STAR TREK: U.S.S. COCHRANE

PRELUDE: PART 1

Directed by: Doug Zeitlin
Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
Entire story in one text file

The USS Cochrane's space trials had finished less than twenty-four hours ago and Chief Engineer Argyle had crews working around the clock already, trying to improve performance. Commander Nganga had ordered the ship to be above standard before the new Captain's arrival. Argyle was currently working with Ensign Bak Xiam on updating the replicator subroutines according to the crew manifest. It was particularly hard to find Garman and Atlarian menu items in standard programs.


A chirp on the ship's computer reminded Commander David Nganga that the first of the new personnel would be arriving momentarily. The Utopia Planitia design and engineering teams would be cleared off the ship over the next few hours. Nganga exited his quarters and contemplated the many months he had spent overseeing the construction and testing of the Cochrane. He was proud, damn proud. Argyle's engineers were moving through the corridors in little black and gold streaks, like bees gathering pollen.


Lt. Commander Evory Dekelley could feel the excitement and anticipation rampant throughout the ship, despite his best efforts to block the waves of emotion. He wanted to speak with the Commander before the arrival of the new Captain. "Computer. Please locate Commander David Nganga."

The soft, feminine voice answered, =^= Commander Nganga is on deck eight, forward corridor. =^=

"No doubt heading toward the turbolift."

=^= Request not understood. Please restate. =^=

"Cancel request." Dekelley exited his quarters, attempting to overtake the commander. Within moments, he spotted the commander entering the turbolift. "Hold please!"

Commander Nganga placed his hand over the door's sensor, holding it open long enough for the Lt. Commander to board. "Good morning, Counselor."

"I believe you have been avoiding me."

"Nonsense. I have just been busy getting the ship up to specs."

"I don't believe that Starfleet would have certified a ship that would have failed to meet specifications."

Nganga looked over at Dekelley and smiled, "Up to my specs, Counselor"

"Still feeling a bit of ownership over this vessel?" Dekelley smiled quizzically. "Seriously, though. You've been in charge of this ship from day one. When it was just a concept on paper. How are you going to feel about turning command over to another officer?"

"Quite all right. It was my idea actually. I was offered the command and turned it down. That feeling of ownership you mentioned, it could easily be a liability if I were in the top spot. Besides, I was an engineer a long time before I transferred to command. I got used to sharing my toys years ago."

The turbolift arrived on deck six, as the two men exited and walked down the hall towards the transporter room. Heading in their direction was a blue-skinned man carrying what appeared to be a fishbowl. Dekelley noted a feeling of playfulness from the Bolian.

Chief Petty Officer Marlo Salvitor stopped to greet the officers. "Good morning, sirs. I'd salute, but my hands are rather full."

Commander Nganga asked "There's no need; saluting is hardly required in Starfleet. What seems to have you occupied at the moment? You're four decks from your garden."

"I'm glad you asked. I have here a Atlarian Water Lily. Quite rare, actually. I was thinking you might need it when our next batch of officers arrive."

Dekelley leaned over to the commander, "I do believe he's up to something."

Salvitor answered innocently, "Who me?"

"What's the catch, Moss?" Nganga asked, catching the playful mood.

Salvitor explained, "Don't let the Lily touch oxygen. It will wilt and die in seconds. That, and you will need this anitgravity platform to carry it." He raised the bowl far enough up for the two men to see the bowl sitting on a hovertray. He glanced at his wrist, as if he were actually wearing a watch, "My, is it that late already? I really must get back to my garden," as he quickly passed the bowl to Nganga and hurried on his way.

Nganga looked down at the bowl, speechless. Of course, Dekelley didn't need words to understand Nganga's thoughts. Nganga simply handed him the bowl, "Counsel this." The two men continued to the transporter room.


