Standing in the turbo lift to the bridge with sweaty palms and bowed antennae, nerves threatened to consume the Andorian Captain. She had spent much of the night laid in bed, anxious as to what she would face that very morning. Her crew had been given a choice, whether to stay or go. Two ships, very different in design and mission. Two fantastic opportunities had been presented to them, and she couldn’t help but worry about who would stay with her. She’d had no contact with anyone from the point she had left Commander Gor outside the Officer’s Mess the night before, but now they shared the turbo lift to the bridge, and both looked more than a little anxious. The silence said everything.
On the final approach to the command center, the Captain took a deep breath once the lift started to slow. In truth, she expected at least three of the staff to return to the Temeraire, but what if the door’s parted and no one had remained? What if she was about to lose everyone she had trusted? The look on Vasoch’s face showed that he had the same concerns, but a forced smile tried to reassure her.
Her time was up, however, as the lift came to a stop and she composed herself. Tugging on her uniform shirt to iron out any creases, she took another deep breath just in time for the doors to pull apart and grant her entry to the bridge. A few tentative steps later, both officers had their answer.
“Captain on the bridge!” Lieutenant Noli Auru called from the tactical rail that surrounded the command arena, rising to her feet and standing at attention.
Across the bridge, people mimicked the stance of their Tactical Officer and welcomed the two command officers to the bridge. Slowly but surely she surveyed the crowd. Henry at the CONN was joined by his Bolian counterpart from Ops. Two newer officers to her command, but two she was pleased to retain the services of. Near them, Lieutenant Okan from Science was joined by the Captain’s friend, Lieutenant Prida Rala. Standing in the command arena itself, the blonde form of Counsellor Vittoria Chiera smiled back at the Captain. Everyone was present. Everyone apart from one noticeable face. Tharia let out a sigh, her head dropping at the realisation that she had lost…
“Sorry I’m late,” Doctor Zinn announced upon emerging from the port turbo lift. “We’ve had another new birth. Lieutenant Okan, you’ll be pleased to know that Chief Romanov has given birth to a very healthy baby boy,” the Doctor revealed, standing beside the command officers and looking in the direction of his science division counterpart.
A ripple of applause rang out around the bridge, drawing a smile from the Captain. Her eyes began glistening at the sight, with the Andorian quickly comforted by a hand on her arm from the Tellarite beside her. It was his reassurance; everything was going to be fine. Taking a far more relieved deep breath, the Captain looked at her colleague. “Let’s do this,” she nodded.
Bowing ever so slightly and respectfully to the commanding officer, Vasoch quickly set about his business. “Departure stations,” he called out, marching towards his chair at the right side of the command arena. “Lieutenant Noli, inform the other vessels in the system that we are heading out. Lieutenant Mitchell, set a course out of Romulan territory and straight for the Badlands, warp six,” the Tellarite instructed as he took his seat in the command arena.
Senior officers across the bridge took over their stations once again, and those without a station stood where they felt most comfortable, watching and waiting. Tharia walked into the command area herself and stood in front of the command chair. When happy, she lowered herself into it once more and grasped its arms.
“All vessels have been informed,” Noli called out from Tactical, “and I’ve taken the liberty of passing on our best wishes to the government on Kunhri too,” the Bajoran smiled, exchanging nods with the Captain.
“Course laid in,” Mitchell confirmed from the CONN.
“Ready, Captain?” the Tellarite asked the commanding officer.
“Ready,” she responded. Then, sitting back in her command chair, a devilish grin filled her face.
“Let’s rock and roll.”
[Two Weeks Later…]
Two weeks. In the grand scheme of recent events, two weeks seemed like a lifetime. Ulysses and her crew had been involved in numerous events within Romulan space for that period of time, but with the ship travelling to the Badlands for her new mission, the crew of Ulysses had found themselves with a lot of off time. Two weeks of down time provided the crew with ample time for bonding, getting to know one another, and ensuring that the technological marvel they called home was ready for their mission into the Thomar Expanse.
For the Captain of the Ulysses, it was just like being at home again. Her new ship bore many similarities to that of the Santa Fe, which was understandable given the shared lineage of the Galaxy and New Orleans classes. These similarities meant she found it far easier to assimilate to her surroundings than she had on the Temeraire. The presence of so many of her colleagues helped too, of course. It was always easier to settle in when one was surrounded with people they knew they could trust. And today, that trust would be needed.
Sat in the comfort of her ready room, buried deep in post-mission paperwork, she was forced to look up upon the parting of her doors and the sudden, unannounced appearance of her Tellarite executive.
“Captain, we have a problem…” Vasoch declared, not waiting for the invitation to sit before pulling out a seat opposite the Andorian. “A Federation security officer has been killed on a Federation prisoner transport near Bajor. According to reports, a prisoner escaped confinement from the maximum security cells, attacked the officer, and fled to the Ashalla spaceport,” the Tellarite revealed, his words causing the Captain to cease her activity.
“This is our problem, why?” she enquired, sitting back in her chair and defensively folding her arms across her chest, instantly regretting the question.
Vasoch took a deep breath before unleashing the bombshell upon the woman.
“The prisoner is Lieutenant Prida’s older brother…”