Starship Reykjavík - The Event of the Season

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Gibraltar, Jan 4, 2023.

  1. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Part I -

    “I’ll be there for the wedding, but I won’t make tonight’s party,” Demora Sulu said regretfully.

    Nandi Trujillo observed her friend on the computer display via the subspace link. “I understand, I’m just happy you’ll be here for the service. How’s your ship faring post-refit?”

    Sulu smiled. “Yorktown’s now faster, tougher, and her sensor capacity has been nearly doubled. It wasn’t too hard to convince Command to let me stretch her legs and conduct speed trials out to Starbase 443 and back. Given the speed we're holding at present, I don't think we'll have any issues getting out to the Picon-Synadon Cluster. Hell, they're even talking about adjusting the warp speed scale to accommodate the velocities some of our ships have been achieving."

    "No issues coming all the way out here for someone's personal event?" Trujillo queried.

    "I may have neglected to mention the wedding to them,” Sulu answered, smirking.

    Trujillo laughed lightly. “I could have always tried pulling some strings with Saavik to get you out here if that hadn't worked.”

    Trujillo would have had to have been blind not to see the change in Sulu’s demeanor at the mention of the admiral’s name.

    “About that, Nandi… are you sure you want to hitch your wagon to that particular horse?”

    Trujillo appeared genuinely surprised. “To… Saavik? What do you mean?”

    “You’ve as much as admitted that she greased the skids for you with the board of inquiry before promoting you. You’re politically beholden to her now; your career is in her hands. You’d talked about trying to expand your horizons, shift into exploration from defense. I’d hoped you’d try to find a way to join this latest exploratory push.”

    Nandi’s expression grew troubled. “I… I tried, I really did. They’d had Reykjavík on sensor-picket duty for months before this thing with the Klingons kicked off. I was bored to tears. It’s one of the reasons I pushed Markopoulos so hard about assembling a task force to go after those Klingon raiding parties. I’m a soldier, Demora, always have been.”

    Sulu nodded understandingly. “I know, and there’s no shame in being what you are.” She shifted uneasily. “It’s just that Saavik’s been throwing her weight around recently. I’m no fan of Markopoulos by any stretch, but for her to banish him to Logistics Command for a plan she signed off on? And now she’s assembling this… I’m not sure what to call it… not a cabal, exactly—”

    Trujillo frowned, cutting in, “Are you referring to a group of professional, defense-minded leaders interested in preserving the integrity of the Federation?”

    Sulu sighed at Trujillo’s intransigence. “Leaders who owe a great deal of personal loyalty to Saavik, to the degree it might be perceived by some as outweighing their loyalty to the service.”

    “I know where my loyalties lay, Demora. Can we please change the subject?”

    Sulu raised her hands in a gesture of surrender. “Yes, of course. I’m sorry for getting us off topic. How go the arrangements?”

    “They go well. We’re looking at venues tomorrow, and tonight, of course, is the party. We’re also commemorating Glal’s retirement and my helmsman’s promotion to JG tonight, so it’s a multi-celebration.”

    “I’m sorry I’m missing it, but Yorktown will be there day-after-tomorrow. Give that crusty old Tellarite my love and congratulations on a well-deserved retirement and say ‘hi’ to Gael for me.”

    “I will. We anxiously await your arrival.”

    “One last thing, Nandi…”

    Trujillo had been on the cusp of toggling off her screen. “Yes?”

    “That science officer of yours, Garrett… remember when you promised to return the favor some day when I let you steal Glal away from me on Cumberland?”

    Trujillo sighed loudly, dipping her head in resignation. "I'm not saying it isn't possible, but that's going to be touchy, given how she came onboard..."

    * * *

    “We boast an intercultural center which can be modified to host any of hundreds of socio-religious events and can support crowd sizes of well over a thousand,” the host announced.

    The cavernous space appeared strangely modular, revealing its ability to conform to a wide range of demands. It was the largest such venue on the starbase.

    Trujillo and Jarrod inspected the location as their entourage, consisting of Glal, Rachel Garrett and Dr. Bennett, clustered together near the entrance.

    Bennett looked toward Garrett, who had a pale, sickly pallor. “You sure I can’t give you something? You needn’t suffer.”

    The ensign had survived a combined pre-wedding party, retirement and promotion celebration the night before, though only just.

    “I shouldn’t cheat my way around what I’ve done,” she replied forlornly.

    Glal snorted, “You got drunk, kid. It’s not like you gave up state secrets to the Orions. By the Great Hoof, let the man give you something to take the edge off.”

    Garrett nodded reluctantly, and Bennett handed Glal his cup of coffee to hold as he produced a hypospray from a pocket that he’d evidently brought along for just this opportunity. The device hissed softly at her neck, and after just a few moments the young woman began to look significantly improved.

    Bennett gestured to the water bottle Garrett carried with her. “Keep drinking water, you’re still dehydrated.”

    Garrett nodded silently and wandered off to inspect a collection of exotic plants nearby.

    The physician sidled up next to Glal, whispering conspiratorially. “What’s going on with her and Naifeh? This morning at breakfast those two would barely look at one another.”

    Glal snorted again, then glanced over his shoulder to assess that Garrett wasn’t within earshot. “Those two staggered off together at the end of the party last night. I believe you Humans refer to this as, ‘morning after regrets.’”

