USS Hippocrates

NCC-73020

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Howdy Partner

Posted on Thu Apr 22nd, 2021 @ 9:00am by Lieutenant Aimee Sandoval

Mission: Mission 0: New crew and New Beginnings
Location: Rafter T Ranch, Terra Alpha
Timeline: MD (-14): 15:00

Terra Alpha was the third planet in the Terra System. It was terraformed by Gideon Seyetik in 2338. Terra Alpha now boasted a thriving colony world of mostly humans numbering in the billions. Xenexians came early on and settled in a desert region. A third race, the enigmatic Narlins looked like elves that had stepped out of a fantasy novel, and they had settled in Cascadia where they felt more at home amongst the tall trees and thick forests.

The Pangea like world was made up of a single supercontinent with a number of archipelagos including the largest of which, New Hawaii. It was was broken into eleven regions: Eastern Coastal, New Scotland, New Kanto, Central Mountain, Westfall, Cascadia, New Xenex, Lemoyne, El Dorado, Southern Lowlands, and Grand Basin.

Capital City, was a very modern metropolis of 800 million inhabitants, with a space port and massive skyscrapers that touched the clouds. It was home to the Terra Alpha Senate, Presidential Compound, and industries like AlphaTech Inc, Hamilton Aerospace, and ARS Freight Systems.

The president, Jon Price, a former Federation Council member, was a gregarious man who ran the planet with a hands off approach. The planet flourished under his sixth term in office, and at sixty-two years of age things were unlikely to change any time soon in that regard. The people loved him.

Terra Alpha had an independent streak a mile long in the vein of old Texas. They were politically Federation citizens, but a Terra Alphan would never say they were from the Federation. They were Terra Alphans, and that was all there was to it.

This independence extended so far that they had their own starfleet known as the Terra Alpha Navy, and a smaller ground force, the Terra Alpha Marine Corps. New Scotland even had their own king and army.

They were neo-capitalists, much to the dismay of many in the Federation, but it worked for them. They still provided for the basic needs of their citizens, but if you wanted more than the basics you worked. After eating real food prepared by their own hands no one wanted to go back to replicated food and thus, most worked.

The vast fertile plains of Westfall grew grains of every type known to exist from basic wheat and corn to quadrotriticale grain. It was a minor player in the quardrant's food exports in the grand scheme of things, but a player nonetheless. Terra Alpha was after all instrumental in helping the Cardassians get back on their feet after the Dominion War.

Cattle, sheep, and pigs were raised in the Grand Basin, and the Central Mountain Region. Fruits and vegetables grown in El Dorado, and lumber from Cascadia supplied the entire known galaxy. Terra Beta and Terra Gamma provided the colony with the raw materials such as dilithium crystals to fuel their growing empire.

It was late spring in the Central Mountain Region, and the trees were just getting their leaves. The tall peaks that towered over stoop hundreds if not thousands of meters above timberline.

Terra Alphans had transporters and fast shuttles that could whisk you to any destination within seconds, but they liked to do things as they called it, "The Old Way." Thus, Aimee found herself, doing it the old way. The USS Hope had dropped her off on Terra Alpha before continuing on to its next destination, and here she was driving up Highway 12 out of the Eastern Coastal Region in a rented replica Mustang convertible coupe with the top down and the wind whipping through her hair.

At Riley City, a small cow town nestled between two mountains she turned left onto a local paved road for almost twenty kilometers before making a right onto a narrow gravel road that lead to the foot of Mount Archer.

The ranch house sat at the end of a three kilometer driveway nestled in a little hallow along a shallow creek that chuckled over rocks. The water was as clear as glass, and only a few degrees from freezing since it was fed by melting glaciers from near the summit of Mt. Archer.

To call people of the Central Mountain Region "old fashioned" was an understatement. They were a tough breed of people used to working with their hands. It was a place where it could snow a meter or more at a time, and they still ventured out to feed their live stock and break the ice of frozen stock tanks. Their arms and faces were weathered and darkend from days under the twin Terra suns. There was plenty of water, and grass, but it was rugged land.

Aimee pulled her car behind the house where the yard fed into the log barn and bunkhouse. Both outbuildings were roofed with red tin. At this hichin' rail a dappled grey mare was tied and one of the ranch hands had her left front hoof between his thighs as he used a rasp to grind the hoof level in preparation for a new steel shoe.

