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New Old Faces

Posted on Jun 17, 2019 @ 5:11pm by Commander Jacob Crichton
Edited on on Jun 17, 2019 @ 5:11pm

Mission: Last Days of Empire

= New Old Faces =

(cont’d from “By Other Means”)


SCENE: ExO’s Quarters
STARDATE: [2.19] 0617.2152

The children had been aboard the ship before, but not since Jake’s promotion to First Officer. His quarters were larger than what he’d had as Chief Engineer, with meant more room for the children as well. He stepped into his quarters now, looking around as if he were seeing them for the first time, imagining how Ben and Dahlia were seeing them. Ben wasted no time; he dropped his bags just inside the door and dashed inside, hopping up onto the couch and testing it out with a few bounces before vaulting over the back off it and disappearing up the hallway.

“Whoa, hey,” Jake called after him. “Be careful, buddy!”

“Is this my room?” Ben’s voice echoed back from the hallway.

Jake turned, and saw that Dahlia had only taken a few steps into his quarters before stopping. She still had her bags slung over her shoulder. She looked around, her eyes lingering a moment on the small kitchenette, perhaps comparing it unfavorably to the large and inviting kitchen at the Bonviva Villa. She didn’t quite make a face, but Jake didn’t see any of the unbridled enthusiasm on her face that he’d seen on Ben’s.

Jake clasped his hands together, then decided he didn’t like the way that looked, and folded them awkwardly behind his back instead.

“So,” he said. “What do you think?”

“Bigger than they used to be,” Dahlia said, looking back at him.

Jake smiled. “Perks of getting promoted, I guess. You’ll have your own room.”

“Ok.” Dahlia still didn’t move.

“So… you want to come in? Put your bag down maybe?”

“Ok.” Dahlia took a few tentative steps inside. She still didn’t set her bags down, and went to sit on the couch, balancing her luggage awkwardly on the cushion next to her.

“So,” Jake said, still feeling awkward. “You’ve been aboard before. Things haven’t changed much.”

“Can I reserve my own holodeck time?” Dahlia asked.

“Well,” Jake said. “I guess maybe you’re old enough now. It’ll be a restricted library, of course. And you need to make sure you keep your grades up.”

Now Dahlia looked at him, her eyes flashing. “School?”

“Yeah,” Jake said. “Every day, from 0900 hours to 1430 hours. Weekends off, of course.”

“You didn’t say we’d have to go to *school*,” Dahlia said, her tone suddenly accusatory.

Jake raised an eyebrow. “Of course you have to go to school.”

“That’s not *fair*,” Dahlia said. “Is there even a school aboard this ship?”

“Technically… not yet,” Jake said. “We’re bringing some new personnel aboard before we ship out. You won’t be the only kids aboard, so Starfleet’s assigning us a teacher. We haven’t worked out all the details yet, but--”

“I was already *in* school,” Dahlia said, frowning. “I had teachers and friends and everything. I thought the one good part of leaving that behind was that I wouldn’t have to sit through stupid lessons anymore!”

“I’m sorry,” Jake said. “But Dahlia, you’re only 13. You can’t put your schooling on hold indefinitely. You might be aboard ship for awhile.”

“Don’t remind me,” Dahlia said. She stood up and grabbed her bags. “Where is my room?”

“It’s up the hallway,” Jake said. “Get settled in. I, uh… I have report for a duty shift, welcome a few new faces aboard, but I’ll be off duty early. In the meantime, I asked your Aunt Iphie to look in on you.”

“Aunt Iphie?” Ben asked, appearing from up the hallway. “Will she have presents?”

“I’m sure she’ll have something,” Jake said. “Listen, when I get home later, maybe we can make some dinner together, huh?”

“I want grilled cheese!” Ben said. He turned and disappeared up the hallway again.

“Good, because that’s about the only thing I know how to make,” Jake said. He turned to look at Dahlia.

“I *hate* grilled cheese,” she said, and turned and disappeared up the hallway after Ben.


SCENE: Transporter Room 1

Jake stood by as the crop of new recruits materialised on the transporter pads. He saw a handful of new crewman, plus a few individuals wearing nondescript civilian clothes (he made a mental note to find out which of them were slated to be part of the PHOENIX’s nascent “Department of Education” later on), but none of these were what he was looking for. Then, near the back of the group, he caught it; a flash of dull yellow, the departmental signifier of a Starfleet officer’s uniform.

Jake smiled, and then readied himself to deliver the greeting.

“Good afternoon,” he said, straightening up a little and folding his hands professionally behind his back. “My name is Commander Jake Crichton. Please let me be the first to welcome you aboard the USS PHOENIX. It’s my understanding that most of you have already received your quarters assignments and initial duty shifts, but please do not hesitate to let me or any member of our Operations staff know if you have any trouble settling in.”

There was a chorus of murmured “thank yous” and “it’s a pleasure to be heres” as the group stepped off the transporter pads. Jake stayed where he was, until the crowd had thinned out enough that he could recognize a familiar face bringing up the rear.

Hector Solorzano’s grin widened when he saw Jake waiting for him. He waited until the rest of the new crewmen had stepped into the corridor, before extending his arms wide and pulling Jake into a hug.

“Crichton,” he said, patting Jake on the back. “It is good to see you, brother!”

“Heck,” Jake said. They broke their embrace, and Jake eyed the pips on Heck’s uniform collar.