    Bennett looked surprised. “Oh! I hadn’t realized.” He shook his head, chuckling. “I’ve never seen any hint of anything between the two.”

    Glal offered the Tellarite variant of a shrug. “Two young people, presumably attractive by Human standards, add some alcohol and the erosion of inhibitions…”

    “Oh, yes,” Bennett agreed before taking a sip from his cup of coffee. “I too was young once.”

    The two looked around just as Trujillo, Jarrod, and the venue director returned. All three were smiling.

    “It’s a lock,” Jarrod said. “We have our location.”

    The others gave a subdued cheer, courtesy of the previous night’s festivities.

    * * *
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2023
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  2. Bynar0110

    Bynar0110 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Good Chapter
     
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  3. Robert Bruce Scott

    Robert Bruce Scott Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'm really liking the political discussion involving Saavik and the idea that she's running some big game. Vulcans are not above politics in much the same way the sea is not above the clouds. I'm looking forward to finding out more about what she's up to.

    I'm also liking the horse trading among the captains - and the horse in question seems ready to report to a different stable because... morning after...

    The story seems to have a languid start, which I'm also a fan of.

    Interesting that you're running two separate series at the same time. I wouldn't have the bandwidth to do that, so, kudos!

    Thanks!! rbs
     
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  4. Bynar0110

    Bynar0110 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Politics to Vulcans is like a real life chess game.
     
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  5. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    This is nice. Could this be a rare Reykjavik tale without fire and brimstone? Or will we be seeing some uninvited Klingons crash this party in style? Regardless, I'm looking forward to spending more time with these characters.

    I also enjoyed Sulu's concerns, even if they were mostly brushed off by Trujillo. Anybody remember the Layton coup? Okay, that's way in the future here, but that's the first thought that came to my mind. Not to say that Saavik is Layton, but as everyone knows, in Starfleet, you can never trust anyone who wears admiral stripes.
     
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  6. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    * * *

    Commander Jadaetti Dazula ran her hand down the front of her uniform blouse, searching for wrinkles, loose threads, or anything else that shouldn’t be present.

    She checked her reflection in the mirror, noting the crisp lines of the newly produced and exquisitely tailored uniform. Dazula had just graduated from Starfleet’s rigorous Advanced Tactical School, a six-month program that had taught her more about combat strategy and tactics than she had learned in the first sixteen years of her career.

    It was, she believed, the perfect accompaniment to her other professional achievements. Dazula had already earned the titles of scientist, explorer, diplomat, survivor and that of full commander, Starfleet. Now her sights were set on the executive officer’s position aboard the starship Reykjavík.

    She found her reflection tolerable, noting that the command white turtleneck undershirt did not accentuate her cobalt Bolian skin as well as sciences blue had. A cartilaginous bifurcated ridge bisected her body down the midline, dividing her bald head and all the rest the uniform concealed. Born to the Eastern continent of Bolarus IX, her head lacked the darker horizontal striping associated with those of her species from the westernmost landmass.

    She suppressed her nervousness, telling herself this was just one opportunity of many available to her. She was a woman accustomed to challenges, and however today played out, it would not define her.

    Dazula stepped out of the starbase guest accommodations and made her way towards the docks.

    * * *

    Rachel Garrett came to attention in front of Commodore Trujillo’s ready room desk.

    “Reporting as ordered, sir.”

    Trujillo offered the younger woman a warm smile, gesturing to the chair facing the desk. “At ease, Ensign. Please, have a seat.”

    “I’ve asked you here to discuss… something rather awkward, I’m afraid,” Trujillo hedged.

    Garrett fought to maintain her composure, her worst fears realized. “Sir, if I can just explain…”

    Trujillo appeared nonplussed, but acquiesced, making a vague ‘go on’ gesture as she sat back in her chair. “By all means, Mister Garrett.”

    “I take full responsibility for my actions, sir. I allowed myself to drink too much, and although our… liaison… was completely consensual on both our parts, I regret the lack of discipline I demonstrated.”

    Trujillo nodded slowly. “I appreciate that. Now, can you please explain what you’re referencing?”

    Garrett blinked. “The party. Farouk and I… afterward.”

    “You and Lieutenant Naifeh engaged in extracurricular activities following the party?” Trujillo arched an eyebrow. “Well, while that’s all terribly interesting, it isn’t why I asked you up here.”

    “It’s… not?” Garrett couldn’t control the rush of blood to her face. She raised a slightly trembling hand to cover her eyes. “Dear God.”

    Now it was Trujillo’s turn to struggle for composure. She had the most outrageous impulse to burst out laughing, like one might do with a similar admission from a close friend.

    “Rachel, whatever happened between you and Farouk, that’s entirely your business. You’re both adults. I’m clearly in no position to lecture you or anyone else on the hazards of engaging in relationships with your fellow officers.”

    Garrett dropped her hand, nodding feebly. “I’m sorry, sir… I’d just assumed…”

    “Yes, clearly,” Trujillo allowed with a chuckle. “I actually called you here because, as you’re aware, Captain Sulu will be attending the wedding. Now, what you may not know is that once upon a time, the good captain allowed me to steal away her second officer, a rather colorful Tellarite of our mutual acquaintance. When this happened, Captain Sulu made it very clear that at some future point, I would be expected to return the favor.”

    Garrett nodded fractionally, following along.

