Star Trek: Defiant

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Something Extraordinary

Posted on Thu Feb 11th, 2021 @ 10:08pm by Captain Veronica Reynolds & Lieutenant Rinix

Mission: Episode 0: A Storm Is Brewing
Location: Figean Massif, New Vulcan
Timeline: MD 2: Mid-afternoon

'They're not here yet,' replied Rinix as he scanned New Vulcan's sky. It was a beautiful day on the Vulcans' new homeworld. The Denobulan could stand in the full, direct sunlight and luxuriate in the early morning heat. Though his body couldn't tell it, the planet was marginally cooler than their destroyed homeworld, but was analogous enough that their colonisation effort had been relatively straight forward. Planting Vulcan flora in the soil, however, had been anything but.

Rinix cast his intense grey eyes over the data slate he was holding, studying the data it was providing from the small civilian sensor grid strung out across the natural depression in which the homestead was located. 'You've lost about five percent growth in the north-eastern quadrant. Are you sure that you have the nitrate mix quite right? Just look at the substrate - it's far more acidic than the surrounding land. I wonder why?'

'The growth loss is four-point-eight percent, precisely,' remarked Rinix's companion with an arched eyebrow and a dry tone. 'Most likely there are some metallic deposits beneath the surface that were yet to be catalogued when we planted there last season. I will instruct that the nitrates be adjusted for the next cycle and salvage what can be in the meantime.'

'T'Skon, I wouldn't fret,' replied Rinix with the wide smile so characteristic of his people, 'you've done wonders here, contributed greatly to your people's understanding of the planet. You should be proud. And yes, you'll say it's illogical to find pride in the necessity of ensuring your people survive, but,' he clapped the taller Vulcan on their shoulder, 'you should be.'

'Your praise is ... appreciated,' came the eventual reply. 'Your family have departed?'

'My wives have,' Rinix said with a smaller, sadder smile, 'there's some business to attend to back on Earth - they'll be meeting my husband at Alpha Centauri before they get back home. Hopefully, I should only be a day or two behind them. I have plenty of leave time to use, and it will be good to set foot on Earth after all this time.'

T'Skon nodded silently in understanding, and returned to monitoring the crops in the southwestern quadrant. Rinix took a swallow of tea from the mug in his hand, continuing to scan the sky in the direction of the forbidding mountain range in the far distance. Eventually he noticed a shuttle and pointed it out. The Vulcan regarded it for a moment before getting to their feet.

'It would be polite to prepare some more tea.'

[* * *]

Sat once more around the table, Rinix smiled widely and began pouring tea for the three of them. 'So Captain, what brings you out to the Figean Massif? It seems a bit far to come for the views, even if they are spectacular.'

"I've actually been known to travel a good distance for desert views. My native Arizona had quite a few of them, but many of the best required some effort to reach," Captain Reynolds said, smiling as she took in the aroma of her tea. Vulcan tea always had an extra bit of spice to it that she appreciated. It'd been in woefully short supply since the planet's destruction. But here, on its intended successor, she'd been able to enjoy it once more. "In all honesty, I wasn't that far away to begin with. My friend T'Lok lives halfway between here and New Shi'Kahr. He and his wife had settled a small homestead near the Arev Mountains."

She set her tea down. "But I must admit I came here with additional motives. Lieutenant Rinix, it's my understanding that you're currently without assignment. I'm here to ask you to consider to changing that."

'I see, Captain.' Rinix nodded in understanding, his expression turning guarded as he regarded the younger captain. 'Unfortunately I thought I had made it clear when using my leave I needed time to consider my position,' his tone was even, kind, but he brooked no argument.

Veronica sighed slightly. She wouldn't force the man out of his leave, but her options had narrowed recently due to a catastrophic accident on Outpost 17. "You had informed command, yes. In fact, despite being my top pick for this position, I'd ruled you out after hearing about your request. Unfortunately, fate has dealt me a difficult hand. My second choice has just experienced a medical emergency, and may be in a coma for weeks. While my third choice is interested, she is weeks away from being able to meet us. Defiant's launch is in a week."

She folded her hands in front of her. "That leaves me in an unenviable position. I need to launch into unexplored space without a Chief Science Officer, or I need to ask a man to forgo some well earned leave."

'It's flattering that I'm your first choice,' replied Rinix. 'The Defian ... she's one a Constitution-class vessel if memory recalls?' He was talking mostly to himself. T'Skonn merely arched their eyebrow and sipped at their tea quietly while Rinix puzzled through his conflict. 'I'm sorry to hear about your second choice as well, it is an unfortunate predicament.' He sighed, 'I'm sure you're aware that family is important to Denobulans - we're a clannish people, Captain. My family, and I, believe that I have accomplished as much as I currently can in Starfleet. And they have forborne my absences for long enough.' He shrugged, and smiled another wide, Denobulan smile, 'it would take something extraordinary to tempt me back to deep space at this point.'

