Posted Oct. 20, 2021, 9:30 a.m. by Lieutenant Commander Natasha Knight (Chief Medical Officer) (Kate O'Neill)
Posted by Captain Dante Knight (Commanding Officer) in Starfleet Academy - First Cadet mission
Posted by Lieutenant Commander Natasha Knight (Chief Medical Officer) in Starfleet Academy - First Cadet mission
Posted by Lieutenant Commander Natasha Knight (Chief Medical Officer) in Starfleet Academy - First Cadet mission
Posted by… suppressed (18) by the Post Ghost! 👻
“Oh my god I am so bored,” Kelly messaged Dante via the PaDD. With the senior officers sitting around them that they had to transport to their destination, it was not like anyone could speak freely. It had to be all professional and on the up an up. “Maybe we could fly right through a star or bounce a little close to a supernova. That would show them how great we can fly wouldn’t it?” Kelly was only half joking. This trip was so dull and uneventful. Their better halves were in the back pretending to do work while Kelly and Dante were stuck actually having to remain on task. The last time she checked, Ric was cleaning and calibrating the weapons. Since the man could literally do this in his sleep he was sleeping. At times she hated her boyfriend. Daye was reviewing medical charts which meant she used the excuse of needing a private and secluded area to work. This translated to her doing those lame quizzes she loved. The reason Kelly knew that was every ten minutes she was getting pinged to answer a question. Ethan was the closest to doing actual work but for the life of Kelly she could not figure out exactly what that was when she glanced back.
Ethan noted Kelly’s glances out of the corner of his eye, but ignored them. He had no doubt the Star Pupils of the Academy had found a way to shirk doing actual work once again, likely plotting more ways to get out of putting in real effort and actually learning something that might save lives later on. Both of them had the devil’s luck, a way to make the most unlikely and idiotic of plans actually work. Ethan wasn’t going to take that chance though, his Tactical Station was alive with charts and information about the space ahead of them, marauder reports on pirates and bandits operating in the area, anomalies recently charted and even the merchant shipping lane schedule was open. With the VIP’s on board someone had to be doing something to keep everyone alive.
A soft ping on the PaDD beside her caused to Kelly to scowl. “There Are Only Six Types Of People In The World And You’re One Of Them. Why is she having time to do this and we are not?” The annoyance in Kelly’s voice was plain. Still that did not stop her from continuing the quiz. “I am supposed to look at 20 photos and react to each of them on a scale from negative to positive.”
“Is that all you got?” Dante said, looking over at Kelly’s screen like he was trying to cheat. “I have to do What Type of Cheese am I, I think that even Natasha is starting to get bored down there. What type of cheese am I? There has never been a feta time to find out.” He read the words out loud, but only loud enough for Kelly to hear, then made a face. “Yeah she’s scraping the bottom of the barrel on this one.”
Kelly poked and stabbed at the screen clicking each image as she groaned about how this trip was not exactly what she had hoped it would be until finally announcing, “I got the builder. It says personal fulfillment, for me, comes from being creative. If you’re doing work that doesn’t flex that creative muscle, you’re bored to death and practically useless. And satisfaction doesn’t come easily as you hold yourself to an incredibly high standard. When you’re supposed to be basking in the glow of a completed project, you’re constantly wondering how you could’ve made it better. It’s both a gift and a curse; it’s how you’re able to constantly raise the bar and improve over time. But it can also be paralyzing and cause you to miss deadlines. Sometimes, you just need to set the bird free.”
“This is nothing like me,” she looked over at Dante and rolled her eyes.
Cadet Natasha Knight (aka Kate O’Neill who this assessment is exactly like :rofl: )
“Noooooo, nothing at all,” Dante shook his head, and snickered. “Well maybe it is a bit, but you know those things are like horoscopes right? They make them sound fancy but really it’s just what everyone wants to hear about themselves. See what would have made that one better for you, is if it mentioned how you rejoice in victory over another group once you have completed your project, and even break out in little dances,” Dante shrugged, “well you do.”
