Star Trek: (Unnamed Project) - Crossroads

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Bry_Sinclair, Nov 7, 2013.

  1. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    "Crossroads, Part 2"

    Whilst the first piece looked at Commander Takashima, the alien ship, and the arrival into the Andromeda Galaxy, this part looks at the other main characters just after they get there.

    * * * * *​

    Bridge, Alien Ship
    Position Alpha, Andromeda Galaxy
    Stardate: 54198.2 (March 14th, 2377)

    Jehu was surprised at just how quiet the ship had become following Commander Takashima’s announcement about their situation. He suspected that most were still in shock, trying to process the fact that they were in another galaxy, dwelling on all those they had left behind and the very real probability that they may never see home again. With his parents long since passed to the Next Phase, the only family he had left was his older sister Jaye who, like him, was in Starfleet and knew the risks that came with putting on the uniform. Even though he knew that, it didn’t stop him from grieving for her and the uncertainty she would face and questions she would ask.

    He shook such thoughts from his mind, now was not the time to dwell on it—he was on duty and as the newly appointed second-in-command, he had to show strength. It had only been a few hours since they had been transported across galaxies, that Takashima had stepped to the side with Jehu and asked him to be the ship’s XO. It had been a surprise to say the least, but he knew why the Commander had done it, they needed to set up a structure and hierarchy that they crew could identify and follow in order to give them support for what lay ahead.

    With Takashima down main engineering—helping Ra-Vahneii try to figure out what the device was that was responsible for their predicament—Jehu was in command on the bridge. He didn’t sit in the central chair on its raised balcony, though it would allow him to watch over everything that was going on, it wouldn’t allow him to actually do something useful. So he was seated at the helm, teaching himself how to operate the controls and read the displays. Their computer and language experts onboard were trying to tie the universal translator into the ship’s mainframe, so as to make it easier for the crew to learn the systems, but it was a slow process not without complications.

    He had always been a decent pilot, keeping up with his certifications to allow him to fly both shuttles and starships, but that was with Starfleet-designed craft. The intuitive feel of a standard flight control display was lost on the alien ship. So far he had managed to activated the starboard thrusters and set them spinning (fortunately the ship’s inertial dampeners were good enough so the crew didn’t feel a thing), then through trial and error he’d found the port thruster controls and brought the ship back to a dead stop. He had also learned were the navigational sensors were and run a full scan, which continued to read clear.

    Sighing with frustration, edged with exhaustion, he massaged the bridge of his pale nose and felt the slight give of bone underneath—Ahvorans had highly flexible skeletons, partly due to the fact that, unlike humans, their bones didn’t fuse together as they developed, which made them very pliable. Taking a moment to refocus, he looked up and out through the viewports that dominated the forward two bulkheads of the hexagonal-shaped command centre. The vista ahead of them looked so normal, the inky black of space with thousands of stars visible—part of him had expected the Andromeda Galaxy to look different somehow.

    “It’s weird having windows that large on the bridge,” Lieutenant Nhataq commented from the seat next to him.

    He glanced at the Ktarian, who’d let her dark hair tumble over her shoulders, partly obscuring her face. She glanced at him with her vibrant blue eyes, tucking a thick lock behind her ear, the light catching the flawlessly smooth, iridescent scales on her face.

    “It is a little unsettling,” he admitted quietly. “It does make me wonder if they also act as a viewscreen or not.”

    “Well this is a totally alien ship, we can’t judge it by any Alpha Quadrant principles—it took the eggheads two hours to work out how the toilets worked.”

    “Yeah, that was unpleasant.”

    Nhataq stood up and stretched. “How about I go grab us a couple of nutrition bars and then we take another stab at this?”

    “Sounds good, thanks Nhataq.”

    “As the Ferengi say, it never hurts to suck up to the new boss.”

    He chuckled to himself as she headed towards the elevator through the starboard side doorway. Tweaking his neck a little, he looked around at the three others who were trying to figure out the consoles. The helm and weapons consoles were half of the consoles on the lowest tier, directly in front of the command chair, and were the ones closest to the viewports. The two others behind them seemed to be for sensor use and communications, whilst the four stations on the port and starboard bulkheads were for a variety of key ship systems—or at least that’s what the general consensus was.

    They had yet to really look at shifts and crew rotation, so everyone was just working where and when they could, only taking a break when their bodies demanded sleep from them. That would need to be the next thing he spoke with Takashima about, their time on the ship (however long it proved to be) was a marathon, not a sprint; they needed to pace themselves—the Commander included. Though Jehu had only known the Commander for nine months, when Takashima had first come onboard the Mandela he had been an unknown element among a crew that had been serving together for years, so he had kept a close eye on the new First Officer, determining his methodology, strengths and weaknesses—Jehu always liked to know just who he was working with. So he knew that Takashima would push himself further than anyone else and as his new exec, it was up to Jehu to ensure his safety and well-being.

    So the sooner they got things figured out onboard, the sooner they could come together as a proper crew. With that in mind he turned back to the helm and, starting from the thruster controls, tried to work out where their sub-light drive was located.

    * * * * *​
     
  2. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Medical Bay, Alien Ship
    Position Alpha, Andromeda Galaxy

    The doors parted and immediately the lighting activated, revealing dozens of bare beds. Jenna Kinsey walked down the first row, counting each bed and eyeing over the equipment connected up to it. They would need to run a full diagnostic of every monitor and life-support system, but for now she just needed to know what they had to work with. So far she’d been impressed with the large medical section (which roughly the same size as that on a Galaxy-Class starship); from the main ICU ward they had been using since arriving from the Mandela, to the four separate medlabs she’d checked out, ten surgical bays, stores and offices, and finally onto the second of two recovery wards.

    After finishing her visual check of the large room, which was identical to the one next to it, she added its details to the PADD she was carrying. In all, the ship had bed space for eighty patients, from the individual surgery suites, the ten in ICU and the thirty in both recovery rooms. It was a lot of beds, especially for just for herself, three corpsmen and a medtech. They had been assigned to the alien ship to treat all the typical minor injuries might arise, nothing that needed the attention of a doctor, and whilst Kinsey had been happy with the assignment she now found herself the ranking medical officer on a ship with just over one hundred onboard—not something she had ever expected she’d be facing.

