Part of USS Odyssey: To Hold Fire

Trouble And Strife

USS Odyssey (NCC-80000), Starbase Bravo, Mellstoxx system, Beta Quadrant
Stardate: 77008.2
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Lying on top of the huge king size bed that was in their bedroom, James McCallister was wearing only his lounge bottoms as he prepared for bed. After a few days docked at Starbase Bravo and seeing the amount of repair crews going about their business of fixing his ship, tomorrow he and the rest of his family would finally depart to take their vacation down to Mellstoxx III. The news they were leaving the ship had gone down like a led balloon with their sons, none of them were interested at first and then when their friends were reporting they were leaving, all three of them were displeased to hear they would be one of the last to leave the ship. 

“Sometimes it sucks being the captain’s son.” Theo had moaned before he had headed to bed. Finding out his best friend, Duke, would not be able to stay with them any longer since his parents had returned home had also annoyed him. As a result Theo and Duke’s plans to go down to the planet by themselves had quickly been ruined by their parents.

Reading a latest update from one of the yeomen under Rear Admiral Bennet, it stated that every civilian on his crew had accepted to undertake counselling. The horrors of their time in captivity on that godforsaken alien ark was one he really wanted to forget soon. Stifling a yawn, he switched the PADD off and placed it down on his bedside cabinet and noticed the book he had been reading before he was kidnapped was still there. About to pick it up and carry on reading it, he stopped and realised that it was getting late and his wife had not come to bed yet. That was unlike her, but in the last two month or so, she had not been her usual self. Though they were able to reconcile their differences to enact their escape plan, there was still some unwarranted tension between them. He had hoped that with time and trying to get back into a normal routine that things would go back to the way they were. 

He hoped.

Pushing himself up and off the bed, he walked over to a nearby chair that had one of his tops lying across it and picked it. Walking out of the room and pulling the top over his head, he made his way downstairs and could hear Karyn’s mumbling coming from their study. Walking across their living room, he could hear her voice a lot clearer.

“How bad is the incoming storm?” Reyas asked the screen she was working on. A white light reflected against her face as she stared at it. 

Another familiar voice came through on the other side of the screen. “It’s getting worse from what our long range scans show us, but our requests to be evacuated have gone unanswered. I’m sorry to reach out Karyn, but I don’t know who else to call.”

Shaking her head, she had not seen her husband standing in the doorway yet, Karyn became a bit distressed at hearing that. “Mom don’t be silly, I’ll see if there’s anything I can do.”

“Maybe get my son-in-law to put in a good word? Surely James has some sway with the admiralty?” spoke Najra Reyas. 

“James, like me, has been relieved of duty, mom.” Karyn stated.

Hearing his name being mentioned, McCallister stepped further and approached his wife. “Everything okay, Karyn?”

Noticing him straight away, Karyn looked up above the computer screen and gave him a very brief warm smile as he approached her. “I’m speaking to my mother.”

Coming around the desk, James placed himself just behind the chair that Karyn was sitting in and placed his arm against the back of it and saw the face of his mother-in-law on the screen. Najra Reyas was a well-educated woman who had lived a long and illustrious life. One of the few El-Aurians who survived the evacuation of her homeworld a long time ago, she had assimilated into human culture quite quickly. She held herself with an almost regal manner, but she was not stuffy with her attitude or mannerism. The complete opposite in fact. A very open and loving woman. A pure optimist at heart, she was someone who always tried her best to avoid conflict and where she could help mediate between others she knew, she would. Her interest in archaeology, a passion that Karyn had inherited from her, had peeked in the last decade or so. Now she was a professor and was enjoying the opportunities to dig in some of the most famous sites where past civilisations and their treasure of their time were buried. As a member of the Federation Archaeology Council, she had written a number of papers on a range of subjects ever since she had taken her passion into an actual career. Though she loved art and being an artist had been her first love, discovering history had re-invigorated her. That said, her family always came first, as Karyn was her only daughter she was always happy to speak to her, James and her grandsons. Once a week she would either write or call them. Hearing one of her anecdotes had become a tradition in the McCallister-Reyas household. 

So seeing her in distress now, upset James but he could see the worry and concern spread on Karyn’s face. “Najra, are you okay?”

Shaking her head and smiling at her son-in-law, the older woman appeared to be more at ease at seeing him along with her daughter. “James, my team and I were going through an old dig site when this storm hit the area. We’re trapped. Can you help get us out?”

