Literary Challenge #20 : Saying Goodbye
Hello and welcome to another edition of our writers' challenges! :cool:
Today we start the two-week run of the twentieth Literary Challenge: Saying Goodbye
After several years of captaining the same ship, you've just received word from command that you are being reassigned to a different ship in a matter of days. While you have mixed emotions about the new adventure that you are about to undertake, your crew, which, for the most part, is comprised of the same individuals that were onboard when you first took command, is definitely not going to take this lightly. How do you break the news to them? How do they take it? How do you spend your final days with them? What's it like to look back one last time as you exit the ship's airlock? Write a personal log entry sharing the experience.
This is the writer's thread -- only entries should be made here.
The Discussion Thread can be found HERE.
We also have an Index of previous challenges HERE.
The rules may change from one challenge to another, but I'd like to remind everyone what the base rules are. These may grow as we move on, so also feel free to give feedback!
*Whistle blows* Attention on deck! *Crew stands at attention*.
For some of you, this is an occation of great sadness.
For some of you this is where you will see your career change for the better or worse.
But for all of you, this is where we part ways.
It has my personal honor to serve with so many fine men and women. I find myself at a loss for words as I myself come to a change in my career path. But allow me to re-assure you all. This is not the end. This is not the last time we will see eachother.
One thing we must all realise is that everything changes. For those of you who are familiar with the history of Earth I quote:
"Nothing is constant but change." - Sakyamuni, founder of Buddhism.
But even hearing those words I look at this crowed of faces in front of me now. I see sadness in your eyes. I treasure that you feel this way with my departure. But you should also feel glad, as my time as your captain has passed. It is now on your shoulders I place the responcibility of being the light in the dark times ahead of us. It is you who must now take upon yourself, the mantle of leadership. And with courage in your heart lead the coming generations to peace.
I must also mention how proud I am with every single member of my crew. You have performed well above and beyond the call of your duty. I am the one who should be saddend by leaving such a noble, and proud crew. A crew that even the admirals themselves should be so lucky to have at their back. I can without a moments doubt in my heart say I am proud of every one of you.
But with this brings my departure. I move onto a new command, and while I look forward to commanding a new, and larger crew. No one could replace the large portion of my heart you all now occupy.
We have dark times ahead of us. We will all experience grief, but we will also experience the joys ahead. New friendships that will define are lives. Love that will give us the hope, even when all other hope is snuffed out. And when the time comes, we will meet again, not as a captain to his crew, but as friends. Other captains, brothers, sisters. All bound in honor, blood, friendship and love.
And to this I say:
Be brave, be smart, stand firm. And carry on.
Farewell to Thaddeus Parker
Captain's log stardate (Two weeks after the Odyssey was launched)
It seems like only yesterday I took command of one of Starfleet's finest Sovereign Class Assault Cruisers. When I first took command, we were in dry dock receiving a nacelle refit so she could cruise at warp 9.97 without the feeling as though the ship were flying apart. It was a rough time for the crew. Without being underway, they were left to find menial tasks while the Starbase one engineers did all the real work. I had been told good things about them. That under times of stress, they really came together and were capable of doing what needed to be done to get the job done. This was hard to believe since most of their underway work was being taken care of. At the end of each week at quarters, each department head presented a list of work that each one of them had accomplished. It was less than impressive to say the least. I finally decided to take a leap of faith and put everyone on shore leave until the refit was complete at which time they would have one week to make sure the ship was ready. It was probably one of the most risky, yet one of the best decisions I think I made. When I gave them a week to be one-hundred percent ready to explore and fight, they only needed three days.
After two days of warp trials we were finally underway to explore the galaxy and capable of holding warp 9.97. I was very impressed with everyone's hard work to make what seemed impossible, possible. I thought my chief engineer, Dion was joking when she said I gave them more than enough time. Guess she had the last laugh.
