Chapter Fourteen (cont.)
Matt limped onto the bridge and crossed the deck to his command chair, as Chan stood and stepped aside.
“Captain Dahlgren,” he said softly, “Mister Malik reports that all breaches have been sealed, the remaining repairs will be undertaken en route. All stations are manned, and Republic
is ready to get under way.”
Matt nodded. “I’ve spoken with Captain Garvick aboard the Endeavor
, Chan. Would you believe that she is missing thirty-four photon torpedoes from her magazine storage? Which happens to be precisely the number that we needed to top off our own magazines?”
“Just wait until you Commodore Sampson calls and wants to know why ten quantum warheads walked away from his own ordnance storage, Sir.”
Matt jerked. “Quantums? Quantums
? Our tubes can’t shoot quantums!”
“Mister Malik thinks that we can adapt the Mk. 70-Q warheads to fit inside our Mk. 60 casings—we’ll lose some range and the tertiary guidance systems, and he and the ordnance specialists will have to refit each torpedo by hand; but he assures me it can be done.”
“And how, pray tell, are you scoundrels planning on priming the quantum torpedoes, Chan? The launchers are not designed for the influx of energy it takes to arm those warheads?”
“The main deflector plasma power conduit runs just below the forward launchers; Mister Malik believes that he can install a new bypass that will provide the needed power in a few days—especially with the new replicator and the horde of engineers we have onboard.”
Chan’s antennae twitched. “Of course, we could just transport the warheads back to McKinley
if you want to go through proper channels.”
“Not on your life, Mister Shrak. I’m certain this crew stole them fair and square,” Matt answered with a smile. “Assume your station for departure.”
“Aye, aye, Sir.”
Matt sat, and he activated the ship-wide intercom.
“This is the Captain. To those of you who have recently joined the crew and complement of USS Republic
, I welcome you aboard ship. As you are probably already aware, our vessel, this proud vessel, has a cloud hanging over her name. She bears a reputation that makes our fellow spacers in Star Fleet shake their heads and make disparaging remarks. They render insults that in truth this crew does not deserve. You are asking yourselves what have I done to warrant this?”
“Instead, you should be asking what am I going to do to restore Republic
her good name. What actions will I take to make this ship the finest in the Fleet?”
“Gentlemen, ladies; reputations can lie. And those crew who were with me in the Cauldron will tell you that. Comrades! We have had our leave cut short—we will be sailing once again into depths of space, with repair parties still working on restoring this ship. We see the scorn in the eyes of our brother and sister officers of the Fleet; we see the disdain that the Council holds our ship in.”
“They do not know what you accomplished so recently; they do not know how Republic
kicked the ass of a modern Klingon battle-cruiser; excuse me, a Class 10 ion storm
Chuckles arose across the bridge.
“They do not know, comrades, but it does not matter. Because we know
. And the rumor mill run amuck is ensuring that even now, though the records are sealed, people are becoming aware of what this ship and her crew have accomplished. We have shed blood together and shed tears together; we have lost members of our family who gave to their lives to protect the citizens of the Federation, and the Kraal people from tyranny. It is up to you to show the universe that their lives were not given in vain!”
“Be proud of who and what you are! Crew and officers of the USS Republic
! For today, we sail once more, our destination the Cygnus Sector, where we will join Admiral Hall on the frontiers of the Federation! Our mission to explore the unknown worlds that lay beyond our acknowledged borders, to seek out new cultures and civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before! Today we start a new era for USS Republic
! Today, we will
be that shining beacon that lights the path into the future!”
“Long ago, on Earth, many years before space-flight was little more than a dream of men often considered mad, mere authors weaving fictional tales of fantasy. Long ago, in that world, there was a great conflict between two differing ideologies, one that would have enshrined the enslavement of our fellow man and the other representing the ideals that we as a Federation carry forward to this day.”
“And from that conflict, there arose a song, ladies and gentlemen. Comrades, that song is out song
Matt pressed another stud and over the ship’s loudspeakers, a robust baritone voice began to sing.
“Mine eyes have the seen the glory of the coming of the Lord; He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored; he hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword; His Truth is marching on.
“Glory, glory, hallelujah! Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Matt spoke up, even as the song continued to play throughout the ship. “This is our anthem, this is our legacy. This is the Battle Hymn of our own Republic
! And if you will not live up to the promise of this ship, then so help me God I’ll kick your ass so fast and hard that you will achieve warp without a starship!”
More chuckles erupted as the song reverberated across the bulkheads and decks of the ship.
“Miss Montoya! Ahead dead slow, until we clear the berth, and then set course for the Cygnus Sector—Warp Seven.”
“Aye, aye, Sir!” she barked in answer.
Chan held one hand to his ear-piece. “Captain, Commodore Sampson and Lt. Commander Adrian are hailing us.”
“On speaker,” said Matt.
“Shall I discontinue the music, Captain Dahlgren?”
“No. Let them sing out, Mister Shrak.”
The Andorian’s antennae twitched, but he only said, “On screen.”
The station commander’s eyes grew wide as he heard the song thundering over the intercom. “Matt, we’ve got a problem.”
“Commodore. If you are referring to the missing quantum warheads, there is no problem. Sign them out to Republic
—they are already in our magazines.”
The angry looking junior officer standing beside the Commodore slammed down his fist. “I’ll file every charge against you I can, you bloody thief! How dare you . . .”
“LIEUTENANT COMMNANDER!” barked Matt as he stood. “Speak to me in that insubordinate tone of voice again, and I will have you broken, Sir. I can—and will
—transfer your ass aboard this ship and assign you every shit detail I have. Commodore, check with Admiral Parker and you will find we are authorized for a full magazine load—an authorization that this p’tahk
ignored. We had to scrounge torpedoes from the Endeavor
, although with the permission of Captain Garvick.”
Permission attained after the torpedoes, but permission nonetheless, Matt thought.
“He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat; he is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat!”
Sampson frowned. “God speed, Captain Dahlgren; I’ll have the paperwork cleared up retroactively—don’t
do this again at my station. Is that understood, Captain?”
“We have cleared the berth, Sir,” Isabella called out from the helm.
“Then bring us about, and take into Warp, Miss Montoya,” Matt said as he sat once more.
leaped forward as shot away from Earth, even as the voices continued to crescendo. “Glory, glory, hallelujah! Glory, glory, hallelujah! His truth is marching on!