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Pastures New

Posted on Tuesday December 29th, 2020 @ 2:44pm by Captain Nilani Azulas

Mission: Episode 1: Maelstrom
Location: USS Solaria/USS Nogura Ready Room's
Timeline: Day 3 at 1020

[USS Solaria, Earlier in the Day…]

The worst part about being in dock was the boredom that it elicited amongst the crew, especially those with little to do during the refit or repairs. Sure, they still had duties to perform but most of them were reduced to administrative tasks and form filling. Yes they had the opportunity to take some shore leave too, maybe even visit the nearby worlds for a time, but it was no substitute for being on a mission. The thrill of the chase, of having a task to do, of going on away missions. For the ship’s commander, it was no different. While she enjoyed the relative freedom a layover brought, she always found himself longing for a return to space eventually. This time, as she poured over crew evaluations, recommendations and ship status reports, she couldn’t help but dream of being out among the stars again, even though they had only been in dock for a short time.

Nilani was sat at the desk in her ready room aboard the Solaria, trawling over the latest crew recommendations, working out who to reassign from the Solaria and who to leave behind once she departed, when the computerized door chime rang, signalling a visitor at her door.

A distraction at last!

“Come!” the Trill beckoned towards the door as she continued looking at her data PADD.

Once the doors parted and the visitor entered, a smile crept on Azulas’ face. The spotted humanoid put the PADD down and rose from her chair. “Vasul, come in,” she smiled.

A Tellarite and the former confidant of the Commander, Vasul Gor, had been the first officer during the final stage of the ships most recent refit almost three years ago and had seen two commanding officers serve the ship during that time, not including the short tour in space under the current Captain’s command. It seemed that the Solaria was something of a stepping stone for those that wanted to move on to bigger and better things. He had hoped that Azulas would be there to stay, but he had been wrong. Gor had given the Captain some time to take care of some last-minute business and tie up some loose ends before bothering her, but he needed to get some answers. His pig like features surveyed the ready room as he stepped over to the desk and shared a handshake with his former commander.

Once the pleasantries were over, the Tellarite sat in a chair opposite the Captain. “So, dare I ask who you are leaving with us ma’am?” he enquired, referencing the many biographies on the table between them.

Nilani smiled as she swung in her chair absentmindedly. He always knew how to ask the hard questions. “I’ve decided to leave the senior staff intact,” the Captain finally responded, much to the Tellarite’s surprise. “The crew have been through much change, and it is time to get a bit of stability moving forward,” she responded.

“I couldn’t agree more ma’am,” Vasul nodded respectfully.

“Which brings me to you,” the Trill spoke, somewhat sterner than before. And the swinging of the chair had ceased as she leaned forward and placed her hands on the table, clasped together. “Through much of this ship’s recent service, you have been the constant on the senior staff. You have kept the ship functioning and the staff working, when so many new people have come in and changed things. Myself included,” she smirked.

“Only doing my job, Captain,” the Tellarite shrugged.

“Well, it is no longer your job Commander,” the spotted woman declared, pushing herself out of her seat and walking over to the nearby window. “Starfleet felt that your time here as executive officer is at an end. It is time for someone else to step into your shoes, and I happen to agree with them.”

Vasul inched forward on his chair, never taking his eyes off the woman. “Am I to join you on the Nogura, Captain?” he enquired, his bushy beard moving as he talked.

“No,” Nilani shook her head, her attention still beyond the window she was stood at. Eventually, she turned to face the man and could see the concern in his face. “You can relax, Vasul. Your work has been exemplary, which is why I recommended you for the center seat,” the Trill smiled.

Commander Gor looked shocked. Him? The Captain? At first, he thought she was joking, but then he noted the look on her face. “You’re serious?” he queried, slowly rising to his feet and facing his Captain.

Nilani nodded, her ponytail swinging. “Congratulations, Captain Gor,” she smiled as she offered a hand to the newly minted Captain. “I can’t think of anyone better to take command.”

Vasul was almost lost for words as he took the Trill’s offered hand. “I. Well. I always hoped this day would come, I just didn’t think it would come so soon,” the Tellarite finally gave a toothy grin as they shared an excited handshake.

For the next sixty minutes, Nilani briefed the Tellarite on all he needed to know moving forward, including those personnel from lower down the ranks that she would be taking with her, in order to give them their big break. She also gave him a rundown of the ship’s mission once they left the station. Once their conversation came to an end, the Trill rose from her seat and took one last look around the room.

“Permission to disembark, sir?” she smiled as she wandered around the desk and stood before the Tellarite.

