The whole place made Jisaraa feel like she was on edge, the constant crackling noise in the background alongside the various lights flashing and different shades of green beams hitting up against the walls and deck plating didn’t help either. The fact that various gases were being ejected into the room and the lack of true illumination didn’t make their task any easier. However she knew she had to stop complaining in her mind and focus on the task at hand.
Borg ships were never easy and every time she spent any time leading Beta Team through one, she was certain more hairs on the back of her neck stood up. She preferred running through a gauntlet of angry Klingon warriors then this.
Swiftly moving through one subsection, Jisaraa led Beta team with her phaser rifle up close to her. The butt of the rifle firmly against her shoulder and her chin placed against its cool silver casing. Every time they passed a drone, she knew each one could become a deadly target the moment they were activated by the Collective’s will.
“You’ve got sixty-eight seconds.” spoke Lieutenant Commander Lenjir over the intercom.
Not acknowledging the update, she knew their time would be up sooner than they realised and the drones would detect them. She had to pick up the pace, so she indicated for everyone to begin moving at better speeds.
A few seconds later and her team arrived at the destination: the central assimilation chamber.
Lying across an assimilation table, with each limb locked into place with a force field fizzling just above his face was Lieutenant Flemen. “Jisaraa to Lenjir, target located. We are beginning rescuing attempts.” Instructing some of her team to take up secure positions, she led with the others to enter the chamber and begin deactivating the drones that were about to assimilate Odyssey’s chief diplomatic officer.
A sense of calm panic was originally spread over his expression but once the rescue operation began a sense of relief replaced it. “It’s about time you guys showed up!” Flemen remarked from where was being held. The Lumerian male had been stripped of his uniform and only had his boxers on. His well-defined athletic looking body was on show, something he wasn’t afraid to display to his fellow crewmates.
Noticing his lack of attire, Jisaraa suppressed a snigger at him. The two of them over the last few weeks had spent some off duty with one another, she liked Craigen a lot, he was adorable like a lost puppy. “Going for the kinky assimilation option, lieutenant?” She asked as she freed him from his restraints.
Glaring at her as he became free, he ignored her comment as he rubbed his wrists. “Give me a weapon, so we can get out of here alive.” Even though he was enjoying the fact that some of them saw his figure, it was clear he was more keen on staying alive instead of having his ego stroked.
Pulling out one of her handheld phasers, she gave it to him before issuing orders to her deputy. “Ensign Trexx, give the lieutenant a spare body armour out of your pack.”
The Bolian security officer nodded and crouched down on the floor and pulled his backpack around. Instantly he pulled out the body armour and handed it over to the lieutenant.
“Forty-seven seconds to go!” Lenjir announced over the combadges.
Once Flemen was sorted, even though he looked ridiculous wearing his body armour over his bare chest and boxers with no boots and just a phaser, Jisaraa informed everyone else that their target had been obtained and they were returning to the extraction point.
Lieutenant Keli, Cline’s Coridanite deputy, then spoke up over the intercom. “Alpha Team has completed its third and final task. Returning to the transporter site as well. All teams standby for reactions from the enemy.”
Looking at Flemen, Jisaraa smirked at him and told him to stand close to her. A second later and the deck plating beneath them shuddered from nearby explosions.
“Primary and secondary shield generators are down and we are detecting explosions detected by their vinculum.” Lenjir announced. “Expect some disarray before back-ups kick in.”
At that point all of the Borg drones that had been in their alcoves, came to life or were pushed out of their stations by explosions. Doging each one, Beta Team moved quickly, taking down each drone they presented as a danger. With a lack of connection to the hive mind, some of them were easy to subdue while others required more brute force. Beta Team was more than happy to provide such force. Ordering her team to swap positions as they moved through, giving time for others to remodulate their phasers or use a different tactic, Jisaraa felt like they were going to win.
Then they hit a forcefield.
“Damn it.” She cursed. “Trexx, find a way to take this down.”
The Bolian scanned the field generator and determined it was being controlled by a nearby node. Instantly the team opened fire on it and the field dropped. However more drones then transported all around them.
