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[color=darkslategray][u][b]Year 3027, Narisyan Armed Forces Base, General Rakon’s Office[/b][/u]

[b]”Your expedition leaves in four hours, Colonel. I thought it would be necessary to remind you that while the military’s involvement in this is of great importance, you’ll have to remember that despite being ranking officer you don’t call all the shots. Despite my personal feelings, the CIF is very adamant about keeping your chain of command deviations in mind despite your qualifications. I don’t think they’ll ever let you live down the “Seichzen Incident” either…regardless of how much we’ve beaten that dead horse over the years.”[/b]

Colonel DeSouza stood at attention during the entirety of General Rakon’s pre-launch speech. He was made aware long ago that there would be a separate expedition leader appointed to the crew, but part of the agreement on the side of the military was that three officers be appointed under the direct authority of Colonel Marcus DeSouza. He was less than thrilled with the idea of having someone in a higher position of authority as him, but it didn’t come as a shock either. Not only was the military involvement to be downplayed drastically from what the normal standards for such a mission would be, but doubts still lingered in the back of the CIF’s heads about Marcus’s ability to objectively lead a full team ever since his major past admonishments.

[b]”Sir, if I may. You’ve already informed me that she’s a civilian, but what actual credentials does she have?”[/b] Marcus asked, keeping his focus straight-forward.

[b]”Dr. Henderson is an acclaimed and certified expert in the field of ancient civilizations and has extensive experience with space expeditions. Her father is Patrick Henderson.”[/b] General Rakon replied, flipping through the file for Brianna Henderson.

[b]”Patrick Henderson’s daughter? I remember seeing her in the papers a few times with her father. Who would have thought she had progressed as far as the CIF’s current infatuation.”[/b]

General Rakon eyed Marcus briefly looking up from the files in front of him. [b]”In any case, you two will have to learn to get along if this is to be a success. Remember to respect her command. It’s imperative for this expedition to not be under sole military jurisdiction. It was the only way this crew could even be put together in accordance to international agreements.”[/b]

[b]”Of course sir, I assure you everything will be fine.”[/b] Marcus assured his commanding officer. Rakon nodded back in acknowledgement and proceeded to see him out of the office.

[center]* * * * *[/center]

As the door opened, Marcus noticed a thin framed redheaded woman standing to the left of the door. She nodded to the uniformed officer who had escorted her and he took his leave. Marcus observed as General Rakon walked up to the woman and extended his hand to shake hers.

[b]”Colonel, this is Kendra Erikson, she’ll be the engineer and co-pilot for the Argo Navis.”[/b] General Rakon introduced them.

[b]”Kendra? Is that really you?”[/b] Marcus asked, extending his hand with a curious gaze. She took his hand and smiled back.

[b]”Marcus…I mean, Colonel. It’s good to see you again…sir.”[/b] she replied, tripping a bit over how she should address him. General Rakon switched his focus back and forth on the two a bit befuddled.

[b]”You two know each other?”[/b] he inquired.

Marcus cleared his throat, keeping his hands clasped behind his back, [b]”Ms. Erickson and I worked together a few years ago aboard the Aquila. If I’m not mistaken I believe that was your last year in service.”[/b] Marcus explained, turning his attention back to Kendra toward the end.

Kendra nodded, [b]”It was, since then it’s been strictly engineering work with some test flights here and there.”[/b]

[b]”Well, you two can proceed down to the ship bay. Dr. Henderson should be waiting there already. The rest of your crew should be arriving anytime now, so when they arrive be sure to get well acquainted.”[/b] Rakon said, saluting the two and seeing them off.

[center]* * * * *[/center]

Marcus and Kendra took their leave and walked down the hallway toward the large security coded double doors leading to the entrance to the docking area. Marcus swiped his I.D card and passed the retina scan.

Marcus felt at ease at seeing a familiar face, not only a familiar one but also a trustworthy one. [I]’She still looks as beautiful as she did back then.’[/I] he thought to himself as the two passed through the first set of security doors. Not that it really made much of a difference. To Marcus, there were no redeemable features a person could have if they were incompetent at what they were appointed to do. He was an easy-going guy most of the time in terms of his personality, and enjoyed joking around with people as opposed to being serious all the time. As time went on since the “Seichzen Incident”, there have been remnants of a burdensome sentiment looming over Marcus in the eyes of the governmental branch of the CIF.

Marcus and Kendra approached the last security door as Marcus once again did what was needed to gain access. Kendra looked over at Marcus and turned back, taking some strands of hair out of her eyes.

[b]”They told me the commanding officer of the crew would be a Colonel from the Narisyan army. I have to admit I didn’t expect to see you.”[/b] Kendra mentioned, as they walked through the double doors.

[b]”They promoted me upon appointing me to this expedition, reluctantly I’m sure. Even though the military has always been on my side, the higher ups in the government have seen fit to tag me with their uncertainties.”[/b] Marcus explained.

[b]”I’ve heard…because of what happened in Seichzen, right?”[/b] Kendra asked, but was met with Marcus’s silence. She turned her attention back forward and in a way thought that asking that was probably unnecessary.

[b]”It’s in the past…I mean they have to still have some kind of trust for me if they’ve ultimately agreed with the military’s recommendation to appoint me as commanding officer, right?”[/b] Marcus asked rhetorically and optimistically, cracking a sly grin on his face clearly showing disregard for what the CIF politicians thought of him.

The two crew members reached the dock where the Argo Navis is located and passed by with greetings from mechanics and assistants on their way to the entrance ramp of the ship. They were able to hear a stern female voice giving out orders to certain mechanics and reading off things for a checklist to herself. A bit further and they could see her observing the surroundings of the ship with a CCB (computerized clip board) in hand. She stood at a rather short five feet even, but her posture was taut. Marcus and Kendra stood beside on another in the entryway to the ship and observed a bit before calling her attention.

Marcus cleared his throat and proceeded to speak, [b]”I take it you’re Dr. Henderson.”[/b] She looked up from her CCB and eyed Marcus firmly. She lightened her expression slightly and walked over to the two.

[b]”Yes, I am Brianna Henderson. You must be Kendra Erickson, and Colonel Marcus DeSouza. A pleasure to meet you both.”[/b] she said, extending her hand to shake both of theirs. [b]”I must apologize but I’m just finishing up here, so I’ll be with you in just a few moments.”[/b]

Brianna walked back and continued with the task she had been in the middle of. Marcus turned his body to face outside of the ship and then at his watch to see that it was close to three hours to launch time.

[b][I]’Well…she doesn’t seem so bad.’[/b][/I] he thought to himself, a bit unsure of how to judge their expedition leader at that moment. He placed his bags down for the moment and took a stretch as he waited for the other members of the crew to arrive.
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One hundred push-ups, two hundred sit ups, and a two mile run later, Lt. Vayne was showering off in his barracks. He had an appointment shortly to meet the only crew he would be having for some time. Morrison had worked hard to get a spot on the much-hyped [b]Argo Navis[/b]. It seemed to him that his particular talents were needed to ensure the safety of the crew. As much as he tried to maintain an indifferent and unaffectionate exterior, he couldn’t help but feel honored that he was chosen. Excitement ran wild through his body, and if it weren’t for the water running over his body, his palms would probably be sweating.

An hour later, he was walking out of his front door, duffle bag in tow. Dressed in slim black pants and a dark red jacket, he exuded a fighter’s presence despite his otherwise civilian appearance. Catching the rail train, he rode his way towards the space port. Morrison knew that this mission spelt a new chapter in his life, and it caused him to overlook all the major events before him. Morrison wasn’t a cold man, he wasn’t an invincible man, but the act of violence and combat never startled him. Fighting, and often times killing, his enemies never seemed anything but natural.

He questioned his humanity often, wondering why he never felt guilty after taking the life of another man, and could never find a respectable answer. He rationalized that it was probably his upbringing. Son of a soldier rose to be a fighter in the halls of combat training and military school. While Morrison was a fairly normal person in his civilian activities. He had women, he had friends, and he had hobbies. But often times he would feel isolation. Like a monster, or something less human. Like a weapon.

While he rode the train, he realized that his mind was processing all the necessary information needed in the case should the train's occupants be enemy soldiers. He analyzed each person’s body structure, quirks, movements, and the interior of the train itself. By the time he had realized what he’d just done, he felt even more alone within himself. [i] What’s wrong with me?[/i]

The trained stopped in front of the Trans-Galactic space station. Morrison stood up and gave a last look to the train before stepping off. Making his way towards the docking gate for the Argo, he noticed the heavy amount of security around it. He flashed his Military I.D. to the two guards. [b] “Right this way, Lieutenant.”[/b] one of them said, moving out of his way as he passed by. Scanning his retina and I.D., the double doors opened and he entered.

The ship amazed Morrison with its clearly well designed exterior and interior. Stepping into the docking door, he maneuvered through various passages and air locks, following the signs across the walls towards the bridge where he was instructed to meet his crew. Stopping right before the final door, Morrison took a final deep breathe and walked forth into the room. Raising his hand, he brought himself to a proper salute, [b] “Lieutenant Morrison Vayne, pleased to meet you all.”[/b]
A small group greeted him. Two fairly attractive women and a single military man, the famed Colonel DeSouza. [b] “At ease, soldier… there’ll be no need for that from here on out.”[/b]

Morrison brought his hand down, [b] “Yes sir.”[/b]

DeSouza simply smirked, while the two women chuckled a bit under their breath. [b] “Calm down, Vayne. Take a seat and relax, we have a few more people to meet before the grand tour is given.”[/b]

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[COLOR="Indigo"][SIZE="1"]Brianna turned her back on the two arrivals. Proper introductions could wait until after she finished overseeing the equipment and supplies being loaded onto the [B]Argo Navis[/B]. As much as she wished one could simply sit back and let them do their job, experience told her that left to their own devices and things would not be put where they belonged. A maxim that held true as she had already been required to redirect where things were being put three times.

