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Mission 2: Valhalla

The Denver is repaired and the crew settles into their new roles.

Almost Home

Starbase 75, Betazed System
May 30, 2374 13:00

Rebecca was the last off the ship.  Already Starbase repair crews were swarming the ship, and yet it still felt empty to her.

She walked over to the captain’s chair and stood there in silence.   “We got her home captain,” she said suddenly.  “We lost some good people,  but we got her home.  I keep half expecting you to walk out of your ready room.  You were…”

She wiped tears from her cheeks and she looked around feeling vaguely ridiculous talking to a chair, but she was alone on the bridge. “You were a good man, and an even better mentor. Thank you sir. May you have fair winds and following seas.”

She nodded, patted the seat back and walked to the turbolift.   A few minutes later she was passing through the gangway and into the station proper with a small duffel bag slung over her shoulder.

“Mama!” A pair of high pitched voices screamed as Aimee and Livvy ran to the mother wrapping their arms around her legs.

Rebecca fought back tears as she kneeled before them and her arms wrapped around the twins. “What are you doing here?”

“Daddy got a job here,” Aimee said.

“Daddy?” Rebecca looked up to see Milo standing there with a grin on his face and his son Ethan next to him. Milo was wearing a gold lieutenant’s uniform.

She extricated herself from her twin daughters and went to Milo wrapping her arms around him. “What are you doing here?”

“Assistant Chief of Security,” he said with pride.

“I can see that… or rather I can see that you are back in uniform.   I thought you were done with Starfleet.   So did I, and for that matter I thought you were too.”

“I didn’t exactly have a choice.”

“No, I suppose you didn’t,  but since you were going to be based out of here and Starfleet needed officers I reinstated my commission so I could see you when you came in, and the girls need their mother,  and Ethan’s rather fond of you too. Ain’t that right son?” Milo asked ruffling the teen’s hair.

“Dad!” He exclaimed as his hands went to his hair and he attempted to comb the now mess of sandy blonde hair.

Rebecca smiled with sympathy and kissed her husband,  “Either way this is a pleasant surprise,  and a very nice one indeed. “

“You being here is a bit of a surprise.   When the remnants of the Seventh arrived and said you had fallen out of formation they assumed you had been destroyed.  It wasn’t until the Los Angeles notified us that they had found Cheon and Mr. Stephens that we even knew you were alive. I didn’t know what was worse.”

“Thinking she was dead dad,” Ethan said simply.

Milo shrugged,  “Yeah, I reckon so, but we knew the Denver was badly damaged and we didn’t know for sure what was happening in that nebula.”

“Well I’m here.”

Milo couldn’t stop grinning like a complete loon, “Yes you are.”

The Starbase was packed with civilians and Starfleet personnel.  The Fifth Fleet had taken over the Seventh’s duties and SB75 seemed busier than usual because of that. 

The family turned down the main promenade and made their way to a turbolift.   The ride to the residual levels was quick and they were soon deposited at the end of a long sweeping corridor line with doors.    Milo lead them to  the apex of the arch and thumbed the security panel and the doors parted to reveal a large apartment with three separate bedrooms, a lavatory,  and a small but adequate common room with five floor to ceiling windows providing a spectacular view of Betazed slowly turning below.

“Well, station living has it’s perks,” Rebecca observed.  

Milo chuckled, “I reckon so.   Though,  I have the family edition.   Most officers get much smaller accommodations.”

“Mama?” Livvy asked looking up at her mother.

“Yes dear?”

“Ethan said you had to resort to cannibalism like the Donner Party because your replicstors were down.”

Rebecca scowled at Ethan and he sheepishly slinked off to his room knowing that he had been wrong.  “No, honey we had emergency rations.  They weren’t very good, but they were completely healthy. “

“See! I told you Ethan was messing with you,” Aimee gloated to her twin.

“Girls! There’s no need to gloat.  Desperate people have done desperate things,  but we try not to make bad situations worse by not preparing. Now run along, I want to talk to your dad.”

“Okay,” the replied in unison and ran off to their room where you could hear them playing with their dolls.  By the sounds of it one was making tea and the other was giving them a medical checkup.

“Remind me not to go to tea with them when we’re old and grey,” Rebecca laughed.  “I don’t need a reminder of all the things that are broken down on me.”

Milo laughed,  “I’m not going anyway.  I ain’t British…”

“…and you drink coffee,” Rebecca finished. “I know. I drink coffee too.”

