Partly inspired by this thread, and by my going back through the series and finding it better than I thought, and still frustrating in a few aspects (some characters not getting enough time, others too much, Archer being angry too much, too much tech too early, etc.). So I figured I'd give it my own try through and hopefully give it an interesting take. Crew: Captain Jonathan Archer - Captain Commander Charles Tucker - Chief Engineer, First Officer Lieutenant Commander Malcolm Reed - Tactical Officer Lieutenant Commander Trish Haley (Irene Nell) - Chief Medical Officer Lieutenant Commander Sarah Nicole DeLaney (Asdis Ran) - Chief Science Officer Ensign Kayla Randall (Rosie Huntington-Whitley) - Communications Officer Ensign Travis Mayweather - Helmsman Ensign Pierre Mesplet (Aaron Ashmore) - Navigation Phlox - Medical Officer T'Pol (Sophie Turner) - Science Officer, First Contact Officer, Diplomat Trance - Botanist (Laura Bertram) Lieutenant Mark Davis (Channing Tatum) - warp system specialist Major Hayes (Steven Culp) - Marine Commanding Officer, Chief of Security. Ensign Catherine Davis (Kaley Cuoco) - Astronomy, Minerology. Ensign Eric Lefler (Eric Lemler) - navigator. Lieutenant Pierre Mesplet (Aaron Ashmore) - chief navigator. Chief Petty Officer Grant Montgomery (David Tennant) - Chief of the Boat ---- Part 1: Star Trek: Enterprise (Version 2) ---- This is an alternate version of "Enterprise" wherein I will try to avoid continuity breaks and try to make it seem more chronologically accurate. So, no Ferengi, no holograms. Just because I wanted to do so, however, I'm using an alternate history from 1740 onward as a partial explanation for why lots of our Star Trek never happened as stated in the Original Series, so that I can put it later on in this series. ---- April 12, 2151, Texas Senate, United States. Captain Jonathan Archer walked the corridor of the Senate, taking a chance to visit his sister before leaving for Spacedock. He was in his formal United Earth Space Probe Agency uniform, commonly called 'Starfleet', which looked like a black suit with gold braids along its cuffs indicating his rank, four in all. A metal emblem over his heart, a stylized arrow that looked like a ship going to warp, which was also reflected on the mission patch of his soon-to-be ship, glinted slightly in the hall lights. "Jonny!" came the smile from his sister's excited voice as she exited the Senate chamber. She had married a Texan shuttle engineer, Jeff Leeding, of Leeding Aeronautics, which had made major strides in ship aerodynamics in the last 20 years. His sister was just as he last saw her, long, light brown hair, green eyes, and a smile on her beautiful face. Elizabeth Archer, now Senator Leeding The siblings hugged for a good moment before letting go, and the two strolled the hallway as other Senators passed by as the session ended. The two got caught up on family, kids, and all the recent interstellar and local politics. "So Jonny, I hear Jeff's company just finished loading four of his shuttlepods on your ship just last week," Liz said, giving him a little nudge with her elbow. "And here I thought those contracts were private," Archer chuckled a bit. "Not when you know the lead engineer on a one-on-one basis," Liz smiled. "I hope they're up to spec, but I don't see why you UESPA boys wanted to put laser points on the ships. You expect a rough time up there?" "UESPA has an agreement with UEMA. We're there to explore, and they're here to defend," Archer explained in shorthand. "The United Earth Military Authority has a Stellar Defense Fleet, and the United Earth Space Probe Agency has a Star Fleet. Budget overruns in the new NX class meant the two agencies pooled resources, but that led to some compromises, and that's one of them." "What's the rest?" Liz asked. "We've got to accept some of their people in our tactical and security positions," Archer admitted with a sigh. "I don't know how well it'll work out. They're not explorers like we are. I respect the military, they kept us safe after World War 3 and the Axanar Incident thirty years ago, but it's been pretty peaceful in space so far. I guess I'm old-fashioned and don't want to see space get militarized." "Jonny, if there's one thing I learned by marrying a Texan, it's that the best way to protec the peace is to be prepared for war," Liz explained as the two rounded the corner and neared the exit. "George Washington," Jon said, knowing the quote from school. "Smart man," Liz nodded. "More men should take his example. You did." "Don't compare me to him, he's a legend," Archer said. "You're about to pilot the first Earth warp-5 ship. Up to 120 cochranes rated speed," Liz continued. "Dad would be so proud of you piloting the engine he and Jeff's dad designed. That ship itself will go and seek out new life and new civilizations..." "...going boldly where no man has gone before," Archer continued the speech Zefram Cochrane gave at the groundbreaking ceremony of the warp 5 complex, a year before his own disappearance. The