Star Trek: Remington
Captain Richard Boswell sat at a desk littered with PADDs. While he had commanded a ship before, commanding a brand-new vessel with a brand-new crew brought with it a whole host of problems that were taking quite some time to sort through.
His time on the Lexington hadn’t been quite as quiet as this. Forced into command by the Lexington’s captain’s injury at the Battle of Cardassia, Boswell had spent his first months in command cleaning up pockets of Dominion resistance. Though light, the resistance proved to be a time-consuming part of his command and Boswell found himself more than ready to surrender the captain’s chair when Captain Anderson recovered.
Now it was a time of peace. As far as the top Federation brass could tell, the Borg had been defeated, or at least nearly wiped out thanks to the still-classified events surrounding the return of the USS Voyager. The Romulans were in the process of signing a formal peace treaty with the Federation. Even relations between the Cardassians and the Federation had cooled down enough to the point where only a certain few of the old guard of Starfleet officers would bat an eye to the Remington’s chief engineer being a Cardassian – though in Lieutenant Dalar’s defense, he was a refugee and a Federation citizen.
Still, even though a captain’s first duty was to exploration, Boswell couldn’t help but find himself - though he felt guilty to admit it - bored with the minutiae of peacetime command.
Suddenly, there was a chime at the door.
The door slid open and Lieutenant Commander Karen Howe, the Remington’s first officer, strode through.
“Sir, long-range sensors have picked something up.”
“What is it?” said Boswell, still viewing one of the PADDs.
“It appears to be a damaged ship, sir.”
The captain looked up.
“Nothing in our database, sir,” said Howe. “It does appear to be warp-capable.”
“Any other ships in the area?”
“None as close as we are, and we’ll reach it within the hour at our current speed.”
“Very well,” said Boswell as he stood from his chair. “Let’s go see what’s going on.”
Howe followed Boswell from the ready room onto the bridge. While Howe took her place at the tactical console, Boswell strode over to the operations station, manned by Lieutenant Pagad Ryshan.
“What are the sensors picking up?”
“It’s very faint, sir,” said Pagad. “My readings and those picked up by Commander Howe’s sensors both indicate that the vessel is severely damaged.”
Boswell turned to the conn station.
“Lieutenant Daltrey, increase speed to full impulse.”
“Full impulse, aye sir,” acknowledged Daltrey.
Boswell strode back to the center of the bridge and to his chair, which he gazed upon with a feeling that almost approached reverence. Work had buried him and in the six months since the Remington launched, Boswell had felt like he’d spent more time in his ready room than in the captain’s chair.
“Bridge to sickbay.”
“Commander, we’ve picked up a damaged vessel on our sensors. Prepare sickbay for possible casualties.”
“Aye sir. Sickbay out.”
“Sir, I’m picking up a lot of interference on the sensors,” said Pagad. “It may be difficult to pick up any lifesigns.”
“Can you compensate?”
“Possibly. If I had to guess, their propulsion is damaged and the radiation is causing the interference.”
“Would it interfere with transporter operations?”
“Most likely, sir. I recommend sending in a team via shuttlecraft.”
“Agreed. Inform Lieutenant Dalar. Commander Howe, you have the bridge.”
“Aye sir,” said Howe as she stood from the tactical console.
As Boswell approached the turbolift, he turned back to Howe, who was taking her seat in the captain’s chair.
“I’ll be in main engineering. Inform me immediately of any updates.”
“Will do, sir.”
Boswell entered the turbolift and Howe walked over to Daltrey’s station.
“Ensign, how long until we reach that vessel?”
“At this speed, we should be within visual range within a half hour, ma’am.”
“Very well. Maintain course and speed.”
In engineering, there was much activity. Even for a ship six months out of Spacedock, there were many kinks to work out and adjustments to be made. The man in charge of it all was Lieutenant Golin Dalar, chief engineer.
“Rivera, I want a full diagnostic of the environmental controls done ASAP,” said Dalar as he glanced over a control panel on the wall. “Something doesn’t feel right but I can’t pinpoint it.”
The Remington class was one of the newest and most advanced ship designs in Starfleet. Only three of its kind were in operation: the Remington, the Phoenix and the Theodore Roosevelt. Captain Boswell had almost come to blows with some of his fellow captains in an attempt to have Dalar as his chief engineer. As he sat down to read a PADD, Dalar remembered their first meeting quite well, in which Boswell described him as one of the finest young engineers in Starfleet. He’d never served as a chief engineer before, and the Remington class was a challenge even for some of the most experienced veteran engineers. Still, his staff was excellent, especially those Dalar had requested be transferred from his previous assignment on the Grant. Moving from a Defiant-class to a ship this size was a somewhat steep hill to climb, but they were performing admirably.
It was at that moment that the turbolift opened and Captain Boswell stepped out.
“Sir, I just got the message from the bridge,” said Dalar as he rose from his chair to meet the captain. “I’ve already put together a salvage crew.”
