Throughout the night and most of the morning of the anniversary day, personnel finished moving themselves and supplies into the USSF Enterprise. Shortly 1200 hours Sol Standard Time on April 2, 2099, the USSF Enterprise disengaged the space docks with the USSF Europa and began its historic journey.
While the ship only needed a crew of five hundred, five thousand people would make the trip. The ship was easily capable of holding that many. The extra people would be scientist, MLS engineers, Marines, and IE (Initial Encounter) personnel that would be needed to cover any contingency they may encounter.
When the MLS drive was initiated, a slight tug was felt by all as the anti-gravity systems adjusted to the sudden change in speed, but it was nothing to be concerned about. They would run the MLS drive for one hour, shutdown the system, take measurements and then reengage the MLS drive for two hours, then three hours.
After each shutdown, they would make full systems checks and location measurements. If everything was going well after the third time, they would stay engage until they reached Alpha Centauri.
After the 1800 hour MLS shutdown and check, everything was working well. The MLS drive was reengaged and Captain Park put the ship on skeleton crew for the next few days so that people could recover from the hectic schedule they were on getting the ship ready.
Admiral Westing had brought refreshments for a celebration and the party began around 2000 hours. Yu-na and Kyle were able to spend more time with each other at that party than they had the entire month of March.
Since he was the first officer, he would go back on the day shift with Yu-na and night shift command would be used to help train the lower ranking command officers. They talked most of the night and really started to appreciate each other more closely.
Yu-na had put everyone on six hour shifts for now, so they parted around 0400 hours. They got some sleep and came in at the Noon shift.
After the first few days at MLS speed, everyone started to get into a routine and would do what they could to prepare for the rest of the trip. Admiral Westing had authorized a speed of 60c, in order to get there in about twenty-eight days, instead of the planned speed of 25c.
They hoped that the new engines were built to specs and wouldn’t give them any problems. Maximum speed had been theorized at 70c with the shielding available. But they were able to get a new more powerful AG-Mod version.
Engineers onboard were working on the math to determine the new maximum MLS speed they could attain. With full power applied to the MLS drive, 512c was possible for a .5c engine. But AG-Mod shielding was always the limiting factor.
The first week had passed and everyone was doing well. Most people had little trouble spending a week or two in space with luxuries provided in cruise ships, but the USSF Enterprise was no cruise ship.
Everyone was on food rations and some of the conference rooms were converted into break rooms. Gyms and hydroponics gardens were available and were readily used by all. Captain Yu-na Park put everyone back on eight hour shifts after a few days, but some worked longer to kill time.
Yu-na and Kyle met in a gym every morning after breakfast. Yu-na and Major Masterson would hold a martial arts class every evening. The ship computer had every book and video known to humanity in its database, so people could read or watch them on their Comp-Pad or in groups in the conference rooms.
The first and second week had come and gone and the ship was holding up well, the MLS drive was showing no signs of stress. The people were getting restless, so they would work or engage in recreation a little harder than they would have under normal circumstances.
Since they were between solar systems, not much was happening that needed attention. Kyle and Yu-na would get together most of their off duty time together talking, reading or watching videos. They knew they were falling in love with each other but they also knew they had to keep some distance as Captain and First-Officer.
Although fraternization was not a problem in the service any longer, it still wouldn’t be professional for those in charge to outwardly express their feelings for each other in public. So they spent most of their off duty time away from the public eye.
Those closest to Kyle and Yu-na knew of the growing feelings between them and were supportive for the most part. However, Major Andrew Masterson had a big problem with it and would frequently confront Yu-na about his concerns.
He didn’t like Kyle Denton because of his supposed lack of discipline and easy going attitude. So he tried all he could to convince Yu-na to abandon her feelings for him. But she would not budge. Andrew had kept his feelings for Yu-na to himself, but he found a way to challenged Kyle to a martial arts competition.
During that competition, he woefully underestimated Kyle’s abilities to resolve any problem he faced. Kyle defeated him even though he was not as advanced in skills as Andrew was. That defeat gave Andrew Masterson a grudging respect for Kyle Denton. He finally let go of his issues and tabled his hidden feelings for Yu-na as they approached Alpha Centauri.
Midway through week three, the MLS drive went offline and the ship came to a stop to fix the problem. Captain Park and Commander Denton worked with engineering to get the problem resolved. Some of the calculations within the hyper-light mathematics had small errors that threw off the system.
So the ship’s main computer took the MLS computer offline until this was resolved. The ship’s main computer, called Ent-Com, (short for Main Enterprise Computer), would not allow the MLS computer to adjust to the errors until human intervention fixed them.
Although Danni Stratton, who created hyper-light mathematics along with her brother Curtis, was aboard the Enterprise, they had trouble resolving the errors. This delayed the trip for two days as Danni, Kyle and Yu-na, along with the MLS engineers, worked day and night to resolve and implement a correction.
It wasn’t until Kyle Denton, who to everyone’s surprise had a Doctorate’s Degree in Hyper-Light Mathematics, made an intuitive leap to come up with the answer to the problem. Once the correction was implemented, Ent-Com released the MLS computer to go back online. The USSF Enterprise was on its way again at MLS speed for the next week and a half.
Finally, after thirty days, the USSF Enterprise entered the Alpha Centauri system. The MLS drive was taken offline near one of the stars and they continued to the fifth planet at .5c speed. Shortly before entering the system, activity on the ship increased significantly.
Sensors had indicated multiple ships orbiting, along with facilities being built on the fifth planet, named Centauri-5. This meant that intelligent life did exist elsewhere in the galaxy and that they were about to meet them.
Ever since they left their own system the linguistics scientist had been working on translating the language of the communications that they were receiving. They had entered that translation into Translator Computer (Trans-Comp) earpieces so that when talking to these aliens, they could understand them.
The Trans-Comp could also be given to the aliens so that they could understand us if needed. The Trans-Comp had speaker capability in case the aliens couldn’t use the earpieces. But judging from the sensors they wouldn’t need them. These aliens were very advanced in their technology and would have their own translator devices.
Admiral Westing ordered that a welcome message in their language be transmitted as soon as they came out of MLS speed to show our friendly intentions. Since this was the first time humanity met ET, no one knew for sure what would be considered friendly and what would be hostile. So they hoped for the best.