Posted on Thu Jul 20, 2023 @ 1:27pm by Captain Richard Winchester & Cadet - Lieutenant April Winchester MD & Ensign Sumaal & Commander Thoria zh'Kela & Lieutenant Commander Ziq Chura & Lieutenant Jules Mundy & Lieutenant Cuyu Reeza
1,566 words; about a 8 minute read
Season 1 - Prologue
Location: Shuttlecraft Enroute to Columbia
After the brief segue to meet with Starbase Earharts Commanding Officer, a Lt Commander by the name of Vinballa, the cohort from Columbia had returned to the shuttlecraft and made the short journey from the planets surface to the construction frame hosting the Ambassador Class starship they called home. Its recently cleaned hull glinted under the frames lamps.
Captain Winchester and Lieutenant Mundy had taken up the two primary positions at the front of the shuttle. "There she is," the Captain announced as the ship came into sight. He felt a swell of emotion on sight of the ship. Was it pride? love? He wasn't sure. But he definitely felt a connection to the starship.
The shuttle, with Mundy at the helm, made a sweeping turn around the ship, and headed towards the shuttle bay. And with a gentle touch, landed the shuttle in the bay.
Reeza sat at the rear behind the pilot. She didn't mind flying-you couldn't get very far in the Fleet if you had an aversion to shuttles and the like. She settled back for the journey. "What is the plan upon arrival? Will be meeting another person, or are we meant to deliver the artifact ourselves?" She hadn't clarified.
Thoria stood with the Tellarite Ensign she was dealing with by the shuttle bay doors, she was surprised to be with him but she would be expecting a report from him later on in the day.
The Bolian chief engineer tugged at his uniform jacket and brushed himself down. He'd been crawling through one of the access tunnels when he was summoned to shuttlebay. He hadn't had a chance to change his uniform. Just a quick hand and face wash before heading down to the bay. "Anyone know what this is about?" He asked the gathered officers, wondering if he had missed an important meeting or message.
Sumaal grumbled as he took up a position beside the Chief Engineer. He immediately noticed the new rank pips on the Chief's sleeve. "New pins, Chief?" he pointed at the Chief's left cuff.
"I would put money on this being the project the Captain had me working on, Sir. In the auxiliary science lab." Sumaal grunted, "The same project that got me into hot water with the ex-oh." he grunted again.
"Oh, yes. Captain Winchester saw fit to promote me to Chief Engineer and Lieutenant Commander." Ziq said proudly. "I'm just glad my hard work has been noticed." He added. "What have you been up to in the auxiliary science lab?"
"Building a secure storage container.... of if you ask the Executive Officer, abusing the ship. She wants to see me later."
Mundy moved towards the hatch and opened it, and moved aside for the captain to exit first. Reeza brought up the rear, ever cautious to danger, and of course, trained to watch out for her CO. Still, everything seemed fine, and she relaxed after a moment. She smoothed her tunic, slightly rumpled from the trip, and then turned to Mundy. "Lt., do you need assistance with the cargo?" She asked. She awaited further orders from there.
"I have one of the hanger crews standing by to help unload the shuttle, but your offer is appreciated." Mundy smiled, then signaled to the hanger crew to start unloading.
The Captain bounded down the lowered hatch to meet the bulk of his senior staff, "All non-essential personnel, please vacate the bay." he ordered politely, and the crew quickly followed through without question. He noticed Sumall making a quick about turn, and interjected, "Not you Sumaal. Believe it or not, you're essential right now." he heard the Tellarite let out a sigh in response.
"April, unfortunately, I'll need you to vacate the shuttle bay also," he turned to his daughter, "The Chief of the Boat will have your lodging details. I'll catch up with you for dinner."
April politely nodded back at her Father, the gathered crew and without a word made a quick exit.
"Mr Mundy, if you could bring the cargo out now please." Richard gestured back to the shuttlecraft cargo area.
Mundy signaled to the loading crew to start bringing out the cargo, and place it in front of the assembled group.
