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Old November 7 2013, 09:15 PM   #1
Bry_Sinclair
Commodore
 
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Location: Tactical withdrawl along the Klingon border
Star Trek: (Unnamed Project) - Crossroads

This is the beginning of an idea that I've had recently, though granted probably not an overly original idea, but one I could be able to have a little fun with if/when the mood takes me. The project title is yet to be decided, as is the actual name for this little story.

* * * * *

Bridge, U.S.S. Mandela NCC-64331
Traversing Sector 99790
Stardate: 54179.6 (March 7th, 2377)

Daniel Takashima stifled a yawn. He was five hours into an eight hour shift, spent doing little more than paperwork. The U.S.S. Mandela was at warp five, travelling across a wide expanse of empty space, leaving behind one system they had spent days studying and cataloguing and heading for the next; as part of their scouting mission for sites of future colony or terraforming planets. After years spent living on adrenaline, field rations and little sleep during all their recent conflicts and reconstruction work, Takashima had to admit the relaxed pace was a lot to get used to once again.

“Commander,” came a soft voice from behind him.

Glancing over his right shoulder he looked upon Ensign Igen at the science console and, not for the first time, couldn't help but notice just how young the Bajoran was. She was a junior science officer and was covering the duty station for Lieutenant Commander Coleman, who was recovering from injuries she’d sustained during a rockslide on their last planetary survey.

“Yes Ensign?” he asked.

“Um, I’ve got something on long-range sensors, sir.”

His brow furrowed. “‘Something’? Care to elaborate?”

She looked back at the vast bank of monitors and controls for a moment then back at him. “Um, I’m—I’m not sure, sir. Sensors register a metallic signature along our present course, but I can’t tell much more than that.”

His curiosity peaked; he turned to Suulok at ops. “Can you confirm, Lieutenant?”

The Vulcan took a few moments to run his own scan, retrieve the data and extrapolate the relevant data—as good as he was, Takashima had learnt not to rush him.

“Confirmed Commander. Sensors register a metallic object approximately point-zero-two light-years ahead, one-point-six degrees off of our present course.”

“Can you identify them?”

“Not at this range, sir.”

Takashima rose from his seat and cast a glance at Lieutenant JG Nhataq at tactical, a question on his face. She shook her horned head, unable to provide any more information to the object. Striding over to science, he looked at the sensor readouts himself, but as all the bridge officers had attested to the object wasn’t giving away any secrets.

He tapped the intercom panel. “Captain Jinaas to the Bridge.” To Igen he instructed, “Start compiling all the data you can on that object. Nhataq, scan for other ships.”

As Jinaas emerged onto the Bridge, Takashima has descended from the aft consoles to stand beside ops. The Tiburonian took in the command centre for a moment and then approached his XO. “Problem?” he asked simply.

“We’ve got an unidentified metallic object just off of our present course, point-oh-two light-years away.”

“No ships in range, sir,” Nhataq announced.

“All long-range probes sent out here showed no space-faring species,” Jinaas mused.

“Perhaps they are on a scouting mission too,” suggested Takashima.

Stroking one of his large ears—something Jinaas always did when thinking—he nodded slowly. “Perhaps Commander.” He looked over at Igen. “Ensign, have you got any specifics?”

Takashima noticed her take a calming breath, before turning to face the Captain. “I can’t detected any signals or energy emissions at present, sir. I have been able to determine approximate dimensions however. The object measures seven hundred fifty meters in length, five hundred meters in width, and fifty meters in height.”

“Longer than a Sovereign-Class, wider than a Galaxy, and about the same height as a Sabre,” Takashima commented. “A ship that size, I can only imagine their armament.”

“As can I, Commander, and I don’t like it,” Jinaas said in a low voice.

Though armed with two torpedo launchers and six type-eight phaser arrays, Freedom-Class ships could hold their own against many opponents, but a ship of that size was well beyond their capabilities, and with the closest help being a couple weeks away at best they weren’t in the best position to get into a fight on their own.

“How long until we reach them?”

“We will be alongside in forty-eight minutes, sir,” Lieutenant JG Yadix stated from the conn.

“Orders Captain?”

Jinaas stood between the conn and ops posts, watching the viewscreen and stroking his left ear. After a few moments, he squared his shoulders and clasped his hands behind his back. Takashima had only served under the Tiburonian for under a year, but he’d come to know his CO’s body language very well in that time, so he knew Jinaas had reached a decision.

“Conn, maintain course and speed, but standby to engage evasive manoeuvres in they so much as look our way. Lieutenant Suulok, run full diagnostics of all systems and lock down all critical systems.”

“Aye sir,” the two men replied as Jinaas turned towards the aft stations.

“Nhataq, sound yellow alert, place all weapons and shields on standby. Ensign, monitor that object very closely and report any activity.”

“Aye Captain,” both women confirmed.

As yellow alert sounded throughout the ship, Jinaas took his seat. Takashima moved over to stand beside Igen and help to gather and collate data they amassed on whatever it was. Jinaas was always a cautious Captain, they would monitor the object to see what it did: if it made a move towards them he would attempt communications and if that failed he would pull the Mandela back; however, if it did nothing they would be close enough to determine just what it was and could either continue on their course or stop to investigate further. It wasn’t quite how Takashima would have called it but over the last five years, whilst he had been fighting Klingons and Jem’Hadar and Cardassians, Jinaas had been out in the unknown scouting out systems and worlds he had never heard of before—spending less than six months within Federation space—so he knew how to handle remote missions.

Takashima glanced back at the viewscreen as the stars continued to slip by. They would find out soon enough just what they would be facing.

* * * * *
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Old November 7 2013, 11:18 PM   #2
admiralelm11
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Re: Star Trek: (Unnamed Project) - Crossroads

Interesting. I wonder what's coming for dinner. Good crew and ship dynamic there as always, Bry.
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Old November 8 2013, 01:01 PM   #3
Bry_Sinclair
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Location: Tactical withdrawl along the Klingon border
Re: Star Trek: (Unnamed Project) - Crossroads

“Still zero activity, sir,” Nhataq announced. Takashima glanced back at the Ktarian and could tell she was itching for a little excitement, like him she was new to the Mandela and found their quiet assignment somewhat disconcerting.

