CHAPTER 01: Breakfast in the Neutral Zone [0700 hrs.] May 06, 2014, 04:48:41 AM [USS Theurgy - Deck 02, Senior Officers' Quarters - CWO1 Sten Covington]Sten Covington lived by a rather simple leadership model. He would always be the last member of his crew to leave the workspaces at the end of the day's work and he always strove to be the first one in. However, there were always exceptions to this, as to everything else. Such as this morning.He and his staff had worked late simply diagnosing the litany of propulsion-related issues with the twenty Valkyries of various vintages in his fighter bay, and instead of starting the inevitable removal and complete rebuild of twenty ash-clogged impulse drives, he and his crew went over the runabout that was sitting there and prepared the bay for the next day's work. And before Sten turned in, he took the time to arrange for a breakfast meeting with his departmental head, Lieutenant Commander Stark.Indeed, after all that had just happened, if he was feeling this pressure, his young superior was bound to be under a great deal of stress herself. And, as the most senior enlisted man in the Operations department, he knew on a deep level that it fell to him to look after her to some extent. After all, it was a centuries-old tradition for veteran non-commissioned men to be their officers' sounding boards. And this was no different.It was in a clean set of his Operations-yellow coveralls and a fresh white TAC/CONN undershirt that Sten made his way to Stark's quarters, by way of the galley for eggs Benedict and a pot of coffee. Perhaps he was granted some benefits due to his rank and seniority but Covington still did not have access to a food replicator on a regular basis. As for his dress, he and the Bear Cubs had been allowed this concession. It was, for them, a small acknowledgement of their expertise and it was treated no differently than the pilots' entitlement to wear flight jackets in lieu of the standard issue one. And it was good for morale. The Lone Wolves were generally very open in their appreciation of their ground crew, but the reports never made mention of the lowly technician who ensured their phasers were properly collimated or the Chief of the Deck who launched them and retrieved their damaged birds; it was all about the pilots and their nerves of steel, tactical acumen and retina-detaching flying. Upon reaching the familiar door, Sten simply hit the chime and spoke. "Good morning ma'am. You called for breakfast?"And, despite the formality of his address, there was genuine warmth in Sten's gravelly voice.