This story is definitely a work in progress. I only have the vaguest idea of where it's going. I know it will be a character driven piece. I'm going to let it evolve as it goes. Hopefully, it'll work. Star Trek: Independence 18 – “Nadir” (nā’dәr) n. – In astronomy, a point diametrically opposite of a star’s zenith; the lowest point. “Your highest revelations often come when you’re experiencing your lowest circumstances.” – Unknown PROLOUGE Stardate: 54653.0 (27 Aug 2377) Starbase 17, Internal Docking Bay Two, Observation Level Porrima System Captain Sintina Aurelia stood with her arms crossed. She wore her jet black hair in a single ponytail. Her petite, yet athletic body stood only 1.6 meters. She was born in Honduras, but she had several Spanish features. Her skin was smooth and youthful. Her eyes, on the other hand, were aged and worried. Her eyes were focused on the hulk that was her ship. Repairs hadn’t yet begun on the Steamrunner class ship. Outside of the Dominion War, she’d never seen a ship in such shape. Its hull had holes and gashes almost everywhere. Most of its port nacelle was gone. Its starboard side looked like it had gone through a grinder. She couldn’t even fully read the name and registry. It read: “-SS IND—ENDE--E NC---7-91.” The Independence and her crew had been the talk of the starbase ever since they arrived in tow by the Bluefin. Even under ‘normal’ circumstances, a ship being towed into port was a mild disgrace. Aurelia knew people were talking. She didn’t care. As luck had it, Command was making sure everyone involved keep a tight lip about what happened. Her crew had been ordered not to discuss it. A few people outside her crew knew the truth, but only a handful. The admiral in charge of the hearing about the matter, Admiral Sitak, had summoned her. Aurelia had a few minutes before the meeting. She found herself spending hours here, looking out the large window. Her battered ship looked out of place in an otherwise glorious city of lights and smooth surfaces. Lieutenant Jonin Faltyne, an Andorian male – and her impromptu first officer now that Commander bin Nadal was dead, approached her. It had been 10 days since he stunned her. He did it for a good reason, she internally accepted. She was so full of intense rage, she was about ready to blast a hole into an already decompressed chamber to prevent a Section 31 agent from escaping. She understood his reasons. To make it worse, she probably would have done the same thing had their positions been reversed. But for good or ill, Sintina once crossed, rarely forgave. Her brain wasn’t upset with her security chief, but her gut still was. The two had reached an uneasy compromise. “Captain,” he began professionally, “The Chief of Starfleet Personnel of this sector just called. He said, due to ‘continuing shortages,’” he sighed slightly, “The Independence crew is going to start being reassigned.” Sintina’s face was deadpan. She was expecting this, though, not this soon. The refit and repair of the Independence would take several months. Starfleet didn’t like having that many personnel sitting idle. Even two years after the Dominion War, personnel shortages still plagued the fleet. Faltyne also added, “The admiral said he’d be willing to try to reform the command crew, once repairs are complete.” Aurelia didn’t respond. “If you’d like,” he supplemented. She placed her hands behind her back, “Thank you, Lieutenant.” The Andorian began to walk away, but suddenly turned back, “Ma’am, I never apologized for…” The Latina quickly interrupted, “Don’t.” Jonin realized that was as much as a concession as he was going to get. In fact, it surprised him that he got that much from her. It was understood that the issue had been dropped. She would not pursue any charges against him. The captain’s gaze returned to the dismembered ship out the viewing port. The security chief knew there was nothing left to be said. He moved off.