Posted on Fri Apr 8th, 2022 @ 4:55pm by Captain Logan Barrett & Commander Nokomis Diza & Lieutenant Yipa Cirni & Lieutenant Savir & Lieutenant JG Anastatzia "Statzia" Liski & Lieutenant JG Heshoulou Vesu & Lieutenant JG Kadin Ados & Lieutenant JG Vaedavathi & Ensign Carter Kehoe & Ensign Javn Darhk
The Grim Pilgrimage, Part 1: Enigmatic Research
Location: Deck 10: Senior Officers' Mess
Timeline: MD 01 - 1800 Hours
Captain Barrett tugged his uniform front slightly as he made his way around the large table as three junior enlisted crewmen finished placing the silverware atop the white tablecloth. Stylized plates with a picture of the ship and registry adorned each sitting place. At one end of the room sat a long table of various foods. He arched one eyebrow as he examined everything, his voice directed at the woman standing near him.
"We haven't had this many senior crew transfer in at one time before. It'll be an interesting couple weeks getting to know them, eh, Number One?"
"You mean it will be an interesting few weeks for me because I'll be babysitting them?" Mis was only teasing as she absentmindedly put her fingers inside her collar to try and get it to stop irritating her neck. The uniforms were all the same and yet, she could swear this particular one had it in for her. Perhaps it was just nerves.
Cirni made her way to the mess hall. Just before she entered, she took a deep breath steadying herself, because social gatherings always made the Bajoran nervous. Give her the action of a heated battle any day over the light casual conversations floating around a food laden table. She muttered to herself: ‘Just breathe Cirni, you got this.’
The mental bolstering helped. When the door to the mess hall slid open, she plastered a genuine smile on her face and walked in. Her own uniform was clean and pressed, pips shined. Dark tresses pulled into a bun at her nape, she straightened her shoulders offering a nod of greeting to the Captain and XO.
“Good evening, captain.” A slight pause, as her gaze shifted to Nokomis; “and commander.”
Shortly behind the Bajoran was her subordinate, Kadin Ados. Walking through the door, he almost looked like he were attending a photoshoot to be the poster model for a Starfleet recruitment advertisement. His uniform almost looked as though he had replicated it fresh before coming to the event, which he had. Having parents who owned an upscale resort on Risa made social gatherings almost second nature to the Lieutenant. "Good evening," Kadin greeted as his green emerald eyes fell to the captain, Nokomis, and Cirni in order, giving each a nod of salutation.
A few seconds later the entrance to the mess hall opened once more. A petite woman with bright violet eyes entered rather hesitantly. Javn detested arriving to such events alone but she knew the importance of attending. She was eager to meet the new crew, even if she may be too shy to actually converse with one of them.
Seeing both captain and commander were busy being greeted by others she stayed back near the door, her eyes taking in the place settings.
Barrett turned and smiled as the other officers started to file into the room. Clasping his hands, he smiled and greeted them. "Oh good, security is here." His eyes slid to the young woman in teal as he added, "I doubt Ensign Darhk's rambunctiousness will cause a problem but one can never be too sure."
"I sincerely doubt that the Ensign is the one you have to typically worry about." The mischevious tilt to Statzia's head made her coils bounce as she strode into the dining hall. "Isn't that right, Captain? Commander?" She gave them both a nod of greeting, though her eyes may have lingered a moment longer on Nokomis.
Javn's face heated with surprise, her skin turning a deep pink visible just above her collar. Managing a smile at the captain she replied, "Only when provoked sir."
Her hand extended in greeting to the two officers she didn't recognize. "Statzia Liski, your resident chief of operations."
Mis suddenly got a lot more serious and just gave a curt nod to anyone who mentioned her rank after that.
Behind Statzia, almost like she'd been there the whole time, or crawled out of the wall, stood a squinting orion woman. She was dressed neatly, but her bun was disheveled and her sleeves were rolled up. There were too many new people here for Vesu to really be comfortable, but it was important to 'build rapport'.
She didn't extend her hand, instead trying for a smile, "Heshoulou Vesu, engineering."
Carter entered the mess hall, tugging nervously at his collar. The weight of his brand new ensign pip foremost in his mind. "Captain, commander." He said, paying his respect to his 'hosts.'
Opinions on what was the best time to arrive to a social gathering varied, but Savir believed he managed to find the sweet spot between as late as to require explanations and awkwardly early. He did not particularly enjoy such events (did anyone?) but unlike most Vulcans, he didn’t find them abhorrent either. If nothing else, they offered an excellent to observe the crew in a less official environment, which could provide him with some valuable insights. Of course, the Captain would still be there, meaning the crew would not completely lose inhibitions, but still…
There was a significant number of new transfers such as himself, he’d heard. As Savir entered the conference room, he caught himself hoping that they wouldn’t be treated like new kids in a school class – or that at least he would not. Almost immediately, a wild mix of emotions assaulted his mind and it was blatantly obvious some of these officers actually felt as nervous as on their first school day. The attendees covered a wide range of species from Orions to Bajorans, though like most Starfleet ships, this one also had a human captain.
