First Officer's log, Stardate 53979.8: We are on the final leg of a survey mission in Cardassian space. Years of military control of Cardassian society, along with the Dominion's takeover of Cardassia during the war, have rendered much of Cardassian space essentially unexplored.
There has been a personnel change: Our chief engineer, Lt. Cmdr. Bridget Ingrum, is nearly due. She has recently begun her maternity leave. Her lead assistant, Lieutenant Sonara, is now acting chief engineer.
“Captain on the bridge!” Jaimie exclaimed as Patrick exited the turbolift.
“As you were,” Patrick answered. “How's it going,”
“We're just taking a peak at the Koselot system,” Jaimie answered. “It's a G-type star with 2 M-Class planets. We'll be here several hours to check things out.”
“Sarah can have as much time as she needs,” Patrick answered. “Three whole months without having to worry about tactical situations is a good change of pace.”
“How's Bridget doing?”
“She's a little warm. Dr. Bratney is saying that's not unusual late in pregnancy. He's saying that Bridget could pop open any day now.”
“Captain,” Donna stated. “There's an incoming transmission coming in from Admiral Ross.”
“I'll take it in the ready room,” Patrick answered.
As Patrick entered the ready room, he pressed a button to bring Admiral Ross's image on the holo-communicator. “What can I do for you, sir?”
“I need you to report to Deep Space Nine for a special debriefing regarding the Khan situation.
“Yes, sir,” Patrick answered. “I will be on my way in 20 minutes. Hopefully, there won't be any warbugs ready to crash my runabout.” Although Patrick was prepared for this debriefing and that he was sure there wasn't going to be any funny business, he was still concerned, this time about his wife. He was on ‘baby watch,’ awaiting for the arrival of his first child. He didn't want to miss the special moment, but orders are orders, especially when they could potentially affect his baby's future.
“Is there anything wrong, Captain,” Ross asked.
“I'm just anxiously awaiting my daughter's debut. I'll be there. Ingrum out.” He promptly disengaged the holo-communicator and activated the intercom. “Ingrum to Lieutenant Taylor: Stephanie, please meet me at the Neosho.”
“On my way. I'll wait for you to kiss your wife good-bye”
“Thanks, Stephanie,” Patrick said as he walked out of the ready room. “Number One, the ship is yours. Prepare Neosho for departure.”
“Aye, Sir.” Jaimie answered as Patrick entered the turbolift.
“Hey, sweetie,” Bridget said as Patrick walked in their quarters.
“Hi,” Patrick said as he kissed her. “I'm sorry to have to do this, but I've been ordered to D.S. Nine for a debrief.”
“You mean the one about what Starfleet is going to do about my father?”
“That's the one,” Patrick answered.
“I understand,” Mrs. Ingrum said. “I'll try not to give birth before Baldwin meets up with you.”
“That's what I like about you,” Patrick said. “You understand me all to well.”
“How'd it go with Bridget?” Stephanie asked as Patrick boarded the runabout.
“She understands. I don't like it. I'm sure she doesn't, but I don't have a choice. Baldwin, Neosho, we're ready for departure.”
“Understood, Neosho, we'll see you in 5 days,” Jaimie replied.
“As soon as we're clear of Baldwin, set course for D.S. Nine, best possible speed.”
“Aye, sir,” Stephanie replied as she prepared to bring the runabout to warp. As soon as the vessel was under warp power, she set the autopilot and attempted to converse with the captain. “So, how is she.”
“Very pregnant,” Patrick dryly replied before becoming more serious. “The best guess of the due date is about a week from now.”
“Right now, it sounds like you're more worried about it than Bridget.”
“I knew this meeting was going to happen. I was just hoping that it would have been two weeks earlier or two weeks later, that way I'm not worried about missing Bridget when she gives birth.”
“I'm sure your daughter will forgive you. I can tell your wife understands.”
“Still, I want to get this over with and get back home as soon as I can.”
After 8 hours in the runabout, Stephanie and Patrick exited off of Deep Space Nine's airlock. They were greeted by the station commander, Colonel Kira. “Welcome aboard, Captain.”
“Thank you, Colonel.”
“I've arranged temporary quarters for you in the habitat ring. Your meeting will be at 0900 tomorrow. Until them, feel free to enjoy the facilities on the promenade. I'm sure Quark will be happy to see you.”