Jayngo gently pulled at the sleeves of his jumpsuit, instantaneously snapping enough fibers to relax the wristband without ripping the sleeve completely off. Once sure that the cloth would allow him to move without ripping to shreds on his body, he bent over to pick up the few belongings he had brought with him from home on the new assignment. Flipping the away bag over his shoulder, he exited the guest quarters aboard the USS Victory, which had brought him from Earth to Utopia Planitia. Walking past a porthole, he was able to see the Cochrane hanging in space. It looked like any other Galaxy class ship from the outside, but Jayngo knew that it was like no other. And it was about to become home.

He made his way down the corridor quickly, not realizing his own speed until he ran into a young ensign. Before she had a chance to leave her feet, he had reached out, caught her - carefully measuring the amount of force used as to not hurt the young woman - and gently placed her back on her feet. "Excuse me, ensign. I guess I was in a bit too much of a hurry."

"Not a problem..." The ensign looked the tall man from stem to stern and back again. "No problem at all. My name is Aeth Nik, Ensign Aeth Nik. Where you off to in such a hurry, big guy?" Her eyes continued upward until her craned neck reached the pips on his collar. "Excuse me. Lieutenant Big Guy."

"Actually, its Doctor. Doctor Jayngo. I'm on my way to my new assignment aboard the USS Cochrane."

"Really?" The young Bajoran's smile brought an extra wrinkle to her nose. "Me too. It looks as though we may be spending a lot of time together."

"Well, a pleasure to meet you, Ensign Aeth."

The attractive young woman reached up and touched the massive man's earlobe. "The pleasure is all mine." She then lowered her hand to interweave her arm into his. "We had best get going. We don't want to be late for our first day of work." Jayngo made sure he lowered his arm from chest level to waist, allowing for his newfound companion a level of comfort.


Ensign Salex operated the transporter panel. Two crewmen were in the transporter room, awaiting the arrival of Commander Nganga. The Commander and Dekelley entered the transporter room, causing the two crewmen to look quizzically at the fishbowl in the Counselor's hands. Salex addressed the Commander. "Two from the USS Victory, requesting permission to board, sirs."

Commander Nganga nodded his approval to the young Vulcan. The ensign's hands danced across the board for a moment before the telltale whine and shimmering lights of the transporter appeared. The young ensign appeared clearly first, with the doctor's pattern filling in more slowly. Dekelley was able to tell instantaneously that the Atlarian was experiencing transporter deja-vu, but was either unaffected by it or used to the effect by now. Once they were fully aboard, Nganga stepped forward with a hearty, "Welcome aboard."

Jayngo stood even straighter, extending to his full 199 centimeters. The crisp salute with his free hand ruffled the Commander's hair. "Thank you, Sir. Doctor Jayngo reporting for duty."

Ensign Aeth smiled beside him. "Yeah. Me too. Sir. Ensign Aeth Nik."

The Commander smiled at the large mound of flesh in front of him as he ran his fingers through his hair. "At ease, Doctor. No need for such formalities." The Commander then took the data pads from the two with their orders.

Counselor Dekelley stepped forward, fully understanding Marlo's gift as he looked at man in front of him. "I believe this is for you," handing forward the Water Lily-in-a-bowl. "Our Chief of Hydroponics thought you might like it."

The doctor looked down at the flower, a slight look of confusion across his face. "Where on Atlarius did he get that from? They are extremely rare, and completely out of season right now."

Ensign Aeth pouted. "What, no flowers for me?" A small mischievous smile crossed her face.

::If I had only known ... :: Nganga thought looking over the ensign with an appreciative eye, and adjusting his turtleneck.

Jayngo looked down at the ensign, not seeing her face, but hearing her words. "Flowers presented to returning heroes is a regular custom on my planet, but I am neither returning nor a hero. Please," gently taking the bowl from Dekelley and handing it over to Aeth. The weight of the bowl took her by surprise, but the doctor kept hold until she compensated. "I would be pleased if you accepted this in my stead." Dekelley wouldn't have needed to read minds to know what the young woman was thinking. And he was going to need a cold shower in a short time at this rate.

"Excuse my formality," Dekelley stated. "You have just met Commander Nganga, and I am Counselor Dekelley. Please call me Rory. Our esteemed transporter operator is Ensign Salex, and I will allow these crewmen introduce themselves as they escort you to your quarters."

