2381 - USS Trireme
Emmylou was waiting with her daughter Sophia in the USS Trireme transporter room, watching her crew beam over to Starbase 93 for some much deserved R&R. However, Emmylou and Sophia were going to be staying on board as by some quirk of fate Scott’s ship, the USS Viper, was patrolling this sector. He’d been able to get a few of days of leave and so he was actually able to make it to Starbase 93 and the USS Trireme for some of it, to be with his family. She was waiting for him to arrive; still to be honest, she had expected him a few minutes earlier and was starting to wonder what had happened, when the transporter chief said, “Captain, Starbase 93 reports that Captain Trieres is requesting permission to beam aboard.”
“Please grant permission but do reply he is late,” said Emmylou.
“Yes Captain,” said the transporter chief.
With a large hum the transporter pad came to life and Scott materialized in uniform carrying his old kit bag.
“Captain Galyaski, permission to officially come on board?” asked Scott.
“Daddy!” cried Sophia in delight.
“Captain Trieres, permission is granted, else I might have a mutiny on my hands,” replied Emmylou.
Scott bounded off the transporter pad with his bag and he put it down as he favored both his wife and daughter with a wide smile and then hugged his favorite ladies.
‘I’ve missed you both so much,” said Scott.
“Missed you, Daddy,” said Sophia.
Emmylou noted the smell of the anti-alcohol drugs on his breath, but back them she hadn’t cared, she was just too happy to see him. Especially when from seemingly nowhere Scott had produced an alien dolly for Sophia, whose shriek of delight had been almost close to deafening.
The transporter chief was the only one who winced, as they had gotten used to Sophia’s shrieks of joy. Both Scott and Emmylou just favored the poor soul at the transporter control with a sympathetic smile.
“You like it then, Sophia?” Scott asked.
“Yes, Daddy!” replied Sophia.
Scott gave Sophia the alien dolly, who took it with obvious delight. Then Scott smiled at Emmylou, and then with a wink, he slipped his hand into his kit bag and produced her gift: a set of isolinear optical chips, whose corporate symbols at the top, told her were a range of designer clothes patterns for replicators. Then she spotted the East Federation Tea company logo on the last one.
“Wow, proper tea at last, and wait, is that Jourvich autumn range wear?” said Emmylou in a voice almost as high as Sophia’s earlier shriek.
“Yes, a full range of decent tea, because we all know Starfleet standard tea is based on the last drag of a week-old sieve. As for Jourvich range maybe I happen to be escorting one of their freighter runs and we got a little something extra for beating off the Orion raiders, though I’m surprised Starfleet let us keep it, but I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth,” replied Scoot as he slipped his arm around Emmylou’s waist.
Even now Emmylou didn’t believe that story, but all the chips were indeed genuine, so he had either found a bargain somewhere or he spent a fair bit of his pay packet to treat her. Indeed Emmylou knew that even as a grown woman her daughter Sophia still had that dolly on the main mantle in her bedroom, along with all the other dollies they had brought her over the years. As for the East Federation Tea Company isolinear optical chip, it was still something she used every time after every replicator program refresh, to ensure she always got good tea.
Emmylou shook her head and headed off towards the station transporter room. As she approached the station’s Italian tobacconist store, she spotted the station’s chief medical officer, Doctor Chamze. The male Tellarite was arguing quietly with his Tellarite wife and their son. Emmylou could tell from their body language it was just a fun social argument and that she could walk past without having to get involved. Still as she passed them she heard Doctor Chamze call his wife an ‘ilurek’, a traditional Tellarite insult to a respected woman. Emmylou smiled despite herself. It was a term she had been called a lot by her first first officer on the USS Trireme - a female Tellarite called Veluceria who had called her that nearly as much as she did captain.
Thinking of Veluceria suddenly brought back the painful memory of her lying dead on the USS Trireme Bridge after the ship had fended off a surprise renegade Breen attack on the Lucile Colony. The left side of Veluceria’s face had been horribly charred and caved in by the exploding XO console. Emmylou had desperately tried to keep the pressure on an open artery while waiting for a medic to arrive. All the while she was shouting orders to the helm and tactical officers. Then the sudden realization hit Emmylou that the battle was over and Veluceria lay cold and very still beneath her hands. Despite all their arguments and running battles over the previous years over who should lead the next away team, Veluceria had made Emmylou surer of her own mind and a better debater for it; all of which had made her better at diplomatic missions and thus a better captain.
Emmylou, without being aware of it, ran her finger over her half cluster medal, which she had been awarded for saving the Lucile Colony that day. Emmylou became aware of another tear on her face, which she quickly wiped away.
