Episode II: Part II - Stargazer Sets Course For Exoplanet Luyten b
Stardate: Nov. 26, 2096
"Welcome aboard the Stargazer,” Captain Foxwell warmly acknowledged, smiling as he discreetly glimpsed at the photo ID clipped to her collared shirt, a Galactic Fleet logo embroidered on the opposite side. The name on her ID was strangely captivating: Leia Athena, Professor/Asst. Chief Geologist.
“Thank you, Captain,” she eagerly replied, her constellation-blue eyes gazing at Foxwell over her puffy, heart shaped lips, her smile curiously inviting. She was affable and friendly, exchanging pleasantries with Beta, Chief Security Officer Warwick, and other Officers assigned to individually escort the newly embarked guests to their quarters.
“Oh, Captain, before I become too caught up in the moment, can you confirm my father reported aboard?” Leia remembered, having flitted from person to person, starting and ending with the Captain Foxwell. Another enticing smile proceeded the first.
“Your father?” Foxwell asked, a puzzled look confirming he didn’t make the connection, at least not initially.
“Yes, Professor Adana, Chief Geologist and head of the surveying mission. He was with the first group of five to ten personnel that reported aboard initially,” she clarified.
It was then Captain Foxwell remembered speaking with the Professor after he boarded. They introduced themselves, but Foxwell didn’t recall Professor Adana mentioning his daughter was a member of the surveying party, or that she would be the last member of the surveying team to report aboard. He thought it was odd, but not so peculiar that he needed to dwell on it further.
“You are correct, Professor," the Captain replied with a half smile. “He was actually the first member of the surveying party I spoke with. You and your father will be assigned individual state rooms. A member of our security team is escorting him there as we speak,” pausing for a moment as he bent forward and looked at her photo ID again, this time not bothering to be discrete.
She smiled again in response to Foxwell’s obvious second glance. “Please, call me Leia,” she requested in a sugary voice, returning the Captain’s glance. A security team member gathered her personal effects, requesting she follow him to the Stargazer’s crew quarters.
“I’ll accompany you to your cabin,” the Captain cut in, catching the attention of Beta and Dr. Rivera as Foxwell turned to leave with Leia and the security officer. It was apparent there was an attraction of some kind, an observation not lost on Beta.
“Captain, should I expect you on the bridge at 1500 hours?” Beta quickly chimed in, a subtle reminder the Stargazer was to break orbit and depart for the exoplanet Luyten b no later than 1600 hours.
Foxwell pivoted in response to Beta’s question. “That would be an affirmative,” he replied, appearing somewhat irritated by the question.
Dr. Rivera and Beta exchanged a puzzled glance as the Captain departed with his guest and the security officer. “She has a vivacious personality. I’ll give her that,” Dr. Rivera opined.
“I’m not so sure, doctor,” Beta countered, staring pensively at the Captain and Asst. Chief Geologist, both following the security officer in the direction of the turbo elevator.
“What do you mean, ‘not so sure?' Not so sure about what?" Dr. Rivera pointedly asked.
“If you noticed, Doctor, Leia Athena and her father reported aboard separately. There was no acknowledgment of her by Professor Adana when he initially reported aboard. He was the first person of the surveying party to embark the Stargazer. The Chief Geologist and his daughter were at opposite ends of the procession of personnel reporting aboard. “She’s the Assistant Chief Geologist as well as his daughter,” Beta reminded the Doctor. “Why would they not report aboard in tandem? Does that appear reasonable to you?”
Dr. Rivera threw his hands up. “Reasonable?” he asked, emphasizing the word. “Why does everything have to be reasonable?” Perhaps it was just coincidental. Did you ever consider that?”
“There was nothing coincidental about it, doctor,” Beta answered indifferently.
“What are you saying?" Dr. Rivera asked in frustration. “Your reasoning processor is overthinking this, Beta.” The Assistant Chief Geologist was simply being polite, diplomatic - nothing more, nothing less.”
Looking back at Dr. Rivera, Beta unfolded her arms from across her chest, the blank expression on her face as persuasive as any serious expression could convey. “I’m on my way to the bridge in preparation for departure, doctor. I suggest you ponder on our conversation,” she urged, turning and walking in the direction of the turbo elevator.
Dr. Rivera remained where he was, paying scant attention to the docking crew as they began preparations for the two Starships to separate. “I’m not a detective ……, or a psychiatrist," he thought to himself, mulling over his talk with Beta. He threw his hands up again as he exited the docking port.
