This is a project I've been working on in off moments and takes place in the same universe as my Sutherland
series, but during the TOS era and involves Elizabeth Shelby's grandfather, Commodore Robert Wesley, and the USS Lexington
. My prime focus remains with my Sutherland
series and that series will have top priority as far as writing is concerned, so updates in this series will be slower. Please accept my apologies for that, but there's so much to do and so little time to do it in--something that Bob Wesley himself says in this part. Please let me know what you think of this introduction. Thanks again for reading!
Meet The Lady: Part 1
Striding off the transporter pad at McKinley Station, Captain Robert Wesley of the USS Ajax
put on his most professional demeanor as he immediately recognized the silver haired man standing next to a rather nervous looking transporter crewman. Immaculately clad in standard gold shirt with black pants and boots, the wide gold stripe with narrow gold stripe above it on both his sleeves declaring to all that the wearer was an admiral. Can’t blame the crewman for looking like he’s about to deliver a litter of kittens.
Bob chuckled inwardly, Must be hell having any admiral watching your every move—much less this admiral.
Knowing that the admiral was a stickler for regulations, Wesley came to attention before reporting aboard according to form, “Admiral Komack…permission to come aboard, sir?”
“Permission granted, Captain Wesley and welcome to McKinley Station.” The admiral responded with equal formality, and then, motioning towards the door, requested, “If you would accompany me, Captain.”
“Aye, sir.” Wesley acknowledged as he fell in beside and slightly behind the admiral. Crewmen and junior officers scrambled to clear the way for the prickly admiral and the ruggedly handsome captain walking beside him as the station intercom issued calls for various officers to contact others or to contact any of the numerous departments within the busy construction and maintenance facility. After several minutes of walking, the pair reached an office door that slid open.
“Come on in…” Komack said, motioning for Wesley to precede him. “Have a seat…” the admiral further urged as he moved towards a counter holding a bottle with two glasses. Pouring the amber fluid into the glasses, Komack brought a glass to the captain before taking his seat behind a large mahogany desk. “Draylaxian whiskey…” the admiral explained, “…take it easy…a little of that stuff goes a long way.”
Raising his eyebrows in surprise as he sniffed the fragrant aroma before taking a slight, tentative sip, letting the precious fluid coat his tongue, Wesley commented, “Not easy to get either, sir…”
“But appropriate for this occasion.” Komack replied as he took a data slate, handing it to the captain. “Go ahead…read it.”
As Robert read the slate, his eyes widened in surprise, glancing up, he took in the amused twinkle in the admiral’s eyes before setting the padd down on the desk. Sitting in stunned silence, Wesley barely heard the admiral’s next words.
“Congratulations…Commodore.” The admiral grinned. “Now…” he said, standing up, “…finish that whiskey, ‘cause I want to show you something special.”
Entering McKinley Station’s large Observation Deck, the two senior officers paused for a moment silently observing the hustle and bustle taking place all around them. Civilians from all over the Federation, mostly humans, but also Vulcans, Deltans, Tellarites, Andorians and others, gathered together at the central information kiosk, bombarding the yeomen manning the booth with a multitude of questions. Others, both civilians and Starfleet personnel, either sat or stood next to the transparent aluminum windows, watching and waving hello or goodbye as ships came and went. The Shikoku
, one of the earliest of the new Miranda
class vessels, moved in for docking as the destroyer Scipio
, a Saladin
class starship like the Ajax
, slipped away from its moorings to begin yet another mission. Marietta’s ship…
Bob thought, his lips turning up in a warm smile as he recalled the destroyer’s daring, sometimes to the point of recklessness captain, Marietta DeVeers, a relative rarity within the current Starfleet—a female ship captain. She’s probably patrolling the Klingon or Romulan borders,
Wesley thought as his attention was quickly drawn to the majestic vessel sitting in a dock all to itself…very much the queen of her domain.
class starship! The newly minted commodore noted with admiration as he took in the vessel’s pure, graceful lines…her twin nacelles housing the most powerful engines currently available to Starfleet…the saucer section melding seamlessly with the main hull. A ship of true grace and power, just to serve on one of these vessels was considered by many in Starfleet to be the high point of their careers. To command one of them was a dream beyond attainment for all but a select few. Only the best of the best could ever hope to sit in the center chair of a beauty such as this.
