Sleepless Nights

2 January 2383
1250 hours
USS Hawking

Nathan considered the gray headed captain on the personal viewer in his ready room. It’d been quite a while since the boy had spoken to his father, and it would be a while before he spoke to him again. Hawking would be leaving today, first for a brief trip to Outpost Jericho Samaria to upload supplies and a few new crewmembers and civilians, and then to the Nerat System, where they would make first “official” contact with the Shun’zhi and the Drenali.

Needless to say, given the teenaged commander’s field of study, and his boundless enthusiasm for exploration, Nathan was very excited to be finally devoting his time to that end. He had a likeminded crew, and a vessel designed to accommodate them. Already, several new agencies had requested a spot on the ship, that theirs might be the first to document some of the new races Hawking would make contact with, and the new discoveries her crew would surely make. In the end though, Nathan was only inclined to agree to having three reporters on the ship. One human from the Earth Broadcast System, a Vulcan with the Galactic News Network, and one Freelance journalist, a human named Owen Freeman. All three would have limited access to most areas of the ship, and could schedule crew interviews as they saw fit, with the XO’s permission.

Yes, the Hawking truly would be a unique experience for everyone in almost every respect. There were many civilians on board, most of which fell under the medical or scientific banners, and for the first time on a ship of her size, Hawking would be carrying a limited number of families. Several crewmembers and a few civilian researchers had even brought their children on board.

“Wow.” James Benjamin said, an eyebrow raised. “Sounds like you have a full plate there Nate.”
Nathan had told his father all about all the exciting programs and people on his ship, in his usual amped up fashion, and the man was dually impressed. It wasn’t often these days that Starfleet actually catered to the Federation Exploration bureau, much less ran a joint effort with them. And to devote an almost brand new starship to it…. That certainly signified a new direction for the relationship of the two entities, which after the events of the past decade, had seriously cooled. But through the news nets, and his son, the elder Benjamin had learned that Starfleet would be launching four vessels like Hawking. The Galaxy class USS Christopher Pike, which would be exploring the Beta Quadrant, the re-fit Ambassador class USS Armstrong, also in the Beta Quadrant, and Hawking’s sister ship, the Intrepid class USS Leonardo.

Given any excuse not to report escalating tensions between the Federation and the T’zenkethi, or the Tholians, the news nets were all over the simultaneous launches of the ships, which would commence at precisely 0001 hours Earth Pacific time, 2 January 2383. Today. In roughly 5 minutes.

“Yeah dad. We’re launching today. So I won’t be able to talk to you for a while. “ Nathan informed him, grabbing the gray and black duty jacket off the back of his chair. “We’re going to be out of com range in about a week. But we’re carrying ten comm buoys, so once we set them up, we ought to widen our range by a few light years.”

“Well, just drop a line when you can.” James nodded. “When do you think you’ll be able to get some leave and see your grandparents?”

Shrugging, both at the question, and into his jacket, Nathan frowned thoughtfully. “I’m not sure dad. I might take some leave this summer sometime if we’re back to Megiddo. But we’re not going to be around there much. So I can’t really say.”

“Ok” James replied, checking his chrono. “Well… it’s almost 1300 son. You’d better get out to the bridge.”

Nathan straightened his jacket, checking the time himself. “Yeah.. I’d better go before… “
At that time, as if on cue, the small Starfleet delta adorning the boy’s chest chirped. He smiled as he tapped it, knowing who it was.

=/\= Hey Mark.. I’m on my way. Benjamin out. =/\=

He looked at his father as he tapped the badge, ending the one way conversation. “Well dad.. I guess this is it for now. I’ll try to call you while we’re at the Outpost, but we won’t be there too long. A day or two max.”

“Alright. Stay safe son. I love you.”

“I love you too dad. Bye.” the boy replied, ending the conversation with the push of a button. He then grabbed the padd lying on his desk and even before his father’s image was replaced by the familiar wreath encircled star map representing the Federation, Nathan was on his way out to the bridge. As the doors hissed open and the young commander made his way onto the Hawking’s command center, the auxiliary science officer called the bridge to attention. Nathan had always thought the practice a bit ridiculous, but followed the tradition nonetheless.

As he walked out onto the bridge, he couldn’t help noticing the ship’s dedication plaque, and the quote that he, Mark and Pev had chosen for it.

“The Universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper. “

“Carry on.” He said, waving the crew back to whatever they were doing, which for most of them was simply waiting, or doing last minute flight checks. Nathan walked up to Mark, who’d vacated his chair, and stood in front of his own. The veteran commander nodded in greeting. “We’re ready to go skipper.” He said, indicating the crew. “Everyone who should be here is, and everyone who isn’t going is gone.”

Nodding, Nathan reached down and pressed the intraship com button on the display next to his chair. Righting himself, he regarded the padd he’d brought from his office and cleared his throat. “All hands. Attention to orders.” He started, glancing around the bridge as the crew that were standing came to attention, and the ones who weren’t, got that way. Truthfully, he’d been given this speech four days ago, and had memorized it. The padd was a fallback in case of memory lapse.

“As of this date, 2 January 2383, USS Hawking is to depart Space Station Megiddo en route to the Nerat system, where she will make official first contact with the Shun’zhi Republic and the Drenali Planetary Alliance. It is important to note that, as Hawking begins her voyage into the Final Frontier, she will be joined by four other intrepid explorers, embarking on similar journey’s throughout our galaxy. At 0001 hours, Earth Pacific time, Captain T’Pren of the USS Armstrong, Captain Joseph McAllister of the USS Christopher Pike, Captain Jerven Elain of the USS Leonardo, and Commander Nathan Benjamin will give the order to begin the “Great Voyage” As we’ve come to call it. Starfleet and the Federation Exploration Division places great faith in the fidelity of the respective crews, and civilian contractors that will be manning these vessels, and takes great pride in what you will do in the coming days. Godspeed to all of you, and Bon Voyage. Signed, Federation President Nanietta Bacco. “ Nathan glanced at Mark, who quirked an eyebrow.

“Top Flight sendoff.” The older Lt. Commander whistled. “Begin launch procedures?”

Nathan nodded, taking his seat. “Dave.” The boy said, referring to Lt Quincy, sitting at the helm. “Inform Megiddo station that we’ll be departing. Clear all moorings.”

“Clear all moorings Aye sir.” the sandy haired pilot replied.

“Sir, Megiddo station signals that we are clear to depart.” Miranda Rogers reported from her ops alcove behind the command pit. “Admiral D’Rinax passes along his regards.”

“Send mine.” Nathan said, glancing over his shoulder at the petite operations officer. A smile and a nod later, the boy turned around to regard the view screen, and the stars that lay before them, just waiting to be explored. It was almost as if he couldn‘t get her out of dock fast enough. “Dave.. Lay in a course to Jericho Samaria.”

“Course laid in sir.” Quincy said, his hand poised over the button that would send them hurtling towards the unknown at speeds that their ancestors had only dreamed of. This was it. The moment they’d waited for, that HE’D waited for. All he had to do was give the word and they’d be off… headed for the great unknown.

Nathan checked his chrono.


“You’ve got to be kidding me.” The boy exclaimed. “What are we gonna do for two and a half minutes?” he said, unable to contain a laugh.

“Well sir.” Lt. Michele Shelby piped up from the Science console, her Brooklyn accent leaving no question as to the woman’s place of origin. “We could you know… sit around here and sing Kum Bi Yah.”

Nathan shook his head. “Dude.. This is the stupidest crap.“ he huffed plaintively , speaking to no one in particular. Nathan glanced over at his first officer, who was looking at him, a coy grin on his face.

“Dude.. I’m totally not waiting for two and a half more minutes.”