Hitting buttons on his own screen, his face curled up more than once. “Who comes up with these things? Describe the cheese that comes in little plastic square packets? Does Cheese go with fish? DoI like Blue Cheese? Pick a musical instrument, now what’s my favourite drink?” Shaking his head, Dante still plugged away his answers even as an impatient beep came from Natasha asking what the answer was.
“I’m Halloumi,” Dante announced. “You’re an interesting one! You’re one of the only cheeses that can be fried and grilled and doesn’t melt. You’re salty and delicious, and probably magical in some way too. Who knows?” He read to Kelly as well then looked at her and frowned. “I am not salty!”
Behind them, Ethan sniffed loudly as if he was holding back a cough or a gurgle or something, but kept his head down and bashed his own buttons. His own console pinged, and a message from Natasha appeared on his screen. Opening it, he frowned and read aloud. “There are Nine Personality Types, Which Disney Princess Are You?”
He blinked and looked up, meeting Kelly’s eyes, then sighed. “I’m Elsa,” he said, and then read out loud, You’re a Reformer like Elsa! You’re purposeful, driven, and well-organized. Elsa’s key motivation is making things “right” and taking care of her loved ones, so she’s def a Reformer! Like you, it’s hard for Elsa to accept help from others and she puts lots of pressure on herself to do everything correctly.” Ethan looked up and frowned, “That isn’t me at all.”
Cadet Knight and Cadet Nash
“Let it go. Let it go,” Kelly broke out in sang laughing. Nat’s fascination with the online quizzes at times did make one crazy but always led to levity. “You don’t care…what they are going to say....because”. Before Kelly could finish she badly sung rendition to Nash her console lit up like a Christmas tree with a blinking message.
Snapping to attention she began inputting numbers to accept the message. “Sir putting message through,” Kelly reported to Dante. The honorific sir always indicated to him Kelly was no longer his friend but his subordinate.
“Cadet First Class Knight here,” Dante answered looking into the screen, like Kelly, his tone had become completely business.
The rank and urgency of the message made Kelly groan. Giving Dante a side glance she spun slightly to face him. “If this person starts his second sentence with Let’s unpack this I am not going to be responsible for my actions or reaction.” Unpack this was Kelly’s newest annoyance which she could feel already bubbling just below the surface.
“Cadet First class Knight,” a face whose neck bore the rank of captain appeared on the screen.
Nodding to the man in acknowledgement, his face stayed dead straight but words came out without even his lips moving. It was a skill learned over numerous tasks done with Kelly and while the camera wasn’t focused on her, she had a habit of narrating her thoughts. This way, Dante was able to reply without making it obvious to the person watching. His ventriloquism teacher had been most impressed at how fast he had picked up the skill. “Kelly, stop. This isn’t the time.” The slightly muffled and accented Italian left no doubt it was Dante speaking, although he looked like he was paying full attention to the Captain on the screen.
“Are you sure you don’t want me to unpack this ‘cause I am pretty sure he is gonna unpack this,” she could feel the urge to click off the comment and claim some errant ion storm was wreaking havoc with the comms but that would only prompt a return call and not solve the problem.
“Your current mission is going to require a detour. I need you and your medical officer to take the shuttle from the runabout and proceed to course 00.847 to the planet Lonestra III. They are having a situation. Let’s unpack this for a moment,” the voice continued.
With a deep sigh, Dante waited. It had begun.
“There it is,” Kelly said after muting the call on their end. She wore the same still formal expression but it was burning just under the anger growing inside her . Kelly hated the catchphrase and even though Dante was well aware of it, he was again going to hear why again for what had to be the twentieth time this week. “Why did he have to go there? Huh…huh,” her tone was testy but her spoke through just a small space in her mouth to have it appear she was silent.
“You know it’s the latest catchphrase, it’s trendy in upper circles, I bet you that you will use it one day,” he told her, again with the lips not moving.
“God this guy looks so familiar,” she mused statin at the face. The close set eyes and thin lipped mouth was pretty standard for those in the upper echelons of starfleet ranks but he didn’t have anything special about him to spark her recognition.
