Back in the saddle
Location: Eagle One (fighter)
Billi and Kirk strapped into the fighter, with Billi doing pre-flight while buckling in. The fighter was in mint condition, even the new canopy being in the green with no mistakes. She loved her crew chief. "Kirk, how we looking?"
Sitting in the aft Rear Intercept Officer position, Kirk was tapping keys and checking readouts. "All systems in the green, Sir. We're ready."
"Thank you," responded Billi as she tapped the comm. "Flight tower this is Eagle One. Requesting permission to launch at this time."
"Permission granted, Eagle One."
"Thank you, Tower." Billi set her systems for flight then lifted off as the deck personnel reached the safety areas. Spinning 90 degrees to port, nose now looking out into space, Billi hit the thrusters to full and shot out through the bay forcefield. "Tower, we are free and clear. Will be on standard flight patrol status until further notice. Eagle One, out." She tapped the comm to the Eclipse off, then said over her shoulder. "Well, here we are, Cadet. All alone and flying picket."
Kirk grinned while adjusting her equipment. "It could be worse, Lieutenant. I hope I get stationed somewhere where I can make a difference. Intel seems the place to start with that, then I'll consider other paths."
"Smart choice," stated Billi. "Chris worries about me, but this is my job and he knew that when we started to...get to know each other."
Kirk arched an eyebrow, not sure who this Chris was, but finding the man to be quite lucky. Billi was a looker, for sure. "Chris? Not sure if I know this..." It dawned on her who Billi was talking about. "Ohhhhh! THAT Chris!" Jamie giggled. "Yep, you're Orion alright. Got a guy with power and position. Not saying that is WHY you're with him, but it doesn't hurt, right?" Another giggle.
Billi smiled to herself, hearing this Kirk and the Cadet's knowledge of the Orion way. "You seem quite schooled in the culture of my people. But, yes, his position and all that is nice, but it is the man himself that inspires me to be more than I am. He has this innocence about him, despite what he's been through in his career. That innocent portion of his being is what struck my fancy--and other parts." Billi giggled this time.
"Whoa!" Kirk was smiling. "TMI, Lieutenant. T-M-I."
"Kirk," Said Billi. "Around others it is Lieutenant. Out here, on patrol, or in a private setting, I am Billi, please."
"Got it, Billi," replied Kirk. "It will be remembered, and thank you. Jamie, that's me, and the same to you, Sir."
Billi nodded to herself, lazily steering her fighter on its patrol course. "Thanks, Jamie. Maybe you and I can hit Risa sometime and make all the heads turn." A chuckle came forth.
"Hey, I'm ready," stated Kirk with a smile, the levity clear in her voice. "Let's see, Risa would be three days away at warp five, which I would be willing to do. We could chalk it up to a navigational malfunction and end up there until Eclipse could come get us." Kirk had done all the calculations in her head, not using the computer.
Billi laughed. "Don't tempt me. I need a beach and nightclubs after all this horrible shit going on. But, I just got my position, so let's not shred it just yet."
"I got your back, Billi." Jamie's eyes caught something odd on the sensors. "Lieutenant, at zero-nine-seven mark two-four, I'm picking up a particle flux. It seems to be dissipating but if my schooling was worth it, I would say it's a warp contrail."
Billi's brain immediately went back to duty. "Mark locations for Eclipse and Freedom, then cross check the warp signature with both vessels. See if there's a match." Billi started a data feed with Eclipse so that the mother ship would receive up-to-the-moment data from her RIO.
Kirk piped up. "Neither Eclipse, nor Freedom, have been anywhere near to the coordinates of the contrail. That, and according to the Starfleet database, this is not a Federation warp signature. However, the warp trail is severely degraded, so the findings could be off."
Billi gave a nod. "Let them work that out, you did your job. That, Cadet, will earn you a commendation from the CAG, who just happens to be me. Good eyes, girl."
"Thank you, Sir," responded Jamie, no embarrassment of any kind, her entire being ready to serve since the first day she set foot on the Academy tarmac. "Just doing my duty."
Billi leisurely turned once more, awaiting the signal for her to jump to warp to take a look at a new colony world. She hoped it would be soon, because flying in circles could get very tedious.