Alexander Richards/Sim Archive
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Daystrom Academy Incident
((Flashback, Daystrom Academy of Science, Paris, 2377. Day before disaster))
Doctor Fields: So as you can see class, the type VI as efficient as it is, is still not 100% efficient. Can anybody name a time based on your studies when a warp core was improved in the field?
:: As if connected psychically every member of the class raised their hands. This year's students were brighter than ever and just as studious as those who had been through before them. As well they should be. The Academy only recruited the brightest young minds in the Federation. They were after all the future would be boffins of the various prestigious institutions based around the galaxy. Even in this time of war, the Federation looked to the future of science and engineering. ::
Doctor Fields: OK. Alexander. name one from recent memory.
:: Alexander smiled as he had been selected. The other teenagers groaned with a mixture of jealousy and anger. Getting a right answer here would only boost the young man's ego more. As it was the damned thing would fill the 24 feet cubed room they stood in. ::
Richards: Certainly. In a paper for Warp mechanics it was mentioned that one Commander La Forge of the USS Enterprise D had spent time studying the mechanics of the Galaxy class warp core and in 2370 realized that it wasn't operating as efficiently as it possibly could be. He managed to increase the power conversion levels safely to a whopping 97.2%.
Doctor Fields: Very good Alexander. The SCoE were rather impressed by his results. Making a core more efficient means that the ship can travel greater distances before needing to take on more fuel. One of the key tasks of the SCoE officers and enlisted crew of the Daystrom Institute is the improvement of existing warp core systems and the designing of brand new systems for new starships.
:: Another collective sigh went out from the gathered students. If Alexander heard it, he chose to ignore it, once again to engrossed in his own little world to care about how his class mates felt about him. In his mind they didn't matter any way and in one year he would graduate and have his pick of places to go. Starfleet Academy was looking like the best bet as cadets who passed out also carrying a degree from the Daystrom Academy could request an officer internship at the Daystrom institute if they did well enough. ::
Doctor Fields: You are dismissed for today students. Remember to read up on chapter four of your warp mechanics text books. Tomorrow we shall attempt to increase the efficiency of this model and demonstrate the practical applications of warp theory and mechanics. No matter how boring :: he cast a discerning gaze at the students :: some of you might find it.
:: The class let out a collective laugh before turning and walking out. The doctor followed them leaving Alexander to stare at the core in an awe struck fashion. He imagined how one day he could be the one building.. No! Designing new, more efficient warp drives for the Federation. Hell maybe he would be the one to crack transwarp. ::
((Flashback, Daystrom Academy of Science, Paris, 2377. Morning before disaster.))
:: Alexander had a hard time sleeping that night. His excitement akin to a children waiting for their parents to wake up on Christmas morning so that they could open their presents. Today would be the day when his class would perform the power output experiment of the model warp core. The goal of the experiment would be to increase the efficiency of the core by a whopping three percent. To the untrained, or unaware, three percent seemed like a tiny amount but, when the apparatus you are working on already has a peak efficiency of 97.22 percent, a three percent increase produces a huge spike in the power produced. ::
:: Realizing that he couldn't sleep, he decided to dress himself and go back over Doctor Fields notes about how the experiment would be run. The first phase would involve shutting down the core and purging it of any and all remaining plasma before removing the plasma injection manifolds and replacing them with much larger ones. This process would take at least four of the twelve hours assigned to the experiment. According to Doctor Fields notes, it would be absolutely critical that the utmost care was taken in the installation of these new parts. The slightest mistake with the installation would result in a critical failure due to a lack of pressure. ::
:: Phase two would involve bringing the model core back up to its originally designed plasma flow levels. This was in theory, to be the easiest part of the experiment. All the class would have to do would be to monitor the flow levels as the automated start up procedure did its work. If no issues arose during this process, it would only take approximately one hour to be at peak designed efficiency. Once this point was reached, Doctor Fields would make the call as to whether to proceed on with the experiment. ::
:: The final and most critical phase would involve using the new flow regulators to gradually increase the flow of plasma into and out of the intermix chamber. Although this would be done via human input, the computer system was designed in such a way that should there be a risk of a core breach, the system would automatically terminate the experiment. Doctor Fields noted that the risk was small but that because it existed, such contingencies needed to be in place. If this theory was ever to move away from R&D and into practical uses, such emergency over rides had to be there. Everyone was well aware that the only way to describe a warp core reach, was as a catastrophic failure of the safety systems onboard a Starship. Loss of any core in such a fashion would, and had up to this point in time, led to the loss of many vessels. Tragically in some cases, involving the loss of all hands. ::
:: Everyone involved in the project knew of the risks. Everybody was aware of the possibility of failure. Alexander's mind chose in its young naivety to put it to the back of the young man's mind. Unbeknownst to him, this subconscious decision was going to lead to one of the largest disasters the Daystrom Academy had ever witnessed and leave an indelible black mark on his permanent record. Satisfied with what he had read and with 9am swiftly approaching, Alexander put the notes down and left his dorm room to begin what would be his last day at the Academy. ::
((Flashback, Daystrom Academy of Science, Paris, 2377. Day of disaster..))
:: The preparation had been completed, the experiment begun. Little by little the class would begin increasing the plasma flow to the core, hoping to succeed in raising the power levels beyond their norms. This of course was only a test on a model. If it was successful, the teams at the Daystrom Institute would spend years investigating, up scaling and testing the principle. If it didn't work it would be back to the drawing board. ::
:: Alexander found himself monitoring and regulating the new flow capacitors that had been installed. He felt great pride in having been entrusted with this part of the experiment. It was clear in his eyes that Doctor Fields saw great potential in him. Of course in reality, this probably wasn't the case. No one would ever really know, or even care why Alexander was given the task after the events that followed. All they would remember was the accident. ::
:: The experiment had been running for approximately four hours when a regulator alarm tripped in the system returning the flow of plasma in the core to normal. The gathered students and Doctor fields were dumbfounded. Everything had been going well up to that point. The doctor stepped forward and began addressing the gathered class. They hung on every word spoken and couldn't wait to hear Alexander's explanation. ::
Doctor Fields: So Alexander, what exactly happened to the system. You were the one tasked with monitoring and increasing the flow were you not?
Richards: Yes Doctor, I was. :: He cleared his throat. :: The computer began an automatic shut down of the test at approximately 4 hours and five minutes in. This was due to an anomalous reading emanating from somewhere inside the core. The computer deduced that the reaction had exceeded safety limits and was on the verge of entering an uncontrollable chain reaction. The ultimate result of such a reaction would be a warp core breach.
