Lieutenant Commander Rosle walked through the shuttle bay deck after getting out of her starfighter, her striking features catching the attention of several technicians hovering around her fighter. “Is everything alright with my ship?” she asked, her voice laced with concern.
“Yes, Lieutenant Commander,” one of the technicians responded. “Your fighter was okay while in flight, but we noticed a slightly sluggish response in the port thrusters.”
Rosle nodded, grateful for the technicians’ quick thinking. She knew how important it was to keep her fighter in top shape, especially when patrolling such a possibly volatile border. As she left the shuttle bay, she couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride as she thought about her new posting on the USS Odyssey. She was excited to serve on such a prestigious vessel, but she was slightly concerned at the lack of warmth from her colleagues about her and her starfighter wing being assigned to the Odyssey. Nevertheless, she appreciated that many things had changed on the Odyssey and its squadron since their sudden return to the Alpha Quadrant. So when she received the offer of a promotion and a new assignment with her own group to command, she jumped at the chance. Her former superior on Starbase 38 had shared that Starfleet wanted a group of fighters assigned to the Odyssey ahead of it being involved in the celebrations of Frontier Day.
Returning to her quarters, Rosle removed her flight suit and replaced it with her regular standard command red uniform. Checking her reflection in the holographic mirror, she was happy that she looked presentable for her next engagement. The Tandaran pilot took in a deep breath and one more look. Tying up her long and lustrous hair into its standard sleek updo style, she wanted to make a good impression at her first attendance at a senior staff meeting.
Rosle was somewhat nervous about her first meeting with the rest of the Odyssey’s senior staff. She couldn’t help but feel a bit anxious about it all. As she walked towards the meeting room, her mind was racing with all sorts of thoughts. She was worried that she wouldn’t fit in with the other officers, that she wouldn’t be able to contribute to the discussions, and that she would make a fool of herself in front of everyone.
Rosle was also aware that this meeting would set the tone for the rest of her time on the Odyssey. If she didn’t make a good impression, she feared that she would be ostracised or overlooked by her colleagues. She wanted to make a positive impact and prove herself as a valuable member of the team, but her nerves were getting the best of her.
Despite her anxiety, Rosle took a deep breath and reminded herself that she had been chosen for this position for a reason. She was qualified, capable, and had a lot to offer. With this in mind, she stepped into the meeting room and prepared to face her fears head-on.
She had yet to enter the observation lounge, so she was not expecting what she saw. The observation lounge on the USS Odyssey was an expansive and welcoming area that served as the primary conference room for the crew (mainly the senior staff). The moment Rosle stepped into the room, she was greeted by the sight of the vast expanse of space through the large windows that provided a panoramic view of the surrounding stars and planets. The soft, warm lighting created a cosy, inviting atmosphere that immediately put her at ease.
A magnificent, imposing conference table large enough to accommodate the senior staff was in the centre of the room. The table was surrounded by chairs designed to provide maximum comfort, allowing the crew to spend hours discussing important matters without feeling fatigued if required.
Along one wall of the observation lounge, various consoles were used during meetings. In the centre of them all, there was a vast wall monitor that was used for presentations. The monitor could display high-quality images and videos that provided the crew with a clear and detailed view of any information that needed to be shared. Holographic projectors were also used. Rosle was highly impressed at the setup. Though she had experienced such things on Starbase 38, she had expected to experience a similar setting off from a starbase. She had heard that the Odyssey was like a floating starbase and was starting to realise that more and more. The attention to detail and the level of comfort provided by the lounge made it an ideal space for the crew to come together and work towards their common goals.
In glass cabinets on either side of the wall monitors were meticulously crafted golden models of past ships named Odyssey, including the Galaxy-class USS Odyssey and its successor, the Sovereign-class USS Odyssey. These models were a testament to the rich history and legacy of the Odyssey name and served as a source of inspiration for the crew. She had learnt about the ill-fated Galaxy-class ship that had been one of the first casualties of the conflict with the Dominion almost thirty years ago. Her successor was also lost after a dispute with the Breen. Rosle wondered, with the way current affairs were going, would this ship follow in their footsteps or beat the odds? She was hoping for the latter, especially with her starfighters protecting it.
Rosle smiled at the other staff assembled there. She knew that most of them had served together for some time now and were extremely close. Approaching her from the far side was the ship’s counsellor. Counsellor Louwanna Horin was a wonderful person who radiated warmth and kindness. When Rosle boarded the ship, Horin went out of her way to make her feel welcome. She had beautiful black eyes that seemed to sparkle with compassion, and her long straight brown hair was always perfectly styled. She was also pregnant, which only added to her already impressive level of nurturing care. When Rosle spoke with Counsellor Horin, she could tell that she genuinely cared about everyone’s well-being and wanted to help those around her in any way she could. Rosle could see that her calming presence and empathetic nature made her an invaluable crew member.