Savir easily looked up the captain and his first in command in the small crowd and headed right towards the duo, his pace and posture both speaking volumes about the Vulcan’s passion for efficiency. "Captain. Commander,“ Savir greeted his superiors with a little bow of his head, his upper body inclining ever so slightly to add more weight to the gesture. "Lieutenant Savir reporting for duty. It is an honor to serve on the Orion.“ His black, curious eyes darted from the pair to the officers that had gathered close by, and then he did the most un-Vulcanlike thing any of them had probably witnessed: lifted the corners of his mouth in a half-smile.
As the officers started arriving, Cirni took them in, one at a time. She had read all of the Starfleet personnel files on them, but never truly prepared you for the first face to face meeting. That her own assistant chief was right behind her, was not shocking. In fact, she actually teased the one person in the room she felt she somewhat knew. Since it was a dinner, therefore an informal setting, she greeted him first with a smile. “Good to see you, lieutenant.
Ensign Javn hiding by the door was given a smile of sympathy, not so long ago she would have been the one holding back as the room filled. Causing one of those brief ‘you’ve come a long way baby,’ to pop into her head. Statzia Liski, Heshoulou Vesu and ensign Carter, all of whom entered seemingly one behind the other, were each given a smile, nod, and her name. The ridges on her nose betrayed her Bajoran race, so she spoke her name in its normal format. Lt. Yipa Cirni, your new Sec/Tac Chief. Nice to meet you.”
It was the new counselor’s entrance that drew her attention from the gathered group. He too was given a nod, if not also a bit sizing up, the person who would be delving into her emotions. She had both Betazoid and Vulcan counselors in the past, but one combined was likely going to mean grueling sessions in the Bajoran’s mind.
Pushing the thought down, letting positive ones rise in their place. A good crew, well rounded, well run, it was why she had applied for the position on the Orion. Logan Barrett had a good reputation of running a ship. She got the job on her own merits, she already liked and respected her XO, this was going to be a good few years in space. She could feel it. That smile was in place as she moved around the room to make sure everyone was greeted properly.
Statzia nonchalantly reached over, using her thumb to rub a smudge of dirt or grease or, well, something from Hesh's jaw. Her friend looked like she'd come straight from the ship's inner-workings to the dinner, and it would be very un-friendlike to let her sit through dinner with the remnants of the work day on her face. With a grin and a wink, she leaned in and whispered "I'm taking bets as to how long it takes for me to scare off this counselor. Want in on the pool?"
Vesu thought for a moment, her eyes unfocusing and then re-focusing on the counselor as she sincerely considered the question. "He's Vulcan... that doesn't bode well for his chances..." She undid her bun, letting her hair fall loosely over her shoulders, "I don't really know your track record as well as I ought, and I'm not a betting woman, but I give it five sessions. One to introduce, three to get through your history, and one for him to realize."
"I don't know what it is about dinners like this," Mis whispered to Logan, trying to ignore what Stazia was doing. "They make me nervous."
Barrett nodded and smiled as the others walked in and started to mingle. He was glad that things were starting off on the right foot. He slowly clasped his hands in front of his waist and curled one eyebrow upward. Tilting his head, he replied softly, "I don't understand how Starfleet officers can be so nervous about social gatherings. We volunteer to join an organization that is predicated on teamwork, after all." He paused and then added, "And the social situations only increase with rank, Number One."
Javn had nodded a shy hello to the Bajoran before spotting Stazia and Vesu. Experiencing a rare moment of bravery and familiarity with the two, she made her way over to the females catching the end of their conversation. "From my personal experiences with Stazia, I think any more then two sessions is generous." She teased with a small curve of a smile.
The new chief of science finally joined the gathering by way of the galley. She might have been one of the first to arrive if she hadn't found the entrance to the galley and the chefs busy with a batch of vegetables that appeared to be slightly wilted. It was clear that they were "fresh" in that they hadn't come out of a replicator. This peaked her interest and she poked her head in to find out what sort of fresh food was readily available on the ship.
Vaedavathi carried out a plate of cookies to be helpful and set them on a table as indicated by the kitchen workers, then joined the party in progress. She'd missed all of the introductions, unfortunately, but tried to put names to the faces from the manifest she'd been looking at on her way to the Orion.
Captain Barrett watched the dark haired woman enter the room via the kitchen door and put the plate on the table. "Lovely to have you join us, Lieutenant Vaedavathi," he said with a ready smile.
