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Whose chair is it?

USS Seattle
2401

—- Bridge —

 

The Rhode Island-class ship cut a sleek figure against the starry backdrop. Captain Adriana Cruz had to admit that she wished at times that she could be on another bridge as her ship passed by just so that she could see it. Perhaps it was just pride in her first command or an actual love of the design of the ship, but the USS Seattle’s lines were to her mind… perfect.

“Hey cap you ready for this bonding thing?” Lieutenant Commander Jake Dornall called from the turbolift. In Cruz’s mind he was far from perfect, a distraction and a threat to the efficiency of her ship. Dornall and his orders from intelligence were frustrating and went against her being the Captain. She doubted Hawthorne would have put up with this, the Seattle’s last captain had been less than enamored with people stepping on his authority. But even in the twenty-fifth century there were things a white man could do that a brown woman could not. Besides Cruz knew she was a new Captain it was easier to pull this on her than someone established.

”Don’t call me Cap,” she said rising from her Command Chair, she nodded to Tashsai who took over as acting Captain while the real CO was off of the bridge and the First Officer was off-duty. 

The bonding thing had been prescribed by the ship’s Chief Counselor Doctor Lieutenant Yuhiro Kolem, and neither of them were particularly looking forward to it. Yet each had their reason for going along with it, even if it seemed silly and like a waste of time to Captain Cruz. Her issues with Lieutenant Commander Dornall were less about personality (though that was annoying too) and more about how he seemed to think that Starfleet Intelligence had control over the USS Seattle.

A turbolift ride off the bridge and down to the recreation deck brought them to the holodecks and their ’bonding thing’.

 

—- Holodeck 2 —-

 

”I was half expecting trust falls or something,“ Jake Dornall joked as the two Starfleet officers looked down at the canon. It was an old style one, that ran on gun powder and fired a physical projectile. The mission was that together the pair of them could defend a fort against pirates if they worked together to load and fire the canons, but if they were unable to bond together as a team they’d be overwhelmed.

“I assume you understand the general mechanics of this,” Cruz said as she poured a handful of gunpowder into the first canon. 

“Yeah, gunpowder, canon ball and then we light it on fire and boom,” Dornall said.

”Okay, you load up the canon balls, I’ll handle the gun powder,” Cruz said, moving to the next one. In total there was five canons in the old stone fort. Enough, Cruz presumed to drive off the pirate invaders if they kept them firing at a steady pace. 

“Fine,” Dornall said, “By the way I like the look, nice bodice.”

Cruz frowned, “Keep your eyes off my bodice.”

She focused on ensuring the remaining four canons got an adequate serving of gun powder as Dornall loaded them with the canon balls. Once they were done Cruz had him aim while she lit the fuse, and one by one their fired their shots. Most hit the ocean, but one canon ball made contact with the simulated pirate ship.

”Reload,” Cruz said nervous about only making one of the shots count, and how closely the pirate ship was coming now.

She scrambled shoveling gun powder into the canons as quickly as she could. She supposed real soldiers had had specialized tools for this, but she could not find anything on hand and so she had to make do with her own hands which were increasingly becoming blackened. One by one they loaded the five canons, this time doing it quicker.

”This time let’s aim for the sail,” Cruz said, figuring that hitting the sail would at least slow down the ship, and if they missed lower they might actually make contact.

Dornall, who was adjusting the aim of the first canon, nodded, “Fine, works for me.”

The fist shot when wildly over their target, but subsequent shots connected with the sail, punching a hole in the fabric, and the body of the ship sending wood flying as it created a hole.

”Next round, you load the canon balls, I’ll do the gunpowder,” Dornall said.

”Why?” Cruz asked.

”Because they’re heavy, just get going,” Dornall said as he began to shovel gunpowder into the first canon. 

“You’re not the boss of me,” Cruz said, “I’m a Captain and you’re a Lieutenant Commander.”

”Well sir, put the canon ball in, or we’re going to fail this,” Dornall shot.

Not for the first time Cruz wanted to hit him, but instead she once again bit her tongue, and fell silent loading the canon balls as he’d ordered. It was not that she was caught up in rank, but he just acted like he was in charge in any situation, and that infuriated her. She had to work her ass off for every inch and he just seemed to go through life carefree and getting exactly what he wanted.

The Captain took over the aiming this time, once more targeting the ship’s sail. This volley about half hit, and the pirate ship seemed to be taking on water, though it still advanced on them.

