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Even Captains Need Shore Leave

Posted on Fri Mar 18th, 2022 @ 1:45pm by Commodore Tyler Malbrooke & Lieutenant Commander Katherine Malbrooke & Chief Petty Officer Xeres
Edited on on Tue Mar 29th, 2022 @ 10:42pm

3,827 words; about a 19 minute read

Mission: Episode 12 - Risin' To Risa
Location: Bajor
Timeline: MD003 2200 hrs

Kat heard Tyler enter their quarters and stood to greet him. They were halfway through shore leave and he'd been busy covering for half his crew so they could take a much-needed break. And that was the problem.

She'd changed out of her uniform and wore a pair of comfortable slacks and a loose-fitting blouse as her baby bump was starting to show. "Hey, Cowboy," she said, hugging him. "So, don't you think it's time you take your wife out for the night?"

"You know babe... You're right..." Tyler began as he unzipped the jacket of his uniform. The ship was docked and the XO was on leave so Tyler gave the bridge over to the Chief of the Boat. He figured that Barr could use some bridge time to get the hang of it. He held the hug for a moment, just grateful to be home again, in the arms of his beloved. He tossed the uniform jacket on the bed as he kicked off his boots. "So, you have any ideas? We have a few days and a Captain's Yacht..."

She raised an eyebrow. "I hadn't thought of that, but..." Her smile broadened. "Yes, we should. I haven't really been alone with you for far too long." It felt like they were running away and Kat couldn't wait. "I can be packed in five minutes. Well, ten."

"You know now that I think about it... Forget the Oakley. We can take the Serenity to Bajor. It would only take us just over a day to get there. Then a nice campsite for a few days. Perhaps a leisurely horseback ride. Finish it up with a romantic dinner on Bajor and some gaming at Quarks. It would be nice to see the sister station to Empok Nor. What do you think?" Tyler knew her answer before she said it and was already stuffing clothes into a duffel. At the same time he mentally prepared what he would tell Barr. Tyler had a mind to not be disturbed.

She giggled. "Yes." Kat didn't need to say more. She took out her duffel and packed quickly, but with more care than her husband. She felt like she was back in the Academy, sneaking off as they were. She glanced at Ty and grinned. They both needed this. And, with the way Starfleet sent the Pioneer off on one assignment after another, it might be the last chance they had together before the baby was born. She was packed in record time.

About a half hour later Tyler was showered, dressed, packed, and ready to go. He sent a message to Rowena McGowen letting her know that the ship was hers until the XO returned and that he would be taking Serenity. "Come m'lady, our chariot awaits." He smiled as he motioned toward the door.

As they made their way through the ship Tyler tried to be as inconspicuous as he could. Which was hard considering everyone knew what the Captain looked like, and now wondered where he was off to. But no one bothered to actually ask. So when Tyler and Kat arrived at the shuttlebay they were greeted by the Bolian Shuttle Bay manager Xeres. "Chief you didn't see us, and you especially didn't see the Serenity launch." The Bolian smiled and turned toward a computer screen. "Hmmm, seems like there is a draft in this ship that sounds like a person." Xeres glanced over his shoulder and winked. "Quick, before anyone sees..." Tyler urged his wife toward the Serenity.

She grinned at Xeres as she followed her husband. She was enjoying watching Ty try--and fail--to sneak off the ship. But it didn't matter. The crew loved him and would gladly support his attempted stealth. Besides, she thought it was cute.

Tyler plopped down in the pilot's chair of the Delta Flyer Class Serenity. He thought it appropriate that they would take this ship on their vacation. A trip that he hoped would bring serenity to the violent storm that had been his life lately. As the ship whirred to life Xeres cleared the launch bay and opened the bay doors. Tyler could hear the Bolian calling the bridge. "Nothing to worry about Bridge we are testing the launch system down here that is why the doors are open. I will have them closed in a jiffy."

The Serenity lurched forward and out into open space. "Setting a course for Bajor at warp 7. Course laid in..." Tyler said for the record, and then paused to give his wife the chance to do what he did every day.

She grinned. "Engage."

The Delta Flyer Class ship named Serenity jumped to warp before Tyler could get clearance. Not that he would ask for clearance. "So we have about a day at warp now. What say you to practicing for number 2." He grinned as he nuzzled her neck.

"Mmm," Kat purred. "I'd hate to get out of practice..." She was definitely going to enjoy her time alone with her husband.

