A week and a half after Sacrifice of One
A broken, battered- yet somehow victorious ship hung in the spindly cradle of a Federation shipyard.
"Damn is right, Captain." Thorin growled out as I flew the Rogue past the broken, yet still alive hull of the Avenger-class battlecruiser Redemption. "If it wasn't for the fact that I know this was the Vaad's fault, I'd hand you your ass on a tritanium platter."
I grimaced. "Again, I wanted the crew to live. If that meant my death and the Redemption's destruction, I would have taken it."
"So, what are we doing now?" Commander Tallasa Phoj, my Andorian Tactical officer and XO, asked.
"The crew is getting shore leave. As for us," I referenced the Senior staff that were with me on the Yellowstone-class Runabout. "We're getting some upgrades for the Redemption. What better time to give her some new toys? Meet me in Holodeck 49 in one hour."
Slipping past the atmospheric shield at the Deck 47 shuttledocks and settling the craft down, we all exited the Rogue and went about our separate ways.
The interior of Deck 47 had been remodeled and revamped after its near destruction by the hands(?) of the Undine a month or two ago. It was a lot more efficient and, well, prettier, than the old interior.
I shook my head and found my way to a turbolift, but not before grabbing a coffee from one of the vendors on the spacedock (it was actual real coffee!)
"Engineering Deck." I ordered, savoring the sweet, bitter taste of my favorite drink and trying to ignore the fact that my baby was half-dead.
Sighing, I exited the turbolift as it came to a stop and entered the realm of the Starfleet Corps of Engineers.
While Utopia Planitia was where they built the starships, the Engineering levels of ESD was where most of their R&D projects were based. It was fondly called 'The Playground.'
The air was filled with the noises of machinery and clanks of metal, and I could smell the lubricants and metal in the air. I smiled and wove my way through the mess to the hangar bays.
"Torby! You here?" I called out, stepping around a clutter of spare parts and boxes to a relatively clear area
I saw a tall Tellarite (although a tall Tellarite was almost a contradiction of terms; he was four feet eight) poke his head out a plasma exhaust belonging to what looked like an unholy amalgamation of a Peregrine fighter and a Type 10 shuttle.
Torbjörn wasn't really his name, but his actual name was something unpronounceable by most organics, even with a universal translator helping out, so he told everyone to call him Torbjörn.
He was one of the best structural and ship design engineers in the fleet.
He had a florent blond beard done into a pair of braids, which were covered in grime. While short, he was quite large; wider than me by several handspans.
"Ah, Admiral!" He yelled, his Scottish accent giving his voice an exotic air. "It's been a while. How have you been doing, my boy?"
I smiled. "I've been better."
He nodded. "Ah, yes, I heard about the Redemption. BUT DO NOT WORRY, MY FRIEND!" He shouted, causing me to jump. "The SCE shall have your ship better than she was when she left the yard! But, ah, I think you are not here for that."
I brightened visibly. "It's ready?"
"Yes. Follow me."
Torbröjn led me past some of the weirdest flying contraptions I had seen, reminding me of the Uglies of my galaxy, before entering an enclosed hangar.
"Computer, LIGHTS!" He bellowed, voice ringing out with a loudness that really should have no business belonging to a being of that size.
The lights flickered on, and I smiled hugely.
Rebuilt, refashioned and retrofitted, painted with Rogue Squadron colors, was my X-wing.
Having taken the remains of the X-wing that had been brought to the Milky Way with me, I started a pet project on rebuilding the craft, using whenever I had the time to work on repairing and retrofitting it to Starfleet standards. Torbröjn was a friend, and he worked on getting the fighter operational whenever he had the time and I wasn't around.
"There she is, son." Torbjörn said, smiling as I admired the rebuilt fighter. "Four Mark XIII heavy phaser cannons, three torpedo launchers with a eight torpedo magazine, two phaser banks, three hardpoint mounts, capital ship-grade shields, and, to top it off, impulse/warp hybrid engines. I have to say, I'm impressed."
I grinned, walking up to the snubfighter and running a hand across it's gleaming hull. "Törb, what type of drink do you like?"
The Tellarite let out a deep, booming belly laugh. "I'll take anything, but I do enjoy vodka or scotch. Maybe some Aldebaran whiskey."
