January 2018 Post of the Month

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Home Bound
USS Gladiator-A

Posted on Fri Jan 12th, 2018 @ 9:59pm by Captain David Hawkins & Lieutenant Colonel Jonathon Hayter [Hawkins] & Commander Mercia Kavi & Lieutenant Commander Halan Zeti & Lieutenant JG Paula Winchester & Lieutenant Theodore Treadagar IV & Lieutenant Elizabeth 'Lizzy' Caldera DClinPsy. & Lieutenant Lixor Nabohn & Lieutenant Mel Torma & Chief Petty Officer Daniel Alenko
Edited on on Fri Jan 12th, 2018 @ 10:01pm

Mission: New Horizon
Location: Bridge - U.S.S. Gladiator-A
Timeline: Prelude to New Horizon

QSD felt so strange for Theo. He'd heard and read about it but he'd never experienced it. He wasn't too thrilled to get back to Memphis Island if he was going to be honest with anyone who asked. He'd grown quite fond of the people aboard ship and really didn't want to leave their side. When he'd said that they were his family, both at Thanksgiving and the Christmas surprise he gave them, he'd meant it. For a brief moment, looking over his new station, his thoughts and memories returned to the day he was a wet behind the ears Ensign. This tour had yielded 3 promotions to him, 2 involving rank and one for his new position as Operations Chief. He took a look around the bridge at his crew mates mingling and seeming to lightly banter...

"Does it feel weird for anyone else?" Mel asked from her bridge station. There was no concern in her voice, and it almost sounded jovial as she asked. Then again, what felt weird for a Dalacari was probably normal for everyone else. That, and the Dalacari didn't have a QSD, so she had no frame of comparison.

"So, anyone have any stories about our destination? I have to imagine it's not actually an island, right?" she paused, while her twin took over, "I mean, unless we're heading to the surface of a planet. In which case, I should probably pack."

Lixor was quiet as usual listening more than speaking. He nodded at the two in one that formed his assistant and then tried to fight back a memory that flickered into his mind unwontedly. His past seemed to trickle its way into the present on a far to prevalent bases.

"A little R and R will do some good," the Chief Science Officer stated as he tapped a few controls on the Science station.

"What's the climate like?" Mel asked, able to divide her attention between Theo and Lixor. "I can't really assume since the Federation seems to be made of a variety of species that..."

"... have various ideas about the term Ideal Temperature." odd that she picked the Bolian/Trill and the Human to speak with about the schism of Ideal Temperature.

"Tropical," The blue man replied finally pulling his attention away from the COM, "there are beaches and lots of sun."

"I honestly don't want to go, stations and beaches aren't the best place for me. I'm far more a fan of visiting metropolis like areas.." He chuckled ever so slightly as he sipped his almost ever present glass of cheerwine. "Though tropical 'scenery' is more than becoming, depending on who's on the beach.."

"Who doesn't want to go?" David asked as he walked out of his ready room, nose in his Padd which was in hand. It wasn't that he was bothered by the thought of someone not wanting to go to the tropical island, but more of a curiousity. He made his way to the command circle of the bridge and took his seat in a relaxing manor.

"I think Theo may be more an urbanophile than anything else." Mel commented, "Maybe he'd appreciate Dalacar. You know, I have a few quads of photos and vids about home, because..."

"... I figured I'd be away for a while so, you know, stock up. I can see about putting together a little simulation of some of the larger cities if you think that'd be to your interest?" she offered, then smirked.

"Or, are you heading to the beach to scope out the landscape?" she teased, while her silent twin giggled. Then David came out of his ready room, and the pair froze for a moment, "Oh, ummm... just trying to familiarize myself with..."

"... our destination. Water and beaches lets me know how to pack."

Theo blushed ever so slightly, glad that Lizzy wasn't really there to see it happen or lord knows what she'd do. "Mel..your powers of deductive reasoning would impress Sherlock Holmes himself.." He teased back and saw the captain come in. "How long we gonna be at Memphis skipper?"

“Hopefully long enough to get some weapons parts I need for the armoury” Daniel said, stepping off the turbo lift in time for Theo’s question. Walking over to the security station, he bought up his short list of parts to double check.

