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Old October 21 2009, 09:49 PM   #1
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Star Trek: Paladin

This is an idea I've been playing around with, so I decided to at least get the first part up as a starting point. Hopefully I'll be able to keep adding to it. Hopefully you'll enjoy it, and thanks for giving it a shot by reading it if you do so

This story is set some time after the events in the Destiny trilogy, and the recent rise of the Typhon Pact.

EDIT: Aaaah! Sorry, about the formatting, am fixing it now.

EDIT 2: Fixed

Star Trek: Paladin

Book One: Home Guard

Part One

The crew lounge of the USS Venture was bustling with people, busiest it had been in a long time. However, this was not due to a big celebration, it was merely the affect of carrying an extra four hundred or so extra officers on a short term basis for transport. Somehow though, there still managed to be a quiet spot in a corner, where two officers sat, one in command red, one in operations and security gold. They both raised glasses, preparing to make a toast.

"To Captain Kaku, and the others of the Dragon,” opened Commander Gary Cleese, raising his glass of synth ale a little to initiate the toast.

The much larger man raised his mead to finish it. Lieutenant Erik Svenson offered “May they be welcomed to whatever halls they may travel to in the next world.”

The two men clinked their glasses, and took a mouthful of their respective drinks, letting the liquids drain quickly down their gullets. A small, but perceptible change to the ever present vibration of the vessel had the officers looking to the forward portholes, realising the ship had just exited warp. In the distance, white and grey specks could be seen, moving independently of the starfield, their forms not yet distinct enough to give away their identities.

Finishing the rest of his drink, Cleese stood up, nodding to his friend, “We should probably be heading up to the bridge. Let’s see if we can’t get a look at the Paladin.”

Svenson signalled his agreement by finishing his own drink and following his senior out the crew lounge, dodging through the others moving in the opposite direction, hoping for a better view.

Within moments, the two were in a turbolift heading up to the bridge, not a word passing between them, but not tension besides which was the situation they were heading to. Cleese took a noticeable intake of breathe through his nose, which made his companion turn to look give him a questioning look.

“The smell again?” was all he asked. He got a nod back.

The doors swished open, revealing again a slightly more crowded than usual bridge, a number bulked up by a handful of senior command officers and various other higher ranking specialist department officers. Taking a free space on the bridge, the new arrivals joined their stares to the others, looking at the viewscreen. There, amongst the other awaiting vessels, and the attending SCE vessels, was the Paladin, due to be their new home for the immediate future.

Cleese wondered how this was going to end.

++++

A sharp intake of breathe through his nose brought uncomfortable memories flooding back into Gary Cleese’s mind. Somehow, ever since the Massacre at the Azure Nebula, the freshly minted commander couldn’t shake the occasional scent of scorched metal and burning flesh, and it was unpleasant to say the least.

He had, of course, tried to have it checked out, yet harassed, overworked doctors had checked and assured him that his nose was perfectly fine, while comforting counsellors postulated that he was still mentally reliving the horrors that he, like so many others who had survived, would likely be living with for the rest of his life. While they added their own platitudes, that he graciously accepted, he still couldn’t shake the feeling that it wasn’t normal.

I suppose in these times, he thought, it’s such a small cross to bear compared to some.

“Sir?” the young lieutenant sitting as the admiral’s receptionist called to him, nervous, yet politely. Cleese couldn’t guess why she was nervous. His eyebrows raised in acknowledgement.

“The admiral is ready for you,” she finished.

Thanking the younger officer, Cleese straightened himself as he rose from his seat in the lounge, tugging at the hem of his shirt. Taking a deep breathe, he mentally prepped himself going into Admiral Nechayev’s office. Had the old girl decided that they shouldn’t have given him the promotion? He had no idea, but then again he had no reason to expect a summons from a senior admiral, especially in these busy days of reconstruction, especially only a commander.

“Still not used to the full third pip, Commander?” quizzed the admiral, eyebrow cocked. He hadn’t realised that he had been rubbing his finger over the new rank pip.

Smiling sheepishly, he nodded, “I guess not, Admiral.”

Snapping to attention, trying to regain some command of protocol, he straightened, “Commander Gary Cleese reporting as requesting, sir.”

With a wave of the hand, Necheyev motioned him to a seat “At ease, Commander, before you give yourself whiplash.”

Blushing a little at his own display, he took the offered seat, looking around the office, trying to get a read of his surrounding, but failing. He crossed his hands in his lap when he was finally seated, he met the gaze the admiral was giving him.

“Would you like some tea?” Necheyev asked, almost seeming to phrase the question as some kind of test. Cleese looked across at the platter that carried a pair of cups and a small pot, it’s spout emitting wisps of vapour, freshly hot one would presume. He hated tea.

Hoping it wouldn’t offend the admiral, he refused. Fortunately, it didn’t seem to attract any ire on her part.

“I suppose you’re wondering why I called for this meeting?” she asked him, breaking the silence.

