Tales from Deneb

December 2006 – October 2007.
This was my return back to leading a sim. Didn’t turn out as expected, and some mistook it as my own ramblings and not something people could join in on. In the end I just gave up on it after lack of interest.

Prologue

Captain’s log, USS Atlas, NCC-761869. Stardate 59999.8

Less than two hours before departure, the engineers are still running their pre-launch checks. I’m all for careful maintenance prior to the launch, but at this rate we might not launch in time and miss the window completely. Better safe than sorry, they tell me. Perhaps the new command is getting to me. I used to relish in technical aspects of experimental research brought from theory to form, especially one of this magnitude. It’s still there though. Yesterday I gazed at the structure out of my office window for what seemed like hours. The magnificence and the power this new technology could revolutionise Starship travel for the years to come.

So why, do you ask, am I sitting at my desk alone, making a log on New Year’s Eve when almost everyone else in the galaxy is partying? Simple, because if we miss this chance, it’d be yet another 10 years wait until the anomaly comes back. We missed our chance when the Dominion came, and our resources changed from science to war. Fortunately our sister core Federation territories, Antares, Deneb and Rigel remained in better shape than us. For those that are reading this and still have no idea what I’m talking about, let me explain. This is also for me, should my poor brain forget this entire operation.

In late 2362, a subspace anomaly was discovered by the USS Victory (NCC-9754) near the Gamma Trianguli system. The Stardate was 39999.5, four and a half hours until the New Year. At this point in time the anomaly’s verteron particle levels were equivalent to that of what was normally present at sustained high warp speeds and the levels were climbing. This obviously brought Captain Zimbata and his senior officer’s festivities to a standstill as they monitored the strange occurrence. By the time the clock struck 00:00 hours, the anomaly peaked and dissipated to nothing in less than two minutes later. The results were factored into, then current, warp scale calculations. The final recorded verteron level; 198,550 millicochranes. A veritable hyper-wormhole.

They informed Starfleet Command and waited for a few days for it to return. It was discovered by the local space-farers that the anomaly occurs once every Vaalan Rite of Autonomy, that is to say once every 10 standard years. So with that understanding, the Victory placed a sector marker and continued with its exploration mission. A few years later an outpost was constructed to monitor the seemingly regular anomaly to garner any further information from it until the next cycle.

Nearing the close of 2372 brought anticipation to the anomaly’s peak verteron level. However, due to straining political ties all around the Alpha and Beta Quadrants, further research into the matter was halted until enough time and resources were available. The anomaly came and went, still enough to satisfy the scientists observing it as they scanned and sent probes into it to gather more data. Results were submitted to Starfleet Command and the project was shelved. Then followed the Dominion War.

By 2376, the Federation was still pulling itself slowly back together from the long and exhaustive war that concluded a year before. The anomaly data that had not been re-examined by Starfleet, was acquired by a private research organisation and they continued the development of using the particle stream from the anomaly as a basis for Faster than Warp travel. Although the verteron presence characterised it as a wormhole, probe analysis from 2372 detected no entry point. News reports from the USS Voyager via Starfleet Communications suggested an Underspace corridor or even a transwarp corridor similarity to the anomaly. Others likened it to an Iconian type gateway, due to the sensor results. Funnily enough, it was a little bit of both.

In 2377, construction began after extensive testing. The private research organisation, a division of what is now known as the Xerxes Corporation, had begun the construction of, what was then dubbed simply as ‘The Hyper-Transwarp Gateway’. Years of prior theoretical research had reportedly gone into the project as subspace messages were sent across to Deneb, the farthest of the sister cores, to commence simultaneous construction as well.

The knowledge that Xerxes came across was that the anomaly was a wormhole, and yet it wasn’t. One could locate, enter it (after creating an entry point) and appear virtually anywhere. Or not appear at all. The Gateway was simply a means to create a stable enough entry and exit apertures on both ends, to connect the two points in space, with the anomaly acting as the bridge.