“Lonestra III is a newly encountered planetary system that is applying for Federation membership. I am not sure you need the history but,”
“But you are giving it and unpack it,” she spoke over the man as he gave useless fact. “The problem I have with unpacking this is the metaphor. I mean all it means is to analyze something into a greater detail. So why the catchy preamble? I am here. I am a captive audience. If I could run from our lecture I would but I can’t because you are the professor or ranking officer and that means I have to just sit here and listen.”
“Now what you might not know is that Lonsestra III has a unique mineral with properties in the scientific and medical fields,” the voice droned on.
“See right there. You know we could so Bang or Gaggle that. It is not like we are first-year cadets that have never read a mission briefing or prepared for what we are about to do on duty. This guy as not imparting knowledge. He just wanted to hear himself talk. Why can’t people be more like Hornsby? Knight…Shultz,” she imitated the security officer. “Get your asses to Lonsestra and report back ASAP.” Kelly was on a role. There was no stopping her. “Short sweet and to the point.”
“Oh my god,” Nash groaned at the Tactical console behind them. “Can we gag her? Hit her with a stun shot? Please? How about we get that Engineer buddy of yours up here and get him to stick something in her mouth. That might at least give her something else to hyperfocus on and something she might enjoy unpacking.
Kelly ignored Nash for now. He would get his payback…only when he least expected it.
In reply, Dante didn’t even blink. Was he considering it?
“You need to evaluate what is occurring and report back to command ASAP. Cadet First Class Shultz you are to assume the rest of this mission dropping off the cargo and then report to Lonestra III”
“See he just wasted ten minutes of my life that I am never getting back and what did he exactly unpack for us. Go to the planet and report to the ground officer who I can bet knows far more than this guy,” she said reaching forward to activate the comm system again. “Yes Sir. Understood.”
“Yes Sir, the CMO and I will depart immediately.” As the screen went blank, Dante pushed himself to his feet. =/\= Nat, it’s Dante. We have a new mission from Starfleet Command, just you and I. Pack light, we are taking a shuttle to Lonestra III. =/\=
Kelly gave Dante a side glance. She hated when they split missions like this. The general perception was she and Dante flew on a wing and a prayer. The truth was ever detail was painstakingly gone over by them, even if it was drinking a pitcher of beer and eating wings. This did not sit well with her.
“Look on the bright side, Cadet First Class Shultz,” Dante said with an evil smirk. You have the Bridge and the Captaincy of this ship. “Cadet First Class Nash,” he said, looking up to the Tactical Console, “Take the Executive Officers Seat.”
“Thanks Knight,” she said over her shoulder as Dante moved out of the cockpit. Silently counting in her head she waited until Nash moved to take his seat. It was then Kelly threw the shuttle into a hard right forcing anyone standing to be tossed into the left side bulkhead. Kelly’s target was Dante and Ethan since they should be the only ones standing. If anyone else got tossed as collateral damage that was their fault for not remaining seated.
As the doors had closed behind him, Dante had counted down in his head and then a moment before he hit one, paused and leaned casually against the left hand bulkhead. Thus when the ship was thrown into a sharp turn to the right, he was already braced against the wall and just rode it comfortably until the ship righted itself again. It wasn’t exactly a 50/50 call on his part. Most people would throw the ship into a left hand turn as that was the most natural direction for most pilots to turn in, but Kelly was a schemer and more crafty than most.... but… Dante smirked… she was his XO, not the other way around. He knew she would go right, she had to make a point and do the unexpected. There was a reason the two of them were a deadly team.
“What the hell was that for?” Nash snapped as his hand appeared above the console under which he was lying from Kelly’s turn, groping for a handhold to pull himself up.
Once Nash took his seat and the shuttle let the roundabout, Kelly looked at Nash as he set in the new course. “So we got four hours until we reach the Outpost. Tell me about that redhead who’s obviously totally in love with you.” A smiled slid across her face as she pretended to look forward. “Isn’t she the one that led the symposium on increasing the gestational rate of wheat , rye, and corn in low light and low gravity environments?”
As Natasha and Dante descended from the thin wispy clouds of the atmosphere the blue, white, and green planet began to appear less idyllic and more sterilized. Large fences and partition walls could be seen from the atmosphere marking off sections of the land. On one side of the partition, it was easy to see a sparkling gleaming metropolis that was the poster child of Federation cities. The areas outside of the partitions were less so.