Mark simply shrugged and turned to look at the screen, his grin threatening to become a smile.

Finally, seconds later the boy made up his mind. “Dave.. Punch it.” He said, leaning back in his chair.

“Sir?” Came the confused reply from helm.

“Go Dave.. Hit the button man.” Nathan said with a dismissive wave. “Just put it in the log that we left at exactly 1301 hours.”

“Aye Sir.” The helmsman said, tapping his control panel and sending Hawking hurtling into the stars. As the deck plates started their subtle vibrations, indicating the ship had in fact gone to warp, Nathan stole another glance at his XO, who looked away, but not before catching the boy’s eye.

He was stifling a laugh.

“What’s so funny?” Nathan demanded, with mild amusement. “Did you want to wait?”

“Oh no… I didn’t want to wait but… I think that was the first time since I’ve known you that you’ve actually been early.” Mark chided quietly. “I was just surprised is all.”

For a moment, Nathan stared at him, mouth open as if he were about to protest, but he knew that it was true. “Shut up.” the boy retorted playfully, shaking his head. He could think of nothing else to say.

~ Ten Days later ~

Captain’s Personal Log
It's been ten days since we've left Megiddo. the first week or so was really quiet. The ship and crew are performing even better than I thought. It's almost like we've been together for a long time. But I can't help feeling worried. I haven't been able to regenerate that well for the past few nights. I've been having weird dreams, like I was wired into the collective again. It's weird. I've never had dreams like this. Actually, I haven't had dreams since I first came into starfleet, when I was on the Presidio.

"Computer, End Log." Nathan said, rubbing his eyes. It was 0330, and he was wide awake. Again. For the third night in a row, he'd not been able to get his usual seven and a half hours of regeneration, with tonight being the worst. He'd been jolted from sleep at 0200 by the dreams, and hadn't been able to stay in the alcove for more than 15 minutes at a time afterwards. At around 0300, he'd given up trying. Currently, the boy was in the process of reading up on all the crew that would be coming aboard at Jericho Samaria. There was a Science Cadet, and another Civilian Scientist, as well as a few Security officers. But after a few moments, the teenager tossed the padd down on his desk and stood again, stretching.

Maybe a run on the holodeck would tire him out enough to regenerate some. Because if this not being able to sleep thing kept up much longer, he'd have to visit sickbay, which was something he had no desire to do. So, he grabbed a t shirt off the back of his bean bag sofa and threw it on, as well as sneakers that he'd deposited in the corner by the door after yesterday's workout in the gym. Seconds later, after grabbing the Pioneers hooded sweatshirt that he always wore to run, the Hawking's young commander stepped out the door.

Originally Posted on 13 January 2007 by Nathan Benjamin

…two M-class planets have been detected in orbit of a class A7V stellar body. Population approximately nineteen billion humanoids, including four point seven billion juveniles. These shall add to our perfection of fun…

The boy stood motionless in the alcove. One of many which lined the halls of the rectangular scout ship. Silence permeated the damp, hot atmosphere of the mechanical juggernaught, as the little Borg prince processed the sensations and information flooding his mind in the chaotic torrent of data cascading from the Collective. A shimmer of light traveled along the silvery oscipital implant which jutted out over his left eye, as the device attuned itself to the information feed and showed him images beyond what eyes alone could see.

Two planets. Twins. Dual orbs of azure and white against the black void of space, glittering like marbles among the stars of the galaxy. Waiting in the cosmic winds as the cybernetic Goliath slowly approached, with a dark cloud rising along the horizon. Starships. A fleet intermixed of two species, spreading outward like a swarm of bees in defense of its hive. They offered a contradiction. Resistance against the Borg.

As the boy spoke, his voice echoed with the sound of many. "We have analyzed your defensive capabilities as being unable to withstand us," the child declared in apathetic warning of the futility of their action. "If you defend yourselves, you will be punished."

The targets were fascinating in that they were unique. A new culture for the Borg to explore or exploit for their technological and biological distinctiveness. The Shun'zhi, species 10066, and the Drenall, species 10067, neither of which were capable of offering more than a tissue-thin defense against the massive technological onslaught of the Borg, whose disorganized attack was nonetheless devastatingly effective through the deficient veil of protection offered against them. In minutes, the space around the twin planets was filled with a wreckage of ships, now nothing more than so much junk to be blown aside as the iconic box-shaped vessel sailed by to orbit the homeworld of Species 10066.

"Your children will adapt to service us," Three of Seven announced, as tractor beams and lasers lanced outward to lacerate the terrestrial structures and defenses. Chipping away steadily, as entire sections of cities were ravaged as the Borg meticulously began sorting the biological lifesigns in search for the preadolescent members of the species. Already, the assimilation had begun. First with one, then with ten new voices joining the Collective. Ten new friends. Ten new ways to define that which escaped definition: fun.

It was swinging from a tree.

It was swimming. It was running. It was competitive. It was sociable. It was recognized for being what it was, yet unable to be described. Classified. Categorized. It was elusive, something worthy of the Borg to try and attain. To perfect.

Ten became a hundred. The world beneath him had fallen to the Borg. They would move next to assimilate Species 10067. "Resistance is futile," the little Borg prince remarked. Not that it mattered. It seemed that there was one universal constant to the galaxy, and that was adults never listened to what kids said.

Originally Posted on 15 January by Ray (Three of Seven)

USS Hawking
XO's office
January 10 - 14:45

Mark took a sip of the fresh cup of coffee that stood on the side of his desk. There was still a light form of damp on the surface of the cup. The soft, familiar humming sound of the engine filled every room of the ship. Back in the days when he was still an ensign, that sound would drive him mad when he tried to sleep, but after a while he got used to the sound, now he barely noticed it anymore. Outside planets were shooting by the windows, entire starsystems were passed. Who knew what would be out there to discover. The idea of finding new worlds and discovering things no man had ever seen was great.

It had been a little over a week since their departure from Space Station Megiddo. The Hawking was traveling at a steady warp 6 and the crew could take it easy the first few days. With the way Nathan ran the ship, there was a relaxed environment created, which allowed everybody to perform at the best of their capacities. The people on board seemed to be happy so far. The crew was small compared to what they had to deal with on the Knight. An Achilles class starship was capable of carrying almost 400 persons, in case of emergency even about 1.000. The Hawking currently carried 95 persons and was capable of housing about 150.

Mark had been going over reports for the past few days now. Though he was just XO of the ship, it was nothing new for him. It was what he had been doing on the USS de Ruyter for a while, and the security reports he got on the Knight weren't so much different. It weren't busy times yet, but Mark was kept busy enough. Some of the reports were really useless, but they had to be filed, to keep protocol happy. He saw no reason why he needed to know that a relais had been replaced somewhere between deck 7 and 8 in Jeffry's tube 14 gamma, but protocol prescribed so.

Every day after going through the reports, Mark would compile a list of extraordinaries and special things and take those to Nathan. The commanding duo had a small talk at least once a day about what was happening on the ship. The Hawking was a small vessel compared to the Knight, so it was easier to keep up to speed on what was going on.

When the reports were almost done, Mark came to the security section. Those reports came from his former assistant chief of security on the Knight, Lieutenant Nataly Cochrane. When Mark asked her to come along with him to the Knight as the new chief of security and tactical, she didn't have to think long. Nataly was a fine officer and very punctual. As Mark went through her report, he saw something remarkable. Nothing out of order, just something that he didn't expect to see.

Mark tapped the combade on his chest

=/\= Jansen to Cochrane =/\=

=/\= Cochrane here =/\= Nataly replied. Mark heard people talk in the background. Mark guessed she was on the bridge. Weather or not there was a situation, it always seemed more hectic on the bridge and in main engineering than anywhere on the ship.