He smoothed his mustache with a thumb and forefinger and sighed,  “Yeah, but you will at least drink tea.”

“My mother was Irish. It’s part of my heritage.  She was born in County Cork before her parents took a water reclamation job in Santa Fe. Oh, that reminds me. My cousin Órlaith got accepted into Starfleet Academy.”

“Didn’t you say your grandparents were against Starfleet?”

Rebecca shrugged,  “Nor that they were going to stop me. I guess you can say I was a bad influence on Òrlaith.”

“You do tend to have the effect on folk,” Milo teased.

She responded with a playful slap across the chest. He trapped her arm and pulled her close into her and the two kissed. 

She responded by running her hands over his chest feeling the bumps of well toned abs and pecks.  He was a country boy through and through having grown up on a ranch.   Milo was a powerful man, broad shouldered and narrow hipped.

Ethan still had the boyish youth, but at fourteen you could already see the features that would be behind the man he would become, and he was every bit his father.

 

  -Later-

Milo rolled out of bed and pulled on his pants while Rebecca lay with only a sheet covering her.  She looked up at her husband smiled and stretched her back. She was sore, but sore in all the good ways.  It had been far too long.

Milo chuckled at her as if he had read her mind, “Yes, my love it had been too long.”

“How did you know that was what I was thinking?”

Milo shrugged as he zipped up the front of his mustard yellow under tunic.  “Dear, we’ve been together far to long for either of us to have much difficulty at reading each other’s thoughts.   Besides,  you would make a terrible gambler. I can read your face like a book.”

” You cannot!”

He nodded and grunted, “I can.”

She sighed and curled into the comforter completely content and too tired to continue the playful banter. She loved Milo like no one else and their playful sparring sessions were a source of unending amusement,  but the weeks of hard work trying to survive and the wild romp they had just had left her too tired to deal.

He leaned in and slapped her hind end through the blankets.  “Let’s get dinner going. The kiddos are certain to be hungry.”

She sighed and looked at him over the comforter. She was trying her “if looks could kill” expression on him.  Obviously he could see right through her.  Damn him.  “Fine!” She muttered and kicked off the blankets.

Chain of Command

Starbase 75, Betazed System
June 20, 2374 13:00

It’s been an unusual and weird past three weeks.  The Denver was getting a minor refit with more powerful weapons,  and of course, the repairs were coming right along.

Between the official inquiry and debriefings, Rebecca had little time to spend with her family.  The inquiry ultimately found that she and the crew had operated exemplary given the circumstances, and was promised that they would all receive commendations in all of their records.

Commander Lovecroft’s team, despite officially being on leave, had opted to put their backs into the job of getting their little ship space worthy again. Because of this, they were nearly two weeks ahead of schedule.  Despite that the Denver still didn’t have a captain, nor had it replaced any of the engineering officers lost in the battle. 

Then there was a sigh of relief when she received a message from Admiral Quinn Dailey that the Denver’s new captain had been found, and that she should bring Cheon Kyo with her to the station’s wardroom, and be in full dress uniform.

She met Cheon on the turbolift on the way to the wardroom and she nodded to him in his dress whites.  “Well, this could be interesting,” she started making small talk.  “I’ve never known Admiral Dailey to be so vague.”

Cheon twisted his neck as he tried to pull the collar on his dress whites, trying to make room for his neck. “God it has been ages since I have had a reason to pull these out,” he stated as he continued to try and stretch the material ever so slightly. “I am hoping that this new Captain will be able to handle us,” Cheon stated as a grin formed over his mouth. 

“Maybe you, but I am a model officer,” she jokingly replied. “Let’s just hope we have a good CO.”

“Indeed,” Cheon replied as he stood next to his closest friend; next to his wife.

The lift slowed and the doors parted and the duo made their way into the corridor and entered a set of doors on the right.  The wardroom was silent and nearly empty. Just Admiral Dailey and his adjutant a dour-faced woman in her fifties stood at the head of the long table.

“Commanders come in,” Dailey greeted.

“You have found our new CO?” Rebecca asked.

“I have.  Just got the go-ahead from San Francisco this morning.”

Rebecca thought that was an odd turn of a phrase. Promotions and ship assignments did ultimately have to get approved by Starfleet Command,  but those were generally just rubber-stamped in situations like this.  “Yes, sir. Of course sir.” She eyed Captain Hildegard with suspicion.   She seemed competent enough, but she was an administrator, not a starship captain.