two laughed a little as they exited the building into the surprisingly cool afternoon air. It was dryer than Jonathan would've liked, but then again, he was used to Savannah and South Carolina's humidity. "I'm serious though, Jonny," Liz continued as they descended the steps of the Texas Senate. "What you do up there out in space is going to make history. You can go father than any human has gone in space with that engine. Daddy would be proud." "Thanks, Liz," Jonathan smiled as he gave his sister a hug. "Now, where do you want to get some lunch? I hear there's a Denobulan restaurant down the street, it's got a Denobulan-style Texan barbeque there that's gotten some of my fellow senators rave reviews." "Denobulan Barbeque?" Jonathan chuckled at the thought. The world was really changing if a Denobulan could come to Texas to open a restaurant. Just then, his communicator beeped. "Uh oh," Liz said with a roll of her eyes. Archer flipped open his communicator, an experimental model that would finally allow ship to ground communications in real-time without delay. "Archer here." "Sorry to cut your leave short, Captain, but we need you back in San Francisco as soon as you can," came the young voice through the comm line. "What's the situation?" Archer asked, curious. "I can't say over an unsecured line sir, but Admiral Forrest and Chief Director Leonard want to see you immediately," she replied. "Understood," Archer replied after a moment. "I'll be there on the next shuttle flight out. Should be there in about 90 minutes or so. Archer out." He turned to his sister, who was looking on, curious. "Sorry Liz, but duty calls. I'll take a rain check on that lunch though." "You bet, big brother. I'll hold you to it," she smiled, as she gave her brother another hug, before he walked toward the curb to hail a taxi. She sighed a little watching him leave as she rubbed her belly just a little, saddened she couldn't give him the news herself. ---- San Francisco, UESPA Headquarters Captain Archer entered the director's office in San Francisco slightly less than 90 minutes after his call, making him as early as he usually was. He gave a quick salute to Director Leonard and to Admiral Forrest, and was invited to sit down. Admiral Forrest "Captain Archer, we've got a situation on our hands, and both of our organizations have a hand in the pot, so we're going to cut to the chase," William Leonard began, not mincing his words. "What's going on?" Archer asked, leaning forward. "We found C-7 residue on UE-One earlier today, as the chief engineer was doing a final pre-flight warp engine test on the Warp Four engine system they just installed," David Forrest explained in his succinct manner from years of military training. "The President of Earth was due to leave for a meeting with the Vulcan Premier on the planet Babel, which offered its services as a neutral meeting place to formalize a trade treaty between Earth, Vulcan, and Alpha Centauri as equal partners." "A colony as an equal trade partner?" Archer asked. He knew there were several human colonies out there, but decades old at best. Alpha Centauri was the oldest, since it was the closest star to Earth, in a time when 10c was the best a human warp engine could muster after WW3. "It's been coming for some time, Captain," Forrest continued. "The people on Alpha Centauri, they've not had the easiest relationship with Earth the last twenty years, with the slow communications, the limited warp engines we've been able to put in the field on cargo and other civilian ships, and with a population of over 20 million people, they believe they're ready to defend themselves." "This is a big step," Archer said, taking it in. "It is, huge," Admiral Leonard said. "Someone didn't want this treaty to happen, and with so much between Vulcan, Alpha Centauri, and Earth riding on this, we need to investigate what happened, find out who's responsible, and bring them to justice." "I understand, Admiral, but what does this have to do with me, or UESPA, or the Enterprise, for that matter?" "Your ship Enterprise is the fastest human ship out there. It's rated engine is 150c maximum output," Admiral Forrest answered. "You've got experience as a diplomat, explorer, and with first contact with the Denobulans on your second space flight mission, you were the best candidate for this mission." [FONT=Calibri][SIZE=3][FONT=Calibri][SIZE=3][/SIZE][/FONT][/SIZE][/FONT] "There's another reason we wanted you, Jon," Director Forrest interrupted. "The Enterprise design was a cooperative effort between UESPA and UEMA. We provided the spaceframe, engines, and equipment, and they provided the armory, and even their new polarized hull plating. The problem is, the entire project's run over budget. That's the other reason we wanted you here. The President needs this deal to go through to keep Earth's space fleet alive, but believes it's inefficient to run two separate space organizations duplicating a lot of efforts." "Spit it out, Bill," Archer said, getting to the