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Call Me Mike - Chapter Two
Call Me Mike – Chapter 2

He woke with a start, the sharp chirp of the ship’s communicator breaking through his deep and dreamless sleep. Reflexively, Brekath slapped at his chest, trying to hit his commbadge – but his hand found only his undershirt.

It took a moment for the absence of the metal badge to register in his sleep-addled mind, and a moment longer to recognize the true source of the sound.

Still fighting his exhaustion, he slapped at the communicator switch by his bed. “Brekath here,” he announced as clearly as he could.

“Ensign Brekath, report to Engineering at once,” came the voice of Lt Rees, the officer in charge of the current team of Security trainees.

“Yes, sir,” Brekath replied groggily, “I mean, no, sir. I mean I’m not on duty…”

“Security doesn’t get the luxury of waiting for shift assignments!” Rees snapped. “Report to Engineering, now!” he repeated – then softened his tone slightly. “Culkins was injured on a training exercise. She’s in Sickbay and I need a replacement to complete the exercise. Your scores on yesterday’s assessment showed me that you need the extra drill time, so report. Now! On the double!” he added, his voice growing harsh once again.

Brekath hesitated; he glanced at the chronometer, calculating that less than four hours had elapsed since Breske had left their quarters – and, realized, with a sinking feeling, that as bad as his performance had been the day before, today’s would be worse. If he was lucky – if! He thought grimly – they would shuttle him down to Andor at the end of this rotation to await the next shuttle back to Earth for a summary dismissal from Starfleet. If he was lucky, it would probably just be a one-way trip to Andor via the air lock.

And maybe, he added, resignedly, that would be for the best.

“Get to it,” Rees said sharply. “Ensign,” he added.

“Yes, sir,” Brekath replied.

Tabbing the comm switch off, he pushed his way up from the bed, calling out to the replicator for a cup of coffee as he crossed the room – one of the few pleasures he had found since leaving Kerbal – then went to his closet in search of a clean uniform.

Except, he remembered as the door opened, there wasn’t one. Breske had taken his last pair of trousers that morning, leaving behind the wet and soiled ones from his away mission.

Four hours would not have been enough to dry them completely, Brekath thought to himself, but if the gods were favoring him today, they would be at least reasonably dry – but as he pulled them from the back of the chair, he knew the gods were no more favorably disposed to him today than they had ever been. The pants were still quite damp.

With a grimace, he pulled the cold, wet trousers over his bare legs, the fabric clinging persistently to his flesh, knowing the material would be rubbing and chafing his skin for the rests of the day.

He sighed; it was bad enough knowing how poorly he had done the day before, and how badly he was going to do today; having to wear wet clothes was simply adding insult to injury.

Or perhaps not, he amended a moment later. Perhaps it was just the effect of the clean tunic, warm and fresh against his skin, or maybe it was the remains of the mycellial fluid tingling against his legs, or perhaps it was just the coffee, but as he set his empty cup back in the replicator, a faint glimmer of… not resignation, not submission to his fate, but something else, something new, something unfamiliar tickled at the back of his mind.

A moment later he found himself jogging down the hall toward the lift, then out and toward his assignment, arriving in Engineering with a mild – if unfamiliar - sense of exhilaration.

Lt. Rees looked up from his desk as Brekath entered his office, looked at his chronometer and frowned. “You made good time, Ensign,” he grunted.

“Yes, sir,” Brekath agreed.

“Same drill today. Take the same role as last shift – and Brekath?” he added, almost desperately.


“Don’t mess up… again,” he said wearily. “Security doesn’t require a high IQ, but you have to use what brains you have. Think, man; think!”

Brekath studied the human, but the usual resignation he flet and the continuing, but well-earned, criticism was strangely missing. He gave a short nod. “Yes, sir. I’ll do my best.”

“Do better,” Rees countered. “Your best isn’t cutting it.”

Brekath nodded. “Yes, sir.”

