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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    Thanks for the input, Admiral2. You've raised some good points.

    In retrospect, the Travis Mayweather situation was somewhat over done. In the TV series young Travis practically disappeared. I wanted to give him more to do.
    Looking back on it though it is unrealistic, and were I too re-write it I'd certainly tone it down somewhat. As it is there will have to be a confrontation along the lines you suggest sooner rather than later.

    Personally, I find what I've written so far to be satisfactory....for a first draft. Lots of room for improvement I know.


    Regarding the inefficiency of the ship, that's deliberate (on my part, not the ships designers). Obviously I didn't explain it well enough in the narrative, but Earth's current vessels are too small, too short ranged, too lightly armed and simply too old to do their job. The Declaration class was supposed to solve that problem, but everything ran over budget and behind schedule. It was a choice between an imperfect solution now, and a perfect one far too late.

    As to why Earth feels the need to have new warships now, you'll have to wait and see...:)

    As to your casting suggestions...
    Tricia Helfer, well, I first thought she was 'just' eye candy on BSG, but she surprised me at times with just how good an actress she was.

    Brandy Ledford I must admit I'm not familiar with, but a quick GIS revealed her to be hot with a side order of 'daaaamn'.

    And as for Jeri Ryan, well I must admit I had considered eventually marrying Polly off to some one with the surname 'Hansen' ;).

    Thanks for the input, keep it coming, it's the only way I'll get better!
     
  2. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'm eagerly awaiting your next update! :)

    (And I'd be happy with either Tricia Helfer or Jeri Ryan for Polly.)
     
  3. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yeah, sorry about the delay with this. Real world stuff getting in the way at the moment, but I'm working on it in my head!

    Thanks for the encouragement Praetor, it is appreciated.:bolian:

    Slightly off topic, but I was amused to see in a news report recently that there is a real life female scientist called Professor Partridge! She's a Linda though not a Polly, a geneticist and expert on ageing who last year won the prestigious Darwin-Wallace medal.
    Probably doesn't wear a catsuit though!
     
  4. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    UES Enterprise. Earth Orbit.
    Captain's Log. April 16, 2151. With the Presidential party safely on board we can begin final preparations. Enterprise is about to leave orbit for our planned departure zone. Whilst Cmmdr. Tucker assures me that the engines are sufficiently calibrated to go to warp straight from orbit, I am unwilling to take any risk, however small, with the President on board. Asides from which, Lt. Moshiri has modified the flight plan at my personal request.

    I'm hoping that all goes well on this mission and without a hitch. I can't help feeling that things may get needlessly complicated. While I was showing the President to the obs. dome he handed me a data chip, with instructions not to look at until we had left the solar system. I'm sure he'd waited until my officers were otherwise engaged. But if this is to do with them, it could easily have been sent through official channels at a higher security rating than they have.


    Mulling the matter over, Archer was not aware of Hoshi at his side until she cleared her throat.

    "Sorry Hoshi, I've a lot on my mind."

    "Not a problem sir. Just these reports for you to sign. Oh, and Director Forrest has authorised the diversion."

    "That's good news. "said Archer. "I'd promised a flyby."

    He was interrupted by the whistle of the ships internal communicator, the distinctive tone of a message for the officer in charge. He lifted the handset. The display screen showed it came from the chief engineer.

    "Trip, what can I do for you?"

    "Cap'n, all impulse engines running within parameters, and the warp reactor's warmin' up nicely. She'll be ready for the go when we get to the departure zone."

    "That's good. How's number three impulse holding up?"

    "Still a little hot, nothing we can't handle."

    "Very good. We're about to make a little course correction. I'll try not to shake things up too much."

    Archer could almost hear Trip grinning as he said with mock indignation "You'd better not!"

    "All right Trip, carry on. Archer out."

    He deactivated the hand set and replaced it.

    "Haleh, we've got permission to use the revised plan. Lay it in."

    "Very good sir. Revised flight plan laid in and ready to initiate."

    Archer sat back in his chair, and gestured to Hoshi to return to her station. She indicated the pads with the reports on still unsigned.

    "In a moment." he told her.

    As she sat he turned to the helm console. "Mr Mayweather, you have the new course at your station?"

    "Aye sir."

    "Then engage at your discretion."

    "Aye sir. Lt. Sato, please inform Earth Central that we are diverting from our current course. New course is filed in their records as...". He paused, and read from his display screen. "...filed as Archer Flyby one."

    Archer watched all this with great interest. This was all textbook stuff. Mayweather even went on to read out the file name in phonetics, something few helmsman bothered with.

    More curiously, there was absolutely none of the underlying antagonism that had characterized his earlier behaviour.

    Hoshi reported back. "Earth Central acknowledges the change of flight plan, we are given clearance."

    Mayweather half turned in his seat "Helm is standing by for course change Captain."

    Momentarily befuddled by Mayweather's behaviour, Archer simply replied "You have the Conn, Mr Mayweather."

    "Aye sir. Lt. Sato. The manoeuvre warning, if you please."

    Three melodic chimes rang sounded throughout the ship, an audible warning that a change in course was imminent.

