Captain's Log, Stardate 55495.8: Over the past two months, we have sought out data on the new polaron weapon. So far, we have had little luck in obtaining the weapon or its design; however, none of the ships in the 10th wing have encountered another ship with the new weapon. This leads me to believe that it is still in the prototype stage.
Meanwhile, Commander Petrelli is approaching her due date. We are still actively looking among the crew for Baldwin's acting XO.
Sara sat watch on the bridge when Laura noticed an issue. "Incoming bogey," Laura announced, "bearing 215 mark 20."
"On screen," Sara answered. The viewer displayed the image of a 'warbug.' "Red alert! Captain to the bridge."
Patrick immediately exited the ready room on the Lieutenant's call. "What have we got?"
"We have one warbug," Sara replied. "They do not appear to be on course to engage us."
"Of course they're not," Patrick noted. "They know we're running scared. Keep an eye on them, but do not engage."
"Anything new regarding the new weapon?" Sara asked.
"I got nothing."
"Perhaps it's time for a different approach. Have you considered the plan I suggested?"
"We still have a few logistical issues to iron out, but Admirals Ross and Donaldson are on board. Admiral Bennett has indicated that it passes legal muster."
"Captain," Donna noted, "you have a call from Winchester."
"Speaking of logistics, that's one of the issues I was looking to take care of. I'll take the call in the ready room."
"Hey," Patrick said as he answered the call.
"Good morning," Bernie answered. "What's the word?"
"Operation Blackbird is a 'go,'" Patrick commented.
"So, you're looking for someone to look after your little girl, Uncle Bernie and Aunt Roslyn are standing by."
"When can you meet up with us?"
"Give us about 36 hours," Bernie replied. "By the way, how is Jaimie?"
"Almost ready to pop," Patrick noted. "Dr. Bratney is ready to put her on maternity leave. I plan on reliving her when this op gets started."
"Wherever she wants to go, I think we can accommodate her."
"Good going. We'll see you in 36. Baldwin out." After finishing up with Bernie, Patrick activated the ship's intercom. "Attention all hands, this is the captain. There will be an urgent mission briefing in 30 minutes. All off-duty and non-essential personnel are requested to attend.
The entire Baldwin crew, with the exception of a few that had to remain at their post, assembled on the observation deck. "Good morning," Patrick stated to the gathered crew. "I have gathered all of you here to inform you of Baldwin's upcoming mission. As many of you know, two months ago, we were attacked by a 'warbug' that was equipped with a particularly destructive polaron weapon. So far, we have not been able to locate this weapon. That will soon be rectified. In 36 hours, we will be meeting up with the Winchester. This will be the last contact with Starfleet for the foreseeable future. It is also where many of you will get off. Baldwin will be operating with a skeleton crew, behind the lines, cloaked, and under radio silence. Our objective is simple: find the Warbug with the new weapon, and either capture or destroy her."
"As many of you know, I'm getting ready to have a baby," Jaimie added. "The beginning of this mission will also mark the beginning of my maternity leave. I will be among those departing when we meet up with Winchester. Those of you that will be part of the mission team will be briefed on your roles."
"One last thing," Patrick added. "With Jaimie out of action for a while, I need someone to keep the First Officer's seat warm. Our operation is the brainchild of our primary Legal Affairs officer, Lieutenant Jackson. I see no reason why she should not have a hand in implementing it. She's qualified as a bridge officer and has seen some 'seat time' to go along with it. Therefore, at least for now, Sara will be Baldwin's acting XO."
"Does anyone have any questions so far?" Patrick continued. Seeing none, he concluded his remarks. "Sara and Bridget will contact the mission team. If the 10th Wing needs anyone for TAD, Captain Tyler will be looking for volunteers. Anyone without an assignment will be allowed to take leave for the duration of the mission. Dismissed."
Patrick's two-year-old daughter was extremely fussy. Daddy attempted to calm her down with a medley of her favorite Beatles tunes with little luck. "I just don't get it. Proximity alarms and red alerts don't seem to faze you but leaving you with Aunt Roz makes you go all helter-skelter."
"Tiana is not the only one with separation anxiety," Bridget commented. "I know she'll be in good hands, but still –" Bridget's thoughts were interrupted by the Boson's whistle.
"It's go time! Winchester is here." Patrick moved over to the computer terminal to contact the bridge. "Bridge, this is the captain. Prepare to dock with Winchester."
"I still can't help but be a little worried about her," Bridget finished her thought out loud.
"Sweetie, our little girl will be in good hands. Bernie, Roslyn, Jaimie, and even Jonathan and Valarie will take good care of here. What we need to focus on is our goal – find the new weapon."
"Sometimes, I envy you. We're about to embark on another dangerous mission, yet you seem confident in your resolve."
"I'm just as scared about what can go wrong on this mission as you are. I refuse to let worry cloud my resolve to do the right thing." Patrick turned to his daughter. "Tiana, I know you're scared of being left behind by mommy and daddy, but I promise you, we will do everything in our power to come back for you. In the meantime, you'll be in good hands. Think of it as your first big girl sleepover. Can you stay strong for your daddy?" Tiana nodded in acknowledgment.