June/July 2020 Challenge Entry: "Gone Today, Here Tomorrow"

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Cobalt Frost, Jun 8, 2020.

  1. Cobalt Frost

    Cobalt Frost Captain Captain

    Joined:
    May 22, 2004
    Location:
    Just chillin' in Phineas & Ferb's backyard
    “Gone Today, Here Tomorrow”

    (Author’s note: this story takes place very shortly after the events of my Feb/March challenge entry, “And Sanctuary Denied Me” https://www.trekbbs.com/threads/february-march-2020-challenge-entry-and-sanctuary-denied-me.303678/)

    USS Challenger NCC 86128

    Newport News Shipyards, Earth orbit


    * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    “That’s odd.”

    “We get transmissions all the time, Lieutenant,” Connie Taylor said teasingly.

    “It’s not the receipt of the transmission that’s unusual, Commander,” replied Lt. Avallios, ignoring Connie’s facetiousness, though a slight grin crossed his face. “It’s the nature of the transmission and its point of origin I find odd: a data-squirt – a rather large one – from the Rasalhague Fleet Yards. The Pellucidar-class was designed at Rasalhague, though Challenger and Cloudsplitter were built here.”

    “Let’s take a look,” sighed Connie. Engineers, never can leave well enough alone. Avallios called up the data, and schematics and technical specifications crawled across the screen in front of them. Certain parts of the message elicited comments from Connie, followed by a deepening scowl.

    “Karasugoi hotblock? Oh, THAT’ll happen.”

    “Seriously?”

    “Thermionic reciprocator? Bernoulli convergenator? TEN-cycle phase…” Connie rolled her eyes. “Really?”

    “This has been authenticated, Commander,” said Avallios as neutrally as he could. “We’re to implement these immediately.”

    “Not to my ship.” She turned to Avallios. “Who do these SCE clowns think they are? Who sent this felgercarb anyway?” Before he could reply, Connie pushed Avallios aside and scrolled back to the top of the message.

    “From Captain Gab.. waitaminnit, they made HIM a captain?” Connie took a deep breath and continued reading. “Commanding officer, USS…” She read it again, but couldn’t bring herself to say the words out loud. She turned to Avallios, fire flashing in her eyes.

    “Get me Admiral Durham,” she growled. “In my ready room, please.” Connie turned on her heel and strode angrily across the bridge. After the ready room door slid shut, Avallios looked at his screen, curious to see what had upset Commander Taylor so much…

    * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    “This is a joke, Admiral? Some sort of hazing for the new captain?”

    Admiral Robert Durham looked at Connie, confused. “Apologies, Commander, but I honestly don’t know what you’re talking about.”

    “We just got a data-squirt from Rasalhague. It’s from… it says… Dammit, I was promised this ship. I was promised command of Challenger!”

    “He sure didn’t waste any time,” Durham said under his breath. He looked back up at Connie, trying to sound conciliatory. “Circumstances have changed, Commander. Challenger is being seconded to Starfleet. You will remain – for the moment – at your current posting as Challenger’s XO.”

    “Like Hell I will!” Connie barked. “He is NOT fit for command. Aside from being a – a grease monkey, he’s been dry for five years. And you’re going to put him in the center chair of a ship of the line?”

    Durham’s tone became terse. “I do not have to explain my decisions to you, Commander. You have your orders.”

    Connie ripped the combadge from her uniform and threw it at the screen. “Explain it to the next sucker on your list, Admiral. I quit.”

    * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Pacifica, three months later…

    “I was hoping to find you sober.”

    “I was hoping to be passed out by now, Admiral Durham.”

    On the famed shores of the Western seas, amongst the various and sundry restaurants, eateries, and dive bars, was a particularly run-down establishment called the Shrimp Shack. Built to resemble a beachside bar of Earth’s mid-20th century, it was usually avoided by locals and tourists alike. 1950s California kitsch had been popular on Pacifica, but that was a long time ago, and the Shrimp Shack showed its age.

    Just what I wanted, Connie thought, nice and quiet. She lifted her head slightly and glared at Adm. Durham. Until now.

    “Your ship needs you, Commander,” Durham said.

    “I resigned my commission, Admiral,” replied Connie tiredly. She looked around; the patio was empty except for the two of them.

