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Meet & Greet

Posted on 04 Jan 2023 @ 5:56pm by Admiral Zachary O'Connell & Commodore Virid Salire & Captain Kennedy Harper & Commander B'Elora Helsing & Lieutenant Commander Ogunsanwo Babatunde & Lieutenant Commander David Moreau & Lieutenant Commander Daxton Tolland & Lieutenant Commander Ashlie (Ash) Eider & Commodore Boq'ta Vadosia

4,087 words; about a 20 minute read

Mission: Dominion in Distress

Commodore Salire conducted a final visual scan of the reception hall. The Anuran had been assigned to Gamma Command for several months, overseeing both operations and construction of the facility. During that time, the crew had grown from just under a thousand engineers to more than four thousand men, women, and children from a multitude of backgrounds and disciplines. As each department began to stand up, there was a strong need to focus on one's self and division. This meant that there was little interaction between departments.

This gathering would not be formal by any means, but he had recently realized the need for the departments to get to know one another. After all, the lack of familiarity would eventually become a tactical disadvantage, one that the Ha'dara system could not afford to experience again. Compartmentalization had to yield to cooperation.

And there was no better way than to host a reception for all of the senior officers, section heads, civilian contractors, and even the headquarters team. He'd even invited the Dominion ambassador. Virid knew he'd have to apologize to Commander Moreau, but it was likely good for him to become acquainted with the embassy's security team as well. Better to be introduced now than at a later date when there would be a jurisdictional conflict.

Ashlie had finally been finalizing things with who she currently had in her department. The fact that there was a gathering and she could get her eyes off the stack of PADDs she'd been working with was welcome. She hadn't seen the full guest list, though that didn't matter to her. She had nothing against meeting new people, as long as full blown arguments didn't start. Pulling her hair up as she got there, she glanced around to see who was already there.

"Commander! Welcome!" came a voice from beside the newest arrival. The Anuran Commodore had happened to catch a glance of the science chief entering the room as he made his final adjustments. "I'm glad you were able to join us."

"Commodore! I wasn't sure who all actually was coming, but I'm glad I did." Ash looked around at the crowd, then back to the Commodore. "This looks like quite a party of sorts."

"And it's just getting started," Virid said with a smile. "The bar is open, so feel free to help yourself to the finest we have to offer."

"Open bar?" Ashlie looked over, then back at Virid. "That could be dangerous, but unpacking and going over things makes me very much want a drink or few. Didn't know how many people would be here, but looks like it'll be quite a crowd."

"I certainly hope it will be a crowd," the Commodore wished. "This starbase is rather large, and while we all might not always see each other, it'll be good to learn some names and faces to pick out amongst the crowd."

Ash nodded to the comment. "Knowing who you are crossing paths with in the corridors too, where they might be going. It can be nice sometimes."

* * *

Kennedy moved into the reception hall after adjusting her uniform for what felt like the millionth time. She'd spent the last few hours getting acquainted with those in her department and familiarizing herself with the space. Had she accomplished both? No. It would take days, maybe even a week or two, before she would have everything memorized, but she wasn't the only one in that boat.

She scanned faces those present as she moved a little farther into the room, but as of yet, she didn't recognize anyone just yet. There was hope that would be remedied in time, and this would be a good time to start that process.

"What do you think, Captain?" asked a voice from beside the Dean of Education. "A bit more impressive than what you'd seen on Bajor, isn't it?"

"A bit, but it's more of an apples versus oranges comparison," she answered, looking toward the mystery voice. When she didn't see meet anyone eye to eye, she looked down and offered a smile. "Kennedy Harper, Dean of Education."

The short Anuran chuckled. "Commodore Virid Salire, Commander Starbase."

"A pleasure, Commodore," she said with a smile. "Have you been stationed here long?"

"Close to a year," the Anuran confirmed. "Between supervising the Consortium cleanup and the construction of this facility and the activity in the quadrant, to say that life has been busy is a gross understatement. How about you, Captain? How long have you been in education?"

