Patrick was anxious as he stood in the middle of Quark's bar in his dress uniform, waiting for the ceremony to begin. As if on cue, Ensign Collins played the boson's whistle to call the people in attendance to attention as the door opened.
Bridget waived the traditional bridal dress, she was decked out in the whites of a standard Starfleet dress uniform. Anna and Roslyn accompanied the Bride to her groom - Bridget could not think of two women to serve as bridesmaids than her closet sister and Patrick's only sister.
"One of the most pleasant duties of a senior officer," Admiral Ross said to begin the wedding, "is the privilege of joining two people together in matrimony. Today, I have the honor of joining Bridget and Patrick in marriage. Many of the people in this room have been together as part of Captain Ingrum's squadron during the Dominion War. This crew has served together through good and bad. I believe, Captain, you have something to say."
"Thank you, sir. When I graduated from the Academy nearly eight years ago, no one could have told me I would move from computer technician on the Kitty Hawk to XO on the Hastings within three years, much less get the fourth pip a year later. With all that has happened to me within the last three years, however, nothing could possibly be a greater honor than earning the heart of the most beautiful woman in my world. I work with many women on the ship - very well, I might add - none of them have attracted me as Bridget has."
"Before I begin the exchange of vows," the Admiral stated. "I must ask that anyone who has any objections to these two joining together, let them speak now or forever hold their peace."
"I must object," Jaimie stated as she came forward, "to the bride being inappropriately attired. That dress uniform is out of order."
"I don't understand, ma'am."
"You're missing something from your collar," the XO explained as she approached the bride. "You don't have enough pips attached." Bridget quickly understood as Jaimie attached a black rank pip next to Bridget's two gold ones. "I thought this would be as good of time as any to do this: by order of Starfleet Command, you are hereby promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander."
"Thank you, ma'am," Bridget happily answered. "I guess if anyone else has anything to say at all, this is a good of time as any. Don't be shy."
"I think I speak for many here," Reinette spoke up, "when I say your family wishes the two of you well as you begin branching out your bloodlines." Many in the crowd nodded in agreement.
Without further comment, Admiral Ross continued. "Bridget, do you accept this man as your husband, to love and cherish him above all others until death separates you?"
"Patrick, do you accept this woman as your wife, to love and cherish her above all others until death separates you?"
"These Rings," the admiral continued, "are a symbol of your love for each other, and a promise to abide by your vows you've made today."
"With this ring, I thee wed," Patrick and Bridget spoke in unison as Bridget placed Patrick's ring on his right hand, and Patrick place Bridget's ring on her left hand.
"By the Power invested in my by the United Federation of Planets, I now pronounce you man and wife." The newlyweds wasted little time for the ceremonial kiss, as they passionately embraced each other immediately as Admiral Ross continued. "I now Present Captain Patrick and Lieutenant Commander Bridget Ingrum."
Personal log, Dr. Alan Murrow, Stardate 53517.2: I am beginning this personal file for the purpose of keeping personal observations of my life's work.
Despite the stigma behind Genetic Engineering, I have chosen to pursue this field much like Starfleet utilizes its starships: to explore what is possible. To that end, I feel I have done so to the best of my abilities.
I have explored the extensive genetic engineering utilized by the Dominion, and have found it to be fascinating, even after studying it for nearly three years. It is extremely extensive, but I have been able to resequence the Jem'Hadar DNA to the point where their visual acuity has been increased by another 5 percent - not to mention the fact that I have rendered the feeding tubes obsolete, as my current superior has desired.
I do not trust Khan that well, but I know that the longer I can be of use to him, the better. He is my best choice to allow me to continue my explorations in what humanity is capable of.
"Doctor," a Jem'Hadar first exclaimed, "we have noticed a change in pattern for the enemy.
"Let me see the report." Dr. Murrow had heard rumors that the 10th Squadron had pulled many of it ships from the front lines. The report seems to have confirmed the rumor, at least temporarily. "It could potentially be nothing," Murrow stated. "Keep an eye on it. If deployments do not resume to the normal pattern, notify the supreme leader immediately."
The doctor was glad when the soldier left. Murrow doubted that the squadron commander would let his guard down deliberately. There has to be something behind this, he thought.
"Leader," the First said as he entered Khan's office. "The Doctor felt you should see this."
"Captain Ingrum has reduced his presence in the region," Khan noted. "This presents an excellent opportunity. Prepare a ship immediately."
"So, do the two of you have any plans for a honeymoon?" Reinette asked
"Not really," Bridget replied. "Baldwin needs to resume monitoring patrols ASAP."
"Congratulations on your promotion, Commander."
"Hey, sweetie," Patrick said to his new bride as he entered the conversation.
