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Viva, Viva Las Risas!

Posted on Sat Nov 12th, 2022 @ 3:53pm by Captain Akiva ben-Avram & Captain Mrazak & Lieutenant JG Ryland Dedeker & Lieutenant JG Jaya Maera Garlake & Ensign Nandi Chakma & Lieutenant Colonel Storr Garlake & Commander Arianna Frost & Lieutenant Commander BaoJun Qiao & Lieutenant Commander Finley Chu & Lieutenant Sophie Xiong & Ensign Khaiel D'hikatsi & Gunnery Sergeant Roderik Kos & Lieutenant Calderon Jarsdel & Lieutenant Commander Leonora Wolf MD & Lieutenant Teejay & Warrant Officer Laena ben-Avram & N.I.C.K.

Mission: Season 1 Interlude II (E5.5)
Location: Strategic Operations Conference Room | USS Phantom en route to Risa
Timeline: ID 3

With Overwatch Station behind and the fastest course to Risa laid in, the Phantom was ferrying everyone who had been awarded the unexpected and luxurious trip to the Federation's preeminent pleasure planet. As per usual, the field team plus a few extras were assembled in the ship's Strategic Operations Conference Room off the Bridge. The fact that their destination was shore leave and not a Theta alert made no difference. There were matters to attend to.

"Looks like everyone is here," Jaya said with a PADD in her hand and a glimmer in her eye. "So let's get to it. We have a lot to go over and--"

"I've got us at top warp," Ryland said, "so make it quick. I have to get back to handle system traffic control."

Jaya arched her brow over an uncertain frown. "The ship isn't in manual mode, is it?"

"No, dollface, ma'am, it is not," Ryland said with full snark. "But since we're flying under a ghost registry -- Diligent class USS Smedley Butler since you're double-checking me -- as we're staying under the radar for shore leave, we can't exactly use the Slipstream drive." He glanced at Akiva. "Per the boss's orders."

"I am still in charge here," Mrazak interjected from across the crowded table.

"Of course," Akiva said, nodding at both men. "But maybe we can let Jaya continue?"

Mrazak set his face to a neutral scowl in acquiescence and said no more.

"Thank you," Jaya said with a sweet smile toward Akiva. "As I was saying, there's a lot to go over. We have been gifted with the Ambassador's Executive Suite Package at the 5-star resort at Temtibi Lagoon. From the pamphlets, it appears the accommodations consist of a villa with four huts with four bedrooms each and an outdoor common area for dining and communal activities. Room assignments will be made on a first-come-first-serve basis, so don't dawdle. When we arrive, a concierge will escort us from our private transport pad to the villa gates where our biometrics will be confirmed and registered, after which we can come and go freely, but we will have full privacy on villa grounds for two weeks!" Jaya beamed at that particular detail.

Well, that was a small miracle, anyway. At least Sophie wouldn't be annoyed while she tried to pass the time on this stupid sunny planet by reading all the books she'd brought. And maybe there would be some indoor activities to be found, too. She could always hope.

Khaiel sat there, glad to hear they'd still have their own rooms. There was a rumor that they'd have to bunk and while he wasn't necessarily opposed to it, he would much prefer his own space. He had his own private quarters through Sophomore year at the Academy, and then his own apartment for Junior and Senior year, so sharing wasn't exactly something he was accustomed to. "Are there any expectations for us while on Risa?" he asked, certain that Mrazak would probably want them to be doing something productive while there.

"Just conduct becoming of a Starfleet officer," Akiva said, "which is the standard expectation for all shore leave."

"I do not plan on spending more time with any of you than is absolutely necessary," Mrazak said. "I don't give a lek what you do. Just be available in case leave gets cut short by a Theta alert."

Jaya raised her PADD. "Wait! There are a ton of complimentary reservations that come with the villa! The first one includes a Presidential Spa Package for administrative personnel that includes dermal treatments, health tonics, massage therapy, food platters--"

"Did you not hear what I said or did you just not believe it?" Mrazak snapped.

