Part of USS Altai: Here Be Monsters

Well I’m Here… Now What?

USS Don S. Davis
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Ensign Astrid Vogler stood at one of the floor to ceiling windows in one of the many crew lounges aboard the USS Don S. Davis. The aging Ambassador class had once been a front line ship, now it was reduced to hauling construction supplies.

“Can I get you anything Ensign?” One of the civilian servers asked.

“Huh?” She asked in confusion as she turned around. “Oh, no I’m good thank you.”

Below the Davis, and almost out of sight was her new home, the USS Altai. She had transferred from the USS Brandywine to the Altai. After two weeks she was finally here. It only required taking a shuttle to Starbase 23, then the USS Cairo, to the S.S. Argo, a civilian cargo ship, which was supplying Starbase 58, and finally to the Davis which brought her here.

She heafted her bag, and walked out of the lounge and into the corridor. At the end she sidestepped an officer getting off the turbolift and stepped inside. The ship’s operations, and second officer was inside.

“Morning Ensign,” the chocolate skinned Vulcan greeted politely.

“Good morning Lieutenant. How are you?”

“I am well. Is it safe to conclude that you will be leaving us today?”

“That would be a safe bet,” Astrid said with a grin lifting her bag in emphasis.

“Indeed. There is a shuttle departing for the Altai in a few minutes. Perhaps you can accompany them.”

“Thank you sir. I will. Computer main shuttle bay.” The lift whirred to life as it started moving. “Permission to speak freely sir?”

“Go ahead Ensign.”

“Why do I get a sense that you don’t like me?”

“Ensign, I am a Vulcan. I am incapable of liking or disliking anyone.”

Astrid smirked, “Sir, I don’t believe that in the least.”

“Vulcans do not lie.”

“Uh-huh,” Astrid replied as the doors parted, “Obviously. Good day Lieutenant.” And with that she stepped out of the turbolift.

She walked to the end of the corridor and stepped into the main shuttle bay of the Don S. Davis. Finding the shuttle that was being prepped she approached an Ensign that was supervising the loading.

“I was told you were heading over to the Altai?”

“Yeah,” he said with a grin. “You must be Ensign Vogler. Lieutenant S’tek said you would be accompanying me.”

“Great! What can I do?”

“Nothing we’re almost done. Throw your stuff inside and get comfortable.”

Astrid complied taking one of the seats aft of the cockpit. The Ensign and a pair of NCOs entered a few moments later. After a few minutes of preflight checks the shuttle lifted off the deck.

The flight over and subsequent landing on the Altai was equally uneventful. A quick security check at the door and she was finally home.

[USS Altai]

She had taken the last two weeks to study the layout of the ship, and had a general idea where everything was. Nonetheless she still got lost and had to ask for directions to get to the turbolift. A less than auspicious start to her career here. However, she eventually did find the turbolift.

“Deck one, bridge.”

The computer beeped in response and the car shot upward. During the ride she dug out the PADD with her orders, and used the blank screen as a mirror to tuck a few errant stands of hair into her regulation bun.

When the doors parted she stepped out. Taking a second to orientate herself to her surroundings she approached an Andorian sitting the the center seat. She snapped to attention the heels of her polished boots made a soft click. “Ensign Vogler reporting for duty sir.”

Streth looked up from his chair, recognising the tall, dark haired woman immediately from the list of scheduled crew transfers. Ensign Vogler would be one of the last of the crew to come aboard from the Don S. Davis before outpost renovation efforts were scheduled to begin. Different teams on each ship were now busy mapping out the outpost interior, putting finishing touches to schematics indicating systems to be upgraded, parts to be replicated, and structural reinforcements to be made. Amidst the flurry of activity, a niggling doubt still rattled around in the back of the Andorian’s mind. So far, they had been undisturbed and unchallenged. However, as the one responsible for the safety of his crew, a vulnerability still preyed upon him. The person stood before him now was a welcome respite from these thoughts. The Hazard Team was the ace up Streth’s sleeve, and Vogler was its leader. He’d play that card when needed. When the time was right.

“At ease Ensign,” Streth said. “It’s good to have another piece of the Hazard puzzle here. The team’s a bit of a handful but I’m sure you’ll get used to them,” he spoke loudly enough to be within earshot of Chief McQueen, the Hazard team pilot who now occupied the conn.

“Of course sir,” she subconsciously slipped into a parade rest position out of sheer habit. “Mr. McQueen,” she greeted. “This will be a new challenge for me sir, but I look forward to it.”

“I wouldn’t say a handful sir” McQueen noted “We’re just a little… boisterous. He turned to give Volger a grin “Welcome aboard Boss”

“Thank you Mr. McQueen, and ‘boisterous’ I can handle. I have a little brother and three sisters. I’m used to it. As long as you get the mission done in a timely fashion you won’t have a problem with me.”

Van Der Luan snorted. “By boisterous Cowboy means exactly what the Captain said, a right handful! And you can relax Ensign” He waved Volger down from parade rest.

“Spent a lot of my career in Security and Hazard teams, it can be a lot of fun, dangerous and unpredictable, but fun, mostly” He smiled, a veteran’s smile that only came from having managed to survive the fun.

“While the Team is semi-autonomous during operations, Lieutenant Christine Olafsen is Chief of Security and your Department Head, you and the Team report through her, understand?”

She did not relax. Doing so went against years of training, and relaxing likely would have made her relax less in front of the captain and XO. “Yes sir. Crystal clear sir.”

“Oh and with any group of specialists, it’s important, as their leader, to earn their respect.” He lowered his voice so it didn’t carry to McQueen this time.

“The Team members have years of experience and know their jobs, so listen to them and learn to trust their advice. You don’t have to follow it, but I advise you at least listen.

Things are more relaxed, less formal; they use nicknames as callsigns; you’re gonna be “Boss” it seems. Understand how small units work, you will have to prove yourself to them, they know you’ll make the odd mistake, when that happens own it, take responsibility, move on and don’t make the same one again. They’ll forgive you and learn to trust you if you work with them, ok?”

“Yes sir, but for the record I was an NCO. Hazard Team is new to me, but I know the senior NCO’s are the core of the team, and that I should lean on them.”

“I’m sure Ensign Vogler will ingratiate herself with the team in no time at all.” Streth brought a hand up, absent mindedly scratching at an itch behind is ear. He noticed that Vogler, while not snapped to attention as before, still remained alert. He considered that this was perhaps a sign of her tactical training and, moreover, an inner discipline that would surely serve her well in what would be a hardship posting for all of them. The ‘rough and tumble’ nature of the crew might not have had the glossy, Starfleet, sheen that many officers of a certain pedigree had come to expect of their postings. Voglers’ service record suggested no such predispositions, and Streth was happy with that.

The Andorian stepped forward, offering the young woman a handshake. It semed the appropriately human thing to do, “Look after my Hazard Team, Ensign. You can be damned sure they’ll look after you.”

“Yes sir. Of course sir. I prefer to lead from the front anyway.”