Just Around The Block

Posted on Tue Mar 19th, 2024 @ 9:21pm by Lieutenant Kate Ross & Lieutenant Freya Michaud
Edited on on Fri Mar 29th, 2024 @ 11:33pm

2,128 words; about a 11 minute read

Mission: Season 1, Episode 2: War, Peace, And All That Jazz
Location: Deck 16

Kate stepped into the turbolift and engaged the controls.

“Deck 16,” she said, holding onto the hand control.

She took the moment to continue to stretch out the day’s frustrations and tensions. She hadn’t been able to run in about a week…making it all the more imperative that she stretch out well.

She told herself to wait for the lower body stretches until she was on Deck 16. The last thing she wanted to be doing is stretching our her hamstrings when Commander Vincent or some other Senior Staff stepped onto the lift. Instead, Kate rolled her shoulders and neck, the latter giving a satisfying pop as the tensions of the day were released. She changed hands on the control and began working on her back muscles when the lift stopped.

Michaud waited patiently as the turbolift approached her floor. Having signed in with Rally earlier, she was eager to blow off some steam, and shake out the cobwebs of her long voyage to the border.

To that end she'd consulted the Main Computer and found the gymnasium. Throwing on her workout gear - a set of bio-reading leggings and sports bra with a pair of shorts and a tank slung over the top - she'd tied her hair back and made her way to the turbolift.

In two minds whether or not to head back to her quarters to pick up a bottle of water, he almost collided with the slightly shorter brunette. 'Fu - sorry! I wasn't looking to see that anyone was in here.'

Kate chuckled and dismissed the apology.

"I've done that myself a time or two; I can't fault you," she said, smiling warmly.

"I'm Kate Ross, Chief of Operations. I don't think we've met yet," she continued, extending a hand while her other hand operated the turbolift controls.

Taking the hand and giving her a firm shake, Michaud smiled, 'no I definitely haven't had the pleasure, Chief. Freya Michaud, Chief Science Officer.' Letting go of her hand, she tucked a stray lock of hair behind and ear and indicated Ross's outfit, 'heading for the gym too? Or just a run?'

“Ah, the new CSO! Welcome aboard,” Kate said.

She took a look at Freya’s own outfit and nodded.

“I haven’t had the time lately to get a run in. But I figured if I want time, I have to make time,” Kate chuckled, powering the turbolift into action.

"As they say, 'there's no time like the present,'" Kate added, her eyes twinkling with a hint of mischief as she resumed her previous stretching routine.

With that, she continued her stretching, feeling each muscle slowly relax under her practiced movements. The lift continued its journey, the hum of its machinery providing a comforting backdrop to their conversation. "Are you settling in okay?" she asked, turning her attention back to the newcomer.

Michaud cocked her head for a moment, pausing her shoulder-rolling. 'Yes, I think so,' she said after a moment, and smiled, 'it's always an adjustment, moving to a new assignment, a new home. Particularly when the home is, well, in need of tlc.'

She looked at the Operations Chief. 'How have you been finding it since coming aboard?'

“Not too bad. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to be made Chief of Operations - I was just the next in line, I guess,” Kate confided. “Hopefully, I’m up to the job.”

“I came from the Exeter, though…so a station is something different, for sure,” Kate explained.

The turbolift doors opened onto Deck 16 and Kate motioned for Freya to proceed her out.

'You weren't assigned as Chief Operations Officer when you were stationed here?' Michaud asked, throwing a glance back at Ross as she stepped out of the lift.

“Nope. I was just supposed to be another Operations specialist. But the Ops Chief….or was it Acting Ops Chief…” Kate began, pausing to think for a moment.
”Anywho, the officer who had the job before me,” she continued, with a grin, “came down on orders elsewhere. So I was next in line, in terms of seniority, so the Commander asked if I wanted the job. I want to command my own ship one day, so I naturally said ‘Yes’…even if I don’t understand all of the ins and outs of the job yet,” Kate explained.

Kate stepped onto the running path and then walked to a small grass patch. She took a seat and began stretching her lower body for the run.

'That's brave,' Michaud observed as she stretched her hamstrings next to her. 'I don't think I would have had the stones to step up just like that.'

She frowned, 'sorry, do you mind if I run with you?'

Kate finished stretching and stood. She shook loose the last of the day’s stress and smiled at Freya.

“Not at all. I’m not much of a runner but I’d love to have the company," she replied, extending an invitation. "Shall we get started then?" Kate asked, before leading the way onto the path, her strides steady and confident.

Nodding, Michaud ceased stretching and began loping along next to the Operations officer. Matching her stride, the scientist enjoyed matching pace with her evidently fit exercise buddy. Breathing steadily, she settled into a comfortable rhythm.

'What kind of ship is the Exeter?' she asked as they went, hoping to learn more about her companion.

Kate settled into her stride, concentrating on her breathing. It had been too long since she’d been able to run and she could tell.

“She’s a Connie,” Kate answered. “State of the art! I miss her sometimes; but there’s a lot more opportunities here on a station.”

Her voice softened with a touch of nostalgia, "There’s something about being on a starship... the sense of adventure, you know?" She grinned at Freya, adjusting her pace slightly to match hers.

