The second day was as bad as the first, but it had ended much better.
One-Joke himself had helped them out, adding their work to his already significant workload, and together the three of them had completed the work on the shuttle, found the infernal rattling bolt that had caused the noise in the first place, replicated a replacement, replaced it, reassembled the shuttle, then reassembled the worker bee too.
The movable grav-plating had come in clutch for them, and although the worker bee’s maintenance was late, they had finally caught everything up.
Afterward, One-Joke had treated them both to coffee at the local cafe as thanks for their extra effort. It was a pretty busy place but, somehow, he'd secured them tables.
Mikali just had water, as was her custom, but Catscratch drowned herself in coffee. They'd chatted, he'd apologized for the unexpected workload, and the three of them drank themselves to satisfaction, enjoying some company after a hard day's work.
One-Joke had to leave after a while, being a busy man, and Catscratch almost fell asleep on her chair an hour after that despite her hyper-caffeination. She stumbled off with her eyes closed, practically sleep-walking back to their shared quarters.
That normally would have been Mikali's cue to come with, but she needed less sleep than the Caitain and Human, and the events of last night tumbled over in her head, impossible to banish. She wouldn't be able to rest anyway.
She had been a prick to the enlisted crewmen at numerous points in the past. Just because she could. Priard was a different kind of blue, but she could see herself in him.
Another regret on the pile of regrets, and there didn’t seem to be any way to make up for it. Most of the enlisted crewmen on the Independence and Avandar would be working somewhere else now, it would be difficult to track them down individually. All she could do was be better from here-on out.
Jolted out of her thoughts, her surprise was significant when Lieutenant Priard himself pulled up a chair next to her table, scowling her way like an oncoming storm.
Priard: Thanks for that.
Mikali just stared, a half-drunk cup of ice water in her hands.
sh'Shar: Thanks for... what?
Priard: Putting in a complaint. Really appreciate it, you know? Just what I needed. ::He jabbed a finger at her accusingly.:: I wish they'd just kick you people out of this place. You don't belong here and you're causing problems.
Story of her life. You're causing problems. You don't belong here. You should get kicked out of (insert noun here).
More of Priard’s dismissiveness. “You people”. Anger built up within her, tiredness and muscle tenderness wearing at her resolve, but she sipped some more of her water, antenna wiggling about on top of her head.
sh'Shar: I didn't put the complaint in against you, Miss Catscratch did. And I advised her not to. ::She sipped again.:: Maybe I should reconsider that position.
Priard: ::Glowering,:: This is going to affect my career.
sh'Shar: ::Brightly, and only with some sarcasm,:: Well, if you get discharged, maybe you can come and join our program. I used to be a Jay-Gee too, you know.
Priard scoffed again, turning his nose up.
Priard: You were in Starfleet? You?
It hurt to admit. It always did.
sh'Shar: Yes. Now I get to half-disassemble and drift shuttles all day. Ain’t life grand.
Priard: What did you do?
The corners of her mouth turned down, the false smile evaporating as soon as it arrived, replaced with a stony mask.
sh'Shar: No. You don't get to ask that unless you're one of us. ::She brushed back some of her hair.:: You're asking me to give the details of an intensely traumatic moment in my life to a complete stranger.
Priard curled back his upper lip, blue skin shining in the light of the cafe.
Mikali put down her glass, taking a slow, shallow breath. Valen would want her to use good judgement at this moment, and just like Catscratch the previous day, it was too easy to get angry.
She couldn’t make it up to all the enlisted crewmen she’d bullied over the years, but she could do the right thing here, now, in this moment.
Mikali closed her eyes, focusing on keeping her breathing steady and even.
sh'Shar: Look, Lieutenant Priard... I'm sorry you got a complaint put in against you. Believe me, I know first hand how damaging they can be, and they add up. So you have my sympathies.
Priard: I don’t want your sympathies. You people—
Her eyes flew wide open.
sh'Shar: ::Snappily,:: We are not "you people".