    Trujillo held up a hand. “Now, before I go further, I want to make perfectly clear that nothing will happen without your express permission, Ensign.”

    “Sir?”

    “When you confronted me about having stolen you away from Captain Erlichman, I told you that I’d make it up to you by assuring sure you got a plumb assignment moving forward. Yorktown is about to undertake a five-year deep space exploration mission, and Captain Sulu has just lost her chief science officer to a Daystrom fellowship. She is very interested in you, Ensign.”

    “Me, sir?” Garrett’s eyes widened. “In what capacity, sir?”

    “Chief science officer, of course,” Trujillo replied. “It would come with a promotion to lieutenant, junior-grade.”

    “I—” Garrett paused, looking torn. “I agreed to serve here for two years, sir. It’s barely been a year.”

    Trujillo nodded. “I’m aware, and I’m fully prepared to amend our standing agreement.”

    Garrett looked inexplicably discomfited. “Sir, we’ve just lost our chief operations officer in the line of duty. Now we’re losing our XO and chief of security at the same time. That’s an enormous turnover in just a few weeks. I can’t leave you in the lurch and compound the problem.”

    “I very much appreciate your loyalty, Rachel, but that’s my problem, not yours. Point of fact, I assembled our entire senior staff when I took command five years ago, and this time I’d only be replacing half. I certainly don’t want to lose you, but opportunities like this don’t come along very often.”

    Garrett inclined her head. “I will give the offer every consideration, sir. How long until Captain Sulu requires an answer?”

    “Day after the wedding, so two days from now.”

    Garrett stood. “Whatever I decide, sir, I’m grateful for the opportunity.”

    Trujillo stood as well. “One more thing, Rachel.”

    “Sir?”

    “I need… a maid of honor.”

    Garrett was surprised. “I just assumed Captain Sulu…”

    “The captain will be performing the ceremony, actually.”

    A broad smile erupted on Garrett’s face. “Then it would be my honor, sir.”

    “This is a personal favor, Rachel, so when we’re off duty, you can call me Nandi.”

    “Yes, sir. Nandi, sir.”

    Trujillo sighed, prompting a laugh from Garrett.

    * * *

    Shortly after Garrett’s departure, the annunciator chimed and Trujillo granted admittance to Lieutenant Shukla and an officer the commodore had never met in person.

    Shukla made the introductions. “Commodore Nandi Trujillo, Commander Jadaetti Dazula.”

    Trujillo stood and the women shook hands. “A pleasure, Commander.” She nodded to Shukla. “Thank you, Lieutenant.”

    The tall Sikh took his leave and Trujillo invited Dazula to take a seat.

    Trujillo moved to the food replicator slot set into one bulkhead. “Something to drink, Commander?”

    “Yes, thank you, sir. Acamarian tea, if you have it.”

    Trujillo input the drink orders, the device humming quietly. Trujillo gestured to her desktop computer interface. “I see you just completed ATS,” Trujillo noted. “How did you find Kuala Lumpur?”

    “Beautiful city,” Dazula replied, “not that I had very much time to explore Indonesia while I was there.”

    “Advanced Tactical School is a demanding program,” Trujillo admitted. “You graduated with high marks, however.”

    Dazula inclined her head in acknowledgement of the compliment.

    “You found the coursework challenging?”

    “I found it… tame, to be perfectly honest, sir,” Dazula appeared uncomfortable with the admission.

    Trujillo retrieved two steaming cups from the replicator and turned back, a slight smile creasing her features. “Based on your service jacket I can believe it.”

    Trujillo handed Dazula her cup of Acamarian tea and took a seat with her own cup of coffee.

    “I see that you attended ATS after a six-month sabbatical. I trust you’ve recovered from your last assignment?”

    “Yes, sir,” Dazula confirmed. “I went home to Bolarus after returning from the Omega Centauri expedition. I spent some time deciding if I wanted to return to Starfleet service, and in what capacity.”

    Trujillo nodded. “After perusing your service record, I became curious and started to read Yichang’s mission logs last night. I found I couldn’t put it down. Kept me up half the night… harrowing stuff. That was quite the eventful expedition.”

    “You have a gift for understatement, Commodore. I started the mission as a junior-science officer and returned as the XO.” Dazula paused, sipping her tea. “Captain Sanjrani’s working on his memoirs now. He wanted to call it A Series of Unfortunate Events, but apparently that title was taken by a Terran author back in your 20th century.”

    Trujillo picked up her data-slate, skimming the contents. “What was supposed to have been a five-year mission lasted eight years, spanning nearly fifteen-thousand light years. Your crew made a full dozen First Contacts, three of whom proved wildly hostile, and your ship incurred seventy-two fatalities. In the course of that mission you completed your command school training remotely during off-shift hours over a period of three years. You achieved that while serving as the ship’s second officer and chief science officer, later promoted to first officer after your exec was killed. Following that mission you received promotion to full commander and were awarded several medals and citations.”

    Dazula stared off into the middle distance for a moment, her tea forgotten. “We limped in to dock at Deep Space 5, and the Corps of Engineers decided to decommission Yichang about thirty-minutes into their damage inspection. They couldn’t believe we got her back to Federation space, given the extent of the damage and the space-frame fatigue.”

    “Your former chief engineer is to be congratulated,” Trujillo offered with genuine admiration.

