The shuttle landed at the Glasna Kingdom base, ready to reveal Denstra Welmeva and her family. Oak would take the shuttle to the Rooka Forest once Denstra was dropped off. Arsha twitched a bit as the hydraulics of the departure ramp hissed as it lowered. “Nervous?” asked Oak.
“A bit,” admitted Arsha. “Does the arrival of a new crew member make a person nervous?”
“That’s standard for any position,” assured Oak. “Now, you take care of Denstra, you hear?”
“I certainly hope,” gulped Arsha, “that she helps take care of the ship.”
“She will,” promised Oak. The ramp had completely lowered and the new First Officer, Commander Denstra Welmeva, led her family out. Denstra was a heavyset black Cecaelia/Neko Blender with blood red hair, purple legs, and an aquamarine top with a pendant around her neck. A male green-tailed Naga wearing nothing on his human half then followed her out, followed by a male Drider with red eyes, white hair, and missing his right arm, then came a honey-colored slime with a man’s head, and last came a red-skinned Succubus dressed as a Second Age Housewife.
“Hello, hello!” greeted Denstra with the widest smile in all the Realms. “You must the Captain! What up, Captain Princess?!” She stuck her hand out for a handshake. Arsha tentatively shook it.
“It’s nice to meet you,” she greeted.
“Oh, where are my manners?!” Denstra chided herself. “I’m Commander Denstra Welmeva and these are my spouses! Say hello to Jaltor!”
“Howdy!” called the Naga, Jaltor.
“Twirja!” continued Denstra.
“What’s up?” asked the one-armed Drider, Twirja.
“Jweltu!” Denstra went on.
“Hey, stranger,” greeted the slime, Jweltu.
“And Twansa!” finished Denstra.
“Hello,” called the Succubus, Twansa.
“And looky who we have here!” chuckled Denstra as she ran her eyes up Oak. “How are things, Twiggy?”
“Just fine, Furball,” replied Oak. “I need to use the shuttle so I can return to my wife.”
“Yeah, you’ve got a baby on the way, don’t you?” mused Denstra. “Well, better not keep you! Good luck!” Oak bowed as he boarded the shuttle. “Well now, Captain,” she purred to Arsha, “permission to come aboard?”
“Permission granted,” replied Arsha, still not sure what to make of her. The Welmevas followed her onto the Endeavor. Twirja whistled.
“Swanky,” he mused. “Then again, that’s what you’d expect from a Dauntless-class skyship.”
“You talk as if you’ve served on one before,” remarked Arsha.
“Served on the Crelima, herself,” replied Twirja. Arsha stopped and gave him her full attention.
“The Crelima?!” she yelped. “That ship was destroyed!”
“As was my arm,” supplied Twirja.
“Don’t bother asking him the exact circumstances,” muttered Jaltor. “He always changes the story whenever you ask him.”
“Such as defrauding the Captain himself,” began Denstra.
“Swiping a valuable engine core component,” supplied Twansa.
“Using aerosol spray near a grill,” offered Jweltu.
“And killing a crewmate with his right thumb,” finished Jaltor.
“I see,” muttered Arsha. Bashoon then came up.
“Captain, we have a new mission from Realmfleet,” reported Bashoon. “A pink mist is making the machinery of Galthar go haywire. We need to investigate and assist as much as we can. Captain Roozay of the Forge is helping us.”
“Thank you, Ensign,” bid Arsha. “Could you escort the Welmevas to their quarters? Commander Welmeva will join me on the bridge.”
“Aye, Captain,” confirmed Bashoon. “Sirs, Madam, if you will follow me, I will show you to your quarters.” She led Denstra’s spouses away while Denstra followed Arsha to the bridge.
“Is she the first Realmfleet Goblin I’ve heard about?” asked Denstra.
“She is,” answered Arsha. They arrived on the bridge. “Nazay, set course to Galthar.”
“Course laid in,” reported Nazay.
“Nice and easy,” directed Arsha. The Endeavor’s engines whirred to life and the ship rose from the Glasna Kingdom and into the sky, on course for the Mid-realm Elven Kingdom of Galthar.
“That was…smooth,” mused Denstra.
“Nazay IS the best helmsman,” replied Arsha.
“Yeah, but Dauntless-class ships aren’t all that smooth in the takeoff department,” recalled Denstra. “What modifications did you guys make?”
“I’d ask Chief Engineer Thangred,” directed Arsha. “He’ll give you the specifics. In the meantime, I need you to give verbal course corrections to Nazay so we can get to Galthar faster.”
“Verbal?!” yelped Denstra.
“You CAN give verbal course corrections, can’t you?” asked Arsha.
“Well, yes…” stammered Denstra.