“Good. Commander K’Tan and a medical staff will accompany you. We’re not sure about numbers of survivors. If there are any, they are the first priority so I want you and your team to stabilize the vessel as quickly as possible. It’s a type we’ve never seen before so it may be difficult, but I trust you’re up to the task.”
“You can be sure of it, sir.”
“Good. How long do you think it’ll take?”
“Well, the sensor readings are a bit fuzzy because of the interference but I’d estimate a couple of hours.”
“I want a status update every half hour. Your shuttle will be in shuttlebay one.”
The captain turned to depart, and Dalar pressed a button on his panel.
“Computer, inform Lieutenant Corbett, Chief Esfahani and Crewmen Davies and Newman to meet me in shuttlebay one with salvage equipment.”
“Commander Howe, we should be within visual range now,” said Daltrey.
On the viewscreen, the officers could see the ship and the damage it had suffered. It was pockmarked with torpedo and energy weapon impacts, and a steady trail of blue plasma was leaking from what could be assumed to be its engine room.
“Pagad, is that warp plasma?”
“Yes ma’am. Readings seem to indicate that the leak is slowing. It doesn’t look like their warp core has been breached.”
“The salvage team should be safe, then.”
Howe sat down in the captain’s chair and pressed a button on the comm panel.
“Bridge to Lieutenant Dalar.”
“Is the salvage team ready?”
“We’re here and Commander K’Tan’s team just arrived as well.”
“Good. Get over to that ship and get to work. Bridge out.”
As the shuttle approached the derelict spacecraft, Dalar entered the cockpit.
“Can you see anywhere to land?” he inquired to the pilot.
“It looks like there’s a landing area at the rear of the vessel, but sensors indicate it suffered a lot of damage and it’s not pressurized. You’ll need breathing gear.”
Dalar turned back to the crew area.
“Everybody get your EV suits on. We’re landing in an unpressurized area of the ship.”
The Vulcan doctor, assistant chief medical officer of the Remington, stood from his seat and moved into the cockpit.
“Now that we’re closer to the ship, I’m picking up two lifesigns. Maybe three. Either way, they’re very faint and whoever it is, they might not have much time.”
“Give me their coordinates in the vessel and we will get to them as quickly as possible.”
The shuttle touched down and the crew walked out of the slowly-opening hatch. The shuttlebay was scarred with battle damage and, true enough to the sensor readings, was vented to space. Whoever had done this had been very thorough.
Dalar pressed a button on his comm panel. “Commander K’Tan, are you seeing those lifesigns?”
“I am, Lieutenant. They are fading fast but they are definitely there, and they are close by. It should take us no more than half an hour to find them.”
“Good,” said Dalar. “We’ll meet you back here then.”
K’Tan and his team proceeded through one of the bay doors and Dalar turned back to his team.
“Lieutenant, I want you and the chief to work on re-pressurizing the shuttlebay. We may still need to use the shuttle to get the survivors out. Davies, Newman, I need you two to come with me. We’re going to find wherever engineering is on this ship and get a full picture of what we’re dealing with.”
As K’Tan and his staff walked through the rather cramped corridors of the alien ship, they began to see dead bodies littering the ground. K’Tan pulled his tricorder from his belt and began to scan one of the bodies.
“Blunt force trauma to the head, it appears.”
“Do you recognize the species, sir?” queried one of the crew, a human ensign named Gabrielle Noble.
“I do not. This one does not appear to be of any known species,” said K’Tan as he placed his tricorder back in his belt and stood up. “It appears we have found ourselves in a first contact situation.”
“If those lifesigns actually point to live crewmembers,” added the ensign.
“Correct. That is why we must make haste.”
“Commander, in here!” another of the crew called from further ahead in the corridor.
Through a stuck-half open door, K’Tan could see one of the alien crew propped up against a bulkhead. His face was streaked with blood and there was a large wound to his gut, but he was breathing. K’Tan crouched down beside him.
“I am Commander K’Tan of the starship Remington. Can you hear me?”
“Yes,” the alien replied weakly. “You have to help us. There are only three of us left. The other two are in engineering.”
“Are you able to walk?”
“No, I think my leg is broken.”
“We will have to transport you to our ship,” said K’Tan as he stood and tapped his comm panel. “K’Tan to Dalar.”
“We have found a survivor and he indicated that there are two survivors in engineering. Have you found them?”
“We just did. They’re both severely wounded and I don’t think one of them is going to make it.”
“There is not enough time to get all three of them to the shuttlebay. Tag them for transport.”
“Roger. Dalar out.”
K’Tan turned to the alien, who had barely managed to pull himself up onto his other leg.
“What is your name?”
“My name is Igar Veni. This is the cruiser Hagala of the Kellarian Republic.”
“What happened here?”
“We were attacked by rebels. They boarded the ship and attacked us. The two crew in engineering and I are the only ones left…” Veni trailed off as he hunched over in pain.
“We do not have much time. K’Tan to Remington.”
