“Captain’s log, stardate seven-eight-one-three-zero point five-six. We are en route to the starbase three-seven-five where we will rendezvous with the USS Glasgow for an exchange of crew, namely a new first officer. It is with great reluctance that I lose a fine officer such as Commander Nichols. However, Starfleet has deemed Phil worthy of promotion and reassigned to a command of his own. While his tour of duty has come to an end on Horizon, I will still have the privilege of serving with him aboard the USS Glasgow as part of Horizon Squadron, a new task group under my command.”
Treylana stepped through the ornate simulated wood double doors of The Event Horizon on deck seven, her eyes scanning the room for her First Officer. As she moved through the bustling crowd of diners and party-goers, she spotted Phil Nichols sitting at the bar, staring into his drink with a troubled expression. Hess couldn’t help but roll her eyes at the sight of him, but couldn’t resist the urge to tease him.
“Phil! I thought I’d find you here buried in a drink, only I thought it would be in celebration.” Hess quipped, a small smile playing on her lips.
Nichols looked up from his drink and turned to face his captain. “Captain,” he acknowledged, his voice flat.
Hess frowned slightly at his lack of enthusiasm but pushed the thought aside and took a seat opposite to him and placed a solitary pip atop the glass surface of the table. “Congratulations on your promotion, Captain. I have no doubt that you’ll serve your new ship well.”
Nichols nodded, a hint of a smile playing on his lips. “Thank you, Captain. I’ll do my best.”
Their conversation was interrupted by the arrival of the establishment’s proprietor, Serindra Dott, a Bolian with vibrant blue skin and a prominent ridge running down the centre of her forehead. She approached the captain with a friendly smile and a welcoming gesture. “Captain Hess, it’s a pleasure to see you here at The Event Horizon. What can I get for you?” she asked, her eyes sparkling with warmth and hospitality.
Hess returned the smile, grateful for the distraction. “I’ll have a Romulan ale, please.”
Serindra nodded and turned to prepare the order, leaving Hess and Nichols alone once more. Hess turned back to Nichols, studying him for a moment before speaking again.
“Is everything all right, Phil?” she asked, her tone softer now.
Nichols sighed, taking a sip of his drink before responding. “It’s nothing, Captain. It just seems so sudden to be leaving Horizon. I feel like I’ve barely gotten to know her. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for this opportunity.”
Hess nodded in understanding, knowing that the transition from second to first in command was never an easy one. “If you ever need to talk, you know where to find me. Besides, we’ll still be working closely together.” she offered.
Nichols smiled faintly, his eyes meeting hers. “Thank you, Captain. I appreciate that.”
Their conversation was interrupted once again by the return of Serindra, bearing a tray with the captain’s Romulan ale. Hess took the glass with a nod of thanks, raising it in a silent toast to her first officer.
“To new beginnings,” she said, before taking a long sip of the potent green liquid.
Treylana sat at her spacious wooden desk, the warm glow of her desktop monitor reflecting off her determined expression as she poured over the latest status reports from her crew. She carefully scrutinized the details, noting every achievement and setback alike. Despite being pleased with the overall progress, she was acutely aware that there was still much work to be done before they could depart Starbase 375 and resume their mission. As she continued reading, her heart sank as she read the latest updates on the devastating activities of Task Group 514 and Dominion forces. Her thoughts were abruptly interrupted by the sharp, shrill beep of the comms, shattering the peaceful silence of her ready room.
“Bridge to Captain Hess. I have a Priority One message from Fourth Fleet Command.”
Treylana’s heart sank. Priority One messages were never good news, and with the recent escalation of hostilities along the Dominion border, she had a feeling this one would be particularly troubling.
“Patch it through,” Treylana replied.
After a brief pause, the message appeared on Treylana’s monitor, encrypted and awaiting her voice command authorization to unlock and access its contents.
“Computer open communication. Authorization Hess-five-three-lambda-epsilon.”
As she looked at her monitor, the screen flickered and the decrypted message from Fourth Fleet Command’s Fleet Admiral Teylas Ramar appeared. The message detailed the current situation at the battlefront, with the Dominion and Breen forces making significant gains and pushing back the Federation defenders. The message contained intelligence on the enemy’s latest movements and tactics, painting a dire picture of the situation. Additionally, there was an ominous note from Vice Admiral Beckett, Director of Fourth Fleet’s Intelligence, that read, ‘Trust only the Fourth Fleet.’ The message left no room for doubt: Horizon and her crew would be needed to turn the tide of the conflict and protect Federation space from this threat. An additional packet accompanied the message with specific mission details for Treylana and her crew. Horizon Squardon was to proceed to the Deneb sector, en route rendezvous with the USS Alexandria and strike three key installations; avoid any civilian casualties at all costs.
As Treylana read the urgent message, her heart raced with the weight of the responsibility that came with being a Starfleet captain. She knew that time was of the essence, and there was no room for delay. With a sense of urgency, she pushed herself up from her chair and stood tall, taking a deep breath before striding purposefully out of her ready room to the bridge.
“Attention all crew. We have received new orders from Fourth Fleet Command,” Treylana announced, her voice commanding attention as the ready room doors closed behind her.
“We are to depart for the Deneb sector at warp 8 as soon as the remainder of the crew and supplies are aboard. Please relay departure instructions to Captain Nichols and send a subspace message to the Alexandria that we will rendezvous near the Barzan system along the way.”
As she gave her orders, she could feel the weight of responsibility heavy upon her shoulders, but she knew that her crew was capable, and they would not let her down.