:: The gathered crowd all shook their heads in disbelief. Some even glared at Alexander as if to say without words 'it's your fault.' The poor young man could only try to shrink inside his shirt and hide his beetroot red face from the glaring, piercing stares. Doctor Fields again spoke up. ::
Doctor Fields: Thank you Alexander. The plan is to resume the test immediately. Our faculty staff have gone over the data received and believe that we may be able to safely overcome this barrier by slightly increasing the safety margins. Everybody back to your positions please.
:: Upon the command, the group dispersed to their various stations. Alexander didn't just doubt the assessment of the faculty staff, he rejected it outright. Even if they did increase the safety margin, that would only delay the inevitable. He took it upon himself to completely disable the safety protocols figuring that with what he had read about warp theory, and from his knowledge of Doctor fields notes, he could disable the system if things started to get out of hand. ::
:: Slowly time ticked by and the flow into the core increased beyond it's normal levels. At the four hour mark, the same time as during the last experiment, the reaction was stable and continuing to increase the core's power output. At the six hour mark, the flow had increased to nearly 1/3 more than normal. The reaction continued to be stable and power output was up nearly 2%. However, no less than three warning lights had lit up on Alexander's console. Had the safety systems been engaged, they would have begun an automated shutdown for the computer had noticed something Alexander had missed or miscalculated. Although stable, the reaction between the matter and the anti-matter was at a dangerously high level. If much more plasma were to be introduced to the chamber it would tip over and become a run away. Worse still, at this level of flow it would be too late to prevent a chain reaction by shutting off the flow. One tiny mistake, a small miscalculation, human error. That was all it had taken. ::
:: Eight hours in and it happened. Completely without warning the power levels spiked in the core and began rising exponentially. Alexander hit the kill switch on the flow regulators but it had no effect. An alarm beeped from his console as the entire test area became bathed in a flashing amber glow. Doctor Fields immediately jumped into action. ::
Doctor Fields: Alexander! Situation report?
Richards: Core has gone critical. Unable to shut it down. Computer says warp core breach in five minutes.
Doctor Fields: Evacuate the facility immediately. Notify Paris SAR of the problem. Everybody out now!
:: Richards immediately left his post as instructed. Doctor Fields calmly walked over to a panel on the wall and smashed it. Klaxons so loud they caused those present ears to ring sounded and the entire facility became bathed in red. Once outside all those present were instructed to move at least 600 meters back from the facility and not look at it. ::
:: The following minutes passed slowly as if time itself had slowed to a crawl. Then it happened. An incredibly bright flash of light, enough to permanently blind anyone who looked directly at it shot out in a sphere from the facility followed by an earth shattering explosion loud enough to temporarily deafen those within 1 km with a concussion blast wave large enough to blow out the windows of every building within 3 km. ::
:: As the dust began to settle, Alexander was physically sick. It was his fault and he knew it. The destruction in front of him was by his hands. He threw up again as the thought crossed his mind that he could be responsible for the deaths of people. White as a sheet, he collapsed, unconscious as the gravity of the situation dawned on him. One little mistake, one arrogant little mistake was all it had taken. ::
((Flashback, Daystrom Academy Incident tribunal, Paris, 2377. Two weeks after the accident.))
:: Alexander's parents had made the journey from Tycho for the tribunal. They were genuinely concerned for their son who was quite a changed man. Instead of being his normal outgoing, if a little arrogant self, he had become depressed. The accident had shaken him to the very core of his being. Thankfully, almost as if by some intervention by a divine power, no one had been killed. That was little solace to the teenager though. He had caused this disaster. He had injured so many of his class mates and the faculty. He was very much aware that the results of the inquest would have an effect, if not determine his future. ::
:: When he saw his parents, he rushed over to them and wept uncontrollably. Primarily because of the gravity of the situation he now found himself in but also because of the feeling of failure he felt inside. His parents had educated him in the scientific fields his whole life. They were the ones who gave him his thirst for the sciences and his love of practical experiments. Not only had he failed himself, he had failed them. That was heart breaking. His parents did not speak. They held him in a tight embrace, rubbing his back and hair trying to comfort the emotional wreck that lay before them. They could not understand how the accident could have happened. How could a student be able to deactivate the safety systems on such a dangerous device? Why was their son, and not Doctor Fields stationed at such a critical post? They knew the Academy was for the bright and gifted, the future experts of their fields but placing students of that age in control of such a critical and dangerous experiment. Surely that was an oversight at best, and at the worst, negligent. ::
:: Alexander had refused to give any verbal evidence to the tribunal. Instead he had written a ten thousand word summary of the events leading up to and after the experiment. The tribunal had accepted this based solely on the fact that Alexander was not well enough emotionally to take the stand. Three days after his evidence had been read, they were being called back in for the conclusion. The tribunal were about to give their ruling on the accident. ::
Security Guard: Richards Family?
Gary Richards: :: Looking up. :: That's us.
Security Guard: :: Keeping a neutral expression. :: The tribunal is about to give their closing remarks and recommendations. If you would like to follow me please.
:: No member of the family gave a verbal response. Gary simply nodded at the Security Guard and broke the huddle. Harriet continued to mop around her son's eyes to try to clear up the tears that had soaked his face. Alexander's expression was blank. He tried his best to contain his emotions but it was proving to be very difficult, taking up most of his remaining mental strength. What little of it there was that is. The Security Guard ushered the family into the public viewing area. The room itself was small with enough space to seat a maximum of fifty people. Today it was full and standing. This made Alexander feel claustrophobic and uncomfortable. When they entered the room he felt like every pair of eyes were staring at him, piercing directly into his soul. It was clear who the families of the other students blamed for the accident. Once everybody was in the room, the doors were locked and the session called to order. Owing to the nature of the tribunal, the FNS were required to wait outside for official reports. This was of little comfort to Alexander. ::
Marcus Daniels: If I could have your attention please. We here at the tribunal, after assessing all the evidence give have managed to reach a narrative verdict on the accident. We will now proceed to present that verdict to those of you gathered. This verdict will be followed by a list of recommendations that we feel must be implemented immediately by the Daystrom Academy.
