An Opportunity To Return To Ones Roots
Episode 4: Whispers In the Dark
Location: New Bajor
It never failed to amuse the former commander of the Nogura just how quick rumours spread on a starship. Nilani hadn't even returned to the ship to pack her belongings before the whole crew had begun talking about her future.
"I heard she's been promoted," "I heard Archer wants to keep her on a tight leash," "I heard she's going to lead the purge of the Consortium," I heard she just wants to put her feet up."
Whilst some of the rumours had an element of truth to them (it would be nice to put ones feet up in the sun every so often), the simple fact of the matter was she had given her life to Starfleet and she would go where they needed her; she always had and always would. If it so happened that her assignment to Deep Space Eleven and New Bajor meant she could lead the so called purge of the Consortium then that was an added bonus.
Once she had returned and the news of her promotion to Commodore had been confirmed, everyone quickly realised that meant she was leaving; Starfleet policy had long since changed and it was more than frowned upon for Commodores and Admirals to go swanning around aboard starships, especially in such dangerous times. And in the immortal words of Captain James T. Kirk, Galloping around the cosmos is a game for the young, which Nilani, or at least Azulas, wasn't anymore. Perhaps it was time to settle somewhere else? Maybe even start a family with someone?
Hurdle one had been achieved and the Azulas-Kane dream team had been kept together with Audrid joining Deep Space Eleven once the new commanding officer of the Nogura had been appointed. Having been given leave to take anyone else she so desired from the Nogura crew, she had thought long and hard about her choices and ultimately settled on one other. She'd considered asking T'Prynn, but the Vulcan had her ambitions of her own and would soon be shipping out to join the Magellan instead. Tara was settled for the first time in an age and it seemed heartless to uproot her. In fact, the only person she could seriously think would be open to the idea was the woman she now waited for on the planets surface.
Andy thought the lift to the top floor of the Georgiou building would never end! Seriously, it felt like a mile of lift! But finally the lift came to a stop and Andy walked down the spacious corridor, passing a number of penthouse doors until she came upon the right one. The ginger ex-Borg rang the chime, then stood waiting with a bottle in hand, a house-warming gift of her personal brew of mead, an amberous wine made from a local plant that was a cross between a tangerine and a mango, a divine fruit whose honey and the resulting wine were both like little sips of heaven.
The door to the Commodore's new office parted and presented the ex-Borg with a wonderful sight, a sparkling clean, spartan room that looked as if it had never been used - a far cry from some of the other rooms nearby after the Consortium attack. "Master Chief! Good of you to come," the Commodore beckoned from behind her new desk. "Come, sit," she offered.
"Hey, nice digs!" Andy said with an approving nod as she stepped in. "So, heard you got promoted," she said as she answered the beckon by coming closer, then she set the bottle of mead on the desk. "Housewarming gift, my own brew," she explained simply as she took a seat as offered.
"Thank you," the Commodore grinned as she took the amberous gift and placed it on one of her new side tables. "It's not been decorated yet but it will do until we're allowed up to the station," the Trill told, returning to her own chair and getting comfy. "So, I heard you visited Ha'dara before you came here?" she grinned, a cheeky grin. Now she was a Commodore overseeing the whole area, she could know anything she wanted to know.
"Well, it is where I'm officially stationed," Andy replied with a shrug. "Mitch arranged for me to have some down time so we could sort things out between us about JP, but I still wanted to see if they needed help with the new station. You know how it goes, some projects are 'first come, first served', but I still wanted to put my mark on it, if I could."
Nilani sat forward, clasped her hands together on the surface of the desk with a devilish grin. "What if I could assure you of a posting where you could be involved with the new station?"
Andy narrowed her eyes at the woman. "Why do I have a feeling I'm about to make a deal with the devil?" she asked.
Nilani placed a hand on her chest and lent back in mock horror. "Me? The devil? I'm hurt!" she grinned. "Well as commander of said station, I have a bit of power over who gets to work there," she began, "it depends how badly you want to be up there."