Theo saw the cpo step towards the security station. "I don't believe we've met yet.." His tone was slightly suspicious as he always had a bit of a nervous streak around new people. Even with his time aboard Gladiator, that part from his times as an Ensign hadn't faded...

Quickly spinning around, Daniel nodded, "I'm not surprised we haven't met, I'm Chief Petty Officer Daniel Alenko, Master-at-Arms. basically I take care of security duty assignments along with the armoury" he replied, quickly scanning him with his artificial eye.

"A pleasure Chief.." Theo nodded at him. "Lieutenant Treadagar, Chief of Opeartions.."

"same to you LT. I know it's a rather random question, but how are you with cybernetics?" Daniel asked

"That is a random question Chief, why are you asking it?" He had a general curios tone to his voice.

Daniel thought his answer over carefully, “I have private reasons to want to know. We can discuss it later if you wish LT”

Mercia shifted in her chair, "I for one, am looking forward to being back home." she said. "Even if we're in the city on the main Island." she commented. "But Khelev and I plan to take Molli to our house and relax for a few days and see her grandparents." she said. "Maybe even leave her with them for a day or two so we can relax on our private beach." Mercia smirked.

There was still some discomfort from their conversation a couple days prior but for now, David was planning on finalizing things when they got back to Memphis Island. He didn't want to ruin things now, it was just nice to be back to the good old days of people enjoying each others up lifting spirit. "Private beach huh. I don't remember signing off on you having that."

Mercia offered him a withering look. "You don't get to sign off on my personal life, I'm not in the refit program any more." she said before she stuck her tongue out at him.

Lixor glanced up from his COM station enjoying listening to the banter even if he didn't want to act as if he was. "I am not sue which I prefer, the beach or the city." He pressed a few controls and added, "far more familiar with the city i'm afraid."

"What is it about a city beats a beach?" Hawkins asked as he leaned back in his chair.

"I guess there are those of us who prefer city experiences yet also enjoy beach scenery sir.." Theo chuckled ever so slightly from his station. "I honestly have no clue what I'm gonna do, except not work.."

"Well yeah," David countered as he turned to look at his keeps officer. "... that's the whole idea to R and R."

"Some people just prefer an urban setting. They find the congestion and tight proximity almost comforting. Too much open space and they get paranoid." one of Mel's forms commented.

"And there's a certain attraction to urban settings. It's society at its highest and lowest. You see everything a people has to offer in one setting. Fancy rural settings with their window..."

"... dressed sprawls and picket fences can feel fake. Almost staged." she continued, mostly in Theo's defense. "As for me, I'm looking forward to relaxing. Nobody lounges like a Dalacari." she said, with no small hint of pride. "Of course..."

"... no one quite sinks like a Dalacari, hence needing to pack. Swimwear with buoyancy assist doesn't exactly grow on trees there, I take it."

Theo looked to Mel's forms and smirked some. "Now that you mention it Mel, I can think of one thing I'm looking forward to and that is putting on a nice three piece suit and going out for a lovely dinner, hopefully with a pretty lady on my arm.."

Mel returned the smirk. Oh she could be cruel, but there was no need. "Just don't go bragging to your friends. I'm still not technically twins." she giggled.

A hearty laugh filled the bridge as Theo just about lost it. "Alright Mel, no worries there.." He then reclined a bit and looked around the bridge, taking in the demeanor of all the other crew...

The blue man shook his head as he started at the data in front of him. "I think a real drink is in order, "he muttered but loud enough it could be heard by others, "it's the crowds I can do without."

Mel joined in Theo's mirth, though Lixor's comment caught her attention, "Not a fan of crowds, or true agoraphobia?" she inquired. "If it's the latter, I'm sorry if I crowd you. Dalacari still tend to, I guess the proper word is, swarm."

Lixor offered a faint smile, "you Mel do not constitute a crowd."

That made her smile. Someone got it. Either that or it was a compliment. Either way, a pair of smiles.

The CSO let a broader smile cross his face for a moment, "well at any rate it is a break and I for one look forward to that."

