"Aja" Stardate: 2241.020
"Dad? Where are we going?" A Young Robert questioned.
"To the Space port." A Pleased father responded.
Robert had noticed the smile. Even though he was Ten years Sol duration, he knew when his father took time from his business and he was allowed to tag along, there was something special going to happen. This time, he was a little more confused. His mother packed a carry-on for Robert. Was this going to be a special camping time with his father? Were they picking someone up at the spaceport before they went?
"Where are we going camping?"
"Don't you mean, When?"
"No. I meant...Where?"
The glee washed away from Robert's face and was slowly replaced with a questionable expression. "Why did we bring everything? And why are we picking up someone from Spacedock?"
"I Never said we were picking anyone up Bobby. And we need all that stuff for a few days."
"But those are camping things, when we go camping."
"Yes...they are. They also serve many purposes as well. Like the Hammocks. They can be strung up between, Say...Two Bulkheads."
Bulkheads. Robert pondered. "Are we going to go overseas?"
Their shuttle arrived and Robert's Father started unpacking the shuttle and placing everything on a hand trolley. There was a figure near a J-Class Freighter. Robert stood in awe. To him, the craft was huge. It was not until his father grabbed him and started guiding him to the access port when he snapped out of his daze. "Bobby. This is Captain Hesher of the eS eS Aja. We will be travelling with him for a few weeks."
Robert grabbed the extended hand, but he did not speak. The whole thing was sureal to him. He realized that this was going to be his first trip into space.
"Welcome Bobby." The Elderly man said as he shook the non-responsive childs hand.
It was quite a few minutes before Robert realized that he was within the hull watching his father string up the hammocks.
"Where are we going?"
"Materials, Grains, and Parts for the Farm Equipment."
"We can order all of that."
"Yes. Normally I would, but it's cheaper if I go and get them."
"How long will it take?"
"I figure just over Five Months one way."
"I will miss School."
"Are you upset?"
Robert thought about it for a while. He was to some level, but he may not get another chance for another Ten Years. "No."
"You can always make up the year during the summer break the following year."
That was good enough for Robert. He quickly settled into his new personal space.
The passengers were allowed to go wherever they wanted, except the Bridge and Warp Drive was off-limits. Robert was not concerned. He had enough to keep himself busy, and upon rummaging through his Carry-On bag he discovered his Lesson books. "Ach!" he exclaimed.
"What's wrong Robert?"
Robert held up his books and the PaDD to log in his Answers.
"I see. Mom was thourough. Well. I guess you better keep up on your homework then."
Robert was hoping for support from his father, but rather found that he was being sided against. He let out another sound of dissapointment and heard his father chuckle. He started in on the Class Homework and found boredome quickly.
"Did you ever have to do homework on the most exciting time in your life?"
Robert raised his head to see the eyes of his Father looking at him proudly. "Sure did. I Never had the oppertunity to travel out in space though."
"Where did you go?"
Robert quiclky realized that the Ship had left port. He knew he felt something but was too engrossed in his school work to really pay attention. He freed himself for a moment to go look out a port window when a arm pulled him back and into a seat where he was quickly restrained.
"Here. Before you get yourself turned into jelly."
Robert looked into Alien Eyes for the first time. He did not know if he should sit there quietly or Scream. But he did squeek out something. "Thank-You..."
"The name is Phlox Young Human. I may be a Doctor, but I am not that great to put someone back together." He smiled as he Secured Robert to the Seat.
"Where's my Dad?" He asked hesitantly.
"I don't know..." The strange being waited for a response. "...Yes...I am sure that he will be along after we reach Orbit."
Robert was reassured when he saw his father arrive from the adjacent compartment. The Orange colored man with the comforting voice was right. "Stay restrained son. We are not done yet."
"Are we not in orbit?"
"Well, Yes." Robert's Dad looked over at the Denobulan.
"I understand sir. I have several children myself. Though my profession keeps me from them more than they would like, and my Wives reassure them why. I still get the occassional barrage of questions."
Robert's Dad looked akward at the stranger then fastened himself in before informing Robert why they had to remain restrained. "We are going to be docking with the Cargo containers..."
As that was said, a sudden and jarring movement assured Robert that they had just coupled with the containers.
"Was that them dad?"
"I Believe so. We will wait until our captain tells us that we can roam about."
*We are underway. My crew are to report to the Bridge. Immediately.*
"That means we can remove the restraints."
Robert did not need to be told a second time. He was at the Port side looking out a porthole watching as the Planet grew smaller. "Are we at Warp Dad?"
"No. Still at Impulse. Much like our shuttlecraft Bobby."
"But the Planet is shrinking so fast."
"It's just your perspective Bobby. We have to clear our Star System before we can go to Warp speeds."
"How will I know when we are at Warp?"
"You will see. It seems to be a little different for each person. Lets see what you sense. Go back to your seat and close your eyes and feel everything. Listen. Smell. Feel the Ship Vibrate in your hands. You will know."
Robert looked on in confusion, but trusted his dad and went to take his seat once again. He sat looking from a distance at the small flecks of light that danced in the port hole. They seemed to take forever to cross that small piece of clear aluminuim. He waited and waited. Then he decided to close his eyes and feel the ship as his father told him.
First came the Raw cold metals in his grasp, and the Smells of Lubricants and cleaners. The sounds of the beings aboard deminished slowly as he heard the sounds of the ship as it performed it's task. He started to recognize the pulse of the Impulse drive. It seemed to come from every part of the ship and right through his hands and into his body. Every sense was taking in some aspect of the ship. He tasted the burned lubricants and coolants. His nose was assulted by the smells right down to the metals. His Ears picked up sounds of the Hull creaking under the strain and the sounds of a new noise was ramping up. Ever so lightly increasing in rythem. Then, the pit of his stomach, he felt it. He opened his eyes with excitement. "We went to Warp!"
There were many people looking on. But all he cared about is what he felt at that moment. He looked from where he was at once again through the porthole to confirm what he felt. He was rewarded with streaks of light passing by. He lurched from the seat to the porthole and pressed his nose to it, watching the stars pass rapidly. "We are still increasing." He confirmed to himself.
"Robert. Get to your Studies."
The tone broke the mood of excitement. He looked at his dad in amazement. He had just felt what it was to go to warp speed and now he had to return to Homework. "Yes Dad." Was all he could muster. He went to his Baggage and pulled out his PaDD and books. He sat on the decking, wanting to look up at the porthole. It was painful. Robert was finally deep into his studies when a Tall Black man interrupted.
Robert looked around. The man was looking directly at him and geasturing for him to follow. Looking for his father, he did not find.
"Come here before it goes away. We need to hurry."
"Are you sure that it's allright?"
"Sure. I work on this tub. But we must hurry." The man led Robert through a couple cooridors and through a jefferies tube to a remote place in the ship. "Watch this." The man announced as he jumped up. He seemed to...just float.
"How did you do that?"
"Every starship has a place like this in it. Just get to that wall, and Jump."
Before long, they were floating in a Zero-G Zone. "What do you think?
"This is Amazing!"
"By the way. My name is Travis. I am on my way to go back to work on my family's ship. This is only to make a few bucks from here to there. Extra Credits."
"Oh. I have to get back to my homework."
"You sure? Just remember. This sweet spot is on every starship. Just find out where the Gravity Generator and Bow Plate are and there, right between them, you will find this."
"By the way. What's your name?"
"Bobby." As Robert left the space and returned to where his things were.
He arrived to his Father picking up his books and PaDD. "Where were you?"
"Uh...This guy named Travis showed me where there was no gravity on this ship."
"Well...You need to get this done before running off like that. And to let me know where you are going, and with whom."
Robert was right to be upset with himself for leaving like that. He sat quietly and finished off his chapter.
The Routine became regular, and regretably, routine. "Dad. There is nothing to do."
"Do your Homework."
"I already did."
"Read a book."
"Don't feel like it." then Robert noticed the Orange one and Travis talking in the Mess Hall. "Can I get something to eat?"
That was all that he needed. Arriving in the mess hall, he grabbed a sandwich and found a seat next to the two men.
"Well Hello young human."
"It's Bobby, Doctor."
"So it is Travis. What is Bobby going to be when he gets older?"
"I'm only Ten!?"
"That you are. A great time for planning your future."
"Phlox. He's a child. He would rather find fun things to do." Travis grinned.
Robert remained with the Two men. His questions started to lean towards the Orange one. "Phlox?"
"What are you?"
Laughing. "Can you be more specific?"
"Sorry. I mean..." Robert could not find himself asking the word.
"He's a Denobulan Robert. If that's what you were asking."
"Denobulan? Are they part of the Federation?"
"We are. Not one of the founding members, but are glad to be able to participate."
"Phlox? Have you travelled in space a lot?"
"Yes. Travis and I served together. We have spent many years together on a Starship."
"He's right Bobby. Sometimes it was good, but we had our bad days."
Robert remembered that he had a sandwich and then took a bite.
"Robert." The voice said behind him. That Name was only used when a parent was upset. "Why are you bothering these men?"
"He's no bother. We are enjoying his company." A smiling Phlox stated.
"When he becomes a bother, send him home. I am Travis and this is Phlox."
"I don't think he'll be any bother." Phlox continued with.
"Bobby? Would you like to learn about this ship?" Travis asked.
Robert became excited, then looked over at his dad.
"Go ahead Robert. But remember to mind your manners."
"Yes Dad. I will behave."
"Let's go Bobby. First is the Bridge."
Robert and Travis went to the bridge where Travis instructed Robert on the use of the controls. The captain let Travis navigate the craft. Captain Hesher did not allow the young Robert to even come close to the controls, hovering over them as the lesson was being taught.
"Let's go check out some of the other systems." Announced Travis.
Travis took Robert to the Warp Drive. On the way out Captain Hesher yelled at them. "He'd better not touch anything!"
"I have it under control Captain."
"You'd better Mayweather! I don't care how important you think you are! This is my ship!"
"Understood Captain. Come on Robert."
It did not take long to get to the Warp Drive. "This type of drive was designed by the great Zephram Cochrane. The first man to break the Warp Barrier."
That meant little to Robert. "Then why does it have these strange markings?"
"Those are Tellerite Markings. The Drives may have been designed by Cochrane, but that does not mean that he built them. He had to Sub-Contract them somewhere."
"Didn't the Tellerites have Warp before us?"
"Smart kid. I see that you pay attention in class. Yes they did since the Nineteen Fifties Earth Calendar."
"So they had over Sixty Years of Warp Drive. "
"Two Hundred and Fifty, and Yes, and they Achieved Warp Two in Twenty, Twenty-Seven. They were at Warp Five by the time we reached Warp Two. The history lesson is over. Let's look at the Warp drive."
Travis went over every part of the Warp Drive, and Robert became bored. Travis keyed onto that and took Robert to his area where he pulled out a small stack of magazines.
"Sure. It describes Starships, old and new. And it also tells who designed them, and of what materials. The performance, Projected and actual. See here...It's the CONESTOGA Class. And here is a DECLARATION Class. Keep them."
Robert fuddled with the slippery Magazines. "Thank-You." He felt as though he was being nice, but really did not want the extra stuff to add to his own. But he took them. Travis finished off the tour with the Gravity Generator.
"My ship is set below Earth standards. My father liked it that way. My Brother opperates the ship. We are to Rendevous with them within the next Two days, then I will be there for a few months until Starfleet needs me again."
"You were in Starfleet!?"
"Sure was. Now I serve as an Advisor."
"Yes. I help with the Designing of the Pilot, or Helms position, Station."
This peaked Roberts interest that someone could design parts of a starship, but he wanted more. To actually become a Captain of a starship. After his tour he returned to his area to start his homework.
"What do you have there Robert?"
"Where did you get them?"
"Travis gave them to me."
"Did you thank him?"
"Yes. But I am not interested in them."
"Can I see one?"
"You can have all of them."
"I just want to read up on the Dee whY Series of Cargo haulers."
Robert did not care. He was glad to be free of the extra cargo. He started in on his homework and came accross a problem where there required research. He could not find the answer in the Books from school. This frustrated him. It was a design question and it involved math, but the book did not give the quantity that he needed. It was something he had to research.
"I can't find the Quantity the book is asking for. It's not in the Information that I have."
"Read the Question to me."
"How much Energy is needed to Propel a Class Three Starship Using the Fusion Reactor based on Cochranes equations? I don't have the Energy Levels of a Fusion Reactor. They gave the Weight range of a Class Three Starship of Fifteen Thousand to Twenty-Five Thousand Metric Tonnes."
Robert's Father pondered for a few minutes, looked at the stack of Magazines, then asked. "Do you want these back?"
"I think you will figure it out. Here, Read through this one." He handed Robert the book that outlined the Design of the CONESTOGA Class Starship.
Robert opened the book and found that the ship had only a mass of Ten-Thousand Metric Tons. This upset him for a moment, then he knew the math would help him. He knew he was looking to propel something one and a half times the mass of that ship and up to Two and a Half times the mass. He knew that it took Ten to the Fourth Power to Propel the CONESTOGA to Warp One and to go to Warp Two took Almost Ten to the Fifth Power measured in Gigajoules." Robert felt that something was wrong with the whole question and decided to revisit the Question.
After some consideration, Robert remembered his trip to the Warp core of the cargo ship. There was a plaque, and it had numbers and there was two letters at the end of one set of numbers. "Gj..Gigajoules? Two-Thousand and Nine-Hundred Gigajoules. HAH! This ship is a Class Three rated ship when handling a full load, and it needs that much energy to move that much mass."
Roberts dad and Travis looked at the youth with satisfaction.
"Very good Robert. Take a break. Travis wants to show you something."
Robert left with Travis.
"So Bobby. You see that the Field may expand to a certain maximum. It's really fractional, but it matters. If the Ship is Large, It needs more power for the warp bubble to encompass it. The actual mass is irrelivant. I was told by an Andorian that we humans think wrong. They base their calculations on Cubic Measurements, not Mass. There are Conversion calculations for this, but Starfleet Standards require that we use Mass over Cubic sizes."
"Is that why the Other races are far better at calculating their warp drives for their vessels?"
"That and they have been doing it longer. We are here!"
"Go ahead. Open the Crate. Some assembly required."
Robert went over to the case, looked back at Travis, then Slowly opened the case. "I have only seen these in books and old videos of Hobbyist using them. This is really old."
