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Back in the Saddle

Posted on Wed Feb 6th, 2019 @ 12:22am by Captain Akiva ben-Avram & Captain Mrazak & Lieutenant JG Ryland Dedeker

Mission: Season 1 Interlude I (E2.5)
Location: USS Phantom
Timeline: ID 70

Akiva sat on the bridge of the Phantom, enjoying the command chair which Mrazak had been forced to surrender to him on the way to Starbase 375. Now that Mrazak's rank had been reinstated, Akiva wondered if the Vulcan would be so petty as to demand the center chair. He was the Field Team Leader, after all, and the Phantom was attached to Memory Theta specifically for Field Team purposes. After losing the JAG inquest to Mrazak through some underhanded plea bargain with the Staff Judge, Akiva wasn't sure whether he wanted to waste the energy fighting over a damned chair or if it was in fact the very hill he wanted to die on.

As the minutes ticked by, with a late Mrazak doing HaShem knew what, Akiva formulated various possibilities and contrived pithy dialogue to accompany them. And then Mrazak entered the bridge. None of Akiva's forethought had prepared him for the reality of the situation.

"Forgive my tardiness," Mrazak said. "I do so value punctuality. We just had a new addition to the team who needed help finding the ship."

Akiva lazily looked toward Mrazak, fingers pressed against his temple in fatigued frustration, only to feel his eyes bulge out. "What in the Holy Name is he doing here?"

That reaction hit the nail right on the end. Mrazak's face was pure elation. "Oh, Commander, are you already acquainted with Lieutenant Dedeker? What a splendid coincidence!"

Ryland shifted his weight to one side and crossed his arms over his chest. "You could say so," he said glibly. "You might also say that I'm better acquainted with his lady fair."

"You shut your mouth!" Akiva raised his hand in anger.

"Is that an order?" Ryland asked glibly.

Akiva ignored the question and glared at Mrazak. "What have you done, Mrazak? What is he doing here?"

"Lieutenant Ryland Dedeker is my new Lead Flight Control Specialist," Mrazak said. "Wherever the Phantom goes, he goes. I suppose that means he's going back to Overwatch with the rest of us, doesn't it?" The Vulcan gave a manic grin.

At the illustrious declaration, Ryland strut forward and took in the sight of the bridge. "She's a beaut, Mraz, I'll give you that."

"Mrazak," the Vulcan corrected. "Commander Mrazak."

"Sure, boss." Ryland trotted up to the helm and hopped into the helm like a cowboy mounting a horse in mid-air. "Never had my hands on a Defiant class before. Lil' big in the hindquarters compared to my old Valkyrie, but she'll do."

Mrazak stepped forward and whispered in a dusky voice, "She also has a quantum slipstream drive." The lurid grin on his face was one usually reserved for catcalls.

"Something's wrong with you," Ryland said, tossing a brief worried glance over his shoulder. As he scanned the controls, though, the weird feeling upgraded to a happy one. "But, hell yeah, she'll do!" He clapped his hands and rubbed them together. "So when are we pullin' out, Commander?"

"That depends," Mrazak said, looking back to Akiva. "Ben-Avram, have you any further business to conduct?"

But Akiva was gone, having retreated from the bridge in angst and indignation.

"Don't worry, ben-Avram!" Mrazak called after him. "You'll have plenty of time to get reacquainted with Mr. Dedeker! All the time in the world."

"What bug crawled up his ass anyway?" Ryland wondered aloud as he brought the impulse engines online. "Used to play poker once upon a time, he and I."

"Never you mind, Lieutenant," Mrazak said. "Our dear administrator suffered grave disappointment today, but I trust it will be nothing that a few hours of sulking won't cure."

"Yeah, okay," Ryland said dismissively, caring less and less with each passing moment. "Just sent a request to unclamp from the docking port. Ops says we're green."

Mrazak folded his fingers in front of him in devious delight. "What are you waiting for, Lieutenant? Set a course to Memory Theta!"

"Where?" Ryland asked. "If that's a new starbase or something, you gotta' remember I've been in lockup for a minute."

"The Badlands." Mrazak sighed in frustration. "Think you can get us there without a kroyka star chart?"

Ryland chewed his lip. "You... you've never actually sat at the conn, have you?" He clicked his tongue. "All right, then. Laying in a course to Hell and hoping we get close."

The new recruit was already grating Mrazak's nerves, yet the look on Akiva's face when he saw the man was still more than worth it. All he had to do was ensure ample opportunity for the flight jockey to rub shoulders with the stellar cartographer, and the nuisance that was Akiva might just resolve itself. Mrazak settled into the command chair and sprawled his arms and legs into a more comfortable position. After a moment of inactivity, he realized the remaining bridge crew maintained awkward stares at him.

"Oh, you're still waiting for me? Engage!"


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