|Series||Star Trek: The Ongoing Mission|
|Stardate||81085.7 - 81087|
|Next||Ghosts and Glaciers|
“Personal log, stardate 81085.7, I don’t know who exactly found out about my promotion but as they say ‘gossip travels faster than transwarp’, not that I’m not grateful for the celebration my friends planned, but I’ve never been comfortable being the centre of attention.” Captain Oren Hassan recorded as he finished beaming the rest of his belongings from his old quarters to the storage compartment of Yosemite SC-3 which sat in the shuttlebay of the USS Constitution NCC-90931.
“Runabout Yosemite, this is shuttlebay control. You are cleared to depart,” a voice came over the com.
“Acknowledged,” Hassan responded, he punched in a series of commands and the Yellowstone class runabout slowly levitated and effortlessly flew through the force field. Hassan took a few seconds to take one last look at the Maelstrom class starship he’d called home for the past seven years and the two hundred people he’d grown to trust like family orbiting Alpha Centauri. “Computer, set course for Utopia Planitia and engage at warp eight.”
“Good morning, Risa,” Commander Dean Matthews stretched and yawned.
“Good morning to you too,” Matthews’ husband Commander Paul Walker sat up lethargically and leant against Matthews, they had both recently been promoted so decided to spend three weeks shore leave together in Sunset Acres before going on their separate assignments. Risa was paradise, with all that had happened in the evolution of the Federation Alliance, people needed a paradise, with all its improvements, it made the Risa of thirty years ago look like a two-bit seaside hotel. They met on their first day at Starfleet Academy and married during their first posting, they’d stayed on the same ships together for nearly fifteen years.
“I was thinking we could take one last walk on the beach before we take the ship home,” Matthews suggested.
“Remember we still have to get all the way to Nuvia, being late on your first day as first officer would make for an embarrassing court martial,” Walker joked. “Besides, we still have a couple of hours to ourselves.”
“Yes we do.” Matthews smiled.
Lieutenant Commander Nila Tarek had been fond of the phaser range, they were random so her Cardassian eidetic memory didn’t give her an unfair advantage, since she was a first year cadet she maintained the record of a 94.7% average even achieving a score as high as 98.6% beating the previous record set by her instructor, then-Commander Bryan Kelly, this was no small feat considering Kelly’s status as genetically enhanced. “Computer accuracy level,” Tarek commanded.
“Adequate,” it was within Tarek’s average but she felt a little disappointed she was that far from her high score as this would be the last team she would use her favourite phaser range and maybe even a genuine one for a while. For a reason she couldn’t explain holographic ranges with holographic phasers never felt the same. She was however happy to have earned her promotion and the position of second officer would also open doors for her career. Tarek contemplated having one more round, but ultimately decided she needed to devote time to studying the specs of the ship she was about to serve on.
Deep Space 9, an historical location, a testament to the unity that gave birth to the Federation Alliance, she had witnessed wars across Quadrants and was nearly destroyed by the Borg but even after all these trials and a major refit, the station was still a place anyone could call home and after twelve years it wasn’t an easy place to say goodbye to. Lieutenant Vance LaMarche kept a slow pace heading towards the airlock, he was grateful his mentor, the station’s science officer, Lieutenant Commander Marc Tomson could accompany him.
“I’m really going to miss this place,” LaMarche lamented, “the Vice Admiral’s stories, the way Doctor Ogawa teases the junior staff, the way Colonel Brilgar complains about everything…"
“I’m sure the station will miss you too,” Tomson interrupted, “though you could always resign your commission, become one of the Colonel’s deputies, if you wanted to stay that much.”
“I think I’ll pass.”
“That’s probably a good idea.”
“Thank you for everything, sir, you’ve given me a lot of opportunities over the years. Especially getting to lead research missions into the Gamma Quadrant.”
“Well, to tell you the truth, Commander Pazlar ordered me to find an excuse for her to command the Defiant on more away missions,” Tomson joked.
“Ling to Tomson,” a woman’s voice came over the com.
Tomson tapped his combadge, “go ahead, Cathy,” it was his good friend and station’s operations officer Lieutenant Commander Cathy Ling.
“Marc, Admiral Nog wants to see you in ops.”
“I’m on my way,” Tomson tapped his combadge again, “no rest for the wicked.”
