SIM:Reider, Luke/Luke at DS72
::Admiral Luke Reider walks down the corridor, smiling grandly at the command center officers changing shift at the moment. Over the past few months he has begun to form his new life here on 118. It was different, to say the least. The last station he had served on was about a tenth of the size of this massive place. And his last assignment had been considerably more quiet than this one, as well. Living between the Romulans and the Klingons, at the cusp of three different empires is an experience alone. To have to command the base that stands there?...::
::The turbolift doors ahead of the Admiral open quietly and smoothly. 24th centry technology at it's most efficient: the turbolift. The polite Admiral states his deck: the floor of the commerce center. Anyone who lives on the base knows that StarFleet food in StarFleet gallies around a StarFleet base suffice if you're in a hurry. But if you want real food then you needed to find something other than a replicator; and in this case: to the heart of StarBase 118. The city where Romulan, Ferengi, Klingon, Terran, Vulcan and many more cultures meet, greet, and usually fight.::
::Panels in the lift slide away as it passes into the long clear core of the dome's brain stem. The core of life tubes and data-lines that runs directly up the center of the dome gives a spectacular view of the going-ons on the floor of the city. As the lift descends quickly, but not uncomfortably, Reider moves forward slightly to look down. Breathing in, he steps back again towards the door. Heights are one thing Reider can not tolerate.::
::Resting smoothly on the floor of the dome, the lift slides horizontally out of the vertical lift shaft into one of the departure bays. A line of people wait to enter the lift, moving only slightly for the Admiral to disembark. The group is loud and pushy, cramming themselves into the small compartment. Common inhabitants of the base usually wait at least five to ten minutes for a lift; just one of the many problems that plague the chaotic city inside the base.::
::The marketplace is bustling. The elegant Bajoran jewelry store near the core, and a Vulcan book shop seem weary with people moving in and out of it's open archways. Just out front, standing carts carry trinkets from all corners of known space, selling at prices both high and low. There is a living to be made standing in the comfortable atmosphere of the dome, selling wares at high prices to claustrophobic StarFleet officers who've been aboard their ships for far too long.::
::Sauntering down one of the streets he has begun to know well, Luke ambles towards his favorite restaurant. It's a simple sandwich shop, owned by an older couple from Earth; Washington state to be more exact. They know the life Luke came from; and often the three reminisce about rural Earth. Entering the shop Reider breathes a sigh of relief. A little piece of home. More than a few times he had stopped at a shop much like on his way home from school when he was a boy. The small town of Olamon, Maine didn't have too many places to eat. The people there didn't really believe too much in eating out, except maybe once or twice a month at the diner, for dinner. Of course, the sandwich shop still made a healthy profit off of the lunch crowd. But all that was long gone now.::
RICHARD: Hello Luke...
::The old man behind the counter nods at the Admiral as he slices cheese on a shiny metal machine. The whirring blade is quiet, and it cuts through the swiss easily. The thin slices drop a few inches into a pile. Richard takes the newest piece and hands it to Luke; who accepts it with a smile and munches while he decides exactly what kind of lunch he really wants.::
MARINA: How have you been Mr. Reider?
::Marina, Richard's wife, shuffles out of the back of the restaurant. Her curly white hair bounces slightly as her chubby face smiles up at the Admiral. Luke smiles back, waving::
LUKE: Great Marina. Things are running smoothly up there!
::Reider makes a motion upward, meaning the command center; his StarFleet life.::
MARINA: What can I get for you?
::She pulls a pencil from behind her ear and pulls one of the notepads from in between the calculator and the jar of mints::
LUKE: Mmm... I think it'll be roast beef, on wheat bread, with some of that wonderful swiss Richard is slicing.
::The old man looks up and chuckles, but does not stop slicing::
MARINA: Go ahead and take a seat, I'll get it out to you in a jiffy!
::StarFleet command staff have the luxury of never paying for their food in the dome. It is all billed to StarFleet. Merchants collect their fees from SF in whatever monetary form they desire; Earth coinage, gold, etc.. Reider moves to a table, covered in a red and white checkered cloth, next to the far wall of the small deli. Looking up, he reads a framed news article from the late 20th century regarding Richard and Marina's hometown. The ambience of the dome comfort Luke. Sometimes the sterile sounds of the base can be a bit stifling::
MARINA: Mr. Reider! You have a call!
