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Saying Goodbye

Posted on 22 Mar 2017 @ 1:39pm by Captain Harvey Geisler
Edited on on 22 Mar 2017 @ 1:52pm

Mission: Endgame
Timeline: MD18 || 0800 hours

Captain’s Log, Stardate 65629.4

As the Black Hawk finished her unfortunate descent, word came from the Idran system that Starfleet reinforcements had arrived from the Alpha Quadrant. Commodore Terlexa immediately fled Deep Space Eleven, along with the remaining functional Consortium assets.

During the fall, however, the crew of the Black Hawk was scattered. Some were beamed aboard Deep Space Eleven, others down to New Bajor to hospitals. Escape pods were recovered by several starships, and the Black Hawk’s shuttles were scattered everywhere as well. The crew has been mostly accounted for. The death toll stands at ninety-seven, with another forty missing. Even now, crews continue to search the wreckage of the Black Hawk, trying to find any evidence at all of the missing. Even I hate to be morbid, but seeing the state of the ship now… There may be nothing left to find.

I can’t say I never thought my first command would end this way. Even as we squared off time after time against the Consortium, I knew we would be victorious each and every time. Perhaps my time in the Dominion War and many times abandoning ships dulled my senses to the possibility. Or, perhaps I was prepared the entire time and just never knew it.

Regardless, this log will serve as my final entry as the Captain of the Federation Starship Black Hawk. Though I have only been her commander for a few months in her fifteen years of service, I can say without reservation that not only did this ship and crew perform valiantly under the Consortium Blight, but their efforts were unmatched by anything in this ship's remarkable past.

The ship’s own history was never lost on me. During the Dominion War, a terrible crime was committed. The Jem’Hadar stole not just the soul of this incredible vessel, but mine as well. We both wandered for years, never finding our purpose. I believe we helped each other in the end; restored the other’s soul. The Black Hawk performed beyond expectation and died doing what she was built for.

As for me, I feel like my life is truly beginning. For that, I will always be thankful and remember the Black Hawk.


* * *

It truly felt like ages to Harvey. The bright morning sun shone through the window to his Ready Room. A mere two weeks ago, he had decided to abandon his Ready Room in favor of his quarters as the only way in or out was through an egress corridor that was originally restricted to emergencies. With the bridge rendered inoperable in the Hadyn Nebula, he’d finally elected to leave Deck One behind. There was no sense being on top of the ship when he was so far away from the Auxiliary Bridge and the rest of the crew.

In most places, two weeks would be more than enough time for a layer of dust to form over every exposed surface. The condition of the Ready Room, however, made it appear that the room had been abandoned for years. PADDs were scattered about, the desk and furniture toppled over. Small fires left their scars. Only the trusty replicator looked like it was unharmed.

Harvey really had little business being here. Ever since taking command, he kept the office rather Spartan. The PADDs contained reports that were no longer of value or importance, and since the devices could be replicated anywhere, their recovery was not essential. In fact, his only two personal items lay on the floor, a picture frame lying in a pile of shattered glass, and the cover he was given on the day he took command.

Carefully, Harvey knelt down and picked up the edge of the frame. A xylophonic sound entered his ears as the frame was tilted to allow the remainder of the broken glass to fall to the floor. He leveled out the frame, and held the picture up to the light. He had carried it with him every day since his imprisonment on Betazed. Alison, looking as radiant as ever since their wedding fifteen years ago, smiled brightly as her red hair cascaded down the shoulders of her gorgeous white wedding dress. A smile formed on Harvey’s face as he remembered that day before his eyes moved to see how uncomfortable, but happy he was in that terrible teal dress uniform. He always hated dress uniforms, but he was thrilled on the day he got to change the teal dress in for a white and steel blue overcoat. At least someone had a sense of decency in uniform design.

This damaged picture, just like the Ready Room remains around him, served only now as evidence of the past. Alison was long gone, and while he still missed her deeply, the time had come for Harvey to move on.

He then picked up the gray hat with the ship's patch embroidered on the front. As he did, Chief Sikes' face flashed in his mind. The gritty Chief of the Boat had stayed with the ship since her commissioning, and did so faithfully until his untimely demise at the hands of the Syndicate just a few months ago. Harvey gave the hat a firm shake to clear it of glass and dust before putting it onto his head once more.

Harvey returned to a standing position and looked up towards the door that separated the office from the bridge. Oh, what the hell…

He stepped up to the door and placed his fingers in the dividing crack between the two panels. Once he had a grip, he used all of his strength to push the panels aside. For the first time in weeks, light shone into the abandoned bridge. Harvey was instantly greeted with the smell of burnt plating, compounds and carpet. He pushed through the foul odors and stepped into the room.

The fires that marred the room had long been extinguished, leaving behind black scars on bulkheads and consoles. His command chair had not escaped the fire, the cushions consumed and the metal framework was all that remained. The armrests themselves had been deformed by the heat, never to be used again.

Unable to sit in his chair a final time, Harvey stood in front of the chair to give the bridge a final look. Slowly, he turned around, taking note of each of the abandoned stations and remembering…

...the Altair Recovery Mission where he got used to working with the fighter squadron…

...responding to distress calls, saving freighters from pirates…

...exploring a nebula and being subjected to nightmares thanks to the radiation…

...receiving his promotion orders to Captain...

...reclaiming the bridge from the Syndicate boarders…

...leading the charge to recover Commander Kos and the Away Team from Nestene IX and the hands of the Syndicate....

...being shot in his own Ready Room by Commander del Rosario…

...the sight of Yolvanda II on the viewscreen and the horrors that followed…

...crewmembers turned to dust around him due to Thalaron radiation…

...assisting Commander Bast in taking Lieutenant Di Pasquale to sickbay as they vacated the bridge a final time…

Harvey’s eyes came to a rest on a glint of gold. It was tucked away, nearly buried from view. Only a corner could be seen, and it shone brightly under the sunlight. The former Commander of the Black Hawk approached the pile and next down to retrieve the ship’s plaque, which had fallen and moved away from its original mount. It had even collected ash and soot from the flame, marring it just like the ship. The same ash now coated Harvey’s fingertips and palms as he held the rest of the plaque up to the light and brushed away what he could from the lettering U.S.S. BLACK HAWK.

He rose once more to his feet, holding the plaque on top of the wedding portrait. His eyes looked up to take in one last look of the ruined bridge.

“Saying goodbye,” he whispered, remembering an old tune. Why is it sad? Makes us remember the good times we had...

As a doctor, he could not help but appreciate the amount of time served aboard the ship. It had only been nine months, the typical human gestational length, but his time aboard the ship felt like a lifetime had passed. Unpleasant memories mingled with the good, and that was okay. Life was a mix of positive and negative. It was how one dealt with it that mattered. If anything, Harvey Geisler felt like a new man.

Harvey felt a tear well up behind his right eye, overwhelmed by this moment more than anything. This was it for him and the Black Hawk. He would leave better than when he first boarded. Just a few months ago, he was an aging, cranky excuse for a starship commander. Today, he had friends, a crew that respected him, and a woman who loved him. None of that would have been possible without this ship.

He looked around the bridge again and nodded. Just as he had many times before, he took a single step. Then another. And another.

Harvey stepped through the Ready Room window, carefully traversing the ship's now-wrinkled hull. He nodded at the shuttle pilot who was waiting for him before turning to look at the bridge module a final time. “It’s time,” he said softly to his old friend, “for saying goodbye.”

~fin~

 

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