Welcome to Star Trek Simulation Forum

Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to contribute to this site by submitting your own content or replying to existing content. You'll be able to customize your profile, receive reputation points as a reward for submitting content, while also communicating with other members via your own private inbox, plus much more! This message will be removed once you have signed in.

Captain Halloway

Members
  • Content count

    31
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

0 Neutral

About Captain Halloway

Contact Methods

  • ICQ
    0

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male

Recent Profile Visitors

2,546 profile views
  1. The following is a joint log with Subcommander Jorahl, several hours after Halloway's tactical reflections aboard Yorktown... Captain Thomas Halloway leaned on his knuckles, seeing his reflection in the shiny black surface of the desk. He was alone in the spartan office that was supposed to belong to the commanding officer of Sky Harbor. It was oddly bare; he could see no sign that anything had even been touched. Subcommander Jorahl agreed to meet with him, suggesting this location. He'd been waiting alone for a few minutes. The doors hissed open and Halloway turned to see the Romulan enter, reviewing the contents of a PADD. "Doesn't anyone use this room?" the captain scoffed, by way of introduction. Even Sorehl had kept books and one of those shifting Vulcan sand paintings, he remembered. "No," Jorahl answered, not looking up from his reading, "the Ambassador has chosen to use the conference room as his office." "Hmph," Halloway huffed. "I did the same thing myself." Given the temporary nature of his command assignment aboard Aegis during the Dominion War, it had seemed unwise to settle in. The Romulan glanced at the door closing behind them, then met his gaze. Halloway stepped forward. "Thank you for agreeing to talk with me, Subcommander," he offered. "I realize this is a courtesy. It isn't any kind of formal investigation." Jorahl nodded, making no comment on the platitude. "I assume you've talked with Commander Chirakis." "Yes," said Halloway, returning the nod. "Drankum recommended it." Jorahl tucked the PADD away. "Did you learn anything useful?" "Useful," he repeated thoughtfully. "I suppose it was good to hear multiple perspectives. Of course, as in any situation, those perspectives are always... if not biased, at least limited. Which is why I've come to you." "Indeed," the Romulan answered tersely. "I don't know you personally," the captain explained, "but the Command Team both hold you in high regard." "I do my duty." Halloway wanted to smile at the non-committal responses, but he knew the reaction could prompt mistrust. "You seem to have walked a careful path during this...," he tried to think of a diplomatic term, "imbalance in command." "I am Romulan," Jorahl stated. It seemed all that was needed to be said. Halloway shrugged. "I suppose it's always a delicate balance between tensions in the Empire." He stood a little straighter, smoothing his tunic. "Well, if you're willing, I have two subjects I'd like to ask your opinions about." His arms folded, Jorahl strode to a spot between the desk and the viewport, not seeming to direct his attention one way or the other. "Ask your questions, Captain." Halloway took a breath. "The first subject is the more urgent," he began. "This threat, this attack, from the Athra. Can Aegis defend itself against them?" Jorahl gave him an inquiring look, not pointing out that it was the first time he'd heard a name attributed to the alien attackers. "If met again with equal force," he replied instead, "we can sustain this position. But we know too little about them to know what else to expect." The captain folded his arms. "Do we have equal force? Chirakis suggests we've only seen a fraction of their potential." Jorahl held his stare. "Then she seems to know much more about these aliens... 'Athra' did you say?" He seemed to be making a point of the limit to his knowledge of them. "We know they are powerful. If they come with greater numbers then the battle's outcome is uncertain." Halloway frowned, knowing the Romulan's familiarity with Aegis' defenses. He opened his mouth, but Jorahl raised his hand for a pause. "This may not be the answer you seek," he elaborated. "As a Romulan, if I am ordered to hold this position, I hold it. Or I die. Thoughts beyond that are few." He went on. "I have considered the force needed for victory or for causing as much damage to the enemy before being eliminated. We can cause much damage. We will cause much damage. As for our survival, that is left to the fates of war." The captain turned away, rubbing his jaw. "You raise an excellent point," he mused. "We know so little about them, aside from what kind of damage we can inflict on each other. But Aegis isn't exactly in a condition to go out looking for answers." Their largest support craft were runabouts, he recalled. "No," Jorahl admitted. "We are looking too inward at the moment to gain such needed intelligence." Halloway turned back, considering the statement as a good segue. "Yes, this inward-looking is taking a lot of attention." "Indeed it is, Captain." The Romulan glanced out the viewport at the stars and nearby asteroids before turning back towards the human. "Which brings me to the second subject," he began, treading lightly. "I don't envy this command structure. I'd hate to be in Drankum's position - civilian, non-Starfleet, non-Romulan, but commanding both." "You've asked to help him, haven't you." It was more a statement than a question. Halloway eyed him curiously. "He told you that?" Jorahl shook his head. "I am simply thinking of a conversation I had with him, several weeks before all of this happened." The captain was intrigued. "Are you at liberty to share it?" He knew it was a risk to probe a Romulan's privacy. Jorahl went on. "I, too, asked him when he was still injured, if he needed my help. I offered... no, offered is not the right word." He paused. "I recommended... that a leader can lean on his people." Halloway nodded, impressed. "Drankum is lucky to have such support." The Romulan actually smiled. "How did he react to your help?" "I think his exact words were, 'I didn't pay for the speech'," Halloway quoted. Jorahl merely nodded. "Kinder words than I received." He let that hang for a moment. "You see, even giving such support was somehow suggesting he could not do things for himself." The captain squinted. "Is it a command failing? Is he too mistrustful of such support?" Jorahl answered quickly. "He simply believes that others do not believe he is capable. And that has been shown true, hasn't it?" The human captain pursed his lips, looking away gravely. He seemed to be wrestling with what to say next. "May I speak in confidence?" he finally asked. Jorahl stood firm, nodding. "Please." Halloway rolled one hand in front of him. "I'd rather not dance around my own thoughts, so I won't." He squared up his shoulders. "Starfleet officers don't tend to take orders from others well. At least that's my observation. It was a failing during the war; it's still true." Jorahl couldn't quite hide a smug Romulan look, though he appeared to temper it. "They see Drankum as an untested commander," the Starfleet captain went on, "though I can see no outright basis for it." He shrugged. "Drankum's not blameless. He fosters it. He revels in circumspect explanations," Halloway admitted, "but that's not grounds for questioning his command." Jorahl nodded. "As his acting first, I am finding myself dealing with the problems his command style generates." "Chirakis had concerns," Halloway reflected aloud, "but... damn it, you don't remove your captain just because you don't trust his reasoning." He balled a fist, pounding it lightly on the desk behind him. "But Drankum let her. At least, I can see no real evidence he disputed her at the time." The Romulan looked down, as if in thought. "If I had been there," he mused, "I could have stood beside him. Perhaps he would have stood his ground." He looked up at the Starfleet captain. "He was abandoned. Perhaps this is why he threw the one and only support he accepts... his cane." Halloway didn't want the man second-guessing himself. "There were errors all around," he observed, "but now, no one seems to be able to back away from them." He saw Jorahl nod. "Chirakis was right to worry about Drankum's state, but I think it was pushed too far and Drankum let it happen. Drankum had grounds for arresting her, but did he need an armed takeover in the Command Center? And launching an attack on the colony to retreive some officers?" "Not how I would have approached either situation," Jorahl stated flatly. "Those kind of escalations," he trailed off. "Arresting your Centurion and the science personnel who weren't even here. Relying on such overeager security." He found himself repeating the Romulan. "Not how I would have approached either situation." "But Captain," Jorahl sighed. "The deeds are done." "The deeds are done," Halloway repeated again, "and I can't see a way back from the brink. Not yet." He laughed quietly. "I was half hoping you'd already schemed a solution." The Romulan managed a slight smile. "I have been rather... restrained by the Starfleet protocols under which this station runs." Halloway rubbed his fist in the palm of his other hand. "If there was some way for them to keep working together, even with an unsteady truce, we might have a better chance against this threat." "Honestly, Captain," Jorahl concluded, "it will take the stronger of those two to admit weakness." Halloway nodded. "An external solution would never last," he agreed, "but in your position, hardly something you can suggest to either party, is it? "I would never ask my commanding officer to show weakness," Jorahl insisted. The captain raised a hand. "Nor should you." "I can probably appeal for leniency towards the Ops manager," Jorahl observed, "but tr'Jeth has made his choice. The science officers could be reprimanded, but they should not be listed with the mutineers." Halloway listened. "Small steps, I suppose. I'm grateful to see you working on it. I'm pleased to think we've managed to avoid further escalations." At least there's been no weapons fire, he told himself. "The Commander has at least taken everything without resistance," Jorahl said, somewhat gratefully. " I assume that is her way of saying the Ambassador is indeed in command. If a stubborn way of doing so." "I think," Halloway opined, "even if she doesn't regret her challenge, she regrets that it exposed such a willingness in the crew to rally against Drankum." He met Jorahl's gaze. "The two of us will have to give him the support we can and hope he appreciates the trust." Jorahl nodded. The captain tapped the shiny desk surface. "In the meantime, I've got to consider whether Yorktown would do more good out there, trying to find out more about this threat." Absently, he wondered if leaving Aegis would demonstrate to Drankum there was no larger Starfleet plot to remove him. "Wars are won with intelligence, information, and knowing your enemy," Jorahl concurred. Halloway straightened again, preparing to leave. "Thank you for letting me speak with you, Subcommander." The Romulan seemed to be considering him. As at dinner, Halloway suddenly felt like he was being reverse-engineered. "It has been a pleasure," Jorahl ventured. "You have changed some of my opinions of Starfleet officers." He bowed. Halloway blinked in surprise, then gathered his wits sufficiently to return the bow. As he did so, he heard a hiss. Looking up, he saw the Romulan leaving the office, returning to duty.