“Remington here. Go ahead,” said Howe.
“We have found three survivors and they need immediate evacuation. Are the transporters operating yet?”
“Yes, they are. I’ll inform the transporter room.”
A few seconds later, the Kellarian disappeared in a flash of light. K’Tan turned to say something to his crew, but the craft was suddenly shaken by a massive impact that threw the crewmembers to the floor. A weak alarm started blaring through the corridor.
“K’Tan to Remington. What is happening?”
“Two small ships just came out of warp and began firing on the vessel,” said Howe over the comm. “We’re scrambling the CAP to see if they can fight them off.”
Out of Remington’s primary shuttlebay emerged three fighter craft. Each Sisko-class fighter carried two officers of the Federation Starfighter Corps – a pilot and an electronic countermeasures officer. The lead fighter was piloted by Subcommander Damien Bassett, call sign Jolly.
“Remington, this is CAP Leader. We have sighted the enemy ships. Request permission to engage.”
Back on the Remington’s bridge, Commander Howe was viewing the tactical display as the three fighters blinked onto the screen.
“CAP Leader, this is Remington. You have permission to engage.”
“Roger, Remington. Charger, Voodoo, weapons free, attack pattern theta seven. I’ll take the lead ship. You two keep the other one occupied.”
Diving from above one of the two ships, Bassett fired a pulse phaser blast at the ship, impacting its shields.
“Vessel’s shields are at 80%,” said Bassett’s ECO, Flight Lieutenant Walker Croyle, call sign Showtime. “I’m reading a minimal power surge in—torpedo incoming!”
While Bassett had managed to score a hit on the vessel, flying so close had enabled them to achieve a target lock on the small fighter, and a torpedo slammed into its shields, shaking both pilots.
“Shields are holding, but that thing packs a punch.”
“Charger, Voodoo, keep an eye out for the torpedoes these things are firing,” radioed Bassett.
As Bassett turned the fighter around for another pass, Croyle’s console beeped.
“I’m reading a buildup in their warp engines. I think they’re bugging out.”
“What about the other one?”
Sure enough, both ships burst away, leaving the Remington and the Hagala alone in space.
“Remington, this is CAP Leader. Enemy vessels have left the system. Returning to ship.”
“Roger, CAP Leader,” said Howe. “Remington out.”
Just as Howe ended the conversation, Captain Boswell re-entered the bridge.
“Commander, what’s our status?”
“Two small ships attacked the damaged ship, but they warped away after we launched the CAP.”
“Good,” said Boswell as he sat down in his chair. “Were there any survivors from the vessel?”
“Three, sir. Commander Donahugh’s treating them.”
In sickbay, the medical staff was bustling about. Chief medical officer Commander Matthew Donahugh scrambled to assemble a variety of medical supplies to treat his three patients. Two of the Kellarians were unconscious, while Veni was awake.
“Chief, get me a hypo with triexomadrine,” said Donahugh, who was examining a wound on Veni’s neck. “Your internal physiology doesn’t seem too unusual, so treating you shouldn’t be too difficult.”
“It’s much appreciated, doctor, but I must request that we be returned to a Kellarian vessel as soon as possible. Kellarian custom dictates that only a Kellarian doctor should treat us.”
“I understand that,” said Donahugh with a slight hint of annoyance in his voice, “considering you’ve told me twice now, but I have to at least stabilize you. I don’t know how long it will take to find another of your vessels and I wouldn’t be a very good doctor if I didn’t at least try to help you somewhat.”
“Very well, doctor,” said Veni as he lay back on the table. “Do what you must.”
Donahugh administered the hypospray to Veni’s neck, causing him to slowly fall asleep. The doctor then turned to his staff.
“Make sure to keep them on a constant dosage of this stuff. It should keep them sedated while we work on those wounds, but I don’t want to have to move up to a more powerful sedative. We’re already taking a risk using something like triexomadrine on them and I’d rather not increase that risk by using something stronger.”
As the staff members began their work, Donahugh walked to his office just off of the main sickbay.
“Computer, compare medical scan Theta-One-Seven-Beta to all known medical records. Use non-Federation records if necessary.”
The computer beeped in acknowledgement, and on the screen, Donahugh could see the various records flickering past. Another beep indicated the scan was finished.
“No known match to medical records in Federation databanks.”
How is that possible? Donahugh thought to himself.
“Computer, check all Federation first contact records for the Kellarian species.”
“No known match to first contact records in Federation databanks.”
“Is there any reference whatsoever to the Kellarian species in any Federation records?”
Here, Donahugh was presented with a conundrum. Both K’Tan and Dalar had told him that the aliens were speaking English without the use of a universal translator, and he had seen it firsthand as well. There was no chance whatsoever that an alien species had independently developed the exact same language as an unrelated Federation member. Yet, there was no record of contact between the Kellarians and the Federation. There was only one explanation.
“You think someone covertly contacted them and gave them this technology?” queried Boswell.