“Yes, sir.”

“I’ll get to the point then. There’s no need to remind you of how dire the straights the Federation, and Starfleet in particular, are in at the moment. We’re short on ships and crews, and it will be some time before we can construct new vessels and train replacements to crew them. There are holes in our net that you could fly planets through, and with the rise of the new Typhon Pact, and any numbers of vagrants that will take advantage of the very real weakness we know have, we can’t afford to rest on our laurels and not use any option or tools at our disposal to try and keep stability within the quadrant.”

Cleese nodded gravely, it was a very succinct summary of the state Starfleet was in now, but the usage of the phrase ‘any option’ set the hairs on the back on edge. He had read enough political thriller holo novels for such things to worry him.

It seemed that his thoughts must have been broadcasting across an entire sector as Necheyev gave him a weary smile.

“Don’t worry, Commander, we’re not planning on committing any atrocities to keep a hold on, but we are going to be taking some…unusual steps in plugging the gaps in our ranks. As part of that, you’re being assigned to Project Home Guard and as such are being given your own vessel.”

That definitely got his attention, not that he had thought it possible a few moments ago. Leaning forward, his face probably displaying all kinds of embarrassingly confused looks, he couldn’t say anything for a moment.

After that moment, he managed to stammer “My own com...command?”

“Yes.”

“Permission to speak freely, Admiral?” Cleese asked, trying to keep the incredulity out of his voice.

“Granted.”

“Umm…with all due respect, has the Admiralty gone off it’s rocker? I’ve only just been given a promotion to commander, I don’t think I’m ready for a command yet…” he paused as Necheyev raised her hand.

“I better give you the rest of the details. Firstly, I better ‘introduce’ you to the ship you’re going to command,” she stated, taping a few keys on her desktop terminal, before spinning it for Cleese to be able to see what it displayed.

“Meet the USS Paladin,” she told him, watching his expression unfold as he stared at the screen.

He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. The ship was the standard arrangement of Starfleet vessels, primary saucer, neck, secondary hull and nacelles. Arguably the arrangement that made the was made famous by it and it’s sisterships. The plain saucer, smooth and flush hull plating, the near skeletal neck compared to modern designs, angular nacelles, the simplistic geometry. Cleese never for a moment had previously believed that he would have ever seen this in a relevant modern context, let alone with him involved.

These days are just full of surprises.

Now sure he wasn’t hallucinating, he looked back up to re-establish Necheyev’s gaze.

“The Paladin is a Constitution-class?”

Last edited by SilentP; October 21 2009 at 10:00 PM.
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Old October 21 2009, 11:00 PM   #2
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Re: Star Trek: Paladin

Interesting start.

Let's see more.
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Old October 22 2009, 01:36 AM   #3
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Re: Star Trek: Paladin

An admiral giving someone command of a Constitution-class in the 24th century?! It's madness, I tell you, sheer madness!

Actually, I rather have a soft spot for the old Connies. Pray continue, sir, you have piqued my interest.
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Old October 22 2009, 01:07 PM   #4
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Re: Star Trek: Paladin

Star Trek: Paladin

Book One: Home Guard

Part Two

The shuttlebay was a nexus of bustling bodies, shouted orders and harrassed deck officers. The various shuttles and runabouts bound for the Home Guard ships were busy being loaded with cargoes not suitable for transporters and crew. Fortunately, even with the large amounts of space taken up by people and cargo containers there was still order hidden amongst the chaos, with shuttles departing safely and relatively few mix ups occuring, though one highly embarassed ensign did manage to end up on the wrong
ship for a few minutes before heading back to the Venture.

Amongst them, a Denobulan juniour grade lieutenant worked her way towards one of the waiting runabouts, the Thames, which was bound for the Paladin, it's new home. She was oddly serene considering the crowd, but it was only natural to the bubbly woman. She returned the inquisitive looks with a smile, a habit she had adopted, which wasn't surpising, since she was quite attractive, especially in uniform, where the command red complimented her hair, which was of similar hue.


Entering the small vessel, she headed straight for the pilot's seat, dodging around the officers moving about, and took the only remaining vacant seat of the four cockpit seats. Her positive demeanour was suddenly blunted by a level female voice from behind her.

"I'm glad you saw it fit to join us," said the voice.

Turning around, the lieutenant realised she was on the recieving end of a nearly contemptuous glare, belonging to a somewhat venerable looking Vulcan wearing the blue of the science department. A quick glance at her neck displayed the pips of a lieutenant commander.

"Sorry, sir, there was some last minute..." she began to explain, but was forestalled by a raised hand from the Vulcan.

"No need to explain, lieutenant. As long as we can continue without further delay," the Vulcan stated bluntly.

"Yes, sir."

