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The Pilot Arrives

Posted on Thu Aug 23rd, 2018 @ 2:17pm by Lieutenant JG Arden Bentzen & Lieutenant Commander Deianira Coldbright

Mission: Prologue: Everything Old...
Location: Main Shuttlebay
Timeline: MD01 1320 hours

ON:

Not only had the U.S.S. T'Vrel been tasked with the delivery of a portion of her crew, but was also carrying two Danube-class runabouts assigned to the Polaris. One of the few senior staff who had been among the first arrivals was lieutenant Arden Bentzen, who Deianira had selected as the head of the flight operations department. Now, the young man was en route to the Polaris, piloting one of the runabouts on its way into the main shuttlebay. The ship's commanding officer was watching from the control booth as the small craft made its way toward the open bay doors.

Bentzen hadn’t flown runabouts since his academy days. But for him, that was not so long ago. He was sat at the CONN of the U.S.S. Southorn, an older model than the other Danube-class that the T’Vrel was dropping off for the Polaris. It had seen its fair share of leg-work in its 15-year Starfleet service, Bentzen could tell that much. In his last posting, when flying shuttlecraft they had always been smaller shuttles. But in many ways the Danube-class was not so different. He had even simulated combat in Danubes before. Although, he reflected as he brought the oversized shuttle into the main shuttlebay, he hoped that he would not end up flying the U.S.S. Southorn out, phasers hot, into the hostile arms of whatever awaited them in ‘The Preserve’.

Bentzen engaged the landing thrusters, bringing the Southorn down with a gentle lurch into the landing spot designated for it. His co-pilot, an operations officer, had been handling communications with flight control while Bentzen got to grips again with the controls of the runabout. He had heard about his new assignment just over a month ago, and he was personally quite pleasantly surprised to learn that his talents, such as they were, had been recognised. It was a big step from a Nova-class to a Galaxy-class, and Bentzen knew it. But he wasn’t about to let that phase him. He took respite, primarily, in the fact that no one was expecting some Dominion War-style impulse-acrobatics. It was quite a straightforward flying job. Granted, Bentzen least of all knew what lay ahead, but no one was expecting some kind of all-out war to break out.

Bentzen went ahead with the post-flight checks. He powered down the engines, did a brief systems diagnostics and made a mental note of his flying experience to relay to the on-duty shuttlecraft engineer when he had a moment. A number of junior officers and senior crewmen who had been relayed by the T’Vrel were strapped into the back of the runabout. Other officers and junior crewmen were being transferred later, or had arrived already from the T’Vrel by shuttle or by transporter. Bentzen went ahead and informed his passengers that they were cleared to disembark, and he followed them out of the shuttlecraft onto the floor of the flight deck, where they were herded out of the way of further incoming shuttles.

Bentzen had never been on a Galaxy-class starship before, but of course he had studied the schematics and knew how to get to the flight control booth, where he had been told Lieutenant Commander Deianira Coldbright, his new commanding officer, was wanting to talk to him. As he ascended to the booth in what was more of a service turbolift, he straightened out his red uniform. First meetings, of course, always counted. He knew that Coldbright had selected him herself, but more on the strength of his resume and the recommendations he had received than his personality. He had briefly spoken to her via hololink a couple weeks prior, but that had been the extent of their contact.

As he was mid-way through his train of thought, the turbolift doors opened and he stepped out into a mid-sized room, plastered on one side by windows overlooking the main shuttlebay. One person observing the traffic was a middle-aged brunette, roughly the same height as he was – Bentzen was not a tall man – in conversation with one of the crewmen. Bentzen approached her, and intervened when he noticed a lull in conversation. “Commander Coldbright? Lieutenant Bentzen, I was told you wanted to see me.”

Deianira turned away from the control panel she was leaning on to face the young man as he walked through the entrance to the booth. "Welcome aboard, lieutenant," she said warmly and strode forward to intercept Bentzen. "How did the Southorn handle?" It was small talk more than anything. There was no need to hit him with anything official straight out of the gate.

