A dusty orange world hung in space, orbiting a distant red star entering the last stages of its life. A small shuttle, boxy in design with two stubby engines hanging underneath. Aboard, a human male in a red uniform tapped a few controls to cause the shuttle to drift slightly to port while the other man watched on, wearing a similar uniform. He was standing, watching with his hands clasped behind his back. Spots started on his forehead and framed his face, descending down to disappear under his collar. His hair was jet black and his eyes had an intensity to them but he gave off an aura of calm.
As the pod drifted past a partially disassembled vessel similar to the Aristocracies, her engines missing and half of her superstructure gone, leaving the framework visible. The young man at the controls spoke up, "Gotta keep on your toes around here, sir. With so many hulks around and ships moving between them, it can get dicey around here."
The standing captain nodded, "I know. Makes me somewhat concerned to find out my first command is somewhere out here in this mess."
The pilot chuckled, "Don't worry, sir. If a ship isn't hauled off to the breakers, then it's just as good as the day she was left here. Just fire up the engines, pump in some fresh air, some clean carpet... and a complete overhaul and refit. Sometimes it's easier just to build them from scratch. Ah... just as we come around this old Galaxy we'll spot the Hyperion."
Without comment, the standing alien watched as the pilot brought them around the large battleship to reveal a smaller vessel. Consisting of a round saucer, it possessed one engine slung underneath and one higher and further behind. Mounted on the pylon leading to the underside engine was a boxy structure for firing torpedoes. Around the edges of the saucer was a raised black strip, and in proud black lettering against her light grey hull read U.S.S. Hyperion and in smaller letters read NCC-7224.
"She's a sight, isn't she sir?" the pilot asked.
"From the registry alone she's got to be over a century old. Hope they built things to last back then," muttered the captain.
"Don't worry sir, I'm sure she'll be just as sturdy as anything coming from Mars over the last few years." Tapping a command, the pilot spoke again, "Hyperion docking control, this is shuttle two five delta on approach vector bravo with Captain Benell aboard."
The response was almost immediate, "Shuttle two five delta this is docking control Hyperion. Proceed on course to shuttle bay two. Welcoming party for Captain Benell will be standing by."
"Confirmed, Hyperion. Shuttle two five delta out." With a few deft commands, the shuttle began its final approach. Lights on the rear of the Hyperion came to life and began to guide the shuttle in. For the last few meters, the shuttle was buffeted as a tractor beam took the shuttle and guided it into the hangar.
As the shuttle powered down, Captain Benell stepped clear of the shuttle to find several officers and crew standing at attention. A human female in a red uniform stepped forward and came to attention as Captain Benell came to attention as well, "Permission to come aboard, Commander?"
"Granted, Captain," the human woman said, offering her hand, "Commander Jessica Noland. With your permission, Captain, I'll let you take command of the Hyperion." She had long crimson hair that, if left to fall naturally, would easily reach her shoulders. She kept it tied back in a simple tail, which made her lightly tanned face appear slightly paler than it should. Her emerald green eyes focused on the Captain, her eyes inquisitive but also hinting at weariness from working long hours with little sleep.
Shaking Commander Noland's hand, Captain Benell stepped over to stand in front of the assembled crew, then read from a data pad, "By authorization of Starfleet Command on Stardate 53184.2, by order of Admiral Toddman, I hereby take command of the refurbished vessel Hyperion and her crew. That is all." Putting away the data pad, he let Commander Noland approach, "Yes, Commander?"
Commander Noland clasped her hands behind her back, "Sir. Just wanted to ask if you'd like a tour of the ship. We're still not 100% but we're almost ready for departure."
Benell nodded, "Very well. I'm interested in meeting with the department heads and this will bring me up to speed faster. Lead the way, Commander."
The doors to main engineering slid open as Noland joked, "One definite advantage of a ship this old is they never bothered to upgrade the showers to sonic. They're all still using water."
Benell let a small smile come to his face, "Must be nice when the stress gets to you," he said, following the Commander into engineering.
The central warp core was pulsing with life as it fed deuterium kept near absolute zero into the reaction chamber, where it encountered anti-deuterium and became pure energy, mostly in the form of heat. This heat was transferred into plasma coolant, which was then transferred throughout the ship to the outlying generators that powered localized systems. During warp, the core's output would be channeled mostly to the warp coils, where the electromagnetic distortions would warp space and time.
The sound of clanging metal alerted them to the work going on overhead. A small human woman who looked more suited to a high school rather than a starship was poking her head out of an access tunnel with dirt covering her forehead, "I thought I told you I wanted this thing checked BEFORE we installed that new EPS conduit! Yes I know I also told you to get the computer junction in section forty six working but I expected you to do both!"
Commander Noland called out, "Moira? Can you spare a moment?"
Without looking, the small engineer called out, "Sorry Commander, but unless it's that Captain you were telling me to get ready for, I'm busy trying to fix this damned..."
"Moira... it is the Captain."
A loud clang was immediately followed by the small woman clamoring out of the tunnel and scrambling down the ladder to come to attention before Noland and Benell, "Terribly sorry, sir. I mean, sirs. Lieutenant Moira Simpson, sir."
Captain Benell took a moment to look the small human woman over. Her blonde hair was streaked with dirt and grease, and like Commander Noland, her brown eyes weary from working too hard. She indeed was small, standing at five foot five, the bare minimum to get into Starfleet. It was surprising to see someone so small, but not completely uncommon.
"Relax, Lieutenant. Captain Losk Benell, your new Captain," he offered his hand, which the diminutive woman shook, "A pleasure."
