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Row, Row, Row Your Boat

Posted on Sat Sep 7th, 2019 @ 12:19pm by Captain Jane Saulitis & Lieutenant Lilith Sullivan & Cassandra Leblanc-Reed & Lieutenant Neenyo Tadez

Mission: For Whom The Bell Tolls
Location: USS Majestic, Bridge
Timeline: MD09, 1000

A buzz of anticipation filled the air as the USS Majestic made her final approach to the Claddin system. Thus far, most of the challenges had resulted from the mystery surrounding the implants embedded in some of the crew's brain, but the time had come for the crew to fulfill their diplomatic mission. Their final destination was a neutral space station orbiting the fifth planet in the system, previously agreed upon by all parties to be an acceptable venue to host the negotiations.

For her part in the proceedings, Lieutenant Lilith Sullivan took her seat at the conn and began to run the necessary calculations to drop the ship out of warp. The ship's engines had been humming along beautifully for the better part of seven days without so much as a hiccup - a testament to the work done by Lieutenant Commander Murphy and the rest of the engineering team.

"Wow, that is a lot of transponders - it's standing room only," Sullivan remarked as she viewed the navigational display. On the map, the area around Claddin V was dotted with numerous vessels from the three voting species of the Empire. Shuttles, trading vessels, and the diplomatic flagships of the Crustillians, Felev, and Bordere were all orbiting nearby.

"Drop us out of warp and reduce speed to 1/4 impulse. That's just the welcoming committee Ms. Sullivan. Bring us in slowly and nudge someone out of the way if you have to. Don't damage the paint though, it hasn't been that long since it was touched up." Jane entered the bridge behind Lily and rubbed her forehead, despite her playful banter she wasn't feeling that well. She'd been on edge for a couple of days now when she was in any room on the ship that didn't include Hak. She had a slight headache and she was trying not to imagine that the reason she might have it was an implant floating around in her brain, doing things to her thoughts and emotions.

"Yes ma'am," Sullivan confirmed the order, deftly bringing the ship out of warp and switching over to manual flight controls. The loss of the ambient hum of the warp drive left a void in the soundscape that was further amplified by the lack of communications coming from the station.

"Are we picking up any chatter yet Ensign Daniels?" Jane asked as she took her seat.

"Nothing of consequence ma'am, normal comings and goings from the station."

"Hail them." Jane dropped her hand and put on what she hoped was a neutral expression. "Claddin Station, this is the USS Majestic, arriving as requested. I'm Captain Saulitis. We thank you for this opportunity to assist in these negotiations and we await your further instruction on this matter." It wasn't brilliant but it would have to do for the moment.

Tadez had come onto the Bridge when the ship reached the outer most Navigational Marker for the approach; he felt it might be logical to be here for the opening volley of dialogue. Now that he was he realized a bit more of the enormity of his task, with all the smaller vessels mixing with the larger ones Tadez felt these talks were going to be quite a historical landmark in the Cladden Empire's history but really another report for the Federation's Diplomacy and reaching a hand of peace to the universe.

Cassie entered the bridge along with the Lieutenant. They had previously agreed to meet on the deck just below the bridge, and therefore arrive together. As the two would nearly be inseparable during the proceedings, it only made sense for them to be seen on a united front.

As the only civilian on the bridge, she felt slightly out of place. Her worries, however, were soon dissipated as she saw the sheer number of ships in the expanse beyond the viewport. Holy... she mouthed silently, completely in awe. The only time she had seen this many vessels around a station, as bees around a hive, was when she had arrived at the Fleetyards, and even then, it hadn't seemed as impressive. Indeed, this was momentous event. If these talks could end in at least a satisfactory manner, she could only imagine what it could do for the Federation's reputation - and her own.

The Communiations channel registered a new transmission.

[This is Wheesaaniic of Crusstilla.] The obviously modulated voice replied. [Welcome Captain Saulitis of USS Majestic. We wait your closer proximity to our station with some joy. It is good that you made the journey on our behalf. We of the Cladden Empire wished your safe arrival and are forward to direct introductions in person.]

"Thank you Wheesaaniic of Crusstilla. We will be docking shortly and look forward to coming to an agreement so we may continue our friendship and partnership. Upon arrival we will be happy to meet with you at your earliest convenience."

[Your presence is sought and welcomed. Save passage to you.] The voice ended and the channel closed.

A moment later, a second transmission could be heard as a response to the Majestic's hail. [This is Dor'dalus ai'Ho'sidia, senior aide to High Matriarch Ho'sidia Excin'vodia,] another polite, modulated voice greeted. [On behalf of the High Matriarch, and of all the Maiā€™Aiud, I would like to welcome the USS Majestic of the United Federation of Planets to the station, and wish her crew a most pleasant sojourn during the negotiations ahead.]

