Check out our latest Fleet Action!

 

Part of USS Arcturus: Epsilon Indi Calling

Chapter Thirteen: Aftermath

USS Arcturus
Early January, 2399
0 likes 17 views

Captain’s Log, Supplemental.
Thanks to the swift thinking of Captain Lancaster and the intervention of the Atascadero, all four of my officers are now safely onboard the Arcturus. While Dr. Sheppard and Lieutenant Ohala have already been cleared for duty, Lieutenant Evandrion and Captain Lancaster are both recovering in sickbay, where I am told that they will make a full recovery in time for our departure in two days’ time.
Starfleet has launched an investigation into the actions of Lieutenant Pressman, but so far Starfleet Intelligence believes that he acted without the support of a larger anti-Starfleet network. Based on the usage of his resource credits, the two Tarl that he killed alongside himself had been persuaded to aid him in exchange for agricultural equipment that the Federation would have been more than happy to provide, which leads me to believe that he misled them about the Federation’s intentions for his world, a planet that has been a member of the Federation for over two-hundred years.
While I had hoped for a more auspicious start to my command of the Arcturus, I take comfort in the performance of Captain Lancaster, Doctor Sheppard, and Lieutenants Ohala and Evandrion in a crisis situation. All four of them demonstrated the excellence and resourcefulness reflective of the reasons that they were selected for this mission. I have entered commendations in all of their service jackets.
End Log.

***

After Hayden completed the log, she sat back in her chair for a moment, just dwelling on the fact that she came very close to having to write an entirely different log entry, should one or more of them had perished. And that was only assuming that the ship and station themselves weren’t also destroyed. There would be ramifications for security across the star system, if not the whole Federation, in the short term. Shipyards were large, messy operations, and so Mr. Pressman may very well have achieved his goal of hampering the shipbuilding process by forcing Starfleet security to spend extra time vetting and approving the hundreds of thousands of workers it took to keep Starfleet vessels rolling off of the assembly line.

She stood and crossed out of the ready room and past her yeoman to the transporter platform at the rear of the bridge. “Sickbay,” she ordered, before her molecules were dematerialized and then sent through a reinforced conduit directly to the pad a dozen decks down adjacent to sickbay. It was quicker than a transport necessitating being actually transmitted off of the ship, but not instantaneous, which took some getting used to. She passed through the doors of the large sickbay complex, where the receptionist sitting at a desk in the circular foyer stood up out of respect.

“Captain Lancaster?” she asked.

“We’ve reserved exam room one for his recovery, sir. Second door on the right,” the young woman said, indicating the archway to her right. A human of  Indian descent, she had to be no more than 19 or 20, and once she’d given the captain the directions her eyes got big. “I can show you, if you like, Captain,” she added. “Err… Fleet Captain.”

Hayden gave her a kind smile. “Captain is just fine, and I’m sure I can find it. Thank you, yeoman,” she said, before leaving the stammering young woman to her own devices. She chimed at the door marked “Exam Room One,” which was indeed easy to find.

“Come,” came a voice from within that she recognized to be Doctor Sheppard’s.

When she entered the room, Lancaster was sitting up in patient scrubs with the head of the biobed raised. The meal in front of him on a tray looked relatively untouched, and he still made a move to stand when Hayden entered, despite what she understood to be four still-healing ribs. Sheppard did rise from his seat, though.

“At ease,” she said, smiling at both of them. “Not quite the reunion any of us were expecting, I don’t think,” she offered, moving to lean on the end of Lancaster’s biobed.

Sheppard chuckled. “No. Definitely not.” She had met Sheppard a few times, when Lancaster had first taken the first officer’s position on the Lafayette and then again on her visits to Earth in the lead-up to the mission. Besides being good at his job, Hayden knew that he also kept his husband sane, which were both positive qualities in her book. The appeal was also immediately apparent, as Sheppard was tall, muscular, and likely to be attractive to almost anyone of any gender or species who happened to like Human males.

