USS Vesta

A Play-by-Nova roleplay game.

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And Away We Go

Posted on Sun May 21st, 2023 @ 4:23pm by Captain Ewan Darrow & Commander Jonathan Mantell & Commander Martin Sorenson & Lieutenant Commander Nolan Marc & Lieutenant Njalia Sayffier & Lieutenant M'rrina & Lieutenant Rufus Marocain

Mission: Shakedown Shake-Up
Location: USS Nelson
2453 words - 4.9 OF Standard Post Measure

Ewan stood at the centre of the bridge of the USS Nelson and slowly turned in a circle taking in all those manning their posts, preparing the ship for its first... well technically second, launch into space for a shakedown cruise. It felt odd, being here standing in the centre of the command well alone, sure he had done it before commanding the Vesta, but it had never been HIS ship before. He had always been the second in command, number one, the exec, XO, Executive Officer. Now here he was, the last in the chain of command on board, the one making the final decisions.

But that just wasn't it either, it was odd because he now had a command of his own, but the ship he commanded now was not his for she was still being stripped of all the melted bits. He was here at the request of his friend and admiral's request to test out a ship that was the first of her kind. Built-in a civilian yard, not a military one, the Nelson was going to be... an interesting challenge. Already Ewan had run into a few problems that he now found himself wanting to dig deeper into the ships guts and figure some things out, but for now, they had another task.

Launching the ship and heading into space.

Looking towards the front of the rather cramped bridge in comparison to the Vesta's bridge, Ewan nodded towards the helmsman, "Rufus, we ready to fly?"

The helmshound placed his fingers on the console, like a concert pianist readying to play. "Ready, Captain." It was said with more confidence than he felt about a ship with all the issues they'd found just while boarding. But those should be sorted now, and if they weren't, at least he had two level sevens right here to over ride stupidity. "All systems read nominal. On your command, sir."

Ewan nodded as he turned to look over at Njalia, "Ms Sayffier, what about your side of the house, we all ready to venture out into that inky black?"

Njalia sent a restore code through to the navigation transponder and it's telltale shifted from amber to green. "All systems are stable, SIG, Captain. Long-range sensors are not picking up anything anomalous."

"Martin, how about the rest of the ship?" He asked looking over at the rather odd looking Martin in Red.

The doctor, reluctantly dressed as an XO (and in this awful uniform style with plethora jacket), checked the list outs from the other departments and systems. They read green and he hoped the ship had been put enough to rights that he could trust that. "Systems read ready," he replied.

Ewan nodded, leaning over as he picked up his mug from the ground and taking a sip of his tea. It was now or never, hoping that some of the early reports he had read from the crew were somewhat exaggerated or at least somewhat corrected. "Well let's do this then, bring the engines online, Ops ensure everything is sealed, Rufus plot us a course any direction. M'rrina let's message Esquimalt and get clearance and have crews on standby."

"Checked and doubles checked, Captain," replied Njalia. She called up her link to Ice Maiden, who nodded, confirming that all was good with the computer system.

"Esquimalt control confirms we are clear to launch, sir." M'rrina's rumbling trill of a voice called out, the ear with her tiny earpiece flicking slightly by reflex at sounds only she could hear.

"Any direction set, sir. Second star to the right and straight on til morning," Rufus replied with a grin. He might have been spending too much time with Jack, but the old earth story quote seemed to fit.

Ewan chuckled at Rufu's choice of 'destination' for their first flight. "Alright then, Rufus take us out quarter impulse once we're clear of the moorings." He paced back and forth a bit as he felt the hum of anticipation in the engines of the ship ready to come up and push her bulk out of the dock. "Martin, what's the report from the rest of the ship? Engineering ready to take us to warp?"

"Aye, sir, moorings away," Rufus reported, as he guided the ship out of the dock. "Switching to impulse," he said, smoothly applying marginal thrust to take her toward safe distance from the station.

Martin checked the read outs. "All departments show ready." Then, following procedure, he also tapped the comm. "Bridge to Engineering. Are we ready to go to warp?"

