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Cutting the Cord
Posted on August 18th, 2021 by Scott Ammora

Some of the consoles had flickered back to life. Some of them tried and failed. As Scott continued to make circles around the room he found that fifty percent of everything seemed normal and the other fifty percent appeared at half integrity. He had attempted a couple of additional diagnostics like he had in the time during the breakdown, but kept running into the same problems.

He had opened up one of the consoles and was tweaking some of the components and scanning with his tricorder when the doors whisked open. A team of engineers appeared, half a dozen at least, and they all scattered to various areas. Scott was surprised and slammed his head on the underside of the unit he was working on.

“We’ll take it from here, Lieutenant.” A young ensign said. “You two take the torpedo launcher mechanisms, you two on phaser banks, you three on the shield generators, and I’ll handle central control.”

“Hey, nice timing, I was just looking at this console and I think that it’s the power relays, but they seem fine.”

“I’ll make sure they’re good.”

“You may want to make sure that it isn’t a cascade effect – ”

“I’ve got it, sir, thanks.”

Scott bit his tongue. He knew they were trained Starfleet engineers, but he was the munitions expert, this was his domain. “Just an observation from the last two hours or so.”

“Thank you, sir.”

If Scott wasn’t already tired he would have thought the answer was curt and unprofessional, but as he gazed around the room everyone was working quickly. Efficiently, however, was another story. He knew the mechanics, he knew the systems – his systems – and he didn’t want anything to go wrong. Grey would have his head if anything went awry.

Up above on the second level he noticed the two workers diving directly into the launcher integrity sub-processors. “Careful with that!” Like a bullet he was up the ladder stairs and next to them, pushing them back. “If you don’t realign the main relay you could activate a manual launch. And if you do it wrong, you’ll fry the whole thing.”

The two engineers stood there, obviously perturbed. “Sir, realigning the main relay was the first thing we did.”

Scott surveyed their work and it was true. “Oh, I didn’t realize.”

“This isn’t the first time we’ve done this type of repair.” Again, the curtness. This time the response from the crewman had a slight dusting of sarcasm.

Nodding, Scott slid back down to the main floor. He was keeping an eye on everyone, and feeling utterly worthless. He knew the ins and outs of the system, what everything did and how everything functioned in perfect potentially-destructive harmony. He wanted to help. But all the things that needed to be looked at were being looked at.

Moving over to the gentleman at phaser control he peered over their shoulder. “Make sure you blend the harmonics on the energy reactors.” He said, noting they were out of alignment by quite a bit.

One engineer kept working, ignoring his comment, and the other turned. “Lieutenant, with all due respect, we need to reset the initiation parameters before we can blend the harmonics. We haven’t gotten that far yet.”

“Ah, okay, gotcha.”

Scott meandered back to the center of the room, taking it all in. What to do, what to do, what to do? Pace. That came naturally to Scott in moments like this. He was good at it: had the proper form with his hands behind his back, steady steps in the same quantity in each direction before the about face, and his head positioned at eye level with occasional glances around.

“Sir, we’re here to fix these problems. If you’re going to continue to pace like that we’re going to have to add replacing the deck plating to our list of things to do.” The ensign who seemed to be in charge looked over his shoulder with a smile.

Acknowledging the comment, Scott stopped, “I’m not very good at having nothing to do.”

“Our teams are the best, that’s why we’re on the Atlantis. Just as I’m sure that’s why you’re here.”

The compliment caught him off guard. “Uh, thanks, but you must not know who I am.”

The ensign looked up again, “I’m sorry?”


“Will you hand me that hydrospanner, please?”

Scott grabbed it off the toolkit and handed it to him.

“There, Lieutenant, you’re doing something.” The ensign chuckled.

Scott fought from rolling his eyes, but smirked nonetheless. “I’m glad I could be of service. Out of curiosity, as you rummage through the guts of that console, was there anything that I could’ve done to do the repair? To have fixed it myself?” He always liked learning and trying to better himself in his job.

