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Back in the Saddle

Posted on Fri Mar 1st, 2019 @ 1:51am by Warrant Officer Marcus Lazlo & Lieutenant Julia 'Jules' Bryce
Edited on on Tue Mar 5th, 2019 @ 2:23pm

Mission: Starbase 332, Where Are You?
Location: Security Central Hub
Timeline: Prior to Ion Storm Detection...

"Knock it off, would ya? I got shot in the ass, I didn't die!" Lazlo grumbled to the sudden onslaught of welcomes and happy greetings he received as he walked into the security section. "Geeze, you'd think I'd been dead and buried!" His tone was gruff, but there was a turn of a smile at the end of his lips that just gave it away. "Who's been sitting at my desk?!" He said, continuing his bluster.

There was a chorus of Krenshaw from everyone nearby. Laz leveled a finger at the man, "I've killed men for less," He said, in mock threat.

He pulled out his chair and a chuckle finally escaped, "A donut?" He said, pulling the round pillow of the chair and showing it to everyone to a chorus of ruckus laughter, "Really, guys?" He said, laughing. "C'mon," He quipped, slinging the donut Krenshaw's way before flopping down with the slightest of winces. "As you were, people. We got jobs to do," He called out, loudly.

"Who's yelling here and isn't me?" barked Bryce as she rounded the corner to the bullpen with a grouchy expression. It softened into a smirk when she saw who it was, but only for a moment. "Look who's back from their vacation! He comes back to grace us after all of that beauty rest.." Again that ghost of a smile crept up into one corner of her lips. "You shoulda rested longer. Roster is UP people! Get to work!"

"Don't be jealous of my rugged good looks, darlin'," Lazlo replied, a full grin on his face now. "You only wish you were this pretty."

Jules grinned wolfishly, her arms crossing over her chest. "Well then you can join me on the front desk today so your charm and good looks will set people at ease." She nodded towards the long counter that acted as part partition/part crowd control and separated the bullpen and offices from the general populace. "It's been like the Wild West without a chief again."

"Heard a new one transferred in," Laz said, giving a quick glance to his messages from that morning - he'd take care of the backlog later - before standing up and following Jules toward the front. "But I'm not sure if he's finished checking in and getting settled yet."

"I was hoping to have a revolving door installed before they got here. Maybe a sign saying welcome to the looney bin, but whatever. At least I won't be the only one manning the backlogs once they're ready to take up the reins. 'Could just be me, but I'm ready to shove Harrington's love for the Oxford comma right where you got shot if I have to read another 40-page report of the under-recognized epidemic of people skipping lines in public eateries on the promenade. I miss footin' it.." Sighing, Bryce pasted on her best 'don't kill anyone' smile and stepped up to the counter. "I can help the next person.."

"Harrington is still on about that?" Lazlo said with a laugh. "Figured that had faded over the month I was gone," He said. "Ma'am? You're next." He said, pointing to the next woman behind the Ferengi that walked up to Jules.

"I was ROBBED!" The Ferengi yipped as he approached.

Jules produced the first form. "You can tell me all about it while you fill that out." Before the ferengi could speak, Jules held up one finger to mark that she wasn't done speaking yet. "It includes a detailed list of everything missing and proof of ownership, serial numbers, etc. to be passed to the officer that will be investigating your case. Your promptness and thoroughness ensure your chances of a quick return. The longer we take on this, the more time that we lose."

"I just need an officer of the law to come with me. I know who took my things, and where he took them," The Ferengi said, placatingly. "I don't intend to hand Starfleet a list of my private belongings so that I can be hassled for them later."

Meanwhile, the slender woman that approached Lazlo was visibly nervous. Her eyes were red, as well as her nose, and she tucked into herself much like an umbrella folded. "I need to.. report a missing.. yeah.." She said, clutching the edges of the desk for support. "-I just can't stop crying! I-"

"Whoa, darlin, who are you missing?" Laz asked urgently as he raced around the desk to steady her. "We can worry about the forms in a second, tell me what's going on."

"I'd like to work with him," the Ferengi said in a haughty tone. "He understands the futile nature of forms."

"Mind your own business, pal," Laz gruffed.

Sniffling, the skinny woman shuffled a few steps away from the ferengi. "..Are you sure that I should tell you here? Where everyone can hear?"

Adamantly refusing to budge, Jules tapped the padd with the form again."Then I'd miss out on your sparkling personality. Fill out the form. I'll get a guy to go with you. Tell me what happened." She wished that she'd gotten coffee on the way up, but Jules had taken a little too long to get the steam up to get going as it was. Ten in, she promised that she'd grab a mug and get back on the line.

"Just tell me what's going on, we'll get right on fixing it," Laz assured the woman.

"I don't want to fill the form out. I want action! You Federation types are all the same!" The Ferengi grumbled.

"No, we're not. See: I'll put you in a submission hold if you keep yelling at me and only let up once you've passed out- then shove you to the side- and the next person who will follow instructions comes to take your place," explained Jules in the most nonchalant, conversational tone that one could humanly manage. "Lazlo here would ask you to fill out the form at least one more time before stunning you. We're totally not alike."

The nervous woman looked a little more nervous at that.

"Don't worry, ma'am. We only give a hard time to those that give a hard time." Raising an eyebrow in challenge, Jules fixed the ferengi with a dark look as if daring him to try her.

"He knew it was worth more than he gave me!" The Ferengi screeched. "He cheated me!"

