Starship Enterprise "Broken Bow" (Alternate version)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by The Badger, Apr 27, 2009.

  1. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    UES Enterprise. Earth Orbit.
    15th April 2151.

    In his early twenties, on a trip to East Africa, Archer had seen a gazelle giving birth. Within a matter of minutes the baby could stand on its own. A few more minutes and it was able to walk.
    For those first few minutes, though, it had been uncoordinated, unstable, and (in the words of an ancient cartoon character he'd seen as a child) 'kinda wobbly'.

    Archer was reminded of that gazelle as Professor Partridge disembarked from the shuttle craft. Looking white as a sheet, she stumbled down the boarding steps, keeping one hand on the hatch frame for balance.

    "She never did like to fly." said Trip, at Archer's side.

    "Let's hope she finds a starship more comfortable than a shuttle." Archer replied.

    Together they approached the professor, who, Archer noticed, was taking deep gulps of air. A thin sheen of sweat made her forehead glisten.

    Trip had known Partridge for years. They'd been at Cambridge together. Knowing of her travel sickness, he'd brought along a folding chair and a bottle of water.

    "Now you jus' sit down and get your breath back, Polly."

    She didn't reply, but gave him a grateful nod and accepted the water.




    Leaving Trip to see to the professor, Archer approached the rest of the group from the shuttle.

    "Hoshi, enjoy your shore leave?"

    "Yes sir! I found this marvellous place in the Caribbean, where I...er, I'll tell you later."

    Archer nodded. Hoshi's stories of her gambling exploits were often entertaining, but best shared amongst close friends. Besides, if she was true to form she'd probably spent at least half an hour deliberately losing at poker to the new personnel. If they knew how good she really was, they'd not play her again.

    He did not really approve of this behaviour, but considered it a small price to pay for the services of humanities best xenolinguist. Even the Vulcans had expressed their respect for her skills.

    He moved on to the rest of the UESPAs, all new personnel. Although Enterprise would be ready for departure the next day, her first scheduled mission wouldn't have been for another two weeks. A lot of crew members who should have been on board were unavailable on other assignments. With the accelerated launch countdown under way, a number of hastily selected replacements had been brought on to the ship.

    Archer preferred a degree of familiarity on-board. Whilst he knew that there had to be a clear chain of command, and that meant a certain professional distance, his experience of deep space missions suggested that people worked better if you were friendly and approachable. He knew others disagreed but it had always worked for him.

    Not knowing much about these new crewmen (he'd read their service files, but that told him about the work, not the people), he made a point of asking names and memorizing faces, gently enquiring into their views on the mission. They were unanimously excited to be here. Each one had volunteered for a posting on the Enterprise previously, almost getting it. Now they had a second chance and were absolutely delighted.

    "Well, ladies and gentlemen, if you wait over there for a moment, you'll be shown to your quarters. Now then..."

    He turned to the two black clad military officers

    "Commander, Ensign, sorry to keep you waiting. Welcome to Enterprise."

    They both snapped to attention and saluted. The female officer, Hernandez, gave a crisp, precise salute, and held it. Mayweather's salute seemed half hearted. He went to drop it after a second, noticed his superior was still holding hers, so maintained his.

    Feeling slightly uncomfortable, Archer returned the salute. There then followed an awkward moment where he couldn't remember if he was supposed to drop it first, or wait for them to. Hesitantly he lowered his hand, and was relieved to see the others follow.

    "Captain Archer, Commander Maria Hernandez. Thank you sir. My orders, sir."

    She held out a pad. Archer took and inspected it. Her service record, which he'd already seen a copy of, plus orders to take the post of first officer and chief gunnery officer.

    "This all seems in order, Commander. There will be a brief ceremony at 1800hrs in the observation dome. You will officially assigned to your posting then."

    "Thank you sir."

    Archer turned to Mayweather. "Ensign, you must be the guy General Kaplasky picked."

    "That's right. Sir"

    "Any idea why she chose you?"

    A slight hesitation. "Couldn't say. Sir"

    Archer paused. There was something about Mayweather that didn't sit right. A slight tone to his voice, the vaguest hint of insolence.

    Perhaps it was nothing. It could simply be Mayweather's accent. The Martian colonists came from all over the Earth, and their speech pattens often sounded odd to those from less diverse cultures.

    Or perhaps I'm getting paranoid, thought Archer wryly. I know General Kaplasky doesn't like UESPA, but that doesn't mean she'd try to cause trouble! Although there is that business in his file about a fight....

    Deciding to give Mayweather the benefit of the doubt, Archer pointed out "Well, your file says you are one of the best helmsman we've got, so we are lucky to have you aboard."

    That did seem to cheer Mayweather. "Sir," he said, sounding for the first time like he meant it, "I am the best helmsman in the fleet."

    Dismissing the two UEMAs, and turning hurriedly before another bout of saluting occurred, he headed back to Trip. The chief engineer was patting Partridge's shoulder in a comforting manner. She was slumped forward in the chair, still taking deep breaths, though not as desperately as before.

    "Trip? Is she going to be OK?"

    "Yeah, I reckon so."

    Archer leaned closer and spoke quietly. "Are you sure? She wasn't this bad when she came aboard to inspect the labs, or for the press conference."

    Trip suddenly looked worried. "Hey, you're right, cap'n. She wasn't nearly as bad as this."