"I heard stories about the Consortium. I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm glad to have missed out on that," Kennedy stated. She couldn't have imagined what going through something like that must have been like. "Not very long, actually. A couple of years. It's been a learning experience for me just as it has been for the up and coming officers of Starfleet."

"I can imagine," the Commodore said with a chuckle. "Though I suppose anyone's life in Starfleet is never short on education. I just hope that we're not setting up young minds with delusions of grandeur."

"I hope that you're right, Commodore," she agreed. "But, I'm sure they'll be humbled rather quickly."

"Humbled, yes," the Anuran added. "But don't dash their hopes until they make JG. Can't afford to drum too many cadets out of the service these days."

Kennedy smiled. "I have no intentions of doing such a thing, Commodore," she assured him.

* * *

"Are you sure I'm not overdressed for this?" Jillian reached down and tugged at the front of her black dress. She knew her husband had told her that this reception wasn't formal by any means, but she also knew that as the wife of an Admiral, especially once who was primarily responsible for operations in an entire quadrant, she could not present herself as anything less. Two years ago, she and Zachary had fought side-by-side in the Consortium Crisis, he from Starbase Unity and she from the conn of the USS O'Carroll. If she hadn't been so close to labor, she would have joined him for the Battle of Deep Space 11, the definitive fight in the overall conflict. Even now, she remained on active reserve, a feat that was not small considering Starfleet was understaffed by as much as thirty percent in the Gamma Quadrant.

She tugged again at her dress and was reminded of the reason that she had not returned to service. As of today, she was twenty-one weeks into her second pregnancy. She loved being a mother, but she very much wanted to return to the uniform. If only she could figure out how to tell Zachary...

"You look ravishing," Zachary said with a smile, reaching over to gently hold her free hand. "You both do."

"I need to see the tailor and find something that fits better," Jillian refuted. "Or see if he can let this dress out and give me a couple more weeks in it."

"We can do that first thing in the morning," he said. "I had Janell push all my meetings back a day so I could get some family time in."

Before Jillian could respond, stating that she needed more than a day with him, the turbolift door opened, allowing them both to exit outside the reception hall. "I am looking forward to that," she stated. "Any chance we work through this quickly, say less than an hour? I have the sitter reserved for three, and I'd like some time of my own with the Admiral before we pick up Scott."

Zachary smiled, squeezing her hand for a moment. "What about thirty minutes?"

Rather than smile, Jillian gave her husband a stern yet playful look. "You? Thirty minutes? Not possible."

"You know how I feel about a challenge." He let go of her hand and gestured to the room. "After you, my love."

* * *

"Admiral! Commander!" greeted Virid as the newest arrivals entered the room. "I'm so glad that you could make it."

"Oh, Commodore," Jillian said with a glowing smile. "You know Zachary and I wouldn't have missed this at all. In fact, he and I may have a side bet going."<

One of Virid's eyes seemed to grow along with his curiosity. "Is that so? To what extent have you wagered?"

Jillian's smile seemed to turn dastardly. "I'll have to let you know once he loses." For an added effect, she looked at her husband and smirked.

Kennedy spotted Admiral O'Connell, and who she assumed was his wife, but there was only one way to find out for sure. She straightened her uniform yet again and composed herself before she began to make her way over. "Admiral O'Connell, a pleasure as always," she said once she knew she was within earshot. This was, after all, her first step to having some kind of life outside of duty, which they'd discussed.

Zachary turned to the familiar voice, not needing to see a face to recognize it. "Captain Harper. A pleasure to see you again." Taking one step back so that he stood beside his wife, he added, "This is my wife, Jillian. Make no mistake, she'll never let me not remind people that she is a Starfleet Commander."

Kennedy gave Jillian a smile and extended a hand in her direction. "Commander, It's a pleasure to meet you."

"Captain," Jillian replied, giving the woman a smile and accepting the handshake. "Though Jillian is perfectly fine. I won't be back in uniform for just a little bit. I've heard quite a bit about you though. You're in education, right?"