“Here,” Tomson handed him the object he’d been carrying, LaMarch thought it was a small rolled up rug but said nothing of it, “it’s a little something I had shipped in from Mataline II. A going away present.”
LaMarche unrolled the object to see it was a small piano, “I don’t know what to say.”
“We’ve all loved your performances in Morn’s; don’t give up your music.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“Final boarding call,” the station’s computer declared.
“Looks like we both have to go,” Tomson held out his hand, “good luck, Vance.” The two shook hands and LaMarche headed through the airlock to the docked ship waiting to take him back to the Sol system.
For some reason, the view of Japan from orbit seemed to focus her mind, she was always at peace looking down from that one particular window of Starbase 1 but Lieutenant Izumi Shimura knew that she couldn’t linger there much longer. Shimura felt as if her schedule was coiling around her like a snake, there was so little time to just stop and enjoy the view, she was however very excited to have been appointed chief engineer of a ship testing the upgraded transwarp drive. However with the advances in transwarp potentially paving the way for the development of quantum slipstream technology, Starfleet wasn’t taking any risks, she had an extensive list of meetings with Headquarters mapped out which she needed to be prepared for. Part of her felt like she was at the Academy again needing to do homework. Today though the view was obscured by the sight of every flagship in the Federation Alliance and their escorts, the Hutet class CUS Damar of Cardassia, the Soval XRT-55D of Vulcan, the IRW D’renxus of Romulus and the Bortas class IKS Rotarran of Qo’noS were the only flagships she could make out from her vantage point, while it was an impressive site, it did ruin the atmosphere.
Earth, San Francisco, Starfleet Headquarters, an historic sight and a beacon of equality, but a very busy one. Lieutenant R’Kal materialised on transporter pad 4G, he stepped down and looked around for a second before noticing the person waiting for him. “Miral,” R’Kal smiled.
“Hello, R’Kal,” Lieutenant Miral Paris hugged him, “you’re travelling light,” she pointed out the fact R’Kal was only carrying one bag.
“Take only what you need and what you want will find its way to you.”
“Ancient Romulan proverb?”
“More of an axiom really.”
“A personal one?”
“I live in hope,” they weaved their way through the crowds rushing back and forth and headed outside, “I can’t believe how busy it is.”
“It’s an import day,” Paris reasoned, “did you come on your dad’s ship?”
“Yeah, the Nomad was near Romulus so I asked Captain Dax to drop me off. Romulus was just as beautiful as I remembered.”
“Why R’Kal, I do believe you’re in love.”
“You’re as bad as Doctor Bashir. It’s just, there’s no place like home you know, I’m sure you get misty-eyed at the sight of Qo’noS.”
“Oh, yeah, absolutely.” Paris said sarcastically.
Doctor Lieutenant Commander Cinera had always admired the streamlined, elegant monorails that ran through the grounds of Starfleet Headquarters; ever since she was a child she had adored sleek designs. She was on her way to the Phlox Building, headquarters of Starfleet Medical; though she wasn’t comfortable in crowds, there had been several cases that when in close quarters the natural-attractiveness of Deltans was heightened to mutually intolerable levels.
Counsellor Lieutenant Commander Peilingoe meditated silently in the Boothby Memorial Garden, he hadn’t served on a starship since his first Starfleet career in which he spent twenty-two years aboard the starship Stargazer, he resigned his commission when the ship was lost during the Battle of Maxia to become the Rigelian ambassador, a position he ultimately found unfulfilling and stepped down after twelve years. He’d served in the days before there were ship’s counsellors, back then he was assigned to the medical staff as a mental health specialist. Peilingoe was a naturally modest man, but he was distinguished in his field, so much so that following the Dominion War and the homecoming of the starship Voyager, Starfleet temporarily recruited him back as a provisional lieutenant to council those affected. It was only after the Great Borg War that he asked to be reinstated, Starfleet accepted this offer and for nearly nineteen years he’d worked as a terrestrial counsellor, but part of him longed for the old days aboard the Stargazer so he enquired, in passing, if there was a position available for him on a ship.
“…at this point both candidates are almost neck and neck, so we can still only speculate for now. We’ll bring you the latest updates of the election as they develop and don’t forget to tune in tonight for the results to find out who will be succeeding Aennik Okeg as Federation President. I’m Emal Kotay with the Federation News Service.”
