Part of USS Odyssey: Volleyed and Thundered and Bravo Fleet: The Lost Fleet

Volleyed and Thundered – 7

Runabout Svartediket
Stardate: 53049.2 (early 2376)
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Lieutenant Corella Banfield and her dear friend Commander Andrahl began their voyage to Starbase 212, hoping to celebrate her father’s retirement from Starfleet. Their journey was meant to be peaceful and enjoyable, especially as it had been over a month since the end of the Dominion War. Both women had known each other for a long time; they had served side-by-side during the horrendous conflict on board the Nebula-class starship, USS Merrimac. Andrahl was the first officer, while Banfield was the chief science officer. This break from everyday duties seemed like a good idea, especially as the Merrimac underwent a massive refit at the Beta Antares Shipyards. Andrahl encouraged Banfield to take it as she had not seen her father throughout the war. 

Sipping on a raktajino, Banfield looked down at the runabout’s flight controls to check the auto-pilot. Everything seemed fine. She turned to Andrahl, who was lying back in her chair, deep into her reading. 

“Whatcha reading?” She asked. 

Holding the PADD up, the Bolian commander, who was not wearing a uniform (just like Banfield), showed her the novel’s front cover she was so engrossed with. “It’s another book in the Vulcan Love Slave series. I’m obsessed.”  

Banfield chuckled at her friend’s choice of reading material. “Give me Klingon opera any day.”

Andrahl giggled. “You would say that, Corella, as you didn’t finish that copy of The Never Ending Sacrifice I gave you a month ago.”

“Urgh, Cardassian literature, no thanks,” Banfield said almost disgustingly.  

“That’s not very Starfleet of you, lieutenant.” Andrahl countered.

“I know they helped in the end, but still, I don’t have to read what my enemies wrote just to understand why they were obsessed with serving their state,” Banfield retorted before the ship shook severely. 

A powerful blast of tachyons hit their runabout, leaving them dazed and confused as they realised they were hurtling towards a temporal anomaly. Andrahl tried to take control of the situation, but it was too late. As soon as they escaped from the anomaly, the two women attempted to determine where and when they were. However, their runabout was severely damaged, forcing them to abandon it. They quickly donned their EVA suits and ordered the computer to transport them as far away from the runabout as possible while simultaneously launching the distress call buoy. Unfortunately, as soon as they materialised, they watched it explode in the distance. Banfield was left feeling devastated and hopeless. Everything she had worked hard for and held dear was lost in a matter of seconds, and now, she was facing an indefinite future.

Andrahl tried comforting her, placing his hand on her shoulder, saying, “We’ll find a way out of this. We’ll make it back home.”

Banfield nodded, but she knew their chances were slim. “How? We don’t even know where we are.”

“We’ll figure it out,” Andrahl replied, trying to sound optimistic.

Finally, after what felt like an eternity, the crew of the Excelsior-class USS Berlin found them. The crew was kind and accommodating, but Banfield couldn’t shake off the feeling of displacement. To her amazement, she discovered they had somehow time-travelled ten years into the past. The realisation was shocking. They knew the Temporal Prime Directive prevented them from doing or saying anything. One thought went through both minds: Do they alert Starfleet to the upcoming Borg attack at Wolf 359 or the devastating Dominion War? 

Life aboard the USS Berlin was comfortable, but Corella still longed to return home to her time zone. She spent countless hours analysing data and running simulations, hoping to find a way back to their time. Andrahl was her constant companion, offering moral support through it all. Together, they worked relentlessly to unravel the mystery of the anomaly. Eventually, they were debriefed by the Department of Temporal Investigations, and their attempts to return were stopped. Unfortunately, they were unable to return to their own time. Forced to admit defeat, both women were given limited work. 

Corella felt a deep sense of sadness. “I can’t believe we’re stuck in the past,” she said to Andrahl after their debriefing. 

Andrahl tried to lift her spirits with a smile. “We’ll make the best of it. Who knows what kind of adventures we’ll have in this new timeline?”

Corella managed a weak smile, but deep down, she knew their future was uncertain. They might have been stuck in the past together, but it was a bleak and desperate situation.

