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Stardate Now!: Lieutenant Dueld taJoot

StarBase 118 Staff

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::Stardate Now!’s music is familiar as it plays just before the darkness fades. Colour splashes across the background and a pair of chairs – one purple, one red – add to the rainbow. Danica has taken up the violet while her outfit of neon green contrasts sharply with the furniture. A smile is plastered over her brilliant pink lips and her mouth parts as she speaks with her eyes pointed at the camera while eases in for a close up.::

DANICA: Good evening and welcome to Stardate Now! I’m your host, Danica Galaxie. This evening we have with us Lieutenant Dueld taJoot of the USS Vigilant.

::That is the cue for her to turn. The camera sharply changes angle so that both host and guest are seen. That broad smile remains fixed upon her expression and Danica folds her hands then leans forward upon the arm of her chair.::

DANICA: Good evening and welcome to Stardate Now!, Lieutenant.

::Dueld’s dark uniform, yellow collar, warm peach skin and bright silvery-lilac hair make him look custom-made to match the show’s vivid decor. He nods at Danica; a wary fraction of a smile lifts one corner of his mouth.::

DUELD: Ms. Galaxie.

DANICA: Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? Tell us a little about your childhood.

DUELD: ::blinking a little:: Really? Don’t you guys normally cover that stuff in, like, intro montages? Okay, well, hmm. My dad’s a hydroengineer, and there’s a lot of water on Cendo Prae– er, Catulla, the Federation calls it Catulla– that needs engineering. So we moved around a lot. My mom’s a jekker commentator– that’s a sport on Catulla. You can put a FedNet link about jekker in at this point, right? Anyway, my mom used to be a champion, so she’s kinda famous back home. She’d take us along sometimes when she was recording on site; I used to hang out with her techies.

::scrunches face in contemplation:: What else? I started surfing because it made things easier when we moved. You could look like you were hanging out with the beach crowd, but you didn’t really have to talk to anyone. My sister was a pain, my brother was a goof– can I say that? Actually, she’s still a pain, and he’s still a goof, but she rocks her job so I respect her, and… he might grow out of it, I guess? ::faint, doubtful frown::

DANICA: I see. I noted in your file that school didn’t always come easy to you. Is it true you failed the interview in order to gain a visa to Vulcan? Tell us about that.

DUELD: ::sitting up a little straighter:: What? Seriously? Where does it say that? Who did you pay? ::slumping back slightly:: Ugh. Okay, so, languages: they’re vague and dumb, admit it. And don’t get me started on history. Seriously, you do not teach someone how to do something, like, say, living, by making them memorize all the ways everyone else has failed at it.

::waving the very concept of sentient studies away, and glancing up at the ceiling off-camera:: As for the Vulcan thing, my tech marks were good enough but ::pointing at his face and looking back down at Danica:: I kind of talk a lot, by Vulcan standards. Can you see this at the Science Academy? No? That’s what the visa admin said too.

::sighing:: I was super crushed. I had gotten all revved up to go somewhere, and now I wasn’t. School was done, so I just… took off. ::shrugs at Danica::

::Eyebrows arch upward as Danica placidly regards the lieutenant, but she refrains from making any opinionated comments on his past. Instead, she forges onward.::

DANICA: Where were some of the places you visited and what are some of the jobs you did afterward?

DUELD: ::laughing a little:: Oof. ::scratches nose:: Let’s see. I waited tables at a seafood shack in Kussitser, I taught windsurfing near Ostleuvsjil ::trace of pride::, I did municipal net maintenance in Lidlo… I ended up working in a furniture studio in Utyoyomsaeg. Historic motifs in neelkoms wood. I can still smell it. ::breathes deep in remembrance:: That’s how I got the job on the Joyous Hope. We had been working for months on some special commissioned pieces for the captain’s lounge. My boss, who was– is!– a totally cool person in every way– knew I was still moping about not getting off the planet, so when the purser’s assistant from the Hope came by to, like, approve the completed furniture, my boss totally talked me up to him as some kind of undiscovered genius. ::shaking his head at the memory::

