Part of USS Arcturus: Paradise Found

A Mess of Captains

Deck 11 - Captain's Mess
November 2399
1 likes 540 views

The reception with the Vulcans was made less dull by the chance to look at some of their actual sensor data, but Captain Rakan still wished that either the time of day or protocol would allow for a glass of kanar. Omicron Torrensis was not predicted to contain any inhabited planets from long-range spectrography, but the Vulcans had found a perfect M-class world there. Perfect for Humans anyway; it looked awfully moist to Rakan.

“The Oort Cloud must be functioning as a scattering field. It’s unusual that it would be so regular in composition as to achieve that effect, though,” Captain Lancaster noted, looking at the data being projected. “Do you have any theories on how this formation occurred?”

“That was not the purpose of our mission,” the Vulcan replied.

“Ah,” Lancaster replied, glancing up at Rakan, who shrugged. “I’m surprised you didn’t want to survey it yourself. Vacant garden worlds aren’t exactly plentiful in this region.”

“The fact that it is a Minshara-class world is precisely why we are not interested in surveying this world, Captain Lancaster. Our mission is to catalog the availability of resources in this quadrant so that future exploratory missions might be planned with greater precision.”

The conclusion that it might be more efficient and thus more logical to do the actual exploring now, rather than waiting for a later expedition, made Rakan chuckle. A Cardassian mission would never have been planned like that, and an M-class world would never go to waste. She stifled her smile by taking a long drink from her cup of red leaf tea.

Observing that conversation was almost as painful as being part of it would have been, so Rakan walked to the other side of the captain’s mess where the captain of the Astral Queen and Captain Okusanya were having a much more friendly discussion.

“I’ve always admired the Olympic class. Such a solid design. She’ll be a workhorse for a hundred years,” Okusanya noted as she fiddled with the straw in her glass of ginger ale. “The fact that you were pushing nine-five all the way here goes to show what a good job they did putting her together.”

“My Chief Engineer was displeased–that’s where he is now, going over everything with a fine-toothed comb to make sure we’re ready for the journey back to the wormhole. With its short period, we’ve got a tight schedule to keep,” the Tellarite woman replied. 

Members of the Starfleet Auxiliary wore similar uniforms and insignia to members of Starfleet Proper, but with inverted colors and a different insignia. Okusanya thought that the Tellarite looked roughly like a strawberry in her predominantly-red uniform with her stature and bushy hair.

“Chief Engineers are never pleased, in my experience,” Rakan interjected as she extended a hand. It prompted Okysanya to roll her eyes slightly, but she didn’t contradict her. “Captain Iro Rakan, First Officer of the Arcturus.”

“Captain Tora bim Larl, at your service,” the Tellarite replied, looking her up and down. “A shortage of captains will never be a problem around here. Three of you seems like overkill, no matter how big this ship is. And didn’t I just drop off another?”

Rakan chuckled. “There are four of us, actually. Dr. Anjar is also a captain by rank. Commanded a ship like yours, in fact. Our latest O-6 is part of the admiral’s staff, though, so he doesn’t count,” she replied, turning to look for the Bajoran who was doing an outstanding job of pretending he was attending to some important business on his WRIST in the corner.

“It will be interesting to see how he alters the realpolitik aboard this ship,” the engineer noted. “What’s his background?”

“I have no idea; I don’t have access to his service record,” Rakan admitted.

“Which means you tried to access it,” Okusanya replied with a grin.

“Some Cardassian stereotypes are true,” she replied with a shrug.

Captain Larl snorted. “Sometimes, I wonder what it would like to be an explorer, but every time I get a glimpse into all of the egos and tempers involved on a ship like this, I’m happy to be on the bridge of my simple passenger ship.”

The Cardassian captain gave her a tight-lipped smile in return, as she couldn’t imagine spending a whole career just shuttling other people to and from their adventures, but she could appreciate a worldview where not having to deal with the petty bickering made such a dull assignment more palatable. Larl was also the mistress of her own vessel, a starship captain with perhaps less formal authority over lesser vessels than she would have had in Starfleet, but no one’s lackey at least.

“And to top it off, you still get to go to the Delta Quadrant,” Rakan offered.

“At high warp, all quadrants are pretty much the same,” Larl noted. “I wouldn’t mind having a mess like this, though,” she said, gesturing to the room around them.

Located a deck above the ship’s forward lounge, the captain’s mess was big enough to handle dinner for thirty or a reception for sixty. The walls were paneled with authentic mahogany, and the floor was a rich midnight blue terrazzo inlaid with flecks of gold. In the center of the large viewports was a bronze ship’s wheel from one of the naval vessels to have shared the name Arcturus, mounted just forward of a large rendering of the ship’s seal set into the floor. On either side of the doors, Shelves had artifacts from the other two Starfleet vessels to bear the name, including china, log devices, and images of past captains. Starboard past a set of doors, there was a private galley and servery, and port there was a secure communications suite that guests could use without ever getting too far from whichever fancy party they’d been invited to.

“Some of my finest work,” Okusanya said, agreeing with their Tellarite visitor. “The commodore–now the admiral–thought it was ‘a little much,’ but our core mission is diplomatic, and we can’t do to have our guests think they’ve been sent a second-rate ship.”

Rakan smirked again, knowing that Okysanya’s ambitions were to one day command the ship herself after spending four years building it. She doubted the other woman would actually like a command, and without significant command experience, it was unlikely she’d be given the center seat on an Odyssey-class explorer in the first place, but stranger things had happened. Before she could tease her colleague about that point, the doors to the corridor opened to reveal Yeoman Kaplan, who made a bee-line to Lancaster.

“You’re needed on the bridge, Captain,” Rakan overheard Kaplan say, which was a curious message to relay in person rather than over the comm, or for Kaplan himself to relay rather than the Officer of the Watch; a transparent machination.

“My apologies. Captain Rakan will see you back to your ships. Pleasant journeys,” Lancaster replied before exiting the mess with Kaplan following in his wake. 

It was good to be the captain, after all.