Stories of Samuel Bishop

Part One: The Sacred Band

Spoiler: Stardate 92393.9Show
Stardate 92393.9 (24 May 2415)

Captain Samuel Alexander Bishop strode towards the turbolift.

"Bridge," He said subconsciously and immediately the lift moved upwards. Sam had a lot on his mind; going over a mental checklist of correct departing procedure, forming a mental checklist of the things he needed to do at DS9 before travelling to Bajor to meet Dr Anjar and lastly, at the back of his mind, nagging away, was the knowledge that he had to organise a memorial service for Captain Cartwright. He was tempted to let Alfred do it, but a Vulcan organising a service would possibly not be what the crew needed and, Sam remembered, Alfred was not on board when the Captain was killed. Perhaps Hamish could take the job on...

The door opened and Sam stepped onto the bridge, calmly walking down the ramp and standing in the centre, arms folded behind his back, eyes fixed firmly ahead.
"Lieutenant Higginson, status report?"
"Flight plan received and inputted. All crew members all on board. Systems are fully functioning. We are just waiting on your mark sir," Henry replied busily tapping away. Sam took in this information and took his seat.
"Take us out of orbit, one quarter impulse and wait for further instruction," Sam said and looked towards Kaci, who was working the comms. "Ensign Stephans, patch me through to DS13 flight control, audio only."
"Yes sir," was the response and Sam saw the ship push away from the starbase. "Communication link established Captain."
"This is Captain Bishop of the USS Endeavour, requesting permission to depart."

# "Captain Bishop, you are clear to warp." #

"Acknowledged, Bishop out." Sam said and nodded at Kaci to close the comms channels. "Alright Henry, take us away, warp 6." Henry tapped away at his screen for a couple of seconds and then replied.
"Going to warp" The ship lurched forward as it sped away. Just then, the turbolift opened and Sam turned to see his First Officer walk towards him. Alfred Voxazil stood tall, his black hair cut in the traditional Vulcan style. Alfred, like Sam, also sported a beard, though unlike Sam who had voluntarily grown one, Alfred had grown one in response to a bet from his long term friend, Jaidan Reeder, the Chief Medical Officer onboard the Endeavour. As always, Sam could read nothing from the Vulcan's face.
"Captain. May I talk to you in your ready room?" Alfred inquired. Sam gave an assenting nod and stood up, following Alfred to the ready room. Alfred paused to let Sam enter first; Sam in turn moving into the room and gesturing for Alfred to take a seat on the sofa.
"What's the problem Alfred?" Sam asked when they were both sat down.
"Captain, whilst doing my tactical reconnaissance of the Dubhe Sector, I have noticed an abnormal increase of True Way attacks in the area since the discovery of the new planet. I advise we spend some time in Deep Space 9 collecting more detailed information before setting out to the planet. I also advise you to inform the Fleet of this development."
Sam looked at Alfred. "Your advice seems sound Alfred but perhaps you are being a bit too cautious. The increase of attacks may just be atypical, a coincidence if you will. And as for informing the Fleet, well, I think we should contact them when we have more concrete data."
Alfred raised his eyebrows. "I am merely stating fact Captain, as I observed it. But I agree with your decision. It would indeed be best to send the Fleet the most up to date information." Sam nodded. "Very well Captain," Alfred stood up. "Oh, and Jaidan would like to see you in sickbay as soon as possible. He does not seem too happy with your increased usage of the gym without consulting him first. And, if I may add Captain," Alfred said walking towards the door and lifting up an eyebrow. "You don't seem to have lost any weight or gained any muscle." Alfred stated, face showing no expression, before he left the room, leaving Sam grinning on the sofa.
"It's only been two days," he muttered to himself before getting up and following his First Officer out onto the bridge.
Spoiler: Stardate 92415Show
Stardate 92415 (1 June 2415)

The sand whipped around Sam as he stood up, panting. He moved his dust covered hand towards his equally dust covered face and wiped his brow which was slicked with sweat. Sam turned around and stared up at the cloudless sky, his eyes moving from the blue hues of the atmosphere and to the white star, Pico 285, which lingered overhead, unyielding in her heat.
Sam let go of his tricorder, which felt limply to his right and reached for his water canteen, on his left, taking a long gulp. Sam stood for a moment, and then poured a little behind his neck; the feeling was refreshing and Sam shivered slightly as the water ran down his spine. Carefully putting the lid back on and reaching for his tricorder, Sam dropped back down to the sand and once again started to scan the ground. He was looking for a needle in a haystack, a needle that probably didn't even exist, but Sam was happy. This was the first time he had had any form of shore leave since Captain Cartwright had died and, although he was officially working, Sam felt like he was taking a well deserved break; archaeology wasn't work to him, it was a hobby, even if it meant trawling for hours on his hands and knees in the burning desert. His tricorder gave a small ping and Sam paused, a hand moving to brush his sand-logged beard. His tricorder had picked up some sort of object, close to the surface and without digging the thing up he was unable to verify if it was something of value. Sam glanced behind him to the other small holes he had dug that day. Some holes had been refilled by the shifting sand whilst others remained open and the ground was littered in them. Turning back to his tricorder, Sam pulled out a brush from his bag and started to move the sand away from the location marked by his tricorder. It wasn't long until Sam made out some sort of smooth object. Brushing sand off with his hand, the object felt as smooth as obsidian and cool to the touch. That's to be expected Sam thought buried underground. Suddenly Sam frowned. His fingers had brushed against a fault on the surface of the rock, a fault that did not seem natural. Feeling it a bit more, the fault was shallow and unnaturally straight, man-made if you will. Sam grabbed his paintbrush again and moved more sand out of the way and then pulled out a toothbrush. Using the very tip, Sam followed the fault line with the brush to clear the sand away. Then, pulling out a magnifying glass - Sam liked to do archaeology the old fashioned way - Sam peered at the fault. The line was very precisely cut and Sam could visibly see the remains of what seemed like gold paint. Pulling back and away, Sam tapped his combadge.
"Bishop to Dr Anjar, I have found the object in Sector 28.53. It seems to be a slab of rock that has engravings on it."
"Good work Bishop, I am on my way now." came the reply. Sam gave an instinctive nod, although it was pointless given the fact there was nobody around to witness it, and carried on unearthing the slab. Sam quickly realised that the slab was rectangular in shape and it was in fact, three dimensional; a box going into the ground. Then, as he was brushing away he came across a hole in the slab. It looked man made too and Sam, quite easily distracted when digging, started to brush inside the hole to see what was underneath. Another rock came into view, a spherical object. Was it a rock? Sam once again reached out to touch it. His fingers felt something cold, hard and leathery. Not a rock. Sam was curious and carried on digging around. Suddenly Sam leapt back dropping his brush and hand flying to his combadge.
"Bishop to Jaidan Reeder."
"Jaidan here Sam, what is it?"
"Jaidan I need you to beam down immediately. You need to see this."
"On my way."
Sam stared at the object in the ground. Staring back up at him were two empty eye sockets.
Spoiler: Stardate 92438.6Show
Stardate 92438.6 (10 June 2415)

Sam jumped onto his bed as the lights dimmed. He lay on top of his covers and put his arms behind his head staring the blackened ceiling. The quiet hum of the warp engines was soothing and Sam could feel his eyes start to droop -
-"Bridge to Captain Bishop."-
Sam's eyes opened and for a second he wasn't sure where he was.
-"Bishop here, what is it Henry?"-
-"You are needed on the bridge Captain. Immediately." -
Sam gave a nod in the darkness and climbed out of bed.
-"On my way. Bishop out."- Sam yawned and then moved to put on his uniform.

