ANd now another chapter in my continuing SW/ST series. This takes place about a month before 'Measure of a Droid'. Some A/T here, but not much. The da Vinci and crew are from the excellent SCE novels.
Here we go!
Chapter one: Greetings!
Captain's log, stardate 54110.40. Well, this is certainly going to be interesting. We've been dispatched across the Gateway and will rendezvous with a ship called the Lightning Rod to pick up two Jedi Knights. What a Jedi Knight is, I'm not sure, but apparently they have a connection to where we're going.
Our orders are to aid them in an investigation of Centerpoint Station, an ancient device in the Corellian System. Sounds like they've got their own version of the Preservers. I just hope we're not kicking over a hornet's nest.
Captain David Gold leaned back from his desk and massaged his forehead, pushing back his gray hair. The older captain stood up as his quarter's chime sounded and walked across the main living area to the door. "Coming," he called out.
The door slid open, revealing a smiling human female. She had straight black hair that reached down to right below her shoulders and inquisitive brown eyes. "Good morning, Captain," Lieutenant Commander Sonya Gomez said.
A smile crossed Gold's face at the sight of the head of the Corps of Engineers team aboard the da Vinci. He stepped out of his quarters and the two started down the Sabre-class' corridor to a turbolift. It was their normal routine for the start of alpha-shift, and in this strange reality, Gold needed all the 'normality' he could get. "Bridge." As the car began moving up and to the fore, he glanced at Sonya. "So, do you have any idea what a Jedi is?"
Sonya blinked and looked to the Captain. She shook her head and brushed some of her hair from her eyes. "It's sort of confusing," she admitted. "The information we have indicates they wield some sort of psychokinetic power called 'the Force'," she said, making quote signs with her fingers. "It's a quasi-mystical energy field that can affect some members of a species, but not all. And it ties them into some greater consciousness... I think."
Gold pursed his lips. "So you don't have a clue?"
The turbolift doors opened and they stepped onto the da Vinci's bridge. "Not a damned clue," she admitted as they stepped out.
A serious-looking officer with security-gold trim on his uniform stood up from the captain's chair. "Captain on the bridge!" Lieutenant David MacAllan shouted, snapping to attention.
Gold shook his head and waved him off as he stepped around the crowded command center. "David..." He took a PADD from the younger man and began scrolling through the information on the large screen of the rectangular device. After checking the ship's status, he sat down, his eyes focusing on the main viewscreen. A swirl of red dominated the large screen, broken up by dark streaks. The older man squinted and looked away. "That's hyperspace?" he asked.
The conn officer, Lieutenant Junior Grade Sonming Wong, swiveled around to face Gold. "It is, sir," he remarked. He shook his head. "We're now traveling... very fast. Quite a bit faster than conventional warp and probably faster than Borg transwarp." He glanced back at his console. "ETA to the rendezvous point is ten minutes."
Gold nodded, then pointed at the viewscreen. "Eyes on the road, Lieutenant." He glanced at Sonya beside him. "How much is Jil itching to tear that hyperdrive apart?" he asked, referring to the da Vinci's Atrean chief engineer.
A snort came from behind as a porcine Tellarite walked around from one of the aft consoles. Lieutenant Commander Mor glasch Tev loomed into view, his bulky frame quickly dominating the central command section of the bridge. "Hyperdrive may be fast," he commented, drawing out the last word, "but it has inherent flaws compared to our own warp drive. It's a lot more vulnerable to gravitational anomalies. If it fails while we're in hyperspace, we're stuck for all eternity." He snorted again, his already-large nostrils flaring even more. "Not to mention it's useless in combat!"
Sonya's head tilted down and her she looked at Tev askance. "And it can also open the Milky Way up to us, is incredibly simple to operate and maintain and isn't powered by antimatter." She rubbed her temple and stifled a groan. "Honestly. Tev. Jil and the rest of the SCE team wants to go down to engineering and rip that thing apart." A little smirk crossed her lips. "Or do you protest a bit too much?"
Tev snorted and turned away, heading back to the aft perimeter of the bridge. Another crewmember, a human male, stood up and turned to the viewscreen. "Anyone else getting nauseous while looking at the light show?" crewman and exo-linguist Bart Faulwell asked. He rubbed his bearded chin and sighed. "A minute or so, but that's it."
Gold nodded and glanced over his shoulder. "Not just me? Good. That means I'm not getting too old." He smiled and looked back to Wong. "Wong, ETA?"
