With HD-TNG now on the go, all the crisp, sharp screencaps got me thinking about that time in Trek and how things would be very different from the post-Dominion War time period I usually write in, so I set about devising a new ship and crew to experiment with.
So I'd like to present a little taster of:
Star Trek: Wilderness
The main series starts in 2358, six years before the Enterprise
-D was launched, set onboard the Cheyenne-Class U.S.S. Juno
on a deep space scouting mission, blazing a trail in a new frontier for other ships to follow.
* * * * *
Cockpit, U.S.S. Kilimanjaro
On approach to Space Station K-12
Stardate: 34993.8 (December 29th, 2357)
Linna Rhyth watched the station loomed up on the Himalaya-Class runabout. The old base was the last of the K-Series still in service, though it was a shadow of its former glory. Once centres of commerce and diplomacy, they had become little more than way stations for drifters and transients. K-12 was kept operational as a base because there was little point in replacing it with something newer, so it had long since become a dumping ground for personnel who weren’t wanted anywhere else.
, she lamented, her heart aching. She couldn’t believe that he had wound up on such a dead end outpost. Were things really that bad after Derakas?
she asked the universe. One incident, one moment of apprehension had led to this. A cold shiver ran down her spin.
The companel flashed. “Runabout
Kilimanjaro, you are cleared for docking at hangar three, pad D.”
“Acknowledged,” she replied promptly and cut the channel. She tapped in a control sequence and headed for the hangar. The station design always reminded her of a castle, with the large central core surrounded by three turrets, surrounded by moat of still darkness. It was a bleak and depressing scene, the hull of the base was a patchwork of metal panels, sensor palettes, deflector screen grids and other technology—the newest of which was at least thirty years old.
I promise you, Saul, I will get you out of here.
* * * * *
Docking Control, Space Station K-12
As bad as the exterior had been, inside the old base things were worse. The haphazard refits and repairs were more obvious, rounding a corner would lead her into an old section of corridor probably not touched since the base was commissioned, then a T-junction later she would be in a segment that had been upgraded three decades ago during the last overhaul.
For a base that had once had a standard complement of around six hundred, there was just over a third of that currently stationed on K-12. So the corridors were lightly populated, even those that passed through the base made little use of its recreational facilities or shops, so the commercial zone was little more than a ghost town. Her unexpected arrival had obviously gotten people talking—if the overly inquisitive shuttlebay techs were anything to go by—but she hadn’t told them anything but the bare minimum and left them guessing.
She entered Docking Control to find the facility manned by only two people, a skittish young human ensign and a lethargic Bolian petty officer. The officer was on his feet in a second after seeing her rank pips and scurried over to greet her.
“Yes sir. Can I help you, sir?”
She recognised the slightly squeaky voice from the comlink. “I’m looking for your supervisor.”
The colour drained from his face and sweat beaded on his forehead. “I’m sorry,” he replied instantly, head down and obviously thinking he’d done something wrong.
“He’s in his office,” the Bolian called, not looking up from his monitor—she could help but wonder what was so interesting that kept his transfixed on the display.
Not saying another word she headed for the only other door into the room and pressed the enunciator. A male voice called for her to enter and she stepped inside.
The office was cramped and bleak, dull grey walls that could sap any happy thoughts or upbeat feelings out of you, whilst the furniture was obviously well used and handed down from other locations across the station. There was nothing personal in the room, no mementoes of better times.
“Clarke, what is it n—Linna? What are you doing here?” Saul Keller asked, obviously dumbfounded.
She smiled at her old friend, amused by his shock. She planted her hands on her hips and looked him straight in the eye. “I think you know why I’m here, Saul.”
His brow furled tightly as the muscles in his jaw clenched. “Linna, I’ve told you I can’t—”
“Why?” she demanded. “You’re better than this, Saul! You would’ve been better off retiring rather than being assigned here. This dump is a waste of your talents.”
“Obviously Starfleet doesn’t think so. It was either take this position or remain a Lieutenant for the rest of my career—”
“A career that should have been something truly great!”
“I screwed up, alright! I made a huge mistake and now I have to live with the consequences, there’s nothing to be done about it.”
“You could let a friend help you out.”
“Linna, I can’t,” he said, shaking his head.
“Dammit Saul! Give me one good, solid, logical reason why you can’t be my First Officer, and then I’ll leave you alone,” she demanded, feeling more worked up face to face than any of the times they’d talked over subspace. Ever since she’d been assigned the Juno
she’d been after Saul for her First Officer, wanting someone she knew to bounce ideas off of, who wouldn’t be afraid to argue his point and stand his ground, but also willing and able to follow whatever order she gave. That person was Saul Keller, only he didn’t see it that way.
There was a moment of terse silence in the cramped office, neither willing to back down. Finally, he broke the deadlock and looked away, sighing heavily. When he spoke again, his voice was soft, sounding almost defeated.
“I can’t come to the Juno
because it’ll screw up your career,” he admitted.
She scowled slightly at him then moved closer to the desk. “What do you mean?”
“This is a high profile mission, blazing a trail into the unknown, making history with every light-year, meeting new races never known of before, discovering new phenomena and worlds—the kind of assignment we joined Starfleet for. There’s no way HQ will let it be tarnished by having me there, sullying the mission and you.
“You’d be better off finding someone else.”
“Saul, I don’t want someone else. My shortlist of candidates has only one name on it, and with two weeks to go before we launch, there isn’t a lot of time to find someone else. Besides, the Juno
should have been your ship,” she told her former classmate. “This is the kind of mission you need to help you get back on track, to silence all the doubters, to prove that you have more than what it takes.
“And frankly, I don’t give a damn what some stuffed shirt Admiral says. You are the man I want in the post and I will fight tooth and nail to get you where you belong.”
He let out a single chuckle. “Do you just want to throw the cat among the pigeons?”
“Captain’s prerogative,” she told him with a smile. “So what do you say?”
A small grin tugged at the corner of his lips. “How could I argue with a ‘captain’s prerogative’?”
* * * * *