It was at that point that the doors opened and Lizzy Caldera came out, smiling and with a little backpack over one shoulder, "Sorry I'm late, but some of us actually have really work to do. Since you all seem to be chatting."

Opening her bag, she pulled out a stack of cards and begun walking around the bridge, handing one out to everyone, "These will get you free entry to the Memphis Island Baby Animal Petting Zoo. It has grown bigger now that Bobo has friends. Oh, and I'll need someone to sign off on getting Petunia sprung from Customs. She got a little bit of an upset tummy and took a dump on the Customs Officer's shoe, so he won't release her yet. Actually, it was probably most of his leg."

Theo took the card Lizzy handed him and blushed. He wanted to ask her to join him but figured he'd better do that out of earshot of his fellow crewmates, lest they find out he was seriously crushin gon the counselor. "Thanks Lizzy.." He said with a rosy cheeked smile..

Mel glanced at the card as she was handed one, "A petting zoo? How interesting, I can't wait!" the Dalacari said, enthusiastic to meet some new creatures up close. Provided they weren't dangerous. I mean, who lets dangerous creatures into a petting zoo...

"So what species is Bobo? And Petunia?"

Lizzy grinned, "Bobo is my pet giraffe who I picked up on away mission on Memphis, and Petunia is a baby female rhino. There are about 12 now, including T'Madh's pet sehlat, Doth, who arrived last week. They are like big giant teddy bears with six inch fangs."

As the lift doors opened and Paula stepped out of the lift catching the last of what Lizzy had said, She said striding out onto the bridge," she is not on about her petting zoo again?" moving towards the Security station, still at least she hadn't been given one of those tickets that had been handed out to the crew.

Lizzy giggled, "Yep."

hearing his division CO enter the bridge, Daniel quickly collected his report on the current status of the armoury and took it over to her, "Lieutenant, here's the armoury report. I'll need to requisition some spare parts for the type III Phaser Rifles while on the surface" he reported

Paula took the report and looked over it and then placed her thumb print upon it and said," Hand this to Lieutenant Treadagar and you will get the parts you need," as she knew that Theo would know that Paula would speak to him later, she turned to face Lizzy and said, "did I hear one of your pets is still in Quarantine?"as she knew that one word from her and it would be released.

Lizzy nodded, "Yes, my new pet rhino pooped on the custom's officer's shoe and he won't let her out of quarantine. I have a friend in JAG going after him about abuse of power. She's feeling rather guilty about not getting me out of the demotion, so I expect Petunia will be out soon. But maybe if you asked, he wouldn't end up getting in too much trouble."

"So your asking me for a favour?" replied Paula looking back at Lizzy, She continued," You know I'll have to ask for you to sign off on Davina's Work time there don't you," giving her a look, She finished," and that means giving her one of your Pets," as she had guessed that Davina had gotten quite attached to BOBO.

Mercia watched the interactions, she'd considered taking Molli to the zoo, but she worried that Lizzy would actually steal Molli and add her to the collection. She shuddered at the thought. "We should all make sure we meet up at one of Sib's bars, he's got one on each island... except the Romulan ones." she said. "Have another Tiki par...." she paused remembering Hawkins last sponsored Tiki party. It had been the night she really connected with Molli's father, and it was the night that kept her mind intact during her captivity. Of course Molli's father had turned tail and run when he realized he'd been in a relationship with the evil twin all along while Mercia was captured. He still didn't know about Molli... Mercia cleared her throat, "A drink would be nice."

"Sounds good to me," David jumped in on that thought knowing that Mercia's thoughts needed covered from the last Tiki party. "Replicate a lot of ping pong tables and solo cups. It could be interesting. Just no Vulcans, they cheat."

Mel gave a pair of giggles, "And next you'll say I can only play in doubles matches." she smirked, but gave a nod, "Trust me, that one I understand."

"I will come with my girlfriend, we'll make sure we have just enough on to cover and play eye candy. That always attracts more girls," Zeti pipped up from the engineering console. "I will end up pretty smashed though."

Lizzy laughed, "So you got your ass handed to you by a Vulcan playing Beer Pong, Captain? I'll have to remember to that. But it isn't just Vulcans. I was Beer Pong champion once when I was at the Academy."

