Chapter 15 - Captain, Chief and New Pilot

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Njessa read through the personnel file again, a former Fenris Ranger who joined Starfleet, usually that ran the other way.  But her piloting skills were excellent across the board, her interpersonal skills, however . . .

She leaned back in her chair. “What are your thoughts, Pandora?”  The QAI projected herself onto the desk.

“I think she has potential, but we may have to keep a closer eye on her than some,” said Pandora.  “But she has drive and focus.”

“Agreed as long as it does not get in the way of the running of the ship or flight control,” Njessa said.

“Lieutenant Dylft should be up to the task,” said Pandora.

“I suspect you are right, Pan,” nodded Njessa.  “I will talk to him as well,”

“Shall I call Lieutenant Vashan?”

“Please,” nodded Njessa.


“Lieutenant Vashan, you are requested in the Captain’s ready room at your earliest convenience,” said a voice over the Comm.

“On my way,” Mira replied. She was standing in front of the bathroom mirror of her new quarters, trying to force her short curly hair into some semblance of order. Her uniform felt too tight, especially around the neck. She doubted it was actually the wrong size.  It just wasn’t…well suited for her.

Her friend Lanish had lost his bet with her: she had, in fact, managed to survive her first 6 months with Starfleet without punching anyone in the face. Well, on a technicality. She did, one night at a bar, land a blow to a guy’s solar plexus – and, thus, not the face – but he had taken the first swing and everyone agreed it was a solid case of self-defense.

She left her quarters and took the turbolift to the Captain’s Ready Room, where she hit the door chime. Well, here we go, she thought.

“Enter,” said Njessa.  The Andorian woman was standing by the window and turned to look over the newcomer.  Her uniform was precise.

“Welcome aboard the USS Tanjura, Lieutenant Vashan,” she said.  “May I get you something to drink?”

“Water’s fine, sir. Thanks.”

Njessa replicated a glass of water for Vashan and a mug of Andorian The for herself.  She turned back to the officer and slid the glass over to her.  “You have had a most colorful career, leaving the Fenris Rangers to join Starfleet,” Njessa said.  “That must have been quite a culture clash.”

“Yes, but I knew what I was getting into,” Mira replied, taking a drink from the offered glass.  “Won’t be a problem.” She still wasn’t 100% sure of that, but it was the answer they wanted to hear. “Honestly, surprised by the pips,” she continued, lightly pulling her collar. “Appreciated.”

“Your . . . unorthodox experience entitles you to them, though there were some in Starfleet who would have rather you started as an Ensign,” Njessa’s expression darkened momentarily.  “But I appreciate talent and drive when I see it.  You will be working with Lieutenant Roj Dylft, who is serving on the Tanjura through our shakedown mission, he will help you learn the ropes.”

Mira nodded. “Understood. I’ll introduce myself to them presently.” She wondered how many more times Njessa was going to come up with synonyms for her “colorful” career.

“So, do you have any questions for me?” Njessa asked.

“No, sir.”

The Andorian smiled.  “Ma’am, please.  We all have our traditions and that is one of mine.  Now, go and get settled in and find Lieutenant Dylft once you have done so.  If you have questions or concerns, feel free to bring them up.  Now, dismissed.”

“Yes, ma’am.” With a grin and a nod, Mira departed.

Once in the corridor, she tapped her badge. “Lt. Vashan to Lt. Dylft.  I’m ordered to report to you.  Where and when would you like me?”

“Dylft here, Vashan, meet me on Holodreck Two,” said Dylft.

“On my way.”  And then, “Computer, location of Holodeck Two?”

Thus, with a bit of help from the computer and a turbolift, Mira found her way to the holodeck and stepped inside. “Hello.  Lt Vashan, reporting for duty.”

The holodeck was setup as a duplicate of the Tanjura’s bridge.  “Welcome, Vashan,” Delfy said with a wave from the helm position.  He was a slender Andorian with a silver ring around the base of each his antenna,  He stood up and gestured to the chair.  “Come and give her a go.  The Tanjura is quite responsive for a ship of her size.”

Mira dropped into the chair behind the console and began tapping controls. The layout of helm control didn’t vary much between Starfleet’s large ships. What took practice was understanding where the ship actually was in space: how close you could squeeze by something without scraping the paint job, so to speak, how tightly it could turn, how well it handled its own mass. That was something that only came with practice, although a little innate skill certainly didn’t hurt.

She pulled the holographic ship away from the holographic dock of a holographic Esquimalt Station, threading the Tanjura between various inbound vessels.

“Where to, sir?”

“Third star to the right and straight on til morning,” he replied, taking the Operations chair.

“I’m not sure Neverland is on the star charts, but I’ll do my best,” she quipped, setting in a course that seemed relatively accurate to the request.

Dylft smiled.  “You know the classics, excellent.”  He turned to the Ops panel, grinning.  “Oh no!  Sensors show a cosmic storm is in our path!”

“And here I thought it was the dry season,” she stated as her fingers slid across the controls. “Slowing to one half impulse.” She kept a close eye on the readouts, slipping the ship from one pocket of relatively calm space to the next.

Around them, at least according to the ship’s sensors and viewscreen, space was torn and lit up by flashes of energetic plasma and cosmic rays.  “It looks to be intensifying.  But you are doing well, Vashan.”  The ship rocked as a plasma blast washed across the shields.

“Well, that’s gonna need to be buffed out when we get back,” Mira mused. “Hope you don’t take it out of my paycheck.” her fingers never stopped moving as she maneuvered the ship ahead of another wave, planning on riding it through the storm.

“Nicely done,” said Roj.  “Your record did not have you doing a lot of piloting of larger ships.”

“I haven’t, but I’ve put in more than a few hours in the training sims. They did send me as a helms officer, after all.  And, as you said, the Inquiry class vessels handle incredibly well for their size.  Put me on a Sovereign and, well, those things fly like you’re driving a hippopotamus.”

“So true,” agreed Roj.  “Look out, plasma burst eight by six!”

“Fuck,” Mira swore rather matter of factly, swerving so as not to take the blast head on. “How much farther till we get to the other side of this thing?”

“Almost there,” said Roj.  “Watch out for the ion shear!”

The ship shuddered and was wrenched starboard. “Aw, we jinxed it,” she quipped as she struggled to keep the ship on course.

And then things went calm, and the colors clashing off the shield faded to the black of space. Mira slumped in her seat with a long, relieved sigh. “As a reminder, if you ever need someone for one of those sweet Gryphon fighters, I’m still your person.”

Roj spun the chair to face her.  “Sadly, we only have two of those aboard right now and they are both trainers.  But happy to take them out sometime.”

“You did well, but you need to remember that the Tanjura seems nimble, and usually she is, but with the wrong bit of subspace flux, all of her mass and inertia will shake you around.  Something you do not need to worry about with the smaller craft.”

Mira nodded. “Yes, sir.”

“I just want to make sure you are prepared,” he said.  “I am only with the ship through the shakedown then I pack up my observations and head home to the Andorian Imperial Guard.  But I want to know the Tanjura will be in safe hands, she is the pride of the Andorian shipyards.”

“Now, you want to take a simulated Gryphon through its paces?” he asked with a grin.

“Oh, hell yeah. But you’re gonna need a seatbelt.”