USS Adelphi


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Post 23 - Deep Space Blues

Posted on Thu Sep 10th, 2020 @ 1:29am by Captain Björn Kodak & Commodore Kudred Valyn

Mission: Epilogue 1: The Long March
Location: Captain's Ready Room - Deck One - USS Adelphi (Return Journey)
Timeline: Latter part of the Epilogue/Wormhole Opening

[USS Adelphi - At Warp (Return Journey)]
[Deck One - Captain's Ready Room]
[Latter part of Epilogue/Wormhole Opening]

For a good while, the USS Adelphi had been soaring through the recesses of the Delta Quadrant on their return journey to the Nacene Reach, to make good on their allocated responsibilities within Starfleet's furthest-flung task force, and had managed much of the journey, thus far, with little impediment - save for the occasional complaint from their Haakonian guests, who continued to chafe in frustration at their ongoing situation.

A sort-of peaceful contentedness had fallen across the Adelphi, in spite of their confrontation with the Haakonians and Talaxians, her crew having grown increasingly comfortable with one another and the surprise command of Björn Kodak, who was now sat in his ready room, ruminating. Although beta shift was drawing to a close and the night watch would soon begin, the crew was anxiously anticipating a momentous event: the opening of the Barzan Wormhole, and their first formal contact with Starfleet (and home) since their arrival in the Delta Quadrant a month prior.

Sure enough, the duty watch officer on the bridge comm'ed through to Kodak, and the terminal in his ready room filled with communiques from Starfleet, from both the Alpha Quadrant and Delta-Bravo, their task force's headquarters in the Gradin Belt. And, as expected, nestled within that latter portion of the data package was a file from Commodore Kudred Valyn.

"Good evening, Björn," the holographic representation of the Chameloid's old Academy classmate and friend greeted him, the basic emitter in the office generating a passable facsimile of the half-Cardassian flag officer.

Clearly carefully programmed, the basic representation of Kudred claimed the seat opposite Kodak and looked down warmly at the already-prepared Kotra board, which was neatly-positioned on the commander's desk, the pieces arranged as per their first dialogue before they left for the Delta Quadrant.

"Commander Aarven on Delta-Bravo assured me that this piece of software will make for a convincing representation," Kudred continued, "at least for a time. I've done my best to 'train' it appropriately, but there is only so much you can do with the size of the data stream we could send. And, of course, there is a selection of pre-programmed moves stored in here." He smiled, shimmered a little, and tapped his dark-haired head. "Don't confuse the program too much, mind; even a whole evening arguing with the computer will not have prepared it for a full dialogue on the political situation in the Reach." And now, a slightly knowing look. "Or the Talaxian incident, old friend."

"An interesting approach to this," Kodak smirked from behind his desk, regarding the hologram. The Chameloid made a note to partner up with Oliveria to send a similar program back next month, when the wormhole opened once again. Though Kodak had been an engineer himself once upon a time, his skills were years out of date. "It's good to see you, Kud," the man said, his smirk morphing into an easy smile as he used a nickname from their Academy days. "Especially after the Talaxian business," he nodded slowly, eyeing the hologram as it surveyed the current state of the Kotra board.

"I hope the Admiral -- and yourself," Kodak clarified, "aren't too upset at how I chose to resolve the metreon crisis. I hope Mister Jasaxar and his people are doing well enough on Delta-Bravo?" The Commander imagined the program would likely be up-to-date on such information, despite its simplicity, so simply waited for this approximation of his old friend to make his first move and weigh in with his thoughts before speaking further. Instead, he moved to the replicator and summoned a couple of drinks, which arrived in a swirl of light. He set one drink in front of Kudred -- symbolic, of course, and it would be later recycled -- before retaking his seat, a steaming cup of kaffee in hand.

