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PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2019 1:40 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2009 1:00 am
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Location: Aboard the Warstar Irkalla
Prologue 1

Aboard the USS Equinox NCC-72381. Year 2375.

The ship continued to shake around him, harder and faster, the hum of the warp core getting more frantic until there was a blinding flash of light, then nothing … or so Captain Ransom thought. As he opened his eyes he saw he was still sitting in main engineering, but the room was now completely dark. The usually throbbing warp core was no cold and dead. Ransom felt himself lifting free of the deck plates as he drifted towards the ceiling, artificial gravity had completely failed.

Nothing could begin to describe the confusion Ransom felt as he propelled himself through main engineering but found the hatchway wouldn’t budge an inch. He was stuck in the room. A slight tingle of panic coursed through him so he calmed his breathing and spoke to himself. “Okay, I’m not dead but the ship is. Why didn’t the core breach?”

He spent two valuable minutes pondering his quandary before muttering “Power. I need power.” Turning himself around, he floated to a supply locker and rummaged around.

Immediately he found a small torch he strapped to his wrist and switched on. The captain almost fell into despair as he rummaged through the room desperately searching for a power cell, nothing was where he remembered it. “Goddamn Voyager crew trying to re-organise my engine room!” he cursed loudly.

Finally he found what he needed floating in the bottom of another storage locker, a large power cell. Pulling it across main engineering was effortless thanks to zero-g and within minutes he had it connected into a concealed EPS terminal underneath a console.

As he impacted the decking with a bone-jarring thud he muttered “Should have thought about that before I switched on the cell.” He groaned for a long minute before pulling himself up from the deck and looking at the now partly operational stations. When all power had been lost to a ship the software was designed to activate life support and artificial gravity as soon as a new power source became available.

Ransom routed the limited amount of power to a few select systems, the first was sensors. Seconds later he knew that he was alone, the only other people on his ship were corpses. The next thing he did was review all data from the last half hour and let out a massive sigh.

The captain sat on the nearest stool and after tapping his comm badge he said “Captain’s log, Stardate 53105.2. I’m alone on the ship now, some survivors were beamed aboard USS Voyager, my mutinous first officer and his accomplices are dead. I’m not proud of any of the actions I took, they’ll haunt my soul for the rest of my life and probably beyond.” He let out yet another sigh before he added “According to the data I’ve reviewed my survival is a near miracle. When Voyager destroyed the port warp nacelle it started leaking nucleogenic particles, some of those flowed back into the warp core. The aliens were attacking it but they only sped up the matter-antimatter reaction. With the feedback of the particles it smothered the reaction and shut it down. I thought we were destroyed for sure but the particles leaking from the nacelle ignited and sent the ship into an uncontrolled flat spin, propelled at our enhanced warp speed. From Voyager’s sensors it would look like the core breached and the ship destroyed, I doubt they even registered the fact that we were propelled off at the speeds we were. The strain of the inertial dampeners sucked dry what power we had before the shockwave induced cascade failure shut everything down.

According to sensors we’re not far from a Mutara-class nebula, ninety light years from Voyager. I’ve decided that I’m going to repair the ship as best as I can and dismantle the enhanced systems to the warp drive. If I survive the journey to get home I hope that I will be a better man, one who has atoned for his sins. End log”

Prologue 2

Omega Continuum. September, 2381

Captain Bal Itak could feel the Omega Continuum collapsing around him. The garden in which he had spoken to Carson Tallar was gone, annihilated beyond words ... but he knew that he shouldn’t be feeling any of that. His highly disciplined Vulcan mind told him that less than an hour had passed since he and his Starfleet colleagues had destroyed their trapped ships, hoping that they would seal the anomaly that held them trapped forever.

The “destruction” of their ships didn’t change the fact that they were still there.

“Parimon. Xin, can you hear me?” Bal called out into the infiniteness of the continuum.

Finally he heard the voice of Captain Xin Chan, commander of the trapped USS Curie call back “Bal, hurry! I’m somehow back on my ship...” before Itak also found himself corporeal once again. Looking around he saw his crew once more at their stations.

The bridge seemed solid to him, total beneath his feet. Every officer assembled turned to look at him, but it was his science officer, fellow Vulcan Lieutenant Lern who asked “How have we returned to the Curie?”

“Hell with that, I’m just glad I’ve got my body back!” the human operations officer exclaimed.

“As you were, Ensign Bloom” Itak chided. The captain had started to lower himself into his command chair when the image of Fleet Captain Afsarah Eden appeared on his viewscreen.

The image of Eden peered down on all of them and announced simply “Captains Itak, Chan and Dasht. I am speaking to all of you at the same time. Ensign Sadie Johns, you are doing an exemplary job of running Quirinal. You were very brave when you activated the self-destruct. All of you listen to me, I am here to free you. We are collapsing this anomaly but you cannot exit where you entered. As soon as you are free you will need to set a course for the Talaxian asteroid colony and proceed at slipstream. Captains, be ready to go ... it’s time”.

Eden then disappeared for good. The crews had no way to know that Eden and Q Junior had entered the anomaly and were sealing it forever.

On the bridge of the Vesta class USS Esquiline Captain Parimon Dasht sat back in his command chair, but he was to useless to anyone. The duty of protecting the ship fell to the chief engineer. Looking at his captain, Lieutenant Derek Waverly knew that he had to take the lead. Seconds after the image of Eden had disappeared a pinprick of intense blue light appeared on the main viewscreen.

The voice of the helm officer shouted out “Lieutenant, the other ships are racing for that ... whatever it is!”

“Lay in a course and engage and maximum speed!” the chief engineer ordered as he threw himself into the empty first officers seat. He realised a few seconds later when the four ships reached the blue light that he needn’t have bothered sitting down, the impact through the ship as they were throw from the continuum sent him flying across the bridge.

As consoles sparked and exploded violently around the bridge Dasht mumbled “We’re free” from where he had been thrown to the deck.

Chapter 1

Aboard the USS Equinox. May 16th, 2382.

Captain Rudolph Ransom walked slowly onto the bridge of his ship and made a lap of the consoles. Five minutes later he stood at the last station to inspect, the helm. Reading the displays carefully and nodded his satisfaction at what he saw before he moved to his command chair and sat down wearily.

Before he could even think a hologram shimmered into life in front of him and said “Captain, it’s time for your daily report.” Ransom looked at the hologram and nodded. The man was identical to the EMH programme in every way, except for the gold coloured uniform tunic he wore instead of the blue.

“The holo emitters you installed…” the hologram started.

“Painstakingly” Ransom interrupted.

The hologram rolled his eyes and nodded before he continued “Yes, the holo emitters you painstakingly installed in every area of the ship are still fully operational. Since I sealed all the external hull breaches from the inside two years ago all areas still remain stable and fully pressurised. All primary systems are operational and the last of the secondary systems should be repaired within three weeks as per my previous estimate. Internal bulkheads have been repaired through sixty-one point two percent of the ship. Cosmetically the bridge, main engineering, transporter room one, mess hall, your ready room and quarters are all now up to drydock condition.”

“It is nice to have the bridge back in one piece” Ransom admitted. “After spending a year and a half living inside the Waverider it’s nice to have space to stretch my legs.”

“Quite” Ransom’s chief and only engineer replied dryly. “The Waverider herself is fully repaired and both shuttles are fully operational. I repaired the replicator in your ready room twenty minutes ago. The ones in the areas of the ship I previously mentioned are now working for your benefit but the rest are offline still. I have successfully restored the master engineering replicator and can now fabricate the large scale parts we need to complete repairs to the warp drive.”

“How soon can you get me full warp power back?” the captain asked.

The hologram considered the question for a fraction of a second before answering “Five days and I can restore full warp capacity.”

“Seven years I’ve been limping along without a crew at warp three, it’ll be nice to have some real speed back” Ransom muttered.

The hologram rolled his eyes again and opened his mouth to make a snide comment but was interrupted by an alarm beeping at the combined helm/ops console at the front of the bridge. He rushed to it and after looking at the displays said “Captain, there are four vessels approaching. They have a Federation warp signature and are transmitting a hail to us on standard Starfleet frequencies.”

“You’re sure?” Ransom asked as he moved to the console to look for himself.

“I am never mistaken” the Emergency Engineering Hologram answered with an air of superiority.

Ransom shook his head and muttered “Of course you’re not” before adding much louder “Answer their hail. On screen.”

Aboard the USS Hawking. At the same time.

“Captain, we’re approaching the ship” Ensign Justin Bloom announced from his place at the operations console calmly.

Captain Bal Itak turned his seat to face her and ordered “Have the fleet drop to impulse. Put the ship on screen” he ordered, his voice calm. Moments later the four Federation starships slowed to sublight speed and the image on the main viewer changed. The slowly changing starscape was occupied only by a single starship before them.

“It’s definitely a Starfleet vessel” Bloom reported from his station. “Nova class starship, I’m getting her ident tag now.” Two seconds of silence followed before she turned to her captain and said in alarm “Sir, she’s the USS Equinox!”

“Confirm that” her unflappable Vulcan captain ordered. “The now deceased Admiral Janeway reported that starship as destroyed seven years ago.”

“It’s confirmed, sir. She’s the Equinox.”

“The pertinent questions at this time would seem to be how did the ship survive her destruction when confirmed by USS Voyager’s sensors, and are any of her unethical crew surviving aboard?” Commander Srus, the ships first officer stated.

“Indeed” Itak calmly answered. “Ensign?” he inquired of Bloom.

Without turning from her console Bloom answered “Only one life sign detected aboard, sir. Sensors show that considerable repairs have been done to the vessel internally based on Voyager’s reports.”

“Hail the Equinox, ensign” Itak ordered. Turning to his first officer he added “We will now get the answers we require.”

“They’re answering” Bloom replied.

Ransom looked at the viewscreen as the image changed to show the immaculate bridge of a Starfleet ship. He took in the sight of two Vulcans sitting in the command chairs as he rose from his own seat and asked “Are you Starfleet?”

“Yes” answered the captain immediately. Ransom noticed the uniforms the others were wearing were different from his own as the other man continued “I am Captain Bal Itak of the Starship Hawking.”

“I’m Captain Rudolph Ransom of the Equinox” Ransom answered. “Are you able to provide assistance?”

“That remains to be seen” Itak calmly answered. Ransom returned to his seat as Itak added “USS Voyager returned to the Alpha Quadrant in 2377. In her reports she listed your crew as having performed illegal and unethical mass killings of alien life forms to enhance your propulsion systems. Admiral Janeway also reported your vessel as destroyed. She stated that you reversed your actions and sacrificed yourself to move Equinox clear of Voyager so that her crew would survive your warp core breach.”

Ransom’s head was swimming with questions. Voyager got home? Janeway was made Admiral?

“That’s true” Ransom answered. He took a deep breath and stated “I redeemed myself in the end, and saved as many of my crew as I could but my former first officer staged a mutiny and attacked Voyager as I was attempting to surrender the ship. What I did was wrong and I’ve spent the last seven years proving to myself and the universe that I am a better man.”

“How did your vessel survive the destruction seen by Voyager’s sensors?” Itak asked.

Ransom entered a few commands into the console next to his seat and said “I’m sending you the sensor information from that last contact. To condense it, the nucleogenic particles leaking from the damaged nacelle flowed back into the core. It increased the reaction dramatically to what looked like a cycle to breach, in reality it was smothering the reaction and it was the violent spasms as the core lost its power. The remaining particles in the nacelle exploded and spun the ship away at massive velocity, to Voyager it would have looked like my destruction.”

“Captain, I am beaming aboard your vessel so we can speak in private. The results of that meeting will determine whether or not you are stripped of rank and confined to the brig, do you understand?” Itak stated.
“Yes, I do” Ransom answered. Itak nodded and closed the channel.

Minutes later Itak materialised on the bridge of Equinox. Ransom admired the man for beaming over alone as he walked over to him, his hand outstretched. Itak shook his offered hand as Ransom said “Welcome aboard the Equinox…” but he never had chance to finish his sentence. The old Vulcan man grabbed him with surprising strength and pressed his fingertips against Ransom’s face.

In his ears and mind Ransom heard Itak recite “My mind to your mind. Your mind to my mind. Our minds are merging. Our minds are one…”

Within minutes Captain Xin Chan of the Hawking’s sister ship Curie as well as Commander David Mack of the Esquiline materialised on the bridge with a full security detail. They’d received Itak’s instructions and waited until he had started the mind meld before beaming aboard to secure the ship. The security personnel stood ready to intervene during the meld. Throughout the ship engineering and security personnel were beaming aboard. The engineering hologram at the helm stood and facing Chan he asked “What’s the meaning of this?”

“Who are you?” Chan patiently asked, taking in the hologram’s appearance.

“I am a modified version of the EMH, altered by Captain Ransom to serve as his engineer. I ask again what’s going on here…?” he demanded.

Before the hologram got his answer Chan simply instructed “Computer, deactivate all holograms aboard.” The computer beeped in acknowledgement and the engineer disappeared as he was shut down.

Everyone waited patiently until Itak removed his hand from Ransom’s face and slowly spoke “Captain Ransom is telling the truth. He regrets his actions and has gone to great lengths to correct them. He has made successful first contact with fourteen species since the incident. There is no reason as to why he should not continue to command his vessel. The seven years he has spent in exile aboard this ship is sufficient punishment.” Ransom blinked his eyes rapidly to regain his focus and looked at the other officers.

“I know who all of you are and why you’re here thanks to the meld” Ransom said as he rubbed the side of his head. “Will you allow Equinox to join your fleet?”

“Indeed” Itak answered after he received a nod from Chan and Mack. “We will take your vessel under tow, considerable repairs are still required.”

Chan stepped forwards and whispered into Itak’s ear briefly. “Agreed” the old captain answered before he returned his gaze to Ransom and added “As you are aware we lost a significant number of personnel to the Omega Continuum. Captain Dasht will never regain his faculties and be fit to command, Mr Mack has been forced to take command of USS Esquiline. USS Quirinal is desperately understaffed and without a seasoned commander, we have all been pulling extra duty shifts since we returned from Omega to command her bridge throughout the day. That is a burden you could lift whilst repairs to Equinox are undertaken.”

“I’m happy to help however I can” Ransom offered sincerely.

“You will temporarily take command of the Vesta-class USS Quirinal” Itak stated. “Your vessel will take Equinox under tow whilst she is repaired and upgraded to required standards.”

“Understood” Ransom answered with a smile and a nod.

“Welcome back to Starfleet, captain” Chan said with a small smile and a nod.

“It’s good to be back” Ransom answered honestly “it’s good to be back.”

Chapter 2

Aboard the USS Quirinal. May 17th, 2382.

“Captain on the bridge!” Ensign Sadie Johns announced as she jumped to her feet, vacating the first officers seat.

“As you were” Captain Rudolph Ransom replied as he stepped towards her. He smoothed down the jacket of the new style uniform he had replicated in his temporary home, the captain’s quarters aboard the large ship.

Sadie shook his offered hand and asked “How do you like the bridge, sir?”

“It’s very big” Ransom admitted. “Much larger than Equinox’s.”

“Yes sir, but the Equinox is such a pretty ship. Small, but the first pure science ship Starfleet made since the Oberth-class over a hundred years ago. I remember reading somewhere that she’s essentially a flying sensor platform” Sadie said.

“That’s right” Ransom answered, surprised at how quickly he could fall into easy conversation with the young woman. “The Nova-class herself is a redesigned and rescaled design from a smaller ship. She was designed to originally be what eventually became the Defiant-class, but with tactical upgrades and more demands put on her the design was completely reworked again. The ASDB was left with an unwanted hull design that worked damn well so they removed the massive torpedo systems and replaced them with the very best sensor pallets hot off the design boards.”

“The sensors we’ve got are good, and use much more advanced software than Equinox has, but if we could completely modernise the software aboard her then she’d have a sensor capacity surpassing even the Hawking and Curie” Sadie said, her mind whirring.

“We can have a good long chat about that soon” Ransom replied. He turned to face the viewscreen and said “Computer, this is Captain Rudolph Ransom reporting for duty. Transfer all command codes to my authority.”

“Captain Rudolph Ransom has now reported for duty as commanding officer, USS Quirinal” the computer’s feminine voice answered. “All command codes are now transferred.”

Ransom smiled to himself and slowly sat in the comfortable command chair, savouring the moment. He noticed Sadie standing beside him holding out a padd for his attention. He took it from her and motioned for her to sit in the first officer’s seat. “Take a seat, ensign. I may have questions.”

“Yes, sir” she answered as she sat down.

Ransom read for a moment before he asked “This report on estimates for routine maintenance are quite long, why’s that?”

“Lack of manpower” Sadie answered.

Ransom looked at her like she’d suddenly sprouted another head before comprehension dawned and he ordered “Give me a rundown of crew complement.”