There is almost too much for just one log entry to contain, but I will recall some highlights. We had just finished up dealing with a rogue Changeling in the Alpha Trianguli Sector and were on our way home, when Admiral Quinn contacted me at an unsettling hour. Our turn was here. Many of the crew knew that as a Sovereign class ship the day was going to come when we would be assigned to Battle Group Omega in the Delta Quadrant. I'll never forget the look on Dralon's face, my helmsman at the time, when I told him to set a course for the Delta Quadrant Transwarp Gate. That following morning, everyone was very quiet. I took one of my usual strolls through the ship, only this time I was making sure I hit just about every deck. The mood was quiet. Most of the crew didn't have much to say. We had no time to prepare for this. Crewman Riblet had a hard time adjusting to the fact that he wasn't going to spend one last night on Risa with his wife and Ensign Mayes was unsure if he should contact his brother or just go into Borg space and hope he came out fully human and unassimilated. Starfleet had told us that we would have at least a month to prepare and give our crew enough time to spend with their friends and family and prepare for what awaited us in the Delta Quadrant. I remember arguing with Quinn to no end about it just hours earlier. He managed to convince me by pulling the "Voyager card" and reminded me that other Starlfeet ships have been pulled into the Delta quadrant without sufficient time to prepare. I knew the real reason we were going so abruptly. Starfleet was losing that war and needed ships right away.
Once we crossed thousands of light years in only a few short minutes, it took a few seconds for reality to settle. Just because we had arrived here so quick and easy, didn't mean we were going back anytime soon. We passed by what appeared to be another Sovereign class ship, or at least what was left of one. The starboard nacelle was almost entirely gone and most of the saucer section had been blown off in many different areas. It seemed that the ship had been pieced back together using Borg hull plating. You would almost think that the entire ship had been assimilated. I later read up on the log entries of the ship. Apparently they were apart of an attack force that had been mostly wiped out and when they escaped, their navigation computer had been disabled. Essentially they ran away from the fight not knowing where they were going and had finally made their way back to Battle Group Omega after many months of scavenging what little Borg parts and technology they could to keep their ship together. Least to say it was a somewhat demoralizing sight to see.
My crew and I would soon learn that out here all we really had were each other. The ships and crews we were fighting with one day could easily be destroyed or assimilated the next. We couldn't make any attachments to anyone outside our ship. It would have been too much to handle. We spent nine months in the h*ll hole called the Delta Quadrant, three months passed our original tour. In some way we owe the Iconians a little thanks for distracting the Borg. Because of their interference, Starfleet was able to gain a good foothold in the Delta Quadrant and we soon found ourselves on our way back home, to Earth.
Which brings me to this day. A day unlike any I have had while commanding a starship. Though Dralon isn't among us and therefore I no longer have to break to him yet another piece of bad news, I still must walk out on that bridge tomorrow and tell the rest of the crew who made it through that Thaddeus Parker has served her time and we are all about to disembark on our own separate ways. This isn't a change of command where I get to introduce a new Captain and help ease him into my place. This is the end of a journey for us all. Though a few of my senior staff will be joining me on my next command, most of the men and women, brothers and sisters I served with in the h*llish nine months will be moving on to other things. They will have to find a new home with new commands and I will have to try and be who I was before my experience in the Delta Quadrant. I hope the rest of the crew can deal with this a little easier than me, but there is nothing I can do.
In closing I will say that I do look forward to the new adventures that await me on this new class of starship. I look forward to the new adventures with the new faces... maybe that is the feeling I should pass to the rest of the crew. Fair Winds Thaddeus Parker. You were a good ship commanded by one of the toughest crews in Starfleet. You will be missed
END LOG ENTRY
Captain's Personal Log
It’s strange sitting in this room, it’s what I always wanted but that walk through the decks of the best damn ship I’ve ever had the honour to command struck a chord in my soul that I do not think I will ever be able to replace with another posting. Each and every part brought back memories, some I will cherish and some I wish I could forget. I can still feel my reluctance to leave the ready room, as the door opened and I saw the bridge. For several years that bridge was the epicentre of my world. I can still remember when Ensign T’lixx had spilled raktajino over the chief when they were doing an overhaul of the tactical stations relay circuitry. I had to grip the arms of my chair so hard to stop myself laughing. I pity the next captain to sit in that chair and feel my fingerprints still in the arms. The chief was hopping mad and the seen was even more hilarious as the raktajino was causing steam to drift off his arms.
