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Part of USS Hathaway: Episode 7: Sundered Wings (Wings of Salvation) and Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

CH5 – The Great Wanderer Begins Its Journey

Bridge, Deck 1
May, 2400
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Whilst the bridge of a starship wasn’t the biggest room on the vessel, or the busiest, it was perhaps the most important. As they had for centuries before, on countless vessels from steamers to starships, the bridge was not only the focal point of the ‘Bridge Module’, but it was also the nerve-center for the entire ship. Manned by the top officers of each department when duties required it, the bridge was home away from home for the ship’s commander, and no matter where their adventures would take them, they always found themselves to be truly happy when sitting in ‘that’ chair at the centre of the bridge. Captain sh’Elas was no different, regardless of the vessel she found herself aboard. She loved being on the bridge at the best of times, but the bridge of the Temeraire was something to be marvelled at.

Modelled on the successful layout of its older, larger cousin the Sovereign-class, the bridge of the Temeraire had a slightly altered colour scheme and a much changed console layout across the bridge. Making the most of a variety of technological advancements, such as holoprojectors, holographic communications, in-built weapons lockers and three dimensional computer displays in places, the bridge module was one of the most advanced in the fleet. 

In a move away from more recent styles, and harking back to the traditional layouts of yesteryear, the Temeraire had a single center command seat for the commanding officer. Directly ahead of them, down a few steps and between the commanding officer and the massive, holographic viewscreen, two angled consoles served as duty stations for Operations and Flight Operations. Next, and facing into the heart of the bridge to allow maximum participation with the rest of the bridge crew were duty stations for science and tactical operations. Directly behind the commanding officer, and in a further break from tradition, a combined duty station served as positioning for the two most senior advisors and assistants to the ship’s commander; the Strategic Operations Officer and Executive Officer. Around the outside of the bridge, there were countless other additional stations. On the aft bulkhead, engineering finally got its all important focus. With a large, entirely interactive and customizable master systems display and other engineering controls, the representative from engineering had full access to the ship’s systems. With resources like that at their disposal, why would anyone want to be anywhere other than on the bridge?

Perhaps one of its most charming features was the emblem of the United Federation of Planets emblazoned on the carpeting as a constant reminder of all the ship stood for, what it represented. It was also something that united the crews of both the Temeraire and the Santa Fe – Starfleet, the Federation, the Galaxy. They had been brought together to serve and protect the interests of all they would come across. That started today, with their mission to Psi Velorum.

Sitting at the heart of the bridge, the two hours until departure stations was almost up.

At Strategic Operations, Commander T’Prynn was already sat in deep conversation with the Tellarite executive officer, getting to grips with the situation and planning their moves once the ship arrived in the Kunhri system. Nearby, and liaising every so often, the blonde-haired bombshell known as Noli Auru was hard at work with her department assistant, Mayur Bellurr, with both officers getting to grips with the recent adjustments to the defensive and offensive systems of the Inquiry-class starship.

Lieutenant Linn Mora strode through the aft-turbolift doors heading directly for his seat at the forward operations station. Although he had been on the bridge countless times, recent changes had made it ‘feel’ different. It was a feeling that he hoped he would be able to shake off soon, but for now, he shared a nod of acknowledgement with Lieutenant Okan at science, breezing by and taking his place at the ‘Ops’ station. As far as he was concerned, it was the second best seat on the bridge after the pilot and navigator station. There was nothing like being smack in the middle of all the action.

Henry Mitchell, all bright eyed and bushy tailed, was at the CONN long before the captain had even shown up, doing the final preflights and his research about the phenomena they might face in the Psi Velorum sector. The departure was finally upon them and there was a grin on the Lieutenant’s face that had been there all morning. There was nothing quite like taking a ship out for the first time after taking over, and while it wasn’t the Temeraire’s first trip, it was her first official mission under the new command crew, and the first time Mitchell would have the controls.

The next to walk onto the bridge was Lieutenant Chiera, who generally didn’t spend much time up here unless her presence was requested. While she was a senior advisor to the captain and a frequent fill-in for a diplomatic corps, she always felt that her place was in her office. Talking to the crew, helping them, getting to know everyone and help set everyone up for success for themselves and for the ship. 

Now, though, her presence as part of the senior staff had been requested, and so here she was. She didn’t know which seat she was to take today, given the unique, single-center seat style of this new bridge, so she simply approached the captain with a polite nod of greeting. “Boss.”

