One month after Rogue Plans
She shone dully, even with all the bright lights illuminating her.
She was bustling with shuttles and work bees as she prepared to take off, final preparations being made. The ship was almost ready, but she was missing one very vital component.
An X-wing, covered in paintings of fighters, capital ships and a pair of battlestations, came to a rest on the battlecruiser's main hangar deck, delivering this last component.
The Redemption was complete again.
I popped the canopy on my fighter, stood up, and looked around the hangar. I smiled. It was covered in activity, with shuttles coming in and out, dropping off cargo and personnel.
Slowly, the noise and conversation stopped as everyone spotted me. Suddenly, abruptly, thunderous applause erupted from the crowd, with people chanting "Captain Captain Captain!"
I grinned and rose my voice above the cheers. "Thank you all! It's good to be back!"
There was one last woop, then everyone went back to work, smiles on their faces.
A tech rolled over a ladder. I nodded appreciatively and climbed down, then turned to the smiling human.
"Thanks. Have Deck Officer Miller put her into storage, but keep her ready. I might need her again."
The crewman nodded, smiling. I chuckled, patting his shoulder as I went past.
Looking up, I spotted the racks of fighters and modules above my head, and my grin grew wider, if it could.
I made my way towards the closest turbolift, squeezing past busy Starfleeters as I did. Finally, I managed to find an empty turbolift and I slipped inside.
I opened my mouth to say bridge, but I stopped myself. Should I go up first, or check in on the new things?
I decided on the latter, and said, "MACO barracks."
The turbolift shot down, heading towards the engineering deck. As it came to a stop, I stepped out and watched as uniformed men and women moved about, carrying crates of grenades, armfuls of rifles, or armor plates.
As part of the refit, I had requested a battalion from the Military Assault Command Operations. Because of that, the 200 men and women that came with needed space to live in. Redemption, like most ships, had a couple of unused decks, about eight.
After a bit of rearranging, two of the decks had been assigned to the MACOs. Another two decks were taken by the new secondary hangar bay on the engineering hull, which raised the ship's carrying capacity to thirty-six fighters, ten shuttles, and two runabouts. The other two decks were taken up by the new auxiliary escort on the top of the engineering hull.
As I weaved my way through the military personnel- some whom nodded to me- I couldn't keep the grin from my face.
Damn it, my face is going to be hurting from all the damn smiling! I thought, but that didn't dissuade me.
I came into the small little 'courtyard' where the two decks were connected by a open overlook, looking around, I spotted my target.
Even without his armor, he was a big man, standing tall above everyone. Reinhardt Wilhelm was commanding officer of the MACOs on board Redemption.
A member of the special forces group Overwatch, Reinhardt was a distinguished officer in MACO and the special forces. We had worked together once, helping defend a colony world from the attacks of a terrorist organization. It was good to see him again.
The man turned around and looked up at me, grinning.
"Adviral!" He boomed out, german accent filling the deck. "It's good to see vou!"
"You as well, Commander!" I nodded back. Finding one of the ladders that went down to the lower deck, I joined the larger man. "How is the load up going?"
"Wery vell. Ve'we got almost everything ve need. Ve'll be combat ready for any situation you send us into."
"Good. I have a feeling we'll be heading into some deep shit very soon."
"Anything you need before we leave?"
"Ve could do with some specialized grenades, more emplacenemts for the prefab."
I nodded, rubbing my chin and feeling a bit of stubble there. "I'll see what I can do."
"Thank you, Adviral."
I moved on and got to another turbolift. Smiling, I called out my destination. "Redeemer, deck one."
As the lift rode along, there was a slight bump as the car moved onto a different ship entirely. Clearing five decks easily, I stepped onto the bridge of the first ship of the Redeemer-class.
Small, agile, and fast as all hell, the Redeemer was an auxiliary High Maneuverability Escort, designed to be paired with a larger mothership. She was a variant of the Mercury-class, and gave the Redemption a lot more firepower.
With all these upgrades, Redemption could be called her own class. I thought.
I heard the hard noise of a vocoder and my universal translator quickly supplied what was being said.
I turned and smirked at the Breen commander. "Commander Jos."