“Beautiful…isn’t she?” Admiral Komack remarked with an appreciative grin. “She’s just finished her refit and is almost ready to depart.”
“Yes, sir…she certainly is.” Robert enthusiastically agreed as he noted the ship’s registry number, NCC-1709. That’s the Lexington
…Commodore Nogura’s ship, isn’t it?”
“Not anymore,” Komack answered back with a shake of his head, “Heihachiro just got his admiral’s stripe. He’s being booted up to Command.” Flashing a sly grin, the admiral stated in as emotionless a tone as he could muster, “The Lexington
is yours…that is if you want it.”
Watching his subordinate in amused silence for several moments as the news slowly sunk in, Admiral Komack cleared his throat and then spoke in a clear command voice, “Well Commodore…do you want the ship or not…I don’t have all day!”
“Yes sir…Of course I want it.” Wesley replied, a wide grin on his face that quickly disappeared as his eyes met those of the stern admiral. “When do I take command?”
“The change of command ceremony will be in 72 hours.” The admiral replied in his usual stern tone.
“Seventy two hours?” Robert echoed, more than a little surprised at the quick turnaround time. “That’s awful short notice, Admiral. I’d have thought I’d have more time to get acquainted with the ship…”
“I know, Bob…” Komack interrupted with a sympathetic look on his face. “I wish we could give you more time to get to know her and to spend more time with your family.” Shaking his head sadly, he continued, “But the truth is…we need the Lexington
out there.” Pausing for a moment to take a breath, the admiral explained, “There’s something going on in the Typhon Sector…we’re not sure what. We just know that we’ve lost contact with one of our scout craft, the Voltaire
“What do we have in that area?” Wesley queried as his eyes took in the form of the Constitution
“Right now it’s a lot like the Old West, Bob.” Admiral Komack answered with a slight smile. "Starbase 31 has just been activated and will eventually be the command and control hub for the sector, but at this time it’s more like a frontier outpost. The Scipio
and a couple other destroyers will be assigned to that area on a more or less permanent basis and we’re planning on sticking a Miranda
class there in the near future, but for now, we need Lexington
to act as the territorial marshal.”
“I see…” Robert vocalized, weighing his options as his eyes once again gazed lovingly on the elegant lady sitting majestically in her berth. On the one hand, he knew that Constitution
class commands didn’t come around very often. Wesley understood full well that this might be the only chance he’d get to sit in the center chair of a Connie—that the odds of Komack giving him another opportunity should he spurn this one would be slim at best. In fact, he would be lucky to get another ship command at all. Knowing the stern admiral beside him as well as he did, Bob realized that, should he refuse this command, like as not he’d be pigeonholed in command of a minor star base…or even worse, they’d shove him off to one of the ‘K’ Class Deep Space Stations to be forgotten…to become just another data slate-pushing bureaucrat.
On the other hand though, he’d be able to spend more time with Virginia and Katie and he’d be able to take them with him to whatever Starbase or Deep Space Station he’d be assigned. But…he then considered…would his wife and child be happy there—out on a starbase away from friends. Virginia would have to give up her position at the University of North Carolina; Katie would have to uproot her life…say goodbye to all her friends. Would it fair for him to ask them to give up what they have here? Either way this was a rough call, the former Academy boxing champ realized.
“You still want the job, Bob?” Admiral Komack’s stern voice, now tinged with a rare grandfatherly tone, asked as he regarded the newly minted commodore.
Seeing the admiral’s appraising gaze, Wesley made his decision, “Yes, sir…” He said definitively, “I do.”
“Good. We need you out there.” The admiral remarked with a single nod of the head and then flashing a warm smile, advised, “Go on home and spend some time with Ginny and Katie and then take care of any business you need to on the Ajax
.” Pausing for a moment, Komack asked, “Do you have any more questions?”
“No sir…” Commodore Wesley responded in a low voice as his eyes once again found the Lexington
His lips turning up into yet another grandfatherly smile, Admiral Komack quipped before turning away, “Well…I’ll leave the two of you alone to get acquainted. See you later, Bob.”
