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Lieutenant (JG) Yogan Yalu - Bee Yourself


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This was beautifully written! 😍

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(( Cargo Management Unit 27-Alpha, In orbit of Vulcan))

Yogan’s thickly gloved hands tapped side-by-side control panels; the left one monitored his flight, the right one dispensed the cargo.  There were dozens of starships, shuttlecraft, and CMUs darting in all directions in orbit of Vulcan, but Yogan had his sights on only one–the Nova-class USS Resolution, which lay dead ahead.

Although he felt a bit cramped into the small craft–they weren’t exactly made with people of his stature in mind–it was an exhilarating opportunity he daren’t miss.  Vulcan Space Central had given him the approval, even lent him a pressure suit, and despite the hustle and bustle of the ships in orbit, he felt awash in the peace and solitude of unaccompanied spaceflight.

The workbee, as it was nicknamed, was easy to pilot.  This craft had been a mainstay of orbital spacedocks and starships alike for over a century, the design time-tested and infinitely modifiable to a range of needs and functions.  As he manoeuvred the bee along Resolution’s underbelly, he took advantage of its large forward windows to inspect the starship’s ventral exterior.  It was a seldom-seen point of view, and from here, she looked like a different ship altogether.

Yalu:  Computer, play something by The Butter Churns.

A selection from one of the Novan band’s older albums played over the comm system in his pressure suit, and he bopped his head along to the uptempo rhythm.  The simple chords and uncomplicated lyrics made him nostalgic for the simple, uncomplicated times of his youth.

 

(( Flashback – Rytela Flight School, Trill – 2377 ))

Flight Instructor:  You have control.

Yogan Verso:  I have control.

Yogan dared not take his hands off the panel, even to mop the beads of sweat that were starting to run down his temples.  He’d practiced in the simulator, but this was for real.  He was actually piloting a spacecraft… in space!

Flight Instructor:  Change course, bearing 215 mark 090.  Speed, 500 kph.  Then take us out past the first signal buoy.

Yogan Verso:  Acknowledged.

Yogan’s fingers pinched and pulled along the X-Y translation pad to enter the new course.  The craft was small and light–with only manoeuvring thrusters and sluggish inertial dampers.  It lurched toward the new heading and Yogan felt the movement in the pit of his stomach and the back of his neck at the same time.  He braced himself, but resisted the urge to close his eyes.  He was fine, everything was fine.  He felt his flight instructor’s hand land on his shoulder from behind in a reassuring clap.

Flight Instructor:  You’re doing good, Son.

Yogan nodded.  The situation was stressful, but he felt comfortable in his mastery of the skills.  He’d been preparing for this since his first day of flight lessons four years ago, and it was everything he could have possibly hoped for.  His parents were skeptical at first, but the young Yogan Verso had demonstrated he took the training seriously.  It was his first real passion.  Instead of playing hoverball with his classmates, Yogan sat in the library reading suborbital flight manuals.  Instead of dating or going to parties, he volunteered at the hangar, absorbing every bit of expertise he could glean from the pilots who worked there.

Having established a reputation for declining invitations to social outings, his classmates started calling him “No-gan.”  It hadn’t bothered him.  He even wore it like a badge of honour, but as “No-gan” grew into an adolescent, his parents started encouraging him to branch out and explore other interests.  “When you’re older, you’ll wish you had done more when you had the chance,” they told him.  “You’re going to need to be more well-rounded if you want to be accepted into the Initiate Program,” they said, referencing his interest in becoming Joined someday.

That much, at least, was true, and as a teenager, Yogan learned to strike a better balance between his passions and the many other activities on offer to someone his age.  Single mindedness, as it turned out, wasn’t as necessary as he had thought.  There was room in his brain, and in his life, for a range of interests.  Becoming the youngest ever qualified pilot on Trill would have been incredible, but his parents were right; the opportunity cost of such an extraordinary achievement would have been too high.  Someday, if he were lucky enough to become a candidate for Joining, there would be more to him as a host than simply a pigeonholed “flyboy.”

As the small craft approached the signal buoy, its red light changed to green, signifying that Yogan had successfully passed the first checkpoint.  Only seventeen more to go.

(( End Flashback ))

 

With a bit of a flourish, Yogan flew the workbee close along Resolution’s hull, then arced it widely around the saucer section.  He never tired of this.

Having arrived at his destination near the bridge module, Yogan rolled the workbee 180 degrees so that Resolution’s dorsal hull was directly above him.  He could clearly see the damage she’d sustained during the last mission.  Most notably, the paint was scraped off in dozens of places, likely due to the asteroid impacts they sustained while escaping from the Sau.

One of them must have skipped along the hull like a rock on a pond; its damage was visible along a ten-metre arc of intermittent pits and pocks.  Unfortunately, it had taken the tail off of the ‘R’ in the ship’s name, giving the impression that she was called U.S.S. Pesolution.  It was only cosmetic–there seemed to be no structural damage–but it wouldn’t do for the ship to return to the Borderlands looking all raggedy.  Besides, he was keeping the promise he’d made however-many-hundreds-of-thousands of years in the future: if they made it out alive, he’d volunteer for a shift on repainting detail.

His right hand activated the program to align the workbee against the hull and dispense the right amount of paint in the right location.  As it executed, the graceful Nova-class ship rolled back out of sight, and with The Butter Churns as his only company, Yogan once again turned his attention toward the stars and the blackness of space.

 

Lieutenant JG Yogan Yalu
Helm Officer
USS Resolution NCC-78145

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