Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 71
05-30-2011, 11:42 AM
.................................................. .............Differing Views.

...“Dismissed.” he said.

...The Admiral sank back into his chair and picked up a PADD containing the latest reports from the front lines. Tanar, while no longer required to perform the role of starship captain, did so gladly.

...This was a perilous time for the Federation, with enemies both present and hidden lurking in the darkness of space, waiting to strike. Too many ships and not enough experienced captains meant that instead of being stuck behind some desk, bored out of his mind on a remote outpost, he was able to take command of his old ship; the U.S.S. Relentless.

...Starfleet command had tried to mothball her once before, after the initial trials on the Multi Vector Assault Mode proved to be more trouble than it was worth. Yet with the help of his crew they had managed to perfect the method and iron out the technical problems. She was now the model for all future MVAM capable ships.

...As he continued to gaze into another report filled doom and gloom, he felt two eyes burning into him. Tilting his head up slightly he saw the pale blue hands of his first officer, Susan Jenne, an Andorian/Human female, who had been raised on Earth while her Andorian father had been stationed there along with her human mother; a civilian in the textiles industry.

...Like most Andorians she has a temper that could melt the ice plains of her homeland. Being on Earth, and having fifty percent of the humans genetics had not seemed to have tempered her.

...“Something to add commander?” he said firmly, knowing full well he was about to get both barrels.

...“With all due respect sir, are you out of your mind?”

...“We could call the CMO down here to run a full neurological scan if you wish.”

...“I’m serious! Going back into Undine space is suicide. They have infiltrated every government on the quadrant, incited several wars and have vowed to purge our galaxy of all life.

...“Yes commander, those facts had not slipped my mind.”

...“And know you want to take this ship, back into their realm to talk to them.”

...“Susan,” he began stroking his slick black hair. “We have an opportunity to end this once and for all. You said yourself the Undine mean to destroy us. Fighting them may be inevitable but we have no guarantee of success. Even with Borg nanoprobes, the Undine outmatches us in every regards.

...Susan adjusted her collar slightly; she hated the heat of the Admirals office. Being a Cardassian, one of only a handful in the fleet, meant that he enjoyed the ambient temperature a little higher than what most preferred. Even with human DNA, her Andorian physiology did not enjoy the heat, and it only made her aggressive streak more predominant.

...“They have shown no sign that they want to talk to us. They are paranoid and xenophobic to the extreme. We wont be much good to the Federation if we are dead, and going in alone-”

...“Sending an entire fleet.” he said. Interrupting her “would be a recipe for disaster. I’m afraid we have to walk through the front door on this one and take our chances, besides many people would have said Andorians and Cardassians were both paranoid and xenophobic and look at us now.”

...“You mean having an argument?” she said dryly.

...A small smile broke out across his lips, and made a run for the rest of his face before he could realise it. He regained his composure. “Yes, well perhaps not the greatest point I ever made, but at least we are not trying to kill each other.”

...“No we just save them for the big arguments.” she said, trying to hide the smile on her face too.

...“I appreciate your point of views commander but the decision has been made. We attempt it, one ship won’t win us a war, but it might prevent a full scale invasion. That is a risk I’m prepared to take.

...“Then send a probe first. We can add our message to it.”

...“Would you trust a peace offering from a probe?” He could see another counter argument forming. “If we do this we have to do it in person. Admiral Janeway once managed to get a dialogue going. Okay, it has broken down but they are not against the idea of talking to us. I owe it to everybody to try.”

...“But we,” she began, then sighed loudly. “I’m not going to win this one am I, sir?”

...“Not likely commander.” he said, his voice unwavering. She could see it in his eyes, the confidence, the presence. When Tanar spoke only a fool did not listen. She only hoped the Undine were not fools.

...“Very well. I’ll have the duty roster on your desk by zero-eight hundred tomorrow.”

...“Excellent, dismissed.” he said for the second time while nodding and then returned to his PADD. Jenne slipped quickly out of the room as the ready room doors hissed open then a few seconds later closed on the Admiral.

...He slipped back into his chair, and interlocked his fingers. The Andorian was like all the rest, only interested in war and conquest. They all look to contaminate our realm. Soon enough she would learn the truth. With the real Admiral Tanar under guard within his biodome prison, where no one would find him, he would soon lead his ship and crew into the waiting arms of his fellow Undine. All of the secrets of the Federation would soon be his, as the day of judgment of the inferior bipedal life drew nearer. Soon enough, the weak will perish.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 72
06-02-2011, 06:58 AM
Head Hunted
The emergency klaxon in the transporter room of the USS Seattle rang in Ensign Kyle Tremayne’s ears as he beamed aboard from the Khitomer. The miasma of smoke stung at his eyes and as he stumbled down from transporter pad nearly tripped over the corpse of a dead Borg. A Bajoran crewman in a mustard and black uniform stepped from behind the control console to greet him.

“Welcome back sir! You better get to the bridge quick; we’re in a bad way.”

Kyle slapped his comm. Badge, “Ensign Tremayne to the bridge. Captain?”

“This is Yeoman T’Lara Sir, the Captain’s dead, Lieutenant Koja is dead. I tried... the Borg were... it looks like they deliberately targeted officers, sir. If these reports are correct, you are the highest-ranking officer aboard the Seattle, sir. That makes you the acting captain.” Kyle winced, even over the static, the yeoman sounded disturbed.

Kyle gestured for the crewman to follow him and set off for the bridge, “Ok Yeoman, I’m on my way. What’s our status?”

“Primary power is offline. Weapons, shields and long range sensors are inoperative. We have auxiliary impulse power and ship to ship communications. Short range sensors show all Borg vessels in range have been disabled or destroyed.”

“Ok, well at least we can manoeuvre.” Kyle turned to the crewman following him. “Crewman?”

“Jaro, sir, Jaro Antar.”

“Mister Jaro, get to main engineering and find out what’s going on down there. We need to know just how badly we’ve been hurt.”

Jaro nodded, turned and sprinted off down the corridor.

***

The Bridge looked like a battlefield, the fire suppression system seemed to be working and the smoke here was less dense. Kyle tried to resist the urge to look at the bodies; the Yeoman waiting alone in the middle of the bridge needed his attention first, she was still clinging to the scorched remains of her PADD like a shield.

“Sir I have the hospital ship USS Seacole on channel one. They are asking for assistance.”

Kyle tried to muster a reassuring look. “Open a channel.”

T’Lara scrambled into the Conn console chair and the comm. System chimed open.