She wasn't sure, but she was sure that she heard a few chuckles from the two officers that occupied the other seats in the crowded runabout, which did nothing to help her composure. Going slightly red, the somewhat embarassed pilot began the initial preflight checks on the runabout. Soon enough she called up shuttle control, confident that she was ready and everything was in the green.

"Venture Shuttle Control, this is the USS Thames."

"Thames, this is Venture Shuttle Control."

"I'm signally to request departure clearance."

"Thames, standy by for clearance."

She drummed her fingers on the console as she waitied, before hearing back over the comm channel, "USS Thames, you are cleared for launch. Have a safe transfer. Control out."

"This is the Thames, clearance accepted and thank you. Out."

With that, she slowly put power into the manouvering thrusters, gently raising the ship off it's designated pad in the bay. At a safe height, she coasted the Thames out through the opened bay fields, waiting till they had cleared the force field before bringing the impulse engines online. As she sailed from between the massive nacelles of the Venture and brought the vessel to bear upon the Home Guard fleet.

Work bees launched from the SCE ships darted about the more decrepid looking vessels, sealing up hull damage the decages of neglect had wrought upon them. The 2 Sabre class vessels that formed the SCE starship contingent stood ready above the lot, as if watching like attentive hawks, ready to swoop down on any problem. Among the vessels were at least a pair of Constitution class vessels besides the Paladin, one vessel she thought was a Daedelus class, and a few that were so old that she couldn't recognise their designs.

Directly ahead, hung the Paladin, altogether looking the most healthy of the vessels, not that the standard had been that high, considering the condition of the rest of the vessels.

At least all the hull is there, she thought to herself.

She decided to pilot the Thames around the Paladin in a wide circle, allowing those who could see through the viewports a look at their new ship, even bringing up the forward lights to show up the hull in more detail. It's white flush hull spoke of a different era, a contrast brought into stark focus with the Venture and SCE ships providing a darker version of Starfleet colours.

As she rounded towards the end of the vessel and it's single shuttle bay, she activated the comms again.

"USS Paladin, this is USS Thames, requesting permission to land over."

There was a worrying pause.

"USS Paladin, this is USS Thames, requesting persmission to land over.""

Checking a few readouts on her console to confirm that her signal was getting through and being recieved, she tried again.

"USS Paladin, this is the USS Thame, req...""

Someone on the other end cut in, their breathing sounded rushed and heavy.

"USS Thames, this is USS Paladin. Sorry for the delay, running a bit short on staff here. You may proceed to dock. Hope you brought your arctic issue gear with you."

Breathing a confused sigh of relief she manouvred the runabout into position as the starship's doors open to admit the Thames. Flying into the somewhat cramped shuttle bay, Youlana touched down without a problem.

"OK, everyone, we've arrived aboard the Paladin, if you'd like to follow me once the ship is locked down?" she called out to the passengers.

Finishing the power down procedures, she led the way to the exit, and pressed the hatch button. As the door slid open, she felt like the ship had suddenly decompressed, as all the heat was sucked out of the runabout. Stumbing a little bit as she moved forward, letting the others out in the meat locker of a hangar bay, she wrapped her arms around herself, trying to warm up.

After blinking out the frozen tears in her eyes, made by the sudden temperature drop, she got a look at her surroundings, drinking in the details. Around the shuttlebay, out of the way of any landing craft were stacks of cargo containers and crates, full of parts and components. Here and there were wall panels that had been taken off and where being looked at by engineers, doing stars know what.

Noticing the engineers properly now, she spotted they were all wearing heavy artic fatigues over their uniforms. Those who couldn't find them had evidently raided the ship's stores and donned old style engineer radiation suits, using them for extra insulation. Above them, some of the lighting strips that would usually be flooding the shuttlebay with illumination were dead, the job of creating light currently
taken over by freestanding beacon stands, usually used in prefab bases.

"And I have to fly this thing," she muttered, though not completely under her breathe.

Unexpectedly she got a reply from the unassuming officer who had sat next to her, now standing next to her, rubbing his hands for warmth.

"I have to command it," was all he said, before walking ahead to talk to the lead member of the greeting party,
leaving Youlana again flushing hot with embarassment, even in the cold of the hangar bay.

This day is going so well.
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Old October 22 2009, 01:20 PM   #5
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Re: Star Trek: Paladin

The heating doesn't work, the lighting is out, and the new helmswoman is already alienating the command staff.

Good days.
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Old October 22 2009, 01:55 PM   #6
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Re: Star Trek: Paladin

Heh, yeah, helluva way to make a first impression with the new captain. It looks as though the crew has a lot of work ahead of them before the Paladin is ready to get underway.
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Old October 22 2009, 03:05 PM   #7
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Re: Star Trek: Paladin

Yep...great start. Keep up with the character moments. Interesting idea, and great name for a ship!....More!

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Old October 23 2009, 01:30 PM   #8
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Re: Star Trek: Paladin

Just to note, the section in Part One with the meeting with Necheyev is meant to happen two weeks before the main 'timeline'. Unfortunatle, I can't edit it now to make it explicit. Any 'flashbacks' will be henceforth dated as such.

