Forum for the U.S.S. Atlantis, running every Wednesday at 2100 ET. Talk about your missions and your crewmates here, and post your logs for everyone to read.
Tue Jun 26, 2018 8:34 pm
An interesting portrayal of a key moment! What is it she is considering? Whom will she talk to about it? I look forward to finding out.
Tue Jul 17, 2018 7:51 pm
by T’Lira and Kathryn Harper
T’Lira held the PADD in her hand, absolutely not almost breaking it, as she reached an office door she’d stood before many times before. After a moment’s hesitation, she reached forward and pressed the chime.
Seated behind the ready room desk, Captain Harper looked up from a report when the door rang. Not expecting anyone, she nonetheless cheerfully answered, “Come in!”
Another moment of hesitation, and T’Lira entered, clasping the PADD behind her, “Captain… do you have a moment for us to speak?”
“T’Lira, certainly!” Kate stood and with a welcoming smile, walked around the desk and gestured to one of the chairs. “Please, have a seat. What can I do for you?”
“I have found myself facing a dilemma for some time now. I wished to… seek advice before making a final determination on my path going forward,” she replied, sitting in the indicated seat.
Concern crossed her face as Kate sat in the other chair, sensing that the matter must have some weight, since T’Lira rarely seemed indecisive. She settled against the chair’s back and encouraged, “Of course.”
“I have recently found myself… becoming distracted in my work. A sense of doubt and… I am not certain what to term the sensation of wishing to change past events, but it has become a constant in my thoughts and I find myself wondering if I could have changed certain events in the past, but struck with the realization that I do not have the necessary training to do so…,” she trailed off, attempting to compose her thoughts into something more coherent.
“I am sorry,” Kate began, furrowing her brow, “but I do not follow. Is it that you are wanting additional training to prevent something that has happened to you from happening again?”
“Forgive me, I find it strangely difficult to voice what I wish to… I have found my concerns beginning to expand to what would happen should I be unable to aid my crewmates should anything happen and I find myself less and less focused on my work and on sciences in general. Instead, I seem to be doing more and more research into subjects such as combat methods and defensive tactics… in short, I do not believe that Sciences is… the correct place for me to be, given where my recent thoughts and studies have turned to over the past several months,” T’Lira tilted her head slightly, as if trying to assess whether she had managed to accurately phrase what she wished to.
Given the turmoil of the past few years, it was a sentiment Captain Harper could empathize with. After the Tzenkethi War, the events that led to her taking command of Atlantis, and the Section 31 Crisis and its aftermath — it seemed that things were just now returning to a semblance of normalcy. She had even required counseling to come to terms with the consequences of some of those things, and despite their stoic reputation, Harper did not find herself surprised that even a Vulcan’s fortitude could waver.
Kate leaned forward and clasped her hands, her mien one of compassion as she softly answered, “After all that we have been through, I certainly understand. Though it feels like that the turbulent times have passed, vigilance is always necessary against their return. However, our current mission is not just one of pure science, but the greatest opportunity for it to date, and as CAG, you already contribute a great deal to the defense of your crewmates. What else would you like to do?”
“I am uncertain as to what my next move should be. The only thing I am certain of is that I do not belong in Sciences for the foreseeable future. That is why I am here, seeking your advice,” T’Lira resisted the urge to clasp her hands together. It was an old habit, one she thought she had rid herself of long ago.
The captain settled back in her chair, considering her officer’s request for advice, not only from the standard CO’s perspective of what is best for the ship, but also from an attempt to guess what would be best for T’Lira’s career and well-being. Her lips pursed off to one side for a few moments as she thought, finally answering, “I see a few options that I can offer you, T’Lira, based on your stated interest in tactics. The duties of CAG are not enough to constitute a full-time position without supplemental assignments, such as navigation, but Lieutenant Navarro has that covered. However, navigation is not the only additional job opportunity available to a pilot. Your tactical abilities are already well-developed by your time in the cockpit, and further combat training under Major Wolfe could earn you a spot in his department, depending on your performance. As a long term assignment, that could potentially require a transfer to the Marines, but it is something you could try first to see if it suits you.
