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Day 17 [0845 hrs.] (R)idiculous (I)nconvenient (O)rnament

[ Lt Cmdr. Jaru “Janus” Rel | Fighter Assault Bay | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @P.C. Haring  

It hadn’t even been 48 hours, and he was losing his fucking mind.

Janus had never done well with inaction. Typically, that wasn’t an issue. There were many things one could say about his life, but no one would ever describe it as boring. He’d barely been a teenager when he’d found his first war, and Janus had done his best not to slow down since. When circumstance didn’t drop him right into the thick of things, he normally found his way there on his own.

The fact that he’d been down for the count for three months was… inconvenient. That they’d replaced him during that absence made perfect sense. Janus was certain he could come to terms with all of those things, for all they left a bad taste in his mouth. But the real truth of the matter had reared it’s ugly head the moment they’d released him from sickbay. He didn’t have a job. He had absolutely nothing to do, and experience had taught him how well that would end. Last time he’d been left to his own devices for an unspecified amount of time, he’d gathered a group of equally aimless drunken pilots on shore leave and stormed a house by sea like warriors of old. Thankfully they’d managed to put the fire out before it did any real damage.

He’d been distracting himself ever since. He’d visited Ghost in house arrest to learn exactly what she’d been playing at by annoying sickbay until they fixed him. He’d pulled his Bajoran shrine out of storage and failed miserably at praying, distracted by the pain in his new fake leg that Vojona swore shouldn’t hurt. He’d gone to physical therapy for the aforementioned leg problem. He’d read logs from the past three months. And he hadn’t gone to the brig to murder Nicander for being a traitorous bastard, for all the logs made every bit of him itch to do so.

As the third day dawned, he’d found himself back in his old habitat, hoping that the fighter assault bay would provide him with something to do. If he was lucky, he’d run into Razor — where was he anyway? — so he could beg the man for a new posting. It wasn’t like he could just go back to work, his old job was taken, and he didn’t want to start some pissing match by finding a hole and filling it without giving the new boss some due difference. He was too high ranked and had been in charge for too long to not bare his throat to the new leader first.

Not long after arriving in the bay, he learned two things. One, Razor wasn’t here. Two, there were more ships in here than just the Valkyries. In lieu of the former, the latter seemed like a perfectly good distraction when he waited. “What are you?” he asked the ship with a hint of irritation as he approached. An old Peregrine boy who had been hopping each iteration of the Valkyrie for years now, he was a bit irked to see a new ship on the line when they’d finally gotten the Mk III working beautifully. Equally annoying was that he didn’t recognize it. Since the ship wasn’t likely to answer his question, Janus decided to climb up to the cockpit instead.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” he complained, making a face at the sight of the two seater configuration. “Thought we’d finally gotten rid of the dead weight.” His favorite thing about the Mk III Valkyrie was the lack of an RIO, a previous Starfleet staple that had left him longing for the shitty one man jumpers they’d used back in the Bajoran resistance. If he was being honest with himself — a mood he wasn’t in today — his problem with RIOs had nothing to do with the rear officers themselves. He’d had some truly excellent ones. It was just that they were there, like a collar around his throat, another person in the ship to be responsible for. Janus had never cared if he died or not. But he’d feel guilty about dragging someone else down with him.

His last one however, had been an absolute nightmare, steadfast in her belief that off duty hours were for sleeping, or socializing, or anything that wasn’t more flight sims. It had been a bad pairing, and his reassignment had been a relief for them both. But Janus hadn’t left without a parting gift, rewriting her job title into a more appropriate acronym, and making sure it was posted in noticeable places.

R - Ridiculous
I - Inconvenient
O - Ornament

“Prophets, I’m the RIO.” He was going to bang his head against the hull of this ship. Like he hadn’t spent enough time in sickbay already. Right now he was technically more useless, the spare fighter pilot.

OOC: You know I love you Valravn pilots and your lil NPC friends. Come fight me.

Re: Day 17 [0845 hrs.] (R)idiculous (I)nconvenient (O)rnament

Reply #1
[ Lt Reggie “Gemini” Suder | Fighter Assault Bay | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @rae‍ 

Reggie sighed as she stepped off the turbolift and made her way down the corridor to the FAB.  Today was going to suck.  By definition any day she drew a double shift sucked.  At least she was scheduled to be off duty all day tomorrow.  Wait… no… she’d agreed to walk Mr. VanVinter through exosuit training.  That would take up most of the day.  Ah well.

Today was still going to suck.

