Squadron log, Stardate 52539.8: Ticonderoga is expected to be released from its refit today. It's first mission back from three months out of the action will take her on a more diplomatic mission.
"So, Enterprise is stuck in the Briar Patch,"
"That's the info we have," Captain DeSoto responded. "I just got off the line with Admiral Ross. He wants Ticonderoga to proceed to the Briar patch. She should have mostly engineering crew along with a diplomatic envoy."
"I'll see if I can spare a few engineers."
"Also, she will need a CO. Much of the Ticonderoga's command crew has been dispersed to other ships — and Captain Decatur is commanding the refit of the Hainan."
"I think I know where to find someone."
"You wanted to see me, sir," Karen said.
"Yes, commander. As you heard, Enterprise is stuck in the Briar Patch without a warp core. I want you there to assist in the field installation. Commander LaForge is sure to need a little extra help. With your knowledge of the Soverign class, you are more than the perfect person to lead this mission."
"We're sending Ticonderoga. I want you to assume command of the ship. You will be responsible for carrying a crew of engineers and diplomats."
"There is a class-M world in the Briar Patch. The inhabitants there are warp-capable, but prefer not to use technology. The Federation would like to expedite the process of making them a protectorate."
"Good luck, commander."
Patrick entered the holodeck. Laura was in there with an older and slightly taller Klingon warrior. . "Yes, Captain?" Laura inquired.
"I was just curious how you were doing."
"She has the heart of a warrior," the Klingon responded. "She is very skillful with her bat'leth, even though she has been training for a short time."
"I will consider that a great honor," Laura stated.
"As well you should."
"I tell you, this young woman has something special. Anyway, I've got orders for the IKS Korraga. They are to accompany Ticonderoga to sector 441, where Commander Worf shall assume command."
"Qay'be'," the Klingon firmly answered.
"Laura, you're with me."
Patrick made conversation as they approached the turbolift. "Needless to say, I think your bat'leth training is honing your abilities well."
"Thank you, sir," Laura responded as they entered the turbolift.
"You wanted to speak with me, sir?" Sarah inquired as she entered his ready room.
"Actually, I wanted to speak with both of you. Would you like anything to drink?"
"No, thanks," Sarah replied as she took a chocolate."
"Soft drink number 1024," Patrick said to the replicator. Patrick took the drink, laid it on his desk, and got out two small boxes."Open these."
Sarah and Laura opened their gift boxes, revealing a small black rank pip. "I felt that your service aboard this ship has been outstanding, and at times above and beyond the call of duty. I hearby promote both of you to the rank of Lieutenant."
"Thank you, sir," the girls replied in unison.
"Welcome aboard Ticonderoga, commander. We have received the transfer of command orders."
"Thank you, ensign," Karen replied. "How soon do we depart?"
"The new warp core for the Enterprise should be in our hold in about one hour. The Korraga will rendezvous with us in 20 minutes."
The turbolift door opened to reveal a familiar face. "Commander Dawson, reporting for duty."
"I wasn't aware you were transferring with me."
"Actually, Karen, I requested the transfer. I needed a change in pace."
"And a slightly higher place in the food chain. I'll take it you're my XO. We should be out of here in about an hour, according to Lieutenant Sovok."
"The new warp core is secured, and we are ready for departure," Sovok commented.
"In that case," Karen answered, "set course for the Briar Patch, warp 9."
"Kim, what's our status," Reinette stated.
"We're ready to depart — as soon as we know where we're going."
Patrick exited the turbolift. "Kim, set course for the Goran system and engage at warp 7,"
"What's going on,"
"We're gonna have to resole a diplomatic dispute there. Enterprise was scheduled to handle things, but they are out of service for several days."
Captain's log, Stardate 52542.4: We have arrived at the Goran system. Untangling diplomatic solutions is not my specialty, but handling them comes with the Center Seat.
"Sarah, do you have any intelligence reports on this area yet."
"Yes sir. A enemy wing of five ships comes within 3 light years of this area every 72 hours."
"Understood. Laura, you're with me. Bring your bat'leth."
"Aye, sir," Laura responded. "Are you expecting a cold reception?"
"I just have a bad feeling," Patrick said as he entered the turbolift. "Weapons Locker 5."
"We should be in range of the Briar patch in 30 minutes."
"Thank you, ensign," Gloria replied. "How's the literature on the situation in the Briar patch?"
"It's coming along all right. Most of this is straightforward. Apparently, the So'na and Ba'ku have been reconciling under Captain Picard's guidance for the past couple of days. An agreement should be pretty straightforward."
"I hope you're right."
