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Part of USS Resolute: Protect Arriana and Bravo Fleet: The Lost Fleet

9 – Choices and consequences

The Morningstar
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“No, Aya. You are absolutely not taking the first raft!” 

RJ raged as he stormed down the central corridor to the transporter room of the Morningstar. Not the cargo transporters, even though they had banks of those ranked row on row, but the crew transporters. He was that mad, he wasn’t even riding the loop, but burning off energy by walking… stalking, every muscle in his body tight. All because his sister was a pain in the ass brat with a death wish.

“Who died and made you fucking god?” Aya shouted back, less than two steps behind him. He could feel her angry glare slicing into his back. If looks could kill, he wouldn’t need to worry about the Jem’Hadar… or even Raan Mason, he’d already be deader than a doornail, face down on the damn deck right here. 

“I did!” He turned on his heel, shoving his hand through his hair. It was too long again, the curls getting in the way. “This isn’t some border skirmish, Aya.”

“Well, duh!” She hissed, getting all up in his face. “Do I look like an idiot—DON’T ANSWER THAT! Of course I know it’s not a fucking border skirmish! If it was, there wouldn’t be a Starfleet warship out there and a combat veteran commanding it… WHOSE WIFE YOU SLEPT WITH!”

“That’s not important right now!” Was it actually illegal to throttle your own sister? Or was it just frowned on? “This is the Dominion, Aya. THE ACTUAL DOMINION! It’s serious. You take that raft out and you’re putting a fuck-off big target on yourself!”

“Yeah, and you’re not?” She snarled and poked him in the chest. “I don’t think you need to worry about the Dominion taking pots shots at you, Mason probably will! So it makes sense for me to take the first raft down. At least I’ll only have one enemy taking shots at me.”

She glared up at him, obviously satisfied with her argument. 

“No.” He shook his head. “You’ll have no one taking shots at you because you’re not going first. I am. I’m the eldest, so there.”

She gaped at him, her jaw dropping. “Seriously? You’re pulling the age card?” 

“Uh-huh,” he nodded, crossing his arms. “Seniority in the family.”

“You are such a fucking dick!” she snarled and shoved past him, making sure to slam her shoulder into his. He rocked back on his heels and then turned to follow her into the crew transporters. 

The starfleet crew was already on the pads, looking around with the kind of careful expressions that said they’d heard most of the conversation out in the corridor. 

“Ah, Commander Reese-Riggs?” the Lieutenant at the front of the group stepped forward, offering his hand. “Lieutenant Smith, of the Resolute, I’m in charge of the civilian relocation.”

“A pleasure to meet you Lieutenant,” he smiled and reached to shake the guy’s hand. Before he could, Smith’s heel caught on the edge of the step down off the transporter pads and he tumbled forward. 

“Easy there,” RJ said, catching the other guy easily. “Gravity can be a little dodgy on these old transports.”

“Yes, of course. That must be it.” Smith straightened up and smiled at them both. “I’m sorry, Miss…” he said, offering his hand. 

“Aya Reese-Riggs,” she smiled as she reached out to shake Smith’s hand. RJ was sure he heard bones crunch. Aya had a grip that could crack billiard balls. 

“Oh,” Smith’s gaze darted between the two of them. 

“Sister,” RJ said quickly. “Not wife.”

“Oh, god, no. Ewww!” Aya stopped just short of making gagging noises, which he was grateful for. If he ever wanted to get back into uniform, he needed to make a good showing here. Although, having this lot overhear that little conversation—

He cut the thought off and smiled his best charming smile at the small group of starfleet officers. 

“Okay, Aya will be take you guys up to the bridge and the loading platforms and will get you settled,” he said. “The Morningstar operates with two detachable loading rafts. We don’t usually use them since it’s far more efficient to transport livestock but they do have surface-to-space capability. I will pilot—“ He ignored Aya’s pointed sigh. “I will be piloting the first raft down, Aya will take the second.”

He started to usher them out of the transporter room. They were on a time crunch so they needed to walk and talk. 

“We’ll need two of you on the bridge to liaise with us and then a team on each loading platform to offload car…” 

He paused to correct himself. “Sorry, offload our guests over into the cargo holds. Now, we’ve done our best to increase holding capacity but bear in mind we’re using to carrying cattle who don’t need much in the way of luxuries or even amenities.” As in, they brought their own coats and just needed drains in the floor rather than bathrooms. “But we do have replicators on board, so feel free to use those to make everyone as comfortable as possible.”

Smith nodded, easily keeping pace with RJ. “Thank you sir. I’ll be on the bridge so I’ll be keeping in contact with you. We haven’t heard from the Captain yet as to whether he’s secured the site yet, but it shouldn’t be long. You can start your descent and then can you hold above cloud cover until we’re sure the location is safe?”

RJ shook his head. “No can do. The instant we let that raft go, it’s a one shot to the ground, pure and simple. They are literally platforms with thrusters underneath. Very limited navigational control.” 

“Drop and go, got it.” Smith didn’t seem to be one to argue, which RJ was thankful for. “Okay, we can work with this. I checked on your specs so we’ll time the drop for as soon as we have the go from the captain.”

RJ nodded, slowing his pace as they reached the corridor branch for the raft controls. “This is where I love you all and leave you, I’m afraid,” he smiled and turned to head to the raft cockpit. 

Hey!” Aya hissed as she followed him a few steps. Concern was etched over her features as she looked at him. “Don’t get yourself killed, okay?”

“Why, anyone would think you cared, brat,” he grinned, reaching out to ruffle her curls. 

“Fuck off, asshole,” she huffed, but he caught the edge of the smile she suppressed. “You still owe me from last week’s poker game, remember? If you die, I don’t get my money.” 

“Yeah, yeah… you’ll get your money. Don’t worry,” he winked at her, hearing everything she didn’t say and then turned for the raft. 

The easy smile slid off his face as he walked. He’d made his choice and he was about to face the consequences. Because one thing was for sure, he was not letting his sister drop into a hot zone first. 

Conflict, choice, consequence… they were a chain reaction no man could hope to avoid.

Comments

  • I burst out laughing with RJ pulling the Age card XD wonderful to see such family interaction and yet RJ taking control of the situation. Very smooth and well done. The drop system feels like a Starship Troopers drop-ship for some reason. Awesome job!

    May 29, 2023
  • Unknown Author

    Those two are so funny. They actually might be the best part of this entire mission. Interesting technology with the Lyft wraps. Cool concept.

    June 2, 2023