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Captain Halloway

One Good Sovereign

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.”

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