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Part of USS Savannah: All along the Watchtower and Bravo Fleet: Labyrinth

A Farewell to Arms – Pt 1

En – route to Terminus Station / USS Savannah / Bridge / Deck 1
2401.7.16 / 10:19 hrs. (Shipboard Time)
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Alexander, whan he herde Anaxarchus argue that there were infynite worldes, it is said that he wept. And whan his frendes asked hym what thing had happened him to be wept for: “Is it nat to be wept for,” quod he, “syns they say there be infynite worldes, and we are nat yet lorde of one?”

“Plutarch’s Quyete of Mind” – Sir Thomas Wyatt (1527)

Like a wounded Gull, the battered hull of the USS Savannah and her beleaguered crew dropped out of a ragged warp, just a few parsecs short of the LaGrange – point that heralded the approach to Terminus Station.

“We’ve exited Warp, dropping to impulse and have obtained the outer – navigational marker for Terminus, Captain.” Ensign Bysea Wanat reported, “Initiating Handshake protocol and transmitting FoF identification for confirmation & requesting approach – clearance and Nav – coordinates for approach to outer control envelope.”

Even as the accomplished young Helm – Officer went efficiently through the minutiae that all inbound traffic must submit to when approaching a Federation Starbase, Lieutenant Commander Samantha Hyland could not help to note a slight, worn quality to the Bolian’s voice. Easily the most socially – exuberant of all of the New Orleans – class Frigate’s young crew – if Bysea was ending the limits of her mental endurance – that was a reliable barometer and ill portend for that of the rest of the crew.

“Very good Helm, steady as she goes.” Sam assured the pilot, as the ship painfully inched its way towards a much – welcome drydock. People, even more so than ships or equipment, also had their breaking point and in the last week – the fledgling crew of the USS Savannah had been tested most sorely under – fire and it was not just cracks in the hull that were beginning to show in the re-activated vessel.

Sam turned to speak to her Executive Officer.

Lieutenant T’Vran invariably seemed as if she could weather a hundred Ion – Storms or desperate plunges through the apertures of outlandish and deadly spatial anomalies and still present herself for duty, impeccably turned – out and seemingly otherwise unaffected. Sam envied the Vulcan this skill.

“Number One.” Sam smiled wanly as the Vulcan inclined her head. “When we make spacedock, I want you to draw up a shore – leave rotation for each department and shift. Prioritize technical liaison with Starbase Engineering and ensure that the Security Protocols we discussed are maintained dockside are in place – otherwise, I want to make sure that our people get an equal chance at some R&R whilst repairs are underway.”

T’Vran nodded perfunctorily and intoned. “I shall attend to this detail Captain.” She rose and approached the OPS station and began to speak with Ensign Vikander on the details of this amendment to the roster.

“Very good Number One.” Sam nodded, feeling the weight of command and the stress of the last few days in every fiber of her being.

The one advantage of inhabiting the ‘Big – Chair’, was that it sometimes (if seldom) afforded a Captain the time to inwardly reflect upon the previous sequence of disasters – if only to glean a modicum of sage insight – before steeling oneself to face the inevitable next cavalcade of challenges.

Samantha Hyland was the newly – minted Commanding Officer of a re-activated Starfleet vessel that had subsequently engaged in its first hostile engagement, been near – crippled by a malfeasant act of sabotage, nearly lost her Chief Engineer and half the crew to the cruel ravages of a random, roving Tachyon – phenomena, been forced to plunder the wreck of an ill-fated Starfleet vessel from the 23rd century and been resort to parlay with the sworn enemy that had chased them into Underspace with the express intent of hastening their destruction.

Even Sam had to admit, it had been a busy week.

Thoughts of the Machiavellian True Way Commander, Gul Yomat Ghallir, were foremost on Sam’s mind. The USS Savannah had relinquished custody of Gul Ghallir and his crew aboard the crippled Galor – Class Cruiser – “Verran”, the day previous. The renegade officer from the Cardassian High – Command seemingly surrendering meekly, first to her custody and then that of the Obsidian Order.

