Chapter 3: Underway
Seals looked at the crew on the bridge and then said, "As you were." He walked over to Commander Tracy Johnson, Chief of Operations.
"Greetings, Captain. Here is my operations report. We can have a briefing with the Department Heads and the Command Staff whenever you are ready. All systems check out just fine. Your First Officer just arrived and is checking down in Medical and Engineering. All crew are aboard and are accounted for," said Johnson as she handed him the padd.
Seals flipped through the screens on the padd and then gave it back to Johnson. "Thank you, Commander." He then walked over to Commander Ken VanEseltine.
The Chief Communications Officer was typing on a terminal when Seals walked over to him. Seals put his hand on Ken's shoulder and asked, "How are things on the communications end? I want to take us out of here in a while, so make all the necessary communiqués to Starfleet alerting them of our departure."
"Yes, sir," said VanEseltine as he switched screens on the terminal.
Seals then walked over to his Security Chief and looked at him sternly. Ben Urban stood there looking back at his Captain waiting for a response. "Did the Colonel light into you yet?" asked Seals.
Urban looked around and then responded, "Yes, sir. He basically gave me his two main rules that he wanted followed, but that was about it."
"Good. Follow those rules to the letter. I read your personnel file and I want to make sure that you are on time and present whenever we have any meetings or I'll have your butt. Remember one thing, Chief: the ship comes before any women or that twentieth-century Japanese animation. You got that?" asked Seals firmly.
Urban stood more erect then answered, "Yes, sir. I won't let you down."
"Good. See that you don't," said Seals as he patted Urban on the back.
The bridge hatch swished open and three more crew members walked onto the bridge. Lieutenant Lori Higdon, LtJg Lorraine Anderson, and Petty Officer Third Class Carol Post walked over to their duty stations.
Seals walked over to his Chief of Computer Operations and shook her hand, "Welcome aboard, Lieutenant. How was it on Deep Space Six?"
Higdon adjusted her glasses. "Well, sir, boring actually. I got a lot of information downloaded into files for the ship pertaining to activity of the Jem'Hadar and the Dominion. I've also secured some 'special' files that I wasn't supposed to have found on the Dominion and Jem'Hadar, as well as something I haven't yet been able to decode. But when I do, I'm sure it will be good reading, if you know what I mean."
Seals smiled. "Outstanding work, Lieutenant. Now you know why I picked you for my crew. Oh, and by the way, I look forward to you making us some homemade brownies and pound cake when you get settled in. OK?"
Higdon chuckled a little. "Yes, Captain. No problem."
Anderson and Post assumed their duty stations and made sure everything was in order. Seals came over to greet them.
"Welcome aboard, ladies. Are you set for the adventure of a lifetime?"
Both of them responded in unison, "Yes, sir."
"Good," said Seals, "Do us proud."
Seals then walked over to the center chair and sat down in it. He touched the leather arm rests and ran his hands over it, feeling the soft texture and realizing that this was all his. This was his baby, the best the fleet had to offer. With this ship they would bring the fight to the Dominion and make life peaceful for those in the Alpha Quadrant. But in the back of his mind, he knew that there was more to this mission than met the eye. He would have to wait and see.
Lt.Col. Smith entered Sick Bay and looked around. He saw a few crew members adorned in their blue uniforms checking on supplies and getting gear in order. He turned and saw the Chief Medical Officer standing by a computer terminal typing something. He walked over to him.
"What's up, Doc?" asked Smith with some dry, twentieth-century humor.
Ensign Terry Warren looked up from the terminal and saw the Marine standing there. He was a bit startled, but straightened up. "Oh, sorry, Colonel. I didn't see you standing there. Well, I've finally loaded all of the crew's medical records into the database and also installed some files on the Jem'Hadar medical anatomy, so in case we have to treat any wounded, we can handle it."
Smith looked on the screen of the terminal and nodded, "Good, I hope we never have to do bring any wounded enemy on board, but if we have to, I hope you have the facilities and knowledge to treat them."
Ensign Terry Warren stepped to another terminal. "I'm the Chief Surgeon, so don't worry, I'll handle it."
