(Notes: Excelsior class, Nomad bridge)
"Hold the door!"
The petite ensign stepped from the junior officer's deck into a crowded turbolift car, bound for the bridge and the start of Gamma Shift, taking the right wall between the railing and a tall Bajoran Lieutenant. As she adjusted her new brown uniform and triple-checked that her commbadge and rank pins were straight, he spoke.
"You're the new helm officer, right?"
"Yes Sir, Elise Piretti. First assignment"
"Welcome to the Big I. I'm Tek Jerile, weapons officer. First shift?"
"Thanks, but you'll have no time for honorifics if we get busy. Want some advice?"
"Gamma is Commander Shelana's shift, the First Officer. She's intense... but very fair. Be honest and do your best and she'll treat you well. Be firm and by all means, direct. Also, she doesn't use the course and mark system for helm direction. Have you used relative course corrections?"
"Once, for the mid-term exams"
"Good, you'll need that. Also, after you complete a maneuver, she likes to hear a verbal confirmation. Bridge will get a bit noisy, but it adds to the intensity. Remember what you were taught and keep focused, and you'll do fine".
"Thank you Sir. I'll do my best".
The doors hissed open onto the wide, low-ceilinged bridge of the Illustrious. Rear stations were hidden behind massive touch panels full of flickering information. The center of the bridge held the three command seats and two consoles with two chairs each, with their backs to the center chair. Elise's heart jumped with both excitement and nerves... this was the first non-simulator bridge she had stepped onto outside of her training cruise.
Both side seats were empty. The center chair was taken by a female Andorian. She was mid height, large-eyed, lean and athletic, her blue eyes full of intensity and her long hair tied back into a long tail. Her uniform was trimmed in command white, vs. Elise's own gold. She looked ready to spring out of her chair. It was hard for the Ensign to not be a bit intimidated.
Gathering her courage, Elise approached her Commander.
"Commander, Ensign Peretti reports as ordered"
"At ease Peretti. I've read your records, and you're up to the task or you wouldn't be here. We don't have the luxury of giving you simulator shifts during wartime, so you'll have to get up to speed quickly. I trust Mr. Tek gave you the basics?"
"Good. Stay sharp, confident and focused, and you'll do fine. Ready to get hunting?"
"Very well. Take your station."
Elise marched to the last open seat of the four, just to the commander's left, on the right-hand side of the left console and logged in. The controls were more "retro" than the last set she had used, on the Nova class she had trained on and she had to locate the customizable zones of the board. She quickly set the combat maneuvering controls to relative headings.
"Peretti, current course and speed?"
"Heading... belay that. Sir, on course for grid 172, passing through grid 168 now, speed warp 2.4"
"Very good. Weapons status Mr. Tek?"
"Phaser capacitors charged and held, torps powered but warheads uncharged. Fire control at passive"
"Ms. T'Bama, Ops status?"
"Ship is rigged combat ready, power policy set to switch on your mark. Power transfer nominal, reactor at 29% load. Sensors at high-sensitivity passive, EW off. No contacts on long-range sensors"
"Mr Taylor, Comm status?"
"All clear. Ticonderoga reported an unidentified target, perhaps cruiser sized, no IFF, in grid 169 ten hours ago. The Merriweather destroyed a squad of two beetles four hours ago in grid 173 and one of our convoys was hit in grid 160 by a Galor, no word on it's current location"
Lt. Tek leaned next to Elise's ear and whispered: "Beetles are Jem'Hadar attack ships".
"Very well. I think our best bet is this mystery contact the Ticonderoga lost. Ops, viewer tactical, sector scale. Helm, forty degrees to starboard; Lets go hunting."
"Viewer to tactical"
Elise looked at her panel, making triple sure she executed the order, when the commander spoke. "Ms. Peretti?"
Tek bumped her shoulder, and Elise remembered. "um, Forty degrees to starboard. Sir, ship is now at new heading to grid... 173, passing into grid 169 in eleven minutes"
"Comm, notify Starfleet that we're going after that mystery contact. Lock down communications for quiet running"
"Ops, rig for quiet running. I don't want to spook our quarry"
"Quiet running set"
The next forty minutes went by with a deceptive routine, the quiet hum of the deck and the random beeping of control inputs creating a surreal soundtrack. Elise swore her fellows looked unnervingly accustomed to their surroundings, while she was fighting the feeling that she was going to get pulled out of her chair any second by her superiors and telling herself that the Commander's eyes weren't staring at the back of her head. On top of that was the euphoria of knowing she was at the helm of a massive cruiser patrolling the badlands at wartime, hunting for True Way adversaries.
<to be continued>
Last edited by sirvanyev on Wed Jun 18, 2014 12:49 pm; edited 2 times in total