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Quality Bridge Time

Posted on Wed Sep 27th, 2023 @ 10:51pm by Lieutenant Commander Rowena McGowen & Major Cornelius Tremble
Edited on on Thu Sep 28th, 2023 @ 12:57am

0 words; about a 1 minute read

Mission: Episode 14 - The Poseidon Adventure
Location: Bridge - Deck 1 - USS Pioneer
Timeline: MD003 0800 hrs

Neil was double checking the coding he’d added to his contact that would repeat information from the Pioneer’s CIC and bridge stations, allowing him to repeat the information on his Heads Up Display. Three hours into his watch rotation on Pioneer’s bridge, he cycled through the readouts and then collapsed feed, ensuring that only Alerts would project when he was off the bridge.

He had several crew members that would be working on bridge and department head qualifications during the next few weeks and he wanted them all to get some unchaperoned time during those periods.

But, he’d still be responsible and would have to be nearby.

Neil checked the chrono and began closing more of his info-streams. Most of the Pioneer was running like a well-tuned watch and her Second Officer was due for some quality bridge time.

Ever since her return to Star fleet, she dreaded going on to the bridge, but as the second officer she couldn't put it off. And having been in the field a lot during missions, it was easier to skip the bridge all together. But now the time came where she could no longer put it off. At some point she would have to pick up her bridge shift again. She was in the turbo lift and as quickly as it got to her it arrived to the bridge. The doors opened reveling the bridge. But her stress played tricks on her mind. When she wanted to step out she heard the red alert claxon blaring. The bridge was dark red and she saw the entire Malificus bridge crew standing on the bridge covered in blood. She gave an icy scream as she covered her face. The sound stopped and she took her hands from her face as she looked around the bright Pioneer bridge. She took a deep breath. She rubbed her temples. "Get it together, Wena," She whispered through her breath. She then walked out of the turbo lift.

"Lieutenant Commander Rowena McGowen, reporting for bridge duty, sir," She said shaking off her early vision.

Neil stood, exiting the command seat and turned to Rowena as she entered and smiled. "Roger that, Lieutenant Commander. The Bridge is yours." He gestured to the chair he'd been warming and then slid into his customary seat. "Should be smooth travels today, though maybe we could find something to liven up the shift."

Rowena walked to the chair and slowly sat down. Inside she was thinking Please, I would like a quiet and easy shift Out loud she said, "Sounds good, major, thank You."

Grinning, Neil brought up the holo-repeaters from his controls and let Rowena view the scrolling information in bits and pieces as she liked, giving her a quarter hour to get sorted. "Tasking list for all Ops stations is on schedule and there's nothing new. Unless something goes boom or we get an alert we should be good. You've experience, you just need to get hands on the reins."

Rowena nodded, "I must admit, it has been a while since I sat down on any bridge. Not since the Maleficus, sir." She looked over the data and again just nodded. "Also the Maleficus was a different class vessel, but I am sure aside from the lay out, there isn't much different between the two bridges." She looked at the main screen.

As Rowena viewed more and more of the sub-routines and got settled, Neil closed all but the emergency system flags he used to monitor things and settled back into his chair. "Things change, but it boils down to putting out the small fires before they get to be big ones," he commented. "Oh, and please don't call sir. We're fairly informal on the Pioneer: the department heads and command staff even less so."

Gesturing around the bridge, he said "I saw the Maleficus referenced, but didn't dig deeper. What class was she?"

Rowena turned to the Major. This was the first time since her arrival on the Pioneer that anyone asked her about the Maleficus herself. She took a deep breath. "She was an interceptor class. Assigned mostly for reconnaissance and exploration." She turned away looking back at the main view screen. "Or at least that is what the official record will state." She softly whispered. She saw memories dance on the main view screen. She blinked them away. "And how would you like to be addressed then? For future reference, of course," She didn't want to change the subject, but she already had trouble keeping her feelings about being on the bridge under control. But she really needed to get through this. Not just for her career's sake, but for her own as well.

Neil could sense the Commander tense up. Today wasn't quite the day to turn screws on Pioneer's second officer. "Neil is fine away from the bridge. I've had to learn to loosen up a little," he said, "But a starship isn't a Marine command."

He let a smile drift over his face and he brought up a cascade of files on the their shared armrest monitor. "As always, there are a series of things you'll need to double check on during your shift."

Neil was conscious of the other bridge officers going about their tasks or dealing with a fairly standard watch. Standing, he straightened his uniform and said, "Since you've done this before, I'm going to give you some breathing space without me looking over your shoulder. I'll be in the conference room if needed." Then he bent lower and said quietly, "I'll also be available after watch if you'd like to grab a drink and tell me more about Maleficus, Rowena." Then he straightened, "Or, I have gym program if you need to let off steam."

Rowena was then aware of him whispering to her. She realized than she she may have pulled him in to something she consciously would pull in. But the deed was done. She turned to Neil again. "Yes, that sounds good, Major." And then more quietly she said, "Maybe a drink is good, Unlike miss Masters I don't really sport, it's possible my work never got me interested in it or gave me enough time to enjoy it. However, like Miss Masters I do enjoy a good drink with friends." She smiled as she tilted her head, "Heh, Jennifer told me all about your friendship before she left the ship for Empok Nor. She thought it important that the next chief would be aware about the crew of the Pioneer. I have reports on all the members of the crew. She is good if not thorough. I guess it will become a tradition then where the chief Intelligence officer becomes close friends with the marine commander, who am I to break that tradition on the Pioneer now?"

