Lieutenant R’rarj glanced down as the indicator light on the communications portion of his console began to flash. Seated at the Operations One station at the front of the bridge he glanced back at Captain Elea who was casually leaning to the side of her command chair reviewing the latest status reports from the ships’ various departments. Ahead of him the view screen displayed the stars, slightly elongated by their low warp travel.
The deployment along the edges of Federation space in the Beta quadrant had been fairly quiet until the previous month when Starfleet had made contact with a new species called the Lukari. Having recently passed the warp barrier, Starfleet had detailed several vessels to assist them in exploring the greater galaxy. The discovery of new friends had unfortunately also brought renewed hostilities between the Federation and old foes, the Tzenkethi. R’rarj got the impression from his fellow crew mates that although the Righetti had yet to have direct confrontation with this hostile reptilian species the majority felt it was only a matter of time. No one was particularly worried, merely a feeling of confidence with resigned inevitability. They had all been through many more dire conflicts together, specifically both the Borg and the Iconians. The Tzenkethi, while dangerous, were not even close to that level of threat.
“Captain, incoming message from Starfleet Command. It’s Admiral Quinn ma’am,” R’rarj called over his right shoulder. “I wonder if it’s those new assignment instructions we’ve been expecting?” he mused quietly to himself, felinoid ears swiveled back towards his captain awaiting further instructions.
Lujayne Elea uncoiled herself from her command chair, stretching a bit as she stood. “Pipe it into my ready room, I’ll take it in there. Maybe it is the new assignment instructions Lieutenant, but given some of the strange jobs we’ve gotten from the Admiral in the past, let’s try not to speculate” she said with a small smirk.
R’rarj’s ears flattened with embarrassment at the soft rebuke and he sat straighter. “Yes ma’am, understood. I was unaware Trill had such excellent hearing ma’am, I’ll try to keep future commentary strictly in thought form. Transferring Admiral Quinn to your ready room.”
“Thank you Lieutenant. And remember, that thought-form commentary might still get you in trouble if you ever serve under a Betazoid commander. Commander Grenic, you have the bridge.” And with that, Lujayne strode off the bridge, ready room doors sliding shut behind her as first officer Yalal Grenic shot R’rarj a disapproving look. Captain Elea was fine with her senior officers bantering but Yalal’s job was to ensure and enforce proper decorum.
The better part of an hour had passed by the time Lujayne re-emerged from her ready room. The conversation with Admiral Quinn had not been what she had been expecting and she wasn’t sure how to feel about the new orders. They were simultaneously exciting and heart-wrenching and she’d needed to take a moment to compose herself, putting her captain face back on before exiting her small sanctum.
Striding back into the center of the bridge she began issuing orders to the Caitian flight controller seated beside Lieutenant R’rarj. “Lieutenant Liow’an, recall all drones and probes and then set course for Deep Space Nine, Warp six.” Turning to her executive officer she simply said “Staff meeting, all department heads and senior staff. Conference room, fifteen minutes.” Nodding, Cdr. Grenic began accessing the comm system to distribute the instructions. Lujayne eased herself gracefully back into her chair and began calling up various screens on the armrest to pull information from while her crew executed her guidance.
Liow’an completed laying in the course, turning to the captain. “Ma’am, all drones recalled and back in the hangar. Course for DS9 is laid in. ETA 4 days, 13 hours at Warp six.”
“Understood. Engage.” Captain Elea ordered, watching the main viewscreen with a wistfulness her XO noticed but did not speculate about, before losing herself in whatever data she had pulled up on her own monitors.
Fifteen minutes later Righetti’s senior staff was seated around the elliptical conference table in their customary seats. Lujayne slowly strolled into the room and made her way to the head of the table, glancing at her officers as she did so.
Her back to the windows, Commander Elaje Fyrsuk was massaging the ridges at the top of her nose, clearly trying to relieve stress over whatever new problem had cropped up down in engineering. Righetti was still a new vessel, less than three years old and Fyrsuk knew the systems of the Vesta-class explorer better than most of the people who had designed her. The sleek starship was packed to the gills with a wide variety of complex systems, some barely past the experimental phase. Despite the experience of her Bajoran Chief Engineer and the vessel’s youth, the unfortunate reality was that the more complex a system was, the more likely it was to need higher levels of maintenance. Despite the daily stresses, Fyrsuk would be the first to extoll the virtues of the Vesta design.
