A New Face in the Neighborhood
Posted on Thu Jun 6th, 2019 @ 11:20am by Captain Charlotte Reynolds & Lieutenant Commander Kenna Wolff & Lieutenant Commander Maralen Seitha & Lieutenant Elias Lindholm & Lieutenant Dante Rawlins & Lieutenant Caroline Isley & Lieutenant JG Connor Burton & Lieutenant JG Natalie Cross & Lieutenant JG Morgan Lindsay & Ensign Thyra Sh'shraaqir & Ensign Colby Pierce & Lieutenant Ian Acainus
Episode 1: A Lesson in Humility
Location: Starbase 1, Earth Orbit
Timeline: MD 0
The turbo lift door opened onto a balcony, overlooking the lower level of the Starbase's Promenade. The usual sounds of hustle filled her ears. Officers moving back and forth, going to whatever adventure was next on the list. Moments like this reminded, her that they weren't so alone out there in space. There were many ships, making their way through the black.
Captain Reynolds turned the corner, headed toward the conference hall that she'd been summoned to. She knew that whatever this was about, it would likely be Defiant's focus for the next few weeks. Entering the room, she nodded toward Admiral Denovitz. "Good to see you, sir."
"You as well, Captain," the pepper haired man replied. "I assume your crew is on its way?"
"They should be joining us momentarily," Charlotte said as she settled into the seat at the head of the table, facing the admiral.
Maralen had always been trained to be precise in everything, including his timing. So, right on time, he entered the conference room and paused to glance over the room, noting where everyone and everything was before nodding to the Captain and saluting the admiral. He then moved to take the chair to Charlotte's right. He usually preferred to have his back to a wall, but these conference rooms were never laid out that way; it occurred to him, not for the first time to wonder why that was. Why did Starfleet seem to need to put everything in the center of the room? Not that it mattered ultimately as he would simply do as he always did, accept it and keep his senses alert and vigilant.
"Any idea what to expect?" he asked very softly as he leaned toward his captain.
"Some, but I'll let the Admiral make that announcement," Charlotte said coyly. She knew a bit about the briefing, having received a summary last night. But she was still intrigued to see what additional details would be revealed.
Behind them, the door opened again and in stepped Kenna. Dressed in perfectly pressed uniform, hair regulation neat, the blonde moved and saluted before taking a seat.
Natalie was the next one to step into the room. Pleased to see that she was not the first one to arrive nor the last one. She nodded at those already in the room and headed for an open seat.
With a confident step Dante stride into the room. He looked around, noticing who had already joined the meeting, even a few of the newer faces, and smiled. With a nod to the Captain and the Admiral, he took a seat, setting the data slate he'd brought with him down in front of him.
Looking over at the woman beside him he spoke. "First big meeting I've been to for Defiant. Wonder what's in store for us.", He said.
Natalie casually looked in the direction of Dante as he spoke to her. She hadn't met him yet but she knew of him. "Time will tell my friend." She replied. "Natalie Cross." She introduced herself. Extending her hand towards Dante.
Grasping the woman's hand and giving it a firm shake Dante smiled, "Dante Rawlins, nice to meet you.", he replied.
Morgan slipped through the door, eyed the room and picked out a seat. Making his way near the front, he slipped into his seat and slouched trying to get comfortable. He'd been in too many lecture halls as of late, but at least this one wasn't likely to include information on the latest flesh-eating microbe that had been discovered.
He hadn't had lunch yet.
Ian was the next to slip into the room He was dressed in his Akadian uniform. He'd had a late breakfast with Elias in his quarters then had done a little exploring around the Station. He'd left plenty of time so he wouldn't be late. He wasn't the first to arrive, nor was the last. He found a glass of loganberry juice, then found a place somewhere near the end of the table to sit.
Elias made his way to the conference room. Having finished his morning workout, and a late breakfast with Ian, he had made sure his uniform was neatly pressed and clean, shaved and grabbed a PADD for notes as he left for the meeting. Upon arrival, he saluted the Admiral and his Captain. He then made his way over to the Admiral and offered his hand, "Admiral Denovitz, I'm sure you don't remember me, but I was Admiral Archer's aid prior to my posting aboard the Defiant. It's good to see you again sir.
