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Prepping for the Edge

Posted on Mon Jan 9th, 2023 @ 11:58pm by Lieutenant Xex Wang & Lieutenant Charles Bridgeport & Lieutenant JG Gwenwyn Marwol & Lieutenant Arianna Durand & Petty Officer 3rd Class Mia

Mission: A Camping We Will Go
Location: Runabout De La Guardia, Pathfinder Station
Timeline: Mission Day 1 at 0000

[Runabout De La Guardia]
[Sleeping Quarters]
[2 weeks ago]

The runabout hummed around him as Xex bent to secure his few personal belongings into the small space provided him in the bunkhouse-like sleeping quarters of the small vessel. There were at least half a dozen new crewmembers making the journey out to the Sojourner and they would all be packed in like cordwood for the two week journey. To save space aboard the runabout, the narrow beds were stacked two high all the way around the perimeter. A few already had belongings on them, but several were still empty, made up with crisp, anonymous bedding. Xex paused in the act of securing a little magnetic container to the outside wall, cocking his head to the side. The runabout's steady rhythm had changed somewhat and as the thrum intensified, Xex identified the change as a spooling-up of the little craft's impulse drives. Perhaps they were close to departure.

He was so immersed in the sound that when the doors swished open behind him, he jumped, jamming his head into the underside of the upper bunk. Swearing, he sought to extricate himself and greet whomever was entering.

"Sorry, did I make you jump?" Gwenwyn asked standing in the doorway with his bag at his side, some inches from the grey standard carpet. He'd just spent his time trying to find somewhere free where he could throw his stuff and get a bite to eat, thinking of a burger but he was anxious about returning to Starfleet, so anxious that he had the butterfly effect in his stomach so a burger was defiantly out of the question. His hand reached out, and with a smile, he said "Dr Gwenwyn Marwol, Lt Jg."

With rather more effort than it probably should have taken, Xex managed to straighten up, rubbing his neck with some chagrin. "I assure you, my poor reflexes are not your fault," he replied, flashing the newcomer a grin, his skin shimmering silvery in the ambient light. As Gwenwyn introduced himself, the grin only widened. "Oh! Doctor Marwol! You're the new ACMO, correct? Xex," he introduced himself, stepping forward without hesitation to shake the man's hand. His palm was dry, and slightly cooler than the human norm. "Dr. Xex Wang," he elaborated, "But Xex is fine. It's pleasure to meet you!" His enthusiasm actually seemed genuine. Dropping the man's hand and taking a step back, he gestured expansively to the bunk space. "Welcome to our palatial accommodations. Looks like there a few choices of bunk left..."

"Ah, Doctor Xex. A pleasure to meet you," Gwenwyn said "A bed is a bed," Then he plopped his bag onto the bottom bunk beside the one Xex had just come out from and sat down, it had been a long day on his feet. "Yes sir, ACMO I'm looking forward to serving with you, what do you have planned for the department? Funner work or more hours?" Gwenwyn let out a small chuckle trying to appear friendly, it had been a long time since he had guests to entertain.

Xex leaned his shoulder against the bunk above his, crossing his arms over his chest and attempting to keep a straight face as he said, "Oh, you'd better get ready for some long hours-- I don't tolerate fun." His composure broke at the end of the pronouncement and he grinned, gray eyes dancing with mischief. "No, I do think we'll have our work cut out for us-- this is the Delta Quadrant, after all-- but Stars and Suns willing, the powers that be will give us half a chance to settle in. It sounds like we won't have any overlap with the off-crewing CMO, but we should be able to chat with the off-crewing ACMO, and I do have Dr. Ryan Walsh's handover notes. Apparently we will have two weeks," he grimaced, "to review them. You hungry? We might have time to grab something before we really get underway. I hate a full stomach when we jump to warp."

"Not hungry, just scared," Gwenwyn replied yanking at the colour of his teal jacket "... And slowly choking myself to death," he then unzipped the jack, take his arms out and let it drop to the back of his spine, hunger was now getting to him. "Sure," Gwenwyn said standing up "let us find ourselves a replicator."

