He can feel, when all the porcelain in the ready room begins to rattle, more spikes of sharp surprise and concern than just his own. He's no empath, and he's in his own head first and foremost, would've been even if he hadn't been interrupted mid log entry - what the hell? but he and his wizardly crew (his entire crew, but not everyone has errantry's options for connection on top of Fleet service) have been attuning to each other for three years now, and some for much longer than that. Rand's [What the?!] is only a deliberate thought away, and though he can't spare the time to pick everyone else out in detail--there, that's definitely T'Zal's - not his CMO, still a good doctor - benign ivy attention from sickbay, and there are two, no, three people in engineering blaring sudden red alert in almost-chorus, and there's one of his comms officers, currently off shift - she's a waterfall of worry - and there's Excelsior herself, almost as easily heard as Janice when he reaches for their connection and is met halfway, presence climbing rapidly from unease to dismay to alarm. [Uh, Sulu-cousin? I don't know what--erk!] And then louder, urgent enough to bring him to his feet had he not already been on them, utterly ignoring (for now) the cup that's just smashed to bits on the deckplates, [Sulu! Energy/wave/sudden/too much! Emergency!]
His ship is crying out to him. It could be entirely harmless scientific - could be entropy running - could be obvious like an earthquake - his ship is raising an open alarm to him. His crew is scrambling. His senses are warning him of old and familiar disasters stripped of place and medium. Protect, defend. He bolts for the bridge proper on the double of double time.
The visual of what they're dealing with, the sheer magnitude of the oncoming shock, knocks him onto his metaphorical heels and then straight back off them again, swaying him in a queasy internal rhythm that thankfully doesn't translate to his footwork. The abject horror of the sight, of the doom that's all theirs to avoid, rushes out of him in a gasp that breaks to silence in the middle and takes a full second and more from start to finish. "My... God!"
Fairest and fallen, greeting and defiance. I knew it.
"Shields. Shields!" He's getting uncommonly loud, harsh in his urgency, and he knows it. [I'm on it,] Rand thinks deliberately at him, bless his nearer partner's ever-bright, unbreakable soul, and then the silver-blue-flexible strength of, he's presuming, one of her ready for anything reinforcement spells is radiating outward from her chair in a split-second deployment and sinking, unnoticed (or at least unremarked upon) by anyone else, out of sight into the surfaces of the bridge as the purely technological shields go up.
Greeting and defiance and when the Dark comes rising, this is what you do.
Veltane's second, near-shouted pronouncement overlaps with Excelsior's own voice in his head, higher than standard and unmodulated with strain as she confirms the shipwide overload in a yelp that veers sharply into pure distress as the force they're contending with sustains itself and builds. [Momentum overriding systems--ah! Sulu, Help me!]
"Starboard thrusters! Turn her into the wave!"
There are no accidents. None.
The words leave him in a clumsily-articulated rush that barely takes conscious thought. Just like that, just like nothing at all, he's acting and reacting like he's the one at the helm. It's fair to say, he thinks much later, once there's finally time enough to ruminate on the subject, that he's never left that station, or maybe that the station's never left him. Maybe both. Yes, he's got a certain set of pips now but once a pilot, always a pilot if you're born to it, and captain or no, he can feel her, feel the ship all around him, her disorientation, the cant of her decks, the strain on her engines, the course she lost kilometers ago, her dizzy desperation scaling up in quicklife time and driving into him like a sabre. It's not second nature. It's first. [Easy, Excelsior, easy,] he thinks, deliberately letting the marrow-deep truth of himself crowd to the fore and bracing as she leans heavily into the support the moment it's offered, [I've got you. I know what to do. I've got you.]
And this is what you do, if by your art - all this I place - for life's sake in the light - protect - defend-defy - and when the Dark comes rising, you handle it like this!
Janice is there, still there and always, a second one of her signature reinforcement spellcircles expanding outward and downward from her station into the nearest section of hull, and he's no empath or telepath, never but decks away (or in the back of his head, or both) T'Zal is chanting in a slow, deliberate march, steady as a medical tricorder, and two of those three engineers feel like they're sheeting sparks, they're moving so fast and the third is picking xyrself up from a sprawl and firing bolt after bolt of pure energy into the nearest wizardly conduit linked to their power systems, and that off-duty comms officer's on her feet and praying aloud, stamping one foot in rhythm again - thump - and again - thump - and again - thump - onto the deckplates just outside her quarters, diagnostics and short-term delays of metal fatigue and desperation-laced requests to inertia itself doubling every time her boot's sole touches down, and Pavel's lightyears away, but - [Sulu, vhat is happening--vhat is it? Da, absolutely, I am connecting now, link established, Sulu--] and Excelsior, his ship, his Excelsior is clinging to him and he wasn't lying, he's got her, he'll protect her, he'll protect them, anyone he can, any life he can - he's there, they're all there, Janice-Excelsior-Pavel-Enterprise they're - I will put aside fear for courage, and death for life - too right I will - he's got this.
The next order he gives cleaves the tumult down the center, and the certainty that reinforces his command and makes it at least half wizardry sparks a visible lacework of silver-orange-red-blue spellwork light through the space before him. As far as he can tell, no unaware bridge officers notice the fireworks. It'll go in the books as an agreed-upon assist supplementary to existing systems, and which or whose particular systems those are will be left deliberately unstated in summary text, but just then, Sulu isn't concerned with how anything's précis is going to read.
When destruction is abroad in the world and the Dark comes rising,, then in life's name and for life's sake, this is one way the Light turns it back.
"Quarter impulse power!"