Shore Leave: Business As Usual
Location: Deck 6, Chief Science Officers office, science labs
Given recent event's Alexander had forgotten to touch base with Lieutenant Isley on numerous occasions. As a result of his anxieties surrounding the incident, he had predominantly spent his time crunching numbers and interpreting the constant stream of data that was fed into the ship's systems 24/7. Not that there had been much reason to do so beyond the typical reports he would send when anything of note occurred. Since the ship had returned to normal however he had begun to realise he needed to make an effort to establish a connection with his colleagues.
His uniform pristine, he'd made his way to Isley's office quietly that morning, hugging a cup of hot peppermint tea to his chest as he traversed the Defiant's corridors. He liked mornings on the ship, the morning people were few and far between, being away from a horizon had a habit of throwing the circadian rhythm out of sync. Instead, everybody quietly made their way to their stations wishing they could trade places with the gamma shift.
This morning Alexander was alert despite avoiding caffeine. As he drew closer to Caroline's office he noted how odd it likely was that he'd turned up without any reason in particular and hoped that his cover of an informal briefing would be enough to help him save face.
Reaching her door he triggered the bell, taking sips of his tea whilst he waited.
The chief science officer had spent much of the morning with a scowl on her face. Caroline was reviewing the results of a series of tests she had run on a spore found on a recent survey. The growth results were fantastic and Isley believed she had found something that might be worth cataloguing or writing a paper on. Unfortunately, while doing a routine review of the tests, one of her junior officers encountered a problem. The environmental setting had been inadequately controlled and were not consistent over the various runs. In other words, variables that were supposed to be controlled were not. This called into question all of the results, and she didn't really have time to start over.
As the blonde was about to stand up and pout, the door to her office chimed. She tried to rapidly compose herself as she icily said, "Come in."
Oblivious to the stress Caroline was exuded Alexander made his way promptly into her office. "Apologies for the interruption, ma'am," he said once he reached her desk, "I was wondering if you fancied a chat? We've not interacted much beyond my reports recently" he finished, his body braced to attention.
Caroline looked a bit taken aback, but not any happier. She recomposed herself in the chair, crossing her legs and regarding McConnell. "A chat?" she said, and then quickly added, "Yes, fine. If you'd like." She motioned for McConnell to sit in the chair opposite her desk. "What would you like to chat about?" she asked with a humorless smile.
"I was wondering whether we could discuss me taking up a few more gamma shifts?" Alexander began, finally taking note of Caroline's demeanour but opting to push the sense of unease it made him feel to one side. "My productivity is much higher during the quieter shifts and I'd appreciate the peace whilst I work through the data we collected after our encounter with Typhon" he added.
Isley raised an eyebrow and then looked at the console in front of her. McConnell was one of her senior science officers and usually took Beta shifts as the lead officer or Alpha shifts as her backup. Moving him to Gamma shifts would push someone more junior into a more prominent role. Or was Caroline just reflexively defending her original schedule simply because she had come up with it.
"Gamma shifts?" she replied in a questioning tone, as she mulled the idea over. "Not very many people ask for those. A lot of diagnostics are run during Gamma, limiting what the labs and bridge station can do, except in emergencies or with overrides. Are you sure?"
Initially, Alexander was crestfallen, he'd completely overlooked the diagnostics system on Defiant, his previous ship had a more flexible routine. Recalling that gave him an idea, "If I may, ma'am, the Truman had a more relaxed routine for diagnostics spreading them across all ships to ensure there was enough free should an all hand situation came into effect" he explained. The Truman had been a patrol ship assigned to the Federations border with the Klingon Empire. Conflicts rarely ramped up to combat but the ships assigned there were always prepared nonetheless.
"Perhaps we could implement a similar system? It would enable us to make the Gamma' shift more efficient and would Ensure the Defiant is always prepared" he asked hopefully.
Isley raised an eyebrow. "It isn't a question of the Defiant being prepared. Diagnostics are run during Gamma shifts because fewer crew are active. Shifting them to Alpha or Beta shifts would mean less computer resources for times when more crew is active. If Defiant needs the systems because of an emergency, any diagnostic can be easily shut down."
She looked skeptically at her colleague. "You want Gamma shifts because they are quieter. They ARE quieter and that's why they are perfect for diagnostics," she said with a thin smile.
"You're right, apologies ma'am," Alexander said realising he wasn't likely to achieve what he'd hoped for. Giving up, he rose from his seat, pushing it behind him so he could leave without stumbling, "I can see I'm simply wasting time here, my current posting is more than adequate. I'll not address it again" he promised to make his way to leave, "Thank you for your time" he finished making his way to the door and promptly exiting the room. Cursing himself for his misstep.
Isley's eyes widened as Alexander left and she stared at the door for a few seconds ever after he had departed. Then with a shake of her head, she looked back at her console and resumed her work.