The Honeymoon’s Over

By Yuki Wildstar

A Star Blazers Fan Fiction work

 

Chapter Two: DUTY CALLS

 

I. TIME FLIES

Great Island

Federal Air Station

July 29, 2204

 


 

Both Nova and Derek couldn’t believe how time went by…one minute they were at home unpacking, and the next they were in dress uniforms ready to depart for Pluto.

 

Wildstar stood next to Nova in his black military Captain’s peacoat with full medals. Nova looked great in her officer’s blue uniform and peacoat, also with medals. As they stood there waiting to board the High-Speed Space Shuttle that would take them to Pluto Station, they went over all the drills. They were very well aware that all eyes would be on them going and coming back from their mission. So as to make sure all would go well, they promised each other that this would be like any other mission.

 

It would be two respected officers working side by side. There would be no public showings of affection in front of others, and also they were to both have their own staterooms. Derek, of course, would be in his Captain’s quarters and Nova would share her quarters with two other female officers.

 

It took a few space warps for the shuttlecraft to finally reach Pluto. On Pluto, they met with the new crew that would be working with them on the Endeavor. There were some familiar faces and many new ones. Many were new cadets fresh out of the Academy, as Wildstar noticed. They look so young and scared and awed at the same time.” Wildstar thought to himself. They remind me of me when I first came out of the Academy..

A while later, Derek and Nova flew the shuttle one last time to the dock that held the Endeavor. “Shuttle 135, ready for takeoff,” said Wildstar into his mike just before he and Nova removed their medals and stowed them away for sakekeeping.

 

“Shuttle 135, clear for takeoff to the dockyards,” said a voice.

 

Derek then took off as Nova helped him with the controls.

 

While they made the last leg of their jourmey, Derek took a look at one of the schematics of the Endeavor that IQ-9 had provided him. He shared it with Nova, who had a look at the graphic of the new ship’s bridge.

 

“Derek,” she commented.

 

“Yes?”

 

“I’m not sure I like the looks of this ship much. Look! It looks more like the Andromeda than the Yamato…see that bridge layout? The quad main screen and all that?”

 

“Nova, most new ships look like that.”

 

“And, Derek, look at the bridge crew list. They’ve compressed the functions of several stations! Did you see that? Now the bridge crew just consists of seven bridge posts. There used to be nine on the Yamato.”

 

Wildstar looked hard at the crew layout and list. “Hmmm…Combat and Artillery have been compressed into one station…the jobs that Dash and I used to do are now in the hands of one officer?”

 

“They think the computers can take up the slack,” sighed Nova. “And look! The Tactical Radar position has been combined with Communications? The Assistant Pilot is also the Comm officer now?”

 

Derek and Nova looked at each other. “And look, Nova. Cosmo Radar and Analysis are now one post, and they’re yours all the time. The side Analysis post at the forward part of the bridge next to Combat is just an auxilary station now. No more Tinwit to assist you with the scans.”

 

“I thought they had one of those new IQ-10’s on board,” said Nova as she scratched her head. “What will he do?”

 

“Make the coffee because you can’t?” said Derek with an evil wink.

 

Nova crossed her eyes and knocked his Captain’s hat off his head with a playful cuff. “Oh, YOU!” she said as they laughed.

 

Derek took the mike and pretended to press the button as he said, “Marine Group, please board this shuttle. One of my female officers is assaulting me because I insulted her coffee. Please have a space ready for her in the brig!”

 

“Derek!” cried Nova as she looked even more annoyed.

 

Then, a voice came up on the speaker.  “Shuttle 135? Is someone going crazy up there? Do we need a guard for Lieutenant Commander Forrester? OVER!”

 

“No…negative…that wasn’t supposed to go out on the bands. OVER…thumbed the button by mistake.”

 

“We hope so,” chuckled the man. “Lieutenant Commander Forrester isn’t very big. You should be able to subdue her by yourself, sir.”

 

“We’re fine,” said Derek.

 

“Silly,” huffed Nova. “Here’s that layout…”

 

Derek and Nova looked. The graphic looked somewhat like this:

 

(aft)

 

 

1. CAPTAIN

 

 

 

 

2. MECH OFFICER     3. COSMO RADAR          (astral compass)    4. ENGINEERING    5. COMMUNICATIONS/TACTICAL RADAR

 

 

                                    

 

 

6. NAVIGATION                               7.  COMBAT     7a. AUX-ANALYSIS (usually unmanned)

 

 

(forward)

 

 

A few minutes later, when they boarded the Endeavor, they met their crew.

 

Derek walked up and down a line of officers on the First Bridge. Alongside of Nova, there was the new XO’s’s staff that would be leaders on the ship. Among them were:

 

Lt Cmdr Evan Lee - Deputy Captain and Helmsman (Navigator & XO)

 

Lt Cmdr William Ortiz – Combat Group Leader

 


Lt Masoto Miamato – Assistant Pilot and Communications Officer

 

Lt Cmdr Jonathan Wright – Mechanical Group Leader (Chief Tech)

 

Lt. Cmdr Mike Watanabe - Chief Engineer

 

Lieutenant Anthony “Pesh” Pesci - Black Tiger Group Leader-1st Squadron Leader (in charge of 12 Cosmo Tiger II’s)

 

                                                                           = (also known as the “Two Tonys”)

 

Lieutenant Tony “Tone” Delvechio  - Black Tiger 2nd Squadron Leader   (in charge of 12 Cosmo Tiger II’s)

 

Lieutenant Hiro Matsui- Black Mamba Group Leader and 1st Squadron Leader (in charge of 12 Super Star Interceptors)

 

Staff Sergeant Robert “T” Booker - Space Marine Group Leader

 

Lt Cmdr Michael Spada - Medical Doctor

 

As Derek walked down the line and shook hands with each member he finally came up to Pesci and Delvechio, “So you two are the famous Two Tonys I’ve been hearing about?”

 

“Yessir,” they said together.