  2. The following is a joint log, based on an exchange between Commander Chirakis and myself in the Aegis brig, but not expanded in the earlier logs... The Sovereign-class starship Yorktown floated in its assigned parking berth near Sky Harbor Aegis. Within the forward-most cabin of Deck 4, Captain Halloway sat on the cushioned piano bench, leaning against the Steinway as he absently plunked out the right hand of Dunbar's Racing Rhapsody. He cupped his face in his left hand as he read from the wide-panel display above the keyboard, an innovation that let him practice while reading reports and kept him from constantly flipping music sheets. The command situation on the station was untenable, but he remained at a loss how to improve it. He had left word with Subcommander Jorahl, desiring to speak with him at a time that would not conflict with his duties as chief engineer and acting exec. He was still awaiting the Romulan's convenience. In the meantime, he reflected on the threat assessment he had received from Commander Chirakis. A tactical image of the ships that had attacked Aegis rotated nearest his face. He raised his hand from the keys, swept the image to the right and summoned a recording from his visit with Chirakis in the station brig. Such recordings were standard procedure -- except of course between a prisoner and counsel, when they were illegal -- so he'd requested a copy before returning to Yorktown. He scrolled through the video, looking for the right time index. "Computer, commence playback," he instructed, finding the right moment. He flipped down the keyboard cover and leaned on it, listening. Onscreen, Chirakis narrowed her eyes. "What prompted the attack, we..." she paused to correct herself, "...they are still trying to determine." Her expression changed, showing some surprise. "What do you know about the Athra?" "These attackers?" he heard himself say. "Nothing more than the tactical displays I saw from the station logs. There's history?" He remembered wondering at the time why Drankum hadn't used their dinner to elaborate on the aggressors. "There is much history," she insisted, "more legend than anything else, but legend always has some truth to it." Onscreen, he noticed she'd shifted to a formal posture. "Some time ago I was dispatched to investigate a planet on the remote edge of Breen space, near Beta Piscis." One of the regions Yorktown didn't pass through in the last eight months, he noted to himself, still watching. "During my investigation the planet's mythology caught my interest, especially stories surrounding a creature they called the Athra. They were similar those of the Great Carnivorous Rastipod or your species' legendary tales of the Yeti, Sasquach, or the Abominable Snowman." Onscreen, he saw his head nod. Chirakis went on. "The Athra of legend is a giant space-faring creature that moved from planet to planet, bearing young that took what they needed and left little behind. Their young were described as having a crust of exceptional strength with an inseparable internal body structure. I thought the stories interesting, but nothing beyond that. Until a clansman offered to show me the remains of one he had found." "And he made good on his claims?" his voice asked onscreen. The Bajoran commander shrugged. "I had nothing better to do. The remains were on a nearby asteroid. They were remarkably like the creatures that attacked Aegis. Exterior like duranium, interior body structure integrated to the hull, no communication array, impressive weapons - some of which I had never come across. It had deteriorated, of course, but was... remarkably similar to the creature that crashed into the Midway during the first attack." He remembered she had fixed a hard gaze on him. "If you have not already done so, you must get the tactical information on these creatures from our database. They are superior in every way, they communicate with their base ship through telepathy - or something similar - and they are excellent strategists. They will not make the same errors twice. And they come from the direction of Breen space." She stopped there, her eyes still fixed on him, the implication clear. There was a long pause, during which he made the conscious choice not to discuss details about Yorktown and the order to go into Breen space. He knew Chirakis was aware of his mission, but it was not the time and place to elaborate on his previous reports - she and Drankum would both have seen earlier transmissions. "That doesn't leave Aegis in a promising defensive position, does it?" he heard himself say. "It does not," Chirakis answered. "Pause playback," he ordered. He glanced to the right and the spinning image of the Athra ship. Chirakis seemed convinced that the station could not hold against a coordinated attack from these beings, unless they could find some weakness. The presence of Yorktown and Odyssey did not dissuade her. With an uncertain power struggle and a divided crew, such lifesaving discoveries remained unlikely at Sky Harbor Aegis. He shifted to one elbow, gazing out at the starfield beyond his cabin viewports. Was this a problem that needed to be met out there before it came looking back here? He was never one for waiting. "Sabrina," he summoned, tapping his communicator as he got to his feet. "Meet me in stellar cartography. I want to see everything we have on Beta Piscis."
  3. The following is a joint log with Commander Chirakis, taking place in the Aegis brig after the dinner conversation with Drankum and during the Time Between Sims (TBS). With authorization from Drankum himself, Captain Thomas Halloway found no resistance to his request for a visit with Commander Chirakis. He'd been escorted to her cell by one of the over-eager security people he recognized from the runabout welcoming committee. Stepping inside, he nodded to Axcelis. "Thanks, I'll be fine from here," he offered pleasantly, with a touch of dismissiveness. He turned to Chirakis. "Commander, I'm Captain Halloway of the Yorktown. Having stepped away from the door out of habit, Chirakis seemed surprised. "Captain Halloway. Your reputation precedes you." He smiled briefly. "I hope you don't mind me dropping in unannounced." "Not at all," she replied. "I welcome it. Announcements don't usually make it through the heavy doors. I would offer you a seat, but there don't seem to be many around." "No," he smirked, feigning a search in the cramped room. "I can stand." He paused a moment, as if assessing, then pressed ahead. "My ship picked up the distress call from Aegis. I expected the aftermath of a battle. I didn't expect to find things in such an unorthodox condition." Chirakis assumed a comfortable stance, arms crossed. "Unorthodox," she ventured, "as in the political situation?" "The command tension, yes," he admitted. "Not something I wanted to walk into, especially since it may compromise this station's safety." "Indeed. The safety of the station," she repeated, searching his face. Halloway leaned one shoulder against the wall. "I have no interest in meddling with this station's command situation, but I can't seem to untangle it from the alien attack. So I find myself needing to ask meddlesome questions..." He watched her face, the expression urging him to ask. "Questions that, legally speaking, you're not required to answer since they could implicate you. But they might be critical to the station's survival." He paused. "So I'm just going to ask, and you're going to decide if they're important enough to answer, since I can't offer any absolution or immunity. OK?" Her nod was slow and deliberate. His first questions were about the attackers and what prompted the attack. Her response on the Athra began with legends she had gleaned from an earlier investigation. She spoke of specimens with a nearly impenetrable shell, a body structure integrated to the hull, impressive weapons. She mentioned evidence of telepathic communication and keen strategy. She noted an apparent connection with Breen space, looking at him knowingly. As executive officer of Aegis, she undoubtedly knew of Yorktown's mission in Breen space, but did not speak of it openly; this was wise considering the cell's lack of privacy. It was a curious connection in any case, he considered. Nothing Yorktown had encountered suggested the presence of the Athra. But he wouldn't speak of that here, either. Instead, he frowned in concentration. "That doesn't leave Aegis in a promising defensive position, does it?" "It does not," Chirakis answered quickly. "Our saving grace has been Subcommander Jorahl's excellent manipulation and strategic deployment of Aegis's defense grid." Halloway nodded, then made a rolling motion with one hand. "Something you said about telepathic communication. This may stray into questions you don't want to answer..." he cautioned, wrestling with the phrasing. "I don't really understand what prompted your decision to remove Drankum from command." Chirakis looked as if she wanted to choose her words carefully. "Ambassador Drankum was not acting in the best interests of the station," she stated tersely, then went on. "During the two attacks we experienced, he arrived on the Control Tower, disrupting the flow of tactics and defense with questions and an occasional rant. One disruption had an unfortunate cost: the death of two fighter pilots. It was enough to make me wonder what side he was on. After that incident he flew into a rage, brandished his cane and threw it across the Control Tower, then stormed out." Halloway listened, looking slightly pained at the narrative. "Look, I wasn't there," he shook his head, "...but are you sure it rose to the level of challenging his command? "He was disruptive enough," Chirakis explained, "that I believed it in the best interest of the station to remove him, yes." She paused to clarify. "I did not, at any time, expel the Ambassador from the Tower. He did that himself. I removed him from command pending a full evaluation by Dr. Lepage." She shifted a little. "When Lepage deemed him competant, I released him and reinstated him to command. He chose of his own volition not to resume as commanding officer." Halloway ran one hand through his hair, concerned at how this version of events differed from what he heard over dinner. He waved his hand. "So, you didn't have an armed guard escort him from the