The ship bucked to port as another energy wave slammed into the bare hull. The bridge was a smoldering wreck now. Consoles destroyed, conduits ruptured, and debris scattered everywhere. The noise of the hull beginning to buckle under the stress was almost deafening. Yet, Captain Milus Verata remained calm despite the chaos on the bridge.
"Report!" the captain shouted over the noise.
"Helm controls off-line, internal communications are shot, sir. Also we have hull breaches on multiple decks, shields are gone and we have no weapons to speak of," a woman's voice reported back.
Milus didn't know her personally, she was an ensign whom had just reported to the bridge minutes earlier, and taken over then Conn. after the previous navigator had been injured when his console exploded. The experienced captain was impressed with the resolve that the new ensign had shown through this crisis. I'm going to have to put in a commendation for her, if we make it out of this, Milus thought.
"Engineering to Bridge!" A voice shook him from his thoughts. "We've fixed the comm. system!"
"Impressive, engineer. However that is not really a priority system right now...We need shields! And we need them so-". Verata was cut off by the ship rolling hard to starboard.
"Hull breach! Deck 24, emergency force fields are holding," it was the female ensign again, Verata could then just barely make out a sigh at the end of her sentence, "for now..."
The ship lurched and rolled again...
Engineering log; Stardate 32049.1,
Lieutenant Commander Brian McKnight, Chief of Engineering Operations on Starbase 62 reporting. We're finally finishing up the prototype ship Odyssey, it's been a very...interesting project to say the least. Taking almost 2 years to build, then another 3 months to get everything installed in it. To say the least, it's been quite surprising that a ship of this size has held together while in spacedock. I can only imagine what will happen when we take it on its shakedown cruise. I'm half afraid that the nacelles will be the only thing that jumps to warp during its flight. I also understand that we're having a top-brass captain coming to take the ship out on her maiden voyage. I don't know his name, but I hear that he's supposed to be really good. Another bit of news is that we're supposed to have everything working by the time he gets here! There's no way that's happening, as Scotty once said, "We canna' change the laws of physics!" and there's too many laws that would be broken, even Murphy's, if we got this thing working before the new C.O. gets here.
Brian pushed a few buttons on his console and saved his log entry. Brian was not in the best of moods this morning. He knew that for the next 12 hours he would have half of the Starfleet admiralty pushing orders down his throat. If the last 2 years were fun, the next 12 hours ought to be a riot! he thought to himself. With that final thought on the day, he headed toward the transporter room.
Within a few short minutes, a very unhappy Lt. Commander McKnight
“Cramped,” he thought to himself, “Very cramped.” True, that a Runabout was an ant compared to his last post on board the U.S.S. Yamato, (a Galaxy class ship that was built for science and luxury) he still felt cramped. Switching thoughts, he focused on the dilemma ahead, testing a new prototype starship. He had only heard about the Odyssey two days ago, and hadn’t had much time to study all the schematics on the new design. Now, on his way there, he was due in two hours, and what ever he had learned, would have to be enough.
“Don’t want to look like a fool,” he said to himself aloud.
“Sir?” The pilot questioned.
“Nothing, Ensign, just talking to myself aloud,” the Captain muttered.
“Yes sir,” the pilot said as he turned his head back toward the console to check the readouts of the shuttle.
“ETA is about 1 ½ hours,” the pilot continued.
“Thank you,” Jones said.
Realizing that he was running out of time to study up on his new command, he almost ordered the pilot to slow down, but instead he picked up his PADD (Personal Access Display Device) and brought up the schematics of the Odyssey.
“25 Decks, Bio-neural circuitry, EMH, Holoprojectors on all decks,” realizing that he was talking out loud again, Jones silenced himself.
“Starfleet has really outdone themselves this time, huh sir?” Jones looked up to see the pilot looking at him. “Yes, they have.” The captain mused.
Time passed, and soon the stars started to slow down until they were still.
The pilot announced they were secure from warp and the shuttlecraft steamed towards the large prototype starship. Jones got up and walked toward the front of the shuttle.
“The schematics don’t do that ship justice,” he said.
“No, sir,” the pilot responded, clearly astounded.
As the large ship loomed in front of them, the pilot almost forgot that he was flying, and quickly turned back toward the controls. It really was huge, being built in the only dry-dock system that could hold it (Utopia Plenitia, orbiting Mars). Even then, the dock was almost too small; the ship seemed to be bulging out of the luminous structure. The doors to the shuttle bay opened up and the inside of the ship had shown for the first time. That bay was spacious enough to hold ten shuttles, and three could fly in at a time. Must be for quick fighter launch, Jones thought. Since the fighter bay and shuttle bay were the same bay, it had to be large. The shuttle eased slowly down on to the deck, being careful not “to scratch the paint” as the pilot had been taught.
“Thank you, Ensign,” the captain said to his pilot on his way out the door, but the pilot was busy finishing his post-flight checks, and he just nodded.
He stepped out of the small shuttle and stared around. The ceiling was at least 15 meters above him, and to the left of him up high in the wall was the shuttle control operations center. Quickly looking both ways to make sure that he wouldn’t be struck by a stray shuttlecraft, he quickly crossed the shuttle bay to the turbolift.
“Bridge,” Jones said looking around at the new turbolift system. He couldn’t even feel that he was moving, the only clues that he had were seeing the deck lights flash by on the side of the turbolift, and the faint hum of the lift as it rose though the ship. As fast as it had stared its accent, it stopped, “Main Bridge, Deck 1,” the computer announced. Then the doors parted.
As he entered the bridge, Captain Edward Jones scanned around. He compared his new bridge to his previous post on a Galaxy class ship. Smaller, but it has a nice captain's chair. Almost as soon as he stepped off the turbolift, a tall figure stood up from the center chair.
"Captain on the bridge!" the man announced, and as he did everyone on the bridge dropped what he or she were doing and stood at attention.
“As you were,” Jones said calmly as he surveyed the bridge once more. As the tall man turned towards his new commanding officer he extended his hand, "Commander Jake Carvey. Welcome aboard, sir."
"Edward Jones, thanks" the Captain said as he shook the Commander's hand. "So what's our status?" the Captain inquired.
"Well," Carvey began, "All back-up systems are inoperative, we're still having problems getting the warp core on-line, plus we are still waiting for our Chief Medical Officer. We've been having to rely on our Emergency Medical Hologram for everything medical so far." Jones began, “And his bedside manner has much to be desired.”
"So I’ve heard. Why is our CMO late-" the turbolift doors opening interrupted him. As they parted, a short man emerged, looking extremely frustrated. He took his station at the front of the bridge pressing buttons rapidly. Edward, looking a little confused about the short man, gave a quizzical look. Then to release his anger the Bajoran slammed the panel with his hand. Almost by instinct he turned around to see his new commander, angered that he had just made a fool of himself in front of his new Captain, he faced the away from him, muttered something inaudible, and clearly in a different language, then stood up and turned to face Jones.
"Sorry about that, sir, I am extremely frustrated right now. We're undermanned, and we don't have enough proper equipment to get this behemoth of a ship even out of dry-dock, let-a-lone get it all working correctly, and Starfleet won't give us extra resources that we need, and I’m being pulled in several different directions at once." the short man said.
If a guy can get this angry, this easily, he must be Bajoran, Jones thought to himself, Who is the Bajoran at conn? Quickly thinking to himself, he said to the angry man, "You must be Jaxa," Jones said.
"Yes, sir," Jaxa replied.
"Commander," a voice said, Jaxa tapped his Comm badge, "Jaxa here,”
“We need you in Engineering, we think we've found the problem."
"On my way," he said into his Comm badge, "Yea, right," he said to himself, and excused himself from the bridge.
“Well, that was one of the more interesting meetings I’ve had so far,” Jones said hoarsely when he was sure that Jaxa had left.
“He is a little ruff, I can have him see a counselor if you would like,” Carvey replied back.
“No, I think he’ll streighten himself out…sooner or later.” Jones paused, then leaned in towards the Commander, “Hopefully sooner.” They both let our a little chuckle.
For the first time, Jones actually looked for the command chair, and he located it. Right where it was supposed to be, in the center of the bridge facing forward. Where else would it be? He thought. He slowly walked over to it and sat down, so this was the view that he would have for the next five years. He slowly scanned the bridge from left to right various crewmembers where putting panels on consoles, and taking other ones off, and continuing the refit. He spotted Jake over at the tactical console running final system checks and diagnostics. He felt relatively uneasy; he was just sitting there while everyone else was frantically working around him. After all, they had a deadline to meet. This ship, which was still in pieces, had to be ready to launch in less than 12 hours.
Captain’s Log; Stardate 1115990.10. With less than six hours to go until the scheduled shakedown cruise for the Odyssey, we still find the ship impossible to deal with. Main Engineering is still reporting overall power at less than 58%, and half of the doors on the ship still won’t open. We are expecting a temporary Chief Engineer to arrive within the next half an hour, Starfleet still hasn’t informed me of who it is, but I’m sure that this person will be qualified enough to get us back on schedule.
Jones paced around his ready room, and found himself staring out to the stars, thinking, wondering, and hoping that this ship will not be a failure. Even though he'd only been on the vessel a few hours he already felt attached to it. Maybe this is the way a captain melds with his new surroundings, trying to get the adavnage of everything by feeling one with the ship? Or maybe he was just beeing foolish? Nevermind all of that, who was this mystery person that was to be arriving soon? The assistant Chief Engineer of the Enterprise, Regional Barclay, considered to be one of the finest minds in Starfleet designed the Odyssey. Maybe it was Barclay himself that was coming aboard the Odyssey? No, he was still on Earth at Starfleet Engineering Headquarters. Jones thought to himself, Guess we’ll just have to wait until he gets here... A faint computer beep tapered into his thoughts.
“Captain, we have a request for a shuttle to land,” the voice said.
“Give them clearance,” Jones’ monotonous voice replied, “and tell the pilot; I’ll meet him down in the bay." He tapped the panel and the transmission was severed.
Jones entered, crossed, and left the bridge in a split second, not even enough time for an ensign to announce his presence.
“Main shuttle bay,” Jones barked into the computer.
Within a minute he was in the shuttle hanger, and next to the shuttle, as the door opened, the bold figure stepped out and handed the captain his orders,
“Lieutenant Commander Data, reporting for duty as temporary Chief Engineer,” the pale faced man said.
“Welcome aboard,” Jones replied. Finally, he did have a chance to have operational ship before launch time.
“Thank you,” the android said and with that he crossed the bay and headed for the turbolift. Realizing that he was smiling uncontrollably Jones headed for an opposite turbolift and returned to the bridge.
As he entered the bridge, Jones continued to smile, even though his presence was basically ignored due to the haste put on by the work teams. Finally, he thought, Something is going right. While breathing a sigh of relief Jones replaced himself into the command chair and spied around again, this time, most of the bridge was in one piece. He tapped a few buttons on his arm rest and took a look at the ship’s readouts, “Things are looking better,” he thought, “much better.”
Though the viewscreen was operational, Jones programmed it to have a countdown on it, “We’ve got one half an our,” Jones said to his crew, pointing to the viewscreen, “Let’s do everything we can to get the Odyssey working. I have every confidence that you can and will, let’s not prove me wrong," trying to think of any other inspiration words he realized, for once in his life he didn't have any, "Dismissed.” Just as quickly as the words had escaped his mouth, everyone was back at their stations finishing up the refit. The two commanding officers took their seats at the center of the bridge and continued to compare notes on the ship.
Meanwhile, in Main Engineering…
“Commander!” a voice called, “I think we’ve found the warp problem.” It was McKnight, he was holding a scorched tube, “We found this in the main plasma relay system,” he continued.
“Very good, Commander,” the unemotional man replied, “We will have to replicate a new one and replace it immediately.”
"Right," Brian said as he handed off the tube to a passing by ensign and gave him instructions to populate a new tube, and soon.
With that, the ensign charged off to a replicator. Data continued to throw himself from panel to panel, doing everything as fast as androidly possible, stopping briefly to inform the bridge that the warp problem was being solved. The engine room continued to buzz with people and machines frantically trying to meet the launch time.
Just as suddenly as the ensign had taken off, he had returned with the correct part, even Data was impressed, “Here you go, sir.” The ensign reported.
“Well, ensign, that was extremely quick, how did you manage?” Data asked him.
“I found a replicator with no line, and did made the part,” the Ensign replied.
“Good work. Carry on,” the android replied.
As the ensign left, Data continued to hop about from station-to-station, making sure everything was in order. As he reached a panel near the warp core, he saw the shield frequency displayed in large numbers. Very quickly, he closed the program and locked it with his access code, wondering, “Who ran that program?”
Back on the Bridge…