Star Trek: Sojourner - #2 Proving Grounds

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Bry_Sinclair, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 28, 2009
    The glorious Shetland Isles!
    Commander’s Quarters, Deck 2
    Position Alpha, Andromeda Galaxy
    Stardate: 54211.8 (March 19th, 2377)

    Daniel Takashima stepped into the cabin he’d laid claim to and flopped into an armchair that faced the viewport. The comfort of the chair combined with the exhaustion of the last week had him almost dozing where he sat, but was prevented from doing so by an alien chime. The shrill noise pierced his sleep-starved brain; he turned to look at the entrance, wondering if there were other settings for the enunciator.

    “Come in,” he called, trying to blink the tiredness from his eyes. The doors parted and he found himself looking at the lithe frame of Lieutenant Jehu. “Morning Lieutenant, what can I do for you?”

    Jehu stepped inside and let the doors close behind him. His posture was straight and stiff, overly formal—which meant that Takashima wouldn’t like what he had come to say.

    “Commander Takashima, effective immediately, I relieve you of duty.”

    It took a few moments for what Jehu said to filter through the haze of his mind, but when it finally did his eyes opened wide and he was on his feet.

    “Care to explain yourself, Lieutenant?”

    Jehu held his ground. “You appointed me as your First Officer, Commander. Part of my duties is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all those onboard—yourself included. Since we arrived here, you’ve been working eighteen to twenty-two hours a day. You’re no use to anyone if you can’t think straight or even keep your eyes open. I’m recommending twenty-four hours uninterrupted rest.”

    He raised an eyebrow in disbelief. “There’s too much to be done, I can’t take a full day off for rest—not at the expense of the rest of the crew.”

    “Most of the crew are sharing duties and responsibilities, resting when they need to, then coming back and making advancements in their fields when they’re refreshed. You have to do the same, Commander, or you’ll burn out.”

    Takashima squared his shoulders, ready to tell his new number one that wouldn’t be necessary, when he yawned. He knew that Jehu was right, that he couldn’t keep going as he had been, but he also knew that there was too much to be done, and now he was responsible for the fates of one hundred and three others—which in itself was a reason he needed to take a break.

    Stifling his yawn, he focused his bleary eyes on Jehu once again. “Twenty-four hours is too long. I’ll take eight hours,” he conceded.



    “Twenty,” Jehu stated again, folding his arms across his chest.

    “This is supposed to be a negotiation, Lieutenant.”

    “I’m security, Commander, we only negotiate with extreme prejudice.”

    Takashima chuckled to himself. “Alright, I will take twelve hours off for rest—no more. Then we’ll need to see about setting up a shift rota, so everyone can get into some resemblance of normality.”

    Jehu paused for a moment then nodded. “Twelve hours will have to do. As for the rota, I’ve been working on that with Petty Officer Rossi. We can spread out experience and qualifications across three shifts to keep all essential duties covered, we won’t be ‘fighting fit’ but we can at least be ready for whatever we might face.”

    Slumping back down into his seat, Takashima gestured to another armchair and Jehu accepted his posture straight and stiff. “What about watch officers? I’d rather keep you on shift with me, present a united front.”

    “I was thinking about lieutenants Wu and Vel Hodan. They are in operations so would be on the bridge anyway, both have command training and experience heading up the department on shift as well as leading away missions. Granted Vel Hodan is only a junior lieutenant, but he was due for a promotion following the last round of crew evaluations.”

    “How do you know that?”

    Jehu raised an eyebrow. “Commander, I was Security Chief of the Mandela for five years, if something happened onboard that ship and I didn’t know about it you should’ve worried.”

    He smiled at the younger man. “May you continue to do so onboard...this ship,” the last two words he said slowly, drawling them out. “That’s another piece of business we need to address, what do we call the ship?”

    “There are a lot of names being batted about, but no consensus yet on what is suitable. I’ll have the crew submit ideas and we can take it from there. In the meantime, you get some sleep.”

    Takashima gave Jehu a mock salute as he got back to his feet. “Lieutenant, I want you and Rossi to write up the duty roster, I’ll check it out in the morning.”

    “I’ll inform Wu and Vel Hodan of their new posts as well.”

    “Very good,” Takashima stated before the Security Chief headed for the exit. “And Jehu,” the lieutenant stopped and turned back to him, “thank you.”

    “Anytime Commander. Good night.”

