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Part of USS Endeavour: There Must Be Wonders, Too and Bravo Fleet: Labyrinth

There Must Be Wonders, Too – 14

Sickbay, USS Tempest
September 2401
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Valance gritted her teeth as the medical tricorder was shoved in her face. ‘I was on a shuttle with power and replicators still working; I appreciate your concern, Doctor, but I’m fine…’

‘Give her space.’ The doors to the Tempest’s sickbay slid open for the swaggering arrival of the ship’s master. At once, the rangy officer in red approached the biobeds and stuck a hand out towards her. ‘Captain Valance? Don’t think we’ve met. Gus Tycho.’

‘I know who you are.’ Valance stood before she shook his hand. His grip was firm. ‘Thanks for the rescue.’

‘We were in the neighbourhood.’ Tycho grinned. He was a little older than her, grey creeping in at the temples of his golden locks, hair worn longer than she’d expect, stubble more persistent than she’d expect, all giving him an artfully rumpled look. ‘I never miss the chance to play hero.’

Rivera hopped off her biobed. ‘I, for one, love a hero. Olivia Rivera, Galaxy Weekly. Much obliged to you, Captain Tycho.’

Tycho looked bemused as he glanced back to Valance. ‘You always keep a journo around?’

‘Only when I’m doing something extremely heroic, like getting stranded in deep space. Captain, is there any sign of my ship?’ She’d filled him in over comms as Tempest had rushed to their shuttle.

But he shook his head. ‘No, but we were further out than you. We’re already heading back towards Gateway at maximum warp, and fired off a message. The moment we hear or see anything, or we’re in comms range, you’ll be the first to know.’

Rivera frowned. ‘Can I ask what had the Tempest so far out?’

‘With the Klingons prowling at our border, someone’s gotta make sure we didn’t leave the back door off the latch.’ Tycho stepped back, extending a hand to the door. ‘Doc might say you’re fine, but I know when people need rest. I bet we won’t be in range to hear anything for the better part of a day. Let me show you to some quarters.’

Valance’s jaw tightened. ‘You must have sensor records spanning light-years; I’d rather get started trying to figure out what happened to my ship -’

‘Valance, I’d be exactly the same in your shoes. There’s just some things I’d do first. Like have a hot meal.’ The corners of Tycho’s eyes creased. ‘And a shower.’

She looked down. ‘I could do with a fresh uniform.’

‘It got pretty cosy on the shuttle,’ Rivera mused, and turned to Tycho. ‘Captain Valance was letting me on the bridge,’ she told him shamelessly.

‘Captain Valance can do what she wants on her ship,’ he said with a laugh. ‘Ms Rivera, you’re welcome to all public areas, including the mess hall and rec rooms, and you can talk to my crew, but I sure as hell am putting out a notification that you’re aboard. Don’t bully my people.’

‘Don’t worry, Captain; I know the dance of proving I’m not a vulture.’

Tycho smirked as he led them down the corridor to the nearest turbolift. ‘Sorry to say space is at a bit of a premium aboard. I wanted a big science department this far out. So I’ve got to put you in one suite – separate bedrooms, shared living area.’

Despite his apologies, the guest rooms on the Tempest were comfortable and efficient. Endeavour could be cold and stark, but the Rhode Island class boasted the carpeted floors and amenities of a ship of the last generation. She stood astride the ‘hotel and space’ luxuriousness of the Galaxy-class era and the brisk pragmatism of the modern age.

And it was a good shower.

Valance emerged from her bedroom, hair tied back tight so she didn’t have to do anything in it, still zipping up her uniform jacket, to find Rivera in the shared living room, sitting with PADDs in front of her. She hesitated. ‘Are you alright?’

‘I’m not stranded in deep space any more. I’m great.’ But Rivera’s gaze was more guarded as she looked up. ‘We can get to the bottom of things now. You can.’

Valance nodded. ‘I’m heading to the bridge. I’m hoping that comparing the Tristan’s sensor records to what the Tempest has picked up of the area might shed some light on what happened.’

‘Putting that astrophysics degree to good use.’ Rivera’s lips twitched.

It was odd, sometimes, to be around someone who knew so much about her. Especially since the line between formal and informal had been so blurred by crisis. And, now, by sharing rooms.

She did, at least, have the search to distract her.


‘Already gone?’

A day later, the holographic figure of Captain Addison Faust hovered in the air between her and Tycho in his ready room. Valance had hoped for better news; news that Endeavour had been found, that all was well. Not news that the ship was still missing and, worse, they were too late for her to join Commodore Rourke’s rescue mission with the Sirius and Liberty.

The image of Faust shrugged. ‘There are extensive opportunities to be harnessed by exploration of the Underspace. Not only the search for our missing ships, but new avenues for exploration, research, prospecting… strategy.

‘Yeah,’ grunted Tycho, arms across his chest. ‘I bet the Klingon Empire’s licking their lips at strategy.’

That’s exactly our concern. Captain Tycho, you’ve been on long-range patrol for some time. There’s been no sign of the House of K’Var venturing any further into the Midgard Sector?’

‘Nothing. But we weren’t looking for them to pop up through subspace tunnels.’

And your ship’s conditions? Supplies?’

