he made good on that promise. The belongings in question were all neatly stowed in one of Alexandria’s many cargo bays, awaiting transfer to the USS Venture sometime between now and when he took it back to Earth the day after next. Hobbes was comfortably back aboard Atlantis, where he would remain up until the last moment. It had been that cat’s ship every last bit as long, after all. It seemed only right that they retire from that life together.
So, that left him at last confronted with nothing more than some time to kill, a problem he’d elected to tackle in pretty much the usual fashion. He’d gone down to the planet; he’d not been one of those poor souls trapped aboard that sinking station, of course, but even so, the last mission had left him desiring a bit of fresh air and open space. He’d found it, and a bit of mildly inclement weather in the form of a light drizzle before he’d found the bar on the water where he now stood, metallic dart in one hand, and a pint of something cold and relatively dark in the other. He’d played before, but it had been awhile, and while it required some of the same skills, it was rather different from his usual bit of target practice. A skill he’d simply need to retrain in the days ahead.
“Christ.” He muttered softly to himself after scoring a hit just barely inside the inner ring. “I’m gonna have to find a new watering hole.”
"Yeah, Jack's his own man and free to do as he pleases, but I don't think he'll want to leave," answered a familiar voice. Ian Blackthorne stood behind him with a pint in each hand and a half smile on his face. He offered one of the drinks to Doug while glancing at his pre-existing mug and added, "You can't double park, you know."
Doug's initial response was not entirely verbal, kicking off with a low chuckle and a nod to a nearby table, occupied at present only by a dampened coaster and an extra two darts. It was only after that and then a long but unhurried pull of his beer that he offered a proper reply.
"Clearly, you've not spent much time in Boston. Set her down there. I haven't bothered with anything I'd insult by chugging in a very long time, but I'll get to it all in due course. Call that a soldier's promise."
With that, he silently walked away from the admiral to step on over to the dartboard and retrieve the missiles he'd already spent. If Ian was going to let Doug in on the tab, it seemed only right to open up the game.
"So did sheer coincidence bring you here first, or did you only just arrive?" He asked this even as he stepped back to the table and offered Blackthorne the first throw. "Can’t say either slipping my notice sits right after all these years playing sheepdog. Must have been indulging in a deeper reverie than I thought."
"Well, you've earned it," Ian answered as he put the beers on the table and accepted a dart. His throw hit outside and below the center ring. "I suppose I'm a bit rusty. Anyway, it's no coincidence that I'm here, and I think you know at least part of the reason for my visit."
“Me too.” Doug admitted in between pull of his original beer which, though he kept to his proclamation and went no faster than suited him, soon found itself in dire need of relief. “One more project to throw on the list, I guess.” And that was an oddly heartening notion, actually. Excited as he genuinely was about his new assignment back at Marine HQ, all his years of experience could not shield him from every career soldier’s fear of growing soft and complacent behind a desk. Some, he knew, would say he’d earned the right to finally let his edge dull a bit, and maybe some day, he’d be inclined to agree. For now though, he took an odd comfort in the idea of mastering a new weapon, useful or not. Speaking of which…
“I’ll pay Jack one more visit.” he continued as the dart landed, aware it came out a bit of a non-sequitur, but briefly more concerned about his placement. Not QUITE a bullseye, landing in the green just around it, and it had the distinct feel of a lucky shot at that, but even so, not too shabby. “It’s a powerful thing, that ‘one last time’, and here I find myself recognizing it, with a chance to do that properly. You don’t waste that kind of blessing. And anyone who cares to join me for that last round is more than welcome. But I don’t expect I’ll be saying anything too profound on the occasion. Some things just don’t work as well in a big group, and finding some pithy way to state what everyone already knows ranks highly on that list.”
At that, he finally reached over and picked up the second round that Ian had furnished him with.
“So, I’m guessing you’re here to see if it works any better one on one. I’m game. 11 years, and a whole lot of change. Hell of a thing.”
