Commands will come and commands will go.
This Captain’s Log is not coming from the bridge of the USS Gunfighter. It’s not even coming from the bridge of the USS Daddario. This entry is being recorded from the bridge of 101st Fleet’s newest ship, the USS Ksenia Solo, an Oslo class cruiser. It’s a long story but as we’re on our initial shakedown cruise, I have a few free moments, I will ensure the tale is recorded for posterity’s sake.
The several months ago the USS Gunfighter was involved in a confrontation with a Crystalline Entity and suffered critical damage. We were part of a small strike force tasked with intercepting the Entity and slowing it down while the primary fleet formed up near Argelius. Virtually every system needed complete a rebuild or replacement. 40% of my crew was killed when six plasma coolant manifolds ruptured and the deadly coolant flooded Deck 3. With the damage to the power systems and the ship as a whole, emergency force fields did not deploy as they were supposed to so the coolant propagated through the Gunfighter’s largest deck. Most ships in the armada were completely destroyed and if not for Lt. Bolls’s quick thinking, utilizing the wreckage from one of the nearby ships to shield us from the Entity, we may well have shared their fate. Fortunately the Entity passed through and was subsequently intercepted and destroyed, and to paraphrase Admiral Riker “Defiants are tough little ships.” The critical nature of the damage ensured that we would be laid up in dry dock for quite some time. Chief Engineer Jul’hessa optimistically predicted we would be there for at least 4 months. This was not good news, but given the situation it was still a godsend that we were repairable at all. While most of the crew would be temporarily reassigned, staying on the 101st Fleet station and assisting with repairs, most of my bridge crew and I were ordered to take command of one of the Fleet’s reserve component ships. I specify ‘most’ of my senior officers as my Chief Medical Officer, Lt. Cdr Larae Probert would be staying on to assume command of the USS Gunfighter through the repair phase and onward. I can’t claim to have been overjoyed to leave Gunfighter, but if I had to go at least I knew she was in a pair of great, and steady, hands.
Three days after the change of command ceremony on board the 101st station (Gunfighter was still inhabitable), my officers and I arrived at Starbase 39-Sierra to assume command of an older Akira-class cruiser, USS Daddario. She had been patrolling the edges of Starfleet territory along what used to be the Neutral Zone. I served on her many years ago as a young(er) tactical lieutenant and honestly the nostalgia pleased me. I knew that even though she wasn’t the youngest lady in the fleet, she was quite capable of handling herself. Even though she was about four times the size of Gunfighter she gave up almost no maneuverability and only a bit of speed while gaining a significant boost to her shields and hull strength. In switching from a directed-energy weapon-only platform to Daddario’s formidable mix of torpedoes and cannons, Ensign Elisa Flores earned a promotion to Lieutenant by demonstrating a natural expertise in utilizing projectile weapons. This time Daddario did not have her standard Akira nacelles, rather she was participating in an experiment where she was sporting the same nacelle style as Oslo and Nova class vessels. While there were only the most minimal gains, and a similar number of minor losses in overall performance, Starfleet was checking to see if it would be worthwhile to make a complete design change to simplify their shipbuilding logistics, only needing one type of nacelle for three different ship classes. The test is still ongoing but last I knew results were still inconclusive. As Lt. Cdr Probert had remained on the Fleet station, we were assigned a new medical officer Lt. Cdr Nessyl sh’Thiph from Andoria. She had previously served at Starbase 42 in orbit around Casmus III, and aboard the USS Norfolk, a Nova-class ship. While we couldn’t claim medical facilities as nice as a full starbase, USS Daddario was considerably larger and better equipped than the Norfolk.
