Posted on Wed May 7th, 2014 @ 7:49pm by Captain Vorn Krace & Lieutenant Commander Amol Kotay & Ensign Tom Cook & Lieutenant Commander Sara Archer & Lieutenant Commander Elliot Reese & Lieutenant JG Shanti Naik
Location: USS Iapetus - Bridge
"My new senior staff is assembled and ready to go, Admiral," Vorn said, speaking to the officer sat at the centre of the display on his screen. He had already received the orders that would guide the next tour his ship was to undertake, but they were more of a broad mission statement rather than specific orders; they were to travel out to explore the Peloras Formation; a region of space that had thus far only been mapped by long-range sensors by Federation vessels in the region. Now that the time was here for them to depart however, it was necessary for him to check in and see if Command had any more specific orders for him to undertake along the way. "We have a course set for the Formation and we're ready to go as soon as the word is given. Do you have any further orders for us before we depart."
"We do," Admiral Zhan had been Task Force 38's commanding officer for a brief period just over a year ago, until he had been reassigned to Command to orchestrate and coordinate Starfleet's return to exploration, using vessels from various task forces. He wasn't the only Admiral that was working on the project, and indeed he was flanked by two other Admirals who Krace did not know, but he was the Iapetus' coordination officer. "We want you to head to Morex before you begin your exploration cruise. Our last reported contact with them was four years ago now, and with the Vaadwaur starting to show their faces in the Mordred Nebula, we're concerned that they might try to seize the planet and stake a territorial claim to it. Given the troubles reported by the Prometheus in the Morexian's planetary shield grid, we feel they're particularly at risk. You have authorisation to provide technical assistance where you can to repair their grid if necessary."
"Understood," the captain responded. "We'll report in once we make contact with the natives. Iapetus out." The long-range communication capabilities with Earth from the Delta Quadrant were something that he had started to take for granted, but something that he knew wouldn't be maintainable once they got out to the Formation. The Pathfinder Project was able to use the micro-wormholes it formed to enable communication with installations in the Archadia system and in the region of the new Transwarp Gateway that allowed vessels to travel home to the Alpha Quadrant, but the range of that transmission was limited beyond that envelope. The Iapetus had been loaded with the raw materials required to fabricate and deploy communications relays once in the Peloras Formation, which would then allow vessels in the region to communicate with Starbase 911 by having the transmission passed along in a chain.
Standing, Vorn tugged at the creases in his jacket as he made his way around the desk in his ready room, heading for the bridge. The senior officers all knew that today was the day they left dock, and should all be waiting for him there.
True enough, when he emerged through the red doors into his ship's command centre, he could see it was already staffed by the alpha shift crew; Commander Kotay, his new first officer stood to vacate the central chair. Commander Archer sat at the tactical station, on the opposite side of the command pulpit to the door to Krace's ready room. Behind her and to her left sat Lt. Commander Elliot Reese, the ship's new chief engineer. Ensign Cook - newly commissioned from the enlisted rates and appointed the chief helmsman of the ship he had been flying in all the years that Krace had held command of her - was sat at the helm console, and Lieutenant J.G. Shanti Naik, the new Operations officer, was sat at her post, mirroring Archer.
"Mister Cook, ready thrusters and prepare to detach us from the docking platform," Krace said, as he made his way around the wooden arch that circled the command chairs. "Ops, clear us for departure with Starbase Control."
"Aye aye, Captain," Cook responded, swiveling his chair forward to his controls as he tapped at them to begin the engine ignition sequence. The thrusters were primed, with a pre-programmed sequence that he could activate which would get them clear of the station's docking arms, and the impulse and warp engines placed on standby. He'd been part of the team flying this ship for years, and had often served as the relief helm officer as the CONN had gone through its myriad collection of hands, but he still had to resist the temptation to reach up and feel the single gold pip which now at at his collar, and which had allowed him to finally take the post himself.
Lt. Naik nodded as she started on her controls. She had been on deep space assignments before now, though never this deep. It was hard enough for her to cope with being on a new ship, but she was in a new quadrant, and about to head out on an adventure taking her places where no one from Earth had even gone before. Chennai kept feeling smaller and smaller. "Aye, Captain." Shanti activated her comm, keeping her voice low to not disrupt other activity on the bridge. "USS Iapetus to Starbase Control, requesting permission to depart."
