Chomping at the Bit
Episode 5: The Adversary (Joint Mission)
Location: Transporter Room/Shuttlebay
Timeline: MD119, 1400 Hours
All was quiet on the Nogura. Tara sat in the Command chair, idly flipping through a report on a PADD; more crew transfers, but she wondered when the ship was being assigned a new Commanding Officer, or a proper Executive Officer for that matter. Nilani and Audrid had been transferred to Deep Space 11, leaving Tara to keep watch until replacements could be found.
The bridge, as quiet as it possibly could be given the fact the ship had been in orbit of New Bajor for nearly three weeks, was about to get a rude awakening. “=/\=Transporter room two to bridge,” the voice called out from down on the lower decks.
“This is the Bridge,” Tara answered, setting her PADD in her lap.
“=/\=We’re receiving a transporter request from Deep Space Eleven. Commander Kane wouldn’t say who it was, but that it was urgent,” the unknown voice responded.
Well that wasn’t vague at all…
Sighing at Arjin’s sarcasm, Tara rose from the Command chair. “I will be right down,” she informed the transporter operator. Gesturing to another Officer to take watch, she then took the lift down to transporter room two. “Energize when ready,” she said to the transporter chief as they made eye contact, then she folded her hands behind her back as she waited for the transporter pad to illuminate them with their guests.
Within seconds, the familiar sound of the transporter activating joined the equally familiar blue hue of the beam as they engulfed the transporter room. A humanoid form gradually formed on the transporter pad itself until the rematerialization process was completed and a familiar face let out a relaxed sigh. “God it’s good to be back,” the familiar person remarked.
“I had a feeling you wouldn’t stay away for long,” Tara remarked with a grin when she saw Nilani Azulas on the pad. “Welcome back, and what can I do for you today?” she asked her fellow Trill.
Commodore Azulas took a step down from the pad and placed a gentle hand on her fellow Trill’s shoulder as she gestured for the door. “Let’s walk and talk,” she grinned.
“Why do I get the feeling you’re up to no good?” Tara asked with amused suspicion as they left the transporter room. “I’m about to get transferred, aren’t I?”
Walking with her trademark grace, the Commodore couldn’t help but smile like a child as she looked around the corridors. It was incredibly good to be back aboard, even if only for a short while. “No, you aren’t being transferred,” she shook her head. “Admiral Ryan thought you might want to hear the news from me,” she continued, glancing briefly at her fellow Trill, “we’ve finally appointed a new commanding officer to the Nogura.”
“Finally, I was beginning to wonder if we had been forgotten,” Tara declared. It was good to have Nilani back, even if only for a short while; Tara hadn’t realized how much she had come to enjoy Nilani’s company in the time they had served together. “Has an Executive Officer been lined up as well?” she asked.
“I could never forget you,” Nilani smirked as they sauntered down the corridor. “The new commander is on their way as we speak and will be arriving via Runabout shortly. As for an executive officer,” the Trill Commodore stopped in her tracks and held out a hand. “Congratulations on your promotion Commander,” she grinned.
Tara stopped when she noticed Nilani had stopped, and she narrowed her gaze; did she… no, she wouldn’t… She did… “I always suspected you were evil to the core, but this really solidifies it,” Tara replied, then chuckled with a shake of her head. “I suppose a ‘thank you’ is in order,” she offered with amusement. “Thank you. Now, who will I be serving with this time? I hope you checked for traitorous programming so I don’t have to go on another manhunt in a year.”
“We’ve vetted every possible candidate and, frankly, only considered options from the alpha quadrant. People that we know had very little knowledge of the Consortium or events that transpired out here,” Nilani revealed as they started walking again, this time headed for the shuttle bay. “The new commander is highly experienced though and very different to what you guys are used to,” she told, clearly referring to herself in this. It didn’t escape her that she was, perhaps, more friendly with her crew than most commanding officers would usually be. Perhaps that was part of the reason why the recent events had impacted everyone so much.
“Well, getting your mission advisor drunk at the welcoming party does tend to make the crew rather ‘comfortable’,” Tara replied playfully. “To be honest, I think you were too much for me, but you certainly grew on me. That being said, I am looking forward to meeting our new commander.”
“I’d hold that thought until you meet him,” Nilani smiled as they approached the turbo lift that would take them to the shuttlebay. “So, fill me in. What’s been going on up here?”
“Not a lot, I’m afraid; it’s been terribly dull waiting for Command to assign a new Commanding Officer,” Tara remarked as they entered the lift. “We’ve had some transfers, I’ve been letting the crew visit New Bajor for some shore leave, and I’ve been running regular drills to keep everyone sharp in the meantime.”
“Shuttlebay,” the Commodore commanded. “Talking of crew transfers,” the Commodore nodded slowly, “a Bajoran, Lieutenant Commander Garen Romaes, will be arriving from the Ulysses. I’ve headhunted him myself to replace you as strategic operations officer,” Nilani told as she thought about anything else she had to tell the new executive of the Nogura.
“Oh good,” Tara said with relief. “No offense to those who can make a career in Intel, but it was not for me!” she declared. She much preferred working with her hands. As the lift traversed the ship, Tara began to wring her hands slightly behind her back, hesitant about asking the one thing that had been on her mind lately. “Commodore, I wanted to ask… Oh goodness, this is terribly awkward… How is Hunter?”
“Residing comfortably at the pleasure of Starfleet Security on the planet’s surface,” Nilani spoke a bit more stern than their previous conversations, her displeasure at talking about the traitor quite evident. “Hopefully we’ve seen the back of him,” she added as the lift slowed to a halt.
“I’m sorry, Commodore, I know you have very strong feelings about him, but he was my friend and I cannot simply turn those feelings off,” Tara said as they disembarked the lift. “I don’t begrudge you your stance on the matter, please try to understand mine.”
