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Back on the Bridge

Posted on Tue Jun 21st, 2022 @ 3:23pm by Lieutenant Adora (Addie) Hart & Lieutenant JG Vespa Kale

Mission: The Koldaran Encounter

There were three seats that sat in the middle of the bridge of the USS Pennsylvania. Addie sat in one, her feet tucked under her, chaotic blonde curls framing her face, one thumb against her lips as she chewed anxiously on the thumb nail. She didn't want to be on the bridge, in all honesty it was still somewhere that made her vastly uncomfortable, but she had no choice. She'd been left behind.

The quietness of the bridge was unsettling, the usual banter and chatter between the crew had been replaced by tense silence, a silence that was only broken by the intermittent sound of a console beeping.

The security console beeped three times, a sound that was new, startlingly new.

Addie straightened in her seat, eyes widening. "What was that?" she asked, glancing first toward the security console and then toward Vespa who occupied the two seats next to her. "Is that the bad beep? Are we being attacked?"

Vespa turned one of her attentions to the arm panel of one of the chairs she was occupying. The other attention she turned to Addie, "Hey hey, easy on that thumb. YOU only have two, you know." she offered with a smile. "Let me check to see what that beep means, usually..."

"... a beep isn't a problem unless it's accompanied by a siren, a shaking, or a hissing noise. That last one is usually a big big problem." the Dalacari mentioned, bringing up what she could on the panel.

"Hey. Are you alright? We haven't had the chance to really sit down and talk after, well, everything." Vespa ventured. "And who does the..."

"... counselor get to chat with, really? Need a shoulder, you've got your pick with me." she giggled, a little humor to defuse the tension.

"And they're all rather comfortable from memory," Addie said with a smile. "Does the bridge always make so many sounds?" she asked, glancing across at the consoles. "How do you tell what's what?"

"Are you asking me, for my perspective?" Vespa offered a pair of smiles. "Also, thank you. I condition twice." she noted her fur care regimen.

"So, here's a fun bit of perspective. Dalacari ships make a fair bit of noise. Beeps, boops, the usual. Trick is, we have a lot of systems in place to monitor those..."

"... systems so that really only the most important or vital beeps or boops ever really make it to a Dalacari for processing. As for how it sounds, I'd say it sounds very..."

"... pleasant, but that's actually by design. We adjust our ship's acoustics to be a pleasant background tone." a pause, "Now, between you and me, I've been on a Ts'usugi..."

"... ship once. Not the bridge, mind you, just the ship. Quarters, mess hall, recreation." she paused, "It's quiet. There's no noise, no hum, no vibration of the ship's..."

"... systems through the floor. It's just quiet. Like the kind of quiet that makes you wonder if you even left the stardock." she offered.

"So Federation ships, with all their noise? I'll take it." she giggled. "As for that particular beep, it looks like... ahh, here we go, the weekly reminder to run a level three..."

"... diagnostic and defragmentation on the central computer core. Might as well mark that as unread and snooze for one day." she said with a pair of smiles.

Addie turned her attention back to the view of the planet below them. "It looks so peaceful, so serene," she commented. "Like, it's just a beautiful ball of colours floating in space, it makes it so hard to correlate with the horrors we've been told are happening down on the planet."

There was a pause as Addie shifted in the seat, trying to make herself more comfortable. "What do you think is happening down there?" the counselor turned her attention to Vespa. "Do you think it's really bad?"

Vespa gave a pair of nods, "If it's the Koldaran, yeah." she offered softly, "They're really the only species I know of that could take something so beautiful, so peaceful and think that..."

"... war and dread can improve it. Take all those colors and turn them to mud, and say it's an improvement." she shook her heads. "They're brutal, wicked people." she said with a touch of finality.

"They aim to Strand Dalacari, knowing that all they have to do is hit *one*. All they have to do is kill one." she said in a hush. "I... I've only really seen the..."

"... drone footage. They insist at the academy that we watch at least twenty minutes of it just to really get a feel for how dangerous space is." she was silent for a moment, "I'll be glad when this is behind us."

