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Part of USS Bellerophon: Volleyed and Thundered and USS Odyssey: Volleyed and Thundered

Volleyed and Thundered – 5

Portas V, Alpha Quadrant
Stardate: 52684.3
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Late-2375

Horatio McCallister was tasked with infiltrating a heavily guarded Breen world to steal classified information about a top-secret shipyard they were building. In his mid-twenties, Horatio spent weeks on the planet, gathering valuable intel and devising a strategic plan to acquire the information he needed. Unfortunately, Horatio McCallister had spent too much time in his stolen Breen adaptation suit. The sleek fawn-coloured design hugged his body, giving him an intimidating and dangerous appearance, almost like every other Breen soldier he had encountered. His face was concealed by the helmet, adding to the air of mystery around him. It was crucial that he looked like a true Breen soldier, as his mission was to infiltrate their ranks undetected. Horatio knew that if he were caught, the consequences would be dire. But he was willing to take the risk to achieve his ultimate goal of uncovering their secrets and stopping their nefarious plans. Every step Horatio took in the suit was calculated, every move deliberate. He had to ensure the Breen would never suspect a thing.

One night, as he stealthily navigated the complex, he was suddenly confronted by a group of vigilant Breen guards. Horatio knew that he had to act quickly if he was going to make it out alive. So, without hesitation, he retrieved the explosives he had stashed away and detonated the station where he had obtained the plans for the shipyard.

The resulting explosion was massive, and the Breen guards were thrown into disarray. Horatio took advantage of the confusion and made a daring escape attempt. Despite being pursued by the Breen guards, he managed to evade their disruptor fire and explosions while sprinting through the winding corridors.

As he reached the docking bay, he spotted an incoming Breen scout ship and knew he could use it to escape. He quickly jumped into the cockpit, started the engines, and prepared to take off. However, the Breen guards had caught up with him and began relentlessly firing at the ship.

Horatio expertly piloted the scout ship, skillfully dodging incoming fire while narrowly evading the explosions that were erupting all around him. He finally managed to break through the Breen’s defences and escape back to Federation space. 


Stardate: 78186.812

USS Bellerophon (NCC-74705), Black Cluster, Alpha Quadrant

Horatio McCallister woke from his nightmare about his time as a Starfleet spy, feeling startled and disoriented. His face was slick with sweat, and his body was drenched with perspiration. He was confused and shaken by the intensity of the dream, struggling to regain his bearings. Despite the lingering fear and unease, he took a few deep breaths and tried to calm himself down. Slowly but surely, his heart rate returned to normal, and his breathing became more steady. He was left with a sense of relief that the nightmare wasn’t real but also a lingering feeling of vulnerability and uncertainty. It took a few moments for him to come to his senses fully, but once he did, he realised that he was safe and sound in his own bed and that the worst was over. He sat up in bed and rubbed his eyes, trying to shake off the feeling of unease that had settled deep in his chest.

Determined to shake off the lingering memories of his dream, Horatio got out of bed and headed to the bathroom. He splashed his face with cold water, hoping the shock would jolt him awake. As he looked at his reflection in the mirror, his eyes trailed down to the scars that marked his bare chest. They were mementoes of his time as a Starfleet spy, souvenirs of the danger he had faced while on his undercover missions. But they also served as a reminder of his strength and resilience. Despite everything he had been through, he had come out the other side with a well-toned and muscular body that spoke to his commitment to fitness.

Exhausted and still shaken from his nightmare, Horatio decided to use the sonic shower to really wake himself up. As the sonic waves pounded against his body, he tried to clear his mind of the memories that had plagued him in his dreams. But they were like tendrils of smoke that refused to be dispelled, creeping back into his consciousness as soon as he let his guard down.

His mind drifted back to his time in Breen space during the end of the Dominion War. The memory of it was still fresh, still raw. It had been a harrowing experience that he was lucky to have survived. Nevertheless, the missions he had been sent on had been dangerous and often brutal, and the memories of what he had seen and done still haunted him.

As he stepped out of the shower, Horatio knew that he couldn’t keep dwelling on the past. He had a new life now, one that he had fought hard to build. He was no longer a spy, no longer a pawn in someone else’s game. Instead, he was free to choose his own path, to make his own way in the galaxy.

With a deep breath, Horatio dried himself off and dressed in his uniform. He was determined to face the day ahead with a clear head and a strong will. He had survived his nightmares, and he knew that he could survive anything else that came his way.

“Computer, what is the time?” Horatio asked as he pulled his right boot on.

“The time is oh-five hundred hours,” answered the computer. 

Realising he was awake too early and his shift wouldn’t start for another three hours, the captain sighed. Annoyed with himself for not checking the time when he woke up, he knew he couldn’t try and go back to sleep. So instead, he decided he would make use of his free time. Changing out of his uniform, he put on more casual clothes and headed to the one area he knew would be empty at such an early time. To forget about his nightmare, he decided to hit the gym. He knew that a good workout would help him vent his frustration and get his mind off of his troubles.

