Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by The Badger, Apr 27, 2009.
Good bit, very visceral, brought the engine room to life.
Glad you're still enjoying it. And that the brewery reference was spotted.
I'm trying something a little different this time, so please let me know what you think.
Interlude 1. Moshiri and Partridge.
The Enterprise falls through space. An odd description, but an accurate one. Mathematically the effects of continuum distortion mirror those of gravity almost exactly. The main difference is that the acceleration can be controlled. Right now it's set just high enough to counter the drag caused by interstellar gas. The atoms of gas don't touch the hull of course, but the contact with the warp bubble is sufficient to reduce the ships velocity unless a counteracting force is applied. The forces are balanced, the ship speeds on at just under 69 times the speed of light.
Ahead of the ship lies a small cloud of dust. It's thick enough to give a significant sensor return. Various automated systems are in place to deal with situations like this. Even as the bridge crew are being informed energy is diverted to the main deflector. Etheric manipulators in the warp nacelles are powered up, in case a course change is required.
On the bridge Haleh Moshiri is just about to hand over to another navigator when the forward contact light flashes for attention. She checks her display and considers the options. Navigating round the cloud would add four minutes, twelve seconds to the trip. At this speed attempting to punch straight through would be hazardous. Using the deflector to disipate the cloud, like a cow catcher on an old west train, would remove the risk, but it comes at a cost. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Using the deflector would slow the ship.
Of course, it would be possible to increase the ships speed to compensate, but the engines are pushed hard at the moment. Might not be wise to push them further. Haleh runs a calculation. Using the deflector would add two minutes, thirty eight seconds to the trip. Still not good, but a lot better. She initiates the deflector sequence.
Later, having passed through the area of space where the cloud once was, something strikes her as odd. The delay was only two minutes, thirty six seconds. Most people would just write off the missing two seconds as insignificant, but not Haleh. An idea occurs to her, one she needs to discuss with someone smart. And she knows just the person. Having got her replacement up to speed on developments she sets off towards the ships science laboratories.
Professor Partridge is carrying out experiments on the Yridian's Widowmaker when Haleh arrives. The navigator almost leaves when she sees the scientist is busy, but Polly is glad of a change of pace. A noted pacifist, she dislikes dealing with weapons, although she recognises the need to learn where this one came from. Haleh shows her the records of the passage through the cloud. Polly is intrigued. Over the next hour the two go through the ships records, collecting data on twenty two other instances involving the deflector array. All show the same thing. The Enterprise was slowed by it's use, but never as much as it should have been. In all previous cases the difference was almost to small to register, but it was there.
Haleh's been thinking it over, and has an idea. She tells Polly, who enthusiastically proclaims it a sound piece of reasoning. It's one of those ideas that are almost laughably simple. Whenever the deflector has been used to remove an object, a cloud or a swarm of debris from the path of the Enterprise, it has also been dispersing the background gas. For a few seconds the ship was freed from it's retarding effect.
The benefits of using the main deflector in this way are insignificant, the power requirements too great for anything more than a few seconds of use. Together, Haleh and Polly start brainstorming. Is there any way to take advantage of this effect? Their conversation goes on into the night.
Interlude 2. Philip Locke.
Doctor Locke sits in his office. In one hand, held in front of him, a computer pad displays page 118 of T'Pera's Principles Of Comparative Xenobiology. In his other hand, one of his ubiquitous cigarettes. Had any one else been present, they'd assume Locke was studying, keeping his medical knowledge up to date.
It is ten minutes past seven, May the tenth.
No one else is present. So there's no one to notice that Locke has been staring at page 118 for nearly three quarters of an hour. No one to notice that the cigarette is just a butt, long cold. Locke looks at the page, but he doesn't see it. He is remembering....
It is May the seventh, many, many years previously. What will become known as the Axanar War is currently a minor skirmish, fought for the moment through intermediaries. On the Veltren homeworld humanity had pledged to assist those from the northern lands. Axanar 'advisers' were known to be training the southerners, and supplying them with weaponry.
Captain Philip Locke, UEMA, Ground Forces Medical Division, has been here for three months. 'Here' is Camp Resolute, one of UEMA's forward operating bases. He's a trained surgeon, skilled and dedicated .He feels a little underused, as apart from minor illnesses and a couple of accidental injuries he's not had much to deal with since he arrived. Once a week he is part of a group that head into the nearest town, where he offers his services to any that need them. It's part of the hearts and minds campaign. Not everyone appreciates the human presence here.
He's just finishing dinner when the alarms start to blare. Incoming casualties. He heads to the medical centre, double time, and starts preparing for surgery. One of the administrative people pops his head round the door, telling the gathered doctors and nurses the events. There's been a series of attacks, well planned and coordinated. All appear to be targeted against humans, any native casualties appear to have been accidental. The conflict is escalating.
They don't have long to wait. The first air ambulance arrives twelve minutes later, seven injured people on board. A couple of orderlies deliver a screaming boy to Locke's operating table. As the anaesthetist goes to work Locke glances at the patient's name tag. Bodonovich. According to his insignia he's a squad medic. He looks too young to be out of school, never mind completing medical training.
Plasma burns over most of his exposed flesh, probably from some sort of bomb or grenade. Only on the outer skin layer, he must have been on the edge of the blast. And fortunately he'd been wearing his helmet. The automatic systems dropped the visor into place before he was blinded.
