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Part of Starbase Bravo: 2401: Mission 1

On the Job Training

Starbase Bravo - Sector India-Navy; Deck 395
October 2400
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Cynndle stood with his back against the corridor’s bulkhead outside one of the large commercial hangers that were dotted around Sector India-Navy of Starbase Bravo. His orders, as usual, he found since he became a Deck Officer, were a bit vague. He was to oversee the unloading of a food shipment bound for the various restaurants onboard the station but that was it. As it was a civilian vessel the crew and dock workers would make short work of it and he was there to make sure nothing untoward happened.

His combadge chimed and he tapped it without thinking. “Go for Lieutenant Oin’sun.”

His CO’s office came over the coms, “Cynndle, slight change, we have assigned a cadet to work with you today. Show them the ropes.”

Cynndle sighed, “No problem, sir. Just waiting for the transport to dock. ETA 5 minutes.”

“Glad to hear it,” his CO said then cut the line.

“Company will make this go faster,” he muttered to himself as he turned and checked the computer panel beside the door confirming the ship was still a couple of minutes away from docking.

Darion was running through one of the myriad of training simulations he’d been assigned to complete during his tour of duty on Starbase Bravo, He’d been making a point to keep ahead of schedule by putting in an extra hour a day on the holodeck training suite to ensure that any other tasks that arose wouldn’t set him back. Whilst he wasn’t the only Cadet to do so only a handful of this years intake took a similar approach and Darion was sure they’d soon regret not taking the initiative to exceed expectations soon rather than later.

As if almost on queue his comm badge chirped pulling him from his line of thought and back into the present, rather than recalculating the shots in the computer Darion kept the ships phaser on the same setting and instead lead the target a little holding over roughly where the shots had trailed a moment before. He fired and was awarded with the satisfying implosion of a warp nacelle crippling the enemy ship without destroying it.

Tapping his badge he watched in distracted interest as power went offline on the enemy ship section by section “Cadet Hayes”

The Cadet duty manager voice echoed through the holodeck as it shut down in completion of the training. He’d receive his grading at the end of his shift. “Cadet, you are to report to Lieutenant Oin’sun in Sector India-Navy to assist and shadow for the rest of the shift”

Darion couldn’t help but wonder if the timing of the call coinciding with him completing his training exercise was a coincidence or not “Aye Sir, On my way” he replied

It took only 10 minutes to get from the holodecks to the commercial hangers he’d been assigned to, he was beginning to learn his way through the megastructure of a Starbase and each day he was learning new pathways and nooks that held interesting shops, stalls or offices. Spotting Cynndle using a computer near a door Darion smiled, Lieutenant Cynndle Oin’sun was the first person he’d spoken to when he’d arrived on the station. He was pleased to have been assigned to someone familiar today.

“Lieutenant, I’ve been sent to report to you and provide assistance,” he said announcing his presence

Cynndle turned and looked at Darion as he approached, “Cadet, it is good to see you again. Hope you have been settling in well?” He asked with a smile. 

“Yes, so far so good thanks” he replied smiling back “The adjustment has gone relatively smooth and you were correct about them being a good group”

“I am glad to hear that,” Cynndle responded as he double-checked the computer console. “Ah, looks like the transport has docked,” he said and looked back at Darion. “We have a fun-filled shift of overseeing the unloading of foodstuff for the various restaurants on the station. The civilian crew and dock workers will do most of the heavy lifting but it is always good practice to review what is coming on board and do conduct an inventory of the items as they arrive. The last thing we want is for one of the restaurant owners or chefs to blame us for lost goods and be banned from the restaurant.” Cynndle laughed knowing that was unlikely to happen and handed Darion a PADD; “This has the expected inventory but it may have changed a bit so keep your eyes open.” With that, he turned and walked into the hanger.

“Ah, I wonder if Ukleyr’s Gagh is finally in this shipment” he half asked and half muttered to himself as he took the PADD a slight smile cracked his face as he recalled the bartenders dismay at her delayed shipment. He skimmed through the list “Any items of interest we need to look out for” he asked. Recalling that some Starbases in the region were suffering smuggling of banned produce throughout the sector. There always seemed to be a black market of sorts. Mostly harmless but almost always present.

Cynndle let out a laugh at that, “The follow-on shipment maybe but Ukleyr got gagh not long after we were there. If she hadn’t I am not sure what would have happened to the station or the courier.” He pulled out his PADD and had a glance through the list again following Darion’s question, “Nothing on here seems to be problematic but we can never be too careful. Each item has an image of what it should look like attached to it on the inventory list from our records here so if you are unsure of something check there or give me a shout. That said if your instincts tell you that something isn’t right let me know and we can deal with it.”

