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Ensign Ellen Cain, "The end of one journey is only the start of so


Sedrin Belasi
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Ensign Ellen Cain, "The end of one journey is only the start of something else"

((Temple Complex, Ceti Gamma Seven))

Reia: ::Not bothering to hide edge of tiredness and irritation in her voice.:: Seriously, what are we doing here?

Hartwell: Assisting Commander Herodion and Lieutenant Commander Becks in determining what happened to the people that once lived on this planet.

:: Cadet Vance Hartwell, a human male, sounded equally annoyed Cadet Ellen Cain thought. Ellen suspected that Vance’s annoyance came from the fact that he actually enjoyed the work at hand, but was constantly being disturbed by Reia. Ellen on the other hand was enjoying the change of pace that this mission was bringing. So far nothing had exploded or attempted to murder Ellen which was another nice bonus. ::

:: Ellen also appreciated the mission as it gave a glimpse at an aspect of Star Fleet that was easy to overlook as a cadet, which was discovery and exploration. While clearly boring to the security cadet, it wasn’t something that Reia Trev would see while polishing phasers in a starbase armory or watching security monitors. Even being close to becoming a fully fledged science officer, Ellen doubted that Vance Hartwell got to do anything more than the most basic of lab duties. That probably explained why he looked like he was about to murder Reia if she didn’t stop bugging him. Ellen for her part however had seen plenty of action and excitement while serving as Commander Melitta Herodion’s yeoman even if she didn’t advertise the fact much. That didn’t mean that she was less eager to prove herself, just that after recent events she was slightly more cautious in the way she did it.::

::Caution, while a good lesson to have learned, didn’t seem all that necessary so far in this particular mission Ellen had discovered with a degree of relief. The three cadets had spent the better part of a week performing seemingly mundane tasks in the most trivial of locales. The planet that they were on was similarly uninteresting being a standard M-class planet. In fact the only thing of note on the planet was extensive ruins, long since picked clean of treasures, which indicated a warp capable species once lived there centuries beforehand.::

::The temple complex that the cadets had been working in was in much the same condition as the rest of the ruins on the planet. Plundered by pirates or scavengers a long time ago, overgrown by local flora but remarkably intact. While the trio proceeded with holo-imaging every inch of the temples, translating and making notes on the various murals and wall carvings, in addition to quantum dating points of interest the three cadets were beginning to find it hard not to notice the absence of their two senior officers. Not to mention the sheer boredom of the work. Reia, the seemingly trigger happy Bajoran security cadet, in particular was most vocal about such things. ::

::While probably not among the oldest temples on the planet Ellen used the abundance of time that she had at hand to take in the beauty of the temples, which was to say nothing of the history that the temple murals and wall carvings depicted. Even after you separated historical facts from religious doctrine, there was much to learn. A set of temples might not speak to why an entire civilization vanished from the face of the planet but it did go to great lengths to show the type of people that once occupied those hallowed grounds.::

::Returning her quantum dater to a pouch on her belt, right next to her phaser and tricorder, she reached down to pick up a water canteen as she walked toward Vance and Reia. The pair was at the temporary lab that they had been porting from temple to temple. The “Lab” consisted of a holographic projector connected to a pair of computers with a transmitter. The transmitter was there to ensure that they could stream everything to the Tarisa’s Jewel while they worked in the field. Vance was sitting at one of the computers translating text and making various notes. Reia on the other hand was downloading her holocam footage into the other computer, which then would map that footage onto a wire-frame model of the temple being projected by the holoprojector. Ultimately to call the setup a lab was even worse than saying that the Tarisa’s Jewel had a crew lounge. What couldn’t be argued with was the fact that the setup worked for the task at hand, no matter what you called it.::

Reia: ::Sighing:: What I wouldn’t give to see some sort of excitement!

Cain: I have seen the type of excitement that you crave. Trust me when I say that you get over it real fast, then things start dying.

::Ellen replied speaking more openly about her experiences from her last mission than she had since the trio arrived on that planet. Up until then it didn't seem right, clearly though the trio had bonded in some fashion during their time together.::

Reia: Don’t you think…? ::Reia started till she saw the look on Ellen’s face.:: Well even sitting in that runabout on our way back to the starbase would be preferable to another day of this.