“Commander Rebecca Rose Talon,  it is my pleasure and privilege, on this day, to promote you to the rank of captain,” Dailey said as he pinned the fourth pip to her uniform.  “And in light of your extraordinary leadership skills, you requested and required to take command of USS Denver effective immediately.”  Dailey extended his hand and shook it. “Congratulations Captain.” Dailey pinned a fourth pip to her collar and the tow shook hands.

A smile crossed Cheon’s lips as he listened to what Admiral Dailey had said and thought he had made the correct choice for the Denver’s next Commanding Officer.

Rebecca was floored and managed to mutter a “Thank you, sir.”

“Now, you need a first officer.   Do you have anyone in mind?”

She glanced over at Cheon and nodded, “I do.”

Cheon had noticed the sideways glance from Rebecca, but he hadn’t heard what Dailey had said to her before the glance.

Dailey laughed a took a black pip box Hildegard was handing to him, which he transferred to Rebecca. “I hoped that was your answer. I think this would mean more coming from you.”

 “Yes sir,” she said taking the box from Dailey. Turning to Cheon and smiling, “You ready to turn in your yellow uniform for a red one?”

His gaze was drawn to the black velvet box in Rebecca’s grasp, and his thoughts were racing. ‘Am I really prepared to take on this? Is there anyone else more qualified?’ he wondered as he stood there steadfast and blank for a moment. As he looked at the full, silver pip that lay in a field of black in the box that she held out in front of him, he nodded autonomously to her comment.

Rebecca pulled off the black half-pip and replaced it with the solid one and extended her hand, “Cheon,  you have already been my XO through this. You deserve to have it made official.”

“Just doing what I was trained to do, Captain,” he said in a humble but teasing tone of voice as he shook her hand. He knew that she was correct in the matter, there was no one else that could fill in the Executive Officers position better than he could, after all the only other person who could do it was not his Captain and Commanding Officer.

Bravo Flight Leader

Captain's Ready Room, USS Denver
June 21, 2374 09:00

Captain Rebecca Sandoval shuffled through the piles of PADDs containing crew requisitions,  transfers, and supply requisitions.  It felt like an never ending job. Finding the one she was looking for she smiled. “There you are,” she said in satisfaction to the empty room.  She glanced over it and then pressed the comm, “Lieutenant Stephens would you please report to the ready room.”

Thomas walks into the ready room and stands at attention Lieutenant Stephen’s reporting for duty. Ma’am.”

Rebecca smiled at him, “Relax Mr. Stephens before you strain something. So, I got something from Admiral Dailey this morning concerning you. I thought you might like to hear it.”

Thomas stands at ease. “Yes ma’m. I would like hear what the Admiral has to say.”

Rebecca nodded, picked of a PADD, and entered commands.   After a moment she started read from it. “By order of the President of the United Federation of Planets in accordance with Starfleet Command Lieutenant Thomas Stephens is awarded the DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS, Starfleet’s highest honor for gallentry, and skill during aerial or space flight.

“On Stardate 51345.2, Lieutenant Stephens piloted a badly damaged runabout from the USS Denver into and through enemy controlled space. He successfully eluded enemy patrols and was able to reach Federation space to get help for the stranded crew of the Denver.  It was his expert piloting and bravery that directly saved the lives of his shipmates. Signed: Rear-Admiral Quinn William Dailey, 7th Fleet, Commanding.”

Rebecca set the PADD down and picked up a black box opened it to reveal the medal and handed it to him, “Congratulations Lieutenant.”

Thomas has a shocked look on his face. “Captain. I uh. I don’t know what to say. I was just doing my job. It wasn’t anything special”

“You saved lives, mine included. Sounds special to me.  Congratulations Thomas.   There’s one more thing.  They are currently gutting Shuttlebay 2 and surrounding bulkheads to make room for six Peragren-class fighters of the newly formed 335th Fighter Squadron.  We are taking on twelve pilots and a handful of crew chiefs. I want to keep you on the helm, but I was hoping you would be willing the leand Bravo Flight as well.”

“That sounds amazing Ma’am. I love to fly and those fighters are much more maneuverable and capable than large ships like the Denver.” Thomas replies.

“Good to hear Thomas, ” Rebecca said with a smile. She dug around in the pile of stuff on her desk and found the unit patch she was looking for and handed it to Thomas. “I hear the pilots are adding these to their flight uniforms.”

 

Thomas takes the patch “I like it. I think it will look good” he says holding it up to his shoulder. “Are the other pilots already onboard? I should introduce myself”

She consulted her computer monitor,  and nodded, “A few have, including your crew chief, a Master Chief K’meck.”

