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Commander's log, stardate 83212.78

This log is being submitted to Starfleet Command and the Bureau of Starfleet Personnel in regards to Lieutenant (JG) Jessica St. Peter during the altercation with the Borg at Vega Colony. While in command of the USS
Wolf 359, I personally witnessed her capability during the battle in command of the USS Rafale. From my ship, I saw the ship engage a Borg Tactical Cube, a feat which would have given far more experienced commanders pause, and remain a viable threat to the enemy vessel until the time that the fleet was able to engage and neutralize it. In doing so, the Rafale was able to keep the Borg ship from destroying or assimilating the USS Merveille, a medical ship full of survivors from Vega Colony. Furthermore, the bridge log on the Rafale shows that Lt(JG) St. Peter took command of the vessel at a time when all other capable officers were either killed or unable to do so. Her actions were solely responsible for the survival of her ship, the Merveille, and any other ships that may have been preyed upon by the Borg. It is my recommendation as Commanding Officer of the USS Wolf 359 that Lt (JG) St. Peter be awarded with the Star Cross. Furthermore, I also recommend that she be given a field promotion to Lieutenant Commander and retained on a provisional basis as the Commanding Officer of the USS Rafale until such time that a suitable replacement can be found.

Commander T'Randa Rembrant, U.S.S.
Wolf 359

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Two Weeks Later

Jessica sat up as the sun began to set, rubbing her eyes. She yawned, stretching out her arms and gazing up at the red sky with a small smile.

The wind whipped her hair around her face, and she did her best to quickly take control of it and tie it up behind her before laying back down on the thatched roof of the quaint little two-story Tudor home.

Two weeks had gone by, and it had been a flurry of activity since the Rafale and her surviving crew had finally reached Earth. Because of her role in keeping the ship in one piece and rescuing the Merveille, Jessica had spent nearly a week and a half between San Francisco and the orbiting Earth Spacedock, doing countless briefings and debriefings on the battle.

Fifty-five lost, including the commanding officers. One hundred two injured - the remainder of the small crew. And, she was being praised for saving the lives of almost a thousand people. She frowned, gazing up at the slowly darkening sky.

Numerous ships had been destroyed, and the fleets that had raced to save the colony had been devastated. Thousands dead, with even more wounded. Entire command crews killed off, as if targeted solely for the reason of being in command. The vast majority of the casualties of the battle had been Lieutenant Commanders or higher, and nearly every dead crew member was on a command staff of some type.

Only one person in those statistics mattered to her. She closed her eyes, fighting off the wave of guilt and depression that threatened to crash over her again. It was harder, being here in Bristol now.

She had gotten the call three days ago. Mr. Dubois, husband to a Betazed ambassador and father of her remaining best friend, Justine, had summoned her to their family home in Rhode Island. Justine had requested an indefinite leave of absence to go home following Vega.

"She won't speak, she won't eat. Sometimes I think she doesn't even blink; just stares straight ahead in bed, not moving," he had explained in heavily accented Federation Standard. "Please, she needs a friend - she needs you - to help her through this."

You promised Bridget you'd take care of Justine, she had reminded herself. So she had packed up and beamed across the continent to Boston, then caught a ground transport to the small town the Dubois family had called home.

She still isn't eating. She still isn't speaking to us. Jessica sighed, closing her eyes again. To make matters more difficult, her half-Betazoid friend had started to project her emotions, making Jessica's own mourning even harder to handle alone. She was thankful for the help of the security officer from Justine's ship - Lieutenant Obruz had taken over as a sort of executive officer in her absence while Seurer focused on the repair effort underway to bring the Rafale back to being space-worthy.

So I can focus on trying to fix the one person left that I care about, she thought. The more she thought about it, the more hopeless it seemed as Justine sunk deeper and deeper into the pit of despair she had dropped into when Bridget died.

It wasn't the only thing she had to focus on, but it was the most pressing concern for her. Rafale would be in dock for months at least - it would be plenty of time for her to find a new crew for her ship.

Commander Rembrant's recommendation, when combined with sensor logs and other eye-witness accounts, had carried a lot more weight than Jessica had thought. Without much choice, she had quickly found herself on Earth Spacedock in Admiral Quinn's office.

The "Chief of Staff of the Federation Starfleet" Admiral Quinn.

He had congratulated her, promoting her to Lieutenant Commander and captain of the maimed ship until a "replacement" could be found. She knew what the older Trill really meant, though: she was in it for the long haul. Starfleet was already stretched thin by the conflict with the Klingons. The battle over Vega against the Borg only served to cull more of the already dwindling population of command-level officers. She knew she wasn't the first or the last junior officer to leave the battle with an early command, but she certainly felt the least qualified.

Jessica sighed. There would be plenty of time to think of it later. For now...

"Jessica? It's almost supper time!"

She sat up as Mr. Dubois summoned her. Her eyes gazed out to the slowly darkening red horizon as she took a deep breath.

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