    "Perhaps we should get her to sickbay." Archer suggested.

    "Not necessary captain." said Partridge. She straightened up, and took a deep swig of water. "Hypothesis. My previous visits to Enterprise were conducted by large, comfortable civilian shuttlecraft, with wide windows allowing uninterrupted views of our surroundings."

    She paused, and took a breath. "On this trip, I was on-board a small, cramped, uncomfortable shuttlepod. The only windows were positioned for the flight crew. From where I sat, I couldn't see out.

    "Though I have no hard data at this time, I'd speculate that these factors made my usual travel sickness much, much worse."

    Trip cocked his head. "Well, your brain seems to be workin' just fine."

    "Thanks Trip."

    She looked at the bottle for a moment, then tipped her head back and poured the remaining water over her face. There were a series of excited and approving noises from the assembled crewmen nearby, although these stopped instantly at the captain's disapproving look.

    "I'm sorry captain, that was thoughtless of me. I've gone and got your floor wet. If you can find me a mop, I'll clean it up lickety-split!"

    "No problem, professor. The deck is cleaned regularly. Crewman Winters!" he beckoned to one of the shuttle bay maintenance crew, and pointed to the spillage. "Better get a wet floor sign over here, soon as possible."

    "Yes sir."

    Partridge was looking more like her old self. "Oh, Diva says hi, Trip."

    "That's nice of her. How's she been?"

    Archer, wanting to talk to Hoshi, made his excuses and left them to talk.

    Lt. Moshiri had arrived, and was taking the new crew members to their quarters, but Hoshi had been on Enterprise for most of the test flights and knew the ships layout. There was no hurry for her to leave. Archer signalled her to stay.

    "Lieutenant, a quick word." His use of her rank let Hoshi know that this was to be a formal discussion. "What's your impression of our first officer?"

    Hoshi chose her words carefully "Difficult to say sir, I've only had limited dealings with her. She seems....very professional. By the book all the way with this one."

    "Hmm, that's what I thought."

    "Also, this is might not be relevant, but listening to her speech pattens, I'd say she came from a relatively poor background. Joining the military gave her a way out. She's embraced the lifestyle thoroughly. I'd bet good money that she was taught English by a very formal British person, probably a man. Spanish is her first language but she almost certainly thinks in English."

    "Captain Archer?" Partridge was approaching them. She looked a lot better. "Trip tells me that the main observational array is up and running. Would it be possible to start using it? There's a newly discovered Cepheid variable that we..."

    "Way ahead of you, professor. We started observations this morning. Every thing's automated of course, all crew are needed to get the ship ready, but we're already pulling in a great deal of data. Would you like to see it?

    Partridge clapped her hands together. "Oh yes, yes please!" She was hopping up and down like an excited child.

    Somewhat startled by this reaction, Archer shot his chief engineer an enquiring glance.

    "Yeah, she's like that." was Trip's laconic response.

    Somewhat bemused, Archer led Partridge away. Trip exhaled slowly, then turned to Hoshi.

    "So. Good vacation?"

    "Not bad, not bad at all." That, Trip knew, was Hoshi's way of saying she'd done well in the casino's.

    He nodded after the others. "So what do you think of Polly?"

    "Like you said, Trip, she's a bit...unconventional. But not in a bad way. I think I like her."

    "Yeah, you're just plannin' to use her to get to her fashion designer friend, right."

    Hoshi put on an expression of mock dismay. "My secret scheme, revealed!
    "Really though, I don't think the Matrix Studio produces anything that would suit me. Certainly nothing I could afford."

    "Hey, don't put yourself down. You are one very attractive young lady, if you don't mind my sayin'."

    "Why thank you, kind sir!" she said, in a spot on 'southern belle' accent, before reverting to her normal voice. "The thing is, I'm shaped like a normal human woman, and Diva Matrix doesn't design for normal women. Your friend, on the other hand, looks like something from one of my brother's comic books."

    Trip was only familiar with western comics "Is that a good thing or a bad thing?"

    "Depends on whether or not any aliens we meet have tentacles."

    That was a somewhat perplexing response, but Trip sensed he would feel mighty uncomfortable if he pressed the matter. He changed the subject.

    "What about our new first officer?"

    Hoshi paused, then repeated what she had told the captain. She then added "There's only one way to make Hernandez more efficient. Tie a mop to the stick she's got rammed up her backside. That way she can wipe the floor when she walks around!"

    "Lieutenant! That is a superior officer you are talking about! I don't want to hear you using such terms ever again. Do I make myself clear?"

    Hoshi had automatically snapped to attention at Tucker's tone. "Yes sir! Sorry sir."

    "All right. Didn't mean to snap there. But we gotta maintain the protocols, you understand? Those UEMA guys, they're just waitin' for us to make do something wrong."

    "Yes sir."

    "Also....it's not real lady like, is it, that sort of talk?"

    "No sir."

    "All right then. Now, without using any disparaging language if you can, can you sum up our helmsman?"

    She thought for a moment, then said a single word.

    "Trouble."
     
  2. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Ok, that was a lot of fun! I like your version of Hoshi and Trip seems genial enough. Polly is going to be trouble, intentionally or otherwise....
     
  3. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I agree. And I love that Polly is named 'Polly.' :D
     
  4. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Thanks guys!

