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Part of USS Centaur: Episode One: Getting our Footing

Chapter One: Orders…

USS Centaur
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[In some time in the future…]
[USS Centaur]

The bridge was dark, illuminated in only a split second in red light by a second apart, but the light only revealed how much smoke was on the bridge. There was some of it coming out of the ceiling, but only so lightly, not like some times where it’s bellowing out like it was under pressure. No, this was a small leak of sorts. But the smoke did not just consist of some leak from any sort of coolant, but also from electrical fires of a couple consoles, one on each side of the bridge it seemed.

Least that is what Vakai could tell when he tried looking around the bridge to take in detail of what state they were in. He had just pushed himself off of the floor and onto his knees, only to revel in the state the bridge was in. He couldn’t see any lights coming from the consoles, which told him that they were not receiving power. But why just the consoles? Were the lights and stations really on a separate power network? Suppose that would make sense, not sure why he was even questioning that. Maybe it was because it felt like his head was hit by a shuttlecraft.

That’s it. Concussion. His conclusion of having one was increased ever so much when he went to feel the side of his head and hissed when he touched something that stung, only to check his hand and see the palm of his hand was covered in his blood. Course he could barely tell the color because of the poor illumination, but he didn’t believe he had someone else’s blood on him. His conclusion of what he hit from where he was at, was probably one of the railings around the midsection of the bridge, the kind of railing that cuts off rear stations from the mid to front stations, or in this case, command chair and the helm and navigational stations.

He turned his head in a bit of a jolt when he heard a loud noise, only to see a silhouette and something being sprayed onto one of the consoles that was on fire. He concluded that someone was trying to extinguish one of the fires. Good, this means that he is not the only one conscious. “Is everyone all right?” He called out before coughing, the smoke was thick and it did no good to inhale after he spoke. So he covered his mouth and nose the best he could with his sleeve to get some oxygen into his lungs. He got several responses from the bridge crew, which was good, but he was also keeping tabs on the voices and there was one voice he didn’t hear that worried him.

Vakai hurried over to the command chair to find it empty, only to look down at the floor near it and saw a silhouette there. He knelt down beside the body to feel for the pips on the man’s shoulders and when he found them, he felt four pips. “I need a light over here! And a medkit, now!” He yelled. In a few seconds, he had a couple officers shining their flashlights on their Captain, seeing that he too had a gash on his forehead but it looked really bad.

Ryker came over with a medkit and stared at the Captain’s head before looking around to find a piece of metal on the floor nearby then he looked up. “Damnit! Part of the ceiling came down.”

“Just get that medical tricorder out and find out what’s wrong with him!” Vakai ordered.

Ryker nodded his head and did just that before grabbing a hypospray and picked the one thing that the tricorder recommended to inject into the Captain’s neck. “Captain Carter will be stable for a few hours on this, it will help slow down the swelling but he needs to get to sickbay as soon as possible! That metal chunk that hit him in the head, it’s causing his brain to swell and if we don’t get him to sickbay to be operated on, he’s going to die!”

Vakai grabbed Ryker by his arms. “He is not going to die! Not while we are his crew! But you got him stable for now?”

“It’s what the medical tricorder recommended, but it also recommended immediate treatment. We need to get to Sickbay.”

“Someone get that turbolift door open and pop the emergency hatch! And I need your undershirts, all of them. We’re going to make something to help carry the Captain, and we will get him to sickbay. Come on! Get those jackets off, move it!” Vakai ordered.

Ryker placed his hand on Vakai’s shoulder. “Commander, relax.”

Vakai looked at him. “I am not going to be made Captain on some technicality because whatever the hell we hit out there killed our Captain, I won’t accept it. We are getting him to Sickbay and we are going to save him.” He told Ryker before unzipping his jacket and peeling it off before tugging his black undershirt up and off of himself. He’ll soon put the jacket back on and zip it back up before grabbing undershirts from everyone and start to make something that’ll help them carry the Captain. “You’re not going to die on me, Jack.”

———————

 

CHAPTER ONE

[Present…]
[Devron Fleet Yards – Space Dock]
[USS Centaur]

Ryker stepped through the airlock from the station, right onto the deck of a small corridor of the vessel, a vessel that he was given a new assignment on. Though he was quite surprised at the position he was given on his new assignment, along with the rank that came with it. But he figured that it was about time someone recognized his skills, in both a pilot and command. Now he just needs to find his quarters.

