I floored the accelerator, pushing 140 MPH. The V8 engine screamed as we soared down the tarmac at the old Portland Jetport, causing a flock of seagulls resting in the warm spring sun to fly away in an angry mass. My baby was old, almost 300 years old, but she was fast… and furious. She was a 1967 Chevrolet Impala, recently restored by myself. My friends thought I was crazy for driving something so ancient, but I loved it- tearing things apart and putting them back together had always been fun for me, and that's why I became an engineer. I had so many plans for this summer, including a road trip in my new (to me) car, but Starfleet had other ideas. I was a reserve officer, having gone through basic training and indoctrination fresh out of high school, and up until the recent incident with the Romulans destroying a good chunk of the fleet, my duties were limited to drills at the local base once a month. Now most of the reservists were being put on active duty to fill in the missing numbers- I'd received my notice yesterday.
My phone went off, cutting out the music I was blasting and bringing me back to reality. I tapped the screen without looking, not wanting to veer off the tarmac and hit the chain link fence surrounding the airfield.
"What are you doing right now?" came the voice of one of my best friends, Jill Maynard.
"There's a party tonight. And we're going."
"I can't go to a party, I have to report at 0500."
"So? This is the last chance we have to hang out before you go off into space for who knows how long… and we are going to get shitfaced, Allison, whether you like it or not."
"I can't, Jill! Can't we just do something that doesn't involve consuming mass quantities of alcohol? I can't get drunk, and then not sleep, and then go be productive… in space. It just doesn't work like that."
"Yes, you can. And you will. So go park that piece of shit and get ready!"
"Christine is not a piece of shit! She's older than you are- show some respect!"
"Whatever. Be ready at seven!"
I made sure to growl my lack of enthusiasm before hanging up, and then spun the wheel to the left quickly while applying the brake, skidding around in a donut maneuver. Of course I wanted to spend time with my friends: I didn't want to leave them behind, let alone my home. Every kid wants to grow up and be independent, with no rules or parents to tell you what to do… and who doesn't dream of going up in space- but it was the last thing I wanted to do at this point in my life. Starfleet wouldn't make me anymore independent; I would still have to answer to authority, follow strict guidelines, and wouldn't even have the responsibilities of cooking or cleaning. And I wouldn't even be escaping my family completely- my mom was a full-fledged Starfleet officer and could probably check in on me anytime. Space did not say "freedom" to me as it did to so many others; it meant giving up my life, as I knew it, and becoming another pawn of the Federation. Of course, I was the one who decided to join the Reserve corps, so I had no one to blame but myself.
I pulled into the dirt driveway in front of my house twenty minutes later, and parked the Impala in the lot with the other cars. A big sign on the garage advertised Danville Auto Restoration Services, my stepfather's business. He was a brilliant mechanic, having been working on cars (and hovercrafts, of course) since he was about my age. The shop was right next to our house, and we kept our fleet of project cars on display right in front- including my own, when I wasn't driving it. I guess his interests rubbed off on me, and that was part of the reason I got an associate's degree in mechanical engineering with a concentration in aeronautics. He took me under his wing after he met my mom, only a year after I lost my real dad, and I'd been helping him with restoration projects and running the business ever since.
I went in the house, and made a quick stop to the living room where my stepdad, Tyler Danville, was watching a football game with his own dad who had become one of my 'official' grandfathers.
"You're back early," He said. "How was your drive?"
"Good. Got cut short- apparently I'm going out tonight."
"Don't you have to be at the shipyard at five am?"
"Yeah, doesn't make any difference to Jill."
"Don't drink too much," Gramps butted in. "Enjoy your last day on Earth."
"Who said anything about drinking?" I said, trying to cover up our motives and failing miserably.
"Allison, We've all been your age," Gramps said, "Just remember- liquor before beer-"
"Dad, she's 19!"
"Tyler, she's going away to war, she deserves a drink! Or three…"
I left the room to let them argue it out. I loved my family, and being around them was just making the idea of leaving for who knows how long all the more difficult to bear. I wasn't going to war, that I knew of, but it sure as hell felt like it. They had only come into my life when I was 7, but I felt like they had always been a part of my family. My real dad died when I was 6, in a freak accident on the USS Clinton, of which he was a Tactical officer. I'd only ever seen him when he was on shore leave, which was very little. Of course I was sad that I'd never had the father-daughter relationship with him, but such was the nature of Starfleet.
There is nothing- I repeat- Nothing worse than having to wake up at the crack of dawn after drinking the night away. I had not planned on drinking as much as I had, but when people are offering you celebratory shots left and right, you don't say no. I was still out of it when my alarm went off at four in the morning, and had to stumble around in the dark of my room to gather all my things. Tyler gave me a ride to the base in Brunswick, a half-hour from our house, while I tried to squeeze in a little more shut-eye. It didn't happen, thanks to my inability to sleep in anything other than a bed. We had a quick goodbye when he dropped me off, and then I had to hurry to report to my commanding officer on base. I already knew my assignment- Starbase 12, far enough away that I would have new things to look forward to but close enough to home so I wouldn't feel (too) homesick. When I found Commander Davis, he was busy frowning at something on his PADD.
"Danville, there's been a change in assignment," He said, looking a little less glum when he saw me. "Starbase 12 contacted us a few hours ago and they can't take on any more junior staff. But- there was an immediate need on board a starship." He paused, and I realized he was trying to be dramatic.
"Yes? Where?" my heart was hammering.
"The USS Enterprise," He said, grinning like a schoolboy.