As the last item was being loaded she checked off the last thing on her list and then pulled up the information about the crew. [I]Colonel Marcus DeSouza... Why does that name sound familiar?[/I] With a negligible shake of her head she tucked the CCB under her right arm and turned back to face the pair.

"[B]Thank you for waiting. It will be a little while before the others arrive, or so I've been told, so if you'll follow me I'll show you where to stash your gear.[/B]" Brianna smiled a bit. "[B]At least until quarters are assigned.[/B]" She waited patiently for the two of them to pick up their gear and then after a word to the staff who had loaded the ship they walked up the ramp, the cargo doors closing behind them.

Brianna lead them at a brisk pace through the ship, stopping briefly while they set their gear down in the mess hall and then headed for the bridge. "[B]Now let me make sure I understand this Colonel. My instructions were that this is a co-operation between the CIF and the Military. That the three officers,[/B]" She paused to pull out the CCB and read the names off the list. "[B]Lt. Morrison Vayne, Major Cameron James and Captain Teresa Schovick are under your command[/B]."

"[B]Correct.[/B]"

With a side glance at Marcus, Brianna continued as she followed the corridor leading to the bridge. "[B]In that case Colonel, I will be blunt. I have never worked with the military, nor have I been required to essentially share command for an expedition. So I hope you'll be patient with my lack of knowledge as far as the structure of command goes. Just as I'll be forgiving of your lack of knowledge for an expedition.[/B]" She paused briefly at the door leading to the bridge, turning to face Marcus, waiting for a reply. Searching his face for some clue as to what he really thought of being assigned to work with a civilian.

"[B]Fair enough.[/B]" Marcus replied with an expression that Brianna found unreadable.

[I]This should be interesting, father never did like the military. I wonder why?[/I] It was a fact that he never let Brianna forget. When she had told him of the assignment, the very first thing he had said was '[I]working for the military is a mistake, I thought I taught you better than that.'[/I] Even now the memory had her wanting to roll her eyes. The conversation had gone down hill even further after she had refused to budge. It was amazing to her how even retired, her father still tried to give her orders. Brianna shook her head a bit, coming back to the present.

With a shrug she turned and entered the bridge. Immediately heading over to what was clearly the central area of the bridge. Brianna set the CCB down on the seat and then turned back to talk to the others. But neither one of them was very talkative. [I]Well this is going to be rather interesting.[/I] Brianna thought. [I]It's going to a bit boring if no one says much.[/I] Her thought was interrupted at the sound of someone entering the bridge, introducing themselves as Lieutenant Morrison Vayne.[/SIZE][/COLOR]
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Michael couldn't help but be excited as he finished packing his things into a couple of bags sitting on his bed in his hotel. Even though he had applied for the position of translator and foreign relations personal on the [B]Argo Navis[/B] he had not expected to actually be selected for the assignment. There were too many others in the field with more experience than he had. Plus his boss had made it quite clear that if he had any say in the matter, Michael would not get the position. Why that stuck up arrogant jerk had it in for him he would never understand. It was part of why he applied, Michael had been looking for a different job for quite some time.

He finished tucking a few more things into his bags, closed them up and then tucked his Id and other items he would need for the train ride to the space port in his breast pocket. His thoughts were still elsewhere as he left and made his way through town to the train station. Even as he took a seat after stuffing the two bags he had in the compartment above the seats, he was still lost in thought as he mindlessly watched the city as the train traveled on its way. In a way he was relieved, ever since he had broken the encryption for... Michael just shook his head. It didn't matter anymore. He was finally moving on to something else.

Once the train arrived Michael fetched his bags and headed through the space port for the entry reserved for the military, pulling out his Id for the security when challenged.

"[B]Right this way Dr. Travis, we've been expecting you.[/B]" Michael followed him until they were just outside the where the [B]Argo Navis[/B] was docked. He couldn't help but stop for a moment to stare. It wasn't quite as big as he was expecting, but still, it was rather impressive and with his limited knowledge of spaceships even he could appreciate it's design.

The security officer escorting him paused as well. "[B]She is a beauty isn't she?[/B]" Michael nodded in agreement, turning back to following the man, both bags still in hand as they finally approached the docking doors. He turned to face the security officer when he spoke again.

"[B]Just follow the signs to the bridge, Colonel Marcus DeSouza and Dr. Henderson are already on board.[/B]" He smiled a bit. "[B]Good luck sir.[/B]"

"[B]Thank you.[/B]" Michael replied before turning and heading into the ship. Just as promised it was clearly marked on the walls as to which direction was the bridge. Once he made it to just outside the door to the bridge, he paused for a moment to take a deep breath and then entered the bridge, four people were already there talking among themselves.

All conversation halted and four pairs of eyes found his as he entered the bridge. With a slight nod he spoke, "[B]Pleased to meet all of you, I'm Michael J Travis.[/B]"

"[B]Welcome aboard Dr. Travis.[/B]" A short woman with brown hair spoke up. "[B]I'm Brianna Henderson.[/B]"

Michael set his bags on the floor just to the side of the door,[I] Patrick Henderson's daughter?[/I] Now that he thought about it, she did look vaguely familiar.
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[COLOR="goldenrod"]Teresa Schovick couldn't help but grin with anticipation over her latest assignment. When she applied to be part of the team for the [B]Argo Navis[/B] she had not expected to actually be selected. Sure she had received a promotion to Captain for her latest achievement in assisting with thwarting an assassination attempt on the current representative for CIF for Sanark. But that had been a complete and total coincidence and she knew it, sheer luck putting her in position to realize what was happening and do something about it. But no matter how many times she had tried to tell her commanding officer that, it was brushed aside.

Teresa sat up and swung her legs off the bed in the hotel she was staying at. Standing up and stretching. Chasing away the remainder of sleep with a huge yawn. A few more stretches and she was in and out of the shower in record time. Taking little time to dress in her usual frills. She had some more somber and practical clothing for the mission, but her understanding was that the military aspect of the mission was going to be essentially left behind. Or rather downplayed quite a bit. So with that in mind she had two bags instead of her usual one. The first with the usual military gear for a mission, the second with what she would have taken for a vacation.

She smiled to herself as she fixed her hair, not that she minded, the moment she was off duty she preferred to dress like a civilian. Besides as silly as people thought her clothing was, she always chose it with care, taking in account just how easily one could move in it. A few turns in front of the mirror to make sure everything was in place, a quick glance at her papers and she was off. Heading to the train for the space port. Teresa, couldn't help but watch all the other people hustling about. It was sort of unavoidable since she was trained to look for things that were out of place. But nothing was amiss and before long she was at the space port.

No fuss was made over gaining entry since the proper clearance was already in place and she was waved through once she presented her Id. And after halting briefly to admire the ship she went on board, quickly making her way to the bridge. Others had already arrived before she had. Three men and two women were already on the bridge, two of them clearly military by their unmistakable stance.

"[B]Oh! I know you! You're Colonel Marcus DeSouza right?[/B]" Teresa smiled. "[B]Captain Teresa Schovick Sir! Pleased to meet all of you[/B]." She saluted him after setting her stuff down.

"[B]At ease, no need for that here.[/B]" DeSouza seemed amused.

Teresa smiled sheepishly and lowered her hand. "[B]Sorry sir.[/B]"

"[B]Just relax Schovick, once the others are here we'll get started.[/B]" He motioned towards one of the chairs for her to take a seat. But Teresa was too excited to sit down. Instead she went to over to stand next to the other women in the crew.

"[B]Hi there![/B]" She extended her hand to shake theirs. "[B]You can call me Teresa if you wish.[/B]"

"[B]Nice to meet you Teresa,[/B]" The short one with brown hair said. "[B]I'm Brianna Henderson.[/B]"

"[B]And I'm Kendra Erickson.[/B]" Teresa turned to shake her hand as well.

"[B]So,[/B]" Teresa said with a smile. "[B]Tell me a little about yourself. We are going to be traveling together for a while after all.[/B]"[/COLOR]
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[I]So today's the day is it?[/I] Catherine thought as she gathered her things from the transport she had taken to the space port. Everything had been taken care of, all of her patients reassigned to other doctors and now as she handed her ID to the security at the space port, it still seemed a bit unreal. She had thought that she wanted to get away but now?

"[B]Everything is in order Dr. Sanderson, if you'll just come this way please.[/B]" He returned her ID to her. ID that she simply slipped back into her pocket.

Then Catherine just politely nodded and picked up her things and mindlessly followed the security through passageway after passageway until finally they came to where the ship was located. She didn't give it much thought, other than to note that it easily looked big enough for a crew of ten. Something she was already aware of having requested the medical records for each person besides herself.

Once again Catherine nodded politely and then thanked the security after being shown the docking doors and entering the ship. She was on her way to the bridge when she noticed the sign indicating that the sickbay was just down the passageway. [I]I should set my things down in there first.[/I] Without hesitation she did so, tearing herself away from checking it out. She needed to check in with Colonel Marcus DeSouza and Dr Brianna Henderson first and the security had indicated that they were already on board on the bridge.

It took her very little time to find her way there, she recognized each of them from the medical records she had been reviewing last night. Marcus DeSouza, Brianna Henderson, Kendra Erickson, Michael J Travis and Morrison Vayne.

"[B]Hello,[/B]" She spoke up. "[B]I'm Dr Catherine Sanderson, and forgive me for being blunt but when do we launch?[/B]"

Colonel Marcus DeSouza answered promptly, "[B]In two hours Doctor.[/B]"

"[B]In that case, unless you have something you need to discuss with me,[/B]" Catherine waited for him to shake his head negatively. "[B]I need to double check sickbay as well as the medical supplies before we leave.[/B]"

"[B]I've already checked the supplies as they were loaded Doctor.[/B]" Brianna spoke up as she picked up the CCB and walked over to hand it to Catherine. "[B]Everything is listed here as well as where it should have been stored.[/B]"

Catherine took the CCB and glanced at it briefly. "[B]Thank you. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got work to do.[/B]" She nodded politely and then left the bridge to head for sickbay. Once she finished checking it she'd move to the cargo where the rest of the supplies were stored.
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[SIZE="1"][B][COLOR="darkcyan"]?What are you doing Cap... A.J?? [/COLOR][/B]A tall and moderately set man questioned gruffly from within in the small door frame. Alex didn?t look up, he kept his gaze on the crumpled sheet of paper in front of him and smiled, chuckling inwardly before placing it in a folder and moving on to the next. Finally the man in the doorway had lost his patience and grunted, causing Alex to look up at him with unreadable black eyes. Alex shifted where he was sitting and looked away from the man to a few boxes on his left filled with papers, books and a few other random items, he sighed and smiled again.