=/\= Nataly, do you have a minute? I'd like to discuss something with you please =/\=

=/\= Of course, I'll be right over. Cochrane out =/\= Nataly closed the communications channel.

Mark had to meet with Nataly anyway, so with this he could handle two things at the same time. It would be a few minutes before Nataly would get there, just enough time to compile the list of things that he and Nathan had to talk about.

A few minutes later

The door to his office chimed, indicating some one was there to see him.

"Come in" he said. Mark was standing before the great console in the same wall the door was in. From that console he could access any system on the ship. From the primary systems, to the backup generators. Even the smallest relais between deck 7 and 8 could be checked upon.

The doors hovered open and Mark peeked his head around the corner of the small cove the door was in. Nataly Cochrane stood in the doorway. Nataly was one of the most beautiful woman in starfleet he knew. She was tall, but not to tall, young and quite slim. She was a good example of how appearances could be decieving. Though she didn't look like it, she was great in hand to hand combat and no one on the ship could aim better with a phaser. After a few seconds of looking at Mark's astunished face she stepped forward into the office and the doors closed right behind her.

"Lieutenant, good afternoon, come on in" Mark said as he began to smile at her.
"Good afternoon sir" she said "you wanted to see me?" she continued as she walked further into the room.

"Ah yes, take a seat" he said, as he tapped a few buttons on the console, closing off the work he had done there.

"I was just going through the reports of today and I saw something in your security report under personell" he started as he picked up the PADD with the report on it. "I see ensign Zane Peress would like" Mark's eyes went from looking to Nataly to the PADD, to quote "a place of his own?"

"Yes sir. He requested this and I promised to pass it on to you" she answered. "He seems to have some trouble living together with some one else" she added.

"Hmmm" Mark thought the matter over, the request wasn't something he encountered on a daily basis. "He is aware he's a junior officer?"

"I think he knows that" Nataly grinned "he's just not comfortable with the current situation"

Mark tapped a few buttons on the small workstation on his desk and pulled the file of ensign Peress up.

"I see he lives with cadet Aengus McMennan. Hmm, well tell Zane I'll take it up with the captain, but that I can't promise anything" he continued. He couldn't really tell weather the two had problems or not, though if they were, there was no way either of them was going to admit it, to avoid trouble.

"I'll do that" she said. "Was there anything else?" Nataly asked, wondering if she was free to go or not. Mark took his eyes of the screen and looked up to the lieutenant.

"As a matter of fact there is. I just wanted to let you know that when we reach outpost Jericho, you'll be getting 2 more security officers for your team. I don't know who they are yet, but I'll keep you up to speed as soon as I know more" Mark said.

"Alright, I'm glad I'm getting more people, the ship isn't big, but with this few people, it's hard to cope" she said.

"Well…" Mark said, and he paused a second "I think that was it and unless you have something to discuss, you are dismissed" he added. "I'm going to have a meeting with the captain now. I'll adress the situation right away" he added as Nataly got up from the chair.

"Have a pleasant day further" she said with a smile when looking over her shoulder, as she made her way out of the office and back to her duties. Mark picked up the PADD where he downloaded the list with the points for the captain.

Originally posted on 15 January by Mark Jansen

Mark was walking through the corridors on deck 5. He was on his way to lieutenant commander Melor, the Vulcan chief medical officer. The doctor requested for some additional supplies to be brought aboard from outpost Jericho. Just before the doors to sickbay opened for Mark, they opened for some one else. Through the doors came Owen Freeman. The freelance journalist that Nathan had let on board. Owen wasn't one of them slick reporters that needed a scoop or a cover story. He was one of them few that actually did research into a matter before he published it. Aboard the Hawking that meant that he needed to get clearance.

"Good afternoon commander" he started, giving a little notch with his head

"Good afternoon" Mark replied "How are things?" he informed.

Owen just came from Xenobiology laboratory, where he talked to Linvoy Primus. A civilian from the space station that got invited to join the Hawking's first mission by Michele Shelbey. Nathan, being the explorer he is, needed no time to think the matter over. Anyone that was willing to contribute to the Hawking's exploring attitude, was more than welcome to join them.

"Pretty good actually. Mr Primus just showed me the xenobiology laboratory. It's really remarkable what he can do." he exclaimed enthusiastic. The face of the reporter read happy.

"Good, good" Mark said. "Well, if there is anything else you need, you can always come see me" he added, as he wanted to walk further into sickbay.

"Well actually…." Owen added right after Mark's remark. Pausing for a bit

"Yes?" Mark asked, investigating what the reporter would want.

"Well, I was thinking" he paused again, as if he felt bad about asking it "If it would be in any way possible I would like to experience a day on the bridge, with one of the duty shifts" he stumbeled. Owen was a great reporter, but failed a bit on the communication part, which for a reporter was quite remarkable. Most reporters Mark encountered were pretty chatty.

Mark wasn't really surprised by the request, a lot people would like to take a look on the bridge of a starship, though it was prohibited. Only officers were allowed on the bridge. The only exception were events like the rededication ceremony from a few weeks ago.

Behind Owen the doors of sickbay opened and out came Melor accompanied by the assistant chief medical officer L'mek and the counselor T'Shaini. Mark took a quick look over Owen's shoulder, passed him and spotted the doctor.

"I'm afraid I'll have to get back to you on that one." Mark quickly said to Owen. "I'll have to take that up with the captain. I'll discuss it with him and see what he thinks. I'll let you know" he said while tapping on Owen's shoulder and moving passed him, quickening his pase, going into the corridor where he saw the medical trio go into.

"Doctor" Mark said loud, just when he saw them pass around a corner. Mark again uppend his speed and just before the three got to the turbolift he had caught up with them.

"Ah Doctor" he said. Melor slowly turned around and gave Mark the 'Vulcan look'. Every Vulcan could do the same, just staring totally uninterested at some one. T'Shaini and L'Mek gave him the same look. It took Mark a second to catch his breath before he could tell the doctor what he wanted to see him for.

"Commander, what is there I can do for you" Melor said, without any intonation in his voice. All 3 of them were turned towards Mark with their hands on their back. Mark handed the PADD he had with him to the doctor.

"Your request for additional supplies has been granted. You can go to the surface when we reach the outpost to collect whatever you need" he said as Melor accepted the PADD and scrolled through the information on the small screen.

"Thank you sir." was all Melor said. As any Vulcan, he was short and direct in his answers. Nothing more than exactely needed to be said. In the meantime L'mek had called a turbolift.

"Where are you going?" Mark inquired to see weather or not he would wait for the next lift or not.

"We are on our way to the science laboratory" Melor said "Commander Shelbey has requested our pressence"

"Alright" Mark said "I'll take the next lift then" he added when the doors of the lift opened. The trio stepped in and was gone. Not a second later another one appeared and Mark got in "Deck 1" he said. The doors closed and he could feel he was going up. Everything had been taken care of, now it was time to talk it over with Nathan.

Originally Posted on 16 January 2007 by Mark Jansen

:~: U.S.S. Hawking :: Crew Lounge :~:

Boxes, fourteen. Check.

Crates, eight. Check.

Three off duty engineers that had volunteered their time to help, and one off duty Kerrie Rodriguez that Xander wouldn't ever mind having around, for any reason whatsoever. Check and mate…er…check.

He shook his head to clear his thoughts of her, but they stuck. She'd volunteered to help him out in the redesign of the lounge after the bonfire back at the colony. Apparently she'd come to realize that he wasn't the old fool she took him for upon his first arrival. Or maybe she still did, but agreed to help him anyway.

She's really not that much younger than I am, he thought to himself. Physically, at any rate, she's only six years my junior.