    “She received the Montgomery Scott citation for her miraculous performance, but it was also a team effort,” Dazula replied. “Most of us spent our fair share of time in EVA gear welding patches on the hull.”

    “Sounds like you had a tight-knit crew,” Trujillo observed.

    “We did, indeed, sir. However, a lot of them mustered out of the service following that mission, both officers and enlisted. I’m one of only a dozen surviving officers who’s remained in uniform.”

    Trujillo took a guarded sip of her coffee, studying Dazula over the rim of the cup. “What are your career ambitions, Commander?”

    “A captaincy in the next few years, sir. I’ve spent the majority of my career on research installations and exploratory vessels, and Reykjavík would be a chance to serve aboard a defense ship.”

    “Warship,” Trujillo corrected. “Though Command gets anxious when I say that, it has the benefit of being the truth.”

    Dazula raised her cup, as if in salute. “Warship,” she repeated. “So noted, sir.”

    Trujillo gestured offhandedly to the data-slate on the desktop. “I don’t have to ask if you’ve been in battle before, and saying your references are impeccable would be a disservice.”

    The Bolian woman met Trujillo’s gaze impassively, saying nothing.

    “I’ve concluded my interviews for the position. This was it. There were no other candidates that came close, Commander. The position is yours if you want it.”

    “I do, sir. Very much.”

    Trujillo stood, prompting Dazula to do the same, setting her cup aside.

    The commodore extended her hand. “Welcome aboard, Commander Dazula.”

    * * *
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2023
  7. Robert Bruce Scott

    Robert Bruce Scott Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2021
    Really liking the pacing of the story. I'm generally not a fan of "crew assembly" story beginnings, but this is hardly the beginning of the story. This is much more a mid-season shake-up with crew leaving and new crew signing on - and I'm a big fan of that. My father told me that during his four years, his ship saw continuous turnover. Though interestingly, the first officer, who pretty much ran the ship, was there throughout and there were a number of captains, which was more of a political role. But that was a tender, not a warship.

    I appreciate that you located ATS in Indonesia - one of the most densely populated nations and yet far too little of Trek seems to emanate from there. Nice backstory on theYichang - a tale worth the telling. Hopefully we'll get to hear the new XO use stories from that tour to educate and motivate her new crew.

    Thanks!! rbs
     
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  8. admiralelm11

    admiralelm11 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Dazula has big hooves to fill, replacing Glal. I'm going to miss that Tellarite.
     
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  9. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Thanks for the feedback! Yes, we only rarely get to see the kind of crew rotations that must be far more common than we typically see in Star Trek. With thousands (if not tens-of-thousands) of ships and installations, people would move about far more often than has been shown.

    I'd envisioned Yichang as being something of the USS Voyager of her generation. A ship that went way out, got beaten up, and had to limp home while trying to avoid further unpleasantness (and failing).
     
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  10. Bynar0110

    Bynar0110 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Liking this story a lot.
     
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  11. TrekkieMonster

    TrekkieMonster Commodore Commodore

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    I'm enjoying this little interlude of peace, as well as the peek into character personalities and the politics of the time. But, I presume there will be bedlam, mayhem and pew, pew aplenty in our intrepid crew's, yes? :D
     
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  12. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Part II -

    “Come,” Glal called out as he stuffed another few pairs of seldom worn civilian clothing into a crate.

    Trujillo entered, appearing bemused as she sidestepped around and over various packing crates, boxes, and assorted piles that now cluttered Glal’s typically spotless cabin.

    “Do you want me to send you some help with this?” she asked. “I’ve got a gaggle of ensigns with very little to do during this layover. They’d love a break from the tactical simulations I’ve been running them through.”

    “Feh,” Glal huffed, “not a chance. I don’t want a bunch of snot-nosed greenhorns pawing through my personal things.”

    “You realize that compared to you, everyone’s a snot-nosed greenhorn, right?” Trujillo noted playfully.

    Glal held up a z’kual blouse, a traditional vestment for Tellarite ceremonies, scowled at it, balled it up and stuffed it haphazardly into a bin. “That becomes increasingly obvious by the day,” he replied, perhaps a bit more somberly than he’d intended.

    Trujillo perused some of Glal’s tchotchkes, souvenirs from over four decades of service, representing a host of different worlds, diverse assignments, and alien aesthetics. She picked up a Benzite memory-stone, examining the self-illuminating heart of the crystalline bauble.

    “I don’t believe I’ve ever seen this one,” she remarked.

    “What’s that?” he asked distractedly, dumping an entire drawer of trousers into a crate before glancing over. “Ahh, that. That’s a little keepsake from Sonmel. I’d stuffed it into a drawer, and only came across it this week as I was packing up.”

    “She’s your ex-wife, the Vulcan?” Trujillo asked.

    “No, actually. Sonmel was my first wife, the Deltan. She died aboard the Oriskany at Janankor, a victim of Romulan intrigues and Captain Voluk’s bad timing.”

    Trujillo winced, putting the memory-stone back. “Right… the precursor to Tomed. We actually gamed out that scenario at command school. What a mess.”

    Glal grunted noncommittally, now busying himself wrapping others of his mementos in dura-foam cylinders before packing them into a handled carryall.

    Overcome by a sudden wave of emotion, Trujillo blurted, “I’m going to miss you, you know.”

