Episode 02: "The Telling"
Location: Ready Room, USS Thames
Timeline: Mission Day 02, 0420 Hours
ON: [[Ready Room, USS Thames, Mission Day 02, 0420 Hours]]
The early morning summons to Cassius' Ready Room wasn't even the oddest part, Adessa mused to herself as she made her way across the Bridge. Odder still was that she had already been awake when said summons had come, dressed and ready for the day. She was not a morning person by nature, but she was not not a morning person, either. Regardless, something about this morning had felt unusual enough that Adessa had finally given up trying to sleep after a restless night. Now, as she pressed the doorchime, she couldn't help but wonder if this unprecedented urge to rise and shine so early was a coincidence, or...something else.
"What, I have no idea," she muttered under her breath, determinedly pushing back against superstitious thoughts. That was her mother's way of viewing things, and Adessa had long since turned away from any lines of thought that paralleled her mother's. Coincidence she could live with; premonition, not so much.
Straightening out of instinct, Adessa entered the Ready Room and approached Cassius' desk, stopping at a respectful distance. "Good morning, Commander," she said, her friendly smile turning rueful. "I gather from the time that this is not a social call."
Cassius looked up at Barra and offered her a small, half smile. It did not surprise him that she was curious about why she'd been summoned. Things had changed quite a bit in the last several hours and what little information they had hadn't been disseminated yet. Just the fact that she was there, though, in something approximating her usual uplifting mood was enough to ease Cassius' mind a little.
"I suppose that would depend on the interpretation," he replied.
Rising to his feet, Cassius stepped out from behind the desk and started toward the couch along the far side of the room. He motioned for Barra to follow. "Please," he said, "come have a seat."
Nodding once, Adessa joined him, her curiosity definitely piqued. There was an unusual amount of tension emanating from the officers on the Bridge, and that, coupled with the odd time of day, led her to believe that some issue or another had arisen that required her assistance as either counselor or diplomat.
"So," she said once she'd seated herself, angling her body so she could face the Commander. "What exciting new development awaits us this morning?"
"A potential first contact..."
Cassius could tell by the subtle change in Barra's expression that her interest was piqued, not that it surprised him. She was a diplomat. Obviously the chance to make contact with another species, especially one they may never have encountered before, was going to be right in her wheelhouse. He recalled how his own response had been much the same when Markov had first made him aware of the situation.
"One of our away teams has discovered a number of small vessels on the far side of the planet," he continued, summarizing the situation as best he could, "some are still in orbit and several others have already made it to the surface. As of right now, we have no idea who they are or where they've come from. We didn't even know they were there until the runabout nearly collided with one of them while preparing to deploy a research satellite for the colony."
"How unexpected," Adessa said, her mind already turning faster than she could keep up. First contact opportunities didn't happen quite so often as some thought, but while there was always uncertainty surrounding the initial meeting of two separate species, the potential for discovery and understanding between the two was priceless. "What sort of readings was our runabout able to gather, if any?"
“Not much,” Cassius replied, “Since the initial encounter, they’ve been keeping their distance.”
Adessa sighed. "It's just as well. If they approach us first, that's one thing. Either way, we'll have to tread carefully so that we don’t inadvertently violate the Prime Directive."
“I suppose for now it’s probably best if we likewise keep our distance, gathering whatever data we can about them.”
“I concur,” Cassius said, “Which brings me to another matter we need to discuss...”
Commander Cassius Whittemore
USS Thames (NCC-80629)
Lieutenant Adessa Barra
Acting Executive Officer
USS Thames (NCC-80629)