Literally was a whole different ballgame. She was actually born one hundred and six years after he was. Details, schmetails, she's hot, and might be interested. That's what matters…

He shook his head again, this time gaining some of his composure back. "Okay, folks. Lets get this show started." He began signaling to the makeshift work crew which boxes to open and then what needed to be placed, and where.

:~: Five Days Later :~:

Xander stood in the center of the table area, admiring his new digs. He's designed the new lounge to look like his bar back on Earth. He'd learned there that species of all types could relax in an environment such as this. Alcohol, synthehol, sporting events from dozens of planets (and access to betting venues for said sports), comfortable seating, and good food. Heaven.

He looked across the space to a large corner area across from the bar itself. It was empty, and Xander was at a loss as to what to do with the space. He was contemplating this as he heard the doors whisk open behind him.

"We don't open 'til tomorrow," he said distractedly, lost in thought.

"Good," came a smarmy voice from behind him. "I have time to set up shop, then."

Xander wheeled about to face the intruder, wondering what in the world the being could have been referring to. As he caught site of him, his face fell.

Diminutive stature, olive-brown skin tone, prominent facial ridges, beady eyes, ears each as large as the rest of his head, and sharp, pointed little teeth. Altogether, the description of a smarmy little man to go with the smarmy little voice that had escaped him. A Ferengi.

"What the hell…" he began, only to be interrupted.

"Dahrk, at your service," he whined as he scurried forward, hand extended for a shake. As Xander reached to take it, the Ferengi jerked it away and waived it disgustedly, as if he'd almost touched excrement. The little alien stepped past Xander and stood in the center of the open space. "Haven't you ever seen a Ferengi, hew-mon?" he said to the space, not facing Xander.

Xander frowned. Now that he mentioned it, he had seen the diminutive being before. If he could only remember where…"

"Yes, yes," he almost hissed, "this will do nicely. The perfect place to sell my…wares…"

"Your wares?" Xander parroted.

Dahrk nodded vigorously. "Yes, this will be great. I will become rich, thanks to the customers that you will bring in with this…establishment, hew-mon." He sneered.

"I have a name, Dork. Xander."

"It's Dahrk, hew-mon, and I care nothing of what you are called by other primates."

"You little mother fu…" Dahrk cut him off by shoving a PADD in his face that had seemingly been produced out of thin air.

It was permission from Starfleet to operate a business aboard a vessel, and in lieu of that, permission from the commander to establish a shop in the lounge.

Xander squinted at the device, not believing his eyes. This little weasel was his new neighbor.

And then it hit him.

"I knew I recognized you from somewhere, Dick…"

"It's Dahrk, hew-mon."

"Bark, then."






"Whatever, Dizzle."

"Dahrk!" he yelled.

"Sure, whatever you say." Xander grinned. He'd gotten to the disrespectful little rat. "You were the one that got pegged in the back of the head with a football back on the beach, weren't you?"

"Um, no," Dahrk replied, a little too quickly.

"Didn't anyone ever teach you to duck?" He continued to grin. This was fun. "Or catch, even?"

"I don't know what you are talking about." He started to back out of the room.

"Sure you do. Or maybe you don't. That thing sure knocked you out cold. Maybe you really don't remember." He feigned concern. Perhaps you should visit sickbay…

"I'm fine," he paused and then added, "Zann-Dher."

"You can call me Mr. Williams."

The Ferengi threw the PADD down in frustration. "I'll be back later to begin construction of my shop and there isn't anything you can do to stop it!" he screamed before spinning on his heels and running from the room, almost colliding with the doors as he went.

Xander shook his head. "No, there isn't ," he said aloud to no one in particular. "But I can make your life a living hell as long as you choose to intrude upon my domain, can't I?"

=/\= I do not understand the nature of your request.=/\= came the disembodied, monotonous female voice of the computer.

Xander sighed. "Shut up, computer." He liked things better when one pushed buttons to interact with machines.

Originally Posted on 16 January 2007 by Alexander Williams

After having left the routine meeting with Melor and Commander Shelbey in the science lab T’Shaini decides to take a few moments to swing by the organized chaos that is the new classroom on the ship to see how the children are adapting. As the door slid open Katie ,the petite pixie like human who had charge of all the under 18 on the ship, looked up from what sounded like a Klingon music appreciation class and smiled at her visitor.

“Good afternoon Counselor…here, have an infant” She thrusts a small bundle into T’Shaini’s arms as she helps the rest of the group gather up their instruments (mainly drums) and put them away.

“Time to get out your story books and read” aside to T’Shaini “That should keep them busy and quiet for a few minute, what can I do for you?”

Shifting the infant over to her other shoulder T’Shaini smiled “No official reason, just seeing how everyone is settling in.” Looking across the room over to the very busy looking group in the reading corner “looks as if there are no worries here.”

“No, most of these kids are ‘starship brats’, they are used to following their parents to different postings and fitting in where they need to. They have developed adaptability to an almost uncanny level. Not that they don’t test me.” Katie looked over at her charges and a glint of playfulness came across her face “But if any of them try to push the boundaries too far then they discover that being a ‘starship brat’ myself I already know every trick in the book.”

T’Shaini bit back a laugh so not to wake the infant on her shoulder “I don’t think I would care to test you. I admire the child who would try…and I bet that child would be Kevin, that is his name isn’t it, the dark haired one who is now *she cocks her head to the side to see better* unscrewing glue with one hand and getting ready to…”

Without missing a beat Katie grabs the glue out of one of the started boys hands and the class iguana out of the other “What were you going to glue to him, or glue him to?” “Never mind, time out for you.” As she leads him over to the time out area she passes T’Shaini and scoops the sleeping infant out of her arms and smiles. “Someday you are going to have to tell me why they all fall asleep so quickly with you. I am sure you have other places to be and Kevin and I have some talking to do.”

Waving to the rest of the children she hears a musical chorus of “BYEE T”SHAINI!” that brings a smile to her face as she leaves the classroom.

Originally Posted on 16 January 2007 by T'Shaini

Camenze Taray took one look at her new quarters and knew there would be trouble.

“Oh, no! Of all the…” But, as her grandmother had always told her, “The worlds will go as they will and not as I would have them.” She mumbled to herself as she surveyed the problem. The problem was pink.

Her new quarters we standard issue but nicer then she had expected. One side was standard issue gray with the standard issue amenities. One bunk each, one unit for storage each, a shared hygiene unit. But, it had two things to make her joyously happy. One, not just a sonic shower but a water/sonic shower. Blessed! And the other, her own window, right above her bunk. Those were the good things. But, on the other side, pink.

Pink bedding, a pink pillow, and pink curtains on the, she wasn't she but it seemed to be, pink tinted window. There was a pink picture frame with a holo of two young human women, faces presses cheek to cheek, with the phrase, “Tri-Dels 4-Ever!” under it. Camenze peeked into the hygiene unit. Her fear was realized, half the towels were pink.

“Goddess, I'm rooming with a girl… a girl girl!” She sat on the edge of her bunk and tried to reasonably assess the situation. “J’kell, the room is nice, I have a window, there is space for Bacca’s bed….I have a window…wait, she has been though Academy, she can't be that bad!” Camenze looked to her window and noticed a note sitting above her bed. She held it in her hands and read the address:

“To my new roomy!”

She opened the note and pulled out a card and looked at the cover. It was covered with pieces of paper that seemed to be cut out from news reports and glossy image journals. All the words and images had to do with home, friends and fashion. She realized it was hand made. She open the note, fearing the worst.

“Hello, new friend! I’m Darbie, but you can call me Darbs! I’ll be you new roommate, but I like to call it home, and we'll be friends, so really I’ll be your new home-friend! I so know we’ll get along super well. I’m soooo sorry I’m not there to meet you but I’m on shift. I’m in Security, charge of the Brig. Cha-cha for now! Darbs!”