“Your other options would involve transfer, such as applying to take the command aptitude test in search of such a position on another ship.” With a supportive, hopeful tone, Kate finished, “Although I hope that you will choose to remain part of my crew, you have my support, whatever you decide.”
“I have no desire to leave the Atlantis, I have come to see this ship, and its crew, as… home. I would be interested in combat training. I believe I could better serve the crew in that way,” T’Lira paused as she spoke, arranging her thoughts into something more coherent, “I do understand the… inconvenience of this, but I believed this was a matter better resolved sooner rather than later.”
Kate leaned forward and, knowing their cultural preference, placed a hand on the Vulcan woman’s chair arm, stopping short of actually touching her. Making direct eye contact, she firmly asserted, “T’Lira, ensuring the physical and mental health of my crew is never an inconvenience.” Keeping her eyes locked on T’Lira’s to confirm that her point had gotten across, Harper paused a moment while retreating to her own personal space, then continued, “While I am certain that Commander Wright will be dismayed to lose you, Science will be fine. If this truly is what you want, then report to Major Wolfe for temporary assigned duty.”
T’Lira nodded, some part of her immensely grateful for the reassurance, “Thank you, Captain. I will report immediately.”
Optimistic that the duty change would turn out to be a positive move for T’Lira, Harper sincerely offered, “Of course, and please do not hesitate to ask if there is anything more I can do.”
“I will. And Captain…,” she paused, for just a moment, “I do not believe there is a way for me to sufficiently thank you for your help.”
“There is no need,” Kate replied with a warm smile as she stood, one hand’s fingertips lingering on the chair arm as her eyes once again met T’Lira’s. “You said that you see this ship and her crew as your home, and this is what we do for one another at home — as a family.”
Fri Mar 01, 2019 2:54 pm
Perhaps changing the algorithm to grant a more narrow focus on the target would be far more useful. Yes, that would definitely work for the phaser arrays, T’Lira mused. She had been working on this in her off-hours for some time, consulting with Elena occasionally, as her friend had many more years of tactical knowledge. Elena had been ecstatic, eager to find a new method of targeting. She seemed to take a certain… joy in complaining about her ship’s faults, despite proclaiming to care for her ship dearly.
She was in the process of applying the algorithm to a testing scenario when she heard Lieutenant Acacia speak, ordering a lock to be obtained. Why would a lock be needed unless there was danger? In moments, she has her display switched from testing to full tactical systems at the ready, just waiting for an order. A faint sense of apprehension makes itself known before she dismisses it. There is just no time for such things when the away team is potentially in danger?
T’Lira keeps part of her attention on the conversation between Acacia and Doctor Tailor, pausing when she hears that the captain and two crew members have been attacked. Who was attacked? What measures were being taken on the ground?
She hears Acacia order a transport for the captain and… Major Wolfe? This does not bode well, if the senior tactical officer on the team was also wounded. She prepares the shields and finds she can do nothing but wait now. Should she at least inform the next highest-ranking Marine of the situation? A check of the ship’s roster could tell her who that would be, but what would she tell them? She did not know the full extent of the situation.
‘Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate, and then act. That’s what they taught us in the Academy. Take it from me, that shit is a lot harder than they make it sound!’
She could almost hear Elena offering the advice, the same advice she had offered three months ago when they spoke of one of the studies T’Lira had found, published by an Academy instructor regarding a tendency for Academy tactical students to rush into danger headlong and the difficulties in educating them otherwise, teaching them to pause for a moment.
‘They also tell us to keep the guns warm and triggers ready, so it’s hard to tell what they want us to believe. I like to think that it’s up to the individual officer what they want to do, how they want to react. If they screw up, so be it. It’ll teach ‘em not to be so stupid next time. Nobody can just tell you what to do, you gotta figure it out for yourself. Look at it like a scientist, y’know, that thing you spent years learning to do? Each situation is almost formulaic. There’s a problem, and you have to evaluate it. You have to decide what the variables are, what might change, what CAN change. Then, you have to come up with a solution. That solution could range from blowing the bastard out of the sky to just telling your captain the weapons are ready and letting ‘em talk it out. It all depends on the situation.’
The problem was self-explanatory. Unknown race attacking Starfleet officers during what was ostensibly a peaceful introduction.