So here we are, five years later and the Gateway is completed. With just a few more operational tests to perform, they will have to get it right the first time. This is our chance, our only chance until the next occurrence to get it right. I simply could not take that great a risk with my ship and crew on something that may or may not work.
This brings me to the next real question. Why me and my ship? Surely they-

The door chimed.
“Pause log.” Captain Bronwyn Gail Robinson looked to the door of her office, but she already knew who it was. “Enter.”
Maeltor stepped in and smiled before giving a curt nod. “Captain, I believe I can answer your question.”
Despite the dry, metallic sound of the artificial voice box, Ambassador Izarius Maeltor was an excellent conversationalist. He was also a Cairn telepath and old habits die hard.
“You do need to work on your privacy skills a bit more, Ambassador. You can’t just go into peoples minds anymore.”
“Apologies, Captain. I had merely chosen to circumvent the usual proceedings to get to the matter at hand.”
Robinson leaned back in her chair and sighed, the brunette’s ponytail flopping lazily on the headrest. It had been a long couple of weeks what with all the preparations and synchronising with the Deneb gateway systems. She waved to Maeltor to sit. “Fine then Izarius; tell me what’s on my mind.”
Maeltor closed his kind, grey eyes for a moment before reading into Robinson’s surface thoughts. Cairn were known throughout the quadrant as a species with advanced telepathic prowess, but had evolved to such a stage that their ability for spoken communication was rendered inert. Most Cairns in the Federation are equipped with simple auditory communicators, and Maeltor’s one, although some twelve years old, was no different. He has had suggestions to move onto more current, more advanced technology than his own, but he declined, saying the dry monotone of tinny metal, gave his voice character.
“You fear that something bad will happen to your crew and your ship,” started Maeltor “But I didn’t need to read your mind to know that.” He scratched his chin for a moment, a gesture he’d picked up from talking to people over his five year tenure. “You should be.”
Robinson shook her head and laughed a bit. “Well that’s comforting advice. It’s a good thing you’re not the ships counsellor.”
“Fearing the unknown is what drives our curious nature, Captain. We all know that anything out there has the potential to do harm, so that’s why we go out there into the beyond. To validate what is unknown to be safe for others.”
“True,” Robinson agreed. “If we didn’t go, the Federation wouldn’t be as big as it is today.”
“And therein lies the problem today. The Federation Core is stretched too thin now. Our primary mission is to ensure that the other Cores are in a stable condition, as well as to continue what made the Federation in the first place. Exploration.”
Robinson nodded in thought. This was something she’d wanted to do from the very start; even serving onboard the USS Enterprise for a stint gave her some insight into what lay ahead. Robinson glanced up at Maeltor, whom was now standing.
“It’s time.” he said.

Robinson followed him out of her office onto the bridge. Her bridge. The smooth, flowing lines of the Sovereign class starship reflected nicely upon the interior in form and functionality.
“Helm, get us into position. Tell Gateway Command we are ready.” she said as she sat in the centre seat.
“Aye captain.” replied a young ensign at the helm controls. “Coming about and positioning Atlas in front of the Hyper-Transwarp Gateway.”
Robinson glanced at her countdown chronometer on the left arm of her chair. The Estimated Time of Departure was five minutes, twelve seconds.
She looked towards the view screen. Already she could see the numerous pylons surrounding the immense, circular gateway, each one blinking ominously in the darkness of space as their primary plasma coils charged up with the rising energy released from the anomaly. Something like this did indeed frighten her, but it also made her excited at the same time. Still the captain, she remained calm as ever as she delivered the customary rousing speech to her crew.
“There’s more to this galaxy than we could have ever imagined. Today marks the return of missions to explore into the great unknown. There are new civilisations and life to seek out in the uncharted expanse, so let’s make the most of it people. Let’s get out there and go where no one has gone before.”
There was applause all around and Robinson was relieved. She had been working on that short speech for the past week, trying hard not to make it sound too clichéd. But it worked, even when a communication from Gateway Command interrupted the clapping, the confidence still remained.
“Gateway Command is charging up the verteron reactors, Captain.” said a voice behind her at one of the tactical stations.
Robinson watched onscreen as the pylons began to glow and fluctuate with energy from the anomaly. Dead centre she could already see the bright orb of light, its dazzling array of purple hues amid the intense white. The display was truly blinding.
“Begin countdown.” said Robinson, shielding her eyes from the brilliant light.
The computer started to count down, but not many paid heed as they watched the aperture hold and continue to widen. More light engulfed the bridge and the officers within.
“5…”
“4…”
“I’m getting peculiar readings.” said the helmsman, drowned out by the computer’s voice. It was too late now, no turning back.
“1…” finished the computer.
Happy New Year echoed through the minds of the crew. Maeltor flinched.
“Engage.” ordered Robinson.

