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Part of USS Venture: Episode 2: The First 90 Days and USS Venture: Season 1: Into the Frontier

The New Pilot

Crew Deck - USS Vestra
10-22-2400
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Mike shifted his duffle one last time as he made his way to his new quarters on his new ship. He’d been on the Catamaran for years now. It felt odd to be in new hallways. It felt odd to be in hallways that felt new. The Cat, as much as he loved her, was old and her age was showing. The walls were scuffed and marked at the bottom, and the corridors had the faintest notes of metal and grease in the air. Old systems that had been refitted one too many times worked… but sometimes you got hot cocoa instead of coffee. He’d come to love those quirks. But he had to admit… there was a twinge of guilt that he loved the idea of serving on a more modern ship too. 

He couldn’t wait to get his hands on those helm controls. 

The gentle pulsing lights along the floor that were leading him toward his quarters finally terminated at a door. He checked the number against his assignment and nodded, tapping the access padd on the doorway and smiling a bit as the unlock chime played and the door slid open. The lights in the room slow lit to full power as he entered, tossing his duffle on the couch. It was small – which he expected, not being a senior officer just yet – but it was nice. The couch didn’t squeak when his bag hit it and the bed linens looked new and spotless. He smiled and breathed in the freshly scrubbed air. 

The ionic storm that battered the Cat was a blessing in disguise. The old girl was finally laid to rest at the fleet museum where she’d get the basic refit and cleanup before being displayed as the longest serving ship in the fleet, and Captain Park had finally accepted the offer from Starfleet to retire. He looked at his wrist watch and grinned. If his estimations were right, Park was enjoying a nice drink on the beaches of Risa by now. 

Mike started a bit as the comm unit in his quarters chirped to life, “Incoming communication from Lieutenant Junior Grade Camilla Sato,” The computer announced in its usual sing-song tones. 

The pilot smiled and called out to the comm unit, “Open the channel.” 

As soon as there was a confirmation chirp, he spoke, “Cammi, how’s the new digs? Did you actually time out my arrival so you could call me right when I got here?” 

“Hey, that’s what chief tactical officers do, ace,” The young Japanese woman replied, giving him a broad smile. “And they are amazing, Ace! I’m on a Century-class, and I love it! How about yours?”

“Well… New, for a start,” Mike replied with a laugh. “It smells like new systems and freshly scrubbed air. Only a few dings on the base of the walls, nothing space taped to the frame, all of the systems are set with the latest updates, and none of them are analogue,” He said, rattling off the big ones he could think of. 

Cammi had been the Chief Tac on the Cat and had been transferred to the USS Martinez as their new Chief Tac. He and Cammi had worked together closely and several missions and had developed a very close relationship. There was nothing romantic to it, but they were close, and he’d go to blows for her. 

“Same over here!” She said, brightly. “I loved the Cat, but man did I forget that Starfleet has nice ships,” She teased. 

“Oooh, don’t let Lieutenant Bowler hear you say that,” Mike replied, laughing.

“Whatever, they put Jimmy on the USS Skyward, one of those big Gagarin-class explorers. Last I heard from him he’s head over heels in spec manuals and feature charts. He’s the happiest CEO in the fleet right now,” Cammi replied, laughing. 

“We all wound up different places, Mike,” She said, her tone turning sad. “They broke up the family.”

“That’s not how family works, Cammi,” Mike replied. “We don’t just stop being who we are to each other because we’re not on the same ship. We don’t. You’re on the line with me right now. And we’ll keep up with each other, and be here, and look out for each other. Just like we always have,” He said.

“I hope so,” Cammi replied, after a moment of contemplation.

“Trust me. I’m the reliable one, remember?” Mike replied, grinning broadly. 

Cammi laughed, “That was Bixby and you know it, Flyboy,” She replied. 

“That’s fair,” Mike replied with a chuckle. “I gotta get settled in, but … ping me? yeah? Stay in touch.” 

“You know I will. Can’t get away from me that easily,” She teased. “Love ya, fleet brother.” 

“Love you too, fleet sister,” He told her with a wink. 

The comm channel died and Mike sighed. The crew getting reassigned from the Cat had hit him harder than he cared to admit. It did feel like tearing his family apart. He knew they’d stay in contact… but he know it wouldn’t be the same either. He sighed heavily and looked around the room. A few minutes earlier, this room felt so warm and welcoming, but now it felt a little empty, and the rest of the ship felt… hollow.

He sighed again and rubbed his hands on his face, shaking his head vigorously. No time for wallowing in self-pity. He had to work do, and a CO to meet. There’d be time to mourn his loss later. Right now, Mike Radford, new Chief Flight Operations Officer to the USS Venture, had a CO to meet and a set of Helm controls to fine tune.The old days were gone… It was time for something new.