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."


"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.