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Part of USS Hathaway: Episode 7: Sundered Wings (Wings of Salvation) and Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

CH8 – On the Precipice of Greatness

Bridge, Deck 1
May, 2400
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A brilliant flash of light preceded the appearance of the sleek starship Temeraire as it dropped out of warp on the far edge of the Kunhri system at long last. Advancing at one quarter impulse power, the Starfleet heavy cruiser seemed to steady itself before using its engines to thrust forth, onwards to the location that the crew had travelled there to visit. Kunhri III lay just a few million kilometers away, but this was not a distance the Temeraire was going to close quickly. Her approach, cautious and methodical as it was, echoed the traits her commanding officer exhibited at the present moment.

For right now, at the heart of the starship’s command center, Tharia sh’Elas sat motionless, hands clasped to the armrests of the command chair. Silence had long since engulfed the bridge, only broken temporarily by the beeps, whirrs and pulses of the various computer consoles and lights around the bridge. In fact, the bridge was so silent that it was quite possible one could pick any person out of the crowd and listen to their heartbeats from a distance away, should the tension levels have risen any further.

“Sensors?” Vasoch called out from behind the captain, ending the silence at least momentarily.

“Nothing out of the ordinary,” the blonde, Bajoran bombshell at Tactical shook her head, her arms folded across her chest in defiance, glancing up from her readings only to answer the Tellarite’s question.

From the science station on the port bulkhead, adjacent from Lieutenant Noli’s tactical station, the Risian chief of the science division had been monitoring her own sensors, and agreed with the Bajoran. Nothing. Yet.

At the forefront of the bridge, Operations chief Mora and flyboy Mitchell exchanged concerned glances filled with anxious energy.

Everyone there present wanted only one thing; directions from their captain. Even the ever affable Counsellor, stood behind the Science chief, looked towards the captain for guidance.

“This is ridiculous,” Commander Zinn finally called out from the aft of the bridge, storming forward. “Here we are, acting like we’re waiting to be blasted into oblivion when the people out there requested our help,” he looked to Tharia while pointing towards the planet on the main viewer. “We’re supposed to be here! What are you all so bothered about?” he asked, more than a hint of incredulity in his voice.

Slowly, purposefully, and with more than a hint of menace behind her piercing brown eyes, Tharia’s head gradually turned, like something out of a horror movie. In normal situations, she would tolerate the Deltan, but this was not a ‘normal’ situation. They were, after all, several lightyears into territory that was, until recently, classified as hostile.

“Fools rush in, where angels fear to tread,” the Andorian finally piped up, turning away from the Deltan and focusing her eyes on the screen again. “By extolling caution now, we may just save ourselves some trouble in the future, and avoid the same fate as the Endeavour,” she advised the physician, yet reminding everyone around her of the precarious situation they found themselves in. They had all heard the reports earlier in the day of the Obena-class starships clash at the Agarath system. Whilst a repeat of the situation was far from likely, it was not a fate she wished on her first mission in command of her affectionately named ‘Pocket Battleship’.

Neptune has been delayed,” Gor called out from the station he shared with Commander T’Prynn, directly behind the Captain, “and the rest of the task group are at least a day or more away. For now, we are on our own if anything goes wrong.”

“Caution is to be commended,” the Vulcan beside him concurred, “certainly if we wish to successfully forge relations with the people of Kunhri,” she added in an uncharacteristic show of support for Gor, and for the caution displayed by her Captain.

From Tactical, Noli shot the Deltan a look of pure disgust and shook her head, urging him to sit down and shut up without so much as a word.

Of all the people she had expected to cause her grief, Tharia had not expected it to be her own Chief Medical Officer. Vasoch, sure. the mouthy Akaria even. Mora, well, not him because he was as amenable as all Bolians she had ever encountered, but not Zinn. Not someone she had served with for a while, and had brought with her from the Santa Fe. She turned briefly to watch the man reluctantly take his seat, and then turned her attention to the starscape before them.

Entering the bridge from the starboard turbo lift, Lieutenant Prida Rala arrived from engineering with their Reman visitor, Kasik, in tow. She had spent the last hour of their voyage going over the proposed security net that they would create around the Kunhri system, and now she was ready to proceed with the next part of their objective. Approaching the command chair, the Bajassian addressed the Captain. “We’ve finalised our plans for the defence net, ma’am. I’d like to transfer the plans to the Neptune so they can begin preparations of their part of the net,” she requested hopefully.