:: The man sat down. Without even waiting for a cue, a woman, probably in her mid to late sixties stood up to address the crowd. Her expression was neutral, as it had been during the entirety of the hearing. She spoke in a calm tone with a broad English accent. Alexander would later find out that she was a senior representative of the Daystrom Institute. ::
Maria Hepworth: Two weeks ago this day, at approximately 17:07 hours, a catastrophic chain reaction in a model of a type VI warp core resulted in a warp core breach causing extensive damage to the Daystrom Academy of Science and the surrounding area. Although it would be easy for this tribunal to single out one person as the cause of this disaster. :: She located and looked directly at Alexander before continuing. :: It would be reckless and irresponsible of this tribunal to do so given the evidence we have been presented with over the past few days.
:: She looked down to the desk in front of her locating and picking up her glass of water. She took a long drink before placing the glass back on the table, clearing her throat and continuing. ::
Maria Hepworth: Instead, what we have come to find is that a series of events came together in such a manner as to cause this accident. If the matter were not as serious as it is, you could almost call the chain of events a comedy of errors. I will now list in order the tribunals understanding of the chain of events.
:: Alexander sunk lower and lower in his chair as the woman read off each event leading to the disaster one at a time. He was surprised at how the focus seemed to be on the faculty and not the students, or rather himself. As each event was read out, gasps could be heard from different sections of the gathered crowd. Then came the critical event. Although up to this point the tribunal had refrained from blaming Alexander, they had no choice but to here. ::
Maria Hepworth: Finally, although it was not, and should never be considered his fault that the safeties could be disengaged completely; This tribunal can not overlook the fact that the decision by Master Alexander Richards to turn off the safety systems ultimately led to the catastrophic chain reaction. It was this action that provided the final catalyst for the breach and completed the sorry chain of events. It is therefore the decision of this tribunal that Master Richards be held just as responsible for the accident as any of the aforementioned faculty including but not limited to Doctor Fields and his associates.
:: Alexander buried his head in his hands and wept. Somewhere deep inside, he had already known that this would be the case, but he had always held out the slimmest chance, especially during the summarizing that he would be absolved of any blame. His parents had always expected the worst and were relieved, at least as much as one could be, that the tribunal hadn't put the blame solely on his shoulders. The woman sat back down to be replaced by another man, much younger than her, probably in his mid to late thirties. ::
Michael Roberts: It is the recommendation of this tribunal that Master Alexander Richards be expelled from the Daystrom Academy of Science effective immediately for his part in the accident. Furthermore, Master Richards is to be permanently disbarred from anything relating to the Daystrom Institute. There will be no appeal allowed on this decision given the gravity of the accident.
:: Alexander continued to weep. As he saw it, his future was ruined. The event would leave a permanent, indelible black mark on his record and probably haunt him for the rest of his life. He was too upset to pay attention to the rest of the recommendations from the tribunal. He would later learn that Doctor Fields and several of his top assistants were fired from the Academy and stripped of their credentials. History would record that in their thirst for efficiency and thus fame, they had been recklessly blind to the dangers. It would also note that Master Richards was an unfortunate bright young man who became a casualty of that thirst. That would be of little comfort to Alexander though. Even to the modern day, he carried that bugbear around with him. It wasn't really until he met Commander Rahman that he began to let go of his past. She had looked past his history and trusted him with her engineering department, something he would never forget. ::
(( CRR, USS Mercury ))
:: In the hour before the away teams left, Aron left the operations of the bridge to Alex and retired to his ready room. In truth, he wanted to be on one of those teams, but it seemed that the job was going to come first: He had a backlog of status reports he needed to review regarding the Jaborrhik project; he'd just received new information regarding the Isharkian shards from Didrik Stennes; and Starbase 118 was still requesting a brutally detailed report of his incarceration on Valdor III, as well as any information he had regarding the unknown telepath they had picked up there. It seemed that the Mercury was becoming a haven for lost things: unfinished Borg Queens, sentient computer viruses, a crate full of kittens, and now a weaponized telepath. He almost sighed, but the door interrupted him as it announced the presence of Ensign Richards. ::
Kells: Yes, come in.
:: He found himself fond of Richards, as he could relate to the man: A strange position and a chieftainship almost forced upon him, as it had been upon Aron once many years ago. But Aron had been a scientist, trained and awkward, whereas Richards had some but not all of the necessary background. Problems were sure to occur, but the one that he'd reported to Aron seemed a step larger than he should've had to field. ::
Kells: Have a seat, Ensign, have a seat. Now, I've read your preliminary reports, and I understand that we have some faulty code?
Richards: Yes sir. The entire Science module seems to be afflicted with obsolete LCARS code that is interfering with the reliability of some systems and the efficiency of all of them. No systems are below StarFleet standard operational levels however I am concerned that this may only be for the meantime.
Kells: But it's not hardware, it's software?
Richards: Yes sir.
Kells: Well, thank the Architect for that. Code we can rewrite by hand if we need to, but replacement parts would not come cheaply out here. What's the extent of the problem?
Richards: As I've said, the problem currently extends to all systems and sub systems software. Unfortunately, it's not the same code in every system. The major problem for now is that to identify and patch out the code requires a level 1 diagnostic to be run. Under normal circumstances, this should only take a few hours to complete but because my team is having to be more thorough, it is going to take much longer. The next system on the list is the Mercury's scientific sensor palettes with my team estimating each palette taking up to 4 hours to work on. That means that the Mercury will be at 66% sensor capacity for approximately 12 hours.
Kells: I see.
:: This was not what he wanted to hear. Running at partial sensors meant that they'd effectively lose their senses, or at least a couple of them, and that would not be beneficial to surveying the station. ::
Kells: I know you're going over to the station, but who do you have working on the problem?
Richards: Cadet Stone and Crewman T'Lex. T'Lex is primarily a Stellar Cartographer but she is a graduate of the Vulcan Science Academy and thus has a massive knowledge of most things scientific. Cadet Stone came on board for her Cadet cruise with high praise from the Academy Commandant on StarBase 118. Her record is impeccable and her devotion to her studies and her field would embarrass several officers. I have faith in their abilities but feel they are being hampered by a lack of available staff to assist.
Kells: Yes? Good. I'll try and get some engineers to help -- Chief Walker should prove useful -- and I'll go down myself and see if I can't speed things up.
:: It wasn't very often that an officer witnessed a Captain wanting to get hands on. Then it stuck him. He remembered reading a PADD about his captain and his background when he came on board. The man was a man of science much like he had been in his early life. ::
Kells: We need the sensors back up, Mr. Richards -- and besides, I may not be an engineer, but computer code is very similar to genetic code, just with different symbols. I'll be able to handle myself.
Richards: Do you miss it sir?
Kells: I will-- what?
