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The Story of Tonight

Posted on 22 Apr 2017 @ 11:59am by Commander Thiago Teixeira & Vice Admiral Zachary O'Connell

Mission: Shore Leave
Location: New Bajor/DS11
Timeline: September 1, 2388

Only a few days had passed since the Consortium had been removed from power in the Gamma Quadrant. For Zachary O’Connell, the past few days, in addition to the months he’d been holded up at Starbase Unity, felt like years. Today, his collar felt heavier thanks to the new pips resting on either side of the red collar. Vice Admiral Archer, the woman tasked by Starfleet to clean up the Consortium mess, had determined that Zachary had a prominent place in the Gamma Quadrant’s future. Upon her recommendation, Starfleet Command authorized a two-level promotion to Vice Admiral.

Still, Zachary wished he was still a Captain. The moment he attached the Commodore pips to his uniform, he’d surrendered any chance of doing that.

While Archer’s efforts shifted towards rebuilding and restructuring, the task of cleanup had been delegated to him. After all, who better than him and Commander Gwendolyn Kane could complete this arduous task. Filtering and screening thousands and thousands of Starfleet personnel was taking its toll, but it was moving along. Most of the enlisted under the rank of Chief Petty Officer had been screened and reassigned. Most Ensigns and Lieutenant JGs had been screened as well, along with the crews of starships that had recently been destroyed. Alas, the time had come for Admiral Archer to demand senior staff officers for select starships.

In front of Zachary right now were several PADDs, each one containing personnel dossiers for available Command department personnel. Among those were a couple PADDs with a few familiar faces. One of them featured the face of Harvey Geisler, a Captain without a starship. Zachary’s recommendation to Admiral Archer had been approved. She needed capable commanders with more than capable starships. She, in fact, would be receiving two new Century-Class Starships for the Task Force. Captain Geisler would be receiving one of them. Harvey, unfortunately, had been cleared to leave the Gamma Quadrant and had disappeared on leave before he could receive the news.

But that didn’t stop Admiral Archer from wanting recommendations for a command crew. Zachary, as he knew Harvey the best, was assigned the task, to sift through various unassigned candidates within the next hour.

It wouldn’t take him that long.

He’d already started to piece together members of Harvey’s former crew, most of whom were not around to receive the orders should the recommendation be accepted. As he picked up the PADD for Commander Thiago Teixeira, Zachary was preparing to complete his proposal when the PADD’s screen flashed. A notification box appeared, stating that the Commander had just been assigned to the Cochrane.

Zachary’s eyes instantly widened. If he had any chance of reversing this, he had to act fast. Slapping his badge, he called out, “O’Connell to Tanika. Locate Commander Teixeira and have him report to my office immediately.”

* * *

Time dilation.

Only time dilation could explain how the days were passing so fast.

Thiago Teixeira had gone from Executive Officer of the USS Black Hawk to homeless after the Akira-class ship had crashed. He was then offered command of his own ship, the Cochrane. When he had told Admiral Fallbrook that he would take the Cochrane, she has told him that he was to continue with his shore leave, that he everything would be official, including the actual promotion to Captain, after his leave was over. The Intrepid-class ship had taken a beating the last several weeks and, as a result, was undergoing some serious repair efforts. She had major structural damage and it was going to take months to get her operational again. The repairs were being overseen by someone from the SCE. When his leave was over, Thiago would be officially promoted to Captain, take over command of the project, and the SCE Captain would continue as senior engineer.

But for now, the Brazilian man was enjoying a caipirinha in a bar on New Bajor. He’d been able to secure a room here on the surface, and had been relaxing as best as he could. It was, unsurprisingly, difficult to push his impending promotion to the back of his mind, but gave it his best. Just that morning, he’d run into a young woman who, upon discovering that he was a runner, invited him to join her on a 10k just outside the main compound of DS11. And now, they were drinking like old friends. She was attractive; dark curly hair, friendly brown eyes, and a smile that lit up the room. As much fun as he was having with his new acquaintance, he couldn’t help but be reminded of Jayla.

They didn’t have any plans at this point, but, given how they had gotten on so far, he anticipated that they might continue their fraternization into the evening. Perhaps until morning.

“....and that is how I got my first paper published,” she finished. “And, as you know, the Annals of Botanical Ecology isn’t easy to get into.”

Before he could respond, his comm badge sounded.

“Warrant Officer Tanika to Commander Teixeira,” came the electronic voice from over the communicator.

His companion looked at him.

“Sorry,” he offered before activating his badge. “Teixeira here.”

”Sorry to bother you, Commander. apologized Tanika. ”Admiral O’Connell would like to see you in his office, right away.”

“Understood,” he responded. O’Connell worked for the Task Force CO, and, with Thiago’s new role as Captain of the Cochrane, it seemed a safe assumption that this summons was related.

Before he could say anything to excuse himself, which he really didn’t want to do as his company was attractive both physically and mentally, the brunette smiled at him and said, “I know. You need to go. Not my first time with a ‘fleeter.” She leaned over and kissed him. As she pulled away, she slid an isolinear ship into his hand. “For if you want to find me later,” she said before she stood up and walked away.

He watched her walk away, disappointed that their time together was cut short. He slipped the isolinear chip in the breast pocket of his gauze shirt and headed for O’Connell’s office.

* * *

Given Tanika’s use of “right away”, Thiago didn’t bother to change into a uniform, so he arrived to O’Connell’s office in mid-length blue shorts and a breezy off-white button-up. At least I’ve got real shoes on, he thought as he touched the announcer.