"Well then..." He said and then kissed his wife passionately. It had been a rare time that the Captain was able to show the man behind the pips and he intended on enjoying it. Tyler reached out his hand to take hers. "Well I think we should take this party to the aft compartment."

"With a kiss like that, I'll follow you anywhere," she teased. Kat glanced at her console to make sure everything was good and followed Ty.

Tyler guided his wife down onto the bed that slid out of the bulkhead in the rear compartment. It was as if they were on their honeymoon again, newlyweds who could not keep their hands off each other. He unbuttoned his shirt and tossed it to the floor of the ship. Tyler was elated to not have to think about anything in this moment. No ship, no crew, no emergency that would interrupt them. Just husband and wife and the intimacy that comes with it.

Tyler awoke with his wife next to him. A quick look at the ship's chronometer showed that they had slept for about six hours. "Computer, eta to Bajor?" Tyler asked the open air. "It will take eighteen hours at current speed to arrive at the planet Bajor." The computer intoned. "Well that was a nice nap..." Tyler gingerly got up and got dressed and then he had a tray of eggs, pancakes, orange juice, and bacon. With coffee and all the trimmings waiting to go on a tray. "Rise and shine little lady..." He said with a smile as he placed the tray on the bed.

Kat smiled, smelling the breakfast. "Sugar, you can spoil me like this any time." She opened her eyes and carefully sat up. "Have I told you lately that you are amazing?" She took a bite of bacon and closed her eyes. "I'm so glad the morning sickness is over. This is so good."

He placed his hand on her stomach as she ate. Tyler Malbrooke's love language was service. He showed love by doing for others. "My pleasure I would travel 'round the moons of Nibia and 'round the Antares Maelstrom and 'round Perdition's Flames for you and only you..." He paused as he looked at his hand on her stomach. "And how is the newest crewmember

"Doing well. The baby is healthy and active and the mother has the best husband anyone could ask for." For the hundredth time she was glad she was on the Pioneer with him. She loved watching how he treated his crew. He was a fine captain and would be an amazing father. Kat finished her meal and sighed. "Have I told you lately that I love you?"

"And I you..." He reached out and took a strip of bacon and popped it into his mouth. "Now that we have a number of hours until our arrival. What do you want do first? Planet or station?" Ever the planner Tyler knew their time away was limited and he wanted to get the most of it.

Kat thought for a moment. "Planet first, then station, then home." It seemed like a natural progression for their mini vacation.

"Very well Bestri Woods it shall be. What pray tell would you like to do to kill the time before we get there." The only thing that Tyler hated about long journeys in a shuttle was the transit time.

She cupped his cheek with her hand. "We could play chess, or read, or watch something...maybe an old Western or two?"

She knew exactly how to get to his heart Tyler smiled broadly. "Computer play the Clint Eastwood Spaghetti western series." The computer chimed its acknowledgement of his request and the screen just to the foot of the bed began to show the movie. "Your wish is my command darlin."

Kat felt a tingle of excitement as they dropped out of warp to see the station with the wormhole in the background. The wormhole itself was an impressive site, but she loved the engineering of the starbase. While it was a twin of Empok Nor, this one seemed to be a bit more regal, to her thinking. Its history alone made it stand out, but there was something about it that made her engineer's heart beat a little faster.

"I'll request clearance to dock," she said. "Then we can take one of the shuttles to Bajor." It would be easier to leave the Serenity here and play tourist for the short time they'd be here.

As he stepped through the airlock and on to Deep Space Nine Tyler had the feeling of things being the same and yet uniquely different. The Dockmaster informed them that the next shuttle for Bajor would be leaving in ten minutes. So there was little time to soak everything in for the time being. He bid a fond adieu to the Serentiy knowing that his little ship would be in good hands and Tyler grabbed Kats hand to hustle toward where the shuttle launched from. "Come babe no rest for the weary. It is a twenty minute shuttle ride to the planet and then blissful relaxation."

Her step was light as she kept pace with him. It had been a while since they'd been able to run off like this and she was enjoying every minute of it. "I'd like to see the gardens, but after that, anything you want," she told Ty as they approached the planetary shuttle.

