Captain's Personal Log

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Nora Gerhadsen
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150221.1028

Computer, open personal log, Stardate 150221. Back home on Relos IV, that's 3 Ogrut, in the Second Year since Independence.

Computer... Always sounds so odd an impersonal. Do you have any personality or character subroutines? Say, from the holodeck? Oh, good. Let's do this, then -- initialize personality overlay algorithm for the historical character James Clerk Maxwell.

Maybe dial it back a little bit on the Scottish brogue? Thanks. I'll go ahead and call you James, all right? Excellent.

So James: onward with the personal log.

I arrived a couple of days ago. The USS Maxwell is a tiny ship after the Veracruz! And she's a complete mess. She's one of the oldest Nova-class ships out there, and she's been used hard over the decades. She's pretty overdue for a refit: she still has only her original warp system. So it's no faster than Warp 8 for us. With all the activity we have been seeing in the Delta Quadrant, there are lots of parts shortages, particularly for a ship like this; apparently we get to do a field overhaul of the warp core while sitting in spacedock. And we get to use minimal new parts. Auxiliary power is in pieces parts all over Main Engineering, and even the batteries are dead. They're going to need straight-up replacement.

We're going to have to scrounge.

There is some good news in all of this: apparently there is a brand-new sensor suite for us at Pathfinder Station. So our orders are to proceed there for sensor refit. I'm a little worried about the power draw the new sensors will have; they're a lot more powerful than the originals, and they're designed for the refit engines and power systems. So there's another challenge. Maybe we can do them on a limited duty cycle with extra batteries. Or maybe we can run auxiliary power simultaneously.

At least my First Officer is an Engineer.

One thing I can report is that we actually fired our phasers already! There was a rogue shuttle on Pinastri, and all ships in the area were asked to respond. I found we could fire a few short shots with some of our unobstructed phasers. I charged the capacitors with shore power, so it took a little while. But we apparently made a difference on the surface. Probably one of the few times a ship has engaged a hostile target from a repair berth in spacedock!

After Pathfinder our orders are to proceed to the Hapke Cluster to do follow-up exploration and analysis. This is a group of approximately 10,000 stars. Some of them are quite old, some young; there has been a lot of mixing of stellar populations. A science vessel did a preliminary survey of the area some years ago, so we have data on some of the systems. But with thousands of systems, there's just a limited amount that long-range sensors can get. So we're following up. It's old-school exploration time! Searching out new life and new civilizations and all that. I am both excited and terrified all at the same time.

What, terrified? Of course I'm terrified, James. I've never been a Captain before! And with all due respect, your systems are far from nominal. You're a ship, but at this point, just barely.

Oh, don't say that. Do internal diagnostics and tell me I'm wrong.

<a few moments go by>

Got real quiet, huh?

Go ahead and close the log, James.
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Rear Admiral Nora Gerhadsen
Commanding Officer, USS Maxwell NCC-21873
Chief of UF Starfleet Operations
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Nora Gerhadsen
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150225.0807

All right, James, let's fire it up.

Captain's Log, Stardate 022515. The Maxwell is still at spacedock at Pinastri. We're bound for restricted space, to Space Station Pathfinder, for a sensor refit. This is a bit of an odd story: one would normally think these sorts of parts would be at Pinastri, not at some station out in deep space. The story also gives me some pause about what we're about to do, and the ship with which we're about to do it.

The sensor suite at Pathfinder is cutting-edge; more like bleeding-edge. Parts of the suite are experimental; a fair bit of it is classified. It was meant for the USS Meridian, another Nova-class ship that was destroyed enroute to Pathfinder. It's not restricted space for nothing! They weren't going from Pinastri, though, so I doubt we'll meet whatever got that vessel. Meridian was a Nova refit; Maxwell has not gone through refit yet, so they were not only in much better condition that our vessel, they were more capable as well.

And now it's our turn.

Originally, Meridian was being sent on a mission within the restricted space; UFS Command decided to send an Intrepid-class vessel instead after Meridian was destroyed. So that leaves the Meridian's sensor suite sitting at Pathfinder. Instead of sending a ship to retrieve the components, it was decided to send us there to save time.

Our engineers tell me that the best we can expect from our warp engines is Warp 4 at the moment. So that'll have to do as far as Pathfinder. We'll do a more complete overhaul when we're at Pathfinder -- we should have plenty of time while the Pathfinder folks swap out the sensor suite. I am a little worried about whether our systems will be able to handle some of the capabilities of the new suite -- after all, it was meant for a refit Nova, which has upgraded warp and power systems.

Just in case we do end up running into trouble, I intend to drop out of warp a few light years outside of Pinastri and do some gunnery exercises, as well as other drills. We have a complement of static and mobile target drones. Most of the exercises will obviously be simulations, but I want to do some live-fire exercises too, just to make sure everything actually works. If we run into serious trouble a few light years out, we can always turn around and head back to Pinastri. Though... I hate to do that. No captain likes to run back to spacedock with her tail between her legs.

