Rude Awakening

Posted on 06 May 2024 @ 11:51pm by Captain Harvey Geisler & Lieutenant Commander Joey Geisler

1,822 words; about a 9 minute read

Mission: Shattered Unity
Location: USS Black Hawk
Timeline: June 19, 2390 || 0300 hours

The Black Hawk had been at warp for just over a day, bound for Starbase Unity to drop off the wreck of the Gaittithe. Not a soul remained on the battered vessel, and the Black Hawk found herself filled with more souls than ever. Normally, an Akira of the Black Hawk's stature would carry 530 souls, but she launched with a mere 453. They'd recovered 198 from the Gaittithe, with more than 30 of those in critical, life-threatening condition. All of the critical cases would be transferred to Starbase Unity upon arrival.

As for the fate of the rest of the survivors, already there were debates across Task Group Belvedere as to what to do with them. Belvedere was stretched thin and short staffed, and while Gaittithe's numbers would not be a huge help to anyone, they would certainly be a help.

By this point in the early morning, Harvey had only been in bed and asleep for an hour. Between the squabbles across the Task Group, and even Gamma Command chiming in on the personnel crisis, Harvey had found himself dealing more with petty arguments than actual command functions. These had gone on well past midnight, leaving Harvey to return to the family cabin late.

Joey glanced toward the bedroom door from where she sat on the couch. Was Harvey sleeping? She wasn't sure, and had no intentions of going in to find out lest she disturb him if he was. He hadn't been back long, and after recent events, he deserved to rest uninterrupted.

She, on the other hand, was restless... felt anxious and full of nervous energy, which was why their cabin was now spotless. Toys were put away, books and PADDs tidied... everything was in its place, and what wasn't had now found a home. And yet, it still didn't do much to help her current state of mind. It seemed nothing would.

With a frown, Joey pushed herself to her feet and moved to the replicator, quietly requesting a cup of hot coffee. Once it materialized, she carefully picked it up and blew on it briefly before taking a sip. Oh, the hot bean flavored water was good, and wouldn't do much to help how she was feeling, but maybe it would keep her awake and functioning.

Joey would have had no foresight that that cup of coffee would be so urgently needed. The comm system sounded in the main room, specifically through the combadge sitting on the desk that she and Harvey shared. "Bridge to Captain Geisler." There was a pause, and the voice sounded again. "Bridge to Captain Geisler, come in please."

She snapped out of her musings, her gaze shifting from the steaming cup of coffee in her hand to the desk where the combadge was. For it to be going off at this time of the morning meant it was likely important, and with Harvey asleep in the other room, it was up to her to get it to him. Part of her wanted to let him sleep, because she knew he needed it. However, a larger part knew what needed to be done.

Joey grabbed the combadge with her free hand, took a deep breath and steeled herself against the wave of emotions surging through her, then quietly made her way into the bedroom where he was. She crossed over to the bed, and gently reached out to touch his shoulder. "Harvey," she said softly. "the bridge is trying to reach you."

Harvey responded with a strong snore. His body shifted towards the touch, though he showed no signs of waking up.

With a frown, she tried again, this time shaking his shoulder a bit more firmly. Joey couldn't blame him for being hard to wake up. Most everyone was in the same position he was. "Harvey, the bridge needs you."

This time he actually stirred. Harvey shifted to lay on his back, and his eyes slowly opened. He smiled when he saw Joey, but that smile turned into a frown when he saw her expression. "What... uh... what's going on?"

"Your combadge," she answered, holding the device out to him. "It's been a minute or so, but the bridge was trying to reach you. Given the time, it has to be important."

And, on cue, the badge chirped again. "Bridge to Captain Geisler. Captain, come in please."

Harvey groaned, sitting up in the bed. Begrudingly, he accepted the device from his wife. While one hand rubbed his forehead and then rummaged through his hair, the other set the badge on the bed and gave it a tap. "Geisler here," he said with a yawn.

"Captain, we're receiving a distress call from Starbase Unity."

That did it. Every ounce of exhaustion and fatigue evaporated from his body upon recognizing the gravity of the situation. "Unity is in distress?" he asked, trying to confirm the statement.

Joey arched a brow. Unity was under attack? Who would do something like that? Pirates? Someone else? Whoever it was, they were bold. As her mind continued to throw out unanswered questions, she kept quiet so more information came through.

"Yes, sir," replied the officer of the watch. "Most of the message is garbled, but what we've heard indicates that they are under attack."