    Setting her PADD on one of the beds she rested on the edge and took a moment to herself. Focus on the job at hand, she repeated to herself over and over again. It was something she had learnt since leaving the Academy. If she tried to step back and look at the big picture, then she felt swamped and it was always harder to figure out where to start, but if she jumped in and tackled the first thing in front of her, then the next thing, then the next, then she could take it bit-by-bit and do some good. So she would continue now in just the same way, whilst also keeping the other medics grounded.

    “So let’s get to it,” she said to herself, her voice echoing in the large ward.

    Standing straight once again, she ran her hands through her thick mane of curls (she’d learnt even longer ago, that no matter what she tried to do her hair it would always remain as tight curls and ringlets), picked up her PADD and headed out the recovery ward and back to ICU.

    The facility was much as she had left it, Mrr’eth and T’Pei were checking out all the alien equipment, figuring out how it worked and that it would be compatible with Starfleet tech, whilst Iland and Berx were going through all of the supplies they had brought with them.

    It was Mrr’eth who noticed her arrival first, a combination of his acute hearing and smell. He glanced over at her. “How does the rest of the facility look?” the Caitian asked.

    “Extensive. I just hope we don’t have to use too much of it,” she admitted. “How’re things going here?”

    Mrr’eth glanced back at the scanner he’d been examining. “Slowly. We can take educated guesses at what some of this stuff does and, in a couple of instances, have gotten them powered up to check, but without some technical support we’ll have to rely on our tricorders for the time being.”

    “I’ll go and speak with engineering, see if they can spare a diagnostics specialist,” she told him. As the ranking officer, it would fall to her to be their voice with the other departments; though she knew that the engineers would be busy with key systems, she could easily argue that a fully functioning sickbay was of utmost importance to the crew.

    Turning to Iland she asked, “How are we doing for supplies?”

    The Rigellian tugged on her pointed ear, looking at the cases and kits they’d brought over with them only a few days ago. “We’re looking good so far; six medkits and some other key pieces of equipment to keep us going, including an osteological infuser and neuro-stimulators. The problem we could face would be our supply of drugs—the sooner we know if this ship has a pharmaceutical replicator the better position we’ll be in.”

    “Start looking to see if we can stretch out our current stock, we’ll then need to restrict their use for serious emergencies only until we can find a way to produce more.”

    Iland nodded. “We’ll get started once we’ve finished the full inventory.”

    “No,” Kinsey stated, which stopped all four of them. “Once you’ve finished with your current tasks, I want you all to find a bunk and get some rest—none of us have slept in over a day, so I want you all rested.”

    “What about you?” asked Mrr’eth, giving his closest approximation of a scowl.

    “I’ll take a break once you’re back, in the meantime though I have to go and harass some engineers.”

    “Nurse,” he began, but she shut him down with a look.

    “I know what you’re going to say, believe me I will take a break when I can—but only after I make sure you’ll have an engineer to work with on all this.”

    He gave her a toothy smirk. “I feel sorry for Lieutenant Ra-Vahneii.”

    She chuckled before gesturing to the scanner. “I’ll give you a hand with that first, then go and make a nuisance of myself.”

    * * * * *​
     
  3. admiralelm11

    admiralelm11 Commander Red Shirt

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    Liking what I'm reading. More, please...?
     
  4. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Good plan, take it one little bite at a time. It's interesting to see that even veteran Starfleet officers are having a tough time getting their heads around their new circumstances. How many of these people heard the story of Voyager's plight and whispered, 'Those poor bastards!' :evil:
     
  5. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I always thought that was something missing from VOY, was someone who faced a sense of dread and despair at being 70,000 light-years from home, so its something I would want to address in this. Some will handle it better than others, but they will all face moments of doubt and will miss certain things about being home--hopefully I can give you all a diverse cast to see their situation through.

    I'm also starting to think up possible ideas for their first Andromeda adventure.
     
  6. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Observation Deck, Alien Ship
    Position Alpha, Andromeda Galaxy

    At the back of deck eleven, the lowest on the alien ship, was a long but narrow room, dominated by a dozen large viewports whilst there were several small tables and couches throughout the room. Obviously it was a space used for recreation, where those onboard could come and have an uninterrupted view of the stars. Whilst wandering through the ship, Kal Dheyn had come across the space and come to like the quiet respite it offered, it was where he always found himself when he needed to organise his thoughts.

    Almost everyone else onboard were trying to get to grips with the technology, trying to make the ship work how they thought it should, but he preferred to merely observe and document what he found before trying to look for patterns that he could decipher. This whole ship was an anthropologists dream, and it was one he was living.

    The mission the Mandela had been on was searching uninhabited worlds for possible colony or terraforming sites, so there was little need for a large social science division. As such he had only overseen five specialists, all of whom were now onboard the alien ship—after he’d requested them for the research mission. So he had checked in with them all individually, making sure they were alright given where they were now. He had told them to try and focus on their work, to study the ship as best they could but to come to him if they needed support. For him there was nothing more important than the wellbeing of his people—something he had learned from being in Starfleet rather than his childhood on Thallon.

    As with many of the ‘public’ spaces onboard, the observation deck was divided up by steps (just two in this room), so the entrance was a little higher than when the windows met the deck plating. He was sitting on those steps, his uniform jacket draped over his knee, his tricorder and several PADDs scattered around him, whilst his gaze was directed out the windows at the glittered stars.

    There would be many onboard who would be having trouble with their predicament, feeling lost and abandoned, missing friends and family and their homes. Dheyn felt more fortunate than some, as he had no family and the world he had been born on wasn’t much of a home. He would miss the Mandela and the friends he had there, but he had many on the alien ship so he was still with his family. Then there was the fact that they were actually in another universe, one filled with its own unique lifeforms, their intricate histories and diverse cultures—if the ship could have keep him working for the rest of his days, Andromeda would keep his descendents busy for dozens if not hundreds of generations.

