In the Beginning, there were no chairs...

Penni waited at the docking hatch reading the PADD on which her crew roster had finally arrived, after days of repeated requests to Starfleet Personnel. It had been a rather distressing revelation, finding her crew was ‘green as grass stains’, as Captain Relx would have put it. More, they were a collection of misfits, disciplinary problems, and underachievers that’d barely qualified for shipboard duty. She was expected, according to the additional orders that’d arrived with her crew roster, to transform ship and crew into a capable team.

She’d seen the Anne Marie arrive. All she’d been able to note was the lack of the distinctive coloring of ablative hull armor, and instead there was the gunmetal coloring of neutronium plating. The vessel had seemed to be mostly intact, spaceworthy at least.

The hatch finally opened to reveal the short, whipcord lean, dark-skinned Lieutenant Georgia Yafai. Penni had made sure to review her file first, as the hard-faced woman was to be her XO. She’d been near the top of her class in all courses, a tactical specialist, high marks in tactics, physical ability, genius intellect even among the high standards set by Starfleet, she’d been promoted directly to Lieutenant upon graduation and assignment to the Anne’Marie. She had almost no experience outside of her final training tour. She was also noted on multiple accounts to have a temper described as explosive and short-fused.

The young lieutenant snapped to attention and saluted. “Welcome aboard Captain!” She fairly shouted.

Penni managed not to flinch and returned the salute, “Not captain just yet, Lieutenant. When the crew is officially boarded, that will be the proper time. Order the crew to disembark, quarters have been arranged.” A member of the station staff was waiting behind her, with PADD containing their quarter’s assignments.

“Yes ma’am.” She turned to a console next to her and keyed the shipwide address. “All hands, prepare to disembark by sections.”

“What’s the condition of the ship?”

Lieutenant Yajai flinched slightly, “Uhm…barely spaceworthy, ma’am. In my opinion this vessel should have been decommissioned, not refitted.”

The corridor had panels off, conduits and ODN lines were exposed. IT appeared half the lights didn’t work. Penni shook her head, partial refit had not been an encouraging term, but this was already not what she’d expected. Then they reached the bridge. “Where’s the captains chair….where are any of the chairs?”

“They were gone when we boarded.”

“Why is there no fire control?” Penni motioned to an empty console bracket.

“Apparently it’s not needed because there are no weapons.”

“No weapons.”

“Yes, ma’am, no launcher, no cannons, no beam arrays. The Chief said there aren’t even conduits run to the weapon ports.”

“Dare I ask about a cloaking device?”

“There’s half of one.”

“Impulse engine?”

“About 50% functional. Chief made some repairs.”

“Warp core?”

“Brand new, works perfectly, Mark Twelve Type O. Came with the neutronium plating. And I’m pretty sure that’s the extent of the refit.”

“Warp Nacells?”

“Still damaged, we were stuck at Warp 5. That’s why it took two weeks instead of five days.”

“What about the keel structure?”

“No warping or microfractures.”

“You’ve been well briefed.”

“Well…Chief K’Mirra wouldn’t stop talking about it. She’s in love with this heap for some reason.”

“Perhaps referring to it as a ‘heap’ is not a good idea, Lieutenant. Your life depends on it, after all.”

“Yes ma’am.” She sounded doubtful, and Penni wondered why.

Penni held in a sigh and went over to the dedication plaque. It was scorched badly and she had to use the sleeve of her uniform to scrub it clean enough to be legible. “USS Marie’Anne, NCC-96568, Antares shipyards…hmmm…that plaque is badly scorched.”

Georgia shrugged, “I heard the ship was gutted by plasma fire while the crew was trying to abandon it. Supposedly there were no survivors.”

“Hmmm….” She scrubbed at the remainder of the plaque but the rest had been partially melted. “Lieutenant, it’s late. See that the crew rotates into station time. I think a few cleaning details are in order too. Tomorrow I want to meet with the section officers in the ship’s galley to begin planning the completion of the refit.”

“So we’re really going to refit her?”

“What gave you the impression that was not the purpose of this command?”

“Ah, well…I just thought the rest of the crew was being shipped out to Argo with the rest of the problem children. And I thought you and I would be overseeing reducing her to station parts.”

“You don’t consider yourself among the problem children?”

“Of course not.”

“Hmm…well Lieutenant, we are going to complete this refit. And we are going to mold this crew into a cohesive unit. Now, I’ve given orders, see they are carried out. Am I clear?”