"Forgive me, and please, call me Kennedy," the Dean of Education said. "I am. Before I was asked to come here, I was the Dean of the Starfleet campus on Bajor."

"That's right," Jillian said with a smile, her mind now recalling the appropriate facts. "I think that was at the same time Zachary was in charge of TF72. How was serving on Bajor?"

"Interesting, and never a dull moment. I miss it at times, but the campus was left in very capable hands," the Captain replied.

"Plant, nourish and move on," commented Jillian. "Just like any good gardener who cultivates properly. Sounds like you are indeed quite the professional educator, Captain. It sounds like the next generation is in good hands."

"I certainly hope so," Kennedy said with a smile. "You said you won't be back in uniform for a bit.. Does that mean we'll be welcoming you back sometime in the future?"

Jillian chuckled. "You can't keep a woman like me down. My current rank is Commander, and while I've had a turn or two in the center seat, I wouldn't mind taking the conn full time. There's a few perimeter defense ships that'll keep me close to home, especially as we raise our young one."

The Dean of Education understood what Jillian meant. There were times when she gave thought to going back out into space full time, but then she snapped back to reality. She would be forced to take the center chair, and that wasn't for her. Training the future Commanding Officers was more her thing. "Well, whether it's back in the center seat, or taking the conn full time, I wish you all the best."

The Admiral's wife smiled. "Thank you, Captain. And if there's anything you need, just let me know."

"The same goes to you," Kennedy said, returning Jillian's smile. "If I can help out in the future in any way, I will do so."

* * *

David Moreau walked in, his jaded Security eye roving over the assembled officers and brought up little snippets of information about each of the people he came across. Everyone there so far had access and authorization to be there. He had heard that Walsh had supposed to have been there, but orders had sent him somewhere else. It was a shame, he thought, but he knew the big bald guy had probably ran to another quadrant when he heard that Moreau was there and the alpha on Gamma.

There wasn't a lot to be done to get the Wing where B'Elora thought she wanted it. Someone had already done a good job setting most things in place. There was, however, the matter of staffing the Fighter Wing. She either had enough for two fully staffed squadrons or three partially staffed ones. But that could until later. There were more pressing matters at hand that she needed to focus on. She'd been to meet and greet functions before, but never one with so many Staff Officers. B'Elora shook her head as she entered and noticed more than quite a few people milling around. She immediately hit the bar and got a Raktajino, steamed. With this company at this level, one should at least try to keep their head on her opinion.

With his nose to the grindstone for so long, it had been awhile since Dax last came up for air. He cleaned up well in his dress uniform, but there was no hiding his discomfort in formalwear. Pausing just outside the doors to adjust his collar that somehow felt more crooked than before, Dax took a breath and summoned his least weary smile.

"Oi, everybody!" Dax greeted the whole room upon entry before he could even see who all was present. His hopes were that his sunny smile and idle Shaka hand gesture met them well.

The sudden announcement was more than enough to garner glances from attendees throughout the room, even a glance from the Admiral himself. But it was the Commodore who moved first to greet, a feat easy to accomplish given his springy legs. “Commander, I’m pleased you were able to find some time to escape your duties. Welcome!”

Dax ran a hand over his tangled flop of sandy hair and smiled at the exuberant greeting. "Akaw!" he mildly exclaimed with a chuckle. "Never miss out on a free meal and a party, I always say. Good to see you without a status update in hand." When his eyes caught the refreshment table, though, he not-so-subtly began to slide in that direction. "Ima' catch a drink." He flashed another Shaka at the Commodore in a parting gesture. "Holler if you want something..."

It had not escaped the Anuran that other high profile members of the senior staff and special operations had arrived. Seeing how he was nearest to the Chief of Security, the Commodore moved next to greet the gentleman. “Welcome, Commander Moreau. I trust you’ll be able to relax a bit tonight?”

David looked down at the small Anuran Commodore as respectfully as one could look down at anyone. "If I did that, Sir," he gave a chuckle. "I wouldn't be doing my job."

"If there is anything to worry about," added the Commodore, "it would be outside of this room. Our best empaths have helped to weed out any Consortium agents or any duplicitous personalities."