"And suppose I had something extraordinary," Veronica replied slyly. She reached into her pouch and retrieved a pad. Selecting the file in question, she slid it across the table to Rinix. "A few months ago, Federation scientists in the Carinae Traverse came across something. They were in the middle of a stellar survey, researching one of the newly formed star systems on the edges of the Eru'zel Nebula, when they came across a probe of unknown origin. It was badly damaged and it's memory core was nearly entirely corrupted. However, after some substantial work, the techs back on Jupiter Station were able to pull a piece of information off its drive. A set of stellar coordinates where we believe the device originated from. And those coordinates..."

Rinix idly picked up the proffered pad. 'But that's ... unheard of,' replied Rinix uncertainly. 'Either that probe is incredibly old, or the warp capabilities of the civilisation that sent this probe out is orders of magnitude more advanced than ours.'

He moved to speak further, but looked at T'skon uncertainly before looking to the captain again. 'Is this restricted information?'

Veronica sat back. "The information is still classified to only Defiant's crew...and those who might become members of it. As for your question though? As far as we are able to tell, the probe was launched less than 10 years ago. Given its extremely low speed, it could easily have been drifting slowly away from the nebula for most of that time."

T'Skon got to their feet, and nodded, 'I should excuse myself. It is clear that you have much to discuss, and I have crops to attend to.' They spun on their heel and left, leaving the two current Starfleet officers together. Rinix looked at their retreating back, and sighed. 'I'm sure if circumstances were different, T'Skon would jump at the chance for a deep space voyage. Particularly now you've found a probe that originates in the Gamma Quadrant. That was launched less than ten years ago. This is ... extraordinary,' he said, defeated, excited and intrigues all at the same time.

"It is. It's why I'm hoping you'd consider joining us. Even if only for a while," the Captain replied. She nodded toward T'Skon in the distance. She had a feeling that, like her friend T'Lok, he still harbored some wishes to be among the stars. Starfleet was missing its Vulcan officers dearly as of late. Not to say there were none. Plenty still made the decision to serve. They had a Cadet aboard now who was years away from her next Pon Farr and had decided to make use of that time. But the loss was still palpable. "My friend is probably a lot like yours. Used to be a damn good officer. Losing Vulcan hurt us in a lot of ways, some of which we're only starting to realized."

'Yes,' replied Rinix sadly, 'I wonder if that was the original intention, a fundamental weakening of the Federation. I've been privileged to read some of the reports on the destruction of Vulcan, given my specialities, and to me it seems there was more than madness at work there. Romulans are long-lived it seems, and the consequences may take several Vulcan or Romulan lifetimes to manifest.' He brushed a speck of dust off his sleeve. 'I suppose we'll never know, though. The secrets of that vessel died along with it.'

The Denobulan sat in silence for a moment, then gave in to temptation, 'are you at liberty to fill in some more information on the Defiant's mission in general?'

“We’re headed to the Carinae Traverse, a large uncharted region on the far fringes of the Federation’s Beta Quadrant border. Not a lot is known about the region. Given Starfleet’s incredibly small presence out there, we’re to be the tip of the spear while a new Starbase is under construction. Planet charting, first contact, trade negotiation, defense. It’ll all be Defiant,” she replied, her arms gesturing wide to encompass the mission profile.

He looked down at the table briefly. 'I see. The Carinae Traverse.' Rinix looked up, 'how absolutely fascinating, and just the Defiant too. It's quite the assignment if a person were interested in it.' The Denobulan leaned back in his chair and regarded the Captain in front of him critically, 'and I would have full control of my department, any equipment I can get my hands on before we depart? No interference or micromanagement?' He held up a finger. 'If I were interested that it.'

“Full authority,” Reynolds said with a nod. “And I will add that Defiant has a robust set of laboratories, without even getting into its modular bays which allow for expansion further still.” She gave him a sly smile. “It’d be a very prestigious assignment for someone interested. And arrangements for family visitation could be made. Especially after Starbase Arcadia is up and running.”

Rinix looked at the Captain as she spoke, nodding along. 'That seems reasonable.' He thought for a moment longer, then nodded with a finality, letting out a breath, 'alright, Captain Reynolds. Tell me when and where to report.'

Finally, a relieved smile made its way to Reynolds' mouth. "Orbital Ship Housing 6A, USS Defiant. We're shipping out in about a week. Sometime between now and then would be ideal for your arrival. I'll make sure the Quartermaster has a room ready for you."

The Denobulan smiled at the younger Starfleet Captain, 'thank you. I'll make sure to come aboard promptly.' He jerked his thumb in T'Skon's direction, 'if you'll excuse me for now, I have a few difficult conversations to attend to.'

The Captain nodded. "Good luck. I'll see you aboard."

 

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