USS Odyssey (NCC-80000), en route to Starbase 514, Deneb Sector, Alpha Quadrant

Stardate: 78194

Commander Corella Banfield sat alone at a table in the Odyssey’s crew lounge, sipping on a Klingon martini. She gazed at the stars as they warped by the ship, lost in thought. She couldn’t help but think back to the time travelling incident which made her live out the Dominion War twice.

It was a harrowing experience, to say the least. The first time around, she had been a fresh-faced officer, eager to do her duty and protect the Federation from its enemies. The second time, she was a battle-hardened veteran, scarred by the horrors she had seen and the losses she had suffered. Nevertheless, her Klingon side gave her the confidence to endure. It was probably why she agreed to take a commission in the Klingon Defence Force the second time around and fought the Dominion on board a Klingon warship. 

As she sipped her drink, Banfield couldn’t help but wonder if she had made the right decisions during the war. Had she done enough to protect her crew and her ship? Had she done enough to honour the memory of those who had fallen in battle?

She was momentarily lost in thought, staring out at the stars as they whizzed by. But then she shook her head as if to clear it of the doubts and worries that plagued her.

She was a Starfleet officer, after all. Duty and honour were her watchwords. And regardless of the mistakes she may have made, she knew that she had done everything she could to protect the Federation and its citizens. Now she would do the same again. Though saddened by not having her husband with her or their children, she knew that this time around, she wouldn’t allow any time-displaced Jem’Hadar to wreck what so many had given up for. 

With a rekindled sense of intent, Banfield raised her glass in a silent toast to her fallen comrades. And then, with a deep breath, she turned her gaze back to the stars, ready to face whatever challenges lay ahead.

Lieutenant Commanders Tomaz and Craigen Flemen were indulging in an exhilarating game of velocity on the holodeck. The atmosphere was charged with competitiveness as the two close friends expertly manoeuvred past the fast-moving disc while simultaneously firing their phasers to score points. Tomaz and Flemen were fully geared up for their rigorous workout session, clad in their top-of-the-line gym outfits that accentuated their muscular physiques. Tomaz wore a sleek black sleeveless shirt that hugged his biceps and matching shorts that showcased his toned legs. Flemen opted for a vibrant blue tank top outlining his chiselled chest and pure white shorts highlighting his well-defined quads. As the fast-paced game of velocity ensued, the intensity of the workout caused the two men to break a sweat, resulting in their clothes clinging to their bodies and revealing the outlines of their rippling muscles. Their faces and hair shone with sweat too. Yet, despite how hard they were playing, they remained steadfast in their commitment to the game, displaying unwavering determination and a laser-focused concentration that was truly admirable.

“Come on, Tomaz, give it your best shot!” exclaimed Flemen as he skillfully hit the disc with his phaser, adding yet another point to his score. 

Tomaz chuckled and replied, “I’m trying my best, but you’re just too good at this!” Despite the friendly banter, their spirits were high, and they both played on, determined to outdo each other. Finally, after a few minutes, Tomaz managed to knock the disc off course, causing it to fly past Flemen. “Ha! Gotcha!” Tomaz declared triumphantly. The disc bounced off the side of the hologrid before smacking into Craigen’s side.

“Full impact. Third round to Tomaz.” The computer announced.

Flemen laughed and retorted as Tomaz offered him a helping hand to stand up, “Alright, alright, you win this round. But it’s not over yet!” He grabbed his friend’s damp hand as he got up. 

Slowly they made their way over to the bench and dropped their phasers before grabbing their water bottles. Tomaz slumped down on the bench as he placed his towel over the back of his neck and drank his water. Noticing how quiet Tomaz appeared, more so than usual, Flemen poked his friend for the reasons.

“So, how are you doing?”

Tomaz looked up as he pulled his bottle away from his lips, his blue eyes sparkling as the ceiling lights hit them. “What do you mean, Craigen?” He responded before wiping his face with his towel. 

“I mean exactly that; how are you doing?” Flemen pressed as he sat down next to his friend.

Tomaz knew what his friend was referring to and leaned back against the wall. It was a welcoming cool touch to his already clammy back. “You mean, am I missing your godson? Then I think you know the answer to that, Craigen.”

“I’m missing the little guy too,” Flemen said, trying to show his support for his friend. “But, I promise my folks will take great care of him.”

“I know they will,” Tomaz said, looking at Flemen. “I genuinely appreciate them taking him in at such short notice.”