“That’s what appears to have happened, sir,” said Donahugh. “Commander Caine and I have been looking over the records for the better part of the last twelve hours and there is no record whatsoever of any Federation contact with the Kellarian species, but there’s no way they could be speaking the language so fluently. Furthermore, as Commander Caine can verify, their level of warp development is far too high for a species that has had warp drive for as short a time as they have.”
“But why would someone go through all that trouble?” asked Commander Howe. “What possible reason could they have for such a blatant violation of the Prime Directive?”
“I wish I could say, but I have no idea.”
Captain Boswell rose from his chair, but before he could speak, he was interrupted by the intercom.
“Bridge to Captain Boswell.”
“We’re being hailed by an unknown vessel. Its specifications match the damaged vessel we previously encountered.”
“Very well. I’m on my way. Commander Caine, Commander Donahugh, I want you to continue looking. There has to be some kind of record. There’s no way an entire first contact situation could have been so completely covered up. The rest of you, return to your posts. Dismissed.”
The officers rose from their chairs and filed from the observation lounge, while Howe and Boswell remained.
“What do you think, sir?”
“I think we’ve stumbled onto something we weren’t supposed to,” said Boswell. “If I had to guess, it was a stroke of luck that we found that damaged vessel when we did. If we hadn’t, whoever covered this whole thing up would have gotten away with it.”
“Agreed. We’ll find out soon enough,” said Howe as she and Boswell walked out of the lounge.
“If I recall correctly, Commander Caine has a favor or two she can call in with the FIS and I’ve got a couple of contacts in Starfleet Intelligence I can talk to.”
“We just need to tread carefully, sir. Whoever did this certainly possesses a lot of resources and wanted to make sure they weren’t found out.”
“Of course,” said Boswell. “But if this was done by someone in Starfleet, it’s our duty to find out who and why, no matter what it takes.”
The door to the bridge opened and Howe took her position at the tactical console. In front of her, Boswell sat down in his chair.
“Sir, the ship is still hailing us.”
The screen flickered on, showing a Kellarian standing in what appeared to be the ship’s bridge. Around him, several other crewmembers could be seen manning consoles. The commanding officer wore epaulets indicating his rank on each shoulder.
“This is Captain Richard Boswell of the Federation starship USS Remington. How can we be of assistance?”
“I am Captain Tirak Akuz of the KRS Borschek. I understand you have three Kellarian crewmembers aboard your ship.”
Boswell stood from his chair. “How did you know of the crewmembers we rescued?”
“That is not important, captain,” responded Akuz in a dismissive tone. “What is important is that you return them to us immediately. They must be treated by a Kellarian doctor.”
“Of course. Our doctor has been keeping them stabilized until we could turn them over to one of your vessels.”
“Are they prepared for transport?”
“They should be. I’ll contact our sickbay and find out.”
“Please have them ready within ten minutes, captain. Borschek out.”
Boswell turned to Howe as she was reading over her console.
“Commander, what is it?”
“Sir, it’s just as we thought,” said Howe as she looked up at the captain. “The survivors from the damaged vessel indicated that they haven’t had warp drive for more than a year at the most, yet these weapon readouts I’m getting from that ship indicate a far more advanced development.”
“I’ll include it in my report to Starfleet Command when we return to Earth. Inform Commander Donahugh that our guests are to be transported to the other ship immediately.”
“Very well, sir.”
“Furthermore, inform the Kellarian captain that I would like to speak to him personally,” said Boswell as he strode towards his ready room. “You have the bridge.”
As Boswell sat at his desk reading over yet another PADD, the door chimed.
The door opened and Captain Akuz walked in, looking quite upset.
“Captain, I must protest this time-wasting. The three officers are aboard my ship. We are ready to depart. What do you want?”
“I just have a few questions for you,” said Boswell as he rose from his chair to look out the window.
“Then ask them! I am operating on a tight schedule!”
“Don’t worry, I won’t keep you long. First of all, do you know who attacked the Hagala?”
“Actually, I do. We are currently dealing with a revolutionary faction of the government which has significant military resources. I’d tell you more, but it’s a matter of internal security to be discussed on a need-to-know basis.”
“Of course. Secondly, how is it that your species has developed the level of technology it has?”
“I don’t follow, Captain.”
“It’s simple. From discussing some matters with the survivors of the Hagala, the Kellarians have possessed warp drive for only a short period of time, yet your technology is far more advanced than that amount of time would suggest.”
Akuz’s face turned grim, and he suddenly stood from his chair.
“Regrettably, Captain, I’m not permitted to discuss that with you. That is…”
“Captain, I know that someone has interfered in the natural development of your species and I will find out who is responsible,” said Boswell. “Let there be no mistake: I am going to get to the bottom of this.”
“Captain, you can do whatever you like, but I assure you nothing unusual has occurred. I consider the mere assertion that you believe our development to be ‘unnatural’ to be offensive.”
