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Mission Concerns

Posted on Thursday 16 July 2020 @ 13:58 by Captain Melody Jones & Lieutenant Commander Hayley Godding

Mission: A Whale of a problem (We're going to need a bigger boat)
Location: Ready Room
Timeline: MD-01 1200
1884 words - 3.8 OF Standard Post Measure

Hayley made sure that her relief was fully up to date on what they needed to be doing, specifically in regards to the probe telemetry, which was being funnelled to the science department for analysis. Once that was complete, she made her way over to the ready-room door and tapped the chime. Whilst she didn't usually like disturbing the Captain over things that could easily come up in the daily brief, this was something she felt had to be addressed as soon as possible.

Melody was taking a break from research with a sandwich and a coffee. She paused and looked up "Come."

Godding entered the room and tried to stand easily in front of the CO. For both women, there was a duality in their relationships. When on-duty, Melody was first, foremost and always the Captain of the Merlin and her commanding officer. But when the ranks and uniforms were put away, she was her girlfriend's mother and over the months that she and Sansa had been dating, it had been inevitable that Hayley would see more and more of Melody in an off-duty capacity and form a more familiar if not friendly relationship. Lieutenant Draxx however was still slow to warm to her, but that was a paternal perogative to never give the person dating their daughter an easy ride.

"Captain, if I may, I have grave concerns regarding this mission." She said.

"Of course Lieutenant. Please sit down." She studied her face and could see her concern. She pushed her plate to one side but keep her coffee cup handy. Melody knew the ship ran best when her officers spoke their minds and kept her informed of any problems they had, but her senior staff were closer than that, Lieutenant Godding more so. "What's on your mind?" she asked giving her full attention.

"I have... a personal stake in the USS Darwin disappearance." Hayley said. "My maternal grandfather was First Officer aboard the Darwin. Of course, I never knew him, but the story always resonated in the family. Something my mother was very keen to remind me of when I told her that I'd been accepted into Starfleet. I don't think she ever really forgave the fleet for all but abandoning her father, since no official rescue or search was carried out for the Darwin following its disappearance."

"I see. I'm sorry to hear that. I've been studying the last mission of the Darwin but I didn't know you had family on board. Starfleet was going to send another ship but then the Praxis incident occurred and the Federation focused its efforts on the peace treaty with the Klingons. With the successful integration of George and Gracie and the Humpback reputation program working so well, the probe and the Darwin were largely forgotten I'm afraid to say. It's been over 100 years now, but we might be able to bring you some closure on what happened to your grandfather. I'm glad you told me." Melody added, giving her a reassuring smile.

Hayley nodded and returned the smile faintly. "Thank you ma'am. I felt it best to reveal any potential conflict before we went any further." She said. "But it does bring me to a more legitimate concern that is more important to our present. The Darwin was as good a ship as any in the fleet at that time. Although the Constitution classes were outdated even by the time of the mission, they were still a considerable part of the fleet. So you have to ask the question, what could have overpowered a ship like the Darwin, with both a highly competent crew and considerable technology for the time period. It would be remiss of me not to highlight these concerns to you as ships tactical and security officer. Whilst the unknown is our business, mine is to keep the unknown from hurting the ship and her crew."

"I don't see it as a conflict lieutenant, more a personal motivation to get to the truth which I understand completely," Melody replied. She then grinned "I'd also like to think that keeping the crew safe is also in the job description of the Captain. Mind you..." she mused "It is the Captain orders that ends up putting the crew in the unknown in the first place. I can't win sometimes."

"Don't worry Captain, you have an entire security department and a marine contingent to deal with whatever mess we inadvertantly end up in." Hayley replied, smirking.

"What are your thoughts on what we could potentially find?" Melody asked "No transmissions from the Darwin were ever received after she left Federation space, and it was all routine up until then. All we know is that someone sent this probe to talk to humpback whales, we don't even know what they talked about but they then left the planet as they found it. They obviously weren't interested in talking to us the first time so what's changed? Why now?" She took a sip of coffee. "The whale population on Earth now is thriving after the extensive repopulation program which begs the question how do these beings communicate with the whales in the first place? We may find out, we may not but, there's potentially an opportunity for first contact here. There are also too many unknows for my liking. I want to be prepared for anything."