    The inspiration for 'Nu Hoshi' came from a comment by Penguin in the 'Ultimate Hoshi Sato appreciation thread'. In one episode it was suddenly revealed that she was a decent gambler and had a Black Belt in Karate, revelations that didn't fit in at all with her portrayal before or since.
    The idea of Hoshi having a bit of a wild streak, being a little bit dangerous, seemed more interesting than the timid version we got. For some reason, I can easily imagine her in a bar on some alien world, last woman standing after a brawl.

    Trip has perhaps the most distinctive speech pattens of the regular cast, so I've been trying to reproduce them. Let me know if I get it right!

    Polly Partridge is, of course, an alternative to T'pol. Now T'pol was obviously an attempt to do another 7of9, but I wanted to make two differences.
    First, she had to be human. This is Humanities first deep space mission. Whilst there may be occasions when aliens become part of the crew, it will be for specific missions where their skills or knowledge are essential, not as permanent members.
    Second, I didn't want to copy the 7of9 'ice maiden' approach. It's been done. I wanted someone whose motivation to study science was not the soulless collection of data, but rather, like Feynman and Sagan, the sheer joy of finding things out.
    As a scientist, she can wield logic and reason with surgical precision, but unlike a Vulcan, she is not bound by them.

    When first developing the character, I originally thought of having her nicknamed T'pol, as that was who she was replacing. I came up with 'Tabitha Polly Smith, but everyone calls me T'pol', but that just felt too contrived. I dropped the nick name idea, and the Tabitha, went with Polly Perks for a while before remembering it was a Terry Pratchett character, and finally decided on Partridge. No particular reason, it just felt right.
     
  5. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I have to say, I think Polly is my favorite character so far - because you really took the idea of having a bombshell aboard and made her not only self-aware of the fact that she was a bombshell and famous in and of herself, but also took away the 'ice maiden' factor. To me, that nicely dramatically undercuts the fact that the bombshell character was included for those demographic reasons. :techman:

    Regarding Hoshi...
    going to be a genetically altered augment, like Bashir? I've read before where someone created a revised version of her that was, which certainly doesn't preclude you doing it too. But the card counting and all made me remember it.
    I can also picture Jolene Blalock as Polly. It's funny, I never liked much of the cast of ENT, but somehow I can see the working as you've redone the roles. Especially hellraiser Travis. Plus, somehow I can see Trip calling T'Pol 'Polly.' :rommie:

    I can't wait for the next installment. :)
     
  6. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    ^ Well, T'Pol is to appear later on, so Jolene Blalock would have to work double time if you want her as Polly as well!

    I haven't really got a specific actress in mind. I was inspired, if that's the right word, by Jane Fonda as Barbarella. Only bumpier. And with weirder dress sense. And a British accent.
     
  7. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    UES Enterprise. Earth Orbit.
    16th April 2161

    Where the hell am I?

    In near darkness Maria Hernandez awoke with a start. This clearly wasn't her bunk. It was too short and narrow. Whilst hardly luxurious, the bunk in her on-earth quarters was noticeably more comfortable. Yet she couldn't be in space either. She was lying on the bed, not strapped into it, which meant gravity.

    Oh, right, Enterprise. Yeah.

    She blinked a few times, watched the faintly glowing numbers on her clock coalesce into something readable. Time to get up.

    She reached for the wall panel and gradually increased the illumination, so as not to hurt her eyes.

    As a senior officer, she warranted a room to herself. It was no larger or more luxurious than any other room, but at least she had it to herself. The second bunk was placed directly above hers, though it was currently folded flat into the bulkhead. Her own bunk could also fold away, to give a bit more room, though not much. The previous night Hernandez had stood arms outstretched, finger tips brushing the side walls.

    The room was perhaps three, perhaps four times longer than it was wide. At one end lay the small hatch, currently bolted shut. A small transparent port allowed for views into the corridor: it was treated so as to be opaque from the other side. On entering the room, a small wardrobe was positioned directly to the right. Then came the beds, then the second wardrobe.

    On the other side of the room there was a small work desk and recreation centre. As with the beds, everything was designed to fold flush with the wall when not in use. A small stool was provided for working at the desk, though Hernandez thought it likely that most people would sit on the lower bunk when using the games console.

    Next to that was a compact fridge, enough for light snacks, or maybe a six-pack, a microwave oven, and tea and coffee making facilities.

    As if the room were not cramped enough, a network of pipes and electrical conduits decorated the ceiling. Most were securely out of the way, and all were covered in a soft foam to protect against impacts, but she could imagine there'll be a few people ending up in sickbay with bruises to the forehead.

    There was another hatch, with no viewing port, at the far end of the quarters. Like most of the doors on the ship, it was securely fastened with a lever that must be swung from the horizontal to straight down. Strenuos, but on a space ship it was a good idea to keep things airtight.

    She opened the hatch, passing through into the bathroom beyond. If the bed room was small, this was tiny. Just enough room for a lavatory, a sink, and a small shower. She cleaned her teeth, then stripped off her regulation underwear and climbed into the shower. One advantage to all this technology, the water was piping hot.

    Three minutes, and not a second more, she emerged feeling a lot better. That lasted for as long as it took her to return to the main room.

    I'm going to be here for months.

