USS VINDEX - NCC-2474-A
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Posted on Mon Jul 3rd, 2017 @ 7:09pm by Captain Claudia Ainscow & Commander Akiva ben-Avram & Major Storr Garlake

Mission: S2E1 - Secrets
Location: Observation Lounge
Timeline: Mission Day 99; 08:00

Claudia was pleased to have her Chief Counsellor and Marine Commanding Officer back on board after their trip to Earth for their wedding ceremony. It had been an interesting and difficult time for the Vindex crew in their absence and she wanted to bring them up to speed now they were back on board.

=/\="Ainscow to ben-Avram, Garlake and Maera. Please meet me in the Observation Lounge"=/\= Claudia said.




Jaya sat up in bed. ~I've overslept!~ Her sense of alarm roused Storr from his slumber, but not entirely.

"Wake up!" Jaya patted his meaty shoulder with an urgent disregard for gentleness. "It's--"

=/\="Ainscow to ben-Avram, Garlake and Maera. Please meet me in the Observation Lounge"=/\= Claudia said.

Jaya froze. ~Great. Just great...~

She frantically searched through their strewn pile of linens, garments, and assorted bedroom ornaments until she found her commbadge.

"Yes, Captain. We'll be there soon!"

Storr grunted at the rude intrusion upon his slumber, rolling to the other side and taking the sheets with him. Being a light sleeper was an incredible asset to an infantry officer but Major Garlake was not in combat nor was he sharing a power nap in a foxhole with another dirty and odiferous Marine. The small blessing caused a smile to creep over his face, the man's eyes still closed, as his dreamlike mental state played with the amorous couplings he and his new bride had engaged in the previous night. Unfortunately, it was again rudely interrupted by the most un-rude voice he could imagine.

"Wake up, lazy bones! We're late!" Jaya slapped Storr with a satisfying, meaty smacking sound.

Bladdie Hell

Garlake's brow furrowed as he looked over his shoulder to the still-dressing counselor. All frustration melted away, however, as he studied the bare back of her lithe figure, the form-fitting outfit caressing her nubile hips and thighs. Storr watched as Jaya struggled to squirm her arms into their appropriate holes before looking over her shoulder and locking gaze with him.

"Help me with the zipper?" she cooed, winking far more seductively than should be proper at the morning hour.

The MCO rolled the rest of the way back over to her side of the bed and sat up, wrapping one hand around her waist and taking the zipper in the other and slowly riding it home to the top. Not wanting to waste the moment, he gently kissed her neck where it met her shoulder, his warm lips chilled by her cool flesh before trailing up to her ear and nibbling playfully.

"Now, now," she said playfully before turning around to face Storr. "We'll have plenty of time for that later."

Her lingering hand trailing down his abdominals suggested otherwise, though it stopped abruptly.

"Better get dressed," she said with a wink.

What a frakk'n tease... he thought with a counterfeit grumble and a light swat to her backside, resulting in a happily expected squeal and punch to his shoulder. Turning, he began his own morning drill, wondering what it was that the Captain wanted from them both.




Rather than respond, Akiva stood up, nodded to another officer on the Bridge, and headed toward the Observation Lounge. The command chair was filled before he made it halfway to the door.

It wasn't often that he beat the Captain to the Bridge in the morning, but this would explain why. When he made his way into the Observation Lounge, he found Claudia staring out the window.

"Good morning," he said. "Little early for a party, don't you think?"

As she continued to gaze out of the window looking down at the planet below them Claudia chuckled to herself and turned to face her first officer.

"It's never too early to have a party Commander. How are we this morning?" Claudia asked.

Akiva cracked a smile at her winsome disposition. "I suppose that depends on what the party is celebrating. What are we celebrating exactly?"

As if on cue, Storr and Jaya entered the observation lounge, smiles all around. Nodding to both Captain Ainscow and Commander ben-Avram, the MCO offered his new bride a seat while he stood.

"It's good to be back," Major Garlake said, shaking both their offered hands in congratulations.

A knowing look passed over Akiva's face. "Ah, yes. And it is good to have you back." His eyes darted from Storr to Jaya and back again. "Both of you."

Jaya accepted her seat from Storr and smiled brightly. "Thank you, Commander. It seems the Vindex has been busy while we were away."