crux of the matter. "What's going to happen to my ship up there?" "Your ship is going to carry the President to Babel, Captain Archer," Forrest finally said. "But you're going to do it with UEMA crew filling in the tactical and security positions. We're combining the fleets." "What? You're militarizing space? We're out there to make peaceful contact, not start fights with every alien species we encounter!" Archer protested, waving his arms to emphasize the point. "You remember the incident at Barnard's Star that nearly got 1000 people killed. A trigger-happy UEMA officer nearly ignited a war twelve years ago!" "That's why UEMA and UESPA are combining forces here, under your command, Captain Archer," Admiral Forrest answered calmly. "You are right. I'm a bit old-fashioned myself, and our first mission should be peaceful exploration in my opinion, and that incident proved it. We've come a long way since then, but we still have a ways to go. Director Leonard believes you're the right man for the job, spearheading the first joint Earth Starfleet vessel on its mission to secure peace in this little region of space. But Jonathan, you have to believe the best way to secure peace is to be prepared for war. That's why we've armed Enterprise, even over your objections. We're putting 30 of our people under your command, and we're merging rank structures now. By 2152, we should have a joint training center in San Francisco, Dutch Guiana, Australia, South Africa, England, and Germany to train our forces together. But you're here to build the bridge." "You know my weakness for American history," Archer replied, his voice betraying his tension, though it was easing somewhat. His grandfather was in the Navy, and going back far enough, one served in the US Navy under John Paul Jones, and another in Jonathan Eddy's battalion taking Nova Scotia for the Americans. "When do we start our mission?" "You've got a week to make sure all your posts are filled," Director Leonard said, handing him a ruggedized tablet, which was thicker than normal ones, but could stand up to being bumped around in zero-g environments. "But you are authorized to have anyone in the fleet you need to complete this mission, President Sonderberg's direct orders." President Wilhelm Sonderberg "Can't get any higher than that," Archer smiled a little, looking over the signed order, as he stood up from the Director's chair. "Gentlemen," he saluted, "I'm going to give it my best, and look forward to bringing Enterprise home in one piece." "Good luck, Captain," Director Leonard saluted back, echoed by Admiral Forrest. ---- Dutch Guiana, the next day. Off in the jungle, a group of 20 students, Dutch, Indian, Native South American, Chinese, German, and English were practicing a local language, Arawak, behind an overhang that sheltered them from the sun. "Alright everyone, how do you greet someone in Arawak?" asked the teacher. "Paul?" The young Native American, from Broken Bow, Oklahoma replied with a nearly perfect rendition. "Good, just one vowel needs a tweak..." she corrected. Paul tried once again, getting the vowel perfectly right. "Good job Paul," she smiled. She looked up, seeing the man in the UESPA jumpsuit leaning against a tree behind her class. "Class, I've got to see to our visitor, but break up into pairs and practice the dialogs on page 45." "Ensign Kayla Randall," the man smiled behind his large eyebrows, shaking her hand. She noticed the cuff stripes and saluted. Ensign Kayla Randall "Captain! Pleased to meet you here sir! It's awfully deep in the jungle to send someone," she replied. She covered her eyes, partly hiding her freckled cheeks and light blue eyes. "At ease ensign, before you strain something. I'm Jonathan Archer, and I've got a mission coming up, and the President gave me permission to pick anyone I wanted for the job," he explained. "What's the mission, sir?" she asked, curious. She swept a bit of her light brown hair out of her face behind an ear. "Most of it's classified at the moment, but we're going to the planet Babel," Archer explained, noticing Kayla perk up at the mention of the planet. It had a reputation for being a meeting place of seven alien races so far, as a neutral ground. She heard Tellarites, Vulcans, Naroyans, Asheyans, Aktevans, and even Andorians visited the planet. "Did you need a translator sir? Hasn't the universal translator been installed on your ship yet? I thought we had Vulcan entered into the database already," she asked rapid-fire. "Hold up, Ensign," Archer smiled, as he held out a hand for her to calm down. "We've got the translator, but you know it's still got a hard time with non-human languages. I know you've got the quickest ear for alien languages, especially Vulcan, and we don't know what else we might find out there. I want you to head my communications department, and pick out your best five translators to join us. We have room for 85 people on board, and I need people with a wide range of linguistic ability." "I'm honored sir, but an ensign heading