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To Go Where Others Already Have

In an increasingly unstable environment it is even moreso important for ties to be maintained between Earth and it's Federation allies. This means supply runs to frontier outposts, transportation of much needed personnel, and damage control in the wake of Frontier Day ...

Prelude

Starbase Bravo, Mellstoxx System - Deck 672, Mooring Bay A6
2401.12988

It had only been a scant few months since T’Pree found herself aboard the Starbase Bravo, home of the infamous Fourth Fleet. She had ingratiated herself with other fellow Cadets that had been, fortunate or unfortunate for some, assigned to the same posting and assignments. In fact almost the entirety of her graduating class had been assigned out here to the frontier of Federation-controlled space. Within days they had been orientated with it’s ameneties, luxuries, duty roster, quarters, and who their immediate supervisor would be for the next couple of rotations through. She’d half-expected to be placed in Operations where she could have a more hands-on experience with handling the day to day of station activity; interacting with the myriad of species that made up the United Federation of Planets.Instead she had been placed in a follow and observe curriculum, attached to the hip to junior command staff, sitting through and taking notes as they held daily meetings of station wellbeing, improvements, degradation of systems that needed repairs, delegations from the colony on Mellstoxx III, handling the arrangements needed for said delegations, so on and so forth. This went on for some time until it was made known why she was seperated alongside a select few others. 


They were being taught the fundamentals of what it meant to be in command of hundreds of personnel responsible for keeping the starbase intact and running. Mistakes made need not be rectified immediately but learned from. To take the initiative and follow through with proper reasoning and logic. To know the difference between leading and dictating. Eventually there developed a core of a dozen cadets with T’Pree naturally taking charge of their day to day schedules, shift rotations, and roster. It had become such a well-run machine amongst the gears of Starbase Bravo that when the Vulcan was told she would finish off the remainder of her time as a Cadet on one final command cruise with her in charge, well, it was only logical. What she thought would become her permanant duty station had instead become just an orientation to decide the crew complement of a new ship undergoing refit. 


The USS Solvang, a California-class configured for Command. Registry NCC-12101, a relatively recent ship that had been going through it’s checks since it’s arrival in spacedock. It was undergoing it’s final systems checks and here T’Pree stood, watching as worker drones and shuttlecraft flitted around it’s hull. If she looked close enough she could even see the specks of people dotted around it pulling apart panels to look through the internals. No longer just a Cadet she wore a fresh uniform, the only difference being a red outline coming down from a collar sporting a black pip with a gold outline. The precipice between student and becoming a genuine officer of the Federation. 


It went to show how desperate times were if even she was being sent out with command of a ship. Granted, it would be operating within friendly space so even in the event something happened she wouldn’t have to deal with it alone. Those sorts of missions were best left to ships of the line like the Enterprise, Titan, and Persephone. Just another couple of days until final refits would be completed. Then would follow crew embarkment, a full systems shakedown, and what every cadet in the command team were looking forward to. 

Their maiden voyage. 

Preparation

USS Solvang - Deck 14
2401.12988.5

“… lvang boasts a revamped shuttle bay for accomodating all standard and non-standard Federation craft.” The Lieutenant in charge of taking T’Pree around the USS Solvang would say, bringing attention to the hangar space; at the end of it a blue forcefield gently humming as it kept the atmosphere from sucking the entirety of the compartment into black space. It was something she herself had to personally undertake as the rest of the crew went about prepping it for flight-ready status. “She’s a smaller ship but in a pinch tactically speaking she can hold her own long enough to make a getaway. Three phaser banks distributed along the dorsal, aft, and ventral saucer array. Two standard photon torpedo launchers and standard multi-phasic layered shielding.”

He would continue as they made their way towards the turbolift. T’Pree suspected she wouldn’t need to rely on the tactical systems too often. If she did then it would have been a last choice situation in which the lives of the crew or the ship were at risk. Taking the time to look around the interior of her new ship she pondered on whether or not the rumors were true. The crew wondered if it was possible that someone hadn’t made a mistake putting a Cadet in charge of three-hundred lives; men and women with bright futures. All in the hands of a Vulcan. It was normal for those in an uncertain situation, inexperienced and ill-advised allowed themselves to think of only the worst outcome when the scenario hadn’t even developed yet. She didn’t blame them.

