Part of USS Nova: The Nova

The Ship Embarks

Starbase 72: Docking Bay B
Early October 2399
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The meeting on the green had been an enjoyable experience for all. Though the senior staff had begun the afternoon by keeping themselves separate from the rest of the crew, they eventually left the gazebo and started mingling with the rest of the junior officers. Drinks were drunk, stories were told, and everybody present had a decidedly decent time.

Today though was the day of destiny. The USS Nova was scheduled to leave Starbase 72 that afternoon. Yanrel had finally gathered the last of his things in to his trusty duffle bag, with most of his other possessions either being given away, shipped to storage, or already loaded aboard the ship. He stood silently on the tram which was headed to the upper levels of the space station and the internal spacedock for which the Starbase’s class was named.

For the first time since receiving his assignment to the Nova, nerves began to take hold. It was real now, and all that had been decided was final. He was about to become a captain of a Starfleet vessel, and the lives of those 80 other crewmembers were about to be on his shoulders. He trusted his senior staff to be at his back, but he still knew very little about them save for what he gleaned from his meeting with them at the arboretum

The tram ground to a halt at the docking ring station. Yanrel gripped the strap of his duffle bag tightly and took a deep breath, stepping out onto the familiar floor of the departure lounge.

The area was, as always, absolutely heaving with individuals coming to and fro, with even more civilians and officers alike materializing and stepping out from the transport pads.

The vast atrium spanned several floors and all about the massive wall of windows, various gangways could be seen travelling to different craft or various runabouts.

The largest of all these visible craft was a ship that left Yanrel speechless. Even amongst the bustling crowd, he dropped his bag and starred in disbelief. There, in the dead center of the massive viewport, surrounded by runabouts and shuttlecraft, was the Nova. Though it dwarfed all of its companion ships by a considerable measure, the Nova was still small enough to fit in the immediate vicinity.

He took a moment to just stop and look at it. It was absolutely beautiful, and all of Yanrel’s nerves and trepidations faded away to feelings of absolute pride and privilege. This was his ship he was staring at, and he thought it was perfect.

After a moment, he collected his things from the ground again and headed for one of the turbolifts which ascended to the third floor. There, above the center gangway, a projected sign projected the title ‘USS Nova’ in bold lettering. Below it, Yanrel could just about make out the faces and familiar forms of individuals he had had at least seen at the meeting in the arboretum. Confidently, he marched across the walkway to the tunneled entrance and stepped through. Looking out of the windowed gangway, he could see a great array of different starships above his head, below his feet, and all about himself; Ambassador-classes and Intrepid-classes and an Odyssey-class and a Luna-class, filled his field of view either side. The gargantuan inner dock itself was no less impressive this time around than it had ever been. Stretching with a scale beyond the size of a city just in that quarter alone, it was a monstrous amphitheater to which Vex would be comparable to an beetle scurrying about it.

Ahead of him, the comparatively minute Nova grew closer and closer as he could see the entry hatch open dead ahead.

He stepped on through the open door undisturbed, that is to say for all of about a minute. Suddenly, a young ensign spotted him and shouted “Captain on board!”. This call was parroted across the corridor along with several cheers from a few familiar faces.

“Sorry about that sir. Just a little something we agreed on. Figured it’d be good to let the ship and the crew know when you were coming aboard. We figured with the Nova being as small as it is, word’d reach the bridge before you did.” The ensign said, a young Trill man, probably in his early 20’s or so, who stood a about a foot shorter than Vex and sported bright blonde hair.

“Haha, it’s alright Ensign. Glad to be aboard.” Yanrel responded.

He worked his way down the corridor, his crew all visibly tensing up or standing at attention as he passed them, before reaching the turbolift.

Several crewmen joined him in it, all also showing a similarly nervous disposition.

The whole experience made Vex very uncomfortable. The idea of his crew standing on eggshells around him every time he came near was not a pleasant thought. He wondered if it would always be this way or if people might finally begin to relax once they had gotten to know him.

“Which deck are you headed to, sir?” one asked him.

“Uh, deck 1.” He responded, trying to recall the layout of the ship in his mind.

The top deck housed the bridge, his ready room, his personal quarters, and the Nova’s unique project control center, all of which were rooms he foresaw himself spending a considerable amount of time.

“Computer,’ the officer began, and the ship’s internal computer responded with its customary bleeping, ‘deck 1.”

