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Part of Starbase Bravo: The Homefront and Bravo Fleet: The Lost Fleet

A cold welcome

Starbase Bravo
2041
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As the transport ship door opens onto Starbase Bravo, Landen Monters steps onto the sprawling platform. Starfleet personnel, merchants, and civilians of countless species, all busily going about their lives with a clear, awe-inspiring and disorienting purpose. His gaze falls upon alien species and cultures he had only studied in books.

His eyes dart between the various security officers as they bounce through the crowd, each with their purpose and direction. Meanwhile, he stands stationary and overwhelmed. His two travel acquaintances, who had seemed so friendly during the journey, were not set to disembark here. It was a shame, as he so desperately yearned for a cordial guide right about now. Others leave the transport, moving with swift and sure steps that suggest familiarity with Starbase Bravo. Their confidence strikes him, and he feels a pang of envy.

He scans the crowd nervously, unable to shake off the unnerving feeling of being watched. He’s an outsider here, and his inactivity in this bustling beehive of activity only accentuates this fact. As he hovers in place, he can’t help but imagine unseen eyes on him, wondering why he’s just standing there, and this sends a fresh wave of anxiety washing over him.

A security officer briskly approaches him and impatiently asks, “Name and purpose of visit?” Monters’ is caught off guard by the officer’s frantic attitude and cold demeanour, so it takes a few milliseconds longer to answer, “Err, Landen Monters. I’ve been assigned to Starbase Bravo as a Science Officer and….” As Monters explains, the officer nods impatiently, looks him up and down, and pokes at his PADD. And before he could finish answering the question, the officer cuts him off, “Very well”, and heads directly to a different passenger.

Monters feels an intense wave of vulnerability with no welcoming committee and the minutes stretching out uncomfortably. He nervously pulls out his PADD, thumbing through the data with a furrowed brow to look like he belongs. Yet, despite confirming he’s in the right place at the right time, his pulse rate refuses to slow.

His heart feels heavy in his chest as the initial excitement of his new posting gives way to a stark reality – he is alone, far from home, and entirely out of his comfort zone. He had imagined an escort or at least a colleague to meet him, but the bustling platform offered no such comfort. Finally, after about 10 minutes, he watches the final few stragglers leave the area. He’s all alone now, with nothing but the hum of the environment.

Monters tightens his grip around his PADD and luggage, taking a moment to compose himself. With that, he fingers through the PADD to locate floor plans on Starbase Bravo. The goal was to get his bearings and find his way to a safe space, his new quarters.

He heads towards the largest of the three doors dotted around the bay, noting that most people left through it. Then, stepping through the doorway’s threshold, he slowly edges down the corridor, one eye on the PADD and the other on the ground.

Despite the unnerving newness of his surroundings, Monters finds a strange sense of exhilaration starting to take over. It’s a different world, far removed from the ordinary, predictable life at Starfleet Academy. This promise of the unknown, the mystery, sets his pulse racing with a thrill that isn’t entirely unpleasant. He reminds himself that he’s here to solve puzzles and find answers. Starbase Bravo is nothing but a giant puzzle waiting to be deciphered.

Before long, he finds himself standing in front of his assigned quarters. The door slides open with an uncomfortable whine, revealing a compact, utilitarian space that is to be his new home. The quarters are neat and clean but decidedly impersonal and oddly devoid of windows.

For a brief moment, a wave of isolation creeps upon him again. His previous quarters at Starfleet Academy, while equally stark, had offered a view of the bustling grounds. However, the lack of a window is a metaphor for his current state – cut off, isolated, surrounded by steel and machinery, but devoid of familiar human touch. But then, he shakes off the feeling, reminding himself that this is another challenge to meet.

Feeling somewhat drained, Monters places his carry case on the stark metal bed, its dull thud echoing in the small room. As he unzips the case, a small envelope sits inside. His heart skips a beat as he recognises the familiar handwriting – a letter from his mother. As he opens the envelope, warmth washes over him, offering a small but significant tether to the home he left behind. Even amidst the steel and stars, some things, he realises, remain unchanged.

He sets his PADD down on a sleek, minimalist desk in the room, and it flickers to life, displaying the schedule and information he needs to familiarise himself with. Landen’s analytical mind kicks into gear as he meticulously reviews each item on his agenda for the next day.

First, he reviews the details of the departmental briefing he is expected to attend. The intriguing topic involves the analysis of recent encoded communications intercepted at Starbase Bravo. Landen makes notes, jotting down questions and ideas that come to mind.

Next, he studies the protocols and security measures specific to Starbase Bravo. There is a recent overhaul based on current events in the sector. That would certainly explain the cold welcome. As a Science Officer, he must be well-versed in his field and understand the overall security infrastructure.

The evening stretches on, with Landen engrossed in his studies. Occasionally, he takes a break to pace around the small quarters, his mind still processing the flood of information. In these moments, he glances at the letter from his mother, feeling a pang of homesickness but also a renewed sense of determination. Her words remind him of his purpose and the challenges he has already overcome to reach this point.

As the night wears on, Landen realises the need for rest. He changes into comfortable sleepwear and lies down on the narrow bed. In the gentle hum of his quarters, he reflects on the journey that brought him here, the dreams he nurtured, and the aspirations that burn within him.

With a final thought of gratitude for the opportunity to serve on Starbase Bravo, Landen’s eyelids grow heavy, and sleep begins to claim him. Yet, as he drifts off, he believes tomorrow is a new day, full of possibilities and opportunities to make his mark on the Starbase and the vast reaches of space.