:: Aron had forged ahead with such momentum that he didn't realize, until he'd already begun speaking, that Richards had asked him a question very different from that he had expected. ::
Richards: I mean is there ever a time you wish you were back in my shoes rather than sitting in the chair?
:: Aron took a breath. Another. The truth, then: ::
Kells: Yes. Every day. Sometimes every hour. I can keep involved, but....
:: Aron slapped his hands down on the desk. ::
Kells: There's usually a desk between me and what I want to do. Not always, and I'd rather this was one of those times. ::
:: One thing he had learned from his family was that you could take the man away from his science, but you couldn't take science away from the man. ::
Richards: I've been meaning to ask you something since the party on 118 sir.
:: He paused, inviting the Captain to ask the question. ::
Kells: Go on, then.
Richards: It's about why you chose me for this position sir, especially after what happened on Valdor III.
Kells: Ah. That. Ignore the last mission. I mean, don't ignore it, but we'll come back to that. About your background: I knew you were the right one because you question, and you've been around. I've fielded my share of myselfs out here: Young scientists, straight from the Academy, eager to prove themselves. But you -- no, you've been in Starfleet before; you've served in three different divisions; you have a family. You're tempered.
Richards: :: Feeling a little uneasy. :: So you chose me for the position based on merit despite my record. I did resign from StarFleet after all sir. I still can't get my head around this decision though. It is incredibly rare for an Ensign to be made acting chief of any position except maybe communications or helm on a starship. Was there more to Valdor III and my actions there that shaped your choice?
:: Aron cocked his head away from Richards, and looked out the window. ::
Kells: Yes, let's talk about the planet. Maybe it did play more of a role in helping me decide than I'd like to admit. You know that Lieutenant Wulfantine bore the responsibility for the away team's actions. But I paid attention to what you did. You are hard-headed, Mr. Richards; you leapt without looking; you were stubborn and active. And this is a science ship without a chief science officer. Look, already! You've gone head-to-head with Kvitova and faced down your first crisis in code.
Richards: Ah yes, the good Captain. I didn't recognize the name at first. He seemed OK with Science being my department although the rank issue does make me feel uneasy. As for the code crisis. Well, that could have happened to any section. I'm just lucky that the limited crew I have available at this time are incredibly competent. I expect cadet Stone to be ready for her final exams within 6 months at her current work levels.
:: Richards took a moment to pause and to allow the captain to digest what he had said. ::
Richards: You said I was tempered sir. I still thought myself as gun-ho, arrogant and a little wet behind the ears.
Kells: You *are* tempered in some ways, yes, but still fiery enough to be the advocate for the science department I need here. Now. What else is there?
Richards: :: Pulling out a PADD. :: I just need you to sign off this list of new scientific components to be moved over to Deep Space Ten and installed including an updated Federation Sensor relay and its Palettes. I put the request in for the parts before we departed having reviewed the stations current capacity and it's specifications. Nothing too fancy, but enough to help turn the station into a strategic hub of some significance in the area.
Kells: We could definitely use such a thing out here. Let me see -- ah, yes. There, Mr. Richards: Approved. It *is *nice to be able to avoid the bureaucracy on such things out here.
Richards: Yes sir. Oh and sir, I know it is against the regulations and by rights you could put me in the brig for this but I obtained a bottle of Romulan ale on StarBase 118 from my ex employer. I have absolutely no intention of drinking it though I thought it might make a meeting with Captain Kvitova go slightly smoother. I gathered from my brief meeting with him that he enjoys the finer things in life. Besides, if you don't wish to waste it on Kvitova you could always store it for a special occasion, Captain's privilege and all that.
Kells: An excellent idea, and one that may prove necessary if Kvitova's less than forthright about his reasons than I'd like. I have Captain Reynolds working on him now, though, and (beat) well, if she doesn't have much success, then it might be worth just as much to beat him over the head with the ale as it would be to have him drink it, if you know what I mean. But at all events, I think I'll accept. Though if I suggest you have a drink with me, neither you nor I know where the libations come from, clear?
Richards: :: With a knowing smile. :: Yes sir. Next time I shall graciously refuse the offer. My wife, Marissa, knows where it is located. She is a scientist herself. :: He laughed realizing something. :: You know it's funny. Your career progression reminds me of that of my Grandfather. He was the Captain of the *Tycho* many years back until she went missing near the Cardassian border. They never found the ship, or any signs of a battle though it was assumed destroyed by a Cardassian patrol ship.
:: He paused. he realized he was babbling now and that both men had a job to be doing. ::
Richards: Sorry sir, I'm beginning to babble on about irrelevant things and we both have jobs to be doing. I should be going.
Kells: Yes, I'm sure you have much to do to prepare for your trip to the station.
Richards: Aye sir. Thanks for the talk, I needed that if I'm honest. Valdor III and the consequences of the mission and my actions were weighing heavily on my mind. You've put me slightly more at ease, as did Lieutenant Trel'lis and Lieutenant Wulfantine.
Kells: Then I've done my job. But do feel free to see me whenever you like, Mr. Richards. We're a long way from the Federation out here, and we need all the community we can get. But for now, dismissed. And good luck.
((Lt Richards’ Quarters: Starbase118 Ops))
:: The more Alexander dwelled on things the more he realized he had been very slow to make friends on the Starbase. Sure he had colleagues who he could consider acquaintances but no one he could really call friend. Disappointing as this was to him, he had no one to blame but himself for this turn of events and resolved to rectify the situation over the coming months. After all a strongly bound crew made for a strong team. And a strong team made over coming the stresses of Starfleet life that much easier. ::
:: The young man’s mind changed to thoughts of friends he had had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of during his time in the fleet. First and foremost in his mind was Eyas Wulfantine, the loveable, tall, Pythron male whom he had once broken the nose of. The last he had seen of the affectionate lug was following the classified mission to Pythro by the crew of the Mercury. Had Alexander been so wrapped in his own world that he hadn’t spoken to the big guy in nearly a year now? ::
Richards: oO Impossible! Oo
:: He thought to himself, trying to set his mind at ease over not having spoken to the man who had risked his life for him once, and taken the proverbial bullet when a ‘simple’ rescue mission became all fouled up after Alexander fired upon a group of Klingons without orders to do so. ::
Richards: oO No more excuses Alexander. it’s about time you caught up with Eyas. The man has been through far more than you could ever imagine. Oo
:: With his wife currently working her shift in the expansive science department on the Starbase and John at preschool Alex reasoned he had plenty of time to make the call from the family apartment. Rolling himself away from his desk and into the living room, he moved towards the domicile’s communication device and made the request to operations to be put through to Pythro. ::
::Eyas lay motionless on his bed. The tubes and wires that punctured his skin, and fed into his open mouth made it all but impossible to move even if he was able. The pain was not as bad now as it had been when he’d first arrived home. The massive wound in his flank caused by the disruptor being fired at almost point blank range had more or less healed, thanks almost entirely due to the Borg nanites that filled his bloodstream, but such resurrection came at a cost. A cocktail of drugs was needed to sustain his vital organs. Thankfully, since the counter coup on Pythro V, that Eyas and the crew of the Mercury had been a part of the year before, he was able to receive the best medical attention his homeworld could offer. Had he’d been injured during the previous administration, All Eyas could have expected was a bullet through the head.::
::In the corner of the room, Eyas’ mother sat patiently, reading a book. She had barely left his side since his broken body was flown back to Pythro. She looked over at him and smiled. Eyas could do little except wince back.::
Solara Wulfantine: Do you want anything dear?