As they walked into the hanger a mid-sized cargo hauler was sitting on the platform, its exterior bay doors opening releasing steam into the air around the aft section of the vessel. Cynndle looked over to the nearby deckhand, a young Tellorite man who looked visibly annoyed that the doors were taking so long to open. “Everything set for the unloading?” he asked. 

The Tellarite grumbled under his break and nodded, “Just need them to open up so we can get in, this ship always has something that slows us down so we have to move even faster to get it done on time.” 

“Interesting,” Cynndle responded and looked over at Darion with a quizzical look. “Thanks for letting me know.” Cynndle waited a minute as the deck hand turned and wandered towards the ship before turning to Darion.

“You catch that cadet?” Cynndle asked.

“The same ship always having issues” he stated tilting his head slightly “Either incompetence or a deliberate move to ensure the freight doesn’t undergo full checks in order to meet deadlines” he suggested “Potentially trying to slip something past customs, either in or off the ship” Darion tapped a way at the PADD he was handed earlier, scanning through the itinerary list. “Nothing listed would be worth the effort in small enough quantities to go unnoticed, so it would need to be something off the books” he noted, his Tactical training making the neurons in his brain fire linking possible coincidences and connections.

Cynndle smiled, “That is exactly what I was thinking Darion, good work.” He turned and looked back towards the ship as its cargo rams were still slowly being lowered and had only reached the halfway point after several minutes. “Fishy indeed,” he muttered under his breath.

He waved for Darion to follow him as he walked along the side of the bay to the control console. “Have a look around the ship, as we have a minute or two. I am going to go check the sensors here. Let me know if you see anything odd.” With that, he stepped up to the console and began to work.

Darion nodded staring at the painfully slow ramp descending and grew impatient. He took a few long strides forward and leapt up and hurdled himself over the ever descending ramp. Whilst it may of been a little brash Darion was keen to catch the ships occupants a little off guard if possible. Whatever they may be hiding was likely already well hidden and in place, but the longer he had to check the supplies the more chance there was of it actually being discovered.

Pulling out his tricorder that he’d been issued once he came aboard Darion set out scanning the closest cargo to the door. If it were his operation he’d have the goods around two thirds into the delivery. It would be around the time of this cargo being loaded that the deckhands would be under the most pressure to get a move on and the most likely part of the process that corners may of been cut in order to meet the deadlines.

What surprised Darion the most though was the lack of ship crew in the first cargo bay area, he’d been expecting both eagar crew to be disembarking for the station and the sorrowful few that would of been chosen to stay behind as the skeleton crew to oversee the exchange of cargo from the ships perspective. Unusually though there was not a soul to be seen yet. 

Another delaying tactic? he wondered to himself continuing his scans. Though he’d suspected that anything untoward would be further on in the bowls of the ship these items would be the first to leave and he wanted a head start on the vetting process.

Tapping his badge to establish a connection to Lieutenant Oin’sun “Sir, is it usual for there not to be a welcoming committee at the offloading?” he asked curiously, his suspicion was growing.

Cynndle looked up and stared in surprise as the young Cadet jumped over the descending ramp, “That’s one way to do it I guess…”  He quickly finished setting up a continuous scan of the bay that would notify him if any transport signals or any strange readings before reaching for him combadge when Darion’s voice came through.

Frowning Cynndle responded, “Yes and no; if they know their ramp is slow they may just be getting ready. Wait there until I can join you.” With that Cynndle walked towards the ramp, now most of the way down and stood beside several of the waiting deck crew. One of them turned to look up at him and chuckled, “Don’t see Starfleet do that too often, guess he really wanted to see the cargo?”

Cynndle suppressed a chuckle himself, “Something like that.” But before he could finish speaking there was a load clang and the ramp hit the ground. The deck crew cheered and the foreman shouted, “Let’s get it to unload now, double time we are behind schedule!”

Cynndle stepped onto the ship and up to Darion, “Still no crew, eh?”

“None so far” Darion replied closing his eyes “I’m feeling a lot of anxiety and anticipation emanating from the ship but I can’t tell if it’s the crew or the deckhands that are running behind schedule” Darion opened and narrowed his eyes a little “It’s definitely both” he almost whispered “Maybe an exchange, which means one or more of the deckhands could be involved”

Darion off-lined his tricorder and looked to the lieutenant “None of the cargo in this section has anything suspicious, cargo matches the itinerary and mass, volume and molecular structure match the goods.”

Frowning Cynndle looked around, and waved at the foreman, “Does the crew usually come out and help?”

The man shrugged, “First time with this ship but Jacib has,” he said and pointed towards the Tellerite Cynndle had spoken too early. “Jacib. get over here.” A moment later Jacib came over, “What? We got work to do?”

“Does the crew usually stay inside when the unloading takes place?” Cynndle asked.

“Mostly, never pay attention to that really. Pretty sure I have seen one or two each time though. Figure they are just lazy and cannot be assed to help.” Jacib said with a shrug. “Can I go now?” Both the Cynndle and the foreman nodded and Jacib turned and left.

