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John Randall

Going Home





(Personal Log Stardate 11612.29)


The next day (ship's time), Randall was in engineering helping Ensign Taylor with some of the bureaucratic details that he would have to know to be the chief engineer of the Arizona. The young man from Sri Lanka, Earth, was a bit overwhelmed at first, but John showed him some shortcuts that he had learned, and Taylor began to catch on to them fairly quickly, leaving Randall satisfied he had chosen the right officer to recommend to Captain Russell as becoming the chief engineer of the Arizona.


John was in the officers' mess just finishing lunch when he was paged by Lieutenant Alison Mays, the communications officer of the Arizona, to report to the bridge to see the captain. Randall acknowledged the message, dumped the remains of his meal into the recycler, and left the mess hall, walking down the corridor to the turbolift. "Bridge," he said as he entered the car, and the lift sped off.


He arrived a few moments later and stepped out onto the bridge. He made his way to the captain's chair where Russell was seated. He raised his eyebrows at her in a silent question as the captain made eye contact with him.


"Well, Lieutenant, we have good news for you at last," Russell said. "The XO of the Challenger just contacted us, and said that the Challenger has eradicated the virus inside the ship, and it is now safe for you to beam over. Your captain has requested that we beam you aboard ASAP. You're going home, Lieutenant John Randall, so if you need to do any packing, I suggest you get below and get it done."


John stared at Russell for a few seconds, not believing his ears. He was going home. He was going to be beamed to the Challenger. He would finally rejoin his crew and his friends. He was speechless for a few seconds, then took a deep breath, and nodded. "Acknowledged, Captain," he said. "Permission to leave the bridge." "Granted, Lieutenant," replied Russell, and John turned to leave.


"John," continued Russell, and Randall stopped, turning to look at her. The captain of the

Arizona got out of her chair and went over to him, looking up at him. "It has been a pleasure having you on my ship," the lady captain went on. "You have been a tremendous help to my crew. And, you were absolutely unbelievable when we ran into the Klingons. I'm sorry to see you go, Lieutenant, and I hope we run into each other again someday. Safe travels, and good health, John Randall."


She held out her hand, and John took it. They shook hands and Randall replied, "Captain, it was an honor to serve with you and your crew. I think Starfleet is going to have a good ship with you at the head of it. Safe travels to you and your crew." The bridge applauded as John strode to the turbolift.


"Deck 3," he said as he entered, and the lift whisked him away. A few moments later, he arrived and stepped out of the lift. He walked down the corridor to his cabin and went inside. He quickly packed a duffel bag with his few clothes and uniforms, then left the cabin and went back down the hall to the turbolift.


"Deck 10," he said, and the lift sped off. He arrived, exited the lift, and went down the corridor to the transporter room. As he strode inside, he was met by Captain Russell, who smiled at him as he came in; John noticed, however, that the captain's eyes were bright, and he steeled himself, having an inkling of what was coming next.


"All set, Lieutenant?" she asked, and he nodded. She turned to the cadet standing at the transporter board. "I'll handle this one, Ensign," she said, and the cadet nodded and left the room. Russell waited until the door slid shut, then turned to John.


"I wanted to say a private goodbye to you after my so-called 'official' one on the bridge," she said, and Randall nodded. "John, I'm saying goodbye not only to a valued officer, but, I hope, also to a good friend. You didn't have to come on our shakedown cruise, Lieutenant, but I was sure glad you did. I meant everything I said on the bridge, John; you have been valuable to this crew, and everyone on the bridge asked me to wish you well as you return to your home ship.


"On a personal note, I will miss you, Lieutenant John Randall," she continued, and her eyes got even brighter as she spoke. "I would like to stay in touch with you, and any time you or the Challenger needs help, don't hesitate to contact the Arizona or myself. I mean that, John. Any time means any time. I will miss you, John," and she stepped forward, holding her arms open.


John walked into them and they shared a long hug, then Randall gently pulled away, and Russell let him go. "I will miss you as well, Captain Amanda Russell," he said. "I think we've gotten to know each other pretty well over the last few days, and, as I said on the bridge, the Arizona is a good ship with a fine captain on her bridge. I would like to reciprocate your offer; if ever you or the Arizona need any help, don't hesitate to call me, and that means any time as well. Safe travels to you and your ship, Amanda, and it has been my honor to know you."


She hugged him briefly again, then walked around to the transporter console. John ascended the dais and turned to face her. Russell consulted the board for a few seconds, then nodded. "Goodbye, John," she said huskily, and Randall replied, "Goodbye, Amanda. Energize."


She held his gaze for a long second, then her hand slid the switches on the console. John's body shimmered, then disappeared. Russell watched him dematerialize, then dropped her face into her hands, her shoulders shaking. A few moments later, she looked up, dried her eyes with her fingers, then left the transporter room, all business as she headed for the bridge.



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