First Mission: A Question of Time/The Quest

Narrative Compiled by The Singin' One
Gamemaster, USS Kitty Hawk Roleplaying Campaign

Chapter One: A Little Trouble Brews (And We Haven't Even Launched)! (Part A)

Before we begin, a bit of business. As always, Star Trek, its characters, events, etc., are the property of Paramount. There are also occasional references to characters or events created by authors of published Star Trek novels. Their influence is gratefully acknowledged.

However, the principal and non-principal characters created by the players and/or gamemaster of the USS Kitty Hawk campaign and the narrative created from their roleplaying are their exclusive property.


Space can be awfully boring sometimes. Especially when you are ship's historian and the ship is merely on patrol.

Even if that ship is the famed USS Kitty Hawk and the patrol is along the always-charged border between Federation space and the Klingon Empire.

Lieutenant Carter Wilson stood up from his computer and stretched. At 39 years old, his 6-foot, 4-inch frame was still as fit as when he had served as a yeoman on the USS Xerxes during the Four Years War. His deep chocolate countenance bore only the laugh lines of a man who usually enjoyed what life offered.

He could have been bored. It would have been easy to be bored since there was not much for an historian to do during a patrol. Instead, Carter decided to start the project that brought him onto the Kitty Hawk in the first place. He would chronicle the unofficial, complete details of the Kitty Hawk's first mission.

There, on his computer access, sat the last piece of the puzzle that had taken him years to put together. Now, he could fill in the missing details of the super-secret mission and, perhaps, understand what had propelled the ship and crew into some of the adventures that followed.

"Computer, begin recording 'A Question of Time' with security access to my voice command only."

[ READY. ] the M-6 computer said with its usual abruptness.

Carter closed his eyes for a moment to gather his thoughts. Then, opening his ebon orbs to stare out of his viewport, he said, "A Question of Time,..."


Traydon Chance awoke suddenly, sputtering. Something wet and rough was rubbing against his face. His eyes opened to a face framed by orange-black fur and whiskers. A pink tongue lashed out for another lick. Chance raised a hand to protect himself.

"Enough already. I'm up." he said.

The feline abruptly turned and headed for the foot of the bed, where two more were napping comfortably. The third curled up beside them.

"Oh, no you don't. You're not going to sleep after getting me up. Shoo!"

Chance jerked the covers, sending the cats scurrying. He rubbed his tired eyes and ran a hand through his jet-black hair. A strand of silver fell in his face. For some reason no one had ever figured out, a portion of his hair turned silver, making a stripe that sharply contrasted his dark locks. Chance had decided to keep it; he thought it added character.

"You ought to dye that." a voice said, female. "It looks silly."

"It looks fine." he replied, brushing it back and turning to the newcomer.

An attractive woman in her mid-40's stood in the doorway, holding two steaming cups. Chance caught the aroma coming from them: coffee.

She was wearing a utility jumpsuit and a flight jacket littered with patches from dozens of star systems. She walked over and sat on the edge of the bed, handing him one of the cups.

"Don't blame my cats for getting you up; I thought you could use the help. You always were a heavy sleeper." she said.

Chance took a sip: it was real coffee, not synthesized. "Comes from a time when a certain someone would keep me up all night." he replied, grinning.

"You never complained before." she shot back.

"I never had the strength. You wore me out."

Anne Gauvreau snorted and punched Chance on the arm, nearly spilling his coffee. She stood up. "Not to be an ungrateful host, but I have to break orbit in two hours. So get your lazy butt out of my bed and off my ship."

She scooped up his clothes off the floor, tossed them on the bed, and left the room."Come to the bridge when you're done." she called.

Chance got out of bed, and stepped into the sonic shower. He had hoped for water, but that was a luxury item rarely found on starships, let alone a civilian freighter like this ship. Anne's ship, the S.S. Ian Shelton.

Chance's mind drifted back; they had both come a long way since they first met aboard the USS Yorktown. He had just been assigned to her as 2nd Officer and Helmsman; Anne was First Officer, had been there for 3 years. They hit it off almost immediately, but kept the relationship informal. Starfleet officers' lives were too erratic to maintain intimate relationships. They might get posted to different ships, and not see one another for years at a time.

So they enjoyed an "intimate friendship", until the day the Yorktown's captain, Matthew Decker, was promoted to Commodore and given command of the USS Constellation. Both Anne and Chance expected her to succeed Decker, but Starfleet had other plans. A new captain was brought in, instead. Gauvreau protested, but Starfleet was adamant. They offered her the Hawking, a science vessel, but that was like a slap in the face after serving on a starship.

