I swiped a rag across the metal counter, leaving a greasy trail. Why had I agreed to this? Two days into the flight the food replicators had failed. Completely and utterly. We needed parts to fix them, parts that were two days travel behind us at Starbase 74. My two assistants and I were stuck cooking with real pots and pans in a galley much too small. Exhaustion didn’t even come close to describing what we felt.
Lieutenant Bradley stuck his head in the door. “Quartermaster Stevens? Captain Herring wants his dinner delivered to the officer’s mess in exactly twenty three minutes.”
I told him exactly what Captain Herring could do with his dinner.
Bradley’s lips pinched, like a fish sucking lemons. “He expects you to be in dress whites for serving.”
“Then tell the captain I need functional food replicators. He’ll get his food when it gets cooked. We’ve been slaving over those pots for the last eighteen hours straight. He will just have to wait his turn.”
Bradley stepped into the kitchen, looming over me. His attempt to threaten me wasn’t going to work.
“I don’t own any dress whites. I will deliver his food when it is ready. It would help if he gave me more staff, but there isn’t room for more than three people in this galley. This ship is not designed for old style cooking, not for the full crew. You tell Captain Herring the crew will have to go on shifts for meals. And I want at least two extra staff for the other rotations.”
“You are in no position to make demands!”
“Go hungry.” I turned my back and swabbed my rag across the counter.
“You have been given a direct order by a superior officer.”
“And I’m telling you, Officer Bradley, I can’t do it. It’s physically impossible.”
Bradley tapped his comm badge. “Security, report to the galley immediately. Take Quartermaster Stevens into custody on charges of mutiny.”
Turner and Quan’Li, my assistants, both thumped their spoons down.
“You arrest her and you have to arrest both of us,” Turner said. “The two of us quit. Cook your own food.”
“You’ll regret this,” Bradley warned.
“Not before you do,” I answered.
Security arrived, uniforms a bit rumpled. Security detail was usually pretty boring, except for the few minutes when it was extremely exciting. I suspected they’d been playing cards.
I held out my wrists. “Arrest me. Throw me in the brig. At least I’ll get some sleep.”
Turner and Quan’Li were right behind me.
“What about our food?” the bigger security guard questioned Bradley.
“Mutiny is a serious charge. These three disobeyed a direct order. Take them into custody.”
The guards hesitated. “We put them in the brig, we won’t get food.”
“Another team will be assigned.” Bradley frowned. “Do you want to join them on charges of mutiny? I gave you an order!”
“Not a good way to make friends, Bradley.” I couldn’t help the sarcasm. It was my nature.
Bradley’s face burned red. I wondered if I could actually make steam come from his ears.
“Throw them in the brig!”
“Yes, sir.” Security didn’t look too happy, but they marched the three of us away.
“Have fun cooking,” I called over my shoulder. “And watch that pot of sauce. It will burn if you don’t stir it.”
“You shouldn’t make him mad,” the security guard whispered as he marched me through the halls. “He’s got the captain’s ear.”
“And I’ve got his food. Who do you think Captain Herring is going to listen to?”
“You’re going to be put on report.”
I shrugged. “And I might get a nap.”
The lights flickered, changing to red. Alarms blared through the halls.
“All hands, battle stations!”
Security ran away.
Quan’Li sighed heavily. “I suppose we need to lock down the galley.”
“Let Bradley do it. We’re still under arrest.”
“Adrian, you can’t just desert your post.”
“I was officially relieved of duty. You heard Lieutenant Bradley. I’m going to report to the brig, like a good mutineer. My feet are killing me.”
“What about the Captain’s dinner?”
“Under red alert? He isn’t getting it now.”
“Incoming!” the speakers blared.
The ship rocked crazily. Lights flickered madly. Smoke poured from the air vents.
Turner grabbed for support. “We’re under attack!”
“They said it would be dangerous. I’m hiding in the brig. Are you coming with me? The walls are thicker in there.”
Turner and Quan’Li were on my heels all the way to the brig. We checked ourselves in and made ourselves comfortable while the explosions continued.
Personal Log 1-3: Facing the Music