a department?" Kayla asked. "I thought you needed to be a lieutenant to head a department." "I've got quite a bit of leeway on this mission, and once this is done, I'm pretty sure we can put in for a promotion for you," Archer smiled. "What do you say?" "I'd love to," she replied, then turned back to her class, "but I've got a class of cadets here sitting in the jungle, and won't be able to get out of the class till June." "You're already taken care of," Archer replied, handing her a mini-tablet with her transfer order. "Be on Enterprise in 6 days." ---- Orlando, Florida, later that same day. "So what're you saying, cap'n?" came the drawled response of one of his best friends, Lieutenant Commander Charles Tucker, whom he called "Trip" ever since he knew him. "I'm saying, we're launching early, and we're taking the MACOs with us," Archer said as he took a good sip of his sweet tea, which Tucker's mother had prepared especially for her guest. "Look, I know those boys over at UEMA helped us prove that Warp 5 engine and the NX Class ship design," Tucker started, "But having a bunch of 'em on board with their itchy trigger fingers ain't gonna help us make friends out in space. If I remember right, that's what UESPA is for." "We're going to be a combined service, Trip," Archer explained. "The President was going to make it known after his trip to Babel, but after this attack, he pushed it up a few weeks. We're taking 26 of them with us as a test run of a combined fleet." "That's just askin' for trouble, cap'n and you know it," Trip replied. "Just don't let them grunts near my engines, and I'll stay out of their armory." Archer chuckled a bit, then replied, "You got a deal commander. The other reason I'm here was to formally ask you to be my engineer, but I guess you already nominated yourself for the position." "Ha! You knew that ship was mine before you even came here," Trip laughed a bit. "I'm just letting you borrow it for a spin around the galaxy." The two friends laughed a bit more that night as they finished their meal and reminisced about old times. ---- April 14, 2151, 5 days to launch London, England While walking along Trafalgar Square, the captain met up with a few UEMA stationed in London, including one Admiral Forrest had recommended him. "So, Mr. Reed, I hear you're the one who helped requisition the new arms on Enterprise?" Archer asked as he shook his hand, trying to be diplomatic with his cross-service comrade. "You're correct sir. We'll have conventional and nuclear torpedoes, and there are four laser cannons for point defense, but we'll have to make do with torpedoes since we're launching so soon," Reed explained in a very buttoned-up English accent. He was already wearing a UESPA jumper like Archer was, but gun-metal gray, with the red services stripes on the shoulder. "The boys over in Lower California did a good job with the hull plating. It's the first ship with it in the fleet." "Let's hope we don't have to use it too often," Archer smiled. "If I may speak freely sir?" Reed asked, as the two took the lead, followed by one large Indian and one female UEMA enlisted. "Go ahead," Archer replied, bracing himself. "UEMA gets a bad reputation from UESPA, but I'm just as eager as you are to get out there and explore. The best weapon is one you never have to fire. I just want to make sure your ship gets to its destination and back in one piece," Reed said, his words putting Archer at ease for not having a trigger-happy tactical officer on board. "Well Mr. Reed, let's hope you and your security personnel can help us do that. Now what's there to eat here on London?" ---- April 15, 2151. 4 Days to Launch. Arizona-Sonora state borders, Starfleet shuttle testing ground, Gulf of California. Jonathan Archer was out in his desert fatigues, wearing his Enterprise mission patch on his left shoulder, as his desert camo uniform with nanopolymers did its best to keep him cool in the dry heat of the desert. Before him lay a plain, behind him, the Arizona Gulf coast, to the right, Sonora, and to the left, Arizona, and Port Walker. He could see several lit U-shaped targets along the range, where Starfleet tested the handling of its shuttles in the atmosphere to make sure their designs could stand up to various conditions on other worlds. There were several testing ranges in the United States, from the Yukon-Alaska state border to the Himalayas, and even Brazil, just south of the United States of Colombia. As he sat down in the crowd, he saw a number of Starfleet engineers, some UEMA engineers, private contractors, and family members. As he looked out on the plain, he could begin to make out the outline of a shuttle, as the hum of its impulse engine block began to be heard. It wasn’t going full speed in the atmosphere, but was doing a test of its thrusters and maneuverability as it weaved in and out of the rings, which changed from a medium blue to green once the pilot got through each one successfully. The crowd cheered as the shuttle weaved, then did a port roll