Overall, very nasty but easily treated. Locke's finished within half an hour. Just as well, as more casualties are arriving. The next one is more serious. Shrapnel wound to the chest. Locke looks round for Huang, the cardiac specialist, but she's already up to her elbows in another patients rib cage. He has to go this one without her.
It is dawn, May the eighth. Locke stumbles into the mess, bleary eyed but exhilarated. He saw seven patients last night. All survived. He grabs some coffee, bacon and scrambled eggs. As he eats other doctors drift in. There's a lot of back patting and hand shaking. It's been a tough night but they did a good job.
After his meal he decides to visit the ward, to see how his patients are doing. A kind word and a friendly smile are as much a part of his job as a syringe or a scalpel. He resolves to keep things brief though. His bunk is calling to him.
The alarms blare. More casualties. He turns. Jogs back to the OR.
It is late evening, May the eighth.The alarms blare. It is unclear who they are supposed to alert, all the surgeons are already in the operating room. Locke's been on his feet for almost twenty four hours, apart from ten minutes for breakfast and five on the toilet. Like all the surgeons, whenever there's been a let up he's ducked outside for coffee and a bite to eat, but there's not been many let ups and the odd sandwich isn't enough.
It's taking it's toll on all of them. Mistakes have been made. Tempers are frayed. They're all good at there jobs and they've trained for this but there are limits and they are reaching them.
At midnight Colonel Wilson decides he needs some of his staff rested. He names five doctors, telling them to go get a couple of hours sleep. Locke is not one of those mentioned, but that's OK with him. Looking at the kid on the table in front of him, he knows that there's too much still to do.
It is mid morning, May the ninth. At Wilson's insistence the alarms have been shut off. Every so often Wilson's aide sticks her head around the door, keeping them informed of the situation. Southern forces are engaged in a major push, using Axanar built armoured fighting vehicles. How they were delivered without Earth knowing about it is anyone's guess. Camp Fortitude, further south, has been hit hard. More casualties are on their way.
Wilson names another five doctors, telling them to go and rest. Locke is one of those named. He refuses. He's needed here. Wilson tells him again, this time as a direct order. Defiant, Locke goes to scan one of the new patients. He drops the scanner. Reaching to pick it up he loses balance and nearly falls.
Wilson says nothing, but nods towards the exit. Shoulders slumped, Locke leaves. He pulls off his surgical gown, mask and gloves. He goes to the bathroom, then washes his hands and face. He stares into the bathroom mirror. It's no good, he can barely keep his eyes open. At this rate, he won't even make it to his bunk.
Walking down the corridor, he can hear the medical transports arrive. Some instinct makes him stop outside a door. Medical storage. It's locked, but he has the access codes.
Five minutes later, dressed once more for surgery, he re-enters the operating room. He's not going to lie to his superior. He tells Wilson exactly what he's done. Cordrazine. One cc, intravenously. Before Wilson can respond the door bursts open. More casualties. Reluctantly Wilson gestures Locke back to his operating table.
The cordrazine works as advertised. All traces of tiredness are gone. There are side effects. His skin itches abominably and he can hear his pulse pounding. It takes special effort to keep his hands from shaking. But it does it's job and so does he.
It is late night, May the ninth. Locke runs his gloved hands under the cold tap. They're running short on surgical gloves, and are forced to reuse the ones they've got when feasible. Locke has no idea how many patients he's treated. As the latest is prepared for surgery he turns to ask his assistant, before remembering that the assistant had to leave. A volunteer with some medical training has taken his place. Locke looks at the volunteer. There's something familiar about him but he's not one of the regular staff here at Camp Resolute. He's about to ask when he spots a hint of recently treated scar tissue around the edge of his surgical mask. It's Bodonovich, his first patient when all this started. And now he's up and about and willing to help out.
It is midday, May the tenth. Finally the flood of casualties has abated. Locke has been awake, carrying out difficult and demanding work for more than three days straight. Despite everything he is elated. Colonel Wilson's just talked to him. During that time Locke has worked on thirty two patients. Every one, every last one, has survived. Everybody lives. Wilson's calling it miraculous.
There's a Condor class heavy shuttle on the landing strip. It says much for Locke's state of mind that he didn't hear this beast land. It'll pick up the wounded, more than two hundred of them, take them into orbit, and rendezvous with a transport ship for the journey home. Locke takes the time to seek out Bodonovich. The youngster wasn't trained for meatball surgery, but he did well. Locke wants to be sure he knows just how well he did.
Even with powerful motors Condor's need a long run to get airborne. Fingers in his ears Locke stands and watches it go. Only when it's a distant speck does he turn for his quarters.
The alarms blare. Not those for incoming casualties. These herald an imminent attack. He dashes for the nearest bunker, one of a swirling crowd of suddenly panicked non combatants. The combat personnel go about their business with quiet efficiency.
At the threshold to the bunker something catches his eye. Glancing up he sees a bright spot in the sky, to the south east. Even at it's altitude the shape of the Condor is obvious.
The bright spot snaps hard to it's left, then right, then left again.
There's something else up there. Something small and fast and sticking to the Condor's tail throughout it's manoeuvres. It gets closer, and closer, and closer.
