“It is now thirteen hundred hours and forty-three minutes standard time”, the calm synthesized voice replied.
Captain tyr sighed, he and his crew had been working for days and although the majority of the crew was done running double (or triple) shifts by now he still had massive amounts of paperwork to fill out. “Asking for the time every few minutes won’t make it go any faster”, he thought by himself as he looked over the umpteenth ship evaluation report. “Four lifetimes and it seems every century I need to file out MORE paperwork!”
“Ugh”, he let his head drop squarely on the stack of PADD’s in front of him.
At this point he felt the familiar urge to hunt down and hurt whoever screwed up at either Starfleet Command or the Utopia Planetia shipyards. It was a mistake so stupid and so costly that he wondered how they could be made in this day and age. His ship, the USS Caroline, was a brand new ‘Discovery class’ vessel. Normally these new designs are built with a lot of room for eventual expansion, but with the massive succes of the series Starfleet had decided to fill her up with the latest of additional technologies as recommended by other Discovery captains. To top it all she would be outfitted with two experimental engine designs allowing Caroline to cruise at a sustained speed of warp 9.5 and above for a long period of time with a maximum speed of warp 9.997. She would also be able to traverse spatial anomalies or nebulae at high impulse, something which usually overloads many an engine.
Unfortunately Utopia Planetia had been running their tests on a standard warp core implemented in these size vessels, while Starfleet had determined that all the extra technologies were too much of a power drain and had installed a larger than usual core. Of course they both neglected to tell the other and during their latest encounter with the Klingons the impulse manifolds nearly exploded. So they had to recalibrate, and in some areas redesign, the whole bloody engine.
As it was: Caroline, one of the fastest ships in the fleet, had been limping forward on warp 1 and impulse for weeks, while its crew was working overtime to get her moving again. They all needed a break and Tyr had sat down with commander Thryiss to make sure they’d get it.
“I’m so glad those duty roster modifications are over ... at least for the next two weeks.”
He lifted his head from the pile of PADDS and looked up at the replicator across the room.
“Computer: One ... oh just get me something to drink, preferably warm.”
Without objection the computer beeped in acknowledgment and in a swirl of bright blue light a random hot beverage appeared. Captain Tyr walked over smirking, he had reprogrammed his replicator on his third day of command and nobody could understand how he stopped the computer from bombarding him with 500 questions about temperature, flavour, variety and the shape of the glass. “Oh wonderful, Vulcan spice tea ... is there a more bland variety of tea in the galaxy? Perhaps I ought to program the replicator to measure my mood first”
As he walked back towards his desk he asked once more: “Computer: time?”
“It is now thirteen hundred hours and forty-eight minutes standard time”
The captain sighed, “Still one hour and twelve minutes to go.”
Captain Jijan Tyr walked briskly across the hallways of his ship, nodding brightly to some of the crew he walked past in the corridors. He was wearing a costume for an old holodeck program he was itching to try out so he recieved mostly smirks and giggles in return, but he didn’t care: Starfleet wasn’t military and this was his night off.
“Sherlock Holmes, right”, a familiar voice called out to him.
He turned around to face the familiar sight of his science officer walking towards him clutching an armful of PADD’s. Ezrea looked exceptionally tired and worn out, with her hair a tangled mess.
“That’s right, I didn’t know you were interested in Earth literature?”
Although Sherlock’s attire was easily recognizable for humans, both he and his science officer were Trill. He hadn’t expected this.
“Oh I’m not”, she said while trying to stop the electronic notebooks from falling out of her hands, “But the first recorded sentient hologram was created on the Enterprise-D in the image of Professor Moriarty. I’ve always been fascinated by that accident it is such a ...”
At this point the stack of PADD’s fell to the floor, “Oh ...”
“Wait let me help”, Jijan bent to pick up the fallen objects while Ezrea stood there a little dazed, rubbing her left eye.
“Hey are you alright?”
“Oh wha?” she answered as awakening from a daydream, “Yeah sorry, I just need a break, I think ... ”
He knew what she was talking about. The ship’s engines and design created a very complex Warp field and with the entire overhaul going on it needed to be recalibrated to take the extra power input. As chief science officer it was her job to do it and although she wasn't a warp field theorist, she was the most brilliant mathematician he had seen in over two centuries. As it turned out Ezrea had been shouting at her console down in lab 4 for days on end, scaring her co-workers out of the room and in the end resigned to create a small army of holograms to help her out, but she managed an impossible feat in just under a week. Caroline was running at Warp 9.2 for forty-six hours now without a hitch.
“Hey do you have a Watson yet”, she asked when he handed her her stack back.
Jijan shook his head, “I had intended to maybe let the computer simulate a Watson.”
It was true he hadn’t asked anyone. Although he didn’t mind walking around in costume toward his favourite holodeck 2 he found it harmful to the chain of command to ask any of his fellow command officers to join him. He was the captain after all, he was supposed to act like an infallible example, failing to solve a simple 19th century earth mystery wouldn’t do his reputation much good.
“Nonsense! You can’t play a program like that alone. I’ll replicate some proper attire and see you in 15 minutes.” With that she walked merrily back along the corridor.
He stood there watching the spot where his science officer stood just a few seconds ago and smirked. It was typically Ezrea to completely disregard any social protocol and regulation. Although brilliant in the field of science she wasn’t able to seperate the image of her friend Jijan from that of her captain and so never adressed him as such. It's funny to see how she frustrates new bridge officers when she calls him by his first name instead of 'sir'. He turned on the spot and approached the door to holodeck 2.
His previous lives never much liked the holodeck. In Esja’s time it was a brand new technology and she abhorred the ‘life-sucking machines of soulless imagination’. She was dramatic that way. Taren was too self-conscious to indulge himself and Tazi was always too busy, although she at least enjoyed a nice walk along the simulated beach from her hometown from time to time. Tazi got homesick a lot.
Personally he loved the holodecks and their infinite possibilities. They couldn’t replace the thrill of real-life exploration of course, but they could provide a creative outlet into endless fantastical worlds. And he needed a break from reality every once in a while. He only wished Esja had looked upon it that way. Perhaps if she had lived today she would have seen it in a different light.
As he selected a case to solve he saw Ezrea in the distance wearing a plain period-accurate dress. She was beaming and looked much healthier than fifteen minutes ago. She had even done something to her hair, Jijan wondered how she had managed it in such a short time?
She was right though, the more he thought about it the more he agreed that this program shouldn’t be played alone. Although with her analytical mind it might be best if she played Sherlock, he thought laughingly. Perhaps coming down from being the captain all the time wasn’t so bad. If you at least have a person you can trust.
“Ready for a walk down 19th century London, Watsonnette?”
“Undoubtetly Sherlock”, she said enthousiastically.
“Well then”, he pulled a pipe from his waistcoat pocket as the doors of the holodeck opened with the familiar sound of pistons. Beyond them was a smoky, busy rendering of the old Earth city that their characters called home.