"Might I remind you, Captain Mrazak, that Admiral Tau all but ordered us to take his generous offer," Akiva cut in. "As I understand it, these accommodations are typically reserved for Admiralty. Do you want to be the one to throw his gift back in his face?"

Mrazak closed his eyes and raised his chin with smug indifference. "Just because he foolishly doubted Memory Theta's worth and actively worked to decommission us does not mean I am indebted to him. After everything this agency has accomplished, Risa is truly the least he could do."

"Oh you have got to be kidding me!" thought Arianna as she did her best to hide her dismay. With Mrazak trying to weasel out of attending the extra amenities, there was no way for her to do the same. While she cared for them all, she really did not want to partake in said activities. There was danger there. Much danger. She also dared not look across the room to see if anyone else was feeling this way in order to avoid a certain pair of eyes, or rather two. She could at least try to steal a hut where the other two were not, right? Right, she'd do that.

Leah who was sat next to Teejay looked over at him with a smirk, mouthing - 'hut mates?'. Whilst it was a great opportunity to get to know people, and especially Teejay, Wolf also felt it was prudent to be available to the still grieving man - so the suggestion seemed only logical.

He'd been happily listening to Jaya talk about such magical things as 'two weeks off', 'massage therapy' and his personal favourite so far - food platters when Teejay caught Leah's eye on purpose and grinned like a kid on a festive holiday morning. "Hell YEAH," he confirmed, voice at normal volume still unable to hide the overt happiness in that moment. There remained a dark shadow over the the scientist's aura and emotions, but it came and went like a thunderstorm. This moment was definitely a mini-break in those emotional clouds. Teejay looked from Leah to the others as they all chimed in with confusing complaints about the free holiday.

“I’m with Mrazak on this one,” piped up Sophie. “I’d rather just be left alone.”

Bao watched with mild bemusement. Truthfully, was also rather in agreement with Mrazak, but he was considering a more tactful way of putting it. "Mrs. Garlake, while it would be extremely rude of us to entirely ignore the complementary bookings, considering the number of people housed in the villa and its normal occupants, surely it has occurred before that not every person in a retinue wishes to participate in every possible activity. Perhaps you could forward us all a list and what the resort's policy is on activity details, participation, and reservations?"

"Fine," Jaya said, her tone more clipped than usual. "Everyone can just do whatever they want and everything will be fine." She set her PADD down like a judge's gavel. "It's too late to cancel the Presidential Spa Package, but everything else will be at personal discretion."

Akiva flinched at the uncharacteristic outburst, though he did his best to hide it. "I'll be there," Akiva promised.

Teejay had his hand up in the air like the keen child in the classroom. "Me too," he confirmed. "Fewer people the better though," he whispered conspiratorially to Leah.

Storr looked up towards the ceiling and *almost* promised to take vengeance on the crew for turning his wife into a wild tempest just to satisfy their own anti-social predilections. He sighed and slowly looked back down, taking Jaya's hand in his and smiling at the now-icy Deltan. Anger and pain, dejection and relief, frustration and apathy roiled through their palms. Garlake squeezed to try and pump some encouragement into his wife when the Vulcan computer scientist spoke up.

Khaiel leaned forward, "I think a massage sounds fantastic," he said, rolling his neck to emphasize his point.

"Feel free to find one," Jaya said. "The Presidential Spa Package was reserved for the administrative staff as perks of rank, but there is a planet full of opportunities."

Clapping Khaiel on the shoulder, Ryland said, "Don't worry, kid. This ain't my first time to Risa. I'll show you the man's side of things they don't advertise for the tourists."

Khaiel's cheeks tinged green with embarrassment as he blushed. "My apologies, I must have misunderstood," he said quietly, ignoring Ryland's offer.

"If the admin staff don't want it though," Teejay tested the conversational waters. "Be a shame to waste it, right? I could do some admin while we're in there if necessary," he added, the grin wrapped about his words. He needed this. A break from all the drama, great company and time.

