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Part of USS Denver: Mission 4: Can’t Come Home Again

Turning Tides

USS Denver, Earth Spacedock
March 25, 2374 16:00
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USS Denver – Earth Spacedock

Master Chief Robert ‘Jericho’ Jeter stood on the bridge of the USS Denver and looked around at the skeleton crew and repair teams currently on the bridge of the Nebula-class cruiser. Most of the crew were down on Earth or on the massive space station, McKinley Station, which they were currently docked within. The few that remained were either finishing up tasks, part of the station’s engineering team or like himself, saw no point going planetside.

He always enjoyed these stops, when he had the run of the ship and the emptiness of it, not that he minded the crew, mostly. Though there had been that obnoxious shit Nixon. He let out a snort as he thought about what happened and smiled before turning to leave the bridge. Before he made it to the life his combadge chimed, without thinking he tapped it, “Jeter’s.”

“Master Chief, this is Admiral Dailey I was hoping to catch Captain Talon or your intelligence office but I was unable to reach either. Can you pass on some good news for me?” Came the Admiral’s voice, the excitement clearly audible. 

Hacienda de Sandoval, Santa Fe, New Mexico, Earth

Jericho materialised outside the Captian’s ranch and looked around at the open sky, a shiver running down his back. Away missions were one thing but choosing a place with so much sky just wasn’t for him. He stepped up to the door and knocked. He was pretty sure the Captian would be wanting this news right away. 

An older man of Castilian descent answered the door.  His white hair was streaked in black and grey and he sported a bushy goatee just as white as the hair on his head, “What can I do for you young man?”

“Sir,” Jericho said with a nod of his head. “I’m Master Chief Jeter of the USS Denver. I have an urgent message for Captain Talon. Is she her? She didn’t respond to the communication.” 

“She isn’t answering because she has damned little time away with family,” Jonathan responded.

“Dad,it’s okay,” Rebecca said coming to the door.  “I don’t need a bouncer.”

Jonathan turned to his daughter, nodded, and went inside squeezing her shoulder,  “He’d probably beat the snot out of me in my old age, but if he’s bothering you just say the word and I’ll toss him out on his ear.”

“Dad! Go drink some coffee.  I’m a big girl.  Besides I outrank him.  I can order him to pound sand.”

Jonathan shot Jeter one last dirty look before disappearing. 

“Sorry about that Master Chief.   I had left Starfleet and it was someone very much like you who showed up with orders to the Denver. Ever since he’s been suspicious of uniforms.”

Jericho smiled a knowing smile, he had been sent with orders like that before, though the thought of leaving Starfleet was something he couldn’t wrap his head around. “Ma’am, sorry to bother you when you are on leave but Admiral Dailey called when with news and I thought you would want to know.” He paused for a moment, “The Dominion is in retreat, the second and fifth fleets along with the Klingons have retaken DS9 and stored the Dominion reinforcements. Still waiting on the full details from Captain Sisko but the wormhole aliens appear to have stepped in. He didn’t provide details on losses but I suspect they were heavy.”

Rebecca took the information in, “Come in Rob. We got coffee ready.”

“Appreciate that,” he said and stepped in. “It’s never too late for coffee, the real stuff I trust?” He asked with a smile on his face.

“Of course,” Rebecca said with feigned offense. 

She lead him to the kitchen where her father sat at the table reading the news from a PADD.  Rebecca made the coffee how Jeter liked it and handed it to him before pouring her own without any additives. “Has McKinley Station got us in for repairs yet?

He took a long inhale of the coffee, enjoying the smell before taking a small sip. “Yes, they got us in last night and their repair teams have been swarming over the ship. Most of the crew are either planet side or on the station so the teams have little to get in their way. The last update I had, 3 hours ago, was that they expect to complete the needed repairs and upgrades in the next 72 hours but, and I quote, ‘We could take another week or two just to get her right as rain.’” At that, he made a face showing how little he liked that idea, “Figure I can push them to speed things up so we can be back out there soon if needed.”

