Honor Among Warriors:
The Gryphon Story

By Lt. Col. William D. Smith <Grifter77@aol.com>
Executive Officer, USS Gryphon

Chapter 2: The Crew

Captain Seals looked out at his new ship glistening under the space dock lights. He was amazed at the fine vessel that was going to be under his command and he hoped that he could live up to Starfleet's expectations. Admiral Parker turned around with his back to Seals and spoke. "Mike, she should do you fine, but remember: your mission is of the utmost importance and, if we are to gain an upper hand on the Dominion, our first step is to damage the Jem'hadar. You are the first prong of a larger picture. Make us proud."

"A larger picture? What do you have in mind Admiral?" asked Seals.

Parker turned around, walked closer to Seals, and sighed. "Mike, there are powers and people beyond my realm of control and all I know is that this mission is my baby and General Storms'. No one can take this away. There are some things I just can't tell you, but in time you will see. And when you do, I'm counting on your experience to do what's right."

Seals facial expression was serious. "Sir, what do you mean by that? Is the Federation planning something other than this? Are my crew and I getting thrown in the meat grinder for a bigger cause?"

"No, definitely not. I would not do that to you, Mike. But there were some people who, if they found out was going on, would go to any end to make sure your mission was a scrub and I just want you and that sweet ship out of here by 1800 tomorrow night. Your crew has been assigned to the ship and your Marines are on board as well. Your Chief of Operations Commander Tracy Johnson has been supervising the whole operation and things should be squared away for when you get there."

"We'll do you proud, Admiral. What are we supposed to do if we do encounter Federation vessels?" asked Seals.

"Don't worry, the word has been put out about a new Intrepid-class ship being put out on a test run and that's your ship. So if anyone has any questions you will have a legitimate excuse. Now, go to your ship and good luck."

Admiral Parker extended his hand and Seals grasped it. This was the last time that Seals would see Parker for a long time to come.

On the Gryphon's bridge, Commander Johnson was ensuring things were running smoothly while the crew was arriving belowdecks and reporting to department heads. Johnson was a faithful and loyal officer with many good qualities. She had dark hair and rim glasses and was very intelligent. She sat in the center chair going over crew rosters and assignments on her padd and saw a name that made her smile. The Judge Advocate General that was going to be on board was a great friend of hers, Lt. Eric Fitzwater. She had spent many days and nights enjoying time in the holosuites watching old twentieth century movies and eating pizza from the replicators. Knowing she had someone to share the holosuites with made her happy. She knew that that would have to come second to her job of making sure the departments ran at top efficiency.

The doors to the bridge swished open and Johnson looked up and saw the Chief of Security, Chief Petty Officer Ben Urban, walk in. Urban was adorned in the gold security uniform with his long brown ponytail hanging down his back. Urban was popular with the lady folk and his ponytail had something to do with it. He walked up to Johnson and said, "Greetings, Commander. Chief Urban reporting for duty."

Johnson looked Urban over and stood up, she extended her hand to Urban and said, "Welcome aboard, Chief. Do you have all the facilities you need to run your security department?"

"Well, I did look over the crew roster and I have coordinated with the Marine Detachment as to security details, so I think everything is in order."

Johnson sat back down and pushed on her padd some more before speaking. "Very good, Chief. You may assume your duties."

"Yes, sir," said Urban as he walked up to the tactical controls.

Already on the bridge were many enlisted crew members and Johnson was waiting for the Captain and the Executive Officer. Johnson stood up and walked to the door from the bridge when it opened up and there stood another officer in red uniform.

"Oh. Hello, Commander. I'm here to report for duty."

Johnson looked at the new officer and saw that it was the Communications Specialist, Commander Ken VanEseltine. He had a communications padd in his hand and looked eager to get to work. Commander Johnson motioned for VanEseltine to follow her to his duty station.

"I think it was a great decision to have a communications specialist on board because who knows what kind of races we'll encounter in the Gamma Quadrant?"

VanEseltine sat at his station and got his stuff in order. "Yes, I also will publish a newsletter every month to help with the morale of the crew; give them some way to contribute to it as well. That way they stay informed and find out what's going on back home."

Johnson smiled. "That's great. I hope it turns out well. Please explain this to the Captain or the Colonel when they come aboard."

"I will, Commander. Thank you."

As Johnson and VanEseltine continued their conversation, Lt. Colonel Smith walked on the bridge. For a moment, adorned in neatly pressed urban camouflaged battle dress uniform, highly spit-shined black boots, and black beret, he stood there taking in bridge and the crew. His Chief of Security was going over the tactical systems, with awe in his eyes knowing that he had never seen weaponry and defense systems like the ones on the Gryphon.

"Hello, crew. What's the status?" asked Smith.

Urban looked up from his control panel and acknowledged his first officer, "Sir, tactical weapons, cloaking system, and shield systems all functioning at top efficiency and security teams are assigned to all vital areas."

Smith acknowledged his security chief with a nod then said, "Very good Chief, excellent work. I just want two things from you, Chief. The first and most important thing is, no matter what, I don't want anything--and I mean anything--getting on the bridge during a combat situation. If shields begin to fail, you make sure that you have a security field around the bridge to prevent anyone from beaming on to the bridge. I don't want any hand-to-hand going on up here; there are far too many vital systems to get damaged in a fire fight. Make sure you also have a security detachment outside the bridge hatch to ensure boarders don't get through to the bridge. Number two, when the Captain gives the order for the Marines to do their thing, you make sure your boys stay out of the way. Can you do that?"

Urban nodded his head then said, "Yes, sir."

"Good," Smith then turned to Commander Johnson and asked, "Commander Johnson, give me a sit rep please."

Johnson walked over and handed her padd to Colonel Smith. "Colonel, most of the crew are on board, minus the Captain. All department heads have reported in and everything is ready for the ship to depart."

Smith nodded in unison and flipped through the screens on the padd, "Looks like we have a good crew. I just hope things don't get too hairy out there. Not many have any combat experience."

"Sir, I don't think you will have to worry. The crew was hand picked by Admiral Parker and your General Storm," chimed in VanEseltine.

"Thank you, Commander. How are things on the communications end?"

"Everything is functioning perfectly. The universal translator is functioning properly and back up systems and long range communications are up and in order. They really put this ship together, didn't they?"

"They sure did, Commander. Commander Johnson, I'm going to check down in Medical and Engineering. Let me know when the Science Officer arrives. I need to be briefed in detail on the Jem'hadar," said Smith.

Johnson nodded her head, "Yes, sir. I'll inform you as soon as he gets here."

Smith walked off the bridge and the crew went back to their duties. Moments later the bridge hatch swished open and there stood Captain Seals.

Everyone looked up and snapped to attention as VanEseltine yelled, "Captain on the bridge!"

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Honor Among Warriors: The Gryphon Story, © 1997 by William D. Smith, is reproduced from the February 1997 issue of Gryphon Trek Gazette with permission.
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