SIM:Nicholotti Come Fly with Me
((Holodeck 2, USS Victory))
::As if on cue, the arch that would permit entrance to the holodeck appeared no sooner than the tug had pulled away leaving the jet alone on the tarmac a distance from the hangar. Kali had already been up into the cockpit and verified things that might have mattered in the real world, but had little coincidence in the holographic world. Still, old habits had a way of sticking around, especially in an environment as real as this.::
::Seconds after the arch appeared, the doors opened to reveal a tall man in a flight suit that he didn’t seem all that out of place in. Some people, like Tressa, had a hard time adjusting to the weight and feel of the suit. Colt, however, seemed almost as comfortable in it as if he were born in the thing. Her eyes followed him as she laughed at the recollection of Tressa when they had gone flying on Earth, a coincidental thought she was suddenly thankful for as it had allowed her to hide a deeper, more frightening feeling; an ever strengthening attraction that she hadn’t fully explored during the crisis, but one that was making itself quite known now that things had calmed.::
::Not wanting to answer questions, she turned back to the jet and continued the process of pre-flight until he approached and spoke to her.::
::Colt stepped through the doors to Holodeck 2 and immediately found himself on a Tarmac standing before an archaic aircraft. He approached the plane trying not to tug at his flight suit, it was a little uncomfortable as he had cinched up to help him withstand the g-forces of whatever stunts Kali might pull. He looked over at the woman who had invited him on this...date? He wondered if that was what this was. Things had been somewhat confusing between them and Colt was still trying to decipher what exactly their relationship was. It was a difficult thing, trying to pursue a personal relationship with someone who was his direct superior, but he was beginning to find that challenge less daunting every day.::
::Approaching the aircraft, which he had learned earlier via the computer library was an F/A-18F, a type of 20th Century fighter jet, he found it amazing that contemporary Air Forces used fragile, primitive crafts like this in battle. He closed the distance between them and spoke::
Daniels: So, this is the real deal... an actual F-18? ::He of course knew it was a holodeck program, but he imagined it was a near perfect reproduction.:: It's hard to believe they'd use things in air battles with no shields or warp drives or anything.
::Now she had little choice but to turn and grin at him. At least there were no questions about her previous staring or the slight laugh.::
Nicholotti: I see you do your homework.
::Colt smiled warmly at Kali::
Daniels: I try to learn everything I can about every weapons system I can. ::He paused for a moment and continued with a smirk:: Even reeeeaaaally old ones.
::Having made it all the way around the aircraft, Kali now made her way over to where he stood. He was taller than her, but that didn’t matter; there was no fear in her mind now as she walked up to him and stopped.::
::As Kali came around from the opposite side of the jet, Colt got his first unobstructed view of her in her own flight suit. His mind struggled to find a label for the way she looked, cute seemed to be the closest approximation, though the word betrayed the confidence and the capable way she was performing the pre-flight.::
Nicholotti: You ready for this?
::An almost evil grin appeared as she spoke, fighting the urge to move even closer.::
::Colt looked up at the blue-gray monster and raised an eyebrow.::
Daniels: I'm ready as I'll ever be.
Nicholotti: ::with a nod.:: Good. Let’s go then.
::She gestured towards the rear ladder as she turned and headed back towards the beast. It was, for all intents and purposes, a living, breathing, being at that point, and one that Kali had spent many long hours in as a kid. This was one moment where the smile just couldn’t be hidden.::
::He climbed up the ladder and into the empty seat behind Kali, taking a few moments to figure out how to strap himself in before speaking again.::
Daniels: So, how exactly did you learn to fly one of these?
::He looked around at the various instruments and displays, particularly the weapons systems. Colt always seemed attracted to the things that blew up and/or put holes in other things.::
::As she settled into her own seat, ground crew members appeared and pulled the ladders from the plane and finalized preparations for their departure.::
Nicholotti: My grandfather taught me.
::Without thought, her hands went to work bringing the monster fully to life. With each one, something new came on and changed until finally they were ready to roll.::
::Colt smiled even though she probably wouldn't see it from where she was sitting. The confidence she was exuding and the way she was working this ancient warbird, wasn't unlike the way she commanded a starship, which he found to be extremely...alluring.::
Daniels: I see. You sure seem like you know what you're doing. So do I need to do anything or do I just sit back here and be amazed by you like usual?
::Her face well hidden in her helmet, Kali knew he wouldn’t be able to see the look on her face. As the canopy lowered around them, she spoke into the now active radio.::
Nicholotti: Yea, don’t touch anything. ::She laughed.:: Not until we’re off the ground at least.