“The Vesta and Quirinal normally operate with a crew of over six hundred. Esquiline has just shy of five hundred souls aboard, we’ve only got one hundred ninety five. Hawking and Curie normally have a little over seventy crew, they’re manned by fifty-five and forty-one personnel respectively” Sadie reported.

“So the other three ships aren’t too bad off, they can more than manage. This ship however is running very light of crew” Ransom answered.

“That’s right, sir” she answered.

The new captain thought for just a moment before he instructed “Hail the Hawking for me, I’ve got to speak to Captain Itak.”

Seconds later the image of Itak appeared on the viewscreen and he asked “Captain Ransom, I trust everything is in order with your assuming command?”

“It certainly is” Ransom answered with a small smile. “I was hoping to broach a subject with you.”

“Now is as good a time as any” the old Vulcan replied.

“Excellent. I’m aware that the Hawking and Curie have enough personnel to be run comfortably, but the Quirinal is another matter. Esquiline is running near five hundred crew to our two hundred. I would like to respectfully request that a hundred of her crew be transferred over to assist the running of this vessel. She could always spare another fifty when Equinox is repaired to crew her. I realise that would still leave all ships short on crew but we’d all be in roughly the same shape personnel wise.”

“A logical suggestion” Itak answered with a nod. He had already come to the same conclusion some time ago and was pleased that Ransom had picked it up so early into his new command. “I will coordinate with Commander Mack see to the transfer immediately. Good work, Itak out.” With that the Vulcan’s face disappeared from the viewscreen.

Turning to Sadie, Ransom said “There we go, we’ve got crew.”

“That … was incredible” she answered with a small laugh.

Ransom nodded to her and explained “The first job of any good captain or first officer is making sure that you’ve got people where you need them. You need to keep that little fact in mind for your new job.”

“New job, sir?” Sadie asked, sounding confused.

Ransom smiled to her and answered “Other senior officers have been rotating around the clock to man this bridge, but in their absence you have been running things. You’ve already seen to the duty rosters and been coordinating the repair crews, that’s the first officers job. You’ve proven for the last eight months that you can do that, so I want it to be official.”

The captain stood up, Sadie doing the same thing without even thinking about it. Ransom raised his voice so everyone could hear him and said “Congratulations Ensign Johns, you are hereby promoted directly to the rank of Lieutenant-Commander with all rights and privileges it comes with. You are now my first officer. Congratulations.”

The small number of crew on the bridge broke into applause for her as Sadie blushed.

“Thank you, sir” Sadie managed to mutter.

Ransom patted her on the shoulder and said “Head into the ready room and change that gold undershirt for a red one. Replicate yourself pips and get them on your collar, I’ll authorise it with the replicator.”

Sadie rushed from the bridge, happier than she had ever felt in her life. Ransom stepped from the command chairs down to the conn and ops console between him and the viewscreen. “Mister Culhane. We’ve met before, haven’t we?”

“Yes, sir. I was aboard Voyager when she encountered you seven years ago” the younger officer answered bluntly.

Ransom leaned closer to the man and placed a hand on his shoulder. “I know what you must think of me lieutenant, but remember that I tried to surrender the ship to Janeway before Max mutinied against me. I’ve spent years trying to put that mistake right. Captains Chan and Itak agree that I’m a changed man, if they can give me a chance then I’m sure you can, yes?”

“Yes, sir” Culhane answered with a nod of his head.

“Good man” replied Ransom. “You’re promoted to full Lieutenant, no more junior grade for you. You’re my senior conn officer.”

“Thank you, sir” the ships pilot answered.

Ransom nodded to him and stood upright before saying in a louder voice “Mister Culhane, bring the ship around and get a tractor beam on Equinox. When that’s done I want us back in formation.”

“Aye, sir” Culhane replied. Ransom made his way back to his seat and as he sat down he picked up a padd and started entering the promotions into the ships log and crew manifest. Already he was shaping the big Vesta-class starship to the way he wanted it.

Aboard the USS Equinox. May 18th, 2382.

Lieutenant Commander Derek Waverly materialised aboard the small Nova class starship and let out a low whistle. He turned to the fellow engineer that had beamed over with him and said “Well, the cosmetic work’s done but we’ve still got a long way to go.”

“Agreed” Lieutenant Scott Wolff answered. “I’ve already read the reports you gave me, sir. I know that the hull breaches have been plugged on the inside but I think we should concentrate on getting EVA crews outside to seal the hull breaches properly.”

“I couldn’t agree more” Waverly answered as he entered notes into his padd. “We’ve already got plenty of pre-fabricated hull plates aboard Esquiline. If we have the engineering teams trim them to the right size we can get shuttles and workbees to get them over here asap. I assume you’ve already gotten me an estimate on how long to plug those breaches?”

“Yes, sir” Wolff said. “If we use most of the engineering staff and have help from the other ships we can get these breaches plugged in twelve hours.”

“Makes sense. We can seal those up and continue on other repairs en-route. I’ve already studied Equinox’s warp engines closely. She’s designed to cruise at warp six, maximum of warp eight. We’ll need to swap out the plasma injectors and flow regulators but we can get her to fly at warp nine point nine-nine. We’ll be best incorporating tech upgrades from the Merian-classes with us, they’ve got a similarly compact warp core. It should take us about twelve hours as well to make these changes” Waverley reasoned.

“I suggest that we repair the hull and modify the warp core at the same time, it’ll minimise the amount of time we’ll need to be stationary for” Wolff suggested.

“I was about to say the same thing” Waverly replied.

As the engineer turned his attention back to his padd Wolff asked “Has there been any success getting the slipstream cores back on-line, sir? I’d really like to be able to get a message back to Command, let my folks know I’m alive.”

Waverly lowered his padd and looking the engineer in the eye as he said “Scott, the drives themselves are repaired but our supplies of benamite didn’t survive the trip to Omega. Even with the re-crystallisation systems there simply isn’t enough crystal there to regrow to start with. Until we can find a new supply we’re as alone as Voyager was her first time out here.”

“Problems, gentlemen?” Ransom asked as he stepped up silently behind the men. The pair turned to face him and moved to attention but Ransom waved them down with a smile and stated “As you were. Now what’s this about benamite, I’ve never heard of the stuff.”

“It pulls the same function in a slipstream drive as dilithium does in a warp drive. Without it, there’s no slipstream. The drives are now built as integrated units in the warp core, but we can certainly modify Equinox to have these integrated systems” Waverley explained.

“I’ll have a word with the other captains and see if we can come to a stop for you gents” Ransom said. He looked at the padd Wolff was holding and saw the display of a crystal structure. His head snapped towards Waverly as he pointed at the padd and said “Don’t tell me that’s benamite.”

“Yes, sir. You recognise it?” Waverley asked, hope starting to surge within him.

“Damn right. About five weeks ago I passed through an asteroid field. I scanned it hoping to find dilithium but all I found was that” Ransom said, pointing to the padd. “The computer told me it was an unknown substance that couldn’t be refined to work with the warp core. I mined two kilograms of the stuff anyway and I’ve got it sealed away in cargo bay two.”

“Sir, we could split that two kilo in half and fit it to two of our ships. They could go and mine plenty more. It’ll give us days to sit still here and make repairs and refits” Waverley suggested.

“The logs of where the field is are still in the main computer” Ransom answered before he tapped his comm badge and said “Ransom to Captains Itak and Chan. Captain’s, I need to talk to you aboard Equinox immediately. It’s important.”

“We will be aboard shortly, captain” Itak answered.

The two engineers shared excited glances. “We could go back to New Talax and search for the fleet” Waverly said.

“Hell, I’ll be happy just to get to the comms buoys” Wolff answered.

Waverly turned to Ransom and said “Captain, I think you’ve just saved this fleet.”

Chapter 3

Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards, Mars Orbit. May 13th, 2382.

Admiral Leonard James Akaar walked slowly around the bridge of the brand new starship he was standing on. Constructed in complete secrecy for the last two years, the ship was a testbed for the next generation of equipment. He turned to the ships chief engineer who was giving him the tour and asked “How are tests coming with the quantum slipstream drive?”

“Better than expected, sir” Selina D’Cruz answered. “The warp core of the Defiant-class has been redesigned to incorporate the slipstream drive then constructed and fitted. We’re having no problems at all with it.”

“What about the new design of ablative armour the future Admiral Janeway contaminated the timeline with? Tests proceeding on schedule?” Akaar queried.

“Yes, sir” Selina answered again. “Since you authorised the testing of it, everything has gone smoothly. The generators are much smaller than the ones Voyager was able to build and they’re incorporated directly into the hull, no protrusions. I’m surprised you authorised their testing, sir.”

“We had no choice but to break into that cache of technology when the Borg invaded to use the Transphasic torpedoes. With the rise of the Typhon Pact and everything they’re trying to get working we’ve got no choice but to delve into it again. When will the ship be ready to leave spacedock?” Akaar wanted to know.

“Tomorrow afternoon. Fourteen-hundred hours, sir” Selina replied as she consulted a padd. “The last of the rotating personnel will be aboard by then. All supplies for the Full Circle fleet are already loaded aboard and crammed into the cargo bays.”

Akaar paused as he finished his lap of the bridge at the command chairs in the centre of the room. As he looked at her he said “I understand your reluctance to carry so much cargo. This is only a small ship with seven decks, but with things the way they are with the Pact I can’t spare another ship to scoot over to the Delta Quadrant. Besides, I plan on this ship staying with the fleet over there.”

“Sir?” Selina asked in a state of shock.

Akaar regarded her in an almost Vulcan manner before he explained “Even with the Vesta joining the fleet they’re reduced to four ships. The sensor systems on this ship are the same as were fitted to the three Merian-class ships that were lost out there, if this mission is going to pay off then we’re going to need to support those ships as best as we can and this is the only ship I can send them.”

“An untested ship, sir?” Selina asked.

Akaar knew that with his position as the head of Starfleet he didn’t need to explain a damn thing to this woman but he could also tell that she was destined for greater things so he decided to indulge her. “You’ve been with Project Dauntless since the first day, lieutenant” Akaar said “so you of all people know that this ship has already had three space trials, and two of those were eight-week deep-space shakedowns. If I wasn’t convinced this ship could do the job then I wouldn’t send her.”

“Yes, sir. Sorry, sir” D’Cruz answered as she blushed.

Akaar nodded to her before lowering himself into the command seat. D’Cruz look at him again and asked “Sir, may I ask when the captain and first officer will be arriving. I have reports for them, or if you prefer I can just forward them to them now.”

D’Cruz jaw nearly dropped through the floor when Akaar answered “I will be commanding the ship to the delta quadrant to deliver this ship to the fleet. Once there, Admiral Janeway can appoint a captain who in turn can choose their own first officer. In the interim you can serve as my temporary first officer until we arrive.”

“Yes … yes, sir” Selina stammered before lowering herself into the first officer’s seat to Akaar’s right.

Aboard the USS Voyager. May 14th, 2382.

“Morning, Tom” Harry Kim said as the first officer stepped onto the bridge.

Lieutenant-Commander Thomas Paris nodded to his best friend as he stepped down to the command chairs and asked “Anything exciting happen?”

“Nope” the young head of security and tactical answered. “All departments report normal status. We’re in formation with the rest of the fleet and are running at warp eight. No problems.”

Harry passed Tom a padd with his written report about his night shift commanding the ship. Tom lowered himself into the captain’s seat and motioned for Harry to take the first officer’s chair. Harry did so but with a confused look on his face. Finally he asked “Where’s Chakotay? It’s not like him to be late for a duty shift.”

“He’s got four days booked as leave, same with the admiral” Tom answered with a wink. “They’ve got holodeck two booked for the next four days so please make sure there aren’t any problems with it.”

“Will do” Harry said but before he could stand up Tom placed a restraining hand on his friend’s arm.

“Chakotay has left me in command of the ship. I know that you feel that you struggled with serving as first officer while I was back home dealing with my mom, but for the next four days I want you as my first officer. Hell, maybe I can show you a few things about the job to make your life easier that Chakotay’s forgotten about” Tom said.

“I’d like that” Harry answered with a smile before he activated the console between the two seats and checked the holodeck. In only a minute Harry confirmed that the holodeck was running perfectly, a testament to chief engineer Nancy Conlon’s overseeing her people smoothly.

Tom smiled as he passed a padd to Harry and said “I’ve already gotten this week’s duty roster drawn up. To make things a little more complicated we’re doing a personnel cross-training programme now. Quite a few people have expressed interest in learning things about different departments so they’ve been rotated around to get hands on experience.”

Harry nodded to him as he studied the padd closely. Tom relaxed back in the centre seat and said “Don’t stress, Harry. It’s only four days, you’ll be fine.”

“Yes, Tom. I mean, sir” Harry answered.

Captain’s Quarters, USS Voyager. Minutes later.

Chakotay draped his arm around Kathryn Janeway’s shoulder as the pair relaxed on his sofa. The pair looked deep into each other’s eyes for a moment before Kathryn asked “So, what do you want to do today?”

“I was thinking that we could relax in a luxurious spa. I’ve got a holodeck programme of the best one on Risa. That and we’ve got the holodeck booked all to ourselves for our time off.”

Janeway smiled at that before she asked “Chakotay, you do realise that when this mini-vacation is over we go back to our own quarters. We don’t have any leeway on this.”

“Not unless we get married” Chakotay retorted as he took a sip of his herbal tea.

Janeway blinked a few times, muted into surprise before she answered “I thought we were going to take this as it comes.”

Chakotay nodded to her before answering “We need to think about this carefully. The only way we can have a meaningful relationship is if we’re married. Now I don’t know about you, but now we’re together I’m not willing to put our relationship on pause for the next few years just until we get back to the alpha quadrant.”

“So you think we should get married?” Janeway asked. She could feel her heart fluttering rapidly in her chest. She looked deeply into Chakotay’s eyes and saw beads of sweat on his brow. ‘At least this isn’t difficult for just me’ she thought.

“If we’re married then we can share quarters and be open about our relationship.” Chakotay replied before pausing for a minute and adding “Think of it like this. Marriage is just a legal certification saying that people are in a binding relationship. If we’re married the only real thing that changes is a certificate and the fact that there will be a ring on our fingers, it doesn’t change our relationship. If anything, it allows us to explore it further.”

Janeway smiled broadly as she nodded. “Okay, but I think that to protect what virtue I have left you should propose properly…” she said but the comm system came to life at that moment. Janeway rolled her eyes in exasperation as Harry Kim’s voice drifted to them.

“Bridge to Captain Chakotay.”

“Go ahead, Mister Kim” Chakotay answered, exasperated.

“I’m sorry to interrupt your vacation sir, but there’s a priority one communication for you from Starfleet Command. It’s Admiral Akaar” Harry replied.

“Put it through down here” Chakotay instructed as he rose from the sofa and moved to his desk. As his and Kathryn’s eyes met again he mouthed the words “Why does he want to speak to me, not you?” Kathryn shook her head in a confused gesture as Chakotay lowered himself into his chair.

The captain gestured for Janeway to join him at the desk before tapping authorising and security commands into his small console. Only then did he look at the screen. Immediately the image of Starfleet’s most decorated admiral appeared on the small screen. “Admiral Akaar, how can I help you?” Chakotay asked cordially.

“Captain” Akaar replied by way of opening. “A prototype starship will be launching from Utopia Planitia within the hour to rendezvous with the fleet. I assume you are all at New Talax?”

“Yes, sir” Chakotay answered with a nod. Janeway had silently taken a seat on the other side of the desk.

“Good. The vessel constructed by your fleet engineer, the Home Free. She’s none the worse for wear since Mister Paris returned last week, I trust?” Akaar queried.

“No, sir. Since Commander Paris returned eight days ago the ship has been checked over from bow to stern, she’s in full working condition. I was considering talking to B’Elanna about the shuttle getting a Starfleet registry so we can use her within the fleet in an official capacity…”

“We can sort that out later. For now I want you to get her to prepare the specs for me on the shuttle. They’re an ideal fleet vessel to replace the Danube’s, the runabout’s are beginning to show their age. We can at least look into the feasibility of the vessel. The SCE are chomping at the bit to get a look at her” Akaar instructed.

“Yes, sir” Chakotay answered.

Before he could get a chance to speak the admiral said “Seeing as you’re off duty I’m assuming Admiral Janeway is with you?”

“Yes, sir” Chakotay replied again, deciding that honesty would be the best policy.

“Good, put her on. Dismissed” Akaar said. After the pair traded places behind the desk Chakotay went back into the lounge area and went straight to the replicator. Janeway heard him order a drink before he put it on the table and disappeared into the bedroom.

“Hello, Admiral” Kathryn said with a genuine smile.

