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Empty Chairs & Empty Tables

Posted on Wed Apr 15th, 2020 @ 8:39pm by Commodore Tyler Malbrooke & Commander Quinn Ó Flannagáin & Lieutenant Ameri Ó Flannagáin & Lieutenant Commander Katherine Malbrooke
Edited on on Thu Apr 16th, 2020 @ 12:58am

4,057 words; about a 20 minute read

Mission: Episode 9 - Empok's End
Location: Malbrooke's Quarters - Deck 3 - USS Pioneer
Timeline: MD005 2100 hrs

With everything that had happened, and will happen Tyler thought it best to invite his closest friends over for a drink and a chat. Who knew when they would have a chance for this again. For the time being he sat on the couch and let his mind wander. Partially on the battle that was to come, and partially on how they got to where they were to begin with. All the Captain had wanted was to explore, and yet here they were on the eve of something that could very well spark another war.

Kat checked the table to make sure everything was ready for their guests. Then she went over and sat beside Ty. She didn't want to disrupt this thoughts, so she said nothing. She just put her hand over his, letting him know she was there.

Tyler smiled as his bride sat down next to him. "I am looking forward to spending some time with friends that does include being in peril." He laughed at his own joke. "I can only hope that the rest of my crew is doing the same, gathering with friends and cherishing this time that we have. I only wish the rest of the gang from the station was here."

"I know. Maybe, when this is all over, you'll get to see some of them again," she said encouragingly. There were a few old friends she hoped made it off Empok Nor. When they retook the station, she would have to find out what happened to them.

"There is something to be said for Admiral Martinez and Colonel Ijaan. Hood sent out a distress call and most of the fleet decided that the station was a lost cause. In fact Starfleet Command told Hood to evacuate and not look back. But The Admiral and the Colonel came to aid. With their help this may just be possible." Tyler placed an open bottle of Cheteau Picard and four glasses on the table.

"Indeed," she said. "Tonight we will drink a toast to them, and to all the others who came to help."

Tyler smiled at the sentiment. Then embraced his wife tightly and kissed her on the forehead.
* * *

Walking to the Malbrooke's Residence...

Quinn looked to Ameri, "Enya has everything she needs right?" He asked Ameri. Before he had a few drinks, he wanted ot make sure Enya was taken care of. Enya had last talked with Ameri, when he was in the shower, getting ready for tonight.

“Yes,” Ameri replied with a smile. “I made certain we were covered for the night because I felt we were going to need it with all that had happened.” She paused. “We need to support one another, we are all friends and I am glad we were invited over I don’t feel like sitting at home.”

"I feel bad for leaving her at home. Enya needs to express her feelings as well, I almost brought her tonight." Quinn said out to Ameri. He knew they needed this, but so did Enya. Part of him, wanted to go home and get her.

“Then go get her,” Ameri encouraged him. “She is alone and probably upset and frightened. We don’t want to be alone so imagine what she is feeling.”

"I want to go back and get her, but this is not the ideal scenario for her, we might be drinking tonight." Quinn pointed out to Ameri. He wanted reassurance, he was making the right call. Managing a ship full of people was easy, managing your loved ones was hard.

“I think we need this.” Ameri said after thinking for a moment. “Enya was asleep, if she wakes up and there is a problem we are not that far away.”

"Your right." Quinn said, as they arrived at the door way.
* * *

Quinn tapped on the room intercom buttom. Trying to get Tyler and Kat's attention. He waited outside the door, with his very sexy wife by his side. Thinking to himself, she was right. They needed this. Enya would be okay. He would make it up to her later.

"Come on in..." Tyler called to the door, as he sat with his arm around Kat. When the O'Flannagains walked in he stood and walked over to them. Only his closest friends knew an important fact about Tyler, he was a hugger. He embraced each of them in turn. "Quinn, Ameri thanks for coming. Please sit."

Kat followed her husband, hugging each of their guests in turn. "Thank you both for coming. Can I get you a drink?"

“Yes please,” Ameri nodded. “Surprise me with something that is strong and bound to make me feel less stressed.” She wanted to just forget for a bit.

Kat knew their preferences and poured everyone a drink, serving Quin and Ameri first, then getting a drink for herself and Ty.

She handed her husband his drink, then took a seat beside him.

Ameri took a drink. “I am so grateful you invited us here. I needed to get out, ever since I went off shift I have been replaying what happened and trying to figure out if I missed something. Could we have known and saved more.” She shook her head. “Quinn has assured me not but I couldn’t help it.”