Hartwell: There’s more to being in Star Fleet than simply shooting people and making things go boom. Anyway I like it here. Expand your horizons and you might enjoy it too.

Cain: oO Vance clearly knows Reia too well. I kind of wish I had the chance to spend more time with these guys. Oo

::That was good advice Ellen thought but at the same time thought better of voicing her agreement. Normally those little personality quirks and clashing opinions wouldn’t be a problem amongst the three cadets. In this instance though, the three of them were severely on edge induced by sheer boredom. In fact it seemed to Ellen that the whole scenario had been engineered to see how long it would take to push the three cadets over the edge. Such pressure tests weren’t uncommon back at the Academy but rather rare during her cadet cruise. Ellen wondered as she downloaded her quantum dating data, that if the mission was some sort of pressure test what the reason for it was?::

::As she waited for the data to download, Ellen unscrewed the cap off of her canteen than took a sip of the refreshing water. The three cadets had gotten into the habit of conserving the food and water that they carried with them. It was an additional measure to avoid having to take trips back to the Tarisa’s Jewel. Less time spent on the Jewel meant more time in the temples. And as a result the seemingly endless task would be completed sooner rather than later. Once done Ellen recapped the canteen resting it on the table before her.::

::Whether it was the lighting or maybe the angle of her head, the recreation of the temple on the holoprojector caught Ellen’s eye. In particular her attention had been grabbed by what looked like the start of a narrow passageway except the wire frame of that section of the temple was incomplete. Ellen knew that without a shadow of a doubt that something was amiss. Simply because the first thing that they had been doing when entering a new temple was to create a complete wire frame model of said temple. It was this model that the trio’s holocam footage was transposed onto. All three of them had been through the process enough times to know better than to make mistakes. Or maybe Ellen was less inclined to believe it was a mistake because she too, on some level, wanted some sort of excitement after all the time she had spent in those long abandoned temples.::

::Moving closer to the holoprojector Ellen studied the image more closely. The more closely she looked the more she thought that Reia was going to get her wish. As soon as she had run all the logical explanations for the error through her head and still coming up with nothing she alerted Vance and Reia. Vance was as thrilled with the discovery as Ellen was but even he had to concede that the trio could use a proper break. That break might as well be spent checking the discrepancy out. True to form, Reia was positively giddy with anticipation on the walk to the mysterious corridor. It was only after Vance confirmed that the corridor was real and led somewhere completely unexpected that Reia got her wits about her.::

::Having already scouted the rest of the temple the cadets were surprised to find that the corridor leads below the temple. Since it was the only passageway of its kind, something seemed off about it all to Ellen. The concealed nature of the corridor entrance was also a red flag. Walking slightly behind Reia, with her phaser in one hand and a flashlight in the other Ellen had to admit if only to herself that she was eager to see what was at the end of the corridor. Behind Ellen, Vance was trying to contact Commander Herodion on his comm. Badge without any success. In front of her, Reia was expertly navigating the corridor also with her weapon drawn.::

Hartwell: I can’t reach the Commanders on the comms. I think that the comms are being jammed. ::Sounding even less excited than he had earlier about the whole idea.:: I also am detecting a large energy spike coming from nearby.

Reia: ::Bluntly:: Caused by what?

::Ellen thought that Reia’s tone was remarkably similar to that of Commander Herodion’s at times. That wasn’t a bad thing as far as Ellen was concerned as the three were walking into the unknown. So having someone that could handle herself in a fight was a blessing. If anything Ellen was slightly curious if that tone of voice was something actually taught at the Academy or if Reia and Commander Herodion were two peas of the proverbial pod.

Although she was making a few assumptions, Ellen replied with what she thought to be the most likely scenario fitting the circumstances.::

Cain: Was probably triggered by the motion sensors hidden in the walls.

