Part of USS Mercy: Mission 3 – “Lost in Space”

The New Girl

Starbase 11 / USS Mercy
8.13.2400 @ 2200
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Sam paced the small quarters she had been quartered in since arriving three days ago.  Starbase 11 was not in space.  It was on the moon.  That was the first part of the confusion.  The second part was her assignment to the USS Mercy.  She was a senior cadet required to do a practicum assignment, and somehow she had not ended up in one of the many practices near the academy.  Instead, she had been one of the few flung into the vastness of space assigned to a starship with a chief counselor.  She’d carefully planned her education, her classes, and her experience.  This was not in the plan.  An Olympic Class ship?  With a new crew, new captain, and new everything?  She had wanted to learn from learned counselors and experts, not a green crew with only a few months under their belt.

What in the hell had happened to her plan?  Her thoughts were interrupted by her badge beeping, =^=Cadet Soojin, the Mercy has arrived, and your transport window has opened.  Please report to transporter room 13.=^=  The channel clicked shut, and she sighed.  This was her life now.  She sent a message marking her belongings to be transported and stalked out of her room and down the hall and out into the air in search of transporter room 13.

 

 

“I don’t have you on my list, Cadet.”  The Mercy transporter chief stood, staring at her disbelief with his own equal disbelief.

“What do you mean, list?  I have orders to report to the USS Mercy today.”  She pulled out her PADD and clicked over to the message, and found it missing.  She frowned, feeling her face growing hot, “I had orders to come here for my practicum.”  She looked up, “I wouldn’t fly halfway across the galaxy and lie about that Ensign….”

“Ensign Blakely, Jake Blakely.  I don’t know what to tell you.”  He tapped his console, “USS Mercy to Starbase 11, we need to return Cadet Soojin to you – it seems we’ve got an orders mix up.”

There was a pause and then a chirp; = ^=Sorry, Mercy.  We’ve transferred her from our roster to ours.  Far as our records show, she’s assigned to you.  You’ll need to get with your captain or XO.=^=  The channel closed abruptly.

Blakely groaned, “And they’re both on the base doing interviews and collecting another captain.”  He stared at Soojin, trying to figure out a way to get her out of his transporter room.

She returned the stare, “You do have a chief counselor on this ship?  If someone’s going to take charge of me, it should probably be him.”

Jake clicked his tongue, “I may only be an ensign, Cadet Soojin, but I can tell when I’m being talked down to – and that’s not how we do business on the Mercy.  You better watch yourself with that fire.”  He tapped his console again, “Chief Blakely to Lieutenant Choi, I need you in transporter room 1 as soon as possible.  I have someone I need help with.”

Egrel lifted a brow as he heard the request over his combadge. He tapped it and replied, “I was on my way over anyways. I’ll be right there momentarily.” With that, he sped up his walking.

Egrel stepped into the transporter room. He gave a pleasant smile as he approached Blakely and Soojin. He stopped, clasping his hands behind him, “I was requested?” His dark eyes study the cadet with a curious gaze.

Soojin groused, “I was assigned to the USS Mercy for my senior practicum.  I’m Cadet Samantha Soojin, counseling.  I had my transfer orders on my PADD, and…now I can’t find them.”  She gestured to the transporter chief, “And it appears those orders are not here either.  The Starbase already transferred me here and won’t take me back.”  She gripped her PADD tightly to her chest, “I wasn’t supposed to be here in the first place, but I followed the orders and shipped out here anyway…and look where it got me.”

Blakely shrugged for his part, “I show the Starbase transferred her to our roster, but I have no orders in the system.”

Egrel lifted a brow and nodded, “I recall reading over the corresponding files about her transfer. I didn’t save them.” He frowned, “I apologize about that, but she is supposed to be here, Ensign. I wouldn’t have things prepared otherwise.” He gave a warm, gentle smile. He was trying not to react to her apparent displeasure, fighting the sarcastic, unprofessional urge to ask her how that made her feel.

Soojin didn’t release her grip on her PADD and kept her eyes drilled into the floor, “Can you please show me to my quarters and my work area?”  She let out a small sigh and begrudgingly pulled her eyes up to meet the chief counselor’s eyes.

Egrel nodded and gestured with a small smile, “Of course, follow me right this way.” He turned and started to walk off, expecting her to follow him, “Your belongings have already been sent over, I presume?

Soojin forced herself not to grumble in her answer, “Well, they tagged it for the USS Mercy…given the bumps so far, I’ll be hoping that’s the case.”  She followed him down the corridor, “What was your practicum like your senior cadet year, Lieutenant?”

Egrel nodded, “I’m sure it’s at least on the ship. We’ll track it down and get it sorted if not in your quarters.” He paused for a moment, considering her question as they walked, “I’ll be honest, it was painstakingly quiet and boring. Was likely a good thing for me, though. After the Dominion war, it was nice, actually. At the time, I hated it, but looking back, I kind of miss those years.” He glanced over to her and offered a warm smile.

Sam scrunched up her nose, “I’ve been warned about the ‘q’ word.  They said not to use it.  Invites all kinds of trouble, they said.”  She followed him, glancing around the corridor, “I’d never heard of the Olympic class before my senior year.  I guess I spent my first few years eying the flashier ships in the fleet.”  They stopped at an intersection in the hallway, and she asked, “Why are you here, Lieutenant?”  She apologized quickly, “I’m sorry…that came out…really ugly.  I forget I’m not senior anything around here.”

Egrel snorted softly and nodded, “It’s very true. Some strange human superstition that is incredibly true in a weird way. I use it for looking back after the matter.” He shook his head, “I never heard of the Olympic class till I was transferred to one, to be honest. I was stationed on a Steamrunner before. Not… really flashy or classy, but it was good.”

He looked over at her, smiling, not bothered by her question, “I’m not bothered at all, Cadet, don’t worry. On this ship specifically or in counseling?”

Sam let a small smile tug at her lips, “I was more wondering why the Mercy.  She’s not one of the well-known Olympic class ships in the fleet – I checked.  The captain and her crew are pretty new – just seems like an…” she selected her words carefully, “…an interesting choice.”

Egrel nodded, “Precisely why I chose it. A long-running ship has an already established culture and invisible hierarchy. Trying to blend in with that can be a bit of a nightmare when a lot of Betazoids aren’t liked for being telepaths. Being with a less well-known ship and a new crew can help build that team from the ground up.” He paused, nodding again, “I like seeing that. Watching all the connections form, seeing the crew go from all strangers to a family unit basically.”

They had ended up outside the counseling office doors.  Soojin glanced at the label on the wall, “I’m hopeful for that when I get my final assignment. A place to call home for a while.”  She stepped through the door as it opened and whistled, “This is pretty nice, Lieutenant.”  She admired the separate offices and waiting area.

Egrel smiled widely at the praise to the workspace. He worked hard to make the area appear cozy and welcoming, “Thank you. A place to call home is what I hope to provide for the crew and patients here.” He gestures around the counseling office, “I tried hard to make a welcoming environment here. It makes it easier if our patients are comfortable.”

Sam smiled, “It feels nice to have a sense of place after the craziness of getting aboard.  Am I OK to turn in for the night?  What time tomorrow do I need to report in?”

Egrel chuckled at that and nodded, “I can imagine. Yes, you are more than welcome to. Take the rest of the day, settle in, rest, and explore a bit. I’ll see you at 0700 tomorrow morning.”

Soojin thanked him and headed out in search of her quarters.