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Part of USS Aquarius: New Beginnings

When Strategy Meets Tactics…

Starbase K-8; U.S.S. Aquarius
Stardate 78040.3
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Daniel looked around the transporter room as it slowly became visible during the transporter re-materialization process. Arriving in one piece after a short delay, he nodded to the transporter chief as he was welcomed to the station. Daniel stepped off the pad, repositioning the shoulder strap of his belongings as he walked, and exited the room. He had never been to a K-class station before in his career, but had plenty of time to memorize where he needed to go to oversee the efforts for the Aquarius. While the ship was docked, they were conducting repairs and resupply operations before getting underway, and there were some tactical systems in particular that he wanted to inspect before they were installed on board, mostly being replacement phaser coils and additional torpedo casings. 

Taking a few steps out in the corridor, Daniel paused and decided to check in with the ship to let them know he had arrived and was preparing to oversee the tactical system updates before transporting to the ship. He tapped his comm badge and said, “Lieutenant Commander McKnight to U.S.S. Aquarius, requesting communication with the commanding officer.” 

The computer chirped in response and then paused for a few seconds as it made the proper connectio…..eventually, a stern voice accented with a subtle growl came over the comm. “This Lieutenant Commander Q’orvha, current Acting Command Officer of the Aquarius. To what do I own the honour of this interruption?”

Daniel grinned. Before coming to the Aquarius, he had time on the long shuttle ride to Starbase K-8 to scan all of the personnel logs of the crew, and recalled reading up on Lieutenant Commander Q’orvha. He had no problem admitting that he was excited to serve with a Klingon, developing a fondness for their culture and cuisine over the years. During his time with Starfleet Intelligence, he had spent many years in both Klingon and Romulan territory, and because of this, he knew both species very well, even learning both languages fluently over the years. 

“Reporting in, Captain.” He knew she wasn’t ranked a captain, however in Starfleet tradition whoever was in command of a vessel, regardless of their rank, was addressed as such. He continued, “I’ve been assigned as the U.S.S. Aquarius’ new executive officer and chief tactical officer, my transfer orders should have been transmitted moments ago. I am currently on board the station, I was going to inspect some of the systems before coming on board, with your permission.” 

”Hhrrrr…” A rolling growl could be heard from the commbadge, before recognizable speech could be heard again. “…I’ll be right down…give you the full tour. Don’t need you tripping over of the conduits before our technicians get them back behind the bulkheads…stay right there.”

“Acknowledged.” Daniel tapped his comm badge, closing the channel. He took his belongings and placed them on the ground next to him while he waited for Q’orvha. 

After a few minutes, a pale Klingon woman wearing a cowled Klingon robe over a red Starfleet uniform walked around a nearby corridor, her footsteps falling with eerie silence upon the deckplating. 

“Greetings Commander,” she said, her voice a loud whisper, as she approached the new First Officer. “I am Lieutenant Commander Q’orvha…Chief Intelligence and Strategic Operations Officer….and prior to your arrival, the highest ranking officer onboard.”

Daniel nodded as he listened to his officer report the ship’s current status. One thing that he did learn from all his years knowing her species: interrupting a Klingon could sometimes prove to be a deadly mistake. 

”Your reign will be short lived. I have confirmed that Captain Vaelana is on Station K-8 and will soon be arriving to assume command of this vessel proper.” The Klingon replied before gesturing down the hall. “What part of the Aquarius would you like to review first?”

He grinned again, then replied, “Thank you Commander, I’m sure my reign will come again in the future.” Still smiling, he continued, “While we were here I was going to review the tactical systems, however which departments are currently undergoing the heaviest repairs or refit? Would be prudent to start in those areas.”

”Hard to quantify…” Q’orvha answered, adjusting the cowl of her hood to block the light fixtures from her gaze as she turned to begin walking down the hull. “…For ship not in drydock, the Aquarius’s modifications and tune-ups are extensive at the moment…our transition from Project Resolute‘s testbed into a more stock and stable Excelsior-II class cruiser means a work over of many systems…the heaviest work is probably being done in the shuttle and cargobays however, where we are loading up our stores with relief supplies bound for the old Neutral Zone and space beyond.”

Daniel picked up his belongings, again forever fidgeting with the shoulder strap, and began down the corridor. He turned to the commander and said, “What can you tell me about our Captain? Have you met her or had a chance to speak with her?” He turned his head and looked down the hall, trying to remember where to go, “I must confess, I did some light reading while en route to the station, looking over everyone’s personnel records-” He paused a bit, looking down another corridor, trying to determine if that was the right way to go, “The Captain’s, from what I could see of it anyway, seemed most… interesting.” 

“…tell me, how much could you actually read of that file?” Q’orvha inquired as she led them down the left side of a T-junction, her voice tinged with suspicion.

