Tobias opened his eyes and immediately wished he hadn't; his quarters (which were effectively a large cupboard with a bed slapped against one wall, a desk carved into the adjacent one and a little nook in which he could wash and perform his functions) felt unusually hot and clingy. Upon closer inspection, Tobias discovered large pools of sweat had settled around his neck and brow. Either he had an excellent evening before hand and was feeling the after effects of some horrible alcohol induced nightmare, or he had developed a hitherto unknown mutation of influenza that no one had seen fit to inoculate against.
Rising slowly from his bed, Tobias' head seemed to roll about within itself. He surmised that it must have been alcohol and he was balancing out his karmic account with heavy migraine. Clawing himself from bed, Tobias wandered into the shower. The Ceredigion's computer, detecting he was awake, automatically increased the lights by about 40%. The sight of the lights coming on was enough to send searing pain through the aging captain's eyes.
"COMPUTER, DIM THE LIGHTS," he gruffly cried, covering his face from the light assault. As the lights dimmed, the captain stumbled into the sonic shower and let it work its magic.
Roughly half an hour later, Commander Stormount walked heavily out of the turbolift and settled into his chair. Within moments of him sitting, his second in command came over with a slate carrying all of the days reports.
"Good Morning, Commander."
"Lieutenant commander, hello. Anything unusual in the night shift?" He looked up, still looking rather dazed and a little bit ill. A certain distant twinkle was poking its way into his eyes; his XO, Laurie Van Haazen, suspected that her commander was at least 60% in a different universe and was giving only the most cursory attention to his surroundings.
"The detailed scan we were doing of the Azalkabaxri moon have turned up some particularly unspectacular metallic signatures like iron, nickel, arturium-B. Nothing useful. Some large sub surface veins of Deuterium present but far too deep to make it viable for mining; I've compiled the report anyway and just needs your final word to send it."
"Go on ahead. Whats our next assignment?" She glanced at the transmission terminal."
"Apparently, an asteroid sweep in the Tarkasu system in the Helkadubrillion cluster. Some signs of unknown starship activity; starfleet suspects it may be a low grade off the chart smuggling route so they want a ship with decent scanners to get in and take a peak." For some reason, Helkadubrillion sounded familiar to Tobias. As if it was from some hazy, distant dream.
"How long is the journey going to take?" The crew looked around from their stations. One of the main annoyances to anyone unfortunate to be served aboard one of the Oberth class ships was the long stretches of immaterial boredom that filled the crew's schedules. Transit to just about any region of space other than the one they were in took days, perhaps even weeks. The warp engines on the Oberth were barely above civilian standard (mostly so they could be built in ridiculous numbers in the same places civilian stations were built). They were incredibly robust, and almost impossible to break even in the hands of untrained engineering students; however, the sacrifice was poor acceleration and therefore dreary, age-long transit times.
"2 weeks, 4 days, 14 hours." Collectively the room sighed, and returned to their work. Since the Ceredigion was small, recreational facilities were lacking. A single mess hall and a tiny gym attached to it were the only form of recreational attractions for the entire ship; unless science labs were more your forte, in which case the entire ship might as well be your play pen.
"Well. Waiting isn't going to help is it? Helm, set a course for the Tarkasu system, maximum cruising speed."
"Standing by, warp 4.8 ready." came the cheery reply from Ensign Jarox, the resident cheerful Denobulan.
With a word, the tiny ship through itself into the abyss.
"He was the best of us. They struck without provocation, there was no reason. Animals! Brutal! They deserve no mercy! Strike them down, follow them back to their base and kill all of them, all of them! No mercy!" - Delenn