|Aurora Dancing With The Sky|
Leading Starmen Niall Soren walked into the mess hall to see his first officer sat alone at one of only two tables in the small room. He quietly went to the food dispenser and got his evening meal. He could see that Lieutenant Dentelle had her own meal, but was also surrounded by data pads.
His experiences with his first officer had taught him to tread very carefully where she was involved. Although she had been the voice of reason and sanity during the hard times of Commander Nile, she could still be unapproachable sometimes.
He took a gamble and sat across the table from her. “Welcome Mr. Soren.” Her tone was almost sarcastic, but Niall had enough experience to know that she was not opposed to his presence. It was a few minutes before Niall saw his opportunity to speak to her. It came in the form of her covering her eyes with both hands as if exasperated by something.
“Is everything alright lieutenant?” he spoke quietly not wanting to startle her from her thoughts. She looked up at him slowly as if weighing up how much she should say to him. "The commander has charged me with going through the punishment records and removing all the false charges." Niall was literally speechless. This extremely young new commander had barely been aboard a few hours and already he had seemed to have worked out the character of his predecessor, he was even setting about undoing the damage caused. "Is that all Mr. Soren?" The tone displayed her obvious annoyance at his amazement. "If it is you will assist me in weeding out the false charges." Soren nodded "Aye aye ma'am."
Harmony pushed a data pad towards Soren that had details of punishments awarded on his watch. She trusted Niall Soren's discretion as he was a good, honest man. He was the highest non-commissioned rank on the ship and so had been able to take control of a watch when the previous commander had become bored and left his post.
It was a miracle that the man had even made it through the Academy she had regularly found herself thinking. She consoled herself with the thought that Commander Nile was gone now. However she could not bring herself to trust this new commander. His intentions seemed well, but she wouldn't let herself be fooled by that. He had taken her promotion that was a thought that would not fade easily.
Sky sat in the command chair on the bridge. His preparations for making way were complete and now he only waited for the moment of truth. He desperately wanted to call all hands to make way, but there was plenty of time still to do that. He took several steadying breaths, he would go walk through his ship once more.
He wasn’t needed on the bridge at the moment anyway. It wasn’t even his watch. “You have the bridge first officer.” He called to Harmony, who at the rear of the bridge had been doing everything possible to be inconspicuous. Sky opened the hatch and left the bridge trying not to laugh at the surprise on Harmony’s face.
However his humour was short lived as he was unable to conceal the surprise on his own face as he came across the bridge crew who were assigned the duty of taking the Bolt out of port lined up in a single rank against the bulkhead. Each of them in their best dress uniforms, all immaculately clean with belt buckles and metal badges shining.
Mr. Soren looked down from the end of the rank. He had been giving them an inspection. “Commander on Deck.” He snapped the second his eyes came to rest upon Sky.The entire rank snapped to attention, each looking incredibly proud of the way they looked. “Stand at ease.” Sky ordered “Carry on Mr. Soren.”
Soren flashed up a salute that would have made any drill instructor proud before continuing down the line. Sky watched in contemplative silence as each one of the crew were checked for minute flaws and was finally pronounced fit to take up their posts.
Sky returned through the bridge entry hatch to find Harmony hovering close to his command chair directing the skeleton bridge crew to finish what they were doing. "Commander on Deck." One of them called, but Sky had already responded with "At ease!" before anyone had been able to stand to attention. "Lieutenant Dentelle, call all hands for making way."
The flurry of orderly activity that overtook the bridge after the order was issued was most impressive, with each member of the crew calling out readiness faster than he had ever seen it done. The crew on the Battleship Nemian, when he had been on the bridge, had even at their best had seemed to be not even half as quick and efficient.
Sky had to force a calm unaffected look on his face to avoid the grin he felt creeping upon him. "All stations report ready for making way, ma'am." Soren called out having done a complete circuit of the room. "Well done Soren." Harmony responded in her calm reserved fashion. "We're ready to make way commander."
