Miranda-class USS Nautilus; Deep Space, near the Ivorian System
Assisting the Sovereign-class USS Sovereign after a fateful pirate encounter...
December 14th, 2380; (Stardate 57952.31)
AUTHORS: 2O Tyrlai Zade; MCPO Gregory Paladin
Just eleven days ago Master Chief Petty Officer Gregory Paladin had returned to the USS Nautilus from his one-year tenure in Starfleet Command School. He had personally met and talked in length with Captain John Arrow, the newest Captain of the Nautilus, and the two had hit it off wonderfully from the start. Their assignment had taken them north of Sol, heading for a routine patrol mission around Starbase 241 when Captain Arrow had recieved a distress call from the USS Sovereign several sectors to the galactic west. Preliminary information was sparse, but after a briefing from Starfleet on the information, the Captain had shared what details he could on the matter.
Gregory was in his office in the lower decks, reviewing the information a second time before their arrival on scene. As he had looked over before, the USS Sovereign had engaged - or was engaged - by a band of Orion Pirate ships. The Sovereign had been heavily damaged, but managed to fight off every single attacker, and even went further in saving captured slaves from the clutches of the degenerate pirates. Along with the Nautilus, six other ships had been dispatched to the scene to assist in recovery and repair operations; two other Miranda-class Starships: the USS Trail and the USS Beuford, an Exclesior-class: the USS Atlantis, and three Constellation-class Starships: the USS Victory, the USS Hathaway, and the USS Gettysburg. The majority of the relief fleet would assist with recovery of captured slaves, criminals, and assist in the repair and medical efforts. The USS Nautilus along with the USS Beuford had been assigned to perimeter security. There was a few attachment details for Gregory from the Captain as well, particularly a security assignment.
Simple enough. Gregory had already formulated how he wanted his enlisted personnel to function through this mission. The majority of them needn't any instructions other than, "Do your job". A few would need guidance, such as the newer Crewman Recruits that had been picked up eleven days ago. For that, however, he had someone to assist with. He swiftly tapped his comm-badge.
"Petty Officer Vladinchi, please report to my office." He requested, which was followed by, "Right away, Chief, through the badges small speaker. Moments later, the requested appeared through Gregory's doors; a chime signaled request to entry, granted by a brief statement of permission to enter from the Master Chief.
"Oscar, good," Gregory said as he looked up from his chair to the Petty Officer Third Class. Oscar Vladinchi had been one of the crew Gregory had saved during the Dominion War, a crises that had thrust Gregory into the position of authority he was in at present. Needless to mention, Oscar was a devoted enlisted officer. When Gregory met eye contact with his subordinate, he continued. "I need you to look after Crewman Akutto and Mo'Lan for me. I'll be busy with some of the superior enlisted as we'll be overseeing extended security operations on the Sovereign. Sound good?"
A nod from Oscar, "Perfectly, Chief. I don't see any problems out of them. I'll handle things here."
"Great," Gregory replied with a smile, "you are dismissed."
As Oscar left, Gregory looked at his terminal screen for a final time. The notice that the Nautilus had arrived had been sent out, and the word to commence operations was given. He was about to leave his desk when his comm-badge chirped.
"Master Chief Paladin, report to transporter room one"
Tyrlai beamed over with her honor guard of lightly wounded. They filed out of the room towards sickbay. She had been instructed to wait for her escort, she wanted to run, but her two escape attempts aboard Sovereign had been easily foiled and the new ship didn't seem to be in nearly as much chaos as the last one. Still the doors were open,...
"Don't even think of it, missy." The security crewman they had sent with her had noticed her wistful look. That was another reason she couldn't make a break for it. She was being watched by a security crewman until the new ships security arrived.
"That's ambassador missy to you, young man." The tall coltish fourteen year old said trying to sound imperious and realizing her voice didn't do that deep resonant gravelly thing it used to do, up till the day before yesterday. Everything was new and familiar all at once, scary and yet she had not been safer in a couple years, she was just so used to running, it was second nature. It was everything she could muster to not dart through the exit.
Gregory had traversed the gap between Deck 6 and the transporter room quite easily. His assignment had been to report to Transporter Room 1, which was on Deck 7, adjacent to the Medical Bay. Why one of the nurses hadn't reported to whom he needed to take charge of was beyond him, though he figured it showed how busy the Nautilus was with medical treatment at the moment. In the place of various older jefferies tubes, turbo lifts had been mounted. One such went directly from Deck 6 to Deck 7, whereupon Gregory was to exit and head straight for his new charge.