“It just sucks every civilian was taken off the ship,” Flemen said, knowing how much he and Tomaz had discussed that matter in the last few weeks. 

“Hopefully, S’Tem is enjoying staying in my room, playing with my old toys and climbing the huge trees in my parent’s back garden.”

“It just sucks; he’s meant to be with me here on the Odyssey, but-” Tomaz paused as he realised how much of a whining baby he sounded. “I’m sorry, Craigen, it’s just this whole situation isn’t what I was expecting.”

“None of us did, Tomaz,” Flemen agreed. “However, think of it this way. We’re about to take this ship into battle. Do you really want S’Tem on the ship if the Jem’Hadar or Breen board her?”

“No,” He admitted.

“Then he is in a safe place right now,” Flemen stated with confidence. “How did your folks take it when you told them where he was?”

“Dad understood it, my mother not so,” Tomaz said with a heavy sigh. “She’ll get over it.” He waved that idea off. He had always had a rocky relationship with his parents, so he didn’t appear too fussed about it. 

“Another round, then?” Flemen offered, picking up his phaser before swigging back another lot of water. 

“Sure, but we can’t be up all night; we’ve got that briefing with the captains in the morning,” Tomaz said.

Gently smacking his friend’s shoulder, encouraging him to get up, Flemen rose from the bench and teased Tomaz further, telling him that this match would be his, and he would have to live with that shame. 

“Computer. One more game.” Tomaz offered as he got to his feet and readied himself for the disc to appear so he could get the opening salvo on it.

The meticulous Doctor Slyvexs had finally completed the crucial task of performing blood screens on every crew member in Odyssey’s sickbay. She had been acutely aware of the responsibility that rested on her shoulders, as the health and well-being of everyone on board depended on her thoroughness and accuracy. She was also aware that discovering a changeling spy amongst their ranks wasn’t something she was keen on finding. Nevertheless, she wasn’t prepared to allow such a breach to occur under her watch. As she was packing up her equipment, she was approached by Lieutenant Keli, the ship’s chief security and tactical officer.

With a sense of pride, she informed Doctor Slyvexs that the last of the updates to the sickbay’s security systems were now complete. She had overseen the installation of state-of-the-art phaser sweeps and internal imaging chambers for everyone to utilise. Her primary objective was to ensure that no changelings had infiltrated the crew and were posing as their colleagues.

Doctor Slyvexs nodded in approval, deeply appreciative of Keli’s unwavering dedication to the safety of the ship and its crew. She knew full well the dangers they faced in the vast expanse of deep space and therefore understood the importance of such strict security measures, especially during times of war.

“Thank you for informing me, Lieutenant,” she said with a respectful nod. “Your tireless efforts to keep us all safe do not go unnoticed.”

Keli humbly reciprocated her gesture of gratitude, acknowledging that the crew’s well-being was a collaborative effort. “It is our duty to protect and serve,” she replied reassuringly. Then, intrigued to ask the doctor something that had gone through her own mind, Keli’s eyes were wide with curiosity as she leaned forward to ask about Slyvexs experience during the Dominion War. “You’ve mentioned before, doctor, that you were originally on the Venture during the war. What was it like, if you don’t mind me asking?” she asked, her voice barely above a whisper.

Slyvexs hesitated at first, the memories of the war flooding back to her. They had been at the forefront of her mind since the briefing where Fleet Captain McCallister had told them about the sudden appearance of the Dominion’s lost fleet. But when she saw the genuine interest and respect in Keli’s eyes, she knew she had to share her story. “It was… intense,” she said, her voice low and measured. “There were times when it felt like we were fighting a losing battle, but we never gave up.”

Keli listened with rapt attention as Slyvexs described the pandemonium and devastation that she had witnessed on a daily basis. Slyvexs recounted the terror of being under constant attack, the heartbreak of losing fellow crew members, and the physical and emotional toll it took on her. “It must have been so difficult,” Keli said softly, her heart filled with empathy.

“It was,” Slyvexs agreed. “But there were moments of camaraderie and courage that made it all worthwhile. My fellow crew members were like family to me. We fought together, laughed together, and cried together.”

