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Happiness is a big gun?

Posted on Saturday June 3rd, 2017 @ 11:28am by Lieutenant Commander Jaca Lands-on-feet & Captain John Williams

Mission: Intermission 1: New Home
Location: USS Jerusalem, Deck 1: Ready Room
Timeline: 24 February 2392, 1400

Ready Room, Deck 1, USS Jerusalem
24 February 2392, 1400

It was early afternoon, and the background music selection for the afternoon's round of 'paperwork whack-a-mole' was John Denver's "Leaving on a jet plane". As before, just loud enough to be heard behind the desk, and yet quiet enough not to be heard even if you were standing at the door.

Once that track faded, though, then the mood changed. The piece next was definitely more modern; by the sound of it, written in the last 20 years or so. Definitely Terran in origin, it began simply, with a guitar:

Gather round children
Night grows dark and memories return
Whispers of times gone by, of better days I've found
Of loves gone away and friends not seen for too long.

Times, my young friends, when it all was new
When hopes had a place, and dreams could ever come true
Remember these times for you....cause dreams might be all ya get.

No, not the happiest of lyrics. Which might be why, when the chime sounded, Williams was inwardly thankful for the interruption and the automatic stop to the music. Computer had a weird mind whenever he went for shuffle.

"Enter!" he called.

Jaca still hadn't stopped by her quarters yet so she still had duffel and assault cannon on shoulders even though the XO had told her she did have time to do so to stow her belongings. She was just used to knocking out all the introductory meetings first, then drop her stuff off and dive in to work. She strode in and stood at attention so straight it probably would've shown perfectly straight on a carpenter's level. "Reporting for duty, Sir.", she said simply.

Well, OK. Gigantic minigun and spacebag. Fortunately, John Williams had a quick wit and didn't seem to miss a beat.

"At ease. So, you're the new Chief Security Officer the Community Manager at BUPERS warned me was, and I quote 'Interesting'. And of course he didn't mention the minigun. Of course. Might I have your name, if nothing else, Commander?" He sounded entirely calm and unruffled, as if the minigun were, ahem, just another dagger. He even smiled quite pleasantly as he stood and extended a hand.

If Jaca shifted to at ease, it wasn't visible to a human eye. While she didn't show it outwardly, she was rather impressed and surprised that the Captain actually asked how to address her. It was definitely a first. "Jaca or Lands-on-Feet. Either means me.", she said as she shook his hand very firmly.

"Fair enough. Now, have a seat. Let's get the paperwork out of the way, and then let's chat a bit," Williams responded. "Before we get too deeply into things, you want coffee, tea, water, anything to drink?"

Jaca knew the drink offer was a human formality, never one to be answered honestly since Starfleet couldn't wrap it's mind around the Djuundi custom of always having some degree of alcohol buzz going. Again she glanced at the offered chair and chose to continue to stand at attention. "I'm good, Sir.", she replied.

"OK. If you would, Commander, please laserlink your PADD to my console and transfer over your assignment orders, your travel orders, and your personnel file over the secure linkup," Williams asked, so far not seeming to notice, or care about, what others might deem insults. Indeed, he seemed to be keeping his thoughts in general pretty closely held.

Once that was done, he took a second to skim over the orders, endorse them, send them on to the appropriate places for filing or further action, and then looked at the personnel file.

"Mostly starbase postings, I see. I take it the minigun is your interpretation of Starfleet's regulation allowing personal weapons for cultural or religious reasons; I do, however, remember that the regulation includes the word 'discreet' at fairly important positions. Am I wrong as to the regulation's phrasing, Commander?" Williams asked this with no heat nor malice in his tone. More curiosity than anything else.

"You are correct Sir about the Starfleet cultural regulation.", Jaca said, "However in the Djuundi contract with Starfleet, paragraph 5, subclauses A through Q, I am allowed my assigned birthweapon on the condition I need express permission from my commanding officers for usage. Sub-subclause N does detail if you still have misgivings for any reason, I am to hand over the firing chip upon request." She shrugged as this sticking point was old hat to her, "I've had my weapon with me since I was assigned it at the age of Earth equivalent 5, I don't fire it unless the situation without question warrants it."

"Ah, yes, the 8000 page contract that made every lawyer from the JAG I consulted...cry after 20 pages." Williams sounded impressed. "Nobody got through more than 30, it was amazing." Pause. "I'm actually going to point out that my concern is less you shooting the thing, and more accidentally knocking someone unconscious with it when you don't actually intend to. I'll let you keep the firing chip, but when it isn't a red alert, store it in the weapons locker just off the bridge? Hell, a yellow alert, even. I just have two scenarios full of 'I'd rather not confront the possibility' - someone getting their hands on that that is not you, which is just a nightmare, and someone getting knocked out cold by accident by it....which is just a lawsuit begging to happen. Not all of our corridors are wide, and some are in fact quite narrow, and that minigun is...not exactly designed for narrow spaces, it looks like."

"As you order, Sir.", Jaca said simply. The Captain's reasoning made no sense to her, but then to a Djuundi mind if one didn't want to get hit with something it was expected to move out of the way. Any discomfort she once had of being without the weapon she'd had at her side for the majority of her life had long since been hammered down by Federation sensitivities. Her assault cannon would be relocated to the designated locker soon as she left his office. With that point discussed, she waited quietly at attention for any other questions the Captain might have.

"I know, it makes no sense to you, Commander. You've got a good poker face, but in my job reading what people aren't saying is a survival skill," Williams replied. "I'd apologize, but I can't, really. I know it's a hell of a thing to ask, but I don't really have any other choice. It won't make sense, not at your level. When you have your own command, which is something I am determined all of my senior staff will, before their tours with me are up, at least be ready to contemplate whether they want it at some future point, and be in a position for future advancement...When you have your own command, a lot of the things that seem to make zero sense suddenly fall into place, and you have a lot of lightbulb moments, moments where you go 'Oh, so that's why that's a thing'." Pause. "That said. Looking over your training record, I don't see a notation that you have watch officer certification. Would that be something you'd like to start training for?"

Jaca said nothing about the Captain's out of the blue elaboration as to why she wasn't allowed her weapon. His decision was his decision simple as that and somehow feeling the need to explain in detail just felt so talky-talky Federation full of fear about how words were taken. "I've already done similar with my warband.", she said, answering his offer, "Also been mess cook, armory duty, order keeper, field medic, brewmaster...I can do watch training."

"OK then, I'll set it up. You'll be training directly under me and the XO, but testing will occur after 90 days under a conveniently-available flag officer," Williams replied.

"As you order, Sir.", she said, ready to start whenever the training was scheduled.

"With that said, do you have any questions for me?" Pause. "That ain't a formality, by the way. Ask whatever comes to mind," Williams noted.

"No, Sir.", she said.

That got a simple nod from the CO, then. "Well, then I won't keep you. Go stow your stuff in your quarters, but you can keep the weapon with you for now - I mostly don't want it out on the bridge. I'll send you information on the current watch roster and where you fit in later. Dismissed, Commander, and welcome aboard."

"Thank you, Sir.", Jaca said as she left his office to stow her things away. With the Captain now seeming to reverse his decision on her weapon, she chalked it up to humans being a strange people and thought nothing more of it.


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