USS Odyssey

edited June 2020 in Task Force 17

Episode 1:

USS Odyssey NCC-80000
Hellian Expanse, Beta Quadrant,
Stardate: 76077.85

"Captain's log, stardate seven-six-oh-seven-seven point eight-five. It’s now been over a week since I returned home from the recent conference at Starbase Bravo. Odyssey finally arrived in the Hellian Expanse yesterday afternoon to begin our re-mapping exercise. This small region of space is filled with a range of spatial anomalies that requires us to keep our cartography records updated. The last time I was here was prior to the fateful loss of the Trinity, I do hope with this stint I’ll be returning home in my own ship and not an escape pod! While we start our survey, we are also using the time to celebrate some recent achievements on the senior staff.”

Gently bobbing on the ocean water, the tall nineteenth century galleon was an impressive site to see on the seas. On her stern read the name all in gold. Odyssey. On deck her crew were working extremely hard under the watchful eye of their commander: Captain James Preston McCallister.

Starring out at the sea, McCallister took in the fresh air through his nose and smiled at the sweet salt that filled his nostrils. The change of scenery was a welcome one for many of his crew, their mission of exploration had just started and there was a buzz on every deck. However, this little holographic distraction was a needed one. Slowly approaching him from behind, dressed in a British navy officer’s uniform, was his first officer. Commander Cambil Bexa, like everyone else, appeared to be enjoying herself in this little recreation of theirs.

Speaking in a formal tone, the Bajoran executive officer cleared her throat. “Captain, it’s time.”

Turning around, he smirked at her and nodded as he looked around on his “ship”. The recreation of an old galleon from Earth’s past with the name of Odyssey had been something suggested by the Chief of the Boat, Senior Chief Petty Officer Court. The captain’s yeoman and senior most enlisted officer on the ship had got his hands on a copy of the holoprogram through an associate of his that had worked on other ships, including the Federation’s flagship. It had been used as a way to make promotion ceremonies more memorable and had become a custom for the crew to perform this little ritual of theirs for every promotion.

Today was a big day in promotions. Three members of McCallister’s senior staff were being promoted. It was a bigger day for Cambil, as the three individuals were three of her former pupils that she had taught at the Academy together and had begged McCallister to take them on board the Triton so many years ago. He was glad she did. Right now, her smiles were huge with her sense of pride for all three.

“Bring out the prisoners!” shouted Cambil as the entire crew, who were present, turned towards the large hatch in the centre of the main deck. Being pulled out by their chief engineer, chief medical officer and their chief counsellor were the three officers in question.

A few of them were jeering them on, all the while making the experience fun. None of them were dressed in their navy jackets, just the undershirts and white trousers and boots. This was all complimented with the iron shackles around their wrists and ankles. The three of them stood almost shoulder to shoulder with the same bemused expression plastered across their faces, well except for one.

T’Rani, the ship’s Vulcan pilot remained placid as ever with her expression and emotional response. A typical logical woman. Her dark brown hair was pulled up and tied into a small bun behind her ears. Normally she would have it hanging in a short bob. Beside her and in the middle of the two of them was their chief operations officer Lukiz Jen. The joined Trill man was trying his best to remain in characters but couldn’t stop smirking at the others. Finally, next to him was Cline Lenjir, the ship’s security and tactical officer from Tiburon. Like Jen, he tried to compose himself and take the whole event seriously but was failing.

“T’Rani, Lukiz, Cline, words cannot describe how proud I am of you all that we have finally reached this moment in your careers.” Cambil spoke. Normally McCallister would be leading the opening speech, but today the captain allowed Cambil to do it as it meant a lot to her. “Are you all prepared to face the charges?”

Immediately, and on time, the three officers that had pulled them all out took out their swords and pointed them towards their “prisoners”.

Speaking to them all in a deep harsh tone was Doctor Sylvexs, the ship’s Denobulan chief medical officer. A shortish woman with normal wavy blonde hair, today she had followed in tradition and had pulled it up into a beehive like bun. “Answer her!” She bellowed.

A range of “I am” and “Yes” followed from the three officers. T’Rani kept her unamused response still in check.

Taking out a large white scroll, Cambil read out what it said in a clear voice for all to hear. “We, the officers and crew of the U-S-S. Odyssey, being of sound mind and judgment, hereby make the following charges against Lieutenants T’Rani, Jen and Lenjir. One. That they did knowingly and wilfully perform above and beyond the call of duty on countless occasions. Two. Most seriously, that all of them have earned the admiration and respect of the entire crew.”

Smiling at the foolery they were engaged with, McCallister stepped forward, just before the top step that would lead down to the lower part of the main deck where everyone else was. “Miss T’Rani, Mr Jen and Mr Lenjir, I hereby promote you all to the rank of Lieutenant Commander, with all the rights and privileges thereto. Congratulations!”

Everyone erupted into cheers and applaud after the captain had finished. McCallister walked down towards them, still plastered with the smile across his face. Approaching each one as they were released from their handcuffs, he shook their hands and congratulated them. Cambil was close behind and was hugging each one affectionately.

McCallister turned around to see his wife, Karyn Reyas getting everyone to cheer as she shouted “Hip! Hip!” and they answered with “Hooray!” More applause followed and cheers echoed across the old sailing ship.

Walking over to his wife, he pulled her into a hug. It was a nice to be home with her and their boys, who were all climbing the riggings at this point.

From another point on the deck another voice was heard, this time it was the chief of the boat himself, “Now walk the plank!” Court shouted.

More encouragement as the three of them were guided to the three planks that sat on the port side of the ship. Again, another custom that had been shared from the Federation’s flagship was the challenge for each newly promoted officer to walk out on the long beam of wood and jump for their officer’s hat.

“Do you think they’ll do it?” His wife said as they both watched from the upper deck.

“I wouldn’t want to-” The captain barely had a chance to finish his sentene when he was interrupted.

“Bridge to Holodeck One.”

Rolling his eyes at the bad timing of the call, McCallister turned to face away from the crowd and tapped his combadge that sat under his coat. “McCallister here, go ahead Lieutenant Oran.”

Lieutenant Naef Oran, the ship’s assistant chief science officer, was currently on the bridge on duty. The Brikarian officer spoke in his deep gravelly voice. “Captain, we’ve receiving a distress call from the U-S-S Holt. They report they’re under attack, but their message stops there.”

The mention of the Holt startled the captain as it was his former first officer’s new ship. He was confused though at that statement. “Are you sure Naef? The Holt was patrolling the Gorn border near to Cestus.” McCallister was confused. They were hundreds of light years away from Gorn space, in fact they were closer to Romulan space than anything else.

“I was sceptical too sir, but we’ve confirmed it is legitimate.”

“Take us to red alert and lay in a course at maximum warp for their last known location.” McCallister ordered. He tapped his combadge and looked around to see that his three new lieutenant commanders had all been successful in their challenge. Gutted he didn’t see it, the cheers from everyone else were stopped as the klaxon for battlestations were sounded.

“Computer, end program.” McCallister ordered and the silver and grey hologrid appeared as the computer complied with his request.

From the nineteenth century paradise, the crew were brought back to reality of the twenty-fourth century.


  • BF_MJBF_MJ Member

    USS Odyssey NCC-80000
    Hellian Expanse, Beta Quadrant,
    Stardate: 76017.7

    Dropping out of warp, the mighty Odyssey slowed to impulse as it arrived at its destination. Exiting out of his ready room after quickly getting changed into his Starfleet uniform, Captain McCallister made his way across the bridge. Tugging on the jacket’s ends, he smoothed his top out. He wasn’t a fan of this new uniform; he preferred the old grey shouldered ones from a few years back. No-one quite understood why Starfleet felt the need for almost every decade to change the uniform when they did. Noticing everyone on the senior staff were all present back in their uniforms, the captain didn’t blame them all wanting to be there. Captain Zack Hawkins was a close friend to many of them, he had served on the Odyssey for five years before assuming command of his own ship. In that time, he had built up a close rapport with them all, McCallister included. So the mystery around how his state of the art vessel was in danger and misplaced intrigued them all.

    Odyssey’s bridge was much larger than most ships. It still had the central command ‘pit’ with the chair for the captain, first officer and the counsellor. In front of them the two stations for helm and operations. Sat behind the first officer’s chair was the security and tactical station while on the opposite side behind the counsellor’s chair was the first of many mission ops station. On the port side of the bridge, were all the enginering stations installed along the main wall. Parallel to it, on the other side were the science stations. With most of the stations, holographic displays hovered above them. The ship’s master situation display sat at the rear of the bridge between the doors for the observation lounge. The dark latte gold colouring of the chairs and stations where complimented by the pastel merlot colouring with the Prussian blue in the carpets. The bridge had that warm feeling but was also practical for allowing the ship to engage in a range of missions, from scientific to tactical too.

    Walking across his bridge, McCallister kept his posture neutral – he didn’t want to seem worried yet. “Report?” He asked as he approached the middle.

    Cambil, rose from the captain’s chair to take her one. “We’re approaching the Holt now.” She answered. “No responses from our hails.”

    Rubbing his cheeks with his left hand, McCallister felt his stubble against his fingertips. He looked over to security and tactical chief, “Cline, raise shields, charge all weapons.”

    The Tiburon officer nodded in response and began to carry out his orders bringing the ship’s weapons and defensive systems online. It was no surprise the captain had ordered it; the distress call had indicated they had been attacked. They would soon see what happened.

    “I’ve got the Holt on sensors.” Announced Commander Reyas from the science station.

    Turning to face where his wife was sat, McCallister took a breath. What had happened to his former first officer’s ship would now be revealed. “Onscreen.” He ordered.

    Reyas swiped across the holographic computer display in front of her and transferred the image of the Holt to the main screen.

    In an instant, the colour drained from McCallister’s face as they were all confronted with the image of the burning hulk of the Elysion class. The debris from the ship was shattered across the entire screen.

    Gulping once, McCallister tried to speak when his voice didn’t want to. “Lifesigns?”

    Reyas had already pre-empted that command and looked over to McCallister with an even sadder face. “None James.” She said solemnly. “I’m detecting no escape pods or auxiliary craft. The entire ship is destroyed.”

    Silence flooded the bridge as no-one said anything. Taking his chair, McCallister sat down as he tried to compartmentalise the loss of Hawkins and his entire crew and now, he knew they needed to know what happened to the Holt. “Karyn start scanning the debris, I want to know what’s out there, search for the log bouy if you can.” He looked over to his Betazoid chief engineer, “Tremnt, start pulling in debris that is safe to bring on board. I want a full analysis of what happened that resulted in the destruction of that ship.”

    Commander Hunsen nodded and replied with a gruff “aye sir” while Karyn was automatically giving out orders to her science team.

    Looking over his shoulder to Lenjir, McCallister continued to give out his commands, “Cline start scanning the area, the Holt’s distress call indicated they were under attack. If the aggressors are still out there, then I want to see them before they try anything with us.”

    “Of course, sir.” Lenjir responded.

    “Number One, the bridge is yours. I’ll be speaking with Starfleet about this.” McCallister rose from his chair after speaking to his executive officer. He looked to his left; Counsellor Duncan sat there with a similar expression of disbelief plastered across his face. “Max, with me for a moment.”

    Walking back across the bridge, McCallister made his way towards to his ready room with the counsellor in tow. This was not how the captain had expected their first exploration mission to go.

  • BF_MJBF_MJ Member
    edited June 2020

    USS Odyssey NCC-80000
    Hellian Expanse, Beta Quadrant,
    Stardate: 76017.7

    The moment the ready room door closed behind Counsellor Duncan, McCallister gave out a sigh and turned to Max. He knew that what just transpired out there on the bridge would be affecting the ship’s therapist and chief diplomatic officer more than most.

    “Are you okay Max?” McCallister asked as he took his seat behind his desk and gestured for the younger man to sit in one of the armchairs opposite to him.

    Without hesitation, Duncan sat down too. “Absolutely sir. Why wouldn’t I?”

    Trying to avoid the obvious and not knowing how else to say it without upsetting the young commander, McCallister shared his reason. “I know Captain Hawkins meant a lot to you, not just as a mentor here on the Odyssey but also with his connection to your father.”

    “I appreciate your concern sir, but I will be able to perform my duties.” Duncan said in an uncharacteristic hardened tone.

    Surprised at his remarks, McCallister had yet to properly speak with the counsellor since the funeral of his father, the late Fleet Admiral Duncan. He didn’t want to push it any further. “Okay, I’d appreciate it if you stay close to the crew. I’m sure many of them will be distraught at the news.”

    “Aye sir.”

    “Dismissed.” McCallister said, still worried that the counsellor was blocking him out. He watched as the counsellor left and then the captain got back to his work at hand, sending a message to Vice Admiral Thrace about the destruction of the Holt. After setting up the message, McCallister was distracted for a moment. He looked around his ready room, again it was bigger than most ready rooms on other Starfleet ships. It was setup in an almost long rectangular shape with his desk in one corner, under the drooping bay windows, while on the other side were a number of comfortable sofas. A replicator sat opposite to his desk. Over the years he had added his own personal collectable items. On the walls a number of pictures, especially of Karyn and the boys, were hanging. Then there was one that caught his eye. It was a picture of him and Zack, the day after the ship had launched from drydock.

    USS Odyssey NX-80000
    En-route to Deep Space 19, Kovar System
    Stardate: 64303.97

    “Say cheese!”


    McCallister’s grin was still apparent after his wife had taken the picture of him and his new first officer. The two men, who were both in the newest uniforms from Starfleet, no longer the dark grey shoulder uniforms but an updated version of the uniform from the early 2370s, had placed their arms around each other as they took the picture.

    “That’s great.” Karyn said as she turn the holo-camera around to show them. “Definitely need to get a copy of that for your new ready room James.”

    “Absolutely.” He replied as he took a sip from his flute of champagne.

    The entire crew were now celebrating in the ship’s main crew lounge. It had been a full day since the launch of the brand-new Odyssey class. Being the prototype, they had a lot to manage to ensure that their shakedown cruise was a success. That all said, McCallister had insisted that they do whatever it took to bring the entire crew together. A majority of the crew on the new Odyssey were members from his former command, the Triton, while the rest were from the previous ship named Odyssey. It only seemed fitting that the two crews that had worked together to prevent a disaster and another war with the Cardassian Union, should be stationed together. The loss of the previous ship named Odyssey and the heavy damage sustained to the Triton had given that avenue for McCallister to explore when he accepted his new command.

    Fortunately for him, his new first officer had been on the old Odyssey. Commander Zack Hawkins, in the same position. Hawkins had flown through the ranks as one of the ship’s original pilots before joining the command track. He had learnt everything under Captain McCragg and Fleet Admiral Duncan, the two men that had commanded the former Odyssey. In some ways McCallister had wondered if he had cheated Hawkins out of a promotion, but as the man had only been a first officer for a year, joining McCallister’s team would only serve him well before he was offered his own command.

    Karyn smiled at both men as she left them to it and joined with the other crew. Turning to face his number one who was also drinking from a champagne flute, McCallister spoke up. “So, is it weird being on a new Odyssey?” He asked.

    Hawkins just shook his head, “Nah, not at all.” He responded as he finished the contents of his flute and put it down on the raised bar area they were near. The crew lounge was almost twice the size of a Galaxy-class ship. Along with its inverted bay windows and raised areas with seating on it, it also included a bar as well as galley supplemented by replicators. In the background a small band was playing quite cheerful music, while everyone enjoyed a buffet spread that included delicacies from across the Federation. “Besides serving on Deep Space Nineteen, since my academy days I’ve always been on a ship named Odyssey.” He added.

    “Really?” McCallister said in between sips of his drink. “I knew you served under Fleet Admiral Duncan, but I didn’t realise it was for that long?”

    Hawkins nodded to confirm. “Absolutely, I was a low-ranking ensign on the first Odyssey when he became a captain. That was the Prometheus-class ship, then when he was giving command of its successor, the Explorer-class he brought me along then. It wasn’t long until I was his chief flight control officer and then when he took command of Deep Space Nineteen, he gave Captain McCragg the Odyssey. I joined the crew of Deep Space Nineteen for a bit, making my way into the role of chief strategic operations officer before McCragg asked me to join him as his first officer last year.”

    “Wow,” McCallister stated, “So it’s not you I should be worried about if I cause the name Odyssey to get a bad reputation, it’s the admiral and captain?”

    Hawkins laughed out loud. “More so the admiral than anyone else.” He leant over the bar and asked the bartender to grab them both another drink, Aldebaran whiskey. Looking back to McCallister, Hawkins continued. “And don’t worry about McCragg being jealous he didn’t get this gig. He was more than happy to return to Kovar.”

    “What is he doing on Kovar anyway?” McCallister inquired as the bartender gave both men another drink. “I heard rumours that he is opening up a new campus for Starfleet Academy.”

    “He is,” Hawkins said. “Starfleet wants him to assume command of the project. Obviously the campus won’t be as big as the one in San Francisco, but McCragg said he enjoyed his time teaching at the academy. He’s the right man to lead a new annex in that region of space. He told me himself, he wants to calm his life down and enjoy it on some beautiful planet.”

    Lowering his eyebrows slightly, McCallister didn’t quite believe that last statement. “Kovar is a beautiful planet, isn’t it mostly covered in water?”

    Sniggering at that comment, Hawkins shook his head. “Absolutely not. It has some of the best beaches that could rival Risa and Gedi Prime. It’s only been in recent years that they’ve really started to develop the colony. I get why the admiral and his wife are retiring there. Have you never been there?”

    McCallister shook his head and then enjoyed another sip from his champagne. “No,” He said after finishing the small taste. “I suppose if we have time after this trip I could take Karyn down for a day or two.”

    “Do it, you’ll understand why Captain McCragg calls it is the crown jewels of the Beta Quadrant.” Hawkins said still smirking.

    McCallister felt more comfortable as he got to know Hawkins more. They appeared almost similar in their mannerism and the way they thought. Thankfully, McCallister thought, he wouldn’t have to break in a brand new first officer.

  • BF_MJBF_MJ Member

    USS Odyssey NCC-80000
    Hellian Expanse, Beta Quadrant,
    Stardate: 76017.7

    From the science station, Karyn Reyas watched as her husband marched towards his ready room with Commander Max Duncan in tow. Karyn couldn’t get over the loss of the Holt. She felt guilty being the one to announce the news. Closing her eyes for a second, she took a moment to concentrate on her breathing and think about what had transpired. Immediately she re-opened them and went straight to work. She wanted to know what the hell happened to Hawkins and his ship. Manipulating the holographic displays along with the touchscreen console, Karyn was determined to find the first piece of this puzzle, the Holt’s log buoy. It’s discovery would unleash onto them so many answers to so many questions they had about what had happened. Who had attacked them? How did they end up so far away from their previous position? What destroyed them? Why were there no survivors?

    Her assistant head of department walked across the bridge and sat down with an almost great big thud. Thankfully the chairs on Odyssey could sustain his heavy build. The Brikarian man glanced over to her and spoke. “Commander, the astrometrics team have already started scanning the area one square meter at a time. We’re going to get a detailed analysis of what happened here.”

    “Good, I am sure that would be reassuring for the captain.” Reyas replied as she carried on with her own scans. “I want to find the log buoy sooner rather than later. While I’m doing that can you scan the area for any natural occurring phenomena Naef?”

    Lieutenat Oran appeared confused at that request. “Surely my team in astrometrics would be able to find that out ma’am?”

    Nodding in agreement, Reyas shared her train of thought. “Yes they will, but I don’t want to wait that long. My hunch is the Holt’s sudden arrival here was caused by something else, I may be wrong but if there’s something out there like a subspace corridor or another anomaly that pulled them across, then I want to know straight away.”

    Understanding where she was coming from, the large orange, stone like creature got to work trying to find what could be impossible answers.

    Ten minutes into her work, Karyn felt a comfortable hand rest on the back of her shoulders. “How’s it going?” asked the ship’s Bajoran first officer.

    Looking up to her right, Reyas smiled at the support from her friend. “The amount of debris is making it impossible to find the buoy.”

    Commander Cambil squeezed her eyes as she looked at the readings that were on display. “Trying changing your search parameters.” She suggested.

    “To what?” Reyas questioned.

    “The Holt was an Elysion-class starship. Brand new, top of the line, and I just read that Starfleet had used kellinite to reinforce a good proportion of the hull. That included the area the buoy was stored in. If we filter out kellinite from the scans, then it may make it easier to find it.”

    “Thanks Bexa,” Reyas said and made the alterations to her search. Within a few seconds of making the changes, the sensor found what she wanted. “Got it!”

    Tapping her combadge, Cambil spoke into it. “Bridge to Captain McCallister.”

    “Go ahead Number One.” replied McCallister.

    “Sir, Commander Reyas has just found the Holt’s log buoy. Shall we beam it onboard?” Cambil asked.

    “Do it and once safety checks are complete, then begin to download its computer core to ours. Well done Commander Reyas!” McCallister said in a more positive tone.

    “Thank you James.” Reyas said as she went back to getting the coordinators for the transporter.

    They had just made their first successful move.

  • BF_MJBF_MJ Member

    USS Odyssey NCC-80000
    Hellian Expanse, Beta Quadrant,
    Stardate: 76017.8

    The moment the cargo bay transporter had finished its cycle, Karyn stepped forward with her hand tricorder in her hands. Already she began scanning the log buoy and within seconds gave out a sigh of relief as she was told the good news from her scanner that the device from intact.

    Behind her operating one of the stand-up consoles was the ship’s chief operations officer, recently promoted Lieutenant Commander Lukiz Jen. The joined Trill was one gifted individual with his ingenious levels, that said he kept it in check by not being arrogant with it. In fact, Lukiz was a quieter man.

    “It should be quite easy to connect the buoy to the ship’s computer library.” Jen said, his focus still on his console.

    Returning to stand next to him, the El-Aurian chief science officer agreed with him. “It’s in a good state, seeing as it survived the destruction of the ship. Not many scratches.”

    Standing almost shoulder to shoulder now as they read the progress of the download, both officers were keen to find the answers that Captain McCallister wanted to know.

    “Looks like there's an active file here.” Jen reported the moment the first few files downloaded. “It’s encoded for transmission to…” He paused as he read the log. “That can’t be right.”

    Reyas looked further at the holographic display that Jen was reading. “What’s the problem?”

    “Well it’s encoded to be sent to Starfleet Command as well as to Captain McCallister.” He answered as he got more details. “I think it Captain Hawkins’ last log entry. I can only get audio.”

    “Play it.” Reyas whispered. She knew she shouldn’t but the wife in her wanted to protect her husband from anymore hurt. If she knew what was on the file before he did she could perhaps prepare him.

    The cargo bay speakers came to life the smooth voice and charismatic tones of Zack Hawkins. The man that her husband (as well as her and so many others) trusted on Odyssey for a number of years.

    “With any luck, my next log entry will be made at Starbase Eighty-Two. But should our luck run out while patrolling the Gorn border, I'd like to say for the record that the crew of the Holt acted with distinction and valour.”

    That statement was still confusing to Karyn and Lukiz seemed just as perplexed as she did.

    “Continue with the download and then we’ll need to review the data.” Reyas said. “I’m going to take this message to the captain.”

    Nodding in understanding what he needed to do, Jen came up with an idea. “I may be able to recreate the Holt’s bridge on the holodeck and we could watch what happened before it was lost.”

    “Yeah, put that together Lukiz.” Reyas agreed with and downloaded the message on to the PADD to take to her husband.

    The moment she left the cargo bay with the PADD in her hands, she made her way towards the nearest turbolift. As she got in she wondered just why Zack had prepared to send part of his log entry to James.

    “Bridge.” She ordered as she tried to understand Zack’s actions further. What she remembered of him, he was a caring individual and so like James in command styles.

    USS Odyssey NX-80000
    Berengaria System
    Stardate: 65383.75

    Having the chance to relax to herself, Karyn was enjoying a quiet afternoon to herself in her quarters. The quarters themselves were pretty huge and without James around and the boys were out, she was able to enjoy something that she rarely got to eat. Chocolate ice cream. One of James’ favourite treats, since their marriage, Karyn had developed a fondness for it too.

    Taking small bits from it, she sat still in her uniform on the large sweeping sofa under the sloped bay windows with the lights in the living area. Since James left to command the Avenger with a few others a few months ago, she had found herself missing him so much.

    The door chime went off and she looked up and over to the door. “Enter.” She said finishing a mouthful.

