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The Aubrey's Keys

Posted on 17 Feb 2019 @ 6:30am by Captain Akio Tachibana & Commander S’chqenr T’Jedf Tolkath (Jan 2389 - TRNSFR After Gorn War) & Lieutenant Commander Iria Taltos & Lieutenant Commander Rafe Cassidy (Jan 2389 - TRNSFR After Gorn War) & Ensign Rora Tai & Ensign Kojima "Paperboy" Tanahashi & Electronics Technician Chief Petty Officer Jessica Wilson
Edited on on 17 Feb 2019 @ 6:43pm

Mission: Ka Hakaka Maikaʻi - The Good Fight
Location: Shuttle bay
Timeline: Four days after the Second Battle of XFY

Soundtrack - Xenogears - The One Who is Torn Apart


[Shuttle bay]

Iria walked around the Gorn shuttle going over it once more before she sent off an invitation to everyone she felt had a say in the status and whom might be flying the darn thing.

The transponder had been found easily enough during the first day's going over. It was a few hours of working with science, but together they got it disabled to the point it read as destroyed. So the Gorn shouldn't/wouldn't be looking for it anymore.

Iria had a few ideas for interior color design but was at the moment not changing the outward appearance of the shuttle since she figured the idea was to take it right past some other Gorn ships for missions. If that turned out to be incorrect she would definitely be happy to change the outward colors scheme.

The engineering teams with additional help from the Devonshire and station had gotten the Hawaii back to practically fresh off the ship yard status in three days. During those three days she had spent her time bouncing from one problem or project to next, and checking on Kosu when she could.

It was now time for Aubrey's first flight and Iria was curious to see whom was going to take the first flight run.

Cassidy wasn't far behind the invitation. Long hours spent obsessing over the navigational charts for the mission ahead had him hankering for a change of pace, and a new project was exactly the change he'd had in mind.

He joined Iria by the hull, hands on his hips, and let out a low whistle. "She's an unconventional beaut, and no mistake," he said admiringly. "The Gorn aren't much for aesthetics, are they? But I can't imagine many other Starfleet officers have got this close and personal."

Iria grinned cheekily, "Well of our crew eight of us are pretty well acquainted with it now. No she isn't pretty on the outside but once I get the okay from you and other pilots about the controls and handling I have suggestions for beautification of the interior."

Cassidy looked mischievously delighted. "See, whenever I used to tell my engineers I wanted my cockpits looking pretty or comfortable back at Beta Antares, they always whined at me and said I should make sure the ship was going to fly properly first. Personally, if a maneuvering thruster was going to misfire and send me careening into a collision, I'd want to look cool and be comfy while it happened." But the grin stayed a little fixed as he looked from her to the ship. It had been a long time since he'd been a test pilot. And he'd stopped for a reason.

Iria could not help the laugh that let loose, "I figure if I am making repair and improving the look that includes what the pilot has to see and interact with so I don't mind in making things look or feel nicer one the inside. If anyone gives you guys grief just call me. I will come fix what you want done." she paused and added, "Though that is if you're the one doing the main flying if not you and the others on rotation will have to vote and agree."

"Someone else will have to take point on this girl," Cassidy said a little wistfully. "Got enough going on with the Canterra mission coming up. But I figure I can help us keep the test process streamlined."

Kojima let out a whistle as he circled the craft a few times, he had missed the previous battles the Hawaii had taken part of only just transferring aboard a short time ago. "It's weird thinking that only so many people have gotten to see one of these and had time to study it."

Iria turned towards the newest person in the room, "Yeah now. You and the others get to practice flying her. You better not dent her too much either." She added with a mock glare. Dents were not that troublesome just annoying.

Kojima looks towards Iria, "If we don't ding her up how can we really put her to her paces if we play it safe flying her?"

Cassidy gave a crooked grin. "That's how test flights work for you poor engineers. We've got to find all the divots in the design so you can hammer them out. Look at it this way; we get the exciting part where we risk our necks, you get the hours of grueling work which won't blow you up. Simple!"

Iria shook her head trying to not curse at them. She did not want to see anyone get "blown up" she had heard plenty over the previous days of folks getting unluckily spaced when the hull was breached. Others had died during the boarding by Gorn and some folks had been lost seriously injured for getting the Gorn ship boarded, Kosu included. She sighed and stepped back to let the pilots have the space.

Rora walked in and watched as Rafe got a closer look at the shuttle along with one of the fighter pilots. "Hey Boss are you still glad you sent me to drive the Hilo? I mean you that missed dragging this home."

"You helped grab her," Cassidy agreed. "Only fair you get yourself blown up putting her through her paces." He gave her a sanguine nod and deadpanned, straight-faced: "It's a shame. I was just getting fond of you, Ensign."

"If I don't get blown up today. You are buying drinks after." Rora retorted with a laugh and shake of her head. She was surprised Spencer wasn't here.

