Captain's personal log, Stardate 54956.4. It's hard to believe that it's finally come around: Today is my daughter's first birthday. Tiana has been a highlight of this ship. She is getting around on her own pretty good now. Because she can walk, we've had to implement extra precautions.
"Ensign Jenkins informed me that she found Tiana in the hallway outside your quarters," Jamie noted during her morning briefing with Patrick.
"Bridget told me," Patrick replied. "That's the fourth time this week."
"Have you considered putting a forcefield across your front door."
"I've had to get the requisitions from 375," Patrick answered. "They're installing them in all of the senior officer's quarters as we speak. Thankfully, most of the wiring needed to set up the emitters was installed during our last refit. It's been a while since you came back from shore leave, and you've never told me about your trip."
"There was never much to say," Jaimie answered. "It was just me and Steve together on Risa."
"In other words, what happens on Risa stays on Risa," Patrick noted. "So, how long have you known Steve?"
"About six years," Jaimie answered. "He was a engineer on the Renegade while I was a junior security officer."
"I see," Patrick answered as the doorbell rang. "Come in."
"Sorry to interrupt," Stephanie stated as she entered the ready room, "Admiral Ross just delivered new orders, and I have the duty roster for you to sign for."
"Thanks, Stephanie," Patrick said as he received the datapad. "Looks like we have a significant outbreak of Andorian Flu on Salva II on our hands."
"Couldn't Nimitz handle that?" Jaimie asked.
"They're on their scheduled leave," Patrick replied. "My policy is not to recall a crew unless I absolutely have to. Besides, it's time to shake things up a bit. Baldwin can take this one. Assemble the crew for a briefing."
The crew briefing was fairly standard run down of what to expect. Because of the possibility of coming into contact with seriously ill civilians, Patrick mandated checkups and immunizations for everyone aboard — 96 crew members, and 1 child. Dr. Bratney indicated that his staff might be a bit tasked, but they would be able to have everyone done by the time the convoy arrived. Patrick noted that Donna and Stephanie have had medical training and suggested that they be temporally placed on duty in sick bay.
Patrick was resting in his quarters when his communicator chirped to signal an incoming message, "Captain, this is Dr. Bratney: I need to talk to you about something, face to face. Could you please come to sick bay?"
"I'll be right there," Patrick answered, quickly making his way from his quarters to sick bay. Upon arrival at sick bay, the doctor waved him into his office. "So, Doctor, what's going on? Do we have a critical medical issue."
"Actually, I wanted to let you know of a situation. I probably wouldn't have caught it if you hadn't ordered everyone to undergo checkups."
"Do we have a crew member with a contagious disease?"
"Thankfully, no. It turns out that Stephanie is 8 weeks pregnant."
Patrick took pause before replying. "Your kidding, right."
"I never joke about medical matters," the doctor answered. "She agreed to let me tell your about her situation. This mission should be of little danger to her or the fetus."
"In that case, I'll leave everything in your hands." Patrick exited the doctors office and ran into Stephanie.
"Captain!" Stephanie exclaimed, "I assume Doctor Bratney told you the news."
"He did. Once this mission is over, Bridget and I will take you over to Quark's, our treat. Do you know who the father is?"
"I've been in an relationship with Lieutenant Gibson over on 375. I hope you don't mind, but I'd like to tell him myself."
"Also, when are you planning on having a party,"
"With this round of flu going around, we may have to hold back on the birthday party. Once the dust settles, I'm definitely game."
Patrick sat down with Jamie in the dining room. "So, do you have any concerns about Stephanie?"
"Without question, this crew has not had any problems with Tiana's presence aboard Baldwin. If anything, having additional children aboard would be less of a hindrance, not more. Now, as for the current mission at hand?"
"We'll meet up with the Comfort at 0600. Based on what Sarah has available, we should be at Salva within 36 hours. According to Admiral Ross, the antiviral medication cannot be beamed, and we would lose more time trying to transfer the medicine aboard Baldwin."
"I'm sure you have Sarah trying to compile a quicker route."