Jos, a competent pilot and commander, had defected to my ship a couple months back. He was originally the Beta shift pilot, but I had reassigned him and promoted him to command the new escort.
"Is the Redeemer ready for launch?"
"Aye. The last of our torpedo magazine is being loaded now and the phaser capacitors are fully charged. Engines have been put through their paces-"
Just as he says that, the shipboard intercom chirps and Thorin's voice comes out. "All hands, prepare for main engines test-fire in ten seconds."
I reached over and grabbed a hold of a chair to steady myself. Moments later, the deck rumbled and a high-pitched squeal sounded through the ship. Affectionately called the 'baby's cry' by engineers from the Milky Way to Andromeda; the sound would fade away into the rumble of a well-seasoned engine by the time we got to our next posting.
"And we'll be ready to deploy whenever you give the order." Jos said over the noise.
"Good. Call me paranoid, but I think we'll need the firepower." I patted his shoulder in passing and grabbed a turbolift. Smiling, I called out my final destination.
"Bridge, priority override."
As the turbolift shot up, I took a moment to think. I had a strange, familiar feeling, and I couldn't put my finger on what it meant. A second later, I remembered. It was the same feeling I got whenever I had my 'visions' back when I first arrived in the Milky Way galaxy.
I didn't have time to pursue that train of thought when the turbolift slowed and the doors opened. I took a moment to gather myself, and stepped out.
The bridge, like the rest of the ship, was busy with people. SCE engineers made last-minute checks on the consoles, bridge crew got familiar with their stations, and the viewscreen ran through it's paces.
"Captain on deck!"
Every person who's job did not require their immediate attention turned towards me and snapped to attention. Smiling, I locked eyes with the person who called out.
The same height as I was, she wore a tactical red Sierra uniform with three commander's pips standing out on her lapel. She had a shock of white hair cut down around her ears, and her antennae curled in happiness.
"At ease." I called out and everyone went back to what they were doing. I stepped up to the Andorian. "Commander."
We stared down for approximately two seconds before she broke and gave me a hug.
"It's so good to be back."
I laughed. "That it is, Tallasa, that it is." I stepped back as she released me and tried to get back some professionalism. "So, what have we got?"
Tallasa turned back to her console. "All upgrades have been installed. We now have seven phaser banks, a expanded torpedo magazine and several Zero Point Conduits spread around the ship. We have three squadrons of Rogue-class fighters, with accompanying pilots, two hundred MACO marines, and one carrier-based High Maneuverability Escort, and accompanying crew."
"Time til takeoff?"
I checked my wrist chronometer against the ship's time and nodded. "Good. Meet me in my ready room so we can fill out the paperwork."
I looked around at the bridge stations. Nelen Exil was busy at the main science console, Shannon Elswood was at the helm, working with an engineer to test all the maneuvering thrusters, Marlin ran the subspace transceiver through it's paces, and a young Caitian female manned the ops console.
I hummed and made a mental note to check up on the ensign's name later, while I joined Tallasa in taking down the paperwork that came with a massive refit.
After writing my name down and pressing my finger to a reader Force knows how much, we finally made it through all the paperwork and launch was rapidly approaching.
"My fingers ache." Tallasa complained, flopping back into her chair and tossing the last padd onto the pile.
I grinned and stretched out my own flanges. "You have no idea how good it feels to be sitting here again."
She smiled and turned her attention to a corner of the room. "I see they kept your collection intact."
I nodded. I had a small little area where little models of my previous ships sat, alongside my battered and carbon-scored X-wing helmet.
The intercom chirped, breaking me out of my reverie. "Now here this. Fifteen minutes until launch. All hands, standby for launch."
I stood and my grin evolved into a full-blown smile. "You know what that means."
She mirrored my grin and stood. "Hell yes."
I strode out of the ready room and took to the chair. "Status."
"All SCE and spacedock crewmen are leaving the ship." Marlin reported.
I waited for a moment, then turned towards the ops station. "Ensign Muse?"
Straa Muse jumped, then realised where she was. "Oh, uhhh… weapons at the ready, engines at takeoff standby, sensors at full... uh, all stations report ready."
I gave her a kind smile and turned back to the viewscreen. I'd have to help her out later. Right now, there was the small matter of launching the ship.
