Welcome to the Brittany
Posted on Sunday, 28 August 2022 - 4:46pm by Lieutenant Alex Kingsley
Edited on on Tuesday, 6 September 2022 - 6:27am
Operation: My Unfair Lady
Location: SS Brittany
Pouring a glass of single malt whisky, his beverage of choice since he had first visited the Scottish Highlands, Daniel Mathieson accessed the updated report from Argona II. Beyond the confines of his temporary office, work was underway to complete the loading of supplies and the small team he would have at his disposal. Scientists and medics, like him, for the most part. And a small crew compliment tasked with getting them to their destination safely and being on hand to take them back to Earth when their work was done.
The Brittany was a small civilian ship and had not been designed with long journeys and comfort in mind. The five decks offered barely the space to swing the proverbial cat but since they had no cats aboard or any desire amongst those present - as far as he knew - to be swinging one around, then the point was moot. It could get them to where they wanted to go and do so quickly. Something Starfleet had been unable, once again, to do.
For the past six years he had been navigating the fine line his organization treaded between civilian and Starfleet. Ships were to this day, something of a previous commodity. As such he understood a reluctance to dispatch vessels on 'another wild goose chase' as one Admiral had called it. If he found evidence of a humanitarian crisis, then of course, they would act. Although in the case of Argana II that was perhaps debatable.
An outlying colony, it was many to voice discontent when the Federation embarked upon efforts to evacuate Romulans. Vital resources had been diverted, promised projects aimed at improving dated infrastructure and defensive capabilities had fallen by the wayside. And then Mars had happened... a tragedy of unimaginable horror which had repercussions far beyond the famed 'red planet'.
Argana II was one of a handful of worlds to announce the intention to withdraw from the Federation, going so far as to formally begin the process just a few months ago after failing to secure the assurances from the Federation Council it sought. It wasn't the first, albeit it was one of the largest in terms of population. That said, it was a colony predominantly focused on mining and farming, and nothing produced there was of strategic significance. End result, Daniel had the distinct impression nobody was too concerned with the citizens of Argana II coming down with what may be nothing more than a bad case of the sniffles.
Normally, Daniel wouldn't be so interested either. Except...
He tapped the screen on his workstation, calling up the brief letter from his former professor. He had, a few years ago, retired and moved to Argana II to be with his wife. It had been the 'deal' he had said, when she agreed to leave the colony many years before to be with him while he followed his career and she raised their children. It had been Professor Issac who had drawn his attention to the situation affecting the citizens of his adopted homeworld. He was deeply concerned for reasons he would explain in more detail when he saw Daniel in person. The man was still, unsurprisingly, a man prone to bouts of paranoia.
But this was a man who had been his mentor, his teacher and was a formidable scientist. If he had suspicions there was more to this then he would be damned if he would sit back and wait for someone else to care enough to check in on these people.
The door chimed and he called out for his visitor to enter, certain of who it would be. Half turning in his chair, he set down his glass as he stood, watching the doors open. "Welcome aboard!" he grinned, climbing to his feet, having to stoop down to clear some overhead storage before he could stand properly and welcome his visitor with a hug. "Good to see you kid."
"You are not going to call me kid the whole trip are you?" Alex groaned as she untangled herself.
"We could go with Lieutenant Kid or Dr Kid?" he teased, leaning back on his desk with a grin. Holding his hands up he offered an apologetic smile. "Sorry. Out of my system now. And I am lucky to have you aboard. The last Starfleet liaison officer they sent to us was... well, intense. A Vulcan dialed up to a thousand. I think there was even something sarcastic when he did the whole live long and prosper salute. Maybe Chip shouldn't have drawn the mustache but it was a harmless prank on April Fools. "
"Chip," Alex sighed. "Enough said..."
Chip, or to use his given name, Charles Ivan Petterson III was a biologist. At University had had demanded to be called Chip and become known for his many and frequently misjudged pranks. And somehow, he and Daniel had become the best of friends. Polar opposites yet somehow, it just worked. And somehow, mostly thanks to Daniel's help in the frantic few weeks before finals, he had managed to graduate. Just.
"Is he coming with us?"
Daniel shook his head sadly. "No, his wife is expecting their first baby so he is taking some personal time to get, well, being Chip, out of his system."
Alex's eyes widened, clearly surprised. "Chip. A father...?"
"Crazy right?" Daniel laughed. "He said I make it look easy so he figured why the hell not."
"Indeed," she replied, reaching for the bottle of whisky and pouring a glass for herself. "Thanks again for letting us stay at your villa. I replaced your vodka for whisky. I know it's more your style, being so old and all."
"Mighty kind of you little lady," he retorted in a heavy southern drawl, motioning as if tipping his hat before retaking his seat and taking a drink himself. "It was lying empty anyways and least I could do. How is that mother of yours?"
"Laura is very much still Laura," Alex assured him, draining her glass as she sat down on the opposite side of the desk. "She and my step-children are on their way back to Vulcan as we speak."
"Sounds like there is a story to tell," he commented, his tone making it clear it was little more than an observation rather than a demand to tell.
"Perhaps another night and a few more bottles of this," she held up the half empty whisky bottle, "and I may do just that. For now, I'm here to focus on the situation at hand. You said in your message that Issac's is involved?"
"Indirectly, yes. He's alright though. Just concerned. Only... promise me that nobody will get drunk and set fire to his study?"
"One time, Dan... it happened one time. Besides, it wasn't me."
Daniel laughed as he slid a file across the desk, "sure kid. Here is everything we've got so far, which isn't much. Read up, get some rest, I'll introduce you to everyone else at dinner once we are underway. Your room, such as it is, is on deck two, section three, room 6."
With a nod his guest was up, and quickly gone, leaving him to once again turn his mind to the possibilities of what he might find on a world far away from here.