“Count me in. It’s been a while since a had a chance to get some officers drunk and steal their uniforms” Daniels said with a cocky smile

"I'm in as well, as long as a certain counsellor can keep her clothes on," replied Paula giving her a wink.

"Alrighty people. Calm down," Captain Hawkins called out as he saw on the holo screen read out counting down overlapping the massive viewport before them.

The spiraling blues coming from the walls of the slipstream corridor was a sight to see. Most starfleet personnel that had received Quantum Slipstream Training had been in a specialized holodeck program overseen by those so called specialists, but there was honestly nothing compared to seeing the real thing for themselves. It was one of the fastest ways of traveling massive distances next to using wormholes or transporter technology. The new technology was still needing tested in ways and exploration of all the conduits were constantly an ongoing mission that was going to take several decades to really get a much more automated navigation system. But for the time being, one of the reasons for the several hours cool down was the navigational part.

On a monthly basis, the Starfleet Exploratory Division had always updated navigational charts for all starfleet ship across the board. But ever since the Quantum Slipstream drives had been installed to more than a handful of Starfleet ships, slipstream conduit charts were added to those updates as well.

"Bring us out of Slipstream."

Zeti tapped a few buttons on her console and furrowed her brow at the readouts. "It might be a little bumpy, I'm getting a fluctuation in the quantum matrix but it's within norms."

Mel turned her attentions back to the science station, bringing up what instruments she could to assist in the return to 'real' space. So far, it was like Zeti said: Bumpy and odd, but within tolerances. "Hmmm... maybe increase power flow to matrix component one four by five percent, see if that can level out the quantum buffer."

Paula reported "All Security teams have reported ready sir," as she had put in place contingancy plans for anything that might go wrong as she held onto her station, she looked back at her console with reports coming in from all her section chiefs, Paula knew that they were ready for the return to normal space. she sent a thought to Lizzy Hang on tight Lizzy as she had a bad feeling about this return to normal space.

Lizzy smiled and sent back, I'll be okay. I do yoga. It's like an old roller coaster ride. Wheeeee!

Theo was busy making sure all operations systems were reporting back in the green. He didn't really say much right now as he was trying not to panic. QSD was a very finicky system in and of itself so any kind of issues typically made his heart race. He just tried to focus on his job and be read as he secured the magnetic fastener in his seat.

Daniel braces himself for the deceleration. His cybernetic parts didn’t enjoy the ‘feel’ of the quantum stresses every time the ship either entered or left the slipstream and as they ran about a third of his vital systems he always had to check them after a trip through slipstream. Confirming the status of the security teams, Daniel took a breath and closed his eyes.

The ship shuttered before exiting out of the corridor, on the edge of the solar system. At was as though the whole bridge crew had sighed a relief as they saw normal space again. The darkness of space before them with several bright stars twinkled before them as the systems star overtook the most light. In the distance, the crew couldn't see it yet, but the planet's and starbase were out there sitting there awaiting for their return.

"Contact Memphis Island and Deep Space 7 that we have dropped out of Slipstream and are heading their way. Request docking clearance and escort as usual," David ordered as he tried to think of his plans as well. "My rum calls me home so let's..."

The blue man tried not to smile as he saw the familiar sight on the view screen, "good to be home," he said in a low tone."

Lizzy frowned and muttered, “Aww.. That was kind of a boring easy exit. I was hoping to get tossed around.”

Theo looked to Lizzy in a shocked manner. "You want a bumpy exit from one of the most finicky versions of warp travel?" He then looked to Hawkins. "Skipper, I submit that our counselor is absolutely looney tooney..."

"Cut the chatter," Zeti called from her console, some idle chatter was ok but this was still a Starfleet bridge. She tapped a few commands on her console and furrowed her brow. "Our quantum matrix is still showing a small phase variance and it's not shutting down."

The Gladiator, as if on que, started to shudder and Zeti started emergency shut down procedures but the computer didn't seem to be responding to anything she was attempting. Before she could start the process of ejecting the entire core, she was thrown back into her seat as the ship lurched into a slipstream corridor. Zeti fought through the gravitational pull and hit two commands that got the inertial dampeners to compensate for the extra force.