Dr. Cyphert was sitting beside Fyrsuk quietly discussing stress management techniques. The ship’s human Chief Medical Officer was an outspoken proponent of an ancient Terran stress-relieving exercise discipline known as yoga and was always trying to introduce it to new acolytes. Lieutenant Commander Mouja listened as well with a sensual intensity typical of many Orion women as she slumped bonelessly in her chair. The ship’s senior science officer’s personality typically displayed as a curious mix of aloof disinterest punctuated by bursts of intense focus that had captivated more than a few of her crewmates.
On the opposite side of the table sat security chief Lieutenant Toezza Dtuza, exiled Voth scientist Dr. Nelen Exil, and second officer Commander Emaale Beetoer. The Operations Officer was having a discussion with the two seated next to her which seemed to be focused on ways the Ops department could facilitate more rapid security response in the event of a boarding event. Being the junior officer in the room, Ensign Sek sat silently at the far end of the table absorbing the conversations as the green sensor bar on his canine-like Breen helmet swept back and forth. The assistant tactical officer was not known for his gregarious demeanor but had proven to be a valuable member of the crew since joining two years prior as part of a foreign officer exchange program.
Trailed into the room by Yalal and R’rarj who had been on the bridge with her, Lujayne waited until they took their seats to begin. All conversation instantly ceased, officers straightened in their seats, and all eyes turned towards her as she dropped into the form-adjusting chair at the head of the table.
“People there’s no easy way to break this news so I’ll get direct to the point. Admiral Quinn has ordered Righetti to proceed immediately to Deep Space Nine where I will relinquish command. I have been asked to become the senior field commander for the Starfleet Field Operational Test Command’s project November X-Ray, Yankee division.” The reactions around the table ranged from curiosity to sadness to anger to no visible reaction at all. Ensign Sek was not known for his facial expressions any more than his verbose nature.
Nelen Exil raised his hand “Captain, what is project November X-Ray?”
Adelia Cyphert smiled and let loose a small chuckle. “Beat me to it Dr. Exil. I was just going to pretend I knew what the Captain was talking about.” Her smile slowly faded when Commander Grenic glared at her and the captain’s expression did not change. “Sorry,” she apologized and sat back in her seat.
Addressing the Voth exile Lujayne leaned forward and continued. “Good question Nelen, I’m sure you and Dr. Cyphert are not the only two in the dark about this project. Basically it is Starfleet’s next generation starship design program. Yankee division’s focus tends to be on longer-range explorer type vessels while Zulu division is meant for tactical focus vessels like the Defiant-class. Once the projects graduate from the November X-Ray program they end up at shipyards yards like Utopia Planetia or McKinley Station for major construction. However the November X-Ray program has been known to produce some test models when secrecy is necessary. With the rise of recent small-scale conflicts with the Voth and Vaadwaur, not to mention the Federation nearly being destroyed by the Iconians a year and a half ago, the NX program has received significantly increased attention from high level sources.”
“I am allowed to bring up to 40% of Righetti’s crew with me on this assignment including any senior officer who wants to come with. I have been ordered to assume the temporary position as Commodore and will be conducting field testing on the third flight of Vesta-class ship. I won’t say it’s a ground-up rebuild but it did take the Vesta design we know and changed quite a bit. Most of you were with me on Phoenix Askani, she was an original Vesta design based off of the 2379 design. Righetti as you know is a second-flight ship, and is an upgrade. This third-flight has been under development for years but the research teams have been pretty far removed from the front lines. They’re the research arm while we represent the operational arm of Starfleet.”
“Basically my job, and whoever joins me, is to go poke holes in the design and figure out what improvements need modification in order to be useful in actual operations. This brings us to the risk/reward part of the discussion however. If the project has not progressed far enough, based off of my/our feedback, there is the potential that I and whatever team assist me in the evaluation will not have a vessel for months, possibly more than a year. If the NX team has managed to create a workable template however, you will be the first to crew a third-flight Vesta class vessel.”
Sitting back to survey the room, Lujayne finished her brief “No one besides myself is required to join this evaluation team. Anyone who remains on-board after we arrive at Deep Space Nine will continue as part of Righetti’s crew in their current capacity, or possibly even advance to a higher position if the position is vacant. I don’t know who the new captain will be but Admiral Quinn has told me they are already enroute to DS9. Take the next 36 hours to consider the offer. Ensure your divisions are all fully briefed and given the same offer. Specific job classification is unimportant, Starfleet is as eager to hear about the medical bay as they are the data-burst uplinks.”
