Friday was going off seamlessly. The usual early morning tinkering followed by breakfast with Zletka and company, then classes with trip to the medical deparment somewhere between. If it had been any other day she would of been happy as a clam except her impending ‘apology’ had loomed in her thoughts all day. At first the thought had been nothing more than a speck, but by the time she was stepping out of her final class it was a weight on her mind. The sight of Garnett waiting just outside the building was a pleasant surprise.
“So, were you able to get it done?” Garnett was practically bouncing in his boots.
Rao heaved a breath, a smile forming nonetheless. “Yes.” She held up a small drive between two fingers.
“You never fail. Thank-” Garnett’s words cut short when Rao curled her fingers around the drive.
“Don’t overdo it like you did last time.” Rao warned. She held a finger up when Garnett went to speak. “I don’t want to be stuck with restitution charges again.” At that Garnett eased earning another smile. “Thank you.” Handing over the drive she started on back to the dorms. “I shouldn’t miss more than the first hour!”
Garnett slipped the drive in his pocket. “Yeah, yeah. Don’t worry, I won’t unleash the surprise until you get there!” He waved.
When Cadet Rao arrived at the Chief’s office she was still in her cadet uniform, a small satchel on her shoulder. The entire walk there she’d been mentally hyping herself up for what she was sure would be at least half an hour of simply being reprimanded by a superior officer. Thoughts of the party waiting on the other side was her ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ – if she had enough foritude to go afterwards.
After one chime a small ding sounded for her to enter.
“Good evening, Cadet Rao.” The man’s tone was just as flat as she recalled from the auditorium. He stood propped against the edge of his desk with a pad in hand.
“Good-good evening Chief D’aunchel. Thank you for seeing me.” Clasping her hands behind her back she relaxed into a neutral expression.
“You were instructed to apologize under the insinuation you be reprimanded otherwise.” His words were matter of fact as he scrolled through the pad.
Rao attempted to deny it, but the words stuck on her tongue. “That is correct, sir.” Her gaze fell to the padd as he left her silence. She idly wondered if he were reviewing blueprints.
“I’ve been looking over your file, Cadet Rao.” He placed the pad on the table to regard her fully. “A decent cadet. One show doesn’t exceed expectation or disappoint. Average.” He appraised her silently. “All notes from your professors express suppositions of promise, but acknowledge a lack of application in your courses. Do you know what I’ve surmised from this?”
“I don’t know, sir.”
“I’ve surmised a student of your caliber shouldn’t reasonably be so outspoken about the construction of engineering departments on star fleet ships given the odds of you receiving a posting are rather slim.”
Rao’s neutral expression faltered slightly. “I’d have to disagree.”
“Excuse me?” The Chief inquired.
“I said, I’d have to disagree.” Rao briefly met his stare. “Sir.” Her gaze immediately shifted straight ahead. “As I explained to my professor; the engineering department can span as many levels as required, but the top level should also serve as structural support given it’s purpose in line to the rest of the ship. It provides superior positioning to anchor the connectors for the nacelles.” She inhaled softly. “Even if I don’t receive a posting I would still want the crews and ships’ best interest in mind. I did not mean to disrespect, but the error was too glaring to ignore given the ships are still in production…Sir.” Closing her eyes briefly she opened them again to see the Chief had not moved from his position.
“You doubt the ability of certified engineers to make a well informed decision on behalf of Star Fleet.” Once again his words were a blanket statement.
“I…doubt the variation in view points and thought processes.” Rao could practically feel her own career ending before it even began. What a life. The silence she received only served to lessen her spirits.
The Chief stood upright and took on step closer to her. “On the topic of varying though processes; I have also been made aware of some of your side projects.” He noticed Rao swallow. “Take a seat, Cadet.”
Shortly after Rao had been dismissed by the Chief she could be spotted practically running down the pathway in an attempt to make it to the club within the first hour. “Why the hell did I say the first hour?” She murmured to herself. “He’s going to kill me. He’s going to kill me. He’s going to kill me.” Making her way onto the train she immediately went to work unzipping her jacket and skirt among her fellow commuters. A short, form fitting halter dress was revealed underneath with an open back and two slits allowing for prime movement. Reaching into the satchel she donned a pair of heels before shoving her cadet items back in the satchel. Any glances from fellow passengers went unnoticed as she freed her hair from it’s bun and teased it loose. Using the windows reflection she began to apply a nice shade to her lips followed by eye shadow and eye liner.
Garnett had arrived a few minutes early just to ensure his special additives were properly primed. “Hey!” He greeted the manager with open arms. “You ready for tonight?”
“I’m ready to see you shit faced again.” The manager shot back, crossing his arms. “So what do you plan to do this time? A riot?”
“And you probably will.” Garnett winked. “Let’s talk….” Wrapping an arm around his he led him off towards the back, holding a drive for the man to see.
The music could be heard blasting nearly half a block away, successfully drowning the sounds of her heels against the pavement. “I guess they let him use the drive.” Rao slowed her pace down to catch her breath. Pulling open the door she could feel the base resonating through her core. “Holy shit. They REALLY let him use the drive!” She rubbed her ears, waiting to adjust while weaving through the crowd.
Garnett caught site of his engineer from a distance. Stepping down his vantage point with the DJ he went to work.
“Hey, Zletka!” Rao practically had to yell, giving her her roommate a hug.
“You look lovely.” Zletka commented spotting Garnett coming their way with a tray of drinks in his hand.
“It’s about time you got here!” Garnett bellowed, holding out a tray of drinks. “Drink! We gotta catch you up!”
“Ugh, thanks. I need it.” Rao slammed the shot back to see Garnett holding another which she took in stride. After the second she was surprised to see yet another shot ready for her. “How many of these are going around?” She shot a questioning look at Zletka who merely smiled with a soft shrug.
“One more. Come on.” Garnett shook the small glass for her take. Everyone around them were also being offered shots much to his enjoyment. It had taken some convincing, but…eventually he’d managed to get the manager on board. Mix a little Romulan ale with another drink and boom- the perfect shots.
“Okay, okay.” Rao took the glass. “Yamas!” She called once with the others before downing it.
“Alright, you ready?” Garnette took Rao by the shoulders. .
“I’m ready.” Rao smiled.
“I said; ARE YOU READY?!” His voice grew louder.
“Oh my gosh. Yes, get off me, so I can go party!” Rao laughed, pushing him back and taking Zletka’s hand. “Catch you later!” The two girls disappeared into the crowd leaving Garnett to grab another tray and head off towards more new arrivals.
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