She picked up her walking speed down the promenade, lest someone saw the tears. As she passed the Cajun restaurant she spotted her Caitian chief of security, Lieutenant Gordis, sitting at a table nursing a cup of coffee and something that looked like hush-puppies finger snacks.
Gordis seemed to be staring into space, lost in his own memories. Emmylou suspected that he was dwelling on the fact that both his parents had died in the Dominion first assault on Caitian back in 2374. Emmylou remembered that particular battle all too well, for it was where she had gained her field promotion to the XO of the galaxy class USS Atlantis. But the real reason was that day was her worst day in the war for the personal loss of close friends and colleagues. She had seen so many die that day, especially in close combat when the Jem’ Hadar boarding parties had tried to take the Atlantis bridge. She still had a couple of scars from that fight that bothered her in cold conditions. She could still remember reporting to Captain Tavik that the Jem’ Hadar had started to use biological weapons to attack the major Caitian cities and also their breadbasket farms areas. Even now the Federation medical core struggled to keep the virus outbreaks under control on Caitian.
She had no words of comfort to say for Gordis, thus Emmylou walked on.
She thought ‘after all how did you say: sorry we fought hard for your world but all we got was a token victory and your species is now a shadow of its former self.’
As Emmylou got towards the station sweet shop, she spotted the station Xindi-reptilian head of tactical, Mister Reqknor. He was carrying a Xindi rock of remembrance, which it was alleged were all made from a small piece of the original Xindi homeword. All Xindi service personnel tended to carry them to remind them of the costs of past mistakes. He also held the station traditional burning candle for the lost in its carry case. He stood next to the station Betazoid councilor Luxani. She held a traditional paper bag of sweets in her hands and she was passing them out to the station’s various children who currently surrounded her. Emmylou expected that the sweets would be dark chocolate flowers in the same shape as the Betazoid yellow lily that Luxani wore on her uniform. It was just part of the Betazoid way of remembrance: ‘Treasure the children that are here to remember those that aren’t, because of past generations’ actions.’ It had always struck Emmylou as a strange way to go about it, but who was she to judge another culture’s way of mourning.
Reqknor met Emmylou’s eyes and she saw the warmth and moral support in them. Just for a moment it felt like a little weight lifted off her shoulders, so she gave him a quick wink to show her appreciation. As she turned the corner she realized the irony of a Xindi-reptilian: a member of the species that had been the first real enemy of humanity in their interstellar age was one of her best friends on the station staff.
Emmylou though to herself ‘I guess it just goes to prove the old adage you can turn yesterday’s enemies into today’s friends, so treat them right as enemies and you’ll have less to ask for forgiveness for when you’re friends later.’
Emmylou passed the excited children around Luxani and Reqknor, and she felt the old pain of an empty nest and missing her family. The commander’s quarters seemed way too big these days.
Emmylou had almost reached the Ferengi stockbroker and the Deltan coffee shop that marked the end of the promenade when her half-human and half-Rigelian tactical officer Ike stepped out of the coffee shop with a steaming Deltan Coffee.
“Admiral, could I tempt you with coffee?” he greeted with his usual joyful smile. Even on this day of remembrance Ike could be a ray of sunshine.
Despite her dark mood, Emmylou could make time for Ike, and said with a joke-seriousness, “Ike, I hope you’re not trying to seduce your superior officer with coffee. What would I say to your old mum?”
“No Admiral,” said Ike with a little bit of shock, before adding with the same joke-seriousness. “Besides Admiral, we know after the cupid virus outbreak, Jalke’i will phaser anyone who does try to seduce you.”
“Including herself!” said Emmylou. Emmylou laughed at that particular memory.
“Indeed including herself. Well that is the sort of loyalty you inspire in us all, Admiral,” said Ike.
Emmylou didn’t know what to say to that. She had known Ike since he was a little bump in his mother’s belly and despite having his mother’s Rigelian facial markings and extra nostrils, Emmylou could still see his father’s face in him. Both had been senior officers on the USS Trireme under her command and so she’d seen Ike grown from a newborn baby into a fine officer.
It had been a big surprise when Ike had first been assigned, as one of her senior officers. It had suddenly made her feel old that she was now commanding the child of two of her former officers.
Indeed Ike’s mother Teutik had come to visit him not so long ago and thus Emmylou and Teutik had an unexpected quiet moment over a glass of wine, to get reacquainted and miss old friends from their USS Trireme days. Indeed Teutik had told Emmylou how proud she was that her oldest son was serving in Starfleet but what did help Teutik to sleep better was knowing that her son had one of the best CO’s in Emmylou.
