Episode 3.5 - Welcome to Paradise
Location: Deck 34, USS Arcadia, Beta Antares Ship Yards
Oliver leisurely strolled into the Arcadia's Tactical Information Center, and his presence was noted even before the double doors fully closed behind him.
"Captain on deck." Petty Officer 2nd Class Keldar snapped to attention, followed by the others in the office suite.
"As you were." Oliver nodded with a smile. As everyone went back to their tasks, he headed to the CTO's office, but paused after a few steps. Turning, he made his way back to the Ferengi crewman's station.
"Mr. Keldar, I almost forgot." He said, "Petty Officer Riven mentioned the other day that the medical equipment your wife needed was being held up by the station. I called Commander Shar earlier, and he will release the equipment asap. You or your wife can pick it up later today."
Keldar couldn't quite believe what the captain had just said. The starbase had confiscated the equipment as it was being rerouted to the Arcadia, something about lacking proper medical documentation. When he mentioned it to Riven two days ago, the Trill said he would ask the captain if he could help. As the captain's yeoman, his friend certainly had access, but he never thought Captain Lee would actually bother himself with a lowly petty officer's personal problems. Apparently he was wrong.
For a brief second the Ferengi struggled with his words. "Thank you, Captain. That's, that's great. I'm sorry I didn't mean to bother you with this."
"Not at all, Mr. Keldar." Oliver responded with a smile. Another nod, he turned around and made his way to the CTO's office. He pressed door chime and waited. He had been in a meeting with the station's CO when his chief tactical officer came aboard, so he thought he should come down and greet the man in person.
When the doors opened on a voice command from inside the office, Oliver stepped in and found his chief tactical officer already at attention.
"Captain." I replied when he entered the room. "It is a pleasure to finally meet you. I have heard many good things about you and your previous record. It will be an honor to work with you on the Arcadia."
"Lieutenant Ejim-Long." Oliver smiled. "That's very kind of you. I hope your trip here from the Tallin was pleasant?"
"More than fine." Georges replied. "The shuttle pilot was very good and there was no turbulence. I haven't had too much time to explore the ship, but my early accommodations look similar enough to my previous posts. I look forward to serving this fine crew as we venture on our new mission.
"I also wanted to ask if there was anything you'd like me to know before we depart? With a ship this new and impressive, I can only imagine it would have a suitably important mission."
"Indeed, Lieutenant." Oliver nodded as he helped himself into a comfortable looking chair in the office and gestured his Chief Tactical Officer to do the same. "As a matter of fact, we will be spearheading Starfleet's effort to return to its roots of exploration, of 'going where no one has gone before.' You will all be briefed on the exact nature of our mission later, but suffice to say, we will head into space yet unexplored by the Federation and see what's out there."
"Of course, as history has taught us repeatedly, not everyone out there will be friendly. In other words, we have to be ready for any and all tactical scenarios. There are many words that perfectly describe the Arcadia - fast, powerful, smart - but 'agile' is not one of them. The sheer size of the ship means that any drastic maneuvers would put too much stress on structural integrity. So we'll have to rely almost exclusively on our shields and weapons in a firefight. That makes your department one of the most important on board, Mr. Ejim-Long."
Georges pondered this for a moment before replying, "I'm sure it will be an exciting opportunity. The last ship I was on, the Tallinn, had a capable CTO that I enjoyed observing and I learned a lot from her. I was sad when our ship was suddenly recalled and many of us were reassigned following our last mission. Many of the junior staff, including myself, were given no clear explanation for why that happened.
"But in any case, I am prepared to think creatively and execute my duty. I've even been reading some old classic sci-fi to reignite my passion for exploration."
Oliver nodded understandingly. "I know how that feels, Lieutenant, to leave the ship you have served on for so long and so proudly. I feel the same about the Bunker Hill." He paused momentarily before asking, "So, what exactly have you been reading, Mr. Ejim-Long?"
Georges took a moment to compose his answer properly, "Oh, just some oldies like John Scalzi, Robert Heinlein, various military sci-fi series. Obviously sensationalized to a degree, but it is interesting to go back and see what the authors of the past thought space travel would be like. I've always thought any opinions on first contact, real or not, are worth pondering. I do hope you don't find this sort of pursuit a distraction to reality?"
"Distraction? No, not at all." Oliver shook his head. "Fictions inspire us, Lieutenant, the good ones anyway. Just imagine, a few hundred years ago on Earth, faster-than-light travel was nothing more than a fantasy that you could only read in fictions, but look at us now." He gestured at their general surroundings. "At the very least, it makes us appreciate how far we have come." Leaning slight forward from his chair, he grinned, "As a matter of fact, I'm big fan of fictions myself, mostly graphic novels, comics. So if someone tells you reading fiction is a distraction to reality, just send them my way."
"Indeed I will, sir." Georges replied. "In the meantime, is there anything you would like me to review before our briefing later?" I am eager to examine the new tactical station in depth and potentially engage more of my new crewmates."
Oliver grinned. "I think you will find the Arcadia's tactical systems quite impressive, Lieutenant, top of the line, and second to none, although I have been told the new holographic interface might take a little getting used to, but I'm sure you will get a hang of it in no time. As for your new crewmates, there's one in particular that I would like you to meet and get to know her as soon as possible: Jesse, the ship's artificial intelligence. She's still in the last phase of system trials. I'd like you two to make friends and make sure her integration with the tactical system goes as smoothly as possible."
Georges considered things for a moment before replying "I look forward to that. I believe I will go now, if that is alright? It would be important to get acquainted before we leave our birth for deep space."
Oliver nodded as he stood up from his chair. "Eager to get back to work, eh?" He said with a smile. "I look forward to reading your reports on Jesse's trial progress, Lieutenant."
Lieutenant Georges Ejim-Long
Chief Tactical Officer
USS Arcadia NCC-89015