Part of USS Hathaway: Episode 11: No Justice, No Peace and USS Hathaway: Season 3: Prometheus Squadron

CH2: Behemoths and Beauts

Stardate 24011.7 (Jan 7th, 2401); 1400 Hours
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Three days spent travelling the stretch from Starbase Bravo to Deep Space 17 aboard the USS Scarborough had allowed the occupants of the Volga-class runabout Hesiod to take the time to gather their thoughts and prepare for their return to duty. Two months on Bajor had provided rest and a means of relaxation, whilst allowing the two young women to gather themselves and deal with the trauma of recent events. Now, having been dispatched aboard the runabout to their final destination, the pair watched as Scarborough warped away, leaving them on approach to the enormous Canopus-class starbase on the horizon.

The pair found themselves in an odd predicament; they had been ordered to report to the station, but they hadn’t been told why, let alone who to meet when they arrived. The absence of details was quite peculiar, and upset the detail oriented Prida. Thankfully, her ‘blonde bombshell’ of a friend was far more laid back, and as the more senior in rank, what she said, went.

With each of them sat at a forward console, Noli had the luxury of relaxing in the co-pilots seat, having pulled rank and assigned piloting duty to her friend.

“We’re receiving orders to watch out for traffic in the area,” Prida informed the Bajoran next to her, tapping away at the controls for confirmation of other ships in the area. “We’re about ten minutes out at half impulse, which is standard speed for such a busy space lane,” she advised her partner in crime.

“Sitting forward in her chair, the blonde intertwined her fingers, and then bent them outwards, giving them a satisfying crack, much to Prida’s apparent disgust. ”I think it’s about time we got some answers, don’t you?” the Lieutenant Commander suggested to her colleague, but instead of waiting for an answer, she opened a channel to the station via the runabouts communications array.

“This is the Runabout Hesiod to Deep Space Seventeen. Requesting docking details,” she spoke into the computer, and waited for the answer from someone across the vast, yet narrowing, gap between them.

A few seconds later, a new voice filled the cockpit. “Runabout Hesiod, this is Traffic Control. You are authorised to dock via berth Gamma. Landing coordinates are being transmitted to you now. Traffic Control, out.

Once the channel was closed, Prida leaned over to review the coordinates sent to them, and the final set drew a look of confusion that they both shared. “Well, unless I’m mistaken…”

“Which you never are…”

Prida shot the blonde next to her a wry smile. “Which I never am,” she smirked before continuing, “those are landing coordinates aboard a starship.”

“Why can’t we just beam aboard?!” Noli pouted, slouching into her chair. Everything about their trip had been complicated; whether it had been bartering transport aboard the Scarborough, or taking ownership of a runabout to complete the last leg, or getting some orders at all. Everything about this seemed needlessly complicated, and unnecessarily secretive. Why couldn’t they just be told where they were going? Who they were seeing? What their purpose here was?

Upon entering the station’s landing pattern, a tractor beam locked onto the small vessel and guided it safely through the relevant docking bay doors. The view that greeted them in the internal docking bay was wondrous; starships enormous in size compared to the minute runabout sat in silence as workbees and shuttles buzzed around, maintenance personnel used thrusters on their EVA suits to complete the finest details whilst hull walking and every so often, the alarms indicating a set of space doors opening or closing would sound. It was a sight an engineer loved to see, and something others rarely took in.

“Look at them all…” Prida marvelled, leaning over the console and practically climbing out of the forward windows to catch a view of the starships they freely maneuvered around towards their predesignated coordinates. “An Inquiry… the California-class Blythe… Oh, look… Santa Fe!” the Bajassian’s grin was childlike at the sight of their former vessel.

As the Hesiod used her thrusters to move up and over the saucer section of the the New Orleans-class starship, both officers were taken aback by the unusual spaceframe sat immediately in their flight path. A sleek looking profile with four nacelles and an angular primary hull, the ship was unmistakable to both.

“Woah…” Noli looked as in awe as her engineering colleague and sat forward, soaking in the image before them.

“Look at the nacelles on that,” the engineer traced the lines with her fingers, “she’s got an extra two, locked away out of view, did you know?” Her excitement was genuine until a thought dawned on her. “You don’t think…” Prida turned to Noli, that childlike grin mirrored on both their faces.

“What? That we’d get assigned to a Prometheus? Don’t be daft. We’re not that lucky…” Noli shrugged, turning back just in time for the ship’s name to come into focus.

“THE Prometheus,” Prida grinned, almost bouncing with excitement. “Do you now how long I’ve wanted to see one of these up close?!”

“As long as you wanted to see a Galaxy, I imagine,” Noli chuckled, sliding back into her seat. “Sit down will you? You’re like a child on Gratitude,” the senior officer chided her companion playfully.

Returning to her seat next to the Commander, the bashful engineer watched with bated breath as the ship suddenly found itself under the guidance of an external tractor beam. 

Runabout Hesiod, this is Prometheus. Stand by for docking and enjoy the ride,” a voice in the ether suddenly filled the cockpit of the craft, “we’ve got you from here. LSO out.”

