Part of USS Constellation: Nothing Comes From Being Right and Bravo Fleet: The Lost Fleet

From Being – 3

USS Constellation, Captain's Ready Room
March 2401
0 likes 407 views

It must have been a statistical improbability.  

Taes offered a curt, “Enter.”  Accordingly, Nova was admitted into the captain’s ready room when the double doors receded into the bulkhead.  Nova managed to catch the toe of her boot in the door’s impossibly narrow track, which caused her to trip.  Recovering swiftly, Nova avoided a fall and resumed her pace into the compartment with little more than an awkward shimmy.

Statistical improbabilities were the watchwords of the day.

Nova marched forward into the heart of the small compartment and came to stand at the low glass-topped table.  Through her entrance, Taes never looked away from the report she was studying.  She kept her back to the door and to Nova.  Taes continued to scroll through the infographics on a holographic pane projected over her desk.

Nova was the first to say anything: “Permission to speak freely, captain.”

Taes subtly inclined her head.

“Go ahead, lieutenant,” Taes allowed.  Still, she didn’t turn around to face Nova.

Nova heaved in a heavy breath.  “I think I’ve made a huge mistake.”

“Yes,” Taes said and she tapped at the holographic interface, causing it to wink out.  Swivelling out of her chair, Taes finally looked at Nova as she rose to her feet.  “I noticed,” she said, taking a first step towards her.

After huffing out a quick, defeated breath, Nova calibrated what she was trying to say, by adding, “I don’t mean just that.  I mean… everything.  Escaping the vortex.  Returning to Starfleet or– I mean continuing in Starfleet.  This was a mistake.”  

“I’m unsuited for a Starfleet commission,” Nova continued and she dropped her combadge on the coffee table.  The silver and grey arrowhead clanked heavily on the glass surface.  Nova affirmed, “Which is why I must officially tender my resig–“

A chortle bubbled out of Taes.  It was a wet sound, almost like someone trying to laugh through a punctured lung.  Unceremoniously, Taes dropped herself into one of the blue barrel chairs positioned around the coffee table.

“Oh!  No, Indira, that isn’t happening,” Taes said.  She shook her head at Nova incredulously and she laughed again, much softer this time.

Scoffing at Taes’ dismissive tone, Nova challenged her with, “And why not?”

Taes narrowed her eyes at Nova to insist, “Because it’s what you want, so I’m withholding it.”  She breathed out a frustrated “tt” between her teeth and she shook her bald head at Nova again.  With staccato bravado, Taes declared, “Of course you’re not resigning, lieutenant.  My ship is lacking in basic shields, communications and pieces of the hull.  You have trained hands and a critical eye.  I need you too much.  Please.”

Jerking an arm out, Taes stiffly gestured to another barrel chair, silently ordering Nova to sit.  Rather, Nova remained where she was standing and dropped her chin to her chest.  Staring down at her boots, she could see where she had scraped the pointed toe on her left boot.

“I’m sorry I called you a cow,” Nova said diffidently.  

Vocalising her objection as an, “Ah,” Taes went on to say, “No, that’s not entirely true.”  She lifted a PADD from the coffee table and raised it to the level of her eyes.  She shook the PADD as if it offended her and then she returned it to the table.  Taes then raised a different PADD to read from.  This one was green.  When Taes read what was transcribed on the display she spoke with even less inflection than Starfleet’s computer voice interface.

“What you said was,” Taes said, “Go back.  Go back.  Please.  Go back.  You have to.  Go back for them.  Rescue Yuulik, you heartless cow.”

Taes locked eyes with Nova and raised her eyebrows at her.  It looked like she was daring Nova to say something more.  Then Taes gently placed the PADD back on the table.

“I deserved every word,” Taes said in surrender.  The resignation in her voice built to determination, when she said, “I deserved worse.  But your five-hundred crewmates?  They deserved exactly what they got.  I couldn’t sacrifice all our lives in a vain attempt at heroism.  I keep meditating on the sequence of events at the Kholara Observatory… The swiftness of the attack; the transmission… I have to assume the Dominion were expecting us.”

Carefully seating herself into the barrel chair opposite Taes, Nova said, “If the Dominion had a method of monitoring our computer systems…”

“That part of might have been them or… it might have been the Romulan Free State?” Taes remarked, her gaze wandering off into the middle distance.  “And now I’ve said it.  But I don’t yet know.  In either case, I’ve changed our prefix codes.  Without that risk hanging over us, tell me the status of our communication systems.”

