The Pathfinder-class with Discovery-class pylons U.S.S. Ragnarok trekked through space, aimlessly and haphazardly. Captain Oroku Seifer met with his senior staff in the ship's briefing room. Everyone's attention settled and turned to the Joined Trill.
"Now, I'd like to go around the table and have everyone introduce themselves and say one thing interesting about you," ordered Seifer.
Lieutenant Commander Winry, Human and chief engineer, raised her hand. "Sir, permission to not engage in such a lame exercise?"
"It's not lame. Captain Shon of the Enterprise-F did the exact same thing, he told me once, while smirking, at a party," defended Seifer.
Lieutenant Edward, Human and helm operator, added her own remark. "Yeaaah, it's a little dumb."
"Uh, it's not that bad," Lieutenant Commander Aramaki, Human and tactical officer, interjected. "It's a way for us to get to know each other. Am I right, Cetra?"
The telepathically suppressed Betazoid and ship's Doctor, replied, "I don't care. I just want this conversation over with."
"Ugh!" Everyone then looked over to the science officer and Caitian, Lieutenant Commander Moggs, who, instead of adding to the discussion, coughed up a hairball. "Ack! Sorry. Note: Do not have the replicated soufflé after a self-bath."
Seifer waved all the kafuffle away. "No, no. You guys are completely right. It's the poster child of annoying team exercises. I move we all look up each other's profiles on the Federation social media network. All those in favor?"
"Aye!" the rest of the group rung in unison.
The Captain activated the presentation screen behind them and brought up everyone's entrance test results. "Next item on our list, your aptitude numbers. Now, I know there is only so much one person is capable of, but we have to compete with other ships and then gloat about it in their faces, a-la LaForge and his warp engine addiction."
"Aptitude, sir? Is that really necessary? We all aspire to be more than the sum of our parts— that is, our organic parts," said Winry, trying not to subconsciously mimic an android.
The Captain nodded. "Although we have only been together for a short time, I know that you are the finest crew in the fleet and I would trust each of you with my life."
"That is crazy. How would you even just know that out of nowhere unless you’ve been time traveling? Are you saying you’re from the future, Captain?" asked Moggs.
Seifer crossed his arms defensively. "I very well could be. Would that make you comply? Is time travel still fresh and new to you?"
"Quite the opposite, sir. I feel like it's been done to death, gone back into the past, and done to death again," argued Winry.
Aramaki nodded. "Actually, I would interject that it's gone into the future, seen its death, and tried to reassert itself in the past."
"Okay, that's enough. Time travel is never dead. Never so long as there's a selfish desire to crossover things!" the Captain refuted.
Winry continued. "But that's just it; the self-indulgent use of it has only now soured our tastes and any such mention of going forward or back is anything but exciting."
"I suppose I used to think just like you, recoiling at the thought of a quick jump or temporal reset. But, in my dragging days or weeks aboard Spacedock— I don't even know— without a ship, I've grown to appreciate the access we now have to such madness. Together we can make it fresh again!" Seifer preached.
Edward pulled out an ancient alien statue out from underneath the table and placed it on the top for everyone to see. "Ahhhh, fresh like this?"
"Sir??" Doctor Cetra said. "Are you pro-time-travel because you couldn't figure out this really old artifact?"
Seifer looked at the turn of events, perplexed. "Huh? Oh, somewhat. But that's a statue from the Verath system. It's a depiction of one of their sub-ossemites. Captain Terry acquired it before he blew himself up during my Spacedock days."
"It appears to be eating a baby ossemite," observed Moggs.
The Captain tilted his head. "Wait. You know about this stuff?"
"Ehhh, I don't know about you guys," started Winry, "But I eat ancient architecture papers for breakfast; helps with engine indigestion. This Verathan top likely rotates to align one of the three sub-ossemite statue sides with the baby at its bottom."
Moggs pointed. "That baby's head looks like a bilitrium jewel. It's a highly powerful mineral."
