A Change of Course
Echoes and Effigies
Location: The Bridge
Timeline: Mission Day 3 at 1930
[MD 3: 1930 Hours]
The turbolift at the rear of the Bridge hissed open, a singular figure stepping from the lift car. Captain Kodak strode down the gentle slope of the command center, nodding to t'Nai as she stood and returned to her own chair. "Good evening, Commander," the Chameloid said, offering one of his customary -- and often caffeinated -- early hour smiles. "Much happening this morning?" he asked, waving off a young yeoman who'd stepped forward to inquire if he'd like a beverage. There were benefits to being Captain but, for today at least, Kodak seemed uninterested in them.
While awaiting t'Nai's answer, Kodak's eyes swept the Bridge for familiar faces. "Hello there, Mr. Timmoz. How've you felt about being so stationary the last couple of weeks, eh?" There was a gleam in his eye at this; almost as if he anticipated the Orion not at all enjoying the downtime but being too polite to say so.
Emni had vacated the Captain's chair with the sort of fluidity that came with practiced ease. It might seem a small thing, getting up without being told, but it was a subtle yet clear way to acknowledge the chain of command. Besides, she liked her turns in charge, but had no designs on being the actual captain of a vessel anytime soon. "Good evening sir," she responded to the captain.
At the center-front of the Bridge, at an arc of polished metal and molded parts, the so-called "Verdant One," was brushing at his chin and studying data. His normally lime face had a jaundiced cast from the amber holograms that formed a sheet of data in front of him. He turned, an eyebrow raised. The tall and lean creature had tied his bushel of hair back today, giving his cheekbones a model, angular severity. "I've been crashed into Titan..." His slender fingers tetched in a mental count, "Eight times now," he commented. "On a holodeck. Of course." With a sweep down of his fingers, he minimized the hologram.
The Orion turned to face the Captain with his mix of confidence- borderline aquiline arrogance, and calm cool. His Cluros smile. He regarded the yellow-eyed Chameloid with his usual mix of, again, cool. And a degree of fondness. His shoulders rolled, akin to watching a lean and perhaps bored leopard's movements. "Our friends," and he turned to gesture at the ship that had squared with them, "Might as well be our shadow."
Waiting for the exchange between Timmoz and Kodak to conclude, Emni also looked around the bridge. She'd been on the bridge a few hours already but anticipated a pause so she could go about some other duties soon. Still, this moment of comradery was always appreciated. "Nothing exciting to report here, sir," she said when the captain's attention returned to her. "Still looking at a nebula."
The Orion wolfishly smiled at the Romulan. He touched over his upper heart, "You made me homesick for a moment, Commander." He shook his head, eyes narrowed, slyly smiling, "Borderline Ure'on ennui." He tapped his chest in the double-double beat of an Orion's heart a few times.
The slightest quirk of Emni's lips gave away her amusement and appreciation of the Orion's comment. He was always a hard one to read, but at least in that moment the amusement on his face seemed to match what her empathic senses could pick up from him. "You flatter me Mr. Timmoz," she replied back.
Kodak seemed to be enjoying the banter between his Number One and chief flight controller. After that had played out for a time, he cleared his throat and smiled. "I'm happy to report that our time just sitting here has come to an end. I'm feeding coordinates into the computer now. New orders from Starfleet: a more pressing mission deserves our attention there. We'll get more instruction as to our directives when we get closer," he noted. "But please set course, maximum cruising speed. I suspect," the Captain smirked, "sciences to have a bit of a fit that we're leaving. They'd be content to sit there for months, I'm sure. But I call 'not it' for informing them, XO," Kodak grinned.
"The perils of authority," Timmoz commented to the Romulan, an eyebrow rising and lowering from beneath his curls. He turned to see the new coordinates. Fingers glided over the navigational sensor and the star charts. His Cluros smile faltered for a moment. "Can you give me those coordinates again, Captain," he stated with a wrinkle of a perplexed look at his nose bridge. "There's nothing in that parsec of space. Except, perhaps, more dust." He checked what was inputted and it lined up.
