[WARNING: Wide character in print at board.cgi line 1367. ] USS Darmok Lounge: Live Long and Prosper
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Live Long and Prosper

USS Darmok Lounge


by Vice Admiral Ahrele Johannson
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Live Long and Prosper
Final Log by Vice Admiral Ahrele Johannson


Ahrele pushed the button closing her communication with Jason and sat back in her chair. She sighed deeply and then began drafting a communication with Starfleet.
It took several tries before she found the wording that she felt most represented her sentiment. It might have been one of the most difficult things she had ever written. As she read over her letter of resignation one final time before sending it, she reflected on the last 33 years of her life.    
A career in Starfleet had not been her idea, but rather her sister’s. After finishing her studies at the Vulcan Science Academy, she was quite happy with her position doing research and terra forming with OSI. Science was her passion and she had imagined herself traveling the galaxy exploring and improving uninhabitable planets and turning them into ecological paradises. That dream had been cut short when Ariell’s ship disappeared and she was assumed dead along with the rest of the crew, but Ahrele had known that couldn’t possibly be true. Her mind link with her identical twin told her that her sister was alive, but despite her attempts to convince Starfleet of this fact, her pleas were lost on disinterested ears and she was told to accept the loss of her sister and move on.
Four years later Ahrele was posted to the USS Galileo. Four years of hell, Ahrele had called her years at the academy. Fours years that were a roller coaster ride with Ahrele working to find Ariell, something that wouldn’t happen until after her graduation, and losing her fiance Kevin Austin after he joined the Maquis and was killed. That loss had almost ended Ahrele’s career in Starfleet even before it began, but her ongoing desire to find Ariell had helped her to pull herself together and finish her studies at the academy.    
Ahrele and Ariell were posted to the USS Lothlorien under Captain Scott and Commander Tnagra, a posting that would lead to a more personal relationship with the Tamarian years later. It was on the Lothlorien that Ahrele had met Damara. The borg was her partner in crime as they moved up through the ranks together, and they jokingly conspired that someday they’d command a ship together. “Little did I know then,” Ahrele thought silently to herself.
Despite Ahrele’s sometimes reckless approach to handling things, Tnagra had felt she had what it would take to someday have a command of her own and recommended her for command school. Neither of them knew then that she would eventually take over his command of the USS Darmok, but later after she had spent time with Special Operations, he asked her to be his first officer in preparation for his upcoming departure. She didn’t know of his plans at the time she accepted the position and she was excited about getting to work with Tnagra again, but less than a month later, he broke the news to her and told her of his recommendation to Starfleet that she remain aboard as the CO of the Darmok. The Tamarian had left her with big shoes to fill, but she had worked hard to be as fine an officer as he had been, and she had continued up the command ladder becoming a commodore and then eventually a vice admiral in Starfleet; and all during that time, Damara had been at her side as her XO, their dream of commanding a ship together had come true.
That’s when Jason had come into her life. He had been posted to the Darmok as it’s new counselor, a position that she didn’t really feel was needed aboard the Darmok since she herself was Betazoid. Starfleet had felt differently. She had worked hard to avoid the man when he came aboard, not having any desire to have her head examined by yet another counselor, but the Darmok was a small ship and it was inevitable that their paths would cross. She was involved in a serious accident and very nearly lost her leg, and during that time she and Jason began to grow close. Their friendship grew to be romantic and they eventually decided to marry. Tnagra came back to do the honors, guests arrived for their traditional Betazoid ceremony, and then they both nearly died in an assassination attempt. Thankfully Tnagra had been able to assume temporary command while they recuperated.    
The following years gave Ahrele and Jason three beautiful children, first her twins Sausha and Katira and then a couple years later their son Jaret. All during this time it had been a continued conversation between Jason and Ahrele as to whether growing up on a starship was the best thing for their children. Certainly Jason’s mother didn’t think it was and there was constant pressure from Jason’s family to bring the children back to Betazed. Jason and Ahrele had purchased a large piece of property on Betazed and planned to make it their family home some day, but Ahrele could never really decide when that day should be. When Jason decided to retire, there had been a long almost heated discussion between them as they decided where the family would remain. Jason wanted to take the kids to Betazed and wanted Ahrele to make the decision to retire as well, but she wasn’t quite ready. Watching her family leave and only getting to communicate with them through subspace communications had been extremely difficult. She hated the separation and she knew she would need to rejoin them soon.    
That day had now arrived. Jason’s unexpected call that Jaret had been injured at school during an athletic competition was the final straw. He had tried to reassure her that their son was fine, that he was just calling to keep her in the loop, but it didn’t matter. She missed them all terribly. They occupied most of her waking moments and crept into her dreams nightly. It was time to go home, and for the first time in 21 years, the Darmok was not what came to mind when she thought of home.

Ahrele watched as the last of her personal things were packed aboard her yacht. She had planned to pack it all herself, but several members of her crew had refused to allow her to do it. She had to choke back tears as more of the crew arrived at the shuttle bay to wish her safe travels. There were a few members of the crew that had served under her for more than a decade, and their loyalty made her proud. She would miss them. They were like family, closer than family perhaps. They had faced life and death together on many occasions. She promised them they’d stay in touch, and sincerely hoped that they would.    
Ahrele stood at the hatch of the yacht as she said her goodbye to Devon Xiaoyen, her current first officer. She hadn’t known him long, but knew the young officer had potential. She trusted that he’d take care of the ship until Starfleet could determine her replacement. She reached out her hand to give him her comm badge.
“Keep it, Admiral. Use it to contact me if you ever need anything.”
Ahrele smiled understanding the sentiment behind what he said. “Thank you, Devon. You have a great crew here. They’ll help you through anything that lies ahead. A captain is only as good as their crew, and I’ve been fortunate to get to serve with the best. Good luck.” After giving her XO a hug, she turned and entered the yacht and secured the hatch.
Ahrele could hear Heather’s voice over the comm as she called the bridge for clearance to depart. “You’re cleared for departure, Admiral. Have a safe trip and let us know when you’ve arrived at Betazed safely.”
“Thank you, Heather. I’ll make sure to let you know. Take care. Johannson out.”
Ahrele took a deep breath before she activated the controls. It took only a few seconds for the yacht to clear the shuttle bay and Ahrele found herself staring at the bright points of light of distant stars. She flew her ship out to a safe distance and then turned it to look back at the Darmok. She knew every inch of its hull. She could navigate its corridors in complete darkness. It was a great ship and she knew she would miss it, but it was time for the next generation to lead it on to its next adventure. She raised her hand in a silent salute to her old home and those that still walked its corridors. “Live long and prosper.”

   
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