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Departure Stations

Posted on Friday November 11th, 2016 @ 8:37pm by Captain Peter Gardner & Commander Magnus Sterling & Lieutenant Commander Nomi Bernard

Mission: Enemies Closer
Location: Bridge, USS Excelsior
Timeline: MD 3, 0950 Hours

Commander Sterling lorded over the morning shift on the bridge. The last preparations before departure were underway, and he chose to run this bridge crew through some final checklists one more time. He glanced to his left where the cardassian observer sat, observing, apparently.

“Are you really this interested in our departure prep work, glinn?”

Glinn Ramall Greset looked up from the wedge-shaped console to offer the human a smile before answering. "Of course, Commander! How could I hope to improve cooperation between our two militaries if I don't review standard procedures in action? There could be areas upon which the Cardassian Self-Defense Force could improve upon by observing a competent Starfleet crew. Don't you agree?"

"I'm sure there is much we can all learn from each other," Sterling said. "However I frequently had the impression that cardassian military discipline lent it self quite well to an efficiency of protocols. Is that not the case?"

"Under the authority of the Central Command our discipline was unmatched, but with all the requirements imposed by the Treaty of Bajor our military has undergone a great deal of change. Most of our officer corps, after all, was either killed or barred from service," Ramall answered with his smile still intact.

"To think there were far too few experienced personnel left after the war to pass on their knowledge, traditions, and discipline to the new self defense force. Or learn from their mistakes." Sterling nodded subtly. "Surely, at the end the cardassian people were as much victims of the war as peoples in former annexed territories the union once administrated. Effects of the war are certainly far reaching and lasting," Sterling said.

Ramall outwardly agreed with a bow of his head. "Truly a consequence of short-sighted decision making and the perils of Dukat's War, yet I have high hopes that exchanges such as these will only further the interests of our people and solidify our new-found friendship."

"I sincerely hope we quickly find a way back to the Alpha Quadrant, so our peoples can benefit from what lessons our shared cooperation yields. And speaking of finding our way," Sterling turned towards the operations officer on duty. “Fuel and cargo status, lieutenant Velar?” Sterling asked, keeping an eye on the ship’s chronometer, quickly approaching 1000 hours.

Velar worked her operations console without pause, relaying commands through the computer while simultaneously issuing verbal orders over comm channels. Her calm, dulcet voice served to demonstrate her Vulcan discipline at managing multiple ongoing operations at once, she spoke up to address the commander’s question. “All scheduled cargo shipments have been completed and cargo secured. All scheduled personnel have reported for duty. Deuterium storage tank at 97 percent capacity, antimatter storage pods are at 62 percent.”

Sterling frowned, “Two days ago the report had antimatter at 87 percent, where did a quarter of our supply go?”

Velar’s brow furrowed ever so slightly as she turned to face the commander. “Many of the supplies requested by this crew weren’t readily available from Diogara Station stores, and with industrial fabrication devoted towards starship repair and refit, in order to meet our deadline I had to ‘barter’ for much of what we needed with our fellow starships and independent suppliers. Antimatter is in high demand among the fleet.”

Sterling nodded. “I understand, antimatter is at a premium and Excelsior is equipped to operate for several years without fuel resupply, so we had an abundance. However, antimatter is a critical energy source, and any exchange should be approved by the command staff first. Tell me you didn’t barter away our spare dilithium.”

This time Velar’s eyebrow arched in a critical way only a vulcan could. “I did not. There are two active dilithium cracking stations in this system. The market rate for dilithium is not favorable.”

Sterling shook his head bemusedly. “As you were, lieutenant.” He said then turned towards tactical. “Lieutenant Commander Bernard, tactical and security readiness?”

"All systems nominal, Sir," she said as her fingers went over the LCARS surface quickly. "Diogara was able to replenish our torpedoes to ninety-three percent. Not as high as I would have liked it, but dire times. Security personnel have reported into their duty stations. We're ready to go."

Sterling grinned. "During the Dominion War, there were times our supply lines were stretched so thin or disrupted so much that I considered myself lucky to have more than fifty percent ordnance stores while on patrol. I'll take 93 percent happily. However, let's make a conscious effort to conserve our expendable ordnance whenever possible, our present supply may have to last us a long while yet."

Nomi simply nodded in reply and went back to her system checks that she was running before they left port. She had already proven this during the Borg attack using flotsam and jetsam as ammunition.

“Lieutenant Doran, was it?” Sterling asked, turing towards the science stations. “Status report.”

At the science station sat lieutenant Doran, a female trill of medium complexion, she seemed entirely disinterested in everything around her except for the mountain of sensor data she was cataloging on her screens. Excelsior had three science stations along that side of the bridge, and Doran seemed to be using all three simultaneously. From the readouts Sterling glimpsed, Doran could have been gathering sensor and database data for any number of different topics of research. Or perhaps, several at once.

“Does it really matter?” She asked annoyed by being drawn away from her screens. It's not like the science teams did much during normal cruise operations anyway, usually keeping to their research. They kept someone on the bridge monitoring sensors just in case something unusual popped up. It rarely did, and usually the computer spotted it first.

Sterling lifted his chin to face the trill with an equally annoyed expression. “Yes, lieutenant. It does. This mission could very well take us into uncharted space, over strange, new worlds, and yes, even meet new life and civilizations. We need you and your analyst teams ready to go. Sensors in good shape, up to date on maintenance, and calibrated properly?”