The stern face of Akaar softened a little before he asked “Kathryn. How are you?”

“I’m genuinely good, thank you” she replied.

Akaar got straight down to business and told her “We’re sending a ship to the fleet for resupply and extra personnel. I will personally be aboard the ship so I can review the status of the fleet once we arrive with you. There’s no cause for concern, you’re not being replaced. With everything that’s happened I feel I best that I give you all the once over, this is simply easier than ordering the fleet home.”

“Understood, sir” Janeway answered. “We’ll hold position at New Talax and await your arrival. Is there anything else I can do for you?”

“Not at this time. We will be with you soon, Akaar out” the admiral answered before he closed the channel. Janeway reset the display for Chakotay and walked back to the lounge. She opened her mouth to speak to him but stopped in her tracks when she saw him kneeling on one knee, holding a small open box with a ring in it. Looking deep into her eyes he said “Kathryn Janeway, will you marry me?”

Chakotay’s heart came almost to a full stop as he waited nervously for Kathryn’s answer.

Finally she nodded to him and said through the largest smile he had ever seen on her face “You crazy fool, of course I will.”

Chakotay leapt to his feet and pushed the ring onto her finger. “I love you” he whispered before he kissed her firmly.

Chapter 4

Aboard USS Voyager. May 17th, 2382.

“Tom, how good to see you!” Neelix boomed as Harry Kim led him into the ready room.

Paris stood up from behind the captain’s desk and said “Neelix, I saw you two days ago.”

“It’s still special for me to see you all!” the Talaxian excitedly replied. The Starfleet officer’s old friend drank in the sight of Paris behind the desk and said “Command suits you, Tom. Are you happy as first officer?”

“I am” Paris answered truthfully “but I’m just minding the barn while Chakotay and the Admiral have a few days off. How can I help you, Neelix?”

“I’ve got a request, but it’s not something that Starfleet would help me with.”

Paris and Harry shared a confused glance before Tom said “Neelix, we’ll help you as much as we can, you’re still part of this family.”

“I know” Neelix answered honestly. He sat in the offered seat and said “In 2374, Voyager was negotiating passage through B’Omar space. Seven of Nine picked up a Borg signal and went a little … well, Borgey.”

“I remember” Tom replied. “She stole a shuttle and me and Tuvok went after her. They found the wreckage of the Raven.”

“That’s right” Neelix answered. He took a steadying breath and said “The technology on the Raven is a several generations inferior to Voyager, but it’s still better than anything we’ve got. The Raven wasn’t a Starfleet ship, it was given to the Hansen family by Starfleet so they didn’t have to free up one of their main ships.”

“Neelix” Harry said carefully “Starfleet couldn’t help you in recovering technology from Raven.”

“I don’t want tech, I want the ship herself” said Neelix.

Harry and Tom shared a silent few seconds before Paris said “The ship was collapsing in on itself. Whole portions of the ship fell over the edge of the cliff…” he explained.

Neelix passed him a padd and interrupted “I’ve spent years going through the sensor logs taken at that time. The Aerie-class vessels were built in segments and attached together so that’s no real problem. The portions that fell didn’t go far. The problem is the distance from here to B’Omar space.”

“You realise that if you’re going to try and salvage Raven then we can’t help. That would include taking you there” Harry said.

Neelix nodded at him before he said “That’s why I was wondering about talking Tom and B’Elanna into letting me use the Home Free. She’s not a Starfleet vessel and has a slipstream drive. We could be at the Raven’s position within ten days.”

“Neelix, this is something that you’re best off discussing with Chakotay and the Admiral” Tom answered. He leaned back in the seat and was silent for a minute. Finally he said “I’d have to talk to B’Elanna but I don’t personally have a problem with it, but you’ve got to understand Neelix that recovering the Raven is a massive undertaking. You might just be better off making a whole new ship.”

The Talaxian was already shaking his head as Tom spoke and answered “No, it has to be Raven. She’s a symbol of recovering from the ashes of a previous life. It’s just what my people need to finish the healing process of the traumas of the past. Please Tom, take this to the admiral with me.”

Harry could see that Paris was torn by indecision. He was a loyal Starfleet officer who had come a long way in his career but he was still intensely loyal to his friends and would help any of them in a heartbeat.

“Okay” Paris finally said with a small nod “I’ll be right beside you when you take this to the admiral. She’s back on duty tomorrow so I’ll speak to Deacon, her aide and schedule us an appointment to see her, but it’ll probably be damn early”

“Any time is good for me” the Talaxian beamed. “Thank you, you truly are too good to me.”

Aboard the USS Quirinal. May 21st, 2382.

Captain Ransom sat behind the desk in his ready room regarding his first officer closely.

Lieutenant Commander Sadie Johns looked up from her padd and said “The flight tests performed by ourselves, Esquiline, Hawking and Curie have so far shown no problems with the repaired slipstream drives or the new benamite crystals, but tests aren’t scheduled to be completed until tomorrow.”

“What about the Equinox?” Ransom asked “how are her repairs and refit coming?”

“She’s done” Sadie answered with a smile. “All breaches have been fully repaired, internal bulkheads replaced and all systems operational. She’s just as shiny as the day she was made. The modified warp core is powered up and the integrated slipstream drive is about half way through the testing. There were a few issues installing the chroniton integrator due to space requirements but it’s all resolved, now she can take sensor readings from a few seconds into the future just like the other ships here to make sure she doesn’t crash into anything while at slipstream.”

“I can’t believe the amount of repairs completed to her” Ransom said with a smile. “Going back to her bridge is going to be a strange feeling, I was used to the damage.”

Sadie looked Ransom in the eye and asked “Are you really going back to the Equinox? Sir, you’ve only commanded the Quirinal for four days but surely you can see just how much better this ship is. Our shields and weapons are far superior to Equinox. Besides, there’s no crew over there and we need you here.”

“Calm down, commander” Ransom answered with a half-smile “I’ve got no intention of abandoning this ship or crew, but you also have to understand that the Equinox is my ship. She’s been my home for many years as well as being my first command. Besides, Captain Itak has seen fit to allow me to continue serving Starfleet but we don’t know how Starfleet Command will see this.”

Sadie nodded her understanding before she asked “Will there be a first officer position available on Equinox when you return, sir?”
Ransom looked at her for a long minute before he answered her carefully “I thought you were happy aboard Quirinal. You’ll certainly continue to be her first officer.”

“That’s not the same as serving with you, sir. Since you’ve taken over we’re all feeling a lot safer. The crew are happier than I have seen them since before we were trapped in Omega. You’re our captain now and we want to serve with you” Sadie explained.

Ransom was genuinely touched by her loyalty after only a few days so he simply nodded to her and gestured for her to continue with her report.

Aboard USS Voyager, New Talax. May 28th, 2382.

Captain Chakotay sat in his command chair looking around the bridge slowly. In the seat to his left Tom Paris looked at status reports on the small console. Turning to his right he smiled at the woman seated next to him. Admiral Janeway smiled back at him reassuringly.

“Captain, a starship is approaching. They’re dropping from slipstream to impulse speed” Ensign Kenth Lasren announced from the operations station behind and left of Chakotay.

“On screen” Tom Paris ordered immediately. The image on the viewscreen changed to show a ship appear and move towards the fleet.

“Identify that ship” Chakotay and Paris ordered together as they both jumped to their feet. Kathryn rose from her seat to stand next to them as Lasren operated his board.

Almost immediately the ops officer answered “Federation starship USS Dauntless, registry NX-82701. Dauntless-class vessel. Captain, Admiral Akaar is hailing us from the Dauntless.”

“On screen” Chakotay ordered, echoing his first officer’s earlier order. As soon as Akaar’s image appeared Chakotay said “Admiral, it’s a pleasure to see you, sir. I didn’t realise you’d be able to get away from Starfleet Headquarters for a journey to the delta quadrant.”

“Command is well staffed, captain” Akaar answered smoothly. “I decided to come out here to review the fleet personally. I trust everybody is available to speak to?”

“I’m afraid not, admiral” Janeway said as she stepped forwards. “Ambassador Neelix, the leader of New Talax requested our assistance with some recovery matters. Since a few of the crew were entitled to leave I allowed Lieutenant’s Kim and Conlon along with Seven to accompany him during their two weeks off aboard a civilian shuttle, the Home Free so they could catch up. They should be returning within the next week”

“I’ll be gone long before then” Akaar answered. “Captain Chakotay, I will need to speak to yourself, Lieutenant Commander Paris and Admiral Janeway immediately. Shall we meet aboard Voyager in ten minutes?”

“Of course, sir” Chakotay answered immediately.

“Good, prepare for me to beam over. Akaar, out” the admiral said simply before he closed the channel.

“Looks like Starfleet built a copy of the Dauntless” Tom stated.

“Makes sense” B’Elanna added from the engineering console on the right side of the bridge. “The design was sound and designed from the outset for slipstream.”

“Tom, go and meet the Admiral in the transporter room. We’ll wait for you in the conference lounge” Chakotay ordered. Tom nodded his understanding and rushed from the bridge.

Minutes later all four officers were sitting around a table comfortably. Akaar looked at them and said “We’ll get straight down to business. The Dauntless is here to do more than just resupply the fleet. She’s going to be joining you out here.”

“Sir?” Janeway asked, slightly surprised.

Akaar passed each of them a padd with the details of the new ship on it and added “She’s a true hybrid. Designed from the outset to be a high-speed slipstream vessel, once the prototype drive she’s carrying is engaged she’s faster than any other slipstream ship we’ve created. Her seven decks mean she’s a small ship but she’s been put together in a truly amazing way. Her tactical systems incorporate three quantum torpedo tubes and six Type-XII phaser arrays so she’s pretty much the same as the Merian-class vessels in that respect. The major change comes in her sensor arrays. We fitted the large sensor pallets used in the Nova-class vessels and re-tuned their effectiveness. She’ll be the most advanced sensor platform you will have out here. With the loss of two Vesta and all three of your Merian-class science ships it was decided that you should have a dedicated science platform. That brings me onto the next piece of news.”

Everyone waited silently as the admiral paused for breath. Finally he continued “USS Dauntless does not have a senior staff. A chief engineer, yes … but other than that there’s no one. I have decided that Mister Paris be promoted to Captain and assigned temporary command of her. He will be responsible for her latest shakedown as well as test-and-evaluation. Once that’s done, we’ll see where Mister Paris is best suited. Congratulations, Captain” he said as he offered his hand to Tom.

Paris blinked a few times before he muttered “Thank you, sir” and shook the admiral’s hand. Chakotay and Janeway immediately offered him their sincere congratulations with Chakotay slapping his old friend on the back.

Paris still looked shocked as Akaar continued “As I say, the position of chief engineer is filled so you’re good there but other positions are yours to fill at your judgement.”

“Try not to steal anyone important” Chakotay joked.

Akaar rose from his seat and said “The computer aboard is already waiting for you to appoint yourself as commanding officer. Oh, one last thing” he added to Paris. “I’m aware that your wife was given permission to expand quarters here on Voyager. You’ll find your accommodations of Dauntless to be roughly the same as here so you can be with your family. I expect this fleet to grow in numbers over time, so we’ll evaluate what ship Captain Paris will command long-term, in the meantime … I want Dauntless thoroughly tested. Well, congratulations Mister Paris. Captain Chakotay, if you would be good enough to show me to an office I can use?”

“There’s already one prepared for you just aft of the bridge, sir” Chakotay said as he led Akaar from the room.

As soon as the doors closed behind them Janeway rushed to the small replicator. A moment after she requisitioned what she needed she walked over to Paris. After removing a black pip from his collar she added two gold ones before hugging him tightly. “I can’t tell you how proud I am of you and how far you’ve come” she said warmly. “Since you stepped to Voyager’s helm eleven years ago you’ve become an outstanding officer. Well done, Tom.”

“Thank you, admiral” Paris answered with a broad grin.

Janeway sat him back at the table and spent a few minutes giving him a few words of advice about his first command. “Don’t be afraid to rely on your crew and remember to put people where they’re best at. A strong crew can overcome nearly anything. I swear that if I hadn’t got all of you the first time we were out here then Voyager wouldn’t have made it home. A crew needs to mesh together well, but remember that you’re their leader now not just first officer. I know that you’ve got a more relaxed style than most other officers but remember how Chakotay had to change his style slightly when he took command. You can be their friend but you need to be firm and lead them.”

“I understand, admiral” Paris answered sincerely as she rose from her seat. The pair made their way to the bridge together.

Paris had barely stepped through the door when Chakotay rose from his command seat and said loudly “Captain on the bridge.” Every set of eyes in the room turned to him, everyone’s face had a smile on it.

Paris made his way to Chakotay as his friend said “You’d better get over to your new command, captain.” Chakotay stood ramrod straight for a minute and added “Mister Paris, your conduct aboard this vessel has been exemplary. You are relieved.”

“I stand relieved, sir” Paris answered, honouring the time old traditions in Starfleet for an officer leaving for his first command.

Chakotay shook his hand as Paris added “Permission to disembark, sir?”

“Granted” Chakotay answered with a massive smile.

B’Elanna rushed over and hugged her husband tightly. “I’m so proud of you” she said as she kissed him for a long minute.
As soon as she extracted herself from her husband Janeway asked “Any objections if myself and Captain Chakotay accompany you over to Dauntless?”

“None at all” Paris answered. He took his wife by the hand and said “Come on, honey. Let’s go look at our new digs.” To a round of applause Paris and the three trailing officers stepped into the turbolift to go to places anew.

The doors parted revealing Tom Paris’s first view of the bridge, his bridge. Janeway placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder. Tom took a deep breath but Chakotay gently moved past him, stepped into the room, announcing loudly “Captain on the bridge!”

Selina D’Cruz jumped up out of the first officer’s seat and turned to face them. Every officer stood and waited smartly at attention. Chakotay gave Tom a sly smile as Paris moved past him onto the command centre of his ship.

As Paris moved down towards the command chairs he said “As you were” before turning to Janeway and Chakotay. Kathryn gave him a small smile for support so he stood as tall as he could make himself and said in a firm voice “Computer, Captain Thomas Eugene Paris, reporting for duty.”

“Confirmed” answered the familiar computer’s voice. “Captain Thomas Eugene Paris has reported for duty. Commanding officer, USS Dauntless. All command codes transferred.”

A round of applause swept through the room. Paris had a feeling that his wife had started it but after a moment he held up his hand and said “You all know that I’m a new captain, but I trust you all to do the best job you can possibly do. Eventually we’ll be a family and I know that you’ll all make me proud. Resume your stations.”

B’Elanna nearly sent him sprawling to the deck as she hugged him tightly again. His two old friends stood silently together at the back of the bridge as Tom accepted the padd from Selina. Standing smartly she said “Captain, I’m Lieutenant Selina D’Cruz, your chief engineer. All ships systems are fully operational and ready for use. The cargo has been sorted and is ready to transfer over to the necessary vessels.”

“With you permission, admiral?” Paris asked.

Janeway nodded as she answered “This is your command captain, feel free.”

“Thank you” Tom said before turning back to Selina and instructed “Lieutenant, please take Commander Torres on a tour of the engine room. I’m sure she’s eager to see the latest version of the slipstream drive.”

“Of course, sir. Commander, this way” she answered as she led B’Elanna from the room.

Tom took a moment to look at the command chair before he moved forwards to the large helm console. The station was shared by the helm and ops officers, so he took a moment to look over the shoulder of the helmsman before he addressed the operations officer.
“Ensign, co-ordinate with the engineering staff for transports. Signal Voyager, Vesta, Galen and Demeter that we’re ready to transfer over their cargo. Notify me as soon as it’s over there.” Paris looked around the room again, his eyes falling on the captain’s chair.
Paris saw that a few crew members saw his flittering gaze so he took a deep breath and lowered himself into the captain’s seat.

Janeway and Chakotay had been waiting for the nervous man to sit and when he finally did they made their way down to him. Janeway took the first officer’s seat to his left and Chakotay sat on the small secondary inset seat to his right. “Voyager’s sensor arrays need those spare parts, Nancy will be grateful you sent them over” Chakotay said.

“Any thoughts to your command staff?” Janeway asked.

Tom thought for a second but Chakotay interrupted saying “I’m sorry Tom, but you can’t have Harry. I’m going to make him my first officer.”

Tom looked slightly crestfallen before he rained it in and answered with a nod “I understand. I was planning on keeping Lieutenant D’Cruz as my chief engineer, the others I have no idea about” he admitted.

“Let me help” Janeway offered. The pair leaned closer to each other as Janeway showed Tom a padd. “I’ve taken the liberty of pulling up the data files of all the personnel within the fleet that are suitable for promotion up to main watch personnel.”

“Thank you, admiral” Paris offered.

