SQUADRON LOG, Stardate 52296.3: In the past few weeks, the Dominion forces have backtracked. However, they aren't going down without a fight. The same could be said of the founders as well, as Command has received a report from Dr. Bashir that the founders are suffering from a potentially fatal disease.
Our warroom is considered one of the most sophisticated technological advances in the quadrant. More commendations have been given for the strategy room. We have managed to identify several Dominion incursion attempts, all of which have been neutralized. The design has been successfully duplicated at Starbase 375 and also elsewhere. The mobile platform, however, is our biggest asset — but likewise, our biggest liability.
"Good morning, Captain," Stephanie stated, "what's going on?"
"Just attempting to collect what the Dominion is up to," Patrick replied.
"I suppose that you don't want them getting the jump on you again," Stephanie noted.
"The last time I got ambushed, I remember sharing my thoughts with a lovely young lady for a week," Patrick replied as he reached around her shoulders to hug her.
"Sir," Roslyn interrupted over the comm channel, "You've got a call from Captain DeSoto."
"Put it through here. Computer, give me the Edmund Fitzgerald's position." Captain DeSoto's face appeared on the right half of the screen, while the Fitzgerald's position appeared on the left. "What can I do for you, Captain."
"How far away are you from our wing?"
"About 30 minutes. I can see why. We are on our way. What do you think, Stephanie?"
"I think that Captain DeSoto has an uphill climb."
"Agreed. Ingrum to all ships: Set course 3-2-5 mark 6 and engage at maximum warp."
"JP, ready the Quantum Torpedoes."
"Kristy, what's the status of the other ships."
"All our ships are intact, but they're ready to break down. The Fitzgerald's shields are ready to fail. We appear to be down to about four crippled bandits."
"Let's get at 'em."
"This one's a tough one."
"Keep at it, JP."
Within a few moments, the fresh regents, led by the Baldwin, had taken care of the remaining ships.
"Great job, everybody," Patrick replied as he headed into the ready room.
Patrick sat down at his table and began to contact all his ships. "Ingrum to Nimitz, how are things over there."
"Minor damage from the plasma fire. A few bumps and bruises, nothing major. Our warp core could use a rest, however."
"I'll make a note of that," Patrick replied. "Ingrum out. Ingrum to Wasp, what's your status."
The Doorbell rang in the ready room. "Come," Patrick replied.
Stephanie peeked through the door, "Captain, it's lunch time."
"I'm with you," Patrick replied as he grabbed a PADD, "But I got a lot of paperwork."
"Whatcha got?" Stephanie asked as they stepped out of the ready room.
"A status update on the ships in my wing. All the ships are doing fairly well, considering the circumstances."
"I see," Stephanie noted as the turbolift door opened. "Mess Hall."
The ride through the turbolift was uneventful. Patrick and Stephanie had a seat in the mess hall next to the window facing toward the front of the ship.
"Anyway," Patrick began, "I've seem to have become the unfortunate victim of a whole bunch of paperwork. Every time we go into battle, I have to file a status report on not one, but ten ships."
"That's the price you pay for being a leader," Stephanie replied.
"You're right, as always. You could do me a favor, however."
"And that would be?"
"Help me out with some of the red tape."
"Bridge to Captain," Reinette interrupted over the intercom.
"I have the Ottawa on subspace. Jenna wants to know when you can update her on the status of the wing."
"I am in the middle of lunch right now. Have her meet me at 1320 in the war room."
"I'll let her know. Bridge out."
"Good afternoon," Jenna said a she walked into the war room
"I suppose you want to hear about our wing."
"That would be very helpful," Jenna responded.
"Well, for starters," Patrick began, "during our last battle, the 10th wing served as a fill-in role when Captain DeSoto needed backup. We didn't take too much damage."
"I can understand that," Jenna said, "but what's the overall status of the 10th wing ships?"
"If you want a play-by-play," Patrick commented, "we'll start with your ship. Ottawa is in very good shape. Here ablative armor is down to 20% — she'll need a new coat soon, but..."
"She's tough enough as it is," Jenna finished as the war room display showed the Ottawa's configuration.
"Next up," Patrick continued as the screen changed ships, "Is my old girl. Karen does good work in keeping her in one piece. Her primary space frame is over 100 years old, but I think we have chucked out every old part in this thing and replaced them with modern equipment. She was a weapons-platform prototype, so she can carry the heavy artillery. We have tweaked her to be one of the most reliable ships. We've also spread our insight throughout the wing."