Command Center and advise him that you were taking command?" Chirakis shook her head. "I had Centurion Dabi follow the Ambassador and restrict him to quarters pending an evaluation by Dr. Lepage. Of course, the security guards were armed during the attack but no one was pointing a weapon." Captain Halloway folded his arms. "And he went peacefully, aside from punctuating things with his cane?" "As peacefully as an angry Ferengi can go," she replied, "yes." Halloway closed his eyes, running a hand over his face. "We're a far cry from 'Sir, we have noted in your recent behavior certain items which, on the surface, seem unusual.'" he scoffed, quoting the recommended phrase from the regulations manual. "The heat of battle tends to change things," Chirakis objected mildly. He said nothing to disagree. "Alright, the doctor found nothing unusual. And Drankum obviously reconsidered going peacefully." Chirakis nodded. "I gathered from the record," Halloway added, remembering the transmission feed, "that his resumption of command was somewhat forcible?" "A subjective opinion," Chirakis replied non-committally. "I'll be specific," Halloway asserted. "Did Ambassador Drankum resume command via announcement, duty log, or at the point of a phaser?" "Ambassador Drankum carried a Ferengi phaser," Chirakis admitted. "Subcommander Jorahl and several officers had Romulan disruptors. They entered the Control Tower and surrounded Centurion Dabi, Lt Porter, and myself. We were unarmed." "And you offered no resistance?" "There was no reason for us to resist," she remarked. "Ambassador Drankum was, after all, the commanding officer of the station." Halloway turned away, shaking his head. He could think of no reason for such escalations, remembering a similar surprise when Yorktown had ordered that runabout to stand down from an attack run on TKR-117. And hadn't they caught that same team looking to steal people from his own bridge? He turned back toward her. "Commander, do you still have concerns about your commanding officer with relation to this new threat? You obviously felt he was... a hindrance, or a liability, or possibly in league with the Athra if I understand you. Do you still feel that way, despite the doctor's report?" It was Chirakis' turn to frown. "If the ambassador is of sound mind then I must assume either collaboration with the enemy or extremely poor command abilities," she stated flatly. "I'm inclined to believe in questionable command abilities for no other reason than a Ferengi preoccupation with profits." Halloway winced a little, but she went on. "However, he is still the commanding officer. Even if he lacked tactical ability, I would hope he would lean on Subcommander Jorahl to direct defense of the station. The Subcommander is the station's best hope at this point. Someone must defend the station." "Collaboration is a serious charge," the captain said gravely. "One that warrants evidence. And a subordinate's judgement of poor command ability isn't grounds for removal." "Indeed," Chirakis agreed. "But insanity is. And infirmity is." "Yes," Halloway was quick to respond, "both of which require a consenting medical opinion. Of which there isn't." "The injury he sustained during the first attack led me to question his mental state," she explained. "I removed him and looked to Dr. Lepage for an evaluation." "I'm not disputing your intentions," Halloway insisted. "In battle, there's good reason for acting in the absence of evidence. I'm a 'damned if you do' person myself." He watched her expression soften. "But you did," he asserted, "and you may be damned." Chirakis squared her shoulders. "I may be," she admitted. "So be it." He had nothing to add to that. He moved on to the thoughts which had been nagging at him. "My lingering concern is that the crew has shown a willingness," he spoke quietly, "almost an eagerness, to support your action against Drankum." Looking at him, she seemed disappointed, as if he'd confirmed a fact she had already sensed. His voice grew impassioned. "And I keep hearing the same reasoning, even if people think they're kidding: 'A Ferengi can't possibly know how to command us.'" He shook his head. "And it's two-way. Drankum believes the crew thinks this, too." He watched her shoulders slump slightly, heaving a sigh of concern. "So the crew expects him to be a poor commander," Halloway concluded, "and he expects them to look for reasons to disobey him. As self-fulfilling a prophecy as I've seen." "More dangerous than a mutiny," she surmised. "A constant expectation of mutiny. When a captain doesn't think he has the faith of the crew, he often stops trying to get it. And unexplained orders remain unexplained. Why bother?" Halloway shook off the dark mood descending on him. Chirakis began a slow pace around the 10 by 20 foot cell, her footfalls soft on the hard metal decking, barely making an echo. Stopping for a moment to study the back wall, she finally turned to face the captain and resumed her original stance. "I'm not going to lecture you on CO/XO relations." His voice was quiet, deliberate. "And I can't say I agree with your actions. Challenging a captain's authority... well, it's serious," he revealed. "But then, I certainly wouldn't have walked off my bridge, either." He continued. "I think it hurts this station's chances to keep you locked up in here. But there's little I can do to change it. Drankum wasn't particularly interested in my advice. That's his right." He stretched out one arm. "And I can't wave a wand around to make charges and counter-charges go away. I have no intention of staging a jailbreak and I'm not taking his suggestion of whisking you off to Breen space." "So...we wait..." she said, expectantly. He waggled his eyebrows in agreement, letting out a deep breath. "One last question, if you don't mind." He waited to see her nod. "How impartial is your ranking Romulan? I don't know the man, but he seems to have been even-handed in all this. Do you agree?" "The Subcommander follows the law of the Empire," Chirakis corrected. "He is no more impartial than any man who takes his rank and vows seriously. He bows to the ranking authority because it is the Romulan way, and I would have it no other way. He is a man of honor. He is our hope in this matter, of that I am certain." Halloway nodded approvingly. "I think it's worth a talk with him," he said, glancing over. "With no mutiny in my heart, I assure you." Chirakis gave him a curt nod. Halloway waved in summons for the guard. "Thank you, Commander." She went to respectful attention. "Captain Halloway." Moments later, she was once again the sole occupant of her cell.
  4. The following is a joint log with Ambassador Drankum, based on dialogue during last week's Aegis sim. Stage directions and emphasis added by me... "Why do I pay these people...?" Drankum muttered, peering around for the yeoman. Across the table, Captain Thomas Halloway pushed away his finished plate of roast lamb. "Good help is hard to find?" he asked, intending a double meaning. The Ferengi turned his attention back to the human. "That is very true," he grumbled, "especially these days." With the departure of their fellow diner Subcommander Jorahl and the visiting Doctor McKinney, Halloway felt less encumbered. "Can we talk now?" Drankum leaned back in his chair. "Talk?" he asked with mock incredulity. "What have we been doing for the last hour and a half, exchanging dating service numbers?" The captain let a gentle smirk play across his features. "Ambassador, you'd know if you were in my sights for such things." Drankum grunted. "My leg was damaged the last time you had your 'sights' set or something." It was a reminder of their shared experiences during the Dominion War. The liberation of Canar had been a rare victory amidst a string of defeats. "That was a planet. I don't always set my sights on so large a target." Halloway leaned back. "Forgive the earlier small talk. I didn't want to be specific in front of your engineer and doctor." The ambassador folded his arms. "He's now my acting second, just for the record." Halloway heard the correction, nodding. "I know, but I always think of him that way," he admitted. "It felt like he was sitting over there reverse-engineering me through dinner." He went back to his original point. "I'm not here to meddle in your command, but it feels like you could use some help getting through this." Drankum waved his hand dismissively. "Nothing to get through. Your female humon Starfleet commander decided that she knew better than I, using all her intelligence. Proclaimed I had a worm growing in my head or something." He shrugged. "Meets every definition I know for mutiny." He smirked, looking down at the floor. "Even had the Romulen security walk me off up there..." He pointed upward, as if to the Control Tower above them. Halloway sighed, stroking back his dark hair. "Look, I wasn't here... and I'm the last person who'd let my XO try and take me off the bridge, but I must ask... did you protest? Did you challenge her assumption at the time?" Drankum shook his head, not entirely listening. "They talk of Ferengi arrogance, but never could humons here expect that I might... maybe... remotely... know something intelligent." He shook his head. "That was probably the plan, Captain Halloway. No one left to know or care about past deeds..." The Ferengi looked up to smile. "Only to see the galaxy's stereotype. How could I ever know anything about tactics?" Halloway felt a twinge at Drankum's remark. He folded his arms. "They don't know anything about your role in the war, do they?" Drankum blinked, tilting his head. "I find myself a relic. The Great Material Continuum does not care about the past, only the future. But no, those that would have since moved on to more profitable things." He dropped to a neutral expression, looking far off. "I was supposed to retire you know, before being thrust here." "Yes," the captain acknowledged. "I was surprised when I saw the newsholos, after the Security Council's decision." Drankum blinked, focusing on Halloway. "The game makes sense, even from a financial standpoint. This is the last need to maintain the international agreement. Once this fails, which it probably should have already, everyone will be able to go their separate ways. Profits are made, deals done." He smiled thinly. "Even the