“I would like to get a hold of my wife.”
“That's right, she's due any day now.”
“The doctor says she's within a week of delivery.”
As soon as Patrick walked into his guest quarters, he immediately headed for the computer terminal. He keyed the computer his request to reach his ship, and his wife in particular. “Hi honey,” Patrick said as Bridget's face appeared on the screen.
“How was your trip.”
“Fairly smooth. How are you.”
“Still on baby watch. I talked to Jaimie, she wanted me to tell you that there's been a bit of a delay. We found a variance in the warp currents around the Koselot system, and everyone agreed to give Sarah extra time so that she can chart it.”
“How much of a delay will this be?”
“About a day or two.”
“All right. If you start having frequent contractions – ”
“I know, I should get over to sickbay, and the Doctor will let you know somehow.”
“Good morning,” Patrick said to the delegation of Starfleet Brass. “Just to explain the story, I'll start by explaining how Khan got here. On Stardate 51133.9, a Dominion warbug traveled back in time to the moments before the Genesis explosion. They brought Khan forward in time another 91 years, with the intention of offering him power in exchange for his help. As his influence with the Dominion shrank, he took what he knew about his allies and went into hiding, waiting to see how the war turned out. Since then, he has claimed an area of space along the pre-war Cardassian-Federation border. He also found himself enough materials to build a small fleet of ships.”
“How many ships are we talking?” a four-star asked of Patrick.
“As I understand the situation, he currently has 60 warbugs after attrition. He has production at about 3 a month currently. His current intent is to probe our weaknesses and do his best to exploit them.”
“What do you propose we do about him at this time?” the Admiral replied.
“At this time, I would use several Defiant class ships for additional intelligence gathering, also maintain security of our monitoring posts near his territory. Another security breach could be disastrous. Any more questions before I continue?” With no further questions, Patrick continued his speech. “I also believe that with the your approval, we could utilized a resource that it within Khan's organization. Patrick pulled up a profile of his father-in-law. “Dr. Alan P. Murrow, best described as the ’mad scientist’ type. He was hired by the Cardassians to produce – from scratch – a new set of Augments, intended for infiltration of the Federation. He considered it to be sort of a challenge. Khan currently utilizes his expertise to create his own special breed of Jem'Hadar.” Another four-star raised his hand. “Yes, sir.”
“Admiral Dillon, I'm based out of Starbase 42. You mentioned that he produced a set of augments. Was he successful and, if so, where are they?”
“Indeed, the doctor was successful in creating a total of 7 augments. The second-youngest, Roslyn, is on the Hainan as the chief engineer. The youngest, Bridget, is aboard the Baldwin...”
Thinking of his wife brought to mind the fact that their baby was due soon, and was still worried that he might miss her arrival. Admrial Dillon noticed the sudden display of emotion. “Captain, what about Bridget?”
“Sorry, sir. Bridget is my wife, and is 9 months pregnant with our first child, a girl.”
“I see,” Admiral Dillon replied. “What can you tell me about Mrs. Ingrum?.”
“I'm not sure I understand, sir. I'm a starship captain, not a psychologist. Besides, I'm too close to her to give an objective opinion.”
“I understand, but you still bring a unique perspective into this situation. I want to know what you think of Bridget as a person.”
With that in mind, Patrick endeavored to answer the Admiral's question. “Bridget is the most beautiful woman I've ever known. She has always been kind person. She is mindful of her enhanced abilities. She has a personal mantra: ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’ She holds the rank of Lieutenant Commander, and it's clear that Starfleet considers Bridget to be an asset.”
“In other words,” Dillon said, “she's is not really an aggressive or arrogant toward you on anyone else.”
“That is correct.”
“I assume that you believe that Dr. Murrow could be a useful agent for Starfleet.”
“Yes, sir. When I was captured by Khan during when he stole the Dreadnought from Torros III, Dr. Murrow expressed a loyalty to what he had realized were his children.”
“I take it that means, by extension, you as well?” Admiral Dillon asked.
Admiral Ross interrupted the conversation. “I think we should take a ten minute break, after which we will move on to security protocols for our intelligence drones.”
After the participants left the wardroom, Patrick moved toward the replicator. “Ice Water,” Patrick ordered.
