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back to The Patrol Part 4
The Colonel and his ship and crew spent just over a week at the station, then they were off on another mission.
But they were back in two days, leading a convoy of battered and listing ships.
The black ship was disguised as a Steamrunner class Star Fleet ship. And at first the station had no idea what was going on. Then Marot called in, and with a wide grin, identified them as the USS Chargon and asked for all available assistance for the refugees they were escorting to meet an official Star Fleet delegation.
Commander Klastor got on the line and said the station didn't have a lot of supplies to spare.
"No problem Commander." The Colonel said. "We'll replicate everything they need, and you distribute it. Remember, we have energy to spare for production of food and supplies."
Klastor grinned. "Very good sir. How are we going to proceed?"
"The worst cases first."
The three short docking arms of the station were overwhelmed, the small medical center of the station was standing room only in short order. Even with Rontel playing nurse, for which she was qualified, and Marot serving as counselor and traffic cop, the station was a mad house. The people needed everything, and several of their ships were disasters awaiting a date to occur.
"Yes Mister Kavel?"
"I'm ready to do it."
"You mean try it."
"No sir, Colonel. I mean to do it."
"Very well, we'll start our diversion." The Colonel nodded to Aashth and Wan.
Wan moved the ship, and its illusionary cloak to a far orbit of the station. Aashth went to his station and worked for a minute. A small dense cloud of dust and vapor appeared even further from the station and its collection of small ships.
"Ionized anti-matter reactor to one half power. Powering replication transporter, pattern confirmed. Sequence beginning." Kavel said with confidence.
"The man loves his work." Aashth said. "Reporting large transporter field fifteen kilometers off the stern."
It took a few minutes before Kavel was happy with everything. "Containment field stable. Materialization commencing."
The viewscreen showed an area larger than the black ship itself begin to firm up and turn into a real space ship.
"Vegan styling. An old standard issue colonial transport I'd say." The Colonel said appraising the new ship.
"Internal structure sequence beginning. Charging engines and power supplies." Kavel said. "Our power usage good, matter sequencers still within normal range. Beginning provisioning."
Wan disapproved, "He could have made something better than that."
Aashth scanned the ship, "Showing approximately one hundred eighty thousand hours of space travel, making the ship almost twenty years old. There's a radiation leak in the outboard impulse engine. There's a crack in a crew cabin window on deck two."
Kavel heard him, "It's based on the scans of a ship we ran into a couple of years ago. Configuring computer core and essential systems."
The Colonel asked him what its name and registry were going to be.
"How about I name it after Mr. Aashth's mother? And I've always liked the old United Planets logo."
There were no objections. Soon the new ship had a slightly faded name and registry on its hull in several places. The UP symbol appeared next to the name with the number 83-74, Mr. Kavel's mother's birthday.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I present the UPS Melissa." Kavel said from the comm.
"Eleven minutes. That may be a new ship construction record." Aashth said.
"What did it do to our power reserves?" The Colonel asked.
"Don't go picking a fight with a couple of Borg cubes for a day or two and we'll be all right. I've started the regeneration sequence for the ionized antimatter." Kavel said.
Ashth gave the new old ship a once over. "Full automation. Programmed for rendezvous with the station. Very nice."
"Let's get it to the base before one of those old space busses blows out." The Colonel said nodding his approval. "I'll tell Star Fleet there's a new boat in the lake."
"Who's going to pay the registration tax on it?" Marot grinned.
The Colonel looked at her, "I think I'll have that bill sent to General Tog, this whole thing was his idea."
Soon the station was hailing them.
"A gift to the refugees from a party that wishes to remain anonymous." The Colonel told Klastor. "And we shall see you later, Star Fleet escort vessels will be here shortly.
She grinned her 'Klingon that knows better' grin. The colonial transport relieved the over-crowded and under-provisioned conditions of the fleet. Two of the more decrepit vessels were taken completely out of service. The others, with fewer persons aboard, became tolerable.
The black ship, now without its mirage but under full cloak, returned to beam over the goods the people still needed. Two Star Fleet ships arrived, one of them oddly enough, a Steamrunner class ship. The refugee convoy was reassembled and led on to their new home.
The black ship docked with the station and everybody that had just spent the last three days in a state of confusion and perpetual motion relaxed.
Kavel had the black ship running through a complete diagnostic and repair sequence so the whole crew was on the station day and night. Wan even shut himself down and spent some time in the zero-g sections of the station floating around storage rooms.
Matthews found himself in another long talk with Rontel.
"I can't believe you're a plant." He said looking intently into her face.
Rontel smiled, she looked around the maintenance bay. She pointed to a tricorder, "Does that work?" He nodded. "Scan me."
"There are a couple of things I'd rather do with you than that."