Sky opened the control panel on the arm of his chair and quickly perused the information that flashed across it tiny screen. Everything seemed to be in order. "Helm, take us out slow." Sky could feel the crew sharing in his excitement their first act as a new crew was underway.
The helmsman activated the view screen giving him a view of the docking gangway. Several slow thuds resounded through the hull of the ship as the docking clamps released. The gangway slowly seemed to drift further and further away, as the ship's thrusters gently nudged the H.S.S Bolt out into the Harbour space. Sky considered how he should phrase his next order, his mind flicked to the universal space direction system of giving the horizontal vector on a clockwise 360 degree ring then doing the same on vertical ring that descended downward under the ship before re-appearing over the top. The system allowed of almost pinpoint accurate directions even in the vacuum of space. "Once we're clear of the docking zone, bring us about to 170 degrees by 060 degrees and head for the Demi-god."
The ships engines thrummed to life as the view screen switched to a view of directly ahead of the ship. The mass of ships floating silently out in the harbour space was incredible to behold, despite the fact Sky had seen it several times before. Hereclisa's first fleet made up of ships ranging from the enormous capital ships and super carriers, down to the smaller range of ships like frigates, corvettes and even tiny scout sips like the Bolt.
Soon a large grey ship loomed closer than all the others it’s sides covered with the huge guns that could do so much damage that a single shot on planet could decimate thousands of square miles. The Bolt was too small to carry such powerful weapons. Her guns would only destroy an area a few miles wide if it were fired on a planet. The big ship had an image of extremely muscular man flexing his muscles with shining silver skin painted upon its side above the words ‘Demi-God’. Sky decided the moment was finally right "Open a communications channel to the Demi-God."
Within seconds there was an image of a gaudily dressed, overweight looking man sitting in a much larger captains chair than Sky had. "Captain Nether, I'm Commander Sky Praetora. The H.S.S. Bolt is reporting for duty as ordered." Captain Nether looked down the view screen obviously weighing Sky up. "Very well commander." He replied in a haughty uncaring tone. "We are headed on patrol to the Arachnid Sector. Intelligence informs us that there have been sightings of Tongalin ship movements. We’re to ensure that our space is clear of Tongalin ships. Leave the Harbour and Dark Shift to these co-ordinates.” Sky kept his eyes fixed on the screen as Captain Nether waved his hand to someone not in view. “Co-ordinated received and confirmed commander.” The navigator called from a console station to his right. Sky nodded to himself. “You are to jump ahead to the co-ordinates and ascertain if the area is clear. We shall Dark Shift to 200 billion miles outside the edge of the system. Where we will await a communiqué to inform us whether the co-ordinates are clear.” Sky again nodded to himself “We’ll get underway then Captain Nether.” The Captain shut off the communication without another word.
It took half an hour of careful piloting for the Bolt to make it clear of the harbour space. “Lieutenant, begin charging the ZPE drive.” Harmony walked over to the navigation console and began talking with the crewman there. It took less than a minute for the call to come back “ZPE Drive Cleared. The ship is ready for Dark Matter Shift, commander.” Sky stood from his command chair and took a few strides forward. “Set course for the Arachnid Sector.” The helmsman pressed a few buttons and waited for response from the computer. "Calculations made and course set Commander." Sky waved his right hand forward. "Engage Dark Shift!" The ship hummed with energy, shivering as it accelerated faster and faster. Sky remembered the first time he’d seen a ship enter the dark shift. It had been like the ship had accelerated into an invisible black wave which swallowed it whole, leaving no trace of its passing. He imagined his command speeding towards the invisible wave suddenly he felt it the shiver he always got when they entered the dark matter streams.
The world suddenly became dark as reality twisted into the realm where light was darkness and darkness was light. Immediately the lights were switched to the dark shift settings where all the lights that were on were turned off and the lights that were off were switched on. The change was instantaneously corrected by the reverse lighting, which had been so confusing the first time he had experienced it. Their mission had begun.
|Aurora Dancing With The Sky|