Literary Challenge #38 : We'll Always Have New York
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Join Date: Jul 2012
02-07-2013, 01:34 PM
glided past Giedi Prime at a leisurely three quarters impulse power, aiming for the trinary stars of 36 Ophiuchi.
Captain Amanda Palmer strode onto the newly upgraded bridge, and glanced around, still getting used to the new configuration. The layout was essentially the same as that of the
Class, but smaller, more compact. As she passed the dedication plaque, the familiar quote caught her eye:
Words build bridges into unexplored regions
Class, the command chair was isolated in the centre of the bridge, with her first officer now located at the secondary tactical station at starboard, while the new chief of security, Lieutenant Commander Bellic Chanos, scowled at the viewscreen from tactical one at port, the lights from the bridge playing across the azure skin of his bald head. The Bolian was of course, not the only new face on the bridge: Ensign T'Natra had been promoted from relief helmsman to senior navigator, following a mix up of duty assignments which had mistakenly seen a newly qualified fighter pilot assigned as helmsman. Palmer hoped that wherever Ensign Mitchell landed, he would find himself in good company. Another addition, was strategic operations officer Lieutenant Elyse Fisher at the mission ops console on the port side of the bridge, who, while a veteran member of the
's crew, finally had a duty station on the bridge, rather than forced to dwell in the security complex on deck three. At the starboard console which mirrored Fisher's, was seated the civilian scientist who made the majority of the officers feel like they were back at the academy. Doctor T'Pan, the legendary subspace morphologist, regarded the console before her with a casual passivity which belied the anticipation and curiosity she was feeling.
On the forward viewscreen, the orange dwarf stars drew closer, and the deck shuddered slightly as the
Class vessel was buffeted by the turbulence of the subspace folds they had been assigned to investigate.
"Captain, I would recommend activating the metaphasic shielding," T'Pan calmly stated.
Palmer glanced to Commander Rynar Lambert, and nodded, not even needing to speak for her first officer to understand her order.
"Metaphasic shielding is coming online now, Captain," Lambert responded as Palmer lowered herself into her command chair.
"What do your readings show, Doctor?" Palmer enquired.
"A most unusual manifestation of subspace which I have never seen naturally occur," T'Pan replied. "It is reminiscent of the soliton wave experiments of the late twenty three sixties. I wish to see if proximity to the stars increases the intensity of the folds."
"Take us in closer, Ensign," Palmer said, shifting her gaze between the viewscreen, and the readouts on the arm rests of her command chair.
"Aye, Captain," T'Natra acknowledged. "Taking us to within two thousand kilometers of the corona of the primary."
The shuddering of the deck grew more and more pronounced, until suddenly there was an eerie sensation like weightlessness, despite the artificial gravity.
"Report!" Palmer demanded, firmly gripping the arms of her chair, as the deck felt like it was rearing up beneath her. Lighting flickered, and the viewscreen went offline.
"We're caught on the crest of a subspace fold, and being carried along on it at superluminal velocity in excess of warp nine," reported Lieutenant Brandon Mayer from the ops console.
"Helm, stabilize our trajectory," Palmer snapped, before looking to T'Pan. "How do we stop this, Doctor?"
"A subspace disruption in the path of the folds might cause them to dissipate," hypothesized the Vulcan scientist. "A graviton pulse from the navigational deflector might be sufficient to do so."
That was enough for Palmer.
"Lieutenant Mayer, bring the secondary deflector online and generate the pulse," she ordered as a plasma conduit ruptured at the rear of the bridge.
"Aye, Captain, firing deflector pulse now," Mayer replied.
There was a hideous shrieking noise, as if the very frame of the ship was being twisted, and then with a massive impact, everything went black.
She could feel herself rocking, as if in a hammock, but then Palmer felt the carpeting of the deck beneath her cheek, and a liquid warmth on her hairline, and she gradually pushed herself up into a kneeling position.
"Report," she called out, regaining her footing and looking about. The bridge looked a mess, with consoles either destroyed or only partially functional.
So much for the upgrade...
she thought ruefully, as the deck continued to sway beneath her feet. Some officers lay unconscious, while others ignored their wounds, either pulling themselves back to their posts, or assisting their wounded colleagues.
"We've dropped out of warp," Mayer reported. "To be more accurate, we've dropped out of space entirely. According to external sensors, we're fifty feet beneath the upper New York bay."
"Is that somekind of joke?" Palmer demanded.
"No, ma'am," Mayer assured her. "We were carried over fifteen light years along the route of our original heading, right back to Earth. According to the system log, the anti-grav thrusters fired automatically when there was no helm input to avoid a crash landing, and the computer targeted the largest body of water along the flight path. To be honest, it's a miracle we didn't hit the Verrazano bridge as we came in. At the speeds we were travelling, both the ship and the bridge would have been destroyed, as well as turning most of Brooklyn into a crater."
Palmer took a deep breath and slowly let it out.
"Status of the ship?"
"Not good, Captain," Mayer admitted. "There's damage reports coming in from all over the ship, but that's not all..."
Palmer sighed and tapped her comm badge.