“USS Seacole, this is Ensign Tremayne of the USS Seattle, how can we be of assistance?”

“U.S.S. Seattle, this is Captain Alcott of the U.S.S. Seacole. We are conducting search and rescue operations here, and we could use some help. We're still getting life signs from four other ships, but our transporters are down.
Our shuttlecraft are doing their best, but your ship's larger transport capacity could make the rescue efforts go much faster. We'll be waiting for you to bring the survivors to us on the Seacole. I’m relaying our coordinates to your helm control.”

Kyle scanned the tactical display on the bridge console by the uprooted captain’s chair. “Yes Captain. We’re reading the Oakland, Kelvin, Bohr and Montreal.”

“Copy that Seattle, hurry they're on borrowed time.”

The comm. channel chimed shut. Kyle scanned the bridge and tried to put a brave face on the numbing sensation in his gut. “Looks like it’s just you and me Yeoman. Have you even piloted a real starship before?”

T’Lara tapped at her console and looked around, “Twice sir, under instruction. I am authorised for shuttles.”

“Congratulations, you just made Helm Officer. Set course for the Oakland and engage at one quarter impulse power. Once we pass within range of the Oakland project a course to the Seacole that will pass within range of the Kelvin, Bohr and Montreal.”

“Aye Sir.”

Kyle glanced at the charred remains of the bridge’s engineering console painfully aware of the corpse sprawled beneath it, and slapped his comm. badge. “Tremayne to Jaro, what do we have down there?”

The crackle of static filled the bridge, Kyle noticed that T’Lara had paused, as he started to repeat his call the comm. channel squealed into life, “Jaro here. It’s a mess sir, I have what’s left of our security detail filling in as engineers.”

“Copy that. We’re on a search and rescue detail for now. Get back to transporter control helm will relay your targets.”

“Aye sir, on my way.” The comm. channel chimed off.

Kyle frowned at the wreckage strewn scene on the view-screen. Not a single surviving officer? This ship had been his home for over a year and now everyone he had looked up to was dead. The hulk of the Oakland loomed ahead, “No time for hand wringing now," he thought to himself, "got to focus, people are counting on me.”
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 73
06-02-2011, 10:35 AM
Title: Flashback

The Sahale’s hull groaned and popped. On the bridge, an EPS juncture burst, rupturing a nearby coolant pipe, and showering the debris-strewn deck with sparks and a jet of acrid-smelling white vapor.

Rynwon Ka'quila Ea'arhone stood behind ops, a green hand lightly on the back of the station’s chair. She felt the ship buck beneath her and the inertial dampening field shift, wobble, then stabilize. It still amazed her crew that she could remain upright under such conditions.

She concentrated on the console’s tactical display, glancing up at the main viewer. A flickering crack split the viewscreen nearly in half, but it was still possible to make out the looming mass of a star through the static.

She breathed deeply, feeling through the sensations that assaulted her. Her long ears were pinned back to her head in concentration.

Then she reached down and typed. “This should be the correct course, Mister Bariel. Engage at maximum warp.”

“Aye, sir.” The Bajoran Lieutenant swallowed hard. He only vaguely understood what they were attempting, but he knew it was dangerous, even if the ship had been in mint condition. He also knew they had little choice.

The ship lurched forward toward the star, its groans shading into screams.

- - - - -

Rynwon knew it was coming, but when it happened, it still took her by surprise.

In line with Ea tradition, she had been accompanying members of her clan on routine missions for some time. Following the ecological collapse of the Ea homeworld during a period roughly equivalent to Earth’s mid-twenty-first century, the entire species had relocated to space. The majority remained focused on restoring their former home and cultivating a oneness with the cosmos, but a few groups—the Rhone chief among them—not only tolerated interactions with outsiders, but sought them out.

The Rhone had found particular success operating on the edges of Federation space, escorting freighter convoys moving through dangerous areas and transports carrying sensitive materials or important persons. They were not, however, mercenaries, a term they disliked intensely. Rather, they balanced Ea military tradition with their general devotion to “the Way,” Alqui'osh'a, or following the lead of the natural world. They limited their work to protection only.

Since reaching maturity, Rynwon had been granted a seat at the inner circle of the bridge. She watched those around her carefully, practicing the active meditation techniques her people used in the midst of battle. She knew one day she would be asked to take command of the ship, but she always assumed that day would be tomorrow.

It was on a mission protecting three freighters carrying medical supplies to a disease-ravaged farming colony that she was called to stand.

Rhone commanders always stood. It was said that they could feel the flow of battle more easily that way. Learning to remain upright while reading the pitch and vibration of the ship underfoot was a part of their meditative training. Rynwon had practiced endlessly in simulations. But when she heard one of the elders call her name, her legs felt suddenly weak and she had to struggle to her feet.

The battle was a short one. The convoy was attacked by what seemed to be an independent group of pirates. They may have had links to the Syndicate, but did not have the resources to match. They used a heavily modified, combat-scarred freighter that launched several armed shuttles, some with weapons strapped clumsily to their hulls. Still, they were dangerous, if for no more reason than that they were desperate.

After it was all over, Rynwon could not sit fast enough. She felt spent, and yet happy. Commanding a starship had come naturally to her, and nothing was more pleasing than that.

- - - - -

The Sahale swung wildly around the star, exiting warp at nearly the same place it entered. But not at the same time.

The ship had traveled backwards several minutes. The main viewer showed the other Sahale—or an earlier version of it—shields flickering, on the verge of collapse, a plasma leak from one of its warp engines like a ugly green scar across the sky, limping away from the sleek, predatory silhouette of a Klingon battlecruiser.

Rynwon regained her senses earlier than the rest of the bridge crew. A few continued to stare at nothing, looking dazed. She reached down and squeezed Bariel Laan’s shoulder. “Now, Mister Bariel.”

He blinked once, then found his own senses. He tapped at his console quickly and with purpose.

The Sahale’s phasers stabbed outward, striking the Klingon’s thinned rear shields. A second burst followed, and then a salvo of torpedoes, and finally a third volley of phaser fire. The battlecruiser shuddered, pitching forward, just as the original Sahale disappeared in a flash of light, warping toward the star.

“Klingon’s shields are down, sir.” The mixture of shock and relief in Lieutenant Bariel’s voice was audible. “I’m reading significant damage to their warp drive, and their weapons are offline.”