“Take up alpha defence posture.” She ordered everyone as they started to fight the incoming onslaught. Almost standing in a circular shape, they took out each drone with a blast from their weapons but the Borg assault was overwhelming. Their fight was not enough as members of her team were either knocked out or taken away by the stronger grip of the drones. Their defence line was starting to falter and it ended with just her and Flemen left fighting off the disfigured features of the cybernetic features belonging to the numerous drones trying to get them.
Back to back now, she continued to shoot at various targets when she soon realised that the Borg drones had adapted to each modulation. Sighing heavily she shouted above the commotion. “Computer freeze program!” Jisaraa ordered and a sense of relief flooded over her just as a drone’s hand was close to grabbing her by her face. “End program.”
The entire simulation dissolved away and the Orion security officer cursed herself at her failure.
The holodeck’s doors parted wide and Lieutenant Commander Lenjir stepped in. “Why did you stop?” He asked as he stepped across the hologrid.
Shaking her head, still in disbelief, Jisaraa answered him. “There was no way we were getting out of there alive.”
Lieutenant Keli then walked over with Alpha Team. They too had ended the program in similar positions like Beta. “The difficulty level did seem higher than ever before.” She commented.
“You can’t complain about how hard a situation is, lieutenant.” Lenjir stated to his deputy. He looked back at Jisaraa. “Okay, training is over for now but I want everyone to reconsider every move taken and let’s see if we can fix our mistakes so we plan another session for the end of the week.”
Everyone agreed with a round of mumbling.
“Thanks everyone, dismissed.” Lenjir ordered as he tugged on the end of his ear lobe. The Tiburon security chief then looked over to where Flemen was. The chief diplomatic officer was retrieving his uniform that had appeared in the corner of the hologrid. “Thanks again for your help Craigen.”
Pulling his trousers on and zipping them up, Flemen turned around to look at Lenjir. “My pleasure sir, it’s nice to do some training that doesn’t involve me trying to convince an ancient race from letting us help them to save the galaxy. I’ve not had much to do since the Tkon outpost as you can gather.”
Lenjir couldn’t argue with the man about that. For the past three months, the Odyssey crew had been engaged in a mapping exercise of a lifeless region of space, as such the crew had not encountered another alien race for weeks now. Things for both men were becoming boring. After recovering from the whole ordeal, life on Odyssey had slowed down. No-one had complained originally, but now some of the work was becoming tedious. As such more training had been ordered for all departments. Lenjir had wanted to ensure the Hazard teams were up to scratch, close to Borg perfection if he could and when word had got out about his training regime the ship’s diplomatic officer had offered his services. Flemen had led a Hazard Team when he served on the USS Pytheas, so he knew the ins and outs of what was required to keep a team focussed and ready for anything. Joining the training had given him something to do and he agreed to consult on the Odyssey’s two teams’ performances. Being involved in the most recent training which included disabling a Borg Cube and rescuing a kidnapped officer, had kept both teams on their toes.
“Are you happy to continue helping out?” Lenjir pleaded.
As he put his boots on, from where he sat on the hologrid floor, Flemen nodded. “Absolutely, as long as Commander Duncan doesn’t mind me being elsewhere then I’m all yours.”
Lenjir considered Flemen’s words carefully, he was certain their first officer would agree as he knew how much Flemen had been asking for more work to do since they entered this region of space that had nothing for him to do. “Thanks Craigen, I owe you a drink. Fancy it tonight?”
“Sure, twenty-one hundred hours?” Flemen replied as he finished putting on the rest of his uniform.
Lenjir nodded and left the diplomatic officer as he went back to review the training exercise.
“But next time, can I ask I do it with a full uniform on!” Flemen shouted at Lenjir.
The security chief just turned around and smirked in response before making his exit.
“And lift again,” Slyvexs instructed as she kept her medical tricorder hovering. Tapping it a few times she nodded in approval. “I think that’s it. We’re done.”
“We’re done?” Duncan repeated with a mixed sense of surprise and happiness. “Seriously, doc?”
Nodding again to confirm, the Denobulan woman switched her tricorder off as she looked at her patient. “I’m happy to say you’re regular therapy, the extra workout sessions in the gym and your many games of Bajoran spring ball with Tobias have given you a well deserved recovery.”
