The Oppenheimer is much larger than the Bath, and longer. The Bath was a variant on an experimental design found in the delta quadrant, while this is more standard design with a saucer section and nacelles--.
What does ‘Oppenheimer’ mean? D’Shyv cut in, and Sri winced inwardly. Of course she didn’t mean what the ship looked like.
He was an important Terran physicist. He’s called the “father of the atomic bomb”
The ship is named after a bomb maker? D’Shyv asked incredulously.
Sri sighed, both inwardly and outwardly. Thankfully the shuttle’s approach was brief. D’Shyv plucked uncomfortably at her cadet uniform, her longing for her lightweight engineering suit clearly evident. Her fussiness only increased Sri’s worry.
I want to make sure you’re ready for this, D’Shyv. It is not too late to go back with the shuttle to the USS Bath.
Sri felt resolve in D’Shyv’s response. Thank you, but I will learn nothing if I turn back now.
Stay close then. The visor’s calibration isn’t complete, it was meant for people who used to be able to see – I’m not sure the telepathic interface is correct.
Its not, but I can wear it longer without getting headaches. What do we do with our things? While D’Shyv had a duffle with extra clothes and mementos that she clutched close, Sri had several bags of collected samples, mementos, and specialized equipment, including the interfaces that they both were working on – including another visor. While the visor did wonderfully for those whose eyes were damaged, they needed to be re-interfaced to be serviceable to a species that had never known sight.
Most will be beamed to our quarters. Sri answered, double checking her gear. I’m just taking some of our custom gear to main lab.
The landing deck was many times larger than the Bath’s single shuttlebay and in a state of barely controlled bedlam. Technicians in blue, green, and yellow jumpsuits serviced the shuttle fleet, with ordinance techs in red jumpsuits loaded torpedos and phaser batteries on the combat shuttles.
Sri immediately shut her mind to the chaotic soup of thoughts, and extended her shield to D’Shyv, but the Aenar slipped away, eager to experience everything. Please, she pleaded with the Aenar, a combat flight deck is one of the most dangerous places on a Starship. Sri was relieved to find the Deck Officer, and as she approached, he quickly consulted his PADD. The moment the shuttle had been within range, Sri and D’Shyv’s information from their badges had been sent to the Oppenheimer. The Deck Officer only had to glance at his PADD to know who he was talking to.
“Science Officer Sri.” He said with brusque efficiency, “You’re report directly to Captain Tilmana, Ms. D’Shyv is to—“
Sri glanced at D’Shyv’s cadet uniform. “Cadet D’Shyv.”
“—directly to sickbay for a complete physical.”
“A physical was performed on the USS Bath, by doctor—“
“I have my orders, ma’am.” He said with finality and moved on to another set of officers.
Can you make it to sickbay? She thought toward D’Shyv.
I negotiate the Ice Caverns of Traneth. I can find a medical facility. She replied with a trace of irritation.
Good. Take my gear then. She handed her bag to D’Shyv. Contact me if—“
I will be fine. She abruptly broke the connection, weaving her way through the technicians.
The bridge was a bit less raucous than the flight deck, though space was scarse as techchnicians worked quickly to replace components. In a battle, engineering teams coaxed faulty equipment back into service. At dock, systems were replicated – sometimes in place -- and replaced en-masse. Sri was relieved to discover at least the ready room chime was working.
The ready room was neatly, if minimally arranged. The replicator was a basic model. Captain Tilmana was tall for a Benzite and he stood in front of the desk. “Lt. Commander Sri.”
Sri stood at attention. “Reporting as ordered, Sir.”
He didn’t put her at ease. “From the USS Bath, correct?”
“Yes Sir.” She kept her frown to herself, and resisted the urge to get a sense of the Benzite’s feelings through empathy, and lets his stiff, aggressive stance speak for itself.
“Lt Commander, you are currently assigned as Chief Science Officer. I have reviewed your record and you are not ready for the job.” He regarded Sri’s silence coldly. “I have calculated your efficiency score, based on your service with the Bath. Your numbers are too low.”
Sri maintained her silence as the Benzite shoved a PADD at her. She took the PADD, reviewing the calculations. From what he used, the numbers were dismal. “It would seem, Sir, that you place low weighting on the research work in telepathic interfaces and new life forms.”
“We are a warship, not a research vessel or a home for parlor tricks. The only numbers that matter are mine, Lieutenant Commander. I expect those to be improved 15% eighty ship duty hours from now. Am I clear?”
Sri kept her voice stoic “Yes Sir.”
“Do you know why you’re here? Lieutenant Commander?”