“Computer end display,” not a second after Chief Petty Officer Svetlana Robau had given the command, the image of the boyish-faced Trill disappeared from the transparent panel. Robau’s assignment at Utopia Planitia was nearing an end and she was scheduled to return to work at Memory Alpha by the end of the week, but as she looked out of the window to the near-complete USS Cerberus NX-91002, the first new ship class constructed in almost three years, she knew where she belonged.
“Tarkalean tea with a dash of lemon, hot,” Hassan ordered from the Yosemite’s replicator. “Computer, time to destination,” he commanded.
“One day, five hours, forty-two minutes,” the computer replied, Hassan wondered just how Starfleet got along all those years depending on conventional warp drive, it seemed so slow compared to the transwarp technology given to the Federation by Humanity’s cousins the Voth. Though Hassan believed in making the most of every opportunity and took the chance to re-read his favourite novel Anslem by acclaimed author Jake Sisko.
Nuvia, capital city of Risa was a luxurious resort with the atmosphere of a bustling metropolis; it was also home to the city’s transporter hub, the formal route between the surface and the orbital port. “Welcome to the Risian transport hub,” a Risian woman smiled, “are you departing for the station?”
“Yes,” Walker smiled back, he’d often found Risians to be overly happy and a little too welcoming, it was a positive trait that served them well but as a scientist, Walker valued a healthy dose of scepticism and cynicism every now and then.
“Very good, place your bags on the pad and your right hand on the panel,” luggage was stored in the orbital port’s pattern buffer and transferred to the ships the passengers were assigned to, with their DNA scanned, each passenger can freely collect their luggage from the ship’s pattern buffer at any time. Walker and Matthews had their suitcases beamed away and headed for the nearest personal transporter platform. The promenade of Risa’s orbital port was a bustling marketplace; Matthews speculated that there had to be over a hundred different races all trading, haggling and mingling. All things considered, they both preferred DS9’s promenade, it had the same atmosphere but had more order and felt safer. The SS Royal Scotsman NAR-84721 was one of a fleet of transwarp liners gifted to the Risian people by Grand Nagus Rom, who thought it was only fitting people travel there and back in the same luxury as they receive on Risa. The Royal Scotsman was the liner assigned to the Sol system route.
Tarek’s meeting with Vice Admiral Kelly, head of Starfleet Security went smoothly, whilst it was strictly a professional meeting, she did enjoy meeting her former instructor again. “Nila?” someone spoke her name as she was walking.
“Vaan?” Trek smiled at the sight of her old friend.
“I thought that was you,” the massive Hirogen officer smiled.
“I see you’ve been promoted,” she pointed to a hollow third pip on the breast of his gold uniform.
“I see I’m not the only one, congratulations.”
“Same to you.”
“What brings you all the way to Earth?”
“I’ve been assigned to the Cerberus.”
“The new transwarp ship?”
“The very same, you?”
“I’ve been posted to the Darwin. We really should catch up; do you want to meet at the Quantum Café later, watch the election?”
“It’ll be crowded,” Tarek frowned.
Tarek sighed, “alright, Vaan. For you.”
While it was much bigger than a Vigilant class ship like the Defiant, LaMarche couldn’t help but be consciously aware of how much smaller the Stargazer class USS Onslaught NCC-90872 was compared to DS9. He knew it was a feeling that would pass but he also knew that he couldn’t sit in the guest quarters for the entire trip. He wandered one or two decks without any particular destination in mind. “Are you lost, Lieutenant?” Someone asked.
“I was just stretching my legs, ma’am,” LaMarche answered Commander Maura, the Deferi executive officer of the Onslaught.
“I’d recommend the mess hall; engineering isn’t much of a tourist trap.”
“Engineering? I wandered further than I thought,” LaMarche laughed.
“It happens. Most of the crew will be in the mess hall later to watch the election; you’re welcome to join us, if you can find a seat,” Maura joked.
“Isn’t that the kind of thing the captain would attend and leave the first officer in charge?”
“He said he couldn’t see the logic in a social gathering to watch the news.”