What were the variables? Unknown ship with unknown capabilities. The capacity to attack and injure the captain and the senior Marine aboard with seemingly little care for the consequences, which spoke of a confidence in themselves and their power. The ship was an unknown, as were the people themselves. Unknowns were dangerous. Unknowns must always be overestimated, so proper precautions could be taken.
What was the solution? Her instincts told her to raise the shields as soon as the away team had returned and gain a weapons lock on the ship. However, there were factors that must be considered. With the captain injured, it was likely that Commander Kuari would take command. Kuari was experienced in such situations and would no doubt have knowledge of what drove the enemy, which gave her an advantage in deciding how to best address the situation. That led T’Lira to the conclusion that her current solution was to wait for further orders.
Thus, it comes of little surprise to her when the order is given to raise shields and track the enemy ship. Navarro is competent and can easily track the ship, so her current solution has become “raise the shields and proceed to await orders”, something that could easily be accomplished.
Yet… a part of her greatly desired to know what drove them to attack the away team, what led them to engage hostilities? Perhaps it was a cultural difference. There were many examples of such scenarios in history. It may have been a miscommunication, another common scenario. Either way, she would know soon enough what the cause of this was.
There was one final thing Elena had told her, something that made her pause slightly and wonder if she was not over evaluating the situation.
‘Every tactical officer wants to jump the gun, to take charge. It’s something they teach us, because we have to on the ground. But in space… well, in space that’s not our domain. In space, that domain belongs to the command team. Captains and first officers get a lot more information than the average tactical officer. It means you can wonder all you damn well please about the ‘ifs’ and the ‘whys’, but until you get orders, your ass stays put and your fingers stay still. Hell hath no fury like a captain defending their crew… and hell definitely doesn’t know what to do with a first officer who has to take charge. You’ve met my first officer, you know my tendencies to get myself injured. Trust me, Ex-Ohs are fucking terrifying.
Oh, and one last thing… never, ever underestimate yourself. The skies may be the command team’s domain, but you’re the one they turn to when the ship is in danger. Keep calm, keep cool, and don’t overthink it. Like I said, look at it like a scientist. That’s your advantage, you’re a Vulcan scientist by training. You may be a slightly malfunctioning Vulcan, but you’re still a walking computer when you get in the mood to be. You’ve got this. Now, stop worrying so damn much, will you? Keep it cool over there, I’ve gotta head back to the bridge. Eddie is about to commit murder and I’ve gotta keep him from giving me so much damned paperwork. You know how he gets. Bye!”
Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:19 pm
It's good to see an account of this from the bridge, along with a nice logical dissection of it. The interludes of advice from her supporting cast are a nice touch!
Mon Apr 29, 2019 6:22 pm
In. Out. In. Out. Find target. Lock on. Fire. Target down. Repeat.
Fighter after fighter went down, their holoimages flickering out as the holographic projectiles hit them in key locations. She was so focused on the ships in front of her that she didn’t notice the small group behind her until it was too late.
The instructor, one Lieutenant Jay Ethridge, looked over.
“Seventeen down. Not bad, but you have to make sure to pay attention to what’s on your tail as well. Your sensors won’t always work the way you want or need them to. If that was a starship, you’d have had better luck, but shuttlecraft don’t have the shield generation power that a starship does. Still, seventeen Dominion fighter craft down is not shabby.”
The cadet made their way to the line of other cadets, tilting her head slightly as the professor spoke. Next to her, one of the other cadets leaned over and murmured, “You can modulate your shields to fool the simulation.”
“I would not partake in such an action.”
“No need. I’ll show you.”
“Cadets, anything to share?”
“No sir,” was the immediate reply from both. Ethridge shrugged and returned to his lecture.
“When it’s just you in a shuttlecraft, you’re most likely surveying something that your parent starship can’t reach. But sometimes, you’re going to wind up in hostile combat situations and you must be prepared, which is why I run these. Now, who wants to go next?”
The Betazoid cadet who had whispered about the sensors stuck her hand in the air and Ethridge pointed at her.
“Cadet Lyrsin. Step right up and test your luck.”
The cadet stepped into the shuttle and Ethridge started the simulation. Lyrsin was slow at first, mostly picking off ships that got too close to her. When the simulation picked up, including the ships attacking from the rear, Lyrsin managed to dodge them and attack what was in front of her.
