“Captain’s log stardate 76417.7. We have set out on our maiden voyage through the Barzan wormhole on a mission of exploration of the Gradin Belt in the Delta Quadrant. Starfleet has tasked the Atlantia with a primary mission of determining the species that launched the subspace weapons that the USS Voyager found so many years ago. I suspect our efforts will be in vain given the timeframe since that incident. However, I will not let this crew give up until we have exhausted every avenue at our disposal. We are expected to be at warp for the next three days as we make our way to the coordinates marked in Voyager’s logs. During this time I plan to get to know some of my crew a little better.”
“Raktajino, black.” Treylana instructed the replicator as she concluded her log entry. The steaming hot beverage materialized before her. She picked it up and took a sip letting out a comforting sigh. To the untrained eye it merely looked like the Trill was enjoying a hot cup of coffee. To her it was her first command decision in the Delta Quadrant. Trivial to most people, but the thought of being in command of her own ship was both new and exciting. It also slightly intimidated her. A feeling that would subside in due time.
Taking her freshly brewed beverage, she moved to a position at the head of the conference table situated in the center of the room and seated herself. She took one more sip of her coffee before exchanging her mug for one of many PADDs sitting on the table. The very same PADD the Commodore had given her just the day before containing their orders. She also picked up a second containing the logs of Captain Kathryn Janeway, a woman long since made Admiral after getting her crew of the Voyager home.
As she peered over the information in the PADDs, the fore-facing door to the conference room hissed open and the members of her senior staff, led by her first officer, began making their way in. Treylana glanced up as each officer took their respective seats around the table; her first officer, tactical and medical officers to her right and operations, engineering, conn and science officers to her left respectively.
Treylana set the PADDs down and began the meeting as soon as everyone was settled “As I’m sure you’re all aware by now, we’re en route to a sector of space here in the Gradin Belt. What you may not be aware of is why. Starfleet by way of Commodore Bennet has requested the task force to explore this region of space. They wish to map out more of this area since Voyager’s last visit twenty years ago. Specifically, Atlantia has been tasked with investigating the region labelled as ‘Subspace Munitions Range Four-Three-Four’. Voyager’s only encounter with the region saw them getting attacked by long-range subspace warheads. Their only means of detecting the warheads was a gravimetric disturbance right before the warheads emerged from subspace.”
Treylana paused for a minute to take another sip of her rapidly cooling coffee and assess the room “I won’t lie, the mission has a degree of risk. If we can track the origin of these warheads, then we can maybe establish first contact with the species that launched them. Tamura, I want you and Harrison to work on ways to modulate the shields to protect against any detonations. Tucker, you and Petrov will see if you can chart the munitions range and plot a course around it. McDougal, I’d like for you to maintain yellow alert as we approach our destination. Keep shields up at all times and weapons in a powered down state unless needed.”
Treylana eyed up Brant last. His job would be the most difficult should the mission take a turn for the worse. “Brant…”
She was immediately cut off by the doctor “I know. I’ll have medical teams on standby and assume standard radiation protocols in the event of an explosion.”
“Precisely Doctor. Anyone have any questions?” she concluded, awaiting any responses from her staff. “Very well then…dismissed.”
Each member began to get up from their seat at the conference table and proceed to leave the same way they entered the room. Treylana stopped her first officer before he could follow suit. “Commander Nichols. What do you do for fun?”
“I beg your pardon Sir?” he replied as he turned around to face his captain with a puzzled look on his face.
“Fun. What do you do for recreation when not on duty?”
“Well…there’s many things, but I like to ride horses.”
Treylana had never ridden a horse, though she had been tempted many times before only never followed through with it. “Horse riding. That sounds lovely. I’d like for you to meet me at holodeck one at thirteen-hundred hours and you can call up one of the ship’s programs suitable for the event.”
“As you wish, Captain.” Nichols acknowledged and then continued out the room.
Treylana researched various different styles in the computer and made an educated guess that a Western style similar to that of the cowboys in early Earth history was the type of riding Nichols referred to. She donned some attire she deemed appropriate for the style; some denim jeans, cowboy boots, a Stetson cowboy hat and a sleeveless tank top shirt. Once she was ready she made her way to holodeck one.
She touched the display panel just outside the door to the right and it immediately illuminated at the sensation of her fingertips. The panel indicated that there was a program already running eluding that Commander Nichols had arrived prematurely to set things up. Pleased with what she saw, she waited for the doors to open and then headed inside.
Inside was a nice wide open pasture. To the right a small ranch house with a moderately sized gated area large enough to contain several large animals. Behind that was a barn and a stable. To the left in the distance was some woodland. Treylana stood there in awe for several minutes admiring the simplicity of life in a locale such as she was viewing.
Deciding that it was time to move on, she proceeded toward the ranch house and then behind to the stable. She found Nichols in one of the paddocks positioning a saddle on the back of one of the many horses that were housed inside.
“Magnificent!” Treylana exclaimed.
Nichols looked up, not immediately expecting to see his captain, yet prepared for her arrival nonetheless. “They are fantastic creatures” he replied.
“How long have you been riding horses Commander?”
“Please, call me Phil,” he replied “and I’ve been riding ever since I was old enough to sit upright on a horse. My family comes from a long generation of horse ranchers. As much as I love horses, my calling was to the stars, so my brother ended up inheriting the ranch back home. Now I only ride for pleasure.”
Nichols finished tightening the saddle and then grabbed the horse by the reins and opened the paddock door guiding the mare out of the stable. He headed out the back door, Treylana following closely behind and came to a stop next to another horse that was fastened by its reins to the gate nearby. “Have you ridden before?” he asked?
“Never. I’ve always wanted to though. I kept telling myself that my career was keeping me from doing it, but I think there was a small sense of fear.” Treylana replied.
“There’s nothing to worry about. Just follow my instructions and you’ll be fine. First come stand next to the horse right beside the saddle.”
Treylana moved closer as instructed.
“Next, put your left foot into that loop to the horse’s side. That’s the stirrup. With your foot in there you’re going to grab hold of the pommel of the saddle with your left hand, that’s the part sticking up at the front, and you’ll grab the back of the saddle with your right. You’ll then lift yourself up by jumping and pushing down on the stirrup. As you gain altitude, lift your right leg over the horse and seat yourself in the saddle.”
It all seemed so complicated but she did as she was told while Nichols steadied the horse for her, handing her the reins once she was in position. Nichols mounted the other horse and then moved alongside her. “Now,” Nichols began “When you want to move forward on the horse, gently nudge her using your feet. When you want the horse to go right, pull gently on the right rein, left to go left. When you want to stop, pull on both and command her to “whoa’.”
Treylana took a few test strides, and feeling that she had a decent enough understanding of how to maneuver the horse, the two of them set off on their afternoon of riding and conversation.