Part of USS Denver: Mission 4: Can’t Come Home Again Part: 3 and USS Denver: Mission 4: Can’t Come Home Again

The Initial Briefing of the Knights

Briefing Room, USS Denver
July 3 2374, Evening (1545 hours ship time)
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Ming was standing at the front of the room at parade rest when the other pilots entered the briefing room.  At each of four chairs toward the front Ming had placed a PADD and analog wristwatch on the desk.  The flight leader nodded to the group and gestured saying, “Have a seat everyone and we’ll get started.”

Once the group settled he began, “In front of you are a padd and a wristwatch.  There is a reason for both of which has an explanation.  First:  The wristwatches.  Standard 12 hour face with marks for every hour, smaller marks for every half hour and the smallest for the 15 minute marks.  These have woven tritanium wristbands and are rechargeable by magnetic induction, photovoltaic and kinetic means.”

The pilots, as expected, were examining the one in front of them.  Noticing this he continued, “In the early 20th century pocket watches were the most common mechanical means of telling time on the go.  The first use of airplanes in combat occurred during the First World War on Earth starting in 1914.  Those pilots invented the first wristwatch so they could tell time and coordinate more easily on missions as the technology on their aircraft was rudimentary at best and primitive at worst.”

After another brief pause to allow that to sink in the lieutenant went on, “Since then it’s been a bit of a tradition for pilots to wear them.  My last fighter wing CO carried on the tradition as I served under her and I am carrying it on here.  These ones happen to have an additional beacon and communication abilities unlike the originals in case of an emergency where we are lacking other options.  It’s unlikely to be that bad but this is a war and nothing should be left to chance.  Please wear them with regularity and with pride.  They’re often worn on the wrist of the non-dominant hand but do what works for each of you.  If you’ll notice there is the outline of the knight chess piece on the midnight blue face of each watch as we are known as the Knights.  Any questions so far?”

The other pilots remained silent although they did look amongst themselves indicating that they were expecting the others to have one.  Nobody did it seemed….Either that or they were unwilling to ask.  Ming found that more amusing than annoying but he kept that to himself.

“The PADDs have the standard flight patterns and combat fighter tactics but I have added some non-standard one that we need to learn as a squadron.  They’ve proven effective against the Dominion while I was XO of the Rangers and we should at least know them in case the time arises where we need to use them.  There are also some variants to the standard ones that we pioneered as well.”

Gunter’s hand came up now indicating a question.  When the Flight Leader nodded to him he asked, “If these are so successful why aren’t they fleet doctrine, sir?”

Ming nodded thinking it a valid question that he had wondered himself once or thrice.  He replied in a matter of fact tone, “Good question.  The answer is simple.  Fleet bureaucracy compiled by the fact that there’s a war on.  The sad reality is that some things that might be the most useful don’t always get out to the lines as fast as they should.  That has been the case from the Roman Empire if not before.”

Gunter appeared to be less than thrilled with the answer but nodded acceptance of it.  Ming added, “I can assure you it has previously been sent up the chain of command and I will be doing so myself in the not too distant future myself.  Nothing’s ever 100% of course but, as mentioned, these have had moderate if not very decent success so far. We’ll work on improving them even more in the meantime.  Any other immediately relevant questions so far?”

The pilots returned to their silent exchange of looks with no replies to which Ming DID allow a small smile to.  He said, “Alright.  Since there is nothing I am going to ask you all to study the contents of these PADDS this evening.  I won’t object if you want to grab dinner at some point in there and I will ask you all to get a good night’s sleep after you spend time committing as much as possible to memory.  Tomorrow we start the practice runs.”

There was a collective groan from some of the pilots to that last part.  The Flight Leader said, “Yeah, not the most popular I know but it’ll help ensure we all keep coming home.  That is part of my job too after all. Bring yourselves, your flight gear and the PADDS with you to Holodeck 2 tomorrow at 0830.  Until then you are dismissed Knights!”