As I made my way to the turbolift the crew saluted. I felt honoured that they deemed me worthy of their respect. As in my commendations reports to command every member of that crew is the greatest attribute to Starfleet. The turbolift ride was eerie as due to the refit taking place sometimes they would stop at the wrong deck, as I look back though it was fate.
I stepped out to find that I was on deck 12, engineering. That place will always fill me with wonder. The beating heart of the ship, pulsating with potential. I remember the first time I looked upon that core; it was one of the first Trans warp cores to be fitted after they were made standard for the fleet. I can still feel the energy coursing through the conduits the same as when I first put my hand on their casing those years ago. Commander Shi’lan was a poet at heart for all her science training. I remember she just watched as I stared at awe. When I realised she was their flushed with embarrassment from being caught like a child. With quietness that I will never forget her words,
“Beneath the thick skin, hides a sleeping heart. When awake it fills the world with potential and possibility, for death, destruction exploration but most of all wonder and happiness.”
Those words still stay with me every time I look at any star ship, these great wonders that can achieve so much and touch so many.
As I continued my journey through the decks I found myself looking at my hands, still scarred from that horrible day during the early days in the war, as I looked up I found that I had stopped outside the memory harbour window. This was an old bulkhead that had been destroyed by a torpedo during an engagement with a Klingon cruiser. We had it converted to a viewport reinforced with force fields. It was a memorial to the dead during that day, I can still remember the dying and wounded flooding sickbay, and after the engagement the sights that day will haunt me to my death. Did I do right, could I have done anything else? Were their deaths on my hands?
The loss of Claire has never healed, I can still see her on that table, my hands trying to stem the bleeding, the emergency teams were on their way but it wasn’t fast enough. She was to transfer to another ship the next week so we could be together without it compromising our duties, as I look around my new room my eyes catch upon the model of the Kremlin she gave me. We spent our first shore leave together in Moscow looking at the old landmarks.
My walk then took me to the port Observation bay, this room was a place of joy for me. The blessing of Lt. Chan’s’ and Lt. Commander Evans baby, they asked me to be a godfather; I hear he is entering school now on Betazed. If he is anything like his mother he will be in a shuttlecraft in no time. The wedding of Luvak and Tvor, reuniting 13 children made orphans, on the attack on Relin 12, with their relatives. I think I stood and just smiled recalling all the moments of happiness that happened here. Then the thing I was dreading happened, my communicator called, my shuttle had arrived and was waiting. Sighing to myself I made my way back to the turbolift, this time strangely it took me straight to the shuttle bay. As the door opened I was met by a sea of faces. Most of crew had crammed themselves into this room. I nearly walked straight to the shuttle without a sound, leaving them was tearing me apart, but they deserved better. I only hope my words were justice to their respect; I leave them down here in this record for time to judge.
“I will not address you as your commanding officer, I feel and I hope you do too that by now we have moved past that. You are my family, all of you. Like a family we have shared the good times. Remember meeting the Yin Tazi in the Gruzo Expanse. The sights we saw together, the countless new worlds we discovered. We couldn’t never have done that without the work and effort you put into your jobs. Jobs are the wrong word. It is like a labour of love for we do this because it is in our blood, and the vessel is our body. It encompasses all our emotions, wants and needs. It gives us shelter, food water and a means to experience this. It also has got us through some tough spots. Not all of us have made it to this point.”
I saw tears at that point as we remembered the fallen.
“Though parts of them are still here with us as we move through the ship, their memories are always with us. You do me a great dishonour by honouring me here, now. For it must be the other way. Never have I had the privilege to even know such admirable and fine people. You have enriched my life and taught me things I never even knew I didn’t know”
I stopped and looked at everyone, I couldn’t stop the smile as I realised that in a way I would never leave and they would never leave me
“Like a family though I am moving to another vessel, we are still one. Whether it may be a week, a month or ten years we will meet again and nothing will have changed. What we have built together and what I know you will continue to build will last to the end of the galaxy. Look after the ship and she will look after you, until we meet again my friends, keep being the best damn ship and crew in the whole of the Alpha Quadrant.”