“Oh, Goddess, help me….” Camenze stared to ponder her situation when the door chimed interrupted her.

“Here we go!” she thought as she lifted herself off the bunk, “Enter!”

And nothing happened.



“Computer, open door.” Said Camenze as she walked to the door way. It swished open and she looked into the corridor and saw no one. Confused, she walked back into her room. “Odd.”

She put her hands on her hip and started to contemplate what she would do to counteract her roommates pink décor when she felt a tug on her pant leg. Startled she looked down. There, staring up at her with the cutest dark eyes was a furry blue creature in a Star Fleet uniform. Though she did not believe in dressing pets, this little guy did look cute in the uniform. She squatted down and reached out her hand.

“Auuu, who's a cutie boy? Humm? Did you sneak away from someone? I bet they are looking for you? Who wants to have his ears scratched?”

The creature looked confused for a moment, then let out a purr/growl noise as she stared rubbing his ears. She scooped him up in her arms and walked over to the window, scratching his fur and cuddling him as she walked.

“I have a big dog named Bacca who would love to run around with you on the Holo Deck, hum? I wonder if you like to fetch?" It's eyes opened wide, almost as if in suprise."Yes!You are such a cutie, I bet someone loves you! You are very well trained, hum, yes? And your fur is so soft and well brushed!”

“Why thank you, Cadet, you seem to keep up with your grooming as well!” said Pev. Camenze yelped in surprise, dropping Pev and scrambling up onto her bunk. Pev landed on his feet and laughed out loud. He straightened his uniform and smoothed down his ears while the cadet climbed down from the bunk and stood at a shaky attention. He gave her a moment to collect herself while he offered introductions.

“I'm Pev, Chief Engineer aboard the Hawking. I came by to check your replicator which seems to have been tampered with. Something about pink food … And, though I do enjoy having my ears scratched, I really don't know you that well. You are who, please? Oh, and at ease.”

“Humiliated, sir. So… horribly… humiliated… and embarrassed. And sorry…so very sorry, sir. Sir, I…. Cadet Taray, Camenze Taray, Science, sir.” She ended softly.

"Well, it's a great pleasure to meet you, cadet. And please don't ever do that again." The S'ti'ach looked around the room. Pink everywhere. "So the pink is not just relegated to the replicator, I see. Shame."

“Yes, sir, it's a lot of pink, sir. And, oh, no, sir never again, sir. I read all about the crew, sir, but I forgot to look at holos of them… Lesson learned, sir.” She bent down on one knee to look Pev straight in the eye, “And I hope that you will except my most humble apology, sir. Of course I will know owe you a ‘galmeel’, an honor debt, sir. If you ever need something done you may call on me to do it in your stead, sir. You always could order me to do it anyway, but when I owed an Admiral a galmeel she made me walk behind her for an intire off duty shift and carry her coffee.”

“What had you done to her, Cadet?”

“Well, sir, I kept trying to have the computer turn her off.” Pev looked confused. “I saw her on the holo deck and since she, I mean her character, was in the holo novel I was in, well, there were now two of her and one was the wrong rank, the real one, so I thought it was a glitch and I demanded that she go away… she refused so I told the computer to shut her down…well, after I shut down all sound, and the characters and then the program itself and she still stood there… I was a little mad so I called her 'One Hell of a Glitch!' and… well sir, you can imagine my surprise when she followed me off the holo deck, sir.”

"Could you lighten up a bit on the 'sirs,' please?" asked Pev politely.

"Yes, sir, sorry s… umm, Chief." She corrected herself.

Pev smiled. "Thank you." Pev got behind a chair and pushed it over to the replicator, then climbed up and popped off the control panel. "So your food is coming out pink. Does is still taste the same?"

"Well, I just got here…was it reported on room inspection, possibly?"

"It was on my 'to do' list, so someone reported it somewhere." Pev started pulling wires with two of his arms, while taking readings with the third and bracing himself with his fourth.

“Need a hand, Chief?”

Pev spoke without turning around. "What's your favorite snack food?" he asked.

Camanze put her head in her hands as she realized what she had just said. She hoped it would get better from here. “Yes, ahhh, very fond of Earth pizza, sir.”

"Pizza, one slice, cheese, hot," said the S'ti'ach to the replicator. After a split second, a slice appeared on a plain white plate. The pizza, or course, was pink. Bright pink, with lighter pink cheese. The nearly-magenta sauce steamed as Pev handed it over. "Try this," he said.

“Yes, sir!” She eyed the food with great suspicions. It smelled wonderful, almost like the pizza she had enjoy when she had beemed herself to New York on Earth. But the color….She lifted it toward her mouth, “Here goes!” She smiled at the S'ti'ach for a moment as she chewed, then a horrible look of pain and dismay crossed her face.

"Awful?" asked Pev.

“No, sir, the flavor is fine…I just wasn’t expecting the anchovies, Chief. I think the color is only cosmetic."

Pev nodded. "I thought as much." He played with the inside of the replicator for several moments in silence, then said, "Say a few words. I'm reprogramming the replicator to your vocal signature so that it'll dispense pink food when your roommate orders something, and will appear normal when you do. That way you both get what you want, and no one needs to sacrifice esthetics."

“That’s wonderful! Thanks!” She watched him work for a moment, then sat down on her bunk, “Umm, Chief Pev? What should I do next? Who should I report in with and do you think I have a moment to stop by sick bay first?”

After gathering enough data for a solid vocal match, Pev finished up and began gathering his tools. "You'll want to check in with Commander Benjamin as soon as you can, just to let him know you've arrived. Oh, and don't forget the poi. Newest crewman always brings poi. He should be on the bridge now. But if you need to stop by sickbay first, I don't know that anyone will stop you."

Pev jumped down from the chair and headed for the door.

"Nice meeting you, Cadet. Good luck with…" he waved his arm at all the pink. "I'll be back to fix your door later. And next time you want to rub me, I sincerely hope you buy me dinner first!"

Without waiting for an answer, the Chief of Engineering gave the cadet a wink and a smile and went out the door.

Originally Posted on 16 January 2007 by Pev and Camenze Taray

A dark spot lay upon the heavens, glittering like a black diamond in the skies above the homeworld of Species 10067. In the conquest of this planet and its twin, the pursuit of fun had been stalled. Their Collective had swelled greatly in number, yet still fun was a concept that eluded the grasp of their combined consciousness. With a greater force to put to the task, a larger ship would be necessary. Materials were ripped from off the worlds below and so they had begun construction, building upon the rectangular Borg probe and using that as a foundation for what was rapidly becoming a more spherical creation.

…connect transwarp coil at junction two-seven-five and proceed to grid four-nine-eight for diagnostics…

As the lumbering form of a massive Jem'Hadar drone passed overhead, the large transwarp module effortlessly held in its arms, the little Borg prince turned his attention back to the study of what was fun. Before him were arrayed a colorful collection of refined glucose. "Confectionary creations of Species 10066," the young clone noted scientifically, lifting up a delicate. cloud-like puff that shimmered in the light. "They are intended for consumption, yet designed to be ascetically pleasing. This is inefficient," the youth noted, confused by the paradoxical relationship between art and food.

"They lack nutritional value. They are deficient," the young Borg concluded finally, setting the multi-colored puff aside. Fun was somehow associated with these candies, something that seemed unrelated to the earlier determination that fun was related to physical activity. There was even a theory being examined by the Hive Mind that fun was, at least in part, related to certain emotional responses sparked by proximity to certain individuals upon which an interpersonal relationship had been established.