"I think we all have, it comes with the territory. But there was nothing we could do. The New Maquis and Obsidian Order laid in a formidable trap and the station paid the price. However, I know that we will be walking those halls again soon. I take solace in the fact that our crew, our family is here and together. That we will have a large hand in kicking those invaders out of the station." Tyler smiled when he finished speaking, however, the smile veiled a small worry, a thought for the two he dropped off on the station. Right in the middle of it all.

"Were going to get the station back." Quinn said, he needed answers, and he knew they were on that station. But he was curious to solve the mystery. What happened to the USS Pioneer, where did it go? And why did it go?

Tyler was happy to see that his XO agreed with him. However, he can tell that his friend had something else on his mind. Tyler hoped that Quinn would open up a bit, this was the time and place for it.

"With you, Ty, and the Pioneer, I have every confidence we will," Kat said.

Ameri could sense as well that Quinn was troubled. “Let it out,” she suggested softly. “It is just the four of us here.” They were more than friends but family.

Quinn listened in, waiting to see if Ty or Kat let it out, like Ameri suggested they should. They all needed to talk about it. So they can begin to heal. He loved this trait about her.

Tyler ran his hand through his hair, it was an affectation that he did when he was deep in thought or was trying to find the words to say what was on his mind. His shoulders sagged as he felt the entire weight of the world on them. "Quinn, where did we go wrong? What did we miss? There had to of been a way to stop this, to stop the bloodshed before it happened. All those lives lost, those voices silenced. They try to prepare you for it in command training... But nothing prepares you for the loss of family."

Kat smoothed Tyler's hair down and began to rub his neck while she waited for Quinn to answer.

Ameri took Quinn’s hand in hers and held it. Letting him know he wasn’t alone in this and should he need it she would be his strength as well as a shoulder to cry on. Their marriage was a partnership, both being there when the other needed them.

"The Mole, we have failed to capture the mole. Clearly this mole is more rooted than we originally were lead to believe. We can not make that mistake again, it already cost us greatly." Quinn pointed out. He wanted to find the mole, and bring the mole to justice.

Tyler and Quinn had discussed this before, and he agreed with the XO. "That could be the only good thing that comes out of all of this. With the reports coming in of who evacuated and who didn't we can narrow the suspects down. However, there can't be many people who would be privy to the information. But the more important question would be why would someone do it?"

"Because they're loyal to Leyton," Kat suggested. "You know, you might be able to feed the mole false information without knowing who he or she is. Either put something in the Pioneer's computer the mole would find invaluable or make it look like you know who he or she is and see who gets fidgety."

“That is a good plan,” Ameri spoke up. “We can monitor who looks at certain files. Think of something and then we can wait for them to react to it. Catching this person is a priority, they need to pay for what they have done.”

Kat nodded. "I've had plenty of time to look through the main computer and I think I can come up with something--especially with a little intel help." She looked from Tyler to Quinn. "But it'll be up to you two to decide if we go that route."

Tyler smiled he was both elated and interested to see that the ladies had an interest in catching the traitor. "I think the culprit would have to be apprehended sooner than later. Although whatever damage that they could cause in the immediate future is already done, it would be further down the road the that is where it would help. I think it would have to be a Starfleet Officer, in the fight over Cardassia our own shield modulation was used against us. What say you Number One?" Tyler turned toward his friend and first officer.

"Our shield modulation is on file. As precaution, I have rotated the modulations, and neglected to tell Starfleet this time around. What we could do, and this would be very bold of us..." Quinn said, as he paused for a moment, to figure out how best to say it.

"We could track down a small raider. After doing that, we can send a communique that we are transporting a maquis prisoners to Starbase 375, for a valuable intelligence. We can make it appear like the maquis prisoners have shared sensitive information. Then that raider will be given our new codes from Starfleet, the ones we are going to request. And when the raider attempts to access our new codes, it will upload a virus that will track the mole. We will have to change the code to make it look like we are avoiding capture. Once we get the mole we drop shields allow them on, and flip them to get to the mole." Quinn said, hoping they would like the idea, or help him refine it.

Tyler mulled over the plan, and it was a good one. "Do we have the time? We are on the eve of a major battle. If we do not capture the mole before the battle there is a heavy risk that the they will escape in the havoc of battle. That is if they have not already escaped during the evacuation..." His voice trailed off as he fell into thought again. This was not the way he wanted this evening to go, but it was a necessary evil. He looked at his wife, and his friends and felt a small amount of weight lifting. "...Let's get it done. I think we may be able to test our resident Maquis' loyalty. Have her leak information needed. That may speed up the process."