Xex shot Gwenwyn a commiserating grin as he shoved himself off the bunk and plucked at the fabric of his uniform. "Look, your kind designed these torture devices. Don't complain to me..." With a wink to take any sting out of the comment, he jerked his head at the door. "Let's get some grub and you can tell me how much you hate runabout travel." With an energetic-- but slightly asymmetrical-- stride, Xex led the way out into the main crew area. He moved for the replicator, but not before casting a glance to the forward end of the small vessel, where the De La Guardia's crew was, indeed, performing some checks or diagnostics or somesuch up in the cockpit. "What're you craving?" he asked, dragging his attention back to Gwenwyn.

Sitting at the table close to the crew replicator, Gwenwyn scratched his chocolate hair and let out a blow of air, "Something light, maybe soup?" He asked "Nope, not soup... Sandwich?" The soup was the last thing he wanted to eat, he'd been eating it for longer than he desired.

"Sandwich it is," Xex agreed and turned to the replicator to order it. The replicator gave him a sad little double-tone of rejection. Sandwich specifications required, it said. Xex frowned, taking a deep breath as though for patience. This was, perhaps, not the first time he had to fight with a replicator. "Sandwich with protein and fiber," he tried. The replicator chimed, and a sandwich indeed materialized in the slot. "Make that two," he added, and another shimmered into being. He picked them both up and slid one across to Gwenwyn, keeping the other for himself. He brought it to his mouth and began to chew happily, seemingly completely oblivious to the sandwich's failings: namely, it was two pieces of bread around molded protein and some fibrous strands that may have come from some kind of legume.

"So," Xex said expertly around his mouthful of ostensibly edible things, "Not a fan of runabout transfers?"

"Not a fan of where I'm going," Gwenwyn said taking a bite of his sandwich, quenching his hunger "I served with some of the crew on another ship... Before it was damaged beyond repair." He was hoping he got the picture, he didn't want to go into detail but he didn't want to lose his developing friendship. "...Any bad memories in Starfleet?"

The sandwich paused halfway to Xex's mouth at this pronouncement. He remained frozen for a long moment until Gwenwyn elaborated. "Ah," Xex did seem to get the picture, finally putting the sandwich carefully down on its plate. "Which crew was this?" he asked casually, peeling a napkin from the container magnetized firmly to the middle of the table. He took another bite, chewing with evident relish, attempting to project an air of 'just two blokes sharing a meal,' rather than an interrogation-- but he did not answer the other man's question.

"You'll be meeting them soon Xex," Gwenwyn replied "How long is our journey? 2 weeks? Okay, maybe not soon." He then took a chuck out of the sandwich, trying to change the subject to travel or the long journey. He remembered everyone and it was already hard enough for him to not break down and cry.

The curiosity itched beneath Xex's skin, making his fingers drum against the tabletop. His gaze flicked once to the shiny scar on the man's hand that Xex had been trying very hard not to ask about. He looked on the verge of pressing the issue, the need to know almost all consuming. At last, he marshaled his empathy, told himself to be patient, and allowed the subject to drop, Gwenwyn's reluctance plain. "Well, the Sojourner isn't a big ship, but she's not a runabout either. I'm sure there can't be that many of your old crewmates around.” He took another bite of sandwich before asking, “I read your transfer orders are coming from Earth-- that's a helluva trek. They route you through anywhere interesting?”

"I wish I could see some of the planets," Gwen replied "It's mostly been transport ships, ships and runabouts...A planet got me interested though, it was bright green in a system of 12 with 4 moons. It was just a flyby, wish I got its name though. You found anything you like?" Gwenwyn began to relax, slouching in his chair.

Xex popped the last of the sandwich in his mouth and then licked his fingers clean. "Bright green, eh? Maybe covered in Orions," he joked leaning back far enough in his chair to direct an order at the replicator. A glass of some carbonated, clear liquid materialized in the slot and he stretched to grab it, washing down the sandwich with a long pull before smacking his lips. "Got to go visit a friend on Starbase Six, which was just what a body needed. She moves around so damn much, our paths don't cross too often. You know how Starfleet postings are. Stars only know how long we'll be out here in the Delta Quandrant."

