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Fish Sticks and Chicken Tendi

Posted on Fri Nov 12th, 2021 @ 4:56am by Lieutenant JG Aira Milani, PhD & Lieutenant JG D'Kera Tasar

Mission: The Story of a First Contact Launch Day
Location: Aquatics Laboratory, USS Titan
Timeline: 2411.03.12 0930 Hours

Lieutenant Junior Grade D'Kera Tasar stood on the side of an olympic sized swimming pool, staring at a PADD as she impatiently waited for the techs to finish tuning the finer metrics of the water; apparently its salinity, temperature, and gas composition must be exact, or as the memo says. She had been doing similar activities like this onboard the Titan for the past week since her arrival, tuning different instruments and lab equipment in each of the many different laboratories to ensure they were all up to standards. It was extremely boring work, and something she wished she would never have the pleasure of doing again, but she supposed someone ought to. Of course, the thought of her being that person never really crossed her mind until the day when she woke up to several memos in her inbox detailing all this ‘fine tuning’.

Turning around to see whether or not the techs have finished calibrating the salinity or whatever boring crap, her PADD gave off another beep. Raising a brow, she gazed down only to find yet another memo, though this time, it doesn’t appear to have anything to do with calibrations and instead, wished for her to stay in the aquatics lab. Finding this odd, but not one to question a memo, D’Kera rolled her eyes and sat down on the edge of the pool. It appears her day is going to be longer than she had imagined.

Lieutenant Junior Grade Aira Milani speed-walked down the corridor to the aquatics lab, eager to shed the constraining hydration suit she had to wear when out of water. She was glad this ship had a place where she could swim freely; as exciting as space exploration was, sometimes one just had to get one's feet wet. As she reached the doors to the lab, she entered to see an Orion sitting by the edge of the pool; presumably the person to whom she had been ordered to report, Lt. Tasar.

Marching straight up to the Orion, she announced herself. "Lieutenant Junior Grade Aira Milani reporting for duty, sir." That part of protocol done, she shed her hydration suit and dived into the water, relishing the joy of being free for a moment before coming up for air next to Tasar. "I hope you don't mind, but I've been looking forward to this all day. The suit helps me survive, but it doesn't help me live, if you know what I mean, sir."

D’Kera was slowly beginning to nod off as the minutes slipped by, her eyelids drooping up and down only to be jolted from their idle state by the sudden hiss of the laboratory doors. Her eyes wide, she looked up towards the direction of the noise only to find a pair of beady black eyes staring right back at her from behind what she can only describe as an environmental suit, or something along those lines. It was a peculiar sight, and something that forced the gyros in her brain to turn but before she could even respond to the officer that had just introduced herself to the sleepy Orion, the individual was gone and in the water.

Any anxiety surrounding the well-being of the officer who had just yeeted herself into the pool was dashed however, when she surfaced right in front of the Orion and after a closer examination with her bare eyes, D’Kera finally understood the aquatic nature of her new colleague.

“N-No, not at all…” she responded, her eyes shifting towards her PADD as she began searching for the personnel files of an Aira Milani. “And I get it, I suppose. Take away my iced Raktajino and I sure won’t be living.” A slight chuckle, though she visibly cringed when her mind reconsidered the word. “S-Sorry… I shouldn’t be making jokes about that, um… I’m Lieutenant Junior Grade D’Kera Tasar, Assistant Science Officer. You will be staying on as our Xeno-Anthropologist I assume?”

Aira nodded, while keeping part of her gill crest submerged in order to breathe. This forced her to lie partially on her side in a diagonal position, which wasn't awkward for her but she often feared the posture appeared too casual for others who weren't familiar with her species' needs. As a result, she tended to err on the side of deference when addressing her commanding officers, even though in this case they were of equal rank. One couldn't be too careful, after all. "Yes, I've been an A&A officer for about five years now, sir. I'm very excited about this posting, and I hope I can prove myself worthy of it."