When he entered, he noted several security personnel surrounding a younger girl. He quickly took stock of his present predicament, noting that some of the security crewman looked worse for wear. He gave the men a nod, "Welcome aboard the Nautilus, gentlemen, young miss. I'm Master Chief Petty Officer Paladin, and due to the emergency situation we have on our hands, I've been assigned to relieve you of your security detail temporarily. If you'll follow me, we'll head to sickbay."
Prompt and direct. He waited to see them move, before turning to head toward sickbay.
Tyrlai looked suspiciously at the corridor beyond where she stood. The others walked through quickly except for her own guard who was waiting to return to the Sovereign. "I've been to sickbay for the better part of the last nine days. Can we see something else. The shuttle bay for instance, or the bridge or torpedo control. Something like that would be nice. Mister Master Paladin was it? I think we need to explore this ship, does it go to Earth, that would be a good first choice." She sidled towards the door facing the Chief every step of the way.
"What is that panel behind you there, what does that do?"
"That?" Gregory asked, pointing at what the child was inquiring about. "That's a security station. They're placed around the ship to help with crew reports to the bridge."
When he turned to point she made a break for it, but the door whooshed closed having determined she wasn't moving sufficiently outwards, making her halt her flight suddenly and turn in a small circle exactly back to where she was before her aborted escape attempt.
He smiled, he could not help but be in love with how adorable this kid was. She was very inquisitive, which was healthy. Her nickname for him was quite cute too, something he'd doubt he'd forget.
"Well I suppose we can do some other things," he mused out loud, "Say, we can check the arboretum! You like walks in a miniature park, right?"
"A park? Like with trees? I used to like trees, haven't seen one in a couple years. I expect they haven't changed much." The door whooshed back open as if taunting her, she stepped into the corridor and awaited Mister Master Paladin to lead them to an Arboretum.
Gregory smiled, looking at the door briefly and noting the lack of security personnel. They must have beamed back over to wherever they had come from. He looked back to Tyrlai, reaching down to gently take her hand into his own, saying, "If you'll follow me young miss," and proceeded to guide her through the corridor.
Unlike other Miranda-class vessels, the Nautilus was not equipped with a holo-deck. Its refit had been basic, and it had been intended to fulfill the role of destroyer escort for internal shipping lanes and the like. The war-time efforts it had endured, and the present situation it was involved in with its larger Sovereign-class cousin, were completely unintentional for its mission. To that end, its decks were primarily the same as an older refit model, and the Arboretum was located on the other side of deck six, right past the general offices and meeting rooms.
Walking up to the first door of the Arboretum - it had two entrances - Gregory guided his guest inside, letting her hand go. As the doors slid open for them, then closed behind them, a wash of fresh and pure air flowed over the duo. Around them various species of native birds (or what passed for avians) flew away from the entrance. The sky was clearly holo-generated, as was the vast scene beyond the walls of glorious snow-capped mountains. The room itself had live trees - some earth species, some alien, but all compatible with each other. There was a walking path that twined through the trees, and it was clear to a casual, experience observer as to where the holo-generation began and where the actual Arboretum ended.
The Arboretum on the Nautilus was around two compartments long, and was equipped with standard holo-emitters to fill in the gaps for the background scenery and the native wildlife. The only things real in the room were the fauna, flora, the dirt and grass, the walking path that seemed to go from one end to the other, and the small river that seemed to extend further than it should. Beyond this, the emitters filled in the rest. There was several park benches as well, Gregory motioning towards one.
"This is what we call the 'Garden Room' around here," Gregory said, relaxing a bit as he breathed in the real, fresh oxygen. "Don't have a holo-deck, so we settle for this. I say it's better. You can generally find any type of forest animal here too, and we've named a few, befriended many. The computers fill those in, you know, including the mountains. You like it?"
