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LtCmdr. Stacker & Cmdr. Merlin | Preparations

Posted on Sat Jul 4th, 2020 @ 8:41am by Commander Evan Merlin & Lieutenant Commander James Stacker

Mission: When The Circus Comes To Town
Location: Cold Station Theta
Timeline: SD 242007.04

"So, about this Interstellar Cultural Exhibition and Exchange…" It wasn't hard to guess what the main topic of today's breakfast meeting would be. All the other items on the PADD were routine, the usual list of reports: repairs, security reports, and other status updates which might be relevant for their morning meetings but which usually were little more than items to be crossed off the list. This upcoming exchange was not merely another item. And the list of wishes, suggestions and demands which had streamed in from various departments after the Commander's message yesterday had only made him realise that 'within the week' was far too little time to get the show on the road. Unless they could pull a miracle out of their hats. He had seen this crew work miracles a few times in the past. Maybe they could manage another one. Maybe.

The lieutenant commander glanced up from the PADD that had - until now - held his rapt attention. It clicked with that too-familiar plastic-on-metal snick as he put it down and took a breath. "There's considerable interest from all departments. I think the chiefs and officers - the veteran officers, at any rate - probably realize by now that there's going to be a high workload in preparation. The junior enlisted and civilians seem to be looking forward to the change in pace and 'something new.'" The last was said with a tinge of knowing. Once upon a time he too had been a junior enlisted man, or so said his service jacket. He too had looked forward to the sights and sounds of a diversion from duty and monotony.

He ran a hand through short, greying, hair while he thought. "Do we know how long it'll be with us for?"

"A minimum of four weeks," the commander replied promptly. "With an option to remain up to four weeks longer, depending on how popular the exhibition is and other factors. Ideally, they want to give as many of the ships of the fleet the chance of visiting, but that largely depends on their rotation roster." He leaned back in his chair and took a sip of his red leaf tea. "I have a list of ships which are expected back within the time frame, but you never know who else comes dropping in at short notice." That list was on another PADD: Starfleet vessels, civilian ones, merchant ships and a few guests. Flight Control would be busy.

"Security and customs will be stretched thin." There was a pause while he took a sip of water; a response to a case of a sudden dry throat. Mercifully the glass didn't repeat the noise of the PADD. "We might need to pull in extra bodies if we see an unanticipated spike in shipping traffic. The intelligence section should probably be locked down as well. Configure only one turbolift to open on those decks with all others blocked by software and hardware." He picked up the PADD and made a short note; making sure the Campbeltown was gone, the screen said when he put it down again.

"Absolutely." The commander nodded, glancing down at his own PADD. "An increase in security might not be a bad idea regardless. Since that Nausicaan got murdered, I have the feeling there have been more shady types on board of the station. Never enough to be sure, but I know there are parts of the station which are less well monitored than I like." He thought of the deep parts of the station, places where people rarely came, if at all. He wandered there at times, usually in the middle of the night when most people were asleep. He had never caught anyone where they didn't belong, but he sometimes had the impression that the place was less empty than it was supposed to be. Just a feeling, or something more? He had learned to trust those feelings, even though they seemed baseless and irrational.

"I have to agree. The station is big, and nobody wants another Versailles." A light snort from his guest. One that spoke volumes about his own personal thoughts. Years after it had happened, the loss of control over the lower half of that station - to criminals - still reverberated within some elements of Starfleet. Intelligence capabilities in the borderlands alone had undergone a sweeping overhaul. The tone was more thoughtful when he resumed speaking. "There are some things we can do on our own, though. More monitoring devices, increased patrols. Close off unoccupied areas." He shrugged.

"It's all on the list. But you know, limited resources and all that… The risk with closing off unoccupied areas is that if people find a way to access them after all, it's really going to be hard to find them." He blew a loose curl away from his forehead and grimaced when it slid back. "But yes, that is one of the things I worry about. Maybe if we have a concrete incident somewhere down there, we'll actually get Sector Command to assign more people to CST instead of the current policy of 'open a few positions and hope that people apply to serve at the tail end of Federation space." He waved his hand, the same gesture he used whenever he was rambling. "Be careful what you wish for, I suppose. Anyway, back to the subject at hand. Increase in security for the duration of the exhibition, check. I'm sure the diplomats and antropologists will have a field day these weeks. Catering… I'm sure we can commission one or more restaurants to cater for our visitors. Gives us the chance to showcase our station in return."

The visitor thought that over for a moment. "We'll probably need several, especially if there are a large number of visitors," he finally allowed. "And the cuisine should probably be varied. I wouldn't care to supply Klingon food to a Tellarite." Nobody would. The notoriously-cranky species had mellowed as a whole in the last century or two but their quarrelsome nature remained intact. Setting off a fight by providing them still-wiggling worms wouldn't do anything for the station's reputation. He rubbed the bridge of his nose and thought again. "Supply. The restaurants will need more supply brought in to feed all these visitors. So more ship traffic. And we'll need to screen the inbound cargoes." Smugglers would treat the opportunity as a field day unless countered, it went without saying.

"Oh yes. I have invited the proprietors of the Heart of Targ, IDIC, the Temtibi Lagoon, Point Lookout, the Star of Apsha – that's the name of the new Stenellian deli, by the way, and Mount Seleya this afternoon, to discuss arrangements. That should give us a wide selection of food and beverages." The mental image of a Tellarite getting up in a Klingon's face made him smile, but just for a moment. An entaining thought, as long as it stayed a thought and wouldn't stray over into reality. There had been a few brawls on the Promenade in the past and none of them had been even remotely pleasant. "And yes, and yes. More ship traffic, so more work for Flight Ops, and that last bit brings us back to more security. It's on the list." He sighed, tapping the PADD on his desk. Then he looked up again.

"Location. The Promenade is tempting, but all in all it's too small to house a host of visitors as well as the regular public. Cargo or landing bays would be an option in terms of space, but they lack ambiance and we'll need the space for ships and storage. So I thought about the Arboretum. A lot of work went into the place and it'll be a great way to demonstrate the power of the science and environmental departments. It'll mean overtime for them, though, to minimise the damage done to the area when a large crowd settles there for weeks."

The guest pondered for a moment, brow furrowed in thought, before finally nodding. "It wasn't designed for an event like this, but if we want to showcase the technical and engineering expertise that went into the station ... like you said, it's the best location to do so. And it's the largest space available. Science in particular won't be happy, but I can smooth ruffled feathers there."

"Very good." The commander ran his hand through his hair again. "I think that covers just about everything right now. Are there other urgent matters that need to be attended to at the moment?"

"Not that I'm aware of." It was a simple enough answer. It also had the virtue of being true, and that continued to be a refreshing change in life.

"Good, good. Then I'll see you same time tomorrow." He picked up the PADD and the remains of his breakfast. Time to get started. So much to do, and so little time…

Commander James Stacker
Executive Officer
COLD STATION THETA

Commander Evan 'Weirdo' Merlin,
Commanding Officer,
Cold Station Theta

 

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