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Captain
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 3,594
# 21
03-20-2013, 06:04 PM
Literary Challenge 10: Replicator Rations:

From the Ashes

Captain Amanda Palmer walked into the eatery, where she was greeted as usual by the welcoming smile of the Human waitress.

"Good morning, Captain," Cara said brightly as she stepped from behind her reception desk. "You're becoming quite a regular. Will you be wanting your usual table and breakfast?"

Palmer smiled and nodded silently, allowing the pretty girl to guide her to a table near the observation window, where she could clearly see repair work the Valkyrie was undergoing.

Quite a regular...

The Valkyrie was forty two years old, had been through the Dominion war without a scratch, had been Palmer's ship to command for the past thirteen years without so much as a glance at McKinley Station, yet since the beginning of the year, this would be the ship's third visit to the orbital shipyard. First had come the restructuring of the primary hull which people had took to dubbing 'the Rhode Island nosejob', along with the installation of a new bridge module and rearward torpedo launchers. Then had been the repairs to the navigational deflector dishes and cargo bays caused by the Valkyrie's supersonic entry into the upper New York bay. Now, following a skirmish with the Breen in the Orellious sector, the nacelles were being replaced.

******

"You asked to see me, Captain?" asked the soft voice as the doors slid closed behind her.

"Indeed, I did," Palmer replied, looking up from the damage reports on her PADD which seemed to be constantly updating, and seeing the willowy form of Eleven of Twelve, standing like a statue near the door to her quarters. "I appreciate that you have not yet been de-briefed by Starfleet Command nor cleared to return to active duty by a counselor, but these are exceptional circumstances, and I am forced to explore any resources at my disposal."

Eleven tilted her head gracefully, the low lighting in the room reflecting from her silvery eyes. Exploratory surgery by Doctor Ben Kincaid and Lieutenant Commander Meliden Bowen had facilitated the removal of the exposed tubing of Eleven's upper cranial transceiver array, allowing the skin and flesh at the back of her head to be fused closed once more, creating an appearance not unlike that of a Deltan, but it was her face which so many had difficulty adapting to -- Ethereal and hauntingly beautiful, as it may have been, with elegant, aristocratic features and sultry bow-like lips, it was still the face which every Starfleet officer immediately recognized as the One who is Many: The Borg Queen.

"If I can be of any assistance, Captain, it would be my pleasure to repay the kindness you have shown me," Eleven replied sincerely.

"Doctor Kincaid's scans of your remaining DNA have confirmed beyond doubt that you were once Holly Masters, Lieutenant junior grade, and xenobotanist," Palmer said. "I appreciate that you were by no means an engineering officer, but I understand that you now possess all the knowledge of the Collective, and every Starfleet officer who was assimilated into it. I need to know if that knowledge can help us in our current situation.

"As you are no doubt aware, we were attacked earlier today by a Breen warship, suffering major damage to our communications array, and the loss of our port nacelle. We are three weeks from Earth at full impulse, but I wanted to know what you can tell me about irregular warp field generation. I know from historical records that in twenty one fifty three, drones assimilated a transport shuttle and began to convert it into a cube, which was then capable of a warp velocity nearly four times it's original capability."

Eleven's hairless brow furrowed momentarily and her lips pursed.

"Destroyed by the starship Enterprise, registry November X-Ray Zero One," she stated. "I am aware of the specifications of the vessel in question, and indeed, the drones in question were able to create an asymmetric off-axis warp field using a salvaged transwarp coil, however, to do something similar to the Valkyrie would require massive alterations to the EPS waveguides and structural integrity fields, in addition to re-writing much of the operating system of the computer core to facilitate a functionality the Valkyrie was never designed to accommodate."

"In other words, you would need to assimilate the ship."

"Essentially, yes, Captain," Eleven replied. "This form lacks the capability to do so directly, but I am capable of advising and observing Commander Bowen's team on changes which they might be capable of making, and can write the necessary operating system if you desire. The modifications should be possible to effect within six or seven days, and given the resources of the Valkyrie, would allow for a maximum velocity of warp two point three, reducing the length of our return to Earth by fifteen days."

Palmer nodded. It might have not been much, but warp two on a single off-centre nacelle was rather good.

"Which certainly beats three weeks of replicator restrictions and emergency rations," she said. "See to it, I'll let Commander Bowen know to expect you in engineering."

"Aye, Captain," Eleven replied. Turning to leave Palmer's quarters, she paused, glancing over her shoulder. "And Captain? Thank you for giving me this opportunity to be of assistance."

******

Palmer gazed out of the observation window while voraciously devouring a massive platter of bacon and eggs, and observed the skeletal forms of the new nacelles. The only true damage had been to the port nacelle, which had been severed mid-way along the pylon, but Meliden had been insistent that simply replacing one nacelle could lead to micro variances between the two, which could lead to instabilities in the warp field, so both nacelles had to be replaced with substitutes fabricated with identical timestamps.

Picking up a PADD, Palmer scrolled through files and notes while sipping a glass of orange juice. The repairs were well underway, which left her only to deal with a long overdue personnel situation. Draining the remains of the juice, Palmer rose from her chair and left the eatery, nodding her thanks to Cara.

***

In the conference suite aboard McKinley Station, Palmer stood and looked over her assembled crew, and felt a swell of pride in her chest.

"Thank you for joining me on such short notice," she began. "The last few weeks have been a trying time for all of us, but you have all conducted yourselves with the professionalism and competence which I have come to expect of you all.

"As you are all no doubt aware, there was recently a lapse in that professionalism, where one of our own chose to go outside the chain of command, taking actions which I would not expect from a first year cadet, let alone a seasoned Commander with over two decades experience behind him. We are not here to debate the dubious wisdom of our departed friend, but to determine a means by which to proceed.

"Starfleet saw fit to equip the Valkyrie with twin tactical consoles to increase efficiency, but the result was one of unacceptable compromise to the ship's systems. From this moment on, I have ordered the yard engineers to re-designate tactical two as a dedicated communications console, which will be manned by Midshipman Ramesh Kumar, leaving the Valkyrie's tactical systems to be under the sole jurisdiction of the chief of security, to whom I shall be the only officer on board with superior clearance.

"I have considered several applications for the position of First Officer, but find myself unable to chose one candidate above the other, so for this reason, I shall not be selecting one candidate above another. Lieutenant Brandon Mayer, you have been my right hand for longer than I care to remember, and Lieutenant Commander Bellic Chanos, while a relative newcomer to our crew, you have consistently and continually impressed me with your flawless dedication to duty and competence.

"I hereby promote you both to the rank of commander, where, in addition to your respective roles as operations manager and tactical officer, you will additionally act as my executive officers, assisting and advising me, and sharing the duties of a First Officer as you see fit between you, with complete equality. Congratulations, gentlemen, it will be an honor to continue to serve with you, and I know of none better to undertake your positions.

In the assembled crowd, the two men exchanged handshakes, before returning their attention to Palmer, who's gaze had fallen on a slender bald-headed woman toward the back of the suite, dressed in a floor-length civilian coat of shimmering pastel colors, which left her arms bare from the shoulders. Her left arm was covered from shoulder to mid-forearm with black geometric tattoos.

"Additionally, it is my great honor to welcome aboard Ambassador S'rR's, Pentaxian Ambassador to the Federation. While the ambassador's duties will be significantly different to her previous role, I have every confidence that she will undertake them with the same dedication and grace.

"Thank you all for your time, you may return to your duties."

Last edited by marcusdkane; 03-21-2013 at 05:36 PM. Reason: Final polish...