“Confirmed,” Suulok added—even by Vulcan standards he was nit-picky and overly-precise. “The object has made no movement, nor has there been any attempt at communications or varied energy output—which remains negligible.”

Jinaas nodded as the information came to him. The Mandela had remained on her course and neared the unknown object, everyone getting a little antsy (except Suulok) as the minutes ticked by, but now they were at the point when they would be nearest to the enormous hunk of metal so the tension level had increased significantly. However it appeared that all their caution was for nothing, as the object didn’t react in any way.

Carefully he moved closer to the single command chair. “Captain, might I recommend altering course to get a closer look,” he suggested, his voice low so only Jinaas could hear.

He noticed a faint smile appear on the Tiburonian’s lined face, before he looked up at his First Officer. “I’m surprised you held off suggesting that for this long, Commander.”

“I didn’t want to appear too eager, sir,” he replied with a faint smile of his own.

“Yadix, adjust heading. Intercept course with the object.”

“Aye sir,” the Bolian pilot replied excitedly.

On the viewscreen the starfield shifted as the ship turned to starboard. They were only a few minutes out and would continue to monitor their sensors, everyone prepared to bug out the second the situation called for it.

Takashima however had a feeling in his stomach; something was telling him that there was no immediate danger. It wasn’t a sense he got very often and, truth be told, he’d only ever started to feel it after a piece of shrapnel almost gutted him on the Potemkin two years ago, but since then it hadn’t failed him, so he had come to trust it—for now at least.

From behind he heard doors whisper open. Glancing back he noticed Lieutenant Jehu step onto the Bridge, a rare occurrence for the Security Chief, who preferred to remain below decks in charge of his security detachment and leave tactical matters to Nhataq. The Ahvoran was tall and wiry, but he was deceptively strong not to mention quick, whilst his hyper-flexible skeletal structure gave him a pretty unique advantage as well. Jehu stopped just to the side of the tactical console and watched the goings on quietly.

As the minutes ticked by, Takashima moved over to stand next to Yadix keeping a close eye on their position and the object. He couldn’t help but be reminded of multiple occasions during the war when he just had to sit and wait for an inevitable battle, the same mix of anticipation, fear and resolve coursed through his veins.

“We are in visual range, sir,” Nhataq announced, breaking the uneasy quiet.

“On screen,” ordered Jinaas.

Takashima kept his eyes on the viewscreen as the streaks of stars were replaced with the enormous object. It was dark in colour, making it hard to distinguish from the blackness of space, especially as it was in open space, the nearest star being eight light-years away. The object was shaped like an isosceles triangle, though the shorter end arched outwards, whilst the two longer sides curved inward to a fine point. At the wider end it was taller with structures both on top and underneath the main hull. Even without anything near it to give a sense of scale, he could tell it was big; long and wide but flat—flatter than the Mandela. The charcoal-grey hull was uneven, with nodes, pipes, trenches, domes, arrays and turrets clearly visible. He was able to pick out a few viewports, though they were all dark—it was obviously a structure designed for people to live within, but he couldn’t see any nacelles or engine ports from their current angle of approach.

He heard Jinaas rise and step down to the forward consoles.

“Seeing it up close doesn’t make me feel any better about it,” he admitted.

“Status?” Takashima asked.

“No subspace emissions of any kind detected. Power output is barely registering. I am detecting no weapon signatures or engine trails,” Suulok stated. “There has been no response to any of our hails.”

“She’s not making a move, sir” added Yadix.

“What about the interior?”

“Unknown Captain, all my attempts to scan the interior are ineffective.”

Jinaas looked down at Suulok. It wasn’t often the Vulcan failed to give the Captain what he wanted, this was only the second time Takashima had witnessed it in ten months onboard.

“Um, sir,” came Igen’s soft voice from the aft consoles. Jinaas and Takashima looked back at her.

“Yes Ensign?”

“It looks as though the ship’s hull is refracting our sensor sweeps, without studying a sample it would be difficult to circumvent the effect.”

“Would it be the same for a transporter beam?” Takashima asked.

She nodded. “I believe so, sir.”

He became aware of Jinaas looking at him intently. The Captain had agreed to altering course, taking an away team over was a whole other matter. Takashima looked at Jinaas, holding his gaze levelly.

“You want to go over there?” the Tiburonian asked.

“They could need our help.”

“Maybe they’re hibernating or merely value their privacy.”

“We can always leave if they ask us too. It’s in our directive to ‘seek out new life’.”

“Why do some officers always play that card,” Jinaas asked himself, glancing back at the screen for a moment before nodding. “Take a team over, assess the situation. If they need help give it to them, likewise if they tell you to leave then get out of there.”

“Aye sir,” he acknowledged quickly. He looked at Jehu. “Lieutenant, prep your team and get them to the shuttlebay. Suulok, have an engineering crew and a couple of medics meet me there.” Jehu gave a single nod, turned on his heel and left as quietly as he’d arrived, whilst Suulok set about contacting the engine room and sickbay. There was just one more person he wanted.

As he headed for the aft turbolift he glanced at the science station. “Igen, you’re with me.”

Her double take and look of disbelief made Takashima smile to himself, but as shocked as she was she didn’t waste any time catching up with him in the turbolift carriage.

* * * * *
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Old November 8 2013, 05:22 PM   #4
Bry_Sinclair
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Location: Tactical withdrawl along the Klingon border
Re: Star Trek: (Unnamed Project) - Crossroads

Shuttlebay, U.S.S. Mandela NCC-64331
All Stop, Sector 99790

The shuttlebay of the Mandela wasn’t huge, but was large enough to take two type-eleven, two type-nine and two type-eight shuttles. For their survey missions, the facility had been heavily used, as individual teams were sent out to study and analyse multiple planets, moons and meteoroids in as short a time as possible, so the crew worked with practised ease.

