Personal log, Stardate 52861.2: The war is over, the treaty has been signed allowing limited exploration in the Gamma Quadrant. Clearly, the Cardassians have taken the brunt of the casualties in this war, especially after the Founder had ordered the mass genocide of the Cardassians. Ironically, the founders would have taken the Cardassians with them in that regard: a rogue organization within the Federation intended on letting the founders suffer a holocaust unlike one that had ever occurred in galactic history.
One of the intricacies of the shapeshifters is that they live in a collective state. The “Great Link” is, as Constable Odo once described it, “A mixture of form and thought.” I feel that part of the reason the Founder stood down was the fact that Odo explained how Doctor Bashir not only risked his life to save him but, in a way, why he did it in a way that is beyond words. Now, Odo has returned home to try to teach the rest of the Link.
Captain Sisko has apparently become one with the Prophets of Bajor. He left behind a son, a wife, and a little one along the way. Although he really isn’t dead, his mission with Starfleet is over for now. The Bajorans have taken it as a sign to resume the process of becoming a member of the Federation. Membership talks have proceeded rapidly.
“Colonel,” Patrick said as he entered Kira’s office. “Just wanted to let you know we will be leaving for Cardassia with another dozen industrial replicators.”
“Give my regards to Garak for me,” Kira replied.
“I will,” Patrick replied. “I never understood why Garek was so pessimistic about Cardassia’s future. We not only survived our own devasting war, we’ve managed to thrive and make Earth a paradise.”
“I can understand that, Captain.”
Laura entered the Bajoran Temple aboard the station. A cleric approached her, “What can I do for you, my child.”
“I don’t know. I guess I’m just trying to find myself.”
“I see,” the Vedek replied as he grabbed her ear. “Your pagh is a very strong one. Perhaps some time with us could help you find what you seek.”
“Thank you, sir.”
Wildfire had spent the past month running supplies from Federation outposts to Cardassian worlds as part of the Federation’s assistance plan to rebuild the ravaged Cardassian territory. They had just finished a run to Cardassia when an interesting message came over the comm. “Captain,” Kristl stated, “We have an incoming message from Admiral Ross.”
The screen turned from a scrolling starfield to an image of Admiral Ross. “Captain, I need you to head for the Neutral zone to rendezvous with a Warbird. They will be transporting a passenger over to you. You are to take him to Earth.“
“Yes, sir, we’re on our way. Anna, set course for the Neutral zone and engage at Warp 9. I don’t want the Romulans waiting on us.”
“Do you have idea why Starfleet is diverting us?” Shandy asked.
“Not a clue.”
Patrick was walking along D.S. Nine‘s Promenade when Laura approached him. “Captain,”
“Hello, Laura. How are you?”
“I’m doing a little better.”
“I didn’t realize there was anything wrong.”
“I just have felt uneasy about myself. I’m just trying to find the reason I have been given these extrasensory abilities.”
“I see. Do you think you need some shore leave?”
“As a matter of fact, I would like to remain and converse with the cleric in the monastery here on D.S. Nine.”
“Granted. We’ll be back this way in five days. Think that’s enough time?”
“Stephanie, Laura will be staying at D.S. Nine for the duration. Will you take her spot at the helm.”
“Is there a problem that I should know about,”
“Just a little spiritual guidance, JP. Miss Taylor, seal the airlock, release docking clamps, aft thrusters to one-quarter.”
“Set course for Cardassia, Warp 9.”
“We’ve arrived at the coordinates specified, Captain,” Anna stated.
“Understood. Any signs of our courier?”
“Negative,” Kristl replied, “hang on, Romulan Warbird decloaking of the starbord bow.”
“Something tells me that’s it. Hail them, Maria.”
“This is Captain Amanda Stacey of the USS Wildfire. We are ready to accept your passenger at your discretion.”
“Wildfire, we can proceed with transport in three minutes.”
“Understood. Stacey out. Shandy, you have the bridge. I’ll be in the transporter room.
Amanda entered the transporter room and was surprised to find Neil already there. “I assume you’re here to check on our passenger.”
“The Romulans are signaling they are ready to transport,” the transporter operator stated.
“Energize.” The Transporter beamed to life, revealing a very familiar Vulcan. Amanda was astonished by who he was. “Welcome aboard Wildfire, Ambassador Spock.”
“Thank you, captain,” Spock replied. “I wish that the circumstances were different.”
“I don’t understand.”
“I have a old friend who is gravely ill. I wish to see him one last time.”
“I understand,” Neil replied. “The Ambassador checks out okay. I suggest that we set course for Earth without delay.”
“I have been endowed with the ability to sense things around me. I also have a telekinetic ability,” Laura stated to the cleric.
“You have been given a special gift,” the Cleric responded.
“That would be an understatement.”
“With abilities such as yours comes a responsibility to use them wisely. Using them improperly can lead you down a dark path. A journey of wonder and trial awaits you.”
Ottawa had been dispatched along the Cardassian Border on patrol, in case some stray Dominion fighters hadn’t gotten the message that the war was over. The ship was built as a long-range defense ship, so Jenna volunteered to do border patrol duty, knowing that if something did come up, she was confident her ship and crew could handle the situation.
“Not exactly what you expected when you volunteered for this mission, is it?” Bernie commented.
“No is isn’t,” Jenna replied to her first officer. “Then again, Starfleet designed this ship for this kind of duty.”
“Captain,” Sonya stated, “Something interesting on sensors. It’s a Federation shuttlecraft.
Patrick beamed down to the Cardassian headquarters where Garak greeted him. “Hello, Captain. Welcome to Cardassia, or what’s left of it.”