From what Sam had learned of Gul Yomat Ghallir, this behavior was beyond uncharacteristic for the vengeful Cardassian Hard-liner and the CO of the USS Savannah could not help shaking the feeling that she had been played and that (despite being a prisoner) – Gul Ghallir was the only person present that was truly in control of current events.

Gul Yomat Ghallir was notable for his Ultra-Conservative views on Cardassian Sovereignty and his absolute distain for the United Federation of Planets. This was a man that had renounced his position within the powerful Military hierarchy of Cardassian – Prime and was a vociferous critic of the ‘centrist” Detapa – Council.

Now he had just meekly turned himself in because he had been ‘bested’ by a ‘Green’ Starfleet Captain and her even – greener crew aboard their tiny ship.

Sam just didn’t buy it.

She was sure that Gul Ghallir harbored an ulterior – motive for handing himself over to the Obsidian Order, but for the life of her – Sam could not fathom what that could be. The events of the last few days had taxed everything she had as she just tried to keep her ship and crew alive.

The time for searching questions lay before her and Sam wasn’t entirely looking forward to that exchange of minds either. She had been summoned to appear before a Board of Enquiry – to be convened when her ship made port at the aging Watchtower – Class Starbase that kept vigil along the Federation border of the former Demilitarized Zone.

As it’s Captain, Sam had a duty to give a full – accounting for her actions during the last few days, especially those that lead to the damage to her ship, the investigation into the act of sabotage and confrontation with the New Marquis Saboteur and (most importantly and damning, Sam suspected) the release of a War Criminal to a foreign power.

Whilst Samantha Hyland felt pity for the Cardassian pilots that had been killed when the USS Savannah was forced to engage with the True Way attackers that had assaulted the civilian ship SS Devore – under the guise of New Marquis terrorists (all part of Gul Ghallir’s ‘false – flag’ Black – Op), she so at the remove of a ship’s Captain that had to resort to violent action to protect the innocent.

What did hang heavily with the CO of the USS Savannah, was the murder of Special Services Crewman Aldus Coe – the real Aldus Coe, at the hands of the rogue SSH that had been programmed to assume the identity of the Crewman Coe in order to enact several acts of terrorism and sabotage designed to destroy her ship and crew.

Whilst the crew of the Savannah had come together admirably to thwart this treachery, the death of an innocent member of her crew was a cost that Samantha considered too high. Facing a tribunal was far less a heavy duty than the one that she faced when she inevitably had to inform Aldus Coe’s loved ones of the passing of a Son, Husband and Father.

Whilst Lieutenant Commander Samantha Hyland was prepared to face the panel of her superiors and give a full and honest account of the last few days, it was the final parting words that Gul Ghallir had left her with, in the Transporter Room, that haunted her thoughts.

Standing on the Transporter Pad, manacled and ostensibly defeated, the tall, proud Cardassian Officer had looked at Sam with a mixture of distain and amusement that was palpable and smiled thinly, just before a complex swirl of exotic energies deconstructed his component atoms and transmitted his being to the waiting Obsidian Order warship, hoved to – alongside her own.

“Well, I suppose that it is farewell for now Captain Hyland.” Yomat Ghallir inclined his head, just so. “I won’t insult your intelligence or my own by saying that it has been a pleasure,” the Gul shrugged his thin shoulders laconically, “But I will admit to the experience being novel. You and I have shared a unique connection, Captain. Something tells me that it is just the first Multicursal foray into an equally unique future.”

As the transporter beam began to envelope Gul Yomat Ghallir in a swirl of golden light, Sam could have sworn that she heard him say.

“And Alexander wept, as there were no new worlds to conquer….”

Leaving Sam standing alone, with the Transporter Chief & security detail for company, wondering where a Cardassian would have had cause to hear that quote (even if it was, in fact, misquoted) and what dire meaning might be attached to it, when uttered from the lips of a True Way terrorist?