Jail Break

  Captains Log, Stardate 51410.3: We have just arrived at Starbase 216, where the Monet will undergo repairs after our encounter with the Alh’nori. While the crew work to get the Monet repaired, I will be meeting with Admiral Foster to collect our next orders.

 

Shearer stepped out of the airlock and made his way through the nearly empty corridors of Starbase 216 to Admiral Foster’s office. He nodded politely to passing crewmembers, even if he didn’t know them. He rounded a corner and turned into the main section of the Starbase. Although most of the corridors were nearly empty, the main section of a Starbase never slept. He had to dodge out of the way several times as hurrying civilians passed by him. He made his way down to the end of the section, glancing in the windows of several shops along the way, and proceeded towards the turbolift. As the turbolift arrived, he was glad to see that it was empty. He moved inside and the doors shut behind him. “Command deck,” he told the computer. The turbolift slowly started to move upwards. Twenty seconds later, the turbolift halted and the doors parted. He stepped out onto the deck and the turbolift doors shut behind him as he walked towards the command deck reception desk. Just behind the desk were two young officers, one was a lieutenant and the other was an ensign. The two were engaged in a conversation and didn’t notice him until he spoke. “Excuse me,” he said. The two officers jumped and turned around. The lieutenant quickly made her way to the desk, while the ensign simply smiled at him. “What can I do for you, sir?” the lieutenant asked.

            “I’m looking for Admiral Foster’s office,” he replied.

            “Down the hall, first left,” she replied. Shearer smiled.

            “Thank you,” he said. The lieutenant smiled at him as he moved down towards the corridor. He turned into the first door on the left and as the doors shut behind him, a longhaired woman looked up from the padd she was reading and smiled. “Captain Shearer I presume?” she said. Shearer moved towards her and smiled back.

            “That’s me,” he said, “Is the Admiral in?” he asked. The women nodded and tapped a button on the console in front of her.

            “Admiral, Captain Shearer is here to see you,” she said over the intercom. Admiral Foster’s voice replied almost instantly from the other side.

            “Show him into my office,” he said. The women tapped the button again and stood from her seat. She motioned for Shearer to follow and he did so. She strode up to the Admiral’s door and it slid open before her. She stood in the doorway and waited for Shearer to go in. He smiled at her as he passed and stepped into the Admiral’s office. The women smiled back and stepped out of the room and the doors shut behind her. As the doors closed, Shearer looked for the Admiral. He found him standing near one of the large windows overlooking the planet below. The Admiral turned around to greet him. “Hello Paul, how are you?” he asked. The Admiral motioned for Shearer to sit as he himself made his way to his chair.

            “Very well, Admiral,” he replied. Foster smiled.

            “Good,” he picked up a padd from the table and handed it Shearer. He took it and quickly skimmed through. “Those are your new orders, and I have to order that all discussion of it to non-essential officers be kept to a minimum,” he said. Shearer nodded. He read the brief description at the top and his eyes widened.

            “We have to rescue prisoners from a Dominion POW camp?” he said surprised. The Admiral nodded.

            “If you read a little further, you’ll see that you are not only rescuing prisoners, but also a Federation spy who is undercover at the camp,” he added. Shearer couldn’t believe this; the camp surely had some resident Jem’Hadar ships. How is the Monet supposed to defend herself and transport the prisoners? He asked himself. The Admiral continued. “You will be leaving in twelve hours,” he said. Shearer was puzzled.

            “Twelve hours?” Shearer said, almost without thinking. The Admiral nodded.

            “That’s right, the USS Texas is joining you on the mission, she doesn’t arrive for another six hours. When she does she’ll be fitted with a cloaking device. That’s why you’re leaving in twelve hours,”

            “A cloaking device? Won’t the Romulans have something to say about that?” Shearer said. Foster smiled.

            “It’s all been taken care of. Now that the Romulans have joined us against the Dominion, they have been a little bit more co-operative than usual,” he rose from his chair and moved back over to the large window. “They have agreed to let the Texas be fitted with a cloaking device for this mission only but a Romulan representative has to supervise the installation and removal,” he finished. Shearer smiled.

            “Sounds like the Romulans don’t completely trust us yet,” he said. Foster smiled.

