Episode IV: Part X - Mission complete / A joyful return to Earth
Stardate: April 05, 2097
"Permission requested to remain aboard the T’Vahl," Ensign Lindsey requested, standing in the hangar bay next to Doctor Rivera.
"Captain … if I may?" Rivera chimed in.
"Go ahead doctor."
"After further evaluation, it is again my medical opinion that the embryo belonging to Lindsey and Roberts has not been hybridized."
Foxwell took in a deep breath. “Continue.”
"And it is our joint medical opinion that this embryo can be successfully returned to Lindsey, which will allow the embryo to develop full term inside her womb. The Vulcans assure me they can successfully perform this procedure here on the T’Vahl. I would like to remain onboard and assist."
"And what about Roberts? What is his current medical status?"
"Roberts is recovering in the infirmary. He is sedated and resting comfortably. He should be well enough to transport directly to the Stargazers sickbay no later than tomorrow."
"What is the condition of the remaining embryos and fetuses?"
Rivera let out a deep sigh. "Preliminary examination appears to indicate all have been hybridized. The job of the nursery was to provide care and nourishment until removal from the tanks at full tern. After that your guess is as good as mine."
Overhearing the conversation, Strojok stepped forward. “Captain, Galactic Fleet Command has acknowledged our report regarding the successful mission. I just received word both the Stargazer and the T’Vahl’ have been directed to return to Earth, not Vulcan as originally ordered. The cylinders are to be transported upon arrival to an appropriate support facility for continued monitoring and evaluation."
"No doubt DNA profiling will be part of that process,"Beta interjected. "Those in charge will seek to match every embryo and fetus to the human mother and father."
"I can only imagine how that will play out," Foxwell mused.
"Amen to that," Rivera added.
“Our mission is complete. It’s time to return with the away team back to the Stargazer ... with the exception of Lindsey and Doctor Rivera." Foxwell pivoted in their direction. "Permission granted to remain on board the T’Vahl. It appears there’s a baby in the making that needs to be returned to its rightful mother ... and father."
A radiant smile appearing, Lindsey turned and threw her arms around Foxwell, embracing him with an appreciative and heartfelt hug.
Returning her embrace, he stepped back, locking eyes with the misty-eyed expectant mother. “Why don’t you go to sickbay and tell the father-to-be the news. I’m sure he would appreciate it, even if he’s sedated.”
“Thank you, Captain, I’ll do that,” she beamed, happily wheeling around as she headed for the T’Vahl’s infirmary.
"That's one very happy 'mother-to-be', Captain," Rivera applauded. "My thanks as well."
A hailing signal was heard in the hangar bay. The Vulcan Captain walked toward the companel. "Strojok here."
"Captain, this is the bridge. Sensors have identified three Grey alien vessels nearing our position. They do not appear to be aware of our presence."
"Acknowledged ... standby." Strojok turned in Foxwell’s direction. “They are looking for us, Captain."
"And I’m sure they know we're cloaked," Foxwell said. "If they have any technology that will allow them to detect us in spite of our invisibility, then it’s time to set a return course back to Earth."
"Agree." Turning back to the companel, Strojok issued new navigational orders: "Bridge, lay in a course for return to Earth. We will proceed alongside the Stargazer at their speed."
"Acknowledged," the conning officer replied.
Opening a secure hailing frequency, Foxwell contacted the bridge of the Stargazer.
"Bridge, O’Donovan here."
"Chief, this is Foxwell."
"Captain," the chief engineer enthusiastically greeted. How’s the …."
"Never mind that now. Lay in a course for return to Earth ... light factor 2. We’ll be returning on a parallel trajectory with the T’Vahl."
"Aye Captain. Sensors have picked up a triad of Grey alien vessels. Looks like they’re flying blind out there."
"And that’s why we’re leaving ... before they find us. Prepare to engage fusion light drive."
"Aye sir ... fusion light drive enabled. Return course to Earth entered, Ready when you are, Captain."
Strojok adjusted the companel settings to communicate with his conning officer on the bridge. "Set a parallel course and speed to match that of the Stargazer," he ordered. "Maintain a visual distance of three kilometers. Engage warp engines ... now."
