“Captain’s log stardate seven-seven-four-three-one. We are celebrating almost two months of being back in the Delta Quadrant and returning to exploring the region known as the Gradin Belt. Starfleet was eager for us to pick up where we left off before we had to escape from the Quirennal via the underspace corridors. Though we are not returning to our exact last known coordinates, exploring the unchartered frontier between the Delta and Beta Quadrants is a welcome change compared to the amount of humanitarian work we had to do after returning home. That said, it feels that life on the ship is returning to some normality. It feels that the slow recovery from what the crew has undergone in recent months is almost there. I have to admit myself; I’m starting to feel like my normal self again. Almost.”
Stifling a yawn with the back of his hand, Lieutenant Commander Tomaz shook his head from the on set of exhaustion as he tried to refocus on his work before him.
“Late night, Tomaz?” Jen asked from the operations console
Rubbing his cheek and smirking, he nodded at the Trill officer. “Yeah, I stayed up too late with Craigen reading over the latest study materials for the Command Training Program, then S’Tem was awake at oh-five hundred hours this morning.”
Briefly snickering at that, Jen nodded in sympathy. “I don’t miss the early mornings with a young child.” He remarked, “Tad, my first host, was the one who was always up with the kids when they were awake. He was quite the morning person, while Jonzia, my third host, hated the mornings.”
“Well, S’Tem hasn’t gotten used to living without seeing the sunrise. The warping of starfields isn’t calming either.” Tomaz said, again pushing down another yawn.
“Yanaz found the stars calming.” Jen said, “I think it’s why she liked travelling around the Federation.”
“Yanez was your sixth host, right? The ambassador?” Tomaz checked.
Jen nodded. “Yeah, she helped with the peace treaty with the Talarians after the Galen border conflict.”
“So any suggestions from your hosts that were parents about how I get S’Tem to stay in bed?” Tomaz pleaded.
Jen considered the suggestion for a moment before answering. “Try an alarm clock with a light on top.”
“How does that help?” Tomaz questioned with a confused expression.
Jen explained his idea further. “Tell S’Tem he isn’t allowed out of his bedroom until the light appears, but if he finds himself awake and unable to sleep, then the only thing he can do is read quietly. Rayfi and Norvo both did that with their children, and both times it worked!”
Tomaz nodded thanks for the idea before stifling another yawn and shaking his head. “Thanks, Lukiz, that may work for S’Tem, but I may need some strong raktajino to get through this shift.”
“That I can definitely help you out with,” Jen said as he got up and headed to the replicator to get his friend the needed drink.
“Commander Tomaz, you may want to try heavier expectations with S’Tem.” advised Commander Banfield from her science station.
After receiving the hot mug from Jen, Tomaz looked at the half-Klingon-half-Human science officer with curiosity. “What do you mean, ma’am?”
“A firmer hand with him may assist with his transition to being in your care,” Banfield shared. “My daughter, Beatrice, would need firm boundaries as a young child. She pushed my buttons so much in trying to get her own way. Caleb and I found that clear rules and consequences if they were broken she understood our expectations and knew what would happen if she made a mistake.”
Tomaz took a sip from his Klingon coffee before responding. “I understand what you’re saying, ma’am, but I don’t want to be too harsh with him in his early days.”
“Commander Banfield is right, though, Tomaz.” Jen said as he returned to his station. “If you don’t set the boundaries now, he’ll be running over you in no time.”
“I’m certain that’s a lesson on the CTP too – setting boundaries with those you lead,” Banfield remarked with a smirk. “You may want to read it!”
Tomaz groaned as he returned to work after hearing a further chuckle from Jen.
“Cadets, welcome to your first rotation in the flight control department,” T’Rani said, speaking to the two young men before her while on the deck of the main shuttle bay. With her hands grasped behind her back, she carried on with her briefing. “The flight control department is responsible for piloting and navigating a starship, including its auxiliary crafts. Questions?”
Alfie and Jorgeh both looked at one another before facing T’Rani. Both young men shook their heads, saying firmly: “No, ma’am!”
“While you are under my supervision for the next few weeks, we will familiarise you with the smaller vessels attached to the Odyssey, and I will teach you the basics of starship flight controls,” T’Rani explained.
“We will get to fly the ship?” Jorgeh asked before adding a “ma’am” at the end of his question.
“No,” T’Rani answered bluntly. “We will limit your piloting training to the holodeck.”
When she noticed that neither of them had anything else to comment on, she gestured for them to move across the deck towards one of the smaller crafts.
From above high, looking down from one of the viewing landings, Captain McCallister watched his son start the next part of his learning. Chuckling to himself at how serious T’Rani took her job as a teacher, a sense of pride appeared in his heart. She had been one of the many cadets that Cambil had brought on after graduating from the academy when he took on the captaincy of the Triton back in early 2386. T’Rani had come far in that time since.
“How is our latest recruit doing?” asked a voice approaching him from behind.
Looking over his shoulder, McCallister smirked at seeing his master chief of the boat approaching him as he indicated down at the scene that McCallister had been watching. Court joined him by his side and held on to the handrail.
“I think Jorgeh is going to enjoy himself, actually,” McCallister answered.