“I will go introduce myself, unless you have more for me?”

“No, Lieutenant.  You are dismissed,” Rebecca said with a smile.

To Fallen Heros, and Lost Friends

The Drunken Sailor Pub, Starbase 75
June 22, 2374 13:00

The Drunken Sailor Pub was one of those out-of-the-way locations on Starbase 75 that rarely attracted Starfleet unless you were part of the station.  It was managed by an aging human of Irish descent and his younger, by a good three decades, and decidedly greener Orion wife.  There were rumors that the couple was tied to the Orion Syndicate,  but if they were, the evidence so far had slipped right under the noses of station security. Other than a few shady dealings by some of the clientele, the couple was upstanding citizens.

Captain Fitzpatrick had introduced Rebecca to the pub a year ago back when Starfleet had been at war with the Klingons because of their shared heritage to Ireland.   She found an odd connection to the tiny little man behind the bar.  The way his white hair poked out from the sides of his flat-topped cap and a twinkle in his eye reminded her of her grandfather.  When Fitzpatrick and the bartender would get into some heated debate, it would bring her back to those rare Christmases when her mom was home from Starfleet, and they would spend a week in Ireland. 

Now that Fitzpatrick was dead, Rebecca hoped her former captain would appreciate a memorial service being held for him in this Pub.  She had rented out the whole location for the service, and it was packed with the crew of the Denver. At the foot of the expansive windows was a table with photos of all the crew that they had lost. Twenty-two, to be exact.   A great many of them were from engineering.   The still faces smiling back in their fray, black, and mustard-yellow uniforms.  There was something macabre about those last photos of young officers with their whole careers ahead of them.  Then in only a few short weeks, and in some cases days later, they would be dead. War wasn’t fair, and Rebecca hated it for that.

Cheon placed a hand on his wife’s shoulder. She turned and smiled up at him. He then looked at Rebecca, “This feels off,” he said to her as he looked at what was left of the crew. “The place is heavy with feelings of grief and sadness. I will not be ill with any that decide not to return to the Denver,” he said to her.

“We still have a ship that needs to be operational.   We are at war Cheon,” Rebecca replied.   “In a normal situation, I would be inclined to agree, but this goes to the heart of the matter. We need to replace the engineering team.  There are no officers available.   I was able to get two NCOs, and the rest are straight out of A.I.T. Mr. Lovecroft is going to have to promote within, and we just can’t afford to lose any more from the engineering team.”

“Speaking of which,” Cheon nodded with his head as a hulk of a man walked in.

Burkely ducked under the top of the door that led into the Drunken Sailor Pub. His massive frame blocked out the light from outside for a moment until he moved away from the door and walked over to where Cheon, his wife, and their new Captain stood. As he moved closer, he came to a sudden stop.

“C.c.c.captain?” he stammered as he realized who had replaced Fitzpatrick. 

“Yes, Hulk, captain.  We were just discussing you. Well, more specifically, we were discussing your department and how short-handed it is.”

He nodded to Rebecca, “Yes, indeed Engineering took a hard hit when the attack started. I am lucky to have had a very bright young crewman that survived to assist me in keeping the ship intact for the most part. I believe she deserves to be promoted, even if she herself doesn’t see it,” Burkely stated as he looked into his captain’s eyes.

Cheon looked at Burkely, “You are going to probably need to teach some fresh members from both Starfleet Academy and Starfleet Enlisted Training Command. And if we’re lucky, Starfleet Advanced Training Command to fill out the Engineering ranks. I will leave that up to you, Commander,” Cheon stated as he walked over to Burkely and removed the black pip that sat next to the other two silver pips and replaced it with a single silver pip. “You have proven that you can command your department with the leadership that it deserves, and I am certain that Captain Talon here will not object to my promoting you to full Commander,” he states as he looks back at Rebecca with eyes that stated that he was going to bring this up to her but thought it best to do this now in the light of all that was going on.

I would have preferred to have been consulted first, Rebecca thought,  “No, not at all.  Mr. Burkely has already demonstrated himself admirably as a second officer.   To that end, there are no officers currently available to add to your engineering team.  I spoke with Admiral Dailey and he has authorized a battlefield promotion to Ensign any of your enlisted NCOs to serve as your Assistant Chief Engineer.”

“Thank you, Captain,” Burkely said as he stood there receiving his promotion from Cheon.

