The sliding door of the stasis chamber made its usual hissing noise as it was released from its lockdown position. Blinking once then twice, Captain McCallister came around and began to work out his bearings. Pushing up with his elbows, he looked around the room, seeing that everyone else was being brought back around. Approaching him with a smile was his ECH.
“Penelope,” he said greeting her in a groggy and hoarse tone of voice, “report?”
With a sweet smile the hologram shared that all was okay and the ship had left No Man’s Land. “Final ship wide system checks are being completed as we speak but initial diagnostics show some wear and tear on a few systems but nothing the twins or girls have not already been aware of.”
Grinning with pride, McCallister sat up completely straight. “And the crew?”
“Agnes reports no injuries or worries to have. Everyone remained in their pods and are all okay.” Penelope reported.
“I’m pleased to hear it. Anything else I need to be aware of?” McCallister inquired as he swung his legs around and saw his first officer sitting on the edge of his pod being checked over by Agnes.
“The Cetacean Ops team have a presentation for you and the senior staff, that I think you need to see sooner rather than later.” She informed him. “They think we are slowly being pulled to the center of the Belt.
Appreciating the heads up, McCallister thanked Penelope for her service and he asked her to remain active for the duration of the mission. He then went over to see how his sons were, especially after they had given him and his wife a hard time before going under. Thankfully as he approached them, they all appeared to be in good spirits…for now!
Feeling absolutely vamished, Commander Duncan was so keen to eat something that he headed straight to his quarters to take a sonic shower, change into a fresh uniform and grab a bite to eat. Entering his private domain, he switched on the light and headed upstairs but got halfway up when the door chime went off. Sighing inwardly at the disturbance, he walked back down, begrudgingly to see who it was.
“Come in.” He called out.
The doors opened and his guest was Samris. Surprised to see his protege standing in the doorway, Duncan was concerned at this visit. “Samris, you okay?”
Standing stiff and tall, as if he had been called in for a grand act of insubordination, Samris kept himself at attention after stepping in. “I need to speak to you sir about a personnel matter, permission to speak freely.”
Scratching the top of his ear before crossing his arms, Duncan was confused as to why Samris was being so formal. “Samris, for goodness sake drop the formality. When it’s us standing in my quarters the rank can be left at the door.”
“I’m sorry sir, but I don’t think you’ll think that after I what I have to share.” Samris shared.
Raising his hands to indicate that Samris needed to stop with the tone he was taking, Duncan took a seat on the nearest armchair as he unbuttoned his jacket. “Just offload whatever it is.” He instructed.
“Sir, I need to tell you that I have entered into a sexual relationship with a fellow member of the senior staff.” Samris admitted.
Stifling a smirk, Duncan looked at Samris as he and the captain had guessed something was going on with the counsellor and a certain someone after the last senior staff meeting. “T’Rani?”
Shocked to hear him say it, Samris appeared embarrassed straight away. “How’d you know?” The Romulan asked.
“I’m an ex-counsellor Samris, I can read people’s body language.” Duncan answered swiftly. “Samris, you don’t need to share this with me. There’s plenty of couples on Odyssey-” Duncan paused as he then realised why his former deputy department head was bringing this to his attention. “When was the last time you did a session with her?”
“Two days before your promotion to first officer.” Samris answered.
Wincing at the response, Duncan had been the one who had suggested that T’Rani speak with Samris regarding her husband’s death during the Archanis Campaign. He had felt that her talking to a superior may have been somewhat intimidating, even for a Vulcan. The last report he had read was that Samris had suggested she undertake neurol-pressure to help with her sleeping. Looking back up at Samris, he regretted asking the next question but knew he had to. “Samris, did you engage in Vulcan neuro-pressurer with her while she was a patient?”
“No.” He replied with a single shack of his head. “She asked to finish our therapy and a few days later approached me to assist…she said she felt there was no-one else she could…ahem..approach.”
“So why come and tell me it now?” Duncan inquired.
Placing both hands over his face, Samris then mumbled his answer. “Before we went into the stasis chambers, I got extremely drunk and we ended up sleeping with one another. I needed to admit to it before things got worse.”
Holding back his grin, Duncan gestured for Samris to sit down. He had known the man long enough that he always played hard by the rule book and was a fine officer as well as an amazing counsellor. “Samris, I think you may be crossing what I would refer to as the grey line. You’re not breaking any patient confidentiality or in any direct contact with their therapy, but your relationship and involvement so soon after is dodgy. My advice to you as your superior is to take a step back and give the whole matter some space to cool down. As a friend, I would suggest you try and speak with T’Rani to define your relationship with her. If she is using what you’ve established as a coping mechanism that’s not fair on either of you. You of all people know that the Vulcan heart is more repressed than others, when it is hurting Vulcans find it harder to deal with their emotions as they are so raw and intense.”