"Senior officers, report to the conference lounge immediately," she said.
Five minutes later, Palmer was sitting at the head of the conference table, periodically dabbing the cut on her forehead with a sterile dressing.
"So we're not just under water, we've been thrown just shy of five hundred years into the past," she summarized.
"That's right, Captain. August thirteenth, nineteen sixty nine," Elyse clarified.
"Understood. Our course of action seems clear, we simply need to get back into orbit and create a temporal vortex to return to our own timeframe. First year temporal mechanics covered the procedure, this should be simple."
"That's going to be a bit of a problem, Captain," admitted Lieutenant Commander Meliden Bowen. "The force of our impact has seriously damaged the articulation frames of both the primary and secondary navigational deflectors. Without the ability to correctly position them, we won't be able to properly manipulate the chronometric particles to create the vortex."
"Can't you just replicate a new frame?" asked Lambert.
Meliden shook her head.
"When the cargo bays were restructured to accommodate the new rearward torpedo launchers, the industrial replicators were relocated to inside cargo bay two. Falling equipment in the crash damaged those replicators beyond what can be repaired on board," she explained. "We can still replicate anything small enough to come out of a food replicator, but not the size of parts I would need to repair the industrial replicators, so no, I can't just replicate a new frame, even though the blueprints are in the
"There might be another alternative, Captain," said Elyse, scrolling through files on the conference table's glossy surface screen. "There is a New York-based company in existence at this time which produced a lot of equipment and munitions for the US military. We might be able to outsource the construction of the parts to them, and simply replicate enough currency to pay them."
"Captain, I have to object to this proposal," Chanos said, leaning forwards against the table. "To allow Starfleet schematics to fall into the hands of a pre-warp civilization, even a Human one, is an unacceptable breach of the Prime Directive."
"The objection is noted, Commander," Palmer observed. "I understand your concerns and appreciate your vigilance, but we're not talking about weapons technology, or even an instance like when Admiral Kirk outsourced transparent aluminum manufacture to a company in twentieth century San Francisco, we're talking about an articulated mounting frame, no different in theory to what presently exists in radio telescopes and radar installations. I'm going to have temporal investigations on my case for this, but I guess that's why I'm the captain..." Palmer closed her eyes and leaned back in her chair. "Elyse, do it. Do it now, before I change my mind."
"Aye, Captain," Elyse replied. "Tapping into the local telephone network with the communications array, and - making the call now." She tabbed a few controls on the surface screen, and moments later, a trilling sound could be heard.
"Stark Industries, how may I direct your call?" a disembodied voice politely enquired.
"I need to speak to someone about placing an order for some hardware," Elyse said. "I understand that your company is used to projects where discretion is paramount."
"One moment, please," said the voice, followed by a momentary silence, and then a male voice spoke:
"This is Howard Stark."
"Hello Mister Stark, my name is Elyse Fisher. I have an urgent order I need to place for a piece of hardware, and I believe that your company may be best suited to accommodate my needs."
"You're English?" enquired the gruff tones.
"I am indeed," Elyse replied. "I'm from Chelsea, in London."
"You're going to want this, whatever it is, shipped over to the You Kay?"
"No sir, we're actually in New York at the moment. Transportation is not a problem, we can handle that, we just have a manufacturing issue, which your, uh, past projects, rather qualify you to assist us with."
"I see, what is it that you need?"
"It's probably best that I put you on with our chief engineer," Elyse said, ignoring the look of wide eyed horror from Meliden, who shook her head and gestured silently. "One moment please..." Meliden's eyes narrowed into a glare, but she took up the conversation.
"Hello Mister Stark, I'm Meliden Bowen. What we need, is an articulated support frame for a ten meter parabolic dish. It's going to need to be made from grade thirty eight titanium alloy, and have a nine point attachment chassis."
"Grade thirty eight?" repeated Stark's voice. "Specialist stuff indeed. I didn't realize there were any decent technical colleges in Wales, where did you study engineering?"
"San Francisco, actually," Meliden replied automatically.
"Berkeley? You're not some damn hippie are you?" Stark demanded suspiciously.
"I'm not a hippie, I'm an engineer!" Meliden replied indignantly. "How many hippies do you know who can discuss titanium alloys and their applications? This is a serious commission for the kind of hardware you have a reputation for being able to deliver. How soon would you be able to fabricate?"
"I'd need to see a design schematic before I can commit to a timescale, but maybe a week, ten days."
Meliden smiled and sat forwards against the table, her Cardassian neck ridges making her look like a cobra about to strike.
"Now Mister Stark, I know how engineers like to exaggerate deadlines," she said. "Is five days a more realistic proposition?"
"You're an engineer alright," Stark laughed. "But it's not just a matter of fabrication time, but other projects I have running, schedules I need to adhere to."
"If disappointing your other clients is a concern, we would willingly compensate you, and them, for any delays to your schedules," Meliden said reassuringly. "We have a limited timeframe, and are willing to pay a premium for that. Funds are not an issue, name a price."
"Very well, twenty five thousand dollars will clear my schedule," Stark said. "And you bring me the schematics in person to discuss them so there can be no confusion over any details."
