I come to you from beyond my LOA to give out the results from the July Fiction Vignettes (which did appear in the OCS feed a while ago, but which I never formally announced). The prompt for this event was to create a 300-word story related to this image by JetFreak-7:
I was really impressed by all of the entries (of which there were many!) but the top three really stood out:
First Place: UnknownParticipant
The docking clamps released with a loud thud as the saucer started to separate. The beads of sweat on the young crewman’s face, the stress of the situation very apparent as he stared out the viewport. The gas cloud of the nebula started to glow, trailing out of the stardrive section as the saucer’s impulse drive fired up to get them away from the danger.
A rumble came about the deck. “Warning: radiation now at dangerous levels,” the computer warned. The gas was starting to glow everywhere; it would be beautiful if not for the deadliness. The ensign stood silently, admiring the view and silently wondering if it would be his last.
A single fusion generator. That’s all it took to cause the Horizon to be in the same boat it was in now, huddling for survival on the saucer section. A failure in the secondary containment module started a slow degradation of the shielding, exposing six engineers to delta radiation before the problem was isolated. With the containment field failing and all backups not functioning, all they could do was huddle in the saucer before any of them received a lethal dose, using the main shields of the saucer as a barrier from the deadly mutating radiation.
All he could hear were the screams. All he could see was the gassy glow in beauty.
Snapping out of it, the ensign took a look at the seal controls and ensured that they were to live for now. As he reached over, the skin on his hand started to shift unnaturally. He barely had time to register the movement before his head started spinning. The last thing he remembered before hitting the deck was how odd that was, before the darkness enveloped him.
I thought the writing in this piece was very evocative, as it did a great job of blending technobabble as well as the character’s physical sensations. We are used to seeing Star Trek from the perspective of the senior officers, so it was interesting to see it from the perspective of a scared crewman instead.
Second Place: capierno
“What was the final count? How many people did we leave over there?” Commander Gilroy was hesitant to even sit in the captain’s chair, let alone be piloting the saucer section away from their very own stardrive.
“We have accounted for 688 souls on board the saucer section, sir. Leaving 566 aboard the stardrive, alive.” The Andorian manning the ops station turned his chair around to face Gilroy. “We also account for 65 dead on the stardrive… including Captain Kell” His antenne slumped slightly to indicate his discomfort at delivering the news.
Gilroy rubbed his hands across his face before responding. “Continue to monitor the situation, I want updates every thirty minutes. Ensure containment fields continue to operate over there.” He sat back up in his chair. “Are we certain that the pathogen did not enter the saucer life support systems?” He said affirmatively.
The officer manning the bridge science station perked up. “We have found no traces in any section of the saucer. We continue to monitor air samples and Dr. S’van is setting up regular monitoring procedures.” She said.
Gilroy nodded. “Good. Now, let’s get to work on finding a cure before we lose anymore people. Time is of the essence people. Move it.” He crossed his legs and slumped back in his chair as the crew started to buzz around working to do the impossible.
I thought that this was a timely entry given the current pandemic, but also a really good example of a reason for using the saucer separation ability aboard a starship, but one that has never been seen on screen before.
Third Place: trumpetmaster29
Lieutenant Kryze was at an all-out sprint. The Horizon, the fleet’s newest Galaxy-glass starship, was a few weeks away from delivery to the new Captain and was undergoing a final saucer separation test. Unfortunately, he wasn’t in place when the call came for the test, and as the Assistant Engineering Chief, he needed to be down with Lieutenant Commander Ozar in Main Engineering.
=/\= “Saucer separation in thirty seconds.” =/\=
“Dammit!” Kryze rounded a corner and knocked over a Tellerite crewman that was carrying medical canisters. “Sorry!” he yelled back as he headed for the nearest turbolift, which was still way at the end of the corridor. As he rounded another corner, he saw someone get into the turbolift at the end.
He put everything into getting to the lift. “HOLD THE LIFT!”
“I…I can’t…reach…” The voice of a young man came from the lift, sounding muffled like someone who was carrying a lot of things and struggling to find the ‘door hold’ button.
“Sorry!” The voice vanished as the doors slid shut just as Kryze got to it. He bounced himself off the doors and fell to the floor.
=/\= “Separation in ten…nine…eight…” =/\=
As the computer counted down, Kryze got up. Knowing that he was at the back of the ship, he ran to an aft window.
=/\= “…two…one…separation commencing.” =/\= With a series of shudders, Kryze braced himself against the window frame and nervously watched as the saucer section slowly drifted away from the engineering section.
Kryze slumped against the wall and sat down on the floor. “Well…so much for my promotion.”
I thought that this entry was a little more slap-stick than some of the others, but I thought that it was appropriate for the launch of The Lower Decks, as it gave insight into the thought processes of a junior officer. I found it amusing that the officer forgot what tools he had available to him (like the communications system) which seemed very apposite and relatable for anyone who’s ever been in a panic like that.
Congratulations to all of the winners from July, and thanks to all who submitted. Because of the great response, we’re doing this again for the last two weeks of August, with an image that is quite in line with the ongoing fleet-wide competition. As before, you are to write a 300-word piece of flash fiction in relation to this image by ThrashMetallix:
If you have any questions, please feel to reach out, and I hope you enjoy the image for this month!