Squadron log: Stardate 52202.3: The 10th squad of the 5th has successfully participated in several campaigns since I was placed as its commander. While this position has its prestige, it doesn't go without its paperwork.
"Sir, you have a priority call from Admiral Ross,"
"Patch it through, Kristy." Admiral Ross's image appeared on the holo-projector. "Admiral."
"Captain," Ross acknowledged, "I need you to report to Starbase 375 for an debriefing,"
"Is there any reason," Patrick asked, "this cannot wait until Baldwin is scheduled to port in a week?"
"We have several senior Admirals and representatives of the Federation Council that would like to hear from representatives out in the field, and your number was chosen."
"In other words," Patrick responded, "I've been subpoenaed. I don't think it's wise to bring Baldwin in before she's due. I'll be coming in Neosho, and Reinette can pick me up when the Baldwin comes to port. I'll be there in six hours."
"Understood," Admiral Ross replied.
"Miss Dawson," Patrick stated as he exited the ready room onto the main bridge, "Have you seen Reinette?"
"She's in the mess hall having lunch," she replied.
"All right, I catch up with her there,"
"Stephanie, I think you might want to see these."
"What are they, commander?"
"They're the pictures from our last performance at 375,"
"Hey, these look pretty good," Stephanie replied.
"Speak of the devil," Reinette replied as Patrick entered the mess hall.
"Reinette," Patrick stated as he approached her table, "I've been asked to appear before representatives of the federation council. I'm going to take the Neosho back to Starbase — which means that you're in charge,"
"Understood," Reinette replied. After Patrick left, Reinette turned to Stephanie, "Stephanie, I want you to go with him. Neosho is in bay 1"
Patrick was preparing for departure when Stephanie arrived in the shuttlebay, "Yes, Miss Taylor."
"Reinette requested that I go with you," Stephanie replied, "Something about General Order 15."
"No flag officer may enter a hazardous area without armed escort," Patrick cited. "All right, just keep that phaser on 'stun' and we should be all right."
"Neosho, Baldwin. You are clear for departure," Reinette stated over the comm channel.
"Understood," Patrick replied, "We'll see you in a couple of days."
"Anyway," Patrick stated, "I'm sure the council would want to hear what I have to say about the new war room I created."
"How did you get your hands on Borg technology, anyway?"
"I have a A9 computer rating," Patrick replied, "That, plus the fact that half the systems on Baldwin contain experimental components gives me some pull with the Daystrom Institute and Starfleet Command."
"I see," Stephanie replied. "Anything interesting?"
"I have found the Borg Collective conscious to be, well, fascinating. For instance, the Borg can concentrate their neural energy on an injured Borg. This would help them to regenerate injured body parts. In fact, I have developed these neural links. Basically, they function as a micro-collective between two — " Sirens broke Patrick off. "Looks like we got company. The shields have been raised, and are down to 90 %."
"I see one target straight ahead."
"Fire phasers," Patrick replied.
"These bandits seem to be swarming in from everywhere," Stephanie replied as she went for one ship. "I'm not sure how much longer I can —" sparks from her com panel threw her in the air.
Patrick saw what happened. There's a Class-M planet, he remarked. I'm going to have to make an emergency landing. Neosho dropped rapidly as he tried to keep the runabout from crashing. Unfortunately, he did not have much success. Patrick turned his attention first to his co-pilot. He grabbed the battlefield trauma kit and pulled out the medical tricorder. This is not good, Patrick thought, but at least she's still alive. Patrick promptly began to dress the external wounds and gave her a hypospray to attempt to revive her before he turned his attention to the rest of the systems.
A few minutes later, he heard a voice weakly state "What happened?"
"You got some severe burns on your face and neck," Patrick said, "battle wounds all over, and several internal injuries. I've dressed up all the external wounds, but we need to get you to a medical facility PDQ."
"Sir, about that neural device?"
"It would theoretically serve as a micro-collective, a link between two individuals. I haven't been able to test it out yet, however. I don't know if it will actually work. I've done all I can for you, I really need to get the com system up and running."
"Sir, I'm getting an incoming message from Starbase 375."
"On Screen, Roslyn" Reinette replied.
"Commander," Admiral Ross stated, "have you received any word from Captain Ingrum,"
"We were expecting him an hour ago, and he is usually good at letting me know of any delays."
"I suppose you want us to look for him if we can."
"Yes, please," Ross replied.
"We're on it."