"Such as the Nimitz," Jenna commented.
"Exactly. She has not suffered a serious breakdown since she joined the 10/5. When she does take a lick, Andrea has that ship up in no time,"
"Agreed," Jenna replied. "Captain Riffin does a good job."
Stephanie walked into the room. "Here's the rest of them."
"Thank you, Miss Taylor."
"Hold on, Stephanie," Jenna interrupted, "There's no reason for you to walk out on us."
"I agree. Besides, I think it would beneficial for you to listen in on this conversation."
"Now, where were we?"
"I'd say it's time for a little Wildfire," Patrick replied.
"I don't know Commander Stacey or Lieutenant Rogers real well," Stephanie commented, "but I haver quite a few friends among that crew."
"That's good to know," Patrick noted, "I know Amanda Stacey well enough to depend on her. My sister is the same way. I do believe that you know Shandy."
"We were in the same floor in Pike Hall at the academy," Jenna replied, "Shandy was a good one about getting the job done."
"We can agree that the Wildfire has a good crew, but the ship itself is no slouch. She was redone from bow to stern for this mission, and she has held well. I wish I could say the same thing about the Wasp."
"I agree," Stephanie replied. "I drew a Nebula-class starship on my first tour of duty. The engineers were always complaining about the maintenance headaches, especially with the warp core."
"How about the rest of the wing."
"We drew two Excelsior-class ships, the Hood and Tecumseh. Both have proven to be reliable, and I know Captain Trafficant had done a great job in the Hood's center seat. Tien An Men uses the same basic space frame as this ship, but is not as advanced. Still, she's a good performer, especially since was captured by the Dominion for three months."
"Larned is a good one as well," Jenna said. "I drew her out of the academy."
"That leaves the Ticonderoga."
"She is good about helping out when needed, but quite frankly, she's outperforming herself. She's the only ship in the wing with major battle scars. She is due for a overhaul."
"Yes," Stephanie commented, but she is still too valuable to leave sitting on the shelf."
"I have to agree," Patrick added. "We'll have to keep her on duct tape and whatever else we can find."
"All right," Jenna replied. "But could you make a note of my observation in your next report to Admiral Ross?"
"All right," Patrick said. "Any other business?"
"Nothing I'm aware of."
"All right then, I'll see you tomorrow."
"Good Morning, Jaimie."
"Good morning, captain."
"What's the latest?"
"We've been ordered to take the offensive in grid 15220."
"Make it so, Kristy."
"Ingrum to war room — Stephanie, anything interesting?"
"Looks like 35 enemy ships, mostly Jem'Hadar cruisers."
"Captain, we have reached the coordinates specified."
"Red Alert. Arm all phasers and quantum torpedoes."
"We're all set," Jaimie responded.
Target the lead ships and fire
"The Baldwin is taking heavy fire," said the Ticonderoga's tactical officer.
"Why would they do that?" The first officer asked.
"She's a very valuable ship for our side. Laura, can you position us to draw some fire from those bandits?"
"Shields down to 44%."
"These guys are getting tough on us," Patrick commented.
"Sir," Kristi stated, "Ticonderoga has pulled in front of us."
"What's their status?"
"Their shields are starting to fail. I don't know how much longer she can hold out."
"Ottawa, Baldwin: Is it just me, or do I seem to be the main target."
"Baldwin, Ottawa. You are taking more hits than anyone else here."
"In that case, It might be best to fall back. I'm taking Ticonderoga with me, before she's torn apart. JP, prepare the tractor beam for warp towing."
"We've got her in a tractor beam, but we've also got enemy ships behind us."
"Looks like we're drawing the whole party."
"Ottawa, Baldwin, do you think you can pick them off while we pull back."
"All right then. Miss Elias, let's get the hell out of here."
Patrick was working on some paperwork in his ready room when the doorbell rang. "Come," he replied.
Admiral Ross entered the ready room. "I heard about your little escapade this morning, captain."
"Yes, sir," Patrick replied, "It's as if they had their crosshairs directed straight for Baldwin. We took a lot of fire, but fortunately, no one was seriously hurt."
"I wish I could say the same thing for the Ticonderoga. She's taking serious stress. She will have to be taken out of the action."
"However, even though you may have a bullseye on your hull, we still need you out there. You've got a good crew, but I'm sure you could use some refinements. I would suggest you talk to Captain Decatur."