"Scan first. Other things later."
He shrugged and picked up the instrument. "This isn't a medical tricorder."
"It'll do." She held out her hand.
He smiled and aimed the machine at it, then at her body. He frowned.
"What's it showing?" She asked.
"No veins. Not really even any bones."
He made the adjustment. Then he shook his head as the data was displayed.
"Cell walls instead of membranes." She grinned.
"Capillaries that seem to flow in both directions." He looked at her.
"Which is why they say I'm actually a plant." She smiled at him.
"Sexiest plant I've ever seen." He put the tricorder down.
"You don't find me repulsive?"
"How often do I have to water you?" Matthews asked her. She giggled.
In a few minutes all thoughts of watering her were gone from Matthews mind as she demonstrated yet again that at the organism level, she was much more than a plant.
Kavel surveyed the station inside and out, he used the science station in the command area for long complicated calculations, he questioned several of the stations long-term hands, then, in the galley, he made an announcement.
"I am going to break the swing orbit record tomorrow. I guarantee it."
"And I am covering all bets for him." Aashth said.
A furious round of betting, for and against, began.
Aashth declined to go for a swing, he had given up the past time after his cable broke one time and he floated through space until they beamed him in trailing several hundred meters of cable. But Kavel was not to be dissuaded, over his several attempts to break the record, he had gotten tangled in the antennae, ran into the side of a shuttle, and ripped his suit slamming into the station, as well as having tied it, seven orbits, several times.
The current record holder, Chief Specialist Hornor was sure he could make eight orbits, he was just biding his time to do it. He bet heavily against Kavel.
Soon it was a competition. Both men were scheduled to go out within an hour of each other. Which would break it, which would tie, it was more excitement than the station could bear.
Subspace frequencies lit up, word was out. Among other vessels far from the station a Sovereign class starship, the new USS Constellation, was going to carry the event live via subspace, the brash newcomer to the station, Lieutenant Ash, attempting to unseat the experienced non-commissioned officer, Chief Hornor. Aboard the ship Commander Mary Welden was besieged with people wanting to know every detail of the station and what the chances were. The Captain denied five requests, three of them billed as an emergency, to divert course to the station at maximum warp. Commander Welden thanked the Captain gratefully for sticking to their mission.
Kavel went into seclusion to ready for the feat. Hornor began some serious training. The odds went one way then the other.
On the Constellation there was now a continuously running holo-program of Space Lane Station-374-II where various crewmembers would swing widely around the station on cables. With safety protocols on, the best they could do was four and a half, with them off, one of the crazier crewmen got to six. The bets against went up.
The time arrived.
Kavel went first. His cable was lighter and thinner, to minimize friction and flexing resistance. His environment suit was several times heavier than it needed to be to give him the most momentum to carry out and into his orbits. He had calculated his angle of departure down to the tenth of a degree to maximize his applied inertia.
With everybody on the station and several thousand more across the Fleet watching via a subspace broadcast, Kavel made his run and leap.
The cable played out behind him until it grew taut. He hung in space until the clashing momentum of his flight and the station's rotation forced him into his swing against the cable, then using his mass against the rotation he began his orbits.
"Two and looking good." Aashth said as they watched him go past.
On the Constellation they watched the slightly delayed broadcast, cheering wildly as he finished his fourth orbit still with plenty of speed and cable.
"Coming up on six!" Klastor shouted as Kavel came into view.
"He don't have enough rope." Somebody said looking behind him at the cable playing out into space. Somebody said he had more than enough slack around the station. Then they began to argue about friction as it tightened up.
The Colonel had hedged his bets slightly, by betting some both ways on both men with different bookies. He stood to make the most if neither of them broke the record however.
Kavel made his sixth orbit and everybody that cared one way or the other held their breath. At the end of the rope Kavel shifted his weight and tried to direct his swing to carry him for two more orbits.
"That's seven!" Somebody shouted from the window.
He had tied the record.
But Kavel was in trouble, his momentum was almost gone, the cable was generating a lot of friction as it tightened around the skin of the station. He twisted himself and leaned out, trying to recoup as much energy as he could. At the aphelion he extended himself as far out on the cable as possible, almost loosing his grip. Then as he began to swing back in, he flipped the cable sharply and gained the couple of meters of freeplay he knew he needed.
Kavel looked over, he saw the window coming up, the people inside were cheering. He had made it, and had about six meters of rope to spare.
Chief Specialist Hornor felt the weight of the challenge land squarely on his shoulders. For the next hour, as the bettors and supporters had themselves a party he got ready. Hornor had an environment suit he favored for swinging. He also had a special grade of cable he used that he said, with a wink and a grin, created less turbulence in space thus reducing drag. But he knew he would need everything he had, and every trick he knew, to pull off eight orbits.