Ethan Talon, or the Colonel as the locals often called him, was atop his buckskin quarter horse he had named Jake. Ethan was fifteen years to her senior. His father, and her step father, Milo, was ten years older than her mother. The irony was, Ethan was almost the same age as his step mom. Ethan and his wife owned almost 10,000 acres and ran 3,000 head of cattle and another 1,000 head of quarter horses here on the Rafter T Ranch.

Ethan reigned Jake to the left and walked up to the side of her car. He was wearing a pair of leather chaps, a pair of Mexican styled spurs, and black Stetson cowboy hat and a Colt style revolver in a holster on his hip. Her stepbrother really was living out his Old West fantasies.

Ethan had cut his teeth as a young Ensign with the Starfleet during the Dominion War eventually rising to the rank of Commander. He lost both legs and his right arm at the Battle of Betazoid. He left Starfleet after the war for Terra Alpha, which he homesteaded a ranch in the high mountains.

Shortly after his arrival, he had been recruited into the local militia to lead the 82nd Volunteer Regiment. He stepped down after a few years, but still supplies the regiment with beef when nessicary.

He met Trinity Morris a few years after coming to Terra Alpha and his original house became the bunkhouse as he built his new wife the house that they lived in now. Trinity was a commander in the Terra Alpha Navy.

"Hey sis," Ethan said from atop Jake.

"What's up?"

Ethan pushed back his hat. "Not much I reckon."

Trinity came out of her garden with her garden trowel in one hand and shielding her eyes from the sun with the other. The twins, Arthur and Diana were, clinging to her jeans smeared in soil.

Aimee pushed open the door, "Man have they gotten big."

Ethan chuckled, "That's what happens when you stay away for years at a time." He kicked his right foot out of the stirrup and climbed down and gave her a hug.

"Okay you need a shower."

"I hadn't noticed," he said dryly. "Been out working since sun up. Just came back to switch horses when you pulled up."

"So, how is that going?"

"The cattle business? Well enough I suppose. Been dealing activists more lately not liking how we are killing these cattle for food, but you don't see them protesting the lion."

"The lion doesn't have a replicator."

"And replicated food tastes like garbage," Ethan added. "It's the circle of life. How goes the doctoring?"

"Good. I finished residency, and I passed the Federation Medical Boards. I'm a full fledged physician."

"Congratulations. So what are your plans?"

"Oh, I thought I would come and see you for a few weeks. I got a hotel lined up in Riley City. I thought I would try hiking Mount Ryder."

"Hope you know what you are doing a pair of hikers froze to death last summer at the 7,500 meter mark."

"I'm not going to the summit. I'll probably stop at timberline and camp that night and hike back out."

"Well that's a plan. Why don't you stay here. No sense in wasting money on a hotel."

"I don't want to put you all out," Aimee said.

"Nonsense. We got the room, and I'm sure Trin would love to have some take care of the twins for her. Two toddlers under foot gets trying at times. Besides you are family."

Trinity approached, and she hugged her sister-in-law. "Hey, how's it going?" Aimee asked.

"Oh, you know cowboys. It's a full time job."

A tug on her pant leg drew her attention downward. "Are you to auntie that's a twin like Arty and me?" Diana asked looking up at her with her wide blue eyes.

Aimee smiled, "I am."

"Cool," she said her interest in the adults having expired. "Let's go play Arty," she said and the twins ran off.

"Those cows can handle themselves," Trinity said to her husband. "Go and put that horse up."

Ethan smiled, "Yes ma'am."

Trinity lead Aimee into the house though the back door which lead into the kitchen. The Talon's housekeeper, Mrs. Ackers, was at the sink just finishing up cleaning from the noon meal.

"Mrs. Ackers, Aimee is going to be staying with for a bit. Could you get the spare room ready for her?"

The buxom woman who was no more than four inches over five feet, but she had a presence. Aimee had seen Starfleet Admirals with less of a commanding nature. "Aye, of course dear," Mrs. Ackres said in that softer lowland Scottish accent of hers. "There's a pot of coffee on the counter."

