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"Saturn's Ring Part 1"

Updated: Mar 18, 2023

“Tell Traffic Control we’re still holding; if there’s another ship waiting in line to undock, let them go first. Engineering, Operations, give me one final status report.”

Commander Meghan Suran gave her orders from the First Officer’s chair to the right of the captain’s. Though all three seats were of the exact same design and size, the central position of the captain’s chair gave it an unparalleled sense of authority. Some captains were extremely sensitive of who could occupy their seat, for to do so was to take the position of starship commanding officer- a position of high prestige and equally great responsibility.

“All departments reporting status green, sir,” announced Ensign Ibrahim, the officer who had taken over the Operations station in place of Commander Suran, the usual chief of that department.

This was followed soon by a report from Commander Nadam Val, the Chief Engineer, “All systems stand ready; diagnostics are clear and we should be functioning at a hundred percent capacity. Sufficient power has been allocated to impulse engines and warp drive and we’re set to depart.”

“Stand by for the captain’s go-ahead,” Meghan replied with a final command before going quiet.

She glanced to the ordinary chair that held such extraordinary power. It was empty now; last she heard the captain was on board but manually inspecting the ship’s facilities before their maiden voyage before he took command. The U.S.S. Saturn was a unique ship, the very first of her class. Though she was heavily based on the Jupiter line of carriers, the Saturn was designed following criticism of the massive Jupiter being too intimidating and warlike for Starfleet, an organization that branded itself as more of an exploration and peacekeeping force than an actual military.

The result of this project was a massive ship that utilized the Jupiter’s technology but meant to function just as well in peacetime as it did during wartime. The Saturn-class could serve well in a variety of purposes such as emergency evacuations, combat or basic ferrying of supplies, but it was designed with one special task in mind- the repairing of other ships. Not only did the Saturn carry an abundant amount of shipbuilding materials and work bees, but built into the bulwark were bays equipped with all the functions of a drydock, allowing smaller ships to actually dock with the Saturn to perform major repairs. At this point, the U.S.S. Saturn was less of a big starship and more of a mobile space station.

It was no wonder that Captain Tamen Snow had been placed in charge of such a vessel. With almost ten years of experience in each of the fields of damage control, ship design and command, he was the perfect candidate for the job. The Saturn was his brainchild; he had headed her design team up until the Iconian invasion, when he took command of the U.S.S. Yi Sun-Shin to assist the war effort. Meghan had only met the captain once before, but she must have made quite an impression for him to choose her as his second-in-command.

Meghan didn’t quite know why. She suspected that it was because she was an El-Aurian; her species were known for their natural talent in listening to others, and combining that with the plethora of experience accumulated over their long lifespans, many El-Aurians made for excellent advisors. This was actually why her former commanding officer had suggested for her to take command training- because she had wanted Meghan as her first officer. She had passed the course easily as she knew everything there was to know about running a starship from her time in the Operations division, and making quick decisions was never a particular challenge for her.

However, she had never wanted to be commanding officer of a starship. She had entertained the idea briefly when it arose in conversations, but it was always quickly dismissed. She was a wanderer, but unlike many she did not wander because she was lost. Meghan did not seek a purpose: wandering was her purpose. She joined Starfleet because these days it was the best way to travel to new places. She cared not for prestige, and she certainly did not desire responsibility.

“Captain on the bridge!”

When Captain Tamen Snow entered, Meghan breathed a silent sigh of relief. He strolled onto the bridge with a gait that radiated of confidence, and his lean figure emphasized that aura even more. He had dark skin and even darker hair which was kept very short, allowing the pointed ears on the sides of his head to be in full view. This was a man who was sure of himself- in a way that commanded the respect and admiration of those around him and not in the arrogant way that some Vulcans were. For many this may have been difficult to tell upon first glance, but a keen observer would note the slight swagger in his stance that revealed he was not the stoic sort that most of his people were known for.

This became abundantly clear when he spoke, his gaze set on the central seat, “You didn’t keep my chair warm for me, Commander?”

“My apologies,” Meghan responded. “I didn’t know if it would be appropriate.”

“It’s just a chair,” Captain Snow shrugged nonchalantly as he lowered himself onto it. “Don’t worry; I’m not a full-blooded Vulcan. I can take some chill. Just don’t lock me up on Rura Penthe.”

“Oh I won’t let that happen,” she chuckled. “I'll get locked up before you do- First officer’s duty to lead away missions requiring command oversight. And if you really want to go I’ll see to it that you have proper escort.”

