Star Trek: Shepard

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Dulak, Jul 24, 2007.

  1. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Re: Chapter One

    Very intriguing crew and set up. I liked how you introduced them. That was neat. I also like how you've really given us a hint of a deep enmity between Rexar and Selak in only a few paragraphs.
     
  2. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    Location:
    In the illusion, but not of it.
    Re: Chapter One

    I can't add too much to what's already been said, but 'I'll be reading it!' :thumbsup:
     
  3. Dulak

    Dulak Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Location:
    Pacific NW
    Chapter Two

    OK, here it is. Sorry for not jumping right into the action, but still felt there is some stuff to resolve yet. Anyway, I'll probably take a few days to catch up on all my reading and back story of various people. In the meantime, enjoy. I've also got another idea for a vignette concerning Tara, the Green Orion Security Officer, for the August contest.


    Chapter 2

    Same Day, 2115
    Starbase 214

    Lieutenant Commander Ryan Ridgeway felt out of place. After Beverly Townsend had left him at the station lounge he had lingered, perhaps longer than he should have, considering his situation. Walking through the “working” part of the starbase was quite different than the passenger disembarking area where he had arrived. In fact, it was unlike anything he had experienced in Starfleet. This part of the station apparently missed out on the many upgrades and refits the starbase had undergone during its lifetime. It seemed to be of a low priority for even regular maintenance. It probably wasn’t a safety hazard, but appearance definitely was not a primary factor when work was done. The panels lining the walls seemed to represent every trend in Federation design in the past hundred years, often old and new next to one another. Colors did not match, dark panels butted against lighter colored ones. Some were even scarred from plasma leaks or what looked like phaser or even disrupter discharges. Power conduits, visible running on the outside of the ceiling and wall panels showed signs of being repaired. In some cases they were bypassed with emergency damage control lines pressed into service for far longer than intended.

    Only two people that he had passed on his way to the docking hub had been in regular Starfleet uniforms. Coveralls were far more common. People actually gave him strange looks as he passed, as if something so bright and shiny didn’t belong in this part of the station.

    Then he reached the ship, if it could even be called that. He almost missed the side passage leading to the docking berth because the designator numbers were so faint and smudged with something dark and powdery. Obviously not intended for cargo, the passage was not quite two meters wide, and just as filled with conduits as the bigger corridors. One of the two spacetight doors was blocked open by a damage control hose which bypassed a broken water pipe section.

    Two questions bounced back and forth in his mind as he walked down the narrow access. First, how long had it taken things to deteriorate this much? Second, why had it been allowed to get this way.

    The open access hatch to the Persepheron was unguarded. Ridgeway looked around for a second before stepping through it. The inside of the warp tug, while clean, also showed a degree of wear and tear that Ridgeway was unused to on any of the vessels he had served.

    His footsteps sounding on the metallic deck plating, the Lieutenant Commander made his way forward, or what he guessed was forward. Ducking through a doorway he could only assume provided atmospheric isolation in case of decompression or fire; he wondered how people served for any length of time on such a vessel.

    A figure in dirty coveralls rounded a corner ahead and walked towards him. The gruff Tellerite squinted at Ridgeway, made a sound he could only assume was a chuckle and said, “You must be the Commander I’m waiting for. I’m Chief Prak. This is my tug.” The Chief did not offer to take the duffel bag from Ridgeway’s shoulder. “All your other people are aboard. The ‘grand tour’ will have to wait until we leave spacedock. Chief Prak pushed a button on a small intercom panel. A double beeping tone sounded and he spoke into the box, “Bridge, I have the Commander onboard, proceed with underway detail.” A voice answered out of the small speaker, “Yes Chief,” and the box gave a single tone. Chief Prak looked at Ridgeway, “Follow me, Commander.”

    A voice sounded over the ships address system, “Now secure all hatches and disconnect from all station services. Notify the bridge when preparations for getting underway are complete.”

    Ridgeway followed the Chief through the narrow passageway. At one point they actually came to a steep stairway going down. Instead of walking down the stairs, the Chief grabbed the smooth handrails and slid down them. Ridgeway followed him down, walking gingerly down the steps. Disconcertingly, the Commander noticed that handholds were spaced at regular intervals on the walls and overhead. Were they a contingency for zero-G operations?

    “Throw your bag in there. We’re going to the bridge.” Chief Prak pointed through a door into a closet to the left of the passageway. Ridgeway stepped halfway into it and slung his duffel off of his shoulder. Then he noticed a pair of narrow bunks, complete with bedding, against the far wall. A small metal sink, shower stall, and fold down desk with a single chair completed the décor. Ridgeway tossed his duffel bag onto the upper of the two bunks, noticing a similar bag already on the lower. He briefly wondered who his roommate was. Shaking his head, he stepped back out of his ‘stateroom’ to find Chief Prak already walking away down the corridor.

    Ridgeway had to actually jog to catch up. Although he had a much longer stride than the shorter Tellarite, the Chief was walking at a quick clip, and had a head start. They walked through what Ridgeway assumed was the mess deck, although it sported only four small tables with six fixed swivel chairs each, and a series of replicators along one wall. Forward of the mess deck the passageway continued for another fifteen meters or so, before terminating in a ‘T’ intersection. A door was set into the far wall. Chief Prak walked up to the door and pushed a button in the access panel before it hissed open.

    Stepping through after Chief Prak, Ridgeway saw that the bridge was as cramped as he had expected. What he hadn’t expected was the forward viewing area. While most starships utilized a single large viewscreen, the warp tug had five, set up in a + pattern with the four extra viewscreens. One sat above the central screen, one below, and one each to the right and left respectively, of the central screen. The center viewscreen currently showed the standard view to the front of the tug, but the others showed various views, one towards the starbase, another spaceward from the tug. Currently the top and bottom screens were displaying graphics of what looked to Ridgeway like various power levels and engine efficiency stats.