    Glal stopped what he was doing and turned towards her. Trujillo noticed for the first time since entering that although he wore his uniform vest over his white turtleneck undershirt, he’d removed his rank insignia.

    “I know,” he replied simply. “I’m going to miss you too, Nandi.”

    She continued, spilling out what was in her heart without having meant to do so. “You’ve been my right hand for almost five years, and you helped me assemble the greatest team I’ve been a part of in my career. Losing you hurts as badly as losing DeSilva, though at least I have the relief of knowing that you’re alive and safe elsewhere.”

    Trujillo realized with shock that there were tears streaming down her cheeks. “Oh, good grief you crusty old bastard, now I’m crying!”

    Glal laughed, that deep rumbling sound that Trujillo secretly cherished. He moved towards her and engulfed her in a tight hug, the first one the two had ever shared. It felt as natural as anything.

    “You’ve grown so much,” he said finally, breaking the embrace and drawing back to look up at her. “The woman who recruited me as her XO all those years ago could never have been this vulnerable, even if she’d wanted to. You’ve opened yourself up. You let Gael Jarrod in, and tomorrow he’s going to become your husband. This may sound strange coming from a subordinate, but I’m damned proud of you.”

    Trujillo wiped at her eyes. “Strange, yes, but welcome.” She released a long sigh, the expulsion of much pent-up emotion. “I have a final favor to ask of you.”

    “Anything, Nandi. You know that.”

    “There is an old Earth tradition, seldom followed any longer due to its blatant patriarchal overtones. Historically, the bride’s father used to escort her down the aisle to where the officiant and groom awaited, essentially handing her over to her new husband like an exchange of chattel.”

    Glal nodded, “I’ve seen that a time or two. It’s strange. Tellarite females would either kill someone outright for such an affront or give them such a dressing down that they’d beg for death, family or no.”

    Trujillo grinned at that. “Despite the cultural incongruities, this tradition is sometimes still observed, but more as a role of honor for the person escorting the bride. Seeing as my father is a hundred light-years away, I was very much hoping you would do me the privilege of walking me down the aisle.”

    Now it was Glal’s turn to be touched, his crusty old Tellarite heart be damned.

    “It would be my honor to do so,” he said in a voice thick with emotion.

    * * *

    “By the power vested in me by Starfleet and the Federation Charter, I hereby pronounce you husband and wife,” Demora Sulu announced to the assembled guests.

    Nandi and Gael, clad in their dress uniforms, shared a brief kiss and then turned towards the audience who rose to their feet as one and applauded.

    “May I present to you, Commodore Nandi Trujillo and Lieutenant Commander Gael Jarrod, now bound in union in the presence of family, friends, and comrades.” Sulu cleared her throat dramatically before announcing, “First round’s on me!”

    * * *

    The party lasted into the wee hours of the morning, with much celebrating by a great many.

    Naifeh had managed to drag a reluctant Garrett onto the dance floor, and she found herself having a good time, despite her misgivings.

    After nearly an hour’s worth of dancing to Terran, Alpha-Centaurian, Bolian, Andorian and assorted other eclectic musical choices, the pair staggered to a table and sat heavily.

    “It’s nice to see you smile,” Naifeh said, asking for two glasses and a carafe of water from a passing waiter.

    Garrett immediately became self-conscious, the goofy grin she’d been wearing vanishing.

    Naifeh sighed. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to kill the moment. You’ve been… very subdued since the party.”

    “It was inappropriate,” she murmured.

    “It was mutual and consensual,” Naifeh countered, “and utterly fantastic.”

    Naifeh squatted down to eye level with the seated Garrett. “What I wish to convey is that if you had any interest in it being more, I would be similarly inclined.” He stood, miming a backing-away gesture. “If that was all it’s ever going to be, we can pretend it never happened.”

    “Can we?” she retorted, her irritation bleeding through.

    “I can, and I certainly don’t want to be the reason you jump ship if this is where you’d want to be otherwise,” he offered with utter sincerity. “Now, if Yorktown is your dream posting, I also wouldn’t want to be the reason you stayed, either.”

    She looked at him askance. “That’s a bit presumptive, don’t you think?”

    “Only you can answer that,” he replied simply. “Rachel, I’ve been interested in you since the day you came aboard, but until that night I’d never acted on it. Aside from our encounter at the party, have I ever given you any other indications? Any pressure, any advances?”

    “No,” she allowed.

    “And I won’t from here on out unless that interest is reciprocated. Beyond that, I’m fully able to maintain our previous professional relationship.”

    Garrett nodded slowly. “I’ll take that into consideration,” she allowed.

    Naifeh inclined his head and moved off into the crowd.

    * * *

    Trujillo had just returned to the bar from the dance floor, taking a seat next to Glal. She was perspiring from the exertion despite her earlier protests that she could not and would not dance.

    Jarrod had put paid to that bald falsehood.

    Drink in hand, Glal leaned in to whisper conspiratorially to her. “You did well with your XO selection, for the record.”

    Trujillo downed a nearby glass of water, dabbing at her face with a napkin. She turned to him, glowing with a happiness he had never seen displayed so openly. “I’m glad you think so.”

    “She’s a quick study,” Glal said. “I’ve just about got Dazula up to speed in only two days, and despite the sciences background, the woman has ice in her veins.”

    Trujillo quirked an eyebrow. “She did that well in the tactical simulations?”

