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Familial Justification

Posted on Wed Jul 20th, 2022 @ 2:37pm by 2nd Lieutenant Christian Rogers

Mission: Pre-Launch + Pre-Mission 1 Stories
Location: Holodeck 4
Timeline: one week after That Which is Thicker

“Finally,” Sarkasian reported, “I have nothing to report on the training simulations, progress reports have not yet been submitted.”

Rogers set his mug on the corner of his desk and scowled. “Training simulations?” He wasn’t aware of scheduled training simulations, nor the need for progress reports on them. Perhaps it was something Lieutenant Commander Wyrick scheduled and he was unaware?

“Some of the other security personnel are wondering about the schedule, sir,” this coming from Warrant Sarkasian. “Based on the number of Holodeck hours being used, it must be extensive.”

Rogers took another long drink of his tea while continuing to scowl. As he set his mug back on the desk, Sarkasian handed him a PaDD. He glanced at the Holodeck logs showing the amount of time being used and by a number of individuals in his department. Mostly the Marine contingent but security were also in the mix. He noticed the security members, however, were ones that had been working mostly with the MACO unit.

“Commander Wyrick didn’t order this?” he asked, sure that it was the case, otherwise he and Wyrick would need to have a very serious conversation about ordering training for his MACO team without at least informing him.

“Not that I’m aware, Lieutenant,” Sarkasian answered.

Rogers sighed. Of course not. “Okay, I’ll look into this,” Rogers answered while collecting his mug and standing. He double checked the PaDD and noticed the common times of Holodeck usage then glanced at the time display on the PaDD. If they kept to the pattern then they would start in half an hour, just after the end of Alpha shift, and run for several hours.

That at least gave him time to refill his tea and take care of a few other concerns that popped up and fell to him as the assistant security officer. It was an hour after being informed of the misuse of Holodeck time that Rogers found himself outside of Holodeck 4. He noted that the ‘training’ program was currently running before overriding the lock code that opened the doors.

He stepped onto the path through the forest, hearing the rushing of water from some distance off. The sunlight and temperature indicated the program was set for morning and in springtime of some Earthlike locale. The normal sounds of a forest were absent but there was the atonal and arrhythmic percussive beating. Jocular voices overlayed everything. He didn’t hear the actual words but did recognize many of the voices.

Shaking his head, wondering what the hell his Marines were up to, he followed the path toward the noise. He stopped just as he came around the last bend where the amount of noise indicated the group was located. He noticed the large waterfall, the clearing but most of all, he noticed the number of young men and women, all security in some form or another – with the exception of the one woman sitting cross legged in a grassy patch with her baby. He remembered her slightly as Baldwin’s wife and the baby must be his child, but overall the tableau before him was...interesting to say the least.

The hub of activity was centered around what appeared to be a nearly completed domicile in a log cabin style. It faced the waterfall and lake with a path leading out the back and one leading to the lapping shore of the lake. He crossed his arms and watched. Definitely a number of his MACO team were here, in fact the only ones missing were the ones currently on duty. He saw other faces that he recognized as regular security personnel. Each were, in some form or another, helping to build the house.

He wasn’t sure who was the first to see him standing at the edge of the clearing, just past the treeline, but the effect spread slowly at first, then like a series of dominoes, quickly. Soon everyone had stopped and turned to stare at him. To include the wife. The child, however, was intent on staring at the various flitting birds.

Rogers continued to wait while Baldwin and Kawolski exchanged glances then started forward, at a job. Rogers looked around and caught Brownie trying not to look at him. Steinman and Chackton stood next to two other security personnel.

“Lieutenant,” Kawolski stated, apparently elected the spokesperson for the group.

“I’m curious,” Rogers said, glancing around again, “as to the purpose of this ‘training program’?” Both men stiffened before him. Kawolski stared at the hammer in his hand. Rogers absently noticed Baldwin’s wife standing, the baby now in her arms.

“It’s a house,” Kawolski said. “We’re building a house for when Weaver and I are married.”