Kathryn patted him on the arm and said “I realise that normally officers would put their names forward and their jackets would be evaluated by you, but right now we could do with this ship having a senior staff, we both know how unpredictable the delta quadrant can be.”

“That’s an understatement” Paris quipped. Janeway looked at the small screen again as she offered “Lieutenant Commander Julian Psilakis is the Vesta’s second officer. He’s a good man who would be ideal to serve as your first officer, but there’s also…”

Chapter 5

Aboard the Home Free. May 22nd, 2382.

“We’re in orbit directly over the remains of the Raven” Harry Kim announced from the helm.

From the console next to him Nancy Conlon entered commands into her board and added “I’m scanning for the ship now…”

“That isn’t necessary” Seven answered from another console slightly behind them. Neelix was standing next to her as she added

“There’s something very different compared to when we were here last.”

“I can see” Conlon said as she adjusted her board. The cockpit canopy solidified as a holographic viewscreen dominated it.

Harry looked at the view of the surface for a few seconds before turning to Seven and stating “I thought that the hull separated apart and collapsed. That ship is in one piece.”

“I can account for the discrepancy” the former Borg drone replied. “Modifications to the sensor array are allowing me to see the residual residue of Celiar catoms. They repaired the vessel.”

“Why?” Nancy asked.

Seven only took a second to reply to the young engineer, she already knew the answer. “The Borg had partially assimilated the ship, the Celiar removed all remains of the Borg. As we have seen with my own Catoms, they also have a tendency to … repair other issues in the immediate area.”

“Yeah, but not everything” Harry added as he ran his own scans. “They put the hull back in one sound piece as well as the warp core but there’s still other damage down there. The sensor arrays are shot, the shield emitters are fried. Weapons are seriously damaged … we’ve still got a lot of work to do.”

“Agreed, but now the work will be considerably easier since we don’t have to reconnect all the hull sections” Conlon retorted. She turned in her seat and looked at Neelix thoughtfully. “Neelix, have you enjoyed being able to go through the database? I know you wanted something to read?” she asked slyly.

“Why, yes!” he answered with a wink. Harry and Seven smiled broadly as they focused their attention on their consoles. “I know that Starfleet can’t share its slipstream technology with other species but the most curious thing happened. When I went to lay down on the bed there was a padd just lying there, I guess B’Elanna must have forgotten about it … back before she re-joined the fleet that is. She must have been thinking about purchasing one of these Aerie-class vessels herself because she designed a slipstream drive for it. I accidentally saw all the schematics when I was checking to see if it was her padd.”

Seven had been the one who originally had thought of this little conspiracy, if the Raven could travel at slipstream then Neelix would have a way to regularly journey to Federation space and back again. Their playful little act of innocence was interrupted by an alert at Harry’s console. “We’re going to have to land now to evade the B’omar patrols. I’ve already started the descent” Harry stated.

“We’ll get ready to board Raven” Nancy said as she, Seven and Neelix started gathering everything they could carry.

One hour later

Seven walked onto the small bridge of the Raven and saw Harry lying flat on his back, repairing the underneath of the helm console.

“Lieutenant Kim, the warp core is in a useable condition, all it requires is fuel” she stated.

“That’s great news, Seven” Harry answered as he slithered out and stood up. “How did the power transfer from the Home Free go?”

“As planned” Seven replied. “It has allowed Lieutenant Conlon to reactivate the impulse engines in power generation mode only. Main power is back online. Structural integrity is at one hundred percent, but we have some ideas as to how to greatly enhance it.”

“And Neelix?” Harry asked.

Seven smiled at him before she answered “Mister Neelix has spent the last hour repairing the engineering replicator for large components. It is now running and he is busy constructing the parts needed to integrate into the warp core.”

“To make the combined warp/slipstream drive” Harry stated. Seven nodded to him before Harry added “I’m worried about him using it. Without a chroniton integrator…”

“That was part of B’Elanna’s schematics for the ship. The technology is not as advanced as Starfleet’s drive of course, but still perfectly useable.”

Even as Seven finished her sentence the consoles around the room came to life. Harry smiled with relief before Seven added “It is regrettable that we have to engage in such a cloak and dagger manner to give Neelix the slipstream drive. It would otherwise take years for the Raven to reach his colony.”

“I know Seven, but the rules are in place for a reason even if we disagree” Harry explained.

“Neelix risked his life many times for us on Voyager, giving him this technology would be the least we could do for him” Seven countered.

Turning back to her Harry answered “I don’t disagree, but he has it now even if B’Elanna catches hell for it. Right now we have to concentrate on getting this ship out of here before the B’Omar catch us.” He moved to the helm controls and ordered the computer to run a complete diagnostic on all systems. When the computer’s voice told him the tests would be completed in sixteen hours he looked Seven in the eye and said “Let’s get the shields and sensors working, then we’ll upload the software B’Elanna wrote for the slipstream drive.”

Aboard USS Voyager, New Talax. May 29th, 2382.

Admiral Akaar sat at his desk silently reading a padd. He’d spent the last eight hours interviewing the senior staff of the fleet and he had to admit that he was happy with them all. As he reached for his cup the red alert lighting flashed throughout his office and the rest of the ship.

“Red Alert, senior staff to the bridge” came Captain Chakotay’s voice over the comm system. Akaar knew that he wasn’t in command of this ship but he still threw the padd down and hurried from the room.

Within twenty seconds Akaar stepped onto the bridge just as the main staff manned their posts … all but one. He looked down at the command chairs from the raised aft section of the bridge and blinked back surprise. Tom Paris had been promoted from first officer and now had a ship of his own and Chakotay’s second officer was off the ship with his chief engineer but he hadn’t expected to see the ships helmsman sitting in the first officer’s seat.

He stood silently as the young half Kriosian ensign leaned closer to Chakotay. “What do I need to do?” she asked nervously.

Akaar smiled slightly that the overconfident young pilot was suddenly nervous and unsure of herself. “Nothing like being taken down a few notches to help you learn” he mused silently.

Chakotay answered her in an amazingly calm voice “Relax. First thing you need to do is check the panel between us and make sure that all departments are at battle stations.”

“Right” she murmured as she hurriedly entered commands. Within moments she said louder “Captain, all departments report they’re at red alert.”

“Good” Chakotay answered. “Mister Lasren, what’s going on?”

“Multiple slipstream events have been detected, five vessels in total. The slipstream signature is definitely Starfleet and they’re approaching from deeper into the delta quadrant.”

“That’s not possible” Akaar said as he leaned on the handrail.

Chakotay turned to him as the admiral added “All fleet ships are here and accounted for, the only other ship out there is the Home Free and last I checked that’s one vessel not five.”

“The ships are about to drop to impulse” Lasren added.

Chakotay glanced at Aytar Gwyn and nodded. He was giving the woman permission to do what was needed. Akaar waited to see if the young woman would rise to the occasion. She did. Rising to her feet she ordered “Shields up. Mister Lasren, put them on main viewer. Helm, bring us around to face them.” Chakotay smiled briefly at Akaar before turning to the viewer himself.

“Vesta is turning with us. Dauntless has assumed a defensive position covering the Galen and Demeter” Lasren reported.

“Thanks, Tom” Chakotay muttered. Gwyn heard him but before she could ask Chakotay explained “Dauntless has moved to defend the least combat capable ships, that means Voyager and Vesta don’t have to worry about them. We’re freed up to deal with this.”

The viewscreen showed a blue tunnel open as five ships exited before closing behind them. “Magnify the image and get me identification” Chakotay ordered.

Admiral Janeway stepped out of the turbolift and moved to stand next to Akaar. “What’s wrong?” she asked as she reached him.
Before Akaar could answer her the image was magnified. Chakotay’s eyes opened wide in surprise as Lasren announced “All five vessels have been positively identified. They are the starships Esquiline, Quirinal, Hawking, Curie and … and the USS Equinox.”

“That’s … not possible” Janeway stammered.

Chakotay whirled around to look at Janeway and said “Equinox was destroyed years ago, we saw it happen.”

“Their beacons are confirmed” Lasren said, his voice quiet. An alarm sounded at his console and he added “They’re all hailing us.”

“On screen” Chakotay ordered as Janeway and Akaar stepped down to him. The viewscreen changed to show four officers sitting in their command chairs.

Janeway muttered “Ransom”.

The oldest captain amongst them stood and said “Admiral Janeway, it is agreeable to see you again.”

“Captain Itak” Kathryn answered “your ships were destroyed by the Omega continuum, so how are you here. More to the point, Equinox was destroyed seven years ago so how and why is Captain Ransom sitting on the bridge of the Quirinal.”

“A detailed explanation would take considerable time” the Vulcan replied. “May I recommend that we join yourself and Admiral Akaar aboard Voyager to brief you on recent events.”

“Beam directly to the briefing room” Akaar ordered as he stepped forwards again, clearly taking charge of the conversation. “Commanding officers only, we will decide where to go from there.”

“Chakotay to Doctor Sharak. Report to the briefing room, we need you to confirm some identities” Chakotay ordered quietly.

“We will be there shortly, out” Itak said before the channel with the ships closed.

“Admiral, Captain” Akaar said simply as he strode towards the briefing room.

“Ensign Gwyn, you have the conn” said the ship’s captain as he followed his two senior officers from the room.

“How the hell are Ransom and the rest alive?” Chakotay asked as soon as the doors closed behind him.

“That’s not our worry right now” Akaar answered. He turned to Janeway and added “Your logs reported that at the end he came to his senses. He was trying to surrender the ship, yes?”

“That’s right” Janeway answered with a nod. She leaned on the back of the nearest chair before she explained “we caught up with the ship and tried to disable it. I’m not going to deny that I was out of control myself. I was so enraged that a Starfleet officer would kill innocent life forms just to get home a little quicker. Ransom tried to surrender the ship to me but Lieutenant Maxwell Burke mutinied. Marla Gilmore got Ransom to engineering where he dropped the ships shields.

I beamed everyone but Ransom and the bridge crew off the ship, they’d raised a force-field to prevent beam out. One of our torpedoes destroyed the port nacelle, they were done for. Burke tried to get to the shuttle but was killed by the aliens. I begged Ransom to engage auto-navigation and let us beam him out but he refused. He said he was staying with the ship to get it away from Voyager before the core blew. That’s when he made me promise that I’d get his surviving crew home. The core blew and he was gone … so how can he be alive?”

The four commanding officers beamed into the room and immediately Itak answered “Admiral, I believe I can answer your question”, realising what they must be talking about.

Ransom made his way past the others and stepped right up to Janeway. He noticed her rank before looking her right in the eye and asked “Permission to speak freely, Admiral?”

“Granted” Kathryn answered.

“I just wanted to say … thank you for getting them home. Seriously, I can’t tell you what it means to me. Thank you” Ransom said sincerely.

“You’re welcome” Janeway answered. She placed her hands on Ransom’s arms and said “You got it together at the end, that’s what matters”.

“I’ll be the judge of that” Akaar said as he stepped in front of Ransom. “Captain, in your absence I have been promoted to head of Starfleet. I’ve read Admiral Janeway’s logs regarding your actions and let’s say that I’m not inclined to allow you to continue to wear that uniform.”

“If I may, Admiral?” Itak interrupted as he positioned himself between the two officers. “As soon as we encountered Captain Ransom and his vessel I performed a mind meld to ascertain his actions. It is true that he killed life forms but let us also remember another fact. He summoned the first alien and contained it in a force-field so he could study it. It was only after the alien accidentally made contact with the force field that it became angry and fought. Captain Ransom attempted to release the creature but was not successful in time. It was after that fact the other aliens launched a massive, continuous attack against Equinox.

Even if we put those facts to one side we also have to remember that he attempted to surrender his vessel. After its inaccurate report of destruction, Captain Ransom spent many years completely alone. That is more than sufficient punishment for his actions. He has in the ensuing years without a crew made first contact with fourteen species since the incident, spreading the good word of the Federation and made friends along the way. Friends that were able to provide not only essential supplies but also helped with what repairs they could.
It is my professional opinion as a Starfleet officer of many years that he has long since atoned for his wrong doings. He has already proved to be instrumental in the survival of the “lost fleet”, allowing us to return to you. Admiral, he deserves that uniform and his command.”

Akaar was silent for several long moments before he spoke, his voice deep and low. “Captain Ransom, you may continue with your duties but rest assured of one fact. If you ever act like you did when Voyager found you I will have you sent to the most unimaginably depressive corner of the universe, do I make myself clear?”

“Perfectly, sir. Thank you, sir” Ransom answered with a nod.

Akaar nodded back to him before he addressed the other officers there and said “I want to know how you’re all alive, where you’ve been and how Equinox survived”. He sat heavily into a chair before spreading his hands and added “Get started”.

Two hours later

Admiral Akaar leaned back in his seat and took a deep pull from his long cold drink. Lieutenant Decan sat next to Admiral Janeway taking notes of the entire meeting. “So after Captain Ransom told you about a source of benamite, what happened?”

“The captain had mined two kilograms which he immediately transferred to the Esquiline and Curie. Those vessels slipstreamed away and spent nearly a week mining and refining more of the substance before returning to us. By that time the repairs to Equinox were complete. We had dismantled the vessels warp core and reconstructed it in the image of Hawking’s core with an integrated slipstream drive. A chroniton integrator was successfully constructed and installed. Once the two vessels returned we transferred a considerable amount of benamite aboard all vessels and began slipstream tests. Once they were complete we travelled here in the hopes of either encountering Voyager or signalling Starfleet to inform them of our escape of Omega” Itak explained.

“I can’t believe Captain Eden was able to get you out. We were under the impression that you were all killed” Janeway said. “Hell … we saw your ships explode”

“Thankfully that is not the case” answered Itak. “The portions of the vessels that protruded from Omega exploded, yes … but Captain Eden used her considerable skills to … replace those areas as if they had never been damaged.”

“What about Captain Dasht?” Akaar asked as he looked at Commander David Mack. “You’re his first officer, why isn’t he present himself?”

“Admiral, the captain … he’s not what he was” Mack explained feebly.

Xin Chan leaned forwards in his seat and added “When we were in Omega a lot of people started to lose their minds, their ‘essence’ started to slip from them. We did everything we could to keep everyone’s mind intact be there was only so much we could do. Most of the crews have made a complete recovery, but there are still seven people that aren’t recovered. Captain Parimon Dasht is one of them.”

“I want those personnel transferred to Galen immediately” Janeway ordered “maybe the medical personnel over there can help them.”

“Agreed” Akaar added. “We owe it to them to help in any way we can. Now, Captain Ransom. As you are undoubtedly aware this fleet is desperately undermanned in the senior staff areas. After listening to Captain Itak’s reports I am willing to give you a choice. You can go back to Equinox or remain in command of the Quirinal. What’s your choice?”

“Quirinal” Ransom answered without hesitation. “The Equinox is a damn fine ship and right now she’s in a better condition than she’s ever been in. I’ve spent a lot of years aboard her, but it’s time to move on. She’ll be a fine ship for a new captain.”

“The fleet needs splitting” Akaar stated.

“With respect Admiral, I think these ships should stay here” Janeway countered. Everyone turned to her so she quickly elaborated “With these vessels the fleet now has ten ships. With these resources we can really explore the delta quadrant. Any answers left about the removal of the Borg can be answered as well as enabling us to send dedicated science ships out to explore with a vessel that can adequately defend them. Sir, the fleet has never been in a better position.”

“Fine, they can stay” Akaar answered after a long, agonising silence. Turning to Chakotay he added “Captain, you are hereby promoted to Fleet Captain. You will retain command of Voyager whilst serving as leader of part of the fleet when you’re not all together. You’ve got my authorisation to put a black pip on your collar. It might not be a rank used for decades but it’s still recognised within Starfleet. Admiral Janeway, this expanded fleet will be your responsibility. You’re going to need senior staff for vessels as well as more personnel. I’ll see what I can do but don’t hold out much hope right now, you’ll have to make do with the people you have.” Akaar rose to his feet before he said “That’s all, thank you” and walked from the room.

Chapter 6

Aboard USS Voyager, New Talax. May 30th, 2382.

“Ambassador Neelix, it’s a pleasure to speak to you” Akaar said to the image on the small viewscreen in his office.

“Likewise, Admiral. I didn’t realise that the head of Starfleet would be visiting our home. I’m sorry I wasn’t there to welcome you” Neelix answered.

Akaar smiled at him before he replied “That’s fine, I appreciate that you have many important duties to attend to. May I ask when you will be back?”

“In less than two weeks, assuming all continues to go well. Is there something I can help you with?” Neelix asked.

“Indeed there is. I would appreciate it if we could keep this information to ourselves for now, just until Admiral Janeway can send a briefing to the Starfleet personnel with you” Akaar replied.

“Of course” Neelix said earnestly.

