FEDERATION STARSHIP SUNDOWN
"I'll be on the next shuttle," Admiral Kathryn Janeway said. "I need to confer some more with the leaders of the project team, but I don't think we'll be able to launch in three days."
answer until you can give me a firm 'Yes' or 'no'," The Defense Secretary grumped. "It will take me at least five
days to build up the type of defensive task force we'd need to combat this woman's suicide ships, so I need to know. If it can be ready, ready it! If not, let's not waste time grasping at straws!"
"Yes, Sir," Janeway said, nodding at the desk computer screen. "Anything else?" Would you like me to rob the Ferenginar Treasury while I'm at it?
"Hopefully that will be enough. Get back to me as soon as you can, Admiral."
"Aye, Sir," Janeway said. The screen reverted to the Federation emblem a split-second later, and Janeway took a moment to rub her eyes, sigh and take a swig of coffee before she set up the next conference call. She entered some commands into the computer and waited. Soon a split screen came, showing a man on half the display and a woman on the other. The man was handsome, square-jawed and had steely eyes to go with his dark hair. The woman was attractive with a tousle of red hair that matched the color of her lips. Both were around Janeway's age, but the woman was closer to it. The man wore the uniform and pips of a Starfleet Captain, his collar an Engineer's gold. The woman wore civilian clothes under a gold lab coat.
"Good to see you, Admiral," the man, Captain Roderick Post, said.
"It's good to be seen," Janeway said with a smile.
"Where ya'll callin' from?" Dr. Edwina Bush asked, her Tennessee drawl prominent as ever.
," Janeway said, "Earth orbit. I was one of the first people picked up, and I've been helping to coordinate things up here." She had actually been on leave when the Barb
hit, in an area threatened with terrible flooding. She'd been in civilian clothes at the time, absently thankful that she had changed her mind about the moonlight stroll on the beach beforehand. "Picked the wrong week to visit Monaco, I suppose..."
"What's the situation?" Post asked.
"Secretary Kurhk is trying to set up a task force to protect Earth, but it will take time. We're dealing with a Human Supremacist that calls herself 'April'."
"April?" Dr. Bush said. "Just 'April'?"
"I'm sure the people in Intelligence will analyze that to death. Our main concern is that April has given us a deadline. Three days. Kuhrk thinks that's not enough time to mount a proper defense."
Post frowned. he could see where this was going. "He asked about Project Continuity."
On hearing that, Dr. Bush beamed. "He did
? Outstanding! I hope you told him she's ready to go, Admiral!"
Janeway lowered her head for a moment and rubbed her eyes. Dr. Bush's un
-infectious enthusiasm for her pet project had been the bane of Janeway's existence ever since the scientist had joined the Advanced Starship Design Bureau. "I told him I had to confer with you two and see for myself..."
"Admiral!" Bush said, sounding exasperated. "She's done
! We have the tools and we have the talent! We could have gone out and met the damn cutter at the Asteroid Belt if you'd let us!"
"With half a crew and no real captain? Are you serious? No sane person would have authorized that."
"Well, what the hell is Cap'n Post? Chopped liver??"
"An engineer," Post answered for himself, "and not one with combat command training."
"But you've been in on this from the beginning! You know the systems as well as I do!"
"Knowing them from an engineering standpoint and using them in combat are two different things. You need a warrior for a captain, especially in this instance."
"The Defense Secretary apparently agrees with you, Rod," Janeway said, "and he's managed to convince the President. If we're going to deploy Continuity, we have to deploy her with a captain willing to shoot first and ask questions later. You certainly don't fit that bill."
"Well, there's gotta be somebody that does!" Dr. Bush protested. "How about Jellico?"
Janeway rolled her eyes, so Post answered. "Captain Jellico's last words before he retired were, I quote: "I'm never working for you ungrateful bastards again! Get someone else to save the Federation!" He's retired to planet that we can't even reach in three days, so he's not an option."
"So, what," Bush said, "There's nobody
in Starfleet like Jellico?"
"Hasn't been for years," Post said, then he thought. "Then again, I do know another retiree like him that would be quicker to reach..."
"Would he help us 'ungrateful bastards'?" Janeway asked.
"It would definitely take some convincing..."
"Get on it. If you can convince him, can you get him here before the deadline?"
"Yes, I can."
"If Captain Post gets his man, Doctor, Continuity deploys."
Dr. Bush pumped her fist and grinned. "Y-Yes-s!"