From Gateway Command, they watched as the Atlas went into the aperture at full warp, vanishing from sensors in a matter of nanoseconds as the entire area of space was bathed in light. The anomaly and the ship were gone. The Gateway discharged a few crackling sparks of residual energy before powering down. And that was that. They’d only know that it was successful when the Atlas reached Deneb and sent a message back confirming, which would take almost six days on the subspace bandwidth. There were a few who were adamant of the outcome that they didn’t need to confirm it. That Atlas would never make it to Deneb.

A Funny Thing happened on the way to Deneb

Captain’s log Supplemental, USS Atlas, NCC-761869. Stardate 60000.1

We are now almost an hour into our trip and it has been surprisingly uneventful. Normally in cases of experimental magnitude such as this one, we should have exploded by now due to something erroneous, like someone’s pet Tribble stuffed down one of the forward plasma manifolds.

The scientists back at Gateway Command determined that where we were right now was some kind of Etherspace, not quite Subspace or Transwarp space. To me it just sounded like they wanted to discover something new. But yeah, I look outside and all I see is streaming light of purple striations and small electrical storm discharges that produced a pleasant rainbow effect. I’ve been told by sensors that they are not strong enough to cause damage to the ship, however I told them to keep an eye on them just in case.
Engineering just informed me that the warp drive is keeping up, outputting at nearly 200% due to the additional power from outside. It was something to do with the Bussard collectors soaking up an unidentifiable sort of particulate matter that was found floating outside. All things about this Etherspace seemed to spell out one thing; more power.
Just what we need, more things that could possibly go wrong. I shouldn’t be so negative though, what with nearly another hour projected for our trip in the tunnel before we reach Deneb. Everything should go according to plan. Maeltor tells me not to worry too much. A great captain inspires confidence in their crew, he says.
I so hate it when he’s right.

Anyway to answer the question before, why did my ship and I get selected to do this mission? Officially it was due to my distinguished career, continued service and remarkable leadership qualities. As for Atlas, well aside from being a hardy battle cruiser and a survivor of the Second Battle of Chin’toka and the Battle of Cardassia, she was one of the first to receive the latest in bio-neural technology upgrades several months ago. Starfleet Command thought it best to send a working model as well as installation data for replication with us rather than a six day long subspace transmission that might not make it; or a two year long space journey for a ship that would most likely never make it.

Less than an hour to go. Knock on wood.

End Log.

Robinson was about to have her first coffee of the first day of the new year, when suddenly the ship rocked hard. She’d nearly spilled the drink over her uniform, but that wasn’t on her mind as she raced out of her office to the bridge.
“Report.” she called as she made her way to her chair.
“We’re experiencing some turbulence, Captain.” said a lieutenant at Ops. He appeared quite frantic, even for a Bolian.
“Turbulence? It felt like something hit us.” replied Robinson. Seconds later another impact scored home as bridge crew lost their footing and several panels sparked wildly.
“Shields down to-” started the tactical officer, but Robinson cut her off with an order.
“Red Alert. Raise defensive shields, and find out what the hell is battering my ship?”
As the lights darkened, the mood did too. The wall panels glowed red as if to further the notion that there was the distinct possibility they were all going to die.
“Sensors detect unknown debris appearing and are being drawn towards us, Captain.” said the helmsman. “They’re not from inside. They look like they-” Another impact interrupted.
“They’re coming from the tunnel walls.” he finished.
“Evasive manoeuvres!” ordered Robinson, though it seemed unnecessary as the helmsman was already doing their job.
No time to panic Bron, thought Robinson, her sights focused on the viewscreen as her knuckles became bone white from gripping the chair’s armrests. The ship bucked again under another hit. Robinson didn’t know how much longer her ship could take the pounding.
And then, without warning, the attacks ceased. Silent but for the rapid heartbeats of the crew, it was as though whatever or whoever it was outside just picked up and left from boredom.
The silence was broken when the turbolift doors opened. Half the crew turned, including Robinson to see Maeltor standing there.
Or rather, leaning against the frame of the turbolift door. He was panting and sweating like he’d just had a thorough callisthenic workout in a holo-deck training program involving Klingons.
“They…” his metallic voice was straining. Others felt a psychic twinge emanating from him. “They will let us… pass.” he let out before collapsing on the deck.

