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New Bridge Smell

Posted on Sun Feb 24th, 2019 @ 9:46am by Captain James McCullen & Commander Temerant Bast

Mission: Reactivation
Location: Bridge, USS Sentinel
Timeline: MD4, 1100 Hrs

OOC: In anticipation of the new bridge being installed, I figured it would be nice for McCullen and Bast to have command privilege and be the first two officers to have a private viewing and a bit of a chat.


The journey had ever so slightly tarnished the excitement of viewing the new bridge, climbing an access ladder was not the most glamorous way to step onto your new home, but the tarnish wasn't enough to even slightly dull the excitement that was coursing through Captain James McCullen's veins. He hadn't felt such childish anticipation since... he had to think back... since the birth of his firstborn.

His mind was racing with a half-dozen thoughts and ideas. The chair, his ready room, the new consoles, the added functionalities and that new bridge smell that he hadn't yet encountered in his career. McCullen and Bast were standing at the threshold of the newly installed bridge, McCullen's hand hovered over the door controls and he paused to look over at Bast. "Ready, Mr. Bast?"

Bast could feel his blood pounding in his veins. His anticipation was high as the captain's hand hovered over the control panel. It wasn't every day that one had the opportunity to inaugurate a new Bridge. He cradled the Sentinel's commissioning plaque under his right arm - one of their first acts would be to secure that precious artifact in place.

"Yes, Sir," he said, with a broad smile.

McCullen tapped the button and the doors hissed open, before them lay the bridge. It was in some ways recognizable as an Intrepid-class bridge, but there had been several modifications. The port and starboard science and engineering consoles had been extended by a third, new auxiliary consoles sat behind the captain's chair, akin to the tactical consoles of the Galaxy class. The XO and Mission Specialist seats had been moved forward and given their own small consoles and there were two new chairs next to the captain's for visitors or dignitaries, and the viewscreen had been expanded by half.

The captain stepped over the threshold onto the bridge, breathing in and detecting, indeed, that new bridge smell. It was a mix of cleaning agent, fresh paint, new leather and fresh tritanium. It was a smell unlike any other. He stepped to the side, allowing Bast access and couldn't resist running a hand across the edge of the tactical console. "God damn," he said quietly, turning to see the expression on Bast's face.

Bast could hardly conceal his enthusiasm as he walked onto their new command center. The steel grey carpet muffled the sound of his footsteps on the deck plates while he approached the sleek auxiliary consoles behind the Captain's chair. The screens were still dark, and waiting to be set up and configured according to the needs of the command staff. He ran a hand across their smooth glass surface as he took in the view. In the old Intrepid-class bridge configuration, there was only one small auxiliary console behind the command center. Small and inconvenient, the console had not been meant for prolonged use. The new configuration included two auxiliary consoles that could be manned permanently, according to the needs of the mission.

He walked over to the Engineering station to the right of the now massive viewscreen. The station had also been expanded, and included the option of a second chair to assist the Chief Engineer from the bridge, if needed, just like the Science station, at the left of the viewscreen. Bast deemed this change fitting for a vessel that advertised itself as a scientific explorer.

The command center itself had seen a major upgrade. Where in the past what he could only call a couch for the Captain and First Officer had occupied the center of the bridge, now a proper Captain's chair had been installed, flanked by two seats for the First Officer and a mission specialist, who both now had functional consoles.

Bast placed a hand on the back of the Captain's chair. The soft grey fabric felt crisp and unruffled under his fingers. He pressed the foam underneath and ascertained its firmness before turning to McCullen.

"Sir," he said. "I believe this is your chair."

James grinned at his XO, feeling giddy, unable and unwilling to hide the youthful excitement behind the facade of professionalism any longer. gladly accepting the invitation. He walked, resisting the urge to touch everything within his reach, to the big chair. The significance of the moment was not lost as he lowered himself into it, the fabric accepting him and molding around his form as the foam took his weight. He tried to savor the moment as much as he could, committing the feel of the new chair and the smells surrounding him to memory.