Horatio started his workout by lifting weights. He pushed himself to lift heavier weights than usual, trying to exert himself as much as possible. As he lifted, he focused on his breathing, trying to find a rhythm that would help him relax. With each repetition, he felt a sense of release, as if he was pushing away his negative thoughts.

Next, he moved on to the treadmill. He set the machine to a steep incline and began running. The sweat dripped from his brow as he pounded the machine with his feet. He felt his heart rate increase, and he welcomed the feeling. It was as if he was expelling all of his anxiety through his pores.

After the treadmill, Horatio went to the rowing machine. He sat down and began rowing with all his might. The repetitive motion of the machine soothed him, and he found himself able to think more clearly. He focused on the movement of his arms and legs, feeling the burn in his muscles as he rowed.

Finally, Horatio returned to the weights. He lifted with more intensity than before, feeling his muscles strain with each repetition. He was determined to push himself to his limits and beyond, to rid himself of the negative feelings that had been weighing him down.

As the captain finished his workout, he felt a sense of accomplishment. He had expended his energy in a positive way, and he felt as if he had left his troubles behind him. Of course, he knew that he would be sore later on in the morning, but it was a small price to pay for the sense of mental well-being he had achieved. Horatio walked out of the gym feeling physically and mentally stronger than he had when he walked in. Realising just how hard he had worked, he knew he had to return to his quarters for another shower.

As he emerged from the corridor where the gym was, his hair was damp with sweat, and his sleeveless top was clinging to his skin. The exertion of his intense workout had left his complexion flushed and his body slightly fatigued. He turned down the corridor and encountered his chief helm officer and close friend, Lieutenant Rubon Jarata.

“Whoa there, H! You appear somewhat damp and odorous,” Jarata jestfully commented, playfully nudging McCallister. When in private, the two knew when they could drop their ranks and just be the two of them. 

McCallister chuckled, grateful for the joviality. “Yes, I do feel a bit sticky. Nevertheless, I couldn’t resist an invigorating workout this morning. Additionally, our destination is not exactly a high-end location.”

Jarata raised an eyebrow. “Indeed. However, I’m surprised to see you up and about so early. What’s the reason?”

McCallister sighed, his face suddenly darkening. “This recurring nightmare has been plaguing me since we returned to the Alpha Quadrant.”

“What kind of nightmare?” Jarata inquired, his apprehension palpable.

McCallister shook his head, unwilling to divulge any details. “Just the regular stuff. With the Bellerophon patrolling the Black Cluster in such close proximity to Breen space… it’s enough to make anyone’s skin crawl.”

Jarata nodded understandingly. “I understand, boss. But you know what always lifts my spirits?”

“What’s that?” McCallister asked, his curiosity piqued.

“Food,” Jarata replied with a boyish grin. “Let’s proceed to the crew’s mess hall and have an early breakfast. My treat.”

McCallister’s eyes lit up. “You don’t need to do that, Rubon.”

Jarata waved his hand dismissively. “Nonsense. You’re my friend and my captain. It’s the least I can do.”

McCallister experienced a warm sensation in his chest upon hearing Jarata’s words. Over the last year or so, they had developed a close bond, sharing similar passions and interests. Both were exceptional pilots and deeply respected each other’s abilities.

“Alright, you’ve convinced me,” McCallister stated, grinning. “Lead the way, Lieutenant.”

As they proceeded to the mess hall, McCallister couldn’t help but feel grateful for Jarata’s friendship. It was instances like these when they could set aside the pressures of their jobs and simply enjoy each other’s company, that made all the difference.

McCallister and Jarata entered the spacious mess hall of the Bellerophon; the lack of any activity was a nice change. However, they were surprised to find one individual alone in the corner. Their eyes fell on Ensign Jonarom, who was hunched over a pile of reports, his crystal blue eyes were bloodshot, and a fatigued expression was etched on his face. Wearing his pyjamas still, a simple blue vest and black shorts, the young Ardanan looked like he had burned the midnight oil too much. His hair was utterly dishevelled (more than usual).  

Concerned for their colleague, the two officers approached him, and McCallister spoke up, “Ensign, what are you still doing up? You should be getting some rest.”

Startled by their presence, Jonarom looked up, his eyes registering surprise. “I know, sir,” he replied wearily, “but there’s so much to catch up on. I don’t want to fall behind.”

Jarata interjected, his tone firm yet empathetic, “You must take care of yourself, Jonny. You won’t be able to perform your duties if you’re too exhausted to think clearly.”

Jonarom nodded, acknowledging the validity of their words and appreciating the care that they carried. Ever since their return to the Alpha Quadrant, he had been toiling relentlessly, trying to make up for lost time. However, the nagging feeling that there was always more work to be done as department head had left him feeling drained and overwhelmed.

McCallister and Jarata exchanged concerned looks. As experienced officers, they understood the importance of maintaining a healthy and rested crew, especially after spending an extended period in the Delta Quadrant. They did not want anyone to burn out before they had the opportunity to embark on new explorations and make groundbreaking discoveries. If Starfleet would ever send them on any such things. 

