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Back in the Saddle (Part Two)

Posted on Mon May 6th, 2019 @ 11:51pm by Captain Sun Mei Xiang & Commander Karsel`lyn Lylyl-Llytherraias & Lieutenant Commander Dastan Alexander Ph.D & Lieutenant Commander James Barnes & Lieutenant Limmi Ovim & Lieutenant Commander Wale Scholl Ph.D. & Lieutenant Marcus Anvers & Lieutenant Commander Christine Descharmes & Ensign Jane Sinclair & Hisa Matsuko

Mission: The Time That is Given Us
Location: USS Shanghai
Timeline: Four Hours after Part One

[USS Shanghai, Bridge, 1400]

Nearly one week since they stabilized the portal, and so much seemed to change in the little colony. They had to work, maybe even harder now, but luckily they were moving forward again. The colonists were back at building up the colony, and they were taking their first steps towards introducing a new culture to the mix. For the first time, they might have been able to begin to unravel the mystery of the region a bit and learn more about the species that helped define it. Yet, absolutely none of that mattered to Mei at this moment, as she stepped back onto her bridge for the first time in a few weeks. With her crew already in the process of getting aboard, she wanted to get back to the swing of things as soon as possible.

“Commander, excellent job getting us back and running,” Mei spoke as she crossed the room to her command chair and stood next to her seat. Just for a moment. She knew they weren’t ready to leave quite yet. “Go ahead and call the Senior Staff to the observation lounge, and I want all crew at station and ready to depart as soon as the meeting is over. And I intend to make it a quick meeting.”

“Yes ma’am,” Dastan said as he gave a nod.

Mei seemed distant for a second before she took a breath and gave a nod. She was quiet for a second, and then moved towards the observation lounge entrance, "I'll leave you to it, Commander. I'm going to brew some tea and prepare for the meeting. Ten minutes," She spoke as she reached the door and hit the door chime.

Again he nodded. He made a few inputs on the command chair. “Commander Alexander here. All senior staff report to the observation lounge in ten minutes. Alexander out.

[Observation Lounge, 1420 hours]
Mei wasn't her usual chipper self. Around the observation lounge table, she had sat padds out for each officer invited. She hadn't invited the Junior Staff like normal. There was a set of tea sitting at the center of the table, with steam rising from the pot - but she wasn't waiting for them like usual. She was quiet, sitting at her chair with her eyes glued to some padd, reading over some documents pertaining to the meeting about to take place. For lack of a better term, it was more somber than her usual meeting style. With her only glances up from the document seeming to be have a sip of her tea.

Having overseen the arrival and positioning of the Aerospace Wing, Lyn had decided to let Rhis and Libby handle personnel matters, especially after the First Officer called for a staff meeting. So she had the opportunity to race to the Observation Lounge, only beating her beauteous lover there by mere seconds. She had withdrawn into the shadow like Chiko had taught her and observed temporarily. After watching briefly, she settled practiced hands on the Captain's shoulders, fingertips digging into firm muscle, "You're tense, my love. Relax, you're the Captain. They need to see confidence and boldness. Let me help."

"I'm okay, Ai," Mei said with a quiet sigh, "But I appreciate the offer of help. Just..." She shook her head

Wale Scholl was grateful for the opportunity to finally tour the science labs on the Shanghai. The setup was very impressive - the whole of Deck Six was devoted to the ship's scientific endeavors. The astrometrics suite, in particular, was something to behold. The holoprojections were simply astounding. He looked forward to having more time to tour the labs, and catch up with the Science staff and learn more about their projects. But less than thirty minutes after his arrival came the summons to the briefing room.

He entered the Observation lounge and spotted an empty chair. "Captain," he spoke with a curt bow as the door closed behind him.

It felt good to be back on the ship. Christine never thought she'd be the one to say that but it was more her home than any other place recently. She waited for a bit outside the lounge before she decided to actually step through. She smiled at the three officers present. "Mei, Lyn, Wale," she said by way of greeting and seated herself in a chair. She smoothed out her skirt as she crossed her legs and made herself a bit more comfortable.

She leaned over to Wale, who she plunked herself next to and gave him a wide smile. "How are you settling into your new place?" she asked in a low voice.

"It's fantastic," replied Wale. "Just the way I wanted it, with a direct access to the water. I can't wait to show it to you."

James adjusted his jacket as he strode down the corridor to the observation lounge. It felt good to be back aboard, with space under his legs again. He entered the lounge, nodding to those present. "Ladies, gentlemen."