“Permission granted Captain,” the Tellarite smiled as he shuffled around the desk and stood where she had once stood.

“If I may, just a word of advice about your first command? It’s something I learnt from your father?” the Trill asked.

Vasul nodded eagerly, willing to listen to any advice his trusted friend would deem him worthy of, especially if it had once come from his father. “Anything,” he responded.

“When your first officer insists that you can't go on away missions...” Nilani began with a smile before she was interrupted by her former first officer.

“Ignore them! I intend to,” Gor laughed with a smile that soon faded as the two friends shared an almost awkward silence that neither officer truly ever wanted or expected. It was a silence that indicated that once and for all, there time together was over. The proverbial torch had been passed. “Serving with you... has been an honor.” The new commander of the Solaria announced.

Nilani tugged on the bottom of her uniform jacket as she smiled and offered a hand in friendship one last time. “The honor was mine…” she paused briefly before adding, “Captain,” as the final sign of respect between the two. At last, they were equals.

And just like that, Captain Azulas was gone. The era of Gor was at hand aboard the Galaxy-class ship. Vasul took a moment to compose himself, looking around the room, his room, briefly before heading for the door.

A short time later the doors to the bridge parted and granted the new Captain entrance to the command centre of the Galaxy-class vessel. The room had been cleaned, the consoles polished, and the bulkheads painted over the course of the last few hours as the ship had been given a touch up after a recent engineering related issue. The Tellarite strolled around the room as yard engineers and some of the Solaria crew put the finishing touches to the ship’s minor repairs. He ran a gentle hand along the rail that ran behind the command chair and that of her new executive officer, whoever they would be. It felt very weird knowing that he, the son of one of Starfleet’s most respected Tellarites, would be in command of his first starship. He would be the decision maker, the one who had to make the final call. He was the one who would now have to sit in the center seat.

Stopping at the rail behind his command chair, his gaze fell upon the activated viewscreen and on to the dockyard just a few kilometres from the one that the Solaria occupied. It was as if fate knew to draw his gaze to the ship berthed out there as it powered its engines moved from station power to its own power at long last. Sure enough, the Nogura was the majestic Sovereign-class vessel that his friend had old him about. Of all the stories she had to tell him, of all the lives she had lived, the Trill’s eyes had always lit up when talking about her time with the Nogura, and now she had that chance to be there again, making the difference.

“That’s a big ship,” a voice spoke from behind the Tellarite as a figure moved up behind and joined him at the rail.

“Not as big as her Captain, I think...” the commander of the Solaria smiled. Vasul’s attention turned to the owner of the voice and he smiled at the presence of the ship's Bajoran science officer. “Lieutenant,” he nodded in both greeting and approval of the scientist’s statement.

“Captain,” Lieutenant Kaevh smiled, respectfully referring to the rank of the new commanding officer. He offered up a data PADD to the commanding officer. “Two days sir and we’ll be ready to go. The last of the yard engineers should be off the ship tomorrow and then we can put the finishing touches into place for the sensor grid and be ready for launch at fourteen hundred on Wednesday,” the science chief revealed. They'd had a hell of a time calibrating some of the many sensor relays on the ship, so they had enlisted the yard engineers to help. With a ship such as the Galaxy, the complexity of the science systems was like nothing they had experienced before, especially with the new stellar cartography and tactical astrometrics labs.

“That’s excellent news Lieutenant,” Vasul nodded as he took ownership of the data PADD. “Let the senior staff know I’d like a staff briefing at thirteen-hundred. I’ll be in my ready room until then,” he advised. With very little keeping him on the bridge at present, Vasul made for the exit and returned to the sanctuary of his new ready room and the piles of reports and crew transfers that awaited him. He hoped that somewhere among the PADD’s, a new executive officer would be hiding.

[USS Nogura, Present]

Javorian Travis stepped out of the turbolift with a determined look on his face, one might even say a certain fire in his eyes. In his left hand, he held the PADD he'd transferred his latest communique onto. Approaching the ready room doors, he reached out and pressed the chime to request admittance. Standing and waiting his mind was still racing, spinning even, as it attempted to process the information he'd received. There was no way he was just going to accept it. He couldn't. His sense of duty, honor, and frankly comfort weren't going to just fold and let him do it.

Finally, after what felt like an eternity, the doors parted and allowed him entry into the new commanding officer's inner sanctum. Approaching the desk he spoke, "I am very sorry to bother you, ma'am, but may I speak to you about something?" he asked.

