Mission Day 55
USS Atlantis – Bridge
Over the last fifty or so days of high warp interstellar travel, the crew of the Atlantis had found a decent enough groove that in Tikva’s last transmission back to Command she had expressed her satisfaction in the crew’s performance and cohesion. It was this more relaxed but no less professional bridge that Tikva walked out onto from her ready room, cup in hand and a padd in the other.
“Captain on the bridge,” Adelinde said as she stood up from the center seat where she had been in the process of doing some of her own paperwork. A simple wave from Tikva and she was sitting back down in the seat, perching herself on the edge like she had seen her shorter command officer do more than a few times.
“Mac still running drills?” Tikva asked as she walked over to the Science station and dropped the padd in hand off to the officer there, one of the junior science officers who was pulling bridge duty in the relatively uneventful journey.
“Yes ma’am. Holodeck two. Borg boarding simulations. Lieutenant Ch’tkk’va is playing judge for the simulations and they are intending to present suggestions to me at the conclusion of this round. Speaking of ma’am, when will we have you participate?”
“What times have you got left?” Tikva asked as she approached the trio of seats in the middle of her bridge and once more waved Adelinde from standing, opting to not sit in her XO’s seat but in what she internally referred to as the Guest Chair. Drink in hand was sat down on the small platform to her left.
“Morning and afternoon for the next two days. The Commander and I do want everyone to have done the simulation before we get to the Swallow Nebula ma’am.”
“Tomorrow morning then.”
“In that case,” Adelinde responded, producing a padd from beside her, “could I please have you approve a modification to the duty roster for tomorrow? Commander MacIntrye is set for Beta shift, but I would prefer to judge your run ma’am and request that Lieutenant Ch’tkk’va be given my bridge duty.”
The look on Tikva’s face as she was presented the padd conveyed her own internal feelings, one’s which she immediately admonished herself over. Concern, worry, distrust – all off them boiled up under the surface and then her more rational side, honed by years of command and Command training slapped her in the face. Yes, Ch’tkk’va was a Xindi insectoid and yes, their service record was exemplary. But there was something deeply primitive about her own aversion to the Lieutenant.
It rattled her that her own primate brain could still override the more evolved sensibilities of a 24th century human. But evolution was a slow thing and it had taken much, much longer than the last few centuries of interstellar cosmopolitan interactions to develop humans to survive on their own dangerous world.
Tasteless thoughts put aside, a determination to speak with the ship’s counsellor made, Tikva looked over the padd and then pressed her thumb to the Commit button that was present, making the changes to the ship’s duty roster with her fingerprint verification. “I trust you’ll give Ch’tkk’va the same warning I’ve given you and Mac about my chair?”
“Ch’tkk’va doesn’t use chairs,” Adelinde responded as she checked the padd, then set it aside between herself and the chair’s arm. “Everyone better just get used to their hovering around and checking on everyone’s work.”
“Well, that’s some good news,” Tikva responded, rising to her feet and collecting her drink. “Right, I’m going go check on Engineering and I think…geophysics today? See if they’re ready for some survey work once we arrive.”
“Very well ma’am.”
Mission Day 56
USS Atlantis – Sickbay
“And would you please remind me what I told you two weeks ago after your recreation of, what was it?” asked the sardonic tone of one Doctor Terax.
There were exactly three people in Sickbay at this particular hour, all of Terax’s staff attending to either inventory, paperwork or simply not needed. Terax himself however was a dedicated workaholic and could be found in Sickbay most hours, ready to dispense medicine and cutting wit in equal measures.
The other, standing at the end of the biobed was Adelinde, a padd tucked under her arm after having helped her stricken captain from the holodeck all the way to Sickbay. Holodeck safeties prevented serious injuries when possible, but sometimes a dedicated enough effort by an individual could still result in an injury, such as Tikva’s currently sprained ankle after a rather impressive attempt at self-deception and demonstration of gravity.
“That I’m not two meters tall and indestructible,” she dutifully replied to he Edosian’s query, watching all three of the man’s arms as he worked to remove her left boot with two hands and ran a tricorder with the third. What it would be like to understand how his brain worked, handling a third upper limb? she thought momentarily before continuing. “And it was a holo adaptation to some old earth pre-warp computer game.”