    “Indeed, she did. She knows when to pull the trigger, and more importantly, when not to.”

    “Partial credit to ATS,” Trujillo remarked. “The advanced tactical curriculum really drives that home.”

    “Speaking of that demanding program, rumor has it your blushing groom happened to stumble upon a rare open spot in the upcoming class,” Glal noted with a smirk.

    Trujillo held up her hands. “I had nothing to do with it. I’d tried to smooth the way for him to slide into Zelenskyy’s open XO’s billet under Commander Withropp, but the ATS spot materialized out of the blue. Besides, he’s made it clear he doesn’t want any help from me in that regard.”

    “Good man, he’ll make it on his own merits… “ Glal apprised, then more quietly, “and on others’ recommendations.”

    Trujillo had started in on a second glass of water when her synapses finally caught up. She set the glass down, looking to Glal with an expression of suspicion mixed with gratitude. “That was you?”

    “Among others,” Glal allowed. “Coordinating it was my final act as a command officer. I’ve got some old friends in Tactical Command, and with Jarrod’s sterling service record it wasn’t a hard sell.” He finished his Denobulan cider in a single draught, nudging Trujillo with his elbow. “Besides, he’ll be safe in classrooms, simulators, and on the practice mats for the next six months. You won’t have to worry about him.”

    A hand flew to Trujillo’s mouth at the same time as her eyes grew glassy. She blinked away tears, muttering, “You son-of-a-bitch, you’ve done it again.” She wasn’t sure if her present fragility was due to the heightened emotions of the occasion, her exhaustion, the alcohol, or a mix of all three.

    Glal snorted good-naturedly, waving his empty glass at Jarrod as the younger man approached.

    “What’s going on here?” Jarrod asked suspiciously.

    “Just me making your wife cry,” Glal said in a low voice, his tusks quivering with humor.

    Jarrod looked to Trujillo, confused and slightly concerned. “Nandi?”

    She stood, touching her forehead to her husband’s shoulder and used his dress uniform to dry her tears under the guise of an intimate embrace. Trujillo peaked out and glared at Glal. “I hate you,” she hissed.

    “No, you don’t,” he laughed again.

    Trujillo looked into Jarrod’s face. “This isn’t me; I don’t do this.”

    “What, feelings?” Jarrod scoffed, smoothing her hair down with one hand as one might with a small child. “Shush, I promise not to tell the Klingons.”

    Jarrod grunted, doubling over only slightly as a shudder passed through him. He remained standing courtesy of Trujillo.

    Glal nodded approvingly, patting Jarrod on the shoulder. “You should have seen that coming. Be thankful that she pulled that, the femoral nerve is a harsh mistress.” He looked to Trujillo. “On Tellar Prime it’s considered bad form to incapacitate your mate on your wedding night… well, at least in that fashion.” Glal gave Jarrod a parting nod. “They’ll teach you how to defend against that move at ATS.”

    With that, Glal wandered off to find himself another drink.

    “Ha—had… that coming,” Jarrod wheezed after a moment, then emitted something between a laugh and a moan.

    Trujillo shushed him gently.

    * * *

    There weren’t many people in full uniform at the event, but there were enough that when their combadges all alerted in unison it served as notice to the others. Groups began moving to and congregating at visual monitors throughout the venue.

    A yellow-alert tell-tail flashed on screen, followed by the words, ‘This is a Priority-1 readiness alert. Command is issuing notice of a presumptive Federation border incursion in Sector 02381, proximate to the Tholian Assembly. All personnel are recalled to active duty from leave or pass and will proceed to their assigned posts to receive further updates and orders.’

    Glal found himself standing next to Trujillo out of force of habit and was jolted back to reality when the commodore tapped her combadge.

    “Trujillo to Commander Dazula.”

    “Go ahead, sir.”

    “Please sound the recall for anyone who might not have received the all-call broadcast. Ready us for departure, prioritizing finalizing repairs, crew transfers and the onloading of tactical ordinance. I’ll be heading topside to confer with Admiral Saavik. Have anyone reporting aboard from the wedding ceremony stop by Sickbay for a sobriety-booster before taking their duty stations. You have the conn until my return.”

    “Aye, sir. Consider it done.”

    Trujillo turned to Glal. “Looks like I’ll be putting the new XO through her paces.” She shook his hand firmly. “Goodbye, my friend. Until the next time I make planetfall on Tellar Prime.”

    “Good fortune to you, Commodore,” Glal responded, looking somehow smaller and more awkward in his dressy civilian attire.

    They had already said their most heartfelt farewells and now the clock was ticking as duty called.

    She turned and disappeared into the quickly dispersing crowd as Glal looked on.

    * * *
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2023 at 2:41 PM
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  13. Robert Bruce Scott

    Robert Bruce Scott Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2021
    Again, really liking the languid pacing and attention to character development in this story. Great moments with Trujillo and Glal, but the part that caught my attention more was the brief segment with Garrett.

    Really nice background on Glal, making that character (already a fan favorite) much richer.

    Thanks!! rbs
     
  14. TrekkieMonster

    TrekkieMonster Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2001
    Location:
    The Hub of the Universe
    Ah, just as I suspected: the calm before the storm. But, oh so well written. Brought a tear to mi eye. :p
     
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  15. admiralelm11

    admiralelm11 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA
    Like I said on Facebook, I'm going to miss Glal. I would have loved to have seen him with a command of his own. :)
     
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  16. Robert Bruce Scott

    Robert Bruce Scott Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2021
    Ambassador Glal? Spacial Field Agent Glal? Farmer Glal?

