Obsidian Command

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No Pressure

Posted on 14 Jul 2022 @ 8:15pm by Commander Calliope Zahn & Crewman Recruit Zuzal

Mission: M3 - Into the Deep
Location: OC, Main Engineering
Timeline: MD05 HR1130
1342 words - 2.7 OF Standard Post Measure

Striding from the Security Office, Calliope re assumed the nearest lift, entering the Command express lockout once more. She checked her messages on her wrist display, once, then again, as if it had just needed time to load.

"C'mon, Lance," she said out loud, her heel tapping as she re-paged him. He was in a high level meeting. She knew because she was the one that had left him there with the agenda after all. It was a very intensive cross discipline conference with Science, Engineering, and Tactical; Calliope had masterminded the personnel selections and the project direction so Lance could concentrate his genius on the countermeasure designs to the weapons tech they were finding.

When she had first motioned Lance aside to tell him she'd been called away, her husband had given her a look, somehow both pleading and exasperated, but all she could do was flash him the page from DeHavilland and shrug. She’d been called up without a given reason. They both knew she wasn’t the contact person with Command on their ultra-urgent, secretive, defensive upgrade team, so it seemed likely to be concerning her unresolved service status. The realization set in on them both wordlessly and she drew some courage from his eyes as he accepted the meeting notes from her.

“I’ve got this,” Lance had said and then added, “You’ve got this.” Somehow Calliope knew that whatever the outcome she would pull through and Lance would be there with her on the other side of it.

The outcome of that meeting with the Captain had turned out to be a strange sort of compromise in a complex kind of arrangement. DeHavilland was clearly unhappy about being assigned away from her new command. And she clearly not only had not requested Calliope herself on the assignment, but also put off informing her, preferring taking on Calliope's role in the preparations before gettitng around to telling her.

Calliope sighed and punched the lift wall half-heartedly, giving her knuckles a skinning and remembering the point Sepandiyar had made with her.

"She doesn't trust me."

With a positive little chime, the lift opened as if in agreement with the assessment.

Beyond the lift doors was revealed the every-day bustle of a Stardock Class' Main Engineering, where people and supplies constantly funneled. In the outer ring, most any personnel were free to roam, but just beyond stood all of the checkpoints and various restricted entries.

Calliope stepped off and moved with the flow of personnel towards the primary access, all the while, craning her neck and searching for someone...

"Commander!" A younger Orion called out, waving Calliope down. She was grinning and holding out two travel bags."Are these the right ones?"

"Yes! Thank you, Crewman!" Calliope dug some latinum strips out of her pocket. "Have some fun on the Promenade for me. Stay out of trouble." Zuzal traded the duffels from the Commander's quarters for the latinum she hadn't been expecting and Calliope thought she saw Zuzal's eyes glittering with the prospects. To be a kid again, when everything was new... "I'll be out of town for a while," Calliope explained. "If you want, you can use my membership at Jeestroyest's." She handed Zuzal her membership card as well. "If you like it, I'll get you your own."

"Oh..." Zuzal wasn't sure what Jeestroyest's was. She looked at the little membership chip as if it would explain.

Calliope mistook her confusion for disappointment. She snapped her fingers. "Commander Quinn and I had reservations at The Monarch, for the opening tonight. Someone should enjoy the table. Dress glitzy. Take a friend, I'll change the reservation and let them know the bill is on me when I get a moment."

"Oh...Thanks! Have a good trip!" Zuzal told her as they parted ways again, Calliope ducking into the restricted zone where Zuzal couldn't follow. Zuzal started back, wondering what friend she could invite, seeing as she hadn't made very many yet, and feeling a little anxious at the direction to 'have some fun on the promenade'. And what kind of outfit was a 'glitzy' one? She turned around, thinking to ask for more advice, but the Commander was already gone from view.

The Chief Engineer’s Office being directly attached to Main Engineering, there was always a lot of foot traffic just outside of it. Calliope felt the difference in the atmosphere between the busyness outside leading down to the reactor bays, versus the protected silence as she gained entry to the office. Lance had left her biometrics programmed in, although not with all of the automated environmental controls as he'd keyed to her entry at home. Everything remained dim and unchanged. The office was expansive, with its own conference area and two story lab dedicated to the Chief’s purposes. While most other department head's offices had reception and lounge rooms, Lance’s was surrounded by monitors, displays and holotables with state of the art holographic technology built in for prototyping and advanced computer monitoring... although there were still lounging sofas, suitable for letting thoughts hatch while reclined. While to her it seemed immense and well furnished, Calliope wondered if it held a candle to his old office at Daystrom... Something told her it was a fraction of his old workspace. He'd been an Assistant Director, for heavens' sakes.

Casting the bags to one side, Calliope’s finger tips trailed the back of one of the sofas with a slight sag in the cushion and she wondered regrettably how many nights Lance had already slept there while he had been previously avoiding their quarters.

She came to one expansive holodisplay on the side of the room, projecting multiple overlaid system construction plans for the "USS Calliope". It was still strange to see her own name on the blueprints of Lance's beloved project. But the honor was growing on her. Maybe they'd never name kids. Just prototypes, she thought with a smirk as she read the display. The designs were for completely new innards and hull formats she'd never seen before. At the heart of it was a highly experimental looking engine labeled the "Quinn-Navine Drive". Calliope wondered briefly where the name Navine came from, telling herself to ask Quinn about it sometime. A complex table of mathematical formulae scrolled ever so slowly, with it's strange variables and unusual symbology looking for all the world like some kind of spell casting to Calliope. All she could make out was that it had something to do with Quantum Theory and something called Exotic Matter. ‘Project suspended’ it denoted under a timeline which had been cut off indefinitely.

As she came to Lance's sleek, state of the art replication-print and hologram modeling enabled desk-slash-worktable, Calliope perched herself on the side of the sweeping curve of it. She left the transparency of the outer wall to a “frosted” setting and the lights down, such that most of the office was lit by the glow of the standby modes and regular readouts of the station’s systems on the bank of monitors behind her. The low light seemed to give her a moment of repose despite the immense rush she was actually in.

She checked her wrist display once more, and this time the page sent to Lance was marked received, reassuring Calliope he was on his way. Calliope used the few minutes of waiting to speed read more of the brief on the mission from her wrist display, scrolling through the curved holo projection around her arm. She rubbed her forehead and wondered... if Corvus genuinely didn't even want her along for a single ride, what use was there advocating to return to her job as Corvus' first officer? She knew she could do the job, and run circles around it. But serving someone who didn't want you was a losing prospect. For the whole crew.

She knew it. And so did Sepandiyar. It was a high stakes proving grounds.

"No pressure," she told her freckled reflection in the desk's polished face.


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