1600 hours - Bridge:
Captain Foxwell looked quickly around the bridge, confirming all stations were occupied. The Stargazer’s crew had been briefed by the department heads regarding their new mission. “Beta - status report,” he requested.
Beta swiveled her chair in Foxwell’s direction. “All departments report ready for departure, Captain. Docking crew reports the Constellation and Stargazer have successfully separated to a distance of five thousand kilometers. Docking port secured.”
Xuriya turned in Foxwell’s direction. “Sir, personal message received from Captain Mayberry of the Constellation.”
“Read it,” Foxwell directed.
“Aye sir. Per Captain Mayberry: "'Apologies offered for my unavailability to spend time with a deserving friend while docked. As you’re aware, time constraints would not allow for visitation. Wishing you and the crew of the Stargazer, ‘Calm winds and following seas.’”
Captain Foxwell chuckled. “Captain Mayberry and I attended the academy together,” he replied out loud. “He was a good friend - still is,” he continued with a smile, electing not to elaborate. "Send a reply: Class of 88 Alumnus - catch you at the next reunion. Best regards, Captain Foxwell."
“Aye sir,” Xuriya acknowledged.
The bridge crew, grinned. Beta furrowed her eyebrows, then resumed monitoring the sensors at her station.
Captain Foxwell issued orders to break orbit. “Helmsman, navigator, prepare to take us out of orbit. Set a course for Luyten b, light factor 1.5.”
“Acknowledged Captain,” the Navigator replied. “New course heading 014 mark 17, entered and ready to execute.”
“Helmsman, disengage impulse engines, enable fusion drive.”
“Understood Captain. “Impulse engines disengaged, fusion drive enabled, awaiting your order.”
“Aye sir, ahead light factor 1.5,” the helmsman replied, the Stargazer immediately accelerating to five times the speed of light.
Foxwell stood up from his Captain’s chair and walked toward the main viewing screen, then glanced at his Navigator. “Confirm time of arrival to Luyten b, ensign.”
“Two days, 3 hours, 47 minutes, Captain, the Navigator replied.
Foxwell turned around, walking back to the command chair. “Very well, maintain present course and speed.”
“Aye sir,” the Navigator and Helmsman acknowledging in sequence.
Slowly circling the Captain’s chair, Foxwell reminded Beta and Xuriya of the the formal dinner scheduled for 1800 hours. “Xuriya, contact Head of Security Warwick and let him know the Assistant Chief Weapon’s Officer is to report to the bridge immediately to take the conn. Make arrangements for someone from communications to monitor your station.”
“Aye sir,” Xuriya acknowledged.
The Captain continued in the direction of the turbolift, stopping as he glanced at his second officer. “I’ll be in my quarters. You have the bridge. The moment the Assistant Weapons Officer arrives, you and Xuriya are relieved so you can prepare for the formal dinner.”
“Aye Captain,” Beta replied, noting Foxwell appeared a bit restless as he continued into the elevator.
“Captain’s quarters,” Foxwell spoke out loud, the turbolift moving in response to his voice command. Exiting the elevator, Captain Foxwell walked around a corner, the pneumatic doors to his dimly lit quarters opening in response to the microchip embedded in the Galactic Fleet Logo on his uniformed shirt. He walked toward his desk to check for messages on his monitor, then stopped and turned, the doors chiming as soon as they closed behind him. “Enter,” he quietly shouted. The pneumatic doors opened again. Foxwell did not immediately recognize the silhouette of a woman standing at the entrance.
“Hello again, Captain,” she uttered softly, her hands resting against the delicate silk of her flowing evening gown.
She smiled and nodded her head, deftly inviting herself into Foxwell’s quarters, the doors closing behind her.
“I was expecting to see you at the formal gathering at 1800 hours,” the Captain continued, surprised by her unexpected appearance. He gazed at her nebulous blue eyes, then walked closer to her. She was esoteric, different, beautiful.
She reached up and seductively brushed Foxwell’s shoulder. “Maybe I prefer to be escorted by the Captain,” she whispered in a soothingly sweet voice, then paused, looking up and into his eyes,…….“if the Captain has no objections?”
Foxwell placed his arms around her tapered waist and pulled her close, kissing her passionately. Her calamine-pink lips tasted like rose petals. Her voguish dress and burnished complexion emitted an aroma of fragrant perfume that was as jolting as an electric current. She nuzzled his neck with her elegant nose, her evening gown flowing like a rippled waterfall as it dropped alluringly to the floor.
Click to read Episode II Part III "Star Voyagers: "JOURNEY TO PARADISE""