I snorted. Torbjörn was also known for his drinking habits. He had an alcohol tolerance that nearly rivaled the famous Montgomery Scott's, which was fitting, since he was from Scotland as well.
"Oh, Torbjörn," I said, patting the fuselage of the fighter. "Do you think you could meet me in Holodeck 49 in about, oh, fifty minutes? I'm going over some plans and upgrades for the Redemption, and for a mass production snubfighter."
He smirked. "Oh, for the unofficial 'Starfleet Starfighter Command' that you haven't gotten around to organizing? "
I rolled my eyes. "Can you be there or not, Master Chief?" I asked, using his rank.
"Aye, I'll be there. In the meantime, hawe some fun with your ship! She needs a maiden woyage, although, knowing you, you'll get into a firefight and need to bring her back here!" He laughed.
I groaned before vaulting up into the cockpit. "Don't worry, I'll just take her around the system."
"Don't fall into traps!" The Scot-accented alien yelled over the roar of the engines as I started my preflight checks.
I snorted as the cockpit closed.
The T-65XS performed exceptionally. The advanced weapons tech of the Milky Way was a godsend, and the engines and retrothrusters allowed me to pull maneuvers that you could only see a TIE or A-wing make.
I was grinning from ear-to-ear forty minutes later as I landed the X-wing next to the Rogue.
I arrived at the holodeck five minutes early. No one had arrived yet.
I pulled up a Utopia Planitia design room. This room was much different from the one that the Enterprise-D had been designed in. Most of the smart glass had been removed, and in the middle of the room was a fully interactive design holotable, capable of virtually taking apart a ship or a scan of a ship down to the smallest rivet or bolt.
I inserted an encrypted data stick into a holodeck console and brought up several programs as Tallasa, Thorin, my helmsman; Shannon Elswood, and my science officer; Nelen Exil, entered the room
"Alright, now we just need Torbjörn to get here, and we can get started."
Speaking of the devil, the Tellarite walked in, carrying an armful of padds.
"Good." I smiled. "Computer, open Redemption file A-9. We're starting off with Redemption's upgrades first."
Redemption appeared above the table. "With the engines, deflector, and most of the weapons gone, we'll be getting newer gear. Thorin, you'll oversee that, make sure they get all the right mods."
"I hear they're giving us some hybrid Solanae tech similar to what the Dyson Science Destroyers have, as well as another phaser bank and a Zero-Point Energy Conduit." The dark-blue skinned Andorian commented.
"Wait." Shannon prevented anyone from speaking when he noticed something on the hologram. "What's that?" He asked, pointing at a small, recessed bulge on the top of the engineering hull.
I grinned. "Computer, execute program."
Suddenly, the hologram was in motion, as gasses were being released from around the bulge. As they watched, a small ship lifted off from the Redemption, before deploying short, stubby wings.
Torbjörn was the first to get it, and he let out a deep rumble of a chuckle. "Oh ho ho! You pulled a page from the Odyssey my boy!"
"My thinking was that while saucer separation is great and all, it divides a starship's firepower. With an auxiliary escort-"
"You'd have two sources of fire without sacrificing strength or firepower!" Tallasa finished.
I nodded. "I recently advised for the new High-Maneuverability Escorts that the Alliance is developing. I got my hands on the plans and modified it. She's less powerful than a Mercury, but she's fast. I give you the Redeemer-class."
Tallasa giggled at the name and Thorin nodded appreciatively. "Is she specific to the Avenger-class?"
I shrugged. "I guess that a ship that has the space could mount a cradle. Odysseys could, with some mods. To mount a Redeemer, all a ship needs is some time in a shipyard to make the cradle, and, of course, a Redeemer."
I manipulated the controls in front of me, removing the Redemption and Redeemer and bringing up a new design file containing a combat equipped Peregrine fighter.
"Now, I'm making a starfighter to eventually replace the Peregrine, and I need your help."
Nelen nodded, adopting a very human speculative look. "Got any plans?"
I nodded. "I'm thinking something along the lines of an X-wing, but more versatile."
Torby thought a bit, walking up and tossing the Peregrine into the virtual trash can. "We need something with few external moving parts. Do you want atmospheric maneuverability?"
"Yes. I'm thinking two torpedo launchers, four heavy phaser cannons and a phaser emitter or two."