Nodding, and wiping some perspiration away, Michaud smiled, 'yeah, I was on the Philadelphia, Connie class too.' She paused for a moment, catching her breath and thoughts. Cardio really isn't my thing she reflected to her self. 'There's something romantic about being aboard a ship, every day something new. Someone new, too sometimes,' she winked at Ross.

'But you're right, stations offer more stability and opportunity,' she concluded with a note of hope in her voice.

Kate nodded to her companion. She felt a wistful memory tug at the edge of her mind at the mention of “someone new,” but she shook off the thought.

"Change can be good, though," she added, her voice steady as they continued their run. "New challenges, new experiences. It keeps life interesting, don't you think?" Kate asked, casting a sideways glance at Freya.

Kate continued, "I think moving to this station was a good change for me. It's different but in a good way. The diversity of people and cultures here is fascinating." She glanced at Freya again, her eyes reflecting a sense of contentment and acceptance of her new situation.

Answering the glance and the warm emotions communicated in it, Michaud grinned, and and nodded, ignoring a strand of hair that had worked its way free and plastered itself to her face. 'Yeah, it's why I accepted - doesn't get more diverse than a border reason.' She waved vaguely in front of her, 'plus the Klingons are out there somewhere. It'll be exciting!'

Kate nodded at the notion. She didn’t relish the idea of combat - mainly because she didn’t want to see any of her friends or coworkers injured - but she would do her job when the time came.

“Yeah, the Klingons….they’re always doing something,” she said, grinning.

Kate thought back to some of her briefings about the Klingon Empire and their activities of late. A chill ran up her spine, despite the warmth of the gym, thinking of the brutality that they represented.

“I’m more interested in the exploration than anything,” she said finally.

Michaud broke into a grin, despite the sweat and the burning sensation creeping through her lungs, 'exploration is my thing too - I'll avoid any shooting I can.' She slowed, waving an arm, 'if you don't mind, Kate, you've pushed me further than I thought I'd go today!'

Kate noticed the waving arm in her peripheral vision and pulled up, turning back to check on Freya.

“Hey, no worries. I kept going because you were,” Kate explained between breaths, smiling despite the pain in her side.

She took another few strides across the running path, found a seat on the grass infield, and began stretching again.

“I know you said you’re here as CSO, but did you have a specialty? Or just Science in general,” Kate asked.

'Subspace communications,' Michaud replied with a satisfied sigh, 'theoretical models on how to improve our communications and the like, some modelling on encryption too.' She shook her head, 'still not allowed to talk about that really. Mostly these days though it's paperwork and supervising other people's work, but then you'd know all about that being head of Operations.'

Michaud glanced at Kate, 'I've not really run in to a Chief of Operations before - logistics and the like is it?'

Kate blew a deep breath out through her teeth. She hadn’t expected to be this winded this soon.

“Yeah - basically, I get people what they need to do their jobs. If Engineering needs resources for damage control teams, which is usually where we come in, I make sure the throughput is there for what they need. And we do all the paperwork that comes with the normal operations of the station,” Kate replied.

In the back of her mind, a visual of the Tigerfish cropped up almost as a warning. She thought better of divulging anything about it. Better to keep folks in the dark about the intelligence side of her job, she told herself.

“It’s kinda nice to know that things happened because I helped,” she said, smiling.

'I get that feeling, too, in a more abstract way with my work,' Michaud said, 'it takes some time to enact changes from my work, but it definitely happens eventually - you've probably had to help install some components I've worked on as part of a few teams.'

She said it with no bragging tone, it was just a statement of fact. 'Sorry if I caused you work,' she chuckled.

Kate made a “forget about it” gesture in response.

“It’s all part of the job, to be honest. I encourage my team to look at work orders as opportunities - not drudgery…or well, I will…I guess,” she said, chuckling.

'It's not an easy job,' Michaud sympathised, 'I think it takes a particular kind of person who's happy with maintaining things and running around after the rest of us. Fleet wouldn't be functional without 'em.'

Kate nodded as she listened to Michaud’s reasoning. She agreed with the CSO; Operations tended to be the unsung heroes of many missions. Her thoughts drifted back to the Academy and what one of her instructors had said:

”Being in Operations is like being a kicker on a football team. Nobody cares if you do the job right a thousand times but do it wrong once, and you’ll be all over the damn front pages!”

Before Kate could say anything else, a red-shirted ensign came jogging across the track and stopped near Kate and Michaud’s position.

“Lieutenant Ross…Commander Vincent sent me. She wants to talk to you…urgently,” the ensign said, side-eyeing Michaud.

“Even when I’m off duty, I’m always on the clock,” Kate said, sticking out her hand to the ensign. After a second, he hauled Kate up to standing and began rapidly walking toward the nearest turbolift. Without thinking, Kate started after him. After several steps, she turned and began walking backward.

“Call me for a rematch any time…or for a cup of coffee,” Kate offered to Michaud without breaking stride.

Knowing the summons was important, Kate turned without waiting for a response and jogged to catch up with the ensign who’d found her.

Watching the woman retreat at the summons, Michaud smiled to herself as she got back to her feet. The grimaced at the ache spreading through her. That was a good session.

Lt. Kate Ross
Chief of Operations
Starbase Deep Space K-9

Lieutenant Freya Michaud
Chief Science Officer
Starbase Deep Space K-9



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