    Swooshing open, the doors revealed Acting Captain Zack Hawkins. The tallish man had dark brown swept back and a lot of stubble around his cheeks and chin. His light blue eyes glistened a bit as he came in with his usual boyish grin. “Hey Karyn, is it okay to come in? I don’t want to interrupt if the boys are sleeping?”

    Chuckling at that notion that her three baby sons would all take a nap at the same time, Karyn waved her visitor in. “No, they’re out.”

    Showing a quick jovial concerned look, Hawkins asked her where they were. “With who?” He added.

    “Tobias, bless him, since James left has been taking them for a stroll in their hover pushchair to the arboretum every afternoon. It gives me time to sort out their evening meals and ready for their bed.” Karyn explained. “He’s quite the natural babysitter!”

    Hawkins laughed at the notion that the captain’s yeoman would consider a change in career to childcare. “Tobi has a good heart.”

    “He does.” Karyn said, “Can I get you a drink Zack?”

    Nodding in response, Zack remained still standing by the door so Karyn gestured for him to come in further as she got up and went over to the replicator. “What do you want?”

    “Something cold and with some sugar in it would be nice.” Zack replied as he sat in one of the armchairs.

    “Computer, one tall chocolate milkshake with extra whipped cream and a straw!” Karyn ordered and the moment the drink was created she picked it up and took it over to him. “I noticed once that James got you this during a senior staff meeting.”

    Blushing as if a big secret had been revealed, Zack appreciated the gesture. “Like you, he got me obsessed in trying new things with chocolate. What’s with that by the way?”

    She giggled, “Yeah, I don’t know but when he is stressed chocolate appears to be his go to food to help.”

    “It is good.” Hawkins said as he took several sips. He put it down on the glass coffee table and then spoke further. “Karyn, I hope you don’t me coming to you but I’m not sure who else to chat to about this on the ship.”

    “Oh okay,” she said after taking a bite of her ice cream and now sat up straight on the sofa. It was obvious serious what he wanted to talk about. “Is this off the record?”

    “Sort of.” Zack said, “It’s just, Starfleet has not told me exactly how long James will be gone for and where he was going. I was just wondering if he ever hinted anything to you? I think I’m becoming paranoid while sitting in his chair.”

    Shaking her head, Karyn couldn’t properly answer the question for him. “Like you, it was kept secret from me. Normally when Starfleet re-assigns captains from bigger ships like the Odyssey to smaller ships like the Avenger then it has be for a certain type of mission. My money is on him conducting something for Starfleet Intelligence based on the last mission the Triton was on. It can be the only logical reason.”

    “Yeah that thought did cross my mind too.” Zack said as he picked up his milkshake and sucked on it again. “I just don’t understand why Starfleet didn’t replace him on here and why we’re now undertaking low-level missions within the core territory of the Federation. I mean come on, that mission on Berengaria Seven to deliver those dragon catchers wasn’t something that overly taxed us.”

    “James did mention he reckoned that Odyssey will lose her N-X registry soon as she’s been active for some time now and others of this class are being built. Maybe Starfleet wants us closer to home to do their final assessments.” Karyn offered. “I really don’t think you’ve got anything to worry about. Plus, you’ve got close connections with Fleet Admiral Duncan, I’m sure he pulled in a few favours to give you the chance to practice being in that centre chair. Knowing the admiral, he’s probably pushing for you to get a command of your own, very soon.”

    Agreeing with her point of view, Hawkins seemed a bit re-assured. “Yeah I know, I just wish James could tell us if that was the case.”

    “Well make a request to Starfleet Command to send him an encoded message, he may be able to give you some answers without revealing what he is up to.” She suggested.

    “That’s a good idea Karyn, thank you.” He stood up. “I’ve taken up too much of your time already. I’ll see you in the morning for the staff briefing.”

    “Yes of course,” Karyn said smiling. “And Zack,” she said calling after him, “James may not be here but you’ve got a crew around you that trust you and you can depend on. If you want to ever come round for another milkshake or any other chocolate substance…well I’m happy to have you here!”

    He gave her a big smile as he left.

    USS Odyssey NCC-80000
    Hellian Expanse, Beta Quadrant,
    Stardate: 76017.8

    The lift came to a halt and Karyn left it to make her way over to her husband who was stood by the ship’s master situation display.

    “You got something Karyn?” He asked the moment he caught attention of her presence.

    “It’s the first file we’ve downloaded, Lukiz is doing the rest at the moment. I just thought you may want to listen to this, Zack encoded his last log entry to send to you and Starfleet Command.” Karyn said as she passed him the PADD. “It just doesn’t make sense why he did that and what he said has nothing to do with you.”

    Taking the PADD, McCallister sighed from frustration of another mystery for them to solve. “Let me listen to it in my ready room.” He said disheartened as he walked across the bridge to hear what his old first officer had said.

    Karyn watched him go, she felt helpless that she couldn’t provide any more support to him.

  • BF_MJBF_MJ Member

    USS Odyssey NCC-80000
    Hellian Expanse, Beta Quadrant,
    Stardate: 76017.9

    After listening to the log entry more than once, McCallister could not work out why it had been encoded to be sent to him. Stood in his office, he was trying to connect the dots. He just couldn’t with the insufficient evidence he currently had.

    “Tea, hot with sugar.” He said to his ready room’s replicator that was behind him. It complied and created his beverage within an instant. Sipping on the English breakfast tea brand that he favoured all the time, McCallister could not for the life of him work out what this latest part of the puzzle meant. Standing up, he walked around his desk and leant on one of the beams that held up the massive bay windows he had. He stared out into space, looking at the debris field that was slowly being collected in by the Odyssey’s engineering team.

    The door’s chime went off and without looking over to the entrance, he simply answered with “come in”.

    Stepping in and walking over to him was his son, Alfie. “Hey dad, hope it’s okay coming up to see you?”

    Straight away, he went from captain mode to dad move. James smiled deeply at his son, “Alfie Bear!” He greeted by using the nickname that he used to call him when he was a lot younger. “It’s good to see you, thanks for coming.”

    Rolling his eyes at the use of his old pet name, Alfie just wandered over and gave his father a hug. “I heard what happened dad, just wanted to check that you’re okay. I know Commander Hawkins meant a lot to you.”

    Smiling and returning the hug (something he rarely got from his sons these days), James was happy to see his twelve-year-old boy. “Zack meant a lot to a number of us buddy.”

    “Do you know what happened to his ship yet?” Alfie asked after letting go and looking up.

    Shaking his head twice, James answered him back honestly. “Not yet, we’re working on it though.”

    “Will you and mom be home for dinner tonight?” His son asked. “Because if not, Uncle Tobi said he would look after us.”

    Rubbing his forehead, not knowing if he would get home tonight, James answered his son. “I’m not sure yet Alf, mom and I have a lot of work to do. Let me chat it over with her and then we’ll let you know. Anyway, I thought you were going over to Sammy’s place tonight for a sleepover?”

    Rolling his eyes again, Alfie shook his head. “Dad that’s tomorrow night! Don’t you ever listen?”

    “Sorry man, I thought it was tonight, must be getting my day’s mixed up.” James remarked back apologetically.

    “It’s a good thing you’ve got Uncle Tobi to keep your schedule up to date.” Alfie commented on.

    “Truer words were never spoken.” James admitted. “That’s why his just not your godfather but also my yeoman and chief of the boat. His very talented!”

    “Well dad, I better get back home. I’ve got homework to do.” Alfie said before leaning in to give his dad another hug. “See you later tonight, hopefully.”

    “Definitely bud,” James replied as he held onto his son and kissed the top of his head quickly. “I promised Henri another chapter of Sherlock tonight before bed.”

    “I’ll hold you to that.” His son said as he let go and walked out of his office.

    As Alfie walked out of the doorway, Lieutenant Commander Jen walked in. The joined Trill gave Alfie a friendly smiled as he went on by and looked at the captain.

    “Is it okay to come in sir?” The operations manager asked.

    Nodding and gesturing for the younger man to do just that, McCallister answered, “Yes of course Lukiz, please tell me you’ve uncovered more that may help us with this.”

    “Yes and no sir. I’ve just left a set of sensor logs with Commander Reyas to review, but I think I know how the Holt got here.” He answered.

    “How?” McCallister asked, eager to know.

    Jen passed him a PADD he had been holding, “A soliton wave.” He shared.

  • BF_MJBF_MJ Member

    USS Odyssey NCC-80000
    Hellian Expanse, Beta Quadrant,
    Stardate: 76018.0

    Sitting in the conference room behind Odyssey’s bridge, the senior staff remained quiet as Lieutenant Commander Lukiz Jen presented to them what he had found out about the destruction of the Holt.
    “I’ve pieced together a majority of the records from the log buoy and I can summarise that the Holt’s destruction was caused by a soliton wave.” The Trill operations officer explained as he manipulated the large size console and monitor that took up the length of the wall parallel to the drooping bay windows. He first brought up a navigational log from the Holt. “The ship was originally stationed here, between Cestus III and the Betreka Nebula, conducting a patrol of the Klingon-Federation-Gorn border. Captain Hawkins did not raise any concern until his last log entry.”

    “The one he had prepared to send to me?” McCallister asked from the head of the table.

    Jen turned to look over his right shoulder. “Yes sir. Obviously, the message was confusing with what he said about his next log entry being done at Starbase Eighty-Six as they were patrolling our side of the Gorn border.”

    “What he said sounded as if he knew they may not survive.” Cambil added with.

    Agreeing further with the Bajoran commander, Jen shared his thoughts. “I think I know why. The Holt had detected some unusual subspace and gravimetric readings during their patrol. Thinking it was cloaked vessels, Captain Hawkins investigated and when they arrived in a neutral system along the Gorn border they encountered natural forming soliton waves. However, while they were there, they found a Gorn ship too.”

    Interrupting the operations officer, Commander Reyas tried to jump the gun slightly. “Is that who attacked them?”

    “No, I think there was some confusion. When some of the soliton waves increased in size and power, the Holt attempted to destabilise them with a spread of torpedoes. The Gorn took it as a sign of aggression and fired on them, a wave then hit the Holt. Captain Hawkins had the sent out a distress call as the wave swept them away at high speeds, almost close to transwarp speeds.” Jen said as he brought up further sensor readings from the destroyed Federation ship. “Captain Hawkins ordered a spread of torpedoes again to stop the wave however as the wave they were riding on had accelerated and had gained energy in the process, they had not considered this when they destroyed the wave with more torpedoes. The high subspace distortion was enough to destroy the Holt.”

    The room fell silent.

    “That sucks.” Spoke the gruff tones of Commander Tremt Hunsen. The Betazoid engineer did not show any empathy to their fallen comrades. His expression appeared more let down at the mere fact that the Holt had been lost due to a natural phenomenon and not in a heroic way. Obviously picking up the captain’s thoughts through his telepathic abilities, Hunsen cleared his throat to look at his captains. “The high amount of subspace radiation we found on a number of hull fragments would support Lukiz’s evidence sir.”

    “Is there anything else we need to know?” Doctor Slyvexs asked from the opposite end. The Denobulan doctor had remained sat up straight in her chair during the entire briefing.

    Jen shook his head. “Nothing I’m afraid doctor.” He took his seat in between T’Rani and Lenjir.

    Taking in a deep breath, McCallister leant forward and spoke in a solemn tone. “Can I ask you all to finalise your reports and I’ll inform Starfleet of what we’ve investigated. Thank you everyone.”

    That was his cue for everyone to leave, however his counsellor remained behind and approached the captain after getting out of his chair.

    “Captain do you have a moment?” Commander Duncan asked.

    Nodding, McCallister replied with a simple ‘yes’.

    “Sir, as Captain Hawkins was a big part of our crew, I thought it would be appropriate we organise a memorial for him and his crew.” Duncan suggested.

    Nodding his head in agreement, McCallister allowed it. “Go ahead Max, make whatever plans you think are appropriate.”

    Standing up, Duncan thanked the captain and left him.

    McCallister stared out of the large windows and wondered where he would find the strength to speak to Starfleet about the loss of the Holt and his former first officer and good friend, Captain Zack Hawkins.

  • BF_MJBF_MJ Member

    USS Odyssey NCC-80000
    Hellian Expanse, Beta Quadrant,
    Stardate: 76020.6

    Captain’s log stardate seven six oh two oh point six. I have submitted our report on the loss of the Holt to Starfleet Command Headquarters and informed them of the Gorn’s involvement. Thankfully there’s been no further repercussions from the misunderstanding with them. Counsellor Duncan has prepared a memorial for the crew of the Holt and Captain Hawkins.

    In the main crew lounge it felt like a majority of the crew had turned up to pay their respects. Stood in the central pit on the lower floor of the lounge (also known as the auditorium by some of the crew), Captain McCallister was surrounded by his sons and wife as they looked to the bar where Duncan was stood in front of it in the centre. Knowing that their chief counsellor and diplomatic officer had originally asked not to speak about the recent loss of his father, the famous fleet admiral, it had been a welcome surprise when he had offered to organise and lead the memorial service.

    Clearing his throat, with a drink in his hand, Duncan started and his voice echoed around the room as the computer picked it and transmitted across the intercom system. “I’m not aware if any of us knew many of our fallen comrades from the Holt, but what I do know is that like so many who have sacrificed their lives for this uniform did so honourable and courageously.” Pausing so he could look at a good number of his audience, Duncan continued to speak. “When we all signed up to join Starfleet, none of us knew what dangers lurked around the next corner but we knew that it would never be easy. What we do day in and day out isn’t a pleasure cruise for any of us. It doesn’t matter what position we hold; we all contribute to that effort. If the Holt crew is like this crew, then I am certain they all knew that, every day when they put on their uniforms.”

    There was complete silence in the room as everyone starred and listened in depth to what the counsellor was saying. “In fact I am certain they knew it, as so many of us here knew their captain well. Captain Zack Hawkins was an amazing man. When he was our first officer, he took his time to get to know us all. I know his daily visits to various departments became legendary as so many department heads thought he was doing an inspection, but what he was really doing was making sure we, as a crew, were okay and understood that the work we did was worthwhile. When he left to take command of the Holt, I can remember he insisted that Commander Cambil carry on that tradition, of which she has.” At that point he raised his glass towards the Bajoran executive officer and there were a few cheers and claps for that. “She has honoured him well and was a worthy successor, but I think it’s time we all carry that burden. This ship has been in service for over a decade now, we are a fine crew and I like to think one of the best in Starfleet. So we need to make sure we look after one another, check-in with one another. When Captain Hawkins agreed to become Captain McCallister’s first officer so many years ago, they boldly took on a challenge of integrating two well established crews from two separate ships and put them together on one. But I know for a fact that none of us look at ourselves as a former member of either of those ships, we are one unit, one family. So let us honour the memory of our fallen former first officer and continue to move forward together doing what he always said to us: we are making a difference with everything we do.”

    The entire lounge then erupted into cheers and applaud. Joining in with the celebration, McCallister knew that Duncan had said everything right and had chosen a great way to preserve Hawkins’ legacy. Knowing he had to say something to the crew, McCallister eased himself through the crowd and joined Duncan by the bar. The crew all quiet down and the captain took a glass from the side off from a tray (that was ready to be handed out to everyone) and raised it.
    “To Captain Hawkins and the crew of the Holt, may they rest in peace knowing they served the Federation well!” He said and the entire crew copied his actions and raised their glasses too.

    McCallister clinked his glass with Duncan’s then took a sip from it. He immediately realised it was Aldebaran whiskey, Zack’s favourite and what they had drank on the evening after the ship was launched. Smiling at Duncan, the captain praised him for what he had said. “Thank you Max, those were great words to honour Zack and his crew.” Leaning in, he hugged the younger man who he had been mentoring for some time now. “Your father would be proud to.” He whispered.

    “Thank you sir.” Duncan said quietly back.

    The rest of the senior staff all walked over to them and joined them by taking a glass of the green whiskey. Again they all raised a glass to their fallen comrade and cheered when their beverages all clinked against one another.

    Looking towards his wife, McCallister smiled for the first time in days. He couldn’t of been any prouder to be the captain of the Odyssey and to be raising his family among this fine collection of people.

  • BF_MJBF_MJ Member
    edited July 2020

    Episode 2:

    USS Odyssey NCC-80000
    Beta Quadrant

    Captain's log star date seven six oh three six point six four. We have finally completed our mapping survey of the Hellian Expanse two weeks ahead of our schedule and we are now returning to Deep Space Five for some well-deserved maintenance. Due to the crew's amazing hard work and effort, I have granted everyone extra R and R. This is something I have realised we have not been able to do in a long time, so I am hoping that everyone takes this time to relax before our next mission orders.

    Sat eating his way through his morning meal, a full English breakfast, Tobias Court was focussing on what he was eating and reading what was on his PADD. He was preparing the final list of maintenance requests for when they arrived at Deep Space Five. As a result he was completely oblivious to everything else that was going on around him in the auditorium. The ship’s huge crew lounge was semi-busy with some of the crew in uniform and others in their civilian attire. Every morning the stewards would put out a large buffet table of breakfast foods from all over the Federation. It was all freshly made from the galley as Odyssey had one of the finest chefs in the fleet.

    Snacking on a piece of toast with butter on it, Tobias just finished reading the last sentence of the report when a shadow formed in front of him over the table. The moment he noticed the silhouette he looked up to see Commander Max Duncan stood there, in full uniform, holding a tray with a plate of his breakfast (scrambled egg, bacon and fried bread) and a mug of what looked like raktajino.

    “Morning Tobi, do you mind if I join you?” Max asked.

    Simply nodding in agreement, Tobias placed his PADD down and finished his mouthful of toast. “I didn’t know you’re on duty today Max?”

    “I swapped a shift on the bridge with Cambil so she could finish the crew evaluations from the mapping mission. I was late getting them to her, so I said I would pay her back.” Max answered as he moved his cutlery around before tucking into his breakfast. “You’re not on duty today?”

    Tobias looked down at his clothes, he was not in uniform, instead he wore a plain black top with a pair of dark grey jogging shorts. “No, I got today off. I’m going to head to the gym this morning then I’m babysitting the McCallister boys for the afternoon once they finish school.”

    “So how come you’re working?” Max asked, indicating with his butter knife the PADD that Tobias had just put down.

    Smirking at that question, Tobias picked up his glass of orange juice before answering. “Occupational hazard I suppose. I wanted to get all of the reports that needed the captain’s approval sorted by today. What are your plans after your shift on the bridge?”

    “Well thankfully my counselling staff have no more open cases of support required for anyone still dealing with the destruction of the Holt. We’ve actually got it easy for a bit, so after I finish my shift I plan on catching up on some sleep.” Max answered prior to him placing a fork load of bacon in his mouth.

    “That sounds boring Max, come on you’ve got to do something better with your time off.” Tobias teased. “Surely there’s a holonovel you want to run?”

    Shaking his head in disagreement, Max replied with a simple no as he gulped down what he had just finishing chewing. “I really cannot be bothered at the moment.”

    Rolling his eyes at his comrade’s defeated attitude, Tobias placed his glass of orange juice down. “I’m not having it, so once I’ve finished with the McCallister boys this evening I’m taking you out!”

    Max smirked at that statement and Tobias’ attempt to get him out of his slump. “Seriously Tobi, I’m good. I just want to chill out and do nothing.”

    “Rubbish,” Tobias instantly replied with. “I’ll let you have your afternoon nap, but then I want you turning up at my quarters at twenty-hundred hours for dinner. We’ll then come back here for the stand-up comedy night they’ve got planned at twenty-one hundred hours. We’ll get some drinks and make a night of it!”

    “And if I say no?”

    “I’ll send my godsons to track you down and drag you to my quarters!” Tobias stated. “Come on Max, it’s been a long time since you and I did anything together.”

    “Alright, it’s a date!” Max said, finally agreeing to Tobias’ proposition.

    “Perfect, make sure you’re wearing something nice as I want to turn up here tonight and make some people jealous about the eye-candy I’ve brought with me.” Tobias said as he finished his breakfast and started to stand up.

    Wincing inwards, Max looked up at Tobias as the yeoman started to pick up his tray and head out. “You’re not going to use me to make a certain operations manager jealous are you?”

    “Pfft, you wish!” Tobias heckled back as he left the auditorium.

    Switching off his console, James Preston McCallister gave out a loud yawn as he saved his log entry. For the first time in ages he had a day off, as a result he and Karyn were going to be spending it together…however they had to wait for their sons to leave to go to school.

    Walking out of their private study and into the main living area where the boys were all packing their school bags, he smiled at them as they quietly got on with it. After finishing breakfast earlier, on some level he and Karyn were quietly counting down the minutes until they had time to themselves.

    “So what are you two going to do today while we’re at school?” Theodore asked he placed his final PADD in his bag and threw the whole thing over his shoulder.

    “Your father is treating me to a visit to the Hoobishan Baths,” Karyn answered from where she sat on one of the armchairs. “Then I think we are having lunch on top of the Eiffel Tower.”

    Crunching up his nose, Alfie sniggered at his mother’s words. “All on the holodeck? None of it is real though!”

    “That’s the fun part!” Karyn said as she got up and walked across the room to grab herself another mug of coffee from the replicator. “Now don’t forget, Uncle Tobi is picking you guys up after school and then we will see you all tonight for family time!”

    The boys all answered back with a ‘yeah, yeah, yeah’ kind of response and began to say their goodbyes, each of them hugging their parents.

    “Have a good day lads.” James called after them as they walked out of their quarters. The moment the doors closed both parents gave out a cheer and jumped into a hug of gratitude. “Finally, a whole day to ourselves!”

    “Let’s not waste any more time starting then Mister McCallister!” Karyn commanded with a teasing tone.

    He saluted to his wife and said. “Yes ma’am!” as she led him back to their bedroom and pulled him in for a long kiss.

    Quietly sat on the floor of her quarters, Lieutenant Commander T’Rani continued to meditate with a single candle lit in front of her.

    As she remained focussed on her breathing, she could sense her husband moving around in the room next door. Feeling as if she could not continue with the distraction, she opened her eyes and stood up in the darken room and walked out to find her husband collecting a range of PADDs and placing them into his satchel.

    “S’Tefe you are one point three minutes late from leaving our quarters. What is troubling you husband?” She asked in her normal logical tones.

    Her husband, who was one of the ship’s teachers for the children, closed his bag as he responded. “I had misplaced an assignment I had finished marking last night. I have it now. I do apologies for disturbing your meditation my wife.”

    Raising her eyebrow, she knew it was not like him to lose something. He seemed distracted. “It is of no consequence,” She replied, “Are you well S’Tefe?”

    “Yes, why do you ask T’Rani?” He turned to look at her cautiously.

    “You are acting uncharacteristically.”

    “I am late for my class, perhaps we can discuss this matter further tonight when I am home. Good day my wife.” He replied as he reached the doorway.

    “Good day my husband.” She answered back in a calm manner, still intrigued at what was bothering her beloved.

  • BF_MJBF_MJ Member

    USS Odyssey NCC-80000
    Beta Quadrant

    After finally completing her review of the crew evaluations, Commander Cambil made her way through the corridors of the Odyssey. For the first time in weeks, she would be arriving on time for the morning service at the Bajoran temple. Odyssey was one of the few ships in the fleet that had such a place dedicated to the Bajoran faith. This was mainly due to the fact that with a crew compliment of two-thousand and five hundred souls, the ship had a number of Bajorans onboard (one-hundred and twenty-one to be precise). Therefore, when it became clear that the Bajorans were using the holodecks on a regular basis to conduct acts of worship it was only right that something more permanent was made. Captain McCallister had agreed to it shortly after Bexa had become his first officer. Thankfully they did not need to have any clergy members assigned to the ship, instead some of the crew had become worship leaders after receiving remote training from the Bajoran Vedak Assembly. They could not lead any ceremonies like weddings or blessings of new borns, however they could lead in worship for groups of people. Their morning and evening services had become part of the ship's daily life. Almost all of the Bajorans, that were not working, attending them and they even welcomed those members of the crew that did not come from Bajor but were curious to their faith.

    Wearing just a simple outfit, it was nice not to be in her uniform for once, Cambil entered the Bajoran temple and was welcomed by one of the crew who was gently shaking the chimes indicating the service was about to start. She smiled at the friendly gesture and her worries and concerns soon left her as she entered the temple. This would be her time.