The Captain cocked his head towards Meghan, “Does anyone ever actually follow that regulation?”

“No. But make sure the Admiralty doesn’t hear us say that.”

Captain Snow laughed, and Meghan followed her comment with a smirk.

“We’re ready to depart Utopia Planitia on your order, sir,” she spoke again when the laughter faded.

“Good, good. Start the undocking procedure.”

The bridge suddenly flared up with chatter and movement as each of the officers coordinated with their own departments and with one another. While most of the shipbuilding appendages had been removed, disconnecting such a massive ship from dock was no easy feat. There were many processes to follow in order to ensure that neither the Saturn nor the shipyard facilities were damaged. Meghan rose from her seat and made her way to the Operations station in order to oversee the procedure and ensure that it went smoothly.

Amidst all this, Captain Snow sat coolly in the centre of the bridge, legs crossed. Meghan noticed the subtle glances towards the command controls on the arms of his chair. Taking a moment from her work she watched the Captain for a moment and realized that what appeared to be impatient taps on the armrest were actually inputs into these controls. Though he may not have looked like it, he was certainly observing and perhaps even directing a part of the process.

Meghan returned to her seat when the Saturn had detached its moorings, “We’re cast off, sir.”

Captain Snow turned to her again and nodded before looking ahead, “Helm, take us out, quarter impulse. Nice and slow, she doesn’t turn on a dime.”

“Aye aye, sir,” came the response from the helmsman.

The viewscreen was placed in the direction that the Captain now faced, and it displayed a live feed from the front of the Saturn. It wasn’t long before the docking facilities and nearby ships drew out of sight and all that remained was empty black space. There was no indication of movement at their current speed and the stars around them remained as far as ever.

“Increase speed to three-quarters impulse,” the Captain glanced back to the console on his armrest.

A few moments passed in silence before the helmsman announced, “We’re cleared for warp.”

“Set course for Bajor,” Captain Snow instructed. “Keep her at cruising speed for now, that means warp seven.”

The viewscreen was suddenly filled with a flash of blue light, and when that had faded the closer of the stars that dotted the black background transformed into long, moving streaks. The Captain watched this change before turning his gaze to his Chief Engineer.

“Everything is running optimally, sir,” Commander Val noticed the gaze and answered before Captain Snow even posed his question.

The Captain smiled approvingly and looked to the side at another Vulcan on the bridge, this one an older female with pale skin, “Lieutenant T’Vae, confirm status of external and internal comms.”

“We are picking up all Starfleet broadcasts and the expected number of civilian ones,” the Lieutenant reported. “Shipboard communications are online and holoprojection systems are active wherever they are installed.”

Captain Snow gave another nod and tapped his chair’s command interface, “This is your captain. Most of you here have probably heard of me. I mean, if you’re on this ship you really should’ve done your research. And if you did your research you probably saw a personnel file image of a guy with pointed ears and assumed I’m Admiral Tuvok’s brother or something.”

“I am not Admiral Tuvok’s brother. I am Tuvok! I’ve come back in time from when I was stuck in the Delta Quadrant to seek the advice of my future self and figure out how to get back home.”

He paused for a moment to let what he said register among the crew before bursting into laughter, “Please tell me nobody actually believed that. In all seriousness, I have the utmost respect for Admiral Tuvok as a Vulcan and a fellow Starfleet officer. But just because somebody’s got pointed ears doesn’t mean they’re going to be all cold and serious. You have any concerns you want to talk about, don’t be scared to come to me. I have the authority to give you orders but I’m not going to bark them all day like I’m running some kind of labour camp. My job is to ensure the safety and smooth operation of this ship and her crew, so I’m here to help.”

“With that said, just because I know how to crack a joke doesn’t mean I don’t know logic. You get a calculation off and I can tell you it’s wrong with a glance. You break a rule and I can tell you exactly what regulation in the book you broke, verbatim. So you treat my ship well and you treat each other well. Otherwise I’m gonna be hearing about it, and believe me you don’t want to see my Vulcan side.”

“Now, to the business at hand! If you haven’t heard of me before that’s okay. But you definitely should’ve heard about the battle above Bajor between the Federation and its allies and the Tzenkethi. Apparently some bug things crashed the party and the Dominion joined in too. If you want to learn more read the reports and news articles. The point is, there was a big fight and a lot of ships are broken. Even Deep Space Nine suffered some major damage. We are the U.S.S. Saturn, the first ever mobile repair platform. So I think you can all guess what our work is.”

“Let’s go fix our fleet.”

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