Harvey's eyes met Joey's for a moment. It was one thing when the Gaittithe had been overwhelmed. It was another to consider Starbase Unity. The base wasn't large, just a few structures built by the Dominion on top of a giant asteroid. It had been abandoned long before Starfleet occupied it, and the Dominion never protested. It would be unlike them to take up an issue with it now.

The Captain paused for a moment, glancing over at the nearby chronometer. They weren't due to arrive at Unity until the afternoon. "Bridge, if we increase to maximum warp, how soon would we arrive?"

"Sir, with the Gaittithe in tow, our best speed is Warp 8.4. We could get there in two hours."

Joey pressed the still hot cup of coffee into his hand. He was going to need it, and she could get another soon enough. "Then, two hours it is," she said, going to retrieve them both a fresh uniform. Two hours didn't seem like a long time, but when something like this was happening, it would feel like an eternity.

"Wait," Harvey said. He swung his legs off the bed in preparation to stand, but he did not yet exit the bed. "What would happen if we cut anchor?"

A confused voice on the other side of the combadge asked, "Captain? Cut anchor?"

"Correct, lieutenant," Harvey assured. "If we let go of the Gaittithe without dropping to impulse and push up to Warp 9.8, what would be our arrival time?"

Joey stopped to look at him, a bit surprised by what she was hearing. There wasn't anyone left on the Gaittithe, but they'd gone to great lengths to try to save it. The amount of time it could save, though.

There was silence on the other side of the line for a moment as the bridge crew ran the calculations. In what felt like an eternity, Harvey rose from the bed and looked towards Joey. "Twenty-three minutes."

Harvey looked at his wife, his confidant, and rock. The glimmer in his eyes would reveal the decision he'd already made. It wouldn't surprise him at all, her guessing ahead. In fact, Harvey would assume she'd make the same choice, especially since the Gaittithe didn't have a single soul aboard. He rose the badge to his mouth, not that he needed to have it so close. "Cut the anchor. Sound general quarters. And send word to any able-bodied Gaittithe personnel. Tell them to report to muster areas for assignment."

Joey nodded her head, understanding his choice. As he suspected, she would have made the same one had she been in his position. There was no time to waste. "You made the right choice," she said, placing his uniform on the bed while she continued to hold on to her own.

"I'll be on my way shortly," he informed the bridge. Harvey then tapped his badge to close the channel. To Joey, he said as he grabbed his uniform shirt, "Thanks. My only hope is that Unity and its support ships will be able to hold their own until they get there."

The alert klaxon sounded in the room, followed by the warning panels flashing red. "But we sure as hell need to stop with this shit during graveyard shifts. We won't be able to keep this up forever."

She had to agree, and as she opened her mouth to speak, the cries of two toddlers who had just been awakened by the alert could be heard along with the howls of their two canine protectors. It wasn't just the crew being affected.

Joey pinched the bridge of her nose and muttered a curse, but it was to be expected. Perhaps, there was someone she could speak to about having those removed, and she wasn't necessarily talking about the klaxons. "How do I turn that off?"

Harvey paid her reaction no mind as he was focused on getting dressed and getting to the bridge. "Computer, silence klaxon." At recognition of his voice, the computer killed the alert sound in the middle of its horn. If one listened carefully, they could still hear it from outside their quarters coming from the corridor. "And activate caretaker."

Instantly, a holographic nanny appeared in the room while both adults got dressed. "I'll watch the kids until Eden comes," the woman said, nodding at Joey.

Joey looked to the woman and nodded. All that was left was for her to finish changing, which she did. "Thank you," she said to the nanny. "I'll check in as soon as I'm able to." With that, she looked to Harvey as she smoothed a hand over her uniform. "Ready?"

Harvey tugged at the bottom of his jacket just after he zipped it up. "Not in the slightest." He picked up the cup of coffee that he'd given her, took a drink of it, and scowled. The bitter replicated taste seemed to fit perfectly with the overnight's chain of events. "But we're going anyway."

"Me either," his wife said as she left the bedroom. Twenty-three minutes. It was far better than the two hour window, but somehow still didn't seem fast enough.

Harvey moved towards the exit. Though he couldn't hear Joey's thoughts, his thinking was in the same vein. Twenty-three minutes was not fast enough. He could only hope that Unity and its attached ships could hold out until the Black Hawk joined the fight.



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