Part of USS Century: 0. The Great Chase and Bravo Fleet: We Are the Borg

Reservations / Resolutions

USS Century
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A tense atmosphere hung over the bridge as the various senior staff members approached their respective posts, only to inform their relief officers that they would need to remain on watch. Some of them were better at hiding their misgivings coming out of the meeting better than others, leaving the general feeling of something being amiss lingering in the air. Captain Gar’rath was the only member of the command staff that remained on the bridge, taking his usual spot in the center seat.

“Helm,” the Gorn said in his deep timbre, “Adjust our heading toward the Romulan Republic border, maximum warp.”

“Aye sir, adjusting course,” the Ensign at the controls said without looking back.

“Is something going on over in the Republic?” The young Junior Grade manning the tactical station asked. The question was a natural one, with the Republic being a relatively new addition to the roster of friendly states, it wasn’t at all unexpected that they might reach out for assistance should they need it, and the Century’s close proximity to their shared border made it an obvious choice for a response. A somewhat exaggerated shake of the  Gorn’s head signaled that the man’s suspicion was incorrect. 

“There have been no calls for aid by anyone in the region,” Gar’rath stated flatly, “We are pursuing what I am hoping to be false reports of strange vessel sightings in this region of space.”

“Strange how, sir? What should we be looking for?” the tactical officer pressed, eager to assist while he was manning the station.

“Tritanium hulled vessels,” the Captain said after a brief pause to contemplate how he wanted to break the news, “There have been some reports sent out regarding vessels of this make, though they have been rather vague as to location and descriptions otherwise. It is strange enough to warrant investigation, but currently only suspicious and little more.”

“So there haven’t been any distress calls linked to these sightings?” an Ensign manning the communications console spoke up.

“None that I have seen, no,” Gar’rath admitted while turning to look at the speaker.

“Should I keep a lookout for further reports of a similar nature?” the woman asked.

“Please do, and inform me of it should it come through,” the Captain requested before shifting his focus back to the view screen. 

Several hushed conversations took place around the Gorn as he sat watching space rush around the ship, most of the curious but unobtrusive and inoffensive. Given his own contemplative nature, Gar’rath couldn’t blame the crew for constructing their own views on what had motivated their Captain to change course so suddenly to chase down something he’d said he wasn’t even sure was there.

As time passed, the senior staff returned to there stations, resuming the work that had been started in their absence. The only person who hadn’t taken a seat was the ship’s Executive Officer, who stood off to Gar’rath’s right. The Gorn turned his head slightly to the side to glance up at Commander Peters, taking stock of the expression on her face. Her earlier apprehension had hardened into something akin to resolve, prompting him to ask, “Do we have something to discuss?”

“If you wouldn’t mind, Captain,” Peters replied, looking just slightly off guard by the sudden question that seemed to read her mind.

The Gorn nodded and pushed himself out of his chair, looking over to his Operations Officer with a measured look conveying who was now in charge of the bridge in his absence. The Vulcan gave him a brief nod before vacating his position to occupy the one Gar’rath had left behind. This exchange took place so quickly that the two officers had barely enough time to get halfway across the room before the footsteps of the Vulcan could be heard climbing the stairs.

The Gorn made his way through the doors of his Ready Room as they parted, stalking his way behind the desk in the center of it before sinking down into the chair resting just slightly removed from it. Cmdr. Peters took one of the two seats in front of the desk, taking a moment to shift into a more comfortable posture before finally speaking.

“I’ve spoken to several departments about our mission change, and there are a few people that have raised concerns given what we know and what we anticipate to find at the end of this investigation of ours. I’m sure you know already that I have encountered the Borg previously in my career, and do not at all relish the thought of another encounter with them. A fair number of our crew have had similar interactions with them and are even less enthusiastic about it. To put it bluntly, those of us who know first hand what we could be looking at aren’t in a hurry to go through that again… and I feel it is my duty to inform you of that,” the Commander said in a firm tone.

“Understandable, Commander,” Gar’rath said while dipping his head down slightly, “And I appreciate the candor. The fact remains, however, that this is something we must do to ensure that tragedies such as those you were witness to are not repeated. I have no intention of putting the lives of this crew in danger for no reason, nor am I looking for a fight. I sincerely hope that we are indeed chasing after rumors and they prove to be unfounded. That does not relieve us of the obligation to investigate these reports to make sure, even if I have doubts about their authenticity and some of the crew have misgivings about a possible encounter with an unassailable foe. I will note the concerns you have brought to my attention, Commander, but it does not alter our objective or my orders. We will see this through, for the benefit of all involved.”

