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Old May 10 2009, 02:04 AM   #1
SLWatson
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May Challenge: Traces of Winter

Title: Traces of Winter
Series: ST:TOS, Arc of the Wolf (kinda)
Rating: G
Character: Robert April
Timeline: February 2250
Summary: After the rescue of the Churchill's only two survivors, Robert April makes an unorthodox request of Starfleet's Personnel Offfice. Not sure it'll be listed as 'canon' in the Arc of the Wolf, even if it actually is. Some spoilers for unwritten parts of the series.

--

San Francisco's day was a mix between overcast and sunny; late winter clouds under a blue sky, over gray salt water. For Captain Robert April, it was an entirely apt display. Light shining through, but the traces of winter lingering in bare reminder of the costs.

The Enterprise was getting a limited refit; she hadn't suffered much in battle, but she had certainly suffered enough to merit some care in the San Francisco Yards. It was clear that the war was winding down, and that they were emerging victorious. Still, it struck April that the class of explorers he had helped conceive of had met their first days, not in reaching out into the galaxy, but in battling the Klingons.

It also struck him that he would likely never get to go out on the Enterprise and do that exploring. He knew that they wanted to promote him. Knew that they wanted to use his extensive experience to greater influence.

Regardless, despite the battles and the lingering concerns, April was an optimist.

He came over from furlough in Coventry specifically to make a request on this day, though he knew that it may be many months before that would be approved, if it was at all. After the many inquiries and debriefings were over, and after the survivors of the Churchill were cleared of any possible wrong-doing, he was able to act.

He couldn't afford to allow himself to dwell upon the horror that had befallen the science vessel. He performed the ceremony aboard the Enterprise for the murdered crew, and he beamed aboard the ship himself to see the sight that had sickened even his finest security officers, but he couldn't afford to linger there. For the Enterprise, for the two survivors, for the Federation itself, he had to focus on the future. Focus on a time when this war would end. When exploration would resume.

It wasn't long until he was in the office he had been aiming for; Admiral Paulson, current director of Personnel.

"Admiral," April said, with a half-smile, shaking the man's hand. A relative newcomer, Paulson was. Younger than April by a few years, but word through the wire was that he was an excellent administrator. "Thank you for taking the time to meet with me."

Paulson smiled back, though the bags under his eyes gave away how much weight this office carried. Especially during wartime. It was little wonder turnover was so high. "Captain April. What can I help you with today?"

"I have a personnel request, of sorts." April sat down when the Admiral gestured, then clasped his hands, crossed his legs, posed conversationally. "An admittedly unorthodox one, as I'm not sure I'll be in command of the Enterprise when it takes effect and there are extenuating circumstances involved."

Paulson looked confused. "Go ahead."

"There's a certain ensign I'd like to be assigned to my... to her engineering department." April held his hand up to forestall any questions. "Undeniably, his record is somewhat... questionable at points. But he's certainly qualified to serve aboard the Enterprise."

"Who?"

April told him, then Paulson pulled up the records. It didn't take long for the incredulity to set in. "Captain, while I can understand you might want to try to help after the Churchill's loss..." he said, then he trailed off and went wide-eyed as he continued to skim the record. "Court-martialed as a cadet?!"

"Well, yes, admittedly that's--"

"YOU court-martialed him as a cadet?!" Paulson looked up, still wide-eyed.

April couldn't help but laugh. "Yes, but he's a good boy anyway! An excellent engineer, and I have no doubts--"

"You convicted him!"

"Indeed I did, and I would again," April replied. "But he's still a good boy. And I think that with the proper guidance he would be just fine."

Paulson was still staring, as though April had grown a third eyeball, right in the middle of his forehead. "Let me get this straight. You want to take a convicted officer, who hasn't even made Lieutenant yet, and who Starfleet Medical believes may not ever be fit for duty again after the Churchill, and you want him on the Enterprise?"

"I have a feeling that Starfleet Medical will clear him. He's a little shaken now, but the Enterprise won't be leaving again until much later this year, and I've a feeling that he'll be all right when the time comes. And of course, this assignment would be conditional upon him being certified fit for duty."

"And a trouble-maker!" Paulson went back to staring at the record. "My God, he was almost charged with high seas piracy!"

"Well, we do seem to attract some head-strong young ladies and gentlemen into the ranks."

Paulson shook his head, and then after a moment sighed and shook it again. "Are you sure about this, Captain?"

April leaned forward and grinned, eyes twinkling. "Absolutely."





