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Saturday, May 27

Returning Our Dolphins To Earth

The Enterprise left Vega yesterday, and is currently en route to Earth. This is the first time that the Enterprise will be returning to Earth since it was launched two years ago. Many among our crew and civilian population are looking forward to visiting with their families for the first time since 2363.

Of course, family visits aren't our primary reason for returning to Earth. Starfleet has decided that Galaxy-class ships will no longer carry dolphins and other aquatic mammals. The first four Galaxy starships were designed with large aquatic tanks on the lower decks of the saucer section. This was a deep space experiment that has been largely unsuccessful. Dolphins just aren't beneficial to our exploratory missions, and maintaining massive aquatic tanks on a starship has proven to be an engineering nightmare.

We are returning to Earth to offload our manifest of dolphins, return them to Earth's oceans, drain the Enterprise aquatic tanks, and undergo some minor modifications to re-purpose those empty tanks for other uses. The goal is to convert those empty tanks into operational bays for Marine use, security training bays, and other shipboard events.

The two remaining Galaxy-class ships launched before the Enterprise (the USS Galaxy and the USS Challenger) have already undergone this conversion. The Enterprise is the last Starfleet vessel carrying aquatic mammal tanks. All Galaxy-class vessels launched after the Enterprise (or still under construction) have been designed without aquatic tanks.

Our ETA to Earth is still about seven days away -- at warp eight. Vega is located 22 light years from Earth. We should be arriving in Earth orbit sometime next Saturday (June 3).

-Lieutenant Sam Archer

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