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Diverging Orders

Posted on Fri Nov 30th, 2018 @ 10:10am by Commander Alexia Hunter-Nolan & Lieutenant Commander Jael Steiger

Mission: Spoilt Settlers
Location: Alexia's Quarters

After finishing up a rather sweat-inducing workout in the rather extensive gym aboard the Centaurus, Jael headed back to her quarters for a quick shower and a fresh uniform. She had received notification of Alexia’s return back from her honeymoon but raised her eyebrow slightly at her request for a meeting in her quarters. Twisting her hair up into a bun, Jael quickly ran through the different scenarios of what was to come. Questions about the last incident? No, Alexia had already had her debrief with the Admirals and nothing came up. New mission? Maybe. Starfleet was always quick to issue out new orders for their officers, especially after an incident they were keeping under wraps.

She cleared her head and continued on, heading towards the Commander’s nearby quarters. After being let in, Jael spotted Alexia on the couch in her empty quarters. “Welcome back, Commander,” she greeted firmly and professionally as she considered this a work meeting. “I trust you had an enjoyable honeymoon?”

Alexia looked up and smiled at her first officer. She'd been consulting a PADD and Jael's arrival was fortuitous to say the least. "Thank you, Jael." She smiled. "I would say that both myself and Abi thoroughly enjoyed both the honeymoon and each other's company. Of course, that doesn't make re-entry into working life any easier, but it's a cross we have to bear. Please, take a seat." She said, offering one of the easy chairs opposite the sofa.

Jael nodded and took her seat directly across from Alexia. She placed her hands steady on her lap and interlaced her fingers. "What did you want to discuss, Commander?"

Alexia placed the PADD down in front of her on the coffee table. "We've a number of items to go over, during my absence." She said. "Firstly, the inquiry into the events aboard the ship with the colonists has been concluded. Its findings have been classified, and are not going to be released. Starfleet Intelligence has basically stamped on it. However, we've been cleared of misconduct in loosing control of the vessel. There's a sense that this may have been a rogue operation, but there's no evidence to back that up, other than the circumstances that Dubratone had contacts sufficient to get him a priority ride aboard a Federation Starship, with enough clout to pass through multiple layers of bureaucracy at the admiralty - no small feat to be sure. But, for the time being, no court-martials are going to be levied as a result of this incident, and our mission logs are classified above level 10. I did however make sure that The Russian's involvement was never mentioned."

Jael's lips twitched up a bit. No surprise that the incident had been tied up that way. "Gone but not forgotten, Commander. I am positive Intelligence will be hard at work eliminating those ties especially as it directly affected myself and Dutch." She paused. "Though it is of no concern to us anymore. The officer, or former officer, who had been detained for negligence of duty when that woman stole his access codes will be grateful of this news as well."

"I'm sure." Alexia replied. "However, we have been given further orders. Despite everything, we're still TAD to the colony support division." She said, rolling her eyes. "We've been tasked with providing support to two colonies in the Malorus Belt. Gemini colony and Virgo colony have requested support, and we're being dispatched to sort it all out."

Jael raised her eyebrow slightly. "What kind of support are they requesting?"

Alexia passed over the PADD that had been in front of her to Jael. "Gemini has a solar storm heading their way, which their infrastructure can't take. Although it was predicted and precautions taken, apparently this particular storm is more severe than first expected, and the safety equipment provided is inadequate to the task. We're needed to go and reinforce their defences. Virgo meanwhile has an asteroid heading towards it, that has so far managed to resist all attempts at deflecting it as they normally do. I mean, it was risk-assessed that this might happen, setting up a colony in the middle of an asteroid belt, but apparently this one is bigger than normal. So we're needed to go help protect Virgo."

Grabbing the PADD, Jael began glancing over the orders and the status of the colonies. She briefly doubted the accuracy of the risk assessments as both of the colonies in close proximity were having issues simultaneously. But that was no matter to her as it was not her duty to judge Starfleet’s decision to accept the Malorus Belt as a suitable location to colonise. Both colonies are mid-sized, about 4,000 colonists, which would be a cause for concern to the crew if shit really hit the fan and they were the only ship assisting. “We are alone on this, yes? Or will there be another vessel accompanying us?”

"No, we're the only one being sent. There's a shortage of vessels across the board, as you know, and since we're spare, and were effectively formed to do this scutt-work, we have to make do. So we'll be sending an away-team to Gemini in a runabout once we're in system to help bolster their defences whilst the ship itself will go to Virgo to help with the asteroid." Alexia explained. "The team to Gemini will consist of you, some engineers, scientists and medical personnel. I'll then take the ship to Virgo to assist there, since I suspect it'll be using the tractor beams to move the asteroid off its trajectory, or blow it up. Once we're done there, we can come assist you on Gemini."

Jael nodded. “How much time do we have before the storm makes contact with the colony?” Their resources were being stretched thin on this one and she needed as much time as she could with the away team to maximize their efforts. “We may have to be creative with our planning if time is not on our side.”

