TITLE: Aventine DISCLAIMER: All things Babylon 5 belong to JMS, The Star Trek universe, Starship Aventine and various crew members belong to a ton of people at CBS or Paramount, all owing to the great Gene Roddenberry, but I’m not any of them… All I own is the twisted idea... RATING: FR18 SUMMERY: Babylon 5 was our last, best hope for peace... It failed... But, in the Year of the Shadow War, a new ship arrived to cast a light on the ancient Shadows... The year is 2260. The ship, is the Aventine. AN: This story takes place shortly after the Borg battle of Acamar for Star Trek, and during the Episode Matters of Honour for Babylon 5 “Captain’s log, Stardate 58035.62,” Ezri sighed as she leaned back in the comfortable chair in the captains ready room, she’d been Captain now for a little over a week since the official order from Starfleet had come through promoting her, but still couldn’t get used to thinking of the ready room as her own. In fact, she couldn’t get used to the idea of being Captain at all, every time one of the handful of crew called her ‘Captain’, she still turned around looking for Captain Dexar, the original Captain of the Aventine and someone she had considered a friend. “We’re on our way back through the Gamma Quadrant; slipstream drive is still inoperational though Lieutenant Leishman is doing her best to repair it.” She reached up and ran her hand down her face in a weary gesture while looking around. The USS Aventine had only been officially relaunched a few months ago after undergoing a refit. Using the latest breakthroughs in technology brought back from the Delta Quadrant by then Captain, now Admiral, Janeway. The ship was the first Vesta class ship to be fitted with the experimental Quantum Slipstream drive, along with mark XII Transphasic cannons, an updated Astrometrics array using a multidimensional wave-function analysis module and chroniton integrator. For the ships maiden voyage, Admiral Janeway had posted the ex-Borg Seven of Nine on the ship for the first mission to make sure the updated Astrometrics array and transphasic weapons were blended correctly with the Federation and alien technology. The result was a truly formidable ship of cutting edge design, merging both the cutting edge technology of the ship with Borg technology, or it was, until their maiden voyage when everything had gone drastically wrong. The Aventine had been dispatched to the Gamma Quadrant to investigate a possible connection between the Borg attacks on the Acamar system and a possible incursion into Federation space. “We’re doing our very best to return home, we are heading to the Wormhole in the gamma quadrant and should hopefully be there within the next few days. Hopefully from there we should be able to signal Utopia Planetia from Deep Space Nine and request assistance.” Ezri sighed as she put down the PADD for her log and picked up another one. The same one she looked at every day to remind herself of all the people that had died on this mission so far, and how they had died. Captain Dexar and Commander Tovak were at the top of the list, the two senior officers who she considered friends, two of the crew she’d watched die in front of her on the bridge before Lieutenant G’Fokk had managed to intervene. Captain Dexar had done his best during the battle of Acamar, they all had. In the end, they just the Borg had caused as much damage as the Aventine had inflicted. The Cube had begun attacking instantly, causing damage to the weapons and deflector array before they’d had chance to get the ablative shielding up. By the time they had, Borg drones were already on board and working through the ship methodically. Captain Dexar had been one of the first to ‘die’, assimilated by the first wave of Borg attacks. The security forces on the ship had done their best, and in a combination of luck and firepower had managed to defeat the Borg on the ship before they assimilated the entire crew, though there had been heavy losses. What was originally a crew of a five hundred and forty one, was now down to a crew of eighty four. Doctor Bashir had been aboard the Xavier, a ship that had been destroyed by the Borg trying to escape Acamar. He had been there involved in discussions with Starfleet tactical about a possible diplomatic mission to the Breen Federation when the Borg had attacked; he was now among only seventeen of the Xavier’s crew they had managed to rescue. Though now she was thankful he had been aboard, a friendly face and someone she knew amongst the chaos of the ship, he’d been her rock through this ordeal and had been there for the rest of the crew as well. “Engineering to Captain Dax,” Her Comm badge chirruped, drawing her attention away from the ‘list of the dead’ and back to the present. “Dax here,” Ezri said, activating her comm badge as she put the PADD down. “We’ve managed to repair the final coupling to the plasma grid on the Quantum Drive; I believe we’re ready for a test run.” “That’s the best news I’ve had all day Mikaela,” Ezri smiled to herself, if they’d managed to fix the slipstream drive then there was every chance that by this time tomorrow they would be back home in the Alpha Quadrant. Practically jumping out of her chair she moved to the main bridge and smiled at the crew members that were there, it had been a tiring week, they were running on less than a skeleton crew as it was, and moving through what was still dubious, if not currently enemy territory, had them all on edge. She smiled over at her first officer, Sam Bowers, before nodding at him as she took the Captain’s chair while he moved down to her left where his chair was, swivelling the control panel between their chairs around so he could continue using it to monitor the situation. “I don’t know how long the Quantum drive will last for,” Lieutenant Leishman informed her over the Comm link. “We’ve done the best we can down here, but I think short hops would be best so I can gauge how much power is being fed into the Quantum Integrator through the EPS system on each jump.” “Sounds good Mikaela,” Ezri nodded. “Bring her online.” “Aye captain,” Lieutenant Commander Helkara nodded back as he moved down the ‘pit’ area of the bridge to take the helm control from Lieutenant Oliana, allowing her time to rest. They’d all been pulling extremely long