Acting XO’s log, stardate 56971.06. I will need to get used to having to record these now that I am the XO of the Harvest. It seems kind of formal for the crew, but the Captain said I had to do it for a whole lot of reasons, and I know better to cross her when it comes to running the ship.
We’re in orbit around a dead rock called Renfid II as part of the annual trader’s forum or financial consortium or whatever the more self-important freighter captains call it. It’s basically a bunch of blowhards boasting about their trade routes while their officers try to poach members of other crews and weasel secrets from each other about untapped opportunities. [Anthony sighs heavily] This is all going to fall to me someday, once Dad formally retires and Mom decides I am ready. But I have to participate this week so I can “learn the ropes” of the Olivar family business.
The doors to the turbolift quickly open with a squeal that seemed worse than it has ever been. Some of the bridge crew looked up to see Anthony enter, but the doors had been squealing for so long that the most of the crew didn’t even register that someone had arrived.
Anthony nodded to those who glanced his way, and they all smiled in accordance with protocol. It made Anthony immediately self-conscious. He had been announced as the acting XO only four days ago, and only seconds after the current XO and Anthony’s father, Malcom Olivar, had announced his plans to retire the title. Malcom was well liked by both friends and family, and his bombshell generated more emotion than did the mention that Anthony, his oldest son, would be taking his place. There had been a few congratulations after the fact, but mostly in passing as everyone jockeyed for position to shake Malcom’s hand and wish him well. Anthony knew he had a hell of a legacy to live up to, and now every time any of the crew glanced at him, greeted him in the corridors, or deferred to him in the turbolift, he felt the weight of that legacy. He straightened his jumpsuit as it were a Starfleet uniform, but everyone on the bridge had already returned their focus to their duties and no one noticed.
The bridge of the Early Harvest was small, but it was also home. Aside from his own quarters — and engineering, of course — the bridge and his mother’s ready room were where Anthony, Sonia, and David had spent most of their formative years. The bridge was one part action center, one part museum; the Harvest had been in the Olivar family for well over 200 years and through equal measures necessity and pride, it had been well cared for. The J-class freighter was now more memory than original parts, though there were signs of its heritage here and there. The helm control console had a gouge taken out of it where a bat’leth had connected with it during a raid by a Klingon boarding party, and every now and then the comms station would pick up conversations from the mess hall for no good reason, but it occasionally paid off in juicy crew secrets so no one had ever bothered to repair it. The captain’s chair — his, someday, Anthony thought has he passed behind it on his way to the captain’s ready room — leaned a bit to the left and no longer rotated. In truth, it was Sonia who had broken it after jumping from it when she was seven years old, so even now, the Olivars were leaving their marks on the ship for future generations to grow up with.
Anthony straightened his jumpsuit once more before pressing the announcement button outside the ready room. A muffled voice from the other side bade him enter.
The office was a reflection of its inhabitant: neat and sparse, but comfortable. There were only three chairs in the room, a desk, and a series of bookshelves recessed into the wall which held up various old-world books — mostly reprints designed to look as old as the narratives they contained. A single window graced the far bulkhead, and the light of the galaxy shown through. There we practically no concessions to vanity here…not even a picture of the family. There were also no plants; Darcy Olivar would be the first to admit her floracidal tendencies.
She looked up when Anthony crossed the threshold and the door slid shut behind him. “All ready?” she asked.
“I suppose,” was all Anthony could offer.
The captain gave him a disappointed yet sympathetic look as she approached. “You’ll do fine. I’ll be there. Your father will be there. It’s just a…”
Anthony interrupted. “Wait, why is dad going? I thought he was taking it easy?” This meet-and-greet wasn’t a free-for all social event; it was more like a diplomatic glad-handing of high-ranking peers from various freighters hauling for the ECS and as such each ship only sent captains and their executive officers, one functional crew member to conduct business on the ship’s behalf, and maybe one other person as a perk for recognition. As it stood, aside from Darcy and Anthony, the Harvest was sending both David and Sonia, and Kendi Silvo, the Harvest‘s security officer. That was already exceeding the usual allotment of delegates. Besides, Malcom hadn’t even mentioned the meeting in the weeks in the run-up.