Realising she wouldn't achieve her dream, Anne resigned. Chance sympathised with her and, once she was gone, transferred off the Yorktown. He went on to XO on the Lexington; Anne purchased the Ian Shelton, and went into business as a merchant, finally in command of her own ship.

He stepped out of the shower and dressed, admiring the gold Command shirt with the Commander's stripes on the sleeves. Someday, with luck, he'd have his own ship, too.

He found Anne on the Shelton's bridge. She was going over the cargo manifests. Through the viewports, he saw the outer edge of Starbase 17. Shelton was docked at one of the outer ports.

She heard him come up, and faced him. "Here." she said, tossing him something. He caught it and examined it. It was a data solid.

"That came for you earlier." she said.

"What is it?" he asked.

"I don't know. I don't read other people's mail." she snorted.

Chance gave her a knowing look. He knew her better than that.

She smiled and capitulated. "New orders. You're being reassigned."

He went over to the ship's computer and fed it the solid. The screen started scrolling information.

"I've been promoted." he said, reading the screen. "They're giving me the Kitty Hawk, a new Constitution-class." He turned to face her, an excited look on his face.

An instant later, the look became melancholy. "Sorry." he said.

"Don't sweat it. I'm happy for you." she replied. "You deserve it. I had my shot, I got close. Not everone makes it. Besides, I'm not doing so bad." She smiled.

He shut down the console, and removed the solid. "Guess I'd better get going." he said.

Anne came over and gave him a hug. "Take it easy, Chance." she told him.

Chance returned the hug, and kissed her on the cheek. "Thanks. See you around?" he asked.

She shrugged. "You never know. I tend to turn up when you least expect."

"Tell me about it." Chance remarked. He felt something against his leg. He looked down to see Anne's cats, Komack, Fitzpatrick, and Nogura, rubbing up against him. "And goodbye to you, too." he said, bending over to give them a farewell scratch behind the ears.

He disengaged himself from the cats, and moved to the hatch. He glanced at Anne one last time. She nodded, and saluted. He chuckled, and saluted back, then stepped through and closed the hatch behind him.

He made his way to the Starbase recieving desk, and handed the ensign his orders.

"Captain Traydon Chance, awaiting transfer to the Kitty Hawk." he announced.

"Yes, sir." said the ensign. "The USS Colin Powell is en route to Earth, and has been told to expect you. A communique was delivered to your stateroom this morning. It has all the details. You'll need to be at Dock 17 by 1100 hours."

"Thank you." Chance replied, and headed off to his quarters on the station. He was glad Anne had a stopover here; it was nice seeing her again.

He noticed a few items waiting for him upon entering his stateroom. A bundle sat on the bed. Inside was a new uniform with Captain's stripes and a data solid. He plugged the solid into the desk reader. It detailed the transfer of command ceremony to be held at Starbase One in Earth orbit. Admiral Artemus Reece would be officiating. As an afterthought, Chance went back to the bundle. Sure enough, under the regular uniform was a formal dress uniform, also with his new rank.He shuddered at the thought of having to wear it. He swore the collars were made of duranium, they were so rigid.

He changed out of his Commander's shirt into the Captain's. He savored the look of the new two-solid, one broken stripes on the sleeves.

It was 10:00. He spent the next hour packing his possessions for transfer to the Colin Powell. He'd had to move everything off the Lexington because of the repairs, so there was nothing to go back there for.

He arrived at Dock 17, and walked aboard. "Permission to come aboard?" he asked the man waiting.

"Granted. I'm Commander Walter Simone. Wecome aboard, Captain. If you'll follow me, I'll show you to your quarters."

"Powell's not very large. You'll be using my quarters. " Simone said.

"Where does that put you? Chance asked.

"With the Communications Officer. Don't worry; we're practically married anyway." he said with a wink.

Chance nodded. He understood.

The quarters were sizable, even for a larger ship. Chance thanked the man and got settled in.

The trip to Earth took 3 days. Upon arrival, Chance gathered his things and went to the transporter room to beam over to Starbase One. He personally thanked Simone, and requested permission to disembark.

Starbase One was the largest in the Federation. Chance materialised, and was surprised at the amount of traffic. He had to fight his way through the crowd of people to get to the reception desk. He reported in, verified his identity by retinal scan, and was assigned temporary quarters. His belongings would be transferred to the Kitty Hawk.

The ceremony would start tomorrow. Chance decided to hang around the starbase, to see if he could run into some of the personnel he'd be working with.