Shortly after I assumed command of USS Daddario the Federation was faced with a new threat, this time emanating from the Mirror Universe. The Mirror scientists had found a way to generate multiple dimensional risks simultaneously to facilitate an invasion of our universe. They were focused on Vauthil Station and directed the vast majority of their incursions occurring in close proximity to that system. Some of our scientists theorized that the Mirror incursions occurred there because that’s where the rift generating technology was located, while others believed the technology was integral to every ship and they chose to focus there for a strategic purpose rather than simply a tactical one. Starfleet ordered a rotating 24-hour Combat Space Patrol of at least 5 vessels in orbit around Vauthil at all times. We participated in numerous patrols alongside both Admiral Ieon and his Queen Mary, Captain Confuto’s USS Riviera, and Captain Anderson’s USS Biliskner. Multiple other 101st Fleet vessels participated but the majority of our patrols coincided with the scheduled patrols of those three vessels as well. Many Captains were beginning to grumble about the apparent lack of effort to find a way to permanently end the invasion threat posed by the Mirror Universe, and that while the Mirror fleet was decisively losing the engagements we were still slowly being attritted.
To that end, we were contacted by Starfleet Intelligence. We lacked enough information on how the Terrans were able to cross over with entire fleets as easily as they had, and without more information we had been unable to develop a permanent solution. We were one of several ships SI contacted and tasked with covertly entering one of the subspace rifts during the next invasion wave. While I had my concerns, USS Daddario had proven herself many times over even in the short few months we had crewed her, and that gave me the confidence to accept the mission. Approximately 18 hours after talking to SI, another Terran force emerged from their subspace rifts. We happened to be part of the combat patrol at that time and engaged the Terran ships. It still causes me a moment of hesitation before firing on the Terrans since they use the same ship designs we do and I want to take that extra moment to confirm the target ID.
It took about an hour but we were able to stymie the flow of Terran cruisers through the various rifts. I ordered Lt. Bolls to take us into the nearest subspace rift and communicated our intentions to the USS Congo, a Galaxy class explorer serving as the patrol commander, leaving out the part concerning Starfleet Intelligence. It was a very bumpy ride through the rift and we suffered some minor systems damage that was quickly repaired. It shed some light on why it was relatively easy for the patrol fleet to dispatch: they were coming through with potentially critical levels of damage already. It was their sheer numbers that make their invasion force so formidable, not the ships themselves, despite being the same general designs we used ourselves. We breeched the MU in the Reytan System and slowly proceeded to the Toron System in the Beta Ursae sector. The main computer suffered some sort of corruption from passing through the subspace rift and system failures were cropping up all over the ship. Our impulse engine control systems had developed a cascading failure that Jul’hessa and her team struggled to stay in front of. Replicators basically created whatever they felt like rather than what the crew ordered. Walking through a door on the ship became a painful game of chance on whether or not it would open, and whether or not it would STAY open long enough for you to completely make it through the doorway. Quite frustrating, but our weapons and warp drive were still fully functional, and the impulse error was projected to be corrected prior to our arrival. We approached the system and utilized natural phenomena to mask our approach. Scans revealed a station in orbit over the 3rd planet from the sun as the source of the subspace rifts. During the third hour of scanning we were forced to go dark in order to mask our energy signature as another wave of Terran ships began converging on the system. While the fighter in me wanted to engage in order to protect the other ships in the combat patrol, we wouldn’t stand a chance against that many Terran ships. We gathered as much data as we could about the operation of the station and sent in a strike team using one of our Delta Flyer shuttles. Commander Nesalia downloaded as much data as she could from the central computer system while the rest of the team planted charges while attempting to avoid detection. Once the charges were planted Lieutenants Exil and Wampler reconfigured the array to emit one more subspace pulse to get us home, but they were interrupted by station security before the inputs were complete and a running gunfight developed.
During exfil, Nesalia reported that they were completely cut off from the docking bay and two crewmen had been shot. I made the decision to take Daddario out of the nebula and moved her within transporter range. We were able to get the team back on board but unable to recover the Flyer. Fortunately we had considered this situation beforehand and rigged the photon torpedoes on the shuttle to detonate without a coded transmission ever 15 minutes. Daddario moved out of range and triggered the subspace pulse as the torpedoes detonated. The rift formed but Lt. Exil reported that it was highly unstable and had an unusual chroniton signature. With my only options being to venture into the unstable rift or be trapped in the MU for the foreseeable future, we took the road less traveled and went in.