[B][COLOR="darkcyan"]?Collecting some things Crash.?[/COLOR][/B] A.J spoke with a matter-of-fact tone finally replying to his friend.

[B][COLOR="darkcyan"]?I can see that.?

?So you?re eye sights not failing then??

?No?it?s?what?!? [/COLOR][/B]

Alex burst out into laughter and rubbed his eyes, Crash didn?t join in but smiled still, shifting his frame. There had always been some sort of silent understanding between the two pilots, ever since they had been assigned to the same squad. Their personalities complimented one another?s almost perfectly, which was probably one of the many reasons why the two were once the most talked about team in the air force. Alex gathered his things as Crash looked on solemnly; there wasn?t much need for many words between them. A.J had finally gathered all of his things and headed for the door, Crash moved out of the way almost immediately, backing into the hallway. Alex looked up at his former wingman and best friend with a half smile.

A.J had left his things exactly where they were for the sole purpose of having an excuse to come back one last time; he gave Crash a slight nod which was returned.

[B][COLOR="darkcyan"]?See you around Holy.?

?You too.?[/COLOR][/B]

---

A.J was feeling considerably more upbeat once he had boarded the rail train, albeit a tad apprehensive as well. Back in the day he would have thought himself a shoe in for this kind of expedition with his experience and cocky attitude but one demotion and multiple charges later had significantly dashed his hopes. To say that he was extremely surprised to be chosen was a massive understatement. He shifted in his seat and adjusted his shirt and undone tie, he had on the half makings of a suit with a pair of old earth converse shoes, and those were impossibly hard to get. He could hear girls behind him whispering and giggling. He turned around to look at them but they stopped once he did, Alex winked at the group who immediately smiled and started to chirp to one another again. Some things never changed.

The train ride went quickly enough and Alex got off at the Trans-Galactic space station, as per the instructions of the letter he had received. He found the docking gate with ease, call it instinct. He gave a shiny smile to the two guards and looked at them.

[B][COLOR="darkcyan"]?Excuse me sir this docking bay is strictly off limits I?m going to need to see some ID or I?m afraid I?m going to have to ask you to leave.?[/COLOR][/B] A look of momentary confusion washed across his face, he dug around in his suite pockets until his fingers it hard plastic. He flashed his idea to the guards and only half smiled this time, ?maybe I scared them bit?? he mused. One of the guards took his ID and examined it and him, looking from one to the others several times before handing it back. His appearance changed dramatically over a short period of time and he probably looked nothing like his ID now.

[B][COLOR="darkcyan"]?Very well Sir, follow us.?[/COLOR][/B]

Alex nodded as he was quickly lead down long corridors and numerous security doors, this was a familiar feeling. Finally they had reached the docking area of the ship. He was momentarily stunned, he dropped whatever bags he was carrying and hurried over to the ship. He touched the hull and put his face right up to it for a few seconds before stepping back.

[B][COLOR="darkcyan"]?Aren?t you a beautiful ship!?[/COLOR][/B] he exclaimed, scratching the back of his head. [B][COLOR="darkcyan"]?Not sure if I like your name but still beautiful?brilliant design?? [/COLOR][/B]the site of A.J talking to himself, or to the ship depending on which way you looked at it was a little odd. He quickly gathered his things and bordered after ogling it for some time. Alex looked about and headed down a few corridors checking things out. If he was supposed to fly this then he wanted to know exactly where everything was, these things were important, for him anyway. After a while of looking around he headed for the bridge, he hadn?t seen any schematics of the ship, being a pilot for so long these things came naturally. Alex heard foot steps heading in the opposite direction, coming to wards him as he made his way up. A woman appeared down the short hall way and he smiled.

[B][COLOR="darkcyan"]?Hello, I?m??

?Alexander-James Bishop or A.J. I?m Dr Catherine Sanderson. Please excuse me I?ve got work to do.?[/COLOR][/B] She finished his sentence for him.

[B][COLOR="darkcyan"]?Bye then.? [/COLOR][/B] He called somewhat sarcastically after her. He had never much liked doctors except for the ones on TV. Alex continued towards the bridge and didn?t think twice before bursting in. He probably looked quite the site, haphazard tie, suite, converse, messy blonde brown streaked hair and all. He smiled at everyone before looking about the bridge. Her insides were just as impressive as her outsides, which said a lot.

[B][COLOR="darkcyan"]?Hello. I?m A.J slash Alex, Bishop take your pick.? [/COLOR][/B]He shook everyone?s hands, three men and two women, probably interrupting their conversations but he didn?t really care much.

[B][COLOR="darkcyan"]?Our Pilot then.?[/COLOR][/B] One of the females spoke up with a hint of displeasure in her voice. Brianna Henderson, he would recognize her face anywhere, he?d seen her in the newspapers often enough, with her father.

[B][COLOR="darkcyan"]?That?s me.?[/COLOR][/B] He replied raising his eyebrows and slipping his hands in his pockets.[/SIZE]
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[COLOR="goldenrod"]Of all people Kendra had never expected to be working with Marcus again. She figured that once she left the service, she'd probably never see him again, let alone work with him. And after the ?Seichzen Incident? she was surprised to see that he had been selected for this assignment. Not that he wasn't qualified, no she was more surprised at the governmental branch of the CIF accepting Marcus as the commanding officer for this project. And as they made their way to the ship they had been assigned to she couldn't help but notice the slight tension in his posture and manner. [I]I wonder what else has changed since I last saw him. [/I]

But then all thoughts of what had happened since she last saw Marcus fled at the sight of the ship they had been assigned to. [I]This is fantastic! [/I]Her train of thought interrupted briefly by Marcus introducing themselves to Dr. Henderson who after greeting them briefly went back to what she was doing. Kendra didn't even realize she was tuning Marcus out until his question as to what she was thinking was spoken. Kendra turned to face Marcus giving him her attention.

"[B]Sorry,[/B]" Kendra said with an apologetic smile. "[B]I was admiring the ship.[/B]" She turned back to facing the ship. "[B]It's not what I was expecting them to assign us to. Especially after General Rakon explained that the military's presence was going to be downplayed quite a bit for this mission[/B]."

A slightly dark expression crossed Marcus's face before he responded. "[B]It would be rather pointless for them to assign us to a military vessel after all, still what exactly about the Argo Navis surprises you?[/B]"

Kendra couldn't help but smile a bit. "[B]Well you see, I was expecting to be given something more civilian in nature but this is anything but that. It's basically been fitted with an earlier class of engine that use to be installed in the smaller battleships. Until greater power requirements were needed. Honestly, I'm surprised to see it since civilians are not allowed to fit their ships with a military class engine. And this is without a doubt a Class B-7 hyper drive.[/B]"

"[B]And you can tell that just by looking at the ship?[/B]" Marcus teased her a tiny bit.

"[B]Of course. The latest design that I've been working on is based on the Class B-7 engine. It's one of the most reliable and durable engines out there. With a smaller ship such as this, we'll have speed nearly matching the military as well as power and maneuverability. It won't match up to a true battleship of course, but it will make avoiding unnecessary civilian arguments much simpler.[/B]" Kendra started to explain more but stopped when Dr. Henderson came over and motioned for them to follow her.

Now over an hour later as she stood on the bridge listening to the random chatter between those who had arrived Kendra couldn't help but feel excited. As soon as the remaining two arrived they could get going. The first one Nakeisha Rhodes, was someone Kendra would be glad to have on board. Even though she could fix the engines if need be, her skills as far as being a mechanic did not really extend to anything else. Kendra knew more about designing engines than she did about fixing them.

And the other one? Major Cameron James, if she remembered the name correctly. [I]I hope he looks nothing like Marcus's brother. [/I] Even if Marcus rarely spoke about it. Kendra knew how much his younger brother's disappearance hurt. He had been so proud to learn that Cameron had been assigned to the Planet Police, Special Task Force. With a tiny shake of her head, Kendra turned her attention back to the new arrivals as well as the present time, Teresa Schovick in particular who in spite of being frivolously dressed, seemed to have more enthusiasm than all of them put together. [I]I hope she's not this hyper all of the time.[/I][/COLOR]
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[SIZE="1"][COLOR="Navy"][INDENT]Major Cameron James sat patiently in the private express shuttle from Mercury. His eyes were closed as he leaned back against the seat, his mind was buzzing with ideas of what would happen on the expedition he was to embark on. His was excited about it to say the least. Working on an expedition was a great Time passed smoothly, leaving the Major to his own thoughts. The trip wasn't long, but he didn't have any idea of how much time had passed.

[B]"We've arrived, Major."[/B] the pilot announced.

[B]"Thank you, have a safe journey back."[/B] he opened his eyes and flashed a small smile, grabbing his packs from the floor and slapping him fondly on the back before exiting the shuttle.

There was someone waiting to meet him at the docking station of the shuttle. The guard saluted him, but also took the hand offered to him by Cameron, shaking it firmly.

[B]"Right this way, Major."[/B] his deep voice rumbled, leading them off through the doors of the docking station and around the winding halls of the base.

At last they reached a particular door which he was told lead to the docking area of the larger vessels such as the [B]Argo Navis[/B] that he would be boarding. Cameron reached into one of the inner pockets on his jacket and pulled out his ID card, swiping it over the reader, then allowing his retina to be scanned to log his entry and prove his identity.

As he stepped through the doors he was amazed at the appearance of the ship. It was magnificent in every way. He'd worked on a large variety of ships from being part of the army, but none that he had come across looked as glamorous as the Argo Navis.