Smith turned to walk out the door, "Good, Ensign. Welcome aboard. Someone will let you know when we will have the briefing."
"Thank you, sir," said Warren as he got back to work.
Smith nodded again and walked out the hatch. He made it out into the passageway when he ran into Commander Paul Hovey, the Chief Science Officer. "Hello, Commander. Welcome aboard. How are things going?" asked Smith.
Hovey turned and started walking with Smith as he replied, "Well, Colonel, I've got a lot of information and files on the Gamma Quadrant and also detailed files on the enemy. We should have enough information on the Jem'Hadar and the Dominion to make them pay."
Smith turned to him as they walked, "Well, I've been looking forward to this for a long time. My boys are anxious to exact some pay-back for all the damage they've done. I had a good friend on the Odyssey when it got decimated and he had a nice wife and three children. I owe them for him."
Hovey shook his head, "I know. A lot of good people have taken it really bad. I agree with you; it's good that Starfleet is sending us on this mission. I just hope that we make it OK. The combat capabilities of the Jem'Hadar, with their ships and such, make them formidable foes."
"Yes, I know that. I've lost a few brethren who were on Marine detachments on some of the ships they destroyed early on. Don't worry; we'll give them quite the fight."
Hovey stopped beside a turbolift. "Well, Colonel, I have to pay my respects to the Captain and report in. I'll have enough information to discuss in the briefing. Good to see you." The doors swished open and Hovey shook Smith's hand before entering the turbolift.
Smith continued down the corridor and made his way into Engineering. The Engineering Section was abuzz with crew shuffling about making preparations for the journey ahead. Smith saw the Chief Engineer directing people to different areas and working on different instruments. Petty Officer First Class Gwen Marchant was making a final safety check when she saw Smith standing there.
"Oh, hello, Colonel. What can I do for you?" she asked.
"Well, I wanted to make sure everything was in order because we're gonna bust out of here shortly. Is everything working right?"
Marchant looked at her padd then looked up at Smith. "Well, sir, we had a few minor glitches but they've been worked out. The warp core is in top condition and is much different from the cores on other Intrepid-class ships. This one has a very efficient backup system, shielding, and coolant securities. It would be hard for this core to melt down or be breached."
Smith crossed his arms and looked around. "Great. I just want you to make sure that when the Captain asks for anything, you will be able to provide it. Good work, Marchant. You'll be informed of the briefing. Carry on."
Smith walked out of Engineering and made it to a turbolift that carried him back to the bridge. He walked onto the bridge and saw that everything was ready for the ship to depart. Captain Seals motioned for him to walk over to the Executive Officer's chair and have a seat. Smith did so and removed his beret.
Seals extended his hand. "Good to see ya, Bill. You got everything in hand?"
Smith shook his hand then sat back in his chair. "Yes, sir. I spoke with all the departments and everything is in order. We can leave whenever you wish."
Seals shifted in his chair. "Good. I have a place where I want to stop before we make a jaunt out to the wormhole."
Seals stood up. "Commander Johnson, please take the helm. Commander VanEseltine, contact space port and request permission to depart. Everyone take your stations and prepare for departure."
Johnson sat at the helm and powered up the engines. VanEseltine contacted space port and got permission to depart.
"OK, Commander, take us out. One quarter impulse," said Seals.
"Aye, sir," said Johnson.
The sleek form of the Gryphon started to make its way out of the large space dock and slid out of the docking doors and into open space.
"Good flying, Johnson. Set coordinates for the planet Minos," said Seals.
Johnson's fingers flew deftly over the terminal's controls. "Minos entered and awaiting further orders, sir."
Smith tapped his comm badge and said, "Engineering, do we have warp power?"
Merchant's voice came over, "Warp power ready and waiting."
Seals walked over behind Johnson and said, "Warp nine ... Engage."
The nacelles on the Gryphon folded upwards and the sleek ship shot
forth into warp speed toward the planet Minos, the first stop on a long
dangerous journey ahead.
|• Honor Among Warriors: The
Gryphon Story, © 1997 by William D. Smith, is reproduced from
the March 1997 issue of Gryphon Trek
Gazette with permission.|
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