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Coming Home

Posted on 02 Jun 2023 @ 4:51am by Commander Terry Walsh & Captain Harvey Geisler & Lieutenant JG Daniella Blake

Mission: Return to Razmena
Location: Space and Black Hawk
Timeline: June 15, 2390 || 1030 hours

The last week on the Starbase had been a whirlwind. The reports, recommendations, reassignments, and everything that each of those entailed had worn him out. Terry was happy for the long flight in the Valkyrie…his Valkyrie. At least that’s what he was claiming. An Admiral had told him to keep it, after all. A slight smirk appeared at that thought. Anyway, he was glad for the starships and bases they’d come across on their trip to the Black Hawk. It gave both he and Dani some time to stretch their legs and enjoy something to eat other than rations.

He checked the readouts and noticed that they were almost in sensor range of the Akira-class Black Hawk. Still wearing his flight helmet, he spoke to Dani through the communications systems. “We’re almost within sensor range. If there’s anybody worth his weight in latinum in position, they’ll scan us soon. You still doing okay back there?”

Dani still couldn’t believe it. She and Terry were on their way back to the Black Hawk… the one place that truly felt like home. Of course, if she were being completely honest, home was wherever the big guy in the seat in front of her was.

The petite woman looked around in complete awe. This was the first, and quite possibly the last, time something like this would happen to her. And, while she wasn’t actually contributing anything to their flight other than company, she still thought it was one of the coolest things she’d ever gotten to experience. “I’m doing just fine,” she assured him with a bright smile even if he couldn’t see it, but it was one of the types that could be heard as she spoke. “I can’t believe that this is what you do. This is… amazing.” But, even she knew it was definitely different when there was someone firing at you with the intent to take you out.

"Good to hear it," he said. He could hear the brightness in her voice. "Yeah, it's pretty out here. Just you and the stars. The views are great. Just wait till you see the Black Hawk as we approach, though. Seeing a huge starship like that is awe-inspiring."

"On a different note, I still don't have a date for our things to be delivered by Starfleet," said Terry. "We'll need to replicate a few changes of clothes and the essentials for our first few days."

“I figured it might be a while,” she said as she continued to take in their current scenery. Sure, she’d seen space from the Black Hawk, Gamma Command and runabouts, but this was different. This was… words couldn’t describe it. “Does Captain Geisler know we’re returning?”

"I don't think so," said Terry. "At least not specifically. I know that the Admiral has been pretty busy the last week with a lot of reorganization. So all Captain Geisler might know is that his Squadron Commander has been assigned. And maybe someone new for the Medical Department. I expect it'll probably be a surprise as to exactly who it is."

Dani smiled. This was definitely going to be a surprise, then. “How do you feel about your transfer?”

“I feel good about it. The Admiral said he’d make things not look bad on paper,” said Terry. “I trust him to do it. Besides, we need good people out here that know the ropes. I guess me and you fall into that category.” He sighed deeply. “And, it’s home.”

“It is, but home for me is wherever you are,” she said with a smile. “I’m glad that Admiral O’Connell is going to help out with things on the official side, too. I knew you missed the squadron, and going to Gamma Command got you back to what you loved. But, now, we’re going back to where it all started… back home… back to family.”

Terry grinned, despite her not being able to see it. "Indeed it is, Dani. Indeed it is." An indicator to his right flashed and beeped. "It looks like we've entered sensor range of the Black Hawk." The big guy went into official pilot mode without even realizing it. "Targeting computer should indicate we've been pinged any minute. Stand by."

***

On the bridge of the Black Hawk, the officer assigned to the Squadron Operations station next to the helm noticed the arrival of a new transponder ID. “Captain,” she called out, “I’ve got a Valkyrie transponder tag just out of sensor range. Registry victor-kappa two dash seven alpha gamma nine nine bravo six. Sensors show two persons aboard.”

Geisler, who had just stepped onto the bridge having personally seen the two runabouts off for their mission to Razmena, stopped just before sitting down in his chair. He thought about it for a moment, and then remembered a message in his inbox this morning about the replacement bird and the new squadron commander arriving today. He hadn’t received a time, but he supposed there was no time like the present.

That’s not true, he thought. The best time would have been when he was just on the flight deck a few minutes ago. Harvey sat down and tapped a few buttons on his armrest monitor to recall the message from the morning. The transponder ID matched the one that he had received, confirming the identity of the arrival. He just didn’t have any names.

“Looks like our new Squadron Commander is here,” he informed the bridge. “Clear the bird for landing.” He would meet the new pilot down in the Flight Deck, but only after he typed out a quick log entry for the ship’s recorder.

***

“Aaaand we’ve been cleared for landing,” Terry said into the commsystems of his flight helmet. “Sending confirmation…inputting navigational adjustments for USS Black Hawk fighter bay docking. Should be rather easy and unaccompanied as it’s standard. Weapons systems offline?” he asked his back-seat officer out of habit. “Oh, uh, wow, sorry about that Dani. Old habits and all that.” He sighed a happy sigh. “It’s good to be back in the black.”

Dani grinned. “I mean… I can answer you if you really want me to, but I would have no idea if they were actually offline or not.” Why was she nervous all of a sudden? It hadn’t been all that long ago that she’d seen the Captain and crew.

“Nah, you’re good,” said Terry, with a chuckle. “I’ll check.” He reached to his upper left and switched the monitor from flight formation to weapons. “Yep, weapons systems offline. We’re good.” He accelerated the fighter’s impulse speed to close the gap as quickly as he could. Was it a desire to get back to the Black Hawk? Or did he just want to get out of the fighter as soon as possible. Honestly, it was probably a little of both.

