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 Post subject: Night Shift Ch 1 Edit
PostPosted: Sun September 14th, 2014 7:49 pm 
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Chapter 1: Integration

The bridge of the Achilles class warship, ‘Ronin,’ is small and Spartan, exactly to the specifications developed by Starfleet, and exactly as designed the turbo lift opened without any effort or sound, “Commander Walker reporting for duty.”
“You have the bridge Commander. Have a good evening.”
“Aye sir.” The daily back and forth has become less formal with each passing, and the Captain has developed a strong bond with her crew. In turn each bridge officer was relieved according to the newest schedule.
“Senior Chief, report.” Commander Walker normally worked with a bridge crew of five and tonight would be no different. The Commander enjoyed the process of selecting his own bridge officers and he ruffled a few feathers when he made his unorthodox selections. Senior Chief Valmont manned the Tactical and Weapons station, Ensign Gregg the Transportation and Medical Support systems, Chief Petty Officer Neman the Communications, and Crew Support station, the newly acquired Lieutenant Brooks the Helm, and Petty Officer First Class Pillar Science and Research.
“Three away teams are still on Andor, and the, ‘Itinerant,’ (one of the four Danube Class Runabouts) is still enroot to Vulcan, as the ambassador does not transwarp beam.”
“Very good. Petty Officer Neman?”
“Every system, and all crew reporting nominal.”
“Very good, Brooks, steady as she goes.”
“Aye sir.”
“And let the snooze fest begin.”
“Excuse me Sir?” Brooks was unaccustomed to the candid attitude of the Commander.
“I have been studying for the Captain’s Exam for the past six months. What have you been reading again Pillar?”
“Nomad Class Star Cruiser schematics, and Transwarp integration, Sir.”
“Sounds Stimulating, and how about you Neman?”
“It’s an article in, “Fed-Sci,” on Multiphasic Shielding and its benefits.”
“You see even a Vulcan gets bored maintaining normal parameters. I suggest you find a hobby, or a good book.”
“Aye sir?” Brooks adjusted his chair for his larger stature and realized he hadn’t given a thought to manning a station during peace time. Prior to being assigned to the Ronin he had served on a Defiant-class escort which supported DS9 and often was at odds with either the Jem'Hadar or the Cardassians. Constant repairs were underway and he was always surprised how well it held together.
“Well, I am headed to Engineering, Valmont you have the bridge.”
“Aye sir.”
Instead of taking the turbo lift Walker pressed a button and the doors to the Jeffries tube opened. He expertly jumped in and began to descend toward engineering.
“Does he always do that?” Brooks asked the room.
“Yes, and no.” Ensign Gregg spoke up. “Sometimes he has me beam him to the shuttle bay, he will don one of the environmental suits and then he will have me beam him onto the hull just above us and he will sit out there for hours.”
“Really?” Brooks had never heard of such a thing.
“Yeah,” Gregg chuckled as he spoke, “Last week he had me beam him up and down the plasma conduits, just to see if we could.”
“His shift reports must be an interesting read.”
Valmont stood over the Lieutenant, “Say one word outside of the expected in yours and I will break you.” Half Romulan and half Orion Valmont was quite intimidating.
“So, what do we do now?”
“You man your station and report any anomalies to me.”
“Aye sir.”

“Walker to Valmont.”
“Valmont here.”
“Can you walk over to Neman’s station and see what the field regulator reads off of the transwarp coil?”
“Aye sir.” Neman already pulled the reading up. “110% efficiency Sir.”
“Ha, it worked. 110 is now 100%, reset the parameters to reflect the new output and I’ll have Master Chief Randall compile his full report for the Captain. Ensign Gregg beam me to my chair.”
Without a word Walker began to materialize in a seated position in the Captain’s chair.
“It always amazes me how you manage to get the exact height.” Walker liked to complement his staff.
“Well, it wouldn’t do to have you falling from the ceiling.”
“No, suppose not. Any word from the away teams?”
“No Sir.” Valmont replied.