Maeltor awoke in Sickbay, his mind still swirling. Robinson got up from her seat and walked over, noticing him stir.
“Izarius, how are you feeling?”
Maeltor turned his head to face her. He still felt weak. “Just peachy, Bronwyn.”
“So what happened? The doctor says your engrammatic pathways were off the charts, and had to use a neural inhibitor to bring your levels back down to normal. Whatever you did left your body severely dehydrated.”
“I talked to Them.” he replied simply before gazing off at the ceiling.
“Talked to whom, Izarius?”
“The keepers that reside in this… this plane of existence.” his voice was rasping now.
Robinson leaned in closer. “Who are they?”
Maeltor turned back to Robinson, and a small smile came to his face.
“Angels my dear. Angels.” he said before falling into unconsciousness again.

Captain’s log, USS Atlas, NCC-761869. Stardate 60000.15

We were attacked at 01:13 by an unknown force from outside in the Etherspace. Scans detected debris of unknown material impacting on our shields emanating from the walls of the Etherspace tunnel. Ambassador Maeltor communicated with whom was attacking us and the attacks ceased. He refers to them as Angels. I should have known something this powerful could only be created, or at least maintained by alien beings with apparent omnipotent powers.

So here’s the million latinum question. Just what did Izarius tell them to make them back off?

Maeltor dreamt something weird. It was probably the first weird dream he’d had in quite some time. Since birth, he, like his species, tended to experience the dreams of others. Never truly having one’s own dreams.
This one in particular was a difficult one to gauge. Endless storm clouds enveloped the dreamscape, giving a vividly bleak mood to the environment. It was twilight, that much was certain. As the soft, diffused light reflected ominously off the clouds above, the ambience seemed bone-chilling. The periodic lightning flashes seemed so distant, yet the rolling thunder was instantaneous to his ears.
He started to move forward, though like most dreams Maeltor had been in, he had no control over the surroundings. A mere spectator at times, he’d often seen the likes of 1920’s casino halls to mid 19th century London to the more popular views of Risa. All were very entertaining fantasies, which were just that, Fantasies. He was beginning to feel comfortable that this was just another dream he was in.
“Don’t feel too comfortable, Izarius. We have so much work to do.” said a voice.
Maeltor turned; momentarily surprised that he was no longer the spectator. Standing in front of him was a tall, handsome man, statuesque in build with chiselled features to match.
“What do you mean?” Maeltor found himself saying.
“You’ve been enlisted to serve in the Army of God.” the man replied. A pair of ash-white wings stretched out from his back, spreading at least two metres either side.
Maeltor looked upon him with curiosity. He’d never seen an angel before apart from in Earth’s historical transcripts and folklore documentation. God on the other hand came in various guises throughout the galaxy’s civilisations. Be it evil or benign, ‘God’ was a being that forged a belief in its followers to carry out its will with undying loyalty.
“God you say?” Maeltor inquired. “Which deity are you referring to?” He knew, but he just had to ask.
“He is the supreme reality. The creator of the universe of which is made in His image.” The angel’s voice was like music to Maeltor’s ears. It was quite pleasant.
“I see. And what, pray tell is my part in all this?”
“It has been foretold that a vessel of great power shall journey to the Gates of Heaven and carry the Champion of Light. To guide the Army of God to the Apocalypse.” the angel said.
Maeltor thought this over for half a second. It seemed rather odd for a starship to have a Champion of Light onboard that was prophesised some time ago. The other half second was the realisation of the truth.
“Yes, Izarius. You are the vessel.”
It had occurred to Maeltor that with this big eternal battle between Good and Evil, Angels in battle, no matter how virtuous and kind they may be, had to be just as malicious and deadly if not more to overcome the Demons they fight against. The ideals of Good and Evil blur to nothing more than two sides at war over a difference in opinion.
These thoughts still lingered even as his very essence was expunged from his body and thrown into the blank, featureless abyss.
“There will be no more delay.” the angel said calmly.

