Captain, USS Exploration.
It’s been an eventful few months. We’ve just recently put in at Starbase 24 for repairs and a refit to the Exploration. We had a few run-ins with the Borg during our recent excursions to the Gamma Orionis sector and the Exploration was more than a little roughed up. We lost our secondary deflector and the saucer section suffered some serious damage. Thankfully, despite some injuries to the crew, there were no deaths.
It turned out to be a good time to have to put in for repairs. An engineering team from Utopia Planitia had just arrived at the station to make some upgrades to her defences, and I was able to “borrow” the crew for a short period to supplement the available maintenance staff, cutting our repair time in half. Joe (Commander Laroche, our Chief Engineer) was able to make some modifications of his own during the repairs, and recommended a refit to our current deflector dish that would more than double its output. This allowed us to forego reinstallation of a second deflector (a fact that further cut down repair time), improved the manoeuvrability of the ship slightly, and allowed for the installation of a new transpectral sensor array, as well as some supplementary defensive systems. The ship definitely has a new feel to it – sleeker, easier to handle and more capable in a fight.
Even with the reduced repair times, everything took time. Three months on a Starbase is a long time when you’re used to open space. I have to say though, we were made to feel at home. I think that Arthur liked being able to get off the ship and run around. Even though the Exploration has a fairly extensive hydroponics bay, it’s nothing compared to the hydroponics garden they have on the base and he really enjoyed being able to get his hands dirty and do some real digging around. Some of the experiments they’re running in artificial agriculture and horticulture are astonishing. Thanks to their extensive gardens, little of the food on the base has to be replicated. I have to admit that it was nice to be able to eat real, non-replicated food for a few months (though my waistline certainly didn’t need it). I think that when we put back out into open space, I’ll look at converting one of our cargo bays on the Exploration to a larger hydroponics bay and see if we can supplement our food supplies that way. It would also give us the opportunity to run some experiments of our own.
Carol received a promotion while we here - Commander Banks. I could tell how proud she was. She certainly deserved it – her work during our time in Gamma Orionis was exemplary and she pulled our bacon out of the fire more than once. She’s recently taken an interest in astrometrics and stellar cartography and she used her time on Starbase 24 to take a number of extension courses on the subject. With our previous head of the Astrometrics Department (Lt. Commander Geynla) having just recently transferred to the USS Grissom, I’m thinking of giving her the position. I’ll have to run it past Commander T’Fren (my first officer) in order to avoid any possible conflict of interest. I think she’s a good candidate for the job – I know Carol’s not interested in command, but she can definitely run the department and she certainly has the expertise in the field to be effective in the position.
During our stay on the Starbase we received a new crew member, Commander Kosher, from the USS Ukraine. He’s got a good record and I think he’ll fit in with the crew. He’ll be heading up our Life Sciences department (he’s an expert in biology, exo-biology and exo-botany) and I think he’ll do a good job at it. The only concern I have is his leadership ability. He definitely knows his stuff, but he comes across as a bit distant. I know Kosher has his heart set on command, but I’ll have to see how he runs his department before I make any recommendations.
The last of the maintenance crews is just giving the Exploration one last shakedown before we head back out. I’m excited to be back out there. Because of our new sensor array, we’ve been assigned to do a number of survey missions in the B’Tran Cluster and I’m curious to see what we can find out there. It’ll be nice to feel the deckplates under my feet again. I think I’ve almost gotten too used to being on a ship, it doesn’t feel right to stay still.