Thomas walks into the pub a minute after the engineer. He looks around and sees the Captain and the other bridge crew talking and walks up right after the promotion goes through.  “Congrats Commander. I know I am new around here, but it seems to me like you have earned the promotion.”

“Stick around Lieutenant, and I am sure that even you will find your place amongst us on the Denver,” Lovecroft stated as he placed a hand on Thomas’ shoulder. “In the meantime please,” he picks up a glass of bourbon and hands it to him. “Enjoy.”

After handing Thomas his glass he then hands one to Cheon, Seong, and the Captain. When everyone had a glass or a shot he picked up his own shot. 

“To the Captain!” He yelled as slammed back the shot and then slammed the shot glass on the table with a resounding clang. “May he finally find that peace in the stars.” Burkely then turned to Rebecca. “The ship is your Captain Talon.”

Rebecca stepped forward.   She hated speeches and liked memorial speeches even less.   “The Captain brought me here to this pub shortly after joining the Denver.  Like we are today we are in the middle of a war.  There’s a lot to be sad about,  and even more to worry about. Deep Space Nine is in the hands of the Dominion. Hell, we got our butts handed to us just recently,  and that’s why we are here right now.  I know the Captain and the rest of our late crewmates would appreciate us all coming together to remember them.  Their families will be heartened to know that they will be remembered by friends and colleagues.  So, I’ll leave you with the same words the Captain said to me right here in this bar, ‘Keep your chin up. Polish your boots. Do everything you can with things you can control, and don’t worry about surviving.  That’s out of your control. Until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore, you will not know the terror of being forever lost at sea’.” She raised her glass, “To fallen heroes, and lost friends. Ad Astra Per Aspera!”

Burkely looked at his covered left forearm and a single tear escaped his eye. Under the long sleeve of his dress uniform was the tattoo, that he had gotten a short while after taking the Denver as his first and currently only assignment. After hearing Rebecca say “Ad Astra Per Aspera”, he remembered how he had gotten the tat in the first place.

After swallowing hard he looked up at Rebecca and the crew.

“Ad Astra Per Aspera!” he belted out as he raised a freshly refilled shot glass.

Administration

Engineering, and Captain's Ready Room
February 26, 2374 13:00

Crewman Aoife Mckenzie stared at the screen before her as she ran a diagnostic on the shield emitters.   The Denver had taken a ridiculous amount of damage at the Battle of Tyra, and in the aftermath that they were doing a refit on the ship. The yard engineers were busy putting deck five back together, but there were many other things to take care of first. It was a seemingly endless list of work.

Cheon sat next to Lovecroft as he looked at the promotion request that the man had given him. He nodded with the assessment of the crewman that Burkely had given and handed it over to Rebecca.

“I think we need to call her in,” he said as he looked between them.

“Yes,  call her in,” Rebecca agreed as she refilled her coffee cup from the thermos pot on the desk.

Cheon reached up and tapped his ComBadge, “Crewman McKenzie report to the Conference Room immediately,” he stated before closing the connection.

Burkely looked at Cheon, “That almost sounded like she’s being reprimanded,” he said as he sat back against the cool feeling of the black chair he was in.

Cheon grinned, “I like to keep my crew on their toes, sometimes, Commander Lovecroft.”

“On my way, sir,” Aoife replied over the comm.  

She arrived in the observation lounge a moment later and stood before the “brass” at full attention. “Crewman Aoife Mckenzie, reporting as ordered.”

Cheon looked at Aoife for a moment as she stood there at full attention.

“At ease, crewman,” he ordered as he reached down for a PADD. He glanced at Rebecca, and mischief could be seen behind the slight shimmer in his eyes.

Rebecca simply nodded in encouragement. 

“Crewman, do you know why you have been called into the conference room?” Cheon asked as he looked up from the PADD after scrolling through the day’s upcoming night shift; now to Mckenzie, it would have appeared that he was looking at her service record.

  Burkely looked over at Cheon and then at Rebecca. A confused look was plastered on his face as he looked at his superiors.

“No sir,” Aoife replied.

“It has come to my attention that you refused the direct order of a superior,” he stated as he laid the PADD down on the table; its screen was blacked out. He then produced the three chevron insignia of a first-class petty officer and laid them next to the PADD. Cheon stood up and looked at Lovecroft, with a smile on his mouth and walked over to Aoife.

“Well, what do you have to say for yourself, crewman?” Cheon asked as he came in front of her and then leaned against the table with his arms crossed over the front of his chest; waiting for her response.

