Location: In orbit of Jutus
Speed: Standard Orbit
Shields: Nominal
Hull: Nominal
Systems: All Systems Nominal

Bridging The Gap
Episode 11 - Family Matters
Stardate 73834.3
MD005 0900 hrs

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Who's Flying This Ship Anyways?

Posted on Mon Nov 13th, 2017 @ 6:23pm by Captain Tyler Malbrooke
Edited on on Thu May 31st, 2018 @ 11:41am

Mission: Episode 1 - Pioneering Spirit
Location: Holodeck 1 - Deck 5 - USS Pioneer
Timeline: MD002 1630 Hrs
Tags: SD 71364.1630

Tyler had a break from all the paperwork, and meetings so he thought that he would indulge his favorite hobby, horseback riding. He had programmed the holodecks with his rides of choice. Today he was going to be riding a paint horse across the mountains of Colorado. He wore his jeans, chaps, and his favorite cowboy hat.

As he turned the corner to the holodeck he bumped right into his new CONN officer. "I am sorry Lieutenant...Storm I believe. I should have been paying more attention. This is an awkward way to welcome you aboard the Pioneer." Tyler said with a smile.

Jax picked herself up off the floor. It was not every day you see a cowboy on a starship. She was in her yoga pants and tank top as she had just left the gym. "Excuse me, Sir." She exclaimed as she realized who the cowboy was.

"Please dressed like this I am plain ole Tyler. I was going to go for a ride. Care to join me and we can chat about the ship and our mission. It would not be hard to get the holodeck to produce another suitable mount for you." Tyler said in truth he always preferred company when he went on his rides. So it seemed that this would kill two birds with one stone as they say.

It definetly would be a good way to unwind after her workout. Nice thing about holodecks are the weather is always nice. She looked down at her toga pants and tank and realized that probably won't work. "I may have to have the holodeck produce me some alternitive clothing. I might get chaffed in these pants." She replied with a smile.

"I think that can be arranged." He said with a smile. "Computer begin program Malbrooke 5, but create a second mount one suitable for Lieutenant Storm. Also, create her clothing suitable for a horseback ride."

"Program complete enter when ready." came the computer voice. "After you." Tyler motioned... When they entered two Paint horses stood, saddled in the western fashion and grazing. They were on the outskirts of Yosemite National Park and the sun was just rising. Lieutenant Storm's clothing had morphed when she entered she was now clad in something suitable for a horseback ride. "Well mount up we don't want to miss the sunrise." Tyler said as he mounted his horse.

There was a crisp bite to the early morning air. No matter how often it happened she marveled at her new threads. She was clad in a pair of fairy form fitting jeans with a button up shirt over the top of the tank top she already had on. She had to admit the computer had pretty similar taste as her.

She walked over to her horse and pet the mane. Then she whispered something that just the horse could hear and got on the horse. "You want to lead the way, Sir."

He saw whisper something to the horse and was quite curious. However, he thought better than asking. "Tyler, the name is Tyler..." he smiled as he turned the horse down the trail. "Welcome to Yosemite, have you ever been here before?"

As she prodded her horse to follow. "Sorry, Tyler it is just habit. And no I have not. I visited the Grand Canyon once but I am an east coast girl." The horse was very responsive and a very easy ride. It had been a few years since she had even been around an animal so gentle.

"As for me I am an Oklahoma boy born and bread. There is nothing like being out here being one with a horse and with your surroundings." He smirked at her, "Well your service record like all other pilots in the fleet says you have a love of speed. Let's see if that translates to horses as well." He kicked his horse into a gallop and took off. His thought was one that he was going to show her that one did not have to go fast constantly. One had to simply bond with what they were controlling, and he wanted her to bond with the Pioneer.

She grinned a wannabe cowboy back in the Appalachia Mountains tried a similar move to flirt with her back in high school days. This was literally not her first rodeo. She dug spur in just enough to get the horse to shoot from the trot to a gallop. The both went very quickly between the cheers and corners on the trail that lead them up a ridge. It felt good having the wind in her hair.

After a time Tyler reigned in his horse and slowed down to a walk. "So tell me Jacqueline do you know why a horse bears a rider for any distance and does the bidding of the rider?" The two of them had begun to crest a hill and Yosemtie Valley was splayed below them. The sun was rising on the day, and Tyler felt nearly perfect. There was one thing he missed his beloved Kat. However, right now it was time to teach. There would be time for romance with his wife later, Monty's words were ringing in his ears. In this moment he realized that she was right. The look of deep thought disappeared from his face as quickly as it had appeared.