Looking down at his leg, Duncan grinned with pride as he sat up from his lying down position on the bio-bed. Instantly he jumped off and picked up his jacket that had been lying across the top of a nearby equipment locker. Finally he was free from having to visit sickbay so much. Since their mission that involved the Tkon outpost, he had to see Slyvexs as part of his recovery. In the final parts of the away mission, he had been thrown across a cavern and landed awkwardly causing several ligaments to break in his left leg and his knee to shatter in several places. He had been found unconscious and had been in a coma for almost a week, nevertheless he was keen to get back to duty and so had focussed the last few months on his recovery while initially undertaking part-time duty. “So I can return to full time duty without any medical concerns?”
“Absolutely!” Slyvexs said with a gleeful tone. “Now get out of here, so I don’t have to see your face anymore!”
Flinging his jacket over his shoulder, he obliged with his medical orders and swiftly left the confines of the medical bay. Stepping out on to deck ten, he began to place his arms into his jacket when a familiar pair of hands sprung up behind him and pulled him around by his waist towards a nearby hidden corner. Before he could react he was shoved backwards and the familiar taste and smell of that person thrusted themselves against him which was followed up by a passionate kiss that lasted for almost half a minute.
Pulling away his ‘target’, Senior Chief Petty Officer Court sniggered and looked up and down the corridor for any witnesses, smirking that they had not been caught and returned their attention back to the first officer. “So I overheard those extra sessions in the gym and our regular physical recreation helped you out?”
“Tobi, man, I’ve told you before you’ve got to be left obvious with the public display.” Duncan whispered back, copying the grin from his love interest. What was going on between the first officer and chief of the boat had been unexpected for them both, however one evening one thing led to another which led to another and before they knew it they had crossed a line that neither of them knew they could come away from but deep down they wanted more. The two of them had eventually decided to see where they could take their relationship, but had agreed they needed to keep it quiet from the rest of the crew – especially the captain. They were still deciding on what this relationship was, although Duncan was certain what it was. Without a doubt there was a lot of physicalness behind it, something the doctor was not complaining about in regards to his recovery, but they had yet to decide on it being anything more besides pure lust and desire to be with one another. The passion was strong. Maybe it was the lack of any distractions which caused them to explore this new appetite for one another or the fact that neither of them had been in a serious relationship for a long time. Whatever it was, it worked for them.
“Max, stop being a prude.” Court replied before planting soft kisses on the commander’s neck, “deck ten, section eight is always empty due to everyone being scared of sickbay and the morgue.”
Moaning at the passionate embrace he found himself in, Duncan soon realised they needed to stop. “Enough,” He whispered with a smile as he softly pushed Court off from him. “Let’s leave this for later, yeah?”
Realising he had no choice, the chief of the boat and senior enlisted yeoman just nodded and pushed his uniform down. “Fine, but I plan to pick up from where we left off later tonight.”
“Agreed. My quarters, twenty-one hundred hours.” Duncan said with a smirk. “I’m needed in engineering.”
“I’ve got a duty shift on the bridge.” Court stated, he took one more glance around the corridor before quickly sneaking another lustful kiss with Duncan. He released himself from the embrace and gave Duncan a sneaky wink. “Now remember to get rid of those thoughts you have of me before you see Tremt. I swear to god he is picking up on something from the looks he throws our way in senior staff meetings.”
Pushing Court completely off from him, Duncan cleared his mouth with the back of his hands as they parted company and smoothed out his own uniform before heading towards engineering.
As he walked towards the nearest turbolift, he wondered how the hell he ended up behaving like a teenager by concealing his new relationship from everyone else? Either way he enjoyed it.
Stepping into the main science lab, Tierra looked around to find her wife but only found Commander Reyas sat in a corner sipping on a mug of coffee reading from the holographic display in front of her.
“Good afternoon ma’am, do you know where Abbej is? She and I have a lunch date?” The Delta assistant chief engineer asked.
Looking up from her screen, Reyas placed her mug down and smiled up at Tierra. “Good question, I’ve not seen her for over half an hour. She mentioned something about heading down to the lower level to catch up on some paperwork.” The El-Aurian gestured towards the lower level. “How’s everything going in engineering this morning anyway?”