A blaze of light. A cloud of smoke so thick it looks like solid rock.
Someone grabs Locke's arm, drags him into the bunker.
Eventually, the all clear sounds. They're let out. They're warned to alert their superiors if they see anything odd. Prevailing winds had carried some of the debris from the Condor over the base. As if to highlight this, a three meter square chunk of wing assembly protrudes almost vertically from the communications building.
Locke feels nothing, totally numb. He heads to his quarters. He passes bits of smoking pipework and what looks like part of the landing gear. Doesn't bother to inform anyone. It might be dangerous, it might not be. He's past caring.
He gets to his quarters. For a moment he thinks he's got a visitor, sitting in the chair in the centre of his room. Then he remembers that he doesn't have a chair in the centre of his room. Then he notices the mess, the huge gaping hole in the roof.
He starts to laugh at the absurdity of it. He knows it isn't funny, but that only makes him laugh harder.
What are the odds, he wonders, of a seat from a destroyed craft landing in his quarters? And what could possibly make it even more unlikely, even more absurd? He walks round the front. The passenger is dead, of course, and almost unrecognisable, but the name tag on the jacket was still there.
Of course. Of course. Who else could it be?
Doctor Locke sits in his office. In one hand, held in front of him, a computer pad displays page 118 of T'Pera's Principles Of Comparative Xenobiology. In his other hand, one of his ubiquitous cigarettes. Had any one else been present, they'd assume Locke was studying, keeping his medical knowledge up to date.
It is quarter to twelve, May the tenth.
Wow, that was intense. Excellent! I loved the different approach in style, though it's probably not feasible for a whole book.
And now we know. Excellent chapter.
Another good chapter. I agree with Count Zero, the change in style probably would not work for the entire book, but was perfect for this chapter. Doc Locke's reactions both during the 10 May "incident" and his remembrance of it were spot on, they seemed very real. I especially liked his laughter at the whole scene. It just seems like somehting I would do. Once again very good, looking forward to more.
Powerful. Well done.
I agree that this is good for a single instance but not a whole tale. It hammered the points home. Your handling of the reasoning behind the warp technology is like nothing I've ever read before. You continue to amaze me with your technical descriptions for 3 reasons: I get it easily and its interesting to read, plus it makes sense. The section on Locke was extremely powerful, btw. Wish I could write like that.
Thanks for your kind words, everyone. I'm glad the experimental style worked out, and I can reassure you it is not going to be the norm from now on! What I was trying to do here was to give the impression of things continuing to happen on board a ship, without going into too much detail. Interstellar travel is still in it's infancy at this stage, it takes a long time to get anywhere.
I also wanted to expand on the background of Locke. I had originally written him simply as a grumpy medic. Thanks to McCoy and the EMH, I think that type of doctor works well in Trek! But after Duncan MacLeod expressed his distaste, I realized I had (once again!) over done things somewhat. That got me thinking about what sort of events could motivate a man to be the best doctor he could, yet leave him unwilling to make any sort of connection with his patients. I hope my explanation is satisfactory.
I'm not sure when the next part will be ready. There's been a bit of real life drama here (my sister and her family were in a car crash. No one was hurt, fortunately, but it's thrown us all for a loop), so I'm running a bit late. As always, I can get it sorted in my head easily enough, it's just getting it written out that's the problem.
Oh, and back to the eternal 'Who could play Polly Partridge?" question, I've had a couple of ideas.
Sarah Alexander (Coupling) can do comedy.
Sophia Myles (Underworld, Doctor Who 'The Girl In The Fireplace') can do corsets.
UES Enterprise. En route to Kraltos System. Warp 3.78
Captains Log, 11th May, 2151. We are on our final approach to the Kraltos system, hopefully in time to make contact with the Ithenites and find out if they know anything about the attack on the Vulcans. I am pleased to report that despite this not being our planned mission all the crew, UESPA, UEMA and civilian support, have risen to the challenge.
"All departments report that they are ready captain." Hoshi Sato announced, one finger to her ear piece.
"Thank you Hoshi. How long Haleh?"
The navigator barely had to glance at her instruments. "Just over ten minutes, sir."
The rear starboard hatch opened and Commander Hernandez entered, rubbing her hands on a piece of cloth. "Sorry to be so late sir. The automated feed for number two torpedo tube was not functioning adequately. It was simpler to fix it myself than get anyone else to."
Archer frowned. "I didn't see it mentioned in the maintenance reports. When did it go wrong?"
Her hands clean, Hernandez tucked the cloth into her pocket. "It wouldn't have been listed sir, it was still functioning within nominal parameters. It just wasn't good enough by my standards."
"And very high standards I'm sure they are too." came Polly Partridge's disembodied voice.
Hernandez looked around, confused. Ensign Kaufman, at sensors, gestured towards the small computer station, pointing down. Craning her head for a better look, Hernandez could see Partridge's long legs protruding from underneath. She was immersed up to her hips inside the console.
Archer must have noticed her interest. "The Professor's pet project." he said, pointing to something new that had been added to the console. "She's just wiring it in now."
It was the metal rectangle that Reed saw her working on in the mess hall. It was mounted at a forty five degree angle, the glass end at the top. A furled wheel now filled the hole on the side.
"What is it?" Hernandez asked.