Moira fidgeted a bit, "If you don't mind sir, I've got a list stretching from here to the bridge needing to be sorted out before we get underway. With your permission, I'll get back to work."
"Very well Lieutenant. I'd like to hold a staff meeting at 1200 tomorrow. Dismissed."
As Moira set back to work, Jessica guided Captain Benell out of engineering to the turbolift, giving the simple instruction, "Sickbay."
As the turbolift set into motion, Losk commented, "Seems our engineering officer is a busy woman."
"She's been busy for a few weeks now, as have I," Jessica commented, "When we got out here, there wasn't a single battery working. I'd say she's been a miracle worker."
"I never said you haven't accomplished great things here, Commander. I think you both are working too hard and should spend a few hours in bed."
Jessica sighed, "You're starting to sound like Dr. Mallard. He's threatened to chase after us with sedatives if we don't get more sleep."
"Sounds like a doctor I met once on Earth," the turbolift doors opened and they stepped out into the corridor across from sickbay. The doors slid open to reveal an empty sickbay. Losk walked around, looking at the idle equipment, "Computer, locate Doctor Mallard."
"Don't bother don't bother," said an old human male as he came out from behind a closed door, "What do you want? Can't you see I'm busy?"
"Doctor Francis Mallard," Jessica indicated Captain Benell, "This is Captain Losk Benell, our new CO."
"A pleasure, Doctor. Would you happen to be related to Rear Admiral Mallard?" Losk asked, offering his hand to the doctor to shake.
Rather than shake the Captain's hand, he seemed to peer at the Captain intently, "A Trill, that much I can tell, though your file never said you were joined with a symbiote. Not many Trill get respect enough without a symbiote. You must have missed an opportunity when you were younger, Captain."
"Perhaps, perhaps not, Doctor. Either way, that doesn't diminish the fact that we're here now. Are you prepared to get underway?" Benell asked him, surveying the elderly man.
"Yes yes, everything's stowed and we're ready to depart. Oh and yes, Admiral Mallard is my cousin on my mother's side. Gives me hell about it since he's younger. Uptight bastard," muttered Dr. Mallard as he disappeared back into the other room.
Silently, Captain Benell and Commander Noland stepped into the corridor and into the turbolift, Losk being the first to break the silence, "Bridge," he commanded, and the turbolift set into motion.
"Captain I'm terribly sorry about Dr. Mallard's behavior. I'll personally see to it that," Jessica tried to say, but fell silent as Losk waved her concerns away.
"Don't worry about it, Commander. I read his file before arriving. Quite an interesting man. He should be an admiral himself sitting at Starfleet medical, but he refuses to go anywhere but a starship. He's eccentric and stubborn, which is how I like my medical officers. I don't want a doctor bending over backwards to make me happy when something's a clear threat to the health of my ship," he fell silent as the turbolift doors opened to reveal the bridge.
Unlike most ships, the computers on the bridge didn't have the LCARs displays so common on most other ships. She still possessed the older controls from when she'd been commissioned, which was a rather odd sight at first. However, because the bridge had never been refit, sitting proudly in the center was a lone chair, reserved strictly for the officer on duty.
"Captain on the deck!" snapped a young human with the rank pips of a Lieutenant Junior Grade, and everyone on the bridge stood and snapped to attention.
"At ease," Losk said, walking in and taking note of everyone present. All eyes were on him as the crew took in their new CO. Walking to the command chair, he rested his hand on the back of it, "I'm Captain Losk Benell, your new Captain. Commander Noland? Would you care to carry out the introductions?"
"Certainly, sir." Walking to the forward consoles, she gestured to a young, blonde haired man who looked a little nervous but didn't look away from the Captain, "This is helmsman Lieutenant Bradley Richards," and a gesture to the Vulcan woman who appeared unflappable and calm, "And this is weapons officer Lieutenant T'Nol."
At the mention of their names, helmsman Bradley nodded his head, "A pleasure, Captain, sir," while Lt. T'Nol bowed her head, "Greetings, Captain."
Continuing around the bridge, she introduced a blue-skinned Bolian as Lieutenant Junior Grade Ador, their science officer, who greeted the Captain with, "Wonderful to meet you, sir." At the rear of the bridge, directly behind the Captain was communications officer Ensign Lee Xiang, a black-haired young man with distinctive Asian features, who appeared to fidget a little out of nervousness, "Uh, a pleasure, Captain."
With the introductions out of the way, Captain Benell nodded, "A pleasure, all. We'll be getting underway the day after tomorrow, so please make sure to," he stopped as an alert on Ensign Xiang's terminal.
Tapping several commands into his terminal, he announced, "Priority One message from Starfleet, Captain."
"I'll take it in my ready room," Losk said, heading for the door to the ready room. Inside, it was sparse and felt a little empty. He would correct that soon enough. "Computer, connect with the priority one message, authorization two two six echo lima."
The screen changed from the United Federation of Planets logo, a circular starfield flanked by two olive branches, to the aged face of Admiral Toddman, "Captain Benell."
"Admiral Toddman," Losk said, sitting down, "What can I do for you, sir?"
"Captain, I know you're still getting ready but we have a situation. Yesterday at 14:24 hours the USS Aristocracies reported a strange entity on board. At 14:33 hours they reported it had escaped containment and was spreading. And at 14:59 we lost all contact with the Aristocracies. Normally I'd send a ship from starbase 301, but 4th fleet just shipped out and two of her patrol ships are in for an overhaul. If there was anyone else in range I'd send them and let you get things settled in, but we don't have the time. I'm ordering you to sector 63 to find out what happened to the Aristocracies and contain whatever it is they found."
"Understood sir. We'll get underway as soon as we can. Benell out."