It was the carpeting that bothered him.

Of all the things that rascally refit team did to Main Engineering, it was laying down carpet everywhere that really got under Captain Clerk's skin the most. Why they would do such a thing was simply beyond his ken. He tried to protest, but all of his questions concerning static electricity buildup or oil leaks were summarily buried under heaps of technobabblic rubble. After a while, Clerk gave up his futile effort, consoling himself with the knowledge that a sweet new pool table was being installed down there as well.

After the carpet was in place, however, the Captain finally conceded that at least it looked nice.

But as Clerk exited the elevator, he had something else on his mind: finding the Chief Engineer and getting the warp speed situation all figured out. To his chagrin, the only person he could find besides entry-level techs was Lt. Reely O. Riley, the Chief Assistant Engineer, a man for whom the word quirky simply did no justice.

"Hey, Riley," Clerk began, a bit more nervously than he intended. "I gotta see Cecil. It's urgent. Is he around?"

"Sorry, mate. He stepped out for a bit only a minute ago, but 'e'll be back soon. Is there anything I can 'elp you with?"

"Okay, I-- Wait, you... didn't have that accent last time we talked... did you?"

Riley shrugged a little. "Well, I do rotate 'em around, sir. Spice of life an' all that."

"Huh?"

"Furthermore, it shows off the diversity of me 'eritage." At this, he straightened up and puffed his chest out a bit.

There are days that really make me wonder what I've gotten myself into. Then there are crewmembers...

"I'm of Welsh/French/Spaniard decent, y'know, so I fight with m'self a lot. Me ancestors fought on both sides of the war, after all." A sheepish smile crossed his face. "Yeah, it's fun."

A self-hating, anti-French Frenchman? He'd have made a fine redshirt. "You must do a lot of self-loathing."

"It's me 'obby, sir."

Note to self: never talk to anybody ever again.

Before Clerk could say anything, Riley continued. "So anyways, Cap, what's that you were needing?"

Clerk took a deep breath. "Here's the deal: we really gotta book it to Deep Dish $9, and the helmsman's got us going at Warp 8. Now, he told me that that was pushing it, but I was pretty sure we could go faster. Can't this thing do, like, Warp 12 or something?"

"Are you kidding?" Riley pointed with his thumb at the warp core. "We can put a little nitro in there, do Warp 17 easy. Getcha there in time for breakfast."

Clerk's eyes widened a little. Whoa. That's not in the specs. "Uh... that... sounds good... I guess..."

"Right-O then!" Riley said, snapping to attention and saluting. He immediately spun around and speed-walked away, leaving the Captain standing there alone, wondering whether or not he was going to regret this conversation.

Engineers. They're just waiting for permission.

Captain's Blog, Stardate. I have never regretted staying up so late playing the Starship Captain Simulator game until now. My eyes are staging a mutiny as I record this. We are currently on our way to starbase Deep Dish $9, traveling at Warp Factor 8. I have been repeatedly assured that that is the fastest safe speed we could possibly go. However, at that rate, it will take at least five days to get there, in spite of Admiral Safeway’s insistence that we arrive by tomorrow evening. I have had to resort to renaming the admiral’s office as "Do Not Answer" in my contacts list.

"Helm," Clerk asked, partly out of frustration but mostly out of sheer boredom, "Is there any way we can get a little more speed? I'm in no hurry to spend time at Deep Dish $9, don't get me wrong, but Admiral Safeway keeps calling me every hour and a half saying he’s got a truckload of demerits with my name on them."

Before Ensign Hazyweather could answer, Lt. Eric spoke up. "He's asking the impossible, if you don't mind me saying, sir. We're already at the maximum recommended speed for this vessel. Sorry to bring that up again, but we must keep safety in mind." Pause. "And, uh, what's a truckload?"

Hmm. That's a good question. "Well, he's an admiral. He asks the impossible for a living."

"Still, sir," the navigator replied without catching the joke, "We can't push very far past our current speed without risking serious damage to the engines."