"Of course. Now, I have to ask, have you ever considered having kids?"
"When I was aboard the Renegade, Steve and I thought about settling down and having a family one of these days. I just never could figure out when the right time would be."
"Don't worry about when. It's something you can't anticipate. Just remember this: when it does happen, I'll be there to offer anything I can. You've had my back as a friend and as my XO, I will definitely have yours."
"Doctor," indicated the head nurse, "the last set group of checkups have been completed. However, we're going to have to recall Commander Petrelli."
"What seems to be the problem?"
"Don't know, perhaps the station had a glitch."
"In other words, you're not sure if you got the right vitals from the XO. Sickbay to Commander Petrelli: I hate to bother you, however, we think your checkup readings were inaccurate. We need to get a second reading."
"Hopefully, this wasn't a problem with others," Jaimie commented.
"On my way."
"I'm sorry I had to call you back, Commander," Neil explained, "however, I want to make sure this checkup is accurate."
"Good. The last thing I want to do is court-martial you for malpractice."
The doctor smiled back. "Indeed, Commander," he replied before a console beeped to get his attention. "Let me double check one thing," he said as he took a medical tricorder and scanned Jaimie's abdominal area."
"Something wrong, Doctor."
"Based on these readings, it looks like Stephanie's got company."
"10 weeks," Neil stated. "I am noticing something unusual. It appears to be some sort of energy signature on your uterine wall. It's not a danger to you or your child; however, it's not something I would expect. I'll assume you've never been pregnant before."
"That is correct,"
"Have you had any issues with your menstrual cycle?"
"Aside from missing my last period, no, nothing out of the ordinary."
"Hmmm, it might be nothing, but I'll have plenty of time to check it out."
By the time Baldwin rendezvoused with the Comfort, scuttlebutt had spread about the two new members of the Baldwin family. Jaimie made sure that Patrick and Steve were the first to know. Everyone aboard offered the new mothers messages of congratulations.
During the morning, Jaimie and Stephanie talked with each other over breakfast, discussing their plans. Both indicated to each other that they would raise their children. They also knew that they had the captain's full support.
After Breakfast, the alpha shift began, and Jaimie reported to the bridge as the duty officer while Patrick was going over paperwork with Stephanie in the ready room. Everything was going smoothly until something was picked up on sensors.
"Commander, we have a incoming bogey bearing 3-2-5 mark 7."
"Do we have a visual?" Jaimie inquired
"No," Kristy answered, "they are just out of visual range."
"Open a channel," Jaimie replied. After the hailing frequencies were opened, Jaimie continued. "This is the USS Baldwin, please identify yourself." After a moment of silence, Jaimie repeated the request. "You are in Federation territory. You are required to identify or you will be boarded."
"Commander," Kristy exclaimed, "the bogey has turned to intercept the Comfort!"
"Red alert. Captain to the bridge."
"What seems to be the issue?" Patrick stated as he entered the bridge.
"We got a bogey that appears to be charging at the Comfort."
"Laura, move us into position between the bogey and Comfort. If they are looking into raiding a medical transport, they'll need to go through us."
As Laura began to move Baldwin into position, Kristy had a status update. "Captain, it looks like the bogey is withdrawing."
"In that case, stand down red alert. What's their course, and who's nearby?"
"Looks like they're heading into Effingham's patrol zone."
"Send a status message to Captain Hernandez, let them know of this little encounter. I'll be in my ready room working on the write-up."
After writing a quick summary of events, Patrick transmitted his report to Starfleet Command as well as to the Effingham. He followed the report with a call to his former XO.
"I just went over your report," Reinette stated. We've checked our long-range sensors — we are reading a ship on the edge of our sensor range. It appears to be running parallel to you. I'm sending our sensor data to you, I'm sure Sarah will find it useful."
"I have no doubt about it," Patrick commented.
"On a lighter note," Reinette continued, "how's Jaimie doing?"
"I take it you heard,"
"They haven't made a starship yet that can travel faster than the speed of scuttlebutt," Reinette answered.
