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Old February 1 2008, 03:58 AM   #14
Zefram_Cochrane
First Faster Than Light
 
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

A warning up front: I use a lot of graphic language in my writing, and Trek is no different. Also, I make allusions to sex and other mature themes, so if you're not cool with that, please stop reading, now. Especially if you stick around for part two of this series, because I get damned graphic at one point.

Here's Act II!

---------------------

"We've been working triple shifts trying to get that new warp core online in time. Lieutenant Bartlet has been instrumental in completing that installation and activation for us," said Tennyson as they moved along deck eight.

Leone kept her eye on their location. Unlike her previous assignment, Potemkin, this ship's corridors were unmarked. The LCARS interface running the length was available in case one got lost aboard the ship, but she felt like it would be an embarrassment to not know where you're going. "Nothing short of impressive, Rob."

"Once you've settled in, sir, I'd be more than happy to take you on a tour of the ship."

"If you don't mind, I'd like to conduct my own tour."

Tennyson tilted his head. "That's not necessary, sir. I would be delighted to show you around."

"A captain needs to learn her ship backwards and forwards, Commander. I'd prefer to find my way around and get to know her on my own terms."

"Of course, sir. If you need any help, please don't hesitate to call me." He stopped in front of the last door at the end of the corridor and pointed. "You're in here, sir."

When he tapped on the door controls, the doors did not open immediately. Leone looked at him. "Problem, Rob?"

Tennyson chuckled nervously. "Uh, no, sir. Give me a moment, please." He continued to work on it, until the doors finally snapped open with violent speed.

"Wow," said a wide-eyed Leone. "When you tell those things to open, you don't mess around."

"We'll get that fixed for you, sir."

"At your leisure. No rush." She stepped inside and took a look around at her new home. It was twice the size of a normal stateroom, with a small working area that acted as a private office. She would be able to work from here or in her ready room attached to the main bridge on deck one. But the view was the most impressive part of the stateroom, showing the entire forward are of the ship's saucer section.

As the yeoman entered and placed her things on the couch, she smiled at Tennyson and nodded. "This is quite a stateroom."

"I'm pleased you like them, sir." He stood behind her and asked, "May I inquire as to when you would like to assume command?"

"I was thinking tomorrow morning at around eleven hundred."

"Not tonight, sir?"

"Are you that eager to shove off?"

"No, sir, I only meant that most captains like to take the reigns the moment they step on board."

Leone smiled. "I'm sure they do, and with a ship like this, I must admit... it's tempting. But I need to meet with key staff and I want to walk the ship through a few times."

"Understood, sir."

"I was also hoping to meet Lieutenant Bartlet sometime today."

"Tennyson to Bartlet," he said, calling to the air. "Report to the captain's stateroom."

Leone replied, "Thank you."

"My pleasure, Captain." He dismissed the yeoman and then returned his attention to her. "Anything else I can do for you?"

She folded her arms and thought about it briefly. With a smile, she nodded. "Have Commander Elannis report here, too."

"Aye, sir."

"Thank you, Rob."

Tennyson inclined his head before leaving her alone in the stateroom.

Leone placed her hand against the bulkhead and felt the smooth finish of the standard-issue Starfleet beige color that lined every corridor and deck aboard the ship. The distinctiveness of the Farragut lay in the carpeting. She had been aboard the Enterprise, with its beige walls and salmon-colored carpeting. Teal graced the trim of her carpets and the decks, to give Farragut a somewhat unique look.

She grabbed her duffel and tossed it onto her large queen-sized bunk. Yet another change from her last post, where she had a twin-sized bunk to sleep in, and her feet tended to scoot over the edge of it while she slept. The bunk's comforter carried a Starfleet insignia and the words, "U. S. S. FARRAGUT NCC-60597" stenciled upon it. Standard-issue equipment, even for the ship's new master and commander.

By the time she hung her uniforms in the closet near the bunk, the door chimed. Leone moved into the front room and beckoned her caller to enter.

Lieutenant Petra Bartlet wore her brown hair up in a regulation-length pony tail, with all of the hair swept back away from her face. She looked rather unassuming within the confines of Leone's stateroom, as though she were there for some sort of punishment rather than a simple meeting.

"A pleasure to finally meet you in person," said Leone as they shook hands.

"Yes, sir," replied the chief engineer meekly. Her grip was nonexistent, letting the captain's hand fall away rather than releasing it.