Aimee sat at the kitchen table with Eathn and Trinity for the rest of the afternoon. David Sackett, their cousin, came in halfway through. David was the ranch foreman, and cowboy through and through.

They ate a massive meal. Mrs. Ackers was a hell of a cook, and she able to meet the rest of the ranch hands. Most were former Starfleet who had served in the Dominion War. The Rafter T sought out former soldiers who often suffered from PTSD and gave them the stability and a place to heal far from the bustle of modern life.

The suns were dipped below the high peaks when Aimee found herself sitting on the back porch, with Ethan next to her. He was smoking a cigar, and held a cup of coffee in his hand.

"My favorite time of day," Ethan said. "Remember when we would do this at your mom's place?"

"Sit out here and stare up at the stars? Not really. I was only five and star gazing really wasn't my thing."

He nodded, "I reckon so, but being a doctor was. You were always taking care of things." He burst out laughing, "I can still remember your mom's expression when you walked into the house with that snake with a bandage on it. Never seen someone scream so loud."

Aimee laughed with him. "It was just a garter snake, and you'd thought I brought in a black mamba or something. Learned to leave those outside."

"Yeah, well I got to be honest with you, I'm not much of a snake fan my ownself. They give me the heebie jeebies."

"You the big stone warrior?" She teased.

"Phobias don't have to make sense, " he replied. "Ration or irrational they are very real. It's like being afraid of clowns. If you think about it rationally only an insane person would be scared of a clown, but we all know that's not the case."

Aimee shrugged in agreement. "You are right. How did you get to be so wise?"

Ethan chuckled, "Couldn't tell you. But, a man does have plenty of time to think sitting on the back of a cow pony rounding up cattle. It gives you time to reflect."

"And what have you concluded with all that thinking?" Aimee teased.

Ethan sat back in his rocking chair and pushed his hat back. The tip of his cigar glowed yellow as he puffed on it. "That a man, and woman, he added hastily, isn't supposed to live like we do everywhere else in the Federation. Getting your hands dirty, and working until you can't work anymore, and then pushing through. I think we need that connection to the land. Fresh air and nature. Hard graft is what a human body needs. And then at night sit under the stars and decompress." With a wry grin, "I can only speak for my gender, but later that night getting the love of a good woman. I never thought I would see this as some sort of paradise, but here I am. I aim to die here, and get my ashes spread on that mountain somewhere. Doesn't matter where."

Aimee sat silently listening to her brother speak, and sipping her own coffee. He was having a moment. Some of it was almost incoherent ramblings, but he was speaking from the heart. When he stopped they sat in silence for a moment before she spoke, "It's beautiful here. Reminds me of some of those places we'd go as a family to in Colorado. The mountains are higher here though. "

"They are newer, " Ethan said, "But yeah, it is like up Maroon Bells way."

"Or Rocky Mountain National Park."

The backdoor creaked open and the light from inside flooded the porch. The moment was ruined like so many other peaceful moments one has in life. They are fleeting, but cherished in memory.

"The twins are ready for bed," Trinity announced.

Ethan snubbed out his cigar, stood and tossed the rest of his coffee into the bushes. "If you'll excuse me ladies, the Adventurs of Alice in Wonderland awaits. Diana can't sleep without her bedtime stories."

Trinity stood with her arms wrapped around her, "It's cold out here, and you two were just sitting out here talking?"

Aimee shrugged. She had to admit it was a little chilly, but she was enjoying herself. "It's not too bad. I suppose this is hard to get used to growing up in Hawaii."

"You can say that, but Ethan came back from the war a different man. This is the only place where the old Ethan comes out. I'll take the cold, and the snow to make him happy. It makes me happy, and I have to admit it is pretty."

"That it is."

"So where are you going after this?"

"Earth. I've been assigned to the USS Hippocrates. Tess suggested it."

"Well, Grandma Tess would know who is worth serving under."

"Let's just say I'm looking for to serving under someone who isn't family."

Trinity laughed, "I know the feeling. I'm glad you were able come and stay. Ethan doesn't get to see his side of the family much."

"It was on the way."

"How far along are you?" Aimee asked

"Well, we get up with the sun around here, so I'm headed to bed," Trinity announced.

Aimee smiled, "Well, have a good night. I think I'll sit here for a little longer. Make this moment last as long as I can."

 

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