::There was a tone to her voice that said so much more than what she spoke. It was almost taunting, as if she were telling him ‘just wait, you’ll see’ with an evil laugh appended to the end. It was a trick her grandfather had used on her, and one she had a bad habit of pulling on anyone brave enough to go flying with her. For now, though, there was the matter of takeoff. After that, they would be free.::
::Relative silence descended on them as she went through the process involved. Air traffic control was handled by legacy towers and Starfleet installations these days, but in her holodeck simulations, she always tried to get things close to how the old towers would do it. It never quite seemed real though, but it worked well enough for the purpose. At least she never found herself waiting in line to take off, ever.::
::With clearance given, the plane responded to her controls as she maneuvered it towards the runway they would use to get into the sky. Simple movements caused the craft to react all the way down the taxiway to the end of the long strip of concrete that sprawled out in front of them. Smiling to herself, she made the final preparations for takeoff while speaking to the man behind her. This was always the best part of things; feeling the speed as the craft they were in hurtled into the sky.::
Nicholotti: How are you doing back there?
::Colt was enjoying himself already. The sound and vibration of the turbine engines were tremendous, the visceral stimulation was a far cry from the sterile, antiseptic feel of a small starfighter. As usual the woman behind the controls was demonstrating her refined ability to capture his thoughts, preventing him from thinking about anything else for too long, before his thoughts returned to her.::
Daniels: So far, so good. I'm not too worried though, I trust you.
::Kali laughed; he certainly had a knack for being able to invoke feelings she had thought long buried. It was only the jet, and the controls at her hands, that kept her mind on track and not of on a distant tangent.::
Nicholotti: Fair enough.
::With that, she shoved the throttle all the way forward. The plane seemed to jump beneath them before it went screaming down the line of concrete ahead of them. Kali watched the gauges, pulling back as soon as the speed hit a certain mark. The craft went shooting through the sky as the two occupants were pushed back into their seats with the force of multiple G's. It was this that she lived for, both as a child and now; the moment when speed, in all its glory, could actually be felt.::
::As Kali hammered on the throttle Colt heard the turbines roar and felt the force of gravity press him back into his seat, it was astonishing. His mind told him that he had achieved speeds far greater than this on any number of ships, but because modern ships had inertial dampeners he had never found it very exhilarating. Now he truly felt as though he was screaming through the air faster than ever before. After a few moments of climbing they finally leveled off he found himself able to speak again.::
Daniels: Kali, this is great! The raw power of this beast is awesome.
::He was smiling like a kid and he was fairly certain that she would be able to hear it in his voice.::
::She could hear that wonder in his voice; the same wonder she had always had for the sheer thrill of flying. Her own laughter filtered over the radio to the back of the plane.::
Nicholotti: Glad you can see the light.
::If he could see her face, he would see quite the smirk. It was rather pleasing that he was really enjoying himself. There hadn’t been many people she’d flown with since she joined Starfleet, but Colt seemed to be having the most fun of them all. Of course most of them ended up sick at some point during the flight, Tressa included, though hers was probably to be attributed to the pregnancy they had found out about a couple days after their flight. She smiled in spite of the part of her that missed the woman desperately and focused her attention back on the man who had taken her up on the offer to fly.::
::He looked out the side of the canopy, studying the control surfaces trying to understand the way the jet maneuvered through the air in an attempt to estimate it's abilities. Looking forward he spoke again.::
Daniels: So, let's see what she can do!
Nicholotti: You might be sorry you said that.
::He felt his muscles tense up slightly, he hadn't realized how much of an adrenaline junkie he was, but now he was shaking a little in anticipation of the incoming rush. As she gunned the throttle once again and he felt the welcome feeling associated with acceleration in Earth's gravity he smiled under his helmet and let himself be pushed back into his seat.::
::Kali immediately pulled the nose up into another steep climb that pushed them both back dramatically into their seats. As the airspeed slowed, she nudged the nose back over and they quickly shot back down towards the ground. It was like a game of chicken that she always lost, but there was a kind of thrill that built itself up within her as the ground got bigger and bigger. There was also precision in the move, and when the altimeter was at her limit, she pulled out of the dive and made a parabola that took them back into the sky.::
::They tore through the sky climbing, diving, and rolling as Colt had to fight back the urge to yell. He imagined that she would be impressed by the fact that he hadn't gotten sick from the stunts, she didn't have to know that he had stopped by sickbay on his way over and picked up medicine for motion sickness. His heart was still racing when they finally leveled out again.
::After a few of her normal stunts, she brought the plane level and somewhat under control before speaking to Colt.::
Nicholotti: So, you should grab the stick and fly. ::She paused dramatically and stuck her hands up so that he could see them.:: Cause I’m tired.
