Entering the Triangle
Location: Ajax Bridge
Timeline: 1200 Hours
With the situation they were entering into, and the shorthanded nature of the crew. Jason had made the decision to cut the crew down to three shifts and assign everyone to one of them. He was now on the Alpha shift with Cummins. Q'orvha was on Beta with Jadi. Anna was on the Delta shift with Vcor. That also changed the shifts from six hours to eight to give them around the clock coverage. He was looking forward to getting this mission handled as quickly, and more importantly, as quietly as possible. Sneaking onto a planet full of hostile forces to execute an extraction, most likely under fire, was not his idea of a fun time.
Jason sighed and shook his head at those thoughts. In order to distract himself, he set down the Padd of reports he'd been idly skimming and stood up to check the engineering readouts.
"Cummins, I'm gonna grab a coffee after I check the engineering boards. You want anything?"
Leslie was a million miles away in this thoughts, "what? Oh, umm. I'm guessing anything stiff is off the table so just water'll suit me." He didn't drink, what sort of a comment was anything stuff is off the table, it was a nervous attempt to fit in and a stupid one at that; such did Leslie's subconscious mock him for it.
From the corner of his eye, Leslie kept seeing, or more so thinking he saw something. A change in the display, he flicked the console with his finger and went back to watching the navigational array as a good little helmsman would.
"Definitely just water," trailing off and muttering, "...paranoid."
Jason chuckled and nodded as he walked to the rear of the bridge. "Yeah I hear you. One of the drawbacks of being such a small crew, we can't get good and hammered once in awhile unless we put into port." He didn't mention the bottle he kept for 'medicinal' use in his bedside table. To be fair though, he did rarely use that bottle. "Plain water or ice?"
"Ice? Bit of a loose ship. I'm already seeing shit without needing that." Came the most genuine and completely miss understood retort that only Leslie could give. He rubbed his eyes and flicked the console again, trying to not distract himself from the navigational sensor display.
"You feeling alright Cummins? Want me have Doc come up here?" Jason asked over his shoulder, slightly concerned about his helmsman. Engineering status boards were showing green, but the portside engine was about two percent below its nominal levels. He made a note to have Q'orvha look into it on her shift. "Maybe he can give you something for your nerves?"
"Probably just tired, bit too on edge. Swear I keep seeing something [on this sensor readout]," Leslie said, shaking his head.
"Over worked, under paid. Isn't that what they say?" A growing sense of awkwardness about him, "maybe I do need that coffee."
"Coffee I can do." Jason nodded. "If you're this keyed up when we haven't even entered the Triangle, you gonna be up to it when we have to drop into Canterra's atmosphere and make the extraction?"
Leslie got his best fake facial twitch possible going and turned to face the Lieutenant, in a high toned and quick sounding voice like that of a mad man he said, "it's only paranoia if they aren't after you."
"Well, they're definitely going to be after us once they realize what we're up to." Jason agreed. He was just hoping that the Devonshire and Hawaii's task groups would draw most of the attention away from the Wallace class slipping into the planets atmosphere.
Feeling the overwhelming need to clarify his own sanity, he regains composure, "I'm fine. Just not sleeping well." Both hands involved in emphasising his own 'fineness', "A few old ghosts back to haunt my dreams. I'll try and get some proper sleep during rotation."
"Maybe you ought to see Doc V for something to help you sleep." Jason recommended as he headed towards the door of the bridge. "I'll be back in a few minutes with that coffee."
"I'll still be here," Leslie said returning his attention to the sensor displays across his helm console. Glancing periodically to the source of his paranoia. A lone, quiet craft with nothing much of anything to report on sensors.
Jason returned a few minutes later, a cup of coffee in each hand. He sipped from the one in his right and carried the other one down to his Helmsman. "One cup of coffee," he said, setting it down on the corner of the console. "How much longer until we reach the Triangle?"
"Liquid gold," Leslie said lustfully over the cup, taking a sip.
Looking over to his CO, "4 and a bit [hours], but most of that is not wanting to get caught and the hamster's union negotiated breaks."
Seriously? You think anyone will get that reference, Leslie scalded himself.
"Mmm." Jason agreed as he sipped his coffee. "Don't wanna get on the wrong side of the unions. Pesky bastards could shut us right down."
"But that’s the exact problem, see they claim they’re in the best interest of their members but they’re just in it for the profit." A passionate reply from despondent helmsman. "Do you think they’re secretly just Ferengi?"
"The galaxy is a big place, so its quite possible that the Ferengi don't hold a monopoly on the Rules of Acquisition and what they mean." Jason said thoughtfully, glad to see his Helmsman perk up a bit. "Could lead to quite a philosophical debate."
"That it could." Leslie agreed, continuing, "you know, it begs the question, based on this entire discourse how I’ve ever been able to pass psych exams. Guess I was always just too quiet."
Leslie gave a shrug and adjusted his posture. One thing Leslie felt about flying this craft was the uncomfortableness of the helm station when compared to most runabouts.
"Psych evals are just a tool to be used, usually by the brass. Much like we ourselves as members of Starfleet are tools the brass use to accomplish the goals set out by the Federation." Jason commented with a small smile.
There was a nod back and a moment of awkward silence, the dull hum of the ship the only noise. The cogs in Leslie's head as audible as the hum of the engines.
"So..." Leslie broke with an unease, "you umm, keep up with any sports or stuff?"
"Mostly just the Bat'leth tournament." Jason replied, sipping his coffee. "Not many combat oriented sports around anymore. Everything's getting too.... pacified for my liking. Take it from me, survival behind the lines takes a certain skillset, and those skills in use are what I like to see."
Bat'leth, right, one of those guys. Leslie thought to himself, "yep, more of a poker guy myself. There's a few good tournaments that make the broadcasts. Don't play it much myself, not since ah-," stalling, "never mind."
"But Bat'leth. Interesting." Leslie commented attempting to turn the conversation away from his unresolved point on poker.
"I've been thinking about having a poker night once a week. Winner gets out of the chore of their choice for the week." Tigan commented as he sipped his coffee.
"It'd probably get me out of my head a bit," Leslie let out a stimming sigh, "not that this all hasn't got me back to the same levels as in my teens."
Leslie was referring to his days on the streets, and probably the reason he was still a 3rd Grade Petty Officer in his 30s. A scared boy, alone in the galaxy, piloting the body of a 30 something year old man, constantly in fight of flight.
"Well that would be an added benefit, wouldn't it?" Jason remarked. "I'll set something up for the day after tomorrow. Give everyone a little break after we clear the Triangle and before we hit Cestus."
Before Cummins could come up with a response to that statement, the sensor station pinged. "I'll look." Jason commented, motioning for Cummins to stay put. He walked over to the science station and leaned over, setting his coffee on the edge of the console. "Looks like a bit of a juiced up freighter, just at the edge of our sensor range off the port bow. Beefed up the weapons and armor on it. Can't tell much more at this range. Could be friendly, could be a raider." Jason observed.
"Bet it's that thing I saw earlier on sensors," Cummins replied, tapping the console displaying a composite sensor layout, "I knew I wasn't seeing things!"
"That is possible." Tigan agreed from the science station. "It's not making any hostile movements or anything so I'm not going to raise the alert level just yet. I'll program the system to keep a passive eye on it. If it starts acting up we'll address it then."