EW! NOT HIM!
Et Tu, Brute?
Location: Captain's Office
Timeline: 30 minutes prior to launch
Without asking or knocking, Kelly entered Ro's makeshift office, "No no no no no. You tell them no. Not him. NOT HIM!" She said, urgently.
"No no no no no?" Ro asked back, one eye squeezed shut for emphasize. "I need a little more information here, Kel. Otherwise we're having a very limited conversation here."
"The XO. Quartermaster just told me who it is," She explained. "You can't. You have to say no. I'll be your XO or something until we can get a new one. Not him. Not Brenan. He's skeezy and he's a jerk and he sleeps with everything that wiggles boobs his way, and he's disgusting and a total pig, and have I mentioned that he sleeps with everything?"
"Sounds like you're just mad I never slept with you," Came a voice from behind Kelly.
She shrieked and spun around, "GAH! DO NOT DO THAT!" She barked angrily. "WHY ARE YOU HERE?!"
"I'm the XO... and I wanted to meet with the Captain before we launched," Brenan replied, calmly. He was grinning ear to ear.
"NO, WHY ARE YOU ON THE SHIP, YOU SMUG SON OF A.... SIR!" She barked back.
Brenan's smile grew ever wider, "Son of a sir... that's a new one. I'm here because I was assigned here," He offered, unhelpfully.
Kelly turned back to Ro and flung a hand in Brenan's direction, "SEE?! SEE?! Leave him. I'll take him to the closest airlock. He'd survive getting dumped while we're still in dry dock. He'd be fine. Leeeeeeaaave him!" She begged, speaking rapidly.
"Glad to see you haven't changed since Academy, Peaches," Brenan said, patting her on the head as he walked by and took a seat at Ro's desk.
She turned around to face him, a look just shy of crazy on her face, "Don't. Call. Me. Peaches." She said, in a murderous tone.
Ro watched the two of them go back and forth a few times, her eyes tracking from person to person before she cleared her throat and raised up one index finger. "You two: no," she said in an extraordinarily calm voice. "No. You're both adults. You're both officers. I won't have you antagonizing her or you selling his name black. As officers on the Kingdom you'll both work together or you'll find yourselves having friend dates in the brig quite often."
"Not a problem, Captain," Brenan said, smiling happily. "Peaches and I get along just fine," He said, cheerily.
"Don't. Call. Me. Peaches," She hissed back.
"It's in your Starfleet records as a desired nickname," Brenan replied.
"It is NOT," Kelly replied.
"Yep. Is. Go look sometime," He said, shrugging. "Henshaw just doesn't fit your sunny disposition. That's why I always preferred peaches," He said, never losing the super friendly and outgoing note to his voice.
"CAPTAIN!" Kelly yelped, desperately.
"Mr. Brenan, you'll be respectful to Ms. Henshaw and vice versa. This is not nursery school. I'm depending on both of you heavily or we will not succeed as a ship. Unless you're bent on making something as already monopolized as just getting out of port even more difficult, get your head in the game and stop fussing at one another. A lot has happened since your time at the Academy. Show each other that you've grown by dropping the old hats and working with the ones assigned to you now." Folding her hands in front of her as she spoke, Ro leaned forward on her elbows over the top of the table. "I can help by offering the extra incentive of relieving Ms. Crispin for long spells if this continues. You can teach the kasheeta chess. Or show tunes. Blackjack. Don't care. Now get out."
"Ugh... Fine," Kelly replied, huffing. "You'll see, though. Seriously!" She warned, turning and leaving.
"I actually did want to touch base quick before we launched," Brenan said, standing anyway, just in case. His tone never changed, he never showed a sign of awkwardness, and instead showed that he still felt quite confident in his presence there. And probably a complete lack of remorse for teasing Kelly.
"Bye Kel.." Ro called after her, nonplussed. She eyed Brenan when the door was closed skeptically. "Won't. Be any. Trouble." she recanted. "You're doing a fine job of that so far."