Storr cut a look to Jaya that spoke of his displeasure at her cattiness louder than if he had said it. Khaiel didn't deserve that response, especially since the boy was trying to be conciliatory while it was the others that she was upset at. Now was not the time or place for a domestic squabble but something needed to be said and Ryland's antics gave some cover to his brief words. "Want bobotie tonight?" he asked her innocuously. While bobotie was indeed a dish he loved, it also was their codeword that meant one of them was upset and needed to talk later.'

"I suppose," Jaya said with a sigh. The initial piss and vinegar had fallen out of her tone, but she still seemed disappointed.

“Well, if you planned it,” Sophie said to Jaya, her tone almost friendly, “I suppose I could be persuaded to participate in an indoor activity or two. Indoor only, though! I hate the sun.”

"You hate the sun?" There was an amused frown as Teejay regarded the grumpy Lieutenant.

"I burn easily," replied Sophie flatly. In truth, she was probably mildly allergic to UV rays- most people who burned easily did not also develop a rash or hives- but she had never cared enough to find out. It was just as easy to stay inside.

Arianna couldn't help a chuckle at how swiftly people wanted to take a pass from socializing. She understood it, and she would have loved to have been among them. Alas, she was not. She was now leadership so she had to put her big girl pants on and tough it out.

"I'll be there too, but only because you scare the shit out of me," she said, throwing Jaya a cheeky, friendly grin.

Jaya shrugged. "I hadn't planned anything past the first day and I don't want to force anyone into anything. Maybe it's best if we all pursue our own interests. That's what shore leave is supposed to be, right?"

"I think, Doctor, you may find people interacting once they blew off whatever steam they need to blow off." Leah offered. "It's not because of you, I assure you. They will come back, just watch." She genuinely felt bad for the spunky Deltan.

"You're right," Jaya admitted. "If anyone wants help with arrangements, let me know, but I think we're done here." She forced a smile. "We'll just see what happens on the back end."

There was a muted snicker at the words 'back end', but Teejay turned the childish reaction into good humour swiftly. "I'll take some help, please," he asked politely, his hand involuntarily finding Leah's thigh and resting there firmly. "Not been to Risa before, but definitely want to try everything."

Storr smiled down at his Deltan, though his heart panged with the snuffing of her fire. It was funny, being as how just previously he was ready to call down fire on his teammates for winding his wife up but now wistfully missed her passion. He squeezed her hand again and nodded as she looked up with a whispy smile.

"How long till we arrive?" Arianna asked.

"We will arrive at Risa in five hours, 19 minutes and 43 seconds, Arianna," came an unfamiliar voice.

Akiva looked around in confusion. "Ferrofax?" he asked with uncertainty.

"Nah, he is back on Overwatch," said Ryland. "Said something about not wanting to watch biologicals swap proteins on a fake planet. Our virtual assistant on this shore leave is a new guy."

"I don't recall approving the utilization of new AI..." Akiva was not exactly peeved, but it was not a pleasant surprise either.

Ryland held up his hands. "Hey, all I know is Ferrofax is still installed but removed his instance or something, so that means the backup guy is flying point. Ask a techie to explain it better. Don't kill the messenger, boss."

"Ferrofax's program is currently unavailable, Akiva," came the voice. "After a trial period, he will be completely removed from the Phantom as my program takes complete control. This was authorized by Mrazak and installation was completed by Khaiel." A chirp of the computer and suddenly a hologram began to materialize in the corner of the room. A man, around mid-20s in human years, appeared in dark pants and a blue sweater. He smiled at everyone and nodded his head. "My name is Nick. It's a pleasure to meet you all."

Having been silent this entire time, Nandi peeled her eyes off of Cal and turned them onto the new hologram. "Nick?" she repeated in surprise. The hologram did not present himself in the manner a monstrosity of Gothic horror, so that was a step in the right direction for her. "Nice to meet you as well, Nick..."

The hologram nodded to Nandi.