            “That is nothing new, they don’t really trust anyone but themselves,” he joked. Shearer smiled. Foster turned to look out of the window. He glanced over to the docking port as a Miranda class ship flew out of the large doors. He turned back to face Shearer. “You have twelve hours to prepare your crew for the mission, I suggest you use the time wisely,” he said. Shearer rose from his seat.

            “Don’t worry, I will,” he said. “Good bye Admiral,”

            “Wait a minute Paul,” Foster said. Shearer stopped in his tracks and turned around. “That favour still stands, don’t blow her up,” Shearer smiled.

            “Don’t worry Admiral, she’ll be fine,” he said. The Admiral smiled back. Shearer made his way out of the Admiral’s office. He nodded to the Admiral’s secretary as he passed her desk. She looked up from her console and smiled back at him. He made his way out of the door and down the corridor towards the turbolift. As he passed the main desk, he saw that the two officers had become engaged in their conversation once more and once again did not notice Shearer as he walked past. Shearer grinned and stepped into the lift. The doors closed behind him and the lift whisked him back to the main hub of the Starbase.

 

            Alex Leno strode across the bridge from his ready room towards the command chair, which Commander Jones quickly vacated for his Captain. Leno smiled at his First Officer, who smiled back. He sat down and shifted until he was comfortable. “Helen, how long until we reach Starbase 216?” he asked his Conn officer. Ensign Helen Murphy checked her console.

            “Approximately three minutes, sir,” she reported. Leno nodded. Three minutes later, the Sovereign class ship dropped out of warp as she approached Starbase 216.

            “We’re being hailed, sir” Leno heard Commander Ray say from the tactical station.

            “On screen,” he heard his First Officer order. The view shifted from a star field to show Admiral Foster standing in the command centre of the Starbase. Several officers were hurrying around him as they went along with their duties. Leno smiled.

            “Hello Admiral, what can I do for you?” he asked. Foster smiled back.

            “Hello Captain,” he started, “The Texas is going to accompany the USS Monet on a mission. Because of this, the Texas will need to dock in the docking bay so that she can be fitted with a cloaking device,”

            “Cloaking device?” Jones asked.

            “That’s right,” the Admiral replied. “Once you dock, Captain Shearer and some of his officer’s will join you on the Texas so that you can get to know each other a bit better before you start the mission,” Foster told Leno.

            “Very well Admiral, It’s been a pleasure talking to you,” Leno said. Foster smiled.

            “Likewise.” With that the transmission ended and the Admirals face was replaced with the star field once more. Leno turned towards Donald.

            “You heard what the Admiral said Helen, take us into the docking bay,” he said. Murphy nodded and worked her console. The Texas glided towards the large docking bay doors along the top half of the Starbase. As the Texasmoved closer to the doors, they began to open. The ship silently glided past the doors and moved towards docking port three, where she would be fitted with the cloaking device. As she moved through the bay, she passed several ships already in dock. A few seconds later, a tractor beam enveloped the ship and pulled it slowly towards docking port three.

 

            Ralph Brady made his way through the corridors of the Monet, his destination being the mess hall. He rounded a corner and could see the mess hall doors. They were much bigger than the other doors on the ship. They were also the only doors to have windows on them. The large doors parted as he approached and he strode in. He glanced around the room for Lieutenant Commander J’mall. He saw her sitting at one of the tables nearest the large windows, she was reading a padd and hadn’t noticed him yet. He moved over to the replicator and ordered a hot chocolate. He took his drink and made his way to her table. “Morning Rachel,” he said as he sat down. J’mall smiled and put down the padd she was reading.

            “Good morning Ralph,” she replied. Brady took a sip from his drink. J’mall picked up the padd and started to read again.

            “What are you reading?” Brady asked. J’mall looked over the top of the padd.

            “Great Expectations,” she said. Brady put down is mug.

            “Charles Dickens?” he said. J’mall nodded.

            “That’s right,” she confirmed. She put the padd down again and took hold of her mug. She raised it to her lips and gulped down the last of the beverage. She put the mug down and wiped her lips. She leaned forward and crossed her arms on the table. “So what are we doing today?” she asked. Brady put down his mug.

            “Well, I’ve had enough of being beaten at velocity, how about hoverball?” he suggested. J’mall shook her head.

            “Let’s do something other than that, I don’t think my body can take more than ten games!” she grinned. Brady grinned back.

            “Alright then,” he said. “How about Skiing?” He suggested. J’mall nodded.

