Part of USS Ulysses: Season 1 Episode 1: On the Precipice of Greatness

An Intelligent Maneuver

USS Santa Fe, Starbase Bravo Dockyards
August 1st, 2399
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Fresh from getting greasy helping with one of the engineering teams looking at the lateral sensor array on deck three, the Commander of the Santa Fe was now strolling along deck seven, headed for the ships medical complex in the hope of speaking with the two most senior medical officers on the ship. The first step was to grab the Counsellor and then they’d go off to see the Chief Medical Officer.

Stopping outside the Counsellor’s office, the Captain of the New Orleans-class starship reached out and pressed the door chime. The return call of “enter” seemed to come with almost unnatural swiftness. The chime seemingly had barely finished chiming before the word was coming through the door, but that was only because Vittoria had felt the other woman coming toward the office with intent that radiated in her direction.

As the door opened, the Captain was greeted by the appearance of the unusually-presented Betazoid, who looked up and smiled pleasantly. “Hello, Captain,” she greeted. Her head shaved on one side, some unique tattoos replaced the hair follicles that had been removed. To anyone from outside the crew, she would have looked like an intimidating presence, but to those who knew her, the Counsellor was the softest, kindest person.

“Do you have a minute, Lieutenant?” the Captain queried as he stood in the doorway and prevented the door from closing, “I need to have a chat with you and Doctor Zinn and figured it would be easier to talk to you both together?” the well-built senior officer asked, although he wouldn’t have been expecting anything other than a ‘yes sir’ from his subordinate. But, people always had a habit of surprising you once in a while, so it was worth asking.

“I have an appointment in twenty minutes,” Vittoria replied, tilting her head as she thought it through. “Do you think I should reschedule that or will we be in done in time?”

“Hopefully we’ll be done by then,” the Captain grinned before ducking out of the room and slowly heading off in the direction of sickbay a few doors down, expecting the teal-uniformed woman to follow.

“I guess we are leaving now then,” Vittoria said to herself with a faint smile on her lips as she followed the new commander of the ship out the room and down the hall, which was not a long walk.

Entering sickbay with the Betazoid in tow, Sebastian stopped a few steps inside the medical facility and looked around. It was quiet, save for a few technicians that were beavering away in the corner. “Doctor Zinn?” the dark-skinned man called out, hoping the physician was hiding somewhere and he wouldn’t have to track him down.

“Yeah?” Zinn popped his head out of his office. When he saw the Captain and Counselor standing there, the rest of his body followed. “Captain,” he nodded in greeting at the CO and then at Chiera, “Counselor. What can I do for you?”

“I wanted to bring you both up to speed on some changes and figured it would make sense if I spoke to you both together,” the Captain grinned, but his furrowed brow suggested he maybe wasn’t as happy as he tried to imply. “Can we use your office, Doctor?”

Zinn stepped to one side “Of course, sir.” He allowed the Captain and Counselor to enter the office first before following them in.

Wandering to a seat opposite the Doctor’s desk, the Captain took the chair and sat in it, deciding it was significantly less comfortable than his ready room chair. “As you probably know, we’ve had lots of change personnel wise,” he told them. “We need to talk through some of the changes,” he added.

“I’ve already met our new Chief Ops Officer.” Zinn told him. While Medical Officers were often the last to find things out, one upside was that everyone had to come through Sickbay when they joined the ships company. He was sure that he would meet most of the other new additions in the fullness of time.

“Yes, sir,” Vittoria agreed with a small nod. “Changes can be difficult but often equally beneficial. However, knowing as much as I can about them will help me to help the crew with them.”

“The good news is that Commander Travis will be staying, so as far as you guys in blue are concerned, you’re all accounted for,” the Captain told as he relaxed back in the chair. “Commander sh’Elas has agreed to stay aboard as XO, so you’ll both go to her with personnel related matters from now on,” Sebastian revealed, unsure if they would have heard the news yet, no matter how fast it tended to travel aboard a ship.

Chiera nodded as she listened. Her focus was always attentive, by nature as well as training. No one would ever guess what a constant battle that was for her inwardly. That “feeling of change” had been pervasive on the ship of late, so while she hadn’t specifically heard of sh’Elas’ promotion, she wasn’t surprised either. “Understood, Captain.”

