Raise Your Glass
Location: Deck 5- Pandora's Box
Nyx had long been meaning to thank the Engineering crew for the work they performed by repairing the damage caused to the Pandora. Damage Nyx may or may not have had some responsibility for causing - whether it was by investigating a volatile spacial phenomena, landing on a toxic, unstable planet, or because of the several times enemies have used the Pandora for target practice. Every time, the Engineering officers put their skills and abilities to the test to fix the problem and get the ship sailing again. Just recently, they had worked with the Operations department to dislodge fragments of a Talarian torpedo from the ship's hull - definitely not a run-of-the-mill request. And yet, they were able to deal with the issue quickly and cleanly.
As such, Temple booked out the private dining area of Pandora's Box to thank both teams for their efficiency and expertise in once again repairing the Pandora. He had asked all members off-duty to share a specially cooked meal in the restaurant so that he could show due appreciation, with the on-duty officers getting a lunch the following day. It was the least the Captain could do to say thank you for all their hard work.
The usual craziness about the ship had died down in the last twelve hours and Mindo had had a chance to get some rest. He awoke from his nap about an hour before the dinner and had plenty of time to get a shower, dress, and get in a game of Spy Hunter at the barcade, where he met Greep and Zo.
Mindo had insisted he and his crew be in dress uniform for the dinner. Mindo was not one for pomp and circumstance, but he felt like this was meant as a formal boost of morale from the Captain himself, and that deserved a gesture of respect for the occasion. Zo had been delighted at the idea. Greep was not so excited. All three showed up looking clean and dapper, as had the rest of the off-duty Engineering crew.
"I hope there's not a lot of talking," Greep squawked as he sat down.
"I just wonder what the food will be," Mindo said, climbing onto one of the specialized stools reserved for little people and, well, children.
"Just got off duty and I'm starving," Zo remarked. "I'm so hungry I could eat a horta."
"Not much longer." Temple said with a polite smile, "Just waiting on a few more arrivals."
Declan had looked at his wrist watch. He wondered if Ian would be coming and when. He had hoped to have someone come in with him, since he was nervous a bit. He had felt lucky to be onboard a ship and crew with a Commanding officer who had cared a lot for his crew like Capt. Nyx. Roderick was interested, after hearing that the man had cooked a lot. Nobody on Hesiod Green would talk to him, let alone ask if he had wanted to join them for dinner. As such, he had dressed up in formal attire, as he wanted to show respect.
Milkovich came jogging down the corridor, still trying to tuck his shirt into his pants. He'd never had to dress fancy before - he was too used to the uniform and casual clothes. He'd had to stop by The Flying Pants just to get something that would be appropriate. The clothier had tried to sell him on a velvet mauve tuxedo with a side cape lined in candy pink but Ian didn't think he had to be that flash. Instead he opted for a plain charcoal suit and trousers, white oxford shirt and black bowtie. Of course, even having the best suit in the galaxy meant nothing if the wearer was too rushed to do it up properly. The shirt was crinkled, the pants tucked into the shoes, the bowtie askew. It was the best that the young Ensign was going to be able to pull off.
Seeing his boss standing outside the restaurant, Ian gave a bashful wave.
"Heyo, Lieutenant." Ian called out.
"Ian." Declan had greeted. "Glad to see your on time." He nodded with a friendly smile. "I didn't want to be the only one going in..." He had just felt out of place.
"Oh I know that feeling." Ian replied with an awkward laugh as he nervously tried to straighten his bowtie.
"Nice duds!" Roderick cracked a fist bump to his Junior. "Come on in, let's enjoy ourselves brother." He gestured to walk in and taking a seat seeing that there was Mindo, Greep, and Zo already in attendance he relaxed. "Mindo, Chief. Greep, Zo..." He had saluted a one-sharp off and happily took a free seat at the nicely arranged table.
The three engineers smiled, Zo and Greep nodded their heads while Mindo lifted his glass.
Temple was seated already and he waved to the new arrivals, "Please, take a seat. I'm glad we're all here for this."
"What did Ops do that was so great?" said Zo. "Why do they get any credit? Doesn't the Captain know we're the ones getting our hands dirty?"
"Watch that mouth, Crewman," Mindo said sharply. "While you were in the infirmary with a dislocated finger, they were outside the ship helping me dislodge debris from a nacelle. They saved the ship. Am I right, Greep?"
Greep made a throaty clicking noise before squawking, "Quite. Even Lieutenant Roderick was out there helping us."
"Alright, alright," Zo conceded. "But you can't deny we're usually the ones cleaning up their mess."
Mindo shrugged. "That's because our job is to clean up every mess."
Greep squawked, "Is that why we're always overworked and understaffed?" His question went unanswered as the Captain began speaking.
Ignoring the conversation, Nyx stood and raised his glass. "Thank you all for coming tonight. I know this dinner is greatly overdue, but I hope you'll still feel how much I appreciate all of your hard work in helping the Pandora. Time after time, you've been called upon to fix some difficult problems and heal the Pandora, and for that I am incredibly grateful."
Roderick had looked up from his seated position, hearing the kind words of the Captain, and sensing his deep respect and thankfulness of the crew. Roderick had smiled and looked at Ian, as he had then held up his glass to what the Captain had just said. "Sir, I believe your words deserve a toast." He wasn't the one to give the toast, however, he looked at Ian and or Mindo and the rest of the crew. Roderick was thankful for the second chance this Captain and crew had given him, to be aboard and to be part of their adventure.
