Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by The Badger, Apr 27, 2009.
And those of us with no shame and few morals shall require a kerchief for the wiping of drool.
With comments like these this seems to be turning into the 'Polly Partridge Appreciation Thread'. Have you noticed it's only the three of us posting any more? I think we've scared the others off!
UES Enterprise. En route to the Theta Iota system. Warp 3.58 and decelerating.
17th May 2151.
Archer and Sato were returning to the bridge when the Captain saw a familiar figure ahead of them. "Hey! Trip! Wait up a minute!"
The chief engineer looked over his shoulder as his name was called, and waved.
"You're heading in the wrong direction, aren't you?" Archer asked as they caught up with him. "Engineering's back that way."
Tucker said "The sorta manoeuvre we got planned, ah reckon ah can coordinate it jus' as well from the bridges as from engineerin'. Maybe better. Ah won't have ta wait for instructions to filter down, ah'll be there in the loop. Plus, o'course, the bridge is where the fun is."
"Do you anticipate any problems?"
"Not really. The Cochrane deceleration manoeuvre is a pretty standard technique. O'course, far as we know, no one's ever tried it with anything as big as Enterprise before. But it all works out fine in simulation. Trust me, there's nothin' to worry about." Trip added, seeing the nervous glances Archer and Sato exchanged.
They reached the bridge. Hernandez, standing beside the Professor at the computer station, looked up as they entered. "Ah, Captain, I was just about to page you."
Archer nodded, then turned to Sato "Hoshi, double check all stations, ensure they are ready for for the drop to sublight and possible combat." He made his way to the station. "Commander."
There was a hint of triumph in Hernandez's tone. "Captain. I'm sure you will be pleased to know, we are heading in the right direction after all."
Archer gave a sigh of relief. Although all the evidence they had pointed towards the Theta Iota system, they hadn't had a lot of evidence in the first place. All this time there had been the nagging fear that there had been something they'd missed, some vital clue, and they were on a wild goose chase.
"Alright, what have we got?" he asked.
"Lieutenant Moshiri noticed it first. A slightly thicker than usual hydrogen cloud. Not serious enough to affect the ships course. It barely registered on the navigational display. But the Lieutenant spotted something odd about it. Moshiri?"
The navigator turned in her chair. "The Doppler echo was weird sir, very weird. Turns out it was travelling fast. Just a gnat's proverbial under the speed of light."
"Now that is weird." Archer said. "Surely the sort of forces needed to get that sort of speed would disperse such a cloud, under normal conditions?"
"Yes sir. And it is dispersing. Another couple of hours, at most, and it'd be too thin to register. We got here just in time." Moshiri said. "But that's not the best thing."
"I'm all ears."
Moshiri grinned. "It's heading towards the Theta Iota system. Directly at it. In fact, if we draw a line between the Kraltos system, where we fought Hotel-2, and Theta Iota, it's travelling that line almost precisely."
Tucker had been preparing the engineering station, but had heard enough of the conversation. "Now ah'd say the odds against that are pretty high." he said, coming over.
"Not even I'd bet against that." Hoshi chimed in from communications.
"The slight discrepancy can be accounted for." Moshiri said. "Hotel-2 attempted to cover it's tracks by leaving the Kraltos system on one vector, then changing course towards Theta Iota once it had left our sensor range."
Hernandez said "When the Lieutenant told me this, I had Professor Partridge run a full scan on the cloud."
The scientist looked up from her viewer. "It's hydrogen alright, but not just any, common or garden variety hydrogen. No! It's that lovable isotope, deuterium. Same great taste as regular hydrogen, but with that added neutron that makes it perfect for all your atomic fusion needs."
Archer rubbed the back of his neck. "So Hotel-2 is leaking fuel?"
"Looks that way, John. I picked up a burst of Cherenkov radiation about an hour ago. Based on Haleh's readings, I'd say one of the fuel tanks ruptured about that time. The gas, well, it would have been super cooled slush then, sprayed free. As it passed through the warp bubble it dropped back to sub light speed, but maintained it's original course." Partridge said.
Trip nodded. "Yeah, nothin' structured could ha' survived transition, but ah reckon deuterium fuel could ha'. An' it would give off Cherenkov radiation, that's for sure. And the XO's shootin' did damage the fuel storage area."