Slyvexs described some of the war’s most harrowing moments, like when the USS Venture was ambushed by Jem’Hadar fighters. They had to fight their way out during the battle to recapture Deep Space Nine or when an away team she was a part of was stranded on a planet and had to find a way to survive until they could be rescued. Keli couldn’t help but feel a sense of awe and gratitude for Slyvexs and her sacrifices during the war.

“Thank you for sharing your story with me,” Keli said sincerely. “It’s important to remember what the Federation went through.”

Slyvexs smiled a hint of sadness in her eyes. “I agree,” she said. “By the end of the war, I took a long break from Starfleet. I returned to Denobula and spent time with my family. They’re why I kept fighting and doing what I’m doing today.”

Keli nodded, feeling a newfound respect and admiration for the brave men and women who had fought in the Dominion War. “Thank you for your service,” she said quietly, her voice filled with emotion.

Slyvexs nodded back. 

As Keli left the room, she couldn’t help but feel a deep sense of appreciation for the sacrifices that Slyvexs and so many others had made to protect their way of life. At the same time, she wondered just how many sacrifices they would encounter as they prepared to engage the Dominion. 

In his ready room, Fleet Captain McCallister was fully immersed in a conversation with his son, Cadet Alfie McCallister. “Listen, Alf, I know this change in scenery was unexpected, but try and see the positives here.” McCallister was trying his best to sound upbeat; whether or not he conveyed that to his son was another thing. Though he was pleased to hear that Alfie had arrived safely on Mellstoxx III. The entire cadet unit assigned to the Odyssey and its squadron had left a few weeks ago and were at safe shores far from the conflict that was now brewing in the Deneb sector. 

Alfie’s face lit up on the screen with a smile as he replied, “Dad, I get it, I do, and with this Breen issue, I know you need to be focused and not worrying about me, Henri or Theo.”

McCallister nodded, not wanting to correct his son, as he didn’t have the clearance to know that the Breen border incursion was a full-blown Dominion invasion. Alfie was right, though. By having Alfie safely at Mellstoxx and Henri and Theo back on Earth, they were far away from the danger.  

“I spoke with Henri earlier today; I think he and Theo will keep your grandparents on their toes while they visit them,” McCallister shared, changing the topic quickly, but the mention of his two other sons not with him was hard to keep in and not show his displeasure.

Alfie chuckled. “In other words, they’re running grandma around the bend already,” He paused, noticing his father’s expression at missing them with him on the Odyssey. “Dad, look at it this way. All three of us are on a long vacation while you work.”

McCallister rolled his eyes and smiled. “That’s one spin on it, Alf. Anyway, tell me about campus life. Have you got to share a dorm with anyone?”

“Yeah, I’ve got a small room with Jordan, but it’s okay. We can see out onto the quad from here. We met a few fourth-year cadets, one of whom is Counsellor Horin’s nephew. His planning a welcome party for all of us later.”

Alarmed at hearing that, McCallister stiffened up his shoulders. “Just make sure you avoid drinking any bloodwine, cadet.”

His son chuckled a bit more, but Commander Max Duncan suddenly interrupted their discussion. His voice appeared over the intercom and was urgent, “Captain, I’m sorry to interrupt, but we just received a distress call from the Federation colony on Divinium Four. They’re under attack.”

McCallister’s heart sank as he heard the news. But then, he asked, “How bad is it?”

“Pretty bad, sir. They’re in desperate need of backup as their planetary defence systems may not repel the entire assault,” Duncan responded.

Without hesitation, McCallister gave orders, “Set course for Divinum Four at maximum warp. We need to get there as quickly as possible.”

As Duncan closed the channel to relay the orders, McCallister turned to Alfie. “Son, I have to go. Duty calls.”

“I understand, Dad. Be safe,” Alfie said, giving his father a warm smile before ending the call.

As McCallister got out of his chair to prepare to lead his crew into battle, he couldn’t help but ponder the sacrifices that Starfleet officers often had to make in service to the Federation, particularly with his son in mind. Then, leaving his ready room, he entered the bridge. He adjusted his jacket with a simple tug, ensuring his phaser was nearby on his hip. 

“Course laid in, sir,” Lieutenant Marova announced at the helm. 

Lieutenant Commander Lukiz Jen turned around in his chair. “Starbase Five-One-Four has been informed that we are altering course, sir.”

“Excellent, thank you, Lukiz,” McCallister said as he took his place in the centre chair. “Marova, engage!”