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First Contact

Posted on Tue May 10th, 2022 @ 10:27am by Commander Daynah Ral & Commander Rupert Tyree

Mission: Prelude to War
Location: Captain's Quarters, USS Valiant
Timeline: One Hour Before "Here There Be Pirates"

Rhu leaned against his new desk, glancing around the (relatively) small compartment that was both his stateroom and office. While Valiant was landed, and after Natan had departed, Rhu had had Engineering and the ground crew adjust the space. He now had slightly larger quarters, but had done away with the ready room.

That space was going to be used to house some of the new hardware and software requirements. He was leaning against his work station, taking in his new space. It had been repainted and they'd cleaned and added the new carpet smell to freshen the place. He'd been hanging a few pictures and prints and placing three circular terrarium's with a selection of small plants from Betazoid that he'd been presented with. There was also a larger circular aquarium as well on another wall with a few colorful fish he hadn't really gotten around to knowing yet; again from Betazoid.

The people of Betazoid had been serious about Valiant taking a bit of Betazoid with them. Other terrariums had been added to crew spaces. The design ensured they were secure in zero g and they were growing on him.

Grinning at his own pun, an alarm sounded and he checked his clock, then touched the communication panel on the the desk. "Commander Ral, if you would please join me in my quarters?"

Daynah had been in her quarters reading a book on Betazoid botany. She loved flowers and had installed a small hydroponic shelf in her quarters. Recently planted were some beautiful purple sweet smelling flowers from Betazed. Now the Trill woman needed to learn how to take care of them. Her comm badge went off and she heard the summons from the ship's new Captain. She found it ironically funny that she had not really spoken to the man, and yet she was to be his XO. She closed the book and made her way through the ship to the Captain's quarters, without hesitation she rang the chime.

"Come in, Commander," Rhu called as he set a carafe of ice water and a steeping pot of tea on a warming stone along with a small tray of baked goods that had been delivered that morning."

As she entered, he gestured at the seat across from the fold down work station where he'd set the refreshments and said, "Please have a seat, Commander and help yourself to something if you like. The largess of Betazoid continues to roll in. There's tea from Fevoria province and fresh pastries."

He chuckled as he slouched slightly in his chair, relaxing as he plucked a Bavarian cream bite from the plate and popped it in his mouth. He next checked the color of the tea in the pot. "This is rather informal, since I know Bu'Pers offered you the Exec position and I assume you'll be taking it? They haven't deemed to tell me much.."

Betazoid tea was in fact the best in the galaxy and Daynah knew it. So once it was offered she took a cup and pastry, then sat down in the seat offered. She savored the scent and then the taste of the tea before answering. "Yeah, I was the second officer on the Valiant so they offered me the XO spot. I think the the thought was to have a familiar face for the crew. That is if you want me." She smirked knowingly at her own sarcastic remark.

"You come highly recommend," Rhu said after sipping at his tea and leaning back to regard his XO. "Natan spoke highly of you. I'm very happy to have your help running Valiant. And it's my pleasure to give you this." From a drawer, he plucked out a bar with a file of pips. "Congratulations, full Commander Ral."

Daynah looked at the pips with wide eyes. Internally she told Ral that Alaryc should be nervous because she was catching up. "Thank you sir. This is quite the honor. I will try not to let you down. Is there anything in particular that you expect from myself or the crew?"

With the formalities seen to, Rhu put crossed his feet and said, "To that, I'll expect everyone to dig in and get us up to speed. Fast. What I'm about to tell you isn't for general distribution, but the crew will find out sooner rather than later anyway. As of about a day ago, Valiant has been officially seconded to Federation Intelligence."

After a few beats, he continued. "What the crew won't know right away is that we're going to part of the Office of Operational Analysis, reporting to Captain Teshna Froyce. Since she's still kinda retired, as far as Fleet is concerned, our orders are coming from Admiral Koratt Th’keliss."

He grinned into his tea cup as he sipped before replacing it on the saucer. "The more interesting part, I say interesting because it is a better word than some that come to mind, is even though Kor is our Fleet boss, Tesh's orders are coming from President Turgenev."

Daynah leaned back in the chair and whistled. "Well that certainly makes the field a little different to look at. I have to wonder why putting a starship in the hands of Starfleet Intelligence is a good idea at all. I mean it is not like we can sneak under people's radar with a whole starship. Do we have our first mission orders?"

"Affirmative," Rhu replied. "Anti-piracy patrol. It's the mission Valiant's supposed to have been on for the past few months before the death of your Ambassador set the whole thing on fire. That's the surface though. They're well organized pirates. Fleet claims it's too busy to chase them down, given other responsibilities and the President isn't happy at the lack of cooperation."

