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He piloted the Endeavour throughout the "Mute" campaign, from the discovery of the first damaged Axanarri ship, to the prisoner exchange proposed by Captain T'Pol and Lieutenant commander Hoshi Sato at Gamma Vertis IV. (ENT novel: A Choice of Futures)
In 2164, the Endeavour was sent to assist the Pioneer in the search for their ship's historian Lieutenant Samuel Kirk, and communications officer Ensign Bodor chim Grev, and recovering secret archives stolen by members of the First Families of Rigel. During their mission, Ortega piloted a landing party via shuttlepod to the surface of Rigel VII, believed to be one of the possible locations in the system where Kirk and Grev may have been taken. They were attacked by the Kaylar and crashed on a cliff, with Ortega suffering from a broken arm, surrounded by twenty of their warriors. They were rescued when the Endeavour came down and scared the Kaylar, and a second party in shuttlepod 2 led by Hoshi Sato brought them back to the ship where they received medical attention. (ENT novel: Tower of Babel)
In 2165, after the sabotage at Vulcan Space Central was discovered, Ortega spent half an hour to devise a way to pilot Endeavour out of the space dock without the warp core going critical. Once Chief engineer Michel Romaine and Doctor Tobin Dax gave him the go ahead, he executed the maneuver perfectly thus the ship and the space station was spared. Also, by this year, he was invited to the senior officer's poker game. (ENT novel: Uncertain Logic)