Silvery skin shimmered when Xex jerked his chin at Gwenwyn's sandwich, hardly touched. "I could get you something else?"

"No it's fine," Gwenwyn replied, holding the now floppy bread "Just been on Earth too long, I lost my space legs." Then he took a bite, forcing it down trying not to be embarrassed. "Most of my Starfleet friends are on Earth now but still Starfleet keeps everyone busy."

"Oh yeah? That must've been nice, catching up with folks on Earth. Might be a while 'til you see 'em," Xex said, taking Gwenwyn's acceptance of the sandwich at face value. The man apparently truly had no notion of how awful the food was. He took a sip of his bubbly. "I daresay two weeks in a runabout will bring your legs back-- and if it doesn't, nothing will." Xex flashed him a grin. "They're really throwing you in the deep end, sending you all the way out to Delta after medical leave..."

"I tried to make my own assignment," Gwenwyn replied taking a bite out of the sandwich. "Lt Cmdr Ellie, she is a test pilot for test shuttles, rumor was she was offered command of a small defiant ship. She turned it down, and told Starfleet instead after the project she was working on, she will leave them...If she said yes, we wouldn't have met Xex and I'd be a Chief... But I'm glad I'm here with you,"

One gray eyebrow lifted and Xex shot him a mock-suspicious sideways glance, "I hope this doesn't mean I'll need to sleep with one eye open. Because let me tell you, I don't sleep a lot." The mock-suspicion melted entirely away into a teasing smile. "So you were in line to be chief on this Defiant class? That would've been an interesting gig and no mistake. Sorry you missed out-- but their loss is our gain, no? The commander retired, I take it? She's a friend of yours?"

"A friend of a bygone era, long lost girlfriend. Wish we stayed friends." Gwenwyn said with a quick munch followed by a sharp gulp " Been in medicine for 6 years now, with some experience in the Delta Quadrant, probably why I'm going back into the depths."

Xex tipped his glass toward Gwenwyn saying, "That actually makes more sense than I thought it would, Starfleet being what it is. Well at least one of us--" He broke off, turning in his chair to glance down the passageway.

The clang of metal against bulkhead rang from the passageway leading from the mess area to the cockpit. A young woman emerged, sweeping a few errant strands of her blonde bob behind her ear as she maneovered her standard Starfeet luggage container through the doorway. The shoulders of her uniform were the familiar blue shade that signified the Science division and it sported two solid pips on the right side of her chest. "Sorry about the noise," she said to the two people seated in the mess area as she set the container on the floor. "I'm Lieutenant Arianna Durand, Chief Science Officer."

As the container came to rest, Xex turned an thoroughly amused expression from it, up to its owner. "You should have made us guess!" he said lightly, abandoning his fizzy to the tabletop. "A pleasure, lieutenant! Apparently the manifest didn't lie-- Sojourner is turning over a fair few department heads. Doctor Xex Wang, CMO." With an expansive gesture, he indicated his table-mate. "And the ACMO, Doctor Marwol. There're still a few choices in bunk left-- even a few uppers, if that's your poison. They looking close to departure up there?" he asked curiously, nodding back toward the cockpit.

"Welcome aboard," Gwenwyn replied, hands beside his sandwich, "Oh, take a seat," then pushed it out with his food pointing to the close by replicator he asked, "Can wee get you anything Lt? Pizza perhaps?"

"That sounds good. I'll just stow this in the back and then I'll join you." Arianna gestured towards the cabin area with her luggage. "They were busy with a checklist when I boarded, I'm not sure how long they'll be." She sidestepped past the table, heading towards the sleeping area. "Nice to meet you, doctors."

"And you!" Xex called after her, then turned back to Gwenwyn. "Pizza you reckon?" he asked, half-rising to his feet as though to be the one to make the order.