She’d instructed the computer to drop her off further away from the FAB than was absolutely necessary, but Reggie often used the walking as an opportunity to go through her to do list.  Wolf-13 needed an inspection following it’s maintenance cycle yesterday and she wanted to do some recalibration on her own Exo Suit.  The system’s TVD seemed to be lagging.  It was only off by a fraction of a second and would have been imperceptible but for her ocular implants.  The two were out of sync just enough to be distracting.  Lucky for her, the Wolves hadn’t had to scramble since she’d discovered the issue.  Reggie had already visited Sickbay to have her implants checked and re-calibrated, which left the TVD.

The doors to the FAB parted, granting Reggie access and immediately she turned her attention to Wolf-13.  There was… someone there already.  Standing on the access ramp.  She could only see the person from behind, but by the build of the body she assumed the officer was male and… what the fuck… he was banging his head on her cockpit.

“Excuse me,” she called out as she walked towards her ship.  “But just what the hell do you think you’re doing…”

He turned around at that, and Reggie saw his face for the first time.  Part Bajoran, part Cardassian.  Male.  White collar…another Wolf.  But Reggie had met all of the squadron pilots.  Then she saw the third…black pip.


Re: Day 17 [0845 hrs.] (R)idiculous (I)nconvenient (O)rnament

Reply #2
[ Lt Cmdr. Jaru “Janus” Rel | Fighter Assault Bay | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @P.C. Haring

He really did bang his head against the cockpit. In hindsight, Janus had no idea how that was supposed to help him, because now he had all the same woes plus a new headache to deal with. But at the moment, it had felt like an appropriate bit of drama. For his next trick, he was going to steal a Valkyrie and go for a joyride. That would definitely get him Razor’s attention, if the Captain didn’t kill him first. Eh, who was he kidding anyway. Like Thea would ever let him off the ship with a pirated Valkyrie.

“Excuse me,” a voice rang out from behind him. Janus groaned quietly, certain the words were directed at him. He had a good sixth sense for it, born from a bad habit of sticking his nose in places where it didn’t belong. “But just what the hell do you think you’re doing…” Besides, he was probably the only one in here messing around with someone else’s ship.

Janus turned around at that, trying to think of a response. Admittedly, it was only occurring to him now that he should be asking permission to touch anything in here. He wasn’t in charge — he wasn’t even on duty — and none of this shit was his anymore. He suspected the only reason he’d been allowed so much freedom of movement was because he’s shown up in full uniform to meet with Razor, and no one had quite figured out what to do with the random new white shirt lieutenant commander yet.

As if to prove his unspoken point, the woman added a hasty ‘sir’ to the end of her statement. Janus snorted. She’d meant it to cover her ass, but from his end, it had sufficiently broken the ice. “To be perfectly honest with you,” he replied easily, hopping back down the ramp to the deck. “There’s really no good answer to that question.”

“I’m assuming this is yours?” Now that they were on equal ground, Janus took a moment to examine her. Dark hair, dark eyes. Betazoid eyes. White undershirt that marked her as another Wolf, with two pips adorning the collar. “When did we get these and why do we have them?” Hey, if he’d found the pilot for one of these monsters, he might as well get to ask questions.

“Oh, and have you seen Razor around here anywhere? I’m going to ambush him.”

Re: Day 17 [0845 hrs.] (R)idiculous (I)nconvenient (O)rnament

Reply #3
[ Lt Reggie “Gemini” Suder | Fighter Assault Bay | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @rae‍ 

Reggie regarded the half Cardassian half Bajoran standing between her and her ship.  Like her, he wore TacCONN white and while she was still relatively new to the squad she knew enough to know that the only Lieutenant Commander in the unit was Razor and he was the SCO.  The presence of a second Lieutenant Commander  led to certain implications, though she hadn’t been advised of a new SCO or even a new addition to the unit.  This… would be interesting.

“That, Sir,” she said metering the tone of her voice to be helpful and respectful, but at the same time show him that she was going to defend her turf in the form of Wolf-13, “is in fact my ship, yes. It is one of four active AC-477 Mk I Valravn.   And with due respect, I’d prefer it if the deck crew didn’t have to pound forehead prints out of it’s hull.”

She sensed him as much as she saw him.  He was a fish out of water, leaving her with impressions of confusion, uncertainty and even…inadequacy.


She had no idea what she was dealing with yet and therefore needed to loosen up.

“As to how we got them, I’d be lying if I said I knew all the details.  I’ve only been aboard for barely three weeks.  My understanding is that they were originally assigned to the Black Wolves Squadron when they defected to and were absorbed by the Lone Wolves at the battle of Starbase 84.”

