UES Enterprise. En route to the Rexus system. Warp 3.81
Captains Log. 27th April 2151. As we approach our destination shipboard morale seems to be improving. Whilst the crew still seems to be divided into UESPA and UEMA camps they do at least appear to tolerate each other to a much greater degree than at the start of the voyage. Possibly this is because they are now realising just how far we are from Earth, and how we can rely on no one but ourselves.
I myself have had misgivings these last few days. I had always hoped that Enterprise's first mission would be one of exploration. While I recognise the vital importance of this trade meeting, and feel truly honoured to participate in any way, I must admit that this isn't what I want to be doing. Still, the political good will generated will do UESPA no end of good. Hopefully it'll mean a funding increase at the next budget!
Captain Archer tapped the button to stop recording, and frowned. There were other matters, too, that disturbed him, but at this time he didn't want to leave any record.
Leaning back in his chair he glanced around his office. It was small, but he'd managed to personalize it comfortably. Pictures from home. A small sculpture of a Grenthek, a horse like creature from Denobula. A bookcase stuffed full of his favourite works.
There was something missing though.
"Regulations be damned." he announced to the empty room. "I'm bringing my dog next time.". Just saying it made him feel better. In his mind he began rearranging the furniture, finding the best place to put a dog basket.
A whistle from the intercom interrupted him. "Captain, you asked me to remind you when we approach our destination."
"Thanks, Hoshi, I'll come on through."
He left the office and went to the bridge, avoiding the pipes and conduits on the way.
As he entered, Hernandez, who had the center seat, stood. "Captain on the bridge!"
"As you were." he said, waving her back down. He turned to Hoshi. "Put me on ship wide, please."
"Aye sir. You're on."
Archer cleared his throat and lifted the microphone. "Ladies and gentlemen, your attention please. The Enterprise has nearly arrived at the Rexus system. You may be interested to know that in doing so this ship has set a new record for greatest continuous distance travelled by an Earth vessel."
Whilst some ships had travelled greater total distances, they had all required regular breaks in the journey, leapfrogging from one system to the next. Up until now, it was the only way to travel. The ability to cruise directly to the next destination would be a great benefit to exploration.
He went on. "In addition, thanks to the sterling work of Trip Tucker and the engineering staff, we've maintained an average speed of warp 3.8. As such, we are a full three days ahead of schedule. In fact, if we were much faster, we'd arrive at our destination before the Vulcan delegation. While that's certainly tempting, it could be seen as....undiplomatic to arrive in Vulcan soveriegn territory before the official greeting party do."
He waved at Moshiri to get her attention and mouthed how long
? She tapped out a response on her keyboard. Above the main view screen the digital clock now started to display a countdown.
"We now have just over ten minutes until we drop out of warp. I recommend you make yourselves secure, preferably strapped in. Archer out."
He put down the handset, and let out a deep breath. "Commander, please check with all departments that they are ready."
Hernandez nodded. "Yes sir". It was an odd request. The Captain had just been on the ships intercom, he could have checked himself with no effort at all. On the other hand, she'd noticed over the past few days that Archer had been making a deliberate effort to get her involved in the minutia of running the ship, even areas that she would normally not be involved with.
Probably trying to get me to
feel like a part of the crew. Good tactic.
She signalled ship wide, and requested readiness status from all departments. As they responded in their pre-arranged order she checked them off on her pad. She knew some officers who would rely on memory to keep track of it all, but that was not her way. Regulations said check it on the computer, so that's what she would do.
Besides which, Enterprise was bigger than any other ship she'd been on, and had more departments. Even if she weren't going to do it by the book, she couldn't yet remember them all.
Task done, she signed off the form and stood. Archer was deep in conversation with Sato, though not so deep as to be unaware of her approach.
"All departments report ready Sir."
"Thank you Commander." He took the pad and examined it critically before signing it himself. "I have the Conn."
"Aye Sir." Hernandez said. Whilst Archer took the center seat, she went to Gunnery. Automatically she checked everything was in readiness.
She didn't need to turn to know that Archer was giving her a disapproving stare. He'd made it clear several times that he was unhappy with the more militant aspects of his ship. But as long as she was on this bridge, she would do her job. Some small voice at the back of her mind reminded her, you didn't do your job properly earlier. Let the situation with Mayweather slide. And look how that turned out.
