"Returns And Changes"
Previous post "Prelude to Requiem For A Dream"

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Deck 1, Observation Lounge
Stardate: 30151.0900

One by one the members of the Senior Staff of the USS ANUBIS made their way into the room. The Native American had been here for nearly an hour now and it was with a certain amount of relief that he welcomed each Officer in to take a seat.

Following the stepping down of Lieutenant Commander Maya as Acting First Officer, the departure of their CMO, Doctor Doyanne and the sudden disappearance of their ILO, Ensign Shar'El, there had been a great many questions that demanded answers.  The Native American had thought long and hard on each of these and found that he had very few, if any, answers to provide to his crew.  The best he would be able to do was to be honest with them and go about the meeting as best he could.

As the Cardassian born Counselor stepped into the room she greeted the Captain with a joyous nod of her head, a simple gesture that actually took the Native American somewhat by surprise.  Having known Eve for as long as he had, this display of joy had been somewhat out of place and provided Erik with yet another question to be answered.

"You're in a good mood this morning," Erik offered to the Counselor who took a sideways step as if to dramatically reveal something that would have been behind her.  The Native American tilted his head ever so slightly to one side before speaking. "Someone on staff has figured out how to use a Jem'Hadar personal cloaking device?"

"What?" Eve asked as she instantly pivoted on her heels to see where the woman who had been following her should have been. "Not again," the Counselor sighed, "she was right there a second ago."

"I'm actually afraid to ask, but I'll bite... who?" the Captain inquired half expecting this to have been some sort of joke meant to help raise the crew's morale, something the Native American suspected had been well below where it should have been.

"Shar'El," the Counselor said in a matter-of-fact manner directing the Captain's attention to the emptiness behind her with a gesture of her hand. "She was right behind me. She came to see me in my office before the meeting and said that she had been cleared to return to duty."

"I am sure that she will show up soon," the Native American offered, trying not to let his own joy become overly visible.  At the very least this had been one less question for him to answer.

"Ladies and gentleman, we seem to be missing someone, namely Admiral Koniki with our new mission orders, but I do have a few items that I can address as we wait for him," the Native American offered as he sat in the chair set at the end of the large table where the rest of the Senior Staff had gathered.  "First, let's start with the medical department.  As I am sure you are all aware, Doctor Doyanne has been transferred to the NEW ALEXANDRIA for special research.  Her departure has left the position of CMO open which Doctor Mizore has graciously accepted to fill.  The timing seems to have been perfect as we welcome Doctor Andromeda T'Leia to our ranks as Assistant Chief Medical Officer."

All eyes turned onto the duo of Doctors who both seemed to wish this part of the meeting done and over with as quickly as possible.  It was easy to see that neither wished to be in the spot light for any lengthy amount of time.

"Next I will cover the situation surrounding our Chief Science Officer and the position of First Officer for the USS ANUBIS," Erik continued looking at Maya with a gentle smile as if to say without words that all would be fine, whatever would come to pass.  "After a great deal of consideration, Lieutenant Commander Maya has opted to dedicate her time and skills to the field that she has proven herself to be an expert in countless times before.  A new First Officer will be assigned to us by Admiral Koniki who should have been here by now."

As if on queue someone walked into the Observation Lounge, but not the person most had expected.  With two PADDs in her hand, Shar'El approached the sitting Captain and presented him with the two hand-held devices.  "Admiral Koniki extends his deepest apologies for not being able to be here in person," the ILO explained her voice sounding somewhat different from what those who knew her remembered.  "Matters of importance have summoned him elsewhere but the details of our next mission are included in the first PADD."

"*Our* next mission..." Maya repeated placing a great deal of emphasis on the first word.  "Glad to have you back," the Chief Science Officer added, the unexpected presence of the ILO having shifted the tone of the meeting for everyone.

Doctor Mizore had been ready to unleash a tidal wave of questions but decided against it, there would be ample time later to insure that the ILO had not suffered physically during her absence.