It's embarrassing.

I need to write my parents. It's been too long, and I should send them a real letter before we leave. I won't have too many chances to write a real paper letter while we're out at Pathfinder. Even afterward, it isn't like we'll be getting regular mail couriers in the Hapke Cluster, though I do anticipate at least some contact with other Federation vessels once we're out there.

Food replicators still don't work. It stinks to leave spacedock with offline replicators. They're considered a low-priority item, since we can carry provisions instead... And we are. One of the more recent additions to the crew was a somewhat confused-looking Romulan who explained she was here to be our ship cook. Well, I think she said "chef", but given the state of the kitchen, it's not elegant enough for a "chef". Instead, it's really the sort of place one expects to find a cook. With eighty on board, she's got her work cut out for her. I'll have to ask Alex to set up a regular KP rotation to help her out. I won't exempt officers from it, either: we all get to do it. I'll take a shift too when I'm able. I suppose there's not enough time before we head out to get some tinnec from home.

Maybe we can fix the replicators at Pathfinder. One or two years in the Hapke Cluster on Federation Standard Rations is a thought too horrible to conscion. Though I suppose we could always forage...

All right, James, close log.
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Rear Admiral Nora Gerhadsen
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150303.1502

Yes, James, I hear you. I see my nagging subroutine is working great.

Captain's Personal Log, Stardate 150303. We're about half a light year out of Pinastri, trundling along at our best possible speed of Warp 5. That is, at least, an improvement over the Warp 4 I had anticipated, but it did mean yet another rerouting of power in Main Engineering -- this time to bypass a console that had been, shall we say, somewhat creatively kluged together. The whole warp system is bypassed like a First Days light display. Built by Gul-Ku-Ren, at that.

Oh, bad Nora. I should be kindler to my taller, greener fellow Relosians.

There's also a problem in the ventral EPS conduits that Engineering is tracking down. I had us at Warp 5 to begin with, but Engineering started squawking, and I dropped out so they could get a better handle on the core. I distracted everyone with gunnery exercises. We weren't quite as far out from Pinastri as I wanted, but I also didn't want to risk a burnout. We're a lot closer to our operating margins than I really like. Still, don't let 'em see you sweat, right?

Yes, James, nihil timemo. Or if I do, I'd better not show it, anyway.

The gunnery exercises went better than I had anticipated, though perhaps not as well as they could have (though do they ever?). This was a live-fire exercise, and I was pleased with phaser performance; heck, even the photon torpedo we fired terminated the drone without a hitch. I used sensor ghosts to have the drones simulate first a Ferengi, then a Klingon Bird of Prey. There were some elevated heartbeats among the bridge crew, I think: I hadn't warned anyone beforehand what they would be seeing.

Mac -- that's Lieutenant Commander Mackenzie Godric, who was at the helm for the exercises -- was a Marine pilot in her prior billet. She flew Valkyries. We're hardly one of those, but it does help to have someone like that at the helm. Though I may have to talk to her about this whole "turn down the inertial compensators" business. It was certainly a bit jarring, and some of the crew got motion sickness. I didn't throw up or anything like that, but let's just say I wasn't terribly excited about supper afterward. For a Kin'Li, that's... Unusual.

Ensign Sandie Blackburn is at Tactical. She'd just been swapping out guidance systems in our defective torpedoes -- Maker's big toe, does anything around here really work? Watching her fire one of them was like watching a mother gili push her young out of the lair: I think there was a certain amount of reticence. But I could be wrong.

In the meantime, sick bay seems to be coming together, though I think one of the medical cadets -- Zuta? -- may like her work a bit too well for the tastes of her prospective patients. Speaking of cadets, we have an Andorian in Engineering I gave a pretty good scare to. I marched into Engineering at one point to sort out some conflicting information with the warp core... And the poor fellow turns about and finds his Captain breathing down the back of his... Well, that's an expression that doesn't really fit for me among tallfolk, I suppose. Anyway, he about jumped half out of his skin, but he got over his nervousness. He'll be fine.

In any event, it's good to be underway. Even if we're running on chewing gum and prayers for the moment. I hope the warp drive holds out to Pathfinder.

All right, James, close log.
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Rear Admiral Nora Gerhadsen
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150316.1858

Let's fire up that personal log, James.

Captain's personal log, Stardate 031615. And that's 26 Ogrut, in the Second Year Since Independence on Relos IV.

We're making good time... Well, good time for us... To Pathfinder Station. We're in Restricted Space, and I can't help but think about the Meridian as we move through this area. And they had gone through refit, and were fully functional, in any event. We're limping along at Warp 5. I'm having our Engineering Team completely overhaul the Warp Drive once we get to Pathfinder. We need Warp 8. I mean... We *need* it, for our survey. We could easily spend a month on it in Pathfinder, and still come out ahead, time-wise, in a mission lasting two years. The difference between Warp 5 and Warp 8 is just that big.