"Yes, and it's yours. A friend gave it to me a while back, and I felt that it needed a new home. Someone that can take care of it and use it more than I have been able to."
"Yes. Really. It was built in Twenty-One, Twenty-One. Yes, it's old."
"Will you show me how to put it together?"
"Yes, but no flying it within a starship. In the other crate are extra parts, including Anti-Grav Plates and Power cells. You will have to figure out what combinations work the best for wherever you are."
"My friend Charles made some mechanical improvements, But he also crashed it several times, as each that owned it. As you will. nothing a little glue won't remedy. Can't be afraid of the wind, Learn to trust it. Those are words that will guide you."
Robert looked over the materials in each case, then closed them. He turned towards Travis and then gave him a hug. Suddenly there was a voice.
"Mr. Mayweather. Your ship is here and we are docking with it in two minutes."
"Yes Captain." Travis knelt down to eye level with Robert. "Bobby. Find a Dream, and Hold onto it. Pursue it. Chase it. Grab ahold of it and hold on tight." Travis collected his Duffle Bag and Case and headed out the door.
Robert returned to his section with the cases. His father looking on. "What? More things to carry!?"
"Travis gave them to me."
"What are they?"
"A Remote controled ship, and parts."
"Well, you are responsible for them."
"Your mom called, and she wants your homework."
"I will send them now."
"Do you know how?"
"Follow me." They went to the Communications station and placed the Data Cards in the slot. "Now select where you want the information to go, then select the red switch and turn it on."
"That it, you are done. If you want, you can call your mother later."
"Yes. I want to talk to Mom."
It was difficult to keep the Model ship in its case. Robert went through all of the manuals, but could not look into anything further because use of the computers were limited to the ships crew. His head swam with configurations, then he found a Cheat Sheet that was drafted by a Johnathan and refined by a Simi then by Travis. There was also other engineering calculations done by Simi, whoever that was, but they were on Warp Drive uses. Robert found it a little over his ability to comprehend but tried. There were Warp Curves in referrence to the Mass of Starships. Notes on Space Currents and Eddys explaining routes and detection techniques. It was like a map of the space around Earth. Where strange events took place that the starship reacted to, and how it reacted.
It was too short before Robert was pulled away from his exploration of the crates to talk with his mother. "Hi Mom."
"Hi Bobby. Having Fun?"
"Yes. I was given a Remote Control Model by this guy named Travis before he left."
"Travis huh? Did your dad approve?"
"Yes. Travis even gave me some Magazines called Space Monthly. Can we order some?"
"Sure. Your dad tells me that you figured out the Mass versus Warp problem."
"Yes. It turned out it's more to do with the Size in Cubical Form."
"Big words. Next week, I want to see your homework a little earlier. You cut it close. I am glad that your teacher Ms. Hopkins, accepted them. She was not happy with them comming in so late."
"I'll have them done earlier Mom."
"Allright Bobby. I am sure that you will. Put your Dad on."
Robert left the room feeling more stressed then when he started.
"No Doctor Phlox. Just thinking."
"Maybe you need to stop thinking and do something fun. Didn't Travis show you anything? He's been travelling in these types of ships for a long time. He knows all the tricks."
"He showed me a few things, but I don't feel like doing any of them."
"Maybe you need to take a Nap?"
Robert looked at Phlox with a dissapointed expression. "A Nap? No. I will not be doing that. That's for Five Year Olds, not Ten Year Olds."
"Sorry I suggested it. Do you like drawing?"
"Try it. Maybe it will help."
Robert went to his area and started drawing on some sketch pads.
"We'll leave him there."
"I thought that he needed the rest. He was acting a little irratable. The use of concentration on drawing helped him go to sleep."
"Thank You Doctor Phlox. On behalf of Robert."
"I understand. So you farm? As I understand it."
"Yes. For many years. I am on my way to get materials and grain."
"I have these seeds..."
Robert awoke to complete silence. It was pitch black and his eyes could not focus on anything. "Hello?" He called out. "Dad!?" He became more panicked. "Where are you!?"
*He is a little young, You think?* A voice came from nowhere.
"Who are you!? Where is my Dad!?"
*You are safe Young one. What race do you call yourself?*
*You are new to us. Are you Hostile?*
"I want my Dad! Where is my Dad!?"
*We did not need him, or the others. We want you. For you have a gift.*
Robert started to discern that there were many voices talking as one. "I want to go back!"
*You do not want to help us?*
"I don't know how to help you!"
*Maybe he is too young to understand. Yes, Maybe. But he was chosen. He was. But for when? Yes, When?*
"When? When what? I can't help any of you!"
*He is afraid. Yes, Afraid. He needs to be Returned until he can understand. Yes, Return him.*
"Bobby! I'm here! You are allright!"
"Space sickness? Is this his first time?"
"Yes. He's probably missing home."
"No Dad! I was gone! There were voices!" as he rubbed his right ear.
Phlox looked at Robert's Dad. "Would you like me to perform a psychiatric evaluation on him?"
"No. Thank you, but he will be fine."
"But Dad. They told me that I had to help them. They needed my help."
"Enough Bobby! Forget it. It was a dream, Only a dream."
"Yes Sir." Robert always obeyed his Father, Unquestionably.
"Sir. Can I talk with you?"
"Sorry Doctor. He does not need any evaluations."
"I have already done the preliminary."
"What! Without my approval!?"
"Can we go into the other room?"
The two men went into the other room.
"What do you mean that you already did a preliminary evaluation?"
"Mr. April. It was not difficult for me to determine that he is telling the truth. His comment that THEY needed his help. Usually, it's the Displacement of needing any help. In other words, a person suffering from any mental illness, at any level, refuses help, or even implying help in their conversation."
"You are saying that what he dreamed was not a dream?"
"I am saying that he Experienced something. What, is another matter."
"Well, it ends here. No further talk of it. Understand?"
Robert's dad reentered the room. "Bobby. No more talk of this. Understand?"
"Very good. Attend to your studdies. We are Three days from Port. I want you to have all of your work done and sent in before then. I will need your help when we get to port."
"Yes Sir." Robert felt ignored. He felt it was important to help the beings, but would not because his father deemed it that way.
Robert Froze in the doorway of the ship after viewing many of the races that were walking around at the port. One thing they all had in common was the way they dressed. Even though they had different uniforms, they all looked worn from the type of work they performed. He felt a gentle hand push him forward and onto the platform where he caught site of his dad talking with a strange green man. The man looked Human enough, except for his skin color. There were so many races of beings walking around him, and he kept trying to look as long as he could at each, when he felt a heavy hand on his shoulder.
He snapped out of his amazement. It was his father.
"Pay attention! You need to stay with me! Understand?"
"Yes Dad." Robert still kept taking glances at the many colors and shapes of the beings. Would he get the oppertunity to talk with any of them? He did not know, or know what to talk about.
"Here Bobby. Log these as I tell you."
Robert started checking everything that his father called out. Seemed that the Order was complete and everything was being placed into a Pod to be lifted into orbit.
"Come on Bobby, we still have a few things to do before we leave."
They walked into a more respected part of the complex, where the beings were dressed better.
"Where we going dad?"
"Just in there. I wanted to get you mother a little something."
"What is it?"
"Wait. You will see."
They entered the building and Robert followed his Father to the Desk.
"Do you have it?"
"Mr. April. I placed an Order a year ago and was assured that my package would be here. Is it?"
"Oh...Mr. April...From Earth? The Sol System?"
"Yes. Where is the Package?"
"Right here sir. Your credits have been confirmed. Here is the Package."
"What is it Dad?"
"You will see it when your mother opens the Box." Robert watched as his father opened the box and confirmed that it was actually what he ordered. There was a little discussion about what would happen if it was a fake, but he was assured that it was genuine.
They finished at the Port and returned to the Aja. There were new people that were heading back to Earth.
"Hey! That's Our things! Get out of there!" Robert was yelling at a couple of older boys that were making themselves at home with Robert's and his Father's Hammocks, and Robert also noticed that they freely went through his things as well. "Get off of there! Get out of my things!"
"Yeah! You going to make us!?"
Robert was considerably younger than the two, but his temper got the better of him. He lunged at the oldest of the two and was quickly and effortlessly deflected into the bulkhead where he received a cut that started to bleed. He wiped it and witnessed the blood on his palm. That was all he remembered before he felt someone lifting him up.
"Bobby! BOBBY!...ROBERT! Enough!"
When he realized where he was and what he was doing he looked around.
"Robert, Cam down. I think they had enough."
The two older children were recovering from the assault.
Suddenly a Large man entered. "Luke! Leonard! What the hell happened!?"
"That boy attacked us." Sobbing Luke replied.
"And you admit that! Leonard! Explain yourself!"
"I fell and hit the Bulkhead."
"That better have happened!" The man grabbed Luke by the scruf of his collar and pulled him to his feet. "Go see the Doctor, because afterwards you both are getting punished! I told the both of you that you were to behave during this trip. Did I Not!"
"Sorry for my boys behavior, they get clumsy sometimes."
Robert's father just looked the Tall man over real quickly then turned and tended to Robert.
"Are you allright?"
"Yes. My head hurts."
Robert's dad was proud but did not want to show it at that moment. "We won't tell your mother about it."
"What happened to your head!?"
"Yeah dear...We were lifting off and Robert forgot to restrain himself and slipped out of the seat."
"I am going to file a complaint."
"Uh...Way ahead of you dear. Already filed and addressed."
"So...Bobby, how is the trip going? I miss my men."
"I have made some new friends, but they had to go to their work, so they had to leave."
"That's Oh-Kay. Some friends are only meant for a short time, and others will be there forever."
"I have to go do my homework."
"Allright. I Love you."
"Love you too mom." Robert left the Comm open for his Father as he headed back to his area to get his homework done.
"Lookie. It's a Mommie Boy."
"Yeah. I Love you Mommy."
The boys remained just the other side of the doorway. Robert made an effort to Ignore them but their Taunts kept growing.
"Come on Mommies Boy. Want to try the Fight again!?"
Robert slowly looked up at the Boys and grinned. "Sure." He started to stand and noticed the smaller of the two jump back and prepare to run while the older took a half step back. "Let's go." Robert rushed the door and the Smaller of the two fell in his attempt to flee while the Older tried to hold his ground with the fear growing at each step Robert took towards him.
"Well...Lets go!" Robert announced as he Lunged towards the doorway.
The Boys fled and ran into the Captain who was less than pleased. "SO! We like to run around on the Decks do we!? Well, since you have so much energy, I will find work for the two of you."
"But our Dad will get mad." The older of the boys whined.
"That's your problem." The captain reassured them.
"Robert!" Announced his dad. "I saw what you did. I am not happy with it. You are acting the bully."
"But they came looking for me."
"That's not the point. You must take the higher ground. Never go below the level of you opponent. It's time that I teach you to defend yourself properly. I was hoping that this day would be several years away. Now is as good as time as any. Where did Travis show you to go? Take me there."
They retraced the route to the Zero-G arera. Robert immediately jumped into the No Gravity zone.
"No. Get back down here. First thing for you to learn is where you will be fighting, and that has gravity."
Robert made his way to the wall and slid down until he felt the gravity take hold. Robert and his Father practiced for a few hours.
Robert's dad kept an eye over Robert detering the other boys from interfering. It was the impression of Robert's dad that the boys father and mother did not care what their children were doing. So he kept the training time when they were doing the Captain's Bidding.
"Captain. A moment please."
"Yes. How can I be of help?"
"Can you keep those boys busy for a while? I am teaching my son to defend himself. He will need a few days."
"As long as their parents don't say anything, I'll keep them Busy the whole trip."
"I just need a few more days."
"Well I hope he Kicks 'em right where it counts."
The day came where Robert's Father let him go alone once again, and it was not long before the boys started in again with the taunting. Robert was sitting at the table reading one of the Space Monthly Magazines and enjoying a Sandwich and a Beverage when his drink was lifted to the mouth of the older boy, Luke where it was consumed.
"I hope that was refreshing? Didn't save any for your brother?"
"No, I'll have the Sandwich." As the Young Leonard took the sandwich and took a bite.
"Was it good?"
"Glad that you enjoyed them. They were the Captains. I was just watching them for him."
The boys looked at one-another in amazement, and at the sound of boots hitting the decking they departed quickly.
"Very good Robert. You used your intelligence instead of your fists."
Robert knew something that no-one else did.
Soon everyone was upset because the bathroom was being used by the two boys and the smell could not be removed by the Reclimation center. "You two will be cleaning the Bathrooms when you are done!" Confirmed the Captain.
Everyone could hear the moans from the bathroom. The boys were in pain. The Bathroom remained busy with shallow breaks of their situation. Though, when the boys were able to free the area, others only went in because they had no other choice, and once they were done, the boys would resume. Robert did not think he placed enough to cause them discomfort for more than a day, but the agony went on for everyone another half of day.
"Did you do something to the Boys?"
"Well Phlox gave me a couple pills before he left. He said that sometimes people get bound up on travels. He also indicated that people get angry and combative when they get bound up. That reminded me of them and..."
"I can guess the rest. Do you have any more? Hand them over."
Robert relinquished the few pills that he had left to his father.
"Next time, No pills. If you are going to handle a situation like that, without fists, there will not be drugs involved. Understand?"
In the days end, it was a Victory and it would be a couple of days before he was harassed by the boys again.
Robert was able to get ahead in his Homework and perform repairs on the Model before the boys returned. There was a different attitude in the air this time. First came Leonard. He knocked to make Robert aweare that he was there.
"Can I come in?"
Robert thought about it, then answered. "Sure. Sit there." He geastured to the second crate where the extra parts were kept.
"Wrecking your ship. I did that."
"Was it fun?"
"No. But if I didn't my brother would have hurt me. He's like that."
"Sorry to hear that. Don't your parents punish him?"
"No. They don't care about us. They do Adult things."
"You have friends?"
"No. I have been in many schools because I get into too much trouble."
The boys talked for a while before Luke, the older of the two arrived. "Leonard! What are you doing?"
"Helping. I wrecked his plane, so I am helping to fix it."
"No. We don't do that."
"Why not Luke?" Robert asked.
"Because we have servants to do things for us."
"Not any more Luke. Remember? Dad's company lost."
"He didn't lose! He was forced out! Idiot."
"Hey! Don't call your brother that! You are lucky to have a brother, and should treat him better!"