    She looked forlornly round the small, cramped, windowless cell. She knew it wasn't as bad as it seemed. She'd been in smaller quarters before. The 'rooms' on Neptune class ships were no larger than this, and had to home five people at a time. But without gravity, crews stayed on for no more than a couple of months before being rotated onto planet side duty.

    She dressed, then folded out the desk and computer keyboard. Six external mails, and a couple from inside the ship. She checked the external ones first. All last minute congratulations from friends and colleagues on her posting. She sent back quick messages of thanks.

    The internal mail next. The first was a list of all the social and entertainment groups that had already developed on Enterprise, along with times and places for any meetings. She was pleased to see that a small group of Catholics had established itself, and had a regular booking for meetings in one of the briefing rooms. She mailed the contact name on the list, Ensign Hackett, letting him know of her interest and asking for more information.

    The other internal mail came from Dr. Philip Locke. She remembered seeing him briefly at the previous nights ceremony, where she had officially accepted her post as first officer. Didn't have much contact with him apart from a quick handshake and a few indistinct words, inaudible over the hubbub in the observation dome. According to his message, however, she'd agreed to come in for a full physical this morning.

    She swore, loudly, in Spanish. That helped, so she said the same word, only this time in English. By chance it happened to be one of the few French terms she knew, so she said that as well.

    Knowing it was not a good idea to upset the medical staff, she sent a quick acknowledgement. Better have some breakfast first.

    After checking through the view port that no one would be hit by the opening hatch, she hit the unlock key, swung the lever, and carefully opened the door. Locking it behind her she set off towards the nearest terminus.

    The Declaration class was designed before humanity developed artificial gravity. As prolonged periods of weightlessness are not good for health, it was intended that the secondary hull would rotate, with centrifugal force (or was it centripetal? Centripedal? Hernandez could never remember) simulating gravity in the living quarters. 'Down' would be outwards, away from the primary hull, whilst 'up' was inwards.

    Now, gravity generators had been placed through out the ship, and the secondary hull was firmly fixed in place. But one need only look along the corridors to see that the same orientation was still in place. In both directions the corridor curved noticeably upwards. Bulkheads, seeming to lean inwards, blocked her view any further. When she got to one, her own orientation had shifted. It now seemed perfectly upright.

    This hatch was more sturdy than her cabin door. A large wheel in the center held the bolts in place. She spun it, passed through, closed it behind her. As a main access corridor, this was quite wide. Three people could walk side by side quite easily. Most corridors were so narrow you go single file, turning side on to let other people pass. Ladders provide deck access, although there were flights of stairs in the busier parts of the primary hull.

    And everywhere you went, you had to watch out for low pipes. It was actually worse in the primary hull. Designed as a zero gee enviroment, there were pipes and conduits on what was now the floor. She made a mental note to memorize as many of those as she could. It would be embarrassing to take a tumble in front of the crew.



    The terminus stations were the points where the connecting fins met the secondary hull. It was here that one could catch the elevator to the primary hull. Next to the station itself was a relatively open lobby, not large, but significantly less cramped than anywhere else on the secondary hull. Some one had added a few pot plants. A couple of picnic style tables and benches gave a place to sit.

    Hernandez found herself tensing slightly. Partridge was already there, in a vivid scarlet version of the outfit she'd worn the other day, signing books for the half dozen or so UESPAs present. There were also, she noticed, a couple of Marines present. One of them, a young woman only just within the minimum height requirement, saw her and snapped off a textbook salute.

    "As you were." Hernande called before any one else could respond. "It's too early in the morning for all that jumping up and down business."

    She was relieved to see smiles. Perhaps it was not too late to repair some of the previous days damage, and build up some good will amongst the crew.

    There were a couple of vending machines in the lobby. She got herself a large black coffee and two all butter croissants. That'd keep her going until she'd had her physical. Afterwards, something from the main mess.

    She sat at the unoccupied table, watching the group. Something struck her as odd. Partly it was strange to see so many hard copy books nowadays. Also, some of the things being proffered for signing couldn't be books. They were too wide, and thin.

    She beckoned the two marines over, and asked to see what they had. Corporal M'boto, whose insignia marked him out as a technical specialist, carried a thick tome entitled 'How We Know What We Know: How science triumphed over other ways of discovery.'. The front cover was a montage of a telescope, a microscope, the double helix and a formula Hernandez didn't recognise.
    The 'About the Author' page carried a head and shoulders picture of Partridge, sensibly dressed and with a serious expression.

    She handed the book back with thanks, and turned to Corporal James. James wasn't carrying a book. James was carrying...

    "A calender?" Hernandez turned to Partridge. "This is a calender!"

    "I should hope so too. That's what I posed for!" Partridge giggled.

    Hernandez was perplexed "But why?"

    "Well, so you know what day it is, plan events, that sort of thing. Whatever calenders are usually used for. Oh! Do you mean, why did I pose for one?"

    "Well, yes."

    "Charity. I do one every year. Back at uni I did a bit of modelling, to pay off the student loan. Still like to do it occasionally. Relaxes the mind after contemplation of the cosmos. Hey, do you reckon Captain Archer will let me do a shoot on Enterprise? There's a couple of fabulous locations!"

    If this had been a military ship there'd have been no chance, but Hernandez was rapidly losing track of what was considered appropriate on Enterprise. "You'd have to ask him." she said weakly.

    As she finished her croissants and coffee, she thumbed through James' calender. Partridge had signed it on the March page. "To Autumn, from the girl of your dreams, XXX Polly!"

