“Did she give a reason why?” Karyn Reyas asked her husband as she pondered the recent news he had just shared with her. She was pacing up and down the carpet in his ready room, hands firmly clasped behind her back as she tried to understand why Cambil had just resigned.
Shaking his head, still in disbelief with had just unfolded in his ready room, James explained what happened from where he sat on the sofa curved under the arching window. “When I asked her what brought it on she couldn’t give me an exact reason besides things had changed too much and she needed to walk away from it all. She said something about hoping that Starfleet had changed and that she had hoped that our mission to the Delta Quadrant would have changed it all.”
Perplexed as to why Cambil took just a rash decision quicker than a Borg Cube at transwarp, Karyn couldn’t get her head around it all. She knew that James and Bexa had gone through a rough patch with their working relationship recently, but they wouldn’t be the first pair of COs and XOs who had disagreed with one another and she was certain they wouldn’t be the last. On top of that they were close as friends. “This is unlike her. Something changed significantly without us realising.” She paused and looked down at her husband. His tired features were now prominent and she realised he hadn’t actually been home to tell their sons he was back, safe and sound. “Why don’t you go back to our quarters and take a rest. The boys would appreciate seeing their father alive and well.”
Shaking his head and refusing the idea for now,James rubbed his face. “I will but I need to speak with Commodore Bennet and then I need to sort out Bexa.”
“Can you really sort her out though?” Karyn inquired as she took a seat next to him. “Give her time and space. She may need to sleep on it and realise what she’s done.”
“No, I think this is legit Karyn. She’s gone from my side.” James stated, sounding almost heartbroken from the ordeal.
Surprised to hear his wife’s reasoning, Naprem looked at her with a confused expression. “So wait, James goes on a classified mission, one which he can’t tell you anything about and you’re ordered to remain loyal to him and trust him.” He stops as he makes sure he is recalling everything she had shared with him. “The rest of the senior staff do this and you’ve resigned your commission because you don’t like being in the dark about what he got up to?” He paused and looked at it. “And that’s it? Are you serious Bexa?”
Looking at him from over her left shoulder in an almost deadpan expression, Bexa rolled her eyes as she knew he wouldn’t understand. “It’s more complicated than that, Naprem.”
They were both in their bedroom. Naprem was lying on the bed while Bexa was sitting at her dressing table with her back to her husband. Before her was the impressive view of the space the ship was currently in. The large tilting windows were a luxury throughout their massive quarters.
Raising his hands in surrender, he nodded. “I get it there’s things you can’t share as it’s classified, but you and James have been serving together for over a decade now. You’ve been his first officer for eight years. You two have practically written the book on this ship and you want to walk away from it all?”
“It’s not just Odyssey that I want to leave. It’s the uniform.” She said with a strong conviction as she held her combadge tightly. “It’s not been the same for a long time.”
“No surprise there babe.” Naprem agreed. “But Bexa you’re so close to having your own ship, are you sure you want to step away from it all?” Getting up from where he was, he walked up to behind her and placed both of his warm hands on to her shoulders. Slowly massaging them, he questioned her resolve. “You may regret this if you walk away like this.”
Appreciating his concern and love for her, Bexa enjoyed the intimate touch from him. “No, I don’t want it anymore.” She honestly said. “I’m certain the Prophets have been sending me a message, that’s it’s time to move on.”
“So what do you want to do? Have the Prophets told you what to do next?” He asked. “It’s not that I’m questioning your thoughts, feelings or even your faith, but we’ve built a home here. We’ve got friends, the boys have friends and I’ve got a job.”
Realising she was not only affecting herself but her family too, Bexa squirmed as she looked up at him. “I know but I can’t do this anymore Naprem. Starfleet isn’t the same organisation I joined. I need out and I’m certain that’s what the Prophets want of me. Tell me you’re not mad at me. Please.”
Pulling her up and close to him, he responded by placing a long soft kiss on her lips. As he parted he smiled. “Is that good enough assurance that I’m not mad at you?” He asked.
“Yes.” She said, sounding almost breathless from the surprise gesture. “Thank you.”
“We should speak to the boys.” He suggested.
Nodding in agreement, she took him by hand and they walked out of the room to have a family meeting.
Somewhat shocked to hear what McCallister had reported to him, Commodore Bennet’s expression was apparent. After hearing that McCallister had completed his mission and ensured that there were no repercussions for the foreseeable future from the Kraylor, the Odyssey captain had then informed the commodore about his first officer. Still in the private confines of his ready room, McCallister spoke with a mug of tea in his left hand at the desktop console to the flag officer over a secured hyper-subspace channel.
“It’s a loss to the fleet, but if she’s finding it difficult to understand that sometimes the uniform comes with hard missions that place us in extremely difficult situations where a crew needs to explicitly trust it’s captain’s judgement, then she would struggle sitting in the centre chair if she was ever promoted.” Bennet’s words seemed so harsh, but being an outsider looking in he had more of an objective approach then anyone on the ship at the moment. Knowing he may be right, McCallister decided not to defend her actions. Bennet had already told him to accept her resignation and move on. “So who will you have as her replacement? You know Command won’t accept Karyn.”