“Pfft, well I guess it’s back to the books. Two more weeks till the test.”

“Um.. Sir.” The young Lieutenant was nervous but began to ask anyway.
“Yes, Brooks.”
“Sir, permission to speak candidly.”
“Granted at all times the view screen is off Lieutenant.”
“What exactly do we do?”
“Well,” Commander Walker looked up from his pad, “Mostly, as I said earlier, we read. For some odd reason it seems the Captain schedules all planned maintenance and well, mostly all external encounters happen on day shift.” He lounged in the Captain’s chair in way only the second in command could, “If we are to arrive say at Vulcan, she’ll have us slow down or speed up to ensure she is in the chair when we get in normal transporter and subspace range.”
“Okay, so what about attacks or planned defensive posturing?”
“Oh, well we, lucky us, get to pull 20 hour shifts and basically we fix everything they break. Valmont and I often have lead boarding parties and what twice now?” Walker leaned his head back looking even more relaxed.
“No sir.” Valmont didn’t glance his way but held up his fingers, “Three.”
“Oh, right the Jem'Hadar fighter, I don’t really count that one, you did all the work. Well, we have taken command of three attacking ships. A rogue Raptor not associated with the now docile Klingon Defense Force, thought they could hijack a Caitian freighter in route to Delta IV. Little did they know we had a crewman who was speaking to his sister aboard the freighter when they attacked. And then there was the time we captured the Ha’apax Warbird. The god damn Tal Shiar kept killing themselves before we got a chance to arrest them. But don’t worry nothing like that is going to happen while you’re at the helm.”
“You know I use to pilot the, “Sparrow?” Brooks thought he would miss almost dyeing every day and was confused about the lack of excitement.
“Yeah. And now you’re are aboard the Ronin. Welcome to the suck.”
Not wanting everyone to go back to their reading Brooks continued questioning, “So what happened with the Jem'Hadar, we always ended up either limping back to DS9 or just managing to scrap a victory.”
“I think I’ll let Valmont tell you about that.” He leaned back again at his direction, “If you would enlighten the boy…”
“I am uncertain if you are aware of the traditional Ngaj'etlh. It is a Klingon short sword used by very few. The Brotherhood of the Sword does not honor many with them. It will cut through Jem’Hadar armor as if it was not there and can take a full blow from a tritanium Bat’leth.”
“As you are well aware, the Jem’Hadar have been placing dampening fields’ throughout their ships requiring hand to hand combat only. After only one direct hit from our pulse cannon I was beamed directly aboard their bridge alone.” Valmont stood up from his chair and slipped the Ngaj'etlh out from his sheath. “The Vorta’s head was removed before I fully materialized.” He spun on the spot with grace and allowed his short sword to extend from his hand seeming part of him, “Ensign Gregg really does need a promotion for his expertise.”
“I knew there would be twelve or so warriors for me but sadly only four were still alive, well for a brief moment anyway.” The sword evaporated in a ritualistic re-sheathing. “Commander Walker materialized and took the helm just as we were about to bounce of the Ronin’s shields. We still don’t know why they thought fifteen of their small mosquitoes could have taken us.”
Brooks felt more relaxed knowing his new commanders had seen similar action, “So, you do have fun from time to time.”
“Fun is a few too many drinks on Risa and a story you’d be embarrassed to tell a Caitian in heat.” Walker sat up a little and adjusted his Comm Badge. “Fun is participating in the Antarian Trans-stellar Rally only to come in third because you forgot to recalibrate the gravimetric sensors after you pass by the Möbius Inversion. Killing people, is..” Walker sat forward now and interlaced his fingers in thought, “We kill to save the guy next to you. We spare those we can, and we heal those we have hurt.”
“Sir, I didn’t”
“I know.” There was a short pause as he took a meditative breath, “We have to make it a game to stay sane, but please don’t belittle life.”
“My apologies sir.” There was an awkward silence but soon Brook’s voice cracked and then he asked, “Caitian’s go into heat?”