Cameron was lead all the way up to the entrance of the ship. The entire way upward he had been staring at his soon-to-be new home, taking in everything that was there, every detail possible.

[B]"Here you are, Major. If you'll make your way toward the Bridge, that should be where they are communing. All the best."[/B] the guard moved to salute again but saw the extended hand first, taking it.

[B]"Thank you for your help."[/B] Cameron smiled and entered the Argo Navis.

He wandered around the halls with his packs, attempting to guess the directions to the Bridge. As he got closer it was easier because he could hear talking. When he entered the doorway there were quite a number of people there. He flashed a bright smile and looked around.

His eyes swept the room and spotted the three individuals who looked like they came from the army. They all looked familiar and he thought that maybe he had seen them while working with the other defense forces, but Colonel Marcus DeSouza was well known anyway. He dropped his baggage and snapped to a swift salute.

[B]"Major Cameron James, reporting for duty!"[/B]

[B]"At ease, there's no need for all of that here."[/B] Colonel DeSouza told him casually, but he had seemed to stiffen slightly when he had announced his name.

[B]"Yes, sir."[/B] Cameron relaxed and introduced himself to the others that were present.

He discovered the ranks of the other military officers, a Lieutenant and a Captain. He couldn't wait to get going and start the expedition.

[B]"Colonel...?"[/B] Cameron approached the Commanding Officer cautiously.

[B]"Yes, James?"[/B] Marcus turned to face him.

[B]"Excuse me if I'm out of line, but is there a...problem?"[/B]

[B]"What kind of problem would there be?"[/B]

[B]"The only thing is that I saw you stiffen when I announced my name, sir."[/B]

[B]"It's...nothing."[/B]

[B]"Yes, sir. Excuse me, sir."[/B] Cameron nodded, leaving the Colonel to talk to some of the other crew members.[/INDENT][/COLOR][/SIZE]
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[SIZE="1"][COLOR="Indigo"]Brianna was reviewing everyone who had been selected in her mind, she had no doubts that they were indeed qualified, but she was far from pleased at the dispersement of military involvement. She had been assured that it would be well balanced and yet in her opinion it was not. Brianna had no objections to Colonel Marcus DeSouza since it had been made clear that the project would have someone in charge of any security and other aspects of the project that would fall under the military's jurisdiction.

Nor did she have a problem with the three officers who would be directly under his command, Lt. Morrison Vayne, Major Cameron James and Captain Teresa Schovick. But no one had told her that there would also be personal assigned to the project who at one point were in the military, it had surprised her to learn that not only was the pilot Alexander-James Bishop once a member of the military, so was the co-pilot Kendra A. Erickson. And she had actually served with the Colonel at one point.

Even the mechanic Nakeisha Rhodes, the only one who had not arrived yet, had been working for the military doing research. [I]I'll be talking to General Rakon about that.[/I] She thought with disgust. [I]Downplaying the military involvement? I think not. [/I] At least not when only three of the ten chosen had no connection with the military, herself, Michael J Travis and Catherine Sanderson. With an inward sigh she turned her attention back to what was going on. If anything, any protests would wait until after she got a feel for how everyone worked together.

So far everyone seemed to be getting along just fine, sure there was the usual awkwardness that came from meeting people you really didn't know, but that would take care of itself in due time. Brianna flashed a brief smile at the newest arrival Major Cameron James when he turned and took a few steps over to face her and Kendra after being rudely brushed off by Colonel DeSouza. [I]What's up with that?[/I]

"[B]It's a pleasure to meet you Dr. Henderson, I've heard a lot about you.[/B]" He extended his hand shaking hers firmly before letting go.

"[B]Thank you.[/B]" Brianna said politely. "[B]Major Cameron James correct?[/B]"

"[B]Yes ma'am.[/B]"

Brianna laughed a little at that. "[B]Just Brianna or Dr. Henderson is fine.[/B]"

"[B]Yes ma'... I mean Brianna.[/B]" Cameron stammered a tiny bit and then stiffened slightly at something behind Brianna.

Brianna turned slightly to see that Colonel DeSouza had walked up to Kendra to ask her something. [I]Just what is going on here?[/I] Brianna wondered. She gave her attention to Cameron when he spoke up again.

Cameron continued with a nod indicating all of them. "[B]Just call me Cameron then.[/B]"

Brianna started to speak but Colone DeSouza beat her too it, "[B]James will do.[/B]" He said firmly before turning and walking away. She couldn't help but notice Cameron's confused look, Brianna was sure she shared it. [I]Why would he even care about Cameron's name?[/I] Her gaze turned to Kendra, questioning.

"[B]Uh...[/B]" Kendra looked a bit flustered, "[B]Please don't take it personal.[/B]" She lowered her voice before continuing. "[B]His younger brother, Cameron, vanished without a trace.[/B]" With that she gave both of them an apologetic smile and left to follow Colonel DeSouza.

Brianna raised an eyebrow at that. [I]I'd better look into that.[/I] She thought. [I]It must have been fairly recent for him to still be bothered by it.[/I] Regardless it was something she'd have to watch out for, she was sure the Colonel was not the only one on the team with things in their past that were unpleasant.[/COLOR][/SIZE]
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[size=1][indent]Dr. Nakeisha Rhodes entered the bridge with little fanfare. Several members of the crew had already arrived and were too busy preparing for the launch to even notice her; it seemed pretty obvious to the woman that she was the last onboard.

A handsome young officer greeted the woman. Nakeisha assumed from his age that he was merely an assistant of some kind, and handed him the heavy suitcase she was carrying.

“[b]Miss Rhodes, I presume?[/b]” The man’s eyebrow arched in suspicion.

“[b][I]Doctor[/I] Rhodes, thank you.[/b]” she replied, “[b]Please take these to my quarters. I’d like to begin testing the Agro Navis’ system functions immediately.[/b]”

The others began to laugh amongst themselves. Nakeisha looked around the bridge, confused by this reaction.

“[b]Did I say something funny?[/b]”

The man handed Nakeisha back her suitcase.

“[b]I’m sure you can drop this bag off yourself, Dr. Rhodes. We’re in the middle of launch preparations, and we‘re running several minutes behind thanks to you.[/b]”

“[b]Excuse me? Just who do you think you are, Mister…?[/b]”

“[b]Colonel. DeSouza. We spoke earlier over the datastream.[/b]”

Nakeisha feigned a smile and began twisting the braids of her hair nervously. Days ago she had a brief audio conversation with her new commanding officer. Could this man, not much older than herself, really take command of an important mission such as this?

“[b]Apologies. Colonel[/b]” She replied sheepishly, “[b]It’s just… you seem so young to take charge of this mission.[/b]”

He seemed offended by this remark.

“[b]I assure you, Doctor Rhodes, this crew was hand-chosen for their experience and expertise, not for their age.[/b]”

She nodded.

“[b]Had Ops Support not made your scheduled arrival time clear?[/b]”

“[b]The time was made perfectly clear, Colonel,[/b]” she replied, “[b]I was merely trying to make sure that none of my instruments were damaged during loading.[/b]”

His demeanor turned sour.

“[b]I don’t see the need for more instrumentation, I was under the impression that the Argo Navis was fully equipped with the best tools the military could provide…[/b]”

“[b]---Which is exactly why I had to replace those outdated microsaws and nanoseams with something a little more… modern. Even with the absurd amounts of funding this operation has probably been granted, I have advanced tools most world governments won‘t be able to purchase for years.[/b]”

“[b]Right. All the same, I think it’d be best if you run these sorts of things by your supervisor, Miss Erikson, before you begin installing any unproven equipment.[/b]”

“[b]They aren’t unproven,”[/b] she huffed, “[b]Much of this equipment has undergone thousands of hours of testing and research! There’s no reason to sacrifice our safety and efficiency because your chief engineer would rather live in the Stone Age. [/b]”

“[b]She certainly seems spirited.[/b]” A feminine voice quipped from the peanut gallery on the Bridge. The woman didn’t have to introduce herself for Nakeisha to know that she had already offended her new boss.

Colonel DeSouza extended his hand towards the embarrassed woman.

“[b]I imagine you can find your way to your quarters. I‘m sure it will be very… interesting to work with you.[/b]”

Doctor Rhodes glared.

“[b]Certainly.[/b]”

And with that Nakeisha stormed down the hallway to find her quarters.[/indent][/size]
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It had taken her a while but Catherine had finally finished checking sickbay as well as the medical supplies that were suppose to be on board. Usually that was handled by someone else, but experience told her that failure to check it herself would always result in realizing later that something vital was missing. But everything was in order and moments later she had gathered her things from where she had set them in sickbay and followed the map on the CCB that Dr Henderson had given her to where their quarters were located.

There was nothing indicating that they had been preassigned to a room and she quickly discovered that those rooms that were taken had some sort of tag on the outside to indicate it was occupied. Catherine continued down the hallway until she came to the very end, pressing the panel next to a door that did not have a tag on the outside, it opened immediately to admit her to a tiny cell like room. [I]I certainly hope there's some type of recreation facility on this ship or people are going to get dissatisfied with tiny quarters real quick. [/I]

There was a small desk to the left side, just by the door and another door to the right leading to a small restroom and shower/bath. And at the very end of the room a small bed with a built in storage unit at the end for her things. It didn't take long for her to put everything away. The other medical equipment she had brought was already in sickbay.

Then as she turned to leave she noticed a tag on the wall by the door. With a smile she took it along with the CCB and upon leaving she slid the tag into the slot on the door. Memorizing the number, there was an option to lock the door but she ignored it.

Catherine started to head back to the bridge when she heard someone swear softly to themselves. Curious she walked towards the sound looking into another room where the door was open. Only to see someone from behind as she struggled to find a spot for all the stuff she had with her.

"[B]They've got to be kidding me! There's not enough room here for anything![/B]" The unknown woman exclaimed.

"[B]Perhaps you shouldn't have brought so much stuff then, after all the briefing indicated that everything we would need would already be on board.[/B]" Catherine smiled when the woman turned around, startled at the sound of her voice.