They stepped into the lift as it’s doors swished open. “Deck Seven.” The Lieutenant continued as he called out their destination. “As you know in the briefing and your orientation in-processing, the USS Solvang falls under your command as of today. It’s crew, it’s mission, and direction all yours to dictate so long as it comes from the Federation and your superiors.” He would state. The Lieutanant was Andorian, sometimes blunt and straight to the point when it came to educating the so-called newbies but at the end of it all he was simply looking out for them all. He was a warrior first and foremost and didn’t like seeing young men and women having to take up the call of command without sufficient advice and prep time.


Deck Seven, Engineering

The computer chimed as it sounded their arrival, the doors opening to reveal a vast wide corridor with the venerated, all-important warp core humming soundly in the middle. Yellow uniforms mixed in with blue wandered the area, consoles lighting up as they keyed in to their inputted commands as last minute diagnostics were run through and sifted for any errors. “She’s going through her final checks now. Standard Matter Anti-Matter Reactor with a plasma intermix reaction chamber. You have capable engineers, bar critical emergencies, you’ll almost never have to worry about having to deal with what goes on down here. The Solvang has a Class Six Warp Core with enough power to get you up to Warp Eight, potentially more if you need that extra speed for whatever reason, but I don’t suggest doing so else you risk a critical overload and tear the ship in half.”

He looked to see if T’Pree had any reaction but, of course, she was Vulcan. Any emotion that might have shown on anyone else was disappointingly lacking on their face. “Right. Any questions for me?” 

T’Pree looked to the Andorian officer and shook her head, nodding as if to finalize the need for his being there. “No, thank you, sir. I thank you for taking the time to assist me with familiarizing my way with the Solvang. She is a fine vessel.” 

“Heh, right. I understand the actual difference in rank but .. mind you you’re now the Captain of this ship. I’m not going to be calling you Cadet or anything unless myself or some of the other senior officers decide to step in. The show is yours and we fully back any decision you make so long as it’s on behalf of the wellness of the crew.” The Andorian smiled and patted them with a hearty slap to the shoulder. “Right, well, as your senior engineer I’d best be getting back to work then. The ship won’t diagnose itself, you know?”

T’Pree stumbled slightly from the action but nodded again, blinking before turning to regard the warp core. She was taking this very seriously and had taken the time to get to know the faces of each senior officer in charge of each department aboard the Solvang. Of course they would be mostly hands-off, allowing the cadets aboard to do what they felt was best to promote critical thinking, and so were mosty there to keep everything running well. She turned and entered the turbolift once more, taking a soft breath in and crossed her arms behind her.

“Bridge.”

Make Way

USS Solvang - Bridge
2401.12990

Time and time again T’Pree felt the excitement, nervousness, and genuine bewilderment of the crew as she made her way through the corridors that connected to each section of the ship. Though the Solvang wasn’t the impressive assignment most Cadets would have expected to serve on for their first, for some final, training cruise; she was one of the newest and thus that pedigree of becoming a part of it’s genuine maiden voyage would have tempered some of that doubt. The trip from engineering to the bridge was long enough for her to ruminate on the sheer weight of responsibility that now lay upon their shoulders. 

Bridge

Business as usual. As the doors opened, she stepped out into the corridor and made way towards the bridge, following the marked lines that guided her. Finally stepping foot onto the bridge itself she noted the chaos she had seen upon first embarkment had gradually controlled itself into a largely cohesive unit. “Captain on the bridge!” A nearby Betazoid female wearing the pip of an Ensign called out as she seemed to be the first to notice her presence. T’Pree wondered if it was the telepathy or the fact she stood near the console for Tactical. The sound of work ceased as the entirety of the room stood at attention. The discipline was nice and it seemed, for now that she could see, no one minded that a cadet was now informally “Captain”.

“Thank you, Ensign, resume your duties everyone. We still have work to do so do not let my presence on the bridge impede it.”

With that the atmosphere returned to it’s hum of voices and gentle beeps of workstations being operated upon. She approached the Betazoid and nodded. “It is pleasant to meet you again, Ensign. I thank you for volunteering to act as Tactical Officer for this command cruise.” T’Pree would say, remembering that the Cadet that was originally supposed to take her place had contracted an unusual bacterial infection that prevented them from participating. The last minute addition of an experienced officer from another ship was arranged, something of which the Mellstoxx Academy was happy to oblige.


 “It’s nothing, Captain. I am sure you’ve noted the looks you received since you stepped through those doors. Most see not the person but the rank when it comes to a starship bridge. I thought it neccessary to let them all know you are Captain of this ship; despite the lacking rank and experience.” She smiled, looking towards several groups of cadets that knew no better. Whether jealousy, distrust, or general misgivings T’Pree did not mind. It was only logical that they felt this way. 