Nonsense. I spent way too many late nights with Georgie LaGrange reading the technical manuals for this thing to give up at Warp 8.

"I dunno, Lieutenant... there's gotta be another option," Clerk replied, his voice trailing off as he stroked his chin. "Info, I'm gonna need you to take the Conn while I go talk to Engineering." He got up from the Big Comfy Chair, and was nearly halfway to the elevator when he got interrupted.

"I'm sorry, sir," the android said in mock confusion. "The what?"

Sigh. Clerk reluctantly drew in a sharp breath and assumed a dramatic pose. "Info, I'm gonna need you to take the… Connnnnnn... while I go talk to Engineering."

Info nodded. "Aye, sir."

One little emotional outburst and everybody goofs on you for it. Using homophones, no less.

Blushing, Clerk stepped into the elevator -- no stranger itself to goofing on the captain for every little word spoken -- hoping to get to Engineering without much ado.

Not that the elevator wasn't gonna try. "So... captain... I hear--"

"Not today, Otis 1138.0. I gotta get to Engineering pronto, and I don't want any lip about it."

"But I have no--"

"None."

If an elevator could slink into a corner, this would be the moment. Instead, a whimper was all it could do.

Clerk enjoyed the silent ride down to Engineering. It was a refreshing change of pace.

Episode 65: Pop-Ups Detected

Today was Captain Clerk's first day on the New Bridge, and he was still taking it all in. He slowly walked around the perimeter, arms behind his back, admiring all the shiny new equipment, and unintentionally making all the ensigns nervous in the process.

At least they refitted the entire ship this time, instead of just rearranging the offices and installing fog lights like they did last time. Definitely gonna have to get Jenkins to come up here and repaint the Bridge, though. This all-white-and-transparent look just seems a tad... dull. They should totally go for this look in Sick Bay, though. Sigh. They never consult me on these things.

When he got to the Navigation station, Clerk noted Lt. Eric's apparent confusion and frustration over the new control panel's layout (and all the crumbs the navigator was dropping all over it).

"Something wrong, Lieutenant?" Clerk asked.

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Episode 64: Happy Gornday

After throwing away his fifth cheap Ferengi "barely used" recorder off FleetBayTM, Lt. Commander Georgie "Rainbow" LaGrange was relieved to hear that he had finally been given access to the Gornucopia's built-in personal recorder system. Granted, the only reason they didn't let him in earlier was that everybody on board had forgotten the password. As he spent months hacking the system, LaGrange caught himself wishing that Gorn ships came equipped with sticky notes.

"All right," he said with a sigh. "Let's see if this works."

Without bothering to collect his thoughts, he went ahead and hurriedly pressed RECORD before he got locked out. Again.

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Captain's Blog, Stardate... uh... sigh. Figures my communicator would die right now. Sometime I should actually put a clock in here. Anyways, we are just finishing up our latest refit, and while I'm dreading having to learn my own ship all over again, at least they finally granted my request to have the Captain's Shuttle re-instated. Not that I've ever needed to use it in an episode ever before, but I miss my FleeT Cruiser. Sure, the thing is leaking oil like crazy, and the CD player doesn't work, and I haven't seen my keys since Season 1, but still... it's a little slice of home, and I'll take what I can get. Plus, Jed Jenkins is working on it right now, and says it oughta be purring like Tolstoy's kitten by the time we ship out.

The Fleet has had a troubling trend regarding Academy graduates the last several stardates, and that is the rising number of Ship Design majors versus the dwindling number of Ship Repair majors. As a result, many starbases have had no other way to deal with damaged or otherwise-in-need-of-upgrading vessels than to simply do a refit every time. While some people -- mostly admirals -- enjoyed the fact that practically the entire Fleet got a facelift on a regular basis, none of them have had to actually serve on any of those constantly-changing ships... except, of course, for the technical writers, who have plenty of work to do continually revising the Ship Operating Procedure manuals.

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