"The ship has been following us for over an hour now. I've changed course a couple of times but the vessel keeps on moving to match. I've not tried hailing them yet."
Henry said, frowning at the image on screen.
"Do we know what kind of ship it is?"
Sejanus' voice cut through the air. "A Jem'Hadar Heavy Escort sir."
Sam looked back at the tactical officer briefly before taking his seat and looking at the screen.
"Kaci I want you to try to hail them, tell them that they are trespassing in Federation space and if they do not change course we will turn around and engage them."
"Yes Captain."
"Henry what is our current location?"
"We're not too far away from DS13."
"No, I don't want the ship following us there. Reroute to the nearest system and come out of warp."
"Yes Captain, we should be there in less than a minute."
"Good. Sejanus, get all the senior officers on the bridge now. Go to yellow alert."
"Sir we have a reply from the ship. Patching it through."
There was silence before static came through and the faint sound of clicking. Sam glared at Kaci but she just shrugged.
"Entering the system Captain. The ship has followed us in." Henry looked back.
"Damn, raise shields."
"Sir, the enemy ship has also raised shields. They are powering up weapons." Sejanus said calmly as the turbo lift opened and Alfred, Hamish and Lucy walked in. Sam frowned.
"No Jaidan?" he asked and Lucy shook her head briefly in reply.
"Sir, we have multiple enemies bearing in on our location."
Sam cursed. "Red alert. Open fire. Let's deal with this and get out of here quickly."
"Firing." Sejanus replied simply and Sam saw the ship fire two energy beams at the enemy before firing three bursts of the cannon. "No significant damage dealt Captain and they are returning fire."
"Henry, get us moving." Sam said, eyes not moving off the ship on screen even as the ship shook. "Damage?"
"Shields holding Captain." Hamish replied.
"Fire at will." Sam instructed and Sejanus responded with several shots back at the enemy whilst Henry skipped around them. The duel commenced, both ships keeping their distance and firing at each other, both sets of pilots attempting to cross the other's T.
"It's no good Captain. We keep on outmanoeuvring each other, I can't hold her steady to fire an accurate shot off." Henry said, fingers flying over the console.
"Perhaps it would be wiser to change tactics. Instead of trying to cross each other's T and effectively firing parallel to each other, why don't we seemingly allow the enemy to cross our T and then move quickly towards the enemy, firing all fore weapons. This would allow us to catch the enemy off guard and possibly force the enemy to move away from our advance." Alfred advised from Sam's left. Sam looked at his First Officer who raised his eyebrow in response. "I believe it is the tactics used by your Admiral Horatio Nelson in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805."
Sam replied sarcastically. "I think you'll find that Nelson's tactics involved two lines instead of one." Alfred pursed his lips in response and Sam gave him a quick grin. "Henry, engage attack pattern...Alfred-one-eight-zero-five." Sam ordered.
"Yes sir," Henry said laughing and the ship slowed a little, enough for the enemy ship to cut across the fore.
"Henry full speed ahead." Sam commanded and the ship lurched forward towards the enemy vessel. "Let's try another 19th Century tactic." Sam said, quietly, so only Alfred could hear, and then raised his voice. "Sejanus, do not fire until my command." The ship got closer and closer. "Not yet..." Sam could make out the faint name of the ship. "Not yet..." Sam ordered and he could feel the silent tension on the bridge. The rivets holding the ship's hull together came into view. Sam realised he was holding his breath and he exhaled, his finger shooting upwards towards the screen. "Fire." There was a silence for a second or so, but that silence seemed to last a lifetime before a blinding light appeared before their eyes. "Henry pull up!" Sam yelled and immediately the ship shot upwards.
"Direct hit Captain, we seemed to have overloaded their shields and have done significant damage to the ship. They are well and truly disabled." Sejanus said. The bridge seemed to let out a collective sigh.
"Good work officers, first round is on me tonight." Sam said, standing up.
"Henry, set a course for DS13. Maximum Wa-"
"Captain. We have intruders on deck." Hamish interrupted.
Sam turned around to look at the Chief Engineer. "What do you mean? Our shields were up."
Hamish tapped away at his console. "They must have matched their transporter frequency to match our shield's phase patterns."
-"Alfred to security. Mobilise all teams, we have enemies on board."- Sam heard Alfred behind him.
"Which decks?" Sam pushed Hamish for more information.
"Captain..." Sam turned to look at Alfred. Though his face was expressionless, Sam knew instantly where they were going.
"Sir, multiple ships have just come out of warp. They are powering up shields and weapons." Lucy reported.
"Henry, evasive manoeuvres!" Sam wheeled round as suddenly the ship shook violently. Sam dropped to one knee as he momentarily lost his balance. As he got up, a explosion behind him sent him flying forwards faster than he could get his arms up to stop himself. Sam hit the floor, head first and hard. The world had suddenly become dark and blurry and Sam struggled to get up. His hand move to his forehead and came away red. Sam saw his blood drip slowly onto the floor of the bridge as his arms weakened and he crumpled. He was only briefly aware of Kaci holding his head in her arms and Alfred saying something he could only guess as an order for an emergency teleport. Sam then finally lost consciousness.
Spoiler: Sam's Coma: Seb departsShow
The voices seemed distant and familiar.
"Sammy come on! You'll miss him!"
Sam found himself in a garden, with tall apple trees around him. He knew this place.
Sam turned around and saw a boy, not much older than five or six, playing in the dirt. In one hand, was some sort of digger, the other, a small metallic car. The boy looked up, red cheeked, and messy brown hair. His eyes were bright green.
"I'm coming Mother," said the boy standing up and dropping the toys. With a quick brush down to try and get some of the dirt off his little pink knees, the boy turned and ran towards the mansion in the back ground. Sam followed him, realising with a heavy sense of nostalgia where he was. Following the boy through the kitchen and into a grand entrance way, Sam saw a man, silhouetted in the doorway, in full uniform with a hat tucked under his arm. Next to him was a smaller woman, hair tucked in a neat bun, and very pristine. The small boy ran into the room and grabbed the taller man by the legs in a hug.
"Are you going now?" the boy asked, looking up at the man.
"I am, Sam." The man bent down looking the boy in the eyes. "Take care of Mother now."
The boy gave a strong nod. The man ruffled the boy's hair and gave a grin. "Good lad." He then stood up and gave the woman a hug.
"Be safe now." The woman said, dabbing her eyes with a handkerchief. "Don't forget to come home sometimes."
The man nodded. "Goodbye Mother." He said and strode out to the waiting shuttle. He stopped before he got in, turned, and gave a parting wave. Then the doors slammed shut and the shuttle took off.
Sam looked at the boy. He was clutching the woman's dress in his small pudgy hand, the other frozen mid wave. He was looking at the sky for a last glimpse of the shuttle. But there was none. Suddenly, there was a loud noise and the shuttle zoomed past, as close as possible to the house as was safe and did a small barrel roll before heading away. The boy squealed with joy and started laughing, waving hard at the disappearing shuttle. Sam suddenly felt light headed and collapsed to the ground, vision fading.

Spoiler: Sam's Coma: The FinalShow
Sam found himself at the side of a football pitch, watching what looked like an Under 13's match. The weather was so typically was cold; the adults on the edge hugging themselves trying to keep warm, the raining driving into their eyes. Even 25th Century technology couldn't handle the grim English weather. Even so, Sam could see 22 boys braving the storm and playing on the pitch. A boy stood, hugging the touch line, ball at his feet, messy brown hair and bright green eyes. He was hunched over, on his toes, waiting for the waiting defender to make a lunge. Around him, he could hear his team mates screaming for the ball.
"Sam! Pass the bloody ball!"
The green-eyed boy did nothing and waited. Time seemed to slow around him. He rolled the ball in front of him. The defender was enticed and swung his foot. With inhuman speed, the boy rolled the ball back away and swivelled to his right, rolling of the shoulder of the exposed defender and sprinting towards the goal. The ball stuck to the muddy ground and it took visible effort to kick the ball but the boy did it so effortlessly. Another defender slid in. The boy knocked the ball ahead and lept over the flailing leg and carried on. It was him and the goal keeper now, nothing else. He looked up at the goal keeper, who was advancing out, visibly cold and wet but trying to look big. His green eyes clashed with the keeper's blue ones and he gave a menacing grin. He swung his leg back, ready to drive the ball hard into the net. The keeper flinched. And instead of having a shot, the boy carefully passed the ball, around the keeper into the run of one of his team mates. With the goal now wide open, all was needed was a small tap and the ball skidded into the net.
"Nice one Sam!" the boy's team mates called as they mobbed him in celebration. The boy however wiggled free and ran to grab the ball from the net.
"One one lads, let's finish this!" He said running back to the centre. The ball was kicked and the game restarted.
Minutes went by and the game was almost at an end. The boy groaned as he saw the ball knocked out for an opposition corner.
"Sam! Get into the box! A point is all we need to win the league; just kick the ball away!" The manager barked excitedly from the touchline. He could almost feel the cool metal of the trophy. The green-eyed boy obeyed and trudged on back towards his box. The corner was whipped in and the ball fell to him.
"KICK IT AWAY, KICK IT!" The manager bounced up and down excitedly.
The boy drew his foot back to kick it when suddenly he felt a large body smack into him. The boy toppled over into the mud.
"Oh look, it's posh boy Bishop, eating mud," came a smug remark. The boy stood up, head to toe in mud.
"What?" he hissed, venom in his voice, fists clenching. He could faintly hear a whistle being blown to signal a foul, and his teammates calling his name but all he had his eyes on was the fat kid who had pushed him over.
"You heard, you stuck up brat," the fat kid responded and suddenly yelled out in pain. The green-eyed boy had given him a vicious left hook and the kid fell to the mud, clutching a broken jaw. But his battering didn't end there, the boy started kicking him, hard, on the ground. Bones snapped and suddenly the green-eyed boy was being held back by his teammates.
The events that unfolded next came quickly. A stretcher was brought out, and a medical team took the fat kid away. The boy was shown a red card and a penalty was awarded to the opposition. As the boy trudged off towards Sam, Sam could see that his face showed no emotion. When he got to his manager, the boy turned around, saw the opposition penalty fly in and his own teammates slink to the ground in despair. The manager looked at the boy, fuming. The boy merely shrugged and walked into the changing rooms behind Sam.
"Samuel...Samuel! SAM!"
Spoiler: Sam's Coma: Keying CarsShow
Sam was standing on the side of a dark street. A lone yellow streetlamp was glowing bright, shading everything in a yellow tinge. It had just been raining and there was a smell of damp in the air. Huddled around what looked like an old classic car, were three boys.
"Sam...come on, we'll get caught. We shouldn't be out of the boarding house this late." one of the boys was pleading. The boy he was talking to looked up and glared at him with those green eyes and then looked back down at the car. Sam saw a flash of metal and a faint screech. The boy was scratching the bodywork of the car, carving an obscene image on the side.
"Go slash the tyres Matt." He commanded and the other boy obeyed, pulling out a knife and bending down.
"Don't slash them will be cheaper." The worried boy said, timidly, stepping back and looking around nervously. "Guys, we should -" CRASH!
The boys at the car spun round to see their friend on top of two bins, having backed into them and sending them flying. The lights went on in the house.
"Who's there!"
The boys looked at each other in shock.
"Well done Jack!" The green-eyed boy said sarcastically, holding out his hand to help the other boy up. "You're a right clever clogs aren't you."
"It wasn't my fault -"
"My car!" A man had stumbled out of the house wearing an old nightgown and holding a golf club aloft. "You boys have destroyed my car!"
"Run!" the green-eyed boy said and the three of them bolted off, sprinting away from the man who had fallen to his knees crying.
Sam could hear the boy's distant laughter as his vision darkened.

