Torpedo Control, U.S.S. Silverfin
Docking Berth 3, Star Station Freedom
Stardate: 55254.7 (April 3rd, 2378)
Susanna Leijten had been in the middle of speaking with Tunde Mbeki on Betazed, when she’d been called away, but that was just the way things were for a ship’s Captain. She was disheartened to hear that nothing had changed regarding Daezan but knew that Mbeki wouldn’t stop until he had answers—whish also had her worried for Tunde, he looked and sounded exhausted. As she rode the turbolift down to deck five, she shook her head and tried to focus on the call from Ensign Jose Tyler the Fifth, her tactical officer and newest addition to the senior staff. It was no surprise that he was working so late, the rookie never seemed able to relax and take time off from his duties.
Though she had been onboard the Silverfin
for almost eight years and knew the ship intimately, torpedo control was a section she never got down to often. Deck five housed little more than the Cutters three torpedo launchers and storage magazines, so it was often unoccupied. It was only due to their current refit that the section was seeing so much activity. Several months ago, they had stopped a freighter carrying salvaged weapons, including two quantum torpedo launchers—technology only used by Starfleet. In the final report back to Headquarters on the matter Lieutenant th’Shaan, her Chief Engineer, had included a requisition request for those launchers. Leijten hadn’t expected for the Silverfin
to be given the upgrade, they were after all a Border Service Cutter, but several days ago she’d gotten word the request was being granted.
The news had thrilled th’Shaan and Tyler, both of who were eager for the weapons upgrade. She was pleased they were getting the new armament, their job never got any easier and every advantage they could get was appreciated. It did mean unscheduled dry-dock time, but that wasn’t of great consequence. The one thing that was a bother was that they needed to go to Starbase 200 and collect the launchers themselves—no supply ships would be heading their way for several weeks.
So th’Shaan had taken a Stallion out to make the week-long round trip to collect the launchers and a few torpedoes, whilst on the Silverfin
Tyler was getting them ready for the replacements. So far everything had been going smoothly, so the call down to deck five had her puzzled.
When she stepped off the turbolift, all was quiet on the deck. Since Tyler had called her to torpedo control, she decided to start there and headed forward. The room was located behind the forward two tubes, with consoles that displayed their stock of torpedoes (both photon and rat-traps) and probes, as well as diagnostic scans, and other data needed for the smooth operation of the launchers. The room was only ever manned during yellow or red alert, so most of the systems were automated, but there was space available for modifying torpedoes and probes whenever needed.
It was clear to see from the moment she stepped in that Tyler wasn’t there. He had been though, if the jacket and shirt draped over the back of a chair was any indication. She headed towards the port side exit, which would take her through the storage magazines and then to the launchers themselves. She found herself intrigued by what the Ensign was up to, so she kept the mystery going a little longer and resisted the urge to call out for him.
She passed the full racks of sleek black torpedo casings and came to the port launcher. The hardware was dark grey and fit snugly into place on the deck, only a few warning notices on the side belied its deadly nature—otherwise it would have looked like a dozen other of the ship’s essential systems. From underneath the launcher she spotted a pair of legs, whilst the torso was obscured by metal. A hand shot out from within the bowels of the hardware, felt around until it touched the hyperspanner, then withdrew back with the tool.
Leaning on the bulkhead opposite, she gave him a few minutes to see to whatever it was he was working on, then asked, “Everything alright under there, Mr Tyler?”
She half expected him to bang his head. He didn’t. Instead, he darted out from where he was and leapt to his feet, his posture stiff. She found it strange to see him in just his grey vest and not his gold shirt and dark uniform jacket, add to that the unkempt nature of his hair and the grease and grime on his clothing, arms and face, and who she was looking at was not the spit-and-polish young man who sat on her peripheral vision on the Bridge.
“Captain, I hadn’t expected you so soon. I hadn’t intended to meet you out of uniform,” he stated apologetically.
Holding up her hand, she stopped him. Smiling, she told the rookie, “Ensign, it’s after twenty-three hundred, I think I can you can be left off for being out of uniform.” She looked around at the two launchers that would soon be removed and replaced with newer and deadlier units.
“So what did you want to talk to me about?”
“Though Lieutenant th’Shaan is still several days away, I was wanting you permission to begin work on disconnecting and removing the launchers, sir,” he began, remaining ramrod straight. “If we have the forward tubes out and ready for the new ones, we can be finished the upgrade sooner than scheduled. In the interim, I can begin the software upgrades the new quantum launchers will need and the engineering teams could conduct a level one diagnostic of the control systems—just to make sure that we won’t have any future problems with the new armament.”
Leijten listened to what she suspected was a thoroughly rehearsed request and supporting explanation. She smiled to herself as she watched the young man. Tyler had been top of his class at the Academy, then aced the Advanced Tactical Training programme, had glowing letters of recommendation and a few citations for bravery (for his actions following the Breen attack on Earth), as well as a rich Starfleet pedigree—though she was glad to have him onboard, why he’d opted for the Border Service still baffled her.
“Sounds good,” she told him simply.
“Really?” he asked, surprised, quickly followed by an abashed look. “Sorry sir.”
“It makes sense to have everything ready for when Elak and the others get back. You’ll need to co-ordinate with Lieutenant Mulligan in his absence, as well as Commander Weir on Freedom.”
“This is your domain, Ensign, so it only makes sense that you take charge,” she told him as she turned to leave. Over her shoulder she added, “I’d like a timetable of work on my desk in the morning.”
“Aye Captain,” he added with a hint of enthusiasm.
Leijten chuckled to herself as she stepped back into torpedo control and headed for the turbolift. She decided to head for her quarters and get some sleep, the following day was one of meetings on Freedom and she had to be rested and refreshed for them. Though had Hank still been on the station, she’d have made plans with him for the evening, but since he was with th’Shaan and Syva she’d managed to get on with all the humdrum paperwork.
They’d be back in eighty hours or so, and she’d already been making plans for how they could enjoy their time together. As she stepped off onto deck three, she couldn’t help but smile. Whatever it was that she and Hank had, she hadn’t been this happy since the last time they’d been together.
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