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

CH10 – Invitations or Orders?

Bridge, Deck 1
May, 2400
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Emerging from the blue-hued translucent transporter beam, the trademark colour of Federation technology, Tharia looked around her new surroundings with great curiosity. Anxiousness welled up inside her until she clocked her executive officer at her side, just as he had been throughout. She’d have to thank him for that later, she was sure, but for now, the latest twist in their tale required their attention.

Stood at the foot of the transporter pad in the Galaxy-class starships transporter room with her hands clasped together behind her back, an auburn haired woman in command red smiled at the two guests. “Captain sh’Elas; Commander Gor. Welcome to the Ulysses,” the woman announced in way of greeting, waving a hand towards the door, “the Commodore is waiting for us on the bridge. Shall we?”

Exchanging glances with the Tellarite next to her, Tharia ultimately conceded and, with a shrug of the shoulders, stepped down from the pad and proceeded to follow their host. “We weren’t expecting anyone else out here,” she spoke inquisitively, hoping to draw the unknown officer into divulging details to her whilst approaching the nearby turbo lift. “The Commodore. Who is he exactly?”

A smirk filled the young Terran’s face, shaking her head as they entered the lift. “I’d love to answer your questions, ma’am, but I have orders,” she told somewhat apologetically before directing the mobile room to take them to their destination at the top of the dorsal hull.

“Who are we to question orders?” Vasoch grunted, folding his arms defiantly across his chest and glaring at the youngster from behind his bushy beard. It was a tactic he employed to make even the most ardent of opponents yield in an argument, but this youngling was having none of it. Silence reigned supreme whilst the lift hurtled towards the command centre at the tip of the bridge module.

Upon its arrival at the bridge, the turbo lift doors parted and the youngster led the two guests out into the command center.

“Tharia!”

Vasoch nearly bumped into the back of his commanding officer once she stopped dead in her tracks, glaring at her until he realised that she was in a state of utter surprise. Looking across the spacious bridge towards the source of the voice, the Tellarite responded with his own confused expression when he identified the owner.

“Sebastian?” Tharia responded, head tilted, antenna pointing down and a quizzical look on her face.

“Surprised to see me out here?” the dark-skinned Terran asked, stepping towards his former executive officer and offering a hand towards her. As they shook, he elaborated somewhat. “Not as surprised as I am! I thought my days on starships were behind me thanks to my cushty job at Starfleet Tactical, but then, well…”

“Romulans happened,” Vasoch blurted out abruptly, replacing the Andorian’s with his in the grip of the Terran’s hand. “Vasoch Gor, executive officer,” he introduced himself with a nod.

“A pleasure Commander,” the gruff sounding human smiled, then gestured towards a nearby door with his head. “Let’s go somewhere a little more private shall we?” and led his guests towards the ready room at the forefront of the bridge.

Vasoch dutifully followed, but it took Tharia a moment or two to compose herself, only coming to her senses when the two men had almost disappeared from view. Jogging to catch up, she followed them into the ready room and stopped almost immediately upon crossing the threshold to the room. She’d been in many ready rooms in her time, but nothing as spacious as the one they were in now. A large desk dominated the room with several chairs surrounding it. Along one curved bulkhead, an entire row of sofa seating positioned perfectly so conversations could be held, a coffee table and a replicator gave the room a more casual feeling. She noted, however, the absence of any personal items that she had been used to seeing in Seb’s ready room aboard the Santa Fe.

“Please,” Seb smiled, gesturing to the sofas that Tharia had noted seconds earlier. He slid down onto one end of the sofa and waited as the two officers took the offered seats. “I want to apologise for the secrecy of our arrival here,” he told, a stern look on his face as he sat forward, elbows resting on his knees whilst regarding the officers.

“But the fate of your mission dictates it…”

__________________________________________________________________________________________

“Now why the hell do you suppose we’ve been dragged over to this old bucket?” Commander Zinn frowned, arms folded as he paced behind one row of seats around the observation lounge table of the Ulysses.

Old bucket?!” Henry Mitchell echoed incredulously, pausing his exploration of the massive room long enough to look at the Chief Medical Officer in disgust. “This is a Galaxy-class starship,” the youngster countered effusively, “she’s a thing of legend! Do you know how long it takes to get on a waiting list for a posting aboard one of these beauties, let alone how long you actually spend on the list waiting?” the flyboy asked of the far more senior officer.

“I’ve never even seen one until today and I’ve been in the fleet for the best part of twenty years,” Linn Mora chimed in. Although much older than his flight operations counterpart, the Bolian still felt a sense of wonderment and awe as he joined the young man in exploring every inch of the older vessel.