Nodding in agreement, Samris confessed further how he felt. “I feel like such a fool and I am sorry for letting you down.”
Shaking his head, Duncan stopped Samris from going further with the pity party. “Samris, you’ve not let me down. You’ve served on the Odyssey for a long time and like so many of us you’ve put your career ahead of anything else. Wanting something more from someone else is natural, even for Romulans and Vulcans, so I get it but being a member of the senior staff means we need to think about our actions carefully as we are setting an example to others. If this matter with T’Rani is too much for you, then focus on building your relationships with other fellow comrades and perhaps cut back on the drinking to avoid finding yourself in tricky situations!”
Thanking the commander for his time, Samris got up and left to follow what his mentor had suggested. Watching the Romulan man leave his quarters, Duncan gave out a sigh before getting up and heading upstairs. As he got up the flight of stairs, he did reconsider the words he had shared with Samris and relate it to his own life, career and choices. Could he blame Samris or T’Rani for exploring a relationship with one another? No. Did he want something like that? Maybe. He certainly knew that the next time he entered a stasis chamber he didn’t want to do it alone.
“Professor, I’m happy to say everything looks fine.” Slyvexs said as she closed her tricorder shut and looked up at the Pandari that was sat on one of the many bio beds in sickbay. Thankfully no-one had returned from their trip within the stasis chambers with any problems, but as she wasn’t completely aware of his physiology, Slyvexs had requested for Shu’varn to see her in sickbay for a proper checkup.
Shu’varn thanked her and gave her a classic charming smile as well. “I don’t think I’ve ever received such impressive medical care in my life.”
“Your race is warp capable, surely their medical facilities are just as good?” Slyvexs remarked.
“They are, but let’s just say our doctors aren’t as caring as you have been.” Shu’varn said. “When we leave the Belt, I will miss my time on Odyssey and especially your care.”
Grinning at him in a typical Denobulan manner, Slyvexs rubbed his arm before walking away and then stopped a few feet before turning around to him. “Shu’varn, you could always ask the captain if you could remain on board. I’m sure a native member of the Delta Quadrant would be an incredible asset to have, especially someone who knows the local history.”
Considering the idea for a moment, Shu’varn shook his head. “No, I’m certain Captain McCallister would not agree to it, plus I like exploring every part of the galaxy to be settled in one place for too long.”
“No one said it had to be permanent.” Slyvexs stated. “Plus, we are explorers first and foremost. At least consider it.” She then let him leave sickbay to consider her suggestion.
Certain members of the senior staff had assembled in cetacean ops on what was known as the pier. It was a platform that allowed those who did not breath underwater the ability to interact with the members of the team. Around them holographic consoles were active displaying the presentation that the cetacean ops team had prepared for the captain.
“So as you can see captain, the numerous disturbances that have forced us to alter course are not random. The more we analysed the pattern the more certain we are this is being done on purpose.” spoke Quendez from the otherside of the pier. The Antedean was in his natural element with other members of his team surrounding him.
“We projected our course and conducted further long range scans, it is our unequivocal belief that someone wanted us to change course and if we carry on with this heading we would miss the final barriers to the center of the anomaly and hopefully reach the Tkon outpost ahead of schedule.” Artir added.
Suppressing a yawn, McCallister tried to ignore one of the side-effects of being in stasis as he concentrated on what he was being told. He placed the back of his right hand in front of his mouth to cover up the reflex before congratulating both men with their work. “This is impressive work. It truly is.”
“I have to concur.” Reyas said as she stepped forward to be by McCallister’s left hand side. “You may have just saved us so much time. I’m keen to understand how you noticed the pattern.”
Artir answered the commander. “When you spend as much time as we do in the water, things like gravimetric disturbances begin to appear like sea currents and strong storms. When there were so many, it didn’t take long for us to realise there was more going on here.”
“Very logical.” T’Rani said, sharing her version of praise for the cetacean team. “Captain, shall I proceed with the new flight path?”
McCallister nodded, “I can’t see why we wouldn’t.”
“I agree with Lieutenant Artir’s calculations that we should reach the centre in approximately eight point five hours.” T’Rani said. “The field of subspace vacolus should be easy to navigate through once we upload the flight path into the main-computer core and set auto-pilot. It can make course corrections a lot quicker than I or any other pilot can. We can jump to warp for each leg of the trip to save us from waiting around.”
McCallister looked over to Hunsen, “Tremt, will the warp engines be okay with that amount of use?”
“They’re built to do more, sir. I’m not worried, they weren’t damaged while we were in No Man’s Land.” Hunsen replied.
“Then let’s get to that outpost, sooner rather than later.” McCallister commanded as he took one more glance up at the new flight path ahead of them.