The holographic commodore looked at the two dice. They had been rolled before the friends had parted company before, meaning Kudred had already known the number of pieces he could move and how far for his turn, and had programmed that into this interactive message. Its delay in making the move appeared to be an affectation, being some carefully-crafted illusion of personality inserted into the message. Finally, it moved the silver pieces that represented Kudred's forces on the board, and he rearranged them heavily into Kodak's side of the board.

As some of the pieces challenged Kodak's, and their true values were determined, it was shown that the half-Cardassian had been largely victorious in the first sweeping, bold move, capturing a few of Kodak's pieces, now awaiting 'rescue' by the Chameloid, who would now have to send his return move (and the result's of Kudred's) back to Delta-Bravo at the next opportunity.

"There is perhaps a longer conversation to be had regarding the Talaxian incident," faux-Kudred said thoughtfully and seriously, looking up from the board to his friend, although there was now the barest hint of this being more of a program than a man, based on the mannerisms and movements. "One that is best had in person, or though more reliable means. Needless to say, Mister Jasaxar and his companions are being well cared-for, and efforts are being made to make contact with the Talaxians in the Gradin Belt. Admiral Cody is minded to assist any asylum seekers looking to the Federation for aid and is enthused about the nature of your moral compass, although the Turei remain mired in bureacracy." Kudred's ridged brow seemed to a darken a little, looking at Kodak meaningfully. "They are not pleased that the Haakonians may now be aware of Underspace."

Kodak smirked as a few of his pieces were swept from the board, taken by Kudred's superior forces in that section. This was a strategy the half-Cardassian had employed before and, by all rights of Kotra standards, it was a smart strategy at that. But Kodak had learned from their many games over the years and had been working on his strategy in the month since their last exchange. Rolling the dice -- hoping for the numbers he needed to appear -- the Chameloid's smirk became a full blown grin. With a jaunty little lift of his shoulders, Kodak reached forward, bringing his reserve battalion into the threatened sector: enough ships to reclaim it from Kudred's forces. And, with the remaining movement afforded by the dice roll, enacted his own bold move. Reaching to the left of the board, he moved a fleet in to threaten a poorly defended section of the Commodore's outer territories. Territories that supplied essential resources Kodak could use to his own advantage if taken...

Looking up from the board, the Chameloid nodded slowly in response to the hologram's commentary on the Talaxians and the Turei's displeasure. "I can appreciate their position. We've potentially exposed the Turei to risk from the Haakonian Order. But we knew coming into this quadrant that our actions here would affect the greater galactic stage. We can only work with the pieces at our disposal," his eyes briefly shifted back to the silver pieces on the Kotra board. "I am relieved to hear that the Admiral is satisfied with our performance out here. And it is good to know that the Talaxians may have further avenues of refuge available to them," Kodak nodded to his holographically-represented friend.

"I did not expect to command a starship any time soon, Kud. You and I both...know," the Chameloid inferred something from their past history, "my difficulties in staying in one place. But I think I've found a niche here that will allow me to affect real change. Does your and the Admiral's thoughts on our performance mean my command of the Adelphi will continue?" Kodak's thoughts drifted back to an earlier conversation with Doctor-turned-Commander Karim, who inferred such an eventuality was not necessarily assured.

Whilst there was an awkward delay in the Kudred program, a small smile suddenly appeared on his face, as it worked to assess the most recent input from Kodak. Presumably, their experiences with the Xu Shan had indeed been given some form of presence in the interactive message's design, given the knowing expression it now wore. Interestingly, those experiences that had led Kodak to not settle had, by contrast, resulted in Kudred taking great pains to avoid starship command, or so it would same on face value. The man rarely seemed keen to discuss such matters.

"Admiral Cody has quickly developed great faith in your adaptable nature and innovative thinking, old friend," holo-Kudred said warmly, having examined and recorded the Kotra move Kodak had made. He rolled the dice and observed the figures, which would be transmitted to the true Kudred during the next transmission. "In fact," he continued, now looking back to Kodak, "we both believe that it is your unbridled sense of justice and moral compass, even in the face of adversity and the allure of pragmatism, that we need to spearhead Task Force Thirty-Eight operations here in the Delta Quadrant."