    With that, Jehu left and Takashima was alone in his room once again. Using what little energy he had left, he pulled off his boots, rose to his feet and stumbled through to the bedroom, where he flopped onto the bed and fell sound asleep.

    * * * * *​

    Corridor, Deck 1
    Position Alpha, Andromeda Galaxy

    Having left the Commander to get some much deserved sleep, Jehu headed for the bridge to ensure that, unless the universe was about to implode, he wasn’t disturbed. It would also be a chance for him to try and get used to the idea of being ‘in charge’ of the behemoth—which was one suggestion being batted about for what to call the ship. With only one hundred and four onboard a ship that was bigger than a Sovereign-Class, the corridors were quiet, giving him time to think.

    They still had so much to do and there was no guarantee that the region they were in would stay quiet indefinitely. Learning how to operate the ship was their main objective, everyone onboard had to be trained to handle the key stations—what was once called a “last man bridge” on Earth. It was a sombre thought, but they had no idea just what they would face in the new galaxy and, if going by Starfleet’s first contact with the Kelvans was anything to go by, then there were some major threats in Andromeda they could encounter. Jehu knew Takashima well, having spent months working and training with the human, so he knew that the Commander had gone through some horrific events during the war, however beneath those war scars he knew that Takashima was also an idealist. After the shock of their situation passed, he would start to look at the great and good about where they now found themselves, so it was Jehu’s responsibility to be the pragmatist.

    As he was just about to step through the doors to the bridge, he focused once again on his immediate task. Entering into what had been dubbed the ‘situation room’ he smiled at his good fortune to find Denise Wu and Oram Vel Hodan working at the table. When they saw him enter, they both stood straight and turned to him.

    “Sir,” stated Wu, her tone level.

    “Lieutenants, I’m glad I caught you both here.” He moved to stand at the table and they both relaxed their posture. “Firstly, the Commander is getting some much needed rest and not to be disturbed for at least the next twelve hours. If anything crops up, bring it to my attention.” They both nodded their understanding. “Secondly, we’ve discussed the matter and have decided to try and get onto a standard three-shift rotation ASAP. To that end, the both of you will be appointed Watch Officers for beta and gamma shifts. Congratulations.”

    Wu gave him a slight smile, which was to be expected from someone raised on Vulcan. Vel Hodan wasn’t quite as stoic, as a look of shocked delight crossed the Rigellians bronze face. Jehu couldn’t help but chuckle at the difference in their reactions. He had served with both for years and knew they were both up to the challenge; he wouldn’t have recommended them for the posts if he didn’t think they could handle the added responsibilities.

    “Rossi and I are drawing up a duty roster, any input you care to add would be appreciated.”

    “Of course, sir.”

    “You got it, Lieutenant.”

    “Right, now that’s out of the way, how’re things going up here?”

    Vel Hodan deferred to Wu. “Mr Kenza has been putting the other flight controllers through their paces, he says he wants to get them all trained up so they can in turn help with training others. He has also located an isolated system, two-point-five light-years away, plenty of asteroids for precision flying and target practice. Ensign Igen said that there may be some metals and minerals of interest in the asteroids as well. We could also look into mining potential, so we have something to barter with if needed.”

    Jehu nodded as he listened, he had never considered the need to take on materials they could use to trade with, though they would have to be careful with what they used—without knowing more about the regional economics they had no way of knowing just what was valuable to others and what wasn’t. He made a mental note of putting together a survey team to go out and take samples from the asteroid belt.

    “We could also use the time to test out this ships own auxiliary craft,” Vel Hodan added. Jehu had noticed him taking a keen interest in the two types of small craft the ship carried—six shuttles for carrying personnel or cargo and eight tactical starfighters—which had been largely ignored as the crew focused on the ship’s main systems.

    “Sounds like an idea,” Jehu agreed, “we should use what time we have now to the fullest.” He paused for a moment, looking over the readouts and displays on the tabletop, assessing the ship’s operations for himself. They had yet to get to grips with just what the ships optimal status was, but for the moment it was running more or less smoothly. “What has Lieutenant Dheyn had to report?”

    Wu glanced forwards, towards the main deck of the bridge. “He’s working through there, sir.”

    “Thanks,” he replied and then started to move, but paused a moment. “Can the both of you let the crew know that suggestions for just what to call this ship are being solicited?”

    “How about Enterprise?” Vel Hodan quickly came out with.