"You could say that." Akiva failed to keep a smirk under wraps. "The captain made first contact with a living mountain... or meteorite... or whatever they're calling that entity down there today."

Claudia smiled. "The DME is a fascinating entity - I just can't describe the experience that I've had with it without showing you for myself. As for why we're all here I thought we'd bring these two newlyweds up to speed so they know what they've missed - I even had Paul bring up some cake for us all to share seeing as the Major and Counsellor aren't the only newlyweds here. Can I get anyone anything to drink before we start?"

"Cafe botz, please," Akiva said as he approached Storr and Jaya.

Jaya raised an eyebrow. "I'll have the same."

Storr shook his head in the negative, mostly due to understanding that the Captain didn't have three hands. He also kicked himself for not congratulating her sooner on the wedding. "That's right! Congratulations, ma'am on the wedding."

Akiva stepped forward to shake hands with them both, though Jaya ignored it and pressed into a hug. "It really is good to see you, Akiva," she said softly. When leaned in close enough, she discreetly added into his ear, "Let's resume your counseling sessions as soon as possible."

There wasn't much to say, so Akiva just nodded and tried not to shrug away the hug. He cleared his throat before extending a hand to Storr.

"Major."

"Commander," he replied with a nod, shaking the Hebron's hand with vigor. It was incredible; he and Jaya had been gone for several weeks but the Akiva he had left and known had changed into a new person if the rumors concerning his relations with the opposite sex were to be believed. "We'll need to have a whiskey. Soon."

Akiva smiled. "I'll look forward to it, Major."

Claudia went over and retrieved the desired beverages from the replicator and took them over two at a time. As she was now eating for two she found it harder and harder to refuse her cravings - although they were usually for larger and more servings of dessert or other things she enjoyed rather than things she didn't usually eat. After helping herself to a larger than usual slice of cake she couldn't resist the temptation to take a bite before addressing those present.

"Well - since you were away we came across this planet after it was discovered by Miss Elsie Cusack while she was on work experience down in the Science department. The first expedition down to the surface was...interesting...to say the least - you'll find the report for that in our database. A lot of changes have occurred in ship's personnel with a few departures and arrivals - and Miss Zuzan of the Tactical department remains in an induced coma after the shuttle she was aboard crashed on the surface" Claudia said.

Claudia then started to eat the rest of her slice of cake.

The mention of Amber's name gave Akiva pause. He lowered his head for a moment of silence.

"It's definitely been rougher than expected," he said at length.

Storr nodded slowly. The situation with Amber was jarring, as he remembered her as he had seen her only a few weeks before at the Captain's party aboard DS9...effervescent and a beauty.

Jaya cocked her head as she listened, then gave Storr a knowing look of concern.

Looking her way, Storr stopped momentarily. There was no attraction between him and the comatose tactics officer, so why the look? Sure, he appreciated her looks but that was the end of it...much like a critic enjoys a painting. Jaya had no reason to be jealous but was that the emotion behind her glance? Or was it simply concern over him having lost many men on this assignment already? Before turning back to Akiva, he realized that he had a lot to learn when it came to a woman in a marriage relationship.

"A shame and I can only imagine it has been." was all that he could say. He made a mental note to move up his whiskey with the XO.

"With you both on back on board the ship and on duty, we'll be departing from Nova Mercia soon," Akiva said with a deft change of the subject and a nod to Claudia.

Claudia did her best not to look guilty as she helped herself to more of the cake positioned in the center of the table. At this rate, it wasn't going to be a secret that she was pregnant for very long.

"I'd imagine we'll be leaving in a week or so. I expect the defense perimeter will be properly in place by then so we'll be free to depart and do some more exploring" Claudia replied.

Jaya let her eyes trail from Claudia's nibbling to her womb. She squinted for a moment, then widened her eyes over a coiled grin.

"Any other news, Captain?" Jaya turned her head to one side, her voice whimsical and melodious.

"I can't think of anything at the moment - apart from there's going to be a reception later in your honor so we can all join you in celebrating your marriage. I've left that in the capable hands of the other Mrs. Ainscow to organize - it's scheduled for 19:00 in the Function Room if you're up for it?" Claudia responded.