"Any idea how far are they ahead of us?" Archer asked.
Moshiri said "Based on this data, four hours at most. Probably only two."
Archer whistled softly. "And they set off, what? Five days before us? My complements to the engineering staff, Trip."
"Ah'll pass that on, Cap'n."
"One other thing I need to know." Archer mused. "That particle weapon. Should we be worried about it being used again?"
"Unlikely." Partridge said. "My scans suggest it was a one shot weapon, so powerful it burnt out many of it's own components when fired. These would need to be replaced completely before it could be used again."
Mayweather lifted his hand. "Professor? Something confuses me. Why was it placed at the aft of Hotel-2? Surely a forward position would be more useful?"
"Radiation. There was a burst of gamma rays when it fired. Not the sort of thing you want in your face if you can help it."
"Ah, and on a Neptune class there's a lot of radiation shielding at the aft of the ship between the crew and the impulse drive. Yeah, that makes sense, Professor. Thanks." Mayweather said.
"So not really an offensive weapon." Archer said.
"But useful for a Parthian shot." Hernandez added.
"Parthian what?" asked Trip.
Partridge blinked. "A military tactic originally employed by the Parthian Empire, 247 BC to 224 AD, though others have used it since. It played a vital role in their victory over the Romans at Carrhae, 53BC. Parthian light horse archers were so skilled they could turn in the saddle and hit a target behind them, and they would feign retreat to lead their enemies into more vulnerable positions."
"That's my ancestors she's talking about." said Moshiri to Mayweather, with a touch of pride.
Hernandez rubbed her forehead. "Good grief Professor. Do you know everything?"
Partridge's smile had just a hint of smugness. "Of course not. I merely know everything that is known."
"Hey, it's true." Tucker said. "Back in Cambridge, she was banned from every pub trivia quiz going. Seriously. If it was quiz night, they wouldn't even let her through the door, even if she weren't playin'. They didn't let her in on karaoke night either, but that's for different reasons."
Partridge said nothing, but glared daggers at Trip, who grinned back. Hernandez and Sato exchanged amused glances, both deciding to ask the engineer about it later.
A chime from Moshiri's console caught their attention. "We're coming up on the Theta Iota system sir."
"Understood." Archer fastened himself into his chair. "I have the conn. Hoshi, status report?"
"All departments report ready for deceleration sir."
"Engineering is ready. Power reserves are at maximum, all systems optimal."
"Thanks Trip. Weapons?"
Hernandez looked up from her board. "All weapon systems are on stand by, torpedo tubes loaded and hot, plasma cannons cold."
That was a gamble. If there was anything in weapons range when they arrived, the torpedoes alone might not be sufficient for defence. But fully charged plasma cannons had an EM reading that could be spotted easily.
Enterprise was set for a stealthy approach.
Archer sat back. "OK. Haleh, have you picked a suitable target yet?"
"Yes sir. There are three gas giants in the Theta Iota system. But the only one that matches the dust found on the debris is Theta Iota-6. It has nineteen moons, one of which, 6-F, has a sufficiently strong magnetic field for our needs. According to the Vulcan data base, at any rate."
"Let's hope the Vulcan's know what they are talking about." Mayweather muttered.
Archer said "They usually do. Alright. If everything is ready...initiate manoeuvre."
Another good one. Nice lead up to the battle, good break point, friendly banter. Top marks all around, Badger.
And no, I don't think we've scared everyone off. I hope not anyway. They'd be missing a fine story!
A brief interlude....
I liked the interaction between Polly and Trip. Their background almost seems like what we saw between Riker and Troi before we got the scoop on their past. I also liked the details on the battle prep, something we rarely (if ever) saw on Star Trek.
Still here. Just haven't posted while the banter was going on! Good chapter, looking forward to the next chapter.
Glad to see you're still with us!
UES Enterprise. En route to the Theta Iota system. Warp 1.2 and decelerating.
17th May 2151.
"Warp one point two." Haleh Moshiri announced over the wail of the engines. "One point one....one point oh five....warp one precisely..."
"Steady as she goes, Travis." Archer said. "Watch out for transitional stress."
"Aye sir, there's a touch of it now. Nothing I can't handle though." the helmsman replied.
Moshiri checked her readouts. "Nought point nine five. We are sublight, but still travelling by warp drive."