Rebecca considered for a moment taking time to savor the coffee, “We have a problem.   I don’t trust the Dominion,  and according to Prol, Gul Gozec has a bee in his bonnet over us.  This is a golden opportunity for them to counter attack us either here on earth of someplace like Vulcan.   We will need to be able to leave at a moment’s notice.”

He took another sip of his coffee and nodded in agreement, “They have been hurt and put on the back foot for sure. An attack like that would make sense. From what I could gather before coming down the Fleet is expecting something like that.” Jeter’s paused for a moment and took a deep breath as he looked around the kitchen and took a longer sip of the coffee. “The initial reports showed them pulling back on all fronts to Cardassian space but I do not believe for a moment they will stay bottled up there.” He mused for a moment before continuing, “We should push them on this now, there is a risk but we have been playing on the defence for too long.”

Rebecca drummed the counter in thought trying considering her options. If what Jeter said was true and Dominion forces had all fallen back to Cardassia there was no threat. If not… “Should we cancel shore leave?”

Robert shrugged slightly, “I think we are ok to keep them on shore leave, and in all honesty they need it. They have held together well but the last few months have really strained the crew. Cracks weren’t showing yet but you could sense where some were starting to form. If the fleet needs us ready they will tell us. Admiral Dailey didn’t give any indication that they expected an immediate attack on Sol or elsewhere where we could make a difference.” Pausing for a moment he took a final sip of his coffee and smiled as he put it down, “Good coffee…I am heading back up shortly and I will run through all the systems with the crew still on board, if shit does it the fans here the Denver will be as ready as they can be. We can get everyone back up pretty quick, well most anyways.”

“Understood.  You would know the crew better than anyone,  I will heed your advice.   With that being said, Doctor Kyo is taking an extended sabbatical.  Starfleet will be assigning us a new Doctor and it would be nice if there was someone on the senior staff present to greet him or her.”

Robert nodded, “Not a problem ma’am. I can go and make sure things are sorted for their arirval now and get the Denver ready for emergency action. Best to be prepared for the worst.”

Robert left the house with a sinking feeling. In his experience when things started to look up in war was the time the universe like to throw a curve ball. He looked back at the Captain’s house thoughtfully before tapping his combadge, “Denver, one to beam up.”

Earth Orbit, ISS Vindicator

Earth was busy location.  Ships of every conceivable configuration darted around.  Some were recognizable to Bellitor but none as sophisticated as her own Odyssey-class warship. 

“There is no indication we have been detected,” Órlaith announced from the operations station. 

Dominus stood from the center seat adorned more like a throne than a command chair. “We will crush them under the heel of my boots.”

“Not right now you won’t,” Bellitor stated. “Angel Ryder carries augment DNA in her veins.  She will be the key to our victory.   You can be enthusiastic of the future but, be mindful of getting the cart before the horse.  Acting too soon will only lead to our defeat… again.”

Dominus looked at his lover and clinched his jaw in frustration.   He hated it when women were right,  and she was very much right.  At least he respected Bellitor unlike the rest of the gender.

Bellitor smiled as if reading his thoughts,  “Take your frustrations out on the slaves. I’ll take care of things here.”

Dominus smirked.  Bellitor was a woman who understood him and respected him for who he was. They truly were partners in every sense of the word and they complimented each other perfectly.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day.  For now we get the Ryder wench and then we establish a new base for which we build our new empire.”

“But not elsewhere?” Dominus asked still unsure about the plan.

“No, we rot the Federation from within,” Bellitor said with a malicious grin.  And when we do you will be primed to take over.”

Dominus was laughing as he was heading for the turbolift.  He knew just the slave he would torture to get his frustrations out on. That smug former first officer of the Sitak.  He would take great pleasure in making him beg for death, but deny it.