Kepler Station
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Pre-f(l)ight checklist

Posted on Monday October 30, 2017 @ 6:33pm by Petty Officer First Class Alexander Peeters & Lieutenant Commander T'Lara MD

Mission: Hopkins the Line of Fire
Location: Shuttlecraft Gamma - Station exterior
Timeline: mission day -2, Jan 7 2352
Tags: Alex, T'lara, pilot, shuttle, XO, drill

Alexander's eyes darted left and right as he made his way towards the shuttlebay containment fields. Although we was cleared for launch, it never hurt to keep a close eye on your surroundings as shuttlecraft and loading craft of various types continuously traversed the busy bay.

Satisfied that the way was clear, Alexander quickly exited the bay and cleared the flightpath in front of the containment field. He smoothly steered the craft away from the incoming and outgoing traffic and once he was out of anyone's way he contacted traffic control again.

=/\= Traffic control, this is shuttlecraft Gamma. We have cleared the shuttlebay traffic and will proceed with our tour of the station exterior momentarily. =/\=

The voice that answered over the comm was an unfamiliar one, but Alexander was determined to get to know the traffic control officers when he had the chance. It never hurt to know the people on the other side of the comms.

=/\= This is traffic control, you are clear to proceed. Contact us for docking procedure. =/\=

=/\= Understood, Petty Officer Peeters out =/\=

With the first protocols finished, Alexander turned towards the XO. He was slightly nervous that the XO came along on his first solo flight on this new posting, but he was determined to keep a professional demeanor. Somehow he doubted that the Vulcan XO would be swayed by any aruments that it was one of the first days on active duty here on the station.

"Allright Ma'm, we're in the clear. Where should we start?" He asked her in a friendly, yet respectful tone.

"Take us to the top of the upper dome, Mister Peeters," Commander T'Lara suggested. She sat calmly to his right side, her hands folded delicately on her lap. Her flight suit bore both the insignia of the command devision and the caduceus of a medical doctor. "We will work our way down from there."

As they moved toward the long range communications grid atop the station, the Commander noted the minuscule amount of traffic surrounding the station. "When we have incoming combat casualties, there are at times upwards of 300 vessels arriving on the station. The majority are small craft such as this one."

"I understood as much, ma'm" Alexander replied as he scanned his surroundings to make sure his flightpath was clear. "But I have to admit, that it is hard to really understand the scale of that until I see it with my own eyes."

As they reached the topmost part of the station, he used the maneuvring thrusters to slow the shuttle down, her bow pointed towards the station, and let her drift sideways in an orbit around the station's central axis. The shuttle was of a slightly different type than he was used to, but she responded well and he already started to get a feel for the controls.

"Ma'm, if I may ask, what will my duties be for the coming time? I have to admit that I feel intimidated by the idea that I'll have to rush through that amount of traffic anytime soon." He gulped softly when he realized what he had just said.

"No offense ma'm, I'll do my duties whatever they may be, but there'll be only a tiny allowance for error and many lives at stake."

Nervously the newly transferred Petty Officer risked a glance at the Lieutenant Commander sitting next to him.

T'Lara glanced over at the pilot, taking a moment to assess if his nervous nature was related to her presence, or some other greater doubts. He was more than experienced at the tasks assigned to him, and came with the recommendations of his senior officers.

"These warp capable shuttle craft are sent to recover escape pods from disabled Federation starships, or to rendezvous with medical evacuation vessels from the front," T'Lara explained calmly. "Other times, damaged vessels warp within impulse range of the station, and our teams are sent to assist with damage control or evacuations. In most circumstances, your crew will consist of two medical technicians, nurses, or engineers. All of them will be trained in piloting in the craft, in the event of something happening to the pilot."

"You are correct that there is little allowance for error. It is important to remember that you have the skills and experience to compensate and adjust for all the complications and challenges of medical evacuations," T'Lara explained, "The pilot remains calm, focused, and precise in the midst of the chaos so that the medical team can do their work."

"Yes Ma'm. I understand. Like I said I'll do my duties to the best of my abilities. I was just wondering if there was something like a training program or introduction program before being put 'in the line of fire' as it were. I understand that in the heat of the moment, there is no time for training excersises and I am confident in my capabilities as a pilot. It is just a matter of taking the time to minimize the ever present risks"

"I believe the simulators are set up with a range of evacuation scenarios," T'Lara informed him. "You can log practice hours there."

Alexander glanced at the XO again and gave her a more confident smile. It wasn't that he was doubting his own skills. Alexander never bragged about his capabilities, but he was confident of them.

He put in a few course adjustments and let the shuttle 'glide down' in a spiral, stil facing the station's central axis. This would provide the best view of the entire station exterior as they slowly spiralled from the top-end to the bottom end of the station.

On occasion, Peeters would contact the station's traffic control to report his position or to ask for permission to cross and active flightpath, like the ones in front of the docking arms and shuttlebays.

As they descended towards the bottom of the upper dome, Alexander tilted the shuttle so they would get a clear view of the dome's broad underside, before continuing the spiral down the central column.

"Anything you want to get a close look at in particular, ma'm?"

"Thank you for asking," T'Lara commented, considering his query for a moment. She glanced at the station's layout on her console.

"In the occasion that transporters are malfunctioning, you will pilot your shuttle directly to the medical modules," the Commander explained. "We could examine the docking areas there, and review the patient transfer protocol."

Alexander acknowledged the suggestion with a simple "Allright, Ma'm". It took him a little while to find the station's schematics in his console and a while longer to identify where he should go. While he couldn't find a reference to a shuttlebay or designated docking area for the medical modules, the most logical place to go on a surface hospital would be an emergency or triage department. The shuttle continued on it's gentle spiral around the station body as he looked this all up.

"The triage bays seem to be about halfway down the station body, but I can't find a reference to a dock there. I assume there are emergency docking area there for this particular use? Do you want me to place a docking request with traffic control, ma'm?"

Alexander hoped he made the correct assumption with the data he found, but either he had missed some relevant files, or the information on the station layout needed to be updated.

"Affirmative, Mr. Peeters," T'Lara replied.

As soon as the request was received, Peeters saw the top of the medical modules light up with landing areas, much like a 20th century hospital roof-top. It was possible to land over 20 shuttles on each module.

"I believe that is all you'll need to see for the specifics of your duties," T'Lara stated. "Do you have any questions? And is there anything else you'd like to see?"

Alexander put his hands on the docking controls, even though the shuttle could complete the docking maneuvres automatically.
"No questions at the moment, Ma'm. But I'd like to dock and undock from the emergency facilities manually before heading back to the shuttlebay. If it comes to it that we have to make use of these facilities, it is likely to be an emergency scenario and I would like to have the confidence that I can dock here without assistance."

While waiting for her approval or denial of this request, Alexander quickly added. "I would once again like to thank you for taking this time to get me acquainted with my theatre of operations and the station's layout and protocols."

T'Lara nodded. "Very well, Mr. Peeters, take us in for docking."

"Very well."
=/\= Traffic control, this is shuttlecraft Gamma, initiating emergency medical docking and undocking procedures. =/\=

Alexander shifted slightly in his seat before activating the manual flight controls. With one last glance at his instrument panel, he aimed the shuttle for the lit-up docking facilities.

 

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