Grand Nagus cannot complain, after all a Ferengi is supposedly in charge." His mockery was deliberate. Halloway made a scoffing sound. "Fatalism doesn't become you. You took this command, and everything that comes with it. You know what comes with command. The things they don't tell cadets in Starfleet Academy?" Drankum's grin dropped suddenly. "Clearly the fact I did not bother to enroll in your humon institution means I do not, at least according to some in the brig." The captain continued. "Command means not letting other people second-guess, or seeing you second-guess in front of them. That's not limited to 'humon' teachings. It's all the other baggage - estrangement, learning what inspires loyalty, not getting too close because you may have to send someone off to their death." He motioned between the two of them. "It's not like we're friends. I don't know if we've ever spent more than an hour together at a time, but we've been through war, and now we share," he waved around as if to invoke Aegis, "this. I think I owe you help, captain-to-captain. If you want it. And if you'll take it." Drankum leaned forward with some irritation. "I didn't pay for the speech and do not want it. The trials and plunders of being in charge are not lost on me. I didn't want this damn job. If I had I could have taken it a decade ago. But I am here, now. I do the best I can for the unprofitable idiots." He was just getting started. "Do not dare to lecture me on loyalty or trust. Both can be bought and sold, regardless of uniform." He pointed to the door. "Some of the supposed righteous of Starfleet don't give a credit about it because I don't fit their mold as a leader." Halloway sniffed, stabbing at his napkin. "No argument here," he relented, "but 'the best you can' has turned half this station against you, even though you're in the right." The Ferengi laughed. "Turned?" he accented the word with scorn. "You imply they actually were willing to follow my directions from the start. Your Starfleet knew this, why do you think they put a former intelligence officer as second? She's here to be the replacement!" He chuckled. "And tried." "You sound like the first commander of Aegis," Halloway observed. "She said something similar. From what I've heard, Aegis learned to trust and take orders from a disenfranchised Klingon." Drankum grew quiet, shaking his head. "I only knew her in passing. She was gone before I was really able to plunder her bank account. But that was a different time and a different place." "You're not wrong," Halloway granted. "Starfleet officers aren't thrilled about taking orders from an Allied leader. It's not in our nature." He went on. "I've read the logs. What you said is true - it's obvious Chirakis suspected you were somehow under influence or otherwise in league with whatever attacked here. But I didn't see a lot of protest from you. At least at the time." Drankum smiled broadly. "Ah, but that is where I did learn something of Captain Ears. There is a time for everything. The time to protest was not in the middle of a potential conflict and when a Romulen holding a disruptor on him. Halloway's frown was immediate. "Damn it, don't start spouting Sorehl's pithy command lessons to me. If Chirakis didn't have good reasons, shouldn't you have asserted your authority then?" "What should I have done, O masterful one? Hmmm? Your fellow humon Starfleets, even that one Romulen, followed her. I cannot beat stereotypes in a day, at least on my budget." Halloway let out a slow breath. "Forgive me. I wasn't here." He looked about uncertainly. "I've honestly been looking for a good reason why this happened." Drankum motioned to the door. "Go speak to her. Get her side. Then take her and those with her off the station. I don't care if you ship them off on a Tholian pleasure liner." The captain shook his head firmly. "I'm not here to take sides. I answered a distress call. I'd just as soon climb back onto Yorktown, kick in the warp drive, and leave this problem behind. But I can't just ignore it." Drankum seized on his statement, shrugging. "Don't ignore it. Don't take sides. Take them with you." Halloway raised both eyebrows. "Into Breen space? I'm not sure that would solve anything." There was a bitter edge to the ambassdor's voice. "They wouldn't be here. Let the female go get intelligence, maybe she'll learn who zapped my brain somewhere along the way. That way your Starfleet can promote her somewhere." He stood and grabbed his cane. "It was good to see you again. You and your people may stay as long as you wish." "Drankum," Halloway called out to him warily, "you don't want an outside influence resolving this for you. If you can't patch up your command team, you may never survive out here." But the Ferengi was already at the doorway, stopping to look back. "Did you actually think your Starfleet ever wanted me to?" Halloway rose to his feet, looking ashen. "Now, who's not trusting who? This is your command. If your crew thinks you believe they'll never obey you, how can you expect them to?" Drankum turned, walking away as his voice echoed back. "Trust is earned... or bought. I haven't trusted your Starfleet for a long time, only some people within it. I'll see you before you go I'm sure." Halloway watched the ambassador recede down the corridor until he was alone in the dining hall. Despite his speech, he stood there, disturbed at the quickness some Starfleet officers had skirted toward rebellion. "How can a house divided against itself stand?" he said, to no one in particular. He sat down and wrapped one hand around the still-warm coffee mug, deciding to take the Ferengi's suggestion. He would head to the brig for other perspectives.
  5. "Closing on the TKR-117 colony, one quarter impulse," Lieutenant Tracey spoke over her shoulder toward the captain, "ETA 5 minutes." "Thank you, Sabrina," replied Halloway. They'd maintained radio silence during the two day approach, not wanting to broadcast Yorktown's previous position or their foray into Breen space. Their incoming vector intercepted the colony, but they'd picked up little to tell them what was going on there or at Sky Harbor. The captain swiveled the center chair to face Commander Seiji Fujimoto. As usual, the first officer wasn't in his chair. This time, he lurked near the communications panel of the tactical console. Fujimoto claimed he'd spent too many years sitting behind the helm to get used to another seat. Halloway was just glad to see his long-time colleague with full mobility. After the injuries Seiji had sustained on the Victory during the Second Borg Invasion over Earth, it was a medical miracle that he was even able to walk again. No more nostalgia, he told himself, not when we don't know what we're heading into. "Still jammed, Seiji?" "Still jammed," Fujimoto confirmed, "but I don't get it. The interference is coming from Aegis' direction. It's as if..." His explanation was interrupted by an alert tone. The first officer glanced toward the tactical officer and the console, then looked back to Halloway. "Tight-beam burst from the colony," he reported, "text only." After a careful read, Fujimoto looked up skeptically. "You're gonna want to see this, skipper." He tapped the ensign beside him on the shoulder, pointing his chin toward the Main Viewer. Halloway leaned on his right arm, turning slowly toward the forward screen. He recognized the name of the colony administrator and a couple from the Aegis crew. "Arrests?" he said aloud, questioning. "Retrieval team? What the...?" There was no mention of external attack. It sounded like McDowell was more worried about an attack from Aegis itself. "Can you assist us?" he finished aloud. Halloway sat up in his chair. Just what had Yorktown wandered into?
  6. Captain Thomas Halloway passed through the ready room doors and into the bridge of the Sovereign-class starship Yorktown. "Leaving grid 10 for grid 11," Lieutenant Sabrina Tracey advised her captain from the helm. Halloway nodded an acknowledgement as he continued his path toward the tactical station. He stopped, took a breath, and ran a hand through his dark hair. "What is it, Seiji?" he asked his exec, who was hunched over the station. Commander Fujimoto rubbed his neck, gesturing for the communications specialist to put something on the display. "We've been trying to clean up the signal," he replied. "It's not quite a distress call, but we picked up a coded transmission saying Sky Harbor was under attack." Halloway leaned in. "Breen?" he wondered aloud. Yorktown had been given a long-term assignment to patrol the entirety of their border, looking to make some kind of contact with the enigmatic race. After months with no observation, no sensor trace, or return communication, their ship had finally been ordered to cross into Breen space. The mystery had only deepened. They'd found Breen colonies, not just abandoned, but looking like unspoiled wilderness. They'd found a Breen encampment on one agricultural world where outlying buildings stood devoid of life, but whose center looked as if it had been erased - filled in with a circle of grassy hills and grazing animals. They'd found a slave camp whose prisoners claimed their captors had simply boarded their ship and left. It was, in fact, this last lead they were still pursuing. In eight months, the small privateering ship was the only sign of Breen life they'd glimpsed. They'd ignored all hailing attempts, fleeing into the asteroid field Yorktown was methodically searching. Fujimoto shook his head. "Nothing about the Breen," he reported. "Unknown hostiles." Halloway let out a breath through his teeth as his jaw clenched. He glanced at the viewsceen, overlaid with their search grid. Answering the call meant leaving behind the only sign of Breen life they'd encountered yet on this mission. Yorktown had ventured a full sector into Breen space. It would take days to close the distance to Sky Harbor. But here, on the other side of Cardassian space from the Federation border, there would be few ships capable of coming to the starbase's aid. He had little choice, even if they got there long after the battle was over. "Sabrina, lay in a course toward Aegis and engage maximum warp," he ordered decisively. The starship Yorktown turned as its master willed, leaping away from mystery and toward more familiar stars.