"You got..." Tyler said as they stepped onto the transport shuttle. Right after they stepped on a man in a Bajoran militia uniform called out that it was the last boarding call for this particular shuttle. Tyler sat down and pulled Kat into a seat next to him. "...It... After the gardens we will take a horse into the Bestri Woods. Is it wrong that I hope it rains for a night. There is nothing like the sound of rain softly tapping on a tent." Tyler was happy to be at a Starfleet hub where he did not get recognized for a change. The couple that they shared the shuttle with smiled as he spoke with excitement.

She considered his suggestion for a moment as she buckled in. "You know, I can't remember when I last heard rain on a tent or cabin roof. It would be fun, but I'm not sure it'll happen. Maybe we can take a night on the holodeck later?"

"Absolutely, we can grab some time on one of Quark's famous holosuites on the way back." Tyler said full knowing that if Quark was anything like Zulg there would be some negotiations to be had to gain access to a holosuite.

The journey to Bajor was uneventful and for Tyler it was refreshing to be away from anything and everything and to be with people who did not recognize him. The couple that shared the shuttle with them was a nice young Bajoran couple heading home after visiting Deep Space Nine. In a matter of hours the Malbrookes stood at the entrance to the great gardens of Bajor. The visitor's center looked to be a typical governmental building with what could only be described as a jungle beyond it. "Well my love, let the vacation begin..." He said with a motion toward the visitor's center.

Kat squeezed his hand and grinned. She had to admit, she liked not having a dozen people stop Ty with a question or a request. Even on Empok Nor one of them was generally recognized by someone.

The gardens were larger than she expected. There were three entrances, spaced far enough apart to keep the crowds down. She took the entrance to the far left, which opened onto a plaza surrounded by trees with benches on each side. Half a dozen paths led off it, allowing visitors to further enjoy the serenity of the gardens. The scents of flowers and trees, along with a dozen varieties of birds added to the feeling of being cut off from the world outside.

Kat didn't care where they went, knowing they'd eventually make their way out. For now, she took the second path from the left, slowing as they walked beneath a canopy of trees.

Tyler took in the sights and sounds of the gardens. He was just as interested in the people that they passed as much as the foliage. There were many Bajorans, some from the various religious orders on Bajor, but he took note that he and Kat were not the only non-Bajorans there.

When they slowed under the canopy of trees Tyler took his wife in his arms. He just had the urge to touch her, to hold her. As he did so a Bajoran in orange robes, the robes of a Vedek approached them. Without saying a word the Vedek touched Tyler's ear and whispered. "Your pagh is strong and the path set by the prophets is winding, but you walk it with honor and pride." The Vedek touched Kat's ear in turn and smiled softly. "Your pagh walks the strongest path of them all. The prophets smile upon you and the young one." Without any further word the Vedek left on their way with the Malbrookes muttering their thanks.

Kat watched the Vedek until he was out of site, then looked up at Tyler. "That was...incredible." She touched his earlobe. Änd so are you, Cowboy." She again took his hand and continued down the path, looking at the trees and pondering what they'd been told. The path opened into a sun-dappled garden with flowering bushes and small ponds. That led to a path under a flower-covered trellis, then another garden with smaller bushes and a fountain in the center.

Tyler's head reeled from the encounter with the Vedek. Kat was right it was incredible, and that came from a man who did not consider himself religious in any way. As they arrived at the fountain Tyler thought how could you not be religious when on Bajor, the culture, the people, environment breathed with their religion. He looked into the fountain and turned to his wife. "You know no matter what I do, what my ship or crew accomplishes it will never be as amazing as what you are doing right now." He closed his eyes and made a wish in the fountain, one that he hoped would come true. He wanted his child to grow to be simply put a good person. "How bout it babe, care to make a wish." He said as he opened his eyes.

She took out a small coin and grinned. "Why not?" She hadn't put much thought into Bajoran religion and Vedeks before, but this one felt...different. Or was it just that she was pregnant? She made a wish and tossed the coin in the fountain. Maybe she'd donate something to the temple, too. "You know," she said, taking Ty's hand again, "I'm not doing anything that hasn't been done by billions of women before me."

"This is true and a great Captain once said that how we celebrate life is at least as good as how we celebrate death. The creation of life is so much more than... well... anything. Those billions of women amaze me to a place that words cannot express." Tyler replied with a soft smile. He grew up a ranch hand and being out in nature had brought him home and already the stress of command melted away.

Kat kissed him. "Well, we couldn't do it without great men by our sides." She couldn't imagine what her life would be like without Ty. Right now, she would enjoy having nothing more pressing than where they wanted to go next.