Daniel had a small smile form in the corner of his mouth before replying, “A great deal, though I would be lying if I said I read all of it. I caught all of the good parts.” He continued with her down the hall, allowing her to lead the way since, in truth, he had no idea where he was. He tried to memorize the station layout, but after catching up on all the personnel records, he found he didn’t retain as much of it as he would’ve liked. “I prefer to make my own judgements of character, in my experience personnel records don’t always give you the complete picture.”

”A respectable position.” Q’orvha noted. “If you managed to read the most interesting parts, than your access clearance must be rather higher than normal for your rank…tell me, Commander, what did you do prior to this assignment?”

“Well, Commander,” Daniel started as he continued observing the station around him, “my most previous assignment was the U.S.S. Avalon, but before that I mostly worked with Starfleet Intelligen–”

Q’orvha stopped suddenly and spun around sharply on her heals, her robes briefly lifting above her knees by the centrifugal force. 

“…Another Hu’tegh ’Spook!’” She hissed behind bared fang-like jagged teeth, so strongly that the universal translator had trouble keeping up with the string of invective Klingon profanities that flooded out into the corridor. ”I suppose with two ghuy’cha assets amongst the senior officers, those yIntagh jay’ back at Command would send us a bloody Minder to keep more direct tabs on us…”

Daniel said nothing, allowing the Klingon to vent her frustrations. He had much experience with her people and knew from experience that it was sometimes best to allow them to vent their frustrations before completely shutting them down. Though the same can be said that most of the time you should shut it down hard before it can grow into something more, but Daniel could sense something different about Q’orvha and her behavior. He decided to stay quiet and let her speak her piece. 

The Klingon seemed to calm down and she readjusted her cowl to once again block the station’s harsh lighting from reaching most of her face. “Despite my outburst of profanity, I do not begrudge you or your position, Commander…even if your position is low-key, a direct professional insult to my existing assignment as the Intelligence Liaison on the Aquarius. It’s a logical move, even if that was not the primary reason for your deployment here. 

“Our Captain is a Romulan turncoat…I am a former Daughter of Gre’thor who became an intelligence operative in exchange for amnesty for my past acts of piracy…it’s a miracle…or a convoluted conspiracy…that we’re both allowed to even don this uniform, much less that we are both assigned to the same vessel…so, even if it is naught but a coincidence that our new First Officer is also a fellow ‘Spook’, I can’t imagine any of our superiors back at Headquarters were unhappy to place their stamp of approval on your transfer orders…and from what I recall of my past run-ins with Commander Vaelana, she should be at least sharp enough to come to the same realizations that I have.”

Q’orvha turned back around to continue walking down the hall, turning around a corner to come face to face with an open airlock door that lead to a ’gangplank” personnel transfer tether. The stark contrast between the simplistic, sharply angled, and barren older architecture of the K-class station, juxtaposed against the more modern, complex, busy, and curved interiors of the Aquarius, was quite noticeable and catching to the eye.

”Just be aware of that when she finally arrives…you might be in for a rough greeting…doubly so if you attempt to conceal those factors from her” She added as she crossed the threshold between the Station and the Starship’s interlocked halves of the docking tether.

Daniel nodded slightly as he listened to the officer share her concerns, following her through the threshold into the Aquarius. “I understand your feelings on this situation, Commander.” He paused for a few steps, then went on, “If I’m being honest, I had similar feelings when I reviewed the crew manifest for this assignment. My years of experience in the field tell me that there is no such thing as a coincidence, and I do somewhat feel as though my posting here may have been a quiet attempt by command to watch over certain officers on this ship.” 

Daniel stopped short of revealing his experience with and his postings in both Klingon and Romulan territories, deciding not to give everything away all at once. He also figured it was a good way to test how much the intelligence officer would be able to find out about him and what kind of relationships she had to access such information that has been classified. He didn’t enjoy feeling as though he had to test her, or the captain, but Daniel was the type of person to sit back and not prepare for every contingency. If this posting was not a mere coincidence, he wanted to be ready for anything. 

Continuing down the corridor with Q’orvha, Daniel smiled, acknowledging and introducing himself to several officers along the way before finally saying, “All I can tell you, though you may not believe it, is I have not been sent here by Starfleet Intelligence.” He chuckled softly, his eyebrows raising slightly as he went on, “In fact, I was the one that applied for this post when it became available. Does Starfleet see that as a happy accident? Perhaps, maybe that’s why they were eager to get me here even though I am not yet a full commander. But regardless of the how, I am here now, and I’m hoping to make the most of it. I’m very much looking forward to serving with you, Commander.”

The pair made it to the end of the gangway and Q’orvha tapped a nearby access panel to open the Aquarius’s Outer Airlock doors. “Ech…you will probably come to regret those sentiments, Commander McKnight…but for now, since you are also our Tactical Chief, how about we start in cargo bay 3? Our supply of quantum torpedoes are currently being restocked and held for inspection in there…we can then follow them to the forward torpedo bays for loading and make our way up through the ship from there?”

  • Q'orvha

    Chief Strategic Operations Officer