::Luke looks over at Marina. She's motioning to the back of the deli. He stands and walks to the alcove containing a small viewscreen and the doors to the lavatories. The blinking words "Incoming Transmission" can be read on the black background of the screen. Luke approaches and suddenly the face of none other than Fleet Admiral Tristan Wolf can be seen. Luke gives a toothy grin::
LUKE: Hello Admiral! What can I do for you?
::Wolf seems, as usual, perturbed about something. Of course, it could just be his contempt for Reider that was showing through. It was well known that Wolf considered Reider a "StarFleet spy", meant to catch Wolf in the act of doing something wrong. Tristan seemed to have "trouble" written all over him lately, and Wolf assumed that StarFleet was just waiting for a way to get rid of him. It wasn't true, of course. Many of the head Admirals in StarFleet thought Wolf a bitter, but dutiful officer. He had transformed 118 from a small, troubled base into a bustling center of trade. And meanwhile he had made friends with some powerful people by working on a few ultra-secret projects. Even so, hadn't been to StarFleet headquarters in years, and thus had not lately seen any reaction to his presence. Therefore, he had to assume that StarFleet was out to get him. No one ever said he wasn't paranoid.::
::Reider, on the other hand, wanted to make friends with Wolf. Wolf was his superior, and Luke had a healthy need to do his job well. He wanted peace between the two of them but Wolf was simply not forthcoming with any sign of friendship.::
WOLF: I'll be quick. I'm ready to leave DS72 --
LUKE: You're still there Admiral?! I thought you were supposed to be on your way back to the base!
::Wolf licked his teeth under his lip then cocked his head to the side a little. If there was anything that annoyed him, it was being interrupted.::
WOLF: I have been... detained by the recent events here on this base. However, I have other tasks that require my attention back at StarBase 118 and elsewhere, so I must leave immediately. I am returning on a transport ship and leaving the Freedom here. I want you to bring the Phoenix-C here and ... finish some business.
::Luke watched a sneer slide across Wolf's face like a bloated snail. It was obvious whatever this task was, it was something Wolf did not want to do and was glad to pass off to Reider::
LUKE: What business might that be, sir?
WOLF: The promotion of Captain Torrack Demma to Fleet Captain.
::Wolf makes a slight gagging noise, making Reider wonder if he is actually physically ill or just showing contempt.::
LUKE: Whatever you say Admiral. I can be at 72 within a few days.
WOLF: Good. Wolf out.
::With that, the transmission was cut. Luke's eyebrows furrowed a little of their own accord. Was it really necessary of Wolf to always be so terse?::
RICHARD: Luke, your sandwich is ready...
::Marina smiles knowingly at Luke as she sets his plate down on the table. He thanks her as he sits, just nodding. She pats him on the head gently and shuffles back behind the counter to make another sandwich...::
::With the city well below him, Reider prepares his office for his short vacation to DS72. It was going to be nice to see one of the other bases under 118's jurisdiction. And Reider had never met Demma before...::
::Captain Demma was well known as the "mis-guided do-gooder" of StarFleet. While his intentions had been admirable in the whole Alpha-Base 45 incident, he had been portrayed by Fleet media as bit of a danger to the well being of the Federation. After all, they had said, wouldn't a good officer just have obeyed the chain of command, and then taken up his complaint with the Council? Reider was still undecided on the whole matter, and refused to pass a judgement until he had talked with Demma, perhaps shared a meal with Demma. He had, after all, always wanted to try G'agh.::
::The door to his office chimes. Reider gives the command and the doors slide open, giving Dinora, Reider's wife, entry. She stands just a few inches shorter than the Admiral, with long, straight black hair. Her earthy brown dress hangs down to her ankles as she walks, one foot directly in front of the other, to Luke's desk. He grins giddily at her.::
DINORA: What's so funny big guy?
::Her face shows only a hint of a smirk::
LUKE: Just happy to see you...
DINORA: Always giggly...
::She rolls her eyes. After so many years of marriage it was still cute for her husband to become a softy around her. She walks into his arms, wrapping them tightly around the middle of his chest.::
DINORA: I want to go...
LUKE: You have your research! You can't.
