True to his word, Lieutenant Commander Garen had ensured that the Captain was not disturbed in the hours since the ships return from shakedown, much to her pleasure. It had allowed Keziah the chance to review some of the personnel files for the officers that would be transferring in from the Ulysses, who she would be meeting in the next ten minutes or so. Whilst a lot of their profiles seemed pretty standard, the files for the senior staff she was inheriting proved a little more… interesting. Especially when she put things into context following the briefing she had received regarding the recent situation the Ulysses crew had found themselves in. An XO who had, seemingly, been prepared to mutiny; a Chief Medical Officer who argued with his commanding officer, in public no less; a Chief Engineer with limited experience and an Ops Chief with even less; a Counsellor who needed to involve herself in life on the bridge more and, lastly, a Flight Operations Officer who, frankly, needed to step up and make himself known a bit more if he was ever going to progress beyond the Conn. “How sh’Elas managed to get her ship back to dock is anyone’s guess,” the Captain mused as she entered the ship’s Mess on deck seven.
Whilst she had been busy reading personnel files, Commander Levett had been overseeing preparations for a ‘Welcome to the Cassiopeia’ lunch that would see the newcomers from the Ulysses mingle with their new crew for the first time. They, Nazir and Levett, had figured it would probably be a less daunting way for them to come aboard than to do so individually, and it certainly beat having to conduct half a dozen separate reporting in meetings. Man, how the Captain hated those!
Standing just inside the doorway, the Captain watched her outgoing XO as he pottered about and took care of the final preparations for the gathering. Above the large windows at the far side, a beautiful ‘Welcome Aboard’ banner drew her attention and she nodded with approval. “Congratulations Number One,” the Trill nodded, “looks lovely…”
Turning to the Captain, the Commander smiled. “Why thank you Captain,” he responded with a gracious nod, “didn’t take long, and Chef did most of the food work,” he added.
Of course he did – Chef never liked to miss out on anything! His attention to detail, but his strong desire to be involved in everything was part of the reason why she had brought Chef with her to the Cassiopeia in the first place.
A short time later, the doors to the Mess parted and people began to file in. Most of whom she recognised as members of her crew, but some were new. Outside of the room, a gaggle of new officers began to assemble.
“Anyone else feel like they are waiting to go into the Principal’s office?” Commander Winters grinned as her fellow (former) Ulysses crewmates converged on her location. A new ship, a new captain. In truth, she was not entirely sure what this new assignment would bring but at least she had plenty of familiar faces around which made it a slightly less daunting experience.
Doctor Hill nodded in agreement. “This definitely feels a little weird.” He’d studied his new surroundings closely since arriving onboard. This Polaris-class starship was impressive. “But I have to say that this is a hell of a ship. A lot more room than the Ulysses. I can’t wait to see the medical facilities.”
“Hmph, medical facilities.” Mac responded in an almost audible tone of disapproval. “I can’t wait to see main engineering. It’s clearly the most beautiful place on any ship.”
“Well I’ve already seen the Brig,” the deep voice of the Orion from Security announced as he strolled up from the port side turbo lift, “and it’s massive.”
Adam had to admit, the prospect of flying such a ship was exhilarating. “Starfleet definitely seems to be cranking out the ships these days, and they just keep getting bigger. Rumour is ASDB has something in the works that’s going to make the Odyssey-class look small.”
Before anyone could respond, another figure came skipping down the corridor, a clear expression of glee that could no doubt be seen all the way on her home world of Cardassia.
Peter caught up to the rest of his crewmates. “I’m pretty blown away. This thing has a QSD!” He looked over at Commander Winters. “And don’t worry ma’am, I’ll make sure the gravity stays on.”
“Please do.” Hill said with a smirk, quickly jumping in before the XO had a chance to answer. “Right now, you are the cause of most of the injuries passing through my Sickbay.”
“But how will you test all your new medical staff without a few bumps and bruises?” Adam replied, “Slipstream is definitely going to be fun.” The pilot had already completed the required training prior to coming aboard the Ulysses but this would be his first assignment actually piloting a ship through it.
“Sounds like you have a volunteer to be your first patient, Doctor,” Aria grinned. “We will give the others a few more minutes to get here and then we can go and meet our new CO.”
Next to the gathering was Lieutenant Elloyia. It was like adapting to a new environment to be on this latest ship. She knew that was the case for everyone, really, but there were more layers to it for her. The sense of the Ulysses crew present “stood out” for her a little, compared to ship’s crew that was already here.
“Apologies if I am late,” she said with a pleasant smile as she approached the others.