As he took a sip from his glass, Admirals Dillon and Ross approached the captain. Admiral Dillon spoke up first. “I was talking with Admiral Ross. He mention that he believed you were a fairly good judge of character.”
“If you say so, sir.”
“What does Dr. Murrow want in exchange for his agreeing to act as an agent for Starfleet.”
“I haven't talked to him since the Dreadnought incident; however, I believe he would ask for immunity for his past ‘mad scientist’ genetic research, and a personal request to see lots of pictures of his granddaughter.”
“The pictures are your call,” Admiral Dillon commented, “but if you think that giving him immunity is a good thing, I'm sure that it will carry some weight with JAG. I understand you have worked with Admiral Bennett on a couple of times.”
“I think you've done a good job explaining the situation,” Admiral Ross noted, “and I understand you have recommendations for increased security of the intelligence drones.”
“Computers were my main specialty coming out of the academy. Just because I've turned to command doesn't mean I keep up on the technology side of things.”
“How did today go?” Stephanie asked.
“Very good,” Patrick answered. “I think the Admiralty understands what we have going here, and is willing to go with my ideas. We had someone in from Daystrom to talk network security. I found it very intriguing what they have come up with – and I was in the computer field when I signed on.”
“That's good,” Stephanie said. “I just talked with Baldwin – no baby yet. However, I did not on the arrival sheet that Wildfire was due to port tomorrow. They'll be here for about a week.”
Patrick quickly moved toward the computer terminal and proceeded to contact Wildfire. “Hey,” Amanda said as she appeared on the viewscreen.
“I understand you'll be here at D.S. Nine tomorrow.”
“That's right. We needed a little R&R time. Also, Anna and I were hoping that we could see the little one.”
“Bridget's not due until the end of the week, so you'll have to cross your fingers. However, I was wondering if you would like to do lunch tomorrow.”
“Absolutely,” Amanda answered. “We'll see you there. Wildfire out.”
Patrick entered Quark's and quickly found his sister. “Hey, there,” Patrick said as he kissed Anna on the cheek.
“Hi, Patrick,” Anna replied. “You look good for someone who is on baby watch.”
“Don't remind me,” Patrick answered. “What has Wildfire been up to?”
“We've been split between Cardassian support runs and patrols near the Red Zone.”
“I've been working at getting the explorer ships off of patrol duty,” Patrick commented. “I've noticed that the Cardassian space need to be re-mapped and explored.”
“That would be a nice change,” Amanda answered.
Quark approached the group. “So, what can I get for you?”
The three ordered their food. Quark went over to the replicator terminal to enter the order and filled their glasses with the appropriate drinks. As Patrick, Amanda, and Anna ate their lunch, they discussed about Bridget, his daughter, and what challenges and duties Starfleet would have in store for them. As they were ready to leave, Admiral Dillon approached them. “Admiral,” Patrick said.
“Captain,” the admiral said. “how are you?”
“All right, considering that my wife is several light-years away. Anyway, this is my friend, Amanda Stacey, captain of USS Wildfire, and my sister Anna, alpha-shift flight controller and Wildfire's second officer.
“Your name sounds familiar,” Admiral Dillon noted.
“Yes, I was a pilot out of Starbase 42 for a while.”
“Any news about your wife and daughter?”
“I talked to Admiral Ross. If you hear that she is ready to go into labor, I don't want you distracted, your family is important. I'll cover for you.”
“Thank you, sir.”
Several days passed, with Patrick giving and listening to talks about various issues in the region of space around DS9, and also the latest on the Pathfinder project. Patrick made notes on things that could possibly apply Pathfinder to general use.
Meanwhile, back aboard Baldwin, Bridget was still ready to give birth. Contractions began slowly at first. Nevertheless, Dr. Bratney wanted to see her every day.
The conference was over after the fifth day, Patrick made it through the meeting, and was ready for the Baldwin to pick him up. However, his ship did not arrive at D.S. Nine as scheduled. Patrick was startled when the doorbell rang as he was packing. “Come in,” Patrick said.
“I'm sorry to bother you,” Colonel Kira replied, “but we have a report that Baldwin is having troubles with their warp engines and will be needing some assistance. Also, Jaimie asked me to relay to you that your wife is dilated to 4 cm.”
“Who are you sending to assist?”
“Captain Stacey has already volunteered.”
