< Star Trek Pathfinder

It was hot, dry day and the wind was no relief; it blasted you with warm air as it wound its way through the towers of the city. Huge, jagged and unbelievably solid rock shaded this Vulcan population centre for the most part from the unforgiving Vulcan sun. Towers rose up from the ground to bore through the 'mountain' above.

Captain Gregory Black of Earth's Starfleet was on the balcony quite a few stories up one of the towers and decided to return from the open air to the conference room where he and his delegation were meeting with the Vulcans. The Vulcans had been as committed to NX-XX, well at least a group within their High Command, and the ship was complete in no small part due to their contribution. Black was greatful for that; officially the Vulcans were still cautioning Earth and Starfleet to slow its rush into space, but they knew they could stop it and a secret few were open to helping humanity once it stepped out. The rationale was that by helping humans who wanted to keep Earth the Vulcans were helping themselves indirectly and it was true the cooperation had led to quite a few agreements that read more like concessions to the pointy eared peoples.

Black entered the air conditioned conference room and relished the suddenly cooler air, a table and quite a few chair were about suggesting a large meeting though really Black had only talked to no more than two Vulcans at a time throughout the morning series of briefings. With him was the Pathfinder's First Officer, a human from Luna, Commander Hauck. The other man present was the Vulcan Mission Specialist assigned to the Pathfinder; a tall and dignified looking Officer who was essentially co-Captain such was the respect expected to be extended to him. Black smirked at the Vulcan who merely raised an eyebrow but remained quiet, the Starfleet Captain instead asked his First Officer how he was going.

Jason shrugged "Nice place they've got here and the view is spectacular."

Black nodded "Brought your camera?"

The First Officer shook his head and lamented "Wish I had though."

An aide entered the room shortly afterwards but didn't address the two humans and made for the Vulcan Mission Specialist so that the two could exchange words in their own language. Black sighed and quietly told Hauck he wish he had the ships Communication Officer, Kersten Papst, with them to tell them both what the devil those two Vulcans were whispering about. The aide left the room after a few minutes discussion, alighted one data card and a dossier, which left the Mission Specialist to turn to them. Black asked:

"What is it Kovar?"

The robed Vulcan answered "The meeting scheduled for now is not going to occur and will not be rescheduled. Admiral T'hrawn apologises for not being able to attend but has been called away on an urgent matter."

Hauck kept quiet but his look away suggested he thought the explanation a 'likely story'. Black understood though, the Vulcan Admiral in charge of their assistance effort had intimated he had run similar projects for the Denobulans and Mazarites and that this Human program was the latest but not to be last time he helped like minded allies.

"Okay Kovar, what does that mean for us then? I understand we're not here to take in the sights."

"We will make our way back to the Pathfinder, which is cleared for launch as of this moment."

That was news, Black thought it was a bit cheeky for the Vulcans to inform him though... the Starfleet guys were saying a few more weeks yet to him. Still the revelation was a welcome one even though it meant a lot of work. Black rubbed his hands together and asked:

"So when do we get going?"

Kovar answered "Our shuttle is at 2045."

Hauck frowned "So we have the entire afternoon off?"

"It would seem so." Kovar finally said, a considered silence keeping him from answering immediately. There was a lot they could do. Hauck hadn't seemed particularly comfortable on the Vulcan world and though it was explained away as the heat it was likely the alien environment that had the man unsettled. The Vulcan nodded at Black.

"Captain, I have some matters I wish to discuss..."

That was pretty much the end of the meeting.


Jason Hauck was wearing the traditional robes of a Vulcan civilian as he walked the streets of the city but his lack of purpose, he was exploring, and his headset camera gave him away as a non-local. He had been surprised when his new assignment had come with a series of non-disclosure papers all citing an obscure few sections in Article 14 of the Starfleet Charter. So when Amberlyn had asked what he was up these days to he'd avoided the subject... not that he told her much but he had been unusual about it- he was being posted to a ship that didn't officially exist and it had systems Earth hadn't even developed for itself yet. He had to stay silent about it for security purposes. She'd noticed his quietness on the matter and teasingly called him a 'boy scout' like she always did when he was a little too serious about his work- then promised to find out at some point later anyway.

Hauck stopped for a moment and moved to the side of the pathway, letting a pair of Vulcans pass him before looking up and snapping a picture of a balcony, everything here was a dusty red colour. He was wandering aimlessly, he knew how to get back to the tower he was staying in but that was about it, he was otherwise boldly going. The walk gave him the opportunity to think, he was the Armoury Chief of the Earth Starship Pathfinder and soon he would be travelling the stars and doing his best to make sure they were safe for the men and women that would follow after him.

He had a crew to meet, having only reviewed personnel records and even then there were new people coming aboard at the last minute that made his job as chief of Security that much more interesting... he didn't know what he had to work with. Well he knew he had a jerk of a Mazarite as his assistant- a man who was as much a source of problems to the job as he was help. Jason had senior staff to introduce himself to, the only person he really knew at the moment was Comander Papst; an Austrian working as the ships Communication chief. She didn't waste anytime being friendly and though he noticed she'd given him the odd side glance he felt it wasn't a bad thing exactly. She was here on Vulcan with them though she had stayed in Shi'Kahr while they'd gone on, the plan was to pick her up before heading out.

Fact was he liked most of the human crew assigned to the ship, all had been specifically chosen to serve aboard the Pathfinder and it meant they were excellent on paper and not too bad in person either. Aloud he didn't have an opinion on the non-human members of the crew, all he had to go on were stereotypes and it didn't help that none of them behaved like humans- all with their own culture's idea of professionalism. A large Vulcan contingent was extremely efficient in their performance reviews but were insular and hadn't integrated too well with the larger crew. A few Denobulans aboard were doing rather well but the couple of Mazarites weren't as good- they were exceptional workers and skilled but their discipline was questionable and off-duty they considered themselves 'unaccountable to anyone'; one had already been reprimanded for trying to bring aboard alcohol. Hauck found himself at a look out point from which he could clearly see down the slope of the city over its towers and smoke stacks into the wide, open, sandy plains where more unusual jagged rock formations were. Vulcan was such an alien world. He was happy to get back to the Pathfinder and his new job.