She returned his friendly greeting with a shy laugh. Her cheeks blushed while she checked the time, "I'm not that late, am I?"
Cirni smiled at Vaedavathi, entering from the galley with a plate of cookies.
“Not late at all, we are still in the greeting each other stage,” walking to an empty chair as she spoke.
“I am the new SEC/TAC chief, Yipa Cirni. Good to meet you Lieutenant.” With a look around the room to make sure she had greeted everyone. Satisfied she gave an almost indistinguishable nod to herself. The Bajoran then pulled the chair out from the table and sat down comfortably, eyeing the platters of fresh food before looking back to Logan with a wide grin. “I will say, captain, the feast looks delicious.”
Barrett gestured at the table with a wave of his hand as he spoke up. "Everyone, please take a seat." And with that, he pulled out his own chair at the head of the table and sat down before reaching for a plate of various sliced meats. "Mister Ados, I read in your personnel file that you're an avid anbo-jyutsu player. That's always been a sport that fascinates me. The ability to fight without sight is quite remarkable."
Statzia slid into the seat next to Cirni, her eyes glancing over the dishes on the table. A slow grin spread across her face. "If you would, Lieutenant?" She gave a nod to one of the platters of food just out of reach--the contents of which seemed to be still moving on the plate. "Could you pass that one down this way?"
It took some time for everyone to gather, which enabled the officers to chat a bit in naturally formed groups before sitting down to eat. Like many times before, Savir’s superior hearing proved to be a blessing and a curse at once, as he was able to overhear several conversations held in those groups without really approaching either of them… and found out he was the subject of some of the conversations. A typical Betazoid would find it entertaining, while a typical Vulcan would feel offended.
Savir was neither. When the captain invited everyone to take their seats, he simply walked up to the women who wished to test his patience, non-chalantly picked up a bowl full of what looked like the type of worms popular among Klingons and passed it to the ops chief. “Here you go,” he said with a ghost of a smile. “Perhaps it will interest you to know that I have already read your file, and have no reason to believe anything you might do will make me abandon my job in tears. After all, I have survived a patient who oscillated between paranoia, in which he wished to crack my head open, and delusion, in which he believed me to be his fifteen year old son.”
When the counselor passed Statzia the gree worms, Cirni reached for a few of the Bajoran foods available. Taking a portion of hasperat and lorpa beans, along with a small portion of the decapus salad. She smiled to Statzia, offering the engineer the plate of hasperat, in exchange for the gree-worms. She added two wiggling insects to her plate as well. “I will take a couple of those gree worms, though I prefer them jellied. Have you ever had hasperat lieutenant?”
Vesu hummed and took some gree-worms from the plate as it was passed around her, then some hasperat, and finally a few black chicken-breast sized portions of some sort of meat, sprinkling it with a green flakey spice that had an Orion (the language) label. She didn't feel it necessary to speak, investigating the dish in front of her that no one had yet passed- some sort of earth plant? Maybe? It was yellow and tubular, with little nubs, she remembered hearing about it at the academy, but the name escaped her. It had to be a staple in a lot of earth cuisine, though, since little yellow nub-fruit showed up in so many dishes.
Barrett smiled faintly at the others as the gree worms took center stage in the conversation. He carefully avoided that as he added various 'normal' fair to his plate. This included Bolian mashed potatoes, Risian 'turkey' and something unidentifiable but pleasing to the senses with a green tinge, similar to asparagus. "Lieutenant Vaedavathi, I saw in your file that you were in the archery club at the academy. Did you participate in any competitions?"
The science officer looked to the Captain, surprised to hear her name. She had been lost in thought, trying to figure out if the counselor was boasting about his past patients or warning the crew. Being invited to talk about archery brought a fond expression. "I did compete and generally scored well." Over time, her markmanship had much improved, but she prefered to show off her skills rather than talk about them. "I still practice when I can find holodeck time. Is archery something that interests you?"
"Oh yes. Please teach him. I would love to observe that." Mis was nibbling on her dinner. Trying to ignore what she would loosely call the food on the table that was still alive. "Actually I wouldn't mind learning myself."
"I'm not sure what sort of teacher I'd be. I've tutored in math and sciences, so... maybe I can teach skills of dexterity too?" Vaeda answered with uncertainty. "Are there any competitions the ship takes up?"
"No worries, Lieutenant," Statzia quipped as she eyed a gree-worm that had slithered its way over the rim of her plate. "We can make just about anything a competition with a wager involved." She deftly flipped over her fork, jabbing the tines into the escaping delicacy with enough enthusiasm to rattle the tableware of those adjacent to her.
All the while Ensign Kehoe more or less stayed to the fringes. After all, he hadn't been an officer long. "I'm just a medic who they taught how to drive. I was thinking a shuttle. Not a frigging Galaxy," he mumbled to himself.
