USS Ronald Reagan
== Scotland - United Kingdom ==
=== March 2374 ===
Unlike previous times the pair had stood atop this hill, they were now doing in real life. The wind swept around them and the spray from the waves crashing against the rocks below covered their hair, clothes and exposed skin. It only took a few moments for the pair to become drenched still they stood in awkward silence neither wishing to be the first to acknowledge the ending of their time together. They had come here several times in the last two years hoping to work through their issues and to somehow reconcile, each time they left they were further apart than ever before.
The tears falling from Dan's eyes were invisible to the lady next to him after all their years of marriage she knew what he was thinking, that was maybe one of the biggest problems she had in found in their relationship - how one Admiral Dan Taylor professed to feel, was not how he came across. She had spent years dealing with his pig headed nature always trying to help him see what he was doing to connect with his feelings, until one day it just became too much for her. Jessica Taylor hung her head and let out a short sigh. Whilst she knew that their marriage was over in her head, her heart still raged its love for him something that she was sure would never change.
Dan turned towards her his face slick with both tears and sea spray, he didn't know which was causing the salty taste in his mouth the terrible thoughts and their associated tears or the terrible waves which bombarded this beautiful island all year around. After a few more moments of silent introspection he realised it didn't matter what was causing the taste the emotion caused by either was enough to overwhelm him by itself.
"Jess I-" his voice broke causing another silence, this one lasted 11 seconds before he composed himself "I never meant for any of this for us"
Commander Jessica Taylor looked at her husband and gave him a wistful smile, she knew that he hadn't planned for the two of them to drift apart the way they had he had just always been wrapped up with job or the kids. Their bonds had broken subtly without them realising it had occurred and after that she had just found herself thoroughly annoyed by things before she had found cute, the weight of those unresolved feelings just piled and piled until that day she had pushed things too far with. She stopped herself thinking of those thoughts, despite their break up there were still things she had done herself which she was holding back from him knowing that he could ill afford the feelings it would force up on him. Some would consider her cruel for holding back however after the heartache she knew he had suffered much more would break him.
"Dan, I know" she let her fingers gently rest on his arm for a moment before pulling her hand back "I know, we have both done, said and equally not done things that have brought us here."
The pair were silent for a few more minutes before Dan spoke again.
"Have you told Kurt?" Jessica's brother had become one of Dan's closest friends since the pair had gotten together. The only person who stood to be hurt by their fall out, other than the children, was her brother. Commander Kurt Darkly.
Jessica shook her head and turned away from the edge.
"I haven't yet, the Sovereign is due back in to space dock next week - I figured I would tell him face to face.
Dan nodded suddenly feeling uneasy about interacting with Kurt once he found out.
"That makes sense he is" Dan reached around inside his mind for the correct word "volatile since the Sovereign affair last year."
Jessica barely managed to hold back the eye roll, whatever this Sovereign affair had been was above her pay grade. The fact both her brother and her husband, ex-husband she mentally corrected herself, kept referring to it drove her batty.
== USS Ronald Reagan ==
=== Present Day - 3 hours out of space dock ===
There was a general level of unease aboard the bridge of USS Ronald Reagan, normally the launch of a new ship especially one as majestic a the Sovereign Class would have caused at the very least excitement amongst the crew if not out right joy. Everyone was waiting for a steer from the ships Commanding Officer Captain Kurt Darkly yet none was forthcoming, instead he sat staring daggers at the view screen his brow furrowed he had been that way since 4 minutes before the ship left space dock on its maiden voyage.
"You still don't know why he's here?" R'valrt purred as she spoke she pawed at the PADD that came with their new arrival gleaning no further information from it than the Captain did. "Purrhaps, he will be done with the mission before we hit the Delta Quadrant. After all" She continued as she placed the PADD back on the Captain's chair arm "It would be highly unusual for a former Fleet Admiral to be stationed aboard a ship of the line."
Kurt was silent for a few moments making the Caitian think he was ignoring her, before he spoke he rubbed his bald head.
"No XO, I'm pretty certain this is some sort of torture devised by Starfleet Command to give me my own ship finally and to ham string me with a flag officer at the same time."
