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Part of Starbase Bravo: The Homefront and Bravo Fleet: The Lost Fleet

When the Next Storm Comes

Starbase Bravo, Sector Hotel-Turquoiose / India-Navy crossover corridor
March 2401
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The manuals all said the mark-XII multi-tiered anti-grav sled was intended to be operated by two: a pilot and a navigator, figuratively-speaking.  The actual operation of the sled was fairly simplistic.  With a subtle nudge here or there by hand, the anti-grav motivators would instinctively shift the sled’s direction or bring it to a halt.  Moreover, the sled’s top speed was hardly faster than a small child.  

Where the troubles arose were when it came to visibility.  The number of shelves on the sled were stacked taller than Lieutenant Elegy Weld himself.  As he tried to manoeuvre the sled single-handedly, he couldn’t see anything happening on the other side of the shelves upon shelves of medical supplies.  Only at the last possible moment did Weld notice he was about to plow the sled into someone and so he yanked the sled back as hard as he could muster.  The suddenness of his yank caused a third of the medical cases to come tumbling  down off the shelves towards him.  He jumped back to avoid the cascade of falling supplies.

Dawa heard the crash of the tumbling shelves from behind the corner and peeked her head out to see the sled that had been about to mow her down drift to a halt without its operator. She dashed out and around the mess to find Elegy in a heap on the ground.

“Gravity has its revenge!” she announced as she crouched next to him and reached a tentative hand out. “I hope nothing is broken, shelves or bones or anything. Did you bump your head? Need help up?”

Accepting Dawa’s hand between both of his own, Elegy groaned as he was helped to his feet.  He dropped his chin to his chest, stretching his neck, and he patted his head and his arms, looking for signs of bleeding.  Blood could be hard to spot in the black expanse of a Starfleet uniform, but upon each inspection, the palms of the Trill’s hands came back dry.  No blood.

While he patted himself, Elegy said, “I suppose I’ve been tempting gravity my whole life.  Grew up on starships, serving aboard a starbase; none of them places gravity is supposed to be.”  He shook his head.  “I think– I think I’m all right.  Thank you kindly, ensign… uh…?”

“Ensign Dawa Vlček,” she announced with a wide smile, then gingerly took one of his hands in a handshake. “I can confirm, no broken fingers here! You should still let me help you pick up these shelves, though, Lieutenant.”

After shaking her hand, Weld warmly remarked, “Thank you kindly, Ensign Vlček.  I’m certainly not too proud to accept your help.  I’ve made rather a lot of mess of these supplies.”  –He looked around at the metallic cases of medical equipment and pharmaceuticals, none of which looked critically damaged– “But before you begin, I should ask: have you been tempting gravity overly much before now?”

“Well, I grew up on a moon, and I just spent the last week planet-side, so if you ever need a consult on real gravity I can fill you in on its practical effects,” she said with a laugh.

After gathering up an armful of hypospray cases, Weld clutched them close to his chest until he could gingerly slide them onto one of the anti-grav sled’s many empty shelves.  He took a step back and then he took a breath.  Ponderously, Weld scrunched up one of his cheeks as he rubbed the back of his neck.

Weld said, “I can’t remember the last time I took any time away from the starbase…”

“Why are you operating this thing all by yourself anyway?” asked Dawa, wondering to herself if the tension in his posture was from the fall or from stress.

Answering the question as broadly as possible to begin, Weld said, “We’re re-stocking the medical ship Hippocrates while it’s undergoing repairs in the base.” –He gathered up another armful of supplies– “I got frustrated with pointing and clicking at holograms, so I needed to use my body.  I figured it would give me a new insight into what was starting to feel like arbitrary decisions about supply ratios.”

“Well, I might have a thing or two to say about the ratio of supplies you’re trying to carry solo. As a Starfighter Pilot, I think I’m more than qualified to manoeuver this sled if you’d like to navigate for me.”

Weld found himself nodding at Dawa’s offer to drive the sled while he loaded another stack of vascular regenerator emitters onto the sled.  He got them settled on a shelf before he acknowledged her superior skill.

“You’re most certainly more qualified than me, ensign,” Weld said.  He frowned as another thought visibly crossed over his field of vision.  “Although I hope I’m not distracting you from a more critical duty?”

“Nothing critical, no!” Dawa picked up the last piece of something-or-other – she couldn’t identify most of the supplies, but this one was at least lighter than the rest – and handed it to Elegy to stack at the top of the reassembled shelves.

“I’m off duty and was headed to my quarters to read the latest reports about whatever it is the Fourth Fleet is doing in the Deneb Sector, but I doubt the situation will change that much in the time it takes me to get you and your goods to your destination.”

She drove the point home by hopping onto the sled and reactivating the control panel. “Although if that’s where the Hippocrates is headed, maybe you can fill me in on the scuttlebutt on the way!”

Striding ahead of the sled, Weld gestured with his hands when it was safe for Dawa to glide it forward.  He turned back long enough to engage in said scuttlebutt.

Weld confirmed Dawa’s suspicion, by saying, “The repair of the Hippocrates has, indeed, been prioritised to get her healing hands into the Deneb Sector.  I’ve read reports of the Breen testing our border patrols, destroying our automated subspace relays and outright engaging with Task Group 514.”

“All from the cockpit of old Jem’Hadar fighters is what I heard,” said Dawa. “Doesn’t make much sense to me. Why would they be hauling out old scrap like that for an offensive? Why would they be on such an ambitious offensive at all if they’re reduced to using another species’ leftovers? No matter how many times I yell at the FNN reports they don’t answer back, though!”

“As puzzling as that is,” Weld added, raising a finger as another thought came to him, “there is a clear need in the Deneb Sector.  We’ve been asked to evacuate patients from certain hospitals in and around the Deneb Sector.  There’s a group of sensitive patients I’d like to oversee myself upon their arrival to Starbase Bravo.  I have need of a savvy pilot for the rendezvous.”

“Well, then it’s a good thing you almost ran over me today! I’ve got nothing but routine patrols on my schedule for a while. If you put in a request with my squad leader you’ll have the savviest operator of heavy space machinery this station has to offer at your disposal.”

  • Dawa Vlček

    CO, Bomber Squadron SB4-T1 (White Squadron)