Robert stood and approached the taller child. "I hear the bathrooms need scrubbing, and the Captain is looking for Voulenteers."
"You better not tell him! I will..."
"What? You will...What?"
The boys stood toe to toe. "I am Sorry."
"To who are you sorry?" Robert wanted clairification.
"To Leonard, for calling him names, and hitting him."
"Look at him, and tell him, not me."
"Brother. I am sorry for making you do things that you didn't want to. And Robert, I am sorry for making my brother hurt you and I am sorry that I have hurt you and broke your things."
"Luke...Leonard? I would like to be your friend. Can I do that?"
The boys looked shocked and then looked at one-another first. "YES!" They announced at the same time.
"Let's go get something to eat." Robert led the way to the mess area.
Robert returned alone and found his dad resting in the Hammock. He tried to be quiet and put his things away.
"I see that you have new friends."
The voice startled him. "Dad. I thought you were sleeping."
"No. Just resting."
"Uh...Yeah. We are friends now."
"That's good. I heard the three of you laughing at the Mess Table. I am sure that your mom will be happy as well, and proud of you."
"I am going to put my things away, then go to bed. Oh-Kay dad?"
"Sure. You have had a long day. I Love you son."
"Love you too dad."
*The one called Robert April.*
The room was pitch black, and the voices rung out as one.
"Who are you?"
*We are the See'ers. We see All.*
"If you see all, then why do you need me?"
*You have something we want and need.*
"I don't Understand. Help me understand."
*We cannot ask if you do not understand. Yes, he is still too young. Return him.*
"Bobby! Wake up Bobby!"
"Dad! It was them again."
"The ones that talk to me in my sleep. They called themselves the...See'ers." Robert rubbed his Right ear with ferrocity.
"Allright. Enough of that. You will get a Mental check when we get home."
Being Ten Years old, Robert did not argue with his parents, regardless of what he felt. Every day the Three boys grew closer together and each had a story to tell. Robert felt bad for the boys. That their parents paid little attention to them and left them to their own means, which usually led to trouble. "Why don't you tell your parents how you feel?"
"They won't listen." Replied Luke.
Leonard closed the conversation with a harsh response. "They don't love us like your father loves you. They ignore us. We are always someone elses problem."
Robert stood, looked at the boys, then headed off. The boys followed him in close pursuit. They started to slow the closer they became to Roberts objective.
"Who are you?" The elder man stated.
"Robert. I am friends with your sons."
"You boys have a friend? What happened?"
"What happened?" Robert asked back. "We resolved our differences."
"So the little boy kicked both of your butts again?"
"No. I did not. We did not fight. But I am wondering why you are not friends with your sons."
"You are all children. Children are not friends. They do as they are told."
"Well, your Children need your friendship. They feel your pain. They know something is wrong with their Parents."
"Child! You will not speak to us in that manner!"
Robert felt a new Rage eminate from the pit of his stomach. "I am more of an adult than you are! I see that your children need your comfort! I see that you have none! You just sit there wollowing in your pitty because you lost everything! But you didn't! You have your family! Your Children!"
Another voice came up from behind them. "Yes. He is right. You should take stock in what you still have, not what you lost."
"Sir? Is this your child?"
"Yes. Robert is my son, and he is very wise for his age."
"You Sir are a bad parent! You have no control over your child!"
Robert never saw his fathers face get as red as it did that moment. "Would you like to know where your children have been? Ask the Captain. Your children have been working off all the damage they have done while they are here. Your Children are Bullies. You do not know where they are. Neither of you. And you call yourself parents? No. Your servants raised your children. Now that they need you, you ignore them, or attack them. Your children attacked my son, and taunted him. Your children wrecked our quarters. Did you know that?"
The Man looked astonished and his wife cowarded.
"You, my friend cannot judge. My son befriended them because he understood what you could not. He, as a Ten Year Old knows a great more than you do. Robert. Let's go."
"Dad? Do you think they will change?"
"Hard to say Robert. Some people never learn. You did the right thing."
"Do you think I will get to play with Luke and Leonard again?"
"I cannot say. It depends on their father and mother."
"Can I go to the Zero Gravity well?"
"Yes. But be back in an hour."
"Oh-Kay." Robert let off down the cooridor. He was relaxing, just floating with his eyes closed when his alarm went off. He made his way to the wall and slid down it. He knew it was time for his studies and it was a new subject. His least favorite, Writing. But being outside the classroom, he felt that he had more to work with.
"Get your class work done. I have a suprise afterwards."
Robert was curious. "Can you tell me?"
"What do you think? I'll be back in an hour."
Robert watched as his father left, then opened his subject book. "First lesson, What I did this Summer. A Classic. Should I write, To be Continued... at the end?" It took him a while to collect his thoughts. "What I did this Summer...A Synopsis: I went on a Mission with my Dad. The mission was to collect supplies for the family business and deliver them safely. There are many challenges in space travel such as..." Before he knew it, the hour was up and his father was at the doorway.
"Let's go Robert."
"Wait. I have to write down a few things before I forget."
"Well, Hurry. This...thing will not be around forever."
Robert put his PaDD down and rushed. "Sounds Important."
"Just something no-one should miss."
Robert was led to the Bridge and directed to view out window Number Five.
"Wow! A Comet!"
"Yes. Do you know what one it is?"
"No. I can take a guess."
"What's your guess?"
Before Robert could make his guess, Luke and Leonard arrived with their parents. They all seemed to be happy. "Look Luke! A Comet. Leonard? Do you know what one it is?"
"That's correct." The Captain said.
Robert did not mind that his friend gave the answer. He saw that they were a family afterall, and that made him feel good.
"Dad? Can we go play with Robert?"
"Yes. I want to talk with Mr. April. If that's alright?"
The children went off one direction and the adults another.
"So? What happened?"
"We had a family meeting. Something we haven't done since I was Luke's age. We agreed that we had to start over, as a Family."
"I am happy for your family."
"Where we going?" Luke asked.
"Somewhere fun." Robert led them to the Null-Gravity area and then jumped into it.
"Wow!" Luke looked on in amazement.
"Come on. It's fun." Robert encouraged the brothers to join him. Soon they were bouncing off of the walls. Luke fell out of the well a couple of times, but soon learned where he could be safely. The time slipped away and soon they heard their parents calling for them. Robert showed them where to get down safely.
Robert returned to his quarters where he found his father.
"Well?" Robert was asked by his father.
"Do you have new friends?"
"Yeah. They are fun to be with."
"What are you working on? I mean, for your homework."
Robert had forgotten about the agreement that he made about keeping up on his Classes. "I have to get on my Federation History Lessons."
"Well, I suggest that you get to it."
Robert did not want to argue with the Man that allowed him to get away with so much already, and any retaliation may eliminate any further lieniency.
Robert's Right Ear bothered him to no end. He had rubbed it raw, but it did not escape the attention of his father. "Here. Let's put this sauve on it."
"It's on the Inside where it hurts."
Robert's father looked the best he could into Robert's Ear. "I cannot make anything out." As he finished Robert passed out. When he awoke he found himself in new surroundings.
"I am here Robert." As he felt his hand being squeezed.
"Dad? Where are we?"
"On the Federation Starship Lancaster. They are looking into why your ear is bothering you. You will be going into the Medical bay soon." As soon as that was said, a team of people arrived wearing light blue smocks.
Robert tried to sit up. "Relax son. It's the Muscle relaxer. You won't be able to. We will be looking into why your ear has been bothering you, and we need you to be still. He will be back out in a short while." Robert noticed that the Doctor was directing his words towards his father before he slipped into unconsciouness once again.
He awoke to a blue screen that seperated him from the rest of the room, but he still was able to make out the talking beyond that.
"Is he going to be fine?"
"Yes Mister April. He had a hole in his Ear Drum."
"A hole? How did he get a hole in his ear drum? Did he stick something in it?"
"No. The Cut was too clean."
"Cut? What do you mean, Cut?"
"Did someone perform surgery on Robert?"
"No Doctor. The only other doctor he was close to was a Denobulan doctor. I can't remember his name, but he travelled the first part of the trip with us."
"Was he ever alone with your son?"
"No. He did not strike me as the type to lure a child away."
"Someone took a Dee eN Ae sample from your son's ear and did not repair the sample area."
Robert was distressed because he did not know what the doctor was saying and how it applied to him. His ear no longer hurt, and that made him happy. The screen opened and the doctor entered, immediately followed by his father.
"Robert? I see that you are awake. How are you feeling?"
"My ear feels better."
"We repaired the Hole and treated the outer irritation from your rubbing it. So, tell me, What do you think happened?"
"I don't know."
"Your dad said you have been having wierd dreams?"
"Tell me about them?"
"I can't remember." Robert was afraid of ridicule.
"That's fine. We will have another day to talk. Right now I want to talk to your father."
Robert was released to his father's care and they were given a room on the LANCASTER where Robert was made to continue his class homework. "When will we be back home dad?"
"In a day or two Bobby."
"If we were on the Jay Class vessel...How many days?"
"You figure that out. I could just tell you, but then you would never learn anything."
Robert buckled down into his class papers and figured that if he wanted to persue the additional task of calculating the answer to his question, he would, later. The new ship had to be explored, and immediately. Robert was off on his quest. The ships schematics were not available, so he had to do this the hard way.
"Where do you belong!?" A voice bellowed from behind him.
"I...uh, belong on Deck Three, forward section, quarters Twenty-Two."
"Maybe you should get there and out of my Engineering department." The tall. thin man declared.
"So, who are you son?"
"Oh, the sick kid we picked up a day ago."
Robert was taken aback that he was refered to as more an object than a person.
"Sorry. Did noy mean it to sound like that Robert. I see that you are feeling better. Do you have time for a quick tour?"
Robert did not want to turn down a guided tour of a Federation starsip. He let out an exuberant... "Sure!" ...before he could contain it.
"Well, let's start off here. The Engineering department."
Robert was led around the starship by the engineer and was allowed acces to many of the departments but not to the bridge. "This is Off Limits!" The Engineer declared.
"I believe this young man lives here."
"Yes he does. And you are?"
"Chief Engineer Klein. Robert. It was nice to meet you." The man with the Dark Brown hair that was unkempt left the area.
"So that's what you were up to. Did you get anything out of the tour?"
"Yeah, I did, but it was a lot and I have to try and understand it all." Robert was not lieing, he had a lot to mentally digest after the tour.
"Well, send in your School work. They are awaiting it."
"Yes Sir." Robert went to the Communications station and downloaded the information then sent it to Earth. Afterwards he tried to sketch the floor plans of the ship from memory. He started with where the tour started, the Engineering section. He added more and more and found there were large gaps in the sketches, but that was quickly corrected because a starship was like a human, and most beings, Bilaterally from the front to the back, or as Engineer Klein said, from the Bow to the Stern.
"That's really good Bobby. Seems that you forgot a few important equipment that makes a starship function. As it stands, no-one would be able to live on the ship."
Robert took it hard at first, but he knew that his father was hard on him because he knew that he could do better, and his father was right, and Robert knew it. He sat there struggling with the issue of making the starship functionable for sustaining human life. He had hit a dead end and there was only one way to figure what to do.
"Oh...It's the young Mister April. What is it?"
"I cannot figure out what else is needed." Robert stretched out a hand with the sketches.
The Engineer reviewed the plans and hesitated a moment before speaking. "Here. Come here. If you are this accurate from just a tour of this ship, then I think that you need something better to work with." The Engineer looked over a few devices sitting on his desk, selected one, then proceeded to transfer the information into the mainframe. It took a few minutes for him to re-format the device.
Robert awaited patiently as the Chief Engineer finished the self assigned task. "That should do it." As the Chief engineer disconnected the device. "Here you are. Everything that you need is here. The rest is up to you young man."
"The rest of what?" Robert was confused because the Chief Engineer barely talked while he worked.
"The Designing. I did not put everything, or anything that would give away Starfleets secrets, but there is enough for you to get the gist of designing."
Robert took the device hesitantly from the Engineer. "Thank You."
"You are very welcome Bobby. You are free to send your designs to me." The Young Engineer offered.
"I will." Robert said as he left to return to his quarters.
"And where were you young man?"
"Talking with the Chief Engineer. He gave me this." Robert showed his father the device.
"That's a Starfleet device. Can he give you that?"
"He did, and he filled it with a program that allows me to design starships, and he said that I can send anything that I design to him." An excited young man said to his father.
It was far past Robert's bed time, but he was quickly reminded by his Father. "Bobby! Bed!" Robert was shocked out of his state. He was barely able to keep his eyes open. His father assisted him to his bed. "Young man." He said Gently, then continued. "You can be an engineer when you wake back up." Robert felt a Warm and Wet feeling on his forehead before going to sleep.
*The device is gone. It has been removed. It needs replaced.*
*Yes.* The voices reverberated.
"What device? The thing that hurt my Ear?"
*Yes. It was to stay with you all times.*
"It hurt my ear. Made me sick."
*An unfortunate problem. Another must be implaced.*
"No. It hurt!"
*He resists. By force then? No. By agreeance.*
"I do not..." The room became very bright and Robert saw his Father and the Doctor.
*Who are these?*
"Dad!" Robert shouted.
"You will leave this child alone!" Came from the doctor.
"Robert, Grab my Hand! We are Leaving."
*How did you discover?*
"We found your Multiphasic Varriance when you took the youth and made a portal to your alternate...Whatever this is, and we are Developing a way to keep you from performing the same thing on others."
*I need to understand this one called Robert. I need to follow him.*
"You will not. Any of you!"
*I am one.* The many voices stated.
"Close the Rift! Activate the device."
"So this was real?"
"Yes Bobby. They Kidnapped you. They put the tracking device in your ear."
"I don't know, but they will not be Abducting you again."
"That's right Robert. I mean Bobby. We have blocked anything that allowed them to cross over and attack anyone again." The voice was different, but familiar.
Robert looked around to find the person who had just spoken. As he cleared his eyes they came in focus and he recognized one of Earth's decorated hero's. He was too shocked to speak.
"Seems he has lost his voice. We will be monitoring your quarters while you are aboard to ensure that you are not abducted again."
"We appreciate that President Einicrox. Congratulations on you new office."
"Thank-You. Take care of that kid. We are to Rendevous with the Cruiser Aachen in an hour, and there I will be heading to the Beta Carinae System. Seems a Discovery had been made that needs conformation."
