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Consultation and Consideration

Posted on Tue Oct 30th, 2018 @ 11:31am by Commodore Yoshi Minawara & Captain Ewan Darrow & Vice Admiral Henry Markstrom

Mission: A Misguiding Hand

Ewan stood just at the edge of the expansive lounge windows, staring at the stationary stars. Despite his years of service throughout the many different postings Ewan had had, nothing had ever quite beat that view from Utopia Planetia, the Earth just a pale dot, the crimson world of Mars sitting below, starships moving about constantly as they moved from one berth to another or just plain heading into deep space. The main industrial complex of Starfleet Engineering was something only someone who really understood it could love. "Do you ever miss the hustle and bustle of Utopia?" The Executive Officer asked his friend absentmindedly.

Placing the small tome he had been reading, a collection of "science fiction" by Twentieth Century Earth author Isaac Asimov, down on the table, Yoshi offered first a shrug, then another, and finally a reply. "I do miss the constant movement, sure. The energy, the flow of people and parts and ideas and technology. I miss what the whole place represented, without a doubt. But this is where I have been the most comfortable, staring into the void. There is an odd calm that even my research lab back on Earth could not bring," replied the newly minted Commodore. "Alice missed our niece and nephew, but will never admit how much she does, or how much she wishes we had children of our own." The comment hung there for a moment before Yoshi dismissed it and moved on. "Tell me, what do you think Markstrom has in store for us?"

"Never too late to have kids." Ewan said with a grin, "I heard Picard and Crusher had a kid well into their seventies." It was well known to Ewan how much Alice wanted kids, it had been a conversation he and Allison had had over the years. He didn't wish to judge or anything really on the situation but Ewan could never imagine his life without Ainsley or Markus. "I don't know. He sent that message to us when we returned but we havent actually talked have we?"

"I don't believe so," replied Yoshi, pondering the matter. "We have meant to, but never had the spare moment."

The computer beeped, a secured communications channel had been opened with the room. After confirming the occupants of the room, a figure blurred into existence just in front of the large wall-sized display. A holographic representation of Admiral Henry Markstrom, the core of the Quantum Slipstream Program and friend to the two officers. "Yoshi, Ewan, it's been a while. Three years give or take eh?" The older man laughed.

"Doesn't feel a day past four months to me," replied Minawara, with an uncharacteristically dark poke at the missing years. "How are you keeping these days?"

"Good. Good. I've been heading the starship development program here at Utopia. After the success of the Vesta despite your disappearance, Starfleet saw a new opportunity, we've been working on refitting existing ship designs and making new ones compatible with the QSD." Henry said as he shrugged, "I heard you both got a nice promotion though, taking into account your now more senior years, eh?"

"Don't feel like I'm a day over 45." Ewan laughed as he shook his head, "New designs eh? Think Starfleet can get them to work without us?"

"I think we can, the next QSD optimized design launches today," Henry said with a smile tapping a button off of the display. A small ship appeared in 3D beside the Admiral as it slowly began rotating. "Say hello to the Merian class, the replacement for the tried and true Miranda."

"Finally, it's only a hundred and forty some years old," replied Yoshi as he leaned in and looked a little closer at the ship. It shared some elements of the Vesta-class, a streamlined hull, angled nacelles, and a dual deflector design. "She looks sleek, and I can see the comparisons to the Miranda well enough. I assume the roll bar is multi-facetted. Let me guess," said the man, pausing as if he was searching the air for answers, adding a bit of hand flair for the joke. "Combat suite, survey suite, and a cargo suite," he finally said. "Small little ship for sure, would be good to see these roving the borders and such, get the more outdated designs out of the way."

"Probably not as fast as us, but fair bit faster then most retrofit ships." Ewan said as he looked at the hull design, the language of the design was almost identical to Vestas for the saucer. "Smaller powerplant would be the only thing that limits the speed. How did you get around the small size of the ship with the deflector power needs with the warp core?"

"We laid out the core horizontally right behind the deflector. We added about 6 redundant breakers to stop energy surges from going from the dish into the core, but its a straight dump for the core into the dish. She actually gets more power then she should, bringing her speed up by a whole .5 of a velocity." Henry said taping a button and a cross section of the ship appeared, "With the tech we have these days anyway, the risk of a surge is mitigated."

