Part of USS Temeraire: Season 1 Episode 3: Whispers in the Dark

Unwelcome Developments

USS Santa Fe, Gamma Quadrant, Ohnia System
2399
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“The only things that can save me from the demons of my tomorrow is sleep. A rested mind will have the sharpness to make the kind of decisions that could be the difference between promotion and being fired. In my youth, I was the kind of person who slept all night and well into the morning, irking my mother no end. In my twenties I was up with the call of my alarm, reluctant and sleep-drunk. Now I cannot make it past three a.m. After a tumultuous few hours of vivid disaster-fuelled dreaming I am more awake than if a gunshot was fired by my ears. Commonly I remain in the inkiness, willing myself to return to sleep, unpleasant though it is. But I cannot. I can lie still, becoming more irate at my sleeplessness, or I can rise and start my day. I get a lot done before the sunrise: exercise, food preparation, cleaning. My personal organization is the envy of my friends; but I’d give it all away to slumber until breakfast…”

Sebastian slammed the heavy book shut in anger and tossed it on the end of his bed before throwing off the duvet, spinning on his bottom and letting his feet dangle over the side. Scrunching the hairy toes of his feet in the fluffy rug at the side of his bed as he clutched the mattress either side of his body, the commander of the Santa Fe let out a huff of frustration. He’d only been reading the blasted book because he had been in bed for nearly three hours without any sign of finding sleep, very aware that the so called demons of tomorrow lurked closer than he would have liked.

Slipping his feet into the nearby slippers, adorned with the face of some Earth character of fiction called ‘Shrek’ (the whimsy of Commander sh’Elas never failed to impress), the Captain hobbled out into the living area of his quarters, nearly walking into the glass coffee table in the middle of the room on his way to the replicator.

“Computer, warm milk, large,” he requested.

Truth be told, he knew exactly why he couldn’t sleep; the thought of what the poor woman in sickbay must have gone through to end up as scarred and disfigured as she had – her pain and suffering – was all the motivation the crew needed to try and figure out what the hell had happened down on Ohnia III.

He was almost back in his bedroom, sipping the warm milk gently when the internal communications array chirped and stopped him in his tracks. “=/\=Bridge to Captain Farrell,” the voice spoke.

Diverting his steps, the Captain walked to the nearby desk and pressed one of the buttons on the console, a single beep indicating that he could respond to the mystery voice. “=/\=Farrell here, go ahead.”

“=/\=Sorry to wake you sir, but we’ve got Admiral Ryan for you on subspace,” the voice told in its matter of fact way.

Sebastian let out a sigh as he placed the glass on the table top and moved around the desk to his chair. “=/\=Put him through down here. Farrell out.” As he adjusted his chair and got as comfortable as possible, given he was in his nightwear, the man with more than a five o’clock shadow was ready just in time for the screen to change and show the face of the Admiral who had dispatched the Santa Fe on its mission.

“I hope I didn’t wake you, Captain,” Ryan smiled sheepishly as he made note of the man’s evening wear.

“Not at all Admiral,” Sebastian shook his head slowly, “what can I do for you?”

“I read your report on the survivor,” Ryan frowned as he looked down briefly, ““I can’t believe she is the only survivor from that colony,” he added.

“We’re still working out theories of what happened, but so far we’ve come up with nothing concrete. Until we can stabilize her and see what she knows, we’re stuck,” Farrell responded, slouching back in his seat. “We’re maintaining position and continuing sensor analysis to support our investigations.”

“I know this is going to frustrate you Sebastian,” Ryan started, the use of the Captain’s name causing the man to bristle slightly, but he remained silent and listened to what was going to come next. “but you are going to have to pass on this investigation and your patient to the people on New Bajor. We hope they will have better luck managing her condition and offer her the kind of rehabilitation she needs. You have a new assignment.”

New assignment? They hadn’t finished this one yet and already they were being moved on. Sometimes, it was hard not to question the logic behind some of command’s decisions. And Sebastian should have known, given his many years of service.

“You’ll get more details tomorrow, but for now, the Scimitar will rendezvous with you in the morning and I want you to transport your passenger when it is safe to do so, then set a course for the Rakhar system,” Admiral Ryan told, looking off screen briefly which allowed Sebastian to make a quick note to look further into Rhakar. From what he could recall, it was a fair distance from where they were currently.

“Forgive me Admiral, but if I remember rightly, Rhakar is a long way south of here. Surely there are other ships nearby who could respond to whatever situ…”

“Of course there are, but Admiral Clancy has chosen the Fourth fleet for this next mission and thus, I have chosen the Santa Fe,” Ryan butted in, to express the apparent will of the Starfleet Commander in Chief herself. “Like I said before, I’ll have more for you tomorrow, Captain. For now, I advise you get some rest,” the Admiral instructed. “Ryan out.”

And just like that, before Farrell could protest further or seek any additional clarification of his orders, the uniformed man had vanished from sight. “Of course it makes sense to travel hundreds of light years when there are other ships in the area,” he fumed as he picked up his glass of milk and downed it before heading back into the bedroom.

Collapsing onto the edge of his bed, he performed the ritual of earlier, but in reverse; Shrek slippers off, scrunching toes in the fluffy rug before sliding his body round and laying his head on the pillow again, pulling his duvet cover over him.

Hoping that he could forget about the demons of tomorrow for at least a little while, he closed his eyes at last…

…only to open them a few seconds later with a startling realisation.

“Great,” he moaned, “now I have to pee…”