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USS ANGEL – BRIDGE
September 9th 2371 – 1030 FST
Kat Gray vacated the centre seat as Dan Fishlock entered the bridge from his ready room.
“Zethander control reports ready to receive us Captain. Governor Ferith extends his greetings and asked if you could contact him when we’ve docked.”
“Thank you Commander.” He checked the status screen on the arm of the chair. “Still no luck working the kinks out of the warp drive?”
For the past six hours, the warp drive had been slipping slightly out of synch requiring a manual override and reset to bring it back in again. The computer saw no faults and therefore didn’t try to compensate until prompted. It was an annoyance rather than a danger at the moment, but not a situation that Dan would watch deteriorate.
“Commander Machilveen says she’ll be able to reboot the system in dock. Apparently she’s seen it happen before on new ships as the drive settles in. It means we’ll have to extend to a minimum 72 hour layover though.”
Dan nodded. It would be time well spent and also give the two Chiefs time to work on the hangar deck, something they said they had the perfect fix for. They hadn’t gone into detail and for the moment Dan trusted them to get the job done.
“I think we can schedule that shore leave then; standard rotation other than essential crew.” Kat nodded making a note on her PADD. “Ensign, take us in.”
As Dan took the big seat, Kat moved aft to mission ops and Pharana conned the huge starship towards the orbital docking facility in geo-synchronous orbit above Zethander.
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
September 9th 2371 – 1030 FST
Chariscarpia had followed the Federation vessel at a discrete distance, safe in the knowledge that she was undetectable even at much closer range. She had used the time in transit to further study their language and felt she was close to an understanding, at least on a very basic level.
It worried her, though, that her ability to access something that she had once taken for granted was no longer possible. Or was she just imagining that she could once access something so wonderful? Were there other things that she had once been able to accomplish that were now beyond her recall? Of course, if that was the case then she wouldn’t know about them and saw little point in worrying about it.
So why did this wondrous ability to translate languages, or rather her lack of accessing that ability, so concern her? It didn’t impact on her primary mission tasking. In fact it was precisely those orders that kept her hidden from the cultures she encountered.
She sidelined her self analysis as the Federation vessel entered the space dock above the blue green world and Chariscarpia studied its teeming life; multiple species coming and going with a thousand destinations in mind.
In all her years of travel, of all the unions of planets she had seen, this Federation seemed the most promising. She’d seen societies more technologically advanced, but they had become introspect with no further wish to explore or communicate. She had seen larger empires forged, but the majority had been dictatorships ruled under iron law and not voluntary unifications. Studying them now she sensed a distant kinship with the worlds she had left so many hundreds of turns ago.
And her sense of loss and loneliness deepened.
ZETHANDER GOVERNOR’S OFFICE
September 9th 2371 – 1200 FST
As Dan looked out of the window of Governor Ferith’s office, he was struck by the awesome beauty of Coral City spread out below him. Crystalline spires of glass and steel arched up and over the surrounding natural beauty connected by spider web latticework. It was built like some modern day Venice although it hadn’t been flooded by the forces of nature. Rather it had been constructed around nature, rising on shock resistant stilts above the translucent waters allowing a breath taking view of the ruby red coral formations below. It appeared as if it were floating above burning coals.
“I assume this is your first visit Captain Fishlock?”
“It is Governor, and I have to say that holos just don’t do it justice.”
Ferith walked over and stood between Dan and Kat, eager to extol on the beauty of his planet.
“Quite something isn’t it? Twenty five years to construct and it’s still expanding though naturally we ensure that we don’t encroach on nature. Planning the whole project and any expansion takes second place to the coral beds.”
Walking back to his desk he checked his chrono. “I don’t mean to be rude Captain, but I have a finance committee meeting that I’d like to avoid, but sadly it comes with the territory. Naturally your request for shore leave is approved under standard Starfleet regulations, and if there’s anything else that we can provide?”
“No that will be fine sir thank you. The docks have approved us berthing space for the 72 hours we need so I think that should be all.”