hours in shift patterns, using a combination of caffeine and stimm’s from the sick bay to stay awake and alert, though even artificial stimulants couldn’t replace a good sleep, as the crew was rapidly finding out. “Plot a course for the wormhole,” Ezri said with a soft smile, there was no point in plotting a course directly back to the Alpha Quadrant. If they did that and the slipstream drive burnt itself out before they got there, then they would have wasted their one shot at using the wormhole to get back to Federation space. “Course laid in,” Lieutenant Commander Helkara reported as his fingers played along the advanced controls of the Aventine. “Let’s go then,” Ezri smiled as she got herself ready in the chair. Quantum travel still didn’t feel as natural to her as warp drive, but it was still new technology, currently the Aventine was one of the only ships in the fleet to use both quantum drive and standard warp drive, giving them an edge up over any other long term research vessel. “Activating Slip Stream drive,” Lieutenant Leishman voice came over the comm badge a split second before the view screen showed the familiar blue and green tunnel of the slipstream. “Power is holding steady, the quantum integrator seems to be working fine, Seven’s repairs seem to be holding up Captain.” “Check our heading,” Ezri said nervously, she didn’t want a return trip to Borg space any time soon, in fact she’d be thankful if she never saw another Borg vessel as long as she lived. “On course for the wormhole,” Lieutenant Commander Helkara reported easily with a satisfied nod. “Ezri to Seven,” Ezri said out loud as she activated her comm badge. “Seven here,” Seven of Nine responded. “The slipstream drive is working; we’re back on course to the wormhole.” Ezri reported. She knew that Seven was busy repairing some of the systems on the ablative hull armour today but knew the ex-Borg would want to know they were on their way back home. Being stranded so far in the gamma quadrant had hit her worse than anyone on board, a flashback to Voyager and her old crew it seemed. “Acknowledged Captain, I am finishing up work on the hull armour now and will be with you shortly.” Seven’s voice reported with a small smile in her tone of voice. “See you soon,” Ezri smiled as she deactivated the comm system and turned her attention back to the main bridge. “Sensors?” She asked, turning to the Klingon Lieutenant Commander G’Fokk who was currently manning the tactical station. “We are in the the heart of the gamma quadrant captain,” G’Fokk responded with a slight nod. “No sign of Borg or Dominion ships, it is, ‘quiet’, as you say.” “Quiet is good, I think we’ve had enough excitement for one trip,” Doctor Bashir commented off hand from the back of the bridge with a smile. “Let’s hope it stays that way.” He’d been sat at the science station, observing the crew in the quiet so far. Captain Dax was more than happy to have him on the bridge these days, while they had had strained times before, she still considered him a friend, and after the death of Captain Dexar, he was the rock she’d clung to to help her transition through to Captain. “Indeed,” G’Fokk frowned at him. “We are currently travelling through Dominion space, at current speed; we should be at the wormhole in a little over one hour.” “Thank you,” Ezri smiled before activating her comm badge. “Ezri to all hands, we’re on course for the wormhole and should be arriving in a little over an hour. Everyone to their positions please, if we’re lucky we might get out of this without a fight.” With that said she deactivated her comm badge and wriggled in the chair slightly to make it more comfortable. It didn’t help that she was still a clear foot and a half shorter than Captain Dexar had been, and even now still couldn’t work out how to adjust the seat properly for her height. So every time she sat in it she felt like a child as her feet dangled off the edge but didn’t quite touch the floor. “Seven,” Ezri smiled as she watched the ex-Borg come out of the turbo lift and make her way to the main bridge area. “Did you get the repairs done you wanted?” “Indeed Captain,” Seven said with a nod. “The ablative hull armour is fully functional again. I wished to see if there was anything I could do up here.” “We’re good,” Ezri smiled softly. Ever since she’d taken over as Captain she’d been running a looser ship than most of the Starfleet personnel had been used to, despite Commander Bowers’ protests. Working on a first name basis with most of the crew, giving them a lot of latitude when it came to planning their days and shift patterns, strangely enough, Seven had been the one that had slipped into the regime easiest. Planning her own day far more effectively than a standard shift would have, and the loose structure of the ship allowed her to focus on the repairs she needed to on an ‘as and when’ basis. “Astrometrics is running details scans as we pass through this region of space, I believe Starfleet will be thankful to receive them.” Seven announced as let G’Fokk take over tactical completely while she moved into position on the astrometrics station, keeping a close eye on the slipstream station next to her while working. “Probably,” Doctor Bashir nodded in approval; it had been far too long since Starfleet had actually received reliable scans of Dominion space. And while there was currently peace between the two sides, Starfleet would still be alert of another threat coming from the Gamma Quadrant. “Thanks Seven,” Ezri smiled over. “Julian, care to join me?” She offered with a smile. “Happy to,” Doctor Bashir smiled as he followed her off the bridge into the ready room. “Sam, you have the bridge,” Ezri called out as an afterthought as the doors to the ready room closed behind her. “Quite,” Seven said out loud as she shared a small smirk with G’Fokk, causing him to bare his teeth in a wicked grin. They had both seen Julian and Ezri dancing around each other for weeks now, when he’d first came aboard there had been a few awkward glances, with Julian staying out of her way most of the time, but over the time they had been in the Gamma Quadrant they had both seemed to latch onto each other again, repairing the friendship that had been lost when Julian had left her when she chose to follow the Command path with Starfleet.