Star Trek: Apollo


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Post 36 - Social Graces, Pt. 1

Posted on Sat Feb 29th, 2020 @ 5:18pm by Captain Sean Gaudain & Chief Petty Officer Jean Rembrandt & Fleet Captain Elizabeth Hayden & Commander Cælestis Everett & Commander Roy Tanner
Edited on on Sat Feb 29th, 2020 @ 5:46pm

Mission: Episode 0 - War Games
Location: USS Arcturus
Timeline: Mission Day 03 - 1800 Hours

[USS Apollo - NCC-82789]
[Deck 02 - Transporter Room 1]
[Mission Day 03 - 1800 Hours]

The invitation to dinner came like a missive from Buckingham Palace just after 1300 hours, along with a set of uniform specifications. Not only were the three senior officers of the Apollo expected to beam over to the Arcturus in dress uniforms, but brand-new dress uniforms being field-tested aboard their explorer group. Gaudain tugged at the cuffs on his new dress uniform, unused to so much gold and flash to it. The jacket was secured with a strap that went over the shoulder, and there were bands of command red on the cuffs and across the chest.

"What do you think, Chief?" Gaudain asked, doing a spin as he walked into the transporter room.

"Very festive, sir!" Chief Rembrandt replied brightly. The uniform specs had already been distributed across the ship, but she was still in the uniform the rest of the fleet was using. "Err... was that the right answer? Dignified?" she corrected, with a bit of a stammer.

"I'll take festive, Rembrandt," the captain said, with a grin. "I guess Starfleet was so excited about this new uniform that they decided to test it out by sending it to the Delta Quadrant. Everything set to beam over to the Arcturus?"

"Yes, sir. All keyed-in for Transporter Room 8, right next to the banquet hall," she replied.

"Must be nice to have eight transporter rooms and a banquet hall," Gaudain replied, idlly, as he stepped up onto the transporter pad.

"They actually have 24 transporter rooms, sir. And a pool!" Rembrandt corrected.

"Well, we can run circles around that big ol' flagship, anyway," Gaudain said, laughing again. The doors hissed open to Commanders Everett and Tanner. "I hope our surprise dinner plans haven't ruined your evenings, Commanders."

"Only postponed," Cal replied. The new white and grey dress uniform didn't do much for their complexion, but it was hard to say anyone could pull it off without looking a little ashy. "But I suppose this is still in the realm of what we had planned."

They stepped up to the transporter pad and took a place next to Gaudain, tugging on the jacket to straighten its new, crisp lines. They looked askance at him and said, low and amused, "we hadn't accounted for the lion's den, is all."

"Hey Jeanie," Tanner smiled at the transporter chief as he passed her. "How are ya?" He tugged at the tunic in an attempt to make it more comfortable.

"How mysterious," Gaudain said, chuckling at their allusion to existing dinner plans. "I've never met Hayden, but Admiral Knox should be there too and he's pretty reasonable. Who knows. This might even be fun!"

"Nothing mysterious about it," said Tanner grumpily as he stepped up onto the platform and took a position on the other side of Gaudain. "I was cooking steak for me an' Cal is all." He looked accusingly at the captain. "An' I don't understand why I even have to do this anyway. I'm just the engine monkey, it's not as though I'm a command officer like you two."

"First and second officers, it said," Gaudain said, with a shrug. "Energize, chief."

Tanner looked confused for a moment. Then the realisation of what Gaudain meant dawned on him.

"Second officer?" he glared at him. "Now you just hold on one goddamn..."

The transporter beam enveloped the the three figures.

[USS Arcturus - NCC-84000]
[Deck 08 - Transporter Room 8]

The three of them materialized in one of the transporter rooms aboard the Arcturus. It was similar in design to any transporter room, but as large as one might find on a starbase, with a standard platform in the center of the room and seven additional personnel pads in a semi-circle on the back wall.

"...minute!" Tanner finished.

"Price to pay for those three pips, commander," Gaudain noted, as he looked around. The Arcturus was brand-new and it showed; the color scheme was Federation blue and gold, rather than the silvers and greys found on the Apollo. A man in a dress uniform identical to Gaudain's, right down to the four gold pips on the collar was there to greet them, looking preternaturally stern for someone Gaudain was quite sure was a little younger than he was.

"Welcome aboard Arcturus. I am Captain Michael Lancaster, first officer," the man said, with clipped precision in his voice. Gaudain felt himself blush slightly when he heard the other man's name: it had been a widely-accepted rumor that Lancaster had been offered command of the Apollo before Gaudain had been, but had turned it down. Now he knew what for. It was unusual for a captain to serve as first officer, but not unheard of, especially for such a large ship.

Gaudain stepped down from the pad and offered a handshake. "Captain Gaudain of the Apollo. This is Cal Everett, my first officer, and Roy Tanner, my chief engineer," he said.

Lancaster accepted the handshake after a brief pause, sizing Gaudain up. "Welcome aboard, commanders," he said, looking to the other two.

Cal bowed their head, containing the smile from the other two's bickering to a professional-adjacent expression. "Thank you for having us, Captain."