Damn, Patrick thought to himself, The com system has been seriously disfigured. There's no way that I'm gonna be able to fix this. Stephanie subsequently let out a painful moan, signaling Patrick's attention. "Your external injuries are healing up fairly well, but your internal injuries are still bothersome. I'm not a doctor, but I can tell that you need one."
"Sir," Stephanie softly replied, "I would be willing to volunteer to test out your neural device. Right now, it's better than nothing."
"I guess there's no time like the present," Patrick replied as he pulled out two silver colored devices.
"Karen, what have you got," Reinette said as she entered the war room.
"The realization that the captain likes maps," Karen replied. "Which makes tracing his route a lot easier. Karen displayed a map of the area on the screen. "Here's Neosho's flight plan," she continued as a yellow line was drawn across the screen.
"Any possible intersections from the Dominion?"
"As a matter of fact, yes," Karen said. "Our intelligence reports that a small Dominion fleet was in this area." Purple lines projecting possible paths of the enemy fleet were added to the screen. "They could have crossed paths with the Neosho anywhere along here," noting where the different colored lines crossed.
The doors opened as another lady entered the room. "What's the latest?" Jenna inquired.
"We've got a hot lead," Reinette replied. "We think Neosho ran into trouble right around here."
"All right," Jenna replied. "It looks like Wildfire is the closest. Patch me in to Amanda."
"All right, Stephanie," Patrick stated. "You know I can't guarantee anything with this thing." Stephanie nodded in agreement as Patrick turned the device on. Patrick felt a sharp pain enter his body immediately. Politicians once used the expression I feel your pain,' but this takes the cake, Patrick thought. Stephanie began to smile.
"We're approaching the area Captain Carson gave us," Anna stated.
"Kristl, any signs of Neosho?"
"Sensors show some space rubble from the a Dominion ship, but nothing that would indicate the remains of a Starfleet runabout."
"How about a planet where they could have landed?"
"There's one Class-M planet nearby," Kristl stated.
"Anna," Amanda stated, "Let's check it out,"
Even though Stephanie's pain was barely tolerable to him, Patrick knew he had to do something to signal where they are. A weak blast from the phasers might be able to send a signal out there, Patrick thought.
Anything is worth a shot, Stephanie chimed in.
Patrick was a little caught off guard by Stephanie's reply. Thanks, Stephanie, he sent a message back. Now, just lay down and rest. Focus yourself.
Stephanie relaxed herself and began to doze off while Patrick modified the phaser array.
"Kristl, anything yet?"
"We'll keep scanning the surface for them," Amanda stated.
Patrick finished off the modifications to the phaser array. Sparks lit up the Neosho's cabin, but the phasers managed to work. Patrick felt tired and, finally, passed out on the floor.
"Sir," Anna noted, "We're reading phaser fire dead ahead."
"Source?" Amanda inquired.
"It appears to be coming from the Neosho," Kristl responded.
"If you cant send a distress call over the radio, use a visual signal," Anna commented. "That makes perfect sense, and sounds like something Patrick would do."
"Beam the occupants directly to sickbay," Amanda ordered.
Patrick awoke and found himself a little disoriented, "You're in the Wildfire's sickbay," the doctor mentioned. "Your friend is being taken care of."
"I know," Patrick replied as the door to sickbay opened.
"Patrick," Amanda stated as she came in to sickbay. "I'm glad to see you're all right."
"Thanks, I appreciate that," Patrick replied.
"Sir, I have a question," the doctor interrupted, "I was just curious, what was your logic in using a neural device to link your minds?"
"Stephanie volunteered," Patrick replied. "Why do you ask?"
"Considering what she went through, Captain, she has made a remarkable recovery,"
"Dr. Brantley," Amanda stated, "am I missing something?"
"The captain and this young ensign were linked together using these neural devices," the doctor stated. "In fact, they are still linked together. Not even a mind meld has this deep of a bond."
"Patrick, can you explain this."
Before Patrick could respond, he became distracted. Images quickly flashed before him. All of a sudden, he saw himself in the runabout again, with Stephanie sitting next to him.
"Shields at 85%," Stephanie commented.
"Keep her steady."
"It's no use, sir. We're going to crash."
At the moment the runabout crashed, Patrick and Stephanie saw the runabout cockpit change into something dramatically different. Patrick turned the key and started the wagon's engine. I swear, Patrick thought, I've seen this place before
"What happened?" Amanda inquired to Dr. Bratney.
"It appears to be an after-effect of the neural link," the Doctor replied. "Stephanie apparently went into REM sleep and the link pulled Patrick in."
"Meaning they are both simply asleep?" Amanda wondered.
