BETAZED — Following a year-long investigation after the SS Atlantic suffered a near-disastrous failure, passenger travel using the quantum slipstream drive took off again with the launch of the transport Andorian Rose.
“After the captain announced we’d entered slipstream, the whole crowd that had gathered in the dining hall began cheering,” said passenger Haiirt Tuno, an executive at Diamond Tech who was aboard the Betazed to Bolarus voyage on his way to a trade show. “They even had confetti and champagne ready.”
The first commercial transport to employ the cutting edge technology was the SS Atlantic, which had launched last year with a highly promoted media campaign by her operator, Starlight Transport. Ultimately, the publicity backfired when the Atlantic ran into trouble on her third voyage, the quantum slipstream collapsing a few hours into the trip.
Fortunately, there were no casualties thanks to the quick actions by the Atlantic crew, but the Federation Transportation Bureau grounded the remaining quantum slipstream transports until the cause of the failure could be determined. Starlight Transport’s fortunes were further devastated by the Federation Transport Union strike that kept the rest of their fleet docked instead of flying.
The results of the FTB’s investigation released earlier this year found that insufficient training was to blame for the accident. The FTB recommended additional instruction and training hours be invested into all quantum slipstream drive operating crews.
Alan Ferres, the CEO of Alpha Starlines, which operates the 2,000-passenger Andorian Rose, was quick to point out to reporters that Alpha crew members had not only met the FTB’s recommended training hours but exceeded them.
“If you look at what the FTB said all quantum slipstream crews need, we set our own standards at double that,” said Ferres from the forward observation lounge of the Andorian Rose. “Furthermore, all quantum slipstream crews in our fleet have had years of experience on our standard warp transports.”
By cutting travel times across the Federation from weeks to days or even hours between major hubs, quantum slipstream travel promises to revolutionize transportation and trade. In addition to Alpha Starlines, Unity Transport, Red Carrier, and ShiKahr Starlines have also announced that their own quantum slipstream fleets will begin serving passengers this week, with Unity’s Charles Lindbergh set to disembark tomorrow from Vulcan for Ramatis III.
“I have to admit, I was a little nervous, but it’s been a pretty smooth ride so far,” said Tuno as he looked out of his cabin’s porthole at the dazzling lights of the slipstream. “As someone who doesn’t get impressed easily, 300 light years an hour is still pretty damn impressive.”
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