Part of USS Daradax: Mission 2 – Wings of Salvation (Sundered Wings Fleet Action) and Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

SW – Chapter 11: The Missing Time

Kunhri III - Various Locations
May 2400
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Two hours after Kirin’s emergency transponder was picked up.

“Would you stop tapping your foot like that, it is very annoying! I am trying to work here Ril,” Thanen growled out from under the large ore processing unit on sub-level 4 of Refinery 27C.

“We are wasting our time here. The Temeraire sent us a message two hours ago saying their team cannot find her. WE SHOULD BE THERE!” Ril exclaims, clearly angry and frustrated. 

“Can you pass me the decoupler from my tool kit?” Thanen says, sticking his hand out. A moment later Ril drops a tool into it and pulls it back under and sighs audibly. “I said the decoupler, not the flux coupler,” he says before pushing back and sliding out. Sitting up he looks up at Ril barely able to hide the stress on his face.

“Look, I need you to focus on what we are doing here. I get it. I want to get back on the ship and take it right to Refinery 01R to look for her but we cannot. It isn’t even that it would be against orders but that electrical storm is causing chaos up top. The Daradax had to raise shields as the ionized particles in the plum coated the hull and turned it into a MASSIVE lightning road. She is grounded and on top of that, the storm is messing with the transporter.” he says clearly frustrated. “What would you have us do? Walk the to the other side of the planet?”

“AH! Fine, yeah you are right,” Ril says through gritted teeth as she paces back and forth. “I hate not being able to do anything. I never should have let her go along, she was nervous about the mission whatever it was.” 

“I get it, I want to go and as soon as the storm clears I intend to take the Daradax there and join the search. I want to see the scene as much as anyone,” Thanen responds, “But for now we cannot and there is work here that needs to be done. I know you aren’t an engineer but you could go and check on the protesters. See what is happening with that?”

Ril looks back at him and sits down on a nearby piece of equipment, “No need. I checked a while back. Those ones that Belania mentioned, the instigators just left about the time we entered the refinery and the remaining people, well, when Shasha’s people brought out the MREs they took them after a bit of reluctance and went home. The stomach is the way to the hearts and minds I guess. Though it did seem old that the instigators just left, wonder what that was about.”

Shrugging, Thanen pushes back under the processing unit; “Damned if I know. Maybe they didn’t want to be caught in the storm. Either way, try to find something to do. I could use your help with some basic repairs and installations that even a security officer should be able to handle.”

With a harsh laugh Rill gently kicks Thanen’s food. “Fine, what do you need me to do sir?”

Twelve hours after Kirin’s emergency transponder was picked up.

In the centre of the abandoned warehouse 3 beams of light shimmered into existence and then vanished leaving Ril, Thanen and Kerry standing there alone. Without pause, Ril drew her phaser but kept it at her side causing Thanen’s face to flicker with a bit of annoyance.

“Ensign, put that away. The area is secure or do you think that the tactical team,…” Thanen says why wave to the Starfleet team in full tactical gear around them, “…has not done their job?”

Muttering under her breath she puts the phaser away and starts looking around, “Never know, they couldn’t find her so maybe…”

Watching Ril walk off, almost stomping Than sighs and shakes his head, “Kerry, let’s go have a chat with whoever is in charge here and get an update. I would be shocked if we can do anything but at least we came to see if we could help.”

The two of them walk towards the far side of the warehouse where an area is marked out and flooded with lights and a small team of officers.

As they approach the CO, a young lieutenant walks over. “You must be Lt. Thanen Th’zalnar. Wish we could have met under better circumstances.” Looking over towards the marked-out area she bites her lower lip and turns back to him. “There isn’t much else I can tell you since we spoke last but I understand if you want to examine the site yourself. Just be careful to not disrupt it.”

Thanen quickly nods to her and turns to Kerry, “Go do your thing, Kerry.” before turning back to the lieutenant. “Thanks for letting us come down lieutenant, I know you were about to pack up but wanted to see it for ourselves.”

“I would want to do the same if I am honest. We have checked everything but the signal they used to beam her out, we think, was just too weak to trace. I am hopeful she is alive but the transport could not have been her. There are enough disrupter burns at maximum power that there might not have been anything left to even pick up.”

“Yeah, I just hope that isn’t the case,” Thanen says looking past her. “Better go take a look myself. Thanks again.”

Three days after Kirin’s emergency transponder was picked up.

