"I hear Timmy's finally out of quarantine," said Dick, as he stared at the transporter alcove. "I'm looking forward to seeing him again. Anne certainly is. Even Julian said he'd find time to be here when you give the order."
George snorted. "Timmy is not coming aboard the Enterprise by the transporter, no matter what Captain Julian Kirrin says. Did you honestly think I would let Tim's molecules be compressed into a data stream to be reassembled as goodness knows what, when they haven't got all of the bugs ironed out? I'm the Chief Engineer and what I say goes."
A box materialised on the platform. George waited a moment, wanting to be sure the transport was actually complete. There had been an incident two days ago; a transporter technician had stepped onto the pad as soon as a container had appeared, only to have a second container materialise on top of him. He was still in the Infirmary.
"They've done it again," she complained after examining the contents of the box. "These are regenerative interlink coils," she clarified, seeing Dick's raised eyebrows. "I specifically requested a case of valve sealant. We're never going to be ready to ship out in three days."
No wonder George didn't want Timmy to arrive by transport. Forget the whole molecular disassemblement thing; the ground staff would probably send George Fluffy the cat. "How is Timmy getting aboard? Do you want me to take a shuttlepod and collect him?"
George shook her head. "He's due in an hour, coming out on the shuttlepod with the Head Chef."
"Did I hear you say Chef?" Anne joined her brother and cousin at the transporter alcove.
"Hello, Lieutenant-Commander Kirrin. Greetings! Ciao! Shalom! Bon jour! Or even Na'shaya," concluded Dick carefully. Speaking Vulcan, or indeed any language other than his own, was not one of his strong suits. Quite simply, he loved to fly, and he'd been more than happy to accept a posting to the Enterprise as helmsman. At thirty-seven, he was still a lowly ensign. Julian had achieved the rank of Captain shortly after his thirty-seventh birthday, the same year George had been promoted to Lieutenant.
Anne's new promotion to a rank higher than her own was bittersweet for George. As proud as she was that her cousin's hard work had been rewarded, George couldn't help feeling that the rank Chief Engineer of the NX-01 should be higher than Lieutenant; perhaps a word in Julian's ear once they departed on their first mission.
"Are you waiting for Ju, I mean, the captain, before you transport Timmy?" asked Anne.
"The captain," emphasised George, "will meet us in Shuttlebay two in ten minutes. Tim is coming on a shuttlepod with the Chef." She forgot about Anne's promotion as she thought about finally having Timmy with her. Three months in quarantine was far too long.
"Then what are we doing here?" Anne tugged George's sleeve. "We'll need to hurry if we're going to get there before he does."
"Here." George thrust the box at the crewman manning the transporter station. "Make sure they send me the valve sealant as soon as possible."
The three headed to the shuttlebay, catching up on the news as they went. Different departments and different shifts meant they hadn't seen much of one another for some time, although they hoped that would change once they left on their shakedown cruise.
Julian joined them in time to watch the shuttlepod enter the landing bay. Timmy bounded from the door as soon as the passengers were cleared to disembark.
"Timmy, Timmy, Timmy! How I've missed you! You're just as licky as ever." George laughed as Timmy greeted her enthusiastically. Dick and Anne gave Timmy and George a minute before joining in, ruffling his fur and patting his head.
"Come on, Ju! The Famous Five are together again," called Dick, forgetting where he was and that lowly ensigns never called their captain by a short version of their first name when on duty, even if they were brothers.
Julian had taken a step forward, intending to pet Timmy along with the others. For a brief moment, he pictured himself in the laughing, barking pile of people and dog. It should be 'Julian', Dick, Anne, George and Timmy the dog. Five, not four. He frowned as he remained where he was. He was the captain, after all, and it wouldn't be seemly for the newest member of his crew to see him behaving in such an undignified manner. For the first time, he questioned his wisdom in getting his brother and sister as well as his cousin and her dog assigned to the Enterprise.
"Are you ready for some adventures, Tim?" George's voice rang out.
As Dick enthusiastically agreed, while Anne pummelled first George and then Dick, telling them off for jinxing the Enterprise as all she wanted was a quiet, pleasant shakedown cruise, Julian found himself smiling. If there were adventures to be had and mysteries to be solved aboard the NX-01, the Famous Five were on the spot and ready for anything.