    Archer was pleased to see Mayweather waited a few seconds, allowing the crew time to sit or grab hold of something for support, before he reached for the controls.

    "I've been told I have a gentle touch." the helmsman said, lifting a suggestive eyebrow towards Haleh Moshiri. "Now let's see just how....Whooa!"

    The ship had twisted in it's course. Archer instinctively grabbed at his chairs arm rests to steady himself. He could see Hoshi hurl herself at the support strut by her console, wrapping herself around it for safety. With a clatter the pile of pads fell to the deck.

    Within a second it was over, but everyone looked startled.

    Once she was sure it was over Hernandez leapt from her seat. "Ensign, what the hell just happened?" she demanded.

    "Never mind that for the moment." Archer said. "Is anyone hurt?"

    Once satisfied that there were no injuries he turned to Hoshi. "Lt., casualty and damage reports please."

    "Aye sir."

    The communications handset squealed for his attention. He checked the display and accepted the call from Crewman Daniels on the obs. deck.

    "Mr Daniels, how is the President?"

    "Ah, he seems fine sir, ah, a bit shaken but he's joking about it. Ah, it's the Secret Service people. They want to know what's, ah, what's going on. Are we under attack sir?"

    "Just a moment Mr Daniels." He looked at Mayweather. "Travis?"

    The Ensign looked decidedly sheepish. "Sorry sir. I've trained on both the Declaration and the Invincible. Neither of them responded anything like Enterprise."

    Archer nodded slowly. "Well, now you know what to expect, can you complete the manoeuvre safely?"

    "Yes sir."

    "Carry on then." Archer lifted the handset. "Mr Daniels, please pass on my apologies to the President, and assure him it won't happen again. You can also let the Service agents know that we are not being attacked. Is there anything else?"

    A slight hesitation. "Ah, it's Professor Partridge sir. She fell from her chair and says she's hurt her, ah, uh, well, hurt her bottom, sir. She's threatening to sue UESPA for loss of earnings if there's any permanent damage. Ah, can she do that, sir? I know that she does modelling work, er, but I thought that was, you know, a side job, just for charity. I mean, she is a proper scientist isn't she? She can still do that? What if..."

    "Calm yourself Crewman." Archer interrupted. "I'm fairly sure she's joking. Tell her if she's concerned she can head along to sick bay, where Dr Locke can treat her ills with a series of blood lettings. Or, if she's really serious, we can send her home right now. Sadly we can only spare a small, cramped shuttlepod, not very fast so she'd be in it for a few hours. Quite a bumpy ride too."

    From the corner of his eye he could see Hernandez grinning. He gave her a conspiratorial wink.

    Archer signed off from the obs dome link, and asked Hoshi to put him on ship wide.

    "Ladies and Gentlemen, I apologise for the bumpy ride. It seems our Engineering staff had done such sterling work that our helmsman was simply unprepared for how responsive Enterprise is. He learns quickly though, if you don't have an external view you may well be unaware that we are currently making a major course correction. Going very smoothly too. Archer out."

    Hoshi had finished collecting the casualty and damage reports. No damage, Crewman Patel had a bruised elbow from an unsecured hatch swinging open and hitting him. Nothing else, though both Trip Tucker and Dr Locke wanted to have words with Mayweather in the near future.

    Haleh Moshiri checked her console. "Captain, we are now on plotted course. At current trajectory and speed east coast North America will emerge over the horizon in....seventeen seconds. Sensor section reports our immediate vicinity is clear."

    "Earth Central has advised all space traffic of our plans. We have clearance." Hoshi announced

    "Thank you. I have the Conn." said Archer. He took a deep breath, released it slowly. "Commander Hernandez, please activate all running lights, and put the departure angle on main viewer.

    "Aye Captain."

    The image on the view screen changed. It now showed Earth behind them. Apart from the easternmost strip, where dawn was breaking, night covered the hemisphere. Not total darkness, the firefly glow of cities could still be made out. Archer waited until he was sure upstate New York was showing. He blinked back a sudden tear, unsure as to the nature of the emotion that provoked it.

    "Forward angle on viewer." He would have liked to have seen what came next, but it would have been too bright, the glare too much for the visual sensors.

    He lifted the handset, signalled Engineering.

    "Mr Tucker. you may proceed when ready.". His voice was tight.

    "Aye Cap'n. We'll put on a show for them. Ten seconds."

    Hoshi called over. "Sir, a number of news channels are covering the launch. I can record them for later."

    He nodded, unwilling to speak.

    "Commencin' stage one." said Trip over the comm system. There was a slight shudder as Enterprise jettisoned a carefully selected amount of fuel. "That's it. You got about twenty seconds before it's too diffuse. Tucker out."

    Must remember to thank the President again for letting me do this, Archer thought. Without his express orders, there's no way this would be allowed.

    "Commander Hernandez, let's give them a show."

    "Aye Captain.". She reached for the controls. Normally, as chief gunnery officer, it was her job to tell the gunners themselves what to do. This was something she wanted to do herself. Apart from anything else, it gave her an opportunity to practice with the bridge controls.