Reeza had simply nodded to Mundy her understanding, and stood by, awaiting further orders. Her blue eyes searched the room, carefully taking stock of her surroundings.
"Crew, thanks for gathering so quickly." he spoke over the noise of the cargo being decanted from the Shuttlecraft, "In this crate is what the Bajoran's call the Orb of Health," he looked over at the crate, "It's not something I've ever heard of to be honest, but I understand an Orb is of great cultural and religious significance to the Bajoran people."
Richard glanced over at the starships new Chief Medical Officer, "Starfleet has been asked by the Bajoran Government in Exile on Antaran IV to securely store the relic until such times as it can be returned to Bajor. Brass at HQ have opted to store it onboard the Columbia. Questions?"
Reeza gasped audibly, and then quickly put her hand over her mouth. "How did you come into possession of the Orb?" NOW it made sense why everyone had chosen HER to help; she was Bajoran as was her late husband and daughter. This was HERS. Sort of. "Sorry. I just...wasn't aware that it had gone missing. It's been a bit since I've spoken to anyone from home, though," she said, her voice low but eyes wide with wonder.
Thoria's understanding of the Bajorans was limited, she knew they were in exile following an invasion that created a puppet state but nothing more. "Am I to expected to make this artefact my department's top priority Captain Winchester?" She asked as Security Chief "And given all this secrecy, no one accept us and admiralty is to know this is aboard. Will I have to alter logs in case we are boarded?" She asked finally in her role as First Offiecr
"No Commander," he said plainly, "We are providing secure storage and transport, but this isn't a clandestine operation. We are to take the same level of precautions as we would with any high value cargo. No logs need to be altered. But, we should refer to the item on manifests by its Index number."
"Will the item need anything from Engineering while it's with us?" Ziq asked, he wasnt sure if it was the right thing to ask but felt he needed to chime in with something.
"I can also just mark it for Medical purposes," she said, "as I've put in a few requisitions. I doubt anyone would question it." She offered.
"Ensign Sumall has been manufacturing a secure storage system in an Auxiliary Science Lab. I'll need to you to ensure it is up to code, had it's own power supply and is not networked to the rest of the ships systems." The Captain nodded, "Commander zh'Kela, we will want to limit access to the lab and add it will need to be added to your security patrols."
Reeza nodded. "I don't mind sitting with it, either. It's of...particular cultural importance to me," she said. "At least until a proper person can be secured." She said.
"Commanders, if you could see to the transfer of the artefact to the lab. Mr Mundy, if you could prepare the ship for departure in 4 hours." The Captain nodded to everyone in attendance.
Mundy responded, "Aye captain." Then left the cargo bay and headed to the bridge. Once he arrived on the bridge, he started the prep to leave orbit, just needed where they were going.
"Of course, Captain." Ziq replied with a respectful nod before looking at the Andorian First Officer, hoping he would take the lead as to where the artifact needed to be taken.
Four hours? Oh, that wasn't enough time. She bustled around, though, kicking into "mom mode," "You, Chura, was it? Coordinate with engineering. I will go to the Lab and coordinate with the Science department, and perhaps pop over to Medical, just to see if I am needed for a spell." She couldn't help it; doing things like this was how she kept her mind from wandering and the careful but waning grip on her seemingly fleeting sanity.
On the bridge, after informing the bridge officer of the captain's orders, Mundy had put into motion for departure. Only thing required now was the destination.
The Captain nodded as the officers around him got stuck into their duties. He himself had some more tasks to undertake before they entered back into open space, one which included dinner with his daughter.
Reeza took off for the Science labs. She wanted to poke into Medical later but for now, she had a task. A moment later, her red head poked through the door. "Ens. Sumall? Lt. Cuyu Reeza. How can I help?" She asked.
"I will see to that now," Thoria stated turning about towards the exit, this is what she wanted, some action instead of refits and crew changes.
Richard watched as the various crew members took to their duties without further questioning. 'You're all dismissed.' he thought sarcastically to himself as he made his way back into the art of the shuttle craft to collect some of his belongings.