Updated: Apr 21
Stardate 94154 (26 February 2417)
"Morning Captain. Something the matter?"
Sam sat down on one of the chairs in Commander Natasha Larson's room. The chair was deceivingly soft, and Sam sunk right into it. Tasha held back a smirk.
"What is wrong with this chair?"
"Nothing. I like to have my chairs comfy,"
Sam shook his head as he made himself cosy. "Redecorated, huh?"
Tasha stood up and walked to the replicator, ordering herself some tea. "Of course I have, it's my office now. Tea?"
"No thanks Tash,"
Tasha nodded and took her tea towards the chair opposite Sam, sitting in it with relative ease. She took a small sip before continuing "What's wrong?"
"Straight to the point I see,"
"I have a feeling you want this over quickly. I have your evaluation form sitting on the table, ready to be stamped. As soon as you're good to go, I'll stamp it and you can get back to doing what you love,"
Sam smirked. "Sure, stamp away, I'm good to go,"
"Evidently," she looked at him over the rim of her cup.
"What am I worth Tasha? The lives of 200 crew?"
"No. Not remotely,"
"That seemed to be the cost of getting me out,"
"I was there. It was brutal to be sure, but we expected it. The Sacred Band were all over us, but we held our own and pulled through. Got you back and so the mission was a success,"
"I've...I've not read the reports,"
"Because I'm scared to see the price of getting me out,"
"The cost was high. There. Now you know. Read the reports,"
"Lieutenant Commander Eunbi said the exact same...you counsellors are all alike,"
"No, we are all right. Read the reports. You'll need to know what's happened so you understand the fallout,"
"Reports, Sam. Read the reports, you will understand everything,"
"I don't have time to,"
"Sam, don't lie to me. I want those reports read before you see me next. Understood?"
"Good. You owe it to the crew who laid down their lives for you, to understand what happened. The cost for you was higher than a mere 200 crew however...read the reports, you'll see... But Sam. That was not down to you. You did not order them to die. The Senn, or whatever their name was... Goo people I've read in reports...whatever, it doesn't matter. But they were the ones who killed these people. Understand that."
"It's hard to. It's hard to look into the faces of Captains Skye, Timoreev and Commander Wilson. I know what they are going through right now. Ships damaged. Letters having to be sent to the next of kin. Counselling. No doubt Command will want an investigation...they're only human, and they are having to come to terms with the fact that they lost crew...good crew, just to save me. It's as bad on them as it is on me.
"They signed up for this. You signed up for this. Yes, people died for you Sam, so don't you dare throw that away by moping and feeling sorry for yourself. If you do that, then yes, you were not worth the lives lost. And as much as I dislike you, I don't think you are that person. Get better. Get sorted. And then use the time that they bought for you, doing the things that they never will be able to. That is how you become worth the lives of the people who died."
There was silence for a long while, only broken by the sound of Tasha sipping her tea.
"I hate it when you're right Tash,"
"I enjoy it, it's the only time where I can berate you and not get yelled at,"
Sam sniggered. "Well, you've always enjoyed only attacking people when they can't hit back,"
"Very funny Bishop. It's only because we're professionals that I haven't made any below the belt jabs like that. Believe me, I have a few stored,"
"Well, with someone who has had as much practice going below the belt as you, I'm sure something would have stuck,"
"Screw you Bishop. Screw you,"
"Enjoy it while it lasts Tasha," Sam stood up and made for the door. "Thank you..."
"I'm here for you when you need me, Sam. Don't let our past put you off. We want you back on the bridge...well I don't, but the rest of them do,"
"If only to spite you Tash, I would,"
"You're going to hear a lot about the cost of bringing you back over the next few weeks. Stay strong. Prove to everyone that their sacrifice was not in vain. And remember. It's not your fault. You didn't kill them, the Sacred Band did."
Sam nodded. "I went through this once at Kobali...and I never did have time to reflect,"
"Talk it through with your fiancée. If there is one person who does think you were worth those lives, it is her."
"See you soon Tash,"
"See you soon, Sam."
Stardate 94161.7 (1 March 2417)
Sam stood in a darkened corridor. Red lights flashed overhead but there was no familiar siren call of the Red Alert. There was complete silence. He looked around. The corridor was empty. It was familiar. The Valley Forge.
"Come catch me Dad!
Sam wheeled around to see a flash of red run around the corner. "T'Pia?" Sam moved towards her, though every single step seemed to reverberate down the corridor.
"Come on Dad!
Sam quicked his pace, turning the corridor. "T'Pia, where are you, my love?"
"In here Dad!"
Sam moved towards the sound of the voice, turning into the officer's mess. "T'Pia?" There was no sign of the girl anywhere. As he turned to leave, he found himself face to face with a black armoured guard, white visor gleaming in the dark.
"Did you think you could escape Bishop? Think you could get rid of me?" The clicking was infernal and Sam crumpled to his knees, his hands over his ears to try to block out the sound. "Finally. You fall to your knees. Is it because you finally realised your worth?" The torturer leaned down, grasping Sam by the neck and lifting him up. "I told you, Bishop. I can do this for an eternity..." Sam was thrown at the window, which shattered as he hit it. He drifted off into space, clawing at his neck as he exhaled. He was getting weaker as his body used up the last of his oxygen. As his body turned, his open eyes caught sight of a battlefield; chunks of debris were floating aimlessly around a giant red star. The shroud of space began to envelop him, and he could fell his body letting go, his eyes slowly shutting.
"Come on Dad, you're so slow!"
Sam's eyes opened to find himself in a seemingly empty cargo bay. The darkness dripped off him, collecting in a pile of black goo at his feet, before disappearing into the ground, as water seeps into parched ground. Like a stain, it spread, beginning to cover the entire floor, racing towards a lone, red-haired girl. "T'Pia!" Sam tired to race towards her, but the goo, suddenly a thick as tar, held him in place. "T'PIA!"
She disappeared from view as dark objects rose from the blackened ground. Pods. Rows upon rows of pods. Sam looked at them. Each was wrapped in a blue flag. A bagpipe began to play, and as Sam looked around he could see four figures standing on a ramp. Fiona. Chance. Timo. Keelah. They each turned to look at him, one by one. Each had the same dark expression in their eyes. It wasn't accusation. It was resignation. Disappointment. Keelah started to read off a name. Followed by another. And another. She was joined by Fiona. And then Timo. And finally Chance. As each name was read out, each pod was fired. A salvo of the dead. Finally, they stopped. Around the bay, where the pods were, now lay individual blue flags. Around each one, people, of different races, ages, sexes. All weeping. Sam looked back up at the four Captains. Each stood, head bowed, respectfully.
"USS Fearless," he heard Chance's voice from nowhere.
Sam felt a punch in the gut and he doubled over. He reeled as another punch came flying his way. Sam staggered back dazed. He saw Chance holding a bottle.
"No Eunha to stand between us now, Bishop," The glass shattered upon impact and Sam crumpled to the floor. It wasn't over, however, as he felt hands grasping him, and lifting him up. Standing there, hand around his throat, was Fiona. In her other hand, she was clutching her combadge. Her hand curled around it, and she brought her arm back, smashing it against his face, not once, not twice, but three times in rapid succession. His head dropped.
"Tell that to the dead..." came the reply before he felt her hand constrict for a few seconds, and then let go. He fell to his knees. Her steps faded, and he heard them being replaced by new ones. He looked up. Timo.
There was no reply from the green-eyed Russian. No warmth left in his face. He simply shook his head. Sam felt himself sink.
"Timo...help me! Help me Timo! Help!" Sam sunk further and further into the ground. Timo remained motionless, shaking his head in disappointment.
Sam's fall was broken by a soft landing. A bed. His bed. He looked around. There was Keelah, curled up next to him, her head against his. Her arms were around his chest as if she was hugging him in her dreams. She opened an eye.
"You okay Sam?" she mumbled into his ear.
She pulled his body closer to her. "I know Sam. You are not alone anymore,"
"Why are they haunting me?"
"Because you are human, my love," she moved closer to his face and kissed him.
"I can't do this Keelah..."
"You can. You will,"
"Was I worth it Keelah?"
"Does it matter?"
There was a long pause."No," he whispered finally.
Keelah rolled on top of him and kissed him again, holding his face in her hands. "You are free now Sam. Don't let them harm you anymore,"
Sam slowly reached up, tracing the side of her face, feeling her smooth skin bristle with electricity at his touch "How?"
"You know how," she whispered, her breathing shallow. She kissed him again passionately, and Sam kissed back, equally as passionate, his hands wrapping around her soft hair.
"I love you," he breathed between kisses.
"I love you too," came the response.
Stardate 94169 (3 March 2417)
"Hey Captain. Please take a seat,"
Sam walked around to the seats and was about to sit on the chair when he eyed it cautiously and sat on a different one. This too was deceivingly soft, and Sam sunk into it like quicksand. He cursed and Tasha hid a smile as she got up from her desk.
"Are there no proper chairs in here?"
"You mean a hard seated one? Sure, there is. Tea?"
"Where is it...oh, no thank you,"
Tasha came back with a cup of tea and sat on her chair with ease, sipping it. She didn't seem to sink into hers. "How are you feeling? I saw your latest medical report. Getting stronger I see,"
"That does seem to be the case. Keelah's looking after me well,"
"I see that. You are looking stronger, you seem to be walking without a cane again,"
"Yeah, for some reason, whenever I get weak or tired, my leg always sears up again,"
"Make sure you're getting enough rest; many, many Captains think they can heal their wounds by working. Don't be like that. You aren't invincible. Rest is what heals things,"
"I've been having nightmares,"
"Do you sleep alone?"
"Do you disturb her in the night?"
"Not much...or at least, I don't think so,"
A pause as Tasha quickly notes something. "Interesting, what do you dream about Sam?"