            “Good idea, I haven’t been skiing for ages. Let’s get going!” she said. Brady stared at her.

            “Now?” he said, puzzled. J’mall rose from her chair and grabbed his arm.

            “Well, we’re not on duty for another two hours,” she said, pulling him up from his chair.

            “But what about breakfast?” Brady said. J’mall laughed and pulled him through the large mess hall doors.

            “Stop thinking about your stomach for once and go and get your gear. I’ll meet you down holodeck three in ten minutes, and that’s an order Lieutenant,” she joked, letting go of his arm and walking off down the corridor. Brady grinned.

            “Yes Ma’am,” he said. He turned and walked down the corridor in the opposite direction towards his quarters.

 

            Captain Shearer gazed out of the shuttle’s view port to glance at the many ships docked within the station. He settled his gaze on the Monet. The last time he had seen his ship in this way was at Utopia Plantia, when he first visited the ship. He still could not get over how beautiful the ship looked. The curved nacelle pylons and the irregular shaped saucer were unique among the entire fleet, and he was proud being the Captain of such a powerful ship. He felt a hand being placed on his shoulder. He turned around and found himself staring into the smile of his First Officer. “She’s a beautiful ship, isn’t she?” she said. Shearer smiled back.

            “That description doesn’t do her justice Commander,” he said. Shearer took his gaze away from the view port and sat back down in his chair. Shearer, Kingston and Doctor Hughes were on their way to the Texas to meet Captain Leno and his senior staff. The shuttle weaved in and out of several docked ships and swerved to avoid other small craft flying around. Shearer tapped in some commands on the console and looked out of the view port once more. Out of the view port, the shuttle rose up from the saucer of a Saber class ship and the Texas came into view. The shuttle flew over the saucer and came about to dock in the main shuttlebay. The shuttle touched down and the three officers walked out of the hatch and were greeted by a crewmember. He extended his hand and Shearer took it. The two shaked as the crewmember spoke. “Welcome aboard Captain, I’m Lieutenant Commander Ray, the Texas’chief tactical officer,” he said.

            “Thank you Commander,” Shearer said. He pointed to Hughes and Kingston. “This is my First officer, Natasha Kingston and my chief medical officer, Amy Hughes,” he said. Ray shook hands with the two officers.

            “Captain Leno is waiting for you in the briefing room, please follow me,” Ray said. Shearer nodded and motioned towards the shuttlebay doors.

            “Lead the way,” Shearer said. Ray smiled and started to walk towards the door. Shearer and his two officers followed him out of the shuttlebay and into the corridor. They stepped into a turbolift, which promptly started to move upwards.

 

            The briefing room was silent. Captain Leno, Commander Jones and Lieutenant Dayan were all reading padds, waiting for the officers from the Monet to arrive. The door chime sounded and Captain Leno put down the padd he was reading. “Come in,” he said. The doors swept apart to reveal Lieutenant Commander Ray.  Ray stood and allowed three people to enter the briefing room. Leno rose from his chair as the three officers filed into the room. “Captain Shearer, welcome aboard. Please sit,” Leno said, motioning towards the empty chairs. Shearer smiled and greeted the other two officers as he sat down, as did Hughes and Kingston. Leno sat back down and picked up the padd he was reading a moment a go. “I’ve been looking over the mission orders,” he said waving the padd in front of him. “Surely Starfleet can’t expect us to rescue all the prisoners, can they?” he said. Shearer nodded.

            “They’re certain that with the help of the Starfleet operative in the camp, the Monet and Texas can pull it off,” he told Leno. Leno rolled his eyes.

            “Typical of Command, they always assume everything will go as they have planned and prepared for, but something always happens that they didn’t anticipate,” he said. Shearer nodded in agreement.

            “I agree,” Shearer said. He leaned forward and clasped his hands together. “Moving on to the mission, we need to figure out exactly how we are going to pull this off,” he said. Kingston spoke up for the first time since boarding the Texas.

            “Surely the base will have some resident Jem’Hadar ships, so we’ll need to plan around that,” she pointed out. Leno nodded.

            “Any other points to make before we begin?” he asked. Everyone in the room was silent. Leno sat back in his chair. “Good, let’s get cracking,” he said. The six officers then began a conversation that would last two and a half hours.

