Moving Into The Big Leagues
Episode 1: A Lesson in Humility
Location: USS Defiant - Bridge
Timeline: Prior to Typhon Mission
Sam had materialized in the Defiant's transporter room less than five minutes ago, along with all his stuff, and already he'd deposited it into his quarters, and made his way to the bridge. It was definitely safe to say he was excited about his new assignment, and he couldn't wait to get a look at the science labs on this ship. He'd heard they were state of the art, and was itching to explore them, and see what all they could do. He knew, however, that to do that would require a little bit of meeting, and greeting, and so, here he was. Approaching the closed door to the Captain's ready room he reached out and pressed the small button that would activate the door chime. He heard it, very faintly, and then clasped his hands behind his back and waited.
After a moment, there was no noise from the other side. The turbo lift door opened and a fairly short blonde woman walked out, wearing casual clothing. Her hair was laying loosely over her shoulder, and the tight, verdant long sleeve shirt she was wearing seemed to accent it. Her boots were non-uniform issue, and came up over her jeans. She took up a spot behind him. “Is this the line?” she asked a bit shy.
Sam glanced briefly over his shoulder, not nearly long enough to realize that the woman behind him was the woman he was coming to see. "I suppose so,", he said, sighing. "I probably should have made an appointment, she's probably busy.", he added a moment later.
"Probably. Or she decided to leave duty early. You know how those command officers can be," she said with a laugh, poking more than a little fun at herself. Charlotte had indeed left her shift early, deciding to get a little time away from the bridge. Not much was happening today, other than the arrival of a certain new officer. And honestly, she'd allowed that bit to slip her mind. "So what are you here for?"
Turning to talk to the lady behind him, instead of continuing to be rude and talk to her over his shoulder Sam went to answer her question only to get a rather big shock. "Captain!", he said, his voice rising an octave. "I am so sorry, ma'am. I didn't realize it was you. I'm here to report in.", he said, feeling utterly foolish.
An entertained smile flashed across her face. "No need to apologize, Lieutenant. I actually forgot you were coming aboard today. So if anyone owes an apology, it's me." She stepped forward and beaconed the door open. "Also, you'll have to forgive the lack of uniform on my part. I'd snuck away for the day and it took a while for me to remember I needed to come back. Please, come in side and grab a seat."
Following the blonde woman into the office Sam took a look around the room, and noted its decor. It was a bit impersonal in ways, but at the same time had little touches that told him more about her. As he sat he nodded to the small model ships, "Hobbyist, or collector?", he asked.
She pursed her lips in thought as she settled into her seat. "That's a good question. Bit of both, I suppose. I like having them there, but I think building them is a big part of it. That old sailing ship on the end was quite the little adventure. Nearly drove me mad trying to get the rigging right, but it was pretty satisfying to actually pull off."
Pursing his lips and nodding Sam responded, "Impressive. Most people nowadays don't have that kind of patience.", he said.
"True. But part of the trick is using it as an escape. If it was a goal I was actively working on, I don't think I'd get through it. But as a way to get away from things? Or as something to do with my hands while I'm thinking? That's when I find it most helpful. Plus the sense of accomplishment upon finishing one is good encouragement too," Charlotte replied. "But enough about me. How was your trip to us?"
Sam pondered the question for a moment before replying. Finally, he spoke, "Uneventful is about the only way I could describe it, honestly. There weren't any ships coming this way so I got a week long shore leave sort of arrangement on civilian transport. I did meet a rather intriguing man from a species I had never encountered before. He wouldn't tell me anything about where he was from, but he was fascinating. Grey skin, lots of scales, and bony plates, and incredibly secretive.", he said.
"Civilian transport is always an interesting place to meet people. I occasionally wonder if we should have diplomats stationed on those. Plenty of first contacts happen everyday and no one even notices," Charlotte replied.
"That's not too bad of an idea. Though the diplomat in question would have to be quite patient. This fellow I met would stymie most of them. I think he was a cleric of some sort, he had some scrolls with him, and he dressed in these pastel robes all the time. I'd honestly describe him as a sort of monk if I was forced to label him. I wish I could have spent more time getting to know him," Sam mused.
"Well, maybe we'll get lucky and run into him or his people at some point while we're out here exploring. You should also look through our library computer for limited first contact records. If a ship made contact but didn't establish firm ties, there's chance they would appear in those records," Charlotte said, musing a little. "Speaking of exploring, I wanted to discuss your position. It looks like you're bringing a good amount of experience to the team."
"Yes, ma'am,", Sam replied. "I suppose you could say I was thrown into the thick of things once I graduated from the academy. I didn't expect it to be quite as much of an adventure on my first time out, but I'm glad of the experience. It helped me grow in ways I didn't know I needed.", he added.
The captain nodded. "We certainly won't be decreasing the amount of adventure you'll be running into. Our ship has a tendency for...let's call it 'dramatic' discoveries. Have you been read in on our current mission at all?"
"Not really, no. There wasn't time.", Sam replied, smiling awkwardly. "I'm sure that isn't the best answer, but it's the honest one."
"Understandable," she replied, with a nod. "We're headed out pretty far. Defiant is going to be traveling well past the border of Federation space. Starfleet Long Range Telemetry picked up an object, a massive object, headed through extragalactic space toward our little Milky Way. And it's decreasing in speed, on a course for a certain point a few weeks away at warp. We're headed there to find out what the object is and meet it when it arrives at its destination."
There was a certain glint of excitement in Sam's eyes as he heard about Defiant's mission. It was a far cry from what he'd been exposed to before, and just the type of thing he'd be interested in as an evolutionary cosmologist. "That sounds fascinating, ma'am. I look forward to working with the rest of the science team to gather as much data as we can. Is there any thought towards this being a first contact mission, or are we gearing more towards scientific research?", he asked.
Charlotte shrugged a little in reply. "We genuinely don't know. The object appears to be operating under its own power, decreasing its speed and adjusting heading slightly. But that doesn't necessarily mean crew. It could be automation. It's also massive, which could mean inhabitants...or it could simply be huge to accommodate the needs of an automated trip across extragalactic space. It also doesn't appear to have originated in Andromeda so...we really don't know what to expect. It will at the very least be a scientific mission. If there are inhabitants, it will become diplomatic too." She kept the 'and if they are hostile' portion of the mission profile to herself.
"Looks like I picked an ideal time to join you then!," Sam said, smiling broadly. "I assume the Science chief has been briefed on my assignment and pending arrival?", he asked.
The captain nodded. "She has, but I would still make sure to check in with her. Checking in with our XO would also be a good idea."
"Oh, most definitely. They were both on my list, as well as the obligatory on-boarding medical exam.", Sam said with a grim smile.
“Unfortunately, even captain’s can’t escape that last one,” she joked. "Outside of that, anything I can answer for you?”
"No, ma'am, not that I can think of off the top of my head. But I do want to thank you for the opportunity to serve on your vessel.", he said, standing and extending his hand to shake hers.
She took his hand. "Welcome aboard, Lieutenant. I look forward to working with you."