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Thinly Veiled Excuses

Posted on Sat Mar 18th, 2023 @ 3:36pm by Captain Abigail Laurens & Lieutenant Commander William Gunnison

Mission: Lower Decks

Since their departure from Tabula Rasa, things on the Astraea had quickly returned to what, at least to outside observers, would appear to be some level of normalcy. Services had been had held aboard the Astraea for those lost during the Koldaran Encounter and bodies had been transferred to the Spirit class vessels that had agreed to return them to the Alpha Quadrant for internment with their loved ones.

It was the level of normalcy that found Abigail approaching the main Operations office, a series of PaDD's in her hand. She paused outside Will's office, taking a deep breath before tapping lightly on the glass panel next to the door, offering a smile as he looked up and saw her standing there. "I have your requisition requests," she said softly, holding the stack of PaDD's toward him. "Signed, sealed and now delivered."

"Thank you, Captain," Will said, "though you certainly didn't have to bring them down here yourself. Have you considered getting a yeoman? This ship is certainly large enough for captain's yeoman to be its own position."

Abigail smiled. "I could... I could also have asked someone else to deliver them to you, but I felt like taking a walk." She set the PaDD's down and watched him closely for a moment. "How are you holding up with everything? How's Cole? He must be glad to have you home safely."

"Well, I'm certainly relieved to be back. I'm always for helping people where we can, but what happened on Odraiclite is certainly something I can live without experiencing ever again. Cole is also relieved that I'm back. He seems to be growing at a rate that I think might be suggestive of the involvement of some sort of temporal anomaly."

Abigail laughed softly and shook her head. "I think that seems to be a common trait among children. I have heard many others say the same thing. I'm sure he eats like a horse as well. Ashe seems to have a never ending supply of ice cream and french fries for him, that much I have noticed." She hesitated for a moment. "I'm glad you came through unscathed, for his sake."

"Physically, I came through, though mentally I'm not so sure," Will said. "Though I do realize that I'm probably not the only one who could say that. I get the feeling that the ship's counseling staff will be busy for a while."

Abigail nodded slowly. "A lot of the crew are struggling. I've asked for full medicals and psych evals to be done for the whole crew, starting with our senior staff. I need to know that you're all in the best shape you can be, considering. I think it'll help the more junior crew as well if you're leading by example." There was a moment of silence. "I'm going to ask Veznia to have a quiet word with Cole as well. I know some of the children aboard the ship are struggling with understanding, especially given some of their friends have parents who didn't come home."

"That would be a good idea," Will said. "We lost a loved one far too soon ourselves, and in some ways those who were able to help best were those who knew from personal experience what that felt like. If you should see Counselor Veznia before I do, please let her know that I am also available to assist in that regard as well, if she should wish for my humble services, such as they are."

Abigail gave another nod. "I will," she offered a slight smile. "Have you had any issues with resources and accommodations for the new staff?" she asked, moving on to more routine business. "We didn't get a lot of rotation, less than fifty new staff I think in all, mostly replacements."

"Fortunately, there have been no issues with either the resources or personnel accommodations," Will said. "And no, we didn't get a lot of new personnel coming in - 47 total, to be exact, but something like that is something to be expected, given our current location."

"Hopefully things will remain stable for a while now and we won't need to worry about personnel coming and going..." she paused momentarily. "But with access to Pathstone, we do have renewed interest from Starfleet personnel in general, people are curious about the Delta Quadrant now that access is less of a concern. She smiled. "I'll be honest, the thought of having regular supplies of chocolate coming from Earth does make me all warm and fuzzy inside. The replicator is good and all, but nothing replaces the real thing."

"You'll certainly get no arguments from me on that," Will said. "I don't suppose we've received our next orders from Starfleet Command yet? Not to play ship's counselor, but having a normal and stable routine for a while might help after what's happened, though of course the idea of 'normal' is rather open to interpretation in our line of work."

"Orders are not exactly a thing right now," she shook her head. "We're pretty much free to explore our way through the Delta Quadrant. We've received some assistance from the Dalacari in terms of maps and such, but there's still plenty of uncharted space and Starfleet wants us to start mapping sectors out ourselves, collect samples, basically just explore."

"Just explore and gather samples sounds like a great change of pace," Will said. "And I hope I didn't just jinx us with that comment," he added with a bit of a smile. "Well then, any plans for which direction we'll be heading off to first, or are you planning to just randomly select some course and head off in that direction?"

Abigail smiled wistfully. "You know, I think I might do exactly that. Spin the compass, pick a direction and just warp. See where fate takes us."

"Perhaps we should. I mean, how many times will we be in a position to just pick our own mission?"

Abigail offered a faint smile. "Let's hope we get plenty of those chances," she said quietly. "Thank you, Commander," she said quietly. "I appreciate you." She gave another faint smile. "I better get back to the bridge, the new helm officer is a bit... well..." she shook her head. "Fresh from the academy and piloting an Odyssey class. Maybe we should requisition some seatbelts from Engineering?"

"Might not be a bad idea," Will said. "I can't help but remember one of my classmates at the Academy. Practically came in on our very first day boasting up and down about how great a pilot he already was. Then in his first official holodeck practice, while trying to take a Sovereign-Class starship out of spacedock on maneuvering thrusters, instead immediately put it into into warp, and in reverse, no less. His screaming could be heard 3 buildings away."

"That," Abigail said with a laugh as she started walking away. "That does nothing to reassure me."


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