Title: Beyond The Unknown
Summary: An Admiral looks into a new crew for a dangerous exploratory mission. She wants the best, but are the best willing to trade the lifestyles they have for the danger of exploration.

Hey folks. This one will be a major departure from my usual style, and probably won't be updated as often as my other stories, as it will evolve as more ideas and calamities happen on the USS Tumblr roleplay group. This one is for you guys. Ez, Kuka, Captain, Harry, Toilet and Ner!

The two women sat in the darkened office, both with a mug of coffee in their hands. The conversation had been pleasant until only a few moments earlier. She had approached the Captain with an ulterior motive, more than just getting to know another command level officer she hadn't met yet. The Captain had taken the initial request in her stride. She just looked out of the viewport, studying the flowing starscape. The Admiral had always felt at home in space, since her first moment out there. The Captain seemed to find a similar amount of comfort in the stars outside. But from what the Admiral knew, The Captain hadn't left the system for an extended tour in many years.

"Why me?" The Captain suddenly spoke, her piercing blue eyes turning back towards the Admiral. The Captain carried her age and experience well, and she had a commanding tone. She demanded an instinctual respect, and that was an asset when one was given command of a ship of the line, especially on a mission such as was proposed for them.

"You've come highly recommended." The Admiral was used to playing her cards close to her chest. It was how she had gotten to this point in her career. It wasn't worth showing her hand too early, but she couldn't hold back forever, and she knew that.

"Me, command a science vessel?" The open scepticism in the Captain's voice was not something the Admiral had expected, and she couldn't place what the Captain was sceptical of, he ability to lead, the ship, or whatever mission they'd be given.

"Captain Velar has already accepted command of the Fawcett, I'm taking command of the flagship, the Anthony. I need someone to take the Pankhurst." She just stirred the remains of her coffee again. Studying the Captain, who stood up and walked to the other side of the room before she span back to look toward the Admiral with a glare.

"Why? I'm not a scientist."

"Like I say, you're highly recommended, and you'd be the captain with the tactical experience. Velar is a pure scientist." She calmly stated. Watching the Captain as she began to pace, clearly conflicted about the offer.

"You're a decent tactician?"

"I didn't fight the way you did." The Admiral was honest, sitting forward and placing her mug on the table, it's precious cargo having already been delivered. "I need your answer tonight."

The silence seemed to stretch into infinity. She wondered if she was actually holding her breath as she waited for the Captain to give her the answer. Who else could she approach for the posting, she wasn't sure. Her first choice had already turned her down, and she hoped that the Captain wouldn't. The Captain sat down in front of her, and nodded, it seemed like she was agreeing with herself. "I can pick my own crew?"

"Yes, with a couple of exceptions. The XO and Engineer have already been assigned."

"Everyone else I can pick? Correct?"

"Yes." The Admiral added. Wondering how the XO who was currently commanding the Pankhurst would take to his new CO. She wasn't worried though, he would do his duty and would serve her well. She had many suggestions for the other members of the senior staff, but after she assigned a captain, it was no longer her decision, it all came down to the Captain, and her decisions. "I have suggestions, but if you know someone better you will have every right to choose them."

"Alright. I'll do it. What will the mission be?"

"It's an exploratory vessel, Europe-class, crew compliment of 300, roughly." She thought how best to explain the mission, but apparently she hesitated just a minute too long as the Captain slid onto the chair opposite again, and looked at her intently.

"The mission, Admiral?" she prompted, and the Admiral looked at her with a wry grin on her face.

"We're exploring the Gamma Quadrant."