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Part of Starbase Bravo: The Homefront and Bravo Fleet: The Lost Fleet

Cadets! In! Space!

Farpoint Station Defence Platform D-7
Late March 2401
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Through the environmental suit’s face plate, there was nothing but starlight in all directions.  With Deneb IV and Farpoint Station beneath her, the vastness of the Deneb system before her illustrated the conflict between space’s breathtaking majesty and terrifying emptiness.  The darkness punctuated by specks of light could make one feel small and significant at the same time.  Cadet Lydia Parze had the strange feeling that if she reached out, just a little bit, her being could comingle with the stars themselves.  But there would be another day for that.  She had a whole career ahead of her to strive for such things.

Shifting awkwardly in her EV suit, Parze tapped a command on the side of her gauntlet.  The mag-lock in her boots activated again and she felt her soles hit hard against the catwalk that intertwined defence platform D-7.  Twisting back, Parze sought to secure eyes-on her co-conspirator in this mission.

“Are you solid, cadet?” Parze asked over their private commlink. 

“I think I left something in that last transporter trip we did,” Katlyn answered, eyes closed, her arms just sort of floating around her. She’d activated her boots immediately and then took the moment to enjoy weightlessness. But such things were over, work had to be done. She opened her eyes, a smile on her face. “Just another day in Starfleet,” she continued. “Wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Katlyn turned, presenting her back to Parze, the toolkit secured to the back of her EV suit. “Kit still closed? I felt something move when I turned my boots on.”

Taking two lumbering steps closer to Katlyn, Parze’s first instinct was to inspect the toolkit by touch.  Of course, her scaly skin could actually feel nothing through her thick gauntlets, but there was no perceptible shift in the kit’s access panel either.  She looked to the tricorder set into her other gauntlet and its readings confirmed her first impression.

“Toolkit is sealed; EV suit integrity is at 100 percent,” Parze replied.  “We’ll open it slowly to make sure no one gets a micro-caliber in the face.”  Stepping away, Parze returned her attentions to the defense platform beneath their boots.  She changed the settings on her tricorder but she got it wrong, due to the thickness of each gauntlet’s finger.  Tapping at it again, she initiated the scan she intended.

Parze enthused, “Here’s hoping we find phaser emitter segments forty through forty-seven just as easily!”

”Phasers? I thought we were looking for torpedo launchers?” Katlyn asked, then waved a second later with a smile. “Kidding, kidding. The strip should be just over the horizon and just follow the numbers.” Of course over the horizon on the platform was a real consideration, though said horizon was in reality only a few meters away, not the day-long jaunt it would be on a planetary surface.

Taking the lead and stopping along in the ungainly step, check, step fashion that magboots required, Katlyn stopped momentarily at the edge of the platform. The next step was along a surface at eighty degrees to their current plane of reference. The bright disc of Deneb IV below them, clouds populating the skies – it all looked so peaceful from up here. “Damn, now that’s a view,” she said, then carefully took the awkward, magnetically restrained step over the side.

”Yup, see why the strip is reporting a failure,“ her voice came back over the comms. “Micrometeorite damage.” Then a whistle followed. “Hey Parze, you’re never going to believe this!”

Although Parze had been half-way through a particularly large step, she immediately pulled her leg back.  She settled her boot beside her other one and magnetized them in place.  She sighed loud enough it could be heard over the comms.

“What is it now?” Parze asked, plainly hesitant to hear the answer.  “Meteorites genetically-engineered to eat Federation metal alloys?”

“History,” came the reply over the comms. The sound of someone putting in a not-small amount of effort could be heard over the open comms before a rather excited “Ah ha!” Reappearing at the edge Katlyn had just disappeared over, standing nearly perpendicular to Parze, she was holding what looked like a metal spike nearly as long as her forearm. Almost as thick as her wrist in the middle, tapering to points at either end, Katlyn held it side on to Parze and was grinning through her EV suit’s visor.