    "That's what I asked for." said James, slightly defensively, when Hernandez enquired.

    "Yeah, a lot of people like March best." Partridge had finished her autographing, and had caught the conversation.

    Hernandez carefully folded the calender and handed it back to James. "You don't think you're maybe sending out the wrong message?"

    "I'm not deliberately sending out any sort of message. It's just intended as a bit of fun. That calender, I'm reproducing images from old movies, that's all."

    Hernandez thought about this. "Ah. That could explain why a well known pacifist was carrying a big gun."

    "Oh yeah, November." She struck a pose, pointing an imaginary gun to her right. "Dodge this! Boom! Yes? Yes, you know that one, right? No? Did you recognize any of the pictures?"

    "I'm sorry, I don't really have much time for movies. Especially old ones." she replied, wondering if Partridge was mentally stable.

    "Oh, you're no fun. What do you do to wind down?"

    Hernandez opened her mouth to answer, and closed it again. The fact was, the service was her life. She really didn't have any outside hobbies or interests. She shrugged.

    Partridge regarded her silently for a moment, before asking "Have you ever done any modelling?"

    "It's not really my sort of thing!" Hernandez said quickly, before noticing the other womans mischievious grin.

    A beep from her watch reminded her she had an appointment. "I have to go. Medical check up."

    "I'll come with you. I have to ask the doctor something."

    Hernandez said "Sure." whilst thinking, with my luck you get travel sick in elevators too...
     
  8. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That was a well-thought out description of conditions aboard ship. And I like the bit between Maria and Polly.
     
  9. Penguin

    Penguin Commander Red Shirt

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    Badger, so far So good.

    Interesting cast of characters you have.

    Believe this story wil be great fun.
     
  10. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Thanks. I'm kind of worried that this is going rather slowly, and that Polly might be a Mary Sue. So any encouragement is gratefully received!

    Next part might not be for a few more days. I've got a touch of the 'flu, so sitting in front of the computer trying to be creative is out of the question. I'm still working on it in my head though!
     
  11. Penguin

    Penguin Commander Red Shirt

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    I have some patience. I am following a number of Fanfics and the authors, like you, have othier priorities and problems so chapters are fairly slow in coming.

    Besides, being able to think things out in your mind and editing them in your mind can be a good thing. gives you the leisure you need to write a fine story.
     
  12. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    UES Enterprise. Earth Orbit.
    16th April 2161


    Partridge didn't get sick in the elevator. She did, however, get rather nervous as they got in. Hernandez thought that was understandable.

    Because the secondary hull had a different orientation to the primary one, finding a quick, efficient means of transport between the two had presented the designers with quite a problem. Both Hernandez and Partridge were quartered near to Fin One, the vertical strut. As such they had started out upside down with respect to the primary hull. The elevator shaft was zero gee, but gravity generators were built into the base of each elevator.

    The elevator would travel to a point midway along the shaft, stop in a specially modified wider section, and then rotate along it's horizontal access so that the bottom was now towards the primary hull. It would then carry on it's way. For those travelling on-board, the sensations were quite peculiar.

    One would enter the lift as normal. It would proceed upwards at a fair rate, before slowing to a stop. There then followed an odd swirling sensation, as the elevator spun round. This was made all the more disconcerting by the fact that, whilst your inner ear told you that you were moving, your awareness of gravities effect on your body told you that you were stationary.

    That was the point when most people grabbed tightly onto the hand rail.

    The elevator would now carry on it's way, except that to those on board it seemed as if it were now heading down. Consequently, when it stopped, there was the half expectation that you'd returned to your starting point.

    That's going to take some getting used to, Hernandez thought. She wondered about the two lower fins, where the gravitational orientation was more side on than upside down, and how one got from one hull to another there. Something to investigate later.

    Unlike the lobby on the secondary hull, this area wasn't considered living space. It was smaller and, apart from a computer terminal and a couple of rows of bench seating, empty. A couple of marines were present, checking the room as part of the security sweeps. They saluted Hernandez.

    She saluted back "All clear?"

    "Yes Ma'am. Nothing out of the ordinary yet." He sounded disappointed.

    Hernandez sympathised. She'd not met Lt. Reed yet, but she understood that he and his unit were highly regarded and, considering that Earth hadn't fought a major space conflict, quite experienced. Anti pirate activity, xenomorph eradication, the border wars with the Axanar, quelling the insurrection on the Alpha colony. They'd been there and done that, and the only reason they hadn't bought the t-shirt was because one of their enemies was using it as a surrender flag.

    Which begs the question, what are they doing on Enterprise? Marines were supposed to be on ships of this type, but there seemed little sense in placing combat veterans on an exploration mission. She knew commanding officers on warships who'd give their first born to have Reed and his unit on board. So why here?

    Yet another little mystery. They're starting to add up.



    Sickbay was located near the shuttlebays. That made sense. It was next to the quarantine bay, and also allowed anyone injured on a landing party to get medical aid as quickly as possible.

    Hernandez levered the door open and stepped into the office, Partridge close behind her.

    Doctor Philip Locke was a small man with pale watery blue eyes. He was seated behind his desk as they entered, perusing the computer screen with great intensity. As he became aware of their presence he looked up sharply.

    "What do you want?" he barked.