"Affirmative," he stated. "I fact, I would have to say that both of them are sharing the same dream."
Patrick had only started driving a short while down a winding road through the hills. Suddenly, at the crest of the last hill, a city appeared. The city was defined by a giant silver arch overlooking a large river. St. Louis, Patrick noted. As Patrick drove into town, he saw a small service station with a red and blue oval sign reading "Standard." He noticed he was low on fuel, so he pulled to the pump and began to fuel the car.
"Are you hungry?" Stephanie asked, "Because I could use a snack."
"Sure," Patrick replied. As soon as the car was fueled, Patrick and Stephanie stepped inside the station. When they entered, they found themselves in the middle of a small arena.
"You," someone said, pointing to Stephanie, "you're on in 2 minutes."
"You better go," Patrick replied. "Break a leg." While Stephanie got ready, Patrick took a position in front of the stage, finding a camera waiting for him. My old holo-imager, Patrick observed, I guess I'm taking pictures.
No sooner was Patrick ready with the camera than Stephanie entered the stage. The stage lights dimmed and a white spotlight shined directly at her. This is my moment, she though as the music began.
As Stephanie danced, Patrick started taking as many pictures as he could as Stephanie concentrated on her dance. As her routine concluded, the audience gave here a standing ovation. Patrick met up with her backstage. "Great job, Stephanie."
"Thank you, sir."
"Excuse me," Patrick inquired to someone passing by, "Could you get a picture of us?"
"Sure thing," he replied. "Smile."
The flash faded out as he awoke to find himself in the Wildfire's sickbay. "Doctor?"
"It's all right," Dr. Bratney explained. "You simply fell asleep."
Now Stephanie started to waken. "What happened?"
"You're in Wildfire's sickbay," the doctor replied. "You healed up quite well."
That was a weird dream, Stephanie thought.
You can say that again, Patrick replied. Patrick felt he needed to meet with Stephanie alone, "Doctor," Patrick inquired, "I'd like a moment along with Stephanie, please."
"Certainly," Dr. Bratney replied.
After Dr. Bratney had taken his leave, Stephanie turned to Patrick, "Just exactly how long are we going to be connected like this?"
"Hey," Patrick replied, "I told you I hadn't tested it yet, so there's no way to know. My best bet right now is a few hours, a day or two tops." Until then, enjoy the ride,
"Anyway," Patrick stated to Amanda, "I was telling Stephanie about the medical side effects of the Borg collective. I told her I created these neural implants to create a micro-collective between two people to stimulate a injured persons healing process."
"And your trial run apparently worked to a T."
"Yes, but I apparently neglected the other side effect, a telepathic link between the users. Basically, I helped Stephanie heal herself when there was no other viable solution, and in the end, we share our memories and interests through a dream seqence."
"My ship, USS Baldwin, is perhaps one of the most unique ships in the fleet. My chief engineer, Commander Merrill, has adjusted the warp core so as to tweak as much energy out of her as possible. Thanks to her, we have been safely able to run at high warp speeds. The Phaser arrays on her were very powerful when she was first put under my command, even by today's standards. My crew has put a lot of hard work into making them even more effective — and they have passed with flying colors. One thing remains, and it is something I consider to be very important. Quite simply, you cannot run a fleet without good navigation. Which is why, as commander of the 10th Squadron of the 5th Fleet, I have created a hi-tech strategic command room. A combination of astrometrics and intelligence, the "war room" utilizes salvaged Borg technology along with the best that Starfleet has to offer. Within one week of the war room's activation, we discovered a potential enemy ambush, which we quickly neutralized. I expect the war room to become more important in our operation as we attempt to return to the offensive, and, if we win, in future exploration missions." Applause roared from the room as Patrick stood down.
"Great Job," Reinette commented as Patrick returned to his seat.
"Thanks, number one," Patrick replied.
Patrick was working in the war room when the door opened. "Captain," Admiral Ross stated.
"Admiral," Patrick replied. "What can I do for you, sir."
"I wanted to congratulate you on a well done statement. I also wanted to let you know that the Starfleet Intelligence cartography bureau is interested in receiving updates on your new war room. The council representatives said that your summary was worth the wait."
"Thank you, sir."
"Good, I'll expect regular updates."
Another round of paperwork, Patrick thought as the Admiral left.
You'll do all right, a voice replied in Patrick's head.
Have you been listening in on me the whole time, Stephanie?
It's hard not to, Stephanie stated. I think you're handling yourself fairly well.
It comes with the territory, Stephanie, Patrick finished, It comes with the territory.