Peering over the top of the large data PADD in her hand, the spotted woman frowned slightly with concern as the ship's acting head of sciences approached her desk. She'd been in the room for a little while, carrying out a few administrative tasks since she had finally assumed command and beamed aboard, but she hadn't expected to see anyone else for a while. "Of course Lieutenant," Nilani eventually smiled as she sat forward in her chair and lowered the PADD she had been holding onto the desk gently. Holding out an elegant arm, she gestured to the vacant chairs opposite her.

Javorian sat in the closest chair and leaned forward. "About an hour ago, just as I was starting lunch in the mess hall, this arrived at the terminal in my quarters. I found it about fifteen minutes ago," he said, showing the woman the screen of the PADD he'd carried, where his transfer orders were plainly visible.

"I wanted to ask you if there was anything at all we can do to remedy this? I know I've only been aboard Nogura for a few months, but this ship has become home, and I've grown attached to her during that time. That's not even mentioning all the work I still have going on. Unless I absolutely have no choice in the matter I must protest my reassignment..." he added, his voice obviously agitated.

Nilani’s brow furrowed as she reached out for the data PADD and took possession of it. After a few moments of reading the contents, she let out a sigh and tossed the data recording device onto the desk, leaning back in frustration. "Your assignment here was only temporary Lieutenant," she frowned, "to help the ship get back on to its feet, before returning to an assignment with a greater science focus," she sighed.

Rising from her chair, the Trill walked towards the replicator on the side wall of her private ready room, stopping to ask if her visitor wanted anything.

Javorian nodded, "Coffee, two sugars, and amaretto cream," he replied.

After speaking to the replicator, the Captain looked back at her colleague. "In fairness, it's a fantastic opportunity for you. The Cassiopeia is a science vessel, with an excellent commander and an excellent mission. They're headed out into the wilderness, the great unknown... that's every science officer's dream isn't it?"

"Ordinarily I'd say yes, but not in this case. I just got here. I just got settled in. And I've got so much work already going. Plus, I'm sure you've noticed but you aren’t exactly blessed with senior officers at present. You need me here. It's not fair to anyone involved," Javorian retorted, fully aware of the fact that the last part seemed more than a little petulant.

Reaching out to take the cup the Trill woman brought back with her he leaned back in his chair and took a sip before continuing. "I'm sorry, Captain. I know I'm more upset than I should be, and I know it's unfair to bring this to you like this, but I guess I was just grasping at straws..." he said.

"I just think they are looking out for your career, Lieutenant,” the Commander shrugged as she sat back with her cup of raktajino gripped firmly between her hands. "I’ve read your personnel file, Javorian. You are a career scientist, who has never shown any interest in anything but science," she smirked before taking a sip of her warm beverage, "they have offered you a science focused assignment that I cannot offer you. Our mission profile is far more multipurpose," she smiled from behind the steaming drink, trying to make him see the reason behind Starfleet’s decision.

“Science ship or not, my place is here right now,” Javorian argued between sips of his own beverage.

Nilani was impressed with the man’s loyalty to the ship, even after so little time aboard. “Very well. I’ll talk with Admiral Gor and see if he can arrange something,” Nilani nodded. Given the fact she had just promoted the Admiral’s son, he probably owed her a favour.

"Thank you," Javorian replied, exhaling a breath he hadn't even known he'd been holding. "I apologize. This is a good ship, and I want to be part of her missioj moving forward, that’s all,” he added.

"No apology necessary," Nilani smiled as she held up a hand in protest before taking a sip of her beverage.

Taking a longer sip of the warm coffee she'd brought him he sighed, "The replicators on this ship get this just right. My last posting was not so lucky. I actually had to switch to tea, and I think that was done on purpose because the ship's XO hated even the smell of coffee," he said with a slight chuckle, finally relaxing from the more agitated state he'd been in. "While I'm here is there anything at all you'd like to discuss about the ship? I understand that it can’t be easy moving to a new ship.”

"Actually, Jovarian, it is like coming home again," the Captain sat forward and placed her cup down. She then sat back again and started to spin from side to side as she often did when she reminisced, or felt happy. “I used to command the Nogura back in the 80’s, before I let them put me behind a desk

Javorian sat back, eyes slightly wide, and quickly blinking in surprise. “I had no idea ma’am. You must be thrilled to be back then,”

Nilani stopped spinning and let out a sigh.

She was happy to be back, but she (and only she) knew why she was back. If Javorian, or the rest of the skeleton crew for that matter, had known about the ship’s recent fate, she was certain he probably wouldn’t be fighting so hard to stay…


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