Doran sighed and turned back to a station and punched in several commands. “All sensors operating within normal parameters, no anomalies detected,” she droned.

“Projects?”

“What?”

“Any special research projects or experiments underway now or in the immediate future? Any special considerations to be given? As the first officer, I would love to know.”

“No, nothing that would affect normal ship operations. Having half the fleet blown up kinda puts a crimp on research programs.”

“And personnel,” Sterling said and gave Doran an appraising glance. “Welcome aboard Excelsior, Lieutenant Doran.” Sterling moved on, toggling a comm channel on the armrest controls. “Engineering, Bridge. Mr. Maddox, what’s your status down there?”

“Ready and able.” Maddox said. The various work performed over the past few shifts had fallen into place. This was a very adequate team. “Perhaps even... eager.” He was surprised when a cheer spontaneously erupted from everyone busily running around making last minute checks. As busy as they were, they still had time to eavesdrop on his conversation.

Sterling smiled. "Eager, Mr. Maddox? Well, that's encouraging to hear. I hope you're putting that enthusiasm to good use. Bring the engines to hot standby, Mr. Maddox. We'll need warp speed soon."

"Yes, sir. We will be ready." Maddox confirmed before the communication line closed.

Sterling, with a confident grin, glanced at the flight controller, “Helm?”

Lieutenant Veresa Turin was busy at her console directing traffic around the ship and monitoring the orbits of the fleet and Excelsior. While much of that could be handled autonomously, Turin preferred a more hands-on approach. Well, those were the best kinds of pilots, in her opinion.

“Quite a lot of auxiliary craft traffic,” she said. “Still trying to shoo away shuttles and workbees that stray too close to Excelsior while they’re changing orbits between ships and Diogara station. There is one inspection pod being more than a little obstinate.”

“Are you trying to make me sweat, lieutenant? It wouldn’t make for a good start to our mission if Excelsior mows over an inspection pod.”

“Oh, don’t worry, commander. No one wants that, least of all the inspection pod pilot. Everyone will clear out when they see Excelsior’s engines light up. But I have a tractor beam standing by just in case.” She stifled a giggle and Sterling cast her a worrisome glance. Turin continued her report. “All our shuttles and fighters are accounted for and secured, launching bay crews report ready. Thrusters are at station-keeping, and helm is in working order. I’ve already received clearance from Diogara space-traffic control. We can maneuver at any time.”

“Excellent. One last check-in,” Sterling said and toggled comms again. “Sickbay, Bridge. Status report?”

“Doctor Lecourtier, here,” a woman’s voice said. “We’re stocked up on pharmacologicals, and sickbay is in full operational condition. There’s been a small outbreak of Cammoran flu on Diogara Station, we’re inoculating anyone who’s been aboard the station in the last 72 hours just in case. Otherwise crew health appears normal. Also personnel physical exams for new crew are on schedule, and I notice you haven’t made an appointment yet, commander.”

Sterling tried to hide his surprise at the doctor’s reveal by clearing his throat over her. “Yes, well, sounds good, doctor.” He could feel the bridge crews’ eyes upon him, and he knew as first officer he should set the proper example. Plus, he had been on station not more than three days ago when he was reactivated. Any strain of influenza really took its toll on its victim, he needed that inoculation. “How about this afternoon, good? Good. Bridge out.” He quickly toggled the comm off.

Sterling looked across the bridge and met the eyes of each of the crew. “As you all were, then.” He commanded.

"It sounds like I have an extra errand to run this afternoon then," Greset observed from his station.

Peter stepped out across the threshold from his Ready Room to the Bridge. "Status Mr Sterling?" Peter asked, as he crossed the bridge to the centre chair.

A small amount of nostalgia tugged at Sterling's memories, from times long past when he had the fortune to sit center chair of his own starship. But that ship wasn't this ship. Sterling surrendered the chair at the captain's approach and sidestepped to his proper place. "We're right on schedule, sir. All departments report ready for departure. No irregularities save for a wayward inspection pod loitering in our orbit." He glanced back towards helm. Turin gave a thumbs up from her station. "Which has just cleared our local space. We're good to go, on your word, sir." Sterling was eager to see what the captain did next. This was Excelsior's first mission after the Borg attack, when the entire landscape of the Delta Quadrant changed dramatically for Starfleet.

Peter looked round the room silently before taking his chair. There were several new faces and Peters mind forced him to remember who had been in there places before the attack. In his mind, he felt his wife's send a feeling of reassurance to him. He appreciated it and attempted to convey that back. He looked at his XO and nodded. "Clear all moorings, thrusters at station keeping." He ordered. " Take us out Lieutenant."

Veresa deftly controlled the helm to navigate through the Station traffic, which had increased significantly since Starbase 900 had been destroyed.

"As soon as we are clear the outer marker, engage at maximum warp for the Mordred Nebula." He ordered.

Nomi finished running her scans as they cleared the local space heading deeper into the unknown. Now that everything so far has cleared, she resumed her task of trying to eliminate the usual suspects for the party that was able to access their system, on top of working on a new encryption algorithm that she wanted to broach with Engineering later on to add another layer of security to help prevent this from happening again in the future. Otherwise, she hoped it would give them a bit more of a head start instead of wondering what all was taken...

 

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