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

Knights and Captains

Corridore USS Denver, Deck 3 / Fighter Bay USS Denver
2374 - Five days after Ming's Arrival on USS Denver (1425 hours ship time)
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Ming had spent the last few minutes wandering the ship collecting his thoughts.  Talon had a damned decent record.  What he gathered between that and his one meeting gave him the impression of a good leader in addition to a good officer.  She reminded him of his last wing commander whom he admired greatly.  Direct but diplomatic it would be then.

The pilot tapped his combadge and said, “Ming to Talon….Do you have a moment to meet face to face Captain?”

There was a pause before the captain responded, “I’m just leaving Engineering.  I can meet you in your office if you’d like.”

Ming actually smiled softly.  He actually did have a small office off the flight bay.  Rank has its privileges so the saying went.  Made up for the heavier burdens in part anyhow.  Setting his thoughts aside for now he replied, “Sounds good.  Enroute and I will meet you there.”

The flight leader got to his office and saw that he’d arrived first.  Something said about being in the habit of double timing it to this particular local as a force of habit.  He went behind his desk and organized the organized chaos a bit for a moment before he took a seat to review the last practice drills again.   He nodded as the numbers appeared to re-confirm his conclusions.  

As that thought finished crossing his mind he noticed Captain Rebecca Talon enter the flight bay.  He stood, placing the padd on the top of a small stack, then came around his desk to meet the captain.  Such gestures were habitual and he was just fine with that.  He exited the office, stepped beside the door and formally came to attention.  

As she drew nearer he said, “Thank you for coming Captain.  If you’d like please have a seat.”Ming did have the sense to add two comfortable chairs opposite the one on “his side of the desk.”  That being said he wasn’t sure that he’d ever expect that the Denver’s CO would be sitting in one but he thought…and hoped…that his choice would be acceptable for anyone command rated officers included.  

“Of course Lieutenant,” Rebecca said as she slid into the offered seat.  “I was doing my rounds anyway. What can I do for you?”

Ming moved over to and slid into his own seat.  He started to speak, “I’ve been working with my squadron in holodeck drills over the past few days.  We’ve got a good batch of fliers without a doubt.  That’ll help me bring them all home if we get into a scrap.  Unit cohesion still needs a bit more work however.” 

The Flight CO paused for a heartbeat or so before continuing, “Like any small unit knowing eachothers strengths, weaknesses and tendancies can mean the difference between coming home intact and…well not.  We will be continuing with the holodeck simulations however I would like to take them out in their actual fighters for drills as well. It adds a certain urgency to the training plus it’ll let everyone get a feel for their specific fighter.  Plus, since we’re in the Sol Sector, that’ll give us a chance to do so with, I’d like to think,  minimal chance of trouble.”

He offered the Captain a slight smile before adding, “I figured I should get the ok from your end since it’ll have at least a little impact on ship operations.  I didn’t want to leave you in the dark wondering what the hell Denver’s fighters are up to either.”

“Oh you aren’t impacting anything.  Half the crew is on shore leave and the other half is bored out of their minds.  It will do them good to have something to do.  Just make sure you file flight plans with Sector Control on Starbase 1 and then forward them to operations for Lieutenant Crawford so he can make sure everything on ship side is good to go.”

Ming nodded.  He was still new to being the head honcho but as XO of his last wing he had a running head start.  It seemed like small groups like this often had a number two person even if it wasn’t always official.  It made sense, especially in war, in the off chance things didn’t quite work out to the ranking officer on the team.  

He said, “Understood.  I already have the excersize parameters documented and I’ll have them submitted to both parties within an hour.  Hopefully it will be approved quickly as all the pilots are well trained we are not quite a cohesive unit yet.  The more time we get in flight the better. “

“I agree.  Holodeck training will only take you so far. I would try to work in a way yo drill your maintenance and ordinance teams as well.  During a prolonged battle you will have to return for fuel and rearming.  I don’t want our crews first time doing that under the pressure of a battle with the Dominion.”

“I concur on all counts, Captain.  We didn’t start this war.  Every little bit counts that’ll let us win it however.  I fully intend to help toward that end.  I’d be even happier if we can do that with me bringing my pilots back every time.  It may not be possible but if whatever Gods still exist will allow it I’d be grateful.  As mentioned previously we already have lost too damned many,” Ming said.  This time his voice caught oh so slightly toward the end.  Obviously a painful memory struck home as he finished his thought.    

“I agree Lieutenant,” Rebecca stated. “How are you settling in? Do you or your flight need anything? I am working with Admiral Daley on getting us posted back on the front lines. We might be joining up with the 10th Fleet near Betazed.  This may be the last time for you to get what you need.”