"Starfleet seems to be going for that design more and more these days," opined Minawara with a nod. "Makes sense really, smaller vessels with more powerful warp drives, or in this case, a Quantum Slipstream Drive. Those breakers, they the new ones that were being worked on for the Sovereign refit? Allow for a higher volume of power to be directed through a section, plus the ability for an engineer to "pull the plug" as it were on a system, hard cutting off the ability to use it?" He dragged the ship's cross section up to eye height and examined it more closely. It wasn't the most complicated design, but it sure wasn't outdated either. There were sections of the design that he didn't even recognize, probably as a result of being displaced for three years.

"They are indeed. We've had a lot of success with them, it's given us the ability to make smaller ships go faster, farther, give them stronger defenses but keep the small number of crew required to spread out the already struggling fleet numbers. Recruiting cant keep up with the amount of ships the yards are spitting out at the moment." Henry said with a shrug, "You've both seen the designs, Starfleet's transitioning to smaller designs with a few bigger ones here and there for deep space exploration. Intrepid's outnumber Excelsior's these days which is something I'd never thought I'd see."

"Same hull composition as the Vesta class I'm assuming. It stands up to the quantum stresses better." Ewan said as he examined a list of the specs to the side. "Huh... look at that Yoshi, its that backup quantum field generator we advocated for."

"Huh," replied Minawara pointing to it. "Yeah, the one that allowed the primary one to double as a Chroniton Regulator, keeping the system from being separate, and preventing errors." It was another slightly dark jab at the situation that was sure to draw a bit of ire from the older man, if only between friends. "But all in all Admiral, she looks good. Speaking of crewing issues, you think the Fleet is really going to look at switching delta shift crew to holographic personnel? Or is that mostly a wild rumor from the boys spending too much time around skunkworks?"

"Rumour." Henry said with a laugh, "You'll never have crewing issues with a ship of the line, but we're not that desperate yet. Class intake at the academy is increasing and holograms whilst they have been proven to work well in the role are still too unreliable. If power went out, boom there goes your shift. If we can figure out the Doctor's Mobile Emitter maybe one day. I'm glad you gentlemen like it though."

"Glad to see a good ship coming out of the design teams. How soon do we expect to see a full roll out of them?" Asked Yoshi, more curious to see when the new ships would be making their way into the rest of the Fleet, and start to see some aging ships removed.

"A year or two, production is only just ramping up." Henry said with a shrug, "The namesake is currently just finishing her shakedown cruise, with the next four ships finishing up in the next month. There's a bit of a gap after that, we had a few issues with supply chain but by this time next year we should have at least a dozen or so in the black."

"Ambitious." Ewan said with a soft whistle, "They really want to get rid of all the Mirandas don't they."

"Indeed they do." Markstrom laughed, "Some of the older ones are nearing 200 years old. Its a miracle they've been out there as long as they have."

"The USS Peregrine was laid in 2261, wasn't it? Still floating around stardock, being used as a parts hauler for the Yard," replied Yoshi with a chuckle. He'd spent a few weeks on the ship, which was so old that the ship's bridge still felt right at home at the end of the Federation-Klingon War, reaching an age that even refits were no longer really possible. There had been a petition to change the name officially to "Workhorse" and see the ship completely drydocked and retrofitted to be able to serve another hudred years, more as a beacon of Federation Engineering than as a realistic need for the ship to continue. "Well if we can help, you know you can always call."

"I might have an idea or two." Henry said with a nod. "I might have some plans to cook up, but I'll let you know if anything becomes solid." The Admiral turned to face away from his two friends, appearing to look at someone out of the holoprojectors pick up. "Alright, thank you Lieutenant." Turning back to Yoshi and Ewan, Henry smiled, "Well sorry gentlemen duty calls."

"Have fun Henry." Ewan said with a nod as the man flickered out of existence and disappeared.

Turning to Yoshi Ewan smiled, "Well seems like we're leaving a legacy out there now."

"Yes, don't tell my wife though," quiped the CO to his Second. "I'll never here the end of it..."


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