“Sir, I did not feel that I was qualified for the position,  and I do not believe it’s illegal to refuse a promotion.”

“You were at the Academy when the war broke out?” Rebecca asked suddenly. 

“Yes ma’am.  I had completed my finals of my first semester and took a sabbatical to enlist.”

Cheon looked at Rebecca and cocked his head slightly. “So in other words crewman Mckenzie, you wanted to fast track into the engineering department via first-hand experience, or were you looking for something else?” As he spoke he clenched the single silver pip in his hand and motioned with his eyes as he continued to look at Rebecca.

Burkely continued to remain silent; having finally figured out that this was both a test and a game for Cheon. Something that he agreed with and would have done the same, though a tad bit nicer, then again with war at their doorsteps he could see the reasoning for needing to know the crewman’s meddle.

“No sir,” Aoife said with a thinly veiled offense.  “The Quadrant was at war.  I had and have a duty to not sit safe and sound at the Academy while people are dying. Duty calls me to fight for our families.  Fight for our freedoms.  Fight for our way of life.”

“Good answer, crewman,” he stated as he turned and looked at directly that the woman that stood before the three of them. He then turned his attention toward Burkley. “Commander I think it best if you give her this,” he said as he opened out his hand to the Commander. 

Lovecroft stood up and reached out for the silver pip that Cheon had resting in the center of his hand. Turning he looked at Mckenzie. “At attention crewman Mckenzie,” he ordered.

Aoife’s eyes widened in surprise but snapped to attention as she was ordered. 

Burkely stood in front of Aoife as he detached her current rank from her blouse and replaced it with a silver pip. As he did this he spoke to her in a lowered voice, “Ensign McKenzie if someone gives her a compliment or says something toward your skills, don’t doubt their words,” he then raised his voice. “Welcome to the fold Ensign McKenzie, I am also assigning you to the position of Assistant Chief Engineer.”

“Yes sir. Thank you, sir.”

Lovecroft turned to look at Cheon and Rebecca and gave them a nod.

“Mister Lovecroft and Ms. Mckenzie you are dismissed,” Rebecca ordered.   She waited for the engineers to exit the office before entering commands into her computer terminal and spinning it to face Cheon.  “We have new orders.  We’re going to be assigned to a newly formed task force.   The 13th Fleet took a shellacking at Torvan last week and Starfleet is folding them into the 7th Fleet along with pulling ships from the 1st, 3rd, and 4th Fleets to rebuild our forces.  We will be part of Task Force 91 based out of the Betazed colony Forkin VII.  We will be shipping out tomorrow.”

Cheon put his hand on Rebecca’s forearm and said, “Becky,” he had never used her shorthand name before since he had never had to truly catch her attention, “you and I know that Task Forces’ mission is deep in behind the front lines. I must warn you to keep your eyes and ears peeled.”

No one called her “Becky”, and suppressed the urge to frown. She had gone by Becca all her life, but she chose to let the comment pass  “It’s war Chron, and whether we are the tip of the spear or butt of the shaft there’s no safe harbor  when it comes to the Dominion. Captain Nicholas Ryder aboard the Tigris will lead the Task Force.  See to it that the last of the refit is complete today. We’ll be getting a shipment of new quantum torpedoes tomorrow morning.  See to it Ms. Chapman supervises the transfer. Plan on an 1100 hour departure.”

The New Chief of Security

USS Denver: Captain's Ready Room
February 26, 2374 10:00

Captain Rebecca Sandoval stepped away from the replicator in her office just off the bridge.  The walls were still bare and the desk lacked any personalization.   A crate sat on the deck at the end of the desk containing Captain Fitzpatrick’s personal items waiting to be shipped away to his family.  Micha didn’t have a wife so it was likely going to his parents.  A macabre reminder of the dangers of this war.

Rebecca Filled her coffee cup from the newly replicated carafe before offering it to her first officer.   She hesitated before finally sliding into his… My Chair, she corrected herself.  “Lieutenant Stephens accepted promotion aboard the Centaur. I wanted to sabotage the transfer,  but I couldn’t do that the Adam or Charlie for that matter.  We’ll need to get his shifts covered.  I think Ensign Vorath could take over as our Chief Helmsman.”

Cheon had his attention focused on the replacement names on the crew roster that Starfleet had sent them. Absentmindedly he responded to Rebecca as his hand flicked the screen on the PADD to examine the incoming Chief Tactical Officer that he had personally requested.