Before the silence could become uncomfortable, Mindo activated his boots and hovered to average height. He spoke loud and with full authority. "And she will raise us up in darkest void, bear us on this Expanse of space, make us to gleam like a star, and hold us in the embrace of her warp core. God bless the Pandora and all who serve in her!" Then Mindo raised his glass and declared, "Maximum warp!"
"Maximum warp!" Nyx cried, feeling a little mischievous for shouting a command so casually that would normally have to be followed. For now, it was a call to celebration.
Ian nonchalantly held up his drink too, though it only contained cola. He had no taste for alcohol, synthesised or real, but he didn't want to appear left-out. He already felt like a fish out of Operations water being surrounded by all of these senior officers, who seemed to speak with each other with such familiarity. So he just awkwardly raised his glass in silence and took a slight sip as the others drank theirs.
Roderick had ginned. Holding up his glass in cheers to Mindo's statesman like toast. Mindo always knew what and how to say something he had witnessed. "Cheers!" He raised his glass towards the table and then to Captain Nyx.
Then Zo seemed to have an idea and he stood up. "Hey! Let's push our tables together. It'll be easier to get antiquated."
Mindo hovered back while Greep scooted his chair and stood to help Zo and the others get the tables lined up.
Re-seated, Roderick had sat down and enjoyed the one true table of good friends and company. On his mind was the future course of the Pandora down the road. What would they be experiencing? How would they be able to fight back against a lot of odds.
"Okay, okay," Nyx held out his hand to grab everyone's attention. "Honesty time. What was the worst mess we've gotten ourselves into so far?"
"The Expanse!" Zo yelled. There were several laughs, until Mindo hovered up with a straight face.
"Crewman Zo isn't wrong," the Chief Engineer said. "The Expanse has given us more hardships per capita than any other ship currently in the Fleet. We've had half our crew transported to another dimension, fought several aliens trying to kill us, dealt with espionage from the Alrakis Pact, had one of our officers killed by another, suffered hallucinations from navigating through dark matter, and even landed the entire ship on an unstable planet to stop a renegade Admiral and break our Prime Directive in the process."
Mindo paused, and for a moment, they could have heard a pin drop. Then Mindo continued, his tone soft but grave. "We don't know how far the 'Stop the Pandora' movement extends. The Alrakis Pact wants us destroyed, and the Federation wants us on trial for Starfleet's mistakes. We've been betrayed by our own fleet. But we have not given up its mission to explore strange new worlds and seek out new life. In fact, we acted in defiance to save new life. I ordered my division to wear dress uniforms tonight because I wanted us to be a symbol. We are a ship united, under its Captain and its oath, and we will not be torn apart. Not from politics. Not from destruction. Because that's our job."
The Captain was moved; he had no idea the Chief Engineer had such passion and dedication. It was a rousing speech, one that spoke directly to the Starfleet officer in each of them. He smiled appreciatively to Mindo as he raised his glass once more, his arm getting a work out tonight. "Here, here!"
Zo couldn't help but snicker as Mindo sat down. "You wrote that toast and that speech?"
Mindo shook his head. "The toast was a centuries old blessing, recited often by Chief Engineers before a starship's debarkation. The rest just sort of came to me after your stupid comment."
Sitting in the corner of the table, Ian smiled as he quietly spoke, “My father used to say, ‘Heroism doesn’t always happen in a burst of glory. Sometimes small triumphs and large hearts change the course of history.’ I think we’re doing... that.”
"Well said," Mindo replied with a nod, trying not to take the part about 'small' triumphs the wrong way.
Nyx smiled as well, "I can think of no better crew to do that with. Alright, next question team. How can I properly thank you all on a more regular basis for going above and beyond?"
Declan was a bit surprised. He still felt like he was on the ropes for just 'being' stationed on Hesoid Green. He still felt the dressing down from prior weeks ago from the Captain and Commander. All in all, he was just happy to be called in to something, suffice to state this was for the rest of them, as Crewman Zo rightly stated.
Mindo downed his glass of wine and leaned forward in his chair. "The best way to properly thank us is to not thank us at all," he said. "What I want to know from my Captain is what does he think we can do better?"
Leaning back in his chair, Temple thought about it for a moment. "Well I'd love to find out who's sending this damn signal into the Expanse. We haven't had an opportunity to figure that out yet but if there's a team effort -" He indicated to both the Engineers and the Operations officers, "I think we could crack it and silence it for good."
Mindo looked over to Roderick. "He's right. If we pooled our resources we could get to the heart of the matter pretty quick. What do you think, Lieutenant?"
Roderick paused. He was listening to the conversation. He enjoyed hearing what everyone had to state. He was thoughtful before he replied. "Mindo, Lieutenant. I do not know what the Captain has in mind.. But I trust him. I trust all of you, together." Declan had lent a smile, before relaxing, taking a drink from his glass at the table with his shipmates.
The Captain clapped his hands together. “Then it is settled. We find the signal, we silence it. I have no doubt that this ship and this crew can do anything.” He raised his glass one final time, toasting to the assembled crew around the table.