((Saucer Section Outer Hull, USS Gorkon))
Craning his neck, Bryce took in the sight of the brillant cosmos that stretched just outside of the shimmering barrier, the gathering’s excited energy pulsating around him, through him. The white dress uniform, plain on him but dapper and glorious on others, on any other day might have been distracting, stiff and scratchy.
Tactile sensations did not register right then, though, unless one counted what the view did to him inwardly. It touched his heart, his soul in ways that he would never truly be able to articulate.
Chaotic yet still, locked in time. Assorted richly pigmented colors like frozen smoke, bellowing bright in some places and diluted in others against darkness sprinkled with stars. Light seen by ancestors. Ancestors whose home once existed, out there… somewhere, between that point of light or that cluster. The very fabric of that beautiful yet terrifying vast, ancient expanse spoke to parts of him that he still did not yet know.
Time and worlds that he felt but did not know.
It was a humbling experience and one that was tough to wrap his head around. Having lived most of his life planetside, he was still getting used to being a wanderer in this frontier, of being an alien with human blood and upbringing. He wondered if the view ever lost its majesticness, but felt the answer was likely not.
The excited energy shifted, quieted only by volume but not in feeling, as the ceremony started with all eyes directed towards the stage where the Vice Admiral stood with her FO.
Reynolds: Before we start, I’d take a moment to thank our engineers and operations officers for making this possible. It’s nothing short of spectacular, and definitely a night to remember. So please, let’s begin with a round of applause for them.
The volume ramped back up, whistling and cheering and a vigorous round of applause, for the technical wonder and the awe-inspiring views their efforts produced. Some small tiny wisp in him wondered how many of these types of celebrations his father may have led before he fell from grace?
The question, however, did not take prominence in his thoughts. Instead, the pulse of the gathering kept him in its sweet and appealing current, the vocal appreciation thriving on until it faded naturally.
Reynolds: As many of you know, I like to begin these ceremonies with one of the more difficult ribbons to receive. Difficult because of the personal hardship it represents; an award which recognises our willingness to endure injury in the service of others. I’m honoured to recognise those who sacrificed their health during the rescue of the Sasu Gol, and present Lieutenant Commander Jal Desoa, Lieutenants Cory Stoyer and Lieutenant Valesha Sienelis, and Lieutenant Junior Grade Vorin with the Purple Heart.
Though there was applause, there was also deeper appreciation and sensitivity for this group and for the weighty meaning this particular ribbon signified. During their camping trip, Cory had not made any mention of what he endured during the mission, but its effects were perceptible yet unidentifiable to his El-Aurian blood. It listened even when words weren’t spoken. Bry had been there for the rescue of Lieutenants Sienelis and Vorin, though, and a part of him was troubled that he had advocated to press on, believing them to be dead, in favor of giving other potential trapped survivors a fighting chance. If they had… if… that baby. Innocent, eyes that had not yet seen the brilliance of the views they were witnessing right then.
He couldn’t help but connect the dots to that lunar colony from years ago. Despite those complex feelings, he knew his answer then would be the same as it was now. And that was tough.
Before he could dwell, the voice of the fair-haired FO pulled him out of the rabbit hole.
Marshall: When we think about why we're here—looking up at, ::she glanced up, lifting a finger to the shield above them, and space above that,:: that—we're pushing the boundaries for the future. Not only the future of Starfleet, but the future for scientists, engineers, medicine, and can't forget the future of paperwork. For throwing themselves into the quandaries and questions, their invention and creativity in the face of great danger, and for the Skipper taking up the spanner on the engines once more, I'm incredibly pleased to present Vice Admiral Quinn Reynolds, Lieutenant Commander Ayiana Sevo, and Lieutenant sh'Qynallahr with the Innovation Ribbon.
More excitement as the crowd thundered in approval.
Reynolds: All of us struggled against the influence of the Rift’s inhabitants, but there are those among us who directly engaged them, despite the unknowns and significant risk to their lives. In recognition of this courage, and their determination to defend and safeguard their fellows, and the crew of the Triumphant and the Sasu Gol, I’m proud to present Captain Walter Brunsig, Lieutenant Commanders Samira Neathler and Orson Marshall, Lieutenants Alieth and Cory Stoyer, and Lieutenant Junior Grade Loxley, with the Silver Star.
Bry followed the Admiral’s gaze to a sharply dressed man with a piercing blue gaze, the approval and the cheers ongoing.
Marshall: When we find ourselves in tough situations, on harsh missions that seem never-ending, and lives are on the line, we place our faith in one another. We'll get each other home safely. We promise our friends and found family that they will see another day, even if that comes at the expense of lost limbs. For their exemplary bravery and quick-thinking in a tremendously dangerous predicament, I am honoured to award Lieutenant Commander Kero Rix, Lieutenant JG Tahna Meru, and Ensign Bryce Tagren-Quinn the Silver Lifesaving Ribbon.
As he caught the ribbon, the cheers faded in the background as the memory of that experience flooded him. The Bajoran Commander and Lieutenant he felt were more deserving of this honor, but he smiled anyway as he felt a hand from the crowd pat him appreciatively on the shoulder.
Reynolds: Of course, all of these actions can have a lingering effect after the moment has passed. Through the care and support of the people around us, we can process what we’ve been through, healing wounds both physical and emotional. For the care they’ve shown their fellow crew in the aftermath of our last mission, I’m delighted to present Lieutenant Corliss Fortune and Ensign Bryce Tagren-Quinn with the Unity Ribbon.
More applause, again fading as the attention drifted towards him and the more deserving counselor. She had been a light for many during this time.