I've met Andromeda St. John before. She's the CO of Pathfinder Station. She's... Well, rather tall. A lot taller than most of the folks in Starfleet, just for reference. Yes, James, you're right, most folks in Starfleet are a lot taller than I am. That just sort of goes with the Kin'Li territory. I don't mind. Well, sometimes I mind the seat. It's too big for me, plain and simple. It's a bit annoying. But if we can't get proper food replicators, I don't think a new seat is going to happen either. Something about priorities.

Speaking of replicators, or the lack thereof, I am pondering my turn at kitchen duty with our Romulan cook. It'll be when we're done with Pathfinder, I think -- I'll be authorizing lots of shore leave when we get there, as they have working food replicators. And we'll be looking to get plenty of fresh supplies too. I need fresh vegetables or I'll explode. Even replicated vegetables would do.

I'm starting to draw up charts of the Hapke Cluster. Ten thousand stars... Ten thousand systems, really. Lots and lots of Class M planets, so we'll have plenty to keep ourselves occupied for a couple of years. Though... I'm still concerned about that Rilnar vessel we came across some days ago.

Yes, James, the freighter we encountered. After all, it had clearly been attacked. The crew had been slaughtered, or some of them, anyway. From rosters we were able to pick up, it looks like a fair number of them were removed from the ship, while others were killed. Whoever attacked them were brutal. My money's on the Krenim. I'm getting other reports of missing ships in the sector, too, like the Karakoram. It's all terribly disturbing stuff.

All right, James, close log
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Rear Admiral Nora Gerhadsen
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150316.2038

Captain's log, supplemental.

The Maxwell is undergoing a baryon sweep right now, and I'm on Pathfinder Station, anxiously looking out the window at my ship as she's cleansed. I wonder if all captains feel this way when someone else has control over their vessels. Probably.

Pathfinder gave us a warm welcome indeed. They rolled out a great spread. I had fruit! And cookies! And other things besides. We all got sotted and went off to bed. The real work begins after the baryon sweep. Pathfinder's engineers will set to work removing the old sensor suite, and then they'll install the new one. In the meantime, my own engineers will be tearing the warp drive apart. I want full warp and shield capability before we leave. It's worth... Months... At Pathfinder to get from Warp 5 to Warp 8. I just can't imagine all the time we'd lose from the speed difference.

And then there's the matter of how we take care of the new sensor power requirements. That's going to be our real challenge.

One thing at a time, anyway. For now, I'm just content with some real replicators. You don't know the worth of water until the well is dry.

Close log.
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Rear Admiral Nora Gerhadsen
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150327.2020

All right, James, let's open up that personal log, Stardate 150327. And back home on Relos IV, that's 9 Gamosh, in the Second Year since Independence.

We've been sitting out here for days. We're not at all far from Pathfinder, but I didn't want to limp back with my tail between my legs. We need to get things fixed around here if we're ever going to get to the Hapke Cluster. Warp 8, and then BANG! All heck broke loose. Suddenly EPS junctions were blowing up or getting vented into space. We almost lost a man. I thought my heart was going to stop. So we're going over the entire EPS system, millimeter by millimeter, replacing as needed. This ship will work, and that's all there is to it. If I have to get out and push.

Pathfinder... Ah, the luxury. That's the last we'll see of replicators for probably the next two years. If the mission goes as planned. Of course, you never know when Starfleet will order us elsewhere.

Our first target is the Alamea system. It's not much, just a Class L dustbowl world and some gas giants, but it's a start, anyway. A Starfleet vessel did a long-range scan there about thirty years ago, but there's been nothing since. We're the first to do a detailed survey. But I expect that just means we're in and out. It'll be a great test of our nifty new sensors.

The sensors! My goodness! They're powerful suckers. I think we'd out-do Veracruz. Which is odd, considering what the rest of the ship is like. Active scans are definitely a problem. They eat amazing amounts of energy, but the resolution we're getting back just astounds me. We will have power allocation issues to be sure when doing active scans, certainly if we want things like shields up and weapons at the same time. I think I will have to lobby hard for a new warp drive to handle the power requirements.

What's that, James? What do you mean this isn't personal stuff? Of course it's personal stuff! It's not... Well, sure, it sounds an awful lot like a formal log, but... What do you mean I need to talk about my feelings? Who died and made you the ship's therapist?

Look, if I scream when I wake up in the middle of the night, it's because...

Sure. Fine. I'm still having nightmares. Today is the first anniversary of Relosian Independence. I'm not there to celebrate with my old gang from the Khoon Resistance District. Instead, I've got all the dead ones to serenade me in my rather unpleasant dreams. I'm just glad the place is still around, and hasn't been reabsorbed into the Nausicaan Hegemony. It's a lot less of a danger now, but... You never know when that idiot Kovolok might decide to get stupid again.

One of the nice things about being Captain is that I get my own quarters. Soundproof quarters. It's... Handy. I rest a little easier. Which is kind of weird, when you really think about it. I rest easier because I don't have to worry about folks hearing me scream when I... wake up from nightmares. Yeah. This is my life.