“All department heads will file their summaries, complete with crew evaluation files no later than 48 hours from now. Commander Grenic and I will review all applications for transfer. If more than 40% of the crew wants to take this challenge we will adjudicate and take the best candidates. Questions?” Lujayne asked as her staff shook their heads. “Ok, dismissed.”
As she left the conference room she heard her officers begin to talk excitedly between themselves. A small smile pulled at the corners of her mouth and she hoped these were not the last few days she would spend working with them.
Lujayne did not have long to wait for her response. Within 24 hours of the briefing in the conference room over 80% of the crew had filed transfer applications to join the test program, including her entire senior staff. She and the senior staff spent the next 3 days reviewing personnel files and ranking the transfer potentials. By the time Righetti entered Bajoran space everyone who’s transfer had been accepted was informed to begin packing their personal belongings. Lujayne filed a second report for Righetti’s incoming commander recommending promotions and personnel slotting for the crew members who were not selected for the test program, to help fill some of the personnel vacancies.
As the spider-like pylons of Deep Space Nine came into view Commander Grenic began issuing orders. “Ops, purge the Bussard Collectors and de-ionize the hull, I don’t want any static discharges when we dock. Helm, ahead one quarter impulse until we are within 50 thousand kilometers, then utilize thrusters. Tactical, hail DS9 Ops and get docking instructions, coordinate with helm to get us to the correct pylon.”
“Engineering begin securing both the primary warp core and the slipstream core. Righetti is going to be here for a few days during these transfers and the impulse reactors will provide sufficient power. No reason to burn deuterium without good cause.”
“Toezza, have your security teams standing by to help secure the transfer of personal goods from Righetti to DS9’s cargo bay 2. Most of us have been here before and know that there are some unsavory people onboard who’d love to embarrass Starfleet by stealing half a crews’ personal belongings. Not to mention any names *cough*Quark*cough*. Captain to the Bridge, we are on final approach to Deep Space Nine.”
Lujayne exited her ready room as Lt (J.G.) Kal’eth parroted back “Thrusters to station keeping, aye. Docking clamps extended, umbilicals attached. Air pressure holding steady. Docking procedure complete ma’am.” Yalal turned to Captain Elea “Ma’am, we are docking complete at upper pylon 3. Security teams are beginning the transfer of everyone’s personal goods to Cargo Bay 2.”
Lujayne smiled “Excellent work Commander. Commander Beetoer open the ship-wide intercom. I’d like to address the crew.” A shrill boatswain’s whistle piped through the speakers all over the ship as Lujayne began her address. “Officers and crewmembers of the Righetti it has been one of the great honors of my life serving as your captain these past two years. We have persevered under the most grueling of conditions, defending the Federation from enemies foreign and domestic and helping our civilization avoid Armageddon on more than one occasion. We have become a family through both the losses we have suffered and the triumphs we have celebrated. I know a large portion of you will be joining me on our upcoming testbed assignment and I’m sorry I could not take everyone who applied. Those of you who remain will form a critical link in ensuring the continued success of this great ship. You have the knowledge of her quirks and abilities that no one else does, and most of you will be receiving promotions and/or transfers to positions of greater responsibility in light of your hard work and never-ending pursuit of greatness. I wish you all the best and know you’ll help the incoming command team do great things. Thank you all, Elea out.”
She turned to Yalal and ordered “All stations to station-borne control, begin the transfer of all personnel. The Keldon cruiser Scharnhorst will arrive at DS9 the day after tomorrow to retrieve the first batch of transfers. U.S.S. Gunfighter and U.S.S. Kendrick will complete the final transfers in 5 days. Captain Kurland has already arranged for temporary quarters for our transferring personnel. In-bound personnel will begin arriving later today which is why we need to vacate the on-ship quarters. The incoming XO will be here in about 2 hours, a Commander Johansenn. Show him every courtesy and answer whatever questions he has. Starfleet Command has ordered me to take one of Righetti’s runabouts to the Elvren system at once. I’ll meet you all once you get there but they want me on ground there first, so to speak. Good luck.” As she walked towards the turbolift, Lujayne heard Yalal give a quiet command to the lieutenant at Ops but paid it no mind.
“Deck twelve, shuttlebay,” she ordered, and the turbolift quickly delivered her near the shuttlebay. As the doors parted a boatswain’s whistle shrilled and Lujayne exited the lift to see the corridor lined on both sides with Righetti crewmembers standing at attention. As she passed she noticed all of the faces were the crewmembers not participating in the transfer. The murmuring began as she slowly walked the halls, quietly in deference to protocol.