::She laughed. This was the one thing she did to everyone, save Tressa, just to see how they would react. The effect was much better in the real world, but the holodeck had made things feel real enough up till now; perhaps the mind would not allow him the luxury of remembering they were actually quite safe on the ground of the holographic chamber. Of course there was also the fact that her safety was in the pedals at her feet, but she kept that to herself too.::
::He saw her hands held up in the classic "no-hands" gesture and in a brief moment of panic scrambled for the Co-Pilots stick before the logical part of his brain told him they were actually in the safety of the holodeck. Grinning sheepishly he held it steady for a moment before gently lowering the nose of the jet into a gradual dive before gently nosing back up to level. The little "stunt" he pulled didn't hold a candle to the large overarching loops Kali had pulled, but he was proud of the simple maneuverall the same.::
Daniels: You know, that's not bad. It certainly handles a little differently than a starship. Maybe I'll have you give me some lessons sometime... add to my list of skills that aren't particularly useful, like sailing.
::The word reminded him of their time on Eschevar, he was sure this would be fond memory as well just like they time the had spent there.::
Nicholotti: That wasn’t so useless though.
::On the contrary, it had been the origination of the spark that had led them to this moment. In that aspect, it had proved to be very useful.::
::Once again she took over the controls and he released his grasp on the stick. A few moments passed before either of them said anything. Colt was looking around the cockpit now taking note of the various buttons and switches.::
Daniels: Does this baby have functional weapons systems?
::Kali couldn’t help but laugh at that. If anyone would ask that, it would be him.::
Nicholotti: Yea, but nothing’s loaded.
::The real jet, of which this program had been modeled after, that sat in a hanger at home on Earth, was as real as it had been back in the glory days of the supersonic flight. Without the need for the weapons though, they were never loaded or armed.::
::He was a little disappointed by the news, until he had an idea.::
Daniels: I Suppose it won't hurt to depart from realism a little here... Computer, outfit this jet to full combat payload.
::Air to air missles appeared on pylons and the ammunition for something called a "20mm Cannon" showed to be at full capacity::
oO Projectile weapons, So retro... I like it. Oo
Daniels: I'm gonna let 'er rip. Is that ok?
::By now, Kali was quite amused. Having gone through great pains to program the jet to provide similar functionality to front and back seat occupants, she hadn’t thought it would be used in this manner. Still, she grinned. Never had anyone thought to do such a thing in the past, but it seemed like a good enough idea. It certainly would be a good test of her flying skills and his shooting skills if nothing else; but only if they had an opponent.::
Nicholotti: In a minute. Computer, insert three opponents. ::She paused and thought for a moment.:: One Su-27 Flanker, one MiG-29 Fulcrum, one F-4J, Mitsubishi version.
::There was a moment of silence before the computer complied and the other three jets appeared a ways in front of them. After another moment, the jets scattered. Kali smiled. It was time to hunt.::
Nicholotti: Alright. I’ll chase em down, but the shooting is all you.
::Colt was grinning so widely his face was starting to hurt, it wasn't every day that he got to play with this kind of hardware. Though he had no training with these kind of weapons he hoped his natural skill at making things go boom would be able to compensate::
Daniels: Yeehaw! ::He yelled a little too enthusiastically:: Let's go.
::That was all that was required; he said the word and she banked the plane off to the right to follow the first of the opponents. It wasn’t long before the Flanker was in sight out of the canopy window. Suddenly aware of their presence, it broke its flight pattern and tried to dart in between the clouds. Kali followed it.::
::Colt spotted the enemy plane and tried to lock missile radar, a tone told him that he had 'probably' locked on. He had noticed the 3 weapon choices Vulcan, 'AMRAAM', and 'Sdewndr'. Going with the only name that he recognized he fired, resulting and a short burst from the front mounted Vulcan cannon.::
oO Oops, that's not it. Oo
::As Kali lined them up again and Colt finally heard the lock on tone, he this time fired the 'AMRAAM'. As the missile arced out his eyes followed it to its fiery conclusion::
::Pursuing the jet through the clouds, she waited to hear the release of whatever weapons the man behind her would choose to use. The clouds cleared in that moment, and they found the plane they were seeking just to their right. Kali banked the plane again and Colt shot; the result of which was an explosion of orange red flames the likes of which she’d seen on some older holovids she’d watched as a kid.::
Daniels: Yeah! Pretty good for my first try, eh?
::Laughing at the reaction coming from the back seat, Kali turned the plane towards their next target.::
Nicholotti: Not bad. Not bad at all.
Daniels: What can I say, weapons just... speak to me.
::They continued until all 3 adversaries were destroyed, largely due to Kali's impressive flying and to a lesser extent, Colt's beginner's luck in the gunner's seat.
