<<Yet another one taking place en route to the Stellar Nursery>>
=/\= USS Charon, Deck Nine, Shuttle and Fighter storage =/\=
The Valkyrie sat on the elevator, gleaming silver and giving off an air of quiet menace with her downturned wings and sharp, sleek lines. Unfortunately the effect was ruined just slightly by the fact that one of the engine maintenance hatches was open and the lower half of a rather small built person in a flight suit was sticking out of it while feet clad in heavy boots were scrambling on the deck.
Under the bewildered looks of several maintenance personnel, the little pilot finally seemed to have reached whatever it was she had been looking for and stood on the tips of her toes while a patient, copper haired woman nodded and handed a phase compensator into the hatch.
A pilot circling a fighter, running her fingers over the hull and talking as if to a lover that they were used to, more or less. It had barely elicited comment, even when people realized it was a Vulcan doing it. But same pilot jumping head first into a maintenance hatch to tinker and play, that was not an everyday sight.
"What is she doin'?"
"Dunno. Ask Hadley."
"You'd think we don't know how to do maintenance on those birds."
"Bah. Pilots. Let her play. Or you wanna argue with the Helms-Vulcan?"
"Yeah. About as much as I want a migraine. Hey, you got the diagnostic results of the Fortis?"
"Nope but I got some coffee."
"That'll do, too."
"Miss Hadley, I believe I mentioned "
"Right. No ma'am-ing. Commander. Anyways. What's this going to do?"
Rebecca tried to peek into the hatch but all she could see was a tight flight suit outlining a very nice hourglass shape and the dim light of an open power conduit.
"I am merely familiarizing myself with the craft, Lieutenant. If incidentally I can fine-tune the power output ratio of the warp engines, you may consider it part of my pre-flight routine. Ah, interesting."
"May I assume you were responsible for those upgrades?"
"What? Oh, yes."
The dark haired Vulcan emerged from the hatch and handed the tools back to Rebecca who promptly put them away.
"You are welcome."
The hatch was closed and sealed and the beaming human was about to waltz back to her office when she nearly dropped her toolkit on her foot. In the blink of an eye, something you could damn near call a smile had shown up and disappeared on the Vulcan's face. She followed the gaze of black eyes and saw the Marine Commander himself stroll into her little corner of Charon and of course Vara was nowhere in sight. The poor Trill would be fretting for days. She'd already been fretting when Robert had officially declared that Vara's crush had succeeded where Merl had failed though the betting pool on the exact nature of that success was still gaining steam.
Giving a polite wave, Rebecca scampered off and resolved to keep an eye on the two from a safe distance both for Vara and the possibility to gain an advantage in said pool.
Fighters. Brent had a almost love hate relationship with them. He was dating a fighter pilot now; Sakarra had made that much clear when they had first started dating. He looked around at the fighter bay only to find Sakarra with her sleeves rolled up apparently having been working the fighter craft. He didn't know that she knew how to repair the craft or make adjustments. He supposed that would be something that most fighter pilots would pick up in their spare time, provided they had the spare time. Brent watched as the other woman disappeared from the fighter and to the far side of the bay. So they would have an audience then. So be it, Brent was fairly certain that every single one of his men knew that he had a relationship with Sakarra, it only figured that soon enough all of Sakarra's department would know as well.
"I don't believe I've ever seen you with your sleeves rolled up like that," he said with a smile on his face as he offered her two fingers as she had done to him so many times before.
It took Sakarra a half-second to realize he was speaking literally but rather than adjust her flight suit immediately, she returned the gesture, fully aware that they were being watched.
She could have stopped at the usual light touch, the tender greeting that was no more than the briefest brushing of lips against the other's cheek. But something about his smile and the fact that he seemed intent on showing affection in the crowded hangar sparked a tiny flame of mischief and she let her fingertips graze across his cool skin for just a moment. The effect was as immediate as it was satisfactory when deep blue eyes widened just a fraction and the sensation of a not entirely innocent kiss echoed through the mindlink and dispersed.
"Yes, it does seem to be an unusual sight, judging from the reactions of the deck crew."
The perfect image of Vulcan equanimity, Sakarra smoothed out the sleeves and motioned to the flight suit and helmet placed neatly on the Valkyrie's nose. "I had to approximate your measurements, but seeing as I am in the fortunate position to know your physique," the words were spoken low enough to be heard only by Brent, but the tone was impeccably calm nonetheless "it should fit quite well. If you can be persuaded to act as my RIO for this flight of course."
Brent looked at the fighter suit for a moment and sized it up a little bit. It looked like it would fit just fine actually. Apparently she had quite an intimate knowledge of his physique. "Well I think I can be persuaded. So long as all the RIO has to do is look around and maybe press a few buttons hoping that nothing blows up in the process," Brent said as he picked up the flight suit and slowly began to pull the suit up and over his uniform. "Where will we be flying at hm? Just around the ship a few times to make sure the bird can still fly properly?"
"I should discourage you from pressing any buttons that will cause things to 'blow up' as it were."
Though the prospect of actually doing a target run was alluring in its own way. Sakarra quirked an amused brow at the Marine and swiftly climbed up the ladder before settling in the pilot's seat with a most satisfied air about her.
"As for where we will be going I seem to have neglected to file more than a most rudimentary flight plan. Though there is a most intriguing comet nearby which currently has the science department pushing the sensors to maximum resolution. I assume they would appreciate some close up scans, even if they come from the comparably inadequate array of a fighter."
With an ease that came from long practice, the young Vulcan went through her preflight and listened for Brent literally fold his tall frame into the RIO's seat. A brief nod to the ground crew and she secured her helmet while the canopy closed and the elevator slowly lifted the Valkyrie up into the shuttle bay.
"I am aware you had some rough shuttle flights in the past." Now that their conversation was limited to the comm between them, the young Vulcan allowed for the silent humor to echo in her voice at last "Not the least of which was partially my doing. But have you ever been 'riding shotgun', to borrow the phrase, in a fighter?"
"What about shoot things that go boom? Is it ok if I press those buttons," Brent said as he borrowed a phrase from basic training when addressing recruits. 'Things that go boom' were things that recruits should not play with unless directed to by a DI. "A comet huh. Sounds good to me. Is there a camera on this bird? Maybe I can take some pictures and make noises like I'm blowing things up," he said eagerly as Brent managed to fold himself into the cockpit.
"No drop ever made on Dominon held land was ever an easy ride down," Brent replied across the static of the communications line. "But to answer your question no I have never been riding in a fighter. Just the back ends of shuttles and drop ships. Even did a hard drop once, now that was unpleasant let me tell you."
"To borrow yet another phrase from she who was my squadron leader only if they go boom in interesting ways." Inside her helmet, Sakarra tried her very best not to chuckle but her focus shifted quickly when the elevator stopped and the ground crew scattered to clear the way.
It never ceased to be an exhilarating sensation when engines sprang to life, humming with restrained power, ready to fly loose. In perfect unison with her craft, the Vulcan tensed ever so slightly with joyous anticipation and as always, her breath and heartbeat seemed to echo loudly in the sound of the engines.
Gently as an autumn leaf picked up by the breeze, the Valkyrie rose off the deck and lazily turned towards the slowly unfurling shuttle bay doors.
"And yes, there is in fact. The controls are situated to your right."
=/\= To be continued
=/\= Brevet 1st Lieutenant Brent Warren Lt Cmdr Sakarra Tyrax Chief Helm USS Charon
=/\= To be continued =/\=
Brevet 1st Lieutenant Brent Warren
Lt Cmdr Sakarra Tyrax