::The end of the corridor gave way to a stairwell. Unlike the temple the stairwell, and the corridor for that matter, was very plain in design. Clearly utility was of more importance. That in itself reinforced the mystery that had been stumbled upon. While the stairwell was constructed out of the same sturdy sandstone-like material as the rest of the temple, the staircase was made out of much more modern looking materials. In fact the metal used looked much like that used aboard Star Fleet ships specifically in its Jefferies tubes.

As both Vance and Reia saw the staircase they both turned to Ellen expectantly. Vance especially looked and sounded different, perhaps as if he was having fun in the moment. ::

Cain: Why are you both looking at me like that?

Hartwell: You’re the one with the field experience.

Cain: Yeah when it comes to ancient space stations and remote controlled super soldiers on killing sprees.

::Ellen shot back making light of her most recent mission with Commander Herodion. Although she might have made the joke she also knew that she was still far from desensitized to what happened. So much so that she had to mentally remind herself to stay in the moment.::

Reia: ::Smiling:: Yes, exactly.

::Ellen quickly thought about what had just been said and did her best to hide the resulting grin. When she had been aboard Deep Space Ten, the decrepit space station had been famous for being “delicate”. Almost as famous as it was for being old. And that didn’t start to factor in her vacations on the Renegade Trader, her parent’s former barely working cargo vessel, or her time with Commander Herodion. All in all an ancient staircase was nothing in comparison.::

Cain: ::Saying cautiously.:: Well lets proceed, One at a time perhaps.

::Reia took the lead as if it were the most natural thing to do. Once she had reached the first landing Ellen followed suit with Vance waiting on Ellen. The trio continued on in this fashion till they reached the bottom of the stairwell, almost twenty meters down from the starting point. Not surprisingly the stairwell gave way to a another access corridor. This one though was much shorter maybe ten meters in length with several doors on either side at odd intervals. Vance however pointed them toward a larger more ornate set of doors set ajar at the end of the corridor. Checking her own tricorder Ellen had to agree. That seemed to be the direction of the earlier energy spike.

Even by that point neither Vance nor Ellen were able to explain the energy spike despite the proximity. The sensor jamming still seemed to be in affect preventing them from scanning for lifeforms or anything else for that matter. As the three closed in on the set of doors Reia signaled Ellen and Vance for silence taking up position to burst through the door when the others were ready. At that point Ellen abandoned her tricorder, returning it to her belt, to replace it with her phaser. She felt unsettled. Signalling to Reia that she was ready. Reia pried the set of doors open just enough to squeeze through as quietly as possible .::

::Ellen followed closely behind into the dimly lit room. All in all this new room was no bigger than a star ship bridge and was rectangular in shape. On the wall opposite the doors that they had just came through was some sort of reflective glass material, probably looking out onto something below or the other side of another room but obscured because of the currently low lighting. Around the edges of the room Ellen could barely make out equipment crates and a pair of doors leading elsewhere but what was of more interesting was the person sitting in the middle of the room. The person appeared humanoid and possibly female but it was hard to tell due to only seeing the back of the being. Reia still extremely serious spoke up loudly and clearly.::

Reia: Hello, we are Star Fleet Cadets on a peaceful archeological mission. Could you please stand and identify yourself?

::The being didn't speak, the being didn't even move at Reia's announcement and request.::

Reia: We mean you no harm. ::She persisted:: I must warn you, we are armed and will defend ourselves if necessary.

::Still hearing no response, Vance spoke quietly to Reia and Ellen as if to discuss the situation.::

Hartwell: Perhaps the being can't hear you. From the temple murals I do suspect that the beings that once lived here were without the sense of sound.

Cain: Interesting but that isn't what's happening here. ::She said quickly and quietly, scanning the room again paying attention to the equipment crates.:: The original inhabitants are long gone you also said that earlier. Anyway those crates look to be of Laudean design, Commander Herodion's species.

::Reia didn't ask if Ellen was sure instead she barked at the being in a more commanding tone.::

Reia: Identify yourself now, stranger, or I will stun you.

