Part of USS Odyssey: Into The Jaws of Death, Into The Mouth of Hell and Bravo Fleet: Blood Dilithium

Over Coffee, Over Time

Starfleet Academy, Earth, Sol System
Stardate: 45943.5 (December 2368)
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“Cadet McCallister, meet Cadet Vialen,” spoke Lieutenant Commander Sitark, “your new mentor for the upcoming semester.” 

McCallister looked from his Vulcan instructor to his new mentor as they met outside one of the lecture halls. “A pleasure to meet you,” He said with his boyish smile at the young Trill woman and extended his hand to shake hers. 

Smiling, she shook his hand, “Nice to meet you as well.” Azras replied as she looked at the younger cadet.

Sitark looked between them both, “I can remind you both, you are only informally assigned to each other. Cadet McCallister, Cadet Vialen is not here to do your work and vice-versa. Is that clear?”

“Yes, sir,” McCallister replied formally.

“Understood, sir,” came Azras reply.

“Excellent; I will leave you both to get to know one another,” Sitark stated before placing his hands behind his back and walking away from them. 

McCallister watched as the Vulcan teacher walked away from them before turning back to Vialen. “So, is this the part where you beat me up and make me do your homework?”

Raising an eyebrow, “why would I do that?” She asked, looking at him for a moment as she tilted her head to the side, “I am not that type of person to do that.” Azras replied though she had heard of it happening before. “Encouragement goes a longer way than making your life miserable,” she added.

“I’ll remember to be just as nice when I get my first mentee in my fourth year,” McCallister replied with his boyish grin still apparent. “Can I at least get you a coffee? I mean, aren’t I suppose to suck up first to fourth-year cadets so you’ll be nice when I’m stressing over my exams?”

“I won’t turn down a cup of coffee, but you don’t have to suck up to me. I’ll be here to help you through everything.” Azras added with a soft smile.

“I think the Quantum Café is open if you fancy it?” McCallister suggested. “They’re normally open this early in the morning.”

“Sounds good to me,” Azras replied.

As they started to wander from the lecture hall, McCallister piped up. “Oh, and call me James or JP; my friends do.”  

“You can call me Azras,” Azras replied. “What does JP stand for?” She asked, unsure of what the initials stood for.

“JP is short for James Preston; I’m hoping it will stick by the time I make captain, almost like James T. Kirk,” McCallister answered.

She chuckled with a smile, “I am hoping to get approved to be joined after graduating before going to my first posting. Though I do hope to become a starship captain someday,” she said with a smile.

“You’ll probably make admiral before me,” McCallister uttered as they reached the door, and it opened for them to leave the warm corridor and enter the freezing cold campus in San Francisco.


USS Odyssey NCC-80000, Gahery Sanctum, Gradin Belt, Delta Quadrant

Stardate: 77878 (November 2400)

“Captain’s log, stardate seven-seven-eight-seven-eight. The final amount of blood dilithium crystal has finally left our region, and long-range scans detect no further Devore presence. This has allowed us to focus solely on depositing our passengers in the Brenari colony; however, with over forty-seven thousand souls to move, it has caused a lot of hassle for the Odyssey. Our power supplies are at an all-time low. I am fortunate enough to be able to call on a former Academy friend of mine to help us out.”

Standing beside one another, like a pair of bodyguards in formation, the USS Odyssey was orbiting the Brenari colony alongside one of its sister ships, the USS Saratoga. Both Odyssey-class vessels looked the same, while the trained eye could also see the slight subtle difference. 

Walking into transporter room three, Captain McCallister smiled at the Bolian transporter chief and ordered her to beam over their guest straight away. The typical buzzing sound from the transporter being activated was heard, and the pure white and blue sparkling effect appeared before the Odyssey’s captain. A few seconds later, the form of a Starfleet officer in command red, wearing four pips and a gold line underneath them, emerged on the transporter platform. 