“Then carry out my orders,” Arsha declared with a tone of finality. She rose from the Captain’s chair and directed Denstra to sit in it. Denstra did so, albeit, a tiny bit scared.
“Nazay, course correction of 0.001 starboard,” relayed Denstra.
“Course correction of 0.001 starboard,” confirmed Nazay as he moved the x-wheel. The Endeavor moved slightly to the right and continued on its way. Denstra continued giving verbal course corrections until…
“Galthar in visual range,” reported Malak.
“That’s enough verbal course corrections,” called Arsha. “Nazay, time?”
“2 hours,” relayed Nazay. “We just shaved a half-hour off the usual flight time from the Glasna Kingdom to Galthar.”
“Well done, Commander Welmeva,” praised Arsha. “Meet me in my Ready Room. Nazay, Shalvey, land us.” Denstra followed Arsha into the Ready Room and could hear the door shut behind her. “Please, sit,” directed Arsha as she gestured towards the chair facing the desk. Denstra sat down. “I apologize for putting you on the spot like that,” she began. “I heard both good and bad things about you and wanted to know a little more about you. Looks like you’re not afraid to take risks in the long run.”
“I can’t afford to be,” replied Denstra. “I realize I come off as reckless at times, but I DO place the ship’s safety high on my list of priorities, Captain.”
“Speaking of priorities,” continued Arsha, “I got a look at your record. You didn’t exactly start life off all that well.”
“No, Captain,” confirmed Denstra. “My Cecaelia mother and Neko father were members of high society. I was feeling so disillusioned with what was going on. In a fit of defiance, I joined a pirate fleet and became the Chief Engineer for the pirate fleet’s flagship. It all changed when we took a job. We got word that there was a mana crystal shipment meant for the Belsnath Citadel. We intercepted the ship and took the crew as our prisoners. The pirate Fleet Admiral was onboard. She ordered the crew’s deaths. I gave my disagreements to the Admiral in full view of the crew. Only a quarter of the crew agreed with me, not nearly enough to stage a mutiny. She ordered me to return to Main Engineering. I blocked off all maho-links, causing the engines to overheat. When they exploded, the ship fell, crashing into a field. The mana crystals were fragmented and their power was gone. The Admiral was about ready to kill me when the surviving prisoners fired on her and got me out of there. I turned myself in and served a prison sentence, then came home. For whatever reason, my parents said nothing, just hugged me as I sobbed in their arms, regretting what I did. It took me a long time, but I mended fences with my parents and became a Realmfleet Officer.”
“…You know, if I were a ship’s counselor,” remarked Arsha, “I’d say the bounciness you project is to hide something.”
“Feelings of guilt and shame, yeah,” replied Denstra.
“Let’s keep this between ourselves, then, shall we?” suggested Arsha.
“I’d like that, Captain,” agreed Denstra.
“Welcome aboard, Commander Denstra Welmeva,” greeted Arsha in a more warm tone as she offered her hand for a handshake. Denstra accepted and the two exited the Ready Room.
“We’ve landed,” reported Nazay.
“Denstra, Bashoon, Dalengor, with me,” directed Arsha.
“Denstra?” asked Dalengor.
“She’s just what the doctor ordered,” assured Arsha. They made their way to the landing ramp and exited the ship to meet the two Queens of Galthar, Hindra and Hunmur. Hindra was a Sea Elf and Hunmur was a Stone Elf. They brought Latinora with them as well.
“Thank the Ones you’ve come!” praised Hindra. “Our kingdom’s industry has ground to a halt because of this mess!” She then noticed Denstra. “Ah, excellent! One of Realmfleet’s best engineers before her promotion!”
“I still keep my skills up, Your Majesty,” assured Denstra.
“Well,” groaned Hunmur, “we need all the help we can get.”
“Your Majesty, are you alright?” asked Bashoon.
“I’ve got a toothache, something awful!” whimpered Hunmur.
“I told you not to hit the sweets so hard!” admonished Hindra.
“Why not go visit the dentist?” quizzed Latinora.
“I’m not having them bleed my gums!” snapped Hunmur.
“That’s only because you don’t floss as well as you should!” argued Hindra.
“Why don’t we save that for another time?” suggested Arsha. “I DID hear something about pink mist causing machines to go haywire when the Scarlet Stream Pirates held me.” Denstra’s eyes nearly popped out of their sockets when she heard that.
“Did you say…?” she gulped.
“I’ll have Thangred, Melandra, and Denstra help you and your teams out, Ms. Langrasia,” Arsha offered to Latinora. “We’ll bring a swift end to this crisis.”
“Thank you,” bid Latinora. Arsha turned her communicator on and called Thangred and Melandra while Denstra gulped.
“I thought they would have disbanded,” she muttered.