The Betazoid wasn’t sure if her answer clarified or further confused the Lieutenant Commander and the realization that they hadn’t done introductions probably only made matters worse.  So, she decided to adopt a different tack.

“Lieutenant, Reggie Suder.  Callsign ‘Gemini’,” she said as she extended her hand.  “Sir.”

Re: Day 17 [0845 hrs.] (R)idiculous (I)nconvenient (O)rnament

Reply #4
[ Lt Cmdr. Jaru “Janus” Rel | Fighter Assault Bay | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @P.C. Haring

“I know I have a hard head.” Self-deprecating humor, a solid first defense against everything. “But if I can make a dent in that thing, you guys have a serious problem.” A half grin accompanied his words, letting her know it was a joke before she dug her heels in any further. It wasn’t like Janus actually wanted the ship. She was welcome to it.

He listened during to the short explanation on the ships’ provenance, mentally linking it up with some of the logs he’d read yesterday. It had been a skim job, drawing the bigger picture out of the sheer volume of trouble the Theurgy had gotten into these past months. The fact that he’d missed these… Valravns… was only proof that he needed to go through them again, for details this time.

“Jaru Rel,” he accepted the handshake with a firm grip, making sure their eyes met before dropping the hand. “But everyone calls me Janus.” Or they did, back when people on this ship knew him. “You can relax, by the way. Until Razor shows up to give me an assignment, I’m basically playing dress-up here.” There was frustration in that statement, and it would have been obvious even if she wasn’t a betazoid. It was directed at himself, not Razor, though the SCO wasn’t helping matters with his absence. He didn’t like feeling useless, and that was exactly what he was right now. “You never told me where he was, by the way.”

Janus could have – and probably should have – provided more explanation as to what he was doing here. But to be quite honest, he wasn’t in the mood to recount his tragic recent history at the moment. Reintroducing himself to everyone was just further proof that he no longer belonged here.

Rather than stew on it anymore, he decided to vent that frustration at the most offending thing in view – the Valravn. “So, sometime in the past three months, they finally lost so many of my Valkyries that they had to replace some with these. After all that time we spent perfecting them too.” That was how it went for warp fighters during a war, especially with no supply route for replacements, but that didn’t make him any happier about it. “I thought Starfleet was phasing out the backseat drivers.”

Re: Day 17 [0845 hrs.] (R)idiculous (I)nconvenient (O)rnament

Reply #5
[ Lt Reggie “Gemini” Suder | Fighter Assault Bay | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @rae‍ 

Reggie allowed herself to relax when Janus introduced himself and told her he was still off duty.  The Betazoid had not studied all of the original crew members of the Theurgy, but she sure as hell had done her research on the past roster of the Lone Wolves squadron.  Before her stood the former SCO before he’d been injured and put into stasis…and now he was looking for the current SCO.

That… was a conversation she wanted to be far…far away from when it occurred.

“I can’t say for certain, Sir,” she replied when he asked again as to Razor’s whereabouts.  “I just came on duty myself and haven’t seen him.  I’d guess if he’s here, you’d probably find him in the SCO office.”

She made a point not to say ‘his office’.  She didn’t sense an over exaggerated sense of ego in the man.  Janus seemed more of a pragmatist than anything else which led her to believe he might not be offended if she had attributed the office as belonging to Razor.  But she still barely knew him and it was better to be safe than sorry.  She sensed his uneasiness, a sense of mis belonging a sense of uncertainty which served to remind her that no matter who he was, he was a fellow pilot… and a pilot in need.

“It has been a rough three months for the squadron, Sir.  I haven’t been here for a lot of it myself, but the wolves have taken heavy losses and need all the help they can get.”

“I wouldn’t worry too much,” she said in response to his commentary about the Valkyries.  “The Valravn program was a competing program to the Vaklyrie line and only twenty ships were ever assembled.  I can’t say for sure but the four you see here,” she motioned to wolves 13, 14, 15, and 16, “as well as one more in storage might be the last of the line.  And yes, the Mark III Valkyries did remove the RIO seat in lieu of a computerized RIO, a decision with which, I strongly disagree.”

She paused before an idea came to her.

“Hey listen, I need to take Wolf-13 out for a check ride,” she lied.  It was a white lie, one that would do no harm and maybe help give him some sense of belonging again.  “I don’t technically need a back seater for this, but if you’d care to join me before you talk to Razor, might be a good way to get your feet wet again?”