I won’t talk about what went between me and my officers privately as I feel that they were right for the moment and to write them down would diminish them. As the shuttle moved off to ESD I couldn’t help but cry. Thankfully the pilot left me to my solace. It was not just because of sadness though. It was the wonder of how a mass of metal, plasma and wiring, crewed by people that relied upon it to survive could mean everything to you. To the outsider most should become stir crazy being cooped up for so long in that mass of metal. Though if you were there it is like your first love, every bulkhead, bolt, circuit means something and to leave it is to leave part of your soul.
I know though this is not the end, it’s a new ship and a new crew. I know they will do me proud, and at some chance encounter I know I’ll see the old girl again.
captain's personal log, supplemental.
command has given me orders to report for reassignment. right now i am very torn about the whole deal. yes, i always wanted a command that had adventure, but the crew of the Nightshade have none the less, been the finest in the fleet. the Tiberian Sun awaits my arrival, and her newer crew awaits direction, the Nightshade will be in good hands with her new captain.
my own departure ceremony is later this week. addressing this fine crew will be the hardest thing of all. kevas, the chief engineer of the Nightshade has been with me since the beginning. i am no doubt that his andorian sarcasm will be dearly missed by me, because command will not allow his transfer to the Tiberian Sun. he will take this reassignment the hardest.
i must return to my farewell speech, but to my dismay, it will only make things that much more difficult for the crew and myself. command has their reasons for this, and i hope that they are the right ones. this fine crew, this fine ship will be dearly missed. i just hope that their new co has the passion and drive that i had when i came aboard.
farewell my friends, as our journey together ends, new ones will begin.
U.S.S. Kano - Final Voyage
A lone man stood at the window overlooking the docked ships located within the Earth Space Dock. Each ship awaiting new orders from their captains to proceed out of space dock and into the new frontiers. Each one with her own story. A Constitution Class vessel floated by before finally docking in the ESD's many airlock connection tubes. The man gave a sigh before turning away from the window to the Andorian woman standing next to him. Her pale-blue eyes watching his movements.
"Something bothering you, Sir?" She asked, her antennae twisting slightly to focus on him.
Grey eyes met blue ones as he gave a brief nod, "New orders from Starfleet." His yellow uniform displaying that he was an engineer didn't deter from the fact that he wore command pips along his collar. "We are to disembark the Kano and report to the Columbia for reassignment."
"But sir. You only took that command offer once Captain Reynolds was killed during that ambush." The Andorian woman stood closer to the man, looking at his pips for a moment to confirm that he was still a Lieutenant. "Do they know that you're not command qualified?"
"Mirra," The Lieutenant placed his hand on her shoulder, "Starfleet seems to think that I'd make a good Captain some day. And they're providing me that opportunity." He shook his head and leaned down to whisper into her ear, "And the Kano has too much damage that the brass cannot afford to have the crew on standby while it's sitting in drydock. It'll be a temp assignment, then we will be back on the Kano once repaired."
Mirra looked up at her commanding officer, her hands wringing between them as she studied his face. "How are you going to break it to the command staff, Markus? You know Perry's going to be pretty ticked that he wont be there to supervise the reconstruction."
Markus laughed, genuinely brightening up as he knew how his chief engineer got some times with any repair work that was done on the Kano, especially after the last time the Kano was in drydock at Utopia Planitia. "I'm sure the new assignment will let him keep in contact with the repair crews at ESD to make sure his 'baby' doesn't get the wrong parts." His hand that was on her shoulder slid to the opposite as he turned her towards the turbolift. "I'll need to make the general announcement anyway, so we might as well do it at the conference room."
The woman smiled, leaning a bit into the embrace as they crossed the threshold of the lift. "Oh-nine-hundred right?"
"Oh-nine-hundred." the tubrolift closed behind them. "Deck 15"
"What do you mean we're getting a new ship?" Perry responded, clearly frustrated at the fact that he was called away from his duties to discuss what the crew was going to do.