“Yes Sir, I was ordered to transfer as part of –“
“Because, Lieutenant Commander, “ We lost 10% of our crew and 15% of our senior officers defending the Preserver Library at Lae’nas. They gave their lives defending the galaxy, Lieutenant Commander. Don’t forget that. We will be asked to do the same.”
“Yes Sir.” Welcome to my station. You are all going to die. She'd heard it before, and while she didn't doubt the truth in it, wondered why this was presented as some sort of revelation.
He snatched the PADD from her hands. “We lost a quarter of the fleet. The only reason you’re here is that you’re the least poor of a selection of poor replacements. Most of you are only at the rank you are at because you managed to stay alive. But at least you have some direct combat experience and made some sort of attempt at command. Starfleet seems to think that’s good enough for the Oppenheimer, and I’m obliged to accept their assessment, even if their accounting is faulty.”
“Yes Sir.” Sri said calmly, calling on her years of training on Vulcan. Benzites, like the Tevi, held a great deal in numbers – to the point that many mathematicians were instead numerologists, holding value in the numbers themselves, as opposed to what the numbers were supposed to represent.
Captain Tilmana resumed work on his PADD, not looking at her. “You’re dismissed, and send the Andorian home.”
Sri paused and decided not to remind him she was Aenar. “Sir, her knowledge of medical replication technologies would be very helpful in sickbay.”
“I’ll let the doctor worry about sickbay. You’re to get me power analysis of our weapon systems and suggested improvements in two hours. You are dismissed, Lt. Commander, or would you like to be doing your analysis from the brig?”
His eyes never left the PADD. “Then why are you still here?”
Sri left, carefully fending off a cloud of rage.
Sri arrived to a sickbay in shambles, with the biobeds used as makeshift tables to pack the supplies. A frazzled Bajoran in a disheveled medical uniform looked her up and down. “What’s wrong with you?”
“There’s an Aenar—“
“Oh great. Just take her too. I get one decent set of hands to help and now I have no one.”
Sri scanned the doctor’s rank, and recalled the senior staff postings. “Dr. Fenna Rhys?” She could feel the doctor’s frustration through her shielding, and offered a slight smile.
She gave Sri another once-over. The hostile expression softened somewhat, turning more cautious. “You must be the Chief Science Officer. Shri?”
“Yeah, nice to meet you. Can you please not take my assistant the moment they are useful?” She kept her arms akimbo, giving Sri an accusatory stare.
Sri glanced over the Doctor’s shoulder, watching D’Shyv loading a medical replicator. She felt Sri’s attention and looked up, the half-moons of the visor over her eyes. Did your report to the captain go well?
No. Do not react, but follow my lead, and keep working. Sri responded, concealing her attention on D’Shyv by consulting her PADD. She looks up to the Dr. Fenna. “I believe the Captain wanted her relocated.”
“For what?” Dr. Fenna asked, her tone taking an argumentative edge.
“He did not say. Perhaps he doesn’t know that she is of use here? Either way, those are my orders—“
The Doctor jammed a finger pointedly at Sri. “Listen! This medical bay needs to be ready when we leave DS9 in six hours and without her I won’t be ready in sixty hours.”
“I will let the captain know—“
“You’re not going to finagle this recruit just because you’re shorthanded too. You are to do nothing, Chief Science Officer, in the Chief Medical Officer’s medical bay until I get a chance to speak to the Captain myself! Am I clear?”
Sri pressed her hand to her chest, her eyes wide and innocent. “Dilithium clear, Chief Medical Officer Fenna.” She smiled as the doctor stomped off to the turbolift.
Am I serving in medical now? D’Shyv asked.
“For now. Or the Doctor is in the brig. I’m betting more on the former. But you need to vocalize more. I know its strange, but try to vocalize before using telepathy.”
V- “Very well.”
“You’re a recruit now. You have great technical knowledge, and are very inventive. Your work on the modified visor is impressive. But you don’t know Starfleet protocols, or how the chain of command works. You said you wanted to learn, so it starts now. When you’re done here, review the command structure and standard Starfleet code of conduct. I will be grading you.”
D’Shyv furrowed her brow in irritation “But-“
“No buts. None. The Captain doesn’t want you here and will be grading you even more harshly. If we get this small reprieve, you’ll need to study and most importantly stay away from him.”
She started to protest, and stopped. “Yes.” Adding after a moment, “Sir.” But I don’t want to be a solider.
Neither do I, but we’re under attack, and have to defend ourselves, and you – you have to be able to work with others here and operate under their protocols.
Sri clenched her jaw, trying not to let her worry show.