BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL

BRIGLAD

Quest - Chapter 2
Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The continuing Saga of my Second generation of BDH's. Sara and Jeff return from their honeymoon and prepare to embark on their "Quest".


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 1715    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

Disclaimer: Joss, Fox, Universal Own em’. I’m just playing. No money being made. The situations come from my own twisted mind as do my original characters.

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AN: Please don't tear apart my theory for FTL. I had to come up with some way of doing it. Same for my math... I had trouble with high school algebra.

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Quest-Chapter Two

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“Quest, this is Sara Jane.”

“Go ahead, Captain,” Replied a voice over the com.

“Five out. Get the bay ready.”

“Copy that.”

Sara settled back in the co-pilots chair. She was letting her husband fly for once. Their Firefly was just cresting the terminator between dark and light over Londinium. Ahead in the distance hung the immense space station that was Blue Sun's orbital dockyard.

Attached to the station on an outlying docking port hung Sara's other ship, Quest.

As Jeff eased Sara Jane closer, the vague oblong object resolved itself into the shape of their other home.

Quest was a private venture. Financed by a combination of Sara's own trust fund, capital from Blue Sun and investments from various other contributors. The result was a five hundred and fifteen meter long, fifty meter square tapered box with a rounded engine cluster at the aft end and four golden, vaguely oval shaped pods just forward of the engines.

Those pods were the key to the whole ship. If things worked right, Quest would be the scientific and engineering breakthrough of the century. If not the millennium...

The first vessel constructed by mankind that could travel faster than the speed of light. At least that's what Sara prayed it would.

Maneuvering closer, Jeff eased the Firefly into position over the top of Quest, just aft of a section of the hull that was darker then the rest.

Sara reached for the com again, “Quest, Sara Jane is in position.”

“Copy. Bay is depressurized. Opening doors now.”

Ahead of them, two huge clamshell doors began to open. Traversing the width of the ship, they slowly revealed a huge docking bay that seemed to be specifically designed to hold a Firefly class vessel.

Which was why Sara had designed it that way in the first place. Once the doors were locked into the open position, Jeff skilfully moved Sara Jane into position in the center of the bay. Burping the thrusters, the smaller vessel began to descend into the bay. The doors closing behind them.

Sara activated the magnetic clamps that locked Sara Jane to Quest's deck. Lights in the bay snapped on as the clamshell doors closed. They could hear the creak of Sara Jane's hull as the bay began to repressurize.

“Engines secure,” Jeff stated from his seat.

“Got it baby,” Sara smiled. A moment later lights on the panel illuminated, indicating the the crew had attached a power cable from Quest to Sara Jane. “We've got external power.”

“Shutting down,” Jeff replied as he began throwing the switches that would put the Firefly to 'sleep'.

Sara rose from her chair and kissed her husband, “Good flyin, Husband.”

“Thanks Sweetie,” Jeff smiled back after breaking the kiss.

Well, lets get moving. I've got a presentation to make in an hour and I need to get dressed.,” Sara said. As she turned and walked off the small bridge, her hand trailed along Jeff's arm as she walked away.

“Aye, aye, Cap'n” Jeff grinned before following her to the cargo bay.

XXXXXXXXXX

Sara took a deep breath and looked across the conference room. Seated before her were some of the wealthiest and most influential people in the Alliance. There were also a few high ranking military officers.

Before speaking, Sara smoothed down the front of her jacket. She was dressed in her 'power' business suit. An outfit that made her look much older than her twenty-four years.

“Good afternoon,” Sara began, “I'm so glad you could all join me here today. I am happy to report that Project Quest is ahead of schedule and I'm pleased to report, five percent under budget.”

There was a murmur of approval from the people gathered.

“We plan to begin full scale testing of the FTL drive within the week.”

“What's the timetable?” Asked Captain Rena Holt from the Alliance fleet.

“The first runs will demonstrate the actual ability to exceed the speed of light. That is actually a misnomer. Quest will not actually travel faster then light but will appear to do so.”

“How is does that work exactly?” Asked another man. A representative from one of the investment groups.

“Without getting into a lot of complicated mathematics,” Sara replied, “The system uses an immensely powerful gravity generator to create a artificial singularity. In essence a miniature black hole. This black hole is contained within a magnetic bubble and opens a pathway to what is essentially what science fiction writers have called 'Hyperspace'.”

“And this actually works...” asked Captain Holt.