“So we could do this a couple of ways. Number one, they can tractor us in once we’re within range. Number two, we could let the computer take over and land us. But I prefer option number three, me,” he said. “There’s something to be said for manual flight of a starfighter.”

As they closed in, an active diagram of the fighter deck popped onto monitors in both the front and back seat. An indicator flashed over the spot where their fighter was to set down. Below that was the transponder tag of the specific Valkyrie they were in. “Well this is new. Looks like this uprated Akira-class has a few modifications to squadron operations. And a new Flight Deck layout.”

The petite woman looked at the display in front of her and took a second to study the disgram. While she might not understand a lot of what she was seeing, it was still quite fascinating. “I don’t suppose, when we both have a little free time, you would be willing to teach me a bit more about all of this?” Dani asked.

He tapped in a few more commands before answering. "Yeah, I can do that. A few things here and there...may even get into some of the reasons and things that would affect you in Medical. Regarding pilot issues, I mean."

Terry kept an eye on the displays as he skillfully piloted the Valkyrie class fighter through the force field and into the hangar bay. A few times he glanced up and watched as they entered. No matter how many times he did it, it was still an awesome sight. He brought the fighter down in its designated spot and began powering everything down.

"I'd recommend waiting until the canopy is open before you remove the flight helmet. That way you can set it on the side of the craft," said Terry. "And if you wait until I get out, I can help you down."

As the fighter powered down, Harvey entered the flight deck. Already a crowd had started to gather around the new arrival. Evidently everyone was curious who their new commander would be, and Harvey was no exception. Harvey did not want to push himself to the front of the group, so he held near the back to see what would unfold.

“I’ll let you get out first,” she said, trying to settle her nerves a little bit. There was a group waiting to see who was about to climb from the Valkyrie, and Dani was sure they’d be pleased seeing Terry again.

Terry nodded as he looked out at the gathering crowd. "Uh, I don't know what I expected, but it sure wasn't this." He watched as one of the maintenance crew brought a ladder over. Terry removed his helmet, contrary to what he'd told Dani, and put it in his lap.

As it's final task before a complete shut down, the fighter's computer raised the canopy. There sat Commander Terry Walsh and Lieutenant JG Daniella Blake.

What neither of the Valkyrie occupants knew prior to arrival that most of the faces in the crowd that gathered weren’t just new to the Black Hawk, they were also new to what was left of the 325th. Two, maybe three, audible gasps could be heard as the helmets came off, belonging to those who had served with Walsh before. The rest of the group was silent, murmuring amongst themselves wondering who the well-built pilot was and how he’d managed to catch such an angelic rio.

But no reaction compared to the older man in the back, one whose arms were crossed as he awaited the Valkyrie pilot to disembark.

“Holy shit!”

That was a voice that everyone recognized. Most in the crowd turned to the source, and moved to form a lane as this man stepped forward. The closer this prominent figure approached, the larger the smile that grew on his face. “My, my… Terry Walsh… welcome home.” Captain Geisler then looked to Terry’s left and recognized the face with her. “And Miss Danielle Blake. Welcome home too.”

“Captain Geisler,” Dani greeted with a bright smile, her helmet tucked under her arm once she was safely on the ground. “And thank you. It’s good to see you again.” She was grateful to be back, and knew that the big guy next to her was, too.

Terry grinned widely as he came down the ladder, helmet in hand. "Thanks, Captain. It's good to be home. As much of a learning experience as the starbase was, their coffee sucked." He laughed and looked at Harvey. "Best coffee in the Gamma Quadrant can only be found on the Black Hawk. And the best family."

Harvey smiled and laughed. He stepped forward to the foot of the ladder and did something that was completely uncharacteristic – he reached out for a hug. “I couldn’t agree more, Commander.”
To say Terry was surprised would have been an understatement. Captain of the ship and all…and Harvey. But it was a nice surprise. The big man returned the hug and ended with a pat on the back. “Good to see you, too. I suppose I don’t have to tell you that I’m your new Squadron Commander and Dani here is your new Head Nurse. Well, new-old would be more appropriate I guess. And I didn’t see too many old faces.”

The Captain patted Terry on the back as well and resumed his regular posture and stance. He turned and looked at the crowd that surrounded them. “No, not too many old faces. They’re still a great crew, and they’ve shown their worth in the last couple of weeks.”

Harvey turned back to Terry and Dani. “Honestly, you have no idea how much of a relief it is to have you both back. Rather, how great it feels for the family to be coming back together.” It had only been a few weeks since the Black Hawk family had been spread out, but it had really felt like a couple years had passed.

“Squadron Commander and Head Nurse,” Harvey then added, his smile brighter. He liked the sound of that.

“It’s good to be back,” Dani said with a bright smile of her own, and she meant every word of it. She couldn’t wait to get back to it and meet those of the crew that were new to her as well as seeing the familiar faces once again. It was definitely great to be back home once again.

"Well, I guess there's only one thing to say, reporting as ordered, Captain Geisler," said Terry.

“Computer,” Harvey said after tapping his badge, “add to the ship’s manifest and duty roster, Commander Terry Walsh, Squadron Commander, and Lieutenant JG Danielle Blake, Head Nurse.”

The computer beeped and whirred before announcing, “Additions complete.”

To the new arrivals, Harvey stated, “Go get settled. Mister Walsh, you and I and Lieutenant Kenmore will need to conference this afternoon. Miss Blake, our new Doctor is out with the Away Team, but I’m sure you’ll have no trouble finding sickbay. In the meantime, welcome aboard.”

There were lots of things to be done now that they were officially here. Not the least of which was quarters assignment, replicating a couple of uniforms and clothing, and a shower. Well, maybe a quick bite to eat, too. But then it would be time to jump in the deep end and get right to work. As it always was.

 

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