"I dream that I'm still in the chamber. Still being tortured,"
"Does the pain feel real?"
"It did, at first. But I kept telling myself that I'm dreaming...and the pain goes away. I can most often control my dreams. But it's scary nonetheless,"
"Sounds like you have it under control. It's natural to experience these dreams, Sam. Most people won't even begin to understand what you've been through. Hell, I don't! But you survived Sam; even better, you resisted. Right to the end. That took a lot of willpower, a lot of strength. That's what I'm banking on to get you through this. That strength...that damn stubbornness of yours,"
"I know Tash...but...there was something the other night, something that was different. Captains Skye, Timoreev and Commander Wilson were all there. And they were...just judging me. They weren't accusing me...but that look...it was as if I failed them somehow,"
"Commander Wilson blamed you for the loss of his ship...but he was drunk, not in his right mind. He was full of emotion, and it bubbled over. Have you spoken to him since?"
"No Tash I...I have loaded up his contact details on my console so many times, but I've always stopped right before I hit call,"
"Are you afraid that it'll confirm your suspicions?"
"Yes I...I am,"
"You doing this alone?"
"There's the mistake,"
"I should do it with Keelah there?"
"She's your partner, Sam. She's your emotional support, and you are hers. I will guarantee you that she would be more than willing to do this with you. She's probably sitting around, waiting for you to ask her...she's probably realised that you are a proud and stubborn man...you haven't changed a bit,"
"Sam, this is all part of the torture...it's not ended yet. This part is just as painful, if not more, than when you were captured. At least then, you knew the enemy was outside your head. Now it's in your head. But there are people here for you Sam. People who love you. Use that support network,"
"I find it hard too...it's just...everywhere I look, I can just see people blaming me, disappointed in me. Every time I go to the bar, I wonder, do these officers hate me, behind their fake smiles? Or are they true?"
"Sam...these people are your colleagues. People who have fought by your side, people you have worked with. People you have trusted. And you have fought, worked and trusted them too. They know you, they know the person who you were. That's who they want. Who some of them need. Some might blame you, some may hate you, but that is natural. You've overcome these people before, you can do it now. Trust in your colleagues and friends Sam. I can't stamp you clear if you don't; there is no way I would let someone take Command of a ship who can't trust the people he works alongside. Let down your shields Sam. Step down from Red Alert. You can't beam anyone or anything across when your shields are up..."
Sam sighed "Damn you Tasha, putting it in words I understand,"
Tashs shrugged and leaned back sipping her tea. "I'm a counsellor. I can see you're trying Sam, and I am here to help...as are your friends...build a support network, people you can talk to,"
"Captain Thiessen spoke to Keelah...he offered to be an ear for me, should I needed it,"
"Use it Sam,"
"I will Tash,"
There was a long silence.
"Why do you always distance yourself from the others? You always place yourself in a different category to my friends,"
"I mean it...do you not see yourself as that?"
"Sam...I'm your damn counsellor, and if I didn't have to be here, I wouldn't"
"Tash...you're being silly...it doesn't matter, the feeling is mutual. I was just curious...Captain's curiosity,"
"I know Sam...I knew you'd bring it up at some point. It's because I can't, Sam,"
"You know I always used to avoid you if I could,"
"I did the same..."
"Why did you accept the assignment,"
"Because...I was stupid,"
"I saw the name of the ship and got excited. I didn't know you were in Command, and the letter came from Alfred, not from you,"
"You thought...how old are your sources?"
"You didn't tell anyone Sam. I didn't even know until I came aboard and found out she was dead, and not in command,"
"I...didn't...I couldn't Tash..."
"Still, it had been four years since the end of the war. I should have known..."
"I'm sorry Tash..."
"I'm here now, and this is where we are. We play with the hand we're dealt. I've settled in well, got a promotion and head my own department. On a good ship too, and the Captain's alright,"
"We...should perhaps rebuild those bridges we burnt,"
"Maybe...but don't bank on it. It may never be Sam, but that's not to worry. First things first though. I have a job to make sure you recover from this trauma and are cleared for duty,"
Sam nodded before standing and walking to the door.
"There's always time to rebuild Tasha. I'm not going to force you into doing it but...you know where I am,"
"See you later Tash,"
"See you soon Sam,"
Personal Log - Stardate 94182.4
There is no voice for a long time, only repeated sighs
Computer end...no, cancel that.
You remember how you felt when you graduated? The second time that is...before all this happened? That feeling of what's to come?
That's what I feel now, again.
But it's not naive eagerness that you would find on a cadet...no. Not the excitement of the unknown, the feeling of invincibility...
It's the feeling of vulnerability.
And I do feel vulnerable. I feel like everything has been stripped away from me, leaving me bare...like how a plant shed its leaves in the winter, so that it may survive and regrow in the Spring. I am the plant. My leaves are gone and like the bravest snowdrop pushing through the last of the winter snow to see the light of day...that's what I have to do. Be the snowdrop.
The last few weeks have been tumultuous. My physical recovery has been exceeding all expectations, probably due to the fact I'm used to recovering from heavy injuries. My mental...is a different matter. The events of the last six months have come crashing down on me, and it takes all my willpower to keep my head above the snow. Natasha has been a very good counsellor...though...our past makes the matter complicated...
My family...my family have been everything to me. My wife-to-be and my daughter...they have been, and always will be, the rocks upon which my life is built. And as Keelah said yesterday...we must do everything we can to give T'Pia the best in this universe. I would settle for nothing less. Keelah herself...I didn't think we could grow any closer, and yet, last night, we seem to have done exactly that. At least...at least at the end of our traumatic past, we have each other. And that is all that matters.
And now...to what I've left behind. All those loose ends that need tying up.
Zee...I can't believe that was even a problem. I think that maybe, maybe...I should take the lead, show her that I am not the person she believes I was. I owe her a great deal, and I don't think she realises that. She certainly doesn't know how grateful I am to her...not just for my rescue, but for looking after Keelah, being there for her when I wasn't.
Rick...he's gone now. Off on a new adventure. It was nice of him to call. Though, the guilt of the sacrifice he made for me still weighs heavy on my mind. And he apologised to me. He took steps towards me... that man had nothing to apologise for, but I did. And I didn't. Maybe I'll see him again. Hopefully, he comes to the wedding...
On the subject of looking after Keelah and weddings...Eunha... We never got off on the right foot. Ever. But still, I seem to constantly owe her a lot. And now, she's getting married herself. I can't say I know the man, but I hope he looks after her. It is what she deserves, more than anyone, for being Keelah's closest friend and advocate. If there is something I must do, is making good on that friendship. It is the least I can do; looking out for her, as she did for Keelah. I owe her that much.
Sebastian...well...it's over. My dearest brother. My closest friend. The man who brought me up, because I didn't have a father. The man who saved my career. The man who gave his all for me. The man...
The voice breaks
My dearest brother. I'm sorry for all the hurt I caused. All the pain I put you through. Know...know that you were...and always will be, my inspiration. My hero. I'm sorry that our last words were in anger. And that I never got to tell you how much I loved you. You inherited a broken house, and though you tried everything you could...you left it broken. No...you left it perfect. I broke it. Sebastian. With you, I place the Bishop name. You were everything our family needed. Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust Sebastian. I love you.
There is another long pause. Deep breaths can be heard.
Jenny...my dear Jenny. I thought I had closed that door when I visited her grave. But it seems not. It seems that Jenny follows me, wherever I go. I guess...
A slight chuckle
I guess this is her way of punishing me for how I handled her death. I have to tell Tasha...she...she deserves to know. Jenny was her everything, just as she was mine. I can't ever forget that.
And now...and now to what I have to do going forward. There is a lot...a lot. Retirement is not coming anytime soon. But first things first. I need to fully recover, in both body and mind. Only then can I face what the future holds. At least this time, I do it as a Bishop-Se'Lai, instead of a Bishop. Now, no matter what...Keelah will be by my side. And now we have a goal that's bigger than either of us. Our dear daughter.
Stardate 94218 (21 March 2417)
Keelah jumped into his arms, embracing him with a tight hug and an even tighter kiss.
"Stay safe," she whispered, holding him tighly.
Sam held her close. "I will do sweetheart, don't worry,"
"You'll have to forgive me for worrying," she replied with a teary grin, pulling away.
"I know Keelah, I know. But trust me, I will come back home safe this time,"
"Oh Sam," he hugged him again. "I don't want you to leave,"
Sam looked at her quizzically. "I asked you...you're the one who convinced me,"
"I know, I know," she said, standing up straight and fussing over him, making sure his clothes were spotless and his hair neat. "I didn't think it would be this hard to say goodbye to you again,"
"I love you Keelah," Sam said, taking her hands and kissing them lightly.
She smiled. "I love you too, Sam," she sighed. "What's your plan then? Go to this conference and then visit home?"
Sam nodded. "It's going to be quite difficult, but I assume we're going to bury an empty casket, or something," he looked visibly pained as he said this. It didn't take much for Keelah to notice this; she placed her hand on the side of his face.
"I can come with you,"
He sighed and looked at her. "No Keelah. You're needed here, sweetheart. I'll be fine,"
She shook her head. "I know you better than anyone else my love. You won't be...but we'll get through it, together. Just stay strong,"
Sam kissed her and pressed his forehead against hers. "I'll write and call often,"
"Please do, I'll be waiting...you'd better not get off with an archaeology girl whilst you're there," she chuckled.
"I have my own archaeology girl right here," he smiled.
"You calling me old Samuel?" Keelah pouted.
"Nope, just calling you priceless," he chuckled, stroking her cheek gently.
Keelah nuzzled his hand. "You're let off this time then. You have to leave now don't you...you can't stay a few minutes?"