Nganga nodded. "Please feel free to familiarize yourselves with the ship and your departments. There will be more crewmen boarding shortly." He looked directly at Jayngo. "Our first senior staff meeting will be tomorrow at 0800 hours in the Captain's Briefing Room."

Jayngo nodded, replying with "Would it be all right for me to begin scheduling physicals this afternoon?"

"That should be fine," Nganga replied.

Dekelley added "I would like to consult with you so that I can arrange psych evaluations around your schedule."

"I'll have a schedule on your desk by noon, sir. I mean, Rory." The doctor's smile could have lit up the room.

"Who do I have to dismember to get to the top of that list?" asked Nik.

"With an attitude like that, no one. I'll see you immediately," the Counselor replied.

"That's not what ..." The ensign looked over at the Counselor and smiled. "Hey, Why not. I'd be willing to get on your couch."

Dekelley smiled, not at the comment, but due to the underlying thoughts he picked up from the girl. "That's not what .... Okay, that one was a freebee. I'll see you around Doctor Jayngo's schedule."

The doctor looked back down at the ensign. "Make sure you don't expose the flower to oxygen, or it will die."

"Perhaps you can swing by and help me take care of it." Aeth Nik suggested.

::I wonder what it gives off as a product of photosynthesis? Ozone?:: Nganga wondered.

The two crewmen stepped forward as Jayngo answered the Bajoran, "I'd be happy to."

As the crewman closest to Jayngo stepped forward, "Yeoman Franks at your service, sir. Can I carry your bag for you?"

"I'm not sure," Jayngo answered.

"I'll be careful with it sir," the yeoman said with a questioning look. He reached for the bag as the doctor began to explain his protest, pulling it from off his shoulders and falling to the ground under its weight. "What do you have in here, mini-anvils?"

"I try to travel light," said Jayngo, reaching down and retrieving his bag. "Are you all right? We can stop by sickbay before my quarters, if you desire."

"No, that's ..." As the yeoman tried to stand, a sharp pain shot through his groin, toppling him over once more.

"I don't need a tricorder to recognize a hernia when I see one." Casually flipping the bag back over his shoulder, Jayngo bent over and picked up the ensign as if he was a rag doll and headed for the door. "Lets get you fixed up."

Ensign Aeth Nik followed the other crewmen, grinning to herself.

"What does he have in that bag that is that dense? And what is the bag made of?" Nganga asked.

Neither Rory nor Salex had an answer.


The lull of soft conversation washed over him. He sat at the bar of the Watering Hole, a nondescript little tavern on Utopia Planitia. The Watering Hole is often filled with the traders and porters bringing supplies to Utopia for Federation shipbuilding. Most of the talk centers around the Cochrane and its upcoming departure. Is the Federation making a mistake is it not making a mistake dominate the majority of them.

Suddenly, a hand comes to rest on his shoulder and he turns. "Skepti, you've got a lot of nerve coming here." It is Retlev, an ex-Obsidian Order agent. Conversations silence as the veteran traders spot the possibility of trouble in their midst.

Calvin stands slowly, wary to make any sudden moves. He doesn't say a word, knowing the Cardassian is hoping he can get him to do something, - anything- Retlev can use to start a fracas. Calvin smiles and opens his jacket. The Cardassian glances down wide-eyed at the Federation jump suit the human is wearing. The pony-tailed man speaks, "That's right Retlev. I've gone straight and got a job with Starfleet. I'm managing the civilian arcade on the Cochrane. Have a drink and cool off." He turns and steps away nodding to the bartender as he goes. When he reaches the hallway outside the Watering Hole he speaks into his communicator with a sigh tingeing his hoarse voice, "Calvin Skepti, Boardwalk Manager, requesting to come aboard."


=^=Bridge to Commander Nganga,=^= Lieutenant Jr. Grade Norallah called over the communicator system.

"Nganga here," the Commander tapped his comm badge. "What is it Norallah?"

=^=We have an incoming transmission from outside one of the civilian bars. Says he is the boardwalk manager.=^=

"Route it here, please."

