Part of USS Aquarius: Unstable Weather

With a Little Help from My Friends

USS Aquarius/Terra Alpha Colony
December 2399
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The intercom beeped in the Captain’s ready room.  “Captain,” a disembodied voice announced over the speakers, “You are being hailed by Admiral Talon at Starfleet Command.”

Raising an eyebrow, “patch her through to my office.” Tajir replied over the comm channel.

Rear-Admiral Rebecca Talon sat behind her desk her hands folded in front of her.  Her once vibrant red hair had turned grey with streaks of copper pulled into a neat bun.  She was still an attractive woman despite being well into her sixth-decade thanks to a mix of Irish and old-world Spanish.  “Congratulations on your new command Captain,” Rebecca greeted. Rebecca had never met Captain Derohl, but the joined Trill had a solid reputation within the fleet.

“Thank you, Admiral,” Tajir replied looking at her wondering why he was being contacted by an Admiral. “What do I owe this pleasure?” Tajir asked as he sat there at his desk, though he was still getting used to it which would take a while.

“I understand you still have an opening at Chief Engineer.  I have a favor to ask of you.  A favor that you can fully refuse with no consequence to you.  This is pure of a personal matter but could prove beneficial to you.  My niece has been looking for a chief engineer position since her old ship was decommissioned.  I am hoping that you could give her some measure of consideration.”

He looked at her for a moment, “I do need a Chief could you tell me a bit about her?” Tajir asked though he could look up her file.

Rebecca smiled as she sent over Elizabeth’s file.  “What she did on the Wessex as the Chief Engineer was impressive.

Tajir had heard about the Wessex being an old Miranda-class that was almost falling apart, though why they kept it in service was beyond him. “Indeed it was, send me her file and have her report aboard as soon as possible, we are leaving for the old Romulan Neutral Zone soon,” Tajir said as he felt that if she could do that with an old Miranda, she be a good fit for the newer Resolute-class.

“Thank you, Captain,” Rebecca said with an approving smile.  “Expect her to meet you aboard the Zebulon Pike. If you need anything just ask. I owe you one.”

Tajir nodded, “I will keep an eye out for her then.” Tajir replied with a smile, “I’ll remember that Admiral.” He replied looking at her for a moment.

Rebecca nodded, “Talon out.”


-Next Day, Riley City, Terra Alpha Colony-

“Up next we have a local cowgirl, Elizabeth Kyle” the rodeo announce spoke over the loudspeaker.  There was a small but respectable crowd in the stands watching this year’s rodeo.  It wasn’t the big professional rodeo held in mid-July, but even so, this still drew a crowd from the local ranchers and bored families from around the area.

Elizabeth tapped the side of the bay mare she was riding with the heel of her right boot and she rode up to the open gate to the arena. Clicking her tongue she gave the mare a solid bump in the side and she took off in a gallop.  The mare was a borrowed horse of a friend, but very well trained.  Her friend was just happy to have someone take her out and ride her since she had four other horses that needed riding.

At the first barrel, Elizabeth barely even had to direct the bay around it.  Just a slight tug of the reins back and to the right to slow her down slightly and the horse and rider spun around the barrel spraying chunks of packed earth flying behind her hooves as it peppered the fence near the barrel. The second was a repeat of the first he left knee centimeters from rubbing the barrel as the mare came around.  They thundered to the third and final barrel, came around it just a little wide, but nothing too serious, and then it was time to send them down the final stretch as Elizabeth kicked and hissed urging the mare into a full out gallop the length of the arena.

“15.23 is the time for Ms. Kyle,” the announcer said after she crossed the finish line.  “That puts her at fourth place.”

Elizabeth sighed. It was a close only off a tenth of a second from placing, but that’s how barrel racing was.  Minute fractions of a second separated the winner from those that walked away with nothing.  She rode the mare around the back of the rodeo grounds until her breathing had returned to normal and made her way back to her shuttle.  A Starfleet officer was sitting on the nose of the old converted Danube class runabout.  His head was down and he was carving into a stick of wood with a knife.  He wasn’t making anything in particular, just shaving off flecks of wood and letting the soft yellow shavings fall to the ground.