"Captain," Tanner replied respectfully, disliking the overly-formal manner of the officer already. "Some ship you have here. Never been aboard an Odyssey before. Read a lot about 'em though."

"Arcturus was built to enhanced specifications for the Delta Quadrant, Commander Tanner. We incorporated some of the shielding and communications systems enhancements that were tested aboard Rhode Island but that never made it into the stock Odyssey-class design," Lancaster noted, looking specifically at the older man. "I'm sure you and Captain Okusanya will have a lot to talk about, second officer and engineer to second offier and engineer," he added. "If you'll follow me, I'll show you to the banquet hall."

"I'd always wondered what'd happen if you strapped a pair of warp nacelles to a starbase," Gaudain replied, grinning as he followed Lancaster out of the transporter room. The corridors were about 20% wider than was standard for a Starfleet vessel, and the motif of blue with gold accents continued into the space.

"A pair of warp nacelles and a hippocrepiform internal warp coil array mounted aboard the saucer section, actually," Lancaster replied, referencing the ship's relatively unique ability to fly both sections of the ship independently at warp.

"It's not about how many nacelles you've got, man, it's how you fly," Gaudain replied, rolling his eyes a little. "That's the ten bars of latinum word of the day, though. I guess horseshoe-shaped isn't approved Starfleet technical jargon?"

Tanner snorted at this but managed to stop short at laughing out loud. He glanced at Everett. Cal caught his eye with an amused, smothered smile.

"Charming, Captain Gaudain," Lancaster replied, coolly. If anything he seemed completely unbothered and unbaited by Gaudain's bait, but that just meant it would be something for the Apollo's Captain to work on over dinner. "Commander Everett, I read in your dossier that you were aboard one of the ships that stayed in the Gradin Belt during our efforts to re-establish effective transportation between the Alpha and Delta Quadrants. I'm sure your expertise will be invaluable during our mission," he said, pivoting back to Cal for a moment as the four of them walked down the hall.

"Thank you. I hope I can be of some help," Cal demured, keeping a healthy distance as they walked. As opposed to Gaudain's needling and poking for reactions, Cal remained unerringly polite and reflective, barely giving anything away. "Although most of my expertise does lay within the scientific edges of the Gradin Belt. We'll have to see if it transfers easily to our new mission."

Walking directly behind Lancaster, Tanner pointed at the more senior officer's back and looked at Everett beside him. "Asshole," he mouthed.

"Knowledge on keeping a small vessel running with limited external support will be useful, at least," Lancaster replied. They came up to a set of two wooden doors with the Starfleet seal frosted into circular windows on them that opened for the four officers to reveal a large banqueting space, with expansive windows that looked out over the ship's primary hull. There were forty or fifty officers milling about, the senior staff from the explorer group's twelve ships. Round tables were set up on one end and holographic waiters were going around and offering people drinks.

The executive officer led them directly to where Fleet Captain Hayden was standing, along with Vice Admiral Knox. While Gaudain had served under Knox before and he'd met his fair share of flag officers, it was still a little intimidating to actually be in the presence of a three-star admiral and one of the most decorated captains in the service.

"Captain, Admiral, here are Captain Gaudain and Commanders Tanner and Everett of the Apollo. I believe we're all here now," Lancaster said, glancing at Gaudain for a moment.

"Welcome aboard the Arcturus. It's good to finally meet all of you. Given that we're going to be working closely together in the months ahead, I thought this would be a good opportunity for the different command crews to get to know one another," Hayden replied, with a smile. She was an elegant woman in her late sixties, notably wearing the skirt variant of the dress uniform.

"Good to be here, ma'am. Glad your ship will have our backs out there. She's certainly impressive," Gaudain replied.

"That she is. I believe you know Admiral Knox?"

"Sean, Roy, it's good to see both of you again," Knox said, with a smile. He was likewise near seventy and had a quiet, dignified air to him. His use of first names caused Captain Lancaster to arch a perfectly-manicured eyebrow. "And it's very nice to meet you, Commander Everett."

"The pleasure's all mine, Admiral. For you as well, Captain."

"Good to see you again Admiral," Tanner said with respect. "It's been a long time. And Captain Hayden - a pleasure to meet you ma'am. One of my boys served under you aboard the Hood - Tom Tanner. He speaks very highly of you," he smiled.

Hayden nodded. "I remember. He fixed my replicator more than once on the Hood. You should be proud--I hear that he's not the only one of your children in the fleet that's doing well," she said, with a kind smile. She was about to say something else when her Zakdorn yeoman walked up and whispered something into her ear. "If you'll excuse me, I need to attend to something for a moment. Please, enjoy the party. We'll have dinner at 1830, followed by a briefing," she said, before retreating with her aid.

"Hard not to enjoy this place," Gaudain replied, snagging a glass of champagne from a passing waiter. "Cheers."

Vice Admiral Knox chuckled. "Glad you're enjoying yourself, Gaudain. Would you and Captain Lancaster mind giving me a moment with these two?" he asked, gesturing to Tanner and Cal.