=^=Calvin Skepti, Boardwalk Manager, requesting to come aboard.=^= The voice was slightly hoarse.

"Salex, can you get a fix?" Nganga asked.

"Aye, sir. I have a lock." the young Vulcan said.

Nganga tapped his badge again. "Mr. Skepti, this is Commander Nganga, first Officer of the Starship Cochrane. Permission granted. Prepare for transport." He turned to Salex, "Energize."

Lt. Commander Evory Dekelley watched the young Vulcan officer work the transporter controls. Betazoid telepathic abilities are far more developed than those of the Vulcan race. Yet Dekelley was impressed with the Vulcan officer's mental control, he gave off no background noise, not even surface thoughts. His mind was as secure as a Ferengi savings vault.

The sound and lights from the transporter brought Dekelley's attention back to the transporter pad. Soon, the outline of Skepti began to appear. Rory could sense the materializing human's disturbance, and addressed the Commander, "Manager Skepti seems troubled by something."

Commander Nganga replied, "That may be why he called for a lift, rather than going to one of the transporter stations," then he turned to the new arrival. "Mr. Skepti, welcome aboard. I'm Commander David Nganga. This is Counselor Evory Dekelley, and Mr. Salex."

The man was quite an unusual sight for the Starfleet officers. His grizzled beard, long hair in a thick pony tail, and eye-patch were not exactly regulation, it made a stark contract to the Arcade Managers green and gray civilian uniform. However, neither of the bridge officers needed to consult their PADD's to recognize Mr. Skepti. Calvin Skepti reputation proceeded him. He had spent years in and out of the Federation's criminal rehab. Proof that the federation rehabilitation efforts were successful, he now commanded the "deck 10, forward section, civilian habitat," affectionately called the "Boardwalk" by some.

Dekelley offered his hand to the boardwalk manager, "It's a pleasure to meet you Mr. Skepti. I'm sure we will be see plenty of one another for the duration."


Security Chief's Personal Log
USS Cochrane
Stardate 56002.5

Crew arrival is progressing smoothly. I have been monitoring the arrival of the crew through our transporter room. The DNA sequencer I installed into the transporter buffer is working very well. So far, everyone is who they claim to be. One thing puzzles me however. The scanners could not identify the contents of Dr. Jayngo's bag. I will have to investigate this further.

Training of security personnel is going as smoothly as I hoped. The only exception is Ensign Hurt. He seems motivated and well intentioned but can be a little clumsy at times. He actually managed to break his magnetic boots during a zero G exercise outside the ship last week. It took a team of engineers to detach him from the hull.

Reviewing the files of our crew, I have a few concerns. First has to do with Mr. Skepti. I have heard some troubling things concerning this man from contacts I made while on Cardassia. I will be keeping an eye on him. My second concern has to do with our soon to arrive dignitary Ambassador Atylori. Our captain's aid, Aeth Nik, was born and raised on Bajor.......I don't know how she will react around our dignitary.

So far, security precautions are coming along nicely. Command Nganga seems to be deferring to my judgement on most security issues.

Weapons training begins tomorrow using the new Mark V Phaser pistols. What a great weapon!

-End of Log-

Lt. Klaus left the security station and walked to the turbolift.

"Sickbay."

Time to ask the new doctor a few questions....


<<The Cochrane: 10 Forward>>

Standing in the center of the room looking around to make sure everything is perfect. "Yes, I have enough table and they are space to give everyone just enough room so they do not feel crowded" The holographic bartender stopped his eyes on a picture behind the bar and began to shake his head and moving quickly to the picture. "Well that one should be by the door for it will give a better welcome feeling," taking the picture down and moving it to replace the one at the end of the bar near the door.

Turning and smiling ::Now maybe I will have more than engineers in that will know how to relax and have a good time.::

Ensign Bak Xiam and Chief Marlo Salvitor arrived at deck 10, forward section, civilian habitat on the same turbo lift. Salvitor was smiling and whistling to himself. The ensign suspected he was up to something, again. When the doors opened, both men could see the immaculate park and miniature shrubbery centerpiece of the boardwalk. They stepped of the lift, passed through the security checkpoint, and Bak commented "Beautiful."