    Finishing the last of the calibrations on the warp core assembly, Commander Tremt Hunsen could hear the relief coming from around his engineering crew. Smirking to himself, he too felt the pride that their work was now complete. Even though they were heading to D-S-Five, like any good chief engineer, he was not keen to let the maintenance crews get their hands too dirty and deep into his ship's systems. As such all he wanted the team at the station to do was to do the checks, re-supply the ship and let them get on their merry way.

    After pulling an all-night session, Hunsen turned to those who had been on duty with him since the previous evening and told them to all go home as the team for alpha shift were now arriving. Handing command of main engineering over to his second-in-command, Tremt was pleased to be heading back to his quarters to get some sleep. He would be having the next two days off and he could not wait another minute longer. Looking up at the large warp core that sat in the centre of the room, the huge device was impressive. Pleased to see it back and alive again, he told his deputy that the bridge could take the ship back to warp. Even with their quantum slipstream drive sat only a few meters away, Captain McCallister preferred to use the warp drive when they were in no hurry. Hunsen knew his skipper was keen to take their time to return to Deep Space Five, especially as they had completed their survey mission ahead of schedule.

    As he strutted out of engineering, the Betazoid command unzipped his jacket while he rolled his head and neck to help relieve himself of having any more pains he had from starring at diagnostics controls for so long. Approaching the nearest turbo lift, he tapped the controls and waited for the doors to open. Around him he could see that the corridors were pretty empty. Everyone was taking the opportunity to enjoy the R&R that the captain insisted they all take. As a result, a skeleton crew would run the ship for the next few days. Everyone would have limited shifts while a majority of the systems were placed on automation. Even though the ship had a large crew, its highly advanced computer systems did mean that it could still operate effectively with a hundred of them still on board. Hunsen had even read somewhere that the Odyssey could operate with just a handful of staff. Its emergency holographic crew could assist in an emergency, but Tremt had hoped that McCallister was never put in that position. The turbo lift doors opened and he entered the cart, happy to be heading home at last.

    Trying his best to listen to Doctor Sylvexs (and failing), Lieutenant Commander Lukiz Jen had noticed at the corner of his eye the departure of Tobias from the Auditorium. From a distance, at the breakfast bar, the joined Trill operations manager had watched as his former lover had finished his breakfast with Counsellor Duncan, smiled deeply at the therapist before getting up and leaving.

    "So, I told Mettex that there was no way the captain would agree to such a huge course correction..." Sylvexs said as she picked up a glass of fruit juice that was pink in colour. Instantly the chief medical officer noticed that everything she had just been saying had been ignored. Not intentionally but due to a distraction. Smiling with her huge Denobulan grin, she looked at the younger officer behind her and attempted to regain his attention. "When are you and Tobias ever going to speak again?"

    Shaking his head, the joined Trill lieutenant commander turned to look back at his companion. "Sorry Sylvexs, what did you say?"

    Walking away from the buffet table, she led them over to an empty table, far away from where Jen's eyes had been starring at for the last few moments. As they glided around the room, avoiding bumping into anyone with their trays, she answered him. "I said, when you are you and Tobias ever going to speak again?"

    As they placed their trays down and pulled out the seats, Jen had a perplexed expression plastered across his face. "What do you mean? We talk all the time?"

    Rolling her eyes as she sat down. The Denobulan doctor took her napkin and laid it across her lap after crossing her legs. She reached the yellow fruit that was in a small bowl and started to pick at it before taking small mouthfuls. "Please Lukiz, I have seen how you around each other. You say to us all that you parted on amicable terms, but you cannot deny you two what is it I've heard Counsellor Duncan call it. I believe the phrase is 'a thing'."

    Now it was Jen's time to roll his eyes as he took his mug of coffee and took a sip from it. "Please, that was a long time ago. We were practically kids, plus I'm sure he has other interests."

    "Really? Like whom?" Slyvexs enquired as she placed her empty bowl down and wiped her hands with her serviette.

    Putting his mug down, Jen looked at her. "Well, I heard from Cline that he and Counsellor Duncan spend a lot of time together."

    Laughing out quite loudly, which caused others to look at her, the Denobulan doctor had to place a hand over her mouth as she calmed herself down. "Oh that's absurd Lukiz. Max and Tobias are not dating, they are good friends."

    "I've seen them spend a lot of time together recently as has Cline." Jen countered back with as he started to eat a piece of hot croissant that he had just spread butter and jam over.

    "Max has just lost his father, if you knew his background you would understand why Tobias and he are spending time together. Tobias is just being a very good friend." Slyvexs said defending the counsellor and yeoman. "Remind me to have words with Mister Lenjir about being a gossip. Talking of which, where is that lovable Tiburon?"

    Smirking, but not believing her entirely, Jen answered the doctor's question. "Cline said he would be spending most of his morning off in the gym. You know what he is like, he rarely eats breakfast."

    "Well I do hope he doesn't think he could build anymore muscles or be any further ripped than he is. I'm worried he is trying to become a Brikarian with the number of workouts he does on a daily basis."

    "That's Cline for you, if he isn't in the gym then he is doing something physical when off duty. He never stops." Lukiz remarked as he began digging into his breakfast, but from the corner of his eye he was keeping an eye on Counsellor Duncan. He didn't quite believe everything that Sylvexs was saying.

  • USS Odyssey NCC-80000
    Beta Quadrant
    Stardate: 76036.64

    Approaching the turbolift, Commander Duncan was pleased to have finished his breakfast and start today's duty shift. Pushing out any creases he had in his uniform jacket, he waited patiently for the cart to arrive. Eventually the doors parted open and he saw Odyssey's security and tactical chief standing there with his arms crossed against his chest, wearing a black vest and short. He appeared exhausted and the sweat around his chest made it apparent he had just finished a round of exercise.

    "Morning Cline." Max said as he entered the lift and spoke to the Tiburon man.

    "Hiya Max, sorry I've just finished a workout in the gym. I'm heading home for a shower." Lenjir remarked. "Where are you heading?"

    "The bridge." Duncan explained and then ordered the computer to take him there. "I'm in charge of alpha shift today."

    "Ouch." Lenjir winced. "I thought Commander Cambil was on duty today?"

    Shaking his head as the lift proceeded upwards, "I owed her a favour." the counsellor said. "What are your plans today?"

    "After this morning, I'm planning to meet up with a few others in the security department for a round of velocity." Lenjir said as the lift stopped. It was his deck and as the doors opened he turned to the counsellor, "enjoy the bridge!"

    Max smirked at him back as the doors closed and he entered the bridge. The entire alpha shift was on duty, well not the normal alpha shift but those that had been put on so the rest of the crew can have some down time. Walking towards the centre of the room, Max made his way over to sit in the captain's chair. "Report?" He asked aloud to those around him.

    "All is quiet for now." Spoke Ensign Chet, the Boilan at the helm.

    Getting comfortable, Max looked at the man. "Let's make it so." He took out a PADD and started to read the contents of it. In it was a letter that his late father had written to him. It was just before he had died and Max had yet to read it, until now. In it his father had written how proud he was of his son with his accomplishments and the type of man he had become. As always the late Fleet Admiral Duncan always finished his letter asking when was he going to be made a grandfather. Max felt bitter that he had never given his father the chance to enjoy the responsibilities of being a grandparent. He knew that he would have made an excellent one.

    His thoughts were interrupted when Ensign Chet cleared his throat. "Sorry to disobey you sir, but we've got a craft along our flight path that appears to be adrift."

    Snapping out his reading straight away, Duncan looked at the Bolian officer. "What type of craft Mister Chet?"

    Returning to his console for further clarity, he answered the question swiftly. "It appears to be a civilian ship sir, a Kaplan F-Seventeen Speed Freighter to be precise."

    "Life signs?" Duncan asked.

    "None, the ship appears to be badly damaged. I am detecting a hull breach on the port side. No power at all." Chet added.

    Not surprised that his shift would not be a quiet one. "Slow us down so we can approach them. I want full sensor scans completed now before I get the captain." Duncan commanded to the bridge crew. So much for a break from the norm.

  • BF_MJBF_MJ Member
    edited August 2020

    USS Odyssey NCC-80000
    Beta Quadrant
    Stardate: 76036.9

    Sitting down to have a nice meal without interruptions was something that Captain McCallister was looking forward to. He and Karyn had just arrived at the top of the Eiffel Tower and were being seen to by some polite and courteous holographic waiters and waitresses. Bringing over to them a bottle of Chateau Picard, a bottle of the '86, they poured them a glass each. Out across the City of Lights, Paris was in its summer and many notable landmarks could be seen. James could name most of them, Notre-Dame de Paris, Sacré-Coeur, the Louvre Museum, l'arc de triomphe, les champs de mars, the river Seine (and all the bridges) plus so many other sites. James couldn't quite recall the last time he had visited the French capital, the real one that was.

    "I know it's not real, but this is bliss." Karyn remarked prior to taking a sip of her wine.

    Nodding in agreement, James took a swish of his drink too. “I was thinking earlier…”

    “Before or after that massage?” Karyn quickly interjected.

    Recalling their trip to the Trill Hoobishan Baths, James smirked at the memory from this morning. “During actually.” He answered, “So as I was saying, I think we should take the boys to Earth and do big long holiday site seeing and travelling all over. What do you say?”

    Placing her glass down, Karyn agreed to the idea. “I think that sounds like a great plan. I would love to take them proper camping.”

    “We’ll do that too, along with a bit of surfing along the Gold Coast.” James added.

    “Plus, some skiing on the Alps?” Karyn included.

    “Definitely need to take them to Egypt to see the Pyramids, perhaps have a real pizza in Rome.” He added.

    Loving what she was hearing, Karyn continued to put more ideas in. “A fly over the Grand Canyon.”

    “Sounds perfect to me.” James smiled back. “We’ve got over five months saved up of shore leave, why don’t we do it soon?”

    “It would be nice to take a break from everything out here on the final frontier.” Karyn stated. “Would you be happy to be away from the Odyssey for that long?”

    Nodding to confirmation, James told her he was fine with that. “Bexa is confident leader. She’ll cope while we are gone, plus Max is itching for more command experience. He’d make a good acting first officer.”

    As their starter arrived, Karyn waited for the waiters to leave them before she asked him another question. “I was going to ask, when do you think you’d ever give it all up?”

    Curious as to what she was getting at, James placed his cutlery down and took swig from his wine before he replied. “Do you mean Starfleet?”

    Karyn nodded as she dabbed her lips with napkins in between mouthfuls. “Yeah, do you ever think about it?”

    Pondering with his glass still in hand, James looked out across the Parisian skyline to find his answer. He didn’t get chance to answer as the intercom went off.

    Bridge to Captain McCallister.” Spoke Commander Duncan over the speakers.

    Sighing slightly, both husband and wife placed everything in their hands down as they knew their plans for the day would most likely be put on hold. He tapped his combadge and replied. “Go ahead Max.”

    I’m sorry to disturb you sir, but we have come across a ship that I think you need to see.” Stated the counsellor.

    James gave his wife a curious look. “We’ll be there shortly, assemble the rest of the troops for me. McCallister out.” He tapped his combadge to close the call. “Sorry my darling, duty calls.”

    “Well at least we got to see the Hoobishan Baths.” Karyn groaned slightly with as they ended the holodeck program and headed to the ship’s bridge.

    Returning to the bridge didn’t take too long and James was pleased to see most of the senior staff had turned up. None of them were in their uniforms, except for Commander Duncan. The counsellor had been on duty on the bridge and was stood by the main science station when they all arrived.

    “Captain, you may want to take a look at this.” Duncan remarked, pointing at the top screen. “It appears to be a Kaplan F-Seventeen Speed Freighter. We’ve carried out thorough scans of the ship. There’s no power whatsoever, no life signs and there appears to be no damage to the outer hull. It’s just lying there in space.”

    James crossed his arms as he read the scans too. Karyn had leant up against the bulkhead while Commander Campbil stood behind Duncan. As they spoke more of the senior staff arrived.

    “So, what, it’s a ghost ship?” Karyn asked aloud.

    Everyone laughed slightly at that quip.

    “Any idea on how it got out here?” McCallister questioned next.

    Duncan shook his head. “There’s no ion trails, nothing that could explain how it arrived here. We think it has been slowly drifting, but it’s momentum is barely enough to register.”

    Look at the others, McCallister's curiosity did get the best of him. He did enjoy a good mystery now and then. “Thoughts? Ideas?” He threw out to his crew.

    Commander Hunsen, his chief engineer spoke up first. “I noticed it has no name or listed register. No transponder either. No distinguishable hull markings either. I don’t think we are going to get any more answers from scans sir.”

    “I was thinking the same.” Lieutenant Commander Jen said. He had sat at the secondary science station and was reviewing the same sensor readings. “We need to go over and find out where it is from. Most of its systems appear not to have been tampered or damaged.”

    “There does not appear to be anything from stopping us from transporting over. The away team will need to wear EVA suits though.” T’Rani added.

    After hearing from his pilot, operations manager and chief engineer, James looked to his first officer as well chief security and tactical officer. “What do you two think?”

    “It seems safe enough.” Campbil answered, as she read the findings.

    Lenjir crossed his arms. “I say we send in the Hazard Teams first.” He stepped forward and slightly leaned over Jen’s shoulder and zoomed in on the picture of the freighter. “We could send in all five teams to secure the craft. Two teams at either end followed by one in the middle. We could then send over an engineering team to begin recovery operations.”

    Doctor Sylvexs then arrived, “My apologies, what did I miss?” The Denobulan medical officer enquired.

    Campbil brought her up to speed. “So that’s where we are, do we send over people or not.” The first officer finished with.

    “If we don’t do it, then some others may do it later or it may end up being stolen.” Slyvexs concluded.

    “Alright then, let’s do it.” James ordered.

    “Sir, if you don’t mind. I’d like to lead one of the teams over to the freighter. I’ve not led an away mission for some time. With your permission of course?” Duncan wondered.

    Looking to his first officer who just nodded with an agreement, James turned back to the counsellor. “You best suit up. Godspeed!”

    Duncan smiled at the response he got and left the bridge with Cline to get ready for their beaming out.

    Still staring at the readings on the science station, James was fascinated with what they had just found. “Lukiz,” He said calling for his operations manager.

    The joined Trill stopped what he was doing and looked up at his superior officer. “Yes sir.”

    “Check the Federation database one more time, see how many ships match this one. We might be able to find one that’s gone missing.” James ordered.

    “Aye captain.” Jen said as he got on to work.

    Looking to his first officer he asked her to inform Deep Space Five they may be late arriving due to them investigating this empty tin shell.

  • BF_MJBF_MJ Member
    edited November 2020

    Unknown Vessel
    Beta Quadrant
    Stardate: 76036.991

    The moment the transporter cycle was complete, Commander Duncan raised his phaser rifle high and the light from the torch on its top shone through the black darkness that filled the ship’s bridge. His hot breath hit against the screen of his EVA suit as he and his team looked around at their settings.

    “Move out.” He called over the intercom to them all. Like a tool of precision, the team moved out to secure the bridge of this unknown freighter. Moving forward slowly, Duncan made his way forward and opened a channel with the ship. “Duncan to Odyssey, we’ve arrived sir.”

    “Excellent, Hazard Teams Beta, Delta, Gamma and Omega have arrived safely in their locations and are beginning their search.” Spoke Captain McCallister. “Any signs of life or who the ship belongs to?”

    “None yet, sir.” Duncan answered coolly. They could barely see anything that would give them a clue yet.

    One of the engineer specialists assigned to alpha team spoke up. “Sir there’s an active console over here!”

    Moving at an almost snail’s pace, Duncan joined the Efrosian engineer who was scanning the console that showed a standard Federation LCARS display. “Ensign is it safe to use?”

    Nodding to confirm, the engineer accessed the console with Duncan’s blessing and soon enough power throughout the entire ship came alive and every console switched on. The sound of the life support and environmental controls activating could be heard through their helmets speakers.

    “_Odyssey _to Alpha Team, we are detecting power coming online across the entire ship.” Spoke Commander Hunsen. _“You should be able to breath the air shortly.” _

    “Acknowledged Odyssey.” Duncan replied, but he didn’t plan to take his helmet off just yet. As the ship came to life a hologram appeared in the centre of the bridge area. It’s appearance was neutral in expression, gender – in fact in all areas.

    Activating his helmet’s camera sensors, Duncan spoke into the intercom. “Duncan to Odyssey, are you getting all of this?”

    “Acknowledged Max, we can see clearly. Is that a hologram?” Captain McCallister asked.

    “Aye sir, it is.” Duncan answered.

    The captain’s voice was replaced by Commander Hunsen’s, “These freighters are equipped with an emergency holographic package that includes holograms that assist with medical, engineering, navigation, tactical, command and control as well as entertainment matters.” The Betazoid engineer explained._ “But from what I can see Max, you’ve activated the default setting.”_

    “What do you mean the default setting Tremt?” Max asked as he studied the hologram, just like everyone else in his team.

    Max was surprised that it wasn’t Tremt who answered but Lukiz Jen instead. “He means that hologram is the default template. Those packages normally require the captain of the ship to determine what they will look like. Most freighter captains use themselves.”

    “I’m just checking the scans of that hologram now Max,” Hunsen added. “You won’t believe it but from what I can see this is the first time it has been activated.”

    Before anyone could react, the freighter’s computer voice (a low but sultriest feminine tone) spoke. “Activating Emergency Holographic Crew Package, please stand clear for scans to be undertaken to determine visual appearance.”

    Startled at that announcement, Duncan hadn’t had a chance to move before the computer scanned him with blue beams of light and then changed the hologram to appear like him. “Oh damn it.” He said.

    “Oh damn it.” The computer repeated and copied his voice and then before long the hologram repeated the same phrase in the same way he had just said it.

    Eyes wide open at the sight before him, the hologram then came to life. “Welcome, I am your Emergency Command & Control Hologram. Please state the designation of this craft and your name.”

    A slight chuckle could be heard over the intercom and Captain McCallister’s voice could be heard next. “Seems you’ve made first contact there Max.” A pause followed and the captain commanded the counsellor to answer the hologram.

    “I’m Commander Max Duncan of the Federation starship U-S-S Odyssey.” Duncan said greeting the holographic version of him that was stood in a black neck collared jumper, black trousers and boots.

    “Greetings Commander Duncan, as you are a Starfleet officer am I to assume this vessel is under the direct control of Starfleet Command?” The hologram enquired politely.

    “Not quite.” Duncan said, “Can you tell me how this ship got out here?”

    Looking at the floor slightly, the hologram appeared to be searching the database as white lines appeared across its eyes. It then stopped. “There is no record on this ship’s database on how it came to be located at these coordinates.”

    Rolling his eyes at the lack of getting anywhere, Duncan asked another question. “Where was the ship constructed?”

    The hologram did the same again and checked the computer’s data at lightspeed. It then looked back at Duncan. “There is no record on this ship’s database of where it was built. The vessel has no set designation or commanding officer. Do you wish to establish yourself as its commanding officer Commander Max Duncan?”

    _“Max do it.” _McAllister commanded.

    Regretting his choice to join the away team, Duncan spoke up. “Yes I do.”

    “Command protocols have been transferred to Max Duncan; this ship is now under his command. Further data is required for starship operations to be assume.” The hologram stated.

    “Clarify.” Duncan asked.

    “The vessel has no set designation.” It repeated.

    “Name it.” McCallister ordered.

    Not known to be original in his creativity or naming ships, Duncan thought about it for a while. “This ship is known as the Troy.”

    “The Troy, really?” spoke Doctor Sylvexs, almost mocking the choice.

    Supporting Duncan was Commander Reyas who came to his defence over the intercom. “Troy, as in the city that Odysseus left and returned home from. Good choice Max.”

    Ignoring the exchange, which he imagined was happening on the bridge of the Odyssey, Duncan focussed back on the hologram.

    “Acknowledged. This ship is now known as the Troy. All ship systems are accessible to Captain Max Duncan of the Troy.” The hologram stated.

    “Knew he was trying to go for a promotion.” Cambil amusingly commented on. The First Officer chuckled slightly at her own remarks before speaking further. “Max, have it open all systems to everyone. We may be able to find a few more pieces to the puzzle with full access.”

    “Understood,” Duncan said and then he looked over to the hologram, “I want you to open access to all ship systems to any user.”

    The hologram looked startled at that order. “Are you sure? Such a request could cause damage to the ship’s system. You can recede the request at a later stage though.”

    “Do it.” Max said.

    A second after completing the work, the hologram looked back at Duncan. “Request completed. Is there anything else you need?”

    “Not for now.” Duncan answered.

    The hologram then deactivated itself.

    “Hold on Max, I’m heading over now with an engineering team.” Hunsen announced.

    “Once the ship is fully secure by Hunsen and his people, we’ll dock it with the Odyssey and then resume our course to Deep Space Five.” McCallister stated. “We can work on the Troy on route.”

    “Understood sir.” Max said. He looked around the ship and just wondered why a brand-new ship would be left in the middle of no-where.

  • USS Odyssey NCC-80000
    Beta Quadrant
    Stardate: 76039.5

    "Captain's log star date seven-six-oh-three-nine-point five. While our journey home to Deep Space Five has been on the whole uneventful, the mystery ship that we have dubbed the Troy continues to plague my crew from where it came from. In the meantime Counsellor Duncan seems to be enjoying the possibility of having his own 'runaround'."

    Sat with his own thoughts, Commander Hunsen with fiddling with a PADD as he reviewed the latest reports on the Troy. The enigma that surrounded this smaller vessel had perplexed almost everyone that was involved in investigating where it had came from. Starfleet Command wasn't interested with it when Captain McCallister had reported their find and had told him to hand it over to Deep Space Five on their arrival. The idea of finding out where it was built, by whom and how it got to be left in open space had seemed irrelevant to them. As a result Odyssey was now back at its cruising speed of warp eight and would be arriving at the station within the hour. Frustrated that he wouldn't be able to solve the mysterious that surrounded the Troy, Hunsen was giving it one more shot before they had to hand it over to the team on D-S-Five.

    After spending almost the entire morning on it, Hunsen had become so engrossed that if he hadn't heard the thoughts of his close friend approaching him, he was certain he would not have been disturbed. Looking up from his PADD, the chief engineer smiled at Commander Max Duncan. "What's up Max?"

    "Just checking into see how your last-ditch effort was going." The counsellor answered. "Any further?"

    Shaking his head in defeat, Hunsen placed the PADD down on the table where he was sat. He had been sat around the main 'pool table' within main engineering. It was the central location of where he would normally work and issue out orders. It was placed just under the large warp core, while opposite to where Hunsen was sat he could see the drop-down area that held the ship's quantum slipstream drive. Seeing as the latter was offline, while the former was strumming away like a beating heart, the noise level in engineering was at an all-time low.

    "Unfortunately not." Hunsen added to his defeat. Rubbing his eyes with both hands he leant back in his chair. "I'm thinking the Troy maybe a lost cause. Sorry Max, it seems your first command maybe coming to a swift end."

    Chuckling at the remark, Duncan just waved it off. In the last day or so since he led the team that recovered the ship and its onboard computer had made him defacto captain, many on the senior staff had joked about how Duncan was now all ambitious to be in the command division. "Don't worry about it Tremt. The captain told me he has got somewhere with Starfleet Command. The Pasadena is being sent to D-S-Five to take over the investigation."

    "Ah man, they're handing it over to a California-class?" Hunsen said with displeasure. "Don't get me wrong, the crews of those ships do a lot of the background work for Starfleet but we've got state of the art equipment here that they don't have."

    Duncan understood where his friend was coming from. "I get it, but from what I overhead Commander Cambil knows the skipper of the Pasadena and apparently it's just finished its major refit. I'm sure they'll work something out for us." Pausing in what he said, the counsellor then continued changing the subject. "Anyway, I was wondering if you fancied joining Tobi and I tonight for a meal and then we're heading off to holodeck four to go to a rock concert."

    "Geology has never interested me Max." Hunsen replied back at his friend.

    Laughing at the engineer's misunderstanding, Duncan shook his head. "No, I don't mean a concert on rock studying I mean a music concert on rock music. Tobi has a holo-program of some of the best concerts from Earth's twentieth century."

    Considering the offer for a moment, Tremt thought it would be a nice change to do something different. "Deal, but I'm not playing chaperon with you two."

    Protesting straight away, Duncan raised his hands. "Tremt, there is nothing going on between Tobi and me. Why does everyone on this ship think there is?"

    Looking up at his colleague and close friend, Hunsen answered honestly. "Because last night at the comedy show in the auditorium, Tobi was without a doubt flirting with you to make Lukiz mad."

