“Quartermaster Stevens! Captain wants you in his office. Now!”
I sighed, rolling off the bunk.
The security guard, chosen more for his fighting skills than his thinking skills, frowned at the open door to the cell. “Why are you in the brig?”
“Lieutenant Bradley put me under arrest. So I reported to the brig. No one was manning the desk, though, so I checked myself in.”
“Turner and Quan’Li? Guilty by association. Let them sleep.” I brushed past him. “How bad was the damage?”
“Hit and run, but they took out the warp drive and a bunch of other systems.” He shrugged. “The ship is secure for now. When is dinner?”
“Ask Bradley.” I stepped around him and headed for the nearest lift.
Captain Herring sat at his desk, officers hurrying through his office in a steady stream. All signs of a crisis in progress, but one under the iron control of the captain’s steely gaze. He glanced up in time to notice me. He did not look happy. He waved the officers out.
I entered his office, dreading the lecture I knew he would deliver.
“Quartermaster.” Captain Herring waited for me to approach.
I glanced at an empty chair, then decided against sitting. I’d pushed too far already. “Sir?”
“Where is my dinner?”
“Blown up with the replicators, I expect.” So much for respect and talking my way out of trouble. Sometimes my mouth says things before my brain gets involved.
Captain Herring’s glare turned to pure ice.
“Sir, we’ve been working twenty hours a day trying to cook in a galley designed to serve no more than fifty. We’re running out of food we can cook that way. We need the replicators back online. We can’t keep feeding two hundred.”
“One hundred eighty three. We had seventeen casualties in the attack.”
His answer was milder than I expected.
“I need a full inventory of supplies,” he continued.
“Sir, we’re already stretched too thin trying to keep everyone fed. There are only three of us in the galley. I don’t have time to do a full inventory.”
“As quartermaster, it is your duty to keep me apprised of supply levels.”
I told him what I thought of that duty on top of everything else. I’d expected serving on the Voyager to be a breeze–top of the line equipment, plenty of staff, a relaxing break. I’d never been so wrong in my life.
Captain Herring merely lifted one eyebrow at my language. “I’m assigning Alpha and Bravo squads to you. I want the entire crew fed in the next four hours. And, I want a full inventory on my desk in the next two. We are meeting with the Lusitania in six hours. I need to know what supplies to requisition.”
The Lusitania was a huge support ship currently assigned with the Third Fleet. I knew too much about her. I’d spent two months cleaning all three hundred toilets as penance a few years back.
“If I may ask, sir, who attacked us?” I wanted at least a little information. Maybe I should have taken the posting to the prison kitchen.
“Marauders, we don’t know who.” Herring tapped his com button. “Get me a shipwide channel.”
I opened my mouth.
He lifted his finger, silencing me. “This is the captain speaking.” His voice echoed through the halls of the ship. “We have been attacked by marauders of an unknown origin. The ship has sustained damage to the warp systems and the shields. Repairs are underway. All stations will remain on high alert until further notice. That is all.” He touched the comm button. “You will open the auxiliary galley on deck two to feed the officers on duty. The inventory report will be on my desk in no less than two hours, the entire crew will be fed in the next four. Do I make myself clear?”
“Yes, sir.” Unless I wanted shot and shoved out an airlock as a real mutineer, I had no choice but to agree.
“I’ll alert Alpha and Bravo squads to report to the galley for your orders.” He swiveled his chair, dismissing me.
“Great,” I muttered as I stalked back through the ship to the galley. “Fourteen marines in my kitchen. Lot of help they’ll be.”
Personal Log 1-4: Marines to the Rescue