“Computer can you show me a cross section of the Cerberus class transwarp coils?” Shimura asked while in the hololab in the Tucker Wing of the Cochrane Building, headquarters of Starfleet Engineering. It wasn’t until she had started going over the specs of the Cerberus in the hololab that the excitement about being this ship’s chief engineer really set in. Something about getting to see and touch the designs was so much more fulfilling than reading blueprints. It was now that she couldn’t wait to get here hands on the real thing.
“So are you going to tell me?” R’Kal asked.
“Tell you what?” Paris raised an eyebrow. “We called each other when we got promoted but you didn’t tell me where you’d been posted. You said it would be a surprise when I got to Earth.”
“Oh, right, well…” Paris started.
“Excuse me; are you Ambassador Torres’ daughter?” A voice interrupted.
“Yes, Ambassador Pran?”
“Your mother said you forgot this PADD.” Ambassador Vilix’pran of New Xindus handed it to her.
“You didn’t need to go to all the trouble, sir.”
“It was no trouble; I was heading out this way.”
“Good day,” the Xindi-Avian left, heading towards a restaurant.
“What?” Paris had turned to see R’Kal smirking.
“You know everybody.”
“It helps when you’re interested in your parent’s work.”
“Nothing bores me more than my father’s ambassadorial duties,” R’Kal groaned, “besides the Xindi-Avian question nearly made me fail the Starfleet History course.”
“I’m surprised I never told you, I blanked. And now the answer is engraved in my brain. USS Nimitz NCC-3211, Proxima class, discovered the Xindi-Avian colony in 2271 and helped the Avian leader Redux’pran re-integrate his people with their cousin species on New Xindus.”
“Doctor Tropp to the Pulaski Wing. Doctor Tropp to the Pulaski Wing.”
Cinera wondered what was taking that doctor so long, this was not the first time he had been summoned. “Cinera.” Cinera’s friend Doctor Commander Cugit arrived.
“Cugit.” Cinera smiled and hugged the robust, bearded Bajoran man. Cugit was a war orphan from the Occupation and had no family name, he refused to take the family name of his foster parents, though he loved them, he believed it would disrespect the memory of his biological parents. He was a gentle soul, thoughtful and compassionate, the perfect doctor.
“The Prophets must be smiling on you, you look well.”
“You say that every time.”
“Doesn’t mean I’m not right.”
“Computer to Doctor Cugit,” the automated voice came over the com.
Cugit sighed and tapped his combadge, “go ahead.”
“Lieutenant Chilton’s test results have come through.”
“Transfer them to the computer in my officer.”
Cugit tapped his combadge to close the channel, “would you mind if we walked and talked?”
“Not at all,” Cinera smiled.
Peilingoe had kept the ceremonial beads from his ambassadorial days, it was an honour to have begin sacred Rigelian beads but also on a personal level, it was a reminder to him that all experiences, good and bad, help shape who we are and ultimately guide us to where we belong whether we realise it at the time or not. He had been ordered, albeit informally, to familiarise himself with the mental health history of the Cerberus’ senior staff. He would potentially be spending many years with these people so needed to be familiar with them. Peilingoe found them to be an eclectic group, something which he valued in officers he served with. The senior staff of the Stargazer were nothing like each other and he relished the opportunity to experience the unique personalities, though on his first day many of the ship’s officers including Captain Daithan Ruhalter and first officer Commander Stephen Leach were lost in the Nuyyad attack, and he had to convince a much younger Jean-Luc Picard that he was ready and deserved to be in command, not a challenge Peilingoe cared to repeat.
The main transwarp core looked wrong being so dark, there were two dozen engineers talking at once, Robau recorded all the useful parts of the discussions. There was something about the supervisory role she couldn’t get enough of, the authority; she speculated that this was what it must feel like to be a commanding officer. The coils were slotted in place at the base of the main core, Robau nodded to the eager technicians and the core came alive like a fountain of pure energy, the swirling blue light pulsated and danced within its cylindrical home, it was truly a thing of beauty…to an engineer.
“Incoming transmission,” the Yosemite’s computer interrupted Hassan’s daydream.
“Source?” Hassan asked.
“Federation starship Constitution.”
“On screen,” Hassan turned to the monitor, the face of a young Ferengi woman, a lieutenant junior grade, filled the screen, “Norva,” Hassan smiled.