    Jehu and Wu both looked at him, questioning expressions on their face before Jehu chucked, shook his head and continued on to the forward deck. Behind him he heard Wu telling the young Rigellian simply, “We can’t call it the Enterprise.”

    Passing through the situation room he stood on the raised balcony where the command chair was located, looking over all others who worked on the bridge. There were three seated at the various consoles; Petty Officers Tzehn at sensors and Koeman at tactical, whilst Kal Dheyn was seated at one of the auxiliary consoles along the side. As he approached the Thallonian, he took note of all the information displayed on the screens. The xenology specialist was so engrossed in what he was studying that he never heard Jehu’s approach, so when he cleared his throat Dheyn looked genuinely surprised that he wasn’t alone.

    “Sorry for disturbing you, Lieutenant, but I wanted to see what you and your teams had learned so far.”

    “I was just going through all the data they’ve gathered so far, compiling what we have so far—I was going to give my report to the Commander in the morning.”

    “He’s getting some much needed rest, so you can run what you have by me first.”

    “Yes sir,” he began. “Crewman Danal remains in the forward atrium, working on the written alien language there. So far the ship’s computer doesn’t have any record of the text—or any other alien language for that matter—so she has to work on it without any baseline. She isn’t having much success as yet, but she said it could take some time to crack. Armstrong had a look at the scorch marks and believes them only to be three, maybe four, weeks old—which means whoever wrote it was on that ship a week before we found it.

    “He’s now moved on to examining what personal possessions we found for hints at just who these people were—archaeologists make the best detectives. Lilei and Soeke have started combing through the ship’s computer, looking for any files and databases that may relate to the ship’s builders or any other information on indigenous species. Gha-Ejeihn is continuing his wandering through the ship, gathering more visual and telemetry scans, paying close attention to design elements.” He picked up a PADD and handed it to Jehu. “My preliminary report is there. I still need to update it with the latest reports.”

    He accepted the PADD with a nod. At the Academy he had taken the bare minimum of social sciences he needed to in order to get through his first year, as it was a field that held little interest for him—it was only now, given their predicament and his promotion to XO, that he would need to get to grips with the discipline. He mustn’t have hidden his true feelings about the reading ahead of him, as Dheyn gave him a sympathetic look.

    “I have tried to keep the jargon to a minimum and left out a lot of the waffle,” Dheyn assured him with a smile, which shone against his crimson skin.

    “That is appreciated, Lieutenant. I’ll get to this a little later on, though if any of your people find anything new of note then let me know.”

    “Yes sir,” Dheyn replied then turned back to continue his analysis.

    Jehu stepped down onto the lower level and made his way to communications, opposite where Tzehn sat, from which he could monitor everything that was going on throughout the ship—as well as bypass the comlink to Takashima’s quarters so he would be able to sleep in peace.

    * * * * *​
  2. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Feb 5, 2006
    Good to see you picking this up again. The alien ship remains a mystery for its new and unexpected crew and I'd imagine it will for a good while longer. For now, they have to figure out all the practical things first like crew rotations, chain if command, the name of the ship, etc. and after that we hopefully get to see a bit more of their new surroundings.
  3. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 25, 2005
    US Pacific Northwest
    One of the first of what promises to be many hard days to come. At the very least, Captain Janeway had her own ship and the possibility of eventually reaching home when Voyager started its journey back to the AQ.

    Sojourner, however, faces literally astronomical odds of ever reaching home.

    Nevertheless, Takashima's lucky to have Jehu as his XO. The man's certainly looking out for the crew's well being, as well as that of the captain.

    Terrific stuff! :techman:
  4. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 28, 2009
    The glorious Shetland Isles!
    Mess Hall, Deck 4
    Position Alpha, Andromeda Galaxy

    From the viewports of the mess hall, occupants looked down on the dark forward hull of the ship, which tapered to a point over five hundred meters ahead of them. The sheer size of the ship still amazed Jenna Kinsey. Her duties had kept her pretty tied up in sickbay so she hadn’t been able to explore much herself, but she’d heard from the engineers and security guards who had ventured through the corridors and rooms just what they’d found.

    Fortunately all the crew who had been exploring their new ship had done so without injury, so she and the other medics onboard were able to get the medical facility organised to meet their own needs. With a limited supply of equipment and medicines, they had to ration out what they had until they got to grips with the devices and systems in sickbay. As yet they hadn’t found a pharmaceutical replicator, whilst the two portable ones brought over from the Mandela weren’t set up to fabricate the complex molecular structures of the drugs they would need. If they couldn’t replace their stock then they would have to make finding alternatives a priority—which would fall to her, seeing as they didn’t have a doctor onboard either. All of which left sickbay in a very delicate state.