More and more, fun eluded the Borg for its confounding irrationality. As they had with countless other facets of Creation, so the Borg would bring order to fun. In perfecting fun, they would add to their own perfection.

…estimated completion of vessel will continue without further use of planetary resources. We will resume course for sector three-nine-five at sublight speed…

Lifting his head up, Three of Seven listened as the voices spoke once again. The Collective was ready to depart. Its will was his own, indistinct of each other. Whether it was Three who dictated the will to the Collective or the Collective that dictated the will of Three of Seven was unconsciousable anymore. And irrelevant. They were as one. "Resume course for United Federation of Planets Colony Megiddo IV," the Borg prince ordered, the candy now completely forgotten as the child turned to step back into his alcove.

Losing himself. One with the whole. Hundreds of voices speaking in harmony. The many who were one. Friends of diverse backgrounds and knowledge, shared in a unity that transcended family.

Perhaps this sense of being was, in some aspect, fun.

Originally Posted on 16 January 2007 by Ray (Three of Seven)

The sound of the opening holodeck doors echoed hollowly throughout the crowded corridors of the Hawking. A group of security officers got out of it, among them a Vulcan cadet. He holstered his phaser that was out of the holster, and said: “Thank you, gentleman. We’ll see again on the next training session.” This was Tarapik – he had already managed to report to all necessary instances and was now enjoying the full life of a true security officer. Right now he had completed a training session.

The Vulcan stepped away, in direction toward the armoury. While he was walking, Tarapik was gently passing his fingers along the wall, feeling the cold metal and enjoying the sensation. He was thinking about a person’s dreams and their strange tendency to sometimes come true, in other words – nothing purposeful for now.

The armoury was what stopped the Vulcan’s stream of thoughts and forced him to concentrate at the matter at hand. As he entered, Tarapik nodded absently at the officer there and unhooked the equipment belt around his waist. The belt’s knock on the floor notified the surroundings that the Vulcan’s mind had started to become unfocused once again. Tarapik kneeled and picked it up slowly, hooked it at the wall, while his thoughts were getting dangerously purposeful.

In his quarters, Tarapik lied down on his bed and stared at the ceiling blankly. His thoughts had already became dangerously focused on one terribly painful thought – was he right to leave Vulcan? Was he right to chase his own dreams, destroying his parents’? Was he right to board captain Ronnington’s freighter? Wouldn’t it have been a lot better with a normal captain? And once again – was he right to leave Vulcan?

Unnoticeably for Tarapik, he had already sat on the floor and crossed his legs. His body had relaxed and his mind had become even more distracted. Suddenly the Vulcan startled. Meditation? Why not – his Vulcan body had found its own solution to the problems, troubling its mind. Tarapik once again allowed himself to relax and dived into meditation state. Tarapik hadn’t meditated for a long, and now the image in his eyes was a bit blurred but then the old training and disciplines returned and helped him read the image more clearly…


The pain had almost passed away. Katarapikorium raised form the floor and groaned. He then smoothed his newly formed, short hair and took a deep breath. He had a difficult task ahead of himself - to inform his parents about his decision. Katarapikorium deflated the air in one long sigh and left.

Outside the bright flame of the ceremonial fires blinded him for a second. Katarapikorium blinked to get the tears away. He hoped they were only due to the sudden burst of light, but h knew they are most certainly not.

It was no time for hesitation, doubts or regrets. He stepped forward and cast a serious glance to his mother and father. Then he said: “Mother, father, I have something to tell you.” He waited for a few seconds to restore his self-confidence and carried on: “I have decided my future. I shall go to Terran and join their Starfleet Academy. I am… sorry.”

Robert Springs bit through his lips and sighed heavily, while Tavadiorium Springs kept her neutral expression. They both didn’t need any further explanations nor were going to try to argue him out of it. But a Vulcan knew some things about Vulcans – Katarapikorium noticed his mother is on the verge of crying.

“I am leaving by sunrise” the he said plainly and entered the building. For a second he was ready to change his decision but he saw something that helped him decide. His father had bit through his lips so he could stop himself from smiling and pride was shining in his eyes.

From that moment on images were changing fast and were unreadable. Suddenly the grinning face of captain Ronnington appeared in front of Katarapikorium’s eyes…


…and made Tarapik open his eyes widely in shock. The Vulcan stood up, sat on the bed’s edge and brushed away the sweat from his forehead. The last image was terribly terrifying and yet the meditation had helped him find the lost self-confidence. A non-Vulcan without the proper education, seen these images by accident, would have seen nothing else than a flashback. But to Tarapik it was very clear. The errors in his path were there, but it was natural. There were no troubling or huge mistakes. Tarapik smiled happily and fell deeply asleep even before he had fallen on his pillow.

Originaly Posted on 17 January 2007 by Tarapik

====The Doctor Is In, Almost====

Sitting in her waiting cabin for the arrival of the vessel known as the "Hawking" Terrah sits reading her medical school handbook. Turning the pages she smiles as she recalls certain moments in her training she actually had to apply these run-of-the-mill procedures. Putting the book down, she looks about her small cabin and sighs. "Well, you wanted to do this Terrah" she says with a mocking voice to herself. She shakes her head and starts packing up the uniforms that were issued to her. She places them neatly into a small luggage container that has a cute design of her initials on it "TKY". The engraving is in old calligraphy and looks like something from the dark ages. Satisfied with the job she's done packing her clothing; she closes the case and pulls the uniform out from the locker and changes out of her civilian attire to the freshly washed, pressed uniform. The uniform fits comfortably, hugging her slender body perfectly.

Walking to the mirror, she looks at herself, turning to the sides, and then turning around completely. This view causes her to grumble to herself, obviously disappointed. Finally, she goes to the vanity to make sure her makeup is perfected. Applying her eyeliner with surgical precision, she then puts on her mascara evenly, all while making comments to herself about "wrinkles" and her imagination of them. Finished with her makeup task, she works on her hair; she puts a few sprays of spritzer in it and then finishes it off with a gloss spray to give her hair radiance. The spray works, her hair glimmers with an ominous red glow. Satisfied, she makes sure all her gear is prepared. Looking over her hypospray injector to inspect for any dust, and smiling at it fondly, remembering her father sent it to her on her 3rd year in Starfleet Academy. Finally stuffing the bulky Tricorder her grandma gave her into her shoulder bag, she looks prepared.

Straightening out her uniform, she grabs the shoulder bag, and slides it over her shoulder with a grunt. Then she grabs her luggage in each of her free hands and makes towards the door. The door of terror she calls it, for as she gets to it, the sensor does not detect her, so she has to back up once again still carrying the heavy load. "Open you damn door" she says with a strained voice. It finally opens, and she makes her way out. Right as she gets halfway through the door though, it closes on her, getting her stuck. She struggles and lets out a growl as she let's go of the luggage. Pushing with all her might the door finally cooperates and opens. "I'm sorry door, but I'm leaving you. You can't hold me back anymore!" she says laughing at the thought of talking to an inanimate object.

Grabbing her luggage she makes way to the docking station. The awkward weight making her bend in an odd position while shuffling down the hall towards the elevator that will take her to the docking station. Stepping into the elevator she sets the luggage down and let's out a relieved gasp. The elevator ride was about 6 seconds from the time she pressed the button. Sighing and hoisting up her luggage and the shoulder bag again, she moves towards the large doors titled "Docking Station".

Getting to the security desk, she greets the guard standing watch there. "Hello Sir, I am here to board the U.S.S. Hawking. I'm Cadet Terrah Yates." she says in between her winded breaths. The security officer nods and looks at his computer "Ok Cadet, you'll be meeting them at docking station 8, they should be arriving anytime." he says with a friendly voice. "Oh thank you so much, I'll go await their arrival then!" she says as she hoists up her luggage again. Arriving at Station 8 was more of a chore than she bargained for. It seemed like an hour walk with all the luggage and weight she was carrying.