“Thank you Captain.”
“Live long and prosper Captain.”
“It’s been an honor Captain.”
Lujayne was forced to muster all of her will to keep from shedding tears as she made her way down the hall, shaking the hands and patting her crew on the shoulder as she passed, thanking them individually. It wasn’t until the boarding hatch on the runabout sealed that she allowed the tears to flow, saying goodbye to her home and her subordinates that she had led and shaped over the last two years. By the time the shuttlebay door had retracted the tears had stopped and the excitement over this next chapter in her life had taken root.
Captain’s log – Stardate 94715.05
We have been in operation here at Starbase 285 in the Elvren system for a little over 5 weeks now. The Starbase is relatively small by Starbase standards, but it serves well enough. The small construction yard outside is heavily fortified. There are about 15 different types of prototype vessels under construction. This research facility has the largest industrial replicators I have ever seen in my life. They are capable of creating whole nacelles in 8 hours. Automated drones overseen by some of the most grizzled and experienced engineers in Starfleet can put together an entire vessel in about a week. It would still require a great deal final outfitting at one of the major shipyards but a basic vessel is space worthy with low warp capability.
The three ships NX project wanted my teams to investigate have been termed the Esquiline, Palatine, and Brigid sub-types to the Vesta line. Our first testbed was the Palatine type. We christened her the U.S.S. Masterson. She possessed an interesting layout with flattened nacelles and low vertical profile similar to the Intrepid-class with many of the strengths and weaknesses of the older platform. She utilized a new nillimite-neutronium alloy with large sections of tetraburnium alloys which strengthened the hull compared to earlier Vesta ships like Askani and Righetti. Fyrsuk estimates Masterson is 13% more durable than any of her predecessors. The added benefit to this was that it reduced the amount of power we needed to divert to the structural integrity field during normal operations, freeing up additional power for other systems. There were numerous software and hardware improvements as well, as would be expected from an advanced prototype.
U.S.S. Masterson, NCC-93318
We filed our reports with the design teams and were told to hang tight for about a week while the Brigid subtype was finished. I authorized leave for anyone who requested it since Earth was only about an 18-hour trips and we had four runabouts OPCON’d to us. I stayed at the Starbase with my Bajoran tag-team of Fyrsuk and Beetoer refining suggestions and systems. One of the ideas floated based off the designs that were available was a redesigned primary/secondary deflector systems. Basically with some of the technology available plus the advanced projection systems available on the Vesta ships they were able to design a system capable of projecting immense radiation and electrical damage that could bypass or overload shield generators easily.
When we presented our briefing the design team looked at each other, dumbfounded that they could have overlooked this possibility. The man in charge of the program, Admiral Targus, started laughing so hard I thought I was going to have to call a medic, stating that this is why they have fleet engineers supervise this portion of the design phase because “even eggheads can miss things”. Bolians certainly are a jovial people.
We did run into some troubles when we discovered that these new technologies impinged upon the system routing for the sympathetic fermion transceiver and quantum field focusing circuits. Those systems, while not critical to starship operation help add a variety of options that Vesta captains like myself would be loath to part with. One of the “eggheads” floated the idea of what if we mounted one of the old Nebula-class mission pods to the back of the Brigid to create space for the necessary machinery. The engineer was completely professional but I know I saw a bit of smugness in his expression when Admiral Targus admitted it was a great idea.
Commander Beetoer asked permission to christen this second testbed as the U.S.S. DeBoer after a friend of hers from the academy who had perished in the Iconian conflict. It was as good as done. The new pod did change both our energy and subspace profiles and as such required significant recalculations to our warp field geometry to reach slipstream velocities. For most of the week the computers on the Starbase performed hundreds of thousands of simulations each day before discovering a configuration that worked. Until that point we conducted tests at standard warp velocity and they were extremely successful. DeBoer was a joy to command, even better than Masterson before her. Responsive and we were able to get quality testing out of the new isometric discharge array and radion pulse matrix. Lieutenant R’rarj and Lt. Cdr Mouja were thrilled with the new technologies and arguments coming from the starbase mess hall over who could come up with more uses for the new systems became a regular occurrence. I readily appreciated both the tactical and scientific possibilities the systems brought with them.
