Park Anywhere You Can Find a Space
Posted on Wed Jul 30th, 2014 @ 6:11pm by Captain Vorn Krace & Lieutenant Commander Amol Kotay & Lieutenant JG Bonnie Myers & Ensign Tom Cook & Lieutenant Commander Sara Archer & Lieutenant JG Shanti Naik
Location: USS Iapetus - Bridge
Krace - along with the full compliment of the senior bridge staff - sat at his place on the bridge as the ship was brought out of warp. The planet they had come to pay a visit to was clearly visible at the centre of the viewscreen, and the captain sat back slightly out of reflex at the surprise of the sight.
He had seen many planets in his time - and more than a few which carried a purple hue to their atmosphere - but he had never quite seen a world like this. The Morexian's planet-wide shield grid not only turned the planet's sky a rich purple, but it made the planet quite literally glow. The planet didn't come close to competing with the light emitted from the Morea star, but it blurred the difference between the day-time and night-time sides of the world.
Initially, the world's glow had looked uniform, with regimented dots in a clear grid pattern denoting the positions of the shield towers that the world was known for. Upon closer inspection however, Krace was able to see that the colour of the shield turned mottled in areas, carrying less of a rich colour and glow, and there were shield towers amongst the grid which were conspicuous in the absence of their distinctive glow - either non-functional or simply not present any longer. It told the story of a world that could achieve so much, but was clearly in the grip of a long and slow decay.
"Transmit standard greetings," Vorn said after taking a breath, turning his head towards Shanti at Ops, though he kept his eyes riveted to the viewscreen. "And ask for permission to dock at the Sollamon tower over the capital city."
"Aye, Captain," the Indian operations officer acknowledged. "Transmitting standard greetings. Sollamon tower, this is the Federation starship USS Iapetus, requesting permission to dock."
There was a long pause before a reply was received over the comm. line. "Federation starship USS Iapetus. What is the purpose for your visit?"
Krace spoke up from his command chair, addressing the Morexian individual directly. "We have been sent by Starfleet to check in, following the Prometheus' visit four years ago, and to offer any assistance that we can in repairs and maintenance requirements to your planetary shield grid." He hoped that the offer of repair assistance would overcome any reticence on the behalf of the Morexians to avoid an incident similar to the last Federation visit. Again, he was forced to wait for a reply.
"You are cleared to dock with docking port one, Federation starship USS Iapetus," the voice said. "Welcome to Sher nin B'aal."
Krace relaxed into his seat a little more after receiving the approval from the docking tower. "Take us in, Ensign. Lieutenant; coordinate with the Morexian docking authorities and cooperate with any requirements they have to make the docking successful." He realised that the report from the Prometheus hadn't actually specified any docking procedures the Morexians might have, if any - but he assumed that the docking ports were at least compatible with the universal docking standards used on Federation starships, for the lack of any reports of workarounds needing to be applied by the vessel's engineering teams to make a successful connection.
"Aye, Captain," Cook replied, guiding the ship in closer to the planet even as Shanti began conversing privately with the docking authorities again. The view that he was shown on the viewscreen was very similar to what he would normally see when piloting a shuttlecraft down to the surface of the planet, and when the ship was approaching the docking arm, the solid purple surface of the shield looked like the surface of an unusual planet, with the ship flying at around the level of a twenty-story skyscraper.
Lt. Commander Archer monitored to docking procedure from her tactical console. As she was not really a woman of many words, she watched on silently, though she did find herself mesmerized by the bright purple hue of the planet's shied grid. It looked even more impenetrable from up close, which only complemented the reports of the lack of Morexian military. Still, it was entirely within Sara's nature to evaluate military targets for strengths and weaknesses. She silently noted that there must be some form of planetary defenses in place since the towers were obvious weak points with the exposed docking structures. She wondered if there was more to it than meets the eye.
Lieutenant Naik continued to converse with the Morexian authorities to process the docking procedures. It actually reminded her a lot of her home on Earth, in Chennai. Standard traffic procedures had taken a long time to reach her part of the world, even in the 24th century, and getting from one point to another was nothing short of controlled chaos. She started to get the sense that the Morexians didn't get many visitors judging by how many questions she had to ask. She eventually had enough information to walk Cook through docking. "Ensign, I'm forwarding you the coordinates now. There's not much of a flight plan, but I would suggest just trying not to hit anything."
"Not like there's much here to hit," the ensign quipped, working at his controls to bring them in closer. His comment was clearly a reference to the complete lack of any space traffic - even orbital shuttles - around them. Coming from any spacefaring society, and the Federation in particular, it was beyond strange to see a culture capable of such impressive infrastructure but no starships in orbit of their own planet. Around any other world, the course to the docking platform would have to be carefully calculated to avoid the flight paths of other ships; here, it was practically a straight line from A to B.
"Coming alongside the docking arm now. Extending the docking ring." On the outside of the ship, the ring that circled the external airlock on the very edge of the saucer began to extend out from the ship's body, looking to meet the matching umbilical arm from the docking ring to form a tight seal.
"Umbilical connection in three...two...one...mark." A low rumbled could be felt near the airlock on the port side of the saucer. Naik continued to read off status. "Docking clamps confirmed locked, umbilical connected for power transfer if desired. We are docked and secured, Captain."
"Set condition blue throughout the ship," the XO announced, tapping a control on the arm of his chair to confirm that the computer had carried out the order. "Shut down engines, but keep them in standby mode. Maintain internal power generation." Under normal docking circumstances, ships would switch over to the power generated by the station they had docked with, and shut down all non-essential systems. Considering the unaligned nature of the station they had docked with and the unknown compatibility between the two systems - as well as the unknown levels of power reserves on the planet - Amol felt it prudent to keep the ship's power generated internally, as well as to keep the engines in standby, rather than a full cold shut-down, in case they needed to go somewhere quickly.
"Away team to docking port two," Krace said, standing up from his chair and heading towards the turbolift. Kotay would be in command of the ship until he returned, and the captain would be accompanied by Commanders Archer and Reese, Lieutenant Myers, Doctor Tallis and Counselor Kenmore.
Archer secured her station and signalled for a junior tactical officer to take her place. Even at Condition Blue, she was not going to leave the ship unable to immediately respond to a threat. She checked her sidearm, a Type I phaser that she carried on her at all times, confirmed the stun setting, and boarded the turbolift with the captain. The remaining members of the away team would meet them at the docking port.