 

-Space-

Elisabeth sat in the left seat of the USS Colorado, tapping consoles before she stood up and stretched. Just a few hours ago, she had been at her childhood home in Paris, preparing to leave on deployment to the front lines. Elisabeth still remembered the moment she had received the communique that she was being assigned to the USS Denver, a Nebula-class starship that had participated in the disastrous Battle of Tyra. She was to be the Chief Tactical Officer, a role which suited her well. Her mum had broken down in tears when she told her the news, and she had lovingly prepared her favorite meal before she left for the Paris shuttle yard. Because the sectors between Earth and Starbase 75 were firmly in Federation hands, her orders included instructions for her to take the USS Colorado, a Danube-class runabout to the Starbase, and that the runabout was being assigned to the Denver as part of her shuttle compliment.

The beeps coming from the computer woke Elisabeth from her nap. After stretching and yawning, she headed to the pilot’s cabin and tapped a few buttons. Approaching Starbase 75 was the message the computer displayed. She tapped a few more buttons, and a new message flashed on the screen: ETA 20 minutes, 33 seconds. Elisabeth cursed. She made the trip out of uniform, and she had about 20 minutes to get ready and make herself presentable. After slowing the Colorado down a bit to give her some more time, Elisabeth quickly hopped in the sonic shower and put on her uniform. As she was tying her hair into a ponytail, Starbase 75 came into view, and with it, a plethora of starships. Here, on the front lines, the true cost of the war was visible. Starships arrived under-tow, heavily damaged from skirmishes with Dominion forces, and still, others orbited the space platforms, waiting for resupply and reinforcements. Olympic-class hospital ships and other starships pressed into service for that purpose left the station, presumably to go to Federation homeworlds to offload the wounded. It was a lot to take in, and it took Elisabeth a moment to take it all in. She then started scanning for the Denver and set a course for the spacedock where the Denver was undergoing repairs. As the Colorado approached, she sent a message, requesting permission to come aboard.

-Ready Room-

The comm broke over the ready room, “Captain, a USS Colorado is requesting permission to dock.

Rebecca tapped her combadge.  “Understood Crewman.   Authorize the main shuttle bay and ask Lieutenant Chapman to come to the ready room.” The comm ended and Rebecca returned her focus back to her coffee. After a moment of silence, she set her coffee down.  “Well, Cheon looks like we got our replacement runabout and tactical officer at the same time.”

Having placed the PADD down after hearing that the USS Colorado was inbound he stood up and adjusted his shirt. “It is a good thing that this Lieutenant is cross-trained as a pilot,” he stated as he looked out the window as work bees and other crafts flew passed the windows. It was then that his eyes locked onto the Danube-class runabout as it made its way toward the main shuttlebay.

Elisabeth breathed a sigh of relief as the Colorado settled snugly onto the space assigned to it in the main shuttlebay. The ship was a messy construction zone, and she was happy that her trip was finally over. As she powered down the runabout, she opened the hatch, and was greeted by the officer of the deck.“Good morning, Lieutenant. Welcome onboard the USS Denver. Challenge password, and orders?”Elisabeth was taken aback. She wasn’t expecting a challenge password, though her orders (marked sensitive) did contain the challenge password to ensure operational security.“Epsilon-Mike-Two-Nine-Five-Delta-Six. Lieutenant Elisabeth Chapman, reporting for duty as ordered by Starfleet Command.”She handed her PAAD to the officer.“Thank you, Lieutenant. Don’t worry about your bags, we will see that they go to your quarters. The Captain has asked you to see her in her ready room on the bridge, and then you will be shown your quarters. Welcome aboard.”“Thanks, Ensign. I appreciate it.”Elisabeth disembarked the runabout and started walking toward the corridor and the turbolift. She made it to a turbolift nearby and took a breath. “Bridge, Deck 1.” The familiar whoosh started up as the turbolift started to move, and that gave a small comfort to Elisabeth. She knew that it would be a while before she saw home again, but prayed that she wouldn’t ever be on the casualty list sent by Starfleet Command to the Federation President. While she was willing to give her life to the cause, she didn’t want her mum finding out just like that. The doors opened, and Elisabeth was pulled out of her reverie. She asked a crewman where the ready room was, and he pointed toward a set of closed doors. She walked with purpose, then chimed the doors. Once they opened, she saw the Captain and First Officer. Elisabeth stood at attention in the ready room.“Good morning, Captain. Lieutenant Elisabeth Chapman, Chief Tactical Officer, reporting for duty.”