 

“Okay,” said Wildstar. “Let’s see how good you two are out there. But mind you I run a tight ship; therefore, there will be no hot shots on my ship. Got that?” Derek warned them.

 

Yes Sir!” they both replied as if they were twins that were born together at birth.

 

“Good, glad we’re clear on that,” snapped Derek as he shook hands with Matsui. He remembered him well-Matusi had been on the Yamato three years ago as a Black Tiger and new cadet graduate on their second mission to Iscandar to try to save Starsha and Alex from the Black Nebulans. They had only succeeded in saving Alex and his daughter Sasha, who had both died a year later when the Black Nebulans had invaded Earth.

 

“Sir, when you said no hot shots,” said Matsui, “Did you mean no guys like Sakamoto?”

 

“Yes, I was thinking of him,” said Wildstar. “Where is he now?”

 

“Last I heard, up on charges someplace, sir,” said Matsui. “Something about two women and a poker game…”

 

“Try to make sure these guys don’t lose their shirts in poker games,” said Wildstar.

 

“I’ll try, sir,” replied Matsui.

 

Derek then introduced himself to the rest of the crew. There were other officers on the bridge, many of whom would be serving in other posts. When he was done, he came up before his bridge station, sat down in the Captain’s chair, and said, “Good introductions, people. All staff…please report to the Main Conference room at 0700 hrs tomorrow. We will be leaving Pluto at 0900 hrs so get your things, settle in and study up on our mission. It is good to have such a great crew, Thank you and you are dismissed to your cabins,” Captain Wildstar said to his crew.

 

The officers before him saluted, and then snapped to. Derek nodded. As all the staff went to their respective cabins to settle in, Wildstar watched Nova walk with the other two female officers back to their cabin. As he looked up from a computer screen behind his Captain’s console for a quick moment, he saw Nova turn around and nod while looking deep into his eyes. Then she disappeared with the other two women she would be rooming with.

 

At that moment Lt Cmdr Lee took notice and thought, This is going to be hard on them working side by side while not able to act like they’re married aboard ship. But I also must do my job and report back to General Stone with regards to any fraternization on board ship….

 

Wildstar looked back at the bare bulkhead behind him and sighed. It looks bare without Captain Avatar’s portrait there, he thought. But, then again, this isn’t the Yamato, either. So much has changed in the past few weeks. I hope the change is for the better.

 

“Lee, you have the bridge,” said Wildstar. “I’m going up to my cabin in the upper part of the bridge tower.”

 

“Yessir,” said Lee. He saluted as Wildstar worked the switch that would move his chair back onto the elevator track, and he saluted as Wildstar rode the elevator chair up into the overhead and up into the upper reaches of the bridge tower.

 

Then, Lee looked at the empty Captain’s station as he walked to his post at the helm, thinking back to when he was called into General Stone’s office one week ago….

 


“Lt Cmdr Lee, I have called you here today to give you your new orders, mind you after the last Goddamned stunt you pulled on me…. you shouldn’t even be allowed to leave Earth! You will be the new Deputy Captain of the Endeavor. You will report to Captain Wildstar on Pluto and assume your command. On this you will also report back to me directly on a weekly basis on what’s going with the newlyweds; that is, the Skipper and the glorified Secretary. They have been placed together on the same ship and we must know if there will be any, I’ll make this frank, any fraternization on board ship between the two of them. They are supposed to be leaders and I want to make sure that everything is run by the book as two indivdual officers. Do I make myself clear?”

 

“Yes… sir…,” Lee replied.

 

“Dismissed; get the hell out of my sight, Lieutenant!” General Stone said while looking down and pushing papers.    

 

As Lt Cmdr Lee stepped out of General Stone’s office he thought about what he said. “Am I to spy on the Captain and his wife? That’s kinda low even for the General, but I must do what I must do. After all he is giving me a second chance to redeem myself after…what happened  the last time”. To which he didnt even want to think about….

 


 

The Captain’s Quarters on the Endeavor were very large, and luxurious.

 

Almost too luxurious, thought Wildstar as he pulled down the wide Murphy Bed from its hiding place in the bulkhead in the port side of the cabin near his desk and bookcase. The cabin was arranged somewhat like Captain Avatar’s cabin on the Yamato, except that it was bigger. This bunk is wide enough for two, he thought as he looked at the comfortable almost Queen-sized bunk. Yeah…big enough for Nova and I. It’s like the Fates are mocking me…or something…he thought as he patted the bunk. It would be very empty sleeping in the luxurious bunk alone.

 

Derek looked at the lockers where the enlisted orderlies had stowed his uniforms and gear…on the starboard side…he observed that they were also too big for one person. He opened a hatch, and found that the Captain’s private head and shower were right in his stateroom-not in the lobby of the Captain’s Quarters like they had been on the Yamato.

 

As Nature called, Wildstar punched a button and saw that the head even had a tiny porthole that looked out into space. Who designed this crazy ship? The White Star Cruise Line? Derek thought with some annoyance. A military vessel isn’t supposed to have a padded toilet seat, for cryin’ out loud!

 

Wildstar then sat down at his desk after flicking on the light. A small panel appeared near one of the flat computer screens. “A personal stereo?” he said as he looked at the small console that would hold a digital message capsule tape. “What will they think of next?”

 

Derek turned on the stereo and heard a soothing female computer voice welcoming him to “Radio Endeavor”.

 

“Good evening, Captain,” it said.

 

“How do you know I’m the Captain?” Derek said back to the Tinwit brain running his radio.

 

“I recognized your DNA print when you turned me on, sir. What musical selection do you want?”

 

“If you’re smart enough to program something for a depressed, pissed off Skipper, you handy-dandy box of chips, find it!”

 

“Yessir,” said the soothing, neutral voice. “I am turning on Pachelbel’s Canon in D, piano solo. It should sooth your mind, sir.”