“I mean no offense. I’m merely attempting to ascertain the reasoning behind the facts I believe to be true.”
There was an uncomfortable pause as both captains stared at each other across the desk. Both were quite calm, but there was a hint of anger on Akuz’s face.
“I understand your reluctance to discuss these matters with me, Captain, so I’ll let you depart. For what it’s worth, Federation records indicate that this is the first contact between your species and the Federation. I wish it could be under better circumstances. I’ll be informing Starfleet Command and they can prepare a proper first contact delegation to meet with your government.”
“Thank you,” said Akuz. “I’m looking forward to it.”
As Akuz stood from his chair and left the room, Boswell brought up the console on his desk and tapped a few keys. He knew a few Starfleet Intelligence analysts who had retired from front-line fleet service and now worked in the comfortable confines of headquarters on Alpha Centauri. There was one whose escape pod had been rescued by the Lexington with only two hours of breathable air remaining, and one whose ground unit had been relieved in the midst of a massive Breen attack by fresh reinforcements delivered by the Lexington, and there was one…
As he trailed off in his own thoughts, reminiscing about the war, a message popped up on the console. The beeping broke him out of his reverie, and he quickly sat up and straightened his uniform upon noticing the rank of the officer sending the message. Almost as quickly as the message had been received, Boswell opened it. He wouldn’t want to keep his former commanding officer waiting, after all.
“Admiral Cheung, good to see you, sir.”
“And you as well, Captain. I’ve got good news for you: that minor diplomatic problem we were discussing previously has been cleared up and the Romulans have permitted your new first officer to take his post. Commander Trevak is on his way to Earth as we speak. I suggest you make your way here as quickly as possible.”
“I’ll do that, sir.”
“Good. Secondly, Captain Jarvis wishes for me to inform you that we have set a date for the command handover of the Enterprise and she has requested your presence at the ceremony.”
Boswell smirked, as his old Academy roommate had been sending him messages for several weeks now asking for him to attend.
“Tell Captain Jarvis that I will definitely be there,” said Boswell. “I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
“Excellent. I’ll send word along to her. Good speaking to you, Richard. Cheung out.”
Some time later, the Remington dropped out of warp above a familiar planet. To anyone with a cursory knowledge of the Federation, this was the center of the metaphorical universe. Its blue and green features were a sight for sore eyes to most of the crew. The planet, of course, was Earth. Even Captain Boswell would admit that he was glad to be home, especially knowing that he would have the opportunity to visit his parents back in Chicago for the first time in almost 18 months. Most of the crew was looking forward to shore leave as well. Commander Howe would be on the first shuttle back home to Mars, and Commander Donahugh had been raving to the senior staff about his plans to take his girlfriend to Hawaii. Unfortunately for the crew, shore leave would have to wait for just a bit longer, as there was official business to attend to.
The massive form of Earth Spacedock rose into view on the main screen, and the crew could see a veritable cornucopia of ships buzzing about around the station. There was only one ship the crew was focused on, though: the new flagship of the fleet, the Magna Carta-class USS Enterprise-F. Though none of the crew could see it, a hint of sadness crossed Boswell's face as he looked upon her features. In another universe, perhaps, he was the one preparing to take command of the most prestigious ship in the fleet, not his Academy roommate.
Boswell quickly shook his head, chasing the thought from his mind. There was no time for what-ifs. He turned to Commander Howe.
“Commander, open a channel to Port Control.”
“Channel open, sir.”
“Earth Spacedock Port Control, this is USS Remington, requesting permission to dock and disembark crew.”
Boswell couldn't help but feel relief upon speaking those words. No matter the circumstances, it was always good to know that the captain had brought his ship and his crew back home in one piece.
“Remington, this is Docking Control,” the reply came back. “Request granted. Proceed to Mooring Alpha Charlie 7-42. Welcome home.”
“Glad to be home. Remington out.”
“It’s about damn time that Picard accepted that admiral’s star. If he’d taken it when they’d first offered it, he’d probably have made Commander in Chief by now.”
“Come on, Elena, you know as well as I do the allure of the captain’s chair. Few captains in Starfleet have been through what he’s been through. They had to force Kirk and Janeway into the admiralty and it’s likely they would have done the same thing to Sisko had he survived the war.”
“You know, it’s funny,” said Boswell as he turned to Jarvis with a smirk on his face. “I remember all the way back at the academy... what was it, our third day? You told me that you were going to command the Enterprise someday.”
“Oh yeah, I do remember that. Then again, at that point no one knew if there was going to be another Enterprise. The D didn’t launch for another ten years.”
“I hate to change the subject, but where is Admiral Picard?”
“Patience, Richard. He’ll be here.”
Almost on cue, there was a commotion at the turbolift. The doors slid open and Rear Admiral Jean-Luc Picard stepped onto the deck, flanked by his two aides. Everyone present immediately snapped to attention.
“Admiral on deck!”
“At ease,” said Picard, with a somewhat forlorn smile on his face.