It was far after the new president had departed before Robert found his voice again. "Dad?"
"He can speak." A small laugh escaped. "Yes Son." As he regained his composure.
"Wasn't the President a Starship Captain?"
"Yes. For Four Years before being called to serve in office."
"Didn't she Fight the Romulans?"
"From what I understand."
"Didn't she get lost behind enemy lines?"
"Yes. Can we get to the point Bobby."
"Well. She led the Inaicu Attack. And from the History, she was killed."
"Seems History was wrong. She must have been Presumably declared deceased, and they have to correct the history books. Or...you have to Finish reading the history books. You are only starting. Give it time."
Before he knew it, it was time to return to Earth. Robert had a story to share with his classmates and the instructors, and the memories would remain with him forever. "That was my First actual space adventure. Alright...I may have stretched a few things."
"Lied you mean."
"No. I never lied."
"Meeting Phlox and Mayweather. You are so full of it."
"I did meet them, and I did travel all that way, and I did have an Ear Infection."
"Have you seen the Aliens ever again?"
"No. Never. That does not mean I will never see them again. It's not unusual for events like that to happen to anyone. Maybe you can tell us your first space experience Lieutenant Greives. Right now, get back to your Duty stations."
Robert returned to the Bridge, struggling to Remember the Events that took place, and if they even really happened.
"Preparatory Program" Stardate: 2211.259 (Mon. Sept 16)
The youth was reading the latest edition of "Space Monthly" and in it was the latest design schematic for the newest vessel off the line in defense of the Earth. Robert knew the Starship was already built, but he liked to think on how the construction would go. "Mom...?"
"Some day, I am going to be a Starship captain, protecting our planet from our enemies."
Three years earlier his family witnessed the perihelion of Comet Halley. This excited the young Robert to want to study the stars, so his mother did not take him seriously when he announced his new goal. He was now Seventeen years old, He was serious about his objectives now, no more frivolous goals.
Earlier that year, his father trained Robert in Shuttle piloting, navigation and repair. Their Shuttle was very old and used, and not suitable for space travel. The United Federation of Planets had just been formed Fifty-Three Years earlier. This was still fresh to a lot of people, and meeting an alien on earth was also few and far between. He wanted to make "Contact", meet other's from other worlds. He had heard about a race called the Klingon's who had already visited the Earth on 2151. Vulcan's were a familiar topic, but Klingon's, that was something to talk about. As he looked on in the book it described the latest design: Class: PYROEIS (NX-200). Date of Service: March, 2213. Warp Propulsion: By Cochrane Warp Dynamics and the Pleshun Company, by Doctors Titiac and Perth. They even included the Makers Plate with the Makers Identification of CWD-2A (FFTL-4B). Sublight Propulsion: FNSP-5A (Impulse-Mass Reducing). Shield Generator: FDS-5. Arnament: FAC-2 (Cannon), FL-1 (Lasers), FT-3 (Missiles). Computer: L-1. Subspace Radio: Warp 20. Design and built by the Mars Shipyards. Other information included Grahd's success at improving shipboard transporters.
"Hey Bobby. Are you going to join the military?"
"Yes Mother. Please refrain from calling me 'Bobby', I am 'Robert' now."
"Oh-Kay...Robert." She said with an Unconvinced grin. "Go get your chores done." Robert grinned as he left carrying his latest edition. He looked again at the print cover of the vessel he admired so. It was a beutiful ship with all of the modern style cues. The Nacelles looked strong nestled beneath the saucer flanking the secondary hull. The design allowed for the Warp drive to be in the neck, and the Secondary Hull was seperable from the Warp Drive. It had two Sensor dishes mounted on the front of the secondary hull. It was claimed as being a Warp Seven vessel, the first for Starfleet.
He hurridly finished his chores so he could do a little research on the Shipyards on Mars and their latest design. His search rewarded him with many images, Including Designers such as Miriam Malloy; the Lead designer of the PYROEIS Class. Bernard Bernard; Propulsion Design. Charles Montgomery; Life Support and Emergency back-up Systems. Emily Yeverson; Interiors. The list was long, but Robert wanted to now more about the Vessel itself. "Fifteen Years and I'll be commanding her."
"I am sure that you will." The voice startled him. He did not realize that his mother came into the house. "Help me clean these Vegetables and prepare them for dinner. Your father will be home soon."
"Then I get to practice more."
"Sure, after you help me."
"Anon! Dinner is ready!"
"Be there in a minute!" Anon April yelled. "Here, Turn this an Eigth of a turn. If the intake manifold is off, it can decrease the power output, and if it is too far off..."
"...It can, explode. I know dad. We have realigned this conduit far too many times. Every time you go get supplies we have to realign it. Why don't you get a replacement?"
"You know why. I told you that many times as well."
"Yeah...Because it is at the peak of it's effenciency, and putting in a new one would mean that we have to break it in, and that can take several years. Why don't we just modify a new one to match this one?"
"Good, you are thinking things through. Ain't it a shame that one only thinks when one is beyond their tollerence. Too bad we cannot tap into that whanever we want."
"Oh-Kay...Robert...", Did his father call him by his 'Adult' name?
Dinner was a peaceful time for the family. It helped because a cool air came and with it a light rain. Bethany turned on some light instrumentals. "Oh, Come on!" Robert felt out of place. "If this is a Date between the two of you, I will leave." His parents smiled then turned their gaze towards one-another. Robert stood, and then took his plate and cup to the living area to finish it. While in there he continued his research on the U.S.S. PYROEIS. The weapon placements were of interest, they changed from being mostly forward facing, now they were all around the ship. But the main, or heavy weapons still faced forward. Was it due to the power availability? Or was it due to the War? Lessons learned? The Romulans were a formidable race and have taught the New Federation a lot about war in space.
School had begun for Robert. He allowed his friends to call him 'Bob' rather than 'Bobby' or 'Robert', he carried extra manuals under the pit of his arm. "Hey...Bob! What's with all the books?"
"Extra cirricular activities."
"Come on! You? Your'e an alien. Where's Bobby?"
"Bobby's gone. Bob, or Robert is here now.", Sarrah Sinefield thought the whole thing was too much. She was a long time friend of Roberts and he used to spend considerable amount of time with her, but he now had a goal, and he wanted to persue it to the maximum that he could. He took out manuals on Starfleet academy, Warp Propulsion and other Propulsion systems, Construction Techniques for Starships, Loads and Balances for Starship design, and Warp Propulsion flight characteristics. He would have taken more if he could have fitted them under his pit.
Lunch came and he found a place under a Tall birch to start his self imposed studies. He started working out what it might take to build such a Starship as the U.S.S. PYROEIS. His PaDD helped in the calculations. A shadow loomed over his books, and upon looking up, "Thomas...Why are you shadowing me?"
"You forgot? First day of classes, and you forgot that we had plans this lunch break?"
"No, I did not. I felt it was foolish."
"Foolish! We have done this every year! It's our Thing! This is our last year as classmates."
"Not if you join Starfleet."
"Starfleet?! There's more to life than a military regiment. You need to live, not be tied down to a military structure." Robert saw the chance to explore and meet new races of beings.
The School year had ended and Robert had already been accepted in Starfleet academy. He had a Year of Adjustment to make and he found his nemisis, or did she find him? He was too busy to know. He came to know her as Talar, an Andorian. One of the founding members of the Federation. He wanted to meet and greet other races, but this was not his intent. "April!" The Andorian demanded.
"Talar. can you help me?", Talar did not like things switched on her. She wanted Robert to do her bidding, not to help him.
"Not this time Cadet! You are going to do what I tell you to do Today!"
"And that is?"
She had a look of confusion, was he actually that weak? "I want you to go over to the gardener and pull up his plants."
Robert gave thought to the cruelty of her wishes. "You want me to Bother Boothby? Fine." Robert walked toward the gardner. The Andorian was beside herself, that this Cadet, whom had evaded all her attempts earlier in the year was now complying with her orders.
"April, Robert. I am going to help you weed a bit. Hope that you don't mind."
"Mind!? Have fun with it."
"I plan on that." Robert started pulling the Overgrown weeds from around the flowers and the Tree in the Center, this pleased Talar, she felt that she had overcome Robert. It took a few minutes to eject the weeds, and Robert threw them into a loose pile beside the retaining wall that surrounded the tree.
"Why are you helping me?"
"I was orderd to rip out some foilage while you were here by the second-year cadet Talar."
"Never cared much for that one. Andorians are very militaristic. At least this time she met her match." Boothby grinned while keeping focus on his duties. Robert stood and walked away, feeling like he satisfied everyone concerned, mainly himself.
Robert shared a class with the Andorian. Advanced propulsion. A lot of the new studies were still off limits, but what was available awed Robert. "Get your face out of that book Cadet!" Talar demanded. "You don't think I know what you did!?"
"I did what you told me to do. What's the problem?"
"You were to make him upset, but he was pleased at what you did!"
"I thought that was what you intended. To make his day a little easier." Talar was miffed. "Next time that you want me help someone, I will gladly do it." That final comment sent Talar ove rthe edge, she was so upset that she could not respond and walked away. Another Victory for Robert.
Through the First year, Robert met many new friends. "Hey Cadet!" Robert knew the voice. He was under the impression that Talar was finished with him. He turned to find her picking on a new cadet. It was a race he was not familiar with. It had a bulbous head with what seemed to be an extra set of eyes. The lids were closed. Was this out of fear? Whatever it was from, Robert was not going to let Talar bully anybody. He walked directly over to the new person and stood between the both of them. "The Dean wants to see you."
"Human, what do you think you are doing?"
"What I was asked to do. That is to get this person to the dean."
"You don't even know his name!"
"No, but I know his description from what I was told. Come on, the Dean is waiting."
"The Dean is not waiting!" Talar's facial expression changed to worry. Robert turned to look the direction that Talar was and noticed the Dean talking to another staff member. By the time Robert turned back, Talar was already half the way across the front yard, and at Boothby's suprise, she started pulling weeds.
"Where are we going?"
"To see the Dean of course." Robert did not know the culture of this race, so he used caution with his actions. The Dean went inside the building, so Robert and the New Recruit followed. "Stop here."
"Why? I thought we had to go see the Dean?"
"We saw him, that was good enough to get you away from Talar."
"Thank-You, What's your identification?"
Robert took a minute then answered. "Robert April. Yours?" Robert extended a hand.
"Frasher." He took the hand questionably. Robert shook his hand.
"Glad to meet you Frasher. Where were you headed?"
"To the Deans office."
"Well let's get you there then, shall we?" The two cadets went through the corridors and up to the Deans office.
"Cadet April? What are you doing here? Did I summon for you?"
"Then what are you doing here?" Robert stood aside to allow Admiral Robertson to see Frasher.
"Cadet Frasher. I see you have found a guide."
"He found me Sir."
"Very good then, it must have been destined, because the two of you will be sharing quarters. Cadet April, Show Cadet Frasher to his new Quarters. You both are Dismissed."
"Yes Sir!" came from both Cadets.
"And Robert, Keep the peace between Frasher and Talar."
"Yes Admiral." Little did he know, the past of these two races has collided several times by other forces. "If I can ask, What race are you?"
"I never heard of your race before. Why could that be?"
"Because my race has been part of the Klingon Empire long before I was born."
"Klingon's huh? So why are you here?"
"I was Adopted as a baby by the Fitzes and raised in Worchester."
They talked as much as they could between their classes. They already read through the Officers maunual and Starfleet General Orders and Regulations, and currently were on Zephram Cochran's Powers of Space Flight. Robert's main studies were Advanced Relativistic Mechanics, Basic Warp Design, and Interspecies Protocol. Every night the two would spend countless hours discussing their classes and refreshing the Officers Manual. The Comm lit up in their quarters, which was half empty. "Cadets April and Frasher, Report to the Deans office." They knew there was little choice. They abandoned their Conversation and books and directed their attention to the discussion of what they could have done wrong to be called to the Dean's office.
They arrived to see several new cadets sitting outside the main office. "April and Frasher." They were summoned by the Receptionist. As they walked into the Admiral's office, they saw Two figures at full attention in front of the Admiral. They assumed they should follow suit and did.
"April and Frasher, Reporting as ordered."
The Admiral looked them over them proceeded. "Meet your new room mates, Pazernstash and Mr.Seron." The news made Frasher's Top eyes even open for a second from the suprise. Now they had to share their room with a Feline species and a Vulcan. April heard and knew about the Kzin and the conflicts they had with one-another in the past, but Frasher's people never had the oppertunity to meet the Kzin.
Robert extended a hand, and of course both races did not greet like that, so he dropped his hand and verbally welcomed them. "Hello. I am Robert and this is Frasher, Nice to meet you Pazernstash and Dif tor heh smusma. Seron'a."
Seron looked amused more than greeted. But he raised his hand and gave the salute. "Live long and prosper, Robert April." They were excused from the Admiral's office and headed back to their quarters. Robert started the conversation on the way back.
"Pazernstash, Kzin, Right?", The large cat-like being looked over to Robert before answering.
"Yes, and Proudly so."
"You should be. Your race is honorable." That comment caught Serona by suprise.
Pazernstash looked over at Frasher. "And what race are you my four-eyed being?" Frasher was intimidated by the size of the Kzin.
They talked late into the night. Class objectives were forgotten. Suddenly the four bolted out the door and headed to their designated classes. Seron was least affected, being a Vulcan, he was accustomed to remaining awake for days on end. They gathered on the lawn outside the main complex. They were all sharing their cultural histories. "I will be back." Pazernstash said, and then headed off to a nearby building. They continued talking about their daily events.
"Weaklings, every one of you! Cadet April! Did you hear me?"
"How can I not hear you Talar. You don't need to announce yourself in that manner."
This increased Talar's anger. "Human, you are to answer only when I order you to do so!"
An eye-brow rose from Seron's ridge. "I am sorry, Bur Mr. April did answer your question quite accurately."
"Vulcan, it would be wise if you shut up!"
"Seron, this is not your fight." A shadow rose from behind Talar.
"What's going on here? Is she giving you problems?"
"It's allright..." Talar turned to look behind her and who poissibly could be creating such a shadow. She cringed when she witnessed the Tall Kzin. "You can join us if you wish Talar." Robert extended the greeting, Knowing that she would decline now because she could not have dominance.
"I will deal with the three of you at a later time."
"What? You don't want to deal with Frasher?" came from the Kzin. Talar backed away from the Kzin then turned and walked away.