Still under the console, Partridge said "I've been trying to find a way to increase the efficiency of data analysis. We pull in a lot of information via all the different sensor arrays. This--" a gloved hand popped up and pointed at the rectangle "--will allow me to make sense of it a lot quicker. Right, that's circuit D-9 sorted. Mister Kaufman, could you charge D-9 please!"
Kaufman, who had been staring hard at the splayed legs, jerked upwards with a start. "Er, right, yeah. Charging B-9."
"No!" Hernandez called, but his finger had already hit the switch.
There was a flash of light from under the console and a loud crack, followed by a yelp. A wisp of smoke crawled upwards.
"Polly! Are you OK!" Hoshi called.
Archer bounded from his seat. "Hoshi, get a medic up here. Professor, are you--"
The hand appeared again, waving them down. "I'm fine, I'm fine. No one panic. Just got a bit of a shock, that's all. 'Shock' as in surprise, not 'shock' as in massive flow of free electrons through my tender body." A second hand emerged, pointing at the first. "Everything I wear is insulating. It's just one of the properties inherent in my practical and sensible dress sense."
"So why did you yelp?" asked Hernandez archly.
"I just had circuit B-9 explode in a confined space with me. Seriously, if I lose an eyebrow I'm suing someone."
Kaufman looked mortified and stammered out an apology.
Hernandez grunted. "Captain, while I understand the need for such a device, I really should have been informed about this. Although any decisions ultimately come down to you, if it could potentially--"
Archer asked "But you were informed, weren't you? Polly said so."
"That's right." came the voice from inside the console. "I sent a message last week. 'Proposal for an enhanced visual display to increase data resolution'. Mr. Kaufman, please hand me the spare B-9, this one's knackered. That's B-9, B for 'boobies'. We don't want any mistakes now, do we?"
Hernandez said. "Yes, I think I remember that. Very long message. I glanced through it, but it didn't seem anything I should concern myself with. To be honest I couldn't really understand your technobabble, Professor. Certainly nothing seemed to involve bridge modifications."
"Then I apologise for the verbose nature of my message and any inadvertent lack of clarity. What was that word you used, technobabble? Oh that's good, I may have to use that. Still, I did make it very clear at the end of the message that I'd be going ahead, UNODIR."
Hernandez hadn't read that part, and was surprised by this.
UNODIR was a military term. 'UNless Otherwise DIRected'. Basically it was used to inform superiors of ones planned course of action in the event of receiving no orders to the contrary. 'I will be doing this, unless you tell me not to'.
So, the pacifist scientist with an aversion to uniforms can handle rifles and knows military terminology. Hernandez reminded herself to find out about Professor Partridge.
"At any rate," Archer pointed out, "I gave her permission to install the device. And, as the Professor says, you were informed."
"Yes sir." Hernandez conceded. She rather suspected that Partridge had deliberately intended to obfuscate her message. Not maliciously, but as a joke.
"Right, Mister Kaufman, I've re-wired circuit B for 'boobies' 9 up, so if you could charge that please....Right, that seems fine. OK, back on track now..."
Hernandez glanced at the clock. "Couldn't you have done this earlier? We are about to enter a potential combat zone."
"I've only just got it finished. Couldn't get it ready any earlier than this."
Hernandez slipped into place at Gunnery, double checking all systems. A thought struck her."You said this thing will help you with data from all the sensor arrays. I assume you mean all the science arrays."
"Nope, all of them."
"Even the combat sensors? How can you be sure it won't affect them."
A short pause. "Well, it will affect them. That's kind of the whole point. It won't adversely affect them though. All the sensors, cross linked to provide multiple redundancy, their output displayed through here. Should improve efficiency by twenty, twenty five percent."
Now that did get Hernandez's attention. Assuming the scientist wasn't exaggerating then that sort of improvement would be a major breakthrough for Earth's space craft. "OK, that sounds good. I'm still not happy about entering combat with untested equipment."
Archer cleared his throat. "Just how many Declaration class starships have been involved in combat, Commander?"
Hernandez cocked her head. "Good point sir." So far there had been no military actions involving Declarations. The whole ship was 'untested equipment'.
Partridge spoke. "Look, Maria, I can finish this in less than a minute. But If you ain't happy, I can stop right now. Combat sensors are still routed through Mr Kaufman's console. It wouldn't affect the ship either way if I halt. Don't get me wrong, I think this'll be brilliant, and I want to get it done. But it can wait. It can wait."
To her surprise Hernandez found herself grateful that Partridge was willing to put things on hold for her. But it wasn't her choice. "As the Captain says, you have his permission, you don't need mine."
"I also have the Captain's approval."
That rocked Hernandez back. "Professor Partridge...Professor Partridge, proceed with the installation." She turned to Archer. "Well, after all that I want to see what the damn thing does."
"Thank you. Mister Kaufman, please charge circuit D-9. That's D for...er, D for...ah, I've got it. D for 'Daaaaaamn, that's a fine pair of boobies'.
"Yes Ma'am. Charging circuit D-9, that's D for.....charging circuit D-9."
"And that should be that." the Professor said, slithering out of the console and shutting the access hatch. She stood. "Right. Just give it a moment or two for the software to set itself up....is something the matter, Commander?"
Hernandez had been staring in surprise. "Are you wearing a corset?"
