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Old February 5 2012, 03:38 AM   #1
Saito S
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Location: Lennvale, Valocea
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"A Running Start"

Hello all. This is my first time posting any fanfic, here or anywhere else.

This is essentially a "snippet" from the middle of what is intended to be a larger storyline, centered on my original ships and characters and set roughly two decades after the end of the Dominion War.

This was inspired by January's "New beginning" challenge theme. The story ended up being far too long to enter in the challenge, but since I had completed it, I thought it'd be a waste not to post it at all, so here it is. It'll be split up into six posts. There is one instance of PG-13 language for anyone concerned about that sort of thing.

A Running Start

Last Portal Station
Hydrus Sector
Stardate 73071.9 (January 27th, 2396)
0800 hours


Yuri watched as the docking levels far below her slowly drew closer and closer, as the lift sped downward along its track. The metal framework lining the tube could be partially seen speeding by through the large windows that dominated three of the lift’s four sides.

Her gaze swept across the closer of the two docking levels, observing the small dots that would soon be visible as actual people, as well as larger objects: cargo crates, lifters, workbees. About half of the berths were occupied by ships at the moment, with the others empty. On this level, the berths were sized for smaller ships: civilian transports, cargo haulers, and the like comprised all of the vessels she could see at the moment. She peered past the edge of the level, which was just coming into view, and tried to get a better look at the lower docking level, which was where any larger vessels would be. Several starships were just starting to become visible, as-

“Starships! Starships, look!”

The sudden exclamation caught Yuri’s attention, and she looked over to the other side of the lift, where a small child was leaning up against the front window, her hands pressed up against the transparent aluminum sheet, a look of utter delight on her face. She looked to be perhaps five or six years old. Just behind her, a man – her father, Yuri surmised – came up to her, placing a hand on her shoulder, chuckling slightly. “I see them, honey. And they are very impressive.”

“Will we be able to get a closer look?” the child asked, turning her head to look at her father, though she didn’t remove her hands from the window.

“Oh, absolutely,” he replied, bending down next to her. “You see those gray, rectangular structures there?” He pointed down and forward, toward a row of the objects in question that lined the edge of the upper docking level; Yuri recognized them as cargo routing stations. As he spoke, they grew in size more rapidly. “We’re going to be right next to those when we go to see Uncle Van, and there’ll be a really great view from there.”

“Really?” she responded, clapping her hands together and looking back out the window again. “I can’t wait. I wonder if I’ll get to ride in a starship one day…”

“You never know,” her father replied.

“Approaching: Upper Docking Level. Cargo collection and distribution. Last non-restricted level. Please confirm your authorization status before…”

“Okay pumpkin, here we are,” the man said, pulling his daughter away from the window as the lift slowed, then stopped. Immediately, the double doors in the back of the lift parted. The little girl hopped down off the bench, giggling as her father held her hand and they made their way out of the lift.

Yuri chuckled as the doors closed, leaving her alone in the lift as it once again began its descent. Cute kid. And loves starships, apparently. Maybe she’ll become an engineer or join Starfleet one day. Her thoughts abruptly turned away from the amusement of watching a delighted child, to something much darker. Assuming anyone even survives all this. She sighed, shaking her head, deciding she didn’t want to explore the thought of her own potential death – or that of children like the one she had just seen – in any great depth at the moment.

Yuri returned her attention to the front window. With the upper level now above her, she had a much better view of the ships arrayed before her. A Sovereign was docked to the upper slot, far to her right, and below that, a Klingon cruiser occupied the next slot. She looked to the left, and her gaze passed across an Akira. Almost immediately, she felt a severe pang of what she could only describe as homesickness. Home… I guess it really was home… It had only been two days since she had disembarked the U.S.S. Leviathan, her assignment for nearly the last three years. And now, just the sight of another Akira-class ship was bringing back all the memories, and all the doubts she’d had about leaving.

She closed her eyes, leaning forward slightly. I wonder how they are all doing. She actually laughed lightly at herself, out loud. It’s only been TWO days. They’re fine, and they aren’t even doing anything different than the last time you were with them: sitting around at starbase 228. Get a grip, Yuri… She took a slow, deep breath, before righting her posture again, opening her eyes. And then she saw it, and found herself overtaken by other feelings.

Past the slot in which the Akira was berthed, was the U.S.S. Dauntless. My new home… She felt a mix of awe, excitement, and apprehension as the sleek lines of the large, majestic ship came further into view. She had, of course, looked up information on the ship. She’d already seen images of it, she knew her specs and profile, but that was nothing compared to seeing the ship in person. Yuri felt a strange sensation, something that she’d heard some of her Human friends refer to as “butterflies in the stomach.” She’d never understood that, until she’d taken the time to look up and understand what a butterfly was. The visual of how they moved as they flew somehow caused the expression to make sense. Of course, it wasn’t something she could recall experiencing herself more than once or twice in her life; Yuri wasn’t easily fazed by much. But now, she’d swear that an entire colony of butterflies had just hatched inside her. Not that it wasn’t understandable, really. On its own, the reality of a promotion not only in rank, but also in position – going from Assistant Chief Tactical Officer of one ship to Executive Officer of another – would be enough to give most people butterflies to some degree. But to add to that, she was also being asked to step in and take the place of someone who had died, under difficult circumstances from the reports she had read. This was someone whom this crew had served with for years, and then she was abruptly taken away from them… and Yuri was going to replace her. It was, she admitted to herself, a somewhat unnerving prospect. What if they don’t accept me? What if they HATE me? What if I can’t-

“Ghaaa!” she exclaimed aloud, to the empty transport interior. She placed both hands on her head, running them through her short, green hair briefly, trying to get all of her emotions under control. Get a GRIP! Seriously, I mean it this time!