Akaar regarded the Talaxian on the viewscreen before he explained “Certain … unforeseen events have taken place that have resulted in the fleet here at New Talax being increased to nine Starfleet vessels.”

“Nine” Neelix said, shocked. “I wasn’t aware that Starfleet was able to spare any more vessels.”

“We aren’t” he replied. As confusion crossed Neelix’s face Akaar continued “One prototype Starfleet ship has been assigned to the fleet, the others …. Well, you’ll see once you return. It was my understanding that the people of New Talax would like to have greater contact with the Federation?”

“Yes, yes indeed” Neelix eagerly said. “We’re only a small colony with a few thousand people but we all consider ourselves friends of the Federation and would like the relationship between ourselves to expand.”

Akaar kept his happy reaction to Neelix’s words hidden. He laced his fingers before him and said “I spent most of the night speaking to the Federation council, I’ve still got a few friends in there. They had a priority meeting this morning and have agreed to accept a petition from New Talax to join the Federation, should one be forthcoming.”

“Definitely!” Neelix answered as he practically bounced up and down in his seat. “Membership into the Federation would greatly help my people.”

“And mine” Akaar replied. “It would mean we could set up a permanent base of operations here in the delta quadrant for the fleet. It would realistically be six to eight months before we could get a Corps of Engineers ship out here to start on constructing any spacedock facilities, but as a member of the Federation you would be entitled to us bringing your colony up to the latest possible standards, as well as expansion of your colony. I understand there is still a massive amount of the asteroid that could be excavated for your people to live?”

“That’s right” Neelix answered. “With what we have available, it isn’t possible for us to really expand any more than we already have.”

“Starfleet would gladly be able to help you with that. A base of operations would be invaluable for the fleet out here.”

Neelix regarded the Capellan Admiral before he confided in him “I think that you should be aware of something. Through civilian individuals our colony has recently been able to acquire slipstream technology, something that is vital to us being able to have closer ties to the Federation. I must stress that none of this came from Starfleet in the slightest.”

Akaar nodded slowly, wondering just who gave him that technology. Immediately he narrowed it down to B’Elanna Torres before she had re-joined the fleet or even Seven of Nine, a civilian with the fleet. It was a massive breach of regulations, but it was one that he could overlook for now. A base of operations out here was far too important for him to jeopardise.

“The reason that two Starfleet officers, who are currently on leave I hasten to add and a civilian have come out with he is to assist in the recovery of a starship that crashed twenty-six years ago. In 2356 the USS Raven crashed and was partly assimilated by the Borg…” Neelix started to explain.

“Wait” Akaar said holding up a hand. “Have Lieutenants Kim, Conlon or Seven of Nine found any evidence or remains of Borg technology amongst the remains of the vessel?”

“None, sir” Neelix assured the admiral with a shake of his head. “The Celiar used their catoms to remove all remains of Borg technology, but in doing so the catoms made certain repairs to the ship. They put the hull back together and repaired the warp drive. Anyway, the Raven is a Federation vessel but it has been a derelict for a long time and by Federation law it is open to salvage. That’s what I’ve done. Our vessels suit our purposes but we only have two ships, one of them is my own little freighter. The Raven would be a massive benefit to my people, that’s why I decided to salvage her. I’m telling you all this to be completely open with you. I’m not hiding anything from you, I certainly don’t want to jeopardise our entry to the Federation.”

“If I recall, the Raven is deep in B’Omar space” Akaar stated after a moment to recall the specifics. “I’m assuming that you’re not ready to return yet?”

“No. If the Starfleet personnel have to return now then Seven of Nine has offered to stay with me to assist in salvage” Neelix answered.

“No. I’m not happy with you being unprotected like that. I will send the Vesta over to you immediately. Launch the Raven into orbit, Vesta will take you under tow and get you back here. I am transmitting you a template of the formal petition to the Federation Council. Fill it in immediately and get it back to me, you can use these relays you laid on the way out there. As soon as New Talax is a member world we can have Starfleet resources out here assist in the repairs to the ship” Akaar instructed the Talaxian in his usual, commanding voice.

“Thank you” Neelix beamed. He looked at his console before he said “I’ve received it. I’ll send it you straight back.”

“Please do, Mister Ambassador. Be safe, Akaar out.”

“Pretty slick” Janeway said as she leaned back in her seat. She was sitting on the other side of the desk and had listened to the entire exchange.

“Someone gave them slipstream technology. That’s one of our most closely guarded secrets…” started Akaar but Janeway interrupted him with a shake of her head.

“If it was Seven, or anyone else within the fleet for that matter who gave them that technology then you can guarantee that it’s inferior to the tech we use. A much more basic version is no threat to Starfleet. Besides, Neelix saved Voyager’s crew more than once and if we want the Talaxian’s help in setting up a base out here then we need to give them leeway. No laws have been broken. If Seven designed that drive herself, even with the help of B’Elanna which I truly believe they could then there would have been no comparison to Starfleet technology. Let’s not forget that B’Elanna designed and built a working slipstream drive of her own for the Home Free. We need them sir, this is something we should just accept” Janeway answered at length.

“So you think that we should just glaze over them getting slipstream technology?” Akaar asked, his brows raising.

“Yes” Janeway answered. She took a deep breath before she added “Admiral, let’s be reasonable in this. It’s entirely possible that Neelix has been working on this since we built our own prototype drive on Voyager years ago. Hell, he could even have gotten it from Arturis’s people. There’s no way he could have been the only one left alive of his species, he’s the one we got slipstream from in the first place.”
Akaar nodded to her before he sighed and said “We will look past this. The simple fact of the matter is that the Federation needs the Talaxians to allow us to have a base here. I want you to take Vesta and go recover Neelix. I will be taking the slipstream shuttle we brought aboard Dauntless to return home in six hours. That’s all” he said. Their meeting was over.

Aboard the USS Quirinal. May 30th, 2382.

“It’s eerie, isn’t it?” asked Doctor El’nor Sal as she strolled through the corridors of her former posting.

“Eerie as hell, but I don’t know what to think” Captain Regina Farkas answered. Farkas had been Quirinal’s first captain and had believed that her ship was destroyed when it fell afoul of Omega.

“What do you think of Ransom commanding her?” Sal asked.

“I don’t know” Farkas replied. “That man broke the Prime Directive so badly it’s now legend throughout Starfleet Academy. The thought of him sitting in my old chair makes me feel sick to my stomach … but I can’t ignore Itak’s belief that he’s changed.”

“Itak would know better than anyone, he mind melded with Ransom” Sal offered. She took hold of Regina’s arm, stopping her dead in the corridor. “Regina, everyone deserves a second chance. If Ransom has tried to better himself then we’re not the ones to hold that against him. Do you really think Akaar would let him remain in command of this ship if he thought otherwise?”

“No” Farkas answered with a shake of her head. She knew that Sal was talking sense so she shrugged and added “I know. Let’s see how meeting him goes, maybe he’s not the monster of legends.”

“He’s just a man” Sal said as the pair walked towards the turbolift.

Farkas and Sal stepped out of the turbolift onto the bridge of the ship. They both took a moment to look around and Farkas drank in the sight of her former bridge. Ransom rose from the command chair and turned to face them. He smiled and said “Captain Farkas, Doctor Sal. Welcome back aboard the Quirinal.”

“Thank you, captain” Farkas answered with a hint of ice in her voice as Sal just nodded. “I never thought I’d see her again.”

“You’re always welcome aboard” Ransom replied. He couldn’t help but notice the tone of Farkas’s voice so he stepped closer to her and said in a low voice “I know what I did, but I’ve spent a long time putting that right. I’ve already proved myself time and again, and my service with this fleet will show you that.”

Farkas nodded to him before she asked “Are you having any problems? I know this ship quite well.”

Smiling slightly Ransom replied “The only real problem we have is in the staffing area. We’re short most of the crew but some were transferred from Esquiline to help us. I’ve made Sadie Johns my first officer and promoted her to Lieutenant-Commander. I know it’s quite a jump going from Ensign to Lieutenant-Commander, but she’s served me perfectly well as my right hand. She may have been Beta watch ops officer, but her performance as first officer so far has been exemplary.”

“I’m proud of her” Farkas stated with a nod.

“She’s an exceptional officer” Ransom added. He thought for a moment before he added “Actually, if you’ve got a minute, I’d like your opinion on something.”

“Lead the way” Farkas answered with a wave of her hand. Ransom smiled at her before leading the ships former captain and chief medical officer to an unoccupied secondary science station.

Aboard the USS Dauntless. May 30th, 2382.

“Lieutenant Commander Julian Psilakis reporting as ordered, captain”. The officer who had addressed Tom stood smartly at attention, his sharp brown eyes looking straight at Paris.

“Commander, thank you for coming aboard so quickly” Tom said as he set aside the padd he had been reading and stood from his command chair.

Psilakis shook Tom’s offered hand and quickly took in the bridge around him. Tom smiled at Psilakis’ curiosity and spoke “Dauntless is a new ship, a testbed the Corps of Engineers constructed to test the next generation of slipstream tech. It turns out they’ve been toying with the design since Voyager send the specs of the Dauntless we encountered in the delta quadrant years ago. Anyway, for the short term she’s my ship. I’ve been tasked with her shakedown along with test and evaluation of her … and I need a first officer.”

It took a moment for Tom’s comment to sink in before Psilakis answered “Me? You want me as first officer, sir?”

“Damn right” Tom replied with a nod. “I’ve read you jacket and I was beyond impressed with how you handled the incident with the Children of the Storm when they attacked Quirinal. Admiral Janeway and Captain Farkas highly recommend you and both have given their blessings for you to take this new posting. We’re not nearly the size of Quirinal or Vesta but if you’re interested…”

“I certainly am, sir” Psilakis eagerly replied. “I’m always happy to move up the career ladder.”

Tom laughed at his comment and motioned to the first officer’s seat to the left of his. Retaking his own seat Tom said “Then let’s get you up to speed with the Dauntless.”

Psilakis nodded and took the offered seat, now his seat on the bridge. He closed his eyes for a moment, savouring the feeling before Tom spoke. “Dauntless is capable of warp nine point nine-nine, she’s a real racehorse. The ship’s only got seven decks, but we’re packing eight Type-ten phaser arrays and two quantum torpedo launchers. We’re carrying a pair of Type-nine shuttlecraft and we’ve got three transporter rooms. Two holodecks and a fully kitty out sickbay round up the important areas” Tom explained, outlining the ships capabilities.

“What about senior staff?” Psilakis asked. Obviously there’s yourself and me. Other officers?”

“Our chief engineer is Lieutenant Selina D’Cruz, she’s been with the ship since construction began and the engines are her baby … other than that I’m afraid it’s up to us to staff the rest of the critical areas” Tom replied.

“Hmm” Psilakis answered. “Well, I can recommend Lieutenant Rick Lincoln as head of security and tactical. He’s a good man, sir. I served with him aboard the Trinculo, back before I was posted to the Quirinal. He’s currently serving as gamma-watch tactical officer on Vesta. He’s good people, sir. I trust him.”

“I’ll speak to Captain Farkas as soon as I can about poaching him” Tom answered with a nod and a smile. We still need to post senior officers to the conn, ops, science and medical.”

Aboard the SS Raven. May 30th, 2382.

“Captain, I can’t thank you enough for all the help you and your crew have given me. It’s … well, it’s the sign of a true friend” Neelix said, his hand grasping that of Regina Farkas. “Starfleet was always good to me when I was on Voyager, I’m so happy that your crew have continued that.”

“Mister Neelix, it’s our pleasure” Farkas replied with a smile of her own. “The people of New Talax have been good enough to give us a home port here in the Delta Quadrant, that means a lot to us, to have a place to fall back to. Friends to go back to.”

“Oh, it’s nothing” Neelix said with a wave of his hand. “The Voyager crew are family to me. I had seven amazing years with them, travelling from one side of the quadrant to another. And now … now we’ve been able to recover a Starfleet vessel of our own.”

“She’s an old vessel though” Farkas answered. “She crashed twenty-six years ago … and she was constructed six years before that. She’s already thirty-two years old.”

“All very true, but she’s already the most advanced ship New Talax has by far. I’ve seen miracles performed by Voyager’s crew. I know that your crew is just as amazing” Neelix replied. Farkas couldn’t help but allow her smile to widen, Neelix’s enthusiasm was infectious.

“Well thank you, mister ambassador” Farkas said. Changing the topic slightly she added “My engineering teams that have been working with the staff from Voyager who accompanied you have made great strides over the last week. All your primary and secondary systems are operational, but until we get word as to whether New Talax has been admitted into the Federation or not we can’t upgrade any weapons systems for you … that being said, the ships original Type-VII phaser arrays and her photon torpedo tube have been restored. Now, we can’t give you any torpedoes but I’m sure the specs are stored in Raven’s database…”

“They are indeed” Neelix interrupted. I’ve already transmitted the specifications to New Talax where I’m sure some are already under construction. I’ve got to admit, even though the replicators are an older model than I originally used on Voyager, I’ve already transmitted the specification of those to New Talax too. With those we’ll make life a lot easier. We can easily create everything from food to clothing for the entire population now.”

“I’m glad to hear that” Farkas answered. “Your slipstream drive that you purchased from … civilian individuals checks out just fine. We’re not sure exactly how she’s going to perform without a chroniton integrator.”

“Seven has been refining the slipstream design I got a little further and has cured the primary concern, the phase variance” Neelix replied. “This drive will allow not only my people to travel to otherwise inaccessible areas searching for new trading partners, there is another use for her.”

“Oh?” Farkas queried.

Neelix smiled broadly at her and answered “Yes. I’ve spoken at great length to the head of our governing council, Regent Oxilon and he agrees with me. The Raven will also be available to travel back and forth to the Federation on behalf of the Full Circle fleet, should the need arise. We’ll be heading there regularly anyway, so it’s no skin off our nose.”

“Ambassador, I’m honoured that the people of New Talax would do that for us” Farkas replied.

“It’s the least we can do” Neelix waved away. “Since you’ve arrived you’ve not only helped us expand our colony, you’ve also helped us medically, with engineering matters and given us more hope. You’re our friends, captain … and Talaxians will do what we can to help our friends.”

Farkas gave a grateful nod, not sure what else she could say.

“Madam president, thank you for seeing me” Admiral Leonard James Akaar spoke as he was ushered into the office.

“Admiral, I’ve always got time for you” President Nanietta Bacco smiled in response.

Akaar inclined his head in thanks before taking the seat offered him by his friend, the President of the United Federation of Planets. “So … how was your trip to the Delta Quadrant?” Bacco asked.

“Informative” Akaar replied. “You remember Lieutenant-Commander Paris?”

“The son of the late Admiral Owen Paris. He and his mother accosted us recently” Bacco replied.

“The same” Akaar answered quickly. “I took a prototype ship out to join the Full Circle fleet, I’ve promoted Paris to captain and given him command.”

“I knew from meeting him that the young man was destined for great things” Bacco said.

“True” Akaar said. He thought for a moment before explaining “The four vessels that were believed destroyed within the Omega Continuum have been returned, courtesy of Captain Eden, just before she and the young Q closed it off. They were thrown out far away from the fleet and were unable to re-join until repairs were made. They’ve also encountered Captain Rudolph Ransom and his ship the USS Equinox, both thought to be long dead.”

“How did he survive?” Bacco asked quickly. “Damn it, he’s now legendary in Starfleet as a man who so grossly violated the Prime Directive … and committed mass murder.”

“His years alone forced him to change his ways. He’s made numerous successful first contacts since then. Redeemed himself. He helped the four believed ships in a time of crisis for them. Captain Itak, one of our Vulcan captains has mind melded with him to confirm that he is now in fact on the straight-and-narrow. I’m allowing him to remain with the fleet.”

Bacco nodded her understanding before she answered “It’s your choice, Leonard”

“Correct” Akaar said with a nod of his own. He sighed slightly before adding “I know that we’re still recovering from the Borg Invasion, but I need something.”

“Leonard, if I can help you, then you know I will” Bacco reassured.

“I know” Akaar replied. He took another moment before he explained “With those recovered ships, the Vesta and Dauntless joining the fleet, it’s back up to nine ships. I know that we can’t spare Achilles to go back out there, but we do need more there.”

“Leonard … Starfleet simply can’t afford to send more ships” Bacco started.

Akaar cut her off and answered “I know, but I do have a ship that’s laid up at Utopia Planitia. She has been for some years now and she’s got no plans to go anywhere. USS Luna.”

“Luna” Bacco echoed. “She was lead ship of the class. Didn’t she suffer some sort of explosion aboard her engine room that cost a considerable number of lives?”