"[B]You don't understand,[/B]" Nakeisha Rhodes said a bit disdainfully. "[B]The equipment is outdated and obsolete. I had to bring proper tools with me.[/B]"

"[B]And why would you say that Dr. Nakeisha Rhodes? I may not been a mechanic such as yourself, but what I have seen so far is more than adequate for our needs.[/B]"

"[B]Who are you?[/B]" Dr. Rhodes asked.

"[B]Dr. Catherine Sanderson,[/B]" She extended her hand to shake Nakeisha's. "[B]I'm the ship's doctor.[/B]"

"[B]Ah I see, nice to meet you Doctor. As for the equipment, well it's just that the stuff here is so old. Why use out of date equipment if you don't have to?[/B]"

Catherine couldn't help but raise an eyebrow at that statement. [I]She's kidding right? Newer does not mean better. [/I]With an inward groan she responded.

"[B]It's simple Dr. Rhodes, you use it because it works. Now if you'll excuse me it's close to launch time and I don't want miss it.[/B]" With a slight bow she turned and headed for the bridge.[I] I hope that idiot doesn't get the bright idea to mess with any of the medical equipment.[/I] Because in the end, newer really didn't mean better. [I]I'd better talk to Colonel DeSouza about her. [/I]Catherine thought as she entered the bridge.
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[FONT="Tahoma"][color=darkslategray]Everyone finished up their own personal tasks aboard the ship prior to launch, whether it was running checks for their respective department or simply settling down and putting their luggage aside. Marcus finished up some last minute idle conversing with Kendra before being approached by Brianna.

[b]?Colonel, it?s nearly launch time. We should go over some details about the first mission before calling everyone together.?[/b] she proposed. Marcus turned his head toward the woman, acknowledging her. He excused himself from Kendra and walked over to Brianna.

[b]?Sure, sounds like a good idea.?[/b] Marcus responded unenthusiastically. Brianna and Marcus walked toward the port staircase and ascended them toward the bridge, passing the living quarters section in the middle of the second floor of the ship. It was like a rectangular structure that housed four people each, separated into two parts. It pretty much meant that people would be paired up for their rooms. They also passed sick bay located in a large room toward the end of the living quarters. Two large windows with blinds sandwiched the entrance door on both sides, a large sign to the right indicating what room it was for.

[b]?The first thing is to decide on our ETA to the Cried home planet, since we?ll be needing to pass through several checkpoints.?[/b] Brianna began to say as the door to the bridge closed behind them.

Several minutes passed, giving the others time to get somewhat acquainted with the main parts of the ship. Marcus?s voice later sounded over the ship?s PA system alerting everyone on board.

[b]?Your attention please, this is Colonel Marcus DeSouza. Everyone please report to the conference room, located on the first level of the ship. Refer to the nearest posted layout of the Argo Navis, it is marked as ?C2? in a red circle. Our first official crew meeting will begin in five minutes.?[/b]

Kendra looked over at the ship directory across from where she was standing and took note of where the conference room was. She nodded her head and began to head in that direction.

[b][I]?Looks like those two are settling in quite nicely so far??[/b][/I] she thought to herself as she walked.

Marcus and Brianna made their way to the room themselves several minutes after the announcement. Upon entering they noticed everyone standing around a somewhat oval metal table conversing with one another. Marcus looked over at Nakeisha briefly, she returning his glance for an even briefer time before somewhat casually looking away a tad bit out of embarrassment. Marcus couldn?t help but laugh a bit to himself inside his head about the incident. She seemed like a promising young woman with potential. Marcus was supremely curious over how much knowledge she could really have though with more experience in a classroom than in real life situations.

He also took notice to the doctor of the crew, Catherine Sanderson, a woman of average height not much younger than himself. She had a professional aura around herself and from what he remembers from reading her file, she probably reflected a lot of what she?s seen in her eyes. The next people he saw on his way to the center of the room were two out of three of his military officers.

One was the well built brown haired man who introduced himself as Lt. Morrison Vayne. He looked like someone with pretty solid training, Marcus made a mental note to himself to ask about the officer?s he had served under in the past. The other officer was the hyperactive blonde who even now looked like she wanted to burst out in excitement over something.

Marcus and Brianna stood before their crew, the military Colonel stepping up first to address the room.

[b]?First order of business before we launch, I?ll announce your room arrangements. Until everyone becomes familiar with the ship well enough, everyone can use the ship directories posted all around each level. The living quarters are on the second level in the middle of the ship, between sick bay and the bridge.?[/b]

Before Marcus could finish, Teresa jolted her hand up into the air, [b]?I have a question!?[/b]

Marcus just looked over at Teresa from the corner of his eyes and motioned her hand down with his own. [b]"Please?save all questions."[/b]

Teresa lowered her hand and nodded, a little embarrassed from her sudden outburst. Marcus just blinked a few times, wondering what the entire trip was going to be like with her on board.

[b]?As I was saying?Lt. Vayne you?ll be with Major James in L1, Captain Schovick you?ll be in L2. Those will be the military quarters. Everyone else may bunk with whomever they want.?[/b] Marcus pressed the CCB?s pen to it?s screen and switched pages to the next order of business.

[b]?Alexander, as the ship?s pilot you?ll be required to remain in the bridge for the majority of the time unless in hyperspace or during the ship?s downtime. Please work together with Kendra to plot out navigational routes and to keep things operational at maximum efficiency.?[/b]

Marcus switched over the page one more time and looked up from the CCB to speak one last time.

[b]?The recreational room and eating facilities are located at X1, when not expected or ordered to do a specific task you may spend your time there or your rooms as you see fit. Get to know each other and become well acquainted with the layout of the ship whenever possible. It isn?t large, but large enough to house more then our numbers. If anyone has any grievances, questions, or anything that requires my own or Dr. Henderson?s attention, our rooms are located at L6 and L7. Now, I?ll hand the floor over to Dr. Henderson who will go over the details of our first mission, which will be followed by the launching sequence of the Argo Navis.?[/b]
[/color][/FONT]
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[COLOR="Indigo"][SIZE="1"]Brianna glanced briefly at Marcus and the rest before opening up the small briefcase she had brought with her, inside was a number of CCB's each one tagged for one of the crew members. She handed them out and then while she waited for them to take a moment to pass them around based on the names on them she opened up the data on her own. As soon as they were passed around at the conference table she cleared her throat. Instantly getting everyone's attention.

"[B]As you can see, what's currently displayed is a chart of Creids territory as well as the current expansion along the outer rim of their space. At the very edge you'll see two planets are highlighted. The first one Solaris, and the second one Telvaris. Our destination will be Telvaris, which is outside their established space.[/B]"

Brianna tapped the screen to her CCB, indicating with a motion of her head for the others to do the same. The view switched to one of a strange square shaped gate made of an unknown metal with some form of language inscribed along the surface.

"[B]Approximately one year ago, during the course of their expansion a set of gates was found. These gates as you can see on your CCB are alien in nature, however, in spite of not fully understanding what their purpose was the Creids government, upon figuring out how to operate them put them to use. These gates enable travel from Solaris to Telvaris instantaneously in both directions.[/B]"

Brianna paused for but a moment, the thought going through her mind that the Creids government should have known better than to use an unproven technology without understanding it first. But with a tiny shake of her head she shoved that thought aside and continued.

"[B]Shortly after the gates were put into use people began to vanish without a trace.[/B]" She looked at each of them as if to gauge what each one was thinking, but other than to seem curious she could see nothing else.

"[B]The problem is that the people who have vanished were not the ones traveling through the actual gate.[/B]" Movement caught her eye and Brianna looked over to Captain Schovick who had raised her hand.

"[B]Yes Schovick?[/B]"

"[B]Begging your pardon ma'am, but if the people who vanished never when through the gates why does the government think the gates are responsible?[/B]"

Brianna gave her a measuring glance, "[B]I'm coming to that Schovick.[/B]"

"[B]Yes ma'am, sorry about that.[/B]" Schovick once again looked down as if embarrassed over her impatience.

"[B]Now as I was saying... Over time the Creids government realized that everyone who vanished was within a certain radius of the two gates and that it only happened when the gates were active, even if no one was actually using the gate. So far all attempts to discover the cause behind the disappearance or the people who are missing has failed.

As such, the gates have been shut down and the associated areas evacuated until further notice. Our job will be to study these gates to not only determine what is causing the disappearance as well as locating the missing people if possible.[/B]"

Brianna turned her CCB off and tucked it under her right arm, "[B]I've included all of the specifics and data from the Creids government in regards to the gate. I'd like all of you to look it over and see what you come up with as a possible answer. Obviously I'd like some of you to focus on specific areas. Ms. Erickson I understand your specialty is with engineering so I'd like your take on the actual construction of the gate, just as I'd like you Dr Travis to work on the translation of the language inscribed on the gate. Now unless anyone has any questions?[/B]"

Brianna looked around briefly, a number of them seemed a tad uncomfortable to her. Especially Cameron James who refused to look directly at the Colonel. Still at the very least the rest of them seemed more curious than nervous about their first assignment. With a slight nod she finished.

"[B]If any of you do have questions later on you know where to find both me and Colonel DeSouza. Now, I've included our destination and checkpoints on your CCB Mr. Bishop, as well as yours Ms. Erickson, so once the two of you have our course plotted you are to launch the Argo Navis immediately.[/B]"[/SIZE][/COLOR]
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Michael wasn't sure what to think of everyone else. Even though he had worked for the government as a translator, he had never dealt with the military and to be honest, other than Captain Schovick who was anything but reserved the others came across as being more standoffish. Even the thought of talking to Dr. Henderson was intimidating. He was good at current languages as well as studying ancient ones, but she was far more knowledgeable about some of the older written ones than he was.

Finally it was too uncomfortable for him and with a short nod to Dr. Henderson he had taken his bags to find a room, snagging one that was still empty, for now. There was more than one bed in the room and as he set his things down on one, the thought occurred to him that him might end up with a roommate for this assignment. That would certainly seem odd, he hadn't shared a room with anyone in quite some time. Well other than a girlfriend or two.