"Is the second rule of Acquisition to never pay more than you have to for something?" Laz asked, pulling the woman in front of him into a hug. "And the first one is to never give back money you get? Sounds like you're crap out of luck there, pal."

"Yes, but the Seventy-Third rule of Acquisition is if you can get your money back, do it!" The Ferengi hissed.

Bryce didn't roll her eyes through sheer will alone. "Buddy, we're not your hired thugs to go force a refund. Take it up with the other guy civilly, or you become our business really quickly, got it? NEXT!

Hugging Laz back as hard as she could, the weeping woman finally garnered up the strength to step back and look Marcus in the eye. "My.. unicorn.. it's gone."

Laz was barely listening to her, he raised a hand and snapped at a nearby officer as the Ferengi started to yell, who casually picked up the tiny man and carted him away, still screaming, under his arm.

Laz was watching with a bit of a sardonic sense of justice when what the woman said clicked in his mind, "Your... what?" He asked, looking down at her.

"I used to talk to him every day but now he's gone.." The blonde's words crumbled like paper.

"Your... Unicorn?" Laz repeated, giving Jules a look that pleaded for help.

Jules slid over just a little bit. "Okay, honey, let's help you out." Jules said, pulling out another padd from under the desk and opening up a different form. "I need your name, birthdate and when you last saw your friend." Angling up the padd a little so only Laz could see, she typed out Call psych serv in the name box and then quickly erased it.

Laz nodded, "Just one sec, need to make a quick call. Essential for missing ah... unicorn cases..." He said, shooting Jules one last look before stepping out of earshot to call down psychological services.

"So your name?" Bryce asked, keeping the woman's wandering attention on her.

"Gail," the smaller woman replied, hugging herself. "It's cold in here."

"You know- it is. Why don't we get you over to a desk and get you warm, huh?" Waving her down to the pass-through, Jules directed her to her office where at least the woman was mostly contained. She grabbed an off duty jacket off of the back of her chair and gave it to the woman to put over her shoulders. "Gail, what's the rest of your name?"

"Gail.." was the response, which was pretty much what Bryce expected.

"Got it." Jules sank into her seat and very earnestly gave the woman her full attention. "So tell me about your friend and what happened that he's gone.."


A couple of hours later- and a visit from psychological services who very politely promised Gail that they'd help her find her unicorn just before sedating her- and the line out front had dwindled enough that the grunts had taken over. It had been a hell of a morning, that was for sure.

Laz stretched, grunting as his back popped a little, then grumbled to himself, "I'm getting too old for the crazy show, you know that?" He said with a wry chuckle.

"Shuddup. You love it," grumbled Jules over the lip of her finally acquired coffee. "If it wasn't for that, you'd be sitting on a sandy beach watching girls a third of your age sashay vapidly."

"I'm failing to see an issue with the alternative, you know?" Laz replied with a devilish grin and a shrug.

"Really? You're into vapid?" Jules took another long sip of her coffee and sighed. "That narrows down who you get put on patrols with from now on, I guess. Maybe Krenshaw.. He has the same taste in women."

Laz laughed, "Naw... I like my gals with a bit of weight in the brainpan. Eventually, all you've got is conversation. Doesn't do any good if you haven't got that," He admitted with a chuckle as they got back to his desk.

"Mmmm hmmm," grumbled Jules, who stopped at the edge of his desk briefly. "You're still with Krenshaw for the next little bit. Hamlin is on leave since his wife finally gave birth and Chavez is on vacation. We only had to threaten her to finally make that happen. -Unless, you want the desk again tomorrow.."

"You know, I love that Krenshaw kid," Laz answered quickly, grinning from ear to ear. "He's a super partner."

Bryce laughed over the rim of her coffee mug. "I thought so. Just don't let him get shot or anything. He's too nice." And too green, too, but that wasn't something that the woman would say to any of his peers. "You taking off?"

'Just got here, boss lady," Laz said with a smirk. "Got some communications to catch up on, then I'm probably going to jet. Why? Need me for something?"

If he'd been there regularly for the last month, he'd have known. The man was like clockwork: you could set a bead on 1300 hours by when he announced that he was taking lunch. "It's already lunchtime, Laz. You're due your break. You don't have to hang around at your desk and catch up- do it when you get back. You just spent a month laid up. Get out a little. Kick up your heels."

Laz checked the chronometer on his station, "Holy hell... time flies on that front desk, huh?" He said with a laugh. "Alright, alright, I'll take a break," He said, standing and stretching again, then giving her a look.

"Wanna come too?" He asked, giving her that wry grin he'd perfected over the years.

Jules shook her head no. "Once we've got a boss in the house I can do that. Until then, I've got the desk, and the approvals, and everything else that needs a thumbprint or signature. You enjoy it, though, for me. Maybe another time."

Laz shrugged and hung his head, kicking at the ground, "Yeah, yeah. You just don't want to be seen with an old fart like me," he said in mock dejection.

"Make it dinner at Reid's Diner and I'll meet you there after shift. You won't find better chili on the whole station," Jules told him, her mouth curled in a disapproving slant at the old man schtick. "-And if you keep making old man comments, you bet I'll stick you on the front desk. I need fit folks in the field, Marc."

"Fit as a fiddle, ma'am," Laz replied with a salute. "Dinner at Reid's it is," he said giving her a roguish grin before sauntering off, clearly far too proud of himself.


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