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Spoiler: The Girl and the ProfessorShow

She's looking at you Sam,"
"She is not!"
"She is, just look!"
Sam looked across the lecture hall to a blonde haired girl sitting a few rows ahead of him. Sam thought he saw movement, but it was probably a trick of the light. Or tiredness. Sam Bishop and 0900 lectures were not compatible.
"She isn't looking at me Jaidan, see?" Sam turned to look at his best friend who was grinning at him wildly.
"She isn't now but she was." Jaidan said knowingly and leant back in his seat. Sam envied him. How could he party all night and still get up in the morning as fresh as a daisy? Sam shook his head and turned around to his desk. As he put his elbow on the table, he knocked his PADD which flew onto the floor...and landed right underneath the blonde haired girl's seat.
"Oh for fu..." Sam stopped himself as Jaidan looked at him.
"That's one way to get her attention" Jaidan laughed.
"Erm, do yourself a favour Reeder, you see that door over there? Well, walk through it, turn left out of the double doors, and throw yourself into the lake." Sam said before sighing as he got up and bumping into the professor who was walking down the steps.
"Assaulting the lecturers now are we Cadet Bishop? Just another thing to go into your ever increasing record of misdemeanours?"
"No," Sam spat back, angrily.
"Careful Cadet. You are walking on a fine line." The lecturer warned. "Now sit down before I request security to chuck you out and I fail you in this class." The lecture room had fallen silent and Sam could feel everyone's eyes on him, including the girl's. He should probably stand down. "You can't afford to fail another class can you Bishop?"
"No what? Speak up Cadet!"
"No...sir" Sam replied with gritted teeth.
"Now sit down. Any more interuptions from you today and I will personally chuck you out of Starfleet myself." The teacher looked for Sam's PADD on his desk. "No PADD? Forgot it again Bishop?"
"No sir. I have it with me..."
"Do you now? Well then. Bring it to me after the lesson. I wish to see your notes." The lecturer smiled wickedly and walked down to the front. Sam sunk into his seat.
"That was just unlucky mate." Jaidan whispered into his ear as the lecturer started dictating the lesson.
"How can I make notes if my PADD is under her chair?" Sam eyed the PADD. It was just lying there. All he needed to do was make a quick dash for it. But that would definitely interrupt Sourpuss over there and he would get kicked out.
"Listen. I have an idea. Just wait for him to get into the groove. You know when he starts talking he'll close his eyes and just drone on. You can do it then." Jaidan advised. Sam thought about it for a second. It was a sound plan. He nodded.
Soon enough, the lecturer had started to drone on, his eyes firmly shut as he paced at the front, his arms waving wildly. Sam took his chance. Diving to the floor, he crawled down the steps, just behind the girl's seat. Sam reached out and his fingers brushed the PADD. Just a bit more...
"What are you doing?" came a hushed voice. Sam looked up to see two piercingly blue eyes look at him. Sam pointed at his PADD. The girl reached down to pick it up.
"Thanks," Sam whispered as he took the PADD that was offered to him. He should go back he thought. "You were looking at me before." Sam said.
The girl's face turned a slight red.
"I was not..." she replied, a little too quickly. "Besides, you were looking at me too."
"So you do admit you were looking at me." Sam grinned and the girl turned away.
"Would you like to grab some coffee after this?" Sam asked hopefully.
"Yeah...sure," The girl replied. "Meet you outside?"
Sam nodded and turned to go back up the steps. He paused and turned around.
"Samuel Bishop," he introduced.
"Jenny Cartwright."
Sam smiled and turned back up giving Jaidan a quick wink.
Sam's eyes closed and swore. Turning around, he saw the lecturer glaring at him.
"What are you doing out of your seat?"
"Nothing sir." Sam replied.
"Really? Nothing?" The lecturer turned to his seat and pulled it out. "No pressure activated sound emitters on my chair." He then walked up to the microphone to check it. "No modifications to the microphone." He turned to look at Sam. "I know you've done something. This is one of your pranks to catch me out. Well I caught you!" The lecturer tapped his combadge. "Security!" Looking at Sam he sneered. "You better say goodbye to your Starfleet future Bishop. This time tomorrow, you'll be on a shuttle back to whichever circle of hell you came from. Ah, security!" The lecturer looked at the two men who had walked into the room. "Escort Cadet Bishop to see the Admiral please."
Sam could only catch Jaidan's last worried look as he was led out of the room.
"Not again," he muttered.
Spoiler: Stardate 93364.9Show
Stardate 93364.9

"Hello Samuel!" Admiral Sebastian Bishop's face cracked with a smile when he saw his younger brother's face. "It's been a long time."
"Hello, Sebastian!" Sam replied. He sat down on the lounge in his quarters and took a sip of whisky.
"Whisky Samuel?" Seb asked. "You've not changed!" he laughed.
Sam smiled. "How is Rachael?"
"Rachael is just fine. How are you? How is your life in the 38th Fleet?"
"Argo is suiting me just fine." Sam said, taking another sip. "Listen, I called because I had some news for you."
"Oh really? I have news for you too."
Sam raised his eyebrows. "What is it?" He said suspiciously.
Seb chuckled. "No, you first."
Sam sighed. Why did his brother always like initiating these competitions? "Well Sebastian, you know that after my stint on Bajor I was discharged, so I returned to Starfleet Academy to complete my Masters in Archaeology and to undertake the Command course?"
"Well, before I joined Argo I started on a Doctorate course, further specialising in Archaeology. Well, a few weeks ago, I received a letter from the Arch Department stating that my thesis had been absolutely groundbreaking and that they would be honoured to grant me a PhD in Archaeology. Furthermore, they would love for me to take up a teaching role in at the Academy."
Seb's mouth dropped. "You mean..."
Sam grinned. "I'll be signing my name as Dr Bishop from now on!"
Seb's mouth nearly split. "Samuel, that is excellent news! I am so proud of you brother!"
"It was all thanks to you, Sebastian," Sam said quietly. "I owe all this to you."
Seb waved away the comment. "Nonsense Samuel. You always had a sharp mind. Even when you were flunking your classes and becoming a damn nuisance, you did so in amazing, rather clever ways! I merely just offered my advice. You did all the hard work."
"I have been following your career closely Samuel. Father would have been proud of you. As it is, Mother and I are also proud of you."
"How is Mother?" Sam asked. He had not seen his mother since he last returned to Earth, before the war. Seb's face dropped almost instantly at the question.
"That was my bit of news Samuel. Mother..." Seb stopped for a minute to consider his next words.
"What is it, Sebastian?" Sam sat up and put the glass down. "Sebastian?"
"Mother is very ill Samuel. Very ill."
All the feeling in Sam's body drained.
"Ill? How? When?" Sam was lost for words. "Shall I come back?" Sam asked.
"No Samuel. She's stable for now. There's no need to worry too much. If you come now, I don't think it will do her much good; you know how she is. She'll just spend her time worrying about what you're sacrificing to be with her."
Sam's face remained motionless.
"She's refusing to stay in bed you know," Seb gave a small chuckle. "Pottering around the garden as if she was a young lady. Cleaning the house. Going for walks with her circle." Sam's face conceded a small smile at the thought. "Rachael is staying with her. You know. To keep an eye on her." Seb looked up at Sam. "Don't worry yourself too much Samuel. She is in good care."
"I'll need to go to the academy in the next couple of months to attend the ceremony. I can visit you then." Sam said after a long pause.
Seb nodded. "That would be good. At least she wouldn't worry about you ruining your career to visit her."
"Yes Samuel?"
"Would you tell her the good news?"
Seb shook his head. "Samuel you should tell her."
"No Sebastian. I...I just want you to let her know."
"I will Samuel." Seb said, finally. "Take care of yourself."
"You too Sebastian. I'll talk to you again soon."
As the screen faded to black, Sam stood up and stared out into the stars. Mother...
"Bridge to Captain Bishop."
Sam's response was automatic.
"Sam here, go ahead Alfred."
"I was just letting you know that your survey of the asteroid is complete. We are ready to return back to Deep Space 13."
"Very well, I am on my way up. Bishop out."
Sam looked at the stars for a second more before finishing his drink, straightening his uniform and marching out of his quarters, ready for duty.
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Spoiler: Stardate 93444.0Show
Stardate 93444.0