Captain Barrett was enjoying the banter among his officers, happy that they were getting to know each other. A well-oiled ship required many things but chief among them was a solid senior crew that worked well together. He had just been poured a moscato wine and lifted the glass to take a sip when out of nowhere he felt... odd. The room around him started becoming darker but not in a way that seemed only from the light fixtures. It was as if everyone and everything in the room faded into darkness, an accompanying feeling of slight vertigo washing over him.
And just as quickly as the situation had started, it returned to normal. He knit his brow in puzzlement and set the glass down on the table, looking at the others gathered around. "That was odd," he said as he blinked several times.
Cirni laughed at hearing Statzia’s comment about wagers. Her dinner finished, she reached for the cookies from the plate carried in by Lieutenant Vaedavathi. She took two, taking a bite of one and enjoying the conversation. She finished the first cookie, setting the other down on her plate. Suddenly her left ear throbbed, just like when a Vedek would read her Pagh. The sensation didn’t last long, but her other ear, her d’ja pagh; the elaborate earring dangling from her right ear went ice cold briefly.
It was an strange sensation that raised goosebumps on her skin. The feeling passed as quickly as it came. Shaking her head, she reached for the glass in front of her, holding water. Lifting it to her lips, she took a sip, set it down before nodding in agreement with Logan, more alert than she had been in the moments prior. “Very odd Captain.”
Statzia set down her fork, her jovial laughter coming to a rather abrupt halt. She glanced around the table, the faces of her shipmates registering the same confusion and unease that she herself was feeling. She met eyes with Lieutenant Vesu across the table as her hand tapped her combadge. "Liski to Ops. Are we having some kind of systems glitch?"
"That wasn't a systems glitch. Unless oxygen was down for several minutes and we didn't notice." Vesu piped up, then dropped her forehead to the table and took a deep breath, blinking rapidly.
Mis felt for a fraction of a second as if a black hole had swallowed her. Not wanting to alarm their dinner guests she leaned over to the Captain. "I think I should check on the bridge."
In a largely disinterested manner, Savir piled a selection of fruits and vegetables on his plate and found a place to sit, keenly watching the chatter among the crew as he took the first bite. He was not picky when it came to food; everything was merely nutrition to him, though he did have a slight preference for fresh produce. It was more than likely this fruit came from the replicator, but as long as he was unable to tell, he’d accept it.
He had barely cleaned half of his plate when -something- happened. Even with his keen senses and special set of abilities, the half-Vulcan wasn’t exactly able to understand what, but for a moment there, he had felt completely detached from his reality, as though the ship had suddenly entered warp, but then again not really. A phase shift?
No, he really could not tell, because the confusion all around was attacking his mental barriers and it was most disconcerting. But he could tell with certainty that whatever had just occurred, it was felt ship-wide, since the overall confusion, vertigo and generalized unpleasant feeling was multiplied 599 times. At least most of the senior crew has recovered with admirable speed, enabling Savir to breathe it out and approach the Captain with the first idea that seemed to fit the situation. “Captain? Have we perhaps encountered an anomaly?”
"Ops to Liski--" came the voice across Statzia's combadge. "Not sure Lieutenant. Everything seems to be functioning normally, aside from, well--"
Statzia pushed her chair back from the table. "Begin running a Level 3 diagnostic on the critical ship systems, just in case." She gave a quick nod--with a mental reminder of human dining customs--to the crew around her. "If you'll please excuse me Captain, Commander--" She forced herself to plaster the 'everything's fine' smile on her face--no reason to possibly work up the rest of the crew. "With any luck, I'll be back in time for dessert."
“Security to Lt. Yipa” Ensign Darok’s voice spoke from Cirni’s combadge. “Yipa here,” the Bajoran answered.
"Lieutenant, you had better come to the bridge. There is a space station a light year away, that shouldn’t be here.”
Cirni raised an eyebrow and glanced over to Logan as she stood up.
“On my way.” She replied to the ensign, “Captain, maybe we should all head to the bridge?” She didn’t wait for his answer, rather turned, and headed to the turbo lift.
aptain Logan Barrett
Commanding Officer, USS Orion
Commander Nokomis Diza
Executive Officer, USS Orion
Lieutenant JG Heshoulou Vesu
Chief Engineer, USS Orion
Lieutenant Yipa Cirni
Chief Security/Tactical Officer, USS Orion
Chief Counselor, USS Orion
Lieutenant JG Anastatzia Liski
Chief Operations Officer, USS Orion
Lieutenant JG Kadin Ados
Assistant Chief Security/Tactical Officer, USS Orion
Lieutenant JG Vaedavathi
Chief Science Officer, USS Orion
Ensign Javn Darhk
Head Nurse, USS Orion