"Seems to me, she does not like to be Sociable." came from Seron.
"I guess not." Frasher followed up with. By the time the incident ended, each of them had to return to their classes.
They met again at the dinning hall after classes. Frasher was late, but he was taking very difficult classes trying to impress his adopted parents. "Hey, Pazernstash."
"Yes." as he took a large tear out of the fleshy, Raw meat that he had for his meal.
"Can we just call you Panzer?"
"Why disrespect my Family name Human?"
"No disrespect intended. It just makes conversations more comfortable for everyone.",
He mulled it over in his mind. "Panther, That is what you can call me. A Earth Feline of Great Noteriaty."
"Panther it is then." Even though his coat was more Orange and black like the tiger, which one would have found more suitable, he chose the dark and magestic feline from the Earth's Amazon region.
"We should visit Tucker Hall. That way Robert can see his Hero, Charles Tucker the Third."
Their conversation was interrupted.
"May I join you?" At everyones amazement, it was Talar, the Andorian Female. Everyone was quiet for a moment before a voice crackled.
"Sure, sit in my place." Frasher said as he walked to the end of the table on the other side of Pazernstash.
"Glad to see you wanted to take us on our offer from earlier."
"Don't get too excited Human, I may not like it here and decide to leave." Pazernstash Growled at the Andorian, which she tried to show no weakness.
"You are free to do as you wish." Seron said.
Robert thought to himself...'we have an odd assortment. A Kzin, Zoolie, Vulcan, Andorian and a Human. Can I get everyone to keep the peace?' "Let's Talk Kobayashi Maru Test, and how we are going to handle it." Robert left the floor open, but it remained empty. "I guess I will Start. I have been extensively studying it. It's supposed to be a no-win scenario, But I feel there are ways to win."
"How?" came from Frasher.
"I would be most interested to hear your scenario as to defeat the test." Seron followed up with.
"You can't, it was designed for the testee to fail every time. Why do you think they let you do it as many times as you want?"
There was a long discussion on the matter, but everyone except the Vulcan needed their sleep. They returned to their respected dorms and retired. Seron remained up all night going over Roberts plans and in the morning informed him of the odds. "I have to disagree with your scenario. You will only have a Fifteen percent chance of actually being able to succeed in the manner you discussed."
"I will take the Fifteen percent. I thought you were going to tell me I had Five percent chance of success using that plan."
"Maybe your math is off Mr.April."
"You are right, so I will take your Fifteen Percent any day Seron." Pazernstash awoke and prepared himself for classes. "Tomorrow we get a break. What can we do?"
"How about the beach?" That was voted on and shot down Three to One.
"I have a shuttle, we can go wherever we want. It's my parents old shuttle."
"I always wanted to go to Mars and see the Construction sites." Commented Frasher.
"Sorry, it is not space worthy. We would have to requisition one from the Academy."
"So, what's stopping you?" Snapped Talar.
"Credits. I don't have enough to get one issued to me, and if I did, I would not be able to enjoy myself until the last day here."
"We can pool in together, and then suffer together for the remainder of the year."
"I would have to agree Mr.April. That seems to be the only way to go view the Mars Complex." They left towards the Shuttle hangars.
"Human, where are you going?" The voice was familiar to each of them.
"Out into space."
"How? you don't have enough Credits."
"We have brought our finances together to perform this journey to Mars." Commented Seron. Pazernstash gave the Vulcan a look of frustration.
Now there were Five, and a Five way split on expenses. There was an empty seat which all thought they had the rights to use in whatever manner they wanted. Pazernstash won the rights to the seat by beating everyone at a game called Rock-Paper-Scissors. It was hard to call because the Kzin had hands more like paws. So everyone just conceded when they were in doubt. The shuttle lifted from it's platform and it started forward to clear the protective shelter it was housed in. After clearing the shelter, it started skyward. "Everyone, Fasten in, We are ready to go." Robert took the shuttle higher than he ever could take the family's. It was a thrill for him. The others were more excited to reach Mars.
As they approached Mars a patrol ship paralelled their course. "Starfleet Academy Students, Welcome to Mars. You will be Landing at Pad Twenty-Two. I will escort you to the field."
"Thank-You Patrol Vessel." Robert swung the Shuttle around and then brought it down to the designated landing area. After the bay was stabalized for lifeforms they disembarked. It was a stunning sight to immediately see a ship that was only on the cover of a magazine a few months ago right in front of him. It was the PYROEIS Class. It was a ship designed for combat. On closer inspection, Robert noticed the name on the ship was not the U.S.S. PYROEIS, but the U.S.S. CHAOS, NCC-201. He looked around frantically for the starship he tried so hard to visit.
"Hey Human, come here!" The last thing Robert wanted was commands from the Andorian.
"What is it?" as he stared blankly into space. Pazernstash guided Robert with little effort to the other side of the access tube. There were the words he was looking for. U.S.S. PYROEIS, NX-200, the PYROEIS Class Starship for the New Federation. It was completely painted with all of it's marking ablazed for all to see. The power was working on the ship and the identification lights were on. It looked good enough to leave the dry-dock already. Just because the outside was completed did not mean the inside was. Suddenly there was a pull on his shoulder.
"Come on, we have to eat and look around more." Robert did not want to leave, but did relucantly.
They ate at the Mayweather, a Hotel/Bar establishment who served even the young Starfleet personell alchohol. They did not have appropiate alcohol for the Kzin or the Zoolie. Talar drank, and drank. They had more site seeing to do and did not want to drag around a commrade. They put an end to her abuse and left the establishment. The Menu listed all of the PYROEIS Class starships with their Class Hull Numbers.
USS PYROEIS NX-200
USS CHAOS NCC-201
USS LELANTOS NCC-202
USS PERSES NCC-203
USS ALALA NCC-204
USS ALASTOR NCC-205
USS ANDROKTASIAI NCC-206
USS APATE NCC-207
USS DOLOS NCC-208
USS DYSNOMIA NCC-209
USS HOMADOS NCC-210
USS HYBRIS NCC-211
USS HYSMINAI NCC-212
USS KERES NCC-213
USS KYDOIMOS NCC-214
USS MACHAI NCC-215
USS NEMESIS NCC-216
USS PHONOI NCC-217
USS POINE NCC-218
USS PRAXIDIKE NCC-219
USS PROIOXIS NCC-220
USS THANATOS NCC-221
Twenty-Two Starships were commissioned, Two were in the process of construction. There were plaques stating that any type of data collection will result in arrest and detainment. Every few feet there was one or two security personnel.
Their little field-trip ended too soon. They gathered themselves and headed to the landing pad to retrieve the shuttle. It was not long before they made their trip back. Operating the Shuttle through space paled to the visit to the spacedock. His affirmation to work in engineering grew. His facination for the PYROEIS distracted him from watching the construction of a Starship. He felt guilt for that, but he could not turn back time. They were too tired to talk, Seron took the helm for a while to allow Robert time to relax. "Did you find what you were looking for Mr. April?"
"In a way. It was great to see the latest design in Starfleet, but I could take nothing home with me."
"On the Contrary. You have a Knowlege that you did not have at the beginning of this excursion."
"And what's that?"
"The sense of Piloting a Shuttle in space." It could not be denied, this was his first trip in space as well as piloting a craft in space.
"Field Training" Stardate: 2211.291
The Preparatory Program was over, it was time to get to the real tasks of becoming a Starfleet Officer. Roberts goal was to become an Engineer and Design and Build Starships for Starfleet. He had all of his classes outlined and approved by the Dean. It was time for Field Training with Admiral Yamaguchi.
Robert felt the class to be very entertaining and kept his attention. The Instructor, a Doctor Yamaguchi was very good at keeping the students attention. The first day in class the Admiral asked the perverbial question..."Ladies and Gentlemen of all races, and those who prefer to deem themselves as something other...First, I have some news. We are going to the Aerospace Museum tomorrow, but The one that answers the following question correctly will receive a special reward while we are there." The class was impatient and questions between them started to get to a high level. "Alright! Here is the question. Who currently, in the Warp Engineering field now hold the most designs for Warp Drive designs?"
There were several answers, but none was correct. Robert waited, so he did not seem to be showing off. He kept hearing the wrong answers from his classmates, and he kept watching the Admiral twist every time a wrong answer was given. Robert decided to answer finally. "Doctor Perth from the Pleshun Company."
"That would be correct...What's your name?"
"Robert April Sir."
"So you will get the Suprise. How did you know?"
"I am a avid reader of the Space Monthly. And I read any technical manual that I can get ahold of."
"Then you can tell me the name of the person who led in designe before Doctor Perth."
"Yes Admiral, I can. They are Doctor Laurence Marvick and Doctor Titiac from the Cochrane Warp Dynamics."
"Again, you are correct. No special credit though."
Robert was to go with a group to the Aerospace Museum in California where they had several early Warp vessels. A Detailed model of three of the latest starships were there. The ASIA Class, the LANCASTER Class, and the SWORDFISH Class. There were other Models there, but none as detailed as these three. Robert was looking forward to this field exercise.
They arrived at the Aerospace museum and did the walk through. Robert was impressed with the models, but they had a special suprise. As they exited the building, the hull of a DY-100 Class sat on supports with a gang-plank leading up to the Dock connection. It was the S.S. Kotor. "We are staying a few days here. You are free to explore, and rooms have been assigned. You will get your Pass when you go through the shuttle bay. There are Duty Manuals and uniforms on your bunks. You each are responsible for the Specific duty shown in your manuals. It outlines your shifts. This is an exercise to take seriously, and you may be the first and last to have this oppertunity. The Hull is scheduled for scrapping after this month."
After reaching his bunk he took the manual and discovered that he was in command. He would have preffered engineering. "Do you know if we can trade positions? I'd rather be in engineering. Does anybody have engineering as their duty?" He just received No's and shakes of the head. His duty started immediately. "I might as well get started then." Robert started off to the bridge. It was getting dark and that added to the realism. He found his way to the bridge and took the Command and Control chair. 'I guess I should start us off' he thought. "Reports!" They came in quick and loud. "Wait a minute! Let's start with Tactical and work our way Clockwise. Tactical."
Geoff looked at the panels. "Look, they are simulated."
"Yes, of course. Scans show nothing."
Frank looked over his council. "...We are enroot to Pollux. Seven days out."
"Science. Nothing on scans Sir." Robert looked back and found a Tellerite named Drixxel who looked less impressed.
"Communications. Only normal subspace chatter and Shipwide communication."
Robert reflected a moment. "You said Pollux was Seven days out?"
"Yes, that's what the reading says."
"What's the Maximum speed on this tub?"
"What are we travelling currently?"
"Take us to Warp Three."
"Warp Three confirmed sir."
"How many days now to reach Pollux?"
"One and a Half Days, Maybe Two, depending on Currents and Anomalies."
"Bring us to Warp Two point Five then."
"Yes Captain." Everyone was curious to what he was doing.
"Who's my First officer?", A Tellerite stepped on the Bridge.
"I am First Officer Bergra, Who's the Captain?" Robert swung his chair towards the Tellerite and gave him a look of Who do you think?
It was going to be a long exercise. "Berga. Go to each Station and get reports."
"No. Go to each Station and get a Report. I want to ensure everyone is where they are supposed to be and doing their jobs."
"Why? If they are doing their jobs we will know if there are any problems."
"I don't want to wait until it's too late. Go!" The tellerite left, taking his time. "Open a channel, Shipwide."
*All Crew, All crew. Report in. First Officer Berga is doing rounds and inspecting each department.*, "Close Channel."
Robert sat at his station until his legs started to fall to sleep. He stood. "Drixxel, you are in charge of the bridge. Alert me if anything out of the ordinary happens."
"Yes Sir." Drixxel looked as tired as anyone. It had been a long four hours and the shift changes were about to happen. Robert found his way to his quarters and gatghered his belongings. He was the captain, why was he placed in the general quarters with the others? The Captain has own quarters, and he was going to find them. When he finally located the commanding officers quarters he chased out the crew that was there. "This is the Captain's Quarters, Right?"
"Says so on the door, but we were given this quarters by the..."
"Who's the Captain?"
"Well, You, I guess..."
"And by your own admission, Who's quarters are these?"
"Right, now there is a free bunk on Deck Four, Number Four-One-Two. The rest of you should also either go to your assigned quarters, or find a new one." There was some resistance to the issue. "Quiet! If you do not follow orders, I will have to log your actions on the Ship's computer. This is an exercise, and they are likely monitoring our behaviour. The choice is yours. You have Thirty Seconds to Vacate."
'Finally.' He reflected. He sat his things at the foot of his bunk and then laid down. Before he knew it he was sleeping. A Blare of sound invaded his sleep. The red flashing light flooded his eyes. *Captain, we have a vessel on an intercept course!*
*Have you hailed them yet?*
*Hail them again. I am on my way.* Robert had a shorter route to the bridge now, as it should have been. He rushed to his seat and took it. The commanding officer in charge for that shift was Suren, an Andorian. "Give me the Status on the oncomming vessel."
"It's a scout class. It's on an intercept course and will be within close sensor range in fifteen minutes."
"Can you give me any more information?"
The vessel closed on them rapidly. "Weapons, What do we have for defenses?"
"Not even shields?"
"None." The situation looked hopeless.
'So we can't protect ourselves or defend ourselves.' "I want this vessel searched from top to bottom for any weapons! Comm. Make that for every living being on this bucket!"
"Five minutes before they intercept."
"Who are they?"
"I am checking the sensors. They are still too far away to get a good scan. I have just been able to accertain their speed."
"And that is?"
"We are being Hailed Sir."
"Open the channel."
*This is the U.S.S. John Redday, Identify yourself.*
*This is the S.S. Kotor, I am Captain...April.* He was not sure he liked the sound of that. *How can we help you?*
*This is captain Robertson. We were going to offer assistance to you.*
Robert knew the Admiral's voice. *Captain Robertson, We could use as much assistance as you can provide. Our technology level falls too short compared to yours, we would like your staff to come aboard and assist us in upgrades.*
*I am sorry sir, that would be against our prime directive.*
*Then sir, what can you do to provide help to us?*
*Advice? Like what sort of Advice?*
*Like to stay away from the Pollux Star system.*
*If you say you are to help, then help us, at least send information on Class-M Planets so we can resupply.*
*We are sending you Navigational information to a Star System called Benzar. It's a little out of the way, but it would suit your needs.*
*Thank-You Captain. We received the information.* The Federation Scout vessel left at high warp.