”One more volley should do it,” Dornall said.

Cruz nodded hoisting a cannonball up, “I’ll handle the cannonballs again.”

This last volley proved to be the one that sank the attacking pirate ship, and the two Starfleet officers watched the 18th century ship sink beneath the waves taking on water. They watched it sink beneath the surface of the simulated ocean and then both sat down on the stone floor of the fort that they were defending.

”Remind me to not let Kolem pick holodeck scenarios again,” Dornall said, then added, “Though I do like your outfit with the bodice and everything…”

”Stop talking about my bodice,” Cruz snapped.

”You don’t like men noticing you, in that way?” Dornall asked.

”I don’t like it when that’s all people notice. I worked so hard to get where I am, and I could very well be back on the streets in Mexico City scrambling to make ends meet,” Cruz said, “So I want people to take me seriously, not just note that I look good in a bodice.”

Dornall nodded, “You think that’s what I think? I know you didn’t have an easy time of it, but you’re mistaken if you think I did. I got where I am through merit. Just because I am more relaxed now doesn’t mean I didn’t work just as hard as you. Come on, I’m from Risa, you can’t think of any negative stereotypes that might hold me back?”

Cruz was silent, looked down at her hands. She could think of a few, and a few that she’d unfairly and uncharitably thought on her own in his direction. Finally she nodded, “Alright, I’ve been unfair I see that.”

”And maybe I’ve been too cavalier sometimes,” Dornall said, “It’s just how I’ve learned to deal with the world. I’ll try to tone if down for you.”

Cruz sighed, “Looks like Kolem was right. We’re getting along now.”

Dornall stood and extended a hand downwards, “Well we won’t tell her.”

”Deal,” Cruz grinned as he pulled her to her feet.

They looked at each other, and for a second it felt as though they might kiss, as much of a bad idea as that would be for both of them. Then Dornall winked, “And as I say, it’s a nice bodice.“

Cruz glared at him as he left the holodeck. This was not over.

Found Blood

Earth, Outside Mexico City
2401

—- Sánchez Family Winery —-

 

With the USS Seattle at Starbase 415 Captain Adriana Cruz had made the journey back to Earth and back to Mexico where she was from. She’d spent the first half of her life in the former country and one of the biggest cities on Earth. While it was dwarfed by other cities on other planets the hustle and bustle was a feeling she’d missed since going north to San Francisco and Starfleet Academy. Life aboard the USS Seattle, with its ninety crew members was also a lot more sedate.

As the shuttle craft left her at the winery’s main gate she felt her stomach flip, flop with nervousness. She’d grown up with a mother, and no father not knowing anything about him. It was only this year that she’d discovered that not only was her father a local man, but he was quite well off and owned one of the largest wineries in Mexico. She’d also discovered her half-brother Andrés Sánchez who’d briefly become her First Officer before retiring from Starfleet to run the family Winery. He’d extended invitation after invitation to her, but she’d always felt like a fraud. Cruz had grown up poor, or at least disadvantaged in the post-scarcity society. She’d stolen things, been in a gang in Mexico City and now she was half owner of a winery. 

It was quite the change.

The small woman who opened the door to her was angry, but then as far as Cruz had understood and experienced she was always angry. Her mother-in-law, the woman who’d realized after his death that her husband had fathered another child out of wedlock and was having to deal with Cruz. The woman muttered under her breath in Spanish which given that Cruz was a native Spanish speaker and had a universal translator was no way of hiding it. Not that Cruz figured the woman intended to.

”Hello Mrs. Sánchez,” Cruz said politely taking her duffle back and following the woman. She was not sure how she’d feel in the woman’s position, but none of this had been easy for anyone. She’d suddenly found out that her father had been someone she could have known her whole life and yet because of her mother she’d never gotten a chance to know him. She’d found out that she could have been well off, rather than scrambling for everything she had often stealing it. Life would have been very different for both women had they known.

Her half-brother Andrés came out of an office and held his hands up as if he intended to hug Captain Cruz which he promptly did. The pair had not been loving siblings aboard the USS Seattle, though they’d gotten along fine. Now though that Andrés was no longer a Commander in Starfleet the awkwardness of rank was no longer preventing him from being expressive. So as much as Cruz herself was not a hugger, she found herself in his embrace and lifted off the floor.