"If that were really the case," David murmured. "Then there'd be no need for Security. Would there?"

The frog chuckled and sighed. "Then at least try to find a minute where you can enjoy yourself. Otherwise, I'll plan the next party when you're off duty."

"Very well, Sir," David said, realizing that the Commodore didn't know that he was never off duty, even when he was off shift. "I think I'll help myself to a cocktail. Enjoy the event." He gave a nod and moved off to the snack table.

* * *

Admiral O’Connell took a moment to leave his wife with the director of yard operations and moved towards the bar, hoping for two glasses of moscato to aid in enjoying the evening. As soon as he made the request of the bartender, he noticed the station’s new Squadron Commander nursing a raktijino. “I thought Klingons went straight to the bloodwine during festive occasions,” he surmised.

"Typically, they do," said B'Elora. "And the festive occasions then tend to turn into visits to the brig. Raktajino is my drink of choice when I choose to not end up in the brig. I'd also rather keep my wits about me with all of the senior Flag Officers around." She took another sip and set her cup down before spinning around. "Ah, Admiral," she said. B'Elora slid off the stool and stood. Not at attention, but still stood.

"As you were, Commander," the Admiral stated plainly. "You're the new Squadron Commander, right? Commander...?"

B'Elora nodded and relaxed. "Helsing, Commander B'Elora Helsing. And yes I'm the new Wing Commander," she said. "Though I suppose I can be a Squadron Commander if you'd like, Admiral McDonald...McConnell..." She trailed off, trying to remember her new boss's name. She'd read so many since coming aboard and most of those were associated with her department. "My apologies, sir. I've seen so many new names the last day or so."

"O'Connell," Zachary replied. "And don't worry about the names, there are times that it seems there are far too many to keep track of. As long as you can keep the Wing under control and their names, just calling me "The Admiral" or "The Brass" is fine enough for me."

"I can do that well enough, Admiral O'Connell," she answered. "It appears as though someone did a great job getting things set-up as far they did before leaving. Probably rough for them, leaving. But it opened a door of opportunity for me. So, grateful."

Zachary chuckled as the bartender returned with the wine. "Such is the price of the uniform. Sometimes you can get the great assignments. Sometimes you have to go where you don't want to go. Take it from me. I've had six different assignments in the last year, and there are times I'd love to trade these pips back in for four circles."

B'Elora grinned and nodded. "Indeed it is, Admiral, indeed it is." She took a sip of her drink and looked at what the bartender had brought the Admiral. "A wine man. I never could develop a taste for the stuff myself."

The Admiral shrugged, thinking of the phrase to each their own. "Truthfully, I'd rather go for a gin and tonic, but that's for relaxing. In a place like this where one is rubbing shoulders with shipmates and diplomatic attachés, one must not let themselves lose control. Tonight's about politics, not enjoyment."

"Then maybe I should find something other than raktajino for a social politic drink," said B'Elora. "One that won't dull my senses. Thank you for the advice, Admiral...inadvertent or not."

Moreau approached, choosing a couple spiced sausage shaped morsels, a Hasperat wrap, and a glass of clear purple liquid. He gave a respectful nod to the Admiral and the new Flight CAG. It was her fifth assignment and he had an impressive record.

"Commander," Zachary greeted the new arrival. The face seemed familiar for a moment, and for that moment, he struggled to think of the man's name. "Robeau, isn't it? Station chief of security?"

"Moreau, Sir," David said with an affable smile. "That would be me."

B'Elora looked over and nodded at the big guy that had come up. "Helsing," she said, introducing herself. "Fighter Wing Commander."

David gave the half Klingon woman a smile and nod of his bald head. "A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Commander," he said. "You get the fun job."

"Indeed," she said. "And you get the laying-awake-at-night job. Or so I've heard regarding Security." She pushed her cup towards the other side of the bar and motioned for a refill.

David held up his glass. "Andorian iced tea. It'll cool lava."

