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.
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.”
“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
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 Sovereign-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.