Holding her hands up as an indicator of not to ask, the Deltan made her way down the small flight of steps towards the lower level, which wasn’t busy but had a fair amount of science officers working at a range of stations and consoles. Eventually she found her wife.
Abbej noticed the arrival of her wife and gave out a huge smile. “This is a nice welcome, how’s your morning been?”
“Busy, prefer not to talk about it. Ready for lunch?” Tierra remarked, appearing somewhat grumpy about her duty shift.
Nodding, the assistant chief science officer took her wife’s hand and led her out of the science lab and towards their lunch date.
“So, what’s put you in a bad mood?” Abbej asked as they approached a nearby turbolift. “Bad morning?”
Nodding, Tierra explained her morning. “We’ve been trying to upgrade the emergency holographic systems, ever since the crew went through that spell of going into stasis we’ve been trying to improve their holographic matrices so they’d work better for longer periods of time.”
“I thought they were already designed to do that.” Abbej commented as the lift doors opened and she stepped in.
Following her wife in, Tierra got in and leant against the back of the lift. “They are, but it’s more about the type of environment and situation they are in. It’s no fault of their own but they had to adapt to a lot without much outside help besides those in cetacean ops.”
“Doesn’t that just promote the idea they should be kept on a more permanent basis?” Abbey argued.
Raising her hands to dismiss the philosophical debate, Tierra responded with a single nod. “Maybe, but I really don’t want to get into a discussion around photonic rights right now.”
Leaning into her wife, the Boslic science officer chuckled slightly before speaking. “Absolutely, plus today’s probably not the best time to have such a discussion when we’ve got a lot planned tonight. Emir told me over breakfast that the next chapter is entitled: ‘Hail to the Chief’.”
Looking perplexed at that remark, Tierra wondered what madness their daughter was getting them into for their weekly visit to the holodeck. A sort of craze had gone across the younger members of the ship with a revival of the Captain Proton holonovel series. A new chapter had been recently released and along with several updates to others, thanks to one of Captain McCallister’s sons, Proton mania had reached proportional heights on the Odyssey where there was now a tournament to see who could complete the holonovel series in an informal tournament. Deciding that it would help with morale, Commander Duncan had insisted on it becoming a ship-wide event, encouraging as many to join in as possible. The holodecks were now fully booked and teams were being formed. Abbej and Tierra had decided to enter as a family after their eldest daughter, Emir, had insisted on it.
“So what’s the summary for this chapter?” Tierra asked as the turbolift changed direction.
“Something to do with the President of Earth being kidnapped and Captain Proton must rescue them before Doctor Chaotica uses his cradle of persuasion to make the President surrender Earth to Chaotica.” Abbej answered.
Smirking at such a ridiculous plotline, Tierra shook her head. “Sounds fiendish enough to me! Louwes is still going to join us?” She asked, referring to their eldest son.
“He promised Emir, he’ll be there as long as he gets to play Proton. Something about him wanting to beat Alfie McCallister.” Abbej stated as the lift stopped and deposited them at their destination.
“Glad to hear our son wants to protect his family’s honour against our superior officers’ family honour.” Tierra said as they departed the cart and headed towards the Auditorium for their lunch.
Breathing in for a count of five and then out for five, Counsellor Samris kept his eyes closed as he focussed solely on the sounds around him. The ship’s huge arboretum was always a welcome break for the Romulan man. The view he admired the most was from a large cliff edge that reminded him of a view he once enjoyed visiting as a boy back on Romulus. Everytime he opened his eyes he always hoped to see images of the Apnex Sea, but he knew that wish was exactly that: an unfulfilled hope. Nevertheless sitting so high up in this biome that resembled a sort of warm climate, the Romulan counsellor was sat with his legs crossed with both hands gripping lightly around his knees. His uniform jacket was lying on the floor beside him. The gentle breeze from the atmospheric processors created a sort of mild breeze that hit against his arms and the parts of his chest that were not covered by his grey vest.
Footsteps interrupted his clear mind and he opened his left eye slightly to see the familiar outline of Lieutenant Commander T’Rani approaching him.