Picard walked forward towards the captain’s chair, almost staring at it reverently, before noticing Captains Jarvis and Boswell.
“Captain Jarvis, so good to see you again!”
“Admiral Picard,” said Boswell with a nod to the admiral. They had only met on two occasions before this one but like most other officers, Boswell held a tremendous amount of respect for Picard.
“Captain Boswell, you as well.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“Captain,” said Picard, turning to Jarvis, “you don’t mind if I give a short speech before handing things over to you, do you?”
“Of course not, sir. Go right ahead.”
Picard strode towards the center of the bridge, a space he had occupied so many other times on other vessels.
“Thank you all for coming today. The captain’s chair on the Enterprise is a cherished institution. It’s the seat every cadet at the Academy wants to occupy someday, and few will. When I was at the Academy, it was the Enterprise-B. Since then, we have seen the Enterprise-C, the Enterprise-D, Enterprise-E and now this vessel. Each ship has performed its duty with honor and its crew has served with the utmost integrity. Starfleet only entrusts the name Enterprise to the best of the best – those officers who have proven that they can uphold the best values of the Federation at the forefront of any exploratory mission and on the front line of any conflict.
Captain Jarvis, you are the latest in a long line of famous names, like Jonathan Archer, James T. Kirk, John Harriman, Rachel Garrett and a certain former captain who was quite reluctant when Starfleet informed him they’d finally found a way to pry him out of the captain’s chair.”
The crowd chuckled, and Picard sighed.
“Yes, I am certainly sad to finally leave the Enterprise behind, but I know she will be in good hands. It has been an honor to command three of these ships. Captain, shall we begin?”
Jarvis walked forward as the crew present stood at attention.
“To Rear Admiral Jean-Luc Picard, Commanding Officer, USS Enterprise, NCC-1701-F, Stardate 60590.32. You are hereby requested and required to relinquish command of your vessel to Captain Elena Jarvis, Commanding Officer, USS Elijah, NCC-83411, as of this date. Signed, Admiral Lawrence Cheung, Chief of Starfleet Operations.”
“Computer, transfer all command codes to Captain Jarvis. Voice authorization: Picard Alpha-Alpha-3-0-5.”
"Transfer complete," intoned the computer. "USS Enterprise, NCC-1701-F, now under command of Captain Elena Jarvis."
“I relieve you, sir.”
“I stand relieved. Congratulations.”
The crowd stood in applause, and Boswell raised his glass of champagne in salute. As Jarvis began to mingle with the assembled dignitaries, a signal came over Boswell's combadge.
“Remington to Captain Boswell.”
“Captain, the IRW Raptor's Claw will be coming out of warp and entering the sector shortly. She'll be receiving a Starfleet escort to Earth, and your presence is requested.”
“Absolutely. I'm on my way.”
Boswell approached Jarvis, who stood between two ambassadors, one from Eboro IV and the other from Shelyssa Prime.
“Elena, I hate to interrupt,” interjected Boswell, “but I must be going. As much as I'd love to stay and celebrate your achievement, my new first officer is on his way here and I have to meet him.”
“I understand, Richard,” said Jarvis with a warm smile on her face. “You should be commended for what you're doing. You know the exchange program isn't exactly the most popular in the fleet.”
“Sometimes the unpopular choice has to be made for the greater good. In any case, I wish you the best of luck with your new command. Make the class of '57 proud, Elena.”
The two friends shook hands before Jarvis was called away by yet another dignitary, and at that point Boswell chose to make his departure. Almost immediately after stepping from the room, Boswell was met by Lieutenant Commander Howe, who was dressed in her service dress uniform and was carrying a package under her arm which, evidently, held Captain Boswell's uniform.
“Good, I can change on the way,” said Boswell, dispensing with any greeting. He could see that Howe was in a rush, so he thought he probably should be too.
“Any word on when they'll be arriving?” asked Howe.
“Nope. I just received a message saying that they'll be arriving 'shortly.'”
“That figures. Leave it to the Romulans to hide as many details as possible, even the inconsequential ones like that.”
“Come now, Commander,” said Boswell, chiding his second officer with a smirk on his face. “I'm sure they'll be on time... whenever that time may be.”
The senior staff stood assembled in the viewing area next to one of the Spacedock's many shuttlebays, awaiting the arrival of a Romulan shuttle. Next to them stood Rear Admiral T'Par, commanding officer of the 55th Exploratory Task Force and Boswell's direct superior. A distinct hint of nervousness could be seen on the faces of all the officers present, save for T'Par, of course, but even she entertained the same thoughts the other officers did. The Remington was about to blaze a new path in Federation-Romulan relations and its success was vital to the ongoing peace process. None of them dared to speak, lest they betray the stress they each felt.
Suddenly, the silence was broken by a signal being received over the comms.
“Earth Spacedock control, this is Imperial Romulan Warbird Raptor's Claw. Our escort has departed and we are currently in a holding pattern around your station. Requesting permission to dock shuttle and disembark passengers.”