    Hernandez was taken aback. "You requested I come in for a medical examination." she said simply.

    Locke grunted an acknowledgement. "What about you?" he asked Partridge.

    "Oh, I put in a request for a spare pair of glasses. I was told they're ready."

    He waved her towards one of the internal doors. "Go ask Millington, he'll have them." he grumbled. "Not that you need them, damn affectation. "

    "They help for reading"

    "Hmph. I could fix your sight in ten minutes."

    Partridge shrugged. "I'd rather wear glasses."

    "Whatever. Just go. Go. And put some sensible shoes on! You'll break your ankles! Or your neck! Or both!"

    As Partridge skipped away, he muttered, just loud enough for Hernandez to hear "....supposed to be the smartest person in the world. Damned flighty idiot, if you ask me."

    After the near worship of Partridge seen elsewhere, this amused Hernandez. She must have let her feelings show as Locke suddenly skewered her with a stare.

    "What's so damn funny?"

    "Er, nothing, nothing Doctor. Er, is this a bad time for you? I could come back later..."

    "Why do you say that?" he snapped.

    Unfortunately, Locke was one of the civilians attached to the crew. If he'd been a member of UEMA or UESPA, Hernandez had the power and authority to deal with his attitude. As it was, he had to be handled with kid gloves.

    She'd been on deep space missions where the only medical help on board came from a Corpsman. They did the job well enough, but were no substitute for a fully trained doctor.

    In addition to twenty years general practice, Locke was an experienced surgeon, and had recently completed the cross species training program. He was the ideal choice for the mission, and Hernandez didn't want to upset him.

    "Actually, Doctor, you really don't need to see me at all." she smiled.

    Locke leant back in his chair. "Is that so?" he asked softly.

    She pulled a data chip from her pocket. "I had a complete medical check up just a few weeks ago. I have the results right here."

    Locke sounded impressed. "A full check up? Just weeks ago?"

    "Yes Doctor."

    He drummed his fingers on the desktop, apparantly deep in thought."I don't remember that." he said, sounding puzzled.

    Now Hernandez was confused. "Remember what?"

    "I don't remember giving you a check up. In fact, I don't recall ever meeting you at all, before last night.

    "Oh, perhaps I gave the wrong impression. It wasn't you, it was Doctor Hartley at UEMA HQ."

    He nodded, and took the data chip. "Ah, I see, I see. Some one else examined you."

    "That's it"

    He gave her a withering look. "Why are you telling me this? Why are you wasting my time, my valuable time, with this? Hmm?"

    He tossed the chip contemptuously aside. "I called you here so that I could examine you, not read someone else's opinions!"

    He stood, and handed her an empty vial. "I hope you've had something to drink this morning. I'm going to need a sample. Afterwards, go to ward one for the blood test.". Without waiting for a reply he darted out of the office.

    "Yes Doctor." she told his retreating back. She looked down at the vial. Somehow, it seemed to encapsulate her feelings about the mission so far.
     
  13. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Between the candle and the flame
    Nice doctor! That's the kind of doctor I want on my ship-not. What a curmudgeon.
     
  14. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Im in ur Tardis, violating ur canon.
    UES Enterprise. Earth Orbit.
    Captain's Log. April 16, 2151. The pre-launch countdown is underway. All systems show readiness for our upcoming voyage. Despite the problems caused by the accelerated time table, my crew have excelled and we are now running slightly ahead of our predicted schedule.
    My only concern is that the two crews, UESPA and UEMA, still don't seem to be intergrating. Whilst there is no apparent sign of outright hostility, relations often seemed strained. If this is not dealt with somehow it may put the long term success of this project at risk.


    Captain Archer looked around the shuttle bay. It seemed a little too empty, a little too quiet. If it had been up to him he'd have allowed as many off duty crew members as possible to be present. After all, the arrival of the President of Earth was not something that happens everyday, there was sure to be interest.

    Sadly, it wasn't up to him. Given the attempt on the President's life, the Secret Service had insisted that Archer clear the deck of all unnecessary personnel. He had, reluctantly, agreed.

    Still, he'd managed to get a bit of leeway into what counted as necessary. The docking bay crew was slightly larger than usual, with several crewmen who would normally be off duty at this time acting as 'assistants' to those scheduled to be here. All the marines who could be spared were present, looking resplendent in their dress uniforms.

    On the subject of which....Archer tugged at his collar irritably. It was a little too tight, and some thing about it made his neck itchy. He hated full dress uniform.

    He'd designated himself, Hernandez and Trip the official welcoming party, thus guaranteeing their presence for the arrival. Hernandez hadn't arrived yet. She'd sent a message saying that her medical exam had taken longer than anticipated, and she'd only just left sickbay. She'd be with them as soon as she'd changed uniform.

    Trip was carefully examining his computer pad, his brow furrowed.

    "Problem?" Archer asked.

    Trip shook his head slowly. "Prob'ly not. Number three impulse engine is running a bit hot."

    "How bad?"

    "Oh, it's still well within tolerances. It's just...unusual. Doesn't seem to be any cause for it."

    "Seriously Trip, I need to know, right now, is this going to affect our mission?"

    To his credit Trip thought about this carefully. "I honestly can't see how cap'n. They're pretty sturdy, those engines. Even if it was running twenty, maybe thirty per cent over maximum recommended temperature, it'll still do it's job. Of course, it'd need replacing ASAP, but it'd get us there and home again."

