Part of USS Century: 1.5. The Long Haul

Ready to Depart

USS Century
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Time slipped by aboard the USS Century as the various departments went about the business of preparing to depart the Beta Quadrant for the Alpha. Several changes had been made to the decks of the ship containing science labs, a few minor repairs and stress tests had been conducted by the engineers, and supplies had made a steady appearance in all of the cargo holds around the ship. The Century was, in almost every way imaginable, ready to strike out on its own for as long as the Federation might need her to. 

Sitting across from one another in the Captain’s Ready Room, Captain Gar’rath and Commander Peters carried out the last discussion they would have prior to departure. There wasn’t a hit of levity in the air, nor did the room feel overly tense. The importance of what was being discussed simply demanded a level of decorum beyond the usual tempo for the two officers.

“Have all the crew arrangements been made? Are we still waiting for anyone to depart the ship before we leave?” Gar’rath inquired of his Executive officer.

“Everyone due to depart has done so as of yesterday morning. All inbound personnel were aboard and have already reported to their respective departments for duty,” Abigail responded firmly.

“And our supply status?”

Peters nodded, “We’re fully stocked and Mister Sorreth reports that we should be able to operate at above normal for at least three years without having to reevaluate our consumption rates.”

“Excellent,” the Gorn said before asking, “What about the upgrades and repairs? Has Engineering wrapped everything up?”

“Commander Brak has already wrapped up the last batch of repairs to the ship and has reported we are ready to engage warp engines at your command.”

Capt. Gar’rath sank back into his chair, leaning to his right side as he perched his elbow on the armrest and his head on his curled fist. Having monitored the situation from his office over the last week, he’d anticipated the reports that Cmdr. Peters had just provided him. His dilemma, if you could even really call it that, came from the standpoint of the readiness of the crew to undertake such a long term mission. While it wasn’t exactly up for debate, it still occupied at least a portion of his thoughts as to whether his crew was apprehensive about the journey to come.

Without shifting his position, Gar’rath gave voice to his concerns, “How is the crew itself doing? Has anyone come to you with any concerns, doubts, or anything of the like?”

Abby crossed her arms and lifted her head to look at the ceiling above her as she considered his question, “Most of the conversations I’ve had with the crew seem to be positive with regards to our pending deployment. A few have stated that they aren’t keen to leave loved ones behind, but it hasn’t been such an imposition on them that they’ve requested to transfer off to stay with them. I think we’re in about the best place we can be, from the morale standpoint.”

Gar’rath closed his eyes as he listened to the woman explain their personnel situation, allowing them to slide back open by the time she’d finished to remark, “I had wondered if there would be last minute requests to depart. Given our inability to house families, there were a few people in particular I was worried would depart.”

“You mean Lieutenant James?” Abby said with a smirk.

“Among others, yes,” the Gorn nodded, “It is difficult to find talented officers who excel not just in their fields but at leading departments. While his department is full of capable scientists, I don’t believe many would be able to fill his position should he have wished to depart.”

“I happen to agree with you, Captain. And I’m going to tell him you said that.”

“Feel free to, Commander,” Gar’rath waved her comment off with his free hand, “It isn’t as if I wished to keep my thoughts on his competence a secret from anyone. I was also more than a little concerned that you would decide to depart the ship.”

“Me? Why?” Peters blinked rapidly, trying to understand why he’d had such a worry.

The Captain pointed to himself, “Because I am in command.”

“I don’t have a problem with you being in command…” Abby said, her face still contorted in a confused expression.

“It is less about me specifically and more about the misgivings you’ve shared with me in the past… or rather, those that Doctor Odaim practically forced out of you.”

Her expression rippled into one of understanding as she slowly nodded, “I suppose that would make anyone a little apprehensive about what was going to happen.” Abigail let out a sigh and sagged down in her chair a bit. While she wasn’t sure she could announce with all confidence that she’d gotten over all of her issues with the being sitting across from her, she also wasn’t the least bit put off by the very notion of it as she might have seemed after the incident in Romulan space. 

“I suppose at the end of the day, I’ve accepted that we won’t always agree on everything but that running from the challenges I might face because of it are less palatable to me than staying around and seeing this tour through to the end. Reli did make some very strong arguments that day, and I’ve done what I can to reconcile them with how I was feeling about everything. So no, I had no plans of leaving the Century until either Starfleet asks me to move on, or I decide I no longer wish to be a part of this crew because I can’t keep up with everyone anymore,” the smile that crept onto her face as she finished her small but passionate speech gave her words a bit more depth of meaning.

Capt. Gar’rath pulled himself upright from his relaxed position and faced the woman fully, “I appreciate your willingness to continue to serve aboard this ship with me, Commander. Of the Executive officers I’ve served with up to this point, I have found you the most capable. I am pleased to know I will not have to navigate training a new XO while having to navigate the unknown in the depths of the Alpha Quadrant.”

“Thank you for that, sir,” Cmdr. Peters features scrunched up in a mixture of embarrassment and happiness before she latched on to the last thing he’d said, “Speaking of the Alpha Quadrant, should we start the long journey in that direction?”

Gar’rath sucked in a breath deep into his rather massive lungs, holding the air for a long moment before exhaling and giving the woman a nod, “Yes, I believe it is time.”