U.S.S. DeBoer, NCC-98573
We did extend our test period with the DeBoer two days longer than original specified trying to solve the slipstream problem without success. Our engineering teams worked 18 hour shifts with the starbase design teams trying to solve it. It was after 0300 on the 9th day of testing before one of the joint teams made a breakthrough. The flat longitudinal nacelle layout that DeBoer has was causing a phase variance that escalated exponentially once the drive was engaged and caused enough interference with the chroniton integration sensors that the computer automatically cut the slipstream drive. Well…that was problematic to say the least. The simplest solution was to redesign the nacelle layout, which was incorporated into the final variant we were testing, the Esquiline variant.
Visually she was the most appealing to me, having a similar profile to Righetti and Askani, with the mission pod that reminded me of the days commanding Lauren Cohen, my old Luna-class ship. The new deflector dish was not as sleek as the earlier Vestas I have commanded but there was renewed emphasis on the secondary deflector which was about 30% larger. I did like the bridge being a bit more recessed than earlier versions as well. We were pleasantly surprised in the pre-mission briefing when the development team revealed the new mission pod redesign included several tachyon emitter/receiver modules. According to the brief this would allow us to simultaneously drain an opponent’s shields while boosting the integrity of our own. Intriguing if it works as advertised.
U.S.S. Staite, NCC-97617
Under direct orders from Admiral Targus we were told not to christen this ship yet, the Admiralty would take any suggestion we had under advisement but were reserving naming rights at the flag officer-level. We just took to calling her the Young One, for lack of a better name We spent two weeks taking this ship on trial runs, stressing each system per a scripted series of events. The slipstream drive worked like a charm, everything worked as advertised. She handled like a dream, even with a skeleton crew. We only had about 300 crewmembers from Righetti on our staff, plus about 50 Starbase 285 technicians on a ship designed for 750 but we had no issues maintaining all systems through each test. It was gratifying as a captain to see. I think I overheard some of the SB285 technicians talking about putting in transfer paperwork to join our crew. I’m sure the Admiral would love to lose his staff to a visiting commander. Hah!
Our two weeks putting the Young One her through her paces, I don’t think there was a soul on board who did not love this ship. My final report to Admiral Targus and Starfleet Command recommended immediate production begin and retrofitting of older Vesta cruisers begin where operationally feasible. We are awaiting follow-on instructions from Command at this time.
Captain’s Log Supplemental – Stardate 94718.05
The order has finally arrived.
From: Admiral Grigori Yanishev, Personnel Division, Starfleet Command
To: Captain Lujayne Elea
Attention to Orders. You are hereby requested and required to assume command of U.S.S. Staite, NCC-97617 as of this date. Proceed immediately to Starbase 101 for outfitting and shakedown cruise operations.
After a brief moment of confusion when Admiral Targus presented the order to myself and the senior staff, we realized that “the Young One” had been official christened as the U.S.S. Staite after Admiral Jewel Staite, one of the key leaders during the early days of the Federation, just after the Earth Starfleet formally joined with Vulcan and Andor. Since Staite had been a prototype vessel until this point she was only outfitted with basic Class 10 deflectors, shielding, and impulse reactors. As such we would need to receive and test the latest equipment available. The home of 101st Fleet was also home to some of the Federation’s finest shipyards and was only a 4 day journey away at Warp 7. Utopia Planetia and Vulcan shipyards were both closer, however they were focused on rebuilding the fleet after the Iconian invasion devastated over a third of Starfleet. No need to take up a valuable berth at either of those locations for work that 101st Fleet’s technicians could easily accomplish. We would be taking on additional personnel upon arrival as well.
We have completed our farewells to the November X-Ray team and thanked them and the Starbase 285 personnel for being such gracious hosts for the past several weeks. It can always be stressful when dealing with some of the “rear-echelon” Starfleet types who haven’t set foot on an operational starship in several years but it turns out they’re quite adept at working with crews from ships of the line.
Time to get this show on the road.
“Captain Elea, Starbase 285 reports all gantries have been retracted and umbilicals severed. We are clear to proceed to Starbase 101 on your order,” called Lieutenant Roloun, the Paradan helmswoman on shift.
“Understood. Proceed out of the dock on thrusters, take us to half impulse once we’re clear until we break orbit, and then Warp 7.5 to Starbase 101.” Lujayne sat back in her new chair, trying to decide it it was more or less comfortable than Righetti’s big chair. No reason to decide today, she thought to herself, before turning to Yalal. “Commander Grenic, how are the application reviews coming along? I would prefer we have our new crew on board before subsystem installation is complete. If there is a straggler or two who can’t join us until later that’s fine but the shakedown cruise is going to be manpower intensive. Hell, we’re going to be hanging corridor panels the whole way down to Fleet HQ.”