"Let me know when they are out of Extended Sensor range."
"Yes Sir." Robert was curious why he was told not to go to Pollux, and Pollux was closer than Benzar anyways. "Once the Scout ship is out of Sensor range , wait the timeframe again then change course to Pollux and proceed at Maximum Warp."
"Comm. Call all senior officers, Command officer to a meeting in my quarters."
"Yes Sir." Robert headed back his quarters. It was not long before the others of the command staff arrived.
"What's this about?"
"It's about us going to Pollux."
"Yes. We, well, I was told not to go there. And it is closer than where I was suggested to go."
"And where's that?"
"We have only a few days left before this 'Mission' is over, So we either play it safe or take the risk and discover why we were detoured from Pollux."
The debate raged on for a few hours. *Bridge.* Robert called out on the Comm.
*Bridge.* was returned.
*Have we changed course yet?*
*Five more minutes Captain.*
"We are all on board with this?" He had a resounding afformation and then the Senior staff departed to their stations and prepared themselves. They never found much in the way of any weapons, but that did not mean they had to use what was there. They were young, and creative.
*Captain, we are at Maxinun Warp to Pollux. Time to Destinantion...Forty-Two hours.*
*Very good. Prepare for increased Warp, Engineer Christonson will alert you when she is prepared. Anyone Familiar with building weapons report to the Cargo bay after you have a replacement.* The bridge crew shuffled around for a while then settled down once again.
Robert made his way to the cargo bay to see the progress of the weapon. They all knew it had to be theoretical and have the possibly to work. Robert had a Vulcan crew member to evaluate the feasability of the weapon and the likelyhood of actually working. They scavenged what they could, the U.S.S. John Redday was stripped severly before being placed here. It was actually unfair that they had to work in such conditions, but they used what they had around them. They pulled some Power relays from a bulkhead, an Energy Transfer Matrix for control, Laser Fusion Initiator to start the weapon, an Anti-Backflow Valve to keep any residual energy from feeding back into the weapon, A KLS stabalizer to keep the power of the weapon at a constant rate, A Mid-Range Phase Adjuster to maintain weapon reliability, The Weapon creates a Particle stream that can be Charged.
There was no real power going to the weapon, all Theoretical. Their only backup was an attempt at creating a EPS Discharge to Cripple any vessel. A Baryon Cannon, or better, Rail Gun would have been nice, and the time the U.S.S. John Redday would have accumilated enough to harvest to create such a weapon, but the time constraints would not allow for it. The real question was what was common materials for a race at this technological age? Robert had the Techies work on an Invasive program to attach to any DATA files transferred to or from them. The U.S.S. John Redday had the old Yoshimitsu Computer from the 2132 era, and would be slow compared to the ones they would be up against, so it was determined to have the Invasive program compressed and a Autorun program applied so it will automatically run when downloaded.
Robert felt as ready as he possibly could. He had seen the Creativeness of people, his crew. The Readiness they shown was refreshing, and he felt if they were actually in this situation, everyone would do whatever necessary to survive. It was determined that the S.S. Kotor could increase their warp speed to 3.25, this decreased their time to destination to around Thirty hours. Now, if they could keep from being spotted. That was his next goal, if it was even possible. He headed off to his quarters for some rest. Would this effort be worth it? Would Starfleet actually show what is on Pollux? Or would this be a mystery to them forever?
*Captain to the Bridge.*
Robert awoke quickly and was to his feet and dressed. *I am on my way.* He bolted to the bridge. "Update."
"We are Twenty-Six hours out and have already attracted attention."
"From the U.S.S. John Redday?"
"No, from Unknowns...Romulans." The navigator knew already as Robert would have, but within this timeframe they would not have known. There was no Nuetral Zone in the early Two-Thousands, Hell, the Earth-Romulan Wars had not come to fruition yet. But as a new race, and having limited technologies, just what they had on their vessel, they would have had no contact with such a race. "Are they acting aggressive?"
"No. Just following us."
"Keep an eye on them." Robert took the Command and Control chair and waited for an action from the Unknown vessels.
They paralelled them for Eight hours before they vanished. "Vanished! How can a Starship Vanish?" Robert never heard of a Starship of any size vanishing, and this would affect the crew negatively. He told the bridge crew not to tell anyone about the vanishing vessel. He could not afford to lose the energy that the crew had gained recently. Another Eight hours had passed before anything else happened.
"Sir, the unknown vessel is back, and on an intercept course."
"What is the interception time?"
"Open all shipwide channels."
*Prepare for engagement. An unknown vessel is approaching.*, "Stay on course. Can we increase our speed?", *Engineering. We need more speed.*
*No promises. I will do what I can.*
*Well hurry then.*
According to the ships computers, they gained Ten-Percent to their speed. *I can't give any more.*
*Just keep thinking of ways to increase our speed. We need everything this old crate can put out.*, "Call the senior staff. I want a meeting immediately." The small bridge was busy.
"I want you to encourage your staff to keep thinking of ways to protect ourselves, even if it means throwing things out the cargo hold at them. Go!" The bridge suddenly became quite again, with only suttle hushes from crewmembers passing their hand over to manipulate a switch. A beep, chirp, click, would announce itself.
"Sir, another vessel has come into sensor range, it's the U.S.S. John Redday, and they are on an intercept course with the other vessel." Robert leaned forward to take everything in.
"The other vessel vanished again. The U.S.S. John Redday is still on the same intercept course."
"Hail them." His order was quickly executed. *I am sorry, we are quite busy at the moment.*
*We have been tracking the vessel and wonder if you need any assistance?* A pause came from the Captain.
*Send us the last navigational heading the vessel was on.* Here was a chance to implant the Computer virus by sending the information over to them. But he decided against that.
*We are sending the last coordinates and course the vessel was heading.*
*We are receiving.* It took less than a minute.
"Sir, the U.S.S. John Redday has changed course. And now the vessel that vanished has reapeered."
"Plot an Intercept course to the area where they will meet."
They were more than an hour away from where the conflict had started. "Damn! They are getting destroyed."
"Another vessel has joined the fray sir."
"Another of the vanishing vessels."
"Damn! Ready the weapon! Get whatever else defenses we have ready. Let's not pull any puches! Put me on Shipwide Comm."
"You're on captain."
*All crew. Battlestations! We are preparing to engague in battle with a race that is hostile. We are at condition red! I repeat! Condition Red!* The whole thing went from an exercise to reality. Everyone was caught in the moment and the ship was alive.
There were several vessels caught in the battle when they arrived. Robert knew his was not any equal to anything out there, but he persisted. The weapon took a while to charge and was more of a distraction to the Vanishing foes than anything, so they were ignored. "open a Comm to the U.S.S. John Redday."
*I have the cargo of Dulamite and Weapon enhancements. Beam them off my vessel so I can get the hell out of here.* As Robert anticipated, the Vanishing vessels now turned their attention to his meager vessel. He knew that they would not destroy the vessel, yet, not until the cargo was theirs.
*Cargo ship! You are to transfer all information and cargo or be boarded!*, *I do not posess the ability to do that. I can send the Manifest to your vessel, and you will have to manually remove the cargo.*, *I am sending the Manafest over right now.*, "Do it." with a grin Robert nodded to the Communications officer. "Information sent.", "Sir, the vessel is drifting out of control.", "Turn about and fire on it!" The lumbering outclassed vessel rang out a shot, and the stars had a new companion.
Suddenly reality snapped back. *CADET!* rang over the Comm. *Cadet April! It's time to wrap this up. We are leaving in the morning. Everyone, well done. Get some sleep, we leave at Zero-Eight-Hundred. Good job.* The weary members of the S.S. Kotor stumbled to their quarters and slumbered.
"We can gain a lot with this one."
"Yes. He will bring new reasoning within Starfleet."
"Lets go Debrief Starfleet. They should take a liking to this lad."
"We should keep this vessel for further training and evaluations." The Two Admirals departed the Museum grounds and returned to the Academy.
The following morning the group was shuttled back to the academy. The week passed uneventful, Robert and his friends reconnected and shared tales of their First field training exercise. Some were actually in space on cargo vessels, some were doing aid services on other worlds, and others performed services with the senior staff at the academy. There were plaques handed out and news to be shared. Robert, along with his fellow class had to write up a report and a thesis on their experiences durring their first Field Training exercise.
"Cadet April." He looked about then stood and approached the raised platform. He was instructed to come up on the platform and to approach the Dean. "Cadet April, we wish to bestow on you the rank of Cadet Second Class, for your creativeness and your ability to guide others in the time of battle. Your field training exercise has taught everyone involved some new values, The ability to overcome obsticles, and persevere."
Robert stood proudly as the Dean clipped the pip isignia to Roberts collar and handed him a uniform of Red and Black. From Robert's knowlege, the Uniforms were Greys with Piping to designate their duty position. This was different. "We are ushering in a new age of Starfleet personell and Vessels, You all have done well." Robert stood there with several others that have been given a reward of some level. As he walked down to his friends he was patted on the back and congratulated. Pazernstash and Frasher also had received plaques. Talar and Seron congratulated their friends, but there were those who were indifferent and then the ones who stood in the shadows and wished harm on them.
"ENGINEERING Major" Stardate: 2211.298
He entered the Study hall. Looking around he noticed an empty seat in the staduim and took it. This was not going to be short and sweet, the class was scheduled for Three Months, and Zephram Cochrane's book on Warp Propulsion was the main study. They would be learning the techniques of construction and field excursions were on the agenda. It was late nights and early mornings. Configuring Structural Hull design and matcing the Structural field integrity generator that would compensate with the estimated Warp speed was no easy task.
"Ahem! Now if we can begin." The Professor was Admiral Greagor Fortenberry, He was known as the 'Detailer' and earned that reputation. Robert knew every little detail would be gone over by Fortenberry. He had to be precise. Fortenberry also studied each of his students writing styles and educational history, and Robert's Report and Thesis were not ignored. "We have several Distinguished members to the class. Cadet Second Class April, Cadet Third Class Franks, Cadet Frasher, Cadet Everly, Cadet Seron, and Cadet Talar." The last name made Robert look around the stadium to find the Andorian, which he did, sitting a couple of rows behind him. "That! By no means will let them be treated any different than the rest of the class, Actually, I expect more from these people. Our first task is in the Technical Twenty-Two Manual of Engineering, Structural fastening." The noise of pages being turned sounded like leaves in a strong wind.
Robert discovered that there are several ways a structure member if a hull could be fastened, from Welding, and Fusing, Molding, Glueing, and the use of Stem bolts. Each had their benefits and draw backs. Fusing and Molding were the most expensive and required more time to create, but were very strong and dependable, the next best was Welding and Stem Bolts, and the lightest was Gluing, but did not do well in extreem conditions. In some cases, some could be combined for strength, like Stem Bolts and Glueing, but this meant more repair time and frequent maintenance. Some vessels have Outer and Inner Hulls, each requiring different materials and techniques. Certain metals could not be Welded or Glued, Others could not be Fused. Molding was always the best choice, but the time to create the Panel-Structure was extensive, and if the Panel-Structure was not within tollerance, the process had to be started over.
"That was a lot to digest."
"Mr.April. Digest your food, we need our energy for the field trip in the morning." Seron was eating his greens while Pazernstash was tearing at the meat. They both found one-another's diets repulsive.
"Human. When are we going to discuss todays class?", Talar was just pushing the food around on her plate.
"After we get done with our track time."
"Are you still training for the Marathon?"
"I have to catch up. The week on the S.S. Kotor kept me from my training. So I have to make up, and fast."
Pazernstash was a running mate, but had no desire to run on two paws. The natural way was the way it should be done.
They did their run and cleaned themselves up before they met to study together. "Where do you think they are taking us?"
"Probably to some lame ship-yard."
"Oh come on Talar, have some faith."
"What is it Mr.Pointy-Ears?"
The Vulcan raised an eyebrow before answering. "We obviously are going somewhere where they fasten hulls of starships, and the closest facility is the San-Fransisco Fleet Yards."
"What makes you so sure Vulcan!"
"I believe that I made my point Talar."
"Alright the two of you. If you don't settle down, I will have Panther straighten the both of you out." Pazernstash looked up with a grin. Not at the supposed violence, but the way his nickname rolled off Roberts lips. No-one had to know that though.
"On to the task at hand. What construction method would be best suited for a standard shuttle?"
"Gluing. Due to the shuttles designed requirements and tasks, the Shuttle should never be placed in a situation where the glue would have a chance to degrade."
"What about a Long-Range shuttle? Frasher?"
"Due to the Stresses of Warp on the Hull and structural members."
"Can you add anything to that Talar?"
"Yes. Don't fly like an idiot!"
"Talar. Get serious for a moment."
"Fine. And in the possibility of Combat, the Hull would be stronger and easier to repair. There...Happy?"
"I'm not the one that you have to worry about being happy or not." The Engineering students remained up late, while the Security student retired.
The next morning they were on their way. Seron had deducted correctly. They talked about their first field training exercise. When they arrived they were witnesses to a Starship under construction. "People. What Fastening system are they using?" It was obviouse due to all the sparks around points of the hulls. So Robert let someone else field that answer.
"They are Welding." came a female voice.
"To be more precise. MIG Welding."
"Very good, as expected Mr.Seron." Seron had just perverbally stepped on the feet of Mary Spencer, a very dedicated Cadet. She gave Seron a look that Seron was unfamiliar with.
"Why did she give me that expression Robert?"
"Because you stepped all over her glory."
Robert cut him off with a wave of the hand. "I will have to explain at a later point."
It was a magical time for Robert. They were allowed through the Engineering department, and to everyone's suprise, there was no Stardrive present. The reason being is that it would have added far too much weight to the vessel, and that they never would be able to lift the vessel out into space. All of the vital equipment would, and could, only be assembled in space at a space dock. This trip allowed the class to see the interior construction of a vessel and components before it was ready for trial runs. They were aboard the U.S.S. Aerfen, a Fighter class vessel, and it was being built specifically for a fleet of Federation vessels. There was a sketch of a phoenix taped to the hull, that's the thing that Robert kept thinking about.
