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Day 31 [0700 hrs.] Please, No Laser Cutters This Time...

[PO3 Lillee t’Jellaieu | Main Shuttlebay | Deck 11 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Stegro88

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When Lillee had requested a transfer back to CONN, it had been with the expectation that her new duties would be safer. The Lone Wolves had suffered a horrific attrition rate in the past few months, and after the bowel-loosening terror of fighting the Borg, Lillee had craved a relatively safer duty. Sure, the Theurgy's shuttles and even the Allegiant were far less capable in combat than her old Valkyrie, but support craft also weren't called on for suicidal attacks. Lillee was hardly a coward, but the adrenaline-pumping death-defying life of Lone Wolf simply wasn't for her. She had family to come home to, and being a normal shuttle pilot was far less dangerous.

At least, that had been the idea. That wonderful, happy idea died the moment Lillee saw the list of other pilots she'd be working with, with one noticeable addition:

Crewman Third Class Samala: Support Craft Pilot (provisional)

The same young woman, barely an adult, who happened to be the progeny of a Reman and a Romulan. The same young woman who, as a result of her experiences, hated Romulans with a passion. The same young woman who had once held a laser cutter to Lillee's throat, fully prepared to open her gullet in a flash.

And now, through the cruel capriciousness of fate, Lillee was now Samala's boss. If both of them survived the first week, it'd be a miracle.

Still, there was no avoiding the job. Samala needed to be assessed before she could be trusted to fly alone, not just on her basic ability to fly, but also on her adherence to Starfleet regulations. Unfortunately, those same regulations stipulated that Lillee was responsible for confirming that personally. Thus, not wanting to delay, Lillee scheduled Samala's first supervised flight for the first time slot available, sending her a curt message the previous day. The next morning, she waited in the shuttlebay besides one of the Theurgy's small shuttlecraft, tricorder in hand as she ran detailed scans on one of the craft's stubby nacelles.

Re: Day 31 [0700 hrs.] Please, No Laser Cutters This Time...

Reply #1
[ Crewman 3rd Class Samala | Personal Quarters | Deck 21 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy | Aldea ] Attn: @Griff
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"I wonder how long it will be before I am used to seeing myself in this uniform?” Samala asked herself as she finished adjusting it in the mirror of her new quarters. Once the confirmation of her joining the crew had come through, she had been advised that she would be moving to quarters that had been assigned to her; one’s more commensurate with her rank. Apparently, it would have set a bad precedent if she had remained in the quarters that she had been sharing with her brother. Still, it wasn’t all bad and her roommate was nice enough. Finishing up, she left her quarters and began her day.



[ Upper Shuttlebay | Deck 11 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy | Aldea ]

Samala hadn’t believed her eyes when she had read the message organising a pilot skills assessment. Yes, it was great to finally get to fly something again besides a simulator, but according to Starfleet regulations, until she was rated on their craft, she had to be supervised. And to get rated, she had to be assessed by the Chief Support Craft Pilot. And on the Theurgy, that position was held by one PO3 Lillee t'Jellaieu; the same Romulan pilot she had... accosted on the Apache. She had been a different person back then, she felt. But it was still something that could be held against her. 

Entering the Theurgy’s Upper Shuttlebay, Samala saw the Romulan in question standing next to a Type 9 shuttlecraft, a tricorder in hand. Swallowing, Samala strode forward before stopping a respectable distance away. 

“Crewman Samala reporting as ordered.”

Re: Day 31 [0700 hrs.] Please, No Laser Cutters This Time...

Reply #2
[PO3 Lillee t’Jellaieu | Main Shuttlebay | Deck 11 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Stegro88

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There was really no doubt: seeing the wild young woman in a Starfleet uniform was strange. Seeing her stand up and actually report in so properly was even stranger. What had happened to the murderous girl Lillee had met three weeks ago?

Not that Lillee minded, of course, having no particular desire to fight for her life in the close confines of a shuttlecraft. She smiled tightly at Samala, folding up her tricorder and putting it back on her belt. "Well met, Crewman," she said with a brief bow of her head. "Do not worry about all that rank nonsense when you are with me or other enlisted. Here, we're just colleagues. Call me t'Jellaieu if you wish, or Petty Officer, but you need not call me sir or ma'am unless you choose to. You only need to follow those rules with officers."

