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Ensign zh' Aella & PNCP WO1 McMann - Start of a beautiful friendship

Trellis Vondaryan

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((USS Gorkon, Deck 9, 'Sto'Vo'Kor' - Main Crew Lounge))
::Sera stood at the bar having just received her second 'Red Giant' from the old Klingon barman. She'd been reluctant to order any of the synthol drinks having never been a fan of it but after speaking with Mek he'd convinced her to try the bright red beverage. One reluctant taste had turned into many long gulps as the rich flavors hit her, she'd finished it quickly and ordered a second much to the Klingon's roaring delight. She'd spoken with Mek while starting on the second drink and enjoyed his company, but he was soon called away to other patrons leaving Sera to swirl the drink with her straw alone. She looked around the bar and then the many tables in the lounge hoping to find a friendly face, while she did see many familiar faces they were ones that Sera hadn't socialized with before off duty and she was reluctant to join them for the first time uninvited. She decided that it would be best to finish her drink and return to her quarters or perhaps visit the holodeck when she saw someone at a corner table of the lounge that she hadn't expected to see on the Gorkon.::
:: Sitting by herself, reading a padd and drinking what looked like coffee was one of her old Academy instructors, Chief McMann. The Chief had been an instructor on a number of her third and fourth year engineering courses and now her she was on the Gorkon, tunic on the back of her chair engrossed in the padd. The Chief had given Sera a number of dressing downs during her stay at the Academy, most of those had been due to Sera's poor performances in a team exercises or her lack of ability to 'think outside of the box'. But Sera and deeply respected her and tried to take on her advise improving in those areas enough to get her grades up to a respectable level. After contacting her parents, the Chief had been one of the first people she informed that her final exam on the USS Centris-A had been a success. Sera almost skipped over to the Chief's table with her drink in hand.::
zh'Aella: Chief McMann, can I join you.
::Leigh looked up to see a smiling female Andorian over her table holding a colorful beverage. Leigh looked at the familiar, and broadly smiling, face for a moment attempting to recall a name, it took her a moment to make the connection between the face of an old student and one of the names in the mission reports. Perhaps she should have made the connection sooner but she had no idea how common the Andorian surname was and she did make the connection after a few moments. She smiled widely as she fully remembered the former Cadet and gestured to one of the empty seats at her table.::
McMann: Please do. But it's Warrant Officer now. :: She reached behind her and tapped the tunic that was resting on her chair.::  Or just Leigh, in the lounge.
:: Sera sat and placed her drink to her right.::
zh'Aella: Congratulations on the promotion, Leigh.
:: Leigh hadn't wanted or expected the promotion to Warrant Officer. Perhaps she should have realized it was a possibility, she had completed the warrant officer course. But that had been years ago and she had since completed a multitude of courses when she was chasing a command level NCO position. Still, now she was a warrant officer there was no point in complaining about it so she politely accepted the compliment.::
McMann: Thank You Sera. :: She paused for a moment.:: Is it okay to call you Sera in here or would you prefer Sir?
:: Sera was astounded that the human had to ask, hearing a former academy instructor address her by her first name only caused her smile to grow.::
zh'Aella: Of course Sera is fine! I was surprised to see you in here, aboard the Gorkon. How long have you been aboard?
:: Leigh tried not to chuckle at the enthusiastic response.::
McMann: Just a few days. I'm still getting up to speed.
:: She gestured to the padd and the two empty cups of coffee.::
zh'Aella: It's good to have you onboard.
McMann: Thanks. Speaking of congratulations, I've been reading reports from the Gorkon's last mission. :: She gestured to the padd.:: Well done on uploading Federation Standard to the Keepers.
:: Sera grimaced at that and swirled her drink around its glass using the straw.::
zh'Aella: That could have gone better. The upload wasn't complete and I personally couldn't understand half the things they were saying.
:: With gaps in their language, the robotic spiders had improvised by filling the gaps with other words. The improvised words caused confusing and humorous sentences in equal quantity.::
McMann: From what I've read it was enough to understand each other's intentions. 
zh'Aella: Maybe, but I'm looking forward to working on equipment that doesn't walk around on eight legs and isn't obsessed with sauce.
:: While the last word confused her, Leigh nodded in agreement and finished off her coffee.::
McMann: I can understand that.
:: Sera took another sip of her fruity red drink.::
zh'Aella: I imagen the schedule is still up in the air with all the new people, but do you know which engineering shift you will be on?