“I heard the Dominion had mad a mess of this planet. I believe we’re here to help you clean this mess up.”
“You are too kind. I don’t quite understand why the Federation is willing to help their enemy rebuild.”
“You did specified what you needed in terms of assistance, didn’t you?”
“Yes, but you haven’t answered my question.”
“In the mid 20th Century, in the shadow of Earth’s second World War, a wise man by the name of George Marshall indicated that the best way to promote stability was to assist the European countries devastated by the war by having the individual countries indicate what they plan to do with our assistance. What we are doing her is simply Marshall’s plan on a larger scale.”
“Still, if there’s anything I can do to help.”
“Well…. there is something. Do you still remember how to be a tailor.”
“Captain Scott, welcome aboard the USS Ottawa. It’s an honor and a privilege,” Jenna stated as a older, heavyset gentleman exited the shuttlecraft that had just been tractored into the Ottawa‘s bay. “I’m Captain Jenna Carson.”
“Tis my pleasure,” Scotty replied, “She looks to be a fine ship.”
“That she is. I have it on good authority, however, that Dr. McCoy has fallen ill. Would you like us to take you to Earth so that you can see him one last time.”
“Captain,” Kristl stated, “Incoming message from Ottawa.”
“I’ll take it in my ready room,” Amanda got out of her Captain’s chair and entered the ready room and turned on the holo-communicator. As Jenna’s image appeared in the communicator, Amanda started to speak. “Yes, Jenna, what can I do for you?”
“I hear that you have Ambassador Spock on board and that you are heading to Earth with him.“
“News apparently travels fast.”
“We seemed to have stumbled across Mr. Scott. Do you mind if we rendezvous at Earth?“
“So, what did you think of their performance.”
“I found it entertaining, but it seems to me that they were off in a couple of spots. I can also see why you want a good tailor taking care of those outfits. I wish that we had performers like that. The problem is that whenever Cardassian’s resources are low, people like me tend to take charge and somehow degrade our culture.”
“That’s part of the reasoning behind Marshall’s plan — to prevent a hostile regime like what you just described.”
Amanda slowly entered Admiral McCoy’s hospital room. “Admiral, there is an friend of yours to see you.”
McCoy’s eyes light up as he saw a familiar face, “Why, you green-blooded son of a bitch. I thought you would be out there making peace with the Romulans, or the Gorn, or someone like that.”
“Doctor, you are dying. The most logical place for me to be is by the side of my friend.”
“How thoughtful of you. Perhaps we can finally discuss your insights on death — wherever we find ourselves after we die.”
Amanda turned to Scotty, “Have they always been like that?”
“Aye, they have.”
“If there’s anything I can do for you, Ambassador, my ship is at your disposal.”
“I don’t think it would be wise to burden you any longer. You have done more than enough for me.”
“I’m just doing whatever I can. You know that Starfleet is spread thin. In fact, I had not intended to pursue command.”
“Curious, I would be interested to know why you became one.”
“Coming out of the academy, I had intended to pursue a two year tour of duty before enrolling in Dental school. I was about eighteen months into that tour when relations with the Klingons soured. I was asked to stay on. When the war with the Dominion started, I had been assigned to a fleet support vessel. Ellsworth took a lot of hits — with the other ships were spread too thin and our weapons were barely adequate at best. Captain Tolen needed extra line officers, so I volunteered to take the Bridge Officer’s exam. It sort of had some elements of the Kobayashi Maru in it.”
“I am familiar with the Bridge Officer examination. I had helped create that particular section many years ago.”
“Anyway, I passed the exam with flying colors. I was promoted and became the ship’s XO at the first opportunity.”
Patrick approached Laura as she walked across the promenade. “Hey Laura, how was your time off.”
“I learned quite a bit. However, I think it would be best if I talked with you in private.”
“Do you think you can meet me in my ready room in, say, two hours.”
“I think I can do that.”
Patrick was ready when the doorbell to the ready room rang. “Enter,” he replied.
“As I said, I wanted to talk to you in private. What I say to you is between the two of us.”
“Anyway, the clerics indicate that a journey of trial and wonder awaited me. They allowed me to experience the Orb of Prophecy. I’m not sure I could describe the experience, but I can say that there’s something out there that could be a threat to the peace. I remember seeing a pair of humans gathered peaceably with several Jem’Hadar solders. What I clearly remember was that the Jem’Hadar did not have feeding tubes attached to them.
Patrick brought up a picture on his computer console. “Does one of the humans look like this person?”
“As a matter of fact, one of them did.”
“This is Khan Noonien Singh. During the 20th Century, he terrorized much of earth. The Dominion brought him as a strategic advisor. He kind of separated himself from them, but they left him alone. I would be willing to bet that he would want to try to terrorize Earth again. I’ve had to deal with him twice already and wouldn’t be surprised if I had to confront him again. Why don’t I tell you about my little adventures with Khan Singh.”
“So, what’s going on down on Earth?” Shandy asked.
“Admiral McCoy is in critical, and Ambassador Spock is wanting to stay. Mr. Scott is keeping an eye on the two, Just in case their unique chemistry causes problems at Starfleet Medical.”
“And our next Assignment?”
“Explore strange new worlds, seek out whatever is out there, and deliver a case of class 7 soil reclaimators to the Cardassians.”
“In that case, we had better get going.”
Patrick exited the ready room onto the bridge. “Miss Baker,” he said, “seal the airlock, release docking clamps, aft thrusters to one-quarter.”
“Where are we off to now?” Jaimie asked.
“We got a good astrometrics lab, and a competent officer to run it, I thought we could do a little exploring of the badlands.”
“That sounds all right to me.”
“Kim, set course heading 128 mark 5 and engage at warp 5.”