Episode 1.1: Sidetracked - Tactical Catchup
Episode 1.1: Sidetracked
Location: Seven Forward (Eagle's Nest Lounge)
Timeline: Shortly after Senior Staff Gathering
Estrad plonked himself down in front of his Chief Tactical Officer, a glass of cider in one hand, and smiled. He wanted to make sure he got to know all of his senior officers, and this gathering was as good a time as any.
"So, Lieutenant," he said casually. "How are things?"
Hawke lifted his pint in salute to the skipper as he sat down. It was his third - or was it fourth? - drink of the evening and he was feeling good. He rarely allowed himself the chance to wind down like this, so he was determined to make the most of the opportunity.
"Skipper!" he said, maybe a little loudly. He cleared his throat and sat up straight, suddenly all too aware that he was tipsy in front of his commanding officer. "Um, things are well. Good. Um, how's everything with you?"
Estrad grinned. "Rather relaxed, actually," he said, before glancing around. "This evening seems to be going rather well, wouldn't you say?"
The initial awkwardness disappeared as Hawke saw his skipper relax. Somehow, it gave him permission to be relaxed as well. He took a sip and looked around at the officers in the lounge. He was still getting to know them, but was beginning to feel more at home.
"Yeah," he agreed after a moment. He looked across at the captain and leaned in closer. "To be honest, skipper, I never would have expected something like this. I can honestly say I've never been treated to drinks with the captain before."
Estrad looked thoughtful. "Yeah, it is unusual," he replied in a considered fashion. "Most commanding officers like to maintain a distance between themselves and their crew in order to help make command decisions." He took a drink from his glass. "But, I've had the experience of commanding a station. A completely different atmosphere that really leads to you becoming more than just a commanding officer. I guess that has carried through to this command too."
Hawke nodded, suddenly thinking of one captain he's drank with. But that was a long time ago, in another life ... "What station did you command, sir?"
Estrad squinted, momentarily forgetting, but it quickly came back to him and he was surprised he had forgotten at all. After all, he had spent a good twenty five years aboard the starbase.
"Starbase 14," he replied. "It was a peaceful station. Didn't see much of anything, but I left there before the Dominion war began. That being said, there was something relaxing not being on the front lines of major events, although you certainly had the usual issues facing a Federation starbase. Not to mention the number of different starship Captain's you got to meet."
He paused to take another drink. "But I spent a long time on board the starbase, twenty five years or so. By the time I left, I knew everyone who ever frequented the place, along with every corridor and access point off by heart. I could walk the place blindfold and tell you who was where."
Hawke looked at the skipper with a puzzled expression. "Wait," he said. "Hold up, skipper. Twenty five years?" Was he having a laugh? The only way the man sitting in front of him had served in a Starbase for twenty-five years was if he began his assignment as a ten year old.
Then it hit him, and he cursed himself for being such a fool. Before the captain could say anything, Hawke clicked his fingers, "Oh, you're joined, aren't you?"
Estrad smiled as he watched Hawke figure things out. "Indeed, I am," he acknowledged. "Estrad is Dagan's third host."
Hawke raised his glass in toast, "Well I'm glad his influence is working here on the Aeon, skipper. I'm enjoying the place so far."
Estrad smiled. "Tell me, Lieutenant," he asked the man before him in a thoughtful manner. "What made you join Starfleet? What was the inspiration that lead you onto my ship?"
The security chief drew a breath and looked out the window at the vastness beyond. He thought about the captain's question for a moment before turning back, "In a word," he said. "Revenge."
Estrad's eyebrows rose, a little surprised. But then, he really shouldn't have been. Given the number of wars the Federation had been through over the past few years, it was only natural for cadets to be signing up to avenge one thing or another.
Hawke smiled, "I know, it's not the most noble of reasons. But it's true. After the Jem'Hadar rolled through Marva IV back in '73, I lost pretty much all of my family and friends." He paused and looked at the captain, tilting his head slightly. "You knew I was Maquis, right?"
Estrad blinked as the memory came into the clear, prompted by Hawke's question. "Yes, of course," he said with the tone of someone figuring things out, as that particular piece of the puzzle clicked into place. "I saw that on your record, though it was more of a footnote. Starfleet likes to downplay the existence of the Maquis as much as it can, as I'm sure you're aware."
Hawke nodded, "Very much so," he said. "Well, after I was acquitted, I enlisted in Starfleet. I had experience fighting the Jem'Hadar - albeit not at all successfully - so they accepted me. I also had an uncle who was a Commander at the time, but I'm sure that had nothing to do with it."
Estrad simply nodded in assent.
"After the war, with the Dominion defeated, I decided to stay," the Security Chief continued. "Apart from my sister, my friends and family were gone. I found a new family in the fleet; something to fight for."
Estrad took a final gulp from his drink and set it down empty. "Well, I'm glad you've chosen the Aeon to become the new home of your family in the fleet. To have someone of your caliber and experience on board makes me feel safer already."
Hawke cocked his head and raised his glass. "Thank you, skipper," he said before downing the drink and setting the empty down next to the captain's.
Captain Estrad Dagan
Lieutenant Lucius Hawke
Chief Security/Tactical Officer