Sam shook his head with a wry smile. "Keelah, even I know that a few minutes would turn into hours,"
"You're not wrong you know," she replied and kissed him long and hard. When she pulled back, there were tears in her eyes. Sam wiped these away gently with his thumb.
"Look after T'Pia for me," he said quietly, afraid that if he spoke any louder, his voice might break and his calm demeanour shatter.
"I will look after our daughter Sam. If there is one thing you can be sure of more than anything, it's that,"
Sam took her hand and squeezed it tightly, leading her out of the room. T'Pia was lounging on the sofa idly, reading the copy of Les Miserables that Sam had given her. She looked up when her parents appeared. "Are you leaving now Dad?"
Sam nodded. "I am darling," After all these weeks, Sam's heart still melted when T'Pia called him Dad, still not able to get over the fact that he was a father and that she was his daughter. Keelah seemed to feel this, as she wrapped her arm around Sam's waist, pulling him closer to her as if to say "yes, she is our daughter Sam,"
T'Pia carefully placed a bookmark in her page and then bounded over her parents to give them a big hug. "I'll miss you Dad...but don't worry, I'll keep on practising our fencing! Can you take me horse riding next, when you come back? I've read about it and I want to try it!"
Sam chuckled. "Of course my love," he said hugging his small family. "Take care of your mother now, T'Pia, and don't cause her any trouble,"
"I won't Dad, you can count on me!"
"Of course I can my darling," he smiled, kissing T'Pia on the top of her head. He then stood to look at Keelah. "Goodbye Keelah, I'll see you soon. I love you," he gave her a parting kiss.
"I love you too," Keelah smiled, her professionalism taking hold. "Goodbye Sam,"
"And I love you too Dad!"
With a final wave, Sam smiled and left the room.
Stardate 94276.9 (12 April 2417)
Sam looked up from the book as he heard the door. He was reading an epic about a group of Diaderian Hunters valiantly defending their planet from a foreign invasion. An evidently exaggerated account, but a good read nonetheless.
The door opened to reveal Natasha, standing in a stunning and revealing red dress. She was wearing little makeup, accentuating the red lipstick she was wearing. She was clutching a letter.
Sam blinked at her appearance. "Tasha...to...what do I owe this pleasure?"
Tasha wondered in and stood in the room, with a small smile. "It's a celebration,"
"Celebration? For what?"
"Your reinstatement as Captain,"
"What do you mean?" Sam stood and narrowed his brow.
"Everything has been cleared. You are physically and mentally clear for command,"
Sam paused. "You mean...I'm..."
Tasha nodded. "The Endeavour is yours again, Sam,"
Sam stared at her long and hard. "I...will need some time to process,"
"Don't be too long...Alfred is getting too comfortable in that seat..."
Sam chuckled and then hugged Tasha. "Thank you Tash..."
"I did nothing Sam...you did the work. You've made a good recovery, but it's not over yet. Hopefully, your command will serve as the best therapy for you,"
Sam nodded and looked around the room. "It's going to be so strange having an empty quarter to myself,"
"I'm sure you can convince your fiancée to join you sometimes in your quarters. I mean you did convince her to marry you,"
"Tash you are a right..." Sam let that sentence hang for Tasha to fill with her own expletive.
"I'm sure your daughter would love to spend some father-daughter nights with you too,"
Tasha punched Sam lightly. "Have you not learnt by now? I am right. All the time,"
Sam scoffed. "Whatever you say Tash..."
"I have something for you too," She held out her hand to give Sam the sealed envelope. "I know how much you enjoy old school styles. I hope you find this useful. It has helped me though many difficulties,"
Sam looked down at the neat, cursive writing. Samuel Bishop
Tasha smiled. There was an uneasy silence before she finally broke it. "I had best be off, I have an appointment to keep,"
Sam gave a small nod. "Fare well, Tash. I'll see you soon,"
"And you Sam," Tasha twirlled and left the room. Sam stared after her for a moment before opening the letter.
Stardate 94328.5 (30 April 2417)
Sam groaned slightly in his sleep and pulled Keelah closer to him.
"Bishop, you open this door and get your ass front and centre right now!"
Keelah moaned. "Who the hell is that?"
"I... don't know," Sam mumbled.
"Whoever it is, go check so I can get some sleep. I have a shift in a few hours. I just want some sleep!" Keelah pushed Sam away and pulled his pillow over her head.
"Keelah..." Sam's found himself on the floor as Keelah shoved him off the bed and pulled the covers back over her. Grumbling, he went over to the door. "Lara, if this is one of your..."
He felt two strong hands pull him out of the door and pin him against the wall. "Alfred, open the computer and type in the transfer codes," Tasha turned to Sam.
"Sam, please. Can you not get abducted quietly?" Keelah called from inside angrily.
Tasha pushed the button on the door which closed shut. "You. Are. In. Big. Trouble," She hissed at Sam.
"What did I do?" Sam was very confused.
"It's been two and a half weeks. That is enough time. You're retaking command of the Endeavour, right now!"
"But...what? No!" Sam mumbled.
"What the hell do you mean no?" Jaidan's voice came from behind Tasha. "You're cleared Sam. Stop moping around!"
"How did you even get in?" Sam asked.
"Your daughter let us in," Alfred said simply as he tapped away at the console.
"T'Pia? Where is she?" Alfred stepped to one side to show T'Pia sitting on the sofa, working. She smiled and waved at Sam. He looked at her incredulously. "T'Pia? Why are you even up?"
"I was just studying Dad,"
"That's my girl..." he smiled at her before coming to his senses. "...wait, no! Why did you let them in?" Sam felt a hand on his face pull him back towards Tasha.
"Eyes front Bishop. Alfred, are we ready with the codes?"
"Ready for transfer,"
Tasha pulled Sam over to the seat and forced him in. "Type in the codes now Sam."
Sam didn't move.
"Come on Sam. You're ready, buddy. We believe in you," Jaidan said softly.
"Sam...you can't run away from this forever..."
"Captain. It is time. Delaying the inevitable is just... illogical," Sam could have sworn Alfred added the last part with a smile.
"Honey," Sam looked up to see Keelah stand by the door. T'Pia rushed up to her. Smiling lightly and wrapping her arms around T'Pia's shoulders, she looked at Sam. "You can do this,"
"Did...you do this?" Sam asked.
Keelah shook her head. "It was Natasha's idea. I just thought it would be funny to watch," Keelah smirked slightly.
Sam looked at her blankly before turning to the console screen.
USS Endeavour Command Transfer
Transfer from COMMANDER ALFRED VOXAZIL to CAPTAIN SAMUEL ALEXANDER BISHOP.
Enter Command Code COMMANDER ALFRED: #############
Enter Command Code CAPTAIN BISHOP:
Sam closed his eyes. Opening them he looked around. Alfred, Jaidan, Tasha, T'Pia. And Keelah. All five of them believed in him. He could not betray their trust. Sam's fingers moved automatically.
Enter Command Code CAPTAIN BISHOP: ############
Command Transfer Complete.
CAPTAIN SAMUEL ALEXANDER BISHOP is now in command.
"Well that was fun...now can you all please leave my quarters?" Keelah broke the silence. "Some of us have work to go to,"
The crew of the Endeavour gave a small smile and bid their farewells as they left. Tasha was the last out. She stopped to look at Sam. "That includes you too Captain. Your first shift begins in seven hours. Sleep well!" she gave a little wave and left, smirking.
Sam looked around, wondering if he was dreaming.
The console told him he was not.
CAPTAIN SAMUEL ALEXANDER BISHOP is now in command.
Stardate 94336.2 (3 May 2417)
"Come on," Sam gritted his teeth as the Endeavour shook violently.
"Shields at 72%," Henry reported over the blaring alarms.
"Long range communications?"
"Still jammed sir,"
Sam swore. "How's the Attar and the Forge?"
"Both reporting serious damage but holding,"
Sam nodded, pressing a button on his chair. "Endeavour to Task Force Libra, focus fire on the cube, we need to get that jamming device down,"
"Attar Acknowledges," Timo replied.
"We hear you Sam. Let's double our firepower, Zee, engage saucer separation," Sam heard Keelah say.
Closing the comms channel, Sam looked around the bridge. "Alright Kaci, I want you to run rings around that cube, don't let them get a shot on us,"
"Got it, Captain," Kaci wheeled around.
"Lucy, transfer shield power to weapons, I want everything against that ship,"
"Yes sir," Lucy was smart enough not to question Sam's tactical prowess. Alfred however, did his job and looked at Sam, eyebrow raised.
"Hamish I want every last drop of juice you can pump into those engines,"
"I'll give you that and more Cap,"
Finally, Sam turned around to Sejanus. "Where's the device held?" Sejanus pushed a button and the cube lit up with schematics, showing a pulsing green device at the top. "You have your target then,"
"Target acquired. On your mark,"
"Open fire," Sam said plainly.
The Endeavour zipped around the Borg cube, beams of energy arcing from the phaser banks towards the small device. The cube shimmered as the beams were absorbed by the shielding. Nearby probes shot small beams in retaliation but Kaci held tight to the Endeavour controls, weaving in and out of the beams. The shots that did hit were absorbed by the Endeavour's own shielding.
"Modulate your fire," Sam said, pacing around the bridge. "Keep an eye on our shields. Lucy, try and use the absorbed energy to boost power,"
The bridge was a flurry of activity as the combined fire of the two ships and the two halves of the Valley Forge pounded relentlessly at quickly adapting shielding of the cube. They weren't able to adapt quickly enough, however. "Enemy shields overloading sir,"
"This is the Attar to Task Force Libra. We've been hit!"
Sam looked around. "Viewscreen, now!" he commanded. The cube flickered out of site to be replaced with the crippled husk of the Attar, her right nacelle leaking fire and plasma as she spun out of control.
"Timo? What's your status, over?"