As the door slid shut behind the stern faced admiral, Bob Wesley turned his gaze back towards the Lexington
. His lips turning up into a warm smile, Bob remarked in quiet voice, “Hello, Lady Lex…”
As soon as the turbolift doors slid open, Junior Lieutenant Cilla Oudekirk, the alpha shift communications officer, her blonde hair done up in the current fashionable beehive and wearing the new Standard female uniform for her position, a red minidress, the left breast bearing the Lexington’s insignia, the same embroidered sunburst used by Fleet Command, stomped out of the turbolift towards the only other female currently on the bridge, a tall, statuesque Andorian woman still wearing the old uniform, blue blouse bearing the rank insignia of Lieutenant Commander, along with black pants and boots.
“Like the new look, Cilla!” The helmsman, Junior Lieutenant Terrence Lawford jibed, his lips turned up into a boyish grin as he swiveled his chair around to get a better look at the Dutch communications officer.
Studiously ignoring the impudent helmsman, Cilla glared at the Andorian woman, “Well?”
“Well what, Lieutenant?” The Andorian, chief science officer Talana Zha’Thara asked, her lips turned up in a playful grin.
“Well…this!” Lt. Oudekirk exclaimed, pointing at her minidress. “I want to know who the genius dirty old man was who came up with this…this…uniform!”
“I don’t know about you…” Talana smirked, her antennae twitching in amusement as Lawford tried vainly to stifle his laughter, “…but I kind of like the new look.”
“Well I don’t see you wearing yours!” Cilla pointed out, a triumphant grin on her face.
Shrugging her shoulders, the Andorian replied, “I just haven’t had time to change as yet.” Looking thoughtful for a moment, she quickly added, “I’m afraid the light blue color they’ve decided on for the sciences might not match my skin though…what do you think, Cilla?”
“Oooohhhh…” The Dutch lieutenant cried out in frustration as she quickly turned about, going back the way she came, sparing yet another harsh glare for the English helmsman as she took her station.
Addressing the Andorian science officer, Terrence deadpanned, his Public School English accent giving an extra layer of dryness to his understatement, “I think she’s angry, Commander.”
Smiling in amusement, Talana responded, “She’ll get over it. Right, Cilla?” Ignoring the glare sent her way by the temperamental communications officer, Talana’s smile vanished as she warned Lawford, “You better get back to work, Terrence. If Commander Kuznetsov comes through those doors and finds you goofing off…”
“I know…I know…” Lawford acknowledged, his smile vanishing as he returned to his console, “The Bear will have me cleaning out the Jeffries tubes with a toothbrush for an entire month.”
As Commander Alexei Kuznetsov, the Lexington’s
first officer, made his rounds on the Constitution
class starship, a young woman, attractive with red hair and wearing the new red minidress struggled to keep up with his long strides. “Yeoman…” Kuznetsov called out, his deep, rumbling voice one more reason for his nickname, the Bear. “Take this down. I want the crew in the new uniforms by the next alpha shift.” He stated as he noted several crewmen wearing the older uniform. “There will be no excuse for anyone wearing obsolete dress.”
“Aye, sir.” The yeoman dutifully recorded.
“Also…” The Russian dictated, “I want status reports from all section heads no later than 1600 tomorrow. There will be a ship-wide inspection 0800 the next day. The new captain will be taking command in seventy two hours and I want everything spotless when he arrives.” Kuznetsov’s alert eyes spotting a pair of crewmen wearing the loose fitting red jumpsuits of support services standing and laughing next to an opened access panel, he growled as he approached the pair. “Crewmen! What are you doing here?”
“Commander G’arv …” One of the enlisted ratings, replied, referring to the Tellarite chief engineer, “…wanted us to check the power transfer grid in this section, sir. We just completed our diagnostic on this circuit and we were just getting ready to close up and go on to the next.”
“Then I would suggest that you do so instead of standing around acting like a pair of fools!” Kuznetsov spat out to the two crewmen as the yeoman gave them a sympathetic look. “Or I’ll make sure that Lieutenant Commander G’arv finds some other type work more suited for you…such as cleaning out the waste recycling units.”
Observing as the hapless crewmen practically jumped to their task, the first officer, nodding his head in satisfaction, turned his attention back to his yeoman as he resumed his rounds. “Where were we, Yeoman? Ah…yes…the new crewmembers…they should be beaming aboard soon. Accompany me to Transporter Room One, if you please.” Flashing an amused grin he remarked, “Let’s see what the new Academy class is made of, shall we?”
