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Ens Toja Loren - "First Impressions"


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(( Docking Port 7 – Deep Space 6 ))

::He thanked every star in the quadrant that he was good at forcing his mind to stay focused. For such a large transport ship, it seemed that every single common area was a proverbial madhouse. Then again, he hadn’t spent much time outside of the interior of Federation space, so the more... lively races were still somewhat new to him. He didn’t spend a great deal of time interacting, however. He was now a Starfleet officer, and he had a job to do – namely, that of familiarizing himself as much as possible with the tactical systems and security posture of his new assignment, the USS Darwin. He went into the assignment process knowing full well that he could get anything the fleet had to offer. He was surprised, very pleasantly, to receive orders to a state of the art science vessel. Science ran in his veins and in his family. As a Trill, that was the subject his race was known for above all else. Of course, if there was one person to rain on his parade, it was his mother. He couldn’t help but ruminate on their last conversation before departing Starbase 118.::

(( Flashback – Crew Quarters, Starbase 118 ))

::He didn’t let the conversation deter him from packing what few belongings he had brought along from Earth. His transport was due to leave, and the last thing he needed was to miss it. Of course, it was also an excuse to not look at the monitor, as even across light years and over a subspace comm channel, his mother, Marika Tiro, inspired his ire in a way no one else could. Except for maybe that Orion hologram on his final...::

Loren: Mother, we’ve been over this a thousand times. I am doing what I want to do. Just because I’m not firing myself out of a torpedo tube toward Trill doesn’t mean I’m abandoning my race. Besides, you’re joined! You of all people should know that being joined isn’t for everyone. It’s not for me.

::Marika was a joined trill, the sixth host for the Tiro symbiont. And she never let him forget it.::

Marika: Toja, I just want you to live up to your potential! Who knows what you could accomplish if you had five lifetimes of knowledge and memories at your disposal.

::This was a conversation they’d had time and time again after he left their home on Betazed for Starfleet Academy. She was unhappy enough about that decision. When she learned that he was majoring in Military Studies, she nearly strangled him through subspace.::

Loren: Who knows what you might come to understand about me if you bothered to listen to the five lifetimes of memories you flaunt so often. I’m not a scientist, and I never will be, unless something very, very strange happens. And I will not apologize for that. I've been assigned to the USS Darwin as a tactical officer.

::He could hear her roll her eyes over the comm channel.::

Marika: Wonderful. My eldest son is gallivanting around the galaxy looking for battle. I didn’t realize I’d raised a Klingon with spots. At least your sister is doing something worthwhile.

::His face visibly contorted in confusion that then shifted into recognition of absurdity.::

Loren: Do you even hear yourself right now? Looking for battle? Starfleet’s mission, before all else, is to seek out new life, to go boldly where no one has gone before. If my role in that mission, that I believe in wholeheartedly, is to protect the lives of my crewmates, or the lives of races we have yet to even encounter, I can’t think of any better purpose for which to live my life.

Marika: Toja, just listen to me! I...

::He was finished with this conversation. He had worked long and hard to develop some semblance of patience, and she was trying it, as usual.::

Loren: This conversation is over. Please give father my best. I hope that he is more supportive of my goals and accomplishments, though I suspect he will be. He always was. Say hello to Anzi for me. Good bye.

::Before she could even respond, he terminated the subspace link with a press of a button that was probably more forceful than it needed to be. He didn’t have time to stand there and fume, so he finished packing, and departed for the transport.::

(( Docking Port 7 – Deep Space 6 ))

::He was brought back to the present with an announcement over the transport’s comm system. Docking in five minutes. He looked around him, and gathered up all of the cluttered PADDs he’d left strewn about his little warren on the transport, and made sure that everything was packed. When he stepped off the ship, it was like trading one madhouse for another. He stood there for a moment, letting the throngs of people swarm around him and pass by, like a big rock in the middle of a river. He tried to push the remnants of his little chat with his mother out of his mind. The last thing he needed was to look like he was ready to go ten rounds with a targ while reporting to his new commanding officer.::

Baker: MISTER LOREN!

::He blinked once, turning his head this way and that, trying to locate the voice that called his name. He didn’t expect to see any familiar faces, but someone obviously knew him. It was the flailing hand that gave him the hint that he needed, though he was a bit surprised at the face that greeted him. He tried to weave his way through the bustle, though it was slow going.::

Loren: Lieutenant Baker? I wasn’t aware you were destined for Deep Space 6. Might have made the transport a little less hectic. It’s good to see you here, sir.

Baker: Likewise. Fancy meeting you here, Ensign.

Loren: What brings you to this sector of space? Your new assignment, I gather?

Baker: Well, if I can get through this mess of humanoid flotsam, it’s my first deep space assignment in years. The Darwin.

Loren: The Darwin? That’s my posting, as well. Tactical officer. Though I understand I’ll also be functioning as a security officer. Seems to be more common than I was aware of, though I’m certainly not complaining. I understand she’s a beautiful ship. State of the art... and I, for one, am happy to be exploring the galaxy.

::He seemed quite proud of that, in fact. After all, it did fit quite well with Toja’s particular interests and experiences. The fact that he got a smile in return bode well – never bad to have at least one acquaintance on board.::

Baker: Hey, congratulations. Small galaxy, eh?

::He noted that Baker seemed just as perplexed about this station as he was, though he obviously didn’t show it as much, as he got put on “point.”::

Baker: I’ll let you lead the way Ensign, and feel free to put those Academy muscles to the utmost potential to get us through here.

::He couldn’t help but chuckle, nodding his head slightly.::

Loren: Aye, sir.