 

Derek said, “Fine.”  Then, he sat at his desk in his overstuffed quarters reading over all the officers’ personnel jackets. Most of them were newer…in the new light blue folders that had only been used in the Fleet since 2201. Boy…what a crazy bunch they gave me… he thought to himself. He was most interested in Lieutenant Commander Evan Lee, his Deputy Captain. Why would they even let him get orders as Deputy Captain after what happened to him? Derek thought as he read his story I’d better keep a close eye on this one. If they gave him to me there must be a reason. I guess I’m the one to whip him into shape, sadly I’m not one to judge…since I was once a hot head too. Oh well, I hope that all goes well with this mission…

 

Wildstar would question a lot of the officers that were handed to him; they pretty much all had a weird history as he read all their jackets. Misfits, he thought. They gave me the misfits of the Fleet. The scrapings of BuPers. Good thing they didn’t give me that idiot pilot Bryan Hartcliffe. I have enough history with that guy.

 

The only jackets that looked fairly clean were those that belonged to Matsui, and the owners of the two old light green 2199-issue jackets at the bottom of the pile; namely, the jackets that belonged to Lt Commander Jonathan Wright, who was an experienced old hand who had once served under Sandor on Yamato along with Royster and Bando… and…the jacket he barely even needed to read since he knew its owner so well.

 

He opened the jacket anyway after looking sadly at the now rather-old picture on the front of it. It was Nova’s personnel jacket. The picture had been taken five years ago, in 2199.

 

He read over the personnel history quickly. Much of the handwriting in the jacket belonged to Captain Avatar, Commanding General Singleton, and himself.

 

Her career is our story together, thought Derek. Almost no bad spots whatsoever. It’s a book I know very well. He closed the folder gently, kissed the picture of his wife on the cover, and set it aside. Then, he began to read over Lee’s jacket again, trying to make some sense of the man.

 

“It’s gonna be a long mission,” Wildstar sighed out loud as he turned the stereo off. The near-silent sound of the ship was almost preferable to the all-too-soothing music the computer had come up with.

 


 

On another part of the ship Nova was settling into her own quarters, which, although they were also fairly plush, reminded her a bit of her old dorm room at college. I wonder who my roommates are? I hope they are least clean, Nova thought.

 

On that note, Nova’s first roommate arrived.

 

“Hi there, I’m Lieutenant Jessica Springer, and I already know who you are….Nova Forrester…or is it Wildstar now?” Lt Springer asked as she dropped her seabags. Nova noticed a medkit, so she guessed Springer was another nurse, and, later on, Nova turned out to be right.

 

Nova, who liked to make notes of people (it was a good mnenomic for remembering who someone was, for one thing…) took quick stock of Jessica in her head. Lt. Springer was about 5 feet and 9 inches tall….one inch taller than Nova was. At 114 pounds, she was very, very slim, even slimmer than Nova herself at a petite 120. If you asked Nova’s opinon, she was too thin and she probably needed to eat better.

 

Springer had very short blond hair that was more like a page boy style, with the bluest eyes she had ever seen. Of course the blonde hair was not as blonde, for Nova could see the darker roots coming out, which happened to be unlike her own dark-blonde hair, which was natural down to its roots. And, Jessica had a Northen accent that was not quite New York, but sounded even further north than that. Nova remembered the accent when she had lived in New York for two semesters at NYU; her mother and family in Colorado used to make fun of her because she seemed to have picked up the funny-sounding accent for a time…and still had a little of it, as a matter of fact.

 

Where’s she from? Nova thought. Boston maybe? Or further north like New Hampshire?

 


Just as Nova was about to say hello to Lt Springer, her other new roommate, a younger odd-looking girl, walked in. She stood only about 5 feet tall with a very slim petite frame. Nova thought she looked kind of odd with big green eyes and long dark hair. She looked at Nova and Springer as if she was already annoyed with that fact that she was sharing a room with two other officers. “Hi” was all she could say.

 

“Hi, I’m Lieutenant Jessica Springer…and this is Lieutenant Commander Nova Forrester or is it…Wildstar?” Lt Springer asked looking at Nova as Nova rolled her dark brown eyes a little at that one.

 

“It’s Forrester and hello there, you are…?” Nova asked extending her hand out.

 

“I’m Lieutenant Denise Howard, I guess you two will be my roommates for the whole mission, right?” she said without extending her hand to Nova. Nova just shrugged and put her hand down.

 

“Well I guess we are”, Lt Springer, said, sounding rather annoyed at the comment, Nova sounds nice…but Denise doesn’t seem too friendly… she thought to herself. “So I guess we are in for a treat, we’ll be bunking with the famous Nova Forrester who is also married to our dear Captain Wildstar, this is going to be interesting…isn’t it?”

 

“Yeah, interesting,” said Howard as she kicked off her boots and plopped down in a chair near one of the little desks without even stowing her seabags in her locker.

 

“Shouldn’t you put those things away?” said Nova.

 

“I’ll do it when I get around to it,” yawned Howard. “These bags are so heavy. Hope I don’t break a nail moving them. Of course, you don’t have to worry about that, ma’am?”

 

“Why not?” said Nova as she took off her gunbelt and slung it over a chair.

 

“Didn’t one of those robots bring your stuff up here? The Captain must allocate every robot on this ship to helping his sweetie-pie out,” said Howard as she stuck a finger in her mouth to dig a hunk of broccoli out of her teeth. She then stood on the deck

 

Oh boy, Nova said to herself as Howard played with her used broccoli…I guess this is what I’m gonna be dealing with, everyone’s gonna think that I’m the Captains pet!

 

“Well, before we all get on the wrong foot here…yes, I am Captain Wildstar’s wife…but my job here will have nothing to do with my personal relationship with him! We are all here to do a mission and I’d like to keep it at that. I also carried my own bags in here…I’m not a weak girl,” said Nova with a grin, hoping to keep the moment friendly.

 

“OK, if that’s how you want to play it, that will be fine with me!” Lieutenant Springer laughed.

 

“Guess we should all unpack and get ourselves settled in”, Lt. Howard said.”Which one is my locker and bunk? And where’s the shitcan? I wanna get rid of my broccoli.”