Ian took a long pull of his own beer, likely to gather his thoughts for a reply. "Yeah… with all we've been through, even the conflicts, this is almost as big as a change as I can imagine. I must confess that even though we, as Starfleet officers, are supposed to be inured to this sort of thing, it still feels like I'm losing my left hand. Not that I'm not happy for your career advancement - and also for Percy's."
“Well, you’re a righty, sir. And I hear they’re pretty damn good at limb replacement these days.” The moment taken to savor the new flavor of the beer Blackthorne had brought was valuable time; it allowed him to mentally translate from his native flippant. “As it happens, we’re actually pretty excited about it, too. Not that she needed validation from anybody, but an acknowledgement by the Academy as one of the most brilliant minds in the Federation doesn’t suck. And I’m looking at a front and center spot on General Tariq’s think tank; we’re restructuring to handle security on the frontier, and I’ve got a couple ideas I’m pretty eager to share. But I don’t think either of us would feel quite right about it if we really felt like we were leaving you in the lurch. Sure, everyone wants to feel like they’re both indispensable AND irreplaceable, but you and T’Kirr got along before Percy or I came. And I’ve got a feeling she’s not going anywhere. You’ll manage once we’re gone.”
After another sip at his beer, he abruptly broke into a grin as he thought of something else.
“Oh, and as for those conflicts? I won’t be under your command anymore, but I’ll still just be a subspace channel away. Any time you might worry you’re being an ass, I’ll be happy to run through the prospect with you.”
Ian erupted into laughter and rubbed his temple, recalling the last blow of their boxing match. "At least over subspace, I wouldn't have to face that right hand of yours." Finishing his beer, he regarded McKnight for a moment before speaking again. "Yeah, we'll get along fine, Doug, but it won't be the same. Never is when a such a fixture leaves, someone that you come to rely on, even if you have to beat the hell out of one another to get past some shit."
Producing a small case from his jacket pocket, Ian continued, "I've always tried to look after my people, and if there was one thing I could do for you in thanks it was to be sure the promotion board knew damn well that you were deserving. Congratulations, Colonel." He opened the case to reveal a set of silver colonel's wings, and offered it along with a handshake to McKnight.
Doug returned the handshake a bit numbly, staring down at the emblem of his new rank with something akin to awe. Somehow, seeing something like that, something that physically encapsulated the incredible journey now coming to a close, just made it hit that much harder. And he found himself having to clear his throat a few times to get past a sudden tightness before he responded.
“I haven’t wanted to admit it, but this HAS been a goal of mine for awhile. Hard to believe that once upon a time, I couldn’t even see myself wearing the butter bar. Thank you, sir. I’m glad it came from you.”
After a moment, to his relief, the grin returned as he looked back up at Ian.
“But I’m still not going easy on you with the darts.”
"And incidentally, they were also my friends.” he finished in a somewhat hushed tone. But as he went on, his voice soon regained its strength. “So by all means, you finish that thought I so rudely interrupted. Tell me how I'm going to piss off the wrong people, and go down in flames for it. And then, I'll spell out what I'm prepared to burn down with me out of spite. Starting with you, and your lovely, comfortable retirement."
"...What the fuck do you WANT, McKnight?"
"Hang up this line now." He answered quietly, but as he leaned in toward the screen, his gaze was not hurting for heat if its own. "Then, contact your friends at ‘Starfleet Intelligence’ and tell them Colonel McKnight wants to meet them. And advise them not to test my patience."
"...I gave you a chance, McKnight. To listen to reason. Survival instinct. Try to remember that you chose to thumb your nose at it."
"Semper Fi, sir."
As the line went dead, Doug sank back into his desk chair and took a deep breath, taking just a little more reassurance than usual from the presence of the two-handed Claymore and brace of flintlock pistols hanging on the wall behind him. He allowed himself a few minutes of silence, then called his secretary to advise him that he’d be heading home a little early today. It would seem he may need to prepare for guests. And he intended that they should find a well-prepared host.
