Tim and Sam entered the bridge of the Albatross from the airlock. Almost nobody noticed until Ensign Zhou spotted the admirals’ dress uniforms. “Admirals on deck!” he announced loudly and nervously.
“As you were!” Tim announced.
“Commander Johnson!” Sam addressed the commander.
“Yes Ma’am.” He looked around to both of them “Sir. Ma’am. Sir. Ma’am?” he was very confused.
“Take it easy sailor.” Sam addressed the commander “You haven’t ever seen us in uniform.”
“And there is a reason for that.” Tim added. “But that is not why we are here now.”
“I don’t understand.” He looked really lost.
“You don’t have to.” Sam looked squarely at him and extended a small box. “Captain Calhoun is going home and this station needs a new captain.”
“Congratulations Captain Johnson!” Tim extended his hand “On your promotion and your new command.”
Sam opened the box to reveal the eagles to the new captain with a big smile.
The new captain looked down to the box and smiled. He looked back up to Sam “Thank you Ma’am!” and then looked to Tim “Sir!”
Tim took one of the eagles out of the box, pulled the oak cluster from the new captain’s left collar and punched the eagle into that collar. Sam took the other oak cluster from the new captain’s right collar and replaced it with the other eagle. Simultaneously Tim and Sam punched down on the eagles to press them into the captain’s uniform and make sure he knew the responsibilities he now had.
Tim and Sam both saluted the new captain.
“Congratulations Captain.” Tim stated with a smile.
“Take care of your station and your crew.” Sam looked directly at him.
“I will indeed, Ma’am.” He looked to Tim “Sir.”
“Very Well.” Tim released his salute. “We need to get going.”
“And don’t tell the Reykjavik quite yet.” Sam winked at Captain Johnson “We have a surprise for them too.”
“Yes Ma’am.” He was still processing his promotion. He turned around to his staff “Ok people, let’s get this station back to operational status.”
Tim and Sam entered the Reykjavik from the airlock in their space suits dragging their bags with them. The yeoman led them to their quarters without checking much else. The pair just trudged along to the compartment and went in. They stowed their bags quickly and climbed out of their space suits. They checked each other and squared their uniforms, and then exited the compartment. The yeoman froze a moment since she had no idea they were admirals “Admiral … s.” She muttered hesitantly.
“Yes yeoman.” Tim tried to sound reassuring.
“Don’t worry,” Sam chimed in “We don’t bite.” She smiled.
“We need to go to the bridge.” Tim looked at the stunned yeoman.
“Of course,” she slowly got back to business “right this way Sir, Ma’am.” She turned and launched down the zero G passageway. Tim and Sam followed her to the bridge and stopped at the airlock.
“We can take it from here yeoman.” Sam grabbed the airlock handle “You’re dismissed.”
“Yes Ma’am, Sir.” She spun around and drifted back down the passageway as Tim and Sam entered the airlock.
They scanned the bridge as they were entering it, checking the operations and how well the crew worked together. Gwen and Kim were talking to Commander Dunst at the navigating station. Gwen looked up and saw Tim and Sam in full dress uniforms. She announced “Admirals on deck!” and saluted. Everyone in the compartment turned to look and saluted.
“As you were.” Tim announced as they both finished their return salutes.
“Commander Dunst.” Sam addressed the commander. “This ship is down one captain and will be for some time.”
“That is not a workable situation,” Tim added “As you are no doubt aware.”
“Yes Sir, Ma’am.” The commander responded.
Sam took a box out of her pocket and opened it to reveal the shiny eagles inside. “Congratulations
Captain,” She smiled “On your promotion and new command.” She picked up one of the eagles.
“We expect you will be able to run this ship as tight as Captain Grind did.” He picked up the other eagle and the two of them removed the oak clusters from the new captain’s collar, replaced them with the eagles they then punched down just hard enough that the pin tips just tapped his skin. Some naval traditions will never die.
“Alright Captain,” Tim pointed out the forward observation port “Let’s get this beast underway.”
“We’re going to need a compartment to work in.” Sam pointed out “But first we need to get out of these uniforms.”
“Of course. I’ll get one allocated.” He turned to his lieutenant “set aside one of the conference rooms with an observation port on the same side as our unusual cargo.” He turned back to the admirals “I’ll send you the compartment number to your quarters. You probably want to grab a quick shower on your way.”
“That we will.” Sam smiled.
“Gwen, Kim, we will meet you in there and get our strategy figured out.” Tim looked slightly serious.
“Yes sir.” Gwen responded.
“Very well,” Tim saluted the new captain “Carry on.” Sam saluted as well. They both spun around and left through the airlock.
As they drifted down the passage way Sam asked “Do you think they will mind if we take a little extra time getting there?”
“They are going to have to.” And they both laughed a little.
The Reykjavik slowly accelerated away from Albatross station towing the unusual cargo. The shuttle was towing from the opposite side to balance the thrust and keep the asteroid clear of the thrusters of both ships. They headed off on the 8 month journey to get back to earth quietly in the dark emptiness of space.
Beginning of Story