USS Vesta

A Play-by-Nova roleplay game.

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Red One

Posted on Thu Dec 24th, 2020 @ 9:09am by Commodore Yoshi Minawara
Edited on on Thu Dec 24th, 2020 @ 9:10am

Mission: Back Post
Location: Earth Orbit
Timeline: 2396->2389
1721 words - 3.4 OF Standard Post Measure

Christmas was a fun time for many across the Federation. While a human tradition, many species had adopted the fun time to spend time with family, and life aboard the Vesta was no different. The Commodore couldn't help but chuckle as he walked around ship he saw the various signs of civilian life aboard the ship. Garland hung along bulkheads, some of it a suspicious colour of pink that implied the presence of the ships resident trouble maker, Tullulah. The holographic system in other areas dropped snow that evaporated just before it touched you, likely a trick from Jack to keep the festive season high. After last year, the man paused as he came to a corridor and looked around when he heard the giggling. This time wasn't an ambush in wait (even holographic snow could get down the back of a uniform), but was a group of kids laughing as they dragged a replicated sled behind them.

Arriving in his own quarters he chuckled, his wife having decorated the room to make room for Ewan and Allison later that evening. A tree sat in the corner, covered in bits and baubles, itself hung with garland and lights. The room twinkled lightly, the smell of ham filling the room baked goods were laid out. A light peck on the cheek, and Yoshi headed to the room to change. Sitting, laid out neatly on the bed, was a flight suit. He picked it up, running his fingers over the fabric, the zippers, and the patch on the left arm.

RED ONE the patch read, with the picture of an old earth sleigh with warp nacelles stuck to it. 2389 was emblazened below it. The name tape across the chest read S. CLAUS. A joke, passed down from mission commander to mission commander. Christmas was still a few weeks away, but it sounded like the USS Palatine had been selected to be the special vessel tasked with the mission of escorting Santa Claus this year. Captain Sullivan was surely tickled, she had quite the sense of humour. As much as it seemed silly, it was an important mission for many, part of keeping a little magic alive, even in the darkest of time. And 2389 had been no different.

NXQ-Gamma sat in its cradle, as the crew stood around doing the final flight checks on the exterior. Commander Minawara pulled his gloves tight and let the suit secure around his wrist. His copilot, Lieutenant Jackson Garcia was pulling the last fuel line off the vessel as he approached and looked back to smile.

"Mister Claus," came the teasing tone, and Yoshi rolled his eyes.

"You're not too far off being the right height for an elf," retorted Minawara, which earned a laugh. The pair exchanged a fist pump, an ancient pilot mission. The craft, usually a boring slate grey, was painted up for it's mission, tacky as it might look. The majority of the craft was now bright red (and would be retired in that colour as it's last flight mission), the underside having a streak of gold painted to look like sleigh rails. It's nacelles, tucked into it's body, were painted with four reindeer a side, and a single, red nosed on painted on the front just above the deflector. It was a ridiculously hideous colour scheme, at least in the mind of Yoshi, but again, this mission was a critical part of the Starfleet mission. Even the name had been scrubbed, replaced instead with a new temporary one.


Climbing up the the built in ladder into the tandem cockpit, the pair settled into their seats. The sound of the glass hissing sealed around them filled the cockpit, and each of them reached behind their seats and pulled their helmets into place. Gamma was a special test ship, originally designed to test to performance of the quantum slipstream drive in a ship capable of entering planetary atmosphere. It had been a success, with Delta, Epsilon and lastly Zeta following it successfully. Each design allowed small tweaks for future ships, and one day hopefully inspire many new designs. Today though, there was enough benamite left in the chamber for eight jumps to slipstream. The pattern had been carefully calculated, Earth, past Luna, to Vulcan, Vulcan to Andoria, Andoria to Tellar, Tellar to Trill, Trill to Betazed, Betazed to Cait, Cait to Bajor, and Bajor back to Earth. It was considered a round about enough path to allow for any eager children watching the tracking to assume Santa had passed close enough to drop off their presents.