“Of course, I thank you for the insight. You are Ensign Lahi, if I recall .. a Betazoid, yes? Were you born here on the colony?” T’Pree would ask, inquisitive as always. The Ensign laughed. “What gave it away? My eyes? Yes, I am Betazoid and yes I grew up on the Mellstoxx Three colony. And you must be Vulcan, despite your attempts to hide it, you cannot hide the mannerisms and body movements.” She replied with another smile, turning to her console briefly to address some issue that may or may not have popped up during their conversation. 

“Apologies, I meant no offense. I was simply curious,” T’Pree would nod. “I’ll let you get back to work, Ensign. We should be underway shortly. Lieutenant Taliran has informed me that all ship operations are ready to be taken off diagnostic mode.” The Ensign nodded and smiled again. “Excellent. A Captain that knows the in’s and out of her ship as well. I think the Solvang will be in good hands. The conn is yours.” They would gesture to the Captain’s chair, the seat next to it currently empty. “Do you know where the First Officer is?” T’Pree would ask, moving to sit down, it’s cushion shifting slightly as it adjusted to her weight. “Yes, in fact … they just arrived on the final shuttle. We can be underway as soon as it departs.” 


“Most excellent. Thank you, Ensign Lahi. Activate ship-wide transmission.” She would call out, the cadet in charge of the operations console doing so. 

“This is the Captain speaking, all hands prepare for undocking. All departments report status and disengage from diagnostics mode.”

Medical reporting, all personnel, supplies, and stock safely stowed and secured.”

“Security reporting. Armory is coded and locked. Tactical teams are reporting to assigned posts as we speak.”

“Weapons reporting. Phasers are running through final power cycle rotations now. Photon torpedoes have been received and stowed. Gunnery control reports readiness at one-hundred percent.”

“Engineering here …” A pause. T’Pree tilted her head slightly at this. “Lieutenant Taliran, is there an issue?”

“Apologies Captain, I was just looking through an updated systems readiness check. Engineering reports all green, nominal and ready to engage warp core. We can deactivate diagnostics and pass to Operations as soon as the order is given.”

“Thank you Lieutenant, make it so.” T’Pree would reply, leaning back in the chair as she looked down and began inputting her command codes into the console. There was a slightly shudder and minor vibration as the core engaged and began sending power into all ship systems before it settled into a gentle hum as multiple consoles lit up. The cadets at the station began working as they assessed for final engagement.

“Tactical is online, Captain. Phaser banks are aligned and powered. Shields online. Deflectors online.”

“Operations running, Captain. Communications green, sending final authorization request to Bravo Command.”

“Impulse is coming online, Captain, reading ninety-eight percent and rising.” Voices sounding in the affirmative of the ship successfully coming online continued sounding off throughout the bridge and communications. 

“Starbase Bravo, this is the USS Solvang, Captain T’Pree reporting. All systems are nominal. Request permission to disengage from mooring and began preparation for final shakedown cruise.” 


“USS Solvang, this is Starbase Bravo Traffic Control. Registry NCC One-Two-One-Oh-One, command codes confirmed. Disengaging anchor points now. Once away you are cleared heading two-one-one mark five. We bid you safe travels and will see you again when you return.”

Outside, the anchor arms holding the Solvang popped off and shifted back towards the station exterior, sending a small wave of inertia to those not sitting down as the inertial dampeners compensated. A moment that would have been a proud one for any would-be Captain, even for T’Pree she could understandably feel a tinge of .. fulfillment. 

“Ahead quarter-impulse, heading two-one-one mark five. Take us out one-thousand meters and prepare to engage Warp Five. Set in destination for Starbase Eighty-Six.” Here it came, the moment all cadets one day longed for when they were told one day that they might come under command of their own ship. 

The USS Solvang made a gentle turn and began heading away from Starbase Bravo, drifting slowly away into the background as the pilot followed her instructions. The doors to the bridge opened again, a boisterous voice adding to the relative silence. 

“To think I almost missed our maiden flight!” The Human male would exclaim, moving to sit down next to T’Pree. “Nice to meet you, Captain, Lieutenant Vasili Govchorek reporting for duty as the Solvang’s executive officer.” 

He stuck his hand out and leaned over. T’Pree, for her own part, responded by leaning over and shaking their hand. Customs needed respecting and this was as good of a first step as any for their relationship moving forward. He gave a wide smile and nodded, relinquishing his hand as he sat back himself and recomposed, face turning serious as he looked out the viewscreen. “On your command, Captain. Make it a snappy one, eh?”

