Building Blocks Of Flight
Episode 4: Fires of Arcadia
Location: USS Defiant Engineering
Timeline: MD1 0845 hrs.
After having met the ship's commanding officer, and getting a bit of information on the ship, and systems he'd be using in his daily work he decided it would be a good idea to take her up on her advice and headed down to the engineering section. He'd checked the work rosters to make sure the person he was seeking out would be on duty, and then headed out from his cabin, still dressed in his uniform. Striding through the doors to the cavernous, and incredibly hectic area that made up the ship's heart he looked around for a few minutes until he finally found the chief engineer.
"Lieutenant, may I have a few moments of your time?", he asked as he approached, hoping she wasn't too busy to give him a short meeting.
Michaela looked up from her pile of reports to see who had come to pay her a visit. She didn't recognize the voice, and when she looked up she didn't recognize the officer either. He wore a lieutenant's stripe in command gold. A new helm officer possibly? Normally she was wary of officers from other departments coming to pay her a visit. It usually meant something had broken, and that they wanted to bypass the normal work order process to get it fixed ASAP. But this was a new visitor... this could be about anything.
"Oh, hello Lieutenant. Please, come in." Michaela said in a pleasant tone as she motioned to the other officer to enter. As she stood up from her desk. it was evident that she was not as tall as her desk chair might lead one to believe.
Stepping into the office, and seeing the pile of reports she'd been working on he felt bad for interrupting her. "I hope I'm not bothering you. You look pretty busy...", he said, trailing off. "If it's any consolation though, I'm not here to add to your workload. Captain Reynolds just thought it would be a good idea for me to introduce myself, and ask you if you had any tips you wanted to give to keep me from breaking the ship, especially with her modifications.", he added.
Michaela waved off the man's initial concern. She pushed her datapads into a more condensed, if less orderly pile toward the corner of her desk. "It seems breaking the ship is an all but guaranteed outcome these days, but that's war for you." The chief engineer sighed.
"Anyway, before I attempt to be more helpful, would you like something do drink? I've got water, coffee... and could brew up some tea if you'd like." Coffee was her beverage of choice, but she also a heating plate to accommodate different taste.
"Coffee would be fine, thanks.", He replied.
Michaela plucked a clean mug from the tray next to the coffee pot and filled it. It was still quite early in the morning, so of course the brew was fresh. The ground was from Earth... allegedly. Though she did enjoy her coffee, she was far from a connoisseur. The only refinement to be found in anything of hers was in her fitted uniform dresses. She placed the mug down in front of the mystery man and slid over a small plate with powdered cream and sweetener. Again, not very refined.
Fetching her own mug from her desk, Michaela topped it off and didn't bother to balance it out with cream or sweetener. She almost winced. It was a little rugged.
"I'm Michaela, by the way. The captain probably told you about the Lieutenant Holland part." She said, starting the introductions as she still had no idea who the mystery man was.
Dante accepted the coffee, and added both cream, and sugar, smiling at the fact that this woman had gone to the trouble to even have it, much less to have the things that would make it easier to palate. As she introduced herself he realized his lapse, and grinned abashedly. "I'm so sorry, I didn't even introduce myself. Lieutenant Dante Rawlins, Chief Helmsman.", he said, standing up and holding out his hand for a shake. "And, yes, she did throw that in there. But I'm not one to stand unduly on ceremony if you'd rather I call you Michaela, and I certainly wouldn't mind you just calling me Dante.", he added.
"Pleased to meet you." Michaela said, shaking Dante's hand. "In private, that would be okay." She added. The captain sometimes called her officers by their given name, but Michaela generally didn't do it until she'd built a rapport with someone. They'd get there eventually. She'd just meant to introduce herself by her full name... but had done so a bit awkwardly. Which she was prone to doing.
"So, tips on piloting the ship without breaking it..." She trailed off, looking thoughtful. "What other kinds of ships have you piloted? That might be a good place to start."
"As far as real flight experience goes, I've flown an Engle and a Kelvin. If you want simulations, take your pick, I've probably flown it.", Dante replied, sipping his coffee.
Michaela nodded. She didn't know a whole lot about what the piloting simulations were like, but she wasn't surprised that he was well versed with a variety of ship types. "My first posting was a Kelvin... sluggish at warp, but nimble at impulse. The Constitution is just the opposite.. faster at warp, but narrower thrust vectoring on its impulse engines, and a powerful, but inefficient fusion reactor to power them.
Michaela shrugged. "I can't say much for actually piloting the ship, but as helm usually gets priority draw on the power grid during an alert condition, I can see how it would be easy to overlook power consumption. Some of the evasive maneuvers, and resulting power spikes from the inertial dampeners and structural integrity fields can actually stress the power grid more than maintaining shield output, as if we did take a hit. We can't move like those Kelvins, but we can absorb hits they wouldn't want to risk taking."
"Alright, that makes sense.", Dante said, absorbing what the woman was saying, his eyes focusing on the floor as he got lost in the thoughts that started flowing with what she was saying. "I can definitely work with that. Shouldn't be too big of a switch, honestly. I'll definitely take it easy until I'm more attuned to her systems though. How long have you been aboard?", he added in question.
"A few months. Three... four maybe." Michaela said, taking a moment to think. It was hard to really pinpoint just how long. So much had happened in that time, and the ship itself had seen change. She still felt new, but there were only a few senior officers who had been aboard longer than her. "Time gets funny, with the war and all. Of the senior staff, Lieutenants Isley and Acainus have been aboard the longest. She took a long drink of coffee as she processed the changes. She was not a seasoned officer. But perhaps she was getting there.
"Yeah, conflict does that. Makes things a bit jumbled, and messy, especially with our concept of time.", Dante replied, and then finished the last of his coffee as he stood up. "Well, I won't take up any more of your time, I know you are busy, even if you are trying to be nice and not let it show.", he said with a teasing grin. "I really just wanted to introduce myself, and see what your answers where to the captain's recommended question.", he added. "Have a great shift, and I promise not to do anything that might break the ship, unless I absolutely have to.", he finished.
Just as he was about to exit the office he glanced back, "Oh, and by the way, if you ever need anything, don't hesitate to ask. I like to learn new stuff, and I've got some basic ops training, so I at least have a passing familiarity with the systems. Anyway, my doors always open, and if I'm not in my office I'm usually not too hard to track down, so just give me a holler.", he said, smiling.
Michaela blinked. Had she let an awkward silence linger while she thought about all that had changed? She hadn't meant to. Or Maybe Dante just had places to be. She would certainly have plenty of her own, now that her shift was just about to begin.
"It was nice to meet you, Dante." She said, returning the smile, and using his given name, which he'd said he preferred. "I should get started here too." She added, downing the rest of her coffee. She'd thought she was a morning person... talkative and ready to go at the outset of any given day. It seemed Dante was like her in that regard. She stood, to show him out, and begin her day.
"It was really nice to meet you to. I wish I had more time to chat, but I"ve still gotta get settled in and ready for my first shift tomorrow.", Dante replied. Than, to her comment about getting started he added, "I'm sure you do. This has to be the busiest place on the ship at any given time, and likely the most interesting.", as they walked out into the main engineering area, heading for the door. "Well, I'll leave you to get to it. Have a great morning!", he said.