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We all scream for ice cream

Posted on Thu Jan 26th, 2017 @ 9:05pm by Lieutenant JG Ian Dodger & Commander Jennifer Matthews

Mission: Mistaken Honor
Location: Sick Bay - CMO's office

It was all set up. Ian's little pet project, his private soda jerk slash sundae sidebar had been hooked up into the ship's power grid via the power conduits coming off of the replicator in his office. Unfortunately, he wouldn't have access to real cream this far away from a planet or starbase, and it wasn't exactly a priority for farmers/ranchers to make these days because of the proliferation of replicators, but he could make due with replicated cream until the next time they docked. Once he'd made a slurry of flavorings, cream and sugar, he poured them into the machine on the back of the bar, and started it up. The churning was a little higher pitched than he remembered it making when he'd seen it demonstrated, but he was sure it was fine. In a few minutes, he'd have two gallons of perfectly-flavored dark chocolate and earl gray ice cream, perfect for an after-dinner dessert.

But it sure was making a lot more noise than he had expected.

And it was getting louder.

He took out his non-medical tricorder and scanned the device, then tapped his commbadge when he saw the readings. "Ummmm, Engineering? I'm afraid I may have made a bit of a mistake here..." He said, as the ice cream maker began flinging out pint-sized blobs of blast-chilled ice cream. "If you happen to have anyone free at the moment to come to my office, I..." And then one of the blobs of ice-cream pelted him in the face. "AAAaaaahh! Holy mother that's cold!" The small bar began to shudder like an ill-weighted washing machine on spin cycle, flinging ice-cream so hard against the picture window of his office that the impact of it resounded through sick-bay, startling his nurses and the poor, hapless intern Starfleet had given him to train.

Down in Engineering, Jenni was sitting cross legged next to the warp core. As the ship was currently at warp, there was no way she could perform the maintenance the magnetic constrictors so desparately needed. But, she could work on many of the secondary systems that were above the dilithium chamber. Its redundant systems made flushing the interior plasma buildup in the EPS relays an easy task. And, while she could just as easily delegate this task to another, Jenni wanted to perform it herself. She felt tasks like these helped her get to know the ship better, and with as much time apart she and Katana had, this was a necessary duty for her.

And the task was just as easy to abandon should something surprise her or require her attention, which was exactly what she thought could happen when the internal speakers chimed and the voice of the new Chief Medical Officer was heard. At first, she wanted to dismiss it, but the panic in his voice was what garnered her full attention. "Ensign!" she called out to the Trill across the room. "Finish this up, will you?"

Before catching the ensign's response, Jenni had leaped up and left Engineering. Rather than carry a toolkit, she sported a finely crafted pouch that was attached to her hip and hugged her right thigh. It carried most of the tools she'd ever need, and if a situation required more than what she had on hand, then it was time to call for backup anyway. "On my way!" she called back to the doctor, tapping her badge before running out the door.

A minute later she arrived in sickbay. "What seems to be the..." she started to ask, only to have her voice trail off when she spotted the commotion in the Doctor's office.

"I think I..." Ian said, only to pause , blocking another large glob of ice cream with a PaDD. "...Might have made a mistake wiring this thing up." His office, which might have otherwise seemed a bit spartan, and mildly cluttered, now looked like it had hosted a toddler birthday party or college food fight. "The instruction manual was in Breen, you see." He concluded, thying to move close enough to the device to shut it down. More ice-cream shot out as he approached, deflecting off of the PaDD he held and flying out the open door to splatter the display above one of the bio-beds. "I usually prefer my ice cream to be served at lower velocities." He added with a slightly nervous chuckle.

"Computer!" Jenni called out, grabbing a nearby pillow to shield herself as well. "Shut down power to the Chief Medical Officer's office! Authorization Matthews Bravo Foxtrot Two Three Gamma." The computer beeped in reply. Immediately the lights went out in the office, as did the visual displays, but the ice cream kept coming. "What did you do!?" Jenni asked, grabbing a spanner and rushing over to the ice cream maker. Unless she shut down power to the entire sickbay complex, this would be a little more difficult than she thought.

Ian's brow furrowed, his expression somewhere between hurt and petulant for a moment, not liking the implied accusation in the engineer's tone. "I tapped into the primary plasma relay to my office's replicator with a phase adaptor... Thingimajigger... and some conduit... I've done this sort of thing before, honestly!" He added almost defensively. Because he had. Given, he'd only done so on a seventy year old Antares freighter, but it wasn't like he was a total amateur at this sort of thing.

The ice cream maker was relentless. Jenni could feel the cold, wet ice cream begin to seep through the pillow. She now stood over the device, not caring at all about the drips falling on her already dirty boots and pants. Her eyes darted all around, looking for the aforementioned relay and... thingimajigger. Unable to see much around the pillow, Jenni glanced around it and saw enough of a conduit underneath a mound of rocky road. She reached out, grabbed it, and pulled. Almost instantly, the mechanical whir faded away, and so did the slinging of ice cream. Jenni lowered her shield and began to observe the, well, wet office. Nodding slowly, she looked up at the doctor and said with a tired smile, "Looks like your plasma flow wasn't being regulated."

"It... Wasn't?" Ian asked, taken aback. "I did all the calculations, configured the ohmage..." He wasn't stupid, after all. "It uses Breen technology to blast chill the ice cream to just the right temperature, so it can't just be plugged right in. I'm... Sorry. I should have called down and asked for help." It was a hard admission for him to make, because he hated to ask for help, had hated needing to call down to engineering for assistance with this trifle. Because it was a trifle. "I'm Ian, by the way. New Doctor, all of that."