Emmylou hadn’t known how to reply to that, so after a polite thank you, she had changed the subject. Then the two ladies had recalled tales of what their children in their youth had been like. Indeed Ike and Sophia had been the pair terrible for the Trireme’s poor Bolian teachers Mister Bogot and Mrs. Darzalba.
A smirk crossed Emmylou’s face.
“Admiral?” asked Ike, which again restore Emmylou from her memories.
“I was just thinking of Bogot and Darzalba--“said Emmylou.
“Oh I remember them - the Trireme teachers. A lovely couple,” said Ike.
“And what happened that time when we were doing the Atreos IV to Efrosian run,” finished Emmylou.
Ike went bright red, and unusually quiet, and Emmylou smirked at that memory as well.
“Captain, I must protest,” said Darzalba as soon as Emmylou walked into the USS Trireme nursery.
Emmylou tried to maintain her aura as the ship’s captain, but the usual bustling nursery was stone quiet and Ike and Sophia sat on what was clearly two naughty steps in two separate corners of the schoolroom. Mrs. Darzalba and half of the ship’s schoolroom were now covered in a very bright red paint.
The ship’s Rigelian chief of Engineering Teutik stood nearby giving her son Ike the evil eye.
Emmylou knew, like everybody on the Trireme knew, her daughter Sophia and Teutik’s son Ike had formed the unholy alliance of the ship’s nursery and Emmylou wasn’t looking forward to the next installment.
“Now dear, let’s count to 100 and be calm--,” started Bogot.
“Don’t try to tell me to be calm, husband,” snapped Darzalba.
“Darzalba, why don’t you tell me what they’ve done this time?” asked Emmylou.
Darzalba despite her anger took a moment to compose herself before she answered. “Sophia and Ike suggested that since we are doing the Atreonid to Efrosian run, we should do some painting that represented the joint elements of the Atreonid and Efrosian cultures.”
“So far, so normal and good,” said Emmylou.
“Yes, but they said due to the importance of the color red to them, they said we should replicate a larger than usual container of red paint.”
Emmylou looked at the red paint and tried to hide the sinking feeling she felt inside and simply said, “Go on Darzalba.”
“So I agreed to replicate up the paint and so far, so good. However when we began to talk about the Atreonids other forms of art, we naturally got onto their tradition of body painting,” said Darzalba.
Emmylou, looking at Mrs. Darzalba, had a suspicion; she was about to get to the crux of the matter. “So of course I said we weren’t going to do that, which caused a brief crying storm from Sophia, but Ike whispered something and she giggled away, happy.”
“So I thought he was just being a good friend; that he just told her something to take her mind off it,” continue Darzalba.
“Mistake,” said Emmylou, Teutik and Bogot in almost perfect unison.
“Why thank you for that wonderful hindsight statement,” snapped Darzalba. Then Darzalba paused to re-compose herself.
“Then what?” asked Teutik.
“Well, Ike said that if we were going to respect the Atreonid and Efrosian cultures, we should order the paint in their native trade units, so I naturally asked him what they were, which seem to stump him for a moment but Sophia then piped up with an answer. She said that we would want about an efsiui unit of paint, so to show I appreciated their extra studying and to encourage further research I ordered a paint carton of one efsiui measurement of Efrosian red,” said Darzalba.
“But that’s close to a gallon and two-thirds of paint!” said Emmylou.
“Yes I realize that now and I should have double checked before ordering it in the replicator,” said Darzalba.
“Well that explains the paint explosion,” said Teutik.
“Does it?” asked Emmylou.
“Yes there is no way the standard ship’s replicator could make that much paint in one go. So it would replicate a container that fits the maximum space and then fill it, so the container could slowly expand into any available space that it could. But a normal paint container wouldn’t hold the pressure and--”
“Bang?” said Emmylou.
“Bang,” said Bogot.
“Any real injuries or damage?” asked Emmylou.
“Yes, I took a large amount of plastic paint carton shrapnel to protect the children, and I also completely ruined one of my favorite work dresses,” said Darzalba.
“I trust you’ve had one of the doctors look at your injuries?” asked Emmylou.
“Don’t worry I tended to them; I was a fully qualified ship’s doctor in a former life,” said Bogot.
“Along with everything else?” asked Emmylou.
“I’m the Bolian with a thousand past careers,” bragged Mister Bogot.
“I see. Might I asked Teutik as my head of engineering why the replicator fail-safes didn’t just reject the command, as it was likely to prove harmful to a person?”
Teutik did that common Rigelian trick of looking away, rather than show embarrassment.
“Lt. Commander?” asked Emmylou.
“I must hold my hands up here, Captain,” said Bogot.
“You?” asked Emmylou.