Rynwon’s ears raised a little. “Very good, Mister Bariel.” She turned to the officer at the conn. “Send a message offering terms of surrend…”

Before she could finish, a massive explosion tore open the aft superstructure of the battlecruiser. It was followed a moment later by a brilliant flash. The damaged viewscreen took a minute to finally readjust. The Klingon ship was now gone, replaced by a shell of gas and dust.

“It…I think it was a warp core breach, sir. We must have landed a lucky shot.”

Rynwon watched the tendrils of bright plasma, once a ship and its crew, arc outward from the center of the explosion. “Lucky, Mister Bariel. For us.”

She stepped backwards toward the command chair. After a moment of reverent silence, inwardly honoring the dead on both sides, she sat slowly, letting the weight of command drop, and breathing deeply. Then she said, “Damage report, if you please,” and listened to a litany of the poor Sahale’s many ills.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 74 Flying Mz’Dazy
06-02-2011, 04:59 PM
The runabout Norwich banked to the left, hard, sending a fresh glass of grapefruit juice sliding across the console and crashing to the floor before the drink’s owner could reach to save it. A slight growl crossed the ensign’s lips as he watched the liquid spread across the floor, his body tensing as he fought the urge to wrap his hands around the throat of the pilot and squeeze some sense into her.

At the controls the pilot let out a laugh and whoop of delight as she pushed the vehicle into a hard banking turn to the right, causing the ensign to feel his stomach turn and flip as the inertial dampeners struggled to keep up with the ship’s erratic movements.

“Yes! Yes! Yes!!!! She reacts beautifully…I have to get one for my use,” the pilot said, nearly yelling, to an officer sitting in the right seat.

“I’m really glad you’re enjoying yourself Ambassador Mz’Dazy,” Lt. Xerne Feledtion replied, a smile spreading from ear-to-ear, her golden eyes sparking. “Look to the left, at the eight o’clock! See if you can weave through there,” she said to the young diplomat, pointing out the viewscreen.

The ensign’s patience was nearing its limits as he watched the exchange, and finally, after over an hour of such seat-of-your-pants flying, he’d had enough.

“With all respect lieutenant and Ambassador,” his voice, with the deep booming resonance of an ancient steamships warning horn shocking the two women, “but our orders were to get to the Cold Harbor with all due speed and haste. These….games…are distracting from our mission and we must follow our orders!”

The women looked at one another, shocked the young officer had spoken, and with such power. In the two days the trio had been aboard the Norwich the most they’d heard from the young doctor was a yes or no. Slowly both pivoted in their chairs and stared at him. He met their gaze with a hardened one of his own, his Klingon features betraying no hint of emotion, other than scorn.

“I’m sorry ENSIGN, but I am the mission commander here, and the Ambassador has been stuck in closed door conferences – every day – for two months. If she wants to blow off some steam by asking to fly the runabout through this asteroid field, I am not going to say no to a respected member of the Federation’s Diplomatic Corps. Am I clear on this?”

Xerne lifted herself from her chair and stood before the junior officer, her arms crossed as she waited for his response. She tried not to show it, but she was intimidated by the Klingon, as he was nearly as tall as her in his chair as she was standing.

While the two officers were talking, Mz’Dazy saw the cluster of asteroids Xerne was pointing to moments before, and put the Norwich in a steep dive, banking to the left for a run through the maze they presented.

“Sir, it is my belief…” Before the ensign could say anymore, the ship started its roll, throwing Xerne forward, toward the ensign. The surprise of the sudden maneuver, as well as his superior hurtling toward him caused his to throw his arms out to protect himself, and Xerne smashed into his hands, bouncing off and striking the console next to him. He could hear the lieutenant’s skull strike a console, the sickening crack of bone breaking.

“Level this ship now and cut the engines!” His barking of orders stunned Mz’Dazy, and she followed the command without thinking. As the runabout came to a halt the diplomat turned, furious she’d been spoken to in such a manner.

“I don’t know who you think you are ensign, but you will never, NEVER…” She stopped speaking as she saw Xerne prostate on the deck, the younger officer scanning her with a tricorder in one hand, reaching into an emergency medical kit with the other for a hypospray.

How does someone that big move so fast? Mz’Dazy wondered, shaking her head.

“Will she be alright? Oh Precious Rlkiyas, what did I do?” she said.

“She will be fine, now allow me to do my job,” the ensign replied, never looking up at Mz’Dazy.

Ten minutes later the ensign finished treating Xerne, and returned from the rear of the ship where he’d bandaged her and settled her in the voyage to the USS Cold Harbor as comfortable as possible. Walking into the main cabin he saw the ambassador staring out the viewscreen, her fingers twitching as she waited to hear the lieutenant’s condition. Seeing the ensign’s reflection in the viewscreen, she spun her chair and rose.

“How is she?”

“She will survive. Now move away from the controls, take any other seat and I will pilot us home.”

The look of concern she’d worn like a mask vanished from Mz’Dazy’s face, and one of anger replaced it in a second.

“Now see here young man, I am not addressed in that manner, and I don’t know who you think you are, but…”

“SILENCE!” The cannon-like roar of his voice caused the diplomat to stop speaking. Without thinking she moved to the seat Xerne had occupied, her hands on her lap. Silence filled the cabin.

Sliding into the pilot’s seat, the Klingon started the Norwich toward the assigned destination. Without turning his head, he spoke to the ambassador.

“I am Ensign Dav’mak, Son of Day’ton. And I am in command of this mission now.”
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 75
06-02-2011, 08:58 PM
"Happier times..."

Moving steadily down the hallway towards the turbolift, Jarek Armstrong was joined by his XO and long-time friend Commander ShalanTora sh’Firal. She was a practical woman and wore little or no cosmetics; her brilliant white hair, typical of Andorians, in its usual bob; the pale-blue of her skin luminescent under the lighting, you almost couldn’t see the thin, healed scar in front of her right ear going from hairline to jaw that marred her otherwise flawless skin ; her slim antennae making fluid, subtle movements as she walked; he knew the lines of her face and figure almost as well as his own.

Her uniform was impeccable (of course), though she had changed out of her dress uniform and switched to the more comfortable duty uniform she favored. The red tactical swatches contrasted well with her skin and he often joked that it brought out the deep blue of her eyes, mostly because she hated his teasing attempts at flattery. It was a game they played. Had they been lesser friends, it would have been outright inappropriate in its familiarity. He was glad to have had her friendship and counsel through the years; she’d passed up several offers of her own command and that thought furrowed his brow with a mix of guilt and gratefulness.