    A single plasma bolt should do it. She selected the upper aft cannon, which she'd pre-heated, and triggered final charging. Releasing the safety she carefully selected her target.

    "Firing for effect."

    She squeezed the trigger.



    Upstate New York. Earth.
    16 April 2151.

    The bonfire was dieing down, and was giving off a lot of smoke. Fortunately the night was quite warm, letting people wander further out into the field to get a good view of the stars. There was a party atmosphere. Those kids who'd been allowed to stay up late ran about, chasing each other, screaming and yelling. Someone had brought along a portable barbecue, most people present had eaten at least one hotdog or burger. A few had ingested rather more than that, and a lot of belts had been loosened. Despite the bins that had been thoughtfully provided the ground was strewn with drinks cans, both soft and alcoholic.

    A shout went up. "There! Is that it?"

    Several people checked their personal pads.

    "Could be."

    "It's in the right place."

    "Yeah, I think so."

    The small crowd gathered together, heads bent back to watch the bright spot transiting the heavens.

    "It's just been on the news." said the owner of the barbecue, "they're going ahead with it."

    An expectant hush befell the crowd. For long seconds nothing happened. And then...

    It seemed as if a rose of green blue fire had blossomed in the sky. It was not large, no bigger than a thumb nail at arms length, but was bright enough to illuminate the awe struck faces of the observers below. There were gasps of astonishment and delight, followed by wild cheering and applause.

    Slowly the glow spread and faded. Only when it had totally gone did the crowd return to their food and drinks. Most though took the time to seek out and congratulate an old man, seated in a wheelchair, a blanket wrapped tightly around him, his silver haired wife by his side.

    The man accepted the handshakes and kind words with good grace, but his eyes never strayed from that spot in the skys.

    "Godspeed, Jonathan." said Henry Archer, a tear in his eye. "May the wind be at your back."
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2009
  5. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Very well done. I like the apology on the intercom-it sounded very "Archer" and that last bit about his dad got me. Caught me totally by surprise. It was a very nice touch.
     
  6. Admiral2

    Admiral2 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Procedural nitpick: Mayweather shouldn't be giving orders - or requests - to anyone on the bridge if the captain's there unless he has explicit authorization to do so, meaning the captain has to say something like "Helmsman has the conn." Otherwise he's overstepping his bounds.

    Other than that, a bonny installment! Good on ye!

    Oh, and another suggestion for Prof. Partridge! Fergie:

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_dJLJKBI41X4/SRm-U-fb7AI/AAAAAAAABN0/4ELg0ZA2UMw/s400/Fergie.jpg
     
  7. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Very nice work! I quite like how you've captured a feel for a "slightly altered" crew... I can still "see" them, and they still resemble themselves in manners, yet I can feel you taking them in a different course. It would also appear that Mayweather is behaving himself now... :shifty:
     
  8. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Thanks for the advice, I've made a couple of slight changes to the dialogue to reflect that. To be honest though I'll probably be making that mistake again. Mind you, Trek itself rarely got procedure right, so at least I'm in good company!

    Fergie as Polly Partridge? Intriguing suggestion. Can she do a British accent? :)

    Yes, Mr Mayweather does indeed seem to be behaving himself. I wonder why...:shifty:
     
  9. Admiral2

    Admiral2 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It's debatable whether she can act at all. Her big role was in Planet Terror.

    But if she has to be British, why not Billie Piper?http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&q=billie+piper+sexy&gbv=2&aq=3&oq=billie+piper
     
  10. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Not fine enough for the described character.
     
  11. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I also forgot to mention: I really like how the crew has an alert chime for when they make maneuvers. That nicely makes it feel more primitive, and gives it some flavor. :techman:
     
  12. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Well, she doesn't have to be British, just be able to do a convincing accent. An inaccurate accent can be irritating and distracting.

    Angelina Jolie managed a decent version for the Tomb Raider flicks as well as 'Sky Captain...', so I'm not adverse to any American suggestions, or other nationalities.
    Incidentally, the silver wetsuit worn by Jolie in TR2 is very much the sort of thing Polly would wear. Of course, you'd need to get rid of the guns and knife, add a pair of long gloves, and she'd never dream of going anywhere in flat heels, but it's a start.
    http://www.poster.net/tomb-raider/tomb-raider-tomb-raider-ii-teaser-4900777.jpg


    Thanks. I wanted to give the idea that things are never entirely safe, that even something as simple as a course change had the potential to cause problems. And, as you say, that things are more primitive than we've seen before.
     
  13. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    UES Enterprise. En route to Departure Zone.
    16th April 2161

    "Are you quite sure it is safe?" said a voice behind her. "This observation dome does seem....somewhat exposed."

    Professor Polly Partridge took a deep breath, let it out through her teeth. She managed to put on a bright smile before turning to address the speaker. It wasn't that it was a stupid question. On the contrary, it was something that a Presidential Bodyguard ought to be concerned with.

    It was, however, the fifth time in the last half hour that Agent Muldhoon had asked her that same question. It was getting rather annoying.

    "Agent Muldhoon. The windows here are a composite, layers of transparent aluminium" (she pronounced it the British way, al-yoo-min-ee-yum) "and ultra high density polymers. A high velocity sniper bullet could not penetrate them. Once we are travelling at warp a piece of space debris would potentially be able to do so, but that is what we have a navigational deflector for.