to get through the last ring, as the pilot was obviously showing off. His maneuver impressed the crowd, who cheered as he made his final pass and landed before the stands, as the engines shut off, cycling through the shutdown, as the pilot exited the new shuttle. Travis Mayweather exited the shuttle, and gave a wave to the crowd as they stood and cheered, his mother and father grinning from the stands, taking pictures, as several engineers began approaching the shuttle to take the telemetry boxes, and some of the shuttle project directors congratulated him. Archer let the crowd die down a bit, approaching slowly. "Ensign Mayweather? I’m Jonathan Archer," he introduced himself. "Your reputation looks well earned." "Thank you sir," Mayweather replied, shaking the captain’s hand. "I’ve been piloting all my life. Born on a cargo ship, then when we took a year off for a refit, I started piloting shuttles, then joined up with Starfleet." "We were hoping he’d come back with us on the Horizon, captain," Mayweather’s father interrupted, shaking his hand. "It just got a refit to a Warp 3 engine. Took us 5 years hauling to be able to afford it, but we finally got it refit over New Berlin." "I’ve got a mission direct from the President, and I hear you’re the best pilot in the fleet, Ensign. You came highly recommended," Archer smiled, as he noticed the very sly wink Mayweather’s mother gave him, having written the recommendation herself. "What’s it involve sir?" Travis asked, his curiosity piqued. "I can’t go into too much detail, but it won’t involve too much fancy maneuvering, but it will involve flying the new warp 5 engine," he answered. "Warp 5? That’ll take us to Alpha Centauri in less than 2 weeks!" "Interested?" "You couldn’t keep me off the bridge!" Mayweather beamed, as he saluted the captain, eager to head off on this new ship ---- Starfleet Medical, Glasgow Research Facility Two figures sat over a bench, working on the tool before them. It was about the size of a salt-shaker, but had a light blue glow about it when they powered it up. The woman spoke in her native Scottish Gaelic, before calming down a bit and returning to English. "You’ve got to tweak it a little more to the left, we need it with a 1 millimeter accuracy and a range of six inches," she said as she tucked a bit of her wavy red hair behind her ear. Doctor Trish Haley, one of the youngest and brightest xenobiologists in Starfleet, was working with an alien to try to get their two technologies to work together. "My hand scanner’s just got more room to work than this," countered the Denobulan, Phlox, as the two were observed, unaware, from the hallway, through the clear glass partition, by Jonathan Archer, who silently entered the room. "It’s small, but if we can simply fit the temperature, pulse, blood, and that blasted foreign chemical sensor in this, we can just send the readout to the overhead sensor boards. We don't need the display in such a small device. We’ve got the same thing over every bed in sickbays across the fleet. So why cannae we get the damn thing to…" her voice grew louder, and accent thicker, as she gestured, before noticing she had a visitor. "Oh, excuse me," she gathered herself, as she adjusted her glasses and straighteened herself, before saluting. "Doctor Trish Haley, pleased to meet you captain…?" Doctor Trish Haley "Jonathan Archer," he smiled, shaking her hand. "You must be Phlox, right?" "Yes, I’ve heard about your new ship, captain, very impressive," the Denobulan smiled, an oddly wide smile as he shook the captain’s hand. "So what’re you working on here?" Archer asked, trying to make sense of the mess on the table, a mix of various components strewn about in no apparent order. "We’re trying to work out a hand scanner that we can fit in a medical kit that takes up roughly half the room of the standard scanners," Trish said, as she held up the half-assembled small scanner, and the regular large-sized scanner that was about as big as a pack of cigarettes. "How’s it coming?" Archer asked. "It’s going as well as it sounds, captain. We need some more time to work on it, but so far, we can get every sensor in there but the foreign chemical sensor," Phlox answered. "The blasted thing should work!" Trish said, her accent getting worse, before she calmed herself. "Sorry captain, I’m normally not so irritable. I’ve been up for about 18 hours working on this thing, and the parts we requested from the Vulcan Consulate have been delayed again. They keep stonewalling us whenever we request technology from them, so we keep having to come up with workarounds, which they then seem to question the efficiency of." "Well the Vulcans haven’t been too forthcoming with engine technology either," Archer admitted, remembering his own father’s trouble with the warp 5 engine. "But if we come up with it on our own, that’s one more win for humans in the arena of science, and in this case, Denobulans too." "Thank you captain, but it was Trish’s idea," Phlox interjected, not wanting to take all