    His reflection smiled back at him.

    The open tricorder chirped, breaking his reverie. He had set it up to act as a central processor for the datapads he’d been working on, then set it to run a comparison on all their findings so far. Hopeful, he picked up the device and entered a few commands, then read the results on the small screen. Unfortunately what he was asking of it seemed to be too much and it was indicating a fault in the data transmission. What he really needed to run a full and thorough compilation was a proper computer core, one designed to handle such feats in a matter of minutes.

    Sighing he closed the tricorder and set it back on the deck, picking up a PADD instead. He would have to rely on his own eyes and training. Instead of using telemetry he opted for the visual scans the away teams had been taking. So far they had determined that the species who had built the ship were bipedal (the ladders had proven that), averaged around one-point-eight meters in height (going by the doors, which caused problems for his two-point-one-five meter frame), warm-blooded (at least going by the optimal settings of the environmental controls), and most likely of the same humanoid shaping as Dheyn and most of the others onboard (though the ship controls hinted at the fact that the builders could have had just four digits per hand). He would also hazard a guess that they were somewhat hierarchical, with the design of the bridge and all the stairs there were, as though they had a need to show all what their place was onboard. They would also appear to value their privacy, not only was the ship’s hull impossible for Starfleet sensors but, from what he’d heard, the computer core had multiple partitions, firewalls, encryptions algorithms, and numerous empty files—the data from which had been thoroughly deleted. The also had a thing about spheres, the geometric shape was everywhere.

    Of course all the findings he and his team were making were written up, but then there was a void. All the science specialists onboard had been given their own tasks to oversee and work on, transmitting their information and reports back to the Mandela where Commander Coleman, from her bed in sickbay, went over everything. There hadn’t been an officer assigned to oversee the work onboard. The ranking science officer was Lieutenant Laaun, but as a Rhaandarite the Lieutenant wasn’t one for leadership (despite rank), always willing to defer to others and wanting to focus on the stars, planets, systems and charts. He would’ve gone directly to Commander Takashima, but he seemed to have more than enough on his plate, though if something they found would prove to be useful in unlocking the ship’s secrets and unravelling its mystery he would of course take it too him; for now however, he would keep on top of all they were working on.

    His growling stomach echoed in the empty observation deck. Only then did he realise just how hungry he was, as his last meal hadn’t been since just before they were transported away. It wasn’t the first time he’d gotten so caught up in his work that he’d forgotten to eat. Though it would mostly likely be just another ration pack, it was better than nothing. Putting his jacket back on he rose up to his full height and stretched out every toned muscle under his scarlet red skin, getting the circulation going again into his glutes—he’d been sitting for far too long.

    After slipping the tricorder back into its holster on his belt, he gathered up the PADDs and headed out the exit, ducking slightly to get his bald head through, then headed for the mess hall. On a ship this size, with only one hundred people scattered throughout the corridors were quiet. He had to wonder if it had always been this way, or if the ship had once been full of vibrancy and life when the original crew (if there had indeed been an original crew) had lived and served onboard. Of course, every question he posed himself branched off into a dozen others, none of which looked answerable anytime soon.


    * * * * *​
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2013
  7. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Just wanted to chime in. I like the inclusion of a Thallonian crewmember. I liked a lot of the species Peter David created in New Frontier and it's cool that you're using one.
     
  8. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Dheyn actually caused me a little trouble to begin with. I knew I wanted a xenology specialist onboard (handy thing to have when facing totally new and unknown races), and I knew that he was to be an alien but wasn't sure just what kind.

    He started off as a Deltan but that didn't feel right, so I asked for suggestions on another site and someone threw out Thallonian. Amongst all the others it just stood out to me as something different that I hadn't used before. Also a bald, 2.1 meter, scarlet-skinned man is going to stand out in the crowd.

    About to start work on the next couple of little intros, hopefully get them posted tomorrow.
     
  9. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    [SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT :)] If you're enjoying this story and fancy some input into what the series and ship will be called, then please visit my poll on the topic: http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=230566

    * * * * *
    Main Engineering, Alien Ship
    Position Alpha, Andromeda Galaxy

    The engine room stretched for three decks, with the main entrance being on the middle level, connected to the ones above and below by a staircase, as well as numerous ladders and a small lift. The facility was circular, in the middle of which was the warp core—a spherical shaped piece of tech with four umbilical’s holding it in place, two fed it fuel and two directed the energy produced in the core out to the engines. Given the advanced design of the ship and the unusual technology onboard (the galactic jump device on the level below was just one of them), some might have found it weird that it utilised a matter/antimatter power core similar to what Starfleet employed on their own ships. For Zelle Ra-Vahneii it wasn’t that bizarre.

    Of all the warp capable species in the Milky Way they had encountered, well over ninety percent utilised some form of M/ARA, so it wasn’t beyond the realms of possibility that the builders of this ship, wherever it came from, used the technology. Once a species learned of the energy generating potential of a matter/antimatter reaction, the greatest challenge was how to harness and contain the massive amount of power it produced. For Starfleet that was in the form of a dilithium matrix secured within a magnetic containment field, for this species however the crystalline structure they used to focus the matter/antimatter annihilation also contained it within itself, without the need for any kind of protective field. Until they understood it better however, she had ordered a series of portable forcefield generators set up around the core.

    Had it not been for the similarities to Starfleet tech then getting main power restored would’ve taken far longer than it had. They still had to get to grips with the finer points of the system, but they’d been able to understand it enough to get it working. The engineers onboard would just need to wait for the translation and computer experts onboard to get the UT fully integrated, before they could really play about with the core. Until then there was plenty of jobs to be doing.