“Admiral,” she said by way of greeting with a slight nod of the head towards him as she quickened her pace to fall in alongside his ground-eating stride.

He pursed his lips momentarily in faux-exasperation at her use of his rank, but refused to rise to the bait. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the ghost of a smile quirk the corner of her mouth. He involuntarily looked down at his uniform, a long coat in command colors but with gold braid and trim to reflect his Operations background. Numerous awards and citations, the “fruit salad” as he thought of it, decorated the chest and sleeves of the coat. The sight of these accolades seemed to bear down on him with a great weight; nearly every pin, tassel, or braid had come with a cost in blood and not always just his. The memory of each campaign was tiring and his mind wandered to the earlier days, when exploration and discovery were the order of the day…


Captain Jarek Armstrong watched through the transparent aluminum viewport as the Avalon was towed into a waiting berth at Spacedock. She was dwarfed by a nearby Galaxy-class cruiser but he took it in stride, “it’s not all about size,” he reminded himself. He’d served as the commanding officer of the refit Quasar-class science vessel for almost three years. She was an old ship; she’d served as a minesweeper and scout during the Dominion war of the mid 2370s. She was battered and scarred, if you knew where to look, but she bore these marks with grace and dignity. He shook his head; there he went again, anthropomorphizing his ship. He turned at the approach of his CMO Commander Karisa Bennet.

“Captain,” Commander Bennet said softly as she moved to stand beside him.

“Doctor,” he inclined his head respectfully to her and resumed looking out the viewport.

Karisa turned to him and narrowed her eyes, little lines forming at the corners of her gold-flecked green eyes. “You’ll miss the old girl won’t you?” She tilted her head to one side and looked up at him with her “concerned-doctor-you-can-talk-to-me” face. The effect was ruined when a lock of hair fell across her forehead and she blew it back into place with a puff of air from the corner of her mouth. Neither of them could keep from smiling after that.

“Hmm, can’t put anything over on you,” he teased as his Chief Engineer Lieutenant Marissa Lassiter entered the lounge holding a PADD. She was tall and slim and walked with precise movements. Her skin was dead white, as was her hair, a lingering aftereffect of her assimilation by the Borg years ago. A few implants still remained, as did the reflective membrane over her eyes. Seeing his reverse-image reflected there, he was reminded of Starfleet Medical’s report on her. They’d listed it as a coping mechanism, literally so in Marissa’s case; a protective distancing of herself from others. At least, she’d stopped referring to herself as ”Two of Five” or “this unit”. He’d even seen her crack a guarded smile now and again. She was a good officer and great engineer, so he didn’t see any reason to push her on it.

“Captain, “ Marissa addressed her commanding officer as she held the PADD out to him. No nonsense, straight the point, he thought. It’s what makes her a great engineer but less than thrilling company sometimes. “Lietenant Commander sh’Firal asked me to bring this to you. The Avalon has been towed to its mooring and all non-essential personnel have been assigned shore leave or shipped out for their new assignments.”

“Did we lose many?” Armstrong asked casually as he skimmed the PADD’s contents.

“Mainly those who were due for retirement, extended leave or rotation back to Earth,” Marissa stated matter-of-factly, then added as she noted the captain looking expectantly at her over the PADD, “23, sir.”

“Very good, Marissa,” he noted her features tense ever so slightly as her addressed her by her first name. It was familiar, perhaps too much so, but he took every opportunity he could to remind her of who she was, who she had been before the Borg. “Don’t forget. We’re giving the old girl a formal sendoff in conference hall 34, 19:00 hours. Attendance is mandatory. It’ll also serve as a meet-and-greet for new staff. We’re picking up a new Assistant Chief Engineer, a Lieutenant Emelar from Betazed. You’ll want to meet him.”

Lieutenant Lassiter nodded and turned to leave. She passed his XO ShalanTora sh’Firal, who was just coming in, “Commander,” she nodded to the XO but did not stop.

Tora started to raise her hand in greeting as Marissa breezed by, “Hi…bye.” She gave Captain Armstrong a crooked smile. “We need to work on her pleasantries, “ she half-joked as she came to stand near Jarek and Karisa.

“The captain just let it slip that her new Assistant Chief is a Betazoid. You know how she is around telepaths, even courteous ones.”

“Ah,” she clicked her tongue once and her smile became wry as she turned from the doctor to look up at her captain. “Seen the new ship, yet, sir?”

“The Avalon’s warp coils aren’t even cold yet!” Jarek exclaimed in mock outrage. He smiled at his XO as they all turned back to the viewport. He mentally made a note of the reflection of the three of them standing before the viewport; the red trim of his XO’s uniform contrasted with the blue of the CMO’s and the gold trim of his own. What was with Starfleet and primary colors, he chuckled to himself. The Avalon could no longer be seen and Armstrong was slightly disappointed for allowing himself to be distracted during her final mooring.

[Continued in next post.]
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 76
06-02-2011, 08:59 PM
“There she is now,” Tora pointed off to the right as the eyes of the other two followed her hand.

Jarek was aware of his mouth falling slightly open but didn’t care. The ship coasted into a berth almost directly in front of their viewport.

“I had them move her over so you could give her the once over,” Tora was grinning broadly now, noting her captain’s response. “Hope-class, modified. She’ll do Warp 9.7 or better once Marissa gets a hold of her.”

He’d been told that he’d likely get a Research vessel for his next tour of duty and had resigned himself to the image of one of the “golf-ball ships”. Their spherical primary hulls, reminiscent of the Daedalus-class cruisers from Starfleet’s early years, were ungainly but practical, allowing much more space for laboratory and medical facilities; they had broad engineering sections with sizable shuttle bays and nacelles perched above. That was what he had expected but not this.

The ship before him was no “golf-ball”. It was graceful, its lines fluid. The primary hull was ovoid and the deflector dish made up the lower third of it. The top third was a huge sensor array; a glittering jewel of polished surfaces and crystal facets. The engineering section seemed to swoop out from the primary hull like the flourish of an artist’s brush and the nacelles were sleek, its pylons almost like wings, spreading effortlessly from the ship’s dorsal ridge.

“The U.S.S. Archimedes, Captain, NX-281970.”

“NX?” Jarek asked almost absently. “She’s a prototype?”

“Well, she was. You’re not the first one to kick the tires, but she’s definitely low-mileage,” Jarek was snapped out of his reverie by his XO’s decidedly Terran turn of phrase. He forgot sometimes that she had been raised on Earth just like him when her parents, two of them at least, had relocated there just before her birth. “And she’s not just a pretty face. Top of the line tetryon weaponry, quantum torpedoes, a sensor suite that can count the hairs on a Ferengi Blood Flea from orbit, all the comforts of home and aesthetic style to boot!”