Azras appeared upon the transporter room pad of the USS Odyssey; seeing her old friend, she smiled. “Permission to come on board, Captain?” Azras asked, looking at him.

“Permission granted.” McCallister said warmly, “Fleet Captain Azras Dex, welcome aboard the Odyssey.”

“Thank you, JP,” She said with a wink and a smile, remembering when they first met. “It’s great to see you’re doing so well,” Azras added.

“I certainly appreciate you turning up when you did,” McCallister remarked as they shook hands before giving one another a brief hug. 

“I am glad I was able to help,” Azras replied as she returned the brief hug.

“Your jump-start of deuterium will help us keep going long enough to complete our mission and find a new source of deuterium,” McCallister stated with an appreciative smile. 

Azras nodded, “hopefully, it won’t be too hard to find deuterium in the Delta Quadrant.” Azras commented as she stood there for a moment.

“If you don’t mind us skipping the tour, I’ve got a pot of coffee in my ready room with your name on it if you fancy a quick catch-up?” McCallister offered his guest.

“Sounds good to me,” Azras replied with a grin at the sound of coffee.

“I would say follow me, but I’m certain you know your way around an Odyssey-class,” McCallister joked as they made their way out of the transporter room. 

Azras chuckled a bit, “when you been on one, you have seen them all.” Azras replied as they began walking.

The moment they entered the corridor, they were confronted by how busy it was on the Odyssey. “Our efforts with the Brenari refugees we saved from the Devore have meant that almost every part of the ship is hosting one of our passengers,” McCallister explained. 

Azras knew a thing or two about hosting many passengers; she had to do the same during the Century Storm within the Paulson Nebula. “I know how that goes,” Azras replied, looking at him. “Though at least they are safe out of the Devore’s hands,” Azras added.

They got to the end of the corridor, entered the turbolift, and headed straight to deck one. After a brief ride, they walked out of the lift and into the ready room. There sat a pot of coffee next to a pot of tea on the small circular-shaped glass table: both warm, both with mugs on either side. McCallister offered for Dex to sit on the long sofa under the diagonally shaped window. “Milk or sugar?” He offered as he poured her coffee into her mug.

Taking the offered seat, “I’ll take both,” Azras replied with a smile.

He passed her the drink before making his mug of tea. “I was surprised to see the Saratoga out here in the Delta Quadrant,” McCallister stated as he finished making his beverage. “Last time I looked you up, you were still assisting the Romulans out.”

“So was I,” Azras said with a soft chuckle. “Apparently, the Fourth Fleet needed everyone’s help with the mess here,” Azras added as she took a sip of her coffee.

“This whole situation with the Devore has been messy,” McCallister commented. “What was the Saratoga dragged into doing while out in this neck of the woods?”

“We received a distress call from a distant Monean colony,” Azras began with a sigh holding her cup of coffee in front of her face for a moment. “The Devore were driving them out of their home; they requested assistance to return to their homeworld.” Azras finished with the shortened version of their mission.

“How did it go?” McCallister asked, sitting down and taking a sip from his drink. 

Azras took another drink of her coffee, “well when we arrived, a Devore squadron opened fire, though we were able to repel them away. While evacuating the colony, we did find blood dilithium on the planet and decided to beam them onboard so the Devore couldn’t get it.” Azras began to explain, “I sent the Oneida to escort the colony ships back to their homeworld while the Saratoga went in the opposite direction.” Azras continued before taking another drink, “another Devore warship began chasing us.” She added before pausing for a brief moment and taking a deep breath. “We fell upon the Hirogen near the Void space and landed in another fight though the Devore ship backed off.” Azras finished looking at him.

“Hirogen?” McCallister repeated, “We’ve not seen a single hunting party since we arrived in the Delta Quadrant last year. Any serious damage or losses?”

Looking down as she tried to keep her composure, “my youngest son was killed in a hull breach that we sustained; he was in one of the classrooms.” She replied as a single tear began to run down her face.