    “No, you threw your badge at the screen and stomped off Challenger like a three-year old having a hissy fit. It seems you neglected to file any of the appropriate paperwork.” He folded his arms across his chest and fixed Connie with a harsh glare. “Technically, Commander, you are severely AWOL, and I am sorely tempted to bust you back to ensign and give you command of a cargo shuttle flying rubber dogshit out of Hong Kong for the rest of your career."

    “But,” he continued, his voice softening a bit, “I need you.” He pulled out the other chair and sat across from Connie, giving the table a distasteful glance and waving off the approaching waitress.

    “Look. I can’t share operational details and intel, of course, but…” Durham paused, lowering his voice, “the Celvani can’t be trusted.”

    At this, Connie sat up a little straighter. UniCom PR (read: propaganda, Connie thought sardonically) touted the Celvani as the Federation’s most important ally since the Vulcans.

    “The Celvani asked for Challenger to be seconded to Starfleet, assigned to Gateway, and they wanted Frost in command. You probably know they claim he’s their prophesied ‘Third Traveller’; what you are likely not aware of is that they were instrumental in saving his life from injuries sustained during the incident at Tixeon. I just… I can’t be sure where his true loyalties lie, or what their motivations are. But, as they say, ‘something is rotten in the state of Denmark’.”

    “So what do you need me for?”

    “Captain Fforde trained you well, Connie. We let him stay on as captain as a thank you for his service, but over the last few years, you’ve made that ship and crew your own. They know you, they trust you, and I need someone in situ, someone I can trust.

    “You were right, of course; Frost isn’t fit for command, and he’s certain to screw up. You need to be there when he does, to take charge and mitigate any damage. When that happens, we’ll see how the Celvani react, and then we’ve got them.”

    “What about Admiral MacAllister?” Connie asked. “You assigned her to Gateway, to Alliance space. I thought she was part of your inner circle.”

    “She’s been briefed, yes, but she’s… Well, she’s a Starfleet officer. You’re Starforce. You understand how it is.”

    “Admiral, are you asking me to undermine a – and I use the term loosely – superior officer?”

    Durham laughed. “Gods, no. That would be an awkward conversation, not to mention illegal. You just need to fulfill your duties to the best of your considerable abilities. Frost will blow it on his own.

    “For bookkeeping purposes, you had a family emergency and have been, shall we say, occupied for the last three months. You’ll be charged three months leave.”

    “You can charge three years leave, for all I care, or thirty,” Connie said. “I just want my ship back. Oh, and I want permission to dress as a Starforce officer. There’s no way I’m wearing that ridiculous costume that Starfleet calls a uniform.”

    “You’ll have her, I promise, and you can of course wear your Starforce uniform.” Durham stood to leave. “She’s due to leave earthspace soon for final fittings at Starbase 136. I suggest you find your way back as soon as you can.”

    “You’re not returning to Earth?”

    “I have, ah, other matters to attend to," Durham said, glancing at a nearby group of bikini-clad women. "Duties of the Commander in Chief, you know. I’ll be in touch shortly.”

    Connie sat alone for a long moment, watching the evening sunlight kiss the incoming waves. Standing up, she took a last swig of the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster on the table and headed for the hotel room she'd called home for the last three months. Fortunately, she'd lived a rather Spartan lifestyle, and had only a few things to pack before getting a taxi to the spaceport.

    Challenger, I'll be back soon...
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2020
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  2. Atolm

    Atolm Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Location:
    Killingly, CT
    Oooo I like this one.
     
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  3. SolarisOne

    SolarisOne Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2016
    Location:
    MONKEYS!
    @Cobalt Frost: I like this. You'll have to forgive me, though, when I ask what is "Starforce"? Is it like a "Starfleet Marines"/MACO kind of thing?
     
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  4. Cobalt Frost

    Cobalt Frost Captain Captain

    Joined:
    May 22, 2004
    Location:
    Just chillin' in Phineas & Ferb's backyard
    Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it. To answer your question about Starforce, please see my entry in the "Tell us about your ship and crew" thread here in the Fan Fiction forum (but for your convenience here's the relevant bit):

    "in my stories, Starfleet has been broken into three branches: Starforce (primarily military operations, and the prestige assignment), Starfleet (mostly exploratory and usually looked down on), and Starguard (sorta like the Coast Guard, basically assigned to patrol within planetary systems but no further). These operate under the aegis of the Unified Command. Most Starfleet ships have a Starforce “liaison officer” aboard; think the political officers of the old Soviet navy."
     
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