He regretted it almost as soon as he’d done it. Ensign Elegy Weld climbed through the open hatch of the Danube-class runabout with reckless abandon. To look at him, you might have even described the Trill as scurrying. In that moment, he didn’t even have time to think about the direction his ankle had shifted, he immediately felt a stabbing pain in his right knee. He hissed out a breath, and then he sucked in a deep breath. Almost as quickly, the pain was gone.
Weld was long cursed with a vivid memory. Any of his own discomfort was quickly displaced by his recollection of the distress call from the Tellarites. He could still hear the wheeze in the Captain’s voice; Weld knew that sound. It probably meant a punctured lung. Striding into the cockpit of the USS Cobechenonk, Weld’s legs supported his weight and his knee operated as expected. His own first brush with the so-called “Century Storm” had turned his arrival on Starbase Bravo into a glorified crash landing. This hospital team had managed to reassemble his knee with figurative hot glue, and it still seemed to be holding good these very few days later.
Avoiding the forward pilot stations with a wide berth, Weld sat himself at one of the auxiliary consoles. At a touch, he activated the Operations panel and he retrieved the mission orders he’d received less than an hour earlier. Reading again about the destroyed Tellarite freighter, the SS Closed Motion, he didn’t even hear his crew-mate entering the runabout.
Steven was overly excited for the fact he had been selected to pilot a small craft. It was a chance in a lifetime to prove his usefulness to Command, in hopes he can finally leave as a Deck Officer and become a Generalist in the Flight Control Command. Although piloting is his passion, he wanted to be available for essentially anything and everything that required more help. In this case, they needed pilots and someone must of been impressed with his piloting scores back at the Academy, or they just really needed more pilots. Nevertheless, he accepted his assignment much like any other, with all seriousness and focus.
He stepped through the open hatch and saw that someone was already in the runabout. The color of the shoulder part of their uniform gave away their department and figured that that made sense, considering their mission. He quickly went over directly to the pilot seat and began the prep checks after he had turned his station on. He brought up the orders on a separate holo display and saw that they were waiting for one more individual before he can take off from the bay.
Sonja had been ordered to take part in a mission that she had not expected but was excited to get some time away from the station, though she only knew one of the fellow crew members and that may have added to her acceptance of the mission. She walked into the bay walking towards the runabout and remembered a simulation in a runabout at the Academy that did not go as it was planned to go.
She took a deep breath and walked to the hatch before opening it and entering the runabout she saw Steven and an unknown person she stood there and smiled as she waited to here from the person who was the head of the mission.
The beeping of LCARS telltales lifted Elegy’s attention out of the holographic words floating before his eyes. After looking up, Elegy swiveled his chair to better see the motley away team he had joined. “Good morning,” Elegy offered brightly. He waved his hand vaguely at the crew manifest on their mission orders to make introductions. “I’m Elegy Weld,” he said; “Pleasure to meet you both. I’ve only been assigned to Starbase Bravo this week. While the starbase’s medical crew are preoccupied with staffing the second hospital, we esoteric doctors have been drafted. I’m a counselor by day, but my emergency medical training will suffice for any survivors of the Tellarite freighter Closed Motion we’re able to rescue from their escape pods.” –A cringe crossed Elegy’s expression as a morbid thought crossed his mind. He mentally chided himself not to say it, but he couldn’t help himself from saying it– “As long as their escape pods survived the ion storm.” He winced, regretting the words immediately.
Steven had finished all flight checks and preparations, he just now needed to wait for the engines to warm up. With that, he swiveled in his seat to listen to the one person he didn’t recognize, Elegy Weld. He then looked at the person he did recognize and smiled before looking back at the ‘emergency doctor’. “Well for those who don’t know me,” He winked at Sonja. “My name is Steven Watson. Normally I am a Deck Officer but clearly today is one of those special days, so I look forward to proving to the Command Structure that I am very much capable for the next job that I have been patiently waiting for. I’ve been here since mid-late December. I know my way around a bit but there still a lot of areas that I’ve yet to see. I mean, what purpose would a Deck Officer need to be in Main Engineering or the Reactor Room or Command Operations?” He chuckled. Then he cleared his throat, “Most escape pods are designed to handle just about anything, but that’s Starfleet Escape Pods that I know of. Best thing we can really hope for, is we get out there, find them and do our jobs.” He smiled.
Sonja was there for Security she didn’t have much to do in the preparation of the journey, but she did figure it would be good to introduce herself. “I guess I am next, Hi I am Sonja Johnson, a Security officer here on Bravo and am starting to get used to the many areas I travel a day. I arrived not long after Steven and have been on many patrols over the past few weeks so this is a nice change.”
Steven nodded, “If this is everyone, I’ll get us moving along.” He turned his seat around to face the controls. First he signaled the Flight Control and waited for the green light to go. Once given, he piloted the runabout off the pad, out of the hangar and off towards their objective.
Scrolling through the wheel of menu options, Ensign Weld accessed the runabout’s communication systems. The mission orders had included Starfleet’s calibration patch for the Century Storm: the greatest minds’ best guess at how to increase their subspace transmitters’ ability to cut through the interference from the ion storms. While Weld confirmed the starbase engineers had installed it on the Cobechenonk, he glanced at his crewmmates over his shoulder.