 

Lt. Springer pointed to the bottom bunk near Nova and she went over and started to put her things away at last. In the meantime, Nova pulled off her boots, and she sat on her middle bunk looking over her tally sheet as to who was going to be her crew. There were a few Corporals and Privates…all of them seemed very well qualified. There was nothing in their jackets that showed anything that would be a problem for her. Then Nova look over the jacket of a Lieutenant Commander Michael Spada, MD. Why does that name sound so familiar?  Nova thought to herself as she continued to undress to go to sleep…alone. She had a set of shorty pajamas for the cruise that she changed into.

 

She tried to remember…but she couldn’t think of it…Oh well it will come to me…

 


 

Night passed, and the next day began. PT, breakfast, a routine meeting in the briefing room…the Endeavor was beginning to awaken herself as Nova found herself back in her cabin with her roommates as they were changing out of their PT outfits into their regular duty uniforms. Nova hadn’t slept well; the bunk was lumpy, Springer snored, and Howard had a weird habit of muttering strange stuff in her dreams as she slept.

 

Nova also hadn’t slept well because she had been alone for the first night since before her wedding night, but, then, again…they didn’t need to know that.

 

“How was breakfast?” said Nova cheerily as she combed her hair.

 

“Lousy,” said Howard.

 

“I liked it,” said Springer.

 

“Yeah. You’ll eat anything, you weird meat-eater,” said Howard as she talked past Nova like she wasn’t even there. “Eat, eat, eat. And you never get fat. I have to diet to preserve my girly figure, Jessica…”

 

“What figure, Denise? You’re built like a meatball,” said Springer.

 

“Girls,” snapped Nova, who had a raging headache and who felt as if she wanted to hide her head under her pillow rather than listen to these two. But, she knew she didn’t have that luxury. Derek is much nicer to wake up to, Nova thought. Even when he has to tickle my belly button or my feet to hear me laugh.

 

Then, a chime rang over the speakers. Nova snapped, “Room, TEN’SHUN!” as she jumped to her feet.

 

“The deck is cold,” said Howard. “I threw my sneakies into the corner!”

 

“Well, put your boots on, stupid!” said Springer.

 

Then, the announcement came. It was Wildstar, who said: “Attention all hands, attention all hands  report to general quarters, all hands report to general quarters! The Endeavor will be launching in 20 minutes, repeat…the Endeavor will be launching in 20 minutes! All hands report to general quarters. Those attending launching ceremony report to the top deck. All bridge crew members…man all stations now for systems check!”

 

“I have to go,” snapped Nova as she pulled her boots on.

 

“What makes you special, ma’am?” said Howard.

 

“I serve on the First Bridge, Lieutenant,” snapped Nova as she snapped her gunbelt back on. Before she took off, she said, “You two had better get to your stations!”

 


 

Captain Derek Wildstar finally took complete control of the Endeavor. It’s nice to be in space again. I truly do miss it at times… Wildstar thought to himself. As he sat at the Captain’s chair, he looked around his bridge. Wow…she’s so much bigger then the Yamato, but does she have the same spirit. How he missed that ship. She was like an old friend to him. She was smaller, but the famed Yamato was one of a kind. With her and the Star Force, the best crew in the Fleet, he could accomplish anything. So Endeavor are you made of that same spirit or not? Derek thought. We will see and hopefully with this crew we can make history together…all over again.

 

The bridge crew started to fall in, checking over their systems before takeoff as they had been ordered to. One by one they entered, saluting Wildstar. My God, they all look so young, was I that young looking when I boarded the Yamato not too long ago? Derek thought again..

 

As Derek watched his crew entering, he made his mental notes on each and every one of them. Ah yes, Lt Commander Evan Lee… my Deputy Captain and Helmsman, struck a General  while in a drunken rage…his record never went into detail about who or why. Then there’s Lieutenant Commander William Ortiz, who is my gunner, an ‘A’ student without much experience in real battle, so I have to see what he is made of. Lieutenant Masoto Miamato, my Assistant co-pilot and communications officer. Not much confidence in himself when I talk to him, he seems too eager to please. Lt Commander Jonathan Wright…he’s my chief technician, about the only one that doesn’t have a jacket that pasts my arm. I hope he is as good as Sandor, Derek thought. IQ-10 was already in the radar chair where Nova would be taking over. He was almost as smart as IQ-9, considering that IQ-9 built him personally for Nova and  Derek.

 

As everyone was beginning to make their final checks, the elevator door whizzed open, and all turned to see Nova entering the bridge. Derek watched as she entered and his heart raced. He hadn’t see her since the meeting in the conference room early this morning, and since they boarded the ship yesterday. God how I missed her last night.. Derek thought to himself. Nova stood in front of his command and saluted. Wildstar nodded and returned her salute.

 


“Well I see we are…all here, all systems check!” Wildstar ordered. “Give me your reports, people!”

 


II. TAKE OFF

Pluto Defense Station

Space Battleship Endeavor

July 30, 2204

 

And with that everyone took their posts, each announcing their check list. “OK…crew let’s see what your made of,” Wildstar said. “Haul in the gangway, and prepare for take off!”

 

“Aye, aye, Hauling in gangway!” Deputy Captain Lee announced, “Preparing for take off! Engine power up to 6!" he snapped. “Ready engines! Ready keel jets! We’ll need all power to get off this pad.”

 

“Acknowledged! Engine power up to 6," Chief Watanabe confirmed over the building whine of the engines from below. “Open the valve to the wave motion engine starting cylinder, 5 minutes to ignition! Increase inner pressure to the wave motion engine. Energy charge at 80 percent!”

 

“Spinning up main gyrocompass,” snapped Nova from her post. “Reading no bogies on radar. Preparing main computer for space warp calculations when needed.”

 

“Weapons systems ready. Computer systems locked on in Main Gun Turrets One through Four,” said Ortiz from his post.

 

“Systems on internal power-all life support systems green; all damage control posts manned, electrical switching units, ready for max power,” said Wright from his post at Mechanical as the engines continued to spool up with a deeper whine.