Paulson was still not entirely sure. It took him about a month before he was willing to do anything about April's request; in that month, some things were shifted. April had been promoted, though it wouldn't take effect until the Enterprise was finished with the minor overhaul. Christopher Pike, Captain of the Yorktown and decorated war veteran, was slated to replace him.

The war was little more now than a few skirmishes and a good deal of chest-beating. Ships originally built for exploration were pulled from storage and were now being finished out.

Paulson wasn't the sentimental type, but he wasn't immune to the tentative feeling of hope.

So, finally, he typed the order:

Request for assignment and promotion submitted by Captain Robert April, conditional upon clearance from Starfleet Medical, of Ensign Montgomery Scott (formerly of the U.S.S. Churchill) to the U.S.S. Enterprise under Captain Christopher Pike.

Approved by (provided conditions are met),
Admiral Nicholas Paulson
Starfleet Command Personnel Office
30 March 2250

Last edited by SLWatson; May 10 2009 at 03:11 AM.
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Old May 10 2009, 02:42 AM   #2
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Re: May Challenge: Traces of Winter

Hmm. Very interesting.

I especially liked your use of description at the beginning. And while I know very little about the era in which this story is set, I found it easy to believe that Scotty might have a somewhat chequered past.

Nice to see some of the supporting cast getting the attention they deserve--though I'm still waiting to read the story in which Scotty loses one of his fingers.

I have one small criticism. The first part of your story consists mostly of telling rather than showing. My own instinct would have been to reveal that information through dialogue and allusion, rather than by simply telling the reader.

But that's a matter of taste and style. And to be fair, my own fiction often suffers from the opposite weakness, i.e. too minimal, too much dialogue and allusion, not enough description and reflection.

A couple of my readers have even told me that they needed to look things up at Memory Alpha before they understood what I was talking about.
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Old May 10 2009, 02:46 AM   #3
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Re: May Challenge: Traces of Winter

Camelopard wrote: View Post
Hmm. Very interesting.

I especially liked your use of description at the beginning. And while I know very little about the era in which this story is set, I found it easy to believe that Scotty might have a somewhat chequered past.

Nice to see some of the supporting cast getting the attention they deserve--though I'm still waiting to read the story in which Scotty loses one of his fingers.
You'll probably be waiting forever. ;-) Canonically, at least so far as TOS, he had all of 'em even when his actor didn't. The movies were another matter, since Doohan didn't bother hiding that hand anymore and the hand-doubles weren't used, but I dunno if I'll even bother with it.

I have one small criticism. The first part of your story consists mostly of telling rather than showing. My own instinct would have been to reveal that information through dialogue and allusion, rather than by simply telling the reader.
There's quite a bit that takes place before this; this is more just a larkish bridge piece. But thanks for the concrit! I'll bear it somewhere in mind.

But that's a matter of taste and style. And to be fair, my own fiction often suffers from the opposite weakness, i.e. too minimal, too much dialogue and allusion, not enough description and reflection.

A couple of my readers have even told me that they needed to look things up at Memory Alpha before they understood what I was talking about.
I send mine to watch obscure moments in canon. Lots of them. Thanks for the comment!
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Old May 10 2009, 04:42 AM   #4
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: May Challenge: Traces of Winter

I hadn't made the April connection for whatever stupid reason when I read On the Nature of the Wind...but just because I missed it doesn't mean it wasn't there in flashing neon lights.

But when I saw it here...that was a really neat connection to pick up on.

Anyway, I enjoyed this and didn't have any problems with it. Then again I tend to write very heavy, reflective prose myself, so I suppose that's my style to begin with.
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Old May 10 2009, 04:47 AM   #5
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Re: May Challenge: Traces of Winter

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
I hadn't made the April connection for whatever stupid reason when I read On the Nature of the Wind...but just because I missed it doesn't mean it wasn't there in flashing neon lights.

But when I saw it here...that was a really neat connection to pick up on.

Anyway, I enjoyed this and didn't have any problems with it. Then again I tend to write very heavy, reflective prose myself, so I suppose that's my style to begin with.
I didn't wanna broadcast it too heavily, or it'd look like a cheap cameo -- he just happened to be in the area and available to fry up a couple cadets, and that's all the more I wanted it to seem like. Thanks much!
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Old May 10 2009, 04:55 AM   #6
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Re: May Challenge: Traces of Winter

Well, then...I guess you accomplished your goal! And I feel better that I'm not excessively dense and forgetful!
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Old May 10 2009, 08:53 AM   #7
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Re: May Challenge: Traces of Winter

Ok, here I was thinking you were going to write a stroy without Scotty.

