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Mister Sandman

Posted on Thu Aug 15th, 2019 @ 4:49pm by Lieutenant Lilith Sullivan

Mission: For Whom The Bell Tolls
Location: USS Majestic, Sullivan's Quarters
Timeline: MD06, 0300

"Damn."

Garner forced himself to return to reality and jump out of bed after getting lost in the world of one of Sev Th'thalret's latest novels. Ever since the ship's computer had been updated with the latest and greatest from Andoria's best known authors, he had been dedicating at least an hour to read before drifting off to sleep. The latest works of Andorian fiction were set in the twenty-second century, a time where the United Federation of Planets was in its infancy, trying to gain traction.

The here and now was the twenty-fourth century. The Federation was no longer in its infancy, and her former enemies had begrudgingly become allies over time. Still, there were splintered factions of the Romulans and Klingons that often engaged in pirating raids, timing their opportunities with lulls in the military presence of the Federation. If it came to a fight, it was usually a brief skirmish, but everyone held their breath every time. Peace in the area was as permanent as a house of cards. One slight shift and it would be nothing but a memory.

For his part, Garner glanced wistfully over his shoulder at his unmade bed as it disappeared behind the hiss of a sliding door. The sound of the klaxon triggered an autonomous response from systems and personnel throughout the ship. There were some givens that Garner knew he could count on when he walked through the door to the briefing room. With Gamma shift barely an hour old, the pilots that were on Alert-15 would be fresh and ready to go. The same could be said for those on Alert-30 and Alert-60 status.

The door to the flight operations room hadn't even finished closing before the parts of the well-oiled machine began to move.

"Sir, the flight of Valkyries is ready now, two minutes until thirty-seven is ready."

Garner nodded in acknowledgement. He turned to the big board as the last of the pilots on standby ran by the door on the way to the briefing room. The ship's complement of fighters were individually displayed, split into groups to form flights, squadrons, and wings. There were a lot of moving parts, but having space superiority was supreme. As far as Garner was concerned, there was no better way to overwhelm a ship's defense than by launching dozens of highly agile, well-armed starfighters with well-trained pilots at the controls.

"What's the status on the other squadrons?" he asked.

"Crusaders and Archers will be ready in," there was a momentary pause while the display updated, "well, just about the same time as the others."

"Alright, let me think," Garner closed his eyes and rubbed his temples. He pulled a PADD out of his jacket pocket before continuing. "Put departure procedures into effect, we're no good if we start running into each other next to the ship. We’re going to use the ARGUS and PLUTO recoveries for anyone that needs to get back on the boat. Push tin as best as you know how," Garner started to walk away.

"Wait, sir, where are you going?"

"Briefing room," the Raging Bull’s squadron leader pointed up to the big board. His name had been added to the list alongside the flight of Broadswords about to launch. Somebody up top had made the call.

Outside, the corridor was bathed in red light, but the distance was forty-six paces from Operations to the briefing room regardless of the lighting situation. Garner opened the door to join the other pilots. Lieutenant Parks was given most of the briefing, but upon noticing Garner’s arrival, he gave the senior officer the floor to speak.

"Sir," he deferred.

"Please, no need. I don't have to repeat anything Lieutenant Parks said. You know what to do!" Garner led them out the door and towards the awaiting fighters. "For even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil because I am the baddest m-f’er in the quadrant!"

So they walked down the flight-line as a band of brothers and sisters, willing to sacrifice everything to fulfill the oaths they had sworn. Garner knew there was no guarantee that he or any of the others would make it back, but as he locked eyes with his wing-men, he saw no fear in their eyes.

“Mikey!” a voice called out.

“Oh hell, what now Sullivan.”

“Hey, that’s no way to talk to one’s junior officer. I’m calling JAG,” another member of the squadron ran up beside him, nudging his side with her elbow. The soft wings on her flight suit read LTJG L.E. Sullivan.

“Yeah, and ‘Mikey’ isn’t how you refer to your superior either, now is it?”

“Okay, noted. We’ll call it a wash. You gonna get us into all kinds of s--- again today or is this going to be a routine patrol?” The pair of pilots continued down the flightline to their awaiting starfighters.

“Lil’, you know that klaxon doesn’t go off unless they really need us to show up.”

“Yeah, bad attitude and a butter knife, I know, I know. I had just nodded off for a nap too, so I’m cranky. Just warning you, ya know, for later when I have resting b---- voice on the comms. I cannot be held responsible,” she laughed as they approached the staging area.

“Lil’ cut it out!” Garner grabbed her by the shoulders. “Honestly, I don’t have a great feeling about this. These pirate raids have been getting more and more sophisticated, and I don’t know that we’re necessarily keeping up with their advancements.”

“So grabby,” she started to roll her eyes but the seriousness etched on his face stopped her. “Oh, okay, yeah you’re right. Let’s get down to business," she lifted her helmet up and inspected the visor for any smudges or scratches. "Oh, before we go, got a second Mike?”

“Yeah Lily?”

“Ah, I’ll tell you later," she waved off whatever she had to say, confidence failing her. "I’ll see you on the other side,” Sullivan wrapped her arms around him and hugged him tightly. “Stay frosty, watch my back and I’ll watch yours.”

“I’m taking that as permission to watch you walk away.”

“Granted! That’s more like it!” she gave an extra shimmy as she walked away. “C'mon Mikey!" She turned around and watched him as she walked backwards. "Va va voom baby!” she laughed, watching Garner return her shimmy with one of his own.

Reaching her starfighter, Sullivan climbed the ladder and scrambled into her seat. She cinched her shoulder harness on tight as the fighters moved one-by-one into position on the electromagnetic launch system. Once satisfied that her craft was ready, she saluted the catapult officer and waited for that familiar sensation of being pressed into her seat by the savage acceleration created by the launch.

"Let's do this."

[MD06, 0300]

Sullivan sprang upright in her bed, her panicked breathing wheezing through the darkness in the room. Her sheets and clothing were soaked through with sweat. The anxiety faded ever so slightly from her visage as the familiarity of her quarters on the Majestic came into focus. Satisfied that she was not in life threatening danger, her body's autonomous acute stress response subsided, and she slowly calmed down.

Lilith grabbed a pillow and hugged it tightly. Like rain falling on her childhood bedroom window, tears starting to stream down her cheeks. The sudden catharsis was almost too much to bear, but she suffered through it sitting there alone on her bed. Starlight glistened off of her cheeks as she wiped the tears away with the pillow case.

The ephemerality of the human condition was never more evident than during bouts of extreme emotion. In a few hours, a new day would begin and Sullivan would rise and meet it like she did every day. No doubt there would be some lingering effects, but that battle wouldn't have to be fought until its appropriate time.

For now, it was enough to breathe.

In.

Out.




Lieutenant Lily Sullivan
Needs a Hug
CFCO

 

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