Contributor: Kunanaki (Playing Mordicia Noonia) Welcome to Flight Operations Mr. Noonia (part three) USS Thunderchild, NCC-63549 Deck 13, Hanger Deck AKA: The Dragon's Lair Stardate: 53834.29 Mordecai nodded as Paxton and Duncanson got permission to enter the restricted zones. The pair rushed over to the wounded fighter. Mordecai watched them for a moment then his attention was taken by a group of deck hands working in a near by maintenance bay. Before taking a step, he checked the marking to make sure he was still in a free zone. After realizing that he would be okay, he walked over to them. "Good evening, I am Mordecai Noonia" he said as he walked up to the group of crewmen. They all smiled and greeted him with hellos. Mordecai knew that they were working on a fighter's power transfer grid but didn't what to seem pretentious. "What are you guys working on?" One of the green vested crewmen got up and shook Mordecai's hand, "I am Steven" he said friendly. "We are having problems with the power transfer from the main engines to the torpedo." Mordecai nodded as Steven continued, "unlike normal launch systems, these Peregrine class fighters carry their torpedoes under their wings. There is no launch tubes," Steven explained. "The power to activate them is drawn from the main engines and transferred to the torpedo via this harness" he said showing a burned out power harness. "This happens often to only our Peregrine fighters as the Valkyries don't carry torpedoes." Mordecai nodded and smiled as he knew the answer already, "I can see where your problem is. The power grid is out of alignment with the main engine. A simple recalibration should resolve that issue." Steven nodded as the others laughed, "that is a clever fix but there is one problem." Mordecai looked a bit puzzled as Steven brought up a schematic of the power and engines of the fighter. Even before Steven had a chance to explain Mordecai knew why his idea would fail. "Is that a Remodulator from a Transporter System?" "Yes" said a female dressed like Steven, "I am Samantha. It was my idea for these fighters. The Remodulator takes the pure energy from the impulse stack and like a transporter filters out everything but...." Mordecai couldn't help but complete her statement, "the energy particles that are desired for thrust." Samantha nodded, "Yeah that's right. It doesn't make them faster but it does give them a hell of a boost in accelerations. Almost twenty percent faster than other Peregrine class ships." "I see where your problem is coming from," Mordecai said as he looked over the harness once more. "The pure energy particles are burning up the harnesses after repeated uses." One of the other techs nodded, "Yeah. We are replacing harnesses after about ten to fifteen uses." "So we were hoping that we could find a way to correct the issue" Samantha said. Mordecai nodded, "So who is working with you on this from Engineering?" They all started to laugh "Engineering?" Steven spoke up laughing with the rest of them. "They wouldn't be caught dead down here" he joked and got up. He walked over to Mordecai and patted him on the back, "I used to be a cook before. Samantha, a Transporter Tech" he said then motioned to the two other techs, "those two were both from operations." Samantha took over, "we had been in Flight Operations for nearly two years now." She looked around, "heck, most of us here had been with Flight Ops since before refit." Mordecai looked confused at the statements, "so how many are actually engineers?" Samantha looked around as Steven answered, "seven now." "Six" Samantha corrected. "Remember that Tyler accepted that promotion to Starfleet Academy." Steven nodded, "Oh yeah for got about that. Six," Steven answered. Mordecai looked around at the dozens of hands he saw working on the Hanger Deck. "There were nearly twenty before refit. But most were transferred over to Starfleet Academy to set up classes on what we created here. Most of us had been trained by them and now carry on with what we were taught." "Wait, what about all the transfers off the ship" Mordecai asked. "Oh those weren't from Flight Ops. Most of us remained here to help the CAG out" Samantha answered. She continued, "We all want this to work and we all wanted to support the CAG and Lieutenant Paxton. How could we abandon them." Mordecai nodded as he looked over the power distribution issue, "so what about all this I heard about the CAG being this really bad guy?" Mordecai wanted to know how the flight felt about their CAG. Samantha picked up a power harness as she thought of the question. No one answered the question right away as if to give it considerable thought. There was no sense of fear or lack of sincerity in them as they thought of their answer. Samantha finally looked up, "you are talking about CMO-26?" After Mordecai nodded in answer to her question she continued. "Listen, you have to understand that down here we are family. I knew one of the weapons officers that were lost that day" she explained. As she started to remember that happened on that fateful day, her eyes started to well up that gave them an almost shine effect. "Because most of the crew left the ship during the refit, you new guys only heard how they were left behind. Bu.....bu....." she tried to work out. Placing a reassuring hand on her shoulder, Steven took over. "We were there when the fighting took place. Those guys were heroes. Most of them had returned to the ship after their fighters were damage. All of them took to new fighters and returned to the battle. Not one remained aboard during that fight. It was only by a trick of fate that put Bonham on the bridge that day. And we are lucky he was. The ship was taking a pounding that day. Hell I didn't even think we were going to survive. When main power was restored, we had not choice but turn and run." Samantha took in a deep breath, "All you new guys hear is how we left our fellow crew members behind. That is all that many of you care about. But for us, we are alive because of their sacrifice. We are alive because of the CAG and that impossible call he had to