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Part of USS Atlantis: Mission 10 : A Blast from the Past

A Blast from the Past – 1

USS Atlantis
August 30, 2400
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Captain’s Log, Stardate 77662.3

 

I’ve just received a formal invitation from the Fleet Captain to attend an impromptu meeting with herself and a Gul Mercel of the Cardassian 12th Order. The 12th is responsible for the Union’s defence along this border so it’s likely a good chance to meet up, rub elbows and maybe make some friends.

 

Or get the measure of potential problems in the future.

 

Atlantis is however still picking its way around the Rolor Nebula, and I think the crew are enjoying the change to do some proper exploring as well as showing off the ship. We’ve already had a Breen and Tzenkethi scout shadow us for a few hours each over the last few days.

 

That said, I’m not going to steal Atlantis away to run me off to a diplomatic meeting in a few days and interrupt the ship’s good work. Not when I’ve got a captain’s yacht I need to break in. The best part is, we still haven’t named her yet.

 

I’m thinking Adrestia but we’ll see.

Stepping out on the bridge with Mac in tow, Tikva held her out and caught the gently lobbed keys from Samantha Michaels as she stood from the centre seat, a huge grin on her face. “Don’t let the power go to your head Lieutenant,” she said to the young woman who returned to the vacant Operations console at the front of the bridge, “but do enjoy it when you can.” She’d barely been a few years older than Samantha was now when she’d been made the Second Officer on the Aroha and could still remember the absolute joy at sitting in the centre seat.

But Atlantis wasn’t Aroha, with her much larger crew and the occasional need for someone as junior as a lieutenant junior grade to mind the bridge while the captain or first officer were just a single door away tending to other business. There would normally be at least a full lieutenant around, but Atlantis was also a busy ship and throw in a full planetary survey in the works right now and senior officers started to get spread thin when they disappeared to do their actual jobs.

“Someone,” Mac spoke up, “might also find themselves enrolled in Command courses if they keep adjusting the seat settings.” He’d gone past her and stopped in front of her chair, examining the little console on the right arm. “You and the Lieutenant are both far too short.” A finger came to rest on a single button and the seat rose just a touch to Mac’s preset, his other hand unwatched reaching out to Tikva, palm open and facing upward. When he didn’t get what he immediately wanted he turned to face her. “Hand them over, you’ve got places to be.”

She glared at him, trying vainly to burn a hole in his forehead, before grumbling, her best impression of Rrr to date, and handing the set of keys over to him with a sigh. “Remind me again why I opted to take three ensigns and Lieutenant Burke to fly the Adrestia?” She looked around the bridge, the few officers around either not seeing her, or pointedly finding something far more interesting, leaving only Mac who just grinned, and then made a show of slowly sitting himself down in her chair.

“Fine, I’m going!” she exclaimed, throwing her hands up in the air and heading for the turbolift, not even getting three steps before she let out a few short laughs at her own behaviour. “I better have a ship when I get back, or you’re all court-martialled.”

As the doors to the turbolift were closing she did hear Samantha’s question back to Mac. “Aren’t court-martials standard in the event of a lost ship anyway?”

Tikva had afforded herself the time to pack and stop by the science labs to get Gabrielle’s latest news from the survey work before leaving the ship. That briefing had turned into an early and light lunch in the Captain’s Mess, making the briefing less dry and letting Gabrielle extol her with the work of her people in a far less formal setting. Even now after she’d been called away the table was littered with a handful of padds with discoveries yet to be filed. Her quiet reverie was broken as a figure entered, scanned the room and then calmly walked over and sat herself down opposite Tikva with a gentle smile.

“Aren’t you supposed to be leaving in five minutes?” Adelinde asked.

“The benefit of being the captain,” she started in response, not having looked up from the report in hand about some mineral survey work, but was rudely interrupted.

“Is the shuttle doesn’t leave until you’re ready for it.” Adelinde tilted her head slightly sideways, then reached forward to gently push the padd down and draw Tikva’s attention. “What’s up Bug?”

“I’m planning how I’m going to kill Rhea for sharing that nickname. I’m thinking torpedo through the mail service.”

“I can stop calling you it if you want,” Lin replied. “But it always makes you smile.”

“I’m joking!” She said, smiling at her lover. “I like it, especially from you I’ve found.”

“You’d avoided the initial question though. What’s up?”

She sighed. Avoiding answering certain questions from Lin had been the discussion of more than a few recent therapy sessions and to which they’d been working. Lin’s gentle return to the point versus letting it slide past, her own actually answering the question directly. Lin was right of course.

“Two weeks stuck on a small ship with a handful of ensigns and Lieutenant Burke.” She rolled her eyes, which earned her a slight chuff of agreement from Lin. “His dossier is impeccable, all his reviews were spot on, his former COs all had nice things to say, but man oh man I find him such hard work.”

The man in question, Lieutenant Jason Burke, was one of Lin’s people in Tactical. Coming over from the USS Pardush he’d gone from Security which handled all ship security and tactical matters, to Atlantis in just a tactical and ship combat systems capacity and apparently it had gone to his head, himself now the epitome of the gold shirts, elevated above mere mortals.

“He has aspirations of command,” Lin said. “Probably thinks he can do a better job of commanding this ship than all the senior officers combined.” She shrugged. “He’s a hotheaded lieutenant that needs a few chips knocked off his shoulders. Isn’t that one of the reasons you’re taking him with you to see the Fleet Captain?”