 

“Auxiliary engines set for maximum output,” Lieutenant Lee called out. “Locked in: Ascending angle 20 degrees. 1 minute to take off!”

 

“OK, Lee…let’s see what you got when we take off!” Wildstar said.

 

“Wave motion energy charge 100 percent!” Watanabe called. “ Start the flywheel! Activate superchargers! Afterburners, SWITCH ON!”

 

“Main screen, switch ON!” barked Nova from her post as all of the Endeavor’s four main screens activated and various status readouts began to show up.

 

“EDF dockyard control has cleared us for departure, Captain!” said Miamoto from his post.

 

“Commence final countdown,” snapped Wildstar.

 

“10 seconds to count down,” Lieutenant Commander Lee announced, “ 9.....8.....7.......6......5......4…”

 

OK here we go… Wildstar thought Finally! Let’s hope that this crew doesn’t screw up, that would give the EDF some neat excuse to bite my head off!

 

“…3......2......1 launch ready!” said Lee.

 

Endeavor, ASCEND!” barked Wildstar.

 

Endeavor, ASCENDING!” sang back Lee.

 

And with that, the Endeavor with its crew at the ready, took off at last from the landing pad. 

 


“Prepare for cruising speed, open wings!” Wildstar called as the mighty ship began to climb higher.

 

“Aye…Opening wings, cruising at 9,000 feet. Climbing at 10,000 feet,” Lee called out, “Climbing to 50,000 feet, we have clear air space, Captain!”

 

“Call out when we reach the terminator at the edge of space!” snapped Wildstar.

 

“Terminator reached!” said Lee a moment later. “Now approaching Pluto’s night side. Out past atmosphere,“ he said as the Endeavor cleared Pluto’s thin atmosphere.

 

“Retract wings!” Wildstar ordered.

 

“Retracting wings,” Lee repeated, “Should we prepare for warp speed?”

 

“No, hold your present course…we have not cleared the battle satellites yet,” Captain Wildstar ordered. “If we tried to warp now, we’d collide into them! Or did you forget that?”


“Sorry, sir,” said Lee.

 

“We are now at 60 megameters from the satellites. One…two….three…now at RPX-255. We are now at 20 megameters from the satellites!” Nova continued.

 

The Endeavor sailed past the battle satellite belt a moment later as open space beckoned.

 

“Captain Wildstar, we are now clear of battle satellites!” Nova clarified to Wildstar.

 

“Sir, all communications to Earth and EDF are in working order,” Lt Miamato called out.

 

“Radar in working order, Sir. No objects spotted!” Nova called.

 

“All systems working, we didn’t find any glitches in the new computer system, sir…” Lieutenant Commander Jonathan Wright called to Wildstar.

 

Wildstar nodded to Wright and ordered “OK, Lee let’s see what she can do, prepare to execute first space warp. Nova, lay in course to Planet BV218 and calculate!”

 

“Yessir,” said Nova as her fingers flew over the keyboard as she lost herself for a minute while she punched course bisects and timing factors into her computer terminal.

 

“Don’t get us lost, ma’am,” jibed Lee.

 

“Yeah, didn’t they ever say, don’t take directions from a woman?” said Ortiz.

 

“Oh, be quiet,” said Nova as she typed away serenely. “Captain, course locked in! Ready for warp.”

 

“I know where we’re going,” sang Lee.

 

“Yeah, a rock out in space,” said Miamoto.

 

“Not quite,” said Nova.  

 

“Ready for warp?” snapped Wildstar.

 

“Yessir,” said Lee.

 

“Good. Lee, execute our first space warp,” said Wildstar. “All hands,” he said over the speakers. “Fasten you safety harnesses and ready for count down!”

 


 

As the klaxons sounded, panicky rookies ran through the ship to their warp stations.

 

In the Sickbay, Doctor Spada was yelling at Springer as she fumbled with her warp harness.

 

“Don’t you know how to lock this?” he snapped.

 

“I just get all fumblie-fingered, sir…sorry,” she said as Spada sighed and untangled her from her harness and got it right.

 

In the meantime on the bridge, Lee said, “Start warp countdown! 10.....9......8.......7.......6......5.....4......3.....2....1…zero…”

 

“WARP!” yelled Wildstar.

 

“WARP!” snapped Lee as the convergence indicator locked on and he pulled the lever to execute a warp.

 

Weird blue lights roared through the bridge and the ship as the crew felt nauseated and disorientated as the power wave motion engine kicked them into hyperspace with explosive force. As the Endeavor hit top speed in warp, it only took them 1.2 seconds to come through the dangerous space warp to their destination in the Asteroid Belt off of Planet BV218 some 11,000 light years away from Earth.

 

As the warp was completed, everyone checked over their systems again.

 


“Radar working, sir, no glitches found…” Nova reported.

 

“All computer systems are working just perfectly,” Lieutenant Wright informed the Captain.

 

“Communications working, sir” Lieutenant Miamato reported.

 

“All systems check out, sir,” IQ-10 reported.

 

“Well…you all did an excellent job, I couldn’t have done it better myself, that was a real text-book warp,” Captain Wildstar said to his bridge crew. “It’s been a long day and our relief crewmen should be here in a second, I would advise everyone to finish up your reports and get a good night’s sleep. I am hoping to see some of you at my table; tonight I’d like to get to meet you on a more personal basis. Mister Lee, please assume command,” Wildstar ordered. “You are the Officer of the Deck tonight.”

 

“Yessir,” said Lee as Derek left. “The Captain is leaving the bridge,” Lt Cmdr Lee said, with that Wildstar was gone as he went up his lift.

 

“Where does he go when he goes up on that thing?” said Miamoto.

 

“His cabin,” said Nova. “I believe you got the tour of the ship with the rest of us?”

 

“Yes, I did…sorry,” said Miamoto.

 

As each replacement officer entered, the bridge crew handed over the controls to them. Nova was the second to go. Once all were gone, Lieutenant Commander Lee told Communications to get a link to General Stone. “Sir…I have the general on video line 2," the relief communication officer said.

