Part of USS Hathaway: Episode 15: Dark Voids of Ichor (The Lost Fleet) and Bravo Fleet: The Lost Fleet

Part III

Various
Stardate 24013.9, 1710 Hours
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Captain’s log, supplemental.

 

Hathaway remains at maximum warp, hurtling towards a rendezvous with the evacuation fleet from Sevury, on its way to Farpoint Station. Survivors of one of the most brutal enemy offensives of the campaign so far, but it’s clear the Dominion do not plan to stop there. Even though the choices have pained me and put me at odds with many on this crew, I have been forced to ignore three distress calls from starships in the region, all under attack by superior enemy forces. Thankfully, sensors show they have either retreated, or been backed up by local defence forces, but even so, our orders are creating great conflict within the hallowed halls of this great vessel.

 

I am assured that our mission is of higher importance; that it could severely limit the effectiveness of Breen operations, perhaps even derail them entirely for a time, such is the spectre of this Thot Rodyn. But that doesn’t mean I have to believe it, right? And if I don’t believe it, how am I supposed to make this crew, a crew I have no right to call my own, believe it?

Sat at the heart of Hathaway’s bridge for the first time, Nazir was awed by its simplicity and its technological advancements. Nogura’s bridge hadn’t been upgraded for a while and had been nowhere near as spacious as that which she now occupied. She did miss the carpet, though. And the brighter lights. Oh, and the chatter. Were the crew here under standing orders not to talk when on the bridge unless they had something meaningful to contribute? Or was it just her presence? Had her arrival stunned them into silence? Even those few she had worked with (albeit briefly) aboard Prometheus were quiet; she had known Commander Noli to never be afraid to offer her views on matters, but even the ‘blonde bombshell’ was quiet.

Leaning to her left, where the Betazoid counsellor had silently sequestered herself, the Captain tried her best to give the woman a reassuring smile. “I’m sensing things are a little… tense up here,” she said, but her tone indicated that it was more of a question.

“You don’t need to be a Betazoid to sense that,” Vittoria smirked, turning to regard the Captain closely. The Betazoid wanted to be as open with Nazir as she could be, without derailing any plans for the mission by adding emotions to the mix. “Historically, this crew does not deal well with change, ma’am. I think it helps that some of know you and respect you. You come with quite the reputation. It’s just going to take a little time,” she assured the Trill with a genuine smile.

“Everyone will come round when they see for themselves just why Starfleet put you here,” Giarvar interrupted from the Captain’s right, an apologetic look for eavesdropping on their conversation.

“I get that,” Keziah nodded slowly, turning back to the view of streaking stars ahead of them. “Any thoughts on the mission Counsellor?” she queried, changing the topic back to the matter at hand.

“Having read what intelligence we have been provided, I can tell you very little,” the Betazoid reflected, raising her hand to her chin. “What I can tell you is that this is a man who is calculated, strategic. His strikes are designed to cause the most damage possible in the quickest time. Anything in-between is just collateral damage, a means to an end. He seems to appear only when he sees the benefit to himself, and his mission,” she told, having used her psychological expertise to determine as much as she could, with what little data she had at her disposal.

Her words had caught the attention of both of the command staff. “And what exactly is that mission?” Nazir asked with raised brows.

“To destroy Starfleet’s ability to maintain control of the Deneb sector,” another voice called out. Lieutenant Tuca emerged from the port side turbolift and leant on the rail at the top of the stairs between the command pit and the tactical wall. “Every major target that we can link Thot Rodyn to served a purpose in this sector; maintain Starfleet’s ability to control the region. Without the colonies on worlds like Izar, Nasera and Sevury, Starfleet struggles to maintain its grip out here. The more worlds fall, the more likely it is that Starfleet will have to withdraw entirely,” the strategic operations officer revealed, a look of worry on his wrinkled, grey face.

“All the more reason to find him and end this,” Nazir nodded, turning back to the viewscreen. The sense of doubt from early evaporated a little more every time Tuca spoke, with the Alzek reminding her exactly what their mission meant for the Federation, and the greater good of the Deneb sector.

“Helm,” she called out, “eta to the rendezvous?”

Tapping at the controls before her, Ensign Teanne Udraa located the ETA and recited it back to the captain. “Approximately seventy-five minutes,” the Alpha Centurion told.

Looking across at the tactical wall, Nazir cocked her head. “Where’s Noli?”

“She and Henry went to take a break, and then he was going to help her analyse the specifications of Rodyn’s warship. She said something didn’t quite add up,” Kauhn revealed, with a playful smile, “and it keeps Henry out of trouble.”

