Topic: When the Going Gets Tough...  (Read 17236 times)

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Offline CaptJosh

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When the Going Gets Tough...
« on: July 19, 2005, 12:07:40 am »
Well, y'all asked for it, so here's my first new story attempt in years. I'm basing it roughly on the early days of the TNG era Starfleet Corps of Engineers, and I hope I can get this going right. I'm writing on the fly here.


When the Going Gets Tough...

Chapter 1

Lieutenant Commander Jack Baker walked through the corridors of the Federation Surplus Depot Z15 toward the shuttle bay, still wondering why he had been summoned here for a new assignment. However, he didn't have much time to wonder before he arrived at the shuttle bay and the transport craft he had been ordered to report to. He tapped the control to open the hatch on the antique 23rd century shuttle and climbed in only to be confronted by...
"Captain Scott?!" Jack asked startledly once he managed to pick his jaw up off the floor.

"Aye. In the flesh. Ye seem surprised, lad," the old engineer responded.

"They didn't tell me I was going to be working for you, sir," Commander Baker answered.

"Well...tis nae so much workin' for me as ah'm tae brief ye on yer new assignment, laddie," Captain Montgomery Scott replied. "Come on. Seal the hatch, lad. We've a great deal tae do and precious little time tae do ut in," Scotty finished as he turned to the console to finish his preflight checks.

"Aye, Sir," Baker acknowledged as he turned to close the hatch on a shuttle that was probably as old as her pilot.

"Before ye ask, laddie, let me explain what's going on. As ye may know, Ah'm involved in reconstitutin' the ol' Starfleet Corps of Engineers."

Jack merely nodded, not wanting to interrupt.

"Well, your name and personnel jacket were put on my desk...dinnae interrupt lad. Let me finish. Along with a note from your former commanding officer. Captain Erika Benteen has issued a formal recommendation that ye be promoted and given an independent command, Commander Baker," the old engineer finished with a grin.

"Sir?" the newly minted Commander Jack Baker asked incredulously as Scotty affixed a new pip to Jack's uniform collar.

"Call me Scotty, lad. Ye've earned it."

"Yes Sir! er, Scotty. Damn. This is going to take some getting used to..." Jack trailed off. "So what's my assignment?"

"We're comming tae that now, lad," Scotty said and pointed as he opened the panel on one of the old windows.

"A salvage operation?"

"Nae exactly..."

"Scotty..." Jack said with a warning, questioning tone.

"Aye, lad. She's all yours. The U.S.S. Howard Hughes. Miranda class."

Jack pulled up the ship's information on a console on the shuttle and his eyes widened. He turned to Captain Scott, "Ca...Scotty, I realize you're trying to get the S.C.E. out there as quickly as possible, but you're not doing us any favors like this."

"Laddie, if you cannae work with that ship, then maybe ye're nae the man ah want around here," Scotty rumbled, his brogue thickening.

"I can work with this ship, but she's a wreck!" Jack pointed to the information on the console screen, "I'll have to get her engines up just to get her to the spacedock I saw on my way in on my transport! To get this ship operational, by the book, I'll need two months just to get started! But of course we don't have two months, so I'll have to do it in two weeks."

"That's the spirit, laddie! Dinnae let this old man gie ye any guff. Ye be an engineer and she's your ship. But remember, you're her skipper noo, th' man in the center seat. Dinnae be tryin' tae do everything y'self. That's what ye'll be hae'in a crew for."

"Aye, sir..." Jack trailed off looking at his new command through the viewports on the shuttle as they moved into dock, shaking his head in disbelief. The Howard Hughes looked like she'd been through an asteroid field at medium speed with no deflectors.
'What am I supposed to do with this old hulk?' he mused to himself as Scotty docked the shuttle...

EDIT: Continuity issue fixed. Commander Baker didn't know who he was going to meet, so he should have just been heading for the shuttle bay, rather than to meet with anyone specific, which is how it now reads.