Natasha cast an uneasy glance at Dante. “These people have applied for Federation status,” she asked as they flew over what could only be termed a slum on route to the landing zone.
“Why would they need us to investigate this issue of theirs?” He replied, looking out the window at the lands below them. “I guess we had better find this ground contact and see what we have to evaluate and report back on.”
The slums seemed to thin out the closer to the landing zone of the metropolis they got, and once over the wall that appeared to divide the area’s they were quite literally flying over a completely different world. Lush green forests and blue lakes spread out around them teeming with wildlife, leading like a shining example of perfect natural harmony all the way to the glimmering metropolis of the city.
“Well now, this place looks kind of, perfect.” Dante observed as he glanced at Nat. “We’re approaching the landing zone.”
“Too perfect,” she wrinkled up her nose. Already something felt off but they hadn’t landed and Nat had no proof except her gut and Russian distrust for anything unknown.
As the ship landed, the pair was created by a man in a mask and perfectly tailored suit. “Please stop,” he held up his hand motioning for Natasha and Dante to not leave the landing ramp. “We just need to disinfect you. Just a precaution,” he said in a friendly tone.
“What? I’m clean, I swear, I showered this morning. So did she,” Dante said, with his head indicating Natasha, revealing only the slightest of grins.
Nat eyed the men approaching them wearing far more protective gear than the man sent to greet them. The four men divided into pairs: one stood by Dante and the other Nat.
“Hands up and held out please,” they asked as a thin mist spilled from the small canisters they carried and enveloped Nat and Dante.
“Oh look, the national greeting here is a game of patty cake,” Dante said out the side of his mouth, but he did as they asked and held his hands up and out. “What’s the deal Tasia, what do they mean disinfect?”
She sniffed the air getting a strong stench of disinfectant and bleach from the air. “It’s a standard decomm mist for pathogen control,” Nat replied to Dante never taking her eyes off the man in the suit and mask. “Bacterial or viral,” Nat asked him. Clearly there was something biological happening here or the planet’s Inhabitants were complete germaphobes.
“Well that is what you are here to tell us Cadet Daye. Suddenly the man broke out in a series of chuckles. “Knight and Daye,” he said looking between them. “Okay that is the most clever combination of a partners names I have heard in a long time. Only thing that would make it better would be if you two were dating,” he said jovially. The man was a civilian and probably had no idea dating another officer was frowned upon. As strange as the situation was she and Dante just landed into, The man who was greeting them seemed to have no malice or anger in his words. It was just a man trying to lighten the conversation in an awkward moment.
“I know, wild right. It’s like we are secret agents or something and those are code names. Can you imagine the confusion on the poor concierges face when he announces that a table or room is ready for Knight and Daye? Worst Spy names ever.” Dante replied in his own light hearted way, it wasn’t unusual to have people comment on their names when they were together, but it also wasn’t unusual to see people recognize the oddity and not say anything in favour of trying to work it out for themselves.
“Vut are you sazin’” she let her accent slide out far more pronounced. “Being a dock tor could be my most cover.”
Dante snort laughed. “Oh right, cause sounding like a Holonovel Assassin is clearly not going to give away our spy game.”
“They are clear sir,” one of the men whose was disinfecting then reported
“Oh that’s a relief, looks like we don’t have Klingon Herpes after all, Natasha, see and you were worried for nothing.” Wiping his hands on his tunic to get rid of the moist of the mist, he looked at Natasha to see if she was taking in the info she needed while he tried to draw attention to himself by his statements.
“What,” she hit him with the back of her hand purely out of reflex. They would need to work on the professional part of them in the future but it was so damn hard when he looked at good as he did.
“Excellent,” the suit replied peeling off his mask as he now stepped forward to shake Dante’s hand. “If you would please follow me and I can take you to the liaison from the Federation. This way,” he motioned with a sweeping gesture in the direction he wanted them to go
Natasha Daye. CMO
“Thank you,” Dante replied, subduing a strong desire to fake sneeze as he shook the man’s hand. A curse of Starfleet training, he was young enough to know the humor that would bring him yet instilled with a strong enough sense of proper diplomatic behavior from his training to know that it wasn’t the right time.