They continued through the gardens, pausing at one more fountain before finally making their way to the exit.

Once they left the gardens Tyler led them down the street to what appeared to be an older horse ranch. This was something that Tyler knew a lot about and was right in his wheelhouse. In truth he missed sitting on a horse, it was infinitely better than the chair on the bridge. In short order Tyler negotiated with the Bajoran man there for the use of two horses and all the camping gear they would need for the rest of their stay.

When everything was brought out to them Tyler smiled broadly. "Well little lady, think you remember how to set a horse. It is about a half days ride through the countryside into Bestri Woods." He knew of a great campsite right next to a lake where he would set camp. It would be a little bit to get there, but he was sure that they could make it.

She looked at him with one eyebrow raised. "Of course." It had been a while, but she hadn't forgotten. Nor would she, with Tyler in her life. She easily mounted her horse to prove it.

"Well then..." Tyler said as his American midwestern accent began to take full hold. "See if you can keep up..." With that he kicked his horse into up to canter and took off with a shot. The countryside began to whiz by him and he could see Kat a pace behind him out of the corner of his eye.

For some Captains the height of life was sitting on the bridge at warp speed. Tyler enjoyed that, but for him nothing beat this moment. The wind in his hair, hooves beneath him. Just he, his wife and their horses. He laughed, almost giddy as he ducked beneath branches and steered his horse to stay in the middle of the path. He spurred the horse from a canter to a full gallop and whooped loudly at the exhilaration of it all.

Kat thanked the owner and urged her horse to follow. It didn't take much as the mare was eager to break into a run. She didn't care if she beat him or not. Watching her husband like this was a rare treat. She laughed out loud, then leaned low so she wouldn't run into any low branches.

After a while the horses tired and they dropped into a walk to enjoy the scenery around them.

In a matter of hours as they enjoyed their ride through the Bajoran woods the couple arrived at the shore of Lake Saiga. There Tyler allowed his horse to lower its head to drink of the cool water, while he looked around and took it all in. On the southern side of the lake was a small flat area. On one side it bordered the lake on the other was a large cliff face that was a u shape. It was well shaded, and best of all well hidden. "I think we have found our home for the week. Hiking, riding, swimming, climbing and anything else you can think of." He said as he pointed toward the area he meant to make a camp out of.

"Oh, Ty, it's breathtaking," Kat said, looking around. "And perfect." She grinned and kissed him before unsaddling and brushing down her horse. There was plenty of grass for grazing, too. Once she'd taken care of that and left both horses tied to a tree where they could graze, she went over to help her husband with the tent.

As he sat there in front of their tent with the sounds of a crackling fire, and Kat beginning to cook dinner, it hit Tyler like a ton of bricks. This would most likely be the last trip they had as a couple. Their next trip would be a family with little feet walking with theirs. "Right, my love, what do we have on the Chuck Wagon tonight?"

"For the first night, burgers and fried potatoes," she replied. "Tomorrow we catch a meal in the lake." She'd gone over the list of supplies and figured they had enough for two meals a day, if breakfast was simple. That would allow them to fish or catch game for lunch or dinner.

"Sounds great..." In the moment there was nothing better. Tyler Malbrooke who normally worried about everything involving his ship and crew did not even give it a thought. This was simply pure bliss.

They woke early the next morning. Kat made griddle cakes and the two set out to hike around the lake, just to see what was there. The weather was perfect. They mostly walked along the shore, occasionally skirting around a clump of trees that grew too close to the water. After lunch, they continued to explore the area, taking the horses so they could get some exercise. Near sunset, they caught fish for their dinner. "You know," she said, after she'd washed the dishes and settled next to him by the fire, "You have the best ideas."

"I married you... That was by far the best idea I have ever had. Now I think tomorrow we attack that rock wall an get a good climb in." Tyler spoke as he cuddled with his wife by the fire. As Captain of a starship he knew that the galaxy was vast an filled with so very much. However, in this moment during this trip there was nothing but he and his wife.

"I'm the lucky one," she insisted. "And I have a whole week with you all to myself." She didn't mind sharing him with the Pioneer, but times like this were hard to come by. She was going to enjoy every minute of it.

A Joint Post By

Captain Tyler Malbrooke
Commanding Officer, USS Pioneer

Lieutenant Commander Katherine Malbrooke
Operational Advisor, USS Pioneer

Chief Petty Officer Xeres
Shuttlebay Manager, USS Pioneer


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