Zachary, who’d moved over to the replicator for something to drink, heard the chime and instructed the individual on the other side of the door to enter. Looking up from the replicator, he noticed the arrival was none other than the man he sought, though he was not in uniform. The Admiral wouldn’t complain about it, after all, Commander Teixeira had been granted shore leave, like much of the crewman affected by the Consortium. “Can I offer you something to drink, Commander?”

“I’m good, sir,” he replied. “Thank you though. What can I do for you?”

“Water, room temperature,” Zachary requested from the replicator. As soon as it materialized, the Admiral picked up the glass and moved back towards the desk, gesturing to the Commander to have a seat if he so desired. “I understand you have accepted your first command.”

Taking the offer, Thiago sat down. “I have, sir. The Cochrane has seen a lot recently. We all have. She’s a good ship. I’m hoping to hold on to as much her crew as possible.”

“It seems we have a bit of a common interest then,” Zachary replied, sitting down in his chair, taking a meager drink of the clear liquid as he did.

“Oh? Have you gotten some of the crew to stay?”

Zachary smirked. He should have chosen his words more carefully. “I should correct myself,” Zachary explained. “We have similar interests. You, keeping the crew of the Cochrane together. Me, well, keeping the crew of the Black Hawk together.”

“That would be great sir,” he began in response. “Lots of good people served on the Black Hawk. I’d love to get some of them to come to the Cochrane with me. Commander Bast, for example. He was a solid XO for me on the Cochrane before and, if he’s not already in line for an assignment elsewhere, I’d love to have him return to that role.”

The Admiral nodded. This would be a true challenge as he could tell the Commander was set upon taking command of the Cochrane, especially by the manner in which he was speaking. “Actually, Commander Bast is slated to return to service with Captain Geisler. I’m attempting to get as much of the crew back together as possible, including her most recent Executive Officer.”

Looking at O’Connell, Teixeira sat back in his chair and thought on the flag officer’s statement. “So you’re saying….what exactly? The Black Hawk is gone. It’s not coming back. Trust me. I was there till the end.”

“I know,” Zachary said, “and removing the Black Hawk from the surface of New Bajor will take at least a decade, given the current priorities. The Task Force’s first priority is to rebuild and regroup. During the crisis, we lost more than seventy percent of our starships. Everything we have right now is based here at New Bajor, Starbase Unity and Idran. Starfleet has given us all they can for now, but with the situations on the Gorn border and in the Inconnu Expanse, and trying to restore contact with Thirty-Eight in the Delta Quadrant… the Fourth Fleet is stretched thin. We’ve been promised several ships as they come out of drydock over the next couple of months. Captain Geisler will be given command of one of those ships, and it’s my hope to install most, if not all, of the Black Hawk’s former crew. Yourself included.”

Thiago was glad that Harvey was going to get another ship. He was a good CO. A good man. “I’ve already accepted a new assignment, obviously.” Although command had never been one of his goals, he had found himself presented with the opportunity. And it was hard to say no, especially with a lack of other meaningful possibilities. Until now, at least. “You’re a couple days late, sir.”

“That’s a matter of perspective, Commander,” Zachary replied with a smile, lifting the PADD that contained Thiago’s personnel dossier. “You’re on shore leave, and the promotion becomes official the moment you come off of it. Until then, it’s all subject to change.” He set the PADD back down. “Of course, I know I’m coming at you with a wild idea. Why give up a command for another round at being an Executive Officer? Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?”

“A little, yes,” the Brazilian man conceded. As much as he had liked his time on the Cochrane, he also valued his role as part of the Black Hawk command team. And Harvey could certainly use some stability and experience at XO. Thiago was at least the third Exec Geisler had had. And both of the previous ones were inexperienced in the role, something that couldn’t be said for Teixeira, who had been in that position on two other ships prior to the Black Hawk.

“Will Command be okay with this?”

“Command was already willing to allow you to have a bit of shore leave before taking command of the Cochrane,” the Admiral pointed out. “I’m sure that things will be smoothed over rather quickly. That is, of course, if you are willing to remain in an Exec capacity for a while longer. That’s not to say that commanding a starship won’t be in your future.”

Leaning forward in his chair, Thiago nodded slightly. “I go where Starfleet needs me, sir. And if that’s beside Captain Geisler, all the better.” At that moment, a thought came to him. “Harvey knows I accepted the promotion to the Cochrane, so I’m curious what his reaction to your proposal was.”

The Admiral grunted. “Honestly,” Zachary replied, leaning forward in his chair. “Harvey doesn’t know. He know’s he’s getting a command, but he left on Shore Leave two days ago. I’m sure he’ll appreciate the surprise, and perhaps he’ll have another reason to dislike me.”

With no intention of addressing Geisler’s personal feelings for O’Connell, Teixeira quickly responded, “A surprise indeed. Last he knew, I was off to a command of my own.” Although his time on the Black Hawk had been short, he had felt very at home there. He got along well with Harvey and had, in mind, worked well with the other senior officers.

Leaning forward, he looked O’Connell in the eyes. “Sounds good to me, Admiral.”

Zachary nodded, rising from his chair. “Leave the details with me, Commander. Naturally, you’re welcome to continue with your shore leave as long as you like, but when you’re ready, we can get you to the new ship as soon as possible. I’m sure the team would appreciate the input of a seasoned duty officer before launch.”

Teixeira thought of his new acquaintance he'd had to leave to meet with O'Connell. "At least a couple more days, if that's okay, Admiral. This new ship, she's got a name, I take it?"

A name? Zachary’s mind echoed. He’d been assigned to find a crew for a nameless ship, and all he knew was her class and that she was nearly ready to leave drydock. “I’m certain Command is open to suggestions. But, what do you think about Black Hawk?”

A large smile broke out on the Brazilian's face. "That'll do just fine, sir." He chuckled. "And it'll surprise the hell out of the Captain."

 

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