    She had teams ensuring the environmentals were stable, others going over the sensors, a couple on loan to Nhataq to go over the weapons array, structural engineer th’Vohrn was working with Ensign Banaszek (a metallurgy specialist from the science section) going over samples of the hull, she’d also just dispatched a diagnostics technician to sickbay to help them—after Nurse Kinsey had made a very practical and sound argument, coupled with a look that told Ra-Vahneii that ‘no’ wasn’t going to be an acceptable answer. Her people were in demand, but with only twenty-eight engineers onboard in total, then there was only so much they could do.

    That applied as much to herself as her whole staff combined. She was bone tired. The last time she had felt this exhausted was in her senior year at the Academy when she had stayed up for five days straight, studying and finishing off three different projects all needed before finals. She knew that once she sat down she’d be out like a light, but she could barely stay on her feet for much longer, so she was forced to call it a night.

    Leaving Lieutenant JG Indai in charge, with strict instructions to comm her if anything changed, she slumped off to find an empty bunk. Fortunately the ship had accommodation for over eight times her current complement, so finding an unoccupied bed near to the engine room was relatively easy. Despite how tired she was, her mind continued to race with what needed to be done. High up on her list was to rip Crewman Raine a new one. She’d requested the computer genius onto the alien ship, knowing that despite all his bragging and condescension, he was one of the best she’d met. She’d thought that would mean the system would be easy for him to crack, as he often complained about having nothing taxing to do on the Mandela, but with so much hinging on getting the computer on their side, there was only so much they could do with tricorders, guesswork and hope.

    Stumbling into the bedroom, she smiled to herself at the guilty pleasure she’d get from chewing him out—even just a little. Flopping onto the bare mattress, she was surprised at just how comfy the bed was, though that could’ve been the exhaustion talking—even a bunk on a Klingon Bird-of-Prey would’ve felt like sleeping on a cloud. A few moments before sleep took hold, she tried and failed to kick off her boots, but soon she was out to the world, fully clothed on the bed.

    * * * * *​
     
  10. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    So we're getting to know the crew. Well, so far they seem like a capable bunch but of course they have yet to be truly tested. Who knows what kind of craziness this galaxy will throw at them.
     
  11. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well so far that's just been five of the more experienced crewmembers onboard. As you say though, they may seem pretty 'with it' so far, but they've by no means been tested by whatever Andromeda has to throw at them.

    I have kinda worked out where the ship came from and what happened to it, however you'll have to wait and see what that's all about.
     
  12. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Computer Control Centre, Alien Ship
    Position Alpha, Andromeda Galaxy
    Stardate: 54201.1 (March 15th, 2377)

    Anthony Raine tugged at his collar and wriggled his shoulders, the uniform he wore felt tighter and more restrictive than ever—yet just one more thing to hate about Starfleet. Why he was forced to wear such a laughable outfit bothered him, just the military’s way of imposing obedience onto already mindless drones, if everyone looked alike soon they’d start to think alike and no one would be the master of the own mind, no one would be able to speak out. For too long Starfleet had been force-feeding the public its propaganda, that it was a peaceful and benevolent entity out to do good in the universe, but that didn’t stop their ships for being armed to the teeth, or dragging the Federation into multiple wars and exposing the people to every threat going in the galaxy.

    And now they had a whole new one to tick off!

    The computer centre was empty; the other so-called computer experts were working from other areas giving him some much needed peace. Though he was at the bottom of their hierarchy, he exceeded them both in knowledge and skill—Lieutenant Ra-Vahneii knew it, as she’d asked for him. So it was she he had to thank for being stuck in the monkey suit—although given the computer he now had to work with, he could let her off the hook.

    What he had to work with was truly magnificent. The only computer core for the entire ship was just three decks tall and measured just fifteen meters in diameter, but somehow it was faster than anything he had ever seen, whilst the storage capacity on it made the primary core at the Daystrom Institute of Science and Technology look about as complex as something from the twentieth century. He shook his head, not wanting to dwell on thoughts of DIST (which was where he really should have been).

    Raine knew of almost every computer system employed within the Federation, from the isolinear-based core used on the likes of the Mandela to the more advanced and efficient bio-neural gel packs—yet another innovation that the Daystrom Institute had been instrumental in developing. This ship however was far superior than even the gel packs, though did show signs of organic-based technology just centuries ahead of where the Federation was currently. The computer was capable of ‘thinking’, making intuitive leaps, whilst processing enormous amounts of data, running dozens of automated systems at once, all whilst using barely ten percent of its operating capacity and less than one percent of its memory bank.

    He wanted to meet the brains behind such a complex core and pick them apart. The advancements that could be made from this ship were truly astounding, had they gotten it to a DIST research base, where the professionals could give it a full and proper examination then the possibilities were endless. Had things worked out then he could’ve been among the experts on such a project and finally out of the ill-fitting uniform once and for all.

    Raine was only in Starfleet because of the Daystrom Institute. He had applied for an internship, wanting to work with other computer experts whose intellect came close to his own, but he’d been turned down. At seventeen he’d been deemed too inexperienced for such a prestigious post, so he’d enlisted into Starfleet to gain some, planning on just being in its service long enough to satisfy the Institutes requirements. Then, as always happened to him, everything went to hell. Starfleet went to war with the Dominion and imposed the stop/loss order, preventing him from leaving. So what should have been, at most, an eighteen month stint in the military had turned into four gruelling years of misery. He didn’t even get posted to a R&D facility, instead he’d been one two different stations and a starship, before he’d been assigned to the Mandela for her post-war survey mission—by the end of which the order would have been rescinded and he could finally get back to a normal life. Now though, that just wasn’t to be.

    From where he sat at the central console, painstakingly working to circumvent the computers defences and barriers and gain access to whatever new information lay buried deep inside, he could see every other console and monitor. The entrance was behind him whilst before him was the door that led to the core itself, with gangways and ladders that circled it, allowing the computer techs to inspect and repair the mainframe itself. So when one of the panels flashed he noticed it from the corner of his eye.

    Pushing off from the table-like console he worked at, he rolled his chair over to the display that wanted attention. Tapping the appropriate panel the flashing stopped and the computer monitor switched to a new readout. This time the screen was divided into two, on one half was the alien text which appeared quickly and soon filled its side. The right hand side of the display appeared more slowly, in Federation standard.