“Oh I understand,” the Commodore smiled, “Just don’t expect me to be paying him a visit anytime soon,” she smirked.
“Fair enough,” Tara relented. “Speaking of visits, would it be possible for me to see him before the Nogura finally departs for bigger and better things?”
“I don’t know what you could have to say to him at this point but knock yourself out,” the senior Trill confirmed as they rounded the corner to the Shuttlebay. “So, I hope you are ready to make a good impression on your new CO,” she put an arm around Tara’s shoulder and pulled her closer. “I thought you were a Hanson lackey at first but you really changed my opinion. Now, just like Audrid, I consider you a close ally. I’m glad you joined my crew Tara,” Azulas concluded.
“What do you have against Admiral Hanson, anyway? I thought he was your mentor?” Tara asked, still somewhat confused about Nilani’s reaction to Master Chief Carter being aboard on Hanson’s orders. Not that she really expected an answer, the Runabout was right in front of them now, and now she was suddenly worried that Arjin was going to make her make a fool of herself.
I make no promises.
“I’ll tell you sometime,” the Commodore frowned as she watched the Mustang-class Runabout guided into position by the tractor beam in the shuttlebay, a loud metal-on-metal clanking sound as the craft eventually put down on the deck plating. Within seconds the ramp at the back of the craft began to lower itself. With Azulas and Neprem stood towards the front of the craft waiting, footsteps began to sound from inside and soon began to descend the steps until…
...a tall Andorian male with a thick mop of white hair and some chiselled cheekbones rounded the craft and approached the two senior officers. “Commodore; Commander,” he greeted gruffly as he dumped his duffel on the deck plating and offered out a hand. Having been commander of the Thesis as it assisted Nogura in its search for Hunter and J.P. Hanson, Captain th’Zorati had been a logical choice to take over. Not to mention Thesis had only been in the quadrant for a little over a month and so, he posed no risk of being an agent. A solid, respected choice by command and one Nilani had had a say in.
“Captain th’Zorati,” Nilani nodded respectfully and took his hand briefly in greeting. “Welcome to the Nogura,” she added as she gestured to Neprem, “May I introduce Commander Tara Neprem, Nogura’s First Officer,” he smiled.
“Commander,” Thalek offered a hand to the other Trill and nodded in greeting.
“Captain,” Tara replied in kind, shaking his hand. “It’s a pleasure to finally meet you.”
“Likewise,” he spoke in his usual deep tone as he noticed a Crewman take his bag, assuming it would be transported to his new quarters. “She’s a lot bigger than the Thesis, but I’m looking forward to bringing all of her resources down on top of the Consortium,” he told as he puffed out his chest a bit and looked back and forth between the two. “I understand that Admiral Ryan has plans for us already,” he stated, his gaze finally settling on the Commodore.
“Mmmhmm,” Nilani nodded as she gestured for the exit and began walking. “Admiral Ryan wants the ship ready for her new orders by the end of tomorrow,” she instructed. “He’ll be checking in with you later.”
“A number of the crew are on the planet for shore leave, but I can have them recalled right away,” Tara informed her new Captain.
“Essential personnel only,” the Captain interjected. “If I have anything to do about it, it may be some time until we have shore leave again.”
“Yes sir,” Tara replied. Although it was at this moment that Arjin decided to get fresh.
Wow, what a dick, not even on board for five minutes and he’s already planning on working the crew to death.
Tara had to suppress the reaction to laugh in response and she held her hands tightly in an effort to maintain her composure. “I assume you would like to meet with the Senior Staff after you’ve settled in?” she asked th’Zorati, doing her level best to not smile.
“Not until I have a reason to Commander, no,” the Andorian shook his head as they began walking the corridors. “I’d rather they just get on with their jobs and focus on getting the ship ready for departure,” he frowned. He was not one for frivolous interactions and would rather they just got on with things until he felt a need to get the team together. “You’ll be getting a list of potential candidates for postings in the next hour. I’d like you to peruse them and give me your opinion by eighteen hundred please Commander,” he instructed, giving the Trill no time to adjust to her new, permanent role before dumping paper work on her.
Lovely, paperwork, her favorite! “I will get right on it, sir,” Tara replied. Wow, Nilani wasn’t kidding about this guy! She was half tempted to look to her fellow Trill for a lifeline, but she had a feeling that might just amuse Nilani. “Would you like me to show you to your quarters?” she offered, hoping against hope that he might want to go off on his own, or maybe want to walk with Nilani.
“No Commander,” the Captain shook his head, “I believe you have work to do to ensure we are ready on time?” he suggested with a quick glance at the Commodore, who simply stood in silence watching the interaction.
“Yes sir, excuse me,” Tara replied then backed away.
She did that to you on purpose! Arjin insisted, to which Tara could hardly argue, her hands in a white-knuckled grip behind her back.
As Nilani watched the Commander retreat and make her exit, she turned back to the Andorian. “She’s a fine officer Captain. I trust you will find her very useful,” the Commodore told sternly. She was handing her ship over to someone else at last but that didn’t stop her being protective of her people.
“I am sure I will,” the Andorian Captain nodded. “But respectfully ma’am, they need to know that this is my ship now and I do things my way. Especially those closest to you. I can’t have them questioning my orders or comparing what I do to their past experiences. It’s best we start as I mean to go on,” he told truthfully.
Nilani couldn’t argue with him and, had she been in his shoes, she probably would have set out her stall early too. This was, after all, no longer her ship or crew and she had no right to question his method of command - at least, not until he’d had a fair crack at the whip anyway.
The two stood in the corridor talking for a while longer until the Captain escorted the Commodore to the transporter room and, essentially, off his ship. Now, the real preparations could begin.