"That gives it good versatility all round, but what about more specialized roles?" Shannon asked.
"Well, before I left Andromeda, I saw concept design plans for this heavy bomber…"
With a whine, my Schildbrecher Ion Cannons released their charge, neo-blue beams cutting through the shields of the Vaadwaur cruiser and slamming into the hull. With a flick of my fingers, I armed two anti-ship torpedoes and fired them in less than a second.
The twin torpedoes left their rails, crossed the intervening distance, and slammed into the joint of where the main hull met the port nacelle pylon. The heavy explosives detonated and ripped the hull asunder, tearing the nacelle off and causing massive feedback in the EPS network, causing multiple secondary explosions to erupt across several decks.
The cruiser reeled, and, dodging around the ineffectual return fire, I put a dozen quad-linked phaser blasts into the engine block. They exploded, causing the cruiser to vent gases, bodies and sending tons of metal spilling into space. I pulled away, and the vessel's warp core finally detonated.
The remains of the cruiser and space faded away, to be replaced by the yellow grid of a holodeck. I smiled and stood up.
"It's very good." I said as I exited the deck. "We'll put some more pilots through the sim, get their feedback, then start production."
Torbjörn nodded. "I'll bring some people around, and work on some more modules."
I nodded. "Keep me informed."
I turned and took a turbolift back up to the Deck 47 shuttledocks, hopping inside my X-Wing and flying down to Earth.
I stood the X-Wing up on it's port S-Foil, passing between two ice mountains, before applying etheric rudder and sliding under an arch, then I gunned the engines and rocketed down a valley of mountains, grinning from ear to ear.
"Force, it's good to be back!" I shouted to no one, tightening my grip on the firing studs, sending bolts of phaser energy streaking out ahead to blow apart an incoming ice wall. I streaked through it, sending ice particles, steam, and water flying over the shielded compound of McMurdo Defense Base. I laughed as several low-level phaser bolts passed by my cockpit, probably originating from one or two startled trainees.
Coming about, I shedded speed and pulled ten Gs, extending my landing gear as the little fighter slipped past the shield that protected the base from enemy fire and the elements.
I settled down on a landing pad and shut down the engines, popping the cockpit and vaulting to the ground.
While located in an icy climate, McMurdo was protected by a powerful shield that kept the wind and elements out. It was actually quite nice in the base, probably somewhere around sixty-five degrees Fahrenheit. One could walk across base in shorts if they were acclimated to the cold. It gave a feel of homeliness that you would get in a log cabin located in the mountains.
The base itself didn't look all that different than it did when it was built, aside from the modernizations, several outlying buildings and a central atmospheric dome that contained an elevator that went further down into the ice.
"FIVE LAPS AROUND THE BASE!" I heard a loud, heavily German-accented voice yell. "ASSESS YOUR TARGETS BEFORE YOU FIRE! THEN HEAD TO THE FIRING RANGE! A NAUSICAAN COULD HAVE HIT THAT!"
I turned a corner around a barracks, stepping back when a pair of terrified trainees raced by, too worried about their own wellbeing than me or my rank. I laughed, then turned back to the source of the bellowing.
To put it frankly, this man would put drill instructors across two galaxies to shame. The man was huge and bulky, standing nearly eight feet tall. His face was old and grizzled, with several scars running across it, the most prominent a large scar running over his left eye, which was a light gray; a cybernetic. He wore an incredibly large suit of armor that contributed to his height and size, and, slung over his shoulder was a very big rocket hammer.
"-KEEP IN MIND THAT SURPRISES CAN COME VROM ANYVHERE!" The man rumbled to the god-fearing MACO trainees. "DOZENS OF SOLDIERS DIE FROM POOR SPATIAL AVARENESS!"
"You should listen to him unless you wanna end up with a knife in your back." I said, making my presence known.
The man turned and broke into a huge grin. "ATTEN-SHUN!" He roared.
The trainees instantaneously snapped to attention. I grinned. "At ease." I turned to the Crusader. "Commander Wilhelm, I trust these trainees have performed admirably in recent weeks?"
Drill Commander Reinhardt Wilhelm smirked. "They hawe, Admiral!"
I nodded, turning an analyzing eye over the MACO hopefuls. "Very good." Taking a deep breath, I put on my best parade ground voice. "COMPANY! DISMISSED!"
