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SD241812.24 - Joint Duty Log - CO & CSCI - "Hard Hat Area"

Posted on Mon Dec 24th, 2018 @ 5:14am by Brigadier General Jonathan Grey & Commander Torhild Jessen

2,789 words; about a 14 minute read

Mission: The Sincerest Form of Flattery
Location: Versailles
Timeline: Current

=^= Main Operations =^=

The room was larger than many here on the station, and measured almost twenty meters wide. Circular in design, the walls were a mixture of wall consoles, virtual "windows" showing space, and doors of varying descriptions. The two double-doors at the back of the room were turbolifts, bracketing a three-meter-wide transparent pane. This large pane was labelled with things like "Warning: opens upwards", and revealed a set of transporter platforms in the area beyond.

Clearly someone had noted the number of times something dangerous had been beamed into Ops, because the pane was over a foot thick, and was almost certainly some innovative alloy of transparent aluminum and whatever they made warship hulls out of.

The rest of Ops consisted of several clusters of standing consoles around a single, circular table that dominated the room almost as much as the oversized viewscreen did. The table was magnificent; over eight meters across, and glowing faintly. A ring of floating nature images rotated slowly around the edge of the table-top, telling the casual observer that A) this table was holographic-enabled, and B) that this thing was new enough to still be using the default screensaver.

A handful of officers were standing around the vast table, listening to a senior officer talk about the interface panels around the edge. Training was still ongoing, and it would be a while before this table could be used for its intended purposes; battle strategizing, ship movements throughout the sector, and 3d movie night.

With the turbolifts and transporter pads at the back of Ops, and the main viewscreen at the front, the rows of wall consoles and "windows" around the curve of the room were interrupted by two more doors.

The door on the right side of the room led to a small corridor which contained escape pod hatches, a small medical room, and the bathrooms.

The door on the left side of the room....wasn't a door at all. Right now it was a big gap, covered in a forcefield. Though configured for sound-suppression, it was clear from all the activity beyond the field that there was definitely a lot of noise in there.

Behind the forcefield, men and women walked back and forth carrying materials and machinery. A modest desk sat at the back of the room, with a chair behind it. Smaller chairs lined the edge of the room, implying that this was a waiting area of sorts, with a single circle on the floor marking the center of the circular space.

On the walls, at intervals, sat bulbous protrusions. Most had tarps covering them, though one did not. A crewman held a control padd in one hand as he waved the other from side to side. The protrusion on the wall quickly extended a pair of barrels and tracked the movement, a little green light underneath indicating "safe mode".

A smart person would not want to be around said protrusion if the light had cause to go red.

Tori stepped into the room and looked around, her eyes widening with a mixture of surprise and uncertainty. She had been assured that this was where she would find the CO, yet looking around now, she wasn't even sure where to start. In fact, the very first thought that popped into her frond was to check and see if it was too late to bundle back into the transport shuttle that had delivered them and high tail it back out of there.

With a sceptical glance around, Tori approached the group of officers who were clearly undertaking some kind of training and interrupted. "Sorry, I was told the CO was down here, any chance one of you might be able to point me in the right direction?" she asked somewhat hopefully. Again, she glanced around uncertainly, almost as though she expected the whole room to start falling apart around her, her uncertainty evoking a quick shake of her head before she turned her attention back to the small gathering she had addressed, hoping at least one of them would be able to point her in the right direction.

A junior officer among the crowd glanced in her direction as she spoke, and gestured towards the gap in the wall on the left side of the room. Their trainer then began explaining a new feature in the large table's controls, and a moment later the junior officer had forgotten about the newcomer, his attention now focused on the complicated nuances of this new and shiny bit of tech.

"Commander Jessen?" came a voice from the direction of the forcefield-covered gap in the wall, as an officer stepped through the field and walked towards her. Thin with whipcord muscles, the most distinguishing feature was the way this man's blonde ponytail hung all the way down to his belt behind him. Other than that, he was the typical human male, with a padd in one hand and a welcoming look in his eye.

"I'm Lieutenant Rogers, the General's Yeoman. Welcome to Versailles." he continued, offering his hand.

Taking the offered hand, Tori smiled warmly. “Call me Tori,” said as she shook his hand. “Looks like there’s lots going on here, the whole station seems to be kind of chaotic, is it always like this?”

