/* Klaus Badelt
"The Medallion Calls"
_Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl_ (2003) */
Utena Tenjou strode through the Valiant's corridors, nodding
acknowledgements to the greetings of crewmen she passed. The ship had
more than a full complement aboard; most of the people who'd brought her
through from Zeta had stayed on to help with the upcoming fight, since
her own crew was both scattered throughout the task force and likely to
end up involved in the ground operation. The halls seemed unusually
crowded and unusually formal with all these uniformed personnel. There
was a definite buzz in the air, a going-to-war vibe that made everything
seem that much more immediate - that much more serious.
She entered the turbolift and rode it to deck C; when she
emerged, a team of damage-control crewmen was waiting to get on.
"Hey, Commodore," said the red-headed young man in the lead.
"Back in the saddle again, eh?"
"Will Evans," said Utena, grinning. "What are you doing here?
I thought you were on the Newcomen."
"I was transferred to the Insouciant last week, but she's not
finished fitting out. When the call came in for this mission, I figured
I'd tag along and get some Defiant-class experience."
She shook her head, still grinning, and clapped his shoulder as
he entered the lift. "We should all be so dedicated," she said. "Glad
to have you, Will."
She arrived in the engine room to find it, too, abuzz with
activity and sporting a far larger crew than usual. Corwin usually ran
things down here with two or three assistants; now there was a crew more
like would be found aboard a conventional ship this size, a dozen or
more people, some in IPSF tech jumpsuits, some in the blue coveralls of
International Police Tech Division shipyard workers. She had expected
to see Zed Cochrane down here riding herd on the gang, but instead, the
person standing in the middle of the room doing the supervising was
somebody she knew, but hadn't been expecting at all.
"Tali!" she cried, delighted.
The young quarian turned at the sound of her name, her body
language brightening at the sight of Utena, and returned the captain's
hug with enthusiasm.
"You made it after all!" said Utena.
"Barely," Tali'Zorah replied. "There I was, so proud of myself
for having made it to New Avalon by this morning, only to discover that
you weren't -there,- you were on Babylon 6." She shrugged. "But, as
they say, Keelah provides."
"Well, hey, you're out, that's the main thing," said Utena.
"And heading straight into a battle, no less," Tali said wryly.
"Father would be furious. Oh, wait, he is anyway."
Utena grinned and made a dismissive gesture. "He didn't -have-
to sign the waiver. And hey, thanks to this, you didn't miss the
wedding." She frowned thoughtfully. "Mostly. Not sure what we're
going to do about that yet. Ah, well, one thing at a time. Speaking of
which, I'd better get to work. Got everything you need down here?"
"Please," said Tali. "You're talking to a quarian in the engine
room of a ship that's practically brand new. My biggest problem will be
the lack of things to fix."
Utena put a hand behind her head and smiled a little ruefully.
"Oh, I'm sure we'll take care of that soon enough."
"Or Earthforce will," Tali agreed. "I was actually expecting to
be bumped out of the job when we got here - where's Corwin?"
"He's bringing Daggerdisc."
"Ah. Good idea. You never know when you might need to blow
something up very, very much," Tali said with a phantom wink. "At any
rate, Commodore, we're ready and able down here."
"Good to have you here," Utena said, giving her another quick
hug, and then she returned to the bridge.
Once there, she just had to pause for a moment and take a slow
look around. Here in this familiar compact space, with her crew taking
their stations and getting to work all around her, she felt... pride?
Confidence? All of that, really, but above all she felt -comfortable.-
At home. Like this, above anywhere else, was where she belonged right
She took her center seat, settled back, and watched on the main
viewer as the rest of TRIDENT Group Red formed up and prepared to jump
to lightspeed. The Klingon battlecruiser HoSghaj had a place in that
formation, and Utena smiled at the sight. Years before, Gryphon had
arranged for Utena to spend a spare day aboard HoSghaj, which was then
stationed at what was, at the time, still the Babylon Station
construction area. She hadn't known it when she agreed, but he'd also
arranged for to be put in -command- of said battlecruiser for his
(Klingons always called their ships "he") day's patrol of the B'hava'el
When questioned about this, Commander Krontep had explained, "He
told me he thought if you once tasted command, you'd never rest until
you had it back." At the time, Utena had though that was silly. Her, a
Space Captain? She was, at the time, just a girl in her mid-teens, one
who had grown up in a world where there was no such thing as space
travel, to boot. It had seemed like one of Gryphon's little jokes, a
lark to spend an afternoon with.
Except that he'd been absolutely right.
Noting a gap in the formation, she thumbed one of the comm keys
on her conn's armrest. "Daggerdisc, Valiant. What's the holdup?"
"Picking up a hitchhiker. I'll tell you later," Corwin replied,
sounding slightly disgruntled about something. "Getting under way now.
Utena arched an eyebrow at the comm panel, but said nothing; she
knew that whatever was going on over there, it was sufficiently annoying
to put Corwin in Terse Mode, and pestering him with follow-up questions
wasn't going to do anything to improve matters. A few moments later,
Daggerdisc emerged from Babylon 6's forward docking bay and moved into
"Okay, listen up, Red Group," Utena declared on fleet all-call.
"We're going in by the Blue Route today; it'll be a lot less obvious
than warping into the system or punching a metapoint at the far end, and
for -damn- sure less obvious than using Illustrious's wave motion
spacefold. Set your helms to hyperspace slave and let's go make the
"All task group ships are online and tied across in hyperspace
slave mode," Gus Grissom reported from the helm station as
acknowledgements flowed in from the various vessels on the overhead
speakers. "I have control; the board is green."
Miki Kaoru finished punching keys at the navigator's station and
reported, "Master course plotted and locked in. All stations online."
Utena nodded. "Commence hyperspace countdown on my mark...
"Group Red, this is Valiant," Grissom said crisply, his fingers
plying the helm controls as if he'd been operating a Defiant-class
destroyer in flag mode all his career. "Fleet hyperspace maneuver in
ten seconds. Nine. Eight. Guidance is internal. Six. Five." The
main viewer switched to the view ahead; B'hava'el slid to starboard as
the Valiant's automatic maneuvering system positioned her for a clean
jump out-system, the tactical plot in the lower right corner of the
display confirming that the rest of the flotilla was changing course to
match. "Hyperspace motivators online. Preliminary maneuvering
complete. Two. One. -Lightspeed!-"
The stars smeared into lines and then hurtled aft as the ship's
motivator drive flung her into hyperspace with the rest of the flotilla