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An Old Acquaintance Renewed

Posted on 08 Mar 2021 @ 10:08am by Lieutenant Commander Josiah Hawkins & Captain Annett Matthews D.Eng.

Mission: A Miner Problem
Location: Captain's Office
Timeline: Mission Day 0 at 0000

Josiah had been living for this moment for more than a decade, and now that it was finally here, he could hardly believe it. He was going to finally get his own engine room. The Antares was rated for deep space service and rescue, a concept he wasn't unfamiliar with but something he would have to study up on quickly. Josiah had spent the last eight years of his life around NX-class vessels, so he knew their operations and capabilities inside and out. This allowed him to focus on Antares' idiosyncrasies to familiarize himself with his new home. Of course, technical specs and blueprints could never replace real-world experience. If anything, it would give him a good place to start.

He looked up from the datapad he held in his hand to survey once again the small transport that carried him and other new crewmembers to their new home. He counted two MACOs in their standard uniforms, one other engineer, a science officer, and a command non-comm. Josiah was certainly the highest-ranked individual in the craft, outranking even the transport pilot. These details were not of consequence as to the pilot, the passengers were just another reminder of her daily duty.

Beyond the transport's front window was the Antares herself. Josiah had seen many ships like her, but Antares clearly had set herself apart from her siblings. The nacelle caps seemed to be more vibrant, the warp coils brighter, and even the hull plating had a unique shine to it.

"Yes," Josiah remarked quietly, "This ship will do nicely."

A few minutes later, the transport had docked with Antares and Josiah found himself in one of the passageways. He wanted to head straight to engineering, or even to his quarters to drop off his duffel bag. But protocol dictated that he first report in to the Captain, and Josiah wanted nothing more than to start off on the right foot.

Soon, Josiah stepped out onto the bridge, but the Captain was nowhere to be seen. Josiah didn't think anything of it. A day like this, he'd spend some time in his office too. He crossed the bridge, stopped at the office door, and rang the chime.

"Enter," Annette called from her desk. The ship was still in orbit preparing for departure back to Earth. She had been made aware of the Engineer's arrival when the shuttle pod had returned to the ship and was not surprised to be hearing from him.

"Thank you ma'am," the Yeoman said, tapping in some notes to her padd before she turned and nodded at the new Engineer, "sir," she said, standing aside by the door for him to enter so she could depart.

Josiah smiled and nodded to the Yeoman as she stepped aside. He hadn't yet looked to the Captain, but as soon as he cleared the door and the Yeoman, he stood at attention to say, "Captain, Lieutenant Commander Josiah Haw...kins..." As his vision was now fixed in the direction of the Captain, Josiah's voice quickly trailed off as he realized who he was reporting to.

In all of the information packets he had received, Josiah didn't have access to the Captain's first name. Matthews was a pretty common name among humans, and he hadn't considered that the Captain was so well connected to his own past. When he'd first met the Captain, she was a Commander, and the Chief Engineer assigned to the Challenger. Josiah found himself fortunate that he didn't have a past to hide from, but he equally knew that he was now in a position where he could not pull the wool over the eyes of his Captain.

He quickly collected his composure and restated, "Lieutenant Commander Josiah Hawkins, reporting for duty, Captain."

"Hawkins!" Annett said, excitedly. "Good to see you again," she rose from her chair and walked around her desk. "How have you been?" she asked, offering him her hand.

Josiah smiled and accepted her hand with a firm shake. "Captain Matthews! You know, when I heard there was a Matthews in the command chair, I don't know why I didn't stop to think that it might be you. How did they get you out of the engine room and into command gold, anyway?"

"Well, you know that I left to work on the Deep Space Rescue Task Force and the concept for this ship... so now I'm the Captain," she said, with a grin. "And I still run the Task Force too."

"Well, I suppose that is a natural progression then," Josiah admitted. "I guess you keep pretty busy then, which means there's no time for dullness aboard the Antares."

"Not much, no," she said. "Though lately, I have been fighting off being pulled back to Earth to solely sit at a desk," she sighed. "I suppose it was bound to happen. Anything new and exciting since we last saw each other?" she asked, wanting to move off the topic she'd accidentally brought up.

"Frankly, the most exciting thing in my life is that I've been able to move up the ladder," Josiah remarked. "I've had my sights set on a job like this for years now, and I'm really thankful it happened naturally. Other than that, my family's doing well, but my mother has been trying to fix me up with a few girls back home. Long-distance relationships haven't worked out well for me."

He paused before adding, "Well, that's probably more than what you were looking for, Captain. Sorry, I'm just glad to be here, and I'm happy to be serving a Captain who knows what it takes to keep a starship running out here, even if that means I can't fool her on timing estimates."

"No fooling me," she said, "I literally designed the thing," she said, laughing. "And good luck with the girls back home. I feel like relationships should be an academy class," she joked, not that she had attended the Starfleet Academy. When she joined the military Starfleet had yet to even exist.

"It was a lot easier to have a significant other when we were close to a port," Josiah admitted. "But, Deep Space Rescue means that we operate far from home. Best just to make sure my mistress remains just the engine room."

"In port does have its pros as does being underway," Annett admitted. "I'm not sure how it would be accommodated but I feel eventually as we increase our technology and increase our range we will need to find a way to accommodate someone's family needs in Starfleet."

Josiah nodded, realizing the rabbit trail he'd put them both on. Perhaps it was time to nudge back onto the main track. "I had a chance to review Antares' specs on my way over," he said. "Checked them against what I knew of Falcon and Challenger along the way. Looks like there's quite a bit of change under Antares' hood. From one engineer to another, I have to say, you've got yourself quite the ship."

"Sadly not enough," she said. "I couldn't get the Warp 6 engine into this thing they wouldn't put it out before Eagle," she complained. "Though we're a deck larger than the Warp Six variant."

"What does that do to our fuel consumption?" Josiah asked. "I know the Warp 5 was designed for Enterprise, and the additional decks added on these newer models. I can imagine there's tradeoffs in our acceleration and deceleration profiles."

"We have a better engine to compensate but we don't gain speed out of it," she said. "It isn't quite even, our consumption is a bit higher but we can compensate with space and the engine. Even the Eagle is a deck larger than the normal NX-Type. I think it can do a bit better than Warp 6 at emergency speed but not much more or for long... I don't really know the numbers off the top of my head. My involvement in the design of this ship was the configurable deck and the like. Even my involvement back in the Warp Five project was systems and not propulsion."

"That's no problem. Propulsion is my specialty." Josiah grinned. "I'll see what I can do about that engine performance and work on that fuel consumption. I can imagine these larger ships can put a strain on the injectors. What about overall performance? Any quirks I need to know?"

"Nothing that anyone has been willing to share with me," Annett said, "apparently I'm intimidating in my old age. It's the squirrel trophy," she said, turning and indicating her time as Vice President of the Squirrel watching club in college.

"Old age?" Josiah echoed. "Or rank? I remember a certain former superior officer of mine who always warned not to tell the Captain everything lest they hold you to it at the most inconvenient of times."

"Oh good point, clearly it must be the rank," she said, with a chuckle. "I like smart officers on my crew. And I would never say that, on the record anyway."

Josiah chuckled. "Of course, Captain. In any rate, I'm happy to be here, and it's nice having a Captain I don't need to make a first impression with."

"Glad to have you," Annett said. "Why don't you go get yourself settled in."

The engineer nodded. "Yes, ma'am." With a smile, he turned, pressed the control mechanism beside the door, and stepped out of the ready room, eager to start his new journey aboard Antares.


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