“I’d heard the rumour about Commander Travis departing, but his continued presence is good news,” Zinn confirmed. It felt like there was more to come but with the Captain telling them that they would both be remaining in post, he couldn’t see how it would massively affect them, save for getting to know a new group of officers and generating more work in the form of fresh physicals and psych evals.

“We’ve already received several new officers,” the Captain continued with his update, “but the last aren’t due to board until the day of our departure and we’ll still need reviews done before we can depart. You’re both going to be on a quick turnaround I’m afraid,” Farrell frowned.

Doctor Zinn snorted derisively. “Nice to see that the Starfleet bureaucracy is as efficient and as unbending as ever.” He let out a sigh but complaining about it would get them nowhere. “We’ll get it done in time, Captain.”

“Counsellor,” the Captain turned his attention to the woman in charge of the crews mental and emotional health, “I’m not sure what kind of toll this is going to have on the crew. They’ve had friends and colleagues just up and leave with little to no warning. They’re going to have so many new people coming in and there are bound to be clashes…” Sebastian sighed as he contemplated what was to come.

“Naturally, sir,” Vittoria said with a small nod. “Though most will understand that these types of changes are natural in the course of a life in Starfleet. So, I imagine the clashes as seen by most will be limited. Though I am sure my couch will be occupied frequently.” She smiled wryly. “But I can handle it, and I will keep an open eye, as they say, to potential issues.”

Seb nodded appreciatively, “I know the XO is the usual port of call for personnel issues, but if anything comes up that either of you think I might need to know about during these early weeks, then please let me know as quickly as possible,” he concluded as he rose to his feet and stood behind the seat. “Before I go, is there anything either of you need from me?”

The Chief Medical Officer shook his head. “Nothing on this end.”

“Nothing here either, Captain,” Vittoria said with a small smile.

“Right,” he rubbed his hands together with relative glee, “if anyone needs me, I’ll be unwinding on the holodeck. There’s a glacier for ice skating on Andoria that has my name all over it.” And with that, the Terran departed and left his two senior most medical professionals together.

“Typical Starfleet,” Zinn mused once the Captain had left, “pull the rug from under us just as everyone is getting settled and beginning to gel.” He shook his head and let out a sigh, the frustration he felt evident. “At least we’re safe, for the time being anyway.”

Vittoria offered him a sympathetic smile as she agreed, “For the time being.”

With the day nearly over, and more eventful than the new Captain had anticipated when he had first boarded, the man was in desperate need for a break before his first full day in command. He had intended it to be a quiet one by his standards, with little for him to do but continue to trawl through reports and personnel files after the mad few days of changes for the crew. Instead, not only did the ship now have a new mission just days away, but it was down to Engineering to get the rest of the ships systems working before the launch deadline arrived.

Sebastian was heading towards the holodeck when the communications channel had come to life and informed him a prominent member of Starfleet Command had transported aboard and would be waiting for the Captain in the observation lounge on deck one. Sebastian diverted the turbolift to deck one and made his way to the Observation Lounge where he would meet the Admiral in just mere moments.

Standing at the window, his right hand braced the window frame as he looked out at the other vessels moving around the inner sanctum of the Starbase. Across the dimly lit internal cavity, the man could make out the frame of an Akira-class vessel gliding towards the docking bay doors with effortless ease. The Akira, odd in design compared to many Starfleet vessels, was one that he had a particular fondness for. He’d always liked the vessels of odd design, especially ships such as the Cheyenne or even, now, the New-Orleans with its three bulbous mission pods. Engrossed in his own thoughts, the Captain almost missed the sound of the doors parting and granting entrance to the older Admiral, a security officer from the Santa Fe and a third officer he had never met before. He stepped away from the window and offered a hand to the Admiral as he nodded to the security officer for him to wait outside.

“Admiral Hanson,” he welcomed the aged man with a polite nod and a firm hand shake.

“Captain Farrell, a pleasure,” Hanson responded in his gravelly tone before releasing his subordinates hand and gesturing to the Vulcan beside him. “Captain Sebastian Farrell, may I introduce Commander T’Prynn,” the Admiral revealed.