Sam was sitting in his ready room, doing some light reading when somebody knocked on the door.
"Come in," he said, putting his book down and seeing Alfred walk in.
"Captain." The Vulcan greeted.
"Alfred. You said you had a message for me."
"I do Captain. I was in Astrometrics earlier and I noticed a strange vessel in the area. Further, long range scans of it revealed something that may be of great importance."
"What Alfred?"
"This may be the ship that attacked us last year. When we were transporting the find from Arcturus."
Sam sat up. "Are you sure?"
"I am Captain."
Sam looked away from Alfred as a dim pain shot up in his leg. "What do you suggest we do Alfred?" Sam asked after a while.
"As good as the Endeavour's stealth capabilities are, a vessel of this size will easily be detected by the enemy." Alfred began and Sam gave a nod of agreement. "I suggest sending a small team in a Delta Flyer to pursue it. It will no longer have the cargo but it might give some indication as to where the cargo went. Although after an entire year, we cannot be sure it has not moved on. It gives us a lead however."
"I agree with you Alfred. I want Sejanus to lead and Kaci and Paztor with him. Give them information on a need to know basis only. They report back to me and you and nobody else. Put it on record that they are on leave."
"Yes sir."
"They are to observe and record. No contact. If they are caught, they have no ties to us or the Federation."
"Will you be reporting this to DS13?"
Sam stopped to think. "Yes," he said finally and Alfred raised his eyebrows. "Last time this happened, I didn't contact DS13 immediately. We lost the cargo. This time, we tell them."
"Very well Captain." Alfred said.
"You disagree?"
"I do, Sam. I do not think we have sufficient evidence to provide DS13 command with."
"I know Alfred. But I am not repeating the mistakes of the past."
Alfred stopped and looked at Sam. "Sam I am speaking as a friend when I say that you cannot let your past define who you are. Each mission requires a fresh take..."
Sam cut him off by raising his hand and smiling. "I know Alfred. I know. But I have a feeling that this might be the right thing to do."
Alfred raised his eyebrows once more. "Well Captain. I have given you my input. The decision is yours and yours alone. I respect that."
Sam chuckled. "Do you now?"
There was a pause. "Yes I do, but I am also thinking about the adage we have on Vulcan. Humans are weird - if they feel like doing something, let them."
Sam laughed. "That isn't really a thing, is it? You just say that to wind Hamish up!"
Alfred raised his eyebrow knowingly and turned to leave.
"Wait. You're serious? They say that on Vulcan? Alfred? Alfred!"
The Vulcan's smile was fleeting as he walked out of the ready room.
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Spoiler: Stardate 93729.7Show
Stardate 93729.7

Sam may have been off duty but still, he was in his ready room, a room that had been, until recently, had the original standard Starfleet design. Now however, the room was akin to a welcoming library; metal fittings replaced by polished wood, the sterile lights replaced with a warm yellow glow. Bookshelves lined the room, stuffed with books, both modern and ancient. Books such as Tacitus' Annals and Histories, Plato's Apology, a 1997 edition of The Oxford Illustrated History of Medieval England and The Call of the Prophets. Another popular game of the Endeavour crew was to guess how many of the books the Captain had actually read.

Sam was sat at the desk, which was covered in papers and books. His PADD, lay on top of a copy of the Napoleonic Code. The half-written message that was being drafted began as such;

TO: Captain Andrej Timoreev, Commanding Officer - USS Ananke, Libra Squadron Leader
SUBJ: Congratulations - but there's no rest for the wicked...

In front of Sam was another letter, this time handwritten in ink, with Sam's own thin, elegant, cursive writing. This one began;

TO: Captain Keelah Se'Lai, Commanding Officer - USS Valley Forge
SUBJ: Thank you and apologies

The letter was half finished but Sam put the pen back into the inkwell and stood up. Walking to the replicator, pressed a button and immediately a bottle and glass of whisky appeared. Pouring some in for himself, Sam downed the glass and poured some more in. This time, he walked over to the window and stared at the stars.

What is it about the stars that captivates people? That drives us to venture forth into the unknown? Are we but moths, drawn to a flame, unaware that we are flying to our doom? Captain Lorian was one such moth, drawn the unknown space had provided. And that is what killed him. Jenny...Jenny had been another moth, drawn to the beauty of space and she too had met her doom, here in the stars she had once coveted. What was it for? What had they gained?

Sam gave a weak smile as he recounted that it was Augustus Caesar himself who realised that the expansion of the Roman Empire should end at the Elbe and Danube rivers; if only his successors had the same foresight, history would have panned out differently. Could it be that the old imperator was correct in his idea that everything, no matter how great, must have a limit to expansion? Could it be that the United Federation of Planets would reach the limit of their expansion and then come crumbling down, sacked by the "barbarians?" What if, by exploring the farthest reaches of our galaxy, we are not only digging our civilisation's grave but constructing our coffin, lying down and awaiting a species such as 2492 to close the casket and drive the nail home.

Was that why he was suddenly so reluctant to accept Keelah's offer of the investigation of the ancient archives in the Doza sector? That what he may find within, was a precursor to the fate of his own people? When Napoleon invaded Russia in 1812, did he not think about how quickly the glories of Alexander the Great shattered upon his death?

Or was it something else entirely? Something he was scared to admit to himself? That after his injury and the loss of the coffin he was transporting from Arcturus, he was scared of the responsibility that the analysis of history required? Sam's leg flared up with the phantom pain he had experienced last night; he gasped and fell onto the sofa, massaging his leg. He looked up to his desk and the half-written letters to Keelah and Timo. How was he to explain the doubts and worries he felt to them when he could hardly explain them to himself?

Sam stood up gingerly and, grabbing the bottle of whisky, promptly finished the bottle, perhaps faster than he should have. Placing the empty glass and bottle back on the replicator, Sam limped back to his seat at the desk. Pulling out a draw, he found a golden pocket watch. He rubbed the surface with his thumb, feeling the cool metal against his warm skin. Pressing the button on the top firmly, the pocket watch opened to an old-fashioned analogue clock, the time set to that of his home in England. On the other side was a small portrait of a beautiful, smiling, blonde haired lady in a pristine Starfleet uniform, her captain's pips shining brightly. Sam's fingers lightly brushed the picture.
"Oh Jenny..." Sam whispered, his voice barely audible over the quiet hum of the ship. A lone tear slipped down his cheek and fell, shattering as it hit the ground.
Spoiler: Stardate 93753.7Show
Stardate 93753.7
Spoiler: Abide With MeShow

Abide with me, fast falls the eventide

The notes coming out of Sam's violin were melodious and graceful, in tune with the recording Sam had been practicing to. His face was scrunched up in concentration, his green eyes dancing over the score, his fingers moving up and down the strings.

The darkness deepens Lord, with me abide

Sam turned on his heel and stared out into the stars as he played, trying to remember the correct order of the notes.

When other helpers fail and comforts flee
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me

Sam slowly lowered his violin as he stared into the stars. He remembered sitting in church every Wednesday morning with his classmates, before first period, and singing this hymn, a particular favourite of his. The words had not resonated with him then. He was a young teenage boy, reckless and brash. He just liked belting the hymn out louder than his friends. But now...

Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day,
Earth's joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see,
O thou who changest not, abide with me.

Life was fleeting, that much he knew. He had seen death and faced loss. It had never fazed him though. His mind wondered back to the siege of Kobali Prime. He had read about trench warfare of the First World War. He never knew it would be that bad. When Jenny received the message that Starfleet officers were needed on Kobali Prime, she had made sure that the Endeavour was one of the first starships on the scene. Leading a team down to the planet, Sam was there from the start of the defence until the end. He had taken fifty crew members down. Only three made it out of those trenches. Sam won medals for it. The others were forgotten.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness
Where is death's sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me

He was indeed fearless. He had faced death's sting; been inches away from feeling it. And yet he lived. Against Klingons. Romulans. Cardassians. Vaudvaar. Iconians. The grave had not bested him yet. But it had snuck up on others. A knife to the throat. A shot to the chest. A grenade into the trench. A phaser beam breaching deck 6.

As Sam looked out into the stars, his thought shifted slightly. Indeed he had danced the fine line between life and death and survived. But what about the people he had killed himself. Sam looked at his hands. They were drenched in blood of all colours. His hands shook involuntarily. Sam moved to the table where an open bottle of whisky sat, a glass nearby. Pouring it, Sam quickly drained the glass and poured some more in. This time, he held it in his hand as he turned to look outside.

It wasn't something he dwelt on often; thinking of his friends who had died rather than his enemies. But they too had friends and family who had to deal without them. Because of him.