“AGP ablative ceramic fabric,” Katlyn announced as she held the artefact out for Parze to scan while she worked herself back over the lip and a similar reference plan as her companion. “Fabric being an engineering term in this case.”

“Huh,” Parze remarked as Katlyn raised the ceramic shard.  “I don’t think I’ll be welding my graduation dress out of that fabric,” Parze added, while she waved her wrist-tricorder over the length of the spike.  After giving each sensor sufficient time to examine the artefact, Parze twisted her forearm to review the results.

“It’s old,” Parze reported.  “Almost forty-years.  It doesn’t match any of the construction materials in the defense platform itself.  You must be right about it being history.  The tricorder thinks it most likely a patch of skin from the outer hull of a Federation starship!”

“It is! AGP hasn’t been used for decades. Some new-fangled stuff came along.” Katlyn then turned the shard over a bit more and revealed a barcode she’d been keeping out of sight. It wasn’t cut off or marred in any way and punctuated at the end with an old Starfleet delta and shield from the late 2360s, matching the almost forty years that Parze’s tricorder had given. “I got an inventory hit on this. You’re gonna love it!”

Her voice hitting a higher pitch over the comms, Parze said, “Well, don’t leave me in suspense!  I’m clinging onto this platform by my toe-claws at this point.  What is it?  …Who was it?”

“Stardrive section, starboard dorsal, hull panel 4717.” Katlyn was taking her time, letting theatrics get in the way of a quick response. “Installed on -” She stopped when she saw Parze’s face, deciding expediting would be safer than more useless facts. “NCC-1701-D. The fucking Enterprise!”

“Whoa!” Parze screamed out over the comms, far too loudly.  She clapped her hands together so hard that she swayed backwards.  Fortunately, her boots kept her firmly secured to the platform.  “Didn’t the Enterprise crew literally save the entire galaxy before??  It was sheer perfection in starship design for its time, but… damn… the war must be going badly if an oldie like that is being dragged out to fight the Dominion?!?”

“What? No…Parze.” Katlyn looked at her friend, shaking her head. “The Enterprise got blown up. Or it crashed? I mean…I think both? Both! The saucer is in the fleet museum!” She looked down at the shard of material. For something called fabric it might as well have been a solid chunk of ceramic material in her hands. “But…then how did this get here? What happened to the Enterprise that a strip of ceramic fabric got shaved off the hull?”

Katlyn then looked up, out into the void of space. A nearby starship hung in their view, just one of many. More dots and lights, brighter than stars at this distance, signified other ships in orbit, or stations, or other defence platforms. All far too distant to make out, but all there, watching out for each other. “I bet that whenever they were here they never thought that one day Starfleet would be wrapping the planet in platforms and starships to keep it safe. Heck, I bet they thought they could talk or bravado their way out of anything.”

“The way things are going,” Parze said, “we could use some of that bravado right about now!  They probably thought they had reached a point in time when history had ended.  A time when nothing too awful was ever going to happen again.  They were wrong.  We can’t push back a threat like the Dominion with torpedoes and phaser strips alone.”

“True true. But they don’t hurt.“ Katlyn reached into a pocket on her leg and pulled out a bracing strip. A length of tough, reinforced fabric with two powerful magnetic clamps on either end, she then used it to secure the shard of history to the hull of platform D-7. “Let’s get this platform working, then we can go tell everyone that the Enterprise is here and see how that buoys morale, eh?” She leaned forward, though suit comms somewhat obliviated the conspiratorial need. “We don‘t need to tell them which, or how little of it after all.”

As she retrieved an EJ-2 interlock from her toolkit, Parze crouched down low enough to touch the catwalk beneath her feet.  She tapped the hand-held device against defense platform symbolically before she used it’s mechanisms to unlock the phaser systems for their ministrations.

Parze replied, “We shall name this defense platform Enterprise in the D’s honour. Let her lancing phaser fire show any Jem’Hadar batteships an entire Galaxy-class of pain!”