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Ensign
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 24
Niri watched him closely, eyes narrowed.

"What? I like it."

"You had better not be lying."

Gorel had settled into a routine that he found pleasant enough, these last few weeks. Mornings at the embassy were for going over message traffic, personnel rosters, and engineering schematics. Late mornings, he would go to the fitness center, coincidentally running into Niri, so that after a good workout they could spar. Two days a week, they would eat lunch afterwards, while the other three days he would have lunch with one of his section chiefs and a handful of their people. Then in the afternoons they would spend a few hours in the simulator, followed by several hours of breakdown, analysis, and planning of the next day's sim runs. Then home after dark, to sleep and do it all again the next day.

Today was a 'lunch with Niri' day, and she had brought in a datachip to use the embassy replicators to make a bowl of zabu stew to the specifications of her family's recipe, a bowl that currently sat steaming in front of him at his office desk.

"Well, of course it's a bit different, but I like it." He reached out to gently touch her hand. "Thank you." Her cheeks colored a bit and she smiled a little smile.

His desk chimed, and they both straightened, their hands shooting apart like electromagnets.

"It's Admiral Kivan. Strange."

"I should," Niri began, already starting to rise, but Gorel waved her back down, pushing the bowl of stew out of view of the screen's pickup.

"Don't worry, just stay quiet." He pressed the key, and Rear Admiral (Upper Half) Thalo Kivan's strong Andorian features appeared on the viewscreen.

"Captain Karn."

"Admiral."

"How are things progressing out there?" The Admiral liked to keep things direct and plain. At first, Gorel had been convinced that he was opposed to the Yorktown project, but exposure and a conversation with his uncle, Legate Eskot, had disabused him of that notion.

"Well, Admiral. Most of my senior officers are here, and about a quarter of my crew. The Yorktown is still going through its trials, although Commander Suren tells me that they project a passing grade within the next two to three weeks."

"Yes, I've seen that same report. Any crew problems?"

"No, sir. They appear to be gelling well in the simulators, although I'm sure we'll need time to adjust to the actual ship, and of course the other three-quarters will be a different story." Admiral Kivan waved one hand dismissively.

"Once you have the senior staff and a core of support, the rest will fall into line. Excellent. Reports are good, but there's no substitute for directly talking to someone."

"Of course, Admiral." Gorel felt something moving around beneath the surface of the conversation. Face to face conversation was good, but the Admiral would never have called for just a 30-second update.

"I wanted to inform you that the USS Ticonderoga will be putting into Cardassia Prime in a few days. She's carrying another allotment of your crew, as well as your first officer."

"Ah. Thank you, sir." Gorel hadn't heard anything about the Ticonderoga, which was interesting; usually he had at least a week's notice when a ship was inbound with crew. Had its assignment been a snap decision, or withheld from him? The presence of his first officer, about whom he knew nothing, was even more interesting.

"I'm sending you the roster now, you can get their records from Starfleet Command. Your first officer is Commander Ajadi Kabe, to spare you some time." The admiral pressed a few keys, and a notification appeared at the bottom of the screen to indicate that the file had been received.

"Official orders will be coming your way soon, but I can tell you that once the Yorktown passes its trials, you're to head to Starbase 41, where you'll pick up the remainder of your crew and your chief medical officer."

"Thank you, Admiral. I'm a bit concerned about having to make that trip with less than half the Yorktown's normal complement." The Admiral nodded.

"Your concern is noted, Captain, and I agree with you. However, we don't have the capacity to easily get your entire crew all the way out to Cardassia for you, and the decision was made that even your reduced crew should be able to make the run to SB41."

"Of course, Admiral."

"I'll leave you to it, then. Kivan out."

The viewscreen went dead, and Gorel leaned back, pursing his lips.

"Permission to speak freely?"

"Granted, although I know what you're going to say."

"This isn't a Sol to Vulcan run. Once we get past Bajor, the Federation's presence is weak until we hit the Orion sector. There's only a handful of Federation members in all of Kalandra sector, and I don't care if it looks like safe territory on some map, both the Klingons and the True Way are known to hit ships passing through. And that's completely ignoring the Borg." Gorel sighed.

"You're absolutely right. But the Admiral's point makes sense. We can either take what we've got and get to SB41, or raise a fuss. Even if they agree to change plans, it'll probably take months to get the rest of our crew out here, they'll be vulnerable in transit anyway, and we'll have a black mark against us from the get-go."

Niri took a bite of her own stew, before gesturing with the spoon.

"He didn't say anything about the Jem'hadar, either."

"He probably forgot; the deal with Zeno colony was always more of a Cardassian project. When the orders come through, I'll see what they say." Reminded by Niri, he began to pick at his stew.

"Alright, there's nothing more to be done about that until the official orders come through. Computer: access file for Commander Ajadi Kabe." Niri stayed dutifully on her side of the desk, although he could tell she was fairly quivering with curiosity. After a few moments, there was a chime and a file appeared on the screen. Gorel couldn't help grinning.

"Oh, those Admirals think they're quite clever."

"Hm?"

"Commander Ajadi Kabe. Born on Cardassia Prime, father Lieutenant Commander Ajadi Nor, mother Kassa Faratik." He summarized. Niri paused.

"Bajoran and Cardassian?"

"Yes. Apparently his father was stationed on the USS Pasteur. Raised Guha province, Bajor." He shot her a warning look. "I'm not saying anything that isn't in his general file, but." Niri raised a hand.

"Understood. So he's the emergency brake they intend to have in place?"

"Probably. And the doctor, too, I wouldn't doubt. Interesting, apparently he had command of the USS The Sullivans, a Rapier-class, until two months ago. They must have tapped him specifically for this."

"This could be troublesome."

Gorel took another bite. "Maybe. I'd expect safeguards, but I need him to be able to work with me. I've got a few days; I'll send off some messages to his former CO's. Hopefully I'm just being overly suspicious."

They shared a look of amusement; Cardassians knew there was no such thing as an excess of suspicion.

Last edited by thesciencer; 04-11-2013 at 11:12 AM.