Tycho shrugged. ‘We’ve got a few more expeditions in us.’

Good.’ The image of Faust checked a PADD. ‘Redemption and the Swiftsure are maintaining position at the aperture to maintain security. If you’re fit to remain in the field, I want you back out there. The Underspace means the strategic situation could change at any moment. Swing past Rencaris to remind the locals of our usefulness; there should be Republic representatives by the time you get there.

‘Patrol and fly the flag.’ Tycho nodded. ‘Got it.’

Faust turned to Valance. ‘Captain, if you’re prepared to join me by shuttle, I’m sure I can find a use for your expertise aboard Redemption.’

‘To be honest,’ piped up Tycho before Valance could reply, ‘Captain Valance knows the region better than me. Better than anyone aboard. If we’ve got to play go-between to convince Rencaris to adopt the aperture and throw their lot in with the Republic, I’d find the extra pair of experienced hands helpful.’

A fair point. Any objections, Valance?

Valance blinked. Neither prospect sounded tempting, but she couldn’t summon an argument either way. After a beat, she nodded. ‘No objections.’

Good.’ Faust seemed relieved to not have to deal with the issue of a spare captain. ‘If we play our cards right, we can bring Rencaris and Rho Detara into the fold in the Midgard Sector. The aperture gives them a bargaining chip so they can join the Republic while maintaining some degree of power, and then we’ve shored up stability in the region. Make sure they see it that way if the Republic’s diplomats can’t be convincing enough.

‘Got it, Boss,’ said Tycho. ‘We’ll keep in touch.’

As will we if the situation at the aperture changes. Good luck. Redemption out.

As Faust’s image winked out of existence, Tycho let out a deep breath before tapping his combadge. ‘Tycho to bridge. Bring us about. Set a course for the Rencaris system. We’re back on patrol duties.’

Valance set her hands on her hips, waiting until he was done before she said, ‘I’m not sure you need me. You’ve been this far out already.’

‘Never to Rencaris,’ Tycho pointed out.

‘I’ve not been there either.’

‘Okay, but you definitely know the sector better than me. You’ve been out here since April; I got here a few weeks ago.’

‘You don’t strike me as the kind of captain desperate for hand-holding.’

He gave a sly grin that softened quickly. ‘You’d rather sit on the Redemption, playing staff to Faust, waiting for things to happen? If that was my ship missing, that’d send me crazy.’

She hesitated. ‘Doing anything but looking for Endeavour is going to make me crazy.’

‘Then let’s put it to good use. We’ve got borderland worlds who don’t want to sacrifice their independence, a Klingon Empire that maybe wants to eat them, a Romulan Republic that would love to absorb them just to boost their numbers, and subspace corridors breaking all the rules of territory we can imagine. Go crazy, but be busy on a frontier going crazy while you do it.’

‘That’s a strange pitch, Tycho.’

‘C’mon.’ His grin returned. ‘I’m offering you a chance to ride shotgun while we fight the good fight out here. It beats a desk while staring at a strategic map. People you trust are looking for your ship. People you know are gonna fight tooth and nail.’

Being in unfamiliar surroundings at such a time was not necessarily appealing. But then, there was nothing familiar about Redemption; not her corridors and not her crew. Anyone she might have reached out to who was not on Endeavour was a crewmember of the Sirius, or still on Gateway, far away. That felt like it only gave her more to worry about; not just her crew, but Rourke, Carraway, Rhade, people she’d served with for years now venturing on the rescue mission.

Cortez, going with them.

Valance looked at Gus Tycho’s bright eyes and easy grin, and wondered if it could be as simple as he was making it. But he was not, she thought, looking at her like he needed her to know what to do. Here, she didn’t have to have a solution. She didn’t even have to find one.

She let out a slow breath. ‘Riding shotgun on the frontier, it is.’

Tycho clicked his fingers happily. ‘Alright! Rivera can keep tagging along; let the galaxy see what it’s like to get your hands dirty out here.’ But just as quickly as he’d made light of the situation, he sobered, and stepped over to put a hand on her shoulder. ‘I’d be going spare if I were in your boots. We’ll do good work out here. Keep busy.’

A grimace. ‘I appreciate that, Tycho.’

He nodded, then clapped her on the arm. ‘Let’s do dinner. 1900 hours, my dining room off the mess hall. We can swap war stories.’

She cocked her head. ‘I’m not sure what wars you think I’ve been in.’

Tycho laughed and stepped away. ‘We’re Starfleet captains, Valance,’ he said, heading for the bridge. ‘We’ve all been in one kind of war or another.’

Comments

  • This is a great example of how a captain gets attached to a ship, gets attached to the crew. How a being separated from them affects Valance in particular, how looking for the ship and crew is formost in their mind, and then how frustration turns to acceptance when they are not able to do that. I really enjoyed this.

    July 9, 2024
  • Tycho is a man out of another era isn't he? I can so easily see him on a Consitution class bridge, weeks away from command via subspace alone, just out there on the frontier living his best life. And that was from the description alone. His mannerisms as the story went on just compounded the image for me. And his sales pitch to the dispossessed Valance as well was spot on - wouldn't you rather be bored where you could be useful, than bored where you can't be useful? Have a chance at action at least!

    July 10, 2024