The Caitain gave the Captain a sideways glance whilst wondering if her new commanding officer was always going to be this highly strung, scuttlebutt around the fleet had pegged Captain Darkly as a solid dependable officer who wasn't going to be prone to emotional outbursts like her previous commanding officer. A metaphorical light bulb went off in her head as she sat there, what if Captain Darkly's issues weren't flag officers but rather this particular flag officer. She tapped at the console built in to her chairs arm and pulled up Fleet Admiral Taylor's official Starfleet biography, much of it was redacted to her access level but she quickly scrolled past those bits and focused instead on the personal history and family information.
There in plain English was the reason why her Captain had such an issue with this Admiral, until 2372 he had been married to a Jessica Darkly - R'valrt knew that if she dug further she would find that was the sister or mother of one Kurt Darkly.
Kurt sighed from the corner of his eye he could see what R'valrt was searching in the ships computer.
"My sister" he said wearily "I have not seen the Fleet Admiral in over 10 years, nor do I want to his being aboard this ship complicates my command in a way I would prefer to avoid."
== Ready Room ==
"What on the almighty makers green earth are you doing putting me aboard this ship?" Dan seethed at Starfleet Command "I demand you re-assign me immediately. I can't stay another day aboard this ship with its Commanding Officer."
Opposite him on the holo screen was a calm, composed and smug Vulcan Admiral that Dan had never spoken to before.
"I understand your posting causes you some anguish, I wish it were possible to re-assign you Admiral Taylor but the Ronald Reagan is the only ship in the Delta Quadrant suitable for you to meet the number of species we need you too. It is more imperative than ever that we have strong ties with all species we have met in light of the recent issues with Picard, the Romulans and Synthetic lifeforms."
"The Ronald Reagan has a unique role in the Delta Quadrant no other ship is so removed from the politics of the region, she is purely on a scientific mission with no combat role at all. Every other ship in Task Force 38 is more intertwined in the areas politics than you can be to complete your mission."
Dan sighed a deep sigh of a man who was coming to terms with the fact he had been hoodwinked by his former staff members in to a role furthering the reach of the Federation, they never said it came with an ex-brother-in-law attached.
"So how does this work then Admiral" He said with a resigned tone "Where do I fit in the ships hierarchy? I am not mentioned on the manifest at all and even the Chief Engineers pet cat is listed on this manifest."
The Vulcan steepled his fingers and placed the tip of both index fingers against his chin, he thought for a moment before responding to the still agitated Admiral Taylor.
"There is the curiosity I mentioned previously, you are not part of the ships chain of command you are a Federation Ambassador first and a retired" The Vulcan stopped and read something from a PADD on his desk "A reservist Admiral second. Ordinarily you have no say over what happens aboard the ship unless there is a diplomatic element to the Ronald Reagan's mission then Captain Darkly must defer to you."
Despite his advancing age, Dan's brain was still working just fine it picked up on the correction between retired and reservist Admiral.
"What exactly happens if I am reactivated Admiral T'Va?"
"Nothing as such" Dan blinked as he saw what he was certain was a lie from the Admiral before him "It is hardly likely to happen, so hardly worth discussing."
The Vulcan shook his head.
"No Admiral, I've taken up too much of your time as it is. I'm sure Captain Darkly would like his ready room back, you'll find quarters have been arranged for you on Deck 7 just below the ships function room and bar. I do hope they've been prepared to your liking getting you aboard was a last minute change of plan."
A last minute change of plan? Dan thought to himself, how odd indeed - where had they thought to put him before? He wondered idly a question formed in his brain but Admiral T'Va cut the link before he had a chance to voice it.
"Why on earth am I aboard this ship?" Taylor said aloud to an empty room "He's going to think I'm here to keep watch on him."
As no reply was forthcoming from the now empty room he packed away the few PADD's he had brought with him when he had tried to get this fiasco resolved before the Ronald Reagan left space dock. He knew Kurt wasn't best pleased at having to give up his ready room to him, and at some point he knew the two would have to hash out their differences. That day wouldn't be today though.
Stepping out of the ready room on to the bridge he noticed the atmosphere immediately.
He does think I'm here to watch him Dan though to himself as he began walking towards the turbo lift.
"Thank you Captain for the use of your ready room, I've spoken to Admiral T'Va and as such my role here is as clear as mud. Perhaps you and I can discuss it tomorrow."
Darkly grunted his response and forced himself to speak.
"Yes Admiral, I would very much like that and to know how soon you'll be on your way to your permanent posting."