A Hop, Skip and a Jump to the Delta Quadrant
Posted on Mon Oct 16th, 2017 @ 2:55pm by Captain Tim Williams & Lieutenant Commander Vincent Holt & Lieutenant Commander Jean Reynard & Lieutenant Griffen Tanol & Lieutenant Ryan North & Ensign Jonathan Forrest
The Deuterium Argument [Rebooted]
Location: USS Highlander - Cygnet System
It took barely any time at all to reach Cygnet using the Quantum Slipstream Drive, and whilst they dropped back to normal space with everyone still comfortably sat where they had been back at Utopia Planetia, it was as good a test as any for the first use of the systems. Tim had just finished recording their departure in his Captain's Log when they arrived in-system. "How's the core looking, Grif?" he asked over the comm system, eager to hear firsthand from its chief engineer how the new drive was functioning.
A slightly tinny voice came back through the speakers as Grif responded. "She's running a little warm but I'd write that off to the first extended use of our slipstream core. Other than that she seems to be all within established tolerances."
"Glad to hear our new toy is behaving itself," Tim answered with a grin. "Alright everyone, now for stage two. We'll keep our shields up and stay at blue alert until we're safely through to the Delta Quadrant. Helm; set a course to bring us into orbit with Cygnet's star. Jean; get me a channel open with catapult launch control so we can get our flight path and launch coordinates. Barnaby; run a quick scan of the system for any unwanted observers. Starfleet's been getting reports that the Ferengi are getting curious as to why so many ships seem to be coming to Cygnet lately, and I'd hate the Highlander to be SFI's target of blame when they eventually find out."
Gigaquads of data flowed through Ryan's station, cataloging their first slipstream flight. The ship held together well, as far as Ryan could tell every system had functioned perfectly. He was still surprised by how smooth the transition had been from slipstream to real space. He tapped a few keys and brought up the long-range sensor array, that was currently sweeping the system for any sign of sensor contacts.
Jonathan leaned back in his chair a wide smile on his face. He'd been a little nervous before they had made the jump, though he wouldn't have admitted it to anyone. Now that it was over, he was relieved. Not just relieved, but feeling pretty good about both his performance and that of the ship. He didn't say anything, but he did look around the bridge looking for Avery as he set the coordinates he'd been given by the Captian.
Keeping one eye on the ship's systems in case there was anything odd going on, Jean sent a hail to the traffic control center. After a minute a reply came back. "Catapult control reports that the USS Seleya has just departed, sir, but they'll be recharged by the time we arrive. I'm transferring approach instructions to the helm. Ah, they're very insistent that we stay clear of the arrival zone."
"I can see why," Ryan replied, looking up from his displays. "The whole area is saturated with dissipating subspace vortices. Well, that and another ship could come crashing to us."
"I agree; crashing into an incoming ship would be bad," Tim commented with a sly grin from his command chair. "Jonathan, take us in along the approach vector they've given us. All hands, prepare to enter the graviton catapult. When this is over, we sure as hell won't be in Kansas anymore."
"Yes sir," the young Helmsman replied as he made the adjustment quickly. "I can't afford the deductable if we crash."
As the ship moved into position in front of the catapult, Tim couldn't help but marvel at the structure. It was enormous, far larger than the one he had read about from Voyager's reports, and he could see the corona of the star moving and warping slightly in the area closest to it, as a subtle indication of just where the catapult got its power. The structure was as large as a starbase, but existed to serve only one purpose; to hurl starships thousands of lightyears in a matter of hours. The two sides of the gate that focused the graviton field looked to be the most fragile parts of the entire construction; comparatively thin when looked at next to the main power plant, but Tim knew intellectually that it was only perspective to give that illusion.
"Now entering catapult launch zone," Jean announced as the ship neared the station and cut its thrust. "Control is initiating power-up sequence. Twenty seconds to transit commit. Nineteen, eighteen... okay, so those are some really interesting readings, I wonder what - I mean, ten...."
As Jean's countdown reached its end, the gateway before them lit up, looking so much like a giant forcefield in space, and the projectors arrayed along the length of either side pivotted, casing their glow over the hull of the Highlander as they zeroed in on the ship's location, locking on with something akin to tractor beams. It was only a few more seconds before they moved again, in unison pulling the Highlander through the gateway with such speed that Tim wondered how much stress they would have put on the inertial dampeners. Almost immediately the display on the viewscreen was replaced by a roiling red-gold display of energy; the effect of the graviton energy that was enabling their current velocity. Without the tell-tale streak of stars visible while at warp or the ever-moving tunnel of slipstream travel, Tim had to remind himself that the ship was traveling at speeds far beyond what she was capable of on her own.
Ryan did a quick check of his instruments before addressing the captain and the rest of the bridge. "Sensors show flucuations in the graviaton field to be within tolerable limits and it looks like the hull is holding up fine. I'll keep monitoring the subspace vibrations that the field is causing. Assuming our calculations are right, we should arrive in 5 hours and 53 minutes."
"Excellent," the captain said, pushing himself up from his seat. "Commander, you have the bridge; bring us into orbit of the Iota Command Facility when we get there."
"Aye sir, XO has the Bridge," Holt said without looking up from his panel, having been reading telemetery from the engines, only understanding a fraction of the epic amount of data.
Stretching his legs subtly in his chair, Holt muffled a yawn and shook away idleness. Having been staring at his screen for most of the journey, the view from the viewscreen reminded him of the reflections from light hitting water, it had become hypnotic. He stood and tapped his combadge.
"Captain Williams to the Bridge please," Holt said, disturbing the quiet hum of the bridge.
Tim strode through the doors of his ready room onto the bridge as they opened before him, and joined his first officer in the center of the bridge to watch the graviton field around the ship dissipate, revealing the bright glow of the Iota system's star, almost identical to that in the Cygnet system, but framed by the light of other stars that none of them had ever had the chance to see before.
"Captain has the Bridge, Set Condition green throughout the ship, secure from Slipstream," Holt ordered, "Helm, engage impulse and bring us into Orbital holding pattern."
"Captain, we're receiving a transmission from Iota controls," Jean said as a text message scrolled onto his display. "There's the usual hello and welcome preface, but the main point is that the task force commander would like to see you at your earliest convenience."
"Relay the coordinates to the transporter room," Tim ordered, making his way around the bridge railing and towards the turbolift. "Keep the ship ready to depart; I have a feeling we won't be hanging around Iota for long," he ordered as the doors closed after him.
Captain Tim Williams
Lt. Commander Vincent Holt
Lt. Commander Jean Reynard
Operations Officer & Second Officer
Lieutenant Griffen Tanol
Lieutenant Ryan North
Chief Science Officer
Ensign Jonathan Forrest