The docking control officer looked at T'Par, who responded only with a curt nod.
“Raptor's Claw, you are clear to dock shuttle and disembark passengers at docking bay Charlie-5-2-Alpha.”
“Acknowledged, Earth Spacedock control.”
After a few moments' pause, the doors of the bay opened and a small Romulan shuttle floated down into the bay. Contrary to common Romulan procedure, the shuttle's cloaking device was inactive. After the bay doors sealed themselves again, the shuttle opened and several Romulans stepped out, accompanied by armed guards.
Looking upon the new arrivals, Boswell smirked.
Flanked by two armed Federation Marines, the welcoming party stepped into the bay to greet the Romulans, but it was the Romulans who spoke first. Boswell recognized their leader – Admiral Letar, a legendary hero of the Dominion War. Along with him stood Commander Tolnak, commanding officer of the Raptor's Claw and Subcommander Trevak, the Remington’s new first officer.
“Admiral T'Par, it is agreeable to finally meet you face-to-face,” said Letar. His almost Vulcan-esque adjective choice would have surprised T'Par if she had not been a Vulcan.
“Likewise, Admiral Letar. This is Captain Richard Boswell of the USS Remington.”
“Your reputation precedes you, Admiral,” said Boswell as he strode forward to shake the admiral's hand.
“Thank you, Captain. I assume this is your crew?”
“Correct. Lieutenant Commander Howe is my first officer and tactical officer, Commander Donahugh is my chief medical officer, Commander Caine is my chief science officer and Lieutenant Dalar is my chief engineer. Several members of my senior staff were unable to attend as they were occupied with other duties aboard the Remington.”
Letar glanced at each of the officers, taking an extra moment to look at Dalar.
“Your commander's reports spoke very highly of your crew.”
“I would hope so, Admiral.”
“Very highly indeed, Captain,” said Trevak as he stepped forward from the rear of the Romulan group. “Your ship was personally recommended by several members of the Star Navy's admiralty.”
“That is quite an honor. We will certainly do our best to live up to their expectations,” said Boswell as he reached out his hand for Trevak to shake. It was quite strange to think that this situation was only causing slight apprehension among those present, when only ten years earlier, it probably never would have happened.
“Your quarters are ready for you, Subcommander. We've done our best to arrange them to your specifications and your new uniform is in there.”
“Thank you, Captain. If you'll excuse me, I'd like to go get settled in my quarters.”
Boswell nodded as Trevak departed, accompanied by one of the marines. Boswell now turned to Tolnak.
“I assure you, Commander – your first officer will be in good hands. I've reviewed his record countless times and I know that he is an exemplary officer.”
Tolnak smiled, a somewhat rare gesture for a Romulan.
“I trust you, Captain, but we will most certainly be watching you and your crew closely. These officer exchange programs are vital to the peace negotiations. I hope that you will keep that in mind.”
A hint of anger crossed Boswell's mind. Why the hell would you say you trust us and then snap back with that kind of remark?
“Absolutely, Commander. I would never think of endangering those negotiations.”
“Good. There is far too much at risk for anyone involved to do so.”
There was a tense moment between the two, with neither of them saying anything and both waiting for the other to blink. The tension was only broken by Admiral Letar speaking up.
“Right, Admiral,” said Boswell as he turned to Letar. “Admiral T'Par has the necessary paperwork for you to sign to officially transfer Commander Trevak to my command.”
“And if you'll excuse me, I need to get back to my ship to welcome him.” The captain turned towards the door with a slight glare at Commander Tolnak, and his staff followed. As they filed out the door, Boswell turned to them in the hallway.
“So, what do you think?”
The officers were silent.
“Come now, I want answers.”
“Well, he's not quite what I expected, sir,” said Howe.
“I don't know, I guess I expected something different from someone who served in the Tal Shiar.”
“I agree with Commander Howe, sir,” added Dalar. “I don't think you can expect this transition to go completely smoothly but I believe we'll be up to the challenge.”
“I hope you're right,” said Boswell. “However, that will have to wait until later. I believe you are all owed shore leave, so I suggest you take advantage of it. I expect you back on the ship in 48 hours.”
There was a slight moment of hesitation amongst the officers.
“I expect you back on the ship in 47 hours, 59 minutes and 55 seconds...”
Realizing the hint, they scattered. Boswell, on the other hand, had business to attend to, for which he tapped his combadge.
“Boswell to Remington.”
“Remington here, Captain,” came the response from Lieutenant Pagad.
“Please have our new first officer meet me in my ready room in two hours. Boswell out.”
Boswell glanced over the top of the PADD as his new first officer continued to sit silently.
“Well, there’s nothing in here I haven’t already seen before. I’ve read your file five times already in preparation for this.”
“Seven, if the Tal Shiar’s records are correct.”
“I see even at peace you’re still spying on us.”