"Jaimie was open to the idea of making Baldwin a family ship. Little did I know that she would be at the front of the line. Other than that, she's doing fine. I'll make sure that Sarah receives your data. I'll check in with you just after lunchtime. Ingrum out."
Patrick entered the astrometrics lab for his usual post-lunch meeting with Sarah. "What's the latest intel saying?" he inquired.
"I've analyzed the long range sensor data from Effingham, along with sensor arrays in our sector. It appears that the bogey we encountered this morning and the one Effingham is tracking are one and the same. They have managed to evade any ability to get a good visual."
"They must not have been able to afford a cloaking device," Patrick quipped. "We have to assume that they are tailing us, or Comfort."
"I've managed to get updated reading on the subspace currents in the area. At our current speed limit, I can get us there by 1600 tomorrow; however, the bogey may still be able to keep pace with us."
"Understood. I'll have to discuss strategy with Jaimie, especially if we have to go on a combat footing during a medical mission."
"Obviously, our top priority is the safe transport of the antiviral medication from Comfort to the surface of Salva," Patrick noted to Jaimie in his afternoon strategy discussion.
"Comfort's main cargo bay has an airlock for easier trans-loading. What if we alternated Neosho and Ninnescah and have them carry the medicine to the surface. The runabouts have much better firepower than Comfort, much less its shuttles. I'd also have a two-person team from Baldwin assigned to each of the runabouts."
"That sounds good, Jaimie. Advise engineering as appropriate."
"And, undoubtedly, I'll receive some advice from your wife while I'm at it," Jaimie quipped.
"That's between the two of you," Patrick noted, "however, while you're running the antiviral medication down to the surface, we may be forced to engage the bogey up here."
"1600 is shift change," Jaimie noted. "I'd suggest going to yellow alert an hour prior so that Beta Shift can get settled in. As for the runabouts, who do you think we should assign?"
"Are you up for piloting one of the runabouts."
"That shouldn't be a problem."
"In that case, I'll put you with Laura. For the second team, I think Sara and Stephanie can handle that. I'd send Donna down, however, I need her at tactical — and if you're on a runabout, she's the acting XO."
"That sounds agreeable to me. I'll let everybody know."
As Baldwin and Comfort approached the Salva System, the crew was well underway in preparing for the mission. Engineering had modified the runabouts to carry the antiviral medicine, as well as the support crew, to the surface. Astrometrics kept an eye on the 'bogey,' it had turned to intercept. Security ran intruder drills and assigned an officer to look after Tiana while Patrick and Bridget were busy in their respective duty stations.
"Captain, we are entering the Salva system." Kim indicated.
"Drop to impulse and initiate red alert. Ingrum to Astrometrircs: how are we looking."
"Long-range sensors indicate that the bogey is about 10 minutes off."
"We are in position to lauch the runabouts," Kim indicated.
"Very well. Ingrum to Neosho, are you ready?
"We are," Jaimie answered.
"Then you are go for launch."
"Roger," Jaimie replied, confirming the order.
"Bridge, this is Ninnescah," Sara added. "we're ready to lauch as soon as Neosho is clear."
"Understood." Patrick looked over to Kristy at the operations station.
"Ninnescah," Kristy picked up, "prepare to launch in 20 seconds." Kristy paused before beginning the final countdown. "Ten seconds... Nine... Eight... Seven... Six... Five... Four... Three... Two... One... Go."
As soon as Ninnescah cleared, Patrick continued with his orders. "Raise shields. Charge all phaser banks. Load photons in the tubes. Open hailing frequencies."
"Hailing frequencies are open," Donna answered.
"Unidentified vessel this is Captain Patrick Ingrum of the USS Baldwin. Please identify yourselves or we will be forced to take action."
There was no response from the bogey. However, the vessel continued to close in. "Captain, we have a visual."
"Let's see it."
The opposing ship was promptly placed on the viewer for the bridge crew to identify. "Damn warbug," Patrick commented. "Target engines and weapons. Full spread on the phasers. I want them alive."
