The area of space around the Devron Fleet Yards was buzzing with activity as small crafts darted around. Most of them were going to and from the Unity Class Starbase, their destinations or departures would be from the vessels secured in dry docks undergoing either repairs, refits, retrofits, construction or in this case, in the process of being filled up with crew so that they may depart on time.
While the Sovereign was buzzing with such activity, so was the Centaur but with work bees. The secondary deflector dish was completely removed and the torpedo pod was restored to its normal appearance. What else that could be going on with the Centaur is beyond the three gentlemen who watched both vessels from one of many view ports on the promenade on the Devron Starbase.
“So any idea when the Centaur will be back in service?” Ryker asked as he looked over to Captain John Carter.
Carter took a sip of his coffee first, then looked back to Ryker to answer. “No idea. Right now they are just working on restoring her to what she was before.”
Vakai frowned, “They are removing all the upgrades? Is that not counterproductive and a waste of resources?”
Carter chuckled. “Not all of the upgrades. Having the self diagnostic systems will surely free up more time for the crew but I think the matter is when they plan on putting her in a museum.”
“Aren’t you supposed to be retiring though?” Ryker asked.
Carter chuckled again. “I did say that a few months ago, didn’t I?” Carter sighed softly. “I have had some time to think about it and I am not so sure if I want to retire. Starfleet is my home and Summer feels the same way. We will probably still take a desk job somewhere. I could end up on a starbase, maybe this one and she’ll probably remain a Doctor wherever I end up at. You know, whatever is agreeable to Starfleet on couples these days.” He snorted.
Ryker smiled, “Speaking of which.” He looked at Vakai. “I heard you and Sivol finally made it official?”
Carter looked at Vakai as well when Ryker mentioned it and Vakai smirked. “Yes, we did. Had to spend over a week with her parents to convince them that I wasn’t some sort of spy or anything like that. After her parents accepted me and approved, we held a ceremony as per Vulcan tradition.” Vakai stared out at the Sovereign but he was not looking at it but reliving a moment. Then he came to and grinned before he looked at Ryker. “What about you and Ashley?”
Ryker turned his gaze away from Vakai and looked at the Centaur then at the Sovereign before he finally came around to answer. “Well you’re not the only one who has to get someone’s family approval. Unfortunately for me, her parents were not quite convinced. Honestly, I don’t know what the hubbub is about but we will try again the next time we get a chance to pick up some shore leave.”
Carter chuckled. “Good luck with that. With a ship like that,” Carter pointed at the Sovereign. “You two are going to be quite busy. Past crews have helped her make a name for herself and the class that she is, not only will Diplomacy become more important but so will more serious humanitarian aides that you can provide, including up to evacuations.”
Vakai nodded his head. “I am just surprised to be given command of such a vessel. I know there are plenty of Captain’s out there that would say that it is just a ship. But because of you, Captain, I understand that they are more than just a ship. But I also understand with this ship, I can be far more useful to my parents when the time comes.”
Carter and Ryker looked at each other, Ryker then smirked before he turned his gaze to Vakai. “Well, Captain. We should get to our ship and start reviewing those who we need to fill certain positions.”
Vakai looked at Ryker with a smirk. “After you, Commander.” He gestured down the corridor and they both gave Carter a nod before they left.
Ryker raised a brow at the manifest, staring at one of the new Ensigns after having filtered the list to rank. “Looks like we’re going to have our first Gorn Ensign. Have you ever dealt with a Gorn before?”
Vakai shook his head as he got a cup of tea from the replicator and took a sip while he headed over to his desk. “I have not. We do have Gorn officers though, you know. Our Task Force Commanding Officer is Gorn, remember?”
Ryker snorted. “Of course I remember. I just never personally dealt with one…in person…aside from our T-F-C-O.”
Vakai nodded as he sat down and brought up his holo displays. “So let’s get this list all situated. We already know where our friends are going to go, correct?”
Ryker sat down on the opposite side of the desk with a nod. “Of course. Koyda is the Security Chief, Maya is the Hazard Team leader, Gomez is the Chief of Engineering, Sivol is Chief of Medical and Gomo is our Tactical Chief.”
Vakai adjusted the roster accordingly only to notice that the ship’s Head Counselor is the one he had thought he would never have to deal with again. “Looks like our T-F-X-O has decided to take it upon himself to assign our Chief Counselor.”
Ryker sighed. “Let me guess. Lieutenant Commander Nuri Sucil? Our full blooded Betazoid?”
Vakai nodded his head. “Indeed.”
“I bet you that she is equally annoyed as you are.” Ryker chuckled before scrolling over a list of candidates that he had pre-selected. “So what about those temps we had on our last mission on board the Centaur?”
“They certainly proved their worth and they have the credentials, obviously.” Said Vakai as he was already adding Gatia and Bazial as their Chief Operations and Chief Science Officers.