"Hi," Bridget responded as Patrick kissed her cheek. "I understand that you got a promotion as well, Captain Hernandez."
"Any idea on where you're going next?"
"I'll probably be returning to the Briar Patch for another three months. From there I don't know."
"You'll have to come see us when you get off that assignment," Bridget answered, "By then, I'll probably have a tummy that looks like a blimp."
"That's right! I heard that you two were starting a family."
As the Newlyweds continued to talk with Reinette, Amanda approached Patrick's XO. "Commander," Amanda stated, "could I have a word with you?"
"Sure thing," Jaimie replied, "What seems to be your concern?"
Quark began serving Champaign glasses to one and all in attendance. "For a Human wedding," the Ferengi commented, "this isn't so bad."
"Nothing's bad as long as your pockets are lined with latinum," Patrick wittily answered. "Which glass is mine?" Quark handed Patrick a glass. "Thank you, Quark."
"What's so special about that glass?" Reinette asked.
"Personal license," Patrick answered. "I've never really gone well with any the taste of alcohol or synthahol beverages, so I asked Quark to set aside some sparkling grape juice for me. Besides, he could use it for a Earth New Year's day party."
Ensign Sh'lon was an Andorian recently assigned to the Baldwin crew. He had volunteered to monitor the Warroom while Sarah was attending the wedding. He didn't feel left out, as he didn't know the captain or the engineer that well. He observed what he felt was a discrepancy on the sensors. He noticed that the Larned was in the vicinity and opened a channel to her captain. "Captain Olmstead, this is Ensign Sh'lon of Baldwin. The sensor map here in the war room is detecting an anomaly near your position."
"Acknowledged, Mr. Sh'lon." Captain Olmstead answered. "Please send us the coordinates and we will investigate."
"We got them, and will take a look at this. Larned out."
"Helm," Captain Olmstead said, "Set course heading 227 mark 6 and engage at Warp 7."
"Sir, Larned is on an apparent intercept course."
"Understood, find the location of the Baldwin."
"The location of a different ship than we are about to face -"
"The Baldwin has upgraded mapping," Dr. Murrow replied. "They could potentially guess our position by having other ships collect data. Where is she?"
"She appears to be docked at the space station. It also appears many of the other ships at his disposal are these as well."
"What's so special," Khan asked, "that Captain Ingrum would recall his ships to the station."
"Second," Dr. Murrow instructed, "please open the following Starfleet frequency and transfer all data to my console."
"Why monitor an open Starfleet channel?"
"It's something I like to call FNS."
Once the channel to the Federation News Service was established, Dr. Murrow scanned through the the news. Nothing about deployments or special exercises, he noted to himself. He kept thumbing through the data until he name across a picture of Captain Ingrum, along with a familiar woman.
"I'd like to propose a toast," Amanda said. To Patrick and Bridget: may their lives together he filled with happiness."
"To Amanda," Patrick counter-toasted. "May she guide her ship through clear horizons."
"So, are you two going to cut this beautiful cake, or are you going to hang around the veggie platter for the whole party."
"All right, already." The newlyweds moved over to the cake and picked up the knife together and prepared to make the first cut.
After cutting the cake, Sara was the first in line, after the newlyweds. "Congratulations, Captain," she said to Patrick as she took her first bite.
"Thank you, Sara," Patrick answered. "Are you enjoying that cake?"
"Yes, sir," Sara stated. "So, do you have any more information on your baby?"
"I'm afraid I don't."
"Do you even know if you're going to have a boy or girl?"
"Do you still have that girl's name picked out?"
"He does," Bridget added as she joined the conversation, "but I don't even know what it is."
"I hope," Katia entered into the discussion, "whether it's a boy or girl, your child brings you many years of joy - not to mention an opportunity for the crew to spoil rotten."
"Thanks," Bridget answered.
"By the way," Katia asked, "I understand that you picked out your own name."
"That is correct. We were all only known by numbers."
"How impersonal!" Sara exclaimed.
"I was just curious as to what happed to the other five siblings?"
"I haven't got a clue."
"Patrick, Bridget," Reinette interrupted, "You're wanted in the middle of the dance floor."
"What for?" Patrick asked.
"You two didn't think we'd let you get away without dancing together, did you?"
"I guess not," Patrick answered as he led his bride to the center of the room. The lights were promptly dimmed as the music started playing. Patrick had selected a song from the late 20th Century called Drift off to Dream. The song tells the story of a man who is still searching for his lifelong companion, but has a sense of what to do once he finds her. "And you'll feel the passion as time after time, I press your sweet lips to mine," the refrain to the song stated as the newlyweds embraced each other again. "We can dance to the radio, right up 'till dawn, 'till you drift off to dream in my arms."
