((Main Engineering, USS Gorkon))
If there was one flaw that Captain Theo Whittaker could live with, it was
that he had little idea how to relax during mandatory leave. Many were the
times that harassed and annoyed medical officers such as Mirra Ezo or Anath
G'Renn would track him down and order him to stop working and to enjoy
whatever planet or facility was playing host to the *Blackwell* or the
*Columbia*'s shore leave. It was only a matter of time before *Gorkon*'s
Chief Medical Officer joined the growing legion of physicians exasperated
at his 'workaholic' tendencies. He supposed it was the engineer in him.
Generations of his predecessors had struggled with the concept of
with ship's systems- and Theo was nothing if a staunch traditionalist in
He was sat in a quiet corner of *Gorkon*'s Main Engineering compartment,
quietly working on fine tuning the language of his report to the Corps of
Engineers. He was still craving the presence of others and so he had left
his quarters that morning to soak up the quiet air of efficiency and the
soothing thrum of the *Gorkon*'s powerful warp core. Used to his presence,
the engineering staff were content to leave him be outside of the cursory
'good morning captain' and polite nods of greeting.
Therefore, he did not look up when the sound of somebody approaching his
console reached his ears. It was likely to be somebody walking past or
going to readjust the dilithium recalibration chamber. They would leave him
to his proof reading unless they needed access to his console- which nobody
had done so far. It wasn't until a voice spoke- one that felt distantly
familiar, as though from a lifetime ago- that he looked up.
Flores: I didn't expect to run into anyone I knew out here, comm- :=
finally spotted the fourth pip on the man's collar.:: captain! It=
good to see you again!
Theo found himself looking at a red headed woman, her hair fashioned into a
short pixie crop. She felt- and looked- familiar- although he could not
immediately place her. Her Starfleet uniform seemed strangely alien upon
her, as if she should have been wearing another, older style. When he
remembered that he had met her when she had been wearing a 22nd century
uniform, it hit him who she was.
Rachel Flores looked back at with wonderment, joy and surprise. The last
time he had seen her was when she had disembarked from the *USS Blackwell*-
his first command- to report for a debriefing with representatives from the
Department of Temporal Investigations. Centuries before, she had been
Commander Rachel Flores first officer of the *S.S. Forthwith, *the eighth
*NX*-class vessel launched by Earth in the mid 22nd century. Long believed
lost during the Romulan War, the ship had instead been displaced
temporally, crashing on an asteroid in the Par'tha Expanse. By sheer luck,
the *Blackwell* had sent a team to the asteroid to investigate the
possibility of a Hur'Q presence- only to find themselves displaced in time
themselves. When they had been rescued- they had brought back the survivors
of the doomed *Fortwith*.
Apparently, Flores had returned to Starfleet life.
Whittaker: *Flores*?! ::he said, incredulous that a woman he had last seen
thousands of light years away stood before him once again.::
Flores: It really is you! ::She couldn't help but laugh. Sometimes,=
the only reaction to the surprises that fate always seemed to have in store
for her.:: What an unexpected surprise. And our uniforms match this time.
Theo continued to regard with surprise. Starfleet consisted of thousands of
starships and hundreds of thousands of personnel- if not millions- yet
whenever Theo went, he seemed to encounter somebody that he knew. He had
simply never imagined one of those people would the Fortwith's temporally
displaced Executive Officer. He had thought to check upon her a number of
times since they parted but one thing or another had always kept him doing
so. Shortly after the mission to P-409 Sigma, he and the *Blackwell*'s crew
had been reassigned to the *Columbia* and they were off to explore the
Sagittarius Reach. Between pirate raids, Tkon technology, phase cloaked
spies and the rise of the Yr-Grhan there had been little opportunity for
Theo to follow up on the loose thread of the survivors.
Whittaker: This- ::he said with no small degree of stupefaction.:: - is a
Flores: How have you been, Captain Whittaker?
Almost without thinking, Theo reached up and placed one finger on the
fourth rank pip on his golden collar. At lot- it had seemed- had changed in
the two years since he and Flores had parted company. Theo had been
promoted, given a new command and then reassigned to the SCE. Flores had
apparently returned to Starfleet. It then he noticed the solitary gold pip
on her own collar. Evidently and perhaps unsurprisingly, she had been able
to retain her previous rank.
Whittaker: I've... been keeping well, thank you. ::he replied, deciding
against immediately filling her in on everything that had transpired.:: I
see you have returned to active service? ::he inclined his head towards her
Flores: Retirement didn't suit me. I was pretty eager to get back o=
exploring the stars. So, I applied to join Starfleet=E2=80=A6 again. One
accelerated stay at the Academy later, and here I am. ::Rachel gestured
grandly around engineering for emphasis.:: Ensign Rachel Flores, new
Blinking in surprise, Theo understood her meaning right away.
Whittaker: You're assigned to the *Gorkon*? ::it was a statement phrased as
a question.:: Well I'll never! ::he said, a wide toothy grin breaking
out.:: It *is* a small galaxy!
Whittaker: Hm? Oh! I'm assigned to the Gorkon as a Consultant for the
Starfleet Corps of Engineers. ::he reminded himself that the exact nature
of his assignment was still not public knowledge. If word got out that the
*Gorkon* was being assessed for a new Warp XV engine and he decided it was
not suitable- he would become public enemy number one on the ship. He
didn't want that, largely as he had come to enjoy the *Gorkon*'s eclectic
Whittaker: Enough about me, though- how are you finding the 24th century? I
imagine it's quite foreign to you!
Much had changed since the *NX-08* had disappeared at the height of the
Romulan War. She had missed the founding of the United Federation of
Planets, several protracted conflicts, peace with the Klingons, the golden
age of exploration at the turn of the century, the Borg, the Dominion....
even with two years to get her head around everything, it was still likely
to be a great deal to take in. If the situation had been reversed, Theo
might well have buckled under the pressure of having to catch up with
Captain Theo M. Whittaker
Consultant, Starfleet Corps of Engineers
Attached to: *USS Gorkon*
Lieutenant Arlo Thornton
Assistant Chief Science Officer
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