Part of USS Denver: The Fujiwhara Effect and USS Denver: Eye of the Storm

This Just Might Work

USS Watership
March 12, 2400 06:00
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Rebecca sat alone in the mess hall of the Olympic class ship.  Her seat was facing one of the large picture windows with a cup of coffee cradled in her hands.  Somewhere out there was her son and daughter lost in an alternate reality.   It was frustrating to sit here and do nothing,  but this wasn’t her ship.  She was supposed to be back on Earth approving refit requests.  That thought, above all else, was a reminder that her heart was no longer in the job. It was time to walk away from the fleet.  Nearly fifty years is enough, she told herself.   She’d leave the job to the young bucks.

Sighing, she set down her now empty cup. She was getting old.  She felt it in her bones.  The thought of; a warm sun on Terra Alpha with Milo at her side made her smile despite the worry she had for the kids… not that they were kids.  Ethan was 39, and Aimee wasn’t a kid either. Nope, they would forever be kids, she thought to herself, grinning at the ridiculousness of the statement. 

Peter Crawford walked into the expansive mess hall and moved through the tables where his officers and crew sat, sharing small talk and catching up with them as he moved, a large steaming cup of coffee in his hands.  He took a sip as he went and eventually found himself facing Rebecca Talon, aka Director of Starship Development in San Francisco Fleet Yards.  Also, his former commanding officer on the USS Denver, a ship and a time far behind his current position on the Watership.  “Rebecca.”  He waved over one of the roaming mess hall officers and gestured to the vice admiral’s cup, and it was refilled quickly.  Crawford sat down, sipping at his own coffee, “You’re quite serious about this whole walking into the sunset thing?”  He shook his head, “I’ve been thinking about it since you first mentioned it.”  He qualified by saying, “I’m not here to try and talk you out of it…I just…it’s a weird thing thinking that my first commanding officer isn’t going to be out here in the Final Frontier anymore.”

“You aren’t a kid anymore Peter,” Rebecca replied, “And I’m not going to need out here forever. I’m just choosing to walk away when I still can. Spend time with family.   You’ll understand in another twenty-five years, and you’ll do just fine without me.”

Peter chuckled, “I’m sure I’ll find a way to get over it.”  He pulled a pad from his belt and set it on the table, “I’m here because my Chief Science Officer was up all night trying to figure out how to get our family and friends back home.”  He tapped at the PADD as it displayed what he then explained, “Lieutenant Mitsak is smart and driven – part of why she’s got a mandatory nap this morning by my orders.  She spent most of the night trying simulations where we used the navigational deflector with various settings to open a stable door to get everyone through. Every time….boom.  Then she tried working with phaser settings in every way she knew how…and didn’t – which is why Chief Engineer Lieutenant Kelley is also on mandatory nap duty since she literally pulled him out of bed.”

“Is everyone on this crew workaholics?”

Crawford shrugged, “With this crew, sometimes I just don’t ask.  They get the job done, quirks and all.  They moved onto the tractor beam of all things and tried everything both of them knew.  No luck.  They even tried gaming out with torpedoes modified every which way…but nothing.  At this point, they woke up the first officer, Chief of Ops Lieutenant Commander Hoyt.  And yes, he’s on nap duty too.  The point is,” he tapped the PADD once more and glanced up at Talon, “They found something that has a 95% chance of succeeding.”

“You have?” She asked skeptically, trying to measure her expectations,  expecting the other shoe to drop.

“Yes.  We’re going to have to simulate a pulsar while using a solar flare.  That’s the easy part.  Here’s the challenge.”  Another tap of the PADD.

“That’s the easy part?  What’s the hard part?” she coaxed.

‘The hard part is,’ Vausees said from the intercom, ‘that we have to be doing the same thing on this end, and as far as I can tell; I don’t know if the solar flare is going to be happening on this end. Sorry for the eavesdropping but I was able to connect my ship and yours and it’s very stable. Not entirely sure why it is at this time but it is.’

Crawford was annoyed at the intrusion.  He gave Rebecca a look and listened.

A second voice was heard over the intercom, ‘I can concur, Admiral,’ Cheon stated over the intercom. ‘Seong has run the numbers and stated that both ends have to be working at the same time, doing practically the same thing in damn near unison.’

The Watership captain nodded more for himself than anything, “Both of you are correct.  The pulsar simulation is just a matter of modifying phasers, torpedos, tractor beams, and modulating deflectors.  The solar flare is the harder thing…but our overnight crew thinks they’ve got a way to urge a nearby sun or star to do it.  It’ll take some work, but simulations have come back with a 90% chance of succeeding.  It’ll be bumpy, but it’ll create a functioning passage to get everyone home.  It won’t be easy, but nobody’s really done anything like this at this level before.”

“Risks?” Rebecca asked. “Captain Vax and Commander Talon and their crews need to know what they are in for.  I wouldn’t order them go do this even if I were in their chain of command.”

Crawford tapped at the PADD, “As the saying goes, ‘risk is our business’, and there’s plenty to be had here.  If the balance of our combined efforts between the two universes is upset, we run the risk of permanently sealing the rifts in this sector and having to go hunting for the next nebula or phenomenon.”  Another tap of the PADD, “If we don’t stay focused on keeping our requisite efforts on target, we run the risk of ripping either ship apart.”  He gestured to the PADD, “They ran every single possible endgame into the ground.  The truth is that we don’t have much of a choice.  This is the best chance we have at getting them back with us.”

Rebecca shrugged,  “Then let’s get on it. I don’t see any other way, and we can’t leave them there.” Crawford nodded and waited for the others to respond.

‘We’ll do our part on this side Admiral,’ Vausees said as she looked at her crew and the slightly cannibalized bridge.