“Look,” the Deltan in science blue sighed, “I don’t see what all the hoo-hah is about. It’s just a slightly bigger version of the Santa Fe is all, and I was happy to get off that rustbucket too,” he revealed as he pulled out a chair and plummeted into it.

“Thank the Prophets we don’t all share your outlook on things, Zinn,” the Blonde Bombshell Noli Auru shot back, spinning playfully in the chair at the head of the table. “Honestly, didn’t your parents ever tell you that ‘if you have nothing good to say, don’t say anything at all?‘ Everything’s always so bleak with you,” she chided the far higher ranked officer, without so much as an ounce of consideration for the fact that she was probably crossing the line somewhat.

Linn and Henry exchanged amazed glances with one another upon hearing the words of the Bajoran tactician and, even though he doubted it was even possible, the flyboy felt himself fall even further in love with the wrinkle-nosed hottie. Not that she had even noticed him. His love would forever remain unrequited, he feared.

Laughing from further down the table, their Risian counterpart from the science team shook her head slowly. “That told you, Commander…” Okan smirked.

Aft of the room, a set of doors peeled open and an excited Prida Rala bounded into the observation lounge flourishing a data PADD. “Frak me! This beauty might be old, but they’ve done so much work on her,” she exploded enthusiastically as she sidled up to the table, piquing the curiosity of everyone in the room. Except the stubborn Deltan, of course. “She’s got fourteen type twelve phaser arrays, including two additional nacelle phaser arrays first featured on the USS Venture,” she grinned, placing the PADD on the table for all to see. “She’s got quantum torpedoes, bioneural circuitry, shipwide holo emitters, and one of the largest, most powerful warp cores in the Federation!”

“And she’s ours.”

In a movement of choreography that would have won the team gold at the Federation Olympics later in the year, the staff looked towards the voice in unison, spotting the Captain and executive staring in their direction.

Ever so slightly amused by the sight of the gathering, huddled around a small data PADD, the Andorian headed for the table, a cue for the others to make their way to seats around. “Thank you all for making it here so promptly,” the Andorian smiled as she pulled out the chair previously occupied by Noli and slipped into it. She immediately noted its comfort compared to those aboard the Temeraire. “I’m going to keep this brief. Commodore Farrell needs some people he can trust for a diplomatic mission further in to Romulan territory,” she revealed, turning briefly to the wall mounted display.

“So, naturally, he called us,” Zinn smiled, a first sign of positivity in some time.

“Naturally,” Tharia looked at the Deltan briefly then back to the screen. “The government on Kunhri had been scheduled to receive a shipment of supplies, including some defence platforms. Unfortunately, the convoy has been halted in the Opra system, with forces loyal to the Romulan Navy preventing the convoy from going anywhere. We’re to take the Ulysses to Opra and negotiate for the convoy’s release,” she advised them, turning away from the screen and looking back towards her people.

“And why couldn’t we do this on the Temeraire?” Akaria chimed in, the Risian looking down the table towards the commanding officer.

“Ulysses is bigger, well armed, and more importantly, she is a symbol of diplomacy, not of war. As we all know, Temeraire is a miniature battleship, and it is feared she could be construed as too aggressive a sign for diplomatic negotiations,” Vasoch spoke up, sharing what he felt he could from the meeting they had held with the Commodore.

“As her tactical officer, I can certainly attest to that,” Noli nodded, hands clasped either side of her chair and swinging ever so slightly from side to side. “I do question the logic of sending a Galaxy-class starship so deep into Romulan territory, though. If anything happens, we’ll be on our own aboard a ship much larger, much less maneuverable,” the Bajoran warned the table.

“But it is felt a Galaxy will be a far better deterrent than the Inquiry,” Tharia intervened this time, “Romulans know the class and its capabilities well. They know that for years the ship was a flagship of Starfleet. More importantly, unlike many of the D’Deridex warbirds that have been shifted to border patrols and menial duties, the Galaxy remains a competent ship of the line, carrying out crucial missions across the Federation,” the Captain continued, clasping her hands together on the table top. “And should any issues arise, then Commander T’Prynn and the Temeraire will be on hand to warp in and save the day.,” she concluded with a grin.

“This mission could take days, or even weeks,” Vasoch revealed, “so we’ve been given one hour from the conclusion of this briefing to gather our belongings and set a course for Opra. Commander T’Prynn has a list of additional personnel and supplies we’ll be taking with us to augment what we already have on Ulysses. Any questions?” the Tellarite asked, looking around the table in turn. Not a single voice was heard, not a single hand raised.

“Then I think we are ready, Captain,” he concluded, looking to the blue woman at the head of the table.

Rising to her feet, the Captain addressed the staff one last time. “Very well. I expect you all to report to the bridge in one hour. There will be plenty of time for pleasantries with your new people in the time it will take to get to Opra, so don’t worry about that.” Get to it.”