"I said I wouldn't be too much trouble. I never said not any," He replied, grinning brightly.
"I need no trouble until the ship is out of trouble. I'm not a domineering woman, but I will kick your ass if I have to establish the way this chain of command will work." There was no ego in Ro's words. No jeering or looking down at the man, just delicately spoken fact. "You can play off duty. We're in enough of a pinch for time and empathy as it is. You've read the dossiers now, yes? Noticed a theme?"
"Yes, ma'am," Brenan said, getting down to business. This CO was interesting... she seemed more than willing to put up with his bullshit to an extent, which was unusual. At the same time, she seemed to hit 'down to business' about the same time that he did. That worked just fine for Brenan.
"You'd have to be blind not to, if I'm honest," He replied. "This ship is either having the worst run of bad luck I've ever seen, or it's being actively sabotaged."
"Right. If we had more time I'd send you poking all over the place to find me the big seven to start working off of, but we're obviously running short on ticks." The fact that she couldn't pursue it more really bothered O'Touvelli. It kept tapping at her gut, promising to be a problem. "What I was talking about were the people. My crew, so far, is a very odd assortment of fruits and nuts. Wrangling them in and leading them will be very much like herding cats without extra issues being brought up. We have to work hard to make this work because it isn't the typical crew on the typical ship with the typical problems. Help me. Command is a team sport. When we fail, we both fail."
Brenan chuckled a bit and shook his head, "Ma'am, I'm a jack ass. I'm fully aware of that. I've tried not being a jack ass and it just doesn't work for me. What I can do, though, is lead. I have a long history with Kelly, but that won't cause problems. To be honest, it won't be a problem because I know she's a good officer. She'll do good work, and she'll do what's needed. She doesn't like me, I rode her hard during Academy and I like to think I had something to do with the officer she's become today, but probably not. McMasters always got through to her better than I did. I can promise you that interpersonnel issues will not be a problem," He said, a genuine smile this time, not his trade-marked dazzling grin.
"As far as herding cats, I've been told I'm pretty good at it," He said with a grin.
Thinking back to what Kelly had said about him chasing women, Ro just groaned. "No comment. Now, what did you need to see me about?"
"The sabotage piece," Brenan replied. "We're at risk right now, but we'll be at even more risk once we get space-side. You sure we can't delay the launch until we can look into this more?" He asked.
"We're already behind between the last minute hand off mission with late delegates and all of the other technical issues. Engineering has reassured me that they've got all of the internal system bugs fixed. The previous Sec chief combed over the system very thoroughly. I understand, though. This is bugging the hell out of me, too, not to go start poking bears and having a long talk with station security." She sat back in her chair and tucked her hair behind her ears. "It's the hand we've been dealt. We need to play through."
"Yes ma'am. Nothing like playing all in with a pair of twos though, eh?" Brenan said with a lopsided grin.
Ro shrugged her shoulders. "Something like that. How did the talk with the chef go?"
Brenan waved it off, "He already had most of the meals for the trip prepared and ready. Apparently he didn't take a word the doctor said for anything beyond bullshit," Brenan replied. "Did you hear anything else from old Doc Crankypants?" He asked.
"Nope. It's been pretty quiet. I haven't decided if that's because the diplomat sent her a few unabridged data feeds from the diplomatic corps on xenobiography to support that the kasheeta aren't derivatives of any Terran species. I have to admit that I've called them dinosaurs as well in private. I should probably stop that," the CO winced. "She's calmed down as well now. I made sure that she had access to chocolate and bourbon."
Brenan laughed, "Secret sauce, there," He said, smiling. He stood and offered a friendly salute, "If you're good, I'd like to check out the security offices before we launch. Make sure everything is in order," He explained.
Ro grinned, seemingly already back to the relaxed/studious mien that she was when Kelly burst in. "Go for it. I have a little more to do before I see you on the bridge again for the big launch."
"Alright, boss lady, I'll see you shortly," He said with a wave, and headed back out the way he came in.