    "And I wasn't doing it back!" Duncan continued to protest.

    "But you weren't stopping it." Hunsen reacted back. "Come off it Max, I know Tobi wants to get back at Lukiz but it's been years since they broke up. I can't understand why he is now making a scene about it all."

    Shrugging his shoulders, Duncan honestly replied. "I don't know either, but I'm only helping a friend out which is why I want you to come along tonight."

    "I knew there was something more." Hunsen said. "What do you want?"

    Duncan played with his hands, it was obvious he was worried or anxious. "I just want you there to help me ensure Tobias doesn't think I want anything more!"

    "Ha! Knew it!" Hunsen said. "And I didn't even have to read your mind to confirm it." Chuckling a bit more to himself, Hunsen agreed to the request. "But that said Max, if you and Tobi did want to get together, what's stopping you?"

    "I dunno, I just find it weird as I've never 'looked' at him in that way." Duncan replied.


    Before Hunsen could speak anymore, the entire ship went to red alert and the captain's voice came over the intercom calling for everyone to report to their stations.

    "Damn it, what now?" Hunsen cursed as he and Duncan rushed out of engineering and into the nearest turbolift to head up to the bridge.

  • BF_MJBF_MJ Member
    edited January 17

    USS Odyssey NCC-80000
    Beta Quadrant
    Stardate: 76039.52

    Seated in his chair and after calling everyone to red alert, McCallister was not expecting what was now showing on the main bridge viewscreen. A single D'dreridex class warbird was flanked by two Valdore classes, all three ships were bearing down on the Odyssey now. 

    "Any sign of them returning our hails?" McCallister asked his operations officer that sat in front of him.

    The joined Trill just shook his head. “I’m afraid not sir. We can outrun them sir.”

    “I know we can, but the idea of three heavily armed Romulan ships this far in Federation space and being left to their own devices doesn’t fit with me.” McCallister stated. “Lukiz, send a message to Deep Space Five, informing them that we are dealing with a possible hostile force of Romulan ships and we require back-up.”

    Jen got on with his orders while McCallister ordered his first officer to go and prepare for starship separation. She would take command of the stardrive section. The captain then ordered his wife to head down and begin procedures to launch the Aquarius, their attached escort. Both women didn’t hesitate in questioning their orders and made their way towards the turbolift. As the doors opened, Counsellor Duncan stepped out with Hunsen in tow. Allowing them to leave the cart, both women stepped aside before taking it for themselves.

    McCallister turned to see his next two most senior officers enter the bridge. “Gentlemen, I think we could be finding ourselves in a tricky spot any moment now.” McCallister informed them both. “

    Duncan, being the Odyssey’s third officer took over from Cambil’s duties by taking her seat to the right of the captain’s while Hunsen headed over to his engineering station.

     “Their weapons are powering up.” Lenjir announced from tactical.

     Without taking another second to think about it, McCallister looked down at his pilot. “T’Rani drop us out of warp and bring us about to a gradual halt.”

     The Vulcan pilot complied and dropped the ship to sub-light speeds. “Reading all stop.” She announced seconds later.

     Copying the Federation ship, all three Romulan ships dropped out of warp and took up flanking positions around it.

     “We’re being hailed sir.” Jen declared.

     Remaining seated in his chair, McCallister ordered for a channel to be open. “I am Captian James Preston McCallister of the U-S-S Odyssey. You have committed acts of aggression against the United Federation of Planets by trespassing in our territory without proper authorisation and refusing to answer our original hails. Explain your actions at once.”

     The holographic viewscreen flickered to show the face of his foe. A Romulan woman wearing the uniform of an admiral in the Romulan Star Navy, except she wore the emblem belonging to the Romulan Republic. “I am Admiral T’Lauran of the warbird Veldern. I believe captain you are in possession of a ship that belongs to the Romulan Republic. Please hand this over to us.”

    Keeping his poker face on, McCallister answered the older woman. Her mighty regal tone and expression made her appear more sovereign like compared to an admiral of the Romulan fleet. “It’s a pleasure to meet you Admiral T’Lauran, however you will need to be a bit more specific with your remarks. What ship do you refer to?”

    “The civilian ship you acquired some days ago and are on your way to deliver to Deep Space Five.” She answered quite bluntly. “Hand it over…now.”

    Realising the Troy now had some importance, the captain proceeded in delaying them as long as possible so the ship was ready to separate in a moment’s notice. He was also hoping that his message to Deep Space Five got through. They might be able to take on one of the ships, maybe two but no way could the keep up against three heavily armed warbirds. “Admiral, you seem like a reasonable woman. Someone who I assume has experienced a lot in their career. However as I said you will need to be more precise in what you want. We have several civilian ships docked inside our craft. Which one are specifically wanting back?”

    Frustrated at his apparent stupidity, T’Lauran rolled her eyes. “Captain, I am a reasonable woman and true believer in the alliance between my government and the Federation. That said I will not be tested. Please handover the Kaplan F-Seventeen Speed Freighter.”

    “And why would I handover a Federation ship to a Romulan ship? Even one that is meant to be my ally.” McCallister questioned. “It seems bizarre that three Romulan ships would cross over to recover such a small vessel and risk a war with the Federation.”

    Before the admiral could give any more answers or clues linked to her intentions Lenjir announced the arrival of eight smaller ships. “All of them are Fenris Ranger ships sir.” The Tiburon stated. “They’re locking their weapons on the Romulan ships.”

    Looking back at his adversary, McCallister stood up. “It seems Admiral T’Lauran we either open fire against one another or go our separate ways. What do you say?”

    “This is not over captain!” She said frustrated and instantly closed the channel.

    “The Romulans are heading off back to their space.” Duncan stated after looking at the sensors. “What in god’s name do they want with the Troy?”

     “A good question Max.” McCallister said as he crossed his arms. “Let’s see if the Fenris Rangers have anything to say to us.” He ordered for another channel to be open and this time he got an answer.

    A man, similar in age to him but looking more tired, appeared on the screen. “I am Arthur Duvell of the Fenris Ranger ship Silhouette. The ship you found belongs to us and unlike the Romulans we are capable of taking it back.”

    Impressed with the ballsy attitude of the man talking in front of him now, McCallister kept his cool. “Mister Duvell, I do not believe we’ve met before. I would be interested to understand the claim the Fenris Rangers have on the ship. There’s no need for any threats, especially this deep in Federation space.” 

    “Captain I do not have time, hand over the Spectre to us or we will take it ourselves.” Duvell said.

    Sitting back down, McCallister got himself comfortable. “No offence but your rag-tag fleet of older ships is no match for the Odyssey. Let us be reasonable here and find a solution that helps us all.”

    Duvell ignored McCallister’s overtures and closed the channel instantly.

    “Rotate the shield frequencies and increase power to them from the main deflector,” McCallister ordered. “If they can take the Troy or the Spectre or whatever it’s called I bet they will do it by accessing its automatic computer systems. If we can disrupt it enough then they may give up.”

    Smirking at how well McCallister was right with his prediction, Jen stated the Fenris Ranger ships were all transmitting into subspace. “Our shields are blocking their calls for now.” 

    “Then let’s exercise the better part of valour. Get us out of here T’Rani, maximum slipstream velocity!” McCallister ordered. He then tapped his combadge, “All hands starship separation is suspended.” 

    Odyssey then moved away at high impulse from the Fenris Ranger task group before entering slipstream.

    “We’re far away sir. We will be at Deep Space Five in less than hour at our current speed.” T’Rani declared.

    “So the mystery of the Troy gets darker.” Duncan remarked as he took his normally chair once red alert was cancelled.

    “Indeed counsellor.” McCallister remarked. Would they ever get to the bottom of it though?

  • BF_MJBF_MJ Member
    edited January 17

    Deep Space 5
    Beta Quadrant
    Stardate: 76039.58
    Stood gazing down at the interior bay of DS5, Captain McCallister stood with Rear Admiral Gosch as they discussed Odyssey's recent skirmish with forces from the Romulan Republic and Fenris Rangers. Within the bay now rested the Troy/Spectre

    "I am quite shocked at how both sides were prepared to do whatever it took to take that ship." McCallister stated as he looked to his superior officer.

    The Tellarite admiral was a few feet shorter than him and gave out a gruff noise in response. "Don't worry James, I will have the best engineers take a look at her and see what it is they were after. There must be some clue we can find."

    Agreeing the admiral's assessment, McCallister just found the whole situation strange and quite frustrating that they could not resolve this enigma. "Will the ship be looked at by the Pasadena?"

    Heading back to his desk, Gosch waved the question away as he got comfortable in his dark red chair. "I've told Captain Remarkish that she'll have to go onto her next assignment. I've got an entire division of specialists who want to take a look at her. Being one of the former stations assigned to advanced starship design, we've got enough people here to take a good look under the cover to see what made it such a treasure chest that others were keen to get their hands on it."

    Pleased that the mystery may be resolved sooner, McCallister gave out a sigh of a relief. He had only met the admiral a few times but felt comfortable enough to be a bit casual. "Are you aware sir what my next orders are?"

    Gosch took a PADD from his desk and passed it to the younger man. "James, I think you're going to like what Starfleet have got in store for you and your team."

  • BF_MJBF_MJ Member
    edited January 31

    Episode 3:

    USS Odyssey NCC-80000
    Alpha Quadrant
    Stardate: 76039.7

    "The Delta Quadrant?!"

    The same question that Captain McCallister had thrown back at Admiral Gosch had just left the lips of his chief medical officer. It was rare for the Denobulan doctor to question much during their briefings but McCallister couldn't blame her for the surprise announcement. 

    Confused, just like everyone else around the table, his first officer was the next to ask the question. "Does Starfleet feel we're ready to go onto a deep space assignment?" The Bajoran woman knew the answer, however understanding the thinking of the top brass removing them from the Alpha and Beta Quadrants appeared completely out of the blue. 

    "Captain, there has been no unusual activity in the Delta Quadrant for almost three months near to the Barzan Wormhole." spoke Lieutenant Commander T'Rani. The Vulcan pilot appeared to be understanding the logic behind their new orders. "It seems highly illogical for Starfleet to choose this moment to send the Odyssey on a long-range mission so far away from Federation territory."

    "That all said," interjected Commander Hunsen from his chair. "We've been out in space for nearly twelve years now. We're ready for such an assignment! The Odyssey is one of the most advanced starships in the fleet. We should be on the front line of Starfleet's exploration efforts."

    Pleased to hear the positive comment from someone in the room, McCallister smiled towards the Betazoid engineer. 

    "How many ships will we be joining?" Counsellor Duncan asked where he was sat next to McCalliser's left. 

    "A few." McCallister answered, "All of them are on a direct course for Barzan. The expeditionary force will be rendezvousing there in less than a week. Captain Zack Marshall-Bennet is mobilising the fleet at Starbase Ninety."

    Looking up from his PADD, Lieutenant Commander Jen had obviously done the calculations at how long it will take them to journey to Guardian Station. "At maximum velocity it will take us three days twenty-five hours to reach Starbase Ninety."

    The whole room fell silent. "I have gone through all of your questions with Starfleet, but it would appear that they want us doing more good in the Delta Quadrant than here." He paused as no-one else said anything to him. "Their orders stand." He looked to his right-hand woman, "Number One, set a course for the Barzan system."


    Quietly snoring on his chair in the ready room, Captain McCallister had fallen asleep while reading a PADD. As a result he hadn't heard the door open and the person walk in. However in a split second the Starfleet captain woke up and looked up at the window he was facing to see the reflection of his guest looking at him. Turning around in his chair he placed the PADD that he had in his lap on to his desk and took in a breath before smiling at his visitor. 

    "Hey." He said sweetly to his wife, second officer and chief science officer.

    Returning the smile, Reyas approached his desk further and took the seat that was opposite to him. "Hey," She said as she leant across and took his hands in hers. "Sorry for waking you."

    Yawning a bit, he shrugged it off. "Don't worry, I probably needed to wake up anyway before Tobi comes in to collect these reports." He indicated to the pile of PADDS piling on his desk. "You okay?"

    "Yeah," She answered back simply. "I just need to know where we stand with this whole new mission to the Delta Quadrant? I mean, do you want to go and take the boys as well?"

    At the back of his mind, McCallister knew this conversation was coming and he was kicking himself for not having it sooner with his wife. Could they really raise their boys in the Delta Quadrant? "I'd like to do it," He replied. "But only if you want to and if we both agree that the boys should be with us."

    "I have to admit, I wasn't keen on the idea initially." Reyas replied.

    "Me too." McCallister said swiftly. "The moment the admiral explained it to me, I considered resigning there and then as I didn't want to consider losing you or the boys out there."

    "Let me guess though, the idea of showing them a new area of space sounds more exciting then hanging out around the Alpha and Beta Quadrants?" Reyas enquired.

    Chuckling slightly as he let go of her, McCallister confirmed her suspicions. "The more I considered our options, I just felt like the dangers of living on a starship here in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants is just as high as it may be in the Delta Quadrant. But at least out there we may be able to make a difference and we would be able to do the one thing we both love doing. Exploring!"

    "Good, because I was going to hate myself if I hate to convince you to go." Reyas remarked. "I cannot wait to take our family and start a new chapter out there."

    Smiling with gratitude for her support and love, McCallister leant across the desk and kissed his wife on the lips softly and sweetly. Perhaps the new chapter for the crew would do them all some good. 

  • BF_MJBF_MJ Member
    edited January 31

    USS Odyssey NCC-80000
    Alpha Quadrant
    Stardate: 76040.6


    Finishing her prays to the Prophets, Cambil opened her eyes and blew the candles out. She had found that if she did not take the time to calm herself at the end of the day she felt restless. Her mother and father always insisted that her and her siblings took time to thank the Prophets for their day before they ate. As such she had never stopped that ritual as she became an adult.

    Standing up from her kneeling position, Cambil made her way over to the replicator and ordered tuwaly pie with extra rekja along with mapa bread. Tonight she was spoiling herself after the news of the ship’s new assignment. Heading to the Delta Quadrant was something quite different. She was gutted they weren’t heading to somewhere like the Gamma Quadrant as it would have allowed her the opportunity to visit Bajor and cross through the celestial temple. Maybe one day? She hoped. Taking a bottle of springwine out she poured herself a glass and sat down, alone at her table, to enjoy the meal while reading one of her favourite novels, The Rebel’s Desire. It was set during the occupation and the protagonist, a Bajoran rebel, fought for the attention of his cell’s leader. It had become a recent bestseller on Bajor and rumours going around was that it was going to be turned into a holonovel by publishers Broht & Forrester.

    Her husband had taken their sons on a camping trip in the ship’s large arboretum as part of some school field trip. So tonight she would have the entire place to herself.

    The door chime interrupted her meal and read. She wasn’t expecting anyone to turn up so was pleasantly surprised to find T’Rani at her door. The Vulcan lieutenant commander apologised for disturbing her superior at such a late hour but presented to her the weekly conn report. Grateful for it, Cambil took the PADD from the pilot. “T’Rani I appreciate your efficiency in bringing this to me but it is several days early and you don’t need to deliver it to me in person. A message with it attached is sufficient.”

    “I know that ma’am, but as I had a free evening I wanted to get ahead of my workload.” T’Rani said, remaining cool and calm as ever.

    Cambil had known the woman for over eighteen years now. She had seen her train as a cadet and rise through the ranks to be the exceptional officer she was now. Never had she sent in a report so early in advance of its due date or in person. “Did you want to come in?” She offered the pilot.

    “The offer is generous; however I do not wish to impose myself upon you ma’am.” T’Rani remarked and bowed her head as she turned to leave from the doorway.

    “T’Rani,” Cambil called for her and then pointed with her left hand. “Get in now and that’s an order.”

     Not wanting to disobey the first officer, T’Rani complied with the command and entered the large quarters that belonged to Cambil. Like the captain’s quarters it was pretty huge with an impressive living area that had several armchairs and sofas along with a long glass dining table with eight chairs dotted around it. Going off from it was a private area which was an office like area and then the bedroom. T’Rani was aware that the bedchambers in these quarters were slightly larger than hers and came with a luxurious en-suite bathroom with a walk-in wardrobe. Also like the captain’s quarters, there were extra bedrooms for the commander’s twin sixteen-year-old sons along with a family bathroom. Dotted around their quarters were family photographs, a Bajoran shrine as well as other items that were precious to them.   

    “Take a seat.” Cambil insisted towards one of the armchairs. “Are you still a fan of Deka iced tea?”

    “Indeed I am.” T’Rani responded.

    Walking over to her food replicator, Cambil called for the Bajoran tea to be made and on her way back picked up her glass of springwine. Handing the tea over to T’Rani, the commander sat on the sofa opposite to the Vulcan. “It’s been a long time since you and I have shared a moment like this.”

    “I believe it has been twelve years, give or take a few days.” T’Rani remarked as she sipped on the flavoured tea. “Thank you for the tea.”

    “So what’s this really about T’Rani?” Cambil said inbetween her own sips. “Last time we spoke like this…”

    “Yes I know, I had returned from Vulcan and discovered that…” She paused. “I could not have children with S’Tefe.” T’Rani’s discomfort was becoming more apparent.

    “And I thought you both resolved that matter?” Cambil enquired. “If you don’t mind me prying?”

    “We did…”


    Sitting up straight, T’Rani obviously wished to discuss the matter. “I am finding it difficult to comprehend S’Tefe’s actions recently.”

    Smirking at that notion, Cambil knew all too well how hard it was to work out her own husband and that of her sons sometimes. That said the latter were teenagers and she had never figured out teenagers. Seeing as both of their husbands worked as teachers on the ship in a civilian capacity that held some sort of connection. “I don’t always comprehend Naprem’s actions but that’s marriage. Sometimes you get along and sometimes you give each other your space.” She explained, “Take right now, I am loving having the whole place to myself while they’re on that field trip. I take it S’Tefe is on it as well?”

    “Indeed, however my concern is over the fact he is more bothered about his work than our marriage.” T’Rani stated. 

    “Is that unusual then?” Cambil asked as she placed her glass of springwine down on the coffee table between them.

    Appearing more uncomfortable, the pilot persevered with her answer.  “I feel that he wishes to have a conversation but is apprehensive about it.”

    “About what?”

    “Us.” T’Rani said. “I believe he wishes to separate.”

    Shocked to hear those words from her, Cambil sat up and made her way over to T’Rani. She sat on the arm and took her hand into hers for comfort. She knew the Vulcan woman would not appreciate the gesture entirely. “T’Rani are you serious?” 

    “I believe so. For some time he has made remarks about family life and missing being on Vulcan.” T’Rani shared. “I believe he would prefer to be on the homeworld then here and with our new mission orders to the Delta Quadrant, I am uncertain he will want us to remain on the Odyssey.”

    “T’Rani, I know you may not want to hear this but then you need to ask him.” Cambil advised. “You can’t go on not knowing.”


    Standing up and smiling down at her former student, “However as both of our husbands are occupied elsewhere I insist you join me for dinner tonight and then perhaps we can go for a walk down to the cetacean labs. Walking under the aqua labs always helps me calm my thoughts if meditating or praying about it doesn’t work.” 

    “Thank you ma’am, I appreciate the gesture.” T’Rani said and stood up.

    “Now, I must insist you try some Bajoran spring wine. I know it has a lot of flavour in it, more so than most Vulcans like but I promise you it is good for the soul.” Cambil said with a friendly smile as he made her way over to the replicator and ordered more food for her guest. “Then for dessert, I am taking a page out of Counsellor Dunan’s book and ordering us both a slice of chocolate fudge cake with chocolate ice cream.”

    “If you insist.” The pilot said as she took a seat at the dining table.

    “Oh I do T’Rani.” Cambil said as she programmed the replicator. “I do!”


    The auditorium was pretty sparse as the evening meals were slowly being finished and those that remained were waiting for the main bar to open. Sat in the corner by the large windows were Commanders Duncan and Hunsen with Senior Chief Petty Officer Court. The three men were just finishing their dinner and were guessing what their next adventures would bring.

    “My money is on Starfleet wanted us to find the Klingon colony that Voyager established before it left the Delta Quadrant.” Court remarked in between mouthfuls of his cheese and bacon burger.

    Disagreeing with him, Hunsen shook his head as he gulped down some pasta. “No way, I reckon Starfleet wants to establish some more friendly allies. I was reading about a species known as the Quarren. I reckon we’ll go there first.”

    “Wait a sec,” Duncan said looking up from the mug of tea he was drinking, “aren’t the Quarrens the people that attacked and kidnapped the Voyager crew and wiped their memories for them to be part of their workforce?”

    “Yeah, but Voyager sorted that one out so they might like us.” Hunsen suggested.

    Both Duncan and Court burst out laughing at their friend’s train of thought.

    “Seriously Tremt are Starfleet really going to send one of their state-of-the-art ships to a place that may enslave everyone on board?” Court questioned and he looked across the table back to Duncan. “What do you think Max?”

    “Huh?” Duncan said, court of guard by the question and quickly stumbling his thoughts. “Oh, well I think it will be the Borg.”

    “The Borg?” Court and Hunsen both said in unison.

    “Ah man, don’t you think the Federation has had enough of them?” Court asked in almost disgust.

    “And I’m sure other ships may already undertaking that job.” Hunsen remarked. “Come on, you must have looked at the Voyager database to see who we may make second contact with?”

    Duncan shook his head, “I’ve not had time to look over it yet.”

    “I’m so glad our chief diplomatic officer is prepared!” Hunsen teased his friend.

    Court sighed in disbelief. “I can’t believe you’ve not looked yet.” He then pushed more of his burger into his mouth. “Such a let-down.” He said with his mouthful.

    “Quick your nagging, I will have plenty of time to review it before we arrive at Barzan.” Duncan said. “That said, you never know we may not end up in the Delta Quadrant.”

    “What’s that got to mean?” Court asked, almost sounding hurt that Duncan didn’t believe their Delta Quadrant adventure would take place.

    Placing his mug down on the table, Duncan explained his theory. “I just think something else will come up and will require the Odyssey to take a diversion first. It always happens with us!”

    Shaking his head in disbelief, Hunsen wasn’t having any of it. “No you’re wrong, we will be in the Delta Quadrant by this time next week. Mark my words!” 

    “Is that before or after the Klingons invade or Q Continuum decides to return and place the Federation on trial again?” Duncan asked. “I know I’m not sounding optimistic about this; it’s just I reckon something will happen between here and then.” 

    “Let’s place a wager on it then.” Court suggested. “If Max is right then we have to bring him his dinner every night for a month.”

    “Add breakfast and it’s a deal.” Duncan offered.

    “Fine and if we win then he has to bring us our breakfast and dinner every day for a month.” Hunsen added.




    The three men all shook their hands on the bet and returned to their meals, still laughing at what may happen next.

  • BF_MJBF_MJ Member
    edited May 30

    USS Odyssey NCC-80000, 
    Sol System, Alpha Quadrant
    Stardate: 76407.1

    “Captain’s log stardate seven-six-four-oh-seven-point-one. We arrived in the Sol system late last night and the ship is currently enjoying a brief respite in the San Francisco Shipyards before heading out to the Barzan Wormwhole. Our stopover will give the crew a few days of R and R while the ship receives further upgrades and modifications ahead of our deep space exploration assignment in the Delta Quadrant.”

    The morning breakfast rush in the auditorium was in full swing, however the amount of the crew that were present was low compared to most days. The lack of souls was a welcome sign for Odyssey’s Betazoid chief engineer. Hearing random thoughts and sensing others feelings was difficult to always block out for most Betazoids. Since serving on the Odyssey with its large number of crew he had learned from T’Rani a few Vulcan techniques and meditations to help prevent himself from being overwhelmed with other non-Betazoid thoughts and feelings. After grabbing his breakfast tray and selecting the food he wanted, along with a mug of raktajino, the chief engineer made his way across the large crew lounge towards the table he and his friends normally met every morning for their breakfast. Smiling at them as he approached, Hunsen greeted them and took his seat.

    “How’s the eggs Max?” He asked Duncan who was sitting on the other side of the rectangular table. 

    Counsellor Duncan, who had a fork filled with scrambled eggs in his hand, nodded with approval. “Pretty good actually.” He answered and encouraged his friend to try the portion he had taken. “What’s your day looking like?”

    “Pretty standard to be honest, I’ve got a double duty shift in engineering to oversee the added extras that Starfleet is outfitting us with. New transporter enhancements, upgrades to the subspace radio, refit to the deflector dish and installation of new injectors for the warp core.” Hunsen said before eating a mouthful of egg. “You?”

