Part of USS Denver: Mission 5: A Day Late and a Dollar Short

Wargames Pre-Flight

USS Denver, Flight bay
September 9, 2374 @0759
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Ming had just finished explaining what was needed for the practice run prior to the upcomming battle and Chief Xalleth was looking at the human in disbelief.  Fact in point he thought that the Terran was mad.  A fact which he told the lieutennant a moment later in no uncertain and with a few unkind words.

Marcus crossed his arms and let the Tellarite finish his tirade despite the fact more than a few crew members and pilots were looking in their direction with increasingly alarmed looks.  Once the pause went along long enough the Knight’s CO said, “I understand your feelings in the matter Chief.  Truth be told I am a bit vexed how they’re wanting to approach things.  I’d think IFF tweaks and a few settings adjustments and thing’s would be fine.  They want the look on top of tactics and performance though.” 

Xellth exclaimed, “But in 75 Terran minutes?! We can’t realistically affix enough hardware to alter the looks of these craft which is absolutely insane in the first place!”

Ming smiled, “Holoemitters.  Affixing real modifications can’t realistically happen so fix emitters to the best possible fix points, load the image matrix into the computer, hook it in and go.  Adjust the settings to match with a kill switch to reset them to default in case of emergency.”

The Tellarite stared at the Lieutenant for a long moment.  “That is crazy….but it may be possible.”

Ming nodded and said, “Glad you approve.  If that’s what you consider the best option I’m going to say to get on it Chief.”

The Tellarite Crew Chief nodded and rushed off and started to fire off orders to the line crew.  Ming smiled seeing the Chief’s apparent enthusiasm.

With that the Lieutenant made his way to the pilot’s lounge / briefing room. Everyone made it since he summoned the flight there leaving the briefing and were talking amongst each other while he was getting things set up with the flight crew.

Sh’iv snapped to attention when Ming walked in, “CO on deck.”

“At ease Knights.  Take a seat.  We’re going to be involved with a fleet action within the next hour or so.  We’re going to be portraying the bad guys in what amount to some war games.  The Knights, and others, are going to be playing the part of the Dominion.  We’re going to be emulating Gem’Hadar tactics,” Ming started.

The Knight CO continued, “The flight crew is affixing holographic projection devices to our fighters to make us look like the Dominion’s fighters.  He’s also setting up the fighters computer systems to emulate them as well.  Each fighter will have a kill switch setting that will kill the transmitters and reset the fighters to their pre-modification settings.”

“Questions so far,” Ming asked.

Sh’iv shook her head.  This was a standard war game practice.  One group would act as an aggressor unit while the other tried to pretend to blow you out of space.  They didn’t happen often, but there was an element of “fun” to it.Ming looked around for almost a minute and saw shaking heads or mute pilots.  This said to him there were not questions yet…At least none that his pilots wanted to voice.  He continued, “This is a short notice drill I realize.  It’s more notice than we’d usually get in a combat situation however and some of our newer collegues need practice.” 

The Lieutenant looked around and met eyes as he spoke.  Those eyes looked right back into his as he did so.  Just how he wanted it.   

He continued, “We’ll be simulating the Gem’Hadar pilots.  Most of you are familiar with their tactics and flying styles in theory if not in practice.  For anyone lacking follow the leads of our other pilots.  When we break formation McPhearson will be on my wing while Sh’iv will be lead element with T’Kown and Erickson on hers.   Be aggressive, be fearless and be smart….Like the Gem’Hadar.  While we tend to think there is issue with being overly aggressive and fearless as being needlessly reckless it is a matter of course for our enemy.  During this wargame WE ARE THE ENEMY.  We need to be convincing and be as accurate as possible.  It’ll be better training for the others and it’ll be good for us too.  Getting inside the heads of the enemy is a great way to learn about them which has been a working theory since antiquity for a reason.” 