Salvitor's grin widened and he nodded, "Thank you Ensign." Then he was on his way to tend to his greenery.

The Ensign was on duty but strolled casually through the civilian habitat on his way to 10 forward. Shopkeepers and some families were busy readying for the arrival of the Cochran's crew. He thought, nearly as busy and the engineering team. Argyle had everyone working double shifts to prepare the ship to Commanders Nganga's expectations. It might be very hard having one of the ship's designers also being that ships XO. He glanced at the schedule on his PADD, 10 forward would be the next station to received replicator upgrades. Subroutine programming could be done from engineering, but new hardware had to be installed by hand.

As he entered 10 forward, he could see the LBH re-hanging a picture near the bar door. He still expected the program to say, `Please state the nature of the medical emergency.' Not this hologram, whom was independent of his original programming. The LBH turned from the picture, "Welcome Ensign Bak, how may I be of service."

Bak shook his head, "No thanks, this is not a social call. I'm on duty." Handing the PADD to the bartender, "Your replicators are due for an upgrade."

"We have not even left dock yet…"

Ensign Bak, removed a panel below the replicator, "These upgrades are to ensure our crew can have all the comforts of home. Even if they weren't part of the replicators original design." With panel in hand, he looked at the hologram, "I'd like to ask personal question, feel free not to answer if it is inappropriate. But, your program was designed to be a brilliant surgeon, and with your independence you could have become anything you choose. So, why a bartender?"

Smiling widely at Ensign Bak, "Well, lets see........(holding up his fingers and start counting on them) there is the content companionship of member from the crew, and don't have to order you for your annual physical, or see you only in times of pain or some injury from the holodeck programs....then there is the comfort of knowing you can come here and I can still cure your daily blues with some drinks and music here in my off....my bar..."


**Just a tad to port, … yea, that's good. More thrusters … whoop, there …angle 5 degrees, no, six … smooth sailing D.J. …**

David Paxton lounged in the simulator flight chair, his hands gliding smoothly over the controls. On the screen in front o f him, he watched his shuttle glide past an obstacle course of rock formations and canyons.

**Whoa, hard to starboard …**

On-screen, the small shuttle narrowly grazed the side of the canyon. An annoying, computerized screech of scraping hull assaulted David's ears from the overhead speakers.

**That turn always gets me …**

"What'cha doing?"

David didn't know he had an audience. He glanced briefly to his left to find the voice now seated in the co-pilot's seat (**when did he sneak in?**), then continued watching his trajectory on-screen. His hands never stopped working.

"Just relieving some stress," he muttered, barely loud enough for the kid (**8 years old? 9?**) to hear.

"You're really good … did you learn to fly like that in Starfleet?"

**Ugh, Starfleet** Yea, he was wearing his uniform, he suddenly remembered. "Not quite," he said. "I guess you could say I learned how to fly trying to get away from Starfleet." Under his breath, David added, "… or at least my parents."

David's body juked to the left, reflexively dodging the spire on-screen before his shuttle could slam into it. Watching, the kid dodged with him.

"My dad's in Starfleet … we're going to live on that ship in the dock." The excitement and awe flowed from the kid as he spoke. "Dad's going to take me over soon to look at where he gets to work."

"Thrilling …" David mumbled, continuing to look straight ahead. "I bet you'll have loads of fun watching your dad work all the time," he said icily.

"Yea, I'm going to be in Starfleet too when I grow up." The kid just kept going, either ignoring, or not understanding David's disdainful tone. "He said that …"

"Oooaaah …" David hissed audibly, ducking his head down as the shuttle sailed under a large outcrop.

Not missing a beat, the kid continued, "… we'll have lots of fun, and it's just like a space station, and there's a park and everything. Before, me and mom weren't allowed to stay on the ship he worked on, but now that he's reassigned, we'll get to see him all the time." David saw the kid smile, with that indescribable-yet-unmistakable Starfleet "gaze-to-the-future" look used in all the PR on Earth.