"That wasn't so bad now, was it?" Katy inquired as the newlyweds got off the dance floor.
"No, it wasn't. How have you been?"
"All right. Nimitz has been assisting with the rebuilding of Cardassia Prime. I've been trying to help out in any way I can."
"I figured that we needed a ship there full-time to keep an eye on the rebuilding of Cardassia after the carnage that occurred there."
"Captain," the helm officer said. "It appears the bogey has changed course."
"What's their heading?" Captain Olmstead asked.
"Heading 205 mark 6."
"Looks like they're returning to occupied territory. Return to our previous patrol course and drop to Warp 3."
"Also, relay all information back to D.S. Nine for analysis."
"Like I said," Dr. Murrow answered, "Captain Ingrum's squadron may be centered at D.S. Nine, he hasn't let his guard down. Starfleet is content on keeping us boxed in - if we turn away, they're not going to chase us down."
"But why would the captain commit the bulk of his forces to an already fortified area?" Khan inquired.
"It is for a social gathering," the doctor noted. "They're taking a break from patrolling, but they clearly have not dropped their diligence."
The door to Patrick's quarters opened as the newlywed duo prepared to enter. "Hold on, hon, we still got to do this right. Patrick place his right hand behind Bridget's knee and proceeded to carry his bride into their room and placed her on their bed. "So what's next for us."
"I suppose," Bridget replied, "all we have to do is help rebuild Cardassia, keep Khan at bay, avoid subspace disruptions, and prepare for our baby."
"I'm not quite sure which is going to be the hardest, but I suppose Admiral Ross or Jaimie will have made requisitions to reconfigure these quarters for two bedrooms."
"Bridge to Captain Ingrum," Laura interrupted over the intercom. "Jaimie asked me to have you meet her in sick bay ASAP, and to bring Mrs. Ingrum with you."
"We're on our way."
Patrick and Bridget promptly entered sickbay. "What's going on, Commander."
"I got something of a little wedding present for you."
"Hello," Neil stated as he entered sick bay from the doctor's office.
"I assume you talked with Captain Stacey to trade Doctors, but why did you make the request?"
"When I went to Starleet Medical, I had intended to pursue pediatric medicine."
"And since we're going to have a little one..."
"Everyone agreed that it would be appropriate for me to transfer to a ship where there will be children aboard."
"I guess that it's time for you to get settled in. Welcome aboard."
Personal log, Supplemental: Years ago, I was commissioned by the Cardassians to create a series of humans for the purpose of infiltrating the Federation. Although they were never used for the purpose of espionage, they were designed to be stronger, smarter, and able to integrate into society well. On these marks, they were a unqualified success. The youngest of these children has been allowed to serve in Starfleet, and has bonded with, and is married to, Captain Ingrum.
When I first created Bridget and her sisters, I did not want to be emotionally attached to them for fear of them turning on and killing me. Although it probably was a good idea at the time, it was a decision I now regret, for in the end, I did indeed become attached to them, as when the day is done, these seven women are my daughters, not just the scientific project that I wanted them to be.
The doorbell rang in Dr. Murrow's quarters. "Come in,"
"Doctor," Khan stated, "I am curious as to flaws in our strategy."
"If you want my advice, I'd be in a position to attack if you wish to gain territory. Captain Ingrum is not and will not engage you in an aggressive stance. With the losses in the Dominion War, I can't blame him."
"If the captain dares not make an aggressive stance, than I shall bring an aggressive stance to him. I intend to steal a large battleship and equip it with enough firepower that 10 ships could not withstand its might." Khan displayed a large cruiser of Dominion origin on a display. "One of these is in storage at Torros III. I intend to take it."
"Impressive," Murrow commented. "Though I fail to understand just exactly how you intend to acquire the vessel?"
"I have a special trap specifically laid out for Captain Ingrum."
Sarah approached Patrick as he was dining in the mess hall, "Captain, could I have a word with you?"
"Sure thing, lieutenant," Patrick said as he motioned for her to have a seat. "What's the situation?"
"Lieutenant Sh'lon was debriefing me on a observed bogey while on patrol. Captain Olmstead thought it to be a hostile, as it appeared to reverse course and went into territory held by Khan."
"I'd say," Bridget commented, "that someone had observed that the patrol had apparently been reduced, and attempted a sneak attack."
"I wonder what would happen if they found out why everyone was at D.S. Nine."
"I suppose he wouldn't be to happy," Bridget replied. "Dr. Murrow's greatest triumph, now in the arms of his greatest nemesis."
"On the other hand," Patrick noted, "It could cause him to rethink how he sees you. I'm sure we'll meet him again, one way or another, and find out for ourselves."