Archer leant forward as far as the seatbelt would allow. "Acknowledged. Hoshi, sound the manoeuvre alarm. Everyone get ready for this, it could get a little bumpy. Trip, it's over to you. Proceed."
"Proceedin', cap'n." said Tucker, carefully examining the displays on the engineering console. Slowly, carefully, almost lovingly, he made the necessary adjustments.
Under normal circumstances a vessel leaving warp would maintain the same inertial framework that it had before entering. In other words, if it had been travelling slowly when it had gone to warp, it would come out slowly. A faster ship, relative to the speed of light, would come out fast. But a good engineer could balance the equations to get a different result, if required.
"Aaaaaaaaand, that's it." Trip said. "The subspace field's dissipated harmlessly. Now ah jus' gotta reconfigure the warp coil firin' patten for the next part."
Mayweather half turned. "I can confirm sir. We are now currently travelling at point nine one of light speed, and the warp drive is disengaged. We are effectively coasting."
Moshiri added "Regulations require that I remind the captain that relativistic time distortion is in effect." She shrugged apologetically. There was no way Archer could be unaware of this fact, it had been brought up at the planning stage. But regulations were regulations.
Archer nodded. "So, how long will it take to get to that moon?"
"At current speed we will arrive at Theta Iota Six-F in approximately five hours, nineteen minutes. Though due to the time dilation, only about half an hour will pass for us on the Enterprise."
Partridge grinned. "I suppose that means we each get to live about four hours, fifty-ish minutes longer than we would have done."
"Unless the Enterprise crashes into something because we can't avoid it at this speed." Hernandez said.
"Wow, someone's glass is half empty."
Archer said "Well, to help us avoid that possibility, perhaps you could help Haleh keep an eye out for potential obstacles Professor."
"Passive scans only. We don't want to broadcast our presence. I've already got all the stealth systems engaged." Hernandez added.
Partridge shot her a withering look. "Do try to credit me with some intelligence Maria. Next you'll be complaining about the huge flashing neon sign advertising my new book I've had put up on the secondary hull."
"Ah, that'll be why the quartermaster has run out of light bulbs. Just out of interest, how high is your IQ anyway?"
"It's a secret." said Partridge, bending over her scanner. "But there's an easy way to find out. Add my bust measurements to my waist, subtract my hips. In centimetres of course."
Though tense, the next twenty five minutes or so were thankfully incident free. Enterprise continued it's plunge towards the sixth moon of the sixth planet.
At this range the moon was still invisible, but Theta Iota Six loomed in the viewscreen. Archer knew that the image was false, a computer reinterpretation of all the data being pulled in from the sensors, filtered to remove the effects of near light speed travel. But it seemed to him that there was something malevolent about that world, something hateful.
He shook himself, trying to rid the feelings of dread. Undoubtedly he was projecting his own feelings onto it. This world could be the hiding place for the conspirators that they had chased for so long. Less than two weeks? It feels like months!
As a diplomat, Jonathan Archer was trained to find the common ground, to see the other fellows point of view. But he couldn't seem to do that this time. Didn't want to. Conspiracy. Kidnapping. Mass murder. He had no idea who was behind this, but he found them repulsive.
And now this world, this gas giant, this vast sphere of scarlet and purple, looked almost close enough to touch. It seemed to embody his feelings.
He tried to distract himself, going over the plan again. Absurd as it seemed, this high speed dash into the system was the best chance they had. If they'd gone in normally, at warp, the energy signature would be easily detectable. Dropping out of warp outside sensor range then sneaking in at impulse would take days, giving the enemy time to repair their damaged ship. As long as they weren't actively scanned, this near light speed approach gave them the best chance to avoid detection. Of course, slowing down to a manageable speed would be near impossible under normal circumstances, but that was the point of the Cochrane Deceleration Manoeuvre.
One drawback. The CDM gave off a vast energy burst. Fortunately, that was almost entirely in the visible light spectrum. So if Enterprise could get close to the moon Six-F, so close that the gas giant was entirely hidden behind it, then maybe, just maybe, they could get close without being seen...
His reverie was interrupted by a chirp from Sato's console. "What is it Hoshi?"
"Looks like radio chatter sir. Encrypted, and distorted by our speed. I'm not sure if we can pull much useful data from it, but it's definitely a two way conversation."
"Can you triangulate their positions?" he asked.