There was more to be said, about the importance of following orders, but Lillee held back. Samala surely knew about all that, after all, and repeating it would do more harm than good. Either the girl adapted to following orders from authority or she didn't. There was little more to be done. Instead, Lillee moved around Samala to the back of the shuttlecrafr, entering it and moving up the cramped cockpit, expecting the girl to follow her without prompting.

"Normally you would be assessed for two weeks in the holodeck, then another two weeks on an actual shuttle, but we don't have time for that. We are at war, after all. They tell me you are a capable pilot, so we will get directly to work. Either you fly well, following Starfleet regulations, or you do not. We will learn one way or another and proceed from there." Lillee spun one of the chairs around for Samala, then stood back, holding her hands behind her back, standing ramrod straight. "Before we launch, however, I must clear something up. I see no need to coddle you. Will your dislike of me make it more difficult for you to fly with me, or to follow my orders? If so, I would know now, so we can deal with it. There is no room for grudges or hatred in here."

Re: Day 31 [0700 hrs.] Please, No Laser Cutters This Time...

Reply #3
[ Crewman 3rd Class Samala | Upper Shuttlebay | Deck 11 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy | Aldea ] Attn: @Griff
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The Romulan’s response was more conservative than Samala had anticipated. She was expecting something more domineering given their situation. She was now in charge of Samala, and they would be going aboard one of her craft, rather than aboard Samala’s. And, as new as she was to following Starfleet regulations, being told not to call her by her rank seemed like a trap. Unless she chose to.

“Yes, ma’am,” Samala responded politely. Lillee looked like she wanted to say something but held it in, making Samala wonder what it was that she wanted to say. She could ponder that later though as the Romulan moved inside of the Type 9. Samala followed behind in time to hear Lillee begin to speak again, going over how instead of the usual procedures of using the holodeck first, that they would be going straight into a physical assessment in an actual shuttle. That suited Samala just fine. She had spent most of the last few days learning all she could about the shuttlecraft aboard the Theurgy; including several hours in a holosim to learn the controls. And then it came; the personal load.

“Ma’am, I don’t hate you,” Samala clarified calmly. “I don’t even hate all Romulans, how could I? My mother was a Romulan. My reaction that day was against what I perceived as an intruder, and given my upbringing, I hope you can understand why I reacted as I did.”

“But that was then, and this is now,”
Samala stated, her voice firming. “I am a member of the Theurgy’s crew and will treat you the same until such time as I am given a reason not to.”

Re: Day 31 [0700 hrs.] Please, No Laser Cutters This Time...

Reply #4
[PO3 Lillee t’Jellaieu | Main Shuttlebay | Deck 11 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Stegro88

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Well, that was a lovely and surprising start. The smile that Lillee favoured Samala with was genuine. Of course, it could simply be a pretence to lure Lillee into a false friendship then gut her in the shuttle, but still...optimism.

"That gladdens me," Lillee said warmly. "And I do understand...a little. If you do have to deal with an intruder on one of our shuttles, though, just use a phaser and stun them. Killing people needs so much paperwork afterwards, and getting blood out of the carpet is just such a nightmare." Grinning, Lillee nodded her head at the chair, and after Samala sat down, Lillee duly sat down in the other seat. "This isn't make-work, if you are curious. This shuttle was badly damaged when the Borg boarded the ship, and they only finished repairing it two days ago. We are to run a standard shakedown flight, with adjustments to maintain security. The Klingons have cleared traffic and blocked sensors. Our course is on this PADD," (Lillee duly handed Samala a PADD), "but it is up to you to lay the course in, handle communications with the Theurgy and the Klingons, perform all necessary diagnostics, execute the maneuvers and so on. I will do nothing unless required to. Normally such flights are only undertaken with one pilot, so you are expected to do everything alone."

With that, Lillee settled back. The blonde Romulan looked ill at ease, but nevertheless she turned forward. "Launch at your leisure. And Samala? If you are unsure of something, ask. Do not be a fool and let pride hinder you or tempt you into error. I am to assess you, but also aid you. A smart and humble pilot lives longer than a proud pilot."

Re: Day 31 [0700 hrs.] Please, No Laser Cutters This Time...