::Eyas swallowed, painfully, to clear his mouth of the buildup of phlegm caused by the tubes.::
Eyas Wulfantine: A little.. water.. mother.
::Solara attended to her son’s needs. As she did so, the vid-screen in the corner of the room, normally used for showing Eyas a variety of classic Pythron cinema to keep him from dying of boredom, pinged with an incoming call. Solara gently disconnected the mouth tube, as the Doctor had shown how to do properly, and then gently tipped the cup onto Eyas’ lips, a few drops at a time, to allow him to drink. Only once she’d done that did she go over to the console and answer the call. A face appeared she didn’t recognise, but Eyas’ eyes flashed with recognition.::
Richards: My apologies for not calling ahead. My name is Lieutenant Alexander Richards of Starfleet. I’m trying to get in touch with an old friend, Eyas Wulfantine. I was told that you were the point of contact.
::Solara looked over her shoulder to her son, and saw his face lift a little.::
Solara Wulfantine: Yes, Eyas is with me. I am his mother, Solara Wulfantine. As you may know, my son was badly injured on his last mission.
Richards: I am very sorry to hear that. How has he been coping?
::Solara gave Eyas another quick glance. He was being so brave, but the prognosis was not good. She dare not tell him though.::
Solara Wulfantine: He is being wonderful. As strong as his father during the wars, but he has to stay here and rest for now.
:: This concerned Alexander. Eyas despite being the lovable lug of the group, was always full of courage and honor. He was the first man into battle and the last man off the field. Alexander had always admired the way Eyas dealt with his former medical condition that caused him to revert into a monstrous lizard during times of extreme stress or when exposed to various environmental conditions. To hear he was incapacitated was upsetting. ::
Richards: Before I speak to your son, what can you tell me about the situation on Pythro now? Have things changed for the better or are the problems still ongoing?
::Solara sighed and looked down at the ground. The situation had been turbulent to say the least. Her own imprisonment under the terror of Inquisitor General LeNoir had been bad enough, and it was only thanks to the efforts of Eyas and his friends that she was free.::
Solara Wulfantine: It is common knowledge I believe that the Inquisitor fell from favour here on Pythro and President J’Eyga called the bulk of the army back from Byzatium. Things are more peaceful now, and my family is no longer under censure. However, the Inquisitor never truly left the scene and is now Viceroy in the Occupied Territories. The war goes on. So much needless suffering on both sides.
:: Alexander could understand the woman’s fear and hesitation to speak about such things. From the parts of the mission he had been able to read about and previous conversations with Eyas, Solara had been through a lot over the past several years and there was still a threat that things could get worse before they got better. Finally, Eyas was ready to take the call. Alexander decided he would thank the man’s mother for her time before conversing with his old friend. ::
Richards: Thank you for your time Mrs Wulfantine.
:: Nothing could prepare Alexander for the sight he was about to witness. It certainly put his own disability into perspective and showed just how much the young Pythron had sacrificed for his world and his mother. It took all of his inner strength not to cry at what he was seeing. He opened his mouth to speak, the shaking and low volume of his voice betraying his current feelings. ::
Richards: Eyas my old friend. I knew you had been injured but nobody ever told me how bad it really was. :: Alexander took a long pause trying to regain his composure. :: The sacrifices you have made for your mother and your people. :: Another pause as he began to choke up with tears, finally letting go. :: It should serve as an inspiration to all of us who know you.
::Eyas’ once full and healthy features were now very emaciated. His long lustrous hair, was lank and matted, or at least the bits that hadn’t already fallen out. His injury may only have been to his torso, but the recovery process from what would have killed a man not swimming with nanite blood was not much better than death itself. Eyas’ hoarse croaked voice almost gurgled out of his throat.::
Eyas Wulfantine: Alex… my friend.
::Eyas tried to raise his head, but had neither the strength, nor the freedom of movement to do much.::
Richards: :: Wiping the stream of tears from his eyes with his left sleeve. :: I’m sorry my old friend. I am truly sorry. :: He took a deep breath and cleared his eyes again. :: You never deserved any of this. You were only doing the right thing. I would argue until the cows come home, as we humans say, with anyone who said this was a result of your own selfish pride or arrogance. :: Pausing again, this time to think very carefully of his next words. :: You did what had to be done, what any man or woman in your situation would have done. We :: Another choke. :: That is to say your friends only traveled with you because we believed in the whole of your cause. You know as I said then that but for my disability I would have been right there with you.
:: Alexander took a much longer pause this time as he welled up again and began to wail. ::
Richards: If only I hadn’t had that accident, maybe I could have prevented what happened whilst you were serving on the vigilant. Maybe I could have saved you from this fate. :: Again the young man paused fighting back tears trying to calm himself.
:: I feel terrible for having ever felt sorry for my current situation old friend. Hell, I still feel sorry for doubting myself when I look at what you and others have achieved. :: He stopped himself :: But telling you this isn’t going to brighten your mood and all things considered is rather selfish of me.
:: Richards finally managed to regain control of his emotions enough to stop crying. Though he was still visibly distressed. ::
::Eyas saw his friend’s sadness. Eyas didn’t want nor deserve anyone’s sorrow. He had pushed Major Handley-Page out of the way of the phaser blast by choice. He was just doing his duty.::
Eyas Wulfantine: Don’t… cry…. Alex.