**Time to burst a bubble**, David thought. "Sure kid, if he's not too busy cleaning the warp core, visiting new planets, or entertaining ambassadors, he might have some time after all his paperwork and reports are filed … unless he's off spending down-time with the officers, or …" The simulator interior dimmed as something blocked the light from the outside.

"Aren't you a little old to be playing video games, Ensign?"

David stopped. The new voice was older, refined, and standing to his right. He glanced up. (**Let's see, one … two pips … and a circle …**)

Jumping to his feet, David's head knocked against the roof of the simulator. His hand massaging the top of his head, and trying to hold back a wince, he straightened up before the Lt. Commander. "Uh, no sir, … er, I mean yes sir. Sorry sir." Behind him, he heard a loud boom come from the speakers. So much for his game.

"Ensign, your name, please?" the officer asked.

"Ensign David Paxton, sir."

"Ensign Paxton, what is your assignment aboard the Cochrane?"

"I'm assigned to the Helm, sir." Still looking at the officer, David saw his eyebrows raise. Was that a smirk on his lips, or a grimace?

"Well, helmsman … I hope you can maintain better concentration while flying the Cochrane?" The officer glanced behind David to the simulator.

Nudging his head around, David saw the charred, crumpled remains of his shuttle in flames amidst the canyons. (**Hey, high score!**) David hoped he wasn't turning red. "Uh, yes sir, I certainly will, sir."

"Good. Now, I believe boarding has already begun for the crew. Shouldn't you be getting over to the Cochrane to get settled, and familiar with your …" glancing at the simulator again, " … new work station?"

David held a breath in before release. "Yes, sir, I'll head to the transporter immediately and beam over." David reached down next to the simulator and pulled the satchel he had stashed there over his shoulder.

"Very good Ensign. I believe Commander Nganga is greeting the crew as they arrive aboard the Cochrane, in the transporter room on deck six, so I wouldn't keep him waiting too long." Then, to the child still sitting in the simulator, "Come on Stephen, let's go find your mother."

The child hopped out and ran over to his dad. With one last look at David, the officer turned and walked away with his son. Stephen peaked behind his father as they walked, raising a tentative hand and a smile in David's direction. David's shoulders slumped, even as he half- heartedly waved back at the kid. **Great. I'm badmouthing Starfleet and the kid's father in front of both of them …**

Head hanging slightly, David started walking towards the exit. Slowing his walk, he turned his head to watch as the officer and the kid (**Stephen**) left via another exit of the recreation area. Stopping, David watched the doors close behind them. Glancing around to see if there were any other officers around (**nope**), he ran back to the simulator. Reaching down, he fingered the controls and entered: D.J.P.

Waiting just long enough to see his initials scroll down the screen next to his score, David turned and sped for the exit. **Well, guess I should stop putting this off.** Sighing, David headed for the transporter room. **Time to go to work …**


Skepti grunted non-committaly hesitantly saluting the Commander. ::Am I supposed to salute as a Civilian?:: He frowns, while taking Dekelley's hand and giving it a firm shake as he steps from the pad. He offers a curt nod to the Vulcan and speaks to all three present, "Thank you. This is the welcoming committee?" One brown eye-brow quirks up above the patch, "Commendable." He takes a deep breath and straightens his bomber jacket. "I'm Calvin Skepti, your Boardwalk Manager. I'd love to stay and chat, but, I suppose I should be off to inspect the Promenade." He pauses a moment, waiting to hear if he has any orders.


The transporter pad lit up, and was filled with familiar blue shimmer of materialization. A few seconds later, the lights dimmed back to normal, the materialization was complete. Yet the officer remained standing there. A tap of the comm badge: "Starkin here. I made it over in one piece. Thanks for the lift."

=^=Acknowledged.=^=

Starkin paused and looked at the empty transporter bay, contemplating the path that led to here. Sure, it was a career full of many such transporter bays - even the rarely used auxiliary bays like this one. But it still felt different. It was more exhilarating. More personal. It was not too unlike the first walk through the house Clairus had found for them in Aram Ejad, all those many years ago on Jace. Knowing that this place, this new place, was their new home. And unlike other starship "homes" owned throughout the years, Uriell Starkin knew this one had the same thing as the Aram Ejad home: direct responsibility.

