It was a big day for them all. Odyssey would be launching from Starbase Thirty-Eight and joining the other ships in the fleet heading to the Delta Quadrant. Feeling giggedy and excited was a complete understatement for the ship’s captain. It was like being an ensign again for the first time when he had just boarded the Audacious. No longer the operations officer, James Preston McCallister was the well-experienced leader that Starfleet had chosen to send to the deep reaches last seen by one of the most famous Intrepid-class ships in Starfleet’s history. The middle-aged captain had wondered if there was some sort of irony that the name of his ship was similar in definition to Admiral Janeway’s former command.
Stepping out onto the bridge from his ready room, McCallister made his way over to the centre. During his stroll, his security and tactical chief had announced his presence to everyone. All of them had stood to attention, McCallister just waved it off along with a smile of appreciation before telling them to get back to their stations. The tall broad Tiburon, who kept his ship safe, handed him a PADD with an updated report on their tactical readiness.
All of the senior staff were present. Each and everyone of them occupied a station. McCallister couldn’t blame them for wanting to be there as they prepared to start their new mission. There was a sense of excitement and joy running through the ship. It had grown so much since they had left the Archanis sector and it seemed like it was about to boil over when they departed from Earth’s orbit. Everyone on board just seemed cheerful, even those who hailed from Vulcan appeared somewhat pleased.
Looking up from her chair, his first officer smiled at him. “Good Morning sir.” Commander Cambil greeted him with. Her ridged nose wrinkled more with the huge grin she maintained. After returning to the ship with his family, Bexa had been the first one to greet the McCallister clan. That evening Bexa and he had caught up with him sharing what had happened on Earth with his brothers as they toured the ship. The disclosure that Conrad was dying had hit James hard but to top it off the surprise revelation about his younger brother Horatio not actually being a traitor, instead worked for Starfleet Intelligence all of these years. Bexa had questioned James over how much he could trust Horatio going legit, he had shared the same thing with that he had said to Karyn about it.
“Morning Bexa,” McCallsiter responded as he took his seat and pushed the creases out of his uniform jacket with his left hand. “Anything else to report?” He questioned as he started to read the PADD given to him from Lenjir.
Shaking her head, the Bajoran answered with an affirmative ‘no’. She went on to explain how the ship was ready to leave. “Commander Hunsen is eager to get underway, he said the last of the upgrades were activated late last night and Commander Jen is eager to test them in the field.”
Looking down to where his ops manager sat, McCallister smiled at the joined Trill. “Don’t worry Lukiz,” He called out. “We’ll have plenty of time to test our new systems when we reach the Delta Quadrant.”
Turning around in his chair, Lieutenant Commander Jen nodded with affirmation. “Absolutely sir, I just hope they don’t fail on us before we meet with any of the natives. Especially the cybernetic variety. ”
“You and me both Lukiz.” Cambil added to the conversation. She looked back at her superior after realising there was something she needed to share. “Commodore Marshall-Bennet has requested that all ships be by the mouth of the wormhole before oh-nine hundred hours.”
“Has anyone else made a move yet?” McCallister wondered.
“Not yet.” Cambil answered after glancing down at her console and back to McCallister. “It may be early for some of the others in the fleet after the party on the Discovery finished late.”
Chuckling at a brief recap of the celebrations that the commodore had hosted the previous night, McCallister wondered how many in the fleet may have woken up groggy from it all. “Well then let’s set the standard.” He looked down at the helm. “Lieutenant Commander T’Rani, if you would do us the honours of getting us disconnected from the starbase at once.”
The Vulcan woman replied with a simple and almost curt, “aye sir”.
Looking to his left to his counsellor and diplomatic officer, McCallister tried to gage quietly the reason why his pilot had replied in such a stern way. Counsellor Duncan just shook his head after reading the captain’s surprised expression. He was telling his boss not to ask anything about T’Rani right now. The woman had only returned the night before after being on Vulcan for her husband’s funeral.
Taking Duncan’s cue, McCallister ignored the reaction from his pilot and took a mental note to check in with her once they were through the wormhole. While he did that everyone else got on with the job of launching the ship from its current docking port. In space, the station recalled its docking umbilical cords and the Odyssey moved away from the large Guardian-class starbase.
“We are clear.” T’Rani announced. “I’m laying in a course for the entrance to the wormhole.”
“Ahead one quarter impulse.” Cambil ordered the Vulcan woman, she gave McCallister a concerned glance to compliment his worry for their pilot. After he acknowledged it with a raise of both of his eyebrows, Cambil looked back to the front of the bridge and towards Jen. “Lukiz, send a message to the Discovery informing them the Odyssey will be in position shortly. We’ll await orders from the commodore.”
“Message sent.” Jen said after a few seconds.
