The Long Road Home
Episode 1: A Lesson in Humility
Location: USS Defiant
Timeline: En Route
It had been a long few days. Dante was dressed in civilian clothes, and lounged back in the pilots seat, letting the ship's computer do all the work, but he could feel the cumulative effects of the long few days he'd been flying. The computer might do all the work, but a good pilot is always alert when they are flying, even when they don't seem like it, and that sort of takes a toll on the body. A minute shift in the shuttle's course and speed brought him instantly to the ready, and he smiled when he realized it was because he'd finally come within sensor range of the Defiant. Reaching out he toggled the switch to activate his com system and hailed the ship.
"Rawlins to Defiant, requesting permission to come home.", he said.
Once he'd received the all clear he immediately began the procedures required to safely bring a shuttle into the docking bay of such a large ship. Over the next twenty minutes he made several adjustments, some of them ever so small, to bring the shuttle in for a text book landing on the shuttlebay floor. Once he'd performed the post flight checklist and shut down the shuttles systems he stood, grabbed the duffle he'd brought along for his clothes, and slung it over his shoulder.
With a distinctive thunk, and a hiss, the shuttles door popped its seal and began to open, allowing Dante to exit the craft. He hadn't expected a welcoming party, but he was happily incorrect. As he stepped down onto the deck he smiled, "Captain, I didn't expect to see you here.", he said to the blonde woman he saw standing just outside the safety zone markings for the shuttle landing pad.
“I figured I might as well welcome you back here, instead of making you traipse all the way up to my Ready Room,” she said, despite the fact that the turbo lift ride wouldn’t have taken long. “Besides, I got a little worried that the Repulse had just decided to steal both of the officers I’d lent them. I’m glad I managed to at least get one back.”
Dante gave the woman a grin, and shook his head. "Naw, you know better than that. I couldn't jump ship like that.", he said with a light chuckle. "It's pretty damn good to be back, actually. Did I miss anything exciting?", he asked.
She shook her head. “Nothing major. A brief stop to mediate a minor trade dispute. A few new faces coming aboard. Otherwise, the same. Just trying to keep ourselves on track for the rendezvous with that object.”
"Glad to hear that. Wouldn't have wanted to come back and find out I missed the good stuff," Dante replied with a grin. "So, what's on the agenda for today?" he asked as they fell into step together towards the doors to the shuttlebay.
"Well...continuing at Warp 6," she said with a notable level of boredom. It wasn't the waiting she disliked. It was days on end of warp ahead of them. They'd had a few stops, but they had plenty more waiting to do. "I figured I'd let you settle back in. But after that, I wanted to line up a time for you to come check in with the command staff."
Dante looked sideways at her, "Settle in? Shoot, I'm ready to go now. I was hoping to get back in the chair today if possible, but a meeting with the command staff sounds interesting too!", he said.
"Don't worry. You'll be getting some time in the chair," she said, suppressing a knowing smile. Just not the one you're expecting, she thought. "How about you drop off your bag and meet me up in the ready room at 1400?"
Dante narrowed his eyes a little, feeling suspicious, though he wasn't entirely sure why. "Yeah, sounds good.", he replied. "I'll see you there.", he added as they approached a turbolift he knew would take him to the appropriate deck.