The informal gathering had started as Campbell had ordered and when the captain arrived, he was pleased to see his crew mingling with one another. The arrival of new members, especially into the new senior staff, was going to be an interesting challenge and one that he would prefer to do without but he couldn’t do much else about it. Stepping in to the mess hall, hand-in-hand with his husband, Campbell was approached by his yeoman immediately.
“Evening sir,” Knight said in a low volume with a smile. “So far everything is going well.”
“Well that’s the idea.” Trommler sarcastically said, the bitterness still in his tone after finding out that he was not going to be acting MACO leader due to a technicality in paperwork.
Campbell shot him a look telling him to reign it in. “Thanks Romeo, now go enjoy yourself.” The captain insisted to executive assistant as they made their way through the almost crowded room. There was some soft jazz music being played across the speakers while everyone was socialising. Their chef and stewards had laid out on a huge spread of food and drink. It was certainly going to help break those tensions in new people getting to know one another. Heading over to the impromptu bar, the two men asked for a glass of amaretto each. As their glasses were poured they were approached by someone.
Antione saw the Captain enter and walked over to him “Hope this is to your satisfaction Captain. I tried my best to make sure it would be welcoming for the whole crew and that it was the best regardless of the small amount of time to organize it all” He smiled as he grabbed a drink from one of the trays being carried around.
“Well done Antione, this is great. Thank you.” Campbell complimented his chief communications officer. He was being genuine at how he had thrown this gathering together in such a short amount of time.
Antione nodded and walked away seeing if someone was alone so he could introduce himself. The ship had been getting quite a few newcomers and he wanted to make them welcome. He saw a man over getting some food so he casually made his way over “I don’t think I have had the pleasure! I am Lieutenant Antione Ricci, Chief Comms Officer among a few other hats that I wear here and there.” He chuckled
Scott hadn’t expected to be approached so soon after arriving to the party. He’d not had a chance to eat since arriving on the Endeavour. He finished placing the appetizers on his plate and set the tongs down before turning his attention to Antione. “Scott Mitchell, Chief Armoury Officer.” he replied.
“Nice to meet you! If there is anything I can do to help your transition onto the ship please let me know.” Antione smiled.
Scott spent the next few minutes making small talk with Antione and further exchanging pleasantries, whilst he nibbled on his appetizers.
Xiang stood by the window, she’s normally a very outgoing and talkative person though at that moment she just stood there looking out the window deep in thought. Not the kind of music that she normally listened to but it had a beat to it.
Arriving a little later than he had intended, Jacob was glad to see that he’d managed to get in before things really got moving.
Whilst the ship had seen its fair share of changes and reassignments over his still relatively brief time aboard, this time it all felt a little different and in his gut, he couldn’t shake the feeling that the war was either on the verge of petering out or kicking into a higher gear – the doctor certainly knew which he’d prefer.
Forgoing a drink, for the time being, he offered the Captain a brief smile and nod as his sights came to fall upon the lonely figure of the ship’s new Chief Engineer whose acquaintance he was yet to make, “Lieutenant Commander Xiang,” He spoke, doing his best to muster a friendly tone as he approached, “You look awfully contemplative, is everything okay?”
She looked at the Commander that walked up to her, “oh I am fine.” She replied with a smile looking at him, “you must be Commander Wishmore?” Xiang asked hoping to have come prepared by looking at the crew manifest before she arrived.
“That’s right,” Jacob spoke as he considered quitly if his rank was indeed how he wanted to be addressed – a matter he remained undecided on although he quickly moved on from it for the moment, “Well, I thought I’d extend my welcome aboard. We’ve had quite a turnover but seem to have come out stronger for it!”
After finishing his conversation with Antione, Scott noticed Xiang tucked away by the window and waved to her to make her aware of his presence but not wanting to interrupt her conversation with the man next to her.
She noticed Scott and smiled, she waved him over in her direction. “I like you to meet someone who I have been friends with since our training days.” She said to the Doctor as she waited for Scott to come over.