Reply #5
[ Crewman 3rd Class Samala | Upper Shuttlebay | Deck 11 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy | Aldea ] Attn: @Griff
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Taking the suggestion to use a phaser instead of a laser cutter under advisement, Samala sat down in the chair that Lillee had indicated and listened. Apparently, the shuttle they were about to use had been damaged during the Battle of the Apertures and had only been recently repaired. It was up to them to test the shuttle to ensure that all repairs had been completed and that there were no other faults to be discovered. Samala was familiar with the procedures, she had done similar flights on Hawks that she had repaired when back on Bacury III.

“Understood ma’am,” Samala acknowledged after taking a moment to filter the memories of her former home and clear her mind to the task at hand. Working through the start-up sequence, she kept a close eye on the screens, checking for anything untoward. “All systems are shown at 100% ma’am,” Samala noted before activating the comms and asking shuttle control for clearance. Once it was received, Samala increased power to the engines and guided the small craft out of the cavernous bay into the vacuum beyond.

“We are clear of the bay,” Samala announced. “Masking system is engaged. Leaving the cloaking field of the dock,” she recited at each stage of her departure. Bringing them up into a banking turn, she watched the Theurgy vanish out of the corner of her eye as the two of them left the confines of the cloaking device concealing their home.

“Where to now ma’am?”

Re: Day 31 [0700 hrs.] Please, No Laser Cutters This Time...

Reply #6
[PO3 Lillee t’Jellaieu | Main Shuttlebay | Deck 11 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Stegro88

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There was something about Samala's excessive deference that, conversely, got on Lillee's nerves. It was perfectly proper and reasonable, and it suggested that the girl was making a serious effort to make life easier, but it was all so anomalous that Lillee was suspicious anyway. She could, she had reasoned earlier, handle a precocious and rebellious girl only just become an adult. Mothering devious five-year olds was, after all, surely a more challenging ordeal, especially when those twins had a disquieting knack for teaming up on her. However, whatever game Samala was playing, it was infinitely more complex and more threatening than Lillee could've imagined.

Or, Lillee mused ruefully, there was no game at all, but curse it, she didn't know.

"Our course is all on the flight plan," Lillee said, nodding at the PADD she'd given Samala. "A jump at warp 4 to a nearby star system and some simple flight tests should be sufficient. Make sure you adjust our warp signature according to the flight plan before we leave the Klingons' military exclusion zone. It will make us look like a Klingon shuttlecraft to sensors." Lillee pulled a strand of blonde hair back behind a pointed ear, the only sign that she was more anxious than her professional demeanour made her appear. "Mind the Klingon ships as well, more than you would Federation or Romulan shipping. Half the pilots on those Klingon ships are probably drunk, knowing them."

Re: Day 31 [0700 hrs.] Please, No Laser Cutters This Time...

Reply #7
[ Crewman 3rd Class Samala | Type-09 Shuttle | Orbital Space | Aldea ] Attn: @Griff
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Bringing up the flight plan again on one of the shuttle’s screens, Samala reread it again before beginning to make the adjustments to the craft’s warp signature. She knew she would have completed the task quicker if they had been on the Apache but that was only due to her familiarity with the ship. Eventually, she would have that same experience with this one but until then, all she could do was persevere.

“Warp signature adjusted,” Samala said as she noted both the nearby Klingon vessels in her intended path and the nervous motion from her supervisor. “Now is that because of who I am or that I may do something wrong?” she wondered idly, as she altered their heading slightly to take them underneath a departing Klingon cargo ship before lining back up for the jump to warp. “Course is set for the jump to warp. Engaging in three, two, one,” she counted down before activating the warp drive and sending them hurtling away.

“On course and speed,” Samala advised her Romulan companion after a quick check of her screens. “We should arrive as expected. You can relax now, Ma’am. Unless it is not my flying that is making you anxious.”

Re: Day 31 [0700 hrs.] Please, No Laser Cutters This Time...

Reply #8
[PO3 Lillee t’Jellaieu | Main Shuttlebay | Deck 11 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Stegro88

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"Oh, I'm not anxious," Lillee answered with a small smile. It was the most bald lie she'd told years. With a good while of waiting, she forced herself to relax in her seat. It only then occurred to her that some Remans (and perhaps even hybrids?) were telepathic, a profoundly disquieting thought, but one she dispelled. After all, what were the odds? More likely the girl was simply perceptive. For one so young, she certainly seemed very capable.