“Aye, sir…” The yeoman responded, her lips also turning up into a wicked grin as she pictured the fresh faced ensigns about to beam aboard getting their first introduction to real starship duty from the giant Russian.
Waiting until they were sure that the burly first officer had completely disappeared out of earshot, the first crewman turned to his companion, “Damn! Is he always like this?”
The second crewman, his lips turned up into a sardonic grin, quipped in response, “You should see him when he’s really pissed.”
After beaming down at Starfleet Command in San Francisco, Robert, now sporting the new gold uniform top, its sleeve proudly displaying the single broad embroidered stripe of a commodore looked on appreciatively at the Golden Gate Bridge. A world treasure, it had survived the long years of warfare which marked the twenty-first century with over half its structure amazingly almost intact, even though the city itself was devastated thanks to a terrorist nuke. They really did do a good job. From this distance…
the commodore thought as he cupped his chin, you can’t tell where the real bridge ends and the reconstruction begins
As he gazed upon the monument, Wesley shook his head sadly as his mind went back to his early Academy history classes. The rebuilding of monuments such as the Golden Gate Bridge, the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, and the Vatican as well as the cities that hosted them, along with the cleaning up of the radiation and other toxic residue left by the wars, was the culmination of years of hard work on the part of humanity and its new allies, the Vulcans. The reconstruction work took the later years of the disastrous twenty-first century all the way through the middle of the twenty second to complete. But even with all that hard work, so much was lost. Much of the Middle East was devastated with very little remaining from the pre-war years—many of its cities—Mecca, Jerusalem, Tehran, Cairo, Tel Aviv, Damascus, and so many others—nothing more than glass craters. No amount of reconstruction could rebuild those cities in their original locations.
Europe also suffered grievously as civil war wracked the continent. On all continents, artwork, monuments, and buildings were smashed. The Sistine Chapel, Notre Dame, St. Sophia’s, the Kaaba, the Wailing Wall, the Mosque of Omar, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Sphinx, the Lincoln Memorial, St. Basil’s, and many other treasures of humanity were completely destroyed with virtually nothing of the original structure or work intact. Libraries and museums—and their precious collections—were ruined in the chaos. Entire ethnic populations of humanity were very nearly rendered extinct in the global bloodletting as the human population had dropped from its pre-war high of over six billion to a post war number of just under three billion souls. Humanity very nearly played out its string…
Wesley morosely thought until his reverie was disrupted by a lyrical female voice.
“Huh?” Turning towards the origin of the voice, Robert saw a young dark skinned woman wearing the new red minidress approaching. “What is it, Yeoman?” He asked somewhat testily, irritated at having his contemplations disturbed.
“I’m sorry, sir…” The yeoman apologized, “But I thought you should know that your shuttle’s ready.”
“Oh…” Wesley exclaimed and then gave the pretty crewman a friendly smile, “Thank you.”
“Your welcome, sir.” The yeoman replied as her lips also turned up in a smile. “The pilot says that you should arrive in Charlotte in a couple of hours, sir.”
“Excellent!” The commodore replied cheerily. “That should work out just about right.” Great!
Wesley’s mind raced as he made his plans, That’ll give me enough time to pick up some flowers and make it home in time for us to go out for dinner at The Pit. I can’t wait to see the look on Ginny’s face!
Addressing the yeoman once again, Robert grinned as he motioned with his hand, “Lead the way.”
“So…what do you think it’ll be like…serving on a starship?” Ensign Jennifer Whatley, now wearing the pale blue minidress of a science specialist instead of the black and yellow Academy togs that she’d worn for four long years asked as she brushed back a strand of dark hair that had slipped out of place.
“It’s an assignment.” The auburn haired Ensign Aliz Bathory, wearing command gold, answered in her rich Magyar accent. “Nothing more…”
“Come on now…” The olive skinned Whatley replied, refusing to let her companion’s phlegmatic outlook ruin her enthusiasm. “This is the USS Lexington
we’re talking about…a Constitution
class starship. You know there aren’t a whole lot of them in the fleet right now.” Cracking an evil grin, she teased, “Would you rather be serving on a Ptolemy
class tug or something like that?”