“Hello, Captain. I was just getting off duty and thought I’d see how you were doing.”
“I’m just fine, how are you?”
“Ops is an interesting challenge. Thank you for recommending me for the position.”
“Just doing my job.”
Matthews and Walker were embarrassed by the size of their cabin, it was bigger than a captain’s quarters, there was luxury and then there was purely being spoilt. Probably the only thing bigger would be the Presidential Quarters on Federation One.
They headed to the Palace Lounge for dinner, it was a breathtaking sight; a large crystal chandelier spanned the circumference of the entire ceiling, there was a marble fountain where the waters pulsated across the spectrum, leather sofas surrounded by exotic plants and a mural of the Sol system. “First time aboard one of these?” The sassy Bolian bartender asked.
“How could you tell?” Matthews asked.
“That overwhelmed look, hits everyone’s faces the first time they see it, I felt the same way. Starfleet?”
“You’re very perceptive,” Walker commented.
“Helps in my line of work, I’m Nadeen and if you need anything think of this as your home away from home. So what’ll it be?”
“I’ll have a kilm steak and a tranya please,” Walker ordered.
“Fanalian toddy and a glass of Antarian cider for me please,” Matthews ordered.
“It’ll be right with you,” Nadeen smiled.
Matthews and Walker sat down in one of the booths, “I know that look,” Walker said.
“What look?” Matthews frowned.
“That one. Lots of couples serve on different ships. We’ll have shore leave, we can call each other every day and maybe our ships will end up on the same mission together.”
“I know that, it’s just…”
“I’ll miss you too,” Walker placed both his hands over one of Matthews’.
“I had no idea our lives would lead to this when I first saw you, that rainy September morning in the Night Owl, when I smiled to you and you smiled back,” Matthews reminisced.
Their conversation was interrupted by the arrival of the Ferengi waiter delivering their meals, “I hope everything is to your satisfaction,” he smiled a toothy smile.
“Yes everything’s perfect,” Matthews tried to be polite.
“I’ll be sure to pass on your compliments to DaiMon Oorot.”
Tarek had always been fascinated by weapons, the design of them, their internal workings, but she’d never replicate them, if it wasn’t the genuine article it just wasn’t the same. As a graduation gift Kelly had acquired a genuine TR-116 from the Starfleet Security Vault. Since that day it had never left her side from ship to ship. Kelly had just called her, her new CO was the officer that replaced Kelly as security chief of the Enterprise-E when he was promoted to Commander and took up his teaching position at the Academy. He believed that a security chief needs to be familiar with their captain first and foremost in order to function at their peak.
She was thinking about that rifle as she was on her way to the Quantum Café, it represented transitions in her life, “shellmouth soup and a glass of rock wine,” she ordered from the replicator, “I see you’re still fond of Klingon cuisine,” she noticed what Vaan was eating.
“Rokeg blood pie’s always been my favourite.”
“Those were good days aboard the Rhode Island,” Vaan remembered fondly.
“Yes, though I swear Captain Kim actually enjoys torturing his ensigns.”
Applauds, thunderous applauds, music to LaMarche’s ears. He had sung a small selection in the Onslaught’s mess hall; he hoped that the Cerberus crew would so generously welcome his performances. LaMarche was grateful he could continue his music; he’d considered it as a career, seriously considered it, though his parents were oddly insistent he join Starfleet.
“How long have you been playing?” Maura asked.
“As long as I can remember,” LaMarche shrugged.
Shimura tended to the bonsai trees she’d grown all her life, to her they were works of art, the sound of her nephews and nieces playing echoed through her family home in Okinawa but it didn’t disturb her. There was something meditative about just tending the plants. She took a sip of her mother’s home brewed tea, this was home, this was paradise.
“No more stalling,” R’Kal folded his arms.
“Fine,” Paris sighed, “I’ve been security chief and tactical officer.”
“About time. Where?”
Paris paused, “the Enterprise.”
“The Ent…they gave you the flagship?”
“Thank you, when I was little I always imagined serving on the Voyager. I keep wondering…if I’d stayed…”
“You were only four years old when Ambassador Worf offered to make your mother his attaché, you wouldn’t have seen your father much if you’d stayed, he was the XO and think of all the experiences you got growing up. Besides that was three years before the Borg War.”