First Officer Zakal steped off the transporter pad. The quick trip from the Starbase had been uneventful and he was anxious to start his new assignment. He had bade Captain Novick and the crew of his former ship a fond farewell.

He was musing on this when the Yeoman sent to meet him appeared. The first thing out of his mouth was the wrong one.

"Commander Zakal?" he asked pleasantly, "I'm sorry if I'm staring, Sir, but I was not expecting a Vulcan. I was told that you were from---"

"Yeoman, before you say any more, let me make one thing perfectly clear! I am Eltanin! I don't like being called a Vulcan, although we share the same genetic stock. I assure you that I am neither emotionless, nor am I reserved. I suggest you pass the word of that around this ship---quickly! Now, where do I billet?"

Zakal's tirade had drawn a crowd as he had hoped it would. The more people that knew of his disposition, the fewer times he would have to correct them.

He had nothing against Vulcans personally. His time spent under Spock on the Enterprise was enlightening and inspiring. However, the seeds of his discontent were sown a long time ago when his people left Vulcan for good.

"Please follow me, Sir," said the yeoman in an overly reserved tone.

"I don't bite, Yeoman, so don't fret. It is an old sore with me. No hard feelings." Zakal smiled warmly and started off after the Yeoman. After settling in, he made his way to the Bridge.

He already liked this ship. The personnel were all working and talking, expectantly awaiting the arrival of the Captain. Zakal moved to the comm and put it ship-wide.

"Attention, everyone! My name is Zakal, and I am first Officer of this ship. We have a little time before the Captain arrives, so I want reports from all deaprtments. If there is a problem---solve it! Or call me and I'll help you solve it. Either way, I want this ship ready to cruise when the Captain arrives. That is all."

Zakal made the appropriate entries into the ship's log and keyed in his command codes. He noticed that the CEO was aboard and moved to the turbolift. Seeing a lieutenant at the Helm, he said, "Lt. what is your name?"

"Karsin, Sir!"

"Well Lt. Karsin, you have the Conn. I shall be in Engineering."

Zakal made his way into Engineering and looked around for the CEO.

Lcdr. Rel Telic adjusted his eye patch as he looked over the figures from the latest warp drive calibration tests. It had been a month and half since he was tran sfered from the Starfleet Medical facilities on Terra to the U.S.S. Kittyhawk a s her chief engineer. It was a lot larger than the Numucha, he thought, but a ship is a ship, no matter how large or small she is only as good as the enginee rs could maker her. And he was determined to make every ship that he was on th e best. As an Andorian, he found being second best hard to accept. Andorian rule was either kill or be killed, so he always worked himself a bit harder than most.

Engineer's mate Phillips came up and handed him another test pad. He looked at it and shook his head, "We're going to have to increase the mixture ratio to 3 to 1.5, but after that we'll have to wait to see how she runs out of docks"

Phillips nodded her head and set about changing the ratio for the matter/anti-matter flow.

It was an unmonitored change such as this that caused a leak in the core o f the Numucha. The Numucha's chief engineer thought he had it all under control, but went to take a lunch break, and thats when the radiation leak had occure d. 2 people died in that incident, and Telic had lost his left eye. Fortunate ly he had managed to stop the leak before too much else was lost. He had heard through the grapevine at the hospital that Commander Jenkins would never be a ceo again. It was unfortunate that Jenkins was so sloppy with his work, for he had a brilliant mind and was a nice person.

"Chief Engineer's Log, updates to the Kittyhawk are just about complete, at lea st for this stage. There will have to be some fine tuning after we depart space docks, but that is a ways from now. I don't even believe that the command crew has boarded yet. {end Log}

"Phillips, make sure you monitor the flow ratio change, I have to go check the progress on the forward torpedo tubes"

"Aye aye" said Phillips as Telic left main engineering, heading for the main fo rward torpedo launchers.

Nicodemus Cain stepped through the door quietly, listening for any sound that might tell him where his opponent was. He had already defeated ten fine warriors, but this last one concerned him the most. Behind him, he could hear a breath. It was a breath of anticipation, and of someone preparing to attack. In that split moment, Cain turned to defend himself from the certain attack and found himself flying through the air, in a maneuver akin to the basic-level Nage-Waza.

