It had been three long months since the destruction of the Hiawatha. Treylana thought she had prepared herself mentally for the eventual loss of a crewmate, but the sad reality was that no one could adequately prepare for something like that. She had hoped that her leave on Trill would help ease the pain and give her time to reflect on what had happened and what the future held for her. Unfortunately she could have been given an eternity and it still would not have been enough time.
What was important was the present. She had received a communique from Starfleet Command informing her that she had been assigned to Task Force Seventeen in the Fourth Fleet and was to report to a Commodore Marshall-Bennet for further orders. It wasn’t until she had materialized on the transporter pad of the USS Discovery that reality had set in.
Two of the ship’s crew stood before her; the transporter operator and a junior officer, presumably Treylana’s escort.
“Commander Hess reporting” she said to the two crewmembers before her.
“Welcome Sir. The Commodore is expecting you, if you would follow me.”
Treylana nodded and followed the officer out of the transporter room as instructed. She had read about the Century-class vessel design in her final year at the Academy, a smaller design similar to the Sovereign, but had not yet seen one in person.
The two of them entered a nearby turbolift and the junior officer instructed the computer to take them to the bridge. Except for the hum of the EPS conduits and the movement of the turbolift cabin through the shafts, the ride was a silent one. Perhaps it was because the two had no common ground for conversation, or maybe it was intimidation or respect being around a senior officer. Before long, the doors opened and Treylana was gestured to lead the way onto the bridge.
Sat in the observation lounge, Commodore Bennet was using the large space that came from the huge square-shaped table, to review all of the assignments that Starfleet wanted his expeditionary force to engage with in their first few months while in the Delta Quadrant. When the door chime went off, he instantly looked up from the pile of PADDs and holographic displays.
“Yes, come in!” He called out with.
Walking in was an average size woman with long dark hair. Her Trill spots were apparent in between the wisps of hair that were not keeping inline with the style she was trying to promote. Recognising her straight away, Bennet smiled at his guest. “Commander Hess, welcome aboard.”
“Thank you Sir. It’s a pleasure to be here.”
“Please take a seat.” Bennet gestured towards the chair that was near to him on the corner of the table. “Can I get you a drink at all?”
Taking a seat in the spot indicated, Treylana made herself comfortable, crossing her left leg over her right “A raktajino would be lovely…black. It’s been a long trip.”
Bennet replicated the beverage as requested and placed it before his guest. Once they were both settled, Bennet spoke up. “I’m sorry to hear about the loss of the Hiawatha. She was a fine ship. I see you’ve served on her for most of your career.”
“Yes Sir. Let’s just say I made a few rookie mistakes that forced me to make a decision that turned out to be the best I could have ever made.” she replied embarrassingly, knowing full well that a man in Bennet’s position would have already known that having seen her service record.
“Well, I hope you don’t mind me calling you in.” Bennet remarked as he crossed his right leg over his left so his ankle laid on top of his left knee. “I had a message from Captain Vehl that has aided me in making a decision that I think seems like a natural fit.”
“Oh?” she replied leaning back into her seat, taking a sip of her coffee before interlocking her hands and resting them in her lap, uncertain where the Commodore was going with his comments “And what would that be?”
“I’m promoting you to the rank of captain with all the rights and privileges that come with it and giving you command of the U-S-S Atlantia.” Bennet answered. “I want you to be a part of our operations in the Delta Quadrant and Captain Vehl believes you’re a suitable candidate.”
Treylana sat there for a moment, unsure of how to react to what she was hearing. She had only been a Commander for the past three months, most of which was spent on leave. She had fully expected that when her leave on Trill was up she would have been assigned to another ship to possibly even serve under the command of a new captain. Did her captain truly think she was ready for a command of her own? And the Delta Quadrant of all places.
She hadn’t heard of any ships venturing into the Delta Quadrant, since the return of the Intrepid-class Voyager in 2378.
“Thank you Sir. I don’t know what to say except that I’m honoured.”
Passing the PADD with her new assignment orders over, Bennet smiled in response. “Starfleet wants us to get out there and explore again, so we need to do it sooner rather than later. I want our missions in the Delta Quadrant to go as smoothly as possible.” He paused. “The Atlantia is currently docked here at the station. A majority of her crew have reported, it just needs her captain to arrive.”
Treylana picked up the PADD, eager to see what the Commodore had in store for her. Giving it a glance, she then gave Bennet a quizzical look. “Very interesting. A bit risky, but nothing we can’t handle I’m sure.”
“Good, then I would like to see you later this evening for the gathering we’ve got planned on the eve of our launch.” Bennet commented. “We’re bringing as many of the crews from each ship over to Discovery to give this expedition the send off it rightly deserves. Nineteen hundred hours in our crew lounge, do not be late and it’s an informal occasion so no dress uniform is needed!”
