Fix Your Course Upon a Star
Posted on Tuesday February 11th, 2020 @ 3:55pm by Ensign Samantha Evans, Trainee
Location: USS Poseidon; Stellar Cartography Lab, Deck 4
Timeline: Day 001 - 1302 Hours
Ensign Samantha Evans was one of the many bright stars in the science department. In the short time since she reported on board the Poseidon for her post-Academy training tour, she'd progressively assumed more duties, more so than many of her counterparts. Samantha wasn't bucking the responsibility, either. She embraced each as an opportunity to continue her professional development as a Starfleet officer, and showcase her various talents in the study of astronomy. What Samantha was quickly discovering, however, was that she had an aptitude for leadership. Lieutenant Serine had noticed this early on and must have been the reason she was asked to take charge of the six other departmental trainees. So when she'd received the following message from Lieutenant Serine, Samantha couldn't help but smile.
[MESSAGE BEGINS]"Good Morning, Ms. Evans. Onboard the Poseidon the roles of Astrometics Officer and Stellar Cartographer is singular within their respective specialties. As such, the two sub-divisions work hand-in-hand in the field of astronomy. At your earliest convenience today, please schedule a time to meet with Ensign Da'Wud al-Bishara, who will assume the mantle of a mentor during your trainee tour. Mr. al-Bishara is a gifted Stellar Cartographer, and I feel that you'll greatly benefit from learning from his years of experience. I have the feeling this is a smart match, so please do your best to lean into this opportunity. Please let me know if you should have any questions, and I'll do my absolute best to help. Best Regards, Serine.[MESSAGE ENDS]
After she'd read the Lieutenant's message, Samantha hadn't wasted a second in contacting Ensign al-Bishara to arrange a time to meet. Unfortunately, she was running a few minutes behind schedule, so when she entered the Stellar Cartography Lab, she did so with deliberate purpose.
Da'Wud had been entirely absorbed in his work for the past several hours, and, truth be told, had not noticed that the woman he was supposed to be meeting was late. That changed when he heard the doors swish open and the unmistakable sound of boots hitting deck plates with a sense of determination. Turning, he noticed the young officer standing before him. "As-salāmu ʿalaykum, Ensign, welcome to Stellar Cartography," he said with a broad smile.
Samantha was smiling from ear to ear as she approached Ensign al-Bishara. "Good afternoon, sir." She said with an excited wave of a hand. "And, thank you, sir! I'm very excited that we'll have the opportunity to work together." She approached the primary computer station. "I'm excited that you and I will have the opportunity to combine forces!" Samantha's enthusiasm was palpable, albeit over-eager as well.
The young woman's energy and enthusiasm were positively infectious, and Da'Wud found himself reacting in kind. "I am excited as well. Our departments are quite closely linked, so this proposal of Lieutenant Serine's is advantageous in many ways. So, tell me, how much do you know of what is done here in Stellar Cartography?" he asked.
Samantha rubbed her lips together as she produced a data PADD, "I'm glad you asked. I decided to do a little bit of research; that's why I'm a tad late, sir." She leaned against the beveled edge of the station, recalling the information on the device. "If I understand it all, Astrometrics obtains and collates the astronomical data before forwarding it to Stellar Cartography, who compiles the data to craft star charts. Am I right?"
"Correct! Absolutely correct! You hit the nail on the head, as they say. So, as you said, we compile the data your section gathers, and we use the computers here in this lab to put it into a usable format for the ship's astrogation specialists. The data is also uploaded directly to Starfleet Command's Stellar Cartography division for double-checking and integration into the main Stellar Cartography database," Da'Wud replied.
"So, when the Lieutenant said that Stellar Cartography and Astrometrics work 'hand-in-hand,' he wasn't lying!" She said with a laugh. "This also explains why Lieutenant Serine constantly has me calibrate the astrometric sensor pallets to enhance their capabilities well beyond the baseline requirements." She finally realized, absentmindedly tapping her chin with a finger as she glanced around. "So, our two divisions are essential to the nature of our purpose out here. Sounds almost existential." Samantha drummed her manicured nails against the consoles' textured surface.