 

            The turbolift doors parted and Captain Shearer strode out onto the bridge. Commander Kingston quickly vacated the Captain’s chair as he approached. “Lieutenant Maverick, clear our departure with operations and prepare to take us out of here,” he ordered.

            “Aye, sir!” Maverick responded. He worked his console and a few seconds later his console beeped. “We are cleared for departure, sir,” he reported. Shearer tugged on his tunic. “Good, release the docking clamps and take us out, full thrusters. As soon as we’re clear of the doors, come to a full stop and wait for the Texas,” Shearer ordered. Maverick’s fingers flew gracefully over the console as the Monet began to disengage from the docking port. The clamps holding the Monet in place one by one opened up, releasing their grip on the Monet. The Monet glided backwards, away from the clamps and slowly turned around. She glided forward and passed several ships on her way to the large doors at the front of the bay. As she passed the Texas, the Texas began to disengage from her docking clamps. As the Monet approached the large doors, they slowly began to open. The Monet moved silently through the doors as the Texas followed. The Monet slowed to a halt as she cleared the docking bay doors, waiting for the Texas to emerge from the bowels of the Starbase. After a few seconds, both ships were clear of the Starbase and heading out of the system. “We’re clear of the system, sir,” Lieutenant Maverick reported a few minutes later.

            “Enter the targets co-ordinates and engage at warp nine,” Shearer ordered. Maverick nodded and worked his console. He turned to face Brady. “Ralph, activate the cloaking device,” he said. Brady worked his console and a few seconds later the lights dimmed, indicating that the ship was now cloaked. “How long until we reach our destination?” Shearer heard Commander Kingston ask beside him.

            “Approximately six hours, sir,” Maverick responded. Shearer leaned back in his chair and folded his arms. In six hours they would find out exactly how this mission would turn out.

 

            Ralph Brady leaned back in his chair and placed the padd he was working on back on the table. He stretched his arms out and yawned loudly. Because the Monet and Texas wouldn’t reach the Dominion camp for six hours, Captain Shearer had given him a couple of hours off. He decided to return to his quarters and finish the weekly tactical review. He was just about to pick up the padd again when the door chime sounded. “Come in,” he said aloud. The doors to his quarters parted and standing in the hallway was Rachel J’mall.

            “May I come in?” she asked. Brady smiled.

            “Of course, please take a seat,” he offered. J’mall smiled back and strode into the room. That’s when he noticed the lead she had in her hand.

            “I bought Rex with me, you don’t mind do you?” she asked. Brady rose from his chair and moved towards her.

            “Of course not, I love dogs,” he said. As he approached her, a small Labrador puppy popped its head out from behind J’mall’s legs. Brady leaned down on one knee. The puppy’s tail was wagging fiercely and it leapt forward into Brady’s lap and proceeded to lick his face. J’mall laughed. “I think he likes you,” she grinned. Brady grinned back and pushed Rex off his lap. He motioned for J’mall to sit down and made his way to the replicator. “Of course he likes me, who doesn’t?” he joked. J’mall laughed. “Can I get you something?” he asked her as she sat down. As soon as she did, Rex jumped on her lap.

            “Yes please, I’ll have a coffee,” she said. Brady nodded and turned to face the replicator.

            “Computer, one coffee, white with one sugar and a small bowl of water,” he asked the computer. A second later, a steaming cup and a bowl appeared in the replicator. Brady picked them up and carried them over to his two guests. He placed the cup on the table and put the bowl on the floor. Rex quickly jumped off J’mall’s lap and began to lick at the water. Brady moved back over to the replicator and ordered a hot chocolate. He took it and moved back over to the couch and sat down. “So, what can I do for you?” he asked. J’mall placed her mug back on the table.

            “Well, I was on my way to the holodeck to give Rex a run around, I was wondering if you’d like to come,” she said. Brady took a sip from his hot chocolate then held the mug in his lap.

            “Sure, I’ve got nothing better to do,” he said.

            “Thanks, Rex likes to have other people around when he goes to the holodeck, but to be honest, I can’t stand the characters the computer creates,” she said, smiling. Brady laughed.

            “The computer has a knack of doing that, remember that ski instructor? Now he was annoying,” he said. J’mall giggled back. J’mall downed the last of her coffee and rose from her seat.

            “Shall we go?” she asked, offering her arm.

