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Part of USS Neptune: An Ethical Dilemma and Bravo Fleet: Labyrinth

Something Different

Bridge, USS Neptune
September, 2401
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The past few weeks had been quite a blur to the crew of the Neptune through the initiative of the Fourth Fleet under the command of Fleet Captain Mero Tomuya, the Neptune was now the flagship of the Neptune Advanced Exploration Division. The truth was this was an incredible opportunity, but Michael had trepidations about someone else being in command, though he was still the CO of the Neptune it just felt different. The doubt was natural, but what could come form this he did not know. He had never met Tomuya prior to their first meeting a week ago. She seems fair, but firm and not someone he wanted to cross. He arrived on the bridge with the noticeable whoosh of the doors opening. Tomuya was standing next to his seat looking out the viewscreen.

Mero turned to see her new Division XO and smiled “Shall we get this mission started, XO?

Michael smiled and nodded. Only a few hours prior he had been briefed of the mission with the rest of the senior crew of the Neptune. The truth was this was not like anything he had ever heard of before. Underspace was not something well known and the fact that now aperture’s were opening up seemed like it could cause huge issues for the Fourth Fleet. Not knowing what could come from these aperture’s was a huge worry. The Division had been tasked with traveling to an aperture that had been discovered close to the Divisions current location. The plan was made to leave the Hydra and Tianwen behind until the initial information of what was going on would be determined.

The truth was after the battle with Michelle it seemed like his life had lost a part that had been around for so long. Even though she was the enemy knowing her for so long still caused an unknown grief. He was hoping that this mission would be a way for him to recenter himself and find his love for exploration again. He snapped back to reality and looked at the Captain “Let’s do it.” 

He turned to the conn “Set a course for the preset destination and lets go.”

The tertiary nod of the officer was all that was needed as the Neptune entered warp for the location. The trip would still take a few hours and currently with the Fleet Captain on the bridge he decided to check in with the ships XO. “Captain, I will be in my ready room if you need me.” 

Mero nodded, while Michael was the CO of the ship she did enjoy sitting in the Captain’s chair and through a discussion with Michael she had gotten permission from him to do just that. Michael seems a competent Captain, but he also seemed like he had some hidden nightmares that he was fighting as well. The truth was that was not currently her worry, but the last battle of the crew seemed to bother him from the information in his logs. No officer was perfect and though she did not know what was happening she knew that she had to trust Michael knew his emotions and how to keep them in check.

Michael had set this meeting with his XO a few hours prior and she seemed like she wanted to talk too him. He arrived and sat down to hear the door chime, unlike most people he didn’t use the regular enter anymore he pressed a button and the door whished open where he motioned his XO to the seat in front of him.

Lexi had just arrived on the Neptune a few days prior to replace the XO who had been on the ships, as they had been called away. Lexi had known about the Neptune for awhile and was hoping she would get the opportunity to be stationed on the ship and now that the ship was part of a Division she had an amazing opportunity to serve with the prestigious Fleet Captain who had been given command of the division. Lexi had met her during her stint at Starfleet Command and was impressed by her professionalism, but also her friendly demeanor, though she had been told not to cross the Fleet Captain or she might be called to spar with her.

Lexi smiled at the Captain as she sat down “Reporting as ordered, Captain.”

“Thank you for the prompt arrival, Commander. You came highly recommended and we never had a chance to talk about what your goals are here on the ship. As my XO you will be held to a high standard, but I also want to help you towards whatever goals you may have in Starfleet.”

Lexi thought for a minute leaving the room silent apart from the hum of the Warp Core and main systems on the ship “I haven’t really thought about anything past being an XO, Sir. Truthfully to be where I am is incredibly humbling and not something I ever thought would happen and now that it has I feel like I have reached the top. As for your standards I will do whatever I can to help make this ship successful in whatever mission she is set to be apart of.”

Michael listened, but didn’t say much because in this case he just wanted to listen and find out more about his new XO. She seems confident, but also humble and not thinking she was better than anyone else. It seemed as if this ship even with its sometimes crazy drama would be a good fit for her and that alone made Michael feel more at ease about her transition onto the ship. “Well that is great to hear, Commander. Now that we are in route for this mission I would love to hear what you actually think after the briefing.”

Lexi shook her head “The truth is I do not know what to think this is not like anything we have ever experienced before and not knowing what could be waiting can sometimes cause some doubt as to the possibility of success. Don’t get me wrong I am not a pessimist, Captain, but I guess you could call me a realist. This mission has excitement behind it, but I do not want to give a full opinion on what it could be, especially not knowing what is to come.”

Michael nodded “You make some great points and I can say that you hit the nail on the head so to speak because some of the craziest missions I have ever had all came after becoming the CO of the Neptune. Though you never know what is going to happen it adds to the excitement of what we do. I also will say that my crew is one of the best at what they do and with the addition of the Hydra and the Tianwen the abilities of what we can do will far surpass that of what we was able to do in the past. With all that said is there any questions you have regarding the duties you could be asked to perform.”

Lexi thought for another moment and shook her head though she was nervous at what she might have to do she  knew that not only was this opportunity huge, but that the crew of this ship was highly competent and had been through more than she could imagine. She was a timid person at first, but Lexi could hold her own and her weapon proficiency scores helped to truly show that. “No, Sir I think that I am well aware that my duties not only could change, but that emergencies also could bring new aspects to that as well. I am willing to do whatever you need me to do and will make sure the crew operates at the efficiency you have come to expect from them. The morale of this ship seems to be high and I will make sure to keep that morale up as well.”