"I like the notion," she said belying the years hidden within her lanky youthful frame, "the smell and taste of the air mixes with the holoprojection to make it all seem much more real." Tyrlai turned slowly in a circle looking at all the odd plants. Her hands held in front of her, fingers interlaced. Trill was a cool temperate world with mountains and tall trees, and she would often run through the trees at first light, before school. Mornings were a fresh start, the previous day whisked away with the fog. Generally the only part of the day she hadn't yet disappointed her parents too badly. She hadn't thought of them recently. It had been nine days since her rescue, surely they would have heard she'd been rescued by now. "Do you have any garl-cats?" She asked after the shy, snowy pelted felines that would hunt the valley with the morning mists.
"Garl-cats?" Gregory mused, questionably. He had never heard of the things, honestly. He watched the smaller Tyrlai seemed to touch some favinit plants, a flora native to Vulcan.
"Well I'm not really sure," he replied, "but we can see. Computer-" his voice raising a decibel "-do you have any fauna under the name of 'garl-cat' in your banks?"
There was a soft, affirmative chime. Gregory seemed to relax a bit, obviously pleased with the computers answer. A smile played at the corner of his lips. "Alright then, can you produce one for the young miss here? Thank you, computer."
Another soft, affirmative chime, this time elongated and responsive. The air temperature seemed to cool a bit, a breeze wafting over the two. Gregory knelt beside Tyrlai, watching her as a minute ticked by without any sighting. The meantime produced a variety of relaxing scenes and soothing sounds in the Garden Room; the scenery a true representation of a peaceful, if fluid, place. A heavy fog drifted over the larger mountains in the distance, and further down the slopes one could note the trees being swayed by a heavier breeze than the one that was felt nearest to the two. There was a soft rustling in the bushes behind them, and at first Gregory thought this the computers way of introducing his request. He looked, and his eyes widened a bit, and his expression softened.
A kitten, no older than a few weeks, sprung forth from the foliage nearby. Its pelt was of a white coloration, and although it looked nothing specifically like an earth-feline, it still maintained some of the features. If Gregory could describe its shape, it was similar to that of a snow leopard., except, well, cuter. It mewled softly, a noise that easily broke the defenses of any hardened man; Gregory included. Its eyes, so alien, yet so familiar, trained on the young miss, and it approached cautiously, almost exactingly.
"I think this is your garl-cat," Gregory said, smiling widely, looking toward Tyrlai for her response. "We have a habit of naming any animal we make here. Don't worry, if and when you go back to your ship, I'll take good care of her or him."
Tyrlai stepped forward, on Trill a lone cub as playful as this one would be nowhere far from a very dangerous mother. But this was a ship in a nebula sectors from her home and this one was less likely to get her killed. She was about to kneel when a chime went off and a holocommunication kicked in. She turned to see a stern looking Trill woman with ice blue eyes, dark black hair tied in an efficient bun and a similar tone of coppery golden skin as she had.
"There you are." She glared and Tyrlai suddenly felt very small and frightened once more. Almost as if the pirate captain she'd escaped from had suddenly come back to life.
"How dare you!! You just had to create a scene, didn't you. It wasn't enough to embarrass us with your disappearance you had to go and steal a symbiont!! You will not bury this family in scandal, and we will not bear the expense when the commission correct this mistake and place Zade elsewhere."
"But,..." She started, the avalanche of a thousand lectures roaring down upon her.
"Quiet. I don't have to listen to your excuses any longer and I am very happy for the respite. We have had you legally and formally disavowed. You are not to attempt to contact any member of this family ever again or you will be censured. You wanted your precious freedom so badly, well you have it. We will not respond to any further communication, we have already applied for a new child, you will not be missed."
There was a terse shimmer and the holocomm channel closed. Tyrlai blinked and her hands curled into fists for a few moments. She breathed and then turned and knelt before the cub, ruffling her hands through its downy scruff. "I give you the name I no longer need little garl-kit. I name you Starkiller." The kit cooed and turned in a circle seemingly approving of its unnecessarily provocative moniker.
She glanced over at Mister Master Paladin who seemed concerned. "That was my name on the pirate ship. I was hoping to sound fierce and powerful so the others wouldn't mess with me so much." She stood and smoothed the tunic she had gotten after her surgery, a plain blue starfleet civilian tunic. She talked in a low and measured tone, as much to herself as to her Starfleet escort. "I no longer need to try to puff up my feathers. I have twenty lifetimes of knowledge now."
Gregory was agast at what he had seen transpire. After seeing her resolution on the matter, however, he managed a weak smile.
"That's a nice name," he said. "We'll take good care of Starkiller."
Second Officer / Diplomatic Officer