Panic struck Meliden, but before she could refuse, she saw Palmer typing rapidly on the desk, and an internal memo flickered before her.
Agree. EMH can work on you first...
"Uh, very well, Mister Stark. Twenty five thousand dollars it is. I'll see you with the schematics this afternoon. I have your address here."
"See you this afternoon, Miss Bowen," Stark said, before a click being heard, followed by an audible humming.
"Excellent work," Palmer said. "Meliden, report to sickbay. Elyse, get to work replicating Mister Stark's money. Access historical archives to use serial numbers from recently destroyed bills. We might technically be producing counterfeit money, but we're not confidence artists or thieves. I don't want Mister Stark to have any issue from the authorities when he tries to use this money. Also, replicate the necessary schematics so they will look like era appropriate engineering blueprints. Remove any superficial details or anything else which could suggest how the frame will be mounted."
"Aye, Captain," Elyse replied, as she and Meliden rose from their chairs and exited the conference lounge.
Palmer turned to face T'Pan.
"You've been very quiet, Doctor," she observed.
"I had no relevant suggestions to present," replied the scientist. "Logic dictated that I allow you and your officers to resolve this situation, although of course, I extend my regrets that my research has placed your ship in this unanticipated predicament. If you will excuse me, I shall retire to my quarters and examine the data we have gathered thus far."
Four hours later, Palmer and Elyse entered sickbay, and Meliden looked up from where she sat on a biobed. The corded ridges from her neck and eyebrows had been removed, and her skin was now a warm pink. She smiled at Palmer, and the captain saw that the gap between Meliden's front teeth was still there. Even with the changes in her face, her smile was still her own.
"What do you think, Captain? How do I look?" she asked.
"You look..." Palmer's voice trailed off as she examined Meliden. The eyes and voice and smile were the same, but the facial changes were as jarring as the new bridge layout. Eventually, she admitted. "You look quite funny, actually, this might take a bit of getting used to."
"Oh you'll have plenty of time for that," Meliden assured her with a broad grin. "I've wanted to look like this my whole life, there's no way I'm having this procedure reversed."
"Here're some appropriate civilian clothes for you," Elyse said, handing over a pile of garments. "There are attache cases with the money in transporter room two, and Commander Lambert will be escorting you to ensure your safety."
Meliden smiled again.
"I guess I ought to get ready then."
Howard Stark heard the buzzer and looked up from a series of blueprints.
"C'mon in," he shouted, downing the remains of his glass of whisky and pouring another. The doors opened, and he saw an attractive brunette in a pinstriped pencil skirt and cream blouse, closely followed by some mook in a brown suit carrying two huge suitcases.
"Mister Stark? I'm Meliden Bowen, we spoke earlier about a project," said the brunette as she approached.
"You said you needed a support frame," Stark said, casting an eye over Bowen's slender form. "Who's the muscle?"
"Oh, that's Mister Lambert," Meliden replied. "He's looking after your money for me. Do you want to have a look at the blueprints for the frame?"
"Sure, just spread 'em on top of these," Stark replied, draining his glass, and dropping it onto his desk.
"Another project?" Meliden asked, glancing at the torroidal diagrams on the desk, before spreading her own blueprints on the top.
Stark waved his hand dismissively.
"Just something to keep the hippies quiet," he replied. "The promise of clean energy keeps them off my back about my other, uh, production lines, or it will, once I can get it working."
"Well for a start, you need to be using palladium," Meliden said absently, before focusing on the task at hand. "So what do you think, Mister Stark? Can you build the frame we need?"
"What's it going to be used for?" Stark asked, not lifting his eyes from the blueprints.
"For mounting a dish on a ship," Meliden replied. "I'm not at liberty to discuss the applications beyond that, I just need to know if you can do it, and in the agreed upon time."
"Shouldn't be a problem," Stark replied. "When you said you were from San Francisco, I was worried that you were a bunch of hippies out to scam me."
"I take it this has convinced you otherwise?" Lambert enquired, speaking for the first time.
"Yeah, you could say I'm convinced," Stark said. "I can build your frame for you, it'll be ready for you next Monday, by which time all those damned hippies will have cleared out from upstate."
"What's happening upstate?" Meliden enquired.
Stark waved a hand dismissively as he poured himself another drink.
"Some three day love in with a bunch of musicians," he replied distainfully. "Bunch of unemployed bums, if you ask me."
Meliden shrugged non-committally.
"It looks like we have an agreement, Mister Stark," she said. "Your money is in the cases, and we'll contact you later in the week to arrange delivery."
"You've got my number," Stark said, returning his attention to the original set of blueprints on his desk as Meliden and Lambert turned and headed for the office door.
"Palladium..." he mused.
Out on the bustling street, Meliden and Lambert walked a block, before turning into a darkened alley, making their way passed garbage cans until they were hidden from the view of the street. Reaching under his jacket, Lambert tapped his comm badge.
, two to beam aboard," he said. "And Captain, you're not going to believe what's happening at the weekend..."
Last edited by marcusdkane; 02-10-2013 at
. Reason: The final polish...