"Hope you're up for a quick celebration after this meeting," the redheaded Chief Engineer added, not at all trying to hide her own delight in seeing the return of the woman who had so unexpectedly vanished.

"We are all very glad to having you back," Erik stated not certain if in fact the ILO had returned to the ANUBIS in any official capacity given the absence of any rank insignia on her collar.

"I am... happy to be back on board the ANUBIS with all of you," Shar'El said, a short lived flash of joy having actually crossed her features as she spoke those words.  "I believe it would be best if you carried on with the mission briefing has provided by the Admiral," the ILO stated as she pointed to the top PADD currently in the hands of the Native American Captain.

"Alright," Erik nodded as he invited the woman to sit in the empty chair at the other end of the table.  The Captain quickly perused the details of their mission before relaying them to his staff.  "Looks like we are going Intel gathering."

"Where?" The Chief of Security inquired, silently hoping that the mission would not begin too soon after the ball so as to give them all a chance to enjoy the full luxuries present on the Risian Cruise Liner.

"Leave it to Koniki," Erik sarcastically chuckled.  "Our missions will be *on* the MASQUERADE DREAMS, the Risian Cruise Liner on which the ball is being held.  The list of guests is a rather lengthy and impressive one, and our mission will be to mingle as best we can and gather as much information from as many sources as possible."

"Sounds like my kind of mission," Ensign Stark chimed in with.  "Relaxing in the lap of luxury while listening in on various conversations.  I'm calling dibs on the poll level."

"You know you will need to focus on something other than the women in bathing suits Ensign," Eve pointed out in a commanding manner, trying her best to insure that everyone understood that this was a mission first and above all else.

"Counselor Dalziel is correct," the Native American continued.  "We have been assigned quarters on the MASQUERADE DREAMS for the duration of its three-week travels.  The ANUBIS will be following our progress from a safe distance but the idea is for us to blend in as much as possible with everyone on board.  The ball is our ticket in to make a good impression and maybe get close to certain key individuals who will be in attendance.  I will make sure that you all get a copy of the passenger list, so please get acquainted with it.  There are too many of them for us to pick specific targets at this time, but some may rise to the surface as being more of interest to us.  So pack your bags, we are going on a three week cruise."

"Wouldn't happen to have the name of our new First Officer on that second PADD would you?" the Cardassian born Counselor queried, her curiosity having taken the better of her for that brief moment.

"Office of Admiral Charles N. Koniki, Commanding Officer of the NEW ALEXANDRIA complexe and supervisor all of units operating under its jurisdiction," the Native American read out loud from the PADD in question.  "Following a thorough review of the crew's performance during the last mission and the need for the ship to have an Executive Officer, I have decided to assign Lieutenant Commander Shar'El as the ANUBIS' new Acting First Officer.  Lieutenant Commander Shar'El will continue to act as the ship's Intelligence Liaison Officer in addition to taking on all of the duties and responsibilities associated with her rank and position. This promotion and assignment is effective immediately."

Silence spread through the Observation Lounge as each Officer processed what they had just heard. If this had been meant to answer all of the questions the crew might have had, it had failed in the worst possible way, leaving everyone with far more questions than answers.

"Lieutenant Commander?" Erik managed as he placed the PADD down stared at the woman sitting at the far end of the table.

"I am sorry Captain, this was not my choice," Shar'El offered as she met the puzzled gazes of each and every member of the crew one by one.  "All I can add is what I said to the Admiral before this meeting; that I intend to given you all everything that I can because there is no reason for me to do any less as you all deserve *my* best."  The new Acting First Officer paused for a moment as she drew in a long deep breath.  "I can only hope that you will accept me as this ship's Acting Executive Officer, it is truly a privilege and honour to serve you all in this capacity."


Francois Charette

Captain Erik Morningstar
Commanding Officer


Lt. Commander Elan Fairborn
Robotics Engineering Officer