Part of USS Jaxartes: Journey To Vashran

Part 2: Runabout

Starbase 86 - USS Tarim
1st March 2401 10:30
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Three hours later; showered, shaved and dressed Ensign Devron was heading towards his assigned runabout with a go bag slung over his left shoulder.  He figured on being the first one there, but as he approached the USS Tarim, Jason noticed the hatchway was fully open and Ensign Cho standing just inside to greet him. “Welcome aboard captain.” She smiled and gave him a crisp and well executed salute.

“Thank you Ensign Cho.” He returned the salute having first lowered his bag. “I suppose this is Lyanna’s idea?”

“Yes it is.” Came a clearly Scottish voice from the cockpit area which was adjacent to the hatch. “I felt the more the merrier.” Ensign Stuart stepped into view.

“So who else have you sneaked on board without telling me?” Devron enquired in a friendly tone.

“Just Cho; I’m almost done running through our pre-flight checks.  The doc should be here soon, I gather our hosts insisted she came along.” The young Orion poked her head out to look along the currently empty docking area. “Chad and Dinari shouldn’t be too far behind us if anything happens along the way.”

“So I get to spend five days alone with three women, hmm.” Jason pondered the thought for a moment.

“Aren’t you a lucky man?” Chimed Lyanna.

“Ask me that in five days’ time.” Jason smiled and headed for one of the cabins to stow his gear.

_____

It was about five minutes later when Phoebe boarded the vessel.  She had a brand new rucksack on her back and a spotlessly clean shiny metal case in one hand.  When the Atragon had been wreaked everything she owned baring the clothing she’d had on at the time were destroyed.  Even her ID was lost and for the first couple of days on the starbase she’d technically been a none person.  Totally unable to move around freely or purchase any food or replacement clothing without help from a young female Yeoman who’d been assigned as her escort.  Only once her details had been transmitted from Earth, did she once more join the ranks of the living.

Ensign Cho greeted the Greek woman; then closed the hatch before turning to Lyanna. “All set.”

“This is Tarim requesting clearance to depart.” The young Orion called over the comms.

“This is Flight Control; you are cleared to launch Tarim,” came the reply. “Safe journey.”

“Thank you Control. Tarim out.”

The Danube class Runabout lifted up off her pad and glided effortlessly towards the open hanger door out into space.   It took a couple of minutes to get clear of the Starbase; where Ensign Stuart engaged the impulse engines at full thrust.  Then once clear of the outer security perimeter, she jumped the ship to Warp 5.  Baring anything unforeseen it would be a little over 5 days before they reached their destination.

_____

Devron had taken a seat in the lounge area in the aft third of Runabout, along with Cho and Andrianakis.  Nothing much was said for a good hour or so; each of them engrossed in their own thoughts and activities. Until completely out of the blue the Greek woman asked. “So what’s it like sharing a name with an entire star system, mister Devron?”

Cho kept her face as expressionless as possible and didn’t engage either of the other two in eye contact.  To be honest it was something she’d wondered herself; but in the almost five months she’d know the man, nothing had been said on the matter.  To be honest she didn’t know that much about him and neither did anyone else as far as she knew.

Jason placed the PADD he was looking at on the empty half of the long seat he was on and gave a slow stretch of his arms, before looking across at Phoebe. “As far as I’m aware my family had no connection with whoever it got named after.”

“You say, had?”

“Just me I’m afraid.” He gave out a sigh. “The only one left.”  That was a lie of cause and Jason knew it. But one of the sacrifices he’d had to make in order to maintain this new identity was sever all ties with his past life.  There was a tiny part of him deep inside that wished he had been in that restaurant back on Earth when the bomb went off.  But despite it all he was glad of the second chance.  Starfleet was in the blood of the family, or at least part of the family; and now it was in his blood to.

The other two noticed the faraway look in Jason’s eyes.  Deep in thought, remembering all the things he could never tell them about.  Telling people the fabrication that had been invented to explain this current life had never sat easy with him.  So he avoided saying much on the subject at all. The man known as Jason Alan Devron was only three years old after all.  Though right now he wanted to grab the idiot who’d selected the name for him by the collar and ask them what they could have possibly been thinking!

Silence fell across the lounge; all that could be heard was the low hum of the engines at warp softly reverberating through the deck plates. “Are you ok?” Phoebe asked the question in a tone she hoping would convey concern as a friend and not merely someone in a professional capacity.

“Yes. Well mostly at least.” Jason gave a half smile. “You’ll get used to my odd ways and long bouts of silence.”

“Shame I can’t cook us all a nice meal.” The Greek woman leaned forward clasping her hands together. “Things usually seem better after a nice meal; but I fear the choice on our on-board replicator is probably rather limited.”

Devron recalled his arrival aboard the USS Chaffee and how his friend and cabin mate Dinari, had managed to get food poisoning by reprogramming a replicator.  That thought brought a bigger smile to his face.  The young Namibian was the first in a relatively small circle of friends that Jason had made these past couple of years.  Jason was starting to feel a little more relaxed now. After spending a short while recovering from his wound what had followed was a week of intense question had really gnawed away at him both physically and mentally.  A dozen or more scenarios and possible alternatives had played through his mind but the outcome never improved and often ending up worse.

A lot of things just didn’t make sense.  Why would any race with the technical knowhow to us transporters fight with completely outdated weaponry?  He’d tried convoying that to the official’s questioning him back on Starbase 86; Jason had the feeling he’d be going through something similar once they arrived at Vashran.  To think for a moment there he was starting to feel a bit better!

“I really hope my words and actions aren’t going to be something that swings these diplomatic talks one way or the other?” He mumbled to himself.

“Sir?” Cho looked across hoping for some enlightenment.

“Oh don’t worry, just thinking aloud.”

Jason returned his attention to the PADD. Pondering what lay ahead.