He found his feet under him and landed in position. He jumped to the ceiling as his female opponent swept under his feet. Cain's hands grabbed the cold duranium pipes above him and his body twisted his feet through the air. The roof of his feet connected with the warrioress's chin solidly, but she continued with her delayed block. Cain swung again on the piping as she tried to recover. As his feet swang back, he balled his toes and flung his largest toe at the left lymph node of her neck. He found his foot being pulled past her head as her hand reached up for a leg Kansetsu-Waza, which would lock his knee in place. He dropped his grip and fell to the floor, twisting his leg out of the position she wanted. His fall pulled her off balance and he jumped to one leg, with her still hanging on to the other one. His knuckles flashed and struck his target under her throat.

Her eyes widened as her brain screamed for oxygen. She surrendered her grip and fell to the floor. Cain composed himself and loomed over her, watching her gasp.

"That, students," he began, looking to the small, floating video transmitter nearby, "is why you never, ever, let your--"

His words were cut short as her hand caught him under his knee, locking it in place with a twist. As Cain reached down to unlock his leg, she jumped from the ground to her stance to the air. After twisting a full one-hundred-eighty degrees, her ankle slapped against the back of his head, sending him into the duranium floor.

"...let your guard down, sensai?" she asked, a confident smirk on her face. She was still gasping for air.

Cain sat up and unlocked his knee. The pain was inscrutiating, especially for someone who'd experienced it once already today. He stood and looked cooly into the cadet's eyes. His gaze turned to the video transmitter. "That, cadets," he began, "is exactly what Jujutsu is all about. You must take advantage of your opponent, before he does that to you, in any way you can. In Jujutsu, there is no foul, no strike, and no mercy. Remeber that, and you'll survive out there. Class dismissed." Cain turned to the cadet and bowed low, as she did to him. They both turned to leave the access tunnel that her exam had led them to.

"So, how did I so, sensai?" she queried, her eyes still taunting him.

"You did well, Elizabeth," he began, feeling much more comfortable with the video transmitter off.

Cain's leg was killing him. Exams for his class had been for the last week and he was their target. Cain constructed a very simple exam for his cadets, at least in practice. The cadet was ordered to wait five minutes while he ran from the classroom. At the end of those five minutes, the cadet would leave the classroom, video transmitter floating behind, to search for his sensai, while the other cadets in the class watched in another room. Of course, Cain had locked the door on his way out this time, and secured the lock with his personal code. That gave him an extra thirty minutes to hide in the access tunnels under the Academy, and even prepare a few traps. The lesson there was, as it was always with his Jujutsu classes, that anything goes with Jujutsu...the final outcome is all that counts.

"Lieutenant Commander Cain!" a voice shouted from the top of the stairwell.

Cain smiled briefly at the cadet, Elizabeth Peterson, and turned to the officer looming over them. "Commander Rimmer," Cain stated, nodding a greeting. "Don't worry, we didn't break anything."

"Cain! I still have five engineers in sick bay from your 'exam' near the solar array yesterday!" Rimmer was starting to turn a beautiful crimson.

"Yeah, I know, I have six cadets in there myself," Cain knew that wasn't what the engineer wanted to hear, but it would suffice to keep him quiet while Cain escaped. Cain silently stepped past Rimmer and moved down the corridor. Rimmer's eye twitched a bit.

"Don't worry, my cadets sprung all the traps down there," Cain shouted over his shoulder.

Elizabeth remained silent until the doors of the turbolift had swished shut.

"You think," Elizabeth stated, still teasing.

"You know, your mouth is going to get you in some real trouble some day."

"At least I'll be able to get out of it, 'old man." Cain hesistated, trying to find a reponse, when the opening of the turbolift doors gave him the change of scenery he needed to change the subject. The two began walking across the Academy lawn, toward the visiting professor's dormitory.

"So, prof, are you going to be teaching the fourth semester of Jujutsu after break?" she asked. Cain paused, trying to think of an answer that would explain. "I noticed that the blank said 'staff' when I registered, I guess they haven't--"

"Beth," he said, more to stop her from continuing than to signify that he knew what to say. He steeled himself up as she turned her green eyes upon him. "I received transfer orders yesterday. I'm to serve as Chief of Security for the Kitty Hawk."

Elizabeth kept her eyes on the ground for the rest of the walk to his quarters. They entered his office and the door swished behind them. When the door closed, she stood, watching Cain. The silence was unbearable.

"You'll be back in a starship," she finally stated, the sadness permeating her voice. "It's what you've wanted for so long...I'm happy for you."

"You know this is what happens. In a semester, you'll graduate and be stationed aboard a ship that'll fly you off to the four corners of the Federation. When you first watch the stars zoom by after going to warp, you'll forget all about your old professor."