“I know, I loved my childhood. There’s so much I can still remember vividly, Lyssa Campbell’s first day at ops, Alex Munro’s promotion, getting to help Captain Chakotay, Seven and the Doctor, Lieutenant Nozawa's wedding, Counsellor Kaz’s stories of his past lives…though Vorik was promoted and made chief engineer and Vulcans…”
“I know exactly what you mean.”
“I forget just how much we have in common sometimes.”
“Scary, no? One parent killed in the line of duty, the other becomes an ambassador with little time for us.”
“My mother’s a friend of Chancellor Worf, your father’s a friend of Empress Donatra.”
“It’s no surprise we’re best friends.”
“We’re more than that, R’Kal, we’re kindred spirits. Do you want to play the game?”
“The one we always used to play, see who can guess which ambassador will be shown first.”
“That was a long time ago.”
“Scared you’ll lose? Who’ll it be? Ambassador Ro? Ambassador Garak?”
R’Kal sighed, “Deanna Troi.”
“I say Ambassador S’taass.”
“The Gorn? It’ll be Ambassador Troi, I’m telling you,” traditionally, neither of them ever picked their parents.
Cinera was grateful to finally have some time to herself, she’d been invited into the city to watch the election but wanted to be alone after such a busy day, though she managed to be the first to congratulate her old friends Lieutenant Nell Chilton and Lieutenant Commander Tim Gaines from the Pasteur who were expecting their first child.
Peilingoe enjoyed the sight of crowds; he found it somewhat comforting, the unity of the people. So many people from different races and occupations all coming together to witness an event, that sense of bringing people together and uniting them was what had attracted Peilingoe to Starfleet all those years ago and being reminded that it still endured despite everything, was heart-warming and made him feel so lucky he was able to be a part of it again.
Robau sat in her quarters at Utopia Planitia and began writing the letter that would change her life. She didn’t plan on returning to Memory Alpha, her years at Utopia Planitia and her role in bringing the Cerberus to life made her long to be a part of the ongoing mission, she wanted to explore strange new worlds, be part of the first contact with new civilisations, she began writing her formal request to join the crew of the Cerberus.
One hour later and anticipation swept through the Federation Alliance, the result would be announced in moments, and unrelated people would be brought together across vast distances just to witness it. The next President of the United Federation of Planets was Surah of Defera.
Hassan, a man of peace, no stranger to battle and a natural born leader ready to tackle the unknown.
Matthews, a man lucky enough to have found time tested true love, enjoyed the last day of his vacation aboard the Royal Scotsman with his husband.
Tarek, a woman aware of the importance and change and carrying the knowledge of her experiences forward to become the best she could be sat with an old friend.
LaMarche, a man leaving his home, though he could make new friends anywhere as he had aboard the Onslaught, he couldn’t help but wonder if he could ever come to give his heart to somewhere else.
Shimura, a woman who could see the beauty in the smallest of things sat surrounded by family.
R’Kal, a young man who had found the greatest friendship, strengthened by the little things in life, such as the fact that were both wrong and the first ambassador to appear on screen was Ambassador Loriss of the Dominion.
Cinera, a woman of compassion, a healer, someone you would not hesitate to trust with your life.
Peilingoe, a calm yet passionate man who would take more joy from seeing two people of opposite ways of life shake hands than being showered in gold pressed latinum.
And Robau, a woman who loved challenges and loved to work, and was ready to start a new life.
Cugit, Emal Kotay, Cathy Ling, Maura, Nadeen, Norva, Miral Paris, Vilix'pran, Marc Tomson, Vaan, Paul Walker
Julian Bashir, Brilgar Anjoohs, Lyssa Campbell, Chakotay, Nell Chilton, Ezri Dax, The Doctor, Donatra, D'Tan, Elim Garak, Tim Gaines, Jarem Kaz, Bryan Kelly, Ro Laren, Stephen Leach, Loriss, Morn, Alexander Munro, Seven of Nine, Nog, Kashimuro Nozawa, Alyssa Ogawa, Aennik Okeg, Oorot, Melora Pazlar, Tom Paris, Jean-Luc Picard, Redux'pran, Daithan Ruhalter, Jake Sisko, S'taass, Surah, Denna Troi, B'Elanna Torres, Tropp, Vorik, Worf