"Jenni," she said back to him with a smile. "And, for the record, you'll find I'm very protective of this ship. But, I'll never tell anyone "no" if I can help it. In fact, I'll even volunteer to help in my off hours." With that, she withdrew a spanner from her wait pouch and tossed it at Ian. "Care to give me a hand getting this working for you?"

And even though it was a gentle lofting and from not too far away, Ian still managed to bobble and drop the spanner, only narrowly missing his foot and a large glob of ice cream lying on the floor. "Crap!" He exclaimed, stooping to pick it up. "I can appreciate your protectiveness of the ship... I used to have one of my own back before I joined Starfleet -- an old Antares Class. Was constantly having to pitch in to fix it." He said, kneeling down to lift up the carpet panels around the bar and open the access panel for the wiring trunk. Then he called up the schematics on his wrist PaDD and transferred them to the larger PaDD he'd been using to shield himself from the ice cream, setting it down next to him so she could reference it.

Jenni took a moment to study the schematics. "Antares class?" she asked. "I remember serving on one during my Academy days, but I can't say I've seen one in years. It amazes me that those things still fly. That must have been an interesting experience."

"It was." Ian said with a fond nod at the thought. "It was converted to serve as a dedicated medical vessel, operating in the Cardassian DMZ before and during the Dominion war as part of a civilian relief organization. When time comes for me to retire from the fleet, I hope to be doing much the same sort of thing." Because Ian was almost a pathological bleeding-heart do-gooder. He reached into the panel and began pulling up meticulously bundled wires and the phase adaptor and discriminator circuit. The latter was of Federation design while the former was decidedly Breen.

Jenni froze at the sight of the Breen technology. While she had grown past a lot, the one thing she hadn't overcome was the ruthless encounter with the Breen that completely changed her life. "There's part of your problem," she said, nodding at the circuit. "Breen technology doesn't integrate well with the Katana." She left out the part that the Katana herself was from a different universe and that even most Federation technology didn't integrate well with her.

Ian frowned and rocked back on his heels, raising a brow. "Another case of let the buyer beware, then." He said with a mild shrug, looking over the coils of wiring. "An easy fix, as it happens." He said, reaching over to flip off a circuit breaker and pick up his photonic caliper. "It takes Federation-issue phaser packs. But then people start asking, 'Why is the Doctor requisitioning so many phaser packs? Is he gearing up to fight a war? Is he a gun nut?'" He mused with a faint chuckle. "That's how rumors get get started, and you know how pernicious gossip can get on a starship." He delved in with the caliper and began removing the circuitry he'd installed. "So that's about fifteen hours of my life I'll never get back."

"I've heard of doctors with an air of bloodlust," she said with a gentle smile. She reached over and placed a hand over his, hoping it would get him to stop undoing his work. As great as her disdain for the Breen was, that was no reason to take it out on the doctor. "I'm sure we can find an alternative solution," she told him. "I can't tell you how many coffeepots I've installed where the heating elements were two hundred percent above normal and their origin came from somewhere other than a Federation replicator. Do you have any manuals or schematics for yoru parts?"

"Powers forbid. Bloodthirsty doctors?" Well, Ian had heard of his share of them, and not just the "gunners" in med school who would backstab other students at the drop of a hat, but it was a grim topic and not one that merited discussion while he was covered in freezing-cold ice-cream. And then she covered his hand and he stopped his futzing with the circuitry. "Um... Alright. I believe there's a schematic in here somewhere." he said, reaching his unencumbered hand over to the PaDD between them and paging through the user's manual to the section with the schematics for the device. "If nothing else, the merchants who sold me this device were obligingly... Um, what's the term? Anal retentive?"

Jenni chuckled at the term as she glanced at the schematic. "Sounds to me like they were taking advantage of a poor soul who wanted to make his own ice cream." After another moment of study, she declared, "Well, it looks like we can get this up and running, but it's going to take engineering a couple adaptors for you. I could have something ready in a couple hours and we can try to get this up and running for you."

"There's no rush." Ian asserted with a glance around his office. "It looks like I'm going to have tho spend the intervening time cleaning up my office anyway. It looks like someone decided to hold a children's birthday party in here and invited all the rowdy kids." His expression became amusedly rueful. "And my staff is never going to let me live this down, I know it."

"There could be worse things," Jenni said, reaching over to pull up her sleeve. As the yellow cuff was withdrawn, a purple tattoo in an elegant alien script became visible. "Like marrying this ship's last Captain on accident, for example."

Ian looked at her for a moment, incredulously, then chuckled. "Well, at least you didn't marry them on purpose. I made that mistake with a previous captain, only to learn that a captain's true marriage is to their ship." He concluded with a wry shake of his head and a self-deprecatory laugh. He was pretty much at peace with his ex-wife, at least until their next meeting (in however many years that meeting took to happen), but being at peace with her didn't mean that he didn't still have scars. "I felt like I should have asked for custody of the ship's shuttles in the divorce settlement."

"Well, he wasn't Captain at the time. But that's a completely other story in itself. Maybe one day," Jenni said, starting to push herself off of the ground and trying not to think about the patches of her uniform that were soaked and clinging to her body thanks to the melted ice cream, "I'll share the details."

"Until that day..." Ian said, rising and trying to gather up the shreds of what little dignity he clung to, and straightening his own sopping uniform, "I think I'm going to go to the Janitorial office and get a wet-vac and carpet shampooer." He concluded. "It wouldn't exactly be cricket to make my intern or the ship's janitors clean it up." He added. It was his mess, after all.

She smiled gently at him and gave him an assuring nod. "As soon as there's a quiet evening, I'll get the first round in the lounge."

With a chuckle, Ian said, "We can compare war stories. Just don't ask to see the battle scars, those are somewhat embarrassing." And then he slipped out of his office. "Alright, alright, enough with the staring." He told his nurses before leaving the sick bay.

[off]

 

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