“It’s a Holodeck,” Rogers stated dryly. “Do you intend to live on the Holodeck?”

“No, sir, just...well...I'm not home and -”

“It’s a custom of his world, Lieutenant,” Baldwin chimed in. “Before marriage, Hunter has to build a house for him and his wife. Since we’re on a starship, transiting to the Delta Quadrant, this was the best option he had.”

Rogers glared at Baldwin then beyond the pair to include all the others.

“Traditionally,” Hunter said, “male members of the family help build the house.”

Rogers turned his dark eyed gaze back to the two before him but remained quiet. They exchanged a quick glance with each other. Rogers then looked beyond them again. “Male members of your family?”

Hunter sighed again. “Yes, sir. Just, the only family I have is-”

“Your Marine unit,” Rogers answered. “That doesn’t answer what ‘training program’ is being run.”

Baldwin and Kawolski exchanged another quick glance. Then Baldwin started to smile but stopped it as he looked back at his unit CO. “Team building exercises, sir,” he said quickly. “Us MACO and the regular security, see,” Baldwin said, pointing at several people, “we’re all building this together. Marine brotherhood and security...cousinhood.” He said the last as if realizing that it sounded extremely lame.

Rogers, cocked his head as he glared at the two, beyond them again at all the others, still milling about. “Yet many other members of security are not invited?”

Hunter shrugged. “We’re not inviting anybody, all these guys just showed up to help me, Lieutenant. I want to give this program to Weaver as part of our betrothal gifts. As others hear about it among us all, sir, people just show up to help. It’s not like we’re telling people they can’t come and help.”

Rogers nodded as he listened to the answer. It was a poor excuse for callign the use of Holodeck hours as “training exercise”. But at least they were getting creative in how they were justifying the amount of time they were using. Plus, from what he recalled of the duty roster, no one here was on duty. He was willing to wager that if he cross checked all those who participated and the time they did, he would find it was all on their own time.

“Lieutenant, it’s been hard for me to let all these guys come in to help out in the first place. I’m not trying to create a problem with anybody else,” Hunter said, speaking quickly.

Rogers turned to watch him. “No one is saying how you must spend your down time, Kawolski,” Rogers said. “And that is the way it will be put to anyone that complains about being ‘left out’.”

Hunter looked up, relief in his eyes to see he wasn’t in trouble for not forcing himself upon others...many whom he still barely even knew. He found that he was still gripping the hammer tightly and attempted to relax. Baldwin gripped his shoulder for a moment before dropping his hand back to his side.

“Male members of your family, huh?” Rogers said, looking around again at the people who were busy building the house. With some of them, Rogers was very grateful for safety protocols. After several more beats, he turned back to Hunter. “Carry on then.” He gave Baldwin a nod before he turned to leave.

“Well, I mean, there’s really no rule against what we’re doing,” Baldwin said after Rogers was no longer in view.

“No, there isn’t,” Hunter said, still staring at the now empty path. He turned to Baldwin. “Do you think I should have asked if he wanted to help?”

“Who? Lieutenant?” Baldwin asked, turning as he heard footsteps coming up behind them. Malinda stopped next to her husband. Terry pulled her close by putting his arm around her waist. “You really think he’d want to spend time helping us with anything fun?”

Malinda shook her head. “I actually think he would have,” she said.

“Really?” Hunter asked.

“Who’s the one that organized all those baseball games?” Malinda asked.

“Yeah, but that’s because he likes to play,” Terry said, frowning. “I mean, it’s for him more than us.”

“Yes, I’m sure that’s it,” Malinda said. “I’m sure someone that prefers to be alone has a team sport as his favorite.”

“I’m going to go ask,” Hunter said, but by then they all heard the sound of the arch doors closing and knew Rogers was already out of the room. Hunter let out a deep sigh. “Okay, tomorrow, I’ll catch him and ask.”

“Good man,” Malinda said. “Hopefully you can teach this lunkhead a thing or two.” She smiled at Terry then grabbed the front of his shirt to pull him down to her.

“Get a room you two,” Hunter groaned as he turned back to the project.


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