"Yes sir, patching it through to navigation and gunnery."
Moshiri studied the readouts carefully. "One radio source matches the estimated location, course and speed of Hotel-2. Second source is in high polar orbit of gas giant Theta Iota Six."
Hernandez said "Recommend we designate second source as Hotel-3."
Archer sighed. "I think Charlie-3 would be more appropriate at this stage. We don't know who they are yet."
"But they are in collusion with Hotel-2."
"They are in communication with Hotel-2. We don't know that they are helping them. Even if they are, it doesn't mean they are hostile to us. They could be traders who know nothing about the conspirators activities."
Hernandez was silent for a moment, then nodded to concede the point. "Aye sir."
"Sir!" Moshiri sounded tense. "We have a problem. That second source, Charlie-3. On it's current orbit it will be over the horizon when we initiate the manoeuvre. They'll spot us for sure."
"Ah Hell." Archer thought furiously for a moment. "Haleh, if we altered course putting us closer to the moon, would that be sufficient to hide us?"
Moshiri's eyes widened. "Closer? I...I...yes, yes, it's possible, but..." She made a few calculations. "Yes. But there will be absolutely no margin for error. A fraction of a degree one way and they see us, the other way and we splat into the moon. Hard."
"Oh I did not want to hear that." Partridge muttered, turning even paler than usual.
Archer grinned with a confidence he didn't really feel. "Well it's good job I've got the best navigator and helmsman that United Earth has to offer."
Mayweather and Moshiri exchanged nervous glances.
"Yeah, right, that's us." Mayweather said with forced enthusiasm.
"It'll place a hella strain on the engines." Tucker said.
"We've come this far. We are not quitting now. Not now, not ever." The odd thing was, though the captain had spoken softly, his words carried above the noise of the engines to every corner of the bridge.
"Calculating new course now." said Moshiri. She sounded resigned. "Sending to helm."
Mayweather took a deep breath. "Course accepted, ready to initiate."
There was a mouse like squeak from Professor Partridge. She stopped, licked her lips, and tried again. "Mister Kaufman." she said in a high, trembling voice. "It might be wise to deactivate all sensor and scanner arrays that are not hardened against high energy bursts. They might get burned out."
"Excuse me Ma'am, but wouldn't all the energy released be directed away from the ship? That's my understanding of it."
The blond head nodded. "Perfectly true, but in this case our close proximity to the moon may be a confounding factor." Seeing his blank look she added "The flash will reflect back at us from the moons surface."
Hernandez said "Good point. Most of the military spec. sensors are hardened, but a few of the secondary systems aren't. Not sure about the science arrays though. Best shut down anything you are not sure about."
"Yes Ma'am." Kaufman said.
Archer glanced at the navigation display. It was getting close to time. And was that tiny dot on the viewscreen their destination? "Hoshi, sound the collision alert. I hope we don't hit anything--" And if we do we'd never know about it. Not at this speed. "--but I want everyone strapped in. This could get bumpy. OK, everyone stand by for manoeuvre in three, two, one, ENGAGE!"
He could see Travis and Haleh working frantically at their consoles, but knew that the real work was being done behind him. At the engineering station Trip was rearranging the warp field. Instead of a bubble, the subspace field was now shaped more like an umbrella.
In the planning phase Mayweather had described this as 'slammin' the brakes on'. Partridge had liked that metaphor, but she thought 'dropping the anchor' was more accurate. Either way, the effect was the same. In the space of a heartbeat Enterprise went from speed beyond comprehension to a slow crawl.
Partridge had been right about the flash. Instinctively Archer screwed his eyes shut, the burst of light flaring before the screens filters could compensate. Bright enough to leave a negative image of the moon's pockmarked surface dancing in front of his retina. He blinked rapidly. "Is everyone OK? Status reports!"
Sato had started to speak when she was interrupted by Moshiri. "Captain! We're too close to the moons surface! We're falling!"
"Attempting to compensate." said Mayweather. "Mr Tucker, can you give me more power?"
"Systems are redlined as it is. Ah'll divert reserve power...not enough. Gonna hafta disengage the safeties....reroutin' from the warp core...ah can take her up to one twenty percent of recommended output...."
There was a note of relief in Mayweather's voice. "That's it, that's it, she's responding. C'mon baby, do it for daddy, yeah. Yeah, that's it. Oh man." He wiped the sweat from his forehead.