Ryker chuckled when he saw that and moved on to the next before halting at two candidates he had selected for their Chief Flight Control. “Now, I am not quite sure but I wanted to run by you first.” Ryker then swiped up and sent the data of the two candidates to one of Vakai’s holo displays for him to see.
“So,” Ryker continued. “That one there is Ensign Steven Watson who is currently on Starbase Bravo as a Deck Officer. Apparently he has recently flown a Runabout during the situation at the Paulson Nebula and helped rescue over thirty Tellarites from their vessel that was disabled. But he’s a few months out of the Academy. So he’s a bit green and some footnotes from his instructors is that he’s a little cocky, maybe reckless. A bit of a class clown.” Ryker looked at Vakai and saw that he was still listening, just waiting.
Ryker resumed. “As for the other one, that is a Junior Grade Lieutenant Tagg. The thing that stood out with this Ferengi is that he has been piloting starships since he left the Academy, which I understand is the norm but he has been known to take on extra work. I don’t know whether that is because he is a workaholic or he has a reason behind why he is trying to prove his worth. But if we are to compare between the two, which to be fair is not really a fair comparison since Tagg does have more experience in the field than Watson does, but overall, I am leaning more towards Lieutenant Tagg.”
Vakai blinked before giving a head nod. “All right. Lieutenant Tagg it is.” Vakai went and updated the roster, as well as compiled a quick transfer order request to Tagg’s current assignment. “Now about our Second Officer.”
Ryker sighed. “Unfortunately I only found one candidate. At least, one who is available. Anyone else I inquired about, they’re either hunkered down on their current assignment or just not interested.”
Vakai raised his brows. “Not interested in being Second Officer on board the Sovereign?”
Ryker chuckled. “I know right?” Ryker then swiped up towards Vakai’s displays and Vakai saw the file on Lieutenant Commander Lexie Ward. “That is the only available candidate for Second Officer. My issue with her is, she is strictly by the book. She came from a vessel where both Commanding Officer and First Officer were all by the book. Basically they ran a very tight ship. I know we won’t have a choice, unless you want to make Sivol Second Officer.”
Vakai shook his head. “Normally there is no issue with that but we are recently wedded so, until Command can trust that we can work well together, her being Chief Medical is the best she is going to get without raising too many eyebrows.” Vakai then shrugged. “I don’t know, I could be wrong. But because of all we went through, the number of exams and tests and just … all that work we put up with to make it this far.” Vakai paused for a moment then leaned forward after placing his forearms on his desk. “I doubt this but I feel like we are treading on thin ice. Getting command of this ship was a sheer surprise to me.”
Ryker shrugged his shoulders. “I think you’re just overthinking it.” He smirked then looked back at the file. “So, unfortunately we don’t really have much of a choice, just that we should be prepared for complaints.”
Vakai nodded his head and adjusted the roster accordingly. “All right then. I will send these messages out and that should be it.”
After the runabout had landed, both Mizu and Ruby were standing on deck of the main shuttle bay. Ruby was gazing in awe at the Arrow Class Runabouts that were sitting in the other two bays, recent arrivals as he was told by one of the crewmembers, and just loved how beautiful they looked. To him, they looked like they were brand new. Even though he has not chosen to be part of the Flight Control Department, he was a pilot and he was looking forward to the chance of piloting one of those Arrows.
As for Mizu, well she found K’Roll and Elidia. Then in a split second, Mizu and Elidia were face to face, inches apart, jumping up and down and screaming with joy before they finally settled down and were jabbering away at how excited they both were to be assigned to this ship. K’Roll on the other hand, made his way over to Ruby while rubbing his ears.
Ruby chuckled at the Caitian. “Sometimes you wonder if they either forget that your ears are sensitive or if they do it on purpose.”
K’roll huffed. “I believe they do it on purpose.” He then looked around for a brief moment before he gave Ruby a smirk. “So what do you think about being assigned to this ship?”
Ruby shrugged his shoulders. “I think it is just a ship but Mizu may have a point. This is one of the prestigious ships in the fleet. First of its class, recently retrofitted…obviously.” Ruby pointed at all the holo-displays and other obvious upgrades. “This could be the ship that makes careers.”
“Or break them.” K’Roll told Ruby. “If you screw up and it is enough that gets you assigned off this ship, you might as well kiss your career goodbye.”
Ruby sighed heavily with a nod. “Yeah, no kidding.”
Elidia and Mizu came right over to them, Mizu with a big smile on her face. “I cannot wait to schedule time for one of the holodecks here. We can run our own Mech Brawl! Winner gets the least crappy chores and the losers have to do the rest!”
Ruby rolled his eyes. “Like that would ever fly. You know our department heads will see something is off and the first thing they’ll do is investigate and once they find out what we are doing to pawn our work around to the other, we’ll get pulled in for a long conversation and get a reprimand on our files and just…no. Just no.”
Mizu stuck her tongue out at him before she smacked her hands together. “Hey, do you know what quarters we are assigned? Who will we be bunked with?”