"Permission granted, Iapetus," the voice from the comm replied. "I'm transmitting your departure flight plan to your CONN officer. Have a safe trip."
"Thank you, Starbase Control. Iapetus out." Shanti closed the comm and looked back towards Krace. "We are clear to disembark, Captain."
"All hands, prepare for departure," Kotay announced, broadcasting his voice throughout the ship via the control on the arm of his own chair, which he had now relocated to.
"Clear all moorings; port thrusters full. Push us away from the dock, and then bring us around to heading one two nine mark two, then all thrusters ahead full."
Cook nodded as he carried out his orders. This departure procedure would be far more simple than if the ship had been within a Stardock structure. The ship was moored at its port side, with empty space surrounding all other angles of the vessel. So all they had to do was push off, and then angle away from the station. He watched his readings rather than the viewscreen, which showed the distance they were away from the docking cradle. Once they were far enough away, he triggered the manoeuvring thrusters that would alter the angle of the ship to the new heading, followed by all of the thrusters aimed aft, with short bursts from the starboard thrusters to prevent them from continually drifting in that direction.
"We're clear of the station," he reported, looking up now to see the curve or Archadia slowly moving down the viewscreen as the ship almost drifted away from the station in orbit.
"Bring the navigation deflector to full power. Magnetise the hull plating, an set a course to take us out of the nebula, best speed." Starships have rarely had to magnetise their hull plating since the days before deflector shields, but Starfleet's headquarters in the Delta Quadrant were deep inside the Solaria which, aside from occasional clear patches like the one the Archadia system sat within, was a nightmare for ship navigation, and a course had to be taken carefully through the ever-changing passages in and out of the electro-statically-charged cloud of gas. Magnetised hull plating had proven to help reduce the risk to ships passing through it if they happened to get struck by one of the discharges.
Sara Archer negotiated the controls of her tactical console. Although she was familiar with the tactical console, this would still be her first tour of duty not as a full time intelligence officer. She was still getting used to spending time on the bridge, though simulator time helped her reorganize the controls away from the convoluted mess that Commander Gunning had left it. "Aye, Captain. Deflector is operating at full. Hull plating has been magnetized."
The view of Archadia began to disappear from the screen much more rapidly now, with the impulse engines engaged to get them clear of the system before entering warp briefly to reach the edge of the clear zone. Due to the expanse of the nebula, the passages though dangerous, would be too long to travel through at impulse, so the journey would be a series of warp 'hops', with course adjustments being made in-between.
As the ship began to settle in, Vorn did the same, settling back in his leather command chair and interlacing his fingers in front of him. "What do you know about Morex?" he asked after a brief while, directing the question to Kotay, but leaving the question open to anyone else to answer it as well.
"Not a great deal," his new first officer admitted. "It's one of the only visited planets by Starfleet in the Peloras Formation. The planet's natural electromagnetic field is nearly non-existant, so the Morexians constructed a planet-wide artificial shield grid to replace it, but which also stops ships from passing through it."
Sara may have been the tactical officer now, but that didn't mean that she wasn't still responsible for the intelligence moving to and from the ship. She decided to add to the new first officer's assessment. "The only way to get past the shield grid is through the docking towers that generate the shield. The city of Sollamon is the capital, but beyond that, we don't know much. The Morexian Unity haven't been too active in galactic politics."
"Find out whatever you can on it," Krace ordered, indicating both Kotay and Archer to undertake that task. "Link with any Starfleet databases you need, but I need you to be experts by the time we exit the nebula." Depending on how bad the plasma storms were, that could be anywhere between ten and fifteen days. Plenty of time to review the records Starfleet had from any previous contact with the Morexians. "Once you have what you need, organise a staff briefing."
"Aye, Captain," Archer acknowledged. "I have a couple of contacts that may be able to tell us more."
Kotay simply nodded at the captain, and glanced at Archer as he stood, almost as though silently conferring with her as to where would be best to do their research before making his way to the turbolift.
A couple of button presses on her console signaled for a nearby junior officer to take Sara's place at tactical, and she rose to join Kotay in the turbolift.