    "There are circumstances under which this dome is significantly less safe than other areas on this ship. If we were in a combat situation, for instance. But in those cases, the dome would be evacuated."

    She regarded him steadily for a moment, before adding "Rest assured, if I thought that there was any significant risk to life or limb, I wouldn't be hanging round, talking to you. I'd be through that door like a rat up a drainpipe.". She gestured to the main hatch.

    Muldhoon made a non committal grunt. "Well, there's radiation"

    Polly folded her arms. "What about it?" she shot back.

    "We're less shielded here, aren't we?"

    And there it was. That slight strain at the corners of her mouth she felt when she had to force a smile, rather than let it come naturally.

    "It's nothing to be concerned about. We are protected from all the usual background radiation. Should the levels spike, there are sensors in this room that would detect it and trigger alarms. The windows will polarize to slow exposure. You yourself saw that happen just a few minutes ago, during our little fireworks display. And that was just to prevent us being dazzled by the glare."

    And now she could hear the tenseness in her voice. She was getting beyond annoyed, getting angry.

    It wasn't Muldhoon's fault, well, not entirely. The fact was she was getting stressed out anyway. She knew, both from the accounts of others and from her own in depth understanding of the science involved, that warp travel was not merely safe, but also smooth and comfortable (though transition to or from sub-light could get a bit bumpy). There was no way it could trigger her travel sickness.

    And yet...there was a nagging doubt. It was silly, she knew, but that just made it worse. The idea that she would spend days at a time enduring intense dizziness and nausea scared her, even though all reason told her that it could not happen.

    Professor Polly Partridge, holder of six doctorates, co author (with Trip Tucker) of a revolutionary paper in sub space flow dynamics, widely regarded as the most brilliant scientist in the world, had never been to warp. Not once.

    She'd only been in space three times before. Twice to visit Enterprise, once to the Plait Observatory at the L2 point.

    Up until now she'd been managing to keep a lid on her concerns. She was just as excited and curious about the experience as she was worried. But now this irritating little man (she knew that was unfair, but she couldn't help it) was droning on and on about possible risks. It was getting to her.

    She glanced round the room, seeking a way out. The President and Soval, deep in discussion, surrounded by the President's assistants and security. No help there. A few off duty crew members sat in groups, chatting excitedly. There was no mingling between the blue uniformed UESPA personnel and there black clad military colleagues.

    Two of her fellow civilian scientists, Ericsson and Lampart, shared a table. Despite her desire to get away from Muldhoon Polly didn't want to intrude. Both had just come out of bad relationships, and were getting close. It'd be unfair to interrupt.

    Then, at the bar...Ahhh. She might do.

    But first she'd have to get away. She tried to spin him a line. "If you are really interested in warp field theory, then you are welcome to join us next Tuesday at seven. The Captain has asked me to give a few lectures during the journey, to keep us all occupied. Full details on the ship's BBS."

    "Er...well, it's more that I..."

    She didn't give him a chance to finish. "Any way, I'd love to stop and chat, but I've just spotted T'Pol over there and I simply must talk to her."

    "What about?"

    Polly had half turned. The question took her by surprise. "Oh, er, you know. Stellar evolution, Vulcan philosophy and...er...make up tips." she finished weakly. Before he could question her further she forced out a cheery "Bye!", spun on her heel, and sauntered away.

    She put a sway in her walk, an exaggerated rolling of her hips. It was, she'd be the first to admit, a crude tactic, but it had worked for her before. Muldhoon, mesmerised by the motion, momentarily lost concentration and stood watching her leave rather than attempt to stop her. By the time he snapped out of it she was too far away. If he chased after her, he felt that people would wonder why he'd just stood there for so long.

    Besides, under the circumstances he thought it best to sit down for a few minutes. With his legs crossed.


    If T'Pol had heard Polly's approach, which seemed likely, she chose not to respond, instead standing perfectly still at the bar.

    "Crewman Daniels not around?" asked Polly.

    "He left in the direction of the men's room one point two minutes ago."

    "Well, probably nervous, poor thing. Perhaps I shouldn't have teased him so much. Although he did make it easy. And fun."

    No reaction.

    Hopping up to sit on the bar, Polly swung her long legs over and dropped nimbly onto the other side. "So. What can I get you?"

    T'Pol's right eyebrow lifted minutely. "Water."

    "Well, let's have a look-see. We've got tap water, of course, various bottled types, spring water from..."

    "Tap water will suffice."

    "You like to live life to the full, don't you?" Polly grinned. Her smile faded somewhat as the Vulcan woman completely failed to respond.

    She fetched T'Pol a glass of water, and a lemonade for herself.

    "Professor. Am I correct in believing that the current Earth month is April?"

    "That's right, April the sixteenth."

    "Yet the calender behind the bar still displays the month of March."

    Polly looked. It was one of her calenders. "Ah. The image for that month is rather popular."

    T'Pol regarded it silently for a moment. "I do not recognise the species you are with."

