The Voyage Home



"I know, I know, you've left Earth, you're back to being a busy captain. Just wanted to say thanks for coming to see us, kiddo, it was good to finally have you home, especially for Christmas. It meant a lot to your mother and I," Lauren's dad smiles at her from the small viewscreen on her ready room desk, sitting in his long pinstripe pajamas and holding a mug. "Even if I suspect Aunt Sandra bribed you with her famous rum cake."

She rolls her eyes, "I would've come anyway, cake or not. That was just a nice bonus."

He chuckles and lifts up his open palms in surrender, "Alright, I believe you." He lifts his hot mug of coffee to his lips for a sip. "You don't have another multi-year exploration mission coming up, I hope?"

Lauren shakes her head, "I told you, it was a one-off situation. They wanted a new phase variance compensator tested, and the Sagan made a good control because it had never used its slipstream projector before. I would take another if it came my way, partly just to see how happy my chief engineer would get at the chance of testing the slipstream field again. But it'll be good to get back into... normal things."

Her dad chuckles warmly, "Normal things for a starship captain? We'll see about that." He pauses, watching her for a moment or two through the screen, then gives a nod. "Well, I'll talk to you. Take care of yourself."

"Bye, dad."

The feed stops, and Lauren leans back in her chair to looks out the window as stars shoot past in a blur. It was good to be back to Earth, especially after the deep space expedition, but the news of Deep Space Thirteen's attack and summary evacuation always loomed in the back of her mind. She had been trying not to think about their destination being the Sherman system, rather than V774 Tau. The Counselor is probably going to recommend I start logging again, she thinks with a mild frown.

She rises from her desk and paces over to the door, which swishes open as she continues onto the bridge. "How's the weather out there?"

"Always a beautiful day 'n space, Cap'n," comes the cheery reply of Lieutenant Commander Jared Davis, accompanied by one of his customary greeting grins.

"Course steady at Warp 9, we're just departing the Vulcan sector," adds her first officer Etonga. "Commander Sh'lyla reports that the quantum slipstream projector is deactivated and all accompanying systems uninstalled, as per Command's orders." The tall Saurian man stands from the central seat on the bridge and gives her a respectful nod.

Lauren lifts one of her dark eyebrows slightly and takes a quick glance around the fairly quiet bridge, "She's not here to relay that herself?"

Etonga lifts one of his slender purple hands to rub the back of his neck awkwardly, "She said something about writing a petition to the Engineering Corps to push for more development and testing of slipstream technology."

Chief of Ops Omir, seated at his forward console, speaks over his shoulder with a cheeky smile. "She's heartbroken to see it go, Captain."

Lauren steps over to her seat, "I would hope that her petition goes well, but I'm not sure the inertial dampeners are enough to stop me from getting spacesick if we do any more testing," she sets down in the seat with a faint smile, looking out towards the viewscreen.

Etonga huffs faintly, "She's only as excited as you were on that 9 day archeological dig we performed on POI-8..." he pauses, blinking his reptilian eyes down to his terminal to look up the name.

"8993-5," provides Omir. "Can't forget even if I wanted to, I think I still have dust in my lungs."

"It was a fascinating discovery," Lauren says defensively. "The ruins of the civilization there could have been the remnants of one of the earliest warp-faring species we've encountered to date. The fact that our scans indicated tritanium compounds only made it more interesting- further evidence to suggest the theory that at a certain level of technological advancement, virtually all civilizations produce many of the same technologies, regardless of their isolation."

Jared pipes up from his console behind Lauren, "Sirs, with all due respect, y'broke rule number 1: don't get the cappin talkin' about history," he gives a good-natured grin.

Lauren turns to look over her shoulder at the tactical officer, "Davis, remind me to give you a double shift the next time the torpedo tubes need to be scrubbed."