"Thank you Dor'dalus ai'Ho'sidia. We are looking forward to helping you come to an agreement." Jane answered, already tired of the thank you's and smiles. She didn't know how her father had done it all these years. Not that she couldn't be diplomatic but there was a point where it got ridiculous and they were almost there already. Which was why she had diplomatic officers.

[High Matriarch Ho'sidia would also like to take this opportunity to remind the diplomat Cassandra Leblanc-Reed of her scheduled audience, precisely one hour following the ship's docking,] the voice continued.

Cassie slightly stiffened at the sound of her name through the universal translator. "Of course," she replied. "I look forward to meeting the High Matriarch."

[Excellent. Safe passage to you,] the voice concluded as the channel was abruptly closed, leaving Cassie a bit unnerved.

"Well I guess that's that, but wow," Sullivan's brow was still raised in surprise. "I, um... well, was I the only one that was caught off guard by the scale of this whole thing? I thought 'Empire' was just some intern in the diplomatic corps being generous, but I guess I may have underestimated this in my head."

"In meetings I had noted it had the same potential as a Budding Federation." Tadez said calmly. "It is a larger scale than I had in my package of information and I am sure some of those vessels are wishing to see if alliances are possible. That is; surrounding system representatives, and with the Federation involvement there is more curiosity than anticipated." He glanced to Leblanc-Reed. "I would say we have our work cut out for us don't you agree?"

"Indeed," Cassie agreed, nodding. "We also need to see this as a learning experience, and a chance to make updates to the package we've been supplied with. Add to incomplete information, update outdated or obsolete data, et cetera," she added, still awed at the sheer number of ships out there. "I believe we'll also have a chance to meet with representatives of civilizations other than the Crustillians, Felev, and Bordere. A lot of people will want to see this."

"It will be good for us to be a bit out of our comfort zone. That is how we learn after all," Jane replied, still staring at the screen and all of ships moving about the station as they moved slowly closer. "We're here to make friends and mingle. And after that, solve their problems for them. No pressure," she winked at the rest of them.

"Oh, well, we should be good at making friends," Sullivan smiled over her shoulder towards the center of the bridge. Her attention was brought back to the console in front of her by a small notification indicating that the station had received their request to dock. The guidance systems came online, but seeing how she was already manually controlling the Majestic, Lilith's first instinct was to continue to fly by hand.

But, it wasn't her ship.

"Captain," Lilith called out. "Requesting permission to continue the docking procedure manually, ma'am."

"Any particular reason?" Jane asked, knowing she'd have one to request something like that.

"Honestly ma'am - because I've never done it before on a real starship, and I think it's a good chance to gain some valuable experience. If it looks like it's going awry, I'm happy to wave off and let the computer take care of things."

"Permission granted." An eyebrow raised, she wondered if she needed to grip the sides of her chair a bit harder.

"Oh hell, she actually said yes," Lilith spoke softly enough that only the operations officer sitting beside her could hear. "Alright Lilith, it's only half of the Claddin system watching, let's not make a hash of this," she muttered to herself.

Overlaid onto the main viewer, the navigational computer had placed a point in three dimensional space that represented the ship's final destination. Normally, it would be a routine maneuver for an experienced starship conn officer, but seven days of atrophied skills, lack of sleep, and a large viewing audience amplified the pressure to the point where Lilith began to feel her heart rate increase as her hands began to sweat.

Come on Sullivan, just put the dot in the middle of the bigger dot and we're golden, she thought, forcing herself to take a deep breath and relax. Inputs on a console were a little too impersonal for maneuvering in close quarters, so she switched over to the manual steering column. The ship inched forwards, a stark contrast to the progress they had made over the past week at warp.

"Ah, sorry!" Lilith barked as the inertial dampeners struggled to keep up with a ham-fisted control input. The ship lurched to starboard. "It's a little different than the sim, correcting!"

Taking another deep breath, Sullivan slowly brought the ship back to center. With no more than a few hundred meters to go, she cut the power to the thrusters, allowing the Majestic's momentum to carry them all the way home. The maneuvering thrusters hissed into life, bringing the ship to a stop. A slight thump signaled that the station master had successfully docked; a set of green indications on the console confirmed it.

[Majestic, we welcome you to Claddin Station.]

Slumping in her chair, Lily took a deep breath. "Heh, I did it."

Jane got up from her chair, put a hand on Lily's shoulder, "Thank you Lieutenant." She turned away and tugged down her uniform letting out a breath of relief. They had arrived.

Captain Jane Sulitis
Commanding Officer

Lieutenant Lilith Sullivan
Chief Flight Control Officer

Cassandra Leblanc-Reed
Diplomatic Officer

Lieutenant Neenyo Tadez
Chief Diplomatic Officer
PNPC by Vannan


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