Doctor Veresa was quietly organising the crew’s medical records in her office. As head of the Gamma Shift Medical Staff, she liked to keep things as orderly as possible. Veresa, one of the few Denobulans onboard the Atlas, was rather excited at the prospect of new xenological doctrines to go through once they reached Deneb. Holding a fascination with other species, the matter regarding the Cairn Federation Ambassador Maeltor added another facet to her Cairn xenology file. As she was finishing up one Ensign Clarke’s records, she heard a mumbling from Observation, where Maeltor was resting.
Pausing from her work, Veresa headed over to check on the patient. When she approached his biobed, the doctor found Maeltor to be having a distressing nightmare in his REM state. Veresa shook his arm, attempting to rouse him from his slumber. When that didn’t work she quickly loaded a hypospray with cordrazine and proceeded to inject it into his carotid artery. A hand stopped her midway. Maeltor was awake.
“Are you alright, Ambassador? You seemed to be-”
She didn’t finish as she was pushed away hard. Stumbling, Veresa looked to Maeltor to see his body writhing in agony, and yet no screams were coming from him. His back was arched quite severely as an uncomfortable crunching sound was heard.
Veresa reached for her commbadge. “Sickbay to the Captain, I think you’d better-”
A torrential blast of wind interrupted her, followed by a shower of white.

Less than a minute later, Robinson arrived at Sickbay with a team of security officers flanking her. Nodding to them, she raised her phaser and entered expecting trouble. What she did find was somewhat unexpected, but somewhere in the back of her mind she knew she had it coming.
Sickbay was a mess. Trays and equipment were scattered everywhere. She looked towards the two occupants in the room. One was Maeltor and the other was the Gamma Shift CMO, Veresa. Robinson hadn’t formerly made introductions yet, but she knew that the doctor was good at her job. As Robinson stepped closer, lowering her phaser to speak to Veresa, she noticed something different about Maeltor. A single, white feather floated down into her view and she quickly raised her phaser.
“Alright, who are you and what have you done with Ambassador Maeltor?” Robinson asked; her no-nonsense tone was in full effect.
The Maeltor-that-was had a dishevelled look as half his hair covered his lowered face. A moment later a pair of long, beautiful wings outstretched from his back. He stood, folding his wings back behind him again as he made a few steps towards Robinson. Already the security team had their rifles trained on the intruder.
“Those weapons will do you no good here, Captain.” said the angelic intruder.
Robinson was momentarily shocked as the voice was not the usual metallic grind she was used to. This voice was… it was pristine and spoke songs.
“Where is Izarius?” Robinson asked, her thumb increasing the energy level of the phaser. The others noticed this too, keeping their aim firm on the target.
The intruder finally raised his head. Ice blue eyes returned the captain’s gaze. “I’m sorry. Your friend is but a memory now. He is gone.” the angel said calmly.
She nearly killed him right there and then. Robinson had known Maeltor just under a month, but the two garnered a good friendship in that time.
“Who are you?” she asked angrily.
“My name is Archangel Uriel and I am the Flame of God.”

Captain’s log, USS Atlas, NCC-761869. Stardate 60000.2

Fifteen minutes until arrival to the Deneb Gateway. Matters onboard have taken a turn for the worst. It is my deepest regret that Ambassador Maeltor has died whilst in contact with this still unknown being known as an Angel. This angel now inhabits Maeltor’s body, calling himself by the name Uriel, the Flame of God. He has been willing so far, even abiding by my terms to have him locked up in the brig until we arrive. Still, something tells me that not much could contain him anyway.
I wonder if the Cardassian Expedition had trouble like this. Two years of crossing the void to Deneb would have got them into a number of situations…

I’m going to talk to Uriel to see what he wants.