Ruby looked at them for about a minute each before everyone started to grab their padds to pull up their assignment orders that also had all their arrangements and such. Mizue and Elidia looked at theirs before they looked at each other and started jumping for joy and hugging each other. Ruby and K’Roll on the other hand.
“Who the heck is Mazak?” Ruby asked and the others came to look at his padd.
“Sounds like a Gorn name.” Said Elidia.
“Oooooo…bunked with a Gorn! Sucks to be you man!” Mizu chuckled.
Ruby rolled his eyes at her. “Whatever. I see this as an opportunity to get to learn about other cultures up front.”
Then the three of them looked at K’Roll, who didn’t understand why for a moment before finally realizing what they were waiting on. “My bunkmate is named Theo Lane. From the manifest here, he is a Nurse.”
Ruby frowned and folded his arms. “That is so odd. Me and Mizu are both in the Command Division. Elidia and this Lane person are both in Medical. Well Elidia also does some science. But the point is, they’re technically the same.”
Elidia stuck her tongue out at him. “They are not!”
“They kinda are. Medicine was made by science.” Mizu pointed out.
Ruby waved his hands to interrupt. “And K’Roll here is Security, same as Mazak. You would think that we would be bunked with those who are in the same department.”
“I think it is more to do with not wanting to bunk a male and a female together in the same room.” Said Elidia.
Ruby frowned. “Please, it’s the twenty-fourth century.”
“Correction. Twenty-fifth now.” Said K’Roll.
“Right, right. Year twenty-four hundred, the beginning of the twenty-fifth century. Doesn’t seem like a big deal. Anyway, the point is, what the heck would we have done?” Ruby asked as he looked at Mizu and then started to feel some regret in that question.
Mizu chuckled with a sadistic grin. “Oh I can think of some things that we could have done.”
Yup. Ruby regretted asking. “I’m sorry, what?”
Mizu laughed and pointed. “Got you! You’re absolutely right. We should be bunked together according to the department. So someone either messed up or has some bogitory standards.”
Ruby sighed with a shrug of his shoulders. “It’s whatever. Like I said, I get the chance to learn a culture up front. Plus, this may actually be beneficial for all of us. We get to make new friends and add two more people to the group!”
Mizu smiled and lightly slugged him this time on his shoulder. “There’s some positive thinking! Hey, today is all about settling in and getting familiarized with the ship. So let’s head for the officer’s mess! Let’s get hammered!”
As they began to walk, Ruby protested. “You know we’re still technically on duty and not allowed to drink alcohol right?”
“Ugh. Stop being Mr. Killjoy, Ruby!!” Mizu complained.
“Seriously?” Ashley asked.
Sivol nodded her head as she placed an item away. She was curiously exploring pretty much every compartment in her lovely and large sickbay, compared to the Centaur that she remembered. “Yup. My husband had spent a week trying to convince my parents that we were in love and that he was no spy.”
“Did you guys explain the whole…crazy thirty year adventure we had in our minds back at that nonexistent planet that we visited?” Ashley asked.
Sivol shook her head. “Oh gosh no. My parents would have denied the marriage right on the spot. They believe anything in that situation, like what we went through, what Captain Picard went through…”
“Admiral.” Ashley corrected.
Sivol smiled. “Right. Apologies. My parents do not believe any of that actually happened. They think it is impossible.”
Ashley rolled her eyes. “Unfortunately there is no way to prove to them that it did happen. The probe that the Enterprise encountered on that particular stardate, no longer works. I think. I got a lot of technical logs to catch up on. But as for our experience, the planet isn’t even there anymore. So we have no way of proving it.”
Sivol nodded her head. “And that is why they don’t believe it. I mean, it was hard enough for me to convince my parents that I wanted to learn to accept and use my emotions. Thankfully our trip has helped me with that.”
Ashley sighed with a shrug. “Oh well. At least Vakai was able to convince them. I’m happy for you two!”
“What about you and James?” Sivol asked.
Ashley rolled her eyes once more at that question. “Yeah, my parents are like a flipping self-replicating minefield. But James understands how important it is to me to have my parents approval and I want them to approve. It’s tradition in my family and I am not one to break tradition and James gets that.”
Sivol smiled at her. “I’m sure the time will come.”
“Yeah, I’m sure it will. Soon, I hope. So how are you liking your new sickbay?” Ashley asked.
Sivol slowly looked around in a full three-sixty degree before she looked back at Ashley with a smile. “I love it. So much bigger and filled with better equipment than the Centaur. Not that we didn’t have trouble helping the crew. Just, this will certainly make things a bit easier and quicker.”
“Well if you ever have any issues, after all the ship was just upgraded, give me a holler.” Ashley told her.
“I will make sure to do that. Are you leaving now?” Sivol asked.
“Yeah, thinking about taking another stroll in Main Engineering. I too have a big office.” Ashley winked at her as she headed for the door. “Catch you later, Sivol!”
“You too!” Sivol smiled and then resumed checking out her compartments.