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Part of USS Atlantis: What Price for Peace and Bravo Fleet: The Lost Fleet

What Price for Peace – 10

USS Atlantis
March 2401
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Barely stepping off of the transporter pad after returning to the Atlantis, everyone stopped as the shipwide whistle sounded.

“Captain to the bridge, captain to the bridge.” It was Rrr’mmm’bal’rrr’s deep gravel tone that rang out across the decks of the ship. Their tone was calm, controlled, like they were merely reading off a script with no sense of urgency.

A little too calm.

“If it isn’t raining it’s pouring.” She turned to face the gaggle that was with her. Adelinde, fresh from the fight. Terax, looking bored. The entirety of Hazard Team Silver giving her exceedingly professional looks right now. “Mitchell, you and your team help Commander Gantzmann to sick bay. And return that spear and shield to her quarters. Lieutenant Fightmaster, with me please.”

She gave no chance for protest, or acknowledgement as she offered Lin a quick wink before marching out the door and towards the nearest turbolift. Hands were shoved into jacket pockets, something she realised she missed from wearing a jacket regularly. There just wasn’t much need for a jacket on a climate-controlled starship with comfortable uniforms designed to keep you at an optimal temperature.

“What’s up Rrr?” she asked as she swept down the ramp from the turbolift to the command area, eyes settling on the viewscreen and the obvious reason for Rrr’s summon upon it.

While Atlantis’ bridge had been built largely to the same standard as the original Sovereign-class starships, some exceptions and advancements had been made. The larger mission operations area in the rear, pushing the conference room back and expanding the bridge module slightly. The return of the tactical arch and ramps to the rear stations harking back to the Galaxy­-class ships. But what Tikva enjoyed the most from her command seat was the larger viewscreen.

It was still the same holographic wall panel but had been made larger, occupying the entire forward bulkhead. The fidelity was amazing – only foreknowledge would stop someone from thinking it was just a mere ledge to step forward and out onto the ship’s saucer section.

But right now, that viewscreen was taken up not by a forward-looking image but by one of the ship’s many other sensors, feeding its findings and the computer dutifully rendering the optical illusion before them.

USS Papakura, Sagan-class explorer. Sitting there amongst a cloud of traffic on the far side of Handl Dryf.

“She arrived just a few minutes ago. Captain Sadiq Sayil has sent his regards and asked when he might be able to speak with you, ma’am. I told him you were indisposed and asked if he’d like to speak with Commander MacIntyre, to which he declined.”

She smiled at her Gaen operations officer. “Would you really have woken Mac if Captain Sayil said yes?”

“I’d have said I’d get back to him, wait ten minutes, then inform him that the Commander was indisposed and that Commander Velan was available.” Rrr smiled, the grin growing before a gentle chuckle. “And I’ve made sure that Ra was somewhere nice and noisy before patching him through.”

“May I recommend any of the fusion reactor rooms? Or the secondary plasma coolant pump assemblies?” Stirling’s answer came out of nowhere and both Tikva and Rrr turned on the yeoman, who was a picture of innocence.

“I’m not sure who’s the worst influence,” Rrr started, “you Captain, or your yeoman?”

“The captain,” several treasonous, mutinous, backstabbing voices all answered in near unison from their stations.

“I mean, they’re not wrong,” Tikva responded, smiling for the first time in what felt like ages but more likely just an hour or so. She even got a few chuckles from her bridge crew, and the wave of positive emotion washed over her, reinvigorating her.

The jovial nature she wanted to inspire, the trust she felt, and the generally positive vibes she got from most of her crew. It was like a shower after being on Handl Dryf and the slimy wash she’d been soaking in while mingling amongst people who liked the way the Ferengi Alliance did things.

“What do we know about Papakura?” she asked.

What, aside from it being super suspicious it being here, so close to a war zone?

Aside from that.

And that it’s not Fourth Fleet and The Bastard said only to trust Fourth Fleet?