“Yes, I sort of requested that Lt. Commander Teutik help me bypass that particular failsafe, so I could give a practical demonstration of the reasons and the physics behind the replicator safety protocols to the children this morning,” said Bogot.
“Yes and I kind of got called away to deal with the warp drive misbehaving at the time and I just hadn’t got round to reinstated that failsafe,” admitted Teutik.
Darzalba started to give her husband an evil stare.
“Don’t look at me like that, dear,” said Bogot meekly.
“I’ve told you before about telling me when you run that lesson, after all monkey see, monkey do,” said Darzalba.
“Hey who are you calling a monkey?” asked Teutik.
“Okay let’s all take a deep breath for a moment,” said Emmylou, before adding, “I see an unfortunate chain of events, that two rather bright rascals took full advantage of.”
“So do I, but the fact remains--” said Darzalba.
“That you need a new dress and we need to have a long talk with our children about pulling stunts like this,” said Teutik.
“Indeed, but first things first Teutik: please restore the replicator safeguards, and as an order never deactivate them again without my direct order,” said Emmylou.
“Yes, Captain,” said Teutik.
“Darzalba, please go and get cleaned up. I’ll have my yeoman speak with you about a replacement dress. I’m now going to have words with the children about vessel safety,” said Emmylou.
The tone in Emmylou’s voice brooked no argument from anyone, adult or child.
“Oh I remember that telling off,” said Lt. Commander Ike.
“Really?” asked Emmylou in surprise.
“Yes, I was on my best behavior for some time afterwards,” said Ike.
“Till the pumpkin incident, if I recall right,” said Emmylou.
Ike shook his head and said, “That’s so unfair to bring that up, Admiral. It was meant with affection, it just sort of came out wrong,” said Ike.
“Oh how was making every replicator on the USS Trireme all at once produce a pumpkin lantern with a caricature of me as the Wicked Witch of the East for Halloween supposed to be affection?” asked Emmylou.
“I blame Sophia for leading me astray,” said Ike.
“I don’t approve of my officers trying to pass the buck for their past actions,” said Emmylou.
“It was mean to be flattering, just neither Sophia or I were that good at line art, so a pretty witch picture on a pumpkin to scare the adult crew became something else,” said Ike.
“Pretty? And so we back to you trying to hit on your superior officer and one of your mother’s old friends. O what shall I tell her?” said Emmylou with sarcasm.
Ike blushed again, then his PADD beeped. He looked at it but before he could say anything Emmylou said, “Go, get it and keep your mind on the job Ike.”
“Yes Admiral,” said Ike.
Emmylou watched him go; he was a good officer and a fun person, but it was clear he still had some hang up over the Cupid virus incident a few months earlier, but then so did she. Having all your senior officers hit on you was an unusual command experience.
Anyway Emmylou did enjoy teasing Ike, but she did wonder, hand on heart, if it wasn’t that she didn’t still in part see him as that little rascal who was her daughter’s best friend from school. It was another thing she should talk to councilor Luxani about.
Emmylou finally reached the station transporter room and she found her personal assistant Ensign Jalke’i waiting with the official memorial wreath.
Jalke’i seem a bit lost in private thought staring at the wreath, which tastefully bound all the different symbols of remembrance of the Federation cultures together in one wreath.
Emmylou, cleared her throat and said, “Are we all good to go, Ensign?”
Jalke’i looked up in surprise and nearly dropped the wreath as she checked the time again. “Yes Admiral we right on schedule,” said Jalke’i.
The transporter chief piped up and confirmed, “Aye Admiral, we’re all good to go whenever you’re ready.”
As the two ladies took up their places on the transporter pads, Emmylou looked at her p.a. and suspect that Jalke’i was remembering some Academy classmate who had died recently in the war with the Klingons.
“I’m sorry Jalke’i, the pain doesn’t get any less over the years, you just learn to cope with it,” said Emmylou.
“Thank you, Admiral. I guess when we got our assignments I was jealous that Arinda, my lutki got assigned to a sovereign class, while I just got Starbase duty. I thought serving on an assault vessel meant she’d get all sorts of glory and then leave me behind in favor of some other front line heroine,” said Jalke’i.
“Lutki that serious?” asked Emmylou.
Jalke’i blinked away the sudden tears. “Yes, Admiral. I’m surprised that you know the term.”
“I know the term Jalke’i. I roomed with a Centauran cadet called Xenktid during my academy days,” answered Emmylou.
“Admiral, if the pain doesn’t go away then I’m sorry about your pain also.”
“Thank you Ensign,” replied Emmylou as the transporter beam took hold.
During the timeless moment in the transporter beam, Emmylou remembered Xenktid and in particular their cadet tour together on board the Obeth class USS Umarin.