Jaya nodded softly and offered a knowing smile. "Sounds good to me. What about you, darling?"

The MCO smiled and took Jaya's hand, returning her smile. "How could we miss our own party? You're too kind, ma'am."

"Not to change the subject too abruptly...well, I suppose I will anyway. What's the status of the perimeter and have you had any other dealings with the creatures we had encountered before?" Major Garlake asked, purposely leaving aside the shakeup in his own Marine command structure without his consultation. This wasn't the time, and he hadn't the chance to review the entire logs and the new MXO's record to make a judgement yet, snap or otherwise.

"Not at all. The perimeter is holding well Major. We've not managed to find any more of the creatures that we encountered up to now although Starfleet have been warned just in case. Our next assignment is to take a shuttle we're about to excavate from the surface to Starbase Unity for analysis. Once it's aboard I'd like you to work with Security to keep it under guard 24/7 until we get there" Claudia replied.

The MCO simply nodded. He needed to debrief Bella and the rest of the squad that was there anyway, so he'd rather not speculate on their encounter.

"Captain, have you had any further contact with the... Entity?" Jaya asked. "I... I can feel it down below, churning like an ocean of consciousness. You were very brave to attempt what you did."

"Not yet. I have been asked to speak to the entity by the government on the planet although I haven't yet had the opportunity or found out exactly what to say. I'm sure I'll work something out though" Claudia replied.

"If I can help you in any way, be sure to let me know," Jaya said. The thought of contacting that creature filled her with awe.

Claudia smiled. "If you want to come and join me then please feel free. Your skills would come in most useful and I think the entity might be more reassured with your presence as well as mine."

Jaya felt her jaw drop. She quickly closed it. "Ah, certainly, Captain." Her eyes darted a glance to Storr to see if he would object.

Major Garlake blinked. Hard. Jaya wasn't seriously going to go with the Captain to make contact with...some geodesic entity. Was she? He shot a glance at his new bride and their link swelled with concern and protection. Now that they were bound together as one flesh, his headship duties bounded to the fore unlike anything he could have anticipated and he was having trouble understanding them before they threatened to burst out in potentially...ham-handed ways.

"Is that...wise?" was all that he could ask, her hand clenched tighter in his.

"Probably not," Jaya conceded, "though that's what we're out here to do, isn't it?"

"If you want time to think about it please feel free. There's no immediate rush - but the sooner the better really" Claudia replied.

Jaya breathed deep and ran her hands down her stomach. "No, no, Captain. Let me know as soon as you're ready." Though she kept talking to Claudia, her eyes shifted to Storr. "You shouldn't face something like this alone."

"Alright, Counsellor - I'll let you know when I'm ready to head down there. Does anyone have any other questions for me before I let you go off to your duties?" Claudia responded.

"Just one," Jaya said. "When can I expect another session with you?" She eyed the captain with a look of sprightly insistence.

Claudia shrugged. "Let me know what times you have available and I'll pick one out. If you can send them to my office I'll be able to let you know before the end of the day."

"Of course." Jaya bowed her head with demure elegance. "Speaking of appointments, I'd better be off." She pulled herself up on Storr's shoulder to kiss him on the cheek. "Though I did save the best for last."

With a wink at them both, Jaya headed for the door and the turbolift outside.

Storr watched her go and then turned back to the remaining two members of the observation lounge with an expression of mostly-supressed disquiet. Why was Jaya going with the Captain to communicate with some frakking psychic ore-hole that spat people into orbit in crystal cocoons? And why was everyone so blase about first contact with a completely unknown entity that controlled an entire planet's biosphere? He shook his head and nodded to Akiva and Claudia before turning and leaving for deck 25. He needed to get his mind off of the churnings in his stomach...some quality time with cold iron and hot sweat was just what the doctor ordered.

With the two guests of honor in departure, Akiva gave Claudia an abrupt look. "Well, I suppose that is that."

Finishing her second slice of cake and pushing the empty plate forward a little bit she nodded and waited until she'd finished eating before speaking. She was hoping to take the rest of the cake with her - but the chances are someone was going to notice her moving it from the Observation Lounge to her ready room.

Claudia smiled. "Indeed it is. Have a good day everyone"

 

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