“All right…all right…” Aliz sighed in resignation as her lips turned up into a smile as she fingered the medallion around her neck. “Yes…I am glad to have gotten the Lexington
and I am looking forward to sitting at the helm.” Her smile growing wider, she said, “And I have to admit to a certain…anticipation…at piloting her.”
“I knew it!” Jennifer cried out triumphantly and then, pointing at the pendant her Hungarian companion was holding in her hands, asked curiously, “That’s an interesting design…what is it?”
As Aliz stared down at the silver figure of a young beautiful woman, she answered in a low voice, “It’s a family heirloom…dates back from the fifteenth century at least. It gets passed on to the first born female in our family once she reaches puberty.” She then flashed a slight smile, “It’s supposed to be a good luck charm.”
“Oh…ok…but…” Jennifer replied and then warned lowering her voice in a conspiratorial tone, “…if you want to keep on wearing it, you better make sure it stays under your dress. From what I hear the first officer on the Lexington
is a real a—hole.”
“I’ve heard the same.” Aliz acknowledged morosely as she slipped the medallion back under her dress. She then remarked with a smirk, “But what else can you expect…he’s a Russian.”
As the two women materialized in the Lexington’s
transporter room, along with four other new transfers, they found that their earlier suspicions about the starship’s executive officer were indeed correct. The moment they had reported aboard, Commander Kuznetsov had them standing at attention in line. Following a blistering speech in which The Bear had made it quite clear to the new additions what his expectations were; he walked down the line, inspecting each transferee, noting the slightest flaw in dress or carriage. Reaching Aliz, he spotted the slender chain around the ensign’s neck.
“What is that, Ensign?” He demanded, his face inches from the young woman’s.
“Family heirloom, sir.” Aliz promptly replied. “Acceptable under Starfleet Uniform Regulation 44B: Neck jewelry is permitted provided it is unobtrusive and lockets or pendants are covered by clothing.” She recited with a slightly defiant and triumphant tone to her voice.
“I know what the regulations state, Ms. Bathory!” The Commander spat out. “Just be sure you do…I’ll be keeping my eye on you.”
You have no idea how the thought of that makes me feel tingly all over…
the Hungarian ensign thought sarcastically as the first officer moved on to his next victim.
Upon finishing his inspection, Kuznetsov dismissed the new arrivals. Making a smart left face, the fresh faced former cadets exited the transporter room and the frowning first officer. However, as Ensign Bathory exited, the dour Russian’s lips turned up into a slight smile.
“Made an impression on you, didn’t she, Alexei?”
The New England twang of Lexington’s
Chief Medical Officer, Lieutenant Commander Charles Vincent, attracting his attention, Kuznetsov grunted. “She has potential…”
“She stood up to you well enough.” Vincent rejoined, running a hand though his thinning sandy blond hair.
“Da…she did.” The Russian agreed and then cupping his chin, noted sagaciously, “The question is though…does she have the wisdom to know how to pick and choose her fights?”
“That, my friend…” The doctor replied with a laugh as he placed a hand on the shoulder of the larger man, “…is something you only learn after getting knocked on your ass a time or two.”
“Problem is tovarisch…” Alexei answered back as the pair walked out the transporter room together, “…in our business you often only get one chance.”
As Robert climbed up the steps to the front porch door of the Charlotte, North Carolina home that he and his wife, Virginia, and their young daughter Katie shared, he smiled. It almost seemed to the long absent husband and father that the place hadn’t changed that much since he’d left with the Ajax
over three years ago. His fishing rods were just where he left them leaning against the wall; Virginia’s plants were blooming in their pots, African violets, aloe vera, tulips…all doing well. Virginia always did have a green thumb
. Wesley thought fondly as an image of his wife working in her garden, her hands dirty, but with a big smile on her face as she went from plant to plant, trimming here…watering there. It was all far too complicated a process for a man who lived and breathed starships and space exploration. He also smiled as he saw the Schmidt-Cassegrain optical telescope on the porch. While a professor of literature at the University of North Carolina by day, his wife was very much an avid amateur astronomer who preferred observing through the antiquated optical telescope rather than using newer, more precise instruments. Smiling with affection, he remembered her once telling him that she wasn’t interested in the numbers…it was the soul of the heavens that she wanted to explore. She would have made a perfect Starfleet officer
, he thought as he continued his reverie.