Robinson entered the brig, the cold grey tritanium walls were bare of decoration, save for the occasional weapons cabinet. She nodded to one of the security officers stationed there watching the new guest onboard. Reaching the cell, she stood calmly in front as the energy coursed through the containment force field. There inside, Uriel sat equally calm, his wings draped limply over his shoulders. He looked up at Robinson, as if his train of thought was broken by the arrival of the captain.
“Hello Captain.” said Uriel, his voice still ever harmonious to the ears.
“What is it that you want, Uriel?” Robinson asked, a touch of ice in hers.
“There is evil afoot, Captain. The end of days is upon us.” Uriel stood up, his wings flexing as he walked towards the buzzing force field. “The Fallen and their brethren have gone on ignored for far too long in this mortal plane.”
Robinson just stared at him for a long moment. She had done her research earlier about the biblical apocrypha of Angels. The Fallen were angels exiled from heaven as punishment for disobeying or rebelling against God. Most Fallen were banished to roam the mortal realm until Judgement Day, whereupon they’d be further banished to Hell.
Robinson just pinched the bridge of her nose. She really couldn’t believe all this crap.
“So you’re basically here to pass judgement on them?”
“That is correct, Captain.”
“Every single one?”
“The Grigori, for now.”

Robinson began to reply, but then her commbadge chirped. Tapping it, she received the call from the bridge.
“Captain, we’re approaching the Deneb Aperture Exit.”
“Understood, I’ll be up in a few minutes. Robinson out.”

She looked at Uriel again. Deep down she wanted to just kill him right there.
Uriel sat down and looked at Robinson. His expression seemed to understand what she was thinking.
“His sacrifice is not in vain, Captain. There will be so much good accomplished in this galaxy gone awry.”
But Robinson had already left the brig halfway through. She put the thought aside as she headed to the bridge. It was time to be the Captain again.

“Approach vector is out, readjusting.” said the Helm officer.
“Keep her steady, lieutenant.” replied Robinson as she sat down in her chair. “We don’t want to come all this way to be smooshed against the walls.”
“Aye Captain.”
The mood was a little quiet. Robinson felt some excitement going on behind her, but right now she wanted all her attention on getting Atlas and her crew safely to her destination. She watched the screen as the tunnel walls rushed by at alarming speeds. Reports on the electrical storms and turbulence had come to a minimum, as if someone had flicked the off switch to them. Robinson suspected Uriel had something to do with that.
“Captain, sensors indicate the tunnel is levelling out.” said the officer at tactical behind her.
Already she could see the effects onscreen. The tunnel walls were becoming smoky, semi transparent as starlight flickered through the rainbow striations.
“Here it comes. Brace for… something.” said Robinson.
It seemed the right choice of words at the time. Rapid deceleration tended to have inertia pull you out of your chair and slam your face into the floor in front of you. Gritting her teeth, Robinson took her own advice.
And then, they were in normal space. No bumps or bruises. It was just like coming out of warp.
A freighter zipped across the prow. And another. And another.
“All Stop!” Robinson yelled. “What the hell was…” she leaned closer to the viewscreen.
At first she thought they were stars, but no they were actual ships, speeding around this area of space en masse. The last time she saw this many ships in one area was the Second Battle of Chin`toka. Minus all the explosions. This was a veritable multilane space highway, packed with ships of all kinds getting from A to B in as little time as their engines could manage through the densely populated space traffic. Robinson swore one of them gave her a rude hand gesture from their cockpit shortly before zooming off again.
“Captain, I’m receiving a hail.” said the Ops officer.
“Put it through.” Robinson said, leaning back in her chair. The heavy traffic was somewhat mesmerising before the image of a Human woman appeared onscreen.
“This is Captain Holly Hartford of the USS Galatea. The Atlas I presume?”
“This is the Atlas, I am Captain Robinson.”
“Good. I was wondering when you’d show up.” Hartford smiled. Robinson now noticed that her uniform was different. It was noticeably Starfleet, the commbadge and rank pin decorations, but the colour scheme was slightly different. The ribbed shoulder pieces were now a tight horizontal, but were separated into sections, like armour pieces. There was a strip coming from the left shoulder above the commbadge that now showed the new place for the rank pips. Below that was the rest of the tunic, an ashen grey that hugged the body. Hartford’s collar looked similar to that of the earlier 2360’s uniforms, all stiff and straight. The departmental colours were made vividly clear on the armoured shoulder pieces. Robinson noticed some of the other crewmembers on the Galatea bridge, some had other variations of the same uniform, possibly for different situations.
This made Robinson curious.
“I think we were all wondering when we’d show up, Captain.” Robinson glanced down at her helmsman before looking back at Hartford. “Looks like there’s a bit of traffic outside.”
“Yes, you came at a rather bad time. Basically you ran right into the middle of rush hour. Follow us; we’ll lead you out, Captain.”
“Much obliged, Galatea. Atlas out.”
Robinson leaned back in her chair, relaxing slightly.
“Helm, lock onto the Galatea and follow. Let’s see what else this new place has to offer.”
With that command, the Atlas made its way to her new home.