Sergei Denovitz had a practiced poker face by this point in his career. He wracked his brain desperately trying to remember the man's name, but to no avail. His age must be catching up with him. A momentary glance from the table to Elias' wrist gave him what he needed though, and he shook the man's hand warmly. "Yes, good to see you again, Lieutenant." He caught Charlotte's eye from across the table, and she subtly stifled a laugh. Apparently, his maneuver couldn't escape the eye of his former officer. She'd simply seen it too many times before.
Elias shook the hand and made his way to an open seat. He knew the Admiral had been covering the fact he forgot Elias's name, even though Elias had dealt with the admiral before. He sat down with his PADD in front of him ready for notes.
Colby entered, wearing his best uniform for the occasion. He had trouble figuring out why he was here, as it seemed more like a senior officer gathering. He looked around and found an empty table and sat.
Connor walked in, a padd in hand where he was busy punching in information. As he sat down in the corner, he slipped the padd into the inside pocket on the jacket he wore.
Caroline Isley hated to be the last one to a meeting. But she had known she was going to risk it. A project meeting that she allowed a junior officer to run went long and now she was briskly walking through the hallways to try to minimize her tardiness. As the door to the conference room slid open, Isley straightened her blue minidress uniform and walked in. She looked around, nodded at the captain as though she wasn't almost late and then took a seat. It was only then that she noticed a flag officer and raised an eyebrow before crossing her legs and becoming curious as to how the meeting would go.
Thyra walked in. "Admiral, Captain, Commanders..." She nodded to everyone and quickly sat down. She already held up this meeting long enough.
The Admiral nodded as the last few filed in. Clearing his throat, he began. "Thank you all for coming. I hope shore leave has treated you all well. As I'm sure you've expected, it needed to end eventually. But with the war over, we get to focus on some non-military pursuits. On that note..." He stepped a pace over to the side, picking up a padd as he did. With a swipe of his fingers, the screen behind him displayed a starfield.
"A few weeks ago, Starfleet Long Range Telemetry detected something unusual. In one of our extragalactic surveys, we detected an object we hadn't seen before. When we looked back in that direction a few days later, it had moved substantially. And it has done so consistently since then," Denovitz continued. The screen zoomed in on a blurry elongated object. "What that means is, this is an object that is relatively close and getting closer. What we are We are not sure as to the nature of the object. But we are currently witnessing the approach of an extragalactic object toward our vague region of the Milky Way."
Colby was mesmerized by the images on the monitor. Image....possibly a new unknown race was coming to pay, hopefully, a peaceful visit.
Isley listened intently. She was very eager to get back to non-combat pursuits. She was a scientist after all and didn't join Starfleet to be some kind of soldier. Of course, there was no indication that the object coming toward the Federation wasn't hostile. It would be just Defiant's luck to be sent out to intercept some kind of a hostile alien probe or warship.
Natalie watched the Admiral as he briefed them on the situation. She was interested in seeing if there were any tells or signs of him withholding any anything as he explained their next mission to them. She was cautious when it came to situations such as this. A high profile mission. Lots of individuals of high position keeping an eye on the outcome. There was always a potential and a want to control the narrative and be less forthcoming.
Sitting quietly in his seat Dante had a curious look on his face. He wasn't the best at the science stuff they did out here, but this seemed like it could be a very interesting mission. Pulling his data slate forward he began jotting down notes, especially on the locations, already mentally preparing the courses they would need to consider to get them in position to intercept the object.
Elias sat and jotted down notes regarding the admiral's presentation. While not scientifically inclined, Elias enjoyed exploring. It helped quell his natural curiosity. While the extragalactic object was intriguing, it did give him a moment of pause. First contact with new species was always a crucial moment in inter-species relations. It was also the most volatile and without a moments thought, the Defiant could be caught in the crosshairs of a new hostile species.
