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An Unexpected Opportunity

Posted on Sun Jun 28th, 2009 @ 2:12pm by Brian Mallory

Mission: Recruitment
Location: Starbase 376
Timeline: Let's say about a week ago.

Brian Mallory never thought he'd be happy to see the inside of another Starfleet facility, but after spending five days cooped up on an overcrowded, overtaxed, short-range transport, he was absolutely elated when he stepped through the airlock into the terminal at Starbase 376. It wasn't just the five days on the transport, or the week on the Yridian freighter before that. After everything that had gone on in the past three months, he was just glad to be anywhere besides where he'd been.

He still wasn't sure exactly what had happened. Obsidian Colony had been a fine place, when he'd arrived. But all too soon, the situation on Providence, and in the entire sector, had gone to hell in a hovercart almost overnight. And for once, it had nothing to do with Brian. So he'd packed up and warped out on the first ship out for other parts. It didn't matter that he was close enough to Klingon territory to smell the gagh, he was just glad to be out of there.

Not for the first time, he felt a pang of nostalgia for his days on Walkabout. But they were gone, too, and wouldn't be back. He had no idea where he was going to go from here, but for right now, that was fine. He just wanted to get lost in the crowd. That, at least, was something he found easy. As physically average as he was, Brian could blend in just about anywhere this side of the Tholian Assembly. No one ever gave him a second glance, and he liked it that way.

And so now he let himself get swept into the throng as they milled about the terminus. With his duffel bag slung over his shoulder, he made his way to where the arrival/departure schedule was displayed on an oversize viewscreen. Within a few hours there were ships leaving for Sherman's Planet, the Rigel colonies, Belle Terre, Earth, and even Risa. While that last had a certain appeal -- he could definitely use some down time -- his last experience planetside had been disastrous, and he was sick of ground beneath his feet, for now.

That left a station or a ship. And since he had less than zero desire to remain on Starbase 376, Brian walked down the promenade to another set of screens. These were smaller, and more crammed with information: job listings, crew applications, personals ads, "opportunities of a lifetime" and the like. He highlighted and enlarged the "space facilities" employment section and scrolled through the adverts.

The research department on Typhon Station was seeking a shuttle pilot for archaeological expeditions. Tempting, but that would take him back towards the Neutral Zone. He moved on. Deep Space Station K-7 was looking for a tribble wrangler. Uh, no thank you, he thought, thinking about his cat fever multiplied by twenty-thousand. Other facilities were looking for dockhands, engineers, comms specialists, and so forth. Not one appealed to him at the moment.

I could just hop another transport to somewhere else and see where I wind up, Brian thought. He had taken that approach before at times, but he decided against it and scrolled into the next section, civilian starship crew. The wounds of Walkabout were still somewhat fresh, but he figured it couldn't hurt to at least look.

But when he saw the first posting, he realized it could.

Pilot sought for freighter's first voyage under new command. Experience with Groumal class preferred. Reply to W. Jones, Capt, SS Warden.

Such a simple advert. Nothing exceptional about it at all, really. Except that something in Brian's gut was doing loop-de-loops. It might be wishful thinking, but was worth looking into, at any rate. The similarities between this SS Warden and a certain SS Walkabout might run deeper than just those of sister ships.

Opportunity may not have knocked, but it had peeked in the porthole and caught him with his pants down.

As if on autopilot, Brian called up the Warden's docking information. Not bothering with a message, he set off for the freighter's berth.


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