Nodding slowly, the Captain sat back in her chair and got comfortable for the remainder of the journey to their destination.


Slammed far more violently than he would have liked against the bulkhead in his quarters, the back of Henry’s head bouncing off the metallic wall and causing him to wince under the grasp of the ship’s tactical officer. Noli, however, failed to even register a hint of interest, fully absorbed in her mission to, apparently, cause him to get chapped lips from all the kissing she was insisting on. Pulling his hands up to her shoulders, Henry did his best to give himself a bit of breathing space, causing the Bajoran to look at him somewhat confused.

“What’s wrong?” She asked, narrowing her eyes.

“Nothing!” Henry shook his head swiftly, nervously. “Don’t get me wrong, this is… amazing,” he continued, only to be interrupted by the blonde.

“You could try telling your face that,” Noli scoffed, letting the Flyboy escape her grasp, and took a few steps away. Left hand on her hip, right hand on her forehead as if she was taking her temperature, she shook her head. “I knew this would be a mistake.”

Stepping forward, Henry held his hands out, shaking them in her direction. “No, no! It’s not. It’s just a bit… sudden, you know? Last time I tried to come on to you, you… y’know?” He bobbed his head slightly with raised eyebrows.

Smirking, the wrinkle-nosed beauty couldn’t help but laugh. “You deserved a kick!” She reminded him. “Never, ever try to kiss a woman until she is ready,” her right hand dropping to her waist as she spoke.

“Honestly? I’d given up trying to seduce you weeks ago,” Flyboy smiled, moving a bit closer to her, “I thought you would never be interested. What changed?”

“You really don’t want to know the answer to that question…”

Stepping onto the bridge a short while later, Commander Noli approached the command chairs with a data PADD in her hand and an expression of grave concern. “I’ve completed my analysis of Rodyn’s warship,” she slumped against the rail, “one-on-one, we’ll probably stand a chance, but if it has escorts like we are led to believe, we’re going to find any engagement difficult.”

“Well isn’t that just great news,” Kauhn smirked, shaking his head, “and where’s Henry?”

Noli shrugged, folding her arms across her chest. “I have no idea. We were going for a bit to eat, but he said he needed to stop off at his quarters and he’d meet me there. He never showed,” the Bajoran pursed her lips, then clocked the expression on the XO’s face. Tapping her commbadge, she opened a comm channel. “Noli to Lieutenant Mitchell,” she called out. Nothing was returned their way.

“Computer,” Giarvar called out to the ether, “locate Lieutenant Henry Mitchell.”

Lieutenant Henry Mitchell is in his quarters,” came the cold reply, and one that piqued the concern of those in the immediate vicinity of the command platform. A look from the Captain to her new first officer told him everything he needed to know. Pointing at the turbo lift behind the Bajoran, the XO gestured for her to follow him.

When they emerged a few decks down, the two officers made the swift journey to the private quarters of their flight operations colleague, only to find the room sealed. Running a hand through her blonde locks, the Bajoran tried the door panel, inputting her security code and overriding the lockout. Once the doors slid open, it became abundantly clear why the youngest member of the senior staff hadn’t answered their call. Rushing over to the prone officer, they knelt beside him and began checking for life signs. A few shouts later, and even a gentle, yet forceful slap on the cheek from the XO, Henry was still unconscious.

“Kauhn to Sickbay. Medical emergency, deck three, section twenty-one alpha. Lieutenant Mitchell’s quarters,” the XO declared, sharing a concerned look with his colleague from tactical.

“Medical teams en-route,” the familiar voice of the medical chief retorted before the line went dead.


Standing around the table in the observation lounge, four stern faces looked back at each other.

“He’s stable but unconscious,” Doctor Torres revealed to the command team. “What concerns me is that we are unable to wake him. Our scans have determined no underlying medical conditions and there are no obvious signs of trauma. He should be awake, but he just isn’t,” the physician revealed.

“There are no signs of any disturbance in his quarters,” Noli continued her report from a security perspective, “no sign of whatever he was up to in there, and no sign of anyone else being in his quarters.”

Doctor Torres bristled slightly at the report from the security chief, catching the attention of the officers around the table. “Doctor?” Nazir questioned, looking to the physician for answers.

Somewhat reluctantly, the Doctor unfurled his arms from across his chest. “One thing I did find during our scans was a second set of DNA,” he turned his attention to the tactical officer, “it was yours Commander. You were there, in the room.”