“And what happens if the supplies from Psi Velorum don’t make it?” the Andorian queried, even though she felt she probably already knew the answer.

Just as Prida was about to respond, Kasik stepped forward and interjected. “The supplies will make it, Captain, I can assure you of that,” he spoke, his grasp of English getting much better with each hour he spent aboard the ship and dealt with the ship’s company.

“And if they don’t,” the engineer piped up, “we’ve made sure the system will be as useful as possible without the sentry pods.”

“And we’ve got coordinates for all of the sensor platforms?”

Prida nodded enthusiastically. “I’ve already shared the final coordinates with the CONN, tactical and science departments. In order to defend the whole system, we’ll need fifty seven platforms for minimum coverage, seventy for total, enhanced protection,” she revealed, looking between the Captain and their visitor, “we’ve got the resources and means to get forty five complete platforms, but we will need Neptune to complete the net,” she concluded.

“You should be able to link up with the systems on the planet remotely, Captain,” Kasik continued, “such are the antiquated systems the Romulans left behind.”

Tharia turned in her chair just enough to make eye contact with the Tellarite sat close behind her. His expression gave her the confirmation she needed. “Very well,” she nodded, “transfer the plans to Neptune and begin the construction process. Pull whoever you need, so long as it doesn’t interfere with other mission objectives,” the Andorian directed.

“Aye Captain,” Prida smiled, giving a thumbs up to Mister Kasik, before moving towards the aft engineering display. “With the help of Miss Speyer, we’ve managed to limit construction time to forty-eight hours with all available personnel working on it. It’ll then take an additional twelve to deploy,” she told to no one in particular, “but in seventy two hours we should have a functioning sensor net.”

With the ship inching deeper into the system, the more aware the Captain became of the fact that she had guided her people into Romulan territory and, as yet, had yet to successfully make contact with anyone of authority. If they didn’t make contact soon, she’d be forced to rethink their objectives. “Alright Mister Kasik,” she smiled, gesturing towards the forward Operations station, “you’re people are yet to respond to our efforts. I think it is time for you to let them know we are here in peace,” the Andorian suggested, perched on the edge of her seat as the tension in her voice became more obvious.

Kasik dutifully responded to the request from his gracious host and stepped towards the bald-headed Bolian at Ops. “Lieutenant,” he addressed the man in gold, “please make a connection with planetary computer system. I’ll input my code for you and that will prove to the people on the planet that we are here, together,” he grinned as genuinely as he could, looking back at the captain and then to the Bolian.

“Alright,” the Bolian began, “but I’m not sure how qui… oh!” Linn Mora struggled to hide his surprise at how easy it had been to forge a connection with the antiquated system, “We’re in.”

Stepping up to the console, the Reman spoke in his native tongue and submitted his clearance code in order to be recognised. Finally, a message back granted the crew the reprieve they needed. “We’ve been authorised to enter orbit,” Kasik told, reading the messages that came in from the planet’s surface, “and First Consul J’mek has authorised our mission to go ahead,” he concluded, turning away from Ops and looking at the Captain. “With your leave Captain, the First Consul would prefer I stay aboard and work with your people for the duration of the mission,” he told her, complete with tilted head and look of worry. What would it mean for their mission, for his people, if the captain wouldn’t let him stay longer than initially approved? She was, after all, only to ferry him home.

Thankfully, he needn’t have been concerned. Tharia visibly relaxed into her chair and her antenna pointed to the ceiling as relief set in. “We’d be more than happy for you to stay, Kasik. All we ask is you lend a hand wherever possible,” the 

Comments

  • Right from the intro, you set the mood so well. It was practically pathetic fallacy, the way the starship demonstrated the same caution methodology as her captain. It let us know exactly where we are, the crew thick with tension, as they arrive in enemy territory all by themselves. You described the scope of the problem exceedingly well. I appreciate how there are no easy answers here. Starfleet are the best and the brightest, but it's only a handful of starships to get an entire star system back on their feet. Creating a full sensor an defense network from scratch --to make the Remans truly self-reliant-- is going to be a long haul of a job. I enjoy the notion that the Starfleet crews can only achieve it if they work together. From your characterization, I could really feel the weight of the task on the crew, especially on the captain. I'm intrigued by Kasik remaining aboard Temeraire. That could mean a lot for relations with the Remans, but it could also mean added risks too!

    June 8, 2022