Jupiter Aligns for Mars

By weeble

Rating: PG

Genres: au


This story has been read by 2254 people.
This story has been read 5449 times.

Chapter 9 - Lots of Company

Disclaimer (necessary): Star Trek: Enterprise and its characters are copyright CBS/Paramount.  No copyright infringement is intended by the author of this story, which is solely for the purpose of entertainment and is not for profit.

Disclaimer (additional): see chapter 1

Summary: The new kids arrive.  A Tellarite twist.  And a well-deserved promotion.

A/N:   “Bond speech” is shown in quoted “italics”.  Other italicized items depend upon context.

On board Jupiter Station

T’Pol had approved the plans for the alien living areas and had made a point of getting weekly tours, wanting to be certain that nothing was overlooked that might cause offense.  Deciding this was a final inspection she only allowed Malcolm and Chief Litlitvinowitz to join her.  She found the arrangements for the Andorians quite similar to Human standards: individual sleeping areas and private heads.  It did not seem that they required much of a social area, just a few chairs and couches.  The real distinction was the lower temperature and the artwork which seemed to feature—ice and snow and more ice.  She also noted the grav plating had been adjusted down to .9 gee.  It was still above Andorian normal but Malcolm explained it could be fine-tuned.

Even knowing what to expect it was difficult to understand the Tellarites.  All of the bunks were in one room and even their shared lavatory made no effort at privacy.  T’Pol now understood the changes to the exhaust ductwork Trip had insisted upon.  The dominant theme seemed to be, well, mud in all its apparently glorious forms.  She doubted any Vulcan would be able to endure life with them for long.  Of course, she mused, the same had been thought about Vulcan endurance on Human ships not that long ago – a thought she quickly suppressed.

They proceeded to level 13.  She immediately noticed the grav plating was at 1.1 gee.  The quarters were all private and spartan.  Agreeable.  She entered the meditation room 13-35 and stopped cold.  Her design had been ignored.  This was not what she had given them to construct - it had been altered since her last inspection.  It was instead most, most agreeable.  The outer walls and ceiling were covered by view-screens.  It currently gave the impression of looking out over the Fireplains from a high ledge.  The floor was covered with real Vulcan sand and small rocks with flagstones distributed in a geometric pattern.  Partitions in the center allowed multiple individuals to meditate in privacy.  Cushions embroidered with Vulcan ideographs were on shelves near the door.

She sensed her adun arrive and, as she turned to him, she noticed the others depart.  “Come over here, T’Pol.”  She followed him to a previously unnoticed alcove.  “Computer, T‘Pol home,” said Trip.  The pictures on the view screens changed and she was instantly in her mother’s garden meditation area.  She recognized a patio stone from her mother’s home and her well used meditation pillow upon it.  “It’s a gift from Soval and T’Pau.  I expect you would like to take a few minutes.  This is intended to be your private area.”  He handed her a PADD.  “This has the instructions for changing your password and returning this area to normal.  I’ll see you at dinner.”  Departing, he extended his fingers for a brief ozh’esta.  She mirrored his action, her emotions pleasantly overwhelmed, her katra needing a meditative moment.

In the Mess area of the Atrium

Trip had brought an extra PADD or two loaded with engineering projects to review during what he considered to be the opening ceremonies.  It was rather fascinating, he mentally chided himself, T’Pol had him thinking like a Vulcan now, trying to get some productive work accomplished.  Of course once the orientation rigmarole was complete, they all belonged to him and the real work began.  He glanced sideways to T’Pol who didn’t even look back at him.  Maybe she was a bit nervous.  “Your daydreaming is quite distracting Charles.”  Oops, guess not.  He returned his focus to the power schematics for the CS-01 Manshir.

At straight up 09:00, he got a mental nudge from T’Pol and stood.  Looking over to the starboard side of the atrium he saw six no seven no eight, all here, Tellarites ambling, almost rolling down the corridor.  MacGregor was guiding the group and he herded them into mess area and towards their reserved seats.  Trip picked his PADD up off the table and made a note to talk to Chief Litlitvinowitz about adding even more manpower to the Deck Five expansion crew, quickly showing it to his current watch-ensign, Tim Roller.  They were past halfway, but it was becoming obvious that they needed to move the completion schedule forward.

Shortly Ensign Deen appeared with the four Andorians followed shortly by Ensign Shinwa with the contingent of six Vulcans.  Barely had they reached their seats when Trip was startled to attention by Chief Litlitvinowitz’ call of “Ten Hut”.