Still and all... It's been a year. And yet the memories just aren't fading. I thought they would. They're as vivid now as they were then. I close my eyes, and I see it all again. Desperate fear of being ambushed in the Kerile mountains; the battle at Ayapeliat; the big final slugfest between stations. All those dead in Yortboro and Telipalangi, killed as no more than a sign of tusker frustration with us. Getting blasted by the foulest tusker of them all, and losing my leg in the fall... And here I am, out in the middle of nowhere, trying to tame a ship that's trying to kill us. So we can go to systems nobody really knows much about and find out what there wants to kill us.

<a sigh is heard>

Well... It beats a desk job in Kelluet. And it definitely beats running for office in Teckford. I'm no politician. This is where I belong: out here, exploring, creating knowledge. Making. There is no higher calling for one of my kind. Maker bless us all as we embark on this great journey of discovery. Keep our engines running, keep our equipment working; bless our sensors that they may Make the data we need to accomplish our mission; banish the gremlins who would turn this ship into a giant paperweight, adrift in space.

What do you mean I can't ask the Maker to bless our sensors, James? Of course I can ask the Maker to bless our dratted sensors! Or whatever else I think needs blessing! I'm the Captain! Anyway, the Maker can bless what He likes. And while I'll grant that sensor functionality is a matter of proper calibration and adequate power supply... I'll invoke the Maker even so. It's not a superstition. It's just... Well, whatever.

Well anyway. I'd say that's enough for now, wouldn't you, James? Close log, please.
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Rear Admiral Nora Gerhadsen
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150518.1608

All right, James. Let's fire up that personal log. Stardate 150518. And on Relos IV the first day of the month of Fenroek. Fitting, I suppose.

<<There is a pause.>>

There's a good chance we'll all end up as frozen statues, just like that Drelaxian crew in our hold. The anyon treatments are working for now, but... They won't always. We're having to up the intensity and frequency all the time. At some point, they'll just stop working. We retrieved the weapon the Skullurians used on us, but we're having trouble making head or tail of it. It's having some sort of bizarre hybrid effect on us: at once temporal and yet also physiological: the Drelaxians might have been frozen in time, but their tissues were also also dehydrating over time. If we had found them a month or two later, they likely would all have died.

I've taken to having seconds ticking off in my ready room. If they start to speed up, I know I'm being affected. Cheery, huh?

Some of the crew have stopped responding to treatments. We don't have a lot of time left before this will all be in someone else's hands. If it can even be fixed. At least we have the Shogun with us. We won't turn into a mystery "lost ship" at the very least.

These Skullur are a strange lot. They look a lot like Gorn -- lizard-like -- but I think they'd get along rather well with the Nausicaans. Either that or they'd slug it out until one species or the other was wiped out. Hmm. We definitely have to introduce these two groups. No, maybe not. Such aggression! When they ran out of weapons, they tried ramming us. And not just once, either! They're persistent -- I'll give them that -- but they care more about victory than life. I suppose that makes them more like the Klingons than like the Nausicaans. The Nausicaans, at least, know when to stop and make a deal.

And now we have to deal with them to find a cure for what ails us. In all likelihood, anyway. Another cheery prospect. This device isn't giving up its secrets. Frustrating, potentially very dangerous, and just overall a pain in the neck. Maker's hangnail! This is definitely an incident I'm not putting in a letter back home. My parents would have apoplexy. After all, they figured I was at least relatively safe with the war over.

But before we go into that good night... We have some lizards to go and beat up on. Or, well, diplomatically convince to let us at their technology databases so we can solve this thing before we all end up as ultra-highly-realistic statues.

Close log, James.
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Rear Admiral Nora Gerhadsen
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150531.1039

James, open personal log please, Stardate 150531. On Relos IV, that's 14 Fenroek, in the Second Year since Independence.

We're through the expanding shock front of the planetary nebula Hapke 41A. I hate multiphasic discriminators. I hate multiphasic discriminator neural arrays even more. Lucky me, that's what we've got. Ours is working now. Thank goodness. Oh, by the way, we found our first major glitch in the new sensor suite. I think part of the problem may well be that it was designed with a refit Nova in mind -- the USS Meridian -- and instead it's in a pre-refit Nova, the Maxwell. We had to reconfigure some things, and the hull-side power couplings are taking a lot more draw than they were meant to. So they're undergoing more stress. We're kind of in uncharted territory there, and none of the standard maintenance schedules work anymore.

I am recovering. I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time in sick bays. Well, I suppose it's been a year, so I was due. This time, at least I didn't lose a leg and have to have it regrown. Or spend weeks doped up on melorazine. So it's an improvement, right? Scary moment, though, out on the hull, watching my suit vent air and blood. But our Dr. Vuissent patched me up really well, and it's back to duty over her objections.

What's that, James? It's predictable for a Captain? I suppose. No, I realize better than most how not-invulnerable I am. It's just... Oh shut up, James, and let me get back to this.