“Ma’am, I’ve been working with the senior staff and I think we’ve got pretty much all positions filled. We’ve got a few transfers coming from the fringes of the Federation but if their records are any indication they’ll be worth waiting for. Assuming there are no travel problems we should not have to delay the shakedown more than a day or two at most.”
“Excellent. I’m going to take a stroll down to Engineering and see how things are going. You have the bridge Commander.” Rising from the chair, Lujayne headed towards the turbolift at the rear of the bridge. Maybe it’s a little more comfortable she mused as the doors slid shut.
“Captain have you seen the specs on the equipment they’ll be installing when we reach 101st? I don’t know where this technology came from, I haven’t seen stuff like this before. It’s like it came from the future!… Wait… Did it come from the future? I know we were involved in those temporal incursions a few months ago? Hell this new warp core has a chroniton signature and is putting out almost 20% more Cochranes than Righetti’s core and I had that thing tuned like a harp. And this deflector dish should boost the relative output of our deflectors by almost the same amount! Between that trick we used to pull turning the deflector into a quantum phaser beam and those new mission pod systems that channel through the dish I would not want to get in a fight with this honey.”
The words just tumbled from Fyrsuk’s mouth so fast that Lujayne couldn’t get a word in edgewise. She was content to let the Chief Engineer chatter about the virtues of the systems they were about to install, finally holding up a hand to try to get Fyrsuk’s attention.
“So you’re saying it’s pretty good stuff? Lujayne asked with a hint of smugness.
“Captain, ‘pretty good stuff’ doesn’t do this justice. If there weren’t restrictors in place these impulse engines would push us to relativistic speeds with a tenth the power a ship built 7-8 years ago would take. The efficiency at low-power settings is over 97.24%!” Commander Elaje gushed.
“Well I’m glad to hear it. I would hate to have called in favors with half the Admirals in Starfleet for anything less than the best. And as a matter of fact it IS from the future. You hit the nail on the head regarding those temporal incursions. Starfleet has been reverse engineering equipment found on some of the wrecks and using salvage to piece together other components. Hell I even had to cut a deal with Admiral Ieon from 102nd Fleet to get the salvaged temporal EPS power taps necessary for Starfleet R&D to build these shields,” Lujayne told her, thinking back to the amicable negotiations she had concluded a few days prior via subspace. “We’re going to be the lead ship outfitted with this equipment set. As it makes its way to the fleet it’ll be more common but like Staite herself, it’s very new, very untested equipment. Our job is to put it through the wringer and see where it shines and fails. Think we’re up to it?”
Fyrsuk grinned and replied with a hearty “Yes ma’am!” as some of the less occupied engineers let out a small cheer. Captain Elea turned slightly and addressed her Chief Engineer in a stage voice “I don’t know Commander, some of our engineer staff seems to be in dire need of work since they seem to have time to stand around eavesdropping. I’ll leave you to your business. Please ensure we’re ready to receive and install the components as soon as we arrive at Starbase 101. As you were,” she said, waiving off the ensign who had been preparing to call the room to attention at the captain’s departure.
As she strolled out of main engineering she heard Fyrsuk begin barking orders to her staff. No easy days for a while, she thought to herself as she made her way towards Sick Bay. As Elea made her way down the halls she passed half a dozen work crews working on the EPS systems or installing new gravity plating. It was a strange feeling walking through the corridors of a Federation starship that still looked comparatively skeletal. Most passageways were still missing half of the wall panels or more. The lighting systems worked just fine but every now and then Lujayne would walk through a dark patch where an overhead light was not yet installed. The work crews at Starbase 101 had their work cut out for them.
A few minutes later she swept through the doors into Sick Bay which was a subdued hive of activity. Dr. Cyphert was tending to a patient wearing Engineering mustard yellow who looked to have a nasty cut on his shoulder. Cyphert finished working with the crewman with the dermal regenerator before handing it to Nurse Zeestou and made her way over to the captain.
“Afternoon Captain,” she said, brushing some of her blonde hair out of her eyes as she glanced around the bay. “What brings you down to my neck of the woods?”
“Good afternoon Adelia. Just taking a walk, seeing how everything is coming along. We won’t arrive at Starbase 101 for two more days, making sure everything is prepared for our arrival. What happened to Crewman Daprirn?”