"This is Commander Morrisette. Captain Timoreev is dead sir,"
"Commander, what's your status?"
"We've lost engine and weapon power sir and there are reports of the ship being boarded,"
"Standby to beam survivors,"
"No sir. You have to destroy that device," Morrisette's voice was calm and clear. "We'll go down fighting, sir,"
"Do your duty," Sam replied. Flicking the comms off, he turned to Sejanus. "Fire all torpedoes,"
"Torpedoes away," Sejanus replied. "Device is still functioning," he reported to the bridge crew.
"Reload. Kaci, make another pass," Sam commanded without breaking a sweat. The ship was suddenly rocked by an explosion. "Damage report?" Sam ordered.
"That was the Attar sir. She's gone," Henry said.
"Bishop to Valley Forge, the Attar is down, I repeat the Attar is down. We're lining up for another pass of the jamming signal,"
"I hear you loud and cl..." the communication faded to static.
"Captain. The Valley Forge..." Alfred said, flicking the viewscreen over. Both halves of the ship were being held by a tractor beam and probes were swarming over her like ants.
Sam froze for a split second. "Keelah..." The thought passed quickly. "Sejanus, do we have enough torpedoes to destroy the tractor beam and the device?"
"No sir. The device is too heavily armoured."
"Sir," Alfred looked at him. "If we delay rescuing the Valley Forge, the cube will reach the planet and begin to assimilate it. If we destroy the device now, we will have an opportunity to call in reinforcements who will arrive in time to prevent it,"
Sam looked back at the Valley Forge, now hidden from view by the probes.
"Kaci, bring us around, Sejanus, I want every last one of those torps to hit," Sam commanded. "Henry, ready the signal,"
The Endeavour whipped away and around the cube, her phaser banks firing at the device to weaken it further. Moving at high speed, the ship hurtled towards the device, almost on a collision course, pulling up at the last second and unleashing a volley of torpedoes. The device was destroyed instantly.
"Endeavour to DS13 and all nearby ships. Requesting immediate reinforcement, Code 7,"
"Kaci, the Valley Forge!" Sam yelled. The Endeavour turned and raced back to the Forge. "Status report?"
"I'm reading multiple borg lifesigns all over the ship and the numbers are increasing," Alfred responded.
"This is...Forge... assimilation. Cannot engage ... destruct,"
Sam glanced around the bridge. "Reinforcements?"
"First responders say they are minutes away," Henry replied.
"Sir... the Valley Forge will be fully assimilated in seconds. If they can't self-destruct..." Alfred reminded.
Sam glanced back at the ship. The Endeavour's shots were not enough to destroy the number of probes around them.
Sam flipped open the console at his chair. Typing in the Valley Forge command codes, he looked up at the ship before closing his eyes and jamming his finger down on the console. He heard the explosion. He opened his eyes to see the shattered remains of destroyed probes around them.
"Shields are down Captain," Lucy reported. "Hull has taken some minor damage,"
"Turn is back on that cube Kaci, we need to destroy it now," he ordered quietly, clearing his throat.
"Yes sir," the ship whipped around and headed back towards the cube, firing at it with everything that she had. But the Endeavour alone wasn't powerful enough to destroy the cube and her own hull was buckling under the heavy fire from the Borg. It was in the nick of time when a transwarp conduit opened and the first of Argo's ships came pouring out; the MacAlpine, the Akagi, the Avalon and the Zulu.
"Endeavour to incoming ships, focus fire on the cube," Sam said before slumping on the chair.
"Computer pause program," he said bitterly and the holodeck program froze. Sam watched the ships opening fire on the cube. "Too damn late," he cursed. "Display record,"
Words appeared in front of him.
Holoprogram Borg Simulation Bishop2231.
Results. Program not complete. Restarted 38 times.
Endeavour destroyed 5 times.
Attar destroyed 29 times.
Valley Forge destroyed 5 times.
Cube destroyed 32 times.
Objective failure 6 times.
Sam sighed. This was pointless, he knew. He knew that as a tactical exercise it was pointless. He had run Borg simulations so many times. He was an expert in space combat. This was to prove to himself that he could detach emotion from his command decisions. He did that didn't he? So then why had he restarted the program 38 times without completing it once? Why was he looking for that perfect score where nobody died?
"From the top," he muttered. "Computer, restart program,"
Restarted 39 times.
Stardate 94340.9 (5 May 2417)
"Come in," Sam looked up from his desk and yawned. The door opened and in walked Tasha, smelling faintly of cherries. Sam crinkled his nose. "Hey Tash, what's up?"
"Don't you "what's up" me," Tasha replied, one arm on her hip. "You missed your appointment,"
Sam leaned back in his chair, rubbing his face and beard with his hands. "That was today right... I'm sorry Tash... work has..."
"Doctor Bishop, you very well know that work is no excuse," she snapped. "Besides," she added, calmly. "You look like you need a break,"
"You're not wrong there," Sam yawned.
"Well, you couldn't come to me, so I came to you," she said, making her way to his sofa and sitting down.
"Tash, you're a right pain," Sam shook his head as he stood, opening a drawer and pulling out some glasses and a bottle of whisky.
"Getting me drunk will not help your cause Sam. You know what I'm like when I'm drunk," Tasha smirked.
"Of course I do," Sam replied, handing her a glass before undoing his jacket and sitting down opposite with his own glass.
"How have you been?" she asked gently.
"Yeah... it's alright..."
"See... you just needed the push,"
"I'm not happy with you or Keelah about that you know,"
Tasha shrugged. "Get over yourself. She's nice, your fiancée,"
"You've... you didn't tell her anything did you?"
Tasha looked at Sam plainly. "Have you not told her?"
"You might want to,"
"We promised each other we wouldn't Tash..."
"You've told her everything about Jenny,"
"She almost died because of Jenny that's why... She had that right,"
"She has that right now, Sam. You're going to marry her,"
There was a long pause as Sam sipped his whisky. "I am," he said quietly.
"What's wrong Sam?"
"Sam... don't lie to me... you're afraid aren't you? Scared of losing her,"
"I know you are Sam. But look, we've been through this. It's a natural feeling, but you can't let it affect you. Not now,"
Sam looked up at Tasha, putting his glass down. "I owe you an apology Tasha,"
Tasha sniggered. "You most certainly do... but why?"
"For Jenny... I took her away from you,"
Tasha was quiet for a long time. "No Sam. You didn't. She went to you,"
"I was terrible to you at the academy,"
"You were terrible to everyone. Didn't stop you... but in your defence, it didn't stop me either,"
"You're probably right... I should tell Keelah. I didn't tell Jenny and I was going behind her back,"
"Sam... it's only partly your fault. You know I was doing it to try and get revenge,"
"Funny way to get revenge..."
"Don't you start Bishop, you were the one cheating,"
"At least Jenny died not knowing,"
"Is that a good thing?"
"No... no, it isn't,"
"Sam... look at me," Sam looked up. "You're not the same person. Keelah is not Jenny. What's done is done,"
"Is it though? I mean, I've been in this position before,"
"What do you mean not quite?" Tasha frowned. "Did you..."
"I was about to. The day she was killed. I was about to propose to her. That evening in fact. She said she had something to tell me, and I said I had something to tell her,"
Tasha was silent for a long time. "I guess it was to propose to you,"
Sam shook his head. "No... well, we won't ever know what it would have been. But I don't think it was to propose. It was something else,"
Sam exhaled. "Tasha... Jenny was pregnant when she died,"
"When... when Jaidan did the autopsy... he found... the fetus died the instant Jenny was crushed,"
The pair sat in silence. When Tasha spoke again, her voice was hoarse. "This is why, isn't it? This is why you're so afraid,"
Sam stood and sat next to Tasha, taking her hand. "There are only a few people who know... you, me... Jaidan and Keelah,"
"You told Keelah?"
Tasha smiled briefly. "You did good there Sam,"
"I had to tell you,"
Tasha sighed. "You had to tell me a lot of things Sam. You really should have. Finding out about it from Alfred when I arrived on the Endeavour. It was not a good feeling,"
"I assumed you'd learn,"
"I had not spoken to her in years. We never stayed in contact after we graduated,"
It was Sam's turn to be stunned. "Tasha...what?"
She looked up at him. "Why are you so surprised?"
"Jenny... Jenny always talked about you. I assumed you were in contact,"
"She was... always very fond of you Tasha... I don't think she ever stopped loving you,"
"Oh," Tasha looked away, tears gleaming in her eyes.
Sam put a comforting arm around her, and she leaned into him. "She meant a lot to both of us,"
"She did," Tasha replied, pulling out of his embrace. Sam gently wiped her tears away.
"You meant a lot to me too, at one point,"
Tasha chuckled lightly. "Sam...you alway did know what to say to a girl. And that always made me mad. But look. Don't pretend to have felt something you didn't. You were always Jenny's,"
"And a part of Jenny was always yours,"
Tasha turned to him. "But now Sam... Jenny isn't here. And now, you are for one person, and one person only,"
"You don't need to tell me that,"
"I know. But, since I'm going to be your couples counsellor, it's something I need to remind you,"
Sam tilted his head slightly. "You're not..."
"Leaving? No Sam. I'm staying. I've made my home here. You're staying. Jaidan's staying. I have you guys. Listen Sam, I've been moving from posting to posting, but nowhere has ever been home. With you and Jaidan... you're all familiar faces. And besides," she punched him in the arm. "You need someone who does not roll over for you when it comes to counselling,"
Sam chuckled. "Please don't say I'm going to be stuck with you as my counsellor forever,"
"You realise that's worse for me than it is for you. You are insufferable. You really are. I do feel sorry for Keelah,"
"So do I sometimes," Sam admits.