    Picking up his mug of tea, Duncan indicated to Court (who was sitting next to him drinking a glass of orange juice) with his thumb and spoke up. “We’ve got a briefing with the captain at Starfleet Command.”

    “Oh? Anything interesting?” Hunsen inquired. 

    Shaking his head before answering, Duncan explained what they were up to. “We’re meeting with command officials about the extra crew we are taking on board for our mission along with a briefing about the races that they want us to meet with first.”

    “Along with that Starfleet wants us to take on board a squad of cadets; it’s going to be my job to babysit them.” Court added. 

    “Cadets?” Hunsen repeated, “That’s pretty unheard of for an Odyssey-class ship to get.”

    “We’ll keep some of them, but the rest of them are being posted on other ships heading to the Delta Quadrant. Most of them are juniors or seniors, Starfleet wants us to provide practical training while in the field.” Court stated.

    “And I take it their final exams are going to be administered via hyper-subspace?” Hunsen questioned. 

    “The captain is quite eager to agree to the project,” Duncan stated. “He used to teach at the academy anyway.”

    “Well as long as I’m not expected to teach any classes.” Hunsen said as he picked up a slice of toast.

    Duncan and Court looked at each other before returning to eat their food. Duncan smirked as he picked up a few mushrooms and before placing them in his mouth he just nodded once to his friend, “I wouldn’t hold your breath there Tremt. The captain told us yesterday that Starfleet feels that by having the next generation of cadets out in deep space, the enthusiasm to be explorers will return. Which means we need to set the example!”

    “Oh great!” Hunsen mumbled as he drank from his Klingon coffee. “Anything else?”

    “Yeah, one thing that I recall…” Duncan started. “I believe you two owe me.”

    Court looked at his friend, confused at the remark. “What do you mean, owe you?”

    “If you remember rightly, I told you both a few weeks ago that our mission to the Delta Quadrant would be interrupted and I was right...the Klingons invaded!” Duncan stated with a smug look on his face.

    “Damn, he’s right.” Court grumbled. 

    “Oh damn it!” Hunsen said as he placed his mug down. “Wasn’t it we brought you breakfast for a month?”

    “And dinner, so gentlemen as you’ve failed this morning already I will let you off in preparation for dinner this evening.” Duncan said as he finished his last bite and stood with his tray in hand. “I’ll see you boys later!” He said smiling and walked away.

    “He's got too smarmy since he was acting captain.” Court remarked. 

    “Agreed.” Hunsen said with a chuckle and returned to his coffee.

    Waking up in Napreem’s arms was a welcome change and brought a welcome smile. Bexa rolled around to look at her husband's sleeping body. She smiled at the view, even though he was getting older he still was handsome to her, his sandy brown hair was going silver in some areas and the lines in his forehead were more apparent. Nevertheless he was still hers. Leaving him to lightly snore, she pushed herself gently out of his grip and left their shared king size bed. Walking over to her dresser, she picked up her silk robe and placed it on by wrapping the belt around her waist. 

    Walking into her living room, she found her sons Edon and Leeyum lying on the sofas playing a holographic game of some sort. Both of them were in their pyjamas. It was obvious neither of them had decided to have a sonic shower yet. Noticing that the two of them had breakfast, as their cutlery and bowls were left on the dining table, she said morning to them both. 

    “How are you feeling mom?” Leeyum asked as he switched the game off, annoying his brother with his action. 

    “Fine thank you.” She replied with a warm smile and ordered a mug of deka tea from the replicator. As the replicator made her drink she turned to look at her sons. “What are you two planning to do today?”

    “Probably hang out here.” Edon answered back. “Henri, Alfie and Theo are going to Earth with their folks later today and with all of the refits going on the holodecks aren’t available to civilians.”

    “Well then you could both tidy up your rooms!” Bexa suggested in between sips of her tea. “Have you both caught up with your latest homework? I’m not having your father complain to me one more time you both have been late in handing in your work.”

    “It’s all done!” Leeyum answered back, waving a PADD in his hand which he insinuated had his work on.

    Bexa looked at Edon who was trying to reload his game up again. “Edon?” She asked in a stern voice. “Have you done your work?”

    “Almost.” He said, ignoring her as he started to play the game again. 

    “Computer suspend all access to interactive holographic games for Cambil Edon until further notice, authorisation Cambil-two-one-beta-charlie.” She said with a slight wicked smile as the computer complied with her command codes and shut off her son’s game.

    Moaning automatically, Edon protested at his mother’s decision. “But mom, I’ll get it done-”

     Not giving him the chance to respond, Bexa gave him a look that only a mother could when she was telling her child off. “Edon do not make me drag you into that room to complete your work!”

    Sighing in further protest, Edon got up and headed back to his room. His sulking wake followed close behind him. 

    Cambil then looked over to Leeyum, “And you can clean up this mess!” She said, pointing to what was left on the dining table.

    Realising arguing with his mother was a futile attempt, Leeyum did as he was told. 

    At that point the door chime went off and Bexa moved across the room to see who it was. “Enter.” she said. 

    The doors parted open and walking in was Doctor Slyvexs. The Denobulan chief medical officer held a tricorder in one hand and a medkit was slung over her shoulder. Smiling, she approached the Bajoran first officer. 

    “Good morning doctor.” Cambil said, “A house call?”

    “I don’t have much of a sickbay at the moment as the whole medical facility is receiving some upgrades, so I thought I would come on over and do your final check up. If that’s okay?” Slyvexs offered, waving the tricorder around. 

    “Absolutely.” Bexa said and stood still while the doctor scanned her.

    “Any problems? Aches? Pains? Nausea? Headaches?” She asked. “Any tightness in the chest?”

    Shaking her head, Bexa answered truthfully. “Nothing, the new heart seems to be doing the trick. I’ve not noticed a difference.”

    “Good, that’s what it’s meant to do.” Slyvexs said as she finished her scan. “Everything looks like it is in order. I am reporting that you are fit to return to duty.”

    Smiling at the news, Bexa appreciated it. “Thanks doc, it’d be good to be out and about today.”

    “Indeed. Let me know if you need anything else.” Slyvexs offered as she left the Cambil quarters. 

    “What do you mean we have to take the yacht?” whined Henri. “Why can’t we use the transporter?”

    Sat around the dining table in the McCallister quarters, James was sat on one side with his son Henri next to him. Karyn sat at the head of the table while Alfie and Theo were opposite to the father and other brother. Their day had started out well after Doctor Slyvexs had cleared Karyn fit to return to duty. Before they did start their duties that day, James and Karyn had planned to have breakfast together as a family.  

    “Now we’ve docked the transporters are being upgraded.” stated James as he poured Henri some orange juice. “So we are going to take my yacht out instead.”

    “I heard you guys talking last night that it will be the last ride you take in it before Starfleet gives you a brand new one.” Alfie remarked. “Are you getting sentimental dad?”

    Laughing at Alfie’s question, Karyn placed her cutlery down, dabbed her lips with a servette and answered her son before her husband could. “You know what they say about Starfleet captains, they get sentimental over their ships. I think your father is upset to lose the Invicta.”

    “Hey if that Klingon ship hadn’t smashed into our side, then I wouldn’t be losing her.” James said in defence. “It’s just a shame we’ve got to say goodbye as I barely got to take her out for any missions.”

    “But you want to take your children out in it?” Theo questioned in between mouthfuls.

    James stopped himself from eating the fork load of bacon he had and looked to his son. “It’s safe for us to fly down to Earth and anyway Starfleet wants us to have something a bit better before we head to the Delta Quadrant.”

    “What are you going to call the new one then?” Alfie inquired as he picked up his glass of apple juice.

    “I’m thinking of keeping the same name, seems daft to pick a new one.” James replied. “Plus we’ll be able to pick it up after we’ve seen your grandparents.”

    “Are we staying at theirs?” Karyn asked.

    “Yeah, my mum confirmed everything last night.” James said. “She sounded excited in her message.”

    “Is she going to make us work in the hotel, dad?” Henri asked, almost whining. 

    Smirking at that remark after the last time they saw their grandmother she had them serving as waiters when her friends visited. “No, I’ve told her this time we are only staying for one night and one night only.”

    “I can only imagine the reception we’re going to get when we arrive.” Karyn remarked as she picked up her toast and took a bite out of it. 

  • BF_MJBF_MJ Member

    Cape May, New Jersey, United States of America 
    Earth, Sol System, Alpha Quadrant
    Stardate: 76105.3

    Landing the Invicta in the harbour seemed like a good idea at the time, especially as his parents owned one of the docks, but James wasn’t expecting to see a small crowd pose by it to take holo-photographs shortly after they landed in the water. Returning back to his childhood home had been a rare thing for the Odyssey’s commanding officer. Ever since he left to attend Starfleet Academy, he had lost the close connection he had with his parents after they disapproved of him and his brother joining Starfleet. That rift further escalated when his youngest brother abandoned Starfleet and joined the Maquis prior to the start of the Dominion War. His brother, Horatio, like him loved being among the stars but after being posted on assignments near to the former Cardassian demilitarised zone as well as rescuing fleeing Maquis refugees, Horatio gave up his promising career and became a pilot for the freedom fighters. Unfortunately for James, his first ship (the Audacious) had been assigned to the Bajoran Badlands and ended up catching Horatio and his entire cell. It had been one of the toughest missions he had endured so early on in his career. Having to explain to his parents what had happened and then hearing them both berating Starfleet for turning their youngest into a criminal was enough to drive a deep chasm between them and their other two sons. Thankfully, at the time, James had his oldest brother Conrad to turn to for support over it all. 

    Making his way towards his parents’ hotel, the Red Lion, made him stop and remember some childhood experiences and he hoped as he watched his sons walk ahead of him (while Karyn held his hand) that he hoped that none of them had to go through what he and Conrad went through because of Horatio. 

    Stood tall and grande like a castle, the Red Lion hotel was a well known establishment in the area. Its restaurant and bar was extremely popular with the locals and tourists, his father had strong connections within the community as a steadfast businessman while his mother was renowned for her hospitality. The building itself was wide and four floors high. It was painted mostly in white with red tiles, with a bold gold sign that read the name of the establishment. There was a sense of rich decorum with a number of its features, but it had a warm welcoming feeling to it. One thing that had remained almost the same was the flag that flew high with the race of a red lion on it. The flag itself had a white background and his mother had always said it reminded her of her home town when she was a child and living in Britain. There was something regal about it all, James and his brother had heard a number of stories as children from their mother about the history of famous kings and queens from Earth’s history, especially those from Britain. Their father had sometimes referred to the hotel as a palace when James’ mother was fussing over the maintenance of the building. 

    The hotel had been their home for as long as James could remember. The fourth floor was dedicated just to the McCallisters while the first, second and third floors were guest rooms. The ground floor played host to the famed restaurant (including its kitchen) and the bar. The basement though was dedicated to the offices and storage for almost everything needed to run a hotel. At the back was a beautiful swimming pool, a basketball court and a tennis court. Surrounding the whole hotel was an impressive garden, something that his mother was extremely proud of as she maintained it herself. 

    Approaching the main gates of the hotel, Alfie had already pushed them forward allowing them to all enter and automatically there was a scream of pure delight coming from the veranda near to the main entrance. Stepping down the steps, wearing an almost cream ensemble of light clothing, was the matriarch of the McCallister clan: Francesca McCallister. 

    Arms open wide, she made her way across the pebbled courtyard in almost rush as her feet made a range of crunching noises against the small stones beneath them. “Oh I am so pleased!” she said as she greeted her family. 

    Francesca McCallister was a strong-willed woman, even in her late seventies, she had never slowed down and wasn’t planning to do it anytime soon. Her frizzy and somewhat curly silver white hair bobbed with excitement as she hugged her three grandsons. After letting them go, she pulled in Karyn before embracing her son.

    As she let go she shared her glee, “It’s so good to see you all.” She added. “Your father is currently out in town getting some supplies for tonight’s meal.”

    “Sounds good mom.” James said, smiling to see her. 

    Looking at them all, Francesca smiled more. “You all look so well.” She looked back at her grandson, “And I cannot get over how tall and handsome you three are getting!”

    The boys all smiled in response. All of them were expecting her to say about putting them to work in her hotel, but the words did not leave her mouth. Instead she linked arms with their mother instead. “Now come on, I’ve got all of the bedrooms ready for you all.” She said as she squeezed Karyn’s arm. “I know you can only stay for one night, but I promise you all that I plan to take advantage of every single second!”

    James smiled at his mother’s enthusiasm, one that he wasn’t expecting, and shot a confused look at his wife who threw one back to him. “Thanks mom,” He said as they followed her up and into the hotel. “How have you guys been?”

    She pushed the door open as she answered, “Well I can’t complain, I don’t think there’s many muscles left in me that aren’t mine anymore but your father continues to refuse to have his hip replacement operation.”

    “How comes Frankie?” Karyn wondered, calling her mother-in-law with the name that she had been told to use after they first met. “I thought you said in your last letter that Jack was going to have it at the start of the year?”

    Shrugging her shoulders as she led the group up the large first flight of stairs, Francesca went on to share an anecdote of how her husband had changed his mind last minute. “That poor holographic doctor was so confused, I tell you Karyn I was surprised he didn’t glitch out on us with how much Jack had changed his mind.” She took them through a corridor that took them up to a private lift. After the computer controls recognised her, the doors parted open and allowed them all to get in. It was an almost tight squeeze with all of the hand luggage but they all got into the glass elevator. The view from the back of it showed the impressive swimming pool. There were a few guests in it while others sat around the edge. As the weather was pretty warm, it made sense for a number of guests to be enjoying what the hotel had to offer. 

    “Now boys I’m afraid you’ve got to share a room, but do not worry you’ve got the larger guest room while your parents stay in your dad’s room.” Francesca explained with a sweet smile.

    Confused as to why the boys would have to share, when the fourth floor had five bedrooms. The largest one was for his parents, three others that were of a similar size had been his and his brothers while the last one in recent years had become a larger guest room when it had originally served as a study and indoor gym combined into one. When he and his brothers had moved out, his parents had extended the hotel and had turned that room into a larger guest room. When James had visited with his sons before, they all had taken one of the bedrooms that he and his brothers had while he and Karyn had the guest room. 

    “How come they’ve not got their own room mom?” James asked as the lift came to a stop and the doors opened. 

    Before Francesca could answer her son, standing waiting for their arrival in the small corridor was James’ older brother and wife: Conrad and Laura. Surprised to see them standing there, James and Karyn automatically stepped off and hugged the couple, followed by their sons greeting their uncle and aunt. 

    Turning to his mother, James smiled. “How come you didn’t say these two were visiting?”

    Smiling back, Fracesca answered him. “I wanted it to be a nice surprise.”

    Conrad stepped over to his brother, the eldest McCallister sibling pulled his brother into another bear hug. “J-P, you’re not upset we’re gatecrashing your homecoming are we?” he asked using his brother’s nickname.

    Shaking his head, James answered quickly. “Not at all. We’ve got so much to catch up on.”

    Karyn looked to Laura, “How long are you both here for?”

    Smiling back, Laura answered her brother-in-law’s wife. “A few days, so when we heard the Odyssey was going to be here we had a frantic call from Frankie to get ourselves over here.”

    “More like summoned.” Conrad added which was followed up by a quick smack to the back of his head by his mother.

    “Don’t make me sound like I’m the Queen of England or something!” Francesca remarked. “I just thought it would be nice for us all to be together before you both go off galavanting across the galaxy one more time!”

    Still hugging his brother from the side, James grinned at the gesture. “Sounds good to me mom.”

    A couple of hours later and after settling in, James had changed out of his uniform and into something a lot more casual and comfortable. Walking outside into the back of the hotel, he noticed that it hadn’t taken long for his sons to jump into the swimming pool.

    “Dad!” shouted Henri, “Are you going to join us later? Uncle Conrad said he would!”

    “You betcha but let me catch up with your uncle first!” James answered as he approached where his brother was sitting.

    A few years back, his father had built an outdoor bar area and had stocked it with a range of alcoholic beverages from Earth. Conrad was sat on one of the stools, sipping on a bottle of beer and as James approached him he passed him a second bottle. The two brothers clinked their bottles together before sipping on them.

    “So, how have you guys been?” Conrad questioned after taking in several sips. 

    Nodding to confirm they were well, James answered. “Yeah all fine. It was pretty close with the whole thing in Archanis.”

    “Yeah I read the after-action report about how the Odyssey was heavily damaged. I take it you and Karyn have recovered?” Conrad asked. 

    “Yep.” James said. It was nice to be able to speak to Conrad about things. Conrad, like James, was a Starfleet captain and commanded Starbase Three-Seven-Eight in the Alcor sector near the Cardassian Union. He had been in command of it for almost fifteen years now. Like James also, the years of Starfleet service showed through his hair where grey streaks pebbled it. “I have to admit it did scare me when I woke up and was told what had happened in the first attack. Knowing that both Karyn and I were out of it concerned us both about the boys.”

    “That’s understandable J-P,” Conrad said before taking another sip. “In fact if you didn’t worry then I would have thought you were a Borg drone or worse a Vulcan for not caring for your sons.”

    Wincing a bit, James understood that it was his brother’s way of showing how much he cared. “How’s it been out in the Alcor sector?”

    Wobbling his head slightly, Conrad answered honestly. “It’s been okay, nothing too exciting. Thankfully Laura has been closer to three-seven-eight since the League was assigned to permanent detached operations in the sector. If anything happens, she’s normally one of the first to respond, but there’s barely been any action.”

    Again, like James and Conrad, Laura was a captain. She was the skipper of the Intrepid-class U-S-S League. The League had been in service since 2374 and Laura had risen through the ranks to command it. In recent years she had been able to keep the League close to Conrad’s posting on Starbase 376. Neither of them had children and both enjoyed their marriage when they were either close to one another or took regular holidays together. A majority of the time they spent their holidays on Risa. 

    “Sounds a bit boring.” James remarked back to his brother. “Either of you two considered a change of scenery?”

    “What, like the Delta Quadrant?” Conrad teased. “Not all of us get to command an Odyssey-class deep space explorer.”

    “Don’t you mean the Odyssey-class?” James joked back, emphasising that his ship was the original and prototype for its class. “No, but seriously though have you both not considered applying to join some of the deep space missions and doing something differently?”

    Conrad placed his bottle down. “Well we have, but we haven’t made it official.” 

    Surprised to hear that his brother was considering a change, James wanted to know more. “Seriously? I thought you would never leave that old Regula-class starbase! What have you got in the pipeline?”

    Appearing somewhat nervous in what he was about to say, Conrad took a breath and blurted it out. “Retirement!”

    Almost choking on the swash of beer that he had just put down in his mouth, James stumbled to keep it all in before looking at his brother surprised. “Retirement?” He repeated after swallowing his drink. “How come?”

    Shrugging his shoulders to show it didn’t mean much to them yet, Conrad explained. “Starfleet isn’t quite what we both signed onto almost thirty years ago, plus deep space assignments are far and hard to find. The only offer of a new command I was given was to take command of Deep Space Nineteen.”

    “D-S-Nineteen?” James repeated and stopped himself, realising he was becoming his brother’s echo. “That’s a great assignment. I didn’t know that Rear Admiral Templeton was moving on?”

    “He isn’t, Starfleet has given him command of the task force assigned to start deep space exploration of the Beta Quadrant. It included joint missions with the Romulan Republic, but he needed someone to command the station, where he remained based at.” Conrad explained. “Laura and I discussed it and there was no way the League would be sent and we hate it that we don’t get to spend so much time with one another anyway. Being that far apart would mean we would only see one another once a year on Risa.”

    “So retirement is the answer?” James asked.

    “We think so.” Conrad replied. “In fact we were discussing last night about helping mom and dad here at the hotel.”

    Shocked to hear that, James looked at his brother concerned. “Are you sure you’re not a Borg drone or a Vulcan?” He took another sip. “Helping here at the hotel? Are you serious?”

    “We’re considering it.” Conrad answered. 

    “Don’t take this the wrong way Conrad, but mum and dad have all the help with the staff they have here. They have someone manage it for them while they keep their toes in with it. Why would you want to change that?” James questioned.

    Hesitating to answer his brother straight away, Conrad fiddled with the top of his bottle before he answered him. “Horatio is home.”

    Pausing on taking another drink, James placed his bottle down. “What do you mean Horatio is home?”

    “I mean Horatio has served his time and is now home.” Conrad explained. “And before you get angry and cross at anyone…”

    Conrad’s words were late and James just shook his head in disbelief. “Are you kidding me? How long was it going to be until one of you told us?”

    Raising his hands in defence, Conrad stopped his brother from getting up and starting another family argument. “James, just stop and listen to me. Please.” Conrad pleaded with both hands up in front of his younger brother. “Blame me, not anyone else. I know how hard you took it for being the one bringing Horatio in. I wanted to check the lay of the land first before I told you what was going on.”

    Confused and bewildered at his brother’s words and the conversation they were having, James couldn’t understand what was going on. “So are you telling me that you and Laura are planning to retire to not only help mom and dad out but to ensure Horatio doesn’t return to a life of crime again?”

    “Sort of.” Conrad said. “It’s complicated, but I reached out to him last year to see what he was planning when he got out. It took a lot for him to answer me, he was ashamed of what he did but you also need to understand that a lot has happened to him.” Conrad explained. 

    Rubbing his face with both hands, James tried his best to remain calm. “Con, none of this is making sense to me.” He looked out towards his sons who were enjoying themselves before looking back at his brother. “You and I had the biggest argument of our lives with mom and dad just over there.” He said pointing to the sideline of the pool. “Both of them were berating the uniform and oath we took, both of them blamed Starfleet for destroying Horatio’s life and pleaded for us both to leave before it destroyed us as well. You and I made a pact to prove them wrong...and you’re telling me you’re giving it all up, but for what?” James paused. “To correct the wrongs of our family?”

    “I know it’s not easy to understand, but I need to do it.” Conrad said and he gave out a sigh. “James, I’ve been diagnosed with irumodic syndrome.”

    Completely flabbergasted at that, James didn’t think he could take anymore shocking revelations today. “Oh my god Conrad.” James got up and gave his brother a hug. As soon as he let go, he sat back down. “How long have you known?” 

    “A year or two.” Conrad said. “I promise you it’s nothing that at the moment I can’t keep on top of, but it makes you stop and look at life.”

    “I bet.” James said as he picked up his beer. “So is that why you want to retire, got in contact with Horatio and came home?”

    Nodding, Conrad wiggled his head “Yeah, sort of.” He took his own beer. “The doctors say I’ve got a few more years left before any of the symptoms truly appear. Laura and I have said we don’t want to waste what time we have serving in Starfleet anymore. We don’t have any children of our own, so it makes sense to come back here and help mom and dad. Plus I don’t want to go not knowing I didn’t try to sort things out with Horatio.”

    Taking a moment to breathe, James started to understand his brother. “So where is our younger brother?”

    “Out with dad.” Conrad answered. “I told them to go out while I spoke to you and cleared the air. I was hoping you wouldn’t refuse a dying man’s wish. Plus please don’t be cross with mom or dad. I told them not to say anything to you or Karyn. ”

    Finding it hard to process everything all at once, James just nodded. “Okay, I’ll see him but I don’t want the boys meeting him yet.” James said. “I need to speak it over with Karyn first.”

    “I get that.” Conrad said as he stood up and hugged his brother again. “I appreciate it.”

    James returned the embrace, wondering just how the hell he was meant to respond to everything his brother had just dumped on to him.

  • BF_MJBF_MJ Member
    edited May 30

    Cape May, New Jersey, United States of America 
    Earth, Sol System, Alpha Quadrant
    Stardate: 76407.4

    The awkwardness of Horatio’s entrance into the family living area was like watching a clown not being obvious at a funeral. Awkwardness at slipstream velocities. At first James didn’t say anything, except for staring at his younger brother when he and their father walked in together. James did not quite know how to greet the man who had practically been his best friend during their childhood and teenage years and who went off to betray everything that the uniform they wore stood for. Instead he opted to welcome his father home, James hugged his father tightly. It was obvious the silence was there as others gazed on, waiting for one of the McCallister boys to make the first step.

    “Oh my god guys, can you both say hello to one another.” Conrad groaned at his brothers.

    James looked at Horatio, “Perhaps we should go outside to talk.” He suggested.

    “Sounds like a good start.” Horatio returned and followed James out to the balcony. 