Star Trek: Paladin

Book One: Home Guard

Part Three

++Two weeks previously++

"Yes, Commander," Necheyev told him, somewhat resigned. The dread she had anticipated for the conversation, or more likely annoyance, was evident in her manner.

Cleese leaned back into the chair, his thoughts a mix of incredulousness and numbness. On the one hand, this was a starship command, something sought after by many who joined Starfleet. On the other hand, however, it was a ship that was quite possible a century old, if not more.

"I thought none of the Constitutions were even still in existance, even in mothballs. With the Dominion War and the Borg...Crisis," he paused before picking that word, the events too fresh in memory for history to assign the whole disaster an official name, "that all the hulls were brought back into commission?"

Necheyev nodded,"That's true for the most part, most of the remaining hulls were recommissioned and refitted to serve again, however, there are a few, along with other outdated classes, that still exist, deemed to require too much work to be useable in any reasonable timeframe, the Paladin among them."

"Why the change of mind now? The ships aren't going to have been in any better condition now than before," Cleese asked, cocking his eyebrow.

"True, but now we are so lacking in terms of fleet strength, that our post-Dominion War ranks seem to be bursting to full by comparison, as inconcievable as that would have been had someone said that to us then," Necheyev answered. She paused before adding, "Now more than ever, no ship can be spared, no matter how antiquated."

Can't argue at all with that, he thought. Mulling a few thoughts and forming questions in his head, Cleese continued, "What kind of timetable we looking at? I'm guessing that it'll be a long while before any of the ships are ready?"

Taking a PADD from a neatly stacked pile on her desk, Necheyev tapped a few keys on it, and passed it to him.

"The Starfleet Corps of Engineers has already assigned two vessels to investigate the hulls and begin the initial work. Captain Scott has given an estimate that the vessels will have minimal operation capability in two weeks."

"Minimal operational capability?" Cleese quieried, taking the PADD and glancign at a few figures.

"Those SCE vessels will be needed elsewhere, so the minimum work to get the ships moving will be all they'll get."

Cleese straightened, "What good are we going to do if all we can do is act as glorified tugs?"

Necheyev stated pointedly, "No offence, Commander, but that's what the Home Guard fleet essentially is, at least for the short term. Your ships to begin with, are just trouble shooters for the more basic problems within Federation territory."

Cleese heard in his head, this command promises to be glorious, in a similar voice to a Klingon officer, named Kem'Dok, he had met during the Dominion War, who had expressed similar sentiments when their ships were assigned to mine sweeping duty over Chin'toka after the first battle there.

The admiral raised a finger, "However, though your ships won't be able to get decent time in space dock, we are equipping the ships that are capable with small scale industrial replicators. Their primary purpose will be to assist in producing critical components that any colonies and outposts require. That doesn't mean that in the meantime you can't use it to start using it to help bring your ships up to speed as it were."

Cleese thought about this, before replying "I suppose as half measures go, it's not half bad."

The admiral smiled, "I'm glad to hear you think so."

The commander nodded slowly, resigned to his fate. He would not shirk from his duty, but he would be neglectful if he didn't get the fullest picture possible. Another critical issue came to mind.

"What about my crew? I don't suppose I'm going to get my pick of the crop," he probed.

"You're getting the hang of this," she quipped, handing him another PADD. Cleese scanned the list, seeing if any names were familiar, discovering that the roll of names was altogether too brief for his liking. Only just over 100 officers to crew a vessel that in it's current configuration and lack of automation would normally require 400.

The admiral piped in, "That's who you're being given, pending confirmation, unless you happen to know of any unassigned officers that somehow haven't been snapped up for reassignment yet."

Without missing a beat, he started, “There is one officer I have in mind…”

The admiral just raised her eyebrows with curiosity by way of reply.

“Erik Svenson. He was a tactical officer who served with me on the Dragon,” he continued, “As far as I know, I don’t think he’s received an assignment either.”

Necheyev nodded, tapping a few controls on her computer terminal, probably checking to see if he was available. While she dredged through the personnel files, Cleese used the time to have a better look at his own file, the names on the screen representing the souls that were now going to be entrusted to him. As he pulled up more information on the officers, he came to a somewhat unsettling realisation.

“No science department, Admiral?” he asked. In the previous months and years, the concept of a Starfleet vessel without a science contingent, was completely alien to him. Now, with all the compromises already being made with this assignment, it didn’t seem to come as a shock.

“I’m afraid not, Commander,” Necheyev told him regretfully, eyes still scanning her own screen in front of her, before she came up on what she was after, “Yes, Svenson is still unassigned. I’ll see that he’s assigned to your command. He’s got the qualifications to be your security chief if you wish.”

