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Behind the Veil
A New Challenge

Observation Lounge <Deck 8> [Gibraltar Station]

This room is a slightly curved rectangle, with a single door to the aft. To its left sits a large display panel which can be configured to show whatever data is needed. In the center of the room is a large, curved cherrywood table with a smoked glass top. It is ringed with maroon chairs: one at either end, four on the inner side, and five on the outer. These chairs have both head and armrests and there are small data panels set into the glass tabletop in front of each one. The four legs of the table are a dark marble speckled in maroon and white. They come up around the top of the table to form a slight division between some of the chairs. In the starboard wall are five large windows that look out upon space beyond. Port is a wall paneled in oak that supports two gold models--one of a Regula-class station and a much larger one of a Buckingham-class station. The walls are light gray and the carpet blue speckled with maroon. Lighting is provided by panels in the ceiling.

Capt Gwen Hawkins
Cmdr Solvek

Hawkins stands at the windows, staring out with arms folded across her chest. Something in her stance is more open and vulnerable than usual, much less the Commanding Captain.

The door opens and admits Solvek. He is much more composed than the last time Hawkins saw him. He walks up and stands beside her at the windows. His hands are folded behind his back.

"What's going to happen, Solvek?" Gwen's voice is... strange, strained, worried. She sounds almost like a young girl asking reassurance from someone older.

Without turning to look at her, Solvek answers, "The Maelstrom will engulf the station and the effects will either end our lives or we will persevere and continue on."

Hawkins lets out a long breath. "Thanks," she says wryly. After another moment, she turns to look at Solvek, dropping her arms to her sides. "I'm.... frightened, Solvek." That's got to be a hard admission for her to make. "I have no idea what to do about this. I can't... I can't fight this thing. I don't know where to start."

Solvek continues to look out the window. "I was merely answering your question in the most basic and logical sense." His expression softens a bit, "There is no way to fight the Maelstrom, Gwen. You should not have the desire to do so. The station will be evacuated sufficiently and the remaining crew will be here to ensure the station survives. That is all that can be done in this situation. I will point out that on Earth, thousands of people lived on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and 'weathered' hurricanes. We are preparing to do the same here."

Hawkins throws up her hands. "Damn you and your logic!" She turns away from the window. "I can't just sit back and wait for that... thing to come here. And what'll it do after it's gone? Where will it go? How can you expect me to just sit here? You know me better than that."

"Captain, you are looking at the situation in a completely human fashion." Solvek finally turns to face Gwen. "Why do you need to do anything to the Maelstrom? You are not it's commanding officer, your position is here on this station. A logical action would be to ensure that all people who are not needed safe and all who are needed are able to survive the event. Yourself included."

"It's threatening my station, Solvek! It's threatening my people! And I can't stop it!" Well, there's the heart of the matter, eh, Gwen?

Solvek turns back to the window and stares at the black cloud. "You are correct, Gwen, you cannot." He tilts his head a bit as if noticing something. "So do not try. Do what you need to do. As your Executive Officer, I expect nothing more than your good judgement in this situation. I believe the crew feels the same. We have resources on this station, why not use those resources to further our ability to survive." He turns back to Hawkins, "It seems a logical descision to me.

All of Gwen's bluster seems to deflate and she turns to look back at the window. "You're right." She smiles. "What would I do without you, hmm?"

No emotion is evident on Solvek's face, "Most likely figure out a way to survive or die a horrible death. But that is not necessary. Not this time."

"Good." Gwen pauses, then, "Let's go get a drink, hmm?"

"I am not thirsty at this moment," Solvek begins, "but I will join you for the company and perhaps I will become thirsty."

Hawkins grins. "That's the spirit." And she heads out, followed by her First Officer.

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