[USS Vanguard] RPG: So It Begans

  • From: "andywoho@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx" <andywoho@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: ncv80221@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 7 Jun 2004 11:05:04 -0500

Capt. Dominic Santos
USS Vanguard
After the Kieran Post

OoC: The following takes place after my and Steve's (Kieran) posts. I move the 
Ark thread forward with Mandrake, McCaw and Darkwater, and Santos makes an 
important announcement that includes all staff/players. We'll proceed once 
you've had a chance to post, if you wish. (And since it's been a while, I 
wouldn't mind hearing a few responses.)

Sorry for the delay; I've been out of town more than I've been home lately.


Dominic Santos knew that what he was doing was probably a mistake, but he 
couldn't stop himself.

Once, back in the Academy, Bonaparte Stamper and Henny Silva had played a 
practical joke on Cadet Santos by convincing him that their Intermediate 
Astrophysics instructor, D.J. Dhrumba, had discovered that Santos had 
questioned the validity of one of his sources, and yet had quoted that source 
in his paper.

Dhrumba was initially confused why Santos had approached him (since he had 
found the paper more than acceptable, even a somewhat insightful read), but by 
the time both teacher and student realized what had happened, the damage had 
been done.

Santos received a "below average" score on his work--not because of its 
quality, Dhrumba noted, but because Santos showed a "lack of judgement and lack 
of confidence" in his own ability.

Nick Santos didn't speak to Bonaparte or Henny for a week.

And here he was again, before dawn, looking for the Vanguard's Acting Executive 
Officer, Zena Quetan. The XO, Soman Drath, who had been Santos's trusted right 
hand from nearly the time he took command of this vessel, was gone, either 
temporarily or permanently--who knew?

Santos had just received possibly one of the worst pieces of news that he 
could, that on the mission to the Borg homeworld, he would die. Did he question 
the validity of this prediction? Of course.

But to do so, he would have to question the validity of its source, and that 
brought to mind the man known only as Walker, who had appeared throughout 
Santos's history with the Vanguard at seemingly crucial junctures--once during 
Santos's appointment as its commander, again when he was lost in the Nexus.

Even the Vorgon, who had dogged the Vanguard so relentlessly, had relayed this 
idea to Soman and Quetan when Santos was in and out of consciousness following 
the assassination attempt on his life.

Santos arrived at Zena Quetan's quarters and stood outside, debating again 
whether to announce himself. How would she feel, he thought, to see her 
commanding officer (her friend?) standing outside her quarters before "dawn," 
wringing his hands over this prediction, something that if read in a novel, 
they would consider a contrived plot device?

He rang the door chime.

After a minute when Zena hadn't answered the chime and no answer seemed 
forthcoming, Santos began to back away.

The door slid open.

There, in loose gray exercise trousers and a white T-shirt, stood Counselor 
Jaav E'thexx.

"Captain...?" the counselor said, blinking the sleep out of his eyes.

Santos was slightly embarrassed as he hadn't expected to find Jaav here. But he 
was amused to see that Jaav's T-shirt read "Madame Pomeroy's House of 
Confections, Chocolates and Sweets - Risa."

"Are you all right?" Jaav asked, getting his bearings. Santos was gratified, 
strangely, NOT to hear "Is everything all right?", which would have been inane. 
When the captain of the vessel visits you before dawn and a communique or 
intraship will not do, then obviously, everything is not all right.

"Jaav," Santos said, taking a step to the side. "It's all right. It can wait. 
Sorry to have bothered you."

"Jaav?" came Zena Quetan's voice. She appeared behind Jaav, wearing a gossamer 
robe over a silk nightgown. "Captain?" she said, looking at Santos.

"Now I've woken the both of you," Santos said ruefully.

Quetan, blinking at the lights outside her quarters, said, "It's all right. Why 
don't you come in, Captain?"

Before Santos could protest, Jaav grabbed his arm and smiled. "It's all right. 
Let's have a cup of tea and talk over whatever's on your mind."

It didn't take long for Santos to tell Quetan and E'thexx what Walker had told 
him. They let him talk without interrupting.

"I know you can, Zena, but I need to ask you, anyway. (Hell, you have the 
experiences of a Starfleet admiral as part of your multi-lifetime experiences. 
You probably have the entire command staff beat all to hell and back with the 
star-hours you--and he--have logged.)" Zena and Jaav both smiled at Santos's 
use of the outdated, almost archaic, use of "star hours."