He only nodded in the affirmative. The phrase ‘your command’ brought the hammer down yet again about the weight that was now being put upon his shoulders. Combined with even the seemingly smallest decision about being the one to choose where his friend and comrade would be assigned, it began to make him slightly heady.

He thought to himself, Am I ready for this?

Something in his expression must have given away his thoughts again, as Necheyev cocked her head slightly to the side, and said gently, “I know this is a surprising assignment, and that you’re probably feeling unsure of yourself. Hell, I know a lot of people now aren’t sure of themselves, or a lot of things, right now.

But we can’t let that get in the way of our duty to the Federation. The citizens have suffered just as much as we have, and it’s our job to help put the pieces back together. The last time I spoke to Captain Kaku, she spoke highly of you and thought that you would go far in Starfleet. I believe that she’s right, and hope that this assignment will vindicate her convictions about you.”

“I hope so too, Admiral,” he answered, feeling a mix of pride, knowing Kaku had such faith in him, and nervousness, now that he knew that he was now about to embark upon his next biggest test. Putting the PADDs together in a neat stack in his hands, he looked up into the Admiral’s eyes with determination, “Is that everything, sir?”

She nodded, “Yes, for now. I’ll send you the official orders and details once they’re set in stone.”

The two of them stood up and shook hands. As Cleese headed to the door, Necheyev called to him, “Commander?”

He turned back, wondering what she had forgotten to mention to him, “Yes, Admiral?”

“I’m sorry about Kaku and the Dragon. I know the Dragon was a good ship, and Kaku was a dear friend of mine. She’ll be missed by all.”

Cleese dropped his head a few millimetres before looking at her, and replying, “Thank you.”

He paused before adding, “Too many people will be missed in these coming times."

“Very true, Commander,” she agreed, a sad and weary expression now hanging on her face, “Good luck out there.”

“Thank you, Admiral. Sounds like I’m going to need it.”

As he left her office, she poured herself a cup of tea, now only warm, rather than scalding, and sipped at it, seemingly lost in thought.
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Old October 23 2009, 01:43 PM   #9
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Re: Star Trek: Paladin

Dark times are definitely afoot for the Federation, no doubt about it.

Cleese has his work cut out for him. An out of date ship, too few crew, and heaven only knows what kinds of assignments they’ll pull… the guy just can’t get a break. Well, he does get to be the be captain, so I suppose that’s some small consolation.

Oh, and I think that’s the nicest light I’ve ever seen Necheyev portrayed in.

Terrific stuff so far, and your characters and setting are pulling me farther into the story.
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Old October 24 2009, 08:53 PM   #10
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Re: Star Trek: Paladin

Star Trek: Paladin

Book One: Home Guard

Part Four

Cleese left the runabout pilot, Youlana, standing in shock by the USS Thames, as he approached the small greeting party of engineers. He already knew her, at least through her personnel file, and seemed at least competent. Her little comment hadn’t affected him that much, he knew that a few people considered this a dead end assignment. However, it might prove detrimental if he let the sentiment continue, especially if it affected the ship’s operations, as if it needed help to perform negatively.

The man at the front of the greeting party, only 3 strong, was an Andorian lieutenant. Cleese thought his name might have been Thalon, or something similar. Hopefully, he would be able to learn to know his crew better than a vague guess at to their name soon enough. However, there were more pressing matters at the moment. The lieutenant stood to attention, as did the two crewman standing behind him.

“Welcome aboard, Captain,” he declared.

Cleese still wasn’t used to the honorific of captain, even if he was traditionally to be called one despite his rank. He tipped his head in acceptance, and replied.

“Thank you, Lieutenant. Where’s Commander Peters?”

“Sorry she didn’t come down here, sir. She was busy with a matter down in Engineering…”

Cleese looked around, noting the condition of the shuttlebay.

“Yeah, I can imagine any chief engineer here is going to be tied up. Care to show me the way to Engineering?” he countered, using his hand to motion towards the exit.

The lieutenant nodded, “Yes, of course sir.”

As the Cleese and Thalon headed towards the shuttlebay, the commander indicated for Svenson to follow him.

May as well start getting the senior staff acquainted, he decided.

As they went through the exit, Thalon ordered the crewmen to get back to the tasks they’re were doing beforehand. It was a little curt, but of all the departments that were going to be on the ship, Cleese reckoned Engineering could be cut a little slack for being on edge, especially since they weren’t going to have the off-ship assistance from the SCE for much longer.

Moving through the ship, he began to see more evidence of why. As they snaked their way through the corridors, they passed bulkheads that had been stripped to access power conduits and control relays, corridors that were sealed off or otherwise blocked by debris. They had to climb up to main engineering through Jeffries tubes, as Thalon had explained the majority of turbolifts pathways weren’t yet functioning. Small groups of engineers passed them on a regular basis, carrying all manner of equipment, components and tools, representing an eclectic mix of 23rd and 24th Century technologies.