Tasha stood, draining her glass. "Sam. Take a break. Go home. I'll cover your shift for you,"
"I feel like you should be the one going home, given the emotional news,"
Tasha shrugged. "I'll cope,"
"See you Captain," Tasha replied as she left.
Stardate 94352.2 (9 May 2418)
“Incoming distress call Captain,” Sam glanced up from his console. “Onscreen,” Henry shook his head. “Sorry sir, it’s audio only,” “Play it then Henry,” Sam’s fingers rested gently on his lips as he leaned on the armrest. “Any available ships, this is the SS Caribbean. We’ve been attacked by the Borg. I repeat, we’ve been attacked by the Borg. Requesting immediate help,” Sam’s fingers slowly withdrew from his lips, his hand shaking very slightly. “Henry, confirm Borg?” “Yes sir,” Sam blinked. “Kaci, get us to that ship, Warp 9!” He spun to Henry. "Set the ship to Yellow Alert, and relay message to all nearby vessels and DS13. Inform them that the Endeavour is moving to intercept,” “Yes sir,” The ship lurched into warp. “ETA Kaci?” Sam asked as he stood. “Thirty Seconds sir,” Sam turned to Sejanus. “Weapons up and armed,” Sejanus nodded and from behind his head, Sam could see the turbolift open and Alfred step out. “Borg attack,” Sam said simply to his First Officer. Alfred nodded as the ship dropped out of warp. “Kaci, keep us on the perimeter, out of range,” Sam ordered. “If there are too many, we’re going to withdraw. Let’s try not to get in a fight today,” he said. Kaci nodded as she moved the Endeavour closer to the lone wreck in the centre. “Analysis?” “No Borg in the area Captain,” Alfred reported. “What of the ship?” “It seems to be destroyed sir. It’s suffered extensive hull damage,” “Lifesigns?” “None sir,” Sam looked at Alfred. “Borg signatures?” “No sir,” Sam exhaled. “That’s a good sign. What about transwarp emissions?” Henry looked up. “None sir. I am detecting Warp signatures though,” “Borg?” “I don’t know,” Sam narrowed his eyes. Could this be another Kobyashi Maru? “Kaci, take us in, slowly. Alfred, assemble an away team, I want you to take a team over to this ship and tell me what the hell is going on,” “Sir!” Sam looked at Henry sharply, expecting the worst. “Well? Spit it out Higginson!” “It’s… another distress call… coming from a shuttle!” “Lifesigns?” “One sir,” “Onscreen,” Henry shook his head. “Text…only?” he looked confused. “Text? Onscreen,” OPEN SHUTTLEBAY. SHUTTLE BREAKING UP “Alfred, confirm?” “The shuttle is in bad condition captain, it is losing structural integrity at a rapid rate.” “Can we beam the lifesign off?” “No sir… its shields seem to be up, holding the hull together,” “Can we get in contact with it? Tell them to lower shields?” “I’m trying sir… no the communications seem to be down,” Sam watched as the parts began to break off the shuttle. “Kaci, rotate the ship, and guide him to shuttle bay 1. Have tractor beams guide the ship in,” “Yes sir,” “Henry, engage field 201 in shuttle bay 1. Tell security team 3 to meet me there, put the deck on a bio alert and prepare for a biohazard check as soon as the ship enters,” “Yes sir,” “Alfred, on me,” he ordered as he stepped onto the turbolift. “Henry, you have the bridge,”
Sam strode out to the shuttle bay where the shield was up and the security was waiting. On the other side of the shield he could see the rest of the shuttle bay, depressurised, and the bay doors open, staring at the stars and void beyond. The small collapsing shuttle could be seen, with a blue light emitting from the Endeavour, trying desperately to hold the last of it together as it moved towards the opening. It was like holding water in your hand; parts of the shuttle were flying off as it inched closer. “It’s not going to make it,” “It is Captain,” As the tractor beam disengaged due to the proximity to the ship, a huge chunk of the vessel flew off. “Is it?” Alfred dared not respond as the shuttle hurtled towards the opening. Parts were flying off in huge loads now, faster than before. At the last second, when Sam was sure the shuttle was about to disintegrate, the cockpit slammed into the shuttlebay, screaming towards the shield, skidding to a halt a few paces away. “Computer, close bay doors and pressurise!” he ordered sharply. “Sir, bio scans complete, there is no risk of contamination,” “Is the person inside alive?” “I don’t know sir, I can’t get any readings,” “Drop the shield and get a medical team here, stat!” Almost as soon as Sam gave the order, the shuttle collapsed as the bay pressurised. What happened next, Sam would not have believed if he had not seen it with his own eyes. As the shuttle collapsed, a man jumped out, landing on the floor with an elegant roll and stamding up. The shielding shimmered away and Sam found himself face to face with a tall man, neat blond hair and playful green eyes, his mouth curling into a mischievous smile. He was wearing an unidentified red uniform, and around his waist hung two elegant swords and two pistols. “Hello Captain!” he said cheerily, as the security team immediately drew their weapons and pointed it at him. The man held up his hands. “Well let’s not be too hasty here!” His voice was very familiar to Sam; that of a British aristocrat. “Who are you?” Sam asked, eyeing the man carefully. The man grinned as if it was the question he was waiting for. “Name’s Hawkins. Henry Hawkins,” “You certainly have a knack for grand entrances Mr Hawkins,” Sam replied, looking back at the lump of metal that used to be spaceworthy. “Captain Hawkins,” “I beg your pardon?” “It’s Captain Hawkins. Of the SS Caribbean,” “The ship that’s out there?” “That’s the one,” he grinned. Fine ship, is she not? I built her myself, I'll have you know!" Sam ignored the man “You said something about the Borg?” “I did indeed Captain,” Sam looked at him expectantly. “Care to elaborate?” “In due course,” Sam raised his eyebrows. “In due course?” “I’m much too traumatised at present Captain,” “Evidently,” Sam said through half gritted teeth. He turned to Alfred “Get an away team over there,” “I would not recommend that Captain,” Hawkins piped up. “And why not?” Sam turned back to the man, annoyed. “I flooded the ship with radiation to prevent any more people turning into Borg. Anything that beams onto the ship will be dead in less than five seconds. Six if you’re in an environmental suit,” Sam looked at the man. “What kind of radiation?” “The radioactive kind,” Internally Sam was holding back the urge to wipe the grin off the man’s face with a right hook. He hated stuck up posh people like him. Always had done. Being rich and well to do was one thing, and one that did not bother Sam, being one of these fortunate and priviallege people. Being entitled and acting the like the rest of the universe owed you something because of that... that was another and Sam despised it. Externally though, Sam was as cool as Andoria during the winter; being a solider had taught him discipline and it helped sometimes. “Alfred, take our guest to the sick bay and have him checked for injuries. Then arrange some guest quarters for him,” “Yes sir,” Sam watched as Alfred and Hawkins left. As soon as the man had gone, he tapped his combadge. “Lucy, scan that ship, is it safe to beam aboard?” “No sir. There’s a large radiation leak. I’m afraid that if we don’t stop it it’s going to contaminate the system,” Sam sighed. “How can we stop it?” “If we fire a special antimatter torpedo, we can annihilate the ship and the radiation with minimal damage. I recommend we get out of the blast zone as soon as we fire it though.” “Understood. Do it,” Sam tapped his combadge and looked at the wrecked shuttle. “Get this mess out of my sight,” he snapped bitterly as he turned and left.
Stardate 94362.3 (13 May 2417)
The Endeavour sat in the dry dock, in the orbit of Earth. Sam looked down at his little planet, watching as his country transitioned from night to day. He would often stare at the Earth from orbit. No matter how many planets he'd seen in his life, there was nothing more beautiful than the blue and green hues of the Earth. Beneath that silvered atmosphere was a world packed with so much life and death. And it was beautiful. More beautiful than Sam had ever realised. Earth from space was spellbinding and surreal. No amount of space exploration would dent that fact. Ever. The door chimed. "Come," he turned from the window to see Alfred walk in. Sam smiled. "Alfred," "You wished to see me Captain?" Alfred responded. "I did. Please, come sit," Sam moved on to the sofa and sat down, followed by Alfred. "How are you?" "I am good as always Captain," "More like stoic as always," "You would be surprised. We do feel emotion, just not like you humans. In your terms, I would feel excited, apprehensive, sad," Sam smiled lightly. Alfred always did his best to lower himself down to Sam's level to aid his understanding. "Even after all this time, I feel like I barely know you, my friend," "Captain. It takes a lifetime to learn about one's own self. How can I expect you to learn all there is about me in a couple of years?" Sam smiled again. "I would request you to stay with me, but it would be selfish to deny you of your future. You have saved my life more times than I care to remember. You have been an exemplary First Officer and you will never be able to be replaced. You will make an excellent Captain," "I would have learnt from the best," Sam scoffed. "I am far from the best," "But you are far from the least valuable. You have changed the lives of many of us Captain, though you may not realise," "My only wish is that I had a chance to command this crew for longer," "Time moves forward unrelenting. I am sure your new crew will be as competent as we were," Sam was quiet for a long time. "Everyone is leaving, Alfred," "Not everyone. You still have Commander Larson, Lieutenant Commander Reeder, and Lieutenant Jan," "Three from seven hundred and fifty," Sam looked at Alfred. "Did you receive your assignment?" "I did. I am posted here on, Earth Space Dock as a starship consultant. Classified mission. My wife has the same posting," "Wife? I did not know you were married Alfred..." Sam watched his friend curiously. "I am," "To whom? Do I know them?" "I would be concerned if you did not," "Who is it?" "Commander Sola," Sam looked at Alfred incredulously. "Lucy? You are married to Lucy?" He shifted forward in his seat to look at Alfred. "When? Why did I not know about this? You're joking right?" "Vulcans do not lie. We were married almost six months ago," "That was during my suspension," "It was," "Why didn't you tell me?" "Not everyone is as forthcoming about their relationships as you are Captain," Sam blinked. "I... Well I guess all I can say is congratulations... Late it may be," "Thank you Captain. I am also due to remind you that the promotion ceremony is due to take place before the last meal," "That's... Now isn't it?" "Your sense of timing and organisation will be something that I will take forward with me onto my new posting," "Dismissed Commander," Sam shook his head, sure that Alfred's lips twitched into a smile as he left.