They spent the whole day trying their hand at welding and other types of fastenings for a starship and were even allowed to construct a shuttle. They were not at the stage to install propulsion or electronics so they were limited at what they were allowed to accomplish. One shuttle was not enough for Robert, but he and the rest of his class was not permitted to do anything further. They were allowed to eat with the work crew if they so wished. Robert chose to do so, even at the request of his friends not to. "Hi, I'm Robert."
The man looked at him steadily. "Bob? What makes you sit here with us?"
"Curisoty. How long have you been doing this job?"
"About Fifty Years."
"You must like it."
"Not necessarily. Sometimes you have to do something you don't necessarily like in order to keep living."
Robert was taken aback by the answer he received.
They were released immediately upon returning to the academy. Robert wished he had enough credits to requisition a shuttle again to go back to Mars and watch the U.S.S. CHAOS being constructed. He really wished he had enough to visit every day. Something had to be done. He needed to repair the shuttle he has and that required materials. Glue and Panels, Seals and Transparent Aluminum, Updated controls and Crystalline Emiristol for the thrusters, and to have the Avidyne Engine looked over, then the Shuttle had to be inspected and passed for space flight. A lot for a first year cadet. But he did not let that stop him from starting.
Robert started taking trips to the San-Fransisco Ship-Yards to scrounge for parts where he met the elderly welder, which in turn led him to a place where he could gather the parts, at least panels. The glue was another story all together, but Robert needed it to get his shuttle space worthy. It was not long before all of his friends were helping, except for Pazernstash who just stood and talked to the others while they worked. One evening the Dean happened to pass by their little open-air workshop. "What's going on here?"
Robert exited the shuttle at the new voice. "Admiral."
"Forget the formalities, We are off duty, or so I thought?" Refering to the shuttle.
"Personal project sir."
"Really? Hold on a moment." He took out his communicator and spoke privately into it.
It was not long before a service shuttle arrived. Robert thought he was in trouble. "Sir? Why are you removing my shuttle?"
"Well, First it's an Eyesore. Second, You are not supposed to do repairs at a landing facility. Third, As a Cadet of the first year, you are not supposed to even have a shuttle on the grounds. Fourth, I ordered them to remove it from here for safety reasons."
"Dean Robertson...I can take it back to my family and leave it there. Please. I can be back tonite."
The Admiral looked at Robert for a moment. "Maybe I had not made myself clear Ensign."
Seron spoke up. "Dean, you have made yourself very clear about the academy rules, and I assure you..."
"Mr.Seron. I am not taking the shuttle away from Mr.April." It became quiet for a moment.
"Ensign April. Get in the cab of the shuttle, the rest can ride on the bed of the Service Shuttle." It was Admiral Fortenberry.
"Sir, why are you here?"
"As a return of a favor. Now get into the cab." Fortenberry drove them to a repair bay at the academy's training department. "You can use this bay and the tools to repair the shuttle. Materials are your problem. I can give you until the end of the course to finish the repairs, by then you should know enough to become dangerous."
"Thank You Sir. I will try and get it finished as quickly as I can."
"Don't rush it Mr.April, you want to get it right. Now I am telling all of you to go back to your quarters and rest. Seems that I have to accelerate the course a bit and touch on certain subjects, Like proper sealing techniques and Gluing principles."
The following morning the class was guided by Admiral Fortenberry to a Civilian Vehicle scrap yard where there were a few shuttles similar to Roberts. He now had School Credit and discounts to work on his 'Academy' project. "We are going to use some of the Techniques we learned yesterday at the ship-yards to build a shuttle's Hull. Please look around and find Frames and Hull parts to construct a suitable shuttle." He handed everyone a Tri-corder to take readings to help determine the best possible components for the project.
Robert spoke out first. "What type of shuttle?"
"Whatever the group decides upon."
Robert did not want the class constructing the same type that he has because that would reduce the amount of parts that he would have.
The class decided on a Early Starfleet shuttle of the 2010 era. It was in bad shape, but there were enough of them to actually build one, and this left Robert with enough of the type he had to repair his own. As Robert and his friends walked around, they noticed all of the Crystalline Emiristol pods had been removed. Having a few extra of those would have been nice. "Bob. Why are you pulling parts from that type of shuttle? We are working on this type."
"You are right Bullrunner. I wanted to see what was available just in case. Maybe we could swap out components."
"Later. Let's get what we need. We are leaving soon and need to be sure what we have."
The parts and the Shuttle frame chosen were placed on the Service Shuttle and everyone piled into the shuttles that brought them there. They arrived back at the Academy within an hour. Robert went to work on his shuttle after classes. He was learning quickly what was needed for repairing the shuttle, and whenever he could, he would find himself at the scrap yard milling around and finding new things that could possibly be added to his shuttle. Some days he found the welder there looking for parts for his own shuttle. "Hi. How have you been?"
"Fine. Here, I have something for you. Of course it's not free, you will have to help me with repairs on my shuttle. These old hands have been fighting against me as of late."
"Sure. When do you want the help?"
"This weekend would work."
"I'll see you then."
Before they knew it, the weekend arrived. Robert recruited his friends to help. "How come you recruited us to help someone we don't even know?"
"Because I know him, and he gave me the Glue and application tool."
"Then why didn't we use the glue yet?"
"Mr.Frasher, we do not posess the proper technique to use the device, and that would result in the failure of the bond and the loss of our lives."
"Thank you Mr.Seron, for that very helpful information."
Pazernstash and their new Tellerite friend, Bergra was not happy about being dragged into the situation. They had no training in repairing any type of vessel, so why did they have to join this party? Berga felt like he would be on Pazernstash's lunch menu. The natural fear was there.
They arrived early. "Remind me, Why are we here Human?"
"To help someone."
"Help him, what Exactly?"
"Repair his shuttle. He has no desire to go into space with it, but he needs it to travel back and forth to work so he can provide for his wife and himself."
"Mr.Talar. He relies on this vessel for his livelyhood."
"Vulcan, when I talk to you, then you can answer."
"Let me remind you Mr.Talar, the Federation is a free colony and no-one within has to follow your orders." They started their day cleaning surfaces and preparing them for the glue. Mr.Burgess was out helping and instructing them how to use the tools for application, and lunch arrived before they knew it. Mrs.Burgess came out with the food and placed it on picknic table. Pazernstash was dissapointed because the meat was cooked, and Berga did not care, he ate as much as he could.
They worked late into the night and finished the repairs. The Propulsion parts they did not touch, but Mr.Burgess showed them how to activate and deactivate the drive, as well as loading the Crystalline Emiristol pods. They finished around midnight. The Shuttle was repaired and would last a few more decades at least. Mr.Burgess did a walk around checking each fastening point. He then asked his new friends to help him push the shuttle into the bay where he had a paint booth ready. The Friends decided to stay the night and each found somewhere to sleep.
In the morning they had breakfast with their hosts and started packing up to return to the academy. As they left Mr.Burgess guided them through the back way with a lame excuse that Mrs.Burgess just cleaned the carpets. As they left the line stopped before Robert could get to the doorway. "WOW! You have to see this Robert." Everyone that already made it outside was stunned and Robert wanted to see whatever they were seeing. He finally made it out to see the shuttlecraft that they repaired the night before. Or was it? It was a nice shade of blue with a Bold, Red stripe down it to what appeared to be an old earth military insignia paonted Yellow and turned ninety degrees so the point faced forward. Robert pointed at it.
"What's this mean?"
"Oh...The 'Pointer', It's a sign of proceeding forward, as if being pointed in the right direction. It has been associated with spaceflight from the beginning."
This impressed Robert and it started invading the recesses of his mind. "Maybe I'll bring my shuttle to you when I finish it."
"I would be honored to paint your shuttle. You and your friends have done a lot since you arrived, and your actions will help my wife and I for many years to come."
The Academy Trainees departed back to their learning facility. "What a waste of my time!"
"What do you mean Berga?"
"I could have been training to delegate with a challenging foe."
Pazernstash looked over at him. "How many times did you lose to Mrs.Burgess? Five? I think that you lost enough for one day."
"I think he won! He was able to get away with his life!" Everyone laughed at Talars last statement, even though she was being serious.
Their last week of their Major classes was upon them. They crammed a lot into the time that they were there. Their next choice was to either persue more studies or do the Kobayashi Maru Test and hopefully be assigned aboard a starship. Robert knew his goals and enjoyed the time he had with his new friends, but some decided to leave. Pazernstash had already accepted an assignment on a Starfleet vessel, Talar started her Diplomatic courses, and Berga was going in the same educational direction. Robert had his shuttle out of the repair bay and he had given it a lot of thought as to the color and style of decorative paint for his refurbished shuttle. He learned how to replace major components and perform any repair to the shuttle, as well as what it takes to construct a starship of a relatively large size.
Next was to learn to design a Starship. That was in his Probability Mechanics as his second Major Study. They all handed in their Thesis to their respective instructor and it would be a few months before they would be graded, and according to students who had Admiral Fortenberry in the past, it could be a year before they see a grade for their efforts. Robert was onto the next study subject.
Do'Ha' puqloDpu' (Unfortunate Sons) (Stardate: )
"Captain. We are receiving an Emergency Distress call."
"One-Fifty Mark One, Five point Three Lightyears."
"Who are they?"
"Unknown Sir. The Distress Call is set on a Universal Channel and there are not any signifying codes."
"Are there any other starships in the area to respond?"
"No Sir. We could be there within Twelve and a Half Days at Warp Five."
"Helm. Take us to the Coordinates at Warp Six."
The Helmsman responded with the travel time. "We will arrive in Eight Days, Twenty-Three Hours Captain."
"Alert Starfleet of our course of Actions."
"Captain. That will place us within the Romulan Nuetral Zone."
"We have to Respond to the Distress call Commander." The matter was settled at that point.
Robert was not worried about the situation, even with the fact that the Distress call had originated within the Romulan Nuetral Zone. He considered it Routine with the vague notion that it could be a Romulan trap to capture a Starfleet or Federation Starship. The call was on a cycle and repeated within 5 minutes. Robert had time to evaluate as much as he could before arriving at the site of the distress call, and he had everyone aboard doing whatever they could to provide as much information as possible before they arrived.
"Allright people...What do we have?"
"We have One-Hundred and Fifty beings on the planet."
"What is the reason for the Distress call?"
"Has there been any recent contact with the planet?"
"No Sir. I have requested a response and none was returned."
"Is it safe to go down to the planet?"
"What do we know about the inhabitants of the Planet?"
"Nothing Captain. My research into the area only revealed very little."
It was determined that during the Romulan War era, the planet went unchallenged by either faction and the Romulans actually tried to pass the planet to the Federation or any of it's members. It was an odd geasture especially from the Romulans. It was a Third of the Earth's mass and size but harbored standard size beings. Class 'M' and had a natural satellite that also was class 'M' and harbored life but was not colonized by any race and had no sentient race of it's own. It was given the name of Troal 4 and Troal Luna.
Robert was on the Bridge ready to have the Science vessel go into a Solar Orbit to avoid placing any gravitational pull onto any of the Natural Orbiting sattelites.
"We are in the eL Three position to maintain a Solar Balance with the planet."
"Move us to the eL Five."
"Sir? That could offset the gravatational balance."
"We need to be close enough for immediate transport of the survivors."
"Captain." The Vulcan decided that he was going to add to the conversation. "That lagrangian point would not be the most suitable. I would recomend the Fourth and that we travel at slightly above the Orbiting speed of the planet. That will allow us an Extra Twelve hours on station."
"Helm. You heard him. Take us to the eL Four and hold station there."
They were at the L4 lagrangian Station around the Sun of the Troal Star system, and the Starship was taking readings continously. The information was flowing in and Robert had to delegate several members of the crew to help him assess the situation and prevent himself from becoming overwhelmed. Still with all of the information that was being collected, he was frustrated, there was never enough to make a conclusion. It was several hours at station before any new information came in.
"So we have a large mass moving towards the Colony? Mass of what?"
"Beings. Several Hundred-Thousand, of Unknown origin."
"Is it a sort of Genocide?"
"No. Genocide is a Targeted action that seperates out classes of people. This seems Random."
"Who's on the Planet?"
"All data has concluded that the Klingons have occupied the Planet and the Power levels indicate that it is a Foward Observatory post to monitor the Federations movements within this sector."
"Can we determine if it is the Klingons?"
"Not from Bio Scans, but the Power types indicate Klingon technologies. The Shielding around the Base is Klingon in Origin."
"I guess it would be a strategic place for observation of the Federation, but we need them to drop their shields so we can rescue them."
"Excuse me Captain? Permission to speak freely?"
"You are talking about Klingons Sir. They would rather kill any of us than allow us to see defeat."
"Be it so, we are here to assist."
The meeting had determined that the shields should hold for the durration of the attack, and that the Supposed Klingons were under no threat from the approaching mass.
"Hail the Colony again and I want to deliver the message personally."
He was given the nod that the communications were open.
*This is Captain Robert April of the Starship Challenger. We are here responding to your distress call. Please Respond.*
Robert pressed the issue.
*This is the Federation Starship Challenger, under the Command of Captain Robert April respondig to your Distress Calls. Do you need assistance?*
A Crackle announced a forthcomming response. *Starfleet pigs! I am Rek, Commander of the Troal Colony! We are in no need of your assistance!*
Robert was interrupted by the Science Officer. "Sir, the Mass outside their shields has begun to burrow and the mass is reducing."
"Are they dying from the Shields energies?"
"No. They are Burrowing under the Shields and have passed the Three Meter Mark."
This brought an urgency to the task. If the creatures were able to burrow so quickly, they would breach the Klingon's defenses in a few minutes. Robert had an indifferrance to the Klingons, but his duty was clear, and that was to rescue the survivors. The Klingon Officer, Rek, made his intentions clear that they did not require any help from Roberts crew. There was little choice for Robert, but he could not do anything while the shields were up around the complex.
*Commander Rek, They will breaching your defenses within a minute! Allow us to help your people!*
Suddenly the Speakers awoke with crackles of weapons fire and the yelling of commands in the Klingon dialect. The crew of the Challenger could only stand by and listen. The Death Screams came more rapidly as the sensors revealed the mass from outside the shields reduce to nothing. The screams and horror from within continued for an hour and that was all Robert was going to take. He had to do something, even if his assistance was not asked for.
"I want my Ae Team assembled to go to the Surface. Full Security Detail and I want the Personal Forcefield belts brought out!"
"Sir. We were not asked to assist. In fact we were told directly not to."