Slowly but with purpose, the two occupants of the Hesiod turned their faces towards each other, each showing the same mirror image; wide eyes, enormous smile, flushed cheeks. Without so much as a hint of a warning, but in complete synchronicity, the pair leapt to their feet and began dancing around the cockpit, hand in hand, screaming and shouting.

For the time being, the serious professionals of yesterday were replaced with the excited children on Gratitude. And neither regretted it for a moment.

A trademark hiss accompanied the opening of the runabout doors, revealing the cramped shuttlebay the Hesiod had successfully landed in, allowing the two newcomers their first glance at the ship. Childlike demeanours had been replaced with the cold expression of women desperate not to show themselves up, despite their excitement.

At first, the room was oddly quiet, and abandoned. Not a tech, not a landing signal operator, not even a maintenance worker in sight. That surprised both, and caused the two women to share a quizzical look or two before they stepped down via the nacelle and onto the solid footing of the Prometheus decking. They weren’t alone for long, however, as the bay doors at the end of the room soon opened and three officer’s strolled into the bay; two officers in operations gold flanking a much taller, grey-haired man in command red. Whilst Prida seemed to thaw at the sight of the three officer’s moving hastily towards them, Noli bristled and cocked her head. She tapped Prida on the arm and whispered to her colleague.

“What do you suppose the phasers are for?” the blonde remarked, causing Prida to shift uncomfortably next to her. Phasers in spacedock were far from standard procedure. Were they in trouble? Had they done something wrong already?

They didn’t have long to wait, as the three oncomers slid to a halt and the giant of a man in the middle looked down at the two women. “Name’s Felix Bachmann, XO,” his words quiet, cold and emotionless. “Which of you is Noli?” he asked.

Stepping in front of her colleague a little, Noli made her presence known to the man, and swiftly noted the rank insignia upon his collar. “That would be me, Commander. Lieutenant Commander Noli Auru, reporting as requested. This is my colleague, Lieutenant Prida Rala,” the marginally taller of the two Bajoran’s stepped aside and gestured to her friend, who stepped up and gave a little wave.

Bachmann grunted and gave a nod to Prida, before swiftly turning his attention back to the blonde. “This is your assistant, Or’uil. He’ll fill you in on all you need to know about your department,” the Terran jerked his head in the direction of a peculiar looking creature with bulbous green eyes, brown, scaly skin and three cranial horns protruding backwards from the top of his skull.

“Greetings Commander,” the creature spoke in an almost robotic tone, its ‘ears’ dipping slightly, as if nodding in welcome.

Noli smiled sheepishly but didn’t have time to respond before Bachmann butted in again. “Prida, this is Ensign Donaldson. He’ll escort you to engineering shortly,” monotonous in his words, the man’s ability to seem menacing whilst supposedly welcoming people rivalled that of their diminutive Tellarite colleague from Ulysses. “Before you go, you need to know exactly where you are,” Bachmann took a single, ominous step toward them both, looking each of his new officers in the eye in turn.

Prometheus is an elite unit, the closest Starfleet has ever had to a dedicated warship,” the man began to reel off what sounded almost like a recruitment speech. “You’re here because Starfleet believe you have high technical acumen and have shown yourselves to be competent officers. This is no pleasure cruise, no science ship. We don’t go on humanitarian missions. Starfleet finds a place they can’t send anyone else, and we go. Whilst here, you will see and hear things that cannot, and will not, be repeated. As such, you’ve been granted top-secret security clearance,” the pride he had in his remarks was evident from the smile that crept on his face as he spoke.

All the two newcomers could do was stand and listen as he continued to prattle on.

“The nature of our sensitive operations means communications here are monitored and censored much more often than on other Starfleet vessels. Security patrols are more frequent and are routinely armed; access to certain areas of the ship is restricted dependent on rank, position and the ship’s operating procedures. I don’t do fluffy, I don’t do hand holding, and I don’t do patience. I don’t tolerate screw ups and I don’t do failure…”

It almost felt like he was chastising them for being new to the ship, like they were an inconvenience, or that it was a chore to have to welcome them aboard. At one point, the blonde bombshell had zoned out, only to rejoin at the exact moment he stopped and looked at the two women for some form of acknowledgement of understanding.

When the dutiful ‘yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir’ had been sufficiently given, the Commander nodded one last time. “You have one hour to get to grips with your departments, then Captain Nazir wants to see you in her ready room. Understood?”

Again, the satisfactory responses of ‘yes sir’ allowed them to placate the behemoth of a man, and finally bring the ‘greeting’ to an end. Watching the man leave, the two newcomers felt a variety of different emotions until they reached the point where they could finally let out a sigh of relief.

“Bloody hell…” Noli smirked, placing her hands on her hips as she shook her head and looked at her new assistant. “Is he always like that?”

The strange Or’uil creature gave something akin to a glare at the Bajoran, and in his apparently normal synthetic voice, gave her the clearest indicator yet that Prometheus would be nothing like the Ulysses.

“Nazir is captain in name only,” he warned the two officers. “Bachmann runs this ship. Bare that in mind when making smart comments. Time to go.”

Turning on his heels, the brown-skinned cretin made for the doors of the shuttlebay, followed by the two Bajoran’s, who would be certain to heed his warning.

A new assignment always brought new challenges, but it was clear for both to see that something was not right aboard Prometheus.