[USS Athena] "A Matter of Rules"

A Matter of Rules


    T'Shana had been more than happy to start earning her fare to the Alpha 
Quadrant. Now that Ronov finally assigned her to a spot in Engineering, she was 
rearing to go. It had been a while since she was able to lay her hands on 
anything that had to do with the innermost workings of a starship.
    After bidding good-bye to Jhu'Rhiana at the door, she went on to report to 
the Chief Engineer, Arrain Telok. Just short of the CEO's office, a slender man 
with chiseled features approached her.
    "Excuse me, Erei'Arrain," he basically stepped into her path, "Are you the 
new Engineer...," he quickly glanced to his PADD, "T'Shana cha'AAnikh?"
    She nodded with a smile, "The one and only."
    "I see," he regarded her for a moment, looking her up and down, "Arrain 
Telok is indisposed at the moment. I'm Lieutenant Pete Stronovski, your shift 
leader."
    "Nice to meet you," T'Shana stuck her hand out, glancing at his pips, "I'd 
say Lieutenant, Junior Grade?"
    "Well, yeah," Pete blushed lightly, as he shook her hand, as if she had 
pointed out some sort of failure on his part. "You still address me as 
Lieutenant. And for all purposes, though we are the same rank, I am your 
superior."
    "Oh, I know that," she raised a brow, "Was just making sure."
    "Ah," he cleared his throat, glancing at his PADD again. "I'll give you the 
standard introductory and tour for new personnel. You are...," he double 
checked on the PADD, "you are a doctor of Engineering?"
    "That is correct," she smiled proudly.
    Stronovski rubbed the back of his head, seeming a bit bewildered. "Well... 
I don't think I have ever had to give such a well educated crew member a tour, 
but nevertheless... I'll make sure it's thorough..."
    "I am already somewhat familiar with the vessel," T'Shana remarked, hoping 
it would keep him from taking too long with his introductory speech. "I had 
time to look over some of the specs while I was waiting on Erei'Riov Ronov to 
make up his mind if he was gonna let me loose on the ship," she winked to 
underscore she was completely serious.
    He chuckled, though a bit awkwardly. His eyes moved to the CEO's office 
door, as if he was hoping Telok would come out of it any moment, then back to 
her. "Uhm... there is one matter before we begin," he was obviously nervous 
about bringing it up, "You're not wearing standard uniform. Did the XO not give 
you any information on dress code?"
    She quirked her eyebrow, "He instructed me to wear uniform, yes." She held 
her hands out to her side, "THIS is uniform, you know."
    "It's a dress," Pete gave her a crooked grin.
    "Yes, I'm aware of that," T'Shana nodded. She knew where the Lieutenant was 
trying to go with this, but she had put time and effort into this uniform dress 
and she was bound to wear it. There was no way, he would talk her out of it, 
especially since he had no grounds to stand on. "You do know that uniforms come 
in the female version as well, right?"
    "Oh, sure," he nodded emphatically. "And it's not that I don't like this 
version," he grinned sheepishly, "but there is the matter of rules... you see."
    "And where in the rules does it state I cannot wear the female version of 
the uniform?" She met his eyes, a determined look in hers.
    "I... well...," Stronovski stammered a bit. She had caught him off guard. 
Again, his eyes darted to the CEO's office, as if wishing that would make his 
Chief suddenly appear. "Honestly, Miss, I don't recall if it does or not."
    "Isn't a uniform a uniform, no matter if male or female version?"
    "Well, sure," he wasn't comfortable with confrontations, despite him being 
the shift leader. At least not confrontations of this kind, the personal choice 
kind, especially when he had no real leg to stand on. She had put him on the 
spot. He had not expected her to show up in a dress, and he really had no 
counter argument to present to keep her from wearing it. He rubbed his chin, 
"Alright, I tell you what... I will give you the tour and you can work in... 
this... for the time being, but I will inform Arrain Telok of your choice of 
clothing. You need to see him after your shift anyways, and if he sees a 
problem with it, I'm sure he will let you know."
    "You're gonna go and read through the dress code when you're done with me 
here, aren't you?" She smirked wryly.
    "I think I might need to brush up on the code, yes, Ma'am," Peter nodded, 
blushing slightly once again. He chuckled nervously, "Please, don't get me 
wrong. I really do like it... it's...it's very nice.... it's just..."
    "A matter of rules, I know I know," she sighed. "Can we proceed now?"
    "Oh, yes," he smiled, motioning her to follow him. He glanced at his PADD, 
making sure he was following procedure, as he took her to their first stop. 
"This is the heart of the Athena, the warp core. It is capable of generating a 
subspace distortion in excess of 1500 Cochrane...."
    The Lieutenant's voice faded in T'Shana's head, as her eyes moved around 
the facility, absorbing everything she saw with undivided attention and 
uncompromising focus. She smiled, stopping in front of the warp core; its 
presence so familiar. Closing her eyes, she listened to its sound for a long 
moment. The melodious strumming was like the intimate song of a lover, 
welcoming her home....


 "Knowledge becomes wisdom only after it has been put to practical use."



      

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