Counsellor Horin greeted her warmly and informed her that they were waiting for a few more people to arrive, including the captain and first officer. As they waited, Horin asked Rosle how she was settling into life on board. Rosle admitted that it had been an adjustment, but most of the crew had been welcoming, which made the transition easier.
“That’s great to hear,” Horin smiled. “We are a tight-knit group here and always try to ensure new members feel at home.” The counsellor described that the recent change in the orders for the ship (and its squadron) had unnerved most people. The removal of civilians significantly impacted most people as those assigned to the Odyssey had family, including children, with them. Now they had to send them away on orders no one could comprehend. The captain included. What Horin shared made sense to Rosle; she had no family of her own, but she had heard stories of how close the crew were and the sudden change in the crew’s mix would be enough to unsettle most.
Just then, Lieutenant Commander Rueben Gray arrived, and Horin introduced him to Rosle. “Lieutenant Commander Rosle, this is Lieutenant Commander Gray, our new Starfleet Corps of Engineers Unit Leader.”
“Nice to meet you, Commander,” Gray said, extending his hand.
“Likewise, Commander,” Rosle replied, shaking his hand.
Lieutenant Commander Rueben Gray was a handsome individual in his early forties. He stood at an average height and had captivating brown eyes and short dark brown hair. His facial hair consisted of charming stubble around his cheeks and chin. Although he had been a former Borg drone with a Borg implant above his left eye, he appeared quiet and calm. Rosle noticed that the implant further enhanced his striking physical features, which covered his eyebrow.
“So, Rosle, how are you finding life on board?” Gray asked.
“It’s been an adjustment, but everyone has been accommodating,” Rosle said. “I’m grateful for the friendly reception.”
“Well, hopefully, us newbies can stick together,” Gray said with a smile. “I only recently joined the crew. Adjusting to a ship the size of the Odyssey is certainly a challenge, but I’m sure worth it.”
“I hope so,” Rosle replied with a chuckle.
Horin suggested they all meet later for a drink in The Auditorium, the ship’s crew lounge. “It’ll be a great opportunity for you to get to know some more faces,” she said to the both of them.
Rosle happily agreed, grateful for the opportunity to socialise with her new colleagues. She was excited to continue her journey on the Odyssey and to get to know Lieutenant Commander Gray better.
The doors Rosle had used earlier parted, allowing Fleet Captain McCallister to enter the room. By his side was his first officer, Commander Max Duncan. Rosle had briefly met the two of them when she had reported for duty. In her opinion, Fleet Captain James Preston McCallister was undeniably a handsome man with attractive features that she imagined could make anyone’s heart skip a beat. His piercing blue eyes were like magnets that drew people in, and his lean and toned physique was a testament to his commitment to fitness. His strong jawline was sharp and defined, giving him a rugged appearance. But it was his signature smirk that Rosle had noticed a few times that genuinely exuded confidence, making him all the more compelling to watch. He was confident in his choices while all the time remaining calm in most situations. She had also noticed that his hair was always perfectly styled, with a classic yet modern look that complemented his overall charm and charisma. Whether dressed in his uniform or a casual outfit, the captain always looked effortlessly cool, leaving a lasting impression on anyone he encountered. However, behind his eyes, Rosle noticed the impact of the ship’s drastic change in orders on him. It appeared to be a heavyweight that he carried on his shoulders. But, of course, he wasn’t the only one who was like that.
Commander Max Duncan, the first officer, possessed striking good looks, characterised by chiselled features that included a strong jawline and well-defined cheekbones. Like the captain, she noticed his blue eyes added to his already handsome appearance. He kept his hair well-groomed in a short style, enhancing his clean-cut and dapper look. The commander radiated confidence and charm. Rosle had discovered only a few days ago he was married to the ship’s master chief, Tobias Court, and the two had sons as well. Like the captain, their sons had also been sent away from the ship. Fatherhood appeared to be important to both the captain and commander.
Rosle felt sorry for them.
“Good evening, everyone; please take your seats,” McCallister confidently said as he took his chair at the head of the table. “What I am about to share with you all is highly confidential.”
As they all took their seats, Rosle noticed the mood and atmosphere in the room change among the senior staff. Shoulders stiffened, and focus on the captain was now paramount. The tension was palpable. Fleet Captain James McCallister took a deep breath before beginning his briefing. He knew the information he was about to disclose was confidential, and the fate of the Federation was at stake. “The Dominion fleet, thought to have been removed from existence in the Bajoran Wormhole by the Prophets during the Dominion War, has resurfaced and successfully invaded the Deneb Sector.”
A collective gasp filled the room, and Lieutenant Commander Tomaz was the first to speak up, questioning the accuracy of the information. “Captain, are you sure this is not a hoax? How can we be sure that the Dominion fleet is back?”