Finally arriving to her destination, she sits down with a heavy thud. Breathing out heavily and looking towards the door where she soon will leave behind the civilian life and begin following her dreams.

Originally Posted on 17 January 2007 by Terrah Yates

"Just who in their right mind came up with this god damn labrynth?" a heavily accented voice barked, as the figure of the fifty-something mechanic came lumbering from around the bajillionith corner in only the last few minutes. With bends and turns to the left and twists and curves to the right, Hiram was loathe to admit that he had absolutely no idea just where he was. For that matter, at this point, he wasn't even certain of where he was going, his attention focused on the padd in his hands as he skimmed through the inventory checklist in front of him. "Dammit tuh hell, was that cargo hold 'sposed to be thirty-nine or ninety-three..?"

The chief's musings were rudely interrupted by the sudden interjection of the floor, as the middle-aged engineer went over something. Or someone. A string of rather colorful curses, uttered in a shocking array of languages, echoed through the halls as the padd went skittering along the deck and the bearded veteran glanced back to look at the offending stumbling block. An old case with initials engraved in an elaborate script. "What in tarnation…" Hiram began, shuffling back to his feet as he fixed a predatory glare around the room in search of some poor crewman upon which the almighty wrath of a chief petty officer was about to be unleashed.

Instead, as he straightened himself back up, the aged engineer found himself looking at a young cadet. The blonde woman with only a single chip on her teal-blue collar, brand new to the fleet. "Aw, hell," the man huffed quietly, the hawk-eyed glare of earlier softening slightly as the engineer paused to brush himself off. Reaching down, Hiram picked the case from up off the ground, holding it out for the young woman. "Must be waitin' fer yuir ship, eh?" the engineer posed rhetorically, the hint of a smile lifting up the lines around his weathered face.

"First postin' fer ya, cadet?" Hiram asked, an almost paternal warmth slipping under the accent. It had been about forty years ago, but Hiram remembered what it was like to wait for that first assignment. The eagerness. The anxiety. Thinking back on it, four decades might have just as easily only been four days ago. Time passed so quickly…

Originally posted on 17 January 2007 by Ray (Hiram Frost)

Sitting comfortably, yet expectantly Terrah looks constantly to the space stations windows. The wait bringing on a nervous feeling that washes over her that wasn't there till now. "Get it together Terrah" she says to herself while tapping her fingers on her leg. Her interest goes to her fingers, taking in how each little line and crack in her skin seems to…..She snaps out of it as a man trips over her suitcase and unleashes the fury of words her mother did not allow at her poor suitcase.

A bit dazed she turns to face this foul creature of doom, which has come to sink his fangs into this young cadet. It's no creature, nor does he bare any fangs, it’s a man. She looks at the gruff looking man bearing an insignia that tells her he's a Chief Petty Officer. Then she looks at his features, a cow lick hairstyle with a big gruff beard that would make lumberjacks envious.” Could be a young Santa Claus" she thinks to herself with a grin.

The man hands her the suitcase and says to her "Must be waiting for your ship huh?" she nods and accepts the suitcase, unsure of what to say to this man, fearing his temper is ready to continue it's course. She then notices a smile finding its way on his rather weathered and gruff face. "This as an opportunity to cheer this seemingly grumpy man up" Terrah thinks to herself. Terrah flashes her winning smile, which has often thawed even the iciest men's tough exterior.

The Petty Officer then asks her "First posting for ya, cadet?" His tone is now very gentle and kind. "Yes sir, it is. I'm looking forward to it to be honest. 4 years of training and classes and now I'm getting to live my heart's deepest desire" she says nostalgically thinking of her mother and father's line of work at the Galactic Peace Corps.

"I apologize for the luggage, but it's very sentimental to me. I hadn't really expected to see anyone around this area, as this place is rather empty and lonely almost. I would have kept it out of harms way if I knew anyone would happen by." She says looking at him, her smile never leaving her face once. "It's fortunate you tripped over my luggage though, for if you are injured, well, you're right in my line of work" she says with comforting tones, "testing my bedside manner again…” she thinks to herself. "I'm Dr. Terrah Yates, Cadet as I'm sure you're well aware of, it is a pleasure to meet you sir" she extends her small hand towards him.

Originally Posted on 18 January 2007 by Terrah Yates

"Yes sir, it is," the blonde answered, the response making the four decade veteran visably wince at being handed the title of sir. In most areas of the fleet, addressing a chief petty officer as 'sir' was prelude to an ass kicking. "I'm looking forward to it to be honest. 4 years of training and classes and now I'm getting to live my heart's deepest desire," the cadet was rambling on, sounding for all the world like she was ready to appear on some Starfleet recruiting pitch.

Damn if they ain't gettin' younger an' more idealistic, Hiram thought, working the wince into a pained smile instead. Somewhere between talking about her fancy-schmancy luggage and introducing herself, the woman had managed to lob another sir his way. What the hell they teach'in these kids at that damn Academy these days anyway, Frost pondered briefly, knowing the answer too well. Just the basics. Then sending them to the fleet where senior officers and chief petty officers were expected to teach them the rest.

"Imagine it's right nice ta meet ya then, doc," Hiram replied cordially, the tone turning more instructive as he added, "But if'n ya don't mind a piece of Starfleet tradition, don't dare call a chief 'sir'. We work fer a livin'," the enlisted man boasted with pride and sincerity in equal measure.

"Hiram Frost, engineer," the chief offered, taking the cadet's lithe hand in his large, swarthy grip that could have crushed coal into diamond. It was the hand of a man used to working with tools and heavy pieces of equipment. Calloused. Dry. And with a silent, humble strength that radiated power both sure and deep. It was said that chief petty officers were the backbone of the fleet. If Frost's handshake was any example, then that backbone was unbreakable.

"So, doc, what ship ya waitin' fer then?" Hiram inquired, sparking conversation as the man sized up this woman. If she did alright, then one day she'd get her commissioned, and then she'd be tasked with the responsibility of being a leader of the enlisted technicians that were Hiram's heart and soul. He wondered if she realized just what a heavy charge those pips could be. "An' what brings ya out this far, if'n ya don't mind me askin'?"

Originally Posted on 18 January 2007 by Ray (Hiram Frost)

"Imagine it's right nice ta meet ya then, doc," the man said to her, as she continued to beam her “pleased to meet you smile at him”. "But if'n ya don't mind a piece of Starfleet tradition, don't dare call a chief 'sir'. We work fer a livin'," He follows up to her as she listens to him, admiring his rugged and tough guy routine. “Well, I certainly didn’t mean to offend you if I did. I apologize. My father always told me that when someone is your elder, you always speak to them with respect. My manners, it seems to curse me with this word you dislike so much.” She says with a twinkle in her eye.

"Hiram Frost, engineer," the man finally said, at last, relinquishing to her his name, returning her handshake with a rough grasp that one might expect if one man was congratulating another man for a good day of hard work. “Well Hiram, it’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m glad there’s still good, strong, hardworking men like you still in this Starfleet” she says with true admiration in her voice. Terrah can’t help but giggle as the older gentleman blushes, trying to blow off her compliment. This man reminded her of her grandfather, always so concerned about impressing people with his tough and weathered nature. Though deep down, her grandfather was a loving and gentle man that went out of his way to make others lives more pleasant behind-the-scenes.

