And here's Act IV!
Leone read from a padd in her hands. "To Captain Krystine Leone, from Starfleet Command. You are hereby requested and required to assume command of NCC-60597 (USS Farragut) effective Stardate four-three-two-two-four-point-seven. Signed, Rear Admiral Alynna Necheyev, Starfleet Command."
Commander Tennyson called out to the air, "Computer, transfer all command code to Captain Krystine Leone. Authorization: Tennyson-alpha-one-one-niner."
"Command codes transferred," replied the computer. The public address system activated and the computer's voice could be heard on all decks. "Attention. USS Farragut is now under the command of Captain Krystine Leone, effective immediately."
The assembled group within the ship's large lounge on the forward section of deck ten applauded. Captain Leone and Commander Tennyson both wore their dress uniforms, as they finished the change of command ceremony.
Tennyson smiled, "Congratulations, Captain. Take good care of her for me."
"Thank you, Rob," she smiled. "I will." As Tennyson stepped down and left her standing on the elevated platform alone, she began to address them:
"All hands, this is Captain Leone. I want to thank you for being here on this occasion, and to assure you that I will endeavor to continue the grand tradition set by this ship's predecessors. We will be departing Antares within the hour to begin warp trials, and then we will head to Starbase 310 to pick up the rest of the crew.
"Until that time, I am appointing Lieutenant Commander Ariel Elannis as acting executive officer. Department heads, make your initial reports to her. Thank you. Leone, out."
She stepped down from the platform and nodded to the other officers as they extended their hands in congratulations. Leone moved toward Ariel, who embraced her.
Leone closed her eyes as she accepted the embrace. She didn't really care if people saw them. Friendship was not illegal in Starfleet, and protocol be damned. She stepped back and smiled. "Thanks, Ariel."
"Would you care for something to drink?" Ariel asked as she gestured to the flutes of champagne set out by the lounge staff.
"No, thanks." She clenched her hands in front of her, hesitating to speak with so many people around.
"Uh oh, you've got that look in your eye. What's up?"
"I'm itching to get under way."
"How may I scratch your itch?"
"Take the conn. Have the bridge seek departure clearance from the Yard Control, and then have anyone staying behind disembark."
Ariel did not hesitate, recognizing the official tone in her friend's voice. "Aye, sir," she said with a nod, and left without another word to carry out her orders.
"Sir," said Wilson Nieves, from behind her. "Congratulations, sir."
"Aw, thank you, Wilson. I'm really glad you were here for this."
"Like I said, I wouldn't have missed it for anything." He took a sip from his flute and added, "In fact, I'd be more than happy to man tactical during the warp trials. I'm looking for a ride to Starbase 310, anyway."
With a grin, Leone chuckled. "I'd like that. I'm sure Ariel will enjoy your company on the bridge. As will I."
His demeanor brightened considerably. "Yes, sir. Thank you."
When he did not move immediately, she grinned. "Now, please."
Wilson put his flute down on a passing tray and nodded. "Aye, sir."
She continued to accept the best wishes of the people assembled there, but she did not want the ceremony to continue for too long, lest they delay their departure. Within minutes, Ariel's voice sounded on the public address system, announcing their clearance for departure and for any personnel wishing to remain behind, to disembark immediately.
People filed out of the lounge, as did Leone. She returned to her quarters and replaced her dress uniform with the uniform of the day. The two piece Class A Starfleet uniform was a welcome change from the old one-piece jumpsuits they wore only four months prior. Captains were afforded variations on the uniform, being in command as they were, but Leone did not like the jackets or undershirts that came with it. Instead, she wore the same uniform as everyone else.
"Captain on the bridge," announced the flight controller, Lieutenant (jg) Gregory Aspinall. She knew his name only because of the fact that his mother, Joy, served as the commanding admiral of Starbase Eleven. The Aspinall and the Leone family were cordial with one another, being both Starfleet legacies.
Leone said, "As you were," as she moved toward the command center. Ariel had been seated in the center seat, but she rose from it to offer it to her friend.
"Enjoy," said Ariel, sotto voce. "It's quite comfy." She moved forward to assume the ops station from the officer manning it.
Wilson Nieves called out, "Yard Control signals we can depart when ready, Captain."
Leone settled into the seat and admired its comfort. Ariel was right. "Thank you, Wilson. Ariel, clear all mooring and disengage the docking clamps." She hit a control on her armrest and said, "Bridge to Engineering. Switch us over to internal power."