    Raine felt a rare smile tug at his lips. It had worked. It had finally worked!

    The computer seemed to have a deep dislike of any ‘alien’ system that tried to be connected up to or downloaded into its databanks, preventing it from working which was what they’d been trying to do with the Universal Translator. So he had had to give the core a little root canal, writing the code for the UT into the system from the ground up so that it wouldn’t recognise the device as something foreign—or at least not too foreign that it would reject it again. He hadn’t expected it to take so quickly, thinking that he’d need another few days to get it done properly, but for some reason the system had decided to accept it now.

    Just then the entrance opened and Lieutenant Ra-Vahneii strutted in, a purpose to her walk and a scowl on her face. She saw him immediately and marched over to him.

    “I was just about to comm you,” he told the Efrosian, turning back to the display and tapping in a few more commands.

    * * * * *​
     
  13. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    This guy reminds me of that kid on Voyager who clashed with Janeway. Low rank, superior intelect and overqualified. If I remember right, Janeway eventually got through to him. Ra-Vahneii better get him on board as well. As here it's going to be even more critical to have everyone on the same page and quick.
     
  14. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Patrol, Deck 6, Alien Ship
    Position Alpha, Andromeda Galaxy

    After the ship had ‘jumped’ from one galaxy to another, the security patrols were stepped up, so as to ensure there were no other surprises left onboard. Chief Petty Officer Warren Stone’s four-man team had been assigned to sweep the forward point of the ship, which meant dozens of meters of corridors, crawlspaces, and rooms across three decks. In order to do so in a quick and effective pattern, he had divided his team into two; he and Crewman sh’Sene took the starboard side, whilst Petty Officer Analish and Crewman Ollin were at port. With sh’Sene being the rookie on the team, he wanted to keep an eye on the lithe Andorian.

    As with when they’d first arrived, all the security guard carried their type-III phaser rifle, training it down every corridor, alcove, room and cupboard they checked. Part of Stone’s duties, since they’d arrived in Andromeda, had included a full inventory of their weaponry, so he knew the four rifles he and his team carried were a sixth of their total arsenal—which was in addition to the twenty-five type-one and seventy-nine type-two phasers each member of the crew had come aboard with. It was a decent number of personal weapons, but he would’ve been happier if they had more—and a few grenades wouldn’t have hurt.

    “Analish to Stone,” his combadge chirped.

    “Stone here,” he replied stepping into another set of empty quarters.

    “We’re just about to finish our last two rooms on this side, then we’ll head into the forward room,” the Saurian non-com informed him.

    “Understood. Anything to report?”

    “Nothing of consequence, just a lot of cabins.”

    Stone could hear the hint of tedium in her raspy voice. Though the sweeps were important to ensure that the ship was secured and safe for its new crew, days of empty rooms and endless corridors were beginning to take their toll.

    “Same here. Stay sharp though.”

    “Aye Chief,” she promptly replied before the channel closed.

    The room he stood in was like any of a dozen others he’d been in that day alone; the main space was a conjoined sleeping and living area, with a bed in one corner, a padded seat and coffee table in between them, a small desk and high-backed chair, plenty of cupboard space and shelves, whilst the other set of doors led into a small bathroom. No personnel effects or signs that anyone had ever slept there, whilst the head was spotlessly clean.

    He stepped back into the corridor and waited a moment for sh’Sene, who was in the opposite room. She seemed to take just as long as he did checking the rooms, but after fifteen seconds had passed without her emerging from the room, he scowled and stepped up to the door. It opened quietly and he found her sitting on the bed, her elbows resting on her knees, head hanging down and antennae bowed. Her rifle lay beside her on the bed. Giving the room a quick once over, he approached.

    “Crewman?” he asked his voice level. She didn’t seem to register his presence. He moved to stand before her and got down on his haunches, his eyes searching out hers, but found that she was light-years (if not galaxies) away. He took her shoulder and gave her a gentle shake. “Ethalatahra, are you alright?”

    The sound of her formal name seemed to get through and her eyes focused on him, her brow furled as she saw him. “Chief?”

    “You okay? You seemed a little out of it there.”

    She gave a nod but he noticed her eyes moisten. He kept his eyes locked on her, searching out the truth from the young Andorian. It wasn’t the pointed look he used to get criminals to confess, or the steely one he used when going into battle, it was the fatherly one—the one that conveyed understanding and forgiveness, whilst at the same time telling the recipient that they couldn’t lie to him. It was a look normally only reserved for Elise or Jerome, but in this instance it was what was needed for one of his team.

    “What do we do, Chief?” she finally admitted. “We are millions of light-years from home with no chance of getting back! No one even knows where we are or what happened to us, so they won’t even be looking for a way to get us back.”

    “Have you heard of the U.S.S. Voyager?” She thought for a moment and nodded. “I remember when she first vanished; there was a lot of hype and press about the missing ship and the search that they were conducting. They found nothing and the ship was reported as lost with all hands. Then we get word that the ship was swept out to the Delta Quadrant. When I heard what had happened to them, I remember thinking, ‘those poor bastards’. But despite tremendous odds against them, they’ve made it over halfway home. Yes we’re a helluva lot further, but this ship brought us here, maybe it can send us back—and if not that then the people who built it obviously have the technology needed.

    “Until then however,” he continued, his voice taking on a harder edge, “we do our job. It’s up to you, me and every other security guard onboard to keep the rest of the crew safe—they are the experts and eggheads who’ll figure this out and get us home, we have to do all we can to make sure they stay in one piece. Alright?”

    Sh’Sene looked up and gave him a nod. “Yes Chief.”

    With a soft smile he gestured back towards the door. “Let’s get to it then.”

    Stone had just led them back into the corridor when his combadge chirped again. “Stone here.”

    “Chief,” it was Analish, sounding perplexed, “we’ve got something in the forward chamber you might want to take a look at.”

