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Part of USS Odyssey: First Excursion

First Excursion – 4

USS Odyssey (NCC-80000), Verkien System, Kotaba Expanse, Swallow Nebula region, Delta Quadrant
Stardate: 78502.2
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Jonarom stood in his quarters aboard the Odyssey, the soft hum of the ship’s systems providing a constant backdrop to his thoughts. He moved with purpose, his lean frame darting between the small space as he prepared for the upcoming excursion aboard the Telemachus. 

His fingers deftly packed his bag with the essentials: spare uniforms, a data pad filled with scientific journals and research notes, a well-worn copy of “Echoes Across the Stars: A Linguist’s Journey Through the Cosmos by Hoshi Sato” and a photograph of his family back on Ardana. Despite his confidence in his abilities, a nagging sense of unease settled in the pit of his stomach as he meticulously organised his belongings.

“Am I really ready for this?” he murmured to himself, his reflection staring back at him from the polished surface of the dresser.

The invitation to join the training excursion aboard the Telemachus had come from Commander Jirani, a familiar face from their time together on the Bellerophon. Jonarom respected Jirani’s judgment, but the prospect of spending time with a group of cadets made his nerves jangle with anticipation. He had only been out of the academy for a year; would he be the right person to show them the ‘ropes’? 

With his bag now packed with clothes and a few personal items, Jonarom took a deep breath and headed for the door. As he stepped out into the corridor, he nearly collided with someone coming the other way. It was Cadet Alfie McCallister, the son of Captain Reyas and Fleet Captain McCallister. Jonarom’s gaze immediately shifted to the pensive expression on the young cadet’s face.

“Hey, Cadet McCallister,” Jonarom greeted, offering a warm smile despite the flutter of nerves in his chest. “Heading to the Telemachus?”

McCallister nodded, his gaze momentarily flickering to the floor before meeting Jonarom’s eyes. “Yeah, just getting ready for the training excursion,” he replied, his voice tinged with a hint of apprehension. After a second, He added ‘sir’ and realised he needed to address Jonarom formally. 

Jonarom sensed more beneath the surface, a weight pressing down on the young cadet’s shoulders. “Is everything alright, cadet?” he asked gently, stepping closer to offer a reassuring presence.

The young McCallister hesitated, his fingers nervously adjusting the strap of his duffel bag. “It’s nothing, really,” he murmured, a fleeting smile attempting to mask the turmoil within.

But Jonarom could see through the facade, recognising the telltale signs of inner turmoil. He had them himself. “You don’t seem alright,” he remarked, his tone soft but earnest. Jonarom hadn’t interacted much with the captain’s son since he joined the Odyssey earlier in the year but knew of his reputation as a hard worker and quick learner. Also, Jirani had told him that Alfie reminded her of their former captain, Alfie’s uncle, Captain Horatio McCallister. That Captain McCallister had been like a mentor for Jonarom. He had seen his potential and offered him a chance to be more when he was assigned to the Bellerophon. He had appreciated Horatio McCallister’s faith in him, so now he felt the need to repay that. Who better than McCallister’s nephew? “If you need someone to talk to, I’m here.”

“Thank you, sir. I just got a lot on my mind, you know?” McCallister offered as an excuse. 

As they made their way down the corridor towards the turbolift, Jonarom could sense McCallister’s internal struggle. The cadet’s shoulders sagged ever so slightly, burdened by the weight of his unspoken troubles.

“It’s not about the training, is it?” Jonarom ventured, his voice gentle yet probing. He didn’t want to get into a guessing game with the cadet; however, he wasn’t prepared to let the captain’s son start his first proper away mission like this. Especially when McCallister’s own mother was commanding it. 

McCallister shook his head, a sigh escaping his lips. “No, it’s… it’s personal,” he admitted, his gaze fixed on the passing bulkheads as if searching for solace in the familiar surroundings of the ship.

Jonarom nodded understandingly, respecting the boundaries of McCallister’s privacy while silently offering his support. “Well, if you ever need someone to listen, I’m here,” he offered his words, a beacon of reassurance in the midst of uncertainty.

McCallister’s eyes lingered on Jonarom momentarily, and then he sighed. “Thanks, Lieutenant. But it’s nothing, really. As I said, it’s just some personal stuff. I’ll figure it out.”

They started walking together towards the turbolift, Jonarom keeping pace with the distracted cadet. “Well, we’re all in this together, right? And hey, we’re about to embark on a training mission. It’s just practice, nothing to be too stressed about.”

McCallister let out a small laugh, a brief break in his sombre expression. “Yeah, I guess you’re right. It’s hard to focus on training when your mind is elsewhere.”

As they entered the turbolift, Jonarom couldn’t help but offer a reassuring smile and make another attempt to see if McCallister would share more. “Look, we’re all a team on this ship. If you ever need someone to talk to or even to listen, as I offered, I’m here. No judgment. We’ve all been through a lot lately, and sometimes things sneak up on us and can distract us from what we should be focussing on.”

