COORDINATES LAID IN AND READY ... CAPTAIN
by T.L. Shull
U.S.S. Panthera Onca – NCC-90261
Orbit of Earth
“Coordinates laid in and ready…Captain,” announced the helmsman with a hint of joviality.
The Captain looked to the view screen and the scenery of Earth’s blue hue that filled its breadth.
How in the hell did this end up being a bittersweet moment?
It was always supposed to be the crowning achievement, the pinnacle! He was supposed to be reveling in the pure delight of it all!
Well, in a way he was. He was ecstatic, proud and honored, thrilled to be getting underway in his ship, under his command…and yet here he sat in the command chair of the defense ship he knew he was born to lead and yet he still felt like he had lost something rather than gained everything that he had always dreamed of.
It wasn’t right!
Sure the celebration was wonderful - Quinn made a point to have a formal promotion ceremony – it was a rare treat for a Cat commander to be promoted outright. The "Cats" were known as being the elite defense squadron of the Earth Perimeter Patrol and as such, many others achieved that promotion by losing their commanders in battle, and Quinn wanted to make a real show of it.
His fellow Cat commanders, Farhadian, and Shaughnessy were there; so were his parents, Admirals, Commodores, politicians, even a good number of available his fellow Red Squad alums were present for his promotion…but through the entire ceremony he couldn’t seem to keep his eyes off of…her.
She stood there, the look of pride positively popping off of her gorgeous young face as Quinn reached for his collar to place the fourth pip. He couldn’t even remember what that had felt like now – he could only remember how black and beautiful Beth’s eyes were; how soft and gentle the waves of her cocoa brown hair looked as it cascaded over her shoulders; how soft her lips appeared as she smiled at him from across the room.
She had been the one to sit in the command chair and he in the seat next to it for the past four years and now she was gone; moved up herself…to admiralty no less.
But the moment he awoke that morning and eagerly dressed himself in his uniform with the brand new pip, he walked out onto the bridge he felt lost. He had utterly forgotten that he would not be seeing her face, those beautiful black eyes, that hair or that smile; and for all the excitement he felt and for all the happiness he took in his own fortunate career, he didn’t think it would hurt quite so bad to know that she would not be with him on the bridge anymore…ever.
After decades of hard work and dedication he finally got the Panthera Onca, his one true love …
… and ended up realizing he was missing the love of his life.
“Captain?” asked the helmsman but he didn’t respond.
It was then he decided that he had to try to find a way to get her back into his life…as often as possible.
“Captain?” The helmsman looked behind him curiously, then to the XO.
No, his first day as Captain definitely didn’t turn out like he had planned.
“Captain?” First Officer Baxica questioned curiously.
Alerted, Captain Tristan McGregor shook his head and smiled, but the smile never really did make it all the way across his face. “Engage.”