Later than she would have liked, Lieutenant Prida strode onto the bridge from out of the turbolift in long, exaggerated strides. As with those entering onto the bridge, she offered her commanding officer a formal, “Captain” as she passed behind her and over to the engineering display on the back wall. From all of the specs and schematics she had observed of the ship, the bridge was still a sight to behold; streamlined and accessible; not gaudy, but Starfleet had spared no expense in making it look everything like a modern bridge should. Prida felt a pang of pride, in herself and in her shipmates, that they were the ones manning this marvel. Though she hadn’t spent nearly as much time on the bridge yet as she would have wanted, that all ended here; this was her place now, and she could feel that energy emanating from the emblazoned Federation logo at the heart of their nerve-center.

Doctor Zinn was next to arrive. Like Vittoria, he didn’t spend much time on the Bridge, or at least he hadn’t until that point. But Tharia had told him that would have to change during all of this, so he felt the need to be on the Bridge for departure. The command centre was impressive to be fair, far more so than that of the Santa Fe. He walked slowly around the perimeter of the room, taking note of the details until one in particular caught his attention; the seal of the Federation on the carpet in the centre of the room. “Seriously?!” he frowned, folding his arms across his chest and giving off a ‘hrmph’ of disappointment as he stared at the seal on the floor. “Is every ship in the fleet going to have one of these now? Are they worried we might think we’re Romulan or something by mistake?”

”Actually, doctor, I think it’s there to remind the Federation of its roots, our mandate, or mission,” the bushy-haired executive officer piped up, diverting his attention from the work of the Strategic Operations officer for a moment.

“Hey!” Zinn grinned, pointing at the Captain, “That sounded almost like…” then his smile faded and the two took a moment to remember their fallen comrade and friend. He had very nearly mucked up then, but atoned for his misdemeanour by simply giving the Captain a smile, and nodding at the symbol on the carpet before making his way to his medical station.

“Yard control has sent our final launch permissions Captain, clear to depart on your order ma’am,” Mitchell said as his console chirped with the final permissions from the shipyard to allow them to head out.

“All departments report ready, Captain,” Commander Gor assured their commanding officer from the station just behind the Andorian.

“Very well Commander,” the Captain acknowledged the words of her new executive officer and diverted her attention to one of the stations to the side of the command chair. “Lieutenant Noli,” she called out, observing the Bajoran naming tradition, “can you confirm that all visitors and yard personnel have disembarked? I don’t want any hitchhikers on the journey to Psi Velorum.”

Noli nodded and examined her screen. She clicked through two different databases, one that tracked visitors and then conducted a final security scan of the ship to make sure only authorized personnel were left on board. “Ma’am, the last yard worker is departing as we speak. All remaining personnel on board are confirmed to be members of the crew only,” Noli remarked with a nod of confirmation to women sat in the best seat in the house.

“Warp core operating at peak efficiency. All systems check out and we are green across the board. All systems available at your command Captain,” Lieutenant Prida advised from the MSD and engineering displays at the back of the bridge.

‘Let’s get on with it already,’ Mitchell thought to himself but kept his mouth shut so as to not risk annoying the Captain during these early stages. It wasn’t every day you got to take a ship out for the very first time as Chief. To say he was excited was an understatement.

“Release docking clamps and clear all moorings. Helm, ahead one quarter impulse power. When we’re clear, set a course for Starbase 23 at warp seven,” the Andorian commanded.

Within a matter of moments, forward momentum could be felt by all on the bridge as the ship began to inch forward, faster and faster until it reached the velocity ordered.

“We’ve cleared all moorings, taking us forward at one quarter,” Mitchell said, his fingers nibbling and dancing over the controls, spinning the ship onto its departure axis. “Clearing yard control… taking us to full impulse. Ready for warp on your order.”

Tharia glanced down at the back of Mitchell’s head as he signalled they were now clear and ready to initiate warp. “Thank you, Lieutenant… In that case, engage.”

“Aye, taking us to warp,” Henry chimed, “Course confirmed, cruising speed of warp seven.”

In the safety of her command chair, the Captain watched the stars zip by at warp speed, a content smile creeping across her face as she took in the welcome sight and absorbed the hum of the ship through the soles of her feet. It was fantastic to be back, out among the stars once again.

Starbase 23, and Psi Velorum, awaited.