Lyn smiled, still standing half behind Captain Sun's chair, "Christine! How are you?" Her smile broadened,, her voice dropping dramatically, "Agent Barnes I presume?"

"Barnes. James Barnes," he winked at Lyn. He turned back to the table.

Jane was the next to show up. As she walked through the bridge to the observation lounge, she heard the call of her helm station. She so desperately wanted to sit in it, feel the hum of the Shanghai’s engines. But for now, her attention was demanded in the senior staff meeting. “Good afternoon, all,” she said as she took a seat across from Christine.

Doctor Anvers strolled in medbag over his shoulder as always nodding to everyone. "Greetings friends."

Hisa wasn't exactly sure why she was called into a senior staff meeting. She was a civilian contracted for Engineering, and although she enjoyed the opportunity of being able to work in an engine room again, she was only a former Starfleet officer. She had taken her time then, getting up to the observation lounge. A small smile appeared on her face as she slowly walked, the padd detailing the repairs of the slipstream drive in one hand; her husband was always chiding her about finding one excuse or another to miss staff meetings, or how often she was late to the ones she actually showed up for. She hesitated for a minute outside the door before she stepped through and scanned the number of people present. All uniformed, which she felt drew attention to her civilian clothes. She recognized a few. Hisa fought the urge to suddenly hightail it out the door at Warp 9, and instead, shuffled to an empty seat and took her place. She said no word and didn't look around at the others at the table and simply looked over the padd she had brought with her.

The hatch hissed open, admitting the petite Marine Lieutenant Colonel, who already had an inkling about the subject of the briefing, which is why she was back aboard the recently cleared Shanghai.

She smiled at her sister before sitting two seats down the length of the table from the Captain. "Mei. I read the reports and thought I would hitch along with you and offer whatever assistance I can."

Kachiko's declaration of her intent helped obscure Limmi's entrance through the hatch oriented on the less-populated end of the table. The Betazoid tactical officer did nothing to shed her inconspicuousness; in fact, she quickly and quietly slipped into a chair, her focus committed to the continued perusal of her tablet. . .

Dastan entered the observation lounge having left a junior officer in the Captain's chair. He walked over and took a seat to Mei's right. "Captain, I think we should begin."

Once the last of them had arrived, Mei swiveled around and faced the crew. "We'll get started on this. First, welcome back aboard the Shanghai. Sorry to not give you a lot of time to get acquainted with the systems, but we'll have some time," She paused for a moment, "I have a lot to go over but most importantly, we'll be pulling the Shanghai out of orbit and setting up the Quantum Slipstream Drive. We need to have that online as soon as possible," She took a breath, which was a bit uncharacteristic. "To give you an update as to why. At least six Klingon Vessels tied to a House K'vyr have been detected on course to New Anchorage," She said softly. "They are ostensibly aligned to the Sovereignty of Kahless but are likely just raiders. We have reason to believe they have codes tied to Golovin and know that there is a presence out here." She gave a pause for a moment. She looked across the group assembled for a moment. "I'm sure you all remember your stop in the Anchorage system before entering void space to get here. We're out of range to help out currently, but Starfleet will be mounting a defense. If," She raised a hand, "If they get through the defenses there, we need to be able to put a stop to them before they reach long range scan distance."

Kachiko sighed silently, before, "I already have our fastest runabouts equipping long range sensor pods and will patrolling with fighter escorts. If the Shanghai isn't departing, I could use some of the Shanghai air wing to supplement them?"

Dastan leaned forward in his chair and placed his hands on the table. He glanced at Captain Sun then back at the senior staff. "We have a plan to use the Quantum Slipstream Drive to intercept the Sovereignty of Kahless ships before they can get anywhere near Golovin. We don't want to expose the colony and the only way to do that is to take the fight to the Klingons."

Jane didn’t know what to say. She was well trained in the operation of a QSD, but hadn’t imagined she would be able to fly one any time soon. On one of her first shifts as a Chief Flight Control Officer, she would get to go faster than almost any pilot ever had. “I’ll work with engineering to get the slipstream drive online as soon as possible,” Jane said. “Thank you, Captain,” she added, much more quietly.

Hisa peered around the table at who had spoken. She spotted a dark-haired woman a few chairs away and studied her closely. "That's me," she said, with a brief nod of her head in her direction, "And I could use the help if you know what you're about and you do as your told." She turned back to Sun. "The system hasn't been in use long has it been offline? I think if I say 'just a while' that would be an understatement." She held up the padd she had brought with her. "The field variance calculations to mask the slipstream drive, if one of your science brains cares to take a look."