    A somewhat light breeze hit them as they stood a few feet away from one another. 

    “It’s good to see you J-P.” Horatio started with, using his brother’s nickname. 

    “Likewise H.” James returned, surveying the harbour view in front of them. “You look well.”

    “Prison makes you rethink a lot of things.” Horatio answered back with as he sat down on one of the outdoor chairs. “I take it the young woman who was with Laura is Karyn?”

    “Yep.” James said with a single nod.

    “And the boys out back in the swimming pool…”

    “...are your nephews.” James finished as he looked at his younger brother. “Harri, Alfie and Theo.”

    “Am I allowed to meet them?” Horatio wondered. “Or do they see me as the treasonous uncle that abandoned everything their father and mother stand for?

    James shook his head quickly, “They know you exist but I never once told them about your time with the Maquis or in prison.”

    Smirking at the fact that his older brother hadn’t spoken ill of him to his children made Horatio hopeful that there was something here they could salvage. “I appreciate that.”

    “I’ve raised them the same way mom and dad did with us three.” James added. “You don’t judge a book by its cover and you value that person based on how they act with you. You have several years to catch up on.”

    “I get that. What have you told them?” Horatio wondered.

    “You left Starfleet to pursue other interests.” James answered quite suddenly. It was almost too quick as it was certainly a rehearsed line he had used more than once. “So how long do you plan to stay around for?”

    Wincing as he considered how to share that, Horatio took in a breath and spoke. “For some time. I’ve got some time away from my current assignment.”

    “Assignment?” James quizzed as he took the chair almost opposite to Horatio.

    Rubbing his temple, Horatio nodded. “Look what I’m about to share with you, you need to understand there’s more to what you know.”

    “Do tell.” James responded. “We never kept secrets as kids, why start now.”

    “Because that’s what my life has become.” Horatio answered back with.

    “Come again?” James threw back confused to what his brother meant. He didn’t feel their attempt at repairing their relationship was going anywhere right now. 

    Hesitating at first, Horatio looked around almost suspiciously before he spoke. “The thing is J-P, I never left Starfleet.”

    “Rubbish.” James snapped back with. “You went AWOL, abandoned your post and joined the Maquis. If I hadn’t shot you in the badlands and brought you in then who knows where you’ll be right now.”

    “Oh James will you just shut up for one moment!” Horatio almost screamed in frustration as he stood up straight away and pushed his right hand through his hair as he looked back out towards the harbour. “The whole thing was a cover up.”

    Standing up now at hearing that revelation, James wanted to know more. “A cover up? What was? You leaving to join the Maquis?”

    “Yes!” Horatio exclaimed as he placed both hands on the balcony edge. Turning to his brother, he elaborated further. “I work for Starfleet Intelligence. When I left the academy I was approached to infiltrate one of the Maquis cells, my capture was orchestrated and so was my imprisonment.”

    Shaking his head in disbelief, James couldn’t get it. “You’re telling me that over twenty-five years ago that whole thing was a shambles, just to get you into the ranks of the Maquis?”

    “Yes.” Horatio said. “But with the arrival of the Dominion and the subsequent war my mission was interrupted. The plan had been for you and the Audacious’ crew to capture me and then several weeks with my fellow jailbirds we would escape. I would have gained their trust and the plan was for me to work my way up towards the top echelons of the organisation. I was one of many agents sent in. Even Captain Adelaide knew about it!”

    Shocked to hear that his former mentor, the woman who literally taught him everything about command and leadership, had kept something so important about his family so quiet for so many years and took it to her grave. “So what have you been doing instead?”

    “Well when pardons were issued to former Maquis once it was seen that they were right about the Cardassians, I was released and returned to my duties with Intelligence.” Horatio explained. “But to keep things quiet, they falsified records and had a hologram of me created to serve my time in prison.”

    “And how come you’re telling us about it now? Why not reach out to one of us sooner?” James enquired. 

    “My time with S.I. has come to an end and the majority of my missions have been declassified. I’m allowed to return to active service in the field.” Horatio shared. “I’ve had to keep things quiet to keep all of you safe. You almost blew my cover one time though.”

    Perplexed as to why he would make such a comment, James told his brother to clarify what he meant by that. “When did I almost do that?”

    “Your tenure as captain of the Avenger.” Horatio stated. “You were ordered to extract a team of operatives from Chin’toka. I was one of them. Luckily though my disguise held up but I was certain you worked out it was me.”

    “Are you saying that was you dressed up as a Bajoran refugee? The blond hair guy that kept on staring at me?” James grilled his brother with. “I kept on thinking there was something familiar.”

    “Well I had undergone a lot of surgical alterations but when the mission had gone wrong we needed immediate extraction and when I saw you on the Avenger’s bridge, I genuinely thought that was it.” Horatio said. “I’m sorry I couldn’t say anything.”

    Crossing his arms against his chest, James took in everything that Horatio had just told him. “I take it Conrad and Laura know?”

    “They do as do mom and dad.” Horatio answered. “Conrad had been the one to reach out when my team and I were debriefed at Starbase Three-Seven-Eight. He recognised me through my disguise as a Ferengi.”

    “A Ferengi?” James repeated.

    “Yeah, he said he recognised my smile through the teeth and lobes.” Horatio said, chuckling slightly. “He then told me what he was going through and I agreed to return with him and Laura back to Earth.”

    Taking a moment to find away to compartmentalise the anger he had built up for Horatio and what he had apparently done over twenty-five years ago, James was starting to see his true brother for the first time before him. 

    “I am sorry.” Horatio said, almost pleading for forgiveness. “I know you’re going off to the Delta Quadrant in a few days time, but I want to be able to reconnect with you J-P. The secrets are too much and being able to contain them after a while becomes almost near impossible to do.”

    “Well let’s use these next two days to reconnect and for you to get to know your nephews.” James said with a small smile.

    Relief flew over Horatio’s expression. “I appreciate it J-P.” The younger brother moved forward to hug his older brother.

    James relented and hugged him back. “I know the boys would love getting to know you, plus I’m certain you and Alfie will get on like a house on fire. He reminds me of you so much.”

    After letting go, Horatio nodded with appreciation. “I promise, I want to be in their lives as much as yours and Karyn. Well as much as you’ll let me.”

    “One bit at a time.” James said. “Plus we need to be there for Conrad right now.”

    “Absolutely.” agreed Horatio. “I’m not expected to be leaving for my next assignment anytime soon. I’ve got a few weeks to spend here.”

    “You got an assignment already?” James quizzed.

    “Yep,” Horatio said. “I’m taking over the command of the League from Laura and following your footsteps.” When James showed he didn’t understand his brother, Horatio went on to tell him that once the League had received its upgrades while in Spacedock then he’ll be heading to Barzan too.
    “The Delta Quadrant is about to have an invasion of the McCallister clan!”
  • BF_MJBF_MJ Member

    Cape May, New Jersey, United States of America 
    Earth, Sol System, Alpha Quadrant
    Stardate: 76409.9

    Packing the last of their belongings into the Invictus, James looked around to make sure there wasn’t anything left around the harbour that he had missed. Satisfied that wasn’t the case, he pushed down on his uniform jacket and walked across the dock towards the small gathering of the McCallister clan. Karyn and the boys were saying their goodbyes to the others. The past twenty-fours had been eventful and now it was time for their return to the ship. After hearing the upgrades had been completed ahead of schedule the crew had been recalled ahead of what had been planned. The shipyards were in high demand ever since the destruction of the Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards, so once a job was done then the yard engineers were eager to move on to the next ship. Odyssey was being released and would finish the last little bits while in orbit of Earth. 

    Making his way over to the group, he said goodbye to his parents and then wished Laura and his older brother, Conrad, goodbye. Promising to stay in touch with them all via the monthly datastreams they would be sending once they got into the Delta Quadrant, the McCallister family was starting to heal a lot of old wounds. Looking over to his youngest brother who also wore the same uniform as he, James smiled at the fact they had been able to begin to repair their relationship. They would have plenty of time to do that while in the Delta Quadrant, he had hoped. It would start with James flying Horatio to the League, again ahead of everything. Starfleet wanted both ships out of the Sol system and heading to the Barzan system sooner rather than later. The wormhole was scheduled to open soon and the eagerness to have every ship in the new exploration task force at Starbase Thirty-Eight prior to this was now top priority. 

    Sharing their final goodbyes, James led his family back into the Invictus. Turning to his brother as the hatch closed behind them, he smiled. “Horatio, you want to take the helm?”

    Smiling at the offer, Horatio accepted on the spot and moved his way over to the helm. 

    “Sit back boys.” Horatio said with confidence. “You’ve got the best pilot in the McCallister clan at the controls.”

    James just shook his head at his brother’s lack of humility and took up a standing position at the aft raised console with Karyn to stand by him. She placed a kiss on his cheek and pulled him into a side hug. Squeezing her back with affection, the captain smiled as his sons’ watched their uncle lift off from the harbour and began their ascent into the skyline. 

    USS Odyssey NCC-80000
    En-route to Barzan, Alpha Quadrant
    Stardate: 76412.1

    Pushing its new enhanced warp drive to the test, the Odyssey was making great speed as it maintained its top speed for a lot longer than most ships in the fleet could. It was one of the newest systems installed for its trip to the Delta Quadrant. Inspecting the warp core from a far, Captain McCallister was walking around main engineering with his first officer. Both of them were catching up. 

    “So yeah, my baby brother who I thought was a traitor all these years is…” James paused as he gazed at the heart of the ship as it throbbed at an impressive rate. 

    “ of us?” Cambil finished placing her hand on the rail before them. The two of them were on the upper level of main engineering looking down.

    “Yeah.” James said blinking out of it and back at his first officer. “It’s just frustrating to know that all of this anger I've built up towards him over the years was for nothing. He was just doing his job.”

    “I’ve come to see those who are members of Starfleet Intelligence as ones that can never truly walk away from it all and never can live their real lives.” Cambil mentioned. “Do you honestly think your brother’s taking command of the League is as genuine as you think it is?”

    “I want to believe him.” James said sincerely while also sounding doubtful. “I just don’t know. I hope so.”

    “If you don’t mind me saying James,” Cambil said lowering her voice further, “you’ve always been the optimistic one out of us two. Don’t lose it over this, give your brother the benefit of the doubt that this is all sincerely true.”

    “I suppose.” James took a sigh, “Right, we still have several more key areas to inspect. What’s next on the list?”

    “Our upgraded communication array, we get to see the latest in hyper-subspace communication with our new interplexing beacon.” Cambil answered as she led them off the upper level and down the long ladder to the ground floor. “Lukiz is waiting for us in deflector control.”

    “Interplexing beacon? I do hope we’re not going to be attracting a certain collective our way?” James stated as he followed her down. 

    “I’ve been told the engineering principles are similar but work on a different level.” Cambil said as she waved the PADD in her hand. 

    “Oh dear lord, I knew I may regret agreeing to this mission.” James said as they left engineering together to see what Starfleet had done to their ship.

  • BF_MJBF_MJ Member
    edited June 8

    USS Odyssey (NCC-80000)
    Starbase 38, Barzan System, Alpha Quadrant
    Stardate: 76417.4

    It was a big day for them all. Odyssey would be launching from Starbase Thirty-Eight and joining the other ships in the fleet heading to the Delta Quadrant. Feeling giggedy and excited was a complete understatement for the ship’s captain. It was like being an ensign again for the first time when he had just boarded the Audacious. No longer the operations officer, James Preston McCallister was the well-experienced leader that Starfleet had chosen to send to the deep reaches last seen by one of the most famous Intrepid-class ships in Starfleet’s history. The middle-aged captain had wondered if there was some sort of irony that the name of his ship was similar in definition to Admiral Janeway’s former command. 

    Stepping out onto the bridge from his ready room, McCallister made his way over to the centre. During his stroll, his security and tactical chief had announced his presence to everyone. All of them had stood to attention, McCallister just waved it off along with a smile of appreciation before telling them to get back to their stations. The tall broad Tiburon, who kept his ship safe, handed him a PADD with an updated report on their tactical readiness. 

    All of the senior staff were present. Each and everyone of them occupied a station. McCallister couldn’t blame them for wanting to be there as they prepared to start their new mission. There was a sense of excitement and joy running through the ship. It had grown so much since they had left the Archanis sector and it seemed like it was about to boil over when they departed from Earth’s orbit. Everyone on board just seemed cheerful, even those who hailed from Vulcan appeared somewhat pleased.  

    Looking up from her chair, his first officer smiled at him. “Good Morning sir.” Commander Cambil greeted him with. Her ridged nose wrinkled more with the huge grin she maintained. After returning to the ship with his family, Bexa had been the first one to greet the McCallister clan. That evening Bexa and he had caught up with him sharing what had happened on Earth with his brothers as they toured the ship. The disclosure that Conrad was dying had hit James hard but to top it off the surprise revelation about his younger brother Horatio not actually being a traitor, instead worked for Starfleet Intelligence all of these years. Bexa had questioned James over how much he could trust Horatio going legit, he had shared the same thing with that he had said to Karyn about it. 

    “Morning Bexa,” McCallsiter responded as he took his seat and pushed the creases out of his uniform jacket with his left hand. “Anything else to report?” He questioned as he started to read the PADD given to him from Lenjir. 

    Shaking her head, the Bajoran answered with an affirmative ‘no’. She went on to explain how the ship was ready to leave. “Commander Hunsen is eager to get underway, he said the last of the upgrades were activated late last night and Commander Jen is eager to test them in the field.”

    Looking down to where his ops manager sat, McCallister smiled at the joined Trill. “Don’t worry Lukiz,” He called out. “We’ll have plenty of time to test our new systems when we reach the Delta Quadrant.”

    Turning around in his chair, Lieutenant Commander Jen nodded with affirmation. “Absolutely sir, I just hope they don’t fail on us before we meet with any of the natives. Especially the cybernetic variety. ”

    “You and me both Lukiz.” Cambil added to the conversation. She looked back at her superior after realising there was something she needed to share. “Commodore Marshall-Bennet has requested that all ships be by the mouth of the wormhole before oh-nine hundred hours.” 

    “Has anyone else made a move yet?” McCallister wondered.

    “Not yet.” Cambil answered after glancing down at her console and back to McCallister. “It may be early for some of the others in the fleet after the party on the Discovery finished late.”

    Chuckling at a brief recap of the celebrations that the commodore had hosted the previous night, McCallister wondered how many in the fleet may have woken up groggy from it all. “Well then let’s set the standard.” He looked down at the helm. “Lieutenant Commander T’Rani, if you would do us the honours of getting us disconnected from the starbase at once.”

    The Vulcan woman replied with a simple and almost curt, “aye sir”.

    Looking to his left to his counsellor and diplomatic officer, McCallister tried to gage quietly the reason why his pilot had replied in such a stern way. Counsellor Duncan just shook his head after reading the captain’s surprised expression. He was telling his boss not to ask anything about T’Rani right now. The woman had only returned the night before after being on Vulcan for her husband’s funeral. 

    Taking Duncan’s cue, McCallister ignored the reaction from his pilot and took a mental note to check in with her once they were through the wormhole. While he did that everyone else got on with the job of launching the ship from its current docking port. In space, the station recalled its docking umbilical cords and the Odyssey moved away from the large Guardian-class starbase. 

    “We are clear.” T’Rani announced. “I’m laying in a course for the entrance to the wormhole.”

    “Ahead one quarter impulse.” Cambil ordered the Vulcan woman, she gave McCallister a concerned glance to compliment his worry for their pilot. After he acknowledged it with a raise of both of his eyebrows, Cambil looked back to the front of the bridge and towards Jen. “Lukiz, send a message to the Discovery informing them the Odyssey will be in position shortly. We’ll await orders from the commodore.”

    “Message sent.” Jen said after a few seconds. 

    Looking over to his wife at the science station, McCallister asked her how much longer they needed to wait until the wormhole opened up. 

    “It’s expected to appear in just over ninety minutes.” Reyas asked before giving her husband a cheerful look. “We’re starting to detect elevated neutrinos forming at this end. It won’t be long until Starbase Thirty-Eight fires its verteron array to strengthen the pull this region has on the wormhole.”

    “I heard Commodore Marshall-Bennet has arranged for the Discovery to fire some antimatter fireworks to celebrate the beginning of the operation.” Master Chief Petty Officer Court remarked from where he was stood by the aft mission ops stations. 

    “The commodore is pulling out all of the stops.” Lenjir agreed with the chief of the boat. “Sir, do we know what our orders are once we arrive in the Delta Quadrant?

    McCallister had already spoken about it with his new superior officer but the Odyssey’s captain wouldn’t share any of it until they were on the other side of the galaxy. “I’ll brief everyone once we are settled into our new home.” He shared. 

    Eventually the Odyssey arrived at its position and like a racing car ready to go past the starting flag, the ship waited patiently for the green light to go. 

    This was the start of their new adventure. 

    Uxal, Uxal System, Delta Quadrant

    Stardate: 76417.41

    Leader Otrin stared out of the large wide expanse of windows in his office that was located in the high government spire. A mixture of worry and concern darkened his faded pale blue eyes and stress etched the aging appearance across his face. His short combed back brown hair showed signs of the office he currently held through the various patches of grey. It looked as if someone had dusted grey snow across his hair. The Uxali leader gazed at a cluster of stars that he knew contained the world once promised to his people, instead it was just a dream at the moment. Almost mocking him through their brightness, Otrin wondered if he would ever see the day his people would sit foot on new soil. 

    “Only a few more weeks.” He muttered, aware that his hope was slowly failing every time he had time to stop and reflect on everything. Over the past twenty-two years since his people started to rebuild their world and return to the surface, he wondered if they would ever achieve their dreams of going further than just surviving from one day to the next. Closing his eyes, he still remembered that fateful day when the Human ship named Voyager cured him of his radiation sickness and the mutations his body had endured since he was a child. Voyager had left them with such a huge challenge in restoring their once proud world, nevertheless it was becoming a daunting task to achieve. 

    His people’s attempt at breaking past the significant damage that had inflicted their world had so far not progressed as quickly as they had hoped. Voyager’s help in restoring their atmosphere had only gotten them so far. On every front of them restoring their world, failure was growing at every attempt, with no end in sight. Too many obstacles now faced them with too many factors to consider. Their best minds, including himself, were not able to counteract the effects of long term antimatter radiation to their world quickly enough. They were losing the race against time. It wasn’t just their atmosphere they needed to be clean, other areas like their seas and the soil in the ground needed urgent care. Farming using natural resources had become almost impossible, so they had resorted to returning to the old ways of growing vegetables and plants in self-contained hydroponic farms. Energy to maintain these farms had come from renewable sources including solar and wind turbines. They had built several large water purification centres along the coastlines but it took a lot to make the water drinkable. 

    Otrin rubbed his burning eyes. It wasn’t from any lasting radiation symptoms, it was just from pure fatigue. Every bone and muscle in his body ached. Since remaining in the position as leader of his people, he had worked tirelessly in making sure they were on the right paths in rebuilding their civilisation. His hard work had come with a price as his energy was fully focussed on making their world habitable again, that it took him almost a decade and a half to realise that their efforts may be futile and they needed a plan B. So the idea of using their old weapons of mass destruction to turn them into ships capable of light speed had become another one of his priorities now. It was a simple plan. If they could transform enough of the missiles into ships capable of spaceflight they could head to the planet that Voyager had almost taken them to and start over again.   

    Hope was fading away though from Otrin, just like the colour of his hair, as he worried daily they might not actually succeed and his people would die without anyone knowing anything more about their accomplishments. It created a bitter taste in his mouth, one that caused him so much worry mixed with a dash of anger. 

    There was a knock on his door and he simply turned around to see the moonlight that was exposing itself through the windows to light up the appearance of his deputy. Brin, the woman that had risen up and stood with him making a change for their people stood by the door. 

    “Otrin, I’m sorry to disturb you so late but I’ve just heard from one of our patrols that they’ve recorded a small group of undergrounders surfacing near the northern islands.” She announced. “They’re all wearing the badge of those who belong to the Followers of Verin.”

    That name added to his anger and worry. Stepping away from the window, Otrin took a few steps so he was a bit closer to Brin. “Did they cause any damage or trouble?”

    “No, not this time.” She answered. 

    Somewhat pleased to hear that, Otrin wondered if the nuisance that came from those who decided to remain underground would ever subside. It was another thing to add to his list of factors that gave him sleepless nights.

    If only I could return to being a scientist he thought to himself. 

  • BF_MJBF_MJ Member

    USS Odyssey (NCC-80000)
    En-route to Turei Alliance territory, Gradin Belt, Delta Quadrant
    Stardate: 76417.9

    Whizzing past at high warp, the Odyssey was like a cheetah running through the wilderness making its way towards its next target. The large exploration vessel was making its way towards Turei territory where they would meet with the designated liaison officer from the Turei Alliance. They would confirm their flight path and enter underspace to make their way to their first mission. Now sat in the large conference room, Captain McCallister was briefing his senior staff on their new orders. 

    “So it may come to surprise you all that Starfleet is sending us quite deep into the Delta Quadrant.” The fierce leader said as he stood by the large wall monitor and tapped on the console underneath it as he brought up the ship’s current navigation logs. It also showed a map of the Gradin Belt and a flight path. Their journey extended beyond Turei territory and towards an area the crew were all familiar with. 

    “Wow, talk about a complete full circle.” remarked Commander Cambil. “Starfleet wants us to pick up from where Voyager left off from?”

    “Sort of Bexa.” McCallister answered his Bajoran first officer as he pressed another button and the map zoomed into a particular star system that was almost on the edge of it. A star system then appeared with at least nine planets and it then zoomed into the sixth planet. “Ladies and Gentlemen, this is Uxal Seven and it is home to the Uxali civilisation.” Activating a holographic projection of a Uxali man and a woman either side of the wall console, the captain allowed their frozen holograms to spin slowly. 

    Squinting her eyes, Doctor Sylvexs looked at the two photonic examples before them. “Yes, I remember this species well from my reading. They’re the ones who your ancestors almost annihilated by giving them antimatter technology.”

    “They didn’t give it to them willingly.” Counsellor Duncan corrected his colleague. “Our ancestors sent out a series of probes in all directions of the galaxy shortly after Doctor Cochrane’s famous warp flight. It was hoped that they would be able to invite other races, besides the Vulcan to visit.”

    “I’m confused, what happened to the Uxali?” Lenjir wondered aloud. 

    It was Jen, the joined Trill ops officer who filled in the gaps. “From what Voyager discovered, their level of expertise, scientific understanding is probably a better way of looking at it, was not advanced enough to truly use antimatter safely. As a result of this they almost killed one another with antimatter weapons and they ruined their planet’s ecosystem from the fallout radiation.” Jen looked at the captain. “I thought Admiral Janeway saved them all with a cure to their radiation poisoning and clearing their atmosphere up, does Starfleet want a follow up mission?”

    Nodding to confirm, McCallister went on to tell them their orders. “They do. The Federation Council, in fact the president themselves, feels that even though Voyager did its best to deal with the matter as best as they could, Earth has some responsibility in helping these people. From what I’ve been told by Commodore Bennet, the United Earth government is keen to fully resolve the matter in helping the Uxali as much as they will let us. The United Earth Parliament petitioned the Federation Council to take further action.”

    “Great, so we get left with second contact duty and muck up schedules.” Reyas stated.

    “Sort of Karyn.” McCallister went on to explain, even though he was annoyed with his wife’s unhelpful comment. “We’re probably one of the best ships to undertake this mission. We have the expertise from helping thousands of refugees from the Romulan Empire and the largest capacity this side of the quadrant. So we have full authorisation to provide help if the Uxali want it and to get an update on their status. Any questions?”

    Hunsen raised his hand slightly from where it rested on the conference table. “Sir, even though Voyager did a good job in cleaning up their air we should still be cautious that even after twenty plus years there will be residual radiation on the planet.”

    “Indeed, so the away team will need to be in full EVA gear.” McCallister answered. He looked to Cambil, “If we cannot establish contact from orbit then I will lead a heavily armed away team down.”

    “Captain-” Cambil was about to start but McCallister interrupted her. 

    “I get your objections Bexa, but this one requires the captain to lead on as we can’t leave this planet in a mess. These people, yes, need to take responsibility for their own actions, but it was from Earth that the reason why this happened to them starts from. We need to clear up our ancestors’ mess.”

    “How long is Starfleet giving us to complete the mission?” T’Rani asked from her chair.

