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Part of USS Challenger: Return to the Gamma Quadrant

All For One

U.S.S. Challenger NCC-71099
Stardate 77084.2
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His duty shift done for the day, Chris was on his way to the Columbia Lounge when he came across the most peculiar sight. Calvin Armstrong dressed not in the uniform of a Starfleet Officer but looking more like something out of the pages of history. He wore a cavalier hat with one side of it folded up with an ostrich feather sticking out of it, a blue tabard with a silver cross on the front of it, black knee high fold over boots with a sword attached to his left hip.

“What are you supposed to be?” Chris asked, unable to keep the amusement out of his tone.

With his right hand, Armstrong removed his hat and swept his arm diagonally downwards as he bowed at the waist and announced. “I am D’Artagnan, of the King’s Musketeers.” He straightened and replaced the hat on his head with his customary boyish grin.

“Of course.” Chris vaguely remembered reading the book in high school. “I had no idea you were such a big fan of the Musketeers.”

Armstrong nodded enthusiastically. “I must’ve read the book at least fifty times.” He replied. “Dad originally read it to me when I was a boy.” A wistful smile slowly grew on his lips. “He used to tell me that we were descended from the real d’artagnan, but I’m pretty sure he was making that up. Our ancestors barely left Yorkshire until the industrial revolution was in full swing.”

“You know you could just have the holodeck recreate the clothes, you don’t actually have to dress up like that.” Chris pointed out.

He was talking to an engineer, of course Armstrong knew that. “Where’s the fun in that? It would still feel like I’m wearing my uniform or whatever clothes I wear to the holodeck. This way I can really immerse myself in the simulation and feel like I’m really there.”

“I can’t argue with that I guess.” Chris replied with a shrug.

Armstrong’s right hand came to rest on the hilt of his sword. “Right, I’m going to get changed out of this.”

“I’m heading to meet Mitchell in Columbia.” Chris announced. “Why don’t you join us?” Judging from the look on his face, Armstrong seemed to be in two minds. “I think da Costa’s gonna be there.” Chris added with a knowing wink.

It hadn’t escaped Chris’ notice that Armstrong and da Costa had been spending more time together since Coltar, but Armstrong hadn’t taken the leap to ask da Costa out yet. A slow, shy smile crept onto Armstrong’s lips. Eventually he relented, “Okay. I’ll go get changed and swing by for a quick drink.”

“Good.” Chris smiled. “I’ll see you in a while.” He patted Armstrong on the shoulder and continued on his way. 

*** 

Bridge to Forrester.” The voice of Commander Bennett filled the room as Tom finely chopped parsley and added it to the pan. 

Setting the knife down, he let out a sigh. “Forrester here. Go ahead, Commander.”

Captain, we have an incoming transmission from Commander T’Sen on Opaka Outpost.” Bennett told him.

Tom nodded, even though Bennett couldn’t see him. “Patch her through.”

A holographic image of the Vulcan commander materialised seconds later. “Greetings, captain.” Her eyes darted to his apron. “I apologise for the intrusion.

“Don’t worry about it, commander.” He waved his hand dismissively. “What can I do for you?”

T’Sen clasped her hands behind her back. “We have received information that I believe you might be interested in.” She paused for a moment. If Tom didn’t know any better he’d swear it was for dramatic effect. “Penn Renos has escaped Darox III.

“How?” He asked hotly. “When?”

The Vulcan cocked her right eyebrow at the captain’s reaction. “We believe he was recovered by the crew of Commander Oreth’s B’rel-class bird of prey several weeks ago. Commander Oreth and his crew have since returned to the Beta Quadrant but we do not believe that Renos is still with them.”

“Do you have any leads on where he might be?” Forrester asked.

Commander T’Sen shook her head slowly. “Not at this time.

“If you find any, let me know.”

With a bow of her head, T’Sen replied, “Of course.” She stiffened slightly. “Thank you for your time, captain.” T’Sen raised her right hand and gave the Vulcan salute. “Peace and long life, Captain Forrester.”

“Live long and prosper, Commander T’Sen.” Tom replied, his own right hand mirroring the commander’s salute. Her holographic avatar fizzled as the commlink was severed.

Penn Renos had been involved in the assassination of Darox’s Prime Minster, Gret Larell, but he’d been a mere puppet for Commander Oreth. That didn’t change Tom’s desire to return Renos to Darox and see him stand trial for his attempted coup. But that was for another day. Right now he had salmon and seafood pasta to finish preparing.

He lifted the knife and prepared to start chopping some chives when Commander Bennett’s voice interrupted him once more. “Bridge to Forrester.” 

“Go ahead, commander.” He couldn’t keep the annoyance out of his voice and instantly felt bad. Bennett wouldn’t contact him, especially so soon, unless it was important.

If Bennett noticed, and he was certain she did, she didn’t let it faze her. “Sir, we’re picking up a distress signal from a ship six light years away.”

“Lay in a course and engage at maximum warp, commander.” Forrester was already taking the pan containing what was to have been his dinner off the heat and deactivating the heat plate. 

He removed his apron and threw it over the back of a nearby chair. “Summon the senior officers. I’ll be there shortly. Forrester out.”