Malcolm strode over to their makeshift podium and began speaking.  “Welcome to Jupiter Station.  On the tables in front of you are your assigned PADDs.  Please activate them and follow along.  They are set for Earth Standard however you may adjust them to your own language if you wish.  At this time I would like to introduce our commanding officer, Captain T’Pol.”  He took his seat as T’Pol moved to the lectern.

“I will be brief.  Your PADD’s contain all standing orders for this facility, familiarize yourselves with them; I must emphasize communications restrictions.  It is expressly forbidden to attempt to transmit any information of any kind off of Jupiter Station except thru our communication systems.  Your individual Ambassadors have accepted this requirement.  There are no exceptions and there will be no warnings for violations.  You will be escorted to the shuttle bay and taken to your embassy on Earth.  Understand that punishment to Starfleet personnel is much more severe, sixty days incarceration at a minimum.”

“Our comm systems are available for your use at any time.  During this afternoon’s tour you will be shown where and how to make use of our equipment.  It is understood that private secure communications might be desired.  Your ambassadors have agreed to make their diplomatic pouches available for their respective citizens.”

“It is understood that some, if not all, of you are intelligence agents in addition to your engineering expertise.  You may also believe that our security systems are not sophisticated enough to intercept covert communications.  I suggest you heed our warnings.”  She turned to Malcolm, “Commander Reed.”  T’Pol did not return to her seat, but departed the mess.  Trip smiled hoping that they got the message.  Malcolm had told him that Hoshi was now mad at all of them; she figured she could have made a killing running the betting pool on who screwed up first.  Trip was confident that she was running a pool in absentia.

Trip attempted to return his attention to Malcolm who had begun the orientation, but tuned out briefly lost in the various schematics he was still absorbing.  Some shuffling about returned him to the here and now and he realized Malcolm was at the first scheduled break where simulated ranks were assigned and uniform measurements taken.  In fact the pause had already begun and the groups were ushered over to the stations the quartermasters had set up in a corner of the mess.  Once again Trip returned to his power diagrams but it wasn’t long before he sensed someone at his side.  He looked up to see a Tellarite whose nametag said Raspan, “Commander Tucker,” he growled.

Trip stood and extended his hand, “Yes, Mr. Raspan.”  Trip couldn’t see any rank insignia on his shoulders.

“Ah yes, interesting Earth custom.”  A Tellarite paw extended and closed upon his.  “While there is a delay in this pathetic indoctrination, there is a development we need to discuss.”  Raspan continued, “My group improved the concept and proceeded independently.  We redesigned the hull.”

Trip started to reply his face coloring up, but Raspan coolly held up his paw.  “As I said, we proceeded independently.  Our hull is five of your meters wider, two deeper and two longer.  It will take some time to explain.  We decided to construct both hulls.  The revised hull will be shipped three Terran weeks behind the first, unless you are unwilling to perceive the obvious advantages.”  Another Tellarite sauntered up and after an unintelligible exchange, Raspan turned back to Trip.  “Apparently, I must go get measured for my new uniforms, sir.  I ask that I may be allowed to make our presentation as soon as possible.  Here is the design package.”  He handed Trip a PADD and ambled off.

The PADD was a current Starfleet model, so he was spared trying to figure out how to operate it.  He found the design summary and skimmed through it quickly.  Hmmm, the main EPS conduits now ran inboard with redundant port and starboard pairs running along the main axis of the vessel.  He flipped to the schematics.  Well, much larger conduits and couplings.  Cross feeds to the weapons ports and shields, much larger conduits to the nacelles.  He looked closely at provisions for a tractor beam and a transporter.  He kept moving pages around trying to find a flaw.  He started paging towards the power curves…

Trip looked up when Malcolm tapped on his podium and began again.  “On pages sixteen thru eighteen you will find the physical layout of the station.  We are currently in the mess hall on deck five.  We call the open space above us the Atrium.  If you look past my head you will see levels five through fourteen.  This end of the station is crew quarters.  If you turn around,” he paused and they did.  “You will see the offices associated with the operations of the station.  If you look to your left,” he pointed.  “You will see a caduceus, that is where our sick bay is located.”  Malcolm nodded at Dr. Lucas who took the lectern.

“I am Dr. Jeremy Lucas, Chief Medical Officer for Jupiter Station.  Starfleet regulations require a physical examination for all new personnel.  On page 30 you will find a schedule.  I have received your medical records and the baseline norms for each of your species.  Mr. Bildin, if you would accompany me please.”  An Andorian stood and followed the doctor into Sick Bay.

