Star Trek: Cygnus


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Achieving Orbit

Posted on Wed Mar 3rd, 2021 @ 12:38am by Captain Maxwell Stafford

Mission: Episode 2: Collision Course
Location: Main Bridge | U.S.S. Cygnus
Timeline: Mission Day 2 | 05:43 Ship Time

Captain’s Log, Stardate 76165.03. The Cygnus will soon arrive in orbit of Dalriada V where we will begin the work of evacuating the colony. I’ve already received reports of resistance in some quarters to our presence, which will only make an already difficult job even harder. I’m hopeful the scientists and engineers can come up with a way to deflect the asteroid but that’s far from guaranteed. The next few days will be crucial.

The Bridge was quiet at this time of the morning. The night shift was coming to an end and Alpha shift would begin in a little over fifteen minutes. In a matter of minutes, the Cygnus would drop out of warp close to Dalriada V and slip effortlessly into geosynchronous orbit above the Capital. Wanting to be on the Bridge when that happened, Captain Stafford emerged from the turbolift earlier than he normally would have and relieved the delta shift Officer of the Watch.

“Sir, we’re approaching the Dalriada system.” The duty CONN officer announced.

Stafford nodded in acknowledgment, even though the officer sitting at the helm had her back to him. “Slow to impulse.” He ordered. “Take us into geosynchronous orbit over the Dalriadan capital.”

A few minutes passed as the bridge crew worked in silence. From his position in the centre seat, Captain Stafford watched as his crew worked and their destination began to loom ever larger on the viewscreen. Eventually the duty CONN officer spoke again. “Achieving orbit now, sir.”

Max pushed himself to his feet and took several steps forward. “Open a channel.” He waited for the Tactical Officer to carry out that order and within seconds indicated that a channel was open. “This is Captain Maxwell Stafford of the Federation Starship Cygnus. We’ve been sent by the Federation to evacuate your planet in the face of the impending asteroid strike.”

The Captain’s opening hail was met with silence. Five seconds became ten, ten became twenty. Stafford stepped his left foot back and twisted his upper body to face the tactical officer. “Are their communications systems down?”

“No, sir.” The duty tactical officer replied. “They’re receiving our signal just fine.”

Stafford opened his mouth to speak again but was cut short when the face of a man with olive skin, jet black hair liberally peppered with grey flecks and deep brown eyes appeared on screen. His clothes were dishevelled and the dark circles around his eyes presented the appearance of a man with the weight of the world on his shoulder, which Maxwell supposed he did indeed have.

“I’m Prime Minister Massimo Rinaldi of Dalriada V. We didn’t request an evacuation. We asked the Federation to deflect the asteroid.” Rinaldi rubbed his face in frustration. “I see the Federation hasn’t changed since our ancestors left. Still quick to rip people away from their homes when faced with a problem.”

It seemed like the Dalriadan’s dislike and distrust of the Federation had not been exaggerated. “My science and engineering teams will be working with your own scientists to try and deflect the asteroid. However, we need to make preparations to begin an evacuation. I’d like to start evacuating people as soon as possible. Leaving it until the last minute would be too great a risk.”

As the Captain and Prime Minister had their conversation, the shift change occurred smoothly around him; the night shift officers were replaced by the Cygnus’ senior officers.

“I will not order an evacuation until it is clear that the asteroid cannot be deflected.” The Prime Minister replied firmly. “I will address my people. Those who wish to transport to your ship can do so but I will not order a mandatory evacuation just yet. That would be premature.”

Premature? Leaving an evacuation until the last minute only invited panic and chaos. Stafford opened his mouth to argue but decided better of it. There was little chance that Prime Minister Rinaldi would listen to reason. “Understood, Prime Minister.” He watched as the Prime Minister looked at someone off screen and held a conversation with them. It seemed Maxwell had been muted.

Max waited patiently until he heard the voice of the Prime Minister once more. “My aides tell me that your ship is not big enough to accommodate all my people.” Rinaldi said at the end of his conversation. “Are the lives of my people not valuable enough to the mighty Federation?”

It took every ounce of his self control for Stafford not to roll his eyes. “The Cygnus will be able to accommodate twelve hundred people. Another starship is due to arrive tomorrow along with two transport ships. Combined there will be more than enough space for every one of your citizens.”

Denied the chance to criticise the Federation again, Prime Minister Rinaldi audibly snorted indignantly. “Very well. Our scientists are waiting to transport to your ship. I expect you to share all the information you obtain with them and they will report to me directly.”

Stafford dipped his head. “Of course. If you give us their co-ordinates we can beam them up immediately.” He paused to steel himself against what he was about to do. “I’d be delighted to host you on the Cygnus and allow you to see the preparations we’re making to accommodate…”

“I am not leaving this planet until I have to, Captain.” The Prime Minister cut across Max’s offer. “One of my ministers will beam to make sure that the preparations you are making are adequate and that my people will be well looked after in the event that we have to evacuate. Now, if you’ll excuse me I have much to attend to.”

In the blink of an eye, the viewscreen image switched from the face of the Prime Minister to the view of the planet below them. Stafford turned to where Commander Pope was sitting watching the conversation play out. “What a charming man.” He took a deep breath in through his nose and let it out through his mouth. Meeting the gaze of his Exec, he gave the order. “Let’s go to work.”

Captain Maxwell Stafford
Commanding Officer
U.S.S. Cygnus


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