the credit. Trish set the sensor on the work table and gave it a sigh, took off her glasses, then looked at the captain again, "I’m sure you didnae come here to talk medical sensors, captain. How can I help ye?" "I came here because I need the best and brightest for this mission, and I want you to come with me." "Me? The best? Surely there’s…" she protested. She joined Starfleet, but after her time on a Daedalus-class ship she had requested a shore-bound duty quite eagerly. She wasn’t eager to get back on a slow ship with bad gravity plating. "You’re the best there is for this mission," Archer assured her. "Your work in xenobiology saved T’Les three years ago, and that piece of comparative biology and pharmacology is part of Starfleet Medical Academy training." "Write a book and Starfleet never lets you forget," she mused under her breath. "Look captain, I’ve got a lot of work here, and a slow ship-bound mission would only slow it down and…" "…and we’ve got science labs and a warp 5 engine to get you there and back in plenty of time," Archer finished her sentence for her. "You can take whatever you want with you to complete on the way. And you’re invited too." Archer pointed to Phlox, who was a bit surprised. "Me, captain?" Phlox asked. "I thought Starfleet was staffed by humans. I’m just part of Starfleet Medical Exchange." "Perhaps, but where we’re going, your experience will be important to the success of our mission," Archer answered. "We leave on the 19th. Don’t be late." ---- Starfleet Science Academy, Breslau, Germany. [FONT=Calibri][SIZE=3][FONT=Calibri][SIZE=3][/SIZE][/FONT][/SIZE][/FONT] Breslau University, an annex of Starfleet Science Academy Captain Archer walked the historic streets of Breslau, enjoying the old architecture, sights, and smells, as he put together a sandwich from some wurst, cheese, and bread he bought in the open air market, and added a bit of sweet mustard to it, as he awaited his meeting with the science officer he was waiting for. He didn’t wait long, as he caught the image of a woman jogging the street with a long, flowing blonde ponytail, SkyGlasses, jogging shorts and running top that didn’t seem to be the right size for their contents. She appeared to have all the curves any woman could ever wish to have, and as this woman stopped her Zune music player, attached to her arm, she pulled up her shirt a bit, giving herself a bit of a breeze, and exposing her well-sculpted abs, without a hint of any concern for her modesty in front of the captain, who was still wondering who this person was. “Good afternoon captain,” said the woman as she exhaled deeply, then sat herself down in front of the captain, and helped herself to a bit of his water, before pausing, getting his permission, then drinking some more. Professor Sarah DeLaney “I take it you’re Sarah DeLaney?” Archer asked the rather unorthodox person in front of him. “Professor, Doctor Sarah Nicole DeLaney, Lieutenant Commander, Starfleet, as of about four hours ago,” she said introducing herself, as she took out a micro towel and wiped her brow. She took off her SkyGlasses, which projected an augmented reality for the user through the BlueTooth connection to her Zune, and stuck them right down the front of her shirt, since she had no pockets. “Congratulations,” Archer said, trying to be polite. “I’ve got a mission coming up, and from what I hear, you’re one of the best scientists in Starfleet.” “One of the best?” she asked, as her American accent dropped back into Irish. “Who else in Starfleet has three doctorates and a professorship by the time she was 26? I wrote the book on planetary evolution and stellar cycles!” “So if I had a mission to Babel, who do you think I should take? Jeff Dorsett was pretty highly spoken of, then there’s Rachel Taylor…” “Jeff wouldn’t know a warp field from a stray gravity field on sensors, and Rachel’s not got enough sense to calibrate sensors to tell a scorpion from a Denobulan kirthax! You take either of them and you’ll probably end up flying into a supernova they’re so far behind,” she started spouting, getting more excitable, just like Archer knew she would. “If you don’t take me right now, I’m going to stow away on your ship and force you to take me along.” “Well, Sarah, we leave in 4 days. NX-01, spacedock. Don’t be late,” Archer said, handing her her signed orders and a mission patch. ---- NX-01, Spacedock, Launch Day. The bridge was bustling with activity, as officers were finalizing software upgrades, installing monitors and computer memory busses, and finalizing the helm and navigation sensors. Engineering was no less active, with engineers hustling about, the engines going through startup, which took about 55 minutes from standstill. This was mankind’s fastest ship, and Tucker had promised she’d be smooth sailing the whole way to Babel. A small travel pod undocked from the orbital facility, carrying its two passengers on their final inspection tour before launch. Captain Archer and his chief engineer, Charles Tucker took a generous