    There's always a way to bring him back for a cameo... Thanks!! rbs
     
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  17. Bynar0110

    Bynar0110 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2022
    Location:
    USA
    I been enjoy reading about Capt. Sulu.
     
  18. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    * * *

    The ‘Triple-C’ or Command Conference Center was situated in Starbase 443’s sprawling Operations Hub, and Reykjavík’s entire engine room could have fit within it. A giant circular conference table inlaid with the Starfleet delta held chairs for thirty humanoids. The table was ringed by workstations facing inward, supporting communications, intelligence, logistics, operations, and a host of other functions vital to coordination and defense.

    The domed ceiling arched high overhead; a conspicuous waste of space meant to convey the august nature of the work that went on here. Dozens of viewscreens lined the circular compartment, the smallest of which dwarfed the one found on Trujillo’s bridge.

    A medic stood at the entryway, and Trujillo paused just long enough to receive an injection of aceticizine to neutralize the alcohol still coursing through her veins after the spirited wedding reception. Trujillo felt oddly out of place clad in her dress uniform, resplendent with her medals and campaign ribbons, and kept fidgeting with the new wedding band on her left hand.

    A lieutenant ushered her to a seat at the table, which was quickly filling with command-level officers belonging both to the starbase itself, as well as to the sundry ships presently berthed within.

    Demora Sulu approached, leaning in from behind to grasp Trujillo by the shoulders and whispering, “Well, it wouldn’t be your wedding if it didn’t spark a shooting war, would it?” She grinned and slid into the chair next to Nandi.

    Sulu fixed her gaze on the compartment’s largest and most prominent viewscreen, which currently displayed real-time strategic information from the sector in question. A swarm of icons, presumably representing Tholian vessels, were pouring across the border. Scant few starships, represented by delta-arrowheads, stood ready to oppose them.

    Her mischievous smile from a moment before evaporated. “Those poor souls are going to buy time for us with their lives,” Sulu noted grimly.

    Captain Th'thaorhok, a lean Andorian with a receding hairline sitting a few seats down from them, shook his head in bewilderment. “This makes no sense; it isn’t time. You could set an atomic clock by their expansionist phases. Last time they came boiling out of their territory, I was a lieutenant aboard the Victory. The Assembly shouldn’t be doing this for another decade.” His antennae twitched in obvious vexation.

    “It is… atypical, a pronounced deviation from their established pattern,” agreed Lt. Commander Sahvor, the Vulcan skipper of the scout, Niels Bohr. He was within earshot of the conversation from further around the circumference of the massive table thanks to his acute hearing.

    “Sirs,” said Lt. Commander Withropp of the Zelenskyy, as he took the seat on the other side of Sulu. He glanced up at the live feed on the display, frowning. “They picked the perfect time to do this. Practically the entire fleet is on the Klingon border right now.”

    Sulu reached out to toggle the LCARS interface set into the tabletop in front of her, highlighting one of the Starfleet icons nearest the border incursion. She enlarged and enhanced the image on another screen below the primary viewer, calling up the ship’s registry. “Damn,” she said with a mordant sigh. “That’s Lucas Kelley out there on the Stalwart.”

    Trujillo glanced over at Sulu, still toying with the unfamiliar sensation of the ring on her finger. “Your former exec? Isn’t he on an Oberth?”

    Sulu nodded fractionally. “Yes. Try and guess how long he’ll last against the Tholians in that.”

    Trujillo reached out a hand to grasp Sulu’s forearm, giving it a little squeeze. “I’m sorry, Demora.”

    “Gentle-beings,” a voice announced over the PA, “Admiral Saavik.”

    The officers stood in unison as Saavik strode into the room, followed by a gaggle of adjutants and support personnel who fanned out to man several of the consoles ringing the outer bulkheads. Saavik moved to a lectern set into the conference table immediately below the primary viewscreen and the assembled officers returned to their seats.

    “At twenty-two nineteen hours zulu-time, sensor buoys along our border with the Tholian Assembly detected no fewer than sixty-three of their vessels of various classes approaching Federation space. They crossed the border at high warp, and our automated defense outposts were only able to destroy or cripple a few of their ships before they were overwhelmed.

    “With a significant number of our available ships posted to the Klingon border at present due to the recent crisis, we will be hard pressed to meet this incursion with sufficient force to blunt it immediately. This will likely devolve into an attritional battle, with Starfleet establishing successive defensive lines and engaging in a fighting retreat to try and safeguard our colonies and outposts in that sector.

    “We are scrambling all available ships to converge on that area, and we’re presently forming Task Force Alamo in situ to try and slow the Tholian’s advance.”

    Several Humans around the table winced or shifted uncomfortably at the designation Saavik had selected for the grouping of unfortunate ships which would be thrown into the path of the oncoming threat formation. It was a suicide mission, and Saavik had named it such.

    The admiral inclined her head in Trujillo’s direction. “Commodore, you will be leading Task Force Gauntlet, comprised of all vessels currently docked in and around 443, and every ship we can arrange to rendezvous with you en route.”

    “Yes, sir,” Trujillo answered, having already called up a list of the available ships. She split her attention between Saavik’s briefing and assessing each ship’s readiness for departure.