  7. MISSION REPORT, dispatch received by Sky Harbor Aegis from: USS Yorktown, Sovereign-class Thomas A. Halloway, commanding Pursuant to orders, starship Yorktown completed a six-week patrol of the Breen frontier in an attempt to regain contact or determine the cause of their recent isolation. Our patrol regimen included subspace communication broadcasts and long-range sensor sweeps of the border itself. No sign of Breen fleet activities or response has been observed. Yorktown experienced no Breen ship encounters of any kind: civilian, privateer, or otherwise. Upon completing our assigned patrol route, Yorktown received orders to make direct observation by crossing into Breen space near the site of a known agricultural colony. Our incursion was not challenged, in fact, there was no evidence of increased alert or even detection. Once we entered orbit, ship sensors showed signs of a single large settlement, apparently abandoned. There were no active energy fields or intelligent life forms detected. I led an away team which confirmed our observations from space. The entire city was abandoned, with no clue as to the cause. There was no sign of orbital bombardment or energy signatures that would indicate weapons fire. The scene was unexpectedly peaceful. Native grazing animals wandered the streets. Our teams noted grassy hills in the center of town as part of a large circular park. Initially, we discounted this as part of pleasant urban planning, but further investigation suggested that the park was not a natural part of the colony. The terrain was inconsistent with the surrounding structures. Where buildings would have extended into it, walls were simply cut away. It was like a Borg attack had sliced a hole in the city and dropped a parkland in its place, but there was no real destruction or any of the residual radiation we've seen before. Our science officer detected other particle traces, but we're still analyzing the results. We've since retreated from Breen space and extended our patrol route. TMy own assessment is that we're not looking at a simple change in Breen posturing. We've seen other powers go into an extended isolation, but even the Romulans guarded their borders. They didn't pull out of worlds inside their own space. This has got to be something else: a coup, a natural disaster, a wide-spread disease. Something has caused them to pull back, well inside the shell of their frontier worlds. Our lack of knowledge on their species makes it harder to put the pieces together, and the Breen certainly aren't offering any answers themselves. I admit I was reluctant to enter their space, but now, I wonder if a deeper foray might be needed. We'll keep skirting the border for now, but given the possible blowback, I'll wait for Command to decide if we should go further in. I am forwarding this dispatch to keep our nearest Starfleet facilities at SB211, DS9, and Sky Harbor Aegis apprised.
  8. Location: Earth Timing: Just After the Aegis CO Announcement Thomas Halloway pulled the floral shirt over his bare shoulders and yanked open the door. The bright Bahama sun was blinding as he waved in the steward he was expecting. “Ahhhhh,” he greeted loudly, point toward the central kitchen area, “you can just wheel it in over…” His eyes adjusting, he was taken aback to see it wasn’t a steward at his bungalow door. His young helmsman stood there in a gauzy wrap over her revealing bikini, blonde hair done up in some fashionable braid. Suddenly remembering to behave himself, he looked her straight in the eyes, at once feeling more naked than the Hawaiian shirt and Union Jack swimming trunks he wore. “Sabrina,” he said with some surprise. Funny to see you here, he thought but didn’t say. He could think of nothing else to add that didn’t sound similarly stupid. She smiled broadly. “Skipper,” she answered, “I hope I’m not interrupting.” She gazed past him into the bungalow, as if looking for something. “No, no,” he replied evasively. “I was just about to have a spot of lunch, then head down to the beach.” He gestured toward the open patio door behind him, then ran a hand through his dark, well-groomed hair. “How, uh,” he managed not to stammer, “were you able to find me?” His British accent tended to come out more in times of stress. He leaned against the open door. As was his custom he hadn’t brought his communicator, figuring anything short of a fleet-wide emergency wasn’t worth knowing about. Something that big would show up on the news or the Intel boys would send someone to track him down. Lieutenant Sabrina Tracey pointed toward the patio door, as well. “The boat,” she answered. “Pacifica is listed as berthed at this dock.” He glanced back at his helmsman’s reference, understanding the Bermuda rig sloop was a sure way to find him. He’d acquired the craft just after assuming his first command and rechristened her with the name of his adopted homeworld. Whenever he could count on enough liberty to sail, she waited at a port of his choice. The battle with Species 8472 had been months ago. In addition to repairing Yorktown, Starfleet had opted to move up her refit, allowing him his first extended leave in years. “Yes, well, you caught me,” he admitted. His smile dropped suddenly and he stopped leaning against the door. As his stance straightened, his tone was businesslike, “I hope it’s nothing serious, Sabrina.” The young lieutenant looked down at her bare feet before looking back. “Not in a bad way, sir,” she reassured him. “But they’re getting ready to recall the crew and dispatch orders to proceed…” she paused, lowering her voice. “toward Aegis.” “Aegis?” he wondered aloud, scratching at the three-day growth along his jaw. “Has something happened?” He didn’t want to admit he’d actually paid attention to some of the news broadcasts during his vacation. Frankly, he was surprised, even a little betrayed, to learn his friend and fellow captain Sorehl had advised pulling the station out of Cardassian space. Maybe it was time, but it still felt sudden. He’d read about all the negotiations and withdrawal plans. He’d been worried when the Ferengi had expressed their displeasure with a blockade. But since then, he’d heard nothing to suggest any further problems. Still in the doorway, Sabrina pulled her wrap closer, for all the good it did. “You know they're moving closer to Breen space?” He nodded. It seemed like a good idea to keep a close watch on them. He’d never quite forgiven the Breen for luring him out of position near the Calandra Sector during their assault on Earth. And except for their brief forey into the Gamma Quadrant, Yorktown had been running indiction missions to stop Breen privateering ever since the war ended. In his opinion, they were the loosest cannons still rolling around the Quadrant. He could imagine Starfleet wanting a capital ship to oversee the deployment of the station at its new location. “They want us to be the lookout while Aegis gets in place?” he wondered aloud. “I’m not sure, sir. But the Allies want a less militant presence…” Sabrina trailed off, no longer looking at him.. Instead, she peered over his shoulder. Glancing down, Halloway noticed a shadow playing across the terra cotta tile. He closed his eyes tightly. “Doctor,” he said evenly, without turning or opening his eyes, “I thought you were going snorkeling.” Behind him, Dr. Kelley had padded into the bungalow through the open patio door, a mask and collection bag swinging in one of her hands. “I thought I left my fins on the boat,” she explained, “but I think…” She stopped mid-sentence, her swimsuit still dripping onto the tile. “Dana,” the helmsman smiled from the doorway. “Sabrina,” the doctor replied with a touch of surprise. The captain took a deep breath. “Lieutenant Tracey was just telling me we’re about to get new orders,” he explained, turning toward the doctor. “I was just about to invite her in.” He consciously avoided any comment to suggest Kelley’s presence was out of the ordinary. Sabrina put out her hand, taking a step back. “Oh, no,” she insisted, “no, I’ve got… someone waiting in the flitter.” She paused, pointing a thumb behind her. “We just did a submarine tour of the reef. Since we were in the area… I wanted to tell the skipper… well, I wanted to let him know.” Dr. Kelley had already closed the distance to the door, smiling. She craned her neck, as if to see out to the transport shuttle. “You’re both welcome to stay,” she invited. “I’m sure the captain would love to show you his boat.” The slightest smile twitched on the young helmsman’s face as she took another step back. “No, really,” she continued, “I just wanted to...” She stopped. “Oh. I almost forgot. Aegis' captain was reassigned. The Allies installed a civilian to give them greater oversight.” Halloway frowned. He and Muon weren’t close, but he had been defense counsel at her court martial. He didn't like the thought of her being ushered out after all her contributions to Cardassia. He wondered about the timing. “Civilian oversight?” Dr. Kelley asked. “Where did they find that volunteer?” “The Ferengi offered him,” Lieutenant Tracey answered. “Ambassador Drankum.” As if with some urgency, she moved backward even faster. “I’ll see you both back on the ship.” Finally, she turned and headed toward the small shuttle. Halloway watched her go. “Drankum?” he said with some surprise. “That old troll? I thought he wanted to stay retired. Why would he let them drag him back in?” Beside him, Dana just shrugged. “Who knows. In any case, it looks like vacation is over.” He looked at her, letting out a ragged sigh. “The captain would love to show you his boat?” he repeated, questioning. Dana’s smile was almost wicked. “You know you’re always trying to show that thing to someone.” The doctor watched the shuttle lift off. It was her turn to sigh. “Well, this little discovery should keep your reputation intact.” He stopped leaning against the door and pushed it closed. “What are you talking about?” “You know full well what this looks like,” she chided, gesturing between him and her. “The captain can’t even follow his own rules. He gets grounded and starts running around with a member of his own crew.” Halloway feigned shock. “But we’re not…” He looked between the doors of the separate bedrooms. “She’ll never believe this is platonic.” He sighed. “Yes, I suppose the fiction is much more interesting than the truth. We’ll just have to trust her discretion.” He could certainly talk to the young woman, but it might look like he was protesting too much. “Then again, it’s not like you haven’t behaved your way into those rumors,” the doctor needled, walking away. He smacked her lightly on the backside as she passed. “Go put some clothes on. Looks like we’re due for a senior staff meeting.”
