This is final chapter
: It has been two days since the Nightingale has returned back to Federation space. We have taken up residence at starbase one one two as we conduct major repairs from the battle damage we received. According to the Station repair crews and V'ras, we have a three week layoff while we get to our design specifications. Command has agreed with my proposal to increase the standard crew of the Saint Bernard class ships to seventy five personnel, with operations, engineering and security departments getting more crewmembers. Replacement crewmembers for the men and women we lost are being arranged; however I know that some members of the Brave's crew who we rescued will be staying on.
Command attempted to reclaim Lieutenant Visitor. I was able to persuade them that she was better off staying on the Nightingale. They eventually agreed, though it took some help from my old superior officer and friend Admiral Jenkins. I was able to get two members of my senior staff promoted
USS Nightingale - Docked at Starbase One One Two - Captain's Quarters
John sat at his desk reading the latest repair schedule that had somehow sneaked its way onto his desk. During the next twenty four hours, according to the report, the hull breaches on deck two were to be sealed up. The last two days the breaches on other planets had been sealed, but deck two had taken the most damage. It was also the site where four people were sucked into space. Though John regretted the loss of life, three of those killed were the Gorn when the Brig decompressed. The crewman lost, Crewman Ulysian Gretelic, was the only person killed in the last battle, though there were many injuries.
John threw his head onto the head rest on the back of the chair and looked up at the blank grey ceiling. He had about a hundred personnel reports to look at in order to choose replacements for his crew. One of his priorities was the engineering crew; they were missing four personnel now, including an officer. Lieutenant Regluan had decided to stay on as assistant chief engineer and John had to admit that the man was a brilliant engineer and an excellent counter balance for V'ras' slow methodical pace that he seemed to like.
John couldn't help but blur each name into the next and the previous one. None stood out to him particularly, but he had asked Hans to look over the list and pick out his shortlist to help him narrow down his final selection. As he thought about the problems of choosing the right crew, his door chimed. "Enter."
Hans walked into the room with a large padd in his right hand. John looked up and smiled. "Is that your shortlist?" John asked raising both eyebrows sarcastically. If John had glimpsed correctly, it was a long list.
"I have reduced the list by fifty percent," Hans replied calmly, "I was hoping that you would be able to get your final decision from this list." Hans placed the list on the small desk, the clunk of the metals connecting vibrated through the whole desk.
"Well you've got more time it seems to get that list down," John said smiling at Hans.
"I don't understand," Hans replied cocking his head to the side, "I should be returning to my duties on the Starbase."
"Command have approved my plans," John replied, he grabbed a box from underneath his table that he had hidden down there, "I need that black pip of yours Commander," John continued opening up the box showing a gold pip, one that would make Lieutenant Commander Hans into a full fledge commander.
"I'm being promoted?"
John nodded, "You don't seem pleased? Is there something wrong?"
"I wasn't expecting to stay on the Nightingale sir," Hans replied slowly, "I thought I would be transferred back to the Starbase, especially now we seem to be having to co-ordinate all Geckonian and Federation military vessels in this area."
John nodded, "We did discuss you taking up the executive officer's position permanently during the mission. I thought this would please you?"
Hans looked up, giving a wide smile, John was relieved to see it, "I am pleased sir, just surprised. Not all commanding officers are able to keep promises."
"I intend to," John said.
Hans took his black pip with the gold trim off his collar and placed it on the Captain's desk, where he picked up the full gold pip and placed it next to the other two pips on his collar. John stood up and extended his hand with a wide smile.
"Congratulations Commander," John offered. Hans took his hand and nodded politely, "Now, as your first order as the official first officer of the Nightingale is to oversee the repair crews on deck two, make sure that they follow the ships precise specifications, I don't want to have to memorise a new design." Hans nodded and was about to leave the room when John held up his hand, "Can you send in Ensign Torlik as well." Hans gave John a curious look, but nodded as he left.