Foxwell turned toward the Vulcan Captain. "I want to thank you for your assistance and support … for everything. And a personal thanks to your medical staff for the excellent care provided Ensign Roberts ... and for that which they’ll soon be providing Ensign Lindsey.”
Strojok remained impassive. "I believe the correct human response is, 'You're welcome,'" he replied, using the contraction. "We will beam you and your away team back to the Stargazer as soon as both starships can safely decloak," he assured, adding, "may our collaboration and successful mission help strengthen ties between our two worlds."
Foxwell smiled and nodded in agreement. "As we say on Earth, Captain ... 'I’ll drink to that.'" Clearing his throat, Foxwell continued: “On a separate note, and with all due respect, there is another subject of the utmost importance I wish to discuss with you."
Strojok acknowledged with a curious look.. "And what would that be, Captain?"
Staring into the eyes of the Vulcan Captain, Foxwell did not mince words: "We need Vulcan's help developing warp technology.”
Strojok furrowed his thick eyebrows.
"Yes ... warp technology," Foxwell repeated. "Please know I fully support building mutual trust, understanding and collaboration through cultural, scientific, and educational programs, etc.., to include cultivating popular support for the wider relationship between our two worlds."
"I’m listening, Captain ... continue," Strojok urged.
"Then please listen to this: Although I disagreed with Utek in reference to her motives, I believe part of it was a misguided effort to save both the Grey and human species. She had come to the wrongful conclusion that forcefully cross breeding humans and Greys would solve the conundrum facing both species."
Strojok sighed deeply. "It was a gross miscalculation of logic on her part." He turned back in Foxwell’s direction. "You mentioned 'warp technology'. Please continue ... and elaborate."
With a thoughtful expression, Foxwell paced slowly around the room. "Warp technology is not only the future for space travel, it can also be harnessed to generate limitless clean energy."
Strojok sighed, looking aimlessly around the hanger bay. "You are correct, Captain. Warp technology has been used on Vulcan for decades to produce all the energy we require. Considering Vulcan is a warmer planet than Earth, it has eliminated the problem of greenhouse emissions, and has benefitted our planet enormously by curtailing a further rise in surface temperatures."
“And I’m certain Utek was aware warp technology could be employed to solve those same issues we’ve been dealing with for over a century on Earth,” Foxwell surmised, "yet, she …"
“Utek was opposed to sharing warp technology with humans, along with many others in government and the scientific community,” Strojok interrupted.
“That much I know,” Foxwell declared. “The question is: Why?”
The older Vulcan Captain paced slowly around the hangar. "I am not at liberty to discuss that with you, Captain. That’s an issue we must leave for the leaders of both our worlds to deal with and resolve."
“It confirms again what I and others have suspected for quite some time,” Foxwell revealed. “Vulcan has withheld sharing warp technology with the scientific and engineering community on Earth as an adjunct to compliment ongoing research. If the government and people of Vulcan are sincere regarding their desire to deepen our friendship and strengthen ties, I would implore you to take this message to your government, your scientific community, and the people of Vulcan. And I would emphasize this is more imperative than ever, considering Utek’s belief that solving the Earth’s global warming crisis was her de facto support of a takeover by the Greys through hybridization and assimilation ... even if it wasn’t part of a greater Vulcan conspiracy.”
Strojok turned and faced Foxwell. "You have presented a compelling and logical argument. I will discuss your proposal with the Vulcan liaison when we return to Earth, with a recommendation that it be brought to the attention of the Vulcan High Council."
"Then our mission has in fact been successful, Captain, and I am most grateful."
Strojok raised his right hand, his palm outward. He placed his fingers in a “V” shape, separating the middle and ring finger, while keeping the others together. His thumb was extended.
“Live long and prosper.”
Stardate: July 01, 2097
SS Stargazer / Hangar Bay / Earth orbit:
Attired in full dress uniform, Captain Jon Leonidas Foxwell stood at the podium in front of a wedding party and guests, the groom waiting in front of the podium with the best man and groomsmen. The bride-to-be remained out of sight, finally emerging as the hangar bay’s audio system played: "Here comes the bride.” Escorted to the podium by Chief Engineer O'Donovan, he then stepped away as Sarah Lindsey took her position next to her soon-to-be husband. Flaunting a baby bump in a trendy new Galactic Fleet maternity dress, she beamed happily.
