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Part of USS Venture: Episode 1: On the Frontier’s Edge and USS Venture: Season 1: Into the Frontier

The Road Taken

Starbase 11
August 2400
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Via several runabouts, Lori finished the journey in her transfer to the Venture as the new chief medical officer.  The trip was long, but there were other personnel she got to know.  A Texas Hold 'Em poker tournament added some excitement.  Now on the base, Lori was in line at one of the security checkpoints, waiting to be cleared to officially enter.  Her duffel bag was slung over her shoulder and she held a PADD with her orders.  Her mind drifted to some of the important events in her life that brought her to this moment.

Xavi III, 2382

“Below that one is another star and to the right, those three are the curve of the bow.  The sailing ship.”  Lori was pointing to the heavens, a beaming smile on her face.  She was 12 and was showing her mother the constellations and telling the stories behind them.

“Lori, it's almost midnight.  It's time to come in.  You have school tomorrow.”

“But, Mom, I'm not tired.  Please, just a little more time.”

“No, dear.  Time for bed.”

“Mmm,” moaned Lori, her shoulders slumping.  “Fine.”  She didn't know it yet, but that was the night before her parents bought a telescope, opening a whole new world in the night sky.

Xavi III, 2384

“Missy, Amy, go get some help.”

The two girls didn't move, their eyes wide in disbelief.  Amy's hand was over her mouth and her face had become pale.

“Now!”  Lori's voice was a shout filled with urgency.  Snapping out of their shock, Missy and Amy hurried away.

“Here's a sharp rock.  Why do you ne…"

Lori snatched the rock from Trevor's hand, using it to cut a piece of material from her shirt.  “This will help stop the bleeding.”

Nick was lying on his back at the base of the tree he fell out of.  It was clear his left arm was broken because of its distorted shape, but his right arm had a deep cut.  He was in a lot of pain and doing his best to be brave in front of the other kids.

As carefully as she could, Lori wrapped the strip from her shirt around the cut, pulling it tight.  Nick grunted.  “Hang on.  Help will be here soon.”

It didn't take long for some grownups to arrive and Nick was taken to a hospital.  Still feeling the rush, Lori began wondering if medicine was her true calling instead of being a scientist.

Earth, 2388

“I'm Julie Hilton.  It's nice to meet you.”

Lori met her roommate at Starfleet Academy, who was studying to be a nurse.  Julie was a tiny bit shorter than Lori, with long, brown hair, brown eyes, and a round and beautiful face.  She had a cheerful and bouncy personality that led Lori to believe they were going to get along just fine.  They stayed together all four years.  Lori spent their first winter break in Maine with the Hilton family.  Julie showed her many sites and wonderful places on Earth.  They became part of a group of friends that made that time the happiest four years of her life.  Growing up with three older brothers,  Julie was the sister Lori never had.

Earth, 2392

“Well?  What did you get?”  Julie was so excited, she was rubbing her hands together and rocking back and forth.

The two, young women had completed their schooling, receiving their first duty assignments.  Julie would be serving on Starbase Bravo.  Lori held her PADD, enjoying that taking her time opening it was driving Julie crazy.

“Do I need to take that from you?” said Julie.

“You're welcome to try.”

“Okay.”  Julie  lunged forward, but Lori sidestepped her friend.  “You missed.”  She stuck out her tongue, waving the PADD in defiance.

“You're in trouble now,” said Julie.

“Ha!”  Lori didn't know how it happened, but the next thing she knew, she and Julie were rolling on the floor in a mighty tug-of-war for the PADD.  Squeals of laughter filled their dorm room.

“Victory!”  Julie shouted, holding the prize.  She was straddled atop Lori who was lying on her back.

The door opened and third-year cadet Luis Alonso stepped into the room.  Initially, his face showed surprise, but he quickly smiled.  “Am I interrupting something, ladies?”  He chuckled.

“Get out!”  Lori and Julie yelled in unison.  Julie flung a couch pillow at him.

“Okay, okay,” said Luis, parrying the projectile.  “Have fun.”  Leaving, he closed the door behind him.  They could hear him laughing in the hallway.

“See what you did,” said Lori.

“I don't care,” said Julie.  She brushed her tussled hair from her face and read the orders.  “You got the Mithrandir.”  She set the PADD on the floor next to her, disappointment in her eyes.

“We knew we probably wouldn't be in the same place,” said Lori.  She was disappointed the best friends would be going in different directions, but at the same time, excitement filled her emotions.  A starship!  Another adventure was about to begin.

Vendek III, 2395

Lori was on her belly behind a rock, trying to make herself as small as possible while disruptor bolts blazed overhead.  The away team was rescuing the surviving crew from a small freighter that crashed after a pirate attack, but whatever the cargo was, the bad guys wanted it so badly, they were willing to start a firefight with Starfleet personnel.

Lori was so scared, she felt like she would painfully puke everything she had eaten for two days.  Combat simulations at the academy were one thing, but this was real and her first time under fire.  No safety protocols now.  Chaos ruled amidst the shouting and the sounds of deadly energy blasts coming from what seemed like every direction.

“Damn it, Doctor, get up and do your job!”

It was Lieutenant Jackson, the away team leader.  Lori looked at him, not understanding what he was saying.

“We have a wounded man!”  Jackson pointed to his right.

Lori looked, seeing Ensign Qegg Mowat lying on the ground.  The Bolian was alive, but in obvious and terrible pain.  To help him, Lori would need to run across open ground, exposing herself to possible fire.

“They're jamming our comms,” said Jackson.  “He needs help.  Now!”

Something from her breakfast retched into Lori's mouth, but she forced it back down.  Closing her eyes, she muttered a quick prayer to anyone that might be listening.  Taking a deep breath, she grabbed her medkit, running to Mowat with every bit of courage and strength she could muster.

Starbase 11, 2400

“I said, are you all right, Lieutenant?”

Lori blinked.  “What?”  She was so lost in thought, she hadn't realized it was her turn at security.  “I'm sorry, Ensign.  I was thinking about…  Well, things.”

“I'm glad you're okay, ma'am.  We'll get you through, quick and easy.”  The ensign smiled.

Embarrassed, Lori nodded an apology.  Handing him the PADD, she placed her duffel on the counter.  While the ensign worked, she wished she could see Julie again.

“You're all set, Doctor Weaver.  Welcome to Starbase 11.  Safe journeys.”  The ensign smiled.

“Let's hope so,” said Lori.  “For all of us.”