Re: Day 17 [0845 hrs.] (R)idiculous (I)nconvenient (O)rnament

Reply #6
[ Lt Cmdr. Jaru “Janus” Rel | Fighter Assault Bay | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @P.C. Haring

“Not in there, already checked.” There was a hint of frustration in his voice, though the emotion wasn’t directed at Gemini. No, he was annoyed at himself, desperate to get back to work while deliberately undercutting his own attempts to do so. Finding Razor was as simple as asking Thea where he was. Janus wanted to have the conversation here, in as official as a capacity as he could make it. Rather than actually ambush the man in a recreational area, or the quarters that had once been his. He was going to be respectful as shit, especially since everyone seemed to think he was looking for Razor to challenge him to phasers at dawn or something equally ridiculous.

Janus had spent his formative years as a resistance fighter. If he was going to kill someone, he wouldn’t be so damn loud about it.

When she mentioned the losses of the past three months, his whole expression darkened noticeably. He’d read that in the reports too, but those numbers had stuck with him. “I heard. Hence me walking in circles waiting for an assignment.” There had been names he hadn’t even recognized, pilots who had come and gone while he’d been lost to dreams. Janus should have been there. But there was nothing he could do about that now. Not for the first time, he silently cursed the officers in sickbay who had left his medical file gathering dust until Ghost had started pestering them.

“Because the Mark III Valkyries are faring so much better? This ship was the testbed for them, there can’t be that many more out there. We couldn’t fly a full squad when I was knocked out, and clearly that hasn’t improved.” Then he mentally kicked himself for falling back into old habits. “But that- is not my problem anymore.” Though spoken aloud, those words weren't meant for Gemini. He'd tell himself that until his brain figured it out.

As a distraction from that sobering thought, he decided to focus on her last comment. “That’s because you’ve never flown with one. Especially after Thea helps calibrate it. Backseaters can’t compare.” Janus threw her a look when she offered to let him ride as her RIO, bringing him back full circle to his thoughts before she’d shown up. His first thought was – embarrassingly – a solid yes, born out of desperation to fly again. Immediately after, he decided to say no. He was a fighter pilot after all, not the deadweight. Then he was leaning towards yes again, because if these ships were going to be in his squadron, he should know how they fly. And now he was berating himself for encroaching on Razor’s job – again. Janus couldn’t let go of three years of habits in two days, no matter how hard he tried.

“You’re really trying to sell me on these aren’t you?” Then his first idea won out. “Screw it, I’m in. Just have to find a suit.”

Re: Day 17 [0845 hrs.] (R)idiculous (I)nconvenient (O)rnament

Reply #7
[ Lt Reggie “Gemini” Suder | Fighter Assault Bay | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @rae‍ 

Reggie didn’t immediately react to Janus’s coment about trying to ‘sell him’ on the Valravn. Truthfully she didn’t care if he liked the ship or not. Wolf-13 was hers and it would take an order from her commanding officer to get her out that cockpit and even then only if her protests were ignored. No… now that she thought about it a bit more, she realized that the Valravyn hull might be the last she flew. She would not trust a computer to be her RIO.

The two parted ways to suit up. Reggie beat Janus back to the ship and began working up the pre-flight.

[Athen to Gemini,] her comm beeped.

Reggie sighed. She should have known that Kalil was on the ball.

“Negative, Athen. You’re all good. I’m taking her out for a quick check ride. I hope you don’t mind that I invited a new pilot to ride the back seat.”

[Who is he? I’m jealous.]

She allowed herself a smirk as she cycled through the startup sequence.

“Not sure yet to be honest. He’s a new Lieutenant Commander though I get the sense that he’s unsure of himself and his place here. He and Razor might have history since he seems to be looking for him. I’m hoping by taking him out I can help get his feet under him again.”

[Have fun, then.]

The comm closed off, leaving Reggie to her pre-flight as she waited for Janus’s return.

Re: Day 17 [0845 hrs.] (R)idiculous (I)nconvenient (O)rnament

Reply #8
[ Lt Cmdr. Jaru “Janus” Rel | Fighter Assault Bay | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @P.C. Haring

The computer did not want to give him an exosuit. Something to do with not being on the flight roster, which was both accurate and all kinds of frustrating. It acknowledged that he was qualified to wear one, but at the same time refused to cough up an extra one for him. Janus spent a bit too long arguing with it, being very careful to stick with normal computer prompts that wouldn’t attract Thea’s attention. It was a ride along. He didn’t need to be on the flight roster for a damn ride along. He briefly considered going to get a regular EVA suit, but decided against it. It was a ride along – any pilot worth their wings was going to start doing barrel rolls. He needed the G-suit.

In the end, he started pulling manual override switches beneath a locker until it opened. “Sorry Chaos,” he read the name tag aloud as he pulled it off. Appropriate name for his current mood, maybe he’d steal the callsign for a few hours too. “You won’t even know it was gone.”

