Posted on Sun Jan 15th, 2023 @ 7:06pm by Captain James McGowan & Lieutenant Nicole Taggert & Lieutenant JG Cassie McClanahan & Ensign Jamie McGowan & Lieutenant Alex Sexton & Lieutenant Karissa ThorVaal & Lieutenant JG Mason Hillbrook
Preparing for Launch
Location: Starbase 81
Timeline: Stardate 47050.3
Captain's Log, Stardate 47050.3. I have been assigned to my second command, the USS Andromeda, NCC-71981, a Galaxy Mark II vessel, fresh off the assembly line. Ever since I saw the USS Galaxy exit Stardock, I'd always wanted to command one of these ships, and this is my chance.
She is a brand-new vessel, with modified warp nacelles so as not to damage subspace, while at the same time providing two additional phaser arrays for combat operations, which I hope will not be terribly soon. My luggage has already arrived, but I've not yet had time to unpack as I've been working out crew assignments and getting the senior staff together, along with getting the ship stocked and ready for our mission, which should be passed down any day now.
Unlike past ships of the class, the Andromeda forgoes the cetacean tanks in favor of several botanical gardens on decks 13 and 14, a way to save energy usage from the holodecks by providing several spaces for the crew to gather and feel a little less cramped than in the corridors and quarters of the rest of the ship. There are also a number of themed crew lounges to give the crew some variety when resting. A Pacific Islands lounge, Vulcan, Asian, Egyptian, German, and several others should give us plenty of relaxation off duty.
From what I hear my crew should include 18 Vulcans, 10 Andorians, 8 Orions, and several new species, to me at least, including an Aktevan, a tree-dwelling species with purple skin, Thieden, Kwenaran, Valerians, Zoharans, and two Bajorans. As the Vulcans say, infinite diversity in infinite combinations. Variety is the spice of life, and I look forward to seeing how the crew handle each other and work together.
Captain McGowan exited the turbolift and walked down the ramp of the bridge.
"Captain on the bridge," said the watch officer as everyone stood at attention.
"As you were," he nodded and smiled. While Starfleet was a stellar navy, and he did keep a tight ship, it wasn't crunch time just yet. The watch officer, Lt. Patel gave a polite nod. She was from Navabhaarat, or New India, a dozen or so light years from Earth, her family moving there in the late 21st century after First Contact, and she had striking blue eyes. She reclasped her shoulder strap, not wanting to look out of uniform for the captain.
In his ready room, the captain began unpacking a few things from his last command, some archaeological bits he managed to unearth during his travels, and a painting of his first command, which he arranged over the couch.
Spending a good thirty minutes, he felt a bit more at home in the ready room. He even had artifacts from the 18th and 19th centuries. On his desk, a picture of his wedding day with his wife in his dress uniform, the very image of an officer. The smiles on their faces were genuine. He had loved her so much.
The door chimed, and he responded, "Enter." He wiped a tear before the incoming officer could see it.
In walked a young, stunning officer, whose name and face he saw on the transfer orders, but seeing is a different thing. She was proportioned well; his professionalism and his own loss of his wife kept him in check from looking too much at one of his own officers.
"Lieutenant Nicole Taggert, reporting for duty, captain," she said with a professional tone. Her mass of blonde wavy hair was done up in a high bun and her uniform was perfectly kept.
"Welcome aboard, Lieutenant," he smiled, as he gestured for her to sit. "Please take a seat. Let's chat."
She was wary, wondering what he might've read on her own history. Taggert sat down, and crossed her legs.
"So, Lieutenant, I've read your file," he began, causing a nearly imperceptible raising of her eyebrow. "And with a few captain-only techniques, found myself looking at the classified section."
"I can explain..." she began, stopped by a hand.
"I know you're genetically modified," McGowan said, stopping her. "In your own home universe you were tortured by the Orions and changed from a young male to a female, where you've spent the last 5 years in a ship called...the USS Tomcat. Looks like you have quite a few awards while on that ship too."
Her face flushed red, then he continued, "Your past is past, Lieutenant. So long as you perform as an officer, we'll be good. I understand you take pheromone inhibitors to avoid causing, shall we say, personnel issues. Just make sure to keep up on that, and try not to make too much of a show of your color changing. I like what I see from your record, and I hope you'll be as good an engineer here as you were in your home universe."
"Thank you captain," she said, stunned at how understanding he was.
"Don't mention it," he smiled. "Our history is a bit different from yours. There was a large, planet-wide genetic experiment on Earth under the guise of a series of pandemics that killed billions, leading into the third world war with our Augments, which we barely crawled out of by First Contact in 2063, so we're wary of genetic manipulation, but Federation law understands the difference between forced changes against your will and seeking them out to gain advantage over others. We are *much* more understanding than your Pegasus Fleet was."
"That I can appreciate, Captain," Taggert said. "Though Captain Somers was an excellent commander and a true friend."