"Its Jax, Sir. As for the horses I never really thought about why they do it. I always just figured it is what they were predisposed over time to do the job. Now that I say it it doesn't sound right but I guess never really thought about it." She said as she took in the rise of the sun over the valley below. It was very pretty and a great way to unwind from her work out.

"Well Jax, horses like most humans seek companionship. When you bond with a horse it will do anything for you. In fact some horses will respond to voice commands. If you treat a horse like your friend or family your life will be complete at least that is my opinion. For example have you given your horse a name?" Tyler steered his horse to turn a corner.

Jax thought about what the Captain had inquired she had not given it a name as they had just meet. "Well a name has not come to me yet. I am still trying to feel her out." She said with a smile. It dawned on her how amazingly real this felt. She was never huge on holo-programs for much more than training so this was something she felt she would want to do more of.

"Well then give the horse a name and see how good it feels." He gave his horse another kick to get into a canter. "Catch me if you can..." Tyler yelled over his shoulder.

Jax didn't expect to be having this much fun. She leaned down to the ear of the horse to whisper. "Alright Lightning, We are Speed." And with that she dug spur and the two took off in pursuit of the those ahead of them.

Both horse took off bearing their riders with Tyler in lead. However within short order Jax caught up and the two were riding neck and neck. Tyler did not notice that she was there. He was lost in his world just him, the horse, and the terrain. After about fifteen minutes of riding, ducking twists and turns, Tyler once again reigned in his horse to give it a respite. Jax followed suit.

The two horses drank from a stream that lay before them. "Tell me Jax, what were you thinking during the last canter?"

"Other than my normal competitive streak trying to catch and pass you." She said with a smirk. "Other then that I was trying to not think. Times like these are nice to shut down and take in the environment around you. I put my trust in the horse to do its job like I do a ship. See the goal focus on the goal and let things fall in place around you."

Tyler smiled she understood the premise of this exercise now to seal the deal. "Brava!! That is only the beginning, you must not only trust the ship, but you must treat it as your equal. Your ship like your horse is a partner. The Pioneer is an important part of the crew, just as important as you or I. The best pilots float in tandem with their vessels like a leaf on the wind. I want you to close your eyes and tell me what your hear." He had patted his horses neck, "Calm down Remmie..." he was genuinely curious to see if she got it.

Jax did as she was told and shut her eyes. She took some time to try and let things settle and center herself. After a good few minutes of taking in the input she finally broke the silence. "Well I hear the wind blowing through the leaves. I also thing there is a creek or something down in the valley because I hear what sounds different then the leaves. I think it might be water flowing. Lightning hears it also. His heartbeat got excited for something to drink." She finished as she opened her eyes.

"Close them again and this time dig deeper. Remember your sitting on horse that is sitting on a horse..." Tyler said. He fished a sugar cube out of his pocket and gave one to each of the horses.

Jax looked at the Captain not sure what he meant by a horse sitting on a horse. She shut her eyes and tried to clear her head, but those words kept going over and over. She was sitting on a horse but that horse was on the ground. After a few she opened her eyes back up. "I have nothing else, Sir."

"You are sitting atop a horse that is within another horse. Computer, mute ambient sound." The computer responded by silencing all of the sounds of nature that was around them. "Now close your eyes and really listen to what is around you." Tyler closed his eyes as well and he could hear the hum of the warp core, the soft hiss of computers. In fact his breathing had slowed to match the soft thrum of the Pioneer. Now, if only Jax could sense this too she would understand.

She was still clueless as to what he said. She did as was told and shut her eyes again. This time all she heard was the normal hum of the ship. What was she suppose to get..... "The ship is the other horse you talk about." She said with a smile as the light bulb started to go off.

"By jove I think she's got it..." He smiled at her. "Much like you feel the horse beneath you, you know when there is something wrong with the horse because you can feel it. That is what I expect from you while at CONN. I want you to be able to turn to me on the bridge and say that there is a slight squeal when she goes to warp, so the coil may be out of alignment. This ship is now an extension of you. Do you understand what I am saying? Remember, treat her proper, she'll be with you for the rest of your life." He laughed as the two of them began to walk down the trail.

She gave a smile and affirmative nod as the two rode into the sunrise down the trail into the valley.

The two rode through the constructed environment, and when the ride was through Tyler was confident that his pilot was not just another speed jockey. Jax for her part had a new outlook that a pilot didn't steer a ship, they were one and the same.

A Joint Post By:

Commander Tyler Malbrooke
Commanding Officer, USS Pioneer

Lieutenant Junior Grade Jacqueline Storm
Chief Flight Control Officer, USS Pioneer


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