    He examined the pad carefully. "Think I'll increase coolant flow to compensate, just be on the safe side. Relax, cap'n, worst comes to the worst, we just shut it down. Heck, there's half a dozen automatic systems that'll do that if there's any risk to the ship. And we still got two spare impulse engines."

    The main hatch levered open and Hernandez entered, still adjusting her dress uniform.

    "My apologies gentlemen. Doctor Locke's examination went..."

    Archer held up a hand. "It's all right, Commander. We understand."

    Trip looked up from his pad. "So how d'you find Locke?"

    She thought for a moment. "Thorough." she said simply, rubbing her arm.

    Trip grinned. Even in the short time the doctor had been on board, Locke's predilection for taking blood had become legendary.

    "Hey cap'n. Any truth in the rumours that Doc' Locke has forbidden chef from givin' him anythin' with garlic in it?"

    Any reply Archer may have given was interrupted by the tannoy. "All shuttlebay staff on standby. Presidential shuttle has made secure contact on pad three, descending into airlock."

    A loud warning siren followed, accompanied by flashing lights at pad three. Even over the noise the rumble of the lowering pad could be made out. There was a clang, more felt than heard, as the space doors closed.

    The siren ceased, though the lights continued to flash. The tannoy spoke again. "Shuttle secure. Beginning re pressurisation."

    Now the hiss of air could be heard.

    Archer licked his lips nervously. He glanced at the others, and prodded Trip's arm to get his attention. The engineer was still holding his pad. The Secret Service would be very wary to see anyone holding anything.

    Trip looked nervous. He went to stash the pad, but the dress uniform pockets were too narrow. Glancing around, he tossed it to one of the nearby crewmen, who almost dropped it.

    "I'll want that later. Put it somewhere safe, outta sight."

    A different siren sounded, and the tannoy said "Pad three pressurised. Stand clear of pad three, stand clear of pad three. Main hatch opening."

    There was a slight inward rush of air as the double doors swung open. After another warning on the tannoy, the shuttle pad began trundling back on it's tracks. Unlike pads one and two, which were designed for the smaller types of shuttle, pad three was intended for much larger ones. As such it was considerably slower. Archer found himself muttering "Come on, come on." under his breath.

    Finally the pad reached disembarkation point. The sirens and warning lights ceased. For several seconds nothing seemed to happen. Archer knew that all sorts of procedures had to be carried out. Engine shut downs. Security protocols. But he wasn't in that loop at the moment.

    A thin sheen of mist drifted from the shuttles surface, moisture in the air reacting to the still cold surface.

    The President was Head of State for the entire United Earth, not just a particular region. Still, some national traditions had been adopted for planetary use. And so it was, as the shuttles boarding ramp swung open, that the old standard 'Hail To The Chief' played over the speaker system.

    The President had arrived.
     
  15. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Between the candle and the flame
    Excellent imagery!
     
  16. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2004
    Location:
    The fine line between continuity and fanwank.
    Agreed, I could really see all of this as I was reading. :techman:
     
  17. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Im in ur Tardis, violating ur canon.
    UES Enterprise. Earth Orbit.
    16th April 2161

    Flanked by Secret Service agents, the President stepped carefully down the boarding ramp. He'd timed his descent to coincide with the last few bars of the music, allowing him to begin to converse the moment he stepped onto the deck.

    "Captain Archer, permission to come aboard?"

    "Permission granted, Mister President. It's a great honour to have you here." This was one of those situations where Archer thought a salute was entirely in order.

    The President smiled. "The honour is mine Captain, I have read about the Enterprise with much interest. I do hope I will have the opportunity to look around."

    Archer nodded. "A tour can be arranged. May I present my first officer, Commander Hernandez."

    "Pleased to meet you, Commander."

    Hernandez's salute was textbook. "Mr President." she said simply, her voice tight with nerves.

    Archer gestured to Trip. "And Commander Tucker, my second officer and Chief Engineer."

    "Ah, so you are the fellow who keeps everything working. Is all as it should be?"

    A simple enough question. but with a world of meaning behind it. Trip glanced sidelong at the captain before answering.

    "Yes, Mr President. As far as I can see there's no problems."

    "Good, good."

    Trip was uncomfortably aware of the intense scrutiny the nearest Secret Service agent was giving him.

    Several more people disembarked from the shuttle. Assistants in suits, carrying briefcases. The President's press secretary.

    And two Vulcans.

    The President beckoned the last pair over. "Captain, I believe you know Ambassador Soval?"

    "Indeed I do Mr. President. Ambassador, it is good to see you again." Archer gave the Vulcan salute. Odd, but he felt more comfortable with that than with Earth's salute.

    Soval responded in kind. "Captain. I trust your father is well?"

    Archer nodded. "Recovering nicely, thank you." Henry Archer had recently suffered a stroke. For a while things had looked grim, to the point where Jonathan had considered requesting a transfer from the Enterprise so he could be near his family. Fortunately his father's condition had improved significantly.

    "That is good news. Our discussions have always been productive." That was about as close as a Vulcan, even one who had lived for decades on Earth, could get to saying that he had enjoyed another's company.

    Soval gestured to his assistant. "T'Pol, my aide."