Partridge looked her straight in the eye. "No."
Ask a silly question, Hernandez thought, get a silly answer. Partridge was obviously wearing a corset. It was bright scarlet and worn on top of her black catsuit. "Why?" she asked simply.
Polly raised a finger for emphasis. "Ah, well, we did pick up quite a bit of food from the Tellarites, and to be quite honest I've been pigging out recently, that bread of theirs is really rather good, and those mushrooms are...oh, just realized, maybe 'pigging out' isn't the phrase I should be using. Could sound a bit racist....Anyway, I don't want to put on any weight, so on goes the corset. Besides, it does these good to be put on a shelf once in a while." she added, gesturing at her chest.
There was a beep from the console. "Aha! That's it, it's ready!" she said. Cracking her knuckles like a concert pianist about to begin, she took a deep breath, and touched a button.
There was a hum as the console fully powered up.
Simultaneously the main lights went out.
Emergency lighting came on instantly, bathing everything in it's red glow. Partridge looked shocked.
"What the hell?" demanded Mayweather.
"Should I summon an engineering team sir?" Hoshi asked.
Archer shook his head "Not just yet, Lieutenant. Explanation, Professor."
"What? I,I,I....I don't understand. There shouldn't have been any---"
She broke off as Hernandez snorted, a grin breaking through her attempts to keep a straight face. The XO touched a control, returning the lighting to normal.
"I'm sorry, I couldn't resist it."
Gaping, Partridge shook her head in disbelief. "You...you...oh no. No, you did not do that! You did not do that! And you! Jonathan Archer! You were in on it!"
Archer grinned. "Commander Hernandez slipped me the wink when your back was turned, and I gave her the nod."
Hernandez looked enormously satisfied. "The bridge recorder is running, isn't it? I think I'd like a copy of that for my diary."
Haleh Moshiri cleared her throat. "Just coming up on the Kraltos system now."
Archer sat back. "Thanks Haleh. Professor, this seems like a good opportunity to find out if your new toy works."
Partridge flicked a switch. A soft, almost lyrical sound came from the machine, and blue light shone through the glass.
"Hmm, one thing I didn't take into account. It's impossible to access from a sitting position."
She stood, pushed the chair to one side, and bent almost double over the device. Now the blue light illuminated her eyes as she peered into it. Using the furled wheel on the side she made careful adjustments.
"Oh, wow. I mean, wow. This is better than I hoped! Ionic density...gamma ray flux...oh! There's a proton-anti proton annihilation! The view is spectacular! And I imagine Mr Mayweather is thinking something similar right now."
Hernandez looked round. Mayweather, sat almost directly behind Partridge, was clearly enjoying the sight. After several seconds her words sunk in, and he guiltily returned to his work.
"So what do you call this?" Archer asked.
"A poly-spectral image analyser and enhancement unit."
"Poly-spectral?" asked Hernandez. "It works on multiple frequencies?"
"No. I named it after myself. The prototype was the Partridge-spectral image analyser and enhancement unit, but I thought that was too formal."
Suddenly Partridge stiffened. "Wait a minute...I'm getting...looks like weapons fire. Mr Kaufman, I'm sending readings to your station. Your analysis please."
"Confirmed. Looks like plasma fire. About three fifty gigajoule yield."
Archer felt the hair on the back of his neck stand up. Three fifty gigajoules! Main cannon on a Neptune class frigate!
He leapt to his feet. "Haleh, set course for the source of that weapons fire. Travis, implement course change the second it comes through. Hoshi, set condition one throughout the ship. Battle stations!"
He turned to the viewscreen, fists clenched.
We've got them!
"poly-spectral" Another good chapter, seems like Enterprise may get some answers, or at least catch up to the renegade Neptune. BTW we know what Enterprise looks like, what does the Neptune class look like? Is she like the ship from the Enterprise series or something different?
Also seemed like Polly needed some more military training, than she would know the difference between circuit Bravo-9 and Delta-9, but she is not in the military so I can cut her some slack.
On a more serious note, glad your sister and her family are ok. I know how that can throw everything off kilter real life always has to take precedence over any online thing. Keep 'em coming!
Thanks for your kind thoughts.
The Neptune class is described earlier as being delta shaped. I had the triangular craft seen briefly in the opening credits of (the real) Star Trek Enterprise in mind for this.
And yes, Polly is familiar with much military terminology, but she prefers not to use it. As the e-mail to Hernandez showed, she can when it suits her. Or amuses her. Sending a long winded overly verbose message that you know someone won't read, but including all the appropriate information and military jargon, appeals to her sense of humour.
Although after this incident she'll probably be a bit more careful with her terminology though. Especially if the guy she's asking to do something might be...distracted.
All I did was point out the obvious. Locke started off as crotchety, but he didn't stay that way for long. To have kept him that way, you would have needed to show him as having at least one friend on board that he opens up to. It's a tricky road to navigate, but you seem to have recovered nicely. Now all you have to do is give him that friend.
BTW, you know, one has to be laced into a corset, it's not something that can be done by ones self. So I'm wondering who Polly could have possibly gotten to volunteer for such hazardous duty.
besides every man aboard, with the possible exception of Locke.