"Nothing too worrying. Considering its a little older, though, it will be advisable to keep an eye on it. I plan on liasing with engineering and having a good check of the ship's shuttle and fighter complement. If there's anything out of place, we'll find it and fix it." Bentzen hoped he sounded confident about his abilities.

"Walk with me lieutenant," she said gently placing a hand on his shoulder and turning toward the door. Her reddish hair bounced as she started toward the exit. The corridors on deck four were some of the busiest on the ship right now. The deck was not only the location of the ship's main shuttlebay, but also housed two large cargo bays and access to the primary communications array. The hallway was full of personnel carting containers to the storage facilities on anti-grav sleds and fine tuning the plasma relays that fed power to the long range communications system. "Have you had a chance to read much on the Preserve lieutenant?" she asked as they passed by the first group of crewmen.

"I have read my briefings." For the last month, Bentzen had been scrambling to take in everything. Not only was he studying the Galaxy-class and the Polaris in particular, he had been reading all he could about the Preserve and their mission. He had barely time to consider leading his department, and other such concerns that he should have had. As the primary CONN officer, he could not risk taking on a mission into unexplored space without an as-clear-as-possible picture of what he was flying into.

He continued, "I know about the U.S.S. Shasta's clash with the Sk'lath Clutch and the subsequent Treaty of Neaua. I have tried to learn what I can from the Shasta's records of spacial anomalies that they encountered. Twelve sectors barely on Federation records. But I suppose, in many ways, this is why we joined up. Exploring the unknown."

"It certainly is for me, lieutenant," Deianira agreed. "I'd like you to review the logs from the Shasta's helmsman, Dalagain ch'Ktashan."

"Of course commander, that's already on my list. Thankfully the logs hold up, and I will rendezvous with Astrometrics to get a solid bearing on where we will be heading. You've spent more time with the intel, so if there's anything particular you think I should be aware of, it doesn't hurt to let me know."

"Start with what they called the Phaedran Drifts," she suggested.

They had reached the end of the corridor and boarded the turbolift, leaving the noise and chaos of the cargo and shuttle bays behind. "Bridge," Deianira instructed the computer before turning back to the young helm officer. "Unfortunately, he didn't make it back from the Preserve with the rest of the ship's crew. His granddaughter though is a vice-admiral at Starfleet Command and is the driving force behind our mission." What she was leaving out was that admiral th'Ktashan had hand-picked her for this mission after their successful diplomatic deployment to the Gathet Primacy. Even more, she considered the older, Andorian woman a friend.

"I see." Bentzen was mildly perturbed by his commanding officer hinting at the potential danger of the mission that awaited him. He attempted to reassure himself, "Of course, on the Polaris, our tech is much better than what they had on the Shasta. And the Federation has come much further, too," he quickly added on the end. Bentzen did make a mental point to look at the information the Shasta's helmsman, and the circumstances of his death on Starfleet's last voyage into the Preserve. His schedule looked busy. Not only did he have to catch up on the Starfleet intelligence about the Preserve, at least to a depth he wasn't able to do before arriving on the Polaris. Bentzen would also have to introduce himself to his department and get to grips with the helm console in person.

Commander Coldbright entered the bridge with Bentzen close behind her. "I'll let you get to work lieutenant. The helm controls could use a routine diagnostic. I'll be in my ready room."

"Aye, aye captain." Bentzen was induced into momentary dumbfoundedness at the reality of standing on the bridge of a Galaxy-class starship, a bridge that soon would be a second home. As the captain left for her ready room, Bentzen took his time, slowly descending into the room. A few officers and crewmembers were on hand, working on consoles and refining subconduits and the like. Bentzen took a seat at the helm, stretched out, and sighed. This was his new life now, and he was damned pleased.

OFF:

Lieutenant Commander Deianira Coldbright
Commanding Officer
U.S.S. Polaris

Lieutenant (J.G.) Arden Bentzen
Chief Flight Control Officer
U.S.S. Polaris

 

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