::Solara wiped a cold damp cloth over her son’s forehead. It was really the only thing she could do for him right now.::
Richards: It’s hard old friend. Call it a human weakness if you will but we tend to find it very difficult to see our friends in difficult, heart breaking situations. However I can rest easy knowing that despite your condition, you have your mother to look after you and it is quite obvious her love for you is as deep as yours for her.
::Eyas managed a slight smile, his cracked lips bending as best they might.::
Eyas Wulfantine: ::coughing:: You.. all… right?
Richards: I can’t complain about my situation old friend. Especially not in front of you. Currently serving as the assistant chief science officer of Starbase 118. Of course I’m defacto department head at the moment as the base still hasn’t had a new chief assigned. Has anybody else been in contact with you from the fleet? I would hate to think I was the only person to have contacted you since your current situation arose.
::Eyas blinked, slowly. There had been a few calls, but not as many as he’d hoped. It was a big galaxy, and people were busy, he guessed.::
Eyas Wulfantine: No… but good to….. see. you, old … friend.
::Eyas had to pause as another coughing fit struck him. Solara moved over to mop up the phlegm.::
Eyas Wulfantine: Ops? Depart..ment head? Good. Maybe.. you visit... me?
Richards: As far as I have come as a person old friend, I still yearn for the glory days of old. The tales we could tell of adventures we had in the short time we served with each other. I will have to come and see you at some point this year. I know the entire region of space around Pythro is still unstable but, some things are worth taking risks for. Though I doubt Starfleet would be too impressed if my presence on Pythro caused any unnecessary trouble.
:: Alex shuffled in his chair to prevent his lower back from going numb. He still found it difficult to look at his old friend but the more he talked, the easier it was becoming to come to terms with the gravity of his situation. ::
::Eyas noticed, even in his slightly blurred vision, that Alex was looking slightly fidgety. Eyas remembered Alex had been injured during the battle of Deep Space Ten. The two men had lost contact to a more or less greater degree since their respective transfers, but Eyas was concerned for his friend. Was he still in a wheelchair, almost a year later?.::
Eyas Wulfantine: Alex… your legs? You… not better?
:: The question Alex had hoped his old friend wouldn’t ask finally came up. It would have been one thing to tell a proud Eyas Wulfantine at the peak of health that he was still disabled, but in his current condition. Alexander knew the Pythron male would find it upsetting. ::
Richards: oO Of all the questions. it had to be that one. Oo
:: Alexander took a long pause as he composed himself to answer the question. He wasn’t quite sure how to voice his current situation without causing Eyas unnecessary stress and anguish. ::
Richards: Despite a good prognosis after the initial incident on Deep Space 10 my old friend, relatively little has changed. I am due for another meeting regarding my current condition with Starbase 118’s resident CMO, Lieutenant Commander Solok but in all honesty I don’t hold out much hope.
:: Another long pause. This time to dwell on the reality of the situation. It wasn’t as if Starfleet medical had been dragging their heels over the situation. Medical scientists on Earth, Starbase 118 and other notable institutions had been researching his ailment. ::
Richards: But whatever happens I know my family and colleagues will always be supportive of me.
::Eyas was saddened. It looked like the two of them had more in common than just a uniform and a shared adventure.::
Eyas Wulfantine: I am.. sorry.. for you, Alex.
::He coughed again, a little blood being brought up.::
Eyas Wulfantine: Any hope… for cure?
:: A very difficult question to answer. Alexander had to keep hoping for a cure but the longer he was waiting, the smaller the chances became. ::
Richards: I have to keep hoping my old friend. The best Starfleet has to offer is working on my case. If there is a cure, they will find it. How about you Eyas. Is there ever a chance of you recovering?
:: Alex was almost 99% sure he knew the answer already but had to ask. Eyas’ eyes narrowed at the word *chance*. In truth, he had been told relatively little from his Doctors.::
Eyas Wulfantine: I don’t… know. I just take… it.. hour by hour.
:: And there was the confirmation of his worst fears. Alexander couldn’t shake the feeling that the universe had done his friend a great injustice but at the same time he knew Eyas wouldn’t have it any other way. His actions had saved a fellow officer from what would almost certainly have been a fatal disruptor blast. Brave and courageous as always. Before Alexander could ask another question Solara once again appeared in front of the main view screen. ::
Solara Wulfantine: I am sorry Mr Richards, but Eyas must rest. It was great of you to call.
:: As much as Alexander wished to spend more time speaking with his friend he understood Solara’s position. He was grateful for the time she had been able to give him. ::
Richards: I understand Mrs Wulfantine. Thank you for allowing me this time with your son.
Solara Wulfantine: It is no problem. Please do call again.
::Eyas blinked and smiled.::
Eyas Wulfantine: Good bye… Alex.