I got a letter from my little sister. Kaya really wants to go to Starfleet Academy. I mean... Really wants to go. Wants to follow her big sister. Good luck to her. She's talking about being a pilot. A Marine, even. Wants to fly those fancy fighters. How they'll accommodate a Kin'Li frame in one of those things is well beyond me, though. They're built for tallfolk. Still, Maker's blessings upon her. Though it's a little odd for a Kin'Li to want to be a Marine. After all, they are more or less dedicated to making things blow up. I mean... Sure, we Unmake when we need to, but it's not usually something we go after. I mean... I suppose I did plenty of that sort of thing in the War with the Khoon Resistance District, and we did have plenty other Kin'Li with us. And naturally, there are plenty of Kin'Li in the armed forces of the Relosian Republic. Most of those are city Kin'Li, though. Not a lot of farmers.

Da must be apoplectic. I am guessing Ma is a lot easier with it. She's the mellow one. Well, the quiet one, anyway.

Kaya's got a boyfriend, too. His name is Fenwit Calapy. It turns out I've actually kind of met him. He's from Tullybuck in Ventuen Province. He joined the Ventuen Resistance District when we started them up after my unit retreated from Khoon Province. They had about a thousand volunteers. Turns out they saw some action -- they assaulted some local Nausicaan stations. Fenwit's platoon actually took some revenge for the slaughter at Yortboro by assaulting the barracks of the offending troops. He's a good fellow. Of course, she's kind of got her pick: she's got this incredibly famous sister (I do not envy her that awkward position), and she's always been so much prettier than me. So I'm sure they're positively throwing themselves at her. Starfleet Academy won't be like that at all. She'll be pretty anonymous there. Maybe that's part of its draw for her.

Ah, to be young again. What's that, James? I am young? Well, I suppose it depends on one's point of view. Sometimes I definitely miss my Academy days. Things were a lot simpler when the worst thing I had to worry about was my grade in conformal warp manifold mechanics and differential topology. Still, I wouldn't give up what I'm doing now. Exploration... Making new knowledge about the Universe. This is a Kin'Li's lifeblood. Mine, certainly. And I love it out here. Except maybe when they're trying to kill us. But maybe even then. Here's hoping we avoid big battles for the rest of our mission in the Hapke Cluster.

Thanks, James, let's close that log.
___________________________________________________________________
Rear Admiral Nora Gerhadsen
Commanding Officer, USS Maxwell NCC-21873
Chief of UF Starfleet Operations
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Nora Gerhadsen
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150613.1041

James, please open Captain's personal log, Stardate 150613. On Relos IV, that's 27 Fenroek, in the Second Year Since Independence.

We're finishing up our sensor sweeps of the Hapke 41A system, and doing our last transect. We will be ready to 'blow this pop man' -- what's that, James? Pop stand? Blow this pop stand? What is a pop stand, anyway? Oh. So why is it all right to blow it, but naughty to blow a pop man? No, no, don't worry with explaining about it, James. I should just forget trying to use 20th century vernacular. I'm no good at it.

Our next target is a system called Hapke 112. There are two huge planets orbiting close to a central star. They may be gas giants -- "Super-Jupiters" -- or they may be rocky, though at the temperatures we're seeing, "rocky" may be somewhat subjective. They are both rich in refractory (heavy) elements that tend to form solids. There will be liquid silica on the surface of these objects: the surface temperature of Hapke 112 Prime is a balmy 2250 C, give or take, though it will depend on whether it is tidally locked. A permanently dark far side may well be very cold indeed. Hapke 112 II has an average surface temperature of about 1800 C, which means that there may well be a full hydrological cycle, only with silica glass, including places where it "freezes out" to form regular land masses.

I have been talking to the Veracruz. Captain Randt has been chasing down the missing USS Karakoram, and found it in boneyard deep in Krenim space. Apparently he wants to go after the crew now, and he's chasing down a couple of possible leads on the border of Krenim space. They've been stirring up the hornet's nest with the Krenim -- justifiably so, it would seem -- and I'm beginning to worry that we may be headed to war with them. The Krenim Imperium is quite powerful, and I fear that all-out war with them could be quite damaging to the Federation. We're going to have to do this in a manner that avoids open conflict. Do the Krenim really want all-out war? It would be just as destructive for them as for us. In this time of expanding aggression by the Borg, the Vaadwuar, the Breen, and any number of other hostile species, I just can't see them doing that.

Unless they've gone utterly mad.

Well, the month of Fenroek isn't over yet. There's plenty of time for more things to go terribly wrong.

James, close log, please.
___________________________________________________________________
Rear Admiral Nora Gerhadsen
Commanding Officer, USS Maxwell NCC-21873
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150619.2153

Captain's Personal Log, supplemental.