Re: CEO Lieutenant Rodney Quinn
Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2016 4:20 am
I absolutely LOVE this. There are so many perfect goddamn lines here, if I mentioned them all I'd have to quote the whole damn post.
Fucking fantastic work, gentlemen.
Re: CEO Lieutenant Rodney Quinn
Posted: Tue May 22, 2018 7:48 pm
A brief note about what follows, even though you'll all be more than capable of working out from context. This one's a bit of a flashback, on account of my real life schedule and chronic distractions. It takes place between plots, as everyone else was wrapping up their shore leave following our misadventure with the quantum filaments. Hope you all enjoy!
Posted: Tue May 22, 2018 7:56 pm
by Rodney Quinn and Kathryn Harper
Atlantis was finally ready for slipstream flight again after spending several days repairing the damage caused by the quantum filament strikes. While the engineering department was hard at work returning the ship to normal operations, the majority of the crew had enjoyed shore leave on an uninhabited planet that had been conveniently nearby. Thoroughly refreshed from a few vacation days spent swimming in that planet’s ocean, Captain Kathryn Harper entered Main Engineering, and made her way to the chief’s office, smiling in reply to the occasional incredulous look at seeing her here, in person. She rang the door chime, knowing that Chief Quinn would be in.
The captain, it seemed, had her chief of engineering pretty well pegged...or she’d just asked the computer where to find him. Either way, her chime was rewarded with a prompt, if somewhat distracted “Come in” before the door slid away to reveal Rodney Quinn seated at his desk, munching occasionally on one half of a BLT on wheat bread, a half empty glass of chilled pineapple juice off to one side. He’d been hitting the coffee a bit hard the past few days, and while he was still a relatively young man, the stomach would eventually begin to complain...but a bit of sugar may be the next best thing! Most of his attention, however, was reserved for the PADD in his off hand. He’d informed the XO that the ship was ready to go, pending the results of a top to bottom diagnostic...but he was intent on watching the progress of that diagnostic like a hawk tracking its prey.
That was, of course, before he did a textbook double-take and shot up in his seat in surprise as he recognized his visitor. It belatedly occurred to him to feel just a bit naked, having draped his grey uniform outer tunic over the back of his chair, leaving him in only the uniform yellow turtleneck. Restraining the urge the grab at his napkin and wipe away any possible crumbs (That was more of an “at ease” thing, was it not?), he instead gestured vaguely to a chair off to the side.
“Captain! Sorry, I wasn’t expecting...well, anyone.”
“No worries, Chief!” Harper answered, smiling broadly as she entered the office to perch on the offered chair’s front edge. “I just wanted to take the time to personally thank you and your team for all of the hard work you have put in over the past few days, in getting us up and running again.”
“Surprised?” Kate leaned forward with a mirthful grin.
“Well, I, uh...I guess not.”
He was actually a little embarrassed about the reaction, truth be told. He had no reason other than the ingrained military instinct to clench up for fear of losing something at the unheralded arrival of a superior officer. An instinct which, in the case of Kathryn Harper, was asinine on several levels. He’d never known a more approachable officer; hell, he’d once walked right into her Ready Room to announce his irritation with a decision of hers, and she’d reacted with the utmost understanding. And in this specific case, it wasn’t like she had any reason to be unhappy with their work; he’d checked over every step of it too often to have any possible worry on that score. And yet...here he was. The Chief Engineer of a Sovereign Class starship...hot shit, as the folks back home would put it. Acting like a first year cadet caught by a surprise bunk inspection.
“More like I have a reflex to be surprised, I suppose. Sorry, Captain. We’re just really not used to seeing senior staff down here unless something’s seriously wrong. Captain least of all. But thank YOU! I’ll be sure to pass the kind words along. I’d say we were all just doing our jobs, but I’m sure you know the feeling from whenever you took fire out in your Mustang. Atlantis is our baby. A gigantic, three and a half million ton baby, but still our baby, and she was hurt. Everything that followed...just follows, right?”