Takashima had opted for the Roen, one of the large type-elevens, seeing as how the team comprised of twelve officers, specialists and crewmen. When he and Igen arrived, Jehu had his four-man team already assembled, armed with hand phasers and loading the shuttle up with rifles and checking the EVA suits and emergency supplies. It hadn’t taken long for the engineering team to arrive, all of them with repair kits and carrying in a couple of portable generators. The excitement among the engineers was evident, entering the bay their voices carried as they discussed what they might find onboard. Takashima was surprised to see that Lieutenant Commander Keats wasn’t leading the team; instead the elderly Chief Engineer had sent his second-in-command, Lieutenant Ra-Vahneii. The four engineers were just starting to load their gear when Doctor sh’Bahyn and Nurse Keller entered, likewise burdened with field kits and other equipment.

He welcomed all of them onboard, helping to load up the aft compartment of the shuttle, and listened to their thoughts and theories as to just what they would be facing. Many on the team had served onboard the Mandela for several years, so they had been spared the horrors of war he had witnessed firsthand. He found it strange to be surrounded by so many on the starship who had only read the reports of the war but had no direct experience, they were untainted by it and because of that they seemed innocent. Their enthusiasm and optimism was catching, as he found his own mind running away with itself.

Shaking such thoughts to the side, he refocused once again. With the most of the equipment stored, he left them to finish up and get strapped in, whilst he headed for the cockpit. Ensign Igen sat in the co-pilot seat running through the pre-flight checks just the way she would have been instructed at the Academy. He knew there would be some who would question taking an ensign with less than a year’s practical experience on such a mission, but Igen was a generalist—degrees in several scientific fields that gave her a wide array of knowledge and wasn’t pigeonholed into a single discipline. Commander Coleman, her supervisor, spoke highly of the Bajoran ensign and for Takashima that was all he needed.

Approaching the chair next to her, he asked, “How’s it looking?”

“All pre-flight checks complete, I’m just logging the results with flight ops, sir.”

“Nicely done, Ensign.”

Jehu and Ra-Vahneii stepped into the cockpit. “All equipment secured, Tak,” Jehu told him, using the nickname he had given the First Officer—so it was easier and faster to address him in an emergency situation. The lieutenants took the last two chairs and began reviewing all the readouts.

He tapped the companel. “Roen to Bridge. Pre-flight completed and equipment stored. Requesting permission to depart.”

“Granted,” Jinaas informed them. “We’ve just completed a preliminary visual sweep of the object and can confirm that it is a ship. We have also located what appears to be a hangar; co-ordinates are being sent to you now.”

There was a chirp from his console and he noticed the data appear on the navcomp screen. “Received. We will make entry there and move out. We should be able to use the shuttle as a communications relay between the team and the Mandela.”

“Acknowledged. Good luck. Jinaas out.”

When the comlink closed the space doors ahead of them slowly started to rise. He brought the thrusters online, then with the lightest of touches the shuttle lifted off the deck and towards the void that opened up before them.

* * * * *
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Old November 9 2013, 02:06 PM   #5
CeJay
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Re: Star Trek: (Unnamed Project) - Crossroads

This may not be an original opening but it is classic Trek. The random space encounter with the unknown. This is what it's all about.

I like the nuanced post-war anxiety here as well. A clear sign that things have changed for Starfleet and it's people. Where before a crew would have perhaps steered right towards the unknown ship, bright-eyed and with the promise of discovering a new people, now caution wins out and Mandela and her crew show much more restraint initially.
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Old November 9 2013, 03:08 PM   #6
Bry_Sinclair
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Re: Star Trek: (Unnamed Project) - Crossroads

Cockpit, Shuttle Roen NCC-64331/1
Approaching Alien Ship, Sector 99790

The journey from the Mandela to the alien ship had been brief, less than five minutes, but now they were approaching what they believed was a shuttlebay. The next problem they would face would be just how to get it open, if they couldn’t they would have to find an airlock.

“I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” commented Jehu.

“You have a bad feeling about everything,” Ra-Vahneii shot back. “It hasn’t moved since we first spotted it.”

“So it’s not lying in wait for us to get this close before attacking?”

Before the Efrosian could quip back Takashima stepped in. “You two about done?”

Ra-Vahneii seemed to think about it for a moment, before deciding (correctly) that it wasn’t the time to make light of the situation. Takashima had to agree with Jehu, now was the best time for the ship to spring a trap for them, despite the gut feeling he had about the lack of immediate danger. His fingers hovered over the thrusters control panel, ready to bank them hard to port and pull back the instant the status quo changed.

“Do we get out and knock?” Ra-Vahneii asked.

Takashima was studying the space door, which was made of the same dark metal that gave nothing away. He then moved around the outer edge, trying to see if there was anything on the hull that would give them a means of entry. But Igen beat him too it.

“Could that be some kind of communications device?” she postulated pointing at a node above the door.

“A shuttle approaches, sends out the right signal and the door opens,” mused Jehu. “Practical. You wouldn’t need a crew manning the hangar waiting for ships to arrive.”

“It’s worth a shot,” he admitted. “Begin running through the frequencies, we might get lucky.”

“Aye sir,” Igen replied instantly and set to work.

He noticed the two lieutenants look at her, Ra-Vahneii shook her head and Jehu smirked slightly—they had both seen their fill over over-eager ensigns, out to impress on their first away mission. It took a few moments, but there was an acknowledgment from Igen’s console and the shuttlebay doors parted.

As they opened, the cockpit crew were afforded their first glimpse within the alien ship, not that there was much to see. There was no illumination inside the hangar, so Takashima activated the shuttles own lighting which cut through the eerie stillness. The bay was much larger than the Mandela’s, at least twice the depth though only two decks high—windows on the upper level allowed them to peek into the control room, enough to see there was no one there. On the landing deck were four shuttles, all the same design, slightly smaller than the Roen, all made from the same dark metal as the mothership.

Roen to Mandela. We have managed to open the shuttlebay doors and are proceeding inside, no contacts as yet.”

“Understood Commander, stay alert.”

Taking a breath, Takashima moved the shuttle inside whilst the others ran every scan they could. He left them to it, knowing if anything cropped up he would be alerted, and focused on manoeuvring the shuttle down onto the deck with a muted thump. As he secured the shuttles systems he noticed that the deck had a magnets clamp on the ship, which must’ve meant there was no atmosphere or gravity in the bay and would be needed to keep the shuttles from floating inside the bay.

“Reading only minimal power emissions,” Ra-Vahneii began, “if I’d guess it looks like for containment or safety systems. Life support and environmental are out, no oxygen as far as I can scan, negative gravity, and deep cold—minus sixty degrees c.”

