Positive News At Last
Episode 1: Requisitioned
Timeline: Day 31 at 1540
Captain Felix Rollins stood in the lift which took him up to the deck where Admiral Ramsey had his temporary office. It seemed like a long trip from the lower pylon five where Europa was docked.
Stood at the upper promenade exit of the turbolift from lower pylon five, two Starfleet officers, one in operations gold and one in command red, stood deep in conversation whilst they, apparently, waited for the lift.
“Tactical is reporting that the issue with the targeting array has been resolved, and the transporter chief wants you to know that we’ll have no more scrambled atoms on the transporter pad,” the officer in gold smiled as best he could at the far more senior officer.
“Well, that’s a good thing I suppose. Tell the Chief he is lucky it was only vegetables this time and not someone important, like Admiral Ramsey,” the man in command red smirked as he shook his head and signed off on the report he had been reading. “Make sure the engineering team replaces the anodyne relays on deck twelve. I want the communications malfunction solved by the time I get back.” Captain Romaes Anjin of the starship Venture had been cooped up on the station for what felt like days, at the insistence of Captain Nog, and had been engaged in many a game of tongo (and had lost many a bar of gold pressed latinum in the process), which was probably part of the reason for Nog’s insistence that the Bajoran stay aboard. That, and their being acquaintances from their time serving on the station together during the war.
Now though, Romaes wasn’t waiting for Nog. He was waiting for the person who he had been told was occupying this particular lift.
“Aye Captain,” the officer in gold nodded as he took ownership of the pad, “I’ll get right on it.”
The lift came to a stop and the doors opened to reveal Captain Romaes. "Captain." Rollins said with a small courteous nod. "I'm guessing you've been summoned to Admiral Ramsey's office too for mission orders?"
Nodding curtly, the Bajoran gestured down the promenade and started walking alongside his colleague from the Europa. "Any idea what this might be about? We've been given the order to prep for probably departure..." Romaes frowned, hands in his pockets and slightly hunched as he walked.
"No clue. Everything we've had has been vague." Felix replied as he fell into step next to his fellow Captain. "Just got orders saying we were being reassigned to this newly formed GEC and to report to DS9."
"I hate it when this sort of stuff happens," Romaes grunted as they bypassed several officers on their way to the turbo lift which would take them to Ops. "Whenever ships are paired up, it doesn't usually bode well. I'm also reliably told that several other starships just arrived in system, including the Thurgood Marshall and Yarra. Bajoran's get twitchy when such big gatherings appear in their space," he eventually smirked.
"Understandable, given what happened during the war." Rollins commented. "If 4 starships have been assigned to this GEC then this must be some big expansion into the Gamma Quadrant. I can't help but wonder what the Dominion are going to think when Federation starships start flooding into their area of operation."
"It's the biggest concentration of starships that have headed that way in years," the Bajoran frowned as they entered the lift and he directed it to the Ops Center. "How is Europa, anyway?" he enquired, making small talk with his colleague.
"Shaping up well." Felix replied. "However, I've been assigned a diplomatic officer. I've carried them before for diplomatic missions but never had an in-house one before. Seems an odd assignment to me. What about Venture? How's she shaping up?"
"We're waiting for crew replacements," Romaes nodded slowly, hands clasped together behind his back as the lift travelled to its destination. "Refit is complete, systems are a go, we just need some last minute additions in order to get underway. Have you been in contact with Alfie since his reassignment?" the Bajoran enquired, turning his gaze towards his colleague at last.
"Alfie?" Rollins said with a surprised tone. "I've not heard from him in a couple of months. Why?"
"You mean he hasn't told you?" Romaes looked shocked, but a slight smile crept on his face at the thought of telling the Captain the news about his son. "Alfie's just transferred to Venture from the Majestic. He's my new Number One," the Bajoran revealed, the smile growing.
"Wow, really!" Felix said in shock. "He's a good lad. Not an arse like his father was at that age." He added with a chuckle. "I'm guessing his diplomatic background is going to help you in the Gamma Quadrant?"
"Help us by the looks of things," the Bajoran smirked, referencing the fact that it seemed like they would be heading off on their mission together. Soon enough, the turbo lift arrived at Ops, and the pair exited into the hub of activity, crossing the command center and pressing the chime of the station commander's office.