::He looks down at her, pecking her quickly on the forehead. She giggles now, rubbing her hand gently up Luke's back. He conjures some words to comfort her::
LUKE: I'll be quick, I promise...
::She raises an eyebrow::
DINORA: Oh really...?
::The words escape her mouth, toying with Luke, making a pun of his words. Their eyes linger for a moment before the Admiral tells the computer to prepare the ship for departure 10 minutes later than planned...::
::With his luggage already stowed onboard the Phoenix, Luke boards empty-handed. Just five officers stand as his boarding party. The rest of the ship's officers are busy making final preparations for the run to DS72, a two day trip at full warp. Running with a skeleton crew would be easy on the Steamrunner-Wolverine class ship. The Wolverine sub-class can already operate with 35 less officers in normal mode operations. For short runs like these, though, even less than the now-standard 90 officers could suffice::
::The Admiral nods and shakes each of the officers hands individually, thanking them for their service. Being notified by the ship's temporary captain (Malcolm Lysander, the designated Captain being elsewhere for another mission) that she is ready to leave dock, the small group heads off to the bridge. Down below the final boarding of some medical and raw materials supply into the cargo bays is just being finished::
::Captain Ohlm, a fierce looking man with an angular face, accenuated by a pointy goatee, stays back with the Admiral for a moment::
OHLM: We don't expect any hold ups. The StarBase is sending word within the next few minutes of our position in the departing line up. We should be at DS72 in about 41 hours.
::Reider nods as the two walk slowly down the corridor and into the nearby lift::
REIDER: In a hurry, Captain?
OHLM: No sir. Just want to get you there as fast as possible.
::Luke had noticed a difference in the attitude of the high ranking officers towards him, and towards Wolf. In general it seemed that most were happy to go the extra kilometer for Reider when for Wolf they would have grudgingly gritted their teeth and walked away. He was thankful for the attitude of these officers; it made his transition onto the base a thousand times easier than he expected::
REIDER: Excellent. I will be in my quarters...
OHLM: Just contact the bridge if you have any requests. We have a few extra Yeoman to show you around if necessary.
::The two chuckle for a moment as Ohlm steps off the lift and onto the bridge. Reidier waits until he is deposited on the deck of his quarters. He finds them to be spacious for a ship this small, one of the very few command size quarters. All but two extra quarters and the captain's and first officer's quarters were double occupancy interior crew quarters. On a ship this small, it is necessary to conserve space.::
::The captain's voice can be heard over the crew intercom::
OHLM: =/\= All crew prepare for departure. Repeat, we have been given the go for departure. Closing airlock doors now. =/\=
::It's been a long time since Reider was on an escort ship, where intercom announcements were made as standard procedure. Moving to the window, Luke watches as the airlock tube collapses into itself just about thirty or forty feet. With just the slightest hint of movement from inside the ship, the Phoenix turns slowly towards absolutely massive docking bay doors. An Olympic class ship, probably the Braveheart, Reider notices, sweeps out into space. The Phoenix, next in the departure sequence, glides smoothly down the guideway and out of the doors. A lighted path illuminates to the left for the Phoenix as another ship banks in from the right towards the bay. Just a few moments later, the Phoenix jumps to warp::
((A 2 day tour... A 2 day tour...))
::With just a few hours left in the journey, Luke woke slowly from his dream. The sound of the Erntemaschinen over the com of the USS Crockett was sliding away from him ever so slowly::
::Outside the window above Luke's head, the stars loafed by. Glancing upward, he shivered, and then rolled over, content to stay in his bed for just a few minutes more. The haunting voice of the ERTs drifted still in his mind. Biting the inside of his lip, he moved his thougths elsewhere -- to the station they were quickly approaching. Luckily for Demma he did not have to endure a promotion to Fleet Captain by Tristan. Not that Luke thought he was anything special; but he could recognize that he was a little more pleasant than the Fleet Admiral::
::The computer speaks quietly in the silence, the sound hushed for the Admiral as his environment settings are on sleep mode::
COMPUTER: All hands, begin preliminary preparations for docking at DS72.