Leone made certain her smile was as pleasant as could be. "I have been keeping up with all the engineering reports you've submitted to Starfleet. I must say that I've been most impressed with your work on this refit, and I can't imagine a better qualified chief engineer in the fleet."

The praised caused the young woman to blush. "T-Thank you, sir."

"In fact, according to your last report, I understand we can get underway tomorrow as scheduled?"

"Yes, sir. W-We do a final walkthrough tomorrow morning, after the c-ceremony."

"Very fine work," said Leone. "Do you prefer to be called Petra?"

"Petra is fine, sir. My mother calls me Pet, for short."

"Petra it is, then." The door chime sounded. "Enter."

A stern-looking lieutenant commander, wearing the same gold-colored uniform as Petra, entered the stateroom and ceremoniously stepped forward. "Lieutenant Commander Ariel Elannis, reporting for duty, sir!" She wore a serious expression and had her right hand upon to her brow in salute. Next to the short stature of Lieutenant Bartlet, Elannis towered over her with her tall and lithe form.

Leone narrowed her eyes at Elannis, and curtly returned the salute. "At ease, Commander!"

Elannis' feet spread apart in the proper stance, and her eyes continued to stare up and ahead. She did not make eye contact with Leone.

Petra looked between the two officers, obviously unsure of her footing now more than before.

"Well. I see that Starfleet has decided to punish me by sending over the bottom of the barrel of available officers," said Leone with folded arms. Elannis could not respond, as she was not asked a direct question by her superior. "I had hoped that they might've asked you to resign, or cashiered your lousy ass out of the service."
Elannis said nothing.

"Do you have anything to say for yourself?"

"Permission to speak freely, sir?"

"By all means."

Elannis fixed a hostile glare at Leone. "Who do I have to fuck to get off this ship?"

Leone shot a quick glance to their would-be chief engineer and read the mortified expression on her face. Enough was enough. "Gods, Ariel," she said with a wink, "who don't you fuck these days?" She broke her demeanor fully, and embraced her old friend.

Ariel laughed, accepting the embrace tightly. "Captain Leone. It has a nice ring to it."

"I'm still getting used to the weight of that fourth pip." The confused expression on Petra's face shot a pang of guilt through Leone's stomach. "I'm sorry if we frightened you," she said to her.

"N-No, sir..." said Petra with a shake of her head. "It-It was quite entertaining," she added, unconvincingly. "May I h-have your leave, sir?"

"Of course."

Without a further word, Petra departed the captain's stateroom.

Leone frowned and leaned against her desk. "I think we might have broken our chief engineer."

Ariel looked back toward the door and said, "Shit. We don't have any spares."

"Hey," said Leone, changing the subject, "Wilson's here."

Ariel winced. "Yeah, did he talk to you about the job?"

"I think he understands. He spoke pretty highly of Dan Hunter."

"He's actually pretty hurt by the fact that you passed him over," Ariel said, placing a hand on her hip. "He held up his leave to make himself available, and now he's got nowhere else to go."

Leone sighed. "Damn."

"I don't know this Dan Hunter guy from Adam, so I don't know what he did to convince you to pick him over Wilson..."

"Don't get defensive on me."

"C'mon, Krys. Wilson's the best tactical officer you've ever served with."

"Wilson's also an officer with a good career ahead of him, and he should be getting experience on other ships that don't have me on it," replied Leone tersely. "I'm looking out for him. If he has three tours with me, it's not going to look good."

"Like he cares whether or not it looks good. He's a good friend and good officer."

Leone wondered if there was more to the conversation than she was letting on. "Are you hurt I didn't choose you as my XO?"

Ariel raised her hands. "Hey, I'm just glad I made the cut."

"Uh-huh."

"Speaking of executive officers... nice pick. Jesse Kincaid's a rather attractive man."

"You've met him?"

"Not personally, no." Off her look, she continued, "I've seen holos."

"I'll bet you have. No sleeping with the XO. That's a direct order."

"I am a mature woman. I know what's right and what's wrong."

"Except when a semi-attractive person comes within sensor range. Then, you're like a Betazoid in the damned phase."

"You exaggerate."

"I certainly do not." Before Ariel could protest any further, Leone raised her hand and continued, "We were on Risa, two years ago, enjoying leave... or rather, you did. You put that stupid statue out and five guys and three girls showed up."