She leaned back on her chair. "I think I got this." She nodded to him. "I will call you if something is out of the ordinary."

Smiling easily to Pioneer's new Intel chief, Neil said, "Jen's good people. And I highly approve of drinks later. I'll see you before the watch is over and we can compare notes. There may or may not be a test...."

Wonderful Rowena thought as he mentioned a test. She just nodded outwardly. "Yes, Major Neil..." She blurred. She hoped he hadn't noticed as she looked at her on chair screen. She could feel her cheeks turn red. She looked over departmental report. Everything looked quiet. But she knew she had to be prepared for anything.


Neil let about half of the shift go by as he worked in the conference room off of the bridge. When a timer sounded in his ear, he looked up and grinned wolfishly. He'd fed a anomaly into Pioneer's sensor suite twenty minutes before that had registered as a glitch on the system. The program had spun up and now it was time to test Rowena a little. He'd stood a team up in the Combat bridge and switched control functions on the sly. The bridge crew Rowena was working with was aware of their parts and now it was time to start the test.

Neil wasn't under too many illusions that he'd sneak something like this past Rowena for very long. She was Pioneers spy mistress. But you never knew...."

On the bridge, the blonde officer manning the operations console said, "Commander. I'm getting strange power fluctuations all over the ship."

Rowena opened her chair screen. "Stations report she ordered." If there were fluctuations all over the ship, other departments would be effected. She looked to the ops officer and said, "can you detect a source for these fluctuations?"

"No idea, ma'am," the blonde answered back. "The fluctuations began three minutes ago and have been ramping up until they were noticed."

Lights flickered on the bridge and several of the duty panels went dark, then relit and started rebooting. Abruptly, the starfield on the main viewer stalled out and a vibration could be felt through the deck plating. Next, the helm officer said, "Ma'am. We've lost our warp bubble. Impulse engines not responding." Next the marine manning the tac station reported, "Umm. Commander. I'm reading multiple unknown life forms both outside and now inside the ship. Looks like small breaches to the hull on decks eleven and twelve."

A few beats later and the tac officer said, "I've got them on screen." An external view of the Pioneer's hull filled the viewer and spider like creatures could be see massing about the lower part of the ship, some slipping into breaches already in place while a few of the creatures seemed to glow brilliant red and then began digging into the ships hull.

Rowena looked at the screen as the the little gritters were crawling all over the wall and going through a whole in to the ship. She kept staring at the image for a several seconds. Something was off here. She leaned back in the chair as she leaned her head on her right hand. She then put it rested on her arm rest. She looked around the bridge. "Spiders?" She finally said. "Fine, seal of the effected sections, re route power. Use a localized baryon sweep to take care of the life forms on the hull. clear out the effected decks have a marine clean up crew take care of the remaining spiders."She raised her hand cutting off anyone who would speak. "I know I said Marines, but everyone on the ship knows that they are equipped and trained to do this. Have a repair crew stand by to repair the damage." She reached to her badge and then stopped. "I know you're watching, Major, so why don't you join us?" She grinned.

Neil stepped out onto the bridge and slipped into his customary seat as his HUD registered her orders and the computer responded accordingly to the SIM. "I'm always watching, Rowena," he said with an answering grin. "You didn't freeze up and jumped right into dealing with the buggers. Nice touch using marine damage control teams. The spiders are kinda feisty but we've set a base-line. Feeling better?"

Rowena shrugged. "I feel much better.,"she said as she leaned back in the chair. "Also the marines is just common sense in this case. Also nice touch on the spiders. You had me there for a moment. What kind of spiders did you see, cause I am no expert, but I don't think they were native to this sector? I don't think I read any intell on spiders. Appearing in to this second."

"Species 8675309. We called them Jenny's for some reason," Neil stated. "Ran into them in the Muchatuz sector. They float around dormant and were pretty hard to pick up by standard sensor sweeps. Took us two weeks to clear and figure out how to keep them from continuously invading a post we were setting up there." Shutting down the program he met her eyes and said, "The place crawled. I don't think I slept for about a month after that little incursion. But that's a story we can talk about over drinks.

"Drink sounds good about now," Rowena sighed a little. 'And a bath. I don't really like spiders either." She laughed shivering a little. "So, did I pass," she said with a little sarcastic tone.

Grinning, Neil ghosted a wink at Rowena and said. "Drinks and stories I can do. The bath...probably not. I'd likely get stabbed. By multiple people." He checked his chrono. Weighed things that were still on his *must get done now* list and said, "Now about a couple hours after shift. I should have my day wrapped."

Rowena giggled. "No, sir, I meant I think I will get a bath before I meet you at the bar. The sight of the spiders gave me the itches and then I usually get a bath. How about we meet in a couple hours for those drinks and stories then? I love to hear stories." She then walked off the bridge kinda relieved that was done.

A Joint Post By

Major Cornelius Tremble
Executive Officer, USS Pioneer
Commanding Officer, The Cure

Lieutenant Commander Rowena McGowen
Chief Intelligence Officer/Second Officer, USS Pioneer


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