*Bridge to Captain Bishop.*

*Bishop here.*

*A communication from the USS Attar for you Captain*

*Patch it through. Captain Bishop speaking .*

*Captain, this is Commander Morisette, Attar's XO. Captain Timoreev'd like to invite you on board. *

*I'll be over straight away Commander. *

*Thank you. I'll inform Transport room 1 to be ready to welcome you. *
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Spoiler: Oh Sammy BoyShow
Spoiler: Show

Sam could hear her voice dance in the wind as he approached. He paused and listened. The song was one he had heard often but this time he stopped to actually listen. His eyes closed and he could feel the emotion. The sadness. The hope.
As the song finished Sam opened his eyes to see her looking at him, her bright blue eyes locked with his own green ones.
"Samuel?" Jenny said, her mouth open. "I thought that you were expelled!"
Sam looked at her sadly. "I am. I'm leaving tomorrow." he said, walking towards her. He held up his hand and offered her a cup he was holding. But I promised you a cup of coffee and a Bishop always keeps his promise."
Jenny took the cup and looked at it. "Thank you..." she said but was hesitant.
"Is something wrong?" Sam asked. Don't worry, the coffee hasn't got anything in it!"
Jenny responded with a smile and tentatively took a sip. Sam's practical jokes extended to everyone, teachers and classmates, friends and foes alike. It was for that reason most people hated Sam and if Sam was to be honest, the feeling was often mutual. Whilst people would say that Sam wouldn't grow up, Sam would say everyone else was too stuck up.

Sam was looking at the sky when the Jenny had finished her sip. "It's strange how I'm going to miss this place." Sam said quietly.
"Why are they expelling you? The incident in the class wasn't your fault."
"I have a history of bad incidents. It doesn't matter whether or not I did anything. The fact that I was mentioned is enough."
"Oh." came the simple reply. "The coffee is nice."
"Jaidan is a wizard when it comes to food and drink." Sam smiled.
"He's the boy that was with you in the lecture hall?"
Sam nodded. "Jaidan is training to be a doctor but that man is clever. He's been sneaking into Federation Law classes and has been out lawing the teacher!"
"Erm, I don't think out lawing is the right word to use there but I understand!" It was the Jenny's turn to smile and Sam felt his cheeks redden.
Suddenly Sam's watch chirped, and Sam looked at it. His face fell when he saw the time. "I have a curfew on me." he explained by way of an apology as he turned away from her.
"Oh..." Jenny said as Sam started to walk away slowly. "Sam?" she quickly called and Sam turned around.
"Thank you for the coffee. Good luck out there."
Sam gave a nod as a reply and carried on walking.
"Sam!" Sam turned to see Jenny run to catch up with him. Before he knew it she was kissing him and he was kissing back.

Back at the Academy offices, curfew time came and went and there was no sign of Cadet Bishop. The guards mounted a small search but since Sam was nowhere to be seen, and that he was being expelled the next day, the guards decided it wasn't worth their time and abandoned it after ten minutes.
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Spoiler: The Legacy of Wolf 359Show
Sam awoke to light filtering in through the curtains. On his chest was Jenny's head, her arm around him. Sam could smell the apple scent in her hair. As he stared at her, she opened her amazingly blue eyes and looked up at Sam.
"Oh Sammy boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling..." she sang softly and Sam smiled. "Good morning."
"Good morning beautiful," Sam replied and kissed her forehead. Jenny replied by pulling him closer to her. Sam rested his head on top of her hair. The apple scent...
Suddenly Sam's PADD started to go off, and Sam flung his arm out to silence it. It took a few tries but eventually, he hit the right button and the PADD fell silent.
"What was that about?"
"My last expulsion meeting. I get one more chance to convince the board to not let me go but since it's a for-" Before Sam knew it, he was on the floor. "What the?"
"Sam get ready! You must go to that meeting!"
"But Jenny, it's like 99% certain I'm going home today."
"Don't you but Jenny me young man." Jenny snapped, jumping out of bed herself and picking up Sam's uniform. "If there's 1% chance you're staying in the academy like hell am I going to let you squander it! Now up. You shower, I'll sort out your clothes." Jenny commanded as he stormed out of the bedroom, with purpose.
Sam chuckled, got up slowly, and had a shower. When he stepped out, Sam's uniform was laid out on the bed, pristine and smelling fresh. "Jenny how?"
"Get dressed now. I'm making breakfast. Where's the meeting?" Jenny's voice could be heard from the other room.
"Head Office."
"I'll drop you there." Jenny walked in, holding a bowl of batter. "Why are you not ready yet?"

Half an hour later, Sam found himself outside the Head Office. Jenny wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him in for a kiss. "Come back to me Sammy boy," she breathed.
"I promise." Sam turned and marched up the steps to where his meeting was going to take place, with a new sense of determination. That evaporated as soon as he stepped into the turbo lift. There's no way I'm getting out of this one. I even missed the curfew last night..." Sam said sullenly and stepped out of the lift when it reached his floor. The corridor was empty and Sam looked out of the window as he walked down it, his shoes echoing against the floor. Sam could see Jenny's blonde head still standing at the bottom of the steps. Just as he reached the door, Sam ran into someone. "Watch where -!" Sam growled as he looked up, before stopping in shock.
"You are late, Samuel." Vice Admiral Sebastian Alexander Bishop was a tall, majestic man. The Bishop patriarch was well spoken and well dressed. His name was mentioned alongside people such as Kirk, Picard and Janeway. The man was practically flawless. "The meeting was due to start at 0700."
"Seb...what are you doing here?"
"I was here to save your Starfleet career." Seb replied curtly. "It is hard to do so without the subject being present in the room."
"Seb...It's no use. I've been expelled."
"I said difficult Sam, not impossible."
Sam looked up at his brother in shock. "What?"
Seb didn't respond, but opened the door to a classroom with one arm and with the other, ushered Sam in. Sam did as he was told, still in shock and sat down. "Seb, why?" Sam began but was cut off instantly as the door shut.
"I have put my career on the line for you Sam. What is wrong with you?" Seb yelled. Sam's shock disappeared and was replaced with anger.
"Nobody forced you to Seb," Sam spat back. "You should have just left me to fend for myself, just like you did when I was younger!"
Seb was taken aback. "Left you? Sam, are you an idiot?"
"I was going to go home and look after Mother, something you couldn't do! I've been doing it my whole life, I might as well carry on."
"You listen here Samuel and you listen well. Everything I have done, I have done for this family. I did not face down Klingons, or Romulans, or Cardassians or God knows what else just so that I can be called out by my insolent younger brother. I did not face the Borg..." Seb stopped suddenly. Sam had never seen him so angry and he knew he had crossed a line.
"Seb...I'm sorry..." Sam said quickly.
"Sam. You're right. I haven't been there for you, or for Mother." Seb sat down on a table. "After Father died, I couldn't face the responsibility of the family. I was young Sam. And so I took to the stars. Long assignments. Anything to stay away from home and the responsibility."
"It was that bloody battle Sam. Wolf 359."
Sebastian Bishop looked at Sam. "Sam, I'm going to tell you something I have never told anyone. Promise me, as my brother and my blood, that you'll heed the message well."
Sam nodded.
"I was just a cadet on board the USS Endeavour during the battle. The Endeavour at that point commanded by Captain Amasov..."

"Sam! What happened?" Jenny ran up to Sam as he walked out of the office. Sam hugged her hard.
"I'm staying." Sam whispered in her ear.
"I knew it!" Jenny grinned and hugged Sam tighter.
"I love you, Jenny."
"I love you too my dear Sammy boy." Jenny said and then pushed Sam off her. "Come on, we have no time to waste!" Jenny's face was determined as she pulled Sam back towards her house. "You've got work to do. That astrophysics paper won't hand itself in!"
Sam smiled briefly before turning to look at the Head Office again. He could see the outline of Vice Admiral Sebastian Bishop against the window. With a determined nod, he turned and followed Jenny.
Spoiler: “You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.”Show
The field was a mass of bodies, all talking excitedly. Sam was standing to one side, his arm around Jenny's waist.
"Here we are Jenny. Graduation day." Sam said, looking at everyone who was gathered.
"Class of 2399" Jenny cheerily replied. Sam looked down at her.
"I wouldn't have been here if not for you." he said quietly. Jenny smiled and responded with a kiss.
"Oh Sammy boy. You are a bright and clever man. You just needed some motivation."
"Cadet Cartwright?" The Admiral was walking towards the couple. "If you are ready, we would like you on stage for your speech."
Jenny nodded and turned to Sam.
"Wish me luck!" Jenny said excitedly. Having graduated with the highest marks, Jenny had been invited to give the graduation speech and also received a special assignment.
"Good luck! I'll wave at you!"
"Oh no please don't, I might lose my concentration! Sam? Sam!" Jenny called as Sam walked away.
It didn't take long for him to find his best friend. Sam and Jaidan hugged each other.
"Well Sam lad, I thought the day you were kicked out of class was your last day here." Jaidan grinned. "But it seems that you're one helluva smooth criminal to get out of that."
Ah Jaidan, you think I could leave you here on your own? You'd be lost without me!" Sam chuckled and the two men sat down. It was not for long though, as the Admiral stepped onto the stage and the entire field stood up to attention and saluted him.
"Class of 2399. You are the end of an entire century of excellent Starfleet Officers. Picard. Riker.
Janeway. Sisko. I could go on but I fear that this would turn into another lecture of Starfleet History and I think you've all had enough of those!"
There was a small chuckle before the Admiral continued his speech. It ended with the handing out of diplomas and Ensign pins and the entire ceremony took a couple of hours.