"You capture a raider, then give it the new codes?" Kat asked, not sure she understood. She wanted to catch the mole as much as they did, and wanted to be sure she understood Quinn's plan. "How will this track the mole?"

Ameri sat back and listened. It seemed to her they already had a solid plan coming into this. She should have know that Quinn and Tyler would have had something in the works. For a moment she had felt like her and Kat has a way to help out. The important thing however was catching them.

"No, we let them download our bogus logs remotely, and while they are doing that, they download our virus. The trick is to make it look like we are attempting to stop them from downloading our virus, and resisting their attempts." Quinn told Kat, hoping that cleared up things.

Tyler nodded "It is the best way that we have. But what if the culprit is Starfleet. I mean that is a scary thought. But if the culprit is Starfleet then they will know that the downloaded logs are false."

Kat nodded, understanding. "That's easy enough. We did something like that to the main computer with the program I found. I'm sure intel will have no problem creating what you need."

Ameri listened as they spoke. Quinn looked a little better now that they were working out a plan. “There are ways to block others from being able to tell if they are a trap. Otherwise we would never catch anyone.”

Kat thought for a moment. "You know, Ameri and I could put something together with the computer while you two do the hard work," she offered. "I could modify what's already been set up for the bait, and with Ameri's help, we could have a nice little package ready for delivery in no time."

"I think we have the basics of the plan figured out Ty." Quinn said, as he waited to her what Ty thought of the plan. Quinn thought it was their best chance, to catch this mystery officer.

"Sounds great! Let's get it done." Tyler smiled and then ran his hand through his hair. He sipped his drink as he thought what to say next. "How did we get here? This was not supposed to be how it went." He knew that they were all thinking the same thing about how the events of the past few days had effected them, and the crew. Tyler tried to get it out in the open.

"We just got lucky?" Kat quipped. "Seriously, though, I think you did. This was well-planned. If events hadn't gone the way they did, Empok Nor would have been lost. I think you're the best hope for getting it back--and not because I'm your wife and I'm biased."

"The two of you are a force to be reckoned with," Ameri added with a smile. "Most people underestimate the two of you when they meet you. There is this drive and calling inside you that shows you won't give up, you have the determination and skills to win." She took a drink from her glass and suddenly felt better.

Tyler sipped his drink again with a smile on his face. Sure they were biased, but they were friends and Tyler Malbrooke knew better than most that if you didn't have friends then you didn't have much. "Number One, how do you feel about all of this?"

"My feelings at this stage are ill relevant and honestly a distraction. We should focus on the mission at hand, we can talk about feelings and repercussions, after the mission is completed. I don't think we can afford any distractions, if we are going to make this happen."

“Quinn is right,” Ameri agreed, taking a drink from her glass. “We need to push forward and stay on the path that makes each life lost or changed mean something. It won’t be easy but we can be there for each other
If that focus becomes muddy.”

Quinn smiled at Ameri, he loved the fact she had his back. She was a strong and independent woman. A big trait that he loved about her, it was nice to hear, she agreed with his call, in this particular case.

Tyler had always been the kind of Captain that preferred to have consensus before acting. He was glad that in this case he had it. "Well I think then we all have our mission. I will leave the traitor detecting in your capable hands ladies. However, once the culprit is found they must be apprehended alive. We need to know two things above all. The first is exactly how much information they shared. The second is why..." He had found himself in good spirits again, he thought that is what being surrounded by your closest friends would do. Tyler thought his wife to be his closest and dearest friend, he was glad that she was here now to go through this with him. He raised his glass in toast. "Here is to empty chairs at empty tables where our friends will speak no more." It was a sentiment that summed up how he felt at the moment.

Kat agreed with her husband. She raised her glass, silently joining in on the toast. She was especially grateful for friends, and for being with Tyler now.

Ameri raised her glass as well. This was no time for talking but to share a drink for those who would never sit at a station again, spend time with friends and loved ones. To give on to their lives and the sacrifice they made. She was grateful for Tyler and Kat, friends who accepted her and Quinn the way they were and for her husband and daughter, who completed her life in so many ways.

When they'd made their toast, Kat looked from Quinn to Ameri. "How are you doing? How is Enya taking all this?"

Quinn decided to answer the question. "She is stronger than all of us. She is doing well. Probably because she is young enough, not to see the gravity of the situation." Quinn pointed out. He looked to see, if Ameri was going to add anything to his comment.

