Location: USS Independence
Captain Ellis' comm badge chirped. "Captain Ellis," the Command Yeoman announced, "the senior staff is in the Command Briefing Room."
Mystery walked into the command briefing room carrying a large cup of coffee. As she entered, the Chief of the Boat called out "Captain's on the Deck!" and the officers in the room stood to attention. Taking a seat, she said, "I'm sorry to have kept you all waiting."
All of the senior staff were assembled around the conference table with their assistants behind them. One civilian in the room that Mystery did not recognize was a women of medium height with a scar that ran from the bridge of her nose across her left cheek and short blonde hair wearing a stylish black jumpsuit. The Chief of the Boat introduced the woman as Jeanette Wyrick, First Attaché to Ambassador Baer.
Feyd felt the bottom drop out of his stomach for the second time that day. He didn’t enjoy the feeling. He locked eyes with Jeannette, the two recognizing each other instantly. She’d changed her look, and somehow picked up a scar, but it was her. How she managed to keep a scar with current medical capabilities was a mystery, one he’d have to ask her about.
She smiled that knowing smile she had, recognizing him as well. She nodded almost imperceptibly, a silent acknowledgement that she’d known he’d be there. They were definitely going to have to talk later.
Chuck stood up and performed the Picard Maneuver. "Good Morning." He looked at Ensign Ferron.
“Captain,” Ensign Valentina Ferron acknowledged at the beginning of the briefing, “We have been tasked with escorting the Federation Representative from Starbase 10 to the Pyxis system, a distance of approximately 17 light-years, and escort a delegation from the natives of Pyxis Alpha V back to Starbase 10. The ambassador’s team is already aboard and is making preparation to meet with the Odins-ku-sin-er-drei-mal-ent-fernt-wur-dier,” the Ensign pronounced the name of the native race slowly and deliberately, taking a breath after before adding, “We burned out three translator modules trying to interpret the name. The closest we came was God’s-distant-relatives-who-he-doesn’t-like-very-much. We have shortened the name to O-D-K for the purposes of this briefing.”
She turned to the briefing room view screen and displayed a strategic map of the sector. “The Pyxis system sits almost equal-distance from the Federation, Klingon, and Romulan borders. It is close to strategic shipping lanes and adjacent to the Baker’s Dozen unaligned worlds. For the past 125 years, the Federation has had a no-contact policy with the native race. The Klingons and Romulans have shown interest in the system in the past but have not been able to bring the system into their sphere of influence.”
“The O-D-K appear to be human descendants of Nordic colonists from Earth in the early 21st Century. Technology of the time would not have permitted such distant travel from Earth so we believe a wormhole or some other phenomenon brought them to Pyxis. The system was surveyed in 2359 and at the time the O-D-K were in a pre-industrial state. They first demonstrated interplanetary travel capability about twenty years ago with the first warp signatures detected last year. The Federation first contact team reported the O-D-K had not significantly advanced in most fields about a month ago before they dropped off the net.”
“With the assistance of Lieutenant O’Connell,” Valentina smiled at Jamie, ”we have determined that the O-D-K probably use warp currents to travel between star systems.” Valentina press on her briefing PADD and a navigation overlay superimposed itself on the strategic map of the section. “Based on this assumption,” she continued, “we believe that the O-D-K will follow this route in the return to Starbase 10.” A serpentine line appeared on the map that curved and twisted through the sector. “We estimate that it will take the O-D-K a little under three months to travel this route to Starbase 10.”
"Subject to your questions," she stated, "that concludes my portion of the briefing."
"My orders are to escort them to star base 10 and that they wanted to use their own ship. So what your telling me is we'll be escorting them for the next three months," Mystery asked.
"Yes, ma'am," Ensign Ferron replied somewhat uncomfortably.
Lt. O'Connell sat listening to the briefing and feeling a little uneasy after Ensign Ferron smiled at him. Not because he didn't enjoy the smile but because he didn't want the others in the room to notice that it was directed at him; or maybe he was just being paranoid. After her briefing was finished Jamie offered a possible solution to the traveling time factor " Captain if I may; I think that I may have a solution which would shorten the time that it would take the O-D-K to travel from their home planet to Starbase 10. The O-D-K's ship travels on 'warp currents'; so if we could extend a 'warp current' ahead of the Independence then they could use that instead of traveling all over the sector to continually pick up a warp current. Depending on their actual warp speed this should allow them to cut the travel time to Starbase 10 by at least fifty percent if not more." Jamie explained.
Kevin raise his hand. "I know your knowledge of warp mechanics is much better than mine," he admitted, "but isn't the warp field generator designed specifically for the ship and it's immediate surroundings?"
"Yes that's correct Lieutenant, but in order to establish a safe traveling distance between our two ships we would have to amplify the warp field generator so that it resonates a warp current further from the Ship than it was designed to do" Jamie explained "This could be accomplished by using the Main Deflector Dish which would direct the current into a solid stream thereby allowing the escorted ship to maintain a safer distance from us using the generated stream. Also we would be able to monitor their ship better if they were ahead of us instead of behind us."
"Or we could place a warp able shuttle behind their ship, we'd have to modify the forward shields on it so that it could give the ship a gentle push while this ship can do the warp field that has been suggested. I'd suggest a tractor beam but I'm not sure they'd go for it let alone if their hull could withstand the pressure. Since they want to use their own ship." Mystery suggested.
"We could also reconfigure the ship's ram deflector and push the O-D-K ship in front of the Independence," Kevin observed.
O'Connell thought a moment "Lieutenant Lance are you suggesting using that in conjunction with forming a warp current for the O-D-K to use?"
"Yes, sir. If you extend the ship's warp field, we can push the O-D-K ship," Lance theorized, "A reconfigured ram deflector would protect both ships."
"Yes that would work, especially considering we don't know how well there hull is constructed, that way they can travel under their own 'steam' as it were." Jamie concluded.
Chuck scanned the room, looking for additional questions. Not seeing any, he said, "Ms. Wyrick, do you have anything you would like to add at this time?"
The blonde woman was silent a moment, then said, "Your proposals are interesting. I am certain that the Ambassador would welcome any means of shortening the journey. We would want to examine the final proposal and test it in simulation before presenting it to the O-D-K. They would, of course, have to agree."
"The Engineering Department can write up the specs Ms. Wyrick and we'll send them to Commander Gillespie, along with the simulation data for his approval; if that's agreeable to everyone" Jamie responded.
"That will be acceptable," Jeanette replied, "How long will it take us to travel to the Pyxis system?"
"At cruise speed," Lieutenant Maida referred to her PADD, "It will take us 6.8 days."
As Jamie was writing some notes on his PADD he glanced up in the direction of Ensign Ferron, but she didn't notice as she was busy talking to the Commander "I really need to ask this Lady out for an evening sometime soon" was his thought.
Chuck scanned room again for questions. As no one tried to get his attention, he said, "As there are no further questions, this briefing is adjourned."