Looking over to his wife at the science station, McCallister asked her how much longer they needed to wait until the wormhole opened up.
“It’s expected to appear in just over ninety minutes.” Reyas asked before giving her husband a cheerful look. “We’re starting to detect elevated neutrinos forming at this end. It won’t be long until Starbase Thirty-Eight fires its verteron array to strengthen the pull this region has on the wormhole.”
“I heard Commodore Marshall-Bennet has arranged for the Discovery to fire some antimatter fireworks to celebrate the beginning of the operation.” Master Chief Petty Officer Court remarked from where he was stood by the aft mission ops stations.
“The commodore is pulling out all of the stops.” Lenjir agreed with the chief of the boat. “Sir, do we know what our orders are once we arrive in the Delta Quadrant?
McCallister had already spoken about it with his new superior officer but the Odyssey’s captain wouldn’t share any of it until they were on the other side of the galaxy. “I’ll brief everyone once we are settled into our new home.” He shared.
Eventually the Odyssey arrived at its position and like a racing car ready to go past the starting flag, the ship waited patiently for the green light to go.
This was the start of their new adventure.
Uxal, Uxal System, Delta Quadrant
Leader Otrin stared out of the large wide expanse of windows in his office that was located in the high government spire. A mixture of worry and concern darkened his faded pale blue eyes and stress etched the aging appearance across his face. His short combed back brown hair showed signs of the office he currently held through the various patches of grey. It looked as if someone had dusted grey snow across his hair. The Uxali leader gazed at a cluster of stars that he knew contained the world once promised to his people, instead it was just a dream at the moment. Almost mocking him through their brightness, Otrin wondered if he would ever see the day his people would sit foot on new soil.
“Only a few more weeks.” He muttered, aware that his hope was slowly failing every time he had time to stop and reflect on everything. Over the past twenty-two years since his people started to rebuild their world and return to the surface, he wondered if they would ever achieve their dreams of going further than just surviving from one day to the next. Closing his eyes, he still remembered that fateful day when the Human ship named Voyager cured him of his radiation sickness and the mutations his body had endured since he was a child. Voyager had left them with such a huge challenge in restoring their once proud world, nevertheless it was becoming a daunting task to achieve.
His people’s attempt at breaking past the significant damage that had inflicted their world had so far not progressed as quickly as they had hoped. Voyager’s help in restoring their atmosphere had only gotten them so far. On every front of them restoring their world, failure was growing at every attempt, with no end in sight. Too many obstacles now faced them with too many factors to consider. Their best minds, including himself, were not able to counteract the effects of long term antimatter radiation to their world quickly enough. They were losing the race against time. It wasn’t just their atmosphere they needed to be clean, other areas like their seas and the soil in the ground needed urgent care. Farming using natural resources had become almost impossible, so they had resorted to returning to the old ways of growing vegetables and plants in self-contained hydroponic farms. Energy to maintain these farms had come from renewable sources including solar and wind turbines. They had built several large water purification centres along the coastlines but it took a lot to make the water drinkable.
Otrin rubbed his burning eyes. It wasn’t from any lasting radiation symptoms, it was just from pure fatigue. Every bone and muscle in his body ached. Since remaining in the position as leader of his people, he had worked tirelessly in making sure they were on the right paths in rebuilding their civilisation. His hard work had come with a price as his energy was fully focussed on making their world habitable again, that it took him almost a decade and a half to realise that their efforts may be futile and they needed a plan B. So the idea of using their old weapons of mass destruction to turn them into ships capable of light speed had become another one of his priorities now. It was a simple plan. If they could transform enough of the missiles into ships capable of spaceflight they could head to the planet that Voyager had almost taken them to and start over again.
Hope was fading away though from Otrin, just like the colour of his hair, as he worried daily they might not actually succeed and his people would die without anyone knowing anything more about their accomplishments. It created a bitter taste in his mouth, one that caused him so much worry mixed with a dash of anger.
There was a knock on his door and he simply turned around to see the moonlight that was exposing itself through the windows to light up the appearance of his deputy. Brin, the woman that had risen up and stood with him making a change for their people stood by the door.
“Otrin, I’m sorry to disturb you so late but I’ve just heard from one of our patrols that they’ve recorded a small group of undergrounders surfacing near the northern islands.” She announced. “They’re all wearing the badge of those who belong to the Followers of Verin.”
That name added to his anger and worry. Stepping away from the window, Otrin took a few steps so he was a bit closer to Brin. “Did they cause any damage or trouble?”
“No, not this time.” She answered.
Somewhat pleased to hear that, Otrin wondered if the nuisance that came from those who decided to remain underground would ever subside. It was another thing to add to his list of factors that gave him sleepless nights.
If only I could return to being a scientist he thought to himself.