As they entered Main Engineering itself, the amount of activity only increased. Here, lighting was actually being provided by the intended ceiling strips, though the heating was still something left sorely in need. At one end, like a silent monolih, the warp core stood, dark with inactivity. Cleese, looked around, seeing if he could spot Commander Brenda Peters. When her file had indicated that she had retired over 20 years ago, Cleese wasn’t sure how well she’d do coming out of retirement after such a long time. As it turned out, it was his hearing that led him to her.

“No, I’ve told you egits before, we are not using duotronic to isolinear convertors for the individual subprocessors, the primary computer core has already been configured to handle the differing inputs! Go and put those components in the cargo bay with the rest of the parts that we’re not using, no point in wasting replicator time. And read the fecking primer while you’re up there!”

Rounding a corner at the other end of the Engineering deck with harassed speed was the form of the Paladin’s new chief engineer. Short, but not quite petite, the engineer sent a scared looking ensign off in another direction while heading towards the central master systems display table, one of the more obvious updates that were being done on the fly to the Paladin. Cleese and Svenson approached the table, while Thalon went off to conduct whatever business was obviously eating into his time.

As they approached, Cleese tried to get a measure of her. Unsurprisingly, her hair was now a near white silver colour, though still fairly thick. Her face was lined with some wrinkles, but there was no sign of her having slowed down with the ages, her eyes watched all over the boards, taking in all the information from the various displays like a hawk, her fingers darting over the consoles with ease.

As they took up spaces opposite her, without looking up held her out hand out for silence, grumbled, “The fusion reactor better be going tits up, ‘cause that’s the only thing I’m going to listen to right now.”

Cleese cleared his throat by way of response, and Peters looked up, daggers already in her blue eyes, with an intensity unsullied by the years. She caught sight of his uniform and rank pips, her posture softened ever so slightly. Standing to her full height, not that it seemed to be much of a difference, and folded her arms, though not in an aggressive fashion.

“Commander Gleese, I presume?”

“Yes I am, Commander Peters, and this is Erik Svenson, our chief security officer,” he answered, indicating Svenson as his name mentioned. He wasn’t sure, but he had a feeling that he saw Peters eyes light up a little when she looked at the larger security officer, though he couldn’t think why. He decided he’d get down to the business of why he came here first.

“So, Commander, what’s the status of the repair work?”

Rolling her eyes and sighing, though more in thought than scorn, Peters began, “Ah let’s see now. Fusion reactors and computer core are fully functional, as is partial life support. We’re finishing installing the replacement parts for the antimatter containment, so we’re hoping to test our warp power systems in a few hours, though no warp travel till we’ve completely confident in the structural integrity fields.

Shields are functional, as is the navigational deflector. Some weapons are theoretically functioning, though not been tested yet. Torpedo launchers are still fitted to the ship, but we haven’t spent any time producing torpedoes yet. Most of the sensors are in place, though not the full suite of scientific sensors, pretty much just enough to make sure we don’t plough straight into a star or something like that.

However, must stress to you, captain, we’ve not stress tested the power distribution system, so we don’t know yet how well the ship will perform with all systems running at the same time. Might blow up in our faces if we're not careful.”

Cleese ticked off the mental checklist as she spoke. Fortunately, even with only two weeks, progress wasn’t too bad, though definitely far from perfect.

“Anything I can do to help things move along, commander?”

Peters was very quick to respond to this one, “First thing you can do is make sure Captain Scott stays working on the Normandy. I swear to you, an entire fleet couldn’t keep that walking bag o’ haggis away from his precious Connies. If it’s not him go on and on about the good ol’ days with the Enterprise, it’s him getting grumpy about ‘desecrating’ a great design. He’s a loveable guy, but jeez, forgets his place, know what I mean? Chief Engineer is ruler of her ships' engine room.”

Cleese tried not to chuckle at that one too much, but he wasn’t exactly surprised that the head of Starfleet Corps of Engineers would take such a personal interest in this project.

“'part from that, I just need the bodies to throw at the work. There’s only so much you can do with these few people.”

At this point, Svenson interjected, rubbing his goatee, “With your permission, captain, I can go through the security roster and see about assigning those with engineering training to assist?”

Cleese nodded, “Good idea, see to it.”

This got another smile from Peters, “Why thank you. We’ve set up temporary crew quarters on Deck 5, so you should be able to find your guys there.”

Svenson nodded curtly and excused himself. Peters stared after him, casually observing when he was out of earshot and down the corridor, “That man looks like he should be wielding an axe instead of a phaser.”

“I’ve seen him do both at the same time,” Cleese commented, replying to Peters’ questioning look with, “Long story, remind me to tell you it sometime. Is the bridge accessible right now?”

Peters nodded, pointing to a door to the side, “Yup, got a turbolift working that can take you straight there.”

“Thank you, I’ll be checking in up there. Update me on your progress,” Cleese nodded, heading off to the turbolift.

