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    Elgor Rae
    Elgor Rae

    Through the Doorway and Into the Storm

    The crew of the Diligent receive their first assignment: to escort a convoy through the Epatha Gateway into the Delta Quadrant. They are then to join an expeditionary force venturing into the Solaria Nebula. The nebula was one of the last bastions of the ancient Iconian Empire. The expedition is tasked with seeking out a more stable, controllable path to the Alpha Quadrant amongst the ruins.

    After passing through the Epatha Gateway into the Delta Quadrant, the Diligent received a distress call from an unknown source near the remains of the transwarp gateway previously employed by Starfleet. There, they find two ships trapped within a temporal rift, frozen in time.

    Elgor Rae
    Elgor Rae

    The Diligent blurred through space at high warp. Star systems seemed to shrink as the ships faster-than-light drive moved the crew across the vast distances standing between them and the Fourth of July nebula. Within that nebula lay the Epatha Gateway, a tenuous but predictable wormhole between the Alpha and Delta quadrants. The gateway would open in one week, and an impressive fleet of Starfleet and civilian ships were now gathering to use it. The Diligent would join them within five days.

    // U.S.S. Diligent, Bridge
    // Episode Day 01, 09:30 Hours

    Commander Rae relaxed his shoulders and sunk into the center chair of his new ship. A senior staff meeting was scheduled at 11:00 hours, and for the moment Rae took this opportunity to look over the details sent to him by Task Force 38 command. Seemingly as he thought it, a crewman approached with a PADD he’d requested. Rae took it with a nod. The device immediately recognized the commander, lighting up as he turned his attention to it.

    Rae scanned the document, headed:


    He noted the excessive number of pages with a frown. He’d done a lot of research already, with any luck he could cut a chunk of this out. They only had a few days until they would be in the delta quadrant, and Rae expected to be well-occupied in the meantime. He had a ship and crew to get to know.

    The commander pulled down a quick menu, and with a slide of his finger forwarded the report to his senior staff. The ship’s computer would quickly process each copy, redacting restricted details, and forwarding the rest to each of them. There wasn’t much time for them to go through the details, each officer had an entire department to assemble at the moment, but it would make for a reference point for them.

    The outline seemed simple enough. The Diligent would join an exploratory force into the Solaria Nebula. While the details made it out to be a mission of pure curiosity, Rae quickly realized the real purpose would be to identify and secure a better way back to the Alpha Quadrant than was available now. The Epatha Gateway opened for 15 minutes once every 45 days. Hardly a reliable means of resupply and reinforcements. Rae suspected that had it not been for the extensive earlier efforts and investments by the 4th fleet, Starfleet Command may have abandoned their efforts in the Delta Quadrant altogether.

    They had their work cut out for them.

    Elgor Rae
    Elgor Rae

    From the perspective of PNPC: Ensign Samuel Rhys, Captain’s Yeoman

    // U.S.S. Diligent, Deck 3, Conference Room 2
    // Episode Day 01, 09:30 Hours

    Ensign Samuel Rhys finished up the final details of the morning’s report he had assembled for Commander Rae. He had only had a moment meeting his new commanding officer before, who was at the time in a manic rush to tour the ship. Now the man would be on the bridge, overseeing the first warp flight of the Diligent since the crew assembled. Rhys would give the man his space to work with his senior staff until later in the day. Rhys liked his boss so far at least. Elgor Rae seemed collected, thoughtful. He was an empath so Rhys tried to maintain as flat an emotional state as he could when they interacted. He wasn’t sure if that was the right thing to do, but it was probably better than broadcasting his every emotion before he knew the captain’s temperament well.

    Rhys had signed onto the Diligent immediately upon graduating the Academy. A Delta Quadrant assignment was nerve-wracking to his family, but he had some insatiable drive to do it. He’d felt the drive since the news had finally gone public that the Fourth Fleet, Bravo Fleet, had secured an ancient gateway providing access to the Delta Quadrant, not so long after the return of the U.S.S. Voyager. As a child he had dreamt of commanding a starship on the frontier. The return of Voyager when he was eleven and the subsequent Starfleet presence in the Delta Quadrant sent his dreams to the stars, so to speak. He had come here, to a forward-facing conference room, to watch the stars burst to life before them as the small escort jumped to faster-than-light speeds. It was as satisfying as he hoped. The view ports here provided a great view of the ships alignment to its heading, and the sudden rush of space knocked him back into his chair. Afterwards, he spent time in this quiet space to finish what logical paperwork to get done.

    He glanced one final time over the report, dominated by the confirmation and finalization of the position transfer of Lieutenant Commander Everett to Chief Science Officer. A clerical error had landed them in the Chief Medical Officer position along with Doctor Hughes. A quick correction had fixed that mistake, filling the much-needed Chief of Science position with an experienced scientist.