:: And with that, the line of communication was closed. Alex shed another tear, resolving that next time he wouldn’t leave it so long between communications. He also put it into his mind that he would get to Pythro before the year was out to pay his friend a visit. Of course he was well aware that might be easier said than done given the current political climate there. ::
::Solara mopped Eyas’ brow once again, hoping the effort of talking hadn’t hurt him too much. Reluctantly, she replaced the tube into his mouth and throat, and kissed him on his forehead.::
::: Finally, after having spent several minutes in front of the blank monitor Alexander began to roll himself away towards the kitchen. Before the elementals had attacked the station, Marissa had managed to source some amazing coffee beans from one of the stations many arboretums. He didn’t bother to ask exactly what there genus was. He probably wouldn’t have cared about it anyways. All he knew was that they made a far better coffee than anything the replicator was able to produce. ::
:: The surfaces in the Richards apartment were specially adapted so that Alexander (and by extension, his son, John) could use them. He took his freshly brewed drink and placed it in a cup holder on his lap before turning to face the door and gently rolling himself towards his study. January meant crew evaluations were due and he had a rather large department to oversee. Of course this meant putting in extra hours beyond his normal shift pattern but, it didn’t bother him. He would rather be working than spending his free time alone and bored. ::
:: As he picked up the next PADD his mind wandered back to his old friend Eyas and his current state. Seeing him like that had reminded Alex just how short and precious life was and just how important friendships are. As he browsed Ensign Ireya Ilwary’s file with a smile he resolved to contact both Lieutenant Commander Roshanara Rahman and Lieutenant Commander Velana to catch up with them. It really had been too long since his accident and subsequent departure from the USS Mercury since he last talked with either of them. ::
((CSO's office, Deck 6, USS Gemini))
:: As with all modern Starship layouts, it was rather easy to locate the office amongst the various laboratories. Nestled away in the center of the deck virtually opposite the turbolift exit sat the entrance to the small, unassuming yet cosy office that was almost to clean to be true. Untouched by anyone except the team responsible for building and decorating the interior of the vessel it was a marvel to look at. Alexander paused for a brief moment as he guided his chair through the doors. Yes he had been a chief science officer before but this was different. He was the first chief science officer of the Gemini, the first to use this office, the first to command it's science department. For the first time in his life he felt like he was making an impression, leaving a footprint in history if you will. As he moved towards his new desk, inhaling the various smells in his office he couldn't help but feel a sense of pride. A few years ago he had been prepared to give all of this up and walk away. He was now glad that he hadn't. For the first time since coming back to Starfleet he felt like he truly belonged, like he had earned the right to be where he was and that renewed his sense of duty. ::
:: Once behind his desk he connected his chair to the main terminal and began the procedure to synchronize it's LCARS system with the Gemini's. This would allow him to wirelessly access the ships scientific systems from anywhere on the ship and at any time as long as the system was active. The actual process was akin to changing a work station on the bridge or in main engineering to access specific functions for instance, changing a science station to an engineering station or vice versa. The chair also provided an advantage in that Alexander would be able to remotely oversee operations in the science labs without physically being there saving precious space in the labs themselves. Of course there would be times when it would be both prudent and necessary for him to have a physical presence in the labs but he hoped these would be few and far between. He was really more set on having the opportunity to participate in away missions. However, given his physical disability he was more than aware that safety of both himself and the away team might preclude him from participating. Then again, that was why the Gemini had a rather large science department for a ship her size. It was rare after the dominion war to see a small multi-role cruiser devote an entire deck (minus the space for crew quarters) to science but at the same time, heart warming a reassuring that Starfleet were returning to the old ways. ::
:: With the synchronization complete, Alexander took another deep breath to admire the scents of the brand new before departing his office and heading across the hall to the turbolift. He was faced with a decision. Did he go up to deck five to see his new living accommodation or down to deck 7 to look at a brand spanking new Engineering department and maybe peak a glimpse at the Quantum slipstream drive. Curiosity got the better of him as his mind gradually dawned on the realization that he might not get a chance for a long while to see the QSD once the vessel was underway. Entering the lift he made the request for deck 7 and enjoyed the very short trip down. Upon leaving the lift he was greeted with the hustle and bustle one would expect from an Engineering department. His mind very briefly wandered to his first introduction to the Engineering department back on the USS Mercury and the mess it was because of the terrorist bombs. The image quickly shattered when he remembered that he was only still alive because the bomb on the matter-anti matter injectors failed to go off. ::
((Deck 7, Main Engineering, USS Gemini))
:: Alexander very slowly made his way past the enlisted crew quarters to main Engineering and it was a sight to behold. The 'Warp Core' had a very different layout to most other ships, almost being as unique as the design on the Prometheus class vessels. That design of course allowed for the use of Multi-Vector Assault Mode. Looking past the normal items one would expect to find in a starship's main engineering section, Alexander saw what he was looking for and was, for lack of better term underwhelmed. The name Quantum Slipstream Drive evoked a sense of grandeur but the reality was that the device was nothing more than a sleek, efficient addition to the normal warp core. Alexander mused how the Vulcan's or even Pandora would be most impressed with its design. With his curiosity dealt with, it was high time looking at his chronometer to inspect his quarters before the ship set off. ::
((Deck 6, Alexander Richards Quarters, USS Gemini))
:: Alexander found his quarters to be most satisfactory. As he entered he was greeted with a rather spacious living room containing several potted plants from various Terran locations. To the left hand side was a large desk with enough room to fit his chair under whilst on the right he had a port looking out towards the moon. He mused to himself that one of the many advantages of being a department head was getting the best picks on quarters outside of the Captain and first officer ones. The center piece of the room was a large six foot fish tank raised off the floor on a plinth containing various small fresh water species' from Earth. The fish certainly weren't as welcoming as Nova and Nebula, his family's Ragdoll cats were, but at least he was able to keep pets to keep him occupied on those long lonely nights away from his family. ::
:: Satisfied that he had taken in everything in the living room, Alexander moved on to his bedroom. As he had requested, it was Spartan. Unlike the living room, there were no decorations to speak of. At one end lay a single bed with a space to park his hover chair whilst at the rear was a dresser filled with uniforms. Located next to the dresser was the entrance to his specially adapted bathroom. The room was very much like a wet room commonly found in the houses of the physically disabled in late 20th, early 21st century Earth. This would enable him to bathe properly without the need for assistance. As with the bedroom, there was a space set aside for his chair next to equipment that would enable him to enter and exit the vehicle without assistance. A broad smile crossed the young man's face as he appreciated just how much work Starfleet had done to make him feel both comfortable and safe in his new surrounds. The Captain's voice on the intercom interrupted his train of thought. It was time to depart which meant his place was with his fellow scientists. Taking a deep breath, the young man gracefully moved his bulky chair back through his apartment and out into the corridor feeling ready for the trials that lay ahead. ::
A Brief Pause
((Bridge - USS Gemini))
:: The sight of the away team returning filled the screen bringing much relief to all present on the bridge. This mission had been destined to be difficult from the moment they received their orders. With the Klingons gone, there were certainly now more questions than answers, all of which would probably be asked time and time again by the admiralty over the coming months and possibly years. Alexander placed his hand to his mouth as he yawned. Allowing himself a brief moment to relax. It had been one of those days. A long shift that had worked his mind to its absolute limits and beyond. Soon he would be able to get some much needed rest. Lieutenant Driscoll contacted him breaking him momentarily from his daydream. ::
Driscoll: =/\= Astrometrics to Lieutenant Richards. We also monitored that the Klingons warped out and disappeared from our sensors. However, we put all the data we got from that Bird of Prey together including the readings of its warp configuration. =/\=
Richards: oO Outstanding. Oo =/\= Excellent work Lieutenant. Can you send the data up to the bridge. I would like to go over it. =/\=
Driscoll: =/\= Yes, Sir. Sending it to Starfleet might help other ships as well to trace down that specific Bird of Prey. =/\=
Richards: oO Considering this, to my knowledge is her first posting as a science officer, she's done a damned fine job. Oo =/\= A wise thought Lieutenant. I shall discuss it with Commander Frost once we are safe, well and underway. =/\=
:: Alexander could hear Lieutenant Rejock in the background. Both officers had done well and Alexander was humbled to be able to lead two fantastic scientific minds. He hoped with the utmost sincerity that the others in his department he had yet to meet were even half as good as them. ::
Driscoll: =/\= Should be on your console any second, Sir. =/\=
Richards: =/\= I have it Lieutenant. You and Lieutenant Rejock should finish up down there and get some well deserved and hard earned rest. Richards out. =/\=
Tracy: Sir, the Wyoming is signalling that they have a transfer order for us.