::Toja at least remembered at which docking port the Darwin could be found, and that was as good a clue as any. Getting through all of these people was trying enough, but with three duffel bags and a recurve bow, it was all the better. He was as wide as a freighter, and most people didn’t seem too keen on trying to give him the room he needed. His height gave him a bit of an advantage though, and eventually, they found the right docking port. The security officer on duty seemed to be expecting newcomers.::

Loren: Ensign Toja Loren, request permission to come aboard.

Baker: Lieutenant Nathan Baker, request permission to come aboard.

Security Officer: Permission granted. Welcome to the USS Darwin, gentlemen. You’re newly assigned to the Darwin?

::Toja nodded once.::

Loren: We are, sir.

Security Officer: Well then, congratulations on your new posting. Proceed to the bridge and report to the Captain. Glad to have you with us.

::Even being on the low end of the officer structure, it was nice to finally no longer be a cadet. He was treated like a person, now, which was a welcome change from Academy living.::

Loren: Yes, sir.

::After a glance at Baker, wherein he didn’t even try to hide his excited smile, they ventured forth into what he was more than happy to call his new home.::

(( Bridge – USS Darwin-A ))

::Even just the brief stroll through a corridor to a turbolift had him almost lightheaded with anticipation. Sure, it wasn’t the flagship. It wasn’t destined to patrol the borders of Federation space, defending against attacks. It wouldn’t be Starfleet if that’s all that was ever done. A state of the art exploration vessel was the heart of Starfleet, and his words to his mother echoed in his mind. He squared his shoulders, stepping off onto the bridge. He minded his own for now, returning the bridge crew’s inquisitive glances with a polite nod. Before long, he found himself at the door to the Captain’s ready room.::

Reinard: I’m free, come on in and take a seat.

::He stepped in, and took a moment to set his bags down with some semblance of order. He remained standing, until Commander Reinard offered otherwise.::

Baker: Thank you, Captain.

Loren: Thank you, sir.

::He settled into the offered chair, back straight. Definitely fresh from the Academy.::

Reinard: Welcome aboard to both of you! Let me see those transfer papers. How was your journey here?

::He reached over to his smallest duffel bag, and thumbed through a stack of PADDs until he found the one he needed. At least he had the sense to keep them in order. He handed it to the Captain, resuming his previous posture.::

Baker: Do the words “Catullan hippie chants” mean anything to you, sir? If so, imagine that for the better part of nine hours. My head is splitting. But, that being said, I’m happy to be here.

::Toja’s face shifted a little, into an almost bemused smirk. It seems he suffered the same fate.::

Loren: It was... difficult to focus, Captain. I’m glad to finally be here.

Reinard: How do you feel about being assigned to this ship?

::That question once again conjured echoes of his mother’s protests. He didn’t want to sound cliché for a new Academy graduate, but he spoke his mind.::

Loren: I couldn’t have asked for a better assignment, sir. Exploring the unknown is Starfleet’s most important mission. I’m glad to be out in front.

oO Just don't ask my mother for HER opinion. Oo

Baker: Quite happy to be here Captain. Can’t wait to get back to it; it’ll be like riding a bike I imagine.

::Toja took a moment to study the Captain, his facial expressions, nonverbal responses to what he and Baker were saying.::

Reinard: I’m sure you’ll both settle in fine and enjoy it here. Get your quarters assignments from ops and I’ll see you shortly as I’ll be calling a meeting of senior staff. Bye for now.

Baker: Thank you Captain.

Loren: Aye, sir.

::He rose from his seat, and made quick work of collecting his belongings, and departed with Baker. He hoped his first impression was a good one. He still felt rather awkward in social situations, but his final exam at Starbase 118 had done a bit to help loosen him up. A hand at his back caught his attention.::

Baker: Well done Ensign, you made a good first impression.

Loren: I hope so, Lieutenant. Surprised no one asked me about my bow. I was going to get something to eat, would you like to join me?

Baker: You go ahead. I’ve got a date with the warp core, but I’m sure I’ll catch ya later.

Loren: Understood, sir. Have a good day.

Baker: Take it easy.

::He stepped onto the turbolift and pondered his destination. He knew where the crew quarters were on the ship.::

Loren: Deck eight.

(( Deck 8 - USS Darwin-A ))

::The turbolift started on its way, which was a very short trip. Only when the doors opened did he realize he missed something rather important. He set down one of his bags, and tapped his commbadge.::

Loren: =/\= Ensign Loren to bridge. =/\=

::The voice on the other end was female. Seemed friendly enough.::

James: Go ahead.

::His self-amusement was evident in his voice.::

Loren: I seem to have misplaced my quarters.

::There was a momentary pause where he almost knew he was being smirked at.::

James: Deck nine, section three, compartment seven. Welcome aboard, Ensign.

::At least she was efficient about it.::

Loren: Thank you. Loren out.

oO That could have gone worse. Oo

::He doubled back to the turbolift, and made his way to the proper deck. Then he trekked along the corridor until he found it. He knew that junior officers’ quarters were dual-occupancy, but no one else seemed to be home. He stepped into his bedroom, and let his bags hit the floor. Empty, save for the standard furniture emplacements. But it was his, and that’s what mattered. He set his bow on the table. He’d have to find a suitable mount for it when he’s not using it. He’s glad no one remarked oddly on it. Hard to explain these things. He almost started drooling when he caught sight of the replicator. Better eat while he had time. Something hearty, that’d last him a while.::

Loren: Computer, beef barley stew.

::He might be a Trill, but there were certain tastes he picked up at the Academy that’d stick with him for life.::

TBC

----------

Ensign Toja Loren
Security/Tactical Officer
USS Darwin-A - NCC-99312

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