Captain’s personal log, stardate 51074.6: The Lambda Paz is on course back to Starbase 375. The two fleets suffered heavy losses. But that loss of life does not compare to a more personal loss. To quote a Terran expression: “You don’t appreciate what you have, until it’s gone.
Limis recorded that log in her ready room. After giving the command, “End log,” she picked up what was left of her late former husband’s earring. The force of the impact on the floor created some kind of explosion that momentarily blinded the others. Most of the surrounding metal either disintegrated or burned. Though she never the religion the earring symbolized, it was one of the few remnants of Hasin Arnit.
She was lost in that though when the door chimed. “Come in,” she said lethargically.
Kozar entered holding a larger-sized padd. The captain looked up and saw the first officer. She quickly placed the earring in a drawer, embarrassed that a crewmember saw her in a moment of vulnerability.
Kozar stepped through the doorway, but continued no further. “Did I catch you at a bad time?” he asked.
“No,” Limis answered shaking her head. “Just distracted.
What do you have?”
“The damage report, sir,” said Kozar, holding up the padd. He then placed it in on the desk.
“Can you give me the short version?” Limis asked with a slight grin at how these discussions usually went.
“Sh’Aqba has crews working around the clock on the starboard nacelle,” Kozar began. “We can manage no more than Warp Four. At least the enemy is no longer pursuing us.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” Limis said half-sarcastically. “How many ships did we lose?”
“A hundred twelve from the Seventh Fleet,” Kozar ruefully answered. “One hundred forty-seven
from the Fifth.”
Limis sighed dejectedly. She had dealt with such colossal losses throughout her life. If this battle was any indication, Limis immediately knew that regardless of the war’s outcome, the Federation would suffer losses by the time it was all over.
The loss that affected her most was not something Limis could discuss with the first officer. She called Rebecca to her quarters to discuss the man she thought she stopped loving years ago. The biggest question was why Arnit, after implementing his vengeful plan, decided to allow the surviving ships to escape the mass slaughter.
“Perhaps he wanted to make sure your life was spared,” Rebecca suggested. Both were seated on the sofa in the captain’s quarters.
“You may be right,” Vircona replied. “But he didn’t seem to care initially I would die with them.”
“He may have felt guilty on some level. He made careless mistakes. Perhaps he wanted to get caught.”
Vircona grinned. Her friend sounded like a counselor even though this ship had none. “Are you sure you weren’t a psychologist by day when you were a terrorist by night?” she jokingly asked.
“No,” Rebecca answered. “I was a maintenance engineer at the Volan colony.
“He was willing to die for you, Vira,” Rebecca continued, “just like Michael was willing to die for all of us.”
“They were people, not machines though,” Vircona said, staring vacantly out the viewport at the starfield. “I’ve buried so many friends and loved ones. A little of me died with them. How much life will I have left when this war ends?”
Rebecca scooted over to her left and placed her right hand on Vircona’s shoulder. “At least the cause is alive,” she said, “even if very few of us are left. Be grateful.”
“Than you, Becca,” Vircona whispered. She began fighting back tears while she clasped Rebecca’s hand.
Rebecca’s eyes began to well up as well. Both women then shared an embrace.
Stardate 51102, one month later
After about a three week layover at Starbase 375, the Lambda Paz
was ready to rejoin the Seventh Fleet in the Tyra System. Ships in that fleet not as heavily damaged were forced into retreat in an adjacent sector. The Starfleet vessels were charged with cutting Dominion supply lines between the Klingon and Cardassian Empires. They were only able to slow the Dominion’s advance. A fresh set of ships would now rejoin the fleet in the Tyra System.
Limis was inspired by Sullivan’s words. She confidently sauntered onto the bridge from her ready room when the ship was ready to get underway. “You need only give the word, Captain,” Kozar stated.
Limis nodded. She then shot glances at Morrison, then Huckaby, and finally Carson. “Many of our colleagues died in our last engagement,” she said. “But our cause lives on.
“The best way to honor their memories is to continue in the fight they made the ultimate sacrifice for. We must be sure their lives were not wasted.”
The entire bridge crew applauded, except for Kozar. Seeing that he was the only one, he quickly joined in. Maybe Limis was the right choice for command, as he would not have been so eloquent.
“Set a course for the Tyra System, Miss Carson,” said Limis. “We press on.”