She stared at the floor for a moment, taking several deep, calming breaths. A moment went by, and she began to feel a bit more settled. She continued staring at the floor, trying to – for just a moment anyway – clear her thoughts, and just relax-

“Approaching: Lower Docking Level. Starship berths, Starfleet management facilities. Restricted level. Please have authorization documents ready when disembarking the lift.”

The calm, feminine voice of the computer nearly caused her to jump out of her seat. Swallowing hard, she blinked several times, took another deep breath, and finally, gathered her travel bag up on her shoulder. She gave the ship a long look through the front of the transport, then tore her gaze away from it, turning to face the double doors as they opened.

Once past the first security checkpoint, she slowed her pace as she walked along the docking area. Around her, other officers moved about, conversing with one another or reviewing information on PADDs as they walked along. Cargo movers and antigrav sleds could be seen making their way across the metallic surface of the docking level, at times crossing her path several meters ahead. Yuri saw and heard none of it. She continued to walk in a straight line, slowly but inexorably drawing closer and closer to the ship – the largest ship there – her ship. It was a number of different things for her now, whereas if she had simply encountered it while still serving on board the Leviathan, it would have been just another Starfleet ship, albeit a rather new and interesting one. But now, she found herself sizing it up, trying to reflect on what she knew about the ship, as well as what she had yet to find out, and trying to make sense of all of that in the context of this ship being her new assignment… her new home. She found it difficult to process.

She slowed her pace abruptly, looking around as she realized that she was approaching the second checkpoint. Already? But I only just passed the first one- She turned her head, looking back, and was genuinely shocked to see the first checkpoint behind her… about four-hundred meters behind her, more precisely. She stared back along the deck for just a moment. I’ve been walking for nearly five minutes… I was barely aware of any time passing at all. She shook her head, trying again to clear these feelings of uncertainty. Alright, this isn’t such a big deal. It’s another assignment. I accepted it, and Starfleet wouldn’t have even offered me the promotion if they hadn’t thought I was ready for it. Taking a deep breath, she walked forward.

Unlike the first checkpoint, this one was unmanned, consisting of an ID scanner and a heavy set of doors, beyond which lay a covered walkway which led directly into the airlock hatch on the side of the ship. She placed her hand against the scanning panel.

“Identify confirmed. Commander Yuri Rienne, Starfleet. Executive officer, U.S.S. Dauntless. Access granted.”

A brief chirp followed the computer’s declaration that she could enter, and the doors parted before her. The walkway, which was in fact just over three meters in length, suddenly looked much longer to her. Yet, she could somehow feel that her apprehension was fading, and being replaced by something else. She stepped through the doors, and they closed behind her. The covering over the walkway was partially transparent, and she continued looking over the hull as she traversed the last bit of distance separating her from the ship. Printed above the airlock hatch, in the familiar Starfleet lettering, was the ship’s identification.

NX-89000
U.S.S. DAUNTLESS
UNITED FEDERATION OF PLANETS

She felt a slight chill run down her spine, and she shuddered… and then suddenly, she grinned, as she recalled the words of the computer from a moment ago. Commander Yuri Rienne. Executive officer.

As she stepped through the hatchway, planting her feet upon the deck plates of the ship for the first time, she realized what it was that had replaced her apprehension and fear. Pride, and excitement. A number of thoughts suddenly ran through her head as she walked through the small airlock room. Starfleet is trusting me with this. They’ve looked to me and said, “Here, go to this ship, support her captain, and manage this crew.” I’m now responsible for not just a department, but almost eight-hundred officers and crewmen. And there’s only one person on this entire ship who outranks me. That last realization, in particular, brought about a strange combination of renewed apprehension and an almost giddy, lightheaded feeling. Alright, alright, enough goofing off, she thought suddenly, collecting her various wandering thought processes and pulling them back into the present.

It didn’t take her long to find her quarters on deck five. She didn’t intend to stay long, as she had really only come to drop her bag and steal a quick look in the mirror before going to meet the captain. She noted absently that the quarters were quite sparse, with none of her belongings present, indicating that they were still in the process of being loaded onto the ship. Tossing the bag onto the bed, she strode past it to the washroom, and stopped in front of the full-length mirror between it and the closet. Uniform is straight, pips are straight, hair’s straight …ish. Her hair fell to the middle of her neck, and she wore it in a loose, simple style befitting her casual and laid-back personality. Nodding slightly, she turned to go… and paused, her gaze zeroing in on the reflection of her collar. For a moment, she was actually surprised to see three solid gold pips there, and to see red, instead of gold, around her neck. She shook her head. Think that’s gonna take some getting used to…

“Computer, location of Captain Parrin,” she said, as she walked back out into the hall.
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