Part of USS Jaxartes: Journey To Vashran

Part 3: USS Johannesburg

Epsilon-Kappa 306
6th March 2401 14:00
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Everything had run smoothly and gone to plan and the USS Tarim dropped out of warp just beyond the eleventh planet in the star system simple listed as Epsilon-Kappa 306; or Gofrashran as the locals of the fourth planet referred to their sun.  Roughly translated as ‘Giver of life’.  Vashran itself simply meant ‘Living’ and nothing more.  The planet was living and so where the people on it what could be more simple.

Ensign Cho as Communications Officer and a lover of language in general had spent a good part of the journey studying everything there was to know about the Vashran.  To her the Universal Translators where all well and good; but to understand the context in which a word or sentence was being used could make all the difference.

Vashran was a relatively typical M class planet, slightly larger than Earth with a fractionally wider orbit around its sun.  A day lasted 27 hours and there were 379 days in a year.  The planet had two moons though technically the second moon at only 50km across orbited around its much larger brother and not the planet itself.  As the runabout got closer Jason who’d taken a seat in the cockpit next to Lyanna; got his first glimpse of the USS Johannesburg; she was an Obena-class vessel currently on this diplomatic mission.  It was her Runabout they’d found under the sea during their previous mission.

Ensign Stuart made voice contact with the starship and received clearance to land in the Johannesburg’s main hanger bay.  As they were already coming in from behind the other craft; it didn’t require much of a course correction to line up for the approach.  Ensign Stuart brought the Runabout in through the bays containment field; but instead of simply setting the Tarim down on the empty pad, she turned the ship clockwise through 180 degrees before landing.

“No need to show off Miss Stuart.” Jason said quietly in her ear as he got up.  As he was the first one over to the hatch Devron opened it himself and stepped down onto the deck.  He spotted a Bolian in a red command uniform of a design that differed slightly from those he’d more commonly seen.  The man seemed cheerful enough and had a slight smile on his lips; hand raised ready to shake that of the new arrival as he closed the gap.  “I’m Commander Gleway; Welcome aboard the Johannesburg.” He shook Jason’s hand firmly but not to rapidly. “You must be Devron.”

“Yes sir, that’s me.” The young Ensign replied. “I wasn’t expecting such a welcome.  Not exactly sure why I’m here if I may be honest with you?”

“Bit of a diplomatic stumbling block with the locals.  I guess The Romulan’s left them with a few trust issues.” The Bolian spoke with more of a whisper.  Then in a more normal tone of voice. “If you and your crew have any bags Lieutenant Shadaga will show you to the quarters we’ve set aside.”

Devron looked over towards a rather tall and slim female; with golden speckled skin and white hair just touching her shoulders; standing a couple of metres behind Gleway.  He had absolutely no idea what race she was from and tried not to stare too long.  He had to admit though; she did look remarkably beautiful, the way those specks of gold seemed to shimmer in the light.

_____

Each of them had a room to themselves all on the out edge along the same deck; giving them a view of the planet below as the Johannesburg kept perfect pace with its rotation.  They had all agreed to meet up later in the day and grab something to eat.  Without having actually contacted each other first they all managed to exit their respective quarters within the space of a minute.  Everyone else apart from Andrianakis who was wearing a deep purple pantsuit; had on their uniforms.  They walked together towards the nearest turbo lift which took them to the ships main restaurant as recommended my Commander Gleway.

The sign above the double doors which appeared to be made almost entirely from frosted glass, read ‘Welcome to Jozi’s’.  When Jason asked one of the staff working at the premises who Jozi was; it turned out to be an abbreviated name for the ship.  The four of them sat and ate with the occasional glance from various members of the ship’s crew, but no one seemed to pay them too much attention or wonder why they happened to be there.  To anyone close enough who’d bothered to listen in on the conversation going on between them, it would have been evident that they all got on rather well together.

During drinks at the end, Lyanna turned to the Greek woman. “So Phoebe what are your plans after we get back?”

The other woman looked thoughtfully at her half full glass of wine, sloshing the liquid around. “When Hachiro offered me a position on the Atragon; I just couldn’t believe it.” She paused to take a tiny sip. “Why me I mean.  I’m not exactly unique or special.” She looked around at the rest of them; sadness in her eyes. “I guess I’ll just have to find some little outpost or refugee camp that needs a doctor or head back Earth side.”

“About that.” Jason spoke up before anyone else could offer their sympathies to Phoebe. “Before we left Starbase 86, it was confirmed to me I’m definitely Jaxartes captain from here on in.”

“And you’ve been acting your usual distant self for five days without telling us that!” Lyanna was both annoyed and happy in equal measure.  They’d all suspected it, especially after Devron and everyone else had been cleared of any wrong doing on their last mission. But when he hadn’t come out and said anything directly; it had left them wondering ‘what were they not being told?’  Jason jumped slightly an indication that the young Orion had possibly kicked him under the table.

“Well that’s great news.” Enthused Cho.  She looked at her own empty glass. “I could do with a top up to celebrate.” She waved over a passing waiter and asked for another bottle.

“It does mean I get to keep you as my crew.” Jason continued.

“Only if the captain promises not to withhold vital information in the future?”  Lyanna looked directly into his eyes.

“Message received and understood Miss Stuart.” Devron smiled back.  “As captain I can make requests regarding crew acquisitions if a suitable person is known to me and available. Subject to the usual approval.”  He paused a moment as the waiter having brought along a bottle topped up everyone’s glass. “Miss Andrianakis I would like to offer you the position of doctor aboard the USS Jaxartes.”

To say the Greek woman was taken aback would have been an understatement.  She looked first at Lyanna and then Cho; who both gave her an approving node. “You could actually do that?” She asked him.

“The answer to that is yes. I checked before we left.” No sooner had the last words left his lips; Jason moved his legs to one side; just in case a certain crewmate’s booted foot was heading for his shin again.

“If you’re completely sure?”

“Very much so. I have first-hand knowledge of your skills, remember?” Jason touched the area on his uniform where the Orion had shot him.  It only really hurt now if he pushed himself too much in the gym or twisted sharply, other than that it was fine.

She had to admit that the friendship and understanding shown by these individual seated around her, had helped her get through the traumatic events on Y’Teck V.  Yes she still had nightmares; the counselling was helping; but the image of Max Wallerstein’s partially burnt body still haunted her at night.  It was too early to know how all this would affect her in the long run.  Phoebe needed to be with people, people she trusted; right now that was the crew of the Jaxartes.

“Then I would be honoured to accept the position.” Andrianakis replied.  “Does this mean I have to wear a uniform?”

“Not until everything’s done official back at base.” Devron informed her. “You’ll still have to go through the medical first like everyone else.  But I can’t see why you wouldn’t pass.”