SIM:Whale: Arrival at DS17

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Arrival at Deep Space 17

Relevant wiki entries: David Whale, Deep Space 17, USS Ackerman, Sidney Riley.

((LONG-RANGE SHUTTLE - En Route to DS17))

   :: Gently setting the large duffel bag beside him, David Whale -- newly graduated from Starfleet Academy and 
newly promoted to the rank of Ensign -- sank into one of the soft chairs in the shuttle's passenger compartment 
with barely audible sigh.  He was finally going to be back on active duty aboard a starship.  There were times 
when he doubted that would ever happen and there were times, early on, when he wasn't sure he wanted it to 
happen.  But, really, what else did he have but Starfleet?
   :: He rubbed at his tired eyes.  He'd barely slept for the past three days, so intense were the final exams at 
the Academy.  And, of course, the stress, nerves, worry, whatever you wanted to call it about being assigned to 
starship again hadn't helped.  Buried in the Academy curriculum, he'd been able to lock away some of those 
memories, keep himself busy enough, distracted enough -- and sometimes drunk enough -- to set that part of his 
life aside.  Almost. ::

WHALE:  Computer.  Music.

COMPUTER: =/\= Please specify. =/\=

   :: It still surprised him that the damn computers sounded the same now as they did in the old Constitution 
class vessels. ::

WHALE:  Classical.  Late 19th, early 20th Centuries.  Random selection.

   :: There was no question re-training had been hard -- and not just because of the wider breadth of Starfleet.  
It had been hard accepting that he was a cadet again.  It had been hard accepting 18 and 19 year old kids as his 
peers.  He sincerely hoped he hadn't been that immature in his first go-round at the Academy.  Not that all of 
them were like that, he grudgingly admitted.  There had been a few good ones, a few who would make good additions 
to the fleet.  Probably even a few future captains.  But there had been a few whom Whale figured would make a 
quick exit from the service -- either quitting or dying.  Depressing thought.
   :: He leaned over to the replicator. ::

WHALE:  Scotch on the rocks.

   :: Taking the glass, Whale leaned back in the chair.  The ice made a soft clinking noise as he swirled the 
amber liquid in the tumbler.
   :: Truth be told, he had found the final training simulation a little odd.  He and his fellow cadets hadn't 
really solved the problem presented to them.  They hadn't figured out what happened on the station, they hadn't 
determined what the presence of the Orion vessels meant and they hadn't figured out the Son'a connection.  And 
Whale and his colleague Valentine had been, along with Lt Commander Cody, preparing to repel boarders when the 
simulation ended.  Maybe it was a Kobayashi Maru type scenario and there wasn't a solution -- the training 
officers were more interested in how the cadets handled themselves rather than what they actually did.
   :: He suddenly stopped and a small smile -- or at least, what passed for one these days -- tugged at the corner 
of his mouth.  Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake."  Whale could never listen to that composition without thinking of an 
old, old film called Dracula.  He and Gianna must have watched that movie a dozen times.
   :: He sighed heavily.  Gianna.
   :: Back in his younger days -- his first stint at Starfleet Academy -- Whale had been a bit of a womanizer.  He 
was fond of telling friends that he didn't have a steady girlfriend, but he had three or four unsteady ones.  Not 
always accurate, but always funny to his buddies.  Gianna Dacosta had been two years older than Whale and a year 
ahead at the Academy the first time he'd hit on her.  He had been thoroughly unsuccessful and it was only that she 
rejected him with a good-natured smile that prevented it from being a complete crash and burn.  She'd simply told 
him that she was too good to be just another notch on someone's bed post.
   :: So he'd spent the next three and a half years trying to convince her that he was worthy of her company.
   :: Whale leaned forward, elbows resting on his knees.  He took a long sip of his whiskey then took another.  
Then finished it off and ordered another.  He wasn't on duty -- no harm, no foul.
   :: When the Ackerman popped out in the 24th Century, Gianna was the first person Whale thought about.  But he 
still hadn't been able to bring himself to look up her personnel record.  She'd be dead now, most likely, he 
darkly reminded himself.  That he could accept -- everyone he had known in his old life was dead, so he was okay 
with Gianna being dead, too.  Well, maybe not "okay," but certainly resigned to it.  What he wasn't sure he was 
prepared for was to look into her file and find that Gianna had married.  That some other guy had been able to 
spend his life with her.  Maybe had kids.  According to the universe, Whale may have been lost with the USS 
Ackerman for one hundred and ten years, but to him... to him he'd had dinner with Gianna a week before the 
Ackerman's disappearance.  He'd had dinner with her, then a week later he stepped into the Ackerman's transporter 
to beam over to a freighter in distress... then woken up in a sickbay where they told him it was over a hundred 
years later.
   :: No wonder he'd started drinking. ::

PILOT:  Sir?

   :: Whale pulled himself back to the present and took another sip. ::

WHALE:  Go ahead.

PILOT:  We're on final approach to Deep Space 17, sir.

WHALE:  All right.  Thanks.

   :: Whale finished off his scotch as he half-listened to the pilot conferring with DS17 docking control and 
within minutes he was hearing the muffled clunk-hiss of the shuttle connecting with the space station's air lock.  
Hefting his bag onto his shoulder -- it was kind of sad that he could fit all his possessions into one bag -- and 
waving his thanks to the pilot, Whale exited the shuttle and walked though the airlock, into the main docking area 
of Deep Space 17.
   :: A quick visual scan of the area showed that the station was relatively quiet.  Understandable, given the 
quarantine -- as far as he could tell, very few ships were coming and going for the time being.  He picked out a 
Starfleet officer whom he recognized from his assignment briefing as Riley, his new CO, and approached.  Dropping 
his bag at his feet, Whale saluted and hoped Captain Riley couldn't smell the scotch on his breath. ::

WHALE:  Sir.  Ensign David Whale, security, reporting for duty.