Over the last couple of months, several of my toons have received upgrades to newer ships. My main gal Heidy, however, chugged along in her venerable T5U Fleet Luna, the U.S.S. Inquest. I was content with some continuous tweaking of that ship, because (A) aside from buying a Vesta, the Luna has arguably the most ‘teeth’ for a Science vessel with 4 tactical consoles, (B) I like the aesthetics of the Luna, and (C) it was the first C-Store ship I ever bought, and I’m sentimental like that.
But with a New Dawn (and a Black Friday), a new mission is given, and a new ship is in the works for Heidy and her crew.
Today was the big day. First of many to come.
The ship was bustling with activity. There was a palpable sense of excitement among her crew as they carried equipment and personal belongings along the hallways, chatting and laughing as they went. No, this was not the sort of tense excitement prior to a battle, or the adrenaline rush of reacting to an emergency. This was excitement for the future, to embark on a journey they all longed to be on.
The war was over. Finally, the nightmare has ended. Starfleet was returning to its mission of exploration.
Heidy was never the pensive, philosophical type, but as she stood there on the bridge of the Inquest, even she couldn’t help but feel a twinge of sadness for leaving the ship. She has only been the captain for two years, but her history with the USS Inquest was far longer and deeper. It was on this ship that Heidy earned her wing, first as science officer then first officer under Captain Sane; she made many friends here, some of whom continued to serve as her senior staff. While they would be transferring with her, the Inquest herself was like a family member whom they were leaving behind. She’s taken substantial damage at the Battle of Sol, and as soon as the crew transferred, the Inquest would enter an eighteen-month repair/refit program at Utopia Planitia Fleetyards. Heidy was going to miss her. She patted the headrest of the captain’s chair longingly, perhaps for the last time.
“Missing your chair already, captain?” Came the familiar voice of Commander Esi Falana, Heidy’s first officer, friend and rival, all rolled into one. As the Nigerian woman approached, she offered a PADD to Heidy. “Here is the crew manifest.”
“Of course I do,” Heidy answered with a slight quirk on her lips. “The captain and the first officer sit side-by-side on the new bridge. How do people tell I’m the Mistress and you are the servant when you’re sitting right beside me?” She quipped, and tapped the surface of the PADD. “A hundred and eighty. Great. Half my crew have been reassigned.”
Esi was clearly accustomed to Heidy’s sarcasm, and chose to ignore the comment about future seating arrangements. “Yes. Lieutenant Imekc has also been reassigned to the USS Castellan.” She noted.”Starfleet Command decided there is no need for a full M.A.C.O. contingent on board the Cassini.”
“No, I suppose not.” Heidy sighed dramatically, and handed the PADD back to Esi. “Not for a three-year deep-space exploration mission. I guess I’ll have to do my own shooting, huh?” She flashed a quick smile, and started to head for the turbolift, and Esi followed. “The shakedown cruise is in three days, at 0800 hours. After that we are heading to DS9 to have the latest DCBL sensor upgrades installed, as well as pick up a contingent of Cardassian crew.” There was a pause as the turbolift door opened, and the pair stepped in. “Don’t you just love politics? The Cardassian civilian government asked to be prominently represented on this exploration mission in exchange for access to their deep space facilities. I hope you’re up to the task of keeping them entertained.”
Esi frowned. “It will be a challenge. But I’ll do what I can. How many Cardassian crew members will there be?”
“Eighteen,” Heidy lifted a hand and ran it through her golden blonde hair. “It’ll be just like Meereen. Watch out for the Sons of the Harpy.”
Esi frowned some more and slowly shook her head. Sometimes she was just confused with the obscure references Heidy was so fond of.
With just 3 Tactical consoles, the Pathfinder is at a disadvantage right out of the gate when compared to the T5U Luna. In fact, the Luna turns faster than the Pathfinder (13 vs 12); otherwise hull, shield modifiers, turn rate, bonus power are practically identical between the two ships. The only real advantage of the Pathfinder is the Boff seats: like all T6 ships it has one extra Boff abilitiy slot, plus the seating is far more flexible with an Engineering/Intelligence Lt. and a universal Lt. The other “advantage” is pure aesthetics: the Pathfinder bundle comes with the Voyager interiors, and these are really pretty compared to the Opera Houses of the standard starship interiors.
I have essentially ported over the bulk of the Inquest’s gear over to the Cassini, but there have been some changes since I posted my build for the Inquest. The major changes are:
- The Cassini is not a broadsiding beamboat like the Inquest. With the loss of a tactical console I thought to boost her weapon damage by switching to a pair of DBB’s up front. The last forward weapon slot is occupied by the Quantum Phaser Beam (see below). In the rear weapon slots, the KCB is now joined by a crafted Omni-directional beam array, as well as a back-firing Quantum Phase Torpedo.
- The Quantum Phaser Beam and Phase Torpedo are parts of the Quantum Phase Catalyst set, which also include a special console. This still works with the way I play Heidy’s ships (shield strip, turn about to fire off a torpedo spread). This set boosts Phaser damage, which is the damage type that Heidy has always run.
