The thrum of the engines on the runabout did nothing to dispel the uneasy tension in the air. The lone pilot checked the displays, running low-level diagnostics and checking their charted course every so often. The other occupant tried to ignore the unease. The Viking was just another ship, the flagship of her class. The U.S.S. Heimdal held some particularly fond, but also intense memories for him. Markus saw no reason to be anxious over such a prodigious ship. Hokey superstitions were just that. Starfleet’s people were explorers, builders, and warriors.
But he could feel the ensign squirming in his chair from across the interior. With a sigh, he lowered the padd he was reading. It had a personal library of thousands of books, as well as replicator patterns for some of his favorites. “Out with it,” he murmured while running his fingers through slicked-back dark hair.
”S-sorry sir,” NE Wells winced, “we’re coming up on the Viking now. If you don’t mind, I’d rather not —”
”Dock with it,” Mark said finishing for him. He waved a dismissive hand. The kid was rattled, and one didn’t need to be a psychic to know it was pretty bad. “Bring us into transporter range. I understand theirs have been having trouble.” As he spoke, he put the padd into a small, hard cargo carry with the rest of his more sentimental possessions.
“Yes, sir.” NE Wells swiveled back in his chair to regard the viewport. A nearby star held steady ahead of them, and as he watched, it grew brighter and brighter. They were past the outskirts of the solar system the Viking lurked in.
Mark watched the ensign for a moment. It was clear Wells wasn’t entirely green, but still fresh from the Academy. Moving over he sat in the co-pilot position, though he could have taken left seat if he wanted. “Ensign Wells. Harry.” The pilot gave him a questioning and uncertain look. “Breathe. And remember… we’re explorers and adventurers out here. It’s the Wild West. You’re driving a stagecoach out here. Starfleet thinks you’re rough and rugged enough to hack it out here between Klingon and Romulan space. They usually know what they’re doing. A little fear is healthy, but you are from a long line of beating the evolutionary odds. Try to recognize what you’re feeling as excitement. You’ve already risen to so many challenges.”
Wells regarded Mark for a moment then let out a sigh and relaxed a few notches, letting his shoulders drop. “You’re right. Across the board. I should be able to handle whatever comes my way.”
Mark stood up, patting the ensign’s shoulder. “Good man,” he said heartily. Moving over to his things, he picked them up and slung them over one shoulder.
”Dropping out of warp,” Wells called from the front. He sounded more confident, all signs of nervousness gone. And sure enough, a moment later their blazing speed settled to a virtual standstill, even though they were still traveling at a significant chunk of the speed of light. “On approach to the Viking.” He paused a moment. =^=U.S.S. Viking this is U.S.S. Endurance on approach for personnel delivery. Requesting permission to initiate transport at your mark.=^=
By then, Markus made his way onto the transporter pad and stood waiting. He watched out the front viewport, even though the Viking was far out of visual range for the human eye. But it loitered somewhere very close as stellar distances went.
=^=Endurance, you are cleared to energize,=^= came the reply.
Wells regarded Markus over his shoulder with a look like he was sending the man to his death. “Good luck, Lieutenant.”
”You too, Ensign. Energize.”
Wells wasted not a moment longer and fed the transporter the coordinates and cycled the controls that would disassemble his passenger at the sub-atomic level and send him thousands of kilometers away as a collection of particles. Where he would be reassembled.
If everything went according to plan.
Lt Markus Woods, CSO
((OOC: Hey folks, this is an open opportunity to meet and greet Lt Woods in the halls and such aboard the sip, or perhaps give our GM’s some fresh meat to mess with. Provided no transporter mishap, feel free to jump in and say hi.
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