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Part of USS Arcturus: Epsilon Indi Calling

Chapter Fifteen: Launch

USS Arcturus, Main Bridge
Early January, 2399
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The final checks to get the Arcturus ready for launch had gone flawlessly. Every system from the warp engines straight down to the holographic waiters in the ship’s lounges were ready and waiting for the ship’s trial cruise to Barzan II, and beyond there to the waiting Delta Quadrant. Fleet Captain Hayden was flanked by Doctor Anjar and Captain Lancaster, each of which were using holographic consoles to monitor the crew and ship’s systems respectively.

“All decks and departments reporting in, Captain. We are ready to begin final launch preparations,” Lancaster reported, as blue lights illuminated around the bridge to signify the ship’s preparedness to depart. All of the status icons on his board were green, and there was nothing left to do but give the order.

“Computer, give me ship wide,” Hayden ordered. A bosun’s whistle sounded. “Attention all hands, this is the captain speaking. Your hard work is about to pay off, as our ship is now ready to leave port. Some of you have been aboard for years as she went from a collection of hull plates and stem bolts to the magnificent vessel she is now. Some of you have just joined us, but together, we are the Arcturus as much as her bulkheads and computers are. We have a long journey ahead of us, so for now, I will just say: congratulations,” she said.

Lancaster glanced around the bridge and noted the sheer enthusiasm he could see in those eyes he caught. Hayden was the type of leader that he aspired to be: someone who brought out the best in their subordinates and inspired them.

“Operations, clear all moorings and umbilicals,” Hayden ordered. “Helm, bring all thrusters to station-keeping.”

“Gangways retracting. Mooring beams disabled,” Commander Alesser reported, standing behind Anjar at his own holographic station.

“Thrusters to station-keeping, aye,” Lieutenant Tellora, the ship’s Klingon helmswoman replied. Everyone on the bridge could sense the young woman’s eagerness to get underway. What she lacked in experience, she made up for in raw talent behind the controls of a ship of any size.

Hayden brought up the communications system herself from the armrest of her chair. “Epsilon Indi Station, this is the Arcturus. Requesting departure clearance,” she said.

“Permission granted, Arcturus. We look forward to having you home again one day,” the commanding officer of the station replied.

“As do we, Epsilon Indi. Arcturus, out,” Hayden said, before turning to Lancaster. “Take us out, Number One,” she ordered.

“Helm, release forward thrusters and set aft thrusters to twenty meters per second,” Lancaster said, watching his instruments carefully as Tellora engaged the thrusters. The large ship began to move free of the docking frame for the first time, its gantries sweeping past them as it pushed out into open space.

“Departure successful, Captain. We are now free and clear to manuever,” Lancaster reported, counting down the twenty-five seconds it took the tips of the kilometer-long starship’s nacelles to clear the dry-dock.

“I think it’s high time that we get on our way, then. Let’s put her through her paces.” Hayden said, beaming as she placed both of her hands on the armrests of the command throne. “Ahead, warp one. Engage!” And with that, the stars rushed at the viewscreen and then there was a flash of light as the Arcturus jumped away from Epsilon Indi, en route to her destiny.