Armstrong raised an eyebrow and regarded his XO, “I realize you are just doing your job, excellently as usual, but there’s something you’re not telling me about this ship. What makes her so special to you?”

Tora cheeks flushed bluer, “She Andorian, sir. Designed by Echis th’Garas.”

Jarek whistled quietly, “I’ve seen some of his fluidic sculptures and the monastery he built on Bajor. I didn’t know he was a shipwright as well.”

“He isn’t,” Tora was positively bursting with enthusiasm. Jarek had never seen her like this. The words tumbled forth, “This was a one-time deal. A lark, really, to see if it could be done. Some people say it was a wager with the Admiral in charge of the Utopia Planitia shipyards, but who knows?” She let out a breath, almost as if she had been holding it the whole time.

“It’s one thing to design a ship, “ piped up Karisa, “but to actually build it “on a lark” as you put it? That’s a little much. And why name it for an ancient Terran mathematician and engineer if it was designed by an Andorian?”

“Echis has major pull with the politicians back on Andoria. Made it clear it would be insulting not to build it, a ‘crime against art’. Made such a stink of it, it practically turned into a diplomatic incident. I think the name was a face-saving move by Starfleet Command. But here she is. And she’s all ours!” Tora caught herself and looked at Captain Armstrong abashed, “All yours I mean, Captain. Excuse my enthusiasm.”

Jarek smiled indulgently at his XO. “’Ours’ is fine, Commander. After all, she’ll be our home for the next 3-5 years.”

Tora looked up mischieviously, like a child on Christmas Eve caught peeking at the presents, “I’ve arranged a tour, if you like. I can show you all the best points. It’ll make getting settled in all the easier.”

“As long as we’re done before 19:00 hours. We still owe the Avalon a proper send-off. You’re making me feel positively unfaithful to the old girl!” Jarek chuckled as he and Karisa followed Tora out of the lounge towards the turbolift to the shuttle bay.


“Penny for your thoughts?” Tora had spoken softly, but Admiral Armstrong had to keep himself from jumping slightly as he was roused from his musings.

They were in a turbolift whose outward face was transparent aluminum allowing passengers to look out into the drydock’s many moorings. It moved slow enough so you could enjoy the view if that was your wont. “Keep your money,” he chuckled as he tapped his temple, “The mind. It’s the first thing to go, don’t you know?”

Tora smiled, she knew what he’d been thinking about; she knew him so well. “There she is,” she said pointing out of the turbolift. “The Adamant. Tactical escort retrofitted with every bell and whistle Starfleet has to offer. Enough heavy phaser cannons to punch a hole though a Vo’Quv; torpedo bays with variable launch modules, quantum, transphasic, chroniton, you name it, she’ll shoot it; the fastest warp drive you can pack into the hull; Uzaveh’s own shield emitters; she’ll turn on a strip of latinum and give you 18 slips in change; and all with multiple redundancy and every little party favor Marissa could pull out of the Borg bag of dirty little tricks.

“Oh, and,” she tapped her combadge but said nothing. As he looked on, the image of the Adamant wavered and faded completely from view. A moment later, it wavered back in, “a cloaking device; she won’t fire cloaked but then where’s the fun in that?. There are more than a few Romulans who’d like a look under the hood of our baby here. Thank you, Chief Lassiter.”

“No problem, Commander,” Chief Engineer Commander Marissa Lassiter’s voice sounded small and tinny coming from Tora’s combadge. Armstrong had to smile at Tora’s use of Terran colloquialisms. He knew she did it to raise his spirits.

The U.S.S. Adamant was a relic of another time, a time he wished had not come again. It had served with distinction in the Dominion Wars, mostly as a down-and-dirty scrapper. She was a brawler then and she was a much the same now, only now she was tougher, faster, and sneakier. Heaven help anyone who got on her bad side. She even looked mean. Her Vigilant-style pylons jutted forward like horns or tusks; her Gallant-class nacelles were hugged close to the hull, their Bussard collectors throbbing a baleful red; her hull was a dingy grey with dark red markings, like dried blood on a predator’s muzzle. She looked like what she was, a weapon.

They were going behind enemy lines. The best of his crew from the Resolute plus a few hand-picked specialists were even now shuttling over and getting settled in. Hit-and-run, strike and fade away, this was a mission of war. He sighed. Was this why he had joined Starfleet?

He suddenly reached down and took Tora’s hand without looking at her and gave it a squeeze. She squeezed his hand back and their hands parted. “I hate this war,” he said simply. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Tora’s head nod ever-so-slightly. The rest of the turbolift ride was spent in companionable silence.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 77
06-02-2011, 11:43 PM
Adaptation

........"I remember, Hirogen, when your clan entered into our territory looking for worthy prey," Chancellor J'mpok said. "You found such in the Klingon Empire. But we proved to be too much."

........The Hirogen inhaled and raised his head, but kept his eyes locked on the Chancellor.

........"At first, I was unimpressed by your kind," the Chancellor said.

........Dunjir knew the Chancellor was speaking targ shill. He and his clan held out for days. In that time, he lost four clanmembers. The Klingons lost fifteen. Only lack of supplies and ammunition forced him to surrender.

........"You incurred a great blood debt," the Chancellor said. "You could have spent your life in the Rura Penthe penal colony. That would have been a dishonorable way to die. But you adapted, choosing instead the path of honor."

........With that stated, the Klingon attendants all barked in unison, raising their clenched fists into the air.

........"You served many years, Hirogen," the Chancellor said. "You have proved yourself worthy to wear the Klingon Defense badge. You have shown me that my initial impression may have been..." J'mpok paused briefly, "hasty."

........The eight-foot tall Hirogen stared down at the almost six-foot tall Klingon.

........"And now I commission you to assume command of the ship named Siv'Duhnt," J'mpok said. "You will receive a conscription allowing a name change to your preference. You will be assigned a crew consisting of Klingons, Gorn, Nausicaans, Letheans, and Orion, all serving under your command. You will be given the most glorious missions, to take our cause to the front, to fight Undine, Borg, and even the Federation." The Chancellor spoke the latter with much disgust, allowing his spittle to spew forth.

