Flyboys Gotta Fly
Episode 3: Foxes and Henhouses
Location: USS Defiant
Dante had received his transfer orders only the day before to report to the Defiant at 0800 hours. He'd already been dropped off at Starbase Arcadia a week prior in preparation for it, even though he hadn't known which ship yet. He had spent the last few days getting as much time in shuttles, and other small crafts as he could to brush up on his flying skills with small craft. It never hurt to get some practice in. Now, however, it was time to get down to business.
After a trip to the barber to freshen up his fade, and get his beard trimmed up, he'd showered, gotten a fresh uniform, and packed up his duffel. Now, with the familiar feeling of butterflies in his stomach, he walked through the docking port onto the ship he was going to call home for the forseeable future. Checking in with the security officer on duty he was advised that he'd most likely find the captain on the bridge, or in her ready room, and so he set that as his second stop. First, of course, being his own quarters. It just wouldn't do to meet the woman with his duffel bag along for the ride. It wasn't professional.
Several minutes later he'd found his quarters, stowed his duffel, and was on his way. A short turbolift ride later and he walked out onto the bridge, scanning to see if he saw the captain. When he didn't he headed for the ready room doors, and pressed the button, standing at ease while he waited for permission to enter.
The sound of another turbolift arriving was followed a moment later by a pleasant voice. “You must be Lt. Rawlins. Sorry to keep you waiting.” The captain approached. She’d opted for a more casual appearance since they’d been at Arcadia, so her usual Long sleeve and pants had been replaced by the shortsleeved dress option. He hair was down. Extending her hand, she continued. “I’m Captain Charlotte Reynolds. Care to step inside?” She gestured to the door into her ready room.
"Yes, ma'am.", Dante replied, smiling as they shook hands, and then followed her through the door.
As the doors opened, it revealed the Ready Room to be back to its heavily decorated appearance, before the attack. The display wall along the wall bore models of each of the ships that Reynolds had served aboard. The Mayflower-Class USS Bradbury, the Cardenas-Class USS Cairo, the Walker-Class USS Zheng He. But there were historical models as well. The Phoenix warp test bed, the NX-01 Enterprise, the NX-326 Franklin in its pre-refit form, the NCC-718 USS Biddeford, and a few scattered incomplete models. And of course, a proud and even larger model of the Defiant herself. It was essentially an amateur museum to Starfleet History.
The walls had been newly redecorated too. A high definition image of a planetary nebula. A dramatic photo of a neutron star, taken from the view of a ship approaching at warp speed. A sunset behind an exotic, snowcapped mountain range. There was not, however, a single picture of a person, family, friend, or otherwise.
Captain Reynolds gestured to a seat before proceeding to the replicator. “Anything I can get for you?”
"No, ma'am, I'm fine. But thank you.", Dante replied. "I probably should have scheduled this meeting, I do apologize for just showing up unannounced.", he added.
"Don't worry about it," Charlotte said with a smile as she settled down. "It’s one of those days where an unscheduled meeting is probably better."
She pulled up his file. "So a flyboy, huh? I came from helm myself. Word of advice: don't let them take you out of that chair until you're ready." She scrolled a bit further. "So this is your first Chief Helm posting?"
Dante chuckled her advice. "I have no plans on leaving that chair anytime soon. Flying is my life. And yes, this is my first posting as a department head of any type, actually." he replied.
“Well, now is as good a time to start as any. The helm department is unfortunately a bit understaffed at the moment. Our conflict with the Klingons hasn’t been kind to full rosters. But Crewman Poma Rohe has been acting head. You can use her as a resource to help get things into shape.”
Nodding thoughtfully Dante replied, "Sounds good to me. I'll most definitely make use of that opportunity. It's going to be an interesting experience getting used to a new ship. It'll be nice to have some help along the way."
Looking down at his file again, Charlotte notes the ships he’d flown. “You haven’t flown any of the new generation of ships yet, huh?” She got a wry smile on her face. “You are going to love Defiant. She’s got grace and power behind her. Here,” let me show you your station.” She rose and headed toward the door.
Dante stood, and followed the woman out onto the bridge, replying to her question as they walked. "No, ma'am, I haven't. But I think you are right. She's a gorgeous ship, and you can see the power just by looking at her.", he said.
“She’s a hell of a lot more powerful than anything I’ve flown before. Here have a seat.” She walked to the helm console, placing a loving hand on it. “She’s capable of just about every trick you can pull off in a ship her size, and a few you really shouldn’t be able to. And lucky for you, your Captain is a bit of a hotshot. A few of the safeties got disabled when I took the chair for an escape during our previous mission. And I have neglected to reactivate them. Gives her a bit more spunk.”
Dante sat, and then looked back up at his new captain with a broad grin. "That sounds fun.", he said, "Could definitely come in handy.", He added. "Anything in particular I should be aware of so I don't accidentally do something I shouldn't?", He asked, looking back down at the console, resting his large hand on the shiny silver throttle handle.
She tilted her head thinking. “Go easy on the turns. I backed off the inertial dampeners a bit to let me squeeze some crazier turns out of her. You may want to put those back in place. Other than that, I’d recommend checking in with Chief Engineer Holland. She’s the one who’ll have to fix what you break.”
Dante broke into a big grin, and gave a deep chuckle. "Will do. Definitely will do, but I don't think I plan on breaking anything just yet.", he replied. “Unless absolutely necessary, that is.", he added a few seconds later.
“Let’s hope not,” Charlotte added. “Other than that, you’re free to go. I’ll have the Quartermaster get your quarters set up.”
"Thank you, ma'am. I will see you on my first duty shift.", Dante said, and stood up. "Thanks for showing me around.", he added, and then left the bridge.