"You know more than me then." Felix replied with a quieter tone. Rollins only had educated guesses to work ever since they were ordered to DS9.
"ENTER!" Came the call from within the office. Romaes, ever the polite officer, stood aside to let his colleague enter first.
Rollins entered first after the old Cardassian built door slid noisily open. "Captain Nog. Admiral Ramsey." He said as he entered giving both a respectful nod.
'Odd that he should acknowledge the Captain first and not the Admiral,' the Bajoran thought as he followed behind and stood alongside his colleague in front of the Station Commander's desk, where Nog sat and the Admiral they were to report to was stood. "Admiral, Captain," he spoke in greeting.
"Gentlemen!" Ramsey grinned as he welcomed the two Captain's, "Always nice to see you, Captain Romaes, and I am pleased to meet you in person, Captain Rollins," the far superior ranked man smiled.
"A pleasure to meet you finally as well, Admiral." Felix said with a respectful bow of the head.
Gesturing for the two newcomers to take their seats across from the seated Ferengi, the Admiral authorised Captain Nog to share some details with them.
“Gentlemen, DS9 is the new headquarters for the new Gamma Exploration Initiative. Your vessels will form the initial exploration group,” the Ferengi told as he slid two data PADDs across to his fellow Captain’s
Romaes took ownership of the PADD pertaining to Venture’s role in the group. As the older of the two vessels, the ship didn’t have some of the up to date systems as the Europa, but her name certainly carried more weight. Prestige and reputation would mean everything when they engaged with the Dominion - in his opinion anyway. Venture had served in the war and had not only survived, but had continued to be a ship of importance to Starfleet. If this was to be her last hurrah, it was one hell of a mission to go on.
Felix leaned forward to took the PADD before thumbing through its details. He was pleasantly surprised by what he read. "Europa is doing a 5 year deep space mission of exploration in the Gamma Quadrant. I like the sound of that." He commented with a smile.
"While Venture makes renewed contact with the Dominion," Admiral Ramsey gave a knowing nod, "we need to make sure that the peace still holds and exploration can resume again. It has been some time since we've had an organised, task group level initiative in the Gamma, but that is something that needs to change. We need to give the people of the Federation hope that the dark days of recent times are behind us and we can, again, focus on exploring beyond our borders," the senior officer smiled as he looked at the Bajoran, hoping to get some sign that he accepted the mission assigned to Venture.
Eventually, Romaes nodded. "Would be useless sending some of these smaller ships to deal with one of our greatest foes, even if we are friends now. I mean, looking at this list, your new initiative wont last long if the Dominion decide not to play nice," the sceptical Bajoran frowned, looking between the seated Ferengi and the Admiral.
"The Dominion have been quiet of late." The Ferengi Captain said speaking up. "Our listening posts in the Gamma Quadrant haven't picked up any comm chatter or even a Dominion ship for years. They maybe still licking their wounds after the war but Starfleet is now in a position to spare ships to explore the GQ. This opportunity shouldn't be missed. Sending a Galaxy class vessel says we mean business, yet we're not sending our more advanced Starships like an Odyssey or Inquiry class."
"The Dominion don't own the Gamma Quadrant, why do we need to reach out at all? If they're quiet and keeping to themselves why not leave it like that?" Rollins asked.
"Because last time we launched exploration initiatives without them knowing, the Dominion destroyed the USS Odyssey, obliterated the Obsidian Order and the Tal'Shiar before invading the Alpha quadrant," Romaes frowned as he placed the data PADD back on the desk, and looked between the three other men in the room. "I'm guessing the Admiralty don't want to do anything that may potentially antagonize one of our most feared enemies."
"Even if they are friends, for now," the Admiral added, nodding along to Captain Romaes' assessment of the situation. "Europa will enter the Gamma Quadrant two days from now, send back initial scans of the areas surrounding the exit aperture of the wormhole. She will also head to the Argathra system and deploy a deep space comms relay and link it to the listening post before commencing her mission. Venture will follow two days later," the Admiral instructed. "Questions?"
Rollins shook his head, he had everything he needed in the PADD provided. "I don't think so, Admiral."