            “Great idea,” he said, taking her arm. The two friends walked towards the door and J’mall called after Rex, who immediately ran to catch up with them as they strode out into the corridor and headed for the holodecks.

 

            Alex Leno sat staring out of the large ready room windows. A voice suddenly bought him back to reality. “Bridge to the Captain,” Commander Jones’ voice said over the comm. He spun his chair round to face his desk and tapped his comm badge.

            “Go ahead,” he said.

            “We’re approaching the edge of the asteroid field, sir,” he reported. Leno rose from his chair.

            “I’m on my way,” he said as he passed through the doors of his ready room. As he approached his chair, which Jones quickly vacated. Leno sunk into his chair.

            “Helen, as soon as we reach the perimeter, slow to one half impulse and take us in,” he ordered. Murphy nodded and worked her talented fingers delicately across the computer panel.

            “Is the Monet still with us?” Jones asked no one in particular.

            “Yes sir, she’s just dropped out of warp and is right behind us,” Lieutenant Commander Ray reported from the tactical station.

            “Good,” Leno said. He turned in his chair to face Ray. “Don, are you receiving any transmissions yet?” he asked. Ray checked his console. It beeped at him and he shook his head.

            “Not yet sir,” he said. Leno gently pounded his fist on the arm of his chair.

            “Damn, he should be transmitting by. How long until we reach the camp?” he asked. Murphy once again checked her console.

            “Ten minutes sir,” he said. Leno was just about to say something when Lieutenant Commander Wilson interrupted him.

            “Captain, we’re receiving a transmission from the Monet,” she said.

            “On screen,” Leno ordered, rising from his seat. The viewscreen flickered to show the bridge of the Monet. “Problem Captain?” he said. Captain Shearer shook his head.

            “Not at all Captain, we have just picked up the transmission from the Dominion camp, did you receive it as well?” he asked. Leno shook his head.

            “We haven’t received any transmissions,” Leno told him.

            “That’s all right, I’m transmitting the information to you now,” Shearer nodded to someone off screen and Leno heard a computer station beep behind him.

            “Thank you Captain,” Leno said, smiling. Shearer smiled back.

            “You’re welcome,” he replied and the viewscreen switched back to the view of the asteroid field. Leno sighed quietly to himself and sunk back into his chair.

 

            Ten minutes later, the Texas and the Monet slowed to halt just 1000 meters from the Dominion prison camp. “Scan the area,” Jones ordered. Ray acknowledged and ran his fingers over the tactical console. “I’m detecting one Jem’Hadar attack ship in orbit around the asteroid,” he reported.

            “Only one, huh? This might be easier than we thought,” Jones said. Captain Leno waved his finger.

            “I wouldn’t under-estimate the Dominion Larry, they have proven to us on many occasions why we shouldn’t,” he warned. Jones nodded. Leno turned to face Wilson. “Jane, hail the Monet, tell them we’re ready and waiting for their signal,” he said. Wilson nodded and got to work. About thirty seconds later she turned her attention back to her Captain. “Done, sir,” she reported. Leno nodded and settled his gaze back on the forward viewer. A few tense minutes passed before the ops station beeped. “Captain, the Monet is sending the signal,” Wilson reported. Leno bolted upright, as did Commander Jones.

            “Here goes,” he said quietly. “Helm, set course for the camp, one quarter impulse power,” was his first order. Murphy acknowledged and pushed the ship into impulse. Leno turned his head around to face the tactical station. “Don as soon as we’re in range of the attack ship, disengage the cloaking device and open fire, all weapons,” was his next order. Ray poised his fingers over the tactical console, waiting for the moment to carry out his orders.

            “We’re in range of the Jem’Hadar, sir,” Murphy reported.

            “Now, Don!” Leno shouted. Ray nodded and carried out his orders. The Texas swooped down on the attack ship as she de-cloaked. The Dominion ship was taken completely by surprise, and was unable to move out of the way when the first volley of torpedoes impacted its shields. The Texas swerved round to deliver a volley of phaser fire to the Dominion ship. By now the attack ship had time to react and dodged out of the way. It then came back with it’s own burst of phaser fire. The Texas swerved and was only caught by the tail end of the blast. In the Texas’ haste to dodge the weapons fire, she had moved to close to the camp and was hit by a barrage of phaser pulses from the camp’s upper phaser turret. The Texas’s shields flared under the impact and the Texas veered off course for a second before straightening up and moving away from the camp to engage the attack ship again. She opened fire again and the attack ship was unable to swerve in time and was caught by another barrage of the Texas’s torpedoes. The attack ship went into a violent spin as its shields failed. The Texas fired more torpedoes, which found their target on the attack ships engines. The ship exploded in a shower of sparks. With only minor damage, the Texasmoved towards the camp and targeted its phaser turrets. As she approached, another ship swooped down on the camp; the Monet had arrived on the scene. The two Starfleet ships opened fire on the camps phaser turrets and one by one; they exploded in a flash of light. With the camps defences down, The Texas and Monet destroyed the camps shield generators with a barrage of torpedoes.

