From the science station, Karyn Reyas watched as her husband marched towards his ready room with Commander Max Duncan in tow. Karyn couldn’t get over the loss of the Holt. She felt guilty being the one to announce the news. Closing her eyes for a second, she took a moment to concentrate on her breathing and think about what had transpired. Immediately she re-opened them and went straight to work. She wanted to know what the hell happened to Hawkins and his ship. Manipulating the holographic displays along with the touchscreen console, Karyn was determined to find the first piece of this puzzle, the Holt’s log buoy. It’s discovery would unleash onto them so many answers to so many questions they had about what had happened. Who had attacked them? How did they end up so far away from their previous position? What destroyed them? Why were there no survivors?
Her assistant head of department walked across the bridge and sat down with an almost great big thud. Thankfully the chairs on Odyssey could sustain his heavy build. The Brikarian man glanced over to her and spoke. “Commander, the astrometrics team have already started scanning the area one square meter at a time. We’re going to get a detailed analysis of what happened here.”
“Good, I am sure that would be reassuring for the captain.” Reyas replied as she carried on with her own scans. “I want to find the log buoy sooner rather than later. While I’m doing that can you scan the area for any natural occurring phenomena Naef?”
Lieutenat Oran appeared confused at that request. “Surely my team in astrometrics would be able to find that out ma’am?”
Nodding in agreement, Reyas shared her train of thought. “Yes they will, but I don’t want to wait that long. My hunch is the Holt’s sudden arrival here was caused by something else, I may be wrong but if there’s something out there like a subspace corridor or another anomaly that pulled them across, then I want to know straight away.”
Understanding where she was coming from, the large orange, stone like creature got to work trying to find what could be impossible answers.
Ten minutes into her work, Karyn felt a comfortable hand rest on the back of her shoulders. “How’s it going?” asked the ship’s Bajoran first officer.
Looking up to her right, Reyas smiled at the support from her friend. “The amount of debris is making it impossible to find the buoy.”
Commander Cambil squeezed her eyes as she looked at the readings that were on display. “Trying changing your search parameters.” She suggested.
“To what?” Reyas questioned.
“The Holt was an Elysion-class starship. Brand new, top of the line, and I just read that Starfleet had used kellinite to reinforce a good proportion of the hull. That included the area the buoy was stored in. If we filter out kellinite from the scans, then it may make it easier to find it.”
“Thanks Bexa,” Reyas said and made the alterations to her search. Within a few seconds of making the changes, the sensor found what she wanted. “Got it!”
Tapping her combadge, Cambil spoke into it. “Bridge to Captain McCallister.”
“Go ahead Number One.” replied McCallister.
“Sir, Commander Reyas has just found the Holt’s log buoy. Shall we beam it onboard?” Cambil asked.
“Do it and once safety checks are complete, then begin to download its computer core to ours. Well done Commander Reyas!” McCallister said in a more positive tone.
“Thank you James.” Reyas said as she went back to getting the coordinators for the transporter.
They had just made their first successful move.
The moment the cargo bay transporter had finished its cycle, Karyn stepped forward with her hand tricorder in her hands. Already she began scanning the log buoy and within seconds gave out a sigh of relief as she was told the good news from her scanner that the device from intact.
Behind her operating one of the stand-up consoles was the ship’s chief operations officer, recently promoted Lieutenant Commander Lukiz Jen. The joined Trill was one gifted individual with his ingenious levels, that said he kept it in check by not being arrogant with it. In fact, Lukiz was a quieter man.
“It should be quite easy to connect the buoy to the ship’s computer library.” Jen said, his focus still on his console.
Returning to stand next to him, the El-Aurian chief science officer agreed with him. “It’s in a good state, seeing as it survived the destruction of the ship. Not many scratches.”
Standing almost shoulder to shoulder now as they read the progress of the download, both officers were keen to find the answers that Captain McCallister wanted to know.
“Looks like there’s an active file here.” Jen reported the moment the first few files downloaded. “It’s encoded for transmission to…” He paused as he read the log. “That can’t be right.”
Reyas looked further at the holographic display that Jen was reading. “What’s the problem?”
“Well it’s encoded to be sent to Starfleet Command as well as to Captain McCallister.” He answered as he got more details. “I think it Captain Hawkins’ last log entry. I can only get audio.”
“Play it.” Reyas whispered. She knew she shouldn’t but the wife in her wanted to protect her husband from anymore hurt. If she knew what was on the file before he did she could perhaps prepare him.
The cargo bay speakers came to life the smooth voice and charismatic tones of Zack Hawkins. The man that her husband (as well as her and so many others) trusted on Odyssey for a number of years.
“With any luck, my next log entry will be made at Starbase Eighty-Two. But should our luck run out while patrolling the Gorn border, I’d like to say for the record that the crew of the Holt acted with distinction and valour.”
That statement was still confusing to Karyn and Lukiz seemed just as perplexed as she did.
“Continue with the download and then we’ll need to review the data.” Reyas said. “I’m going to take this message to the captain.”
Nodding in understanding what he needed to do, Jen came up with an idea. “I may be able to recreate the Holt’s bridge on the holodeck and we could watch what happened before it was lost.”
“Yeah, put that together Lukiz.” Reyas agreed with and downloaded the message on to the PADD to take to her husband.
The moment she left the cargo bay with the PADD in her hands, she made her way towards the nearest turbolift. As she got in she wondered just why Zack had prepared to send part of his log entry to James.