Aside from that too.

It’s stupid looking and has too many nacelles?

Are we quad-nacelle-phobic?

No, just dual-nacelle-purist. If it was good enough for the Pheonix it’s good enough for everyone else.

Vulcans used a cyclical mono-nacelle for –

Shut up!

Sagan-class, commissioned a year ago into 2nd Fleet. And for an explorer hasn’t left Federation space since she left the shipyard.” Rrr didn’t sound impressed at all. Atlantis had clocked a lot of light-years since her commissioning and it was becoming a point of pride amongst the crew just how much the ship did when they could just go exploring. “Captain Sayil has a respectable if boring career. Been a captain for about three decades now and never offered a Commodore’s pip.”

“Shoot me if that ever happens to me,” she said.

“Light or heavy stun?” Rrr joked.

“Surprise me.”


“Thank you, Stirling,” she said as her yeoman set the hot chocolate down in front of her, complete with two chocolate chip cookies to the side.

“Will that be all?” he asked.

“No, sit, I want your opinion after this,” she said as she experimentally sipped at the drink, gave a satisfied little sound to let Fightmaster know he’d done good, and then finally reached out to her computer to contact the Papakura. She’d not stripped the field jacket off just yet, keeping it as a prop to explain her indisposed state from merely a few minutes again when Captain Sayil had last called.

It took only a few moments before the ship’s seal was replaced with the face and ready room of one Captain Sayil. Her immediate first impression was a content and happy family man. He was obviously, to her at least, of some Middle Eastern descent, though where she couldn’t quiet place. Eastern or Southern Mediterranean at least. An easy smile, laugh lines around his eyes, and a well-trimmed tidy beard. He looked like a large individual, but not fat. That sort of reassuring face that if you were in trouble and came to your rescue, just seeing him on comms likely told you that things were going to be okay.

“Captain Sayil,” she started, “a pleasure to meet you. Sorry about not being available when you called earlier, was involved in some business aboard the station.”

“Captain Theodoras,” Sayil replied and his voice was just what she expected – room-filling and warm. “Your Lieutenant Rrr’mmm’bal’rrr said as much. And I’ve been perusing the local news as well. Your Lieutenant Commander Gantzmann was fighting a Klingon over an insult regarding you? I must say, she must be pretty loyal to challenge a Klingon warrior over a mere use of words.”

“Commander Gantzmann is protective of the ship’s reputation.” She smiled and sipped at her cup once more. “Sorry captain, but I’ve had a bit of an interesting day so far and am looking forward to a shower and a quiet afternoon handling reports so I’m going to cut to the chase if you don’t mind. What can Atlantis do for Papakura?”

He smiled, chuckling and nodding his head in understanding. “Was just wanting to touch base with the only other Starfleet ship here, Captain. Ask what brought you here and if there was anything my people could do to assist yours. Not often that ships assigned to the Thomar Expanse find themselves this far across the Ferengi Alliance after all, especially when you consider the Zenith and Nadir routes are not short trips.”

It’s a trap!

Shut up Akbar-Tikva, you’re not helping.

He’s just asking questions my ass.

“No they aren’t,” she answered. She didn’t expand upon that point any further. “We’re laying over briefly to make some engine repairs before proceeding to the Deneb Sector. What we thought was going to be a day or two has evolved since Commander Velan has discovered a few more issues.” That was a straight-up lie, but adhered to what she’d said to Administrator Dryf at least.

“Deneb Sector?” Sayil asked.

“We’re responding to the Breen attacks. As you should be, yes?”

“Oh, mere border skirmishes. Task Force 514 has it all under control.” It was a perfect repeat of Command’s party line. “Papakura is undertaking some shore leave while we’re here. Perhaps we could meet for a meal Captain? I can also ask Chief Lyall if he can drum up some volunteers to come over to Atlantis and assist your Chief Engineer in making good your engine trouble as well.”

