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Out of the frying pan....

Posted on Sun Mar 20th, 2016 @ 4:25am by Lieutenant Contessa Cavenaugh Ph.D.

Mission: Trouble on the frontier
Location: Docking Ring 2

The incoming message signal beeped on the small console on Harrison’s desk.

“Harrison here.”

=^=Ops, Sir. You asked to be alerted when Lieutenant Cavenaugh is due.=^=

“Thank you, yes.”

=^=Her flight is due to dock at 1335, Sir.=^=

“Thank you.”

Harrison looked at his watch; that was little over three hours away.


Docking Ring 2

Harrison strode briskly along the corridor. The docking bay assigned to Cavenaugh’s ship was one of the more out of the way ones at the top of Docking Ring 2 and he was sure he would be fielding complaints for days to come yet.

That is what you got when you request priority treatment, he reminded himself, not for the first time. Commander Delrisa is due to depart for Gaspar very soon and we have to get the counsellor in before the doctor leaves. Even so, we will be cutting it fine.

Contessa Cavenaugh sighed in relief as the transport finally docked at its destination. The initial excitement and anticipation she felt as she began the journey to her new posting this morning had eventually given way to fatigue and more than a little boredom. Tess was eager to get to work, and it seemed the more eager she became, the slower time moved. There was only so much reading one could do on Deep Space 12 before it was just time to see the real thing, and there was only so much she could learn about the crew before it was time to simply meet them live. There was such a thing as mindless preparation, and Tess had reached that point about a half hour ago. Another part of her couldn't believe that just a few short hours ago, she had been somewhere else entirely, the USS Endeavor in fact, and that now she was starting all over again.

Rising from her seat, giving her back a good stretch, she followed the line of people exiting the transport, quickly running a hand through her hair and scrubbing her face with her hands. Fatigued was not the first word she wanted to come to the mind of whomever was going to greet her. She smiled. Deep Space 12 was going to be a brand-new adventure.

Harrison watched as the airlock doors rolled open. He quickly spotted Cavenaugh among the sundry passengers from the description and photo in her personnel file. Strangely, for Starfleet, the photo had not been a bad likeness. He estimated her height at a bit over a metre and a half and her weight at about fifty, maybe fifty-five, kilograms. It meant she had a small frame but Harrison noted the woman looked fit; or so much as he could tell under her Starfleet uniform. He guessed she could give Chief Jrez a run for his money if they ever met up in one of the Chief’s running holoprograms.

Her hair was dark brown but Harrison thought the highlights stopped it from tending towards brunette.

That much, Harrison took in in only a few seconds. What impressed him more was the air of quiet confidence Cavenaugh exuded. To the extent that first impressions mattered – and Harrison had been deceived by such too many times to put a great deal of stock in them – Harrison was impressed.

It didn't take Tess long to sense someone's eyes on her as she moved toward her new home. Intuitively, she looked in Harrison's direction and locked eyes with him. Inwardly, she was surprised he would take the time to greet her, but outwardly, she schooled her features so she didn't appear overly eager. Years of counseling others taught her how to manage her expressions for the most part. "Captain Harrison, I presume?" She asked politely, approaching the man she recognized from file photo.

Harrison was about to reply when a civilian approached him and engaged him in conversation. From the look of the animated gesticulations of the civilian and Harrison’s stern frown, the conversation was not a pleasant one. The civilian looked especially put out when Harrison abruptly turned on his heel and walked away.

Spotting the counsellor, the corners of his mouth rose slightly. “You are not Mister Stanley so you must be our new counsellor,” he replied, picking up the thread of the conversation where it had been interrupted. “I apologise for that intrusion.” He held out a hand. “Captain Nelson Harrison.”

Puzzled and slightly bothered her new captain would seemingly walk away from a problem, Tess kept her features impassive and filed the incident away for later. She didn't know enough about it to inquire, so she decided to withhold comment. "Pleasure to meet you, sir. Contessa Cavenaugh," she introduced, "but feel free to call me Tess. No need to apologize, sir. I hope I didn't take you away from anything important?"

“Walk with me,” he said. “Time is very tight so I will be your escort. There is much to tell you so landing out here in the boondocks might prove beneficial.”

"Of course, sir," Tess replied and fell into stride with him. She was still curious about the earlier incident, but recognized the all business tone when she heard it.

“Just a local business owner,” Harrison said dismissively. “He thinks Starfleet owes him just because he opened up a shop on the Promenade. Actually, it is only a small concern and does very little trade. Of course, that is everybody else’s fault, not his. Particularly, it is Starfleet’s fault. He was complaining about where you docked. No doubt, he will not be the last.”

"Oh?" Tess replied, now feeling embarrassed. She hadn't actually docked anywhere or at least she didn't have a choice as to where she docked, but obviously that mattered little to the civilian, and now she was afraid she created problems for her Captain. "My apologies, sir. Had I known where we were going to dock and why it was a problem, I would have requested other arrangements."

Harrison smiled wanly. “Where you docked was a matter of expedience. We need to get the relief mission off to Gaspar and quickly: lives might depend on it. In the circumstances, the relatively petty concerns of one such as him can wait. Do not trouble yourself further over the matter. It is my responsibility and mine alone.”

Tess nodded. The man certainly knew how to put things in perspective. "Of course, sir. How may I be of assistance? I'm afraid I know very little of your current mission."

“Then I think, counsellor, a cup of tea might be in order; or coffee if you prefer. A new bar has opened up on the Promenade and I am told they have a nice variety of teas. There is little to tell but much to explain and it would be easier to do it in more convivial surroundings. I think it might be quicker too if I can get away from complaints about docking facilities,” he added with a wry smile of his own.

Tess was under the impression she was going to have to leave right away, but at the mention of getting up to speed in a place far more comfortable, she smiled. "That sounds great, sir. Please, lead the way."

 

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