    Chief Prak stomped over to a crewman in coveralls, A human with curly black hair above his tanned looking neck, seated at one of two control stations in the center of the bridge. “Davis, is this pile of Denebian slime devil dung ready to get underway?” He barked his question. Ridgeway was a bit taken aback at the brash demeanor, but realized that it matched that of most Tellarites he had ever encountered. The crewman, in any case seemed unfazed at the Chief’s tone, replying calmly “Yes Chief, all station services disconnected, all hatches secure. We have clearance to transit, flight path gamma.”

    Chief Prak went from brash to genuinely angry in an instant. “Flight path gamma? Last I heard they still hadn’t cleared up the debris from that Ferrengi freighter last month, the one that had a plasma enema on final approach. Get me control, I don’t want to be dodging duranium bearings the whole way out.”

    Petty Officer Second Class Davis, still calm, replied as he punched buttons on his panel, “Yes Chief, right away.” Then, speaking over ship to station opened a communication channel to the starbase, “Starbase 214 control, this is Warp Tug Persepheron.” The voice from control came over the bridge speakers, sounding monotone and bored. “Go ahead Persepheron.”

    Davis answered, voice professional without sounding bored or monotone, “Control, I have Chief Prak here.” He had barely finished when the still irate Chief began talking over him, “What’s the idea sending us out on gamma? It’s still strewn with debris from that freighter explosion. Send us out on Delta.”

    The reply came back, sounding a little more alert, “Hold on Chief, I’ll have to check on that.” By the way the Chief started pacing, Ridgeway could tell that patience was not among the Chief’s virtues. “What’s the problem Davis? There’s no traffic scheduled for two hours.” Davis merely shrugged his shoulders.

    The laconic sounding voice returned to the bridge speakers, “Persepheron, flightpath gamma was inspected last week and cleared for traffic. You are cleared for transit via that route only.”

    Chief Prak clearly didn’t have any spare points with station control. Resigned, he had Davis close the channel. Shaking his head, the Chief said to no one in particular, “Fine, but I’m sending you the bill if I hit anything.”

    Regaining his composure he snapped at Davis, “Take us out on thrusters, bearing two-four-nine, zero mark fifteen.” Davis repeated back the command as he operated the helm controls, “two-four-nine, zero mark fifteen, aye.”

    The tug bumped slightly as the docking clamps released with a clunking sound that traveled through the tug. The boats thrusters kicked in. Davis announced the obvious as the forward viewscreen began to show motion, “Clamps released, course two-four-nine, zero mark fifteen.”

    Chief Prak waited several seconds before ordering, “Ahead one quarter impulse, and Davis, set deflectors to maximum.” Davis pushed a few buttons, answering, “Aye Chief.” An audible humming sounded through the tug as she sped up to the ordered speed. Davis hailed the station without prompt from the Chief, “Starbase control, Persepheron, we are clear from docking clamps and proceeding on flight path gamma.” The voice from control came back over the speakers, bored once again, “Control copies, out.”

    They were underway, and soon to be headed towards the Shepard. Ridgeway wondered how much the Chief knew about their assignment, and then realized that he knew little enough himself. He remembered he had been planning on picking Master Chief Rexar’s brain once they were enroute, so he addressed Chief Prak. “Chief, where are the rest of my crew? I’d like to get started on some planning once we get settled in.”

    Chief Prak looked at Ridgeway as if he had forgotten that the Commander was even on the bridge, “Planning? You’ve got three weeks, sir. I was hoping your engineers could help me out with some minor problems I’ve been forced to live with on this rust bucket.”

    Commander Ridgeway laughed, hoping it wouldn’t be taken wrong as he imagined the kind of ‘minor problems’ the tug might be having. “I promise Chief, I’ll have my people help out in whatever way they can. For now, just point me in the right direction and I’ll get out of your way.”

    Chief Prak turned towards the viewscreen, “Fair enough Commander. Just follow the passageway back to the first ladder going up. At the top of the stairs, take a right and then a left into the wide corridor. It leads directly to the cargo area. There’s some stuff there that Admiral Selak ordered stowed aboard prior to your arrival. All of your people except the Marine Captain seemed anxious to examine what it was the Admiral sent.

    Commander Ridgeway pondered the curious sensation of being dismissed from the bridge by a Chief. No quick comeback entered his mind. Not wanting to make waves, he let it slide. Turning he walked out of the bridge and followed the Chief’s directions to the best of his ability.

    The ‘cargo area’ was just that, no doors separated it from the rest of the corridor. It was demarked by a black line painted on the deck from wall to wall, with the word CARGO stenciled below the line and twin arrows pointing towards a wider section of the corridor. The area contained various crates, boxes, and most of Ridgeway’s assigned crew. Only Captain O’Connell and Chief Marconi were absent.

    Folding his arms across his chest and leaning against a bulkhead, Ridgeway watched his crew. A grin grew on his face. So intent were they at opening crates and examining the contents that they failed to notice him.

    T’Noor was helping Dulak and Arjal Brak lift a large piece of equipment from one of the newer looking crates. The three set it on the deck. Dulak pointed at the device and spoke while T’Noor nodded.

    Ridgeway had decided to join in the inventory and had moved away from the bulkhead when the boat lurched noticeably and a metallic clunk reverberated through the superstructure. He caught his balance with one hand against the bulkhead as the others grabbed crates or just fought to keep upright.