"So, doc, what ship ya waitin' fer then?" Hiram then asked her, as if making small talk rather than having genuine interest. Smiling at him, maintaining the traditional Yates poise and grace, she answers “Well, I’m waiting for the USS Hawking. As I’m told it’s suppose to be docking by now. Though I’m sure they’re tied up with a new discovery or something really interesting like.” This seems to make the woman’s face brighten up with what looks like childlike glee. Hiram looks at her, a smile sneaking it’s way onto his resistant face. Terrah notices him looking her up and down, and from any other man, she’d be offended. Terrah gets the feeling that this man is more sizing up her future in the Starfleet rather than how pretty she is.

"An' what brings ya out this far, if'n ya don't mind me askin'?" he then says to her, with a finality in his voice, as if this was just a way for him to get out of this conversation. Usually that question is followed with “Well good to hear, good luck in the future” she thought to herself. "To answer your other question Hriam, the reason I decided to come this far from the Alpha quadrant is simply because I am a born explorer. To meet such diversified races and cultures has always been my passion. Also, to administer treatments to new races, and learn how to not only help mankind, but all kind" Her radiant smile continues to beam as she finishes her story; she looks to Hriam. “I guess I have that memorized. Seems I have to tell a lot of people the answer that question often” she says sighing and looking at the floor.

“To be honest, I’m here because my parents thought this was how I should lead my life” she admits, continuing to look at the floor.

Originally Posted on 18 January 2007 by Terrah Yates

"It be no offense, doc," Hiram remarked in reply. Had she been an ensign, he might have expected her to know the tradition, but not as a cadet. Particularly a fourth class. "Jus 'member yuir enlisted folks take pride in their jobs. A petty officer's a petty officer and a chief is always a chief," the man stated, politely, but with an equally firm committment.

Pausing momentarily, Hiram added, "Also, a chief is usually a bit older. And maybe somewhat more round about the middle," he commented, patting the middle age pounch that was threatening to droop over his waistline.

When Terrah had launched into the details of erstwhile explorative nature, he'd been tempted to ask how long it had taken her to research the speech. As it happened, he didn't have to, as the truth seemed to more or less come out on its own. Nodding at the admission of a young woman trying to do right in the eyes of her folks, Hiram inclined his head. "Well… that's as good a reason as any of us got," he stated simply. "Hell, I'm here for a woman."

Or the memory of a woman, anyway, he thought, silently correcting himself.

"But, the Hawkin' you say? Well imagine that," the chief stated next, shifting topics slightly. "I'm here with a small crew makin' preparations for the Hawkin's deployment," Hiram informed the woman, stepping over to pick up the padd he'd dropped earlier and holding it up for a brief moment. "Makin' sure we got the supplies an' equipment we need an' then I'll be gettin' aboard along wit ya I reckon."

"I 'spose these new fangle Intrepids are good enough ships," the aged engineer mused, almost to himself, before giving a quiet chuckle. "I dunno, seems like a beastie with a lot o' movin' parts that jus' achin' to break with them flappin' warp nacelles she got," the man commented, tossing up an apparent suspicion for the ship's variable geometry warp drive, which moved the ship's nacelles up or down during flight.

"Oh, but ya should 'a seen the Ambassador-class when she was new an' that USS Ambassador came rollin' outta Utopia Planetia… now there was a lady," the engineer remarked, nostalgia laden heavy upon his voice as he seemed momentarily captured by memories older than the doctor in front of him. Snapping out of the reverie, the chief returned to the 2380's. "I imagine you'll do alright on this 'ere Intrepid though. If ya have any problems, you jus' come see ol' Chief Frost now, ya hear?"

Originally Posted by Ray (Hiram Frost) on 18 January 2007

The door closed after the little blue creature.

"Well,"Camenze thought to herself, "We'll not be making that mistake again! Computer, please show visual display of each member of this crew, in order of rank, starting with the commanding officer. Then all the other folks on board in…ahh…alphabetical order, please." She watched the images slide by, one after the the other, face after face, each name underneath. While she watched she tapped her com badge.

-/\- "Camenze Taray to sick bay, non-emergency" -/\-

-/\- "Nurse Marcus here, go ahead"-/\-

-/\- "Hello, Nurse, I was just wondering, a pet of mine shipped in with me, is he there yet?"-/\-

-/\- "The Pupsicle in cryo? Sorry, the frozen dog, yes. Cadet, he's here, safe and sound."-/\-

-/\- "Well, I was just wondering, when might you start thawing him?"-/\-

-/\- "I'm afraid he's low priory at the moment but we'll contact you when we start, it'll take some time."-/\-

-/\- Yes, of course, I just…miss him, that's all."-/\-

-/\- "We'll get on it soon, Sick-bay out.-/\-

"Thank you," said Camenze, though the channel was closed. She watched more names and faces flash by. She started to shake her head in wonder and disbelief. She had seen almost all the crew and was starting in on the civilians. She wondered how she would ever fit in.

"Damn, what are the odds of so many good looking people all being on one crew?" she wondered.

Originally Posted on 18 January 2007 by Camenze Taray

"But, the Hawkin' you say? Well imagine that," Hiram said with a curious tone. "I'm here with a small crew makin' preparations for the Hawkin's deployment," He said, though taking another breath as though he was going to say something else. Looking at him, with a smile, she waited. "Makin' sure we got the supplies an' equipment we need an' then I'll be gettin' aboard along wit ya I reckon." Hiram says to her with an almost excited tone in his voice.

“Oh that’s wonderful Hiram! We’ll get a chance to work on the same ship!” She says with an excited tone. “What can you tell me of these ships?” she pauses to think about what she’s going to say next. “I mean, all we have ever seen of them in Academy was a lot of training videos and simulations. This isn’t really a good idea of the scale of them.”

"I 'spose these new fangle Intrepids are good enough ships," he says to her, as if her question was more directed at the air behind him. "I dunno, seems like a beastie with a lot o' movin' parts that jus' achin' to break with them flappin' warp nacelles she got," Hiram says with an annoyed tone which she catches quickly. Nodding she says “Well they are a bit complicated, but on the bright side, this technology that’s becoming more independent every day, you’ll soon be able to just sit about sipping coffee.”

“Of course this means the creature hiding in your shirt there” she points at his belly and gives him a joking smile “Will have a bigger home”. Hiram lets out a little chuckle and smiles back, though on this face, it looks more like two cheeks rising, rather than lips rising into a form known as a smile.

"Oh, but ya should 'a seen the Ambassador-class when she was new an' that USS Ambassador came rollin' outta Utopia Planetia… now there was a lady," Hiram proclaimed nostalgically. Terrah’s thoughts soon drifted off to her own, imaging herself as a young officer, in Hiram’s shoes, witnessing this ship coming out of a shipyard gate… ”That must have been an experience of a lifetime” she says with a longing voice. “I wish I could have seen that for myself. You’re very lucky to witness all these historic events.” Terrah says with a hint of admiration in her voice.

Hiram looks at her, and nods pleasantly. “Oh, it is a experience ya just will hav’ ta’ see for ya’self Doc. Which I figur’ will be rit’ when that bucket’o bolts docks.” Terrah’s reaction is simple, it is her famous smile. “I guess this will be my first time seeing this event myself” she says proudly. “I just wish the damn thing would hurry up already, seems like I’ve been waiting here for days!”

"I imagine you'll do alright on this 'ere Intrepid though. If ya have any problems, you jus' come see ol' Chief Frost now, ya hear?" he says to her with his famous charming smile that had almost no visibility on his face. “I look forward to it” she uses an official sounding voice “Chief Frost.” Jokingly she salutes him as he makes his way off. Growling back jokingly makes a motion of dismissal with both hands. “Ya’ get one Cadet, but ya’ be makin’ dem’ salutes at me in tha’ ship, ya losin’ a body part!” he says in a humourous tone as he fades away around a corner.

Originally Posted on 18 January 2007 by Terrah Yates and Ray (Hiram Frost)

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