She stepped forward, her eyes beginning to gleam again.

That look probably hurt him more than anything. He began to feel himself jealous of her...she had an entire career ahead of her to do whatever she wanted. Cain's career, dark as it was, was mostly behind him. The Kitty Hawk would probably be the last ship he'd ever sail in. Elizabeth put her arms around his neck and began untying his pony-tail.

Cain embraced her and she kissed him. As they moved to the couch, she bit his lip, probably for the last time.

***

Cain's molecules finally stopped swimming before his eyes. Before him stood a young lieutenant. "Thank you, lieutenant," he stated, wiping his lip again to insure the lipstick was gone. His wound from the previous day, compounded by another wound received that night, was aching from the lipstick of his embarrassing goodbye kiss.

Cain stepped from the pad and walked to his quarters, toting his sheathed Toledo sword over his shoulder. "Computer," he spoke to the air as he walked, "initiate voice recognition program. Cain, Nicodemus A., Lieutenant Commander. Chief of Security. Code Alpha-seven-five-two-theta. Verify."

"Voice recognition verified."

"Lietenant Commander Cain to all security personnel. I want a report prepared from all sections at a mandatory meeting of all security section chiefs at eighteen hundred hours. At that time, all section chiefs will report to the officers lounge. That is all."

Cain stepped into the turbolift and spoke as the doors swished closed, "Officer's Quarters." He looked to the ceiling again. "Computer, what is the name and rank of the Executive Security Officer?"

[LT. ALEX PHOCAS]

"Has he reported in?"

[NEGATIVE.]

"Lieutenant Commander Cain to Commander Zakal and Captain Chance. Cain reporting for duty, sirs. I would like to meet with both of you, at your mutual earliest convenience. Thank you"

Cain stepped into his room and placed the sword on the bed. He turned the library computer station to face him and began typing.

ROUTE ALL SECURITY REPORTS TO THIS STATION.

Cain prefered using an old-style keyboard to a voice interface. It seem to feel more personal to him.

REVIEW ALL SECURITY LOGS, STARTING FROM -7 DAYS DISPLAY REVIEW

[NO PREVIOUS SECURITY LOG ENTRIES ON RECORD.]

As Cain worked, a message flashed on his terminal screen.

[SECURED PRIORITY MESSAGE INCOMING. VOICE IDENTIFICATION REQUIRED.]

He gave the requisite response. The computer beeped its verification, and the message appeared on the screen.

[DIRECTIVE FROM THE OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF OPERATIONS, STAR FLEET

LCDR. CAIN, YOU ARE TO DESIGNATE FIVE MEMBERS OF YOUR SECURITY STAFF TO A SPECIAL COMBAT/RESCUE TEAM. ANY SPECIALIZED EQUIPMENT OR WEAPONRY YOU DEEM NECESSARY TO OUTFIT THIS TEAM MAY BE REQUISITIONED FROM CMD. REGINALD COMPTON, QUARTERMASTER'S DIVISION, STARBASE ONE, BEFORE DEPARTURE OF THE USS KITTY HAWK.

BY THE ORDER OF ADM. ARTEMUS REESE DEPUTY CHIEF OF FLEET OPERATIONS

CC:
CHANCE, TRAYDON (CAPT.)
COMMANDING OFFICER
U.S.S. KITTY HAWK

Admiral Artemus Reese was seated in the office of Spacedock's head administrator. As he talked with the commodore, he occasionally looked out of the viewport that dominated the far office wall.

There were many ships in Starfleet's largest space port, but they all seemed to pale beside the newly-built USS Kitty Hawk. He could see suited construction and maintenance crews working frantically to ready the star- ship for its scheduled launch time tomorrow.

"She's a beauty, isn't she," the commodore said. "Everytime I look at her, I wish I was again a young captain, and that she were going to be mine."

Reese nodded his head in agreement. He had not met Traydon Chance yet, but he couldn't help but envy him, just a little. He had received word of the new captain's arrival, but he would more than likely not meet him until the transfer of command ceremonies.

The two officers were talking when the commodore's assistant interrupted. "Excuse Sirs," the assistant said, "He's here." Both smiled broadly, partially at the idea of the reunion of one of Starfleet Academy's most infamous trios, and partially because the planned surprise was going to work.

Standing, Reese said to the commodore, "Well, shall we go and greet him?"

The two men left to begin what would be a long night of playing catch-up and talking about old times.

(End of Part A)

To get more information about the game, contact the gamemaster.

Live long and prosper!

The Singin' One

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