“I’ll ask Chief Velan. The issues are in confined spaces and manpower isn’t the issue so much as finding the right people for the job.” She shrugged, a captain conveying the mysteries of the engine room to another captain. “As for a meal Captain, that would be nice. I’ll have my yeoman arrange something and then contact your yeoman.”

“Yeoman? Oh, that would be nice!” he barked with another laugh. “Contact Lieutenant Gorkin, he’ll pass it along to me.”

“Certainly.”

“Well don’t let me keep you, Captain Theodoras. I look forward to meeting you in person soon.” And then the comm line went dead.

She turned her attention to Stirling, who had a slight scowl on his face. “Respectfully ma’am, I don’t like this.”

“Oh?” she asked. She could feel the suspicion radiating from her yeoman.

“This close to the Deneb border, this close to the fighting and he’s repeating Starfleet Command and 2nd Fleet’s statements completely.” Stirling was only as informed as he was because he was her yeoman. His security clearance was similar to most of the senior staff at this point. He knew what was going on.

“Maybe it’ll change as he reads some of the local news.” She sipped once more on her hot chocolate. “Maybe it won’t.”

“Feels like someone is checking up on us ma’am.”

“Most certainly.” She set the cup down with a sigh. “Make arrangements for dinner somewhere with Captain Sayil. Public and open if you can. And then contact Commander Scali of the Free State and ask her when she would like to speak with me regarding Admiral Beckett’s proposal.”

“Aye ma’am,” he answered. “Is there anything else?”

“No, I don’t think so.” She nodded as he rose and after a brief perfunctory exchange departed to handle the tasks he was assigned.

Left alone in her office, she just stared at the door for a moment.

“Trust only Fourth Fleet,” she said to herself. “Fuck that, trust only Atlantis.”

The cup was set down, the jacket discarded as she proceeded to her office door, enough for it open onto the bridge. “Rrr, I need a brain to bounce ideas off. Camargo, you too.” She then turned back for her desk, the door closing as two somewhat confused senior officers stood at their captain’s summons.

And as they entered, she waved them to the seats across her desk. “I’ve got a task for you two,” she said with a smile, verging on wicked. “And I think you’ll like it.”

Comments

  • You had me dying of laughter with the nacelles inner monologue. Quad-nacelle-phobic... dual-nacelle-purist... Vulcans used a cyclical mono-nacelle. LOL! But beyond that, this post creates a fear that something is amok without giving anything away, and it taps into the Fourth Fleet versus Starfleet situation effectively. The contrast with the Papakura planning some shore leave was great, and I look forward to learning whether the Papakura is literally just that oblivious or if there's some more nefarious situation at play here.

    May 28, 2023
  • The plot thickens! You're doing a great job conveying the layers of mistrust and doubt. Papakura could be here for nefarious reasons, or she might be what she seems, or she might be a little bit curious of what Atlantis is doing without having anything dodgy going on. Beckett's managed to successfully screw up the paranoia of a good few Fourth Fleet captains, now - that would make him happy. But it's nice to be back aboard ship; there's always a great sense of collegiality among the crew of Atlantis. '“The captain,” several treasonous, mutinous, backstabbing voices all answered in near unison from their stations,' had me chuckling; the crew DO, indeed, know their captain well. But I anticipate the Papakura's timing isn't a coincidence, story-wise - we have Romulans AND Changelings AND dubious Starfleet to deal with, oh my? Good stuff!

    May 28, 2023
  • Now you throw in the spanner of another Federation ship arriving - are they friend or foe? I feel Tikva will get more out of the Romulans than a fellow Starfleet captain! And as I said on Discord (and once again repeating Cath's remarks from above), that entire scene on the bridge where the crew 'turn on' the captain so quickly, without much thought and knowing it was okay, was absolutely delightful. The Atlantis certainly brings a great balance of fun, humour, drama and action. Love it, love it, love it!!

    May 28, 2023