"Ensign Kaelon, double-check that there's no authorization barriers to actually engaging the warp drive." Engineering was knee-deep in the last, few checks before warp. Jack could have had the holograms do it all and rest on the automation, but that wasn't his style. If that wasn't what Starfleet had wanted from this crew, then they shouldn't have assigned him. "Lieutenant Fahri, how's that secondary power coupling bypass, still holding steady? Commander Marc, navigational deflector primed and polished?" He turned to the hologram standing by at the console he'd assigned. "Fives, how's our intermix ratio? It's been a while since I warped, but I think it's still one-to-one."

"There's some kind of physical shielding overlaying the deflector array," Nolan offered in answer, from one of the side alcoves. "I'm not sure what the designers were thinking, but the system shows green and the holograms keep saying it's fine." Which wasn't very reassuring.

The boy engineer gave his team a sidelong smirk before glancing down for one last cross-check of his own systems. Jack looked up before tapping his combadge to no objections, then told the bridge, "This is Engineering. You are Level Seven go for warp."

Up on the bridge Martin suppressed a chuckle at the reference to level seven. "Engineering reports ready for warp."

"Well then..." Ewan said as he turned to face the main viewscreen as the ship slowly moved out from the dock. Ewan watched as Rufus slowly but expertly weaved the Nelson through the docks that were situated around the Starbase. The hulks of various ships now being repaired or beginning their construction sat in each one the engineers of the Starbase full booked for months.

It was a site to behold, but paled in comparison to what the Fleet was once able to do at Utopia. Of course, they had come a long way since the disaster oh so many years ago, but it wasn't the same. Starfleet had smartly distributed their yards across more than one system to a wider extent then before, yet to see Utopia in its prime, such a massive fleet yard with so many ships new and old, prototype or refit.

He missed it somewhat.

"I guess it's now or never..." He said as he watched the ship dodge the last of the scaffolding docks and watched a sea of worker bees clear the way for the larger ship barrelling down on them. "Rufus, pedal to the medal, lets see what this ship can do shall we?"

"Aye, sir!" Rufus replied, pushing the ship into warp with relish, as evidenced by ears perked, canid grin and a barely contained wag. It was always a thrill putting a new ship into warp, and the helmshound almost felt like all the frustrations with onboarding were worth it to see what this baby could do. But then there was something, he wasn't sure exactly what or if it was just the unfamiliar feel a new propulsion system, but no... An ear flipped back. "Does anyone else hear that?"

“Yeah.” M’rrina’s point-tufted ears were flicking and rotating as well. “Definitely not normal.”

Njalia's antenna twitched. "Now that you mention it. What is it?" She began running some status checks.

Ewan let out a sigh as he turned towards his comm specialist, "M'rrina, isolate the noise and amplify it, feed it through the bridge speakers for those of us who don't have the same type of hearing as you guys. I... have a thought." He had felt it, it was subtle but he had felt it. Despite his age the Captain had been around a long time and ship buildings and prototypes had been his bread and butter for years, so he had an idea.

About thirty seconds later, the amplified sound played through the speakers on the bridge, and M'rrina's ears bent back down to her head slightly in an attempt to lessen the noise. "There you are, sir."

Ewan let out a sigh as he collapsed into the Command Chair at the center of the bridge, huffing out as he did. The force of his sudden weight crashed into the chair, his arms hitting the armrests, and the left armrest popped off and clattered to the floor. Ewan stared at it for a moment before simply shaking his head, "There's a slight shudder in the ship's hull, likely due to a symmetry problem within the warp field and the way the ship's hull is designed. Think of it like a ship with a box at the front, instead of water smoothly going past the bow, it is crashing against it causing a shudder. Njalia, check the programming on the inertial compensators, I bet you they're programmed to get rid of it for those inside the ship."

Martin looked at the broken armrest and dragged a hand down his face. Was anything on this ship made properly?