The doors hissed closed as the turbolift began moving with a calming whirring sound. Yanrel had barely had time to gather his thoughts and consider something to say before the doors hissed open. He was used to turbolift rides taking long enough for at least some casual conversation. It was odd to him to arrive at the destination so soon after entering. Yet another thing to grow accustomed to on this vessel, he felt.

He strolled out of the lift and was immediately faced with a room labelled ‘Captain’s Quarters’ dead ahead of him. Shrugging, he stepped in as several officers behind him also left the turbolift and turned right.

The room itself was surprisingly spacious for such a small ship. It had a decently big twin bed, a sofa, several tables with chairs, and even a desk for him to work from. He noticed that several of his plants from the station had already been brought on board and placed in his room, as had several other of his personal items. Sighing with contentment, Yanrel threw his dufflebag on the bed and took a seat on the sofa. Craning his neck back, he looked out of the viewing window as a deep shadow fell over his room. Far above him, a massive Galaxy-class ship slowly moved through the space dock. Though his ship was comparatively small and vulnerable, he felt safe aboard it, as safe as he ever did in his quarters aboard the great space station.

At last, with a stretch, Vex stood and left his quarters, hanging a left and stepping through the door on his immediate right. He would deal with his personal effects later, he thought to himself, after the more pressing business was dealt with.

“Captain on the bridge.” An officer called from a science station as he walked out on to the perfectly circular room that was the ship’s bridge.

Immediately, his entire bridge crew stopped what they were doing and turned on the spot to face their captain.

“As you were.” He said politely. Stepping across the room and down a rampway to a lower level, he stood before an empty chair.

Next to it, Raksha Chandra was sat, who briefly stopped looking over a readout on one of her chair’s consoles to look up at Vex.

He took a deep breath in and out before turning and taking his seat for the first time in any of his lives in the captain’s chair, the seat from which he would command his vessel, his ship.

“Comfortable, sir?” Chandra asked with a grin.

“I’m sure I’ll settle in to it. What’s our status?” Yanrel replied.

“We’re still waiting on a few crewmen to board, sir. Most of us are settled in to our positions quite nicely though.”

“Check in with each of the departments, would you? I want to make sure there are no hitches somewhere along the lines before we leave.” The captain asked.

Chandra tapped her combadge.

“Brot, how’re looking in engineering?” She asked.

Down in engineering, Brot handed his PADD to one of his operating staff as his small team ran around frantically, tapping different consoles and monitoring all manner of readouts.

“We’re looking good, ma’am. The warp core is humming like a dream and diagnostics read nominal on all major systems and subsystems. I think we’ve even got a working shake machine in the mess hall.” He responded as Chandra’s voice came through his badge.

“Very good.” Chandra replied. Yanrel smirked at his chief of operations’ response.

“Isong, how’s sick bay? Everything in order?”

“Yes commander. Sick bay is ready to commence operation and to start receiving patients, though I do hope not to see any for as long as possible. That does remind me though commander, you are overdue for your physi—” Isong responded before Chandra cut her off mid reply, tapping her combadge with a sudden rapidity before looking nervously at Vex.

“You’re not going to get away with not having it done, you know? Isong will probably track you down in your asleep if she has to.” The captain said.

Chandra continued checking in with various other departments, however few of them there may be on the ship, as Yanrel rose from his chair and headed towards the ready room.

The door hissed open to reveal a small office, complete with an angular desk, a wave-shaped sofa, a coffee table, a replicator, and empty shelves behind a swivel chair.

Yanrel paced for a moment in the room, his nerves building once again now that he had taken a seat in the captain’s chair, his chair, for the first time. A sudden panic came over him and he slumped in his seat behind his desk.

“Commander Chandra, to the ready room please.” He asked over his combadge.

In a split second, there was a ringing of the doorbell.

“Enter.” Vex said.

Raksha stepped in, a concerned look on her face. She hadn’t expected to be called in to the captain’s ready room so soon. The ship hadn’t even taken off yet.

“Have a seat.” He asked her, motioning casually towards the seat on the other side of the desk before yawning.

Raksha sat on the comparatively small seat across from him, nervously.

“We don’t need to stand on ceremony in here, Raksha. You’re my first officer, and I trust that I can lean on you when times are tough, when I need you.” He said.

“Of course sir.” She replied.