We really kicked the hornet's next outside the Jantep-33 system looking for the missing crew of the USS Karakoram. Four Krenim warships -- a huge battlecruiser, a heavy cruiser, and two light cruisers -- emerged from the system and gave chase. Veracruz and some odd Alliance-ish ship moved to intercept, but when we passed their position, only the battlecruiser and the light cruisers peeled off to engage. This left us with a heavy cruiser chasing us down. Which it is still doing. We are at Warp 8.2, running flat out from this thing. We are badly, badly outmatched. I am hoping our warp drive lasts longer than theirs. If it doesn't, things could get awfully ugly in a real hurry. We don't know how the Veracruz and its unlikely ally are faring with the other warships, but it looks like it could have been a pretty even fight... Which is the last kind of fight you want when actual lives are involved. At least we were able to draw this cruiser off of them. Hopefully they'll get through the other ships and rejoin us.

If we're lucky, we'll outlast the Krenim's ability to chase us, or find allies before the warp drive gives out. If we have to come out of warp with that thing still engaged... This could be my last log entry.

We never even got human life signs out of the Jantep-33 system, which means if the crew of the Karakoram were ever there, they aren't now. What in the Maker's rucksack are they protecting in Jantep-33?

Close log.
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Rear Admiral Nora Gerhadsen
Commanding Officer, USS Maxwell NCC-21873
Chief of UF Starfleet Operations
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150626.0839

Captain's personal log, Stardate 150626. I have no idea what that is in terms of dates back home, because... Well, I just don't want to look at a calendar right now.

<There is a pause.>

Mac's dead.

<The computer's voice, in a Scots accent, is heard. The Captain's voice suddenly sounds rather annoyed.>

Well of course she's not the only casualty, James! Lieutenant Holt is gone too, as are Ensigns T'Prin and Kiullo! The Chief -- Hoshikawa -- he probably had the best head in Engineering! What are we going to do without him? Forty five years in Starfleet and still going strong. Gone. And seven more besides! Gray, Eerow, Jones, Ramirez, Balewefou, Veranzano, and Cho.

Mac was more than just my helm officer, James. She was my friend. I had to tell her wife, too. Remind me why we have spouses serving on the same ship. It always struck me as a bad idea -- too easy to utterly destroy a family in a battle, if both spouses die. Chey... Took it well, I think. I have no idea how she's going to react to Commander Kolan having the Godric symbiont.

<The Captain's voice catches, as if she is stifling a sob.>

I thought I was done with war, that's all. I wanted to Make. Not destroy. I wanted to explore. But all these people are dead now! Not to mention, of course, what happened to the Krenim ship! All those people!

No, James. Of course it's not what we decided. After all, they attacked us. These Krenim are doing terrible, terrible things. They want their glorious empire back, for whatever reason, and will stop at nothing to make it happen. But the worst part is that this whole misadventure was probably unrelated to the Karakoram! It probably wasn't the right system at all. Though... The Krenim *do* seem to be doing pretty awful things here, and it is indeed a good thing we have come. We need to shut down this dekyon processing facility. They're turning this stuff into potent weapons.

We've got Candi visiting on board from the Veracruz. Sorry, that's Lieutenant (JG) Candi Quick. We have Ensign Joules, too. He's their resident chroniton expert. We're going to try to develop Candi's idea to essentially hide this planet in a temporal loop so the Krenim don't have access to it. Not everyone agrees with the idea, but I don't see what other choice we have. Kris -- that's Lieutenant Commander Jameson -- wanted to fire trilithium-tipped torpedoes at it. But we're talking about a massive gas giant. Even trilithium isn't likely to do the job.

If we can put the planet outside of the Krenim's reach, that's all we really need to do.

And then it's on to this other system. Uvloy? It's a big mining system, also outside of Krenim space. But given the resistance we got here, I wonder what kind of reception we'll get there.

The saddest job of a Captain is to write condolence letters to families of the fallen. And that's what's before me.

James, close log.
___________________________________________________________________
Rear Admiral Nora Gerhadsen
Commanding Officer, USS Maxwell NCC-21873
Chief of UF Starfleet Operations
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150626.0842

Commander Nora Gerhadsen
USS Maxwell, NX-21873
In deep space

Merida Peers
Mak'ala
Trillius Prime

Dear. Ms. Peers,

It is with a heavy heart that I must inform you of the death of your daughter, Lieutenant Commander Mackenzie Godric. Mackenzie served with distinction on board the USS Maxwell as our helmsman. She was a source of strength for all aboard the Maxwell, and she will be sorely missed. I know that my words can do little to assuage the grief and loss that you must be feeling at this difficult time. But if I can offer any comfort, it would be in knowing that she was fighting against tyrants, doing her utmost duty, a paragon of all that is good in a Starfleet Officer. Your daughter will ever be a source of pride for you, for her family, and for all Trills.

The Godric symbiont survived the incident which tragically took Mackenzie from us. And so let there be further comfort in knowing that at least part of Mackenzie will live on in the Godric symbiont and in the new host.

Mac's loss opens up a rift in my heart, and indeed in the hearts of all the crew who knew her. She was one of my best officers, and I was proud to call her my friend.

