Episode 1: A Lesson in Humility
Location: Captain's Ready Room
Timeline: En Route, Within Federation Space
Bishop stood outside the Captain's Ready Room, he was looking at his sleeve and the rank there of Lieutenant Commander. It felt like
a brand on his skin. Gone was his command of the USS Arizona as well as his rank of Commander all because he had been compassionate
in the face of the enemy. His career was in tatters. He was a pariah. No one wanted to be associated with him. All because of one blasted
mistake! Frankly he was surprised to be here and not assigned to the some remote post in the outer expanse of Federation Space.
He sighed again he had heard the whispers as he walked to the shuttle. "That's Bishop of the Arizona. Not so high and mighty now!"
What's he doing here? Why isn't he in prison!" Now he was here, the USS Defiant, Constitution class with a good rep and a good crew. Of course
he doubted they knew he was here. He took a breath and stabbed at the chime, letting the Captain know they had a visitor. At that thought a
small smile graced his face. *Captain, Charlotte Reynolds a captain. He was happy for his friend but wasn't sure if she would be happy to see
him or view him as an albatross.
"Enter," came the woman's voice, clearly distracted with one of a half dozen tasks for the day. She was standing behind the desk, facing away as she reviewed a set of documents in front of her. Her style had changed a bit over the years. Her preference for the uniform dress had given way to the shirt and pants alternate. Her hair, once kept perpetually in the ponytail while on duty, was laying more freely around her head.
At hearing the command of enter, Bishop did so coming to a stop in front of her desk. PaDD containing his orders in his hand. * I used to have desk like that.* He thought soberly. But it like the Arizona was gone. It felt like a lifetime ago though and he pushed the thought from his mind. "Com... " He stopped and corrected himself. "Lieutenant Commander Bishop reporting for duty."
She turned around, giving a stern look. “Nathan Bishop. Do you know how many favors I had to call in to get you here?” She held the face for as long as she could before breaking into a warm smile. “It’s been too long. Here grab a seat. Can I get you anything to drink? Sounds like you could use one.”
He took a seat in a chair in front of her desk. " Quire a lot I'm sure. I'm persona non grata right now." He sighed and continued, "I hope me being here isn't putting you in someone's target Char.... um Captain." He smiled at her. "It has been a long time and as for a drink only if your going to have one." He extended his hand, "My orders. Which I'm sure you already know about."
“I do,” she nodded, as she prepared a glass of Scotch for each. Most were surprised by her drink of choice. “I wish I could say I did the heavy lifting. But it was Denovitz who secured the transfer. The man is nothing if not loyal.” She laughed a little as she set the glasses on the table.
"The Admiral." Bishop replied. "Yes he is. He was even when he was Captain of the Bradbury." He paused and looked at Charlotte. "He may have done the heavy lifting but you had to agree to me being here otherwise it never would have happened." He pointed out, "So for that and for you also being loyal. You have my thanks and gratitude. Me having any friends right now seems to be very limited quantity."
“It’s ridiculous if you ask me,” Charlotte said, a bit annoyed, though not at him. “Did you miscalculate? Maybe. In that situation, it seems so. But to punish you for upholding a Federation ideal?” She shook her head. They’d have plenty of time to litigate exactly what had gone wrong aboard the Arizona. But outside a suicidal bloodlust on behalf of their opponent, she’d only seen an act of compassion. Were it a more common trait, perhaps the Klingons wouldn’t have fired. “In the meantime, I wanted to discuss your placement here.”
"I wish you could have been at my hearing." Nathan replied somberly. " Maybe so." He agreed, "We can discuss the particulars later. As for your opinion. It's an opinion not widely shared by those in Command." He nodded at statement of wanting to discuss him being here on the Defiant. "I'm all ears and I have nowhere else to go." He reflected.
The words caught her attention, but she decided to brush past them. The counselor would be better at it than her. She was feeling awkward about the situation as it was. Suddenly giving orders to a man who had once been her superior felt odd. But unfortunately, their fortunes had headed in the opposite directions at almost the same time. “As I’m sure you’ve heard, you’ll be taking up the posting of Chief Security and Tactical Officer. Something you’re more than qualified for. What you might not know is the roster you’ll be in command of.” She handed the padd across the table to him.
He took the offered PaDD "Yes. I was so informed. Thank you." He replied and skimmed over the names, saying same some out loud," Pierce, Redgrave, and the rest. An interesting bunch and now you've added me to the mix." Bishop sensed her awkwardness. "Charlotte, It's okay. You're a Captain now. If I'm going to serve under someone, I'm glad it's you." He said honestly.
"Well, I appreciate that," she said genuinely, before donning a mischievous smile. "However, don't think flattery is going to let you off easy. I intend to put you to work. You're an officer with a lot of command experience and I have a vacancy in my command crew." She made eye contact with him as she made her last point. "I'd like you to serve as my Second Officer."
"Of course not." He bantered back. He was silent for a moment two before replying. "That's a generous offer but have you thought about your crew? They may not take kindly to me in such a position." Nathan countered his eyes locked on hers.
