No One Sh*t til High Gate! (Part 1)

Patch got back to the Lunar Veil more or less when he said he would, but riding shotgun on an all terrain buggy loaded with boxes and bags. When they pulled up, the driver hopped out and quickly went to work moving the merchandise. The old mechanic grabbed a box and followed close behind up the gangway. “Just there up on the left is good!” he said cheerily to the driver who was only too happy to comply. “I can sort it out after.” he smiled as he put down the box with a bit of a thud.

“Whoa, hold up,” Riley told him, as she folded up shop, (read: the chair and the sign) to prep for take off. “Cargo bay is for cargo only, crew shit goes in your bunk or stays on the planet. Wasn’t expecting you to bring so much gear.”

“Oh!” Patch beamed “This is[/] for the crew!” He looked proudly at his haul. “I figured, ya know, since we’re gonna be in the black for 2 weeks, we can have a well-stocked galley!” Patch enthusiastically began listing off what he brought aboard. “Got ya dry good over there...beans, noodles, rice….”

Riley held up a hand to cut him off mid sentence. “The galley [i]is stocked, she insisted, raising an eyebrow. “No one on this crew has ever gone hungry except by choice.”

“Yeah, but…” the mechanic countered, lowering his voice to a near whisper. “It’s protein paste.” He motioned to the younger crew members with an almost pleading tone to his soft speech “The kids shouldn’t have ta live on that. So I thought…”

Riley’s both eyebrows raised with the explanation, and she held up her stopping hand once again. “You served the Alliance, Kowalski?”

The retired Staff Sereant bristled. He knew the preamble to a dressing down when he heard one. He cleared his throat. “Yes, Ma’am.” he replied, stiffening a bit.

“So did I. And I graduated the gorram academy, and do you know what they taught in the academy?” She asked, not waiting for a response. “Discipline. Respect, and math. What happens to food after you eat it?”

The mechanic almost chuckled but thought that would arguably be the worst thing he could do, given the current mood of his CO. “We, uh...relieve ourselves of it….Ma’am.” he remembered to punctuate the respect at the last minute.

“Right. What do you think generate more shit, what you just brought on or the nutrient dense paste that the alliance provides, which likely sustained you when you were in service, sustained me when I was in service, and still feeds the Alliance troops today.” She said in one breath. “So, not only are you trying to step on the toes of my cook, but you’re also trying to generate more waste for the ship, which will fill the tank, weigh the ship down and burn more fuel. Is that what you’re saying you want to do, because,” she unfolded her arms to air quote” kids shouldn’t have to live on that? Or are you saying that I don’t need a cook, because you, former staff sergeant Edward Kowalski are going to do both, fix my engines and tend my galley?”

“N...No Ma’am.” the old mechanic replied compliantly. He hesitated, not knowing how this was going to go, but he decided to anyway. “Permission to ask for and offer clarification, Ma’am?”
“Be my guest,” Riley challenged.

“Well, firstly, I was intendin’ the food to be so’s the cook had plenty to work with. I wasn’t lookin’ to supplant no one, Ma’am.” the old man explained. “And yeah, I mean, yes” he worked to say the word cleanly, “we are[/] Alliance and we [i]have[/] had to live on that...when we [i]served. But...is this an active duty ship? And...are all the crew Alliance soldiers, Ma’am?”

“It’s always the mechanic,” Riley muttered under her breath. “Roose is in charge of the galley, including the inventory of said galley. Maybe he’d like to take it upon himself next stopover to pick up a compression coil or trace compression block for the engine room,” she said dryly. “And no, this is not an active duty ship, but it is my ship, and you’ll still be costing us money for the extra fuel, not to mention waste removal costs when we dock on High Gate. Given the current situation on High Gate, that might not even be a possibility, which means anywhere near High Gate we have to land and refuel or empty waste tanks is going to come at a premium. I get it. Your heart’s in the right place, Kowalski, and nothing earns camaraderie like food. But you aren’t looking at the same big picture.”

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