Very carefully, and deliberately, she double checked her station. I'm not going to fail again.
The next few minutes seemed to Archer to drag like hours. He had to make a conscious effort not to drum his fingers impatiently on the arm of his chair. A captain had to be seen to be calm and in control. All the same, when the countdown finally droped to less than one minute, he felt like he would explode with nervous tension.
All the time the background hum of the bridge was filled with disembodied voices. Hoshi was monitoring the various stations as they communicated by intercom.
"...ready, section d, ready, section e, ready....", "...life support functioning within normal...", "...sidential party secured, obs. dome ready for...", "...tificial gravity at 0.8, temperature...", "...warp core running smooth as Kentucky bourbon...".
Archer grinned as he recognised Trip's voice. He took a deep breath, held it, then let it out. That helped relieve at least some of the tension.
"Thirty seconds sir." said Moshiri.
"Thank you Haleh. Hoshi, the warp manoeuvre warning please."
Five distinct chimes rang out.
"Hear we go." said Hernandez, to no one in particular.
Up until the last second Moshiri was updating the course, passing the data to Mayweather's station. Minor changes, but still, he implemented them swiftly and accurately.
, Archer thought, those two are working well together.
Moshiri counted down "...three...two...one...disengage."
"Disengaging." Mayweather pulled back on the main lever.
Ahead of them, the streaks of starlight began to settle down into their familiar pinpricks of light. One, almost dead centre of the view screen, seemed somewhat brighter than the rest. At this distance the star of the Rexus system had little to distinguish it from it's more remote brethren.
Simultaneously, a distant humming became a load roar before fading to a low growl. And then it was gone.
They had arrived.
"Ladies and gentlemen." Archer said, standing. "You are all to be congratulated. This is the maiden mission of the Enterprise, and, while we still have much to do, I must commend you all for your....".
He broke off as the sensor console emitted an unfamiliar, high pitched tone. Ensign Kaufman, manning the console, turned from the captain, studying the readouts.
Archer chuckled. "Well, it looks you've been spared the big speech I'd prepared!"
There were smiles and a few laughs at this. But then he notices something worrying. The UEMA people weren't smiling. They looked downright concerned.
Her head shot towards him. "Sir, that alarm indicates we've detected weapons fire! Recommend we go to alert status immediately."
He was shocked. Totally thrown. Shaking his head, not in refusal but in disbelief, he asked "Are you sure?".
, she realized. The rules and regulations regarding situations like this were clear. If the captain was unable to command, she had to take over. And hope it all works out at the inquest later....
"Ensign Sato...." she began.
"Ensign Sato, set condition one throughout the ship!" Archer barked. He'd wrested himself free from his moment of self doubt. "Mister Kaufman, what can you tell us?"
Kaufman was one of the military personnel. "Sir, we have detected energy emissions consistent with atomic explosions. Triangulating position now.". He bent his bald head over the console.
Archer became aware of a squawking from Hoshi's station. He glanced in her direction.
"Muldhoon from the President's bodyguard." she explained. "Wants to know what's happening."
"Tell him we'll let him know as soon as we find out ourselves."
Kaufman turned back. "Sir, it appears as if at least six, possibly as many as nine atomic explosions occurred in the vicinity of the Rexus station. I am also detecting gamma ray bursts...sir, it looks like a ship explosion. Judging by the energy release, a big one too."
"My God." breathed Hernandez.
"Crewman, could it be the T'dara Len?" Archer demanded. The ship carrying the Vulcan Premier was the only one, apart from Enterprise, authorized to be in the system.
"I really couldn't say sir."
Archer stepped away, aware of the shocked expressions on his crews faces.
Travelling at the speed of light, the energy of those explosions, energy that Enterprise was only now detecting, had taken hours to reach it's current position. Whatever event had occurred, be it accident or something more sinister, had happened some considerable time ago.
And now, before they could move to investigate, to offer what help they could, they would have to spend at least ten minutes scanning the system with active sensors.
So if it is an attack
, Archer realised, whoever is responsible will know we are coming...