"I'm a generous leader. I buy all the drinks," Cassidy agreed, a simple promise to make when the replicator provided whatever they wanted down in the lounge without charge. It did mean he'd have to carry the tray. "If you do get blown up, you get two drinks, just we drink 'em for you."

"As long as you don't drink a Long Island tea in my name, otherwise I might have to haunt you for poor taste." Rora retorted with a laugh. She could joke about it but the fear it could end in a ball of flames was real.

"It's fine, if I drink a Long Island tea, I won't even remember being haunted." But Cassidy gave her a a softer, more lopsided smile. "When the first test flight's successful, you can pick our poison down in the lounge." He knew the nerves. Every pilot had them. No pilot wanted to show them.

Iria saw the Captain and Second officer walking in and looked to the pilots again, "Go on and look her over I want to check with the Chief really quick."

"Sure." Cassidy ambled towards the ship itself, reaching out to brush a hand across the hull. Touch was such a silly and yet primal thing, even for a pilot who cared more about flight and controls. The metal itself felt different; differently worked, differently textured, and for all his experience he could only summon the word alien to describe it.

He looked at the fighter pilot. "You got much experience flying against Gorn ships, Paperboy?"

"None what so ever, but I guess I have some time to learn." Kojima answers.

Rora let the guys go first mostly for the fact they had arrived before she had so it was only fair to let them get the closer look see first.

Tolkath and Tachibana entered the Bay and crossed to the Gorn craft.

"- had a technician disable the Gorn communications system for now" Tolkath was explaining "It appears to be partially integrated with some of the flight controls, possibly enabling the Gorn to pilot the craft remotely. I thought it best to disconnect it until we can have a report on the circuitry and a way to sever the interfaces."

"Probably a wise decision. Have we figured out the transponder system?" the Captain asked, wondering what the capabilities would be for a future mission.

"Again, integrated into the communication and helm systems. It might be that the shuttle's identification is assigned to it by it's parent craft" Tolkath replied, then noticed Wilson working on the ship. "We may have our report now Captain."

He called the Engineer over "Chief Wilson, have you managed to isolate the communications and flight control systems?"

"Not yet Sir, Still learning Gorn," Jessica replied as she was worried that by taking one part out might be the wrong part as she looked back at her senior officer, but she had to learn what each program did before removing it.

"Very well, keep working Chief" Tolkath acknowledged, then turned back to Tachibana "Until we can be confident we have complete control over the craft, its fight control and communication systems then l would not recommend permitting any test flights Captain."

"We have approximately 21 days until we reach Canterra IV, Commander. Major West would like to use her during a landing operation. Do you think that is feasible?" Akio asked.

"That would appear to be a suitable mission for this vessel Captain." Tolkath agreed. " How long do you estimate it will take to effect the work Chief Wilson" He asked the Engineer, noting the group of pilots went quiet too, as they all awaited the Engineers reply.

"2 to 3 weeks at the most," replied Jessica looking back at Tolkath, she continued," If I can isolate the right part and not blow the ship up," as she was finding it hard enough understanding Gorn.

Iria walked over her eye brows raised slightly, "I am sorry, I was told the Aubrey was ready for test flights today by the rest of the team; if you need help with the translation Chief Wilson, I can help and I can ask around the department for the others who understand Gorn."

"Oh that would be a great help," replied Jessica as she knew that would cut the time down, she asked, "So when do you want to start ma'am."

Iria grinned cheekily, "If you've got no objections, now; the pilots took time off their regular shifts to be here to test flight because the rest of the team said it was ready to go." Iria retorted.

The chief just nodded and kept working.

Tolkath informed the Captain of the delay. As Akio and Tolkath conversed, the Captain noticed another Japanese officer near the shuttle. Akio raised his hand and shouted, "Konichiwa!"

"Ohayōgozaimasu, kyaputen" The young Ensign replied, he hadn't gotten to meet the Captain of the Hawaii but he had heard that the two of them shared the fact that they were born and raised in Japan. "Anything I can do for you sir?"

Akio smiled at Tanahashi's Japanese. While the Federation was multicultural, it was a reminder of home to hear your native tongue.

"We were hoping to see your flying skills in the Gorn craft," Akio mused.

"If it can fly I can fly it...or crash it whatever is needed at the time." Kojima jokes.

"Crashing would not be the best outcome for such a valuable craft," Akio warned before Tolkath approached closer, almost as if he was the mother of the craft.

"It appears you will not have opportunity to fly the craft Ensign, " Tolkath remarked "Apparently Engineering will require two or three weeks to complete the work."

He turned to the rest of the Flight Control pilots "Thank you for coming, but for now you may return to your duties."

Cassidy's jaw twitched with frustration. "I don't - surely there's ways of speeding this up. If we've only got three weeks until we get to Canterra, we want to have clocked a good number of hours in the cockpit before we take it on a mission."