”Sister you’ve made it to Earth from Starbase 72,” Sánchez said as he spun her around, then set the Captain on the floor and released her, his hands moving to her shoulders

”Starbase 415 we’ve been transferred but yes I’m here,” Cruz said, not wanting to get into the challenges that lay ahead with her ship’s transfer into Task Force 86 or the work she was having to do to crew it up in a new way to meet the challenges they’d soon be facing.

“You should get a job on Earth, you could live here in your winery, in your home,” Andrés said happily.

”It’s not really my home,” Cruz said, though she owned half of all the property she’d never lived here and the thought of calling this a home was foreign to her. Her and her mother had lived in a small one room apartment in Mexico City, not too much bigger than her quarters on the Seattle. She was not quite ready to live in a sprawling place like this home.

”What are you doing while you’re here?” Andrés said, gesturing her to follow him as he lead her to her room.

Bringing her bag with her Cruz answered, “I’m scheduled to give a talk at a high school in Seattle later this week. The city, apparently they’re proud of a ship called the USS Seattle. I’m also doing a talk at my former high school in two days, I guess not a lot of graduates become starship captains. I’m also trying to find a First Officer, might check with a few Professors I know at the Academy.”

Andrés opened a door and lead her into the large guest bedroom which she’d previously stayed. She set her bag down next to the bed and he smiled.

”Well dinner tonight, I’ve invited friends you can meet. Maybe make your own friends,” he said with a smile.

”Hey rich boy I have friends, just Starfleet friends mainly,” Cruz said in her own defense.

In a sense they both wanted different things from this relationship. While Cruz wanted nothing to do with any of it, to Andrés it was clear that not only had he found a sister, but in a way a partner and that he was not going to let go easily. Cruz was more embarrassed than anything by it and felt vaguely useless being a wealthy heir to a winery. She was not some French fop who knew anything about grapes, and how to grow them.

Still it was nice, the dinner and Andrés’ friends. They were not nearly as bad as she had expected even if she’d dedicated her life to Starfleet and that was a hard thing for civilians to grasp some times. Still wine, a bonfire, and good food was a welcome diversion from the hurriedly eaten replicator meals in her Ready Room. 

Sitting in a recliner chair outside savoring her glass of wine, she made conversation with a handsome young man named Ernesto that was a friend of her half-brother’s. He was good looking, a bit older than her, and clearly like everyone else her from the so called good side of the tracks. 

“So your brother told me about you,” Ernesto said.

”Half-brother,” Cruz corrected him.

”That’s important to you?” Ernesto asked, curious.

”It is. This isn’t me, it’s as alien as anything I experience back on the USS Seattle, I didn’t grow up being told I would own a winery or even that I’d be a Starfleet captain. I kind of thought I’d end up in a penal colony somewhere,” Cruz said.

Ernesto laughed then seeing as she was not joking grew more serious, “The winery maybe is a fortune of chance but you being who you are, being a Captain in Starfleet that was all you. I have never met a Captain before. I have never left Earth before even.”

Cruz had not meant to, not until she’d gotten arrested stealing a shuttle craft and the arresting officer suggested Starfleet for her. From there it seemed the natural extension to go to space and now it was the Earth that seemed alien to her. 

“So when do you go back, ship out or whatever they call it?” he asked.

”Just over two weeks,” Cruz said.

”So I can see you again?” 

“I think that can be arranged,” Cruz said.

Science Your Way Through It

USS Thames
2398 - October

—- USS Thames, Captain’s Ready Room —-

 

I felt nervous as I entered the Captain’s Ready Room on the USS Thames. I’d just been promoted and transferred to the ship a few months ago and hadn’t interacted with the Captain beyond the initial welcome to the ship. The old Excelsior-class ships could have over a thousand crew members, and so if you did not get regular bridge duty it was hard to make an impression. So it was very easy to believe that I’d somehow screwed something up, and that’s why I was being called in to be yelled at.

Captain Rogerfield was one of those Captain’s who I’d met a few times in my career who saw themselves as a continuation of Earth’s maritime history. He had things like sextants in his office and maps of ancient Earth saying things like ‘Here There Be Dragons’. With him was First Officer Commander McAvoy who was more familiar to me, if only because he was a tremendous flirt and had targeted me a few times.

As I entered the Ready Room Rogerfield waved me over, gesturing to the open seat across from him at his desk and next to McAvoy. I sat down as instructed and said, “You requested to see me sir.”