The screen clicks on and Kirin Tarken appears sitting at the desk in her office. Hair down, its colour shifting red to green. She has a sad smile on her face as she begins to speak.

If you are watching this Thanen then I did not return from the mission and a full 72 hours have passed since I was meant to leave. As the mission should not have taken this long I wanted to prepare a message for you. I hope that the supply run to the refinery went off without any issues and that you and the crew are ok. I really wanted to be there with all of you.

I will keep this short, I sent a message to command and asked that you be given command of the Daradax if I do not return. I know we have only been together a couple of weeks but you are a born leader. Far better than I am. I hope they honour that request. 

I would ask that you and the crew focus on your mission here and assist the captains and other ships as needed. Do not let Ril or the others go off the deep end trying to get revenge or payback, or whatever you want to call it. This is part of the job and we all know it. There is always the chance we do not come back; we knew it when we signed up.

It was an honour to work alongside you. I once heard a proverb and it resonated with me and I thought it encompassed what Starfleet does in a way, for me at least.

‘What world lies beyond that stormy sea I do not know, but every ocean has a distant shore, and I shall reach it…’

Good luck my friend. 

Thanen learned back in the chair n the briefing room and turned off the screen. “Damn you Kirin” he mutters. “What hell are we meant to do….”

Before he finishes the thought aloud the door chimes, glancing at it with mild annoyance he barks “Enter”. 

The door slides open and all three ensigns, Kerry, Belania and Ril, on the ship enter. They enter the room and stop around the table and look at him. Before Thanen has a chance to speak Ril nudges Kerry with her elbow and she steps forward slightly. “Oh, um…sir. We have received orders to aid the USS Dvorak with transporting supplies to various refineries. The Temeraire also sent through an update on the search. Sadly they have not found any signs of her, though they are still hopeful.” she says. On close inspection, Thanen could tell that each of them is not taking the current situation well. Kerry’s eyes appear red and watery and she had come and spoken to him several times while Ril was barely containing her rage; all her free time was spent in the holodeck literally ripping holographic opponents apart. Of the three Belania seems to be the one taking it the best, she appeared a bit shaken and had been quieter since they found out that Kirin was missing but was still herself. ‘I do need to have a chat with her, the others have come and talked to me several times but Belania just brushes it aside…’

Sighing Thanen stands up slowly. “Well then. We should get to it. There are people on that planet who need our help. Kirin would not be impressed if she knew we were not pulling our weight.”

At this Ril scoffs and steps forward. “Let me go down there. You don’t need me for supply runs.” she almost yells. “We barely spend ANY time where she went missing after the storm cleared and now we are told to not search for her. That is BULLSHIT SIR!”

“Ril, that is ENOUGH! We have been through this. We have our job to do. I understand how you feel, believe me. I do but going down there all hotheaded will likely just get you killed and put us in an even more difficult spot. SO YOU WILL DO AS YOU ARE INSTRUCTED!” he shouts as he stands up from the chair and slams a hand on the table. 

“You are all dismissed. Kerry go confirm the orders,” he says staring at Ril until she deflates slightly and turns and leaves. Sinking back into the chair he stares at the ceiling. “Ril, for someone who liked to challenge the Captain…”… ‘I know she didn’t want to be called that like she didn’t deserve the title but she isn’t here now is she…’ “she would have been the first through the breach to get her back.”

— 

Four days after Kirin’s emergency transponder was picked up.

Kerry sat at her station lost in thought, no matter what she tries to work on she couldn’t stop thinking about Kirin. ‘I cannot believe she is gone…she may not be…could have had to go deep undercover for the mission…could she have contacted us?…it is like walking on eggshells around he…’ she is jarred from her thought as Belania walks into the bridge holding two cups of raktajino. 

“Here you go Kerry, got you a raktajino, I remember you saying you hadn’t tried one before. It’s pretty much like the coffee you usually drink but better I think.” She says as she walks over and places it beside Kerry’s console before turning and sitting at the Con.

“Oh, thanks Belania. I, ah…well I will give it a try.” She responds as she picks up the cup and takes a sip. “Ok, yeah that is not bad. Thanks…” she says as she starts to turn back to her console before stopping. She generally hated talking to people but this was about work and her crewmates, pushing aside the discomfort at the thought she turned back to face Belania. “…Belanial…you haven’t said much since the commander, well Captain, I know she told us not to call her that, disappeared. I..umm…wanted to see if you were ok?”