    “Task Force Gauntlet will attempt to flank the Tholian formation while coordinating with any survivors from Task Force Alamo. If that goal is not feasible upon your arrival, your secondary mission will be to triage defense of the effected sectors, safeguarding those outpost and planets that you can, while bypassing those whose defense would be ineffective or prohibitively costly in ships and personnel.”

    Sulu and Withropp were already busy taking notes for Trujillo, who had paused in her ship-status assessments to look up at Saavik with a curious expression.

    “Apologies, Admiral, but I have a question.”

    “Proceed.”

    “You mentioned that a number of Tholian ships were damaged or neutralized by one of our border outposts.”

    “That is correct,” Saavik affirmed.

    “Unless I’m mistaken, sir, our armed outposts in that region are few and far between. Oh, we have sensor buoys aplenty, but not many weapons platforms. The Tholians could easily have avoided all of those weapons-capable stations, yet they chose to cross into Federation space within the weapons envelope of an armed outpost. Why?”

    “We don’t know,” Saavik replied. “They appear to have engaged in a number of inexplicable actions thus far that don’t conform to their established patterns, but our analysis of their behavior hasn’t resulted in any satisfactory answers as yet.”

    Trujillo nodded. “Understood, sir.” She called up her list of available ships, cross-referenced with the sector’s personnel database. “We have a number of craft in drydock in need of crews and command officers which would otherwise be available to us. I’d like permission to sidestep the usual personnel channels and have the other task force ships and the starbase contribute qualified staff to fill those vacancies.”

    “Granted,” Saavik said succinctly. She called upon her Vulcan half and offered a raised eyebrow. “Any objections if I continue, Commodore?”

    Trujillo answered with a thin-lipped smile. “None, sir.”

    Saavik completed the briefing with the requisite strategic, tactical, and logistics preparations currently underway.

    “I know that you all have much to do in the next two hours. Task Force Gauntlet will depart in two and a half hours with every vessel we can muster. I will be available for further consultation. You may contact my adjutant to arrange a meeting in person or via comms. This briefing is concluded and you are dismissed.”

    Some of the command officers departed immediately to ready their ships, while others conferred with each other over various preparations.

    Trujillo turned the Triple-C into a command and control node, a function for which it had been designed. Sulu, Th'thaorhok and Withropp assisted with coordinating the task force’s command hierarchy and departure logistics as Trujillo busied herself selecting available personnel to fill the many gaps in several ships’ command crews.

    Activating comms via the LCARS interface at her seat, she put a call through via the station’s civilian communication net.

    A surprised voice answered, “Go ahead?”

    “It’s Nandi. I need you back. Congratulations, your retirement lasted less than thirty-six hours. I am employing the reserve activation clause to return you to service. Brevet promotion to full commander and I’m giving you the frigate Gol with Jarrod as your XO.”

    There was a noticeable delay before Glal replied, “What’s the magic word?”

    “Order?” Trujillo growled, “As in this-is-an-order?”

    Glal cleared his throat noisily, something Tellarites excelled at. “You know, a nice, relaxing stint in the brig does sound appealing about now.”

    Sulu had to turn away, her shoulders shaking with silent laughter at Trujillo’s predicament.

    Trujillo sighed. “Please,” she finally offered, albeit reluctantly.

    “In that case, I accept your reactivation, promotion, and command of the aforementioned starship.”

    “Grand,” Trujillo exclaimed, severing the channel. She turned to Sulu and Th'thaorhok. “With personnel from the other ships and others seconded by the starbase, we can get underway with thirteen ships, picking up another three on the way.”

    Th'thaorhok’s antennae curled in a gesture that accentuated his frown. “Sixteen ships. That’s not much of a fleet to fight an invasion with.”

    “No, no it’s not. But then, no one ever said doing our duty would be easy.”

    * * *

    Task Force Gauntlet


    USS Reykjavík – Shangri-La-class attack cruiser – Commodore Nandi Trujillo

    USS Yorktown – Excelsior-class heavy cruiser – Captain Demora Sulu

    USS Yi Sun-Sin – Excelsior-class heavy cruiser – Captain Adilah Idrissi

    USS Shras – Andor-class missile cruiser – Captain Oshath Th'thaorhok

    USS Robau – Abbe-class missile cruiser – Captain Ian Griffiths

    USS Orion – Constellation-class cruiser – Captain Everett Wong

    USS Zelenskyy – Miranda-class light cruiser – Lt. Commander Eldred Withropp

    USS Vancouver – Loknar-class frigate – Captain Stanek

    USS Gol – Akayazi-class frigate – Commander Glal

    USS Churchill – Chandley-class frigate – Commander Kaikoura Agarwal

    USS Perseus – Wasp-class frigate – Lt. Commander Ulit Toom

    USS Honolulu – Centaur-class destroyer – Captain Shen Quan

    USS Senator – Akula-class destroyer – Captain T'sai

    USS Itoman – Okinawa-class scout – Lt. Commander Erasmus Boone

    USS Niels Bohr – Laevatein-class scout – Lt. Commander Sahvor

    USS Basford – Oberth-class scout – Lt. Commander Drex Miller

    * * *
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2023 at 3:32 AM
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  19. Bynar0110

    Bynar0110 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2022
    Location:
    USA
    A very informative update.
     
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