The trainees scattered.
I turned to Reinhardt. "It's good to see you again Rei."
The massive man saluted. "You as vell, Admiral."
I waved the salute down. "Please, no need for the formalities, I'm off duty. I just put on that display for the trainee's sake. I'd shake your hand, but I like my fingers.
Reinhardt gave a rumbling chuckle that reminded me of Earth's Santa Claus. "Come, my friend. Vhat do you need of me today?"
I trailed after the powered armor. "You heard what happened to the Redemption?"
The german nodded. "Ja. But I also heard you took dozens of the snakeheads vith you."
We entered the command building. "When my crew and people are threatened, you'll find I get very angry." I shook my head and pulled alongside. "But that's not why I'm here. I'm getting assets for the Redemption's launch. I want a MACO regiment assigned to the Redemption."
Reinhardt paused and raised an eyebrow, before leading me to an empty barracks. "Nay I ask vhy?"
I scowled at him. "You know why."
The veteran had one word for that. "Iconians."
I nodded, walking over to a weapon rack. "I'm preparing. Preparing for a fight that may very well kill us all."
I fixed my eyes on the commander. "I want to be ready for the fight."
Reinhardt nodded. "I'll talk to General Morrison. You'll get your MACOs."
I cruised my X-Wing past the Redemption, watching as a new nacelle was fitted to the port pylon and the remains of the deflector were being cleared out.
I smiled grimly. "Get better soon girl."
I jumped as my comm chirped, breaking the silence. "Earth Spacedock to Admiral Antilles."
I reached over and hit the comm. "Admiral Antilles here, go ahead ESD."
"Admiral Quinn requests a meeting with you. Code one."
I grunted. "On my way. Antilles out.
I stepped into Admiral Quinn's domain and announced myself.
"Ah, Admiral." The Trill beckoned me forward. "Come in."
I nodded and sat down.
"So," Quinn began. "I hear you've been very active today."
I raised an eyebrow and crossed my arms, a look of defiance on my face. "Is there a problem with that?"
He chuckled. "No, none at all. It's nice to know that there are people out there preparing for them."
My faced turned to stone, the mood soured, and the room dropped a couple degrees. "The Iconians."
Quinn nodded. "We all know they're coming. We just don't know when." The Fleet Admiral sighed. "We need to be prepared, and as such we need our best where they belong. As such, we have moved the Redemption to the top of the repair list. The repair will now take a month."
I gaped. "Uhh, pardon me sir, but I thought I was already at the top of the repair list! They told me it would take three months, not one!"
Quinn grinned uncharacteristically. "We recently found a shipyard in the Jenolan Dyson Sphere, and we managed to reverse-engineer some of it's tech. It's being applied right now."
I flopped back. "Wow. That's amazing. Thank you, Admiral."
Quinn raised a hand, denying the complement. "It's nothing, Wedge. I advise you get those new fighters ready and whatever else you need, because we'll be sending you out as soon as the repairs are complete."
I stood up and came to attention. "Thank you sir." I snapped off a perfect salute.
Quinn stood up and mirrored me. "Dismissed, Admiral. And good luck."
I sat in the middle of the void. Earth was a distant speck to the naked eye, but that's what I wanted. It allowed me to see.
All my screens were off. There was next to no light illuminating the cockpit.
I saw Andromeda.
What some would call Star Wars.
Friends that thought I was long dead, only a Galaxy far, far away.
"I miss you guys." I whispered. "But I can't come back. Not yet. Not when this galaxy needs me."
The spiral seemed to twinkle back in response, as if giving me it's blessing.
I smiled. "All right then." I reached forward and the X-Wing came back to life, filling the cockpit with life. I gunned the throttle and the engines roared into being.
The Lost Pilot banked towards Earth, and the fighter seemed to elongate, darting out, taking the pilot back to his new home.
Author's Notes: This story is a rewrite of 47 o'clock, and turned out much better. I do hope you enjoyed it. This is also a prequel to my rewrite of Ghosts That We Knew. That may take some time to do, what with GotU, Beyond the War, and collab work.
Wedge is an Admiral in this fic, not a full Fleet Admiral. He becomes a Fleet Admiral after Midnight.
Hope you could spot the shoutouts.
Reviews and Constructive Criticism welcome.