"I had a good selection, I'll admit."

"You took them all!"

"You're just jealous because you're tied down to one guy and have no opportunity to experience an orgy or two," Ariel said, while pointing at her.

"I'm surprised you had enough energy to walk after that."

"Can we please talk about something other than my libido?"

Leone nudged Ariel with her shoulder. "I missed you."

Ariel grinned. "Same. So... how's the family?"

"Mom and Dad send their love, and wonder what it's going to take for you to visit. They haven't seen you in two years, now."

"I know. I feel guilty about that, but..." Ariel gestured around the stateroom with her arms and said nothing more.

Leone continued, "John's doing well. He's on Starbase 6, working on their power systems. Dom's starting school in a week and is looking forward to it. Mom's already planning his eleventh birthday."

"Damn. I can't believe he's going to be eleven this year," said Ariel with a shake of her head. "Seems like just last year you were looking for a surrogate to carry him."

"I know."

"I'm surprised your mom's going all out for birthdays."

"I think she feels guilty about not being there to raise me, and is making up for lost time with my son."

"You should think about bringing him with you. This ship will be carrying some families. Why not let yours join you?"

Leone shifted uncomfortably on her desk. "The idea of having John and Dom here doesn't sit well with me. We get into all sorts of scrapes, and I want them to be safe. I'm not really sure I even like the idea of having families on board in the first place."

"Seems to be the general consensus among starship captains these days. Then again, you lot are weird when it comes to change, aren't you?"

"Aren't we all?"

"Point."

"John asked me about the possibility of having them join me before I got here, and the compromise was that for at least a week a year, Dom would get the chance to experience life on a starship."

"And he's not coming?"

"Depends on work. The Federation has him bounding all over the place, it's hard to really get a hold of his schedule long enough to put some concrete plans into effect. He's going to have to use his vacation time, well in advance, in order to get more than a few days off, let alone a full week."

Ariel nodded. "In the meantime, you've got me, right?"

"I was just about to say that," lied Leone with a sad smile.

Her friend pushed herself away from the desk and stood up, putting her hands behind her back. "Should we walk some decks?"

Leone's enthusiasm returned in full force. She stood up, herself and pulled down her uniform top from the bottom of the shirt. It snapped away all the wrinkles that had accumulated whilst seated. "Absolutely."

Ariel pulled on Leone's arm and they moved out into the corridor. "Good. Because you have got to see your new bridge."

"I'm looking forward to it."

"By the way, could Commander Tennyson be any hotter?"

"Ariel, please..."

---- Scene Change ----

One of the aspects of starship refitting was the modular nature of design in Starfleet. Everything aboard a starship could be replaced with a new module with very little effort. Ships of the Nebula and Galaxy classes used the same saucer design, and so modules built for one could be easily transferred to the other without nominal modifications. Modules available included sensor palettes, the navigational deflector, shield emitters, sickbay, holodecks, and of course, the main bridge.

When the turbolift doors parted to allow Leone and Ariel passage to the main bridge, one of the engineering crewmen working on the ops console looked up and smiled. "Captain on the bridge," he announced.

Leone felt her cheeks heat up. "As you were," she said, quickly. The bridge layout matched that of a Galaxy-class starship exactly. The split-level bridge had the support station to the aft, behind the large horseshoe-like rail that housed the tactical station. The massive viewscreen at the front of the bridge showed all of the little holographic projection diodes as they were offline, while the flight controller and operations stations sat before it. Her eyes moved from ops to the center, where her new chair was. Except, it wasn't there. In fact, it was the only chair that wasn't on the bridge.

An ensign wearing engineering gold quickly moved down to greet them. "Sorry, sir. There was a minor malfunction in the chair's display unit. We removed it to have it looked at."

"It's all right, Ensign," she said, with a raise of her hand. "I'm just taking a look around."

"Yes, sir."

"I assume the ready room is... well, ready?"

"Oh, yes, sir!"

Leone looked back at Ariel and shot her a smile. "Thank you, Ensign."

The two officers moved into the ready room. "Wow, they really know how to treat captains around here, eh?" said Ariel, as soon as the doors were closed.

"I suppose so," said Leone. Her right hand was already moving along the sleek black mahogany-like surface of the desk, until she was standing behind the desk. "Nice office."

"Better than your last one."

