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Posted on Fri Apr 18th, 2014 @ 9:44pm by Lieutenant JG Dominic Delaney Jr. & Lieutenant Commander James Barnes

Mission: Intermission
Location: The Puzzle Palace
Timeline: Before "Solid Light"

"Security Authorization denied. Please try again." The computer's voice droned overhead. "Warning, one more failed attempt will lock the system out."

Dominic kicked the console underneath the station that he was working at. "Damn computer, I swear that as soon as I get access I'm tearing you apart." He muttered to himself, trying to keep it down a bit as there were others working in the science department nearby. "Computer." He said louder, "What is my current security clearance, and which one do I need?"

"Level 2 Alpha is your current clearance. Level 3 Beta is the minimum required to view design documents. Level 5 Alpha is required for unrestricted..."

"Yes, yes I know." Dominic said with a wave of his hand. "Show me a current crew list. Limit to the Intelligence department." As the computer complied, he tapped the first name on the list. "Location of Lieutenant Commander James Barnes."

"Lieutenant Commander Barnes is in his office. Deck 5, section Beta 4." The computer replied as Dominic was already turning away from the console. Exiting the science department with haste, he soon found himself outside the Commander's office. Straightening his jacket, he rang the chime.

The lights were completely out in his office. James was in his chair, turned completely opposite from his desk. One of the modifications he had engineering make to his office was the addition of a sizable monitor in the wall behind his desk. Ostensibly, James used it to monitor fleet movements and developments in both the Alpha and Beta Quadrants. Unofficially, he used it whenever the Academy football and rugby teams had games. There were perks to being a senior officer, and he took advantage of them.

Tonight, though, he sat quietly, staring at a map of the Federation border with the former Romulan Star Empire. The situation there continued to destabilize by the week. An intervention by the Federation was inevitable, and James knew it. He let the chime ring three times before he took a deep breath. "Enter," he called out.

Without turning in his chair, James steepled his hands in front of his face. "Lieutenant," he crossed his leg, "What brings you over to the intelligence department?" James knew the answer, but in over 400 years of life, he had found the process of things to be almost as satisfying as the result.

The young Lieutenant resisted the urge to be a complete and total smart ass, and instead straightened up and started off by introducing himself. He wasn't terribly fond of standing on ceremony, so the officer just did his best in order to not piss off a senior officer, and one that obviously had a lot of pull around the area. Not everyone had a giant monitor like that. In fact, he doubted that the Captain had one of those.

"Lieutenant Delaney, sir. My clearance level was reset when I was placed on Medical Leave, and it has not yet been reinstated. I need at least a Level 3 Beta." He said with as best formality that he could muster.

James spun around, detecting a hint of annoyance in the young Lieutenant's voice. The funny thing, especially to the casual observer, was the fact that the two men looked not too far apart in the age category, though James was downright ancient by comparison to the young science officer. In that time, he had learned to read body language and interpret it. He could tell he was bothering him.

"Level 3 Beta? Isn't that just a little excessive for a junior grade science officer?" James asked, appearing confused, "And what did you do during your time away to warrant such a reset?"

"And please, at ease. Don't hurt yourself."

The Lieutenant relaxed fractionally as he was allowed to stand not at ease. "Sir, my security clearance was rescinded because I was placed on restricted Medical Leave. I also never had Level 3 Beta before, as my previous assignment didn't require it. However, my subset of skills includes a stint with subspace theory, and I need to be allowed to run experiments that deal with the Slipstream drive." He said, giving a bit of a sigh. "Also, my science department is a wreck, but I assume that you're not the one that can fix that." Dom said, trying to inject a bit of levity into the conversation.

James turned to his computer terminal as the monitor rose out of it's spot inside the desk. He tapped a few commands, looking over the Lieutenant's file. He looked over at him for a moment. "No, I don't suppose I would be the one to fix your department, Lieutenant," he looked back at the computer terminal, scrolling through some information, "What seems to be the problem over there?"

"Besides the fact that I'm not cleared yet for access to the ship design schematics? It's just been up in the air since Ensign Franklin left. Lots of things haven't been followed up on, and to be honest, it's just a lot of catching up to do. However, that's any assignment. I'm sure that you have no wish to actually hear any of this though." He said with a bit of a smile, hoping that he could get back to his department soon.

James looked up over the monitor at him briefly before looking back down. "Riiiiight. Not planning on blowing us up the next time we engage the slipstream drive, are you Ensign? No terroristic ideations? Dominion affiliations? Money owed to the Orion Syndicate?"

The Lieutenant cracked a small smile at that. "Not unless you count the money that I still owe my mother for bringing me into this world." He said, joking back at the intelligence officer. "I sometimes think that if the Syndicate came knocking on her door she'd find herself as their leader within a week." Dominic said with a chuckle. "You'd probably like her though. She would always treat guests the best."

"Something tells me the syndicate wouldn't do well with an Irish woman," James mused without looking up from his computer, "I dated one a while ago. She had quite the temper, which I generally could only seem to trigger when she had her hand on an important body part of mine." He looked up and grinned slightly, the first time his expression had changed during the entire conversation. He typed a few more commands before looking back at the Lieutenant. "You know, normally granting this kind of access requires more than just a hat-in-hand visit to the Puzzle Palace, right?"

Trying, but failing to keep his acerbic attitude in check, the Lieutenant responded "Well, next time I can get you some hot, replicated cookies." Pursing his lips together, he added a hasty "Sir." At the end of it in order to not seem like a complete ass. He avoided a much more awkward thought that went through his head and hoped that the other wasn't a telepath, or else something could require more than a bit of explaining that flashed through his head.

James turned towards him, slowly affixing his gaze on the Lieutenant. He looked him in the eye just long enough for things to become slightly uncomfortable for the junior officer.

"I prefer chocolate chip," James said, reaffixing his gaze back to the work on his screen, "And replicating is selling out."

Dominic gave a bit of a grin. "Hopefully that doesn't count against me then." The Lieutenant said with an inaudible sigh of relief. "Is there anything else that I might need to do, or have stamped to be approved, sir?"

James tapped a few final commands, pulling out a PADD. The screen behind him said 'Data Transfer...' with a status bar beneath it. When the bar filled up, it was replaced with a simple 'Complete'. "No, I think that will be it, Lieutenant," he said, standing. He walked over to the Lieutenant, extending the PADD to Dominic. "Have a good evening, Lieutenant."

On the PADD was the information the Lieutenant needed for his new clearance level. And a recipe for chocolate chip cookies.

Taking it with a small salute, Dominic inclined his head afterwards. "Thank you, Commander." He said, before turning on his heel and walking out. Glancing at the PADD outside the door, he let out a hearty laugh and just shook his head. Maybe this wouldn't be such a bad posting after all.

A Post By

Lieutenant Commander James Barnes
Chief Intelligence Officer
USS Shanghai-A


Lieutenant (JG) Dominic Delaney Jr.
Chief Science Officer and Cookie Maker
USS Shanghai-A


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