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Old April 15 2011, 02:56 PM   #17
david lowbridge
Lieutenant Commander
Location: Somewhere in the future
Re: Star Trek: Nightingale

Chapter 7

Captain's Log stargate 53113.1

Captain John Wilcox, commanding officer of the USS Nightingale. The USS Nightingale has made it safely to Starbase one-one-two in less than time than I thought. I am extremely proud of my engineering team in what they were able to achieve in so little time. I am eager to get on with our mission and I have therefore given only four hours for us at the Starbase. I know some of my crew are not so happy about this, but they will have to put up with it, the USS Brave has been missing now for such a long time I am beginning to worry it is too late for them.

I have yet to meet my mission advisor, I have been advised he has moved into guest quarters and it is taking a while to settle him in. I have requested a meeting with the Station commander, a Captain Howard, in order to discuss some of my concerns. I am hoping he will lend me some crewmembers in addition to my mission advisor. Top of my list is some security personnel. I don't fancy taking this ship into a potentially hostile area without some security officers. Perhaps I will be lucky.

The commander should also be providing me with the latest intelligence reports and sensor sweeps of the borders with the Gorn and Geckonians. From what I understand in brief the USS Hood has taken the three days to scan the entire area, trying to cut out some time that we need to find the Brave. At least the USS Hood will be available as backup should the worst happen.

The Brave has been missing now for nine days, it seems almost impossible that the ship wouldn't have been able to get some kind of message out to the fleet. I'm almost fearful that Command is sending us out on a fool's errant, there will be nothing left of the Brave, her crew or any information what has happened to her. To the crew I try to appear optimistic about the situation, knowing full well that deep down I am just as apprehensive as any of them are at this moment.

Stardate: 53113.1 Commander's Office, Starbase 112

John walked into Captain Howard's quarters with a brisk pace, he had little time to worry about edging about. The slightly large man gave a quick look up from his padd he was reading and nodded to John before returning to his padd. John sat himself down in front of the Station Commander's desk and tapped his own padd in his left hand. He looked around the spacious office; he could see models of ships, presumably something that was close to Captain Howard's heart.

"Sorry Captain," he eventually said in an apologetic manner, "I just wanted to finish this intelligence report before speaking to you."

"Not a problem Captain," John replied, politeness in his voice, despite it was the last thing he wanted to be. "Is it anything interesting?"

"Analysis of the latest Gorn fleet movements," the Captain replied, his voice quiet as if it was in the distant, probably along the Gorn border where a lot of troubles seemed to be starting nowadays.

"A lot of movement?"

Howard nodded his head, "it seems that there was a huge build up about three weeks ago and now all the ships have shifted positions, but intelligence is not sure where or who their target is."

"If there is even a target," John added, his voice contemplative, surely the Gorn were not going to start a war so soon after a galactic war that cost the lives of billions, some of which were Gorn.

"Well the Gorn haven't attacked the Federation directly since for fifty six years, it would seem highly unlikely that they would choose now as a time to strike," Howard continued, "how much do you know about the Gorn - Geckonian war?"

"Nothing," replied John, he had heard the name, probably the other day in one of those dozen or so padds that laid across his small desk, but he had never been to this area of space before and so did not know the local problems.

The Captain sat back in his chair and clasped his hands tightly together, "Lieutenant Commander Hans, who I'm loaning you as a mission advisor, he was a Geckonian Infantry officer in the Geckonian - Gorn war twenty years ago," Howard looked out of the window, biting his lip, "I've tried to get him to talk about it, but he won't, I think it was a very brutal, personal war for him."

"Aren't all wars brutal?" John asked, he did not know a war in history that couldn't be described as being brutal.

"This one more so than most," Howard continued, "Eight hundred million people died in the two year war between two races that hold a collective population of sixty trillion, not even our losses in the recent war were that high."

John remembered the Dominion casualty statistics, billions died, a larger number, but the percentage of those killed in relation to population was relatively small compared to that figure, "do we know anything about the war?" John asked.

"The Gorn tried to conquer the Geckonian nation, after the initial success; the Geckonians were able to dig in, caused massive damage to the Gorn fleet, before they had to call a ceasefire and return to their own space," Howard paused, "but as to specific facts I can't offer you anything."

John shook his head, "you can offer me something, even if it isn't information at this moment."

Howard tipped forward, his eye brows raised in curiosity, "what can I do for you?"

"Starfleet sent me out with some crew missing," John stated his voice sad, "I don't have any security personnel."

Howard stood up and walked over to his window, John gave a quick glance and saw his vessel sitting at its port bay, "it's a small ship," Howard remarked, "much smaller than I imagined."