There was something about the way Vespa spoke, the words, the descriptions, that set Addie even more on edge. Another console beeped and she started again, glancing around, eyes widening slightly. The bridge was already not a place that she felt comfortable, but this situation made it even worse.

Her hands rested on the arm rest of the chair, fingers gripping tightly as her gaze drifted back to the large forward window. "And our people are down there," she said softly. "The Captain is down there.... Henry is down there... everyone..."

"They're some of Starfleet's best. Certainly better to deal with a hostile situation than I am." she cited, then opted to try a different approach. "Henry, eh?" she smirked.

"Tell me about him. New friend, or do I have to worry about someone taking over Best Friend status?"

Addie laughed softly at the remark and shook her head, blonde curls bouncing. "No one could ever replace you as my best friend," she said warmly. "He's a new friend." She drew in a deep breath. "Most people on the ship seem to treat me like I'm an alien since the incident on the bridge, except you," she added. "He didn't, he just talked to me."

Vespa gave a pair of smiles, "Sometimes all it takes is just a chatty friend." she giggled. "And I mean, nevermind that you're actually an alien to me." she teased.

"But that's really good, a new friend. I can't wait to meet him, this way we're a big friend triangle." the Dalacari offered with a smile, a smile that never seemed to falter or wane. "And, thank you. Always good to hear..."

"... that your best friend thinks you're their best friend too."

Addie smiled, the sentiment almost making her forget their current predicament, at least, until a console beeped again. Her eyes widened slightly as she looked at Vespa questioningly. "I'm definitely not cut out to be a bridge officer," she said quietly. "Sickbay is definitely much more my cup of tea."

Vespa gave the beep a glance, one body on the task while the other kept up with Addie. "I won't lie, I prefer the lab over the bridge myself and believe me when I say I'm with you on that. I'm twice the scaredy cat you are." she responded with a giggle. The form on the chair with the beep put a snooze on the beep order.

"Another general maintenance reminder. I forwarded it to Engineering. Carbon scrubbers, important but not left hand chair important, I think." she shook her heads. "I don't mind that..."

"... we're not being shot, but I don't like this quiet. I wish the Ts'usugi were here." she confided in her friend. "Or at least another ship from home. They'd calculate exactly..."

"... what to do."

"At least if we were down there we'd know what was going on," Addie sighed softly. "That's the worst part, isn't it? The not knowing? The uncertainty?" She glanced around the bridge, glad that basically no one else was paying any attention to them. "I'll be honest, I've never been in a combat situation before, at least, not until I came to the Delta Quadrant. The angry nebula was the worst thing I've ever been through. At least this time there are no voices in my head."

"Me neither, until you all came to the Delta." Vespa replied with a smile or two. "And yeah, that nebula was terrible, remind me to downtrend it when we get back to..."

"... civilization." she paused, and looked out at the visual of the planet below. "I can give you an idea what's going on down there. The Dalacari learn about the Koldaran. Ts'usugi insist on it so..."

"... we know about them. Know the enemy, they say. That, and the Koldaran know that all they have to do is aim for one body to take a Dalacari out." she paused, shaking her head.

"They're not nice. I know, that sounds silly to say, of course they're not nice. But they take it a step further. They're vile, mean spirited, and just about the..."

"... actual definition of Evil. They aren't cold about it like the Borg. It isn't sport to them like the Hirogen. To the Koldaran, it's how things are. Expand." she paused again to gather her thoughts.

"But I admire the bravery of the Federation, almost as much as I admire the bravery of the Ts'usugi. You both have that in common." Vespa offered with another pair of smiles. "You don't hesitate to stop evil."

"Just stick with me. I know about three or four really good hiding places if the shooting starts."

"I may just hold you to that," Addie said with a laugh. "Just don't give me a phaser or expect me to shoot back, we all know how that one ends."

Despite being the literal target of that reference, Vespa laughed as well, "No no, it's fine. We'll just tell you they're all Griffiths in disguise. I estimate you'll have the whole incursion sorted out in three hours. Four tops." the Dalacari giggled again, then looked out through the viewer to the expanse beyond, and the world below.

"They always pick the beautiful worlds."


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