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Silver Bird's Flight

Posted on Wed Aug 15th, 2018 @ 10:23am by Lieutenant Commander Merzia Jalel

Mission: Preflight
Location: USS Xirahnah
Timeline: MD 65 13.00

“...so this Galor swoops back around on us, and I'm thinking we're done for,” Lieutenant Harvison said, “Engines are out, torpedoes offline, even our comms are down, so we can’t even squawk for help.”

Harvison was a fellow veteran of the Dominion War, though his grey hair and weathered face suggested he might have been present at the Battle of the Binary Stars. At first, she had been glad to have something in common with her co-pilot aboard the runabout - it made for more entertaining conversation than just regular flight protocol - but it was starting to grate.

“Then the Captain, cool as a cucumber - that’s a type of Earth fruit, by the way, but not the sweet sort of fruit - turns to Ops as says, ‘Open Shuttlebay 2 and disengage the forcefield. Everyone else, brace for impact!’”

Harvison seemed to have an endless supply of old war stories that he regaled as though they were true epics, though most of them fell a little flat. At first, she’d traded stories with him, but where she kept to truth, each of her stories only encouraged him to exaggerate a little more each time. She sensed no malice, just a man with little self-worth wanting to be relevant in his later years. She felt more sad for him, than anything.

“And we’re all thinking, ‘What? Is he planning to attack with the shuttles? Not a lot of good that’s going to do us!’ But the Captain was cunning like the Cardassians couldn’t conceive. The blast of the atmosphere rushing out the bay pushed us straight into the path of their strafing run! The saucer section cut right through their port warp engine,” Harvison made a cutting action with a meaty thwack to emphasise the point, “Took them right by surprise.”

Even if it had actually happened, it wasn’t a particularly innovative manoeuvre, and though it had probably surprised the Cardassians, she doubted they couldn’t conceive of it. That was one of the things that grated on her more than anything: the casual specism. As though she had never seen a cucumber!

The runabout’s computer chirped, indicating they were approaching Deep Space 10. She tapped a button on her console, opening a channel to the station, and interrupting Harvison’s description of the collision. “Deep Space 10, this is runabout Xirahnah on approach to the USS Palatine’s shuttlebay. Please provide approach vector.”

There was a pause before the station’s operations replied. “Runabout Xirahnah, sending approach path now. The Palatine reports you are cleared to land in their shuttlebay.”

“What kind of a name is ‘Xirahnah’, anyway?” Harvison asked, “Sounds Romulan.”

“Vulcan, actually,” she replied, “They are birds with chrome-coloured feathers. Quite a poetic name for a ship.”

“You’re, uh, coming in a little bit fast there,” Harvison commented.

“I’ve got it,” she told him, flicking the tail of the runabout to port as she simultaneously dropped it out of warp, right on top of the approach path and already on the right heading.

The Nor-class Deep Space 10 hung in space ahead of them. It reminded her of a flower. A spiky, angry flower, sure, but still a flower. Curiously, the station held a Romulan vessel within the curled petals of its upper docking pylons. Cradled within the lower docking pylons…

“Now there’s a beautiful sight,” Harvison said, echoing her own thoughts, “Not the evil green thing, the Palatine.”

“She really is,” she agreed. The Palatine’s long form looked like she was going fast even standing still, her lines designed to complement laws of physics that weren’t even properly understood yet.

“Bet it makes you want to give up being a shuttle pilot and fly her instead,” Harvison said.

“You have no idea,” she told him, “Mr Harvison, I’ll leave you with the honour of landing us, I’m heading back to check on our passengers.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

The Xirahnah’s rear module carried a mixture of personnel and civilians, and a handful of smaller, precious supplies that were hard to replicate, bound both for the Palatine and for Deep Space 10. Fortunately, Harvison was one of those bound for the station. She didn’t want to think what having him as a staff member would be like.

Five minutes later, she was on the bridge, curious heads turning as she made her way through and to the captain’s ready room.

 

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