look at the underside of the vessel, as he pointed out the features of the ship to him. Archer and Trip take the inspection pod for a visual tour of the ship. “Both sides, twin impulse engines rated one quarter light speed. First of their kind to use a subspace driver to speed the reactants so we use less fuel than older ships. Breaks the time barrier so we don’t have to re-align clocks every time we use them,” Trip explained as he pointed out the other parts of the ship. “Four docking bays, two shuttles, two personnel transports from UEMA, in a standard drop pattern. Room for two aft laser cannons and four forward on the underside of the saucer section.” “I always wondered why dad switched from the spheres to the saucer sections. I thought for sure we’d be using spherical ships for this flight ever since I was a kid,” Archer mused as they passed the underside of the saucer, the front of which held a spectacular view out of the guest quarters. As Trip maneuvered closer to the saucer, Archer noticed the laser cannon ports, which didn’t have the cannons mounted just yet, as Trip went on about the warp field. “Actually with the warp 5 engine, the saucer interacts with the warp field more efficiently than the spherical hulls did,” Trip began as a slight scrape was heard, as he quickly corrected the course. “Don’t scratch my paint, Trip,” Archer chuckled a bit, as the inspection pod maneuvered around to the deflector dish. “I’ll get someone right on it, boss,” he said, adjusting his ball cap, same kind as Archer wore. He readjusted the pod to get a better glance of the ship from the front, showing off the sleek lines of the ship, which had integrated all its components into one hull, leaving the engines to sweep up from behind. “There she is, cap’n. The first of her kind, NX class ship. If she flies like we expect her to, Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavor will join her over the next two years.” “Who’d have thought, Trip? Humans breaking 100c less than 100 years after breaking the speed of light,” Archer mused as the pod maneuvered around to the starboard docking board, since portside was being used to load crew and cargo for launch at 1800. “It’s a miracle cap’n, that’s for sure. It would’ve happened sooner if the Vulcans hadn’t held back their own engine designs,” Trip said as he put the pod in final position to dock. “But they did give us gravity plating, and inertial dampeners so we wouldn’t turn into splatters on the wall when we finally broke 2 cochranes not five years later,” Archer countered. He was a bit resentful that the Vulcans had held some things back, but when he thought about it, it made sense to wait until they were ready. Had humans wandered around space a hundred years ago, after just coming out of World War 3, they likely would’ve been way out of their league with no resources to back them up. Vulcans did help them slowly rebuild Earth, and build up a Starfleet over the last century, as frustrating as it was to go so slowly. Some governments went faster than the Vulcans would’ve thought prudent, giving them the Alpha Centauri, New Sweden, New Prussia, Britannia, New Columbia, New France, Nova Roma, Byzantia, and Gallus II colonies. Some, like Alpha Centauri, were relatively open and accepted anyone who could support himself. Others were more vanity colonies for their home countries. Nova Roma intentionally spoke Latin, Gallus spoke only Celtic languages, New Prussia only German, and New Sweden only Nordic languages. New Columbia was started by a number of Americans who wanted to build a new world, and get back to their roots. Unfortunately, some colonies failed, like Terra Nova, and seemingly vanished without a trace. The seal completed, and the docking light went from red to green, indicating a firm docking seal. "Ready to come aboard?" Trip said, as he unbuckled from his seat, and gestured to the door. "Ready and willing, Mr. Tucker," Jonathan smiled, as his engineer tapped the door control, with the door withdrawn into the hull of the ship itself, a design taken from an Alpha Centauran scientist, Marco Perez, from New Barcelona, which helped the pods stay securely latched in spacedocks. The doors hissed open, as eight crew stood at attention, representing some spacedock and some Enterprise crew, to greet his arrival, met with a boatswain’s whistle. "Permission to come aboard?" Archer asked as he stepped into the airlock. "Permission granted. Welcome aboard, Captain Archer," came the greeting from the man to the right, who by his rating on his upper sleeve, was the Chief Petty Officer on board. "Thank you chief," Archer returned the salute, as the other officers and crew released their salutes and stood at ease. "You’re Chief William Thomas if I’m not mistaken." "Correct sir. I’m here to make sure the enlisted all stay in line on our first trip around the block, sir," said the middle-aged African male, whose slight accent betrayed his origin from South Africa. "It shouldn’t be too long a trip, with Commander Tucker’s