The tactical officer agreed, firing repeated patterns across the warbug's nacelles and along the ship's main weapons array. Within minutes, the ship's engines had been disabled.
"Prepare a boarding team, and let's try not to get boarded ourselves."
"Dispatching security teams to critical areas, just in case," Donna noted.
The colony on Salva II was primitive. The main triage facility was converted from a stock barn. "Welcome to Salva," greeted a civilian doctor. "You must be Commander Petrelli. I'm Dr. Jason Fleming, lead doctor. I know our facility is being held together with wire and tape, but we've been able to make do."
"Is there a reason why you've had to make do?"
"This is mostly an agricultural colony," Dr. Fleming explained. "The main goal has been to maximize our output. Infrastructure was never a strong point of emphasis here. Needless to say, what infrastructure we had was wiped out by the Jem'Hadar."
"Have you had any troubles with criminals."
"I'm sure the usual bunch of riff-raff have been through here, petty crooks, maybe a member of the syndicate or two. However, they haven't committed any violent acts to my knowledge. We've mostly had the ill, and in my line of work, we treat our patients without prejudice."
Jaimie watched as the medical teams from the Comfort set up shop and began triaging the patients. Those who did not have the flu were set aside for inoculation, while those who were sick were placed in treatment. If there were any that were so severely ill that death was imminent, they would also be set aside. There were no patients on their deathbeds, but a patient who was not yet sick caught Jaimie's attention. He was a young human boy about four years old. "Hello there," she said to the boy. "What's your name, and where are your parents?"
"My name's Joshua," he replied. "I was brought here by a green man."
"Where's the green man now?"
"I ran away. He wasn't very nice."
"I see. Doctor, could I talk to you for a second."
"Sure," Jason answered.
"This little boy said he ran away from a 'green man' who brought him to this planet. I'm thinking he might have been a slave trade gone bad."
"This is a hospital, not an orphanage," Jason answered. "We need as much free space as possible, so if he's okay, I need him out of here as soon as possible.
Sara approached the doctor and Jaimie. "Is there a problem, Commander?"
"It's not a biggie. It's just that I have a little boy who may have come here as some sort of slave."
"If his mom or dad are sick, I think they would be glad to know their child was in the safe hands of a caring Starfleet officer — and if he were a slave, then we've freed him and can find a home for him. I won't object to taking him aboard Baldwin if that's what you want to do. If I heard the doctor correctly, he did say that he wanted the ones who weren't sick out of his hair."
As Neosho landed in Baldwin's shuttlebay, Patrick promptly greeted the party. "I see you brought a guest," he stated.
"Yes I did, his name is Joshua," Jamie replied.
"Hello, Joshua, my name is Patrick," Patrick said to calm the young boy. "I'm the captain, and Jaimie here is my first officer. She's going to take you to see the ship's doctor. He's good with kids, and he's going to give you a checkup and we'll see if we can find your parents. Is that okay?" Joshua nodded accordingly. "Jaimie, once he's comfortable with Dr. Bratney, I need to speak with you. Don't worry, I'll make sure she comes to get you when the doctor's done giving you a checkup."
Once Jaimie had taken Joshua to sickbay, she checked in with Patrick in the hallway outside. "I hope you're not mad at me for bringing him aboard."
"Absolutely not. I understand that legal cleared it. Besides, you'll get a little practice. I wanted to talk to you about our little adventure. The bogey was a warbug. We successfully boarded the ship and captured the crew. They aren't talking, but we've gone over their logs. It looks like they were hoping to take the medicine from Comfort and re-sell it. From what I could tell, their profit margin was over 100 bricks."
"In other words, well worth the risk of showing up in orbit and taking on a Federation starship, when they ought to know they would be be engaged on sight."
"Which also means we will need to provide security until the immediate crisis is over. Donna is working on dispatching security teams as we speak. We also have Effingham coming by to take our unwelcome guests off our hands."
"It goes to show you that someone's always willing to take advantage of a crisis. I had a mission on Renegade that ended like that."