”Lieutenant you’re in Strategic Operations aren’t you?” the captain asked. 

“Yes sir,” I said.

He made a noise, “I don’t much care for Strategic Operations. I don’t need someone on board telling me that the Borg is bad and the Feregni can’t be trusted, you understand.”

I nodded, “Well the Ferengi have joined the Federation. But yes I see what you mean.”

”Big ears joined the Federation,” McAvoy laughed, “Big whoop.”

”The point is I have another job for you. We have a science team that’s not making any progress and I need someone to kick them in the butt to get going,” Rogerfield said.

”Plus talking to girls makes them nervous,” McAvoy said.

“I‘m not a girl. Sir,” I said trying not to sound too annoyed.

”Point is you might have more luck making them get done and move onto something else, so I want you to try,” Rogerfield said, “I’m sure it won’t hurt that you’re a pretty lass. Flies with honey and all that.”

These days I can tell a bit better when someone is acting dismissively of me, but English being translated in my head to Spanish made it a bit trickier and I was a bit naive back then. I was not about to start an argument with my captain and so I nodded and smiled, as if me being ‘a pretty lass’ made me perfect for the job of motivating a delinquent science team. These days I might have made a fuss, but sometimes attitudes about gender can sometimes be deeply ingrained even if we tell ourselves that we’re better than that. Regardless of that I got the information and ignored McAvoy’s comment as I left and the door slid shut which was something along the lines of ‘I hate to see her coming but I love to see her leave’ which looking back at it probably pertained to my butt.

 

—- USS Thames, Engineering —-

 

The science team was made up of two humans, and a Vulcan. They were, as promised, all male. 

“So you’re our nanny,” a Lieutenant Junior Grade Vallday said, as he plugged something into a conduit. They were set up in engineering, as this had something to do with getting additional speed from the warp engines. 

“Call me Mary Poppins,” I said, trying to show I was not a stick in the mud. I was pretty sure the humans at least would get the references to the old films from before the Eugenics War. If they did they made no comment so I asked, “What are you working on?”

”We are trying to change the pigmentation of an unborn poultry embryo by applying uniform heat to the whole of it,” one of the humans said and sniggered.

I realized I should be using the universal translator on Federation standard as well as other languages since that made not sense to me. I must have looked lost as the Vulcan, an Ensign Tvam sighed and said, “He has described the act of frying an egg.”

I nodded, “But you’re not going to do that right.”

”That is correct we are attempting to boost the warp drive output to maintain a warp nine vector which is currently beyond the Excelsior-class’s capabilities,” Tvam said.

”Well I’m here in case you need help, or getting anything. I used to be in Operations, I know all the tricks to get things,” I promised. Three sets of skeptical eyes looked at me in my red uniform and two sets of eyes (the human ones) rolled. They must have figured that if I did not even understand a nerdy scientific way of frying an egg warp mechanics was beyond me. I was inclined to agree with them, but I knew that in command you needed to administer all departments not just the ones you understood perfectly. I did not know Captain Rogerfield’s background but unless he was an engineer I doubted he knew much about warp mechanics either.

“No offense Lieutenant, but you wouldn’t understand and it would take too long to explain it to you,” Ensign Vallday said.

I nodded, “Well no offense Ensign but your project is behind schedule and either I have results to report to the captain, or I get to reassign you all to new projects.”

Vallday was older for an ensign. I’d looked into his record before coming down and he’d been passed up for promotion four times, so he did not like someone younger from another non-science department coming around and telling him his business. I imagine that played into what happened next.

He plugged the device the team was working on into another conduit and activated it. Tvam seemed startled, as much as Vulcans get startled.

”It is not ready for testing,” the Vulcan said, “we have additional simulations.”

”Lieutenant said ‘get off your butts’, so we do a trial run,” Vallday said.

”I did not say ignore safety protocols, shut it down,” I said.

Ignoring me he increased the output on the device, which was feeding into the engine. Suddenly the ship went to warp. The USS Thames lurched and we were thrown to the ground.

Getting to his feet Tvam looked at the readings, “We are at warp eight. Warp eight point five. Warp nine. Warp nine point five.”

The ship audibly groaned, “Shut it off, we can’t take this much speed.”

Vallday got to his feet and toyed with the device, “I can’t. It’s locked on.”

”Emergency shut down then,” I said.