::Luke sat up, the sheets whispering off of his legs. The room was only slightly lit, just enough to make it easy for him to make it the short distance to the shower. Even five minutes from the dream, the memory of the dead crewmembers of the Crockett still burned an image in the retinas of the Admiral::
::Luke Reider shook his head, thought of his wife deliberately, and finished the shower. He had just enough time for a journal entry before heading off to the bridge::
LUKE: Begin log entry, Admiral Luke Cassius Reider.
::The computer sounds a small chime, letting him know it is ready. He speaks as he dresses::
LUKE: Seems like the ERTs have been on my mind lately... might be the impending anniversary of our meeting with them. 34 years ago...::he pauses:: and I only look about a month older than I did then. When will this end? When will Dinora and I swim to the banks of this eternal river of youth? Ah... we have what so many want, and yet all I want is to be done with it. To grow old with my wife, finally... to enjoy lazy afternoons in the sun, just talking. To be done with StarFleet.
::He pauses again, looking out into space, his arms crossed over his chest. He wonders for a moment just how many times he's dictated this log::
LUKE: I spoke to Patton today. He sounds melancholy. I wonder if he should stay in Olamon... in that house. Mom and Dad have been gone for too long now. Why he would want to live there, every day watching those walls peel more paint. It makes me crazy. I wouldn't mind if he came to live on 118. Dinora and I enjoy his company; but she is more worried than I. Each time I speak with him, he has less and less to say.
::Again, he pauses, this time moving to the table to gather the few things he has unapcked::
LUKE: Anyway, I look forward to meeting with Demma. I have done further research on his career and find it an interesting rise to captaincy. Getting there as a Terran isn't easy. Getting there as a Klingon is even harder. In a way I pity him. I don't think he could have ever made nice with Wolf. Wolf just isn't the kind of guy who likes a strong willed subordinate. Demma seems to have his own ideas about what is asked of him. I certainly don't condone disobeying orders, but I do foster creative thinking, of course. He will be an interesting man to meet. He has had quite an experience on DS72, dealing with the challenges of cleaning it up and getting it running at full capacity again.
::A com from the bridge interrupts, and pauses the log::
BRIDGE: =/\= Admiral, we've received a report from the station. They've been busy with a small disaster. Forwarding to your location. =/\=
::Luke skims the report, but isn't worried::
LUKE: Continue log... The station has reported in with information on their current status. Demma seems to have been involved in a situation that has left him injured. They are unsure of when he will be recovered. It's of no concern really; I can wait until he is ready. Wolf is well on his way back to the StarBase and I do not have anything of real importance scheduled for the next week or so. End log.
::Placing the luggage near the door to his quarters, Luke takes one last look around before heading off to the bridge, for arrival at the base::
::Deep Space 72 looks from the outside like it had been butchered and reassembled by space-monkeys. Luke was a little surprised at how weathered it seemed. Taking a seat next to the captain, Reider waited while the Phoenix received permission to dock. Within just a few minutes the ship was mooring and preparations were being made to disembark::
OHLM: Admiral Reider, we have been instructed that you will be met by an officer at the airlock who will show you around the station. Captain Demma is currently not available. The Phoenix is at your disposal and will be ready to leave when you are.
::The Admiral nods knowingly and follows most of the crew down to the airlock. He has decided that he will be sleeping in his quarters aboard the Phoenix to avoid having to move his things around too much::
::Stepping off the Phoenix, he finds a small group ready to greet him. He endures the usual rigamarole concerning Admirals boarding the station and all that, and awaits the grand tour of DS72::
::The yeoman was a young looking female terran. She smiled brightly and clasped her hands in front of her, crossing the right thumb over the left. Luke was pleased by how she presented herself. Too often the young members of StarFleet act, (willingly or unwillingly, Luke was still not sure) nervous and clumsy. This officer, however, was cheerful and well put together. Her curly brown hair was pulled back loosely into a pony tail, accentuating the natural curve of her face. She was indeed a beautiful young woman, and unfairly held a trump card over her less aesthetically pleasing peers.::
YEOMAN: Greetings and welcome Admiral Reider. My name is Charlene St. Clair, and I will be showing you around the station for the next few hours.
::Her name... where had he heard that name before? ... The young girl, hardly taller than Luke's shoulder, seemed to have a presence in the confined corridor. With the formalities of saluting behind them, she freely extended her hand to Reider::
REIDER: It's a pleasure to meet you madame...