^ Polly's corsets fasten at the front with the same sort of invisible molecular seal she uses on all of her clothes. It's something she developed herself as an alternative to zippers, though it's far too expensive yet for mass production.
The lacing at the back is another invention of hers, ultra strength nano fibres that can expand or contract in response to coded signals from a remote control. Usually she goes for a 55cm diameter (that's about 21.5in) though she has gone narrower than that. For long periods, she can cope with 55cm.
As you can see, I've given the important elements a lot of thought.
Yes you have. I found myself chuckling over this chapter-you have a wry and amusing sense of humor.
Daaaaaamn, that's a fine pair of boobies!
In a corset no less.
Sorry, I couldn't resist.
^ Well the hat is a bit uniform like....but it's about the only thing Polly wouldn't wear!
UES Enterprise. Entering Kraltos System. Warp 3.11 and decelerating.
11th May 2151.
"Interception point in two minutes." Moshiri called out, cross checking her instruments.
Sato said "All departments report condition one, battle stations."
"Thank you, ladies." Archer said, dropping back into his seat. He carefully fastened the seat belt. "Professor Partridge, Ensign Kaufman. Sensor reports?"
Partridge was already scanning. "I can make out two distinct contacts. One is slow, doesn't seem to be manoeuvring much. The other is faster and more manoeuvrable. As far as I can tell, that second one's doing all the shooting. Silhouette shows an 84% probability of a Neptune class."
"Mr Kaufman, designate the two contacts as Charlie-1 and Charlie-2 respectively." Hernandez ordered. Charlie was the military term for an unknown sensor contact. Whilst it looked likely that the first ship was the Ithenites and the second the Neptune, that was not yet confirmed.
"Yes Ma'am. Slow unknown contact is designated Charlie-1, fast aggressor designated Charlie-2" said Kaufman. There was a beeping from his console. "Energy spike. We've just been actively scanned."
"Guess there's no chance of us taking them by surprise then." said Sato.
Mayweather shook his head. "Even without actives they'd have spotted us. The warp engines can be detected halfway across solar system by passive sensors alone."
Kaufman looked round. "All active scanning has ceased sir. Charlie-2 has gone passive and is attempting to limit emissions. They're reducing power."
Although military endeavours did not interest him, Archer had been studying space combat tactics for his role as Enterprise's captain. "So they are going stealthy then. At this range we'll have difficulty telling exactly where they are, but they can track us. If we drop out of warp near the Ithenite ship, we risk getting ambushed. If we drop out further away, we may be out of effective weapons range, giving them time to destroy the Ithenites. Damn."
"If I may make a suggestion sir," Hernandez said, "they will probably try to position themselves on the other side of Charlie-1. We'd have to be careful when firing to avoid the Ithenite ship, but they can shoot with impunity."
"It'd be smart of them to stick near the Ithenites too." Mayweather put in. "That way, if we use our torpedoes, the explosions could cause some serious collateral damage."
Partridge's voice sounded tense. "John, I'm getting energy bursts from...ah, Charlie-1. Looks like internal explosions."
"Hang on in there Professor. I think it's safe to assume that Charlie-1 is the Ithenite ship, and Charlie-2 our mystery assailant. Mr Kaufman, please re-designate accordingly."
"Aye sir. Charlie-1 re-designated Foxtrot-1. Charlie-2 re-designated Hotel-2." Foxtrot meant a friendly contact, Hotel a hostile one. To avoid confusion they kept their original numerical designators, so Charlie-2 became Hotel-2, even though there was never a Hotel-1.
There was a metallic snick! that Hernandez found familiar. She looked at the Professor just in time to see her lower her left leg, lift her right and retract that boot's high heel. The XO exchanged glances with Sato, who had also seen. If Partridge was wearing flats, things were serious.
Moshiri said "One minute to intercept point."
Archer rubbed the back of his neck, thinking furiously. He looked up and scowled. Even in this situation Mayweather was taking the time to check out the Professor's behind. Admittedly, it was a great....
"Hernandez, how good are our aft weapons?" he barked.
"Sir? Ah, one five hundred gigajoule plasma cannon, two three fifty gigs, and a pair of torpedo tubes. Plus the point defence systems."
"Best not use the torpedoes." Archer said. "Travis could be right about them sticking close to the Ithenites. If we assume they'll be facing our most likely entry point....What about the aft weapons on a Neptune?"
As a former gunnery officer on a Neptune, she was well aware of it's deficiencies in that area. "Just a pair of one hundred gigajoule plasma cannon. Most of the firepower is concentrated in the forward arc."
"All right, let's turn that to our advantage. Haleh, plot a new course..."
"Already on it sir." said the navigator, punching her controls.
Hernandez grimaced. Whilst a certain amount of initiative should be applauded, it was best for officers to wait until they had actually been given orders. There wasn't time to discuss it now but she made a mental note to bring it up with the captain later. That, and having a civilian on the bridge during a battle situation...
As if in response to her thoughts, Partridge piped up. "John, if we assume Maria and Travis are right, then I can calculate the general area where this Hotel-2 fellow is most likely to be. So if I concentrate my scans there.....Yes! Significant levels of verterium cortenide! As used in warp coils!"
"Patch it through to navigation and gunnery Professor." Archer called.
"Data coming through." reported Moshiri. "Transferring new course to helm."
"Implement when ready Travis."