::spreading hands:: Two months later, I was heading out on a year-long cruise from Catulla all the way to Bajor. Okay, I was doing gamma shift as a replicator tech, but still, you know, I was on my way. ::pointing at Danica, as if she’s about to say something:: And I gotta say– the regular passengers on that ship disproved everything you have ever heard about tourists. They were so nice! Half of them would get up at, like, oh-five-hundred to do spirit katas– “working your soul back out into your fingertips”, one of them called it– and then they’d meditate on these little white mats. Like, an entire gymnasium of little white mats in concentric ovals. A lot of the guests were headed to this Federation-wide spiritual conference scheduled on Bajor around the time the ship would arrive. It was kind of a big deal, I guess, if you were into that.

DANICA: That sounds like it was a very positive experience. Yet, your time on Bajor also inspired you. Could you give us some insight?

::Dueld’s eyes brighten.::

DUELD: Oh, loeg, Bajor is so cool. Like, Catulla is fantastic, but face it: until recently, the ocean pretty much washed away a quarter of our civilization every couple of centuries. On Bajor, they had literally thousands of years of this bedrock certainty that the Prophets were really out there, guiding them. And that shows in so many little ways, in every wrinkle of their culture. ::spreading his hands again, palms out, as if to fend off criticism:: Like, they weren’t perfect– d’jarra, Bajoran for snob ::rolling his eyes::– and it definitely hasn’t always been easy for them. But I still kind of envy them that belief. There’s so much they have to share about science and art and, just, like, living– and…

And I guess that’s why I got into Starfleet, you know? I was wandering around, helping with the reconstruction they’re still doing in some places, and seeing what had been lost and what had survived, and… it just seemed like the only thing that could protect that legacy was Starfleet.

DANICA: You didn’t do too badly at the Academy, am I right?

DUELD: ::snorting a little:: I tested right out of the replicator and transporter course, I can tell you that. Just don’t ask me to tell you in Bajoran.

DANICA: Actually, that was my next question.

DUELD: ::earnestly:: No, seriously, don’t ask me. I am not allowed to speak Bajoran anywhere, I had to promise my instructor, he was this close to tears. ::holding up thumb and forefinger pinched together:: They sent me a notice afterward, it’s signed by a vedek and everything!

DANICA: ::laughing:: Tell us about some of the missions you’ve participated with on the Vigilant?

DUELD: ::blowing out his cheeks:: My very very very first day as a Starfleet officer, I am not kidding, Lt. Commander Leo Handley-Page had me running through a historic marketplace on Zakdorn, trying to dodge disruptor fire from Klingon agents. In the past year we have also, according to the Department of Temporal Investigations, I think, saved the galaxy from a chronospatial rift? But thanks to temporal mechanics none of us remember it. We made first contact with a species that was stuck in dome cities underwater (and kind of hating it, as far as I could tell.) Other stuff. It’s been kind of crazy.

::leaning in a little, toward Danica:: They always warn you, in the academy, that deep space exploration is like being trapped in a small house, for months at a time, with roommates you didn’t pick, and nothing to do but watch the emptiness outside go by. ::poking at his own chest, disgruntled:: I like that part. Can we have more of that part? We deserve a chance to get bored like the rest of Starfleet, that’s what I say.

DANICA: I understand you’ve modified your PADD into something a little different. Tell us about that, how you came up with the idea and why you decided to implement it.

DUELD: ::brightening:: Oh! Okay, seriously, I cannot be the only person who’s done this, because tricorders are actually designed for Borg, as far as I can tell– for users who get their data beamed directly into their head. There are ten square centimeters of display space on an average tricorder. Ten! What century is this? How are you supposed to get any reasonable grasp of your situation from that? “Sir, I’m reading a blotch, another blotch, and two squiggles.” ::lifting his hands in incredulity:: I mean, right?

