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Old October 7 2009, 09:14 AM   #6
unusualsuspex
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Location: Norfolk UK
Re: Star Trek : Angel

STAR TREK : ANGEL
BOOK ONE
THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE
2


DRY DOCK CONTROL – DRY DOCK 7
UTOPIA PLANITIA YARDS
SYNCHRONOUS MARS ORBIT
August 30th 2371 - 1145 FST

Admiral Shaun Connors checked the chrono above the large port that gave the gathered guests a perfect bow view of the smooth graceful lines of the Angel as she hung in dry dock. Small work bees and utility craft were finally completing their duties and scurrying to docking ports either aboard the vessel or in the dry-dock itself.

As the time flashed to 1145, he tapped his glass with a small fork from the buffet table and in his deep Scottish brogue said, “Ladies, gentlemen, honoured guests, if you’ll excuse me I have important duties to attend to.”

Followed by his honour party, he made his way down from the control room towards the umbilical that connected the Angel to the dry dock. He smiled as he recalled a young Commander Dan Fishlock delivering an impassioned presentation on the need for a vessel such as the Angel shortly after the events of Wolf 359.

“Sir,” he’d said, “we had to watch as ship’s MedCentres were swamped beyond capacity with casualties. That’s assuming that they had time to drop shields and beam those casualties aboard. Ships without power were trapped in a hostile firezone because the tugs were too unprotected to get them out, and more lives were lost. It’s my proposition Sir that Starfleet undertakes a review of its combat search and rescue facilities and procedures with a view to producing a dedicated vessel for such purposes.”

Connors had been impressed by Fishlock’s enthusiasm and passion for the project but played devil’s advocate.

“Commander, I agree that circumstances at Wolf 359 have proven to be inadequate, but what makes you think that a dedicated vessel is currently justifiable? With no current hostilities is it not a waste of design time and vessel allocation?” He’d hated saying that. How could you levy the lives of Starfleet crews against a Federation balance sheet? But if he hadn’t asked it, he knew somebody would have further down the line.

“Let me answer that in several parts Admiral. Firstly, immediately before the Borg incursion there were no hostilities. Had I have made this same proposition at that point, the exact same question would have been asked. We went from relative peace to fighting for our very survival in the briefest of periods and look what it cost us. Secondly, I would suggest that rather than design a brand new vessel from scratch, we refit and save both time and production costs.”

Connors nodded his approval. “Good thinking Commander. Any suggestions?”

Encouraged by Connors reaction, Fishlock quickened his pace. “Absolutely Sir.” He brought up a schematic of two different ships. “As you can see Sir, both transports but different configurations. The Bristol class still uses the container system for transportation which would allow us to carry mission adaptable containers. The problem there would be fragility of structure; the four warp nacelles, the container coupling. In a fire fight they’d be liabilities. My suggestion would be a conversion of the Franklin class Sir. She’s sturdy, offers more space for both hangar deck extension and converting the unused cargo space into medical facilities, the nacelles are pulled in tight; upgrade her weapons and tractor capability and she’d be my platform of choice Sir.”

From that initial proposition, Connors had taken the idea – but not the credit – and eventually championed the design that had finally become the USS Angel. Fishlock had been delighted, and as far as Connors was concerned there was no better choice for Commanding Officer.

He suddenly realised that his musings had brought him to the Angel’s main airlock where the Officer Of the Day awaited him.

"Admiral Connors and honour party, requesting permission to come aboard," he said.

"Permission granted, Sir," the OOD replied, stepping back and snapping to attention as he was piped aboard.

“This way please Sir, the Captain is on the bridge.” As the OOD led Connors to the turbolift, he smiled at the formal exchange. It was hardly likely that the captain would be anywhere else, but of course tradition had to be followed.

Connors arrived on the bridge at 1158 giving him just enough time to be greeted by Fishlock and Gray before stepping in front of the main viewscreen - and consequently into the pickup that broadcast his image over the network - at precisely 1200 hours.