"The quantum matrix is malfunctioning, the computer processor can't keep up, which shouldn't be possible," Zeti let out a low growl. "I'm initiating the procedure to eject the quantum core. It will leave us with only warp drive."

Lixor shook his head but remained quiet as he glared at his console checking the readings, "there is a variance of .00172 between where we should be and where instrumentation states we are."

When the ship lurched suddenly in the slipstream, Lizzy quickly dropped to the floor and rolled up into a ball, keeping her hands over her neck as she tucked in tight, and then became a human rolling ball, smacking into the side. She immediately shifted to latching onto a pole & taking the brace position, making a mental note to send Engineering a query on installing some crashboards on the bridge for visitors.

"Suggestion from Primary Sciences. Cut the power feeds to the quantum matrix and adjoining systems. Starve them for power and force a hard shutdown." Mel suggested. She still wasn't a hundred percent certain how the drive functioned... that was for her boss and the Engineering section. Though she made a mental note to put the manual for the QSD on the required reading short-list after this.

"If you eject the drive," Lixor began, "it may resolve the issue but..., he hesitated a moment then added, "at least we will know where we, stand."

The sudden jump into slipstream didn't go over well with Daniel's cybernetics, causing them to seize up for a moment before going limp. Taking a breath in after his cybernetics released, Daniel quickly turned to his console and brought up a technical schematic of the Gladiator, "could cutting power to the deflector dish collapse the tunnel?"

Working furiously at his station, Theo wasn't really talking much, just focusing on keeping the ship in one piece and the crew alive. A couple quick keystrokes interrupted the QSD sequence and Gladiator violently dropped out of the QSD tube. The jolt through the ship was massive and Theo held on for dear life for the couple seconds as the ship came to a halt. Alarms started blaring on his console and his training kicked in. "Captain, drive ejection is impossible right now, the ports are fused shut sir!" His tone was imperative but he was trying to keep his cool. The drive is continuing to cycle sir and with the ports fused, it's causing an overload. A buildup in the matrix has fused the safety relief circuits so that the cycle keeps repeating and building on itself in a cascading snowball effect!" A few more key strokes on the console were enough to silence a few of the alarms but not the main red alert klaxon. He then turned to Hawkins, looking deathly afraid. "I can continue to interrupt the sequence before we jump, keeping us out of QSD, but that won't stop the snowball cycle sir. We have at most 25 minutes before the whole QSD overloads and..." His facial expression and tone were more than enough to convey the end result of a cataclysmic overload of that nature...

The blue man hung on tightly as the ship shook hoping to at least keep his footing. He narrowed his eyes as he studied his instrumentation. This head tilted slightly and he glanced up at the screen. He had no real answers, no gasses would resolve the issue and all his tricks didn't seem to be working. "core temperature is rising. I see no indication that the drive has gone offline."

Mel held on to whatever each form could during each rock and shake of the craft. "Can we vent the excess energy to an external system? Shunt it through the navigational deflector array, or through the shield emitters?" she suggested, now running out of ideas.

"What about cutting power to the whole ship? Disengage the reactor." another suggestion from what would later be known as Left Field.

"All of you are wrong and right at the same time," Zeti blurted out. "Let the one who knows the math do the fixing, oh and grab on to something."

Tapping three commands, the ship lurched forward as it broke back through the quantum barrier and they found themselves in the slip stream corridor again at her override. Gladiator shuddered and the turbulence began to get bad. She watched her screen intently as she shifted through calculations as they reached their top speed in the corridor. The build up in the quantum matrix was the next thing she needed to focus on, it was overloading because of the phase variance and it should have shut down when they dropped out of slipstream but it didn't.

With nimble fingers, she started had several diagnostics up and was running calculations in her head as she watched the quantum matrix. "Captain, Permission to do something... Interesting."

This caught David's attention as he looked over his shoulder and at his chief of Engineering and the master mind behind the technical aspects of the Gladiator. "Define Interesting..."

"Oh Prophets, Oh Prophets we're all going to die?" Zeti answered him in an almost questioning voice before getting a little smirk on her face and the bridge went dark, all except for the view screen. "We're playing with quantum mechanics, I'm letting our quantum computer core completely handle this instead of us observing. It's better equipped. I've shut down everything and we're just going to ride this wave."

