Part of USS Challenger: New Beginnings

Sunday Morning

Outer Sunset District, San Francisco
Stardate 76792.5
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As Tom was pulled from his restful sleep, the first thing he became aware of was the incessant beeping of an alarm. The second was a weight on his chest, where Matt’s head was resting. That weight removed itself briefly and returned when the alarm stopped. “It’s criminal to be awake this early on a Sunday.” Matt muttered into Tom’s chest.

“I know.” Tom agreed. Now that the alarm was silent, he could hear the waves crashing on Ocean Beach only a few streets away. Last night they’d wrapped up warmly and sat on that beach watching the sunset together before walking back to Matt’s house hand in hand. “But duty calls.”

Matt grunted. “See, this is why I retired. No more seven am starts, no working on weekends. I can-”

“Live out your beach bum fantasies.” Tom cut in as he ran his fingers through Matt’s hair. “Though I have the say that the look definitely suits you.”

Raising himself up onto his elbow, Matt’s eyes met Tom’s. “Stay.” He said softly. 

“I wish I could.” Tom replied tiredly. “But Starfleet doesn’t recognise Sundays. We’re just over a week from departure and I have a full day ahead of me.” He reached up and ran a thumb over Matt’s cheek.

Matt smiled and leaned in for a kiss. “Well, can I see you tonight?” He asked as they pulled apart.

“Three nights in a row?” Tom asked coyly. “Why Mr Bentley, people will start to talk.” That drew a laugh from Matt. “How ‘bout I come over and make you dinner in the kitchen that I’m pretty sure you’ve never used.”

There was something cute about the blush that crept onto Matt’s cheeks. “Why would I use a kitchen when I have a replicator?”

“So why even have a kitchen?” Tom asked.

The question caused Matt to look at him like he was an idiot. “Cause it came with the house.”

“Of course it did.” Tom chuckled as he pulled back the covers and climbed out of bed. “I am going to show you the joys of cooking, even if the ingredients are replicated.” He announced, certain that Matt would enjoy the experience.

Matt set up in the bed as Tom began picking his clothes off the floor and pulling them on. “I can’t wait.” He said with an easy smile. “I mean it would be better if you stayed and made breakfast, or maybe brunch.” The smile slowly morphed into something more playful.

“You’re not making it any easier to leave.” Tom told him as he sat on the edge of the bed.

Leaning in, Matt planted another soft kiss on Tom’s lips. “I’m not trying to.”

“I’ll see you tonight.” Tom reached up and ran his fingers through Matt’s hair before pulling him in for one last kiss. Slipping out of the bedroom with a smile on his face, Tom made his way downstairs and fished his commbadge out of his jeans.

“Forrester to Challenger. One to beam up.” Within seconds he was caught in the familiar pull of the transporter beam.

“The resolution on the lateral sensors is still far short of what it should be.”

A heavy sigh emanated from Gabrielle’s commbadge. “Alright, I’ll send someone up to take a look. Calloway out”

When she’d accepted Captain Forrester’s offer during the team building outing two nights ago, she hadn’t expected to be assuming her duties quite so soon. What Gabrielle had failed to anticipate was the Captain moving quite so quickly. That’s how she found herself on the bridge of the Challenger on a Sunday morning, running tests on the lateral sensor array.

As she waited for whatever junior engineer that Calloway had dispatched, Gabreille ran a few low level diagnostics. None of them hinted at the problems she was having with the sensor resolution. She took a long sip of her first raktajino of the morning. Minutes later the turbolift door opened, depositing an officer in a gold shouldered uniform onto the bridge.

“Calloway says you need a hand?”

Gabrielle’s eyes darted quickly to the rank insignia pinned to the man’s chest; two silver, one black. Having reviewed the service images of the ship’s senior officers, Gabrielle recognised the Lieutenant Commander as Christopher Jackson, the new chief engineer. “Yes,” she replied, “I was running a test on the lateral sensors but the resolution isn’t what it should be.” She extended a hand. “Gabrielle Bennet, the new chief science officer.”

“Chris Jackson.” He replied, accepting her hand. “Chief engineer. It’s good to meet you.” His smile was warm and his eyes had a twinkle to them. “Could you show me the test that you were running?”

Turning back to her console, Gabrielle began running the test again. “I wasn’t expecting someone quite so senior to come and deal with this.” She told him with a sideways glance. His warm smile quickly disappeared and the twinkle in his eyes was replaced by a cold steel.

“Calloway likes to remind me that until the Challenger’s refit is complete, he’s still in charge of engineering so I’m just ‘another engineer’.” Jackson told him. Gabrielle was taken aback at the bitter tone in the engineer’s voice.

Opening her mouth to reply, Gabrielle was interrupted when the turbolift door opened again and the Captain emerged. “Good morning, everyone.” He announced loudly. Gabrielle decided that he was much too cheery this early on a Sunday morning. She wondered if a certain university lecturer had something to do with it.

“Good morning, sir.” Gabrielle replied as the Captain approached. “How are you this morning?” She asked, the hint of a smile playing on her lips.

The smile on Forrester’s own lips spoke volumes. “I’m doing great, Commander.” He replied enthusiastically. “Glad you decided to take this assignment. Welcome  aboard.”

“Thank you, sir. I’m glad to be here.” She replied with a soft smile.

Forrester turned to the other officer. “And I see you’ve met our chief engineer. How are things in the engine room, Commander?”

“Fine, sir.” Jackson replied with a tight smile. “We’re on schedule to be ready to depart in just over a week.”

The Captain’s smile widened. “I’m glad to hear it.” He turned his gaze back to Gabrielle. “Commander Bennett, come see me later, when you have a minute.”

“Aye, sir.” Gabrielle nodded before the Captain continued on into his ready room.

Gabrielle glanced at Jackson, who was watching the closed door to the ready room. “What’s got him in such a good mood?” He asked rhetorically.

“I have no idea.” Gabrielle replied. While she had a pretty good idea what, or rather who, was behind the Captain’s good mood, she wasn’t inclined to spread gossip about her fellow officers and particularly about her commanding officer.

Jackson shrugged and turned back to the console. “Alright, let’s see what’s going on with these sensors.”