    Lieutenant Townsend looked up from the crate she had been examining with Tara, noticed Ridgeway and asked, “What was that Commander?” Before he could shrug, the tug lurched twice more. Each time a clunking noise followed a lurch.

    Surprised that no alarm claxons sounded, Ridgeway walked to a wall intercom and pushed the button, “Bridge, this is Commander Ridgeway, what just happened?” The circuit opened and Ridgeway could hear Chief Prak swearing at the other end. “Cleared this flightpath last week? I’d bet my prickly porcine posterior they didn’t.” Someone far calmer than the Chief answered Ridgeway’s question, “Sir, the Chief thinks we just ran into the Duranium bearings that Station Control insisted were cleared out. There’s nothing to worry about.”

    “Very well, thank you.” Ridgeway clicked off the intercom before walking over to Townsend and placing his hands on his hips, “Just some debris in the flightpath. I think they have it handled. What do we have here?”

    Lieutenant Townsend shook her head as she answered. “It seems like we’ve got caseloads of spare parts for an Oberth Class Explorer, Mark One. Most of this stuff has been stored for decades. Pretty outdated if you ask me.”

    Ridgeway decided not to mention that the Shepard might very well need these ‘outdated’ parts.

    Townsend continued as she motioned T’Noor over to her. “On a positive note, it seems like we also have a portable holo-station and a bunch of data files on Oberth Class operation, maintenance, and repair.”

    Out of the corner of his eye, Ridgeway noticed Master Chief Arthrun thumbing through some files on a PADD. Without warning, the Andorian hurled the PADD at a nearby bulkhead with a crack. “Brainless Intelligence lakeys!” Arthrun fumed.

    Ridgeway walked over to the upset Andorian. “What is it Master Chief?” Arthrun shook his head. “In their infinite wisdom, the bureaucrats at Starfleet Intelligence have apparently deleted all files on the Shepard’s warp drive. They were deemed perpetually too sensitive for declassification.”

    “But Master Chief, according to Lieutenant Townsend, we have extensive data files on the Mark 1 Oberth class.” Ridgeway replied, totally missing the point.

    Master Chief Arthrun spoke slowly, as if to make sure Ridgeway heard what he was saying. “Sir, the engines on the Shepard were not like the ones used on the Oberths, or any other Starfleet vessel for that matter.” Comprehension started across Ridgeways face as Arthrun continued. “Those warp drive specs,” he said, pointing towards the portable holo-station, “are worthless.”

    Ridgeway’s face got serious, “I think, Master Chief, that we need to have a talk. Lieutenant Townsend, if you would accompany us. The rest of you, see if you can get that holo-station working, and clear some area. We’ve got some familiarization to do.”

    Ridgeway walked off in what he hoped was the direction of his ‘stateroom.’ Townsend and Arthrun followed him.

    When they had disappeared around a corner, Tara brushed her green hands together, “Well, you heard the man, let’s get to work. If we’re lucky, we might even be able to finish without any more interruptions. The other junior officers nodded affirmatively and continued working.

    USS Persepheron
    Engineering

    The engineering section on the Persepheron was, without a doubt, the largest part of the tug. The Persepheron housed impulse engines powerful enough to move a sizeable asteroid. She was also equipped with oversized warp drive systems, including a somewhat unusual variable-geometry, quad-nacelle configuration. Added to that were three tractor beam emitters from locations designed to give a high degree of load stabilization, and a complex array of semi-portable subspace field generators. The tug was a small vessel, but one with a big inertial punch.

    Chief Marconi had arrived before the rest of his newly assigned shipmates. Not ever one with a large amount of patience, he had gone straight to engineering and offered his services. Marconi figured that if his new captain, ‘Ridgefield’ wanted to get a hold of him he’d able to figure out where to find him. The tug was a small vessel anyway.

    He’d immediately noticed many of the systems were out of tolerance, at least by his book. He also knew better than to mess with another engineer’s configuration without first finding out why the engines were out of spec in the first place. For now, he just made himself useful making sure there were no wild fluctuations in anything, and familiarized himself with the engines. More thorough work would have to wait until they were well clear of the Starbase, and the crew had gained his trust.

    Chief Marconi had a remarkably one-track mind. He spent no time dwelling on what trouble might be facing him because he had shoved that Cardassian Ensign. Truth be told, he hadn’t noticed the Starfleet uniform on the Cardassian until Tara had pulled him unceremoniously from the deck. No matter, until he was called on the carpet to face discipline, he simply thought no more about the matter.

    As far as actually working with the Cardassian, that would be more difficult. Chief Marconi was not inherently a racist, but years of having friends killed and hearing stories of Cardassian atrocities had taken their toll on his enlightened tolerance. The freshest and perhaps strongest scar on his psyche was a meeting two weeks prior, with his brother in one of the many post-war hospitals set up on Earth. Ben had always been smiling and upbeat, but the hollow eyes and lackluster demeanor of the former Starfleet Ensign, one of the innumerous survivors of an unnamed Cardassian POW camp, proved he had been beaten finally, on the inside. That meeting was after six months of intensive therapy and treatment, when the doctors had actually deemed Ben well enough to have visitors. His mother had left in tears, but Anthony had actually been hardened by the experience.

    An alert buzzer one panel to the left attracted his attention and Chief Marconi stepped to investigate. The forward deflector had been knocked out of calibration by the impacts several minutes ago. What made the situation worse was that somehow, a feedback loop had been started in the automatic power shunt, causing a larger than normal power drain from the deflector array in an effort to compensate.

