Star Trek Hunter
Episode 3: Breakfast Serial
Scene 4: Landing Assignments
Five days of training on the U.S.S. Hunter went by as though they were only five minutes - but with new details each day to add to the stress… Starbase Eleven orbited Ocean - a world so-named because it was almost entirely ocean. This made it a superb resource for a starbase - no shortage of water, plenty of raw ore on moons and asteroids scattered throughout the solar system and the small number of islands on the planet’s southern hemisphere were superb for growing food.
The family that operated the entire multi-island farming complex and the resort on the main island was a large, extended family of vulcans and humans - headed by four vulcan/human hybrid siblings - a son and three daughters of Justice Irons. Their father, the judge’s ex-husband, also lived on the island along with his third wife and several more children. And grandchildren and great-grandchildren. And great, great grandchildren..
Which made the island an unusually welcoming place for Justice Minerva Irons and her crew. Accommodations on the Hunter were cramped and spare, so whenever possible, the crew would spend time planetside. Having the Hunter landed on the island a short walk away from the resort - and the beach where a number of personnel had chosen to camp out under the stars - allowed for a minimal crew to be aboard at any given time.
Thirty minutes before the Hunter reached orbit, Lt. Kenneth Dolphin gathered the pilots in the shuttle bay for a final standing briefing. “Okay, the last few dry runs went rather well. But simulating manual operation is pretty much a contradiction in terms. The simulators will get you close, but they’re not the real thing. VFR means, among other things, reducing your inertial dampeners. I don’t want you to do that until you’re slowed to 30 kph - that will be about two minutes before we come in for final landing. Feel the wind. If anything feels wrong, switch back to computer control with full dampeners. Trust your guts.”
“Don’t worry boss, we’re ready,” Chief Flight Specialist Dewayne Guth said.
“I see Investigator Shran has been contaminating my department too,” Dolphin observed, dryly, provoking some quiet laughter. “Final assignments - here are your flight-mates… Commander Pepper will be in the chair looking over my shoulder on the main bridge. Lieutenant Gamor - Captain Irons will be on the tactical unit with you.”
“No pressure at all,” 2nd Lt. Gaia Gamor quipped, earning a nervous laugh from the other pilots.
“Since the tactical unit doesn’t actually have windows, you can’t use visual flight rules. So keep your inertial dampeners on full and fly it by the numbers,” Dolphin said.
“Aye Sir,” Gamor replied.
“Ethan, you will have Dr. Tali Shae and Mlady on the wagon,” Dolphin observed his ensign suppressing a shiver - Ensign Phillips was terrified of Mlady. And he wasn’t the only one. Several crew members were fascinated by the boat’s minuscule operations officer and her catlike grace. To others, her presence was deeply disturbing - like standing too close to a leopard. “Director T’Lok Smith will fly second seat with Salazaar,” Dolphin continued, suppressing a smile as Winnifred Salazaar made a slight fist bump and mouthed a silent “Yes” to himself - T’Lok was wildly popular with the crew. “And Director Carrera will ride second seat with you, Guth.”
Chief Guth raised his eyebrows. “I don’t think he’s forgiven me for getting Ensign Sun into trouble.”
“Well, you have to bury the hatchet at some point,” Dolphin continued.
“If he’s riding second seat in the interceptor, the only place for him to bury a hatchet would be in the back of my skull,” Guth observed - provoking much needed laughter among the pilots.
Dolphin brought his hands together with a loud clap. “Okay - pilots to your stations - Straighten Up!”
The pilots clapped loudly twice in unison and shouted, “Fly Right!”