Very sincerely, I remain

Nora Gerhadsen, Commander
Acting CO, USS Maxwell NX-21873
___________________________________________________________________
Rear Admiral Nora Gerhadsen
Commanding Officer, USS Maxwell NCC-21873
Chief of UF Starfleet Operations
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150712.1210

James, please open Captain's personal log, Stardate 150712. Back on Relos IV, that's 26 Eyla, in the Second Year since Independence.

I'm back board after an attempt at shore leave. Why's that, James? Why do I say it was only an attempt? Well... I organized a small scientific outing to a relatively remote continent to collect samples of nectar from the spiroangliae vermiformens flower. These are extremely rare, of course, and highly poisonous. If you disturb them too much, they have an annoying tendency to explode, spraying their toxins all over a wide area.

It took us days of traipsing about the jungle to even find one. We found two, actually. This was a great relief -- the spiroangliae vermiformens bloom only stays open for about 33 hours. And it's a really delicate operation to successfully extract the nectar. I was the one most experienced in this sort of thing, so I was the one attempting the extraction. I had other Starfleet folks with me, as well as some University types.

Unfortunately, as I was inserting the probe into the first spiroangliae bloom, my comm went off -- Captain's priority channel. Normally the thing would have been silenced, but I'm required to keep it on and open on that channel. The buzzing of the comm made me involuntarily jerk my hand forward... And yeah... The bloom exploded. It sprayed its ichor all over the clearing, hitting me in the back. Luckily, other team members were able to get the antidote applied in time -- its topical (applied to the skin), though my shirt was ruined. I had to borrow this not-really-there thing from a Risan member of the party. Odd what they wear, or don't wear, on Risa.

We went to the second bloom, and repeated the procedure. I had the probe inside the second bloom, and was about halfway through the sample collect, when a second Captain's Priority channel message came through. I did not flinch this time, as I had given my comm to one of the University people. Unfortunately, I suppose everyone was so wound up at that point that... He kind of shrieked, and *that* made me flinch, jabbing the probe into the flower. It exploded as well, and the nectar already in the sampler was converted to ichor before we could retrieve it. This time, though, we had a big cookpot ready, and I managed to get it over the flower before it exploded. I sat down on it to make sure it was not thrown off by the explosion. That would have resulted in ichor going everywhere.

So all in all, it was not a successful sample collect! We'll have to wait until about this time next year! Unless we can find signs of further spiroangliae vermiformens blooms elsewhere on Pinastri's surface. Incredibly frustrating. Maybe next time I'll leave the commbadge behind! No, no... I realize I can't do that. But perhaps I'll bring along an experienced Starfleet Officer to look after it while I do dangerous, delicate sample collects. And I will try, very very hard, not to murder any of my errant crew who cannot seem to go ten minutes without asking me about alcohol.

This "prohibition" cannot last forever, obviously. And the worst offender is off the ship. Poor fellow. I've recommended treatment for him. I do hope his career can be salvaged, but he won't be sailing with us, regardless.

All right, James, close log.
___________________________________________________________________
Rear Admiral Nora Gerhadsen
Commanding Officer, USS Maxwell NCC-21873
Chief of UF Starfleet Operations
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150801.2034

Open Captain's personal log, Stardate 150801. I suppose that on Relos IV, that's 16 Vadosh, in the Second Year since Independence.

Where do I start... Well, I'm stuck on Risa. Shore leaves were canceled fleet-wide. So, naturally, the entire fleet is trying to get back to their stations, leading to mass confusion and gridlock. At least in some places. Like Risa. I suppose there are worse places I could be stuck. Much worse, really. And I've been stuck in some of them. But there's no powerboarding for me, or those levitation rocket pack thingies either. They sure look like fun. But I'm trying to get out on the very next possible transport. My position as a ship Captain gives me a fair amount of priority, but... It's just a complete mess.

I need to back up, though.

<<A sigh is heard.>>

We finally seem to have sorted out this Krenim nonsense. I suppose that's the good news. The bad news is that thousands died to get us there. Both the USS Janissary and the USS Inflexible were completely destroyed, as were four Krenim ships, including the IKW Kolavari, which had haunted Veracruz's steps for so long. The long and the short of it is that we put a stop to an extremely dangerous Krenim weapons program, and in the process, wiped out their patrol fleet on the Federation border. They surely won't be looking to expand our way anytime soon. The crew of the Karakoram... Well... We found their remains. We positively identified some, including Captain Tandy McNair, the Karakoram's CO. What a loss. All of it.

We got hit incredibly hard by these experimental Krenim weapons. We were completely untouched for most of the battle. Then the experimental ship got a clear shot at us. One volley was all it took to take most of our systems offline. We lost almost the entire Engineering Department. Altogether, we had fourteen dead, and twenty two wounded. And that just adds to our earlier disasters. We lost our second Chief Petty Officer in Engineering in two weeks. If I never see a Krenim as long as I live, it will be too soon. I suppose that's part of what we do as Starfleet Officers: get various species so angry at us that they want to kill us on sight. Well, now I've got two: the Krenim and the Nausiccaans. A cheery thought.