He considered those words for a moment then said, "That last is a guess, but it makes sense. Looking at the whole board, there are a lot of dissatisfied members of the Federation. Younger species tired of the old guard dragging their feet. The Fleet has it's own agenda too, it seems. So, yes. We're a solution. That's why we revived the Cloak that's not a Cloak. The plan is to lurk about, looking like a merchant ship."

"When we locate the pirates, we'e to drive them off. Then follow at a distance. Find out where they're based and find out who's paying their bills."

"And once we have all the information we are to get back in one piece, hopefully. And if we make it back then those feet as you called them are simply going to stand on the information and do nothing. I just feel that if you were going to go after pirates then go after them. Reconnaissance is not needed here." Dyanah had no trouble speaking her mind. That was said about most joined Trill and some thought it a side effect of the joining.

Rhu scratched at his head and said, "I don't know that the Fleet is going to be allowed to stand around on this one. From what Tesh alluded that we'll have backup on this mission. We'll see I guess. In the short term, we'll be pretending to be the Freighter Serenity. When we drop that ruse, our transponder will be that of the USS Tangent. A Saber class J variant that comes fairly close to Valiant's power signature. I'm not sure why we're making things this complicated, but ours is not to reason why, as they say."

"Ours is but to do and die..." Daynah finished the quotation with a tone of uneasiness. "...I just do not like this whol subterfuge and covert operations. I am more of an upfront kind of gal, sort of go in guns blazing and let the brass figure it out. That said, if we are going to have to be covert we have to make sure that there is not even a small hole in our cover. We are talking transponders, power signatures, holographic projections the whole nine yards. The power drain alone is going to be immense." The wheels began to turn in her head. Daynah may of not liked this mission, but she was going to make sure it succeeded.

Rhu waved his hand back and forth. "Yes and no to the covert bit. I get the idea that, given that they didpick Valiant for this, it's not going to stay secret for long. And given that we have to have connections to Fleet, I think it's more we have to prepare ourselves and the crew to be a little ostracized by Fleet. Looking four moves ahead, the President is sending a message to Star Fleet. If we succeed. If not, we may be used as scapegoats. Either way, held up as an example."

"Scapegoat... I don't like the sound of that. You sure it is not too late to get a transfer?" Dyanah said with a smirk. "I guess we just have to make sure we succeed then, won't we. I will make sure that the crew gets the ship ready to go." Daynah paused in thought for a moment. "So you have any idea why they would have chosen us for this win or lose mission?"

Rhu's eyes searched those of his executive officer and decided trust needed to start someplace. "Looking at Valiant's records, I'd say as a ship this has been planned for a while. They had her off the books for a while at Starbase 80. Then brought her back in and you all fell into a bombing. Had a crew member, an intelligence officer get kidnapped, and then sent on a diplomacy mission. Someone, I'm guessing the Admiral has been shifting pieces around the board but didn't fully see the game."

He ran fingers through his hair and sat straighter, "Valiant can do a lot for a small ship. But she's small and has a small crew that makes it easier to keep things quiet. I think we're in for an interesting time, XO."

"It has been my experience that everything aboard this ship is interesting. I believe the old saying is never a dull moment. We just need to make sure that rather than being pieces in someone's game, we take control of the game itself." Daynah spoke for a moment with a tad more wisdom in her voice. This was something that all joined Trill had, it came with the joining and the knowledge that came from the symbiote's experiences.

Rhu grinned and made a circling motion in the air with his index finger and said, "Which takes us back to being able to see the whole board. We only know a few of the pieces right now. I think this is going to be a game of 3D chess with stealth pieces. Gesturing toward a corner of his cabin and a shelf with a 3D chess board.

"Do you play?"

Daynah smiled softly. "I do not, well more accurately did not. Daynah never truly learned however, Eliza Ral played chess and 3D chess as a way to relax. With the joining came all of her strategies and her will to play. So, I guess you can say now I do."

"Good," Rhu said. "When it fits in, we'll work some games in. It'll help us understand how we both thing. And give us a chance to understand each other. I intend to dine in department heads a couple of times a week, find out where we are in their career development and get a sense where we'll be when it comes to non-traditional missions. I have a feeling we'll be doing odd jobs and the crew will need to be fairly elastic thinking."

"Sounds good! I think the rest of the crew, like myself will find it refreshing to see a Captain take a more hands on approach to their crew. It is a rare thing in the modern fleet." Daynah began to speak and then smiled. "You know I think I should warn you that Eliza was a three time chess champion."

Rhu smiled and bowed his head in acknowledgement. "I consider myself warned. I do like a challenge, Dayna. For now, lets get to work."

Daynah turned and headed for the Bridge. It was time for her watch. She knew that whatever the future had in store for the Valiant it would be bright with Tyree at the wheel.

Commander Rupert Tyree
Commanding Officer
USS Valiant

Commander Daynah Ral
Executive Officer
USS Valiant


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