"Your Admiral Niamh Devane was arrested in our timeline for treason, though, and has already been executed, one of the few death penalties in our Federation," Captain McGowan reported to her.
"I shouldn't take joy in the death of others, but she was a pain in the ass...sir," she said, with a little wry smile at the end.
"Your department's waiting for you, Lieutenant," McGowan said with a smile. "I trust you'll get our ship ready for launch."
"Aye sir," she said as she stood with him, saluted, and exited the ready room.
"Now, to review first officers, CMOs, and everyone else for my senior staff..." he said with a shake of his head.
Just then Alex entered the bridge. He looked directly at tactical. “Is the old man in?” He asked in a low voice as not to be heard by others. With a nod from his officer he turned and headed to the ready rood and knocked and rang the bell.
"Enter," said the captain as the chime sounded.
He looked up, and stood, walking around his desk. It was orderly, but a stack of PADDs and isolinear chips showed he had plenty to do. He liked the personal touch though. Messages in a machine never take the place of meeting people for real.
"Ah, Lieutenant Sexton, pleased to meet you," he said, extending his hand, giving a professional smile. "Please, take a seat."
“Thank you Sir.” As he stepped in front of the chair and sat down.
"So, tell me a bit about yourself, Lieutenant. I read you were in Chicago for a while, is that right?" McGowan began.
“Yes sir, born and raised. When I left school I went to the Police dept. Which accounts for my age whilst in Star Fleet. I worked from time to time as a cop with a joint task force dealing with alien criminals. It consisted of Fleet Intel, Fleet Security and reaction teams and SWAT from CPD. By the time I was ready for Star Fleet I’d made a few friends and they helped me get ready for the entrance exam.” He said proudly.
McGowan smiled, "Well, they say age is just a number."
He leaned forward in his chair, and scrolled a bit on the officer's profile before looking back up. "What matters is your drive. That's what I'm looking for in a Security Chief. Based on what you've done, I think you'll give us a nice, fresh perspective that a space fleet lifer won't necessarily have."
“That’s the plan sir. First I’ll give you a 100% inventory to make sure we have everything we need and are responsible for. Then I’m looking at the SOP to see if they match our new mission objectives. And third I’m going to do some drills to ensure that if and when we go to Red Alert, Security is on point and knows what we’re doing. I don’t like surprises.” Said Alex.
"Good man," McGowan said with a nod. "I always like having an ace or two up my sleeve when the alert sirens turn red," he said with a sly smile. "Let me know if any crew recommendations you might have. When it comes to protecting my ship, I like stacking the deck best I can."
“I’m glad you feel that way sir, because I’ll have a detail for your safety as well. You are the most important person on this ship. You don’t make it home none of us do. So I hope you won’t fight me on this one.” Said Alex hoping he hadn’t peaked too soon.
"I hope it won't be too intrusive for regular duty. We're going into a potential hotspot with the Daltari, so I appreciate the concern," he said with a nod. Starfleet did a lot of exploration, but they were the stellar navy of the Federation, and they needed to maintain crew safety. "I have a few more crewmen coming in today, so I don't want to keep you too terribly long. You've got a department to get up and running. Let me know if you need anything, and I'll make sure it happens."
He stood to show the new officer out, walking around his desk to the door with Sexton joining him.
“I’ll get right to work sir, and as for the detail. You’ll never know they are there until you need them.”
"It's a pleasure to get to know you, Lieutenant," McGowan said, giving him another firm handshake.
“And you sir.”
"...and I'm not that old," he said with a knowing smile. He heard the comment outside his door, but didn't take it too terribly personally.
Alex smiled and made note of the fact that his Captain had ears everywhere. “Aye sir, I’ll remember that.” And he released the Captains hand and departed the ready room.
Lieutenant JG Hillbrook was fresh-eyed and bushy-tailed for his now transfer orders, which were stationed as FCO on the USS Andromeda. The Andromeda was a coveted Galaxy-class starship and one he was proud to serve aboard. Entering the boardroom, Hillbrook was alerted the time was ok to enter.
Before he could get back to his desk, his new Helm Officer, Mason Hillbrook entered the ready room.
"Captain McGowan." Mason smiled slightly when he stood at his desk, believing he had caught the Officer off guard. "Lieutenant JG Mason Hillbrook, FCO reporting for duty as requested." He held his transfer orders on his padd that he offered McGowan as he stepped forward to set the padd down on the Captain's desk.
A little surprised, recovering quickly though, the captain gave a welcoming smile, and shook the man's hand, "Welcome aboard, Lieutenant! Please, come, sit."
Mason heartily shook the Captain's hand, not too brashly, but just right. "It is an honor, Sir to board the Andromeda." Hillbrook stated.
"We're glad to have you, Lieutenant," McGowan said as he retook his seat, and did a cursory glance over his new flight controller's service record. "I heard some good things about you, Mr. Hillbrook. But records don't tell everything.