"Then Captain Rollins, you are dismissed. Captain Romaes, there is another matter you and I need to discuss," the Admiral nodded to the Bajoran following a smile of thanks to the Captain of the Europa.
Romaes simply sat there, looking somewhat confused as his gaze travelled between Rollins and the more senior Ramsey.
Once Captain Rollins had departed, Captain Nog swiftly followed suit by the door at the far side of the office, leaving the Bajoran Captain alone with the commander of the GEC. Ramsey quickly lowered himself into the chair that the ferengi, Nog, had occupied and let out a sigh of relief. He was happy to be off his feet at last.
"Was there something else you needed of me sir?" the Captain spoke with a raised brow as he shuffled forward, to the edge of his seat.
"Indeed," the Admiral nodded, sliding a second PADD across the desk. "These are decommissioning orders," he revealed, much to the displeasure, but resigned understanding of the Bajoran.
But there was something that confused the Captain. "Forgive me sir, but if you are decommissioning Venture, as I have long since expected, why have you assigned us to a mission four days from now? Respectfully, it doesn't make sense," the Bajoran protested. His confusion grew at the sight of the smile that filled the aging Terran's face.
"The reason for Venture's delay in joining Europa is because you and your crew will need two days to get accustomed to her," he revealed, gesturing to the PADD that the Captain had yet to pick up. "We're retiring this Venture, but not Venture in her entirety. Tomorrow morning, a new vessel bearing the name will arrive here. You and your command crew will assume the mantle of command and have two additional days to get used to her before carrying out your mission," he told.
At this point, Romaes quickly lifted the PADD, intrigued by what he was hearing and began to read. As he did, he was met with a wave of excitement, but also curiosity. "Capital ships have always bore the name Venture, Admiral. I understand that the new Inquiry-class vessels are the toughest, fastest, most powerful ships Starfleet ever put into service, but they aren't exactly ships of the line," he responded.
"We did give great consideration to her successor," Ramsey nodded as he lent back in the chair and relaxed. "There was a big push to give you an Odyssey, or even a Polaris, but in truth, both would have been lumbering, sitting ducks in the event of a Dominion push back. We can't afford another Odyssey Incident like in the 70's, so we made the call to give you something tough, fast, and powerful - something that could truly bite back at the Dominion if diplomatic overtures were rejected."
Romaes nodded along slowly as he listened to the Admiral's words. His words, naturally, had merit, and the Bajoran could one hundred percent understand his reasoning, but that didn't stop him from being disappointed at not being given one of the flagships of the fleet. His new vessel, though smaller, was impressive however - at least on the PADD. Type-XIV phaser arrays, the new mark-VI torpedo launchers, an advanced shield grid and, of course, the new quantum slipstream drive (even if its use was limited, it would no doubt come in handy).
"Inquiry is somewhat modular," Ramsey continued, "there are different variants out there and yours is a combination of the Curiosity and Inquiry classes themselves. You maintain the defensive and offensive systems of the inquiry, but you gain, in limited capacity, the diplomatic and recreational facilities of the Curiosity. You have what you need to play host to dignitaries and also keep your crew happy and content, whilst also being able to smash the back doors in of any asshole that comes your way," the bearded elder smirked.
That remark drew a laugh from Romaes, and the two conversed for a while longer until the Bajoran and the Admiral bid farewell to one another, the Captain entering Ops and heading for the transporter pad. Within minutes, the Captain had been dematerialised aboard the Cardassian station and reconstituted aboard Venture. With a nod to the transporter chief, the Captain headed for the bridge.
"=/\=Romaes to Rollins," he called into the comm array after tapping his commbadge.
"=/\=Rollins here, sir." Came the reply from Venture's first officer.
"=/\=Recall all personnel to the ship and meet me in my ready room," the Captain instructed over the comm as he approached the turbo lift. "We have orders to discuss."
"=/\=Understood, sir. I'll begin recalling everyone now. Should I prep the ship for departure, sir?"
"=/\=Negative," Romaes responded as he vanished into the turbo lift at the end of the corridor, "I'll explain the rest shortly, Commander. Romaes out." Directing the turbo lift to deck one, the Captain let out a massive smile.
Positive news at last.