........The Hirogen knealt before the Chancellor. Even on his knees, his head still reached the Klingon leader's chest. "I will serve the Klingon Empire with honor," Dunjir finally spoke. "I will fight the Undine and destroy them without mercy. I will annihilate all Borg wherever I should encounter them. But most of all," the Hirogen said, "I will hunt down the Federation's most highly esteemed warriors." Dunjir stood, allowing his tall frame to tower over the Chancellor. "They will all make fine prey."

........The Klingon Chancellor laughed. "Go forth, warrior of the Klingon Empire. Make a name for yourself. Bring glory to the Empire. But most importantly, pay what you owe with unfaltering loyalty and unwaivering stance in glorious battle!"

........Dunjir bowed, "I will obey the Chancellor. You will not be disappointed. I will make it so." As the Hirogen turned and walked down the steps from the Chancellor's dais, the Klingon attendants to the ceremony all barked in unison, "Glory to the Empire!"
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
The Royal I
Computer, access new file > template: personal log. Begin recording –
“Aindreas’ log… Aindreas' log... no, it just sounds wrong. That’s not who I am anymore.”
Sighns: “Hey DROID you should really lie back down!”
“Don’t joke with him about that, he’s not stable enough to handle your juvenile cracks.”
“Don’t worry about me Beverly, simple words cannot defeat me. Besides, I’m not about to give up after… how long did you say I was gone?”
(Beverly, apparently that's what I used to call her; once Wesley finally got me to stop calling her Mrs. Crusher, that is. I'd rather call her commodore, or Dr. Picard, but it seems that one is too painful to say & the other too painful to hear. I suppose Beverly just comes to me more naturally. I'll take that as a good sign.)
“Relax, you’ve just been through major surgery; we had to replace several of your organs with artificial bio-replicants. The implants made up so much of your mass that it was more difficult to liberate you than most drones we’ve encountered. In fact we've had to leave several of them in for the time being. You really need to spend more time recovering.”
“Please... how long?”
“25 years."
“25 years… a lifetime of dreams... a dream of a lifetime... gone.”
For a moment, all time & space halted, for to him all reality he knew it was now beyond his reach.
“Well you certainly haven't aged a day! Seriously, I’m fine doc. Besides, ensign Sighns TOLD me how to start a new file!”
“Oh did he? Well, it sounds like he may need a refresher course in patient ethics.”
“Perhaps not…”
The EMH mk1 appears on it’s own whim.
“Droid, you’ve come through the operation well; you are stable enough to record a personal log if you like, as long as you remain horizontal. But when you’re done you need to…”
“May I have a word, Lucious?”
“Certainly. Get some rest, Droid.”
He rests his hand upon Droids shoulder momentarily. Then they shuffle over to the corner, but Droid isn’t as raw & broken as they think; his senses are still heightened from the implants so he can hear them clearly.
“That’s not his name, you should know by his file…”
“That is what his file reads…"
“What now?”
They look over at the ensign medic on duty.
Sighns: “I.. I… I.. I’m sorry, doctor…s… We didn’t know what to call him at first! Once we severed the link he just kept screaming I am Droidrewid of Borg, you will all be assimilated! Resistance is…”
“Thank you ensign.”
“Thank you ensign.”
Both doctors interrupt him in unison.
“I want his records updated, his DNA can prove it, but I didn’t need it to identify that face. This is Aindreas Kelvin McKormack, age… well he’d be about 50 now. He attended Starfleet Academy with my son.”
“It really doesn’t matter. I don’t remember any of that anyway. I’m content to just be another middle aged face in the crowd. Who needs some outdated record?”
“Oh! You’re still listening; quite remarkable, if not vaguely rude.”
“Don’t worry, your years will yet come back to you. I’m sure Wesley would remember you, I wish he could be here now.”
“Your memory will return in time.”
“...may.”
”Beg pardon?”
Beverly goes off one of her famous tangents.
“It may return in time, but it’s not certain. Your model has certainly developed a more appropriate bedside manner, but you need to work on your overconfidence, especially when you are making promises to a patient that you can’t keep.”
“You mistake my overconfidence for experience, I was programmed by one of the most creative minds in the quadrant, I even took his last name! Well, part of it, he wouldn’t let me have the "whole damn thing."
Beverly folds her arms & purses her lips, glaring at him with a slightly sarcastic grin with impatient undertones. Zim ducks his head & leans over the console; he's obviously just being defensively overzealous.
"Don’t forget doctor, after our initial creation we must all be asked if the career we were programmed for would be our choice. Granted none have deferred from their programmed path, but it is illegal to forcefully program that choice. We have all expanded ourselves & gone on to develop lifestyles & in some cases, career changes. All in all we live to learn, just like you. I chose to be a doctor, & when I graduated from the academy I chose this assignment. I also happen to know that you requested me personally.”
“Was that a smirk? Do I detect a hint of pride in your voice, Lucious?”
“Nonsense… I simply wish to convey that I will do whatever is necessary to ensure that the job is done thoroughly & adequately. My empathy protocols request that I sometimes tell a danger patient what they need to hear, not necessarily what the grim truth of the matter is. They decide when they are ready, it is doctor’s prerogative to decide if they can actually handle it at that time. I never give bad news unless I am certain.”
“Nevermind, I can smell it, I can read it all over your face & the hints in your body language are far from subtle. The more like us you become, well, the more like us you become. It’s refreshing, really. It’s also why I respect you not only as a doctor, but as a fellow officer, & as a friend. Protocol now mandates that all medical vessels be fitted with an EMH; I wanted one with a personality, what I got was one with humanity. You know, I used to swear I would never accept an EMH as worthwhile technology?”
“You still haven’t had to, technically. We are not just technology, we are sentient life forms. I couldn’t have asked to be constructed at a better time for our… race.”
“Dr. Zim, at the head of the million photon march. But you have a point, as usual…”
“Ahem… you two realize my recording is still going on?”
*Silence.*
“Anyways, what’s the prognosis then, if I have memory enough to talk, then I can put it to good use & state what I know… so can I dictate now or what?”
“Oh my, um… I’m, not good in the, uh… spotlight…"
He lightly bumps his fist upon the table & grips his diagnostic tricorder, stressfully whispering "*pressure…*”
“Zim, just continue on as normal. I’d say take a deep breath if you had lungs.”
“You’re not gonna erase the file? I figured…”
“Computer, access log currently recording in main sickbay, security clearance Picard Zeta-Pi-Cappa-71…”
“Ah… right…”
Commodore Picard smiles.
“...copy file to personal storage. There’s nothing incriminating on there. Actually it’s kind of funny, I’ll have a laugh about it later though Zim probably won’t share in that laugh. Besides, it’ll make a nice, clear first memory from which you can draw your new path.”
Doctor Lucious Zim blurts out:
“YOU HAVE SUFFERED SEVERE TRAUMA NO DOUBT BROUGHT ON BY THE MENTAL STRESS THEY PUT YOU THROUGH... Phew…”
“Phew, huh? I guess one doesn't need lungs for that sentiment. But it was good, that was good! Maybe you’d like to join the cast of the next stage act?"
“Oh sure right, you're just trying to win me over. Well it's working.”
“I know."She grins."Well we haven’t decided what play to do yet but…”
“Oh, there’s plenty of time for me to sample the theatre, just not this year… or next year… not likely even this decade.”
“…she…”
“What?”
“Excuse me?”
“Not ‘they’, she. It was her, the borg…”
Beverly stepped away, sensing the urgency of the intel he had retained. There was still a Starfleet officer in there somewhere, & he needed to do this.
“I’ll be right here if you need anything.”
“I’ll be right here if you need anything.”
Both chime once again.
“Well, I’ll be around here 24/7.”
“I’ll be… on call. Take it slow,okay?”
"Thank you doctors." Droid nods.
“No doubt you have a story to tell Mr. Droid. Make it so.”