"From the orders, looks like we have two days. Now, if we set off straight away, we could be at Gemini in nineteen hours at warp eight." Alexia replied. "We have four days for the asteroid."

“Two days,” Jael repeated quietly, mostly to herself. Her eyes moved back up to Alexia as her eyes darkened. “Zeit ist am wertvollsten, wenn man sie nicht hat.” Her lips gave off a twist of irony at their situation. Once again they were being dispatched to clean up a mess Starfleet had created due to ill-planned rescue efforts. “Time is most valuable when you do not have it. And that we do not have. I would like the names of the officers being sent to Gemini so I am able to meet with them straight away. I would also like to review the current defense systems of the colony so we can plan accordingly.”

"I'll let you pick your own away team." Alexia said, in response. "The details on the colony are on the main computer to review at your leisure. Get your team together, brief them, and once we drop in-system, we'll launch your runabout straight away."

Jael nodded quickly. "Yes, Commander. I will update you of our plans once they have been established." She placed the PADD back on the coffee table between them. "It appears the honeymoon is officially over, Commander, for the both of us." She gave her a small grin.

"Back to the grindstone eh?" Alexia smirked. "Oh, Abi would very much like to hold another couple's dinner in the near future. She's got a soft-spot for Dutch, seems to think he's interesting and/or amusing. I tease her by saying she has a crush on him. She teases me by saying you're my work-wife, so its all fun and games."

Jael's grinned widened. She had become fond of Abi in the short time they had been on the ship together, and she had come to respect Alexia's moxie personality. They balanced each other out very well. She never imagined the day she would be on friendly terms with her, especially after their tumultuous beginning. And the day had come and passed quickly. "Dutch and I are very fond of Abi as well, Commander. We would be honored to have dinner with you and your," she paused briefly, "wife."

Alexia grinned at the pause. "Don't worry, I still can't believe she was stupid enough to marry me either. Oh well, too late now!" She laughed. "I'll let my better looking half arrange the dinner. She's really excited to try cooking a new meal she learned when we were on holiday, so if she ends up poisoning half the ships senior officers, I think we can expect she's not plotting a coup."

“Or a way to get out of a divorce,” Jael countered dryly. “As your First Officer I would understand your request to have me taste the food first.”

"Oh, talking of senior officers. I reviewed your new duty roster for the shift commanders. You sure you want to move Lieutenant Blake up to Third? He seems so... scatter-brained. He never really wow'd me in his last fitness review. He hasn't exactly been an amazing fourth officer. Not sure how I feel about him running the Gamma Shift on his own. Or is this another one of your 'projects'?" Alexia asked.

“Lieutenant Blake reminds me of my husband, Commander,” Jael stated, falling back into a more serious tone. “He is a very very intelligent man with a quick response to stimuli. He appears, as you said, ‘scatter-brained’ because he is getting bored with his work. I believe he needed a new challenge to regain his focus. As for his athletics, I just gave him a new workout that pushed his body to limits he did not believe he could hit. You should expect him to make a trip to the Infirmary for some pain management upon waking.” Jael’s seriousness had dropped for a moment. “Sometimes extra responsibility is the key to an unfocused officer.”

Alexia shrugged. "Alright, I'll sign off the duty roster then. I trust your judgement." She said, and placed her thumb on the duty roster PADD, that she handed to Jael. "We'll see how he gets on, and we can always change it up later."

"Of course, Commander," Jael nodded as she grabbed the PADD. "Is there anything else you would like to address before I get to work for the Gemini?"

"On a more personal note, Abi and I wanted to thank both of you for that touching song you sang at our wedding." Alexia said, smiling. "I was truly touched, and so was Abi. You really are a woman of wonder and mystery." She grinned at her first officer.

Jael’s eyes brightened as her grin returned. “Of course, Commander. Abi had asked Dutch multiple times if we would play a song for her ever since she found out our little secret talents. It is very rare for us to play for an audience but it was a very fitting occasion.” She paused briefly, churning over Alexia’s last sentence in her head. Alexia really had no idea how intricate her mystery truly was. “We will be glad to bring over our guitar and keyboard for a little sing-along after our dinner.”

"I look forward to that!" Alexia grinned widely. "I do enjoy a good singing session, although usually that's reserved for the shower." She chuckled. The depth of their relationship had truly come a long way since those early days when Alexia had feared that Jael was simply here to watch and report on her. Now they had dinner dates and singing sessions. There was a time she'd actively tried to have Jael removed from the ship - now she'd fight tooth and nail to keep her aboard. Although it was difficult to tell with Jael, who was very compartmentalised with her feelings, Alexia did get the feeling that Jael considered her a friend now - rather than a mere colleague. Of course, the professional wall always came up when she thought she was in 'XO mode', as Alexia liked to call it.

"After a couple of glasses of wine you will believe you are a professional singer," Jael stood up from her chair. "Will that be all, Commander?"

"That'll be all, Jael." Alexia said.

 

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