    Rhys swiped the message out, dispatching it to his new CO who would receive it at his first downtime. He had an hour and a half before he’d shadow Rae in the staff’s first conference. In the meantime, he would finish his own tour of the ship. Later he would meet with Doctor Hughes, the ships Chief Medical Officer. Commander Rae’s pet, Edo, had been in temporary isolation since being transferred aboard. Rhys would get the creature to his owner’s quarters safely, hopefully helping the captain feel more at home.

    Elgor Rae
    Elgor Rae

    A joint post by:
    Elgor Rae, Aerith Terovn, Cal Everett, Clara Watson

    // U.S.S. Diligent, Observation Lounge
    // Episode Day 01, 11:00 Hours

    Commander Rae sat at the head of the crescent conference table as his senior staff gathered. He scanned over a PADD in his hand and tapped in a few commands to prep the presentation. As the group officers settled in he sat the device down and leaned into the table.

    “Thank you all for coming,” he began. “As you’re all aware, we haven’t officially had any contact with Task Force Thirty-Eight in forty-five days, as scheduled. Once the Epatha Gateway opens, we’ll receive updates and authorization to pass through to the Delta Quadrant. We’re playing escort to a small fleet of about fifteen ships. A mix of Starfleet and civilian personnel. The Diligent is to stay in tight formation with the capital ships of the flotilla. A Century-class, Sovereign, and three Galaxy-class starships. The gateway is open for fifteen minutes, so we’ll transmit regular status updates leading up to that. Any problems in the fleet must be addressed before that portal opens. Once it is open, we don’t have much time to get that many ships through, so we need to move fast. The terminus lies within the territory of the Ghemawat Realm.”

    Rae activated the holographic projectors scattered about the room. Above the table, a map outlining the Ghemawat Realm territory and its border with Federation-claimed space. “So far the Realm has been accommodating so we don’t expect and trouble there, but be alert. Once we’re safely on the other side and all ships have been accounted for, we’ll set course for the Solaria Nebula.”

    The projection shifted to highlight the space spanning between the Solaria Nebula and the Epatha Gateway. “It will take about fifteen days to make the journey to the nebula at cruising speed. We know the plan is to enter not long after that, and as of our last update, we know we’re needed to bolster the expedition. The Solaria Nebula is ninety-nine percent unexplored and was one of the last strongholds of the Iconian empire. We’re going to see what we can find in there. We’ll meet again before we rendezvous with the expedition force to discuss specifics of the nebula, there could be new information available once we receive updates from the other side. Questions? Comments?” he asked, looking around the table, hands now folded in front of him.

    Aerith sat a few seats down from Commander Rae. The past several hours, he had maintained post at the helm of the Diligent’s bridge. He had worked to get his console configured to his liking, to optimize his own piloting of the vessel. Being part of a senior officer’s meeting wasn’t completely foreign to the young officer, but it was still a newer thing for him, and he was clearly a little uncomfortable. Terovn knew he would have to get used to such things, as there would be many more in the future.

    The Ensign looked up and made brief eye contact with Rae. He had taken in the words of his Captain and had mentally made several notes to himself, namely, to work on a coordinated flight trajectory with the other vessels – especially given the tight formation and strained timeline that would come. Aerith gave a polite and respectful shake of his head to his Captain, indicating he had no questions.

    Cal leans back in their seat, hands clasping and fingers weaving together as they finish their final notes on the debrief they received earlier in the day. They’re seated near the head of the table, but have folded up their shoulders so their head doesn’t impede anyone’s sight of the presentation, ever conscious of their height. Everything in the debrief makes perfect sense to them, nothing quite striking them as unusual when compared to the other information they’ve already been provided.

    But, there’s always more information to gather. They raise their finger slightly, and when Rae looks at them, asks, “Will the Diligent be pursuing exploration missions on its own within the Solaria Nebula, or will our role as escort necessitate following the bulk of the flotilla during our tenure here?”

    “We’ll serve as initial escort entering the nebula,” Rae replied. “Once inside, our group will break up as deemed reasonable. We’ve found a single safe passageway into the nebula so far. There are navigable branches off of this corridor that lead into pockets of open space within the nebula. The Diligent is well-equipped to run recon within these pockets, and we’re plenty capable to carry out anything any Intrepid-class can. It would take months to cross the expanse in a straight line, if we‘re to make any headway in mapping it out our group can’t stay together.”

    Cal nods in acquiescence and sinks deeper into their chair, fiddling with the hem of their gloves. “I understand.” They note down a handful of ideas for how to prioritize information they’ll be gathering in the near future, specialized to their needs, now outlined by the commander. “Science will be prepped by the time we’re in the Nebula to run any data we collect on recon missions as quickly as possible. I’ll update everyone on any changes of typical procedure, should they occur.”