Georgia straightened, “Yes ma’am!”

“Good, dismissed.”

The Lieutenant briskly exited the bridge. When she was gone, Penni glanced around the bridge. “We really do need some chairs in here.” As she turned to leave she paused, for a moment, she swore she felt someone watching her. But there was no-one she could detect. She shook her head and looked at the bulkhead, then gave it what would seem to anyone who didn’t know her, because anyone who did knew she never anthropomorphized machines, a reassuring pat.
"What the hel is all this junk, Bachlud?!"

Lieutenant Lafai fairly screamed at the Pakled weapons officer. He flinched and backed away.

"O..organizing...parts...n-"

"You screwed up like an idiot, Bachlud," She shouted, stepping up, and causing him to back into a bulkhead, "Because you're organizing these parts, like an IDIOT!"

"B-but parts, still good!" Bachlud tried to explain, "Bachlud inspect, not dumb, all-"

"Can it, Bachlud!" She waived his reply away dismissively, "Every single on of these parts is outdated! As good as junk anyway! I want every piece of this scrap cleared off this ship! By Eleven hundred! DO YOU KNOW WHAT TIME ELEVEN HUNDRED IS?"

"B-Bachlud know!" The Packled fairly cowered.

"Georgia."

"WHAT!" She spun to face Penni standing in the hatchway, "...Ma'am?"

"Let's talk n my ready room."

The lieutenant clenched her jaw and followed Penni to the ready room of the Anne Marie. One of the few parts of the vessel with any functionality, primarily due to a mobile power source and repairs Penni had made on her own.

"I'm concerned about your health, Georgia," Penni said as she sat down behind her desk, motioning for her XO to sit as well. "If you don't settle down a little you're going to end up on medical leave with a stress-induced condition of some kind."

Georgia remained standing, fists clenched, "Permission to speak freely, Commander?"

"Of course."

"I'd like to request permission for a transfer."

Penni arched and eyebrow at her, "For what reason?"

"Ma'am, this ship, this crew, it's a disaster! I don't know how any of these halfwits even got into the academy or Starfleet! There's not three half-competent officers or enlisted between all fifty of 'em! This posting could jeopardize my career!" She was shouting once more by the end.

"Georgia, are you aware you have some fairly significant temper issues?"

"No I don't!" She stiffened as Penni approached, "That's just..."

"Being tightly wound?" Penni interrupted, "So you've often claimed, but a habit of picking fistfights in academy bars speaks differently. And lets not leave out a fairly strong spiciest bent."

"WHAT?!" She stepped forward, fists clenched.

"I know Pakleds sound dumb to you, but have you read his reports? Nevermind, I know you've been ignoring them. How about your regular harassment of Crewman Nialla's dress? She's Orion, and grew up in those clothes. Calling Chief K'Mirra a 'cat' behind her back, *forcing* Ensign Niggo to look you in the eyes even after he told you about his phobia. I could go on, but the picture's pretty clear already."

"You!" Georgia started to take her swing but before she could make more than a twitche she found herself slammed into the wall, held up by her collar several centimeters off the deck.

"Let me tell you what's going on here, Lieutenant," Penni explained calmly, "We've been offered a challenge, both you and I have been promoted well ahead of the curve and now it's time to prove ourselves to Starfleet. This crew has it's issues, yours included, and I know all of them. Our job is to turn them from a collection of disciplinary, psych and academic problems, into a cohesive unit that will be a ASSET to Starfleet instead of a WASTE of time and resources. I intend to accomplish this, and if you prove a hindrance, then I'll make Bachlud the XO, and transfer you to the deepest, darkest, dullest hole Starfleet has to offer with my assessment as a permanent blackmark on your record."

She set her down gently, "Or, you can figure out your issues, work on them, and apologize to the cremates you've been harassing and terrorizing these past few weeks. When you've done that, you can join me in raising up a crew worthy of this vessel and her history." She pressed the control and opened the door, "Your decision. Starfleet's given everyone here a choice, overcome our many faults, or serve our terms in obscure failure. I sincerely hope you choose to stay, you're extremely talented. Besides, my mother was a street brat from Sigma Iota, now she's got a task force and command of a station. I'm betting you can do just as well."

Georgia looked shocked, still shaking off the fact that she'd nearly punched her commanding officer and been handled like a newborn kitten for her trouble. "Your mother...?"