Ensign Gregg immediately ratted off, “Every 53 days. We have to schedule them all for isolation for at least two days or they end up making love in the corridors.”
“Really…”
“Have you never served with one?” Gregg questioned.
“No. we didn’t have any in my class at the academy either.”
“An influential Federation species and you know nothing about them?” Gregg had to know each species and their individual quarks as he disassembled them atom by atom on a regular basis.
Petty Officer First Class Pillar shook his head in disapproval as he glanced up from reading about Transwarp integration procedures. “Where were you born?”
“I grew up on Vacca III mostly among Grazerites.”
“Ah,” calmly and with his smooth monotone voice he then asked, “Have you ever head butted one of them?” Pillar was obviously mocking him as Grazerites have protruding horns they often hide from outsiders.
“Look, so I am not a doctor nor a science officer. I am a pilot.”
“Sir.” Chief Petty Officer Neman spoke with noticed formality.
“Yes Neman.”
“Away team Omega is reporting in.”
“Put them through.”
“Lieutenant VaiYon to the Ronin.”
“This is Commander Walker what can we do for you VaiYon?”
“The Terrains on my squad are requesting warmer accommodations.” the familiar monotone of a Vulcan voice seemed to echo his discontent for people from Earth, “Could you replicate two female subzero suits and one male? Crew support should have their dimensions.”
Walker began to laugh in response. “Did they forget where they were going… I’ll send down some Klingon cold weather survival gear.”
“That should be, most amusing. Thank you sir.”
“Need anything else?”
“Happen to have a Breen sound nullifier?” VaiYon was obviously accustomed to Walker’s jovial style.
“I’ll send down some Arcadian hot chocolates, they have a way of putting Terrains in a meditative state.”
“Thank you. VaiYon out.”
“Chief Neman, did you..”
“Yes sir! And Ensign Gregg if you would beam the uniforms now in Cargo Bay One’s replacator and the canister of Arcadian hot chocolate in the Main Mess replicator.”
“On it and..” he whisked his hands about the screen unnecessarily for theatrics, “Beaming.”
“Sir, are you not human?” Brooks asked.
“Didn’t you notice the eyes? I am surprised by your lack of knowledge. Who briefed you on our mission when you boarded?” Walkers tone became serious.
“When I relieved Ensign…” he struggled to remember the name he was always bad with the small details. “Marcos. Marcos Aralias.”
“Ah, and thus the reason for his demotion is earned yet again. I am one of only three registered Chameloids in Star Fleet. This is not my natural state. Everyone who I serve with should know.”
“Chameloid? Aren’t they just a myth?”
“When referring to another’s people, especially your commanding officer’s, respect should be shown.”
“Sorry it’s just my dad told me fairy tales about Allasomorphs and such.”
“You know stellar cartography, tell me where is the planet called Arc?”
“Sure it is an M-class very much like Andor sixth planet from a white main sequence star named Doq’Chis just outside of the Kahless Expance in the Omega Leonis Sector of the Alpha Quadrant.” He spit the words out so quickly he knew he was right. One had to memorize all of the M-class planets, their sectors and their stars before graduating in the piloting program at the academy. It was one of his most arduous studies… always the little details.
Walker stood up with verve and nearly broke the captain’s console, “She is called, Vackra Mor, for she is our mother.” Walker adjusted his uniform jacket, “There are so few of us left. The Klingons were not kind to my people.” He sat back down in a heap of himself and suddenly his uniform looked oddly loose.
“Sir, may I ask you a personal question?”
“I have always been candid, you may ask.”
“What do your people naturally look like? My father told me… well I rather not say.”
“It simply depends on where one was born, and who you grow up around.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, I grew up on an uninhabited area of Qo'noS, but patrols often disturbed our little settlement and before I turned three I was a slave to the House of Targesh. After living with them for ten years I began to look like them, even after I was freed that same year. My natural state is akin to Klingon, but my sister was sold to a Vulcan trader and so she appears to be mostly Vulcan when in her natural state.”