    “Have there been any reported long term affects of a two month passage through this particular Nebula?” Clara asked, remembering in her academy days, the warning she heard about, when dealing with long term exposure to certain type of Nebula’s. She eagerly waited to hear from the captain or the chief science officer.

    Rae shook his head slightly, “not that we’re aware of. The nebula is mostly made up of charged, dense plasma storms. While the discharges pack a punch, as far as we know the remaining composition of the nebula is benign. We also know of several civilizations that have been able to exist within the bounds of the nebula without any significant difficulties.”

    The commander shut down the holographic display, causing the image to disappear in a hazy glimmer. “Keep in mind that once we’ve passed through the Epatha Gateway we’ll have limited access to Federation databases. Only what is stored by Task Force Thirty-Eight on the other side, and what we take with us. Doctor Hughes, Commander Everett, Lieutenant Johnson, I’d recommend accessing and storing anything relevant to the Iconians or the Solaria Nebula before we pass through from your respective databases. It will be forty-five days before we can access Alpha Quadrant data stores again.”

    “Ensign Watson,” he continued, “once we’ve joined the fleet at the gateway begin coordinating check-ins with our wing. Because of the short window, full status reports need to be transmitted to the lead ship every ten minutes with issues flagged. The Diligent may be asked to provide fast support to any civilian ships that have technical issues. Starfleet is selective about who comes through at this point though, so there shouldn’t be any problems.”

    “Chief Belgu,” Rae directed to the acting Chief Engineer, “prep the deflector to compensate for the gravimetric shears we’ll encounter in the gateway, and the shields for what we’ll encounter in the Fourth of July Nebula. Chief Mora, coordinate security issues with the rest of the fleet upon our arrival.”

    Rae lifted himself from his chair. “I look forward to working with you all. Dismissed.”

    John Simmons
    John Simmons

    Joint post by:
    Elgor Rae and John Simmons

    // U.S.S. Diligent, Outside Observation Lounge
    // Episode Day 01, 11:30 Hours

    Just as everyone was exiting the Observation Lounge, John stopped the captain for a bit.
    “Captain, would there be anything specific that you would want our department to do? Do you perhaps have any names of ships that will be joining us in the nebula or through the gateway?” John asked with a calm tone in his voice, looking at the captain waiting for an answer.

    Rae paused and pointed back to his Yeoman who was following behind. “Ensign Rhys can get you a full manifest of the ship’s that will be present at the gateway. It’s mostly Starfleet so we don’t expect any trouble, but it’s good to get informed. Otherwise, keep doing your job, lieutenant. Gather and analyze data as we pass through the gateway and head to the Solaria Nebula. Have information for me when I need it. I doubt Starfleet Intelligence has much more of an idea of what’s going on within the nebula than we do now. We’re likely to encounter Iconian technology on the inside, though. I’d appreciate you have as much information on hand as possible if we do.”

    “I’ll forward you the info now, lieutenant,” Ensign Rhys chimed in, fiddling with his datapad. “Thirty-five ships will be passing through the gateway in total. We have full reports available on them all.”

    “Thank you, Ensign. And concerning the Iconians, I will try to be fully up to date about the information regarding them” John said first facing Ensign Rhys and then facing the captain again.

    “My department is fully operational at the moment and can provide you as much information as needed. Hopefully, we can make you proud Captain. Thank you for your time” John told the captain, saluting and then walking away towards his quarters where he would review the reports on the different ships.

    Clara Watson

    // U.S.S. Diligent, Bridge
    // Episode Day 01, 11:38 Hours

    Clara left the meeting room and headed back towards the bridge area. She quickly settled in at her station. Thinking about how pretty the ride will be through the Nebula, despite the charges she lets off.

    The past few days on the USS Diligent, were reminding herself, of her small town community living. At first she was annoyed, that Starfleet put her on a small vessel. But the ship was starting to grow on her.

    When she left the academy, she had hoped to serve on a big ship, something like the Galaxy Class. She loved her time at the Academy. Being surrounded, by a lot of cadets. But she started to learn that life on a starship, was a lot different, than life at the academy.

    Everyone seemed so serious, which they should. This is Starfleet, life and death can happen. She knew that, but she was hoping for a little bit of fun, on a starship. Clara could not help but wonder if others were ignoring her, or if she was to nervous to reach out to anyone on the ship?