"You know the old saying, all good things come in small packages," John said smiling. It was a nervous smile, a wary smile, just about any smile than a happy one.

Howard turned and face John, his face sour, John was trying to work out whether this was a serious face or an annoyed one. "How many security officers are you suppose to have?" Howard asked, his voice now complete void of cheeriness that he once had.

"Fourteen crewmen and two officers, I have two officers, but both also work tactical," John replied.

"I don't have that many to spare you," Howard replied, "I can spare you a security detail, six men."

John's heart sank, six men was not enough, that would mean only two men were on duty at any one time, barely enough to run the security office, let alone the brig if necessary or respond to security alerts across the ship, he needed the fourteen men, he needed those other eight.

"I appreciate your position Captain," John replied, "but there must be something you can do in order to allow me to get more personnel?"

Howard licked his lips, "I have very few personnel myself," he replied, his voice now sympathetic.

"I understand that Captain," replied John, "but you aren't the one who could be going into a hostile situation with no security personnel."

Howard sat back down in his chair and looked at John, John returned the same cold stare back at his counterpart, one of them would have to budge, and John wasn't going to be the one to do so.

"I can't give you any more security personnel," Howard replied, "but there are currently ninety six marines on station with nothing to do," he paused tapping a communication button on his table, "let's see if we can get eight of those for you."

"Yes Captain." A female voice said over the communication relays.

"Can you get Major Dodd up here Lieutenant," Howard replied smiling at John, "I need him urgently."

"Right away Captain," the response was quick and sharp, something that John recognised as respect and devotion to their captain, something he had not yet earned on his ship.

"Think eight marines as well as my six men would be good enough?" Howard asked.

John nodded, they weren't exactly right, but given the situation they would do just fine.

Moments later a man walked into the office wearing the standard Starfleet uniform with a green undershirt, John instantly recognised the man as being a member of the Marine corps for Starfleet. "You asked to see me sir," the man said sharply to Captain Howard.

"Yes Major Dodd," replied Howard looking at the man, John staid in his chair looking at the marine stood all perfectly at attention just behind his attention, "this is Captain John Wilcox of the USS Nightingale," Howard introduced John, John nodded his head in response to the same welcoming gestured given by the marine, "he is in need of some men, could you lend him a squad of eight men?"

"What would their duties be sir?" asked the Major.

"I don't have a security detail," John said calmly, "I need them to fill in those roles, I could be going into a hostile situation and I need people who are capable to act as my security detachment."

The Major looked at John, something that sent a shiver down his back, "the marines will that job better than you could expect," he said with that same smile, "Section three, platoon A would be the best, Corporal Xon is an excellent squad leader and has worked on a vessel before," he said, "when will you be leaving dock sir?"

"Within a couple of hours," John replied quickly.

"I will have them aboard your ship within thirty minutes," Major Dodd replied, "if I may be excused sirs?"

Howard nodded and the marine left the room quickly, with a spring in his step, John wondered whether he was being given the best unit or one that annoyed the Major. He seemed happy to lose eight men quickly, "are they as good as he says they are?" asked John.

Howard nodded, "the best," he paused for a second getting up to go to the replicator that sat on the far side of the room to the window, "Major Dodd will be jealous that they are going and not him, but I need him here."

"That's understandable," John said, "if you don't mind Captain I would like the scan data the USS Hood took sent directly to my ship."

Howard nodded in response, "consider it done Captain." Howard looked at John and moved away from the replicator with a hot drink in his hand, "Good hunting Captain, try to bring back the Brave and her crew."

"Do you think there is a chance she is still out there?" John asked, his earlier reservations about the mission seeping through the cracks of his composure. He was sure Starfleet was too delayed in launching a search and rescue mission, surely now it was too late, there would be nothing left to find.

"Oh I bet she is still out there Captain," Howard replied smiling, "her skipper won't let that ship down, he's too fond of that ship."

John knew that some captain's could get fond of their vessels, but he had not thought that that fondness was in anyway a contributor to its survival or the survival of the crew for that matter. "I'll do my best," John said, "I do hope we find her safe and well."

Howard nodded and opened the door, "if you'll excuse me Captain, I need to arrange some transfer paperwork for six of my people." John nodded in response. "They will be aboard your ship with Lieutenant Commander Hans in one hour," he announced confidently, John nodded again and walked out of the room, feeling triumphant; he had got everything that he went into meeting to get and hadn't too badly upset anyone.
Original fan fiction by David Lowbridge:
Star Trek Nightingale
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