Patrick and Laura beamed down to the predetermined coordinates with their sidearms ready. "Welcome to Goran VIII," the ambassador, a Bolian, stated. "The Goranian Senate is being held hostage by an unknown terrorist group. They have not been forthcoming with their demands."
"I think I know why. If I'm right, this is a military siege and not a diplomatic incident."
"I don't get it."
"Dominion transporters have a long range. Intelligence reports that enemy vessels have come within that range."
"I see. I understand that you have experience in identifying possible enemy activities, so I'll judge your discretion. I certainly hope you are wrong."
Ship's log, Supplemental: We have arrived in the Briar Patch. I am leading an away team to make emergency repairs on the Enterprise, while the diplomatic corps straightens out arrangements with the Ba'ku.
"All right," Karen stated. "The warp core is in the proper position. Let's start making connections with the matter and anti-matter injectors."
"I'm astonished," Geordi commented, "On how fast you got that core in there."
"It doesn't hurt to be the Federation flagship."
Captain Picard entered the engineroom, "How soon will we be on our way to the Goron sector."
"Your mission to the Goron sector is being covered by Baldwin, sir."
"I hope being a diplomat isn't too much of a hassle for him."
"Does a flag of diplomacy usually get rifle fire as a response?"
"No, sir," the ambassador replied.
"All right. Ingrum to Baldwin."
"JP, can you scan for lifesigns in my immediate vicinity."
"It's hard to tell. Someone has a shield or something up that is fooling our sensors."
"If that's the case, what's our game plan?"
Before Patrick could reply, a trio of Jem'Hadar soldiers stormed out of the building. "That's our answer," Patrick replied as he fired phasers on the Jem'Hadar soldiers.
Picard entered the Enterprise's engine room. "What's our status?"
"The diplomats are making remarkable progress with the Ba'ku. I think your dealings with them have eased their feelings. My XO, Gloria Dawson, has really admired their art, especially their music and dance."
"The new Warp Core is functioning well in tests," Geordi replied. "The only way to be sure is to give it a go."
"Picard to Bridge," the Enterprise captain communicated. Set course out of the Briar Patch, one-third impulse.
"Ticonderoga, Enterprise" Karen followed. "We're going to make sure the doesn't get into trouble. I'm going to beam over in a few minutes."
Patrick, Laura, and the ambassador began fighting the soldiers. Laura quickly grabbed her sword, striking the Jem'Hadar with quick, graceful blows. "You're doing a pretty good job, Laura."
"Thank you, sir," Laura replied as she took down another soldier.
The trio cleared the first round of Jem'Hadar. "Get ready, I don't think they're done yet."
"Baldwin to Ingrum," Jaimie stated over the com-link
"We're detecting possible reinforcements 10 light-years away and closing."
"Move to intercept."
"Kim, lay in an intercept course and engage at Warp 9."
"Bridge to Commander Hernandez. Reinette, could you please report to the bridge."
As Patrick predicted, more Jem'Hadar met Patrick's company as they entered the compound. Laura immediately drew blows with the bat'leth, but a skillful Jem'Hadar struck it from her as it flew across the room. Laura used her forearm to block punches from the enemy soldiers, then gave him a hard punch in the nose. Like a graceful cat, she turned around and gave the soldiers behind her a kick in the chest area. She then placed her hands in a ready position. Suddenly, her sword floated up and hovered straight into her hands. With sword in hand, Laura finished the last soldiers.
Patrick saw how Laura handled the soldiers, and was stunned and impressed. "Remind me, we really need to hone in on those telekinetic abilities."
"We're approaching the edge of the Briar Patch."
"Understood. Prepare to go to warp. Merrill to LaForge. You ready over there Geordi?"
"We're ready as we will ever be."
"Let's Do a running test at Warp 2."
"Understood," Geordi answered.
"We're approaching the enemy," Kim stated.
"Shields up, arm torpedoes," Jaimie answered. "Petrelli to Hernandez — is there something wrong I should know about, Reinette?"
Reinette exited the turbolift, "I'm here. Enemy ships on screen, please."
Reinette took a look at the three enemy ships that lay in front of her. "Kim, let's fly past them and bring her around."
The Baldwin crept around the large battle cruisers. Even though the Federation ship was relatively small, her crew was amazed they were being ignored. "I'm surprised that they haven't tried to attack us," Jaimie observed.
"Perhaps Patrick's message might have something to do with it. Let's not hold back. Target phasers and quantum torpedoes."
The Baldwin fired two quantum torpedoes at the lead ship. "That certainly got their attention," Jaimie commented. "The next wave is being released right now."
