William Fike Log Entry 1….
Today, on this first day of an expedition to the farthest reaches of explored space and beyond, is the first time since my last ill fated expedition that I have set foot on a vessel meant to carry me far from the comfort of any civilized world to find new star systems that may contain the means to provide new homes for mankind and perhaps resources to better it. As a scientist, and the chief stellar and planetary surveyor aboard the Stellar Hope, I am excited, but as the survivor of a previous disastrous expedition I cannot help but feel the burden of fear and worry.
This newly crafted vessel, the first ship of its kind designated the Stellar Hope, is to serve as my home for the next two years. She is a fine ship, a design of one of my dearest friends and lead engineer of this expedition Thomas Francis. He was the one of the few who survived my previous expedition aboard the Night Gazer and has since become one of the foremost engineers among the colonies of earth. We have stayed close these past seven years and I find my fears are lessened by the knowledge that this ship is designed by him.
The Stellar Hope is nearly a kilometer in length with three decks featuring the usual compartments one would find on a survey starship, a bridge, an operations room, several observation rooms a navigations and stellar cartography room on the first deck, a a crew quarters, and officers quarters, a mess hall, a recreational center, a small docking bay, various storage compartments, and a medical quarters on the second deck, and several engineering compartments that fill most of the third deck. While her interior design is standard, besides the recreational center, her exterior is wonderfully complex and unusual. Built with a newly developed alloy from a mineral found only on a distant asteroid, she is the most well armored ship built to date and boasts strange qualities such as the ability to blend in with the star field around her and her strange almost silent stardrive which can hardly be picked up through the usual means of radar technology. She is also much faster than the previous ships I have been on thanks to that stardrive, which is still somewhat experimental and another design of my friend Thomas Francis.
The reason for these war like qualities on a peaceful vessel is due to the increased number of hostile pirate attacks and strange disappearances of colonial vessels in the past several years. The Night Gazer herself fell prey to one such attack, most of her crew being killed by the pirates who took her, and the rest being left stranded for several months on an almost desolate planet. The incident led to the arming of all vessels belonging to colonial forces and civilian craft, and a higher expectation and requirement of starship captains. The Night Gazers Captain at the time of her ill luck was very inexperienced and was in a large way responsible for the incident. Along with her defensive capabilities, the Stellar Hope boasts two dread stinger missile launchers on both port and starboard sides, and two forward pulse blasters, both on her belly.
Captain James Hall has been appointed to command this new ship. I like most other space travelers know the name. Captain James Hall has been traveling the stars for thirty years, served in the Mercenary’s War earning the title of hero and was the most decorated officer alive within the colonial navy. I felt even more at ease upon hearing that he would be our commanding officer.
Along with Captain Hall there is First Officer Lt Micheal Chambers, a man nearly as legendary as Captain Hall, Second officer and ships first pilot Lt Katsumi Takao, another war hero, Second Lt Andrew Chambers, brother of Micheal chambers and ships second pilot, Lt Eric Hayman, ships weapons specialist, and Second Lt Ray Homer, navigations officer. These men make up our senior staff.
The ship also carries a ten man Star Marine squad as our security force led by Sgt Issac Howard and his second in command Corporal Joseph Fin
Along with military, the ship also carried civilians such as myself. Pete Lawrence my stellar cartographer and Jessica Stevens my biologist, both my protege in the field of colonial science, Doctor John Palmer and his wife Sarah Palmer as our medical staff, my dear friend Thomas Francis as the ships lead engineer, and James Kilt, ships cook and crew comfort coordinator.
Along with these are the enlisted crew under there various departments. Overall the ship staff with enlisted crew comes to fifty one souls.
I boarded a small passenger ship at four am which carried me past the comfort of my home planets atmosphere and into the cold and dangerous yet mysterious and inviting field of stars, and dropped me off at Colonial Naval station R41 where I was escorted by a security team and a crowd of cheering colonials and media along with several of the other crew members to docking bay N1. As we walked I tried to answer as many questions as I could from the media, though we were not permitted to stop due to time constraints. I was however distracted from the crowd when my eyes caught for the first time the ship that would carry me to reaches beyond the bounds of mans travels. As we neared the docking ports airlift she came into view. Her magnificent hull gleamed in the light of our sun, her wondrous alloy casting a blueish silver into the stations hall where we traveled. She was bigger and more beautiful than I could have imagined and a sense of smallness came over me. That’s when the realization of our mission came over me, and a sense of fear and duty filled my mind. Along the side of her hull, in clear view was her name, Stellar Hope, a new chapter in my life and in the life of many of her crew.