“Enya is the best part of both of us,” Ameri added. “She perseveres in ways I cannot even explain.” She paused. “And she has a close relationship with us and if something bothers her she will talk to Quinn or I.” She smiled. “It makes me happy that she has you two for family as well.”

"She is one hell of a young lady, would have to be with both of you as parents. I have noticed that she has a good head on her shoulders. I know that we are quite fond of her as well. In fact perhaps she should come visit the bridge once in a while. The Pioneer is and always will be a family, and a home. In keeping with that Kat and I are considering the possibility of giving Enya a playmate. You have persuaded me Quin, finally." Tyler spoke the line about Quinn with a small chuckle.

Kat nodded in agreement and grinned at Ameri. "Although any child we have will be too young to play with Enya."

Quinn's eyes perked up. He was a little surprised to hear, what he thought he heard. "Are you? Or your trying too?" Quinn asked, being a little nosy, and thinking to himself, well its about time Tyler and Kat. They are a legacy that needs to be continued.

"We're trying." Kat smiled at Tyler before turning back to Quinn. "Now it's just a matter of timing and luck."

“I am so happy for both of you,” Ameri smiled. “There is such joy and a feeling I can’t describe when you hold that baby that is born from love.”

"We are trying, but we are also going to let nature take its course. I am excited, however, I also think it might be best to wait until we have the station back." Tyler started and then paused to smile at Quinn. "You know when we have child it is going to make your job twice as hard. We are going to have to bring a teacher on board and that is just the beginning. So with any luck there will be a third Malbrooke aboard the Pioneer.

Kat didn't think nature cared what was going on, but she wasn't going to say it out loud. "What are you doing about a teacher for Enya?"

Quinn grinned, as he looked over to Kat. "Holographic teachers, have been very helpful." Quinn said, thinking about how the remote learning was going for Enya. She was doing remarkably well.

“Enya has always been well focused,” Ameri murmured. “She likes school which I believe helps.” Ameri had wanted a physical teacher at first but she was impressed with the holographic one.

"Well I am going to put in a request for a physical teacher. Personally I think that is better than virtual learning. Although, I am glad to hear that Enya is doing so well." Tyler replied. "I wonder though how has she liked growing up in the fleet?" Tyler was curious and it may be an indicator how his child would do.

“She is lonely at times,” Ameri admitted. There had been times she would be upset at having no friends of her own age. “It is tough not having that friend to confide it but she is really close to Quinn but we know it’s not the same.”

"A real school should help her have more social interactions," Kat said. "It may also attract more families to the Pioneer." At least she hoped it would. She would like to see a few more kids on the ship.

"A teacher would only be needed, if you planned on having more children on the USS Pioneer?" Quinn said to the group. He wondered if old man Tyler was starting to soften up.

"Well," Kat glanced at Ty and smiled. "That's the general plan." At least, she wanted more than one. Three was a good number. "What about you two? We could start a trend."

"We are thinking of more than one. I was also considering inviting the rest of the families aboard. I know the Larim has a wife that he would like to see more, there are most likely others like him." Tyler said as he sipped his drink.

"That would be great," Kat said. She knew some of the families that once worked on Empok Nor. It would be great to have them on the Pioneer.

"If we were to consider this, we would have, to modify some of the living accommodations, add a school, and probably scale back in a few departments to make this work, or we can get a bigger ship, and name her the Pioneer." Quinn said out loud, what everyone was thinking. The ship was to small, they would have to make accommodations, or get a bigger ship.

Tyler smiled broadly at Quinn's response ever the problem solver. That was what made Quinn and Tyler a good team, Tyler was a dreamer, an idea man, and Quinn made the ideas possible. "Well, all of this sounds like problems for tomorrow. For now we should kick back and enjoy what we have, each other."

"Yes Sir." Quinn said, thinking to himself, they would have to have this conversation soon. Because this ship was not designed to be the love boat, or a family vessel. But Tyler was right, it did not have to be decided today.

Kat was in full agreement. She refilled everyone's drinks and sat back by Tyler to relax with their friends.

A Joint Post By

Captain Tyler Malbrooke
Commanding Officer, USS Pioneer

Commander Quinn Ó Flannagáin
Executive Officer, USS Pioneer

Lieutenant Commander Katharine Malbrooke
Mission Advisor, USS Pioneer

Lieutenant Ameri Ó Flannagáin
Chief Operations Officer, USS Pioneer


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