Tolkath nodded, the Lieutenant was correct.

Cassidy looked over at Taltos. "Can we run some scans and try to duplicate at least some basic holo simulations? If only for familiarity with the cockpit and basic controls, we don't need a complete picture of the ship's full capabilities." It was obviously a somewhat desperate, optimistic comment from a pilot who just wanted to get something done.

Iria nodded, "Scans have already been run, it won't take long to add details for a simulator type program on the holodeck. Once I get the others here to help with the translations I can give a better time table for a retry." Iria said addressing Cassidy and adding a bit extra for Tolkath.

Rora shook her head softly, but she would be happy to come back at a later time and the idea of testing in the holodeck wasn't that bad in the meantime.

"Sounds a hell of a lot better than nothing," said Cassidy.

"There is also the sensor data from the craft that boarded us," Tolkath offered. "That can be used to extrapolate flight characteristics, I can formulate that into computations for a simulation"

"That's brilliant, sir." Cassidy beamed, relaxing as things started to come together, but then a thought occurred and it was like a switch flicked in him as he straightened with sudden officiousness. "Okay, we don't want this to slip again if this is a mission critical asset." He pulled a PADD from his back pocket. "I'll brush us up a schedule for developing this simulator, then a rotation for getting Ensign Tai as much cockpit time as possible. Me and Paperboy and maybe Griffiths, too, make sure we've got some redundancies."

He looked to Taltos and Wilson. "If we give you the resources you need, can I give you a 14 day deadline on getting that bucket flying? And if there are setbacks or problems or that turns out to be untenable I want that reported, to me. I've never known a test flight deadline to stay carved in stone, but communication is what stops the test team from murdering each other in their sleep. Sounds reasonable, Lieutenant. Chief?" Despite the instructions and the inconvenience of this gathering, Cassidy's voice was still unaccusing.

"I can work with that" replied Jessica as she knew now that this ride was not all down to her, but she also knew that they needed this ship. as now she was going to get the translation right when taking the components apart.

Iria nodded her head, "I will give you and Commander Tolkath any updates as they develop and for time frame I think we can get things sorted out in the next five or six days." Specially since some had seen fit to take off, in an absentee tossing her and Chief Wilson under the bus. They could definitely help with extra shift time. Iria wasn't about to be caught in a situation like this again.

Rora kept out of the conversation but she heard enough that she was certain to get very familiar with the shuttle.

Tolkath nodded "That seems to be an acceptable solution to the immediate problem."

"Brilliant," Cassidy concluded. "I'll draw up and distribute the schedules and detail who should be kept in the loop." It was a strange kind of nervousness driving him, he realised. This was something he could do, the sort of thing he'd done for years even if back then it had been a necessary evil before he could jump in a cockpit.

Only right now he didn't know how he'd feel about flying this untested ship.

Jessica said, "Don't worry we will have this Ship ready in time," as she gave Cassidy a smile to quell Cassidy's fears, but now, she had to show the Captain and the commander that she was ready for the task at hand.

Kojima places a hand on the hull of the Gorn ship, before he looks to Lieutenant Cassidy. "So when we do get to fly this, how we gonna decide who gets to fly her first? Showdown at highnoon, pistols at dawn, coin flip?" He jests.

Cassidy laughed and tried to swallow the bitter taste in his mouth. It wasn't the young pilot's fault. "Right now, Ensign Tai's got priority after all the fun of that boarding action. But we're definitely going to need backup trained, and you've got more time for that than me." And he had, after all, quit being a test pilot for a reason. "If you want to play Tai at cards for the right to be first in that cockpit, you two can take that up between you."

Rora looked at the Fighter Pilot, "Let's see how the simulation flights go then we can discuss the actual flight duty." She said with a smile but she was curious to see just how good he would be.

"That would be the simpler way to solve it." Kojima nods.

"We'll see," said Cassidy, going actually half serious for a moment. While competition among the pilots was good, he didn't want to encourage a free-for-all. Sticking to the plan for the moment and changing if it became necessary seemed a lot better.

Akio had been listening off to the side. He learned early on in command, that command was about supervising the sausage-making, not being in the middle of it.

"Keep me informed, Commander," Akio said before he turned away.

Once the Captain was gone, Cassidy rounded on the pilots and engineers. "We've got a plan. Let's get it done. If you'll excuse me..." He lifted his hands in apology, and headed for the door, obviously going to catch up with Akio.


Akio Tachibana, CAPT, SF

Tolkath, CDR, SF

Rafe Cassidy, LT, SF

Rora Tai, Ens., SF
Flight control NPC

Iria Taltos, Lt.j.g., SF

Kojima 'Paperboy' Tanahashi, Ens., SFFC
FLT 801/XO

Jessica Wilson, ETC, SF


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