"Oh that's just wrong!" Andy said with a grimace. "I'd offer you my firstborn, but I'm kind of attached to him; plus I don't think Mitch would take too kindly to me offering up our son," she said in jest. But then she thought about it. "Look I know we got off to a bad start on the Nogura, so to bury the hatchet, yeah Mitch did put me on the ship, but not because he didn't trust you to get the job done, it was because he didn't trust Hunter, and Hunter did prove to be a real dick about it, so maybe Mitch was right, or maybe not, who knows... But I wanted to be there legitimately for the Nogura, she really was my baby, so I'da been there for no other reason than for her. Now I know I got attitude problems, but I'm not nearly as bad as I used to be; seriously, go ask Mitch, he'll tell you how bad I used to be, but he'll also tell you that no one runs a tighter ship than me. And that's not bias because we had a relationship... and a kid... He knows I can't stand favoritism or special favors, I got where I am today because I earned it."
"Well just so you know I have spoken to Mitch," the Commodore blurted out to try and stop the ex-drone from talking anymore and talking herself out of the opportunity. "I'd like to offer you the role as Chief of Operations for DS11," the Commodore revealed as she reached into the drawer of her new desk and pulled out a data PADD. "It would mean you wouldn't be returning to Ha'dara too often but she would be your station..." she trailed off.
"Was this his idea? Son of a bitch, I'mma kick his ass..." Andy grumbled. She really did hate special favors... "Okay, sorry, taking my foot out of my mouth now," she then said, then took the PADD. "But with this position, I can still contribute to Ha'dara, from time to time?"
"Firstly, no. It was my idea, he just validated my idea," the Commodore revealed with a raised eyebrow, thankful there was no actual shoe in the woman's mouth or she would really have to reconsider her decision making process. "Ha'dara will call on you when needed, but your priority will be the station," the senior officer confirmed with a nod before shifting nervously. Now came the difficult part. "I wont lie to you Andrea. There is already some... debate about my decision. To put the fate of the station in the hands of a Master Chief, as opposed to a Commander or even a Captain of Engineering, or someone of such seniority is unheard of at this stage of a construction project. You're going to face hurdles and prejudice. The Gamma Quadrant and New Bajor isn't as accepting as the more enlightened Federation. They are getting there, but there is a long way to go..." the Commodore revealed. It was a sad truth, but the recent elections on the planet had seen unrest among the populace in the face of the Consortium attack and it would take all of Starfleet's power to reassure the citizens of the planet that they could protect them again.
"You say that like I ain't already led projects of my own," Andy said in reply. "I mean, have you seen the Nogura, like really looked at her? I've been all over that ship, my handiwork is everywhere! Trust me, I can handle this project, and I've been dealing with naysayers long before today, so I got this."
"I'll let you know the instant we're able to go up there. For now, we're stuck on the surface," Nilani revealed as she rose from her chair and offered the woman a congratulatory handshake. "Nogura will remain in standard orbit until her new commander has been appointed. Congratulations," the Commodore grinned.
"Thanks, and congratulations to you too," Andy said as she shook the Trill's hand.
"Don't congratulate me yet," the Commodore grinned, "so far its all meetings and admin stuff. I'm sure you can guess how much I love that!"
And as if on cue, the Commodore's Yeoman entered and approached the two women at the desk. "I'm very sorry to bother you Commodore but I have Governor Pol for you," the Ensign announced.
Nilani looked at Andy and smiled, "what did I tell you? Meetings and admin. I'll catch up with you later Master Chief," she nodded in her usual way and gave the senior Enlisted officer leave to depart.
"Later," Andy replied with a nod, then made her exit.
"Okay Ensign, show the Governor in," the Commodore directed as she returned to her seat behind her desk. Day two and already she was interacting with the big wigs of society on New Bajor. This was going to be an interesting assignment.