“Ensign,” McCallister suggested, “why don’t you take a break and join us for breakfast? We could all use a momentary respite from work, wouldn’t you agree?”

Jonarom appeared hesitant, but deep down, he knew he couldn’t continue working in such a state indefinitely. “I suppose I could use a break,” he conceded, rising from his seat. “However, I don’t have anything else to wear.”

McCallister shrugged dismissively. “No one will judge you for wearing your sleepwear, Ensign. We’re all comrades here.”

“Yeah, the captain is going for the sweaty, manly look this morning,” Jarata joked.

Jonarom chuckled at their appearance and appreciated the invite they had given him. 

The trio proceeded to the food replicator, and each selected a plate of delectable scrambled eggs, bacon and toast. 

As they settled at a nearby table, Jarata inquired, “So, Ensign, what do you miss most about the Delta Quadrant?”

Jonarom pondered the query for a moment before responding. “I miss studying the different anomalies,” he admitted. “There was such an abundance of enigmatic phenomena out there, so much remains unknown.”

Jarata’s face lit up with nostalgia. “I miss flying through those anomalies. It was an experience unlike any other.”

Looking to his captain as he picked up a fork-load of egg, the young ensign asked his captain the same question he had just been posed with. 

McCallister considered his response while chewing on some bacon. “I miss being out there in deep space, away from all the political red tape and bureaucracy that comes with being in Federation space. It’s a different kind of freedom.”

As they conversed and laughed over their meal, savouring the rare moment of camaraderie and relaxation, Jonarom felt a sense of relief wash over him. For a brief instant, he forgot about the numerous reports awaiting him back in his quarters.

As they concluded their breakfast, McCallister remarked thoughtfully, “You know, Ensign, I have a feeling we’ll be back in the Delta Quadrant sooner than we think. There’s still so much out there to explore.”

A glimmer of hope sparked within Jonarom. He may not have to work himself to the point of exhaustion after all. Perhaps there was more to uncover, more to comprehend.

The ship then rocked hard, and all three men quickly grabbed the side of their chairs or the table they shared. Turning around, they immediately saw that the ship was under attack by a smaller vessel. It darted in front of the Bellerophon before hitting the front part of the shields. 

Instantly McCallister recognised the configuration of the attacker as he stood up. “The Breen,” He grumbled.

“Red alert! All hands to battle stations! Captain McCallister to the bridge.” The intercom went off with the voice of Doctor Corben. She had been taking the night watch and wasn’t meant to be coming off duty until McCallister relieved her. The three men quickly got up, rushed out of the mess hall, and grabbed the nearest turbolift to get to the bridge.

Making his way quickly, Horatio felt a mixed range of emotions. Though he was eager to give the Breen a bloody nose for attacking his vessel, on the other he was hoping this had nothing to do with his past. Could his nightmare become true? Did it mean something? He pushed those questions away from his mind to focus on the task at hand. He realised he would be entering the bridge in his gym attire, still stinking of sweat and not looking his best. Thankfully he had Jonarom with him, not looking that presentable.

Bloody Breen, he thought as he stepped off the turbolift and into action on his bridge. 

Comments

  • A conflict like this is bound to bring back wounds from the past, and I very much enjoyed the way you explored McCallister's struggles. Will be interested to see how those develop, and what challenges they present him, as he reengages with his enemy of old going forward.

    May 8, 2023
  • lol "damp and odorous" is a hell of a good morning to you! In contrast to a couple of the other recent chapters, I'm enjoying the tight focus on Horatio on this one. The way the ghosts of his past cling to him give him a different style and perspective than the other captains in Odyssey Squadron. These specific nightmares, of his Breen mission, are going to hit home awfully hard amid the Lost Fleet, I can imagine. I appreciated the convivial way he collected crew members along his breakfast trail, making sure no one feels left alone. Oh wait, is Horatio my favourite captain in Odyssey Squadron??

    May 18, 2023
  • A flashback to the Dominion War, then reflections on it - Horatio is about to get a trip to Bad Memory Town isn't he? It's a neat way of exploring the past and how it can colour the present that's for sure. I'm keen to see how it plays out actually. Love the senior officers inviting the junior to the breakfast table as well. That's how you build bridges across ranks!

    May 20, 2023
  • Nightmares can be a hard thing especially when it deals with the past such as the time with the Breen undercover during the War. It was nice to see a glimpse of his past and how he dealt with it even though he still gets nightmares about it to this day. I liked how he decided to go work out in hopes of relaxing and taking away the anxiety he felt since he work up to the comradery with some of his crew members before the ship was attacked and it was a Breen ship no less. It is interesting that the Squadron has yet to get knowledge of the Lost Fleet and the Breen who are helping them yet, I can't wait to see what is in store next and how things will play out for the Odyssey Squadron.

    May 20, 2023
  • Sarella Corben

    Chief Medical Officer

  • Jonarom

    Chief Science Officer

  • Horatio McCallister

    USS Constitution
    Commanding Officer
    Former Commanding Officer

  • Rubon Jarata

    USS Constitution
    Chief Flight Control Officer
    Former Third Officer & Chief Flight Control Officer