"Just as I said. Starfleet feels we need to be back out in the field, and pronto." Markus relayed, "Our standing orders are to provide drydock 7 with all our repair needs and disembark. The U.S.S. Columbia will be standing by at ESD dock 54. We will transfer all essential personnel from the Kano to the Columbia within 72 hours of our final transmission to drydock 7 and docked her for repairs." The bearded man leaned forward, starring down Perry as if to challenge him to argue further with him on it. "I understand where you're coming from Perry, I really do. I don't want to give her up to anyone for repairs that we could do ourselves. We are at war, and Starfleet feels we need to be active."
"Doesn't mean I have to like it." the stubborn chief engineer muttered to himself, leaning back into his seat in the conference room. "Do we even know what we're getting? I don't remember much about the Columbia, aside from the historic names of previous ships and craft."
Mirra looked up from her PADD and responded before Markus could, "Excelsior class. U.S.S. Columbia served in several engagements in the Dominion war and the beginning of the second Klingon war. It was refitted as a science cruiser after it's last engagement on stardate 79226.98 and has returned from it's 8 year mission." Mirra smirked as she looked over at Perry, "So she's just as dinged up as the Kano was."
"Not when I'm done with her." Perry jabbed back, looking over at Markus. "So who's running the gig? You're still an LT, and I assumed that when you got those orders it came from an existing captain."
"You're looking at him." Markus replied, taking a sip from his mug as he watched the reactions of the rest of his senior staff take in the news.
"Well its about time Starfleet took that command position and rammed it up your engineering arse." A trill woman with soft brown hair replied. "Never did see a captain feel more comfortable in main engineering until you took over."
Mirra groaned at the vulgar response her comrade made, "Naresta, couldn't you be a little more happy about the fact that we're not going to be changing our command structure?"
"I am Mirra, I am." Naresta smiled, "It just means it'll be easier to train this captain ourselves then let the Academy teach him 'proper protocol' for a commanding officer."
"I thought we did that when he was an Ensign." a Rigilian grinned her response. "And he was such an easy tease until Captain Reynolds started pulling him under his wing." watching as Markus spat out his hot drink.
A Cavalry Captain's Farewell
Three days ago, I received orders to transfer from the U.S.S. Forlorn Truth. The message said that my services were now languishing onboard such a small ship. While true that the older constitution classes were small by current Starfleet standards, it was once a flagship class ship, one of which had the honor of being the U.S.S. Enterprise, Captained by the legendary James T. Kirk. I felt a bit of pride at continuing the legacy of this majestic class, but the needs of the fleet come first...
As I read through the orders, I began to think, what would I need to take with me? I began running through a list in my mind, and realized very shortly that all of my worldly possessions were all contained within these walls. I also realized that I would have to do a lot of tracking to find all of my book collection if I wanted to keep it intact. Amazing how paper and ink still makes it around even thru to today, after being out of favor for so many centuries. But the books aside, I would need to make a list of what exactly I would be taking with me. Not everything can go with me obviously. I would have no need for a half a pound of depleted uranium under my chair on the bridge, because Dr. Miljenk thinks that it absorbs all of my emotions, making it easier to make decisions. I also wouldn't need the fuzzy dice above the viewing screen, I'm sure Ensign Velez would be quite upset if I did. Those were put up as a bit of a practical joke, an idea we had gleaned from a holodeck while on shore leave on Earth.
As I ran through the list in my head of all the items that I would have to gather, I realized that I couldn't really take any of them, personal affects aside. They were all a part of the ship now. And I don't care what the Starfleet regulations are on health and welfare, that damned pickle slice earned its place on the ceiling of the mess hall. I was there when Lt. Wilding flicked up there with a fork and it stuck. I could almost swear the mess officer at the time would have hung him up in the brig by his ankles for a week if I hadn't stopped him. Then there’s the blow up doll in the ship's weapons room. Those boys dress that thing up every fourth day for poker nights, and have her smoking a cigar while we play. I had to haggle that damned ferrangi for three days just to get that thing thrown in with the ship supplies that we needed while we were doing patrols on the neutral zone border. And I'm not even going to get into how I happened to get him to throw in those outdated vids from antique earth history, copies of copies as it were. But it was still worth it to see the crew laugh that hard. We had to run shifts through the bridge to watch them on the view screen. The only screen big enough on the ship to let the whole crew watch. Did that one while we were 'in negotiations' with some ferrangi a week after I had got them. Hehe, can't believe I got the admiral to buy that one. But the crew needed a rest at that point. We had been getting jacked around from one assignment to the next for two years straight, No shore leave, no down time, just head here, do this, go there, kill them. ********.
