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Part of USS Edinburgh: Mission 1 – What Burns in the Darkness and Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

Shall We Gather at the River?

USS Edinburgh
May 15, 2400
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USS Edinburgh – Bridge Observation Lounge – 2000

“I didn’t think that day would ever end.  Goddamn.”  Jordan Reid had walked into the observation lounge on deck 1, picked up a drink, and walked straight down to the couches that faced the massive windows.  She sipped her drink softly and glanced at her CO, “What?”

Harris chuckled, “No one could ever accuse you of being anything but honest, Jordan.”  He filled his drink with his chilled cider and sat down near her, “The rest of our command team is due any minute.  I’m sure they are as tired as you are.  It’ll be our first real meeting.”

She snorted, “I’m reading between the lines. ‘Be nice’ is what you’re slipping between the lines.”

He was half tempted to fire back, but the door to the lounge opened, revealing the tactical and security chief, Ensign Kondo De La Fontaine.  He looked around and found his CO and FO down below.  Harris waved to him, “Get a drink and come sit with us, Ensign.”  

He soon arrived with a sparkling drink and sat down roughly, a sigh escaping his lips, and immediately apologized, “I am sorry Commander.  That was…”

Harris put his hand up, “Ensign, don’t apologize.  It’s been a long day of getting our crew on board and we’re all a little south of tired.”  He toasted him with his glass, “There are a great many sins forgiven within the circle of the command team.”  The CO took a drink and returned his attention to the man, “I ask this of everyone – how would you like to be called?  Chief De La Fontaine?”

Kondo cocked his head to the side, “I am more familiar and comfortable with ‘Mr. Kondo’…it is far easier to navigate linguistically…plus it is what everyone has called me since birth.”  Harris made a mental note as he took another sip.  

The door opened and Prentice stepped in, his face showing how he felt.  He spotted the commander and walked towards the gathering, “Drinks?  Drinks.  Good.  I’m…yea.”  

Harris waved him on and returned his attention to his newest officer, “What do you think of our crew so far, Mr. Kondo?”

There was a pause as he gathered his thoughts, “They are young and excited. I  cannot tell you the amount of crew and officers who stepped onboard with stars in their eyes, commander.  I confess to being among them.  It may not be a flagship posting, but it is a remarkable vessel.”

Reid agreed, “There is something special about her.  My sickbay is glorious.”

Kondo grinned and was about to say something when the door opened and Thasaz stepped in, hesitantly.  Prentice was still working on his drink and waved her over, “Subco…I mean Lieutenant Thasaz!  Come make a drink with me.  I’m not sure what I’m doing here if I’m honest.”  The Romulan glanced at the gathering down below by the windows and gave them a nod as she headed to assist Prentice.  He was trying to choose the right mixer and looked at her with mild panic in his eyes, “I…was never a drinker, ma’am.  I mean, it’s synthetic alcohol so it’s not gonna have an effect, but…I don’t know what to make.”

She took pity on the boy – well, young man, but he was a boy to her.  “I’ve spent some time studying the humans and their drinks.  I’ve heard of a delightful drink…”, she punched a few buttons on the console and a fizzing drink with red elements appeared.  She handed it to him and he took a sip.

His eyes lit up, “What is this?!  It’s so good.”

She smiled quietly, “It is most often called a Shirley Temple.  It is a simple drink but enjoyed by many.”  She tapped an order for another and soon was sitting in the gathering, sipping at her straw.

Harris enjoyed watching the two interact.  Prentice had warmed to the former Romulan sub-commander as a mother figure and by all appearances, Thasaz was relishing the attention and relationship that allowed her to be something other than an officer or spy.  The doors opened one final time and revealed a smiling but tired Okada Katsumi who did not ask about drinks but went straight to the replicator and arrived with a huff as she sat and took a long sip from her fizzing drink.  He stood, “Welcome aboard the USS Edinburgh.  You’ve all met off and on throughout the day as we brought on our new crewman and officers but tonight I wanted us to share some time together outside of the hustle and bustle of the corridors and bridge.”  He went through and introduced each officer and as they stood talked about what great thing he’s seen them do that day as he’d been running and gunning from place to place to help support them in getting the masses on board.  “Each of us is here for a reason.  Some of us are searching for justice for those we encountered on the Erigone.  Others of us are looking for the next big thing…or just the next thing.  The most important piece of the puzzle of this ship is you,” he gestured to the gathered officers, “…and how we pursue our missions.  The 200 men and women who are aboard are going to be looking to each of you – even if you’re not their department head…they’ll be watching each of us.”  He took a sip of his drink, “What we do in the heat of the moment…in the everyday duty…in the passing through the corridors…that matters.  You matter…and I’m certain with you onboard we’re going to be able to do some incredible things.”  He held his glass aloft, “A toast to us as a command crew – may we be the best of ourselves for the rest of the crew.”

The gathered command crew held their glasses aloft and repeated his words.  Harris sat and sighed, “Thus endeth the lesson.”  He gestured to the shelves and cabinets around the room, “There are games and activities to take part in.  This room is for command and bridge crew only…use it when you need.”  He was delighted when Katusmi stood up and ran for the cabinets waving the rest of the crew to join her looking at all the options.  

Reid remained, rotating her cup as she stared at the floor.  She looked up at her CO and thanked him, “I don’t think I’ve felt a family with a crew like this before, Commander.  I felt it as they came in…and I felt it as you spoke.  I’m glad you chose to remain in command.”  There were shouts and loud conversations at the games area and she chuckled, “I suppose we should go make sure the children don’t kill each other with whatever game they’ve chosen.”

Harris laughed, “I don’t know about you”, he said as he stood up, “…but I play to win.”

Reid glared at him as she followed him, “We’ll see about that.”  They joined the group as the games were passed around.

The CO stood at the back of the group and couldn’t wipe the smile from his face.  Tomorrow, they faced the galaxy’s darkness.  The light from today would guide them, he thought.