Rebecca stood up and extended her right hand,  “Welcome aboard. I’m Captain Talon and this is Commander Kyo ”

Cheon turned his back toward the bay window and looked at the woman that he has selected to replace him.

“Captain if I might,” he said as he started to step away from the window and toward their new Chief Tactical Officer.

Elisabeth shook Captain Talon’s hand. “Thank you, ma’am. The Denver looks to be a fine ship, even if she is in drydock. Commander, it is very nice to meet you.” She extended her hand towards the Commander, but he didn’t seem interested in formalities. She wasn’t sure what was next, but she hoped she was up to the task. She knew that they had dangerous missions ahead, and she was ready to do her part.

“Have a seat Lieutenant,” Rebecca stated formally.  “Would you like anything?  Coffee? Tea?”

Elisabeth smiled as she considered her Captain’s offer. “I don’t really like coffee, but if you have a glass of orange juice, I’ll take that. I gave up coffee a while ago, after an incident on the USS Allegheny.” She laughed at the memory as she walked up to the replicator, composing herself before she ordered her orange juice from the replicator. “I’m glad that we still have some creature comforts aboard” as she sat down at the table, placing her glass on the table to one side of her.

Rebecca laughed and gave Cheon a knowing smiled, “A month ago we were al crammed on the drive section eating rations.”

Cheon placed a PADD on the table in front of Elisabeth. “Your new position comes with a duty of making sure that the roster is up-to-date. Also, I want you to figure out who is going to be on the next duty shifts, both night and day.” He then took a seat next to Rebecca after replicating a mug of steaming hot Earl Grey.

Elisabeth picked up the PADD and began reading through, muttering to herself. She set down the PADD and nodded with understanding. “Aye, sir. Is there a specific deadline or time-frame you would like updates on the roster and work schedules? If not, I can submit my updates every week as needed, unless there’s an emergency; then I can update as needed.” She continued looking over the PADD, then placed it down, and looked at Rebecca and Cheon.

Rebecca gave Cheon an amused expression over his choice of beverage as she lifted the black coffee to her lips and sipped.  “Ms. Chapman,” she started as she read over the service record.  “An impressive resume.  Lieutenant in four years.  Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t even consider someone of your experience level for this position,  but in the current climate we are all gaining experience beyond our years, and qualified officers are quite frankly hard to find.”  Rebecca wanted the gauge the other woman’s reaction to being questioned about her abilities.

Elisabeth took a breath, thinking through what she was going to say before she responded. She didn’t appreciate having her talents and abilities questioned, but at the same time, she could tell that the Captain had a lot happen to her. She thought she heard a special hint of extra sadness in her voice as she said “…we are all gaining experience beyond our years…” but decided not to press her luck or ask about what happened. She finally had a response to the Captain’s commentary. “Thank you for the compliment, ma’am. I know Starfleet is stretched thin since the war started. We’re all learning on the fly, ma’am. But rest assured, I am uniquely qualified to be in Security and Tactical.” She smiled, taking another sip of her juice.

Cheon brought the mug to his lips and caught the glance from Rebecca and grinned as he shrugged.

“Well Ms. Chapman welcome to the Denver.  As far as crew reports: weekly will be fine.   In the meantime, we are finishing up repairs and hopefully we will be underway in a day or two.  See to it that your department is ship shape and ready for battle.  You can either give that battle readiness report directly to me or the XO.  We are taking on the new quantum torpedoes as well. See to it you are familiar with that weapons system.”

“Yes ma’am. I recently completed training on the Kingston for the new quantum torpedoes. They were experimental when I was in the academy, but I know they recently were approved for deployment across the fleet. I will be heading up to the torpedo room to test the new launchers with dummy torpedo probes while we test our systems as we depart the station. That being said, the reports should be submitted sometime tomorrow.” Elisabeth finished her glass of orange juice, and then sets it down. “I’m always at your disposal Captain. My department will be ship-shape and Bristol Fashion come time for departure, ma’am.” 

Rebecca stood, “Very good Lieutenant.  Again, welcome to the Denver.  You are dismissed.”

Elisabeth nods, and stands at attention. She extended her hand and shook the Captain’s hand. She was happy to be aboard a new(ish) Nebula-class Starship, and even happier to serve under a pleasant Captain. “Thank you, ma’am. I’ll attend to my duties and my department. Once again, it was a pleasure to meet you, ma’am.” She smiles, then turns and leaves the room.