McCallister looked genuinely appreciative, even if he didn’t accept the offer. “Thank you, sir. I’ll keep that in mind.”

The turbolift doors closed, leaving the two officers in a momentary silence. Jonarom couldn’t shake the feeling that there was more to McCallister’s troubles than met the eye, but he respected the cadet’s privacy. As the lift carried them towards the hangar bay where the Telemachus awaited, Jonarom couldn’t help but hope that their training mission would provide a welcome distraction for the cadet and the rest of his fellow trainees.

When they reached the hanger, McCallister made his excuse for leaving Jonarom’s presence, rushing across the deck towards the airlock to enter the Telemachus by himself. Not bothering to say anymore, Jonarom paced himself as he walked to the viewing area. He was surprised to see several familiar faces waiting there. Lieutenant Commanders Rosle and Jayshon, Doctor Corben and Lieutenant Jisaraa were congregated by the small number of armchairs and sofas.

“Jonny!” exclaimed Doctor Corben as she pulled him in for a brief hug. 

Jonarom returned the gesture towards Corben. The two were close, thanks to their time on the Bellerophon. “I didn’t know you were also assigned to this mission?”

“Can you blame any of us for agreeing to help Captain Reyas?” Corben replied after letting go of the younger man. “Doctor Slyvexs was happy to give me something else to do.”

“Babysitting cadets doesn’t seem your style, Sarella,” Jonarom remarked to the Betazoid woman. 

“I think Slyvexs’ wisdom and suggestive ideas of empowering the next generation have been rubbing off on her,” Rosle remarked. The Starfighter pilot smirked at Jonarom. “I must admit, though, I don’t think I could remain sickbay while the ship is undergoing a standard and very boring mapping mission.”

“The same must be said for you and your pilots in the hanger bay,” Corben countered to the Tandaran. 

Rosle agreed with that assessment with a simple nod. “That and I really want to see what these Aquarius class escorts can do.”

“You really think Captain Reyas will let you fly the Telemachus like a starfighter?” Jisaraa questioned as she crossed her arms against her chest. “I’m hoping to convince her and Commander Jirani to let me take these cadets through their paces with some close-quarter training, but I’m not sure I’ll be lucky to do that!”

“Still trying to find some more potentials to join the Hazard Teams, Jisaraa?” Corben gently mocked her new friend.

“Absolutely, and there’s nothing wrong in showing the cadets the ropes,” Jisaraa said with a smug smile. 

At that point, Jonarom noticed the arrival of Captain Reyas and Commander Jirani. The other saw them arrive, and at that moment, both senior officers greeted them and thanked them all for agreeing to join their training exercise. Jonarom, for a moment, wondered if he should tell Reyas about his interaction with her son and then, in a flash, he saw Corben give him a look that just told him no. Had he really thought that out loud that she had heard it telepathically? 

“Any questions?” Reyas asked. 

“Ask now as we all form the senior staff for this mission,” Jirani added.

None of the other officers replied besides showing their eagerness to get going. Reyas smiled at them all and then suggested they board the Telemachus. As she led the group towards the airlock, Jonarom looked at Corben and whispered whether she heard his thoughts.

“It was hard not to,” She whispered back. “Is everything okay?”

“I think so,” He said in similar low tones. 

“If it isn’t, can I suggest you check in on the captain’s son,” Corben advised. “We can’t have him or her not focussed on what we are about to embark on.”

“Understood,” Jonarom said with a nod.

At that point, it was clear that Commander Jayshon had listening to their conversation. He turned to Jonarom and uttered what Jonarom took as some sort of suggestion. “Darmok and Jalad on the ocean, Unzak, when he guided the florkas to their roost.”

Corben looked at Jonarom, hoping for a translation based on her expression. 

Jonarom sighed. “I think our acting chief engineer is telling me this could be quite a challenge as I try to help Alfie.”

“Well, good luck, or it will be Shaka when the walls fell!” Corben uttered as they entered the Telemachus

Hoping that wouldn’t be the case, Jonarom kept a mental note to find the cadet and catch up with him.

  • Rosle

    Starfighter Group Commander

  • Jisaraa

    USS Triton
    Chief Security & Tactical Officer
    Former Senior Assistant Chief Security & Tactical Officer
    Hazard Team α Leader

  • Karyn Reyas

    USS Bellerophon
    Commanding Officer
    Former Lead Training Officer
    Cadet Unit

  • Jirani Edeena

    USS Bellerophon
    Executive Officer
    Former Deputy Lead Training Officer
    Cadet Unit

  • Jayshon

    USS Bellerophon
    Chief Engineer
    Former Starfleet Corps of Engineers Unit Leader

  • Sarella Corben

    USS Bellerophon
    Chief Medical Officer
    Former Senior Assistant Chief Medical Officer

  • Jonarom

    USS Bellerophon
    Chief Science Officer
    Former Chief Communications Officer