“I should have anticipated Pressman’s intentions, Captain,” Lancaster said, looking particularly surly, and then wincing slightly when his anger caused something in his torso to turn just the wrong way to aggravate his injury. Sheppard shot him a glance that clearly read “calm down.”

“I didn’t come down here for you to find some way of blaming yourself for this. All of what we’ve been able to learn so far suggests he’d been planning this for months, ever since your flight plan was filed,” Hayden said. “What I did come down here to say was that I’m glad you’re still in one piece. It was touch and go several times, there. You as well, Doctor.”

“Thank you,” they said, in unison.

“May I speak freely, Captain?”

“Always, Michael. That’s what I brought you aboard for.”

Lancaster nodded, and there was a flicker of a smile from him. “I feel, well, we feel, that we’re obligated to tell you how closely both of us came to being emotionally compromised while on the Rand,” he said, seeming nervous as he finished that statement.

“It was a hostage situation, so that’s not surprising.”

“We both found ourselves in situations where our attachment to one another clouded our professional judgment,” Lancaster elaborated. Hayden studied him for a moment, attempting to see where he was going with that; it was absolutely not surprising that someone would react emotionally when a member of their family was threatened.

“Ma’am, I almost stopped him from saving the ship,” Sheppard blurted.

Hayden nodded. “But you didn’t.”

“Ma’am?”

“You wanted to, but you didn’t. Just like whatever thoughts he had about you didn’t keep him from doing his job, either,” Hayden said with a wave of her hands. Honesty was both expected and appropriate from her first officer, but this struck her as more being related to the two men’s collective anxiety over the appearance of impropriety. “I appreciate your forthrightness here, but it’s not necessary.”

Lancaster cleared his throat, looking a little taken aback by Sheppard’s casual tone, which Hayden found to be almost comical. “What we’re saying is that we’re concerned we won’t be able to serve you well if we’re together, especially when one of us in danger,” Lancaster admitted.

That did make Hayden laugh, which caused the two men to exchange a look. “You’re not the first married couple in Starfleet. You’re definitely also not the first married couple to be in disparate positions of authority, either. I don’t think this is going to be an issue, especially since you two are both clearly pained by the thought of putting a toe out of line,” she said. “You get your yearly psych clearances like everyone else and your relationship is well-documented. If Starfleet didn’t think you could handle it—if I didn’t think you could handle it, you wouldn’t be here. Clear?”

“Yes… Yes, Captain,” Lancaster said, looking a little relieved.

“Clear,” Sheppard agreed, beaming.

The door behind Hayden opened and she turned to see Doctor Anjar enter. The Bajoran exuded an air of competence and calm which seemed to lower the temperature of the conversation significantly. Until he spoke, that was.

“How’s our patient doing?”

“Your patient is conscious and capable of speaking for himself, Doctor,” Lancaster quipped. “I’m feeling quite ready to get out of here,” he added.

Anjar chuckled. “Sounds that way. But you’re also still recovering from several broken bones, near respiratory collapse, and exposure. I’ll release you to your quarters, but you’re off duty for another twenty-four hours on bed rest,” the doctor replied, glancing over at the biomonitor readings scrolling past on the screen behind Lancaster’s head.

Lancaster looked directly at Hayden, who stood up and shrugged.

“Don’t look at me. He out-ranks me, in this regard. In fact, I think your husband is the perfect person to enforce such a house arrest,” Hayden said, looking at Anjar.

“Agreed. I don’t want to see either of you for twenty-four hours. You’ll still have a full day to get ready for the launch after that,” Anjar noted. “Captain Okusanya could probably do with a few more hours of feeling like the queen of the roost, anyway.”

The captain chuckled. “Probably, yes. I’ll see you tomorrow, Michael. Luca,” she said nodding to the two of them and then leaving the room before she had to hear any sort of negotiation attempts from her stubborn first officer—not that his sentence of house arrest being enhanced with having to share it with his loving and attentive husband should give him much to complain about.