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Part of USS Odyssey: This Far, How Further? and Bravo Fleet: Frontier Day

This Far, How Further? – 7

USS Odyssey (NCC-80000), Spacedock, Earth, Sol System
Stardate: 78275.4
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With only a day to go with Frontier Day celebrations underway, Ensign Jonarom found being on the Odyssey extremely overwhelming. He hadn’t been able to find transport to return to the Bellerophon since the Dominion brutally attacked and heavily crippled it. He had been on the Odyssey, assisting with recovering those lost from the Devenium colony. After that, the ship had jumped into high warp to help the rest of the Fourth Fleet in defending the Deneb System and preventing the Dominion from occupying Farpoint Station. 

Now that everything was over, he felt lost. 

When the ship arrived at Earth, his attempts to find transport to Avalon were futile. Either everything was already booked up, or he would have to wait until after the celebrations were over. The latter seemed pointless, especially as he hoped the Odyssey would eventually rendezvous with the Bellerophon to return to the Delta Quadrant. Jonarom was now left on the Odyssey with little to do. 

Feeling like a fish out of water, the young Ardanan had spent several days visiting old friends he knew from the Academy that were now assigned to Earth. Besides that, he spent most of his time alone in his quarters. Captain Horatio McCallister, his skipper from the Bellerophon, had invited him to join him for a couple of days surfing in Hawaii. Though he had joined him and enjoyed himself, he found hanging out with his commanding officer a bit weird. There was a considerable age gap between them, and though they shared an interest in water sports, socialising with his captain was different compared to hanging out with his friend, T’Penni. 

The Vulcan chief engineer had written to him once since the Bellerophon had been taken to the Avalon Fleet Yards. She had confirmed they had arrived safely and that repairs to the ship were slowly proceeding. Starfleet wasn’t prioritising the repairs due to their focus on launching and ensuring other ships were operational ahead of the multiple parties happening across the Federation. 

Jonarom soon entered The Auditorium, the main social hub on board the Odyssey. He had visited it once before, back when the new Odyssey Squadron was formed, and the senior staff of each ship were invited to a gathering to get to know one another. That had been a good evening. After ordering his drink at the bar, an iced raktajino, Jonarom took it over to an empty table by the large windows. Sitting down with a heavy sigh, his hair (which was ordinarily soft, fluffy and pushed to one side) dropped down. His long fringe hung just above his eyes, and he automatically pushed it back. He had recently dyed it black, hoping the darker tone made him look a bit older. Staring out of the window for some time, gazing down at the various ships inside Spacedock, he didn’t notice the arrival of two other figures.

“Excuse me, sir, do you mind if we join you?” 

Jonarom looked up; rarely was he called ‘sir’. In front of him were two cadets, and one of them looked a lot like his captain. “Please,” He gestured for them to take the seats opposite him. Both of them appeared to be the same height, while the one who looked like Captain McCallister appeared a lot slimmer.

“I’m Alfie, and this Jordan,” The slimmer cadet said as he sat.

“Alfie?” Jonarom repeated before he took one more glance. “You’re Fleet Captain McCallister’s son, aren’t you? Which must make you Jordan Duncan-Court, son of Captain Duncan and Master Chief Court.”

Both cadets looked at each other, worried about how he knew them.

“You’ve got us at a disadvantage, sir,” Cadet Duncan-Court smirked.

Jonarom smiled back as he put his drink down. “I’m Ensign Jonarom from the Bellerophon,” He looked at McCallister. “Your uncle is my captain.”

“Ohh, your Uncle H’s chief science officer? He told me about how brilliant you are.” McCallister said with joy. 

Blushing at hearing that compliment from his commanding officer, Jonarom wasn’t sure what to say next. “So, are you both back just for the celebrations with your fathers?”

Duncan-Court shook his head. “No, our cadet training unit has been reassigned to the Odyssey.”

“In fact, the unit has expanded, and there’s more of us being assigned to the entire Odyssey Squadron; I’m sure there will be cadets on the Bellerophon once she is back up and running,” McCallister said.

“Oh wow,” Jonarom said, surprised to hear that. “Someone must have done something to impress Starfleet to allow so many cadets on such prestigious assignments.”

“We’re just that good!” Duncan-Court said with a grin before he took a sip from his drink. “So, sir, how did you become top of your class and get such a great posting?”

Appreciating the compliment and question, Jonarom took a breath and picked up his drink. “Pure study,” He answered before taking a sip. “Cramming is a term my dorm mate used to describe it.” Jonarom took another sip. “And please don’t think anything less of me, but I actually enjoyed it.”

McCallister slapped Duncan-Court lightly on the arm, “See, I told you it was cool to enjoy being a cadet.”