Walking beside Natasha as they followed the man, Dante looked around him. Despite their concern about bugs and germs, the spaceport was pristine clean and clearly just as modern as the rest of the city inside the walls. “So, what has been going on here? You have an outbreak of some disease among the population? Is that why you have a wall around your city?” Maybe that was the best way to ask the question, anybody coming down could see the night and day difference between the slums and the city, but why when they clearly weren’t lacking resources were people living like that outside the walls?
“We are not concerned about the virus because we deal with the virus,” a man said from the left drawing everyone’s attention. A man in a crisp white suit emerged from an office. He was tall as Dante but far more skinny boarding on gaunt. “We have numerous precautions and procedures in place to ensure the citizens are safe and well cared for.” Stepping back he gestured towards the room.
“Hey, you know that Russian Assassin stuff?” Dante whispered to Nat, “Does that white suit not look like the quintessential bad guy suit on Skeletor there? Tell me I’m wrong, I dare you.” He however smiled and nodded to the man curtly as he followed the gesture. “This better not be a gas chamber, you have that appointment with the masseuse on Thursday, I paid good money for that.” Still whispering to Nat, he made a show of pausing at the door before going in.
“For the hundredth time it is not a gas chamber but a decontamination suite,” she elbowed him in the side fighting the urge to smile at his hint of their personal relationship. Few people saw the playful, silly side under Knight’s more serious exterior. It did show, however, like the time Dante came in and got trapped in the decom chamber. His acting would not win an academy award as he pretended to fight his way to get free but he did win her heart as he slid down the glass and drew a huge heart with his finger in the fogged up glass that said DK + ND 4 ever. The sentiment was so middle school and silly, Natasha could not help but laugh. Leaning down that day she pressed her lips to the glass kissing him on the other side. If anyone in medical had any suspicions they were an item, it vanished that day as fast as the disinfecting gas out of the release valve as Nat set him free.
“Oh honey I am not missing Brandon. That man has hands that do things to me which keep me coming back for more,” she teased with a wink. Dante didn’t enjoy a massage as much as Daye except for the part where they had ten minutes to prepare for the massage in the couple sessions she had tried to book. It was probably because both times, she and Dante had spent fifteen minutes working out the tension before the massage. While that activity was most enjoyable and relaxed her, Dante tended to enjoy the part more where he could roll over and nap for the next hour without having to focus on the niceties like cuddling and chatting as he often had to in their dorm rooms. Both times they had the couples massage, Nat had to yell twice that he was snoring and it was detracting from the soft music, dimmed lights, and soft aromatherapy drifting in the air. She would press him again for more couples time at the spa but she wasn’t sure it would happen.
“Which is why you essentially acted like we were carrying the plague the second the shuttle doors opened,” Natasha replied following Dante into the room. The soft swish of the air in the room indicated they were entering a negative air space which alarmed Natasha slightly. This place was too pristine
“Can I get you some refreshments,” the man asked moving behind the desk and gesturing for the pair to take a seat.
“Coffee, for both of us.” Dante replied. Walking to the chairs and looking around. This place was small, fairly bare and while it seemed to be an office, it would have also passed well as an interrogation room. He hadn’t noticed the air pressure at all.
“We are to meet with our Federation liaison, I take it that is you?” Dante stood behind the chairs but made no move to sit down, instead he stood above the man and looked down on him, using his height and bulk to try and convey a little bit of authority and confidence in a situation that he was slowly getting confused by.
The sound of the door opening again pulled Natasha’s attention off their host and onto the person bringing in the refreshments. A knot formed in her belly seeing the beverages arriving covered with a thin, plastic, sterile film covering the cups. Condensation had formed from the steam obscuring the dark liquid under the lid. The presentation of the coffee cups spoke volumes to Nat. Clearly, the people that greeted them were worried about air-born infection. The negative airflow room, the decontamination gas when they were outside and still six feet away after exiting the shuttle, and the covered beverages meant these people were taking no chances on possible exposure scenarios. Natasha watched her give the man his drink first before offering them to her and Dante. “Thank you,” Natasha said as the woman handed her a cup. Testing out a hypothesis, Nat made sure her finger brushed the woman’s hand as she took the beverage. The look of abject horror on the assistant’s face gave Natasha chills.