A few of the deckhands noticed him coming back out suited up, but none of them decided to say anything. Probably just happy to have him gone, instead of having to deal with him haunting the deck for the rest of the day. Once back at the Valravn, he climbed the ramp and hopped in again, this time in the back. Yeah, he already wasn’t liking this.

“Cozy. All I gotta do now is start kicking the back of your seat and asking if we’re there yet.” Quips aside, he was already getting the lay of the land as it were, powering up and seeing what was available back here. While he’d been arguing with the computer, Gemini had gotten all the way through pre-flight. “Ready when you are.”

Re: Day 17 [0845 hrs.] (R)idiculous (I)nconvenient (O)rnament

Reply #9
[ Lt Reggie “Gemini” Suder | Fighter Assault Bay | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @rae‍ 

Reggie hadn’t been aware of just how much time had passed before Janus got back to her ship until he had.  She might have made some sort of half assed joke at his expense, but she felt as much as she saw his continued dour mood and as he ascended the ladder she noted the name on the exosuit  ‘chaos’.  Odd that he would chose to borrow the suit of a pilot in her own wing. 

His mood seemed to lighten a little as he settled in and reported that he was ready when she was.  But even so, she felt his brooding, sensed his uncertainty sensed…yes.  She understood now.  She too had felt lost and without purpose and it had taken quite a bit to pull her back from that abyss..  Out here, with the threat of the infested and rumors flying about a possible trip to Romulus, there was no time for coddling, especially with a Lieutenant Commander who was likely one of the last few original Lone Wolves left alive.

“I’ll be ready in just a second, want to check one last thing. Oh,” she said with a playful lilt in her voice.  “If you kick my seat again, I swear I’ll turn us right around right now and take you home,” she teased.

She made as though she were working another diagnostic, but while her left hand tapped the LCARS to elicit the appropriate beeps of the computer, she reached down with her right and re-slotted three isolenear chips.  They were too low for him to see from behind, but even so, she kept her movements subtle so as to look as casual as possible.

“All right,” she said.  “I think we’re ready.  Canopy.”

Janus confirmed he was clear of the canopy and it lowered around them, sealing as they taxied out to the launch grid.  Then after receiving the green light for flight ops, she punched it for launch, thrusting the Valravn a bit faster than was absolutely necessary, but enough that he’d feel the raw power of the craft.  Once they cleared the grid, she eased off and guided Wolf-13 into a series of softer maneuvers both to test the work the deck crew had done, and to give Janus time to get his space legs under him once more.


Re: Day 17 [0845 hrs.] (R)idiculous (I)nconvenient (O)rnament

Reply #10
[ Lt Cmdr. Jaru “Janus” Rel | Fighter Assault Bay | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @P.C. Haring

“But moooooom,” he complained, pitching his voice up and drawing the word out in an exaggerated whine. “We haven’t even left yet!” Then he dropped the affect, continuing on in a normal voice, “Unless you’re trying to get out of showing me what this thing can do, in which case, I accept your surrender.”

All joking aside, he was still fully focused on the controls, familiarizing himself with the layout and functions by habit. Prophets, it had been years since he’d been in the back of a warp fighter. Before the Mark III, back when he’d flown two seaters as standard, Janus had run practice sims in the RIO seat as part of his never-ending quest to be an expert on every aspect of his ship. He’d put his RIO in the front, a role she was equally unsuited for, in a misplaced hope that doing the other’s job would help build some camaraderie between them. Aside from some truly spectacular computer-generated deaths, nothing had come out of it.

Janus laughed as they blew out of the bay, a short sharp sound that signaled how they left his darkening mood in the dust. As he had correctly assumed earlier, no pilot worth their wings could resist showing off when there was a guest along for the ride. Still, it felt good to be flying, even if he was in the wrong seat, the rumble of the fighter’s engines in his bones.

After the initial burst, professionalism apparently won out, as Gemini slowed the ship into a series of testing maneuvers that he would have recognized even if he wasn’t watching them play out on the navigation grids and system readouts. As a commander, he would have approved of the choice. Instead, he was unemployed and slightly stir crazy, so he wished she’d gone for the spectacle.

“Board’s green back here,” he offered finally, though Gemini was probably getting the same readouts on her console. Since this was a maintenance check, he decided to be helpful. “Might want to have them once over that port thruster again,” a few taps on the console toggled the offending part, “I don’t know this ship from shit – and the system says it’s in tolerance – but it’s burning a bit more reaction mass than its counterparts for the same maneuver. Not enough to be a problem now, but it could bite you in the ass later.”

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