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Posted on Saturday January 11th, 2020 @ 8:45pm by Lieutenant Commander Canaan Serine

Mission: Shakedown Cruise
Location: USS Poseidon; Stellar Cartography Lab, Deck 4
Timeline: Day 001 - 1015 Hours


Da'Wud sat at the main console in Stellar Cartography, overseeing the latest update to the ships star charts that had just come in from the update hub over on Starbase 99. If all went well he'd be done in less than an hour and have the entire system ready by the time the ship was ready to launch. If all didn't go well he'd be reaching out to one of the computer systems specialists to see if they could assist in finding out why the files weren't installing.

Stopping to take a sip of spiced coffee he was surprised to hear the doors to the lab slide open. Glancing back over his shoulder he realized it was his department head and placed the cup down and stood, turning and nodding, "As-salāmu ʿalaykum, Lieutenant, how can I help you?" he asked with a broad smile.

"Et à vous aussi," Canaan replied softly with a polite nod of the head. Ensign al-Bishara was assigned to the Poseidon as its stellar cartographer. Like Astrometrics, Stellar Cartography was manned by a single specialist unless a cadet or trainee was mentored. The Stellar Cartography lab was located on deck four and was one of the many new facilities prized by the science department. The lab was the Ensign's kingdom, and from what Canaan had heard, Da'Wud was very good at taking care of it.

Canaan approached the singular work station where the Ensign was seated. "I wanted to see how all was going with updates. The upload to Astrometrics is nearing completion, and I was hoping the same for here. We wouldn't want to leave port with dated maps." He replied kindly.

Nodding sagely Da'Wud turning to the console, indicating that he wanted the Lieutenant to take a look. "Download started last night sometime around oh three hundred hours and completed just before I came on shift at oh eight hundred. I've been working on the preparations for the last forty-five minutes, and just started the installation process right before you walked in. I am estimating a completion time within the hour, and barring any hiccups I can fairly well guarantee a full update to the star maps well before we head out," he replied to the man.

Turning back to the other man with a gleam in his eye he smiled, "I'm excited," he admitted. "This update is supposed to incorporate some newly acquired sensor data that could open up whole new avenues for us depending on where our orders take us. We might even be the first ones to survey some of the new star systems they've included. Inshallah, I will get to be there to witness those moments!" he added, the joy at that thought fully evident on his face and in his body language.

The platform was not generous in the amount of space it offered guests, hence why one person staffed the lab. Canaan's proximity to Da'Wud was close enough for him to pick out the lightest hints of balsam and patchouli in the man's subtle perfume. The Lieutenant breathed in and smiled, savoring the scents of home. "Excellent," Canaan was pleased the download was complete, and the Ensign was already managing the installation. Da'Wud was efficient and proactive; two qualities Canaan valued most in any member of his department. "Daystrom provided a software patch that should allow seamless integration with its database. So long as we maintain a continuous connection, our charts should never be out of date."

The dome-like structure of the lab was dormant, its high-resolution graphical holo-interface deactivated while the installation progressed ahead of schedule. Da'Wud's enthusiasm was palpable, infectious even. Canaan shared in his sentiment, eager to finally begin their mission together. "I've no doubt we'll find our way to many of these new star systems during our time together," He reassured the man, offering the kindest of smiles. "Can you check the feed integration with the primary science console on the bridge?" He requested, wanting to ensure the feed was live.

While Da'Wud worked, Canaan produced a small decorative tin that was reminiscent of the Ensign's homeland. Within the container was a pot of looseleaf tea. He'd been assured by the vendor that it was the same mix of tea used in the ceremony when first breaking bread with a new friend. When familiarizing himself with Da'Wud's service record, Canaan noted there'd been some time since the Ensign had returned home. The Science Officer was well aware of how important home was to each of them, even more so after breathing in Da'Wud's earthy scent, and knew that little things, like the tea, could serve as fond reminders of home. He wanted his team to feel at home on the Poseidon, yet also revel in the memories of what brought them to this point in their career. Offering such a gift was not customary or even routine, yet Canaan felt it right. He waited patiently for Da'Wud to confirm the feed to the bridge before offering the Ensign the gift.

Da'Wud turned to the large console behind him at Canaan's request. Tapping a few buttons he brought up his diagnostics toolset and began checking various things. He watched the flow of information on his screen carefully, "I am showing one hundred percent data integration at this time, with a projected slow down of seventeen percent during the most intense portion of the update process," he said, turning to his superior. "I hope that is acceptable, sir."