Nova winced.  “That’s a funny story.  Your warp cores produce exponentially more electro-plasma these days, I’ve noticed.  When I overheated the EPS flow regulators, I shattered the monocrystal waveguides in every subspace transceiver.”

Taes nodded, receiving the report without judgment.

“Within six hours,” Nova continued, “we can repair three of the redundant RF transceiver assemblies on the saucer section.  That much will restore basic ship-to-ship communication within a single star system.”

Now Taes winced.  “This far beyond Federation space, we can’t transmit our findings back to the Fourth Fleet nor can we receive new orders.”

Nodding sombrely, Nova said, “Lieutenant Pagaloa advises we’ll need the repair services of a starbase to fully restore our long-range subspace communications.  I wasn’t as thorough about trashing the comm-systems on every auxiliary craft, at least.  Pagaloa believes he can cannibalize enough components to rebuild one subspace transceiver on the hull, but his estimate in approaching double-digit days.”

“Because the engineering team is prioritising shields and hull repairs,” Taes acknowledged.  “I’ve also ordered him to complete an immediate level five diagnostic on our computer security systems, followed by an intensive level one diagnostic, which will take days in itself.  There’s no other way.  We can’t move forward until I know if the Dominion –or another third party–  infiltrated our computer systems before we reached Kholara.”

Taes rose to her feet.  “As a fully commissioned member of the operations team, I’d say Pagaloa could use your expertise, lieutenant.  Report to the computer core immediately, you heartless cow.”

Comments

  • Trying so hard to quit - she's so hard on herself! Mind you, calling your CO a heartless cow is pretty intense. Thankfully her alleged bovine CO is forgiving and has thicker skin - she needs her ops officer. I love the give and take between them - lots of progress made. There's still plenty of unresolved stuff to be dealt with - given how hard Nova is on herself, I'm wondering how she's going to reinforce her confidence and courage. And that ending line - bringing it full circle.

    May 23, 2023
  • Awwww, what a moment of healing, of acceptance, between the heartless cows. Both have been justified in their words of late, and I am sure they have said far worse behind closed doors. It is not easy to increase the tension in the aftermath of a battle, but by reducing comm systems as much as you have, you've added a complex component which has done just that. It's added threat and hindrance at a time when they need faultless simplicity. Poor Taes never gets it easy. Nova, on the other hand, needs to give herself a break. Excellent interplay. Well done.

    May 23, 2023
  • Behind enemy lines, no communications, in desperate need for said missing communications and a lick of paint - just where is Constellation off to right now? This as a heart-to-heart between Nova and Taes was a good-feelings read I really enjoyed. I enjoyed the missed insult, looping back around to it in the context of the apology. Really worked for me. Think Nova is a good fit with Taes. A student/mentor relationship that Taes & Yuulik just managed to avoid?

    May 24, 2023
  • Oh ding ding, and let the next match assume! That was certainly harsh, raw and straight to the point between Taes and Nova. Taes has certainly struggled recently in her own confidence in sitting in the centre chair, but is this now her full turning point where she is finally back to her old self and being back in the middle chair in such a nightmare-ish situation has forced her to snap herself out of her self pity? I hope so, she certainly seems to be back to being more commanding than before (and this is without Kellin backing her up or Yuulik being a pain). Nova on the other hand, jumping the gun to run away from the situation seems more less thought out compared to what she has shown in the past. And calling the captain a cow - ouch! She must have some big balls to come out with that - but then maybe her endless love for Yuulik is that passionate she can't see anything else but rescuing her loved one. A nice bit of drama, thank you very much!

    May 27, 2023
  • "I deserved worse. But your five-hundred crewmates? They deserved exactly what they got." Wonderful. I am adoring the high stakes of this mission becoming a crucible for Taes as a captain, with her back against the wall like it's never been before. It's not just knowing Nova's being emotional that has her rejecting the resignation - it's just ridiculous for her to accept the resignation of an officer right now. What's Nova going to do, sit in her quarters and wait for it to all be over? This was reconciliation, but it was the reconciliation of an officer and their CAPTAIN, and despite nothing going Taes's way, this goes Taes's way. And now we see the payoff of avoiding the ship being taken over by the Dominion: no comms. Constellation has to save the day, and she really is on her own. Exciting stuff!

    May 28, 2023