    The computer monitoring circuits should have caught this problem and fixed it before it even became noticeable. Chief Marconi made it a point to run some more comprehensive diagnostics once he had the chance. While the tug was still transiting to warp distance from Starbase 214 Marconi knew that Prak wasn’t likely to be in the mood to stop long enough to do a restart on the whole deflector system. Thinking quickly the Chief, who had spend more then fifteen years in and around engine rooms, decided to do a flying restart of just the power shunt in hopes that it would clear up the feedback loop.

    Shutting down the power shunt was only risky if they hit something large, and Chief Marconi only planned on having it down for seconds. Besides, Chief Prak had temporarily slowed to a crawl while he made sure they were clear of the debris field. Marconi looked around. The First Class, supposedly in charge, was so busy flirting with a new dark haired Second Class that he hadn’t even noticed the alert buzzer on the deflector panel. Chief Marconi deftly bypassed the alarm signal that should have sounded at the loss of deflector power shunt power and proceeded.

    Ten seconds later, an indicator light turned green and deflector power levels all read in the normal range. Chief Marconi let out his breath and walked away to check on other stations.

    Unbeknownst to the smug Chief, when he had taken the power shunt offline, the deflector itself had flickered, for no more than half of a second. In that blink of an eye, an errant cylindrical bearing made from duranium, half a meter in diameter and a full meter long, drifted gently onto the surface of the deflector dish and lodged itself between two emitters. The deflector powered back up then, pushing several more drifting bearings out of the way.

    USS Persepheron
    Aft Overflow Berthing

    The Persepheron didn’t have what was traditionally known as ‘Officer’s Quarters.” Most of the senior enlisted shared staterooms, if they could be called that, with one or two others. The junior enlisteds lived four to a room. Since she was not designed to be underway for more than a month or so at a time, this was deemed acceptable to its designers. Nine square meters of space seems a lot bigger on paper than it does in actuality. The designers thought on paper, the Persepheron’s crew was left with the reality.

    On one of four bunks, the other three strewn with duffel and garment bags, Starfleet Marine Captain, and Doctor Shelly O’Connell slept soundly. Learning early on in her career to catch sleep when possible, she had never forgotten that lesson. Besides, after a tour planet-side treating casualties sent from more remote field hospitals and ships, being underway with the gentle hum of impulse engines was soothing. Now that the suspense of what her next assignment might be had been eliminated, she felt a certain sense of relief. The crew of the Persepheron probably wouldn’t start asking her to cure them of various ailments for a couple of days at least. Until then, she figured, there probably wouldn’t be much to do. The impacts against the deflector shield and hull hadn’t awakened her either, being nowhere near as loud as the anti-orbital fire she had learned to sleep through during her first tour aboard a Puller Class Marine Transport.

    :cool:
     
  4. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Re: Chapter Two

    Excellent segment! I particularly liked the on-going character development and your attention to detail on the warp-tug. You provide a vivid sense of the close quarters and worn nature of the old work-horse. Chief Prak's personality is typical Tellarite, which you have portrayed very effectively.

    Marconi does not strike me as the brightest bulb in the chandelier. His antipathy toward the Cardassians is at least understandable, but he seems to play fast and loose with rules - hopefully, it doesn't get anyone killed!

    And the mystery surrounding the Shepard deepens! Just what type of warp drive did the ship have!?

    Nice job! :thumbsup:
     
  5. DavidFalkayn

    DavidFalkayn Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2003
    Re: Chapter Two

    You are doing an excellent job in fleshing out the characters here. I have a feeling Marconi is going to catch it in spades soon enough--he keeps going at the rate he's going and he's not going to be a chief for long.

    And what is going on with the Shepard? This mystery continues to deepen.

    A very nicely done part.
     
  6. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    Location:
    In the illusion, but not of it.
    Re: Chapter Two

    I am very impressed with your details and 'tech talk.'

    Very well done.
     
  7. Dulak

    Dulak Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Location:
    Pacific NW
    Re: Chapter Two

    TheLoneRedshirt....Glad you liked the tug. I was worried it was a bit over spartan with how sterile most of trek seems. Because of you, now I can keep it around a while.

    DavidFalkayn....Actually, Chief Marconi hasn't been a Chief for long...he was a Senior Chief. He's definately going the wrong way on the ladder.

    Dnoth......More tech to come, much more. I've always wanted my tech talk to make sense. It's going to be one of the most challenging, and fun things with the Shepard as she is a science vessel after all.

    Coming Next: Master Chief Rexar spills the beans on the Shepard, which of course does not tie up everything in a nice little package, sorry. The junior officers have fun with a portable holo emitter station.

    Thanks for the feedback..
     
  8. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    Dulak, I’m liking your crew as well as the old tug they’ve hitched a ride on. I get the impression Ridgeway’s a little overwhelmed with this posting, considering he was only hoping for a department head’s position and instead found himself squarely in the middle of his first command.

    I’m looking forward to seeing how this crew meshes (or doesn’t, as the case may be) once they’ve actually located the Shepard and restored it’s systems. I’m also curious to see what the real story is behind this ship and it’s mysterious past. I’m getting a definite ‘Admiral Pressman / USS Pegasus’ vibe from this whole operation.

    Great work, and I’m looking forward to more. :thumbsup:
     
  9. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    I have to admit I'm slightly more indifferent towards all the tech-talk surrounding this mysterious assignment. I do however appreciate the work you put into it which helps to lend the story a feel of authenticity (as much as that's possible for pseudo-science)

    It's the characters and the overall concept that has me hooked here. It is a great bunch of people you have brought together here and I'm fascinated to learn more about them as well as to find out the truth behind this mission.