He approached the two making sure to pay attention to the conversation at hand, waiting for the appropriate moment to chime in “Hey Mei Mei! Glad to see you’ve made it to the party. Mind introducing me to your conversation companion?”
“Oh this is Commander Wishmore our Doctor,” She replied with a smile.
“A pleasure to meet you Doctor. I’ll make sure to stop by sickbay for my required physical.” he said jokingly with a slight chuckle. “Hopefully Xiang hasn’t told you too many horror stories about me?”
“None yet,” Wishmore chuckled, “And it’ll certainly be a pleasant change from having to chase people down. Welcome to Endeavour!”
Xiang smiled, as the two talked. “Looking forward in this new adventure,” Xiang said as they continued to chat.
Major Caidin had given everyone else a wide berth from the moment she walked in, staying to the edges and corners of the room as much as possible, as she nursed her glass of water. Her isolation was self-imposed for the most part, though she had caught her First Lieutenant’s grim look a while ago and thought it better to give him (and therefore also his husband, the Captain) space. Not exactly the most professional move for either of them, but given all that had changed in just a few hours for the both of them, time was definitely needed to process their situation before moving to confront it.
There was only one thing that was causing her to risk breaking this stand-offishness…and that was her stomach and her heightened need for carbs beyond the usual human requirements. She advanced upon the table and it’s spread, flowing around service staff and other officers like water, until she reached her target.
Minna was a late arrival, but as chief of the boat, that was not unusual as while the senior staff was mostly free to attend the gathering, there were always issues below decks that had to be resolved. When she finally did arrive, she made a point to seek out the MACO commander, as the integration of MACOs on Starfleet ships was also a bit complicated, and as a former MACO herself, she was far more knowledgeable about the issue than most. That, and as a MACO combat veteran and one who even boarded the Xindi weapon, she often missed being among “her kind”.
“I take it you’re Hex?” Minna said in her Korean-accented standard.
“Hmm, what?” Saorise replied, a bit taken aback by being approached. “Yes?”
“Minna Chang, chief of the boat” Minna replied.
“Ah…Hex was…is…my callsign…I am surprised anyone here would even bother looking it up.” The Major said, regaining her composure. “…much less address me by it, even off-duty…”
Saorise studied the Endeavour’s top NCO for a moment, taking note of the way she carried herself. There was a stark difference in how Starfleet and MACO personnel moved and presented, and Saorise was especially sensitive to body language and demeanour, as until a few months ago, it had meant the difference between life and death.
“You’ve had training, Chief Chang…and not just the usual Starfleet drills either.” Saorise noted with a raised eyebrow. “Martian Redboots? Terran Groundpounders? Titan Icewalkers?”
“MACO, same as you. Recon sniper from ‘27 to ‘37, was a civilian cop after that, but re-enlisted in ‘54 when the Xindi attacked. I was one of the platoon sergeants under Major Hayes on Enterprise, almost bought it on the Xindi weapon. Almost bought it again right here on Endeavour at the battle of Sol.”
“Ah…quite the…storied, career.” The Major replied. The Chief was old enough that distinctions like Redboots, Icewalkers, or Groundpounders didn’t make a difference…she was from a time that the only MACO training block was Earth-side. “I was recruited right out of university myself…trained with all three before getting assigned to colonial engineering and security projects and then two tours on Starfleet detachment duty…”
Major Caidin paused for a moment, as a prang of a heightened emotional response briefly flashed across her mind and body, before it became locked away and dispersed again by a sturdy wall of discipline and control. “I am afraid I was not at the Battle of Sol…when it occurred, I was already in the process of being declared a causality.”
“I read your file and am glad to have you on Endeavour now,” Minna said, communicating everything required with that simple sentence. “Anyway, I might not be in the MACOs anymore, but I understand most of the issues you are likely to face and am happy to offer whatever assistance I can.” Minna then added, “I can also still hit a bird in flight with iron sights at three kilometers, so if you ever need an old-school sniper, you know where to look.”