We emerged from the rift around Vauthil Station but when the main computer reconnected with the Starfleet system and learned that it had not been 4 days since departing, as we thought it had been, but it had been nearly a month since we left our universe. Apparently the temporal aspect of the rift meant our passage through this time around was measured in weeks rather than minutes. We were immediately ordered to report to McKinley Station over Earth to debrief the Admiralty but the second trip through the rift compounded and exacerbated our existing computer issues to a dangerous degree. Our anti-matter containment field began to show some unsettling fluctuations and I made the decision to eject our warp core rather than continue to endanger the ship. Two of our Delta shuttles towed it to a safe distance and detonated the core with photon torpedoes to prevent a foreign power from picking it up and prevent endangering any recovery team that might try to repair it in its unstable state. Our impulse reactors supplied sufficient power to run most of the ship’s systems so we were not in a critical situation but we did require a tow back to McKinley. Captain Lujayne Elea’s USS Phoenix Askani responded to our distress calls and was able to tow us back home, though the trip took the better part of a week. Cascading failures through the main computer further debilitated our ability to conduct operations. My engineering staff was flummoxed on how to resolve the issues. They would solve one problem and three more would develop, they solved one of those three and the original problem cropped back up with several friends.
Upon arrival at McKinley the crew was offloaded and a specialized team of Starfleet engineers tackled the situation, instituting a complete wipe of the computer core and reinstalling new operating systems and blank cores. While our personal data was saved and backed up, much of our mission data was lost, including the download that Cdr Nesalia performed while on the Mirror raid which prevented proper analysis. Maybe it was for the best, Starfleet doesn’t need to be dabbling in ventures to the Mirror Universe in my opinion. Word filtered down from Admiral Quinn that my command crew and I would be receiving another reassignment due to USS Daddario’s projected work order completion date still being several months off. The continuous conflict with the Borg, Voth, and everyone else had depleted the existing supply of backup warp cores, not that there were ever too many just sitting around anyways. A new core was being built at Utopia Planetia but was still several weeks from completion. Coupled with the computer issues preventing the core from being installed, the USS Daddario was not going anywhere any time soon. I was temporarily assigned to the starship design yards aboard McKinley and actually participated in the design process for the ship I was rumored to be in contention for command of, an Oslo class cruiser being constructed at the 101st Fleet shipyards. At the time she was slated to be another Akira class ship but our team decided to remake her as an Oslo as they shared many of the same components and general design structures, but Oslos are slightly more adept at non-combat missions than her Akira classmate. We determined that we could potentially boost the integrity of the new ship’s warp field integrity by up to 4.5% by substituting the nacelle design from an Akira class onto the pylon design of a Zephyr class cruiser which would shorten the ship’s overall length and provide a more compact ship with increased maneuverability.
On Stardate 91871.41 I recieved orders requesting me to take command of the USS Ksenia Solo, an Oslo class cruiser that was in the final stages of construction at the 101st Fleet shipyards in the Eta Eridani sector. I believe I have some passing familiarity with the vessel. Earlier today we launched from the shipyards for our initial shakedown cruise. While she has had a few bugs we need to work out, in my experience she’s had far below the standard number of eccentricities a new ship tends to have. I give all the credit in the world to the shipbuilders at the 101st shipyards, they are true masters of their craft. Our official commissioning ceremony is forthcoming and my bridge crew is slowly trickling in as they completed their temporary assignments. Though the past few months have been rather trying, the future looks bright. I’m sure the Ksenia Solo will make a very comfortable new home for us as we face whatever challenges confront the Federation.
– Computer end recording and save entry.