"Well, yeah, actually, the Verathan inscriptions on its side depict the baby as a power source," Seifer explained. "I suspected the second sub-ossemite to be the power consumer, so I switched it to him before you all entered the briefing room."
Aramaki leaned in to take a look. "You would be correct, had the second one been wearing the energy symbol, but according to what we know of their upper-class society, sometimes their energy responsibilities lay with the third sub-ossemite."
"Of course!" Seifer snapped his fingers. "Wait. You study anthropology?"
The tactical officer shrugged. "It ties into behavioral performance. That, and there's this smoking hot Tellarite chick who's into it too."
"Well, I'm not going to comment on that last part, but your logic is perfectly acceptable, I assume," Seifer agreed.
Everyone watched as the Captain took the statue and rotated the upper half until the side with the third sub-ossemite aligned with its open mouth over the jewel-headed baby. The object then started to emanate a low-level glow from its cracks, and the baby's head began to emit hovering, short-range clumps of energized matter.
"Something inside of that thing activated the bilitrium," reported Moggs as he scanned with his tricorder. "Harmful radiation levels are rising."
Seifer placed his commbadge onto it. "Captain to transporter room. Lock on to my signal and beam it out into space."
"Right away, sir! Except, I can't get a lock due to some kind of interference," Ensign Khalid answered over air. "Huh. I guess any of us can fall victim to the 'some kind of' trope after all."
The Captain took his commbadge back and unsuccessfully rotated the statue, whilst perplexed. "Why'd they make a device that powers up like this?"
"Uhhh, huh. Worship reasons, me thinks," spoke up a quirky Lieutenant Edward. "Yep. I know religions. You offer your statue praise. Praise it; yes!"
Cetra sighed. "There was once a supposed Verathan event where massive offerings of flower pedals, native to their planet, was unloaded at one of their power-shrines." Then, to explain: "Doctor and occasional history buff. Don't ever ask me why."
"A Saurian flower comes close to what some botantists believed was the molecular construct of Verathan flowers," offered Moggs. "Though, there wasn't much by way of confirming this."
Seifer put the statue on the table and went over to the replicator. "Well, there is now. Anyone want a coffee or tea while I'm up here?"
"Sir, the radiation will pass the kill-us threshold within seconds," continued Cetra. "Seconds!"
The Captain nodded at her over-acting as he brought the replicated flower before the statue. The matter around it then began to fade and the flower started to wither.
"Levels dropping," reported Moggs, who then eyed the flower. "Anyone going to eat that?"
Winry sat up. "You know, we could have all just gotten up and left the room. Basic Survival 101."
"In the middle of a briefing?? That's crazy talk, Winry," argued Aramaki. "That goes on our permanent records, you know."
Seifer sat down and examined the statue. Its glow completely faded. "Fascinating. Since it only took one flower, this thing could be a mini-home version of something much larger; perhaps something at that event Cetra mentioned."
"Captain, you were right about the madness," offered Winry. "Perhaps such things are worth it after all."
The Trill put the statue down. "And we make a pretty good team. —Computer! Delete the crew's aptitude information."
"Acknowledged," the computer chirped. "Crew academic records deleted from the Federation-wide database."
Aramaki threw up his hands. "Now we'll never be able to transfer to another ship!"
"Is that all for this meeting, sir?" asked Winry. "Are we ever going to do space stuff?"
Seifer changed the presentation screen. "Well, there is this request from a Deferi colony world for Starfleet assistance. But I told them to stop being whiny babies. Now that we're a well-oiled machine, we can say those things."
"Oooh! Gonna make ship go, go, go!" Edward sat up, excited.
The Captain rolled his eyes. "Oh, alright. We'll go check it out. But after that, you all have to develop a poker routine, where I come in at the end of seven years and you all love it."
"Fine. But no time travel, ever," bargained Winry. "Especially if that's the result of your planned-poker-reluctance."
Seifer sat uneasy. "Uggh. I guess. But you'd all better have an unrelenting affection for me by the end of it all." Then he turned to the crew, excited for the future and their adventures. "Dismissed!"