A moment later another chime brought in Ensign Torlik. John was sitting down again now looking over a padd, which contained the details of the device that Torlik had designed and implemented on the Nightingale. Even though at first it had not worked perfectly, it had been developed further by other crewmembers on the ship and it was reported to John that the device should have worked, if Torlik have had more time before the battle. Of course Torlik had not asked for permission to install the equipment, nor had he given any details about the device, he had essentially kept it to himself, for what reason, John did not know.
Torlik stood rigid at attention as John finished reading the report that V'ras had completed on the device. John looked up, trying to portray a neutral tone in his expression.
"I have a problem ensign," John broke the uncomfortable silence with.
"Sir," Torlik replied.
"I can't have officers going off on their own, building equipment and installing it without permission or letting anyone else know what they are doing," John continued. Even he could sense the anger in his voice. Torlik had not exactly done something that had endangered the ship, in fact quite the opposite. However he had not followed procedures. However with his record in the Starfleet as it was, his actions fitted his profile.
"I'm sorry sir," replied Torlik, "But I thought that if I had suggested the device you would not have allowed it, am I right?"
John sighed as he got up from his chair and walked the short way across the room; he looked at the old operations officer and sighed again. "Yes you are probably right," John had to admit, he would definitely have had to think three of four times before he would have allowed any equipment designed by Torlik to be installed. "But you still should follow procedures."
Torlik nodded, "Hopefully now you could learn to trust me Captain."
John smiled, "According to your personnel report, you are a person who is constantly doing things without asking permission. Your black mark is specifically aimed at not following orders or procedures." Torlik looked slightly uneasy at what John was saying, shifting his head from the wall near to John to the floor. "What the hell happened on the Victory?"
Torlik looked up from the floor and nervously shifted his feet about the floor, "I can't say anything sir, Starfleet intelligence have classified the whole incident."
"Why?" To John it seemed completely absurd that intelligence had classified a simple battle that had happened two decades ago. John couldn't help but wonder why.
"I can't answer that sir."
"Damn it," John said slamming his fist onto the table, "I wouldn't tell anyone Ensign."
"I'm sorry sir, but duty says that I must not breach the confident manner," Torlik gave a small smile.
To John the response was something of a mixed bag. It proved that Torlik was loyal to Starfleet and the Federation, that he would follow orders that he was given. But it also showed him that his operations officer was not fully to be trusted, that he may have other loyalties. Despite that, John knew that Torlik had saved his life and the rest of the people on the Nightingale, he deserved a reward.
"Ensign," John said, "In regard to your actions in the end there is only one thing I can say: well done." Torlik looked up surprised. "I have to admit that you are an excellent officer, but you need to follow procedures better. It took me a short while to realise what you needed to properly say well done." John pushed forward the black pip forward on the desk towards his Denobulan operations officer. "Congratulations Lieutenant." John smiled at the officer was speechless.
Torlik picked up the black pip cautiously, looking at it for a while as if he was a Ferengi and it was gold pressed latinum. He looked up at John and gave a wide smile, "Thank you Captain."
John nodded and pressed a button on the table opening up the door to his office, "Now Lieutenant, you need to see the repairs of the ship."
Torlik walked out the door and it shut quietly behind him. John sat down quietly smiling slightly, he had obviously made the officers day. Now he had to go back to the dull job of selecting new crew.
USS Nightingale - Docked at Starbase One One Two - Deck Two, Lieutenant Shrak and Visitor's Quarters
Shrak lay on the bottom bunk staring up at the holographic image of her family in front of the grand home on Andor. She missed her home at times; she was fonder of its andorian ivory staircase than of the grey metal that adorned her quarters now. At home she had a whole room to herself, now she shared. At her grand mansion she had a whole dressing room that contained thousands of clothes, now in her small draw and locker she had three work uniforms, one dress uniform, a workout uniform and two casual garments. Shrak thought it was barely enough to keep a young girl satisfied, and she knew she wasn't as bad as some human females who were absolutely obsessed with clothes.