"Pizza was the first thing that came to my mind," Gwenwyn whispered as he leant over the table. "... let's hope it isn't something from a colony world,"

Xex subsided quickly, sinking back into his seat and raising his hands in a conciliatory gesture. "Alright, alright. You recommended it anyway, I shall not stand in your way. Pizza is somewhat mystifying anyway," he said, making an elaborate gesture toward the replicator. "Checklists, eh?" he muttered, more to himself than out of any real expectation anyone would answer. Shifting in his seat, he craned his neck over his shoulder to glance once again toward the cockpit, as though to see the checklists in question. Of course, he could not, but his view was soon blocked by another pair making their way aboard; an Orion woman and a human man, apparently already in conversation as they navigated the tight runabout hallway.

Charles couldn’t seem to take his eyes off of Mia Phillips one of the Sojourners new Yeoman. “We have to stop meeting like this.” Said Charles

“We do seem to keep running into each other don’t we?” She asked

“Yes, we do. Hey I’m fine with that. When we boarded the supply transport coming to Pathfinder, I heard you say your name was Phillips is that right?” Asked Charles

“Yes, that’s correct. Mia Phillips.” She replied

“Looks like we’re going to be on this shuttle for a few days. Maybe that will give us time to get to know one another.” Said Charles

“That’s a good possibility.” Said Mia knowing that was entirely her goal. After some light conversation, they sat back to watch and get to know other crew members.

Though the pair's conversation preceded them, they eventually emerged into the small mess area and made themselves comfortable around the table. Surmising they had already stashed their gear earlier, Xex forwent any welcomes-- clearly they were more timely than he. He did however raise his glass of something clear and fizzy in their direction. "I don't think we'll be able to avoid getting to know one another," his eyes flicked to Charles' collar, "Lieutenant. I'm Xex, he's Doctor Marwol, and hopefully we won't have to put any of you back together anytime soon.” Xex seemed entirely unaware of the somewhat macabre tint to his introductions, smiling amiably at the pair as he sipped his fizzy and drummed his fingertips on the table.

Charles gave a curt smile and carried on talking to Mia.

Xex's gray brows lifted at the rebuff and he glanced aside at Gwenwyn, shrugging. 'Can't win 'em all,' the gesture seemed to say. He left the pair to their conversation and instead turned his attention to the returning science chief. "Found something that strikes your fancy?" he asked, with a smirk that said patently he was aware that none of the bunks were ideal.

"I found a spot." Arianna smiled back, amused at the use of the term 'fancy'. She noticed the new occupants in conversation with each other and gave a small wave in greeting when her entry caught their attention. The chair pushed out by Gwenwyn was still vacant and so she replicated a coffee before joining him. "I'll pass on the pizza for now, thanks." She sipped the coffee from the mug that she hugged with both hands, enjoying the warmth radiating into her fingers. "So have you served in the Delta quadrant before this?"

"Yeah," Gwenwyn replied "Not happily," he chuckled trying to cover his feelings, he had no desire to go back to the Delta quadrant, but orders were orders, without a request for his service he was stuck inbound for the region where he lost what he regarded as his entire life.

"Ah," Arianna sipped her coffee whilst she considered what to say next. She dismissed her curiosity, judging that he probably did not want to recount past trauma with someone he'd just met. "Hopefully it'll be better this time around."

Casting a careful glance at Gwenwyn, Xex shook his head, "Given what Doctor Marwol found to be his experience out here, I suppose I should consider myself fortunate enough to say no, never been before. First time out here in Delta." To his credit, it seemed he really was attempting to keep a damper on his excitement levels, no doubt given Gwenweyn's revelations earlier. Still, it would have been impossible for him to keep all of his enthusiasm at bay, and a stray grin flashed across his face like a child anticipating a treat, "I'm actually quite looking forward to the novelty."

"It's all going to be new to me too," Arianna smiled. "Federation space is vast and so well documented. Heading out here ... adds an edge to everything."

"That's exactly it!" Xex crowed, cocking a finger at her, "We'll be on the bleeding edge.

"Isn't it excellent?"

A Post by:

Lieutenant Arianna Durand
Chief Science Officer

Lieutenant Charles Bridgeport
Chief Security Officer

Lieutenant Xex Wang
Chief Medical Officer

Lieutenant JG Gwenwyn Marwol
Assistant Chief Medical Officer

Petty Officer 3rd Class Mia Phillips


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