::The girl grinned at this, shaking the Admiral's hand rather powerfully, but not ungracefully, for a woman her size::
ST. CLAIR: Ah, so there ARE still Terrans in this galaxy who know where my name comes from.
::Reider gave a bit of a frown::
REIDER: St. Clair? Comment on ne peut-il pas savoir qu'il est français?
ST. CLAIR: Vous parlez français?!
REIDER: Très peu, mon cher. Très peu...
::Luke extended his thumb and first-finger, making the symbol for "small" with them as he nudged her. She laughed heartily and patted him on the arm::
ST. CLAIR: That was good! You even have the accent worked out... sounds... southern?
::At this the Admiral nodded::
REIDER: Good catch! Yes, I lived in Toulon for a few months when I was younger.
::She began to walk slowly away from the airlock::
ST. CLAIR: No kidding! I was raised in Orleans, but I moved out of France when I was 17...
::The two emerged into a larger hallway::
ST. CLAIR: Ooh... I guess I should start the tour, huh?
::Reider shrugged, and smirked at her::
REIDER: I certainly won't say anything if you don't. Truthfully, I'm a little hungry. Where can we get something good to eat on this station? You can give me all the gritty details that I can't find on the computer over lunch, fair enough?
ST. CLAIR: Wonderful. I know just the place!
::Charlene looked a little wistful as she stared at the Admiral. She had so little time behind her in StarFleet, and he had decades. And yet he hardly looked a day older than 40! His whole story suddenly seemed a little overwhelming; and for just a moment she felt nervous. Nervous because she had taken the initiative to break the barrier of rank and really make an impression on the Admiral. In truth, her motivations were just a little selfish -- she hoped that the Admiral would put in the good word on her record which could help her later...::
ST. CLAIR: That's incredible. So, there's still no one that's been able to tell you what has caused this condition?
::Luke shook his head. He wiped his hands on the napkin in his lap and then placed it on the table, carefully putting the fork and knife onto the plate and pushing it away a little. Resting his forearms on the edge of the table, his apple-green eyes squinted just a little at Charlene. A swatch of honey colored hair shifted and moved down his forehead. He didn't seem to notice::
REIDER: No one yet, no... It's odd, isn't it? I mean, if I broke my arm today I could go into sickbay and the doctor could mend the bone with me barely feeling it. Two hundred years ago the pain would be enough to bring me to tears. We can bring a man back from the dead minutes after the deed has been done. We've transplanted spinal cords and we can allow the blind to see. But none of it... none of it can tell me why this hair::he pulled a few strands gently:: doesn't turn gray.
::Charlene considered putting her hand over the Admiral's for a moment. He seemed so saddened by it. She thought better of the action, considering it a little too personal::
ST. CLAIR: Do you ever see any of the other survivors?
REIDER: Well, my wife of course, is still effected by the condition.::He paused, thinking:: Truthfully I don't see any of them very often, now that I think about it. Most of them left StarFleet after the incident. They had seen enough action.::Again, a pause, as he pushed the hair back from his eyes:: It's taxing, yunno. If you were told that you would die next month, you would feel a sense of doom. When I was told I would live forever I felt a sense of vertigo; that feeling of being overwhelmed. I felt like I was standing in front of a mountain face, and as I looked up, I realized that it was not a mountain at all, but the foot of God himself. And the great being stretched on and on so far that it made me ill to think that I was so small in comparison.
::The feeling returns to his stomach as he curls his lip a little, then reconnects with Charlene's interested eyes::
REIDER: I still wonder how to feel about it. I mean, I'm just a man... but sometimes I feel like people expect more of me. It's not enough that I'm an Admiral, that I carry the lives of so many on my shoulders. But now I am a statue, unchanging, forever expected to display the values and morals of a younger time... This once I was on Earth, walking through this antique story that carried dusty books of the early 19th century. When I went to buy one of the books, the shop keeper stared at me for moment before picking the book up to inspect the price written on it. "You're that man, aren't you?" he asked. "Which man is that?" I answered with a bit of my grin on my face. I was a Rear Admiral at the time, by the way. He goes, "the captain of that ship, the Crockett... I read about you in a magazine a few weeks ago... How can you still work in StarFleet when it's changed so much..." and he looked onto his cash register as he murmured "for the worst." I didn't know what to say to him. I felt like he was looking at me, thinking that I hadn't done anything to stop the evils that had crept into the Fleet.