Saorise raised an eyebrow again and nodded in response. “Thank you, Chief. I shall keep that in mind.”
Tali had entered the room slightly after the rest of the guests as she had been talking to her husband when she was surprised with the announcement of the get-together. She wasn’t sure who would be there, but she wore her MACO uniform and tried to mingle with the crew talking to some of the members she knew, but also eyeing a Major she decided she should go say hi.
“Hello Major, I am Second Lieutenant Tali Levy, the ship’s MACO Detachment Assistant Commander, I am guessing that you are going to be joining the ship and taking over the MACO department. If I am wrong though, Sir please forgive me.”
The Major turned around on her heels to face the Second Lieutenant and after a brief glance up and down, during which she remained silent, she responded with a hint of stoicism in her voice. “That is correct, Lieutenant. Major Saorise Hess-Caidin. Under the standard structure for deployments on Starfleet vessels, your role would also place in you command of….the Third Squad, yes?”
“That is correct, Major.” Tali said.
“I think one of the other new arrivals from the Poseidon is assigned to your squad.” Saorise replied, glancing back to the table spread and allowing herself a slight frown: There was no Plomeek Soup. “We will have to have a detachment-wide roll-call soon and briefing soon on all of the notable changes.”
Tali nodded “That sounds like a plan, Sir!” She finished her conversation saluted and went to grab some food.
Josh walked in, late as usual. He picked up a drink and listened to conversations as he walked around the room.
It wasn’t long after the Helmsman that the new XO arrived, walking at her usual break-neck speed of a gait. Leonov spared the room and those gathered a sweeping examination as she grabbed herself a drink, before her gaze settled upon the other newest arrival, and with a decisive air she thudded over towards him. “Lieutenant Randall, isn’t it?” she said, brusque in her identification but with an intensity to her demeanour that suggested she was more interested in skipping over menial pleasantries than was in any way disinterested. “Commander Leonov, XO and Chief Science Officer.”
Randall nodded. “Pleasure to meet you, commander.” He shook her hand.
Leonov shook his hand briskly. “You’re a uniquely interesting person on this ship – in this fleet – Lieutenant. Pilots who’ve flown this new refit are thin on the ground. I’d be fascinated by your thoughts on how Endeavour now handles compared to the NX.” Despite her clipped, quick voice, there was a tilt to her chin which suggested genuine, enthused interest.
“I don’t know if I’m uniquely interesting, here or in the fleet, but thank you for the compliant.” He took a sip of his drink. “The NX was an experiment…Earth’s first warp 4 ship…started with the NX Enterprise. Admiral Archer pushed his ship, sometimes past the redline….got it up to warp 4.5, if I remember correctly. But enough of the history lesson. You asked how this ship handles compared to the NX. This ship is more manoeuvrable, quicker to the helm.” He took another sip. “I can barely touch the controls and the ship will change course. I almost think this ship senses my moves.”
Watching from a distances, the captain noticed his new crew starting to socialise with those who had been with him since the start. “Maybe this will work.” He remarked to his husband from where they stood at the side with their drinks.
Trommler looked around. “It may.” He admitted.
“Fingers crossed then.” Campbell said before he called for everyone’s attention. “Ladies and gentlemen, a moment of your time.” Pausing he waited for everyone to stop their conversations and give him their full attention. “Thank you.” He said with a smile. “I know recent changes were a surprise, but I’d like to take the chance to welcome those new to Endeavour while also raising a glass to those of our former comrades who have moved on to other posts. I am certain that together, where-ever we are, be it here on Endeavour or elsewhere that collectively we will bring a swift end to this war. So, here’s to the next chapter for the crew of Endeavour.”
Everyone raised their glasses and repeated his phrase of “to the next chapter” and returned to enjoying themselves with the gathering.
Josh raised his glass, and added his wish to the others. “To the next chapter.”