"Yes, I would say the same. Without our two divisions working together to enhance the star charts, we would end up with ships getting lost more often than they made many useful discoveries," Da'Wed quipped with a grin. "Is there anything, in particular, you'd like to ask about, now that you are here?"
Samantha's head sashayed from side to side, "It's not that I don't have any questions, sir, but I have the feeling you're going to clarify those points as we begin working together." The raven-haired Ensign clarified before gesturing to the dome-like structure of the lab. "I'd love a tour! The lab is so very distinctive in its design, like, for instance, this single console station." She noted, gesturing to the computer interface, "Why is it like this?" Samantha wondered.
"Stellar cartography is set up to be a one-person job. In fact, in most places, there is literally only one of us aboard any given ship. It isn't exactly a job that requires round the clock monitoring unless we are in a situation where constant updates to the star charts will be necessary, and those sorts of situations don't generally come up unless we find ourselves in battle in uncharted territory," Da'Wud said, and then realized he had strayed from the point of her question. "So, long story short, one person doing the job means the console only needs to be big enough for one person. You wouldn't want to have to be wandering all over the room to get to various consoles when it can all be simplified and contained in one."
Samantha watched as Da'Wud demonstrated the versatility of the workstation. Poseidon's Stellar Cartography lab was of similar design to those employed on different classes of starships throughout the fleet. The laboratory was a large, dome-like structure that encapsulated the cabin. A double paneled door was the only way in or out of the compartment. It opened up directly to a sturdy gangplank that extended far into the center of the room. The catwalk bloomed at its end, where a single workstation and chair was positioned atop a raised platform. The platform itself could rotate left and right, allowing the Cartographer an unobstructed view of the dome in all directions. The dome was comprised of panels, each fitted with holo emitters that would cast a realtime display of the known galaxy.
"I can understand the benefits of limiting the number of staff. I bet when the display dome is activated, there's a fair share of vertigo to go around.' She joked, her melodic laughter reverberating against the laboratories paneled interior.
"Yes, there certainly can be, especially when you reorientate the display along the z-axis," Da'Wud replied with a nod. "But mostly, it's more about making sure resources are used appropriately, not limiting the number of staff. There's simply no reason for more than one person to be in here at any given time unless it's for a rare consultation with the command staff," he added.
The young Astrometrics Trainee nodded in understanding, "Fair enough." She replied with a soft chuckle. "So, how will this work, then?" Samantha posed, curious to know what Da'Wud may have had in mind--or maybe even planned--for this newfound professional mentorship of theirs.
"That remains to be seen, actually. Lieutenant Serine simply wanted us to meet for today, and get acquainted." Da'Wud replied. "He left the rest to our discretion. I was thinking, perhaps we could get together for dinner and discuss what we would like to explore, set down some sort of curriculum, and then get started tomorrow?"
Samantha smiled, "That sounds more than reasonable, sir." Although Da'Wud and Samantha shared the same rank, the Cartographer was a seasoned professional compared to her trainee status; the use of the prefix was appropriate given their varying degrees of experience. "Shall we say around twenty-hundred hours?" She opened the daily schedule on her data PADD to confirm that time would work.
"That will work perfectly! Would the mess hall be okay, or would you prefer it to be somewhere else?" Da'Wud replied.
"The mess hall will be fine," Samantha affirmed, confirming the computer entered the appointment into her evening plans. Deactivating the device, she slipped it into a pocket before extending her hand toward Da'Wud, "I'm looking very forward to working with you, sir!" She remarked excitedly, barely able to control her enthusiasm.
"I will see you then, Ensign! Enjoy the rest of your day," Da'Wud replied.
Samantha couldn't help the smile that reached from ear to ear. Turning, the Ensign left Stellar Cartography to attend to several tasks before organizing herself ahead of this evening's dinner meeting with Da'Wud. Her excitement wasn't only due to the prospect of experiencing new opportunities, but also in that Lieutenant Serine and Ensign Da'Wud saw an exceptional quality in her abilities, one they were as eager to hone as she was. Knowing this filled Samantha with a joy that affirmed she was on the right path in her young career as a Starfleet officer.
"A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself."
Ensign Samantha Evans
Ensign Da'Wud al-Bishara