    Polly took the calender down and handed it across for a closer inspection. "It is a Hutt. One of a race of crime lords and gangsters."

    "Then why would you associate with him?"

    "Not through choice. You'll notice the chain with which he prevents my escape." Now this was more like it. After dealing with that bodyguard, messing with a Vulcan's head was much more fun.

    "And the....garments?"

    "Forced upon me by his lackeys. He likes the humanoid female form, but has no regard for individual rights."

    T'Pol looked grave. "Under the terms of the knowledge share agreement between our governments we should have been informed about this species through proper diplomatic channels. If humanity is neglecting it's duties, either through negligence or a deliberate attempt at deception, the consequences would be most severe."

    Polly leant forward, elbows on the bar, chin supported in her cupped hands. "I don't see why." she said, then waited for T'Pol to begin to reply before adding "It is a fictional species, after all."

    "Fictional. That puts a different light on the matter.". She looked at it the calender silently for a moment. "Why would a non humanoid entity, apparantly of the gastropod class or near equivalent, like humanoid females? Even in a work of fiction?"

    "Ah, well, that's a good question." said Polly, thinking quickly. "The fictional work in question was a carefully crafted examination of a xenopsychological hypothesis, the so called 'Mars Needs Women' theory."

    "'Mars Needs Women'." T'Pol repeated. Her right eyebrow was slowly crawling up her forehead.

    "Oh yes." Polly went on, struggling to keep a straight face. "As you must be aware, there is a small but significant correlation between intelligence and incidences of paraphilia, unusual sexual interests. Before first contact, it was speculated that such an effect might occur in non human species."

    T'Pol nodded slowly. "Go on."

    Got you! Polly thought. Hook, line and sinker!

    "Now whilst paraphilias have many forms, for dramatic purposes it was decided to explore the potential consequences of gynophilia. An attraction to the humanoid adult female form. Now of course in human men that is the statistical norm, but in non humanoid species it would definitely count as, to use a pejorative word, a perversion. A fetish, perhaps."

    "I see. So this...Hutt is intelligent by the standards of his species, and is unnaturally attracted to humanoid women."

    "Correctamundo, got it in one!" she said, enjoying herself.

    T'Pol considered this. "I am unaware of any data that may support such a hypothesis."

    "Ah, well, as I say this idea developed before first contact. There was no hard data to it, only speculation."

    "Though I have spent only a little time on Earth, many of your people have felt the need to complement me on my physical appearance. Perhaps this would support the validity of the concept."

    "Perhaps so. More likely it is because the Vulcan form is sufficiently close to the Human one, at least in appearance, for the same sort of visual cues to apply. Tell me, are you considered attractive amongst your own people?"

    T'Pol thought about this. "On occasion such opinions have been stated. It is not a subject of much value, so little time is spent discussing it."

    That's Vulcans for you, Polly thought.

    Leaving T'Pol to examine the calender further, Polly noticed Crewman Daniels approaching, wiping his hands on his uniform.

    "Ah, Crewman, can I get you anything?"

    "Er, no thanks, miss. Er, I think, um, I should be on the other side of the bar, miss, and you, er, you should...."

    "Be over there? Quite right."

    There was a hatch at that end of the bar. He opened it and they swapped places. He was clearly nervous about being in such close proximity to her.

    "Now, er, can I get you a drink? Or something?"

    She drained her glass. "Another lemonade, thanks."

    He spilt a little refilling her glass.

    "You're not a professional bar tender, are you?" she asked.

    "No miss. General duties miss. I normally would work, er, in the ship's laundry. They thought they could spare me to help out here. After all, we've only just launched. No dirty clothes yet."

    "Oh, I don't know about that." Polly pondered. "After that last course correction I'll bet there'll be a few trousers in the wash tonight."

    A high pitched whistle signalled a ship wide message. "Ladies and gentlemen. This is the Captain speaking. All systems are in readiness and we have arrived at the Departure Zone. We will go to warp speed in...thirty, that's three zero seconds, from my mark. Please make sure you are seated. You might want to strap yourselves in. And...mark."

    A digital display began it's countdown.

    Ignoring the closer seats, Polly dashed forward to the very front of the observation dome, her sudden movement alarming a few of the Secret Service agents. Despite her earlier qualms she now felt more excited than anything else. Yes there were nerves, but they were of anticipation rather than fear.

    Hurling herself into a front row seat, she fastened the safety strap tightly around her trim waist, popped her half full glass into a cup holder and closed the lid. Just in time. The manoeuvre warning chimed out, five times instead of three. And then...

    A sound, so low it was felt as much as heard. Rising steadily to a triumphant howl. A strong, steady vibration.

    Ahead of her, the long strut that made up Enterprise's primary hull suddenly stretched into the distance. It occurred to her that Captain Archer and the bridge crew were technically further away from her than she had travelled in her entire life, yet they were still on the same ship, which was no longer than it was before.

    That was absurd. That was fantastic.

    The stars in the heavens leapt forward to welcome her, stretching out towards her. She knew that was an illusion, an artefact of the warp field. Didn't make it any less beautiful though.