Ming looked thoughtful for a moment before saying, “Spare parts and plenty of munitions for my wing of course. I’ll make sure Chief Xellath passes the pertinent details to Lieutenant Crawford.  I’d also like to schedule an afternoon, if possible, to return to Earth before we deploy….I’ve not had much chance to spend time with my folks with their schedules at Starfleet Academy. They’ve finally managed to free up a bit of time. “He paused for a long moment…His gaze drifted toward the large window to the flight bay.  He was visibly mulling over something with some intensity.  After that moment passed he added, “There is one other thing that I hesitate to ask however with my experience on the Tucson it seems potentially relevant for the forthcoming deployment.”  

Nodding out to the flight bay he continued, “The Peregrines are the backbone of the fighter corps for good reason. Tough, well armed, agile and good for kicking the enemy square in the ass.  However, not long before I left the Tucson we received schematics for a prototype craft classified as the Valkyrie.  They have the advantage of more advanced jamming gear and are even faster than the Peregrines are.  They seem liked they’d be quite useful for scouting as well as good a backup should one of the main fighters be down for whatever reason.  The Chief confirmed we have room for one more in this bay.  I am multi-craft certified as is Ensign Sh’ivholol which makes me confident we’d be able to adapt quickly enough to be able to fly one effectively.  I’ve also verified that we have a few on my team that are certified in certain systems which would make them ideal for secondary system operators.   That might be useful out there…And extra versatility never hurt I’ve found.”

He tilted his head very slightly and asked, “Do you think that getting at least one might be a possibility, Captain?”

“That fighter is still very much in the experimental phase,” Rebecca replied, “and it isn’t in full production.  I believe only two squadrons have received them if I am not mistaken.  None are in the 7th Fleet. But, I can pass the request along to Admiral Dailey who has a bit more pull with fighter command than I do. As far as shore leave goes, you are free to do so at your discretion.  Just submit the request to Commander Kyo. We’re basically just rubber stamping those requests since there’s no way to know when we will have a chance to return to Earth.”

Ming nodded at Rebecca’s key points as she spoke.  He said, sounding controlled with a hint of excitement in his voice, “I’d appreciate that Captain.   If half of what I read was true it’d be an invaluable assett.  And I understand that even one would be a diversion of a resource but much smaller than a whole wing or even squadron.  Add to that deploying it in new areas would be another opportunity to verify it’s capabilities as well.”  The wing CO paused for a second before adding with more control in the voice, “But you already said that you’d work on it so I digress.  Hopefully it’ll bare fruit.  I’ll also forward the request to the Commander shortly.  My folks suggested meeting at a restaurant run by my best friend from childhood.  Always figured he’d become a chef.”

The Lieutenant let a bit of good humor slip into his demeanor as he said, “We have had an ongoing humorous competition going for years…Is he the better chef or am I the better pilot?  He’s a damned good chef he’s but not quite that good.” 

“A bit of an apples to oranges comparison,” Rebecca responded with a smirk. “My dad wasn’t a trained chef but he knew his way around the kitchen.  Mom was in Starfleet so it fell on him to cook for me. Dad is a bit old fashioned. We grew our own vegetables,  and raised chickens for eggs and had a milk cow or two. I think he would have used real meat if he thought he could get away with it.”

Ming actually chuckled now. After the chuckle ended he said, “Joel and I have been friends since not long after we both learned to walk.  An….Inside joke, I guess you could say. He fired off such an unrealistic comparison as a kid and I teased him about it.  It kind of stuck and evolved from there.”  

He added, “And funny you should menton your dad’s habits.  My friend is similar.  He actually has a small farm with some other folks that supplies the vegatibles, herbs, the eggs and dairy products.  Meats too occastionally that are humanely procured.  The farmers ensure the animals never know it when the time comes.   Not at all like the old days thankfully.   During life the animals are pampered to almost Risa like levels.   Even with all that the sheep often take care of things themselves.  They’re not exactly the sharpest bat’leth in the arsonal if you catch my drift.  They seem to find a way to end it all even if there should be no possible way derived by sentients.”

The lieutenant shook his head at that last part.  He was genuinely glad they did things the way they did however since he’d have had a bad time reconciling it otherwiwse.    As all that was going on he noticed the chronograph. 

The pilot gave the ship’s captain a genuine smile and said, “I’m very much enjoying this conversation captain but I did schedule next simulation run for the Knights soon.   Plus I should probabily get to that paperwork too even though I should be able to tackle it in fairly short order.  Too much to do in so little time it seems.” 

Rebecca stood, “Very well Lieutenant.  My door is always open.”

Marcus nodded again and stood as well, “Thank you Captain.  Likewise.”

She nodded, turned and walked out of the office heading for the security deck where she wanted to check in on the newly formed Tactical Recon Team.  She hoped she would never have to utilize trained ground forces, but at this point in the war anything seems possible.

Ming watched Captain Talon leave the office then out of sight out of the bay.  He thought he made a good choice taking this position.  In the meantime he had to nuggets to train up and all five pilots on the same page so that they could, hopefully, help win this Gods forsaken war and it’d be even better in the unlikely event that they all came home safe when it WAS over.  He looked out the door in Talon’s wake and remembered her and the rest of the crew’s losses.  Yes….Everything possible to win this damned thing and bring everyone now left home safe.