“No weapon signatures or targeting sensors.”

“I’m not reading any lifesigns, sir, or bio-matter. Either the crew abandoned ship or there never was any to begin with.”

Nodding, he took in the officer’s assessments then turned away from the viewport. “Alright, Ra-Vahneii and Igen start mapping as much of the ship as you can from here—focus on finding their engine room and bridge. Jehu, you and I will start prepping the team, we’ll need full EVA for this excursion.”

They all replied and set to work, Takashima leading the Security Chief through to the rear compartments. The rest of the team were awaiting their arrival and he quickly explained the conditions inside the ship, after which the security team were already distributing the environmental suits to each member. It had been a while since Takashima had last gone zero-g, but it surprised him just how easily he remembered how to put on the suit.

He secured the chest section, which housed the atmospheric reprocessor that allowed him to breathe, before picking up the last two suits and heading back to the cockpit. He set them in the empty chairs as the two women continued to scan and compile their readings.

“You’d better get suited up; I want to get moving as soon as we’re ready.”

“We’ll just need another five minutes, Commander,” Ra-Vahneii assured him. “I’ve pinned down the location of the bridge, but the engine room is proving tricky—there is a lot of tech here I’ve never even thought of. I have a general location but just need to pinpoint the specifics.”

“I have every faith in you, Lieutenant,” he said with an easy smile. He looked at Igen before heading out and noticed that she’d paled slightly. “Alright Igen?”

She looked at him then the suit and back again. She tried to give him a composed look but he could see through it to his discomfort and trepidation. “Um, I’m not a fan of zero-g operations, sir.”

Though he knew that not many liked the suits or working in lower gravity, there was something about the young ensign’s demeanour that told him it was more than that. However, he decided not to push the matter, forcing her to dwell on what was making her uneasy wouldn’t do anything to help. In order to graduate from the Academy, she needed to be proficient EVA, so her being there meant that she could work through whatever she didn’t like when the situation called for it.

He gave her a supportive look. “We’ll be waiting in the hold, so once you get finished up here meet us back there.”

“You got it, Commander,” Ra-Vahneii said, not looking up from her sensor scans.

* * * * *
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Old November 9 2013, 11:09 PM   #7
Bry_Sinclair
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Location: Tactical withdrawl along the Klingon border
Re: Star Trek: (Unnamed Project) - Crossroads

I've made a slight tweak to one of the previous instalments. Nurse Keller has now been renamed Kinsey, Keller just didn't seem to fit in my mind.

* * * * *

Corridors, Alien Ship
Adrift, Sector 99790

Once past the hangar, Takashima had split the team into two. His team (comprising of himself, sh’Bahyn, Igen, Sihros, Kol Thoren and Tallok) would head to the bridge and start their search from there, whilst also trying to access the ship’s records. The second team, led by Jehu, were making their way to the engine room to see what they could learn about the ships technology. For a ship this size, they would need every officers and crewman from the Mandela in order to conduct a full and thorough search, but since they just had twelve he’d made the call about where to focus their efforts.

They would scan the ship for life-signs all the way, but with no atmosphere and such low temperatures, he didn’t expect to find any—unless they were in stasis. If the ship really was empty, then they could claim salvage rights and the mammoth ship (and all her technology) would be theirs to study and develop.

His group moved out in single file, himself at point so it was his SIMs beacon that cut through the still darkness first. Every corner they came to made him grip is rifle that little bit tighter—after they had learned the condition of the ship’s interior, he had ordered the type-III rifles issued to the security team and himself. The comlink between the teams and the Mandela remained open, but chatter was kept to a minimum.

He could only hear his own breathing within the suit, feeling his skin crawl as sweat trickled down his body. Even though the suit was regulated to be as comfortable as possible to the wearer, he always found them stuffy. Whenever he could, he cast a glance at Igen to see how she was holding up, but the glare from the lights on her helmet obscured her face. He could only hope that she would speak up if it got too much for her, they could get her back to the shuttle and she could monitor things from there.

“Commander,” Sihros hissed into the comlink, “the bridge is just ahead. Twenty meters.”

“Thank you, Ensign,” he replied to the Saurian, trying not to sound startled by the sound of her soft lisp right in his ear.

They reached the doorway without incident and he directed Kol Thoren and Tallok to watch the corridor with him, as Igen and Sihros set to work on the door panel and sh’Bahyn continued to scan for any indication of life still onboard. They had had to pass through several doors along their way, so the formation was executed with ease, as was the door controls. The engineer and scientist got it opened in record time, then stood back as he and Tallok entered first.

As they entered he quickly swept the room and took in its details with a trained eye. The door they entered led into a section not much wider than the corridor itself, but there was a small freestanding table in the middle, whilst darkened monitors dominated the port and starboard bulkheads, opposite the exit after a few short meters the room opened up in a hexagonal shape. There was a singular chair just within the wider section, which had steps around the outer edge of the deck leading to the lower tier, so it looked as though the captain’s chair (if that was who sat there) was on a little balcony. There were a couple banks of computer terminals on either side, whilst in the middle of the bridge were four clustered together consoles which the captain (being only five steps above them) had a clear view over.

Like all the other compartments they had looked in at, the bridge too was empty. The others filed into the room and looked around, he could even tell that Sihros was excited at their find, she was fidgety and looking around at everything quickly.

“Alright let’s get to work,” he instructed. “Ensigns, we’ll see if you can get into their computer systems and access their memory core. Doctor, take Kol Thoren and Tallok and check out the immediate vicinity—don’t wander too far though.”

“Understood sir,” the Andorian surgeon stated, before motioning at the two guards to follow her back out the way they came. Neither man seemed happy about leaving the rest of the team, but complied with their orders.

Once they’d left he called into the comlink. “Takashima to Jehu. How’re things going on your end?”

“We have reached the engine room. I have to say I’ve never seen Ra-Vahneii so happy.” Takashima smiled to himself, imagining the look she’d have just fired in Jehu’s direction. “No signs of life, nor are there radiation spikes, weapons fire, contagions, nothing to suggest what happened here.”

“We’re the same here. Mandela do you copy that?”