We limped back to Tranquility at Warp 3. That was to accommodate the Veracruz, who got hit pretty bad as well. But we could only have done Warp 5 anyway. The Maxwell is sitting at Tranquility now... And I have no doubt that the crew will be working with the Tranquility people to get her back up a great deal faster than she might otherwise have been. I mean... This was supposed to be shore leave.

And that brings me to my current situation. Stuck on Risa. On what was supposed to be a vacation. A real one this time, too -- not just another scientific field expedition dressed up to look like shore leave. Would have been nice. Was nice, really, for about eighteen hours.

Though something kind of odd happened last night when I went out for the first time after checking in at the hotel. There was a Kin'Li there in the lobby! A fellow. He was maybe a couple of years older than I, and he was... Well... Really good looking. I don't mind saying that. I mean, chiseled. Imagine my surprise! He didn't seem all that surprised to see me, though... And it turns out there was a reason for that. He at least was straightforward with me.

His name is Halthed Spriggan. He asked me to call him Hal. And he's... Well, he's dreamy, but he's also nice... Honest... And he was sent by the rotty government to keep an eye on me! The nerve! They sent him... Actually, they sent no fewer than six of these fine fellows to follow me about, 'show me a good time,' and otherwise be... Well... Suitors! Hal explained that given my history with tallfolk... I just shut him up right there. But apparently there is some official concern that I might 'stray again.' Arrrgh!

I suppose there are worse things than being chased about Risa by six gorgeous Kin'Li men. Usually, it's been Kaya who got all the men. But I feel like I'm back in my parents' living room, chasing off all those suitors that my mother arranged for me! Arrrgh!

My mother's 'good intentions' have chased me all the way to the great pleasure planet. And in the land of exposed skin and see-through barely-there garments, I feel like I want to cover up in a nice traditional Kin'Li dress. No... No, I don't feel like that at all. I got a rather devastating outfit for this place, if I do say so myself. "When on Risa, do as the Risans," huh?

Hal says they were all specially hand-picked for this "assignment." Maker's hangnail! Some government committee hurriedly chose six men they thought I would like, who... Apparently really want to be with me... And shipped them here to keep an eye on me and... Court me. I don't know whether to be flattered or disgusted. Or terrified. Probably a mix of terrified and disgusted.

If my Da could see me now, huh? No, scratch that. He'd have apoplexy over my bikini. He'd cover me with a sack and tell me to milk all the cows. Twice. And then send me to the shrine over Blossom Hill to meditate. For a week.

Oh, I just got a notification. I think that's a transport. Maybe. Closing log.
___________________________________________________________________
Rear Admiral Nora Gerhadsen
Commanding Officer, USS Maxwell NCC-21873
Chief of UF Starfleet Operations
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Nora Gerhadsen
Command - Rear Admiral
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Posts: 1324
Joined: 120908.1707
Duty Post: Chief, UF Starfleet Operations
Ship/Station Posted:
Grid: Second Life
Location: ME
Has thanked: 12 times
Been thanked: 73 times
Contact:

150813.1654

Captain's personal log, Stardate 150813. That's 28 Vadosh in the Second Year since Independence back home.

I am finally almost to Pinastri. It has been quite the trip getting here. I was stuck on Risa for three more days. Stuck in paradise. Go figure! And still surrounded by my bevy of dreamboats. All of them were courteous to a tee -- smart, funny, kind, the whole bit. And so terribly annoying! Hal says they all volunteered, and it was done as a "last minute" thing. When Hal isn't being a Government-sanctioned suitor/companion/pursuer of stuck Kin'Li starship captains of great fame and questionable virtue, he is a colonel in the Republic Army. But he is actually in research and development, and has aspirations to go off and do work with Starfleet. Go figure. I suppose that's why the Government chose him, and put him more or less in charge of the suitors. The others were in various jobs -- one was a scientist, another was a farmer, poor fellow. That was Dob, who was completely out of his element on Risa. Kind of reminded me of Daro Prenfoot, but he's a lot smarter and a great deal more handsome.

I will never be able to tell Kaya about this. She'd die of jealousy.

After getting off of Risa, I managed to get a transport to Earth, and transferred to a slipstream-capable transport to the Delta Quadrant. The suitors stuck with me as far as Earth. I think they would have tried to come all the way to Pinastri -- they all have a lot of perseverance -- but I was saved by the fact that the fast transport was completely full of priority passengers. The fleet-wide red alert has made things a bit of a mess.

So in any event, I'm almost back! I'll be beaming back to the Maxwell sans uniform, though -- my luggage got left on Risa, and there just hasn't been an opportunity to replicate a new uniform. I'll have to sort that out right away. Hopefully my luggage isn't too far behind me.

Close log.
___________________________________________________________________
Rear Admiral Nora Gerhadsen
Commanding Officer, USS Maxwell NCC-21873
Chief of UF Starfleet Operations
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