"Now entering standard orbit." Moshiri reported. She glanced at Mayweather. "'Do it for daddy'?" she asked.
There was a whistle from Tucker's station. An incoming call from engineering.
Whilst he took it Archer unfastened his safety belt, stood and stretched. "That wasn't too bad was it? OK, Hoshi, get me status reports from all stations. Start with sickbay, I want to know if anyone is hurt. Mr Kaufman, reactivate the sensor arrays you shut down. Now we are here let's start pulling in data. And before the XO says anything, passive scans only. Professor, it's over, you can relax now. Grip that support strut any tighter and you'll break it. Or your fingers."
He turned as Tucker said softly "John....we gotta problem."
"What is it Trip?"
"We gone done it again. Maybe we had a faulty batch, maybe we offended the Almighty, maybe it's just bad luck. Or maybe it's 'cause we keep pushin' things further than they are meant to go."
"It's the dilithium crystal, John. Got a great big crack in it. So we hafta shut the warp core down. And of course, as this one's the spare, an' we already busted up the other one..."
And Archer realized, even if they rescued the Premier, there was no way to get him, or themselves home. No crystal, no warp drive.
It was over.
They had lost.
Excellent chapter, Badger, just outstanding!
Good cliffhanger too.
Not going to speculate on how they're going to pull this one off, but I've got a few ideas on how you might do it. Looking forward to seeing how it all pans out.
BTW ... what are Polly's measurements? In centimeters?
And I think you mean add them all together. If you subtract you'll end up in double digits.
"Do it for daddy!" I also enjoyed the cliffhanger, looks like Archer is gonna have to hijack him a Dilithium crystal or two!
Nice segment. Love the "Do it for daddy" comment.
That was a popular one, no doubt. Great little piece-NOW I understand what you were talking about before re Cochrane maneuver.
OK, it's that time again. I must apologise for the lack of recent updates. There's been a bit of a major RL upset recently. Not only has it left me with little time for writing, but I find myself unable to concentrate for long enough to put anything substantial down on paper (not really on paper of course, but you know what I mean).
I do intend to continue as I can, and ask for a little patience on your part.
Yeah, I pictured Mayweather as being rather more cocky than the TV version, so that sort of dialogue seemed more apt.
Also, Avenger, I'm not giving too much away to say that you've come up with the solution to the dilithium problem. Of course, it's easier said than done...
I was trying to think of a sneaky way to get Enterprise into the system, something a bit more dramatic than simply saying 'stealth systems engaged'. Whilst looking through Memory Alpha I spotted a reference to the 'Cochrane Deceleration Manoeuvre, referenced in TOS 'Whom Gods Destroy'.
There was no explanation of what it might be, so I shamelessly nicked it!
For some reason, Duncan MacLeod, I am not at all surprised that it is you who latched onto this particular detail. Not surprised at all.
OK, a couple of points. First, Polly's comment was a joke on her part, not meant to be taken literally.
Second, I made a mistake when writing. The ratio, as written, is:
Bust + waist - hips = IQ.
It should have been:
Bust + hips - waist = IQ.
Sorry for any confusion!
I'm don't intend to reveal any of Polly's statistics, IQ or otherwise. That way, the individual reader can fine tune her measurements to suit their own taste.
If you are interested Duncan the body I used for Polly earlier is a Canadian model called Bianca Beuchamp . (If you do go looking for pictures, many will be NSFW).
I found the picture on the 'net and added Jeri Ryan's head. Now if I'd thought things through from the start I'd have made Polly a red head with hazel eyes. I could use the pictures as they are then!
Holy #@*^! You might have put a NSFW msg with that reference! Looked her up to see what you were talking about-my, what amazing...lungs she has! And those...eyes are just delightful! LOL.
I'll not apologize for it.
Especially after seeing Bianca picture.
And there are some pics of her as a blonde at her myspace page.
NSFW warning added!
UES Enterprise. Concealed behind Theta Iota 6-F.
17th May 2151.
Marine Commander's Office.
Reed sat slumped, elbows on his desk, head bowed, palms of his hands pressed hard against his closed eyes. He took a long, exaggerated sigh, rubbed his forehead, and looked up. "Oh, this just gets better and better. Is there anyone else you want coming with us? Some of the maintenance staff, perhaps? The assistant chef? That guy in charge of the laundry? This is supposed to be a commando raid, not a bloody day trip to Blackpool!"