    I also like the setting. These guys appear to be stuck in a very cramped space for a while ... problems are guaranteed. And problems make for great drama ...

    Looking forward to much more of this.
     
  10. Dulak

    Dulak Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Location:
    Pacific NW
    Star Trek: Shepard; Recovery, chapter 3 (part 1)

    USS Persepheron
    Commander Ridgeway’s quarters

    Ushering his XO and Master Chief Rexar into the cramped stateroom, Ridgeway wondered briefly if the Persepheron had some sort of briefing room. He remembered his quick trip through the mess deck, and conjectured that any meetings or training onboard would likely happen there. The mess deck was definitely not a private enough space for what they would be discussing. The cramped quarters at least had a door. It would have to do.

    Ridgeway motioned towards the chair next to the small desk, “Master Chief, have a seat please.” The seating choices became rapidly more limited as the Master Chief sat. Lieutenant Commander Townsend took three steps across the room and sat on the bottom bunk. When she unzipped the duffel bag that lay next to her and pulled out a PADD, the mystery of whom Ridgeway’s roommate was vanished.

    A mental objection played at the edge of his awareness. Based on years of tradition, the Captains quarters were separated from the Executive Officers quarters for safety reasons. If a ship took damage, the chances of both officers being eliminated at the same time were lessened. Then Ridgeway realized they were still in transit to his ship. In any case even opposite ends of a boat as small as the Persepheron would make little difference in an emergency.

    Thankfully, the potential awkwardness of sharing living space with a veritable stranger, and a female at that, didn’t intrude on his awareness yet. Looking around futilely for a place to sit, Ridgeway opted to stand.

    “Alright, pleasantries aside Master Chief. We have been in the dark about this assignment from square one. I’m afraid that our little heart to heart with Admiral Selak raised more questions than it answered. Since the Admiral wasn’t in the mood to sit around and answer them, please tell me that you can fill in the blanks.”

    “I am hoping that somewhere in the data we have been given, something will be of help. But I do want to be ahead of the game when we start sifting through what Starfleet sent us. So what can you tell us about the Shepard?”

    Master Chief Rexar Arthrun took a deep breath, closed his eyes and rubbed his eyelids with one hand before speaking. “I was onboard the Shepard for four years before she was refitted with an experimental warp drive. More specifically transwarp drive.”

    Never one to be good at sitting until the end of a lecture to ask questions, Townsend interrupted, noting the look of disbelief on Ridgeway’s face. “If I remember my history correctly, transwarp testing was abandoned when the prototype drives melted down on the Excelsior? It was deemed a failed experiment. That was years before the Shepard was lost.”

    Rexar shook his head. “I’m afraid I won’t be able to answer many of the big picture questions. I was only a Chief in Engineering at the time, and even a Master Chief doesn’t become privy to all the decision-making that goes on at Starfleet Command. What I was told during the refit was that upon careful analysis of data collected during the transwarp drive failure on the Excelsior certain scientists believed that the failure was not a design flaw but deliberate sabotage. It was decided to perform additional testing in full secrecy to lessen the chance of further tampering.”

    “I think some design changes were also made. When we began helping with the refit, Commander Tolleson, our Chief Engineer started having us review the specs from the Excelsior. One of the scientists overseeing the install got into it with Tolleson, tried to chew him out for having some initiative. Apparently the scientist didn’t want us simple-minded engineers getting confused with different specs. As a result, we got to see the modified specs on the new engines during workups. They were quite impressive actually.”

    Ridgeway pulled out of his shock, holding his hand up. “Wait a second Master Chief. Just let me catch up here. Just wait.” His brain was racing around a myriad of conflicting emotions and information. Questions poured in as well, each one only partially forming before another intruded. ‘Get a grip Ryan!’ He told himself. Ready or not, he was going to be the Captain of the Shepard. He knew he would need to be able to remain calm under much more stress than this. His control returned. “OK Master Chief, so the Shepard was a test platform for transwarp drive. Did it work?”

    Master Chief Arthrun smiled, bitterly. “Yes, and no. We did a few short hops and the relative velocity was astounding. The onboard systems never gave an accurate reading but we made externally calibrated jumps to warp 19 plus.”

    Townsend managed a surprised whistle, and then asked “I’m not really good at warp conversions, what’s that in modern scale?”

    The Andorian didn’t pause long, he had done the calculations long ago, but immersed in the memory as he talked, he had inadvertently used the old warp scale. “….Um something faster than 9.985 in modern scale.”

    Ridgeway cut in, “That’s almost as fast as we think the Borg can go, how did Starfleet ever sign off on just abandoning that technology, quirky or not?”

    Rexar sighed, “Sir, I’ll try to answer that, but I think this chronology is important to us being able to successfully salvage the Shepard. Pardon my assumption but I think the most important thing here is getting the Shepard back, not why, ultimately, she was left out there.”

    Ridgeway nodded, clearly still curious but willing to bide his time, “Very well Master Chief, go ahead.”

    Rexar continued. “Between two of the tests, I heard the navigator complaining that he had expressed concerns about navigational errors creeping in, and that he was ignored. Apparently, someone had something to prove and wasn’t going to let a little drift while in warp mess things up.”

    “For some reason things were different in transwarp and we were flying blind. The course had to be laid in before jumping out of normal space because the sensors didn’t function normally in transwarp. Then, even when he double-checked his calculations, we never came out quite where the navigator expected. None of that seemed important enough to stop, or even delay the testing, to those in charge anyway.”

    “Then we did a longer duration test.”

    Ridgeway still couldn’t help interjecting, “And ended up in trouble?”