  9. Captain Thomas Halloway looked across the main room of his cabin aboard the Yorktown, noticing the displaced objects within. With the temporary loss of gravity this deck had experienced, the battle vectors had redistributed his personal effects, then sent them crashing to the floor when life support was reasserted. A few fallen trinkets were not a serious concern. He was not a man who placed much emphasis on acquiring wealth or things, at least not items in which he would invest any meaningful value. If he was, he'd never have let Drankum continue to loan out his tab on the station. Thomas Halloway was a man who recognized, who embraced, the transitory nature of his mortal life and the universe around him. That was not to say he didn't strive for some sense of permanence. He rested his hand, the one not held in a sling, on the mahogany lid of the Steinway which had remained firmly mounted to the deck. The starship Yorktown, this Sovereign-class version, had been his home for the last ten years. He'd commanded it since its launch during the first year of the Dominion War. They'd been through a lot together. But it was just a ship. As he'd been reminded from the first attack by the 8742 ships, it was the crew that mattered most. He'd lost eighteen crewmen, mostly engineers. In this second engagement, there had been more than four hundred injuries, some critical. Given the damage to the ship, the miracle was that none of his crew had been killed in that round. The Lakota hadn't been so lucky. The hand resting on the piano balled into a fist. A workpod drifted outside, past the viewports of his room. Yorktown had taken a beating; he'd surveyed the damage himself. A large gash had been torn in the secondary hull, which had bled out their deuterium stores and spilled out cargo. The exposed decks ran like a jagged wound – not unlike the damage the Scorpiad had caused a year earlier at the Battle of the Wormhole. Triangular life pod bays, empty since his order to evacuate several burning decks, dotted the saucer section like pox scars. Inside, he knew whole sections had been gutted by fire, others blasted by explosive decompression. He walked toward the window, kneeling to gather navigational memorabilia strewn in his path. One by one, he placed a sextant, marine chronometer, and an ancient GPS receiver inside his sling. He smiled, pleased to see his compass had not shattered. And where were they going now? Given the length of repairs, Starfleet had chosen to move their damaged ships to more secure locations within Federation space, rather than overwhelm the facilities at Sky Harbor. The Atlas-class tugs USS Hercules and USS Sampson were already enroute to Aegis, having been granted passage by the Cardassian government. According to his orders, Yorktown was bound for extended drydock at Starbase 405. The fate of his crew was less certain. He lifted himself to the couch, a dull ache reminding him of the collarbone Dr. Kelley had knitted back together with her protoplaser. Beyond the transparent aluminum, Cardassian ships held position at Sky Harbor beside Romulan warbirds and the small, oddly-bulbous contraption from the First Federation. Although diplomatic channels were filled with expressed outrage at the proximity of the "Fluidic Battle" to their homeworld, the Cardassians had actually stepped up – without them, the starship Ajax would have been been lost, probably taking a large portion of Aegis with it. In all, it was a different border than the one his earlier version of the Yorktown had patrolled with the likes of Jellicho and Maxwell. He wondered how the station would fare in the changing political environment, given the loss of her captain. Halloway frowned, wondering how only the lifepod containing Muon Quark had not been recovered. The Romulan engineer they'd rescued said he'd seen her evacuate the bridge of Pandora's Box. Had the Ferengi captain gone down with the ship anyway? It was another mystery, not unlike the reason why 8742 had reappeared in such a belligerent manner. They'd shunned all attempts at communication during the battle. And where had their surviving ships fled to? He didn't have a viable command from which to find those answers. He reached out to straighten one of the silver medals that hung from a mounted display near the couch, musing that the currents were once again moving him away from this region. It had been Yorktown that had appeared to take him away from Aegis the first time. Battered as she was, it was a vector she was taking him again.
  10. I think Aegis and Yorktown might want to get in on this one, Castellan.
  11. He didn’t like being on someone else’s ship. Looking out the aft viewports of the conference room of the starship Pandora’s Box, he especially didn’t like seeing his own ship, the Sovereign-class USS Yorktown, in tow. Although it was supposed to be imperceptable, he imagined he could see the twist which had misaligned one nacelle and had made it impossible to generate a usable warp field. As he waited for the arrival of Commander Brown, he thought about the events that had led to the battering of his ship. For weeks, Yorktown had been skirting the edge of a dark matter nebula toward one edge of Cardassian space, searching for the source of unexplained transmissions in the sector. His chief science officer had done an admirable job explaining what a dark matter nebula was, but aside from its novelty as a significant navigational hazard, he’d left the physics to his specialists. Although it remained uncharted due to this hazard, this particular nebula had seen some action during the war. Both sides had lost a number of ships in the area and the Dominion had hidden their main ketresel white storage depot along it. The base had later fallen to an attack by Benjamin Sisko aboard a stolen Jem’Hadar vessel. The crew had advanced several theories about the source of the mysterious signals. There were rumors a resurgent group of neo-Maquis were operating in the area. It was still not known if Breen pirates had a base nearby. Starfleet Intelligence had confirmed the existence, if not the location, of at least one sleeper base left behind by the Dominion after the war (see log by Semil, What They Didn't Know). Privately, Halloway had secretly hoped to find survivors of the starship Phoenix, which had managed to locate the Dominion facility before being overwhelmed on its last, fareful mission. Still, the idea of finding anything inside was problemmatic. The reality was, the dark matter was impenetrable to scans and it caused havoc to a ship's major systems. Thus, the attack had caught them unprepared. Their unknown craft had barrelled out of the nebula, slamming his ship with an unexpected barrage. He drew in a sharp breath. It was like that time with the Breen. He didn’t like being caught off-guard, and he especially didn’t like losing crew because of it. The door at aft hissed open. Commander Brian Brown entered. “Sorry to keep you waiting, Captain.” Halloway flashed his trademark grin, offering a hand to the man who’d saved them from another two weeks of aimless drifting. “Not a problem.” Brown shook the offered hand, then gestured to an open chair at the conference table as he took another. “Sciences says the tactical data was heavily corrupted, but they’ve pieced together the opening few seconds.” “Good,” Halloway nodded, dropping into the seat. Although Yorktown had taken damage almost immediately, their sensors had captured the first moments of the battle. In their gamble to hide in the nebula, the computer core and their distributed processors had gone offline, rendering them unable to analyze it. Brown brought up the image onscreen. Three strangely curved ships emerged from the nebula, firing orange, plasma-like weapons. “Look familiar?” the commander asked, although his expression suggested he knew the answer. Not the Breen, Halloway remarked to himself. He feel simultaneously pleased and disturbed at the same time. “No, nothing I’ve ever encountered before,” he answered, shaking his head, then hesitated. “Wait a second,” he added slowly. “I have seen this before. A couple years back, a tactical briefing at Starbase 310...” Brown smiled just a little, maybe just a little impressed. “Yep, sciences matched the configuration from the energy signatures. Very unique. It’s a perfect match.” He looked back toward the Yorktown. “You’re lucky your ship’s still in one piece.” Halloway looked back, as well. “We took a chance,” he admitted. “They didn’t fire until after they came out of the nebula, so I figured they might be as blind in there as we’d be.” He considered the alternative. “Looks like hiding out was the right choice,” Brown assessed. Halloway turned back to the younger officer. “Well, I’ve got no intention of doing it again,” he insisted. “We’ve got to alert Aegis. If this is a new threat, I want Yorktown and your station ready for the fight.”