"Seriously? The flagship?" I honestly thought my heart was going to explode. So many emotions were running through me, I didn't even know how to handle it. "Am I even qualified?"
"Of course you are. You have a lot more experience than a lot of the engineering crew- some of them haven't even finished their first year at the academy."
"I haven't even been to the academy!"
"But you've been enlisted for almost three years now and you have a degree. You're just as qualified if not more than a majority of them. You're going to do fine, I believe in you."
And so I got on the shuttle with 10 or so other people, most coming in from the other bases in the New England area, and we took off for the International Space Dock. Of course with my luck, the Enterprise was not there yet, so I had to go entertain myself in the main lobby. It was quiet in there, with most of the fleet out in the further reaches of space. I kept my eye on one of the large arrival/departure screens, waiting for The Enterprise to show up in one of the docking bays. I also took the time to read my orders for the first time on my PADD. I was assigned to engineering, naturally, working under Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott, whom I'd never heard of. Of course, I'd only ever heard of the infamous James T. Kirk, the captain of the Enterprise.
I took the down time, waiting for my ship to come, to send out a message to my family. I didn't know when it would get there, but I knew that the Space Dock would have to have pretty good reception considering its proximity to Earth.
Greetings from Space Dock: My assignment changed, no longer going to Star Base 12… Officially going to be an engineer on the USS Enterprise, don't panic if you can't reach me. I'll try to stay out of trouble- can't make any promises. Love you all! ~ Allison
I was starting to really regret the last few shots I'd done the night before as soon as I set foot on the Enterprise. Not only was I hung over as hell; my nerves were out of control. The yeoman, Ivers, who met me at the shuttle bay was not helping them either. I tried not to be too judgmental when meeting new people, but I could tell from the shrill, overly peppy nature of her voice that she was not someone I would get along with. As exciting as it was to be on a Starship for the first time, I felt like absolute shit and wanted noting more than to get to my assigned quarters and take a nap. Yeoman Ivers had other orders for me, apparently.
"So you're from Maine, huh?" Oh great, small talk. "Do you get a lot of snow up there?"
"Yeah," I said stifling a yawn. Why did everyone not from the northeast always ask about snow? It's not like it didn't exist elsewhere!
"So, do you like skiing? Eat a lot of lobster?"
"No, not really," I said with a fake laugh. I never wanted to slam my head off a wall more than now.
Ivers explained that she was taking me to the main engineering sector for a formal introduction to my new boss. I was terrified- I was young, inexperienced, and had never been to space in my life. I was beginning to doubt my engineering skills and Starfleet training. I could fix my cars like nobody's business, but a warp capable, dilithium powered space vessel…? I took a deep breath, warding off the panic that began creeping up on me.
The engine room was immaculate, more than I ever imagined. The base back home, being a training facility primarily, was always strewn with parts everywhere. I wasn't used to seeing everything put together and pristine. Ivers led me over to a guy standing at a console, muttering to himself.
"Excuse me, Lieutenant Commander Scott?" My annoying companion said. He looked up, grinning.
"Hello," He said, giving me the once over. "Ensign Danville, I presume?
What was that accent? British? Scottish? Irish?
"Yes, sir," I replied.
"Welcome aboard!" He turned to Ivers."Thank you, Yeoman…?"
"Ivers, sir," She smiled flirtatiously. Really? To a senior officer?
"Ivers. I can take Ensign Danville from here, thank you."
Scotty, as he told me to call him (which I felt slightly uncomfortable with, considering his rank) brought me for a walk through of the Engineering bays and the warp core, and I admit I was overwhelmed. Everything was huge and shiny and brand new- not exactly my comfort zone. After my brief tour, Scotty introduced me to my supervisor, Lieutenant Spires. Spires looked the opposite of the friendly and warm Scotty- he was the gruff military type, with a chiseled jaw and his graying hair cut high and tight. I was nervous when Scotty left me alone with him to go finish my orientation.
"Welcome to the Enterprise, Ensign. I see you worked under Commander Davis?" He started, leading me into an empty conference room.
"He's a good friend from back at the Academy. If you've picked up anything from him then we're very lucky to have you."
"Thank you, sir."
"You really don't have to keep calling me sir."
"Yes-" I had to stop myself. "Okay."
I spent the next hour taking some stupid mandatory shipboard safety tutorial while Spires linked my PADD and personal communicator up to the ship-wide network. All I got from it was that I shouldn't carry around open flame for fear of blowing something up, and not to go anywhere near a space door while open which would suck me out into the vacuum of space- very helpful.
When I was finally dismissed, I was ecstatic to get to my quarters. I wasn't expecting much, but when I got to the door marked 3F-123 and scanned myself in for the first time, I was beyond thrilled with what I had. It wasn't huge, but I had room for a bed, a closet, a desk, and a small bathroom/shower- it was perfect! I'd been expecting a double room and a roommate, so having a single room was a pleasant surprise! Of course, I was an officer, albeit a low ranking one, so that may have had something to do with it.
I didn't even bother unpacking, I immediately changed out of my uniform and threw myself into my surprisingly comfortable bed- the whole business of being on my first starship and having a real job was kind of overwhelming, and I needed to sleep off my hangover. At 0600 tomorrow I had to report to Engineering for my first day of work, but for now I had some peace and quiet.
A/N: This is a re-edit of my original first chapter- I am not happy with my writing from two years ago, and some things just don't go with the direction my story has gone… hopefully this is better than what it was originally! I plan on editing all the chapters, going to take me a while!