In the Heat of the Night
Posted on Saturday, 16 July 2022 - 7:11pm by Captain Pippa Whitley & Lieutenant T'Lanna Vali & Lieutenant K'Var & Lieutenant Konata Hiiragi & Lieutenant JG Charles McCullen & Ensign T'Nile Xera & Lieutenant JG Hayashi Hamura & Ensign Oriana Skye Sety
Operation: My Unfair Lady
Location: USS Standing Bear | Deck 01 | Bridge
The calmness of the USS Standing Bear's Bridge as she sat lying in wait to take wing had been interrupted by the synchronized humming arrival of the port and starboard side turbolifts reaching deck one, and the compressed hissing of them parting ways to reveal the arrival of several high ranking officers pouring out onto the bridge, led by Captain Pippa Whitley and Lieutenant T'Lanna Vali who strutted across the bridge and took their seats in the command pit, Whitley planting themself in the Captain's chair, and T'Lanna uncustomary on the Captain's right side in the Executive Officer's seat.
Fleeing from their bridge consoles, several junior officers vacated their seats and retreated into either turbolift. By Earth's clock, it was only the wee hours of the morning, but the USS Standing Bear had a schedule to keep and Pippa had their orders. They would leave now. Lieutenant Adrianna Eberhardt was behing left behind on the station, tasked with their own mission to handle. One that Pippa had sanctioned.
The rest of the Captain's Senior Staff, however, was present on the bridge. "Doctor Hiiragi," Pippa called out to the blue haired physician. "If you would be so kind, we are a bit short on some of our more seasoned science personnel" the captain explained, referring to Lieutenant Kingsley who was on leave of absence off the ship, and Lieutenant Joral who was accompanying Eberhardt. "Science station is yours, Doctor" added Pippa.
Nodding without a word, Konata slid into the recently-vacated seat at the science station. It was weird for Konata to be on the bridge for departure. Normally, when it was time for a starship to fly the nest, Konata was down below, and Taz was on the bridge. It was quite the role reversal, to say the least.
Konata just wished that the seat she had just taken was adjustable, as the four-foot eight doctor had had to climb into the seat, and she hadn't noticed any kind of adjustment controls.
"Mister McCullen," Captain Whitley called out as the man approached his designated seat. "Get comfortable," teased Pippa noticing the seat needed a bit of an adjustment from whoever had been seated in it prior the young lieutenant.
Charlie hadn't noticed the seat; his eyes had been glued to the console the second he had entered the bridge. He gave the captain a flash of a grin as an acknowledgement and then leaned down to raise the height to where he could comfortably reach everything, and then slid in behind the console. Almost instantly, his fingers started dancing across the controls, bringing up status reports, live readings of the warp and impulse engines, fusion reactors, thrusters and a myriad of other sub-systems that all worked to make the Standing Bear go.
"Captain." T'Nile murmured quietly as she strode into the Bridge. She was familiar with the concept, that all Officers had to do a rotation as their duty station every so often. Although her Starfleet boots had very slightly thicker soles than normal, she padded her way quietly to Engineering 2, her preferred posting. It had larger displays and more room to indulge. Accessing her personalized layout, the LCARS showed a few schematics, annotated by numbers. Her tracking of energy flows, as well as data transmission rates through the ODN allowed her to get a picture of the ship's overall health, much as how a doctor might take a patient's pulse and blood pressure. Unconsciously, she wiped at the knees and elbows, her uniform fading very slightly in those places. Arching her back slightly to release some of the tension, she was ready for a full shift.
Hamura had breezed onto the bridge feeling mixed emotions. Their talk with Ori had helped but not much. Instead of the engineering console where they wanted to be they now sat at ops monitoring all things there. It took several steadying breaths before Hamura reported ready for their station, every word pulled painfully from their mouth.
Oriana entered the bridge and slid into the seat to the captain’s left. It was a guest seat that she would occupy for a while and she quite liked it. She smiled at Bones who was hiding under the captain’s chair.
Captain Whitley turned to their left, seated was Orianna Sety, the ship's Logistics Officer. "I hope you were able to get in touch with the Clara Barton for a bit of a transfer of supplies when we reach our rendezvous point?" inquired Pippa. The Standing Bear was going to be meeting with the Federation hospital ship to release Doctor Selin over to their care.
