Episode III: The Battle of Wolf 359 (part one)
by Justin Lindsey Allman

I: SD 43989.25

Utopia Planetia Shipyards, Mars Orbit.

"You're crazy," Chartreuse Ivey said as she walked quickly into a turbo lift. Her slicked back, dark blue hair, and genetically matched eyes were glistening in the artificial light.

"There is nothing crazy about wanting to be a test pilot. Besides, testing a starship isn't like testing a shuttle." Adam Faulkner smiled casually as if nothing in the universe mattered to him, "You can't get to other galaxies in a shuttle."

"Ensign Faulkner, the galaxy would be a much nicer place without you," she said with sarcasm, "Deck one fifty-one."

The lift was designed to carry far more than the two that it held. They were tiny figures traveling down a great and vast corridor.

The doors hissed shut and he turned to her, "That hurt." His blue-eyed good looks dashing her with all their might.

"Well you're the one hopping galaxies." She turned away mocking emotional hurt. She was slight in comparison to him her eyes only level to his strong jaw.

"I didn't think you cared," his tone was nonchalant.

"I don't." She turned back to him, this time she was much closer.

"If you don't care," he moved closer to her blue genetically colored lips feeling her breath on his face.

"Why would I?" She closed her eyes and the vast world that they were in became much smaller. The entire universe compressed into the space around them.

"I can think of a reason or two." He kissed her with all the love that a moment could hold.

The doors to deck one fifty-one opened up a moment later and the two lovers resumed their professional stances. It wasn't that they were ashamed, just that they had not decided to announce to the world that they were in love. Each had their reasons. For Adam it was a drastic change of persona, far from his womanizing reputation. For her it was a great and important fact that such things were kept from the family.

"I talked to Kirk last night. She says that the last of the Einstein's weapons systems have been scuttled and they are going to permanently reassign us to Utopia Planetia. I'm not too excited about that." Chartreuse said as she stepped out of the shaft and into a main corridor.

"I was surprised that Kirk didn't get reassigned to a ship."

"Well, with the fleet as it is, there isn't much openings for command. There are more captains than ships right now and that means less positions to fill," she said as she looked out one of the portals and into the massive shipyards.

The two had come to an observation point with seven giant windows that looked out onto the expansive facility. Utopia Planetia was the third largest shipyard in the Federation and the current home to seventy-five percent of developmental and upgrade projects for Starfleet. From where the two stood at least thirty ships could be seen in kennel-like cages far above the pale red Martian surface. The facility was spread high in the orbital sky above the frozen Martian sands.

A great series of starbases and docking structures hung about; each placed with precision and care. Very few orbital bases could match the size of the shipyard, and it sat as a gem in the crown of the United Federation of Planets.

Faulkner stood in awe of this magical place. For him it was a celestial nursery- a place where the finest form of technology and style could be meshed together into the mighty starships of his dreams. It was as if he were a child surrounded by pure unfettered love. But there was one ship that stood out above all the others, "You see that one there?"

"The Menagaha?" Chartreuse spied over his shoulder, the two stopped, taken in by the grand panorama.

"No, next to it. I want her." He spoke as if Chartreuse were only a witness who was there when he made the claim on his future. The vastness returned as she was forced from that small reality that the two had held.

"The Intrepid class isn't even space worthy yet. They've only just finished installing the deck plates," she said in a defensive tone.

Chartreuse felt a tinge inside herself. No matter how strong her bond felt with Adam, she knew there could be no permanence.

Genetics. At one time genetic purity ruled her people by deciding who would live and who would never even be born. The Coridan people no longer held prejudice against 'unpure' genetic lines, but there were still echoes of that past running through their modern customs. They believed that a being wasn't defined by its mind, but rather its mind was defined by its physical and genetic make-up. No man could be more than the sum of his parts. It was a fierce part of her culture, and strong fact of her family traditions.

As Adam eyed the grand ship, she knew what her parents would see in him. His far off focus would be identified as a genetic flaw. They would call him a reckless dreamer who strove towards things that could never be. A behavior sponsored by irremovable genes, a permanent wall that would keep them from ever being more than close friends.

"Twenty-three seventy." He whispered the holy date.

"That's nearly two years away."

"She is supposed to be one of the most maneuverable ships ever built." He turned from the windows and the two resumed walking the corridor, but she was no longer in his eyes. Adam saw only the new steel and the dream of speed.

Faulkner continued on about the Intrepid's statistics. And though Chartreuse understood the information, probably better than he did, she was not paying attention at all. Her thoughts were focused on the genetic scan that she had sent back to Coridan. She was in love with Adam Faulkner and after nearly six months together she had finally decided to run compatibility tests.