“Yes Commander,” Jinaas acknowledged. “We’re recording everything from the communications and data links. Keats and Suulok are already starting to go through it. Takashima, I’m going to give you a couple more hours over there, then I want your team back. Understood.”

“Understood sir,” he replied to the Captain, then to his team he announced, “You head the boss, we’ve got two hours to get all we can then he head back to the homestead.”

* * * * *

First Officer’s log, stardate: 54180.8.

My initial team has returned to the Mandela without any problems. A full bioscan shows that we didn’t bring back any pathogens or harmful microbes with us, but we did come back with kiloquads of data on that ship. Right now every techie onboard is chomping at the bit to get a look at what we scanned.

After much discussion with Captain Jinaas, I have convinced him that we need to remain on station and conduct a fuller investigation of this unique ship. He is currently relaying the situation to Command. He has also agreed to my request to remain in charge of the recovery and research project, permitting me to use whoever I need to get the job done.

Given just how amazing this find is I would’ve thought Commander Keats would be badgering me to get involved, however he told me today to use Lieutenant Ra-Vahneii—seeing as how he’s “too old to be crawling through ducts and scrambling up ladders”. Also with Commander Coleman still resting up in sickbay after her injuries, she has drawn together a list of appropriate specialists on her staff to assist. I’m also going to have Jehu dispatch a few security teams to help with a full search of the ship—that is once we get the environmentals functional once again.

Had someone told me a year ago, when I was helping to clear up rubble and remains on Cardassia Prime, that I would be here looking out my viewport at a magnificent behemoth of a ship, tasked with unlock her mysteries, I’d never have believed them.

* * * * *
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Old November 10 2013, 05:50 AM   #8
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Re: Star Trek: (Unnamed Project) - Crossroads

There's nothing like a mystery such as this to remind someone what Star Trek is all about: discovering the unknown.
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Old November 10 2013, 08:52 AM   #9
Bry_Sinclair
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Re: Star Trek: (Unnamed Project) - Crossroads

Engineering Section, Alien Ship
Station Keeping, Sector 99790
Stardate: 54187.5 (March 10th, 2377)

Three days had passed since discovering the alien ship and two since they had started researching the ship in depth. For Takashima that meant long days, flitting back and forth from the Mandela to the ship and back again. So far there had been a lot of discussion and debate on what to call the unknown vessel, with suggestions such as The Beast, Behemoth and Titanic being batted around, but he wanted to hold off naming the ship until they knew more about her.

Over the last two days they had managed to restore emergency power and hook up a couple of generators to give it a little boost, and get the life-support and environmental systems up and running, giving them breathable air and heat so they didn’t have to use the EVA suits any more. There were now sixty members of the Mandela’s crew onboard the ship, a full fifth of the scouts complement, carefully studying each system from the interface to the circuitry to the power conduits, or searching through every corridor and room the came to. It was a slow process, though only eleven decks tall the sheer length and breadth of the ship seemed to keep going forever—Takashima had yet to get out to the point at the very front of the ship.

Of course all the section leaders were asking for more people, all of them eager to unlock the mysteries of the ship and make a great discovery—as though the ship itself wasn’t spectacular enough.

Entering the engineering section he followed the makeshift signage the engineers had placed on the walls, so as to direct all onboard to the key areas. Every time they thought they had identified a system and its function two more would need figuring out. Before entering command, he had been in operations, so he loved the technical challenges the ship presented, it was something he could sink his teeth into. Had he not been a Commander and First Officer in the United Federation of Planets Starfleet, there would’ve a skip in his step, but that wouldn’t be appropriate decorum—so he just grinned like the Cheshire Cat.

He stepped into what had been designated main engineering, which housed the ship’s warp core, which was a large sphere held in place above the deck by four conduits—two to provide it with fuel and two to direct the energy produced into the warp coils. Only five engineers were working in the facility, the others were deep within the belly of the behemoth accessing other systems. A quick scan of the room told him that Ra-Vahneii wasn’t among the engineers present.

Moving to the nearest specialist, a redheaded man called Parker, he asked about the Assistant Chief Engineer.

Parker pointed to an alcove with a ladder in it. “She’s down in the Pit, sir.”

“Thanks,” he replied and led the petty officer resume his task. He reached the ladder and started to climb down to the level beneath.

As yet they had learned little of the species who built the ship, though they were obviously bipedal of the same approximate height as the average human or Andorian, and of course very advanced. Most of the Mandela’s social science section was onboard trying to learn more about the enigmatic builders of the ship, they would be his next port of call once he was finished in engineering.

As he stepped off the ladder his boots rung out on the metal grating, echoing around the smaller room—which was dominated by two pyramid-shaped pieces of hardware, one coming up from the deck and the other pointing down from the ceiling, their points separated by a space he could just hit his fist into. There was a soft blue glow from inside the pyramids, which served as the main source of lighting in the ‘pit’.

Ra-Vahneii was standing behind them, hands on hips and scowling. The Efrosian engineer liked to keep her white hair long, never shorter than halfway down her back, and kept it tied in a tight braid so that it was kept out of the way—however there were times, usually when she was crawling through a lot of Jefferies tubes, when she wrapped it around her neck like a scarf (now was also one of those times).

“You called me down here, Lieutenant,” he began looking at the…well whatever they were—which of course had caused no end of problems for the engineering team. “Have you figured this out?”

She scoffed. “I wish, Commander. No, this…thing…shall remain as a testament to my utter failure as an engineer. I’ve run every scan I can think of, mapped out its circuitry, its connection to the power grid, its exact dimensions and composition—learning about two totally new elements in the process—but none of it has helped. I can tell you that it isn’t a part of the warp drive, power generators, environmental systems, computer core, weapons array, or even the laundry! It looks to be some kind of energy capacitor, but where it connects up to the power grid is in a way that transfers energy only one way—from this device into the rest of the ship.”

“So it’s generating the energy inside, independently of the rest of the ship.”

“Yes, but it’s not an emergency battery pack, we found those on decks four and eight—besides emergency batteries still need to be charged off of the main grid,” she groaned in frustration, kneading her shoulders with her hands—from where he stood he could almost see the knots that were forming in her muscles.

“Zelle, take a break. No one is demanding you figure out everything onboard right now.”