Canaan nodded his assent before holding out the gift, "I hope you don't mind." He remarked sheepishly.

Reaching out to accept the gift Da'Wud smiled. It was a beautifully designed tin and looked as if it was even possibly hand-made. He admired the design on the outside for a few moments before popping the top open. Immediately he was bathed in the beautiful aroma of a perfectly spiced tea he hadn't had in several years. Looking up at the man with a huge grin he nodded, closing the lid and making sure it was secure before speaking.

"This is beautiful... Of course I do not mind. Thank you.", he said, pulling the other man into a hug. It had been many years since he'd had someone take the time to actually do something like this just to make him feel welcome. He had had no idea the other man was so thoughtful. Releasing him and stepping back he looked him in the eyes.

"You have given me the gift of home, sir. I don't know if you really understand how much that means to me, but again, thank you," he said, smiling again.

Canaan hadn't expected Da'Wud's gesture of appreciation. Involuntarily, his back straightened, and he shrank while in the embrace. The Ensign wouldn't have known that Canaan didn't like to be touched without his permission; how could he? He kept decorum lax within the department, so hugs weren't uncommon; however, he and Da'Wud had not worked closely enough for him to know that a request for permission was usually appreciated.

Standing as still as possible, Canaan gently patted the small of the Ensign's back before his hands fell back to his sides. "Oh, right, um, it's my pleasure." The Lieutenant fumbled over his words a bit, cheeks hot with embarrassment as he pulled away from the hug. "I noticed you'd not been home for quite a while and want you to know you have a home on the Poseidon, and a family," Canaan emphasized.

"I hope it's as delicious a blend as the vendor said it would be. She said it's authentic." He carried on, wanting to keep the exchange as seamless as possible, regardless of his aversion to touch.

Da'Wud had noticed the man's sudden stiffening when he'd hugged him and noted it in the back of his mind as something he should not do again. He hadn't even really meant to do it, he'd just been so overwhelmed by the other man's generosity that it had been almost instinctual. "I am sure it will be if the smell is any indication," he said, and then added with a smile, "And thank you for your words as well. It is nice to know I have a home and a family here."

Canaan smiled, "Well, you do." He affirmed, his posture gradually relaxing as Da'Wud returned to his seat. "I've had the chance to catch-up with most everyone, except for you. Are you settling in, alright? How are your accommodations? Did our resident Quartermaster square away all that you needed?" He wondered curiously.

"Yes, everything has been taken care of most admirably. I can't think of a single thing I'd change. I even like my roommate, which was a surprise. That almost never happens," Da'Wud replied with a rye chuckle.

Canaan laughed in tandem, understanding Da'Wud's sentiment. "I'm glad to hear it." He let out the softest of sighs, "Please know that you can come to me if there's any way I can help to support you in your role. I want our department to be one of genuine collaboration, especially with our more inexperienced crew. I'm available to you, remember that."

"That is my wish, as well, sir. Without cooperation, we will never achieve any of our goals. I will most assuredly seek you out if there is anything I need, and I wish it to be a two-way street. Just because I am classified as a Stellar Cartographer, please know, I like to learn, I like to experience new things and grow as a person. If you have something you think I could assist with, please, ask. If it is within my ability, it will be done," Da'Wud said, sincerely.

Canaan was impressed, and that took some doing. Da'Wud would be an excellent addition to both department and ship; there wasn't a doubt in his mind about this. "Outstanding, Ensign. Then, in that case, I'd like you to mentor Ensign Samantha Evans in Astrometrics. She's a talented trainee that's shown an aptitude for both specialties. Let's see if we can't hone those skills during this next year. Sound good?"

Smiling broadly Da'Wud nodded, "That sounds like a wonderful experience. I would be honored to do that," he said. He had never had a chance to mentor anyone in his life, and it was nice to see that someone was going to give him a chance to pass on the knowledge he had.

"It should be a most enriching experience for the two of you. I'll take the liberty of connecting you both. Until then, I'll leave you to it." Canaan bowed ever so slightly, taking a step or two back before turning to leave. As he strolled out of the Stellar Cartography lab, he couldn't have been happier in his decision to select Ensign Da'Wud al-Bishara for this assignment.


31. To God belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on earth. - Quran 53-31


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