He was heading back to the bridge when the announcement to meet in the conference room came over the speakers and instead he made his way there, politely saying hello to those who sat next to him and then giving first Colonel DeSouza his attention as he explained a bit and then Dr. Henderson as she first passed out CCB's and then went over the data on them.

It was both fascinating and a bit startling. [I]People have been vanishing?[/I] Michael gripped the edge of the CCB, staring at the picture of the gate as if doing somehow would give him insight to what was going on. Of all things, he could have never imagined an assignment like this and as he looked at the inscription on the metal he was already trying to analyze just what it would actually mean. It wasn't often that he came across a completely unknown language. [I]I bet my assignment will be to work on that. [/I] A thought that was confirmed when Dr. Henderson went on to say:

"[B]I'd like you Dr Travis to work on the translation of the language inscribed on the gate.[/B]"

A statement that had him looking back up at her to nod and then follow along as she wrapped things up. [I]I really need to talk to her about this, to see if there are any similarities to ancient languages that she is familiar with.[/I] Something that as the meeting came to a close, he planned on doing.
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[indent][size=1]Kendra left the room to begin the launch sequence, leaving Nakeisha to mull over the scientific aspects of the mission by herself. While the two had exchanged awkward glances during the briefing, Miss Erickson’s snide remark earlier was their only real communication so far. Nakeisha didn’t mind this fact, but it didn’t bode well for their team's success in what promised to be an incredibly long space journey.

As soon as the briefing had ended Nakeisha rushed to her quarters to bury herself in her datapad. Due to the enormous amount of energy required to power such devices, gate technology had always been a fantasy within the scientific community. Just the same, the mere prospect of coming into contact with such a device made the young doctor’s mouth water.

A female hand grabbed Nakeisha’s shoulder from behind, startling her. It was Catherine Sanderson, her new roommate.

“[b]Any progress so far?[/b]” She asked with a smile.

Nakeisha shrugged.

“[b]Even with my knowledge of quantum mechanics it’s going to be very difficult to reach any conclusions before I see this alleged ‘gate.’ I‘m skeptical about what we’ve heard so far.[/b]”

“[b]What do you mean?[/b]”

“[b]A gate is basically a door connecting two points and allowing almost instantaneous travel between them. If gate technology is possible, it would change the way trade, travel and war were done forever.[/b]"

Catherine nodded as she took in everything she was hearing.

"[b]I know scientists who have been working their entire lives to create gates on a much smaller scale… anyone, or anything capable of building such a device would be generations ahead of the brightest minds in the known universe.[/b]”

"[b]So it must be alien. That much is obvious.[/b]"

“[b]Indeed. But I wonder, Catherine, a gate would be so advanced and valuable, how could anyone abandon them in the middle of the universe?[/b]”

“[b]Hm. Maybe they’re some kind of artifacts from a lost civilization?[/b]”

There was a moment of silence as Lt. Morrison Vayne entered the room. It was obvious that he had been listening to the conversation from around the corner.

[b]“Interesting observations, ladies, but I have a question myself...”[/b] he said, [b]“Is this gate really an artifact, or a Trojan Horse?”[/b][/size][/indent]
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[FONT="Comic Sans MS"][COLOR="goldenrod"]Teresa Schovick was beyond excited and even the embarrassment of asking questions too soon was not enough to hold her back from grinning. [I]This is going to be so much fun! [/I] Admittedly missing people wasn't exactly fun nor was the idea of becoming one of those missing people. After all it was apparent that in order to investigate this mysterious gate they would most likely at one time need to actually turn it on. [I]Pfft! If one of us disappears we'll just find them. [/I] Teresa grinned all over again. What would be fun would be solving the mystery. She looked back down at the CCB Brianna had handed out, the image of the gate still displayed.

[I]You sure are ugly,[/I] she thought. It's square and uninspired form had absolutely no elegance to it at all and she found herself imagining it to be more elegantly designed. [I]Oh well.[/I] Teresa turned the CCB off as Brianna finished and before anyone had done much of anything she immediately turned to Kendra Erickson who was looking over the information about their required stops on the way to Telvaris.

"[B]Kendra right[/B]?"

Kendra stopped what she was doing to look up at Teresa, "[B]That's correct, did you need something Captain?[/B]"

Teresa stifled a laugh, "[B]Just call me Teresa. And no I didn't really need anything but I was wondering if you already picked a room to stay in.[/B]"

"[B]Not yet Teresa, why?[/B]" Kendra couldn't help but wonder just what Teresa was getting at, after all Marcus had already assigned her to a room.

Teresa shot a glance over at the Colonel, who though he was pretending otherwise, was paying attention to their conversation. [I]That's right, those two served together before Kendra went into engineering. [/I]

"[B]I was thinking that since you use to be in the military we should share a room.[/B]" Teresa tried to not laugh at Kendra's startled expression as she got up at the same time Kendra did.

"[B]Besides,[/B]" she said with a conspiratorial whisper as she casually took a hold of her left arm as if they were best friends, "[B]That way you can tell me all about Colonel DeSouza and the ?Seichzen Incident? as well as why he's so cold to Major Cameron James.[/B]"

"[B]Uh...[/B]"

Teresa completely overrode her objections, steering her out of the room chatting brightly the whole time. And if she saw the Colonel's expression over that last little bit, she didn't show it. [/COLOR][/FONT]
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[color=darkred][size=1]

Morrison stepped further into the room and leaned himself against the wall behind him. He looked to his two shipmates and waited for them to register what he had said.

Catherine spoke to him first, [b] “How do you think… Vayne was it?”[/b]

Morrison replied, [b] “You’re correct. And honestly, it was but an observation. We know nothing of these gates beyond what we’ve been told. I’m almost certain that know one we could ask does either. I’m just saying, with what you guys are saying, we should definitely approach the ‘gates’ or whatever they are with some serious caution.”[/b]

Nakiesha thought for a moment and placed her hand to her chin, then nodded. [b] “That makes since, but regardless, we can only do so much with a distance diagnostic and guess work. We need to get close to it in order to study it.”[/b]

Vayne looked off for a moment and pondered for a moment, then spoke with ready words. [b] “Then we need to make sure we are as safe as possible. I think if we’re going to investigate, it should be in two person teams, a guard to go with a researcher. That way IF this thing does go hay-wire on us and zaps us to God knows where, at least we won’t have lost more people than needed. Also, the researcher will have someone to help protect them and keep them safe should they be transported to a hostile area, or if they are attacked by hostiles while researching the area.

By the same token, we should be sure that the Argo is kept a safe distance from where the gates are located and send a smaller vehicle to get to and from the area. We should find out the maximum distance which the disappearances were happening from so we can gauge how far away the Argo should be.”[/b]

Nakiesha gave a slight laugh, [b] “You really seem to know what you’re doing here, lieutenant.”[/b]

[b] “It’s my job. Back on Mars, I used to be a V.I.P. escort for the government, so it’s not that impressive. My ingenuity was learned, heh. “[/b]

[b] “Regardless, Morrison, your thoughts make since. We should talk to DeSouza and the others about this.”[/b] Catherine said. [b] “What do you think, Catherine?”[/b]

Nakiesha smirked, [b] “I already expressed my approval. But we’re going to have to see who wants to volunteer as the gua-“[/b] Nakiesha stopped speaking and looked at the shrugging Morrison.

[b] “You already got me, heh. It’s pretty simple I suppose, again. It’s my job.”[/b]

Nakiesha nodded and smiled. [b] “Alright then, we should talk about it with everyone as soon as possible. I’ll call you up when we’re ready to have the meeting. We need to do a diagnostic from a distance and learn as much as we can before we go risking any lives.”[/b]

[b] “Very well, good luck, and peace until then.”[/b] with that, Morrison exited the room with a friendly gesture and made his way to his quarters to better settle his things. Maybe get better acquainted with his room mate, Major James. He sighed to himself on the way to his bunk with his room mate in mind, [b] “Just couldn’t have been a woman, huh?”[/b]. [/color][/size]
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[COLOR="goldenrod"][FONT="Comic Sans MS"]Kendra couldn't help but feel a tiny bit of fear over their assignment. She stared at the gate on the screen of her CCB, it looked so[I] innocent[/I]. If not for the strange language inscribed on it one would think it was nothing more than part of some building just waiting to be put into place, not a separate gate altogether. [I]What kind of civilization could have built this?[/I] But more importantly why had she heard nothing about it? If people were vanishing and yet no cry or news was known, that meant that the Creids government wasn't the ones using it but rather their military. [I]What were they up to?[/I]

She was sure that the same thought was going through Marcus's mind. Kendra turned her attention back to the information for the checkpoints they would be required to stop at on their way to Telvaris. Most of it was pretty straight forward, not much to consider really. The last bit was unexplored and uninhabited, but seeing that the Creids were expanding that was to be expected. [I]Well at least it means there won't be a checkpoint in that area.[/I]

Kendra fully intended to head immediately for the bridge to work with Bishop on plotting the course and then launching the [B]Argo Navis[/B] but she did not expect to get side tracked by Teresa. [I]Good grief! Doesn't she ever calm down?[/I] Not that she minded to much but as Teresa helped her gather her things from where she had set them down earlier and take them to the quarters they would be sharing, Kendra couldn't help but think that after a while others would find her annoying. [I]How in the world did she ever manage to get promoted to Captain?[/I]

"[B]Uh Teresa, I really need to get to the bridge.[/B]"

Teresa just laughed at her, something that within a moment or two, Kendra felt herself turn just a tiny bit red. [I]Dammit![/I] "[B]What's so funny [I]Captain[/I].[/B]" She finally asked, feeling anything but amused.

