Part of USS Centaur: Mission 3: Soldar

Epilogue

Devron Fleet Yards / T'Met
4th February 2400
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EPILOGUE

Feb 4th, 2400

Vakai sat there at the bar with his friends, James, Ashley, Sivol, Gomo, Maya and Koyda, all chatting away amongst themselves and drinking the night away. Vakai was going over the things he said at the last meeting with Commander Maxwell on the nineteenth of January.

“So Vakai,” Ryker’s voice was now less distant and more directed at him. “What did you tell the Commander on your last day?”

Vakai shrugged his shoulders before he took the glass of Saurian Brandy by his right hand, brought the rim up to his lips and tipped it enough for him to drink it. Then he set the glass down and looked at Ryker, only to notice everyone was looking at him. He snorted, “Simply exactly what happened.”

Vakai then cleared his throat, “I told the Commander that I was the first to transport over with the Ensign from the Runabout into the chamber of where the Singularity Core was. Had an encounter with a Uhlan who drew their weapon on me and had to talk them down to avoid them discharging that weapon while the Singularity Core was unstable. Then the rest of you guys beamed in, Uhlan was disarmed, I shut the core down and had a long conversation with the Commander of the ship.”

“And what a conversation it was too. Took you some effort to convince the Commander that we did not fire on that station and even more convincing to transport our crew on board so that their medical needs could be attended to.” Ryker added.

Vakai nodded his head as he took another sip before he continued. “It really didn’t take too much convincing to tell him that assisting our crew while starfleet vessels arrive to pick us up would greatly improve our relations with the Free State Government.”

Suddenly, Captain John Carter arrived at the restaurant and had joined them at the bar, with a padd in hand. “I knew I would find all of you here. Saves me the trouble of having to repeat myself.” Carter told them before looking at the bar tender. “Another round for my crew, good sir! As for me, Jack and Coke on the rocks please.”

“I do believe the Captain is in a good mood.” Said Gomo.

“You are correct, my Cardassian friend.” Said Carter as he finally raised the padd up to his reading level and cleared his throat. “By the Office of the Task Force Headquarters of Task Force yada yada yada… Ah here it is. After reviewing the evidence and confessions of all Senior Staff of the Centaur involved in the destruction of a Romulan Civilian Research Station Case, it has come to our conclusion that the Crew of the Centaur were not responsible for the destruction of the facility and were not at all acting carelessness when made a successful attempt in rescuing their First Officer. As such, we hereby drop all charges on the Senior Staff and on the Captain of the Centaur.”

The group cheered loudly with handshakes and hugs amongst themselves only to finish off with joining their glasses of their preferred drinks and took a sip, or to some, gulped down the entire contents of the glass before their refresher arrived on the Captain’s request. “What the hell took them so long, Captain?” Ashley asked.

Carter raised a finger, “Glad that you asked.” Then he pointed at the padd, scrolled up and pointed at it again to find his place before clearing his throat once more. “The Romulan Free State have finally come to their conclusion that, after reviewing the evidence they found, including their equivalent of a ‘black box’, they have concluded that the Centaur had indeed never fired a single shot at the station and they will conduct an internal investigation. As such, the Romulan Free State has issued a formal apology for accusing the crew of the Centaur and would like to extend their thanks to the three Starfleet vessels that assisted one of their own. The Senate looks forward to further improving relations with the United Federation of Planets.”

“Surprised that the Romulans apologized for anything. Well, the Free State of course.” Said Maya.

“What is the status of the Centaur’s repairs, Captain?” Vakai asked.

“Well, while repairing the ship, they decided to do some tweaking and refitting as well. We will have self diagnosing systems, no more manually diagnosing anything…which kind of makes me sad to be honest. Where’s the joy in that? How do you train and discipline a crew if they can’t manually diagnose a system?” Carter scoffed and shook his head as he took his drink in hand and finished it off in one gulp. “Another one please.” And all the bartender had to do was refill the glass, the ice barely melted.

“What modifications are we talking about?” Ashley asked.

Carter shrugged his shoulders, “Nothing serious really. While we will still have our internal navigational deflector array in the front of the saucer, they decided to add an external secondary deflector just on the ventral side of the torpedo pod. I don’t know. They think it will come in handy for certain things, which makes no sense to me, I mean we could just remove the hull plates around the internal one in the saucer if we need to make some super beam weapon out of it. Knowing you, Ashley, you probably can.”

Ashley laughed, “Give me a week with some tools and I could turn the entire thing into a plasma launcher.”

Suddenly, Doctor Pearce came bursting in and slapped her hands on the bar counter. “Quickly, turn on the news.” A holo display popped up and then they saw the ‘FNN’ Logo. What they were seeing now was more of a repeat, along with some follow-ups, about the ‘Century Storm’ that was happening in the Paulson Nebula.

“Isn’t the Fourth Fleet Starbase located right next to that thing?” Ryker asked.

“It is. Starbase Bravo.” Said Sivol.

“A lot of us came from there.” Said Ashley.

“It’s not the base that’s in trouble. It’s what’s going on in the nebula that’s the problem.” Said Gomo. “I heard about this the other day, but for them to have a follow-up must mean the storm is getting worse.”

“Will all Commanding Officers and First Officers report to Briefing Room One.”

Carter and Vakai looked at each other before two cups of black coffee were set down in front of them. “Just in case,” said the bartender. They both took a couple sips before they took off.

