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Part of USS Resolute: The masks we wear and Bravo Fleet: Blood Dilithium

1 – Morning Coffee

TFHQ / The Resolute
30.10.2400
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“Tell me again why we’re out here trawling the station’s bars for our new chief engineer?” 

Hale Burton might not have been with the Resolute for long–a mere four months, which was basically just long enough to get his seat warm and figure out which setting was best for coffee on the replicator–but in that time he’d worked out that the CO did things his own way. Or rather, that Raan Mason tended to parse protocol and orders through a very specific, and if you asked Hale, totally not logical set of filters. 

Like right now. Dropping in at TFHQ for resupply and new crew assignments was routine. This morning they’d already welcomed aboard their new counsellor. That meeting had gone just as Hale expected. Counsellor Armstrong had arrived, reported in in a timely manner and left to get herself settled in. Hale had immediately warmed to the young woman’s professional, yet caring manner. Perfectly suitable for a counsellor.

He’d expected their new chief engineer to do the same. Perhaps with a little more grease on his hands but that was engineers for you. 

He’d been wrong. 

Oh, he’d been very wrong. 

When it became apparent that Lieutenant Bennett was not going to make an appearance, the captain had sighed, finished off his mug off coffee and levered his big frame out of his chair with the words, “We’d better go and find him before he blows something up.”

And that had not at all been ominous, which had led to them here, trawling all the second rate and frankly dodgy drinking establishments on the station. 

He didn’t think Mason was going to answer him, stood in the doorway of the latest bar. It was dingy and dank, and in the few steps they’d taken, the carpet had tried to hitch a ride on the bottom of Hale’s boots. 

Then Mason grunted and nodded to a corner of the room. “Bingo.”

Hale lifted an eyebrow as he looked that way. The guy half slumped over a table in the back of the bar could not be a starfleet officer. No way, no how. For one he wasn’t even sure that much hair was allowed by protocol. The big, bushy beard covered most of the guy’s face, and his hair didn’t look like it had seen a pair of scissors for months. 

“Might want to keep a step or two back,” Mason warned as they headed over. “Bennett tends to come up swinging. And he hits as hard as a shuttle at warp.”

“So… I assume you know this guy then?” 

Mason nodded, his lips compressed in a thin line. “Same species. Fought in the same war. Bennett here got a rougher end of the stick than I did.”

Stepping forward, Mason leaned in, a twinkle of amusement in his eyes as he winked at Hale.

“Bennett!” he barked right in the guy’s, his voice uncannyly like a drill sergeant’s. “Up and at ‘em soldier!”

Then all hell broke loose. 


Dayne Bennett, as always, came up swinging, a roar somewhere between that of a wounded bear and a pissed off targ erupting from his lips. 

Mason shook his head as he dodged the hammer-like blows with the ease of long practice, quickly wrapping his old friend and new chief engineer up in a restraint hold. 

“Dayne, it’s me. Raan,” he yelled over the sound of Bennett’s roaring, shifting his feet so his balance was better to hold onto the somewhat worse for wear engineer. “Calm down. It’s just me.”

But Bennett didn’t seem to be in the mood to be placated, instead, he just roared louder and twisted to try and throw Raan off. They stumbled against the table, and Raan got the hard edge right in the small of his back, over his kidneys. He groaned, but didn’t let go. 

“No! Don’t!” he ordered, spotting Burton’s set face and his hand already on the way to tap his commbadge to call for security. Burton was an odd one, very by the book most of the time. Which was the reason Raan had picked him when his previous XO had been promoted and assigned his own ship. By the book was good, it reminded him that there was a book and he should be paying attention to it. 

Which… he wasn’t at the moment. He knew that. But, this was an entirely different situation. 

Burton’s arched eyebrow mocked him and he grunted, struggling with the thrashing, twisting bull he was trying to hold onto. “He’ll tire himself out in three… two…”

One didn’t make it past his lips before Bennett went limp. Raan caught him before he could hit the deck, throwing him over his shoulder. 

