Captain Tu Lee's e-butler pinged. Most people were quite happy to let e-butlers speak, but Tu Lee had almost immediately disabled the function. She preferred a quiet series of notification sounds. There was something deeply impersonal about digitally-generated voices speaking to you through your cochlear nerve.
Her wrist array picked up the subtle movements of her hand, passed the signal to her OCtattoos, which in turn processed the signal and passed it along to her optic nerve. In her virtual vision, a ghostly hand mirrored her flesh-and-blood hand's movements. She dismissed the notification from her calendar app - the meeting on the Resurgence
was starting. Her e-butler sounded a polite cybernode-disconnect warning as the shuttle pod left the hangar on the Second Chance
She shifted against the straps holding her to her chair. The shuttle was barely more than a metal skin with some engines strapped to it. The tiny thing was a good metaphor for their whole ship, really. The Commonwealth had ignored space for so long.... Tu Lee idly wondered where on the scale they would have fallen. Would they have the boxy-looking style of the Daedalus
? The angled bulk of the Resurgence
or sleek lines of the Glasgow
? Gravity plating? Even something as simple as the hangar on the Resurgence
- they'd thought to put a force field in place of a hangar door, allowing the whole space to remain pressurized - was an innovation beyond Commonwealth space design.
Meanwhile, the Second Chance
had to despin the habitation ring before it could make use of what pitiful sublight maneuverability was available.. She was a bulky ship; a demonstration of how much cash CST could throw at a problem. They had a galley capable of crafting gourmet meals, even post-refit. Not that she'd authorized such waste during the "extended transreality crisis" they found themselves in post Transferrence. The one thing the Second Chance
had going for it was their wormhole tech. Based on what she'd seen so far, the ships in this reality were ponderously slow to enter hyperspace, nearly completely blind while inside it, and had a disastrously long recharge time before they could re-enter it. That would render most of the Second Chance’s
battle MO impossible: short, rapid hops from one side of the orbit to another, always looking for the latest hot spot to plug up. Such maneuvering that had saved Anshun (well, presumably; they'd ended up here
before that battle had ended) -
The messaging app pinged in her virtual vision.
Keiran: Still in there, Captain?
She turned away from the window, glancing across the aisle. The shuttle was mostly empty - out of the capacity of 15, only 6 seats were occupied. Her, Keiran (the ship's Chief Technical Officer), and four "security" personnel.
"Yeah," she said to Keiran. "Just a bit distracted."
"I can't imagine what might be on your mind right now," Kieran said mischievously. "It's not like anything abnormal's been happening."
"Right. Not like the Transferrence spawned a neo-religious sect aboard, or we suddenly have to scrape together weapons for a ground-based security force, or figure out how to fit extradimensional missiles into our racks..."
"Hey, at least you don't have someone asking to start CST: Extradimensional Division."
Tu Lee rolled her eyes. "You know, it’s not cute to point out trouble which you yourself are causing."
"You know you love me," Keiran prodded.
"But, part of you does."
"It really doesn't."
Her e-butler pinged again, notifying her that it had lost maneuvering control of the shuttle pod. That was expected, as they'd just entered the atmosphere of the hangar. Maneuvering thrusters designed for space did not work in an atmosphere - a problem none of the foreign ships, somehow, seemed to have.
The first time the Second Chance
had sent a shuttle pod over to the Resurgence
, it had embarrassingly fallen to the deck with a crunch as soon as it entered the artificial gravity. Now, though, they'd learned to coordinate with Resurgence
tower to take over control via tractor beam.
had kindly offered use of their shuttle as taxi, and Tu Lee had equally kindly refused. The crew of the Second Chance
could manage just fine, thankyouverymuch
"Speaking of wormholes," Tu Lee started, motioning to Keiran, "the ship VI pinged me about another request from Dr. McKay asking for a science representative."
"Erm . I'll find someone."
Tu Lee locked eyes with him, smiling slightly. Finally, someone else was in the hot seat.
"Someone," she prompted.
"Yeah. There's plenty of, erm, qualified-"
"-personnel." Kieran was studying the Resurgence's
"Mmm. I've heard he's got quite the accepting personality regarding non-scientists. Very patient man." She was openly smiling now.
"I've sent the basic tech report. That should tide them over."
Tu Lee sent an image comparing the number of requests from Dr. McKay before and after they'd sent their basic tech and history reports to the other ships. It easily tripled after the man had learned of their wormhole tech.
“Shut up,” Keiran muttered.
“I didn’t say anything.”
Now he was glaring at her.
Their clone trooper escort stopped and gestured to a particular room. Two of their makeshift security personnel walked in first. Their cybernetically-enhanced muscles glittered as a wave of OCtattoos activated, scanning the room for weapons. None of the foreigners had been hostile, but there was a certain level of paranoia innate to any Commonwealth citizen - especially the Grand Family brat that had somehow wormed his way into chief of security. The Second Chance
may be a Navy ship, but the Navy was still very much a new organization, and it seemed like every Grand Family and Intersolar Dynasty was trying to carve out a new slice of power. Unfortunately, some people had kept that attitude post-Transferrence.*ping*
Sec1: Room clear.
Clear of what, exactly? Commonwealth weaponry? That wasn't exactly surprising.
She eyed the guard's weapons. They all had knives of varying types,
one had an ion pistol, another had a laser rifle (how the hell had that made it onto the ship?), and the other two simply had makeshift clubs. The club-wielder's reactions were heightened with combat wetware - very illegal, but she wasn't complaining. Even so… it felt lackluster compared to what she’d seen of some of the foreigners.
She and Keiran entered the room. They were wearing the simple jumpsuit uniform universal to all zero-gravity ships; Keiran wore his OCtattoos colorful, with a cobra actively twisting around his forearm while Tu Lee preferred to keep hers faded out of sight unless in use. His hair was a short, vivid blue, while hers was a more conventional, short, spiky brown.
The other delegations - the ones who'd been here longer, at least - hadn't brought as much security.
Her attention kept getting drawn to the mushroom-octopus thing. It certainly wasn't the elf-like Silfen, but it did remind her a bit of a smaller version of a Raiel. At least, the head was kind of similar. They both had tentacles, at any rate. On the other hand, the hulking, four-jawed alien was unlike any of their “native” aliens. As for the combat-suited humans - it was hard to be sure, given the disparity of tech in the room, but she'd bet the latest exosuits from the Navy Trooper project would beat them. Probably.
There was a weird tension in the air - the exosuited humans and the four-jawed alien were eyeing each other.
She sat down, Keiran next to her.
"Weird vibe in here," Keiran said. Tu Lee glared at him.