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An Offer and a Request

Posted on Sat Nov 14th, 2020 @ 12:42pm by Ensign Jane Sinclair & Captain Mei Xiang Sun

Mission: Neither Past nor Future
Location: Captain’s Ready Room

It had been a couple of days since Ensign Jane Sinclair had arrived in 2399 onto the Galaxy-class USS Shanghai. She had missed a lot of the arrival briefings, having spent time recovering in sickbay. She had been injured quite badly on the Edasichian vessel around Gargantua, and again in the crash landing ofmthe commandeered spy runabout onto the new Shanghai’s flight deck. But she was back at 100% and ready to get back to work.

Her girlfriend was fine too, thankfully. Shaila had been evacuated from the old Shanghai unscathed. The TI agent had given her devastating news, and she’d spent most of the time since arrival alone.

Jane had spent time alone too, or trying to console Shaila. But this morning she had received a summons. Captain Sun — the one from this era — wanted to speak with her.

Uniform crisp and clean, though still her uniform from her own timeline (mended and laundered), she chimed on the door of the Captain’s Ready Room.

"Enter," Sun's voice called out.

The door opened and in Jane went. She stood with her hands behind her back in front of the Captain’s desk.

The Captain looked up from what appeared to be work. "Lieutenant," She said before closing her eyes and shaking her head. "No, sorry, Ensign." She corrected with a smirk, "You're likely the first of your displaced crew I actually have seen recently in this timeline." She waved to a seat in front of her desk. "Let's get to work then shall we?" She said as she tossed the padd down on her desk. For a fleeting second, it was clear that it was a personal correspondence of some sort or another. She glanced up, "From my reading on your timeline, your Captain Sun seemed to have roughly the same appraisal of your skills as I did during that time - though, some clear differences here and there," She said, "I've got a list of ships that need a good pilot if you're looking to stick in the fleet. Captains Noble, Tarsis, Set, and I think K'vors," She tapped a finger against her cheek, "Are all looking for new Chief Conn officers - and I can find you a junior posting anywhere in the Fleet. Seeing as you're in uniform, I'm guessing you want back in." She said, confident that hadn't played her cards.

“I do, Captain,” Jane answered as she sat down. “Of course I’ll accept any flight control position I’m offered. I understand these are strange circumstances. But Captain...what I really want is to be attached to Shanghai. To work for you.”

Mei paused for a moment and glanced across to the officer. "Of course, Ensign - I'd be happy to consider that, but as I recall, you were always one to be at the cutting edge of flying. There are Captains with the new Inquiry or Curiosity classes that would love to have you. This Shanghai does a lot of, well, sitting and waiting."

Jane had read about those new ship classes. In her timeline, Curiosity class ships were fairly new in her time, but the Inquiry class was still on the drawing board. Now both were commonplace in the fleet, and the Captain's offer was truly generous.

But that wasn't what she wanted.

"I've read the mission profile, ma'am," she said. "But while the Shanghai might be doing a lot of sitting and waiting, its flight deck is never quiet. Shuttles are always coming and going from whichever world we're orbiting, and the fighter squadron is often active. And there's nothing quite like a massive starship responding to your touch. I can get this ship to dance on a pinhead for you, Captain, if you'll let me."

Sun paused for a moment, "If that's what you want, I won't argue with you." She smirked and shook her head, "I've had some good pilots, but none quite come with the wide-eyed willingness to follow me into some stupid plan as Sinclair did - and assuming you're roughly the same person," She said with a shrug. "I'll set it up. You don't worry about the details. Just hit logistics, get a room assignment and a new uniform and badge," She nodded to herself, "Any other requests?" She asked, expecting one or two - but not willing to push that conversation unless the displaced officer wanted to discuss it.

“One, actually,” Jane said, shifting uncomfortably in her seat. “Captain, I know TI told us not to try to do this, but I need to ask. I’m desperate to ask. Captain, I want to meet her. I want to meet Lieutenant Jane Sinclair. Even if it’s on a screen. I want to talk to her. I need to talk to her. I’m willing to accept any restrictions or monitoring or other requirements. But I need this.”