"Last we met, you asked me why I joined this fight," she said idly, glancing at Samala. "What of you? You have clearly committed, though I gather that you hold no love for the Federation or the Empire. Why put on the uniform? Risk your life for a fight that is not yours? It is...impressive," (the compliment sounded strained, but it was there nonetheless), "but if you are to fly, I am curious...why. You could go anywhere, do anything, with your skills and that ship. Most sa-rihanna of your age are still in school, partying and playing, not fighting to save the galaxy."

Re: Day 31 [0700 hrs.] Please, No Laser Cutters This Time...

Reply #9
[ Crewman 3rd Class Samala | Type-09 Shuttle | At Warp ] Attn: @Griff
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“I’d give that a better than even chance of being a lie,” Samala thought to herself when Lillee denied being anxious around her. Given their last meeting, it was an expected response to now being in an enclosed space together. Truthfully, Samala herself was somewhat anxious given what this flight represented. It was another major obstacle along the new path that her life was now on. And if she wanted to be able to be a pilot, then she had to pass whatever tests that Starfleet required of her. “Ironic, considering that the Theurgy is no longer considered a part of Starfleet,” she noted to herself as her Romulan compatriot began asking about why she had decided to join the crew officially

“I could go anywhere and do just about anything. I have both the ability and the time to do it,” Samala confirmed, choosing how to frame her response. “But I would be doing it without the only blood I have left. And you are right, I hold no love for any governments; from my point of view, they have all failed my fellow Remans. But Lorad seems to think that if we can show the Federation that we are more than just slaves to the Romulans, that they might offer us a home. A place where someone my age doesn’t have to learn to fight, to kill, before they have even reached maturity. A place where they can, as you so described, party and play.”

“I didn’t choose to be as I am,”
Samala stated, her voice deliberately neutral and as she locked her emotions down. “But I wouldn’t change it either if it meant that another Reman had to suffer more. If doing something unpleasant can improve my species’ place in the galaxy, then so be it. If we succeed, then a pair of Remans will have helped to save the Federation. That should be worth something in the end. And if we fail, well, we are already called rebels anyway.”

Re: Day 31 [0700 hrs.] Please, No Laser Cutters This Time...

Reply #10
[PO3 Lillee t’Jellaieu | Main Shuttlebay | Deck 11 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Stegro88

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Well, there was little that Lillee could say to that. Awkward though she felt, Lillee did at least feel a grudging admiration for the girl's motivation and goals. Ironically, she mused that Samala would fit in well with the idealists of the Federation, even if she didn't know it yet. She just needed a chance. Yet more irony: a time of war and darkness could well mean a shining opportunity for Samala, assuming the girl didn't murder a shipmate or two along the way.

"You can start the warp trials now," Lillee finally said, breaking the silence. "We'll start with adjusting the warp core's intermix flux, then rapid warp acceleration and deceleration maneuvers, deformation of the warp field for small turns to port and starboard, then an emergency warp stop when we get to the star system." For the first time, Lillee leaned forward, working her own board and making it mimic Samala's to oversee her work. "Start whenever you like, but keep the intermix flux below three millicochranes. These type 9's can really handle a flux of up to five, but the regulations say three when not flying in an emergency. I like Starfleet, but by the Elements, they can be such ninnies about these things."

Re: Day 31 [0700 hrs.] Please, No Laser Cutters This Time...

Reply #11
[ Crewman 3rd Class Samala | Type-09 Shuttle | At Warp ] Attn: @Griff
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The response that Samala was expecting never came and Lillee seemed to be thinking about what she had told the Romulan. She could have peeked, using her abilities to reveal the truth of the matter but the idea didn’t sit right with the young hybrid. All it would do was satisfy her curiosity at the potential risk of exposure. Not something that she felt was warranted. She was already hiding her telepathic abilities from her new crew, why risk infuriating them from her using them for pointless reasons. Soon enough though, Lillee broke her silence, directing Samala to begin adjusting the shuttle’s warp core intermix before moving on to other portions of the trial. Smiling to herself at the Romulan calling Starfleet ninnies, the hybrid began to do as she was instructed.

“Thank you, Ma’am,” Samala began as she prepared her controls. “I’d also like to apologise for my actions aboard the Apache when we first met. I hope you can understand why I reacted as I did so. And that you won’t hold it against me,” she said as she completed her preparations, her mind shifting to focus at the tasks she was here to perform.

“Beginning intermix flux adjustment,” Samala announced calmly. “Threshold for flux set at two millicochranes.”

~FIN~

 
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