“Honoured guests, ladies and gentlemen, it is my honour today to welcome the latest ship of the line into Starfleet service. The USS Angel will today become a pioneer in ship design and mission role. It is a design that will save lives and a mission role that will provide comfort to those placed in peril by war or natural disaster.”

The cameras briefly left Admiral Connors to show images of the MedCentre, the flight deck, and views of Angel from outside as he described it all in detail.

Finally the pickup returned to the Admiral once more.

Angel has been designed from the outset as a mobile disaster relief vessel with a mission profile to match. In times of peace she can respond instantly to sites of natural disasters with the capability of providing medical relief as well as specialist engineering and security teams. Despite her technology, it is the trained professionalism of her crew that will be the deciding factor in her success or failure. Our teams in the design and construction sector merely provide the tools; it is they who provide the compassion, care and professionalism that ultimately saves lives and we salute them.”

He turned then, indicating that Dan Fishlock should join him.

“It is fitting that the man who will become Angel’s commanding officer today is the man who originally posited this idea to the Advanced Starship Design Bureau, a man who I have worked closely with over great distances to help bring this day to fruition. Captain Dan Fishlock.”

Dan self consciously shook the Admiral’s hand and acknowledged the applause that he knew was spreading through the ship, across the yards, and beyond.

As the applause subsided, Connors turned once more to the screen for the final traditional part of the ceremony, one that had been re-enacted many times since the launch of the first true starships.

“In 2119,” he intoned, “mankind was ready to spread his wings within the galaxy. It was in this year that the Warp 5 Complex was dedicated and I’d like to present to you this recording of that dedication speech.”

An image of the father of warp flight Zefram Cochrane appeared on the screen beginning his inspirational speech “On this site, a powerful engine will be built. ...”
The honour party stepped forward at this point – “…An engine that will someday help us to travel a hundred times faster than we can today…” - and carefully unwrapped the dedication plaque from within the UFP flag. “Imagine it, thousands of inhabited planets at our fingertips!” - The flag was taken and ceremonially folded by two of the party. “…And we'll be able to explore those strange new worlds and seek out new life and new civilizations...” – While the young ensign stepped forward holding the plaque, just as the speech concluded with “This engine will let us go boldly where no man has gone before.”

The view switched back to the bridge once more as the Admiral and Captain nodded their appreciation and took opposing sides of the plaque, eventually mounting it in the pre-prepared brackets at the rear of the bridge.

As the camera zoomed in on the plaque, the Admiral described it.

“All Starfleet vessels carry a dedication plaque such as this. It is quite often seen as the heart and soul of each ship, naming all those instrumental in bringing her into service. Each plaque also carries a specific dedication; historic lines from literature, poetry or inspirational lines from world leaders. Angel’s plaque quotes from Jean Paul Richter:

The guardian angels of life sometimes fly so high as to be beyond our sight, but they are always looking down upon us.

“It is a fitting sentiment to bestow upon a vessel whose very nature demands that she be a guardian of the safety of others.”

Turning once more to Fishlock, he said, “Dan, the years we have worked together on this project have finally delivered the ship you envisioned so long ago and it is with pride and a great deal of pleasure that I commend her to your care. Oh and I have one final surprise; Mrs Fishlock, if you would?”

The camera switched to the inside of the dry dock control annex to show Fishlock’s wife Megan standing in front of a small lectern. Fishlock’s mouth hung open in surprise as his wife stepped forward with a smile to depress the single switch mounted at its centre and a bottle of champagne released from the dry dock gantry high overhead sailed serenely across the gap between them to smash against the hull just forward of the registry NCC-92553.

The Admiral declared his final line through a smile at Fishlock’s obvious pleasure. “By the power invested in me by Starfleet Command and the United Federation of Planets, I declare USS Angel operational and duly entered into Starfleet service at 12.15 hours, stardate 48661.5.”

Connors turned and, deferring to the new captain of the vessel, began a fresh round of applause that resounded throughout the ship and beyond. Fishlock found he had to swallow a lump in his throat, as the importance of the moment finally sank in.

As the officer in command, it was now his duty to escort Admiral Connors off the bridge. Connors turned to him as they left and said quietly “She’s all yours Dan, make it work.”
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