“I wouldn’t miss it for the universe.” Treylana responded then rose from her seat and adjusted her tunic “If you don’t mind, I’ll go check in and familiarize myself with the crew and I’ll see you tonight at nineteen-hundred.”
Bennet smiled and nodded and allowed his newly appointed captain to be on her way.
Although it would have been more convenient to transport over to her new ship, Treylana opted to take the more scenic route of boarding via the docking hatch. This would allow her to slip past almost unnoticed with all of the personnel coming and going.
Her first stop however was to the station’s quartermaster to procure an extra pip for her uniform. Opening the clamshell case that it was housed in, she picked up the golden coloured stud and affixed it to her collar next to the other three finalizing her promotion to Captain. The feeling was completely surreal, but if her former captain felt she was ready to take on this new challenge, she was not about to let her down.
Leaving the quartermaster’s office, she passed several other shops and eating establishments, all of them seemingly packed with patrons trying to acquire their goods and services. She even passed a young couple with a little girl that smiled at her as she walked by. Eventually she made it to the docking hatch and proceeded with a small group of other crew members through the umbilical that connected the Atlantia to the station’s outer hull. None of whom even noticed who she was unless they took the time to formally acknowledge her presence.
A young Chief Petty Officer monitoring the transfer of personnel noticed the woman passing his station “Captain! I didn’t expect to see you board in this fashion. I’ll inform the Bridge of your arrival.”
“You’ll do nothing of the sort Chief.” she clapped back “While I admire your adherence to protocol, I wish to surprise the bridge crew.”
“Yes Sir.” she responded as the Trill continued on her way.
Wasting no time, Treylana made her way to the bridge. She would have liked to have taken a detailed tour of the ship, but that would have to wait for a more appropriate time. “Captain on the bridge!” came a call from one of the officers as she stepped off the turbolift.
Each officer on the bridge immediately turned to acknowledge Treylana’s presence. “As you were.” she commanded.
The two men standing at the tactical and engineering stations were both shocked and pleased to see a familiar face on the bridge. “Captain?” questioned the man at the tactical station sporting the chestnut brown curly locks and neatly trimmed facial hair.
“Will…Paul, it’s good to see you both. And yes it’s Captain. The Commodore saw it fit to give me a command of my own. Though Th’lora had some doing in that decision. How have you two been since the Hiawatha?”
“Can’t complain I suppose.” replied her Chief Engineer
“Well, we’ll have plenty of time to catch up. In the meantime, inform the first officer, wherever he may be, that I’d like to see him at his earliest convenience and instruct the senior staff to report to the Discovery at nineteen-hundred hours for a celebration in honour of our upcoming mission. Attendance is mandatory. I will be in my ready room if you need me.”
“Yes Sir.” replied the two men.
The doors of the ready room hissed open. The sound was unbearable, matched only by the pounding that was going on inside Treylana’s head so early in the morning. She should have listened to her conscience when it told her to quit after the third Romulan Ale, but it was a celebration and what reasons did they have to not rejoice? The crew was about to set out on their maiden voyage with their new commanding officer but they were doing so in a virtually uncharted region of the galaxy.
She’d not yet had her coffee, but toted a freshly replicated mug in her right hand as she stepped onto the bridge and rapidly moved to her seat in the center of the room to avoid any accidents.
“Rough night?” asked the man seated to her right.
Her first officer was a slightly older gentleman, at least in a physical sense with crimson hair except for a small hint of grey near his left-sided part. Treylana clearly has him beat if she factored in the lives of her previous hosts. His muscular build indicated that he was no stranger to the gym.
“I’ve had worse.” Treylana replied, not wanting to let a hangover get the best of her “What’s the status of the fleet?”
“The Odyssey is standing by awaiting the opening of the wormhole. The Tesla and the Elysion are just pulling away from the station now. We’re not recording any movement from the remainder of the fleet as of yet.”
“Well then. Let’s not keep everyone waiting. Hail the station and request clearance to depart. Helm as soon as we’re cleared, retract umbilicals and release docking clamps.”
“Ops has already cleared us Captain, following the Elysion.” replied McDougal.
“Umbilicals retracted and docking clamps released. We are clear from the station.”
“Ahead one quarter and take us to a position astern of the Odyssey.”
This would be the first time that Treylana would witness the opening of the Barzan wormhole up close. She had seen briefs on it and heard stories from other Starfleet officers that had travelled through it, but she had assumed that all wormholes were like the one at Deep Space 9, not necessarily constructed by aliens or home to godlike entities, but two stable points between points in the galaxy. The Barzan wormhole was special, being fixed only in the Alpha quadrant and requiring a verteron array to stabilize the other side.
The Atlantia pulled up to approximately two-thousand meters behind the Odyssey. “Time to the opening of the wormhole?” Treylana asked.
“Fifty-six minutes Captain.”
Fifty-six long minutes before she and her crew began their brand new adventure. Sitting toward the edge of her seat it was all but a waiting game now.