Malcolm returned to the podium.  “Station tours begin now.  See page 33.  Divide into two groups.  I will escort “A” group, Lieutenant MacGregor “B” group.  We will reconvene here for the mid-day meal at 12:00 hours.”

The agenda gave Trip a couple hours break before his presence was required at lunch.  He decided to risk irritating Commander Kelby, so he walked over to one of the mess comm units.  “Sorry to wake you, Dan.”

“No problem Boss, what’cha need?”

“Toss on a uniform and head to the mess.  I’ll have a coffee waiting for ya.”  Dan turned up a few minutes later and Trip gave him a few minutes, a couple of sips and a slurp.  He then filled him in on the Tellarite modifications.  “What do ya think we should do, Dan?”

“Build ‘em both, Boss.  All we need to do is put the second cradle in.  All of the major stuff is redundant anyway.  Biggest issue is getting the Andorian plasma conduits and couplings in the larger size.”  He paused and sucked down some more coffee.  “Better get Chief Litlitvinowitz up here though.  Probably need Chief Rocco too.”

Trip headed over to the comm grinning as the ever-observant Chef sent a steward to their table with more coffee and some cheese Danishes.  The chiefs arrived and the meeting got down to business.  Chief Litlitvinowitz cleared his throat and the table quieted down.  “Sirs,” he began and then frowned, “you are looking to add roughly 50 more people to this station.  Right off the top I see two more pilots, three more quartermasters plus an officer, three more stewards and the balance various construction disciplines, plus another shuttle tug.  In addition we’d better get a master mechanic for shuttle maintenance.  Commander Reed will probably want more security as well.  Don’t see the need for more communication personnel.  We will exceed our present berthing capacity.  That means we have to add manpower to facilities work and right now.  Theoretically if all of the station’s quarters were finished we wouldn’t need the Biloxis, but that’s a ways off.”

Trip broke in.  “Time to get the Captain up to speed.  Remember folks, this is a proposal, but I think it’s a good one.”  Trip got up and headed for the comm again while accessing the bond.  “Need ya in the Mess, babe.”

Having sensed her mate almost tingly with some new excitement she declined to respond to his crude summons and joined them moments later.  She focused on Trip with the single eyebrow of curiosity.  After being fully briefed she straightened up.  “Commander Reed needs to be involved.  There is a great deal of staff work to do.  Commander Tucker, do you have an engineer you can release to Commander Reed for the planning?”

Tongue fully extending his cheek he pondered for a minute.  “Dan, what about Lieutenant (JG) Tanzler on second shift?”

“Commander, I would hate to lose him, but he is a good planner and my chiefs have told me he is smart enough to ask them questions.”

“Thanks, Dan,” said Trip, “Wake him up and get him down here.”  T’Pol took in the interactions knowing definitively that this was why the Humans would end up dominating this part of the quadrant.  Certainly no Vulcan engineering or construction group could pivot so quickly and put together contingency plans like this.  She watched the group haggle over numerous details, as Chef’s stewards reorganized the mess area for the coming luncheon.  She also decided that she needed to remain here to better understand this latest change to the plan.  It really had nothing to do with the close proximity to her mate, really, of course not.

Soon the tour groups returned and were guided to the buffets scattered about.  Malcolm was inexorably drawn to the Captain’s table.  Without breaking their conversation, Trip reached behind him, grabbing a stray chair while Kelby moved his over and Malcolm plopped down.  T’Pol observed as Malcolm listened without comment, his long intelligence training absorbing everything, knowing questions could be asked later.

“What is this?” asked Suron pointing at some fruit on a buffet table.  He was apparently a newly minted Vulcan/Starfleet Lieutenant.  A pair of uniforms for each new arrival had been placed at their tables by the hyperactive quartermasters and changing rooms had magically appeared.  Most of the aliens had been rather easy to fit as they were built similarly to the Humans.  The Tellarites would have been more difficult if Lieutenant (JG) Song hadn’t ordered some 3Xs and husky sizes.

“Sir, that is musk melon.  If you advance your PADD to the appendices you will find sections covering all of the foods we serve.  Each item has a photograph and a description of its dietary contents.  We have also included general taste descriptions.  Given these are usually comparative to other Earth foods; Captain T’Pol has added comments which reference common Vulcan foods where possible.  I will be pleased to answer any questions regardless.”  Suron’s eyebrows rose and he accessed the applicable section on his PADD.

