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Need A Tow?

Posted on Wed Mar 22nd, 2017 @ 3:08am by Rear Admiral David Hutchinson Sr & Captain Claudia Ainscow

Mission: S1E4 - Remnants Of A Lost Cause
Location: Captain Ainscow's ready room
Timeline: Mission Day 69; 14:30

Claudia was sat in her ready room - reeling from the events on Veloz Prime and finding herself unable to write the report that she would need to submit to Starfleet Command - having written very few words as the Endurance had started towing the wounded Vindex back to Deep Space 9 for repairs. Impulse drive was functioning but the warp drive was going to need some more attention - and the hull needed repairing as well - so it was likely the Vindex would be out of action for a week or so.

=/\="Captain Ainscow - a ship is approaching and asking for you. It's Commodore Hutchinson"=/\=

Claudia sighed. =/\="Alright...put it through to my ready room"=/\=

=/\="Patching it through to you now ma'am"=/\=

A few moments later the screen on her console changed from the barely written report to the face of Commodore Hutchinson on the bridge of a rather unfamiliar ship. Claudia was glad to see him though - and by the looks of it he and his crew were here to help.

"Am I glad to see you Commodore. What can I do for you today?" Claudia said.

David chuckled. "It's more what I can do for you Captain Ainscow. Your warp drive is showing as offline and as I'm sure you know the Endurance is towing you to Deep Space 9. We're here to relieve the Endurance so it can head back to the Gamma Quadrant and help with the remaining clear-up operations - I'll ask Captain Holmes to cut you loose so we can take over"

Claudia smiled and nodded. Graham had taken the wounded Vindex under tow as soon as the away party was aboard and the Bird-of-Prey had headed straight for Deep Space 9 to arrange for the Vindex's repairs as well as to hand over the captured craft to Starfleet for analysis and then disposal - or at least that's what she thought.

"Be my guest Commodore - although that bridge you're sat on doesn't look like the Renown bridge I last saw you on. Who's rather nice looking starship have you borrowed to come and rescue us?" Claudia replied.

David replied. "Oh this one's mine Captain - the USS Derbyshire - this is her first assignment under my command"

Looking to Isobel on his right he gave her the order to request the Endurance cut the Vindex loose and await further instructions from David. He then returned to looking at the viewscreen to continue talking to Claudia.

"This is the first Century-class in the Gamma Quadrant since the USS Princeton was scuttled to stop it falling into The Consortium's hands - I'd imagine they kept the Derbyshire back for a little while to make sure the coast was clear. I can't imagine what headlines it would generate if a brand new Century-class fell into the hands of those bastards.'re you holding up anyway? Probably a stupid question but I thought I'd ask" David concluded.

Claudia sighed. "Me personally? I'm tired, fed up and I just want to go to sleep for a month - but I've got reports to write and there's a load of letters to write to deceased crew members. But the more in-depth stuff is going to be in my report whenever I get around to doing it"

David sympathised with Claudia. Losing crew members was hard but by the sounds of it the Vindex had suffered heavily - and to David's knowledge they were the first she would be writing. He decided there and then to let her have a break once they were back in the Gamma Quadrant.

"Alright Captain. Do your report when you're ready - but once we're back in the Gamma Quadrant I want you to find somewhere nice and take some time off - even if it's just for a few days. I'm sure Commander ben-Avram can take care of things there in your absence" David said.

Claudia wasn't going to argue with a few days off the ship on New Bajor or somewhere similar - she knew after the 69 tough days she'd been in command of the Vindex it was time for a break. Nodding to confirm she was happy with David's instructions she knew the upcoming downtime the Vindex crew were getting at Deep Space 9 was well needed too.

"Any chance you could extend that to the whole crew for a week while we're docked at DS9? I think the crew more than deserve a break after all of this - and it seems like a good time to take a break while we're there" Claudia asked.

David nodded. "Of course - I'll arrange it once we're underway. For now however prepare for us to take you under tow - I'll beam over so we can have a chat in person about recent events. There are things I'm sure you want to tell me that you don't want the rest of my crew to hear too"

"Thank you Commodore. I look forward to meeting you again" Claudia replied.

David nodded again and instructed the on duty Tactical Officer to end the transmission. He then ordered the helm officer to move the Derbyshire into position over the Vindex's bow in preparation to tow the ship. With the Century-class in position the Endurance stood guard before jumping into warp and towards the wormhole.

Claudia knew without the Endurance's assistance it could well have been a very different outcome on Veloz Prime. She stood up and looked out of the window into space and entered a state of deep reflection - hoping that this would be the last time the wounded Vindex would endure so much damage and loss. The final death count including Lieutenant Wilson's tragic death and those who died on Veloz Prime stood at 431 - 431 letters she would have to write to the families of those who had died. As much as she wanted to simply write generic ones and change the names Claudia knew that wouldn't be right.

=/\="The Derbyshire now has us under tow Captain. We're underway again"=/\=

=/\="Acknowledged"=/\= Claudia whispered.

The truth was Claudia was deeply traumatised by everything that had gone on and she blamed herself for all of it. The Consortium's group had escalated from fighting what was a lost cause into being brainwashed into Saalkan to fight for one that was totally delusional and twisted yet could have been devastating for so many. Saalkan was gone in person - but she knew full well the effects of what one delusional and twisted man had done to the Vindex would last for such a long time. Not even three months into service the Vindex was down to less than half its normal complement and was in dire need of more personnel - although she expected it would be a long time before the Vindex had her full compliment back again.

The one thing aboard the Vindex that hadn't been affected was the spirit and determination of the crew to carry on in the wake of such a tragedy. That was one thing Claudia was so proud of and there was no prouder commanding officer in the Fourth Fleet than she was at that moment in time.


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