”I bypassed emergency controls, they’re offline,” Vallday said.

The ship shuttered.

”Warp nine point nine,” Tvam said.

”Eject the warp core then,” I yelled.

”I can’t I shut off all the safeties,” Vallday said.

At that point it did not take a warp technologist to know that the USS Thames was not able to handle warp nine point nine for long. Certainly not suddenly jumping to warp and the way things were shaking it was clear that the ship was not long for this word if we could not shut it down. Thinking quick I ran to the nearest armory and returned with a hand phaser, which I put of the lowest setting and targeted the dilithium chamber and warp core.

Firing I increased the power until cracks appeared in the glass casing. Suddenly the computer intoned, “Warp core breach detected, ejecting warp core.”

There was a second lurch as the ship dropped out of warp suddenly, and the core went falling through the floor, ejected by the computer’s safeties which thankfully Vallday had not disabled. The fell as the ship seemed to lurch and spin as it suddenly and violently dropped out of warp. I felt my head hit something hard and everything went black.

 

—- USS Thames, Sickbay —-

 

I woke up in the medical bay with Captain Rogerfield standing over me, “Ah so you live.”

”Yes sir,” I said groggy.

”Well I was going to court martial you but the science team explained that your actions saved the ship,” he said, “but don’t make a habit of shooting the warp core. The USS Oakland is on its way with a new warp core for us.”

”Glad to hear it sir,” I said.

”Look maybe I wasn’t fair to you, Lieutenant, when we last spoke. It seems like you saved us all, and you’re a damn fine officer. I shouldn’t let anything get in the way of that,” he said, “I’ve spoken with Commander McAvoy and he agrees. He’ll be mentoring you going forward, and good work. I’ve had a long and stern conversation with the science team about safety protocols as well.”

I was skeptical that I would learn much from McAvoy but having the favor of the captain and XO seemed like a career boost so I just nodded. Sometimes it was just easier to lay in sickbay and rest than to worry about how exhausting senior officers could be. It was not the last run in I had with them, or with the science team, but at least on that occasion I’d managed to survive. 

The Luck of the Canadians

USS Luna
2401

—- USS Luna, Assistant Chief Security Officer’s Quarters —-

 

I awaken as she’s getting off the bed and donning her uniform. In the soft light of the stars outside my window I watch her don her uniform for a minute and then sit up in bed and pat the space that she had vacated, “Stay the night?”

Lieutenant Junior Grade Rosa Flores turns and shakes her head, “I have a shift in six hours. I’ll sleep better in my own bed and I need a sonic shower.”

”Who said you needed sleep,” I joked as she did up her uniform top and ensured that the comm badge and her rank pips were snug. 

Flores smiled, “We can’t all be William Hume and show up to work dead tired from all the fun he was having last night.”

”Hey,” I protested, “what’s that mean?”

”Just, you know, you’re lucky,” she said then her eyes looked up and to the left as she searched her mind for the right word, “Blessed maybe.”

I made a ‘pffft’ sound with my mouth to disagree. I was not lucky. I rolled my eyes, a sign of disagreement.

”I applied for the Academy three times and then when I graduated I was assigned to a recruitment office in Mexico City. Only meeting the Captain got me off Earth,” Flores said. 

I resisted the urge to point out that the Academy was all merit based, and if she had applied three times versus my once, well that was a candidate quality thing. As if she could read my mind, not that she could that was my last girlfriend, Flores said, “You’re application had letters of recommendation from captains and commanders who your parents served with. Mine had it from a dance teacher and my abuela. You were the son of a war hero, I was just a name in a long list of names.”

”That’s not luck,” I protested. My family had alway sacrificed for the military, for Starfleet all the way back as long as anyone could remember. If I benefited from that, it was just a bit of extra benefit from being so dedicated for so many generations.

Flores checked herself in the full length mirror I had in my room and then nodded. She was stubborn and knew her own mind so I knew that I was not going to get very far arguing with her. I let her go but wasn’t able to fall back asleep so I get up and dressed myself, putting on my uniform and going for breakfast.

Bothered by this assertion that I was ’lucky’ I headed to the one person I knew would give it to me straight, my ex-girlfriend Lieutenant Yuhiro Kolem. She had office hours, an open shift where she mostly dealt with paper work but would see patients if they swung by. I knocked on her door and then entered when called In.