“Nothing too significant to worry about ma’am,” Cyphert assured her, shaking her head slightly as the pair approached the injured Benzite. “Crewman Daprirn was working in the Jeffries tubes on Deck 6 and failed to notice that one of the rungs in the ladder he was working on hadn’t been installed so he took a bit of a tumble. No broken bones, just a minor ankle sprain and a nice laceration where a protruding bracket caught him on the way down. He’ll be on light duty for a day or two but should be fully healed by the time we arrive at Starbase 101.”
Giving Daprirn a gentle smile Captain Elea patted him on the undamaged shoulder “Well I’m glad to hear there’s no permanent damage. Maybe next time Daprirn will pay a little more attention to what he’s doing, eh?”
Wearing an abashed look, Crewman Daprirn hung his head a little, “Yes ma’am, it won’t happen again.”
Turning back to Adelia, Lujayne gestured around the bay. “What do you think of our new medical facilities? Suitable?”
With a gleam in her eye Dr. Cyphert nodded enthusiastically. “The basic layout hasn’t changed from our time with Righetti, although with the added automation in some of the systems we did increase from a 30-bed medical facility to a 37-bed one. I think we took over space that was previously used as an auxiliary power junction. Not sure where they moved it to, but I’m not complaining about the extra space.” Touring slowly around the facility the pair did their best to stay out of the way of the medical orderlies bustling around.
Leading the captain past the pristine rows of equipment and bio beds, Adelia continued expounding on the features of the new sickbay. “We currently have the standard 8 surgical arches but I think I was able to pull a few strings with 101st Fleet’s CMO and there should be two more waiting for us when we arrive. Our EMH program has been upgraded to the Mark 4. I don’t know that we’re the first ship to have the Mk4, but we’re definitely ONE of the first.”
“I didn’t even know there was a new medical hologram being fielded. Clearly I’m a little behind the times, last I knew we still had that effeminate Mark 2 model. Mark 4 EMH, huh? Who’s this one modeled off of? Anyone we know?” Lujayne pondered aloud.
Grinning, Adelia replied “You tell me Captain. Computer, activate Emergency Medical Hologram.”
With a flash and a soft electronic woosh, the computer generated a grizzled-looking human male of about 60 years of age. She couldn’t immediately put her finger on it but the face was definitely familiar to the Trill captain. Something from her textbooks at the academy, or a symposium she had attended in a previous host perhaps?
The holographic man turned to them impatiently but with an undefined kindness in his eyes asking “What seems to be the nature of the medical emergency?” in a gravelly tone of voice. Dr. Cyphert said nothing, allowing the captain to solve the puzzle on her own. Lujayne said nothing, her mind still working through where she knew this face from. As the EMH spoke, the memories clicked it all came back to her.
“Well, damnit what’s the medical emergency? I’m a doctor not an art exhibit to be stared at!”
Glancing at Cyphert, Captain Elea asked the hologram “Wait… is your program based off of Doctor Leonard McCoy.”
“Well I’m sure as hell not Jim Kirk, Captain!” the hologram exclaimed.
Still recovering from the realization that she was staring at one of Starfleet’s most legendary officers, Elea found herself apologizing to a hologram. “I’m sorry doctor, I hadn’t expected to interact with you onboard my ship. I attended one of your lectures when my symbiont was in a previous host, it was extremely insightful.”
The hologram softened his expression. “Well I hadn’t expected to be here either, Captain,” he grumbled, “but Starfleet Medical thought that after the debacles with the Zimmerman EMH model’s terrible bedside manner and that prissy Mark 2 replacement most officers would feel more comfortable with a little down-home country doctoring. So they dredged up the personality profiles for the original Dr. McCoy and that resulted in what you see standing here in front of you. Figured you captain types might respond better to one of the “Heroes of the Federation” or whatever they call me being aboard your ship. And don’t ask me what the problem with the Mk 3 EMH was, I wasn’t created yet so I don’t know.”
Stepping forward to shake the holographic McCoy’s hand Lujayne nodded in agreement. “I suppose that all makes sense. Well it’s a pleasure to have you aboard doctor. Thank you for your time, until next time. Computer end EMH.”
