(( Officer’s Lounge, USS Veritas ))
:: As the wide doors to the officer’s lounge slid open, Mei’konda made his way in with a few little boxes tucked under his arms. It was one of the parts of the job that he savored more than others - the opportunity to recognize their ship’s complement for a job well done. ::
:: It was also a welcome respite from reading the news reports that had been coming in from the Menthar Corridor, the area of space where he’d spent most of his career before his assignment to Starbase 74, and then the Veritas. It wasn’t looking good with the Romulans’ announcement that they were pulling out of Astrofori One. He hadn’t spent much time on Astrofori One during his time in the Menthar Corridor, but he’d spent enough to know that a space station that large and complicated wouldn’t do well with a quarter, and perhaps soon half, of its logistical support withdrawn. ::
:: One thing was sure. It meant that there was little likelihood of them getting reinforcements in the Shoals any time soon. Mei’konda made his way over to where the Captain was, already standing near one of the windows and looking out over Havley’s Hope. He spoke quietly to her. ::
Mei’konda: Hello, Caaptain. Our couriier shuttle returned from the edge of the Shoals about an hour ago. Did you have a chaance to read the reports?
Rahman: I did, actually.
::She shook her head, letting out a long sigh.::
Rahman: Most troubling...
:: With communications in the Shoals as difficult as they tended to be, it was sometimes faster to send a shuttle to the edge of the tetryon fields to communicate with the nearby comm buoys in real time, rather than wait hours, days, or weeks for a direct subspace signal. ::
Mei’konda: Yes. I wonder what Captain Kells would thiink about this.
Rahman: I’m just glad he was able to see the Invicta Expedition through without the political tension that’s risen now. It might have put the whole endeavor in jeopardy.
::She looked over at the officers that had gathered in the lounge, waiting for their captain and first officer to begin the ceremony. They likely had no idea yet of the gathering storm clouds.::
Rahman: Starfleet Command has ordered two task forces to the Romulan border. I don’t know whether I’m more frustrated or relieved that we’re unable to join the rest of the fleet.
::She looked back at her first officer.::
Rahman: I’m not one to run away from a fight, Number One. Still, as I reflect on a recent conversation I had with Ensign Galven about the dual nature of Starfleet -- discovery and defense -- a part of me wishes to shield them from that part of the service. To leave their dreams as explorers untarnished.
Mei’konda: Well… in either caase, toniight should help distraact us. I’ve brought everythiing, if you waant to gather the crew.
Rahman: Yes, let’s get started.
::She walked forward towards the front of the room near the windows and turned to face her staff, the stars to her back.::
Rahman: Ladies and gentlemen, I see we all seem to be in good spirits.
:: Settling in to the Captain’s right, Mei’konda folded his arms behind his back and gazed out over the assembled officers, junior and senior, as well as some of their crew. They didn’t tend to be overly strict on the Veritas as to who had access to the officers lounges. ::
Mei’konda: A well earned respiite. Welcome, everyone.
::She nodded approvingly before recapping their recent success at Havley.::
Rahman: Starfleet’s mission has always been ultimately not just to go boldly out into the unknown but to seek out new life. To meet other species that share our galaxy--or even beyond.
::She looked around the room from face to face, old and new.::
Rahman: Sometimes, that new life is in the most unexpected of places like a centuries old colony world. In what began as a missing persons case that turned into a delicate diplomatic situation, you all have performed your duties in the best traditions of Starfleet, and Commander Mei’konda and I would like to honor your individual achievements now in the gathered presence of your friends and colleagues.
:: Mei’konda settled the small boxes he’d brought with him onto the podium, so that Rahman would have easy access to them. ::
::She first called up Commander Mei’konda’s team that had gone to investigate one of the abandoned mines and ended up making contact with Tk’ton. Mei’konda perked his ears up, and joined Kelrod, Dugoras, and del Vedova in front of the podium. ::
Rahman: Gentlemen, first contacts are inherently dangerous. A misplaced word or gesture can irrevocably harm the future relationship between a new species and the Federation. For your successful opening of dialogue with Tk’ton that allowed us to eventually come up with a solution for the co-existance of the colonists and Malacosladae on Havley, I hereby award you with the First Contact Ribbon. Congratulations.
:: Mei’konda aimed a pleased smile back up at the Captain, and nodded toward the others. ::
Mei’konda: I haave my team to thank for their willingness to eschew saafety for a chance at a peaaceful contact. Thank you, everyone.
Kelrod / Dugoras / del Vedova: Response
Rahman: Next, Lt. Commander Rosek, will you please come forward with your team.
:: Mei’konda stepped to one side, to make more room for Rosek and the others. There were some awards he was grateful not to receive. ::
Commander Mei’konda Delano
Captain Roshanara Rahman
Commanding Officer, USS Veritas