“I was and I had a few extra things tossed into the mix. We are well supplied.” She said smiling at the Captain.
Pippa nodded. "Good, those are the sort of surprises that I like."
"T'Lanna, could you contact the Starbase and request that they to disengage docking clamps, and for clearance to embark," Whitley said turning to their Acting First Officer. This was going to be an interesting assignment for the two of them together in this capacity thought Captain Whitley had faith in the woman's abilities to rise up to the challenge and overcome the obstacles.
“Of course Captain” T’Lanna offered a smile before getting on with her task. It didn’t take long. “Captain, Stabase operations report docking clamps retracted, and have granted permission to disembark.”
"Lieutenant McCullen, lay in a course to our rendezvous coordinates in the Bajor system please," ordered Captain Whitley who tapped away at the small console on the armrest of Pippa's Captain's chair. The Commanding Officer transferring those coordinates directly to McCullen's console at flight control. It was an instantaneous transfer of information, and Pippa knew that McCullen would quickly be able to deduce and confirm that the coordinates in question were taking them to a space station of a paramount notoriety.
"Aye Captain," Charlie confirmed as the coordinates came in, pausing his preparations for undocking and manoeuvring momentarily to plot the course. A few button presses brought up the star chart of the area and it was instantly obvious where they were going. The computer laid out a course automatically and the helmsman made a few adjustments, shaving a few hours here and there by cutting a little closer than standard to various navigational hazards. The computer was always way too conservative, taking big arcing sweeps around obstacles instead of more efficient, tighter turns. He verified the course before confirming, "course laid in for Deep Space Nine," and resuming his preparations.
"Excellent, Lieutenant McCullen," replied Pippa as they checked the screen on their armrest. It appeared that the starbase Commander was wishing them well and safe travels. Don't jinx it thought Whitley.
"Let's take us out nice and slow, McCullen," Whitley instructed. "Once you are clear from station traffic, you are welcome to shake off the dust."
"Roger that," Charlie nodded, starting up the sequence. He pinged the station for clearance and got the green light. "Confirmed hatches sealed, retracting gangway." His fingers danced across the controls, "disconnecting umbilicals and confirming switch to internal power." There was a pause as he waited for the reactors to cycle, and the barely noticeable thrum of power that passed through the deck plates as the ship came alive made him grin. "Fusion reactors at nominal power. Manoeuvring thrusters to standby. Inertial dampeners online. Navigational deflector ready. Docking clamps released. Here we go!"
There was a thud that was felt rather than heard as the ship was set free and for a moment she floated idly, then Charlie fired the forward thrusters, giving her a nudge backwards. He hit the starboards and dorsals, setting the Standing Bear aspin, coming around until her bows were pointing out into space. In his mind, he could almost hear the ghost of a whisper of her voice, begging for freedom. As her head came around to the course he wanted he gave her a spurt of opposite thrust with one hand, while his other nudged the impulse engines to life and she was moving at a quarter away from the station.
The young helmsman double-checked the course and picked a speed as he brought the ship up to full impulse. Shake off the dust, the captain had said, and his grin grew a little wicked. As much as he knew the ship was just out of refit and the chief engineer probably wouldn't thank him for wringing her neck out of the gate, he couldn't resist pushing it a little. It took less than a minute to clear traffic and Charlie got the fair sailing and calm seas ping from traffic control as he started cycling the warp engines.
He watched the warp bubble form around the ship as the engines spooled and the space in the viewscreen started to distort, "Ready, steady, warp six, go!"
They would be heading through Cardassian space, and though the Federation was on good terms with the actual Cardassian government, the faction of separatist extremist have grown to be a nuisance. They had yet to show any space ferrying presence aside from small raiders and shuttlecraft, but Pippa wasn't one to take unnecessary risks.
"Lieutenant K'Var, when we reach the Cardassian border, I want to increase our alert status to yellow, and do keep your eyes peeled for anything out of the ordinary."
"Of course, Captain" the Caitian replied with a nod.
The USS Standing Bear was now en route to Deep Space Nine where it would rendezvous with the USS Clara Barton and turn over Doctor Selin for medical transport to Vulcan. The Captain settled down in the Captain's chair as the crew manned their stations.
To be continued