Cynndle turned to Darion, “Mine as well go and say hi. Inspections are part of this.”

Darion nodded “Sounds like a plan”

Walking on over to the main hatch separating the aft cargo ramp from the rest of the ship, an old design using physical hatches and bulkheads over force fields, designed to prevent decompression in the rest of the ship should something in the loading bay malfunction Darion tried the door controller. It took a number of seconds before the display shone red and chimed an error tone

Darion sideways glanced to Cynndle and back at the door control unit “More delay tactics?”

“Who knows?” Cynndle said as she tapped his combadge and connected to the ship’s coms. “This is Lieutenant Oin’sun, we are here for an inspection of the cargo and ship while. Please release the hatch locks.”

Darion stared at Cynndle’s comm badge waiting expectantly for a response, he was disappointed when there was no response, Darion looked over to the same deckhand who was called over before and noticed a laser tool on his belt “Can I borrow that?” he asked, gesturing with his hand.

“Whatever” The deckhand replied thrusting it into Darion’s hands “But I want it back” he walked back to the cargo pallet he was working on grumbling to himself. With a bemused grin Darion turned back to the door controller

“Well malfunctioning comms, a stuck door, dodgy ramp and so far no proof of crew I’d say this provides enough concern for a well-being check” he announced recalling the legislation he’d had to study for his Tactical role. 

Darion used the laser on the side of the Door Control Panel, prising off the outer case and exposed the wiring. he began to mutter to himself as he worked “This is and outer security door so it would be set up as a fail secure system, meaning the lock will need to have power supplied to it” he said straining the last syllable as he shorted the lock power and watching the door click open “The system will be in alarm as a valid request to exit signal wouldn’t of been received but the door is open and we have access” 

“Solid work, cadet,” Cynndle said with a smile. He turned and peered into the hatch before calling out. “This is Lieutenant Oin’sun, we are here for an inspection of the cargo and ship while. We are coming aboard.”

Darion looked down the corridor, noticing that many of the lighting panels were in various states of disrepair and functionality, the rooms that had viewing windows weren’t much better, the ship was in a very poor state “This just gets weirder and weirder” he muttered under his breath. Moving further into the ship the sound of muffled raucous laughter could be heard from within the ship What was going on? he asked himself silently. The anxiousness he’d been feeling earlier was subsiding so it must of been emanating from one or some of the deckhands. Now he was getting the overwhelming feeling of carefree abandon tinged with continuously shifting but muted emotions.

Cynndle looked around and sighed, “What a piece of junk. Amazes me people let their ships get to this state.” As they progressed further into the ship he called out again, “Hello? Anyone there? We are here to inspect the ship.”

After a moment or two, he thought he heard a grunting response just before they reached a doorway at the hall. As they stepped up to it there was an overwhelming smell of alcohol and vomit. Looking in the room he could see 5 individuals sprawled over a table with bottles of various types of alcohol spread around them and on the floor.

“Well, I think I know why they didn’t answer…” Cynndle said but was interrupted as a Nausicaan stumbled into the doorway on the other side of the room. He paused and looked at Cynndle and Darion with a puzzled looked.

“Whoo ou?” He said in heavily slurred speech.

“I am Lieutenant Odin’sun, Starfleet. We are here to inspect the vessel following the delivery. Though I can see this may not be the best time for you or your crew.” Cynndle said.  The Nausicaan just looked at him and shrugged before dropping into the nearest chair and promptly passed out.

Cynndle snorted a laugh and looked at Darion, “Crew of six, guess that explains things. We should put the ship on lockdown until an engineering team can give it an all-clear and speak to the crew when they wake up.”

Darion shook his head incredulously “We’ll I wont lie” he said looking around the room with his hands on his hips in equal parts amusement, disappointment and disdain “Kind of disappointing that this was the cause of a majority of the anomalies” he turned back to Cynndle “Somewhat of a deflated conclusion of a series of interesting events”

Darion used his PADD to inform the deck chief and Security Chief to start lockdown procedures on the Nausicaan ship and to perform an investigation of their own. “I guess I best get back to that panel and put it back into place”

“A good idea I would think,” Cynndle said. Moments later Cynndle lead Darion back out of the ship and couldn’t help but smile. He remembered feeling the same way as Darion when he was a cadet. “I can understand those feelings Darion. But all in all, this was the best way it could have gone down. But as you say it is good to be cautious and lock down the ship.” He glanced over at the workers and the rest of the large bay. “We need to wrap this up and submit the clearances for the shipment.” He passed for a moment before continuing. “How about you submit it? I will co-sign it clearance but you did a good job. Let us get that positive work record started.”

“Aye” Darion replied follow up with quick but earnest “thank you sir” and left the lieutenant too it while he dealt with returning the door panel back to its original setting