    “No time allocation has been sent on this one as they want us to take our time in repairing any unfinished damage.” McCallister replied as he sat down. “Karyn, I need you to place a filter on the sensors so they can by-pass any more radiation in the atmosphere.”

    His El-Aurian wife nodded in acknowledgement of her orders. “Understood, but with the doctor’s help we should see if we could adjust them too to detect Uxali lifesigns.”

    “Sounds like a good idea.” McCallister said and he looked to Slyvexs to be involved. He then gazed over to his chief engineer. The Betazoid engineer was already writing things on his PADD as he could probably hear McCallister’s thoughts. “Tremt, I want the Aquarius ready to be launched once we arrive. Have T’Rani lend you a hand.”

    “Aye sir. Perhaps activating the metaphasic shields around the ship may prevent any damage from any lingering radiation.” Hunsen suggested.

    “So to it.” McCallister ordered. “We have a journey ahead of us which includes a trip through subspace, so Lukiz I am leaving it down to you to make the suitable adjustments for our trip.”

    “Understood captain.”  Jen said as he took notes. “I know the underspace corridors are filled with debris. We may want to reinforce structural integrity.”

    “Make it happen.” McCallister commanded. “This may be our first assignment in the Delta Quadrant and it is a challenge, but I am confident we can bring some help to these people.” He took a breath. “Dismissed.”

    As everyone got up, James called for Cambil and Duncan to remain. As everyone left, he looked at them both. “We’ve got several days before we arrive at this planet. I want you both to become experts about them and anything else we may need to know. Is that clear?”

    “Sure.” Cambil replied with.

    “Clear as the Opal Sea sir.” Duncan answered with.

    “I want a detailed breakdown of everything by tomorrow afternoon.” McCallister ordered. “Ideas on how we are going to be able to convince them we are here to help and not invade will be greatly received.”

    “Leave it with us James.” Cambil said as the captain dismissed her and Duncan from the room.

    Once he was on his own, James smiled with a big grin. They were finally doing something worthwhile. 

  • BF_MJBF_MJ Member
    edited June 19

    USS Odyssey (NCC-80000)
    Entering Uxal System, Gradin Belt, Delta Quadrant
    Stardate: 76436.6

    “Captain’s log stardate, seven-six-four-three-six-point six. The Odyssey has travelled through our designated underspace corridor and has spent the last two days at high warp. Our trip has given us the opportunity to cover the same distance that it took Voyager to do in two years. Nevertheless, the time it has taken us to get here has given my crew and I the chance to prepare ourselves for this mission. I’ve spent this time reading and listening to every log from Voyager when it encountered the Uxali. I can’t help but feel that even though Admiral Janeway left them behind in a better state than when they arrived, I feel we are going to find ourselves with our hands full.”

    Odyssey flew past two gas giants and an asteroid field as it moved through the system. As it went over one floating rock, a small beacon came to life and beeped as the large Federation ship hovered over it. 

    On the bridge, T’Rani’s eyebrow raised as the ship’s proximity detector went off. The indication of a foreign object would bring some level of anxiety, but fortunately for her being Vulcan prevented her from feeling it. Looking over her shoulder, the Vulcan pilot spoke to her superior. “Commander Cambil, we have just been identified by what appears to be a small satellite, which is occupying one of the asteroids.”

    The Bajoran first officer, who was sat in the captain’s chair, glanced over to her helmsman. “I didn’t think they had that last time Voyager visited.”

    Listening into the conversation, Odyssey’s security chief spoke up. “They didn’t.” Lenjir reinforced.

    Tapping her combadge, Cambil asked the captain to join them on the bridge. He was currently in the astrometrics lab going over their game plan with some of the other senior staff. “We’ve just been seen by the natives.” Cambil added. 

    “We’re on our way up.” McCallister answered over the intercom.

    Moments later, the starboard aft turbolift doors parted to allow McCallister to enter with Duncan, Slyvexs, Hunsen and Reyas behind him. “Have we had any incoming calls from the Uxali?” The captain asked as he travelled across the small distance from the doors to the centre of the room. 

    Standing up from the captain’s chair, Cambil said no in response to her superior’s question. “The signal from the satellite will take another hour to arrive.” She added as she moved away allowing her captain to take the seat. “It’s not a sophisticated piece of technology sir, it barely registers as a subspace radio.”

    McCallister scratched his chin and then leant forward in his chair. “Lukiz,” He said, calling down towards his ops manager. “Are there any other satellites in orbit or along our current flight path?”

    Glazing down at his controls, the Trill officer nodded. “There’s a few, barely a dozen in orbit and there’s one more on one of the moons.” He spun around in his chair, “Do you want me to block the original signal, sir?” 

    Considering the option for a second, McCallister shook his head. “No, I want them to know we’re coming but we’re not hostile. However keep an eye on everything that we ‘trip’. I don’t want us to be under attack without knowing something is coming in our direction because we did something wrong.”

    “Understood loud and clear sir.” Lieutenant Commander Jen said as he got back to his work. 

    Relaxing into his chair for a moment, McCallister wondered how the Uxali would react when they saw another Federation ship approaching their homeworld. He turned over to his wife. “Karyn, are the probes ready for launch?”

    Working at the primary science station, the El-Alurian commander replied with a nod. “They are. Their stealth coating will prevent the Uxali from seeing them. It’d give us a better image in understanding the state of their world.”

    “Good, the more we know the better.” McCallister stated. “I still don’t like the whole cloak and dagger approach though.”

    “It’s better than going in blind James.” Reyas reminded her husband. It was something they as a senior staff had agreed on. Since Voyager knew nothing about the people and the planet during the original mission, which resulted in the death of their assistant chief engineer, the Odyssey crew would take every precaution in their mission. McCallister had made it clear he wanted to take this mission one step at a time, preventing them from creating either a diplomatic incident and ensuring everyone came back alive. 

    Uxal, Uxal System, Delta Quadrant

    When the emergency call rings in the early hours of the morning, it’s never good news. 

    Otrin was woken by the first tinkle coming from his bedside cabinet. Flickering once, then twice, his eyes opened but he remained still in his bed for just a moment. Then the chime went off one more time, forcing him to look over to the clock that showed him a digital reading of what time it was. It didn’t take long before he could hear someone outside his bed chambers approaching slowly. Straight away his brain kicked in, knowing it was the guards who could probably hear the chime going off.

    Rolling out of bed, the elder statesman pushed himself up while placing his bare feet against the rug below him. Moonlight from his large bay windows flooded over his shoulders and chest. Otrin leant over for the receiver to pick it up. Placing its cold plastic exterior against his ear and chin, he spoke into it.  “Yeah, what’s up?” He asked. 

    “Good Morning sir, sorry for the interruption but our detection satellite has picked up something on the edge of the system.” Announced the person on the other side of the call. 

    Stifling a yawn, Otrin placed his free hand over his mouth and blinked a few more times. “Explain more.” He remarked.

    “The signal is consistent with Voyager, but a lot bigger.”

    Some mixed level of dread and worry washed over the Uxali leader while another sense of hope quickly flashed through his heart. “How big?” He coarsely questioned. 

    “Our best guess, three time as long and twice as tall. They’re on a direct intercept course, however they’ve not attempted to block any of our scans or signals.” 

    “Assemble the leadership group in the pit, but don’t do anything else besides monitoring until I get down there.” Otrin ordered before placing the call down and getting himself up. 

    He knew this day would come but he had always hoped they would be better prepared. Knowing he would just have to improvise on the spot and hope the decisions he would make didn’t lead to the annihilation of his people. 

    It was only hours later, sitting in the security bunker (referred to as the pit), watching as his advisors shared the latest information about the incoming Federation vessel, that Otrin could start to feel like he was finally waking up. Perching around a large triangle-shaped table, he leant forward after his senior advisor finished their briefing. “Thank you Tomrin.” He looked to his deputy, who was sat right next to him and looked just as tired as he did. “Brin, your thoughts?”

    Pushing her faded blonde hair back, she considered her response for a second before sharing it. “If it is Captain Janeway, then I’d like to assume she’s returning to see how we are. She didn’t go through all of that effort in helping us to return to declare war on us.”

    “My thoughts too.” Otrin said in agreement.

    “However I hear a ‘but’ coming.” Brin said looking at Otrin. “I know you too well now Otrin.” She concluded with a smirk. 

    “But it’s been over twenty-two years, why return now? What are their intentions?” Otrin answered flatly. “We always wondered if they would return, hell that’s one of the reasons why we put the satellites in orbit. They’d be the first visitors we’ve had since Voyager left.”

    “Then let’s reach out to them.” Brin advised. “It doesn’t have to be public yet either. Let’s get a feel for what their intentions are. If not we’ll just have to use the missiles.”

    Leaning forward, Otrin picked up his mug of hot herbal tea and brought it up to his lips. Considering his choice, he nodded to Brin’s suggestion and then took a sip. “Let’s do it. Tomrin, make the call.” He stated. 

    Tomrin was the first baby born on Uxal when Voyager restored the planet. In fact he was named after the Voyager pilot that had delivered him when Brin had gone into early labour and went on to save the infant’s life. Growing up, the young man had become integral as part of Otrin’s leadership support team. His optimism and intelligence raised the atmosphere in any room he was in. Nervous as a child, Otrin had shared with the young man his passion for science. He was quite the impressionable person. Nonetheless, he was loyal, dedicated and trustworthy.

    Tomrin pushed his blonde hair, almost copying the same gesture that his mother had done a moment ago, as he went ahead with the call to the incoming Federation ship. Flicking some switches up and turning them around, the moment the channel was open he looked over to Otrin and nodded to say he could talk. 

    Otrin was stood up by this time and had made his way over to the station where the younger man was. He cleared his throat and spoke as gently as he did almost twenty-two years ago when he first met Janeway and her crew. “Federation vessel, this is Otrin leader of the United Provinces of Uxal. Please answer and inform me of your intentions in our system.”

    Static followed and then an unknown masculine voice followed. “Greetings Otrin, my name is James Preston McCallister of the Federation ship U-S-S Odyssey. We come with peaceful intentions to re-establish contact between our people.”

    Looking between the others that were gathered around him, Otrin could read all of their expressions. So far so good.

    “Welcome to Uxal then Captain McCallister. Is Captain Janeway with you?” Otrin questioned next.

    Again more static before there was a response. “I’m afraid Admiral Janeway isn’t, but I bring personal best wishes on her behalf as well as peaceful intentions from my government. I hope you don’t mind us visiting to possibly pick up from where the admiral last left off with you.”

    A bit disappointed to hear that Janeway was not part of them but also curious to find out what this McCallister meant by picking up with them, the scientist in Otrin naturally wanted to know more. “That’s an interesting proposal you make captain. Can you elaborate further? I was under the impression from Capt-” he paused when he realised that Janeway’s rank had changed and corrected himself before proceeding. “Admiral Janeway that your people have a strict non-interference policy with other cultures. Plus how did you get this far from your home territories.”

    “Those are quite loaded questions and ones I am happy to answer.” McCallister replied, still in a calm and diplomatic tone. “In brief, seeing as we’ve already made contact with your people, our prime directive does allow for us to follow-up with a second contact mission. That’s if you will have us and your latter question requires a lot of explanation. Nevertheless we are also here on an errand of mercy too. We have been ordered to provide further support to your people, if you so wish it. That said if you do not want us here then we will leave you in peace, disappointed but we would understand.”

    That last statement surprised the Uxal leader. He looked confused and was somewhat pleased when he noticed Brin and the others shared the same expression. “What type of support?”

    “Mainly humanitarian.” McCallister shared. “We’re happy to provide your people with further medical aid, food, clothing, shelter. Everything besides weapons. We want to help if you would allow us.”

    “I think the wisest thing for us to do is meet first.” Otrin proposed. “We’d be happy to host you here.”

    “That’s very generous.” McCallister said after the short burst of crackling noise. “We can be with you in an hour.”

    Getting a nod of support from Brin was all Otrin needed to continue. “We’ll transmit coordinates and look forward to receiving you Captain McCallister.”

    “Thank you. Odyssey out.” And the channel then closed.

    Otrin looked to Brin and spoke quietly to her, “I hope they’re not returning due to some guilty conscious.”

    “We'll soon find out.” Brin remarked as she looked at Otrin with a supporting smile. 

    Watching from afar, Tomrin felt uncomfortable as he listened to the conversation that his mother just had with Otrin. He knew he had no choice in what he was about to do, so he made sure he did it quickly and quietly. Moving away from the pit, he found a quiet and private closet room down from it before he pulled out his communicator and called it. 

    A second later and a rough voice spoke through the small speaker. “What do you have?” He grunted.

    Taking a breath and trying to hide his nervousness he answered. “This is Spectre. The Voyagers have returned.” 

    Deep under the grounds of Uxal, a barely breathing Verin was lying on a scarcely soft make-shift bed. Coughing for almost every breath he made, the former deposed Uxali leader kept the oxygen mask over his bumpy pimple-like shaped face. Years of radiation poisoning had scarred him for life. Not willing to take Otrin’s cure, he had spent the better half of his later life in hiding with those that had followed him. Those who refused to believe the cure would save them, believing it was some sort of conspiracy by those from Earth to conquer them. He would not give up his conviction on that. 

    His rest was interrupted by the arrival of two of his followers. Yanrin and Elsin, a brother and a sister that Verin had raised after their father had died almost a decade ago, approached them.

    “Father,” Yanrin spoke softly. “We have received word from Spectre, the Voyagers have returned. Do we begin The Return?”

    With his next breath, Verin nodded and took one more breath. “Begin.” He bristly answered. 

    Understanding his wishes, the two young adults nodded and then Verin took one more breath.

    His final breath.

    In that moment he found closure. His revenge on Janeway and her crew would take place, but more important than that. His people will know that Otrin’s plans of finding new soil for them elsewhere was a futile attempt. His people needed to stay where they were. Where their ancestors survived. Where he led them before Janeway meddled with their affairs. 

    Verin’s body became lifeless and Elsin looked at his sister. The two of them covered their adopted-father’s corpse with the blankets he had wrapped around him. Taking the oxygen mask off of him, they would fulfil his wishes. 

    Their endgame would begin.   

  • BF_MJBF_MJ Member

    Uxal, Uxal System, Gradin Belt, Delta Quadrant
    Stardate: 76436.7

    After setting the Aquarius safely down, Captain McCallister led his team across the broken surface of Uxal. Bulked up in their EVA suits, the Starfleet away team moved slowly across the desolate region towards the large complex that their guests had indicated as their home. Even though Voyager had restored their atmosphere and treated the inhabitants of this world from antimatter radiation, the harsh scars of what had taken place many years ago remained. Walking through what appeared to be a neglected settlement, the team kept their wits about them as they surveyed what was left to crumble into the dust that already covered the ground beneath them. 

    “We’re definitely not on Risa.” remarked Commander Hunsen over their helmet radios. “I’m surprised they’ve not done more to rebuild.”

    “Remember Tremt, there were only around fifty-five hundred people living here when Voyager encountered them. That’s barely enough to rebuild a town, let alone anything else.” Counsellor Duncan replied back. “What they’ve achieved so far though is commendable.”

    “Absolutely but twenty years has passed, surely they could have expanded further.” Hunsen questioned.

    Stopping in his tracks, Captain McCallister looked at his two senior officers. “Gentlemen, these people have endured great hardships. I'm sure their lack of development so far could be forgiven. Remember, we’re here to lend a helping hand. Let’s see if that hand is accepted first.”

    It had seemed bizarre why they needed to walk across the distance towards the dome where the Uxali now inhabited. Scans of the dome showed that they did not have anywhere that was suitable to dock any of Odyssey’s auxiliary craft. Transporters were also out of the question due to the interference from the antimatter radiation that still existed within the rocks and grounds. They couldn’t land any closer without landing on wreckage, so the walk was required. Nevertheless, once they reached the dome they would set up transporter enhancers to return to the Aquarius. 

    Stopping ahead of them was Odyssey’s Hazard Team with Lieutenant Commander Lenjir. The Tiburon commander was scanning the ground while the others secured the area. Approaching them, McCallister, Hunsen and Duncan made their way over. 

    “What is Cline?” McCallister asked.

    Flipping his tricorder close, Lenjir looked up at his superiors. “Missile silos sir.” He pointed towards the large patch of silo doors that faced up from the ground. “And I’m detecting that what they have in them are all active.”

    “Glad to hear the Uxali are ready to defend themselves!” Hunsen said as he peered over to look into the small crack. 

    McCallister, who was also glaring down at the weapons, squinted his eyes. “It’s understandable.”  He noted and then indicated for his team to carry on walking across. 

    Approximately thirty minutes later they reached their destination. Radiation levels were lower nearer to the dome then they were elsewhere on the planet. The dome itself was an impressive feat of architecture. Solar panels and wind turbines sat around the edge of it or on top, providing power for the structure. There were no windows, just a few large doorways that appeared to be built to withstand a strong bombardment. 

    Approaching the one entrance they were told to go to, McCallister let his Hazard Team advance to it first. The moment they gave the signal that all was clear he followed their path with Hunsen and Duncan either side of him. A smaller entrance began to open and he assumed it was where they would go in. Taking one breath in, he led them inside the dome. 

    Otrin stood on the other side of the decontamination chamber with bated breath. It was years since his people had hosted any outside visitors, part of him wondered how open they would be towards their new guests. At least this time, he thought, they would not be found wearing rags. Over the last two decades, his people had refined some of their living habits including making new clothes. He wore black trousers, black boots with a dark grey jacket over the top of a khaki green roll neck top. Hanging around his neck he wore his radiation gauge, like a medallion. 

    Next to him, showing some signs of trepidation but attempting to keep herself calm was Brin. She wore a similar outfit to him, except she wore a maroon red top. Their outfits had been designed so that if in an emergency they needed to quickly put on a hazard suit, there wouldn’t be much to put on. 

    The cycle for the lock completed its job and allowed their visitors to enter. 

    With one breath, Otrin welcomed Captain McCallister and his group as he stepped forward and remembered the handshake gesture he had learnt from Kathryn Janeway over two decades ago. 

    Once introductions had been completed, Otrin and Brin took McCallister and his party towards the inner circle of the dome where a majority of their main operations took place. Eventually after taking a ride in a lift and climbing several staircases they entered into a large hall. Otrin explained it was a place where a majority of their decisions were made. Their ruling body met here on a weekly basis. Offering them some beverages and seats, Brin called over to the stewards that were there to see to their guests’ needs. 

    Eventually everyone was comfortable, allowing for the main topic to be discussed. Otrin asked McCallister what he meant by providing them with further help and aid. 

    “I’m going to be open and honest. The recount made by Admiral Janeway and her crew about your people is one that many back home in the Federation feel extremely guilty about. My ancestors were wrong to allow Friendship One to just float out into deep space without any warnings to others. For that Earth is extremely sorry for their misjudgement and as a result the Federation wants to provide any further help.” McCallsiter shared.

    “That’s very generous of you captain,” Otrin remarked. “Nevertheless I can assure you that Admiral Janeway’s actions went a long way in repairing the damage between our people when she helped us over twenty years ago. My people feel it is now down to us to stand on our own two feet so we can rebuild.”

    “And we completely respect that sir.” McCallister stated. “Without causing any more upset or tension, we want you to know we are here to help you further.”

    Brin looked at Otrin and a further smile of acknowledgement appeared. “We are grateful, captain.” She said. “And I think I can speak honestly with you when I say we would gladly accept your help.”

    “Brin is right, if there is anything you can do to help my people survive we would appreciate it.” Otrin said.

    “My chief engineer, Commander Hunsen, has numerous teams that can work with you in enhancing anything you have.” McCallister began by gesturing towards the Betazoid that sat next to him. However before he could share what Doctor Sylvexs could offer, Otrin interrupted him. 

    “Captain, I think you need to be aware of something. We do not plan to remain on Uxal anytime soon.” Otrin shared. “We are planning to leave the planet behind.”

    Surprised to hear that, McCallister looked to Duncan and then back to Otrin and Brin. “Can you clarify what you mean by that?”

    However before they had a chance to say it, Hunsen spoke up. “The missile silos, they’ve not got warheads in them. You’ve converted them into passenger ships. You’ve got warp drive.” He paused and realised he had read their thoughts. “I’m so sorry, I shouldn’t have done that but I can hear and feel your thoughts.”

    “Commander Hunsen’s readings are correct.” Otrin stated. “We’ve focussed a lot of our work on developing a rudimental warp drive.”

    Brin smiled with a sense of pride. “We’ve been working on methods to convert our remaining missiles to become ships that could take us to the inhabitable world that Admiral Janeway had originally looked into taking us to. Our plan was to move everyone in one big move. It would take us a few years to get there as we would only be able to do a top speed of warp two, but once we would arrive then we would start over again.”

    Impressed at their bold plan, McCallister smiled at their eagerness to succeed as well. “That’s a very ambitious goal. Why don’t you wish to remain on the planet?”

    “Uxal is filled with too many bad memories for our people and even with our skies being clearer, the radiation on our soil makes it hard to be able to grow fresh crops.” Brin explained.

    “You want to restart your civilisation elsewhere?” Duncan rhetorically asked.

    “We’ve proven that we can rebuild and use other sources of power but none of what we achieve here will make a difference in the long term. It will be several more decades before this area which we inhabit would be free of residual antimatter radiation. It will take centuries for this planet to return to how it was, but with us remaining here we may interfere and ruin nature’s way of recovering.” Otrin said. “A new home is needed for my people and we need to engage with the rest of the galaxy if we are to survive. Trading with others will only make things better for us, instead of being isolated.”

    McCallister took a moment as he rested back in the armchair he was sitting in. “Let me clear it with my superiors first, but I’d like to help you with that plan. We could, in the meantime, assist with the essentials like medicine, fresh food, and water as a start.”

    “Captain, with your permission I’d like to bring an engineering team down to see how far Otrin and Brin’s people have got with their warp drive. We could give them some advice and consult them. I’m sure the brass wouldn’t mind that?” Hunsen pleaded slightly. 

    Nodding in agreement, “Yes of course Tremt.” McCallister said, glancing at his chief engineer. Looking back at Otrin and Brin. “Let’s see what we can do to help your people make their lives a little bit easier to deal with.”

    Otrin and Brin grinned at the captain as McCallister returned the gesture. 

    USS Aquarius (NCC-80000/1)
    Stardate: 76436.796

    Following on from his first successful meeting with the Uxali leadership, McCallister and some of his team had returned to the Aquarius after setting up transporter enhancers. The small support ship now served as a relay between the Odyssey and the planet as Hunsen started to bring down teams to assist the Uxali with material support. Alongside that Doctor Sylvexs and her medical department were sending down smaller teams to provide further medical help. While all of that was taking place, McCallister had used the small conference room on the Aquarius to contact Commodore Bennet on the Discovery

    Bennet’s face was on the projected screen where McCallister sat at the head of the small rectangular table. The two men were similar in age, whereas Bennet had been luckier with the amount of promotions he had received to gain a place as part of the admiralty. 

    “So commodore, it would seem that even though they want our help it’s not quite the help I think Starfleet had in mind.” McCallister explained as he finished off his report.

    “Well done James in being able to get them to open up about that.” Bennet responded with. “Making the overtures would be no small thing, but do you have something else in mind?”

    Appreciating that the commodore was open to listening to his ideas, James nodded once. “I do sir. I think we should help them with their move.”

    Caught off guard in hearing McCallister say that, Bennet’s eyes opened quite a bit. “What do you mean James?”

    “They want to leave by using converted missiles to travel to this new home. Their convoy of ships would barely be able to reach warp two. The journey would take them a long time.” McCallister answered. “Either we help them improve that technology or…”

    “Or we take them ourselves?” Bennet finished with. “Can Odyssey ferry that many people?”

    Pleased the commodore caught his train of thought, McCallister said yes straight away. “Odyssey’s emergency capacity of twenty-thousand people wouldn’t be met by the Uxali population. There’s approximately ten-thousand of them. We could do this quite easily sir and help them build their new homes as well.”

    Bennet scratched his goatee. “Alright James, you can go ahead with proposing it to the Uxali but if they say no then that’s fine and don't push them anymore.”

    “Thank you sir, I appreciate your confidence in myself and my crew to do this.” McCallister said with a grin. 

    “Good luck, Bennet out.” The commodore closed the channel at his end which resulted in the holographic display closing down by itself. 