As Patrick followed the Admiral onto the bridge, Roslyn approached him to make an inquiry. "Captain, could I talk to you for a second?"
"Sure, Roslyn. What's on your mind?"
"I understand that Captain Decatur needs a few more hands to repair Ticonderoga,"
"If you don't mind, I'd like to transfer and assist with the repairs."
"I'll talk with Decatur."
Patrick walked into the replimat on the starbase. "Excuse me," he inquired to a nearby worker, "could you please direct me to Captain Decatur?"
The employee directed him to a nearby table and seated him, "Roger Decatur, I presume?"
"Captain Ingrum, I take it," the older man replied.
"That is correct. My alpha-shift operations officer would like to transfer to your ship to help you guys clean up."
"That's an understatement," Roger responded. "However, I think I have someone whose talents would be wasted if she stayed with Ticonderoga during the refit. Her name is Laura Bennett, and she is one of the best persons I have had at the helm in a long time."
"Sounds like I'll have to fit her in."
"Let me know, and I'll sign off on transfer arrangements."
"I'll do that."
Across the room, Stephanie, Kristl, and Betsy were conversing with two other girls, one with long red hair, and the other with medium length brown hair. "How have things been going for you, Sarah."
"Okay, I guess. I didn't sign up as a science officer to work as a gopher on a starbase."
"I know that the Captain Decatur thinks of me as a good pilot. I don't think he would put me in as a gopher anywhere."
"I don't think that's a problem," Stephanie commented as she looked across the room. "Looks like Captain Decatur is pitching you to my CO."
"That's Captain Ingrum?" Laura inquired.
"Yep," Stephanie responded.
"Kinda young for a captain."
"Starfleet is a bit desperate, but don't let his age fool you. He is quite skilled at command. He can be a bit disorganized, though."
"Captain, do you see that lady?" Decatur noted.
"That's her. You may want to talk to her."
"I'll probably do that."
Patrick approached the ladies' table and tapped the redhead's shoulder. "I don't suppose you would be Laura?"
"What makes you say that?"
"I know Stephanie, Betsy, and Kristl, and I don't know of very many pilots in a blue duty uniform."
"Guilty as charged then," Laura responded.
"Your captain speaks very highly of you,"
"Believe or not, I actually amaze myself sometimes," Laura commented. "I just seem to have this instinct."
"I see." Patrick turned to the brunette in the blue uniform, "You would be?"
"Sarah Allison, sir. I'm supposed to be assigned to Astrometrics here on the base, but I seem to be used as more of a 'gopher.'"
"The Geography of the stars," Patrick commented. "Just curious, how do you all know each other?"
"We all served on the Horizon together," Stephanie said.
Laura approached a transporter room with her personal effects. She was surprised when she saw who was already there. "What are you doing here, Sarah?"
"You got me. All I know is that I have an order to report to Baldwin."
"Baldwin, starbase, we're ready to beam them over."
"Starbase, Baldwin, understood, Energize when ready." After the girls had beamed to the Baldwin, Patrick began the formal introduction. "I know we've already met, but I'm Patrick Ingrum. I will be your new commanding officer. If you would, I would like to show you two something." Patrick led them down a corridor into another room. "Welcome to the war room."
"What is it?" Sarah inquired.
"It is a combination of astrometrics and intelligence. It utilizes Starfleet reports and long range sensors to track our fleets as well as those of our enemy. It is fairly accurate at predicting where the Dominion forces will be heading. Your task, Sarah, is to run this thing."
"Something tells me you would work well with this crew, and I'm notorious for the 'youth movement'."
"Bridge to Ingrum."
"Go ahead, Reinette,"
"We're cleared to depart."
"On my way. I will see you later, Sarah. I do want to see how Laura handles my ship,"
Patrick and Laura exited the turbolift onto the bridge. "Number One, what's our status."
"Admiral Ross has ordered us back to the fifth fleet. All of our systems are in running order."
"We may have to declare Karen a Starfleet treasure. Laura, take us out one quarter."
"Aye, Captain," Laura replied, "one quarter."
"Set course," Patrick continued, "heading 3-2-5 mark 6. Warp 9."
"Captain, permission to speak freely,"
"Granted. What's on your mind."
"Is it just me, or do you feel we're being followed?" Laura replied.
"I've got that bad feeling too. Ingrum to Allison. Sarah, are you getting the hang of things down there."
"I guess," Sarah replied. "The latest reports from intelligence indicate there should be a small swarm of Jem'Hadar bugs about 2 light years behind us."