::Reider sighed, turning his head away from the table for a few seconds. He was unsure he wanted to continue talking about this. Sometimes his thoughts didn't come out like he wanted. He didn't think Charlene would understand what he was talking about. After all, she was a product of the "new" Fleet::
ST. CLAIR: I can't imagine what it's like to have to endure that.
::Slowly, the Admiral's face turned back to her. He couldn't remember the last time someone had said that -- "I can't imagine..." Always, it was "I understand" or something of the sort. He knew inside that they really had no idea what he was talking about; they were just being nice. Charlene, a girl no older than 24, had more hold on the intricacies of social interaction than most of his peers::
REIDER: Thank you.
::Simply said, it was enough for the both of them. The words settled between them as the atmosphere around them skittered quickly. Charlene deftly made the transition into a new topic::
ST. CLAIR: Now you know more than you ever wanted to know about Deep Space 72, and I have an enlightening look into the life of an Admiral. Are you ready to see the command center?
REIDER: That would be wonderful.
::The hallway outside of the restaurant was as busy as the rest of the base, Luke could see. Charlene stayed close to the Admiral as the two of them threaded their way through the common area. Reider leaned in for a moment to Charlene::
REIDER: So, I'd say it was pretty masterful how normal things seem around here. Even the fact that I got a guided tour seems oddly out of the ordinary, considering the recent chaos around here.::He grinned coyly:: You haven't mentioned anything about the disaster area this station was in the past few days.
::Speaking a little louder than she normally does, the girl looked up at Luke and game him a smug grin::
ST. CLAIR: I'm afraid I have no idea what you're talking about Admiral. We have been running at peak efficiency for weeks now.
::Her tone was more than just a little sarcastic. The Admiral merely nodded knowingly at her::
REIDER: Ah, I see. My mistake...
::A few moment's later, Luke's com badge chirped::
OHLM: =/\= Captain, you have a message from StarBase 118 -- it's your wife, and she says it's urgent. =/\=
REIDER: =/\= I'll take it in my quarters. Please notify her that it will be a few minutes. =/\=
::The Admiral's face dropped a little as he turned to Charlene, who had stopped to wait for the him. As usual, her fore-thought was impeccible. She immediately became all business::
ST. CLAIR: Follow me, please, Admiral.
::Turning quickly, she dodged some oncoming traffic and stopped directly outside the doors of the nearest turbolift. As the door opened, she gave Luke a few final words::
ST. CLAIR: I hope you enjoyed your tour Admiral. I have been assigned to ensuring your stay at our station is as comfortable as possible, so if you need anything else simply request the computer find me. I hope the news from your wife is not bad, sir.
REIDER: We'll talk later today to schedule my appointments while here. Thank you for the wonderful lunch.
::Stepping into the turbolift, the Admiral smiled and gave Charlene an informal salute as the doors closed::
((On the Phoenix...))
LUKE: I'm sorry it took so long... I wanted to speak with you alone and I was on the base.
DINORA: I hate to have to tell you like this Luke, but I didn't want to wait until you got back.
LUKE: It's okay, whatever it is, tell me.
DINORA: Your brother attempted suicide this morning.
::Luke blinked. Twice.::
LUKE: Where is he now?
DINORA: He's at a hospital near the house.
LUKE: What happened? Is he going to live? ... why didn't we see this coming...
DINORA: We did see it coming Luke. We just didn't know what to do. He'll be fine now. He didn't come to work today, and they called the house. Patton had apparently gone home sick yesterday, so they sent someone to check on him. Oh Luke...
LUKE: I don't want to know how he did it. Just talk to the people at the hospital and tell them that we want him on a transport for the StarBase immediately.
DINORA: Do you really think it's the best idea? You know how he loves the house.
LUKE: He only loves the house because he can't get himself out of this depression. It's the only sense of comfort he has. Since Barbara passed on... It doesn't matter. Tell them we want him coming to the StarBase. I'll send someone to pack up the house once I get back to the base.
DINORA: Alright, I'll call the hospital in a few minutes. He'll stay in our quarters until I can get him an apartment nearby.