When it had all finished, and everyone was seated, Jenny came and took the stage. Sam gave her a small wave and a wink which caused her to smile. Then she delivered her speech. Her rhetoric was super, and this was a skill she would have noted for the rest of her life. She talked about hard work, dedication, space and the duty of an officer. It was, however, her final quote which everyone would remember for years to come.
"Where we stand now, is not the end. It is merely the beginning. Our lives have just begun and there is an entire universe out there for us to explore. I am looking at the future Picards, Siskos, Janeways. There will never be another century like the 24th and we should be proud to carry on the torch that has been passed on to us. I end now, with a quote from someone who helped me get through the Academy on many occasions. This man was an old Earth writer and his work is still some of the most influential in the galaxy; Dr Suess. “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.”"

Everyone stood up and clapped as Jenny lifted her hat and threw it in the air. The hat narrowly missed the Admiral and everyone was silent for a heartbeat to see his reaction. He merely laughed and everyone did the same, throwing their hats in the air. Amongst the flurry of hats and people, Sam and Jaidan hugged each other in celebration.

That night Sam, Jenny and Jaidan were not partying, they were sitting in Jenny's room looking at their PADDs in excitement.
"As the highest achieving Cadet of Class 2399, Cadet Jenny Cartwright is to be commissioned as an Ensign and assigned to the bridge crew off..." Jenny stopped and was speechless.
"What? Where are you assigned?" Sam pressed.
Jenny looked up in shock. "The Enterprise..."
Neither Sam nor Jaidan could believe what Jenny had just said.
"The Enterprise? You mean THE Enterprise? The same Enterprise as Kirk and Picard?" Jaidan gasped.
"NCC 1701?" Sam added.
"E. NCC 1701-E" Jenny corrected absentmindedly.
"Jenny that's amazing!" Sam pulled Jenny towards him and kissed her.
"Where are you?" Jenny asked.
"I've been assigned to the USS Lincoln" Jaidan answered and looked at Sam.
"USS Endurance." Sam said before his face fell. "The Endurance tends to do patrols along the Klingon border." Sam added as he looked at Jenny. She was at first confused but then she suddenly came to the same conclusion as Sam.
"I'll refuse the post." she said simply.
"No Jenny. You can't. This is a once in a lifetime event. Your career will take off. Who wouldn't want someone who has served on the Federation flagship?"
"But Sam, we might not see each other in ages!"
"No Jenny, listen to me. You once saved my career. I'm repaying the favour." Sam smiled and hugged Jenny. "No amount of stars can keep me from you, my love. I promise we'll see each other again."
Jenny pulled Sam tighter.
"I'll think I'll leave you two." Jaidan grinned but before he could move Jenny had pulled him into the hug.
"To the finest officers in Starfleet!" Jenny said as they pulled out of the hug. The trio toasted and celebrated the night.

The next day, they each parted ways on their separate assignments, not knowing what adventure lay ahead of them.

Spoiler: A Love RekindledShow

It was as if nothing had changed, but everything felt different. The field. The stage. The professors. The seats. The Admiral. They were also the same. But the feeling, the atmosphere. It was different. Sam could picture the day, thirteen years ago, when he had been one of the young faced cadets in the front. Now, thirteen years later, Sam stood, a scarred and older man. A wiser man. Sam watched as the Admiral took his place on the podium and announce the Class of 2412. He watched patiently as the cadets walked up to get their promotions and degrees. He marched up when he was told, to collect his own qualification. And he watched as a cadet gave the speech.
All those years ago, that had been Jenny and he was seated alongside his best friend. Now he watched a stranger give the speech. Strangers. He was surrounded by them.
Sam closed his eyes momentarily to imagine Jenny's voice. The youthful, blissful voice he used to hear every day.
"Sam?" The voice seemed real but it couldn't be. It was in his head. "Sam?"
Sam opened his eyes and looked around. He was being called but by whom? Then he saw her.
"Jenny?" She was stood by the side of the field, in full uniform. Sam rubbed his eyes. She was real alright but why did her uniform have white shoulders? Suddenly it hit Sam. She was Captain. Sam slowly stood up and made his way down the rows of seats to stand by her. As soon as he reached her, she pulled him close for a hug.
"Oh Sammy boy! It's been ages!" She said hugging him tightly.
"Congratulations," Sam said as he pulled out of the hug. "I had a feeling you'd be Captain soon!" Sam held her at arm's length so he could see her properly. She had grown taller, her eyes bluer, her hair blonder and, dare he say it, more beautiful. "What are you doing here Jenny?"
"I'm here to receive a brand new crew. Come, Sam, I would like to tell you something. But first, tell me how you've been!"

Later that day, Sam and Jenny were sitting in Sam's room catching up.
"... and he turned to me and said, "Bishop if you ever undermine my authority again, I'll have you discharged from duty." Of course, the threat was lowered somewhat since he had a piece of lettuce hanging from his mouth so when I pointed that out to him, I was kicked off straight away!" Sam laughed as he poured some more drink in for Jenny.
"Oh dear me Sam, you never change!" Jenny chuckled as she took the drink. "Do you know what you'll do now?" She asked Sam.
Sam shrugged. "Probably a new assignment.".
Jenny paused. "Would you like a First Officer position?"
Sam looked at Jenny curiously. "I have completed my Command Training."
Jenny didn't reply. Instead, she stood up and walked to the window. "You know your family have helped pay for a new ship Sam?"
"Yes. I know. The Endeavours. Every ship of that name has had a Bishop captain it, since 1764.
The ship is basically a Bishop tradition."
Sam replied.
"They built and launched a new one three years ago. It's been in the dry dock since they built it.
Brand new ship, never been used. State of the art, Concorde class. She's the prototype."
Jenny said. "It's been commissioned for use at the end of this year. They made me Captain so I could command it and told me to build a crew."
Sam looked at Jenny. "That's fantastic Jenny!" A smile crept over his face.
"I want you to be my XO."
Sam's smile fell. "Me?"
Jenny turned and sat back down next to Sam. "It's my first command, Sam. And I don't want to cock it up. I need people that I can trust." Jenny looked into Sam's eyes. "And I still trust you, after all these years." Jenny moved her head closer to kiss Sam.
Sam made the kiss brief. "It's been years Jenny...isn't that a conflict of interest?"
Jenny raised a hand to trace Sam's scar. "We've all changed my dear Sammy boy."
"That's what I mean. How do we know whether we still feel the same way?"
"Do you?"
"I don't know Jenny..."
"Then let's start again. Me and you. From square one."
"Can we do that?"
Jenny gave a small smile. "We can. I order you to."
"You're not my Captain yet." Sam grinned as he moved his forehead to touch hers.
"There are some things you don't need a mind meld for, to know." Jenny whispered.
Sam paused. "O Captain! My Captain!" Sam quoted before he kissed her.
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Spoiler: Its you, its you must go, and I must bideShow

The ship rocked under the heavy fire.
"Helm, what in the blazes do you think you're doing? Get us out of here!"
"Warp engines are down, on impulse speed only."
*Bishop to Engineering, Hamish if you don't get our warp drives online, I'm going to throw you on a hamster wheel and make you run all the way back to Earth." Sam turned to the tactical station.
"Lay down the tractor mines, wide dispersal. Then concentrate torpedo fire when she's trapped."
The tactical officer nodded as Jenny strode out of her ready room.
"Commander Bishop, you better not be destroying my ship."
"On the contrary sir, I'm trying my damn hardest to keep her in one piece."
"Status report?" Jenny ordered as she sat down.
"Multiple hull breaches Captain. Our shields are down and warp is offline."
Jenny looked at Sam and raised her eyebrows. "Bishop if this is what you call keeping in one piece then you and I need to have words." Jenny turned from Sam to communications. "Reinforcements?"
"Couple of minutes sir."
"Right, we're going to have to keep it together for a few minutes ladies and gentlemen. Tactical,

"Mines have been deployed and have tractored the enemy ship."
"Good, target all weapons fire on their engines, let's make them sitting ducks." Jenny ordered. There was a pause before the sound of weapons fire was heard; phaser beams and photon torpedoes were seen on screen racing towards the enemy ship. The ship was lit up with explosions and the Endeavour rocked under the shockwaves.
"Sensors report huge damage to their shielding and ship wide hull breaches. Engines are still online."
"Helm, bring her around for round 2." Just as Jenny gave the order, the enemy ship moved forward, breaking the hold of the tractor beams.
"Captain, enemy ship inbound! She's going to ram us!"
Jenny looked at Sam. "All hands brace for impact, shield at maxi-"
The entire bridge shuddered as consoles exploded and the structural beams buckled.

*Bridge compromised, please evacuate. Bridge compromised, please evacuate.*

Alarms were blaring, the computer was yelling a warning, consoles were exploding and people were moving. Sam picked himself up off the floor.
"Get out of here!" Sam ordered as he stood up, watching as a beam collapsed and crushed the tactical officer. "Now!"
The remaining officers scrambled to the turbolift only to find it was offline.
"Use the Jeffries Tube!" Sam ordered as he counted the bridge officers. Looking around the remanents of the bridge, Sam could see nobody moving and finally, he ducked into the tube. Wait. He hadn't seen Jenny anywhere. Sam jumped back onto the bridge. A fire was spreading rapidly and smoke was quickly filling the room. Sam dropped on one knee so that he could breathe. That's when he saw her, lying in the centre. Her head turned towards Sam slightly and he could see her looking at him with those bright blue eyes. Sam made a move to get her but before he could do anything, Sam felt the floor give way and was sent crashing down to the deck below.