    He was already sprinting when he heard her tone, sh’Sene keeping pace behind him. “On my way.”

    It took only a few seconds for them to reach the three storey room at the forward point of the ship. He stepped into it with his rifle raised and immediately trained it on the first thing that moved, which happened to be Crewman Ollin so he lowered the weapon but quickly looked around for a threat. Finding now he turned to Analish, who was facing the bulkhead, her scaled fuchsia head tilted to the side. He moved closer and was about to ask what the problem was, when he saw what she was looking at. Engraved into the metallic wall, using what looked to be a directed energy weapon, were a series of shapes and patterns. It didn’t take a genius to work out it was some kind of language, however even his untrained eye could tell that it didn’t match the alien text used in the ship’s computer banks, it was something totally new.

    * * * * *​
     
  15. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    The glorious Shetland Isles!
    Forward Atrium, Alien Ship
    Position Alpha, Andromeda Galaxy

    With the computer finally accepting the Universal Translator programming, it was slowly spreading through the entire system—but since it wasn’t completely unlock then it would take time. For now however, Riell Danal’s first major task was completed. She would, of course, continue to study the language, exposing the slight nuances that every alien tongue had whilst learning a little more about the actual people who wrote it, but with the crew now able to start properly working the consoles and technology onboard she was over the first hurdle.

    That was until she’d been called to the forward atrium with Commander Takashima. One of the security patrols had found another alien script, one that didn’t match up with what filled the computer banks. The Commander had set her to work on it, wanting answers as soon as she could get them—which was often easier said than done.

    So she sat, cross-legged, on the transparent floor, her UT analyser, tricorder and assortment of PADDs set out before her, her eyes tracing every curl, swirl and loop of the words. Written language was always more difficult to decipher than spoken, especially when carved into a wall and not churning through a computer. The fact that this puzzle had been written with a phaser, meant that is was obviously something that was of importance, which was what she’d pointed out to Takashima. He’d asked why such a message wasn’t left in the computer for them to find, to which she could only guess came down to the systems hostility to alien programming—it’d flummoxed their own computer techs for days. Of course, that just presented a whole raft of new questions.

    The one that had her was why were the five lines of text left on the wall of this room? The forward atrium, as it had been dubbed, was a three storey room (unsurprising from the name it was at the very front of the ship) with floor to ceiling windows offering some spectacular views—which could be appreciated from the ground level of from either of the two balconies above it. She surmised it was some kind of social space, their equivalent of a ship’s lounge, going by all the couches, tables and chairs, and what looked like a sleek wooden bar on the middle level (on which she now sat). The deck of the middle and upper levels were made of a transparent material, so occupants could see from top to bottom of the room, which was connected by several staircases.

    After she had set about her new task, a security guard had been assigned to stay with her, but she’d found the Deltan man to be more of a hindrance than anything else, skulking around the space, disappearing one moment and popping up somewhere the next, the occasional attempt at small talk, all of which distracted her. After just two hours, she’d asked to be left alone. The room was secure, there were plenty of ways for her to escape should it actually be necessary, plus she had a type-one phaser tucked into its holster on her belt. Chief Stone had reluctantly agreed to withdraw the guard, but had made it very clear that he and his team would be close by should she need them.

    Left on her own, peace prevailed, with only the sound of her fingertips on the keypad of various devices breaking the silence. Of course she would’ve liked to have had a Starfleet computer to run her analysis through, but had to make do with what was at hand. She would collect as much information as she could, then run it through the ship’s database and see what it made of the writing—even hoped that the ship might have a record of it.

    One of the key ways to translate a written language was to look for repetition; it was one of the bases for communication, sorting letters into words, words into sentences, sentences into ideas. She had to look for words that repeated the most frequently, pick apart their letters and start to build an alphabet. That would take time and she wanted to get it right—this message was obviously of some importance, why else burn it into the bulkhead with a phaser?

    Danal sighed and slumped forward.

    Posture darling, the sweet voice of Laina echoed in her mind, which made her sit up straight, a sad smile now on her face. How long would it be before she saw the light of her life again? It had been Laina who had encouraged her to take the assignment to the Mandela; after having spent years stuck in communications labs with other language and cryptography experts during the war, trying to crack Dominion codes and create new ones for the Allies to use, she had been about ready to turn her back on her romanticised dream of being in Starfleet. Laina, a researcher for the Federation News Service, had heard of the Mandela’s mission through her contacts. A ship heading out to chart a few systems wasn’t normally a big news story, but Starfleet Command wanted to show that things were getting back to normal following the war, so the piece was really more to spread some good PR than anything else.

    Once she had the details, she had told Danal about it and encouraged her to apply. Though they weren’t necessarily going out to study alien cultures, they could discover some remains of a forgotten people on a quiet little world, which would need a skilled linguist—or rather that was how Laina had sold it to her. Danal had taken her advice and registered her interest, then was shocked to be selected to join the mission only a few days later. She was thrilled at getting to do what she had joined Starfleet to do, but the thought of ten months apart had saddened both of them.

    It is just ten months, and I’m pretty sure you won’t find anyone as good as me on such a little ship, Laina had teased, plus they do say absence makes the heart grow fonder.

    Ultimately they’d decided that it wouldn’t be so bad, they could message each other as often as they wanted (though real time communication was out of the question) and afterwards they’d have a lot of reconnecting to do—Danal would need to count and see if Laina had developed any new spots. Never in her wildest dream did she suspect that there would be a literal galaxy between them.

    She turned towards the viewports and gazed out at the stars, not even knowing if she was looking towards home.

    “I’ll get back to you, baby. I promise,” she told the empty room, her voice resonated around the three levels.

    * * * * *​
     
  16. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    Good to see people holding onto hope, no matter how fragile it is. And with the alien graffiti etched into the bulkhead, I’m wondering if our Starfleet contingent aren’t the first visitors to this intergalactic Flying Dutchman. And if so, what fate befell the others?
     