Timmoz tugged his lip, leaning over the controls. "How did we get these orders from Starfleet, are we sure they are authentic?" He smiled, musing, "We're well out of subspace repeater range."
Emni, too, shot a concerned glance at Kodak as she listened to Timmoz's concerns. She knew that while they were out of repeater range, they weren't at an impossible range from Pathfinder Station, still, it would have been a surprise for them to have received any orders that she didn't already know about and it wasn't as if they could just receive those orders when they arrived.
"Could there perhaps be something... about... the dust... that Starfleet is interested in?" she asked. The discomfort in her tone was clear though she worked to reign it in.
"Orders came in on the shuttle with Mr. Oliveria," Kodak said. "Apparently we're going to meet another Starfleet vessel there which will have further instructions for us once we arrive. Sorry XO," the Chameloid turned to t'Nai, "I meant to mention it at the time. Slipped my mind. In any event," he wore a keen smile, "it'll be nice to turn our attention to something besides this nebula. I don't know about the rest of you but I'm a little tired of looking at it on the viewscreen," he said, jutting a thumb towards said view.
"Of course. Captain," the Orion said, rubbing the back of his neck. The delay of his replacement was seeping into his muscles, while his stomach protested. Yet... something did feel off. Then, science often felt off. But Timmoz couldn't place a finger on why. Something about the urgency... or the vagaries? The V'draysh liked their silly little rendezvous to swap notes on dust, gas and for the orderly swap out of people and things. In the Alpha Quadrant.
"Need anything else from me? I've got some reports I need to tackle...will probably handle those in the Ready Room before we meet with Chiara," Kodak said, rising from his seat. "I know we have that meeting coming up with her in a bit," he said, nodding to the conference lounge, where they were set to meet at 2000 hours, after Chiara's shift in Sickbay ended.
Timmoz glanced at Commander t'Nai. "Commander," he lifted his hand from the results of his long-range scans. "There is no nearby Federation vessel- Starfleet or otherwise- within ten parsecs of us." The lower set of turbolift doors eased open with a whisper and his relief arrived. "Marquez," he nodded once.
Emni frowned, eyes glancing to Kodak who, despite the Orion's very valid concern, had moved off to his Ready Room without another word. She watched him step through the door then stood, moving to the Timmoz's shoulder. "Show me?" she asked.
While Marquez hovered like an expectant vulture to take over the central console, Timmoz touched keys. He made a flinging motion at the main screen to enlarge it. And there it stood: the stellar cartography of crispy lines and blocky Federation script divided the sector into a string of numbers. At the center was the Sojourner by way of a delta and its NCC transponder. There was, indeed, no sign of another ship- Federation, or Starfleet, or anything unidentified- save for the ship that sat across from them. It was monikered by only a sphere and, "Unidentified Vessel Bear 360 mark 355." In other words, bearing slight port and "low" on the Sojourner's horizon.
A curving arc from the Sojourner mapped the trajectory. And the cartography followed the curve. At its end there was nothing: quite literally nothing. "There is a small red dwarf system almost a parsec on the negative z-axis," Timmoz commented. The pressure of time sent a be patient and stand down glance to Marquez. "No ships." He glanced at the data.
Emni took the information in slowly, scanning several times though she had come to the same conclusion that Timmoz had almost immediately. They were going someplace on orders that didn't exactly make sense. Still, she trusted the Captain and so, with a sigh and a hand brought to the bridge of her nose she nodded, stepping back from the Orion's station. "Thank you Mr. Timmoz." She hesitated only a moment before adding, "Set course per Captain Kodak's orders." She returned to the middle chair and sat. "Let's go see what's so special about this dust."
=/\= Mission Post By =/\=
Captain Bjorn Kodak
Lieutenant Commander Emni t'Nai
Chief Flight Controller