make." Mordecai nodded, "I am sorry for bringing up painful memories. But I really wanted to know. You have a great thing going on down here. Can I ask one more question?" The group all nodded and he continued, "why Hollywood?" Steven smiled a bit as he answered, "next time you take a trip down to Engineering take a look around. All those lights, the fresh pressed uniforms, prefect hair, everything so neat and tidy. Your world is all fame and sparkle. So why not Hollywood? Better than what your fellow engineers call us. To them, we are Deck Scrubbers or Deck Monkeys." Mordecai nodded and just then was called back by Lieutenant Paxton. But before he could leave, Samantha took hold of his hand and looked in to his eyes. "There is something you need to know. Not one of us here, not even Lieutenant Paxton, that wouldn't gladly follow that man right in to the flames of hell. He IS one of us, pure and simple." As Mordecai walked back over to where his tour guides were waiting, he reflected on what he learned. There was a drastic lack of support for Flight Operations and the Hanger Deck. They had talented people but regardless of all their efforts, the lack of support was still there. Being stationed in the Engineering Division he hadn't noticed it first hand but now he could see it. Looking around, he could see the lack of support first hand. Mordecai felt that this lack of support wasn't due to trained personal not wanting to do the work down here. It was far more insidious then that. It was a lack of understanding and education. Commander Bonham had just taken a risky gamble from what Mordecai was thinking, but he had an idea already. He witnessed that they could of course could service their own things down here, but without bodies this section would collapse. Instead of half of the Engineering Division sitting on their hands even in an emergency, the section could be spread. In fact, Engineering could create a whole new section that just supported the Flight Deck. Mordecai knew how to make this work. He had experience from been a part of a large ship crew before. Also he enjoyed building a camaraderie with his fellow engineers. He also always enjoyed teaching and learning, it's part of the reason he stayed out of the Limelight. Not because he couldn't, but because it felt right to see others succeed and learn and grow. As he reflected, part of him was lost remembering the trials and tribulations of this group of crew members. The other part of him realized that this was a chance for him to do some good that was beyond a normal ken. 'This is the purpose of this Ship. We're not a ship of peace and exploration, but one of defense for the Federation. The modifications to this ship have been so that this Flight Deck can launch a very old type of warfare into a very new environment' he thought as he continued to make his way over to where his tour guides were waiting. 'This deck may be the thin line of difference whether or not we go home. In engineering, I've always wondered about the purpose of the USS Thunderchild and its focus.' A burning sense of purpose struck him here, 'now I know' he thought as he finished reflecting. Lieutenant Paxton turn to face Mordecai as he walked up as she pulled off a length of cord from her EV suite, "Hollywood, we are all here to learn new paths." she said walking closer to him while handing the end of the cord to Noonia so that he could attach it to his own belt. Lieutenant Duncanson pulled off the same amount of cord and affixed it to Noonia's belt as well. "Before I was part of your Starfleet, I was in the Republican Guard" she explained as she doubled checked the cord and made sure that he was secured to her suite. It was clear that they were going somewhere without gravity. But what Mordecai noted was the sound of her voice. Speaking about her history caused a very real emotional reaction in her voice. "Would you believe that before that I was a artist" Paxton continued with a sense of sadness in her voice. She added, "I was young and foolish back then. I guess it is something that all races share in common. The ignorance of youth" there was something more to the story but she didn't go in to it. Their journey appeared to take them over to a large cargo transporter pad with a type eleven shuttle craft resting on the pad. A group of crew members were going over the craft very carefully as they scanned the ship with their tricorders and doubled checked with their own eyes. It was the first time that Noonia had seen Paxton fall silent due to having nothing to say. Lieutenant Duncanson spoke up to cover the silence as they continued to walk over to the pad. "I was a Marine Infantry Officer before I requested to be transferred here, Lieutenant" he explained as he moved by the shuttle craft. He smiled as he ran his hand on the shuttle, "this might interest you Lieutenant." he added, "This shuttle craft is rather special. There are only five like them in all of Starfleet. It was designed for our kind of operations" he said as he turned to look at Mordecai. "They extend our own sensor ranges and act as a secondary flight control during combat missions" he explained as the three of them moved next to the shuttle craft. "This one is about to support our continued search of the system. They have more sensors and tracking equipment than some small starships. A crew of five and the speed to hang with our fastest fighters, they are worth their weight, Lieutenant." He nodded to the shuttle as if it was a living being. "Because of their special missions, they are called Cat's Eye," he concluded. After regaining herself, Paxton spoke up once more, "We are taking you to the flight deck Lieutenant." Mordecai almost missed the fact that she didn't call him Hollywood. "On the Flight Deck there is no gravity, nor atmosphere. Because you are not wearing an EV Suite, we have to keep these cords on you for your own safety. Also, we won't be able to hear you unless you key up your comlink." On that noted, both of his guides put their helmets on. Paxton also slid a sleeve over her tail and attached it to the back of her EV