"That's all very interesting, " Ian said after the merest glance at Elias, “do we have any sensor data, anything from long-range scans?"
Denovitz nodded. “Some, but not much. It appears to be metallic, but our science team isn’t quite comfortable calling it a metal hull. If it’s a ship, it’s substantially larger than any vessel we’ve encountered. But we aren’t sure what to call it if it’s not. It also appears to be operating under its own power. It is slowing down as it approaches the galaxy.”
Captain Reynolds spoke up briefly. “Do we know where it’s going?”
“Here,” Denovitz said as he highlighted a region of stars. “It appears to be headed to this point, well outside Federation territory. It’s a few weeks away at warp. But you have some time to spare. With a ship of Defiant’s speed, you should be able to reach its destination before it does.”
Mar had sat quietly, absorbing everything said and asked. Questions gave him information about the ones asking while answers gave him knowledge of the ones answering as well as the answers themselves. The object was very large indeed, and he found his curiosity piqued. It was wholly unfamiliar to him, but that only meant that he had neither encountered its kind nor read about them in the Realm libraries. That, sadly for his sanity, only made it all that much more fascinating to his feline nature.
Now he examined the star cluster that the admiral had pointed out. "Is this area of space significant to the powers within the galaxy?" Either way, the answer would tell him something.
The Admiral shook his head. "None that we are aware of. Its on the opposite side of Federation space from the Klingons or Romulans. You're going to be headed into wholly unexplored territory."
Mar considered that for a moment. While the idea of going into completely unexplored territory stirred his feline curiosity even more, it brought up a load of new questions for which the admiral would not have the answers as those answers resided solely with the oncoming alien device/ship/whatever it was. Like, for example, why would it want to go to that space? Did it know something the powers in this galaxy didn't? Was there something there that was of value to it? Or was there something there it felt the need to destroy? There were just too many questions and no way as of yet to find the answers. And the fact that the space was unexplored meant that they didn't even know if there was something valuable about it. This could get... interesting.
So far, nothing in the briefing had been of concern to medical, so Morgan hadn't had any questions. Then he looked at the charts. "Dr. Lindsay, Admiral. Given that it's been tracked, is there an idea of where it came from? It's flight path through a particular region of space? It's been a long time since I've looked at star charts, but it's got to be coming from somewhere."
"Indeed, it does," the Admiral replied. "We've done our best to recreate its trail based on its current course. From what we've gathered, it seems to have originated from the Pisces Dwarf Galaxy. But given that it seems to be operating under its own power, we can't say that for certain. It very well may have changed its course. But the distance of its place of origin certainly makes us curious why it selected its destination."
"Interesting. If it's under it's own power, it might be a sentient ship, Admiral," Colby asked.
“I suppose,” Denovitz said, as he considered it. “It has travelled a substantial distance. But it could just as easily be fully crewed. Given the size of it, I’m inclined to think it contains inhabitants. Possibly a great many. But those are just my unfounded thoughts. For all we know, ship might not even be the right term. We won’t know for sure until you’ve had a chance to investigate.”
"A great many inhabitants?" Isley said, pulled out of her own speculations on the object. "You think it might be some type of colony ship?"
“Possibly. The object is easily larger than the station we stand upon right now. It could be any number of things. A probe, a traditional starship. Or yes, possibly a colony ship of some sort. Or maybe it’s just an asteroid acting under some bizarre physics.” Denovitz pulled out a chair and sat at the table facing the crew. “I won’t lie to you. We’re sending you into this mostly blind. And you’ll be well outside Starfleet’s support network. The mission doesn’t come without risks. However, the potential opportunities are immeasurable.”
Morgan smiled then, commenting "Well, André Gide did say 'Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore."
Colby stared at the screen and muttered, "I'd love to see the inside of that."
Looking up from his calculations Dante raised a hand to let the Admiral know he wanted to interject. Once he'd received a nod he spoke, "I have a question, actually. How fast is this thing moving? I'd like to have at least a vague notion of its speed capabilities, so far as we know, while I start working out our plan of approach.", he said.