"I'm getting them on long range sensors. They may be on a pursuit course."
"Always trust your instincts, Laura. Tactical Alert. Kristy, notify Ottawa that we may need reinforcements. Jaimie, arm weapons."
"The enemy is in visual range," Jaimie added.
"Let's see it."
"Something tells me," Laura commented, "That they want to pick a fight."
"Take us out of warp. Raise shields."
"Shields up," Jaimie replied. "Weapons ready,"
A Jem'Hadar warship attempted to fire the Baldwin. Just as the energy beam was about to hit the ship's shields, the ship dove down, allowing the enemy fire to head harmlessly into space. "Return fire," Patrick ordered.
"Direct hit," Jaimie replied as the ship turned hard to the left. "One down."
The Jem'Hadar Bugs continued to fire upon the Baldwin. However, the Federation Starship managed to dodge the enemy fire. Meanwhile, the shots from the Baldwin were connecting. In addition, some of the enemy warships were getting crossed into each others path of fire. Between the damage inflicted by the Baldwin and the friendly fire caused by the Baldwin's ability to get out of the way, the Jem'Hadar swarm was obliterated in a matter of minutes. "Qapla'!" Patrick exclaimed. "Good work everybody."
Patrick was enjoyifng a cup of hot chocolate when the the doorbell rang. "Come,"
Laura entered the ready room, "You wanted to see me, sir?"
"Yes, Ensign. Please, sit down. Have a chocolate if you like." Laura took a chocolate as Patrick took a sip of his beverage. "You did an excellent job at the helm this morning."
"Yes, sir. I have this knack of being able to sense what is going on about as well as you find good officers."
"I've been know for falling a victim to flattery, but seriously, your ability is uncanny."
Laura walked around the table and faced Patrick, closing her eyes. "Place one of your hands near me." Patrick placed his right hand just above her left sholder and the other hand on his desk. "Your right hand is 3 inches above my left sholder, your left hand is on the desk near my right leg, and Commander Hernandez is at the door."
Before Patrick could respond, the doorbell rang again. "You are really uncanny, Laura. Come."
Reinette walked through the door. "Here's the daily report from the Larned."
"Thank you, commander."
"Might I ask, what are you up to?"
"I'm demonstrating my uncanniness to this doubting Thomas," Laura replied.
Music filled the Baldwin's ready room. The music had an energetic rhythm and good instrumental and vocal interludes. It was from the late 20th Century and Patrick enjoyed listening to it whenever he had the chance. Unfortunately, Patrick's enjoyment was interrupted by the doorbell, "Come," he sternly stated.
"Hey, Patrick," Stephanie stated, peeking into the ready room, "Whatcha listening to?"
"It's a song by the 20th Century rock group Bad Company. The song's called Crazy Circles."
"I see," Stephanie responded. "How's your report to Admiral Ross coming."
"Got it right here."
Patrick handed Stephanie the PADD containing the report. "I see a few typos in here."
"What do you expect from me. I'm a starship captain, not a editor."
"Anyway, I see we'll be docking at D.S. Nine this evening."
"We get a day off tomorrow — just in time for me to get this round of paperwork done. Has Reinette scheduled the troop for a performance?"
"Actually, she hasn't. I suggested that Laura and Sarah join the dance troupe, so she's re-arranging things so that we can add them in. However, she has arranged for you to deliver a performance."
"You're the one that does the music, right?"
Captain's log, Stardate 52302.7: We are docked at D.S. Nine for a little scheduled R&R. I have been scheduled to deliver a little performance.
"I guess it's my turn to showcase my musical talents. I might as well cut to the chase. Everyone ready back there. Let's begin, shall we." Patrick proceeded into a singing prose, "One, two, a one, two, three four."
After doing three songs, he wanted to change the pace. "Thank you. Now, I would like to bring up my assistant, my friend, and one hell of a duet partner, Stephanie Taylor.
Stephanie came up to the stage with a mild applause. "You ready?" Patrick asked.
"As I'll ever be."
The music started, and the pair performed a rendition of Whenever I Call you "Friend" to great reaction.
After the performance, Patrick talked to Stephanie backstage, "I'd say we brought the house down, what do you think?"
"Was anyone recording?" Stephanie retorted.
"I dunno. Why don't I just treat the crew to a root beer at Quark's."
"Sounds good to me. I'm sure the rest of the crew would also approve."