::At those words the lights in the room flickered on, the lights were still pretty dull so no one was blinded by the sudden light. That said the room was illuminated extremely well for the poor quality lighting which enabled Ellen to see that she had been right about the crates. Seconds after she had come to that conclusion she heard a familiar voice laughing. The laughing was certainly new but it was unmistakeably the voice of Commander Melitta Herodion.::

Herodion: Trying to shoot your superior officer is rarely a good idea Cadet Reia and rest assured this is not the time to try your luck.

::Even though the Commander's words were very disarming, the woman raised to her feet and turned around with her hands partially raised. Once facing them she flicked the traditional dark brown Laudean desert robe she had been wearing to the floor revealing her normal Star Fleet uniform underneath.::

Herodion: ::More to herself than the three cadets in front of her.:: Next time I run this mission I will be sure to pick Ferangi crates. Clearly less obvious.

Reia: ::Holstering her weapon, sounding astounded.:: This was all some sort of test. ::She said still trying to wrap her head around it.::

Herodion: Well yes, but at the same time we did want those temples holo recorded for off world study. Killing multiple birds with the one stone and all that. ::Pausing for a moment.:: Now let me congratulate you all, with the conclusion of this "test" you have successfully completed your cadet cruise's. From this point forward you are all promoted to the rank of Ensign.

::From her pants pocket she withdrew three small padds and handed one to each cadet before taking a step back to where she had been previously.::

Herodion: Those contain your transfer orders. First of many throughout your careers, I would imagine. Now, your transport to Starbase 118 will arrive in a couple hours. Feel free to go back to the Tarisa's Jewel until then.

::Having recovered from her shock from the first revelation but still reeling over the second, Vance helped guide Reia back toward the stairs to the surface. Ellen suspected that Vance was just as surprised but he seemed better at coping with surprises. In fact Vance was probably upset at not discovering the true nature of the room they were in.

Ellen for her part felt unbelievably elated. She had been working so hard and overcome so much to reach this point but found that she had few words to say now that she had arrived. Maybe there wasn't anything to say, it didn't really matter to her. She felt compelled to run to that staircase so that she could get cleaned up ready for that transport to beam them up. Before Ellen could get far though, and after Vance and Reia had well and truly left the room Commander Herodion spoke again.::

Herodion: Cain, a moment please.

Cain: ::Turning back to the Commander trying to calm herself down.:: Yes Commander.

Herodion: I didn't think much of when you were assigned to be my yeoman. The fact is that you have become instrumental to me. So I wanted to personally thank you for your service to me thus far. You will be a credit to Fleet Operations on Starbase 118.

Cain: Thank you Commander, that means more to me than I can say. ::Pausing to think.:: It certainly hasn't always been easy serving under you but I wouldn't have want anything else.

Herodion: ::Smiling:: Oh I know which also proves that you are extraordinarily brave in addition to skilled. ::Walking over to one of the nearest crates revealing a small case. Popping the lid on the case open she gestured for Ellen to approach.:: Bravery however will only get you so far so this is my gift to you. A good phaser will get you through pretty much anything that your skills can't.

::Ellen approached seeing the, clearly and heavily, customized Type 2 personal phaser. She smiled as she picked it up from its case feeling the grip in her hand. It certainly had a bit more weight to it and the trigger looked more pressure sensitive. Ellen did hope that she wouldn't have to use it often in her new posting but had a feeling that the weapon would serve her well when she had cause to unholster it.::

Cain: ::Positively beam.:: Thank you Commander. ::Saying simply not sure what else to say.::

Herodion: You better hurry up and catch up to your friends Ensign. I will be up to see you off later on. I hope to have words with the Commander of the Cressida, the ship that will be taking you to 118.

::Turning Ellen made quick work of catching up to Vance and Reia. Even when she had caught up to the pair she still hadn't calmed down. She felt almost as giddy as Reia had been at the possibility of combat. For Ellen though she was overly excited to see what the future held in store for them. And more specifically what types of adventures the trio would have on Starbase 118.::

TBC

Ensign Ellen Cain

Fleet Operations

Starbase 118

Simmed by:

Ensign Clayas Vell

Science Officer; Starbase118 Ops

Edited by Leo Handley-Page
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