So, tell me about yourself."
“Captain. I have served on various federation task forces involving fighter battalions. I have a service record over six years old where I have, from time to time, served in a fighter craft, albeit not so different from an FCO position.”
“I have medals of distinction from the fighter squadron commandant and various mission commendations. Despite all the pomp and circumstance, I can pilot and handle most ships with ease and a bit of bravado.” Pratt then winked.
"I piloted for a while myself, it's a rush, for sure," McGowan said, "but a dedicated pilot's worth it when it comes to crunch time. When we get to Daltari space, we're going to need some of your bravado. This is a big ship, but she's tough and we have two wings of eight fighters in the main shuttlebay to run interference for us out there. We're the Federation's front line of defense, and with 1536 people on board, we all have to count on each other. "
"So, I'm going to want you to verify our shuttles and fighters, and make sure our pilots are up to snuff," McGowan said. "Our engineers might be good folk to pick their brains. And our new XO should be here any time now."
Location: Deck Two-Three Forward
Captain McGowan left his ready room for some lunch and a drink. Despite being on duty, being captain had its privileges, so he changed from his regular duty jacket to the wraparound (https://bit.ly/3QOU8bV), and went down to the largest lounge on the ship, with a great view. Like other lounges, the windows had holo-projectors in them to display planetary scenery, though that was usually reserved for time during warp travel or when the lounges were rented out for parties or special occasions. Only one window was displaying a holo-scene, where a group of friends were admiring the view of Tahiti. It was very busy and he luckily found a table at the upper deck overlooking the lower deck (https://bit.ly/3GKKvqc).
The captain decided to sit at one of the upper tables that was free, and had finished ordering from the waitress, a nice Aktevan girl who worked for the owner of the lounge, a civilian contractor who got to provide meals to Starfleet ships, cut down on replicator energy use, and got to see the stars in exchange. Her purple tail swished as she walked away, returning shortly with a class of Altair water and a Zevia.
"And here's your Altair Water, captain," she smiled, a little purple blush on her cheeks as she did, before leaving to serve another customer.
"That's not your usual poison," came the voice of a redhead officer in science blue as she turned around with a smile, and invited herself to the table.
"How do you know what drink I'd like?" McGowan asked, not knowing who this officer was, or why she'd invite herself over as if she owned the place.
"A young whippersnapper like you should be drinking a good Aldebran Whiskey if I remember correcly," said the redhead with lieutenant's pips on her shoulder rank stripe, flame-red hair up in a professional bun, leaning forward towards him. She had a glint of mischievousness on her face.
"Only an Old Man would get to talk to the captain like that," said Jim leaning forward, the phrase 'young whippersnapper' reminding him of an old, old friend of his from the Academy.
"If I stayed in Starfleet, I'd be a fleet admiral twice over, but only one boy gets to call me that," he said, pointing two fingers at him, looking up through her eyebrows.
"Jimaro?" the captain asked, puzzled.
"I go by Karissa, now," she said, leaning back with a smile, crossing her arms. "Karissa Jimaro-Rinn ThorVall, if you want to get all formal about it."
"I never thought I'd see you again, Old Man," Jim chuckled and smiled, happy to see his old friend, despite the change in appearance. "And definitely not like this."
"Well, our culture generally frowns upon returning to past relationships, but Starfleet said you needed a science officer, so 'the needs of the fleet' often override cultural taboos," she said, as the Aktevan girl brought her two Aldebran Whiskeys. "Besides, it's not uncommon for Binuvians to switch back and forth between lifecycles, I just happened to have held out longer than most."
"Aren't you on duty?" he asked.
"One for old-times' sake wouldn't kill us," Karissa said with a smile. She raised her glass in toast. "To old friends," she said.
"Old friends," Jim repeated, clinking glasses and taking the shot in one gulp as she did. "Wow, still good."
"I'm glad, that's my private stash," Karissa said with a raised eyebrow, then a sly grin.
"So, what's your role on this ship?" McGowan asked.
"I'm your Chief Science officer," she replied, admiring the glass before setting it down. "Reporting for duty, sir," she gave a semi-serious salute and mock-serious tone to it.
"Well I'm glad to have you aboard," Jim said, honestly.
The two sat together, catching up on things, as Jim and Karissa ate their meal together. When he had finished his Italian sandwich and she finished her plomeek soup, they stood, the waitress having cleared their table, and leaving a few credits for a tip - a nice palladium bit - Karissa broke protocol and gave him a genuine hug.
"I missed you, Jim," she said, eyes closed, genuinely happy for the first time in a good while. "It's good to know you're doing well."
"I missed you too....Old Man," he said with a wry tone and smile, as he walked out of the lounge.
Once the doors slid closed, her smile faded, and she went to her other table, and picked up her PADD. She tapped out a message back to the admiral. "He's happy, admiral. I think he'll be fine on this ship." Soon a reply, "Report back if anything changes," it said.