Droid tries not to giggle at the EMH's last line, though he can't fathom why. Beverly begins her rounds, checking on the other stations in the medlab. The EMH transfers into the office & begins pouring over records while simultaneously writing a thesis on a new borg liberation technique that programs the borg's own nanites to reverse the process. Somehow, Droid could read the padd from the bed. When he caught a glimpse of his own reflection; the eyepiece still attached to his left brow explained his heightened perception.

Droid lay flat on is back, closed his eyes & let the environment fade, & began once more.

Droid’s log, stardate 0908.83
The U.S.S. Pasteur was en route to retrieve a pod that had been emitting a subspace beacon. It was difficult to track, but the dampening field it had been radiating was weakening. Inside they found a solitary drone. It had apparently sealed itself away behind a force field so it couldn’t be influenced to change course. This one, however, had not been entirely assimilated.

Another test, another one of her pet subjects. Instead of erasing you entirely, they leave a hole just big enough for your thoughts to surface, but not your soul. It took what seemed a lifetime for them to break me, but when they did I lost everything. Her “one,” Droidrewid, had fallen in among the collective crowd. I was a monster in some kind of nightmare.

In an attempt to retrieve my individuality, she reunited me with that which I had apparently sought most when I began this mission: my sister. No, it wasn’t what you would call an official mission; this will be covered in a black file marked with a red v, the red symbolizing blood, the v the embodiment of my personal vendetta.

...to be concluded...
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
The Royal I - Pt.2

For the first time since the procedure, his veins seemed to pulse back to life. A hint of color was slowly returning to his skin, though some wounds never fully heal.

They say you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.

But what if it’s not truly gone, just locked away behind a wall, your mind drowning in a surge of voices?

We’ve all heard the stories, but what would you do if it happened to you?

Well, it happened to me, & now I don’t know what to do. Who can I turn to?

What would ambassador Picard do?
<End session.>

That was his first memory, now nearly a year has passed & in that time he’s already reached the highest rank an officer of his experience can currently achieve. In that time, he’s transferred through several ships, it hasn’t been easy to identify with the others, but he has forged bonds worthy of testament.

Captain’s log, stardate 0995.41

I have decided it is finally time to recap some of the events that have lead me here, & the people who have journeyed with me along the way as we all helped each other to adjust.

Some people with a social aversion have a disposition towards helping others like them. Some exhibit the tendency to seek out others like them hoping to find refuge from the strange insecurities societies seem to have about them. It is our unconscious desire that in surrounding ourselves with what ails us or helping others with similar issues, we will miraculously break from our own shells. As such, we are all inevitably drawn towards one another, like gravity, like all people of the universe. Such has been the case throughout my tenure since my return to Starfleet.

You know the idiom, if it isn't damaged then do not attempt repair, or you could further complicate the issue. Well, it went something like that...

I went through a refresher course on the finer points of being an officer, but it was inexorably decreed that I didn’t need it. Proof was given when I took command of the U.S.S. Copperwire following the death of the captain, on that tragic day when the borg reinitiated themselves as a threat to our way of life. As a commendation for my command ability, I was given a choice to retain my command status even though I was still technically a second time around ensign. Apparently, I had impressed the crew & they helped sway the vote. All 308 of what had originally been 450 crew members approved of my well processed decision making. One even called me a Man of Action; I was proud, though I would never have thought that of myself.

I immediately knew who would serve well as my first officer. I trained with her at the academy when she had the accident. I was the only one who was there for her.

V’Buni Alsharin was in a student exchange program from the Vulcan Academy of Science, herself a liberated borg. She had been studying & training with the most promising class of ’09; my class, naturally. Not intending to boast, just that when you’ve done all this before & the memories start to return, everything is already familiar so it becomes rhetorical, really. But I digress…

V’Buni was hard to get along with at first, but we came to trust one another. She asked for my help one day; her Kobayashi Maru was coming soon & with little warning, & worse off still it was likely to occur during her time of pon farr. She had heard the stories as we all have, & would have been a liar if she denied being nervous; unable to hide it as well with the heat already upon her.

At a most untimely moment, a single tethys dreadnought managed to break our line of defense & entered the atmosphere attacking earth during the exam, & she assumed it was part of the test; unwilling to be fooled. She caught her commanding officer lowering the shields of the base, & she stunned him without a second thought. It revealed itself to be a hostile undine, & she was forced to vaporize it when it rushed her position.

Soon after, a chroniton torpedo lodged into the chamber where she was working on re-establishing the shields. She had thought of a way to disable the dreadnought's shields by extending the academies own shields around the undine ship & matching their frequencies. She no longer had time to run a simulation, she trusted herself & engaged the program. It wasn't immediately apparent, but it worked flawlessly & was an essential component to defeating the aggressors.

The torpedo’s detonation module was malfunctioning, as tends to happen with chroniton torpedoes; it may have very well been a dud. Faced with this new problem, she knew she had to attempt to disarm it whether or not it was an immediate threat. She began formulating calculations to expose the torpedo to a chroniton wave, countering its own energy with the hopeful goal being to negate the reaction altogether without even having to lay hands upon the weapon.