"Captain, incoming from ESD." Marlin called out. "It's Admiral Quinn."
I nodded and stood. "Put him up."
The viewscreen changed for a moment to the Starbase 01 badge, then to the face of Admiral Quinn. The gray haired Trill had a miniscule smile on his face.
"Admiral. Permission to launch?"
"Granted. I'll be good to see you out there again. We'll certainly need you."
"It will be good to be out in the black again."
Quinn worked a padd for a moment. "I'm sending you your next assignment. Good luck out there Wedge. You'll need it."
The line cut. I nodded again, took to the Chair, and hit the intercom. "All hands, stand to launch stations."
Everyone immediately sprang to action. Senior staff handled the minuta.
"Detach all umbilicals and docking tubes." Tallasa called out. "Cutting connections to shipyard."
"We are free from the yard." Nelen informed.
"Shannon, take us out, one-quarter impulse."
Everyone except the greenhorns grinned and Shannon complied. "Aye sir, one quarter impulse."
Redemption came to life, with her new and improved engines roaring, propelling the battlecruiser out of her spindly cradle.
"Come about, heading eight-five-three mark seven-three-two."
Shannon expertly weaved his way through the shipyards and their traffic.
"We are clear, sir." He reported.
"Excellent. Warp three, punch it!"
The scream of the impulse engines dropped and the hum of the warp core rose in volume as the nacelles drew power. Moments later, we were breaking-no- passing the light barrier.
"Just have us cruise along for now. I need to read up on that assignment. Tal, you have the conn, I'll be in my ready room."
I rose and strode into the room.
"Enjoying yourself, mon Capitaine?"
There, sitting at my desk with his feet up and a smug smile that could probably be used to define 'smug smile' was Q.
"Language! That's no way to talk to others! Especially me!"
The smug bastard rolled his eyes and swung his feet off my desk. "Well, I stopped by to see you. You're one of my favorites, and I couldn't help but see your tiny, insignificant ship among the stars again."
I sighed and, taking my chair and pulling up that assignment, just resigned myself to a serenade of my insignificance.
"So, Antilles, do you enjoy your life here?"
I frowned and raised my eyebrow in an almost Vulcan fashion. This was different. "What's your game, Q?"
The bastard had the audacity to look shocked. "Game? Why, I would never mess around with you, Captain!"
I fixed him with a dry stare that told him that I didn't believe him.
"I repeat my question, Antilles; do you enjoy your life here?"
I decided to humor him, lest he get bored and started doing shit. "Yes, Q, I do enjoy my life here."
"Do you miss your old life?"
I opened my mouth to retort, then I stopped myself. "Yes, I do miss them."
"Would you do anything to see them again?"
I hesitated, trying to make a decision. "I… I don't know."
Q smiled, and I immediately knew that was bad. "Well, you won't have to make that choice. Good luck, or, may the Force be with you, as they say. You'll need it."
I opened my mouth to ask what he meant, but he snapped his fingers and was gone.
A moment later, there was a blinding flash from the window and the ship shook, almost sending me from my chair. I caught myself, then ran for the door.
"Report!" I called out as I staggered out onto the Bridge and into the Chair.
"We're out of warp!" Shannon called out, hands working to stabilize the ship.
I looked at the viewscreen, but it was down.
"Sensors down! I'm trying to get them back up!" Nelen alerted.
I didn't like being blind. "Get me something, at least the viewscreen!"
"Got it! Interference clearing up now."
The viewscreen slowly resolved from the static, and I felt my gut begin to cool.
As more shape resolved, I rose from the Chair. Conversation died down, until the only noise on the bridge was the computers.
Massive triangular ships dueled with bulbous, majestic works of art. Countless red and green lights flashed between them, while smaller ships darted around the titans.
"No, Q, NO!"
Tallasa was the first to break the silence. "...Sir?"
I turned around, a look of shock and utter disbelief on my face.
"I'm back home."
Author's Notes: SURPRISE MOTHERFUCKERS! I'm back! GOD, I feels good to rewrite this!
So, I'm gonna do a little something different. This is going to be a little teaser, while I work on the rest of the story. When it's done, I'll post a chapter every week.