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Chapter Notes: The final chapter of Orion's Angels ends with a tragic and touching moment.

On board the Enterprise, Dr. Boyce found Captain Pike in his quarters unpacking. Number One was sitting at a desk. Boyce smiled. He was proud of the tow of them for taking his advice no matter how reluctantly.

“Well Chris, how was it,” asked Boyce.

“Absolutely wonderful, Phil,” replied Pike. “I really should listen to you more.”

“And you, Number One. How was your shore leave?”
“It was very relaxing,” she replied.

“Come on, Exec, tell us more. What did you do,” asked Pike.

Number One shot Pike a look indicating back off and replied very sternly, “I relaxed.”

It was late afternoon down on the base. The Orion ship was on a landing platform.

It was a good looking vessel. Dylan was tempted to ask Melody if he could take it for a quick sub orbital flight. Dylan saw Noxx boarding with two huge Orion men escorting them, their faces hidden by the helmets they were wearing. Symphony and Rhapsody were already aboard. Dylan wasn’t exactly sure how all this ended up working itself out, but was glad it did.

“Well, I should probably board,” said Melody. “How about a hug for the road?”

Melody took Dylan into her arms and held him tightly. She then gave him one last kiss. Ronnie didn’t mind at first, but grew annoyed when the kiss turned into something more substantial. Melody released Dylan loosely, but didn’t let go.

“Stay out of trouble,” said Dylan.

“I’d suggest you follow your own advice,” replied Melody. She turned to Dr. West. “Hang on to this one. He’s a good man.”

“I am finding that out. Take care, sugah,” said Ronnie.

Melody gave Dylan a final look. She winked at him and smiled then started walking to the ship. Symphony and Rhapsody peered through the open passenger door of their ship waving at Dylan and d,r West. The Orion man helped Melody aboard as the engines started up. The door closed and a minute later the shuttle lifted off the pad, turned away from the base and speeded away into the sky. Dylan turned to Dr. West.

“So how has your day been,” asked Dylan.

“Okay so far,” replied Ronnie. “I had a very engaging interview with a Mister Robert Scorpio. Nice boy, but I think he likes me.”

“I’m a nice boy and you like me.”
“You’re different.”

Ronnie took Dylan’s hand as they walked back to the entrance of the pad terminal. “Come on. I’ll make you dinner.”

Flash forward to the recreation deck of the Lexington. Captain Dylan, Commander Chyles, Dr. West and Lt. Myers were finishing up a dinner together.

“And that is the tall tale of how I met Rick,” said Dr West.

“I never get tired of hearing it,” said Chyles.

“The amazing thing is every word of this epic adventure is true and part of history now,” added Dr. West.

Lt. Myers got a kick out of hearing the story for the first time. “Did you ever tell captain Pike abut all this, sir?”

Dylan laughed. “I did, at a reception when he made fleet Captain. I thought he was going to blow his stack but enough time had passed that nothing I said surprised him. Well, ladies and gentlemen I thank you for a nice dinner and some engaging, if not embarrassing conversation.”

“Good night, sir,” said Lt. Myers.

Chyles and Myers remained for another cup of coffee while Dr. West and Dylan left. They walked back to Dlyan’s quarters.

“Out of the people that could have ended up in my ER that night it had to be you,” said Dr. West.

“Comm to Captain Dylan,” came a voice through the intercom.

Dylan took a seat at the desk and flipped on the desktop viewer. “Dylan, go ahead.”

“We have an incoming message for you, sir. The code says personal, but its also flagged as very important,” replied the comm officer.

“Very well, put it through down here.”

The next image on the screen was the face of Dylan’s former first officer, Number One. She looked good and for the first time ever Dylan saw her in civilian clothes. Number One smiled at Dylan’s image.

“Hello, Rick,” said Number One. “It’s good to see you.”
“Good to see you to,” replied Rick. “How is retirement treating you.”

Number One and Dylan spent a couple minutes catching up, then she got to the point of her call.

“The reason I am contacting you…Rick it’s Chris. He’s been in a terrible accident,” said Number One.

“What happened?”

“Chris was on a J- class training vessel. A baffle plate let go. He was exposed to massive amounts of delta rays.”

Dr. West was stunned. She had seen first hand what delta rays can do to a person, and the effects are not pleasant at all.

Number One was nearly brought tears and her voce was shaky. “He saved a lot of young cadets at the expense of his on safety.”

“That sounds like our Captain Pike,” replied Dylan. “Damn. Is he…”

“Chris survived,” said Number One. “But he will never be the same. I am catching a ride on the Republic tomorrow to go see him. I am sorry I don’t have better news.”

“I appreciate you letting me know.”

“Listen, Rick I’d love to talk longer, but I have to go. It was good to see you, we’ll talk soon.”

Number One was overcome with emotions, she did want Dylan to see her break down, but he wouldn’t have thought any less of her. Number One had earned Dylan;s respect though many years of serving with her. But Dylan understood.

“Let me know if I can do anything for you or Chris,” said Dylan.

“I will. Take care, Rick.” Number One signed off.

The monitor faded to black. Dylan realized that this was the first time Number One had called him “Rick.” Number One was a tough cookie. He had never seen about to crack until just now. Number One was clearly devastated as Dylan was.

Dylan noticed two small glasses filled to the rim with Scotch. Ronnie had prepared them while Dylan and Number One were talking. Dylan took a glass and drank. Dylan was fighting very hard to hold back the tears. Ronnie had seen Dylan under pressure, tired and exhausted, beat up and battered, but she had never seen him like this. It cut through Dylan’s hear that Pike, a very physical and intelligent man, the leader that he was had been reduced to just an empty, scarred shell.Ronnie took Dylan’s hand and led him over to the bed. They sat down.

“Oh, Rick, I am so sorry,” said Ronnie. “I know how much Captain Pike meant to you.”

“That man wasn’t just my Captain and leader, Ronnie,” replied Dylan. “He was a mentor. Captain Pike recommended and pushed to help me get the job at Starfleet Academy. He personally promoted me twice. He also recommended me for promotion to Captain. I would not be where I am today without Chris Pike’s leadership, advice and training.”

Dylan went silent. Ronnie slid in close. There wasn’t a lot she could do but just be there for him. Ronnie took Dylan into her arms holding him tightly. Ronnie would stay with Dylan all night, holding him, doing the best she could to comfort him with tragic news. Dylan finally took Ronnie into his arms and held her as if he was hanging on for his very life.

The tears flowed like rain. It seemed like they would never end.

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