Open, Says Me
Episode 1: The Maelstrom Awaits
Location: Docking Hatch Delta 17, DS12
Timeline: Day 13 at 1835
Indrala swept through the long corridor, heading towards the docking hatch. She was alternating between considering the Captain of the Nogura and replaying her conversation with Helias in her mind.
The truth was she felt liberated from a mess of her own making. The Deltan was exactly what she didn’t need in a partner, and the attraction was purely physical. Good bone structure and intoxicating pheromones could only carry a relationship so far.
Reaching her destination, she realized Cirila was already there.
“Ah, have they arrived yet?” She asked.
"Yes Captain," Cirila replied, brought out of her own trail of thought, "Just cycling through the last decon phase now."
“Good. Let’s let them in.” She replied.
With a number of hisses and groans, the station’s side of the docking hatch opened. Indrala straightened her blue taffeta dress as she waited for Nogura’s door to open. She didn’t know much about Azulas, the Nogura’s captain, except that she was younger than herself, and apparently had been an Admiral for a brief time. She made a note to find out more about that.
Soon enough, the doors on the Nogura side of the hatchway opened, revealing a Trill woman in a beautiful purple dress elegantly floating her way towards them, leading her gathering of immaculately dressed officers. Stopping at the threshold, unsure exactly who to address, the Trill simply smiled. "Captain Nilani Azulas and company requesting permission to board," she requested.
Indrala flashed a smile at the Captain. “Permission granted. I’m Indrala Xerix, Captain of Deep Space Twelve. And this is my executive officer, Commander Cirila Ylvor.” Said the Betazoid. Her voice was nearly a whisper, something of a family trait of the Third House of Betazed.
"Greetings Captain Azulas, welcome to the station," Cirila said genuinely excited to see another Trill.
Nilani, with her hair looking all beautiful and tied up in an elegant bun with two strands hanging down and framing her spotted face, smiled and gave the slightest bow of gratitude at the welcome. "Captain Xerix, Commander Ylvor, may I present my senior staff," and with that, the Captain stood aside and took it in turns to go down the list of who she had brought with her. Eventually, she finished up at her senior most officers. "And this is Lieutenant Commander Deila Fargold, Strategic Operations Officer, and Commander Shelby Adams, my XO."
The Betazoid nodded. “Pleased to meet all of you. I hope you’ve brought appetites underneath all of that elegant attire. We’ve prepared a reception in the atrium’s greenhouse and I’m told there is quite the banquet of food.” She offered, extending her hand in a gesture. “Right this way.”
As Indrala began walking, she addressed the other commanding officer. “So Captain, what brings you to our leg of the swamp?” She asked, indulging in a Betazoid turn-of-phrase.
"We're bringing some supplies for you from Deep Space Five before we head off into the Maelstrom," the Trill revealed as she walked alongside her counterpart, "but I'm more interested about that fleet of starships that nearly ran us off course," she frowned.
“Oh you met them, did you? That was Admiral Hansen’s fleet. They just spent the last week stripping my station of every useful supply they could get their hands on. Hansen cited a provision meant to be used during wartime. They took my ship” Indrala whispered bitterly.
Turning to those following them, Captain Azulas held her hand out and signaled for the eclectic gang to hold position for a moment, allowing the Captains to step out of earshot.
"Once we were clear of the fleet and I had a moment to spare, I tried to use my contacts from my time at Starfleet Tactical. No one there could even tell me what this fleet might be doing," the Trill whispered, "not even the Director himself," she added. The situation was all very suspicious. "I do, however, have some more pleasant news."
Indrala’s head whipped towards the Trill Captain. “News?” She asked.
Nilani nodded slowly, "It was kept somewhat underwraps but we've got a brand new type ten hybrid double refracting warp core matrix with twin intermix chambers sitting in our cargo bay waiting for you," the Trill revealed with a smile, "though I'm not sure where you are going to put it if your ship just got requisitioned?"
The Betazoid turned to her first officer. “Could we make it work for the Oak, Cirila?” She asked hopefully.
Cirila folded her arms, considering for a moment, "We may need to install capacitors to make sure we don't blow every ODN conduit in the ship, but sure, my schedule is clear for this week," she said.
Nilani was about to address the two officers once again when her commbadge chirped, drawing their attention. "=/\=Azulas here, go ahead?" she answered.
"=/\=Lieutenant Noli, ma'am," the familiar voice of the Bajoran strategist filled the Captain's ears. "We've received a transmission from Admiral Gor, ma'am. We've got a lead in our investigation which is, apparently, somewhat time sensitive," the woman concluded.
Her message had clearly piqued the Trill Captain's curiosity as she looked across at Commander Adam's and gestured for the XO to lead their people back across the catwalk. "=/\=Inform the crew that shore leave is cancelled and recall the duty shift. Have engineering transfer the contents of cargo bay three to the station; we'll get underway the minute they are done," she instructed.
"=/\=Aye Captain. Noli out," and the voice disappeared.
"I'm sorry Captain," Nilani frowned, "we'll have to give the reception a miss this time. Please pass on my regards to your crew and, hopefully, we'll pass by this way soon and can do this properly then," the Trill smiled as sincerely as she could muster given the butterflies in her stomach - a new lead in their investigation before they had even got underway was promising indeed.
The officers bid farewell to one another before the Trill turned and followed after her senior officers. Once she was in the catwalk, the Trill reached up and pulled the pin from her hair, allowing it to freely fall over her shoulders for the briefest of moments. She promptly pulled it into a single ponytail - a ponytail which signaled that she meant business.
Perhaps the Maelstrom would not be kept waiting after all.