“I figured. Let Amanda know that I will be there in 10 minutes. If Bridget is dilated to 4, that means the contractions will start to pick up real soon.”
“I will let her know.”
“Permission to come aboard,” Patrick requested excitably as he approached Wildfire's airlock.
“Permission granted,” Amanda answered. “I take it you got the news about Baldwin.”
“Yeah,” Patrick answered as the two entered a turbolift.
“Bridge,” Amanda instructed the turbolift.
“Captain on the Bridge,” Shandy exclaimed as Amanda and Patrick exited the turbolift onto the bridge.
“Status,” Amanda replied.
“All stations ready for departure.”
“Very good. Seal the airlock and release docking clamps.”
“Docking clamps released,” Anna replied. “Taking aft thrusters to one-quarter.”
“Set course for Baldwin, best possible speed.”
“Course laid in.”
Amanda and Patrick looked at each other for a minute before replying in unison. “Make it so!” they exclaimed.
Wildfire continued forward until it was clear of the station, then turned slowly in the direction of Cardassian space before engaging warp engines.
As the graceful ship proceeded through space, Patrick sat on the bridge and started singing to pass the time. The first song was a song from the late 20th Century. “They say that the road ain't no place to start a family,” Patrick began singing. “Right down the line It's been you and me, and lovin’ a music man ain't always what it's supposed to be. Oh girl, you stand by me. I'm forever yours,faithfully.”
“You always had such a good voice,” Anna noted. “Judging by your song selection, you really miss Bridget, don't you?”
“Anna, you, out of all the girls I know, know me better than anyone. I'm not going to deny it.”
“There are a few thing that I think that Bridget knows about you, but that's something I don't want to know.”
“Don't even begin to go there,” Patrick retorted. “Kristl, how long until we reach Baldwin?”
“About 2 hours.”
In response, Amanda decided to come up with a way to pass the time. “Computer,” she stated, “Select a set of songs from the music library from the 20th Century. Let's start it with the song Captain Ingrum was just singing.”
“Please identify title and artist for your initial selection,” the computer responded.
“The song is titled ’Faithfully’ by Journey, from 1983,” Patrick finished. As soon as Patrick identified the song, the sound of the piano filled the bridge as the song began.
“Commander,” Donna noted , “there's a ship approaching. It's Wildfire.”
“Open a channel.”
“Hey,” Amanda said as she appeared on the viewscreen. “I understand that you're having problems with your warp drive.”
“Unfortunately, I think we're going to need a tow. It appears that the dilithium crystals gave out. Also, if Patrick is over there, Bridget is in sick bay.”
“He's aboard. Right now, he's with Anna. She said she wanted to show him something in her quarters.”
Anna entered her quarters, with Patrick close behind her. “I have something here for you. Actually, it's for Tiana.” Anna went into her closet and pulled out a box.
“You still had this after all this time,” Patrick said as he removed the cover. In side was an doll with a short red bob hairstyle in a transparent aluminum case. “Sis, mom passed this down to you. Are you sure you don't want to give it to your own children?”
“Patrick, do you see me having children anytime soon?” Anna responded rhetorically. “Now, get over there where you need to be.”
“Hang on, Aunt Anna, you're coming with me.”
After dropping off Anna's present in his quarters, Patrick walked into sickbay with his sister in tow. Bridget was laying on a bio-bed with Dr. Bratney looking over her. “Don't worry,” Bridget replied, “You made it in time, the baby isn't here yet.”
“It will still be a little while,” Neil replied, “She's only dilated to 5. My best guess right now is that this baby will come this evening. I can let you know if her water breaks.”
“Please do,” Patrick replied.
Patrick entered main engineering to meet with the acting chief engineer. “Lieutenant,” Patrick noted, “what happened?”
“The dilithium crystals were showing signs of decrystallization,” Sonara replied. “I proceeded to begin recrystallization, but the compositor failed.”
Patrick inspected the articulation frame. The dilithium crystals were deeply fractured. “The crystals are in very poor shape. They had not been replaced since the Baldwin was brought back into service. Looks like these gave out a little sooner than expected.”
“How is your spouse?” Sonara inquired.
“The baby is coming any time now,” Patrick answered. “In any case, we are going to need a tow back to starbase for new crystals.” After his reply, Patrick exited Main Engineering to head back to his quarters.