A few minutes would go by, Ryker set his bags in his quarters, if you call them that but he had to remember, this is no luxury cruiser like the Galaxy Class. He was now well on his way to sickbay to get the silly, standard check up done and over so he can report himself to the Captain. But as soon as he arrived in sickbay, he was caught by surprise at those who were near the door.

“Gomo? Gomez? Koyda and Maya? What are you four doing here?” Ryker asked and then he noticed the single pips on the shoulders of their uniforms. “So you did do what Vakai asked.”

Gomez smiled, “We sure did. And we are as surprised as you are, heck we’re not the only ones.” She then pointed to one of the doctors which Ryker was easily able to pick out.

“Sivol too?” Ryker asked.

Gomez nodded. “Yup. It seems like our Captain has good taste for talent.”

“Or he intends to torture us.” said Gomo.

Ryker frowned, “How so?”

“Maybe the Captain saw the words in between the lines of our reports, or however you people say it.”

“Read in between the lines.” Gomez corrected Gomo.

“Yes, that. Anyways, perhaps he did not like the things we did. Perhaps he intends to correct us. Or perhaps he was not the one who was involved with all of us being assigned here. Maybe the brass wanted to punish us and what better way to do it than on a small, cramped vessel such as this? I mean look at this ship. It is a relic, it belongs in a museum.” Gomo complained.

Both Koyda and Maya chuckled. “Oh, would you calm down.” Maya told him.

“It was no brass. Our assignment orders were indeed signed by a brass but they came with a request from the Captain. So he wanted us here. All of us.” said Koyda.

Ryker nodded his head. “I suppose I will be able to get some insight on it. Not only am I the Chief at the Helm but I am also the Second Officer.”

“Really?” Gomez asked. “Think I could get special commendations to my quarters? Like, oh I don’t know…expanding it?”

Ryker chuckled some. “We all have to deal with the size of our quarters.”

“Easy for you to say, you’re a Senior Officer, you get quarters all to yourself.” Gomo told him.

Ryker frowned, “You guys don’t?”

“Oh lord no…I’m bunked with him.” Gomez pointed at Gomo. “And we’re already having problems.”

“It is too darn cold!” Gomo told her.

“And it is too damn hot!” Gomez told him with a glare.

“Then why can’t you two meet in the middle?” Ryker asked.

“Easy for you to say.” Gomez said as the line began to move finally. “Oh look, they fixed one of their bio beds. I would have done it myself but I need a check up first before I can do anything. Chief’s orders.”

Ryker shrugged his shoulders. “Sounds rough. What about you two?” He looked at Koyda and Maya.

“Well, since we were finally able to get married, we bunk together in our quarters.” Maya told him.

“Isn’t having a relationship and being on the same ship against some sort of regulation somewhere?” Ryker asked.

Koyda shrugged his shoulders. “If it is, the Captain apparently doesn’t care. And we’re Bajoran. Duty comes first and once our duties are over, then we pay more attention to each other. But we won’t be distracted or anything.”

Maya elbowed him. “Either way, we have different shifts. I have the Bravo Shift and he has the Alpha Shift. We both spend the Gamma shift together, talking and other things but once one of us heads off to a shift, the other sleeps.”

Ryker shakes his head. “That’s got to be one rough sleep schedule.”

Koyda shrugged again. “We’ll manage. Eventually we will have the same shifts and everything but right now, we are willing to compromise for the obvious reasons.”

Ryker nodded his head. “Well if anything, you two work really well together, while on duty. So if I get the chance, I may talk to the Captain and the Chief on giving you both the same shifts. If we ever go on some away mission and require a security team, I want you both there, not just one of you.”

“Awww. Ain’t he sweet.” Maya snickered.

As they got closer to the medical staff, Ryker asked. “Well now, if we’re all here, then I wonder where Vakai is.” Which he was close enough for Sivol to hear and answer.

“Lieutenant Commander Vakai should be speaking with the Captain right now.” She told him.

Ryker looked at her and tilted his head a bit. “Oh? Are you keeping track of his movements?”

Sivol raised a brow and then returned to her duties on the next person in line. “That is ridiculous. I have no need to monitor Vakai’s movement. He was simply here, very early, received his check up and then left. He told me he had to report to the Captain as soon as his check up was finished. That is all that I know.”

Ryker chuckled, “I was only teasing. So he is here. If and when I get any answers gang, I’ll be sure to fill you in.”

