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Lieutenant JG Maria Alvarez - I Came in Like a Wrecking Ball


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I can't tell you how good it is to have my old collaboration partner back on the ship - and the fleet at large - with us! Max, you have been missed, and this is incredible, as usual!
 
 
---
(( Shuttlecraft Ramena, in Raft-One Traffic Control Space ))
 
Shuttles sure seemed like magnets for disaster - always falling into spatial anomalies, getting captured by hostile forces, breaking down at the most inconvenient times... it was a wonder the crew safety commission didn't strike every single last one from service.  The problem was they were still the best way for a small number of people (or just one) to get from place to place.  People like Maria.  Except they were only the best until they weren't.
 
Maria sighed heavily.  The Arrow at long last loomed larger and larger in the window.  All in all, the journey could have been far worse.  The trip should have only taken three or four days, but instead it took two weeks.  She was back though.  Of course, Maria wasn't supposed to be seeing the ship or its crew for at least another month according to the original plan, but the reason why her assignment to the Degault and Genti II was cut short was a story she hoped wouldn't pried into.  Or not immediately, at least.
 
Ah, who was she kidding?  Shayne would probably tear into it (and her) the first second he saw her.  She grinned at the thought - nothing like a good verbal sparring match with the ol' CO to feel right at home.
 
The fact she was here at all was a minor miracle.  When she was dropped (more dumped, really) at the depot, the sole Starfleet officer on the planet had informed her that there were in fact no shuttles available.  Upon some rather pointed prodding, he admitted there was one "in the back."  Maria demanded to see it, and he obliged.  He led her back, and flung the tarp off of what would more rightfully be called a warp-capable rickshaw, complete with chicken wire for conduit shielding.  Anxious to put the Degault behind her, Maria immediately mounted up and warped off into the sunset, no questions asked.  Just over six hours later, the shuttle had its first systems failure.
 
From there, it turned into a game of hitchhiking along the trade routes of the Alpha Isles over the following weeks: first with a Caldonian yacht, then a Galadoran freighter, then finally a Dokkaran ore tug.  Between fouled warp injectors, a replicator on the fritz, and a navigation computer held together by Serilian Gorilla Paste, the best place for Maria's junkyard queen to be was safely docked in the shuttle bay of a larger, faster ship.  That also gave her time and tools to patch the systems well enough to traverse the final twenty-four hours or so to Raft-One on her own, where Arrow was docked.  So far, her handiwork held up.  Barely making warp two was hardly traveling in style, but when the distance was reasonably short, it worked.  She thought, for a moment, she might just dock without incident.
 
Alvarez: =/\= Shuttlecraft Ramena to Raft-One traffic control, on final approach to USS Arrow.  Switching comms. =/\=
 
Controller: =/\= Roger, shuttlecraft Ramena.  Safe docking.  Out. =/\=
 
Maria switched to the channel she had memorized.  She felt her stomach churn as the familiar shape of the ship got bigger and bigger.  For a moment, she mis-characterized the feeling as anxiety, but quickly realized it had more to do with the fact that Dokkaran miner's rations did not sit well with her.  Also, it probably had more to do with the fact that the Arrow was upside down from Maria's point of view, and there was an uneasy lurch in the shuttle's rate of roll coming around to match orientation.
 
Alvarez: =/\= Suttlecraft Ramena to Arrow, request permission to dock. =/\=
 
Shuttlebay: =/\= Permission granted - proceed to shuttlebay two. =/\=
 
Alvarez: =/\= Acknowledged, trimming course. =/\=
 
A few compliant beeps later, and the final approach vector was laid in.  Maria, while certified, was far from an ace pilot, so she trimmed the approach rate downwards for a gentle landing.  The only problem was the shuttle was now stubbornly stuck at a 45-degree angle relative to the bay.
 
Shuttlebay: =/\= Shuttlecraft Ramena, please adjust your relative roll to zero-zero-zero. =/\=
 
Maria rolled her eyes.  Did they think she was coming in like this on purpose?  Landing on a single nacelle was about the worst thing you could do.  She pressed a few buttons that should have brought her around, but the shuttle's computer beeped at her defiantly.
 
Alvarez: =/\= Arrow, I seem to be having technical difficulties.  Stand by. =/\=
 
She got out of the seat, and pried a panel open with a huff.  As she stared at the innards, there was a powerful wash of deja vu.  She shook it off, and set to work.
 
Alvarez: Fine, you wanna do it the hard way, we'll do it the hard way.  Let's see here... :: She started singing, tracing her finger across the circuits. :: The thruster pack is connected to the :: beat :: octo-valve, the octo-valve is connected to the :: beat. :: servo relay, the servo relay is connected to the :: beat. :: nav ODN bus, the nav ODN bus is connected to the... :: She stopped. :: HA!  Got you.  Just a good old manual override and...
 
She yanked a glowing cable from one slot and thrust it into another port.  The shuttle bucked, throwing Maria's footing off and sent her backwards onto the far wall.  The good news was that the shuttle was now rotating.  The bad news was that it would not stop rotating until the cable was removed again.
 
Maria reached forward, and yanked on the cable.  Sparks flew up, and the cabin went dark.  Outside, Arrow was still spinning closer and closer into view.  Upon realizing the step she missed, Maria swore.
 
Alvarez: I really should have paid more attention in engineering class...
 
