[USS Charon, Shuttle Bay]
"Has she lost her mind now?"
"The Vulcan. Has she gone space happy?"
"Is no happy, signore azzuro. Is logical."
"Don't you start with me Marcello."
Lucia ignored both the Andorian's wildly swinging antennae and the smirk on her beloved's face to nudge 200 and some pounds of confused fur out of her way
"Ragazzi. Always talk talk talk. Now is shuttle ready or no?"
"Madam Lucia, this shuttle has been modified by Rommies, shot at by Rommies and flown by a nutcase with pointy ears. What do you think?"
"Mother of Fat-grass be my witness, "
Knowing the expression on his lovely wife's face as the one that bode ill for anyone daring to make smart comments, Marcello grabbed his toolkit and dove head first into a maintenance hatch.
"I think what Shenn is trrrrying to say what arrre you trrying to say Shenn?"
"That I would rather strap two halves of bread around myself and jump in front of the snake's nose than set one foot on this thing."
"So is not ready?"
The Andorian engineer looked back and forth between the Caitian whose tail was twitching with happy excitement and the Italian woman whose hands were resting on hips that frequently caused minor mishaps when unsuspecting males suddenly saw them appear in the periphery of their vision.
"No madam, not ready." Like someone speaking to a stubborn child, Shenn put very careful emphasis on every single word. "We have a quantum singularity and Romulan nacelles strapped onto a Starfleet hull. We have a sensor array that is as powerful as a Rigelian ox and as fussy as a diva before the premiere. What we don't have is a sane idea to get this thing flying without tearing itself apart for the fun of it."
"Did not tear apart when fly before, si?"
"And I still don't know how they managed that. But if I remember correctly, the last person flying this baby had to be carried off the deck."
"I think that had something to do with Rrrromulans trrrying to blow them up, Shenn."
"I'm talking to a wall here. Don't tell me you are going to fly this, Ria."
"No." the Caitian conceded sadly "But it would be fun."
"I knew it. Space happy. The lot of you."
"Amore!" a slightly muffled voice cut into the conversation and the Andorian took the chance to escape Lucia's glare "Is shields good. Signore azzuro done with engines?"
"No." M'Riarr snickered "But if he isn't in about five minutes I think your wife will tie him to the singularrrity."
[A little later ]
Okay, so, the shuttle was a good idea if you wanted to give any snake out for a snack an acute case of indigestion. Not that Shenn was going to say that out loud. M'Riarr, bless her heart, would probably love flying something so nervous, so powerful it made a race horse look like a napping tortoise. Pilots. Nutjobs.
Given a choice, Shenn would always pick Starfleet's heavy duty standard shuttles. Sturdy, reliable, and easy to fix if things went donut-shaped. And on this ship, you did not have to ask 'if' the midden would hit the windmill, but 'when'. He absentmindedly wondered whether to classify the counselor as another nutjob for volunteering, but Ria didn't seem to think so. Then again, sweet little two hundred pound kitty Ria liked everyone. Even the two crazy pointy eared females who were running this bucket. And here he had thought Andorian women were bad.
"Ho! Marcello! How's that power flow now?"
"Va bene, signore azzuro."
They had left cheerfully purring M'Riarr and Lucia to fine-tune the shuttle's navigation sensors and turned their attention to one of the Valkyries sitting on the flight deck, gleaming in the bright lights as if they were impatient to be let loose, race out into the star filled darkness that was their proper home.
As far as the Andorian was concerned, the only thing worse than a fancy shuttle were fighters. High-strung, too powerful for their own good, gun-bristling fighters. Even if all the pilots did was take them out for a routine flight there was always something you needed to fix afterwards. An engineer's nightmare.
"Ahhh che bella."
Shenn crawled out from under a shimmering wing to see Marcello give the Valkyrie an affectionate pat. "You have a thing for girls with an attitude, don't you?"
"Never mind, Marcello. Whatcha think? Well done or medium?"
The Italian canted his head at the blue skinned man who loved to speak in riddles and carefully closed the hatch covering the fighter's ODN lines. "Is well done shields, si."
"Actually I was taking about lunch. We should find a nice spot in the mess and watch our intrepid nutjobs get eaten. I'll bring the booze to properly toast their untimely demise."
"Eh? Snake no eat nuts."
This time, Shenn couldn't help but laugh. What else could you do, really?
Lucia stepped out of the shuttle, a deeply satisfied look on her face that had more than once been compared to the ancient goddesses of her home and right now sported a smear of unidentifiable substances across her cheek. Naturally, once you got the bumbling males out of the way, things had proceeded smoothly. One could only hope they had not made a mess of things in the meantime ah. Well, the fighter still looked more or less intact.
And there was still enough time to take a look or not. Well of course she would arrive early. Not that Lucia had expected any different. But the Andorian who was still flat on his back, scowling at the Valkyrie's sleek shape hovering over him seemed a bit surprised when a flight suit outlining a decidedly female shape came into view.
The sound of a cat coughing behind her told Lucia that M'Riarr found an Andorian banging his head at least as funny as a Vulcan catching Marcello in her arms before he crashed onto the deck. Pretty good reflexes, that. But the boys had better pick up those tools.
Basic engineer's mate
Lucia e Marcello
(NPCs apb I-Chaya)