Across the desk Captain Archer was smiling slightly, and this was the sole reason Reed didn't stay his tongue. The Marine was quite good at reading people, and knew that, as long as Archer was indulging him like this, he could get away with venting his frustrations. If the Captain was not in such an accommodating mood, Reed would face charges of insubordination.
Archer leant closer. "Malcolm, if we are to get through this, we need a new dilithium crystal. More than one, if possible. Now if we are lucky, we may find some in storage on the enemy ship. If not, we need an engineer to extract it safely from the reactor array. And Trip here is our best engineer."
Next to Archer Tucker nodded sagely.
"But the chief engineer?" Reed asked. "Why not one of the others? I know that what's-her-face, the assistant chief---"
"---That's it, Adams, she's worked on Neptune class ships. Surely she'd be more familiar with the specific systems on the target vessel?"
Even before Reed had finished speaking Tucker was shaking his head. "She knows the system alright, but I know it better. The Lindel Industries Reactor System Version Four was developed specifically for Neptune's, that's true. But since then it's been used on a whole mess o' ships. Over a third o' all Earth ships, in fact. Includin' Conestoga's, backbone of the UESPA fleet. Plus, at Cambridge, I was taught warp mechanic's by one o' the guy's who designed it. Seriously Malcolm, I'm your best bet for getting the job done."
Reed grunted. He glanced at his computer screen, currently showing Tucker's service record. In one respect at least he seemed to fit the stereotypical view of Texans. He knew how to shoot. All UESPA personnel were required to maintain a basic proficiency with firearms. Tucker's records showed a level of skill equivalent to that of many soldiers. In addition, at least once a week on this journey he'd gone on down to the shooting range. Reed hadn't seen him shoot but some of his people had and they'd been quietly impressed.
Of course, there's a hell of a difference between target shooting and combat, Reed thought.
He tapped his intercom button. "Burke? Pull up Commander Tucker's file. Find an elastic pressure suit that'll fit, and bring it to the staging area ASAP."
Marine's Staging Area.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, and you too Tipping, quiet down please. I know we've gone over this a dozen times, but as none of you has the intellect of a sago pudding, I'll say it again. Team A, that's this lot on this side of the room, will be going to rescue the Premier. Not to worry, you will be lead by a fearless military genius. We will---yes, what is it James?"
The short brunette had her hand in the air. "If there's a fearless military genius in charge of Team A, what will you be doing?"
Reed glared at her in mock anger. "Oh very clever James, very droll. No, I am said genius. You will be delighted to hear that Team B, of which you are a part, will be under the command of Sergeant Woo. He is not a military genius, but he does get the job done. Usually by sending mouthy Corporals to their certain death as a means of distracting the enemy.
"For this operation Team A will be accompanied by Captain Archer and Ambassador's Aide T'Pol. In case diplomacy doesn't work, it's our job to pull the fat from the frier."
The hatch to the men's dressing room opened, letting Archer and Tucker in. There were a few jokey cheers and wolf whistles from the Marines, along with some gentle laughter.
"Let me guess." said Archer, looking round. "We are supposed to wear something on top of these pressure suits?"
Reed pointed back through the hatch. "There should be camo uniforms in the lockers."
"Should be, but ain't." Tucker said, holding his hands in front of himself. The skin tight outfit was not only uncomfortable. He also felt it was putting him on public display.
Reed observed his people, making a note of those who seemed to be trying too hard to look innocent, and resolved to speak to them later. "Someone's idea of a joke. I'll have Burke bring you your uniforms in the dressing room."
At that point the Sato and T'Pol entered. Like the Captain and Engineer, they wore only the pressure suits. This time the cheers and wolf whistles sounded much more like they were meant.
"CUT THAT OUT!!" Reed bellowed. "I must apologise, ladies, for the behaviour of my men. Well most of my men. And one of my women. If you return to your dressing room, I'll have uniforms sent in."
"Now, where was I? Oh, yes. Team B, which is everyone who is not in Team A, will be responsible for finding and recovering the dilithium crystal. Commander Tucker and Lieutenant Sato will be with you. Now I'm not sure what dilithium is but these space ship people say it's important. M'boto, you're supposed to be good with technical stuff. What is dilithium?"
