“You will take four days shore leave,” the captain of the Excensus Precemptor checked the time and signed her leave pass, “starting now. The Chief Engineer assures me there are other crew members who should be capable of performing your tasks for that period.”
‘Should be’ Engineering Technician Thermista Galed agreed was the right phrase, but she had doubts about the reality. However all she said was, “Yes, sir. Thank you sir.” When the captain dismissed her, she went straight to her quarters, changed into her shore leave gear, and then swung by engineering on her way out to ensure she was signed out. While she was there she could hear Henges and Marcellae giving backchat over their new duty assignment and so snuck out to avoid being seen.
She returned four days later refreshed, fully rested and half an hour early, just to be safe. The Chief Engineer was at his workstation, cradling coffee and looking benevolent as he asked, “How was your leave?”
“I ate, drank, danced, played some baccat, watched the sun and moon rise and set, and slept for twelve hours – twice.” She smiled at him. “How did things go here?”
“The in port checks haven’t been completed.” He looked dour. “I need you to see where they’re up to and why. Let me know how long finishing will take.”
Less than half an hour later she reported, “They followed the check list, not the task worksheet, sir. They’ve just started check item twelve, so we’ll be another four days.”
“I’ll tell the captain. You take over the checks from those two. Tell them I’ll see them now.”
Four days later Thermista was pushing the third last relay back into place when the battle stations and emergency lift alarms went off.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” said the captain over the intercom, “the Sanctifer cruiser Ira Deorum has been shadowing us for weeks and now they seem to have caught up with us. Let’s make them welcome.”