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Old August 31 2011, 05:47 PM   #1427
Frank Force

The start of a little riff on the Voyager scenario, same general setup with a few bits and pieces altered for fun!

* * *

Kathryn Janeway felt the coldness of the abandoned USS Voyager on her skin the moment her body was released by the frisson of the transporter beam.

As her eyes adjusted to the darkened surroundings of this deserted vessel's main transporter room, she drew in a long breath of cool, slightly stale air that spoke volume's about the ship's current state.

Voyager's atmospheric systems, once providing life-giving air and heat to over four hundred crew members, had been reset to minimum levels like every other system aboard.

Lighting, gravity and virtually every other on-board system had likewise been reduced to lower settings by the engineers of the Qualor II surplus depot five years earlier when she'd been enlisted into the vast mothball fleet that Starfleet maintained there, all geared toward providing the least possible power drain on the constitution-class ship's outdated reactor core.

The only systems that escaped were the safety systems surrounding the small amounts of anti-hydrogen and deuterium left aboard to fuel Voyager's slumber, and the low-level deflector field that protected her hull from micro-meteorite degradation as she silently awaited the day when she may prove useful to Starfleet once again.

After Voyager's seventy years of service as a faithful servant of the Federation, Janeway couldn't help but feel a pang of sympathy for this forsaken starship, her many decks that once bustled with hundreds of Starfleet crew now dark and silent.

She stepped carefully down from the chamber where the old Zakdorn tug's transporter had deposited her and her small engineering team, low-level emergency lighting providing the only illumination and casting strange shadows in the darkness.

"This is creepy," Harry Kim opined as he followed Janeway off the dais, hefting two large black bags of equipment with him that he'd slung over each shoulder.

Janeway glanced back at the young man with a wry grin. "Not afraid of ghosts are you, Harry?" she asked.

"No, ma'am," Kim replied quickly, appearing to suddenly be aware of both his colleagues' eyes upon him. "I've just never been aboard a derelict before, that's all."

"She isn't a derelict," Janeway said softly, brushing her fingers across the protective sheet of milky plastic that had been pulled over the transporter console. "That implies she's unwanted. She's being held in reserve."

"Which basically amounts to the same thing," Joseph Carey countered, dropping his own heavy bags onto the deck with a loud thud that Janeway imagined reverberating through every part of the silent starship.

"We've got hundreds of these ships rusting away in a dozen ghost-fleets all across the Federation. Starfleet's problem is that it won't throw anything away. We're the galaxy's biggest hoarder!"

Janeway smiled. "Then we're fortunate that we have a lot of free space," she told him. "Besides, our very presence here should tell you that ships like Voyager are still useful, even if that is only for spare parts."

"Parts that should be replaced with newer ones," Carey told her, casting a disdainful eye around the outdated transporter room that dated back to the turn of the century. "Not replaced with an equally obsolete piece of equipment cannibalised from a decommissioned wreck."

"Well I'm sure the folks at the Kepler Observatory will be delighted with their 'new' T-5 energy converter," Janeway said teasingly. "When I was growing up my mother always taught us to 'make do and mend'. I think she'd be pleased that her daughter is sticking to her philosophy in some way."

"Did your mother's philosophy extend to scavenging things from abandoned starships?" Carey asked.

Janeway chuckled to herself. "You know, I don't recall seeing many abandoned starships lying around Bloomington, Indiana when I was a child," she said with mock seriousness.

"Come on," Carey said after a moment, grinning broadly as he lifted his engineering bags back onto his shoulders, struggling slightly even in the reduced-gravity. "Let's get this damned converter and get the hell off this ship."

Janeway watched the two men walk unevenly out of the transporter room, their uneven gait the result of the bags that contained what what looked like the contents of every equipment equipment locker aboard the USS Billings.

"I hope no one goes looking for a hyperspanner until we get back," she muttered quietly to herself as she walked out of the transporter room.

The Billings was holding station on the far side of the vast supply depot as instructed by a particularly ill-tempered Zakdorn quartermaster who had flatly refused Captain Paulson's request to take the starship into the depot and come alongside the decommissioned Voyager.

Instead Klim Dokachin had decreed that he would send a tug to meet the Billings and convey the necessary team of engineers to Voyager's location within the depot, where it would leave them before returning three hours later to take them and the energy converter back to the Billings. Dokachin had thus transformed a relatively simple operation to obtain a replacement converter for the Kepler Obervatory into something far more complex and time-consuming.

But such was the Zakdorn mindset.

"Are you coming, commander?" Kim called over his shoulder as he and Carey made their way down the dimly-lit corridor toward the emergency staircases that led down to Voyager's engineering hull from the saucer section. With most of the ship's systems offline or running at minimum levels, the turboshaft network was inoperative.

"You boys carry on," she called back, her voice echoing around the corridor. "I'm going for a look around."

As the Billings' chief science officer she was unquestionably surplus to requirements on the away-mission, but Captain Paulson's natural adversity to sending only two people for safety reasons, coupled with Janeway's sense of adventure had resulted in her assignment. The opportunity to explore an abandoned, darkened Starfleet vessel on her own while Kim and Carey worked in engineering was virtually irresistible to her.

"Watch out for ghosts!" Carey warned, just before he and Kim disappeared into an access door that gave access to the emergency stairs.

And then she was alone.

"I think the bridge first," Janeway decided, turning and heading the opposite way up the corridor.

It would be fun pretending to be the captain of Voyager for a few hours.
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