A Joint Duty Log by
Captain Zak Taylor &
Lt. Colonel Travis Patterson
Reader's discretion is advised. There is some use of strong language in this log, but it is believed it still retains its PG-13 rating.
. Zak sat at the desk in his Ready Room. It had been two days since the Away Mission and still he could feel the tension all over the ship.
. He was reviewing a report and noticed yet again the statement that said "No appearance by Lt. Col. Patterson, presumed to be in the Reconnaissance Dome."
. He scowled at it and tapped his commbadge, "Taylor to Patterson, Colonel, are you all right?"
. Inside the Recon Dome, Patterson sat at the main computer terminal, a PADD in one hand, his other running across the console, running simulation after simulation both in his head and through the various algorithms MAX had at their disposal.
. He had heard the call from the Captain, and refused to answer, as his mind ran rampant on all the possibilities and complexion of his ploy. After yet another minute or two, he leaned back and crossed his arms, setting the PADD in his lap. A slight smile came to his lips, but only for a second at best, and he gave a gentle nod. "MAX, what's the standby readiness of the Cerberus?"
. Back in the Ready Room, the Captain slowly counted to ten in his head and then his scowl deepened when there was no answer. He thought, ~What the hell?~ He tapped his badge again, "Captain to Patterson, respond please."
. ~There~ he thought, ~I said it nicely, even said please!~
. In the Recon Dome there was another long pause, and a drawn out sigh, as Patterson rose to his feet and moved over to the launch bay of the Recon Dome, before finally tapping his commbadge to answer the call. "Patterson here. Captain, a word upstairs?"
. In his Ready Room, Zak continued to scowl. His own tension and feelings of guilt and doubt still plagued him and he wasn't sure how to deal with the Leatherneck at the moment. He breathed a sigh and tapped his badge again. "I'll be right there."
. Patterson ran a hand along the outer hull of the Cerberus and ducked beneath the wing to check the weapon systems, including the magnetic seals on the torpedo mounts, then moved over to one of the ram-shafts and manually aligned the last torpedo, securing the seal.
. MAX gave the response he'd been waiting for. "Colonel, Cerberus is at full standby and all systems read green on all pre-flight checks. I need not remind you of the risks …€…"
. Patterson cut off the AI. "I know the risks of this, MAX. You wouldn't understand."
. The Captain stepped out of his Ready Room directly to the corridor instead of the Bridge. He'd actually been avoiding the Bridge and he knew it, but ... he still took the hallway instead and stepped to the turbolift. "Deck 1, authorization Taylor 5 Alpha 7 Psi."
. The computer trilled the authorization code and the turbolift moved upward and soon the door slid open to the Recon Dome. He looked around to find the Colonel and just caught a glimpse of him near the dock where the Cerberus perched. He spoke as he walked over, "That ship of yours is too big for the Hangar Bay, with the shuttles and workerbees in there, isn't it?"
. Travis turned slightly as he heard the voice of the Captain in person, but his attention didn't move much from his focus on the craft. "I don't trust the skills of enlisted-men to know how to get my girl flying gracefully." A sigh escaped him, and he straightened and turned towards his CO. "You know why I called you up here?"
. Zak noticed as he approached that the Cerberus was on "hot standby". He raised an eyebrow. "I can guess, now that I've seen her. You know there's nothing to recover, don't you? It's a fool's errand, Travis!"
. Patterson gave a glare at the Captain, and cleaned his hands with the scrap rag hanging from his waist. "I have to make every attempt regardless, Zak ... and we still have a Delta Flyer out there we can't let fall into the Kyrathian's hands." He tossed the rag from his hands onto the wing of the Cerberus, then ducked beneath the wing and checked the torpedoes one final time. "Four hundred kilotons of antimatter bypass, and some of the excess plasma from the WAR drivers ... should make for one hell of a bang against any ships I run into ..." he trailed off.
. Zak stroked the wing of the Cerberus himself, following Patterson as he moved. "It's a suicide mission, Travis. You getting killed won't bring your men back!"
. He waved away the objection before it was voiced and continued, "Oh, I know, your damn Marines would line up to sign up for the mission. 'No one left behind' and all that. I get it, I do, but ... damn it, Travis, you heard what the Android said! They offer freaking sacrifices to their Plant! Those men are freaking fertilizer!" His voice broke on the last word and he slammed his hand on the hull of the Cerberus.
. Travis let out a sigh, and turned to the Captain, a look of determined action written on his face, along with unwavering stubbornness. "Sir, with all due respect ... I'm going, and you aren't stopping me. So either you can authorize the launch and open the doors from the Bridge,” he paused for emphasis, “or I'll blast them open. I'll turn in my insignia and commbadge right now if you wish. You know the Cerberus is my private property, not Starfleet's."
. Zak turned at the threatening tone in the Colonel's voice, his own hackles raising. "Bullshit! That's what this is, sheer bullshit of the first order!" He slammed a hand on the Cerberus again. "It's freaking stupid, Travis!"
. They glared at each other a moment before the Captain's face finally softened, "But ... you have a point about the Delta Flyer. If they captured it they'll try to get into its database, and that would be bad."
. He turned to the Marine and gently laid a hand on his arm. "Wait until after the Staff Meeting. Let's air it out and see if others have any ideas to make the mission viable. OK?"
. The Colonel lowered his head, staring at the floor a moment, and then raised it finally. "I'll give them one hour after the meeting before I launch. We aren't taking the Darmok back to the Station. I'm not about to let this crew risk their lives and the entire ship, or compromise our primary mission, over this 'Fool's Errand' of mine.” He paused, and then gave a smirk, “I'll be fine, Captain. If you'll excuse me, sir, I've got a lot of work to do. I've got all my planning and schemes on the PADD on MAX's console, but ... I don't think you WANT to know what's on it."
. The Captain stared into the Colonel's eyes. "No, I don't think I need the details of your plan. But, let's be clear on this: the objective is to recover or destroy the Delta Flyer, search for any remains or tags or whatever of our lost men, but not to risk your own death or capture in the process. And ... you shouldn't go alone. I know enough about you to know that by yourself you wouldn't mind dying ... with a team you might try keeping them alive and by accident stay alive yourself." He paused, a slight smile lifting the corners of his mouth. "Now, let's both suck it up, hold a Staff Meeting, and pretend we still have our shit in order, agreed?"
. Travis scowled at the thought of having someone tagging along, but didn't voice any rebuttal. He thought to himself, ~Hell, I'm probably lucky enough he even considered my idea.~ He spoke to the Captain, "Understood ... but I don't think we'll be able to fool the crew into believing we've got things together, sir ... not with both of us avoiding the Bridge." He reached forward to give Zak a knowing pat on the arm, and winked with a smirk. "Your chair's getting cold."