Jonarom almost burst out into laughter. “Let me guess, Cadet,” He said, looking at McCallister before looking to Ducan-Cout. “Your friend isn’t always keen on the studying part?”

“I didn’t say that,” Duncan-Court defended himself with a slight chuckle. “I just said it’s a lot all of the time!”

“Cadet, it doesn’t get any easier once you graduate!” Jonarom remarked.

“He is absolutely right!” interjected an unfamiliar voice and which caused all three of them to look up. Standing before them, in full uniform, was the striking figure of Fleet Captain James Preston McCallister. Instantly all three of them stood up. Jonarom had met the captain briefly but had never been this close to him. Undoubtedly, he was related to Alfie and his younger brother, Horatio. The McCallister men were strikingly handsome, and they all had chiselled jawlines. Unlike his younger brother, Jonarom noticed Fleet Captain McCallister’s piercing blue eyes that seemed mesmerising. Probably something he used to calm down a hostile race. His short, darker blonde hair was combed back in a short manner. Instantly he smiled at Jonarom. “Ensign, is my son and my first officer’s son bothering you?”

Feeling a bit at ease with Fleet Captain McCallister, similar to how Jonarom felt with his brother (another shared McCallister trait), Jonarom shook his head. “They aren’t a bother, sir.”

“Good,” The captain said, looking at the two cadets, “Do you guys mind if I borrow Mister Jonarom?”

“Go ahead, Dad-” Alfie said before pausing and correcting himself. “Sir.”

After rolling his eyes and shaking his head at his son’s rookie faux pas, the fleet captain gestured for Jonarom to join him on a walk. Once they had left The Auditorium, the young ensign wondered if he had been in trouble for something. Had he missed something? Was he meant to do a task that he wasn’t aware of? How was he supposed to know what to do when his ship was on the side of the quadrant?

The fleet captain indicated for them to take a walk along the edge of the chevron section of the Odyssey. “Please feel at ease, Jonarom,” McCallister said as they walked a stretch of the ship that was its own version of a promenade. 

A sign they passed showed its designation as the Odyssey’s Boardwalk. A few restaurants, all from varying cultures, represented how diverse the crew was. They approached a set of doors with a sign above them: The Barn. Walking in, Jonarom was surprised to find a similar large room, like The Auditorium. However, it wasn’t across two levels and didn’t appear as wide. It reminded him more of the Ten-Forward lounge on the Themis. Around them, technicians were working on decorating and installing various items, from holoprojectors to carpets, to tables and chairs. There was also the brand-new smell that instantly hit Jonarom’s nostrils. 

“Wow, is this a new place?” The young science officer asked.

McCallister nodded as he pointed for them to go and sit down on a sofa that wasn’t in use or even looked like it had been used. “The Barn will be another area for the crew to enjoy, a little bit smaller than The Auditorium, but once it is up and running, I am sure it will be a hit.”

“Why is it called The Barn?” Jonarom was about to ask.

The captain attempted to answer but then stopped. “You know what, I have no idea. My first officer named it.” He waved that off and then looked at Jonarom. “Ensign, my brother speaks and thinks very highly of you.”

“I think very highly of him, too, sir,” Jonarom stated. He could feel his cheeks going red from his blushing. He had been complimented quite a bit so far today.

“And I know he is eager to have you back with him on the Bellerophon, but I was wondering if I could borrow you?” McCallister asked.

“Borrow me?” 

“Yes, borrow you,” McCallister confirmed. “Ensign, Starfleet wants the Odyssey to be a part of these Frontier Day celebrations, and since our return to the Alpha Quadrant, I have had the brass on my back in ensuring the Odyssey is suited for the missions they want her to take.”

“Do you mean our exploration of the Delta Quadrant?” Jonarom asked.

“Yes,” McCallister said with a single nod. “Basically, they want me to run the Odyssey more like a floating starbase, so when we are out there in the deep vastness, the Odyssey can fully support itself, the Themis, Triton and the Bellerophon. One of the departments they want me to have is a fully functional communications department.”

“Does Odyssey not have one, sir?”

The captain shook his head. “No, being a former operations officer myself, I know that the operations department is more than capable of doing it, but Command thinks otherwise. So to keep them happy and off my back and just while we deal with the festivities for Frontier Day, would you be my Interim Chief Communications Officer?”

Jonarom was startled by that request. “Oh, sir, I am very grateful for the opportunity. Are you sure you want me?”

Pulling out a small PADD he had in his hands, McCallister loaded up Jonarom’s service record. “Valedictorian of your class, you left with a number of degrees, including one in xeno-linguistics, another in astrophysics, along with quantum engineering and cybernetics.  Plus, you speak over forty-seven languages. Your file is littered with dozens of commendations. Alongside all of that, you were offered an internship at the Daystrom Institute and positions on various postings across the Federation. Instead, you become a bridge officer on my brother’s ship.”