    All of which weighed upon her, since she had become the de facto Chief Medical Officer—due to her former position as Head Nurse and the fact she was the only commissioned officer in sickbay. The corpsmen and medics were used to following her orders and instructions, but she wasn’t sure about the rest of the crew, especially when they experienced their first medical emergency.

    “Penny for them,” a soft voice asked from behind her.

    Kinsey glanced over her shoulder to see Lieutenant Nhataq standing, hands clasped behind her back and a friendly smile curving her full lips. Kinsey hadn’t known the Ktarian tactical officer that well on the Mandela, their paths never seeming to cross except on the odd occasion, and even since arriving on the alien ship they hadn’t had much need to interact. But they were alone in the mess hall and Kinsey welcomed the break from dwelling on her own self-doubts.

    “I think you’d more than a penny,” she quipped, trying to keep her tone light.

    Nhataq’s smile grew a little as she moved over to stand next to her at viewport, looking out on the ship and the foreign stars. “I know what you mean; as soon as I take even the smallest breather from all the diagnostics and simulations, my head is filled with too many thoughts to contain—I’d never have thought that focusing on work would give me relief.”

    Kinsey gave a humourless laugh. She’d felt just the same, but there was only so much she could do in an empty sickbay to keep herself distracted, so she had time to dwell on what the future might hold for her.

    “Counsellor Yehn would’ve had her work cut out for her if she’d been aboard; it’s a shame that there isn’t a therapist onboard. I get the impression that before long there will be a lot of people who will need a professional to talk too.”

    “I always find a vigorous physical workout to be a far better way of dealing with stress,” Nhataq commented, her voice low and sultry—hinting the real intent behind her words.

    Kinsey chuckled, this time with genuine mirth. “Does it work?”

    The Ktarian just winked, which made both women laugh. Once it died down, they stared back out at the stars in silence, leaving one another with their own thoughts. Kinsey knew she wasn’t alone in her contemplations, that everyone onboard would be facing up to the reality of their situation in their own time and dealing with it in their own way, but to share her thoughts with another helped. However she doubted she would ever work up the courage to admit how she felt about being on a ship, lost in another galaxy without a doctor onboard, whilst all the crew looking to her to deal with countless new diseases and illnesses.

    As far as she was aware, no one onboard had any qualifications in psychology or psychiatry to act up as ship’s counsellor, which meant there would be a lot of people bottling things up. She knew that it wasn’t healthy to do so, but with everyone facing the same loss and grief, the same uncertainty and fear, no one would want to burden others with more problems.

    Nhataq’s combadge chirped, breaking the silence. “Gha-Lokohvik to Nhataq.”

    She tapped the pin and replied, “Go ahead.”

    “Lieutenant, we’ve just been informed from the bridge that we will be doing a weapons test once we find a suitable system.”

    A wide smile spread across her lips. “Fantastic! I’m on my way.” With that she closed the channel again and beamed at Kinsey. “Looks like I have to get back to work.”

    Kinsey nodded. “I won’t keep you then. Good luck with your tests.”

    Nhataq headed for the exit, but halfway there she stopped and spun back towards the windows. “I know we weren’t close on the Mandela, but since we may be here for a while it doesn’t hurt to have a few more friends—even just to drown our collective sorrows with.”

    A genuine smile tugged at her lips and she nodded at the tactical officer. “Sounds like a good plan.”

    “I’ll catch up with you later, Doc.” With that Nhataq was gone, washing the smile from Kinsey’s face and leaving her crestfallen and feeling lonelier than before.

    * * * * *​
  5. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 25, 2005
    US Pacific Northwest
    Terrific character moments as these two ponder their mutual plight.:)
  6. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 28, 2009
    The glorious Shetland Isles!
    Thanks for the complements gents, I'm chipping away at this piece by piece--especially since my Refugee Crisis story refuses to write itself.