- The old MACO space set has been replaced by the Quantum Phase Applications set. The Quantum set is not ideal for most toons, but it greatly benefits a Part-Gen/Exotic Damage Science build. The shield in particular has the ability to trigger heals based on certain Science skills; together with a Deteriorating Secondary Deflector, skills like Tachyon Beam and Energy Siphon can potentially proc multiple benefits.
- I’m keeping Tachyon Beam and Energy Siphon for the reason above — in addition to draining enemy power to boost my own, those two abilities are used to trigger the Shield and Secondary Deflector procs. Tyken’s Rift has long been dropped and replaced by a Gravity Well I — if the two didn’t share a common cooldown I might keep the Rift, but right now the second GW is far more useful (her primary is a Gravity Well III).
- Swapped in three Plasma-Generating Embassy consoles. Helps a bit with the Deeps.
I am still gauging the ship’s performance as I go. Because of the long CDs on some of the big-hitting Sci abilities (Gravity Wells and TBR, as well as the Refracting Tetryon Cascade) I have a bad habit of “saving up”, but when I throw caution to the winds and unleash everything, the ship can wipe out a wing of Borg in Red Alerts in a few seconds. The downside is once her full fury has been unleashed, this ship needs 10-15 seconds to properly cool down for another big spike. She’ll never win a DPS race, but she does have excellent crowd-control abilities.
The airlocks had been fitted with boarding ramps to bridge the two ships, and today they were busy traffic hubs. Even though they were the captain and first officer respectively, Heidy and Esi still stood aside and let several crew pass as they moved a particular unwieldy piece of equipment down the hallway.
“Do we really still need that?” Heidy asked Esi half-heartedly as they resumed their steps towards the main airlock. “The spectro-analysis module is so old only my great-grandmother knows how to operate it.”
“Commander Landon insisted.” Esi shrugged. “Speak of the Devil.”
Just ahead, to the side of the busy airlock, was the old Scottish science officer himself. Next to Landon was Lt. Kenneth Sane, Heidy’s Chief Tactical Officer and son of her mentor, ex-Captain Abena Sane. They made quite a pair: Landon was tall, big, a rough-and-gruff Scottish elder, and the frowning, lean, wiry, dark-skinned M.A.C.O. from Kenya. It was the former who spotted Heidy and Esi’s arrival.
“Miss von Bach. Miss Falana. Wonderful day for a move, eh?” He greeted merrily. Esi frowned, but Heidy grinned. The Scotsman was doing it on purpose, as always, addressing them without using their ranks; Esi hated it, and Heidy wouldn’t let anyone do it except for Landon.
“Seeing how none of us is doing the heavy lifting, I can’t complain.” Heidy and Esi stopped before the other two. “Mr. Landon, I hope you’re not planning to take all the old junk with you to the new ship. The Cassini has the latest sensors built-in, AND a state-of-the-art Mk 44 M.A.Pvz Deflector array bundle; I’m sure it can do everything we need it to do without all the add-ons we accumulated over the years. But… you should go through our current modification upgrades and try to integrate as many of them as possible.”
“Aye, I was just going over the design specifications of the Secondary Deflector Array earlier,” Landon nodded thoughtfully as he stroked his bearded chin. “That will require a lot of tinkering to get it up to snuff.”
“Well it’s a three-year trip. Lots of time for tinkering.” Heidy retorted lightly, then turned her attention to the silent Sane. “Kenny, we will be picking up a Romulan exchange officer at DS9… Subcommander Timaaj. He was the chief tactical officer of the Republic Warbird D’Awran; I’m told he’s so efficient he makes Vulcans cry. You’re going to play host to our Romulan friend; and you will play nice.”
Sane groaned audibly. He’s always been a military tough guy; playing host to a Romulan was not his idea of a good time. Heidy knew it, and therefore found it amusing. Still, he nodded his acknowledgement. “Understood, captain. Can you at least not call me ‘Kenny’ in front of the Romulan?”
Heidy merely shrugged both shoulders. “That’s your name, isn’t it?” Esi rolled her eyes, and Landon chuckled.
“I’d prefer Lt. Commander Sane,” He grumbled. “Mister Sane if you must.”
“Tell you what, I’ll call you Grey Worm.” The blonde captain singsonged and beamed.
“What the hell is a Grey Worm?” Sane frowned, clearly not amused. He was also confused, and exchanged uncertain looks with Esi.
“You know, Grey Worm, the head warrior of my entourage,” Heidy continued without a beat. “That makes you, Mr. Landon, my Ser Barristan, and you, Esi, my Missandei. You all know what that makes me, right?”
Landon guffawed at that and shook his head. “Are you quoting some ancient literature again?”
“Honestly, you people need to step away from the computer and read a book some time,” Heidy faux-snorted, and started to walk away from the group. “Because I’m the kind-spirited, lenient sort of captain, I’ll make it optional — but from now on you’re all free to address me as Khaleesi von Bach. Good? Good.”
Then Heidy was off, leaving her three senior officers baffled and confused.