“I am,” she retorted sharply, then winced. “Sorry sir, it’s been a frustrating couple of days.”

He gave her a comforting smile. “You’re doing a great job here, Lieutenant. On a find like this there will always be things that don’t make sense to us, others that will defy our conventions, what we have to do is acknowledge that, leave them to the side and focus on what we can solve. The rest we’ll just have to leave to the boffins at the S.C.E.”

She chuckled softly. “Understood sir.”

“Good. Now, what headway has been made with the computer core?”

“The computer core, right,” she said, refocusing her attention away from the ‘thing’. “The last report I had on it, my people were still having issues getting into the core memory. We have access to operational programming to make consoles work, even the diagnostic array, but all other records are still inaccessible.”

“If you need any help getting into it, all you have to do is ask.”

She sighed heavily. “We are needing help, however it’s the source that makes me hesitate.”

He scowled softly at her. As far as he was aware there weren’t any personality clashes or other issues in engineering—he met frequently with Counsellor Yehn to discuss crew performance and morale.

“Who is it?”

Sighing again, shoulders slumped, she told him. “Crewman Raine from Operations. He’s a brilliant computer analyst; unfortunately he takes great pleasure in reminding everyone of that fact every chance he gets.”

“Ah,” was all he could say. He had heard a few grumbling about Raine before, all saying the exact same thing. He was the top rated computer specialist onboard the Mandela, which probably allowed him a little slack since he was so good at what he did, however he hadn’t really wanted to be in Starfleet and the stop/loss order was preventing him from leaving for a little longer.

“It’s alright, Commander. I can deal with him—though I’m hoping this computer will keep him too occupied to tell me how far beneath his intellect I am.”

“I have complete faith in you, Lieutenant. I’ll ask him to be transferred over with the next contingent. If there is anything more, keep me posted,” he told her heading for the lift.

He had just stepped onto the first rung when he looked back at her. “And Zelle, stay out of the Pit for now,” he said with a grin.

* * * * *
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Old November 10 2013, 09:42 AM   #10
Bry_Sinclair
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Re: Star Trek: (Unnamed Project) - Crossroads

Captain’s Ready Room, U.S.S. Mandela NCC-64331
Station Keeping, Sector 99790
Stardate: 54190.3 (March 11th, 2377)

Given their remote position, it took almost two days for a message to get from the Mandela to Starfleet Command, so it didn’t surprise Takashima when Jinaas had called him into a meeting to discuss the response from Starfleet four days after they’d first discovered the ship. Stepping into the ready room, he supressed a shiver (Jinaas liked to keep the private office a few degrees cooler than standard) and took a seat opposite the Tiburonian. The room was a decent size, but Jinaas liked to collect trinkets and knick-knacks so every surface had something (statues, cups, vases, ornaments, even a dagger or two) on it, whilst the walls were decorated with pictures and tapestries from dozens of worlds—his quarters were worse, as he also had an assortment of mismatched furniture there.

“Starfleet Command and the Corps of Engineers are both very interested in your find, Commander,” he began, “Admiral Paris was almost salivating at our cursory scans of the ship.”

Takashima smiled at the mental image. “I can imagine he would like it.”

“However, it will take too long to get a properly outfitted tug here to take the ship back to Federation space, and it’s too large for us to tow back by ourselves—unless we wanted to restrict ourselves to impulse power.

“So Command has decided to cut our current mission short,” he continued. “They want us to fly the ship back and provide escort. That means we’ll need to transfer a portion of the crew over there until we get to an appropriate research facility.”

“Captain, we’ve just been able to restore minimal power and get life-support back online. We’re a long way from figuring out just how to fly that ship.”

“I know, Commander, which is just what I said in my reply. However, even if we took two to three weeks to learn how to pilot that ship, it’d still be better than waiting two to three months for a tug to arrive. I’ll inform the crew of our new orders shortly, then we can start dividing up the crew—the Mandela can get by with a skeleton crew of around ninety, which means you’ll have the lions share.”

It took a moment for what Jinaas said to sink in, but when it did he could only stare at the older man slack-jawed. The Captain chuckled at his disbelief. Takashima would be the one commanding the ship back to Federation space.

“Thank you, sir,” he said when he was able to find his voice again.

“It’s to most logical option, Commander. After all, you’ve been pretty much sleeping over there anyway,” Jinaas couldn’t keep the smile from his voice. “Before we divvy up the crew, get started on accessing and analysing their control systems—we might as well start trying to figure out how to make that ship work.”

Feeling a little sheepish, he cleared his throat and tried to appear casual as he scratched the back of his neck, as he pulled a PADD from his trouser pocket. He’d already decided to get a new team working on the controls and drawn together a list of who he wanted.

Jinaas chucked and shook his bald head, holding out a hand for the device. Takashima handed it to him and he skimmed over the new group of officers and specialists. It took him a few minutes, but then he applied his thumbprint and handed it back to Takashima.

“You’d better tell them to pack a bag, they could be over there for a while.”

“Aye sir.”

“Dismissed.”

* * * * *
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Old November 10 2013, 12:00 PM   #11
Bry_Sinclair
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Re: Star Trek: (Unnamed Project) - Crossroads

Mess Hall, Alien Ship
Station Keeping, Sector 99790
Stardate: 54193.8 (March 12th, 2377)

As soon as the announcement had been made regarding their new orders, the Mandela had been a buzz with chatter and activity. Within five minutes of the ship-wide announcement, Takashima had received eighteen requests for transferral to the ship, all listing their qualifications and statements as to why they would be invaluable onboard. Since then he’d received several more, but he’d informed them all that no decision would be reached until 0800 tomorrow, when he and the Captain met to discuss dividing the crew. Of course he had a few key officers in mind, but that would need to be negotiated so as to give both ships the expertise they both needed.

Over the last twenty-four hours, the number on the ship had swelled to just over one hundred, including more engineering, science, operations and security teams, a team from sickbay checking over the medical facility onboard, navigation specialists working on just how the ship manoeuvred, and tactical personnel looking at getting the weaponry operational. With transporters still being unable to penetrate the ship’s hull, they continued to rely on shuttles ferrying crew and cargo back and forth. Engineering had been able to restore main power and were making headway with many of the systems—except whatever it was in the Pit—whilst the security teams were continuing to check out the rest of the ship, mapping it as they went. There were still a few areas they had yet to gain access, but it had become more a procedure than a sweep for potential threats.