EDIT 2: Changed the language a bit at the end. Replaced "thought" with "mused" for a more polished feel.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2017, 09:58:02 pm by CaptJosh »
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Offline Jaeih t`Radaik

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Re: You asked for it... My first fresh story attempt in a long time...
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2005, 07:02:55 am »
A very good first shot, Josh. You even manage a more-than-decent Scottish accent. :wink:

However, just being promoted to commander--and without any other background data--isn't enough IMHO to call Captain Scott "Scotty". What exactly has he earned?

PS. Your story is fine, this is just a pet peeve of mine.
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Re: You asked for it... My first fresh story attempt in a long time...
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2005, 07:15:05 am »
I like it so far... Scotty was never much for formality.

Just out of curiousity though... are you a Robotech fan there, Josh?

Jack Baker is the name of a young hotshot pilot from "Robotech: The Sentinels" also.
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Offline CaptJosh

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Re: You asked for it... My first fresh story attempt in a long time...
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2005, 07:41:25 am »
Picked it almost completely at random. I once used the name for a charcter in an IRC rpg called a sim group. While I like Robotech, I've never read the Sentinels. I've never gotten farther than reading through the Second Robotech War.

As for the informality, I based that on Scotty's telling Geordi LaForge, a man he hardly even knew, to call him Scotty in the TNG episode "Relics". This, by the way, is set after "Relics". Captain Erika Benteen might be familiar to you as the Captain of the U.S.S. Lakota in the DS9 episodes "Homefront" and "Paradise Lost", where she started out as aide de camp for Admiral Leyton, who then promoted her so he'd have a loyal captain around for his scheme to get Earth under martial law and keep it that way for the duration of the Dominion War.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2005, 06:42:17 pm by CaptJosh »
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Offline KAT Chuut-Ritt

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Re: You asked for it... My first fresh story attempt in a long time...
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2005, 07:49:48 am »
Looks good Josh keep writing!

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Re: When the Going Gets Tough... (I decided to retitle the thread)
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2005, 02:53:42 am »
 I need more to reallly crit m8
Snickers@DND: If there is one straight answer in that bent little head of yours, you'd better start spillin' it pretty damn quick, or I'm gonna take a large, blunt object, roughly the size of Kallae AND his hat and shove it lengthwise up a crevice of your being so seldomly cleaned that even the denizens of the nine hells would not touch it with a 10-feet rusty pole

Offline CaptJosh

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Re: When the Going Gets Tough... (I decided to retitle the thread)
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2005, 07:56:35 am »
Workin on it, sort of. I've been rather busy with the latest Dynaverse server. Attack of the Kitties II: The Wrath of Jinn.

I have part of the second chapter done already, but it's sitting in a file right now. I might get it up today, or it might be a while.
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Offline CaptJosh

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Re: When the Going Gets Tough... (I decided to retitle the thread)
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2005, 12:20:16 pm »
Chapter 2

'Me and my big mouth. Two weeks instead of two months, indeed...' Jack thought to himself, 'It's been a week and we're just pulling into the repair dock now.'

"Thrusters to station keeping. Prepare for umbilical connections and power switchover," he ordered aloud.

"Aye, sir. Thrusters at station keeping, zero relative velocity...now. We are in position," the helmsman reported.

"Ready for umbilical connections," the operations officer reported immediately thereafter, "Umbilicals now moving into position, and...locked," he finished unnecessarily as the booms of the umbilical arms making contact rang through the hull of the Howard Hughes.

"Switching over to external power, Sir," the Chief Engineer reported, "Impulse engines powering down."

'A week and I still can't remember my command crew's names yet. There hasn't been time. This ship is a wreck. It looked bad in the report, but that didn't even begin to list the minor issues that had us take 5 days longer than it should have to get moving... Jack interrupted his train of thought, "Very well. Helm, power down thrusters."

"Aye aye. Thrusters to idle...and...thruster systems deactivated. We are docked," the helmsman reported.

"All systems on external power, Sir," Baker's Chief Engineer stated. "All reactors to standby mode and beginning to go to full power down," he finished, sounding relieved.