“It seems she’s figured out the old ‘look over your shoulder’ trick. Let’s see what happens in an ion storm.”
The simulation shifted to include a simulated ion storm, one that would likely wreak havoc on any ship’s electronical systems. Yet, somehow, Lyrsin managed to stay one step ahead.
Ethridge frowned and looked down at his PADD, scowling when he noticed something.
“Computer, end simulation.”
Lyrsin stepped out of the shuttle and shrugged, “How’d I do, Professor?”
“Well, I’ll give you passing grades in hacking Starfleet property.”
“Oh, please, I wasn’t hacking. I just modified the parameters in a totally legal way. It’s not hacking if you know the right passcodes.”
“And how do you know those passcodes?”
“You have them written on the back of your PADD. Didn’t take long for me to memorize them.”
The cadets snickered amongst themselves as Ethridge’s face turned red.
“Cadet Lyrsin, you tread dangerously close to insubordination.”
“No, I don’t. You just don’t like the fact that any competent engineer could rework the shields to keep up with anything.”
The Betazoid folded her arms across her chest and waited.
“Could you do that in the field?”
“Absolutely. Any engineer could… any officer trained in computer maintenance could manage it, with a bit of guesswork. And we’re all sort of trained in computer maintenance, mostly.”
Ethridge nodded, “I’m going to start the simulation up again, and you’re going to show us exactly how you did it. I’ll have the monitor up so we can see what commands you input.”
Lyrsin grinned at the other cadets and stepped back into the shuttle to restart the simulation.
It had been a relatively simple technique, one that would come in handy years later.
T’Lira dodged another Xovul fighter and came around hard to port, getting a lock on another and firing. She knew her shields were low and dropping lower with each hit she took.
Throwing her fighter to port again to try and rid herself of her newly acquired tail, she reached over to the shield controls and recalled what Kyrembril had demonstrated.
Pull just a small amount of power from weapons, approximately half of the current power allotted to life support systems, and a portion of the power designated to thrusters. Combine the power streams and send them to shields, keying in a few commands that would tell the system to draw power gradually, in order to maintain shields at the current level of fifteen percent… and then return to combat.
She had not yet attempted this method in live combat, but saw no alternative as she watched her shields slowly drop.
With a final glance at her shield status, she threw her fighter into combat once more, moving towards the location Zorro indicated to take advantage of a weakness in one of the Xovul ships. It seemed highly likely that the power drain she had initiated would only last about half an hour, assuming that she managed to avoid approximately fifty percent of the fire directed at her. However, with so many Xovul fighters out, she could only guarantee a thirty-seven percent evasion rate, which granted her roughly eighteen minutes of extra shield power. That would be enough, it seemed, as it was all that she currently had to bolster her shields and still have enough power to retreat, if need be.
Mon Apr 29, 2019 9:17 pm
It's nice to see the story behind how our officers learn some of the tricks they come up with to defy the odds. Good one!
Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:42 am
It was a rather common topic in philosophical writings: staring at the stars and wondering what was beyond the individual’s understanding and comprehension in that strange and unknown place.
T’Lira wasn’t entirely certain this was what they had thought of in their musings.
As she launched, she checked all systems and where the other Sharks were. After previous battles, she made a quick mental note of Zorro’s location. There was no allied planet to land on this time, although there were more ships available to catch a falling fighter.
And so began the usual dance, weaving through enemy fighters as they launched and shooting them down with as much precision as one could manage in a small fighter in a chaotic situation.
She was focused entirely on the battle at hand when the message broke across the channel.
“Firefly couldn’t shoot me down, what makes you think you can? Especially since I’ve downed one of you already.”
T’Lira resolved right then and there to shoot that particular enemy down once she found them.
Unfortunately, Atlantis got there first. It was somewhat ironic, to be entirely honest. A satisfying sort of irony.
With that one dusted, she spins her fighter to come about and go after some of the enemy fighters targetting Ash. Hopefully, they eventually recieve the notice that they cannot attempt to single any of the Sharks out and expect the maneuver to succeed.
Mon Jun 17, 2019 7:28 pm
Nice little window into the battle. Satisfying, indeed!
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