However, as the day had progressed he had felt a gnawing in his stomach. His imagined sixth sense was trying to tell him something, but it wasn’t a feeling he had had before so chalked it up to the trepidation of getting his own command—even for a brief time. He had lost count of how many away teams he had led, and been in command multiple times on both the Mandela and Potemkin, but that had always been as First Officer, this alien ship would be his for the months it would take for them to get to the S.C.E. research base at Space Station Iota.

He had taken a break and stopped by the mess hall for a quick bite. They had yet to learn if the ship had replicators and, if it did, how they worked, so they were all on field rations. They had a reputation among many in Starfleet for being unappetising, but during the war the developers of the readymade meals must’ve had an epiphany as their quality had improved—either that or the exhaustion and battle-frayed nerves of all those on the frontlines had corrupted their taste buds. Among his latest requisition from the Mandela had been two portable replicator units, which should have come over with the scheduled 1700 shuttle run.

The mess hall had a few others at tables, eating and working at the same time, all talk was focused on the ship itself and what each of them were doing. During his nine months onboard the Mandela, he had made it his mission to learn the names of all the crew, so he knew who each of them was and what department they were in, unfortunately he hadn’t had the time to get to know too many.

At the nearest table Nurse Kinsey was sitting with Lieutenant JG Dheyn, an amused look on her face as the sociologist spoke excitedly, his words almost tripping over one another, emphasising what he was saying with emphatic gestures and sweeps of his arms. The next table over was where Chief Stone was working out a new search route with his security team. In the far corner, crewmen Ries and Zoh wolfed through their meal, eager to get back down to the engine room—though from where he sat he could see their legs crossed together under the table (the Bolian equivalent to footsies). As always Lieutenant Laaun sat at a table that look out at the stars, not surprising for a stellar cartographer.

The doors parted and he glanced over. He was surprised to see Petty Officer Rossi stroll in, carrying a small stack of PADDs. Rossi was an administrations specialist (last century known as a Yeoman) who Takashima saw on an almost daily basis, but whom wasn’t on any assignment to the ship that he had made.

“Good evening, Commander,” Rossi said with a lopsided smile.

“Petty Officer,” he replied by way of greeting. “Something I can do for you?”

“Your regular reports have been backing up these last couple of days, so the Captain asked if I could make sure you got them.”

Takashima raised an eyebrow. “You could’ve transmitted them over; we receive data very easily here.”

“I thought it prudent to deliver them in person, sir, so I managed to catch the 1700 shuttle—you’ll be pleased to hear that your requisition request for two replicators was also approved.”

“That was very resourceful of you, Mr Rossi,” he said, trying to sound serious. “But next time you want to poke around, just ask.”

The young non-com blushed. “Yes sir. Sorry.”

“No need to apologise. Well since the next shuttle isn’t due to depart for another four hours, you can make yourself useful and help out with the data recovery project.”

“Aye sir,” he replied a little too loudly.

Chuckling, he opened his mouth to tell Rossi where they were working from, but before he could get a word out he felt a vibration ripple through the deck and up his leg. The hairs on the back of his neck stood up and his stomach clenched. He looked from Rossi to the others and saw that they’d all felt it too.

Something’s wrong, a voice in the back of his mind told him.

In an instant he was on his feet. “Take your stations,” he ordered, heading for the exit, hearing the rest of the crew get up from their tables and leave the mess hall—even Rossi tagged on behind him.

Heading for the nearest stairwell, he slapped his combadge. “Takashima to Ra-Vahneii. What was that?”

“Unknown. We had a sudden energy spike, but its retur—what the?” she cut herself off.

“Talk to me, Lieutenant,” he enquired, taking the stairs three at a time, feeling the vibration return.

“Another energy spike, but this one is building up.”

“The warp core?”

“Negative. All warp systems are stable. I’ve never seen readings—oh chivek!” she exclaimed. “Commander, the readings I’m getting are similar to that device in the Pit, only magnified tenfold and increasing.”

“Check it out. Cut the power lines if you have to,” he ordered as he reached deck one, then ran full speed forward, towards the bridge. He slapped his combadge again, opening up a new link. “Takashima to Mandela. We have a situation here.”

“Our sensors are registering an energy build-up, Commander,” Jinaas stated, his calm tone tinted with uncertainty. “What’s going on?”

He quickly outlined what Ra-Vahneii had discovered, finishing just as he entered the bridge and passed the display table, stopping at the railing around the lower level. There were six people in the control centre, each working fervidly to discover just what was going on.

“Understood Commander,” Jinass continued through the comlink. “We’re prepping all remaining shuttles for evacuation procedure, but it’s your call.”

“Acknowledged, standby,” he replied then focused on the bridge crew. “Report!”

“Energy levels have increased by two hundred percent in the last thirty seconds!” hissed Ensign Sihros.

“I’ve never seen readings like this,” Igen admitted, obviously fearful.

“Commander, at this rate it doesn’t look like we’ll have any time to evac,” stated Nhataq, giving it to him straight as she always did.

“Ra-Vahneii to Takashima. I can’t shut down the device. We’re currently trying to get access to the conduits to physically cut them, but we need to get through multiple bulkheads—it’ll take time.”

“How much time?”

“Too much, sir.”

“Understood,” he said softly, knowing what that meant for them and the ship.

He looked around at the six faces, all of them far too young for such a fate. He heard the doors behind him open and looked back to see Rossi panting in the doorway whilst Jehu strode forward purposefully. His striped face set.

“There is just one option available, Commander.”

Takashima nodded. “Safeguard the Mandela,” he finished. “Takashima to Jinaas. Captain, the situation is outwith our control here and it is getting worse, fast. I recommend you raise your shields and withdraw to a safe distance.”

There was a moment of silence on the channel. All of the bridge crew were looking at him, a mixture of realisation, fear and grief in their eyes. Though all of them knew just what a life in Starfleet could mean, it was a very different thing to hear about the potential need to sacrifice oneself in a classroom compared with actually facing that moment itself.