“Commander,” He said after taking a breath and returning to his focus. His tone was extremely formal. “Can I help you with something?”
Raising her eyebrow after detecting his annoyance, T’Rani paused where she stood. “My apologies, counsellor. I hope my presence has not disturbed your meditation too much.”
“That’s not an answer to my question.” He stated, remaining in his calm.
For weeks now the two of them had been playing a sort of cat and mouse game in their relationship. Only the other day had Samris laid down with her that he wanted a clear definition of what their relationship would be moving forward. After helping her deal with her husband’s loss which later turned into him supporting her through Vulcan neuro-pressure, Samris had entered quite an unhealthy relationship with her where they would find themselves becoming sexually involved with one another. After speaking with Commander Duncan about it, especially as T’Rani was a former patient of Samris’, the Romulan had decided he needed to lay down some rules. T’Rani appeared to have accepted them and he then left her with his ultimatum. He liked her, a lot in fact, but he knew that she may not return the feelings.
“Again, apologies on my behalf. I was wondering if we could discuss the matter we left opened the other evening.” T’Rani shared, she placed both hands behind her back.
Opening both eyes and looking up to her, Samris wondered if he should stand up or not. Given the fact she had come out to seek him, he felt he should. “Sure.” He responded and indicated for them to take a walk along a small gravel-like path as he fetched his jacket.
Agreeing to his suggestion, T’Rani began their slow walk with him beside her. “I have considered your…offer.” She began, almost sounding hesitant at first. “After much thought, I believe I would like to…as you stated the other evening, ‘take things to the next level’.”
Stopping on their walk, Samris looked at her and a smile crept across his face. “Are you serious T’Rani?”
Nodding once, she shared more around her deliberation as she stopped to look at him. “It is obvious that the two of us hold an attraction with one another, S’Tefe would not have wanted me to be alone after his death, I believe we would make suitable companions for one another. The Vulcan heart is a complicated one, just as I am sure the Romulan one is, but I am certain this is the logical path. I savour our time with one another immensely and do not appreciate it when your proximity to me is far.”
“In other words you hate it when we are not together.” Samris said, smirking further.
“Your words, not mine.” T’Rani corrected him. “I wish to explore this relationship further, if you wish to.”
“Absolutely.” Samris said as he stepped forward and planted a gentle kiss on her lips. “However, I’d appreciate it if we don’t make this public yet.”
“Agreed.” T’Rani said with a singular nod before pulling him into her one more time. Letting go of their embrace, she looked at him. “I have completed my duties for the day, I am no longer needed after the captain relieved me from the mission to study a nearby group of gasses, are you free to spend some time together?”
“I’m all yours.” Samris said as he took her by the hand and led her around the arboretum.
“Oh thank the four deities!” grumbled Commander Hunsen from where he laid within the crawl space in engineering. Fixing and replacing another holo-projector was not how he had planned to spend his day. Pushing himself out, he looked across main engineering at his colleagues and called out to them. “Is that now working?”
Lieutenant Commander Jen nodded over to his friend while he held a tricorder in his hand. “The projectors are now aligned. We can bring the entire engineering team back online.”
Still grumbling under his breath as he got out and headed to where the joined Trill ops manager stood, Hunsen straightened out his uniform as he paced over to the central control area. The engineering pool table was active from where they were working. The project for the day had been to upgrade the ship’s emergency holographic systems, but while working on the engineering team several emitters had blown.
“Remind me again why I thought it was a good idea to do this work now?” Hunsen asked aloud as he looked down at the pool table that was showing that the new holo-emitters were online and were ready to activate the holograms.
Speaking up from the other side of the table was Lieutenant Tomaz, “You did say it was needed.” The Barzan strategic operations officer was holding a PADD in his fingertips as he spoke.
“Yeah, I hate it when I’m right.” Hunsen moaned as he then brought the holographic engineering team online.
Appearing standing altogether, the six human appearing holograms all looked around them before Peter stepped forward. “I take it repairs to the emitters are complete.”
“Indeed.” Jen said as he scanned each hologram one at a time. Nodding at the results, he spoke up. “Looks like each of their matrices are remaining stable. We shouldn’t see an overload again.”