At six am standard time, I came face to face with her entry way. Nearby I recognized Captain James Hall, who was giving an interview to a young excited reporter and his first officer Micheal chambers standing nearby. Just as I was passing him he turned with a smile though his well trimmed grey beard nearly hid it and offered his hand. “William Fike I presume an honor to meet you. He said in his Nigerian accent. I quickly shook his hand somewhat surprised by the meeting. “The honor is mine sir.” I tried to say as calmly as I could. “I look forward to having you on board.” He replied and nodded turning his attention back to the reporter. Not thinking of anything to say I smiled and returned the nod and then stood at the edge of the ports pier. With every ounce of courage I could summon, I inhaled and took my first step into my new assignment, and my new home.
Using the small data pad that was standard equipment given to all ships crew, I was able to navigate the massive vessel fairly easily, guided by the small holomap that glared off its console, and soon came to my quarters in the civilian section on the second deck of the ship, not far from where I entered. The interior was beautiful designed with chrome colors walls and blue and white walkways which were well lit by blue and white lighting along the tops and bottoms of each hall. When I got to my quarters I placed my thumb print as instructed to by the data pad and the quarters door slid open. It was not a large quarters, but it came with a living area that turned into its own dining area further back, a restroom room on the left side and a bit further in the entrance to a bedroom about the size of the living area. It was small but well furnished and was certainly a five star accommodation by my standards
As I entered I was greeted with a present surprise. It was my friend Thomas Francis, standing to the side of the doorway with a big grin on his face two glasses of a red wine in his hand. Thomas! I exclaimed pleasantly surprised. It had been about a month since I had seen him, mainly due to our various duties in preparation for the expedition. “Hello old friend.” He said calmly as he handed my a glass of wine. “Your still a drinking man aren’t you?” He asked. “Not so much at these early hours.” I said as he held up his glass. “Perhaps where we are going its evening.” He said as we both drank. “And besides, were not military!”
We spent the next half hour or so catching up as I unpacked in my quarters, though due to time constraints Thomas had to get back to his duties, and I went about mine. I spent the next hour exploring the first decks Laboratory and observation posts as the head scientist, making sure that they had been prepared to my specifications and met with my two underlings and most gifted students, Pete Lawrence and Jessica Stevens who were bright eyes and excited to have been awarded the opportunity to accompany me.
Some time around eight am all the officers and civilian leadership were called to gather on the bridge, a large space on the first deck at the front of the vessel which was surrounded by thick reinforced X Steel through which one could see out into space, even along the floor of the bridge. I was dressed in my best outfit, a black sports coat and pants, though no tie as I could not stand them. I met up with Thomas once more along with my students and several other civilians as we stood on the bridge opposite the side of the senior officers who all stood gloriously clad in their various dress blues and blacks. Captain James stood at the front of the bridge with one hand behind his back and the ships com in his other hand. The sun was just beginning to rise from beneath the horizon of the planet bellow us and its beams were cast brilliantly into the bridge causing a beautiful display glowing metal.
Captain James greeted the officers with a salute and raised the com to his mouth. “Attention all crew and passengers of the C.F Stellar Hope, this is your Captain speaking. For the first time in many of our lives, we have an opportunity that others have only ever dreamed of. It is the opportunity to travel far beyond the reaches of what is known, to explore and discover the unknown and the mysteries beyond the confines of what we have achieved. It is a chance to find new worlds that can become new homes for our future generations. A heavy duty lays on our shoulders. It is the legacy of those who have gone before us, searching space for new homes, and it is our own legacy not as individuals, but as a crew carrying out the tradition of our fathers and their fathers colonizing the stars but more importantly, serving their fellow man.”
I pondered his words for a moment and then watched as a bottle of wine was floated from inside the dock towards the hull of the ship. All eyes watched as the bottle burst against the outside of the bridge. My eyes were greeted the flashes and cheering visible from the dock where the onlookers were watching.
The captain spoke into the com once more. “All hands report to stations. Prepare to disembark.” He said sternly. All the senior officers took their positions as we stood by and watched. I felt the familiar tinge of fear and excitement again as they went to work.
“Mr Katsumi, take us out.” The captain said as he took his seat in the center of the bridge. Soon we were drifting past the massive entry way of the stations dock and out into space and with a nod from the captain, Lt Katsumi activated the stardrive. A low hum unlike anything Id heard before, almost calming, began to pulse throughout the bridge. I watched as the stars around us turned from single points of light into a streaking mass outside the bridge and we were off.
I spent the rest of the day in the Laboratories and observation posts finishing their preparation and then was invited around seven pm to have dinner with the officers in the captains quarters along with Doctor Palmer and his wife, and Thomas Francis. We spent the better part of the evening becoming acquainted. I am proud to be serving alongside such renowned and experienced crew.