  17. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    The glorious Shetland Isles!
    Weapons Control, Alien Ship
    Position Alpha, Andromeda Galaxy
    Stardate: 54203.8 (March 16th, 2377)

    With the instrument panels displaying Standard the chances of them hitting the wrong key, overloading the weapons system and destroying the ship were significantly reduced. Nhataq had immediately gotten to work on the weapons array, along with the five other tactical specialists onboard and a pair of engineers.

    One thing was abundantly clear about the ship, it was designed for combat. Her main armament comprised of forty twin-mounted pulse weapons, comprised of an energy she had never seen before, but with a total output of between ninety and one hundred thousand TeraWatts—making them more powerful than Starfleet’s type-XII phaser array. But that wasn’t the biggest punch the ship packed; there were four retractable cannons on the ventral hull, two forward and two aft, which appeared to be plasma-based and (if the diagnostic scans were to be believed) could generate a minimum of eight hundred thousand TeraWatts. Not surprisingly, each cannon would need time to recharge before it could be fired again, but with that kind of power there weren’t many ships that would be much of a threat after just one hit. She did find it odd not having any torpedo-based weapons, although the ship did have four tubes the magazines were filled with sensor probes or communication beacons.

    What was startling though were the shields. Given the size and complexity of the ship, the power of their weaponry (and not forgetting the ability to hop from one galaxy to another), their shields only had a total capacity of 650,000 TeraJoules—not much more than the average Miranda-Class ship. Why would any species design a ship with such a weakness, especially after piling on such and arsenal?

    “Ok, am I the only one seeing the flaw with this design?” she asked the others in weapons control.

    “Maybe they hoped their weaponry would deter anyone from firing on them?” offered Petty Officer Koeman, not sounding convinced with her own theory.

    “They could be behind us on shield technology,” Ensign Abasi suggested. She glanced at the Kenyan engineer with a questioning look. “We’ve seen that they seem to lack containment fields in engineering, instead they rely on the energy absorption properties of minerals—such as in the warp core.”

    Thinking on it, his theory made sense. Not every species developed the same technology during their development (Vulcans had never invented can openers for example), so they could have been in the early stages of deflector shields. What shields they did have would provide them with some degree of protection, whilst their multiple weapon emplacements took out a hostile ship before they were in any real danger. It was a possible scenario, but it wasn’t one that she was overly happy with.

    “That’s it!” Ensign Yrees exclaimed, startling all the others present.

    She scowled at the Bolian, whose earlobes darkened, embarrassed at his burst of enthusiasm. “What’s ‘it’?”

    “What if they employ a similar material on the ship itself? Something that would absorb energy—it might explain why the Mandela could scan the interior of the ship; the beam was dispersed by the hull.”

    There was a beat of silence in the room as the officers and non-coms looked at one another. Nhataq shrugged her shoulders. “Sounds plausible. Isn’t there someone running an analysis of the hull?”

    “Ensign Banaszek and Crewman th’Vohrn,” Abasi told her. “Last I heard, they were still working on it but I’m not sure how it’s going.”

    She flashed him a toothy smile and tapped her combadge. “Nhataq to Banaszek.”

    “Go ahead, Lieutenant.”

    “Ensign, how is the hull analysis coming?”

    “It’s progressing, sir,” the Polish metallurgy specialist admitted, his voice wavering uncertainly.

    “Meaning?” she probed.

    “It’s a bit trickier than we first anticipated, Lieutenant. Even detached from the exterior, the sections we’re testing are almost impervious to scans.”

    Nhataq smiled. “Up here in weapons control, we’re look at the defences and have a wild theory to explain the somewhat low-powered shields,” she told him. “Can I ask, have you tried firing a phaser at it?”

    “A phaser?” he exclaimed. “Lieutenant, this is delicate work that needs to follow certain procedures—firing a weapon at the sample isn’t one of them.”

    “Ensign, if it’s refracting sensor sweeps and transporter beams, I need to know if it can withstand a directed energy weapon.”

    There was a pause of silence over the comlink. “I’ll need to clear this with Lieutenant Ra-Vahneii, if she okay’s it then we’ll run a couple of tests.”

    “Please do. Keep me posted. Nhataq out.” With that the link closed and she looked around at the others in the room, all watching her with amazement, admiration or concern. “Keep working on the diagnostics and see if you can get any more out of the shields, I’ll go and speak with the good Lieutenant—convince her to see things my way.”

    * * * * *​
     
  18. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    The glorious Shetland Isles!
    Astrogation Centre, Alien Ship
    Position Alpha, Andromeda Galaxy

    Just a few more heavy steps and there would find some relief from the so-called ‘standard’ gravity, Tamin Kenza told himself as the doors to the astrogation centre opened before him. Whispering closed the Elaysian put a steadying hand on the cool metal bulkhead, taking a moment to gather himself once again. Coming from a low-gravity world, moving around the standard environment settings onboard any ship was as easy for him as a human wading waist-deep through a bog—he could manage it, but it was exhausting. If it wasn’t for the exoskeleton around his shoulders, arms, waist and legs he wouldn’t have been able to move at all.

    He’d spent five hours on the bridge, seated at the helm, teaching himself the fine art that it took to pilot the alien ship. So far, he was the only one onboard getting the best results, his handling of the controls were smooth and easy whilst anyone else who tried to manoeuvre the ship jittered and juddered. He didn’t know exactly how he managed it, but he definitely had the knack. However when Commander Takashima had asked him to be the new Chief Flight Controller he’d been floored, faster than if his servo controls failed. Kenza was a navigation specialist, he knew all about astrogation, star charts, navigational beacons and sensors, and had only certified as a flight controller as an afterthought. To be asked to man the post and supervise the other specialists and pilots was something he’d never expected, but before he’d had a chance to consciously think about he found himself agreeing to the offer.

    Now he wanted to get some peace and, literally, take the weight off.