“In the laboratory,” Sara replied, “This will be the first full scale test.”

“And this... process. It's not harmful to life?”

“The laboratory tests were done using animals with no ill effects. While I do not usually condone such testing. It was necessary in this case.”

“Why hasn't this been announced to the press. Surely an event such as the first man made object to travel faster than light...” asked another investor.

“We kept it quiet,” Sara replied. “Both to protect the process and to avoid any outside difficulties.”

“What kind of difficulties?”

“Back on Earth-that-was, in the early part of the twenty-first century, people said the Earth would be destroyed when scientists used the Halydon Super Collider. As we all know, that didn't happen. We felt that publicizing our testing would lead to similar sensationalized reactions.”

Again there were murmurs of agreement.

“What was the actual test?” Captain Holt asked.

“We were able to transport a prototype FTL device with a chimpanzee as the passenger between the lab at the Blue Sun complex outside New London to a spot on the other side of the planet near New Manchester. At the speed of light, the journey would have taken one fifth of a second. According to the atomic clock included in the testbed. The transit time was one trillionth of a second.”

Sara smiled at the looks of shock the appeared on the faces in the room. She didn't bother to tell them that the test unit had actually disappeared and appeared back in normal space after transiting the space occupied by the planet itself.

“What... what kind of range are we talking about here?” Captain Holt asked after a moment.

“Unknown as yet. The system currently can only keep the singularity stable for a maximum of one second. Theoretically, allowing for spool up and creation of the gate. Quest could travel back to Earth-that-was in two or three jumps... in our estimation.”

“Wo-de-ma,” breathed the Alliance Captain.

“We won't know for sure until we begin testing,” Sara finished.

“How is it... please forgive me if I sound rude. A girl, as young as you, able to develop this system.” Said an older man at the back of the room.

Sara kept the smile on her face, despite wanting to knock the man's lights out, “I didn't do it by myself. The beginnings of the theory were formulated by my Father, before he left Earth. Designing and building the Exodus ships kept him from working on the project further. The major breakthrough came five years ago when Dr. Cristobal over at Telefonics perfected the Neutrino transmission system that is, just now, being fitted to the Cortex system. Allowing nearly instantaneous communication throughout the 'Verse.”

Sara continued, “The data gleaned from that project, combined with my Father's research, the quantum mechanics developed by the terriforming division of Blue Sun, used to ignite protostars like Burnham or Heinlein, combined with my own theories and those of several other on my team, resulted in the development of this system,” Sara finished with a smile.

“Very Impressive,” said a man at the back, grinning like a proud uncle. Which is what he was. The primary investor in Project Quest was Blue Sun itself. And since Durin Haymer was the current CEO and one of Sara's 'uncles' He was justifiably proud.

“That's all I have for you today, Ladies and gentlemen. Good day,” Sara finished with a smile.

The various people attending the briefing began to stand up and mingle. Durin walked over to his niece and gave her a hug.

“How was the honeymoon?” Durin asked with a knowing grin.

“Tiring,” Sara said, replying with her own grin.

“Can Jefferson still walk straight?” Durin chuckled.

“Barely,” Sara giggled. Sounding much more like the young woman she was, instead of the scholar she had been while addressing the meeting.

“When are Rebecca and Clayton getting married?”

“After the trials,” Sara replied, “Aunt Kaylee is planning things with Clay's mom. Aunt Inara is helping.”

“I assume I'm on the guest list?” Durin asked.

“You better be, since I know Becca wants Bridget as a bridesmaid.”

“Good to hear. I Regret I must leave and catch my shuttle back to New London. If you need anything, Sara, don't hesitate to wave.”

“Thanks, Uncle Durin.”

XXXXXXXXXX

Sara strode into her and Jeff's cabin on Quest. She draped her jacket over a chair and began unbuttoning her blouse. Kicking of her dress shoes, she stepped into the small bathroom. Sara dropped her skirt and blouse into the laundry hamper.

Reaching into her wardrobe, Sara pulled on her 'uniform'. Since Quest was a civilian ship, the so called uniform consisted of a soft, navy long sleeved polo shirt with the ships name embroidered on the left breast and matching cargo pants.

Sara pulled her curly hair back into a tight ponytail and sat on the bed to pull on her boots. It was nearly dinner and she was famished. And tired. She and Jeff hadn't gotten much sleep the last two weeks. Smiling at the memory of their honeymoon, Sara put on her 'Captains' face and headed for the galley.

