Location: Trees in Space
Charlie had wasted no time getting on board. As soon as they said he was cleared, he boarded and made a b-line to his room. He had unpacked in what had to have been record time, and got into his uniform, polished up his pips, and called for an assist, "Computer, where would I find out illustrious commanding officer?" He asked, brightly.
The computer pointed Charlie to the atrium- which was exactly where the commander was, marveling up at a pair of stately oak trees growing serenely in a pretty little park in the middle of a starship.
His last ship hadn't had an atrium - he'd almost headed back onto the starbase until the computer told him it was on Deck 13. He grinned a bit as he stepped into the massive room, feeling like some sort of domed Central Park. He spotted the CO observing the trees and made his way over to her, "Perks of being on a science vessel, I guess, getting a built-in park," He joked as he walked over to the woman.
"It's part of our purification processing and the ecology labs," she said over her shoulder as she rocked back on her heels. "Whoever built this ship loved her. Every section of the refit, ever redesign was so thoughtfully done.."
"You mean we're using plants as scrubbers?" Charlie asked, now more than a little interested.
"Meaning that they're a part of the redundancy systems for this floor for food and water purification. It's part of a testing protocol on viability for larger greenbelts and atriums on starships." Diana turned as she spoke, arms crossed over her chest. "And who am I telling all of this to?"
"Ah, you'd be telling it to Lieutenant Charles West, Chief Engineer on this boat, and the guy who should *probably* have read the specs a little bit closer so he knew this was a thing on his ship," He replied, grinning a bit and offering his CO a salute.
"It might need to be on your to-do list. A lot has changed to facilitate the myriad of labs and their specifications from the medical berths that were on the original specs. Not a lot of the original ship design internally beyond base structure is still here. I apologize for that headache ahead of time," she smiled like a peace offering. "I'm Commander Diana Riesz by the way."
"Nice to meet you, commander," Charlie replied, politely. "I've read a lot of it on the way over," He said, walking over to one of the trees and running his hand over the trunk of it, "Just hadn't gotten to this part. Still about half of it to go through," He said, sounding a little lost in the... naturalness of it all. "I haven't served on an Olympic class before, so this is something new for me," He said, turning back to look at her and sounding a touch more present, "I'm excited about it."
"It is an exciting prospect. We talk about being communities in space. We have cities on flotillas and starships carrying small contries, but they're all so sterile and empty somehow. Wouldn't it be different. Shouldn't it be different if we could bring a home with us?" Patting a tree, Diana snapped her fingers as she stepped back from the oak. "That's what we do. We make dreams reality. That's the beauty of science!"
"Couldn't agree more, ma'am," Charlie replied, grinning broadly. "Will everyone aboard have a science focus?" He asked.
"Not everyone. Everyone will be trained to understand lab precautions and procedure as a safeguard, but overwhelmingly the crew will be science oriented or have some science training in their background. That helps fill any stopgaps that we might have in an emergency." And there would be emergencies she thought to herself.
"Probably be plenty of those," Charlie replied, as if hearing her train of thought. "I know we've got some exploratory stuff ahead of us, but from what I was reading of the mission profile for this ship, we'll be doing R&D too, right?"
"Yes. And we're in line for follow up for first contact missions, so we need to be ready to host delegation and learn everything about a world and it's peoples as unobtrusively as possible. Thrilling stuff if that's the stuff that thrills you. If not it's like watching grass grow. Lucky for me: I like that stuff." Diana grinned at that. It was one of her favorite jokes to make.
Charlie laughed, "Me too, I'd love to get a look at some first contact tech, you know? Be the first to catalog it, and start to try and understand it. I minored in xenobiology, so that's interesting as hell to me, as well," He offered.
Her grin grew even broader. "Well then we'll get along fine."
Charlie chuckled, "Sounds good, ma'am. If you got no objection, I think I'll head down and take a look under the hood, yeah?"
The commander nodded her head that he should take off. "I'll talk to you later, Charles. I hope that you enjoy getting to know the Newt as much as I am."
"I have no doubt I will, Cap! And It's Charlie, Charles makes me feel old," He said with a playful grin, giving a casual salute as he headed out the door.