Okay, this is mainly me making fun of the Star Trek universe (even if I am a life-long Trekkie), so don't take it too seriously. Set towards the end of the Dominion War, so all relevant spoilers apply. Parts of the story will take the form of crew-members logs and letters, while other parts will be regular fiction.
Star Trek: Exodus
Part 1: First Assignment
From: Commander Rodriquez, USS Exodus (NCC-1685)
To: Vice-Admiral Paris
Subject: Ships operational status
Sir, as you appear to have ignored my previous dozen reports, I am forced to ask just what Starfleet thinks of my ship and crew? Every time we have requested replacement parts or crew, we have been told that the equipment is on back-order and that BuPers is unable to find available personnel to fill our billets. But, as per the last message I received from your office, I have complied the latest list of problems and malfunctions:
Our universal translator is still stuck on 'Yiddish'.
We are still unable to deactivate the 'Muzak' function on the turbo-lifts.
Our offensive and defensive systems reduced to, in the words of my tactical officer Lieutenant Keys, "Harsh language and hand gestures."
All toilets on C-Deck still inoperative, forcing us to relocate several crew members (I guess there's something to be said for being undermanned).
There is also the ongoing problem with our Long-Term Medical Hologram; while we are more than happy to help field-test Dr Zimmerman's latest creation, I have to question just what he was thinking about when he programmed her personality matrix. Several of my crew members still refuse to go anywhere near sickbay.
The main view-screen on the bridge is still acting up: the only way to get it to work is to hit it repetitively until the image clears up.
Officer Commanding, USS Exodus
Emma MacKenzie looked out of the view port and thrown: it had been decades since the K7 space station had been a major transport hub, and it was just another indication of just what her superiors and instructors at the Academy through of her. It hadn't taken her long to gain a reputation as a trouble maker, and it was probably only the fact that she was the only child of the illustrious Captain Horatio MacKenzie that had stopped them from kicking her out.
Her entire life had been spent under her father's shadow, and his legacy felt like a millstone around her neck. After all, how could she ever live up to the reputation of one of the heroes of the Federation/Cardassian war? Horatio MacKenzie, the man who had, knowing that he was going to his death, ordered the surviving crew off of the all but crippled USS Helin, then single handedly pitted it against five Galor class destroyers, buying time for the refuge fleet he had been charged with protecting to escape?
Captain Horatio MacKenzie, the man who had died two months before his daughter was even born, a fact very few of her classmates had worked out before pestering her with questions.
The moment she'd been given notice of her first assignment, she'd felt sure there'd been a mistake: there was no way that someone with her record was going to get a ship-board posting straight away. In fact, she'd expected to find herself posted somewhere like K7 for the foreseeable future, far away from anything remotely approaching advancement. But that was okay by her. In many ways, she'd joined Star Fleet in an attempt to fight back against her father's reputation: the more she screwed up, the more she proved that she wasn't a carbon copy.
Still, assignment to a starship wasn't something even she was willing to pass up, and she'd quickly looked up the Exodus in the fleet register, and it was then that the proverbial other shoe had dropped. No cadet in their right minds would want to be assigned to a ship that should have been decommissioned a century ago, and was only kept in service because it was easier than finding a replacement. Suddenly she realised what the next four years of her life was going to consist of: one out of the way, half-forgotten outpost after another, hauling whatever cargo that couldn't be replicated on sight, as well as the occasional replacement crew member or civilian technician.
A chime sounded through the transport, alerting the passengers that the ship had docked and they were clear to disembark. Grabbing the single duffel bag that constituted her luggage, MacKenzie headed for the airlock. Having been brought up by a mother who made her living as a roving programmer for the Federation Science Bureau had taught her the virtue of travelling light, meaning that she'd never cluttered her life with too many keepsakes. A few holograms of her mother, one of her father, a couple of outfits for when she was off duty and some personal affects were all she needed.
After all, Star Fleet would provide everything else she might need.
Petty Officer Second Class Aidan Donnelly glanced at the PADD he was holding, checking the face it showed against the passengers coming off of the newly arrived transport, waiting somewhat impatiently for the new officer he'd been sent to collect. In truth, picking up new crew members was a job normally given to officers, but with the Exodus operating on such a reduced crew, it fell to him as one of the few crewmen rated to pilot a warp-capable shuttle. Finally the last few passengers disembarked from the civilian transport, and only one of them was dressed in a Star Fleet uniform. Donnelly did a quick double take, and was surprised to see that the woman was dressed in the newer blue/grey uniform, unlike his own, older orange and black all in one. Still, it wasn't that surprising: with exactly two working replicators on the entire ship, the latest uniforms were not considered high priority. Slipping his PADD back into his pocket, he headed over to the woman.
"Ensign MacKenzie, I presume?" He asked, coming to something approaching attention, "Petty Officer Donnelly, USS Exodus. Commander Rodriquez sends his regards, and apologises for being unable to rendezvous with your transport directly: the Exodus was unavoidably delayed."