    And now the primary hull snapped back into shape. More accurately, she had caught up with it, but there was no real sense of acceleration. Trip Tucker had done his sums right, ensuring the inertial balance was maintained.

    She threw her head back, watching the streaks of starlight passing over head. Fumbling at the safety strap, she pulled herself free, stood and turned.

    And there it was. Far behind. To the left of the main fin. Fading into the distance already. Blue and green. A hint of white.

    Earth.

    She found herself speaking aloud. Had she been a believer, it would have been prayer. As an atheist, but with no less reverence, she quoted Sagan.

    "'It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.'"

    She fetched her drink, held it up toast her home world.

    "The pale blue dot."
     
  14. Eagler

    Eagler Ensign Newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Plait Observatory as in Phil Plait?

    The quote at the end is beautiful. I like what you're doing! :bolian:
     
  15. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Im in ur Tardis, violating ur canon.
    That's the fellow!

    I was originally going to call it the Sagan observatory, but two references to him in the same post seemed a bit contrived. Having Polly quote Sagan was a last minute addition. It just seemed to sum up what she would be feeling perfectly, his words being far more meaningful and eloquent than anything I could come up with.

    For those unfamiliar with the quote, it can be found in full here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pale_blue_dot

    To those unfamiliar with the marvellous Phil Plait, I can heartily recommend his 'Bad Astronomy' blog:
    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/

    His review of the new Trek movie is definitely worth a look.
    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/05/08/ba-review-star-trek/
     
  16. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Between the candle and the flame
    Excellent sequence. I really liked the con job Polly pulled. Very amusing.
     
  17. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2004
    Location:
    The fine line between continuity and fanwank.
    That was awesome! I love Polly and T'Pol's interaction. The whole sequence, the whole feel of all of it, just seems right. Everyone treats space travel as something dangerous and yet wondrous. I love it! :D
     
  18. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Im in ur Tardis, violating ur canon.
    UES Enterprise. En route to the Rexus system. Warp 3.8
    18th April 2151.

    "Try to keep your hands still, Commander. The gel will greatly speed the healing process, but does tend to sting a bit."

    That was an understatement. Hernandez had to suppress a grimace of pain as the purple gel was applied to her fingers, and her eyes began to water. If Doctor Locke had any sympathy for her, he didn't show it.

    "So, what got you all angry then?" he asked.

    "What makes you think I was angry? I was in the gym, practising with a sparring dummy, and...hurt my hands" she trailed off, uncomfortably aware of how weak that sounded.

    Locke regarded her silently for a moment. He dug into a pocket and drew out, to Hernandez's suprise, a packet of cigarettes.

    "Smoke?"

    "No, thanks."

    He got one for himself, ran the tip along the pack's igniter strip, and inhaled deeply. He held it in for a full five seconds, before blowing a perfect smoke ring. It only lasted a second or so before being dragged into the air conditioning.

    "Do you think me a fool, Commander?" he asked, softly.

    "Ah, no, Doctor."

    A slapped his hand down on the desk with a suddenness that made her jump. "Then why treat me like a fool, then? Hmm?"

    Before he could answer he pointed to a computer screen. "Your personnel file. You boxed at the academy, represented your year. Plus numerous matches representing the various ships you've been assigned to. You know how to throw a punch, Commander, without getting hurt. Especially by sparring targets.

    "The injuries to your hands. Consistent with multiple impacts. You hit the target hard enough to cause fractures. But you continued punching, what, five, six, times? With both hands, despite what must have been excruciating pain?"

    He lifted a pad, showed her the screen. Chemical formula. It meant nothing to her. "The blood test I did moments ago. Elevated levels of epinephrine and norepinephrine.Other hormones I'm not going to bother mentioning as you won't have a clue what they are or what they do. Consistent with exceptionally high levels of anger about ten minutes ago. Not long before you turned up at my sickbay, bleeding on my floor.

    "How are the hands, by the way? Still stinging?"

    Her shoulders slumped. "A bit, not as bad as before."

    "Well, that should be long enough. Onto stage two."

    He fetched a wand shaped device, with which he flashed bright orange light onto her hands. After examining them carefully, he nodded and took another drag on his cigarette.

    "Yes, coming along nicely. So, while we wait, you were going to tell me what had gotten you so angry."

    No I wasn't, she thought. But there didn't seem any reason not too. She sighed softly.

    "It's all my fault. I should have done something sooner." said Maria Hernandez.




    Three hours earlier.

    "It's all my fault. I should have done something sooner." said Maria Hernandez.

    ""You're damn right you should." said Archer, his voice low. He barrelled ahead, along the main corridor that lead to the bridge.

    Hernandez winced.

    Normally Archer would greet his people in passing, perhaps take the time for a few words, asking how they were. Not this time. He seemed almost unstoppable. Something in his body language warned the crew off, or maybe they'd heard about the incident. Either way when they saw him approaching they scurried out of the way, into side corridors, or pressing up against the bulkhead till he'd passed.

    Hernandez had to hurry to keep pace with him. It didn't help that she still hadn't gotten used to the layout of the ship. Whilst Archer easily avoided all the exposed conduits, pipes and cables, she had to take more care. It was like one of the platform games on her entertainment console, except if you made a mistake you'd bang your head or bark your shoulder, or fall flat on your face.