"Sounds like some of the power systems were more shaky than you'd like to deal with," Baker commented.

"Sir, I'd have preferred to be towed in with the way things are on this ship, but there aren't any tugs to spare at this place, so we had to use the ship itself. I'm perfectly happy to shut down our own power systems so as to be able to give them a complete overhaul," the engineer grumbled.

"Look...uh...what was your name again?" Jack asked, looking embarrassed.

"MacLeod, Sir. Connor MacLeod. Don't feel bad, Sir. Ah can't remember the names of my own staff, either. There's been no time."

"Connor...MacLeod...," Baker blinked hard, twice, and bit his tongue, but it didn't help, "Maybe sometime you'll show me your sword..."

"Sir?"

Jack shook his as if to clear it, "Nevermind. You can check the computer later. Fiction, motion pictures, Highlander. That should explain my reaction well enough."

"Aye, Sir," MacLeod said, outwardly looking puzzled, but inwardly grinning. He knew exactly what his new skipper was talking about, and immediately decided he'd get along just fine with a skipper that had such a sense of humor.

"Anyway, as I was about to say. The tugs here are all busy, and we couldn't get one detached from anywhere else. I don't like it, either. The way the systems are on this ship, a tow would have helped a lot. But we would have been waiting another week just to get started if we'd waited for one," Baker grumbled.

"Well, as it is, we've repaired a lot of damage just to get her mobile again. That should help some," LtCdr. MacLeod commented.

"I hope so. The Howard Hughes here is a wreck right now, except for her impulse engines. And the warp engines are so outdated that they've given us a pair of new nacelles and a brand new warp core to put in. Those are due within the hour, now," Jack shook his head, "So much to do. At least the station crew is going to help out."

"Aye. But I've given orders that when the new warp core and nacelles get here, all other work halts and everybody in my department gets that done as quickly as possible. We're going to need to test the EPS system once we've got the new core and I want it in as soon as possible so we know if we need to replace what few old power conduits hadn't been stripped out of the old girl," Connor stated definitively.

"Very good then. Carry on. I've got to got see the station manager about work schedules for his teams that will be providing assistance," Jack made a face. He'd rather be subject to a Cardassian interrogation than do these menial bureaucratic tasks.

"Aye Aye, Skipper," MacLeod acknowledged.

Jack stalked off to the shuttle bay. If he had to do this 24th century equivalent of paper shuffling, he was going to at least have one enjoyable thing involved in the process...
« Last Edit: October 24, 2005, 05:21:53 pm by CaptJosh »
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Offline Grim Reaper

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Re: When the Going Gets Tough... (I decided to retitle the thread)
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2005, 02:42:10 am »
And that would be?
Snickers@DND: If there is one straight answer in that bent little head of yours, you'd better start spillin' it pretty damn quick, or I'm gonna take a large, blunt object, roughly the size of Kallae AND his hat and shove it lengthwise up a crevice of your being so seldomly cleaned that even the denizens of the nine hells would not touch it with a 10-feet rusty pole

Offline CaptJosh

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Re: When the Going Gets Tough... (I decided to retitle the thread)
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2005, 08:24:28 am »
Let's see. He's headed for the shuttle bay instead of the transporter room. Work it out, Grim.
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Re: When the Going Gets Tough... (I decided to retitle the thread)
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2005, 12:39:34 pm »
Let's see. He's headed for the shuttle bay instead of the transporter room. Work it out, Grim.