    In the next instalment the crew finally get moving.
  7. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 28, 2009
    The glorious Shetland Isles!
    Bridge, Deck 1
    Position Alpha, Andromeda Galaxy
    Stardate: 54217.6 (March 21st, 2377)

    For one of the rare moments in his adult life, it wasn’t the standard gravity that was weighing down on Tamin Kenza, but rather the significance of the situation. For the last two hours the alien ship had been manoeuvring under impulse power, allowing him to finally try out the ships navigational array and helm controls for real—all of which worked far better than he’d expected. For a vessel of its size it was remarkably agile, although her acceleration curve was slightly slower than the typical Starfleet ship.

    But now the impulse tests completed, as were his updates to the operational manual he’d being writing up on the controls, all diagnostics showed the impulse systems were performing at peak efficiency. Everyone was happy with how things had progressed and agreed that their tests were sufficient for the time being, which meant that they could now move onto testing the warp drive.

    It was something many of the pilots and engineers had been waiting for, to see just what the ship could do, despite the potential dangers involved with trying out a warp drive they were unfamiliar with.

    Kenza was running one final diagnostic on everything on his end, whilst all around him the bridge was a hive of activity with every console manned, every seat occupied. The atmosphere among the collection of officers, non-coms and crewmen was electric, as after over a week of being stationary in a whole new galaxy they would finally take their first steps. All of them knew that their main priority was to try and find a way to return home—an objective that the builders of the ship could help them with—but the opportunity to explore a whole new galaxy wasn’t lost on anyone. He had to admit that uncovering the wonders of Andromeda was more than appealing, but he was in the minority of those onboard without any strong ties to home, with no siblings or partner, his mother had died years ago and he hadn’t spoken to his father since he’d left Elaysa and enlisted into Starfleet.

    “Mr Kenza, how’re things looking on your end?” Takashima asked from behind him.

    He turned in his chair and looked up onto the raised balcony where the Commander leaned forward on the railing. “All navigation, helm, stabilisation and propulsion systems check out from here, sir. Just give the word.”

    Takashima gave him a smile before tapping his combadge. “Takashima to Ra-Vahneii.”

    “Go ahead, Commander.”

    “Status report.”

    “The core is stable and all warp systems check out, as do the inertial dampeners. We’ve rigged up an emergency cut-off should it be needed, which will shut down the injectors and power transfer conduits in a matter of seconds—it won’t be smooth but it’ll drop us out of warp.”

    “What about the ‘jump’ device?” he asked, a hint of concern in his tone.

    “It’s still dark. I’ve got someone in the Pit keeping a close eye on it, just in case.”

    “Glad to hear it, Lieutenant. Standby, we’ll be going to warp one in a few moments.”

    “We’re as ready as we’re going to be, sir.”

    Kenza and all the others kept their eyes on Takashima. Ra-Vahneii was the one who would give their warp test the final seal of approval, once she green lit it, all that was left was for the Commander to give the order.

    From the helm, he couldn’t see the rest of the crew, just Nhataq seated next to him, so he quickly looked from Jehu at communications, Ensign Igen at sensors, Takashima standing above them, and to the six men and women at the port and starboard consoles. All of them on tenterhooks’ as to what was about to happen once Takashima gave the command and Kenza tapped the appropriate sequence into his board—himself included.

    “Jehu, how’re we looking?”

    “All decks have reported in ready and damage control teams have been dispatched, Commander.”


    “Sensors are clear, sir,” the young Bajoran replied softly, her voice almost lost.

    Takashima took a deep breath and then nodded. “Alright then, let’s get moving. Helm, set a course for our testing site. Start us off at warp one.”

    Kenza turned back towards the large viewports at the front of the deck. He’d already locked their projected course into the navcomp, so he entered the speed and quickly checked that everything looked right. “Course laid in, warp one aye.”


    With the brush of his finger, the behemoth alien ship leapt to warp as easily as she’d accelerated to impulse. The stabilisers throughout the ship gave the crew no sensation that they were moving, so it was only blur of the stars through the viewports as the ship accelerated to the speed of light that told them they were underway (unless of course anyone was looking at a sensor display).

    Allowing himself a moment to enjoy the stars in motion, Kenza quickly looked back at the controls and let go a pent up breath when he saw that all was going smoothly.

    “We are at warp one and holding steady, all systems in the green,” he announced.

    He didn’t know where it came from but a ripple of cheers and applause filled the bridge. Kenza found himself grinning as Nhataq patted him on the shoulder and offered him a wink.

    They would maintain their speed for a time, to ensure everything remained stable, but soon they’d accelerate and he could get to see just what the alien ship could do—something he had been looking forward to for days.

    * * * * *​