  12. In the twenty-four hours after the tribunal recess, before Joy One's deposition, which can itself be read here. A joint log with Commander Jami Farrington, Lieutenant John Angelis, and myself. A long read, but revealing... While the cadenza of Rachmaninoff's Third Piano Concerto hardly "fell easily" under his fingers, Thomas Halloway felt a calming effect from hammering out the notes strung together by the Russian composer. The door chimed. Tom stopped abruptly, pushing the piano bench away from the Steinway. Smoothing the tunic of his uniform, he answered, "Enter." The door parted, revealing Commander Jami Farrington and her assistant Lieutenant John Angelis, both laden with materials from their legal preparations. He admired the woman briefly, both for her obvious dedication to the case and her attractive blonde hair, blue-eyed features. Has to be Scandanavian in there somewhere, he mused. "Please come in," he offered, remembering he was a host. "Welcome to the my little corner of the Yorktown." He gestured toward the table he'd arranged, complete with wine bottle and glasses. "I selected something suitable to drink, but the replicator's the limit if you're hungry." Both officers entered the spacious cabin. Angelis slung a satchel onto one of the open seats and lowered his 6' 2" frame into it. Halloway seemed to recall the lieutenant often went by his call name - Angel - for short. Farrington seemed to examine the décor appreciatively before setting her pile of PADDs and materials down. She noticed the grand piano and the wine glasses. "'Something suitable' is...quite more than expected. Thank you." She glanced at the bottle, which was turned away from her. "Louis Jadot '03?" she guessed, hopefully. "Similar label, but no," Halloway admitted, hefting the bottle. "Chateau Picard, 2363." "Well, no doubt, you are one of the most elegant hosts in the fleet," Jami complimented. "I so seldom get the opportunity to entertain in an intimate setting," he lied. "As for elegant, blame the captain of the Enterprise. He insists I have a presentable vintage on hand. The year's a bit of a gag." Never drink it alone, Jean-Luc had cautioned. He poured some of the clear, light amber-colored wine into the Commander's glass. Angel nodded approvingly. "An excellent choice, Captain, I may say. I understood the Picard vineyards were not producing any longer." A tragedy, he thought. "So I've heard. This one's from a bit earlier. The year he beat me out for the Enterprise." He poured some into Angel's glass. "Or so he says. I doubt I was really that much in the running," he added, attempting some modesty. Picard had sought to meet him only after Q had shown him an alternate timeline where Halloway was master of his ship. (ST:TNG, "Tapestry") Angel nodded, perhaps with a touch of skepticism. "I see, sir. So a bit of friendly rivalry exists between you two, then." Halloway laughed. "Only on my end. I can only hope to fare well in comparison with the old man." Always the silver medal, he mused. * * * * * Jami really wanted to take her shoes off, then realized she was still in the jumpsuit she threw on when she was summoned. She was somewhat disconcerted, but since Halloway didn't seem to mind, she stood. "What should I ask of the chef tonight?" she grinned. Angel sat down, looking back. "I shall leave that to your most excellent taste, Commander." Halloway eased into his chair, as well. "Whatever you feel. I was planning to stick with liquid refreshment." Jami walked towards the replicator, changing the subject. "I spent some weeks at Chateau Picard with my father. He's an archaeologist, and the Picards have an avid interest in the subject." She replicated some canapes, finger sandwiches, and assorted other things that would not interfere with their taking of notes and such. Halloway nodded as Angel began pulling materials from the satchel he'd borne. Jami pulled two trays from the replicator, placing them on end tables near the main table where both men were sitting. She remained standing, picked up the wine glass, and offered a toast. "To . . . truth, justice, and the Federation?" "Here here," captain and lieutenant said in unified response. "Here here," she mimicked as she sipped. "Oh...excellent." She sat, making room on the table and placing some of her material on the floor. She made a mental note to herself to find or replicate a dress uniform for the trial. * * * * * Halloway finished a sip, then slid his own PADD closer to provide easier access to the finger food. "So, Lieutenant," he broached, "how was your conversation with the android?" Angel didn't seem surprised by the question. "It was interesting to say the very least," he chuckled. "Let it suffice she is willing to perform a deposition, with full disclosure." Halloway nodded. "I can make myself available for that." Angel continued. "That was only one of her requests." He looked toward his senior. "She asked for full immunity from prosecution in this matter. I agreed, Commander, as long as the data is relevant and not an exercise to evade prosecution." "I can agree to that, Lieutenant," Farrington nodded. Halloway slid his PADD back and forth absent-mindedly. "I should let you know I'm going to speak with Lieutenant Commander Hawke. I'd like to find out just what was so important she had to interrupt court proceedings." The commander looked up, her demeanor suddenly becoming very serious. Halloway wondered about her look of concern. "I can arrange a similar deposition, if you prefer." Jami looked to the captain. "And you believe she will give a deposition like that?" He leaned back, sipping. "Honestly, I don't know. Hawke... has a mind of her own. It sounded like her comments were meant to avoid a trial, or maybe open exposure." "And. . . you know Lieutenant Commander Hawke well?" Her eyes were fixed on Halloway. He set down the glass. "More by reputation," he admitted, wondering briefly if she were probing his own reputation. "We've had a passing acquaintence, more official contact by subspace than anything else." Jami picked up a stylus, turning it over in her hands. "Have you any reason to believe that her loyalties lie elsewhere than with the Federation?" The captain shook his head. "I have no reason to suspect such a thing. She's intense, but seems very dedicated to Aegis." Jami nodded. Angel looked between the two. "I've made certain inquires to some of our old contacts as well, Commander." He watched Halloway to observe the captain's reactions. Halloway wrinkled his brow. "If you learn anything... are you going to be able to share your sources?" He looked as if he was choosing his words deftly. From beside him, Jami interrupted. "Share with whom?" The captain looked toward Farrington. "I simply mean… if you learn anything... could it be used as evidence in court? Or would it require more delicacy than a tribunal would allow?" Poker-faced, Angel spoke deliberately. "Captain, I can assure you I will certainly pass any information by Commander Farrington and I'm sure she will pass any that is deemed necessary in this matter." He smiled. Halloway realized he'd been misunderstood. Should he come right out and say it? He knew the room was secure. "I'm not questioning your adherance to the rules of discovery," he began, then went for direct. "I'm no stranger to Starfleet Intelligence." He paused, then added, "I'm no operative, but I'm no stranger." Jami considered. "Could it be used as evidence in court? Much would probably not be used as specific evidence, due to the nature of the sources. However, it would add to our understanding." The captain leaned back, nodding. "Back-channel confirmation. So we know how to proceed. I get it." Jami picked up her glass and stood. "Please, forgive me, Captain. I've been hijacked. Blind-sided. I'm sure it's happened to you more than once." She took a sip and paced to loosen up. Halloway huffed in agreement. He'd lost command of Victory that way. "So," she continued, "let's go to what we do know. Which, in my case, is not much." Lieutenant Angelis began refilling the glasses. He raised his own, looking off toward the piano. Jami approached the table, waving a hand at the pile beside it. "I know that a list of charges have been brought, but specifics have yet to be given to me. Hardly the way to proceed with a court martial." She looked to the captain. "Can you enlighten me?" Halloway folded his arms. "Before the trial, I had a chance to talk with the Joy unit assigned to Aegis. Nine, I think." Angel glanced over. "That would be Joy One, sir." Halloway smirked. "No, that's the commander you spoke with from the Endeavor. Joy Nine is one of the Aegis crew. I know, it's maddening keeping track of them." Angel followed, nodding. "I stand corrected, Captain. It is difficult at times." Jami chuckled, taking up her glass to nurse it a bit. She kept standing, leaning against her chair and listening intensely. "She gave me a somewhat official run-down, based on Aegis logs," he began, recounting his conversation in the Control Tower. "Here's the play-by-play, as I understand it: This illness that's been sweeping across Cardassia Prime, Aegis uncovered evidence that it might have resulted from an intentional time-travel jaunt by the starship Endeavor." Jami sat, taking a more relaxed posture. Halloway continued. "I'm not sure how they figured that out, but Muon logged it and advised Admiral Forrester that she intended to put a stop to it and obtain a cure. Her intention - as I understand it, not from my client's admission - was to perform a similar time transit, obtain the original infecting material from some unknown pod, and effect a cure in our present." Jami leaned forward, elbows on the table. Her hands supported her chin as she kept her eyes on Halloway. "It seems Admiral Forrester instructed her not to interfere with Endeavor and not to render aid to the Cardassians. That's on record in the logs, too," the captain noted. Angel swirled the contents of his glass, sipping. "It could be argued she refused to follow what she perceived was an illegal order - again, my interpretation. In any case, Aegis personnel did make their own transit and confirmed that Endeavor had obtained the bioagent from this pod." He took a drink, signaling his conclusion. Jami glanced at the list of charges, on a PADD on the table. "That would be willful disobedience and conduct unbecoming… provided it was a legal order, which I will stipulate it probably was not." Angel nodded. "So, in essence, the captain was attempting to make right a grave wrong." The commander leaned back. "As for conspiracy," Halloway pressed, "where are her co-conspirators? It takes two to tango." Jami nodded. "Agreed. Unless he is arguing that the crew of Aegis or the crew of Pandora's Box were conspiring?" Halloway stretched out his hands. "Sounds to me like they were just following orders." He flashed his trademark grin. Jami took a deep breath. "So… assuming the charges are false, contrived, easily -- perhaps too easily -- dismissed. How do we proceed?" Halloway downed his glass, setting it aside. "I intend to motion for a dismissal of the conspiracy