[USS Vanguard] RPG: Building a Mystery

  • From: "Andy W. Ho" <andywoho@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: USS-Vanguard <ncv80221@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 9 Apr 2003 10:43:17 -0700 (PDT)

Capt. Dominic Santos
USS Vanguard
Following all party posts

Dominic Santos made his way back to his quarters, taking his time and
savoring the ship at this hour. He had always enjoyed after-midnight
and pre-dawn strolls. He relished the thought that the world seemed to
be asleep except for him, and he could explore it at his leisure,

Except for a very low-level hum from the ship itself, the ship was
peaceful at this hour. A skeleton crew of three were on the bridge
simply to ensure they didn't run head-on into any planets. Yeoman
Challis, Cmdr. Soman Drath's protege, had volunteered to supervise the

Santos entered his quarters.

"Lights, one-half luminosity," he ordered. The lights came up soft,

He removed his food-stained uniform, and chuckled to himself, lending a
thought to Denville d'Angelo. Santos was pleased at the return of the
Vanguard's Chief Tactical Officer, as the ship had recently found
itself in a number of scrapes where an experienced tactical officer's
presence would have been especially welcome.

"Computer," Santos said, as he placed his uniform back in the
replicator and watched as it disappeared. "Current universal time."

"The time is oh-two-ten," the computer reported tonelessly.

Santos sank in his armchair and considered his options. He had an
oh-eight-thirty meeting with Ensign Lopez-Fitzgerald. If he went
straight to bed now--here, Santos performed some quick mathematics--he
could catch about four-and-a-half, nearly five, hours of sleep.

Santos entered the refresher and sonic shower. When he emerged, he felt
refreshed, and was more curious about answering his personal
correspondence than finding sleep.

"Computer, music."

"Over two billion musical arrangements on file. Please be more

"Earth, rock'n'roll, early twenty-first century, Aimee Mann,

"Accessing. Playback."

A haunting guitar complemented by a langorous, silky voice resonated in
Santos's quarters.

"Computer, one-third normal volume." The sound level decreased
noticeably. Santos sat at his makeshift dining table/work area and
began answering his correspondence.

The next morning, Santos entered the bridge. He was not surprised to
see Soman Drath already on duty.

Soman turned from his duty station and smiled.

"Captain on the bridge," he greeted the captain.

"Commander," Santos nodded. "What's ship's status?"

"Steady as she goes, Captain. We're on schedule to rendezvous at New
Yerba Buena Colony in approximately nine hours, 15 minutes."

"Good work, Commander. I'll be in my ready room."

"Aye, sir."

Santos was approving requisitions and personnel transfers when the door
chime rang. Santos glanced at the universal clock on his personal
viewscreen and was not surprised to see it read "0830:05:47." He
grinned and walked to the door.

When the turbo-doors parted, Lopez-Fitzgerald took a step back.

"She didn't expect a personal greeting," Santos thought.

"Good morning, Aliyah," the Captain said. "May I call you 'Aliyah'?"

"If you like, sir," Lopez-Fitzgerald shrugged.

"I was about to have some breakfast. Perhaps you'd care to join me?"

Lopez-Fitzgerald had actually hoped for her tour and to start reviewing
security logs from the Vanguard, but she relented.

Santos turned to the replicator. "Eggs benedict, side dish two strips
turkey bacon. Orange juice, chilled, no pulp."

Lopez-Fitzgerald placed her order, and the pair sat at Santos's small
table, eating their breakfast in silence.

"I understand you have a brother," Santos said by way of breaking the

"Yes, sir," Lopez-Fitzgerald replied.

Santos nodded, hoping for something else.

"I have three brothers myself. And one sister," Santos smiled.

Lopez-Fitzgerald nodded. "That sounds like a big family, sir. Sibling

"Not as much as you would think," Santos said, shaking his head and
dabbing a napkin at the side of his mouth. "We were close-knit."

Santos rose. "Shall we go?"

Santos and Lopez-Fitzgerald were reaching the end of the tour when the
captain reached one of his favorite areas. "...and this is the
arboretum," Santos said.

The turbo doors slid open to reveal a converted bay filled with lush,
green plantlife. The air was warm, and a misty spray hung near the
ceiling, providing nutrients to the occupants of the arboretum.

Lopez-Fitzgerald's eyes went wide. "I've never seen a hydroponics bay
or greenhouse quite like this!"

Santos beamed with obvious pride. "When I was aboard the Chrysalis,
Capt. Miller insisted on an arboretum. She believed that an arboretum
would be even more vital than a lounge. Of course, commanders aren't
always right about everything..."

Lopez-Fitzgerald realized that Santos had made a joke and laughed with
him. Not bad.

"We never received the botanist we requested, and so, as Operations
Manager, I learned everything I needed to about botany and created my
own arboretum. Her love of botany was infectious, I suppose. Except for
the...Gauntlet I've always had one, to some degree."

Lopez-Fitzgerald stood looking at a chrysanthemum, wondering how to
broach the topic of the Gauntlet and the Birmingham once more. Just as
she opened her mouth to speak, a comm signal chimed.

=/\= "Bridge to Captain Santos," =/\= Commander Soman's voice came.