"I'd love to hear that story right now, but I've got a security detail to help coordinate, and you have a young boy to watch over."
The rest of Patrick's evening went through smoothly, successfully managing deploying security teams to the planet below. Effingham confirmed they would meet Baldwin at 0600 the next morning to pick up the prisoners and the captured warbug.
Meanwhile, Joshua was given a clean bill of health by Dr. Bratney. He did find a tattoo on his left shoulder, giving credence to Jaimie's suspicion that he had been chattel. Jaimie asked Sarah in astrometrics to see if she could look up the tattoo and the associated number and check it against anything provided by Starfleet Intelligence.
After a productive evening, Patrick and Jaimie turned things over to the night shift and proceeded to sleep. At 0230, an alarm broke throughout the ship.
"What was that," Bridget indicated as she woke her husband up.
"Security Alert," Patrick quickly responded. "Ingrum to Bridge, what's going on?"
"There's been a power loss in the brig," answered the bridge officer. One of the prisoners was able to knock out the force field and subdue the guard."
"Which way is the prisoner heading?"
Before the bridge officer could continue, a second alarm went off. "Shots fired, he's in front of Commander Petrelli's quarters."
"Understood," Patrick answered, as he quickly pinned a combadge to his nightshirt and retrieved his personal sidearm from a secured case above the bed.
"Can't security take care of him?" Bridget inquired.
"Maybe, but I'm a lot closer," Patrick replied as he headed toward the front door. He was surprised when the door failed to open for him. A quick tap on the door indicated that the new force field had been deployed. It must have been automatically activated by the security alert, Patrick thought. I should thank the folks at 375 for thinking to do that.
Patrick quickly pressed his thumb on the panel to open the door, then, with phaser drawn, proceeded quickly to his XO's quarters. The security team had not yet arrived, and the suspect was firing his disruptor at the shielded door. "Drop it!" Patrick exclaimed. "Put your hands where I can see them."
"Starfleet's budget must really be tight when their security officers are literally wearing pajamas."
"Shut up," Patrick replied. "I'm not the security officer, I'm their boss. It just so happens that you woke me up."
After a few seconds, a turbolift opened, with three armed security guards ready to take over. "Put him back in the brig, and post an extra guard. I'll worry about interrogation in the morning."
"Good morning, Captain," Sarah stated. "How was your interrogation?"
"He's still not speaking, even after Sara advised him he was facing significant time in a Federation Prison."
"Maybe I can tell you what he's not saying," the lead astrometrics officer indicated. "I checked out that number that was on Joshua's tattoo. There's been plenty of chatter with that number. He was indeed a slave, and the syndicate has a higher than normal reward for him. The tattoo itself indicates that he was processed on Verex III."
"If I recall correctly, Verex is controlled by the syndicate. My guess is that they wanted to make sure we didn't find him first. Therefore, let's make sure the Syndicate think he's still on the planet."
Before Sarah could respond,a call came in on the ship's intercom. "Sickbay to the Captain: I think there's something you should know."
"On my way."
Patrick promptly entered sickbay to find Dr. Bratney, Jaimie, and Joshua already there. "Captain, I wanted to let you know we have identified Joshua's parents."
"Did they file a missing-child report?"
"Actually, we got a quick genetic 'hit.' Believe it or not, Commander Petrelli appears to be Joshua's biological mother."
"How is that possible."
"I don't know, but I have my suspicion. Have you ever heard of a fetal transplant."
"Of course. It was a revolution in medicine that made the debate over terminating a pregnancy obsolete. The doctor that successfully performed the first fetal transfer won two Nobel Prizes."
"Well, when I discovered that Jaimie was pregnant, I noticed an unusual energy signature. I wasn't sure what it was, but considering what we now know, I believe that syndicate somehow manged to steal Joshua from Jaimie in utero."
"Have you determined who his father is?"
"I asked the Doctor Bratney to check Joshua's DNA against Steve," Jaimie replied.
"The results came back positive."