"Com'on, Mike. Let's see what your ship's got to offer," Gaudain replied, grinning as he and Lancaster gave the Admiral his space. The other captain was clearly miffed at that, but didn't protest.

Once they were gone, Knox turned to the two commanders again. "As the two of you may or may not know, I've picked a number of the officers assigned to my task force personally. This is a risky mission and I need the best on every ship we're sending to the Delta Quadrant. How are you settling in with Captain Gaudain?" he asked.

"Captain Gaudain is Captain Gaudain, Admiral. You know him and he's a fine officer," Tanner responded. He nodded at Everett. "And from what I've seen so far, so is Commander Everett. I think the two of them complement each other well and Apollo has a really strong command team in the two of them." He glanced up at Everett with a half-apologetic look. "Sorry if that embarrasses ya, buddy."

Tanner looked back to Knox expectantly. If the old man was expecting him to suggest that Gaudain wasn't ready for the big chair, wasn't up for the mission in some way... well that sure as hell wasn't going to happen.

Cal gave Roy a sideways look with an amused, but grateful, smile. They clasped their hands together as they backed Tanner's immovable faith in Gaudain when they replied, "I agree with Commander Tanner. Captain Gaudain will be a fantastic Captain. He cares for his crew and I have nothing but positive things to say so far. We're lucky to have him, as well as the rest of our officers and crew."

Although Cal had not known their Captain or fellow senior officer long, they knew a good team when they saw one. And there was something to be said about presenting a united front to the higher-ups, no matter any personal reservations one might have.

"Good," the Admiral replied, after studying the two of them for a moment. "I meant that more of an explanation on why I had put the two of you on the Apollo, given how senior you both are to be on a ship of its size and role; Captain Gaudain has my full confidence, but I think having personalities onboard that differ from his will be useful," he added.

That's horseshit, Admiral, thought Tanner, you were probing. "Of course Admiral," he said respectfully.

"We certainly have a cast of different personalities aboard, let alone just on the command team, to help inform him," Cal agreed. "With a little practice and some polish, the Apollo will be well-oiled and more than useful to the Task Force, thanks to the efforts of Gaudain, Tanner, myself, and the entirety of our crew." They smiled, polite and demure, but also with a sureness that came with faith. "I can personally assure you of that, Admiral."

"I have no doubt, Commander Everett," Knox replied, studying them for a moment. "Ah, Captain Okusanya!" he said, flagging down a woman in engineering gold who was passing. She joined the conversation after a beat, nodding politely to the two commanders. "These are Commanders Tanner and Everett of the Apollo."

"Yes, I'm familiar with Tanner's work, Admiral," she replied, coolly. She had a faint Nigerian accent that came through when she spoke. "Captain Akintoye Okusanya, Captain of Engineering and chief designer of the Arcturus. I found your notes on regenerative and unimatrix shielding from the Rhode Island useful, Commander. I'm glad the Admiral approved my recommendation to have you drafted."

Tanner took a deep swig from his champagne glass in order to keep himself from immediately reacting angrily to the newcomer's words. Her recommendation to draft him?! Christ!

"Well, I guess I'm glad I could help in Arcturus' construction in my own small way, Captain Okusanya," he said slowly, emphasising the use of her rank rather than just rudely addressing her by her last name - which he had briefly considered doing. "I'm afraid I can't return the complement - I'm not aware of any of your work." He swallowed the last of his champagne. "If you'll excuse me Admiral? Captain" he said, holding his empty glass up as if in explanation. He glanced briefly at Cal with an expression of 'good luck' before leaving the small group.

Cal briefly watched Tanner go before they clasped their hands with a small smile towards Okusanya and Knox. "Commander Tanner just learned he was posted as Second Officer oh, about fifteen minutes ago. He's got quite a fair bit on his mind." They pivoted into less confrontational topics, hopefully, to stay. "Captain Okusanya, I must admit, I don't envy your considerable responsibility to keep the engines of this ship running. I think I might get lost just trying to find my way to the engine room, let alone how to diagnose any issues or keep it all in good health."

The Captain of Engineering glanced after Tanner and then refocused her gaze on Cal. "Well, it's lucky then that you have someone working under you who had a hand in actually designing the engines he'll be keeping running," she noted. "Even if he's a prickly old relic. Aren't parties fun?"

To Be Continued with

Vice Admiral Jonathan Knox
Commander, Task Force 38
Director, Delta Exploration Initiative

Fleet Captain Elizabeth Hayden
Commanding Officer, USS Arcturus
Commander, Explorer Group 382

Captain Sean Gaudain
Commanding Officer, USS Apollo

Captain Michael Lancaster
Executive Officer, USS Arcturus

Captain Akintoye Okusanya
Captain of Engineering, USS Arcturus

Commander Cal Everett
Executive Officer, USS Apollo

Commander Roy Tanner
Chief Engineering Officer, USS Apollo

Senior Chief Petty Officer Jean Rembrandt
Transporter Chief, USS Apollo


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