Shrak had noticed that Lieutenant Visitor was one of those human females who liked to collect clothes. While Shrak had a small collection on ship, and found it difficult to store them all, Chloe seemed to have six or seven casual dresses and outfits which she somehow stored in her small storage space. Shrak had wanted to look into her cupboard to see if some sort of space dilation device was in use, however she had been unable to crack her roommate's code while Chloe was under observation in sickbay.
Now Chloe was out of the medical care she had been in for the past week and was probably going to back any moment from her first duty shift since the battle. Shrak felt a strange sense of apprehension, a mixture of longing for the girl who had shown considerable skill as a pilot during the first mission of the Nightingale. Her thoughts wondered back to those which she had when she was watch officer over a week ago. Nothing had changed, Chloe's body still seemed pleasing and Shrak still felt the compulsion to have some fun. Deep down she saw it as nothing more than a diversion from normal mundane duties, but at the forefront of her mind she craved the young girl.
As the doors to their shared quarters slide open, she saw Chloe walk in and immediately remove her tunic as she greeted Shrak in a friendly tone. Shrak smiled, her cheeks turn a deep shade of blue as she greeted the girl back. Shrak admired the curves of the beautiful girl as they were presented to her as she dressed herself into something more, 'colourful'.
USS Nightingale - Docked at Starbase One One Two - Deck One, Commander Hawke's Quarters
John entered the quarters of his former executive officer with a glum look on his face. The quarters were soon to become that of Commander Hans, his new first officer. Before that could happen, his quarters and office had to be cleared by personnel, so it could be converted into something that was compatible to Hans. As John looked around he could see Lieutenant Commander Burton quietly sitting on the bed holding a padd in her hand and tears rolling down her face. Also in a room was a crewman who was clearing the personnel effects, oblivious to the crying officer behind him.
"You're dismissed crewman," John said. The crewman stood up to attention and walked out of the room when John nodded to him. As soon as the young man was out of the room John looked at Burton who had now moved her attention to him. "You okay Commander?"
Rachel lifted the padd to make it more prevelant, "It's a letter home from Dan to his parents," she said, "Its a few years old, but he kept a copy of it."
"Must have meant something to him then," John said, he tried not to get emotionally involved in this conversation, he had already 'gone off the rails' over his death, he would not try to go down that path again.
"It's about our engagement," she said offhandedly, as if it didn't mean anything.
John sighed, "I didn't know you were engaged."
"No one suppose to know," Rachel replied quietly, "However I guess he couldn't keep it from his mum."
"Sons are like that," John replied smiling, "He was obviously very happy about the prospect of you two marrying."
"I called it off," Rachel said, "Because I was worried about one of us being hurt." Rachel placed her hands over her eyes and began to weep again. "Is... it... so wrong... to worry... about such things."
"Yes and no," John said, trying to show some compassion, but had yet had to admit that he did not think the same. "Some people need the connection despite the risks; other people feel it would compromise them. It is what suits the person." John knelt beside her and placed his hand on her knee. She stopped her crying and looked down at the Captain, "It will take time to recover, but you will one day feel better about this. The best thing you can do is to remember him as he would want to be remembered, as a person who loved you." John gave another slight smile of reassurance; Rachel returned a good attempt, but not a brilliant reply in kind.
John patted her knee, "If you want I could assign Commander Hans to this role," John offered, "He has the necessary clearance."
Rachel shook her head.
"Okay, then carry on Commander," John replied standing up and heading for the door.
"One second captain," Rachel suddenly said, John turned round and looked at the doctor, "I found this." She passed him an isolinear chip with some writing on the side of it. "When I tried to open it on the computer it was encrypted."
John looked at the writing on the side and read it in his head, 'USS Victory logs - Ensign Torlik data - Level 10 Encryption
"Thank you Doctor," John said quietly before he left the room. Dan, before his death, had found something out in regards to Torlik and found it necessary to encrypt the data. But what was on that chip.