From this point of view, the bridge looked different, the consoles and stations arrayed around him conferred a feeling of comfort, even in their cold and dark state. He could imagine his crew around him, working to his tune, an extension of his will and servants to the ship, as they all were.

He pulled himself up, smiling at Bast as he stepped to the side. He was curious about Bast's opinion of the bridge and keen to hear his opinion, but first things were first. "Care to try it on, number one?"

"Yes, Sir," Bast replied with the same grin on his face that he'd felt since the doors had parted. He settled into the chair and took in the view of the bridge from this vantage point. The fact that the conn was lower than the command center gave an unobstructed view of the massive viewscreen, which they would no doubt appreciate once they were on approach with a planet or viewing the many wonders space had to offer.

He looked at the armrests, which inclided several controls and small display screens that would allow the Captain access to status reports as well as several key ship subsystems.

"All it needs is a cupholder," mused Bast. He stood out of the chair, and walked over to his own chair. Equally as comfortable, it was slightly less regal, not as throne-like, but faced a larger console to provide him with access to more systems. The view of the bridge was just as impressive from there. He pressed a hidden panel in the bottom of the console, and a cupholder popped out.

"Ha!" he exclaimed, and exchanged startled looks with the Captain.

McCullen couldn't help but laugh, a sound that bubbled up from his toes and echoed around the room. His was a full-throated and unfettered laugh that wrinkled the corners of his eyes and encompassed his whole being. The look on Bast's face and the absurdity of discovering a cupholder, of all things, amused him. It didn't last long, but the euphoria of the act added to an already excellent day. "Pretty soon we won't need starships, we'll just fly around strapped into fancy chairs." He commented at length, "cup holders indeed, what will they think of next?"

Bast knelt next to the chair and examined its structure for a few seconds before turning back to McCullen. "Not safety restraints apparently," he said.

"The last thing I want to be in the middle of a crisis is restrained to the chair." McCullen commented, he had never understood the idea of being strapped down on the bridge, the Intrepid class wasn't a fighter. "If we're ever rocking around so much that either of us need to be restrained to the chair, then we'll most likely be far too busy to be sitting."

"If we're rocking around to that extent, I'd like the person at the helm to be strapped in," countered Bast. "But that's a moot point, since the engineers apparently disagree." He slipped the plaque from under his arm and handed it to the Captain. "We have an Engineering team waiting. I think you should do the honors, Sir."

The captain took the plaque and paused for a second to run his hand over the thing, reminiscing on the words that were written there, You are the Sentinels; Silent and sure, keeping watch in the night." It was a quote attributed to Herbert Kretzmer, a musician from Earth's late 20th century, written originally for a musical named Les Misérables.

The whole verse was:
"In your multitudes
Scarce to be counted
Filling the darkness
With order and light
You are the sentinels
Silent and sure
Keeping watch in the night"

To McCullen, those words had special meaning, he and his people were the Sentinels, simultaneously striving to bring light and good to the darkness while keeping watch against the evils of the universe that would threaten the Federation.

"Well," James said as he came out of his rumination, stepping towards the bulkhead to the left of the bridge next to the door to the observation lounge. "Let's put this where it belongs." He set the plaque against the wall and the magnetic connections that held it up grabbed. Then it was a case of inserting the screws and tightening it down.

Bast stepped forward with an old-fashioned screwdriver and secured the plaque in its place. He used the cloth in which the plaque had been wrapped, and used it to polish off the wood and remove their fingerprints.

"Now then, before Simon batters down that door, I think we should let the Engineering team in to secure the place," he said.

James chuckled, "I suppose we better, I imagine he's fit to burst, right about now." The captain tapped his comm badge, "McCullen to shuttle two, Lieutenant Hunter, you and your team have a green light, thank you for indulging us."

There was an acknowledgment through the comm and then the channel closed. The captain expected the engineering team would arrive just as soon as Hunter could get it mobilized. He assumed it was on standby for just that purpose. For McCullen, he had a long-anticipated ready room to take a sneak peek at before Hunter and his people got started.


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