Jocelyn followed shortly behind the Lieutenant, picking up the pace into a soft jog to catch up with the team. Familiar faces surrounded Commander Winter’s. Everyone appeared anxious, the positive form, much like first contact with an alien species. She sighed a deep breath, “my apologies everyone, I was looking for someone…and got a little lost on the way down.” She winced with anticipation.
“You are all right on time. Shall we?” As she spoke, Aria turned and led them inside, her eyes drawn to the huge banner which dominated the room. Quite the achievement. If she were the paranoid sort, the amount of eyes which seemed to follow their little group would have unsettled her. Instead she recognised it for the curiosity it was, knowing she would perhaps have been the same way. Just a tad more subtle.
“Captain Nazir? Commander Aria Winters, reporting for duty,” she announced as she approached her new CO. As the others came to a stop behind her, she could feel them at her back, possibly as curious as her to finally meet the captain in person. A personnel file could only convey so much.
Offering a hand to the Commander, a glass of an unknown beverage in the other, the Trill Captain nodded in acknowledgement before offering a smile. “Welcome to the Cassiopeia,” she paused as she tried to think of a whitty response to the sight of a group of Starfleet officers looking like lost sheep, but she opted to be a little more polite on their first meeting. “Care to to introduce me to your friends?”
“Please, allow me to introduce Commander Hill, your Chief Medical officer. Our helmsman, Lieutenant Paxton, our Counsellor Lieutenant Elloyia and our Chief Engineer, Lieutenant Wilson… “
Nazir listened to the Commander reel of the names of those in attendance, but she already knew them of course, having gone through their profiles earlier that morning. “Welcome,” she added.
Hill nodded and gave a polite, tightlipped smile.
Paxton gave a small smile and a nod, “Ma’am.”
“Thank you ma’am.” Peter said and took a half step forward hesitantly extending a hand, then realizing that was much too informal, he pulled his foot back and straightened up to salute. His hand halfway to his face he realized that was too formal. He returned his hand to his side and stood there awkwardly.
Elleese glanced sidelong at Peter with a faint, sympathetic smile before turning her attention to yet another new captain. She inclined her head respectfully. “Thank you, Captain. It is a pleasure to be aboard your ship.” Her voice was soft, although loud enough to be heard; cultured, but not so much as to sound artificial. Once she’d spoken, she settled back a step. Melting a little into the background to observe and analyze her own observations.
Pausing to allow the first group to exchange introductions, Aria pressed on. “Our Operations Chief, Ensign Zemke. Ensign Kedam, Science Officer and from Security, Ensign Udal. “
“Welcome to the party,” the Captain smiled to each of the officers before looking at the Orion specifically, making a note to speak to him in private later in the day.
Jocelyn raised her hand and gave the slightest of nods as her name was mentioned. Captain Nazir appeared warm, welcoming, and personable. She smiled as her colleagues continued to introduce themselves, catching glimpses of the new ship as she turned towards each one.
“Well,” the Captain stood aside and gestured to the nearby tables and the spread that had been prepared, “Commander Levett here has organised quite a spread in your honor everyone, as a welcome to the Cassiopeia. Please feel free to mingle, chat, take some time to meet your new crewmates,” the Trill smiled before setting her gaze on the Commander. “Miss Winters,” she called, gesturing off to a side area for them to talk while the others got some free time.
Adam accepted a kebab like food item off a tray. “It is quite the spread.” He said after taking a bite.
Peter’s ears perked up at the word “spread.” How had he managed to make it this far in and not realize it. He would meet the new crew mates with a mouthful of goodness for three reasons. The first, it looked delightful! Second, it would make him seem like a great listener if he doesn’t speak much. Third, if he kept his mouth full, he couldn’t say something stupid and embarrass himself.
Elleese tended to not eat much in somewhat…intense situations, even if “good” intensity, but she found a cup of tea and a small pastry. She had a knack for always finding the tea. After that, she moved over to where Peter stood and availed himself of the meal. She smiled slightly with amusement at his eagerness toward the food. “Did you not eat this morning?” she asked with a glint of humor in her pale eyes.
Peter gave her a big smile, cheeks full in mid munch. He was about to say something and remembered manners before he spoke. He gave himself a koodos for remembering. “I did. Just nervous habit. What kind of tea did you find?”
She held up the cup. “Earth blend. Black tea with blackberry flavoring. I was introduced to it at the academy and developed a taste for it.”
“You have good taste in general. Clothing, food and humor. By the way, thanks for rolling with it when the gravity failed at dinner the other night on the Ulysses. Hopefully on this ship I won’t need to install straps to tie down on the chairs and beds.” Peter answered. A second after the words left he realized how that sounded. “Not in that sort of way, but in the keep from floating away sort of thing.” He blushed and held up his fork. “Reason two why I eat anytime I can. Keeps my mouth closed.”