A few of her small crew were already there. Melissa was in the kitchen proper working on dinner, assisted by Becca. It was strange to have Melissa on board. The average age of the crew was twenty seven. The oldest was Melissa at thirty-seven. The youngest wasn't on board as of yet. Rachel Cobb was scheduled to present her master's thesis the day after tomorrow. Once that was done, she would be joining the crew.

As a crew, they were all experts in their fields. Melissa was a highly respected programmer and mathematician. Becca Tam was of course her mothers daughter when it came to spaceship engineering. Combining that with her masters in Propulsion Engineering and there wasn't anyone better in space with a radion core or fusion engine.

Clayton Cook, Becca's fiancé was the assistant engineer. Even though he grew up a farm kid, Clay had a a very high mechanical aptitude and after college, he had been brought on as Becca's assistant. The fact that they had been a couple for over nine years didn't hurt either.

Then there was Jeff. Sara smiled at her husband where he sat in the small lounge next to the galley. While quite a bit bigger, the galley on Quest resembled the galley on a Firefly. Also by design.

Jeff was going over the test points with their navigator and co-pilot, Virgil Ortega. Virgil was from Greenleaf and had been a classmate of Sara and Jeff's at university. His father had been a fighter pilot for the Independents and despite that, had won a scholarship in mathematics to Cambridge.

“How are we looking?” Sara asked the pair as she sat down next to Jeff.

“So far so good,” Virgil replied, “I've got three test jumps all plotted out. If the math works out like it's supposed to, the first will get us from Orbit here over Londinium to near Daedalus in the Georgia system in about a tenth of a second.”

“What about the second jump?” Sara asked.

“A bit longer, three tenths, we should pop out over Beaumond in the Kalidasa System.”

“Good. What about the third?”

“Half a second. All the way out to Burnham... and Miranda.”

Sara nodded, “Before that one, we'll charge up the weapons. There's not supposed to be any Reavers left but you never know...”

“Good idea Captain,” Virgil replied.

“Baby?” Sara asked her husband.

“Looks good to me. But you're the genius. I just drive the boat,” Jeff grinned.

“Just for that, no sex for two days...”

Jeff just rolled his eyes, “How long did that threat last when you tried it before, Dear?”

Sara grumbled something under her breath.

“What was that?” Jeff asked.

“I said... three hours...”

“Thats what I thought you said,” Jeff grinned.

Virgil just chuckled, “Newlyweds.”

Overhearing the conversation from the kitchen, Melissa just shook her head, “And to think I used to babysit you two...”

“This I gotta hear,” said Joseph Park as he entered the galley. Originally from Pelorum, Joe, as he liked to be called was descended from Korean and Japanese settlers. There was some Norwegian blood in his family tree somewhere due to his blonde hair and blue eyes. Also his size. Joe was six foot four and built like a viking, despite his Asian features. His official title on the ship was Mission Specialist. His real duties lay in ships security. Joe's role was somewhat analogous to Jayne Cobb's position on Serenity back in the day.

“Mel,” Sara pleaded “Don't you dare...”

The older woman grinned, “There was this time...”

“I am the Captain you know....”

“Sara and Becca were trying to hack the pay corview feeds...”

Becca looked up from her cooking, “Wait a minute... You weren't with us yet.”

Melissa grinned, “You're mom told me so I'd know what to look for, if you two started hacking while I was watching you.”

“No respect on my own ship...” Sara trailed off.

“And how old were they when they did this, 'alleged' hacking?” Joe asked.

“Sara was five and Becca was six... I think.”

“Just little tykes then. How old were you when you were babysitting, Mel?”

“Seventeen. It was my first 'job' after we were rescued from the Kansas.”

“So, you're really from Earth-that-was?”

“Yup,” Melissa replied, “I grew up not a hundred and fifty miles from where Sara's dad did.”

“Ever wonder what it's like... you know. Now?”

“We might be able to find out,” Sara said as she and Jeff got to their feet and headed for the dinner table, “I want our first long distance mission to go to Earth. Find out if there is anyone left back there.”

“And if there is?” Becca asked.

“We go down and have a little chat.”

XXXXXXXXXX

“So, that's the plan,” Sara said to her assembled crew after they had finished dinner.

“How long between jumps?” Dr. Lee asked, “I'd like to get some preliminary medical data after the first one.”