    Master Chief Arthrun chuckled, “You could say that. We were kind of puzzled when all the scientists left the ship after the last short duration hop. They had been taking readings and re-calibrating the engines up until that point, then they just left. To their credit it seemed like not all of them wanted to leave, but they were ordered off anyway. You can make what you want about that. I later found out that following the Shepard’s loss the scientists quietly went on to other work.”

    Rexar noticed both senior officers fidgeting, intrigued but not wanting to wait through the minutiae before finding out what happened to the Shepard. So, they had no patience for a good story it seemed. Rexar grinned, pausing his narrative. “You want the long version, or the short version? There should have a copy of my debriefing down in the cargo area with the other records. It will probably have some details I have forgotten in the last sixty-five years.”

    Ridgeway shook his head. “I think the short version will suffice for now. If we have any questions, we’ll ask.”

    “The short version then, Sir.” Arthrun began again, telling the same story he would have in either case.

    “We were in the Federation’s warp test corridor, near Alpha Centauri as I remember. There’s ten light years of the clearest space inside the galaxy. Deflector grids only get fifty or less micro impacts every hour at warp one.”

    “The scientists had all disembarked, and the Shepard was going to do one final run that day, one light year long. It was only supposed to take an hour based on the Shepard’s transwarp speeds up to that point.”

    “The run started normally. Everything seemed to be running smoothly, from Engineering anyway. Thirty minutes into the test core power readings started fluctuating wildly. Diagnostics showed that the nacelles were drawing variable amounts of power, yet power output seemed constant.”

    “Commander Tolleson muttered something about ‘not enough juice,’ then called the bridge and asked permission to ‘open up the engines.’ Captain Clampett gave the go ahead and we gradually ramped up the core power output. Tolleson didn’t seem surprised when the power fluctuations stabilized and the ride smoothed out considerably.”

    “The remaining fifteen minutes in transwarp were for the most part non-eventful, that is until we started slowing down. It turned out to be a good thing that Commander Tolleson was so interested in gathering data on the test runs. He wanted to get power gradient readings before we dropped out of transwarp. As soon as we had dropped power by fifteen percent the ride got rough again. By twenty it was straining the structural integrity field.”

    “Lieutenant Commander Sanchez, the Science Officer, called down from the bridge, frantic. She said that some sort of ‘subspace wavefront’ had built up behind us, and dropping out of transwarp would likely destroy the ship.”

    “Commander Tolleson had her send down the data, and we stayed in front of the wave for another three hours before figuring out a way to save the Shepard. It took Commander Tolleson another hour to convince the Captain that his solution was plausible, and the only one we were likely to come up with.”

    To his satisfaction, Rexar noticed that both Ridgeway and Townsend no longer looked like they had to immediately get to the punch-line. Ridgeway even prompted, “So what was the solution?”

    Rexar actually smiled, “We engaged the warp drive, pivoted around and cut the transwarp simultaneously, heading right through the subspace wave. The helmsman really should have gotten a commendation for that one.”

    The incredulous look returned to Ridgeway’s face. “What do you mean engaged the warp drive? You were already at warp.”

    Rexar nodded, “Of course, you wouldn’t have known. We were in transwarp. The Shepard was fitted with a tandem system so we could get around at normal warp speeds when not testing or using the transwarp. The warp and transwarp systems weren’t designed for simultaneous use, but Tolleson managed to hold them, and the Shepard together.”

    Ridgeway remained confused, and Townsend wasn’t much farther up on the comprehension scale. “So, you were at warp, and transwarp at the same time?” Ridgeway asked.

    Rexar thought for a few seconds before replying, “We may have been for a few microseconds, but then we lost power completely. The Shepard came out of warp just inside of a star system, doing a bit over full impulse, with nothing working.”

    He was about to continue when a warbling siren sounded in the small cabin. At the same time a series of red lights started blinking in the light panel. The voice that came over the ships intercom only served to verify what the three were already thinking. “Red Alert! Red Alert! All hands to stations. Secure all interior doors.”
     
  11. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Re: Star Trek: Shepard; Recovery, chapter 3 (part 1)

    Ah! This is making sense now. It stands to reason that Starfleet would not want to totally abandon trans-warp. Having a small Oberth - class vessel as a test-bed makes perfect sense, especially if they want to keep the program a secret.

    You're laying out a great plot here. I'm looking forward to more character development, but the master chief's story was important. Well done!

    And now the tug is at red alert - now what? :eek:
     
  12. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    Re: Star Trek: Shepard; Recovery, chapter 3 (part 1)

    ^ I concur, a terrific story with all sorts of possibilities. Now the pieces are beginning to fall in place as to what happened to the Shepard. And if the warp tug’s gone to red alert… bad things, man… bad things.
     
  13. DavidFalkayn

    DavidFalkayn Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2003
    Re: Star Trek: Shepard; Recovery, chapter 3 (part 1)

    I agree regarding Starfleet not wanting to just abandon transwarp without trying it again on a smaller vessel. Also, it's interesting that the scientists were ordered off the ship--almost as if someone knew what was going to happen...

    And now we get to see the ramifications of Marconi's unauthorized 'repair' job...
     
  14. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    Location:
    In the illusion, but not of it.
    Re: Star Trek: Shepard; Recovery, chapter 3 (part 1)

    Yeah, what's up with that? ...sorry, I know I have to wait. :)
     
  15. Dulak

    Dulak Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Location:
    Pacific NW
    Re: Star Trek: Shepard; Recovery, chapter 3 (part 1)

    I was going to make this a bigger section, but decided to post something rather than make all of you wait for longer. I wouldn't say 'knew' something was going to happen so much had a hunch, reasonable suspicion, etc.

