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Posted on Monday June 12, 2017 @ 5:13pm by Lieutenant Ben Carsassis
Edited on on Wednesday June 14, 2017 @ 11:03am

Mission: The Gathering Storm (ST6)
Location: Space > SB199

[Space – Approaching SB199]
The Arrowhead soared through the darkness of space, the pilot seemingly relaxed and inattentive as he sat, all but motionless in the cockpit. The truth was that Ben Carsassis was far from inattentive, the feed from the Livewire giving moment by moment data on everything it and he could ‘see’ in real-time, seven-twenty vision. Ben was now so used to the overlay of the Livewire system that he could process the data in his line of sight with the overlay without difficulty and seamlessly. If he wanted a wider view, he could concentrate on his ‘inner eyes’ which showed him everything his normal eyes couldn’t perceive.

This posting would differ from his other postings as he was being integrated into a multi-cultural Fast Response and Spec Ops team. Jenna had been working overtime consulting on a special project which she had been very tight-lipped about. She wouldn’t discuss it with him yet but he had the feeling he was going to like whatever she’d come up with this time.
As he was alone, all but flying on auto-pilot, he let his mind wander back to his early years…

“That’s it, just a little further!” The man’s voice said excitedly, “watch the starboard side, we’re a tad close!”
“I’ve got this,” A very young Benjamin Carsassis said. He was strapped into a chair that had been specially modified for his unique circumstances. Ben, not having the use of his legs, was strapped into a chair, an expandable console then moved out so all buttons he needed were in reach. As he spoke, he nudged the large freighter slightly port to give more room (and to stop his father’s impending heart attack). “Nicely Done, Ben,” his father said, tousling his hair as he touched the freighter down with nary a bump.

In the Arrowhead, Ben smiled as he remembered how his father always encouraged him to excel and for how he taught him to deal with idiots….
“Freak!” Durence said. “Cripple!”
“My legs don’t work, so what?” Ben replied. Durance took his bag and threw it to the floor.
“Heh heh, now what ya gonna do, Shevrek!” If there was one thing that would upset Ben or make him lose his cool, it was that word. Shevrek. A derogatory term for someone who was considered incomplete. It was like calling someone unfinished or broken but the stigma to that term was considered incredibly rude and harsh. “Well, at least my brain works, even if my legs have decided to give up the ghost. One day, you’ll be working for me because I’m smart and you’re an idiot!”

In hindsight, Ben figured he should have just kept his mouth shut but that wasn’t who he was. He had a quick mouth and a bubbly exuberance that many found endearing. He recalled all this as he was being thrown from his wheelchair and unceremoniously deposited on the floor. That was when a young, beautiful girl stepped in and smacked Ben’s assailant In the mouth. Ben watched in amazement as she sent his bully and his cronies running. “…And you lot, standing there watching, you should be ashamed of yourselves…” A slight pause, “wait, were you filming that? Come here!” *smack* She got detention (avoiding suspension as it turned out her father was someone important in military circles) and he got his first crush…

The Arrowhead turned lazily in space, the station coming into view before him, the Livewire system giving him readouts on everything he could see; ship classifications, designations and standard weaponry where known. He could have found out more but he’d have to actively scan the vessels. As he was stealthed and taking his time, he didn’t want or need that kind of fuss. His mind turned back to another important day In his life.

“Benjamin Carsassis, step forw-,” An embarrassed look, followed by a polite cough and an, “oh, right, sorry son,” from the man speaking at the head of the room. His embarrassment was caused by Ben’s hoverchair as he slowly made his way to the head of the room. The look on Ben’s face was amused and he nodded before saying quietly, “don’t worry, Sir, I’m used to it. Just don’t expect me to stand to attention!” Ben’s grin widened. Little did he know at the time but that phrase would become something of a catchphrase, much to the annoyance of Jenna. But he’d not met her yet.
“These fine young men will be the final group to be a part of the LiveWire project. Congratulation, ladies and gentlemen. You made the cut!” The fact that all eye were regarding the only ‘Shevrek’ in the room was not lost on him. In that instant, he decided that no matter what, he would never back down, never give up and never let them tell him he couldn’t do something again.

Back in the Arrowhead, Ben started his final approach. “One Nine Nine Actual, this is the Arrowhead, requesting approach vector and landing bay. Sending authorisation.”
“One Nine Nine Actual to Arrowhead. Drop your stealth, please, there’s a good chap. Kindly stop showing off. Approach vector Seven Niner Two, Bay Twenty-Two for now.” Ben complied, dropping the stealth capability, with a cheerful, “yes, ma'am!” and approached as indicated.