"ATTENTION TO ORDERS," Sam's voice rang loud and clear as he stood front and centre on the Endeavour bridge. All who were gathered were in dress uniform, and stood around the divider that separated the top half of the bridge from the lower half. In a line in front of him, stood the original Endeavour bridge crew. "The President of the United Federation of Planets has reposed special trust and confidence in the valour, fidelity, and abilities of the officers stood before me today. In view of these qualities and the demonstrated potential for increased responsibility, it is my honour to present to you the following promotions, as of Stardate 94362.8," Sam stepped forward. "Ensign Kaci Willene Stephans. You are hereby promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade. Congratulations Lieutenant," Sam pinned the pip onto Kaci's collar, before shaking her hand firmly. Kaci could not hold back her wide grin. "Thank you Captain!" she beamed, stealing a glance at her new husband. Henry gave her a small smile. Sam now turned on Henry and Sejanus. "Lieutenant Henry Higginson and Sejanus Jan. You are both hereby promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander. Congratulations Commanders," Sam pinned the pip onto Henry and Sejanus' collar before shaking their hands. Henry grinned. Sejanus remained as still as ever, not even cracking a smile. "Thank you Captain," was his lone response. Sam moved on. "Lieutenant Commander Hamish Redmond, Lucy Sola, and Jaidan Reeder. You are all hereby promoted to the rank of Commander. Congratulations Commanders," Sam pinned the pips on the trio and shaking their hands before moving back into the centre. "Commander Alfred Voxazil." Alfred stepped forward. "In recognition of remarkable leadership, meritorious conduct, and acts of personal bravery, it is my honour to award to you, the Christopher Pike Medal of Valor," Sam stepped forward to pin the award. "Not only this, I have the further honour of promoting you to the rank of Captain. Congratulations Captain," Sam smiled and shook Alfred's hand firmly after he had placed the pin on Alfred's collar. The bridge exploded with applause, in which Sam joined in. Taking the centre for the last time, he looked at the assembled crew. "These are just a few of the awards and promotions it has been my pleasure to award over the last few days. As we reach the end of our journey together, I wanted to say thank you. Thank you each and every one of you. Most of you have been here ever since the Endeavour first left this very same place five years ago. We have been together through a lot in those five years. We would not have made it if it wasn't for the efforts of you all. Your devotion to this crew, this ship, and this Federation have been that of the highest standard. The friendships we have forged together will last us a lifetime. As we move on to the next chapter of our lives, I wish to part with the same words we started with, the words of Captain Jennifer Cartwright. “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.”" As Sam ended, there was no applause. There wasn't need for it. Instead, Alfred stepped forward to give his first order as a Captain. "Stand to Attention! Crew dismissed!"
Stardate 94365.0 (14 May 2417)
Sam stood on Earth Space Dock, watching as the lights of the Endeavour slowly flickered off, one by one. Sam could almost hear the engines winding down for the last time, the slow, comforting buzz coming to a complete stop. Then silence. "It is always a sad thing, to see a ship go," Sam looked sideways to the voice and immediately snapped to attention. "Admiral...Quinn. This is a... unexpected surprise," Quinn chuckled lightly and waved his hand at Sam. "At ease, Bishop," Sam was surprised that Quinn knew who he was. Almost as if Quinn had read his mind, he answered. "You look a lot like your father when he was younger. And your brother," So that was the reason. Bishop family connections. "That is what I am told," Sam replied with a small smile. Quinn returned to smile as he turned to the Concorde Class ship in the drydock. "It is a shame about these Concordes. Almost like it's namesake," "The Concorde plane, of the twenty and early twenty-first century," Sam explained. Quinn chuckled. "An expert in history I see," "I hold a PhD in Archaeology... I would consider myself an expert," Sam responded. Quinn raised his eyebrows. "It would seem so," Sam stood in silence looking at the ship. "It is a sad thing to see a ship go. I am not happy with the transfer, but orders are orders," he confessed. "Indeed," Quinn looked at Sam sharply, his eyebrows raised. "And orders are given for a reason, by those in higher stations who can see the bigger picture," Sam looked back at Quinn. "Forgive me, Admiral, I meant no disrespect..." "Bishop, listen to me. I've been reading your service history. I will not dress it up for you. It has been sub-par. Your actions in the past few months are something we do not expect of such a decorated and experienced officer such as yourself, especially one with a name like yours, commanding a ship like yours. I hope you realise that your actions, on a ship such as the Endeavour, are subject to greater scrutiny than others. And quite frankly, you do not deserve such a responsibility, if we look at your history. A Command is not a game, I hope you realise that. It is not some easy job that you can sit back and relax. It is not some fantasy or vacation that many see it as. It is hard work. A lot of hard work. From the reports that have been sent from the command of the 38th Fleet, you do not seem to respect that, or carry out your duty as an officer should," Sam remained motionless as he was berated by Quinn. He was surprised and angry that the man should judge him so, but his respect for the admiral, combined with the small inkling of knowledge that the man was correct stopped him from yelling back. "That stops now. Do you understand Bishop? This is your very last chance. By virtue of the extenuating circumstances that you have found yourself in over the past few months, Starfleet Command has reluctantly decided to grant you your new ship. I will tell you. There was one vote that separated you from this command. Just one. And that one vote was only due to the fact that the Endeavour is still suffering from some minor technical difficulties that we hope the engineers on DS13 can fix. Do you understand Bishop?" "Yes sir," "Then do not let me, your brother, or your father down. The names "Bishop," and "Endeavour," carry a big weight. As much as the name "Kirk," or "Picard," or "Enterprise," carry. That is a big responsibility. Your record does show that you are up to that task. But your actions recently do not. That needs to change. And with that..." Quinn turned to the yeoman who was with him, taking a package and handing it to Sam. "Happy Birthday Captain Bishop," Sam was very surprised as he opened the package. In it was a wooden plaque;
Spoiler: Quinn's PresentShow
Quinn watched Sam open it. "I was informed by Captain Voxazil that it was your birthday today. Since I had to come and give you this verbal reprimand, I thought it would be best if I gave you this. Your brother had it made when the Endeavour was first launched. He took it off when she was rather unceremoniously drydocked. Seemed rather disappointed when that happened. We found it when clearing out his office, and we thought that it would be best returned to you. It's up to you if you want to put it up," "Thank you, Admiral. I will... certainly look," Sam's ran his fingers over the smooth wooden surface, imagining that his brother had once done the same. His eyes caught the Bishop crest. Ashes to Ashes, it proclaimed. Dust to Dust. Quinn watched as Sam did this. "Now Captain, if you will excuse me, I am a busy man. Remember. This is your final chance. 38th Command are under orders to take your command away if they deem you are not upholding the Endeavour name," "Understood Admiral," "Very good," Quinn paused a moment before holding out his hand to Sam. "Congratulations Captain," he nodded, shaking his hand firmly before leaving. Sam watched the man walk away. "Sam!" Sam turned as Tasha ran up to him and took his hand. "Come here!" she said excitedly, tapping her combadge. "Larson to USS Bark, two to beam up!" The pair of them materialised into a small bridge. Jaidan was the only one there, and he looked up as the pair materialised. "Jaidan put the viewer on!" "Happy Birthday buddy," Jaidan grinned as he spun around. The viewscreen flicked on, and Sam was taken aback. "Happy Birthday Sam!" Tasha beamed. Sam stepped closer to the viewer as if he was staring at a ghost. Sat majestically above the Earth, illuminated by the light of the sun, was the flagship of the Endeavour class starships, NCC 98500. The USS Endeavour.
Fish in a Barrel - Part 1
"Welcome back Bishop," Tasha smiled.
"Thanks, Tash," Sam gave her a hug.
"It was the greatest trip to Bajor I have ever had,"
"Going there with your wife would do that," Tasha chuckles. "Why'd you come back so soon? You could have stayed another week,"
"Keelah and I weren't wanting too long of a honeymoon. We had things to do. And I wanted to attend these peace talks,"
"Well Bishop, if you want to go, I'm not going to stop you. It just means that I don't have to go!"
"Take care of my ship whilst I'm away?"
"Samuel Bishop, I have been taking care of your ship for the past week. I can look after her for a few more hours!"
"Thanks Tash... now, where's my dress uniform?"
"I'm your Acting XO, not your yeoman. Or your wife. Find it yourself,"
Fish in a Barrel - Part 2
Beta - 0.2
Keelah is online
Hey gorgeous, just to let you know, I found my dress uniform!
Keelah: Where was it?
Where you said it was...
Keelah: I married an idiot...
I love you. I hope you enjoyed our honeymoon and I'm sorry for dragging us back this early; I just couldn't miss this.
Keelah: It's okay, I was dreading the amount of work I had to do when I came back!
I hope it's not too much! You should relax! After this is over, we can enjoy a few more days together without work. We can set up the holodeck and pretend we never came back.
Keelah: Don't tempt me Sam...
Keelah: (we should totally do it!)
Well, once this is over, I'll be on the first shuttle back to your arms!
Keelah: Hehe, I can't wait!
Wish me luck, the conference is starting! There's an empty seat left and I want to see if I can grab it; there's not way I'm standing for this...
Keelah: Have fun. I love you!
Love you too!
