Ch. 1 Posted on December 24, 2008.Hello Troops,
This is Chapter two of a story started on December 24th. If you haven't done so, please read Ch. 1 before reading Ch. 2.
December 22, 2321
McAuliffe Station, Earth Orbit.
Commander Williamson entrusted the briefing of the cadets to his instructors. They parted company on Deck 12 of the McAuliffe Station.
“Brief the Cadets and put them to bed. I’m going to the Command Level to get more information. Meet me in my room when you are finished here. By the way, it’s OK for the cadets to place calls home if they can get through.” Williamson said to his staff as they exited the lift. They turned right and walked briskly away nodding to say they heard and understood. The turbolift doors quietly closed leaving Williamson alone with his thoughts and the humming of the lift as it sped along through the shafts of the Station. Williamson wondered how chaotic it was going to be on the Command Deck.
The turbo lift doors opened revealing a busy room. The atmosphere was tense as Officers scurried about. It was obvious that everyone was caught off guard by the attack on Farpoint Station. You could tell from the comments heard in passing that more attacks were expected, it was only a question of when and where. Out of the corner of his eye Williamson saw the new Command Officers of the Starship Voyager, a ship assigned to the McAuliffe Station to assist with the training of new midshipmen from the Command Academy. The tallest of the three was Commander Alex DeBirk, recently transferred to the Voyager from the USS Francis Scott Key. Next to him was Captain Brady Young and furthest away was Lt. Commander Bradyn Lystrup.
Against another wall he found a group of very familiar faces. They were the command officers of the Station's other training ships: Megan Warner of the Phoenix, Stacy Carroll of the Galileo, and Emily Perry of the Odyssey. It looked like everyone had the same idea. If you want news go to the source.
Wiliamson suddenly realized he was blocking the entrance to the turbolift. An officer nearly knocked him off his feet as she rushed to catch the lift before the doors closed.
"Excuse me," the yeoman said as she entered the compartment and turned around. She glanced up giving an embarrassed look for nearly knocking him over - then she looked down to her feet. She mumbled something to the computer. The doors slid shut and the sound of the moving car rapidly faded into the hum of a busy Command Deck. A moment later Williamson recognized who she was - Admiral Schuler’s Assistant. If she was here then so was the Admiral.
Williamson stepped back from the lift entrance and attached himself to the wall. Best to stay out of the way for a moment and listen. He would ask questions once he found someone he knew would take a minute to answer them.
"Where can we find the Station Commander?" Williamson overheard DeBirk ask the science officer.
"We have orders from the Commander to report to a briefing,” Captain Brady Young said giving a purpose for their presence.
"He is in his ready room with the Admiral. You can wait here. By the way, Admiral Schuler is in a real state. Many of the Inland Defense Ships are on maneuvers with the Centaurus. They are several hours away at max warp. We are orbiting with our pants down. The Training Ships are pretty much it at the moment. I expect that's why you are all up here. Watch out, here they come."
The door to the Commander’s Ready Room parted and out came Admiral William Schuler followed by Admiral Meredith - Commander of the McAuliffe Station. Williamson wondered what the legendary Admiral Schuler was doing on the station at this time of night. The only explanation was the Station Christmas Party.
The appearance of Admiral William Schuler was enough to make the hair on a captain's neck stand at full attention. The Admirals walked toward Williamson. Suddenly Schuler stopped and planted himself toe to toe with Captain Brady Young of the Voyager. Brady stood at attention staring through the Admiral. Debirk and Lystrup were also at attention thinking how glad they were that Brady was standing in front of them.
“Are those Captain’s Pips?” the Admiral asked with a sound of complete disbelief. “Who are You?" he continued in his loud booming voice hardly giving Brady time to answer either question. Brady was wondering what was louder, the beating of his heart or the Admiral’s agitated voice.
"Captain Brady Young just appointed captain of the USS Voyager Sir!"
was Brady's shaky reply.
"The Voyager, You?............You?! How old are you? I'm expected to provide some kind of Earth defense with training ships under the command of children? What is going on?" The Admiral raged. Brady wanted to defend his record but was smart enough to realize the Admiral wasn't asking a question but making a statement.
"Sir," came a reply from behind Brady. It was the voice of Alex Debirk. Brady thought he was either very stupid or very ........very.......no, just plain stupid.
"You have something to say to me?!" Admiral Schuler said as he moved toward Debirk like a cat about to bounce on its prey.
"Captain Young is a decorated war hero from the Borg war. Why he alone was responsible for saving the USS......."
Admiral Schuler didn't let him finish his sentence. Instead he let loose a stream of profanity that slowly turned the color of the bridge's atmosphere from clear to a faint green, not to mention a slightly acidic smell. Williamson noticed the turbo lift open during the "attitude readjustment". Two junior officers stepped out, saw what was happening, and immediately did what everyone else wished they could do - disappear. They turned and shuffled back into the lift praying the doors would slide together quickly.
Brady didn't know someone could swear as artfully as the Admiral.
The words seemed so well chosen and fitted together like an expensive crossword puzzle. The Admiral was a master of communication. His reputation was well earned. Brady waited for the right moment to tell Alex to shut up and leave it alone. He couldn’t do it while the Admiral was spewing at full gale. He waiting for an opportunity. Suddenly the Admiral’s attention was diverted to a new piece of news coming in from Command. The Admiral turned his back to them. Brady’s saw his chance. He didn't want to get caught breaking attention so he had to act quickly. He turned his head and gave Alex the look.
Alex’s eyes returned Brady’s gaze and confessed his mistake. He should have kept his mouth shut. He was learning a hard lesson. Brady noticed moisture droplets covering Alex’s face. It was spittle spewed from the Admiral's mouth. Not only did he get to hear the Admiral's dressing down but he got to bathe in it as well.
The Admiral turned back to his wounded prey. He drew in enough air to arm both lungs and prepared to continue his description of Alex’s genealogy when the ship's intercom sounded. The Admiral was being ordered to report immediately to Starfleet Command. He stopped in mid sentence.
“Good luck,” he said to Admiral Meredith. He snorted at Brady and half marched half walked to the turbolift. Shuler nodded toward Williamson as he passed. Williamson prayed he blended artfully into the wall. No one on the Command Deck moved until the lift doors closed.
Alex leaned back on the wall for support while wiping his face with the sleeve of his uniform. Admiral Meredith motioned for everyone to follow him into his Ready Room.
"We have problems," Williamson throught as he crossed the room. His cadets and the training ships may need to step up to the plate. The Command Training Academy's simulations would be put to the test.