 

“Put him through to the Captain’s desk, please,” Lieutenant Commander Lee requested.

 

As he sat at the Captain’s chair, General Stone appeared on his smaller screen at his console. “Well, Mister Lee, I see that the Endeavor has made its first warp. How did it go?”

 

“All went well sir, everything here is tip top shape, nothing major to report,” Lee said.

 

“Good, good, I hope that all will stay that way. Please inform me if anything goes wrong. Until then…I will expect your next report on your targets in a week,” General Stone said. Then, he signed out.

 

Good gosh, what have I gotten myself into? Lee thought. The Captain seems like a really great guy and an excellent Captain in fact. Why couldn’t he just refuse these orders… this is turning out to be a really rotten command. I feel sorry for him. Real sorry for him…

 


 


Nova returned to the Sickbay, one of her many jobs, to check a few patients who had been hospitalized with minor warp sicknesses and then to run some final reports before turning things over to Miss Springer for the night.

 

Nova changed into her nurses’ minidress and clogs for her rounds, which took only about forty minutes because she only had five patients in the Sickbay. Only one needed medication; a minor anti-nausea medication that the doctor had prescribed earlier. Nova took vital signs and blood pressure checks, and she wrote up the patients’ charts. Most of them would be discharged to their posts by morning. Nova then took their charts to the Medical office to review them for the doctor.

 

Then, as Nova entered the Medical office, she found someone sitting at her desk. “Hello, can I help you?”

 

“I’m sorry,” said the young dark-haired man behind the desk, who looked handsome and studious in his lab coat, glasses, and dark hair. He stood up, looking very moody and handsome in the shadows behind his desk.

 

“Miss, we haven’t formally met…I’m Doctor Michael Spada. I’m your new ship’s doctor.”

 

Nova shook his hand, blushing a little as she felt him admiring her slender bare legs in her short medical tunic.

 

“I’m Lieutenant Commander Nova Forrester, I’m the Living Group Leader, radar operator and of course, your nurse.” Nova smiled. “I’m sorry? Have we met before? The name sounds familiar and you look like someone I’ve met before.”

 

“And we have, don’t you remember? I was your date a few times before you left for Iscandar; your mother set us up, but it didn’t work out, because you were more into your studies and preparing for your flight to Iscandar.” Doctor Spada explained.

 

“Oh my, I knew the name sounded so familiar! I’m so sorry that my mother put you through that. She should have known better. I wasn’t ready for marriage back then…my career was much more important to me then,” Nova said while blushing again for what her mom did to him and her.

 

“And now Commander, is the career still priority one?” Doctor Spada asked with a grin as he thought, How could have I let this one go? She’s a beautiful girl, if it weren’t for her studies, there could have been a possibility…but, then…I got into Medical School, and, then…”

 

“I’m sorry, Doctor…I have some work to get to,” Nova said while looking at him uncomfortably, Darn! He’s looking at me funny, best to keep my distance. It’s not gonna be easy, considering that he is the ship’s doctor and I have to work with him,” Nova thought.

 

As he stepped aside to let her get to her work, he gave her a long look…“Can I help you with anything, Lieutenant Commander Forrester?’”

 

“No, I’m just fine; your office is through that door, there are medical charts from our patients that I  put on your desk to look over. If you have any questions, I’ll be here for about an hour. Oh…and nice meeting you again Doctor…welcome aboard.”

 


True to her word, Nova was done with her charts and reports within the hour. She peeked her head into the Doctor’s office and asked he needed anything. He just shook his head and told her he’ll be all right. Nova waved and left to go back to her quarters so as she could get ready to go to dinner at the Captain’s Table in the messhall. As she opened her locker, stripping off her nurse’s minidress to put on a conservative pink dress and boots she was laying out (she had more revealing outfits, but she didn’t feel good about wearing them aboard ship), she thought, I know there will be others there too, but I won’t get much time with Derek, and if it means just sitting next to him… then so be it…

 

Nova gathered together her things to step into the small head that she and her roommates shared with the ladies from the next stateroom. Nova kicked into her rubber shower thongs, and then, just as she completely disrobed and covered herself with a towel for the shower, she heard Lieutenant Springer coming into their room; she was laughing at something or someone. Just before she stripped off her towel, Nova poked her head out of the shower door to see Springer in the room with some male officer. Great I got stuck with the party girl! Well this is not going to happen on my watch! She must conduct herself like an officer… not some floozie at a sorority or frat party. As Nova stepped out of the shower with her towel wrapped around her, she was ready to question the Lieutenant.

 

“Oh, Nova, we weren’t expecting you here so soon!” Lt. Jessica Springer said with her Northern accent. She was in her nurse’s minidress; she wore no shoes, as her clogs were thrown in the corner someplace. Springer was up on her bare tiptoes as she kissed a young male Ensign named Vance Packard who was from the Black Mambas Flight Group. As a Super Star pilot, he evidently thought he was some hot fighter jock as he threw his long hair out of his eyes while kissing Springer.

 

“Well I wasn’t expecting a male guest! Are we having a party I wasn’t told about?” Nova asked.

 

“Ah, no…I was just going to show Ensign Packard here some of ......”

 

Nova cut her off. “Look it’s hard enough being out here in space. But this is the life we all chose! If you think that being an officer gives you the right to do as you please…then you are sadly mistaken. We have to set an example to all our crew and by behaving in this manner, how are they gonna take you seriously? I’m willing to forget this just don’t let it happen again!”

 

“Well it’s easy for you to say, ma’am, your husband is running the ship you get to see him whenever you want…and wasn’t it while serving with the Star Force that you two met?” Lt. Springer snapped as her temper started to flare up.”Or are you better than the rest of us?”

 

“Denise, she’s getting mad,” whispered Vance.

 

Denise ignored her and said, “Ma’am, with all respect, you aren’t my mom! You can’t tell me what to do off-duty!”