Santos tapped his comm badge. =/\= "This is Santos. Go ahead." =/\=

=/\= "Your presence is requested on the Bridge, Captain." =/\=

=/\= "On my way." =/\=

"Sorry to cut this short. Perhaps we can continue this some other

Lopez-Fitzgerald nodded.

"It would be best if you went to your station," Santos told her.

"Aye, sir." She turned and left.

Santos jog-walked to the nearest turbolift. "Bridge," he ordered.

He exited on the bridge to a flurry of activity.

"We have it, Commander," Communications Officer Highwaij told Executive
Officer Soman Drath.

"Good work, Highwaij," Soman said.

"Report, Commander," Santos said.

Soman straightened up. "Sir, Priority One-Alpha message from Admiral
Kent on long-range subspace."

"Put it through to my ready room," Santos said.

Santos walked into the Ready Room and before the doors closed, he was
barking orders at the viewscreen.

"Computer, authorization Santos, Dominic, five-seven-xray-zulu."

"Identity confirmed. Establishing communication."

The face of Admiral Ashbury-Kent appeared on the viewscreen. The image
flickered every few seconds.

"Selena," Santos said by way of greeting to the admiral.

"Nick," Selena nodded at him. "We have a situation on our hands."

"Well, if I have to hear it, I love hearing it in your accent," Santos
grinned at Kent, the daughter of a Bristol fisherman.

Selena smiled weakly. At 47, the admiral was still radiant. But today,
she didn't seem to be in the mood for Santos's charms.

"A ship--one of ours, Nick--has suddenly appeared in Federation space.
It has ignored all long-range hails. Long range scan identifies it
as...The Tomonaga."

"The Tomonaga?" Santos asked in disbelief.

The Tomonaga was the prototype timeship which preceded the Vanguard.
When it was scuttled, its fate was a closely-held secret. Some said
Temporal Division had merely started the rumor that the Tomonaga had 
been scuttled to hide the fact that TD had crewed the ship and that it
was actively engaged in "black ops" type work for Starfleet.

"You're not going to like this next part, Nick--She was found in the

"You're right. I don't."

From the earliest sailing days, there have been areas like the Barrens,
where vessels reportedly go missing and crews who do sail through those
areas report seeing strange and unexplainable phenomena. The Barrens
were near the edge of Federation space, on the border against the
worlds in the Ferengi Alliance. Neither power made many trips through
this area of space. For one thing, it seemed to "shift" its location
from time to time, and for another, there were too many stories
surrounding the crews that had gone missing or, worse yet, had returned
gibbering like madmen of what they had experienced.

"Believe it or not, you're the nearest Starfleet vessel, Nick. We need
to recover her quickly lest the Ferengi come looking to claim salvage.
I don't need to tell you that would be...unacceptable."

"But shouldn't she be in mothballs wherever she ended up, Selena?"

Kent shook her head. "This is the strange part, Nick. The Tomonaga at
the shipyards has also disappeared."

"What!" Santos exclaimed.

"We don't know how they're related because this ship appears to be in
better condition, operational. She's spaceworthy except for the obvious
fact she appears abandoned."

"Have we tried to communicate with her?" Santos asked.

"All our communications have gone unanswered," Kent shook her head.
"Your mission, Captain Santos, is to investigate the status of the
Tomonaga by any means necessary, report your findings, board her, and
secure this vessel and have it returned to the nearest outpost, Deep
Space 16, two days away from the Barrens."

Captain Santos stood straighter. "Aye, sir."

Kent softened a tad. "We're counting on you, Nick. If anyone can do
this, we know you can."

"Thank you, Admiral," Santos said.

"Kent out." She pushed a button on her desk, and the image changed from
that of the Admiral's office to the Starfleet insignia. The comet
encircling the Starfleet crest circled the symbol and stopped.

Santos took a moment for himself. Then, he strolled on the bridge.

"Commander," he addressed Soman.

"Yes, sir," Soman replied.

"Plot a course for the Barrens and engage at maximum warp," Santos

"The Barrens, sir?" Soman asked with some disbelief.

"Those are our orders," Santos said.

Soman turned to Cynan Mandrake. "Helm, you heard the captain. Best
speed to the Barrens."

Mandrake bent over his board and shook his head. "Fools rush in where
angels fear to tread."

"Did you say something, commander?" Santos asked Mandrake.

"Nothing you want to hear, sir," Mandrake replied.

"That's what I thought," Santos said.

"Course plotted and laid in," Mandrake said.

"Engage," Santos ordered.

In space, the Vanguard veered to port, accelerated past the speed of
light, and disappeared in a glimmer of starlight.

Santos turned to Soman. "Assemble all senior officers and staff in the
Briefing Chambers. Have Qbed and Desdemona join us, as well. I'll
explain when we're together."

Soman nodded. "Aye, sir."

[To be continued.]

Do you Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Tax Center - File online, calculators, forms, and more
USS Vanguard: http://ncv80221.netfirms.com/default.htm
Gamma Fleet: http://gammafleet.startrekrpg.org/
FreeLists: http://www.freelists.org
Vanguard Archives at Freelists: http://www.freelists.org/archives/ncv80221

Other related posts:

  • » [USS Vanguard] RPG: Building a Mystery