(( Castle of Mey - Scotland))
::Leaving the children with the ensign sitter at the Hotel, Toni and Rhul dressed warmly and took a shuttle to the Castle of Mey. They had left their plans open for a couple of days just in case there were functions like this to attend, or so she had told him, having this function planned well in advance. After they landed they walked hand in hand into the impressively preserved Castle.::
::Entering the Banquet room where the crew had assembled, Toni smiled at him when he pulled out her chair at the head of the table to signal that dinner was about to begin. Then when everyone was seated, and before the first course was served, she stood, clinking her glass to get their attention for the presentation of awards.::
Turner: ::finishing the presentation:: CONGRATULATIONS EVERYONE! I'm very proud of you all! ::And she was. To her she had the best crew in the fleet, full of ideas and talent galore. But awards were not the only thing on her agenda.:: We have come here tonight for specific reasons. First to honor the living, and to honor the memory of those who were lost. At this point I will turn the proceedings over to Lt. Commander Jaxon Mc Ghee.
::Toni moved her chair to the side and let Mc Ghee stand at the end of the long table.
:: The captain moved aside and let the Welshman stand at the end of the long table and Jaxon stepped up to the table, turning to face the assembled crew and other dignitaries. In the sea of dress whites were also numerous civilians, the aftermath of those that had not returned from battle. The chief didn't have a Padd or other notes in his hands and considering the amount of time he had spent contemplating the events up to and after the destruction of the Cheyenne class, none were necessary; his memory had saved everything, he knew and felt anything he wanted to say. ::
Mc Ghee: :: quietly :: Greetings together. :: pauses as he looks around at those gathered, continues softly :: Today we meet to remember the sons and daughters, colleagues and friends we lost during the Klingon invasion of the Laudean homeworld. In the aftermath of Duronis II, and as no doubt many have done in the past weeks, we find ourselves asking why so many lives were lost in the chaos of battle. Maybe some of you have sought consolidation that good men and women left their lives doing their duty … however in this valley of sorrow in which we seek answers, this reason itself does not appear to be enough … the greater cause seems so trivial and the price itself, far too high.
:: The human paused, lowering his eyes, as his thoughts returned to three men risking their lives to saved trapped crewmates. None of those 16 men and women involved were amongst the audience today. ::
Mc Ghee: :: Continuing quietly :: As a human being I could not agree more … :: looking up, with a firmer voice and shaking his head :: But as a citizen of the Federation and an officer of Starfleet … I disagree fully and the reason is visible everywhere we look today.
Centuries ago this planet was just one tiny world in the vastness of space …and today we are a tiny part of the United Federation of Planets; an assembly of hundreds of worlds whose people are free … Today we can express our thoughts and beliefs; we can live our lives as we wish, without prejudice or fear of retort. :: with an encouraging smile :: Our flagship even bears the motto `To boldly go where no one has gone before' and that we do. :: Jaxon paused again and was glad to see some of those present nodding in quiet agreement, before he continued, his voice was still quiet yet carried clearly through the hall. :: Of course the road leading to the level of freedom enjoyed by billions today, had countless stations for our ancestors to pass. Some serving to expand existing rights and others, sadly to defend them … the February of 2154 … Narendra III and Wolf 359 are such examples ... and it goes without saying that this small world would have never survived walking that long road alone. :: his voice becomes firm and confident :: That is the very core of the Federation and of Starfleet; the unity. The unity of countless bold women and men readily accepting any challenge to the freedom past generations have fought for. :: now speaking louder :: It is what we teach and show our children everyday; we may fall, we may stumble on our path, as others have done before, but we always help each other up and we never falter on the path so many prior to us have trodden.
:: The Chief paused to allow his eyes sweep over those present. ::
Mc Ghee: :: with a quieter voice :: To that end, when Klingon and Orion forces joined and rose against the Laudean people of Duronis II, a ship and her crew also rose to answer this attack on the freedom of others. ::shaking his head :: Sadly many of those who boldly stood up to this challenge cannot join us today…however in the true spirit of the Federation, those remaining stood up once again and forged ahead on that very path. For at the end of the day, only the bold can walk the path of freedom.
I thank you.
:: As quietly as he had taken his position at the head of the table, the chief withdrew again, the captain speaking up as he took his seat. :: ::At the end of his heartfelt speech, Toni punched in a code to send to Brakur, before speaking again.::
Turner: Thank you, Lt. Commander. We were a crew without a ship when we arrived, but tonight that all changes. Please follow me to the windows of the Castle.
::Everyone stood and went to a window as she did.::
Turner: ::squeezing Rhul's hand discreetly:: Tonight I give you the USS Thunder-A!
::On the horizon, an Akira Class ship broke through the white caps, revealing itself to them. Toni's heart raced with excitement as it took to the air for a fly over and exhibition of strength.:: (OOC: See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7qUIVwts9w )
Turner: No longer will we face battle out gunned and under manned in our peace keeping duties. Before we leave to go back to Duronis II, we will have a full contingent of Marines, including Arrow class fighters. They will occupy Decks A-C and have their own flight deck with plenty of room for a CIC.