Charlotte nodded. "We'll cross that bridge as we come to it. But I believe your presence here will be good for the ship and the crew. Any obstacles, we can address as they arise. However, if you're willing to accept the position, I'd suggest you meet with my First Officer."
Bishop was silent as he thought over Charlotte's offer. He once sat in the center seat, commanded a high profile and prestigious ship. Now it was gone in one blinding soul searing instant. He thought of saying no. However he knew if he ever wanted even a chance at the center seat, he needed to prove himself all over again and that meant starting over. His eyes met hers, "I accept." He said simply.
She smiled in response. "Well, in that case, welcome home."
"Thank you Captain." He gave a smile in return.
She let her smile last a moment, before transitioning to a slightly more grim topic. "I hope you don't mind me asking, though. What exactly happened back on the Arizona? I've seen the reports, but we both know those are never a full picture."
"Not at all." Bishop answered easily. "We were on routine patrol when we receive a distress call that the farming colony on Camdus Prime was under attack. When we arrived, we found a Klingon Bird of Prey attacking. We engaged the Klingon ship and were able to cause severe damage to the ship. Their engines were out and their life support was failing. They were drifting in space, Charlotte! We closed, I offered medical assistance as our sensor showed bio signs flickering dangerously low. The Klingons agreed. I lowered out shields to transport their wounded over." He closed his eyes as he thought back to what happened next. "When I did they unleashed a full salvo on us! They damaged our warp drive and main power as well as our weapons. We had impulse power and managed to move away. But we hadone phaser bank and I fired and destroyed the Klingons. By then, the Crazy Horse and Excalibur had arrived. The worst part was the 217 people who died. I can still hear their screams when the emergency bulkheads closed and trapped them below decks." His voice wavered as he said the last.
The thought of the sound alone hit her hard. She'd known that the Arizona incident had been part of the skirmishes Defiant had been so in the thick of. But the circumstances of it were beyond unfair. "Nathan, I'm so sorry. That shouldn't be something that's used to punish you. You shouldn't be responsible for...whatever you'd call that."
"Charley." He said using her nickname. "It was so unnecessary! They were beaten!" He stopped and dropped his head when it rose his eyes were haunted. "The worst part is those who died were my friends and family and I got them killed. Because I wanted to play by the rules." He gave a bitter laugh. "What you don't know and was kept out of the official record is apparently that Bird of Prey had classified information in its computers of their raids and upcoming raids as well as ship dispersal and Command wanted it and I knew it. But after what happened, the hell with what they wanted." He picked up his drink and downed it in one gulp. "A captain is responsible for the lives of his crew and their deaths." He answered solemnly.
She wished she had a word of comfort, but there were none that would soothe this kind of pain. It needed time. The fact that he knew about the intel didn't help either. He'd known they were likely to resist capture. But despite that, he'd taken a chance on them. That was respectable, even if it was naive in hindsight. "Nate, I know you feel responsible. I know I would. But you are not the one who fired those shots. From the information you had, the vessel was disabled and its crew were dying. Mercy is not a crime, even if it ended poorly."
He nodded at her words and attempt to comfort him. "Thank you Charley." He gave her weak smile, "So now you know the official story of the Arizona Incident and it's disgraced Captain."
She gave a small but warm smile in reply. "Well, there's not a ton I'm able to do. But I'm going to do my best to get rid of the disgraced part. I can't change what's happened. But as long as you're on my ship, I won't tolerate talk like that. You didn't betray your ideals. Things just...went poorly. Obviously, you'll need to earn the respect of the crew. But if anyone decides to make themselves feel big at your expense, they'll be hearing from the captain." It was about the best she had to offer her friend, other than a place to protect his damaged rank and take shelter from those who might be looking to make an example of him.
He smiled at her, "Hey, you listened and that's more then most people do Charley. I promise to do my best for you and this ship and not bring any disgrace to it or it's Captain."
“Good enough for me,” she said. “Now, on to the most important business. Starboard or port?”
Bishop looked at her, "Starboard or port?" He repeated.
She let out a little laugh. “For your quarters. I was wondering if you cared which way the stars moved.”
"Ah." He nodded in understanding. " I don't care. What kind of view do you have? Starboard or Port?"
"I cheated," she said with a smug smile. "Mine is dead center. Shares a similar view to the bridge."
"I see. Yes, you can do that." He sighed and after a moment's hesitation he answered. "Starboard."
"I'll make sure the quartermaster gets right on it," she said, making a mental note to do that before someone distracted her. "In the meantime, Lt. Commander Seitha is likely down in the Operations Suite if you wanted to swing by and introduce yourself. Unless you'd rather meet your team first."
"Seems like a good idea." Nathan replied, "Get to know the other member of the command team."
"Figured it'd be a good idea," Charlotte replied. "While we're at it, anything else I can do for you?
"I'm sure when we're on duty you wish to be addressed as Captain. Off duty, is Charley okay?" Bishop asked.
She smiled. "Of course! It's been a little while since I've had somebody call me that. Well...other than Alina. It's a nice reminder that I've got some friends around."
"Tell me about it." Bishop replied wryly.