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Never Alone - Part One

Posted on Tue Jan 30th, 2018 @ 3:52pm by Captain Sun Mei Xiang & Lieutenant Colonel Kachiko Bayushi & Commander Karsel`lyn Lylyl-Llytherraias & Lieutenant Christine Descharmes

Mission: Shakedown Mark II
Location: Shanghai Bridge

ON:

The Shanghai had returned to action almost as soon as the command crew returned to the ship. Shuttles, transporters, and all available hands ushered civilian crew off of the ships - with the Vauban, Shune, and Seppala helping make it a quick evacuation. Then everyone set about their jobs. There was a reason Shanghai and her crew were the tip of the spear for the Initiative. The ship was the most advanced, the most powerful, and its crew was the most experienced. So when yellow alert sounded, there wasn't any hesitation by her crew. Each crew member set about their given position, and within just a few minutes they were headed to the Togo's position at maximum warp. Sun had given her orders, and as soon as they were in range of the Hippogriff, she tapped her comm panel. "All departments, send a readiness report to the bridge in ten minutes." She stood and stepped away from the Captain's chair on the bridge, "Lieutenant Descharmes," Sun spoke as she passed across to her ready room. "You have the Conn until I get back. I need to have a chat with the Hippogriff CO."

Kachiko frowned from the secondary Tactical station, offering her years of experience as a Tactical Specialist to the officer currently occupying the primary Tactical station. Though she would have to rise and depart the bridge at about the time it got hairy, as she would be participating in boarding the errant starship they were here to help.

Meanwhile, Commander Lylyl-Llytherraias rose from her seat and followed the Captain off of the bridge. Once inside, she settled a hand on Mei's arm, just above the elbow, "What's wrong? I can tell that you're upset about something?"

"I have got a ship missing, a ship going off half-cocked after them, and I'm missing the whole picture. Not to mention I have a crew I'm not really used to yet..." She sighed, and let her hand brush against the one that wrapped around her arm. "I'm pensive." She gave a soft smile, "But I've got to call the Hippogriff CO and bring him in line before we get there. I don't want to do that in front of the crew," She said sternly, at first, but then relented, asking a softer little request. "Remind me to be better about getting to know the crew, okay? I feel like I was a lot better at it as an XO." She paused and shook her head.

"That's because the Executive Officer is supposed to be the buffer between the crew and the Captain," Lyn stated from experience, having served in that capacity on several occasions over her increasingly long career. "The Executive Officer makes sure that the Captain knows her crew. Which you did for Admiral Chlan and I once did for Captain Reynolds. Unfortunately, you don't have an Executive Officer right now. I have the experience and would gladly do the job, but I can't. Not when we're due to be married."

Mei nodded, though a little smile crossed her lips, "Starfleet will send one." She sighed, "Still, I think it might be worth acting like I did when I was an XO." She paused for a moment, and took a breath. "I guess that should be something I figure out later. Always come back to it before situations like this though." She said as she moved over to her desk and tapped a button on the side of the computer console. "Computer, raise the Hippogriff. Let the CO know I need to speak with him." She paused for a moment. "Thank you for checking, Lyn." She smirked. "I'm going to have to count you as crew though, and ask you to head out before he gets to his ready room and chimes in."

"Captain," Lyn smiled. "I'm currently your yeoman and am here to take notes for you. I'm also a master at reading body language and can advise, since from everything I have heard and read about this guy, he's going to prove to be a handful out here without adult supervision."

"I appreciate it, but I can handle Commander Tiruk. He's just a rigelian, with a bit of a history for hasty action and a bit of a stickler for tradition." She was being polite. Perhaps very polite. "Let me have a few minutes alone with him. I want it to look like less of an official reprimand. If I have any trouble I'll have you come back in."

"Daijōbu watashi no ai," Lyn smiled, before pushing up to gently kiss the taller Captain. "You know that I love it when you get aggressive, love. I was looking forward to seeing you be commanding, is all. I will retire to the bridge and offer my advice to the Counselor as needed."

Christine had taken the conn when the captain left but as she sat in the chair, her hands gripped the armrests tightly. She maintained her composure though. She became painfully aware of her limited bridge experience, and she did not want to let her captain down.

Before long, Commander Lylyl-Llytherraias returned to the bridge. She realistically could take the conn from the Counselor, but thought better of it. The lovely blond Lieutenant needed the experience in the big chair. Something that Karsel'lyn already had plenty of.

Just a few moments before arrival in the system Togo had been exploring, the Tactical Officer, Warrant Officer T'Mir spoke up. "Lieutenant," The vulcan toned quietly. "I am detecting a vessel at our intended destination. Long range scans are inconclusive at this time, but it appears to be an Orion vessel." She glanced up to await a response, but a chime on her console drew her eyes back down. "Reading a distant warp signal, near the edge of the system. It is at the very edge of our sensor range currently, but the power readings from the signal are higher than average."

Kachiko frowned at the readings, which looked familiar but couldn't place how. Turning towards the unusually pretty Counselor, "Lieutenant, I recommend slowing down until the Captain has spoken to the Hippogrif. We don't know what we're rolling up on. I also recommend yellow alert."

Christine nodded towards Kachiko, silently thanking her and took her advice. She opened a system-wide channel. "All hands, yellow alert." Her voice came through clear and confident despite that she felt like a fish out of water. She turned to the helm. "Helm, reduce speed to warp..4."

Ensign Khall at operations twisted around towards the rest of the bridge crew. "Lieutenant," His coarse tellarite voice broke through the rest voices on the bridge. "We're receiving a hail from the Orion ship."