"Adoptive. Any more questions?"

"Uh...no ma'am...um..."

"Dismissed. Inform me of your decision soon, and we'll see if we can't figure out where you issues with aliens stem from. For a start."

"Yes..." The Lieutenant looked dazed as she left the ready room.

Penni nodded as her XO left. One thing that had never been attempted was point out Georgia's own prejudices to her. It was likely she wasn't even aware of them. But a street girl from Sigma Iota needed a more direct hand then Starfleet was used to using with most officers. She was confident Georgia would be looking closely at her own behavior from now on.
"The counselor thinks she can help then." Penni was saying, as she and Georgia traversed a catwalk above one of the deeper engineering bays on the station.

"Yes. It's...really weird. Already the way I've been acting looks, a little bit insane." Georgia replied, "Honestly it's also damn creepy how she looks right *INTO* me."

"Betazoids can be unnerving at times. Ah, this seems to be the place." Penni stopped at a small mechanical left that took them down to the main deck of the bay.

"What exactly are we doing down here?" Georgia asked, "I meant to ask but we got started on...my problems."

"Ensign Bachlud claims he has found weapons for the ship. We won't have to wait for special parts to be fabricated."

"Down here?" She asked incredulously, "I looked at the bay info, most of the stuff down here isn't cataloged. It's just leftovers from old engagements, unused parts, probably from a dozen different kinds of ships and some station parts that got left behind when they went outdated."

"Pakleds are cleverer than most give them credit for. You've read his reports and analysis. Bachlud is more than clever."

"No kiddin'. He's damn near a savant or something. Which is making me feel even worse about yelling at him, which makes me mad, and on and on, it's a vicious circle."

"The important thing is you understand it's there." Penni peered about. "Where is he?"

There was a sudden crash of falling parts and metal, followed by shouting, more crashing. They rant towards the commotion and found Bachlud pulling himself out of a pile of parts, apparently unharmed.

"Ensign, are you all right?" Penni asked as they ran up.

"Unharmed unharmed." Bachlud assured them, "I get excited, find good part, get clumsy when excited sometimes."

"What did you want to show us?" Goergia asked.

Bachlud grinned, "I find weapons!" and he motioned grandiosely to the pile of what could be generously termed, junk.

"Gonna need more details than that." Geogia responded flatly as Penni began inspecting the parts.

"Make weapons from these." Bachlud explained, "Plasma cannons! From these and these and these..." he began pointing out parts.

"Uh...Romulan EPS conduit, Klingon plasma channels, is this a Breen field polarizor, some kind of gravitic effectors maybe, I think these are Vulcan magnetic constrictors? Bachlud none of these parts are designed to work together, and you've got now converts anywhere in here."

Bachlud made a scoffing noise, "Converters, no need!"

"He's right," Penni agreed after inspecting the parts, "In practice, plasma weapons don't really need converters. They get used anyway because that's standardized weapon design. But it might be possible to fit together a cannon from these parts....maybe."

"Bachlud can!" Bachlud assured them, "Can make BIG cannon!"

"The Anne'Marie isn't designed for heavy cannons. We don't the reserves."

"Heavy conduits, power on always." Bachlud explained.

"The conduits we have could handle it." Penni pointed out.

"And we'd just fire raw plasma?" Georgia asked, "That's....kinda crazy."

Bachlud grinned at her, "Crazy good!"

Penni smiled, "He's not wrong, sometimes crazy is the right play."

Georgia shook her head. "Ok, but I want the record to show that I think this idea is nuts."

"Noted." Penni turned to Bachlud. "Get a team, gather up everything you need. Forwards your plans to myself, Georgia and Chief K'Mirra."

"Aye Captain!" Bachlud fairly shouted in his enthusiasm.

Georgia smirked as they left. "I notice you don't stop him from calling you captain."

Penni shrugged, "He gets uncomfortable when I try."

"Maybe he's crushing on ya."

"What? No...." Penni insisted.

Georgia smiled, "C'mon captain, you're probably the first female that's been nice to him since he started at the academy. And I found out Pakleds sometimes have a thing about authority."

"Pure speculation, both of those points." Penni pointed out as they exited the bay. She smiled, "However, this is a good thing, your teasing speculation. You're already beginning to relax."

Georgia paused, "Yeah, I guess. Still, I'm not gonna drop the yelling completely. I think the hardass XO thing is gonna work for me."

"You may be right."