Wale raised a hand. "That would be me," he said. "Starfleet was also planning on deploying a long-range sensor array near Faltan Station. I can check where they are in their deployment schedule."

Jane smiled at Hisa. "I know what I'm about and I'll do as I'm told."

"QSD was officially shut down nearly three years ago. It had been used a few times before but was used sparingly since we were an Admiral's flagship and mostly relegated to safer runs that didn't require a lot of speed," Mei spoke quickly, "The better we're able to access its abilities, the safer we'll be out here. And, as the Commander pointed out, we'll be taking the fight to the Klingons. That said, we'll also need to do so under the radar. While New Anchorage is aware of our existence, and some choice ships on patrol, as far as most people in the fleet know, the USS Shanghai is currently station around Earth." She tapped on the table. "We'll need to adjust our IFF and automatic systems to send inaccurate information - and we'll run silently, in case we come into range of any ship that is classified. Without a cloaking device, it will take some deception on our parts, so be prepared to play a role."

"Captain," Hisa said, and spun towards Mei, "If you want and time permitting, we can make this ship look like whatever you want on both short and long-range sensors." She let out a chuckle, "A garbage scow, if that's what you really want. Although that might be harder to explain if someone decides to take a closer look."

"We'll need to pick something a little less obvious. Another ship in the region, or something similar. I'm less worried about our enemies being suspicious than our allies." Mei admitted with a nod.

"That will be our top priority. To keep you in the loop, we're also resettling our new friends from the artificial timeline. All our scans report that after we shut down the Mantle Outpost and lost connection to it, that it has stabilized and started to fade back into our time. As such, there have been some oddities reported - mostly harmless. Clocks changing, forests shifting, odd weather patterns, but they're all moving back towards normal now. We'll need to dig in and figure out if there are lasting effects or if the timeline is really gone - but Civilian science teams will be taking the lead for now, since it will be a lot more ground to cover to get the readings needed." She didn't wait for any questions on that, "In addition, the Cyen are sending a ship to Golovin for trade purposes, but they're also bringing a few scientists who specialize in Edasichian ruins. They'll likely be more helpful in getting to the bottom of that. They indicated they were also an 'uplifted' species - which is a worrying concept to me personally, but that's a philosophical disagreement more than anything else. Anyway. The Hippogriff will be escorting them." Mei glanced up. "Any further questions? I'd like to start running the Shanghai through its paces as soon as possible."

"Our new friends are staying in contact with Reiko, my daughter," Kachiko noted."Thankfully she can understand them quite well, now,given that their fast forwarded timeline is slowing down to match our own time progression. They are not yet able to understand us, or we them, but they are happy to use Reiko as an intermediary, along with Doctor Anvers. Reiko has said that she will stay available until we return with the Doctor."

"Until the Cyen arrive and can give us a little more information, we're letting them have their lands in the mountains near where we found the entrance to the Mantle Outpost." Mei added. "Currently, we're asking that people stay clear, and we're following general procedure and just observing via drones to make sure they are okay - with occasional attempts at communication. For now, they seem friendly." She nodded. "Once they're ready, expect to be part of the teams that go to formally greet them."

"Good. Now, report to your bridge stations. I want to put the ship through her paces," Mei spoke simple, standing and giving a quick nod.

Hisa was the second to stand after the Captain. It was either eagerness to be able to work down in engineering again or wanting to hightail it out of the room. "Oh, I nearly forgot," she said, giving Mei a slight bow from the waist as she spoke. She held up the padd she carried, she hadn't handed it over yet. "I'm coming with you." It was a bold statement, she knew but she also needed to be straight to the point. "The calculations for the the drive to be masked need to be manually entered, on top of being constantly adjusted, thanks to literally not being used." She gave her a slight grin. " I'd rather you all not plow into a planet if the slipstream collapses. There's a slight phase variance I'm having trouble correcting. And I can't do it in a holodeck. So. Yeah." She said, suddenly stumbling over her words. Hisa fought the urge to bolt out of the door, and waited for a confirmation.

"I'm not cleared for duty yet, Captain, so I am going to beam back to the station," Lyn sighed."I will oversee fighter ops from Seppala Ops for as long as I feel up to it."

A sparkle in the Doctor's eyes "Commander, I would like you aboard Shanghai. I will clear you for limited bridge duty with the Captain's permission." He then looked to the Commander then Sun "I would also like Reiko aboard to continue her mental training. Also as she is a medical student I could use an extra hand for sickbay."

"I don't think it wise, Doc," Lyn sighed."With what the orbs did for me, apparently while I was asleep, it's probably best that we don't cart my chronitons around until we are more certain of what's happening."



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