:: New arrivals. Something the Gemini was in desperate need of. He hoped that the ships chief Engineer would be amongst those joining. A ship without a chief, was like a fish out of water. That being said, he did not relish the idea of explaining to the chief Engineer just how he had managed to cause so much damage to the deflector systems, the replicators and the holodecks. Hopefully they would understand why the actions leading to that damage were taken. Taking a brief look at his LCARS panel, he was able to ascertain that during the chaos the replicators had been fixed. It was little comfort but progress was progress and not to be snorted at or looked down upon. ::
Frost: Acknowledge and prepare to receive them.
Tracy: Aye, sir.
:: Alexander was now almost in a world of his own. Autopilot if you would. He continued to monitor his department from his bridge station whilst also keeping an eye on various reports coming up to the bridge. The Crew were doing an outstanding job in keeping the Gemini running. Alexander was about to browse the files on the incoming crews when Liam broke his focus. To be honest, the statement puzzled him. ::
Frost: Alex, do me a favour and join me in my ready room.
Richards: oO I'm either in trouble or getting a pat on the back. I'm hoping for the latter but given my past history, wouldn't be surprised if it was the former. Oo
:: Locking down his station, he carefully moved his chair away and turned for the Captain's ready room. His chair was incredibly mobile but it was still slow. Liam reached his room long before Alexander and walked in. Alex took one last look at the view screen which was now focused on the Hermes before passing through the door into the captains ready room. Before he could even announce his arrival Liam asked him a question. ::
Frost: Can I get you anything?
Richards: Yes sir. Lunarian Lychee Tea with a hint of lemon.
:: The replicated tea never tasted the same as a home brew but in space one made do with what was available. It didn't taste terrible at least, unlike some attempts at various foods and beverages the replicator produced. Accepting the drink, he took a sip and screwed his face up. Too much lemon. He would have to look into altering the replicators memory banks to try to improve the recipe. Finally moving over to the desk Liam had positioned himself at, Alexander took another few sips of his tea. This time the involuntary reaction was a lot less noticeable. Commander Frost spoke from behind his desk. ::
Frost: I'd invite you to have a seat, but...
Richards: oO If I had a strip of latinum for every time someone said that.. Oo :: smiling. :: I am already sitting. Or at least something along those lines.
Frost: So when you were transferred over, Captain Rogers included reports on all the officers he sent me. Yourself included.
Richards: oO Here we go. I wonder how much of the information in that report is classified, given my relatively short but incredibly active time under Captain Rogers. Oo I'm listening Commander.
Frost: It seems you and I have similar histories when it comes to our duties.
:: Truth be told, Alexander hadn't read up much on his CO outside of his name, rank, serial number and his place of birth. Both men were from Tycho although Liam was several years younger than Alexander. Interestingly enough, Alexander had grown use to the fact that he might at points in his career be stationed under higher ranking officers that were younger than him. In his eyes, age did not matter as long as the officer could do their job. The previous 48 hours proved to Alexander that Starfleet Command hadn't made a mistake, jumped the gun so to speak when they gave Liam the Gemini. ::
Richards: A colorful cavalcade of the do's and don'ts of a Starfleet officer. They could write a paper on men like us and make it mandatory reading at the Academy.
:: The laugh showed Alexander that the events of the last 48 hours had not killed Commander Frosts sense of humor. It also meant Alexander had hit the mark regarding the similarities between the two mens' files. Alexander had become a lot more settled and duty bound since his accident on Deep Space 10. Prior to that he had been known to be a hot head, even once resigning his commission. ::
Frost: Regardless of that, in the last 48 hours, you've demonstrated yourself to be an exceptionally dedicated and resourceful officer. I put you in a difficult position, and you did remarkably well.
:: In the back of his mind, Alexander was beginning to get an idea of where this conversation was going. Liam was right, being on the bridge had put him in a difficult position. The last time he had spent an extended time on the bridge, he had found himself in temporary command of the USS Mercury. That very nearly ended in disaster. ::
Richards: Part of being a Starfleet officer is being able to adapt to situations you may find yourself in sir. If that were easy, there would be no point in us being out here.
:: Which of course was right on both counts. Starfleet relied on its members doing their jobs to the absolute best of their abilities. When you break that down to the a ship, the vessel thrives or dies based on the effectiveness of its crew. The USS Gemini had just survived a very trying time because her crew pulled together to keep the ship in one piece. ::
Frost: Lieutenant Alex Richards, you are hereby promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander, with all associated privileges and responsibilities.
Richards: :: With an almost neutral expression. :: Thank you sir.
:: This was a moment Alexander felt would never come. For years, even before the Academy he had felt that he was one of those people who followed rather than led. His various assignments as a department head had started to erode that feeling. The promotion to Lieutenant Commander put it to rest. Now he felt like a leader, someone his department could look up to and rely upon. A lot of people would have walked away from Starfleet following an accident as life changing as his was. Hell, he very nearly did. Only his wife managed to convince him not to give up on life and his career. Her unyielding faith in him had now paid dividends. ::
Frost: You've earned it.
Richards: oO Indeed. Maybe I should try being out of my comfort zone more often. Oo I was only doing what any officer in a similar position would have done sir, my job.
Frost: Now, I believe we have some work to do, Commander.
Richards: Aye sir. The ship isn't going to fix herself or fly home all by herself.
:: Alexander was not use to promotions being made outside of ceremonies full of cheer and dress uniforms. It was refreshing to be promoted in such a low key fashion, especially after such a difficult mission. There was a time when Alexander would have fiddled with the new pip on his collar but now, he just let it sit there. Once the ship was safe and docked he would have to make contact with some old friends to share the news. Well, tell a lie. The first thing he would do would be to see his wife and child, hug them both tight and have a home cooked family meal. ::
:: Following the captain back to the bridge, he was greeted with a plethora of new faces. He would have noted fresh if not for the fact they seemed as battle weary as the crew of the USS Gemini. There would be a period for reflection on events later, for now he still had a job to do. He may have been able to order his staff to take a much needed rest but as a department head, and a newly minted Lieutenant Commander, his place was on the bridge until Liam dismissed him for the night. ::
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