T’Pol watched as the Andorians seemed fascinated by the various breads, the Tellarites drawn to the meats and cheeses.  Each of the numerous tables had its own steward: Chef had clearly gone all out.  Meanwhile he was tapping away furiously on his PADD noting who liked what.  It was obvious that the smorgasbord would continue for a few days.

She watched Malcolm check the time and surreptitiously return to his lectern.  At exactly 13:30 he tapped his microphone.  “There is a change to the agenda; Lieutenant Raspan will be offering a design proposal in conjunction with Commander Tucker.  I have a few remaining security and chain of command items to address beforehand.  After Lieutenant Raspan’s proposal you will be dismissed.  A liaison officer has been assigned to each species.  He/she will make him/herself known and answer any questions you may have.  There is a dinner this evening for all at 18:30 hours.  Enjoy the day, get settled, look around.  Tomorrow the work begins in earnest.”

T’Pol decided to remain for the proposal.  She had to get a feel for the practicality of building the two vessels at the same time.  If she concurred she would have to go see Admiral Black.

Unsurprisingly the group recommended the building of both ships simultaneously; it was now her decision.  Surprisingly the Vulcans had even commended the Tellarites.  The modifications had greatly reduced entropic losses providing an increase to overall power availability to all systems.  The only real disagreement, if it could it be called that, had been from a Human pilot and Andorian designer.  They had both foreseen degradation in maneuverability at impulse speeds, while the Andorian, Ensign Nartem, recommended that they also increase the size of the warp nacelles.  The discussion soon became raucous and the last thing T’Pol clearly heard was to double the attitude thrusters and relocate them.  “I’ll get ‘em under control T’Pol.”  Came clearly through the bond.  “We’ll have a complete impact study on your desk by tomorrow evening.  I recommend we go for it.”

Lieutenant Raspan’s group had already begun tapping away furiously on their PADDs.  That settled, T’Pol went to her office to comm the Admiral.  Maria smiled and handed her a stack of PADDS.  “Thank you, it is possible I will need shuttle transport to Starfleet HQ in the morning.”

“Yes, Captain.”

“Please get me Admiral Black.”

T’Pol continued into her office and waited taking a moment to collect her thoughts and look at the picture of Trip on her desk.  She had never appreciated the Human need for such distractions, but she had discovered an agreeable pleasantness about having this image there.  While she could perfectly remember this photo of him in his shorts and tee shirt so recently taken during the visit to his parent’s home, she found additional details at each viewing.  She found herself musing whether or not the bond was influencing her in Human ways when the comm brought her to full awareness.

“Yes, Captain?”  Admiral Black was seated, looking at her over his reading glasses.

“Sir, I need to meet with you as soon as might be possible.  I also request a meeting with General Winzern.”

“Captain, do we have a problem already?”  His face tightened.

“No sir, we have a positive development that will take some time to explain.  My meeting with General Winzern is a function of that improvement.  It is not imperative that I see him as urgently.”

“Captain, I can be out there this evening.”  He flipped his PADD on, “Is the dinner still on for tonight, 18:30?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Expect me, I’ll catch a ride with Commodore Archer.  If the General is about we’ll bring him.  Do you have quarters for him and his aide?  And for that matter me?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good, Black out.”

As the link closed, T’Pol felt a small headache coming on.  Didn’t the Admiral remember the part about attempting to remain inconspicuous?  Apparently not.  Her headache got a bit worse.

That evening

It had turned into a banquet, hell, a party.  Trip chuckled to himself.  The Vulcans didn’t seem to be too uncomfortable even as the volume level escalated.  They must have been extensively briefed because they mingled after a fashion although watching them try to disburse themselves uniformly had been quite a sight.  They had finally given up, moving closer to Lt Raspan’s group of Tellarites and posing question after question while ignoring the barrage of insults.  A surge of people indicated that the station’s first shift crew had come off shift, cleaned up and availed themselves of Chef’s bounty.

It had only taken an eyebrow from his wife to Chief Litlitvinowitz to break up the knots of Humans and soon it was a sea of blue uniforms of various shapes, pointy ears, snouts and antennae.  There were no restrictions on alcoholic beverages on the station; Starfleet regulations only required fitness for duty and censure for ‘conduct unbecoming’.  Somehow the Andorians decided that allowed them to bring a rather copious supply of ale on board and Trip figured the evening’s festivities would place a sizeable dent in their stash.  What was funny to him was that he doubted that there would be any trouble.  They were all engineers and seemingly more excited about the new ships than he was, if that was possible.  Watching antennae whip around and eyebrows bouncing on foreheads touched him in a way he had missed since the launch of Enterprise.