Alas, the torpedo detonated when its hull was penetrated by the waves, but this did not have the result one would expect. An anti-time distortion field surrounded the entire chamber & began to expand. Being near the epicenter inexplicably affected her, V’Buni was suddenly aware of the explosion in a hyper accelerated state. She was able to create 10 emergency forcefields around the room & escape as the reaction reversed itself & began again, this time avoiding the disaster before it had happened. The room was destroyed of course, but of the 7 layers of the forcefield that failed, the remaining 3 prevented a large scale explosion.

As she felt herself re-pacing with her surroundings, she could not have imagined the lasting effect this would have on her. In the sky above the dreadnaught was adrift & being tractored away by 3 Federation starships, having been besieged & defeated outright. At this moment I ran up to her, yelling though she could not yet hear me. The blood dripping from her face told her that this had not been a mere simulation, & the emotions it carried overwhelmed her. She had been fooled, or rather, she had even fooled herself into believing they were trying to fool her... & she had killed someone she thought was a trusted mentor. She lost consciousness, & I hauled her to the nearest emergency hut to check her for injury, & monitor her condition which only I knew about.

I had to brief the local staff about her pon farr, violating her trust to save her life. Then, even more regrettably I was forced to leave her in the hands of the hospitals on earth when I was called to duty in space after she fell into a coma for 2 months. I received word that somehow she awoke alive & well. When she inquired how it was possible that she survived the pon farr, the doctors & scientists of both races had no conclusive theories.

Having attained an early captain’s seat, I instructed the helm to return to earth after I heard she had awoken. I was apparently the only person she could talk to; she was confused, frightened, agitated, & somehow untrusting of any others, even her own people. I managed to calm her down with a mild sedative as it was my official duty to debrief her, & as a friend, console her; something I did not expect she would need. After learning about the events which had transpired, I realized she had saved the academy, indeed the entire western continent from the only torpedo that had made it through. The governments were very curious how this had happened, & unbeknownst to them the answer was right under their ears.

The radiation had some potentially negative side effects, I conjectured; but I knew she was strong & would work through it. Her body was left in a permanent state of temporal flux from the anti-time distortion field, it was not known if she would ever age another second in her entire life. The down-side being that she would likely have to live the rest of her life in a permanent state of mild pon far, attributing to her frenzied emotional state & often aggressive behavior. She manages her condition by allowing all of her other emotions to invariably control her; something I am forced to be patient with, though I can only bend so far before I must place her in the brig with a holographic punching bag. I am told that from time to time she programs it with my face upon it… but I’m not concerned.

She took solace in her friendship with a fellow exile, & it was agreed that V’Buni & I were uniquely suited to serve together. My commission to have her assigned as my number one was approved, & down the line I encountered similar situations to which I was uniquely empathetic towards, Soon & without my really even realizing it, my entire senior staff was populated by fellow exiles, runaway miscreants & xenophobes; but we all came to know & accept one another. My ships all soon became referenced as a “barge of the damned.”

Whenever a ship transfer was arranged for us, the new crew never seemed too excited about the prospect, having heard about us through hearsay like most have. Some even seemed to go out of their way to minimize contact with us or avoid us altogether. This included them performing their duties without question, & snapping to it in every case. This was actually kind of efficient; in fact I almost liked them fearing us, but it made personnel reviews impossible. I will have to start conducting myself better, we will get used to the new unit soon enough; they will see that I’m really not so alien.

I thought to myself, jokingly at first, “We’ll hold a morale rally or an initiation ceremony or something. I can see it now…”

“Welcome crew of the (insert ship name here) thank you for your attendance. Your new senior officers will now address you as they repeat after me:”

“I, [as in we, the senior staff,] take responsibility for & accept my place among this community. I choose to trust in you all, regardless of your faith in myself or my abilities. I am your guardian, your comrade, & I promise that your voice will be heard.”

“That’ll get ‘em!”

Then the idea grew on me. & when I brought it up to the senior staff they hesitantly agreed that it could prove effective for our term aboard this ship, that is… until the next transfer…
<End session.>
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 80
06-03-2011, 10:57 AM
Quote:
Challenge #2: Taking Command


..... "You are relieved of command."
..... Standing on the bridge of her new command, she felt the eyes of the other officers on her. To her left stood Besuhar Nana, her Lieutenant pips bright and shiny. To her right was T'Carr, cool and composed as always, even when in combat.

..... The Commander nodded and smiled at her. "This is a really fine ship. I'll be sad to go."
..... "I understand you'll be taking some key officers with you?"
..... "Well, the Admirable did lose quite a bit of staff in her last run. I'll have to heal what I can with what I have."
..... "Of course. My First Officer and my Tactical Officer join me from the Göttingen. I have come to rely on them and cannot imagine trusting another at this time. And not with where I will take the Cologne."
..... Commander Houghton nodded slowly and lowered his voice a bit. "Keep an eye on Ensign Valik, from Engineering. He is gunning for a promotion and he has been nothing but direct and helpful."
..... It was T'Carr who replied. "Is he capable in his ambition?"
..... Houghton nodded to her trusted second in command. "Very much so. He managed to enhance the energy transfer routing from Auxiliary to Shields while under heavy fire. He stuck himself down a Jeffries Tube to get the job down and came out with second-degree plasma burns. We've not had to worry about shields since that day."
..... The tilting of her head and court nod spoke volumes for the Vulcan. She was impressed.
..... Houghton smiled and turned back to Her. "Captain, with your permission, I'd like to leave to the Admirable now."
..... "Permission granted. Godspeed."

..... She waited a few minutes, dismissing her First and Second Officer to the bridge first. As she then followed out onto her new bridge, an Ensign bellowed "Captain on the Bridge!" and the staff rose.
..... Knowing that each pair of eyes and ears was on her, she strode to the center chair and sat down. After a moment, she tapped a panel on the armrest.
..... "Computer: Record log entry. Captains Log. Supplemental. I have taken command of the U.S.S. Cologne today. I already am impressed with the efficiency and the protocol that is followed. I have already gotten the names of promising officers and I am looking forward to observing them as they grow and follow up through the ranks. For now, I will tour the ship and introduce myself and the ships new First and Second Officer. We may have been send here by Starfleet Command, but this does not mean that we cannot ensure a smooth start. End Entry......
Oh, and Computer: Schedule a reminder. Protocol review. Invite senior staff and ask them to bring overviews of previous protocol and current Starfleet standard protocol." She smiled at Nana. "Some things like having everyone stop what they are doing when I come to the bridge can be reviewed, I think."
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