[Captain’s Quarters]

Vakai had been standing there in the Captain’s quarters for an hour now, answering questions about his time at the academy and how he felt about the mission in the Triangle in regards to retrieving intel from the Hunters of D’Ghor. The quarters were a bit like his own, enough space for a decent bed, with a small table an a chair to eat your meal, and a small desk with a chair on either side for the Captain and whomever he were with could sit across from each other and discuss on whatever matters that needed to be discussed.

“So I guess you have been wondering why I have been questioning you, am I right, Commander?” Asked the Captain. He was no average Captain that Vakai has seen. The man had almost shoulder length gray hair with a full gray beard, all well kept of course. His name was Jack Carter, and from what Vakai has read about the man from his service record, he has only served on one single ship. This ship.

“The thought has crossed my mind, Captain.” Vakai replied, his hands clasped behind the small of his back.

Carter nodded his head a couple times before relaxing his back into his chair. “My First Officer before you received the request from Starfleet for him to take Command, along with a promotion. So I am getting to know my new First Officer as best as I can, to see how he ticks, how his gears turn. I need to be able to trust you with every command decision I make so that there are no issues among us, no hesitation, no defiance. I do expect you to question some of my decisions, it is all part of learning as you take your place among the Senior Command Officers. But I cannot have every single decision I give be questioned every time, is that clear?”

“Crystal clear, sir.” Vakai replied.

Carter nodded his head. “Good. I know that I can trust you, Commander. Your file says it all. Hell, I have not seen so many officers be promoted so quickly since…” He paused for a moment then shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know, I wasn’t around the last time this happened. But I do know it has happened, and it is happening again because Starfleet needs more experienced crews on more starships.” Carter sighed as he looked at one of his framed photos on the wall and pointed at it. “That one right there.”

Vakai blinked and then followed his finger to the framed photo of what looked like a group of people and their uniforms were of the 2370s. “Was this your Captain?” Vakai asked.

Carter nodded his head. “Indeed he was. My first Captain, before Reynolds took Command. But Reynolds was also a great Captain. Especially when the Dominion War began.” Carter sighed again as he shook his head. “But there were days when we weren’t sure that we were going to win. The Seventh Fleet was one of our largest fleets in Starfleet, combined with our allies, the Klingons. Only fourteen out of a hundred and twelve survived.” Carter then stood up and stepped over to Vakai’s side as he too stared at the photo.

“I heard that we took heavy losses.” Vakai told him.

“Indeed we did. Then during the war, there was a Borg incursion, which got real damn close to Earth too if it wasn’t for the Enterprise.” He said with another sigh right after. “And we lost more good people because of it.”

“And we lost more over time.” Vakai added.

Carter nodded his head before going back to his chair and sat down. “We’re doing the best that we can to rebuild the fleet but also put well experienced officers on those ships. Problem is, we have more ships than we have experienced officers. Some that have been around for years, even decades. Hell, I cannot tell you how many times I wondered when Starfleet is planning to mothball this ship.” He shook his head.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if they did.”

Carter stared at him for a moment. “Neither would I, Commander. But I have been on this ship since I was an Ensign. You’re told to not get attached to people or to lifeless objects, that it would only hurt your career or just…be plain silly. But they can’t teach you how to not get attached. They can’t predict how or why you would get attached. Or how and why you would form a relationship with someone on board. It is simply not preventable. But sure, there are some officers who can go around saying ‘It is just a ship.’ But those are just officers who want nothing more than to be brass and micromanage people like you and me.” Carter shook his head. “This ship has been my home for almost three decades. I would hate to lose her but if it came down to it, I won’t stop them from mothballing her. Hell, they will probably make her a museum, since she is the first of her class and survived the Dominion War.”

Vakai smirked and shook his head. “You truly are attached to this ship, aren’t you Captain.”

Carter stood him. “You’re damn right I am. And trust me, Commander. You may not get attached to this ship but there will be a ship that you will get attached to, and when you do, you will understand exactly how I feel today when time flows by and the longer you’re on board, the more advance technology becomes around you, the more you begin to question…’When…when will they take her away from me?’ And when that day comes, feel free to give me a call and tell me how it feels.” Carter then grinned at him with a small chuckle soon after.

Vakai nodded his head with a smile. “I’ll do just that, sir.”

Carter then clapped his hands together, nice and loud. “All right! Good talk. Very good talk. Let’s get right down to it.” Carter grabbed a padd off his desk, then walked past Vakai towards the door and right out of his quarters. “Come along, it’s time to debrief you.”