Turns out my fears were unwarranted. This is actually a very interesting and plausible background story on how our favorite engineer came to be on our favorite little ship. I also like that Scotty was such a gamble back then. Who would have known that this rebel would become one of the finest engineers ever to wear the uniform?
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Old May 10 2009, 08:58 AM   #8
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Re: May Challenge: Traces of Winter

CeJay wrote: View Post
Ok, here I was thinking you were going to write a stroy without Scotty.

Turns out my fears were unwarranted. This is actually a very interesting and plausible background story on how our favorite engineer came to be on our favorite little ship. I also like that Scotty was such a gamble back then. Who would have known that this rebel would become one of the finest engineers ever to wear the uniform?
Who knew? I did. ;-) He wasn't the bad kind of rebel, though; just a fierce-hearted fellow that chose friendship and honor over regulations. No criminal.

Alas, I tried to make myself write someone else. I really did. I labored and labored and tried to think of writing someone else. But I already covered some of McCoy's, everyone has written Kirk's, a few have handled Chekov's, Spock's, and... almost everyone else. So, unfortunately for all, I stuck with the one I know best.

Thanks very much for the comment.
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Old May 10 2009, 09:44 PM   #9
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Re: May Challenge: Traces of Winter

Very nice! A very plausible back-story for our Scottish engineer. We know he's a bit of a brawler - who's to say he didn't get into major trouble as a cadet?

Great story!
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Old May 10 2009, 09:46 PM   #10
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Re: May Challenge: Traces of Winter

TheLoneRedshirt wrote: View Post
Very nice! A very plausible back-story for our Scottish engineer. We know he's a bit of a brawler - who's to say he didn't get into major trouble as a cadet?

Great story!
Yes... yes, he definitely did. On the Nature of Wind tells that particular story, right up to and including the high seas piracy and the court-martial.

Thanks much for the comment!
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Old May 10 2009, 10:06 PM   #11
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Re: May Challenge: Traces of Winter

Funny how April ends up being the one who helps to rescue Scotty's career and indeed provides the formative step of getting him to the Enterprise. Obviously, something in Scotty's character impressed him greatly. Great story.
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Old May 10 2009, 10:21 PM   #12
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Re: May Challenge: Traces of Winter

mirandafave wrote: View Post
Funny how April ends up being the one who helps to rescue Scotty's career and indeed provides the formative step of getting him to the Enterprise. Obviously, something in Scotty's character impressed him greatly. Great story.
I think it was when the little puppy cadet stood up in front of the panel and declared that yes, he broke the law and the rules, but he made a choice he could live with or die with. Takes some steel to stand on your convictions like that; April, as he was written, had a soft-spot for rebels. He likewise saw through sixteen-year-old Jim Kirk's facade of rebellion in Best Destiny, and was willing to stand up for him.

Thanks much!
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Old May 11 2009, 05:57 AM   #13
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Re: May Challenge: Traces of Winter

SLWatson, I would have liked a bit more conflict for us to feel April's plight as he tried to present his case for this cadet. Maybe our early Captain had to jump through several hoops before he (April) either won or lost....

With that said, I think the story presented a very interesting idea.

Now, if I can only come up with my own story!
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Old May 11 2009, 06:01 AM   #14
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Re: May Challenge: Traces of Winter

Hoshi_Mayweather wrote: View Post
SLWatson, I would have liked a bit more conflict for us to feel April's plight as he tried to present his case for this cadet. Maybe our early Captain had to jump through several hoops before he (April) either won or lost....

With that said, I think the story presented a very interesting idea.

Now, if I can only come up with my own story!
Oh, maybe. But alas, the Arc of the Wolf isn't April's story. But why don't you give it a try? Robert April's a wonderful character, I'd love to see people write him more.
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Old May 11 2009, 06:05 AM   #15
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Re: May Challenge: Traces of Winter

SLWatson wrote: View Post
Hoshi_Mayweather wrote: View Post
SLWatson, I would have liked a bit more conflict for us to feel April's plight as he tried to present his case for this cadet. Maybe our early Captain had to jump through several hoops before he (April) either won or lost....

With that said, I think the story presented a very interesting idea.

Now, if I can only come up with my own story!
Oh, maybe. But alas, the Arc of the Wolf isn't April's story. But why don't you give it a try? Robert April's a wonderful character, I'd love to see people write him more.
I'll see what I can come up with...
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