Cr.01.10 – Captain A Darkka had been in Central Ops when the Rogue had called in, thus the Duty Officer hadn’t needed to relay the second message from Hawkes far – if at all. The first message had puzzled her, until Captain Dennoz had informed her about Space Pirates.
“They have been plaguing the area, for some time; a nuisance for those ships that don’t have access to the Chozo Gates, especially Traders and cargo carriers,” he told her.
“I see. So any ship that comes via the Bajoran Wormhole gets hit by these Pirates,” watching the monitor display of the Rogue making her way towards the station and then around using their turning to slow down their momentum.
“It’s one reason why most of us have had to double up as supply ships to and from the Alpha Quadrant, recently.”
“That explains the extra cargo I was told was ballast weight!” her tone indignant.
“Sorry, Captain Darkka, security measures,” said the Duty Officer.
“I’m sure they were, Lieutenant,” giving the man a soft smile. “Hanger bay nine, right?”
“Yes, Ma’am. Lower levels.”
“Understood,” she said and left the area, with Dennoz reminding her of the briefing later. She just waved a hand showing she’d heard and took the next turbo-lift down to the lower levels of the alien station and hanger bay nine. Whilst in the lift she re-called her last conversation with her former CO – Calyssa a few days before:

“Let me give you a piece of obligatory and unwanted advice as your previous CO: Don’t have your XO take over your ship. Stay on top of things and if Commander Whyte does something you don’t like, be sure to let him know,” she said, stirring her cup of tea.
“I will keep that in mind,” Alyxx said, placing her cup against her lip.
She smiled somewhat amused now thinking about the few times she’d had to takeover so-to-speak, with another of her captains.
“Any idea what Daniel will put your crew of ‘misfits’ up with as first mission?”
“I have no idea. I foresee that it will take some time before the bunch has made its way to The Reach. Once they are all aboard, we’ll see what the Admiral has in store for us,” came the ever wise reply Calyssa came to expect from Alyxx.
She nodded. “That gives you plenty time to get used to your ship.”
“She is small but formidable. Plenty of science facilities to do what we do best.” Alyxx smiled.
“Good to hear. I am already looking forward to our first joint mission.” Calyssa emptied her cup.
“As am I! Now if you’ll excuse me, I am due back on the bridge of my ship.” Alyxx got up and made her way to the exit of the diner.
“We’ll keep an open comm-link, Captain.”

She smiled again at those parting words as she exited the turbo-lift into the large hanger bay to see the Ju’Day class vessel sitting within the hangar confines looking a little worse for wear. She decided to stay close to the shadows awaiting her second-in-command to join her, thus she watched as the small crew walked down the open cargo ramp looking as ragged as their ship. The first to emerge from the ship’s shadows was Hawkes the loveable trader captain, looking something like a cross between Capt. Jack Sparrow and Errol Flynn as a seafaring rover of the high seas. Next came a wizened elder male who reminded the Trill female of the humanoid version of an eagle owl, hence his name – Owl. A tall lanky individual came next with a rounded Spanish male; the contrast between the two was very striking. Finally, carrying himself with as much dignity as he could muster, with a young female clinging to him was her new XO clean shaven and in his regulation duty uniform. Feeling her Chief of Security join her, they walked over to the motley crew. She wondered how things would play out as Whyte hadn’t actually met his new commanding officer yet, making Alyxx grin at the thought.

“So you’re a Starfleet officer?” the way the male said it indicated he had no love for the organisation.
“As we have already explained, Owl; it was best that you didn’t know or we wouldn’t be here now,” said Hawkes trying not to sigh exasperated, whilst watching Whyte with the young female.
“Yeah those nasty Pirates would ‘ave blasted us before we see ‘em coming,” noted the Chief, amused by the female’s antics with ‘Karel’.
“So the reports of them using telepaths and/or empaths could be true?” remarked Ayala trying to keep a straight face as the female clung more tightly to Whyte, making him look distinctly uncomfortable.
“We can’t verify it, but yes it’s true,” Hawkes said. “At least we have one less notorious Pirate to worry about – for now,” he admitted. “She did that with me on the Pirate ship; which is why she got transported over.”
“Indeed,” said Alyxx quietly amused.
“This is Landra; she’s a sub-species of the Kezzle.”
“Really! No ears or tail!” noted the round Spaniard frowning at her clinging attitude.
“She’s adolescence; she won’t get her full cat-like features until she reaches adulthood,” trying not to cringe under the youngsters body. “Until then she’ll look fully human, but be quicker and more agile than your average human female for her age. Landra – enough!” he admonished her firmly realising she wasn’t going to let go of him of her own accord. She looked dewy eyed at him, but slide off him and stood close to his side.
“Seems she likes men in uniforms!” Alyxx quipped softly. Whyte just breathed deeply to calm himself, wondering when he would meet his new commanding officer.
“You not going to give the Capitan ‘er package?” queried Chief having noted the four pips on the Trill female’s uniform.
“Oh, yes the package!” Hawkes felt his face splitting into a wide smile especially at ‘Karel’s’ expense. “Commander Whyte – the package for Captain A. Darkka; right Alyxx?” he said watching out of the corner of his eye as the penny-dropped on Whyte’s expressive and shocked face. The Trill female tried and failed to keep a straight face, even Ayala was smiling.
“Captain Hawkes, your ship is well named,” she admonished him; drawing the attention towards herself so that Whyte could recover. “Loveable Rogue that you are.”
“Naturally!” he responded unabashed. Alyxx laughed, her green eyes lighting up with her genuine mirth.
“Get away with you, Hawkes,” exasperated at him. “Lt. Cmdr. Ayala, please escort Cmdr. Whyte to Carenza’s current docking berth. I’ll talk to you both later.”
“Yes, Ma’am,” Ayala accented, indicating the way; thus the two officers left.
“He not know you ‘is Capitan!?”
“No obviously!” giving Hawkes a knowing look; he just shrugged his shoulders. “I suggest you all keep to the lower decks for now. Tight security measures in place upstairs.”
“Bigwigs!?” asked Owl.
“Something like that,” she sighed looking over the rag-tailed crew and noting their collective tiredness, even in Rory Hawkes – not that she was ever allowed to call him by that name especially in public if ever. She felt a small young hand slip into hers and turned to find Landra standing beside her, her eyes dark and wide. “Come with me,” she encouraged them softly, squeezing that trusting hand as she led them from the hanger.