Then I started to think of all the times that we had to resort to fighting in order to stay alive. Too many times to count with the Klingons of course. There was the one time that... no, never mind that's just to long of a story for me to type out here just now. Let's just leave it at; the entire ship was saved by Chief Womack's pet Tribbles. That was a lot of fur, as they'd say in the old days. Another memorable time was when we picked up the Vulcan ambassador, oh what was his name? Delkan, Delvan… something with a Del in it. Oh well. We picked him up, ran him halfway across the quadrant it seemed like, and then it turns out the directions he gave us ran us straight smack into a secret base of Orion raiders. We ended up having to eject the warp core to destroy their ships, and had to limp to their base to find parts to salvage. The engineering crew was not happy with me at all. Up until we found an almost brand new warp core that the Orion’s were in the process of salvaging from a ship they had hijacked not two weeks earlier. Took a month for us to repair the ship properly. I will say this though; those Orion’s sure did have a lot of nice equipment to be just raiders. But the few logs that I could find gave no reference as to where they were getting their supplies or who was funding them. Given the situation, I wasn’t too keen to find more trouble. But Chief Takking made it happen. Hehe even made it look like the old one, down to the serial numbers and all. He really deserved that B.S. award I put him in for later on. Forgot what the specifics where, but he got the damned thing, wears it every chance he gets. Sometimes I think he likes the medal more than anything. First one he ever actually got. That man has some discipline issues. He has decked me more than once for the things that I made engineering do. Can’t say that I blame him for every time, I have been an ******* on occasion.
But here I go digressing into ramblings about past endeavors. This was supposed to be about how I transitioned from the Forlorn Truth. When I thought about how to break the news to the crew it took me a couple of hours to come up with the solution. I went to the fastest way to pass word through the crew. The counselor. That old bag of nuts has never been able to keep her trap shut about a damned thing. Every juicy bit of gossip on any of the crewmembers can spread like wildfire from this one point in the ship. Dr. Loraine Bo-Jensen… Hehe, I still laugh when I hear her name. Woman had to of been raised in some backwaters town on some backwater planet in some backwater sector. Half the time I don’t even know what she’s saying, the other half… well, let’s just say, she gets her point across. I also let slip that I was thinking of holding an impromptu party before I left, instead of just giving a speech and leaving, like so many captains do. Thought the crew might enjoy that bit. As I was talking to her, giving her some crap about how my daddy didn’t love me enough and such, I could hear her ticking away at her pad, typing up exactly what she would pass on throughout her little gossip mill. The entire crew would know before I got back to my room, if I walked the whole way.
Later that night I made a discreet trip to the mess hall, and began replicating the ingredients that I would need to cook the meal. I hate the way replicators finish off food. No personality to it. I barely finished in time, before almost the entire crew showed up at the time that I told Dr. Bo that I was having the party. First one in was my first officer. Commander Thyriss. She walked in, grabbed a glass, sat right in front of me, and said, “Fill me up Cap’.” After her, it seemed like all of the rest of the crew showed up. Just a few missing here and there, we had to have someone on shift to make it look like we were still alive. Oh, I forgot to mention, we were in Starbase 001 when I got my orders. I had just got the ship refitted with upgraded weapons and shields when I got the orders. Command sure has a funny sense of humor. And of course we were slotted to depart the next day so everyone was gearing up to head back out. But I digress again. Once the crew started to file in I started to serve them drinks and food. Once my command staff had finished with their food and drinks, they got behind the desk and started to help me serve the rest of the crew. Then once all of the crew was served, the party got started. And unfortunately that’s where my memories end. And my hangover began.