"The arrival of the refugees has caused some new challenges Commander." the Lieutenant replied, sticking to rank as he led her off towards the forcefield. "Before that I couldn't say. I assumed my position only a few weeks ago."

Reaching the field quickly, Rogers stepped forward, and the field flowed around him without offering resistance. With a beckoning gesture, he invited the Commander to follow him through.

"Right, I see," Tori said genially, following as directed. "I saw the tent city when we arrived and had wondered what had happened. How many refugees have you brought on board? And how long would you expect them to be staying here? Are there plans for relocation?" the tone of her voice made it clear that her questions were from a place of genuine curiosity rather than any actual concern about their presence.

"Thousands, Commander. I understand the various aid groups are offering relocation, but many have chosen to stay on the station for various reasons. I believe the General has been keeping tabs on the situation, and should know more."

Passing through the wide, yet short, tunnel at the entrance, the two officers emerged into the circular room with the protrusions on the wall. Moving forward with purpose, the yeoman stepped into the circle into the center of the room and stopped moving.

"Please stand here, Commander." Lieutenant Rogers requested, gesturing to the spot next to him.

Tori stepped into place almost hesitantly. "So, where exactly is the General?" she asked curiously. "We seem to be going on quite a journey to find him... I didn't bring a packed lunch and I told the sitter I wouldn't be too long, should I be asking her to stay late?"

"Not too late." Rogers replied, giving a nod to the small group of marines slouching around the desk at the back of the room. One nodded back to him, and toggled a control underneath the desk.

The circle under Rogers and the Commander lit up, surrounding them with a circular force-field. The column of light rose to touch the ceiling, where a similar field was reaching down to them. Once the two fields met, the floor began to vibrate gently underneath them, before their feet left the floor entirely, and the two officers rose up into the air.

The anti-gravity lift carried them upwards, the light of the force-field revealing the height of the room; almost twenty feet in total. Where once darkness and directional lights obscured the nature of the ceiling, now the omnidirectional glow illuminated a thick, circular door above them.

With a gentle hiss, the two halves of the thick door split apart and retracted, allowing the officers to pass safely inside. A series of doors opened in quick succession before them, revealing the depths of paranoia that had gone into planning this vault-style entrance. Some doors were formed of bars that retracted, others of irises that dilated to permit entrance, and still more were energy-based; humming with different tones and shades of colour.

Eventually, the last door slid aside, and the two officers rose into the centre of a room. As the door closed again beneath them, they were lowered gently onto it, and the force-field disengaged.

The room they were in was circular, much like the room they had just left. This one, however, was shaped like a dome. The walls and ceiling were set up with holoprojectors, which projected images of the space outside, as if one were perched atop the station itself. In the space beyond, ships could be seen approaching and leaving the station, and the stars twinkled in a panoply of glitter across the backdrop of space.

The room itself was expensively, though sparsely, furnished. The entrance sat in the center of a circular table, with chairs around the edge. The table was dark brown, likely some kind of replicated oak, and lined with metal the colour of burnished steel. Comfortable-looking black chairs sat around the outside, covered with faux-leather, and emitting a gentle warmth that spoke of underseat heating.

The circular table was not a complete circle, however. Guests could exit through a break in the circle, which funneled them in the direction of the General, who rose from behind his desk some distance away. His desk and chair retracted sharply into the floor, moving out of the commanding officer's way before he could complete his first step towards the visitors.

"How do you like my new office? The entrance didn't startle you, I hope." said the General, walking towards them.

Trying to suppress a smirk, Tori's mouth quirked at the edges as she cast a glance around the room. "A plain old door is just sooooo last season," she finally replied, unable to help herself. "It has definitely made for an interesting start to this assignment, that's for sure." Stepping forward, she held out her hand politely. "Commander Torhild Jessen, new Science officer. It's a pleasure to be here Sir."

"Good to have you, Commander." said the General, taking her hand in his own. His eye was distracted for a moment by the sight of a departing shuttle cruising rather close to the edge of his office "bubble". People weren't meant to get that close to the top of the station due to all the sensor equipment that was up there, and he resolved to have a word with flight control later on.

"How was your journey here?" he asked, returning his focus to the new officer. "I hope the local factions gave you no trouble." he added, referring to the Romulan and Klingon forces scuffling along the border nearby, and also to the pirates that occasionally preyed upon ships flying solo. The latter didn't normally hit Federation ships, as the smart pirates knew that would just make their lives harder in the long run, but stupid pirates still tried their hand every so often.