The motley tired crew and one Starfleet officer soon stood in a spacious ante-room; Landra scampered away from the group and started to explore the rooms leading off it, her eyes wide and bright, whilst the males stared, feeling a little out of place.
“These quarters have been especially designed and adapted for use by family members of my crew and will be used by them in the future, when not aboard Carenza. So we’d be grateful that you use them with care,” Alyxx informed them. “Get some rest all of you. We’ll sort out your ship in due course,” anticipating their collective concern about their ship.
“Alyxx…” Hawkes began.
“Rest, first,” she stressed commandingly. “The replicators will supply you with whatever you need – with a few notable exceptions,” giving Hawkes a knowing look of disapproval.
“Bother!” he muttered under his breath.
“Otherwise you have a free hand, in choice of eatables, clothing, etc.”
“Thanks, Alyxx. This is most kind,” he said with much feeling, taking her hand and giving it a kiss, their eyes meeting.
“Enjoy your stay. Just make sure I’m not bailing all of you out of the local Brig!” smiling at Hawkes.
“Yes, Ma’am, er, no Ma’am, whatever!” shrugging his shoulders apologetically and letting go of her hand. She smiled, kissed his cheek and then left. “What are you all staring at?” he said trying not to blush at their collective knowing grins and strode over to the nearest sleeping area, off the main ante-room.
“Let’s get settled in as ‘er Ladyship said,” noted Chief’s voice, before the closing of the door to his chosen quarters cut off anymore sound.


Meanwhile Charles Whyte walked quietly beside this Security Chief – his subordinate he realised, but not until he’d had his full command codes set-up and verified by this very same male, thus he could not in all good conscience order this man around. ‘I must be feeling tired,’ he thought. ‘And as for my new CO….’ he let his mind trail at that realising he was tired.
“We’ll need to take a different route than would be normal to our docking berth. Security checks,” the Lt. Cmdr. informed him as they rode the turbo-lift.
“Security check, Lieutenant Commander?” he queried puzzled.
“Lt. Cmdr. Ayala, Sir,” answering the unspoken part of the question with a soft smile. “I was at one of your interviews, Commander,” he softly reminded his fellow officer.
“Sorry, Ayala,” he sighed, rubbing a tired hand over his face. “It’s been a tense 24 hours.”
“I can imagine. This is our deck,” leading the way out of the lift towards the observation deck. They both paused to gaze out at their ship where she was docked to the alien station.
“Is that an Azura class?” Whyte asked pointing out the sleek vessel hovering into view.
“Yes the first in this sector. She’s the USS Callisto.”
“You said something about security checks, Lt. Cmdr. I know a Chozo expedition force vessel left Earth with some high ranking officials on board,” his tired face asking the rest of the question. Ayala found himself grinning relaxed with this man, much as he’d done with his former Maquis captain, when they’d first met.
“Yes, Sir,” he responded answering the question posed.
“You’ll have to – yawn – brief and update me on all the details,” yawning again.
“Aye, Sir. Shall we?” indicating the direction they needed to take. Whyte nodded hefting up his holdall of belongings as the two walked side-by-side to the Carenza.

Ayala had just finished confirming and verifying Whyte’s command codes when they were joined by another body, just as Charles tried to stifle a big yawn.
“I think, Charles you had better get some well earned rest. Now Commander,” her tone and stress on the last two words making it plain it was an order not a request. “Settling in, touring this vessel, getting duty rota’s done, briefing and meeting the staff can all wait until after you have joined me for breakfast at 07:30hrs, sharp tomorrow morning, Cmdr. Whyte.”
“Acknowledged……Ma’am,” he stammered quietly.
“I see you’ve been put in the picture about that particular protocol bear-bug!” she grinned. “Now bed!”
Ayala said nothing during this exchange, but it was clear he was having a hard time keeping a straight face; he was also aware that Whyte would not have had a chance to familiarise himself with the schematics of this Merian class vessel thus he offered to escort the tired male to his assigned quarters. Whyte nodded gratefully as he left the security office. Alyxx watched them go a soft amused smile playing about her eyes and mouth, knowing her command team would work well together, which was half the battle in running a Starship; for she also knew the duties required of an XO as she been there herself for a number of years even when she hadn’t expected it.

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