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Posted on Monday 10 August 2020 @ 20:22 by Commander Melody Jones & Petty Officer 1st Class David Scarlet

Mission: A Whale of a problem (We're going to need a bigger boat)
Location: Shuttle bay 2
Timeline: MD3 1300
1115 words - 2.2 OF Standard Post Measure

"I guess you're happy to be getting back to active duty." Crewman Carvery said over his shoulder to his passenger. He didn't really expect a reply as the man had barely said three words in as many days. The runabout was rather spacious and it seemed like he wanted privacy so Carvery left him to it for the most part.

David Scarlet didn't even look up from the PADD, barely even heard the crewman. He was studying over the crew manifest and looking at all the changes since he'd left. Jones was in command now. Good for her. He still remembered the first time he met her though, in the brig. Things had started rocky between the pair but had slowly became professional. Of course there was no telling how getting her own command could have changed her.

Speaking of changes, there was a new CSTO. Good, he had actually hoped they would replace him. He disliked the paperwork that had come with that job. He disliked the job almost as much as being made an officer. The pips chaffed him so to speak. The upper brass at the academy had been a little shocked when he formally requested to be returned to an NCO rank, to them it was nearly unheard of to give up a commission. But he'd persisted. His last official act as an officer had been to sign off on his own NCO papers.

Now that Scarlet was done covering the leave of one of the instructors it was time to get back to active duty once again. From the reports he was reading it seemed that the Merlin was already on it's way toward it's next dangerous encounter. He looked forward to it. He'd done enough training for a while now. He wanted back on an active ship and when he saw that a position was open on the Merlin again, he took it. It felt as if he'd had unfinished business there. Something was drawing him back and he wasn't sure what it was.

"There she is." Carvery said mostly to himself. Once again, he wasn't expecting to engage Scarlet in conversation.

The view screen was very quickly filled by the looming hull of the USS Merlin. Carvery almost jumped out of his skin when Scarlet came to sit in the seat next to him and view the ship as well. For a moment, he thought it was an invitation to conversation. But a sideways glance at the scowl on Scarlet's face made him keep his mouth shut.

A short while later after a perfect landing in the shuttle bay, the rear hatch of the shuttle opened and Scarlet stepped onto the deck with his duffel in hand.

The door to the shuttle ay opened and Melody walked in. She had decided to come and welcome Scarlet back on board personally. The Merlin had come out of warp to allow the shuttle to rendezvous with them and she had left instructions on the bridge that once the shuttle was clear to resume previous course and speed.

She walked over to the shuttle and saw David had already stepped off and was refamiliarizing himself with his surroundings. "Welcome back on board," Melody said as she smiled warmly and held out her hand.

Scarlet stiffened slightly as the commander walked over and greeted him. He moved his duffel to his other hand and then shook hers with his free hand. He gripped hard, but not as an act of aggression, moreso as a embracing the familiar.

"It is good to be back Commander." Scarlet said. His voice had that slight growl to it that it always had. He'd already decided that it would be stranger for him to act uncharacteristically warm. He was comfortable here so there was no need to pretend to be something or someone he wasn't.

"Congratulations on your Command." He said quickly as he began walking beside Jones back out of the shuttle bay. "I've read some of the reports on your mission, would you care to fill in any gaps there may have been? Or things I should be made aware of?"

"Thank you. It's certainly been an interesting tour so far. Helping to defeat a Planet Killer and now the possibility of first contact. We're currently proceeding to the coordinates that were being broadcast by the probe we encountered which was identical to the probe which over 100 years ago was trying to make contact with the Humpback whales on earth and almost ended all life there in the process. Our mission is twofold. One, make peaceful contact with these aliens and two, determine the fate of the USS Darwin which was dispatched to investigate the original probe. The biggest problem, presently we have almost no information on these aliens and how they communicate. Whalesong is still a mystery to us and if they understand that how will we form a basis of communication."

They boarded a turbo lift and Melody continued. "Also, the only information the aliens have had about humans has come from a race that, in the past were hunted and slaughtered in their thousands. Commander Tillatix seems to be more sensitive to whale song and I'm hoping that we might glean some more understanding. I've ordered Lieutenant Godding to step up security throughout the ship and our chief engineer is working on creating a power reserve and hopefully some kind of translation matrix."

"I'll work with the CSTO and make sure we can handle anything that is thrown at us." Scarlet said cooly, he had some ideas for tactics and equipment that were being taught to the new cadets that could be incorporated onto an active ship relatively easily.

She paused as she took a breath. "On a more personal note, I got married and now have an eighteen year old daughter."

Scarlet blinked and looked at Commander Jones carefully. He had no reason to believe she was pulling his leg. "I guess there are more congratulations in order than just getting a command." He turned his head to look straight ahead once more. "I'm sure it was a lovely ceremony."

The turbolift came to a stop and the doors slid open a moment later. Scarlet walked out onto the deck and looked back at Commander Jones. "I remember the way to my quarters from here, an escort is no longer needed if you have other tasks that need your attention."

Melody raised an eyebrow. “You haven’t changed one bit.” She said with a sly smile. “Very good. I’ll let you get settled in and I’ll be on the bridge.” Remaining on the turbolift as the doors closed.

OFF:

 

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