Day 4 (cont)
Smitty paused outside the mess hall, wondering what to do. The auxiliary bridge isn't done, but there's too much for me to do alone in one afternoon. I doubt if she'll show up. MacGreg'll have her in sick bay, to 'keep an eye on her'. I could pull someone in to help. Harris. Or Jones. Or I could finish it tomorrow, after the crew's gone.
"Come on, Smit, let's not be late." He looked up to see a very non-weepy MacDowell adjusting her uniform as she walked past him.
"Hey!" They both turned, saw MacGregor in the door of a privacy room. "About tonight-"
"Yes, yes, I'll be there," she stated quickly as the turbo lift doors opened.
Smitty stepped in behind MacDowell, set the lift for the auxiliary bridge. "Are you sure you're up for this?" he asked. A quickie with MacGreg and the promise of more later might have dried her tears, but it can't have neutralized that much stress!
She studied him for a long moment. "What did you have in mind, Smit?"
"Smy-" he started to correct, but stopped. Probably shouldn’t pick on details when she's so close to a breakdown. "I could give you the afternoon off," he offered.
She canted her head to one side, and then her face reddened as her gaze slid away from him. "For what reason?"
The nipple of her breast came erect under the ministrations of his fingers, matching his erection. "Oh, dear," she breathed, lowering her head to kiss him. "Oh, yes," he returned, and adjusted her position atop him for easy entry. For the reason that I can ease her stress level just as well as MacGreg! She might like it better! It would leave all of the work for me to do tomorrow. I'd never get it all done, not alone. Who's still aboard tomorrow to help me? "Wilson," he decided under his breath. "Wilson's available. And it wouldn't take long, with her."
He heard her sigh, saw her face drain to white. "Then there's no reason for me to take the afternoon off, is there?" she asked as she left the lift.
What's that mean? Apparently, she prefers to wait for MacGreg. He followed her to the secondary bridge and watched her return to work. So that's that. She's broken up with Bugalu, but MacGreg's already stepped into the breach. There's no room for me. He crossed the room to his own work. Just as well. I could get in trouble bedding a subordinate. After shore leave ... she'll be just another crewmember.
A Little Push
Day 4 (cont)
Abdulla exited the turbo lift with the electronic clipboard firmly gripped in her hand. I cannot believe he hasn't done it yet! The captain is not happy about it, either.
She paused as she entered the emergency bridge to take note of where the two were. Opposite sides of the room, like ... like opponents or something. It's not like him to take an immediate dislike to a subordinate. He might act like it sometimes, all tough and gruff, but it isn't real. I wonder what's got his dander up about Mac?
She approached him. "Mr Smythe?" He didn't respond, just kept staring into the open weapons console. "Mr Smythe?" She touched his shoulder.
The engineer jumped and whirled to face her. His panic abated when he recognized her. "Abdulla! Shouldn't you be on the bridge?"
"I was sent with a message," she replied, her voice low. "The captain says you are to sign this." She held out the clipboard. "Or else she will. In which case, she said, she will know why her intervention is necessary."
Looking confused, he took the clipboard and looked at the display. His face went pink. "Yes," he agreed, and signed the form, then tried to hand it back.
Abdulla folded her arms. "I'm also to make sure you give it to her."
"She's right over-"
"That you give it to her," Abdulla repeated. "The captain was quite insistent." Trying to let the girl see that this is not the Bartholomew and not all superiors are pigs.
"Yes, well-" He set it down atop the console. "I'll do that."
What is his problem? "Before end of shift!" she insisted, belatedly added, "Sir."
He gave her an irritated glance. "I understand, lieutenant."
Why is he so stubborn about this? You'd think I was asking him to ... to dance with me, or something! "Sir, there are less than ten minutes left to this shift."
"What?" He glanced at the clock, then stared at it. His gaze traveled to the redhead, still working across the room. His chin hardened. He picked up the clipboard, took hold of Abdulla's arm, and marched across the room. "MacDowell!"
She jumped, turned to face him. "Sir?"
"Here." He shoved the clipboard at her, turned to Abdulla. "Mission accomplished!"
Mac turned the clipboard around to read it, and her mouth dropped open in shock. The three of them stood in silence for several moments before the redhead gathered her wits together. When she looked up, her face was white. "Is this for real?"
"I signed it. It's in the computer," Smythe stated firmly.
Mac glanced at him, then lowered her face. "You won't ... change your mind?"
"Why would I do that?"
"It ... it's happened before."
"Not here. Not with me." He thought for a moment, then added, "You aren't on my shit list."
"Yet?" she asked quietly, and sighed.
Aware of the tension between them, even if she didn't understand it, Abdulla decided to change the subject. "So we can get together tomorrow." I imagined she might kiss him in ecstatic joy, or try to, but she seems almost morose. This girl is strange! "I hope you've got the money for it!" she teased.
Mac closed her eyes, leaned against the console. "Even a technician's pay adds up when you can't spend it. I have more than enough."
"We'll see. I'm not used to buying more than one item at a time, even on an officer's pay. So you might have to reassure me that we haven't reached your limit while we shop. Or possibly warn me that we're getting close. Now that your shore leave is signed, let me-" She reached for the clipboard, but Mac clutched it close.
"Let her keep it," Mr Smythe instructed. "It is in the computer, but if it makes her feel better to have the form in hand, then let her keep it. When she gets back from shore leave, she can turn it in."
"Fine with me," Abdulla agreed. "Means I don't have to return to the bridge to put it away. If I might be dismissed, Mr Smythe?"
"Yes," he agreed. "You, too, MacDowell."
"But I'm not done-"
"Leave it. There's a lot we didn't get done. I'll finish tomorrow. Wilson can help me; she's on late shift for shore leave. Won't take long with her help." Abdulla turned, but Mac seemed uncertain. "Go on," he urged. "Get a-" His voice suddenly went hoarse. "An early start on your fun."
Still clutching the clipboard, Mac headed for the turbo lift with Abdullah. "Who's Wilson?" she asked suddenly as the turbo lift whisked them away.
"Wilson? Evening shift supervisor, engineering."
Mac looked even more confused. "Is she ... Mr Smythe's ... floozy?"
If I had any doubts what her record means, that pretty well erases them. "More like his protégé. Mr Smythe does not ... fraternize ... with his underlings." Or if he does, I've never heard any whisper of it. I hope that reassures her.