“Let’s hope so,” Court replied. “Max wasn’t best pleased with the idea and wasn’t happy with me when I supported the idea.”
“I understand why. Jorgeh and Wylem haven’t been with us long, but they’re eager and want to be a part of our crew.” McCallister stated. “I know Jorgeh will make an excellent officer.”
“He will.” Court agreed. “I think the formal approach is something he actually thrives on.”
“I get that,” McCallister said with a nod. “That said, you and Max deserve a lot of credit for how much you’ve done with them.”
Court smiled at the compliment, “Thank you, sir, it’s been quite the journey so far.”
“Fatherhood isn’t easy, but it’s worth it,” McCallister said. “I think Tomaz is finding his own feet as well now.”
Chortling at that, Court agreed. “Tomaz is quite the natural; I think he surprised himself on the Quirennal.” Court looked at McCallister. “I just wonder who else on the senior staff will end up taking another lost soul.”
“There’s always room for more,” McCallister said with a smirk. “Anyway, Tobie, what can I do for you?”
Passing the PADD he had in his hands, Court shared with the captain the latest duty roster. “No significant updates with it, sir, but Commander Banfield has requested a good number of the science department to carry out double shifts. I’ve had a few of the technicians raise concerns about the workload.”
Smirking at how hard Banfield was making her staff work, McCallister looked over the roster and the notes that Court had made on them. “Anything I should be aware of?”
Court shook his head. “No, I did tell them we’re in the process of exploring unexplored space, so having those involved in that project pulling extra work made sense to ensure we were on top of everything.”
“Good, just keep an eye on it,” McCallister said as he finished reading. “Anything else?” He asked as he passed the PADD back.
Court hesitated at first and then took in a deep breath. “There is, and it’s personal, sir.”
“Shoot,” McCallister insisted.
“Well, I’ve got a request to make, and I’d prefer if you keep it between us for now.”
Intrigued by his mysterious remark, McCallister encouraged Court to tell him more.
“So the reason I asked to see you both was that I had a question I wanted to ask you both.” Commander Duncan said from the table he was sitting at one of the tables in The Lion Gate, the exclusive area designated for the senior staff. With him on either side of the table were Commander Hunsen and Lieutenant Commander Flemen. All three of them had hot beverages on the table before them.
“Before you ask it, Max, let me turn you down gently now and say I’m a taken man with Louwanna, and I’m pretty certain Craigen is happily playing the single life.” Hunsen joked.
Flemen looked at him, “Who said I’m single?”
Hunsen shrugged his shoulder. “Well, I hadn’t heard you’re not, so I just assumed.”
Crossing his arms against his chest, Flemen took a mock defence in that comment. “I’m hurt.”
“Fellas, I assure you it has nothing to do with me wanting to date either of you. I’m happy with Tobias.” Duncan said, getting in between their teasing of one another.
“Then what is it?” Hunsen asked, even more curious and eager to read his friend’s mind to find out the big question. Deciding not to, he didn’t want to spoil the surprise.
Duncan rubbed the back of his head, “Well, it’s a little request Tobias and I have.”
“That sounds ominous,” Flemen commented.
Ignoring that remark, Duncan spoke up. “Well, with Jorgeh and Wylem now full-blown Federation citizens and with us becoming their legal guardians, Tobias and I were just wondering if you two would like to be their godfathers?”
Surprised to hear that request, both men smiled at the gesture.
“Hell yeah!” Flemen said straight away.
“Of course, Max, I’d be honoured,” Hunsen replied.
Before Duncan could explain more, they were interrupted by the intercom going off and a request for Hunsen to visit sickbay at once…
Slowly walking into sickbay, with Samris holding her left hand and supporting her back with his other free arm, Louwanna Horin approached the main office of Doctor Slyvexs. Slyvexs, who was in a meeting with Doctor Forbes, looked up straight away as she saw Horin coming in through the wide window that looked out onto the central area.
Standing up and making her way out, Slyvexs approached Horin with Forbes behind her. “Louwanna, is everything okay?”
The counsellor shook her head. “I’ve been feeling quite faint and ill all morning.”
“She almost passed out during a staff briefing,” Samris added.
“Something you’ve eaten, ma’am?” Forbes offered as they took the chief counsellor to the nearest biobed for an examination.
She shook her head, “I don’t think so.” Horin disclosed.
“Okay, lay back, and we’ll run a deep scan.” Slyvexs offered as she gently placed her left hand on Horin’s shoulder to have her lie down. After Horin was flat on the bed, she activated the bio bed’s scanners to wrap around her. “Scans underway.”
Taking out a PADD, Forbes started to write notes as Slyvexs called out the readings. Everything seemed okay. “Counsellor, have you undertaken any exercise recently that you may have overdone?”
Horin shook her head again. “No.”
Slyvexs stopped calling out the readings and paused momentarily as she saw the issue. “Gentlemen, would you mind giving the counsellor and me some privacy, please?”
Forbes and Samris looked at each other before nodding and walking away. Slyvexs activated the privacy field around the bay and turned to Horin. She deactivated the scanner and helped the counsellor sit up.
“So why am I feeling awful?” Horin asked, confused with the way Slyvexs was with her.
Taking a deep breath in, she gave a huge Denobulan wide grin. “Because Louwanna, you’re pregnant!”