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Part of USS Denver: Mission 5: A Day Late and a Dollar Short

Citation

Awards Ceremony
September 2, 2374
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In his dress uniform, Gus looked over everything in the mirror. There was plenty of fruit salad on the uniform, which was one of the reasons he liked it so much. Seeing the look of awe and wonder of seeing own’s career laid out on one sheet of cloth and metal was satisfying.

The newly grown beard looked the part. It framed his face a bit more. Cia came up behind him. “Looking smart. As usual.” Turning around he held his arms out. The pair clung to each other for several moments. “You know I’m not going with you this cruise.” Cia said.“Yes, ma’am, and for once, I like the decision. I always want you by my side but the universe is a very dangerous place. Let me do the ugly needed things to keep my loved ones and others safe,” Gus offered as much as a meditation as a comment.

“I know.” Cia responded, kissing him on the cheek. “You’ll do better not to have to worry about me back on the ship. Now go get the accolades you deserve.” She smacked him on the butt as he turned.

 

Later..

“Master Chief Petty Officer Strellaass ‘Gus’ Viat. On August April 4, 2049, the USS Berlin was dispatched to help reinforce a mining outpost from pirate attack. Soon it was discovered that the pirates were a company sized element sent to capture the outpost, not simply raid it. Realizing the vulnerability of over 100 fellow soldiers, Master Chief Petty Officer Viat quickly organized a hasty defense consisting of two platoons of soldiers, and three type 8 shuttlecraft. As the fight developed, Viat braved hostile enemy fire to personally engage the enemy with hand grenades, phaser fire, and hand weapons, as well as organized the evacuation of three wounded soldiers from cargo shuttle struck by an emplaced distruptor cannon.

In total disregard for his own life, he maintained his exposed position in order to engage the attacking enemy force. During this action, he was wounded. His courageous actions helped defeat the enemy attack and resulted in as many as 50 enemy soldiers killed. His actions allowed the safe withdrawal of numerous wounded soldiers. Master Chief Petty Officer Viat’s extraordinary heroism and uncommon valor are in keeping with the highest traditions of Federation service and reflect great credit upon himself, the USS Berlin, and Starfleet Command. It is my pleasure to award him the Starfleet Silver Palm with clusters."

April 4, 2349…

Lieutenant Micha Fitzpatrick sat with a phaser in his hand.  He was no soldier, he was an engineer. The Chief Engineer of the Berlin to be exact,  but at this moment there was not  much to fix.  The mining facilities were completely trashed.

Gus quietly cleaned and checked his Type II phaser. He had two cricket phasers attached to his load bearing vest. That done he looked around and noticed Micha looking over things. Tapping his earpiece he said. “Perimeter check. ” One by one the new listening posts were finally silent. The Berlin was back in orbit and things had finally calmed down. “Be glad we're alive to rebuild. Certainly, the odds were not in our favor.” He paused. “Yet I will log this as a good day.”

Micha looked over at Gus, and scowled,  “Speak for yourself. I don’t like crawling around in the dirt, but thanks for pulling me out of that pickle.”

Gus actually chuckled out loud at that. Finding a water source, he drained two canteens before speaking. “Then might I suggest that a sonic shower and replicator be your highest priority. ” There was even the hint of a smile. “There is a bottle of Saurian brandy in my quarters. It's being saved for a special occasion. This isn't it, but I'd drain my share today. What's that old cliche we came up with? You build, I break? Sorry old friend."

Micha let out a gutteral grumble, “Doesn't mean I have the like it.”

The pulse of a disruptor pinged off a nearby concrete wall, shattering the material. Both men ducked instinctively. “Cover me and try and draw them out.” Gus offered, tossing him one of his cricket phasers. 

“Draw them out?  How do you want me to do that?” Micah demanded already pointing in the direction of the disruptor bolts.

“Ideally? Make yourself a target but don't get shot.” Gus offered dryly. He stifled a snicker. "Sorry old friend. Just shoot at them but try and move around so they don't drop anything on you. I want you to a nuisance not a high priority target."  Gus disappeared quickly into the fog of war and towards the harassing's enemy.

"Shoot at me? Why was I afraid you were going to say that?“

"I heard that and what the hell do you think I'm doing. Wanna trade?” Gus spoke around the corner before disappearing for good. 

Glancing around the engineer noted an over turned anti-grav skiff. “Don't freaking miss,” Micha snarled at Gus as he leaped over the stone wall he was using as cover and sprinted for the skiff firing at random towards the enemy. 

He moved quickly as Micha's covering fire reached his ears. As the cover fire slacked off Gus stopped. Readying a grenade in his left hand, he keyed the command into his wristpadd, warming a warm orange pulse ring lit up once. It was armed. Throwing the grenade in the direction he suspected the enemy was, he crouched behind a rock wall, tensing up steeling himself for the concussion.

A cry along with the explosion rattled the forest floor. He'd gotten special permission to replicate and modify some handgrenades. It resembled what the Humans would call a baseball. He'd added golfball style dimples to improve tactile feel along with improved areodynamics. They weren't as powerful as standard issue grenades but were far more accurate.

“I thought you were going to shoot them, not blow me and them to kingdom come with a damned grenade!” Micha shouted from the shelter of the skiff.  

Gus remained quiet while moving towards the explosion crater. As he reached the edge of the bushes, he paused and listened while scanning for movement with his eyes. Gus wasn't quick to move farther having been ambushed twice before. He used his forearm keypad to send a message to Micha to send a few more bolts. Just aim high. 

