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Part of USS Achilles Archive: It Resides in the Purview of the Diplomats

A First Get Together

USS Achilles, Ready Room
August 1st, 2347
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After nearly three hours of taking on supplies and crew replacements, Achilles was finally underway once again and enroute to her rendezvous with Captain Usmanov and the starships Adriatic and Berlin. The time had been used in a variety of ways, but for the blonde-haired, blue-eyed Trill in command of the Ambassador-class ship, the time had been used to welcome a number of new additions aboard. In normal circumstances, she would have allowed them some time to get used to the ship, their crewmates and her, but the Achilles did not find itself in normal circumstances. Quite the opposite, in fact. Thus, she had no choice but to call an early staff briefing.

Sat in the sanctuary of the briefing room on deck one, at the head of the table and facing the incredibly large, multifunctional wall monitor opposite, the Captain pressed a button in front of her. Across the ship, the familiar boatswain’s whistle rang out, signalling the opening of a communications channel. “All hands, hear this. Senior staff report to the briefing room. Senior staff to the briefing room.”

Doctor Sandoval entered the briefing room several minutes later wearing a lab coat over her teal medical tunic. She carried n herbal tea in one hand and an old-fashioned writing pad in the other for taking notes. “Captain,” she greeted naturally before sitting down at the center of the table with her back to the massive windows. Flipping open her pad she wrote the stardate on the top of the page in neat calligraphy.  Setting the black pen down on the pad she sat back with her tea cradled in both hands and sipped it meditatively.

Eline was in her quarters, unpacking and becoming comfortable with the space she had to call her own. She heard the announcement that was piped through, and and set the thing she had in her hands down on the dresser. She puts on her red uniform jacket and buttons it up, making sure that the rank strap was well adjusted. After a final glance in the mirror, she grabbed a notebook and pen from her desk and heads out toward the turbolift, and back to the briefing room. Upon entering, she sees the Captain and whom she presumes is the ship’s doctor, with a medical tunic and lab coat.

“Good afternoon, everyone!” Eline said in a cheery voice. “Captain, good to see you again” Eline smiled as she took a seat to the right of the head of the table. She then turned to the ship’s doctor and smiled warmly. “Good afternoon, Doctor. I haven’t had the pleasure. I am Lieutenant Commander Eline Liebenberg, First Officer.”

“Hello Commander,” Claudia replied politely.  Her voice was warm, but to the point, “It would appear that you have yet to injure yourself.   I do believe that is a good thing.”

When the doors opened again, Lieutenant Tumaini Calumn marched in from the bridge, a little stiffly.  He nodded at each of the officers in turn, but couldn’t find the words to say much of anything.  He silently mouthed a couple of hellos.  If one looked closely, one could see beads of sweat along his hairline.  Otherwise well-maintained, it wasn’t obvious if Calumn had been running from the security office or if he was simply nervous.  As the odd man out, Calumn was carrying one of the new generation PADDs he had found in the security office.  He rapped it against his thigh twice – a nervous habit.  Calumn selected one of the empty seats, a little bit apart from the others, and he settled himself into the chair.

Keziah had been waiting for the security officer’s arrival, sliding one of the new data PADDs down the table to him. “Security protocols for your timely review, Lieutenant,” the Trill smirked between acknowledgements to the rest of the gathering.

Calumn mirrored her smirk back at her, breathing out the smallest of sighs of relief.  He accepted the PADD and immediately started to scroll through the file on its display.  “Thank you, Captain.  Nectar of the gods,” he said, in reference to any new intelligence and directives from Starfleet.  More than that, scrolling through the latest protocols gave Calumn an easy excuse for avoiding why he hardly knew how to make small talk with humans, or the Captain.

Cathmor was talking with Lieutenant Endirk, the temporary Chief of Engineering, they had been reviewing the data that himself and Lieutenant Calum had found. She was frowning the skin on her forehead wrinkling in concentration when the coms called for all senior staff to report to the briefing room. She eyed him before saying “I need to look into this more, it might be a bit unorthodox for me to send you in my stead, but i believe you would benefit from being there and be able to better help the permanent Chief better by being there yourself.”

Cathmor was a little taken aback by this but he swallowed all of his questions about the prudence of this decision and instead just responded with a yes chief before leaving the engineering deck to head to the briefing room. It did not take him long before he was in front of the door, he could feel a cold sweat running down his back. ‘Think of the solution not the problem’ he muttered the relaxing mantra to himself, the problem was he never expected to be here this quickly having only met a handful of officers and the Captain only in passing. ‘The solution? Deep breath and do your duty, they are only other people you are great with people.’

Holding deeply to that thought he stepped as confidently as possible through the door and into the briefing room. Upon entering it felt like every eye there was on him, he tried to speak and found his mouth shockingly dry. Taking a deeper breath and forcing himself to swallow again he spoke. “The Chief of Engineering sends her apologies ma’am, but something has come up and she sent me in her stead.” He waited there for her response unsure what to do with himself.

“I appreciate you being here Ensign,” the Captain nodded to the junior officer.

Soon enough, a little cluster of officer’s entered at roughly the same time, with Lieutenant Vasoch Gor leading the charge. The Tellarite Male was the ship’s navigation officer, and until now, was the de facto second officer. With him was the token Vulcan science officer, Lieutenant J.G. Jarrik; a beautiful, albeit bald Bolian, Lieutenant J.G. Gaxin Drawas, in the gold of flight control, and a younger (yet older in appearance thanks to his species’ unique hairstyles and moustaches) Efrosian Lieutenant, J.G. Faral Osad in charge of communications.