The turbulence effecting the Gladiator began to even out and the ship stopped shaking so much, they passed through several slipstream corridors as the computer worked out it's computations. Zeti could feel something happening. There was a sudden shift and the Gladator rolled to the right before being tossed out of slipstream and into the black of space as everything started coming back up.

The turbulence picked up again and a console popped, sending sparks and smoke everywhere. Zeti hissed as she looked at the results from the computer core, while helm tried to get control of the ship. She dropped her mouth open as she watched the readouts.

Each time the ship entered or dropped out of slipstream, Daniel felt a shot of pain through his cybernetics. each pulse seemed to last longer as the cumulative effect of each pulse of EM radiation from the Quantum drive hit his cybernetics. "Captain, Permission to leave the bridge."

"Suck it up, Chief!" David called out as he looked over the information before trying to figure out what the hell was going on with his ship. "On second thought, get going. I don't want you throwing up on my bridge. Counselor, get your but up and help the Chief."

Over to the side, Lizzy had already heard Daniel's words and was going to one of the stored bridge medical kits. She momentarily stopped and blinked in surprised at David's words - something she hadn't really expected, but it told her this was a dangerous situation as she continued, getting it out & pulling out the tricorder. Lizzy moved over to the Master at Arms with the tricorder working. Arriving as she watched the readings, she smiled, "Chief, I have medical training, and can stay with you to make sure you are okay. Let's get going."

"I appreciate it, Lieutenant. I'd hate to be alone if my lung shut down" Daniel said, heading for the turbolift.

Lizzy nodded, "My pleasure. I mean to be able to help, not for you to not breathe. I'm kinda useless up here."

Getting in the turbolift, Lizzy waited for Daniel to enter before asking, "Where is best for you to be, Chief? I'm not sure. Sickbay maybe?"

"Cancel that," the captain called out over at the counselor as he saw the red klaxon lighting start to flashing and the screen started a count down and a warning in big words. He took a deep breath as he stood and started to the front of the bridge. "All departments, prepare to evacuate the Gladiator. We have twenty six minutes to figure out what is going on before the secondary fail safes kick in and launch this ship into slipstream. Get your Alpha teams at their stations. Everyone else is jumping ship. Send out a distress call to Deep Space 7. Have them send rescue teams to pick up escape pods. Assist with the evacuation and get your asses in gear. I'll keep the ship stable and start working on the Navigational charts for slipstream."

He paused and looked around at the stunned crew. This was a hard thing for any Captain to do by calling them to evacuate the ship. But it was something that saved lives, and he wasn't going to go down to be the Captain that allowed his desire to losing another ship be the reason for losing more lives. He turned and relieved the Helms officer as he sat down.

"All hands..." David called out after opening a ship wide broadcast. "... this is Captain David Hawkins. Red Alert, all hands report to your designated departments and assist with a ship wide evacuation. I am ordering an abandon ship. We have twenty-five minutes... get going people!!!"

"No, stop!" Zeti stood up from the engineering console. "The computer stopped the overload in the quantum matrix, the benamite crystals are completely shattered... I need time to assess the damage. And... We're... I don't know where or when we are."

To be continued...

Captain David Hawkins
Commanding Officer
U.S.S. Gladiator-A

Lieutenant Commander Halan Zeti
Chief Engineering Office/Second Officer
U.S.S. Gladiator-A

Lieutenant Lixor Nabohn
Chief Science Officer
U.S.S. Gladiator-A

Lieutenant Elizabeth 'Lizzy' Caldera DClinPsy.
Chief Counsellor
U.S.S. Gladiator-A

Chief Petty Officer Daniel Alenko
U.S.S. Gladiator-A

Lieutenant JG Mel Torma
Science Officer
U.S.S. Gladiator-A

Lt. Theodore Treadagar IV
Chief of Operations
U.S.S. Gladiator-A

LT Paula Winchester
Chief Security/Tactical
USS Gladiator-A

Marcia Kavi
Executive Officer
U.S.S. Gladiator-A