Echoes and Effigies
Location: Shuttle Bay
Timeline: Mission Day 1 at 2142
[MD 1: 2142 Hours]
The small shuttle slid through the atmospheric forcefield with grace, its thrusters gently maneuvering the small craft into position above the landing berth Ops had assigned on approach. The shuttlecraft slowly lowered to the yellow-line rimmed deck, fitting perfectly into the space allocated by the markings on the ground. The engines -- which had so recently run at high warp to meet the Sojo at the stellar nursery -- powered down, their sky blue-lit nacelles fading to darkness. At the rear, the whine of the boarding ramp lowering could be heard in preparation for the passengers of the craft to disembark.
Through the cockpit's viewport, Captain Kodak could see two figures moving around: one the pilot of the shuttle and the other the unmistakable visage of Lieutenant Nico Oliveria. Both men seemed to be picking up and shouldering their packs from what the Chameloid could see through the viewport. "D'you think a hug from his Captain would be inappropriate?" Kodak asked of the woman to his right. Lieutenant Commander t'Nai had joined him to meet the shuttle -- and more importantly, Nico -- and she stood nearby. Through her empathic senses, the Captain knew Emni could likely pick up on both the excitement he felt as well as the nervousness. They'd not seen Nico in person for quite some time, after all.
Emni grinned. It felt like she couldn't stop grinning. Some nostalgic bit of her felt like this was yet another of the crew-family coming home. Granted, she had not know the Vegan well on the Adelphi, beyond those encounters they both had as department heads. But she was, unquestionably, glad to have him back. "I can't recall if Mr. Oliveria is a hugger," she commented back, "but you could probably get away with it all the same."
"Well, Tamblem," the Engineer grinned as the shuttle touched down, "I, for one, will be happy to be in my own bed tonight." Bouncing to his feet, he shrugged jovially. Though Nico didn't consider himself prudish by Human standards, two weeks with the Unjoined-Trill security officer had been trying. There were simply some things the Engineer figured he just didn't need to know.
The Trill, performing the after landing checklist, glanced towards Oliveria, "I can imagine it will be quite relaxing for you, Lieutenant." Though the twinkle of his eye belied his assertation that Tamblem expected the Lieutenant's evening to be anything but relaxing. Grinning, he jutted his chin towards the door, "I'll finish here, sir. No reason to keep the welcoming committee waiting."
Though Nico made a face at the Trill's prod, he shouldered his bag and made his way aft, "Don't worry, Tamblem, I'll try to disperse the authority figures before you disembark, and uh, good luck," he added with a sparkle of his own before heading down the ramp.
He rounded the corner to see the Captain and t'Nai and couldn't stop his lips spreading into a huge grin even as he musted the formal query, "Lieutenant Oliveria, permission to come aboard?"
Kodak just went for it. Grizzly bear arms wrapped around Nico, pulling the young man into a tight and heartfelt hug that went on for several seconds. "Permission granted, Mr. Oliveria," the Captain beamed, thumping the engineer on the back before leaning back and away, making room for t'Nai to get in there if she wanted to. "We're so glad to have you back, Nico," he said, using the man's first name, his voice infused with all of the warmth and welcome he had within him. It was clear that the Captain was intensely happy to have his Chief Engineer and friend back on the Sojo.
Emni held back, but left her defenses down to enjoy the envelopment of the two men's happiness. When Kodak pulled away she wound one arm around the engineer's shoulder, hugging him firmly for just a moment before pulling back. "Welcome home Mr. Oliveria," she said, her own warmth mirroring the tone that had been in the Captain's voice. "I hope your trip was pleasant."
Nico was sure he had nearly squeaked in surprise when the Chameloid bear-hugged him, but the grin quickly spread across his face as the shock faded, returning their hugs, "I'm happy to see you both again as well and elated to be back." Chuckling the Vegan smoothed his uniform, "It was a lot of work, but productive," he responded to the First Officer.
Glancing back at the shuttle, he could see that Dravor still appeared to be busy, "I probably would not try such a greeting with the good Ensign, Captain," turning back, Nico laughed, "He might need the Doctor to resuscitate him if you attempted it. Though somehow, I imagine that checklist will take about as much time as it will take us to leave."
"I know when I'm being dodged," Kodak smirked back, eyeing the ensign through the cockpit viewport. "Why don't we walk you to your quarters? Then Mr. Dravor can um...finish his checklist," the Captain chuckled, a mischievous look in his eyes. Reaching out, the Chameloid took Oliveria's bag from the young man and shouldered it, holding up a staying hand to stave off protest. "Mine," he rasped warmly before leading the way out of the shuttle bay and into the corridor beyond. "Our First Officer," Kodak smiled at t'Nai over his shoulder, "tells me they kept you pretty occupied on Pathfinder. You get them all sorted and squared away?" he asked the engineer before slipping into a turbolift. Once the three of them had all entered, he ordered the appropriate deck.
