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Part of USS Daedalus: Mission 1 – Measure by Measure and USS Mackenzie: Mission 12: Measure by Measure

DMBM 002 – Into the Fire

Station K34104
7.16.2401
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“Captain…Helena”  Ensign Alanna Barker stood before Captain Helena Dread.  The ready room was barren, a stark reminder of what was facing the crew.  A new ship, and a new captain.

Dread held up her hand, sipping at her first cup of coffee from the replicator.  She spat it out seconds later, “That is…awful coffee.  Make a note for Chief Greer.”  She sat back in her chair, “I know.  This is going to be a wild ride.  Walton is on her way over for a mission discussion.  You think she knows I’m unhappy about this?”

Barker restrained the smile she felt pulling at her lips.  What she knew of Wren Walton was limited.  What she did know was Walton knew how to read people.  “She might have a hint, sir.”  Dread groaned and then sat up as the door chime rang out, “I hate this.”

Barker gave her a nod, “You’ve made that clear.”  She stepped aside as the door opened, and Captain Wren Walton stepped into the ready room.  

Dread stood awkwardly, “Captain Walton.  Welcome to the Daedalus.”  She tried for a smile but, failing that, settled on a look of expectation.

Wren chuckled and slid into the seat across from her, “For a woman who’s been thrown into a position she’s fought most of her career, you’re taking it pretty well.” She angled her head to Barker, “Ensign Barker.  Good to see you.”  She returned to Dread, “You’re this squadron’s new deputy commanding officer…and we’re going to have to learn to be honest with each other.”

Helena hadn’t thought about her additional title.  She leaned into the honesty her new CO asked for, “I…uh…I’m not real happy about it, Captain Walton.”

“It’s Wren, Helena.  I’m not happy about it, either.  Crawford was a good captain and a good deputy commander.”  She sighed at the next admission, “He is also my boyfriend, which complicates things.  Or uncomplicates things.”  She rubbed her hands on her upper thighs.

Dread scoffed aloud and stared at her, “You…and Peter…” she thought back to when they would have meetings in his quarters and not in the briefing room.  “Well…congratulations…I suppose.”  A scowl was her answer, “You didn’t come over here to talk about your relationship status.  And I’m a captain of a ship.  Which means I need to ask you what you need me to do.”

Walton wasn’t sure what to think of Helena Dread as a captain.  Her ratings as a Chief Medical Officer and an Executive Officer were strong.  She’d never held the center chair.  “That would probably be a good bet.”  She slipped a PADD out and handed it over, “We’ve got information about Patra and his connection to the True Way.  The Daedalus is meant to get out and find out.”  She stepped over and replicated a cup of coffee.  She made it halfway into the sip and spit it back in the cup, “That’s…bad.  Like… really bad.”  She put the cup on an end table, “You’re being sent to check up on a mining operation that recently went silent in the Demilitarized zone.”

Helena read the order details.  This wasn’t a shakedown cruise.  This wasn’t even a first mission.  This was throwing them straight into the dust of Vulcan from Risa.  “It’s a crap trifecta.  True Way, Syndicate, and Patra.”  She leaned forward, “I may hate this and be morally opposed to the center chair…but I’ll find a way to make this work.”

Wren stood, “I hope your view of the chair changes, Helena.  I do.  There are few places in this universe like sitting in the center chair.  I’ll be in touch.”  The ready room door closed behind her.  Dread muttered, “I hope so, too.”

 

Sadie Fowler sat awkwardly at the science station on the bridge.  It was smaller.  It was much tighter than the bridge of the Mackenzie or the Olympic.  The consoles were newer, at least.  The other bridge staff slowly made their way onto the command center of the Daedalus.  It had come as a surprise to them when the orders quickly came through.  They had rushed to clear out their quarters on the Olympic, and goodbyes had been brief.  Now, they felt numb.  Captain Dread walked onto the bridge.  A voice called, “Captain on the…”, but the CO waved it off.

“I appreciate the intent…but we can put that back in the protocol book where it belongs.”  She stood next to the center chair, “Captain Crawford’s the one with the words…I’m not great with speeches.”  Dread looked around the bridge into the faces, all familiar but now different in how they viewed her.  “We’re all going to have to learn our way around this ship…and each other.  With 100 souls… we’ll all get to know each other very quickly.”  

She gently let her fingers touch the arm of the command chair, hoping to feel a connection to the chair.  Nothing.  “We’re not going to have time for social time.  We’ve been ordered to investigate a mining operation.  We’re to get in, find out what we can, and get out.  It’s five hours away, so we have time to get your teams together and determine what we know and need to know.”  She once more looked around the bridge, the looks on their faces giving her some confidence about what they were about to do.  She turned to the helm, “Set your course, Prentice…maximum warp.” She glanced back at the chair.  

She’d have to sit in it eventually.  

She gave the order, “Engage.”