“I understand, Commander,” Jinaas replied. “We are pulling back now. Our thoughts and prayers will be with each of you.”

“Thank you, Captain. It was an honour to serve with you, sir. Takashima out.”

The channel closed, leaving them alone to their fate. As consoles chirped and wailed, he took a moment to look at all of those who stood around him, from the steadfast Jehu, whose jaw muscles flex tightly, to the innocent Igen, whose tears ran down her smooth cheeks and off her chin. Before anyone could do or say anything, there was a sudden bright flash of light and all the alerts went silent.

* * * * *
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Old November 10 2013, 06:14 PM   #12
Bry_Sinclair
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Re: Star Trek: (Unnamed Project) - Crossroads

Bridge, Alien Ship
Position: Unknown

As quickly as the flash appeared it vanished, leaving the nine men and women on the bridge standing looking at one another. Daniel Takashima felt as confused as the rest of the crew looked and knew he shared their expressions. He quickly shook it off and tried to look calm, even if he didn’t feel it.

Slowly he reached for his combadge and tapped it. “Takashima to Ra-Vahneii. Did you cut the power lines?”

“No sir,” she replied, sounding as confused as he did. “I was just through the first bulkhead when the device went dark. We’re getting no energy readings from it anymore and all power levels throughout the ship have returned to normal.”

“Run a full diagnostic and report back when you’re finished.”

“Understood.”

The channel closed and he looked back at the bridge crew. “Alright, if she didn’t stop it, what did?”

They looked among themselves for a moment longer and then, to her credit, Ensign Igen wiped the tears from her face, turned back to the console she’d been at and started to input commands. She sparked action in the rest of them, as they all took to a station and tried to get answers. Takashima moved into the aft section with Jehu and brought the display table to life. As the others started scanning the data was compiled and filtered into the table top display, which gave him a full overview of where they were and what was nearby.

It took only a few seconds after they set to work that the Mandela wasn’t within sensor range, but rather than the starship being in the wrong place, it became evident that they were—they just didn’t know where.

As the crew worked in relative quiet, other sections of the ship had contacted them asking about what had happened. With nothing concrete to tell them, Takashima told them what he could and then asked for a full status report. So far there was no damage and all one hundred and four onboard were uninjured, which he breathed a sigh of relief about.

Ra-Vahneii called in again, telling him that all the diagnostics they’d run showed the ship was as it had been before the flash. It was only the device in the Pit that was different, its mysterious function having been completed. Worried about just what it was he’d contacted sickbay and asked Kinsey to give the medical staff a full examination, just to make sure that whatever had happened wouldn’t have any lasting side effects. The head nurse had been quick to acknowledge and told him she’d let him know the full results.

Takashima left Jehu and Rossi at the table and stood at the railing looking around at the others. His eyes were drawn to Igen, who went from the sensor station to the helm and back again, tapping her combadge and talking quietly every so often. When she was back at the sensor console he moved closer and crouched down, which made her look up at him.

“What is it, Ensign?”

“I…I think I know where we are, sir. I’ve spoken with Lieutenant Laaun and Petty Officer Kenza and they have both confirmed my readings.”

“Ok, that’s good. We can start to plot a course home. Where are we?”

She looked away from him for a moment, then drew herself up to her full height and looked back up holding his gaze, her own eyes tearing up once again. “We’re over two-point-two-million light-years from our previous position, sir. We’re in the Andromeda Galaxy.”

* * * * *
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Old November 10 2013, 06:46 PM   #13
Bry_Sinclair
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Re: Star Trek: (Unnamed Project) - Crossroads

Personal log, Daniel Takashima, stardate: 54194.7.

It’s been almost eight hours since the incident. I had hoped that Igen was wrong, but every scan we’ve run confirms what she said; we are in the Andromeda Galaxy. Exactly how we got here is a mystery. Ra-Vahneii can only theorise that the defunct device in the Pit was some kind of starship transporter, however the level of technology needed for such a device—especially one that can cross such extreme distances—is well beyond anything we can fully comprehend. That isn’t stopping her though, she is threatening to take it apart, but I’ve ordered her not too. That technology brought us here; I have to hope that it can send us home if we get it working again. If not, we will never see home again in our lifetimes.

The device was obviously designed to bring us here in one piece, as the ship and crew came through without a scratch. Now I have to look out for one hundred and three others, onboard a ship we still know so little about, in a galaxy that Starfleet has only dreamed of reaching, without any kind of support or back up. Fortunately it looks like where we were ‘beamed’ to is pretty quiet, no star systems or ships anywhere in sensor range. That makes our first order of business a little easier; we’ve got to get everyone onboard up to speed with how to operate this ship and then find out just what she can do.

I’m hoping this ship is originally from Andromeda—why else would it bring us here? If that is so, then maybe those who built it can recharge the device and we can get back to our galaxy.

Truth be told, I’m divided on what’s happened. The thought of never seeing home is like a knife in my chest, but we also have an opportunity no other crew in Starfleet has had. Out here, we would be true explorers once again away from the memories of the war and all strife we’ve faced in these last few years. But that isn’t our primary goal, everyone on this ship knows what that is and it’s up to me to ensure that we achieve it.

I want to give this ship and her crew a structure similar to back on the Mandela, so they can all take some assurance and comfort in something that is familiar and routine to them. To this end I have appointed Lieutenant Jehu as my First Officer, Lieutenant Zelle Ra-Vahneii as Chief Engineering Officer, whilst Lieutenant JG Nhataq will retain her post as Chief Tactical Officer. I will make other appointments in the days ahead, but for now we need to gather ourselves together and figure out just what we do next.

* * * * *

END
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Old November 10 2013, 08:40 PM   #14
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Re: Star Trek: (Unnamed Project) - Crossroads

The Andromeda Galaxy? I think you've gòt the start of something good here, Bry.
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Old November 10 2013, 08:41 PM   #15
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Re: Star Trek: (Unnamed Project) - Crossroads

Didn't see that coming but I like it. It's Voyager all over again but this time ... it's different. With a mostly untested crew on an alien ship in unknown space, this would make for a fun little series as these guys try to figure out a way back and on their way discover truly new and alien life unlike anything we've seen before.

I'd read that.

Well done.
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