Chapter One: Nine Months Later

Named mostly because nine months real time had actually passed. There just seemed to be very little interest in participating in the sim. Smilie: :(

Captain’s log, USS Atlas, NCC-761869. Stardate 60765.85

You might be reading this to find that it has been almost nine months since the last log. You’ll laugh yourself to sleep when I tell you. I know I did, until of course they told me it was true. First off, I’ll summarise every event I can think of that have happened since Day One. Believe me, it’ll be a good workup to the punch line.

Upon arrival, the Galatea guided us to one of the orbital star docks in the sector. The traffic I remember that day was incredibly frenetic. I’d never seen so many ships together like that that weren’t engaged in fierce, close battle, but instead going about their daily lives. Captain Hartford assured us that there was no danger and that things are always busy at this time of the day. Rush hour she called it. When we docked, I gave permission for the crew to take a tour around the dock station whilst the entire ship underwent a standard regulation three day check-up. It made sense, given that we were part of a largely untested experiment.

Before heading with my senior officers to meet with the administration, I stopped over at Uriel’s cell again to check on things. Same as before, he was unnervingly calm and composed. We talked, well, mostly he talked and I listened. The one sided conversation went from weather to God then to the Nephilim, children borne of the Sons of God (Fallen Angels also known as the Grigori) and the Daughters of Men. Vile aberrations he simply referred them to. It didn’t help much since I knew a number of Federation species that fit the description and some of them are quite nice in manner. Uriel did give me a name in an apparent gesture of good faith. A Grigori by the name of Saraknyal.

I decided to double Uriel’s security, just in case. Something didn’t sit right.

Finally I had made it down to the surface of the planet from the star dock. Deneb IV had prospered significantly since the first encounter by the Enterprise eighteen years ago. A gigantic city complex spread through where the old Bandi settlements used to be, and in the centre stood the enormous spire that was the main focus of Farpoint Station. No longer an enslaved life form, the structure now just a building, and designed to match the original specifications to remind who the Bandi once were and how they had advanced from their ways. Personally, I think it was just because they didn’t want to design an entirely new building again.

I met with Magistrate Illyann, the Presiding Administrator of Farpoint Station. She was quite nice and friendly, with a rare side of humour not found in most diplomats. Despite the events during the first contact between her species and the Federation, she was still proud to be a Bandi. Even now she still remarks on her heritage whenever I meet up with her. Last week she had made a reference to Zondal the Belligerent, a fearsome military strategist whom used his skills to create a peaceful society several millennia ago. Illyann had shown me around Farpoint, pointing out the various popular localities, such as The Devil’s Tale, a new establishment that had opened up two months prior, owned and operated by a man named Harvey. The atmosphere was welcoming and I had found myself coming in there regularly. She had also introduced me to the station’s Air Group commander, Commander Sylandra Hosta. Although a Denebian native, she was all Starfleet. A distinguished career, most notably in Atmospheric and Space Flight Combat, her records tell of battles with space pirates, melees in asteroid fields and a few notable, yet completely classified missions of importance.