"Based on my extensive research into the events in 2286 surrounding the whales. From that research its noted that Captain Spock speculated that humans were not the sole intelligent species to exist on Earth and postulated that the whales were indeed an intelligent species with their own language and understanding of the universe. Based on that supposition, it is theorised that whatever species sent the probe wanted to communicate with a species similar to its own, much like we do with interacting with mostly humanoid species. Therefore, its likely that whatever species sent that probe is probably Aquatic based like the Aquatic Xindi subspecies. The hope behind the Darwin mission was to attempt to make contact with that species. Given that this race must be suitably advanced enough to send a probe of that nature into space to communicate, it is therefore entirely reasonable to assume that they have weaponry that could be far superior to anything the Darwin had. They may pose a threat to the ship, but then, it's my job to assume that about everything, even if we came across sentient tribbles." Hayley joked.

Melody thought for a moment. "Humpback whales are by their nature non-violent. One would hope that an intelligent species who would choose to contact them would also be non-violent. But, by comparison to what humans did to them in the past, they were completely innocent and we for all intense and purposes were worse than the Borg. How would that race judge us? To what standards would they hold us? What do they think of us?"

Hayley thought for a moment before she answered. "I think you know the answer to that one, Captain. They'd likely view us much like we would view the Borg or Khan Noonien Singh or even the Nazi's. Unfortunately, that might explain what happened to the Darwin far more than we'd like to think. Despite who we are now, we may well be being judged by who we were before. Of course, that doesn't count for the non-humans we have aboard or even any of the non-humans who may have been aboard the Darwin. I suspect Commander Fluffy-Tail might be alright, but we Terrans might not get a warm reception."

"That may be the case," Melody said as she finished her coffee. "But one would hope that just like Captain Picard did with Q, we can convince these aliens that humans have evolved from the dangerous, savage child race that we were into something more and while we still have faults, have the potential to change and to grow. That we should be judged on not how we were but how we are now and what we aspire to be. It may take some convincing. If these aliens are still in communication with the whales on Earth, they should be aware of how the whales are being treated now. Makes you wonder just how much notice the whales take of surface-dwelling species... and how." She mused.

"Let's hope you can wow the proverbial pants off them, ma'am." Hayley smiled. "If they are as intelligent as we believe, then they should listen to reason. However, our experiences as a civilisation have been that just because they are an advanced species with space-faring technologies we should not immediately assume that they are willing to open their hearts and minds to us just because we make nice noises over subspace. With your permission Captain, I'd like to step up the security aboard ship as well as run some drills before we arrive. Whilst I have every confidence in your abilities to seduce them with diplomacy, it can't hurt to have a backup plan."

Melody smiled and raised an eyebrow "Flattery Lieutenant? Your confidence in my diplomatic skills is heartwarming." she said jokingly before getting more serious. "Yes, I entirely agree. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. Let's hope we're suffering from a case of good old paranoia but past experience.... I'll leave this in your capable hands. Increase security but, keep it discreet yes? We don't want to appear as a ship of war while we are extending an olive branch. Just that we are prepared to defend ourselves should the need arise."

"Understood Captain. I'll do it as I would for normal drills, but just increase the frequency a bit, but tone them back when we get closer." Hayley said as she rose from the chair. "I'll keep Lieutenant Rejal informed of our progress."

Melody stood up. "Very good Lieutenant." She walked around and perched on the edge of the desk next to Godding. "Just one more thing. I just want to drop the ranks for a minute and ask How are you Hayley? and how're things going with Sansa?" Melody's attitude and speech had now not of her CO, but like a mother and friend.

Hayley smiled, noticing the distinct change in the tone of the conversation. The switch had been flipped, she noted. "I'm doing alright. We were busy for a while, but Sansa and I are happy. It's just finding the time to be together. In fact, Sansa's setting up a date for us tonight in the holodeck. No idea what it is, she said it's a surprise."

Melody smiled warmly "I'm glad the two of you are happy. I'd appreciate if you kept this between us, I don't want her to think I'm checking up on her," she paused and then admitted, "even though I am."

"You're just being a mother." Hayley smirked. "Sansa and I are happy, and I'm quite sure you'd be the first to be told if she wasn't. Don't worry, I won't tell you anything I feel you don't need to know, or that Sansa wouldn't be happy I told you." As the saying went, there were some things it was better for a mother not to know.

"Thank you Hayley. I appreciate that. You two have fun tonight."



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