"Aye sir. Reversion to slower than light in three, two, one, now!"
It may just have been Hoshi Sato's imagination, but she could have sworn she caught a glimpse of the Ithenite freighter as Enterprise tore straight past it. The star lines on the view screen resolved themselves into pin pricks of light.
"Aft view." Archer ordered.
The screen now showed the freighter behind them, a simple boxy design of some brass coloured metal. Vapour spewed from a number of ragged holes in the hull, and the running lights flickered as their power failed.
And almost directly between the Enterprise and the freighter, less than five kilometres away, a Neptune class frigate.
With it's back to them!
Obviously it had been lying in wait, hoping to use it's main guns to snipe at Enterprise, using the freighter as cover. Despite the situation Hoshi couldn't help but grin. There was probably a lot of panicking going on over there right now.
"Hotel-2's aft weapons are powered down captain. Forward are fully charged" Kaufman reported.
Partridge nodded. "They are running on thrusters only. Warp and impulse engines show minimal power, they're on tick-over."
Archer looked at his first officer. "Lock weapons on their engines and weaponry, prepare to fire on my command. Hoshi, open hailing frequencies." He lifted his handset and, when Sato gave him the nod, spoke.
"This is Captain Jonathan Archer of the United Earth Ship Enterprise. You are to stand down immediately. Deactivate all weapons and propulsion systems. Prepare to be boarded." He spoke with strength, confidence, but it was a well crafted façade. Inside he felt terrified and out of his depth. This wasn't what he should be doing! He was a diplomat, an explorer. Inwardly he wondered. If it came to it, could he even give the order to fire?
For several long seconds nothing happened. Then Kaufman reported "They're reducing power to forward weapons sir."
There were a few sighs of relief from around the bridge. Perhaps this could be resolved peacefully after all.
Some instinct told Hernandez things weren't going to be easy. "Professor, use your poly-spectral image....your viewer. Use your viewer to double check that."
The soft whirring and blue light heralded the device's use. "Curious. The power has been diverted from the forward array towards a device to the rear of the ship. Cross checking....it doesn't appear on the schematics for a Neptune class. I'm attempting to analyse it's make up, see what it does."
"Let's have a look." Archer ordered.
The viewscreen zoomed into a point just above the central impulse engine. A large ovoid pod, it's metal a different colour to the main body of the spacecraft, was held in place by a network of girders. It was obviously not part of the original design, looking tacked on.
"Captain, Hotel-2 is charging it's engines." said Kaufman.
Partridge brow creased as she peered into the viewer. "Object appears to be an open ended particle accelerator...it's a weapon! A particle beam weapon!"
There was a squeal from Kaufman's console. "Energy spike! They're about to fire!"
Archer nearly leapt from his seat: the seatbelt dragged him back down. "Mayweather, evasive action! Hernandez, counter measures!"
A burst from the side thrusters made Enterprise jump to port, as well as imparting a spin. Simultaneously hatches at the rear of the ship irised open. A pair of oil drum sized drones were launched backwards at high speed. Instantly they began a barrage of electronic noise, to confuse and distract and blind the targeting sensors of the enemy vessel.
At a pre set distance from Enterprise they spewed forth a vast quantity of chaff, fibrous threads that would impair active scanning even further, along with tiny disks of high density polymer, treated so as to be almost totally reflective. Everything was given an electrostatic charge. Not only would this confuse sensors even further, it would prevent the cloud dissipating too quickly.
What ever the enemy weapon's means of operation, it's beam was totally invisible in the vacuum of space. Yet it's onslaught could be seen by the sparkling flares of light as the chaff in it's path was vaporized. And this was the function of the tiny discs. To deflect, to dissipate the energy, reducing the burden placed on the ship's armour.
Weakened by it's passage through the chaff, the beam still had a powerful punch to it. Armour plating boiled under it's intensity, cracking and buckling. But it held. Mayweather's decision to spin Enterprise meant that the beam cut a line into the outer hull, but was never held on any point long enough to cut all the way through.
"Hoshi, get me damage reports!" Archer barked as the ship stopped juddering.
Kaufman said "Looks like they're making a run for it sir. Impulse engines at full power, warp engines charging...aft weapons still not charged."
"What about that particle beam thing?"
"No longer seems charged sir."
Partridge, who for the past few seconds had been holding onto the console as if her life depended on it, opened her eyes and ran her own scan. "Looks to be burnt out John. Probably a one shot weapon of some sort."
Hoshi looked up. "Damage Control reports serious armour degradation on starboard fin, sections three and four, plus minor damage to the reactor pod casing."
Kaufman was studying his screen. "Sir, it looks like the pod was the intended target."
Archer blanched. If Hotel-2 had cracked the pod Enterprise would have been crippled at the least, destroyed at worst. If it weren't for the combination of the counter measures and Mayweather's piloting skills..."Hernandez, return fire!"
It was only when he heard her enthusiastic "Yes sir!" that he realized he'd given the order that he'd been dreading.
Such a little thing, those words.
"They've began charging aft weapons." Kaufman warned.
It took thirty seconds to fully charge a Neptune's aft weapons. If Enterprise could disarm them with the first salvo, it'd do a lot to tip the odds in their favour.