    Uxal, Uxal System, Gradin Belt, Delta Quadrant
    Stardate: 76436.796

    The siblings, now the de facto leaders of the Followers of Verin, stood within the dark confines of the cavern that they inhabited. The death of Verin had brought their community closer together. Their cause was simple, they wanted to remain on Uxal and prevent others from bringing in any other outsiders. They were against the Voyagers, the Humans that had visited their world under the guise of peace over twenty years ago. Those that followed Otrin and Brin, called Verin and his group deranged, nevertheless their desire to remain away from those that were blessed to be on the surface had never faltered in the past two decades. Verin claimed that the Voyager cure was an attempt to prepare the Uxal for slavery. Just as Voyager’s ancestors had done a century ago by killing their people, they would take the remaining Uxali to become their workforce. Verin had almost tricked the Voyager crew in taking them away from the planet but when they cleared the skies, their true plans for conquest of the Uxali people was made plain and obvious for Verin to see. He returned to the caves with some of his followers to prepare for the last remaining effort from Earth to attack them and enslave them all. He would not allow it, so he prepared the few people that followed him. Now, after his death, Elsin and Yanrin promised to follow in his footsteps and complete his work.  

    Reading the latest update from their spy, Yanrin looked up at her brother and sighed heavily. “This is not going to be easy.”

    “Father never said it would be.” Elsin replied back with. “Maybe we should reconsider our target. Instead of the Voyager craft that we aim for, we should attack Otrin where it hurts the most.”

    Shaking her head in disagreement, Yanrin told her brother off for his cavalier suggestion. “No, if we assault Brin or anyone else on the ruling body then we’d only make them a martyr to the people and we would lose any support we hope to gain.” She considered their options one more time. “Perhaps we should take a lesson out of our history books.” 

    Elsin squinted his eyes. “What are you referring to?”

    “The Uxali people were once at war with one another before a certain accident wiped out our people. Perhaps something of a similar nature, on a smaller scale of course, could take place?” Yenrin said as she pulled up the latest information they had on the planet’s former powergrid and the missile silos that they powered. 

  • BF_MJBF_MJ Member

    USS Odyssey (NCC-80000)
    Uxal, Uxal System, Gradin Belt, Delta Quadrant
    Stardate: 76437.1

    Transporting Otrin up to the Odyssey had become a relatively simple task after transporting enhancers had been set up. It allowed McCallister to start showing their willingness to help the Uxali; that their intentions were true and sincere. 

    Otrin and his small entourage appeared somewhat overwhelmed by their experience when they boarded the Odyssey, especially when McCallister took him on a slight tour of the massive ship. Otrin’s eyes had almost popped out of their sockets when they had entered the Auditorium, the ship’s crew lounge. 

    “So as you can see Otrin, we can bring all of your people here onto Odyssey and transport you to that new home you wish to go to.” McCallister explained as he took his guests how to a secluded area of the lounge where drinks and some nibbles were prepared for them. 

    Looking around in his surroundings, Otrin took one more glance around the humongous room he was now in. “I’d be lying if I didn’t say your Federation technology isn’t impressive.” He said before looking back at his host. “But how do I know your intentions are true and that you’re not here to kidnap my people? How do I convince the people that still believe the propaganda spilled by Verin and his followers?”

    Before McCallister could open his mouth, his chief diplomatic officer and counsellor spoke up. “With all due respect sir, Verin was the one who demanded from Admiral Janeway over two decades ago that we take you off this world, your people have already been building warp capable ships, we are only going to help you cross that line.” Duncan said in an almost stern way. “Years ago Voyager could not achieve that request, they gave you an alternative but now with the Odyssey we can help you further. By taking us up on our offer then the journey you plan to take to your new home can be significantly cut. Your people would benefit in arriving sooner and being able to enjoy a world that they can take pride in developing. We are also able to assist you in setting up your colony. Within a month our engineers can setup renewable sources of energy, clean water and shelter that can house all of your people.”

    “We’re even prepared to remain in orbit for an extra month to help with further support. We won’t just up and root you then to just dump you to get on with it by yourself.” McCallister added, grateful for Duncan’s remarks. “You’ve already said that people already have the materials to get yourselves setup. Along our journey we can help you develop your warp drive capability further as well so your people can trade with others.”

    Otrin looked between the two Starfleet officers and then noticed the view behind them. Below was his home. Even with the skies being clearer than they had been when he had last seen them back on Voyager, the scars of what happened were still apparent. The image made his skin tingle, it was a bizarre sensation as he could feel where his own scars had once been from the poisoning he had lived for. Eventually nodded towards McCallister and Duncan, “Both of you making convincing arguments. Let us discuss the matter-”

    “Bridge to Captain McCallister.” came the urgent voice of Commander Reyas over the intercom. Reyas was currently on duty on the bridge while McCallister and Duncan were hosting their visitors and Cambil was on the surface with one of the engineering teams. 

    Slapping his combadge hastily, McCallsiter answered his wife. “Go ahead Karyn, what is it?”

    “Sorry to interrupt you James, but we just got a call from Bexa. She’s monitoring a broadcast on the planet below that I think you and our VIP would like to see.”

    Looking at Otrin with a sort of concern in his expression of what they were about to observe, McCallister asked his wife to transfer the call down to one of the nearest consoles near to them. A holographic conversion had taken place and the image of two Uxali appeared. Both of them were not treated for antimatter poisoning; it was clear from the burns and disfigurations on their face. As the transmission started, the woman was speaking and had already started her speech. 

    “ it is clear that Otrin and his ruling council are committed to aligning themselves with our enemies. The ones that brought the poison to our world in the first place and whom centuries later came to clear our skies and cure us. That cure, as we’ve always said, is their way of controlling us. All it did was make our people survive for another two more decades before they were able to return to truly conquer us and now one of their largest warships sits above us in the stars, waiting to strike.”

    The young man next to her stepped forward. “So we, the children of Verin, will not stand idly by and allow Otrin and his conspirators to lead our people to our deaths. Our father’s vision of living on a world far from our own will be achieved but not with the Voyagers’ interference anymore. We are Uxali and we will not let those from Earth take what is ours. We will defend ourselves and those that stand against us will not live to see another day.”

    The transmission then cut off quickly and McCallister ordered Reyas to trace the transmission before turning to Otrin. 

    “Care to explain who they are and what they’re going on about?” He questioned the Uxali leader.

    “Extremists, their followers of Verin.” Otrin started. “The man who once led my people before Brin and I took over. He was the one who opposed Admiral Janeway and held members of her crew hostage. After we got the cure and our skies were clear, he refused to join the rest of us in rebuilding on the surface. He returned to the caves with some others and would work against our progress by trying to overwhelm our people with countless conspiracies.”

    “And now they plan to take a stand against us, thanks for the warning.” Duncan said sarcastically.

    Otrin looked between Duncan and then back to McCallister. “It’s true there are those of my people who are against our efforts to leave. Verin changed his opinion shortly after our encounter with Voyager. He believed we should save our world as it meant saving our history, our heritage. His followers got a lot of support when we determined how long it would take to restore our world. The work is too hard and our population would not see that day. As I’ve said before, we don’t think we could sustain our society. We’ve barely been able to grow in twenty years since we last encountered your kind, who knows what state we’d be in another two decades let alone two years.”

    “That’s why you began looking at how to develop your own warp drive.” McCallister said, starting to realise what was really going on here. He looked at Duncan who just gave a simple nod of support and the captain looked back at Otrin. “The offer is still on the table. Let’s do this together, we can…” McCallister stopped as he noticed something behind Otrin coming up from the planet. A large collection of moving objects with huge flares of fire behind them. It quickly dawned on him what they were. Instantly, again, he tapped his combadge. “McCallister to bridge, red alert!”

    The Odyssey’s internal lighting rapidly changed under the command of its captain to show the dimmed lighting replacing it alongwith the dark red saturation the flashing lights. The klaxon also began to fill the internal speakers. 

    “What’s happening?” Otrin asked as he spun around. 

    “I think we’re about to see the first action of Verin’s followers.” Duncan answered as they quickly left the Auditorium to head to the ship’s bridge. 

    Turning in the captain’s chair, Karyn Reyas looked over to Lenjir at the tactical station. The Tiburon lieutenant commander was tapping away at his console. “How many bogeys Cline?” She asked him. 

    “I’m detecting twenty-one, all armed with antimatter warheads leaving the upper atmosphere and on a collision course with us.” Lenjir informed her. “Once each one leaves the atmosphere I can destroy them with a spread of torpedoes.”

    “We need to ensure they are far from the planet to avoid the antimatter from their warheads causing any damage to the planet’s already fragile atmosphere.” Reyas remarked as she looked down at the helm. “T’Rani, take us out of orbit and move us away to a sensible position that when we destroy them the warheads don’t affect Uxal.”

    The Vulcan nodded, “We will need to be at least seventy-two million kilometers away from the planet to achieve such an objective.” 

    “Then do it.” Reyas commanded and at that moment the aft starboard turbolift doors parted, allowing for her husband to enter the bridge with Commander Duncan as well as Otrin and his companions.

    “Report.” McCallister asked as he made his way across his bridge. 

    Reyas informed her husband of the situation and what she had done so far. “It doesn't make sense though why they’d attack us when we can easily neutralise those warheads. There has to be something else going on.”

    Duncan looked at Otrin, “You said that they are extremists, how far will they go for Verin?”

    Shrugging his shoulders, Otrin answered the counsellor honestly. “Elsin and Yanrin are known to do whatever it takes for their cause.”

    Duncan looked to McCallister, “Which means there’s something else going on.”

    “Agreed, but what?” McCallister asked his team. Noticing that time was against them as the missiles climbed further through the atmosphere towards them.

    Reyas had returned to the science station and was already accessing the lateral sensor array to find something. “If they can gain access to your warheads that means they’ve got access to a lot more.”

    “Sadly, security isn’t our strongest skill.” Otrin commented.

    “Indeed.” T’Rani remarked as she turned in her chair at the helm. “Captain, logic suggests that from their speech they plan to hurt their fellow Uxali. I would suggest we look at those who live on the surface first to ensure they are safe.”

    “She’s got a point.” Lenjir supported as he looked up from his console. “The settlement that Otrin’s people have built could be under attack too.”

    Reyas pulled something off from the sensors and she shook her head. “It’s not under attack in the conventional way, Cline.” She spun in her chair to look at her husband, “James they’ve got control of the powergrid and from what I can see they’ve started to destabilise the warp cores of the ships that Otrin’s people have converted so far. It also looks like their radiation shielding is slowly losing power too. I can’t see how we can stop any of it from reaching critical levels. ”

    “They plan to kill everyone.” Otrin remarked in a shocked and disgusted tone.

    “The missile attack is only a distraction for us.” Lenjir stated. 

    McCallister turned to the Uxali leader, “We’ve got only two options then, either we bring your people here or we let them die below. What will it be, Otrin?”

    Otrin looked at his companions, all of whom looked just as scared and worried about their people as he did. Turning back to his host, Otrin nodded with a sense of reluctance. “Do what you must captain to save my people.”

    “Thank you.” McCallister looked back to his crew. “Cline, how much time we have got until those missiles reach us?”

    “Three, maybe four minutes if we can stay ahead of them.” Lenjir answered.

    “And Karyn how long until the ships on the surface reach critical and explode?” McCallister questioned his wife.

    “About the same time.” Reyas answered after a quick glance at her console. “Don’t forget we’ve got our own people down there as well to bring back.”

    “Yeah, I know.” McCallister took a breath and then tapped a button on his chair’s armrest. “Computer, prepare for starship separation sequence authorisation McCallister-four-seven-alpha-tango.”

    “Authorisation accepted. Initiating decoupling sequence and awaiting further commands.” The computer announced.

    Turning to his wife again, James spoke up. “Karyn, take the stardrive section and start beaming up the Uxali straight away. Launch all shuttles and runabouts to assist with it as well. I’ll take the chevron to destroy the missiles.”

    Nodding to her orders as she stood up, she responded back to him. “I’ll speak to Bexa and get her and Tremt to use the Aquarius to help us.” She began to make her way over to the turbolift. “Max, fancy joining me?”

    Duncan nodded in agreement and turned to the Uxali leader. “Sir, would you like to come with us as well?”

    Otrin nodded and looked to McCallister as if he had just seen his demise.

    “Expand the transporter buffers capacity to start to beam the Uxali up.” McCallister called after the group as they entered the turbolift. “We’ll separate the ship in twenty seconds. In the meantime, we’ll start beaming them up to the chevron until it is safe to destroy those missiles.”

    USS Aquarius (NCC-80000/1)

    Sat at the helm of the Aquarius, Lieutenant Commander Lukiz Jen looked over at the sensor readings they had received from the Odyssey, after the emergency call had came in from Commander Reyas. As they prepared to pull everyone off the planet, the joined Trill operations officer could hear Cambil and Hunsen behind him coordinate their efforts in recalling their teams. It was his job to find a way to quickly pull the Uxali off the planet without blowing up any of their transporters. 

    “Lukiz, how you doing?” Cambil asked as she moved from the aft station with Hunsen to be behind the Trill. The layout of the Aquarius’s bridge was almost like the Defiant-class, small and compact. So as Cambil approached the conn, where Jen was, she did in a few steps instead of the several she would normally take on the main bridge of the Odyssey

    “I’ve got one idea, but I’ve never done it before but read about it.” Jen answered as he pulled up his idea on to the main screen for them all to see. “We launch a series of micro-probes just above the settlements adjusted to our transporter frequencies and use them to assist in being transporter enhancers on a larger scale. We then start beaming the Uxali up up to the stardrive section of the Odyssey on a continuous loop.”

    “Great idea Lukiz.” Hunsen said with a smile of acknowledgement with the idea. “Their sensors will only add to increasing the efficiency of our targeting scanners. We’ll just act as a huge relay for the Odyssey.”

    “Will the transporters handle that much usage?” Cambil asked the chief engineer with concern.

    Turning around to look at the Bajoran first officer, Hunsen nodded. “Absolutely but our shields can’t be in use. If one of those ships explodes while we’re above the settlement then it’s the end for us all.”

    “Your tone of our imminent death is as always welcoming Tremt.” Cambil said sarcastically. “Lukiz, inform Commander Reyas of our plan and then begin straight away. Tremt get those transporters ready!”

    “Yes ma’am.” Hunsen replied in his deep masculine voice as he rushed over to the engineering station and started the reconfigurations. 


    Within the caves, Elsin was reading what the satellite they had captured was showing them. “It looks like they’ve split their ship up.”

    Giving out a “ha” in a sort of a victory tone, Yanrin felt proud of their big push against those who wished to enslave her people. “Running like cowards I bet. It doesn’t matter, we’ll destroy both parts. Recalculate your targets to include both parts of that Voyager craft.”

    “We may not have the firepower to destroy both.” Elsin advised his sister as he started to flick some switches to undertake her commands.

    Shaking her head to show she did not care, Yanrin stepped to stand beside him. “It doesn’t matter. We’ll damage them with the warheads we have. Once the rest of Otrin’s followers are removed we can gain access to the other missiles on the planet and use them to finish them off.”

    Elsin smirked at how devilish his sister was behaving. It finally felt their cause was taking the step it needed to take. There was a beep noise from his console which caused him to turn his attention away from her and to it. “Incoming call from Spectre.”

    Surprised to hear from their undercover mole, she gestured for him to answer the transmission. “Go ahead.” She said into the mic. 

    “Yanrin you and Elsin have gone too far.” spoke the voice of their agent. “Your move has pushed Otrin and Brin further into the hands of the Voyagers.”

    “What do you mean?” Elsin spat out. 

    Spectre answered quickly, “They’re using their teleportation devices to rescue our people. They’re taking our people off the planet.”

    “Then let them go, it means there’s plenty left here for those of us who remain!” Yanrin said with a sense of rejoicing in her tone. “Now get yourself out of there and back to us at once!”

    “I can’t!” Spectre announced. “Plus even if I could my mother would work out what I’ve done. I made my promise to you to provide you with intelligence and in return you didn’t harm her.”

    “You’re mother is responsible for what's happened here Tomrin!” Elsin snapped back, revealing the man’s real identity. “If she hadn’t raised that rifle on Verin years ago then we may have lived a better life and not the childhoods we’ve had to suffer!”

    “God damn it Elsin, you’re a fool. Get yourselves out of there, you won’t survive the explosion of the warp drives you’ve set to detonate. I’ve heard my mother tell someone else that their detonations will more than likely rip the landscape apart. There’s no way those caves will keep you safe. You’ll be buried alive!” Tomrin stated. 

    “Lies!” Yanrin remarked. “We will survive, like we’ve done before-”

    The signal then was cut off before she could say anything else.

    Elsin checked the computer one more time and turned to her. “He’s not there.”

    Yamrin looked at her brother and for an instant second guessed their decision. Had they gone too far she wondered. 

    USS Odyssey (NCC-80000) - Chevron Section

    “They’re coming into range now.” T’Rani announced from the helm. 

    The chevron section of the Odyssey was now fully separated and operational from its stardrive section. It had spun around to face the incoming missiles.

    Looking over to his tactical officer, McCallister ordered him to raise their shields and suspend transporting the Uxali up. “Fire your spread of torpedoes Mister Lenjir.”

    “Aye sir.” Lenjir replied with and began tapping at the targeting scanners and stopped before he proceeded to fire their weapons. “Sir,” He said when he realised what was happening. “Some of the missiles are altering course and heading to the stardrive section. They’re increasing speed.”

    Alarmed at the change in circumstances, McCallister looked over at the helm. “T’Rani, place us between those missiles and the stardrive section, full impulse!”

    “Yes captain.” His pilot answered with and she instantly moved the ship to its new position.

    “Transfer all available power to the forward shields and fire at will, Cline!” McCallister ordered. 

    Bolts of pure white and blue sprung from the belly of the chevron section as the ship’s quantum torpedo turret fired multiple shots at the missiles. Their explosions took out a number of the missiles and after another spread removed the last remaining, their eruptions flashed against the shields of the Odyssey’s primary section. 

    “Report?” McCallister asked once the ordeal was over and done with. 

    “Shields are down to thirty-eight percent. Some minor damage to the outer hull, but nothing that Tremt can’t fix.” Cline shared. “But all of the missiles are destroyed, sir.”

    “Good, resume beaming the Uxali up. We don’t have long until those warp drives detonate as well.” McCallister remarked. 

    USS Odyssey (NCC-80000) - Stardrive Section

    Sighing a sense of relief that the missiles were now removed from play, Karyn looked over to Otrin who shared the same expression as she did. Standing now next to him was his right-hand woman, Brin. She had been beamed up in the last group. 

    “We should have done more to stop Verin from having access.” Brin vented. “This should never have taken place.”

    “We’ve got almost everyone up here. You’re people will be safe.” Reyas said, trying to assure the Uxali woman. “You’ve got to remember that.”

    “But at the cost of us losing our planet entirely.” Brin responded in an angry tone before calming herself down. “I’m sorry Commander Reyas, I had just always imagined that my people would have the chance to return to our homeworld at some point and rebuild. When those warp drives detonate that will never be the case. This is the end of Uxal.”

    “And perhaps it's the start of New Uxal.” Counsellor Duncan offered. “With your homeworld now behind you, this could be the break your people need to restart. As you originally intended.”

    Not wanting to hear anymore, Otrin ignored the counsellor’s optimistic look on the situation and just turned to the science officer. “Commander Reyas, how long until the first detonation?”

    “Another minute or so.” She answered after peeping over the shoulder of the operations officer in front of her. 

    “And my people? Are they almost on board?”

    “It looks like it. The last of our shuttles and runabouts are returning now.” Reyas said, taking another glance at the sensor readings. She squinted her eyes and noticed the Aquarius was moving from its position above. “One second,” She said and then opened a channel to the ship’s smaller support craft. “Odyssey to Aquarius, Commander Cambil, we're noticing that you’ve moved from your last position and not heading towards home. What’s happening?”

    The voice of Cambil came over the battle bridge speakers. “Karyn, we’ve detected lifesigns in some nearby caves. To beam them out we need to get closer as the magnesite ore is making it tough on our transporters. Standby.”

    Reyas was frustrated that they were taking such dangers in such a small amount of time. “Understood, but you don’t have time for a long detour, Bexa.”

    “I know.” Cambil answered back before closing the channel.

    Reyas looked over to Otrin and Brin, “Who are in those caves?”

    Looking at each other at first, Otrin turned back to the El-Aurian and answered honestly. “Most likely the followers of Verin.”

    Disturbed at hearing that, Reyas instantly relayed the information to Cambil and advised her to have a security detachment waiting for their upcoming guests. 


    “Yamrin, I think Tomrin was right.” Edrin stated in a panic tone. “If these calculations are right the computer is projecting that we could end creating a huge canyon across this part of the planet and heavy volcanic eruptions. We won’t survive.”

    “Nonsense!” Yamrin said. “Verin said we will retake the land once Otrin and Brin have been removed and we will.”

    “You’re not list-” Edrin didn’t get a chance to finish his sentence as they were engulfed in a stream of blue and white fizzle. 

    USS Aquarius (NCC-80000/1)

    Phaser rifles drawn at their new targets, Commander Cambil stepped through the large gathering of the security personnel she could muster in the cargo bay of her ship and towards her guests. All of them appeared startled and surprised at what had just happened before realising they were surrounded with weapons aimed at them all. 

    “Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome on board the Aquarius.” She approached both Edrin and Yamrin whom she had been briefed about by Commander Reyas, “if you try to do anything then you will actually experience what it is like to deal with Starfleet’s bad side.” Looking between the two of them, the Bajoran woman appeared to be enjoying the moment. “That said, I hear you believe you can take us out but from what I can see your missiles have been destroyed and your people saved from that horrendous attack you’ve attempted. I believe Otrin and Brin have something to say to you both, so why don’t you both take a seat on this lovely floor and we’ll see what we can do in making a reunion possible.”

    Defeated and frustrated, Edrin and Yamrin surrendered and sat down. Their followers copied their actions. 

    USS Odyssey (NCC-80000) 
    En-route to New Uxal, Gradin Belt, Delta Quadrant
    Stardate: 76439.8

    Sat behind his glass desk in his ready room; silently writing his report for Starfleet, Captain McCallister reached over to pick up his mug that was sat on the surface on the counter nearby. Bringing it up to his mouth, he paused and realised it was empty. Getting up, he made his way over to the replicator and ordered himself another mug of tea. As the hot beverage was created his door chime went off.

    “Come in.” He said as he picked up the silver mug and turned around to see who it was. Surprised to see his son Alfie come in, James instantly smiled at him. “Alfie, what are you doing up here? You haven’t skipped school have you?”

    Rolling his eyes at his dad’s assumption, Alfie shook his head. “No, I’m on my lunch break and thought I would come and see you.”

    Appreciating the gesture, James walked over to his teenage son and gave him a hug. “That’s very kind of you. Are you okay?”

    Nodding in response after returning the embrace to his father, Alfie spoke up. “I’m fine dad, I just thought you might want some company that doesn’t include someone in a uniform. Uncle Tobi said I could see you.”

    Gesturing towards the large sofa that swerved under the slanted bay window, James offered for Alfie to take a seat. “Well I best say thanks to Tobi.” He turned back to the replicator. “You want something to eat and drink?”

    “Yeah, but can it be a hamburger and chips without mum knowing?” Alfie asked.

    Smirking at the request, James agreed. “As long as you don’t tell her.” He answered as he ordered the same for him and his son. 

    “I noticed earlier at breakfast you seemed quiet dad, I take it this whole thing with the Uxali has you concerned?” Alfie questioned as he dad brought their food over and placed the tray it was all on down on to the small rounded coffee table. “Some of their kids were in our classes today. They seemed nice but didn’t seem keen to interact with any of us.”

    “That’s understandable Alfie.” James said as he took out a napkin and placed it over his leg after sitting down next to his son and giving him a serviette as well. “They’ve just lost the homes they knew and our people are seen as the enemy.”

    “It’s not our fault.” Alfie said as he picked up a chip and dipped it into some tomato sauce.

    “Not directly, no but if we hadn’t arrived to render any more help then they may still be safe in their homes.” James said. “I can’t help but think we are responsible for what has transpired.”

    “But we get to help them build a brand new home. Surely that’s exciting?” Alfie asked in between eating his chips.

    Shrugging his shoulder. “I hope so, but it’s going to be a tough job.”

    “You can do it dad.” Alfie said with a supportive smile. 

    Appreciating the vote of confidence from his son, James picked up his burger and wondered if they could truly complete their mission with the Uxali. 

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