 

            Shearer watched the mission take shape on the viewscreen. Everything was going according to plan. J’mall reported that the camps shields were now completely gone. Shearer rose from his chair and made his way to the railing. “Ralph, drop shields and helm move us into Transporter range,” he ordered. Both officers acknowledged and set to work.

            “Shields are down, and we’re in transporter range,” Brady reported a few seconds later. Kingston tapped her comm badge.

            “Bridge to transporter room, begin transporting the prisoners up from the base,” she ordered over the comm. Suddenly the ship rocked and Shearer went crashing to the floor. Several consoles exploded, sending their users flying across the bridge.

            “Report!” Shearer shouted as he picked him self up from the floor.

            “Three fighter shuttles just came up from the surface, The Texas is moving to intercept them!” Brady called from across the bridge. The ship rocked again but this time it was less severe. Shearer stared at the main viewer. He could see the Texas desperately trying to keep all three fighter shuttles occupied so that the Monet could complete the transport of the prisoners. Shearer tapped his comm badge as the ship rocked again. “Shearer to transporter room, how much longer?” he asked. After a few seconds pause, the operator responded.

            “We’ll need another three minutes a least, sir,” came the reply over the comm. Shearer made his way back to his chair.

            “Damage report,” he asked. Brady worked his console.

            “We’ve got a small hull breach on deck six, emergency force fields are holding. Ablative armour is down to 25% and structural integrity is dropping!” Brady shouted back across the bridge.

            “What’s the status of the Texas?” Kingston asked, as the ship rocked once more.

            “She’s taking heavy damage,” J’mall paused and looked up from her console. “They won’t be able to keep the fighters occupied for much longer,” she said. Shearer nodded.

            “Status of the transport?” he asked her. She checked her readouts.

            “We’ve just beamed the last group aboard, sir,” she reported. Shearer smiled.

            “Good, raise shields and move to assist the Texas,” he ordered. Brady and Maverick nodded. The ship began to move rapidly towards the Texas and opened fire on the fighters. “Captain, the Texas is hailing us, audio only,” J’mall reported. Shearer rose from his chair and moved back to the railing.

            “Let’s hear it,” he ordered. The speakers crackled and the voice of Captain Leno filled the bridge.

            “Captain, I think it’s time we got out of here, we’ve picked up several Jem’Hadar fighter and Cardassian ships approaching at high warp,” he informed them. Kingston and Shearer glanced over to J’mall, who quickly checked her sensors. A few seconds later, she nodded in agreement. Shearer and Kingston turned back to face the front.

            “Agreed, set course for Starbase 216 and engage your cloaking device,” Shearer said.

            “We’ll see you there,” Leno said before he ended the communication. Shearer moved back to his chair and sat down.

            “Take us out of here Lieutenant,” he called to Maverick. “As soon as we clear of the asteroid field go to warp nine,” he finished. Maverick nodded and worked his console. A few minutes later, the Monet and Texas were on their way back to Starbase 216.

 

            The two ships reached Starbase 216 six and a half hours later. While the Texas was having it’s cloaking device removed, some of the senior staff had made their way over to the Monet. Captain Leno, Commander Jones and Lieutenant Dayan were now sitting opposite Shearer and Hughes. The five officers chatted and joked together while Brady bought them drinks from the replicator. As Brady sat down next to his Captain, Leno raised his mug. “A toast,” he started. “To colleagues in arms. May you and your ship have many adventures together,” he said. Everyone raised their mugs.

            “To colleagues in arms,” they all chanted together.

            “And may our paths cross again,” Shearer added. The group smiled.

            “Hear, hear,” the group brought their mugs in together in agreement. The two crews then continued their lively discussion.