Nodding to show he had already anticipated that reaction, McCallister responded. “Karyn and I knew that would not be available to us. Plus we both agree that it wouldn’t work for the crew, we wouldn’t want them to think that we can’t be objective when dealing with a huge crisis.”
“That’s a sensible idea.” Bennet backed up. “So who will you promote to first officer? You’ve got plenty to pick from out there.”
“I’ve got one person in mind.” McCallister answered.
“Good, in the meantime send me everything you have collected on Omega and move the ship away from the Kraylor’s horizons. Find a nice uninhabited star system to scan for the time being.” Bennet ordered.
“Are there any more omega cases I should be aware of?” McCallister asked, now worried there would be more on his plate.
“None that we are aware of that are near to you but there could be other matters that you may be called upon to investigate. The Omega Directive is still active as several Starfleet ships have detected it in the Delta Quadrant, but that doesn’t compare to what is happening at home.” Bennet replied back with.
Somewhat surprised to hear how intense it was back in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants, McCallister continued to ask questions from his superior. “Do we know what’s causing them?”
“Not quite,” Bennet stated, “but there’s a working theory that this has something to do with the Tkon.”
“The Tkon?” McCallister repeated. “My ancient history lessons are a bit outdated, but didnt they die off over six-hundred-thousand years ago?”
“As I said it’s a theory, but for now if you come across any of their technology or artefacts, you are ordered to recover them and inform Starfleet.” Bennet commanded. “Keep your eyes open captain.”
“Yes sir,” McCallister replied. “Is there anything else, admiral?”
“I’ll make a request for you to get a replacement for the Aquarius but it will be a week until we hear anything.” Bennet assured.
Appreciating the gesture, McCallister smiled at the commodore. “Thank you, sir.”
“Now go and find someone to jump off a cliff for you. Good luck, Bennet out.” The holographic display closed as soon as the commodore closed the channel at his end.
Exhaling loudly, James considered his next move. Tapping his combadge he called up for the person he had in mind to succeed Bexa.
The auditorium was slightly busier than normal. In the background a holographic swing band was playing while being led by a male singer. They were currently playing ‘I’ve Got The World On A String’.
Sat at the main bar on stools were several members of the senior staff, all of whom had a drink in their hands.
“I’m still impressed with your whole medical emergency, well done again doctor.” Jen congratulated the Denobulan chief medical officer.
Appreciating the feedback, Sylvexs raised her glass of an Andorian ale as a gesture of thanks. “I was surprised that the Kraylor took it.”
“Even if they didn’t, I can’t seem them ever trying to take on the Odyssey, it would take at least four to five of their ships to make a serious dent in our shields.” Lenjir said as he sipped on his Aldebaran whiskey. “Still remind me to never take you on in a game of poker!” The Tiburon security chief joked.
Turning to look at Tomaz, Commander Hunsen noticed the young Barzan was drinking a Ktarian beer. “So Tomaz, you survived your first couple of months on the Odyssey, have we scared you enough yet?”
Chuckling at the chief engineer’s question, Tomaz shook his head as he placed his glass down. “Not yet sir.”
“Give the guy a break Tremt,” defended Counsellor Duncan, “he’s barely been on the ship long enough to be suffering from post traumatic stress disorder!”
Everyone, Tomaz included, laughed at that. The one who remained posed and unmoved was the Vulcan pilot. “I would estimate the counsellor would need to reassess the lieutenant’s wellbeing within one year to determine if such a diagnosis can be reached.” T’Rani remarked, taking a pinch of her Vulcan brandy.
More chuckling followed as T’Rani remained serious and still in her inflections.
“McCallister to Duncan, report to my ready room on the double.”
“Ooh, sounds like someone is in trouble!” Court remarked from the left hand side of Duncan. The senior chief was enjoying a cold beer from a bottle before he mocked his friend.
Sighing as he heard his name called him over the intercom, Duncan placed his glass of Saurian brandy down. He glared at Court before he tapped his combadge and told the captain he’d be there soon. Looking at everyone else, he apologised for having to leave them. “Duty calls.” He added as he departed from the auditorium and into the nearest turbo lift.
The ride up to deck one was quick and simple. Stepping on to the bridge, he soon saw the site of the night shift just getting underway. After arriving at the door for the captain’s ready room, he tapped the door chime and was surprised to hear McCallister’s chirpy response. The man had kept his distance since his return from whatever he undertook.
Walking in, Duncan smiled at his superior and wondered why he had called him at this late hour. “Everything okay, sir?” He asked aloud.
Sitting behind his desk, the captain looked up at his visitor. “Yeah sure, Max. I’ve got something to say to you.” He indicated for him to take a seat opposite to his desk. “It’s a sensitive matter and one that only you can solve for me with a simple answer.”
Curious to know what it was, Duncan took the seat and showed his captain he was ready to listen to whatever he wanted to say.
Taking a breath, McCallister looked at Duncan and said to him one statement: “I’m going to need you to jump off a cliff for me.”