“Not really. I wanted to sit there and judge him with a small crew and get ready to pounce.”

Wait for him to make a mistake and then BAM! New torpedo!

You can’t shoot a lieutenant out of the yacht’s torpedo tubes. He’s too big.

BAM! Out an airlock, new space-mine!

Better.

“How about you mentor him like you did Mac instead? Sit him down, constructive criticisms and sort him right.”

“You’re beautiful when you’re right,” she said to Lin with a smile. “Beautiful when you’re wrong too.”

“And falling short in sorting Burke out, when you get back we can just add him to Ch’tkk’va’s Hazard Team as a Tactical liaison and let Ch’tkk’va sort him out.” She too stood, collecting the padds, taking a quick look at one before turning the screen off and staking them, accepting the one from Tikva at the end. “I’ll get these back to Camargo.”

“Walk with me first?” she asked and was answered with a simple nod.

By the time they did get to the yacht Tikva was only running ten minutes late, having insisted on stopping by the primary geological sciences lab to return Gab’s padds to her, then a quick bit of nosing around before a gentle cough from Lin got her back on track. Ensign Jessica Chu, one of the original Atlantis’ crew was standing by the airlock, waiting, snapping to when she had looked up at the sound of people approaching and spotting the captain. “Captain, Commander, Lieutenant Burke asked me to wait and let him know when you were ready to board.”

He was getting impatient you mean and you found a way to get away from him.

Clever girl this one.

Isn’t she one of those lower deckers always plotting and planning away?

They’re lower deckers, they’re always plotting and planning.

Tikva offered a genuine smile and then unslung her pack, offering it to the young woman. “Pop that inside my cabin would you and then tell the Lieutenant he can finish pre-flight. I’ll be with him shortly.”

“Aye ma’am,” Chu said, then disappeared into the small craft.

“She’s a smart one,” Lin said. “Keep an eye out for I think.”

“I’m going to be cycling all the ensigns and even Burke through the centre seat on the Adrestia on the way to the Nobel and back. Hoping to find a few new team leads and maybe a few to put in command mentorships. You’ll be getting a few hopefully once we break out into the deep unknown.” Tikva smiled and turned to Lin. “Two weeks, gonna miss you yah know.”

“You’ll be fine Bug,” Lin said, then looked down the corridor of the yacht, making sure no unwanted faces were looking in their direction, before leaning in and kissing Tikva gently on the cheek. “I had someone stow your good dress uniform aboard already anyway, just in case this gets formal on you.”

She’d closed her eyes at the kiss, just enjoying the proximity with a goofy grin on her face. “Don’t redecorate my quarters,” she commanded, opening her eyes to see Lin giving her an expression that read ‘no promises’ to go with the cheeky feeling she was getting from her lover. “Best get going.”

“Yes, you best.”

They stood there for a few moments, stretching into awkwardness before Lin broke it. She offered a slight wink, then turned to walk away, leaving Tikva at the threshold of the yacht.

Seriously, she’s just going to walk away?

We are running late.

That wasn’t a proper goodbye kiss. I want a proper…

Shut up you, we’re professionals and on duty.

“Commander Gantzmann,” Tikva barked out as Lin was about to round a corner and disappear from sight. With the name said Lin and stopped in her tracks and turned, just as she herself was striding down the corridor with long, determined steps, closing on Lin who was giving her a quizzical look.

“Yes?” Lin asked just before she had closed enough to reach up, grab a hold of Lin’s uniform tunic in both hands and pull her down for a proper kiss. One that she felt was proper for going away for two weeks. Soon enough Lin’s arms were around her, holding her tight. When she broke for air she was pleased that Lin didn’t turn her loose immediately.

They stayed there, holding each other for maybe half a minute before slowly letting each other go, then gently smoothed their uniforms out and said sweet nothings before turning, goodbyes said and done.

“Ma’am,” Ensign Chu said from the airlock as Tikva turned around. Immediately she could feel her face blushing at that, then angry at herself for getting caught with such a display of affection in public, doubly so while in uniform.

A captain was supposed to be better behaved, not some school girl crushing hard, dreading distance from a girlfriend. And here she was facing the reality that a fresh-faced ensign had just seen her. An ensign who didn’t look like or even emotionally feel like they were worried and dreading that the knowledge they now possessed could ruin them. “Ensign,” she answered.

“Lieutenant Burke is ready to depart at your pleasure,” Chu continued professionally, though there was something underlying it, some emotion that Tikva was having difficulty placing.

“Very well,” she replied and then proceeded to board the yacht, stepping past the ensign. “And Ensign, you saw nothing.”

“Nothing at all ma’am,” the young woman said as she stepped in after Tikva, pausing only to operate a series of controls that closed the yacht’s and Atlantis’ airlocks doors and then signal the cockpit that they were ready to depart. “Nothing at all,” Chu repeated as she turned with a conspiratorial grin on her face.

“Good. Now, shall we get this particular show on the road?”

“Lieutenant Burke is this way, ma’am.” Then Chu slid past her in the narrow corridor and towards the yacht’s cockpit. “I’m sure he’ll be happy to see you.”

No, he won’t.

This is going to be a very, very interesting road trip.