Licking the last morsels from his fingertips, Dax finally made his way over to the bartender where the small group was huddled. "Oi again. What's good today?" His eyes roved over the assorted drink options.

"The steamed raktajino is fair," answered B'Elora. "The Admiral had wine. And I'm not sure what Commander Moreau is having. If you were referring to drinks, that is."

Dax winced slightly at the mention of wine. "Raktajino it is then," he said with a nervous half smile. When he had the mug in hand, he raised it to the group. "Chin-chin!" he said before taking a sip.

B'Elora nodded to the toast as the bartender refilled her steamed raktajino. "I'm not familiar with that particular toast. Or language?"

"I was born and raised on Pacifica," said Dax proudly. "Not sure what chin-chin means exactly. Just something we've always said at toast time," he added with a shrug.

B'Elora nodded. "Tradition it is then. If there's anything I'm familiar with, it's tradition. And occasionally breaking it. Pacifica? Lots of water."

"Chyeah." Dax chuckled. "If you wanna' break tradition on Pacifica, avoid watersports and join Starfleet. They won't know what to think."

"It sounds like you're speaking from experience," the half Klingon woman said. "At least, being from Pacifica and in Starfleet. Are you not a watersports fan, then?"

David looked over at the semi gregarious but lackluster Pacifican turned Starfleet. His career was unpromising but he did the job. And now he was home at a starbase in the Gamma Quadrant and it was there he was likely to stay. He raised his glass. "When in Pacifica, Chin-chin," he said before he took a drink of his iced tea and a bite of his flaming hot Hasperat wrap.

"More or less!" Dax said to them both before hiding behind his face behind a sip from his raktajino.

* * *

Sanwo was running late. It wasn't for lack of trying to be on time. In fact, he'd been about to walk out of his quarters when his son, Kanelo, had started screaming. Ever since transferring to Gamma Command from the USS Fearless, the younger Babatunde had been very vocally resistant to being left with a sitter. Soon, they'd have some regularity for childcare, someone who Kanelo would grow familiar with. Or, at least, that was the hope.

Walking into the reception hall, the leader of the Scientific and Technical Assessment Team looked around for any familiar faces. His lack of success initially proved that he hadn't spent much time interacting with people since arriving the previous week.

As he continued to scan the room, he noticed a group of officers part, allowing him to catch a glimpse of a short, green humanoid. Sanwo smiled and approached the individual.

"Commodore Salire," Sanwo said when he arrived. "Lieutenant Commander Babatunde."

The Anuran turned around, trying to locate the source of the voice. More and more officers and dignitaries had strode in, making it difficult to keep track of whom he had and hadn't spoken to. It did not take him long to learn that this greeting had come from an individual that he'd yet to meet at all.

"Commander Babatunde," the Anuran greeted in his high, nasally voice. "Welcome to the party, and to Gamma Command. You're in charge of STAT, correct? How are you finding it so far?"

The African man nodded. "Thank you Commodore. Being back on a station feels a bit strange. But it's good for my son. Stability and all that." He shifted on his feet slightly, realizing Salire likely wasn't interested in his personal life. "I've got good people in my department. I'm not new to STAT, but the team here at Gamma Command is larger than most. Which makes sense, given how big our operational theater is."

"You sound like me, Commander, talking about 'operational theater.'" Boq'ta gave something that was a mix of a smile and a snarl to the other two men as he approached and inserted himself into their conversation. "Commodore Boq'ta Vadosia. I'm in charge of strategic operations for the quadrant."

"Nice to meet you Commodore Vadosia," Sanwo replied. The Bolian's demeaner was...atypical based on Babatunde's past experience with the species.

"Ah, Commodore Vadosia," Salire greeted the towering Bolian. Though, of course, practically every one and every species was much taller than the Anuran. "I'm glad you could make it tonight." Looking to Babatunde, he continued, "I know I'm outside of both your chain of commands, but I look forward to serving with you both."

The gathering continued for another hour before it was time for some to return to duty, and for others, to call it a night. Little did they all know that when the night ended, the true adventure would soon begin...


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