 

—- USS Luna, Chief Counselor’s Office —-

 

As I expected it was not busy so early in Alpha Shift and Kolem was behind her desk working on files which she immediately put away as I entered as patient records were private. She gave me an uncertain smile as I entered and was perhaps ill at ease since our relationship had not ended well and then she’s helped an angry ancient god take me over and we’d tried to brainwash the entire ship.

To say things were complicated was an understatement.

”What’s up William,” she asked, she never called me Will because that was too much like the pet names that the character in the holonovel about Captain William Riker and his wife Commander Deanna Troi used and she had a thing being half-Betazoid as well with being compared with Troi a thing our previous captain often did.

”Flores said I’m lucky, I’m not lucky am I?” I asked.

”In some kind of magical everything just works out way? No, but you are lucky, in that you’re privileged,” Kolem said, “So am I in some ways. Everyone is in a way, but some people benefit from it more.“

”My father died, I didn’t know him at all and Flores said I got into the Academy from being the son of a war hero,” I said feeling frustrated by this.

”My father died and I didn’t get to use that on my application to the Academy, he just died the way people just die,” Kolem said, “Your father dying is sad and a loss, but it shouldn’t be overlooked that there were some benefits. Yes I know you’d rather have your father than have been accepted first try into the Academy, but it helped and there’s no point in denying that. The kids of Starfleet officers are statistically much more likely to enter service, and to be taken. Plus you look like Kirk, or Archer, or Picard when he had hair, or Gustavson. Flores looks sort of like Captain Sonya Gomez and Captain Cruz and that’s it.”

I argued, “Captain Cruz is our commanding officer, so looking like her is a good thing.”

”On this ship here it might be. I’ve benefited from Captain Cruz, just like you benefited from Captain Hawthorne,“ Kolem said, “Personal relationships matter and its natural that people trust people more like them, and want to help them along. Maybe one day you’ll have a Vulcan CO who thinks you’re illogical and demotes you, but more likely than not you’ll have someone who looks like you. James Kirks father was in Starfleet, so was his brother just like you and your sister.”

”But Kirk was a great man, that’s why we remember him,” I argued.

”Sure, and he did great things. But he got a leg up at the start, that doesn’t negate the things he did. You’ll do great things too, you’re smart and charming, and talented. But that doesn’t mean you weren’t lucky to get to the first step easier than some people,” Kolem said.

I thought about it. I suppose I wasn’t convinced, but I had asked the two people who I respected most on the ship and they’d both told me I was lucky. Luck you always think like a magical ability that things just work out, and things in my life didn’t always work out. I’d never thought of it as being positioned at birth to be in the right place for something, to benefit from this nearly invisible system not of my making just because of who I was an who my parents were.

I had a lot of thinking to do. I nodded at Kolem and smiled, “Well I guess I’m just lucky then.”

 

—- USS Luna, Security Office —-

 

Lieutent Claudia Jara had already sent Alpha Shift out on their rounds. With Romulan scientists aboard we had to balance keeping a close eye on them and not being too overbearingly suspicious. She was adjusting the board when I entered, the Chief Security Officer tracking everyone’s movements.

”Am I lucky for who I am I mean, who my parents were?” I asked her. Jara was painfully blunt at times so I figured if anyone would give me the direct answer it was her.

”I was born on Turkana IV and you on Earth, yeah you’re lucky,” she said still tracking the various two person teams moving through the layout of the ship on the digital display.

“I guess I don’t think of the nature of my birth as luck,” I said, “Or I hadn’t.”

“Not my problem Hume. Five hundred years ago they wouldn’t let people like me marry, so I consider myself lucky,” she said.

”There were humans on Turkana IV five hundred years ago,” I asked, pretty sure that was not true.

“Lesbians,” Jara said finally looking at me if only to show that my last statement had been dumb, “Lesbians. I’m not planning on getting married anytime soon but it’s nice to know I could, and it’s protected. I can have the kind of life I want, whatever that is. So yeah I’m lucky, you’re lucky. We’re all lucky.”

I nodded, “Ah.”

It was all that I could say that made sense.

”Also you won the security office pool, so you get a bottle of wine from the Captain’s vineyard,” Jara said, “Good job on guessing how many Romulans would be coming on board for this scientific study.”

”Well it was honesty all luck,” I said, and for the first time all day I felt the luck that people kept telling me I had.