"One of the most enjoyable duties of a ship’s Captain is the privilege of joining two people in holy matrimony," Captain Foxwell began. "Today I have the honor of uniting Sarah Elizabeth Lindsey and James Patrick Roberts in marriage."
Exchanging vows and pledging their love and loyalty to each other followed by the ring exchange, Captain Foxwell joined their hands together, clasping their hands with his, all three reverently bowing their heads, stating: "In accordance with our laws and our many beliefs, you both have committed yourselves to one another and to your Holy Union through the sacred vows that you have taken and by the giving and receiving of these rings, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride."
The small crowd of onlookers cheered with enthusiasm as they surrounded the happy couple. Captain Foxwell stepped forward and embraced the bride, rendering a congratulatory kiss on her cheek before turning and shaking hands with Ensign Roberts.
Doctor Rivera and Beta stood next to one another amongst the throng of guests, slowly making their way forward to offer their congratulations; other crew members hastily re-arranged the hangar bay in preparation for the reception to follow.
"My understanding is they’ll be honeymooning on the Greek Island Santorini," Rivera divulged, "and will spend some time island hopping around other parts of the mediterranean. The Captain granted a two week leave, as well as the use of his beachfront home in Santo Antâo in Cape Verde. Santo Antâo has a reputation of being the most visually stunning of all the islands. Did you know ..."
“I’m aware of that, doctor,” Beta interrupted, “and I’m very pleased to know the happy couple are eager to enjoy a wonderful honeymoon. I wish both the very best.” Stopping and pivoting in Rivera’s direction, she placed her hand on his arm. "Reminding you I am the Stargazer’s science officer, doctor, would you agree you are somewhat overdue with your report regarding the return of their embryo retrieved from the Greys.”
Rivera sighed. "Well, this is is a helluva time to be asking, but I suppose it’s partially my fault. You were not available at the time the Vulcan medical staff and I performed the procedure en route back to Earth. Everything went well. The Vulcans possess incredible medical technology. The embryo was literally beamed back inside the mother's womb, and all we did was 'reconnect the plumbing' so-to-speak. After several days of recovery and observation onboard the T’Vahl, Lindsey was transported directly to sickbay aboard the Stargazer. The Captain and Ensign Roberts were fully briefed afterwards."
"And if it's not too much trouble, doctor, can you provide a three month post-procedural prognosis?"
Rivera grinned in embarrassment. “I’m happy to inform you the embryo is now a four-month old fetus and progressing well, growing and developing normally. During my exam yesterday, she and the baby were doing just fine. Additional testing again confirmed no hybridization occurred.”
"Well then, to borrow a well-known Vulcan phrase ... 'fascinating.'"
Sufficiently chastised, Rivera nodded in agreement.
“And may I sincerely add ... that sounds like the most wonderful wedding gift an expectant mother and father could ever wish for,” Beta declared.
"Amen to that," Rivera replied.
Continuing to make their way toward the married couple, Rivera stopped again, then wheeled around. "Just out of curiosity," he asked, "what do you think of this whole idea of marriage?"
Beta furrowed her eyebrows. "Actually, I’ve never given it much thought considering may career with Galactic Fleet; although as a woman, I must say I find it intriguing."
Rivera smiled. "I’m sure someday you’ll find someone who is worthy of the honor you prefer."
"You mean the 'someone will sweep me off my feet sort of thing'"?
"Followed perhaps by a proposal of marriage at some point in the relationship?"
Rivera chuckled. "Of course ... but with one important caveat."
"Yes, the only proposal you, Beta, would ever agree to be appropriate and acceptable."
"And what would that be?" she asked, a curious expression appearing.
The doctor returned a mischievous grin. "Well, a reasonable proposal, what else?"
Clearing her throat a bit, Beta looked rather nonplussed at the entire conversation.
Turning away, the Chief Medical Officer attempted to curtail his amusement.
“Oh, puh-leeze, doctor,” she finally grumbled, Rivera now howling with laughter.