"[B]Kendra, I'm going to be forward since that seems to work better than anything else.[/B]"

Teresa smiled a bit and then continued. [B]"I've been watching the time, we still have more than enough for you and Bishop to do the calculations as well as launch the [B]Argo Navis[/B]. I promise. I of all people know better than to really interfere with operations.[/B]"

"[B]Then why?[/B]" Kendra stopped. [I]I can't really ask her why she behaves so...[/I]

"[B]Why was I promoted? Is that what you were going to ask?[/B]"

Kendra felt herself turn a tiny bit red again, embarrassed. Since that was exactly what she had been thinking. Wondering how someone who was seemed so frivolous got promoted to Captain. [I]Great, now I've probably insulted her.[/I]

Teresa laughed at her expression before handing her the CCB that Kendra had set on her bed. She took her left arm like she had before, steering her out of the tiny quarters as if they had known each other for years instead of only having just met.

"[B]Kendra,[/B]" Teresa said, going so serious that Kendra gave her an odd look. "[B]I know perfectly well that my promotion was a more of a coincidence than earning it through hard work, just as I know that we are suppose to be downplaying the military side of this assignment.[/B]" She let go of her arm.

"[B]When the time comes, I assure you I can and will do my duty. Now I don't know about you but I'm excited to get going.[/B]"

Kendra just gave her a thoughtful look before continuing to the bridge with her. If anything, it was becoming obvious that there was more to her than what she had thought initially. [I]Now if only the same would be true with Dr. Nakeisha Rhodes. [/I] She thought. Dealing with a know it all mechanic who didn't appreciate equipment just because it wasn't the latest thing... [I]Pfft! Living in the stone age? I think not![/I][/FONT][/COLOR]
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[SIZE="1"]As soon as the meeting was done A.J stood and made a B-line for the bridge. He felt that since he was going to spend most if not all of his time in the pilot seat then he may as well get comfortable with everything. He strode into the bridge with his CCB underneath his arm; he halted when he reached its center and looked about. Overall she seemed like a magnificent ship. He hadn?t requested the plans to look at when he got the job, pieces of data told you nothing you actually had to feel the ship to understand her, to understand show she would fly and her capabilities. Alex had boasted for a long time that he could fly anything in any situation and on more than one occasion he had proved his claims. He would have plenty of time later to choose a room, not that he would be spending much time in it, he had slept more in a pilot?s seat then in a bed.

He walked a little way to the pilot?s seat and sat down, it was extraordinarily comfortable. He shifted around in his position and using the various controls adjusted the seat to his liking. He looked around the HULD [Heads Up Liquid Display] and found it to be not all that dis-similar to the F-80 Chameleons, which everyone knew were the most cutting edge Fighter Craft currently in existence. There were some noticeable differences however, such as the extra mini displays off to the left side which seemed to be reserved for an unknown purpose, he would find out soon enough anyway. He clicked his CCB into a port of to his right for easy access and pushed a few buttons here and there. Information began to flash across the HULD at an almost blinding speed but to the trained eye it was nothing.

He had intended to wait for Kendra to begin plotting the course they would take so they could finally go about launching this baby but she was late, probably got side tracked. He looked at the various check points that they needed to stop at, it was all rather straight forward, the last part of the journey looked to be the trickiest, the territory was unexplored and uninhabited, which meant expect everything. At the very least there wouldn?t be a check point in that area but everyone would need their wits about them, especially Kendra and Himself. It was their responsibility to look after everyone in the air, get them from A to B and in-between. He had not spared a thought to the reason for their first mission yet, the gate, it didn?t concern him?yet.

A.J heard foot steps behind him and he swiveled slightly in his chair to see who it was, Kendra appeared with Teresa at the Bridge. He raised a subtle eyebrow and smiled warmly. They looked like they were friends already; he hadn?t said all but a paragraph to anyone yet.

[B]?Greetings Mr. Bishop.? [/B]

[B]?Hey, call me Alex or A.J? [/B]

[B]?Very well Alex. I?ve looked over the course...?[/B] Kendra handed him her CCB, Alex looked over what she had plotted, they spent the next fifteen minutes debating over their chosen routes before they came to an agreement on the course.

[B]?Now all that?s left to do is launch this baby!?[/B] he said excitedly griping the controls and looking about. Kendra flicked a switch enabling them both to talk to the entire ship at once, he swore he saw her laugh for a split second but it could have just been his somewhat overactive imagination at work. Kendra spoke normally while looking ahead; Alex began pushing buttons and various controls.

[B]?Attention everyone please, we are about to launch the Argo Navis, no need to find a seat. Take off will be virtually seamless due to the Argo?s inertial dampeners.?[/b] Kendra announced.

[B]?Tower this is the Argo Navis, permission to remove docking clamps and initiate launch series.?[/B] A.J questioned.

[B]?Argo Navis this is Tower, permission granted to remove docking clamps and initiate launch series. Goodspeed.? [/B]

[B]?Thanks tower. Removing docking clamps? clamps removed. Raze blast deflector?blast deflector razed, Initiating launch series, powering thrusters one though four, stabilizing pressure levels. Ladies and Gentlemen we are go in three, two, one??[/B]

All the while Alex was talking he and Kendra were furiously pushing buttons and turning dials. He flicked a look towards Kendra before he gently pulled back on the two pressurized levers that controlled trust and direction, while gently pushing on the foot pedals at the end of his seat. The Argo Navis responded immediately to Alex?s touch and the ship sped off into the sky in a upwards arc, its thrusters burning white hot as they burned tons of fuel in seconds in order to generate enough pull to escape the planets atmosphere and gravitational pull. The view in front of them was an awesome sight. The sky changed from white to an intense blue, then became progressively darker until it became completely black. Within an instant the reaches of space came into full view as the planet shrunk beneath them. The void was glittered with stars of all sizes and intensity.

[B]?I?m gonna have to get used to the no G-Forces thing?? [/B]he spoke matter-of-fact. Even with technology advanced as it is some fighter jet models still allowed their pilots to experience G-Forces. The launching of the Argo Navis was one of the most smooth he had ever experienced. [/SIZE]
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?[B]Attention everyone please, we are about to launch the Argo Navis, no need to find a seat. Take off will be virtually seamless due to the Argo?s inertial dampeners.[/B]? Kendra announced.

At the start of the announcement Michael looked up from his position in his quarters, a couple of items still in his hands as he had been putting things away in the small locker built into the wall alongside the beds. Before Kendra was even finished he placed the last item in and closed the door, the latch catching in place. And though she claimed otherwise he still expected something, after all once he had gotten this assignment he had traveled from the Cerulean home world where he had been working to Narisyan. And most civilian transports though well built often did experience some level of noticeable disturbance during travel.

But true to what Kendra had said, he couldn't tell that anything had changed, and when he walked back out to hunt for Dr. Henderson to discuss an idea he had about the language on the gate the first thing he noticed through one of the observation windows as he headed up towards the bridge was that they were indeed in space.

"[B]Damn.[/B]" He said to himself. "[B]That's impressive.[/B]"

"[B]What is?[/B]" A voice spoke up from behind. Michael turned to see Dr. Henderson heading his way presumable going to the bridge like he was.

"[B]The launch of the Argo Navis, I was expecting the usual jitters if you know what I mean.[/B]" Michael explained.

Dr. Henderson smiled. "[B]I would have been annoyed if we did experience them. I was assured that we would be given more than a simple civilian transport.[/B]"

"[B]Ah, I see.[/B]" Michael said, unsure what to say to that. He started to continue but Dr. Henderson beat him to it.

"[B]Come with me please, I'd like to use the communication's terminal on the bridge to start analyzing the language on the gate.[/B]" Brianna paused just long enough to make sure Dr. Travis was following her.

"[B]I'd like to take the translation that the Creids government has and compare it with current translations of all known ancient languages. I've already gone over what they have and to be frank I'm positive that it's completely inaccurate.[/B]"

Michael followed along, stopping briefly when they got to the bridge and Dr. Henderson simply nodded to Bishop, Kendra and Teresa who were already on the bridge.

"[B]How do you come to that conclusion Dr. Henderson?[/B]" He asked as she took a seat at the communications terminal just to the right of the main doors.

"[B]Brianna will do,[/B]" she said firmly as he took the seat next to her, pausing only to plug her CCB into the terminal and download the information. The screen coming to life displaying the information. Brianna reached up, taking a moment to separate the information into different sections before continuing.

"[B]It's simple, if you look here and here,[/B]" she pointed to a number of key phrases. "[B]You'll see that there are inconsistencies as to what the root meaning would be.[/B]"

Michael pulled it up on the screen in front of his spot, "[B]Ah! You're right.[/B]" He paused and turned to her. "[B]Oh and by the way, just call me Mike.[/B]"

Brianna smiled a bit. "[B]Fair enough. Now as you can see both this language,[/B]" she indicated an ancient one from the Creids nation. "[B]And the one on the gate have similarities right? But if that were true.[/B]" She launched into a detailed explanation as to why what they had translated the language to mean was wrong.

Mike waited patiently and then shook his head when she finished. "[B]That's an interesting theory, but what if there are no similarities at all? What if this language is completely alien to that region of space? If that were the case then you get a completely different possibility as to what those symbols would mean.[/B]"

Both of them continued discussing the different languages, completely tuning out the others who were there. And if only for a moment Mike completely forgot about the dangers involved with the actual gates. He was too caught up with the thrill of figuring out just what the language on the gate meant. He couldn't wait to actually see it in person!
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Now that the ship had finally launched Catherine decided to hunt down Colonel DeSouza. After talking to Vayne and Nakiesha it had occurred to her that in addition to the security measures he had mentioned, it would be a good idea to fit each member with an active health monitor that would send an active feed to the ship at all times. It would be interesting to see if there were any physical changes associated with someone disappearing. Not that she wanted anyone to disappear, but knowing if there was anything going on in that respect could be crucial to figuring out what had happened to those who were missing.

"[B]I need to find Colonel DeSouza,[/B]" Catherine mentioned to Nakiesha who was in the process of attempting to find a spot for all of her things in the tiny locker in their shared quarters. Catherine smiled a bit when Nakiesha swore under her breath as it was apparent that there just wasn't going to be room.

"[B]Yeah, we really need to go over what Vanye was talking about.[/B]" Nakiesha shot over her shoulder instead of turning to face Catherine. "[B]Now if I can just...[/B]" With a loud crash the things she had been carefully stuffing into her locker came tumbling out onto the floor.