As soon as he entered his quarters, Patrick bolted for the sonic shower. Patrick used the shower as a relaxation tool on occasion, and waiting for his wife to go into labor was one of those times. While in the shower, Patrick began singing “Faithfully” again. After exiting the shower and putting on a fresh uniform, Patrick grabbed a PADD and started reading on genetic engineering. Patrick was deep into his reading, and failed to noticed the passage of time by the time the doorbell rang.
“Come,” Patrick said as he put his PADD down.
“Hey Patrick,” Anna said as he entered her brother's quarters. “Are you doing a little deep reading?”
“I figured. Care to join us in the mess hall for dinner?”
Patrick finally noticed the time, and that he was hungry. “I'm with you,” he answered.
Anna and Patrick entered the mess hall and gave the replicator their order. They said down at the table along with Amanda and several members of Baldwin's bridge staff. “Hello,” Patrick said as he sat down.
“How have you been?” Sara inquired.
“Okay,” Patrick answered.
“He's anxious,” Donna noted.
“Wouldn't you be if you were going to be a parent for the first time,” the captain retorted.
The crew at the table sat and talked about what had been going on for the past week aboard the Baldwin. Sara Jackson had finished a draft set of operating rules for the cloaking device, while Sara Allison was busy mapping subspace currents and compiling data on the systems in Cardassian space. Tactical was quiet, so Donna had been helping out in astrometrics, as well as in sick bay. Jaimie reported that there wasn't any signs of trouble before the dilithium crystals gave out, but all the same, she felt that it was great that Anna would be around to see her new niece. Jaimie and Laura were talking about their relationships, but both admitted that they weren't quite ready to be mothers.
“To paraphrase Kahless,” Patrick answered in response to Jaimie and Laura, “good parents do not seek children, we have children thrust upon us.”
Before anyone could respond, the chirp of the intercom interrupted them. “Sick Bay to the Captain,” Dr. Bratney stated.
“Go ahead,” Patrick answered.
“Bridget's water just broke.”
“I just got finished with Dinner. I'll be right there,” Patrick replied. “Anna,”
“I wouldn't miss it for the world,” Anna replied as she followed him to sickbay.
The labor process proceeded slowly. The contractions finally ended, and the mother was fully dilated, by 2000 hours. Patrick sat patiently by the bio-bed, holding the hands of the two most important women in his life, at least for now. Bridget felt the baby start to enter the birth canal. Patrick could tell that labor was draining his wife physically; however, between the pains of the contractions, Bridget remained upbeat about becoming a new mother. Bridget's body was ready to deliver the child it was carrying for the past 9 months.
Donna entered sickbay to see the captain, “How's she doing, sir?”
“As I understand it, she's ready,” Patrick said as Bridget moaned to indicate another contraction. “It's been slow and steady.”
“Donna, since you have some medical training, could you stand by to assist me. I don't want to be caught by a shift change.”
“Sure thing,” Donna answered.
As time passed on, the baby slowly exited her mother's body. Both Donna and the doctor alternated watching over Bridget as she continued pushing the baby out. It was Donna who had observed the final stages of the Labor. “Doctor, here she comes!” she exclaimed to Dr. Bratney.
“Get in position to catch the baby.”
Patrick, Anna, Donna, and Neil hovered over Bridget. By this time, she was clearly exhausted, but still in good spirits. Within a few minutes, the baby arrived into Donna's arms. Donna quickly but carefully handed the newborn baby over to the doctor, who proceeded to induce breathing. Relief filled the room along with the sound of the baby's cry.
“Call it, 0200 on the mark,” Neil noted as he cleaned the crying child, took her weight and length, and handed her back to Bridget. She had removed her top to prepare to feed Tiana for the first time. “It's a girl, 3 kilograms, 40 centimeters.”
“She's beautiful,” Anna commented as the new father and aunt watched the little one suckle on her mother's breast.
Captain's log: I have fought in battle for two years against the Dominion. I've been captured twice by Khan. I've endeavored to bring relief to a desolated Cardassia. However, there is no mission more important than the one I now undertake. I am now a father for the first time, and now formally welcome the newest addition to my family, and to USS Baldwin: Tiana Allison Ingrum, born at 0200 on May 9, 2377, Stardate 54000.