Sam is offline
Fish in a Barrel - Part 3
Sam sat on the desk of his ready room. His hair was matted with dried blood. His dress whites had crimson patches, both on his ripped jacket, and his trousers. Sam's gaunt eyes stared out of the window, to the thin streaks of the stars at warp. The ship felt different, the usual hum of the warp engines felt strained. His eyes dropped around the ready room. Books and paper littered the floor, the chairs overturned. The globe on his desk had fallen off and had snapped out of its casing. The model of the HMS Endeavour had also fallen on the floor, the masts snapped off and the sails ripped. His eyes fell on the ship in a bottle that Keelah had given him for Christmas last. It had been saved from the destruction around it, landing on the carpeted floor. He stooped down to pick it up. It was intact, thankfully. He placed it on his desk; the only stable thing in the room that was full of chaos. "Computer, activate Jenny," he muttered. "Holographic emitters offline," "Of course they are," he nodded his head and sighed. Book cleanups would take a while. "Next time, I should put them behind a glass case. Or maybe I should go digital..." "Bridge to Captain Bishop. We have arrived at K-7" Sam tapped his badge. "Copy that bridge, request clearance to dock. Which other ships have arrived?" "The USS Akagi, Kassandra, Victory, and Axiom, are all here," "Roger that. Have the transporter standing by, I will beam down shortly," "Yes sir," Sam stood up and took his jacket off, tossing it onto the overturned chair. He walked over to the replicator and pressed a button on the nearby wall. It slid away easily and Sam gently washed his face in the basin, tasting and smelling the metallic blood as it disappeared. There. He looked slightly more presentable. As he made his way to the door, he paused, his hand moving up to his head, a pain suddenly erupting. His hand came away red, the wound had reopened. "I should head down to me..." he stopped himself. There was no medical. Not anymore. A wayward beam had taken care of that. He sat back down on his desk, to give himself a moment before he left again. The last thing he wanted to do was pass out again. His fingers absentmindedly pulled out a picture from one of the drawers. There were three cadets, one wearing a blue stripe, the two wearing red. One girl, with long blonde hair, two boys, one with black hair, the other with brown. Their arms were around each other's shoulders and they looked... happy. The caption read: "Cadets Jaidan Reeder, Samuel Bishop, and Jenny Cartwright, class of 2399," "Please look after him in heaven Jenny. At least you're no longer alone," he whispered. He stared at the picture for a few more seconds before putting it down on the table and walking out of his room.
Fish in a Barrel - Part 4
Gamma +2 - 15 Days since the Evacuation
Sam sat staring at the case on his desk. His dress jacket was undone, and flopped across his body. A glass of whisky and a lone PADD was also on the desk. His fingers brushed over the medals stored within. He could sense the ebbing pride he had in them as looked across them all. From the giddiness of his first Academy graduation medal, to the third Bronze Star he had just added to his collection. A fine addition indeed. He shook his head. Pieces of worthless metal. He did nothing. Nothing. Nothing brave, or heroic. He just did his job. Giving this medal to him lowered the merits of those who had achieved. Those who had truly accomplished. Like Keelah. Like Isadora. Like Tasha. Like Gabriella. They were the ones that deserved it. Not him. And yet, duty had made him go and accept these medals, made him stand in front of his peers and colleagues, held up as an example of exemplary duty. He was not exemplary. He was flawed. Deeply flawed. His eyes refocused on the collection of medals. His service jacket showed eight campaigns. Medals for bravery against enemies of the Federation. There was only a pair of medals he was truly proud of. The Prentares Ribbon of Commendation. For outstanding contributions to the advancement of the Federation through exploration or diplomacy. Peaceful. Medals of peace. Not the ones that he had gained through the blood of others. He closed the case and rested his head on the cool wooden lid, which had the Bishop crest carved onto it. He was correct when Rosewood met him in the medbay. He was a solider. His service record showed it. His service jacket showed it. The bloodstained medals showed it. He was the sword and shield of the Federation. He would protect her ideals with his life, if it came to that. That's what Bishops did. Loyalty and Duty. How many times had that been drilled into his head ever since he could talk? It was not just the Federation he had a duty to. He had a duty to his family... Sam lifted his head to look at the picture of Keelah he had on his desk. Her beautiful smile disarmed him instantly. He tore his eyes away from hers. He had been reckless and had been shot for no reason other than his own pride. And yet... and yet, that was his job. That was his role as a soldier. To give his life. This turmoil had bothered him greatly of late. His marriage only made it worse. He had a family. So, what was his duty? Where did his loyalties fall? To the Federation? Or to his wife whom he promised to love and cherish for as long as he lived... ah... there it was. There was his clever way out. For as long as he lived. He had created his own back door. He placed the photo down, unable to look at his wife for the betrayal he committed. On their own wedding day. Whilst Keelah had vowed to remain by his side forever, he had tricked and manipulated his way out. It scared him. It terrified him. That his natural state would be one of defence. One that gave his life, not to someone he loved, but to an institution he was born into. All at once, his brother's actions hit him hard. This was turmoil he faced. This was what he tried to prevent. What he had tried to tell him. Duty to family. Not to the Federation. "Larson to Bishop," Sam blinked a little, before scrambling for his combadge. He squeezed it tight. "Bishop here," "Deep Space Thirteen Casualty lists just came in. You wanted to see them?" "Put them through..." Sam picked up the PADD which flashed with the incoming transmission. Sam shook his head at the list of names. Names that he should have protected. One name he should have protected... His hand trembled as he quickly did a search. ENSIGN Aruyo Lara. Missing, presumed Killed in Action The PADD clattered onto the table. He buried his face in his blood-soaked hands. Lara's face appeared in his memories. Her smile on his wedding day. Sam broke down, his tears staining his dress whites.
Fish in a Barrel - Part 5
T'Pia FX | Sam's ready room door chimes
Sam takes his face out of his hands, and looks at the door curiously. Wiping his tears on his sleeve, he clears his throat. "Come in,"
T'Pia bounds in, "Hi dad!"
Sam blinks. "Oh... T'Pia," he smiles as he stands
T'Pia hustles over to greet him with a hug
Sam wraps her in a warm hug and gently kisses the top of her head. "How are you?"
T'Pia: "I'm... commendable!" she grins up at him
Sam: "Oh?" he holds her at arm's length and looks at her. "Commendable?"
T'Pia giggles, pulling the medal from behind her back and pinning it firmly back in place on her tunic, "Can you believe it? I'm not even /in/ Starfleet yet!"
Sam his eyes widen as he bends down to look at it. "My dear, this is wonderful!"
T'Pia beams proudly, "It's unbelievable! I... think mum had a hand in this... she seemed preeeetty sure for why I was given it..."
Sam: "Oh? Why did I not guess your mother had a hand in it?" he chuckles. "What was it for?"
T'Pia clears her throat and speaks as though quoting, "in recognition of her exceptional conduct in saving the crew of the Valley Forge from a transphasic parasite"
Sam quirks his eyebrow. "That's no way to speak about your mother," he chuckles
T'Pia giggles, "No! It was after we helped the Alesia colony. They thanked us with a provision of some local delicacies"
T'Pia: "Turned out one of the crates had this parasite festering inside but it didn't register any biofilters because it was transphasic..."
Sam: "Now, this is a story I haven't heard," he smiles as he sits back in his seat
T'Pia bows her head, "Thinking back, it was actually really scary..."
Sam takes her hand. "Well, that makes this commendation even greater now, doesn't it?"
T'Pia leans back against the edge of his desk, "Well sure, I mean... I know mum nominated me for it, like she does for all the crew"
T'Pia: "Huh?" she looks around, having caught something unexpected on the desk, "What's this?" she asks curiously, picking up the box
Sam: "That's one of the jobs of a commanding officer you know," he smiles. "Recognising when people are due to receive awards," he looks at that box. "It's something that I should get for you, now!" he grins. "Come, take a look," he pushes the PADD away and pulls the box closer to the pair. He gently unlatches it, and lifts the lid for her to see.
T'Pia 's eyes widen, "Woooow... are they all yours, or is this a collection for the whole ship?"
Sam: "These are just mine, over the years. If we had one for the entire ship, we'd fill up this room. There are many decorated officers here!"
T'Pia: "Oooh... I think mum has quite a few too, doesn't she? I have... vivid memories of standing in front of the fleet for presentations..."
Sam: "Your mum does indeed, she's quite well decorated. I can see who you take it from," he chuckles. "But now, I need to get you your own box, for all the medals you'll be getting," he says proudly
T'Pia beams proudly again, "That does sound exciting!" she frowns a little looking at his collection, "...she doesn't like them, does she"
Sam: "My medals, or hers?"
T'Pia shakes her head, "Hers. I know she keeps them locked away, and I feel..." her head dips, "...remorse"
Sam tilts his head. "Well, I can't claim to speak for your mother, but you see here, out of all these medals, do you know which one I'm most proud of?"
T'Pia shakes her head more vigorously and turns a curious look to him
Sam takes out the two Prentares Ribbon of Commendations and gives them to her. "These were for service to the Federation through diplomacy. Your mother has a lot of these. A lot,"
T'Pia looks at them in her hand and nods, "Yes, these are... familiar" she smiles, "These are warmer memories I think, prouder"
Sam: "Of course they are. These medals are for doing something great. Without the need for violence or death," he smiles. "Your mother, is great at that. She keeps a cool head when everyone else loses theirs. It's something I hope you will learn from your mother," he pats her head
T'Pia smiles, shucking her shoulders a little for the head pat. She traces a thumb of the metal of one and nods, "It's very important to her; proving she can control her emotions. I know from how focused +
T'Pia: our mind melds were on that. Is that why these are you proudest too? Because of what they represent?"
Sam: "Yes. It shows to me that I'm more than what these other medals show me to be,"
T'Pia tilts her head curiously, "Why? Do the others not represent great achievement also?"