engines getting us there," Archer smiled, as he shook hands with the others, putting faces to the names he read on the way up from Earth earlier today. ---- Spacedock, 1800 Hours "Ladies and gentlemen," came the voice of Admiral Forrest, in the grand observation room of spacedock, overlooking the NX-class ship, the first warp 5 vessel by mankind. He stood behind a podium, with a number of press, Vulcan ambassadors, and Starfleet officers, and behind him at the podium was Captain Archer and his hand-picked senior crew to Forrest’s right. To the left was Ambassador Soval, President Sonderberg, and two other Vulcans, one male, one female. "It gives me great pleasure to present you the first of the NX class starship, the Enterprise," Forrest began, to thunderous applause. He waited for it to die down before continuing. "This vessel marks a new chapter in human history. No longer will we be limited to the solar system and our nearby colony worlds, but whole new regions of space will be open to us, strange new worlds to explore, new life forms to seek out, new civilizations to meet, enabling us to boldly go where no man has gone before." The applause continued, before he continued. "Taking us there on the first mission from Earth, is Captain Jonathan Archer, the son of Henry Archer, who first dreamed of the Warp 5 Project. His crew will explore the depths of space, opening up new avenues for humanity and our friends, the Vulcans to discover what awaits us in the final frontier." The crowd stood, as Archer and his crew stood up, along with the ambassadors and the President. The officers saluted, as Forrest shook their hands. Each of them waited till Forrest was finished, and filed out to the airlock to the right of the podium, which led to the gangway, a ramp down to E-deck. President Wilhelm Sonderberg allowed Archer and his crew to board first, before joining afterward, followed by the Vulcan delegation. As the airlock sealed behind them, you could see the 18 people walking across the gangway, which itself had numerous portholes to view the NX-class ship in dock. Once the president and the Vulcans had come aboard in the customary human fashion, the gangway retracted. The crew manned their stations, with the Vulcans and the President joining Archer on the bridge for the historic moment. Archer took his chair, as his crew took their posts: Reed at tactical, Lieutenant Commander Gillan at engineering with Trip beside her, Randall at communications, DeLaney at science, Haley beside her, and the Vulcans standing near sciences, while Earth’s President stood to Archer’s right. "Ensign Randall, signal spacedock," Archer commanded, "Enterprise ready to depart." "Aye sir," she replied in her characteristic Welsh accent, signaling spacedock, as she put her earpiece in. "Spacedock, this is Enterprise. All stations report ready to depart." Clamps and mechanical sounds signaled the mooring and umbilicals retracting, as Mayweather reported from his dual station in front of the captain, "All moorings clear captain. Umbilical supports retracted. Enterpise is under her own power. We are free and clear to navigate." "Mr. President? Would you like the honor?" Archer asked as he stood from his chair, to offer it to the President. "She’s your ship, captain," he replied with a smile. "Take her out, Mr. Mayweather. Straight and steady," Archer said, as the forward viewscreen displayed the visual of the sensors for them, giving them a view out ahead. The impulse engines hummed to life as the ship slowly exited spacedock at thruster speed, before engaging the impulse drive. "If you’ll excuse me cap’n, I’m going to see to the engines," Trip said, with a nod from Archer, as he entered the turbolift to D-deck. Trip got to engineering relatively quickly, as he was there when Archer chimed from the bridge, "Mr. Tucker, prepare to go to warp." "Ready when you are captain," he replied, having gotten his report from Petty Officer Callaghan, and Ensign Dorsett that they were ready to go. [FONT=Calibri][SIZE=3][FONT=Calibri][SIZE=3][/SIZE][/FONT][/SIZE][/FONT] PO2 Emily Callaghan; Ensign Mark Dorsett “Course heading captain?” asked the navigator, Ensign Eric Lefler. Ensign Eric Lefler, Navigator “Planet Babel, warp 4.5,” Archer replied. “Let’s go.” The blonde-haired ensign entered his coordinates which showed up directly on the astrogator in the center of the console, dividing it in twain. The helm officer, Travis Mayweather, set speed at 4.5, and engaged the engine, building the energy till the ship sped off in a burst of energy, travelling at over 90 times the speed of light as if it were the most natural thing the ship had ever done. From the view of spacedock, Enterprise’s engines charged and the ship stretched into space, before snapping forward, with a bright light signifying its departure from Earth, to the cheers of all gathered in the large room. “Godspeed, Jonathan,” Admiral Forrest said to himself, as Commander Williams and Yeoman Schmidtchen flanked him on either side. ---- To be continued.