She knew she shouldn't but Catherine couldn't quite hide her laughter over Nakiesha's predicament. She had brought way too much stuff. [I]I guess I should help her out a bit.[/I] She thought as Nakiesha turned and gave her a bit of an injured look over her laughter.

"[B]Look, I know how it is to want to keep your own personal equipment close at hand instead of down in the cargo hold, so I'm make you a deal.[/B]" Catherine paused as she wondered if it was wise.[I] I suppose I can always revoke it later if she abuses it.[/I] With that decided she continued.

Nakiesha just turned to give Catherine her full attention. "[B]Deal?[/B]"

"[B]Yes, a deal. As you can see our quarters are right next to sick bay. So instead of storing my own personal equipment here I've stored it in there. However, with such a small crew I've got plenty of storage and I'll let you have one of the cabinets for your things.[/B]" Catherine held up a hand to stay Nakiesha's excited response, "[B]However, in exchange, you have to promise to not modify or change anything without my approval first.[/B]"

Catherine couldn't help but laugh again at Nakiesha's slightly offended expression. Finally after thinking it through she stuck out her hand to shake Catherine's "[B]All right, you have a deal![/B]" She turned back and started putting her stuff back into her luggage. "[B]Now show me where that cabinet is![/B]"
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[FONT="Tahoma"][color=darkslategray]Marcus didn't even bother to put his clothing and other personal belongings away. He had tossed his bags on his bed and got straight to work with going over the intended approach to meeting with the subsidiary of the Creid government over the missing persons case involving these strange gates.

He left his room with intentions of heading to the bridge to discuss the route of travel with Kendra and the pilot, Bishop. He made the left turn toward the bridge when he saw Major Cameron James headed in the opposite direction. Marcus just glanced upward out of the corner of his eyes, while Major James stopped short and attempted to get the attention of his commanding officer.

[b]"Eh...Colonel, sir. How are you..."[/b]

[b]"Quite alright, Major. I ask that you retire to your quarters for now until I call you, Vayne, and Schovik together for a weapon and standards briefing before docking at the Creid's capital city."[/b] Marcus requested rather coldly as he continued on his way. Major James just looked back, still confused over the lack of receptiveness by the Colonel.

[b]"Yes sir."[/b] was all he said, seconds after Marcus dissapeared from his sight into the section of the ship where the door to the bridge is located. He inserted his IDT (Identification Tag) into the slot infront of the door and entered into the bridge. There he saw Bishop and Kendra discussing something and pointing out certain areas on the HULD. He couldn't make out what exactly they were talking about, it all sounded like technical pilot babble to him, but it wasn't difficult to figure out that they were at odds about something in particular.

[b]"The coordinates are yielding an odd signal frequency wave, I'm not saying we should replot everything i'm simply saying that it would be wise to not get closer than we need to before identifying what could be the source."[/b] he heard Kendra explain, while using a DLP (Display Laser Pointer) to encircle a particular area on the HULD.

[b][i]'We've been in space for ten minutes and the two of them are already disagreeing.'[/b][/i] Marcus thought to himself, as he interjected his way into the conversation with a subtle cough. Kendra and Bishop whipped their heads around suddenly, breaking from their discussion.

[b]"Colonel!"[/b] Kendra exclaimed.

[b]"Oh, don't mind me. I was just wondering how everything was going with our course. I still have some briefings to do with the officers and i'd like an ample amount of time to do them."[/b] Marcus explained, his left hand clasped around his right forearm behind his back.

[b]"Everything is fine, Colonel. You've no need to worry. ETA should be anywhere between six to seven hours."[/b] Bishop said, switching the HULD to the initially plotted out course, all the known checkpoints between their ship and destination represented by flashing blips.

[b]"Ideally...six to seven hours."[/b] Kendra interuppted. [b]"We are getting some odd waves here and there but nothing too significant. Everything should go pretty smooth as long as we stay on course."[/b]

[b]"...alright then. I'll just take your wore for it. You two don't forget to eat something before we dock. It's been a while since our gathering."[/b] Marcus said before turning around and heading out the door. Kendra watched Marcus walk away with a bit of a perturbed look, wondering if something in particular was bothering him.

Marcus wasn't out the door for three seconds before hearing another voice call out to him, another female one but of a different tone. He stopped short and turned his head to see who it was.

[b]"Colonel, glad I caught you. My time with Miss Rhodes lasted longer then I had expected."[/b] Dr. Catherine Sanderson spoke.[/color] [/FONT]
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[COLOR="Indigo"][SIZE="1"]Brianna continued working with Mike on the language of the gate until the reasoning behind why something might mean this or this started to confuse her a tiny bit. Sure she knew a fair number of ancient languages in the CIF, but beyond that? Brianna was not versed in whatever language was on the gate, nor on modern techniques for deciphering new languages. She turned to Mike as he finished speculating about another possible meaning and spoke up.

"[B]Please continue with your translation Mike.[/B]" Brianna stood up. "[B]I need to talk to Colonel DeSouza.[/B]" Mike just nodded and turned back to the screen. Brianna turned around to survey the bridge, she could have sworn she heard Colonel DeSouza's voice a little while ago, but she had been too caught up in talking with Mike to be sure.

She surveyed the bridge from the communications terminal that was just to the right of the main doors, both Bishop and Kendra were still at the helm, talking among themselves over something displayed on the HULD. Teresa was nowhere to be seen, Brianna thought about talking to the others and changed her mind in favor of finding the Colonel. A brief glance at the main viewer revealing that they were already in hyper drive and then Brianna turned and left the bridge.

To her surprise she didn't have to go far, Colonel DeSouza was right outside the bridge finishing up a conversation with Dr. Catherine Sanderson. Brianna caught the edge of Dr. Sanderson mentioning something related to health monitors and then with a polite nod to both of them she turned and left, heading back towards sickbay.

Colonel DeSouza turned to see who had just left the bridge, "[B]Did you need something Dr. Henderson?[/B]" He stood easily, but it was clear to Brianna that his thoughts were elsewhere, perhaps on the military's side of the upcoming mission?

"[B]Yes Colonel. We need to go over just what we plan on doing when we actually arrive at the gate. I've been going over the information provided by the Creid's government and,[/B]" Brianna stopped and folded her arms across her chest. "[B]Would you prefer we take this to the conference room?[/B]"

"[B]Very well Dr. Henderson,[/B]" DeSouza replied. He turned and headed for the conference room at a brisk pace, forcing Brianna to nearly run to keep up.

"[B]Do you mind?[/B]" Brianna asked a bit irritated. But DeSouza just gave her a tiny shrug before entering the conference room and then giving her his full attention. Brianna just sighed a tiny bit.

"[B]In addition to going over how we approach the gate I was also wondering what your intentions were in regards to our stop at the Creid's capital city.[/B]" Brianna watched his expression but so far Colonel DeSouza was not one for being forthcoming with her. "[B]Colonel, I'll be blunt, I've never heard of this gate before now, which means that what ever the Creid's government was using it for likely involved their military and not just exploration and expansion of their territory.[/B]"

"[B]That's certainly a possibility,[/B]" DeSouza replied. Brianna started to speak but DeSouza was not finished. "[B]There's still plenty of time before we arrive at the Creid's capital city to discuss all of this but first I have other things to attend to.[/B]"

He didn't give Brianna a chance to protest as he was around her and out the door within seconds. She just stood there staring at the door for a moment, not sure if she had been brushed off or if he really did have something that required his attention. With a tiny shake of her head Brianna finally left as well, heading for her own quarters to go over the excavation notes in regards to the gate. It was not unusual for the very placement of how things were found to have meaning, she just hoped whoever had found it had been smart enough to document everything. Brianna had not had the time to check to see what data they had been given in that respect yet. [/SIZE][/COLOR]
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[COLOR="goldenrod"][FONT="Comic Sans MS"]Teresa didn't stick around on the bridge for long, once Bishop and Kendra got started on the course and then launched the ship, she became a sort of fifth wheel. Both of them tuned her out completely. Not that she minded, flying the ship was more important than idle talk. Once she had watched Bishop take the ship into space she turned and left the bridge, determined to check the layout. She started by heading back to her now shared quarters and putting all her things away. It didn't take long. Then she picked up the CCB Dr. Henderson had given her and pulled up a layout of the Argo Navis.

The bottom floor was clearly where all the cargo was stored as well as where the access to the engines and the escape pods was. The middle floor housed the quarters and sickbay, with a slight rise leading to the actual bridge in the front. And the final level, the top, was clearly listed as a combination recreation room as well as the cafeteria area. There were other aspects that lead to what defenses they had as well as offensive capabilities, including an area nestled between the cargo and the engine room that was most likely where all the military gear was for suiting up for a mission.

Teresa was sure that the Colonel would go over that aspect so she opted for checking out the top level. With her CCB in hand she left her quarters and took the port side stairs going up. She took the small hallway at the top which in turn immediately opened up into a very large open space. To the back of the ship was a place for working out, a small changing room in one corner and lockers that upon inspection were filled with the necessary equipment for light sparring as well as simple games.

In the other corner there were controls for setting up a forcefield, giving one the option of playing a type of racket ball or for other popular games. Teresa couldn't help but smile at that, she was pretty good at a couple of the games listed in the program directory. [I]I wonder if anyone else plays them? [/I] She turned her attention to what was at the other end of the top floor, near the front of the ship.

In addition to a couple of tables that were nicely fastened to the floor along with chairs designed to attach tot he table when not in use, the facilities were top notch. It didn't take long for her to check out the small rooms behind the cooking area to see storage for not only fresh goods but the standard tasteless rations that the military often used. Teresa couldn't help but wrinkle her nose at the rations, she'd had to use them before and honestly, she'd just about rather go hungry. [I]I wonder if our budget includes picking up supplies? [/I] Teresa was a fairly decent cook, it was sort of a hobby that she pursued when she had the time. She made a mental note to ask the Colonel about it later.[/FONT][/COLOR]
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