After summoning the turbolift, he entered and as the doors closed behind him, he called “Bridge.”

The turbolift didn’t respond. He tried again, before tapping the commbadge.

“Cleese to Commander Peters.”

A few moments later, she answered, a little harassed, “Yes?

“The turbolift isn’t wor…”

Press and hold the button top right on any of the panels when you say the destination.”

Doing as she said, he got the turbolift to head up the bridge, sheepishly thanking her.

++++

With Cleese out of her hair, Peters breathed a sigh of relief.

“Jeesus, they’re handing out commands to anyone these days, must be getting desparate,” she muttered loudly, “What next, cadets getting starships?”

Harris, a chief warrant officer who had taken up a position opposite her as the commander had left, chuckled, before answering her rhetorical question, “Nah, ma’am, think you’ve still got to stop a planet from getting blown up before they do that.”

“Some standard. Best not be asking me to hold his hand though,” she grunted. Pausing, she added in a more pleasant tone, “Did like the look of that Svenson, though. Wouldn’t mind getting stuck in a Jeffries tube with him.”

Shaking his head, Harris merely replied, “Don’t wanna know.”

Peters looked up at him, and indignantly stated, “What? Just cause I’m getting a bit long in the tooth doesn’t mean that I feel like getting cobwebs do…”

Planting his hands over his ears and walking off, Harris yammered, “Na na na, don’t need metaphors, na na na!”

Laughing to herself at his expense, Peters carried on with looking at the numbers coming up on her screen.
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Old October 25 2009, 04:07 AM   #11
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Re: Star Trek: Paladin

Paladin’s new chief engineer is a formidable woman, and methinks she might just take a run at the big piece of man-candy known as Svenson! Her tough, no-nonsense style is definitely what’s needed to get the ship up and running, given their resource problems and abbreviated timetable. And hey, anyone who has the cajones to tell Montgomery Scott to stay away from her Connie has backbone to spare.

Cleese is correct in his assessment that although this isn’t a plumb assignment for any of them, he’s got to nip the defeatist mindset in the bud before the crew establishes a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure. An atmosphere of toxic morale aboard the ship will only make those difficult missions they will undoubtedly face nearly impossible to successfully complete.

Looking forward to more.
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Old October 25 2009, 10:40 AM   #12
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Re: Star Trek: Paladin

One of the reasons Star Trek: Gibraltar is arguably one of the best series on this forum is because of its high-concept of putting a relatively inexperienced crew on an hopelessly outdated ship and then placing them into nearly impossible situations in which they are clearly outmatched.

This story has a very similar vibe to it and not just because you too decided to go all retro with your starship choice. I like these characters so far, the veteran chief engineer was a great addition but the untested captain has captured my main interest. How will he deal with this challenging task put before him?

I'm curious to see where you take this.
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Old October 25 2009, 09:22 PM   #13
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Re: Star Trek: Paladin

Star Trek: Paladin

Book One: Home Guard

Part Five

Svenson hadn’t bothered with checking if the turbolifts heading upwards were working, so he had to jog, climb and weave his way around the Paladin, unaware of the fact that his commander had probably already overtaken him, even though heading further. If the security officer had known, it probably wouldn’t have changed his mind. While he had tried to familiarise himself with the layout of the starship on the Venture’s holodecks on the way over, he felt it wasn’t quite the same as seeing it in the metal, which he now saw was especially true, considering the state of the vessel.

May have to mention that to Gary, he thought to himself, might make defending the ship from boarders all the more difficult if they have areas they can dig into.

After about 10 minutes of impromptu navigation, he managed to reach Deck 5. Here, it seemed that some of the engineers had decided to make the living spaces at least somewhat habitable. Though it looked like a lot of the partition walls had been removed, and quarters were more like open plan barracks, there was at least heating and lighting.

The wrench-heads probably aren’t keen on freezing their butts off sleeping after trying to undo the gutting the ships’ have had, he guessed to himself.

There was perhaps about two scores worth of officers bearing the mustard colours on their uniforms. Considering the whip cracking that Peters seem to be doing since before they had arrived, Svenson guessed this was his security detachment.

They looked bored, he smiled evilly to himself, this simply won’t do.

Setting his back ram-rod straight, hands clasped behind his back, and walking with all the pomp he could muster, he headed confidently towards the forward bulkhead, and bellowed, “Security detachment! Forrrrm up!”

Not expecting his call, some of the officers looked up like confused meerkats, unsure as to who was calling. The more experienced non-coms shot to their feet, rallying and coaxing their comrades to follow them. A few moments of hurried movement later, the security and tactical officers formed into ranks. Svenson walked up and down the ranks, sizing them up, mentally taking a note of people he already thought he might be keeping an eye on.

The academy fresh officers stood out by virtue of their posture, tensely coiled muscles from months of intense training, and rigidity of form that looked like they might break something, the sign of someone fresh out of boot camp. Experienced veterans were known to him by their similar postures, though with an undertone of confidence they radiated, almost comfortable in their parade ground stance. Of those who Svenson already marked as possible trouble spots, the least he could say was that at least their uniforms were in order.