    As for red alert....wait until next time..
     
  16. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Re: Star Trek: Shepard; Recovery, chapter 3 (part 1)

    Ok so I'm split on this.

    On the one hand I'm glad you gave us such a short little post as it actually allowed me to catch up with this (boy, so much to read here, so little time)

    But I'm also disappointed. I wanted a lot more :lol:. I guess we gotta be patient here. What a great setup though.

    Overall I like your writing style but I'm a bit concerned with pace. We haven't encountered any major action yet of course but I feel you will have to sacrifice some of your detail to make the action flow faster. That's just a thought and completely premature of course. For now just do what you do and I'm looking forward to read it.
     
  17. Dulak

    Dulak Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Location:
    Pacific NW
    Re: Star Trek: Shepard; Recovery, chapter 3 (part 1)

    Cejay, nice to hear from you.

    Action... I guess I got carried away with developing the characters and backstory. I'm just having so much fun as this whole trek-writing thing is new to me. I'd have to say I'm tend to be detail oriented in my writing.. But I also write action oriented stories. Just ask Gibralter about the action in the non-trek novel I am working on. Trust me, it will be coming. But I am writing this with the idea that it may end up a full novel size story, so thirty to fourty pages before major action is not unusual. It's also not how all my storis will begin, so have hope.

    Of course with what I've set myself up with as a cast and support tug, any battles will be highly improvisational and risky anyway... I have to be careful what I throw at them..

    I totally know what you mean about catching up on reading. I've just gotten caught up on the Bluefin stories, and am working on yours, DarKush's and David Falkayn's. A lot of reading to do, since I started late in the game...

    THanks for the feedback, I am listening.

    :vulcan:
     
  18. Dulak

    Dulak Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Location:
    Pacific NW
    Re: Star Trek: Shepard; Recovery, Chapter 3 (part 2)

    Sorry for the little posts. I've been busy of late and trying to write and keep up on reading is a bit daunting.


    USS Persepheron
    Cargo Area

    Ensign Dulak reached into the insulated standard federation packing crate and pulled out another part. Looking it over, he placed it onto the deck next to several others. Lieutenant Junior Grade T’Noor looked up from the PADD she was studying intently and addressed the Cardassian, “Ensign, are you certain you can assemble this device without schematics? It appears quite complex.”

    As Dulak smiled his eyes widened in his gray face to show more of the whites surrounding the pupil than normal. While some friends at Starfleet Academy confided in him that the gesture was somewhat disconcerting, he found it a hard habit to break. “I assure you Lieutenant, it will be no trouble. My practicum at Starfleet involved a range of portable computer devices, archaic technology, and exo-technology. This device was designed to be easy to assemble after minimal training in less than optimal field conditions.”

    T’Noor thought for a second before replying, “Very well Ensign, you may proceed.”

    Dulak replied “Yes Sir,” before walking over to the same open crate and continued removing pieces. Looking over his shoulder at T’Noor, he suggested, “Perhaps you could help Lieutenants Brak and Tara in their inventory?”

    T’Noor raised one eyebrow. She had not even thought of physically inventorying the crates when the PADD she held provided a perfectly adequate accounting of their supplies. As for the Trill and the Orion, T’Noor understood that if their first thought was to rummage through things, then they probably needed to see and touch what was in the crates to learn what was in them. It was a trivial task, but they would have to learn to work closely together in order to successfully salvage the Shepard. Perhaps doing a physical inventory would provide some of the ‘bonding’ that emotional species often felt they needed to work well together.

    Walking over to Brak and Tara, T’Noor asked neutrally, “Do you require assistance?” Tara, a looked up from the crate she and Arjal Brak were inventorying and laughed in the quiet and reserved way T’Noor had grown used to during their last posting to science station Crenshaw. The laugh had a musical quality to it that T’Noor found not unpleasant, but that most males found apparently hypnotic.

    Arjal Brak had seemingly not heard the laugh before. As Tara laughed he looked from T’Noor to Tara with the same look of longing T’Noor had seen in the dining facility on the science station. When the laugh stopped, it took Arjal a few seconds of blinking to regain his composure. He had no clue what had happened to him, but knew that he liked hearing Tara laugh.

    T’Noor realized laconically that she needn’t have been concerned with ‘bonding’ between her two crewmates. Hopefully she would not have to take steps to prevent Arjal from following Tara around like a newborn Selat, the somewhat misunderstood animal some Vulcan children kept as pets. From her prior experience, T’Noor knew that Tara would only encourage Arjal further if she liked him. However, from the smile Tara showed at Arjal’s confusion, she was definitely headed in that direction.

    “We would be glad for your help!” Tara replied cheerfully.

    T’Noor looked over the crate for an id label, which she scanned into the PADD. As the readout appeared she read off the items. “Five Mark II plasma welders; two cases power cells, twenty each; six plasma welder protective suits…”

    A warbling siren sounded suddenly, startling the three as a series of red lights began blinking in sequence along the light panel inset along the port and starboard bulkheads. The voice that came over the ships intercom clarified the alarm and lights. “Red Alert! Red Alert! All hands to stations. Secure all interior doors.”

    Tara began to bolt out of the cargo area, but was stopped short when T’Noor grabbed her arm. “Stand fast Lieutenant. Not only do we not know where to go, we haven’t even been assigned temporary duty stations onboard. If our presence is required somewhere, I believe someone will arrive as our escort. In the meantime, we should secure any loose items here.”

    Tara looked at Arjal and managed to roll her eyes just enough so only he noticed. “Do you mean put everything back?” Tara asked, resigned to the answer she knew was coming.