Abigail shifted uncomfortably in her seat after hearing the declaration of her Captain. Several moments of silence slipped by as she struggled to formulate an argument that could somehow spare her and others from the pain of having to relive an encounter that still haunted her dreams. But at the root of it all was the cold hard truth that avoiding an encounter with a possible enemy simply because it felt wrong to her wasn’t enough. Personal comfort was nothing in the face of the widespread catastrophes that could be wrought should the reports be true and a Borg ship be allowed to run rampant through the area simply because facing a fear inducing foe was unpalatable. 

Captain Gar’rath watched the various expressions flash on his XO’s face as she struggled to make sense of everything, and perhaps reconcile her feelings with her responsibilities as a member of Starfleet. This was something the Gorn had been forced to learn in his time among mammalian races. His own personal feelings on matters of duty never played a part in his thought processes, even if they were ever present in his mind. Unlike him, most of his compatriots were seldom able to separate themselves from how they felt, and even the cold logic of is Vulcan crew could be tainted by personal biases at times. This was one of the many reasons why Gar’rath chose to encourage his crew to come to him with their thoughts so openly, because he knew without a doubt that his way of thinking was just as alien to his crew as their thoughts on things were alien to him.

After dealing with various stages of emotional distress and cold rationality, Cmdr. Peters let out a long sigh and nodded to herself, “I understand, Captain. We’ll see this through to the end. Thank you for taking the time to hear me out.”

“It is no trouble in the least, Abby,” Gar’rath said in as warm a tone as he was capable of, “We have spoken about this before. I value your thoughts on these matters given how differently our species react to things. I would be a poor leader indeed to ignore these things out of hand simply because I do not understand them as you do.”

Abigail looked up from her lap and allowed the corners of her mouth to quirk upwards just a bit, “I have to admit I’m jealous of how easily you can compartmentalize things. I wish I could do it even a tenth as well as you can.”

“It is our differences that make us such a good team,” Gar’rath said with narrowed eyes, “If you could do as I can, neither of us would notice things about those around us and we would make poor leaders for the crew of this ship. Best that we stay as we are.”

Abigail chuckled softly at that, “I suppose that’s true. Envy is never a good thing.”

“Not entirely a bad thing either. It was envy of the closeness of Human culture that drove me to join the Federation when I lived on Cestus III,” Gar’rath commented with what amounted to a toothy grin among Gorn. The gesture was a bit jarring for most people who witnessed it, but Cmdr. Peters seemed at least accustomed to it, and somewhat amused.

“Envy and pride are tied together, and my people have pride in abundance. It should be no surprise that envy follows closely behind,” the Gorn remarked.

“That’s fair,” Peters said with a shrug, “But you never struck me as being overly prideful.”

“I hide it well, Commander,” Gar’rath said with a hint of mirth in his tone, “As you say, I am adept at compartmentalizing things.”

Abby let out a bit more of a genuine laugh at that statement, “Using my words against me already, huh?”

The Gorn shrugged his massive shoulders in an overly exaggerated manner, “Who’s to say…”

“I hate that you know that phrase…” Peters said while shaking her head.

“You seem less tense now,” Gar’rath noted.

A frustrated sigh escaped the woman’s lips, “Yes… thanks… I suppose… I don’t think I’ll ever get used to getting cheered up by a Gorn of all things…”

“Cheering up mammals wasn’t something I had thought possible when I started out in Starfleet either,” Gar’rath said, emitting what amounted to a chuckle for his species.

A long silence settled over the two before Peters spoke up again, “We really aren’t going after this thing looking for a fight, right?”

“We are not,” Gar’rath said firmly, “This is purely reconnaissance. If it turns out to be nothing, you are free to laugh at me and my overreaction to these foolish reports. And if it turns out to be something… the moment it seems unsafe, I will turn the ship around myself, even if I have to throw the Conn officer across the room to do it.”

“Extreme… but appreciated. I’ll make some reassurances to the individuals who came to me with reservations and see if I can’t keep morale from flagging too far down over this,” Abigail said as she pushed herself onto her feet.

“Thank you, XO,” Gar’rath said with a nod.