Part of USS Venture: Episode 1: On the Frontier’s Edge and USS Venture: Season 1: Into the Frontier

A Midnight Stroll

Deck 3
August 5th, 2400; 0015 Hours
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Captain’s Personal Log, Stardate 77594.03. Captain Thaddeus Scott, commanding.

 

It’s been two years to the day since I assumed command of Venture following the untimely death of Captain Qarvez during a climbing expedition on his homeworld of Benzar. While many continue to mourn the loss of their friend, I find myself reminded of the fortunate hand dealt to me, whether by fate or divine intervention. Two years ago to the day, Aries put in for repairs at Starbase Bravo and I found myself presented with the opportunity to assume command of this fine vessel and her crew. Those years have come and gone in the blink of an eye, but I find myself dwelling on the events of the last six months.

 

Whether it be riding out the spatial phenomenon we now call the Century Storm, and dealing with its aftermath, or the calamitous fall out from the Romulan Star Navy’s coup on Rator, Venture has been on the front line of it all. But now, we find ourselves presented with a new challenge. No longer shall we put out brush fires or ferry stuffy old men to barter away a planet’s resources. Today, we have a new job. A job everyone joins Starfleet for. A job everyone desires.

 

Today, we become explorers…

On the eve of every assignment he had received from command since assuming the mantle as master of the starship Venture, Thaddeus Scott trampled the decks of his ship at random, conducting a tour of the ship in an effort to gauge the mood of his people.

‘His people.’ He had put in a lot of work to be able to call this crew ‘his’ following the death of their beloved Captain Qarvez, having to win over the hearts and minds of all aboard. Qarvez had been with some of them their entire careers, having been in command of Venture for nine years at the time of his passing. Even today, two years on from his passing, Thaddeus could still sense his predecessor’s spirit lingering on, reminding him that he could never stop working to earn the respect and admiration of a family that had been together for some time. Even with several departures over the years, including just recently, some of the crew still struggled with the memory of their previous commander.

‘Do you remember when Qarvez…’ or ‘Qarvez wouldn’t have done it like that…’ Just two statements that he still heard, even to this day. No one did it to hurt his feelings of course, but it still got to him from time to time. But Thaddeus Scott hadn’t got to where he was by being a timid little lamb that let every little reminder get to him. No, he had got to the echelons of command by being calm, calculated and, where necessary, ruthless. A ruthlessness he had shown in the last month when he shipped out the last remaining senior staff from the days of Qarvez, and replaced them with his own people. In the two years that had followed, Scott had seamlessly transitioned out eight senior officers to pastures new, encouraging them to apply for promotions, recommending them to other captains and postings, or down right promoting them himself in an effort to cleanse his senior team and make it his own.

It wasn’t to be cruel, or unkind. It wasn’t to disrespect the memory of his predecessor. It was necessary to establish his authority on this ship and its crew, and it had been a long term project. He expected that the same had taken place aboard the Aries when he had left, having been in command there for seven years himself. In truth, if he could have moved his entire staff with him from Aries, he would have, but that had not been an option. So, he’d had to be calculating and ruthless in his decision making. One didn’t get to be a commanding officer of one of Starfleet’s premier explorers by shirking the tough calls.

Calculating. Ruthless. Necessary.

Tonight, as he patrolled deck three, was the first time he truly felt the absence of his predecessor and felt like the ship was his. Perhaps that had something to do with the fact they were no longer finishing the tour of duty that had begun under Qarvez’s command. Today, as they warped towards Starbase Eleven at great speed, they were to embark on a new tour of duty, their first long term mission since the ship’s construction. A mission they had all been waiting for. A mission of long term exploration.

Following a short layoff at Starbase Eleven for the transportation of supplies and personnel, Venture would head towards the relatively unexplored region identified as the ‘Galactic South’, with a view to seeking out new life and new civilizations, boldly going where no one had gone before. Or at least that was the plan. Thaddeus, or ‘Tad’ as he liked to be called by his friends, had been in command of starships long enough to know that matters rarely went to plan, but for now, he wouldn’t worry too much about that. There was, after all, plenty to look forward to! A few new arrivals would meet the ship at the starbase and complete her roster; engineering would continue to have chance to look over an issue with the environmental controls on deck thirteen; the science team were looking forward to all the updates they would be making in the coming days. Hell, even the medical team were looking forward to an opportunity to take a well earned break and embark on some team building ( cough shore leave cough ) activities after a hectic period of time near Romulan space.