So I’ve been working for a while now on combining a PADD and a tricorder into a, well, a triPADD is what I’m calling it. Do you want to go to some holofootage here? I sent you some shots of my latest prototype, but I’m not a holographer so maybe they weren’t good enough, I dunno. Anyway, I moved most of the tricorder sensors out into a set of three detachable clips, which means I have either standard wide scan mode or I can take them off and set them around a specific location, for triangulation and precision scanning. The main unit holds a 30 cm display with flat and holo projection modes, the power unit, and the network slash satellite comm link, good to low atmospheric range, unboosted.

::a little shyly:: I’ve been working on a graphic interface, too, instead of the standard Fleet text labelling, using some traditional Catullan designs– thanks Zerry!– but that’s just for me. The main thing is that, so far, the science people I’ve been working with ::smile falling away to a sober expression:: have verified that this version meets or exceeds the precision and range of existing tricorders in laboratory use, at least. Field data is promising, but not yet conclusive, so I haven’t, like, submitted it for consideration to StarFleet as a whole.

::As Dueld speaks, pictures of the prototype in question flash on the screen and allow viewers some insight to the device beyond the oral description. The pictures snap back to the man and woman and Danicacontinues her interview.::

DANICA: Despite that earlier failure, it’s obvious that you’re a very intelligent and creative young man. Do you have any other ideas rumbling around just waiting to become reality?

DUELD: ::scrubbing at the back of his neck with one hand, then lowering that hand hastily at a signal from someone off-screen:: Well, uh, I guess. Most engineers tinker, right? I mean, I’m in Ops, now, but I
still work on stuff in my spare time. I have a small holotainment center in my quarters, sound and visuals only; I use it as a design studio. I ::blushing:: have some ship designs in progress, I’ve had them in mind for a while now, since I first heard about slipstream tech, actually. Um, and sometimes I daydream about what I’d change on Deep Space Six, if I had the time and the authority. There are a couple of sketches for some civic structures I’d like to see built back home someday…::shrugging at Danica:: Different things.

DANICA: What do you most hope to accomplish as a member of Starfleet?

DUELD: ::looking down at his feet and swallowing, then speaking more slowly:: It is my goal to expand my knowledge of ship systems and Federation socio-ergonomics, in order to see one of my ship designs commissioned and brought into service. Something the size of a Galaxy-class, or a Vesta, but more than just a, a structure, or a shell. I want foliage, and water, and light, and wide open spaces. And I want them for everyone, all the time, not just for however long their holodeck timeslots are.

I think slipstream is really going to change how far we go and where our horizons are set, and we’ll need a new paradigm for that kind of life: not only a planet, not only a space station, not only a ship, but
something new, something that has elements of all three, you know?

::passionately:: We’ve already done so much to make our ships into healthy living spaces, but I think we’ve barely scratched the surface. We can make our ships into places you come from, not just vessels to which you’re assigned, anthills you cram yourself into because that’s the price of seeing the galaxy. I want people to say they live on the Excalibur the way you might say you live in Paris, or you came from ShiKahr, or you’re going to retire to Jalanda City. Only I want Jalanda City to have been able to discover the wormhole, and go to the Gamma Quadrant to explore it, and fly back to compare notes with Paris about, I dunno, the Typhon expanse or something. And when something gets outmoded, we replace it! Cities don’t get decommissioned, they build and change and grow!

::coming to a halt, blinking:: Uh, okay, wow, that was a lot of words. Apparently I want to found a colony? Only I want the colony to be able to get up and move around. I guess when your first major space travel experience is aboard a giant luxury cruise ship, that makes an impact. Yoyodyne Propulsion, I salute your designers. And Joyous Hope, wherever you are, I miss you. Tell Jabelsy he still owes me tickets for the lightsail finals.

::Danica chuckles softly and nods.::

DANICA: It sounds like dreams worth pursuing. I look forward to seeing what you accomplish in the future.

::She turns away from her guest and back to the audience, her smile still plastered across her painted features.::

DANICA: And that’s all we have time for tonight. Keep an eye on this one, he’s going places. Until next time, I’m Danica Galaxie and you’ve been watching Stardate Now!

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