It felt like hours had passed as Sam struggled up to his feet. He was struggling to breathe and he could see crew members running to and fro with blurry eyes. Staggering and clutching his side, Sam limped to the nearest Jefferies Tube and climbed down, with difficulty. He had to get to the secondary command centre.
It took a while before Sam could find a turbolift that was functioning and when he got to it, he slumped down to the floor.
"Deck 14" he muttered and the lift whirred down. Sam slowly got to his feet as the doors opened and Sam staggered out into the Secondary Command Room. Some of the officers were already there.
"We've lost the bridge and decks 2 and 3 have been evacuated. The colliding ship took out huge sections of decks 15 to 19. There are multiple hull breaches but the warp core seems to be stable.
"What about the enemy?"
"Sensors read that it has taken critical damage. She's going to blow."
"Helm, get us out of here."
"We'll never get out of here on time!"
Sam turned on the Helm with uncontrollable rage. "I don't want to hear it Ensign, set up sails and use the explosion as propulsion, just get us out of here!"
Suddenly Sam's combadge chirped and Sam hit it hard.
"Engineering here, warp drive is back online."
Sam grabbed the Ensign's shoulder. "Out of here, now."
The Ensign nodded, and before long, the wrecked ship went into warp, just as the enemy ship exploded.

The medbay was full as Sam staggered in.
"Where is she?" Sam asked Paztor as he came up to check Sam's wounds. Paztor pointed to a bed where the Chief Medical Officer was standing. Sam strode over and pushed him roughly to the side. It was Jenny. Around her, the machines all displayed nothing. She was dead. Sam gently placed his hand on her cheek. It was still warm.
"Ashes to ashes, dust to dust." Sam mumbled. He could feel nothing. He took off her combadge and grabbed the white sheet, slowly moving it up and covering her face before stumbling out of the medbay. "Computer, transfer command from Captain Cartwright to Commander Bishop. Authorisation, Bishop-Cartwright, Kilo, India, Alpha."

*Authorised. Commander Bishop has command. The Endeavour is yours, Captain Bishop*

Sam looked at the combadge in his hand. The Endeavour is yours. *Captain* Bishop.
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Spoiler: Stardate 93804.2Show
Stardate 93804.2

Sam wasn't sure where he was when he woke up. The room looked like his quarters, but it wasn't. It slowly dawned on him. Sam rolled over to see that her side of the bed was empty.
Had it all been a dream?
Sam knew it wasn't. He could smell her beautiful scent on her side.
How did she wake up so early? After last night, how did she have the energy?
Sam closed his eyes. Yesterday had been an emotional rollercoaster. From his near death to the sorrowful discovery. From the tension of the rescue to...well...her. Sam could still taste her lips on his.
The ship's tempo slowed with a hum and Sam realised that it had just dropped out of warp. He slowly swung his legs out of the bed and sat on the edge. Out of the window, he could see DS 13 approaching them. Sam looked around for his uniform; it had been neatly laid out on a chair. He slowly stood up and pulled it on. Once he was all dressed he went to the bathroom to wash his face. Having done that, he walked back out into the room and looked around. Keelah's room was nice and tidy. The bed wasn't. Sam decided that he should probably be a gentleman and make the bed; it was the least he could do in return for the uniform. As Sam pulled the sheets together, he once again could smell her and it brought back memories of the previous night. They had started off in her ready room and somehow made it down to her quarters. Sam chuckled lightly as he tucked the covers under the mattress and placed the pillows on top.
He was about to leave when he caught sight of the Endeavour, docked alongside the Valley Forge. NCC 1777. A new ship with an old registry. Sam walked over to the windows and looked at the Endeavour. The ship was magnificent. How was it, that such as majestic being could cause be so deadly? Underneath that majestic exterior, was a machine that was developed and designed for war. No matter how much it was dressed up, the Endeavour was and will remain, a war machine, designed to kill and take lives. Sam looked down at his hands. The Endeavour wasn't the only machine that was dressed up to deceive. Sam had taken many lives. And instead of punishment, he had been rewarded. These hands, which were soaked in blood, had been pulling her closer. These lips, that had ordered the death sentences of countless individuals, had kissed her.
Have I condemned her? Corrupted her? Every woman I have loved is dead or dying. Last night, did I just dig her grave?
A lone tear trickled down Sam's face and he wiped it away.
"You up?" Keelah's voice was soft and gentle. Sam turned to see that she had come in and was standing beside him. "Did you sleep well?"
Sam nodded. Keelah somehow looked more beautiful. "Thank you," was all Sam could manage.
"Thank you Sam."
Sam pulled Keelah towards him and gave her a kiss on her forehead. Then he stepped back. "I'll see you soon."
Keelah smiled and nodded. All Sam wanted to do was step forward, embrace and kiss her, but instead, all he did was give a small smile, a small nod and walked out of the door to make his way back to the Endeavour.
Spoiler: Stardate 93813.5Show
Stardate 93813.5

Sam was opening and closing the pocket watch as he sat in his ready room. His knuckles were raw and red with blood. His face was showing signs of bruising. Pain was coursing through his body, from his legs to his head. But Sam sat there, in pain, as he idly flicked the pocket watch open and closed. He stopped briefly to look at the picture and chuckled darkly.
"Hero worship," he muttered as he brought the picture towards him. The constant flicking had dislodged it slightly and Sam was about to move it back into position when he noticed something small tucked away behind it. Sam pushed the picture out some more and a small black chip clattered onto the desk. Curious, Sam put the watch down and looked at the device.
"I didn't put that there." Sam said, confused and reached down to touch it. Almost as soon as his fingers brushed it, a blue light flashed twice.
"Sam?" Sam looked up to the voice in shock. Standing there, in front of him, was the beautiful, blonde haired woman he had once loved.
"Jenny?" Sam blinked. He must have received a concussion when the Klingon threw him into the console when he was in the holodeck simulation.
Jenny smiled. "I see you found the surprise I left for you. I was going to tell you but it seems like I ran out of time..." She turned around and looked around the ready room. "Where are you?"
"My ready room..." Sam replied, still in shock.
"Your ready room? On the Endeavour? Are you a Captain now?" Jenny looked at Sam's pips. "Of course you are! Wow, this place really changed! You redecorated!"
She turned around and gave Sam a sad smile. "I programmed a hologram for you in case I died.
For one last goodbye."

Sam stood up and limped around the desk until he was face to face with Jenny. He raised an arm which went straight through her.
"Your's bruised. And your hands. What happened?" Jenny asked, concerned.
Sam stood in silence for a second before he turned away, anger bubbling up inside him.
"You tell me." he said through gritted teeth. "Given it was you who placed the devices on the Endeavour."
"What devices? Sam, what are you talking about?" Jenny asked.
Sam rounded on Jenny "Does "The Sacred Band" mean anything to you?" As Jenny's face fell so did Sam's. "So you did..." Sam turned away, his last hope shattered.
"I did it to protect you."
"To protect me?" Sam yelled. "Protect me? It is because of you that one of my closest friends, Timo, had to send six letters home beginning with "It is with the deepest regret..." It is because of you that his ship now has a hole that spans three decks. It is because of you that we had to watch innocent crew members being executed before our very eyes. It is because of you..." Sam's voice choked. "It is because of you that Keelah was almost killed." Sam turned away.
"Who's Keelah?"
"Someone I love more than I ever loved you..." Sam spat in response.
Jenny was taken aback by the answer and was silent for a bit.
"I'm glad you moved on Sam."
"I'm not. Because if she dies, her death will be on my head, just like yours was..."
There was another pause before Sam spoke quietly. "I trusted you Jenny. I loved you. And now I am left to clean up your mess."
"Oh Sam, if only you knew..."
"Know what, Jenny?" Sam said in anger.
"The choice I had to make. You don't understand. I did it to save you. Because I loved you."
Sam scoffed in response.
"Sam. Please. I beg you to drop this matter now. Do not pursue any leads on these people. I won't be able to save you."
"I don't need you Jenny. You're dead. You're free. I'm left to suffer on my own."
"You're not on your own Sam. You have Jaidan. You have this Timo. You have Keelah."
Sam did not respond.

"But when ye come and all the roses falling,
And I am dead as dead I well may be."

Even in death, Jenny's voice was as melodious as it had been in life.

"Go out and find the place where I am lying,
And kneel and say an ave there for me.

And I will hear tho' soft you tread above me,
And then my grave will warm and sweeter be.
For you shall bend and tell me that you love me,
And I will sleep in peace until you come to me"

There was silence again before Jenny finally said. "Come visit me again my Sammy boy. Just once." A tear fell from Jenny's eye.