As grueling as the previous day had been, the alpha shift team’s training seemed to be even worse. Four hours into the shift, they had barely covered the first hour of the material, Brekath thought – then realized why.

Culkins’ injury had been a complete accident – a missed step on the ladder, a short fall that normally would have only generated a few minutes of first aid – but she had landed on the deck in just the wrong way, breaking her leg in the process. The resultant chaos had left the newly christened ensigns in complete disarray as they struggled to first address her injury.

Rees had stepped in at last, calling Sickbay, getting Culkins transported directly to the medical facility, reassigning the team’s duties then finally pulling Brekath from his much-needed sleep – but the end result was that they were now hopelessly behind schedule.

Which was, he realized, why he had been pulled into the rotation. Alpha shift was the prize assignment, and Rees’ best candidates were given the honor of serving there, where they could be most visible for review, and, with luck, assignment to the best new postings in Starfleet – all of which would reflect well on Rees and his career. Today’s results, however, would be anything but glowing – but with Brekath aboard, he could easily write off the disaster by blaming it on the Kerbali and not on his star ensigns.

There was nothing Brekath could do about that, however – so he simply turned his attention back to his work. Having run the drill only hours before, he knew his responsibilities. To his surprise, however, he realized he also knew the other team member’s responsibilities as well. Not that he had been trained in those tasks, of course – his role was always the lowest level of support and grunt work – but seeing them perform their assignments only a few hours before must have left a trace of the memory in his mind.

As he saw his teammates falter, he would call out the corrections as they needed them., gently correcting them as they made mistakes.


Still, there was something wrong about the whole situation, he mused.

The suggestion of a problem nagged at him, taunting him from the back of his mind as he persevered through the drill, but it never bothered him enough to interfere with what he was doing. Indeed, he found himself calling up the muscle memory of his previous say’s actions, letting his body respond automatically, rendering the tasks easier and easier as the day progressed.

It was, therefore, more than a bit of a surprise when Rees finally called an end to the training session – and Brekath realized that not only had they completed the assignment, but had done so with more than fifteen minutes to spare. Given the original delay, it was little short of a miracle.
Perhaps, he mused as he completed his assignments entry in his padd, the gods were smiling on him at long last.

A pleasant, if unfamiliar, sensation of satisfaction welled up in Brekath as glanced at the chronometer, and realized he had a full hour until his shift was to begin – time enough to eat, and perhaps change his clothes – providing, of course, that Breske had put in a repair request.

Which he hadn’t, Brekath decided, knowing that the minor task would never have occurred to his roommate. Pulling out his padd, he made the request, sent it to maintenance, then turned, aiming for the mess hall.

After securing a meal from the replicator, he canned the room, searching for his usual secluded table – only to see some of the others from the alpha shift beckoning to him.

M’Lasa, the Caitian who had worked near him throughout the drill, patted the empty chair next to her, encouraging him to join the group.

Brekath hesitated – the nodded.

“Thanks,” he said, taking a place beside her.

“Thank you,” A’Shani, the Andorian on the team, repeated empathically. “You really helped us out. I thought we screwed when Katrinka took that fall. We were already behind time.”

“Yeah, you really saved our butts,” Terrence Melchior agreed.

“Guess having to run it twice really helps,” Saranth added. There was more than a hint of derision in his voice, which A’Shani quickly silenced.

“Hey! If Brekath hadn’t stepped in when he did, we’d be running it twice as well," she reminded him.

“Yeah – but not because we messed up,” Saranth countered.

“You don’t know that,” M’Lasa interjected. “You were one step away from going after that civilian target before Brekath stopped you,” she reminded him, then turned to Brekath “And you kept me from red-flagging that vehicle,” she added. “Thanks.”

Brekath shrugged, turning back to his food. He was used to hearing people comment about his lack of skills – and equally used to them being nice to him, at least until they knew there was nothing he had or could do to help them in return.

“Yeah, but if Culkins had been there…” Saranth began.

“But she wasn’t,” Melchior interrupted. “She was our team lead,” he added to Brekath by way of explanation. “She was supposed to guide us through the drill – but then she got hurt,” he added with a  frown.