Vakai immediately followed Carter out of his quarters and followed right behind him, the best he could do with how narrow these corridors were and he wasn’t going to block anyone from going the opposite direction by walking at the Captain’s side, if he were able to do just that. “Our mission, sir?”

Carter nodded his head. “Indeed, Commander. As well as our new officers.” He handed the padd over to Vakai behind him.

Vakai took it and checked the manifest. He did not have to go very far when he saw who was on board. “All of them?”

“Yup!” Carter smiled while they stepped into the turbolift. “Bridge.”

“May I ask why?”

“Because, Commander. I intend to mold you into the next Captain that Starfleet wishes to pluck out of my hands and off of my ship.” Carter told him. “And from the reports I’ve read from you and every member of your former squad, I noticed that you have already formed some sort of bond with them.”

Vakai shrugged his shoulders. “I mean…I did have plans on making them my senior staff if I ever did get Command but I never told anyone else but them.”

Carter chuckled. “You vouching for four Non-Coms to become Commissioned Officers was enough to scream it, Commander.”

Vakai raised a brow and tilted his head with a slight nod. “I did not think of that, but that does make sense.”

The lift stopped but the door didn’t split open yet. “Look. I know potential when I see it. I know a fine crew, when I see it. You and your team did one hell of a job for your very first mission, together, and you barely knew each other.”

“Well to be fair, we did introduce ourselves more when we were on that D’Ghor transport.”

Carter smirked. “Point is, Commander. I have said it before and I will say it again. We have more starships than we have experienced crew for them. If I can mold you, and your former squad into a crew that Starfleet can recognize and appreciate, then we will be able to get one more starship out of the docks and back into space. As Captain, I am more than willing to do my part to help Starfleet find potential crew to get those ships up and running again.” He then stepped forward and the door split right open.

Vakai followed right behind him, the lift doors closing after and then took a good look at the bridge. It was small and different, and there was only one chair in the center and that was the Captain’s chair. So Vakai figured that he would likely be roaming around, looking over people’s shoulders, repeating commands, things like that. “I understand, Captain. What are our orders?”

“Well, I figured I would wait for our Second Officer to get up here first.” Carter said as he stood before his seat in the center.

Speaking of the devil, the lift doors splitting open again, Ryker stepping right out of the turbolift.

“Ah! Right on time, Lieutenant!” Carter then clapped his hands together once more. “We don’t have much of a briefing room on board this ship so, we will just discuss our mission right here. Vakai, Ryker. Once we confirm the headcount, finish loading the cargo bays and top of our tank, we will be heading for the Providence Fleet Yards, where there will be a few freighters full of supplies bound to the New Romulus, homeworld of the Romulan Republic. We will act as an escort for those freighters, as there have been reports of raids by…oh something about pirates and the like.”

“Sounds easy enough.” Said Ryker before slapping the back of Vakai’s shoulder. “Hey there, Commander! Good to see you.”

Vakai smiled. “You too, Ryker.” Before looking back at the Captain. “We’re going to New Romulus?”

Carter nodded his head. “We will likely have to get some supplies from them, depending on how the whole escort mission turns out. So yes, you will get a chance to meet some of your own people.”

Vakai nodded his head. “They are indeed Romulan, just, not entirely from the part of space that I was born in.”

“Hogwash. So what if the Romulan Empire split into three different Governments. They’re still Romulans, and so are you.” Said Carter.

Vakai nodded his head again. “Of course.”

“Now that you two know of our mission, please go check on the crew manifest and the cargo supplies. I want to make sure we’re loaded up and ready to go before we take our road trip.”

“Aye, sir.” Both Vakai and Ryker said before they stepped into the turbolift.

“So…I get the cargo bays and you get the manifest?” Ryker asked.

Vakai smirked, “Taking the easy job are we?”

“Easy? Please. Checking the manifest should be easy.”

“You forget, Lieutenant. This ship hardly has much automation.”

Ryker raised a brow at Vakai. “Then I am right, checking the manifest will be easy. So if you don’t want it, I’ll happily take it.”

Vakai chuckled, shaking his head. “Go check on the cargo.”

“Aye, aye, sir!” Ryker smiled.

———————————
– The main crew has arrived on board the USS Centaur, of her own class.
– The First and Second Officer are now aware of their mission and are making sure the ship is ready for launch
– The Centaur will cross many sectors, through light years of space towards the Providence Fleet Yards. So Chapter Two will begin with the Centaur meeting up with the convoy and begin to escort them towards New Romulus.
– Oh what fate will fall on the convoy and the vessels that are escorting it? Tune in for the next Chapter!