She paused for a moment as she shifted slightly to submerge the other side of her gill crest. "Were you able to prepare quarters for me? I'm used to living in Cetacean Ops or the equivalent, so it's not a problem if not. There still aren't very many Selkies in Starfleet, so I don't always get to serve on a ship were I can have my own custom-fitted quarters." She stopped, suddenly feeling self-conscious. She didn't like to make a big fuss every time she transferred to a new ship, but it was often unavoidable, as she was always the only Selkie on board and there were few other aquatic species besides the ones who lived in Cetacean Ops.

D’Kera’s eyes trailed the Selkie as she flipped from one side to another, the shiny reflection from those iridescent scales seemingly enthralling the Orion. She was quick to correct herself, however, after realizing that she might be staring too much. Instead, her eyes fell down to the PADD lying in front of her.

“Yes, well, you certainly do have the credentials.” D’Kera continued, as she scrolled through the contents on the PADD. “Um… about that, yeah uh… you see, I just got this memo today and I don’t know if the engineering teams have made any specific changes towards quarters to accommodate your uh… needs.” She shrugged, before looking back up to Aira. “I’m sorry. We’re spread pretty thin right now for launch day and we’re only a skeleton crew. You’d be meeting with the actual Chief Science Officer if we’re at full accommodation, but I guess you’re stuck with me. Hell, I don’t even think the engineering department has any of their heads…” she snorts. “But, I’ll try to make it work for you. Um…”

Fishing out a stylus from within her uniform jacket, D’Kera picked up her PADD and quickly scrolled over to the notes section, ready to write things down. She looked back to Aira, a slight smile forming on her lips as she gave the PADD a tap with the stylus. “If you give me your specifics, like salinity, temperature, amount of oxygen, any algae or small fish, or whatever, I’ll jot it down and see what my sci-team techs can conjure up?”

Aira nodded eagerly, bobbing up and down in the water. "Sure thing! It's all pretty basic, just the same specifications as my home sea-- I mean, as Pacifica. I'm from the equatorial region, and all of that info should be in my file. I don't need much more beyond a small sea to call my own, so to speak, and I'm used to getting by with much less." She shifted again, making sure enough of her gill crest remained moist. "Are there many other science officers on board so far? I'd like to get to know who I'm going to be working with."

“No, I seem to be the only one… and you of course.” D’Kera said as she made notes on Aira’s specifications. “You know how these things go. The Titan, especially this one, seems to be more of a warship than anything exploratory, which I guess makes sense knowing what happened to the older Titan and all the crap that’s been going on the past year. Intel is currently topped off, so is Command and Sec, but we’re still waiting for Sci and Engineering to fill up. Medical has an Ensign as the highest authority, and we don’t even have anyone for Ops or our Diplo-wing.”

"Right... it's kind of sad, how much war has been going on lately. I signed up to explore, mostly, but I guess this is part of the service as well." Aira floated around somewhat awkwardly, not wanting to stay on such a serious topic but feeling somewhat at the mercy of the conversational currents. "I read up on the adventures of the first Titan. They had a Selkie crewmember, too- I think she was the first one in Starfleet. I was really excited to get this posting because of that. I hope we can get flying soon. It'd be nice to get some good old-fashioned exploring in between the epic space battles."

D’Kera set the PADD down, having finished writing Aira’s specifics. Pressing her elbow on her thigh, she held up her head with her palm and stared down at the Selkie. “Getting to fly soon would be nice. I signed up to stare at wormholes and antimatter stars, but all I’ve really done the past few years was balance shields and readjust deflectors for particle beams.” She sighs, “Can’t give up hope though, right? I guess that’s the whole thing about Starfleet; no matter how fucked up things get, we always look for a better tomorrow.”

"Right... always a better tomorrow," Aira echoed, smiling sadly. Abruptly she felt hunger pangs and glanced at the chronometer. She lifted herself up out of the pool and slowly began to squeeze herself back into her hydration suit. "Well, I guess I'd better familiarize myself with the rest of the ship. I think I missed breakfast this morning anyway; maybe some of the other crew are in the mess hall about now." She nodded farewell to D'Kera. "I look forward to working with you, Lieutenant." The Selkie turned and squished her way out of the aquatics lab, leaving the Orion behind to oversee the techs working on the pool.


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