Quantum torpedoes spread across the stern of the lead ship. The lead ship was damaged, but in no way ready to surrender. The three enemy vessels turned about and fired on the attacking ship.
"Direct hit on our starboard warp nacelle," Jaimie exclaimed.
"Keep at it," Reinette stated, "I don't want these ships getting away —"
"Medic to Bridge," Jaimie responded as sparks flew, knocking Reinette down. "Helm, bring us in a little closer to those bandits."
"Aye, sir," Kim replied.
Karen sat at the communications panel as Ticonderoga sailed through the stars alongside the Federation's flagship, ready to handle any problem Enterprise could have with its warp drive. "Looks like we're okay at warp 5. Let's go to Warp 6."
"Increasing to Warp 6," Geordi replied.
"Mr. Sovok, please increase our forward velocity to Warp 6."
"Going by the book, are we?" Gloria noted.
"I guess," Karen responded. "How was your time on the planet's surface?"
"I had a wonderful time," Gloria replied, "It's just that I feel like — you know, something is missing from all of this — Something I can add to the culture of the Ba'ku world.
"I see," Karen replied. "Have you had a discussion about this with Captain Picard?"
"Perhaps you should."
"Now close your eyes," Patrick said to Laura as he placed a cloth across her forehead, serving as a blindfold. "Concentrate on the tricorder in front of you."
"All right," Laura replied.
"Think about where you want it to go."
Laura focused on the tricorder and thought of floating it in mid air. As she became more focused, the tricorder began to rise from the table it was standing on. Laura thought of moving the device toward her Captain. Patrick opened his hand and grabbed the floating computer.
"This seems almost like second nature to you, Laura."
"These ships don't want to give up so easily," Kim commented as the Baldwin fired phasers at point-blank range.
"It took you a year and a half to figure that out?" Jaimie responded. "I'm going to call for backup."
"Patrick," Laura stated. "Baldwin needs reinforcements as soon as possible."
"Where's the nearest ships."
"Looks like Ticonderoga and Enterprise are heading this way"
"Relay the message to them — priority one."
"Captain," the Enterprise helmsman said. "We're receiving a hail from the Goran system."
"Captain Ingrum, how did my Goran mission go?"
"To put it mildly, we walked into a damn setup down here. We've got things under control here; however, Baldwin could use some backup."
"Understood. Helm, set a course for the Goran system, warp 5."
"I have Captain Ingrum on the line."
"Put him through."
"Is everything going all right up there, JP?"
"About as well as can be expected when going against three enemy battleships."
"She's a tough ship — and you have reinforcements. Enterprise and Ticonderoga should be there within five minutes."
Karen glazed at the sight of the three Dominion ships, with the Baldwin engaging them. "She's done a good job holding them off, let's finish the job. Target the ships and ready torpedoes."
"Fire," Karen responded. A spread of torpedoes blazed out of the Ticonderoga's front launcher. They struck one of the enemy ships, causing a explosion and destroying the ship. "One down, two to go."
The Ticonderoga steered its attention to the second ship. The Enterprise fired several quantum torpedoes at the second ship, followed by phaser fire from the Baldwin and a flurry of photon torpedoes from Ticonderoga.
"If you can finish off this job," Jaimie signaled, "I'd like to go pick up Captain Ingrum."
"Of Course," replied Picard.
Captain's log, Stardate 52547.7: We have remained near the Goran system for some time. Meanwhile, Captain Picard and I have heard from my second officer regarding becoming a cultural envoy to the Ba'ku world. My first officer, Reinette Hernandez, also heard about it as has also submitted a request. I have forwarded both requests to Starfleet for approval.
Patrick sat in his ready room, working on some paperwork, when his doorbell rang. "Come in."
Stephanie walked in with a PADD, "Here's a message for you from Starfleet."
"Thanks, Stephanie. Looks like the standard intelligence reports for Sarah. What have we got here?"
"What is it?"
"Ha! Starfleet has responded regarding Reinette and Gloria. Ingrum to Hernandez and Dawson — could you please report to my ready room."
The Baldwin crew stood ready in the shuttlebay as Patrick began to speak. "Today, we say goodbye to two of our friends. Commander Reinette Hernandez and Commander Gloria Dawson have served this ship amicably for the past two years, and it will be sad to see them go. I am very confident, however, that they will serve in their new position with the dignity, honor, and love they have demonstrated serving with us. I feel that it is appropriate that I be the one to directly send them off. Lieutenant Petrelli."
"Yes, sir," Jaimie responded.
"You have the Baldwin until I get back. Take care of her."