"I will." Sam said quietly. He turned and saw Jenny smile, one last time, before the hologram shimmered away.
Spoiler: Stardate 93816.4Show
Stardate 93816.4

Sam rubbed his eyes and yawned as he put the book down. It had been a long and busy day but Sam wasn't ready to sleep yet. He looked at the console in front of him. On it was an empty page with nothing but the title;

An investigation into the economic importance of temples in Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt by Dr Samuel Alexander Bishop

With all the work he had done to gain his doctorate, it was nice to go back to something simpler like Earth archaeology. It was more familiar.
Sam shook his head, took a sip of whisky, and picked up the book - an exciting and fascinating look into the worth of Greek and Demotic papyri when investigating the economic model of Egypt. So exciting in fact, that Sam didn't notice the door open behind him.
"Looks interesting." Keelah wrapped her arms around Sam's shoulders as she stood behind him.
Sam jumped slightly before smiling. "Well, you did wonder if I would have enough to do on the Valley Forge..."
Keelah looked at the clutter that was on the desk and the floor; stacks of paper and books, PADDs and journals. "It's not even been a day and already you've colonised my room," Keelah huffed as she stood back up.
"Busy day?"
"Just routine," Keelah said as she started to get ready for bed.
"Nothing's ever routine..." Sam chuckled to himself. Picking up the book, he carried on reading, pausing every so often to jot down a note or two. Sam was old school, something that his mother had taught him to be. Pen and paper and ink and books. She had told both Sam and Seb that if the humans of the past could get to the stars using pen and paper, then they could do just the same. As Sam finished the chapter he put his pen down and leaned back in his chair. Some more wise words that he would never hear from Mother again.
"Are you going to be up all night?" Keelah asked. "Some people have duty shifts to adhere to."
Sam turned to look at Keelah and raised an eyebrow. "Really? You do *work* on this ship? There I was, thinking the Valley Forge was cruiseliner."
"Excuse me Captain Bishop, not all of us can lounge around looking at something as trivial as the economic importance of some old Earth place."
Sam chuckled. "I'll have you know, this is a highly prestigious - oh who am I kidding, this will be read by about seven people and then stored in an archive where it will only be used by cadets to bolster up their word count."
Keelah laughed lightly. "In that case, I order you to come to bed."
"You can't order me, I outrank you by seniority"
Keelah eyes narrowed as she made a mental note to check if the statement was true. "Well Captain Bishop, this is my ship, and my ship, my rules," she said with conviction.
Sam smiled and stood up, turning off the console, closing his books and climbed into bed alongside Keelah. The lights dimmed automatically as Keelah pulled him closer to her.
"There you go, that wasn't so hard was it?" she said, her voice soft and playful, as she placed her head on Sam's chest.
"If you wanted something to sleep on, I'm sure your pillow would have done equally well."
"Yes, and the pillow wouldn't talk half as much," came the sharp reply.
Sam chuckled and wrapped his arms around her, kissing her head.
"Any developments from the Gainsborough?" he asked.
Keelah shushed him. "Sam, I did not let you onboard so you could carry on working." she said, slightly angry. "Just rest and relax okay? Don't worry about it. You have a lot on your shoulders as it is." she added, softer.
Sam huffed. "Alright. You're right. I will." He moved his hand to stroke Keelah's face.
Keelah responded by shifting closer and nuzzling him gently and the two of them lay in each other's arms for a long time in silence.

"Keelah, I was wondering, if, before we head off back to DS 13, you and I spend a few days on Earth?" Sam asked. "I could show you the wonders of that old Earth place!" He chuckled.
There was no response from Keelah and Sam lifted his head to see that she had fallen asleep on his chest. Sam sighed as he glanced around the darkened room to where his desk was, before shaking his head and slowly sliding underneath the covers, pulling them over the pair. He closed his eyes and smiled. Despite everything that had happened in the past few months, Sam had never been as happy as he was then. With the soft sound of Keelah's breathing soothing him, Sam fell asleep.
Spoiler: Stardate 93819.1Show
Stardate 93817.9 (26 October 2416 - morning)

"How long are you planning on staying at home Sam?"
"If possible, four or five days. How long would you like to stay?"
"I'll stay for as long as you need."
"Thank you, Keelah"

The car crunched its way up the gravel driveway towards the house. When it stopped, Sam was first out, walking around to hold the door open for Keelah.
"So this is the house of Captain Bishop?" Keelah said as she looked at the huge building.
"This is the house of the Bishops." Sam corrected. "There's more than just me in the family."
As if on cue, the door opened and two figures stood in the opening. One was a tall, elegant man, whose once black hair was outnumbered by the amount of grey that had appeared. His weathered face bore scars and wrinkles alike. Despite his advancing age, the man moved with the grace and gentleness of one who was in his prime. His posture was still rigid; the remnants of his successful military career. Beside him was a woman. She was in her fifties, but this you couldn't tell by looking at her. Her face was still beautiful and soft, her hazel eyes twinkling, her hair had not a trace of white and she too still moved as though she were in her prime.
Sam offered an arm to Keelah, and the two of them walked up the steps towards the door. Sebastian and his wife Rachael both stepped back to let them enter a grand hallway.
"Seb," Sam smiled as he pulled his elder brother into a tight hug, and the two remained in the embrace for a long time. When he finally pulled back, Keelah could see the distinct beginnings of tears in Sam's green eyes. Sam turned to Rachael. He hugged her too, kissing both cheeks before standing back up straight.
"Seb, this is Captain Keelah Se'Lai, a friend of mine from DS 13. She kindly offered to bring me here; the Endeavour was needed."
Seb looked at the Vulcan with narrowed eyes and, almost reluctantly, gave her a small handshake. He carried on staring at her Vulcan appearance.
"Keelah, this is my older brother, Admiral Sebastian Bishop." Keelah took the offered hand and gave a small polite nod. She was aware that the Admiral was staring at her. "And this is his wife, Rachael Bishop. She's a professor at the university."
"How are you my dear," Rachael grabbed Keelah's hand warmly. Looking up into Rachael's eyes, Keelah could see the same warmth as Sam's had. She smiled back.
"I am well, thank you. It is nice to meet you both. Sam has told me a lot about you Rachael, and Admiral Bishop, your reputation precedes you."
Seb replied with a short, knowing "hmm".
"Where is she?" Sam asked Seb.
"In the Grand Hall." Seb replied, still not taking his eyes off Keelah. Sam was unaware of his brother's strange reaction to Keelah and gently took her hand.
"Come Keelah," he said and led her through a door on the right. The Grand Hall was exactly that. Grand. The huge hall harkened back to the medieval period where the Bishops would host lavish parties for the king, or for other Lords and Ladies of the Kingdom. It still hosted the occasional banquet, gathering and celebration but today it was empty and grey. The chairs had been stacked to the side and the tables were devoid of colour. At the end of the room, on the stage, was a single lone coffin, opened bare. Sam paused.
"I'm here for you Sam." Keelah said affectionately as she squeezed his hand. He looked down at her and smiled. Letting go of her hand, he started to slowly make his way to the coffin. Keelah hung back for a moment and looked around the vast hall, giving Sam some time before she followed.

Sam was already kneeling at the coffin by the time Keelah had arrived. Both curious and respectful, Keelah climbed the stage and stood behind Sam, looking at the person lying within. Natalia Bishop wore a simple dress and wore little makeup. Her arms were folded over her stomach; she looked so peaceful, Keelah half expected her to open her eyes and wonder what everyone was doing around her. But this was not going to happen. Sam stared into the coffin and gently placed his hand on his mother's cheek. It was cold and a tear fell from his eye. The last time Sam had touched the cheek, it had been warm. If only he knew that that was the last time he'd feel his mother's warmth, last time he'd see the light in her eyes, the breath on her lips.
"Goodbye Mother." Sam muttered. "I am sorry that I was not here for you, as you were there for my whole life. I am sorry that I did not come home sooner to see you." Tears were streaming down Sam's face. "What I wouldn't do, for you to hold me in your arms one last time. To feel your kiss on my head again." Tears had started to well up in Keelah's eyes and she gently placed her hand on Sam's shoulder, not for him, but for herself. "I love you, Mother. Although I'll never hear your voice telling me you love me again, I know that you did. You gave your whole life to me. Every waking hour, you spent for me. And I repaid you with tears, heartbreak and solitude. Goodbye and farewell, my sweet Mother. You are with Father again. May you both be proud and happy with your Sam." Sam stood up slowly and wiped the tears from his eyes. "Ashes to Ashes. Dust to Dust." Sam slowly closed the coffin and sealed it shut. He turned to Keelah and gave a sad smile. "My dear Keelah..." he wiped the tears from her eyes. "Let's go up to my room. We have things to do before the funeral." Sam slowly led her out of a side door into another hallway where Seb was standing.
"I had your room made, but I didn't realise that you'd be bringing a guest. I have sent for a maid to make up another room."
"That's quite alright Seb, Keelah will stay with me in my room." Sam replied and Seb opened his mouth to say something. He was cut off sharply by Sam. "Not now Seb. She'll stay in my room. I'll take her there and then I'll come down. We'll go and dig the grave and be back to get ready for the funeral. Can Rachael help Keelah replicate a suitable dress?" Seb nodded curtly in response. "Very well, I shall see you by the door in two minutes." Sam led Keelah up the nearest steps and took her up to his room. When they got there, Keelah wrapped Sam in a tight hug.
"Sam, are you okay?" He didn't respond instantly but hugged her tighter.
"I'm fine," he finally said as he pulled away from Keelah. "It is a Bishop tradition that we dig our own family's graves, and that we bury them too. Seb and I are going to the cemetery to dig Mother's. Rachael is going to get you ready. When we come back, we'll set off for the Priory Church and the funeral. Is that okay?" Keelah nodded and leaned towards Sam for a quick kiss. "I'll see you later." Sam smiled and walked out of the room, leaving Keelah alone.