Chapter 12 - Tanjaura - First Command Meeting

Njessa looked over the table, it had a carafe of coffee, cups, and a pink box full of pastries, her thoughts lingered on her friend, Lyla Tigerlilly, lost to a Borg attack, the pink box was in her memory.  She bowed her head for a moment of silence for her missing compatriot.  For herself, she had a mug of Andorian The.  She took a deep breath, the rest of them would be here soon, it was still a skeleton crew, but Starfleet assured her the rest were on their way and they could not afford to wait any longer.

Who would arrive first? she wondered.

Kyle found a mix of excitement and trepidation right behind his heels as he rounded the corner to the briefing room, it would be the first official meeting of the senior officers aboard. So far he’s been able to really make his acquaintance with the ship’s Chief Engineer and Security Officer, (and obviously the Captain but it would’ve been hard to miss her). As well as a few other various Ensigns and plenty of Holograms, even if they’re not flesh and blood- they do fill out a ship.

He found himself taking a second outside of the door, a deep breath in and out, through the nose and out the mouth, his brain supplementing all the possibilities that could happen, just what their first mission will be. He hadn’t been on an actual mission in years, and while a Counselor’s use might vary, he felt the excitement catch up, pushing him inside the room.

“Hello Captain.” A smiling nod to the Andorian woman already inside, his eyes are immediately pulled to the pink box, standing out against the black of their uniforms.

“Welcome Counselor,” said Njessa.  “There is coffee and pastries, if you would like something else let me know.  How are you settling in?”

“Oh I’m doing alright, been mainly focusing on first introductions and some… light decorating.” A small air of lightheartedness, so far just an inside joke for him about his Maximalist office, should she ever sign up for a session, the inflection would make sense. Moving closer to said table, a sweet tooth ringing out, “well you don’t gotta pull my arm.” Before lifting open the box to reach inside and pull out a small dark violet pastry.

“How have you been doing? Been able to gather any breathing room before our big send off?” Kyle asked before taking a small bite of the pastry, slightly flaky but very sweet and chews easily.

“A little, I was able to talk with Admiral Minawara in person,” replied Njessa.  “It is good to be getting ready to move out.  I feel like the last few months have been nothing but waiting.”

“It’s a dreadful feeling, I get ya there. But at least it’s finally underway, and especially if you got one of those Admirals in the flesh, they sure are slippery.” Agreeing with her, Kyle took another bite. Trying to place the flavor, ringing some kind of familiar bell he’d forgotten he’d had.

The briefing room door slid open just in time to keep Tomaasz, head down over a padd which he was jabbing rapidly, from running into it. He was centimeters from the table when he flowed to a halt, giving the padd a final triumphant thump. Looking up, the predatory snarl on his face relaxed into a studied neutral expression. A quick glance took in the room. “Apologies Captain, Counselor.  Just nailing down a few stubborn details.”

He glided to an empty corner seat, facing the door, with a good view of the entire room. Folding himself down into it, he inhaled softly. A hauntingly familiar scent directed his attention to the pink box on the table. Opening the lid with one claw, his eyes widened and his ears swiveled forward. An alarmingly teal crescent-shaped cake nestled among pastries of a half-dozen worlds captured his gaze. “Is that actually a Regulan rreth cake?” he asked in disbelief.

“I believe so, Lieutenant,” Njessa says, “I did not check the list, it was a replicator set of an old friend.”

Taking the cake with a gentle reverence, he inhaled its aroma with a smile. “An old friend with a refined palate. I haven’t had one of these in…” He trails off, lost in unfocused memories for a moment.

“Glad that you are getting things sorted in engineering, we will need things working efficiently,” she says.  “I want this cruise to go smoothly.”

Collecting his thoughts, the Caitian nodded. “As do I, Captain. I’m still gathering reports, but I’ll address that once everyone has arrived.”

Njessa nods.  “Which should be shortly.”

Doctors En’ves and Chthit entered together, looking as though fresh from a private conference. The two made an odd pair, the Kaferian scientist’s bright, gleaming carapace next to the deep black shadow of the Caitian’s pelage. But their shared silence held a subtle tension as they took opposite seats at the table. Cthit’s multifaceted eyes were unreadable, taking in the scene as only a Kaferian could.

“Well, hello, Captain,” smiled En’ves.

“Welcome, Doctor, Lieutenant,” Njessa nodded.  “I hope there have been no troubles with the allocation of resources in the science section.”

“Merely planning how best to leverage our shared assets,” buzzed Chthit. “Ooh, donuts.”

Kyle silently chews the last of his pastry, taking in the new inhabitants, he remembers the names from his files. He hasn’t really had a chance to meet many from the Science department, but at least now he’s face to face with two of them. Staying silent and watching, he grabs himself a half cup of coffee, the warm drink being a pleasant sensation, even if the taste still leaves him wanting.

Roj Dylft, the Andorian flight control officer came in, at speed as he usually was.  He paused to throw the Captain a salute before taking his chair.  “Apologies if I am late.”

“We are just arriving, Lieutenant Dylft,” said Njessa with a half smile.  “Now, as you all know, we remain understaffed but we have permission to head out on our shakedown cruise.  I have been assured that shuttles will be available should any more of our wayward crew arrive at Esquimalt Station so they can be sent to join us.”

“I will let everyone state their departments’ status and then we will see what needs to be done before we cast off, let us start with Science.”