Hornor dressed and inspected his cable, then he went out and stood on top of the station for a long moment. Finally he fastened his cable and simply dashed off the edge of the station and into the void. Hornor's theory of the action had far less to do with the start of the swing than with continuing to make adjustments and corrections once there. He reached the end of his arch and began his swing. But the flaw with Hornor's method was that his constant corrections absorbed momentum through the readjustment of the cable against the skin of the station. Resulting in an aching slowness to Hornor's swinging orbit of the slowly rotating station. But speed did not matter, it was the results that counted. As long as he had the energy to continue his revolutions, which by his third orbit was open to speculation.
"He's just floating out there." Several people pointed out as Hornor drifted slowly by.
The betting went heavily against him for the next two orbits, but then as he passed the window for the sixth time, it became not a question of whether he would tie the new record, but when.
Hornor simply rode with it, he jerked on the cable one more time and realized he had enough to make it, so he just hung on and watched the station go by. As he approached his eighth orbit he had had enough, and he wasn't at all sure he had either enough rope or momentum to make a ninth. Hornor timed it right and as he swung by the shuttle bay, he jerked the on the cable and plunged into the station.
The resulting melee, both on the station and on the other venues where the event had been watched, made the Fleet Update over the subspace broadcast the next day. The captain of the Constellation was asked to make some comment on the whole thing, but said he couldn't because he had made a tidy profit on both of them setting the record.
On the station there was a celebration that rivaled the greatest of a great Federation Day anniversary party. Kavel had bet heavily on himself and cleaned up, the Colonel however claimed he had broke even. Most thought he had actually lost money, either way, those that had won seemed more than happy to spread the wealth around in the afterglow of the victory of the two and the idea that something worthwhile had happened. The fact that the event rather substantiated the feeling throughout the rest of the fleet that those on the station were going space happy fifteen parsecs from nowhere while thinking that plunging through empty space holding onto a thin cable was a sensible pastime and something to wager on.
Commander Klastor thought the entire exercise foolish, but accepted it as a diversion from their mundane regular duties, not to mention she had lost quite a bit betting against both of them. Soon they began their regular patrols again, and the Colonel and his crew resumed the maintenance of their ship and the individual training they all did.
The Colonel's training involved prolonged sessions of meditation and focus. As well as a stiff regime of physical training and hand to hand combats, several with the Commander. Marot had her own training as well, she practiced everything from Mesmerizing people with just a glance to actually performing complicated mental projections and transmissions while under duress. Aashths training would make any Klingon proud. He routinely practiced with everything from a hardwood quarterstaff to a multi-level high output Dominion-issue disrupter/blaster. Wan even had a schedule of systems check and testing. He put the battle shuttle through paces that strained its systems to the breaking point, then recommended a series of upgrades and enhancements, then after a flight in a patrol craft, he had a recommendation for an upgrade of one of his own systems. Namely, an adjustment to an implant in his back that made him less flexible than he thought he should be, which made flying the tiny craft very uncomfortable after a couple of hours. Rontel's training consisted of her getting a lot of rest and sugars, then she reprogrammed half the programmable technology on the base and the black ship. Kavel's training amounted to staying out of the other's way and spending most of his time chasing a female ensign around the station.
"Yes ma'am." The Colonel said as he let the commander push him over on his back.
"Sir." Rontel said over the comm.
The Colonel sat up. When she said that, it was a mission.
"Sir." Rontel repeated. "The Fordash Independent Colony has requested certain individuals be sent to moderate their tax dispute with the Combined Galactic Conglomerate." She paused, "The message is signed Supreme Galactic Overlord."
"Confirmed message code."
"Recall, one hour." He put his arm around the commander and jerked her over on top of him roughly. "I need to finish my training."
She swiped her nails across his chest, instantly raising a row of bright orange welts then muttered something in Klingon. He growled and shoved her off the platform then pounced on her, his full weight smashing her into the floor.
"You've learned well." She purred.
Continued in: The Patrol Part 6
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[NOTE:This Story Is FAN FICTION. This presentation carries the copyright The Media Desk, 2005. Author retains all rights, including the right of approval for publication. STAR TREK, and all images and situations affiliated with STAR TREK are originally owned and copyrighted by PARAMOUNT STUDIOS and other entities. They are used in this story without intent to harm or otherwise defame PARAMOUNT or the estate of Gene Roddenberry. If either of those parties object to it, the story will be pulled immediately. The Media Desk is not in any way affiliated with PARAMOUNT. For information contact Levite. Email- drleftover[~at-]themediadesk[~dot-]com (email scrambled to screw with spammer robots), or surface mail to: The Media Desk, PO Box 1276, Dover, DE 19903 ]