“That won't be a problem, Sherry,” The Captain replied. “It will take some hours to go over the data from the first jump.”

“What kind of effects will we be likely to feel from the jumps?” Rosanne Goodwin asked. She was in charge of maintaining Quest's optical and sensor systems.

“Data from the experimentation suggests transitory nausea and some vertigo,” Sherry said, “I'll prescribe some anti-nausea medication before we begin.”

“Good,” Sara replied. She turned to her defensive systems officer, “Meghan, have we gotten permission to use the fleet firing range near Daedalus?”

“Aye,” the brunette replied, “Got us a fine selection o' targets to blow ta' hell.”

Sara grinned at her. Meghan Riley was a former Alliance gunner from Dyton and had never lost her accent.

“What's our final load out?” Sara asked her.

“Full load o' countermeasures. Th' new jammin gear is installed and workin fine. Got us twenty missile rounds, three hundred rounds for th' main rail gun. Fifteen thousand rounds o' thirty mike fer th' point defense guns and full tanks o' fluorine ta' power th' chem lasers.”

Sara grinned. She had been surprised when the government had insisted that the Quest be armed. Once the story got out that Quest was an FTL ship. Every criminal, pirate and felon in the 'Verse would want the ship. Most of Quest's internal equipment was taken from the Longbow Class Destroyer. Including the weapons systems.

Quest was equipped with a pair of two hundred millimeter rail guns that ran nearly the full length of the ship. The weapons could fire a ninety pound ball of solid steel at hypersonic velocities. There were also four, thirty millimeter chain guns for anti-missile and short range work as well as a thirty gigawatt laser that fired from one of two retractable turrets. The missiles were used for long range engagements. Anyone who thought Quest was a unarmed research ship would be sorely mistaken.

“While we're o the subject of weapons. How's the armory?” Sara asked.

“Fully stocked,” Joseph replied, “Even got some grenades.”

Jeff chuckled, “You sound like Rachel's dad.” Joseph just grinned.

“Becca, Clay? How's the power plant?”

“Just peachy, Sara,” Becca replied, “Our girl is a-okay.”

“Good. Anyone else have anything?”

“I got the new software updates from Blue Sun this afternoon,” Melissa replied. I've got them running on the backup core until I'm sure there's no bugs, then I'll load it into the main computer.”

“Good thinking,” Sara replied. After a moment, she spoke again, “One last thing. The high ups in the Alliance Fleet want Quest to have a little more protection. They want us to carry a detachment of ASREV's.”

“Gunships?” Virgil asked, “What the hell for?”

“They're worried that we can't handle things ourselves.”

“So we gotta play nursemaid ta' a bunch o' fighter jocks?” Meghan grumbled.

“Yes,” Sara replied.

“How many are we talking about?” Owen Son asked. He was security like Joseph but was also was in charge of the three docking bays. “Space is like to get a bit tight.”

“Just two gunships,” Sara replied, “Three pilots and two techs to fix em'.”

“Good thing we've got the extra bunks,” Roseanne mumbled.

“I know.” Sara replied. “But we need to play by the rules. They will be under my command but they are still fleet personnel. I trust there won't be any problems with that?”

Everyone shook their heads.

“Good. When we hop to the Georgia system, we'll also be picking up a pair of passengers.”

“Who now?” Virgil grumbled.

Sara fixed him with a stern look. Jeff just grinned since he knew who it was, “My folks... anyone have a problem with that?”

Virgil's eyes widened, “No problem at all Captain. I thought we were getting some lookie- lou investor again.”

“Well, Dad is an investor, you know...”

“Yeah... but It's your Dad...”

Sara snickered, “And you know how much he hates hero worship. So try not to bug him too much... Dong-ma?”

“Dang-ran” Virgil replied.

“Okay, everyone's off duty until tomorrow morning. Got a busy day so get some rest,” Sara ordered.

“Yes Captain,” Chorused the group.

That done, Sara took Jeff's hand and headed for their bunk.

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TBC

COMMENTS

Wednesday, April 1, 2009 9:45 PM

JANE0904


It's a little odd to see Sara as a grown-up, let alone married, but I think you did a good job introducing all the crew. If it seems a bit like a college kids outing, maybe that's not a bad thing. We all know informality can work really well (see Serenity), but here's hoping when they come across something needing a firm hand at the tiller, Sara can come through. And I know they'll come across something - it wouldn't be a Briglad story otherwise!


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