T’Pree didn’t understand until she realized they were now facing out into open space, their minimum clearence achieved before warp could be engaged away from the crowded station. Sitting up she looked to the pilot, another cadet that had come alongside her graduating class, who seemed positively ecstatic as his hand hovered over the console. 


“.. Make way.”

The USS Solvang, finally, after many months of trial was finally underway with a brand new crew in tow. The warp nacelles glowed blue and bright as it powered. With a gentle pop it accelerated and disappeared into the folds of space and time as it made way towards Starbase 86. Little did T’Pree know that, despite relegating herself to a background role in the Federation, they and their modest ship would send ripples amongst many others that would eventually affect both herself and the institution itself as a whole. 

Guidelines and Failsafes

USS Solvang - Captain's Quarters
2401.26986

“Captain’s Log Stardate Two-Four-Oh-One Point Two-Six-Nine-Eight-Six; the USS Solvang is currently underway to Starbase Eighty-Six located near the region of space known as the ”Triangle”. It is a known hub of criminal underworld activity and thus is in need of much needed resupply after the devastating effects of Frontier Day left the command structure in shambles. Normal shipments slated for transport never made it off Earth Spacedock. With it still undergoing repair and pressing matters requiring more ships than available, we have been given the task of giving them much needed respite.

Coincidentally it is also the goal of this ship and myself to make contact with my future commander once we arrive. A Human philosopher once said that “Chance and coincidence come together in bunches; never seperate.” An apt term for what I believe may lead to only more hardships for the crew down the line. With the Federation brought down to it’s heels it is logical that the lapse in security will render this outpost all the more important for the future of our border security.”


T’Pree tapped the console, ending the recording into the computer logs. It was an all-important part as the ship’s first official Captain to keep track of it’s daily events – even something as simple as a mission log. Lieutenant Vasili had insisted upon her that she should get some rest after the last couple of weeks conducting non-stop checks. She believed it to be a custom for humans to become concerned and relented that in the end it was a valid, logical reason for him to do so. As a Vulcan she didn’t need to sleep as often, ate less, were physically stronger, and mentally proficient – but far be it for her to disagree with the Lieutenant. He knew more, was more experienced, had the time in service, and understood the rigors of initial command. Even for a Vulcan rest is important. It was most likely the reason why he’d voiced it in a manner that wouldn’t compromise her position as Captain. 

So, like all Vulcans she busied herself with reading the compiled reports from all decks and departments. Work begets work and it was illogical to expect perfection – but something close to it was attainable. She began drawing up plans for theories on how to best drill the cadets on this command cruise for scenarios they’d most likely encounter. From the mundane to the unusual and unexpected, ranging from every day risks to life-threatening dangers; something the computer was fully capable of simulating without causing undue harm to the ship. Of course she would send this regimen to the department heads and senior officers in charge. It was also logical to slowly inject this into the daily day to day instead of submersing them all at once so as to create a sense of normalcy to the point reactions would seem rehearsed and natural. 

“Vulcan spiced tea.” T’Pree went towards the replicator, the computer beeping as it materialized a cup of hot tea, taking it from the stand as she paced slowly around the room with it between her hands. “Computer, begin voice to text dictation. Parse secure authorization code Alpha-Six-Nine-Zulu T’Pree.” 

“Confirmed. Encrypting. Begin citation”


  • Security Teams assigned to the USS Solvang will undergo weekly simulations on the holodeck with regards to situations in accordance with Starfleet General Orders and Regulations. Outstanding situations such as repelling hostile boarding parties, transphasic hostile entities, entities that affect mental faculties, etc; will also be considered open to interpretation by most senior tactical officers and instituted into simulations. 
  • Tactical will coordinate with Medical to devising newest forms of immunization of known viral, bacterial, and alien pathogens in order to introduce preemptive vaccination to future assigned Away teams sorted Alpha-Zulu.
  • Guidelines to such are open to encourage creativity in the event Starfleet Regulations clash against ability to defend crew, ship, and self. Above all else remember that we are Starfleet; we are first explorers, diplomats, thinkers, and are soldiers only as a last, defensive resort.
  • Engineering will perform diagnostic simulation of core overload should the neccessity come that the USS Solvang must engage warp speeds exceeding factor of safety margin. Teams will devise, revise, and update both safety and secondary containment methods should primary shut down prove ineffective towards preventing fatal matter/anti-matter cascading failure.
  • Weapons, Tactical, and Operations will coordinate efforts to familiarize attack, defensive, and manuever patterns Alpha through Theta. Experiment with shield frequencies, modulation, and testing of self-repair capabilities.
  • Conduct drills upon all decks, shuttle bays, and traffic control in order to facilitate rapid deployment in the event of evacuation under catastrophic conditions. 