    Lt. Reed was waiting for them at the section one hatch. He spun the door open and ushered them through, before securing it behind them.

    "So what's the situation, lieutenant?" Archer asked, continuing towards the bridge.

    Reed stroked his chin. "Well, I don't know what you've heard, sir..."

    "Just tell us what you know."

    "Aye sir. About ten minutes ago, maybe fifteen, Crewman Jacobs was going along corridor B-11. That's one of the really narrow ones." he added, for Hernandez's benefit.

    "Ensign Mayweather was heading in the opposite direction. According to witnesses, he seemed to take offence at Jacobs."

    Hernandez asked "Do we know why?"

    Reed shrugged. "Far as we can tell, he just didn't like being near a squi...a member of UESPA, sir."

    Archer shot Reed a sideways look, but said nothing.

    "Anyway..." Reed continued, after an uncomfortable pause. "The two argued, push came to shove, quite literally. Jacobs ended up on the deck. Claims Mayweather assaulted him."

    Archer spat out a word in a language Hernandez didn't understand. It sounded like an expletive though.

    Reed went on. "I sent Jacobs down to sickbay just to be on the safe side, though it doesn't look like he's hurt. And then I called you."

    Archer and Hernandez had been in Main Engineering at the time. The Presidential party had been touring the ship. When the call came through the Captain had taken it on a handset, so she couldn't hear what he was told, but she could tell from his demeanour something was up. Leaving Tucker to show the visitors around he had politely excused both himself and Hernandez, saying they were needed on the bridge.

    As they left Engineering she'd asked what was up. He'd replied simply "Mayweather."

    The trouble was over the last two days his behaviour had been perfectly acceptable. He'd performed his duties professionally and to everyone's satisfaction. Off duty he didn't mix with the UESPA people, but to be fair, few of the UEMA crew did. Hernandez had been hoping his behaviour had been a blip, and that he'd gotten back to his old self. Sure, she remembered him being cocky, loud mouthed, even a touch arrogant. But not overly aggressive.

    So what had changed that? she wondered.

    They arrived at the bridge. Next to the entry hatch Mayweather leaned nonchalantly against the wall, arms folded. Corporal James, the petite Marine who had requested Partridge's autograph the other day, was standing guard. She saluted as they approached.

    Mayweather didn't.

    "Attention!" Reed hollered, loud enough to startle several passing crew members, Hernandez felt herself straightening up instinctively.

    It got a reaction from Mayweather. He stood straight and saluted.

    "Thank you Mr Reed, Corporal." Archer spun the door open. "That will be all."

    The Marines exchanged glances. "Very good, sir." Reed responded, after a moments thought.

    There was a definite tension on the bridge as they entered. The crew all paused in what they were doing, taking a swift glance at Mayweather, murmuring amongst themselves.

    "You have the bridge, Commander." said Archer. "Mr Mayweather, in my office."

    Hernandez was surprised and a little confused. "Captain? I think this is my responsibility, so I should..."

    "So noted, Commander." Archer interrupted. "But I'd prefer to deal with this myself."

    She opened her mouth to disagree, closed it again. Questioning orders in front of the bridge crew would be bad for morale, which was shaky enough at the moment.

    Besides, she hated to admit it but she was feeling very unsure of herself at the moment. Apart from Mayweather, whose support she could not rely on, she was the only UEMA currently on the bridge. She suddenly understood why so many of her service fellows congregated together off duty.

    "Aye sir."

    Archer lead Mayweather through the port side hatch, where a short corridor connected to the captain's office.

    Hernandez smoothed her uniform, and very carefully lowered herself into the captains seat. "Status reports, please."

    The various stations all reported in. All was as it should be. Even that iritating little problem with number three impulse engine seemed to have sorted itself out.

    After about five minutes she stood and began inspecting the various control stations. She told the crew she was just trying to familiarise herself with the bridge. And that was partly true. But she was also trying to keep herself occupied. The captains chair was very comfortable. Too comfortable. Along with the distant drone of the engines she was at risk of falling asleep.

    She was leaning over Lt. Moshiri's shoulder, discussing the differences in navigational layout between combat and explorer ships, when Lt. Sato suddenly straightened upwards.

    "What was that?"

    "Lieutenant?" Hernandez asked. She hadn't heard anything.

    Sato looked perplexed. "It sounded like a..."

    The port hatch opened. Archer entered. "Hoshi, get a medic up here, now."

    "Aye sir."

    Mayweather staggered through the hatch. He was clutching his right temple. What can be seen of his face was a mask of pain.

    "What the hell happened?" Hernandez demanded.

    Archer held her gaze. "I'm not sure. He'd just left my office, and I heard him cry out. He must have hit his head on one of the low pipes out there."

    "Yeah." Mayweather said through clenched teeth. "That's how it happened. I left the captain's office and banged my head. Silly me." he added, with a hint of sarcasm.



    The Sick Bay.

    "Well, you know the rest." Hernandez finished. Crewman Millington had been the first to respond to Sato's summons. He'd performed some basic first aid before escorting Mayweather to sick bay, where Locke had checked him out. He was currently in the observation ward.