 

“Oh?” snapped Nova. “You are so wrong! First of all you need to step down a notch! I am still your superior! That includes off-duty as well as on-duty! And second of all, with regard to Captain Wildstar and I, yes…we met while with the Star Force and fell in love. However, we stayed professional throughout the time we were on the Yamato. Never once did I sneak him into anywhere for a nookie session, and never once did he try to take advantage of me! So like I said, I am willing to forget the whole thing! Just don’t let it happen again on my watch! Because if I get burnt I’ll take you with me. Got that?” Nova said with a tone of voice that sent goose bumps down the young Ensign’s arms.

 

“Yes, ma’am…” Lt Springer said as she marched herself and the young Ensign out of the room…after grabbing up her shoes, of course.

 

Just then Lieutenant Howard walked in “Wow, ma’am, I didn’t think you had it in you!”

 


“Were you listening?” Nova asked.

 

“Yes, I am sorry! I didn’t mean to, but I had to wait til you were done so I could get into the room. I needed some reports that I left here. After all, I work in the Living Group under you, ma’am,” Lt Howard explained.

 

Nova hadn’t liked Denise that much to begin with, but now, she had a new respect for the eccentric-looking but sensible-sounding young officer. “I’m sorry that you had to hear that,” said Nova from the head as she dressed. “You see, Denise, if I don’t nip it in the bud now who knows what else she’ll pull and get us all in trouble? I know Captain Wildstar would try to overlook it, but he is also tough, especially since there will be no excuses for him if this got back to EDF headquarters. They always look for any old excuse to give it to him. A lot of people in Headquarters hate Derek. And of course, it would cause a lot of friction between us because I didn’t stop it…” Nova said in a tired tone as she stepped out of the head, wearing everything but her dress boots, which she pulled on as she sat on her bunk and talked. “What do think I was gonna do? Forget it all?” she asked Lieutenant Howard.

 

“Well considering you’re the Captain’s wife, I thought that you would either be a snitch and rat us out a lot…or you would just want to be friends and let things get out of hand and ignore stuff…” Lieutenant Howard said to Nova.

 

“Nope…I don’t act either way. You’ll see that I am fair, but don’t cross me! I didn’t get this far in the Star Force by letting them think I couldn’t handle myself. I was pretty much the only woman in an all-male ship much of the time. I had to stand my ground with a lot of male officers and pull my own weight. A lot of men felt I shouldn’t even have been there. Other men, like the late Marine Sergeant Knox, thought they could walk all over me for a while until I taught them a different story. You can find love on board ship but there are ways of loving someone without jumping in the sack with them and risking getting caught. What was she thinking?” Nova said.

 

“I don’t know, Nova. But I didn’t care too much for her from the first time I met her,” Lieutenant Howard said. “I always thought that Lieutenant Jessica Springer was weird. She acts like some…model or something. Or some starlet! I can’t stand rooming with her, ma’am!”

 

“Well you’re gonna have to suck it up! We are in here for the duration of the mission. So let’s be respectful and stay out of each other’s way,” Nova said before going back into the shower to finish brushing out her hair.

 


Later….

Dinner at the Captain’s Table

 


Nova sat at the Captain’s table to Derek’s right. She waited as one by one the other officers from the bridge arrived. They made small talk to each other while waiting for Wildstar to arrive. “Attention, Captain arriving!” someone said.

 

All stood up at attention.

 

“Please be seated,” Wildstar said.

 

He was happy to see that all attended for the exception of Lieutenant Commander Lee who was on duty on the First Bridge. As he looked around the table, he continued to make mental notes on everyone. As he looked to his right he saw the love of his life, Nova.

 

They both looked briefly deep into each other’s eyes, in just that moment they spoke with only their eyes,. “I miss you, my love…”


“And I miss you too, I love you!”
Nova said with her eyes.

 

“I can’t wait until this mission is over so as I can just make love to you again,” Derek said to her with his eyes.

 

“Neither can I…” she said back with a sweet glance as, just as her duties as Living Group Leader required, she pulled out the Captain’s chair for him and took his seldom-worn Naval cap off his head as he sat down. Then Wildstar turned to the other officers, “Thank you for coming tonight. I know that you are all tired, and probably want to get some sleep as soon as dinner is over. I am hoping to get to know each and every one of you. If not all tonight, I’d like to know you all before arriving at our next post. Tomorrow is going to be a long day for us…it will be a Training Day, so I hope that you all get some good sleep tonight because you’re gonna need it. “

 

They nodded, and then Derek added, “Lieutenant Commander Forrester, as the second-most senior officer at the table tonight, because the Executive Officer is away, would you please say grace?”

 

Nova nodded. She bowed her head and said a short non-denominational prayer in her sweet alto voice, not noticing, because her eyes were closed, that Doctor Spada was slyly admiring every inch of her from beneath his half-closed eyelids as she spoke. The light looks so beautiful shining off your honey-blonde hair, he thought. And you must have been on a wonderful vacation somewhere, because your face and hands have a lovely touch of a suntan. Whoever marries you is going to be the luckiest man in the universe, he thought as he slyly admired his Skipper’s wife, unaware of their relationship. With a face like that, no wonder Desslok made peace with us…

 

Of course, Doctor Spada didn’t know the whole story; the reason Desslok had repented was not simply Nova’s face, but her devoted protection of Derek during that battle on his flagship, and her selflesslnes in protecting her beloved Derek while leaving herself open to being shot by the Gamilon ruler, disregarding even her own life to protect Derek and care for him when he had been injured. That devotion is what had changed Desslok’s mind.  

 

“Thank you, Lieutenant Commander,” said Derek in a soft voice as Nova finished beseeching a blessing over their mission and their food as he took off his peacoat and put it over his chair back. “Now, as for the rest of you, the stewards are ready. So please eat now, and talk amongst yourselves while I get to talk to some of you and get to know you better.”

