Chap Five (cont.)
“Captains Log, Stardate 53748.4, USS Republic
. We are eleven days into the shake-down exercises in the outer system of Sol. The officers and crew are completely exhausted—I think I have pushed them as far and as hard as I can in such a short period. Despite that exhaustion, they are starting to reclaim a sense of pride among themselves, and are slowly become a unified crew and not a collection of individuals. My department heads have been commenting that the crew are no longer just standing around and half-heartedly carrying out orders. They move with a purpose now—perhaps a not very skilled purpose for some of them, but a drastic improvement nonetheless.”
“Our latest series of readiness drills showed a response time of 69.6 seconds from the sounding of the alert klaxon to all compartments reporting manned and ready. Heh. When I told them that 71 seconds was considered standard for the Korolev’
s, I didn’t mention it was the standard for Andorian
’s! The Fleet standard is 73 seconds, a time which they soundly beat. Because of their improvement on the latest drills, I have decided to dock the ship later today at Jupiter Station—and will grant the crew a 24-hour liberty call. This should placate Counselor Trincullo and her concerns about the pressure I am placing on these men and women.”
“Crewman Channing has asked for permission to end his enlistment early—a request that I have heartily approved, with the endorsement of Commander Shrak, Lt. Commander Biddle, and Senior Chief Callaghan. He will be transferred off of Republic
and his discharge processed once we arrive at Europa. I remain concerned about Ensign Roberts and his lack in experience, however. Deflector Control is still under-performing, but perhaps without Channing’s influence, he will be able to bring them up to par. Certainly, Lt. Commander Biddle believes that he is capable of turning that section around. Nonetheless, I plan on keeping a close watch on him—and if Jupiter Station has an experienced deflector specialist, I just might transfer him aboard to assist the Ensign.”
is still suffering from system faults throughout the ship; the result of several years of neglect and lack of proper maintenance. To date, none of the many glitches have resulted in injury or threatened the ship, but it is annoying to say the least. It is my belief, however, that we should have all major sub-systems cleansed of the gremlins by the end of her shake-down cruise—and Spacedock should be more than able to quickly complete the repairs we are unable to handle out of our own resources. We will perform the warp trials with a speed run to Alpha Centauri and back after our libery call at Jupiter Station. Commander Malik assures me that he has been over the engines with a fine-toothed comb, but I will sleep easier once we successfully achieve warp.”
Matt rubbed his eyes and yawned. “Computer, save log.”
“Saved,” the electronic voice replied. Matt slowly stood and limped to the bed set in the small sleeping compartment just off the main suite of the commanding officer, and he lay down. Within moments, he was fast asleep.
Chris Roberts stopped his meandering walk through the civilian sector of Jupiter Station and turned at the sound of his name being called. The young man smiled as he saw the gaggle of his friends from the Academy. One rather short, bubbly, and bouncing young blonde lady was waving exuberantly.
He walked over to them. “Lara, Jin, Hollis. Taking in the sights?”
The blonde nurse shook her head and grabbed Chris’s arm. “Come on with us! We haven’t seen you since we all got transferred onto Republic
“I’ve had my hands full in Deflector Control. I’m the only officer down there, can you believe it? Both the other shifts are covered by petty officers, so I’ve had to pull double shifts to try and get things straightened out.”
Lara frowned. “I heard you’ve had a rough time. Medical has been pretty standard—once Doctor Talbot had a talk with the sick-berth attendants. So what really happened with Channing?”
“He said he fell.”
“Hey, that is what he said. I wasn’t there at the time.”
“But you’ve heard the scuttlebutt, right? About how Senior Chief Callaghan taught him a lesson about being mean to you?”
Chris blushed, as the other two ensigns began laughing.
“I-I don’t think . . .” he stammered.
“Oh, I’m kidding!” Lara said as she poked him in the ribs. “But I did hear the Senior Chief gave him a lesson he won’t forget anytime soon.”
“I don’t know, really. I’m just glad he’s not aboard anymore.”
The four of them walked through the Promenade looking at the various shops and stores that the station had offering trinkets and services to spacers. Suddenly, Chris felt a strong tug on his arm, and he turned to see Lara pointing at a pub—the Jupiter Yard.
“Let’s go in!” she squealed.
Chris groaned. “Lara, we’re officers; we’re supposed to set an example.”
“Oh don’t be a spoil-sport, Chris, we aren’t cadets anymore! And see, there are Star Fleet officers inside—just one drink, a drink to celebrate that we’re finally in space!”
Despite his objections, Chris found himself strolling into the pub with his friends, as they laughed and talked their way up to the bar.
Jin Park slapped his hand on the bar. “A round for my friends, if you please!”
Silence greeted them, an oppressive silence. Slowly, the four stopped talking and laughing as they realized everyone in the place was glaring at them, from the blue-skinned bartender to the Star Fleet officers and crew sitting in booths along the walls and at tables spaced over the floor.
Chris began to feel uncomfortable, and he could see his friends were feeling the same. But then, one of the Jupiter officers stood up and walked over to the bar, finishing his mug of golden beer.
“Come on Frank,” he said to the bartender, “these officers asked for a drink. Pour them up a round—and put it on my tab. Pour me one of those shots as well.”
The Bolian nodded, threw a towel over one shoulder and took out five shot glasses, pouring an amber liquid in each. He set one glass down in front of each of the four Ensigns, and the fifth before the officer who spoke.
That officer picked up his glass. “A toast, Jupiters! A toast to the heroes of Star Fleet who go out into the unknown and put their own lives at risk! Join me in drinking with these men and women from the . . .”
,” Chris whispered, feeling the pit of his stomach drop.
“These gallant officers from USS Republic
!” He stopped and looked at the four, none of whom had touched their glasses. “Or maybe, the courageous young officers from Republic
don’t want to drink with us
. Which is only fair, Ensigns. Because my Jupiters don’t seem to want to drink with you, either. Not after you fired upon a Gorn ship with no shields, with her weapons unpowered, sitting in a parking orbit with her engines down. Not after you abandoned a Federation Colony—and your own first officer—when the Gorn responded in a fury.”
“Ah, but what’s a few hundred civilian lives, after all. Drink up, Republics
! Drink up, you’ve earned it. You started a fight you couldn't handle and then the whole lot of you ran and kept
running until you and your ship were safe—pity that the colonists and your away team couldn't run from the photon bombardment the Gorns used to kill them all.”
The speaker sat down his glass and he spat into the liquid. “On second thought, I don’t think I will share a drink with you. Jupiters! We are leaving. Let these cowards have the bar to themselves.”
One by one, the Star Fleet officers and NCOs stood and walked out, each one glaring at the Ensigns in turn. Finally, the Bolian named Frank locked up his liquor supply and he too left the bar. Chris swallowed, and he hit his comm badge. “Roberts to Republic
. Four to beam up.”