First Things First
Location: Captain's Ready Room
Timeline: After Defiant's return to Earth
Morgan strolled the corridors of the USS Defiant, trying to get a feel for her. The few crew members looked rested, but had a worn look around their eyes and he hoped that the shore leave program would be fully realized by the entire crew before the starship was called away.
He found the lift and stepped out onto the bridge, looking around. A skeleton crew was manning various consoles and Morgan nodded a greeting to them. at the ready room door, Morgan touched the annunciator and stated, “J.G. Lindsay, Captain. Reporting as ordered.”
"Enter," a voice said through the panel. The door slid open revealing the ready room.
Running along the window on the wall was a waist high display shelf housing a variety of historic ship models. The wooden frame of the HMS Defiance, Defiant's almost namesake, sat at one end followed by a progression. The Phoenix Test Bed sat next to the NX-326 Franklin, in its pre-reft form. After that came the historic NX-01 Enterprise, a personal favorite of hers. The NCC-718 USS Biddeford came next before Defiant herself, showing the progression fo the Constitution-class's design. Defiant was the largest of the bunch, making up the center of the display wall.
Then there were the strange collection of vessels that represented all of her previous assignments. The Mayflower-Class USS Bradbury, the Cardenas-Class USS Cairo, the Walker-Class USS Zheng He.
On the walls around the room were various decorative images she'd amassed over the years. A high definition image of a planetary nebula. A dramatic photo of a neutron star, taken from the view of a ship approaching at warp speed. A sunset behind an exotic, snowcapped mountain range. There was not, however, a single picture of a person, family, friend, or otherwise.
Behind her desk, Captain Reynolds stood to greet the approaching officer. Since they were back at Starbase and on limited duty, she'd allowed herself a more comfortable outfit than usual. She wore the short sleeve uniform dress, with her hair down, a style she was slowly doing more often, she noticed. "Welcome aboard Mr. Lindsay. Please, have a seat. Can I grab you anything to drink?"
Morgan, dressed in a tailored, standard uniform looked about the Captain's ready room as he entered, making an assessment despite himself. The Captain was a contrast: her dress spoke of a casualness that her office did not. The decor were mementos of her service, but nothing of a personal nature. Though Morgan would hazard that in her mind the two blended.
He let the satchel slide to thud next to the proffered chair and sat gratefully. "Just water, Captain. Thank you."
“Water it is,” the blonde replied, before returning to the table with an iced tea for herself and a water for the doctor. She set the glass across from him. “I understand we’re stealing you from the Heyabusa. You’d been with them for a while. I imagine this will be a bit of a transition for you.”
Morgan shrugged easily, smiling at her. "That's how TDY's go, Captain. After a year teaching at the Academy, I really didn't think I'd be going back to her. Not with ships needing crews. I'm only shocked that I didn't get back aboard the Heyabusa, or even most of the way through transit, before having my orders changed and have to trek back." He continued to assess the Captain as they spoke, noting she resembled the crew. At first glance she was tired. That bone weary tired that doesn't have anything to do with sleep. He also would guess that she would A: Categorically deny it and B: Continue to pour herself into the ship's refit if she was allowed to.
"But, if I have to go, I prefer to go where I'm needed," he said, taking a sip of water. "I didn't read much more than the ship survey and mission return. From the medical supplies taken on and record up-loads to Fleet, you and the crew seem to have had a rough go of it."
"That's putting it lightly," Charlotte said with a slightly tired sounding laugh. Where should she even start. "Most of the details of our last few weeks are still classified. But...we've been through the ringer. More than most. I'd argue."
She took a sip from her drink, contemplating how to get into it and what exactly to disclose. "How much have you heard about the situation at Starbase Arcadia?"
Morgan frowned slightly, thinking, then said "Honestly. Not much. I seem to recall something about a terrorist attack. I'm afraid I didn't take look into it more than what the news covered."
"Terrorist attack. Yeah, I can see why the news might cover it that way. They didn't exactly get a lot to go off," Charlotte said, taking a slightly longer drink before continuing. "It wasn't a terrorist attack. At least, not in the traditional sense. Our crew uncovered an infiltration of sorts. This...strange species of parasite had managed to infect and take control of dozens of station staff and when exposed, they tried to take as many people with them as possible. They'd managed to get their hands on a ship and were trying to launch an attack on Qo'nos, locking the Federation and Klingons in what undoubtably would have been an endless war."
She looked out the window pensively for a second. "Turns out, these creatures had instigated the entire conflict by infiltrating leadership on the Klingon side too. We actually only just returned from Qo'nos before your arrival."
Neil considered the information, taking a drink to give him some time before saying "Well. You apparently were successful since the news spews aren't reporting a Heightened Escalation with the Empire. Were there infestations amongst the crew or was it limited to the station?"
The question somehow managed to surprise her, even though it was a natural response. Charlotte's eyes darted across the room, to the barely visible dent in the paneling near the door. She needed to wrestle with her mind to release the immediate tension that had built in her. It had only been a moment, but she was sure the doctor had noticed at least something. She cleared her throat and her voice came out steady as always. "They were primarily limited to station crew. But...we did have 2 crew infected. Our Strategic Operations Officer, Kenna Wolff, was forcibly infected. She was also the first patient to have it surgically removed successfully. I'd talk to her to know more about the experience."
"The other was our Assistant Chief Security Officer. He...he'd been infected without our knowledge. I had been been meeting with him to discuss the creatures, when he made an attempt on my life. I barely survived the incident, and I was forced to kill him." She made her best attempt at an awkward smile. "It actually happened in this room, not that there's much evidence left at this point."
Morgan listened without comment then nodded. "I will follow up with the Lieutenant Commander after I speak with Lieutenant O'Donoghue and look at the charts." As he followed her eyes to the dent and met them. "Such experiences are never easy. Unfortunately, structural damage can be repaired all too easily. The other damage is harder and takes time. I hope you've talked to a Counselor, but if you ever need an ear to bend I'd be happy to listen. And I have the benefit of being new and unknown, so along the lines of a bartender."
The Captain chuckled and shook her head. “Haven’t quote gotten around to the counselor yet. I know I need to. It was just hard to justify making that top priority.” She set her glass down. “I appreciate the offer though. I might have to take you up on it.”
She scrolled through her prepared notes for their meeting on her padd. They’d dealt with most of it. “What about you, Doctor? Anything else I can answer? Or requisition for you?”
He smiled as she changed subject on him. "Right now, I think I have enough to start with. If I may, I'll take a rain check on your offer. Getting settled and looking at sick bay will take a few days. I hope you can enjoy a bit of shore leave before my requests start piling up." Then he stood. "To keep from being an impediment to any plans you may have, I'll go in search of Sick Bay and unhealthy beings. By your leave, Captain?"
"By all means," the Captain replied with a conciliatory gesture. She replied with a teasing smile. "Might want to start your search on Deck 7. Should save you searching the whole ship."
Morgan scooped his carryall, slung it and headed for the door pausing as it swooshed open in front of him and grinned back over his shoulder, "Now that's a relief. I'd hate to get overly lost my first day. If the crew reports finding a trail of bread crumbs about, that's just me. Have a pleasant day Captain Reynolds."
Walking to the lift, he stepped in and leaned against the back wall, working through all he had to do in his new assignment.