"My last office was a desk in a closet on deck six."

"That's what I mean. Gotta love these new bridge modules."

"I was thinking the same thing."

"Kind of bare, though, isn't it?" said Ariel, as she looked around the room with her arms crossed behind her back. Her eyes settled on something in the corner. "What the hell is that?"

Leone's eyes moved in the direction Ariel was pointing in. "It looks like a bust of some kind." It was the bust of a man, perched atop a column, in the corner of the ready room between the two couches.

Ariel moved to read the inscription. "'Admiral David Glasgow Farragut, United States Navy.'"

"That bust must have been left here by the previous captain," said Leone.

"He looks mean."

"He was the one who said, 'Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.'"

"I see," Ariel said, her interest moving on. "I never really cared for ancient Earth history."

"You should. There are a lot of lessons to be learned from history."

"Back to the ready room. We could put some other art pieces in here."

Leone thought about it. "On the Enterprise, Captain Picard keeps a lionfish in his."

"T'Cirya kept a Vulcan harp on display in her ready room."

"You saying I should bring my saxophone or something?"

"I know you haven't played it in ages, but it wouldn't hurt to bring a little personal touch to your area."

"That's what your quarters are for."

"This is where most of your meetings are going to take place. And I'll bet you spend more time in this room than in your quarters."

Leone had not considered that. She'd never had a ready room like this before, and the only times she used an office as an executive officer was to conduct the ship's business and complete all of the paperwork required by Starfleet. "I suppose so."

"You're a mighty captain, now. I think your space should reflect your rank a little better."

"Well, this mighty captain doesn't feel like there should be a whole lot of pomp and circumstance when it comes to leadership. I plan on keeping things informal," assured Leone.

"Hmm." Ariel moved toward the replicator and asked the computer for a cold glass of water. When it materialized, she pulled back and sipped at the glass. "Hey, what's this door lead to?" Without waiting for an answer, she moved toward the single door and it slid open.

Leone looked over and grinned.

"Aha..."

"Yes."

"This is where your mighty captain's ass perches when you're... deep in thought?"

"Yes... that is the captain's head. What did you think it was?"

"A closet?"

"Was I supposed to hold it the entire time I'm assigned to this ship?"

Ariel laughed. Suddenly, she snapped her fingers. "I got it. How about a scale model of the Majestic?"

The Miranda-class USS Majestic was her mother's first command. "Maybe," considered Leone. "I think that would really please my mom, actually. Y'know, for the two times she's going to visit me. Plus, building one would-"

"Computer, replicate a scale model of the Miranda-class starship Majestic, as it appeared under the command of Commander Angelina Leone," ordered Ariel of the replicator. She set her drink down to retrieve the model.

"Please specify scale."

"One to six-fifty."

The replicator performed as it was requested, and within its materialization receptacle lay the Majestic as Ariel specified. It even had a stand to perch it on. She withdrew it from the replicator and set it upon a stand between the viewport and the door. "I think it would look really nice right here."

Leone sighed. "Well, I would have preferred to build the model myself, but then when am I going to have that kind of time?"

"Exactly."

"And I think a nice big piece of art over the couch would look really nice, too."

Ariel finished her drink and set it down on the replicator pad, where it dematerialized. "Now, you're coming around to the idea. Let's go see what else we can find."

They moved back out onto the bridge and aft, toward the observation lounge. They crossed behind the tactical station, which was open and exposing the circuits behind the LCARS panel. A door to the right of the bridge's head, led aft on that deck through a small hall that also provided access to the bridge control systems.

The lounge's massive viewports were angled as the outer hull was designed to. It provided a view aft and above the ship somewhat, while the long angled table provided for ten people to sit around it. Viewscreens on the port and starboard side could be used for presentations.

Leone could see the scaffolds of the drydock facility, as well as the massive sensor pod mounted on the dorsal section of the secondary hull. Shuttles moved in and out of the main shuttlebay below them on deck five. On the opposite bulkhead from the view, were all the ships named Farragut in a brass rendering, including the one they stood upon.

The first thing Ariel said when they saw the observation lounge was, "You can keep your cramped little ready room. This is my office."

------------

And there's Act II.

Thanks for reading,

-- ZC
__________________
Michael D. Garcia
Head Writer, Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead (United Trek)

Visit my writing blog or my fanfic profile at Ad Astra.
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