Suddenly T’Pree’s combadge chirped as a message came through. “Lieutenant Vasili to Captain T’Pree, your presence is needed on the bridge. We will be dropping from warp soon.” Placing down her now cold, empty cup, she tapped the badge affixed to her uniform, replying. “I am on my way, thank you, Lieutenant.”

“Computer, pause dictation.”

With that, T’Pree left the confines of her undecorated, default quarters and made way to the bridge. She would continue this at a later time, updating it and passing it along to her senior department heads and letting them enact it slowly upon the cadets aboard. To her it was logical to be prepared and face nothing then to face everything ill-prepared. 

An Expected Delay

Outskirts of Azure Nebula
2401.38879.1

T’Pree entered the bridge, the viewscreen showing the blue-green hue of the Azure Nebula off in the distance, and made straight for the chair that the XO conveniently vacated. Nodding at him, she sat down and looked out at the image. “Captain, good of you to join us. Apologies for the early wake up but I felt it neccessary to let you know of the dangers in this region and why we’ve stopped.” Vasili would say, taking his own seat as he did. “I am aware of this region of space’s .. unruly reputation, but I will take any further guidance you might have, Lieutenant.” She responded, folding her hands in her lap as she adjusted to the still brand new seat cushions. 

“Of course. Ensign, please bring up our current position and distance from Starbase Eighty-Six,” The Lieutenant would say, the screen now showing a cross-reference of their current position, the nebula, and the starbase. “This region of space so far still hasn’t been fully mapped due to both criminal and other external factors. We will be skirting the outskirts and so should be relatively safe from both as long as we keep our eyes and ears open.” He sighed, shaking his head as he tapped the console, magnifying the grid they were currently on. “The only issue is that, in the past at least, the Federation at the very least had a complement of patrol ships keeping the odd pirate and raider away, therefore maintaining the security of this route but ..”


T’Pree then spoke up, understanding. “But now with the Federation in it’s current state this route is currently unguarded, yes?” She would finish his thoughts and concerns. “You believe criminal elements will take advantage of this and actively attempt to disable, board, and raid the Solvang of it’s cargo.” The Vulcan in her understood the logical assumption and every nerve ending screamed that they should, at the very least, request an escort from the starbase itself or nearby Providence Fleet Yards. It was also logical to assume both would be incapable of doing so due to their proximity to the nebula and the risk of losing more then just the Solvang if the Lieutenant’s caution was founded. The only way would be for her to make a detour, skirting the outskirts of the nebula, and risk a potential diplomatic incident with the Klingon Empire. To go through the nebula risked an attack by opportunistic pirates. 

Either option chosen they wouldn’t be using warp the rest of the way. The Lieutenant shifted in his seat, nodding with what might have been a mildly impressed expression of bemusement on his face. “Exactly. A situation straight from the Federation handbook if I do say so myself. The nebula plays havoc with our sensors and limits communications to short-distance.” T’Pree nodded. “Indeed. Which is why command has sent us out towards the starbase with precious cargo in tow. We will need special refit and a communications suite update to better operate. Something only the starbase can provide, of which the parts are also included in our cargo manifest,” She stood and walked to the center of the bridge. “As the humans like to say, to kill two birds with one stone.”


“Cadet, how long will it take for us to traverse the plotted route with full impulse?” She would ask, approaching his station. He looked up, eyes wide, then composed himself and seemed to be doing some of his own calculations. “At maximum sub-light .. it would take two days. Three, at most.”

“Hm, very well, set course for the extreme limit of the nebula. Ahead full impulse. Tactical, Operations, inform your departments to ready alert status. Communications, inform Providence of our planned route and destination.” T’Pree would order, moving back to sit down as she inputted the Lieutenant’s recommended route through her own console arm. “Lieutenant, prepare write up of a duty roster for rotational bridge watch.”

“Aye, Captain.” All stations responded in unison. T’Pree was confident in their abilities, the inexperienced intermixed with the senior staff, to do what they were trained to do. Crossing her legs she leaned back and watched with impassive eyes as the ship made way to the outermost regions of the Azure Nebula. 

Three days.

An expected delay.