“Oh, thank you.” He had no idea how to respond to the new information and looked to the others, but they weren’t even paying attention as if they had heard the story before.
“look at the eyes.” Walker rose back up and morphed into a light skinned looking Klingon from the northern highlands of Qo’noS. His nose grew twice in width and his skull grew smooth fish scale like ridges. Brooks noticed how sharp his ears were as if almost Vulcan or Romulan.
“I have never seen a Klingon like you sir.”
“Then you have never seen a member of the House of Targesh. They often pierce their ridges and they wear many earrings. Their skull protrudes down more than most, almost blocking their eyes from seeing above them. You should swing by my quarters and see my family’s armor and my ‘alngegh. Our house has a distinct helmet that you would not forget.”
“Your family?”
“Yes, I was a slave, until I took control of the Vor’cha commanded by the Kozak scum. Their house claimed our lands and they were only interested in Latium, not honor.”
“At thirteen...”
“Nice to see you paying attention for once. Yes, I assumed the form of an Orion Salve girl and I easily killed…” Walker shrank back down to Terrain proportions and quieted his voice, “Their head of House…” He paused for a long time and interlaced his fingers in the same way he had earlier, “Death is a way of life for Klingons; I do not embrace it.” Another long pause was followed by quick questions, “How was growing up on Vacca III? Grazerites are a peaceful people, are they not?”
“That’s for sure. But you should see their harvest festival. It lasts for three weeks.” Brooks didn’t want to talk about himself. “How’d you get to Star Fleet?”
“Well if you must know an influential Klingon who helped to stabilize Federation and a newly developed Klingon Defense Force relations saved my life and I saw how much Honor he had achieved for his house and his people. Our people are few and I wanted the opportunity to find honor without so much death on my hands.”
“So how big and how small can you…” he sought for the most appropriate word.
“Morph. I think that is enough question and answer for the night,” he turned to Valmont, “I’ll be in the ready room.”
“Aye sir.”
“I suggests you pull up Doctor van Gogh’s medical reference guide: ‘Mammalians of the Alpha and Delta Quadrants.” Ensign Gregg let out a sigh. “His guides were my savior in ‘Transwarp of Plural Species.’”
“Academy class?”
“Yes Lieutenant.”
“What class?”
“Oh, it was post-graduation, at Starfleet Medical.”
“That makes sense, I hadn’t heard of that one.”
“How long until you are up for promotion?” Brooks felt like he was in charge as he was now the senior Bridge Officer, though Valmont was in command he said nothing to stop their banter.
“Thirty two days ago.” Everyone was now listening.
“And..”
“Well, I was waiting, I guess you will know soon enough. We are rendezvousing with the USS Titian and Admiral T'Lara is scheduled to proceed over the ceremony.”
“Vice Admiral T’Lara…” Brooks dropped a data pad he was fumbling with. “The Titian?”
“Yes.”
Neman glanced up from his reading, “What is wrong Lieutenant?” Petty Officer Neman was not one hundred percent Vulcan but was well aware of the Admiral’s exploits. She was more career minded than the other Vulcan’s who were famed Starfleet members, and was a mentor for Neman.
“Let’s just say Captain Riker has a steely Pacifican at his helm, and we… well, we.”
“If you are suggesting you have engaged in inappropriate relations with Lieutenant Lavena.”
“No. No. We…” he paused and picked up the data pad nonchalantly. “We often competed against each other actually. We were in the same class at Starfleet Command School. She should be up for a Commander’s spot by now.”
“And you are not?”
“Well, I would be, I took two years off to care for my father. He was suffering from Clarke’s Syndrome.”
“I am sorry for your loss, family loss is harder than most.” Ensign Gregg seemed to have a similar experience from the empathy in his voice.
“Thank you.”
Walker erupted out of the ready room in his Klingon form, “Beam me to my chambers.”
Without question Ensign Gregg immediately carried out the order.
“What is he up to?”
“Do not question the Commander.” Valmont rose and was as intimidating as ever.
Half speaking under his breath, “So, this is life on the Ronin…”


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