“I don’t know if I can do this Raksha, I don’t know if I’m ready for this.” Yanrel said, leaning back on his seat and throwing his arm on the headrest, bobbing back and forth a little on it.

“You seemed fine yesterday sir. You got up there and talked to the crew like you ran the whole damn station. Where’s this come from?” she asked.

“Well, it’s one thing talking about it when you’re stood on a lovely gazebo with the wind blowing and the birds singing. It’s all just an idea then, a hypothetical. In my mind, I was still stationed on 72. I was a scientist who had dreams of being captain. Now that I’m actually on the Nova though, now that I’ve sat in my captain’s chair and strolled on in here to my ready room, it’s real, you know? I’m not a scientist anymore. I’m a Starfleet captain, and I’m responsible for everyone on this ship. Their safety falls on me.”

“No disrespect sir but it always did. Even before you were a captain, you were a science officer aboard another ship, right? I read you were chief of operations before that too. Every time you were in one of those positions, people counted on you. People needed you to do your job or else it could’ve spelled the end for all of us. The job hasn’t changed sir, and with all due respect you’re still a scientist. So you’ve got an extra pip on your collar now, so what? What’s different about being a captain versus being a first officer? What’s different about being a captain versus being a chief of operations, huh? You’ve still got a job to do, and you’ve still got people relying on you, sure; but you’ve got us here for you as well. Brot, Man, Sh’atia, Isong, me, we’re all here to make sure that you make the right decisions, and we’re not about to let you send us all to our deaths either. Trust us sir, and we’ll make sure we lead you right. All you’ve got to do is point your finger and go ‘engage!’ and that’s it really.” Chandra said.

Yanrel didn’t respond to this. He merely stopped bobbing and smiled at Chandra. Before he had the chance to say anything else however, he heard Perial Sh’atia, his chief of security, over his combadge.

“Station reports all crew have embarked sir. We’re ready to go when you are.” She said.

“Thank you, lieutenant.” He responded before looking over at Raksha.

“Ready to do this, sir?” she asked cautiously.

“Let’s go make history, Raksha.” He replied, getting up out of his chair.

She grinned at this and got up, following him out of the room and onto the bridge, whereupon they both took their seats.

“Brot, final systems check.” Vex communicated.

“We’re all set to go, captain.” He responded.

“Grand,’ he said, leaning back in his seat and staring at the viewscreen, ‘all hands, this is the captain. Prepare for departure.”

From the hallway outside of the bridge, there was an audible cheer.

Vex tapped his badge again.

“Vex to Starbase operations. Does the USS Nova have clearance for departure?” he asked.

A few seconds of silence passed before a response came through over the bridge speakers.

“That’s an affirmative, captain. Docking clamps are being released and you are green to go. Good luck out there and Godspeed. We’ll see you all in a year or so.” It said.

“Thank you control. We look forward to being back again. Nova out.” Vex said.

The ship shuddered and shook slightly as the sound of the docking clamps releasing their vice grip of the ship echoed throughout the hull and through the bulkheads.

“Helm, take us out, maneuvering thrusters only.” Vex commanded to his helm officer, a young woman with dark brown hair and a slightly wider frame.

“Aye cap’n.” She responded in a thick Welsh accent.

On the viewscreen, the image of the docking bay slowly began to move and rotate as the ship cautiously began to turn towards the exit. Ever so slowly it crept towards the opening gateway, overtaken by a number of small shuttlecraft and runabouts who were quickly darting in and out on their own errands.

As the ship drew ever closer to the wide vista of space opening before them, Vex could see miniscule figures of what appeared to be people looking out of the viewing galleries of the numerous lounges and control centers around them, some visibly cheering and applauding, their ant-sized silhouettes shifting and dancing, as the Nova glided its way through.

Before long, all that lay before Vex’s eyes was the great expanse of the galaxy in front of him as the ship flew clear of the station.

“So, where to captain?” the helm officer asked.

“We were built for exploring planets Starfleet had otherwise forgotten about ensign, and that is what we’re going to do. Set a course for the Ventiri system, warp 6.” Vex responded.

The ensign punched in the commands on the console, ready for the Nova to go to warp on its first real adventure.

Vex took a moment to savor the experience. He looked out at the great ocean of stars on the horizonless expanse that lay ahead. Finally, he gave the command.

“Engage.”