"We cannot just stand here and watch. Get to the Materializers!"
They were the Second Wave to go to the surface. Nothing was reported from the Security crew who first arrived. They were all outside the Forcefields taking readings and documenting any information prior to entering the way the mass did.
"Are we ready? Let's go in. Weapons on Maximum Kill settings, and activate your personal shielding." *April to Challenger. We are going in. Did you receive the Data?*
*Yes Captain, the Data has been received. When you get in, deactivate the Shields so we can get you out in any emergency.*
*That's our first goal.* Robert assured his crew.
The only lights were from the crews flashlights and helmets, and they would not keep everything illuminated at once. There were beams of light flashing about and everyone was very jumpy, pointing their weapons at anything that looked out of place. A security detail of Five were in the fore position and one of Five in the aft position with Five of the senior staff in the middle.
"Calm down people. We don't know what happened here. They still could all be alive and just held against their will by the mass of beings that attacked." Announced Robert.
As they emerged into the Klingon base it was clear that this was a military establishment, and that there was more being protected here than the crew.
"Take notes people! Get as much information as you can! Lueitenant Serel, take your team and disable the shields!"
The second Security team bolted off following the readings on their Tricorders. There would be no communication from the crew to the Challenger at this point. "Where is the Communications Relay? We need to keep in constant commuications with the ship."
Their discoveries grew more gruesome the deeper they travelled into the complex. Bodies were bismembered and disemboweled. The Klingons fought with everything they had, right down to Hand-To-Hand weapons. There were several unknown bodies of a race unknown to the Federation. Bio-Scans were made of these strange race of beings and samples were taken for further studies.
*What's taking so long with the shields Lieutenant Serel?*
*We have attempted to shut it down, but it has redundancies so we are setting a charge. Expect a Large blast in Five minutes.*
*Very well. Get it done.* "Everyone, prepare for a blast in five minutes!"
Robert had sworn that someone ran past a doorway and when he went to investigate he found nothing and brushed off the incident.
Suddenly others seemed to be reacting to things around them as Robert did earlier. Suddenly an Explosion was heard and the Communication opened up.
*Captain? This is the Challenger. Is everything alright?*
*Yes. The Security team had to set a Charge to disable the Shielding.*
*No. I mean, the Mass is all around you!*
Upon that Robert and the crew prepared for a fight. The Comm came alive with yelling as Serel's Security detail came under attack. Robert only could hope that they were holding their own.
*Challenger! Get them out!*
*We can't! There are too many of the Lifeforms around them!*
*Come on everyone! We are going to help! Anything moves! Shoot to kill!*
The team fought their way to the Shield Generator room. Robert felt as though his Stomach sank as he found Three of his crew torn to shreds and the other two missing. The Beings kept coming in droves challenging the personal shielding and draining the batteries of their devices.
Suddenly the Droves stopped and everything became quiet. Robert used that time to fortify their position and prepare for another attack. Through all the darkness a single figure approached. It was pale and it had no eyes, but it approached as if it could see everything. It walked with confidence followed by Four others and they had the remaining two crewmembers restrained. It took a few minutes for the Universal translator to identify enough words to translate and cought the creature talking in mid-scentance.
"...New to us. We have no fight with yours. We will allow the remainder to go."
Robert had to quickly piece what he knew and respond. "As you are new to us. What race are you? We are Humans, Vulcans, Andorians and other races."
"We do not care of your races. We allow you Twenty-Two drops to leave or suffer the fate of these." As he pointed to the dead Klingon bodies.
Robert looked over at the leaky piping that dripped once every thirty seconds. "Can we discuss any terms?"
"You heard the terms. You have Twenty Drops." He crackled off something and the remainder of the crew were released to Robert.
*Challenger. Materialize the crew back immediately!* "Can I remain to talk with you?"
"NO! If you cherrish your life! You will Leave! The Jeru have no Tollerence with outsiders!"
The crewmembers were a mass of shimmering lights as they departed. The energy seemed to make the leader of the Jeru curious. This was evident with the tilt of the head. As Robert prepared to depart at the leaders request, his hand raised and he spoke once again. "I will come."
There was some comotion among the rest of the Jeru and a quick motion and some hissing followed by chattering quickly resolved the issue.
*Prepare another party to be Materialized. Reduce the Lighting from the Materilizer to the conference room to twenty percent.* "Do you have an Individual name?"
The leader remained quiet and prepared to be brought to the ship.
A Security detail was ready when they arrived and as soon as he could, Robert waved them off. Just for a sign of trust Robert handed over his Equipment belt and any weapons.
"You trust us?"
"We have to start somewhere."
"I have by allowing you to take me alive."
"Then I show you no Harm and that you will return safely."
"You are not like the others. You are Robert?"
"Yes. Robert April. I command this starship, called the Challenger."
"I am Fret. It is not a name that individualizes me."
"What's it mean?"
"You are aware of meanings to ones place?"
"Yes. Several of my races live by that as many races off of my world."
"Then we have understanding?"
"To a level. I would like to know more of your people."
"My People have no known home. We have been placed where we grow after. We are preparing to grow more."
"Are the planets of your system where your people began?"
"We begin where we grow. Sometimes it's the same place, other times it other places. We learned of the others when the ones called Klingons arrived. They brought them when they came."
"How did you know they were here with the Klingons?"
"We sense our surroundings and they were familiar, but not the same, so we searched them out and helped them reach their freedom."
"But you lost so many of your others in the attempt."
"It was necessary. Now they are one with mine and will strengthen mine. It is time for my return."
They returned to the Materializer. "You will not be allowed to return here."
"I forbid it and cannot keep you from harm. The others will know of your words and weigh it, but they react for survival and will do what is needed first."
"I will advise others of your wishes."
"You have the power?"
"Yes. I can talk to many quickly."
"That is good. I must go."
The materializer shimmered and Robert swore that Fret gave the Symbol of Peace and Friendship by crossing his arms in front of his chest with open palms facing towards him.
"Did that go well Captain."
"I am not tore apart. But we have to honor their wishes. Send out a General Hail with Quaranatine warnings and a Bouey that continuously transmits the signal.
"Bring up the Viewers. I want to see what's going on inside that facility. I don't want anything Materialized aboard this vessel. Prepare condolences to the Families, and I will be in my office."
The screen revealed the continued slaughter of the Klingons. It was almost too hard to watch. They remained and scanned the area intensively collecting whatever information they could before being relieved by the REVERE, NCC-250. A Strider Class Scout. The information was passed off to the captain of the REVERE and then Robert started the messages to the families of the Three deceased security members. It was never easy, but was one of his duties.
*Captain to the Bridge! Red Alert!"
The Claxon sounded and the room went dim with the flashing of a red light.
*Report!* Robert commanded over the Intra-Comm.
*A Klingon Vessel is approaching at high Warp! It's one of the new Designs!*
~Commander Kerr...What's his Issue?~ *Stand Down from Red Alert!*
*His Weapons are Fully charged and shields up!*
*It's a Bluff. He just wants Information. Follow my Orders!* Robert made his way to the bridge. He deliberately made Kerr wait for several minutes before arriving.
*What is the meaning of this!?* Kerr Demanded.
*Yes! What is the meaning of you crossing the Border?* Robert quickly snapped back with.
*Tell me Human! What is the reason for attacking the Klingon base!?*
Robert walked slowly to his command chair and slowly sat down, then looked at the screen slowly. *So...you admit that you have a base on Troal. That's a good Start.*
*We have a Colony on the planet you are calling Troal.*
*The Federation has no interest in the Star System where you have your Base...Excuse me...Colony. We responded to an Emergency Hail for help and found all dead. Attacked by an unknown race. I would advise to stay away. We have posted a Buoy Warning to stay away.*
*Your Buoy will be destroyed and we will not relinquish control of the planet.*
*No-One expects you to. We just feel that it's unsafe to be there.*
*You let that be my judgement!*
*Very well then Kerr. I will arrange your passage through Federation territory. The Revere is at station and will not interfere.*
Soon, Both vessels went on their way. Robert knew Kerr would only find disaster and would have an issue with Starfleet going to the planet for any reason, but since the planet was not clearly claimed by the Klingons the argument would not go far. It was curious why the Romulans would allow the Klingons to Operate within an area that joins with theirs. That was for the Federation to discover. He sat back with the confidense that he did everything he could and honored the wishes of the Jeru. There was more to be learned about the Jeru, and since they had a few bodies to study, Robert went down to discuss it with the lead Surgeon of the Challenger.
"What have you learned?"
"They are Unisex."
"Parthenogenesis. They are Also Oviparous."
"Fill me in Doctor."
"They don't need a partner to reporoduce, and they lay Eggs, Many at a time. They need a constant temprature for the eggs to develop. They are very agile, able to turn onto themselves if the need arises. The claws alloow them to climb efficiently, and their bones are light. From there...I am still learning."
"They could become a problem really quickly then."
"It would do us well to discover their reproductive rates. This one has Six eggs, and it's small. If they reproduce Three to Four times a Cycle, there would be trouble."
"They are very vicious. They killed the Klingons on the Planet in a relatively quick manner."
"And Three of the Crew."
"But they realized that we were not the threat and stopped their attacks and released the last two of the security team."
The meeting was informative. In the meeting in the Conference room brought more information, but not on the Jeru, but on the Klingon Base.
"There are Two Heavy Lasers, Three Field Generators, Two Shield Generators, A Sophisticated research sensor, a High Powered Telescope, Advanced Communication Interception equipment, And Three Armed Shuttles, along with miscelanious equipment. They were preparing for another shipment from...Guess who?"
Robert immediately reached for the Intra-Comm switch. *Turn us back around! Hail Commander Kerr and patch the communications through to the Revere and to Starfleet.* "That Bastard! He had no intention of just to check things out." Robert slammed his fist on the table. "This meeting is over. Prepare for battle."
Robert arrived on the bridge and viewed the screen that had been divided into Four, the Foutth being a Map of the Sector with the locations of all Federation starships and Known Klingon and Romulan locations. *Kerr...What is your intent?*
*I am here to inspect the Colony. What business is it of yours Human?*
*Are you sure? We have information stating that you are bringing sensitive equipment for spying on the Federation and it's members.*
*Well, you will have to prove that Starfleet. I told you why I was here, and will offer no further explinations.*
*Commander Kerr from the House of Teret, Fourth son of Helog. This is Admiral Lepenstier from the Federation of Planets. Prepare to be boarded and Inspected. You are in Federation Space and have to comply with all of the laws.*
*That will not happen Human.* Robert noticed Kerr make a geasture to one of his officer.
"Sir? The Ship just vanished. We cannot track them any more."
"We will find them." *Kerr, you cannot hide. We have ways of detecting your vessels.*
*You are free to try April. As for the Federation, I spit on your laws!*
"Sir, the Revere is missing."
"Hail them!" Robert could only assume the worse. The small vessel could not stand up to the latest in Klingon starship design.
"Captain. A Romulan ship has uncloaked near the planet."
"Take us as close as you can and Hail the Romulan Vessel."
*This is the Te'Lot. Starfleet Vessel, do not pass the Neutral Zone. We are Escorting your Scout ship back.*
Suddenly on the screen, Two ships approached. "Magnify on the Scout ship!" Robert knew before the image was enlarged that the ship had been damaged. *Explain why you attacked a Federation Starship?*
*We did not attack any Vessels Captain April.* The Romulans had a No-Contact approach with the Federation and any of it's members and the most you would get was audio communications. *That is something that you may want to continue to discuss with the Klingons.*
After the REVERE was returned to Federation space Robert had a Medical and Engineering crew provide assistance to the damaged starship and it's crew. The Captain, One Nethanial Lister was shaken badly by the experience. Robert had the Doctor look him over before speaking to him. The Damage report indicated that just enough was done to cripple the small craft. It had to be towed by the Romulan ship and left just within range where the CHALLENGER could finish towing it into Federation space.
"Nethanial? What happened?"
"The Klingon ship was on route when we took fire. We were tracking it's incoming path, but suddenly we were hit by lasers. At first, we could not tell where it was coming from. We were looking into space and never expected a attack from the surface of the planet. Our engines and Weapons were taken out before we could raise shields. When the Klingons arrived they claimed it was the Automated Defenses that damaged our ship...But...Then, Their ship started taking fire. They cloaked and avoided any further damage. That's when the Romulan ship uncloaked and started harassing us to see why we were in the Nuetral zone."
"Did the Romulans ever take any fire?"
"No, not once. I don't know why."
*Get a security team over to the Revere. Look for the Jeru. See if any Eggs have been laid! If so, get everyone off of the ship!*
After several hours, the Jeru Eggs were discovered on the REVERE within the Warp Drive and Nacelles.
"Why can't they be removed?"
"We need to Study this race."
"Then take them and place them in a lab for study! I want my ship back!"
"The problem is, we scanned your ship, and there are several dozen Jeru aboard, and they are very aggressive and will kill anyone or anything they feel as a threat, and I had made a peaceful agreement with them. I had the Warp Drive Disabled and the Sub-Light Propulsion crippled. They will have life support, but that's it. They seem to be very intelligent and learn quickly. They learned how to use the Klingon Transporters and arnaments."
"Then destroy the ship!"
"We can't without killing them. Nethanial, You will be given a new assignment. The Revere is a loss. We will auto-pilot it back to orbit of the planet and place a warning call for everybody to remain clear of it. That's all we can do. Helm. Take us to the nearest Starbase where Captain Lister can receive his new vessel."
"That will be Starbase Ten. One point One lightyears out."
"Warp Six Helm."
After 2 days, they were enroute back to the designated patrol area in the Gamma-Hydra Sector. They kept track of the movements of Kerr's Ship. Robert still had a debt to settle with the Klingon. Even though Kerr never attacked the REVERE and it's crew, he misled Robert. Robert had time to work on a plan to disrupt Kerr's activities near the Federation boarder. The Jeru were deemed dangerous and the area Quarantined, but they learned quickly as in their ability to use the planet based weapons and materializer. Will they be able to figure out how to repair the Drives? Robert had the Computer Memories erased and only capable of running the minimal of systems to support life aboard.
1. "Aja" Stardate:2241.020
2. "Preparatory Program" Stardate:2211.259
3. "Field Training" Stardate: 2211.291
4. "ENGINEERING Major" Stardate: 2211.298
5. Do'Ha' puqloDpu' (Unfortunate Sons) (Stardate: )