Kenna was sitting silent through the whole thing, her gaze taking in everything. She didn't comment or offer an opinion. She sat quietly making mental notes.
"Judging by the size, it could be a multi-generational ship, sir." Colby kept starring at the monitor.
“I’ll leave that up to you all to determine,” Denovitz said. “I’ve seen to it that Defiant is loaded out for extended deep space operations.”
“And on that note, I’ll close out this meeting,” Charlotte said. “You all have the next 48 hours to finish up your shore leave plans. We’ll launch during Alpha Shift on Thursday morning. Unless you’ve got any other business for this meeting, you’re all dismissed."
Elias had sat during the meeting taking notes on his PADD. His custom in briefing was to remain silent and take as many notes as he could. The prospect of the object's origin was intriguing. Elias had never been on a true deep space mission, the war had seen to that. He was excited for what this mission could bring, but he also knew that potential dangers of deep space.
Isley looked at the admiral briefly and then got up and walked out. As she wondered exactly what it was that the ship would be facing this time. It certainly wasn't a straight up combat mission, but given how her time on Defiant had gone, she wasn't ready to think this was just going to be a peaceful scientific contact.
Maralen nodded but did not leave yet. As Executive Officer, he would wait until everyone but the captain and the admiral had left before leaving himself. This mission held much curiosity for him, but he was more aware of the risks that lived out there in the black than some here. Risks of fates far worse than death. Fates he had seen, enacted at their demand and lived through. No, he was not underestimating anything out there. That thing could just as easily be a giant bringer of destruction like the Death Ships as it could be a friendly race seeking only a place to settle. No, he never assumed, but he was always curious.
"What's shore leave?" Connor quipped as he stood up and walked out.
The Admiral walked over to the remaining two Defiant officers, absentmindedly rapping the padd against his other hand. "Sorry to be sending you out so far, and so soon after the last debacle. But I figured you'd appreciate the change of pace."
Maralen watched the admiral approach. "I prefer the work, Admiral." he stated calmly. "Though it is good to be doing something more exploratory than military." he admitted. While his training was for strategy and adaptability, he would always prefer more peaceful pursuits. He did know, however, that the nature of this being so unknown meant that it could very easily go straight to the Abyss in a second's time. But he was not going to 'borrow trouble' by assuming the worst.
Charlotte caught an expression on Maralen's face that let her know he didn't feel incredibly confident in the peaceful nature of the mission. "If it's any consolation, Admiral Denovitz and I are also having some misgivings about our mission. But I don't want to curse it with our preconceptions. We have an opportunity to do some good old fashioned exploration, and I intend to make that the focus. That said, anything in particular eating at you?"
Maralen could almost hear the Executive in his head. She read you. Flawed. But he pushed it aside. That life was behind him. He shook his head. "Nothing specific, no. I am simply aware of the old saying that nothing is ever as it seems in Starfleet." He smiled slightly. "But you're right; we shouldn't borrow trouble. I actually hope it is as peaceful as it seems. As a cat, I'm, in essence, an explorer at heart." It was truer than that even. Between himself and his twin Larrynda, he had been the exploratory one while she had been the quiet, bookish and cautious one.
"I won't lie. It has an eerie feel to it," Charlotte said, looking over her shoulder at the image on the screen. "But our whole goal in Starfleet is to seek out things exactly like this. And we all just survived a war. We can handle ourselves."
Maralen smiled at her. "Of this I have no doubt." he agreed. "Our crew is exceptional. If anyone can handle such things, it is them." He wanted her to know he believed in her and their crew; and he wanted the admiral to know that whatever his own thoughts were, they would not affect his performance of his duty to his ship, his captain, or Starfleet. They would find this thing, discover it's nature, and deal with whatever that turned out to be... good or bad.
Denovitz nodded and gave Charlotte a pat on the shoulder. "On that note, I'll let you get back to your preparations. I'm sure you have plenty to deal with before launch. If either of you need me, I'll be just a comm call away."
Charlotte smiled and nodded. "Will do, sir."