'Type A humanoid behavioral patterns; consisting of extreme competitiveness, ambition, impatience, hostility, angry outbursts, and a sense of time pressure.'

The two walked to an extended gangway plank that led from the station and out to the USS Agincourt, it was a decommissioned Excelsior class starship. She was being brought back from the mothballs by order of Starfleet command. She and seventy-three other ships from the pastures had been brought out and were being put back onto the line. No one really understood why, but there was speculation that recent overtures from the Romulan Government had put the powers that be on alert.

They walked across into the great ship that sat inside one of the massive docking bays, one of the many wombs of Utopia Planetia. There were five major docks, and each could hold several starships. The vastness of the Utopia facility was boggling, but often forgotten by the beings that scuttled about the great, living body.

The Agincourt was nearly seventy-five years old and had seen more than her fair share of service. Originally assigned to exploration, she found most of her service in the Klingon Empire. During the reconstruction period she ran cargo and medical supplies to boarder worlds. She never made her mark in history, but she was a loyal ship of the line.

Faulkner and Chartreuse had made the small trek in search of the torpedo room on the Agincourt, where a diligent young officer was hard at work.

The torpedo room of the ship was set on deck ten, and was built with plenty of room to walk about. But, the Agincourt had a very special series of modifications that now made the room confined and difficult to maneuver. The new structures contrasted with the old styling and created an eclectic mesh. It was an odd thing to look at, as this ship was built in another time and had long ago been retired.

The mothball fleet had been set aside for a reason; the ships were too old to maintain the rigors of regular space travel. But with some minor upgrades these tired old mares could be made into special duty vessels that weren't required to suffer the same hardships as they had in their younger day.

The Agincourt had been refitted to house the most powerful weapons in the Starfleet inventory, the Mark 22 Zeus Torpedo. Designed to be used with a planetary or base mounted launcher it was the highest yield torpedo ever produced. Having been fully tested and installed the only thing keeping the great dame from being re-commissioned was a software glitch in the anti-matter transfer conduits. A small task left for a young ensign named Daniel Tien.

Tien had been so focused on the task at hand that he had failed to see Faulkner and Chartreuse approach. He was interwoven in to the superstructure attempting to reprogram the very last portion of the computer interface that would allow the firing computer to talk to the transfer conduits. He was about two meters off the ground and lodged into a small niche muttering to his tricorder.

"Happy Christmas Mr. Tien." Chartreuse said with a broad smile and an extended hand. A bright green and gold package was held within her slight fingers.

Daniel jumped, and turned to see his guests below him. He smiled, then slowly lowered and set himself down on to the floor and said, "Merry Christmas. Its Merry, not happy."

"Is there a difference?" Chartreuse asked in a worried tone. She was not from Earth and knew only what Adam had told her about the event.

"I know it's a few days late." Adam held out a small package to Tien.

"I didn't know that we were going to exchange gifts." He took the two small packages," I didn't even know you guys celebrated Christmas."

"Well, I don't really, but I knew you did," Adam smiled.

"Oh," Tien said flatly.

"You do celebrate Christmas don't you?" Chartreuse's worries hadn't lessened.

"Sure." Dan lied, " It was very popular when I was a kid. We had a tree and a candelabra thing."

"The Menorah?"

"It's called a dradle-I think," he stumbled as he took the packages. He opened Charturce's first, peeling away the tree green paper and the thin gold wrap. The package was very small and when opened it revealed a series of isolinear chips. He looked up, confused at the gift.

"They are a holo-programs. The first one is the Iconian site and Jaresh four. It was designed by Arlene Rodgers." She smiled proud of her find.

"My mother." Dan said as straight-faced as he could.

The two looked at each other and then to Tien.

"My mother remarried when I was eleven, to Alan Rodgers, the explorer."

"Then you don't need to open mine," Adam said frankly.

Tien looked at the red little package, obviously isolinear chips.

"It's the complete works of Alan Rodgers," Faulkner sighed.

There was an awkward pause and then Tien broke the moment, "Thank you. It really is the thought that counts."

"You don't really celebrate Christmas do you?" Faulkner asked.

Tien gave him a shallow wag of his head.

"The books bio says that Rodgers was born on New Beijing, and is fourth generation Buddhist."

"Well, that's true, but I am not a Buddhist. And don't believe book jackets, they only include superficial details." He turned away from the two and looked up to where he had been wedged. "It's done. I was just about to call Captain Hansen and let him know." Tien turned back over his shoulder, "You ready to fly this crate?"

"You mean is she ready for me?"

"There's not another ensign in Starfleet that could have done what I did. Of course she's ready."

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