“Yes. Since then, she’s been sitting at the fleet years forgotten about. Put simply, I want her repaired and fitted with a slipstream drive to go out there to reinforce the fleet. She’ll be able to take out with her supplies that I now deem critical that Dauntless simply couldn’t carry. You’ve read the petition forwarded by the people of New Talax to join the Federation…?” Akaar spoke.

“Yes, where do you think I’ve spent the last seven hours? In session with the Federation Council about this matter” Bacco said over Akaar. She sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose before continuing “The council have voted and agreed to accept temporary acceptance of New Talax until a full session can be called on the matter in a month’s time. We’d be best if we had the head of New Talax … Regent Oxilon, isn’t it here to speak for his people. Him or Mister Neelix would be good.”

“Neelix would be best. He’s far more of a ‘people-person’ and has extensive negotiation experience under his belt. I’ll speak to Admiral Janeway about getting him here. About the Luna…” Akaar trailed off.

“You can have her. As long as she’s just sitting there, unwanted by the fleet then feel free to retask her. Now, what’s this I read about the quantum slipstream technology being given to Neelix. Admiral that’s a massive secret … one we’ve got to extreme lengths to keep out of the hands of the Typhon Pact. Hell, we haven’t even given the drive to our own allies. If he got it from Starfleet personnel…” Bacco started to flare.

“He didn’t. Realistically, he got it from Seven of Nine. She’s a civilian within the fleet and wouldn’t contain the secrets of our drives. Because of the work she did on the slipstream drive whilst Voyager was still in the delta quadrant, as well as he own expertise on Borg transwarp tech I think that’s where the technology came from. Also, this is a benefit for us.”

“Really” Bacco asked sarcastically. “Tell me, how when the ambassadors from Cardassia … Qo’nos and our other allies hear about this am I supposed to tell them that Talaxians have the tech and not them? Leonard, you know how they’ll react.”

“Simple” Akaar stated. “Without the tech then there’s no way Talaxians can come to the Federation. What’s more, the civilian who gave him the tech did so of her own volition. Not only did we have nothing to do with it, we can’t control how a civilian sells propulsion technology to. Her adaptation is fundamentally different to our drives at its base components and contains none of our secrets. Without a chroniton integrator to allow it to take sensor readings from a few seconds into the future the drive has had to be designed differently. The phase variance has been more of a problem but I’m confident that the problem has been solved by now.

Besides, it’s been fitted to the SS Raven, a former Federation Aerie-class vessel used for civilian scientific research and colonisation. They’ve legally salvaged it and are fitting the drive to it. The Raven is part of the reason I need Luna. They’ll need shuttles that fit. Now … for the most part the Type-6 shuttles have been retired from the fleet, the Type-7 have already been completely decommissioned. With New Talax being part of the Federation, even temporarily they’re entitled to request to purchase surplus and decommissioned Starfleet hardware, as long as it’s not to current standards. I need Luna to be able to load up on shuttles to take to New Talax. Not to mention the Corps of Engineers detachment I need that can help bring the colony up to better standards.”

Bacco rolled her eyes so Akaar pushed on quickly. “New Talax has offered to be our base of operations in the delta quadrant. We need to expand their asteroid colony and see how things stand as well as looking into the potential of constructing a starbase there.”

“Whoa, slow down” Bacco stated. “A starbase?”

“Yes. Not only do we need to know definitively that the Borg are gone, but to maintain ties with our new friends. The only way to do that is to put a base at New Talax. Without Achilles a base where the ships can put in for repairs is essential. It doesn’t need to be a large facility, something smaller would do ... at least for now” Akaar ploughed ahead.

“Stop” Bacco answered firmly with a raised hand. “You can send Luna to join the fleet … and I want our engineers to look at that drive and ascertain exactly how it’s different from our own. Get work to the Talaxians about their temporary acceptance and that we need Mister Neelix here as soon as he can. You can prepare a plan for a small starbase there. For now, you’re authorised to give the Talaxians what they need, as long as it doesn’t compromise Federation security.”

Akaar nodded, barely succeeding in keeping his face straight. The President didn’t realise the slip she’d just made, and how much latitude it gave Akaar to really send the assistance he believed the Talaxians truly needed. Nodding his understanding he rose and said

“Thank you, madam president” before moving quickly from the office.

It wasn’t until the doors closed behind the towering admiral that Bacco realised just how open-ended her last order had been to the Capellan legend.

“Lieutenant” Akaar spoke swiftly, addressing the young officer assigned as his aide. Speaking as much to himself as to Lieutenant Lana Verrone, Akaar added “Send a signal to Utopia Planitia, dock twelve. Tell them that they have a go to test the slipstream drive they’ve built into the repaired ship. I want them tested ASAP. Also, signal Commander Gardner at Fleet Storage Yard Nine. Tell her that I need a pair of Aerie-class vessels and a Freedom if she can spare it immediately. Contact Commander Drafar of the Achilles and tell him that he’s to head to the yard and start on the refits we discussed immediately. Tell him he has fourteen days and not a moment more.”
The young woman scrambled to jot down all her notes as the admiral barrelled onwards. “I need as many Type-6 and Type-7 shuttles as you can lay your hands on. Make sure none of them are up to current spec and are unarmed. We’re going to need as many supplies as possible from that list I transmitted to you rounded up. Fill Luna’s cargo holds to the brim before diverting the rest to Fleet Storage Yard Nine, the personnel there can load the remainder up aboard the vessels I’ve got in mind.”

“Yes, sir. Anything else, sir?” Verrone asked.

“Yes, find me Commander Martin Madden, I need to speak to him immediately. Get that cargo loaded immediately, that’s your most important job right now” Akaar replied. The young woman nodded her understanding as she and her boss reached the transporter platform and stepped up onto the pad. Moments later they materialized within Starfleet Command, and the pair went to their respective offices.

Utopia Planitia, June 1st, 2382.

“What the hell am I supposed to do with these?” Commander Wilson Janhesse muttered as he stared at the Freedom and Aerie-class starships lined up before him.

“Well, the idea is to get them slipstream capable so they can go to New Talax” Captain Sonya Gomez answered quickly.

“Yeah, that’s my problem” Wilson muttered. Selina raised an eyebrow at him in question so he added “The slipstream drive is our best propulsion design, heavily classified. Only a handful of ships in the fleet have it and now we’re handing it over to a bunch of civilians in the delta quadrant…”

“No” Sonya replied firmly with a shake of her head. “The drive we’re fitting is a civilian design. It’s nowhere near as capable or as efficient as Starfleet’s design … but it does work. Technically, there’s nothing classified about the drive we’re fitting. Yes, we need to make sure it doesn’t fall into the hands of the Typhon Pact, but there’s nothing more than that. We’re simply … we’re just refitting these ships that Starfleet Command has decided to donate to the Talaxian community. They’re part of the Federation now, and with them being so far away they need a way to actually get to us.”

“I’d think that with these ships being refitted, they’d be more use closer to home. God knows we lost so many ships” Wilson said. Besides, the Freedom-class ship alone needs a crew of three hundred, the Talaxian population in total is only … what … six hundred?”

“A good point” Sonya replied, “but consider the Talaxian needs. Their lives revolve around trading for what they need. It wouldn’t take a crew of more than thirty to fifty at most to operate that Freedom-class ship here for simple trading runs, and in combat they’d only need a small crew and if they have to defend their colony then the same amount of people would be able to take the ship into combat. The Aerie-class ships we’re doing for them are going to be their primary scientific ships and even in combat they can coordinate with the Freedom’s to provide tactical support.”

“I suppose” Wilson retorted, still clearly unhappy about the whole situation.

“Wow. With respect sir, that’s … that’s almost crazy” Captain Kell Perim’s voice stated. Akaar looked at the Trill woman’s face on his screen calmly, but raised an eyebrow in surprise.

“One person’s crazy is another person’s understandable” The Admiral replied. “What it comes down to is that the Full Circle Fleet needs a base of operations in the Delta Quadrant. With the ships that were lost, recovered, lost again only to now turn up again in coordination with the damage those ships take on a regular basis and them not having access to Achilles anymore means they need this.”

“I agree on every single point, sir. My concern is whether my ship … any ship for that matter can carry this off” Kell stated.

“An understandable concern, captain. My reaction would have been the same if this plan had been put to me when I commanded a ship. Your vessel has been chosen for this because your crew have shown amazing ingenuity since the Buran was taken from mothballs. Your crew being able to take a ship decimated by the Borg at Wolf 359 and getting it operational to help fight off the same species again during the Borg invasion was nothing short of amazing.”

“With respect sir, it was Captain Reed and his engineering staff that designed all these upgrades when the scheme was trialled with Challenger. That and we had his staff’s advice and support every step of the way” Kell explained.

“I know, captain. Still, I think you’re the best choice for this” Akaar answered.

Kell sighed and leaned towards the screen before saying “So let me just get this clear in my head, sir. The plan is to fit Buran with a slipstream drive. Once that’s done, we’re going to establish hard dock inside an old L-type spacedock and fit more bracing supports. Once that’s done the spacedock’s thruster and structural integrity systems will be slaved to Buran.”

Akaar nodded as Kell went along, confirming each step. Continuing, Kell added “Once we’re moving at full thruster speed the Buran will slowly engage impulse engines and push the dock faster. Finally we’ll open a slipstream window and take the combined mass inside. Once we’re in the, augments to the SIF’s should hold the spacedock in one piece while we travel to New Talax in the Delta Quadrant! Once there we’ll have to navigate through the asteroid field to get the dock into position to serve as the basis for a starbase to be built onto it.”

“Yes, that’s pretty much it” Akaar answered, highly amused. “Any problems?”

“Oh god, this is going to blow up in my face” Kell muttered as she leaned back again.

“I hope not, otherwise I’ll have to try this all over again” Akaar replied, completely deadpan. Kell looked shocked so the most senior officer in Starfleet added “By the time you’re ready there should be three ships ready to travel with you to the Delta Quadrant. The Talaxians are taking possession of a Freedom and a pair of Aerie’s that we’re refitting with a civilian grade variant of the Slipstream drive, designed for them specifically by the civilian sector. They’ll be heading to New Talax and I’d like them to be able to serve regular courier runs for us as well as being able to provide support for the fleet.”

“Sir … the Talaxians don’t know anything about Federation tech. They’ll have to be taught how to operate and maintain those ships, not to mention how to fight with them…” Kell started.

Quickly silencing the younger officer, Akaar answered “That’s already been taken care of. We’ve got personnel already aboard the spacedock ready and willing to serve as instructors to teach the Talaxians how to work effectively. So captain, are you ready to go to the Delta Quadrant?”

“How can I possibly say no?” Kell retorted sarcastically.

“You can’t” Akaar stated. “We’ll speak again once you reach the spacedock, captain. Make haste. Starfleet Command, out”.

Aboard the USS Concord NCC-68711. June 3rd, 2382.

Commander Martin Madden strode briskly onto the bridge of Concord and came to a brisk halt. The bridge was a hive of activity, although not the normal day-to-day operations of a starship he was used to.

Not a single console had its inner components covered. Every station had their access hatches for their internal workings exposed. Engineers worked at every station, either running diagnostics or fitting replacement parts.

Martin took in the atmosphere for a moment, happy not to alert anyone to his presence. Finally, the woman who he had been told would be serving as his right hand noticed his presence.

The tall, ebony skinned woman quickly extracted herself from the helm console she had been working on, passing the tool she was holding to the engineer with her before hurrying over.

“Sorry I didn’t announce you, sir. I thought it would be best to just leave the engineers to their work” the woman stated as she stood before Martin.

Madden smiled at her before answering “I completely understand … and agree. We need this work done, not interrupted”.

“I’m Lieutenant-Commander Alicia Dougherty, formerly of USS Centaur” the woman explained.

“The late Admiral Dougherty’s daughter” Martin spoke aloud as he recognised the name.

“The same, sir. My father’s actions against the Ba’ku made me far from desirable to ship commanders. Guilt by blood-relation, I guess” Alicia answered.

“Well, I have a habit of judging people on who they are and what they do, not their family ties” Martin stated with a smile. Alicia smiled shyly back at him for a moment.

Feeling suddenly awkward, Martin cleared his throat and asked “Well. What’s our status?”

Comfortable to be back talking about work Alicia replied “The primary and secondary systems are up, but there are a lot of faults with the system. Concord was reactivated for the Borg Invasion, but was purely rear-guard duties. After the Borg threat ended she was simply overlooked again during the rebuilding efforts, she spent the majority of her time doing milk runs.”

“She’s still got the tech she had when she was commissioned” Martin stated.

“Yes. Admiral Akaar has been very clear that the ship will retain this tech, he’s not willing to give the Talaxians and more advanced than this. We’ve fitted the civilian-grade slipstream drive and I’ve tweaked the protocols for slipstream flight. There was a real risk of catastrophic phase-variances that could overload the quantum matrix, but I’ve gotten these old sensors realigned to provide us with more warning about imbalances. We’ll have nearly a whole minute to compensate before things go bad” Alicia explained.

“Well, seeing as you’ll be sitting to my right when we make the slipstream run, I’m happy that you’ve made improvements” Martin stated.

Alicia’s mouth hung open slightly for a moment before stammering “I … I’ll be sitting to your right. You want me to serve as XO while we do a run…?”

“Alicia, let’s get something clear. I won’t be retaining command of the Concord. We’re taking her to the Talaxians and teaching them how to use her … that’s it. Once were done, I’ll be getting my own command. How about we see how we work together here and maybe I’ll tap you as my permanent XO on the next ship” Martin said quickly.

The young woman smiled broadly at her new commanding officer before replying “I’d like that, sir.”

“Excellent. Now, how soon until this ship is ready for launch?” Madden asked.

“Thirty hours, at this time. The engineers are working as hard as possible but there are still so many things that need to be brought back up to full working spec” Alicia replied.

“Understandable” Madden answered. “Let’s just focus on getting this done right”.

PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2019 11:34 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2009 1:00 am
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Location: Aboard the Warstar Irkalla
Hi, everyone!

A little more Voyager.

Aboard the USS Vesta. June 3rd, 2382.

The turbolift doors sighed open, clearing the way for Captain Regina Farkas to step out onto her bridge. Before she’d made more than a couple of paces a voice called out to her “Captain!”

Farkas turned to see her senior science officer, a human woman named Tonil Hornung. “Lieutenant” Farkas began “what’s on your mind?”

“Captain, I’ve got something on sensors. An intermittent contact that flares up every twenty-six seconds for a moment before disappearing” the young science officer stated.

“What kind of contact?” Farkas asked, her interest peaked.

“Not sure, it’s moving out of range now. I picked it up two minutes ago … I wanted to make sure it wasn’t a glitch caused by towing Raven. I think … the sensor returns look like a Starfleet warp field, but I’m not sure” Tonil admitted.

“Helm, all stop. Hold this position and await coordinates from science” Farkas ordered sharply. Within seconds the massive ship was at a full stop, hanging in space.

“I’ll get a fix on the last recorded position and transfer it to the helm” Tonil stated before she muttered “God, I hope I’m not sending us chasing after what turns out to be a sensor ghost.”

“I’ve got faith in you” Farkas admitted quietly to the young woman before she stepped over to her ready room. “Helm. As soon as you’ve got coordinates on Tonil’s contact, lay in a course and prepare to engage at maximum warp. I need to go talk to Mister Neelix” Farkas added just as she stepped off the bridge she had so recently walked onto.

Aboard the USS Dauntless. June 3rd, 2382.

“Captain on the bridge!” Lieutenant Commander Julian Psilakis boomed, his voice carrying around the bridge.

“As you were” Tom Paris countered quickly, waving the bridge staff back to work. As the crew turned their attention back to their consoles Tom made his way directly towards the ready room, his ready room. Striding past the command chairs he said to Psilakis “Commander, my ready room, please”.

“Lieutenant D’Cruz, you have the conn” Psilakis snapped out to the chief engineer at the bridge’s engineering console before he followed his captain into the office just off the bridge.

The doors barely closed behind Psilakis before Tom, who was just sitting down at his desk stated “We’ve received new orders. Vesta is on her way back here with Neelix and the Raven. They’ve picked up a Starfleet warp signature … someone who’s not with the fleet.”
“Another ship that got stranded out here?” Julian asked as he took the seat Tom waved him towards.

“Possibly. Probably. Hell, we don’t know” Paris answered as he ran a hand over his face. “When Voyager was out here first time round we came across Raven and Equinox, but that’s it. Who knows. All I know is that Admiral Janeway has ordered us to proceed to there at best speed and assist Vesta in figuring this out.”

“Understood, sir” Julian replied. “The coordinates?”

“I’ve already transferred them to the helm. Get us there ASAP commander, and give me an ETA to Vesta. I’ll check in with Captain Farkas as soon as you do” Paris instructed as he leaned forwards and activated his desk mounted computer interface.

“Understood, sir” Psilakis answered with a nod.