"Well, Joshua," Patrick said to the young boy. "It looks like you found your family. We will make sure you are safe, and that the green man will never take you away." Patrick then turned to Jaimie. "According to Intel, the Syndicate has a bounty on Joshua. I think we know why. I never wanted to delve into your personal life, but I think at this point, I have no choice." Patrick proceeded to tap his combadge. "Ingrum to security. Please station two security officers outside sickbay. Issue rifles, but make sure that our young child knows they are there to protect him from the 'green men.'"
"Understood," Donna answered.
"Joshua," Patrick stated to Jaimie's son, "I need to talk to your mother about some important stuff. The doctor is going to remove the markings the green men put on you."
"If this helps, commander, I'd estimate the time of conception at approximately stardate 50620."
"Thank you, doctor," Jaimie replied.
As Patrick and Jaimie exited sickbay, Patrick started thinking aloud. "If the Syndicate did not want us to know about your son, we will likely be facing another warbug soon." Patrick began to formulate a plan of action against the syndicate.
Captain's Log, Stardate 54969.3: Comfort's mission was successful, and Effingham has taken over as her escort. Meanwhile, we have activated our cloak and remained in orbit around Salva II, assuming that the Orion Syndicate does not wish for us to know the truth about our latest passenger.
"Anything yet on sensors?" Patrick inquired.
"Negative," answered the operations officer before a beep indicated new information. "Hang on, we have contact. Bogey bearing 2-2-7 mark 15."
"Donna, any radio traffic?"
"Bring us just within visual range."
"Aye, captain," Laura responded.
After moving into position, the visual of the ship was brought on the main viewer. Like during the previous encounter, a 'warbug' had entered the system. "Arm the quantum torpedoes, drop the cloak, raise shields, and open a channel." As soon as the cloak had been dropped, the captain began his announcement. "Orion vessel, this is captain Patrick Ingrum of the USS Baldwin. We know everything."
"Captain, they have charged weapons," indicated the operations officer.
"If you should engage us, we will offer no quarter," Patrick warned.
Despite the warning, the warbug continued to charge at Baldwin. The first strike targeted the ships nacelles. "Shields at ninety-two percent," Donna noted.
"Don't say I didn't warn them. Fire at will." Baldwin laid a tactical firing pattern evenly across the bow of the warbug, causing the shields on the enemy vessel to drain evenly. The ship turned to make another pass. Although the warbug attempted to fire on Baldwin, Laura's decisive maneuvering allowed them to dodge much of the enemy fire. The same could not be said for the enemy vessel. Two passes of the ship with full phasers had drained much of the hostile vessel's shields. "Two QTs, target their engines," Patrick ordered in keeping with his promise to offer no quarter. The Quantum Torpedoes finished off the enemy vessel. "Donna, you have the bridge. Jaimie, go check on your son. Meanwhile, I have an after-action report to write."
Jaimie entered the ready room for her usual afternoon meeting with the captain. "So, how did your report go with Starfleet?"
"They were a little disappointed about me showing no quarter. However, they did recognize that the syndicate would have engaged Baldwin with the intent to destroy us in order to cover their tracks. As for Joshua — you are his natural mother."
"He trusts me to look after him, and he thinks highly of you. I've also taken him to see Bridget and Tiana. He did very well with your girl, and hopes to have one of his own."
"He could very well get his wish. There's a 50/50 chance after all."
"He knows that he could have a little brother, he should be fine with that, too."
"In that case, I'll have Sara get all the paperwork together, get a birth certificate filed and make everything legal. There is one little thing, however."
"What is that?"
"At some point, we will have to find out who separated Joshua from you. If a Starfleet doctor was working for the syndicate, they will be severely punished."
As a father, Patrick Ingrum would do anything he could to protect his daughter from harm. Even though Jaimie's son was clearly taken from her before she realized she could have been with child, the fact was, he was taken from his mother and processed into slavery. Somebody within the medical profession had to know this had happened, and that person would face the full force of the law. For now, however, Joshua Petrelli has been reunited with his mother, and that was all that matters.