Elizabeth couldn’t see his face, but she instantly recognized him as her cousin.  “Shouldn’t you be riding?” She asked curiously.

Commander Ethan Talon looked up and casually tossed the stick to the ground and slipped his pocket knife into his pocket.  Ethan shrugged, “I was on a mission when I could enter into the saddle bronc riding.  It’s fine, I have plenty of rank two-year-olds to ride  back at the ranch.”

Elizabeth leaned forward on the pommel of her saddle with her arms folded across the horn, “So, what brings you here?”

“Well, I have a mission and mom asked me a favor. You got orders.  Looks like your extended leave is canceled.”  He handed her a PADD. “Mom asked if I could take you there.”

“Where’s there?” Elizabeth asked already scrolling through the PADD: USS Aquarius. “Oh, chief engineer,” she said answering her own question.

Ethan chuckled, “I’ll see you on the Zeb Pike in three hours cousin.”


-One Week Later-

Lieutenant Elizabeth Kyle sat at a table in the cramped mess hall of the USS Zebulon Pike.  All around her sat Ethan, his wife and second in command Trinity, and their cousin David Sackett drinking coffee and sharing a basket of French fries.

“You ready for this challenge?” Trinity asked.

“The Wessex was a challenge, Aquarius is going to be a vacation,” Elizabeth said with a smirk.

“Get yourself a holographic engineering team,” David suggested.  He was the Pike’s engineering officer, and his entire team was made up of holographic engineers. “They don’t talk back, and when you send them into a situation that would kill a flesh and blood officer… well,  no guilt.”

“Yeah, well, we’ll see,” Elizabeth replied noncommittally.  She lifted her coffee to her lips and took a careful sip.  It was tepid at best.  She sighed and set it aside disappointed and opted to pick a fry from the basket and popped it into her mouth.  Swallowing she smiled at Ethan, “Thanks for the lift.”

Ethan laughed, “You are welcome, but when mom askes me to do something on an official level I kind of have to follow through.”

“He didn’t want to start this upcoming mission anyway,” Tnity teased.  “He’s been bitching about it since it was handed down.”

“I hate long-term surveillance,” Ethan grumbled.  “There’s not much to do on this ship other than to watch old 21st Century TV shows, read, or jog around the corridors until one of you complain about me keeping you up at night.”

“There’s a time and place for that,” David said.  “08:00 is fine. 01:00 is something different altogether.  And, when I have to get up at 05:00 and you are stomping by my door doesn’t make me a happy camper.”

“I need my wide-open spaces,” Ethan said deflated.

“We all do,” Trinity added.

The intercom beeped in interruption, “Bridge to Lieutenant Kyle.”

Elizabeth tapped her combadge, “Yeah, go ahead Murph.”

The helmsman, Patrick Murphey, was the only one on the bridge at the moment, and aside from the team medic was the only,y one on the ship, not family. “Liz we have rendezvoused with the Aquarius.”

“Thanks, Murph, Kyle out.”

Elizabeth stood and started to clean up her mess.  “We got this,” Trinity interjected, “Go to your ship.  We got all the time in the world.”

“Thanks,” Liz said with a grin. She hugged everyone goodbye and slung her duffle over her shoulder in a cross-body fashion and picked up two instrument cases. One, a four-hundred-year-old copy of a Stradivari violin and a custom-built acoustic guitar from a luthier on Terra Alpha.

The transporter room was across the corridor from the mess hall and a holographic transporter chief materialized into existence automatically when she entered the single pad transporter room.

“Please state the destination of the transport,” the hologram announced robotically.

And they say EMH programs lack personality, Elizabeth thought to herself.  “The USS Aquarius.”

“Please stand by,” the hologram stated making the appropriate calculations. “USS Zebulon Pike to USS Aquarius  Lieutenant Elizabeth Kyle requests to beam over.”

“Acknowledged Zebulon Pike,” the transporter chief on the other end responded. “Permission granted.”

“Well,” Elizabeth sighed as she stepped onto the transporter pad and turned around, “let’s get this show on the road. Energize.”