Finally stepping off of the smaller transporter pad, Starkin saw the doors open to a dark skinned officer wearing the gold-orange colors of engineering. On his face he wore a look of annoyance and slight bewilderment. Just before he could ask "what the hell are you doing there," he noticed the number of collar pips. His face quickly went to full-blown confusion and then to an almost successful attempt at stoic neutral.

"C..Captain. What a surprise! If.. we knew you were coming in here, we could have had someone meet you..."

"Relax, Ensign. It's alright. I didn't want to make a big deal with my arrival. I'd rather slip in quietly and let the crew continue working. There's a lot to get done."

"Yes sir. Shall I contact Commander Nganga to let him know that you're here?"

The answer came with a slight smile: "Thank you, but no, please don't." The bay doors opened. "I'd much rather let him know myself. Besides, this way I can get to see this ship of his. Dismissed."


"Lieutenant, I think you ought to see this," Ensign Hurt said.

Lieutenant Junior Grade Norallah turned her workstation chair around and faced the ensign at the security station. They were the only people on the Cochrane's bridge at the moment, and as the ranking officer she had been given the conn. "What is it?"

"A message from shipyard security. One of the Cardassian 'civilians' who is a crewman on one of the supply vessels has been identified as a former member of the Obsidian Order." the ensign said.

"He's a walking cadaver?" She arched her left eyebrow, disbelieving the concept of a 'former member of the Obsidian Order.'

"That's just what it says. He was recently seen in the Watering Hole."

"Which is right near where our new 'Arcade Manager,' or whatever, was beamed from. "We'd better let Nganga and Klaus now."

"Bridge to Commander Nganga; Bridge to Lt. Klaus..." Reg started calling.


In transporter room 2, Calvin Skepti was still waiting to see if he had specific orders other than checking the civilian boardwalk he would be managing.

"Excuse me," Nganga said after Hurt called, "Nganga here." After Klaus had likewise responded, Ensign Hurt relayed the message from Shipyard security.

"Sir," Salex spoke, "That establishment is within thirteen meters from where I just beamed Mr. Skepti from."

"Mr. Skepti, if you could wait a moment, please, Nganga said, raising his left hand slightly, then towards his badge. "Lt. Klaus, considering who one of expected arrivals is, I don't like the sounds of members of the Obsidian Order being about. Opinions?"

Skepti nods slowly letting out a soft, inaudible grunt. He reaches over to adjust the abnormally large glove on his left arm and hand. ::Wouldn't you know it. I haven't been on board for more than thirty seconds and I'm already being held over.::


::All right. I'll admit it. I'm taking the scenic route. But who would blame me?::

Uriell Starkin had been walking around the ship for some time now, exploring its various sections. The rights and privileges that came with being the Captain were most appreciated, especially the ability to go into even the most restricted of areas.

::Danielle would - she'd remind me to not to abuse my position. And she'd be right. Being the captain can be.. WILL be great, but the blessing can turn into a curse VERY quickly if it's not done right.::

The new captain looked across the ceiling. ::It will take weeks to see the whole ship. As enjoyable as this has been, duty calls.:: Starkin stopped at one of the many wall terminals that lined the hallways. ::Besides, there will be plenty of time to do more exploring::

Smiling at the thought, the Captain asked, "Computer, where is Commander Nganga?"

"Commander Nganga is in Transporter Room Two, deck six."

::He's still there. Good -- I was already headed that way anyway. Well, sort of…::


After setting Yeoman Frankes down on a biobed, Jayngo lowered his bag to the ground and picked up a hypospray. "I'm going to give you a muscle relaxant. It will dull the pain, but not your movement. I'm going to need you to sit still, and after we're done you are going to have to take it easy for a couple of hours. Understood?" The Yeoman nodded and Jayngo placed the hypospray against the patient's neck. A quick hiss, and he replaced the hypospray with a medical tricorder. Slowly moving it over Frankes' waist, Jayngo stated "have you lifted something heavy recently?"