"On screen," Christine said.

A surprisingly young orion woman appeared on the view screen amidst a lavish bridge. "This is Tabadi Touri of Caj Arquas and Caj Neveh, aboard the Tira'Dashir. We've detected an incoming vessel, but they will not respond to hails. Your stranded ship seems in tact, but we have not attempted a rescue." She sat up a bit straighter. "I assure you, while we hoped to meet paths with the Shanghai, we are not hostile and we did not lay a snare for your ship. We found remnants of one of our own scouts in a similar trap a few days ago," She adjusted as if she was holding back something. Finally she seemed to let it slip, "I have gifts for your ships, as a sign of good faith. However, the unknown vessel will likely keep me from sending them."

Now Karsel'lyn stood up, "Christine, may I?"

Christine glanced over to the commander. Diplomacy was what she did and she would have preferred to exercise that but if the Orion had something in mind, she would concede. "Of course," the blond lieutenant said.

"Lye joost omente ar' already gifts? mankoi uma Amin caela rashwe trustien lle veracity?" Lyn looked at the pretty Orion on the screen after stepping into view. (We just met and already gifts? Why do I have trouble trusting your veracity?) Now she continued in Federation Basic, "I am Commander Karsel'lyn Lylyl-Llytherraias, the acting First Officer of the Shanghai. Our kind are not known to be terribly trustworthy, or trusting. So please excuse us while we trust but verify."

The woman leaned forward and a smirk crawled across her lips. She sat up quietly, that young woman's grin widening. "I always bring gifts." She leaned over the edge of her seat, perhaps a bit less dignified than a normal commander. "A gift, see?" She said raising the ornate Orion box. "A peace offering for your commander. From the Syndicate to Starfleet." She sat back again, and crossed her legs. "And you're right not to trust me, muni. I'll admit I'm here as a favor. I voted against peace - but," She raised her arms, "My arguments didn't win out. And I am nothing if not bound to follow as ordered." She smirked widely, almost clearly wanting to push the topic, but deciding to make a different offer. "Would you like to see the gift?"

"I think that that should wait for the Captain, young lady," Lyn stated simply. Then the comely little half-Orion leaned down to whisper in Christine's ear, "I will go see what is holding her up."

Christine nodded. She was happy to let a senior officer step in. After all, it was only her second time in the big chair in a matter of hours. And she could learn from their example. She smiled at the Orion on the viewscreen while Lyn departed.

Once more off the bridge, Lyn scrambled for the ready room door. She pressed the annunciator then let herself in.

"Děng yíxià," Sun spoke almost as soon as the door opened. It translated to 'wait a second', something Lyn likely had picked up on - but not something the person on the other end of the comm had anything but context for. "You're sure?"

"My science officer is. He was an Ensign aboard a Prometheus in 2378." Tiruk's gruff voice responded. "I'd trust him, but even he admits it isn't exact."

"Noted." Sun said coldly, "We'll continue our conversation another time, Commander. You understand your orders, correct."

"I understand, sir."

Sun sighed. "Good. Sun out." She said, mashing a button to cut off the screen on her desk. She didn't pause or wait for Lyn to say anything though. She pushed back away from her desk and took a breath, heading towards the door. "What is it, Lyn?"

"We have been hailed, Captain. By Tabadi Touri of Caj Arquas and Caj Neveh, aboard the Tira'Dashir," Lyn stated quickly. "She's Orion and I do believe that she said that she is Syndicate. She comes bearing gifts for the Ship's Commander."

"She also says that she believes that the Togo is intact and that one of their ships ran afoul of these traps just days ago."

"Okay." Sun spoke with a nod. She paused and took another breath. "Fine, let's hope that the worst thing we have to deal with here." She straightened her jacket and stepped out onto the bridge. When she reached near the center she turned towards the screen, "I am Sun Mei Xiang, commanding officer of the USS Shanghai. Tabadi Touri, I presume?"

"A pleasure, Captain. I take it you were told about my gifts." The little orion seemed excited for a second before she started offering the gift to the screen.

"I was. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait until such a time as we can assure the safety of both your crew and ours before any such exchange." Sun tried to explain quickly, as if there was something else she wanted to get to. For a moment, the Orion seemed to agree, nodding around. "I'm sure you understand. We welcome any assistance you might have..."

"Of course," The little Orion spoke, but the grin on her face had diminished somewhat. "No doubt you've detected the unidentified ship?"

"We have." Sun spoke. "We'll be in the system soon, and will try to make contact. I'm sorry. I can't accept your gifts, though I appreciate the kind gesture. Once the situation is secure we'd love to discuss your status in this sector however."

"Just a sneak peak?" The small Orion spoke. "Humans have a saying about graciously accepting gifts."

"It varies from culture to culture, actually." Sun added as a hand went up from the ops station. Sun gave a quick bow. "My apologies tabadi, I'll need to cut our discussion short for now. We'll contact you again shortly."

The young woman gave a groan and shook her head. "Fine." She paused. "We'll follow your lead, Starfleet. If things get dangerous. Until then." The orion gave a wide smirk, and a sort of wave, with her hand and fingers twisting as the view screen shut off.

Sun sighed. "Someone get me a better grasp on what that meant..." She said quickly. "Who is she, what is her vessel, and everything. Counselor," The Captain said quickly, bringing her attention around to her. "I'd like your read on her as well, just in general."

"She's just being flighty," Lyn grumbled. "Typical rich kid..."

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