The lights did not flicker even once as the ship began generating power for itself. The intercom sounded once more as the call came from engineering. "Bartlet, here, sir. We're now on internal power."
"Moorings cleared," reported Ariel. "The airlock has been sealed. Disengaging dock."
The sound of metal releasing carried throughout the ship, and the viewscreen showed that they no longer had a connection to the drydock facility as the scaffolds moved independent of the ship.
"Distance to drydock is ten meters," said Aspinall. "Twenty. Thirty. Fifty."
"Hold position one hundred meters from the dock and then ahead slow on the thrusters," ordered Leone. "Petra, can we go to warp speed once we clear the outer marker?"
"Yes, sir. Warp speed will be available by the time we reach the outer marker."
The scaffolds began to move out of view as the ship sailed forward under its own power for the first time in nearly eight months of refitting.
"We are now free and clear to navigate, sir," said Aspinall. "Approaching the inner marker beacon for the first turn."
On the screen, the tiny beacon flashed in the night as it swung into full view. It drew closer and closer, until Leone could read the markings on its side.
"Entering the departure lane, Captain."
"Full impulse power, Mister Aspinall."
"Increasing my speed to full impulse power, aye, sir."
The little beacon blew by as the ship engaged its powerful sublight engines. The outer marker beacon was a lot larger and prevented use of the warp drive within its boundaries. Farragut, as well as all other traffic, would be relegated to sublight speeds while operating within the jurisdiction of the Antares Ship Yards.
"We are now approaching the outer marker," announced Aspinall. "The warp drive is now online."
Leone envisioned the nacelles powering up and coming to life, with the bright red of the Bussard collectors to the bright blue color of the drive assembly. Now her ship was alive, and awaiting the order to leap forth and do what she was built to do. "Engineering, stand by for warp speed."
"Aye, sir. We're monitoring down here."
"We're clear of the outer marker."
"Lay in a course for the trial zone," said Leone.
Aspinall nodded. "My course is now three-oh-one mark one. Course entered, sir."
The captain of the Farragut grinned. "Let's stretch her legs, Mister Aspinall. Warp five. Engage."
---- Scene Change ----
"We're at warp!" said Saleb excitedly.
Belkis nodded with a grunt. Both of them stood before a display of the master situation monitor with a look of anticipation. "Warp five and holding steady. We should reach the trial zone in under an hour at this speed."
Saleb tapped in commands excitedly and kept himself from laughing out loud as he realized how close to their objective they were.
"We're really going to do it, Belkis. I mean... a shuttle was one thing, but we're going to try it with a starship as large as this. You realize that we're going down in history for this?"
"One way or the other, I suppose."
Saleb groaned. "Seriously, Belkis, you need to learn how to have some fun."
---- Scene Change ----
"We are now approaching the warp trial zone, sir," said Aspinall's voice over the intercom.
Leone spoke to the air. "Acknowledged. We'll be right there." She rose and nodded to Ariel. "Let's get back to work."
Ariel sighed and gestured to the board as she followed Leone out to the bridge. "Great, now you get more time to plot my demise."
The captain shot her a devious look as they sat down at their respective stations. Nieves reported from the tactical station that there were no other contacts. "Thank you, Wilson. Signal Antares Yard Control that we have arrived. Helm, slow to full impulse."
Both officers acknowledged as the viewscreen's stars became dots instead of streaks. "We're now at full impulse power, Captain."
"Antares signals acknowledgement, sir," reported Nieves.
"Bridge to Engineering," called Leone.
"Bartlet, here, sir," said Petra from the turbolift doors. She walked to the aft engineering station and activated it. "I'm ready when you are, sir."
Leone stood up and announced, "Petra has the conn."
---- Scene Change ----
"Full impulse power- no, they're slowing to an all stop," said Saleb with his eyes locked onto the helm monitor they had established in the shared quarters on deck ten. "We have to move, now. As soon as they slow to stop, they're going to cycle the warp coils for pre-tuning procedures."
"How long do we have?" asked Belkis. He grabbed the carry-all with their equipment and headed for the exit.
Saleb replied, "Ten minutes." They exited into the empty corridor and walked briskly for the turbolift. "Auxiliary navigational deflector system, deck sixteen, section ten."
And there's Act IV.
Thanks for reading,