"It was actually surprisingly peaceful, I was a little surprised. We had been forewarned to expect trouble en route, so I was a little hesitant, especially travelling with a child, but we made it unscathed. But it looks more like you have had your own troubles here to deal with. The refugee camp set up looks like it's causing some level of grief, I can't even begin to imagine how problematic it is dealing with that many displaced citizens among your all the regular crazy." Tori watched him as she spoke, and it seemed very much that he had eyes on everything at all times. He was an interesting character, that much was already abundantly clear and she had only been in his presence for minutes.

"The level of grief will only go down, so long as Commander Groves can stay on top of any flare-ups." he reassured her, gesturing for her to take a seat around the circular table. Sinking into one himself, he motioned for his yeoman to return to his duties. Rogers gave a quiet nod and entered the gravity-lift, the room illuminated by a blue glow for a moment as he sunk out of view, before the door closed again behind him.

"Refugees are being resettled over time, and those remaining are integrating into the general population. True, right now we are somewhat over-capacity. Brown-outs and rationing have been introduced to manage the problem." the General admitted, nodding.

Sinking into the seat offered and crossing her legs neatly, Tori paused thoughtfully for a few moments. "Is it possible to get additional supplies from elsewhere? More fresh produce, or even pre-replicated items provided would ease the load on the station's supplies, even if it's just in the short term." She smiled quickly. "I'm sure you've already considered that as an option though. I will be honest, I haven't spent a great deal of time studying the stations schematics or facilities, is there much in the way of arboretums that could be used as well to help with supplies?"

"All good ideas." assured the General, leaning forward a little in his chair. "And yes, we have already considered some of those options. The war has encouraged a great deal of stockpiling, reducing the quantity of basic supplies on the market. Food and fresh water, in particular. The ships that would bring them to us in sufficient quantities are either civilian freighters, who dare not risk venturing this close to the Klingon-Romulan border, or Starfleet vessels, which are needed to get the Klingons-slash-Romulans to keep their distance, enabling what trade we *do* have."

The desk next to the General beeped at him, causing the man to scowl in annoyance at the interruption. He thumped the little desk panel a little too hard, causing it to triple-beep as he accepted the comm channel.

"Yes, what is it?"

"Sir, your ten-thirty has arrived."

"Tell him to wait. I'm monologuing."

"He might take offence."


"He might raise his prices."

"Could you explain to him that we're meant to have an evolved sensibility?"

"Not sure he cares, sir."

"...Fine. Get him a coffee and convey my apologies for the wait."

"Yes sir."

The General tapped the button with more care this time, and forced a smile for his guest.

"There's the other problem. We need food, and we have latinum. This tells people it's the ideal time to fleece us for all we're worth. We're burning through our reserves at a good clip, Commander, even with the rationing. And arboretums just don't work fast enough to solve the short-term problem."

"What we need," he concluded, "is a new solution for this problem. Can't buy more food, not with this war on. Can't get more ships. Can't divert the ships we have. If you could grow food in a week, that'd be swell, but food doesn't grow that fast. Consider this your first assignment here; figure out how to feed all these people once the money runs out."

"I will see what I can do, Sir," Tori replied with a warm smile. "I already have a few ideas, so I'll get back to you in a day or two with what I can come up with." She paused momentarily. "It seems you have more than enough on your plate right now so I'll leave you be but I thank you sincerely for your time." She rose gracefully to her feet, casting a glance at what she suspected may have been the way out. "Just one last question... can someone take me back out the rabbit hole? I'm a little worried I might get lost and end up causing a war by wandering into the wrong place at the wrong time." She glanced back at him with a chagrined grin. "I stopped paying attention to where I was going about half way into the office if I have to be honest."

"Just step into the platform and the gravity lift will carry you back out automatically." the General told her, gesturing to the open space in the middle of the circular table. "It will drop you off in the reception area below us, and the only exit leads into the Main Operations Centre."

Grey watched as the Commander took up position, and the usual blue light enveloped her after a moment's pause. She rose up as the doors under her opened, and the field gently lowered her through the gap.

=^= End of Log =^=

Brigadier General Jonathan Grey
Commanding Officer
Starbase Versailles


Lieutenant Commander Torhild (Tori) Jessen
Chief Science Officer
Starbase Versailles


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