:: Sera asked hoping that they would be on the same shift.::
McMann: Actually, I'm not assigned to Engineering. I'm the ship's Boatswain.
zh'Aella: Bosun? :: Sera frowned and her antennae lowered.::
::Leigh nodded still with a pleasant smile.::
zh'Aella: Well… I'm sure it's only temporary.
:: Leigh tried not to curl her mouth in distaste at the comment but kept quiet. She hadn't been excited at being promoted to Warrant Officer, but that was because she was chasing the final NCO rating. Since coming aboard and taking stock of her responsibilities she realized that the role was the type of new challenge that she wanted and having a very junior officer, even one she was acquitted with, talk disparagingly about the position did not fill her with fuzzy feelings. But Leigh was a professional and she realized that the Ensign had simply made a [...] pas, she could forgive that. And she answered while forcing herself to keep the smile on her face::
McMann: It's a new challenge.
zh'Aella: You're a professional. :: Sera agreed with a nod.:: But I can have a word with Lieutenant Stoyer about getting you transferred.
McMann: Oh?
:: Sera was looking at her swirling drink as the warrant officer spoke and she didn't notice the small change in her facial expression, the smile was now gone.::
zh'Aella: Of course. :: Sera sipped again and looked up.:: I certainly don't understand the logic of making you Bosun.
:: Leigh's eyes narrowed and she had to fight not to have her temper ignited, she knew the Ensign meant well but the junior officer had gone too far::
McMann: I'm qualified. 
:: She said it firmly and turned her attention back to her padd, hoping that would be the end of the conversation. It wasn't.::
zh'Aella: Yes, but you're a strange choice.
:: Leigh looked over the top of the padd, eye's borrowing into the Andorian like daggers.::
McMann: How so?
:: She shouldn't have asked, she knew she shouldn't have. But the masochist part of her was taking over.::
zh'Aella: You were instructing at the academy and now you're running a maintenance team. It would make more sense to have you in Main Engineering.
:: Leigh placed the padd back down.::
McMann: Are you suggesting that there is something wrong with being the ship's Boatswain?
zh'Aella: Well…
:: The single, poorly chosen, word caused Leigh's temper to flare.::
McMann: Perhaps you would care to visit a few of the Bosun Mates aboard the Gorkon and explain to them that they have made an error by not being assigned to engineering?
:: Sera's antennae straightened in surprise at the heated accusation.::
zh'Aella: No, no, the position is fine. I just meant that you….
McMann: Perhaps I can't be trusted to plan the daily maintenance schedule?
:: The Warrant Officer's voice had risen causing a couple at a nearby table to look in their direction. Sera for her part was confused at what was happening, she'd only meant to compliment the older woman but the situation was getting out of hand::
zh'Aella: Of course not! I'm just saying that you would be far more valuable in Main Engineering.
::Leigh took a deep breath, closed her eyes and then slowly released the air through her nose in a long puff. She forced herself to remember that she was talking to an officer and not a cadet. She reminded herself that while off duty, she could not get away with openly insulting an officer no matter how slighted she felt.::
McMann: Respectfully Sir, my experience in Main Engineering is limited. I was however, a chief in damage control central and a shuttle bay chief. The skills gained from those positions are a good fit for my current assignment. General ship maintenance is very important, wouldn't you agree Sir?
::Leigh added emphasis on the last words and the Andorian blushed a dark shade of blue.::
zh'Aella: Yes.
::Leigh nodded at the comment and returned her attention to the padd but she was no longer reading it, just looking at it while trying to keep control of her irritation. They sat in uncomfortable silence for what seemed like long minutes before Leigh spoke again.::
McMann: You'll have to excuse me sir, I have a meeting scheduled.
::It was a lie.::
zh'Aella: Yes of course. :: Sera said as the Warrant Officer rose and put on her tunic.:: Um…. Good day, Warrant Officer.
::Leigh carefully collected her padd and empty coffee cups as she readied to leave.::
McMann: Good day, sir.
:: The words were devoid of any emotion, they could have come from a Vulcan and Sera's shoulders slumped forward as the Warrant Officer left.::
zh'Aella: oO Sorry. Oo
Ensign Sera zh' Aella
Engineering Officer
USS Gorkon
PNCP Warrant Officer Leigh McMann
USS Gorkon
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