“How we looking?” the captain asked as she stepped out of her ready room, Commander MacIntyre following behind her. Both held cups of their preferred beverage, the sickly-sweet scents soon wafting across the bridge to her own sensitive nose. Instead of heading for the center seats, which T’Val had dutifully stood from, they both waved her down and took over seats at currently unused multi-mission stations on the starboard side of the bridge.
Her left eyebrow rose in curiosity at human behaviour before sitting herself back down in the center seat, hands coming to rest on the arms of the seat. “Fish 1 and 2 are ready for launch as soon as we exit the wormhole. On schedule for emergence in the Alpha Quadrant in three minutes. Would you like to take the conn Captain?” she asked.
“Oh no, it’s all yours T’Val, I’m just sitting out here, having my coffee, staying out of the way,” Captain Theodoras responded. When she turned her gaze towards the Commander all he did was sip at his cup of tea, offered a shrug of his shoulders and a slight smile.
“Very well ma’am.” She turned back to watching the main viewscreen and the bridge slipped into silence once more. The storm-cloud like nature of the wormhole’s interior was populated by circling blue, white, orange and green lights, with a singularly large bright light ahead of them, just off centre of the viewscreen and growing in size.
“USS Sovetsky sends her regards,” the rather junior operations officer, an Ensign Gren Tovik, announced as they passed the other vessel in transit, breaking up the quiet.
“Pass along our own regards and expectations for safe travels,” she responded, then turned to look to Captain Theodoras who was quietly nodding approval but didn’t say anything, not even quietly between herself and the Commander.
“Aye aye, ma’am.”
Once again silence, if just for a few minutes, reigned, occasionally interrupted by the chirps and bells of computer systems informing operators of some detail or change in circumstances.
“Thirty seconds till emergence,” Ensign Tovak announced.
Her finger came to rest on the comm button on the right arm rest. “Bridge to Fish 1 and 2, standby for launch.”
“Roger,” came the simultaneous response from Lieutenant Shven and Ensign Carmichael, the two most experienced Valkyrie fighter pilots aboard ship and chosen for this little display by the captain.
She waited, counted the seconds, knew just how long it would take for the fighters to launch from the bays 2 and 3, either side and aft of the hull’s delta. Timing wasn’t everything in the little display, but the better it was, the more impressive it would be.
“Launch,” she calmly ordered of the pilots just moments before Atlantis crossed into the Alpha Quadrant.
For those watching the wormhole, Atlantis emerged like any other starship should, immediately followed by her entire fighter compliment of two Valkyrie-class fighters launching from her bays with streams of blue trailing behind them. Shven and Carmichael had both worked out a small little flight display for anyone at Starbase 38 who might have been looking out a window at the wormhole, watching ships come and go.
As for Atlantis herself all her navigational lights blinked twice in unison much brighter then normal, something that MacIntrye had dug up as an old naval tradition somewhere, signally those aboard station.
Ho the station there.
We know someone somewhere is going to be unhappy with the airshow.
And? We’re the fun ship, the spunky ship, the hip ship.
Damn the torpedoes!
That’s not how we deal with admiralty complaints.
“Fish 1 and 2 reporting completion of maneuverers ma’am,” Ensign Tovak announced calmly, clearly taking hints in proper bridge discipline from T’Val herself. Perhaps he’d make an adequate officer before much longer.
“Order them back to their bays. Helm, set course two six three mark zero zero two. When both fighters are aboard bring us to station waypoint Delta Three at full stop. Ops, please contact starbase control and request docking instructions and thank them for our opportunity to…show off.” She paused before those last two works, said them with a forced nature that most on the bridge would like never detect.
Then she heard the sound of two people standing and turned to face the captain and commander. “We should be underway again within two minutes ma’am.”
“Nicely done Lieutenant. Your pilots performed admirably. Maybe we should put together an acrobatics team,” Captain Theodoras said. “You’re still in command, I’m off for the evening. Mac, see you in the morning?”
“Bright and early,” he replied, watched the captain leave and stepped over to sit in his chair to the left of the centre chair. “Comfortable Lieutenant?”
“I would prefer to be flying the ship sir and have the proper duty officer in charge,” she replied.
“Captain just wants to give you some conn time, which trust me, looks good. If you need me, I’ll be in the ready room reading some reports.” He stood, smiled at her. “Carry on.” And with that he left, the door closing behind him just as the Atlantis turned to bring the imposing bulk of Starbase 38 into view.
“What have you heard of this Captain Grent?” Tikva asked of her chief engineer as they both walked through the offices of the docking module towards the offices of one Captain Grent, the commander of the dockyard repair crews that would be setting Atlantis’ engine woes straight after their journey through the Delta Quadrant.
“Tellarite is all I was able to dig up,” Ra-tesh’mi answered with his customary stroke of his beard. He’d confessed he started doing that because it made him look more contemplative but then became a force of habit. “Besides apparently being damn good at his job which seems to be stealing good workers from other teams to his and then somehow keeping hold of them.”
“Ah, so a good manager then. Hire the best, keep them hopefully with rewarding work opportunities.” That boded well in her own opinion then for how well the Atlantis would be treated.
“Wait, I’m not supposed to be press-ganging my engineers? Huh…” Ra-tesh’mi joked, earning at least a slight chuckle from herself. She knew she herself must have been doing good if her officers were willing to joke like that around her.
