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Part of Outpost Houtman (Archive): Start-up problems

One step at a time

Outpost Houtman - Operation Center
September 2400
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The base was only made a week ago, yet it felt like it was getting active on various points. Incomplete systems and such were still an issue. But hopefully, it would be resolved quickly, and incoming personnel was the other issue at hand. Nakil had the manifest of the base in his hand while looking outside. “This location is no good….” He mutters to himself, thinking about the area having too many disadvantages. 

There was a sonic boom that rattled the glass in the frame, and a heavy civilian cargo shuttle broke through the clouds. The hull was painted a gaudy gloss red that gleamed under the planet’s sun.  Trimmed in chrome, the shuttle looked more like a car from the 1950s than a spacecraft in 2400.  

The craft circled the outpost before slowing to a complete stop twenty meters above the ground. With retrothrusters activated the craft decended towards the ground as landing struts extended from the underside of the shuttle.

The craft set down in a thick cloud of beige dust completely obscuring it for a moment. The roar of the engines powered down as the dust settled, and a ramp lowered from the back. A pair of crewmembers wearing grey overalls stepped off the shuttle and looked around.

A lone Starfleet officer followed them down the gangway. She wore a gold uniform with a duffle bag slung over her shoulder.   Her copper hair was in a perfect bin, uniform pressed, and combadge and rank pips gleamed under the sun from a recent polish.  Even her black boots had received attention and had been spit shined.  A process that literally required saliva to be applied.

It took some time, but Nakil made his way down to meet up with the new arrivals. He had already greeted some of them as his eyes fell upon Kat. “Welcome to Outpost Houtman, I am Commander Ga, the Commanding Officer of this base.”

“Lieutenant Katherine Donovan.  Security,” she replied snapping to attention. 

Looking at her, a bit curious, “You can be at ease, Lieutenant. Formality is not that strict here” Nakil points to the back “Come” Nakil turns around and starts walking back to the main operation center “Your first posting at an outpost, why the sudden interest, Lieutenant? You were doing quite well in space”

“Opportunity sir,” Kat replied falling in step with her CO, her hands clasped behind her back.  “Security is security and matters little to me if it’s on a ship or a planet.”

Nakil stopped and looked at the Lieutenant. “Yea, that doesn’t answer my question there Lieutenant, this is a starting colony, and we are at the beginning of getting this planet ready to have more people. Eventually, even civilians. You will be dealing with Ferengi, Breen, and more daily. It is different from a ship, as then you can simply fly away. Is that what you seek?”

It was a fair point, “Of course sir.  Well, you can add challenge to the list then. Still they are people sir.  I have no issues with Ferengi… but Breen sir?  They are traditionally antagonistic towards the Federation.”

“Never said it was on friendly terms Lieutenant” Nakil winks and continues his walk, “Starfleet is aware of the potential aggression lurks out there. We are not really in their target range at this time, but…” Nakil shrugs a bit, “If we grow and have more traffic, than they might start showing interest”

Kat thought for a moment,  “They are already watching us. I’d bet on it.  It’s what I’d do. You don’t just let an enemy set up shop in your backyard and ignore them.”

“Good, that means you know the profile of the Breen already” Nakil entered the Operation center “I do expect my Chief Security to be on top of her game and be aware of any kind of situation that may endanger our station” A sudden small tremor came as Nakil grabbed the side and shrugs “These are coming more often…”

Kat frowned,  “I’m no geologist but couldn’t a more stable location been chosen?”

“Tell that to Starfleet that chose this location” Nakil shrugs as the tremor stops again “Mmm it stopped, that’s good. Anyway, do you have any questions regarding your new position?” 

“It would be nice to know what resources I have available to me. Do I have a full security force or am I the sole sheriff in town.. so to speak.”

A valid question “A team of five, for now, your team grows with the pace of the colony growth. Eventually, you will get your security building to operate from.” Nakil entered the operation room where all panels were giving information, “But for now, you will be staying with the other senior officers in this building to do your work from” 

She nodded, “Other than Breen and possible Ferengi petty crooks, what is the tactical situation?”

Looking back at her, straight to business, he liked that “Well, the planet itself. For long time it was ignored due to its natural conditions, and you know Starfleet wants something nice and something with a beach to colonize. But when the USS Walker came back, they noticed the mines” Nakil leans on a console “Our tactical situation is the dilithium mines. Plus, other resources are pretty rich on this planet. The moment worth comes out, we will get attention, and we need to be prepared for that”

“Understood.   I noticed bluffs on the edge of the settlement.  I would like to establish a permanent observation post.  It commands the high ground,  and a skilled marksman could eliminate dozens of attackers as well as observe incoming and outgoing vessels.”

Nodding “Thinking out of the box, impressive feature you got there” He points at her for a second as Nakil thinks “We got a few matters to resolve before I can approve that, Lieutenant. But I will call up a meeting with the other senior staff before that happens. The best thing you got to do right now is settle in and get used to your new home” He leans a bit back “Just for the record, we don’t have civilians yet. The colonist is not here. We are the …how to call it. The pre-arrival team that gets things set up makes sure everything is checked off before the miners arrive”

She smiled.  Challenge indeed! “Like an Old-West boom town,” she observed. 

“Exactly” Nakil gave a nod of approval knowing the reference, “Until it becomes a decent city to a wonderful Risa colony of course. Do you have any other questions?”

“I have to be honest with you… if this place turns into a Risa I’m going to be looking for a transfer.  There’s something raw and visceral about this place. It feels alive like few places I have ever been to. I can feel that even with such a short time here. There’s just something fake about Risa and other similar colonies.  The weather tightly controlled, the people living like it’s perpetual holiday… it’s unnatural.” She paused to take a breath, “No questions right now sir, but I am certain that I will have some in the future.”

Nodding to her “Good, my office is always open…when it is constructed” Nakil looked around wondering where he actually has an office “But again welcome to Outpost Houtman Lieutenant”

She snapped to attention.  “Thank you sir.”  With that she make a sharp about face and strode out of the operations center to tend to settling into her quarters, not that that would take too long.  After that she thought she would walk the grounds and the surrounding area to get a feel for what she was getting into.  She also wanted to observe her team before introducing herself.