Hearing that news, McCallister sighed and placed his mug down. “Oh, Azras, I’m sorry to hear that.” He pulled out a tissue box and handed one to her. 

“Thanks, James,” she replied as she looked up at him for a moment. “It has been a hard and tough few days, though I don’t suspect things will get easier as time goes on.” She added as she sat there looking at the cup that was in her hands.

He shook his head, “It’s never easy losing a loved one,” He shared. “My wife was lost during the Paulson Nebula storm earlier this year due to a temporal anomaly.” 

Azras looked up again, “I am so sorry to hear that, James.” Azras replied, placing a hand on his with a soft smile. “I never thought that something like this would happen when I decided to keep my family together, even though I knew the risks,” Azras added, thinking of her oldest daughter and husband, that was still here with her.

“Having our families with us is what makes us stronger, but it can cause heartache when things go wrong,” McCallister said, offering empathy for her. “My sons are still on the Odyssey; one is now a cadet. I’m not sure how I feel about that yet.”

“I know that feeling; my eldest daughter is a second-year medical student on the Saratoga,” Azras replied with a chuckle.

Picking up his drink, he resumed taking a sip from it. “What will you do now?”

“Well, nothing at the moment, as there are still a few days before the wormhole is scheduled to open,” Azras began looking at him. “What happened with the Odyssey?” Azras asked.

“Us? We encountered a squadron of Devore warships, but before that, we found this hidden colony of Brenari refugees. When we went to save one of their ships, we soon found ourselves affected by the blood dilithium, which had infected a telepathic bioplasmic organism. It was able to communicate and take control of our telepathic crew.” McCallister continued to recount what happened to the Odyssey. “The creature was hoping to eat us and the Devore squadron to fight off the dilithium infection, but we found another way of dealing with it. We saved over forty-seven thousand Brenari from the Devore squadron, released the telepathic pitcher plant from the blood dilithium, and now we’re here helping the Brenari build new homes for themselves.”

“That does sound like the adventure; glad you were able to free the telepathic pitcher plant and save all those Brenari,” Azras said as she always knew that James would make a great Captain and here he was proving her right. “Anything we can do to help?” Azras asked.

“Well, if the Saratoga can remain for a day or two to help us build a few temporary shelters, that would be great.” McCallister requested. 

“You got it,” Azras replied with a smile. “Oh, I do have a request,” Azras said, looking at him.

“Sure, fire away!”

“How about you and your sons come over to the Saratoga for dinner tonight?” Azras asked, looking at him. “I won’t take no for an answer,” Azras winked.

The idea of having a home-cooked meal far from the Odyssey sounded appealing. He nodded, “Sounds like an offer I can’t refuse. Thank you!”

“Great,” Azras replied. “Arzin is a great cook,” Azras added.

“A chance to properly catch up sounds like the perfect distraction,” McCallister added.

“I’ll send some of my officers down to the planet to assist in building those shelters,” she said with a smile.

“That’s great,” He showed another smile of appreciation. “Do you mind if I bring an extra guest with me tonight? I owe Adale, the Brenari leader, dinner and meeting a fellow Starfleet captain she can trust would go far.”

Azras smiled as she saw that spark in his eyes that she had felt so many years ago, “That would be great,” Azras said with a wink. “I will have Arzin set things up in our diplomatic suite, as it is a larger area,” Azras said.

“Perfect, thank you, captain!” McCallister said before sipping on his drink one more time.

Comments

  • I liked this chapter. The transition from the initial meeting at the Academy before fast-forwarding to current time was done very well. It's refreshing to see two friends catch up with eachother during some downtime and sharing news and outcomes. Definitely offers further insights into the characters and what makes them tick. I still feel for Azras losing her son in that firefight. The stories may be fictional but the emotions surely aren't. Well done :)

    December 11, 2022
  • I love the history part of them knowing each other from the academy and calling them by nicknames. The phasing back to the present to reflect on what has happened and the emotional baggage that hangs on it. Well done both of you I really enjoyed it!

    December 13, 2022