As Nandi turned to the AI, Cal shifted his gaze to study the young woman, something he'd been deliberately avoiding while her attention had been entirely on him. The combined minds in the space around him were myriad and interesting, the highs, lows, the bad moods, the happy excitement, and he felt a need to remain temporarily distant from these opposing views of vacation time. Some of them seemed to have no idea how damn lucky they were to be looking at the long end of paid-for time off the daily grind and the ongoing battles the universe presented. Some of them bit back at the hand that wanted to feed them. It didn't make much sense, but there was conflict in every individual and different means to unlock it of course. Briefly Cal lingered on Nandi herself, following her interest in the new AI presence.

Jaya rolled her eyes. Artificial Intelligence would never mirror true sentience, no matter how fast the processing rate exceeded that of a biological humanoid. Nick did not project the empathic profile of a sentient consciousness which identified everyone else in the room by their unique psionic signature. Without that, Nick was nothing more than smoke and clockwork. "I am happy to turn over event scheduling to the new onboard AI."

"I'm merely here to facilitate," Nick stated. "I do not require administrative ownership of your work, Jaya. Please continue."

"No, I think I'm happy with the balance we've struck," Jaya said with a mischievous grin. "Carry on, Nick."

"How will the allocation of quarters be decided?" Cal asked. "Is it possible to request a private berth somewhere?" For their benefit more than his, but he was intrigued to see their reaction to his request.

"From what I understand it's first come first serve, and unless decidedly sharing, each of us can have a private room within the hut complex. This has been booked for us." Arianna was glad for a question to refocus from the weird atmosphere and slew of information in the room. "I would imagine we can make private accommodations, however seeing as the Admiralty is forking out for this, it might do good for us to make use of it. Also...just to remind everyone, we are not regular fleet, so we should watch what we say and be careful as to where we go. Not to rain on anyone's parade or anything but we will be safer in the compound in regards to accommodation."

Leah looked down at Teejay's hand briefly and smirked, but made no other move. She did speak up though, to help reiterate Arianna's point, "which is subtle talk for if you want to have company over, it's safer to bring them to your room than go elsewhere outside the compound."

For Akiva's part, he avoided looking at Laena. Virtually everyone present knew of their romantic history and would undoubtedly draw their own conclusions about her presence now. However, based on their previous conversation, Akiva knew that expectations might lead to disappointment. He squeezed her hand but then released and placed his hands together behind his back in order to speak his piece. "I'm sure we'll have a better idea once we get on the ground," he said. "But Commander Frost is correct: we still maintain our covers. If you need one assigned or have questions regarding your existing pseudo duty stations, see Commander Chu.

Fin had been day dreaming about swimming in an actual ocean, exploring the sea bed, seeing fish and coral reefs. The banter and mild bitching of her fellow crew had registered, but quickly dismissed. The deep blue passing before her mind's eye was quite a lot more appealing. Right until she heard her name. "Right." She said, snapping herself to attention. "I have a lovely collection of legends for each and everyone of you. They've already been disseminated to your personal inboxes. They'll stand up to just about every digital check, but they aren't back filled with people who can vouch for you. So don't go bragging about it. If you tell people you're working at Memory Theta I will have SFI ninjas jump from the ceiling and drag you away in a most embarrassing manner, regardless of rank or position." She gave the four people in the room that outranked her a smile.

"Jezus, Fin! Really?" Leah gave Finley an amused look.

"Forget Starfleet Intelligence," Mrazak intoned. "Anyone who endangers this agency will face an indefinite tour of service in Deep Storage back on Tartarus." Then, of all things, he smiled. "So have fun and don't do anything I wouldn't do."

"Reckon that ain't the safety check list he thinks it is," Reggie mumbled under his breath while tipping his hat forward.

Mrazak snapped his head toward Reggie. "Something to say, Lieutenant?"

"Negative, sir. Just fixin' to do our best to avoid any hijinks," Reggie said by way of quick recovery.

"On that note, I think I'll get back to the helm," Ryland said.

"Wait!" Mrazak held up his hand to halt Ryland. "You were not dismissed." After looking around at everyone, Mrazak nodded. "Everyone be ready with your gear. The Phantom will be under cloak in orbit, so coming and going will be limited to transporter only. Now I think we're done here. Dismissed!"


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