Captain’s Log, Stardate 74784.6. I have assumed command of the USS Hydra. In so doing, I have also accepted the responsibility of leading an expeditionary force into the Federation/Cardassian border with the express intent of hunting down pirate forces in the surrounding sector of space. I recognize that such an undertaking will not be easy, nor should I expect that we won’t incur some manner of retaliation for our actions.
The bridge of the USS Hydra had the same configuration as the USS Bismarck had when Captain Jonathan Bastin had served aboard the Intrepid-class vessel. There were several variations on that theme, of course. The railing that had dominated the area around the command chairs had been replaced with a much more comprehensive tactical console. With tactical now directly behind the Captain and First Officer, one of the alcoves had been made into a Strategic Operations workspace, a rather detailed map of the surrounding sector of space being displayed on the rear most panel.
Most of the consoles, unlike the Bismarck of Bastin’s memory, were the most up-to-date that Starfleet had to offer, their lines far most sleek and aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Even the displays themselves seemed to be much sharper and much more clear than his memory suggested. The bridge was, for all intents and purposes, similar in size and very little else.
“Impressive setup…” Bastin murmured as he walked out of the turbolift and took a short walk around the compartment. Most of the consoles were manned by the people who had been assigned aboard the vessel for her shakedown cruise, which meant they would eventually rotate out. Even among the personnel that wouldn’t eventually leave, it was likely that it would take Bastin a fair bit of time to learn who they all were.
His brief walk around the space ended with him entering the ship’s ready room, which was configured almost identically to the one he’d remembered seeing on the Bismarck. From the lounge area to the position of the desk, everything was situated almost exactly where it had been when he’d served on the Intrepid-class vessel. About the only real differences lay in the colors of the furnishings and lack of trinkets currently housed on the shelves.
“At least it’s bigger than on the Argonaut,” Bastin chuckled to himself.
The Captain began to turn around to return to the bridge when a familiar face popped through the swiftly opening door. Commander Rena Yuri stopped just short of entering as she watched her Captain perform a stutter stop while trying to gauge whether he was going to remain in the room or not.
“In or out?” Bastin asked, having stopped himself in mid-stride.
“If you’re coming back to the bridge, that works for what I have to report,” the woman offered up a relaxed grin.
“Out it is,” Bastin nodded as he began to walk again, “What have you got?”
As the two crossed the short expanse and made for their respective chairs, Cmdr. Yuri explained, “Commander Williams has taken over the Argonaut for the duration of the upcoming expedition. Captain Ainsley on the Sizemore has already taken up a flanking position alongside our ship, and Captain S’Tal of the Edinburgh reports that her crew will be ready to depart within the hour.”
“A fairly formidable group for what we expect to encounter,” Bastin said with a nod of his head.
“I’m hoping we aren’t bringing all this firepower for nothing,” Cmdr. Yuri said with a smirk.
The Captain shrugged as he settled back in his chair, “If it is, then we’ll be able to wash our hands of this business and return to our primary focus all that much faster.”
Yuri raised a questioning eyebrow, “I can’t tell if you’re actually apathetic about all this or doing your best to maintain some neutral stance despite your actual feelings…”
“Good,” Bastin said with a smirk, “That’s just what I was aiming for.”
The woman couldn’t help but laugh as she settled into her chair next to the Captain. As their appointed departure time grew ever closer, the bridge began to turn over personnel. His Vulcan Operations Officer made his appearance first, nodding to his Captain as he rounded the console to relieve the officer on watch.
“Settled in, Mr. T’Rel?” Bastin asked, glancing partially over his shoulder.
“The Hydra is not so far away from the Argonaut, operationally speaking, as to require that significant an adjustment,” the Vulcan responded in an even tone as he ran his checks.
“Oh good,” the Captain said, returning his attention forward, “Glad to hear it.”
The First Officer rolled her eyes at the exchange. She already knew from their many conversations in the past that Bastin had extensive dealings with Vulcans throughout his career and had gotten used to the way in which they reacted to Human phraseology. Yuri herself still had trouble adjusting to the very rigid way Vulcans viewed things, so there were times when her interactions with their Operations Officer ended awkwardly.
Their Saurian Security Chief walked onto the bridge just as the Commander was going to make a comment of her own to the Vulcan. While Saurian expressions weren’t the easiest to recognize, it was almost frighteningly obvious just how excited the Lieutenant was as she took her place at the Tactical Console behind the two Command Officers.
“Is it just me, or is Ms. Nieru unusually expressive?” Yuri asked, leaning over toward Bastin.
“No,” Bastin chuckled, “It isn’t just you. I’m pretty sure even T’Rel could see it if he actually looked up from his console.”
One of the Vulcan’s eyebrows rose up slightly at the comment, but he didn’t deign to say anything about it. For Lt. Nieru’s part, she didn’t seem overly concerned about her more elated attitude being noticed or pointed out by her superiors. She simply busied herself with setting up the console the way she preferred to have information displayed and did so with a bit more gusto than usual.
“Have you talked to our Chief Engineer yet about how he’s getting along down there?” Bastin asked.
“He sent me a report… a very long one… about all the things he was going to have to do to make the ship run properly,” Cmdr. Yuri said with a wry smile, “So I’d say he’s about as happy as anyone to be here.”
“That sounds about right,” Bastin nodded to himself, “Though I’m sure we’ll have plenty of time for him to fix all those flaws only to create new ones.”
“That sounds about right for Mr. Brak,” Yuri smirked knowingly.
“The Edinburgh has sent a message indicating that they have completed their preparations and are standing by,” Lt. T’Rel interrupted the banter between the two.
Bastin straightened himself up in his seat, “Very well, helm, lay in a course for the coordinates sent to us by Starbase 310.”
“Aye sir,” the Lieutenant Junior Grade at the help responded curtly.
“Mr. T’Rel, send word to all ships that we will depart on my signal.”
A brief pause filled the bridge with expectant silence as the Vulcan relayed Capt. Bastin’s order. When he finally got a response from the rest of the ships in their small task force, T’Rel relayed the information to his superior with a brief, “All ships ready to engage.”
“Very well, take us to maximum warp,” Bastin ordered. In the span of a few seconds, the warp core of the ship spooled up and launched the vessel forward, three other ships doing so just a second or two behind the Hydra.
“Let’s make our presence felt, shall we?” the Captain said with a confident smile as he watched the stars streak by on the viewscreen.