“I told you not to bet my whisky. That was the last of my vintage from Earth.”

“Relax will ya? We’ll just replicate one and send that instead.”

“Are you stupid? If Taeao finds out we’ve duped her, we’re dead.”

Thaddeus couldn’t help but smile as he listened to the unwitting couple that approached him from several yards ahead, the two only calling a halt to their heated exchange when they very nearly bumped into the commanding officer.

“If I were you, I would avoid angering Taeao. Rumour has it she keeps a plasma rifle under that bar,” the Captain advised the two younger officers stood just inches in front of him and at possibly the sharpest, most upright version of attention anyone had seen. His arms folded across his chest, the Captain looked the least bit surprised. He recognised them, of course. He recognised everyone on his ship. Ensign Dazia Kiaol, a Trill from the security team, and her companion from the science department, Ensign Nisha Kedam. Two well known pranksters, and two officers he had heard about for all the wrong reasons. Both had great potential when they wanted to display it, that was why they had been accepted to Venture in the first place, but all too often they wanted to do things their way, rather than the right way. Whilst he applauded initiative, he abhorred disorder. And these were two of the most disorderly crewmembers he’d had the displeasure of commanding.

“I was just joking… I’d never really…” Dazia looked more than a little sheepish as she tried to blag her way out of the telling off she anticipated, stopping only when the face of their commander told her he saw through her every word.

Glaring at each of the youngsters in turn, the Captain eventually shook his head in a most disapproving manner, then rounded the officers, dropping his arms to his side and striding away, headed further on his travels. Where? Only he knew.

“Frak me,” Nisha finally let out the largest exhale of breath she had ever given. “As if you just got caught trying to swindle the captain’s friend?!”

Dazia, wide eyed with sweaty palms, simply looked at her counterpart, then with a jerk of her head, she led the Cardassian down the corridor again.

Several yards behind them, Thaddeus stopped at the corner of section alpha, staring back at the youngsters, watching as they went about their business deep in conversation. These young women had so much promise, their entire careers ahead of them. His eyes narrowed as he glowered at them from distance. It was time to put the pranksters to good use. Perhaps a little cargo transfer duty when the ship arrived at Starbase Eleven? Or maybe that was too mundane? These young women needed to be refocused on their duties and on the life of a Starfleet officer.

He’d need help, and he knew exactly who to call on.


In the dead of night, with the ship at warp and very little occurring, the bridge was a picture of tranquility with its dimmed lights and quiet consoles. The sheer volume of automated systems present on modern starships meant that the days of every station being manned during Gamma shift were long gone. Aboard Venture, only three officers were required to be present throughout the shift, and that meant a quiet time for all involved.

At the CONN, a duty station that was manned around the clock, a Bolian Lieutenant, Fyhya Kirsa, dutifully watched over the ship’s course and speed, in between reading the latest chapter of the latest Andorian horror loaned to her by Ensign Th’killen from engineering. At one of the flanking stations, yet another blue-skinned youngster, Andorian Ensign Tariss Zh’erih, was using the opportunity to get some much needed bridge time logged and had swapped out with her colleague, Ensign Kedam, for the luxury.

Finally, in the command pit surrounded by ‘The Arch’, ridge-nosed Bajoran Nikti Keesa had the privilege of being in command for this particular night shift. Her third in a row to be precise, but the Bajoran Operations assistant loved every minute of it. It was her chance to not only log bridge time, but also command time. She harboured a desire to be a bridge officer before long, and this time was crucial to achieving that aim. Not that she minded sitting in a comfortable chair, having beverages brought to her every so often whilst being engrossed in her own reading.

The perks of being at warp, on a routine mission, headed for Starbase Eleven. Peace and quiet.

Or, not?

On this particular night, the tranquility was disturbed by an incoming transmission that drew the attention of all there present. “It’s from Starfleet Command,” Ensign Zh’erih confirmed, glancing at the dark-haired Bajoran who rose from the command chair.

Rounding the Arch and coming to a stop beside the Andorian, Lieutenant Keesa tapped the display and read the message. It didn’t make for great reading.

Letting out a sigh, she said the three words she hated, and the three words that would no doubt make her very unpopular in just mere minutes.

“Wake the Captain,” she instructed, returning to the safety of the command chair. “He’s going to want to know about this.”