A secretary greeted them as they arrived, checked her screen, smiled politely and led them both into the man’s office, which was absent one Tellarite. “Captain Grent will be with you shortly but he advised me to show you in. Can I get you anything to drink Captain, Lieutenant Commander?”
“Water will do,” she replied, echoed by Ra-tesh’mi and the woman departed, reappearing in quick succession with two glasses of water and a carafe as well. Tikva barely noticed as she was busy taking in the office. Not much in the way of decoration save for the magnificent oil paintings that covered the walls. Each was a Starfleet vessel rendered in amazing detail, all against gorgeous vistas and hinted at the true talent of the artist.
“These are all old ship classes,” Ra-tesh’mi spoke up as he too was looking the room’s decorations over. “Newest ship class I’ve see is Galaxy-class.”
“Nebula-class here,” she replied.
“Galaxy-class still wins. Venture refits, see the additional phaser banks?” he pointed to the painting in question and Tikva had to take her engineers word for it, admitting in quick succession is point. “Wait, how’s your Tellarese?”
She blinked, then walked over and inspected the part of the painting that Ra-tesh was indicating, the artist signature. “Oh, um…well, that’s a grr sound at the start, a te sound at the…Grent. These are his own works. Torvic Grent 2387 this one.”
Just then the door to the office opened and the short, stocky physique of an elder Tellarite male stepped in, the rightful ruler of his fiefdom by bearing of personality and ego that she could feel emanating from the man. She always liked Tellarites, a degree of self-confidence about them she found infectious, though her mother said they made her nauseous because of their argumentative energy.
Benefit to being half human?
What, having to listen to you?
No, being I dunno, somewhat more argumentative and therefore able to handle Tellarites better?
“You’re the Atlantis captain,” Grent declared as he circled his desk and deigned to sit upon his administerial throne where his proclamations could expedite or delay a ship’s repairs, within reason of course. “Horrible ship. All sleek line and stream lined.”
“Yes, Captain Tikva Theodoras, this is my chief engineer Lieutenant Commander Ra-tesh’mi Velan,” she answered as both her and Ra-tesh’mi took their seats opposite the desk and only then did she realise the seats were lowered, just slightly, to put Grent at an advantage.
“I’ve read your reports Lieutenant,” the man said, deciding to take the lesser route when referring to Velan’s rank, supported by his tone of voice. “Allowing your engineers to cut off important locks as well I read. Tsk tsk,” though that was somewhat more hissing like thanks to Grent’s prominent tusks.
“Extenuating circumstances,” Ra-tesh’mi answered and then promptly went quiet. She turned to look at him and he was just staring right at Grent, daring him to ask for more. Clearly someone had dealt with Tellarite engineers before.
“Hrumpf,” the other man responded after having waited a few seconds for further explanation. A defence that she knew he had to have read already in the reports that they’d beamed back to Starfleet while still working their way back, or sat sitting around for the Barzan wormhole to open up at their end of the DQ.
“So,” she ventured into the staring contest. “Captain Grent, I’d like to get Atlantis back out into space as soon as possible. My engineers are due some R&R after our field repairs so if you and your people don’t need them, I’d like to release them and get your people working on my ship as soon as possible.”
“Three weeks from now,” Grent said. “Earliest I can do. I’ve got Somerville and T’lin coming in for scheduled repairs tomorrow and it’ll take three weeks before one of my teams is free to undertake work on your ship. Two weeks of repairs, longer if I need to pull teams for those other two ships.”
She furrowed her brows and looked to Ra-tesh’mi who just mouthed ‘Excelsiors’ to her. “I’m sorry, are you bumping my ship, which can barely maintain warp eight at the moment, for two Excelsior class starships?”
“I’m bumping your ship for two starships whose captain’s scheduled their maintenance and repairs months in advance,” he replied. “Do you have a problem with that?”
Before she could reply, Ra-tesh’mi reached over and touched her arm, then spoke with a devilish grin on his face. “I think Captain, he probably just needs the time to catch up on modern starship design. After all, a skilled painter like Captain Grent here probably hasn’t painted a modern starship because he’s stuck in the past, artistically and technologically.”
She blinked, then smiled, feeling the anger building within the Tellarite, a slight hint of cinnamon and aged whiskey was how her own mind interpreted it. “You’re likely right Commander,” she replied, this time using the superior component of his rank.
“I don’t need the time to study up on your ship.”
“Then there’s clearly no need for a delay and your teams can start tomorrow. Or are they not as good as I’ve been led to believe?” Ra-tesh’mi snapped right back.
“My team is the best refit and repair team on the station. On any station.” He jabbed a meaty paw at his computer terminal and then jabbed a few more times. “Fine, you’ll get your slot. My people will be aboard tomorrow and we’ll be opening the nacelles up by the afternoon. I want your engineers out of my team’s way so I can get your ugly ship out of my slips as soon as possible.”
“I guess that’ll have to do,” she responded, then stood. “Captain,” she nodded to him and then turned to leave, though notably after a few steps without Ra-tesh’mi.
The Efrosian slowly got his own feet, then looked over the paintings, stroking his chin before nodding once at Grent. “I actually do like the Constitution Refit painting,” he said, then turned and left with Tikva, the door closing on a towering furnace of frustration and annoyance.
Both of them at least kept their cool till past a few doors and around a corner before cracking a short laugh. “All right Ra, for that display, let’s visit a bar and get a drink.”
“Oh, now that’s an order I can get behind.”