Gotcha, he's gonna see his buckett of bolts from the outside, which is a rare occurence for ST captains. Sorry, I'm usually better at spotting little things like that. Anyways, next thing I wonder about is what the "real" mission will be.
Snickers@DND: If there is one straight answer in that bent little head of yours, you'd better start spillin' it pretty damn quick, or I'm gonna take a large, blunt object, roughly the size of Kallae AND his hat and shove it lengthwise up a crevice of your being so seldomly cleaned that even the denizens of the nine hells would not touch it with a 10-feet rusty pole

Offline CaptJosh

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Re: When the Going Gets Tough... (I decided to retitle the thread)
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2005, 11:16:55 pm »
You're wondering, huh? That means I've managed to create an engaging character that causes you to want to know more about what happens to him. Good. I was afraid I'd lost my touch.
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Offline CaptJosh

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Re: When the Going Gets Tough... (I decided to retitle the thread)
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2005, 12:56:31 am »
Sorry to make you folks wait so long. I've gotten a bit side-tracked, but I do have a working draft of chapter 3 and should be posting it within the next few days.
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Re: When the Going Gets Tough... (I decided to retitle the thread)
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2005, 01:48:47 pm »
OK, I've taken long enough. A new chapter for you all. It's kinda long, though...

EDIT: I can't believe I didn't catch this sooner. I had Scotty promote Baker to Commander in the first chapter, yet Erik was calling him Lieutenant Commander. Doh! Fixed now.

Chapter 3

"Clear for departure, Captain," the Flight Control Officer reported, "Station control has approach lane 8 cleared for your use, Sir."

"Roger that. Open the shuttle bay doors. Preflight is green across the board and I'm ready to go," Baker replied, unable to conceal the pleasure in his voice.

"Opening doors. Clear ether, Sir."

"And happy landings. Spanner taking off," Jack stated, reverting to protocol from Academy Flight School and the handle his classmates hung on him, the only engineer in the class.

"Have fun, Spanner," the FCO acknowledged as Jack's shuttle fairly leapt into space, eliciting a curse from the FCO and a corresponding chuckle from Baker.

Some fifteen minutes later Jack was in the office of the station manager...

"Would you mind telling me what you think you were doing nearly giving my flight control officer a heart attack, Mr. Baker?"

"Letting off some steam, sir. If you'll note my service record, you'd see I'm trained in that type of maneuvering. I went through flight school at the Academy," Jack pointed out.

"THAT, Commander, is the only reason I haven't followed the recommendation of my FCO and brought you up on charges. I knew that at no time were you out of control of your shuttle -" the station manager paused and grinned slyly as he came round his desk "- Spanner."

Jack grinned back, "Damn it's good to see you again, Erik...Or should I call you Viking?" he asked, recalling his old friend's pilot nickname from flight school, a nickname based on the fact that Erik's classmates had colled him Erik the Red because of his hair, and because of how furiously he blushed whenever a certain female cadet had even so much as cast her eye upon him.

"I should have realized that they'd tap you for this SCE thing. I've missed you ole buddy," Erik said and the two men embraced, pounding eachother on the back.

"So, how have you been, Erik? Obviously command path has treated you well enough. A full commander yourself, and in charge of this station."

"It's ok. I'd like to get back to starship duty before too much longer. I'm envious of you. You've actually got a starship to command, Jack."

"Not until the new warp nacelles are in place and the refit is done. Until then, the Howard Hughes is still a derelict, regardless of being impulse capable. How many of your people can you spare to help me?"

"How does having the entire spacedock crew plus every engineer I can scrape up that's had recent starship experience sound?"

"Sounds great. By the way...How did things turn out between you and Sonja?"

Erik blushed furiously, causing Jack to roar with laughter.

Once Jack's laughter had quieted, though, Erik spoke, "Actually, she's here as my exec. And we're engaged."

"Congrats man. I'll come to the wedding if I can make it."

"You'd better be able to make it, Jack. It's scheduled for 5 days from now and you don't leave for another week!"

"Ok, Erik," Jack answered with a chuckle. "I'll be there."

"Jack, speaking of old flames and all, what happened with you and that hot little number, erm...Damn. Can't remember her name."

"I know who you're talking about, Erik. Just call her Miss Section 8, now."

"Went space happy?" Erik asked surprisedly.

"Went? Erik, she always was nuts. She just managed to hide it fairly well."

"I guess, seeing as she got into the Academy. Sorry to hear that, Jack."

"Don't be. I'm not. Just as long as she doesn't pull a Janice Lester on me."