...They all hated him, he was sure of it. His flight skills were incredible. His controls had to be altered as he couldn’t use pedals or foot controls but he’d been flying like this for years. It was second nature to him now. Because of this, he was able to fly cicles around many of the others.
The implants still gave him headaches and made him shiver, sometimes uncontrollably but at least there was an upside. There was a young Jutai technician/doctor hottie that he really liked and he did his level best to be in her care when he needed something. Her name, Jenna Druvalis. She was young, beautiful, intelligent and had the heart and soul of a drill instructor. That didn’t stop Ben going after her and trying it on. This precipitated an incident in which, for the second time, a beautiful woman came to his aid. Some of the other candidates had figured out his infatuation and, because he was soundly kicking their rears in the trials and testing, decided that he needed to be knocked down a peg. They cornered him, “so, Shevrek, you think that Dr Druvalis is going to want to dance with a mongrel like you?”
“Oh wait,” another said, “you can’t dance! Ha Ha!”
“At least I can fly,” Ben shot back. It went downhill from there.

A Minute or so later, Ben was pulling himself, hand over hand back into his chair. He was frustrated, angry and seriously wanted to punch someone when he heard steps behind him. Had he been more with it, he would have realised the step was light and made by someone in heeled shoes, rather than military boots before opening his mouth (he should have at least looked). “Come back for more? One go at this Shevrek, not enough?” He tried to angrily haul himself into the chair. He slipped and hit the floor, swearing.
“Stop!” It was a command, not a question and not spoken kindly. Ben recognised the voice and immediately blushed, lowering his head. Jenna moved over and knelt by him, lifting his face. She looked into his eyes and at his injuries before her face set. “Let’s get you seen to, Ben,” she said, her voice calm and reassuring. Once he was in the chair she turned, kneeling down to face him. “One more thing. You are not a Shevrek. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Got it?” It was all Ben could do to nod. In one sentence, she’d kept him in the program.

The sleek recon fighter passed into the landing bay, to alight on the deck with a soft thud. Ben killed the engines and released the chair. He controlled it up and out of the craft and down to the deck where the technicians waited. More than one were surprised at the emergence of a pilot confined to a chair but no-one commented. He greeted them and was greeted in turn before he left to find his quarters.

It had all been worth it. He remembered ‘graduating’ as the primary pilot of the LiveWire project. “You did it!” Jenna said, hugging him tightly, “you got full control of the Livewire system. Well done!” She finished with a kiss on the cheek before pulling back and standing straight.
“you’re the pilot now, son, welcome to Starfleet. You’ll be going through the academy flight school. Jenna will be studying Medical and Tech in order to facilitate your needs. Make your people proud!”
“Thank you sir, I promise I will”

It had taken years but because he was already used to thinking in a certain way, his physiology had taken to the system like a duck to water, as Humans say. He could pretty much control the Arrowhead by thought but it needed his manual intervention as well. It was not omniscient so he still had to keep his wits about him. Losing focus whilst in the half-state of control of the digital and real could be catastrophic. Again, it was something he was used to, fighting through pain and fatigue, making it work when others would give up; sometimes it was Jenna who stopped the exercise before Ben hurt himself.

Back on SB199, Ben approached the quarters he would share with Jenna, his nurse, his tech, his support; she’d become part of the family. He entered the workshop (their quarters were part medbay, part tech facility and part living area). He stopped ahort, looking at the strange sight before him. It was a light combat suit, he could tell that straight away. There was a holster, a blade and what looked like in-built antennae. “You like?” Jenna asked, walking over and kissing him softly on the forehead.
“Wow, that’s your project?” He said, smiling up at her. She nodded,
“A suit you can use if they need you in the field,”
“Wait, what?”
“It’s one of the stipulations. You have to be field ready. It’s light enough you can fly in it and is outfitted with LiveWire tech so you can ‘walk’ in it, fight in it and generally, run around like a loon.”
Ben moved forward eagerly, “Not so fast, fly-boy. I’m still calibrating the sensor feeds. You’ll end up being a walking scanner and comms officer. Guess you’d better update your combat skills…”
“Wait… That will allow me to walk?” Jenna nodded before holding him tight. Not for the first time ever, he cried in the arms of the woman he loved…


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