“Hell Dayne, you’ve been hitting the gym lately,” he grunted, turning and coming face to face with his XO’s disapproval. Well, no, it wasn’t disapproval. Burton was too professional for that. It was disappointment, quickly veiled, but there. 

“He’s not a drunk,” Raan defended the man over his shoulder, scooping up the mug on the table and handing it to Burton. 

The human lifted it to his nose and took an experimental sniff. 

“What the… is this coffee?

“Uh-huh,” Raan nodded as he led the way out of the bar, Bennett out cold over his shoulder. “He’s a chronic insomniac. Can usually find him in a bar when he has a bad episode trying to overload on caffeine. Much more and we’d have needed to take him to sickbay to stop his heart exploding.”

The promenade wasn’t crowded so it didn’t take them long to reach the turbolifts. Which he was grateful for. Unconscious, Dayne was a sodding lump to carry.

“Sounds… delightful. Does he do this often?” 

Raan didn’t get chance to reply to Burton’s question, his comm-badge chirping as they exited the turbolift opposite the airlocks. “Go ahead, Resolute.”

“Captain, we have an incoming message for you from Command,” his chief operations officer said. 

Raan nodded. “Just stepping aboard now. Route it to my ready room.”

 

Comments

  • You started me off with a laugh given “We’d better go and find him before he blows something up.” (The assessment of what Hale could REALLY accomplish in only four months was also chuckle-worthy.) As I'm learning about these new characters, I appreciate' Raan's self-awareness, it makes me feel one way about him, and then have a second thought too. I like the way you're introducing these characters, with their intertwined histories, through implication and short-hand. It's like an old-school pilot episode of a tv show, giving us enough to get a sense of them, while leaving enough mystery that I'm compelled to keep reading.

    November 2, 2022
  • Nothing quite kicks things off like a bar fight! These guys seem gruff as anything, a nice contrast to the usual clean cut Starfleet image we get a lot of the time. I love the colour this adds to the huge variety of stories we have coming in for this campaign. Putting them all in a difficult situation like this from the get go is a great way to cut to the chase with introducing these personalities to the reader. There's history here, and you show it by painting a picture rather than simply informing the reader in a sentence or two. Great stuff!

    November 2, 2022
  • To quote the great George Takei, "Oh my." Those few opening paragraphs had me hooked. I absolutely loved Burton's internal dialogue as he talked about his short time on the ship. Ending that section with the phrase, He’d been wrong. Oh, he’d been very wrong; it was a great way to set up the story that followed. This was a pure joy to read. It checked all the boxes. Great work!!

    November 3, 2022
  • What an opener! Honestly wasn't expecting a fight straight away, but as an insight into Raan and Dayne, it works. It's telling of a relationship between the two that Raan knows just how to handle Dayne, from keeping this XO out of reach, to just needing to hold him back till he passed out. I'm intrigued as to their relationship, both personal and working, just from this opening. Quick, punchy, very well written. Nice!

    November 11, 2022
  • What a great opening - a good old fashioned brawl between two colleagues and friends. Not seen something like that for a while, and the unexpected is always good! I like the twist that it wasn’t alcohol fuelled either. Raan sounds like he’s going to be an excellent commander if he knows his colleagues this well, but I sense issues abound with the XO. It will be interesting to see how things progress.

    November 12, 2022
  • Like everyone else said, this was a great opening to establishing this crew as they start off on their way towards the DQ. I'm intrigued to know more about Mason and Bennett, just how far do they go back? Burton is obviously someone who needs time to get to know people to stop him making a judgement on what they would be like on duty. Furthermore, is Bennett the epitome of hard-core coffee loving Janeway?! I can't wait to see where this story will go!

    November 13, 2022
  • This is a very interesting start with a good ole relationship between Raan and Dayne. The interaction between the crew members was fun to read and it felt like a cozy bath of friendship. There are still quite some challenges ahead for Raan and I wonder what the Resolute is getting themselve into. Great start!

    November 14, 2022