“Being assigned to Starbase Bravo, I expected my greatest occupational hazard to be counseling ensigns with daddy issues or lieutenants with egos the size of asteroids,” Weld remarked with comedic bravado to avoid his unease. “I’ve never seen– I mean, I grew up in space. I always lived on starships. I’ve never even read about three ion storms converging, let alone a barrage of spontaneous ion storms across a nebula. I didn’t think it possible?”
Steven made sure everything was in order before engaging auto pilot and the computer essentially calculated and took over on the best speed to reach their destination. He then turned in his seat to look at Weld. “I learned from some professor in my Flight courses that… He said that, as a pilot, whether it be a small craft or a starship, expect the unexpected. Because you may be the one flying yourself and your crew out of it. Some people don’t realize it but Flight Control Officers do feel the burden of having people’s lives counting on them and the responsibility of their job can weigh heavy on their shoulders. Course, I am just quoting what my instructor said, I haven’t a clue since this is the first time I am actually piloting a small craft on an actual mission since I got here at Starbase Bravo.”
Squinting at Steven, Elegy pursed his lips into a very small frown. Cocking a curious eyebrow, Elegy asked, “You don’t have even a small clue about how it feels to carry lives in your very own hands?” He spoke in an animated manner to suggest this was a good-humoured gibe, but there had been a slight crack in his voice on the word clue that betrayed a tone of skepticism. Widening his green eyes, Elegy looked over at Sonja for support, when he asked Steven, “Don’t you feel some small responsibility for our three lives right here and now?” He waved his hands in the air, gesturing to all of them now, let alone the Tellarites they were on their way to rescue.
Sonja wasn’t sure what to do the reaction by the person she had only just met threw her off. Steven was known for his brash remarks, but this remark she felt was from his time at the Academy. She looked at Steven than back at Elegy and sighed “I think that Steven understands we all had to take the course in the Academy. I think he is just informing you of what he was taught as a pilot.” She said trying to be diplomatic.
Steven raised a brow at Elegy and shrugged his shoulders. “Look, I was just quoting what my professor told me back at the Academy. And I just explained that this is my first time actually getting to fly outside of the Academy. So, yeah, give it time. I mean, it’s just us three, not a couple hundred or so like a starship.” Sure he may be over confident, or showing little to no emotion but it’ll get to him eventually. “Now, do we know how many we will be picking up?”
“I’ll take a look through the ship’s records,” Elegy replied, offering a nod to Steven and turning back to his console. He tapped at the controls to access the specifications of the ship that had been destroyed by the Century Storm. While he tabbed through the files, Elegy said, “I’m jittery. I can admit that,” with growing remorse in his timbre. “The runabout that ferried me to SB-4 was trashed by an ion storm. I almost lost a leg. I thought I had bounced back, but… probably not. Not yet.”
Steven took back the controls from disengaging the auto pilot and adjusted their course. He glanced over to Elegy when he overheard him. “I wouldn’t know. Maybe another reason why I don’t feel the pressure. I haven’t been in any accidents or injured.” Steven put his focuse back on the controls. “Thing that my professor told me that’s stuck real tight, is to always keep your cool. This stuff may scare you, may even help you side to the err of caution, help you focus…but the moment you lose your cool, is the moment you make mistakes.” Steven looked to Elegy. “To quote, ‘As a pilot, you cannot afford to make mistakes.’ So whether I feel the weight of your lives or not, won’t change the fact that I have an important job.” He smiled.
Elegy offered a quick grin in return, when the operations console pinged and the schematics for the SS Closed Motion popped up. Reporting to the others as he read the words, Elegy said, “The Tellarite freighter was equipped with eight escape pods and it usually operates with about thirty crew members.” Frowning back at the mission orders, Elegy shook his head and added, “The captain’s distress call was too garbled by the storm to tell us much more.” Tilting his head to review the progress on another monitor, Elegy said, “We should reach the coordinates of the escape pods in… twenty minutes. We got this.”
Steven pulled up the logs of the ship’s last location. “I am going to plot a course near it and crank to full impulse, that should reduce our arrival time by six or seven minutes. Also have the engines programmed to slow us down to a halt next to the ship before we get too close so we won’t overshoot.” He informed the two of them. Then he snapped his fingers, “What kind of runabout did we grab? Did we grab one with sleeping compartments or cargo room?” He asked out loud as he now wanted to get up and look. He loved these runabouts, the different modules that they could exchange, made them so versatile.
Tabbing through the operations controls to review the runabout’s own systems, Elegy located the logs on the current configuration. “Aft section is configured for medical evacuation,” Elegy reported. “We don’t know what condition the crew was in before they abandoned ship, nor how long their escape pods were buffeted by the ion storms. We’ve got emergency medical holograms available, if need be.” The chirping of the communication system dragged Elegy’s attention back to the console. By the counselor’s assessment, the starbase engineers had done the needed job to modify the subspace transceivers to pierce all the new interference through the nebula. “We’re detecting distress signals and… and… Tellarite life signs,” Elegy reported. His face lit up with the sort of grin he hadn’t practiced since arriving on Starbase Bravo. “We have survivors. We have a crew to bring on home.”