“Let’s hope not.” Tomaz said as he continued to take notes. “Do you want to start the exercise now?” He asked towards Hunsen.
The Betazoid engineer was looking over his controls one more time. He had invited Tomaz to help them with the upgrades to the holograms for two reasons. One, the Barzan man appeared to be bored at the lack of work he could do at the moment. Since the mission on the Tkon outpost, which was now classified, there appeared to be no other threat for Tomaz to prepare for. Two, Tomaz himself had asked for more work in engineering, he wanted to expand his understanding of starship operations so shadowing Hunsen and Jen for a few days didn’t harm the lieutenant.
“Give me a moment.” Hunsen said. “I just want to check the new algorithms and safety measures are all working, I don’t want to cause a memory cascade.”
While the engineer undertook the checks and a quick diagnostic, Tomaz approached all six members of the holographic engineering team. “So, I still don’t understand why the captain named you such unusual names?”
Jen smirked and spoke up on behalf of the holograms. “When his son, Henri, was a toddler he liked a series of stories read to him by a famous children’s author from Earth’s past. The names for the holograms were taken from there, I’m sure Commander Cambil said they’re based on animals who can talk.”
“Rabbits.” Hunsen confirmed from where he was standing. “And a hedgehog.”
“What are those?” Tomaz asked his colleagues.
“Woodland creatures.” answered the holographic engineer called Benjamin. “I believe the stories the commanders are referring to are The Tales of Peter Rabbit and Friends by Beatrix Potter.”
“An unusual source to pick names from.” Tomaz commented on.
“You’re not kidding.” Hunsen said, his distaste for the names coming through. “Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail along with Tiggy. May the four deities have mercy!”
“Hey, we like our names!” protested Tiggy.
“I can see the commander has a point that they aren’t truly formal for Starfleet holograms.” Tomaz said in a diplomatic tone.
“But they are who we are.” countered Peter.
“We’re not having a debate about holographic rights right now.” Hunsen said in a firm tone. He looked at both Jen and Tomaz. “Let’s begin the exercise and see what the day brings us first.”
The holograms all went silent, as did Tomaz and Jen. All of them realised that Hunsen was not in a good mood and didn’t want to spend his time tinkering with holographic identities. At that point the conversation stopped as Commander Duncan entered engineering.
Instantly Hunsen could send something from the first officer and hold back from reading his mind, but his empathic abilities were picking up that the commander was in a good place emotionally. Squinting his eyes at his friend, he could normally workout the mood he was in but this time Hunsen was struggling as it was a new feeling for Duncan to be exhibiting. One he had never sensed before. Then it hit him and Hunsen’s mood changed from being grumpy about the names of six holograms to one of enjoyment about how much he was planning to tease Duncan about whatever he was up to and trying to keep secret from his Betazoid friend.
Picking up the duffle bag that was sat on the shuttlebay deck, Captain McCallister threw it into the aft hatch of the Holmes before looking around to see where his ‘co-pilot’ was. Finding his son, Alfie, sat on a cargo container looking down at a PADD in his hands, the captain rolled his eyes as he headed over. “Alf, are you ready to go?” He called over.
Sighing heavily, Alfie switched off the device and jumped down from where he was sat. “I don’t understand why I have to go with you.” He moaned as he picked up his rucksack and followed his father into the type-eleven shuttle.
Though he was only twelve in human years, Alfie’s El-Aurian genes made him look slightly older and most recently Karyn had remarked that their three sons were more like a trio of hormonal sixteen year olds instead of pre-adolescents who were just starting puberty . Lately Alfie had been more a concern for James and Karyn compared to Henri and Theo. Henri was excelling in his sports while Theo was focussed on his music play, both of them were doing well with school as well, while Alfie just appeared…lost. Karyn had tried to talk to him but didn’t get far with him, so instead James had insisted on taking Alfie out on a father-son bonding mission. The crew had planned to send a number of probes to study a large cluster of sirillium gas pockets in a nearby class seventeen nebula, instead some members of the crew had offered to go instead. The change in routine had been a welcome break for those who volunteered. James found himself agreeing to go as well, originally with T’Rani but with how Alfie had been recently he used captain prerogative and asked her if she could sit this one out.