The rest of my time on the Forlorn Truth was a bit fuzzy. When I left, it was like leaving an old friend’s home. A great feeling of contentment washed over me as I walked the airlock tube. That is until the doors opened on the other side and I walked smack into an admiral. He started to yell at me, and I started to vomit all over his nice clean dress shoes. I think I got his pants to. I don’t remember. I do remember that his wife’s dog began yapping at me, so I puked all over it to… and his wife… That one I’m not too proud of. She was a nice lady, met her couple of years earlier, at some formal function. Great in bed to. Thankfully I passed out on the spot. Woke up the next day, sober. Damned doctors, with their fancy drugs can get rid of anything nowadays. Left the hangover though. Dicks. But that pretty much squares up where I am now. In a brig. On that damned Starbase. Waiting for my new ship to arrive so I can get back out to the fight. I think someone told me the name of it, the ‘Despairing Truth’? What is up with all these Names Starfleet is using nowadays? So depressing. But hey, another fifteen hours to go, then I can get out of here and see what the next ship is like. Maybe this one has a full kitchen. Oh and maybe a full sized rec room. Or better yet, a holodeck. That would be awesome…
Captain's Log, supplemental,
Eleven months ago, Starfleet posted me as First Officer on the USS Merrimac... My, how times have changed...
On our first mission, Captain Oxyhkxaly was killed in a firefight with the Borg, so I was quickly promoted to Captain. Reassigned to the Eta Eridani block, I cannot say in the few minutes I have left how that experience changed us. On the front lines, a human learns that death is a part of life; a Vulcan would learn that emotions help you to recover from the horrors that you find there. As a half-and-half, I found both....
It seemed wave after wave of Negh'Vars and Voquvs came after our little border patrol area. Crew members were lost, reassigned, or, in the case of Ensign Trons, headed to a POW camp. I still remember the shock on R'shee's face when I confided in her the atrocious thing I had done to save our little base in the Neutral Zone..
But it was logical. However, as my crew and I soon learned, being logical is not always the best...
Admiral Quinn soon contacted us. Borg attacks in Gamma Orionas had increased tenfold, and all available ships that were nonessential to the borders were being diverted to hep counter the attacks... When my crew learned that besides the Federation, the Klingon ships we had been fighting against would be also coming, I explained to my crew that alliances with the Klingons were not logical in times of war, and like the Old Earth saying, to "watch your back." Three weeks in the Gamma, two cubes warped in as our little Sao Paulo was alone, guarding the Transwarp Conduit, the only way any of us could get home. Tyssa, my fine Tactical officer, initiated without orders our experimental Point Defense System, taking out one of the cubes before the other could say, "Resistance is futile." Although we managed to put a few dents into the other, before long, the Borg had neutralized our shields, and began to release a barrage of Plasma torpedoes. Just before I shouted to run for escape pods, knowing full well that the Borg would have picked out and shot them all down, the IKS Goroku came charging to the rescue and blew the cube all the way back to the Delta Quadrant. Maybe all Klingons were not so bad. They just live for battle and glory, it's not completely their fault there wasn't any war after the Dominion.
Although Laibi, my wife, died later that month in a pitched battle with a group of rouge Klingons, when I look back at that time, I see a ragtag group of officers who bonded together in an amazing way. As a captain, however, I should have known that this day would come. Luckily, my father was able to pull a few strings in in the brass, so my senior officers will all be joining me on my next assignment back in Gamma Orionas. The shuttle taking me to the Normandy will be the place where I see the Merrimac for the last time before she's scrapped. Johnston is bringing a video recorder along with him, so we can all see again the ship where we left our heart.
Captain’s Log for Pii
My orders just came in. It appears Starfleet has another crew that needs to be whipped into shape with a little Borg Efficiency. My next command is going to be the USS Greenwich. The Captain was recently killed during an away mission, and the first officer is not ready to take command of the ship yet. It has brought out quite a bit of dissension in the ranks. To say that morale is low is an understatement; on the verge of mutiny is another way to describe it; however, if the ship were a Klingon vessel, I would be out of a job.