charges. After that, our defense is clear. One cannot disobey an illegal order." "And are we to leave it at that? Or are we going after bigger fish?" Jami challenged. Angel shifted his gaze between the two. "It may well leave a way to pursue this from another way, post-dismissal, sirs." "Out with it," Jami prompted. "Accepting the dismissal, we might just reveal enough doubt in the tribunal's mind to suggest there are others involved in this. It might leave a door open to follow-up." Halloway nodded. "There's more at stake here than one officer's conduct." He got up from his seat, walking past the piano toward the viewports. "Hell, if the Cardassians learn we had someone order a disease get released on them..." He trailed off. "Exactly my point, captain," Angel agreed. "We cannot reveal that to the general populace..the fire storm would be too great. However, we can pursue this with the knowledge there are ranking members of this court. They could keep a certain weevil under control, sirs." Halloway spun slightly. He did not want to be misunderstood. "On the other hand, if they find out and think we're trying to cover it up - it could go much worse." Jami had been quiet, her mind reeling with options. "Gods," she breathed. "I'm sorry. My mind is spinning, wondering what the hell Forrester is up to. The captain continued his line of thought. "If Forrester's to blame, it's not just our duty to out him, it's probably the best way to salvage our relationship with Cardassia." He was not interested in saving the Admiral from the consequences of his actions. "So," Jami concluded, pulling on her lip, "We proceed. We submit the evidence. We allow the court to decide. We keep an eye on Forrester and alert our contacts in Cardassia to start troubleshooting." Halloway smiled, liking what he heard from the commander. "All above board." "And Joy One's deposition?" Jami asked. The captain leaned against the piano. "Let's hear what she has to say." Angel had been quiet in thought. "You know about the Commissioner onboard," he noted. "Are you aware of his mission, sir?" Halloway nodded. "He's an old friend. Here on behalf of the Security Council to assess Aegis' mission. We brought him on the Yorktown." Thusfar, Sorehl had been using the Commissioner title to conceal his identity; the Vulcan did not want his known role in station history to interfere with his investigation. Tom wondered what Angel was getting at. "That assignment was before any of this happened." "My sources indicate the scale of his findings to be more grave than a simple evaluation," he warned. "Simply put, should the 'word' get out and Admiral Forrester is found connected, the blame could fall to the Federation. I suspect the future of Aegis' presence may be short lived." Halloway smirked. "Angel, I don't think we have to worry about the Commissioner in that regard." Jami held up her hand. "Let's keep this simple, Lieutenant. I agree we are on unstable ground with the whole situation. However, I will trust Captain Halloway on this. Until we find otherwise, until there is solid evidence one way or the other, let's keep the Commissioner out of it." Angel nodded his assent. He still had concerns about the Joy units sharing information, but held his peace, nibbling on a sandwich. Jami stood, feeling exhausted. "Captain, I thank you for your time, your expertise, and your hospitality. Unless you can think of anything else I believe our job is done for the moment." "Thank you for coming," Halloway bowed slightly. "And I even behaved myself." Jami grinned broadly. "Indeed, you did." "A chaperone helps," he observed, gesturing to Angel. "And having a husband who could crush every bone in my body with a thought isn't a bad deterrent, either." Jami gave a hearty laugh, "My husband would be proud." She finished off her wine. "My compliments to the chef...and the Picards." Angelis got up as well. "Thank you, captain. It was a rather enjoyable break." He gathered up his satchel and the contents. Halloway helped them gather their things. "I'll advise you if I'm able to schedule with Hawke. And I'll be ready for Joy's deposition. The other one." "Have a very good evening, captain," Jami offered, meeting his eyes. "Thank you." "Good night." Angel stood by the open door looking between Halloway and Farrington. "Ladies and Commanders first."
  13. As counsel for the defense, Captain Thomas Halloway had just finished assuring his client about the events in chambers, as well as arranging an ex parte meeting with Commander Farringtion. Things had proceeded strangely, but not badly. He was not, however, so intent on using his charm to engage both women that he failed to notice Lieutenant Angel of the prosecution escorting Commander Joy One into an interview room. In the Control Tower prior to his volunteering as counsel, another member of the Joy series had summarized the surrounding events and prompted him - intentional or not - to seek out testimony from Joy One. He wondered why the prosecution would be so interested. Perhaps Angel was just being thorough. After all, the rules of discovery demanded he turn over anything he learned to the defense. He pulled out the chair for Muon. He wasn't sure what had prompted him to volunteer as her counsel. Certainly he had no great legal experience - ignoring his unpleasant experience with Cardassian jurisprudence. He supposed it seemed like the brass was being arrayed against her. He remembered Nickles comment as they'd stepped off Yorktown: "Muon screwed up and she's going down for it." Surprisingly, he'd been irritating to hear it. It wasn't just a sense of "innocent until proven guilty" that rose like bile in his throat. His instinct told him she wasn't a rogue officer - probably less than he was. They'd only worked together briefly, during the investigation into Ambassador shiKatsu Raumuk's kidnapping, but he'd found her one of the more welcoming members of the senior staff. And now she commanded Aegis - a privledge he'd shared for six months during the war on the former station that had borne the name. He wondered if his portrait still hung in the Midway next to Sorehl and Bulloc and Meve. He glanced toward the interview room again. He'd ask Angel about it soon enough. Now he had to concern himself with the courtroom outburst from Lieutenant Commander Hawke. Why she'd felt it better to shout out her concerns in open session rather than share them with the defense was unclear. Did she think he might be part of whatever conspiracy was rumored to be at work? At least the judges hadn't invoked their rights as a military tribunal to conduct the hearing in secret - that might come later. Still, he had no intention of letting this hearing get swept under a cloak of deniability. Between his meeting with Farrington and his planned call to Atticus Lochner, the region's judge-advocate general, he'd have to track down Hawke and pin her down.
  14. Since it's been awhile since my last Aegis appearance, I updated my bio accordingly.
  15. Alone in the runabout, Captain Thomas Halloway drifted slowly, circling the exterior of his battered command. Although largely intact, exposed decks ran like jagged wounds across the primary and secondary hull of the starship Yorktown. Triangular lifepod bays, empty since his order to abandon ship, dotted the Sovereign-class superstructure like pox scars. Flickers of residual plasma still trailed from the torn strut of the missing starboard nacelle. The Battle of the Wormhole -- is that what they would call it? -- was over. Broken and battered ships were scattered across this stretch of interstellar space, larger symbols of their crews, equally broken and battered. Only time would tell if Yorktown was one of its fatalities or merely injured. Would his chief engineer Sarpek be able to pull her together? His fist tightened. He looked away, running one hand through his dark hair. He didn’t even know the fate of his officers. Had Dr. Kelley been able to stabilize Sabrina? Was Anolhai even able to detach from the navigational matrix? He noted the absence of lifepods and transponder signals; he hoped it meant his crew had been retrieved, as he had. There had been other ships that had fared worse. He had watched the warp core of the Satsu go critical and seen Boise break apart, rammed by an Al-Ucard battle carrier. It would have been a miracle for any of their crews to survive. Crockett and Fargo had simply been blasted apart. But others had made it. Halloway had transferred Sorehl over to a listing Excalibur and he’d heard reports that repairs were underway. Not far away, a Nebula-class starship was also drifting, but its power plant looked active. And there was the cavalry. Points of light slowly sweeping through the battlespace were obviously luckier vessels and reinforcements from the Alpha Quadrant, rendering aid and marshalling survivors. It should not have startled him when the comm channel crackled, but it did. “Runabout Colorado, this is the starship Victory,” came a steady voice. “Please respond.” Despite himself, Tom smiled. The name fit. And he was quite sure there was something ironic or poetic about being hailed by one of his old ships, while looking at the remains of his current. But frankly, he was too tired to think about it. He thumbed the console, bringing up the image of a familiar, elderly Vulcan. “Admiral Saylek,” he found himself saying, “I should have known. Please don’t tell me I have you to thank for leading our rescue.” The senior Vulcan considered him briefly. “No,” came the terse response. “Vice-Admiral Boston is in command of the Third Fleet. Your appreciation can be forwarded to him aboard the Salazar. I am coordinating the Sixth Fleet attachment.” He paused only briefly, looking offscreen. “I’ve been advised that much of your crew was recovered by the Lexington and the Enforcer. Do you require assistance?” “It pains me to say it,” he admitted, “but without a warp core, there’s not much we can do for my ship right now. I’m told there are wounded aboard Excalibur…” “We need to stablize life support aboard the T’Kumbra first,” the admiral detailed. “We will tend to Excalibur afterward or send Venture in our place. Do you wish to come aboard?” Halloway mused for a moment. “I think we both know Victory operates better with only one of us aboard,” he observed. He had no desire to revisit their old rivalry. Saylek had never seemed resigned to being promoted away from the Galaxy-class explorer over a decade ago. He'd kept finding excuses to come back aboard, while Halloway'd been trying to establish his own command. The admiral was downright possessive about the ship. No doubt that was why he had placed his flag aboard it now. A Vice Admiral could do such things... “Perhaps so,” the admiral acknowledged. “In any case, I’m certain a few months in drydock will have Yorktown operating again with you aboard. I’m sure a premium berth at Deep Space Nine can be arranged.” The captain smiled at the unVulcan-like attempt to console him. “Save the one next to us for Excalibur,” he noted, with just a touch of bitterness. “Maybe we’ve got enough parts for one good Sovereign between us.”