“We don’t know exactly what we’re going to encounter there, so we’re taking aboard a few key personnel from Voyager before we leave. They’ll be part of the away team that boards that ship … but you will be in charge of the away team. Understood?” Tom spoke to his first officer.

“Crystal clear, sir. Thank you, sir” Psilakis said with a smile.

“Excellent. Dismissed” Tom spoke, ending their conversation. As Psilakis rose and left the room Tom turned his attention back to his computer terminal.

Aboard the CSS Aurora, at the same time.

The ships bridge was devoid of its usual noises, the gentle beep and chirping of stations were gone. The bustle of people tending their stations, going about their duties was absent. In their place, the consoles around the darkened room flashed, their power intermittent. Some sparked as gasses vented from ruptured overhead conduits.

The crew lay strewn across the deck, not one of them moving. The ship was unusually silent, the usual thrum of the warp core replaced with a much more sickly sound.

No one was able to see an indicator blinking at the operations console signalling a ship just entering long-range sensors.

Aboard the USS Vesta. June 4th, 2382.

“Captain, the Dauntless is curving around and joining formation. Captain Paris is hailing us” Ensign Jepel Opar called out from the operations station.

Captain Regina Farkas admired the sleek lines of the Dauntless. The ship was much smaller than her own, but was packing the very latest technology to come off the lines. Regina admired the sleek little ship for a moment longer before ordering “Put Captain Paris on screen.”

Seconds later the image changed to show the grinning face of Thomas Eugene Paris. Regina couldn’t help but smile broadly back as she said “Captain Paris, good to see you. That’s a mighty fine looking ship you’ve got there.”

“Thanks, I’m proud of my little stallion. She got us here real fast” Tom replied.

“So I see, she’s faster than Vesta … or anything else we’ve got out here I bet” Farkas answered. “You got here faster than I anticipated. We should be arriving at the contact in a few minutes.”

“We poured on the speed a little so we could share this moment” Paris replied with that still present smirk. “Where do you want us, captain?”

“Admiral Janeway wants Dauntless to take point on this, but I’d be most appreciative if you allowed us to stick around a little longer. My staff have really got their interest up with this mystery” Farkas stated.

“We’ve got point? Testing me already? Paris half-joked. “It’d be my honour to have you around, captain” Paris added sincerely. “Would you like to assign officers to my away team?”

“I’d like to send over Lieutenant Phinnegan Bryce and Lieutenant Tonil Hornung, my chief engineer and senior science officer respectively. Tonil is the one who detected the ship initially” Farkas stated.

“I’d be an honour to have them as part of the team. Lieutenant Commander Psilakis is leading the away team, I’ll arrange to have your officers beamed over here for the initial team briefing before they head over, with your permission” Paris said.

“By all means” Farkas stated simply. “Captain, When all this is said and done, I’d love to have the chance to beam over and take a look at your ship.”

“I’m sure we can arrange that. After all, what are we meant to do whilst our officers explore the strange, unknown ship” Paris said with his ever-present smile.

Farkas laughed before answering “Too true. I’ll see you soon, Vesta out.”

Paris watched the image of Captain Farkas disappear from the viewscreen before he turned to his first officer. “Julian, please make sure you’ve got space on the away team for Vesta’s officers. As soon we’re close to the unknown ship we’ll get as much sensor information as we can before you beam over. What’s your plan?”

“I’ll split my team into two. I’ll beam onto the bridge with Lieutenants Bryce and Hornung. I’ll want D’Cruz and three engineering members of her choice with two security officers to beam directly into that ships main engineering. I’ll have two security officers with my team as well. I’ve already notified Lieutenant D’Cruz as well as my security officers. I’m just about to send the information to Bryce and Hornung as well” Psilakis replied, his deployment plan already well thought out.

“Good. Excellent planning” Paris replied.

Before Psilakis could answer a voice called out from the helm “Captain, we’re approaching the ship. Preparing to drop to impulse in five … four … three … two … one … mark.” Seconds later the young officer added “We’re at impulse and in formation with Vesta. The unknown ship is seven-thousand kilometres off the bow.”

“On screen” Paris ordered as every pair of eyes shifted once again to the ships main viewscreen.

The image on the viewer shifted to show the view directly ahead of the ship. Paris barely managed to suppress a gasp, Psilakis didn’t. The inexperienced first officer said “But … that’s … that’s …”

“A Vesta-class starship” Paris finished for him.

“I’ve never seen a Vesta with those type of warp nacelles” added a voice from the back of the bridge. D’Cruz had made her way up from her engine room.

“Agreed” Paris answered before he squinted slightly at the view before him. “Ops, tighten in on the ships markings and enhance.”

Almost immediately his order was carried out and the image changed once more. Paris read aloud what he was seeing. “CSS Aurora. NCC-82619. CSS … oh, my god”. Paris leant back in his command chair before ordering “Ops, scan that ship and determine her quantum signature.”

“Sir?” Psilakis asked as he turned to Tom.

Paris leaned closer to Psilakis before answering “That’s a hull design we’re familiar with, but she’s CSS, not USS. Julian, If I’m right then that ships quantum signature won’t match our own … and she’ll be from an alternate universe.”

“Holy shi…” Psilakis started to reply before luckily the ops officer cut him off.

“Captain, that ship’s quantum signature does not match with our galaxy. Sir, she’s not from around here” the ops officer announced.

“This changes the game a whole lot” Paris muttered. Louder he added “Scan for life-signs. Commander, assemble your boarding party and beam over there immediately. Coordinate with ops, if there’s no atmosphere you’ll need EVA gear.”

“Captain, sensors show four hundred life-signs aboard. There is atmosphere, but the ship is running on emergency battery power only” the ops officer announced.

“Commander, go” Paris quickly said. “If their Vesta-class ships have the same crew complement as ours then they’ve lost two-hundred-fifty of their crew already. Add medics to your team”.

“Consider me gone” Psilakis answered as he rose from his seat and rushed towards the turbolift. Seconds later he was gone.

Lieutenant Commander Julian Psilakis, first officer of the USS Dauntless materialised on the darkened, battered bridge of the unknown ship. The instant he snapped on his wrist mounted light he saw others coming on, satisfying him that the other members of his team had materialised just behind him.

Julian looked around, shining the light towards the floor. As soon as he saw a man sitting in the ships command chair he rushed forwards. His fingers probed the neck of a man he recognised, but still felt shock. Geordi LaForge, red undershirt with four solid gold pips sat dead in his command chair.

A small movement near his feet caught his attention so Julian quickly moved to its source. A man was trying to move so he helped the man roll onto his back and looked into his face, just as the man’s eyes fluttered open.

“Who … who are you? You’re Starfleet?” the dazed and injured man asked groggily.

“Yes, I’m Starfleet. Julian Psilakis, first officer of the Dauntless” Julian answered, being careful not to give too much information.

“Huh … when … when did a Galaxy-class get a slipstream drive to get to the Delta Quadrant?” the man asked.

“We can answer question later” Julian said gently. “What’s your name?”

“Sean … Sean Hawk. Commander … first officer of the Aurora. How … how’s Captain LaForge?” Sean Hawk murmured.

Psilakis swallowed back his shock. He knew of Sean Hawk, the former helmsman of the Enterprise-E had lost his life to the Borg ten years ago. “I’m sorry, the captain didn’t make it” Julian replied gently. He helped Hawk up into a sitting position just as a medic rushed to his side.

The medical officer ran a tricorder over Hawk before saying “Commander, this man’s got internal bleeding and serious injuries. I need to get him back to the Dauntless for treatment. Most of the bridge crew here need serious medical care that I can’t provide here.”

“Understood” Julian said simply as he tapped his comm badge. “Psilakis to Dauntless. Captain, we’ve got people here on the bridge in serious need of medical treatment. They’ve already been tagged. Request transporter control lock on and beam them directly to sickbay.”

“Energising” Tom Paris’s voice came through the comm badge. Within seconds the injured, Hawk included disappeared in columns of light.

As soon as Hawk was gone Psilakis rose to his feet and reported “Captain, Geordi LaForge was the captain of this ship … and he’s dead. Sean Hawk is ships first officer and he’s amongst the injured now in sickbay.”

“Understood, Commander” Paris replied. “Stabilise that ship and prepare a full report for me. Captain Farkas is beaming over now, we’ll head down to sickbay and speak to Mister Hawk. Good work, Paris out.”

Twenty minutes later Tom Paris was standing before the transporter platform as two figures materialised. Both women, Captain Regina Farkas and her chief medical officer, Doctor El’nor Sal smiled down at him before Farkas asked “Captain Paris, permission to come aboard.”

“Permission granted” Paris answered with his broad smile. Both women stepped down and shook his offered hand.

“The Dauntless … I can’t wait for my tour” Farkas said as she looked around the near standard transporter room.

“Unfortunately, It’ll have to wait until we’ve spoken to Commander Hawk” Paris replied.

“What is Mister Hawk’s status?” Janeway asked. “I’ve already sent a message to Admiral Janeway and Captain Chakotay to inform them of what we know at this time.”

“He’s just gotten out of surgery but he should be waking up any minute. I was planning on sending a detailed report once I’ve spoken to Sean” Paris replied as he started out of the room, both women flanking him as he moved into the ships corridors, making their way towards sickbay.

As they entered, a Vulcan male looked Paris in the eye and stated “Captain, the patient has regained consciousness. Your timing is impeccable.”

“Thanks, Doc” Paris replied. He gestured towards the ships chief medical officer and said “Captain Farkas, Doctor Sal, meet Doctor Lamar. He was CMO of the Hawking before she was lost and then returned from the Omega Continuum.”

Both women greeted Lamar back to the fleet before Paris turned his attention to Sean Hawk who was pushing himself up on the bed.
Hawk looked towards Paris and the women before he said “Captain Paris? But … you’re in command of Voyager, not Dauntless. Dauntless is a Galaxy-class and this isn’t a Galaxy-class sickbay. Captain Farkas … you died fighting the Borg aboard the Venture. Your Galaxy-class was destroyed trying to hold the line at Deneva…”

“Easy there, Mister Hawk … we’ve got some things to explain to you” Farkas said gently as she sat on the edge of Hawk’s bed. She looked him in the eye and said simply “I don’t know what happened … but somehow you’re no longer in your universe. Your ship … and crew have a different quantum signature to us here. What went wrong, Mister Hawk?”

“Erm…” Hawk started as he rubbed the bridge of his nose and let out an exasperated sigh.

“It’s okay, Sean” Paris said, leaning in and putting a hand on the man’s shoulder. “Just relax and take it from the beginning.”
Sean Hawk let out a deep sigh before saying “The Borg basically won the invasion. They overwhelmed us totally. As many people as possible were crammed into every slipstream capable starship and they left to a safe world … Jean-Luc Picard led them on the Enterprise. Rumour had it they were going to some world he found when first commanding the Stargazer years ago, but that’s it. Anyway, the Aurora skirted around Federation space, racing into whatever surviving supply depots we could find and loading up with everything we could. Spare parts, shuttlecraft, weapons … everything.”

“You’re doing great, just relax. You’re safe here and among friends” Paris added.

Hawk nodded and continued “We went to slipstream as planned, but something went wrong. A component in the quantum field focus controller, and that caused a massive mis-calibration of the chroniton integrator. Systems were overloading all over the ship. The quantum slipstream drive was just producing more and more power, the slipstream corridor became more and more unstable. Something above me exploded. And … that’s the last I remember. Where’s Captain LaForge. Is he okay?”

“Sean … I’m sorry. Your captain didn’t make it” Tom said softly.

Hawk hung his head and let out a deep sigh. “My ship…?”he asked.

“Heavily damaged, but we’ve got people over there” Farkas reassured the younger man. “Some of our best people are already over there. Sensors confirm that there are four hundred of your crew still alive.”

“As soon as you were beamed aboard I ordered extra medical personnel to be beamed over … so did Captain Farkas” Paris added, gesturing to Regina. “Her ship, the Quirinal has more medics than mine and they’re over on your ship helping. Now … let’s get you briefed.”

Farkas shot a sharp glance at Tom and opened her mouth to speak. Before she could Tom motioned gently with his head to the corner. Regina followed him over.

“Captain. I know you probably think it’s a bad idea to brief Sean, but he’s going to have scared people over on his ship. We don’t know exactly how he got here so we don’t know how to get him home. Besides, his home is gone … at the very least his crew have the right to choose whether they want to stay here and help” Tom explained.

“Tom … we don’t know what kind of people his crew are. Starfleet has had multiple contacts with another universe…” Farkas spoke.

“The mirror universe, I know” Paris interrupted. “My gut is telling me that these people can be trusted, so that’s what I’m going with.”

“Okay” Farkas said slowly.

“Okay” Tom echoed before he moved back to Hawk. Tom sat on the edge of the bed and started “About a year ago the Borg attacked the United Federation of Planets, that’s our home organisation…”

PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2019 8:12 am 
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Hi, everyone!

As promised, some more Voyager.

Aboard the USS Aurora. June 4th, 2382.

“Well, shit” B’Elanna Torres muttered.

“That’s about the top and bottom of it” Lieutenant Selina D’Cruz, Dauntless’s chief engineer answered from next to her. The pair stood in main engineering of the Aurora. The vast space was one familiar to her. A near copy of the Quirinal’s, an area she had spent a month rebuilding after its fight with the Children of the Storm. The only difference was that this ships warp core was eerily similar to that found on the Sovereign-class ships.

“Looks like they went about it the same way as us … more or less” Selina said, her voice echoing around the damaged compartment. The cold warp core sat inactive before them. “They integrated the slipstream core into the upper part of the core. Looks very similar to ours, repairing it shouldn’t be a massive problem.”

“They haven’t developed a benamite re-crystalisation system, though” B’Elanna added as she looked at the core. “I’m far more concerned with the damage to the chroniton integrator” Torres added as she moved to the master engineering consoles, Selina right behind her.

B’Elanna took a few minutes to enter commands into the partially operational panel before she added “Well, shit. The chroniton integrator’s completely fried, I mean that thing is melted into useless parts.”

D’Cruz worked another partially operational console next to her before adding “I can’t even access the sensor logs of the incident that threw them here. When some of the EPS conduits blew they caused massive power surges. It’s damaged both computer cores and corrupted the data from the transition way beyond what we could conceivably salvage.”

“There’s no way to know exactly what happened so no way to send them back” B’Elanna added, instantly feeling sorry for the crew.

Aboard the USS Voyager. June 6th, 2382.

“Good afternoon, Captain” Lieutenant Devi Patel said as she rose from the captain’s seat.

“Lieutenant. Enjoying my seat?” Chakotay asked with a smile as he made his way to his chair and sat down.

“Yeah. Yeah, I actually am” Patel replied with a smile. With Harry still off the ship helping Neelix recover the Raven, Tom having his own command and B’Elanna going with him, Chakotay had given his chip’s senior science officer some shifts commanding the ship when he wasn’t on duty.

“Captain, a ship is dropping from slipstream. It’s Raven. They’re hailing us” Kenth Lasren announced from his operations station, behind and to the left of Chakotay.

“On screen” Chakotay ordered before adding quickly to Devi “Take a seat” as he gestured to the first officer’s chair. Patel smiled and took the offered seat.

Nancy sat just as Neelix’s face appeared on the main viewscreen. “Captain, how wonderful to see you. It feels like we haven’t been in contact for months.”

“It’s been thirteen days, Neelix” Chakotay replied with a broad smile.

“Nevertheless, it’s good to finally be with you” Neelix replied. “I want to thank you for allowing Lieutenants Kim, Conlon and Seven to come with me, they’ve been instrumental in helping me get the ship operational.”

“I’m glad you’re back” Chakotay stated. “I hope everything went well?”

“Oh, perfectly” Neelix replied. “Raven us up and running. Last I heard, Tom was heading to Vesta to help with a discovery. Is everything going okay?”

“We haven’t received word yet, but I assume everything’s fine” Chakotay replied reassuringly. Before he had chance to say anything else, a voice called out.

“Captain, I’m getting readings off the chart!” Lasren announced.

“Readings of what?” Chakotay asked, wishing his Betazoid operations officer would be a little clearer.

“Massive indications of multiple slipstream tunnels” Patel offered as she consulted the small console between the command chairs. “Captain … there’s either half of Starfleet coming in … or something real big.”

“Neelix, what’s the status of Raven’s weapons and shields?” Chakotay asked quickly.

“Our phaser arrays are Type-VII, but they’re operational. We don’t have any photon torpedoes but our shields are operational and upgraded, thanks to someone we both care very much for” Neelix replied with a smile.

“Excellent. I need your help” Chakotay quickly said.

“Anything, just name it” Neelix replied seriously.