“It certainly does.” Content with her Chief Engineer’s paternal instincts in watching over their ship, Kate leaned back in the chair and crossed her legs, lacing her fingers around her knee, before transitioning into the other reason for her visit. “I would say that you have earned a day off, at least, and I imagine that your staff could use some leave as well.” She gestured at his sandwich before continuing, “Rodney, you are working through lunch while we orbit a veritable—how do you say on Earth—Garden of Sweden, yes? Anyway, we can delay our departure to give our engineers time to relax.”
“Technically, not from Earth, ma’am,” Quinn responded with a grin, though he kept the chuckle to a minimum. That was a bit of a cop out, of course. Any human living anywhere in the Sol system was more than close enough to Earth, in terms of both distance and culture, to share at least some of its ingrained idioms. And while Rodney hadn’t spent as much time around Kate Harper as some on this ship, he was still well aware of her ongoing struggle in that area.
“But yes, I believe they do say something like that. And while I’d be very surprised to hear they had bacon trees anywhere down there, I’m sure it’s lovely. It’s just...well, I guess every really good engineer I ever knew was a workaholic. And this ship deserves a really good engineer. If there’s work to be done - And there’s almost always something to be done. - I can’t think of anyone more responsible for it than me. I don’t know if that’s the proper Starfleet way of looking at it, but that’s how Chief Busard did it, and that’s how I’ve always done it, Captain.”
Pausing with a sigh, he took a thoughtful sip of his pineapple juice.
“Still...I guess it HAS been a long couple of days.”
“I am sure that it has,” Kate quietly empathized, noting with a concerned furrowed brow that Quinn did look rather tired. “But as for the ‘proper Starfleet way’ of looking at it? I cannot say that I have ever properly fit within that idealized mold of a military officer, so maybe it is improper of me to insist that my chief engineer take the time to tend to himself. But, despite not fitting that mold and meandering through my career, somehow here I am in command, so at least part of the way I look at it must be right.”
Harper leaned forward so that her chin was over her finger-laced knee to gently add, “And I see a man that needs a day off, Rodney.”
Quinn was quiet for a few moments after that, deep in thought. Not about Harper’s final assessment, of course. He may have been guilty on occasion of treating himself a bit like a hydrospanner when it came to workload versus personal time, particularly in times of crisis, but even a tool required occasional maintenance. No, Captain Harper was right about him needing a break, and it would soon cross the line into outright negligence to pretend otherwise. And while he enjoyed the holodeck as much as the next man, he’d no doubt be kicking himself if he put if off past the point of having a natural vacation spot at his disposal.
No, it was this sudden discussion about personal styles and the like that gave him pause. It was starting to seem as much like a conversation one might have with a friend as with their commanding officer. Odd that she could walk that line as closely as she did and still be effective. Hoping he wasn’t overstepping himself, he decided he’d risk sharing a little more.
“For what it’s worth, I never said I especially liked the proper Starfleet way. I mostly enrolled at the Academy because, well...my Dad wore the uniform at one time. And back then, during the war...well, let’s face it. Anyone in the uniform was basically a superhero, keeping the bad guys away. But to be honest, there are times I think the only reason I’ve stayed in Starfleet this long is because nobody else has toys as cool to play with. It’s certainly not because I like the military command structure, or fit into it naturally.”
“We do have the best toys, that much is certain,” Kate chuckled with a sweep of her head back toward the windows looking out over main engineering. “On Risa, we never had a culture of uniform worship, but I cannot dispute that there was no better way for young me to get to the leading edge of science than to join Starfleet, and our current mission certainly reinforces that decision. My career path since was undeniably affected by my difficulties integrating into the military lifestyle. So, I can relate to that.”