Wong glanced at his console. "Sixty seconds to reversion." A smile graced his young face. "I can't wait to see reversion. The simulations never depicted it, just it's supposed be quite nice." He suddenly swiveled around and pressed some buttons and controls. "Reversion in five, four, three, two..."
The smear suddenly fractured into millions of starlines as the da Vinci shuddered, the various lines shortening into stars. Sonya let out a slow whistle. "Nice job, Sonming."
MacAllan spoke up from the tactical console behind and to starboard of the central section of the bridge. "Captain, I'm detecting a ship two hundred thousand kilometers off the port bow." He squinted slightly. "ID and ship silhouette match the Lightning Rod."
Gold nodded. "Open hailing frequencies." He waited for confirmation before speaking. "Lightning Rod, this is Captain David Gold of the USS da Vinci."
The comm chimed and a male voice came over, somewhat scratchy. "Da Vinci, this is the Lightning Rod. I have two eager Jedi Knights ready to beam aboard." There was a pause before he continued. "My shields are down and I'm heading towards your position. Is there... anything else I have to do before you can transport them aboard?"
Gold chuckled. "Not necessary. We simply need to get a bit closer Mister..."
The voice chuckled. "Sorry, sorry. Name's Zekk of Ennth, Captain Gold. When will you be in range for your transporter?"
Gold cocked his head down and glanced at Wong, who spoke up. "About two minutes at full impulse, Captain."
Zekk's voice came over again. "Then I shall contact you again in two minutes. Lightning Rod out."
Gold tugged down on his uniform jacket. "You heard the man, Mister Wong. Full impulse to the Rod." He rose from his chair, followed by Sonya. "Mister MacAllan, you once more have the bridge," he said as he headed to the aft turbolift. The doors slid open and he entered, spinning around. He tapped his combadge as the door slid closed. "Mister Duffy, Miss Corsi, please head to the transporter room. We have guests."
Zekk leaned back in the Rod's pilot chair and stretched before standing up in the two-person cockpit. He headed down a short corridor to a large room in the center portion of his beloved ship. A younger man of about sixteen and a young girl of barely fourteen stood, bags slung across their shoulders. Zekk grunted, getting their attention. "All set?" he asked.
Anakin Solo focused his laser-like blue eyes on him and nodded. He tugged on his bag's strap and half-smiled. "It's been a long time since I've been to Centerpoint." He looked to his green-eyed friend and locked eyes with her. "Ready, Tahiri?"
Tahiri Veila's already-wide grin somehow widened even more. She hopped a bit on her bare feet and began speaking. "Oh, this is gonna be great! I looked up the name 'da Vinci' on the new connection to the Federation version of the holonet. He's pretty neat and made a bunch of stuff. But why such a small ship? Why Sabre-class and not Sovereign or Galaxy?" She looked down at her feet and wiggled her big toe. "Will it be all right without shoes? Do they have grates or regular plating? What about-"
The comm system suddenly chimed. "Lightning Rod, this is the da Vinci. We're within transporter range."
Zekk breathed out a sigh of relief. He adjusted his headset and spoke into the mike. "Roger that, da Vinci." He extended his hand to Anakin. "Safe journey, Anakin. May the Force be with you."
Anakin accepted the proffered handshake and looked up to meet Zekk's gaze. "And with you, Zekk. Where to next?"
Zekk shrugged. "Might go off to Mon Calamari. A certain young lady is taking flight training from Starfighter Command there..." A sly smile crossed his face. "I think Jaina might need some company after flight drills."
Anakin's gaze hardened slightly. "As Jaina's brother, I feel obligated to point out if you hurt her I'll take you out." He crossed his arms over his jacket, bunching it up slightly. "She is family, after all."
Zekk's green eyes narrowed as he regarded the man a full head shorter than him. He coughed into his hand to stifle a laugh. "I'll... remember that, Anakin. Even though I fear what Jaina would do to me more." He stepped back from the pair and tapped his headset. "da Vinci, energize." He looked to Tahiri. "You two have fun now!"
The pair were enveloped by columns of silvery energy. The columns faded as both Anakin and Tahiri were disassembled on the quantum level and beamed over to the da Vinci, both disappearing from the Lightning Rod's cargo hold.
Zekk's eyes half-closed as he reached out with the Force, confirming both Jedi alive and well across the gulf of space. He looked around the hold, noting containers, shelves built into the bulkhead, control panels and the wiring and power conduits behind the durasteel paneling. "I wonder... how big a space do you need for a transporter?" He walked up to an empty corner, pacing off. "Might be something worth looking into..."
Please read and review.