"It's a super food sir. You give it to the hamster so he goes faster on his wheel. That's what powers the engines."
Ten minutes later Archer and Tucker, now with uniforms over their pressure suits, received the next layer of clothing. The standard issue Marine Body Armour was less protecting than a full environmental suit, but was lighter and more flexible. According to thousands of simulations, plus an undisclosed number of real world combat encounters, it offered the greatest possible level of protection without significantly imparing the wearer's movement or dexterity.
At least, that's what the manufacturer claimed. Reed's view was that it was always preferable to avoid getting hit, so whilst the Beowulf went through it's pre-flight checks he had the UESPA people and T'Pol practice running, ducking, and diving for cover. It wouldn't be of much practical benefit--the target vessel had no gravity, so such manoeuvres would be of little use--but it would at least get them in the right mindset.
Backpacks, with a built in air supply, came next, followed by the helmets. They were shown how to access the suit's basic functions. Communications, inertial mapping, alternate vision modes. The really technical stuff was left out. With such a short preparation time, it'd likely confuse them.
And Reed didn't want a foreign national, even an ally like the Vulcans, learning all the capabilities of the Marine's equipment.
"Check it out! Me and my squad of ultimate bad asses!" came a voice from the hatch. Professor Partridge had turned up with a metal case. Commander Hernandez followed her in, clutching a pad.
"Nothing bad about that ass!"
"Corporal James, are you aware your comms system is transmitting?" Reed interrupted.
"Ah, sorry sir. I was showing the Captain how to work our systems, must have forgotten to switch it off." There was a slight click as it was turned off.
By this time the newcomers had reached him. "Check it out, ma'am?" he asked, deferentially. He still wasn't sure if Partridge was angry with him for those comments in the mess hall.
"I'd bet good money it's a quote. Probably from some old movie or book or something." Hernandez said.
"And you'd win. Actually, now I think about it, I'm sure you and your chaps would enjoy it. We shall have to arrange a showing, Mr Reed. Although it's the second film in a series, so you'd better see the first one first."
"Yes ma'am." said Reed, faking enthusiasm. Apart from the Bond films he had no interest in old movies, and none of his people did either. But he didn't feel comfortable rejecting her offer. Great. Two old movies. How boring is that going to be?
Hernandez lifted her pad. "I better show this to the Captain, and to your pilot. We've got one of our remote drones up over the horizon, keeping an eye on things. It looks like Hotel-2 and Charlie-3 are going to rendezvous. Judging from their flight path, it will be inside the planet's atmosphere."
Reed thought about this. "Probably for concealment. Well, we've got good sensors and stealth systems on the Beowulf. Hopefully we can find them without them spotting us."
Partridge set up her case on the nose of one of the waiting shuttlepods. "OK, who's looking for dilithium? You guys? Oh, OK, I've only got a couple of these, so...ah, forgive the favoritism but I think Trip and Hoshi should get these. All you military types should be far too busy looking after them to spend time messing about with new toys."
Hoshi looked at the object Partridge gave her. "Some sort of scanner?"
"That's right. A portable dilithium detector. They're used by geologists to detect dilithium ore but I've modified these to find the refined stuff. Now it is an active scanner so be careful with using it, you might be detected yourself. Here's the main display screen, gives direction and range. This is the resolution control, here's the power indicator and this is to set the volume of the beeps."
"Oh, it goes beep, does it?"
"Well of course it does. Can't have a detector that doesn't go beep. Except for those that go boop. Or ding."
Next came a pair of devices for Team A. Partridge gave them to Archer and T'Pol. "These should help you find the Premier."
T'Pol lifted an eyebrow. "I mean no insult Professor, but I doubt Earth technology is sufficiently advanced as to discriminate individual life signs. Given the apparent presence of Vulcans in the conspiracy, finding a specific person would be a daunting task."
Partridge squared off to her. "Perhaps so. But there is a factor, if not unique, then certainly rare, that may make the task easier."
"The pacemaker." Archer realised.
"The pacemaker." Partridge confirmed. "Powered by a small amount of thromium. A substance which, when active, emits a distinctive energy wave. Not one that shows up on a standard scan, but, with specially modified equipment...."
"Logical." T'Pol conceded.