McCallister looked at him firmly, “Quantum scans have confirmed that the Dominion ships are from the year twenty-three-seventy-four.” He pushed a button out, and the holographic displays of various sensor scans and recordings appeared before everyone, hovering above the long table. “The ship that the Themis engaged the other day was not a relic that the Breen have kept in storage, it was the real thing, and they are not the only ones to confirm this. Other engagements point to the evidence they are the Lost Fleet.”
The news was alarming, and the implications were staggering. The senior staff fell silent, struggling to comprehend the severity of the situation. Rosle shared similar thoughts and feelings. She had never served in the Dominion War; she had only learnt about it from the Academy.
Lieutenant Commander Craigen Flemen questioned the discrepancy in the news reports, “Why hasn’t Command informed the public about this?”
Fleet Captain McCallister explained that Starfleet Command had deemed the information too sensitive to release to the public. So instead, they and the Federation News Service had reported it as a minor border skirmish with the Breen Confederacy to avoid causing widespread panic.
Flemen was taken aback, “But the public has the right to know about this, Captain.”
Doctor Slyvexs was visibly concerned and asked for guidance on how to proceed. “What do we do now, Captain? What are our orders?” Rosle had wondered if she had served during the war, so she knew what the Dominion were capable of first-hand.
Fleet Captain McCallister responded with conviction, “Our orders are clear. We must engage the Dominion fleet and defend Federation space at all costs. Those orders come directly from Fleet Admiral Ramar himself. However, it is crucial that we keep the details of this mission classified. We cannot risk causing widespread fear or panic. We are to proceed to Starbase Five One Four to assist them with their defences. The rest of the squadron will be joining us.”
“Is the admiral preparing a counter-offensive, sir?” Commander Banfield asked.
Rosle had looked at the ship’s second and chief science officers. Commander Corella Banfield was a remarkable and impressive woman. Like the captain, the half-Klingon-half-Human commander was confident in the position she possessed. Yet, she had an air about her that promoted her resilience and devotion to Starfleet.
“I believe so, but for now, we are taking a defensive posture to hold the line while we assess the enemy forces,” McCallister replied.
“How are other governments responding to all of this?” Flemen asked.
Rosle had yet to meet Flemen until today. She knew he was the squadron’s chief diplomatic officer and staff judge advocate officer. Relatively young, like her, from what she had heard, he had a playful and fun-loving nature that made him popular among the crew of the Odyssey. She also knew he was on the fast track to command. From what she saw of him in this meeting, she could tell he took his duties seriously.
Duncan answered the question. “Conversations are being planned to be taken with representatives from the Klingon Empire and the Cardassian Union.” He paused as he looked at McCallister, who just nodded. “We can also confirm that elements of the Breen military are supporting the Lost Fleet as well.”
“Those sons of bitches,” mumbled Lieutenant Commander Tierra.
The outburst from the ship’s chief engineer was surprising for Rosle but not unexpected. Rosle had met with Tierra and started getting to know the Deltan woman. She knew she had served in Starfleet during the Dominion War, so it was no surprise that she felt that way towards the Breen.
“You took the words right out of my mouth, Tierra,” McCallister said as he leaned forward. “We need to ensure this ship and our squadron is ready for anything they throw at us.” He looked at his security and tactical chief. “Keli, I want you to schedule a series of battle drills for each shift while we travel to the starbase.”
Keli nodded at first. “Sir, if we are now on a war footing, then Starfleet protocols expect that all officers are issued with side arms. I recommend we also go to a shipwide level three security alert.”
“Make it happen,” McCallister agreed. He turned to others in the room, having them all prepare the ship and squadron for battle. Finally, the captain looked at Rosle.
“Lieutenant Commander Rosle, I appreciate this is your first briefing with us, but it goes without saying your fighters will now come into play. Make sure they are all ready.”
Rosle nodded. “Of course, captain.”
The senior staff fell silent once again, grappling with the enormity of what they had just been told. The task ahead was daunting, but they were all committed to doing their part in safeguarding the Federation. They knew that the fate of the Federation rested on their shoulders, and they would do everything in their power to ensure its safety.
McCallister stood up. “If and when we engage the Dominion forces, I know each and every one of you will do their best. So let’s make this happen.” He stood up, tugged on his jacket and opened a shipwide intercom. “All hands,” He paused before he spoke the words that would change everything for good, “Battlestations!”
Automatically the red alert klaxon went off, and the crimson flashing lights filled the ship.
The senior staff were dismissed by their commanding officer. Rosle caught Gray’s eye, who gave her a simple expression showing his lack of keenness with the revelations the captain had shared. She copied them. Rosle pushed her chair back, using the table to assist her getting up, and looked directly at the model of the Galaxy-class Odyssey. She closed her eyes for a moment and hoped that they wouldn’t end up being rammed like them by a Jem’Hadar fighter. She would do whatever it took to defend the ship and her new crewmates.
This was it. The Dominion had returned.