"On it, sir," Njalia called up the inertial compensation data, she scanned the information, and again. Then tentatively made some adjustments. The noise decreased but did not entirely vanish. "There is something there that I cannot find the right balance for yet, sir, my apologies. I will keep working on it."

"If it's structural masking it isn't the issue," Rufus said, voice taking on almost a growl with frustration as his fingers jabbed the helm. "Don't decrease the noise. If I'm reading this right, they tried to mask this so it wouldn't be noticeable to the conn." His ears flattened back, angry at someone hiding rather than fixing a design flaw.

"No Lieutenant we don't want to mask it, we want to find it, it's an inherent flaw in the ship's superstructure that is causing this and it could cause further issues, the mark of a lazy engineer...." Ewan said as he drummed his fingers on the still intact right armrest. "Jack, I assume you've been listening in?"

"Do you feel that?" the Chief Engineer was asking his second down in Engineering. Jack's palms were on the console in front of him while he kicked off his shoes, setting them on the floor underneath. "It's barely there, but it's there." The shaking head from the Kelpien lieutenant wasn't very encouraging, and the boy made a sound somewhere between a scoff and a chuckle. "Shouldn't your danglia be ganging up on you, or something?"

Putting fingers behind his head, the Only did his impression of the Kelpien's visible sixth sense. In return, Lieutenant Fahri did her best impression of a disappointed Human mother, and her crossed arms made Jack break out into a guffaw. "Okay, okay, but help me up here."

"You know what Dr. Sorenson said about hanging from the second level..." Fahri chided him, but she bent down to lift the reaching boy up anyway. Jack didn't need to climb all the way up to the ringed balcony above the main engineering bay, he grabbed on and told her to let him go while hanging from his fingertips, heedless of the warnings against it.

"Yeah, I feel ya, Captain," Jack said loud enough for the comms to pipe his voice to the bridge. With his feet above the decking, the boy engineer could still feel the ship's vibrations free of any other interference. They felt very wrong to the Chief Engineer. "And I'm feeling what you're feeling, too. Did Rufus forget to unset the parking brake? Because if it's not that, it might be what you suspect. I'd recommend dropping out of warp so we can pinpoint the issue."

Swinging down from his perch, Jack glanced over to Nolan, "Let's start a diagnostic on the subspace warp bubble in the meantime."

"You heard the man Rufus bring us out of warp, we have some investigating to do," Ewan ordered as pulled himself out of the chair to stand once more in the centre of the bridge, "Jack, you're heading this up, figure out where the hull is cavitating and figure out how we fix it. Someone knew about this and covered it up intentionally via software fixes."

This annoyed Ewan greatly, especially the danger it could potentially put the crew in. Sure, Starfleet had issued software patches before to fix minor issues in warp engines, to alter geometry before to make it slightly more efficient and the like. To use it to cover up an inherent instability in the design of a ship's warp profile was dangerous.

What if the ship's computer had to be reset and the software patch disappeared? Would the ship begin to shudder and shudder to the point where it might cause larger issues? Knock EPS conduits out of sync, break a deuterium storage pod? Of course, those were all worst-case scenarios but Starfleet Engineering planned for those, they didn't cover them up, they documented the living hell out of them in manuals.

Was it maybe the Nelson's civilian contractors who had done it? Of course, the quality control at the yards could be suspect and maybe something was built out of tolerance to Starfleet's standards. That would mean it showed up in initial trials though, which led to the software patch. "Njalia, M'rrina see what you can access from the initial space trials before this ship was commissioned. If that means linking to the Civilian yards computers and hacking in to get them, do it. I want to read them over and they might prove enlightening to other issues before we find them."

It was something he shouldn't have to do, he should be able to trust the yard engineers and to an extent he did.

It was the managers he didn't trust, especially from a Civilian yard bent on getting a contract.

With a sigh, he glanced around, "Any questions?"

There was a pause of silence as he looked around, "None? Good. You have your orders, get to it." Ewan said as he looked down at the armrest that was still laying on the floor beside his chair, "And someone find some super glue or something so I can fix that please."


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