T’Prynn gave the Captain a measured look, one of the more annoying traits her race possessed as if sizing him up and seeing if he measured up to standards only she would know. Vulcans; notorious for holding others to a much higher standard. After a few moments, she apparently felt that he did. Reaching out a hand the tall, elegant Vulcan spoke, looking him directly in the eye, “It is a agreeable to make your acquaintance, Captain.”

“The pleasure is mine, Commander,” Sebastian nodded as he completed the round of welcomes and stepped aside, gesturing for both to join him around the large conference table that dominated the room. He took his now customary seat at the head of the table, with Hanson pulling out the nearest chair to him. “So, to what do I owe this pleasure? It’s not every day that one welcomes the Deputy Director of Starfleet Tactical aboard their ship,” the newly-minted Commander of the ship quipped at last as he opted to try to get to the bottom of their presence on his ship as quickly as possible.

“Commander T’Prynn and I are here with regards to the mission you have been assigned,” Hanson began as he relaxed back into his chair. “To be quite frank, we have virtually no intelligence of what may lay beyond the wormhole, or New Bajor. You’re going to be our most distant asset, so we want Commander T’Prynn to accompany you as the liaison to Starfleet Intelligence,” the much older Terran revealed as he glanced across at his Vulcan companion.

T’Prynn took up her cue quickly, picking up a small, discreet PADD she’d been carrying with her. “I have several years of specialized training in areas such as this, Captain. I am experienced in multiple areas of intelligence gathering, analysis, and infiltration, and will work with all your departments to ensure the proper information is being relayed back to Starfleet Intelligence. We must make sure the presence in the Gamma Quadrant is both legitimate and proportionate.”

“I hope you’re not going to be some sort of SFI spy,” the Captain smirked as he lent forward in his chair, “I’ll be expecting you to put your tools to use helping my people, as well as learning information for intelligence purposes,” he told the Commander in no uncertain terms, but also as a hint to the Admiral.

T’Prynn looked at the man with a blank expression, “I assure you, had I any intention of being a spy on your vessel you would not know why I was there. With that being said, I am to be here as much to help you as to help SFI,” he replied.

“Well, in that case, I think we’re pretty much ready to depart Admiral,” Sebastian revealed as he sat back again, “we’re missing one or two department heads, but I am confident that the officers we have in place in an acting capacity are more than capable of doing their job in the interim,” he advised the older Terran. Engineering would be annoyed with an early departure without a Chief at the helm, but there was nothing going on that they couldn’t complete en-route, and with the acting Chief in place they were in a better place than they had been. Not having a Tactical officer was probably going to be his biggest issue, but the crew would cope in the face of greater adversity elsewhere.

“Commander T’Prynn will report directly to you and your executive officer during her time aboard,” Hanson told as he mimicked the younger man’s earlier stance and sat forward in his chair. “Her security clearance grants her access to virtually everything you are likely to need in this mission Captain, so I am sure she will not mind if you use her talents freely,” he smirked as he looked at the beautiful Vulcan.

T’Prynn nodded subtly, “I would welcome it, Captain. I have spent the last six months on Earth and I’m very much looking forward to having something a bit more challenging to do,” she said, looking to the ship’s commanding officer.

“Then I suggest you go and get settled in, Commander. Let Ops know to give you some quarters,” the master and commander of the Santa Fe nodded to the Vulcan before looking at the Admiral again, “with your permission sir, we’ll depart tomorrow, after the mission briefing.”

“That will be acceptable,” the Admiral agreed as he rose to his feet with a creak that he was sure the others would have heard. “If you need anything in the meantime, or while out there, let me know.”

“Aye sir,” the Captain nodded.

As the other two began to discuss more important matters, T’Prynn did as she was instructed. Standing, she nodded her farewell to the Admiral and to her new commanding officer, and then made her way out of the room to find someone in Ops.

With the Vulcan dismissed, the Admiral and the Captain made their way to the younger ones’ private ready room to further discuss the mission at hand in the privacy of his office. Their conversation would take some time, but upon its conclusion he was left with the strongest belief that his crew and their vessel would be the right ones to deal with the mission parameters given.

All being well, tomorrow would be the day that the Santa Fe would commence perhaps the most difficult mission Starfleet could give them.