Star Trek Hunter
Episode 3: Breakfast Serial
Scene 2: Landing Plans
The U.S.S. Hunter’s flight operations department were seated around a long, curving teak table in the large conference room behind the bridge. The table followed the shape of the room. The department director, Lt. Kenneth Dolphin, sat at one end of the table along with his assistant director, 2nd Lt. Gaia Gamor. The command staff - Captain Minerva Irons, Commander David Pepper and Lt. Commander Mlady - were at the other end. The flight team - Flight Specialists Winnifred Salazaar, Dih Terri and Joey Chin along with Chief Flight Specialist Dewayne Guth - headed by Ensign Ethan Phillips, and the navigation team - Navigators Johanna Imex and Eli Strahl - were seated around the table. It was the first departmental meeting since the Flight Operations Director position had finally been filled after being vacant for nearly two years.
Pep was holding forth. “Non-emergency landing protocol for this boat is for the platform and tactical units to separate and land independently. The wagon and the interceptors are also to land independently and to be placed for optimal access depending on ground operation and bunking plans. We’ll be landing on the largest island on Ocean and we’ll be parked for three weeks shore leave. Coming in, I want to give our hosts a nice air show - Hunter..”
The boat’s holographic avatar - in the form of an older man with a white lab coat and a gray beard - appeared in miniature standing on the table - only 6 inches tall. The holographic emitters transformed the tabletop into an island with red-streaked white beaches and reddish ocean waves lapping at its edges. At this scale, the six-inch-tall man towered over several low buildings near the beach. “You will approach from the west, flying in out of the afternoon sun,” Hunter said, pointing toward a corner of the ceiling. Tiny versions of the separated tactical unit and platform of the U.S.S. Hunter, along with the wagon and two interceptors almost too small to be seen, swooped down from the ceiling in diamond-slot formation and maintained formation as they made three passes around the conference table, spiraling inward with each pass to approach the landing zone.
Pep continued, “Wayne and Winnie will fly the interceptors. Ethan will fly the wagon. Gaia has the tactical unit and the maneuvers and simultaneous landing will be coordinated by Director Kenny.” As he said this, the emitters changed the scene to enlarge the landing zone and depict the five flying units landing simultaneously on marked locations on the tarmac. “The piece-de-resistance - a simultaneous landing,” Pep concluded. The hologram faded, leaving the 6-inch tall, antique looking holographic avatar standing alone on the antique teak table.
The miniature old man looked right, then left, then vanished with an unnecessarily comic puff of virtual smoke.
Winnifred Salazaar spoke up, “so we’ll link our flight computers to the bridge pilot console?”
Justice Irons cleared her throat, then said, “It will be a manual landing, Mr. Salazaar.”
The entire department swiveled to look at Lt. Dolphin, seated at the other end of the table. Dolphin was grinning ear to ear. “A simultaneous manual landing…” Dolphin continued, then with a pause for emphasis: “Visual Flight Rules.”
While no one actually groaned, there was an audible sigh as the air was let out of nearly everyone in the department.
Dih Terri found her voice: “I thought manual operation - except for interceptors - was only if the computer is down or the mission outside computer tolerance..”
Lt. Dolphin smiled even more broadly. “There is another condition under which manual flight and VFR are allowed… Gaia…”
Lt. Gamor continued, “Training. You never know when you might have to fly stick with no instruments. You need to be good at it.”
Dolphin continued, “And good only happens with training. Okay - pilots to your birds, set them up for simulation. I will coordinate from the bridge flight simulator in the shuttle bay. The rest of you may return to your duty stations or to your previously scheduled activities…”