    T'Pol appeared to be in her early thirties, by human standards, but Archer knew that it was difficult to tell with Vulcans. Apart from her rather unfortunate pudding bowl hair cut, she was very attractive, face wise at least. The flowing robes she wore made her figure impossible to determine.

    She greeted Archer with a barely perceptible nod of the head. "Captain."

    Not having been given any mode of address other that her name, Archer replied "Pleased to meet you."

    She gave no response.

    That, Archer knew, was common behaviour amongst some Vulcans. He tried not to let it bother him. Instead he introduced his two officers.

    Soval observed the pleasantries. He'd been around humans long enough to at least try to put them at their ease. T'Pol made no such effort. A nod to acknowledge their presence, nothing more.

    Trip seemed a little put out by her attitude. And whilst Hernandez's face gave nothing away, Archer noticed his new first officer was clenching her fists.

    Archer gestured to the door. "Would you like to see your quarters? I'm afraid they are somewhat spartan, but I hope they will suffice."

    The President nodded graciously. "Thank you Captain. I'm sure they will be suitable."

    Trip said "We've done what we can with the environmental settings in the Vulcan delegates rooms. Turned up the heat, lowered the humidity, that sorta thing. Won't be the same as bein' on Vulcan, but should be a mite more comfortable."

    T'Pol barely glanced at him. "Unnecessary."

    "A thoughtful gesture, none the less." said Soval. "It is appreciated."

    Archer lead them to the door. Pausing at the threshold, he turned and nodded to the officer in charge of the Marines.



    Lt. Malcolm Reed maintained his Parade Rest until the diplomatic party had left. He'd spotted the Captain's signal, but thought it wise to stay at attention until he was sure he was no longer observed. The Secret Service agents were notorious for not taking chances, and the current situation would only have made things worse. He'd noticed several agents watching him and his men like hawks, and didn't want to take a step out of place.

    Only when the Presidential party had left did he allow himself to relax. "All right Sergeant. Fall the men out." he said in his soft Yorkshire burr.

    Sergeant Woo nodded. "Yes sir! Fall....wait for it Sandstrom! Fall out!"

    The Marines relaxed.

    "Wow, I can't believe it. The President!" said Dent, the team medic.

    Another Marine, Tipping, drawled. "Yeah, you can tell the grand kids someday. 'I was ignored by the President of Earth'."

    There were a few requests for him to shut up, but there was no malice to them. Tipping's grumpiness was a running joke amongst the unit.

    Sandstrom approached Reed. A tall man, so muscular he had difficulty holding his arms straight at his sides, and with a neck so thick that it seemed his head flowed straight into his shoulders, he was the teams heavy weapons expert.

    He saluted. "Sir. What do you think the chances are? Any action on this mission?"

    Reed shrugged. Given the Enterprises mission profile, there shouldn't be any call for their skills. But that was before the President came on board. That was before the assassination attempt.

    "I don't know Sandstrom. I really don't know."
     
  18. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2004
    Location:
    The fine line between continuity and fanwank.
    Nice! I liked "unfortunate pudding bowl haircut" and that you've made Soval more pleasant.
     
  19. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Between the candle and the flame
    Me too. Good job!
     
  20. Admiral2

    Admiral2 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Location:
    Langley
    Now that I'm up to speed, I offer my gut reactions. it's interesting, but:

    -Hernandez is already not doing her job as First Officer. Travis Mayweather is a Rank Insubordination problem waiting to happen (Put there by the Service Chief no less. More on that later). She knows he hates UESPArs, she knows he's already gone out of his way to pick a fight with a group of them, and she's seen for herself that he tries to intimidate them when he's not picking fights, and the closest she's come to doing something about it was saying, "uhh, you know we'll be in a ship full of them, right?" and not joining UESPArs for poker.

    Wrong. At some point between the time she first read his service record and the time they boarded - preferably during the instance of their first face to face - she should have looked him directly in the eye and said "I don't care who appointed you to this assignment. Try any of that crap on my ship and I'll bust you so far down in rate that your grandchildren will be washing dishes in the galley." And then if he doesn't listen, she should carry out her threat.

    This is the thing. The whole Mayweather situation smacks of the type of writing I hate to see but seems to be epidemic in Trek writing. It's a situation contrived solely to create interpersonal conflict, one that no organization full of people with any kind of common sense would allow to exist. Look at it in real world terms: This is tantamount to the Chief of Staff of the Air Force assigning a violent, prejudiced a-hole to be the pilot of Air Force One, just because he and the a-hole don't like the Shuttle crew accompanying the president. That's insubordination at best, sabotage and treason at worst, and it's done just to make the reader go "Oooh, aahh, what will happen? Oooh, aahhh..."

    But it's done, and since it's done, that leaves only two people capable of handling it before it becomes a problem: Archer and Hernandez, and all either of them has done so far is sit there and wonder about it. This situation needs to change, and it's Hernandez's responsibility to change it before Archer has to.

    -From what I've read of the description of the ship, the refit didn't go far enough. It started out as a rotational grav ship. You can't just add artificial gravity to it and not reorient the whole interior properly. It's inefficient. Leaving a lift system that has to swing back and forth between levels and leaving piping all over the floors will actually cause more problems than just installing a proper up-and-down decking and lift system.

    -On a lighter note, some ideas for Polly's portayer:

    Tricia Helfer
    Brandy Ledford
    Jeri Ryan (why not)
     

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