Sam: "They do," he nods. "In most circumstances, they are to be praised. If you were to win one, you would not know how proud I would be. How proud I am now," he smiles. "But I won these for mainly doing what I was told to do, in war. It's easy to win medals in war. It's harder to do so in peacetime. That, is true bravery,"
T'Pia frowns a little, not really understanding the context for lack of wartime experience. "But... we're not at war now, and they gave lots of people medals?"
Sam: "Exactly," he beams. "That is why everyone who receives a medal now, is worthy of the praise given to them. They don't do it because they're told to. They do it because they are great officers,"
T'Pia: "But then... if medals given in wartime are devalued, why do they give them more then?"
Sam sighs, not sure if he wants to give her his cynical opinion on these matters. "That... is a good question," he states simply
T'Pia looks from the box to Sam and back, "That's why you had these out, isn't it. Trying to answer that question" she slowly turns her gaze back to him
Sam smiles. "The reason I had this out was to put my medals that I won in it," he teases, pinching her nose lightly
T'Pia crinkles her nose, smiling softly as she looks him over again. Yeah, she can read him better than he thinks. She follows up with another long hug, still resting her head on his shoulder as she perches on the arm of his chair, "So what are all these different ones?"
Sam: "Those? Those are campaign medals. For all the battles that I've served in. Everyone gets one of those,"
T'Pia: "Aah, that's why they look different to the rest!"
Sam: "Mhm! They're rather fancy," he picks up the Hur'q medal and pins it to her chest. "You served in this one, so you should get one! Well, you shouldn't because you're not Starfleet, but... I won't tell if you don't,"
T'Pia blinks and looks down at it, "But we weren't involved in engagements with the Hur'q?"
Sam: "You might not have been, but there are many other roles in the campaign outside that of direct engagement,"
T'Pia: "Really? So these count for just being in service during the times the conflict took place?"
T'Pia looks down at the medal pinned to her, clearly liking the feeling of accomplishment but then frowning, "I think then I see why you said wartime devalues them..."
Sam nods. "Most of these service medals are,"
T'Pia traces a finger across it smiling again, but the shakes her head and removes it, setting it back in the box. "I didn't earn it, and accepting it would only devalue your achievement dad. But thank you" she smiles, kissing him on the cheek
Sam just corrects the positioning slightly. He's very fussy like that. "And thank you..." he stands, pulls on his jacket and stands to attention. "For your services to the Federation," he says formally. "Congratulations, Ms Bishop-Se'Lai,"
T'Pia mirrors his attentive stance, just less successful at looking serious as she grins playfully
Sam relaxes. "You... need to stand a bit straighter," Sam lifts her head up a tad. "And keep your head just a bit higher. And square your shoulders, like this,"
T'Pia: "Oh, right!" she giggles and tries again, face straighter as she focuses better. ]T'Pia stiffens, straightening her back, "Like this?" she asks, raising her chin a little
Sam: "There, much better. You know that they have classes in the Academy for this?"
T'Pia: "You know mum used to secretly enjoy them as she found it quite meditative?" she grins, briefly forgetting herself but snapping back.
Sam raises his eyebrow. "Did she now?" he chuckles. "Typical Se'Lai..."
T'Pia nods firmly, "You should ask her about it sometime. She doesn't like to think about them because it was very hard for her, but I think you would find it interesting as who she used to be" T'Pia apparently feels no shame in betraying her mother's deepest emotional secrets...
Sam blinks, at the fact that he was getting marriage counselling from his not-even-one-year-old daughter. "I will, when we get the chance to sit down," he smiles. "We barely do, because of all this," he glances to K-7 outside his window
T'Pia: "I hope we can do more of that now you're better still..."
Sam frowns sadly and strokes her cheek. "I would love nothing more, but... I'm afraid that it's going to be a lot busier now. We have to rebuild,"
T'Pia nods, dipping her head with a slight pout
Sam: "Hey, hey, hey," he says, lifting her chin up. "When your mother and I put on our uniforms, we do it for you. I want you to always remember that. Whatever we do, we always do it for you," he smiles. "Because there's nothing more important in the universe than you," he kisses her forehead
T'Pia slowly turns her eyes back up to meet his; slightly watery and wearing a sad smile, "I just wish we could all be together more"
Sam: "I know. And I do too. But I'm really glad you live with your mother. I really am,"
T'Pia pauses a moment before pouncing a hug around his shoulders
Sam closes his eyes and hugs her tightly, "You know, it just makes these moments with you extra special," he whispers
T'Pia smiles warmly as she eases back from the hug, "You have a point there, dad! Very logical" she grins
Sam: "What can I say, I married a Vulcan. Logic rubs off on you,"
T'Pia: "Not as much as grandma wishes..."
Sam: "You could learn a lot from your grandmother you know,"
T'Pia: "It would be nice to spend more time with her. I don't even know her well from mum, at least... not in any good way. But I know they've started to repair the relationship now!"
Sam: "Family is the most important thing for us Bishops, you know,"
T'Pia nods firmly, "I... I wish I could have know uncle Seb better..."
Sam: "I er... oh," he seems disarmed by that question. "He was... well... a very respectable man,"
T'Pia holds a hand against his chest to pause him, smiling softly, "I didn't mean to... I just, well, like you said; family is important and I only have vague memories of him..." T'Pia 's smile warms, "I remember that he felt strong. Confident and... reassuring"
Sam smiles. "We will visit home one day, and I will teach you all that I can about my family. About your family,"
T'Pia: "I would very much like that!"
Sam: "As would I," he smiles "Hey, come here," he takes her hand
T'Pia smiles, resting her hand in his
Sam gently pulls her ouy to the bridge and points to the Captain's seat
T'Pia sticks close to his side, a little intimidated by the big fancy bridge and all the officers quietly working away
Sam: "Take a seat," he smiles
T'Pia gives him an unsure look before slowly looking to the seat, "...really?"
Sam: "Yes, really!" he takes her hand. "I'm with you the whole time,"
T'Pia smiles and nervously steps up to the big chair, standing in front of it a moment as she takes it in before turning and slowly lowering herself into it
Sam grins and takes the seat next to her. "Sorry Tash, I'm nicking your seat," he calls
T'Pia wriggles around a little, feet swinging as she looks around the room
[Tasha] "It's not my seat!"
Sam: "How does it feel?" he asks her gently
T'Pia gradually leans herself back - causing feet to dangle more prominently - and sliding her hands along the armrests "It feels... proud"
Sam: "Good," he looks to Pippa. "Helm, lay in a course around the system and back. Impulse speed only. On... orders of the Acting Captain," he looks at T'Pia
Sam: "On your command, ma'am," he beams
T'Pia can't help but grin happily for a brief moment, having to take a deep breath to steady her nerves. She closes her eyes a moment and points forward, " Helm, take us out; let's give them the show they've been waiting for!"
[Pippa] glances at Sam.
T'Pia blinks and flushes deeply, "I- I mean... take us out." she nods, shying away quickly
Sam: "You heard the lady Ms Bonzi," Sam chuckles. "Just like your mother," he says gently to T'Pia
[Pippa] "Aye aye sir... I mean, Miss," she smirks and punches the command
T'Pia nods silently, having turned pale as a ghost
FX| The ship turns away from the station and moves out at low impulse, before suddenly zooming forward!
Sam: "You okay?" he notices T'Pia's light shade
T'Pia: "You said it... just like mum..."
T'Pia looks to Sam, "Sorry dad, tha-... that was a vivid memory trigger I had not anticipated..." she tries to shake the feeling off
Sam takes her hand and squeezes it tight.
T'Pia gives his a light squeeze in response but soon nods her head and looks ahead to the viewscreen
FX| The emptiness of space gives way to the satellites of the system as the ship runs her course around
Sam: "This view should not be seen from the viewscreen," he smiles. "One of the best things about this bridge is this," he stands and holds out his hand for her and leads her to the glass front
T'Pia stands, following more eagerly "Wooooow...." she awes, pressing her face and hands up against the screen
Sam: "There," he leads her to the front, where the large glass screen shows the view. He puts an arm around her shoulder and stands next to her, looking out
T'Pia: "I would spend so much time up here taking it all in if the Valley Forge bridge was like this!"
Sam grins. "You can always sit in out quarters and see the same view," he smiles. "Besides, on missions, civilians are restricted access to the bridge,"
T'Pia: "But even in our quarters the view isn't so... expansive!"
Sam chuckles. "Look, we're going past K-7. First one to spot the Valley Forge, wins!" he points to K7 as it appears
T'Pia: "oh oh oh!" she cranes her neck trying to get a better view
Sam: "Oh I found it!" he grins, pointing to the Lexington
T'Pia squints then shakes her head, grinning, "That's not mum's ship, that's the Lexington! See-" she points"- it has a different polymer ablative on the hull so doesn't catch the light like..like that!" she points to the other side
Sam: "Huh, I did not know that,"
T'Pia looks back up at him with a proud smile, "The Valley Forge is one ship I've been able to study more than any! And having the Lexington on hand to compare makes these distinctions very apparent!"
Sam: "Of course," he chuckles. "So... you win!"
T'Pia: "Yay!" she giggles, "That may not have been fair on you though" she leans against him, enjoying their daddy-daughter time
Sam: "You're talking to someone who has over thirty years of experience with ships, I should have got that one!"
T'Pia hrms playfully, "Maaaaybe you'd have had a fairer chance as an engineer... or, well, on just about any other ship in the fleet!" she giggles
Sam chuckles and tickles her stomach. "I'll have you know that I know the Valley Forge quite well, thank you very much!"
T'Pia squirms and giggles profusely, "Daaad, no- da-... DAD!"
Sam laughs and stops as Tasha pulls in behind them and coughs a little
[Tasha] "I just thought that our young Captain would like to be in the chair