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Bridge Building

Posted on Sun Feb 24th, 2019 @ 7:05am by Captain James McCullen & Commander Temerant Bast & Lieutenant Oliver Ross & Lieutenant Araan Ragez & Lieutenant JG Simon Hunter

Mission: Reactivation
Location: Shuttlecraft near the USS Sentinel
Timeline: MD4 - 0930 Hours

Workbees scattered over the Sentinel's saucer section were hard at work, removing the final clamps to release the former, outdated and battle-damaged bridge. A new Bridge module, state-of-the-art, was waiting two thousand meters away, under tractor beam lock from a workbee.

"Station Operations are reporting they're ready to remove the bridge," reported Bast, looking at the captain. He tapped a few commands on the shuttlecraft's helm console. "We're holding position at five thousand meters."

Ross clapped and rubbed his hands. There was a palpable air of excitement around the room as he watched the Workerbees and pull the module straight from the saucer section. Ross internally lept from joy. "I can't wait to get my hands on that console."

"Hold on, Mr. Ross," McCullen cautioned, he gave Ross a smile, the captain shared the operations officer's excitement at getting a new bridge module, but he had it firmly in check. "Mr. Ragez, please ask station operations to hold, we need to dot the I's and cross the T's, lets not get ahead of ourselves. Mr. Hunter, confirm all access ports and ducts have been sealed. Mr. Ross, check that all umbilical connections have been severed, we don't want to accidentally yank out half her guts. Mr. Bast, the plaque?"

"Yes sir," said Ragez. He tapped a short series of commands on the panel in front of him and opened a channel to Providence. "Providence control, this is Sentinel. Stand by with the bridge module. Repeat, stand by with the bridge module." A few seconds passed, then three rapid chirps sounded from the panel. "Request acknowledged. They are standing by."

Bast walked to the back of the shuttlecraft and brought a duffel bag to the front. He pulled out the plaque and handed it to the Captain. "I removed it earlier this morning," he said. "Polished and oiled, ready to be placed back on the new bridge."

He reached back into the bag, pulled out champagne glasses, and a bottle of Château Picard 2365. He popped the cork, and poured the precious liquid into the glasses, handing them out to his crewmates.

"Here's to the brave men and women who served on this Bridge before us," he said, lifting his glass in ceremony. "To those whose sweat, blood and tears are embedded in the floor, consoles and bulkheads."

"To those we will never forget" replied Simon rasing his glass, he continued," May your Light burn for all time," as he looked back at his comrades and hoped that they echoed his speech.

McCullen gave a surprised smile as he accepted the champagne glass and the plaque, taking a moment to study the small metal plate and running one thumb over the ship's name and motto. They had barely known the old bridge and it hadn't entered his head to have any kind of sending-off ceremony for the place, but it was a nice touch and, if one put any stock in the idea of karma, it couldn't hurt. He raised his glass and took a sip of the effervescent liquid, "here's to them, and may our new bridge serve as well as the old. Thank you, Commander Bast."

“To Fortune,” said Araan, raising his glass slightly, “and the path that leads us to her.” He had been taught this simple prayer as a child, but it seemed appropriate for the situation.

The rest of the gathered officers raised their drinks and toasted to the ship.

"All right," the captain concluded, "I think everything is in place. Mr. Ragez, inform the shipyard that they are clear to proceed."

“Sentinel to Providence Control,” said the Orion after a few keystrokes. “Proceed with the Bridge module. Repeat, Bridge module installation is go.”

Around the Sentinel's saucer, workbees scurried to disconnect the final clamps which were holding the old bridge in place. Within a few moments the assembled crew watched from the shuttlecraft as the battle-damaged room slid smoothly up and out of the hull. It floated serenely above the ship for a moment before two dock tugs moved in and began to push and pull it away.

With the operation half complete, the Sentinel was left looking forlorn, the gaping wound at her core was dark and deep, only the small lights of patiently waiting arterial connections and the floodlights of the workbees lit the gap. Everything was still for a moment while the engineers double-checked and prepared for the second phase.

From the shuttlecraft, McCullen watched the old bridge being towed away to it's grave for a moment, then switched his focus back to the new bridge, waiting a few thousand kilometers away to be transplanted. He felt an odd mix of trepidation, excitement and anticipation, he was already looking forward to setting foot on the new module, and taking his chair.