As Kudred allowed the words to sink in for a moment, the conversation and manner of his tone indicating they were leaning towards a crescendo of sorts, the hologram's expression seemed to take on a darker, more 'Cardassian' visage. It was an expression that Kodak had come to associate more with Kudred's more serious command persona, and one that was often employed during the heated debates that occurred during their Academy years - especially on matters regarding the Cardassian theatre of operations.

"However," he said, "whilst your gambit has seemingly paid off on this occasion and allowed the merits of mercy and goodwill to prevail... I have reservations about the frontier mindset I fear may encroach on the sensibilities of the Adelphi and the rest of your task group. Nevertheless, you bear the flag of the Federation well, and the admiral and I, of a sorts, have reached an accord regarding the attitude we must be taking in these more lawless and troubled regions, so far from home."

Kudred's simulated amber eyes locked onto Kodak's own remarkable ones. "After all, 'only Janeway could go to the Delta Quadrant'," he added, adapting a well-known Terran phrase that had found a home within the Delta Exploration Initiative's early hierarchy. "Your position on the Adelphi is being made permanent... Captain Kodak."

A PADD materialised in Kudred's hand, which he offered up to the Chameloid, with the full details of the change in command - and rank - clearly notated. From behind the PADD, Kudred was smiling once again.

"I am sorry that I could not be there in person, small velvet box in hand, to pin the new pip to your tunic myself." The holographic messenger glanced over to a small image that was resting nearby, which depicted a selection of 2370s-era cadets, including two much-less bearded and recognisable figures. "That's three of us, now... Although you already command a vessel of your own, and your command of this vessel is legitimate - it is deserved."

Kodak studied the holographic version of his friend intently, wondering where the commentary was leading. As was so customary for the real Kudred, the holo-Commodore had a way of building up to announcements that heavily favored metered cadence: a throwback, perhaps, to the great orators of Cardassia's past. And as the point was, at last, reached, the Chameloid couldn't help but let loose an extended smile as the new orders and promotion notification were both transferred to his own PADD.

"Captain, eh?" the Commander-no-longer beamed. "And here I thought I'd be schlepping around the cosmos as a permanent, career XO," smirked Kodak, rising once again from his chair and moving over to the replicator. Keying in a few commands, he soon turned with the afore-mentioned velvet box in hand, holding it up for the Commodore to see. "You may not really be here, Kud, but I'm quite honored to have received this news from you. Even if it's through a holographic proxy," he chuckled while opening the box and withdrawing the new pip.

Reaching up to place the pip on his collar, Kodak regarded his faint reflection in the glass of the expansive window his office featured. Nodding to himself, he turned back to Kudred and smiled yet again. "I think it looks good. Will take a bit to get used to the extra weight, though," he said, tone turning slightly somber. Whether he meant the extra weight of the pip, the position, or both went unsaid but the real Kudred would likely understand the slight pause in Kodak's reflective thinking.

"Computer," the newly-minted Captain spoke up. "Please send a message to the crew updating them on these developments."

"Message transmitted," the computer intoned its reply.

"Very well, then," Kodak nodded to his holographic friend. "I will continue to ensure your and the Admiral's faith in me is well-placed. And I look forward to further assisting in the direction of our efforts out here in the Delta Quadrant, old friend. For now, though, I should probably head down to see Captain Va'trel. We'll soon be dropping him and his people off at the pre-designated rendezvous point. Don't want to keep them waiting," he nodded with finality. "Talk to you next month, Kud. And...thank you," he said sincerely, offering a wistful smile and a wave before slipping out into the bridge at large once again.

It was time to bring this particular chapter of the Adelphi to a close...

*** A post by... ***

Captain Björn Kodak
Commanding Officer


Commodore Kudred Valyn (via holo-proxy)
Task Force Executive Officer, Delta-Bravo


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