Part of USS Century: 1.5. The Long Haul

Layover before Departure

USS Century
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The morning following the transport of the prisoners acquired in the course of the USS Century’s last mission, Captain Gar’rath had begun his duty day as he generally did any other day… by checking over the reports from the night watch and ensuring that the ship hadn’t received any special communications that required his attention. Being able to settle back into a more stable cycle of work was comforting to Gar’rath, it was something he looked forward to after an unpredictable and harrowing adventure. His happy thoughts were, however, interrupted when his desk’s holographic display was taken over by a communications window marked ‘urgent’.

Gar’rath’s features drew back in what amounted to a sneer at the sudden interruption to his mirth, but they dropped back to their neutral position by the time he entered his access code and the image shifted to that of a Starfleet Rear Admiral.

“Captain Gar’rath,” the man on the screen said in greeting, “I hope I’m not interrupting anything.”

“No Admiral, I am just sitting down to review my turnover reports in my Ready Room. How can I be of service?” the Gorn inquired.

“Starfleet is diverting the Century out past Deep Space 47 to conduct long range surveys of uncharted systems in that area. It’s high time we put your ship on a mission it was built to carry out,” the Admiral said with a smile.

“Understood, sir,” Gar’rath nodded, “When are we expected to depart?”

The man on screen paused for a moment and looked to the side, likely at a display he had open adjacent to the communications screen. A few flicks of his eyes later he returned his attention to the Captain, “Since you are already in orbit of Gateway Station, go ahead and take a week to requisition supplies and carry out any personnel transfers you have pending prior to departing for the Thomar Expanse. This will allow you to head out on your exploration mission more quickly since you won’t need to make a supply run at DS47 before moving out.”

“Very well, I will have my crew begin taking on supplies and conduct any transfers we are due before departure. Do we have a specific area of exploration assigned to us?” Gar’rath followed up.

“Nothing specific, no. Just scanning systems, cataloguing planetary compositions, and making first contact when applicable,” the Admiral remarked.

“I see,” the Gorn nodded, “And our expected return timeline?”

“I wish I could say this will be a five year expedition,” the man let out a chuckle, “But with how things keep changing from year to year, we may end up calling you back long before that. I’d say check in with Deep Space 47 every six months and see where things are.”

“I do not believe I have any further questions, Admiral, unless you have anything else for me,” Gar’rath said after a brief pause.

“I believe that’s everything, Captain. Good luck out there,” the Admiral said just before the screen went dark and then disappeared from his line of sight. Gar’rath let out a sharp sigh, his mind now switching gears from contemplating the mundane return to their patrol to the shift in mission objectives to a deep space exploration tasking. He had been wondering when such orders would finally get handed down to him, given that his ship was purpose built for exploration and scientific surveys. The fact that it had come just after they’d wrapped up what amounted to an impromptu detective mission was what he found rather odd. The timing of it, however, was less important than the fact that it had come at all.

“Commander Peters,” Gar’rath said after tapping on his commbadge, “Please meet me in my Ready Room.”

Rather than acknowledge the communication verbally, the Century’s Executive officer opted to simply move from her station on the Bridge straight into her commander’s office. The doors hissed as the woman came into view, closing again just as she made it to the chair she usually occupied whenever the pair had a meeting and began to sit down.

“I take it something happened,” Abigail said, taking the reclined posture of her Captain as a sign that he’d just been handed some manner of news that forced him into some measure of deep contemplation.

“I’ve received new orders from Starfleet Command,” Gar’rath replied to her statement.

Abby couldn’t stifle the exasperated sigh that slipped out of her, “More patrols somewhere else?”

“Not this time,” the Gorn shook his head, “We are being sent out beyond Deep Space 47, to conduct long-duration exploration and survey missions.”

Cmdr. Peters straightened her back at the news, “Seriously?! We’re actually going on a deep space assignment?”

“Yes, Commander, we are,” the reptilian smile that tugged at Gar’rath’s maw was noticeable even to Abigail, who mirrored the expression.

“When are we leaving for the Thomar Expanse?” Peters asked excitedly.

“One week,” the Captain replied, “In the interim, I want you to get with each of the departments and have them prepare equipment, supplies, and any specialist items they feel we might need for our new mission. We’ve also been asked to take care of any personnel transfers that we have before we depart. I believe there were a few departments who’d submitted transfer packages the last time you sent up the tracker.”

“Yes, a few folks from Engineering, Medical, and Flight Ops requested transfers elsewhere in the fleet after promoting last cycle. If we’re about to take on a deep space mission, it might be wise to let them depart now,” Abby nodded as she spoke.

“Will that hamper our manning at all?” Gar’rath inquired.

Cmdr. Peters thought about the question for a moment before shaking her head, “I don’t believe so. Most of the departments were over ninety percent manned to begin with. The dozen or so people who applied for transfers won’t put any one of their departments below eighty-five percent, which is more than enough to call them fully mission capable. If we can manage to squeeze in a few new folks prior to leaving, it would just be a bonus.”

“Very well, Commander. See to it,” Capt. Gar’rath said in a dismissive tone.

“I’m on it!”