Shaking hands, the Starfleet officers bade the Governor goodbye just as his aide arrived with a group of somewhat officious looking representatives.
Out in the corridor, Dan turned to Kat with a smile as he pictured the dull meeting about to begin behind him. “It’s times like this I appreciate the quiet life of commanding a starship.”
“That’s only because you first officer handles all the paperwork.”
“Then it’s a good job I rule the ship with an iron fist.”
Kat hit the button to call a ‘lift and folded her arms. “May I remind the Captain of a man by the name of Bligh? Didn’t work out too well for him I hear.”
As the lift arrived, Dan waved his hand for Kat to enter.
“That’s only because he lacked my charismatic charm.”
Kat rolled her eyes in exasperation as the doors closed. “Not to mention your abundance of modesty.”
USS ANGEL – FLIGHT DECK OPERATIONS OFFICE
September 9th 2371 – 1305 FST
The Flight Deck Operations Office was the nerve centre of small craft operations aboard the Angel. Planning, control and maintenance were all co-ordinated from this one small room overlooking the hangar deck and on this particular morning it also served as the workspace for Spider and Dingbat.
“Good news Chief, the computer simulations prove in theory it should work.” Mo beamed at Spider who wore a look that suggested it only confirmed what he already knew; in truth he’d been secretly concerned that even at this late moment some minor error would prove his work round unfeasible.
“My reputation would have been ruined if it didn’t Ma’am. How have the flight crews handled the revamped launch routines?”
“To be honest it’s probably made our jobs easier. Most of it will be computer controlled until we’re away from the ship, and in free space it’s where we do our thing. All the holodeck exercises have run like clockwork.”
Spider nodded. “That’s cool.” The first weight lifted from his shoulders with the knowledge that in theory the system worked. Now all he needed to do was procure the final missing parts. Replicating them wasn’t an option due to the materials that were required, but with any luck the source he needed was right here on Zethander. “Well all we need to do now is fabricate and fit which is our end of the job, so if you’ll excuse us Ma’am, Dingbat and I have some serious work to do.”
As Spider stood, Mo placed a hand on his arm. “Spider, I know the boss has thanked you for all this but I want to add our thanks.” She indicated Homer and herself. “This could have gone to hell in a hand basket real quick.”
He lowered his eyes slightly embarrassed at the praise.
“Mo I’ll be honest, it was real lucky that we did notice. If it hadn’t been for a late night session in the hangar and Dingbat losing his balance on a…well long story short, we got lucky.” He rubbed his hands together, relishing the job in hand. “Anyways, we can’t afford to lose pilots this early in the cruise. That would really have ruined my credibility.”
Mo shook her head as Spider grabbed Dingbat by the arm and steered him out of the office. “C’mon, places to go, people to see.”
Dingbat gave Mo a quick shrug before he disappeared from view.
USS ANGEL – ENGINEERING
September 9th 2371 – 1330 FST
Lieutenant Axel Strandberg muttered something profane in Swedish and reset the diagnostic.
“Still nothin’?” Andi Machilveen said.
“No Ma’am and I simply can’t think of any other standard diagnostic we can run.”
The chief engineer was just as confused. “Looks like we’ll have tae commit tae a full reboot then.” She’d expected minor wrinkles to appear during the shakedown cruise and if she was honest, this fluctuation in the warp drive didn’t rate highly in the engineer’s problem scale. It was more the fact that it was an untraceable fault that rankled.
Turning her head to the platform above her, she called up to Vonny Dixon.
“Presumably nothing up there Vonny?”
“’Fraid not Ma’am. It’s almost as if there was an external force distorting our warp field but I’ve checked all sensor records from Starbase 621 to here and nothing shows up at all.”
“Damn. Alright,” she said placing her hands on her hips, “listen up ladies and gentlemen. The primary and secondary core control systems are going to have a full reboot. Secure your stations and I’ll inform the Captain.”
Turning, she glared at the warp core. “Ye’ll no be getting’ the better of me!” I hope
she added to herself.