“Uniform worship.” Quinn had to repeat that one to himself aloud, and once or twice in the privacy of his own head. He instinctively wanted to say that was overstating things...and it was at the very least an example of painting a culture with an overly broad brush. He’d known plenty of people, educated professionals and otherwise, who took a somewhat skeptical view of Starfleet. He remembered stories of Percy’s deadbeat dad, for instance, who had always maintained that the military was no place for real scientists. Even his own aforementioned father had never actually bothered with the Academy. As he’d told it, he “Didn’t need four years and God knew how many hoops to jump through to explain to me why I was out there or what my damn job was.” And even at that, he’d not chosen to become a career man, resigning once his pledged tour of duty was complete and only re-enlisting during the Dominion War when the sheer scale of the crisis became evident.
Even so, there was no denying that the average citizen of the Federation did in fact regard the uniform he wore with a certain reverence. The Starfleet officer represented the values, the tenacity and the strength of the Federation in action. And while the service was far from perfect, just like the men and women who comprised it, he knew firsthand that Starfleet did work damn hard to deserve all that praise. The problem was that some of the people who wore the uniform were all too aware of the praise, and didn’t mind it one bit.
“Honestly, my issues with the military all essentially boil down to some of the people in that very uniform. I, uh...I occasionally think I could be a little more effective at this particular job if I was a little less hesitant to use my authority like a cudgel. But I’ve known too many officers who didn’t have that hangup, and they’ve always spurred the most doubt whether I belong here over the years. I mean, almost anywhere, you’ll have people in charge, and people working under then. And sometimes, that boss is just going to be an entitled, power mad dickhead. But when you’re a civilian, there’s usually something you can do about it, right? You go to HR or something, and you complain. Here, they call that “going over your head”, and you catch high holy hell for it. You’ve got a power mad dickhead here, and they know they’re operating under a system that enshrines their right to be a power mad dickhead so long as their dep...their people get results. Whether that department hates their jobs, succeeds in spite of their CO? Nobody ever even thinks to ask.
“Anyway, uh...I’ve been lucky that it hasn’t been my experience with this department. I swore I’d never be that kind of CO, and I know for a fact that a lot of folks on this ship must breathe a lot easier knowing we don’t have that kind of CO in the big chair.”
“Why, thank you, Rodney!” Kate leaned back in the chair with a delighted smile, clasping her hands as a warm rush of gratification filled her at the notion of her crew thinking of her in such a way. Of course, it was hearsay, but she had no reason to doubt that Quinn was at least somewhat connected among the crew, and he certainly seemed earnest enough. Regardless, it was heartening to hear of any successes in achieving a goal she had constantly pursued ever since command of anyone at all was first thrust upon her.
“You know, I do see it as part of my job to take care of my people, and also to ensure that they are taking care of themselves.” With a jovial chuckle to lighten her concerned tone and expression, she appealed, “So, please do not turn me in to one of those—how did you say, dickheads?—by making me bludgeon you with a cudgel of authority just to get you to take shore leave.”
“I don’t think that will be necessary,” Quinn replied just a bit haltingly, albeit with a smile, absorbing the reality that he’d just repeatedly cursed in front of his commanding officer. He’d had every reason to expect she’d tolerate it—that was sort of the point of this line of discussion—but it was still a bit surreal. And of course he’d walked right into Harper’s redirect back to the original reason for her visit. Well played, Captain, well played. “Now that you mention it, my hoverboard may indeed have been idling in my closet for too long. And...in about five minutes, I’ll have already run every diagnostic I can think of at least twice. There still needs to be somebody keeping an eye on things down here, of course, but I know there are a fair few officers and crew onboard who’ve taken the engineering extension course. If a few of them could be temporarily reassigned to a skeleton watch, and you promised to give me a call at the first sign of trouble...I would agree to take my hands off the wheel for awhile. No cudgel required.”
With an exuberant clap of her hands, Kate stood, beaming. “Splendid! I think we can manage all of that. Now, get off my ship, Rodney.”
Rising from his own chair, Rodney stood to attention, restraining his grin in all due deference to an official commandment from on high. “Yes, ma’am! Permission to finish my pineapple juice first, ma’am?”