    The astrogation centre (to call it simply a map room was to call a starship bridge a cockpit) was two decks high, with the main entrance on the lower level, and almost perfectly spherical in shape. The curved walls were made of a flawless silver metal which seemed to generate its own illumination—or at least he suspected it did, as there were no light fittings evident. Next to the entrance alcove, where he stood, were several control panels and with a touch of a key one could be separated and carried freely. With one tablet in hand, he hobbled into the room proper, the wall sliding closed behind him completing the sphere, and stood in the centre. Like many of the other computer displays, it was able to give the readings in Federation Standard as well as the alien language.

    With a touch of the controls the gravity eased and he felt his entire body relax, his tense muscles eased and, smiling to himself, he pushed off the deck gently and floated upwards. Being raised with such slight gravity, he was able to control his ascent and gentle spins, working out all the kinks and knots that formed throughout his body on a daily basis. Other than the quarters he’d been using, the astrogation centre was the only other place he could freely float.

    After his moment of respite, he focused once more on his duties. Another tap on the datapad and the lights dimmed to black, the only light coming from the portable computer he carried. Keying in another sequence there was a faint hum from all around, before the sphere filled with stars, each casting light into the dark. He floated in the dead centre, exactly where the ship sat since she had arrived in Andromeda—which had been christened ‘position alpha’ as it was their starting point—whilst all the stars he could see were what the ships sensors could detect. With no immediate way to return home and the journey likely to take hundreds of years, they needed to gather more information on where they were and look for a way to return back to their galaxy by another means.

    He tapped on the tablet again and the view shifted in tighter on their immediate surroundings, enhancing the eighteen star systems within a ten light-year radius, showing the planetary bodies that circled each star. Moving around to face the nearest system, he reached out and touched it. The hologram enlarged the O-type star and two planets, both D-class (incapable of supporting life), and brought up the three moons that were also in the system—one was volcanically and tectonically unstable, the atmosphere filled with toxic gas, another was little more than a ball of ice, and the third was even more lifeless than the planet it orbited. No signs of stations, ion trails, or any other activity anywhere in the system. Touching it again the system shrunk back to join the others and he pirouetted to pick out another.

    Then something caught his eye. On the furthest out system from their current position, next to the planet were a few words of alien text. Stopping himself, he touched that system and enlarged it. A G-type star, a couple millennia younger than Sol, one planet and three moons, but the alien writing was definitely suspended next to the small blue/green globe. He glanced at the datapad and ran the translation programme. It took a few moments, but the text was replaced and he could understand it. Oxygen/nitrogen atmosphere, trace elements of other harmless gasses, a little smaller than Earth but stable, with a temperature range of minus forty at the poles to thirty-five at the equator and a diverse ecosystem. Whilst all of that was useful, it wasn’t what Kenza focused on; his eyes were locked onto three words: Trading outpost Ok’ajuuf.

    The ship recognised and named a settlement. There was no question in his mind anymore; this ship had most definitely originated from the Andromeda Galaxy—possibly somewhere very near to where they now sat.

    He reached for his combadge. “Kenza to Takashima. I need to see you in astrogation, ASAP, sir.”

    * * * * *​
     
  19. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    The glorious Shetland Isles!
    Officer Quarters, Alien Ship
    Position Alpha, Andromeda Galaxy

    Lying, tucked up in a tight ball in the middle of the bed, Igen Nala listened to her shaky breathing. It was still in the room that had been officially designated as her quarters, which were larger than those she’d had on the Mandela and didn’t need to share, so she didn’t feel as though the walls were closing in on her or that it was getting harder to breath. The isolation or darkness didn’t bother her either, orphaned during the Occupation she’d grown accustomed to both. There was just something about the ship that put her on edge, that kept her looking over her shoulder, feeling like she was being watched, all of which made the tears roll down her cheeks as she lay motionless.

    Part of her wanted to scream, to release all the frustration and tension building up in her scrawny body, but fourteen years spent under the boot of the Cardassians had left her knowing that being quiet meant being safe...most of the time. Her body shuddered at the flash of memory, the night that she was left truly alone and powerless. She screwed her eyes tightly shut and tried to think about anything other than the savage leer on the soldiers face above her.

    “No,” she murmured, her little voice swallowed up by the silence.

    There was a muted bump from somewhere in her room. Immediately she envisioned the Cardassian stumbling towards her, blocking off her only means of escape—

    “Lights!” she demanded, sitting bolt upright in bed.

    In a split-second the room was filled with light, showing it to be empty and still. Trembling, she hugged her knees against her chest, letting the tears flow freely for a time.

    Igen wasn’t someone who handled change easily. Every time she found herself somewhere new she would spend weeks unable to sleep, the nightmares of her childhood coming back to her in the dark. It had been that way at the Academy and then again on the Mandela, where she was fortunate to have a roommate on a different shift. Now, she would face the same night terrors again, whilst during the day she would also feel uneasy.

    She knew that Starfleet offered help for those that needed it, with counsellors and therapists specially trained, but she wasn’t someone who opened up to anyone. From her first day at the Academy she had kept to herself, even during group projects or training she would do her part but once it was finished she would make excuse when anyone asked her to join them, after a while they stopped asking. She was better off on her own; she could work away by herself and do what was asked of her, letting herself find comfort amid scanners and analysers, sample containers and test-tubes.

    Wiping the sweat from her forehead she knew she wouldn’t be getting any rest that night. She quickly pulled on her uniform from that day, turning away from the reflection of her own nakedness in the mirror that was on the dresser, pulling her copper hair back into a ponytail by feel alone, then went through to the small living space (silently relieved to find it empty). She sat down and pulled on her boots. The ship had several laboratories, more than enough for her to find an empty one and work on the sensors, away from interruptions and memories.

    This was a whole new galaxy to be studied, but even here she couldn’t hide from the horrors of her past.

    * * * * *​

    END
     
  20. Warp Rider

    Warp Rider Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    Location:
    Another Galaxy. Canada.
    Read the first three parts, and I'm liking it so far. The characters seem like an interesting bunch, and an Asian First Officer is a nice change. And even though the premise isn't completely original, I am still intrigued to see where this one will go and do differently. :techman: