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Trip around the bay

Posted on Fri Jan 20th, 2017 @ 5:07am by Ensign Jacob McCall ENS & Ensign Kollin Igh

Mission: Shakedown
Location: Space dock

Jacob was awake long before his alarm was programmed to wake him. In fact, that was an understatement,he was up, showered, dressed and staring at his console waiting for the alarm to ring. He felt the nerves bubbling away inside him, too anxious to read the instruction schematics again. He sat trying to remain calm; he knew he had to eat. Breakfast he had to try, if only to think about something else. He left his room and headed for the mess hall.

“Critical testing will begin in one hour” The ship's computer broadcast “All non-essential personnel must evacuate the ship” It continued in its monosyllabic but reassuring tone. He arrived in the galley and helped himself to scrambled eggs on toast, not for any particular reason other than he thought this would be easy to eat with his stomach gurgling. He turned to find somewhere to sit. For the first time since his arrival on the Armageddon he recognised someone.

Kollin could feel someone's gaze upon her, she looked up sharply and caught the eye of a young officer walking towards her with his breakfast tray held askew. Her initial irritation faded as a flicker of recognition passed between them. She indicated for him to sit down, the officer seemingly falling into the chair opposite. Kollin's mind was racing to place him, then it dawned on her, "I know you from the Academy, don't I?". They had never shared a class but in the few lectures the whole year had attended, he had the reputation of being one of the brightest and his presentations were always engaging. "Yes, I was in Class D, pleased to meet you". The conversation flowed with ease, the Mess Hall emptying unnoticed around them. "Last warning" came the message over the ship's tannoy "All non-essential personnel must disembark the ship immediately". Kollin and Jacob rushed towards the Bridge, they were the essential personnel that were to remain aboard the ship.

The pair arrived at the bridge with only minutes to spare, Jacob moved towards the pilot’s chair. Suddenly a wave of nerves came over him and he felt the adrenaline pump through his veins. All he could see was the flight control consul, however it appeared to enlarge and become twice its size, too big for a mere mortal to use. He managed to hold it together to get to his position, nodded his way through a brief handover and collapsed into the seat.

“Let's get this done.” Came a stern voice from the command chair behind him. Jacob began to calm down as he started to work. He began the pre-flight checks and knew Kollin would be doing the same.

Kollin was surprisingly startled at the sound of the Chief Engineer’s command, she was concentrating fully on the job at hand oblivious to all around her. Assessing the warp drive was one of the Chief Engineer’s final tasks before the launch of the ship under the Captain’s command and this pre-flight journey from Mars to Pluto was no simulation. “Throttles up and running” Kollin called out, hoping the relief in her voice was not too obvious; she was testing the plasma injector. The throttles regulated the flow of drive plasma via the injectors into the warp coils and were known to become malfunctioning when ships were in dry dock for a while.

“When we reach warp speed” the Chief Engineer suddenly barked “which component of the starship will need testing?” Kollin’s mind raced through her Academy training; “The defector array” she said boldly. Kollin knew that if any adjustments were needed they could only be executed at this crucial time and both her and Jacob needed to be ready. Kollin had to remain focused at all times.

Jacob began to use the flight control console, the red square flashed in front of him as he read the screen; the Armageddon’s systems became active.

“Initial dampers on line, docking clamps realised.” It was time; he pressed the manual flight control key. “I have control” He shouted the instruction so all in the bridge new that the ship was being flown manually. There had been too many accidents when crew thought they were on autopilot when they were not.

“Confirmed.” And after a moment's pause “Take her out ... nice and slow”

Jacob fired the manoeuvring thrusters. The Armageddon began to creep forward.

“Clear of the dock.” He heard the gravelly tones of his Klingon friend.

“Ok, Mr McCall, slowly through the impulse speeds to warp 1.” James went to reply but the engineer had turned in his seat to address the bridge “If we fall apart, I am sorry.” This comment was met by a resounding silence.

Jacob applied the acceleration and using his interface began controlling the Armageddon’s pitch and yaw. For the first time he felt the exhilaration of flying an operational Starship.

With more power he could see the stars on the view screen fly past faster and faster.

“Warp 0.5, Sir” he shouted unable to keep the excitement out of his voice as they reached the maximum speed for the impulse engines.

“Ok Ensign. Take her to warp 1 on my mark” He left a long pause “Mark” Jacob increased the power unleashing for the first time the warp core, the stars shot passed.

“Warp 1, sir” Jacob spoke this time with more control in his voice. The bridge crew cheered, Jacob was unsure whether this was the excitement or because they were relieved that the Armageddon had not disintegrated.

“Ok all stop.”

As the cheering died down the Chief Engineer peered over his shoulder “Kollin” he ordered briskly, “I need you to run a diagnostic on the sensory array, then a full sweep”, “yes sir” replied Kollin, “and tell me everything that it detects”. Kollin began the sensory sweep;

“Earth Sir, the Earth’s moon Sir, Mars Sir”, “Enough of the Sir, Kollin” growled the Chief Engineer. “Yes S…” Kollin checked herself just in time. As the array moved across the starboard side a red light began flashing on Kollin’s console “i'm detecting an incoming meteor” Kollin called out rather hurriedly to anyone who would listen, the Chief Engineer raised an eyebrow “this Klingon certainly had a very human side to her” he thought. “Distance?” “500 meters and …”. Jacob interrupted the Klingon “a meteor is heading this way, closing on us fast”. “Kollin activate the tractor beam NOW and move the meteor to the Port side”.

The Chief Engineer’s orders to the tactical team were as equally abrupt “fire immediately … 500 meters … Port side”. Kollin felt usurped and glared across at Jacob.

"Well sensors and weapons are working" The Engineer commented before turning back to Jacob.

“Ensign McCall, program in a course that will take us to within 100km of the space doc”

“Aye-aye sir” Jacob slid his chair from the flight control array to the navigation interface. Jacob began to calculate the waypoint and approached vectors. Although the majority of this was computerised if the computer took them too close to Saturn then it would have to recalculate the vector after the gravitational pull had taken effect. Therefore Jacob programed a wide berth around the planet.

“Take us home when you’re ready.” The engineer said although this was spoken in a plain tone Jacob new this was the riskiest manoeuvre of the day. For this to work the inertia dampers and the deflector array to come online when directed by the computer as the ship's sensors picked up the ship's movement. As Jacob pressed the initiation key on his interface he felt his shoulders tense. The ship dashed forward into warp, the bridge collectively breathed in as they felt the escalation, but after a few seconds the force stopped, the inertia dampers had kicked in.

Within seconds the ship was slowing and before it stopped the engineer asked Jacob to take them into the dock.
He switched on the microphone “Dock this is Armageddon permission to dock.”
“Roger, Armageddon . Initialising tractor beam.” Jacob felt ship being dragged into the large cradle which was the dockyard and within a few minutes he heard the familiar sirens as the docking clamps activated.

The Dockyards Chief Engineer stood up “Well done this morning.” He said to no one in particular “As far as I am concerned we’re about ready to hand her over as operational.”

Ensign Kollin Igh
Operations Officer

Ensign Jacob McCall
Flight Control Officer


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