Star Trek: Defiant

"Absolute Zero" - Part One

Written by T'Mal


"Welcome to the Defiant, Admiral Tourles. I'm Captain Bridges." Jeffrey Bridges extended a smile and his hand for a friendly handshake, which the stern-looking man returned abruptly. "This is Commander Hardin, my first Officer, and Commander Bedard, my Chief of Engineering. Bedard will assist your people in setting up their equipment."

"Thank you," Admiral Tourles replied, "but my people know what they're doing. They have been over the designs of your ship, and I expect the testing to be underway in less than 24 hours."

"Bedard has made a few modifications, a little review with your engineers might help speed things along." Jeffrey was proud of his ship, proud of his Chief Engineer, and knew this was difficult for the Bolian to bear, strangers prowling about his engines, prodding his power sources, and re-routing his systems. They had discussed it earlier today, and Bridges was determined to make this as easy as he could for Bedard to bear. It wasn't a particularly happy occurence for any of the crew, but just now, it was affecting Bedard the most.

"All right then." Admiral Tourles was not an unfeeling man, just a busy one. This business of stress-testing the Defiant's crew was not exactly what he thought he's be doing when he became an Admiral, but he had his orders, too.

The transporter room was becoming full rather quickly, Lt. Ry doing her job of transporting the personnel the Admiral had brought with him from the USS Draco. With the third group arriving, they noise level was certainly rising. Her busy hands slowed their dance across the control panel of the transporter as she relayed the message she had been waiting for.

"Captain, Lt. Marinus reports that the Admiral's shuttles have arrived and are now docked in Bay 2."

Admiral Tourles surveyed his crew. "Webster, Sisson, and Sterling...take Commander Bedard with you, and go check on those shuttles. "The rest of you, what are you standing around for? Get to it!"

Captain Bridges always felt uncomfortable around Admirals barking orders on his ship. What Captain in the history of Starfleet hadn't? Watching the forlorn back of Bedard as he followed the other engineers out, Bridges felt an even greater desire to get this thing over with.

"I have scheduled a meeting in the Conference Room in 15 minutes with some of my crew to go over some of the finer details of what's going to be expected of us. The orders we recieved weren't very specific." Bridges said.

"Of course." Admiral Tourles replied. "Would there be a cup of coffee somewhere between here and there?"

"I think we can arrange that." Hardin said, leading the way.


Commander Bedard viewed the shuttle bay with awe and more than a little trepidation. It was teeming with activity. The two shuttles now docked there were at the center of the seeming confusion. The Engineer named Sterling began explaining to Bedard what some of the delicate instruments being unloaded were designed to do. Within minutes, Bedard had heard enough, and the remainder of Sterling's words fell on deaf Bolian ears. He had known he would not like this from the moment the Captain informed him these people were coming, but now he liked it even less than he had expected. He had a bad feeling about this.


Lt. Ry Emeras entered the room, saw that Lt. T'Mal was there already, and took her usual seat. Almost every day they met for a little conversation and relaxation in 8-Forward. Except on rare occaions, it was always the same corner table with the wonderful view, a place they could talk quietly or just sit and watch things happen. Sometimes they had company, and today T'Mal had brought Ensign Maerret. The two of them made an interesting pair, T'Mal's Vulcan features so similar to Maerret's Romulan ones.

Ry flashed her easy smile at them. "So, did the two of you discover any new Universes today?"

T'Mal raised an eyebrow. Mearret laughed and answered her. "We're too busy doing more scans on the one we found yesterday."

"Actually," T'Mal said, "Ensign Mearret has some fascinating insights into predicting the future form of new solar systems. He has given me a number of reasons to rethink the accepted theories. I was looking forward to running a few image models of his theories when we were ordered to shut down our systems."

Ry nodded understandingly and flexed her fingers knowingly. "I haven't had that Transporter humming so steadily since our last rescue operation. I think Admiral Tourles brought enough equipment to build his own Defiant, and enough people to run it, too. It makes me wonder what he wants with ours."

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