“Of course, but which planet is it Najra?” He asked. 

Her image fuzzed out a bit before it cleared up again. “We’re on the eighth moon orbiting Damarchus Four. We’re on the farside of the Paulson Nebula. I don’t think our shields will protect us. Plus I’m certain we may encounter a cave in. There’s been a lot of seismic instability on this moon.”

“Do you not have a ship of your own?” McCallister wondered. 

Nodding and shaking her head almost at the same, she explained her situation further. “We were part of a joint-expedition. Our other team was studying some ruins on another planet, deeper in the nebula but we couldn’t reach them. I’ve put a request in for someone to search for them, but no-one is getting back to me.”

Looking as worried as Karyn had been, James felt for his mother-in-law’s predicament. “Hang tight Najra, we’ll see what we can do for you.”

“Thank you James. Give a kiss to those handsome grandsons of mine.” She smiled, showing her appreciation before cutting the call. 

Standing up instantly, Karyn moved out of the chair and headed out of the study. Confused about what she was doing, James followed her. “Karyn, what are you doing?”

“Getting ready to go and rescue my mother.” She answered as she made her way up the curved spiral staircase to the upstairs. 

Still following in her wake, James still tried to understand what she was doing. “Karyn, we don’t have a ship to go in. The best course of action is to raise this with Admiral Bennet, at least.”

“I’m not waiting for him to make a decision.” She snapped back as she made her way into their room and began putting together a bag of clothes. As she packed she looked at him, “The Telemachus wasn’t damaged in our rescue and does not require to undertake a baryon sweep. I’ll lead a crew from there.”

“We don’t have a crew to man her.” McCallister reminded her. “Our crew have all been relieved of duty, that includes its chief science officer.”

“Then the admiral can place me back on active duty and I’ll request a crew from Starbase Bravo.” She replied back in a harsh tone as she placed some more clothes into her bag. “She’s my mother James, I’m not leaving her to die out there when I can help. Now either help me or get out of my way.”

“Are you two fighting again?” came the question from the doorway which had Alfie, Theo and Henri all standing there. Alfie had been the one to ask.

Turning to look at his sons, all of them were wearing similar loungewear like him. Alfie wore his usual black vest and shorts, Henri just wore red boxer shorts while Theo had a white long sleeved top and grey lounge pants on. Wincing at them, James didn’t want them to hear the exchange. Shaking his head, he explained that they weren’t fighting. “Your grandmother is trapped on a planet. We’re trying to find a way we can help her and her team.”

“Grandma Najra?” Theo checked, which resulted in him getting a nod from his father.

All three boys looked at one another, sharing concerned looks. “Is she going to be okay?”

“She will be if your father pulls in a favour or two to help.” Karyn said in a certain tone that didn’t hide her feelings towards him. Leaving the room, she headed into their en-suite bathroom. 

“Dad, you gotta help grandma.” Henri insisted.

“I will.” James replied. “Can you three go back to bed and let your mother and I deal with this.”

Reluctantly they moved away and back down the corridor towards their own respective bedrooms. 

James watched as the last one entered their room and the doors closed before turning back to Karyn as she re-entered the room with more items to pack. “That’s not fair, you can’t speak to me like that in front of the boys.”

“Get over yourself James.” Karyn spat back out. “You’re relieved, you’re not the captain now. You’re my husband and their father. So what they see their parents argue. It’s perfectly natural.” She stopped in her tracks. “So are you going to call the admiral or not?”

Shaking his head at her attitude, he raised his hands at her to show he was giving up arguing with her and left the room. Heading back downstairs he placed the call into the admiral.

Half an hour later and Karyn was walking out of their quarters. James watched her go, without saying goodbye to him or the boys. Admiral Bennet had agreed, especially after Karyn had stepped in and reminded him that his mother was El-Aurian as where other members of the team she led and as her people were limited in numbers then it was Starfleet’s duties to ensure that they rescued them to avoid her species from going extinct. Playing on the admiral’s heartstring, late at night especially, had not gone down well with him. However he could not find an alternative, but told Reyas she could lead the mission, however it did not get her out of being assessed by Counsellor Horin. He would also pick the crew to help her and if her acting chief medical officer thought that Reyas was unable to fulfil her duties as commanding officer he would support them relieving Reyas of her duties. Karyn agreed without blinking at his words. It was obvious she wanted to get off the Odyssey

And far from her marriage.