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Attention all ships:

I'm sure word has started spreading, so I won't insult your intelligence. Multiple ships have recently been attacked, primarily near the Gamma Orionis sector. This is a fleet-wide advisory to move to a standing yellow-alert, with exception to those ships actively engaged in border patrol operations near the Klingon border. I am also ordering all ships which actively engage any unknown threat to attempt to capture the attacking ship intact or its crew alive for further investigation.

The readings received from numerous ships are troubling, and frankly I do not believe it. Until hard evidence is received, we are to assume these attacks are a prelude to further hostilities with either the Klingon Empire, or a new hostile force.

Report all findings to Starfleet Command.

Admiral Jorel Quinn


Chapter 6

"How's your hand?"

Jessica glanced down at the hand she had placed on the desk in front of her and smiled. "Doc was a little angry that I was playing with you guys. But it wasn't injured more. Don't worry."

Bridget Kinsley shook her head, sighing. "We did tell you it was a bad idea." The other woman leaned back in her own chair, covering her mouth as she yawned. "We'll have to go someplace safer next time, Stormy."

Jessica's smile widened at the nickname. "I haven't heard that in almost a year now."

"What, did you think I could forget that?" Kinsley giggled. "My sunshine and my storm cloud. The two of you got me through school."

St. Peter shook her head. "I think we got each other through that place."

Bridget nodded in agreement. "It was a lot of fun, though. Practice days."

"The 602 afterwards."

"Downtown San Francisco or San Diego on weekends."

"Oh my god, that club Justine got dragged into and we couldn't find her..."

"And she was dancing on the bar with that Andorian and Vulcan when we finally did!" Bridget finished, laughing loudly and clapping her hands. "I don't think she ever drank more than a glass of wine since then!"

"That was three years ago!" The two girls laughed. "That was a fun night."

"There were a lot of fun nights, and not just on the weekends. Cram sessions?"

"Uggh; you and that one guy, Dutchman, you were impossible."

Bridget feigned insult. "Biology was hard! I never had a mind for that. Besides, how often did I have to help you with tactical strategies?"

"Look at me, Bridget! I took the Kobayashi Maru once, and I failed before I even sat down in the simulator." They laughed again. "I'll never be in command; you were born for it."

Bridget sat up straighter in her chair, pushing out her chest and looking up and to the left. "Captain Bridget Kinsley, captain of the Starship...hmmm..." She giggled. "Well, it does have a nice ring to it."

Jessica laughed with her. "It does. And if you ever need a science officer, I'm your lady."

Bridget smiled and replied, teasingly, "Are you even a lady?"

Jessica shrugged, smirking playfully. "Well, you did try kissing me."

As soon as the words came out of her mouth Jessica regretted it; Bridget's face turned bright red and she looked away with a pained expression on her face. "Yeah. I know, " she quietly replied.

"Bridg...I'm sorry. That was mean. I didn't mean...I'm sorry." Jessica bit her bottom lip nervously. "Hey, look at me. I'm sorry."

Bridget looked up and offered her a small smile. "I know. I guess I'm still a little...ashamed? I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable or put off. I just..."

"Water under the bridge; I'm the one joking about it, remember?" Jessica smiled wide. "Besides, you wouldn't have Justine now."

Bridget nodded, then frowned a little more. "You never told Justine why you went to the Rafale."

Jessica looked off to the side, her smile fading fast. "I know."

"Are you ever planning on telling her?" Jessica shook her head, causing Bridget to frown more. "She really misses you, you know."

"I know. I think I've gotten more calls from her than I have from my own father." Jessica laughed a little.

"She thinks you were a little jealous. Or felt like a third wheel with us."

Jessica snapped her head back towards the screen in surprise. "No she doesn't."

"She probably doesn't anymore; I hope I convinced her, at least. But you have to admit, it did look that way. It still does sometimes, from my end." Bridget ran a hand through her blonde hair, her eyes looking off to the side.

Jessica leaned in towards her screen in mild annoyance. "Hey, look at me, Kinsley." Bridget looked back at her, looking as if the two had had this conversation many times before. "I didn't leave because of the two of you, or the two of us. I'm happy for you both. I had to come here."

"I know. And you forgot to tell us where you were going."

Jessica blushed. "I swear I told y'all where I was looking at being posted." She smiled, shrugging. "It's only for a few years, and then either y'all can come here, or I can go there, or we can go find another ship and start things over."

"I hear they're working on a new ship or two at Utopia Planetia. Should put the Sovereign to shame."

"As soon as we can, then." Jessica leaned back, but she wasn't satisfied. The past year away from her two best friends had been taxing on their friendship, but it had started even before she had graduated before them. Her two friends meant the world to her, but there didn't seem to be any way to convince Bridget that she hadn't left out of jealousy or a feeling of being left out. In truth, maybe it had played a part in her decision, but other circumstances had forced her hand. They were personal, and probably selfish, reasons, but they were her reasons, and she hated to have to defend herself for choosing the Rafale over other ships, including the Merveille with her friends.

Jessica smiled a little. "Besides, think of the experience we're getting. When we finally meet up on a new ship, we'll be able to handle anything."

"It would be a little easier on us to have each other again."

"Of course it would." Jessica leaned forward on the desk, wincing slightly as her recently repaired ribcage flared with a dull pain. "I do miss you guys. So much."

"We'll meet up in a few weeks at Starbase 39. Both of our ships are looking at being docked for at least a week or two for resupply and to pick up new crew. Are you going to be healed up by then?"

Jessica flexed her wrist. "I sure hope so. Limping around the ship is getting annoying. We'll see."

Bridget nodded. "I need to get going; I'm supposed to meet Justine and another friend for lunch."

"Lunch time already?" Jessica glanced over at her own clock and sighed; it was 1400. "I need to get some food, too. I'm supposed to be going back to work today."


"It's been a little over a week now, yeah. Should get the brace off my leg in a few days, too."

"Well, please don't hurt yourself again." Bridget smiled a little. "Alright then. Have fun. I'll talk to you soon."

"You too. Say hi to Justine for me." Jessica smiled back. "I miss you."

"We'll see each other soon. Don't worry." Bridget winked. "Be safe."

"You too."

Her friend shrugged. "You know me. I'm always safe." She laughed, and the screen went dark as the channel was closed. Jessica shook her head, suddenly feeling very sick.

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