The Copernicus was in much the same state when I first came aboard. The captain had made a grave mistake that nearly got the ship destroyed and everyone aboard her killed. Court Martial proceedings ensued, and he was unfortunately found guilty of gross negligence and is now the commanding officer of a remote subspace relay station with no one to command other than his pet quadruped. His first officer was great on paper, but was a raging idiot when it came to real world experience. A serious situation was heating up on the ship, and Starfleet needed it resolved efficiently and discretely. They called me.
I remember stepping aboard the Copernicus and being greeted with an argument from the chief engineer and his subordinate. The doctor wasn’t present. The first officer was half dressed and appeared extremely inconvenienced by my arrival. The tactical and operations officers couldn’t even stand at attention. I think the transporter chief was the only one in the group that seemed presentable. I later approved a promotion and a transfer request for her to another ship.
From the moment I stepped off the transporter pad, I began to whip them into shape. I dressed them each down, and sent them back to their stations with the expectation that I would be performing a formal inspection in a matter of hours. They all hated me, and many applied for transfers, which I promptly denied, while a few outright resigned because they couldn’t handle my command style. I am troubled by it, because many of them had the potential to be great officers. But, I’m here to do my job, not to hold their hands and be their friends.
Over the last several months, the crew fell in line. I helped each one identify their best qualities and how they can better serve themselves and the service. For some, it meant changing professions, while most just needed some additional training. However, the ship is better for spending almost a year under my relentless pursuits.
Two months ago, I informed command of my progress in getting the ship and its crew back in line and requested to be reassigned to another ship in need of my expertise. The Copernicus’ first officer, Jameson, was now ready to take command; the crew will follow his orders, and together they will represent the best that Starfleet has to offer.
I haven’t notified the crew of my walking orders yet. I’m not looking forward to the social niceties that I’m sure they will certainly organize. I remember my last assignment aboard the Galileo. That ship had a tradition of hazing new arrivals and playing practical jokes on departing crewmen. The tradition had been in place ever since the ship left space dock, but somewhere during its 45 year history, the tradition had been lost. For the Galileo, I reinstituted the tradition in grand fashion and pulled quite a zinger on everyone onboard the ship. Before departing that post for the Copernicus, they returned the favor with an equally grand prank.
What works for one ship and crew doesn’t always work for another. I will be spending the rest of my time here studying and preparing for my new command, while Jameson begins taking more and more responsibility for this one. I will say that the Greenwich will be in for quite a surprise, when I finally get my hands on her. All I’m willing to say for now is that I’ve been increasing my repertoire of traditional seafaring songs.
However, I’m getting ahead of myself. I still haven’t even told Jameson that he’s got the job. I know he will try to convince me to stay, but ultimately, he will realize that this is the best thing for all of us. In the end, it will be a smooth transition. There will be a party or some other social gathering that they will hold in my honor. I will pretend to be put out, but I have to admit that I do enjoy seeing them all one last time, happy and working together, instead of at each other’s throats. After all, we’re not Klingons.
Let’s get this over with. Pii to Jameson, report to my ready room immediately.
Oh. Computer, stop recording.
Captain's personal log, Sh'Ress ch'Thiran.
It's been four months since the Resolute was thrown forwards in time, and, finally, after months of milk runs in the heart of the Federation, Starfleet Command has cleared myself and the crew for active service.
They haven't done the same for the Resolute.
We were refitted with modern weapons and shields when we first returned to Earth, but the old zhen is still well over a hundred years old. They'd have to completely rebuild the ship for it to stand up to any real modern attacker, and I understand why they'd retire the last - and, it seems, only - remaining Constitution class starship.
They've even given me a new ship and allowed me to keep the crew together. With the exceptions of Lieutenant Thraas and crewmen sh'Fhen and Dala, who have opted to return home to Andoria.
The ship they've given me is one of the newest in the fleet now, and ... they've called it the Resolute.
It's big and my old crew is only going to be part of the crew.
I should be happy - I'm alive, my crew's alive and we're even getting the modern version of the Constitution. But ... I already miss the ship. I look around and, well, I've seen inside the new ships. They look completely different, and I'm going to have to get used to a new bridge. Part of me wants to stay here on the Resolute, but that's not an option. I guess its time to put her away now, I just .. don't like it. She's a good ship and deserves better.
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