    Disturbed by these events, Hernandez had insisted that she speak to Archer privately. In his office he'd stated that he had discussed Mayweather's disciplinary problems with him. The helmsman had been temporarily relieved of duty pending a full investigation. After dismissing Mayweather, Archer had been about to begin the necessary paper work when he'd heard a cry of pain from the corridor.

    "Tell me, Doc, those wounds..."

    "Doctor. Not Doc, Doctor." Locke corrected.

    "Those wounds, Doctor. What do you think caused them?"

    Locke steepled his fingers. "They were clearly caused by Captain Archer punching Mayweather in the face."

    Hernandez was stunned. "Seriously?"

    "No." he smirked.

    She scowled.

    He lit another cigarette. "The Ensign's injuries indicate blunt force trauma. Best guess? He banged his head on one of the conduits. Hard."

    Hernandez sighed, her shoulders slumped. "There's a piece of piping in the corridor outside the Captain's office. Above head height. But there's another pipe on the floor. If Mayweather had stepped onto that, instead of going over, it would have lifted him just high enough to catch his head."

    "You sound disappointed. Tell me, do you desire command so much that you want Archer arrested for assault?"

    She shook her head. "It's not that. At the moment, we have a question. What happened to Mayweather? I'd like an answer, a definitive answer. This all sounds very vague to me."

    "Ah. Hence your frustration, hence your anger."

    "Yeah. So, soon as I got off duty, I headed for the gym. Hitting those sparring dummies is a great way to work off some tension. Except, I guess I didn't realise just how tense I was. Not until I felt the blood in the gloves."

    "Speaking of which...". Locke scanned her hands. "Yes....yes. That's done the trick. You can wash the gel off now."

    "Good as new, eh?"

    "Hmm, not quite. No boxing or similar activity for a couple of days. After that, they'll be fine."

    "Thanks Doc...Doctor."

    He grunted. "So why didn't you do anything sooner? About Mayweather?"

    She turned to the sink to wash the gel off. It also kept her face hidden. "I'm really not sure."

    "Really?" he drawled.

    "Yes. Can I go now?"

    "Do you want to know what I think?"

    Not really she thought. "Yes please." she said.

    "You said it yourself. On the bridge. Surrounded by UESPA people. Unsure of yourself."

    She kept her back to him, stayed silent.

    "What do you call them? Squids? You don't know them. You don't trust them. You certainly don't feel you can rely on them. So you make allowances. Let thing's slide even when you knew you shouldn't.

    "I see from your file you've worked with Mayweather before. Closest thing you have to a friend on this ship. An ally. It's all 'us against them' isn't it? You must have been so desperate, praying he wouldn't screw up, that he'd get his act together.

    "And know it's gone down the pan. No wonder you lost it."

    With intense effort Hernandez forced her face into a neutral expression, and turned. "Is that what you think?"

    "Yeah. And may I remind you that in addition to my exceptional medical skills, I'm also qualified in Psychology and Space Psychology?"

    "Space Psychology?" she smirked. It sounded daft.

    "There are a number of emotional and cognitive issues unique to space travel. I specialise in those. Rather appropriate, considering where we are." He waved at the room around them.

    "Oh." The trouble was, she could see the sense in what he was saying. "You've given me a lot to think about Doctor."

    "Don't say I'm not generous. Now shove off, I've got work to do. Oh, one last thing. Who were you hitting?"

    "Hitting?"

    "Yeah, when you were punching that dummy. Whose face did you imagine?"

    "Ah, I'm not sure I should be telling you this, but I did picture the Captain a couple of times. Mayweather a lot. And...myself"

    "Yes, that fits the patten." he nodded.

    She added "General Kaplasky, once or twice too. And once, I pictured that dummy with a big goofy grin and a mass of blonde hair. Didn't punch it, but I gave it an almighty slap across the mouth. Very satisfying."

    Locke gave a single laugh, a cross between a bark and a snort. Then he looked at her gravely. "Remember this Commander. We are near the edges of human explored space. Yes we are approaching Vulcan territory, but ultimately we can rely on no one but ourselves.

    "If we cannot find a way to work together, then Enterprise's mission of exploration will fail."
     
  19. Admiral2

    Admiral2 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Location:
    Langley
    Mayweather I get. What exactly is Hernandez's problem? It seems like she doesn't like anybody.
     
  20. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Im in ur Tardis, violating ur canon.
    Hernandez doesn't reallly like anyone, certainly not on the Enterprise! Although less vocal than some in her service she is somewhat contemptuous of the UESPA, and has little time for them.

    Civilians, she is convinced, have no place on a starship in the first place. She's willing to make a small allowance for Locke as he's a good doctor, but that's it. It didn't really come across in the last entry, but Hernandez is beginning to warm to Locke.

    She did quite like Mayweather, during their time on the Sun Tzu. But his attitude recently has been off-putting, to say the least!


    Oh, another thought about casting. Whilst he doesn't fit my initial idea for the character, whilst writing the last bit I kept thinking of Dean Stockwell as Doctor Locke.
     

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