At the Briefing Room, this is where they were informed in further detail of the situation that was happening at the Paulson Nebula. Commander Maxwell was briefing them all on it, “Some of you will be assisting in evacuations, as you will have the most capacity to do so. Rest of you will be tasked in closing the subspace rifts. Use whatever means possible with your vessel in closing those rifts but do be careful. We have no idea what those rifts could do, a lot of them are unstable and unique. I will be with the Task Force Commanding Officer on board our Flagship, so we will be much closer in communications range. That being said, any requests that you need, any materials, equipment, any of the sort, we will do our very best to provide that for you while we remain in contact. This is a group effort, ladies and gentlemen, much like the last situation that this fleet had to deal with. But most importantly, stay strong and stay safe. Dismissed.” Maxwell then noticed Carter and Vakai. “Captain Carter, Commander Vakai, I need you two to stay please.”

The two looked at each other and then waited until it was just the three of them. Maxwell approached them, “I would like to congratulate you both. Everything you and your staff had told us was consistent with the logs that we were able to recover, restore and review. For that, I thank you for your honesty and I am glad that we did not have to resort to a Court Martial.”

Carter smiled, “I am just glad that my ship will be ready to fly again. Being cooped up in that dry dock is just not healthy for her.”

Maxwell smirked, “At least she has a new pair of shoes, and then some. But I did not ask you two to stay to discuss about the inquiry. You see, something has come across my desk and as much as the program has been successful, I still feel that one more test is required before I approve it and submit it forward to Captain Gar’rath for final review. What I am trying to say is, Captain Carter, I am going to need you to step down as the Centaur’s Commanding Officer and remain here on station. I will be pointing Commander Vakai here, as the new Commanding Officer.”

Carter frowned, “But Commander, I’ve always given my First Officer full Command Decisions since the day he became my First Officer. Except for the last Fleet Wide issue we had to deal with.”

Maxwell nodded, “I know but this is to make it official, Captain. It needs to be shown in his record of officially being in Command and I believe this current situation will be the ultimate test to see if he is truly fit to be in Command.”

Carter looked at Vakai who looked right back. “Seems like I don’t have much choice in the matter. Are you ready for this, Commander?”

Vakai nodded his head. “Absolutely, sir.” He then looked at Maxwell. “I won’t let you down.”

“Good. The Centaur will be ready to leave tomorrow. Your crew has already been given notice and they all should be arriving today and getting prepared for tomorrow’s departure. You just need to inform your Senior Staff and you will be set to go.” Maxwell explained.

“Aye, sir. Thank you, sir.” Said Vakai.

“All right then. Dismissed.” Maxwell smiled.

They all nodded in a silent acknowledgement to each other before Carter and Vakai left the briefing room.

—-

Meanwhile, At Soldar’s Private home on T’Met…

A padd crashed against a wall, hardly being broken at all since they were not made that flimsy. Nevertheless, it was thrown out of anger, clearly. “I cannot believe that they capitulated to the Starfleet swing! What’s worse, I’ve been discharged from service!” Soldar shouted loudly.

“Clearly the Senate’s form of punishment is cruel and irresponsible.” Said Tomek as he came over to Soldar with a hypo. Soldar had been laying on a medical bed that was created via a holo emitter while Tomek had been working on a serum to counteract the damage to Soldar’s brain and the effects of dying numerous times in a VR simulation. “This should effectively reduce your trauma, if not cure it.”

Soldar looked at him with much concern. “What do you mean not cure it?”

Tomek sighed. “It is possible that the damage is permanent. What I created may cure you but if the damage is permanent, then all it will do is reduce the trauma and your hallucinations.”

Soldar growled, “Fine. Just do it.” And with that, the hypo was pressed to his neck and the serum was injected. “I have to plan on a way to get back at that traitorous pig.”

“Why do you insist on calling him a traitor?” Tomek asked as he began to put his equipment away.

Soldar slipped off the bed and onto his feet, only to deactivate the holo. “Because he was born on one of our ships, for that he is a citizen of the Free State and a traitor wearing a child’s uniform.” He spat before he went to his office, Tomek right behind.

“Yet we have no way of proving it, nor are we any closer to finding his parents. Yet why does it matter? You’re no longer in service of the Tal’Shiar.” Tomek explained.

Soldar sat down at his desk and brought up several holo displays and started moving files around. “It matters. Because of him, I lost my career, years of countless service, hundreds of successful interrogations and I lost it all because of him.”

Tomek rubbed the bridge of his nose. “Technically, you lost everything when you decided to overload the station’s reactor and kill everyone on it just for one man, which would have still resulted in a failure in your interrogation because your main objective was finding his parents, the real traitors in the Tal’Shiar.”

Soldar slammed his fists onto his desk and glared at him with such anger. “Who’s side are you on, Tomek?!”

“Yours, of course. Simply pointing out the facts.” Tomek then headed for the replicator and had some hot tea replicated. He then brought it over to Soldar’s desk and placed it in front of him.

Soldar sighed heavily in defeat before he grabbed the cup and took a sip before relaxing into his chair. “You always know what I like.”

“Of course, Soldar. Would be pointless to be joined together if I had not known anything about you.” Tomek explained. “After all, all the things you have done for me, I am forever in your debt.”

Soldar set the cut down with yet another sigh. “As I’ve told you, being joined means no debts. We are in this together.”

“So how do you wish to deal with this Vakai?” Tomek asked.

“Oh. I have my ways.”