Michael could not help but to smile the truth was Lexi was all he could ask for in an XO. His last XO was great and while he was going to miss them they had to depart for reasons that he did not fully know and that was ok. He looked at Lexi and stood up “Thank you for your honesty, XO and for what you bring to the table. I am thrilled to have you as a part of the ship and look forward to how we can help bring your skills to the next level. You are dismissed please head to the bridge as we should be arriving at our destination within the next hour.” 

Lexi nodded and departed the room wondering what was about to come with a pit in her stomach she had a feeling something was coming and it would shake up the whole crew.

Mero had been watching the ships progress towards its destination it had seemed like such a slow trip, but the truth was she was anxious to see what was happening. She had not been on a ship for a mission in a few years and the truth was she had been wanting a chance to be back in the action again, though she would not be boots on the ground at least not from what she could see. The Neptune was competent and its crew seemed ready for whatever was about to come. She saw that they had almost reached the location and tapped her comm badge “Captain, we have almost arrived at our destination”

“I will be there in a moment.” he replied.

Michael made his way to the bridge and was there in short order just as Commander Peng also arrived. The Underspace was a new scientific discovery and because of it he wanted to make sure Peng was present on the bridge as well. As the two arrived the ship exited hyperspace and a scene like no other.

The ship arrived to see a nebula of bright blue colors from the gases that were present and in the center of that nebula was a brilliant aperture that was brighter than any nearby star, but that shock was there wasn’t just one instead they were all around the Neptune, while the nebula was in front of them the space around them had an incredible iridescent color in the sky it seemed like the area was on fire from the bright crimson colors. The swirls of light seemed to be from gases that had been produced from the nebula itself. The area seemed to be covered in the iridescent light, but behind the light it looked like swirls of gases that had made the light come to life. The whole area seemed volatile and while the view was breathtaking the overwhelming amount of Underspace openings were astonishing. From first glance there were at least 5 of them each one of them with a different color of brilliance, but at the center of them seemed to be an anchor point for all the rest. 

The smaller openings had nothing around them except unknown elements in the outside boundary making up what looked like the originating point of the openings. In the inside while the opening could not be seen from the light it seemed like the light of a star was coming through the opening. 

Mero looked around the bridge seeing the jaws of the crew dropped from the view. She was the first to speak up “In all my career I have never seen anything as brilliant as this. The colors, the view, the whole area is just an incredible scene.”

Michael nodded in agreement not sure what to say. He had seen some incredible views but the scene in front of him seemed to really show the wonder of exploration ‘This is why I joined Starfleet.’ he thought as he blinked thinking he was in a dream.

Amanda had been quiet as always just preparing for what could be around the corner when she looked up from her console the view left her speechless. The colors were incredible, but the view of the opening just made her realize that this was like no mission she had ever seen in the past. The truth was this was different in fact it was so different this seemed like new territory for ever the two most experienced officers on the ship. That alone showed this was like nothing they had ever witnessed before.

Xiao had seen some things especially as a Science officer, but the views from this were beyond what he had ever expected to see. The brilliance from the gases in the nebula to the colors of the opening showed this was not like a normal mission and it all seemed to originate from the changes that had come from the opening. Though he could not confirm that suspicion without many test he did know that if they were not careful this could be a dangerous place for a ship. 

Lexi though amazed by the view was more interested at what seemed to be at the main Underspace opening. It looked like multiple ships, but she could not be sure and if it was the case the need for extreme caution would be needed. It seemed as though the crew was still mesmerized by the view, but the wonder was only a part of the mission and it was not going to change the fact that the crew needed to find out what those ships were. She realized the initial shock and knew she shouldn’t think so hard against the awe and wonder, but her goal was to keep the promise she had made the Captain.

The Neptune sat in the nebula not moving its crew mesmerized by the scene that had unfolded in front of them. The truth was this was like nothing any of them had ever seen. As crew member passed windows they stopped to look at the scene even those in the Scarlet Fire Brewhouse stopped and looked out to see the view. Through the swirling nebula and gasses at the opening of Underspace sat ships disabled with no power and no knowledge of where they were. 

To Be Continued….

Comments

  • An interesting start to the story - Neptune isn't getting pulled into anything - it's responding to the creation of an aperture. We get an introduction to our crew and the new pieces and parts of the ship, with some possible conflicts to be discovered as we go. We do have to wonder how long the aperture they're staring at will remain open - will it pull them in, spit more out and then close? How will they react as a new crew? Lots to think about as the story unfolds. Curious to see the next one!

    June 18, 2024
  • The title sums it up, it is 'Something Different'; both for the crew of the Neptune and the reader. This story gives a lot to think about; will the CO and XO work well together, early indications are positive. Where have these ships come from, and is that all of them? Are they friendly or hostile? Is it all a complete accident that they have arrived here? An interesting mission, looking forward to more.

    June 18, 2024
  • I agree with the previous comments, this is a whole different feel than all the ships being pulled into Underspace. This is more sedate, giving us a glimpse of the different characters and tantalising little glimpses of their backstories. I liked the sense of wonder at the end there as they are presented with the aperture, and a little bit of mystery with those ships! Nice work! Looking forward to reading more.

    June 24, 2024
  • What a great start to a adventure. Your story takes the reader on a trip through the complexities of command. Michael's struggles and his partnership with new XO, Lexi, add a human element to this space adventure. It is a great read that balances exploration and personal growth.

    June 28, 2024