“Bridge.” She ordered as she tried to understand Zack’s actions further. What she remembered of him, he was a caring individual and so like James in command styles.
USS Odyssey NX-80000
Having the chance to relax to herself, Karyn was enjoying a quiet afternoon to herself in her quarters. The quarters themselves were pretty huge and without James around and the boys were out, she was able to enjoy something that she rarely got to eat. Chocolate ice cream. One of James’ favourite treats, since their marriage, Karyn had developed a fondness for it too.
Taking small bits from it, she sat still in her uniform on the large sweeping sofa under the sloped bay windows with the lights in the living area. Since James left to command the Avenger with a few others a few months ago, she had found herself missing him so much.
The door chime went off and she looked up and over to the door. “Enter.” She said finishing a mouthful.
Swooshing open, the doors revealed Acting Captain Zack Hawkins. The tallish man had dark brown swept back and a lot of stubble around his cheeks and chin. His light blue eyes glistened a bit as he came in with his usual boyish grin. “Hey Karyn, is it okay to come in? I don’t want to interrupt if the boys are sleeping?”
Chuckling at that notion that her three baby sons would all take a nap at the same time, Karyn waved her visitor in. “No, they’re out.”
Showing a quick jovial concerned look, Hawkins asked her where they were. “With who?” He added.
“Tobias, bless him, since James left has been taking them for a stroll in their hover pushchair to the arboretum every afternoon. It gives me time to sort out their evening meals and ready for their bed.” Karyn explained. “He’s quite the natural babysitter!”
Hawkins laughed at the notion that the captain’s yeoman would consider a change in career to childcare. “Tobi has a good heart.”
“He does.” Karyn said, “Can I get you a drink Zack?”
Nodding in response, Zack remained still standing by the door so Karyn gestured for him to come in further as she got up and went over to the replicator. “What do you want?”
“Something cold and with some sugar in it would be nice.” Zack replied as he sat in one of the armchairs.
“Computer, one tall chocolate milkshake with extra whipped cream and a straw!” Karyn ordered and the moment the drink was created she picked it up and took it over to him. “I noticed once that James got you this during a senior staff meeting.”
Blushing as if a big secret had been revealed, Zack appreciated the gesture. “Like you, he got me obsessed in trying new things with chocolate. What’s with that by the way?”
She giggled, “Yeah, I don’t know but when he is stressed chocolate appears to be his go to food to help.”
“It is good.” Hawkins said as he took several sips. He put it down on the glass coffee table and then spoke further. “Karyn, I hope you don’t me coming to you but I’m not sure who else to chat to about this on the ship.”
“Oh okay,” she said after taking a bite of her ice cream and now sat up straight on the sofa. It was obvious serious what he wanted to talk about. “Is this off the record?”
“Sort of.” Zack said, “It’s just, Starfleet has not told me exactly how long James will be gone for and where he was going. I was just wondering if he ever hinted anything to you? I think I’m becoming paranoid while sitting in his chair.”
Shaking her head, Karyn couldn’t properly answer the question for him. “Like you, it was kept secret from me. Normally when Starfleet re-assigns captains from bigger ships like the Odyssey to smaller ships like the Avenger then it has be for a certain type of mission. My money is on him conducting something for Starfleet Intelligence based on the last mission the Triton was on. It can be the only logical reason.”
“Yeah that thought did cross my mind too.” Zack said as he picked up his milkshake and sucked on it again. “I just don’t understand why Starfleet didn’t replace him on here and why we’re now undertaking low-level missions within the core territory of the Federation. I mean come on, that mission on Berengaria Seven to deliver those dragon catchers wasn’t something that overly taxed us.”
“James did mention he reckoned that Odyssey will lose her N-X registry soon as she’s been active for some time now and others of this class are being built. Maybe Starfleet wants us closer to home to do their final assessments.” Karyn offered. “I really don’t think you’ve got anything to worry about. Plus, you’ve got close connections with Fleet Admiral Duncan, I’m sure he pulled in a few favours to give you the chance to practice being in that centre chair. Knowing the admiral, he’s probably pushing for you to get a command of your own, very soon.”
Agreeing with her point of view, Hawkins seemed a bit re-assured. “Yeah I know, I just wish James could tell us if that was the case.”
“Well make a request to Starfleet Command to send him an encoded message, he may be able to give you some answers without revealing what he is up to.” She suggested.
“That’s a good idea Karyn, thank you.” He stood up. “I’ve taken up too much of your time already. I’ll see you in the morning for the staff briefing.”
“Yes of course,” Karyn said smiling. “And Zack,” she said calling after him, “James may not be here but you’ve got a crew around you that trust you and you can depend on. If you want to ever come round for another milkshake or any other chocolate substance…well I’m happy to have you here!”
He gave her a big smile as he left.
USS Odyssey NCC-80000
Hellian Expanse, Beta Quadrant,
The lift came to a halt and Karyn left it to make her way over to her husband who was stood by the ship’s master situation display.
“You got something Karyn?” He asked the moment he caught attention of her presence.
“It’s the first file we’ve downloaded, Lukiz is doing the rest at the moment. I just thought you may want to listen to this, Zack encoded his last log entry to send to you and Starfleet Command.” Karyn said as she passed him the PADD. “It just doesn’t make sense why he did that and what he said has nothing to do with you.”
Taking the PADD, McCallister sighed from frustration of another mystery for them to solve. “Let me listen to it in my ready room.” He said disheartened as he walked across the bridge to hear what his old first officer had said.
Karyn watched him go, she felt helpless that she couldn’t provide any more support to him.