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Gaining Tech Support

Posted on Sat Aug 26th, 2023 @ 3:26pm by Captain Cronin Keys [GM] & Lieutenant JG R'naya Riss

Mission: Pre-Launch + Pre-Mission 1 Stories
Location: Starfleet Command, Entertainment Center. Mid-afternoon. Outdoor Zone. 3D chess table.
Timeline: Pre-Launch


It wasn’t working. Rinaya let out a low growl in frustration at the simulator in front of her. One unpredictable move sent the computer into a fit, guessing and spiraling itself into checkmate by twenty-seven moves. The computer was supposed to be smarter than that. Granted, it was only set to a beginner’s level, but it should give at least somewhat of a challenge. How else would a player learn?

“Reset board.” She hissed, and obediently the simulator placed the pieces and platforms at their starting positions across the playing fields. She tapped a few commands into the PADD she’d rigged an interface with and started a new game.

Her tail twitched and her ears perked up as the system seemed to adapt a bit better this time, and she was almost purring in excitement when a figure cast a shadow over the board, blocking the bright afternoon sunlight.

It was a beautiful day and Cronin was glad for it, though it couldn't be any other way considering the weather control grid. It would be refreshing to have some rain or a light storm some time. He walked along the path that came to the Entertainment Center of Starfleet Command.

He had been told by the computer that the next engineer on his list of available officers was on a repair job in the Outdoor Zone. Cronin glanced around the various tables and games being occupied by off duty officers and guests. He found a Caitian female at one of the 3D Chess Boards and it seemed that she was frustrated with it. Cronin is a Betazoid so he could feel it coming from her.

He approached the board, unfortunately he blocked the sun, when she was excited. It made him smile. "Greetings Lieutenant." Cronin said.

Her ear twitched toward the sound of the man’s voice, interrupting her train of thought. “Greetings,” she purred, not quite ready to tear her eyes from the commands her clawed fingers were furiously tapping into the PADD. With a final poke at the device a heartbeat later, the command string was finished. Placing the device on the chess table, she stood to properly greet the other officer.

A captain, she noticed, the pips gleaming on the collar of his uniform. She stood a bit straighter, bare paws spacing a shoulder width apart, shoulders squared, one hand loosely grasping the other wrist as she stood at a comfortable but still elegant parade rest. She couldn’t keep the satisfied tone from her voice though, as she studied the man. “Care for a game, captain? Looks like this table is finally ready again.”

Her big green-gold eyes flicked between the table and the captain, the corner of her lip curled up in a small smile.

It had been a while since his last game with Ailig, and so smiled at the Caitian woman. Though time was running out for securing his senior staff for the mission but an hour or so couldn't hurt. "I would, do you prefer a certain side of pieces?" He asked regarding the two colours.

She considered his question before settling onto the stool at one side of the board. "I’ll take black. As white, you get to go first.” She waited for him to start and watched him carefully as he did so. She couldn’t say she knew the game extremely well, but she enjoyed it all the same. She enjoyed the challenge of throwing off the computer, if she could. Or the other players.

“So, what brings you out to the chess tables?” She purred, her tail twitching behind her. She was curious about the captain’s presence, but he’d explain that as he saw fit, she was sure. While she’d like to believe that she was the reason for his visit, and it was a logical choice as he didn’t seem to be out here with the goal of playing chess, why exactly she might be his focus wasn’t clear. She didn’t want to assume anything in an ignorant overestimation of her importance.

A phrase so ingrained in her mind, having grown up on earth, came readily to mind: ‘curiosity killed the cat’. And it didn’t take long for her to dig up a flip side to the phrase: ‘Curiosity did not kill the cat, ignorance did. Curiosity was framed.’

Curiosity was needed and beneficial. Ignorance, in assumptions and knowledge, was not. She’d learn why he was here soon enough without assuming anything.

Eyeing the board, she moved one of her pawns.

“Your move, captain.”

"You actually." Cronin said as he made his second move. It wasn't a brilliant one. He didn't care really if he won or lost.

Riss narrowed her eyes as the man so casually placed his piece. Clearly, very clearly, he was not here for the game. She scanned the board and placed another of her pieces. Another pawn. Her lip curled in a small smile, just barely revealing the tip of a single sharp tooth. “You didn’t answer my question. The lovely weather and the tables are always present, or else easily replicated on a holodeck…”

Cronin narrowed his eyes slightly. "Perhaps I should repeat myself, I have come to offer you an assignment." He said and moved another piece. "However it is highly classified," he added.

With perked ears and narrowed eyes, Riss paused, considering the board, giving the man a small dip of her chin. “I meant no disrespect, captain. But if I may speak frankly, a simple assignment can be conveyed via PADD or other message, even classified ones, with encryption.” Moving one of her pawns, she quirked her lips in a small smile, enjoying the game and the company, enigmatic though he may be. She did enjoy puzzles, after all. “Coming down here personally… Just how classified are we talking? I’m intrigued.”

"The timeline of this assignment is rather short and Starfleet Command is not taking any chances with the classified information." Cronin said as he considered several different moves he could make on the board. He shifted another piece and surveyed the board for the next move for a moment before making eye contact again even though she may not be.

"I'm looking for a Chief Engineer for a Galaxy-class, the Pioneer. We are part of Project Delta. Our mission is to explore the Delta quadrant, though I'm sure our fleet commander will have other objectives to tend to while we are there." Cronin said loud enough that only Riss could hear. "The problem now is are you willing to be somewhat cut off from home, though I know there are plans being developed to help keep us supplied and connected with the Federation."

Green-gold eyes flicked back and forth between the captain and the board as she considered the information given. A small smile tugged at the corner of her lips, revealing a single sharp tooth at one side. She lifted one of her bishops, placing it and taking one of the man’s pawns.

“Home…” A small purr escaped her as she nodded. A quick look was cast around her surroundings, taking in the always-blue skies and perfectly manicured landscape. Earth had been home for most of her life, but then again, curiosity did tug at her heart and mind. The Delta Quadrant? “Home is where you make it. I don’t mind travel, extended or otherwise.”

Cronin smiled. "Indeed. Though I can give you another day to consider this offer, otherwise we will have to return to the ship as soon as possible." He replied as he assessed the board, he moved another piece.

There had been speculation and buzz about the Delta Quadrant for as long as R’naya could remember. She’d explored much of what she could within Federation territory, but it wasn’t anything truly spectacular as it had all been seen before. But the Delta Quadrant… Now that was a truly wonderful opportunity.

It didn’t take much to sway the felinoid in favor of such promise, and with a slow blink and small smile, she lifted another piece. “Well, I’ll take the day, but not to consider the offer. I’ll take it to pack my things and send messages to my family. This is far too interesting a mission to pass up.” Placing the piece back on the board, she nodded to the man. “Check.”

Surveying the board, Cronin realised he had misplaced a piece allowing Riss to advance. Captains are supposed to be great strategists, or at least somewhat forethinking in possibilities, at this moment he seemed to have been lacking in that. He smiled as he determined his next move though her words registered. "Excellent, welcome aboard. Chief Engineer Riss." He offered his hand.



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