“Of course I was,” Noli scoffed, looking sheepish, “so was Commander Kauhn! Didn’t you find his DNA?”

“No,” the physician shook his head, “but we did yours, on the Lieutenant’s lips, no less.”

Noli looked incredulous, angry at the mere suggestion of impropriety on her behalf. “I don’t like what you are insinuating here, Doctor. I’ve never kissed Henry in any way, at any time. I was not in his quarters before arriving there with the XO.” She turned to look at the XO, and the Captain. “Please,” she pleaded, “look at the internal sensors. They’ll verify that I was in the officer’s mess until I left to come back to the bridge. I didn’t take any pitstops, I didn’t take any detours. I left the lounge and came straight up here.”

“Number One,” the Captain’s gaze remained laser-focused on the tactical chief, “grab Or’uil and check the sensor logs. And send in Lieutenant Bellurr.”

Giarvar was about to protest, but the scowl from the commanding officer warned him not to disrespect her authority in such a manner, instead leaving the observation lounge for the bridge. Several seconds later, the Klingon-Terran hybrid from Noli’s department appeared through the door. “You wanted to see me, Captain?”

“Yes Lieutenant,” Keziah let out a sigh and dropped her arms to her side. “A situation has arisen which requires Lieutenant Commander Noli to be confined to quarters, and I’d also like a security detail outside of sickbay. You are now acting chief of the department until further notice,” the Trill instructed, ignoring the glare from the Bajoran at the opposite end of the table.

“I, uh…” Mayr looked between her friend and colleague, and the Captain. It was an impossible position to be put in, but she had no choice but to follow orders. “Understood Captain.”

“You’re making a mistake…” Noli shook her head angrily, shrugging off the touch of her former subordinate, before turning and leaving the observation lounge by the port side door.

Silence engulfed the room for what felt like an age, until the reappearance of the XO threw a proverbial spanner in the works. He looked more confused than anything. “Internal sensors on that deck confirm that Noli was in the officer’s mess,” he revealed, but there was more, however. “They also confirm that Noli was in Henry’s quarters at exactly the same time,” his brows furrowed.

“Sensor logs can be falsified but my DNA scans are conclusive,” Torres sparked up, “the evidence suggests she was definitely in those quarters.”

Letting out an almighty sigh, the Captain collapsed into the chair at the head of the table. Just an hour before their arrival at the rendezvous and the start of their mission, she had been deprived of two of her senior staff. The facts were glaring her in the face, but something didn’t sit right with her. Something, her five lifetimes of experience told her, was not right here.

“None of this makes sense. I know that Henry is friends with Noli, so why would she attack him? Yet the evidence suggests the sensors have been falsified and Noli is lying,” she looked across at her colleagues, “but my gut tells me there is something else going on here…”

“…and my gut rarely lets me down.”

Comments

  • Oh the plot is thickening, distrust among the crew towards the crew and bang now also among the crew? This doesn't look well for their hunt to continue if the crew can't trust each other. I enjoyed reading these stories you posted so far, keep it up!

    May 7, 2023
  • So far so good with the tension rising on the Hathaway! I’m almost getting ‘Chain of Command’ vibes where Nazir is like Jellico, not having time to settle down with the crew - the mission is key and needs to be dealt with! Also, am I sensing (spoiler alert) our first changeling infiltrator here? Poor Henry, let’s hope he wakes up in time to share what happened!

    May 8, 2023
  • The tension is rising! I was so scared for a minute that we lost Henry, but thank goodness he is stable! Really liked the way that the mystery is building with Noli, excited to see how it plays out! I also liked how Giarvar immediately wanted to come to the defense of his officer, but the stern look from the captain shot him down. Great stuff, can't wait for Part IV!

    May 8, 2023
  • I certainly have sympathy for Nazir. Not only is she practically intruding on this crew who have ostensibly lost two captains, she's been ordered to make impossible choices like ignoring distress calls. It's all the more tragic if she doesn't even really believe in the mission. And THEN it turns out she's walked in on this whole OTHER mess they hadn't bargained for. lol “You really don’t want to know the answer to that question…” is James Bond-level moustache twirling arch. Some one has a sense of humour!

    May 17, 2023
  • You're piling on the awkward in an excellent way here with Nazir being compelled to bypass ships in distress and the potential for that increasing the friction between her and her new crew. And oh, poor Henry. He's so hapless in this situation that I just want to laugh, and I WOULD if he weren't out of commission in sickbay.

    May 30, 2023