 

 

Babel

Pentacle IV
2401

—- First Officer’s Office, USS Luna —-

 

Pushing aside a glass that had formerly held raktajino Commander Olivia Carrillo settled into her desk. She’d been back aboard the USS Luna for almost a day, and yet writing the report was taking awhile, mostly because she kept putting it off. Likely by now Lieutenant Lambert had submitted his, which made her hesitation seem all the more foolish.

Commander’s Log

 

As per orders from Starfleet we were exploring the remaining planets in the solar systems nearby in the neutral zone that buffers the Federation and Cardassian territories. We were looking for more Cardassian instillations we may not be aware of, and so thought the week the USS Luna has been exploring the Pentacle system. We initially thought it was devoid of life, and have been charting planets with our sensors without needing to transport down.

 

Pentacle IV however, as it’s the fourth planet from the sun, is surrounded by mechanical storms that have been interfering with our scans. The ship had adjusted its equipment several times, and finally it was decided that a survey of the planet would best be done via a shuttle mounted with sensors. Lieutenant Pierre Lambert and I were selected, as he’s a skilled pilot and we are trying to find him a new role on the Luna given that the role of Navigation Officer does not exist in 2401 as it did where he came from in the 2200s.

 

We took the Ranger shuttle-craft down to the surface and began scanning. The refits done on the shuttle were able to map it despite the storms we weathered. However, our sensors also detected a pre-warp society. We stayed far enough away from any encampments to avoid being seen during our work, the problem however came later.

 

Nearing the end of the task Lambert reported that our batteries were draining. The makeup of the storm was affecting our electronics preventing us both from breaking orbit to return to the Luna, of even contacting them. With our energy draining Lambert landed roughly in a mountainous region. Shortly after touching down we lost all power to the shuttle’s systems and even our translation services performed by our comm badge.

 

I speak Federation Standard but Lambert is a native French speaker and I don’t speak that, but understand Spanish. We were able to mostly understand each other, and made our way towards shelter as our landing had torn a hole in the roof of the shuttle.

 

It was then that we made contact with the native population of Pentacle IV, or at least a mountain based tribe. We had lost sensors before we set down and apparently had landed near an encampment of a tribe. Details are sketchy since we had no access to translation and thus were not able to get any real in-depth information from those that we met.

 

Upon realizing that we were being watched both Lambert and I raised our hands to show we were not armed and not a threat. We were greeted by what I’d describe as a hunting party. A mix of male and female warriors about ten feet tall with Klingon-like armoured ridges down their face and on their arms. As we had not known the planet was populated we had not armed ourselves with phasers and even if we had we were not going to start a fight with a new race. 

 

Spanish, French and Federation Standard were hard enough for the two of us to navigate but communicating with just mimed hand signs with the locals was quite difficult, particularly when were bound at the arms. Lead into camp were met what we’d call a Queen, a young woman who was clearly the matriarchal leader. She was young, approximately twenty in human age, between us two we tried various different ways of communicating. None of which seemed to register for her. 

 

Instead of being amazed or impressed with seeing off world visitors she had her guards or tribes throw us into a room with a single sleeping space. As if we were a mating pair of animals that she had found, or had been found for her. 

 

Lambert and I took turns keeping guard and sleeping on the space that they’d made for us to sleep. In the morning the weather broke, and we were beamed out of the cell before guards came to check on us. Due to the Prime Directive the Ranger shuttle was retrieved by a runabout and brought back to the USS Luna, along with us. 

 

We did not find any Cardassian outposts, and have put Pentacle IV on the list of inhabited worlds to avoid to keep from violating the prime directive. Back aboard the Luna our comm badges began to work again and Lambert and I could again speak to each other. Our unintended first contact mission was… messy and not being able to communicate either with ourselves or with the inhabitants of the mountain region had complicated it.

 

We are currently confident that we left nothing behind and that there will be no long term damage to our unintended contact. A full report on the incident is being prepared for the First Contact Office as per regulations on the Prime Directive.

 

End of log.

  • Commander Olivia Carrillo

 

Setting down the log Commander Carrillo sighed and rubbed her tired eyes. She’d slept fitfully down on the planet’s surface, and had not gotten much sleep since returning. It was hard to explain how first contact felt when you could not communicate both with the other beings or even with your own officers. Still she had given it a shot, and knew that it could have gone much worse.

Submitting the report she stood and went to her quarters.