However, something was missing. It took the absentee father a few minutes to place exactly what it was, but when he did stumble upon the answer, he shook his head sadly. The dolls that Katie used to play with on the porch were gone now. Things had changed. He’d missed three years of his daughter’s life. Katie wasn’t the ten year old girl she was when he’d left. She was now three years older—a thirteen year old girl beginning her adolescence. The protective father coming to the fore, Robert realized that it wouldn’t be long until his daughter started dating. And Virginia…his lovely Virginia…so patient and understanding…how would she take the news that in seventy two hours he would be going out into space again—this time on a five year tour with every probability that he wouldn’t be returning to Earth again for at least a year. Although he would never admit it to anyone else—not even Jim Kirk, one of his best friends—Wesley knew that Virginia wasn’t happy with the current state of affairs and, as his hand hovered over the door control, he couldn’t help but ask himself whether the news he was about to spring on his wife would end up being the proverbial straw that would break the back of the camel that was their marriage.
Squaring his shoulders, Robert opened the door. Entering his house, he called out, “Ginny? You home?”
“Robert?” A voice tinged with excitement answered back. “Is that you?”
“Ginny!” Wesley responded with a wide grin as he turned to face his wife. “You’re looking beautiful, today.” He complimented, sincerely meaning his words as he gazed on the lovely form of his wife.
“Heh…” Virginia snorted, “...only if you’re into dirt and sweat. I’m a filthy mess. I’ve been in the garden out back all morning…”
“You’re still the prettiest sight I’ve seen.” Robert declared as he hugged his wife close to him.
“It’s been too long, Robert.” Virginia declared as the pair reluctantly broke from their embrace. Giving her husband an appraising look, the chestnut haired woman remarked, “You’re looking as fit as ever.”
Cracking a wicked grin, Bob playfully flicked off a speck of dirt from his wife’s nose, “Nothing like zero-g calisthenics to get the blood flowing.”
Laughing, Virginia noticed the broad gold embroidered stripe on her husband’s sleeve. “You’ve been promoted!” The long-suffering wife exclaimed enthusiastically. “Does this mean what I think it means? That you’re going to be assigned to Command?”
Shaking his head, Bob almost winced at the crestfallen look his wife gave him as he imparted his news to her, “I’m sorry, Dear. I’ve been given command of the Lexington
“Oh…” Virginia responded, trying in vain to hide her discontent. Feigning enthusiasm, she inquired, “Isn’t that Heihachiro’s ship?”
“Yeah.” Bob replied, “He’s been booted up to the Admiralty and Komack personally gave me the news.”
“They must have really wanted you there if Wild Bill himself gave you those orders.” Ginny noted.
“I guess so.” Robert agreed. Looking deep into his wife’s eyes, he said in a low voice, “Ginny…it’s not too late…I can still turn down the command.”
“You’ll do no such thing!” Virginia retorted, her eyes momentarily blazing. “This is what you’ve wanted all your life…” Her fury abating as quickly as it flared, she added in a quiet, almost mournful tone, “…we both know that you can’t turn this down.” Putting on a brave face, she then asked, “So…how much time do you have before you have to report aboard?”
“Seventy two hours.” Bob replied.
“Well then…” Ginny responded with a forced grin, “…we’ll just have to make the most of it. What do you want do?”
“Well…” Bob replied with an equally forced smile, “I was thinking about waiting until Katie gets home and then we would all go to The Pit for some Bar-B-Que.”
“Sounds good to me!” The forlorn wife answered back as she gave her husband a quick peck on the cheek. “I’ll get showered and dressed. Katie should be back from school soon.”
“Ok, Dear.” Bob replied, watching his wife’s retreating form. Shaking his head, the rugged commodore sighed. Although neither spouse said it in so many words, they both knew that what had just happened was an important event. Turning about, Robert sat down on the comfortable recliner that he’d claimed many years ago as his chair. Picking up a data slate, the future captain of the Lexington
read over the crew bios of his senior staff and the particulars of his new command. He had much to do and only seventy two hours to do it in. “Time…” Bob muttered morosely, “…there’s never enough time.”