"You mean besides your bag?"

"Yes, and the bag wasn't that heavy. According to my readings here, you have an enflamed hernia. It looks as though it has been active for about 32 hours. The weight of the bag only inflamed it, probably due to the unexpected weight."

"I've been working in tactical the past few days, moving photon torpedoes. They are wanting everything in order before the Chief Tactical Officer arrives. I didn't want to waste the time to get an anti-grav cart, so I was just carrying them."

Jayngo pulled out a muscle-regenerator and began running it over the top of the yeoman's inner hip. " So let me guess. You hurt yourself earlier, but figured you'd just 'walk it off'."

"Sort of. Yes, sir."

"Call me Jayngo. All my friends do. Just do us all a favor and don't lift with your legs or your back. Take the extra couple of minutes to get the cart."

"Understood. Can I go now?"

"Yes, but remember to take it easy for the next few hours. No lifting whatsoever."

"Thanks, Jayngo."

As the yeoman left the room, Jayngo once again picked up his bag and entered his office. :: My office. What a novel concept. :: It was better than he could have dreamed, especially back on the Desperado. He gingerly set the bag on the floor and looked around, especially noticing the hydrochloric rejuvenation system with fish tank stand in the corner. He would have to thank the hydroponics chief and get the stand over to Ensign Aeth.

A large box lay across the top of his desk. As Jayngo opened it, he found a blue coat inside, with a note. "Jayngo. Congratulations on the assignment. Do me proud boy, and wear this with honor. Richard Campbell." :: After all he's done for me, and he buys me a gift too. I never would have thought it the first time I me Doc, but I miss the old coot. :: Jayngo removed the item and slid it on. A perfect fit, and almost a dead ringer for the one his mentor had worn, only much larger.

He walked over to the replicator on the wall, and quickly browsed through the menu items. He was shocked to find several items from home available. :: They are going all-out to make me feel at home here. :: Jayngo smiled as he ordered "Vantara Tea, 48 degrees Celsius, with three ounces of Atlarian honey." The replicator hummed to life as a large mug appeared on the pad. Jayngo wrapped his hand around it, pulled it to his lips, and took a long drink. :: Mmmmm. Just like Mom made at home. Professor Marcus at the academy seemed to like it too. Said something about figuring this was as close to the nectar of the gods as he had tasted. Of course, he never got the chance to try mom's Tevel Cider. ::


Lt. Klaus walked down the corridor toward sickbay with the assured confidence that his training instilled. As the doors to sickbay were about to open.....

*Chirp*

"Lieutenant, Ensign Hurt here. We were just notified from shipyard security that a Cardassian civilian has been identified as a former member of the Obsidian Order. Sir, Commander Nganga also informed me that Mr. Skepti just beamed up not far from where this Cardassian was sighted. What are your instructions?"

Klaus paused for a moment. "Contact shipyard security again and get all the information they have on this individual. Also, pull up a full background on Mr. Skepti. See if he has had any past contacts with ANY intelligence agencies. Monitor his whereabouts and notify me immediately if he comes close to any sensitive areas. Questions."

"Not at this time, sir."

"Very well. Klaus out."

*Chirp*

"Lt. Klaus, Commander Nganga here."

"Go ahead, sir."

"Have you been notified of the situation in the shipyard?"

"I have."

"Lt. Klaus, considering who one of expected arrivals is, I don't like the sounds of members of the Obsidian Order being about. Opinions?"

"Is Mr. Skepti with you now?"

"He is."

"Very good. I am taking all appropriate security precautions. I don't believe in coincidences and plan on having a little chat with Mr. Skepti. A security detail should be there momentarily to escort Mr. Skepti to the security office. I will contact you as soon as I know more."

"Very well. Keep me informed."

"Aye, sir."

Klaus made a mental note to contact one of his friends he made during his tour on Cardassia.... Well, Doctor.....our little chat will have to wait.....

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