"Aft gunnery two and three stand by." Hernandez ordered through her headset. Green lights on her console showed that both fire control teams had firing solutions. She firmly pressed a button, signalling the countermeasure drones. Instantly they reversed the electrostatic charge, dissipating the chaff cloud. Now Enterprise had a clear shot. "Aft gunnery two and three, fire!"
Bolts of superheated ionized gas shot through the void at phenomenal speed. On the viewscreen they impacted with an eye searing flash.
"Two direct hits! Hotel-2's aft weapons are inoperative!" There was no mistaking the triumph in Kaufman's voice.
"Targeting impulse engines." said Hernandez. She had control over the aft five hundred gig canon, and would handle this personally. She began to squeeze the trigger....
"Don't shoot!" squealed Partridge.
"Hold your fire!" Archer ordered. "What is it professor?"
"The ship, Hotel-2, it's on a direct course for the Ithenites! If we destroy their impulse they'll crash for sure!"
Hernandez swore, with feeling.
"They might be planning a kamikaze run." Moshiri suggested.
Hernandez shook her head. "More likely they are trying to get on the other side of Foxtrot-1, use it for cover, then loop back to attack with main weapons. It's what I'd do." she added.
Archer nodded. "So they'll have to change course soon. Do you think we could hit them as they are going round the Ithenites?"
"Possible, but it won't be easy. They'll undoubtedly use their own countermeasures when they are most vulnerable."
"Should we turn Enterprise, bring the forward guns to bear?"
She studied her displays. If Hotel-2 was going to change course, it would be in seconds. "No time sir. I've got to do this now."
As she lined up the cross-hairs, Kaufman reported "They're deploying countermeasures."
Unlike Enterprise, the older Neptune's chaff was simply dumped out of the back of the ship. It'd only last a few seconds before drifting too far apart to be of use.
What would I do, Hernandez thought, if I was in there position? Get round Foxtrot-1 as fast as possible. Their course is pretty far aft, so it'd wast time to try and pass in front of the freighter. Behind? Possible, but it'd be running a hell of a risk. The Ithenites might fire their own engines as they pass. Could do a lot of damage at sort range. So, over or under. Foxtrot-1 is orientated slightly nose up, relative to the system's sun. If Hotel-2 passes over the freighter, they'll be in shadow for a couple of seconds. Our visual tracking would be less effective. Not much of an advantage, but if I were them I'd take anything I can.
Pulling back on the joystick, she raised the cross-hairs a few degrees. And just in time. Hotel-2 raised it's nose, powering right into her line of fire. It cleared the freighter...
"Firing for effect."
The five hundred gigajoule plasma cannon was powerful enough to shake the whole ship as it fired. Nought point six seconds later, it did considerably more to it's intended target. Tearing through the chaff like it wasn't even there it slammed into Hotel-2 like a power driver, sending the ship spinning off course. Molten hull metal sprayed in a glowing fountain from the impact site. The concussive force was enough crack large chunks of armour free of the hull, hurling them into the void.
Hernandez tried to line up another shot, but whoever was at the helm had their wits about them. They dived the damaged Neptune into cover behind the freighter.
"Travis! After them!" Archer ordered.
As Enterprise came about, Archer nodded to Hernandez. "Good shooting."
"Thank you sir."
"Damage report on the Neptune." said Partridge. "They've lost about forty five per cent of their dorsal armour, about five percent elsewhere. One of the fusion reactors is off-line, looks like there are some serious fractures in their superstructure.....wait a moment...they're diverting all available power to the warp engines. "
Archer unbuckled his safety belt. It might have been wiser to stay strapped in, but at that moment he didn't care. "Haleh, keep track of them. If they go to warp I want to follow. Hoshi, signal Trip, tell him that---"
He broke off at a squeal from Hoshi's console. "It's the Ithenites sir. They say their ship is breaking up and they need immediate assistance."
Archer swore under his breath. "Signal them. Let them know help's on the way. Then alert sick bay, we may have wounded to deal with."
Partridge looked up from the viewer. "Hotel-2 has gone to warp. I'll try to track them as far as I can, but..." she trailed off.
Archer's shoulders slumped.
They had gotten away.
Excellent battle sequence.
Although Kaufman did call Hotel-2, Hotel-1 after Enterprise fired. Was it intentional or a typo?
Do you mean to say that Polly would actually wear the spiked bracelets and carry the rhinestone-handled whip?
Damn! She's kinky. I like that.
Well spotted on the typo Duncan, and in time for me to fix it.
And yes, she'd wear that stuff. You see, whilst there was some justification given to 7of9's outfit, to help her recover from the Borg implants, there was no such in universe explanation for T'Pol's catsuit. That's why it seemed so gratuitous. So could I come up with a plausible explanation for Polly's outfits?
As it happened I remembered something from my small study of psychology. Go back and read the bit in the obs. lounge when Enterprise leaves Earth. That bit about 'paraphilias being linked to high intelligence' wasn't just something Polly made up to bamboozle T'Pol. Smart people, all other things being equal, are more likely to be kinky.
And Professor Partridge is very, very smart.
I always figured T'Pol's outfit was a thermal suit designed to keep her warm in the, for her, chilly temperatures of an Earth vessel. Soval probably wore something similar under his ambassadorial robes. Thermal suits do tend to be form-fitting. How's that for a nice logical explanation for the catsuit?
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