::Having had enough fun and adrenaline for one day, Kali brought the plane around and set it as gentle as ever on the long runway that looked so incredibly real. Her hands went to work again, flipping switches and pushing buttons as they came to a stop near the line of hangars where they had started. Finally she opened the canopy and released her body from the restraints allowing herself just a moment to get used to normal gravity again. Continuing her egress, she motioned behind her for him to do the same.::
::As the Jet came to a stop and the engines wound down, Colt saw Kali unbutton her helmet. As canopy slowly opened she climbed out and motioned for him to follow. Once they were on the ground and clear of any hazards they stopped not far from the now motionless fighter to talk.::
Daniels: I'm glad we did this. ::He paused for a moment:: You never cease to amaze me, do you know that?
::The comment took her momentarily off guard, but she kept her composure. So often over the past week she had questioned herself and her ability to do what she did. Now here he was telling her that she amazed him.::
Nicholotti: I do?
::Colt rubbed the back of his head a little, a habit he often displayed when he was trying find the words to express himself.::
Daniels: I don't know, it’s just that every moment I spend with you seems to leave me hoping that the next one isn't too far away.
::In the still silence that had now taken over the holodeck, Kali felt the trappings of command, and all the responsibility melt away again. An incredible feeling replaced it, drawing her to him. She stepped closer and slipped her hand into one of his.::
Nicholotti: All that we have is now, and right now, I’m here.
::The feeling of standing on the edge of a cliff had long gone. This was the path she was willing and ready to follow. Would he jump as well?::
::As Colt stood there holding her hand, he again tried to find the words that would portray his feelings for her. His words were failing him once again, so he decided on an alternative course of action. He placed his other hand on her waist and gently pulled her towards him and before he could talk himself out of it, he kissed the beautiful dark-haired officer with a passion befitting of the tension that had existed between them for weeks. As he felt the lightning shoot through his body, he laughed internally at the fact that his biggest adrenaline rush of the day hadn't occurred on that jet. After a moment that seemed much longer than it had probably been, he released her allowing for the now notably smaller space between them to return.::
::For a command officer who had to stand strong almost all of the time, it was surprising to even herself to see just how fast she melted into the moment. It definitely caught her off guard only this time, had he been watching her, he would have actually seen it. But he didn’t; instead, he felt it. He had to, because as he embraced her, she realized how much this was what she had wanted him to do. There had been a sort of longing over the past weeks, and it had become tension that was all suddenly released with this single act. It was like a deep breath after having been under water for too long. It was an act that sent near literal sparks shooting through her body, bringing with them a feeling of being really alive for the first time in a very long time.::
::And when he was done, he let only the smallest space return between them. The Captain of the Starbase was gone; in that moment, though, she felt more powerful than any command would ever allow her to. In his arms, she felt as if she didn’t need the plane beside them to fly. Kali didn’t fight the smile or the look of contentment on her face. She had found a safe place to be; to show what she was feeling and thinking. He had earned that now, at the very least.::
Daniels: I don't intend on letting you go anywhere if I can help it.
::Throwing time and any other cares to the wind, Kali pulled him back towards her. As their lips met again, no words needed to be said. All that existed in that moment was him, and to her, that was all that really mattered. Sure, there would be terrorists, and those who would want to hurt the station and those on it, but right now the universe was perfect and so, she found herself lost, more than willingly, in the moment, and in his arms.::
::All of his fears assuaged, he more than willingly allowed her to pull him back towards her. As they embraced in the shadow of the machine that had so quickly been replaced as the highlight of his day, he silently thanked the universe for bringing him to this base, for bringing him to her.::
::After a short while (a little too short by Colt's standards, but beggars couldn't be choosers) they regained some of their composure and, realizing that they both had somewhere to be soon decided end the program. The grid pattern on the walls faded into view and with the exit now plainly visible they walked hand in hand towards it, stopping just short of causing it to open.::
Daniels: This was fun. ::He smiled and winked:: We'll have to do this again real soon.
::Kali grinned. Fun was one way to describe it.::
Nicholotti: Yes, we will. I look forward to it.
::As they stepped out into the corridor, he dropped her hand before turning towards her.::
::With that he released her hand, not wanting to cause a stir with any crew that might be in the corridor, and stepped through the threshold. He paused and turned back towards her one last time.::
Daniels: Hey, I'll see you tonight. Ok?
::She nodded, not wanting to let him leave or to let the moment end, but looking forward to the next when they would see each other again.::
Nicholotti: Of course. I wouldn’t miss it.
::He reluctantly turned and walked down the corridor, heading towards his quarters on the Victory to shower and get ready for the party later that night. Though he plodded on with a sense of purpose, his mind was still back in the holodeck, replaying the events over and over.::
::Kali watched him go with a tinge of sadness. Moments were fleeting, but she would always have the memories and the feeling of being able to fly without any wings that he had left her with. A smile appeared on her face as he disappeared around a corner and she headed off to her own quarters. This was just the beginning, the beginning of something great.::
Lt.JG Colt Daniels
Chief Tactical Officer
Commander Kalianna Nicholotti
Starbase 118 / USS Victory
Return to Kalianna Nicholotti.