Firing up the anti-gravity engines, the craft lifted gently from it's berth, the sound of its engines filling the pair's ears as they waiting for the launch doors to open. Above them, the massive bay doors opened slowly, snow falling into the rarely used launch facility. SFB Alert, formerly a Canadian base, had been converted to an Arctic facility centuries ago, and now acted as a test facility for snow testing. Today however, it served a different purpose. There was a pause, as the comms array crackled to life. //"RED ONE we show you are ready for departure, please confirm,"\\ came the cool call from the communications operator at Earth Control. A collection of satellites tracked the ship, relaying it to the Federation Internet, where kids the galaxy over could track that Earth Control had confirmation of Santa's sleigh. In the past, this facility would launch a shuttle to an awaiting ship, but this year, there was no need.

"Confirmed Earth Control, this is Red One, Elves are clear and we are prepping for launch," replied Garcia in the seat behind him, his voice cool as ice, but Yoshi knew there was a shit eating grin across his face. The next part was transmitted, and critical. There was a pause as the communications system was opened up. There was a held breath as everyone waited. In his chest, Yoshi could feel his heart pound hard, he was more nervous than when he had asked Alice to marry him, or when the first Quantum Slipstream Vessel flew. This was something different from all of that.

//"Red One, spaceways are clear, you are good for departure."\\

Yoshi took a deep breath, and lowered his voice to the best impression he could do of the traditional rendition of Saint Nick. Behind him, he could hear the subtle chuckle of Garcia, and he wanted to turn around and smack the man, but timing was important. "Thank you Earth Control," he said, his voice as jolly as he could manage. "Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer, and Vixen! On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Dunder and Blitzen! To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!" He keyed the controls and pulled out of the facility, pushing the thrusters forward, the engines fired hard, and the ship rocketed across the sky. Quickly it passed through MACH 2, pushing up to MACH 3, leaving a trail of heated air behind it as it pulled up into the atmosphere. From the ground the trailed of moisture would expand, lit from a thousand stars above and the lights of Luna as the ship pulled through the atmosphere. In a matter of minutes they had reached orbit, rocketing around at three hundred kilometers above the Earth's surface. At nearly forty times the speed of sound, the craft would have looked magical to anyone watching, completing an orbit, before banking away from Earth and towards Luna. It would be a close pass, low enough to see that an object had passed by to anyone looking up.

"We are at optimal QSD conditions," came the calm voice of Garcia behind him, and Yoshi's eyes tracked over the controls as he checked his own systems.

"Navigational deflector and chroniton regulator are stable," he called back to his copilot. Quickly they were approaching the edge of the moon's visible range, where they were planning to make the jump. Below the moon rushed past, getting larger as they came. "We have clearance from Luna Control that we have no traffic and are clear."

"Benamite matrix is stable, the field is stable, we're good to make the transition on your call," the tone was professional, and while the next line was sure to draw some jokes from his friend, Yoshi knew in the moment they were being serious. A mistake here would cause a real disaster. They had to be serious. On a private comms channel, Garcia keyed the Luna Control as well as San Francisco Fleet Yards, letting them know that everything looked good on their end. SFFY called back that things looked good on their end as well and they were green for transition to slipstream. "All to you boss," came the call, the teasing back in his voice.

Over the open comms, the one that could easily be monitored by a curious child, Yoshi called out. "Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night." With that he pushed the control for the transition to slipstream, and in a streak of brilliant blue light, the vessel rocketed past the subspace barrier and into a stable flight, headed now for Vulcan. Letting out a low breath, the pair celebrated the safe transition.

Zipping the flight suit the rest of the way up, Yoshi looked in the mirror and frowned. It fit a bit tighter than he remembered, and didn't quite sit right. Pushing the thought that a comfy desk job was making him fat, he instead accredited it to his wife, the wonderful cook she was. She was plumping him up, that was definitely it. Maybe she would make him throw on a beard and go wave at all the kids in this suit, that was the plan. H heard the doors hiss open, and the general sounds of cheer and merriment come from the arriving group. He spun on his heels, a smile spreading as he stepped into the door way. "I don't think it fits right anymore," he said, drawing a round of laughter as he went to join his friends for their Christmas Party dinner.


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