A Fractional Enterprise

Yuri Borselov woke in a cold sweat to the clanging of the ship’s alarm on the bulkhead above his cabin bed. His arm swung sidewards hand swiping at the mute on the table in the cramped compartment. Even the Captain of a ‘Confederation Class’ starship was required to sacrifice for the common good. “Captain to bridge,” he croaked. And hearing no response said it again, taking his time and leaving out as much of the rasp as was possible.

“No more Cardoman Ale on an empty stomach,” he promised himself for at least the twentieth time. And hearing the squeal from an overloaded feedback loop swore he would get Commander Watt to fix the damn thing himself.

“This is the Captain, let’s hear it!” He said, forcing himself to sound like he gave a rat’s ass on a cold Friday night.

“Sir, we are picking up a distress signal from somewhere in the Gamma Quadrant.”

The sultry voice of the tall dark skinned Com Officer was affecting him the same way it always did. “‘Damn that bitch can get on my nerves,” Yuri swore it silently. “Lt. Ohara? What exactly does the message say, if I might ask?”

“Sorry Sir! It fades in and out but there is loud noise that could be screaming in the background and the computer says the coordinates match the last reported position of the Federation Science Vessel Endeavor!”

“The Endeavor! That’s impossible; she disappeared on a routine training voyage over fifteen years ago while I was still a plebe in the Academy on Llanfairn. The Essex under Admiral Raymond went out looking for her and came back two years later saying ‘Move along, there ‘s nothing to see!’ Why that even became his motto!”

“I know Sir. But all I can report is what the computers are saying and that Sensor Officer Speck agrees. Commander Speck went down to engineering to check on the plasma conduits but he asked me to call and get you up here on the bridge as soon as possible. He has an idea that there this is more this than just a routine distress signal.”

“Speck’s an old woman who can’t handle his emotions any better than his sex life! But you didn’t hear that from me Ohara and you better not repeat it where he can hear you either! Call the Doctor and have him get his sorry ass on deck and I’ll be right there . . . Borselov Out!”

“We called him first Sir,” Lt. Ohara said into an empty mike.

Yuri rolled from the bed and made it to his washroom where icy water and a change of uniforms made him almost presentable. He should have taken the old one off before crashing on the bunk only four hours earlier but no one better say a word about his appearance if they knew what was good for them. A Starship Captain was the closest thing to a ‘God’ anyone on this ship was ever likely to see and he had all the power that went with the title. “At least on the Confederation Discovery.”

The lift came to a halt and the double doors opened, and there stood the Doctor in his tacky blue velour medical tunic, looking for all the world like a stewed prune with legs. He had his hand held scanner at the ready and managed to look both put out and attentive at the same time. Thirty years of service had given him something he could put on in place of his usual mindless expression.

Glaring but accepting the inevitable Yuri paused long enough for the Doctor to wave his sensor with its pre-programmed flickering lights back and forth a few times as a prelude to him saying in his tired old grumpy voice; the one more of a whine than what used to be called a bedside manner.

“You got to take better care of yourself Yuri, all of us are depending on you. And you are pushing way too hard. You’ve been in the dumps ever since you got passed over by the last promotion board and unless you pull out of it I can’t be responsible for what happens next.” His voice trailed off as he pretended to look at the scanner codes.

“Back to your leaches and magic beans Doc, I got work to do.”

And with that Yuri took his place in the middle of the command deck with the cinema sized display screen barely thirty feet away looking like an ancient TV that had lost sync with an out of phase color bar generator.

“Get me Sensor Officer Speck!”

—–To be Continued.

Well I think we all can see where this is going but it had to be said. I may use a part of it as a throwaway somewhere down the line in APOH. Or maybe not. In any event I will add to this as the spirit moves. — Wes (7-19-09)