    T’Noor, deadpan, answered the question. “Yes, that is what I said.”

    Dulak merely smiled and began restowing the various pieces of the portable holo-station generator.


    USS Persepheron
    Engineering

    Chief Marconi looked up, expectantly, as red alert sounded. The Second Class in charge looked at him and shook his head. “Don’t worry Chief, we never do that formal red alert thing unless it’s for the benefit of someone new. If there was any real problem, Chief Prak would have already called down here to make sure the engines were ‘ready to rumble,’ as he puts it.

    Of all the obscure and barbaric forms of entertainment, Marconi was initially taken aback that the tug Captain knew a phrase that came as close to representing twentieth century Earth boxing as anything else. Then he remembered that Chief Prak was a Tellarite. Nothing a Tellarite chose to call ‘entertainment’ surprised Marconi. He’d known too many Tellarites. Chuckling both at Chief Prak’s sense of humor and the fate he figured was in store for the rest of his fellow passengers, Chief Marconi resumed going over the engine systems and learning as best as he could how the tug’s engine room operated.

    Stopping when he didn’t understand a particular bypass, he called over the Second Class, Thompson by his nametag, and asked, “Why do you have this relay jumpered?” While he seemed bored with the question, at least the Petty Officer seemed to like being asked about his expertise with the warp and impulse systems. “That one, Chief, is because the secondary impulse induction coil kept overloading and tripping the relay. The coil was within specs and the relay was tripping at only twenty-eight thousand mega-joules. I’ve got a replacement on order, but Chief Prak got tired of only being able to go one quarter impulse.”

    Marconi frowned and asked, “Spare parts hard to come by?” Thompson laughed, “Hard to come by would be generous since about a year into the Dominion war.”

    Chief Marconi decided to save some time, “Any other safeties bypassed?”

    Thompson thought for a moment, “No, but the whole hull contact sensor system is down, and the food replicators are only serving neutro-gel. We’ve got some other problems that could use some work, but unless you want to enjoy the absolute zero of taste and texture for three weeks, I’d suggest prioritizing the replicators. Besides, there’s at least one bottle of Romulan ale in it if you get them working.”

    Never one to pass up on a lucrative opportunity Chief Marconi realized his leverage, “Romulan ale? I’ve got three cases of the stuff I can’t get rid of in storage ever since the end of the war when they lifted the embargo. Now if you could get me some Orion Whiskey?”

    Thompson shook his head, “Hey, we’re just a little ole warp tug, not a crew of Ferrengi ‘merchants.’ You’d have to defer getting paid until we both end up back at the starbase.”

    Marconi continued wheedling, “Well, in that case, I’ll take that Romulan ale... as a down payment! Now, where are those replicators?”

    USS Persepheron
    Bridge

    Lieutenant Commander Ridgeway slowed to a walk and apprehensively approached the doorway to the bridge. Lieutenant Townsend and Master Chief Arthrun followed him closely. Interestingly, out of the three, only the senior enlisted Andorian was not breathing hard from the obstacle-course-like run from the lower decks.

    Ridgeway pushed a button on the access panel, but instead of the door opening, the panel just buzzed annoyingly at him. Ridgeway resorted to the age-old custom of knocking on the door. It slid open quickly, revealing Chief Prak and several crewmembers Ridgeway did not recognize.

    “What’s going on Chief?” Ridgeway asked, unable to ascertain anything from looking at the unremarkable star-field on the main view screens.

    Chief Prak turned and strode quickly to Ridgeway and his trailing crew. “I’m sorry you got worried, but we received an immanent power loss message from Star base two-fourteen’s outer nav marker. The initial tone is just like a standard distress call, and Davis here put us at alert before verifying the signal. Unfortunately, one of our duties is to replace the power cells on the nav markers when they go out. This one must have been much closer to failure before sending the maintenance call, because it’s now gone silent. We’ll have to find it visually. Once they loose power they are too small for our limited sensors to locate.”

    “I’ve got the coordinates plotted, but I need someone with sharp eyes to go up to the forward observation bubble with some oculars and spot for me. Any volunteers? Chief Prak asked, sounding unusually pleasant, while he smiled right at Ridgeway.”

    Looking towards the center console, he barked, “Secure from Red Alert, set the special recovery detail.” Someone, Ridgeway thought it was Davis, said “Aye Chief.” The red flashing lights and warbling alarm stopped, and the word was passed over the intercom, “Now secure from Red Alert, set the special recovery detail.”

    Ridgeway, failing to notice the rather large grin on Master Chief Arthrun’s face, held out his hand to Chief Prak. “Alright Chief, give me the oculars and show me how to get to the observation bubble. I would be more than willing to help out.”
     
  19. DavidFalkayn

    DavidFalkayn Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2003
    Re: Star Trek: Shepard; Recovery, Chapter 3 (part 2)

    Why do I think Ridgeway has just been sent on a snipe hunt? And we see the junior officers bonding--although with a green Orion woman on the crew, bonding can take on certain unique meanings...

    And Marconi's wheeling and dealing.

    We're getting good insight as to the characters here with their being thrust into close proximity in cramped quarters.
     
  20. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Re: Star Trek: Shepard; Recovery, Chapter 3 (part 2)

    ^ David's way ahead of me. I sense an age-old initiation ritual is about to be perpetuated on Ridgeway. Obviously, the old chiefs know exactly what's going on.

    Good character development. I'm getting a better sense of the crew's personalities. I think Tara may be a bit behind on her pheromone suppressors! ;) That poor Bolian, Arjal, is hooked!

    This is coming along nicely. Looking forward to what they encounter when they come across the Shepard.
     

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