As the hologram winked out of existence, Adelia shook her head slightly in understated disbelief. “Given the fact that the real Leonard McCoy passed away before I was done with primary school I never really had any hopes or aspirations of serving with him. He was always one of my heroes growing up, one of the doctors I’ve tried to emulate ethically. Besides just the visual and personality components, the Mk 4 EMH has been upgraded with all of the latest procedures with a holomatrix that’s got plenty of room for expansion. We still have some work to do to get the facility fully in order but we’re operational now. We’ll be taking on full medical provisions once we reach Starbase 101. Overall, Captain this new Sick Bay is going to be a great benefit to the crew.”
“Well doctor I’m happy to hear that. It looks like your staff is doing good work already, so keep it up. Let me know if I can be of assistance,” Lujayne stated as she shook hands with Dr. Cyphert and departed to continue her tour.
Captain’s Log – Stardate 94719.85
We completed our transit from Starbase 285 to Starbase 101 without serious incident. As soon as we entered the system we were met with a “welcome home” and docking instructions to Mooring Bay #2 at Gunfighter Alley. The deflector dishes had barely completed their shutdown routines before work drones were disconnecting the dishes and maneuvering our new components into place. Commanders Beetoer and Mouja have been overseeing the primary and secondary deflector installation while Cdrs. Grenic, Elaje, and Ens. Sek have been focusing their energies on the impulse engine and shield upgrades.
While I would love to be elbows deep in a deflector emitter helping their teams complete the work, Fleet Admiral Norman and Vice Admiral Hottie ordered myself and Lt. R’rarj to attend an intelligence briefing Starfleet Command had pushed down to us. I had seen the Devestator in orbit around the station but must have missed Enterprize on our way into the system.
The briefing consisted of the initial cultural profile for the Lukari. They were a recent entry into the warp-capable species catalogue but initial reports filed by Captain Tracks onboard the U.S.S. Stratos indicated that they shared a wide-eyed curiosity of the galaxy at large, as many Starfleet officers do. Even more intriguing was the re-discovery of K-13, the 23rd century star base that vanished without a trace almost 200 years ago. When I was Jaheris Elea I remember watching the news releases from when that happened, but the popular theory was that either the Klingons or Romulans, depending on who you asked, had destroyed it in a covert attack. To see this immobile structure pop up hundreds of lightyears from its last known location is a mystery I hope I get a chance to work on.
The final portion of the briefing covered local fleet deployments including portions of the Ausmonaut Corps. The flagships for both 101st and 102nd Fleets, U.S.S. Zuikaku and U.S.S. Queen Mary are currently in orbit over the Lukari home world. Mission updates seemed to indicate that Admiral Lawford was investigating evidence of protomatter explosions that the crew of the Stratos had found during their initial contact with the Lukari. Admiral Ieon and Queen Mary were conducting diplomatic negotiations and general information exchange with the Lukari. With the Mary’s assistance and expertise, Intelligence reported the Lukari would soon be launching their lead ship of their line of second-generation warp vessels. The societal profile the Federation sociologists put together seem to indicate the Lukari will throw one hell of a party to celebrate this ship’s launch. I hope the Admirals can hold their liquor.
Admrial Norman concluded the briefing with orders sending Staite to the Huranzi system to rendezvous with this new Lukari ship and a Klingon General Rodek. We’ll be departing as soon as our systems upgrades are installed and conducting shakedown tests enroute. Our slipstream drive should have us there in about 36 hours while most ships would take more than 9 days.
Captain’s Log, Supplemental – Stardate 94723.03
Fleet Command has informed us that Admiral Will Norman and the Devastator has departed Starbase 101, leading a large task force to the Mivic system. The Tzenkethi massacre of Povini has galvanized the Federation from one side of the galaxy to the other. Calls for war and retribution fight for volume against worlds volunteering to send aid. However small our part we were able to assist a few surviving members of their space fleet.
Although the primary mission is civil relief, the task force has secondary and tertiary orders to open a second prong in the protomatter investigation while simultaneously assisting the Lukari with their archeological expedition to their former planet. 101st Fleet ships form the bulk of the relief effort. Captains Sean, U.S.S. Destiny and Tarran, U.S.S. Darmstadt, are rumored to be heading each of the alternate efforts. It’s good to see quality officers get fleet-level leadership experiences, if only it didn’t come under such negative circumstances.
We were able to drive off an over-strength Tzenkethi raiding party before they were able to detonate another protomatter bomb. Our new systems worked like a charm. We’re currently enroute back to Povini to join up with Admiral Will’s task force and render aid as we can.
Something tells me the Tzenkethi are going to regret picking this fight.