Not responding for a moment Belania continues to work at the consol before taking a long sip of her raktajino before putting it down and leaning back in the chair. “You want to talk about this now?” she asks and looks at Kerry who seems to have a pretty serious expression on her face. “Ok, Honestly, No I am not ok. We likely lost our commanding officer on some secret mission we know nothing about. IT IS NOT GOOD!” Belania says a bit of frustration entering her voice as she raises it before exhaling and visibility trying to calm herself muttering, “Remember 104 – Faith moves mountains…” Looking back at Kerry she smiles, “There is nothing for me to do to change the situation. It is the job, sadly part of the job and we know it. She was the CO with security experience and used to work doing who knows what with SFI; it was her job and she did it willingly because she knew her duty and her own skills. As Rule of Acquisition 62 says ‘The riskier the road, the greater the profit’; I know the rules are meant for profit generation but they, well some, work in many areas of life. She knew the risks and the possible payout was enough for her to justify it. I also am not ready to call it in yet.  Rule of Acquisition 62 says says ‘Never get into anything that you can’t get out of’ and I believe, want to believe that is still the case.” 

“I, oh, well, I never thought of the rules for use outside of that…not, that I really…know them well or at all really,” Kerry says a bit timidly, taken back by Belania’s response.

With a shrug, she stands up and talks over to Kerry’s station and leans on the console beside her. “I know that Ril was, is still, gunning to go to the surface and Thanen has been letting a low rage burn inside. Though he won’t act on it, I think, Ril would if she could.” She takes a sip of her Klingon coffee and smiles as the warmth runs through her. “We have a rule for that as well you know; 88. It tells us that ‘Vengeance will cost you everything’ be that in trying to ruin someone financially or any other form of vengeance I like to think.” She looks down at Kerry and puts a hand on her shoulder. “We must have faith that she is still ok; that’s Rule 104 actually,” she says with a little laugh, “We have done all we can and we have people still to help.”

“Any you Kerry; how are you holding up?”

— 

Five days after Kirin’s emergency transponder was picked up.

Kerry once again found herself sitting on the bridge monitoring the situation around the ship. The USS Dvorak was in orbit not far off. She couldn’t but admire the ship even though she was an older ship, almost 50 years now, it was the sort of ship she had always wanted to be assigned to. One that showed up to study a planet or anomaly. She was, well had been settling into the Daradax, especially after that little chat with Ril and Belania but that seemed like forever ago now. 

It took her a moment to realize that the com panel had begun to beep at her. “Likely Shasha wanting Thanen to come back down and look at another piece of machinery that isn’t working perfectly…” she says out loud as she reaches over to hit the signal alert. 

“Daradax, do you copy?” Comes a very familiar voice over the speakers causing Kerry to almost fall out of her seat before she regains herself.

“Holy shit, Ma’am is that you!?” Kerry says almost like a shout when she finally speaks.

“Yes. One to beam up”

“Right away Captain! Sorry Ma’am!” Pulling up the remote access for the transporter controls she locks onto Kirin’s signal and hits the activation button. Before she has even finished with that she opens the shipwide coms. “THE CAPTAIN JUST MESSAGED! SHE IS BEAMING UP! SHE IS ALIVE!”

 

Comments

  • The crew view. I have to say that you have a very unique way of telling a story. I love how you tend to do one story a certain way and then the next story is what was happening during what was already told in the previous story. That is an awesome way to write and I hope that you keep it up if it happens to be needed in a future story. Also liked how you gave a sense of time passing and how it affected certain characters in certain ways. Keep that up, it makes for wonderful storytelling. Well as always I am looking forward to the next chapter, and keep up the great work and writing.

    June 14, 2022
  • I have to agree with Vausees. The use of time passing in this story is artfully done. It allows we readers to follow the emotional journey of the characters with such immediacy from the scenes side by side. You really got to me with the tension of the piece from the beginning. It felt palpable, the way the bridge crew was prevented from going after Tarken because of the storms. And then that goodbye letter from Tarken almost got me emotional, but I had to laugh at "Do not let Ril or the others go off the deep end trying to get revenge or payback." (Fighting off the protestors by FEEDING them was quite amusing too.) I didn't expect such deep reflection from Belania, and the power she gave to Rule of Acquisition 104 was really beautiful. All these elements are what made it so satisfying when they finally heard from Tarken!

    June 16, 2022