“Can you move Raven back and provide guard for Galen and Demeter? Equinox, Hawking and Curie will help as much as they can. Voyager, Esquiline and Quirinal are turning to face whatever this is” Chakotay answered as he turned to Lasren and gave a small nod. The ops officer understood and immediately transmitted Chakotay’s orders to the other ships.

“They will be protected with every means at my disposal” Neelix stated. Before Chakotay could tell his old friend to not do anything rash Neelix added “Raven, out” and closed the channel.

Chakotay sighed gently and turned to Devi Patel. “This could get ugly” he said.

“I’m ready” the young woman answered, but Chakotay wasn’t reassured with the slight gulp that accompanied her statement.

Voyager turned gracefully, her bow swinging towards the incoming anomaly. As she completed her turn, the Vesta-class Esquiline and Quirinal swooped down, pivoting into position on her flanks.

Before them, a massive flare of blue light erupted as a slipstream corridor, one much larger than any Chakotay had ever seen before opened.

“Captain, there are ships coming out” Lasren announced, completely unnecessarily. Chakotay’s eyes were already glued to the viewscreen. The first ship to come through was clearly a Luna-class starship.

“Captain, behind the Luna-class. That’s … that’s an old Freedom-class starship” Aytar Gwyn announced from the helm.

“That’s not all” Chakotay answered as he rose to his feet, Patel rushing to emulate him. “There’s a pair of Aerie-class ships, and … by the gods, is that a spacedock?”

“Confirmed, sir” Lasren added. “We’ve got a Luna-class, a Freedom, two Aerie’s and a Challenger-class starship inside an L-type spacedock. From what I’m reading, the Luna and Challenger-classes are running standard Starfleet quantum slipstream drives, and that Challenger has been using her own propulsion system to drag the spacedock with her. Wait … wait, there’s an incoming hail. It’s from the Luna-class.”

“On screen” Chakotay ordered.

Seconds later the stern visage of Fleet Admiral Leonard James Akaar appeared on the viewscreen.

“Admiral” Chakotay began, “I wasn’t aware we’d see you back in the Delta Quadrant so soon, sir.”

“Perks of the job, captain. I get to decide where I go, and when” Akaar answered with the smallest of smiles. “I see Mister Neelix has arrived with the Raven.”

“Yes, sir” Chakotay replied. “I must also make you aware of a new development. Captain Farkas took Vesta out to guide Neelix back. While she was out there her long-range sensors picked up what looked like another Starfleet ship.”

“We haven’t got any other Starfleet ships out here, lost or otherwise” Akaar retorted quickly. A little too quickly Chakotay noticed.

“That’s right, sir. Captain Paris was instructed to take Dauntless and assist Vesta. They’ve reported in and what they’ve found is quite frankly, amazing” Chakotay reported as he wondered what Akaar was keeping to himself. “They’ve encountered a version of a Vesta-class ship. It’s from another Starfleet, another universe.”

“Surely not the one we are already aware of?” Akaar queried.

“No, sir. She’s the CSS Aurora, from the Coalition of Worlds. Where they’re from, the Borg succeeded in their invasion attempt of the Alpha Quadrant. Their Jean-Luc Picard has been leading their survivors to a supposed safe haven he found when he first took command of Stargazer” Chakotay explained. Akaar nodded his head, clearly he already knew where the alternate Jean-Luc was going to.
Chakotay pressed on “The Aurora was raiding out of the way Starfleet depots for everything she could cram into her holds before making a run for it too. All we know is that some sort of malfunction occurred aboard the Aurora which resulted in massive damage to her chroniton integrator. Unfortunately, the drive and sensor records are annihilated but the long story is that somehow their slipstream corridor destabilised and deposited them here, in this universe.”

Akaar took all this information in stride, pausing only for a moment to take all this in. Finally the imposing Capellan said “I’ll be beaming aboard Voyager momentarily, it’ll be directly to your ready room to brief you. I need to speak to Admiral Janeway as soon as possible.”

“We’re not sure yet on exactly when Vesta will be returning. Raven has just returned, before they were out of comm-range of Vesta, the admiral sent me the report I’ve just given you.”

“Understood” Akaar replied. “Prepare to receive me. Luna, out.”

The image on the viewscreen shifted back once again to show the sight of Federation ships and the large drydock. As Chakotay focused on what was happening on the screen, Harry Kim, Nancy Conlon and Seven materialised on the bridge.

Smiling at his returned officers, Chakotay said “It’s good to have you all home. Harry, you’re first officer so take your new station … sorry, Devi.”

“No apologies necessary, sir” Patel answered as she rose from her seat and rushed to the science station. Nancy nodded to Chakotay before taking the engineering station, Seven moved to the small console mounted on the railing behind the command chairs.

“Looks like the drydock’s on the move” Chakotay added.

“Confirmed, sir” Lasren stated from ops. “The USS Challenger is using her impulse engines in concert with thruster assemblies on the drydock. They’re moving to put themselves into a static orbit of New Talax.”

USS Voyager, Captain’s Ready Room. Ten minutes later.

“Captain Chakotay, good to see you again” Admiral Akaar said as he strode briskly into Chakotay’s ready room.

“Admiral, always a pleasure. I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting to see you again quite so soon” Chakotay replied.

“Things change” Akaar answered simply. He lowered himself into a chair at Chakotay’s desk and motioned for him to sit. Neelix welcomed Akaar back to the Delta Quadrant warmly and Akaar and Janeway exchanged pleasantries for a few moments.

Finally Akaar got straight to the point. “Gentlemen” the admiral began “and Lady. I’ll get straight to it. I’ve managed to pull some strings and get some work done in record time thanks to the crew of the Achilles. Now, an old L-Type spacedock that was slated for decommissioning has been dragged here courtesy of USS Buran. Captain Perim and the Buran will be returning me home and will not be a part of your fleet, but Starfleet will with the Talaxians permission establish a long-term presence here.”

Janeway and Chakotay shared a concerned look as Akaar ploughed on. “Now, I can tell you that the Federation Council met in an emergency session to discuss the New Talax’s petition to join the Federation. Due to the distances involved they agreed to grant New Talax temporary membership into the Federation whilst the long process of full membership is underway. Ambassador Neelix, President Bacco wants you back on Earth to help navigate us through this.”

“Of course, admiral” Neelix quickly said.

Akaar nodded to the man before continuing “I’ve … taken the measure of speaking to the President personally. She has agreed to transfer three ships to New Talax, a pair of Aerie’s and an old Freedom-class vessel. All three of these ships have been fitted with the drive that civilian consultant Seven sold to New Talax. Those three ships have a small crew each, but those crew are there to teach the Talaxians how to operate and maintain those vessels. USS Luna has been pulled from long-term storage and repaired and refitted. She’s loaded up with unarmed Type-6 and 7 shuttles for use by the Talaxians.”

“Admiral, this is incredible news” Janeway said for Neelix, the man was clearly in shock at this miracle news.

“It is” Akaar agreed.

“Admiral, I speak for the entire people of New Talax when I say that Starfleet is most welcome to put its spacedock here” Neelix managed to stammer.

“Thank you, Mister Ambassador” Akaar replied. He took a breath before adding “Now. Luna is assigned to the fleet. She’s carrying a fair sized detachment of the SCE who have volunteered to spend time in this quadrant getting the most out of the asteroid for the Talaxian people. Ambassador Neelix, they feel that they can easily triple the size of your habitat whilst maximising its potential. Admiral Janeway, Commander Martin Madden is aboard the Freedom-class I brought. He will oversee the training of the Talaxians. There are no people I can assign to command the Luna so I am taking the unusual step of authorising someone of flag rank to command a starship. Admiral Janeway, the Luna is your ship now.”

Akaar saw the look of concern and confusion on Janeway’s face, so held up a hand to forestall her and continued “I understand the demands placed upon you commanding this newly expanded fleet, however that is something you will simply have to deal with for the short term. Once Commander Madden has finished training the Talaxians, he will be free to serve as your XO” Akaar said. Chakotay and Janeway shared another glance before Chakotay opened his mouth and launched into a briefing that would take up most of the next hour.

Akaar walked around the ready room in an attempt to stretch the kinks out of his muscles. A fresh cup of coffee in his hand smelled good, but he ignored the enticing scent and said finally “Well … that’s quite some news. I’ll have to inform the president … and the DTI. They might have something to say about this, but seeing as they’re from another universe at a comparable time with the same technology as ours, I can’t see as they’d have much need if any to be involved. Still, it pays to cover all the bases.”

“Naturally” Janeway answered. “Tom has reported that the Aurora they encountered is salvageable. To be perfectly honest, I’d rather let him repair the ship and study her than have to destroy a useful piece of technology. As it stands we’ve got no way of sending them home … I don’t think they’d want to go back with what they reported. It was all backed up with data from their computers.”

“I agree” Akaar replied. He sighed briefly before adding “Kathryn, your fleet was reduced from nine ships originally down to only four. Now, with Aurora, you’ll be up to eleven starships. We’re still rebuilding things back home. The fleet is still nowhere near back to full strength, and we’re tying up eleven starships out here.”

“Admiral, with New Talax being part of the Federation now, even provisionally, they’re entitles to have Starfleet near to assist them should the need arise. Not only that, but think of the potential for exploration we now have out here. We can send out more ships to cover more area. I agree, our primary mission for being out here to discover the fate of the Borg is pretty much cut-and-dried but we’ve still got lots of work to do out here.”

Akaar thought for a moment more before answering “You can keep your fleet intact for now, whether that will change is anybody’s guess but for now do what you can. I want reports continued to be forwarded to me regularly. You’re authorised to repair Aurora and incorporate her into the fleet, assuming the crew wants to stay and are willing to swear their oaths to Starfleet.”

“I think they will” Janeway reassured the head of Starfleet.

Finally, Akaar nodded to the assembled group and said “At this age, I need some sleep. I’m returning to the Buran. We’ll be returning to the Alpha Quadrant with the next few days. Good night, all of you. We’ll continue to talk tomorrow. Mister Ambassador, I’ll speak to you then regarding travel to the Federation Council.”

“I look forward to it” Neelix answered eagerly. With that, Akaar nodded once more and swept from the room.

PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2019 1:09 am 
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2019 9:17 pm 
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Nice, that was a very good read.
So thank you for that one.
Keep it up.
Don't know if you can do anything with the following, but....
Just some of my thoughts (and rambelings), you know.
Your story and all, but it sounds like the ship bin is pretty empty, so how to cheat out a few more, you know.

Will they be able to get the Prometheus or not?
I ask since it can split up in what's basically three Defiants and goes from one main warp core, plus a backup one, to three warpcores the size of the backup one.
Meaning that that main warpcore goes from fuel economic to fuel eating and it has three crystal reaction chambers.
Now the Klingons still use a crystal for their warpcores that can't be renewed and thus needs replacing for every two years of operations, yet produces more power, also a bit more fuel hungry.
Why not combining these two facts into a warpcore setup thats economical when traveling, but can go to a fuel eating high power twin (WAR) core setup?
No need for any real seperation of the cores, just their AM/M reaction chamber turning from one big one, to two smaller ones.

Then there is the seperation systems of the Prometheus it's multi-vector ability, perfect for quickly docking cargo containers.
Perfect for moving large amounts of cargo, quickly.
Suggest they get some.
And get a few Sabers, with some modifications, they might be able to act as the tug-ships of a cargo supporting supperstructure, docked to their upper tail, like that one freighter from Star Trek Enterprise (owned by the family of the NX-01 it's main pilot).
That should simplify some secure supply chains, while at the same time giving them warship level protection, in a way.
As for moving the below, mount two shipyards back to back, then one has it in it's bay, while the other has the driveship acting starship docked to it.
But it might be saver to take one shipyard and bolt two other to it's sides, less slipstream drive problems in terms of generation & navigation.
It would give maximum cargo storage capacity, using those side mounted shipyards as cargobays, so that might be something to be looked at, by Starfleet (and you).

Now, the E-D (Enterprise NCC 1701-D) engineerings hull was blown and the Saucer crashed landed.
Can they somehow get that saucer back into space? (I remember how the E-D moved a asteriod true clever use of it's warpdrive)
Because mounting it on a Nebula Engineerings hull would be just perfect, especially a unfinished one that still needs to get it's internals and nacells.
If warpcore lenght means how economical it gets, why not laying a Nebula/Galaxy core mostly horizontal, if with a slight angle so you can still drop it in a downwards angle?
It lets you pull off the Prometheus warpcore setup with two Nebula/Galaxy warpcores, that liquid matter fuel tank restricts the vertical hight of the warpcore, so cheat by following the early Constitution & Enterprise classes their vertical reactor setup, probably what the Akira class is also doing to get enough room for a larger warpcore setup.

I do suggest they change them from two single large fuel injectors to the multiply smaller injectors that smaller ships like the Nova, Defiant, Intrepid (Voyager), Prometheus and even the the Enterprise under Kirk, had.
I mean, look at how often the E-D or the other Nebula & Galaxy class ships had warpcore problems.
And it was not just those two classes, either.
I believe the single fuel injector is the breakpoint, while a multi-injector setup can compensate the fuel irregularities in terms of the M/AM reaction.

Then use a B-52 engine pod setup using two Sovereign nacelles mounted back to back on each engine-pylon.
Followed up by the All Good Things future E-D it's Dreadnought upgrade and potentially the Yesterday Enterprise it's E-D troop carrying ability (meaning no family and permenant(?) emergency live support, to get that 10.000 troops number).
Best thing is that then you can have a E-D Nebula to the resque of the E-E, even if this E-D Nebula is a real fixer upper in basically being a recovered crashed saucer and a unfinished Nebula engineerings hull, plus a large pile of parts.

And see about a Romulan Cloak (Defiant) and the Federation Phase Cloak with their construction plans, transported to them.
Really, it's the most distance location the Federation could hide that Phase Cloak Prototype, if they want to prevent it from being stolen, either relocate it too some distance corner of the galaxy or use another cloak as a cover.
Doing both...

But as for now, I suggest that they look into getting a spare Nova saucer for Voyager, back-pylon mounted, as a cheap Nebula, so to speak, plus a couple of Luna weapon pods for similar reasons.
They can temporarly remove the Equinox her saucer, so she can be used to pick one up, back home, unless they want to construct it locally, that is.
Then update every ship to Dauntless spec's, as soon as possible.
And see if there is room for some old fasion phaser ball turrets and shuttle torpedo launchers on the ships, for AA work during fleet battles, every second the main batteries are not shooting on the hostile ships, is bad for the shooting ship it's health itself, by simply not killing the opponent fast enough.

As for spacestation, what is small, what is big and what lays in between?
Dyson Sphere is probably big, the Borg Hub station Voyager used to get home would then be middle sized, so a station like Starbase One?
Or are they going for a heavily modified DS9 setup, with multiply dockyards on the middle section, including several Defiant construction docks and even boarding arms so crawling true a torpedo tupe is not needed (mirror verse DS9 Defiant dock was atleast logical).
One with Partical Fountain mining technology in it or perhaps that station it was mounted in, in TNG, together with the DS9 Dominion War fleetbase

Hell, will the Exocomps be used?
And what happens to Equinox her EEH?
Is it still around?
Because with the Voyager, high changes the Doc is around or will be, so getting the Prometheus would ad in that mkII.
That lets you have some hologravic crew fun, right there.
I do think this Equinox use that sensor grid trick from the start of Voyager her trip home, to project holograms in soace, unless that captain also managed to put them on the outer hull or constructed a projector drone of some sort...
Perhaps a diving tank kinda drone backpack, for holograms???
Might I suggest direct replication of the old Voyager Doctor his mobile Projector Unit?
Should let them copy it a bit, and thus allow those holograms around, while still limiting things.

As for the Runabouts, yes they might be dated, but so are the WorkBee's?
Runabouts can support the same cargo-pods that the WorkBee's use, thus letting them move those pods at warp speeds.
Perfect to move that stuff between yards, at speeds. (Some nice pic's at defiantart that show this)
Or from Earth orbit to Lunar orbit, you know.
As for the follow up design, will it combine the Delta Flyer with the Runabout?

Any of these?
https://www.deviantart.com/auctor-lucan ... -610888869
https://www.deviantart.com/calamitysi/a ... -745579992
https://www.deviantart.com/unusualsuspe ... -501807747
https://www.deviantart.com/damon1984/ar ... s-99730081

I'm sure you can see what I mean with the Saber class forming quite a nice tug for cargoship trains, right?
https://www.deviantart.com/adamkop/art/ ... -214154929
We expended just a little, really.
https://www.deviantart.com/sc452598073/ ... -618196467
And something similar to the cargo pod idea of quickly changing the cargo pods.
https://www.deviantart.com/markkingsnor ... -188603586
Or perhaps these two combined into one shuttlecraft ?
https://www.deviantart.com/todd587/art/ ... es-6325452

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