Table of Contents
While work on the Kitty Hawk continued and the survivors slept, Kirk ensured that a vigil was maintained on the Enterprise. Even though the hostile aliens hadn't been seen in some time, there was still a danger. It was important that the ship kept alert and ready. That could be very taxing on the mind and nerves. So Kirk kept an eye on his people and rotated the bridge crew to keep them fresh. Right now the Beta shift was on duty.
As Kirk exited the turbolift, DeSalle was in the center seat. Kirk notified the Commander that he was simply stretching his legs and giving the ship a once over. Navigation was now being worked by Lt. Alden, helm manned by Lt. Leslie, engineering was being handled by Lt. Kyle and the science station was being cared for by Lt. Hadley. The new face on the bridge was the communication officer, Ensign Martinez. The medium height, dark haired beauty was straight out of the Academy. A bit shy but very eager, she made a favorable impression on everyone. Kirk made a brief stop at her station, "Any word, Ensign?"
"No, sir, nothing from Starfleet or elsewhere... all quiet, but I'm rotating our communication channels through all known frequencies and even monitoring the full spectrum in case someone is broadcasting on channels not normally used." She finished with a slight smile.
Kirk was also impressed by the young lady and said so. "Very well, Ensign, keep alert."
The captain then walked over to Kyle, who was ready. "We're at 100%, Captain. All systems are nominal and ready for either a hasty retreat or a confrontation."
Turning back to the center seat, Kirk addressed DeSalle, "Looks like you're maintaining a tight ship mister, keep up the good work." With that said, Kirk headed for the turbolift and exited quickly, knowing that the Enterprise was in good hands.
After a six-hour rest period, Kirk was ready for another day. He still had a nagging feeling that time was his biggest enemy and hoped that Scotty and Spock could get the Kitty Hawk back into reasonable shape. Regardless, he would take the Kitty Hawk in tow today. With all the work done so far, the damaged starship would be in good enough shape to stand the stress and it was time to get away from this location one way or another.
A quick check of his computer revealed a short list of messages, most concerning the Kitty Hawk. Much progress had been made, but warp drive was still an issue as were sensors and other critical systems, but they were close to being restored. Kirk was most curious about Spock's work on the computers as they were the key.
A short trip to the officer's mess provided him with a cup of strong coffee. That was enough to send him to the bridge. Once there, he relieved DeSalle and watched as the remaining members of Alpha shift relieved their respective counterparts. Kirk now settled into the business of the day and began to gather the latest information.
Palmer was now back at the communications station as Kirk turned to face her, "Lieutenant, contact Mr. Spock and Mr. Scott and request an update on repairs. I'll expect their reply within the half hour. Then contact Uhura; I want her to report to me directly."
"Yes, sir." She began working her board efficiently and spoke quietly.
Kirk then tapped the intercom button on the command chair, "Bridge to engineering."
The familiar voice of Riley responded quickly with a crisp, "Aye, sir."
"Mr. Riley, is the Enterprise ready to go to work?"
"Yes, sir, what did you have in mind?" Riley sounded more curious than worried.
"Begin preparations to take Kitty Hawk in tow. Give me a readiness report in fifteen minutes." Kirk re-tabbed the button before Riley could respond, "Bridge to sickbay."
A somewhat tired sounding McCoy responded in the familiar southern drawl. "You got a lot of nerve waking me up after ten hours of autopsies. What is it?"
"Bones, have you done a follow up on the survivors yet?"
"Didn't I just tell you I've been up most of the night working?" A moment of silence was followed by, "No, not yet."
Uhura had met the survivors in the corridor as they emerged from their 'required' sleep cycle. All five seemed in good spirits, so Uhura anticipated an easy day as an escort. After 'gathering her chicks', the communications officer made her way to the ship's main mess room. The group had a leisurely breakfast until Alpha shift showed up. Having just come off work, the crewmembers were relating stories about what they had been doing on the Kitty Hawk. It was only natural that the survivors became interested.
Moving to a nearby table, the survivors began swapping stories with the Enterprise crew and soon they were all fast friends. Uhura joined in, hoping the friendly banter would help. She listened with interest and noted each of the survivor's comments. Somehow the word got out about the medals and how they were achieved. Then the conversations centered on the heroics and many stories were swapped by almost everyone.
Uhura listened intently, particularly when the survivors spoke. In an attempt to keep things light, she even related a story about tribbles. After some time, the crowd began to thin, but Weston was a 'marked' person. Word spread quickly about what she had done and the Medal of Honor recommendation.
As the Communications Officer guided the group of survivors through the ship, they were stopped by well-wishers and those wanting to 'meet the hero'. After almost two hours, Weston began showing signs of restlessness. The ensign, soon to be promoted to Lt. Commander, began asking to see the captain. Uhura graciously acceded to the request and excused herself for a moment to 'arrange the appointment'. Already on the way Palmer contacted her, which added to the urgency of her visit to the bridge.
Exiting from the turbolift, Uhura went directly to the captain's side, arriving just as he concluded a conversation with Riley. Before he started anything else, she asked, "Sir, may I have a moment?"
Kirk turned to face Uhura, "Yes, Lieutenant, anything to report?"
"Captain, Dr. McCoy was right. The survivors are becoming a bit... stressed. They want to meet with you and I suspect, wish to return to duty on the Kitty Hawk. I told them I'd arrange a meeting with you."
Kirk pondered what he had heard for a moment, then responded quietly, "Tell them we'll meet shortly. I'm waiting to hear from Scotty and Mr. Spock. Once that's done, I'll contact Dr. McCoy and you to join us."
Turning to leave, Uhura stopped short as Kirk grabbed her hand gently and added, "Thank you, Nyota."