April 9 2012, 06:37 PM
Re: A (hopefully) interesting fanfic discussion topic!
2244 (TWENTY YEARS BEFORE JAMES KIRK TAKES COMMAND OF THE ENTERPRISE)
A hundred and twenty light-years beyond the outermost reaches of Federation space, the transport ship Themis slipped smoothly out of warp, her eight week journey across the barren gulf that lay between the United Federation of Planets and the Cimmerian star cluster finally at an end.
In the Themis' forward observation lounge, Adam Lainer stood with a gaggle of other JSP employees who had been his travelling companions for two months since boarding the transport ship at the JSP terminal orbiting Trent, one of the Federation's most remote outposts.
The group watched as one through the tall viewports as their destination became visible, a solitary spaceport suspended in the void over a hundred light-years from civilisation, christened Halfway Station in honour of its position almost exactly halfway between the farthest edge of Federation territory and the vast resources recently discovered in the asteroid belt of the Avalon system deep within the Cimmerian Cluster.
As they drew nearer, Lainer began to make out a number of vessels gathered around Halfway, ranging from transport ships similar to the Themis to small, sleek-looking spacecraft that he decided were private yachts of some kind.
Naturally his eye was drawn to what he immediately recognised as a Starfleet vessel, or more correctly a former Starfleet vessel that had outlived its usefulness to the Federation's vast exploratory and peacekeeping force and found a new home in civilian service. As his gaze moved from the dark letters etched into the starship's primary hull to the crisp new JSP uniform he was wearing, Lainer felt a sudden kinship with the former USS Clydesdale.
Dwarfing everything but the station itself was an immense ore-freighter, holding position nearby as a handful of smaller craft gathered around like newborn chicks around a mother hen. Lainer could see that nearly all of the freighter's detachable cargo pods had been removed, giving it the appearance of a tree that had shed its leaves, leaving just a skeletal-looking trunk remaining.
Physically Lainer likened Halfway Station to a dark-metallic doughnut with two gently-curving pylons of similar diameter reaching up and down from one end, an older design from the one the Themis had docked with above Trent but clearly from the same lineage. He'd been in space long enough to identify that the larger ships docked above and below the doughhut while smaller vessels docked at the doughnut itself.
"Quite something isn't it?" a woman said softly in his ear, reaching both her arms around him and placing her chin on his shoulder. "Drifting out here in the middle of nowhere."
Lainer's gaze remained fixed on Halfway as he sought out his wife's hands, interlacing her smaller fingers with his own. "I'm not sure if it was worth the two-month trip," he admitted.
"It wasn't all bad," Corrine Lainer whispered playfully, giving him a tight squeeze.
Lainer smiled, but before he could reply the ship's PA system chimed, silencing the low-level conversation in the lounge.
"This is Captain Bowers speaking," the disembodied voice of the Themis' commander announced from the bridge. "If you're not already aware we're on our final approach and will be docking at Halfway station within the next few minutes. It's been a pleasure flying with you all and I hope to see you on the return leg at some point in the future. Welcome to Halfway Station."
"A fresh start," Corrine said, sliding around and kissing Lainer gently on the lips.