“Thank you Palis,” the man that ushered them in said to the terrified woman. “You are free to go. Report to station two before returning to your duties.”
“But I,” she said ignoring Nat and Dante completely and moving a step towards the man behind the desk. “She,” the woman pointed a finger at Natasha with pure fury in her eyes.
“She and the gentleman she arrived with are our guests. Please remember that fact.” The man’s hand slipped under the desk and half a heartbeat later the door reopened with two armed men standing at the door. Palis glanced back at them before defeat spread across her face replacing the flash of anger previously there. The room was still except for the sound of her footsteps echoing against the surfaces in the room reminding Daye of how sound reacted in a cave or cavern.
Looking from the door, to Nat and back to the man, Dante raised an eyebrow at what had just happened.
“I am so sorry for that outburst,” the man gestured for Dante to take a seat in the chair that was open across from him. Sitting down himself he pulled the film off the coffee and took a tentative sip. “Careful…it tends to be hotter than I usually expect. To answer your earlier question no I am not your Federation liaison. That is why you are here. He has taken ill but rest assured he have him resting and isolated
Nodding to Natasha, Dante took his seat and leaned forward, brow furrowed. “Would you mind telling us what exactly is going on here? You have a plague on this planet?” Dante tilted his head toward the door in an indication of the woman’s performance, then to the cups of coffee with film over the top.
“Why the precaution? The greeting and hose down at the space port, the hazard suits, sealed buildings and all of this?” Dante leaned back and looked to Natasha, “Why the aggression towards Dr Daye from that lady? We are here to help and assess, what exactly are we assessing?”
“We are just making sure everyone stays safe and healthy,” the man smiled trying to appear good natured. “Certain…protocols are in place to contain the illness. Palis will be fine. We will run the daily scan and she will be back to work. Lickety split…as they say in the Federation…correct.”
Natasha looked at Dante slightly suspect of the friendly response as compared with the reactions of a few moments ago.
“Something along those lines,” Dante said, but he didn’t sound convinced. “It just seems, excessive for something that seems to be not very serious, is all.”
“0h come now,” he said smoothly. “Do you not take health precautions? We just want our people healthy and safe.”
Clasping his hands he blew off their suspicions and immediately began with why they were here. “We have a medical situation and here. It’s not that serious but we were hoping to negotiate about getting some supplies from your local Starbase. They haven’t arrived yet and I was wondering if you knew why?” The mans voice was colder with a hint of threat to his words as he looked at the young senior cadet.
“Not exactly,” Dante sat up and his tone immediately went from curious to businesslike. There was a reason he and Kelly were considered the top Cadets of their year, if not in grades compared to some others, than in their ability to get a job done in ways that others didn’t consider.
“However the task of myself and Cadet Daye here is to liase with and assist the Federation contact in his initial assessment of the suitability of your world for entrance into the Federation as you have requested. Our work is only the preemptive work for a full team to come in after of course, it’s hardly like we as Cadets have any influence on any decision but,” and here Dante paused and looked at Natasha before looking back to the man at the desk, “we are also here to investigate this outbreak as well as make a report on whether the medical goods requested are to be used for what the have been requested for.” Dante spread his hands now, “reports say that the amount of medical supplies requested was very specific, and wouldn’t bring relief to most of the population in a medical emergency. We need to make sure our medical supplies are not being leveraged for a purpose other than helping the people. Once we can report on this, I’m sure they will be released quickly.”
Natasha’s gaze left the man across the table and settled on Dante. She loved when he was all business like, well except when he lost his mind and tried to act like he was in command of her. That was never fun for either of them but this was different.
“Well not everyone has the same need,” the man bristled at Dante’s comment. “Yes everyone will get treatment but you can’t deny that police, doctors, and other infrastructure personnel need to get it first….so we can get it to the masses. Don’t you agree doctor?”
His fishy, cold smile took all the warmth from Mat’s daydream as she frowned and reluctantly agreed with a small head nod
“Good then It’s settled. I have transportation
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