“Should I not have applied to join the Bellerophon, sir? She is a famous ship.” Jonarom said. “And one of my professors recommended me to apply to her.”

“Jonarom, you certainly earnt the right to pick your choice of posting, and I don’t want you to think that this assignment will take you away from the Bellerophon; it won’t. As I said, you will be our Interim Chief Communications Officer until I can find someone for the long term. Once we finish the Frontier Day festivities and Bellerophon is repaired, you’ll be back with Horatio. I just need you for a few days. That’s all.”

Jonarom considered the offer. “I won’t be treading on anyone’s toes, would I? Like Lieutenant Commander Jen?”

“Lukiz? No!” McCallister replied instantly. “In fact, he was the one who suggested I consider you. Additionally, Horatio said keeping you on your toes would do you good until you both get back to the Bellerophon.”

Pushing his long hair back, Jonarom looked around the room. He wasn’t sure if this was a promotion or a demotion.

“Ensign, like this new room, you will be able to build something new from the ground up, and when it’s time, you could hand it over, knowing you did something great on one of Starfleet’s finest ships,” McCallister said. “Oh, and did I tell you it comes with a promotion to Lieutenant Junior Grade.”

That surprised Jonarom. “A promotion? Already?”

“Yes, I can’t have any ensign running one of my newer departments, can I?” McCallister said. He pulled out a blacked-out pip.

“Is it permanent?” Jonarom asked.

“As in, when you return to the Bellerophon, will you still be a lieutenant?” McCallister asked before he nodded. “It is. So now, ensign, what will be your answer?”

Jonarom took a breath in and nodded several times. “I’ll do it. Thank you, sir.” 

McCallister shook Jonarom’s hand. “Congratulations, Lieutenant Jonarom. Welcome to the Odyssey!”

“Thank you, sir,” Jonarom replied as he shook his new captain’s hand. 

At that point, the doors to The Barn opened, and Lieutenant Commander Lukiz Jen entered. He came in just as McCallister fixed the new pip to Jonarom’s collar. “Ah, looks like I arrived at a good time!”

“You did, indeed, Lukiz!” McCallister confirmed. He turned back to Jonarom. “I’m happy to introduce you to our Interim Chief Communications Officer, Lieutenant Jonarom.”

“That’s good to hear,” Jen said. The joined Trill had worked with the newest addition to the crew back on the Triton when they were trying to figure out what the Dominion had done to the Devenium colonists. Jonarom had been the one to figure out how the Gamma Quadrant power had used their advanced transporter technology to kidnap Federation citizens. He had impressed Jen immensely. 

McCallister then rose to his feet. “Right, gentlemen, I have some other officers to see to discuss their future career prospects.” He looked at Jen. “Lukiz, I will leave it down to you to see that the lieutenant is giving some decent quarters and that you get him started. We need the Odyssey working at peak efficiency for tomorrow. Especially if we are going to participate in that Fleet Formation exercise.”

“Don’t worry, sir, leave it in our capable hands. We’ll make sure the Odyssey outshines the flagship!” Jen replied.

“I expect nothing less,” McCallister said as he made his way towards the exit. He stopped just as the doors opened for him. “Oh, and Lieutenant Jonarom, your promotion means we must throw a party. Just speak to Lukiz about what we did for his third pip! I hope you like old sailing ships!”

Jonarom looked confused by that comment and turned to Jen. “Old sailing ships?”

Jen sighed. “It’s a long story, but maybe we can convince him to host it here in The Barn, to break it in!”

Overwhelmed by everything, Jonarom just smiled. “Sure, I don’t mind.” 

Finally, he didn’t feel so alone anymore, and he could not wait to tell T’Penni about his new extra pip and the new job.  Perhaps being on the Odyssey wasn’t such a bad thing, after all, he hoped.

“Let’s get started, Jonarom. Otherwise, Frontier Day will be here before we know it!” Jen insisted.

Lieutenant Junior Grade Jonarom nodded, followed his superior out of the lounge, and was eager to start his next assignment. 


  • I really appreciate the deep dive you took into Jonarom's perspective on this one. His feeling of disconnection from his own starship and crew was palpable; I liked the small ways you demonstrated he wasn't feeling like himself, like him not putting the same care into styling his hair. Jonarom's comparison of the two captains further exemplified the simultaneous familiar and disconnected feeling he had, moving between the two squadron ships. This seems like an exciting new opportunity for Jonarom, but I can't help questioning just how temporary it will be!

    August 2, 2023