Shuttlebay: =/\= Shuttlecraft Ramena - please null your rate of roll. =/\=
 
Alvarez: =/\= Yeah about that... =/\=
 
Shuttlebay: =/\= Ramena, you are crossing the final abort zone, correct your roll or abort your landing! =/\=
 
Maria hauled herself up to the chair and tried a few controls.  Nothing worked.
 
Alvarez: Computer, diagnostic - what command systems are still functioning?
 
There was a moment.
 
Computer: Audio commands, database functions, and communications.  All navigation is offline.
 
Maria groaned.
 
Alvarez: =/\= Arrow, all navigation is out, prepare for a crash landing. =/\=
 
Shuttlebay: =/\= Roger Ramena. =/\=
 
The man sounded thoroughly annoyed.  At least with the painfully slow approach Maria had chosen, there wouldn't be any real damage to Arrow, and no one would care much about the hunk of junk she currently sat in.  She sat down and held on as the shuttlebay got larger and larger, slowly twirling round and round.  Then, she chuckled as an idea crossed her mind.  Not everything on the shuttle was broken.
 
Alvarez: Computer, play "The Blue Danube."
 
The computer chirped, and the schmaltzy strings and horns struck up in a lilting waltz.  Maria laughed at the perfect absurdity of it.  If she was going to get in trouble for all of this (and she almost certainly would), she might as well have her fun with the moment.  As Arrow appeared to serenely spin around her, docking lights going in circles around her head, she felt her stomach lurch again.  That put a stop to her fits of giggles, replacing it with an uncomfortable groan.
 
Alvarez: I'm gonna be sick...
 
As the waltz drunkenly crescendoed, Maria had to admit her commitment to the joke was not helping her.  She gripped onto the chair as the shuttle went upside down yet again as it crossed the boundary of the shuttlebay in slow motion.  The normally imperceptible transition in gravity felt like a rollercoaster in this orientation - the blood in her head drained "up", but the blood in her feet "down" - if those directions could even be called that.  There was an abrupt crunchy clang on the roof from the shuttle dropping on the shuttlebay floor, and a horrid scraping squeeeeeeeeee of metal against the floor as the shuttle came to a stop.
 
Then, the shuttle's gravity switched fully off, and Maria was sprawled across the ceiling with no warning.  Fortunately, her dignity was hurt more than anything, at first blush.  She scraped herself off of the deck, and proceeded out the upside-down exit.  She gave a pretty smile and flirty wave to the on-duty chief as if that could solve all transgressions, then promptly emptied the contents of her stomach on the deck.
 
(( Mini-timeskip ))
(( USS Arrow, Deck 3 - Sickbay ))
(( OOC Note: I'm leaving tags open for one or more of our doctors to answer.  Or for anyone to visit. ))
 
Maria cradled her head in one hand and her stomach in the other, legs draped off the biobed she sat on.  This was definitely not how she imagined her reunion tour starting.  She kept her eyes shut to keep the unnatural light of sickbay from making her feel even worse.  She wasn't sure if she was being a complete wimp about the discomfort she was in, or if the washes of general stomach malaise were really as bad as she'd said.  Hopefully the doctor's tricorder would answer that.
 
Alvarez: I really should not have eaten all that Dokkaran Relvu Stew...
 
Sickbay: Response
 
Alvarez: At least it was fresh!  Or rather the captain said it was fresh...
 
Looking back, it did have far more of a fermented taste than seemed safe.  Maria didn't ordinarily have trouble with being spun around, and it had been long enough for her vision to settle, so she was a little concerned that her body was still in full revolt.  The food she ate for the last two weeks seemed like a good explanation.  It certainly felt more satisfying to blame it on that than her miserable piloting and fix-it skills.
 
Sickbay: Response
 
Maria opened her eyes and looked up with a displeased frown.
 
Alvarez: What does that mean?  Is it bad?  I'm assuming by the number of syllables that it's bad.  :: Suddenly grinning :: Is it contagious?  Maybe I should be put in isolation for a few days...  :: She winked. ::
 
Only Maria could be excited by the prospect of a potentially dangerous medical condition.  After all, who knew?  Maybe this would be a way to avoid Shayne for a couple more days.  Or at least get a doctor's note keeping her out of purging the waste systems.  She smiled, then realized that was punishment more commonly reserved for Ensigns.  Something she wasn't any longer.  On the Degault, her rank wasn't much more than a formality.  She spent more time on the planet anyway, so it only now occurred to Maria she hadn't spent more than a minute aboard Arrow with the new half-pip before she'd shipped off.
 
Sickbay: Response
 
Maria was too busy inside her own head to really process the answer to her question.  Thoughts of what Arrow had been up to in her absence crawled up in her mind - she suddenly felt a little guilty for not checking in on Quentin or Chloe or anyone else.  She had meant to, of course, but it never happened.  It took until this moment to process the new scars she'd noticed on Arrow's hull and the general pale dejection of some of the crew wandering the halls.  Sure, Maria wasn't exactly hot stuff at this particular moment in time, but at least she had an excuse: she was suffering from... whatever syndrome it was the doctor had just said.  What was everyone else's deal?  Her dark eyes focused on the doctor, this time with a curious and crystal-clear intensity.
 
Alvarez: Hey, did something happen last mission?  Things around here seem :: She considered the word a moment. :: off.
 
Of course something happened.  Something always happens on missions.  She meant what happened?
 
Sickbay: Response
 
Lieutenant JG Maria Alvarez
Operations Officer
USS Arrow - NCC-69829
A239710MA0
Wiki Operator
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