Episode 1 – Rao

“Cadet Rao!” A gruff male voice rang through a large, warehouse like room.

Fifty or so meters high a figure in a dark blue jumpsuit strapped in a harness could be seen tinkering on a prototype core. As the words rang high the being peaked their head up. “One moment, sir!” Closing the panel they propelled down the ropes and quickly removed their mask. “Sir?”

“What is this about you disrespecting the Chief Engineer of the new Star-ships?”

A scoff escaped the cadet, a brief smile fading under the glare from her superior. “I was not disrespecting him, Sir. I was simply stating the engineering department should be altered depending on the purpose of the ship while maximizing efficiency.” She began. “It might seem adequate to use the same designs as the most ‘up to date’ ships, but not when those ships were colony ships. The department can have as many levels as anyone wants, but it has to be done properly and with at least some insight from someone in engineering who’s actually run one of these ships in the past five years- not someone who clearly hasn’t been off world except to the docks in some time. If they want the department to span multiple decks it makes more sense to have the top level double as the structural support or how else do you intend to properly anchor connectors for the nacelles?” Cadet Rao mentally chided herself not to get too caught up in her words. She released a breath. “If he feels I disrespected him then I will offer an apology, but it was merely an academic challenge.”

The Professor peered down at her. He well respected in the engineering department at the academy and had stood as the key lecturer in most of her courses since her admission. In the past they’d never spoken for more than five minutes at a times- if at all. His eyes narrowed. “This is the most I’ve heard you speak in all your three years here and it’s to the Chief of Engineering. Do you doubt his posting, Cadet?”

“It’s not that I necessarily doubt his posting, but as someone who intends to live and work on these ships; I’m going to raise questions when I feel my job and even my safety could be jeopardized by an oversight.” Rao defended her position.

A moment of silence passed as she anticipated his response. His gaze seemed to be scanning her for one thing while weighing the options of something else. “At the end of the week you will present a proper apology. Until then you will resume your studies.”

“Yes, sir.” Rao nodded; unsure if the weight had been lifted for pressed more firmly upon her. Watching him leave it wasn’t until she was confident he was well out of ear shot to release a groan. “Whyyyyy? Why-why-why? Why?” The proto-core seemed to groan in agreement. “Oh, shut it. I’ll fix you in a second.”

Some time later she could be seen crossing the yard on her way to the canteen. She was clad in regulation black boots with a red skirt, red turtle neck sweater, and red jacket with the Star Fleet insignia on the collar. Dark hair was pulled up in a loose top bun save her bangs and a few stray strands falling to frame her face. Under her arm were a few data pads.

“Rao! Are you coming out this weekend?” A heavy arm draped across her shoulders.

“Someone’s had their coffee.” Rao smirked, not needing to look up to see the large main leaning on her. The arm belonged to Cadet Garnett, a friend of hers since their second year in a combat training class. He’d laid her out flat after which he revealed he was on the tactical and training track- giving him the clear advantage. Two months later they were good as mates.

“Yeah, just a bit. Had the usual morning runs.” He chuckled as they made there way to the food options. “So how about it?”

“The usual monthly spot?” Rao asked, picking a mixed berry smoothie and crepe among other small little treats.

“Yeah, why mess with a classic. Right?”

Roa smiled. “I’ll be there.”

When they arrived at the table there was already a young woman waiting for them. “Good morning. You two look in good spirits.”

“Morning Zletka.” The pair said in unison causing Rao to pull a funny face before sitting down to join her roommate.

“You seem a bit distressed. Is everything alright?” Zletka prodded gently.

“Can’t hide anything from this one, Rao.” The man chuckled earning an elbow to the side.

“Just wait until her Betazoid radar is back on you, Garnett.” Rao reminded him before taking a bite of her crepe. “But, yes. I’m okay.” She assured her roommate.

Zetka merely gave a small knowing smile, but returned to her food.

“How are biochemistry and exobiology going?” Rao asked with another bite.

Zetka waited until she finished her bite to speak. “It’s actually quiet interesting….” After unloading the intricacies of Andorian anatomy citing how a high metabolic rate makes them particularly vulnerable to phase injuries and how when treating an Andorian only intramuscular injections could be administered…her colleague’s looked as if they’d almost blacked out from information. “Have I lost you?”

Garnett’s eyes; which were narrowed to a small point, blinked suddenly as if he’d broken free. “What? No. No. You mentioned the…the antennas and the bones…in them?” He scratched the bottom of his chin, glancing at Rao for help.

Rao met his eyes and quickly took a sip of her smoothie.

The three were leaving when Rao’s pad chimed off. “That’s me. I’ll see you later.” With a wave she headed off towards her first course for the day- propulsion systems and methods.

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Star Trek Engineers

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