Three days later I get a report back from the engineers. They tell me that the Atlas is not quite up to specifications concerning space travel in this new region. Apparently a type of structural irregularity has appeared, making it terribly weak to travel in certain parts of Deneb space. I have my suspicions that it was a side effect from the artificial wormhole. Then they told me a complete overhaul and rebuild was required in order to make her spaceworthy again. I believe I had some form of aneurysm shortly after when they told me it would take nine months to complete. Veresa, my CMO said it was not an aneurysm. I was just a ‘bit twitchy’ that day from the news.

Well of course. Who wouldn’t be?

So with that diagnosis, Atlas was practically vacated; even Uriel was moved to one of Farpoint’s more secure facilities. Not that that actually helped the situation. The security report that day was that he subdued his security escort and just walked off with no explanation apart from the words ‘My Apologies’. Uriel has taken to a quiet solitude atop one of the highest mountains on Deneb IV. So far no more harm has come to anyone from him, and he almost seems docile and very polite, albeit a little grim on his mission from God. We still monitor his location constantly for any signs of danger. The rest of my crew had several choices; 1) Take temporary reassignment until the Atlas was finished 2) Take permanent reassignment or 3) Serve administrative roles at Farpoint and familiarise themselves with the Denebian culture and localities until the Atlas was finished.

I however took it upon Captain’s prerogative to stay with the ship. I mean what could possibly go wrong with an inactive ship being rebuilt by the best in the Sector? Quite a number of things actually. But no, it didn’t occur all throughout the nine months. All that went according to schedule without a hitch. It happened last week. Final diagnostics were nearing completion and they were running checks through the ship’s main and backup computer cores. Without any warning whatsoever, the cores became corrupted. Entire databases were just gone. Both computer cores became clean slates within a matter of seconds of each other. Everyone had been saving their logs, files, documentation and memorabilia in their temporary quarters since the start of the rebuild. Everyone of course, except me. I was pretty sure I had an aneurysm then, despite Veresa telling me otherwise.

Alright, that’s not exactly a complete summary of the missing logs, but at least the joke’s done. Onto the rest:

I took a complete tour around Deneb IV from the city to the mountains, all around to the mysterious moving forests of the Tath Province. Captain Hartford offered me a ride on Galatea. I’d never seen a Deneb class starship before, so I was pretty excited to see the Hydron Warp Drive System. Based on normal warp drives, it incorporated a unique matter/antimatter regulation system that could only be maintained in this region of space. Dilithium regulated warp cores can operate here, however due to the lack of dilithium sources, natives have had to make do with hydron crystals, which interestingly enough, although not quite as powerful as dilithium, appears more in abundance and processes more cleanly than dilithium. This sort of drive technology is used by most warp capable civilisations in this sector of space. I then caught up with the Cardassian-Federation Expedition, learning of their problems and exploits on their two year journey from Deep Space Nine. Galor class starships are apparently better suited to traversing this area of space, possibly due to their kelindide hulls. They had only needed to make minor modifications over the course of their journey. Ensign Rhona Xela had a baby boy, weighing in at 3.2kgs. Lieutenants Samuel Endicott and Katherine Falk had gotten married a couple of months ago. Wedding was pretty lavish, and they asked me to be the one to wed them. Uriel, as far as I’m told, is still on the mountain where he’s been for the past nine months. As for me, it’s nearly 1pm and I need my morning coffee. Damn the replicators for still not working today…

End log.

Captain Robinson sat back in her chair, staring out of her office window. The mood was quiet, save for a slight buzzing from repairs still going on in the corridor outside. Condensing nine months wasn’t as easy as it sounded. Standing, she headed to the door and left her office to take a stroll through the ship. The crew hadn’t returned yet as engineers were still cleaning up their refitting, not that they weren’t allowed to. But to Robinson, the entire ship felt empty and lifeless. Entering a turbolift, Robinson stood there for a long moment before calling her destination.
“Deck Five.”
The turbolift hummed away, being one of the few systems online and operational

At this point I just stopped writing. It seemed pointless and futile to continue on, despite having many planned storylines prepared for it. Work was not in vain as I managed to salvage them and use them in other things.

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