“Adun, please come to my office”, startled him out of his reverie.

Moments later he entered T’Pol’s office and popped to attention, “Admiral, General, Commodore, Captain”.  His head nodding at each person and definitely ruining the calm he had achieved in the last few hours.

“At ease,” came from Black.  “If we’re all here, Captain, please explain your summons.  The party downstairs looks pretty good and I think I want to go circulate, or will I be as popular as a skunk at a picnic?”

General Winzern’s antennae went slightly askew, Commodore Archer took a deep breath and Trip began his breathing exercises.  T’Pol delayed, searching her memory banks before locking onto the expression.  “I am uncertain how the crew will react, Admiral, but it is their problem, is it not?”

Black began laughing and only General Winzern remained momentarily confused.  “General” he began, “does a sudden influx of senior officers cause a degradation in festivities on Andoria?”

“Only if the officers in question arrive without any ale.  Premium stock is suggested.  I did not bring anything with me so it might pose a problem.”

Jon smiled.  “General, if I may, Commander Shran has helped me stock my quarters with Andorian Ale.  I will leave it to you as to whether he has been niggardly in his choices.”

Black began again.  “Captain, why are we here?”

“In short sir, an independent design group of Tellarites has extensively modified the design of the Gideon class hull.  They are building both hulls and with our permission, intend to deliver both here.”  She turned to Trip, “Commander.”

Trip jumped in.  “Sirs, what they have done is remarkable.  Most of the party downstairs is the rest of the engineers trying to wrap their heads around this new concept.  I have recommended to the Captain that we build them both.  It is the initial consensus opinion.”

T’Pol took over.  “I agree with the sentiment.  Constructing both prototypes will entail a substantial increase in the logistical demands on this station, but I believe we can accommodate the increase in activity.  I will have a preliminary report for your review in the morning.”  Black nodded, “with your permission, Admiral” he nodded again and she turned to General Winzern.

“General,” his antennae leaned forward attentively as she addressed him.  “I do not begin to understand the intricacies of Andorian honor, but I hesitated to proceed before obtaining your understanding.”

“I am uncertain of your concerns, Captain,” he responded, his antennae twisting a bit in obvious confusion.

“We have agreed to name the first ship Manshir to laud the memory of the famed Andorian Captain.  It is logical to present you the option of deciding which vessel shall carry that distinction.  It is likely that the first ship, should both be built, will be inferior to the second.  It did not seem appropriate to proceed without your permission.  I ask that you consider which ship should be named Manshir.  There is no need for haste in that decision, it is however a matter of honor, and justly your choice.”  T’Pol stood and came to attention.

Trip watched Winzern’s antennae wiggle and contort.  He finally spoke, “May I assume, Captain, that the others in this room were unaware of this concern?”

“Yes, General”

“Admiral Black, as you know there are those who have serious reservations about this joint effort.  It is not the great things, which will make this Coalition stand, it will be the small considerations.”  He returned his gaze to T’Pol, broadly smiling.  “Captain, your gesture is humbling.  I sense that you have a unique tolerance for differing species.  Thank you.  I suggest we await builder’s trials for a final decision and I expect to be kept abreast of your progress.”  He turned “Commodore, please escort me to your quarters and we shall see if Commander Shran has led you astray.  Following which, Admiral; Commodore, I believe we should go irritate some junior officers.”

“Is our business complete, Captain T’Pol?” asked Black.

“Yes, Admiral.”

“Then I ask you all to remain for one more long delayed task of mine.  Captain T’Pol, please summon Chief Litlitvinowitz here please.”

Moments later he entered and popped to attention seeing all of the brass in the room already standing.  “Attention to orders, Senior Chief Petty Officer Zbigniew N.M.I.  Litlitvinowitz is promoted to Master Chief effective immediately.  No change in duty.  Congratulations Master Chief, and you do not know how lucky you are that the drinks are already downstairs and paid for.”



Would love to see a continuation of this.....or if you have done so somewhere else a location I might find it!


“She also decided that she needed to remain here to better understand this latest change to the plan.  It really had nothing to do with the close proximity to her mate, really, of course not.”
This little delightful phrase is enough to show how pleasant is this reading.
But everything is extremely pleasant.
The usual quiet and light hand, my friend.
It is good for the heart.

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