“You should have had a second,” Brekath said quietly.

A’Shani looked at him, perplexed, then shook her head. “Rees didn’t assign a second,” she explained. “I mean, it was a drill, after all; it wasn’t real.”

“But if it had been?” Brekath replied, raising his eyes to meet hers.

“Well, then, Lt. Rees would have…” she began.

“Practice like it is real,” Brekath interrupted quietly, realization slowly dawning on him. “If you always assume there is someone to follow, that someone else will always know more, always have the answer, you won’t prepare. You never know when something like Culkins getting hurt will happen – so study, prepare, hold yourself responsible, while you can. So when you have to act, you’re ready,” he said.

“Yeah, but we weren’t assigned…” Melchior began to protest.

“That’s his point, Cupcake,” M’Lasa replied. “Heck, maybe that’s how we get promoted up! Study up, step up, be ready to take the lead when we need to,” he declared.

“Rees doesn’t like it when we step out of bounds,” Saranth reminded him. “He’s told us time and again that he’s testing us on what we’ve been trained to do”

Brekath looked at the Rigellian. “Maybe that’s not the only thing he’s testing,” he suggested, then began to rise from the table, his meal done – then stopped.

“Thank you,” he said to the four.

“Any time, Brek,” M’Lasa purred cheerfully.

Brekath nodded, then turned away again, his full stomach now reminding him that the rest of his body was in need of attention, and that he had worked for almost twenty four of the last twenty eight hours.

Weary, he started toward the turbolift, knowing he could catch a short nap – but as he entered it, he called for a different deck than the one where he was quartered.

As he left the lift a moment later, his stride was a blend of fatigue and confidence; without a moment's hesitation, he strode in Engineering, then to Lt. Rees’ office.

Seeing a shadow in the doorway, the human looked up, clearly annoyed. “What is it, Brekath?”

“Ensign Brekath,” the Kerbali corrected.

“Ensign Brekath,” Rees repeated somewhat mockingly, and still glaring at him for the interruption. “What do you want?”

‘I need to know what my next duty period is,” Brekath answered mildly.

Rees froewnd. “You’re delta shift,” he answered. “You know that. It hasn’t changed. “ He glanced at the chronometer. “You’re on in… thirty minutes.”

“No, sir.”

Rees looked up, startled. “I beg your pardon?”

“No,” Brekath repeated. “Starfleet regulations require a rest period of eight hours in every 24, or in accordance with the normal biorhythms of the species in question. I’ve had less than four hours rest in the last forty-eight hours. I’m due…”

Rees interrupted him with a short, “Regulations are not inviolate! Security details must be able and ready to accommodate any changes as needed!” he snapped.

“Yes, sir,” Brekath replied quietly.

Rees nodded, satisfied – then looked up a moment later when he realized the man had not left his office. “Was there something else, Brekath?” he sighed wearily.

“Yes, sir.”

“What is it?”

Brekath met the glare. “My next shift, sir. When is it?"


“Current circumstances do not merit violations Starfleet regulations,” he said mildly. “We’re in orbit around a peaceful ally. We are not at red or yellow alert. Shields are down. We have away teams on routine research assignments with no security officers present,” he detailed.


“So those are the requirements for a breach of core regulations regarding the care and well-being of officers on a Federation starship, sir, and therefore, I am entitled to my break period,” Brekath continued without a trace of animosity or anger in his words. “When is my next duty shift?”

Rees groaned, pulled up the duty roster on his computer, then snapped, “Alpha shift tomorrow, oh eight hundred. That should give you enough time for your beauty sleep,” he added roughly.

Brekath met his gaze – then nodded. “Yes, sir.”

Rees glared at him, then snapped, “Dismissed!”

Brekath nodded again, then turned and left the room, leaving Rees to glare after him.

After the Kerbali had been gone for a few minutes, Rees pursed his lips, thinking – then began to make a note on the roster, nodding slowly.

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