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Elevated Vigilance

Posted on Wed Sep 26th, 2018 @ 5:48am by Lieutenant Commander Merzia Jalel & Lieutenant Casey Washburn

Mission: The Eyes of Janus
Location: Shuttlebay
Timeline: Preflight MD 65 18.30

The shuttlebay was still humming with activity when Merzia Jalel arrived. New personnel and supplies had been arriving throughout the day. There had been an incident earlier where a crate of plasma conduit fittings intended to be stored in cargo bay 2 had wound up on the shuttle Svetlana Alexievich. It wasn’t until ten minutes after the shuttle had departed that anyone had noticed the mistake. Hopefully, with her new Chief of Operations arriving shortly, there would be less mistakes like that in the future.

She stood a safe distance back as the Graeae entered the bay, manoeuvring thrusters flaring as it halted it’s velocity and settled onto the deck.

“Thank you for flying with us on the Graeae,” said Ensign Vestergaard as he whirled around in the pilot’s chair to face Wash. “Please make certain your tray tables are in the upright and locked position...”

“Very funny, Ensign,” deadpanned Wash. “Seriously though, thanks for a smooth ride.”

“My pleasure, Lieutenant. It might interest you to know that Captain Jalel is in the hangar. I would assume she is here to greet you.”

“No pressure,” Wash said under his breath. He nodded to the pilot, who keyed the control sequence to open the side hatch of the compact class 10 shuttle. A quick visual scan of the local area showed the Captain, waiting patiently a discreet distance from the landing zone. He drew himself up to his entire 6’4” height and approached the waiting CO.

“Sorry to keep you waiting, Captain,” he said. “Casey Washburn. Call me Wash, please.”

“You’ve hardly kept me waiting, Wash. I just arrived this morning,” Merzia said. She offered a hand to shake. Though she wasn’t particularly short, she still felt dwarfed by the human. “Welcome aboard the Palatine. I trust your flight was fine?”

Wash took the offered hand and squeezed it gently, pumping it up and down several times before releasing. “Thank you. Ensign Vestergaard was a most competent pilot, as well as interesting company. I would fly with him again any time.” Wash knew the Captain was Betazoid, so he was reasonably certain she caught the undercurrent of attraction the Ops Officer had felt for the young pilot. “I must say, I’m looking forward to serving on a vessel with so many new and upgraded systems.”

“She’s a beauty,” Merzia said, giving a bulkhead a loving pat as they walked towards the turbolift, “Twin reactors, an impressive array of sensors, holo-emitters throughout the ship, powerful defensive systems, a standard complement of 750 crew on board - and, if they ever get the slipstream drive to work, she’ll be one of the fastest ships in the Federation. You’ll have a wide and powerful array of systems under your oversight.” She gave him a grin. “I hope you’re ready for it.”

“Are you kidding?” said Wash with a touch of sarcasm. “This ship is like an Operations dream. So many complex instruments, and I will make them sing like a well-rehearsed chorus. Making disparate systems work together harmoniously is my specialty, Captain.”

“I’m glad to hear it,” she said, before pausing a moment as the turbolift’s doors closed, giving them a little more privacy than the flight deck. “You may have your work cut out for you. The ship’s biogel packs were plagued with a biological contaminant on the flight here, and Lieutenant Forrest and Commander Lakar encountered members of a subversive group here at Deep Space Ten. It seems we are the target of a group of saboteurs. Security and intelligence are working on the matter, but should we suffer further interference, I’d prefer if their efforts barely cause us to stumble.”

“Understood,” said Wash, his expression moving from jovial to his more typical stony mask of concentration. “With your permission, I would like to start with a review of our computer network security, including our comm system and uplink to DS Ten. I’m sure that the security chief and I can come up with some concrete ideas."

She nodded. "Go ahead. If we've been compromised, I'd like to know sooner rather than later." She glanced up at the tall lieutenant. "I'm sorry to put you straight into a tricky spot as you got aboard, but our departure time draws near, and I'd rather we're prepared."

“Believe me, I understand.” Wash stood in silence for a long moment as the lift car continued to hum along. “I just...um, need you to set up my computer access. At your earliest convenience. Ma’am.”

“Certainly. Computer, complete access request for Lieutenant Casey Washburn, authorisation Jalel-Phi-5-2-2-Eta,” Merzia ordered.

“Acknowledged. Voiceprint from Lieutenant Washburn required,” the computer responded.

Merzia glanced at Wash and beckoned him to reply.

“Computer, Lieutenant Casey Washburn. Authorization, Washburn Delta Seven Five Sierra.”

 

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