    Cal Everett
    Cal Everett

    // U.S.S. Diligent, Bridge
    // Episode Day 01, 11:40 Hours

    Cal finishes gathering their notes and returns to the console at the bridge, briefly entering the new orders and recommendations into their notes before they begin to communicate directly with a handful of their subordinates and issuing orders to begin compiling a downloaded database into the Diligent‘s computers. They’ve already started to flag and gather pockets of information and data on their own time, but with the information they’ve gained at the Officer’s meeting, they now have specific areas to focus on.

    Specifically, they focus on the Iconian empire, nebula physics and anomalies, and on a hunch, biological abnormalities noted in far, outreach worlds in the frontier; they’re interested to learn how sentient beings could live in such a delicate and near hostile portion of space. The networks of safe passage within the Nebula interest Cal greatly, but there may be biological differences that may be crucial to understand if they should journey deeper into the Nebula than before. Perhaps the Iconians were able to evolve in an entirely different way than what modern science is aware of. If not, it won’t hurt to have the information stored, in the case of…medical emergencies.

    Cal shakes off the memories before they’re overtaken. They watch the information they’ve flagged get stored into the Diligent’s computers, and then search for information regarding illnesses prevalent in the Delta Quadrant; they tuck the information away, a safety net for Medical. Maybe even for Cal, if they’re called on for medical and biological science expertise. But this information is better to have than to wish for.

    Elgor Rae
    Elgor Rae

    A joint post by:
    Elgor Rae, John Simmons, and Cal Everett

    With a quick flash of light the Diligent appeared before the Fourth of July Nebula. The ship stood before the massive wall of shimmering light, a visible mix of red, white, and blue. As the sensors began their local scan, the board lit up with friendly signals. The flotilla that would pass through the gateway. The ships transponder began to receive authentication requests. Operations, tactical, and intelligence officers of the other ships began transmitting update requests and status reports. The helm received formation and flight plans. Meanwhile, incoming data on the nebula flooded ships sensors, along with the anomalous readings originating from the Gateway within.

    // U.S.S. Diligent, Bridge
    // Episode Day 06, 15:00 Hours

    Commander Rae stood behind the helm as the stars shrunk before them on the viewscreen. They had joined the fleet.

    “Local scans picking up twelve Starfleet and Federation-affiliated ships,” Chief Mora immediately reported from her position behind the command pit.

    John was standing behind the intelligence console, watching over the stream of data that was coming in.

    “Everything seems to check out, captain. Everything should be fine” he reported to the captain while still watching the data stream for irregularities.

    John felt a little jump in his stomach, he had never been to the delta quadrant before and now, they were close to being there. He had only heard about the travels of the USS Voyager and the time they spent in the delta quadrant. If everything went alright they would not have to make such a long journey.

    Johns’ head seemed to also jump into action, as a headache started to come up. he sighed and put on his glasses to make sure it would not get any worse. Normally these headaches would tell him something was wrong but in this case, John just guessed that it was because of her nerves.

    Cal begins to sort, organize, and prioritize information as data rushes into their main console. They direct the flow of raw data from the sensors to the department consoles in the lower decks to be analyzed on the fly, prioritizing the readings from the Gateway. Although Starfleet has ample data on this side of the Gateway and the Nebula, it can’t hurt to have their own set; Cal trusts their own eyes and their own people above all else. They’ve gathered and amassed a virtual library of data in preparation for being separated from the rest of the Fleet for forty-five days, but adding to it with their own data makes Cal smile.

    They also begin accepting and transmitting reports from the other ships in the fleet. They join to the massive, interconnected spiderweb of voices and reports and data, receiving and giving in equal measure. The information is fascinating; as Cal skims through it and delegates its examination and storage to the correct sub-department in Science, they tag a few reports for personal examination at a later time.

    Cal glances across the bridge, briefly taking in the other officers and the commander. Emotions, tense and high and sharp, ring across and within the space, battering at the edges of Cal’s mind; anxiety, excitement, tension, fear, confidence, resignation all press against them. They push against the palpable emotional pressure, barricading themselves within their own mind before returning their attention to their work.

    A chime sounded behind the commander from the tactical console. “Incoming transmission, captain,” Chief Mora announced. “Fleet flagship U.S.S. Martinsson. Captain Kidex.”

    Commander Rae turned back towards the front of the deck. “Put him through.”

    The bridge’s holographic projectors engaged to assemble the Betazoid captain of the Martinsson.

    “Welcome to the fleet, Diligent.”

    “Good to be here, captain.”

    Kidex nodded, “we’ve transmitted fleet formation to your helm. Fall in and begin scheduled status reports. Our operations staff will be in touch for any further changes. You’ll receive a final flight plan for passage through the gateway tomorrow by fourteen-hundred.”


    Martinsson out.” As quickly as he appeared, he disappeared. Kidex had more than enough to do coordinating the activity of the flotilla while juggling admiralty on board. Rae didn’t envy the man, but he did appreciate the welcome.

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