Calling occupants/of interplanetary craft
He had no idea how, but somehow Quentin had timed it just so that the song he had flooding into his ears via the smartfoam listening devices he had somehow convinced the dock's duty officer to let him keep on the outbound flight from San Francisco echoed through his head when he saw it for the first time. Starbase 118. The transport runabout dropped out of warp just so that the sun caught it just so through the nebula, sharpening the light from it into a perfect diamond halo around her gleaming exterior. Quentin sheepishly smiled to himself as the runabout glided closer to the base, weaving through the stars and busy space traffic throughout the sector.
He also allowed himself a bit of pride for gabbing the duty officer just so to allow himself this moment. Giving up his rucksack of personal items from the Academy for flight storage was bad enough, but when the officer held out his hand for the buds and the data strip they were synced to Quentin found himself, embarrassingly, recoiling. He also felt his cheeks turn into ruddy hot patches as he realized that his stocky frame and lanky limbs, stood almost full two head taller than the officer. His family always said that he was their "scarecrow" and he really felt it in the moment. His awkwardly large frame was something his mother said he would grow into but that was just one of her many lies. But then he started instinctively to speak, eloquently laying out a study that he had read right before reporting that detailed the positive effects that sonic waves had on the nervous system mid-space flight, which also tested higher during trips on smaller classed craft and mass transports. The officer took one look at the deep blue stripe on his uniform and the awkward smile Quentin ended the lecture with and nodded him onto the transport with an exasperated huff. Who didn't love a small victory?
Especially one that turned into a bigger one. The shuttle carefully docked and Quentin felt the craft couple into the docking brackets with a gentle shudder. He heard a muffled ding through the soothing pulse of ancient synthesizers and an equally muffled soothing sounding voice. He observed the rest of the cadets and passengers react to the surely reassuring instructions and followed suit, standing, adjusting his uniform, and disembarking into the life he had waited so long to start. Quentin found himself instantly impressed. With everything. Even something so simple as how organized and smoothly the dock ran. After receiving his assignment, he naturally poured over the service record of the base and fleet associated with it. This base produced war heroes, innovators, explorers, and now a Collins was walking it's decks. A bolt of anxiety cracked his chest, but he had worked hard for this. He was ready. Ready for answers and ready to serve. That was all he ever wanted, really. And now he would get that chance, here and now.
He consulted the PADD that the L.T. escorting them had passed out as they left the Sol System. It had a full information bank on the base and it's facilities, as well as a personalized notification about his training schedule. He had a few hours still until he had to report so he decided to try and wander a touch, in order too acclimate himself to his new posting. Walking always helped him clear his head back in Maine, why shouldn't it do the same thousands of lightyears away? He decided to start at the famous Node so he eyed the nearest turbolift and started off in that direction. He extracted the listening devices from his ears and was met with the wondrous and busy sound of a working station. The gentle hum of the astrometrics. The constant drone of officers. And best of all? The occasional streak of sound that comes from impulse engines, either from the ships outside or lazily zooming throughout the space. Quentin grinned again. He was surrounded by ships again. A far cry from his family's fishing fleets back in Maine, but it would do just nicely for Quentin. This was precisely what he signed up for.
He settled into the lift and consulted the PADD once again. As he cleared his throat to speak the deck he desired a booming voice echoed through the plasteel chamber. "HOLD THE LIFT!", the voice said and Quentin instinctively reached out with the arm grasping the PADD, holding the door. A lean, handsome Andorian slipped into the lift with a huff. They made eye contact briefly, the alien's eyes expressing a silent gratitude as he composed himself. Quentin tried to silently recipricate the gratitude, but just found himself awkwardly smiling. He had noticed the officer's rank, Lt. CMMD, and felt himself lock back into cadet mode. Again he had to remind himself, he belonged here. He had the degrees to show for it, but this might be something he would just have to shake throughout his training.
"Thank you, cadet. I hadn't had the best luck with lifts before you.", the Andorian said in a stately but good natured voice. Quentin gave a slight laugh, trying to brush his probably not regulation coppery blonde hair out of his face. "Well, had I seen the pips, you would have gotten a salute along with it.", he returned, trying to sound charming, despite his heavy Maine accent. But the Andorian EL TEE scoffed at his attempt, either out of pity or genuine amusement. Quentin couldn't really tell but he would take it either way. "I'll hold you to that cadet. Computer: Deck 456." He said in a pointedly authoritarian voice and the lift sped upward.
Quentin quickly quit while he was ahead and buried his nose back into the PADD, attempting to make his awkward frame blend into the side of the compartment. Thankfully the officer seemed to notice his nervousness and allowed them to ride in comfortable, but edged silence. Quentin was suddenly very aware of his vulnerability and his possibly unkept look. His uniform still fit well, but his longish hair and, frankly, older age suddenly cropped to the front of his thoughts. The lift suddenly stopped as the pit started to form in his stomach. The men both stepped out into the Node and exchanged quick glances. "Good luck, cadet." the Andorian offered, scuttling off before Quentin could muster a reply.
His surroundings did nothing to alleviate his rising stress. All around him walked young and beautiful cadets of all species. All of them in the prime of their lives and ready to take Starfleet by storm. And there was Quentin. It was his own fault really. Instead of entering the Academy at the proper age of 18, he caved to his family's wishes and matriculated at Salem University first, studying parapsychology, metaphysics, and classics, earning a degree in the former. Anything to make mother happy, of course. He then took his year on the sea, fishing for his family and experiencing the very thing that spurred him into Starfleet in the first place. He still remembers the looks he got from his classmates, this old wingnut from the coast, thinking he can hack it, and as a SCIENTIST no less. The crueler ones had made their contempt more explicit, tagging his locker with things like "Warlock" and "Creepy Collins" while also sneering as his more antiquated look at the sciences and the world around them.
And now he was here, pushing 30 and looking at a whole generation of younger cadets ready to eclipse him and his upbringing. He approached one of the massive viewports, facing raw space. He had worked so hard to get here. And so had they. But his age didn't lessen his need for understanding. It didn't out on the sea when he faced the unknown and felt it acknowledge him and it wouldn't now. Not when he was among the stars and so many unknowns. He felt himself relax, even smile a bit. They sneered at Creepy Collins but he was still here. And he was going to make the most of it. For himself and his new crew. No matter what.