Nico acquiesced to the Captain's shouldering of his bag with a nod. Chuckling, he glanced towards Dravor and headed for the door, "Sounds like a good plan, sir." He leaned against the wall as the lift sped them towards their destination. His eyes flicked to the XO at her mention and back to the Captain, shrugging. Nico lamented, "Quite busy. The timetables Starfleet set were pretty unreasonable. There were many double shifts to make up for the delays, but I'm just glad to be back." Shifting gears, the Engineer smiled, "So how's the Delta Quadrant been treating you since I've been away? I hope our resident Orion has been behaving himself."
"I'm sure you were invaluable to them," Kodak nodded as Nico explained what he'd been up to. "They hated to give you up but I may have stressed how much we needed our Chief Engineer around here. Your new assistant Chief is...well," the Captain wasn't quite sure how to say it, "she's making lots of enemies. Not to throw a problem in your lap right away but better to know than not, eh?" When the question of Timmoz came up, it was to Emni that he turned. "Crew discipline is your area, Number One. Tell us...has Mr. Timmoz been a model officer since returning to us?" He, of course, had his own glowing thoughts on the Orion but wanted to draw t'Nai more into the conversation.
At the mention of the Assistant Chief Engineer Emni's expression darkened. She'd heard through the grapevine that the Antican's methods were making waves, and not in a way that engendered many friends, but so far she'd received no official complaints. When Kodak directed a question about Timmoz her way she was glad for the change of subject. "Mr. Timmoz has been perfectly adept in his duties," she said with a raised eyebrow. "I gather he has taken some of the second stringers under his wing as well, although that is more conjecture than confirmed details." She glanced between the two men as they walked. "I suspect he will be glad to have you home," she added.
The Engineer could not avoid the grimace that fell across his face as the new, or new to him, Assistant Chief Engineer was mentioned, "I mean, it might have been ok to wait until tomorrow." He shrugged, filing the news away for later, and shifting his thoughts to someone more verdant, "Oh, you better keep an eye on those lower decks, folks." Nico chuckled, "Timmoz is a bad influence. I should know. I've been heavily influenced." The lift slowed to a stop as he drew a corner of his mouth, smirking.
Whether intended or not the engineer's comment drew a surprised laugh from Emni that quieted quickly to a smirk of her own. She was familiar with the complicated emotional makeups of the two lovers and more than aware of their relationship status, but to hear Nico comment to that effect caught her at just the right moment to make her laugh. "I'll be sure to keep that in mind," she said back, though her smile suggested that she was less than concerned. In reality she was glad for the second stringers to connect with Timmoz and preferred to stay out of the way of any unofficially mentoring that might be going on.
Kodak, meanwhile, led the way as the two talked, knowing exactly where the set of quarters assigned to the lovebirds was. "Ah, here we are," the Captain said, offering the young engineer a smile. "I don't know how much our verdant friend has been sleeping here..." he trailed off, meaning there might be a story there, "but this is where you're both bunking." As they arrived, Kodak indicated that Nico should lead them inside, re-shouldering the man's bag, which was getting increasingly heavier. "Space is a bit tight on this ship but hopefully this will fit the bill," he rasped warmly.
The door whispered open as he approached, "Oh, space is a premium on Pathfinder, and after two weeks with Ensign Dravor in a shuttle..." He paused, turning back to his guests, continuing cheekily as the lights automatically raised, "Let's just say this feels downright palatial." It didn't take Nico long to recognize how sterile the room looked and smelled. His quarters could have easily been an extension of the corridor outside, with none of Timmoz's usual eccentric touches, "I see what you mean about him not spending much time here. I probably should go find him and Debbie. She'll be upset with me if I don't tell her I've returned, and I am ready for something not from a food packet."
Emni nodded kindly before glancing at Kodak to confirm. "Of course," she said. "We should probably get back to work as well." She had remained near the door while they spoke and fixed a warm smile on the engineer. "It really is good to have you back Mr. Oliveria."
"We'll let you get to it, then," the Captain afforded Nico a smile. "Don't want to get you on Debbie's bad side. Believe me, I've been there," Kodak smirked before nodding to t'Nai. "Well Number One, let's go see what our science officers have been up to. Sure hope they've been using all this time and sensor bandwidth to great effect. We'll see you later, Nico," he said, using the young engineer's first name affectionately. "Welcome back." And with that, the Chameloid turned on his heels and led the way back to the turbolift, t'Nai in tow.
=/\= A joint post by... =/\=
Captain Björn Kodak
Lieutenant Commander Emni t'Nai
Lieutenant Nico Oliveria