Suite. There were sounds of seals being made as both of his guides double checked each other and his own life support belt. From this point on, their voices were transmitted over communication channels. "Shall we show you the real business end of this ship?" Paxton's voice came over the comlink. There it was again in Paxton's voice. That kind of pride that no amount of humble demeanor could hide. Paxton gave the signal that they were ready. Mordecai noticed that the two Craft Handlers along side of the shuttle and a safety officer were ready to go with them. Like the two lieutenants with him, these three personnel were also wearing armored EV Suites and were armed with phaser pistols. It was something that Mordecai couldn't help but ask. He activated his comlink, "Lieutenant" he said turning to Paxton. "Why is everyone armed?" Paxton nodded, "Twice this ship was boarded. The first time by Cardassians. The second time by the Dominion. Both times, they used that big flight deck as their means of access to our ship. The first time we were not ready to repeal boarders. Cost us allot of lives. The second time we were and we will always be ready down here." Mordecai couldn't help but noticed that despite the distraction that his little tour might have caused to the three crew members their focus remained on the shuttle. Mordecai had seen other shuttle bays in operation but none seemed to have their operations conducted like this one did. With a nod from the safety everyone and the shuttle were transported to the Flight Deck. The flight deck was all that it was made up to be. And only one word could best describe the entire deck, massive. The entire deck was well over four hundred meters long and just over three decks tall. A lone runabout was coming in for landing at the far end of the deck. It was moving at nearly full impulse which was not normal for Mordecai. It almost seemed as if the craft was going to crash in to the ship till a set of tractor beams caught the runabout in mid-flight. After the tractor beams caught the runabout, they brought the craft to a slow. Then it was moved over to one of the transporter pads along the port side of the deck. A number of deck personnel moved towards the craft as they secured the runabout for transport. At each end of the flight deck, Noonia could see the force fields that protected the deck from the vacuum of space. It raised a question about why having them engaged if the deck was depressurized and didn't have gravity. Mordecai watched as the shuttle craft that they had beamed up with as it was moved in to departure position. It was strange for Mordecai cause he knew that the craft could simply hover towards the large opening and depart under its own power. It was in that moment that Paxton's voice came over his comlink, "There are a series of tractor and repulser beams along each end of this deck with a third set of tractor beams along the center. These make up our launch and recovery systems. They are splint in to three separate systems with the fore and aft systems mirrored with each other. Power is supplied to each system independently via the EPS networks. During none warp operations, we launch forward and capture aft. During warp operations, we reverse the operations" Paxton explained. This caused Mordecai to almost gasps as the idea of launching during warp speed was highly dangerous. Let alone landing on a ship traveling at warp speed. He just looked in disbelief over what was said. Lieutenant Duncanson laughed, "that was the same look Admiral Tate gave when we told him we have done it a few times already." Mordecai shook it off as he watched the Deck Captain gave directions from the center of the deck near the departure end. Because there was no atmosphere here, Mordecai could hear nothing beyond his own little force field secured bubble. He watched as the shuttle craft was moved in to position under its own power. The Deck Captain took over issuing orders as the craft handlers backed off. The pilot acknowledged this transfer by flashing the lights of the shuttle off and back on. With the deck crews backing away, the shuttle was ran through a series of tests before the Deck Captain was sure that the craft was ready for departure. Mordecai watched as this silent operation played out. It was as if he was watching a silent play preformed by a elite troop of performers. The entire operation played out before Mordecai's eyes with a level of perfection that could not be denied. The repulsers took hold of the shuttle craft and started to build up tension to sling the craft out of the ship. "A slow moving target departing the ship would make for a easy target to enemy fighters or near by ships. Because of this, we rocket departing craft out at over full impulse speed. This is done so that they are not easy targets during combat situations," she explained. "We operate as if we are in combat at all times" Paxton added. It was then that Duncanson's voice broke in, "we train and carry out our duties in such a way that regardless of rather we are in combat or not, we perform at the same level. This keeps our proficiency at the same high levels regardless of the situation." Mordecai was looking forward to watching the departure as everything was building to that point. It was if the entire world around him was hanging on this one moment. The Deck Captain was issuing the final orders to deck hands and pilots. He stood in a circle just off center of the shuttle as the craft slowly hovered. The repulser energy could be seen as it was building up the wave to hurl the shuttle out and away from the flight deck. Ever the engineer, Mordecai could see how this operation was to work. The interlinked repulser emitters created a pull push energy around the craft. His mind could see how each system in this operation was critical and how they worked with each other. It was if time had stood still as the Deck Captain pivoted on his heels as he dropped to a knee. He pointed down the departure end of the deck as he was clearly giving the launch command to those watching. It was the moment that Mordecai was waiting for.