"If called upon to do so, if I should be...gone, will you take command of this 
vessel? I know you would have to as part of your duties, but will you take 
command, not look back, to move forward, and command this vessel and protect 
her and the crew from threats both external to and internal to Starfleet?"

Quetan frowned and considered Santos over her cup of tea. She blew gently into 
her teacup and said, "That's an odd question, Nick. Do you know something we 

"Just call it a hunch. You know, I once had a mentor..."

"It wouldn't happen to be Captain Miller, would it? That is, Mandy?" E'thexx 

"How did you know?"

"Just call it a hunch," E'thexx replied, returning Santos's smile.

"Mandy told me that commanding a Starfleet vessel using your hunches was either 
the best or the worst thing you could do. If you trusted yourself, it was the 
best. If you operated from a position of fear, it was the worst."

"So where does this hunch come from?" E'thexx asked, slipping almost seemlessly 
into his counselor's role.

Santos shook his head and shrugged. "I don't know. But I have a hunch that if 
we do this, we do it without the consent of the powers-that-be in Starfleet, 
and we go rogue. And if my passing should come about as a result of that, you, 
Zena, would have to make the hard decisions after I'm gone--whether to 
surrender this vessel, and if you do, to whom. It's an unfair burden."

"I didn't join Starfleet because I thought it would be easy," the Trill said.

Santos nodded and ran his hand through his hair.

"That's as good an answer as any." Santos nodded and stood up. "Thank you. 
There will be a staff meeting at 0900 this morning. This close to Earth, I will 
allow anyone who wants to disembark this vessel if they choose not to 
participate in this highly unsanctioned mission."

Quetan and E'thexx nodded at him.

Without another word, Santos turned and left.

He spent the rest of the morning in his Ready Room. He was not surprised to see 
that Kavan was on duty early. He let the Chief Petty Officer spread the word 
about the meeting, to be held in the Briefing Chambers, senior staff only.

The biggest surprise of the morning came an hour before the meeting.

Kieran Darkwater entered Santos's Ready Room.

"I know what you're about to do, and I can't join you," the A&A Officer 
announced without preamble.

"Well, that was quick. If anyone had doubts, I would have expected you, 

Darkwater shook his head impatiently, as if explaining the gravity effects of 
twin supernova to a learning-disabled Pakled child.

"No. I...we have a different mission. One that could aid what you're doing."

"Back up and tell me what you know," Santos said.

"Your hologram has sent us on a quest."

Now it was Santos's turn to look impatient.

"What the hell are you talking about, Kieran?" the captain asked.

"The churchman. The Father. Whatever you call him. We're to proceed on a quest, 
for perhaps one of the most important lost artifacts that exists in the galaxy. 
And it may tie directly to what you're doing."

"And what is it I'm doing?" Santos asked.

"You're fulfilling your quest to the Borg homeworld," Darkwater said with a 
dismissive wave of his hand. "And if you want any chance of living through it, 
then Sam McCaw, Cynan Mandrake and I will need to find the Ark of the Covenant."

"Now I know I'm dreaming. I need to hear all this before I've had a cup of 

"You don't drink coffee," Darkwater offered.

"Maybe I should start," Santos said. "Tell me what you know from the beginning."

After Darkwater finished, Santos leaned back in his chair. "Incredible," he 

"We need to leave immediately," Darkwater said.

"I agree. Take the Coba del Rey, file a flight plan to the nearest system of 
your true destination and have it on record with every authority on Earth."


"Drown them with 'paperwork,' and they'll ignore you. It's the first rule of 
bureaucracy. I have no intention of Starfleet discovering your true 

Darkwater smiled. "Aye, sir."

"Mister Mandrake is in command."

"He and McCaw are already in Shuttlebay Two."

"That does not surprise me in the least."

Santos and Darkwater stood.

"Godspeed and good hunting."

Darkwater nodded. Without another word, he turned and left.

Santos met with the senior staff in the Briefing Chambers. He told them 
everything, and up to a point of Darkwater, McCaw and Mandrake's true mission.

"I cannot compel any of you to join this mission," Santos concluded. "When we 
break up this meeting, I will return to my office. I expect you all to brief 
your staff and for your staff to keep this confidential, no matter the outcome 
of their decision. Anyone who wishes to leave has until 1100 to do so.

"After that, the Vanguard, using the coordinates given to me and handed over to 
M.J. Valentine, will proceed to the Borg homeworld."

[To be continued]
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