“That does not tell me what specifically it was a recreation of,” Terax noted as he set the boot aside, tricorder down and a local hypo applied just above Tikva’s ankle as he carefully manipulated her ankle to discover any bruising that might have started to present. “And you,” his attention turned briefly to Lieutenant Gantzmann, “should have prevented this from happening at all. It was a training exercise yes?”
“I,” Tikva interrupted as Adelinde started to open her mouth in protest, “requested as realistic a combat simulation as possible. To best reflect any worst-case scenarios. And,” this time cutting off Terax, “the only reason I’m here is because I think I am two meters tall and indestructible. It’s a feeling that comes with the center seat. Lieutenant Gantzmann has been preparing this crew to prevent injuries and save lives should the worst happen Doctor.”
The Edosian huffed at that, then nodded his head in understanding. “I’m sorry Lieutenant, I was out of line. The Captain on the other hand…” he trailed off, attention back on her ankle.
“Was just trying to stop a Borg invasion of the ship and rescue a stranded Ensign,” Adelinde finally answered. “Though ma’am, I’m pretty sure missing the jump and falling amongst a series of drones was not the intended method you hand in mind?”
“No, not really. Neither was landing funny on my foot and collapsing to the floor. Though, I guess that’s one rather ignominious way to get assimilated.”
Terax’s second, or perhaps third huff since the two women had entered received the desired effect, which was to return attention to the one person in the room who was actually working. “You’ll live. No running, jumping or even swimming for twenty-four hours,” he advised with a second hypospray as punctuation. “If it’s still sore or tender this time tomorrow return and we’ll see what needs doing, but otherwise you’re free to go.”
“Thank you Doc. Much appreciated,” Tikva said, slowly lowering herself to the floor, collecting up her boot off the bed besides where she was seated and attendant sock and then proceeded for the door with Adelinde beside her.
“Which holodeck program?” Adelinde asked as the door swished open and the two women walked down the hallway, though at a much slower pace than normal.
“Which holodeck program was it you hurt yourself on a couple of weeks ago?”
“Oh,” the shorter woman said, smiling. “I found it in the list of games, so someone must have loaded it. Didn’t check to see who brought it aboard though. Was called Tomb Raider I think…or…” she trailed off with a slight wince.
“Lara’s eight centimetres taller than you Captain,” Adelinde stated and then simply walked off with her much longer, and quick gait, leaving Tikva standing in the corridor staring at the back of her Chief of Security in bewilderment.
Mission Day 57
USS Atlantis – Main Bridge
“You might want to look up,” came the soft, nearly musical voice of Lieutenant Gabrielle Camargo from the Science station at the rear of the bridge. A selection of commands and she had brought the ship’s main viewer online, displaying the massive interstellar nebula that the Atlantis was still speeding towards at high warp. “Ladies, Gentlemen, I present the Swallow Nebula. At present still three days away at current speed. At over five light years in diameter, this is the last time we’ll see it this pretty before surface luminosity starts to lose out and it fades away.”
There was quiet on the bridge for a moment before Tikva launched herself to her feet from her chair, a smile on her face as usual. This was what she signed up for. This was what most people signed up for – to see the universe in all it’s majesty! “Wow,” she said, spinning around to face Camargo. “That is worth the trip.”
“I think I could have settled for a long-range probe,” Mac quipped from his seat, studying the console beside him. “Though a probe would have been useless for the three class M planets nearby, the Krenim ship I’m seeing on long range sensors and some interesting transwarp signatures I’m seeing inside the nebula.”
“And the nearest of those class M planets sir,” Gabrielle continued, “has a radio shell we’re currently blitzing through. No warp signatures though, so likely pre-warp.”
“What do you say folks?” Tikva asked the assembled bridge crew, getting nods from most, and just a stoic expression from her helmswoman. “Right, T’Val, change course for that planet and bring us out of warp at the edge of their system. Let’s go see what the locals are up to. Oh, and Rrr’mmm’bal’rrr,” she continued, pronouncing the Gaens name with practised ease, “can you please transmit that report I provided to Starfleet along the buoy chain. Inform whomever is listening that we’ve arrived in the vicinity of the Swallow Nebula and will begin our survey mission.”