Marcus paused again and took a deep breath.  Executive decision.  He added, “We’ll need it.  Eventually we’ll be back in action for real.  Once I answer any remaining or new quesions I suggest study in the remaining time, meditation, relaxation…whatever puts you in the right mindset for this action.  We’ll be playing to win by the way….” 

That garnered some smiles and nods with a few looks of serious thought.  He shifted his gaze from pilot to pilot for a few heartbeats, his eyes lingering on Sh’iv for a hair longer than others as he asked, “I’ll ask again: Are there any questions at this time?” He gave it another moment and, when nobody spoke up, he said, “Very well.  I’ll be in my office if anything comes up between now and the time to scramble.  Be ready to go by 08:45 at the latest.  Dismissed for now.  Except for you XO.  A moment if you would?”

 Sh’iv remained seated until the last of the Knignts had departed. Standing she approached Ming,  her hands clasped behind her back her antennae twitching.  “You wanted to see me sir?” 

“I did.  I’ve reviewed your record again recently.  Additionally I think your performance has been noteworthy if not exceptional.  All that is part of why I made you the wing’s exec.  All that combined led me to have a discussion with Captain Talon,” Ming explained.   

As he finished that last sentance he fished into a pocket and pulled out a small item.  He pinched it between his middle and index finger.  He presented the hollow pip to the Andorian woman and said, “I think it’s time you had this. If I may Lieutenant J.G.  Esessa Sh’ivhohlol?” 

She stared at Ming for a long moment not believing what was happening,  “Uh… thank you sir. I don’t know what to say.”

“Your record, your bravery, your skill speak loudly enough.  You earned this and it pleases me to no end to be the one to give you this well deserved promotion,” Ming said.  

The Knight commander stepped a bit closer and reached out with both hands, one with the new insignia.  He paused and offered a grin before skillfully affixing the new hollowed pip to the Andorian’s collar.  He took a step back and looked appraisingly at Sh’iv for a moment before breaking into an actual smile.   

“It suits you very well I think.  One more thing if I may,” Ming gestured for Sh’iv to follow him into the flight bay.   

She cooked her head in curiosity,  but didn’t say anything as she followed Ming out.

The two officers entered the flight bay and from the lounge/briefing room and stopped just outside the door to face their three collegues along with Chief Xellath and a number of the flight line.  Ming said loudly, projecting his voice as he did so, “Lets hear three cheers for LIEUTENANT Sh’ivoholol!  Hip hip!” 

The others shouted in reply, “Hooray!” 

After two more repititions and some applause the crews dispersed to return to their duties and the other pilots left for their own preperations.  Ming turned to Sh’iv looking a bit sheepish.   

Sh’iv flushed, hwe face purple with embarrassment and her antennae bent back next to her head.

He said as his eyes met hers and said with sincerity, “I know a fair deal about your record and history lieutenant.  I cannot express how much theses pilots respect you, how much I rely on you and how so very much you deserved this promotion.  And this wasn’t wholly my idea mind you.  The other Knights and members of the flight crew encouraged it.  Ensign McPhearson and Crewman …correction… Petty Officer Andrews were the loudest voices.  On Chief Petty Officer Xellath’s recommendation she’s been bumped up to Petty Officer Third Class and our new ordinance specialist.”    

“Thank you sir,” she replied softly still more than a little embarrassed. “And I agree with promoting Andrews. She’s a fine leader.”

“Glad you agree XO.  You’re opinion carries a lot of weight with me,” Ming said honestly.   

That was followed by a sigh.  He said, “Well, there is one more thing I need to deal with before final inspection of the fighters.  Unless there’s anything else for me go ahead and get going with pre-flight preperations.  Aggressor Squadron needs to be the toughest out there if we’re going to be of use to the group.”

“Of course sir,” Sh’iv responded. 

Ming smiled at Sh’iv with a mix of professional confidence and friendly warmth as he said, “Very well.  I’ll touch base with you in a little while for the final inspection.  Dismissed for now Lieutenant Sh’ivhohlol.”