Walking through the doors and into the room, sure that everyone’s eyes were on him as he took his seat, “My apologies, Captain.” setting down his padd.  “We had another crew transfer that arrived ahead of schedule, it seems there was a delay in reporting” he offered, having noted the issue with their current station flight control. Jason looked around the table noticing the faces of the crew in the room, he quietly finished typing a few notes into his padd, not wanting to jump right in on providing the first update.

Doctor Chthit began calmly, his vocoder rendering his insectoid speech sounds into a stoic approximation of Federation Standard. “Science Department is fully staffed and ready,” he reported. “All scientific instruments and research facilities are at full operational capacity.”

Across from him, Doctor En’ves leaned forward. The room’s muted lighting reflected in his gleaming Caitian eyes, which shone with a fervor that seemed almost out of place against his deep black fur. “From an archaeological standpoint, we’re well-prepared,” he added. “The primary labs have been reconfigured to best suit our objectives, and we’ve begun simulations based on the targeted sites. We’re ready.”

“Excellent, you should get the chance to put it to the test soon enough,” said Njessa.  “Medical, how are things progressing?”

Upon the silence, Kyle moved himself from the refreshment table over to everyone already seated. “Certainly Captain,” nodding his head towards the table before taking his own seat. “I’m happy to report that the Medical Department is mostly underway, there are some slight staffing issues that the Holograms are currently taking care of.”

His eyes glancing around towards everyone, “the main issue I’ve been seeing is a certain… nervousness with our staffing issues and the fact we’re about to head for a known War zone full of undetonated weapons and the like,” taking a deep breath to gather his thoughts.

“There is a sense of possibly walking into something we’re not fully prepared for.” Thinking back to the whispers he’s heard, officers who are both ready and anxious for the road ahead. The older man can’t help but wonder if there’s more he could do.

“It is a valid concern and I do not wish to downplay the potential danger,” says Njessa.  “But we are a Starfleet crew in one of the most advanced ships the Federation has to offer.  I am liking our chances.”  She said with a smile.  “If any have any concerns beyond a generallize fear of the unknown they are welcome to talk to me.”

“Now, Engineering, you are up.”

Tomaasz straightened from the padd that had been occupying part of his attention. “Engineering is mostly staffed, though I would like to get at least two more engineers in with active holo-systems experience. If things do break loose, that’s where we’ll need the most organic hands. On a related note, I want to give my thanks to whoever got Ensign Verrez assigned here. She has a knack for the logistics of the job like few people I’ve known.”

Tapping the padd briefly to confirm the most recent updates, he continued. “Assuming that all technical issues are being reported, only two persistent issues remain. We’ve had to take down the ship’s map function and recalibrate the interface protocols. Certain sections had an older protocol installed and wouldn’t display the map. That will be finished within the hour. Also, several doors are sluggish when opening. No one has been locked out of anywhere, yet. We’re still running down all the affected doors to do a commonality diagnostic, but this ship has a lot of doors. We’ll have it handled by the time we launch. That said, all systems are in order. We won’t let you down out there.”

“Do not hesitate to reach out to the crew of the Nelson if you think they might be able to help,” says Njessa.  “Though it seems that we are having different, though less serious, problems than they have had so far.”

“Overall, it sounds like you have everything in hand.  Check-in with Ops about the doors, they might be able to help if it is a sensor interface issue.”

“Now, Security/Tactical, status?” she looked to Jason.

Listening to all of the departments report on their statuses Jason jotted a few notes, it was an interesting dynamic of both holographic crew and organic.  However, that could lead to additional security concerns if an intruder was able to access any ship controls and override their holograms.  Shaking himself from his thoughts, and sitting up.  “Captain, we have reviewed and accepted almost all of the crew transfers aboard the ship without incident … all ships weapons and shield systems, appear to be operating at expected parameters” he tapped the padd, reviewing his notes from his preparation for the meeting.

“I believe that we have Security Drills set to occur at 0600 and 1300 with both Alpha and Beta shifts.” realizing that they had yet to run a tactical review of the ships shuttles, making a metal note that it needed to be completed prior to leaving.  “We do have a request in with Engineering to have the Brig’s Console control recalibrated, it appears to be malfunctioning” he realized that he had veered into the weeds, and redirected, “We are ready, Captain” he took a deep breath and then looked around the table at the other officers, as well as the Commanding Officer.  He expected to be more nervous providing his first report to the ship, but there wasn’t anything out of the ordinary yet, almost seemed too textbook.

“Do not let it overwhelm you, Ensign,” said Njessa.  “Remember, we are a crew and if you need help, ask.  I remember my first days as a department head, it is easy to try to do too much at first.  We are not expecting perfection . . . yet,” she added with a smile.

The other departments reported in.

Lastly, it was flight control.  “Lieutenant Dylft, is your department ready?”

“Yes, ma’am,” replied the other Andorian.  “I am looking forward to seeing what the Tanjura can do.”

“Any other concerns?” Njessa asked, her eyes sweeping over the assembled officers.

Leaning back, En’ves grinned. “You know, the Sinasans have a saying: ‘A short meeting is a prelude to an eventful day.'”

A small chuckle escaped from Kyle, “And there’s no shortage of eventful days in Starfleet.” A small smile stuck on his face, the small ball of nerves loosening upon hearing everyone else’s report.