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Part of USS Europa: And the Cradle Will Fall

First Briefing

Ready Room, USS Europa
December 2399
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Greg leaned back in his chair as he reviewed the daily log. Their departure seemed rushed, and for the moment, he truly didn’t feel like he had a handle on things or the crew yet. But, how could he? They had just met. Short of a few issues here and there, nothing drastic had happened to force involvement. Everyone was just going through the motions, ensuring that the ship was operational and ready for whatever fate tossed at them.

Standing up, the Captain walked over to the replicator and ordered a coffee. Picking up the glass, he tapped his comm badge with his free hand, “Commander Koerner, could you join me in the ready room please,” he requested.

Natalya had been working when she heard the call to come and meet with the CO. She quickly replicated a Raktajino and headed for the Europa’s Ready Room. She had been up a few hours, and she was still feeling the fatigue from not getting enough sleep. She sounded the door chime and waited.

Greg had found himself looking out one of the more oversized windows when the door chime sounded, “enter,” he called out. “Commander,” he smiled, “come in, can I get you something to drink,” he gestured to an empty chair?

Natalya smiled and lifted up the thermos that held her Raktajino in it. “No, Sir! I came prepared.” She stated with a chuckle. She sat down in the seat adjacent to him.

“Good, good,” he nodded, “I apologize that we really haven’t gotten much of an opportunity to meet one another yet. Getting this ship operational took a bit of time, and well certain formalities fell by the wayside.” He sipped his coffee, “I had hoped we would get our first mission by now, but Starfleet is taking their dear sweet time, I think.” He smiled, “probably making sure we don’t fall apart at the seams first.”

Natalya shook her head. “It is not a problem. I have been going around making sure everything was running properly, and the shifts are set up correctly.” She took a long sip of her coffee, “It looks like we’re holding together…at least at the moment.” She said with assurance.

Greg laughed, “don’t say that too loudly; Starfleet tends to call, especially when they think moral might be a bit too high.” Greg picked up his cup and took a sip. “We have a very interesting crew,” he added, “I’ve been looking over the manifest; I gotta say it looks like the person in charge of the duty shifts are going to have their work cut out for them.” He was joking, knowing full well that the First Officer was in charge of at least review all that.”

He set the cup back down on the desk, “gotta say,” he chuckled, “I don’t think I will miss that one.” Just as he finished, the comm panel on his desk sounded. “See, I told you, Starfleet is listening.”

Captain, priority one message from Starfleet Command

Greg looked at his XO, “I think our orders are coming in,” he tapped his comm badge, “route it through to my ready room.” It took only a moment as the official seal of the Federation was replaced by an older man, probably human. If Greg were to guess, he would say maybe mid-fifties. “Commodore,” he greeted the man.

The Commodore nodded, “I hope I am not interrupting you, Captain, but we need your assistance. I don’t have a lot of time, so this is going to be quick. The Cardassian Empire has contacted us requesting assistance locating a missing transport,” he looked at a padd on his desk, “The Eldara. Her last communication put her way off course and heading straight for the badlands. You are the closest ship in the area. Get the Europa to the badlands, see what we can find, and location that ship.”

Natalya listened closely as she began to jot notes down on her padd; she was unsure what to expect. Though the Cardassians were not enemies, she wasn’t sure she trusted them.

Greg looked at the Commodore for a bit, “Were the Cardassians willing to share any details of the Eldara’s mission or why she might be in the area.”

“Now come on, Captain, you and I both know the Cardassians just don’t give out information,” the Commodore replied, “and I don’t entirely trust them in this case either. Be mindful, be careful, and most importantly, be safe. Find the Eldara and get them out of the badlands.” The man folded his arms, “I wish I had more, but the information is concise. I will send you all we have, but fair warning, it’s not much.”

The Commodore looked over his shoulder as if he was talking to someone else, as he turned his attention back to the Europa Captain, “My apologies, but I have to go.” Then without warning or anything else, the man was gone.

Greg looked at his Executive Officer, “well, that wasn’t exactly what I was expecting.”

Natalya had a look of concern on her face. “Something about this doesn’t feel right to me, Sir. This may be brazen to say, but I recommend a lockdown of all systems when and if we find the Cardassians.” She took a sip of her coffee. “I think this will be a good test of the crew. I just believe we need to proceed with all precautions in place.”

“Good test or not, my question is, are they ready,” the Captain asked, “the intense plasma storms and gravitational anomalies will definitely push the envelope on people’s abilities.” Greg took a moment to consider his options, “this doesn’t feel right to me either; caution is certainly needed. I will review the logs sent over from the Commodore and see what I can find out about this Cardassian ship. In the meantime, set a course for the badlands, warp 7. Then get with Engineering; we need to ensure we are ready for anything.”

Natalya was going to gloss over the fact that he ignored her recommendation. He had to have heard it, and that was all that mattered. “I don’t know of a better way to see if they are ready, Sir! That being said, I don’t like the feeling of this either. Something seems off.”

She got up from her seat as she had already been dismissed and headed for the bridge. Upon arrival, she looked at the current flight ops officer. “Set a course for the badlands, warp 7!”

She saw the nod of affirmation as the officer followed her orders. She tapped on her comm badge “Koerner to Engineering, we’re heading for the badlands, and we are unsure of what lies ahead; make all preparations for entering the badlands. We don’t want to strand the ship.”

Greg followed the Executive Officer to the bridge as he headed for the turbolift; this was definitely not the kind of first mission he had expected. For now, however, he needed to focus on finding this Cardassian ship and ending this.