“Relax, Peter,” she said warmly. “Remember that you are talking to someone who at least can tell how something is meant, and who has perhaps heard everything at least once. I am difficult to shock.”
“I forgot. I imagine it would be hard to shock you.” He said, visibly relaxing. It was comforting knowing she just knew what he meant, even if he stumbled over the words or made it sound much worse than it actually was. He gave her a joking look. “That wasn’t a challenge was it?”
She laughed. “No,” she said easily. “I may be hard to shock, but I am not a thrill-seeker either.” Nor was the biggest fan of surprises.
Peter laughed. “Yeah, suprise zero-g dinning is a bit much for me too. I’ll take basic old fashioned eating.” He looked around the room. “I think she’ll treat us right thought.”
“I imagine so,” Ell replied easily, less because she was sure of it but more because she knew what people needed to hear. She could not predict the future, of course, and she was still feeling a bit…unsettled. But she smiled at Peter and then took a sip of her tea, looking around.
Jocelyn had separated from the familiar cast of the Ulysses. Heading directly for the delectable spread of food and delicacies, she heard a familiar voice from the right of her peripheral vision.
“Hey Stranger,” Kahlil called, just a few tables away from the buffet line. She watched as Jocelyn stopped in her tracks and briefly glanced her direction. She observed the initial sight, in which Jocelyn appeared to have seen a ghost; shock soon turned to a smile of blissful joy.
Jocelyn extended her arms towards her friend’s direction, “Yasmine,” she exclaimed, hopping up and down with hands clasped together, “I went by your quarters, but you weren’t there…because you’re here.” She sprinted towards her academy buddy and embraced her, “It’s so good to see you again!”
Kahlil allowed herself to be embraced and responded in kind. She closed her eyes, aware there her cheeks were flushed with embarrassment at the spectacle Jocelyn often made when excited. “It’s good to see you too, Zem,” she responded burrowing her head into Jocelyn’s shoulder to avoid other noticing her rosy cheeks.
There was a certain hint of protectiveness as Commander Winters ensured that others had ventured off to find food or mingle while she herself followed after their new CO. Commander Levett was certainly leaving big shoes to fill, judging by the effort he had put in to this welcome event. “Captain,” she smiled with a brief nod as the pair of them found a remarkably quiet and secluded spot which offered a degree of privacy while not removing them from the situation. She imagined the woman had many questions – and probably a few doubts – but she would let her voice them.
“I understand that your last posting didn’t quite go to plan,” the Captain smirked apologetically as she whispered to her new XO, whilst maintaining her gaze on the party around them. “You’ve not had the easiest of starts to your time as an executive,” she spoke quietly as she recalled the notes on the Commander’s profile, “through no fault of your own I might add. First McLintock, then sh’Elas…” she let out a little whistle and shake of the head. “Tell me, what can I do to make your time here more rewarding and worthwhile? Because we’re going out into the unknown, and we’re hopefully going to be together for a long time, so I need to know what I can do to enable you to be the best damn first officer in the fleet,” the Trill smiled, finally looking at the new XO. Her smile was genuine, yet held a little hint of a word of warning, and expectation.
“I intend to be,” Aria confided with a smile, which took the risk of seeming over confident or egotistical away in an instant. “Which will only happen if we are honest with one another and work together. You are a decorated captain with a lot of experience. I can and will learn a lot from you.”
Nazir nodded, and smiled in appreciation of that recognition from the newcomer to her crew. “I expect honesty and candor from all of my crew, especially my executive,” she agreed with the woman as they looked around the crowd. “And I trust that I will learn a lot from you, too, Commander. Especially about your friends,” the Trill added.
“They are good people,” Aria assured her, “I’m still getting to know them myself but I trust them and they are capable. Perhaps in need of some more experience here and there but you wont regret having them on board.”
Letting out a little chuckle, Captain Nazir looked at her new right-hand woman. “Experience is what they’ll get where we’re going,” she told, before catching sight of a crewman who was trying to get her attention from across the room. “Forgive me, Commander,” she nodded to the new XO, taking leave to go and speak to the crewman.
The crew of the Cassiopeia, to their merit, seemed to be trying to make the Ulysses crew welcome. Adam had already met one of the officers in his department who’d been aboard for shakedown. The Ensign was quite eager to get behind the controls for Slipstream as well. He had finally managed to slip away from Ensign Eager and get a quiet moment to himself, refilling his glass with some sort of ice tea-like beverage.
The welcome aboard luncheon continued for around an hour, until members of both crews, who had now merged to become one, began tootle off and go about their business. For the crew who had been on the Ulysses, that meant a chance to settle in to their new surroundings.
Or so they hoped.