Sighing Micha peered carefully around the skiff, took aim at the general direction of the enemy making sure to shoot high as instructed and fired off a dozen shots in rapid succession.

This time the forest was quiet. Gus cautiously approached the emplaced disruptor. He ignored the obviously dead. In the distance was a groan. Rifle pointing in that direction, he made it to one of the enemy. It reached for a weapon. Gus stunned him.  Not taking his eyes off the task of scanning for threats he keyed in the sequence on his forearm control pad to scan for nearby targets. “Clear!. We also have a prisoner.”

Micha sat back with a heavy sigh with his back resting against the skiff.  Shouting over his shoulder, “You're going to kill me Gus! If not by a disruptor, but by a heart attack."

Gus was spent. He'd been running around for several hours now. He sat down in the nearby rubble, and tore into an energy bar wrapper, careful to peel its so it didn't touch his hands. The familiar transporter whine sprung both back into action. Rifle ready, he flipped the safety off and set it to burst mode without a thought. He relaxed when a security detail arrived from the Berlin, back in orbit apparently.

“Woah there, Top, swing that somewhere else.” Silas, the Berlin's new XO tactical team leader teased Gus. Flipping the safety back on, Gus got up. “Prisoner over there, wounded and stunned. The rest will need graves registration.” Gus offered plainly.  

 

Present day…

Rebecca was in her ready room, her ever present coffee in her hand sipping it while staring out the window as stars streaked by. On her open terminal was one of the newer members of the crew. And Ensign Viat.  A chime at the door broke Rebecca's concentration, “Come in.”

Ensign Viat came in, impeccable uniform, PADD in hand. Standing the requisite space away from the desk was automatic after 20 years of service. “You asked to see me Captain?” Gus asked.

“Of course Ensign," Rebecca said with a polite smile.  “Have a seat.  Can I get you anything?”

Nothing for me. Thank you Captain. "Gus said politely and took a seat in front of the Captain

Rebecca sat down at her desk, “Well welcome to the Denver.” She reached into one of the desk drawers and pulled out a framed photograph.  “I had planned on returning this to the previous owner's family.  It came with the office after the previous captain lost his life saving this ship.  Since you are in this photo I figure it would mean more to you than it would to his family.” She slid it over and in the photo then and much younger Lieutenant Micha Fitzpatrick stood need to a Chief Petty Officer following an awards ceremony.

He got up and took the picture, flipping it out, though he didn't need it to remember the photo. “It was good to see Micha. A rare breed.” Gus offered. “The medals really belong to the people that didn't make it out,” Gus offered.  

Gus got the 1000 yard stare, it took a few moments for him to realize he was reliving the events in his mind.

“Captain Fitzpatrick was a good man.  I was his XO for only a year, but I came to respect the man. I read what he wrote in your citation.   It would appear he felt the same about you.”

Gus wiped a tear away. "We didn't graduate together but we were at the Academy at the same time. We had some shared classes. He was the one that came up with Gus since he never had a prayer of pronouncing my name."  

Rebecca chuckled,  “Sounds like the Captain. He called me Red. I told him only my mom got to do that, of course she used Rua, Gaelic for red, still.” She smirked,  “You know what that cantankerous old son of a bitch did?  He covered up his rank insignia and said, ‘Let’s play rank poker’.”

Gus chuckled this time. “He tried that once. I borrowed Master Chief Petty Officer of Starfleet insignia. Four bars and three chevrons finally beat his four pips. Thank you for this Captain. I will treasure it.”

Rebecca nodded, “I think the Captain would be happy you had it. Someone who could actually appreciate it.”

“Yes Captain. I agree," Gus replied, then added “Perhaps once we are both suitably off duty, a proper salute could be arranged. Something worthy of being consumed.” 

Picking up the coffee pot sitting on the end of her desk she refreshed her cup.  Leaning back in her chair she cradled the cup in both hands and took a sip before speaking again. “How are you settling in?”

“Tolerably well Captain. This is as you say, not my first rodeo. Luckily there are only minor differences between the three Excelsior class starships I have served on. In processing is done. My quarters are…satisfactory for the moment. I have yet to set up my garden. My wife decided that her role is better served at home. I cannot disagree. The children are grown and off to their prospective opportunities. I understand you have quite the family yourself?” Gus asked with genuine interest. 

Rebecca smiled despite herself,  “I do.  Twin six-year-old girls, and a 13-year-old step-som.  They are on Starbase 75 and I am looking forward to seeing them tomorrow.”

"If there is anything I can do to smooth that along, let me know Captain. I don't have much business on the Starbase. I would just like to walk through the arboretum in case there are a few things I can collect samples of to grow. Gus offered. 

“I'm fine.  Get with Mr. Collins. You two need to be prepared for action and that means drilling your crew. The Dominion has been too quiet for too long.”

"I thought humans didn't read minds." Gus smiled slightly. “It's the main reason I came back. I had friends on the Odyssey. Even if I didn't, the signs are there to see. Also a point of contention with not only my fellow Vulcans but Starfleet as well. We need more ships and better trained combat personnel.”

“That my friend, is above my pay grade.  What we really need is the Romulans to join the war and that still may not be enough.”

“Or Divine intervention, but you are correct, Captain. He paused. "If there is nothing else, I shall attend to my duties and contact you later for the remembrance salute in the lounge. If there is anyone special to you or that knew him, they can attend as well. Keep the crowd small though. 43 year old Saurian brandy doesn't last.”

She nodded, “Better get to it then.”

Gus tipped his head in acknowledgment. “Aye Sir.” 

<End>