Marshall: You know, it's not everyday that we can really reflect on the strange new worlds and incredible places our duties in Starfleet take us to, and, ::she shot an amused grin to the Admiral,:: it's not every day that discoveries are made from the inside. For their fortune, or misfortune, at discovering a new species from within the species itself, I'm proud to present Vice Admiral Quinn Reynolds, Lieutenant Commander Ayiana Sevo, and Lieutenant Piravao sh'Qynallahr with the Explorer's Ribbon.
Celebration bursting like fireworks with the distribution of more well-deserved ribbons. Names that were familiar, but individuals that he had yet to meet.
Reynolds: Before she joined our crew, Lieutenant Meidra Sirin served aboard the USS Resolution and took part in a covert mission to protect the security and interests of the Federation. As many of us know, these kinds of missions require a cool head and a quick mind, and are worthy of recognition. And so, on behalf of Fleet Captain Kalianna Nicholotti, I’m pleased to present Lieutenant Meidra Sirin with the Intelligence Star.
He clapped enthusiastically and whistled for his petite red-haired friend and fellow medical officer. He had enjoyed getting to know her some during leave, examining nature while camping and enjoying the fruit concoction she whipped up, and the medical staff misadventures of drinks and golden dresses on the station.
Marshall: The last, but by no means least, of the ribbon presentation is the commendation we bestow upon those who have excelled in their application of duty. Each department onboard the Gorkon is a beast unto itself; sometimes wild, sometimes chaotic, sometimes the picture of organisation, and we just have to wonder how they managed it. For her commitment and enthusiasm in leading the science department for the last half year, we award Lieutenant Alieth the Department Chief Ribbon and all the applause to go with it.
Another deserving mighty praise, he clapped along with the masses.
Reynolds: And finally, I have some promotions to announce. ::She smiled.:: It’s been our collective pleasure to watch Tahna Meru go from strength to strength, blossoming into an exceptional member of this crew. She has shown the quick thinking, dedication, and aptitude of someone more senior, and so I’m delighted to promote her to lieutenant, with all the associated duties, rights, and responsibilities of that rank.
He joined in with the cheers and couldn’t help the wide grin that appeared on his face, happy for his young friend’s well-deserved promotion. He held admiration for her steadfast, calm approach and critical thinking during their efforts on deck 8.
Reynolds: Since joining the Gorkon, Alieth has shown us all an impressive array of skills and capabilities. She is resourceful, adaptable, and determined, and balances these traits with respect and compassion for others. Whether dealing with the mundane or the extraordinary, she exceeds the expectations of her rank, and so it’s my pleasure to promote her to lieutenant commander, with all the associated duties, rights, and responsibilities.
The permanently affixed grin continued to shine as he poured out his appreciation.
Marshall: Lieutenant Commander Samira Neathler, would you please step up?
A slender woman with short dark hair stepped onto the stage.
Reynolds: Commander Neathler has served the Gorkon as our Chief of Security and Second Officer for a while now, and distinguished herself daily in her role. It’s my very great pleasure to announce that she’s moving into the post of First Officer, and I have no doubt she’ll continue to shine in her new role.
A shift in roles, passing of the torch, and celebrations of a service’s achievements. A change in the tide. It was a dynamic that he was slowly getting acquainted to.
Marshall: Congratulations, Sami. Incredibly well deserved.
Reynolds: Very much so.
And the cheers continued until they broke with the anticipation of the night ahead of them.
Reynolds: All right, that’s enough from me for one night. ::She smiled and gestured forward, toward the bar, dance floors, buffet tables and seating.:: Go forth and enjoy yourselves.
And, with that, the crowd took the cue to disperse, mingle, dance, eat – whatever spoke to their merry heart.
Still in the throes of the enchantment of the evening, he paused to appreciate the collective tight-knit environment that Namura had called attention to when he had shared a piece of his past with her. In this, as the new Ensign, he felt himself fade a little in the background, wondering how he might fit in as time rolled on. It wasn’t the self-imposed exile he at times felt, but getting immersed in an already established environment sometimes just took, well, time.
Would they invite him in and see the man behind the doctor, not a boy and not green like the pip would suggest? Would he, for his part, be willing to open himself to them? Effort was needed from all sides.
Not allowing the thought to linger long, he scanned the crowd and, with memories of the station still fresh, decided to avoid the dance floor. Instead, he followed the direction of his stomach straight to the buffet table, weaving his way through the dense field.
The spread, appetizing and wondrous, made the packaged foods in the doctor’s lounges he was accustomed to seem like a trip to an old-timey vending machine. He picked up a plate and started to pile up, almost bumping into someone on his right.
Tagren-Quinn: Excuse me, I’m sorry that…
His words tapered as he caught the dark eyes of the woman that had just been on stage.
His first officer.
Great, he just kept literally bumping into command staff.
Tagren-Quinn: I’m… I’m Ensign Bryce Tagren-Quinn, MD. It probably goes without introduction though, seeing as how you were the Chief of Security and…
…now the First Officer. And, their group during the last mission had commandeered the Main Brig, repurposing it for medical care for survivors found on deck 8. It took time to transition those individuals out, to Sickbay, and he had hoped that his team left things in a good state.
A small smile curled at the corner of his lips.
Tagren-Quinn: …congratulations, Commander.
Tagren-Quinn: I have been meaning to connect with you, to thank you and your team for all your efforts on deck 8. It was their quick work that made all the difference.
Ensign Bryce Tagren-Quinn, M.D.
USS Gorkon (NCC-82293)