“He’s got friends in the guild,” Darcy said with a slight shrug. “And he might not be seeing them for a while after this.”
“What do you mean, ‘might not be seeing them’?”
Darcy paused with her hands resting on Anthony’s shoulders and smiled with her lips, but not her eyes. She had a million different smiles. “Just that he won’t have any official capacity to represent the Harvest going forward is all. He likes a lot of the other traders, but not so much that he’s going to want to give up free time in retirement to see them every year.” She patted his chest to accentuate what she obviously considered a positive note, but then turned away to consider her own uniform. She quickly switched the subject. “Is everything prepared?”
Nothing was ever easy on a starship, Anthony thought. especially an Olivar starship. “Yes, Ma’am. Everyone’s prepped. Kendi and David will be ready and alert.”
That seemed satisfactory to the Captain. She sighed and glanced at the small mirror on the wall before turning to Anthony with her official diplomatic smile. “Let’s be off, then.” Anthony had never liked that particular smile; he had never known what was really going on behind it.
Welcome to episode 1, scene 1 of Star Trek Adventures: Captain’s Log. I’m calling this episode “Home Again”.
I have decided to lay out the entire plot as planned, along with the rolls that generated it, at the end of the series. However, I also decided that each scene will get some “script notes” at the bottom, sans spoilers for the upcoming entries. This is really just a way to insert commentary regarding how Captain’s Log plays alongside this narrative, and also to talk about the scenes in context.
First off, I am not a professional writer, as I’m sure this passage will attest. Second, I’m so used to writing a lot, with details and meandering (if you’ve read my posts, you know). Writing in short-story format is more difficult for me since I want to put nuance and exposition and conversation in there, but I need to keep it “blog-postable” and I also want to keep it moving so I am not spending a year or more on one episode.
I also have been trying hard to visualize the story as an actual Star Trek episode in an effort to maintain pacing. This is not as difficult as I thought it would be, although the setting — non-Starfleet ship, non-Starfleet personnel — makes it a wee bit more challenging. I am constantly envisioning sets from shows and movies that I am familiar with, which is not how the setting parameters would if this were being filmed. I am picturing the read room on board Voyager for this scene, even though as a freighter, it would be more utilitarian and less comfy, like the room on board the NX-01 Enterprise.
The rulebook states that each episode should start with a captain’s log, as the shows do. Here we find Anthony Olivar newly promoted to the role of executive officer on board the Early Harvest, an ancient J-Class freighter. He is reporting to the captain (and his mother) Darcy Olivar, as they prepare to head over to another ship for a party of sorts. Every year, freighters of the Earth Cargo Service meet up at a nearby common point along their routes for a get-together. It allows crews to mingle with others outside of their ships, and as Anthony states in his log, it’s also a time for boasting about successes and lamenting failures. It is also a kind of job fair where ships try and poach members from each other, or to learn secrets that they could exploit. It’s exactly the kind of event that senior officers would have to attend, but Anthony isn’t entirely comfortable with such a “Romulan” way of thinking.
Also, I needed to seed some foreshadowing in there. Anthony did find it odd that his father Malcom, the previous XO, opted to step down while his mother remains as the ship’s captain. He suspects that the reasons he, his siblings, and the crew were given aren’t entirely on the level.
There were no rolls involved in this scene, as it’s designed to set the stage for the upcoming entries. I’m torn between writing the story and playing the game; I have what I think is a really good plot with some really good scenes based on the mission rolls I made, and I fear that relying on task rolls to determine outcomes is going to totally throw that cool story way out of whack. There may not be as many rolls as their should be going forward, but I will try and add some in there, ignoring them as I please in the service of the story.