Placing his arm around his son’s shoulder, James explained why he wanted Alfie with him. “Alf, I can’t tell you about the amount of times I always wished my father would have taken me out and done something like this when I was your age. Plus, when was the last time that you and I did something without your brothers?”
Agreeing with his father’s point, Alfie just nodded. “Fine, but if you take Henri or Theo on something that is more exciting than mapping gaseous anomalies, then I promise you I will not be happy.”
“I promise that won’t happen.” James replied as they stepped on the hatch and entered the shuttlecraft. “Plus, I promise we will be away for only a day and half so we are back in time for our family visit to the holodeck. I don’t plan on letting the McCallister family honour be ruined by others who think they can beat us in the Captain Proton tournament.”
“I’m glad you’ve got your priorities sorted dad.” Aflie said as they entered the aft compartment of the Holmes. Pausing mid-step, Alfie looked confused at the settings of the shuttle’s interior. “I thought we were going on a scientific mission?”
“We are.” James confirmed as he took their belongings and placed them on a nearby sofa.
“So how come the VIP stateroom configuration has been left?” Alfie wondered as he pointed around the room. The aft section modular was set up to allow for two private bedrooms, a small kitchen and dining area along with additional bunks. He was expecting to see the one where scientific equipment would be installed.
“Oh, well the Holmes is always set up like this and we are only going to be using the sensors to scan the sirillium gas pockets.” James stated. “Anyway, what are you complaining about? You get the VIP stateroom for one night and I don’t have to hear you arguing for it with either of your brothers.”
“Really?” Alfie asked, his tone of voice changing to show his excitement. “Are you serious? I mean you are the captain, surely you want the bigger of the two rooms?”
“Alf, go take the room before I change my mind, then join me in the cockpit for pre-flight checks.” James insisted.
Jumping up to give his father a hug, Alfie thanked his father and ran to the VIP room. James shook his head at how such a thing had changed his son’s attitude. Alfie’s room in their own quarters was bigger but he wondered maybe having the time away from his brothers was what he needed. Tapping his combadge, he informed the bridge they would be getting ready to depart shortly. Heading to the cockpit, he got himself a mug of tea before making his way to the pilot’s seat. Smiling to himself, he was quite excited himself now at the prospect of doing something different instead of sitting on the bridge. It was a welcome change from having to deal with Klingon rebels, secret solo-missions, exploring strange worlds that were artificially created or trying to help save a galaxy wide network to prevent the end of all life in the Milky Way. He may have exaggerated the last, but the ship’s most recent mission on mapping an uncharted sector of space that had no signs of intelligent life was a nice way for the crew to calm down after everything the galaxy and flung in their path.
Nevertheless the arrival of a Borg Cube did seem like a good distraction to prevent the crew from having too much time to think about what they had gone through recently.
He was certain the will of the Collective would not bend to his wishes anytime soon. He could still hope though. That said he also knew that dealing with one hormonal teenage son would be more of a struggle than taking on a Borg Cube. He now pondered if he had made the right mood and instead should have joined the Hazard Team training instead.
Alfie eventually joined him at the front by jumping and slumping into the co-pilot’s chair. James looked at his son, “Ready to go?” He asked.
“Sure.” Alfie said, shrugging his shoulders and starting to bite the end of his left fingernails.
Knowing this trip was going to be filled with a range of teenage-level reactions that could go from over the top excited to absolute annoyance directed at him, James decided he should have definitely volunteered for the training with the Hazard Team.
Oh what joys being a parent brought. Why didn’t Starfleet diplomatic training ever prepare him for dealing with a teenager?
The Holmes’ thrusters then came online as he began to take them out and towards the gas pockets. James then knew that if he didn’t make this trip exciting, then Alfie would probably moan and that was one situation he didn’t want to find himself in. Just over thirty-six hours to go. Taking a breath, he looked over at his son and offered him the chance to fly the shuttle out of the bay.
“Nah, I’m good.” Alfie answered as he took his shoes off and placed his feet up on the console and leant back in the chair with the PADD in his hands.
Sighing again, James knew he had his work cutout for him.