“I owe you, man,” Heck said, catching Jake’s look. “I know you pulled a few strings for me.”

“Not me,” Jake said. “But the Marine Commandant owed me a favor, and he knows a few admirals much better than I do.”

“Well, however you did it,” Heck said. He reached up and felt the pips on his collar absent-mindedly. “Thanks. I don’t know where I would have ended up.”

“You want to talk about it?” Jake asked.

“Sure,” Heck said. “But maybe not right here, huh? You got a bar on this boat?”

“Yeah,” Jake said. “But I’m on duty.”

“How about after?”

“My kids came aboard today,” Jake said. “I promised them we’d spend some time together.”

Heck’s eyes goggled. “You got *kids*?”

“Two,” Jake nodded.

“You’re making me feel old, Jake,” Heck said, shaking his head. “We’ve got a lot to catch up on.”

“Yes we do,” Jake said. “I can show you to your quarters, if you want.”

“Lead the way,” Heck said, gesturing for Jake to take the lead. “Hell, I’d probably get lost, big ol’ ship like this.”


SCENE: Corridor

“I still can’t believe it,” Heck said, as they walked through the corridor together. “I mean, I thought they’d reassign me, sure, but I never thought they’d *demote* me in the bargain.”

Jake once again glanced at the two pips on Heck’s collar - the last time he’d seen Heck, back on Starbase 56 there had been a third pip. The empty metallic circle of a lieutenant commander was gone now, signifying Hector Solorzano’s reduction in rank.

“Well,” Jake said. “You kind of have a record, Heck.”

“That academy shit was a long time ago,” Heck said, waving this off. “Anyway, Tellarites are too stuffy if you ask me.”

Jake glanced at Heck. “What happened?”

“You know how it is,” Heck said. “Diplomatic ship docked, some envoys came aboard. Didn’t appreciate my carousing in the local dive, as if there was anything else to do way the hell out along the Romulan border. One of their entourage asked me to chill out, so I turn on the charm, you know? Try to get everyone a round of drinks, ease some tensions, and by the end of the night we’re laughing the whole thing off.”

“But that’s not how it went,” Jake said.

“This Tellarite, he doesn’t want to budge,” Heck continued. “Gets in my face. Tells me I need to leave. Where am I supposed to go? There’s nothing to do on that station except work, shit, drink or sleep. I try to explain that to him, and he pushes me. I’m a nice guy, you know that, who would want to push me around? So I push him back. One thing leads to another, next thing I know we’re both in the brig and I’m being charged with misconduct.”

“Way I heard it, you punched him out,” Jake said.

“I barely touched him,” Heck said. “That Tellarite had a glass jaw, I don’t see how that’s my fault.”

Jake shook his head. “After everything with the Neo-Essentialists, the political position that Earth is in right now, you’re lucky they didn’t drum you out of the fleet.”

“They told me that,” Heck said. “Actually, that’s probably the only reason I’m still in uniform. They said humans didn’t need any more bad press, and a discharge would turn a lot more heads than a quiet demotion would. Of course, their plan was probably to stick me in some dusty old research ship and forget about me, but they didn’t figure on me being best buds with Jake Crichton, now did they?”

“I guess not,” Jake said. He stopped, and turned to Heck. “Listen, Heck. I don’t mind pulling a favor for you, but I have to tell you something. You’re not exactly out of the spotlight here. This ship makes headlines, and your behavior will be noticed.”

“I already know what you’re going to say,” Heck said, raising his hand. “I promise I’ll be on my best behavior. I know you went out on a limb for me.”

“I’m serious, Heck,” Jake said. “It’s not just your ass on the line anymore. I know you’re good, you know your job, I trust you. But I cashed in my favors saving you from the scrapyard, okay? You screw up again, there’s nothing I can do for you.”

Heck’s expression became serious for a moment, almost solemn. “I get it, Jake,” he said. “And I appreciate what you did, really I do. You have my word, I’ll do you proud.”

“Good,” Jake said. They resumed walking.

“What can you tell me about my new boss?” Heck asked. “He’s not a tight ass, is he?”

“Lieutenant Byte?” Jake asked, raising an eyebrow. “He’s an android, for a start.”

“No shit,” Heck said. “I’d heard about him. He like jokes?”

“You might be in over your head,” Jake grinned. “I think Byte may be immune to your unique charms.”

“No way,” Heck said. “I can charm *anyone*.”

“Except for Tellarite diplomats,” Jake put in.

Heck considered this, and nodded. “Good point.”


NRPG: Three new faces aboard the PHOENIX! Jake’s children, Dahlia and Ben, have come aboard and will be staying with Jake for the immediate future. Also, you may remember Hector “Heck” Solorzano from our previous missions “The Romulan Way” and “Fear Itself”, where he made a few cameos. He’s recently demoted for the kind of trouble that FRPG player characters often used to get into without any consequences. ;-) Ah, the good old days.

Since there are children aboard, I also realized we’d need a teacher aboard the ship too. I don’t have any immediate plans for this character, I don’t plan on them getting a ton of “screen time” so I didn’t bother to create a character, but if anyone happens to have any ideas for a civilian teacher character and wants to create an NPC, please feel free to do so! It’s always easier to think of scenes or story ideas once we have a developed character wandering around.

SARAH: Tag! I thought Iphie might want to drop in on her niece and nephew!

Shawn Putnam
Jake Crichton
Executive Officer


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