LUKE: Thank you. I love you.
DINORA: Oh, and Luke...
DINORA: Let's make sure we get someone to take pictures, something he can use in the holodeck...
::Luke just nodded, then cut the link::
::The holodeck on the Phoenix-C was a quiet retreat from the station. In fact, most of the Phoenix herself was quiet. With only a few people aboard maintaining ship functions, the rest of the crew was off exploring DS72. Luke was all alone, and thankful for that. For the moment, he lay face up on the floor of the holodeck, arms spread wide, but not uncomfortably. The tears, instead of rolling down his cheek, now dripped out of the corner of his eyes and down his temple to the floor. He made no effort to stop them... the Admiral had long ago learned that while Vulcans found solitude in being emotionless, the Human soul required sensitivity.::
COMPUTER: Please state the program you wish to load.
::It had been ten minutes since the computer asked that last. Reider thought for a few minutes, wondering if he should just let the recording continue to request a program, or if he should actually make use of a command-locked holodeck.::
REIDER: Leave me alone...
::Charlene waited at the edge of the airlock like she had before. She appeared less cheerful this time, and more concerned::
ST. CLAIR: Hello again, Admiral.
::Luke knew it was important to put on a stoic face for the station. Regardless of how many of the crew were actually paying attention, he needed to stay together. Regardless, Luke assured himself, Patton would be okay... he had gotten through whatever it was that he had done to himself, just as Dinora had told him, and he didn't have anything to worry about now. He had a duty to StarFleet, and a number of the officers on this station, and he needed to carry that out. Knowing all this, he took a deep breath, and brightened his face just a little for the yeoman::
REIDER: Thank you for meeting me here. I'm afraid that I still don't know my way around, even after your extensive tour.
ST. CLAIR: Well, you know... it's my duty. For once it's actually my pleasure as well.
::The pair began walking down the corridor again.::
REIDER: You don't enjoy what you do?
::The girl gave an apathetic shrug.::
ST. CLAIR: I didn't really sign up for this. I thought I'd get to see a few exotic worlds before I had to settle down on a StarBase... especially one like this way out in the middle of no-where.
::The Admiral filed this away for later thought as they emerged again into the large corridor.::
ST. CLAIR: You said you wished to see Captain Demma in sickbay?
::Reider breathed it in. The smell of sterility. As the yeoman led the way, the two wandered to the back of the medical area to find Captain Torrack Demma propped up in his biobed.::
REIDER: Don't get up Captain...
::The Admiral smiled at his own joke.::
REIDER: My name is Admiral Luke Reider, I have been sent by Fleet Admiral Wolf to officially promote you to the rank of Fleet Captain. I wanted to stop by an see how you were feeling...
::Demma had just finished a com with StarFleet Command and they informed him that due to Rowie's recommendations he was going to be reinstalled as the commanding officer of the Defiance and DS72. That was when some admiral he never met before came into his room. The Admiral came up and spoke::
REIDER: My name is Admiral Luke Reider, I have been sent by Fleet Admiral Wolf to officially promote you to the rank of Fleet Captain. I wanted to stop by an see how you were feeling...
::Demma nearly choaked on his own saliva when he heard that.::
DEMMA: You've what?!
::Reider blinked, and glanced at the nurse who was standing nearby. She said nothing.::
REIDER: I've been sent by Admiral Wolf to promote you to Fleet Captain. Please tell me I haven't spoiled the surprise... that you knew about this already?
::Demma motioned to a chair.::
DEMMA: Admiral, with all due respect, 'ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?!' Fleet Admiral Tristan Wolf would never sign off on promoting me. He knows I'll do everything in my power to expose his corruption, his promoting me would only serve to give me greater access to evidence I need.
::Reider accepted the chair as Charlene stepped out of sickbay, probably to wait nearby.::
REIDER: Captain, I'm afraid I know very little of the relationship between you and the good Admiral. If you wish, I can have someone fetch a PADD with verification that I am in fact who I say I am.::Reider couldn't help but smile.:: Either way, you are to become a Fleet Captain before I leave this station.