Erik rolled his eyes, "Oh God! I read about that bit with Lester and Kirk on the Enterprise. Lester always thought that Kirk was the reason they kicked her out of the fleet when the real reason was insane stunts like that last one that put her in the same place where they had Garth of Izar before they finally cured him."

"I heard that in the end, Garth made it back to Starship duty. Apparently the medicine Kirk brought, along with the other therapies they used, cured him," Jack mused.

"Well, they certainly needed him by the time he got out of the booby hatch. Anyway, I'll get the teams organized. Those nacelles are almost in position. How are you going about getting the old ones off?"

Jack checked his antique digital wrist chronometer, "Actually, they're about to get rid of the old nacelles now. Why don't we just watch? You can see the spacedock from here in your office."

"Why does that make me nervous, Jack?"

"Just watch."

For about 3 minutes nothing happened, then, from each nacelle, right where it connected to the pylon, a series of small flashes followed by a brilliant actinic flash that caused the window to darken in compensation. When it cleared, the old nacelles were drifting rapidly away from the Howard Hughes Z-minus relative to the ship, and out the relative bottom of the spacedock scaffolding.

"You had your people use the explosive bolts and jettison charges?" Erik ask incredulously.

"Can you think of a faster way to get them off and out of the way?" Jack riposted. "Frankly, I'm surprised that the bolts and charges still worked, considering the condition of the ship. And given their age, per the regs, they had to be replaced anyway on a refit like this. This way, the charges and bolts are already gone. It'll save half a day, minimum."

"You always were a hell of an engineer, Jack. But why not blow the nacelles before even getting moving? You could have headed in on thrusters without that extra mass."

"Only if there was fuel for the RCS system. Blow the nacelles and I lose my bussard collectors, one of the few things on the ship that was still working. I wasn't blowing those nacelles until I knew the new ones were here to replace them."

"Fair enough," Erik paused for a bit, then continued, "Come on, Jack. Let's get these teams organized before they maneuver the new nacelles into position."

The two turned away from the observation port and got to work on assembling the work detail assignments.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2006, 03:04:54 am by CaptJosh »
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Offline Scottish Andy

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Re: When the Going Gets Tough... (I decided to retitle the thread)
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2005, 07:17:56 pm »
A nice little installment. I like the little character byplay, but why was jettisoning the nacelles such a big deal? wouldn't they have done so normally ayway?
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Offline CaptJosh

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Re: When the Going Gets Tough... (I decided to retitle the thread)
« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2005, 09:34:16 pm »
Normally, one only jettisons nacelles in an emergency, AFAIK.
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Offline CaptJosh

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Re: When the Going Gets Tough... (I decided to retitle the thread)
« Reply #16 on: November 13, 2005, 06:40:51 pm »
Ladies and gentlemen, I apologize for the long delay. Real life rather bit me on the butt, preventing me from posting another chapter when I thought I would. I'm going to try to get one up within the next couple days.
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Re: When the Going Gets Tough...
« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2005, 11:26:57 pm »
No worries, I think everybody here knows the feeling. ;)
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Re: When the Going Gets Tough...
« Reply #18 on: November 24, 2005, 10:51:40 am »
I'm really enjoying this!  The touch with blowing the nacelles off while docked was great.  I've got only one issue with that though.  The Miranda-class has the nacelles positioned a lot closer to the docking clamps than, say, a ship of the standard saucer-can type.  If I was that station commander I'd be fairly upset with the use of explosives so close to my station, even if it was my buddy's ship.
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Offline CaptJosh

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Re: When the Going Gets Tough...
« Reply #19 on: November 24, 2005, 11:29:58 am »
The explosives in question are explosive bolts, which don't go anywhere, and shaped charges specifically designed to push the nacelle z-minus axis, away from the ship. Fed types really trust their tech, though my main character, as an engineer, was unsure if the bolts and charges would work at all. As for the spacedock there, it's much larger than the ones in Kirk's day, so there was a lot more room to work with.
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There are only 10 kinds of people in the world;
those who understand binary and those who don't.