"Bridge Alpha is clear," came a voice over the subspace comm channel. Bast recognized it as Commander Hudson's. He raised an eyebrow. The fact that the base's Chief of Operations for starship maintenance was overseeing the procedure personally was something he hadn't anticipated. "Docking site checks out. The board is green, proceed to Phase Two."

Bast looked at his data PaDD. "Oh dear," he called out.

He felt the stares of his crewmates settle on him. "I don't really know what happened here, but it says the Operations and Engineering consoles were ordered in the wrong color scheme. Hot pink."

"Who the hell ordered the consoles in that Colour," replied Simon as he now had to get them repainted before they left or that could be something for Ross to deal with, he looked back at Ross for a minute, He asked Did you know about this Olli?" posing the question to the Ops chief.

"Did you ever figure out who reprogrammed the replicator in your quarters?" asked Bast, turning to the young engineer. "The guys at Station operations have a weird sense of humor sometimes..."

"No I did not," replied Simon looking back at them, "and I hope that this didn't hit you badly," he continued as he hoped that those around him had been pranked as well and not just him then he would be mad as hell.

"Now that I think about it," said Bast, "you're right - somehow all my replicator would give me is tomato juice when I asked for coffee."

Ross smiled, "I was lucky. My room is light blue. Thank goodness it's my favorite color."

McCullen repressed a smile, he knew for a fact that console units did not come in any other color than standard grey or light brown, but he let Bast have his fun.

Infinitely slowly, the new bridge began to move as the tugs connected to it began to maneuver it into place. It was precision work, just a few millimeters to port or starboard out of alignment would prevent the unit from making the connections it had to make with the Sentinel's veins and arteries. It seemed to take an age for the workbees and the tugs to get the module aligned correctly, their small hulls flashed and sparkled as their RCS thrusters worked overtime, providing gentle nudges and small adjustments.

It was deeply satisfying, then, when the bridge module began to descent into it's new home, sliding slowly into place, perfectly sized and aligned to fit within. Then with a thud that McCullen could neither hear nor feel but felt anyway, it settled home, looking instantly as if it had always been there.

The captain let out a breath he hadn't been aware of holding and turned to look at his crew, wondering what emotions they were each feeling. "As soon as the clamps and structural bolts are in place, start reconnecting." He told them, "I'm sure you're all as anxious as I am to get in there."

Ross chimed in, "Just try and hold me back."

"Wait your turn," replied Bast.

"I'm first," replied Simon as he knew his engineering teams would have to do the reconnection of all the consoles on the bridge.

A few seconds later the comm channel came to life again. "Hard seal confirmed," came the announcement from one of the technicians overseeing the operation. "Connecting the power couplings. Environmental controls are green. System delivery complete."

"Gentlemen, we have a new bridge," announced Bast. "Ready and waiting for our inspection."

Once the Sentinel's command staff had taken a tour of the new bridge, they would, of course, need to configure all of their stations and set it up to their preferences, after they had acknowledged and signed off the delivery of the new bridge to Providence Ops.

"Commander Bast, will you join me?" McCullen asked his XO, "I think you and I will have first dibs." He glanced around at the officers of the room and gave them a wry smile, "privilege of command. I'm sure you all won't mind waiting a few more minutes."

"Of course," replied the Trill. He could feel the excitement and anticipation of walking onto that new Bridge and discovering their new command center, but at the same time an ancient wisdom told him to savor the moment, and enjoy the anticipation.

"Captain, Please do not touch anything until my teams have run the diagnostics on all the consoles," replied Simon as he hated informing Medical that the Captain had been hurt during an inspection of his own bridge.

McCullen gave his chief engineer a nod, easily resisting the immature urge to roll his eyes at the man. "Don't worry, Mr. Hunter, we do have some idea of what we are doing."

"Don't worry about the Captain, he'll have an engineer by his side," chimed in Bast, reminding the young Chief Engineer of his own status and training as an engineer before being joined. He still retained those memories and expertise.

"Well, commander, shall we?." The captain ended the discussion, stepping back towards the transporter in the shuttle.

"Absolutely," replied Bast, falling into step behind the Captain. "Computer, two to beam to the Sentinel, Deck 1."

There was a chirp from the computer indicating that the command had been processed.

"Energize."

The captain and XO dematerialized in a sparkle of blue and white light, leaving the other officers behind in the runabout.

"They left us in the dust, ah well. Long way 'round?" Ross sat back down in his chair.

 

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