"Standard procedure," Mei said with a hand held up. "I've already started discussions with TI on long term. Once they have all the research in place, and they can confirm their suspicions, you'll be cleared to move about as normal. Given you are from a different time period, and one in the past, you won't be bound to a new identity or unable to visit family, friends, etc..." She said, "There is no chance of temporal issues in this case - or, we expect there won't be. Though, I'd encourage you to consider the reasons behind the Trill symbiotes and their rules against relating with old lives. I don't know that I agree with it... but," She shrugged, "It might help in the transistion. So - my instinct is to say no. Be patient, and you'll be able to meet with her in person..." She paused for a moment, "Knowing you - if this is something that will eat at you to the detriment of your mind set... I'll talk to TI about speeding it up in your case."

"I would like that," Jane replied. She then let out a long breath, which she had not realized she had been holding. "I anticipated it would be a lot harder than that," she explained. "Like we would be forced to avoid our old homes or families, or ourselves. I understand the logic behind Trill rules, and generally I think they make sense in this context. But it can't be a clean break. That would be devastating."

"I know," Mei said with an all too knowing nod. She nodded over to the hologram on her desk, a little bit of a shimmer at the corner of her eyes, "Trust me." She gave a smile and shook her head. "It's hard to look at you and realize you know nothing about it," She spoke with a shake of her head. "Jane's the only reason Ryl survived after Ersin died," She gave a shake of her head. "His symbiont. I'm grateful, but it's weird to think that their father is out there. But they can never meet him. Or... her," She shrugged. "I don't know anything about the new host." She shrugged, "If I can help you and other crew members keep from having that feeling I will - but we'll just have to be mindful of things."

"I understand." Jane nodded and calmed down, reassured that things were better than she had thought they would be. "Can you tell me what I--or rather, what Jane--did? To save your late husband's symbiont?" She found herself leaning forward, eager to hear a story of herself, though not herself.

"Disobeyed a direct order," Mei said quietly. "We still didn't have the corridor completely safe, but were evacuating civilians from one of the local colonies that we had just been able to get to. Ryl's ship got ambushed, and they retreated planetside with the civilian ships. The Klingons didn't take kindly to the retreat..." She shook her head, "Gorey details aside, Starfleet was able to hold the colony, but Ersin didn't make it. They didn't have a suitable host there... but there was one on another ship in the sector. So," She took a deep breath, "Jane decided she could beat the blockade, despite orders otherwise. So, she took one of Shanghai's remaining shuttles and ran the damn blockade." She shrugged softly, "She warped in as close as possible, beamed out the symbiont, and warped out, Birds of Prey got a couple shots off on her - but she made it out, made it to the other ship, and Ryl got a new Host..."

"Starfleet was furious - but the Trill government intervened on her behalf. After all, saving lifetimes of memories was something they held dear. Between the Deltans and Trill, Shanghai had made some powerful allies over the years - so she ended up with a medal instead of a black mark. Even got back to me for a while before my medical leave started. Ended up flying myself and the twins back to the core planets after..."

Jane unconsciously wiped a tear from her eye. “That sounds like me, alright,” she said with a chuckle. “Jumping in without thinking it all the way through, but it working out for the best. Well, I’m glad she was there for you and for him. I hope I can live up to her example.” She got up from her chair and stood tall and at attention. “I won’t let you down, ma’am. If there’s nothing else, I’ll get a cabin and a new uniform.”

"Good," Mei said quietly, "The galaxy is a safer place with two of you flying in it," She spoke with a nod. "And Sinclair. Don't rush. Feel free to take time to adjust to the new world before jumping into duty."

“Yes, ma’am!” Feeling better knowing that she had a future in this timeline, and on this ship, she was ready to move forward. She would get a permanent cabin, a new uniform, and familiarize herself with contemporary flight controls.

But first, she needed to make arrangements, facilitated by her new (again) Captain, to speak with Lieutenant Sinclair.



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