"Well, I can't expect a starship to go out of its way to pick up one lowly Ensign fresh out of the academy." MacKenzie shrugged, "I take it you have a Shuttle or something?"
"Yes, this way." Donnelly gestured down the main corridor, "May I help you with your luggage?"
"No, I'm good." MacKenzie didn't even blink as she fell in step beside her guide. He stood maybe a head taller than her admittedly determinative 137cm, and he must have been at lest 15kg heavier. Yet despite this, he moved fluidly, flowing through the crowd rather than trying to push his way past everyone like a lot of people his size might have. Still, he was Star Fleet, and a life time of being told that they were the ones responsible for her father's death was a hard thing to walk away from, despite the fact that she was now a member.
Her mother hadn't cried, or yelled, or shown any other strong emotion the day she'd found the acceptance letter from the Academy. She'd just looked, disappointed, and perhaps a little betrayed: her only daughter had gone behind her back to join Star Fleet rather than go to University. All she'd said was that her daughter was old enough to make her own mistakes, and had left for work as if nothing had happened.
They hadn't spoken since.
"What can you tell me about the Exodus?" She asked, more to brake the silence than anything else, "I looked it up in the fleet register, but there wasn't much there."
"What's to say? She's a refitted Constitution-class starship, last of her kind still in service with Star Fleet." Donnelly shrugged, "Last big re-fit was about ten years ago: they tried to update a lot of her systems, but the upgrades aren't that compatible with the original components, and we still have problems with some of them. After that upgrade, FleetOps sent her out here, along with about a dozen other ships, mainly older Excelsior and Miranda class'. But with thing heating up on the Dominion Front, they've all been called away, leaving just us, and we're headed out."
"How far out?"
"Well, the Captain's not said anything, but the scuttlebutt says Cestus and Bellatrix, out by the Gorn Hegemony. Who knows, maybe even further."
"Long way from home, huh?"
"I was born on Al Nath, Sir." Donnelly's tone was curt, an indication that like many people born far out on the edge of the Federation, away from the more highly developed core-worlds, he tended to be overly defensive. Given the jokes that MacKenzie had often heard about such worlds and their inhabitants, he had good reason to feel defensive.
The two of them fell back into silence as they continued on their way.
"The universe looks a lot simpler through the bottom of a glass." The Bolian bartender mused as he poured his customer another drink, "But something tells me that you know that already."
"The universe is as it is; it cares not for how we perceive it." Miles Dexter countered as he watched the rich, amber liquid creep up the sides of the glass, "Would I be a fool if I asked if this was real and not replicated?"
"Real Earth whisky? At these prices?" The bartender laughed, "Not this side of Trill!"
"Figured as much." Dexter tossed back the drink and stood, placing a couple of coins on the counter, "Keep the change." He turned away from the bar, only to find his way blocked by a towering Gorn that hissed at him in its own language.
"My friend doesn't like you." A Chalnoth appeared at the Gorn's side, "He says he knows what you are, that you may fool the humans, but not him."
"Please inform your friend that he is mistaken." Dexter remained calm, a slight hint of sarcasm in his voice, "I am human."
The Gorn hissed again, pushing Dexter back against the bar, the high ridges above his eyes flexing with rage.
"He asks that you do not insult his intelligence," The Chalnoth translated, "and also made a comment about your mother that I am afraid does not translate very well."
"Oh really?" Dexter raised an eyebrow, then his eyes narrowed. His right fist shot forward, hitting the reptilian Gorn low in the gut, sending it flying across the room into a table. The two Klingon's there only just managed to get out of the way in time, but Dexter had already moved on to the Chalnoth. The alien tried to draw a disruptor pistol from its holster on his belt, but a spinning kick sent the weapon flying and broke the band.
One of the Klingon's had decided to vent his anger on the still stunned Gorn, while the other drew his D'k tahg and swung it at Dexter. He managed to dodge out of the way just in time, then grabbed the warriors wrist and twisted it round sharply. Thinking quickly, the Klingon followed through with the move, allowing himself to be sent crashing to the floor but avoiding any damage his arm. He retaliated by sweeping his leg round, a move that Dexter allowed to catch him to avoid the chair that the Chalnoth had swung at him. As he fell he reached for his own side arm, and had it drawn and ready by the time he hit the deck.
A bright blue beam hit the Chalnoth square in the chest, and it fell like a puppet with the string cuts. A second beam caught the Gorn in the back as it attempted to throttle its opponent. It slumped forward, pinning the Klingon to the table. Flipping back up to his feet in one gracefully move, he levelled his weapon at the remaining Klingon but held his fire.
"A wise warrior knows that sometimes it is better to pick your battles, then have your battles pick you." He spoke carefully in Klingon, then holstered his weapon and put some more coins down on the bar, "For the damages."
With that, he turned and left the bar, mingling with the crowd outside.
To Be Continued...