::Torack couldn't believe what he was hearing. He was actually going to be promoted. Now the question in his mind was: why? He sat there in shock. Finally, he realized that he was leaving the Admiral hanging.::
DEMMA: I'm sorry Admiral, but this all comes as a great shock to me. To say that Admiral Wolf and myself have had a rocky relationship would be sugar coating it. I'm greatful for the pormotion and will not fight it. Wait, wouldn't that make me a Flag Officer?
::The Admiral paused for a moment, the tip of his tongue slipping out of his lips as he thought.::
REIDER: I believe so.
::Demma's brow furrowed.::
DEMMA: That is why he did it! As a Flag Officer, I'm going to be followed by security everywhere I go, Wolf is going to try to use that to annoy me to death!
::Demma and Reider laughed heartily. Luke he leaned forward, his elbows resting on his knees::
REIDER: That sounds like Wolf alright!
::Looking up at Demma, Reider's eyes narrowed as he thought for a moment. What exactly DID Wolf have in mind?... Up until this point, Reider hadn't really given it that much thought. Perhaps this came from a higher power?::
REIDER: Actually, now that I think about it, more than likely Wolf had no say in your promotion.
::Demma sat there for a second thinking about it.::
DEMMA: Why would you say that?
REIDER: Well, you said it yourself, Wolf would never do anything like this of his own volition. Perhaps you have friends in high places.
::Demma gave a snort.::
DEMMA: You know, it's hard to think that anyone would force Wolf to do something like that. However, anyway it happened, point is that I'm still going to accept it as soon as I get out of this bed. Dr. Jess, Tala, is a very bad patient but an excellent doctor. You know Admiral, I miss my days of active practice. As a captain you don't get much of a chance to practice your original skills.
REIDER: Well, I'm more than happy to wait until you are fully prepared. It's nice to get away from the StarBase every now and then... You were a doctor? That was also my field! I served on the Fearless, the Livingston, and ...::his voice fades off as his eyes wander aimlessly around the room. There is an uncomfortably long pause:: the Crockett.::Again, he pauses before continuing:: I also commanded the USS Lilith for ten years.
::Torack nodded at the Admiral.::
DEMMA: I'm sorry. I served on the Freedom, Nemesis, and SB118. Then I was given my first command. I had the Arizona.::There was some quiet.:: Do you miss it Admiral?
::Luke's eyes warm as he smiles a little::
REIDER: The Arizona, wasn't that an Ambassador class? Just like my Lilith... Yeah, I miss it a lot. .::Nodding to himself:: As bad as this sounds, I miss operating in the field... it's an amazing feeling to save someone on the battlefield.
DEMMA: I know what you mean. The Defiance, when she was the Nemesis was the most advanced ship at the time. Her SickBay was the best equiped in the fleet. I can't tell you how many times I had to do emergancy surgury on one of my crew, well, Captain Aquiss' crew. I'm rather lucky though, I have quite a few of my former crewmates with me now here on DS72.
::The Admiral sat back in the chair.::
REIDER: Most of my crewmates from the Crockett, are unfortunately deceased.::Shrugs:: I must admit I did enjoy my time as CMO, more than my time commanding. Admirality does have it advantages though...
DEMMA: Well, I'm sure it does, though I will say one thing. Captain Picard once told me that James T. Kirk gave him some advice that I intend to heed. Kirk said, 'Do not let anyone take you away from that center chair.' Although I miss my time as a CMO, I would not give one second of my time as a Captain back. Even the bad times. I take the bad with the good."
::Reider can't help but let out a chuckle::
REIDER: Wolf certainly has tried to make a lot of it bad, hasn't he? Well... let me allow you to get back to your rest. If would you like, we can schedule a dinner appointment in the next few days to formalize plans?
DEMMA: That would be very nice Admiral. Thank you for coming down here. Hopefully next time we meet it will be under better circumstances. There is a nice restraunt called Reuban's. "
::Right after Demma finished saying that Dr. Jess came back in.::
JESS: With all due respect Admiral, the Captain needs his rest.
::Demma looked over at the Admiral.::
DEMMA: I told you she was a tough cookie.::Demma laughed.::
REIDER: I'm sure Yeoman St. Clair knows of your restaurant, she can set up a reservation.
::Reider turns to Dr. Jess and salutes.::
REIDER: Yes ma'am!
::Giving a nod to Demma, Reider leaves sickbay.::