 

At that cue, the enlisted men began to serve them, and there was conversation all around after Nova formally toasted the good health of the Captain. As Living Group Leader, Nova was in charge of protocol, and Derek smiled a little as he saw that, as the perfect hostess, Nova was running this dinner for them like an elegant lady of breeding. Derek knew that she had been formally trained, like all of them, in protocol as part of her military training, but he also knew that her parents had a moderate amount of money and that Nova had travelled the world a lot when young before the Gamilon planet bombings had made it impossible to do so.

 

For one thing, Commander Watanabe, the old Chief Engineer, caught right away what was going on as Derek and then Nova took turns while asking everyone things like, “When was your last mission? What Academy or ROTC program did you attend? Who was your instructor?”

 

And, so on, and so on…Watanabe, having been recently widowed during the Sun Crisis, felt a pang of nostalgia as he caught on that Derek and Nova were not only married but also had an obvious gestalt and quiet affection for each other like the sort he and his late wife Mizuko had shared. Mizuko had been aboard the passenger ship that General Dagon’s proton missile had destroyed, on a cruise that he had missed at the last minute because he had been ill. However, he had been self-sacrificing and he had insisted that Mizuko, his wife of thirty years, and an officer in the United Nations Space Defense Forces, and then the Earth Defense Forces, enjoy herself with their daughter Miyuki on her leave while he got better. He never saw Kizuko or Miyuki again, of course. That is why he had begun drinking and had gotten into trouble on his last command. He smiled sadly, noticing that Nova reminded him somewhat of both Kizuko and Miyuki as she gently talked with him and set him at ease. Her glances, nods, and smiles at the Captain made him aware that she knew most of what Derek was thinking, almost as if she could read his mind.

 

As the dinner continued, many of them spoke of some other Star Force members who had become Instructors at the Academies. Wildstar laughed at some of their tales of the things they did. His knowing the instructor or instructors personally made him laugh even harder. He laughed especially hard as Ortiz told Wildstar about something that had happened in a Combat Training Summer Workshop at the Academy after the Yamato’s last mission when he had mentioned how hyper Dash was in training their class. Yeah, thought Derek. And he was just as bad on the Yamato’s bridge!

 

The night continued for a short time before Wildstar announced that it would be a good time to turn in.

 

“We have a lot to do tomorrow,” said Wildstar as he got up and yawned slightly. Nova had to restrain herself from getting up and gently rubbing the kinks out of his back like she had always done over the past few weeks. “So get some rest; you’ll never know when you’ll be able to get sleep aboard a warship, so when given a chance, just grab it. We will have a meeting in the Central Strategy Room at 0700 hours tomorrow morning, so be prompt.” Wildstar said to his officers.

 

Derek nodded to Nova, who immediately figured out what Derek needed by getting behind him, and, like a good yeoman or orderly, she formally helped Derek back into his peacoat. She stood close behind him as she did this, and everyone else was in front of them at the table, so no one noticed it as Nova shyly kissed the back of Derek’s neck with a butterly kiss and whispered, “Good night, my darling. Sleep well.” Then, she saluted him very formally.

 

Derek acted like he was returning the salute as he put back on his Naval cover; the white cap he seldom wore, but then he gently kissed his fingers as he dropped the salute and patted Nova’s cheek with a butterfly kiss of his fingers. “I’ll try,” he whispered back. “It’s hard because you’re not there….”

 

“I know,” Nova whispered in his ear as she, as Living Group Leader, formally acted as the Skipper’s yeoman to adjust his cap. Then, she tousled his hair a little and quickly turned to speak to Wright for a minute as she noticed Derek stepping away. As a result, she was the one to bark, “All hands! Attention! The Captain is leaving the table!”

 

Everyone stood up at attention, waited a second and sat back down as Derek snapped a salute at them all against the brim of his cap, turned, and left.

 

Nova was ready to leave when she felt a hand on her shoulder. “Well, hello there…I didn’t know you were going to be at the Captain’s Table!”

 

When Nova turned around, she look right into Doctor Spada’s face.

 

“Oh hello Doc! I figured you’d still be in Sickbay looking over those charts,” Nova said with a smile.

 

“And what were you doing here, my pretty nurse? Oh, you look so elegant,” he laughed.

 

Nova said, “It’s part of my duties. A Living Group Leader is usually the ship’s hostess. I am also the Captain’s yeoman at such events.”

 

“You were waiting on him because it was a part of your job?”

 

“Yes, and there are…well…I wanted to be going soon!” said Nova as she hoped she could catch up with Derek. “You left Sickbay fast!”

 


“I just finished. I thought I’d stop and grab a quick meal; any suggestions?” Doctor Spada asked.

 

Oh, Derek will be upset at me! Nova thought. She said, “Well, Doctor, the veal, if you want to call it that, is OK…” Nova said while thinking, If I leave now, I can catch up to Derek and we can talk. We need to catch up on so much!

 

“Well then I just have to trust you on that, any chance on you joining me?” Doctor Spada continued to say.

 

Nova laughed. “Ah, I’m sorry! I just ate! And I am pretty tired, Doctor. Anyway…I have to turn in early; we have a big day tomorrow. But thank you, anyway Doctor,” Nova said as she started to get up. She thought, Doctor Sane was never like this. He would even suggest that Derek and I needed time alone together. Why couldn’t we have gotten Doctor Sane again on this cruise? I miss him. I even miss Mimi the Cat. Heck, I even miss her litter box about now!

 

“Well maybe next time then?” Doctor Spada said looking like he was rejected.

 

“Oh, sure… maybe another time,” Nova said as she headed for the door.

 

On the other side of the mess hall, Lieutenant Jessica Springer, who had just arrived, sat and watched Nova and Doctor Spada talking. Hmmm, I wonder what that is all about? Jessica thought.  Is Mrs. Wildstar getting chummy with the new Doctor? He’s not a bad looking guy. Kinda cute,I wonder if he is married, why am I asking that, like it never stopped me before! It looked to me, with the signals he was sending out, that he was very much interested in the Captain’s wife. This mission might just be fun after all. Hahahahahaha! Springer thought to herself.

 

TO BE CONTINUED….