With everyone now present, the Captain called the meeting to order. Sitting forward in her chair, the elegant Trill placed her hands clasped together on the table’s surface. “I must apologise for not gathering you all together sooner, but circumstances have dictated a somewhat unorthodox start to our mission,” she declared, looking around the table, “there will be time for pleasantries and welcomes along the way, but for now we must focus on the mission at hand.” With that, the Trill tapped the control panel before her and activated the large screen at the table’s end. On it, a map of the Cardassian border. “We will shortly arrive at the Betazed system, the construction site of the new Starbase Two-Eleven. We will rendezvous with the starships Berlin, Hermes and Okinawa before we progress to the Cardassian border. Tensions are on the rise and these starships will be our escort. Starfleet feels the presence of one of our most powerful ships will send a signal to the Cardassians,” the spotted woman revealed.

“They’re certainly sending signals too,” Calumn said gravely.  He looked to each of the faces around the table.  “It was in the Federation news this morning.  The Cardassians have colonised another world hardly more than a sector away from our colony on Soltok IV.”

“There’s incidents of Rudellian Plague going around in the area.   The crew should be inoculated. The senior staff and anyone on away teams at the very least.” Claudia added.

“See to it, Doctor,” the Captain nodded. “Each vessel in our task group has been given a patrol route, and we’ll be flitting between them, responding wherever there may be a need. We’re also going to visit Soltok upon our return and let them know that Starfleet is close by,” she revealed with a sinister smile to her face. “We know very little about them, and there have been less than a dozen official meetings between our peoples, but for some reason, they just don’t seem to like us very much… Osad, you’ll monitor communications during our stay at the border. Any chatter about our group and I want to know about it,” she instructed.

Claudia nodded and scrolled several notes into her notebook to remind her to get enough doses for the entire group and to organize an inoculation schedule for the crew.

Nodding swiftly, the Efrosian’s golden locks flowed freely beside his face. “As you wish, Captain,” he agreed.

“Now,” she tapped her controls again, “we’ve received word that Starfleet is organising some official peace talks between our two parties. We don’t know where, we don’t know when. I’m sure the place will remain secret until the last minute, but for now, we need to be ready for any situation that may arise. That being said,” she looked down the table, “Mister Langston, an engineering report if you please?”

Cathmor shot up straight back in his chair from where he had been leaned forward looking at information and scrawling notes as fast as he could. Taking a moment to calm himself he responded “Yes ma’am of course, all propulsion systems are optimal, the only hiccup we have had is a small issue the new type IX phaser array system that was found thanks to Lieutenant Calumn.” He paused for a moment to nod appreciatively at the Chief of Security. “There was a small issue in the coding for the gate timing that has since been rectified, we are of course doing an in depth check of all coding in our phaser systems now to make sure it was only an isolated issue. The work report has been filed and sent to you for approval before sending it to Starfleet so we can make sure it isn’t a coding error that could have been put into service down the line. Other than that all systems are working as intended Captain.”

Affecting a warm smile for Cathmor, Calumn added, “Ensign Cathmor reflected well on our engineering team, captain.”  He looked over to Nazir to make sure she heard how well the young officer had performed.  Calumn said, “He spotted the problem and sorted it in no time.  All tactical system diagnostics are reporting back in the green now.”

“Communications systems are all functioning within normal parameters,” the Efrosian told, “making our part of the plan easy to follow.”

“Very well,” the blonde mistress of the ship nodded. “Are there any questions before we call this meeting to a close?”

After scribbling a quick engineering note on his PADD, Calumn looked up at his fellow officers and then he met eyes with Nazir.  Deferentially, Calumn asked, “Of course, I understand if the answer is confidential, captain, but can you share with us if the peace talks were requested by the Federation or requested by the Cardassians?”

Claudia paused writing on her pad and looked up glancing from the captain to the chief of security.   That was a question she hadn’t considered.  After all she had just assumed it had been the Federation.  The Cardassians had expended the resources on their own planet long ago and was on a campaign of empire building to compensate.   But, a calamity could have occurred, like when Praxis threatened the Klingon Empire. And if something like that occurred she could have her hands very full.

Relaxing in her chair somewhat, the blonde let out a smile as she shrugged. “Not something I have been made privy to,” she confessed, “I know nothing more than you lot do.”

With no further questions, the captain dismissed her team.

“Thank you, captain,” Lieutenant Calumn said as he rose to his feet.  His thanks spoke to the briefing in general and he waggled the PADD in the air, as well, to give thanks for the latest security protocols.  With a nod, Calumn said, “Let’s hope our diplomats continue to do what the Federation does best: make friends.”

Claudia was far more pragmatic in her view.  Maybe it was the separation of generations,  but she had seen nothing but conflict in her youth.  From the Klingons to the Romulans she did not share Calumn’s optimistic view of the Federation.   Not, that she didn’t hope for peace.  She very much did indeed.  She was a doctor after all, but she also knew that peace wasn’t always to be had… especially when it came to the Federation and how the Prime Directive handcuffed negotiations.   

Collecting her things she stood, gave the crew a brave smile. Nodding to the XO and Captain she set off for sickbay.  She needed to make preparations to inoculate the crew, and in case negotiations turned ugly.  She wondered if she could convenience Starfleet Medical to assign a few more nurses… maybe even some combat medics.