“Not really, sir, in all honesty. It’s one thing to do general maintenance and upkeep. It’s another to dive into a problem of this magnitude without the knowledge of the intricacies of the system. You probably would’ve done more harm than good trying to do anything.” Again, another look up, “No offense to your skills or anything.”

Shaking his head, Scott put up his palms, “None taken,” he lowered them, “I think.”

“We all have our babies, don’t we?”

“Come again?”

“You know, babies, our ‘children’.” The ensign waved a PADD in Scott’s direction noticing Scott’s bewildered expression, “You’ve run the same diagnostic three times every time you’ve checked this console. Three. Once is more than enough.”

He didn’t enjoy his methods being critiqued, “I’m thorough.”

“You’re protective! And that’s fine when talking about your kids. Some have physical children, some have animals, and others have inanimate objects like equipment. Though, those tend to be the weird ones.” The ensign stood and closed the panel, tapping the console a couple of times and it whirled to life back to one hundred percent compliance. “Mine are the replicators. I love ‘em.”

Scott laughed, “Replicators, really?”

“Oh yeah, the things can make practically anything. But, you got to be nice to them and treat them right, otherwise everything is mediocre. A finely tuned replicator can make a standard cup of coffee taste like was from coffee beans grown in the volcanic soil of Monetra Prime. Or, if left without upkeep, it could taste like it came out of a Ferengi sewer.” He pointed a finger at Scott, “Which sounds more appetizing?”

“Thanks for that gross mental image,” Scott shook his head as if to push the thought from his mind. “I bet your replicator talks with a French accent, doesn’t it? Everything you replicate, regardless of how trivial, comes out on a silver plate with a charger underneath? Something green for garnish perhaps?”

The ensign smirked, “Something like that. It is a pretty awesome contraption. All Starfleet-approved, mind you. You’ll have to come check it out sometime.”

“Yeah, sounds good.”

“What are you doing Friday night?”

Holy shit, this guy was serious. “I – uh, I don’t know, I just have… well…” Scott’s eyes caught a giant red orb on the shield harmonics screen across the room and he instinctively moved towards the people at the panel below it, “Guys – ”

The ensign put a hand on his arm, “Lieutenant, they got it.”

“You’re right, you’re right. Baby, remember?” And he ran a hand through his hair.

“So, Friday?”

Scott looked the blonde-haired ensign in the face again, unsure of how to read him. An invitation on a Friday night to his personal quarters to ‘look at his replicator’. The amount of innuendo in that sentence alone sent Scott’s head into a tailspin. He didn’t want to make assumptions, but it felt that he was being asked out. But was he? He was so bad at this. “Sure, sounds good.”

“Do you know how to play poker?”

Okay, not a date. “Kind of. But I’ll manage.”

“We love the newbies. I’m Evan Benevente,” a hand reached out for Scott’s.

He took it and gave it a firm grip and shake, “Scott Ammora.”

“Pleasure to meet you.”

“And you. I’ll let your team work.”

Evan waved him away, “We’ll have your babies cooing perfectly and sweetly in no time.”

Scott headed towards the door, comfortable that his ‘kids’ were in good hands. “I don’t doubt it. After all, they did just take a… power nap.” He was sure he heard Evan groan at his terrible joke as he entered the corridor, but he didn’t care, he thought it was funny.

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  • Kathryn Harper Kathryn Harper says:

    Looks like Scott managed to make a friend despite himself! I had a good cackle at the possible innuendo in ‘look at his replicator’ and it was even funnier when Scott realized that there was no innuendo present. Nicely done!

  • Emilaina Acacia says:

    I love how Scott’s personality comes through in all your writing about him. The hovering, advising, pacing, all feels so in character. The engineers being annoyed by him was also charming. I chuckled when he couldn’t tell if he was being hit on, until poker was mentioned. Great log!

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