“A species can never be too careful, captain,” said Trevak. “I believe it was one of Earth’s past leaders who said ‘Trust, but verify.’ Trust is a very new concept for us.”
“Fair point. Nothing I can say would be new information to you seeing as though it’s your file, so why don’t you tell me about myself?”
“You’ve no doubt been studying up on this assignment as much as I have,” said Boswell with a smirk on his face. “You’ve had six months to prepare. Considering you’re ex-Tal Shiar, I’d expect you to know my file like the back of your hand.”
The Romulan gave one more glance at Boswell and sighed.
“Very well, Captain. Richard Anthony Boswell, born 2335 in Chicago, Illinois to Lieutenant Commander John Boswell and Helen Boswell. Your father was a career Starfleet officer whose final shipboard assignment was as the chief engineer of the USS T'Plana-Hath. Lieutenant Commander Boswell’s career as an active officer in Starfleet ended when he was crippled during an attack on the ship.
Nine years later, you enrolled in Starfleet Academy. Sciences division, majoring in xenolinguistics. You finished near the bottom of your class – described by some professors as above average but lacking in effort – and were assigned as a linguist aboard the USS Benjamin Franklin, under the command of Captain Nikos Demetriou.
You rose to become department chair of linguistics aboard that ship and later served under Admiral Lawrence Cheung on Starbase 505. You then accepted a teaching position at the Academy and held that position for four years, after which you became the first officer of the USS Lexington under Captain Heather Anderson.
Captain Anderson was injured in the Battle of Cardassia, so you were given a brevet promotion to captain while she recovered. The Lexington spent the next few months cleaning up pockets of Dominion resistance and when Captain Anderson recovered, you continued to serve as her first officer until you took command of this vessel.
Did I miss anything?”
Boswell chuckled and stood from his chair, looking out the window.
“Just one detail: Dad was a commander when he retired. Other than that, perfect. I would say I’m impressed but that’s exactly what I expected of you. I would hope that you put the same effort into serving as my first officer as you do researching my background.”
“Of course, Captain,” said Trevak, smiling tersely. “I wouldn’t have volunteered for this program if I didn’t want it to succeed. There are some of us who actually believe this peace between us can last, you know.”
“Likewise, Commander,” said Boswell as he rose from his chair. Standing behind his desk and addressing the Romulan was a position he would have to get used to quickly. “I admit, lower deck rumors say that not everyone on board is keen on serving under a Romulan, but I have no doubt that if you continue to serve as well as your service record indicates, those doubts should be put to rest.
Anyway, if you’ll excuse me, I will be in my quarters. You have the bridge. I suggest you take the time to acquaint yourself personally with the command crew. Reading their files can only do so much.”
As Boswell walked towards the door, Trevak turned in his chair.
“Before you go, Captain, I have something for you.”
“Yes, a Colonel Tokath sent it to me and requested I give it to you. He said he and you had a bet dating back to the Dominion War. Something about the Federation ambassador to Romulus and his wife…”
Boswell coughed loudly, cutting Trevak off.
“The specifics of the bet are between the colonel and I. I don’t quite recall what he owes me, though.”
“It’s Romulan ale, sir – vintage 2239,” said Trevak as he pulled the small bottle from his pocket.
“My God, he was actually able to get it!” said Boswell, distinctly shocked. “I remember now! Do you know how expensive that bottle is?”
“I’m quite aware, sir, but might I remind you that possession of Romulan ale will not be legal in Federation space until the treaty is officially signed, so I suggest keeping this safe for the time being.”
“Of course,” said Boswell, taking the bottle and placing it in his pocket. “My private stores should suffice.”
As his first officer turned and left the room, Boswell looked down at his desk with concern. Here he was, leaving the command of his ship – his first real command – in the hands of someone who, just one day ago, was an officer of the Romulan Star Navy. Not even his earlier words to Captain Jarvis could shake the thoughts from his head.
Sometimes the unpopular choice has to be made for the greater good.
He found himself wondering what the greater good in this scenario was. The Federation and the Romulans had fought side-by-side during the Dominion War, and yet only a short few years later, the two governments had found themselves nearly on the verge of war thanks to the actions of Praetor Shinzon. Four years after that incident, the Romulan government was still unstable and not even the uppermost echelons of the Federation knew for sure if the peace on Romulus would hold.
There were still many hardliners opposed to this peace that was now playing itself out on the Remington. Rumblings of division in the Romulan capital had made everyone involved in the exchange program nervous, and Boswell had no way of knowing what his new first officer would do if the divisions grew into something more. What if the Federation took one side and Trevak took another?
This is supposed to keep that scenario from ever happening, Richard.
These were the chains of commanding. Boswell knew that. He commanded a ship staffed by hundreds of people and the choices he made for each and every one of them weighed heavily on him just as much as they did on the people he commanded. There were risks involved in nearly every decision he made and this was, quite possibly, the biggest leap of faith he had made yet.
Trust is a very new concept for us.
It was for Boswell too.