After finishing his circuit of his 35 officers, he circled around back to the front of the formation, standing squarely in front of them, his eyes sweeping across them, before he began his little talk.

“At ease,” he commanded. The combined ring of boots on the deck were music to his ears.

“I,” he began, “am Lieutenant Erik Svenson. While you are assigned to this vessel, I will be your Chief of Security and Tactical. We have not met, but in the coming months you will get to know me and I will get to know you. Very well.

But first, let me introduce a little about me. I run a tight department. I will work you long and work you hard. Some of you will hate me for it. Some wackos among you will like me for it.”

That last sentence got a few restrained smiles from the veterans. Getting into the swing of the performance, Svenson began to pace slowly in front of the assembled security officers.

“I am, however, fair. Work hard, and you will be given the appreciation and recognition that your efforts will deserve. Sloppy and careless work, I will come down on you like an extinction-level asteroid. If you have any grievance that you need to tell me, I am willing to hear you out in private.”

Pausing in front of the assembled officers, he asked them, rhetorically “Am I understood?”

“Yes, sir.”

Theatrics calls for a little more, he decided.

“I’m sorry, can’t quite hear you.”

“Yes, sir!”

Svenson smiled to himself, “Better. Right, time for you to do something besides sucking air. Our lady of technology hasn’t got enough monkeys running around, so I’ve graciously volunteered you to give our friends in Engineering a hand. Everyone with an Engineering Proficiency Rating of 3 or greater, take a step forward.”

About half the officers stepped forward.

“Excellent. Fall out and report to Main Engineering for work duties.”

As those officers broke ranks and headed down towards Engineering, Svenson tapped his combadge, “Svenson to Commander Peters.”

Yes?” the engineer replied, oddly not as hostile as he had expected.

“I’ve just sent some extra help down to you, use them how you need.”

You bet I will. Have a whooole list lined up for them.

Svenson chuckled to himself, “Try to return them in one piece, I’ll need them afterwards.”

Ending the communication, he turned to the remaining officers, he continued, “Now what to do with you lot? Any suggestions?”

A pause.

“No? Hmmm, I seem to remember on the way up here, there’s far too much scrap metal in the corridors. I don’t like the look of it, seems untidy. Wouldn’t it be nice if we cleared that out of the way?”

A lone voiced dared to speak, though he couldn’t hear the specifics.

Svenson wheeled to face the officer who had dared to speak. Fixing his stare upon him, he walked up to her, One of the officers he had already marked in his head as a troublemaker.

Not getting rusty in picking them out, it seems.

The offender in question was a stocky Trill, Crewman 2nd class according to her rank tab. Standing in front of her, Svenson tilted his head, asking in a nonchalant manner, “What’s your name, crewman?”

“Rylo, sir.”

“Crewman Rylo, is there a problem?”

“Just think this kind of grunt work is below us, sir,” she answered mockingly.

Svenson cocked his eyebrow, “Really? Looking for something a little more cerebral, are we? A little more challenging?”

Rylo didn’t have an answer for that one.

He continued, “Hmm, I’ve got an idea. Are there any smaller replicators working on this deck?”

“Umm, yes, sir,” she replied, now sounding unsure of herself.

Svenson smiled, “Excellent. I want you to go a replicate a holoimager and a tricorder. Once you’ve got those two items, I want you to go and map the ship. A shot and scan of every Jeffries tube and every corridor from junction to junction, corner to corner. Full coverage of the shuttle and cargo bays too while you’re at it. I want it done in three hours.”

As he spoke, he saw the woman’s face turn more and more incredulous as he spelt out his orders. When he finished, she stood there gobsmacked and silenced.

“Problem hearing orders, crewman? Want me to send you down to the doctor first?” he asked innocently.

She shook her head, “No, sir.”

“Wonderful, get to it then. Move!” he barked, sending her off running to wherever the nearest replicator was.

Turning to the rest of the group, some of them struggling to contain their amusement, he looked at them before saying, “Come on, you little gremlins, let’s get a start on it. This isn’t a pleasure cruise.”

The detachment fell out of ranks, and followed him to the nearest pile of debris.
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Old October 26 2009, 12:58 AM   #14
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Re: Star Trek: Paladin

ROTFLMFAO

[Odo]You know, I wasn't sure I was going to like him[/Odo]

I love this guy. He could have his own show.
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Old October 26 2009, 05:08 AM   #15
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Re: Star Trek: Paladin

BrotherBenny wrote: View Post
ROTFLMFAO

[Odo]You know, I wasn't sure I was going to like him[/Odo]

I love this guy. He could have his own show.
Lt. Svenson makes his presence known to his department. I dare say that I think he made an impression. That this will be no pleasure cruise is a certainty.
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