Whilst Partridge showed them how to operate the device, Hernandez leant closer to Reed. "There's something I've been meaning to ask you. What are you doing here? I've seen your record. OK, this mission turned out to be rather more than expected, but surely you should be doing more than security on a research ship?"
Reed snorted. "Yeah, it's not exactly as planned, is it? Look, you're military, you know how it is. When Enterprise was given to UESPA there were two sorts of UEMAs. Those who thought it a bad joke, and those who saw it as a terrible insult. Nobody wanted anything to do with it. Let's face it, it's not what the recruitment drives promised. 'Join the Marines, travel to alien worlds, and stand guard for hours on end while some pencil necked egghead looks at mould on a rock'.
"But...there was....an incident."
"Yeah. You know how there can be a bit of rivalry between Marines and Ground Forces?"
Hernandez nodded. "I've heard. A friendly rivalry, from what I've been told."
Reed nodded "And for the most part that's right. But sometimes it's less friendly than others. Me and my team were on shore leave on Mars, we ran into a group of GF's....much alcohol had been consumed, by both groups. There was a bit of a kerfuffle."
"I see." said Hernandez. "And the results of this 'kerfuffle'?"
There was just a hint of pride in Reed's voice. "Everyone of them ended up in hospital. None of us did."
"How many of them were there?"
"A full platoon. Against my one squad."
Hernandez snorted. "One squad hospitalizes an entire platoon without taking casualties? Really?"
"It's true. None of us went to hospital." Seeing her sceptical expression, he added. "Well, OK, over the next couple of days we all had to go to the medics for injuries caused by accidents that had nothing to do with the fight. Nothing at all. No. And it is entirely coincidental that said injuries looked like the result of drink fuelled violence.
"Anyway, the GF captain didn't want to admit that his people had been defeated in such a humiliating manner, so no official charges were made. But the story filtered up to the guys in charge, including one I had managed to upset in an entirely unrelated incident during the Axanar war. He's had it in for me ever since. So we were 're-assigned'."
Hernandez nodded. Reed and his people were being unofficially punished, in a manner that avoided the unpleasantness of disciplinary proceedings. "Things didn't work out as expected though, did they? Would you be so sorry to stand guard over an egghead if she looks like that?" she said, pointing to Partridge. "Plus, you are about to take part in a raid to rescue a VIP."
Reed grinned. "It's what I joined up for."
A hiss from his helmet's communicator. "Sir, we've completed pre-flight, and are ready to go."
"Acknowledged. Well, Commander, we best be on our merry way."
"Good hunting, Lieutenant."
... USS Avenger stopped laughing. Seriously it took me ten minutes to stop laughing after that line, then I laughed for another five when I saw the next line you wrote was "ten minutes later". Another great chapter to this story, I liked the inclusion of Reed's back story, its sounds like something that would happen in the military. Also I didn't realize that Trip was from Texas in this story, I assumed he was from Florida like the the show. I like him better as a Texan, Frankly even in the show he seemed more Texan or Tennesseean than Floridian. Once again well done!
Glad you liked the hamster line. It made me chuckle when I first thought of it!
Regarding Trip's point of origin, as I recall when Enterprise first started on TV it was implied (though I don't think ever stated) that he was Texan. Certainly his accent seemed to be more from that state than anywhere else, at least to this Brit's ears. Then when the Xindi arc came out he was suddenly a native of Florida. I presume this was to give the crew an emotional reason to go after the Xindi (never mind the unprovoked attack that left millions dead, this is personal!).
Though completely unnecessary, I've attempted to reconcile these views. In my continuity, Trip was born and raised in Texas, though his family moved to Florida when he was eight.
As an aside, it's just occurred to me that, if Travis Mayweather had had family on Earth, and that they were killed by the Xindi, that might have given him some significant part to play in the series.
There was a Travis in the series? Did he ever have any lines? I don't remember this guy. hmmmmmm.
Actually I was surprised to hear Trip was from Florida as well. I lived a number of years in our southern states (thank God I moved back north) and I never heard a Florida accent that sounded likes Trips. He sounded more like he was from Arkansas, which is between Texas and Tennessee (where I lived), so a Texan origin is far more plausible.
He's sounds like he's from Kentucky, IMO. Great bit-lots of cool lines/scenes. i liked the Maco banter a lot!
Separate names with a comma.