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Part of USS Atlantis: Mission 7: The lost ship of Atlantis

3 – Just fly

USS Atlantis
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“So, we’re being broken up?” Velan asked after Tikva and Mac had laid out the situation to the senior officers.

The sense she was getting from everyone was disappointment tinged with anger. The specifics she couldn’t place, but everyone’s versions of such feelings overlapped in weird ways and that left Tikva with a weird taste in her mouth that she wasn’t a fan of.

“No one has confirmed that,” she spoke up, “but at the same time it is a real possibility. At a minimum, we aren’t staying on Atlantis that’s for sure.”

“A crew of two hundred suddenly removed from a ship, Personnel is going to scramble to fill in every empty billet within five lightyears from such a boon,” Rrr grumbled out for all to hear. “But then again, random reassignments and odd postings are a…perk of the job.”

“Gee, Rrr, didn’t need the full sales pitch. You had me at random.” Gabrielle Camargo, the youngest officer in the room, was perhaps the only one here not entirely in an emotional pit at the moment. Her entire career had changed by becoming the chief science officer aboard Atlantis and looked only to keep ascending. “But hey, we had fun, right? Chance to go out into the wider fleet and get some new experiences, right?”

“Captain, you sure we can’t protest this?” Velan said, shaking his head. “It’s just folly to take a perfectly good ship out of commission and turn it into a floating science lab.”

“I tried Ra, I really did. But someone with way more pull than I have started all of this. A&A want Atlantis as their personal fiefdom, so off we go.” She breathed in, breathed out, and then offered a smile to her staff. “I’m going to put my money on us not being broken up though. One, they’ll give me a new ship soon enough and as captain, I’ll have some discretion on my senior staff.”

“When they give you a new ship,” Rrr continued. “That could take months, by which time we’ll all be on new assignments.” They slumped like one would expect of a mountainside after heavy rains. “I supposed I should begin preparations for a full disembarkment of crew and materials.”

“A&A have a prize crew arriving tomorrow morning Rrr, with a Chief Bailey who’ll take over once you’re ready to hand over. He’s apparently ex-Starfleet, so you should hopefully be able to get away as quick as everyone else and enjoy your R&R. Operations is also sending a few people over to basically fly the old girl until she’s all moored up somewhere.”

“I…that’s considerate of everyone.” Rrr’s tone changed, genuine surprise she’d heard from them.

“Transport to major hubs for travel, a crew to relieve us all in a hurry. It all seems like someone has a plan,” Adelinde finally spoke up. “I’m with the captain on this, I think the chances of us being broken up are remote. There is something going on.”

“Let’s not equate niceties with,” Dr Terax had started, then stopped with a chime of the comms filling the Briefing Room.

“Captain, a message from Starfleet Command for you. Multiple attachments keyed to your command codes.”

“Thank you, Ensign,” she spoke to the ether, the chime of a closing comm channel soon followed. A look to her staff and every last one of them was looking at her expectantly. Without much of a pause for fanfare, she brought up a few commands on the built-in controls on the briefing table, entered in her command codes and then distributed the orders she found attached to her senior officers, the rest of the crew’s orders going to Mac for eventual distribution.

“Blah blah blah, two weeks R&R, blah blah, report to the Beta Antares Shipyard,” Camargo spoke up, her eyes still frantically skimming the orders she had.

“In two weeks’ time, report to the Beta Antares Shipyard whereupon you will receive your new billet and orders,” Terax said, reading the entire sentence in question.

Soon enough everyone’s eyes had found the same line on their orders, even Tikva had, though hers read one week, not the two everyone else had, not that she said so out loud.

“Okay, someone definitely is pranking us,” Mac chipped in. “And I’m not sure whether to laugh or to cry.”

It was the better part of an entire day later after that briefing that Adelinde found herself interrupted by a singular force of chaos during her efforts to finish packing her belongings. There had been no chime to inform her someone was at the door, so the entrant to the room could only be one person.

“Hello you,” she offered, not looking up from the box on her bed she was still yet to close.

“Hey you, so, which of these is your go-bag?” Tikva asked.

“Go bag?”

“Yeah, go-bag, as in grabbing it while running out the door off on an adventure.”

“No one has go-bags on this ship. We always beam down with exactly what we need.” She stopped and turned to face Tikva, finding the shorter woman with her tunic half undone like images of off-duty officers in the days of the monstrous red uniforms someone thought looked good. “Why do you ask?”

“Because I thought we could go camping. A beautiful little spot on a world nearby I found when I was first posted on the Jutland. You, me, minimal supplies, camping in paradise, just a short transporter hop to a city of five million on the other side of the world if we change our minds.” Tikva sauntered closer to her, hands coming up to scoop up her own. “Temperate climate, beautiful lake, hot springs a short walk away.”

“And I can only bring a go-bag?” she asked in clarification as a smirk appeared on her face.

“We’re limited on cargo space. All Atlantis’ shuttles are being used for cargo shipping and such, so I’ve arranged an alternative mode of transport.”

She pulled back from Tikva slightly. “I am not riding in a tramp freighter.”

“Oh, promise, not a tramp freighter. Trust me, please.” She’d rarely heard Tikva plead and only ever in private. And she’d not regretted giving in to her yet.

And so, an hour later, having finished her packing, prepped a camping pack and changed into civilian clothes, Adelinde found herself tramping across shuttlebay 1, dodging cargo pallets and crew, a few faces from Atlantis, a large proportion of faces she didn’t recognise and plenty of civilians, heading in a direction the deck chief had pointed her in when she first arrived.

The crowds finally parted and she found herself face to face with the Type 11 shuttle Waihou. “Told you, not a tramp freighter,” Tikva announced as Adelinde appeared through the crowds, waving her towards the shuttle’s main hatch.

“I thought you said all the shuttles were in use,” she stated as approached her girlfriend. “This can hardly be called camping if we’re taking a wannabe runabout.”

“Technical I said all of Atlantis’ shuttles are being used. Waihou was detached to independent duties about oh an hour or so ago.” Tikva led her inside the shuttle where a half dozen crates had been loaded aboard, no doubt the campaign supplies and equipment just from a few short supply codes she read as she passed them.

“Don’t you have to formally hand over the ship?” she asked, closing the hatch as Tikva stepped through to the cockpit of the out-sized shuttle.

“Did it after beaming planetside to see the hospital about my new arm,” she said, waving her left arm around triumphantly. “Told I can crush rocks with this thing if I wanted to. Anyway, all done and dusted and Mac’s doing finishing touches now and he’s off the ship by the end of the hour as well. The whole crew should be off by end of shift.” Tikva’s hands started flying over the controls, bringing the shuttle to life with a control and deftness that Adelinde hadn’t actually seen displayed before. There was natural confidence in Tikva’s actions, a natural talent supported by refinement of training. “Waihou to Control, requesting permission to depart.”

“Control to Waihou, permission granted. Departure vectors have been cleared with Orbital Control, you are clear to depart at your discretion. Maintain impulse speed to marker MAMA then free to navigate. Good luck Waihou and it’s been a pleasure flying with you ma’am.”

“You too Chief Ransom,” Tivka replied before she closed the comms and smiled at her. “Sit down would yah, you’re making me nervous.”

“You? Nervous?” She did as she was told anyway however as Tikva lifted the shuttle off the deck and eased it out of the shuttlebay and into space.

“Yeah, nervous. Don’t get nearly as much practise as I want and I have a reputation to maintain. Can’t ruin it knocking a bunch of crates over on the way out the door.”

“You’ve got this love. Now just fly and take me to this spot of paradise you promised.”