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Part of USS Mariner: M3: Let Loose the Beast of War and Bravo Fleet: Labyrinth

7) Reality is not kind

USS Mariner - Engineering
September 2401
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Sparking consoles, panels, and relays were lighting up the dimmed Engineering. Groaning sounds of pain and confusion as the flickering red light illuminated the area. In a matter of a few minutes, the situation changed from a calming mission to a living hell. A piece of wall was pushed aside as Varujan coughed from behind it. His cybernetic arm played in his favor, or he wouldn't be able to move the debris. His vision was blurry at best as it slowly recovered from what the damage was around him. His eyes looked up at the red shimmering lights going on and off as it became clear by the second. He let his head rest briefly on the back of the wall where he had been slammed into when the event, whatever it was, happened. 

“Anyone status report, name, and injury!” A familiar voice rose from the eerie silence. 

Ensign Kaasar, wrist broken, deep cut on arm.” 

Lieutenant Claov, iron pin in my foot, but functional.

“Ensign Cho cut on the side of my jaw, but I survived.” 

Varujan looked at his side and saw Keeyiro on her feet. The young ensign had been assigned to Engineering for a learning curve of experiencing life in the ship's beating heart. He shrugged. “Lieutenant Istrati got no visible damage as my cybernetic arm was able to protect against the collapsing ceiling.” He pushed himself off the ground and looked around, seeing the severity of the damage more clearly; whatever hit them was a bad hit, and his eyes stopped at Valerio, who was not looking great. “Chief, you need medical attention… Ensign Cho, get the medical kit." 

Leaning against the console, Adrián looked in the direction of his assistant Varujan and felt the blood slowly seeping past his back where his uniform was ripped partly. He had bravely shielded a young Ensign from the incoming debris and took the heavy beating for it. He nodded and looked at the console. “Get me a status update now….Claov focuses on the wounded, gets in contact with medical and requests support from them. Istrati got that report for me.” He was breathing heavily, knowing that the puncture on his back had reached his lung.

The young Asian Ensign stopped at Adrián's side and opened the medical kit, starting the work on the Chief's back. “This is going to sting a bit…” Hearing Adrián growl, even Keeyiro did not fully understand the situation in the last fifteen minutes. 

“The damage report is pouring in. The warp engine is severely damaged, and there is no response from the right warpcell. Collapsed decks from two to seven. The upper decks got hit badly, and the bridge… unresponsive. Communication is down, getting static." Varujan shrugged at the information. They were dead in the water, and it was unclear how much more damage was lurking about. 

The trill shrugged from his console, working with one hand. “Confirmed communications are down, trying to bypass and restore what relays are not damaged using those as hubs.” Kaasar was conflicted and emotional, trying to ignore the groans of other officers on the ground in pain. He didn't want to know the status of the rest of the ship. 

That was not the news Adrián hoped for as he felt the pain slowly fading and his breathing recovering, “That will do, Ensign. Help Lieutenant Claov with the wounded,” Giving a brief nod to Keeyiro and seeing his console jumpstart now on “Istrati, help Ensign Kaasar and get an additional contact to all engineering officers to give a brief status update on their section. Further orders will go down the pipe, but stabilizing the Mariner is priority right now” His mind went to the bridge, was Sazra alright? Seeing the data pouring in, the bridge was in the given area of the impact. 

“Aye, sir,” Varujan replied, walking to Kaasar and giving the required assistance with communications. It was more of a complex puzzle than he would have expected. The damage had surged throughout the ship and taken a lot down, more than he was willing to admit. 

It felt like an eternity, but Adrián finally heard the report that the communication was reaching out to the desired parties, not everyone, but it was a beginning. The damage reports were floating into his console, and the ship was much worse than he had hoped. “Nothing beats Damascus damage….” Adrián mutters as he is reminded of the severity and damage that had taken a toll on the former Grissom-class ship.

“Communications with Medical is active, their systems are barely operational, and wounded are pouring in there,” Ensign Kaasar confirmed the incoming transmission. “They request that only the severely wounded be sent to the sickbay. Everyone with light injuries should use the medical kit as best as possible” 

Varujan followed up, “Our Officers are reporting in. They are sending in the reports of their section and confirming that Mariner is in a rough spot.” 

Giving a nod to his right hand, Adrián said, “Let's focus on getting a priority list on the go. Focus on what needs fixing first. Has anyone got any message from the bridge yet or any of the command team?” Adrián felt like he was asking the forbidden question in the given situation.

Ensign Kaasar shook his head. “The diverted relays have not reached the bridge yet. The command has not sent any word to us or to sickbay.” The young Trill's voice was filled with worry. 

A quietness hit the room, cracking metal sounds and sparking from the console that broke down. “If we….lost the command team. That would mean…” Varujan broke the silence as he looked at Adrián who was leaning on the console staring at it “…you would be the next in command sir” 

Chilling ice went down his spine; Sazra, Silina, K'Nala….if they were truly gone, the reality was right there. He would have to assume command. Adrián sighed. “Yes, I am well aware of the weight of the situation. But let us focus on the now and worry about the rest as we go on. We are engineers….not medics. Ensign Cho, Kaasar, transport the severely injured to sickbay….get me a path there. Lieutenant Istrati, help me get this priority list out so our engineers can get to work”


  • That last three paragraphs are like a sledgehammer slamming all the other good stuff together in a monster of a story sandwich - there's the chaos of the ship damaged, the injuries from severe to simple, and now the possibility of the command crew being either critically injured or even gone? Damn! That lower-deck possibility of having to take command is always there, but you lean right into it with just a topper on a good story. I can't decide what I think happened, so I'll let you tell the story from here and see if I was right or wrong. Looking forward to more!

    June 17, 2024
  • There is a real sense of the damage and chaos aboard the Mariner and the plight of her crew. The worry you've created in not knowing who might of made it and who hasn't. That is one wreaked ship they've got there; what's holding it all together?

    June 17, 2024
  • This was a huge rollercoaster of events especially the fact that you just really slammed the nail into the coffin through the chair of the damaged ship, the injured crew, and the unknown of the command crew. Dang its all just culminating into an atomic bomb and its going to explode into something that will spread! I can't wait to see more!

    June 18, 2024
  • Dang, your story is intense! The chaos in Engineering, Varujan using his cybernetic arm, Adrián leading the team despite his injuries—it's gripping stuff. The dialogue between the crew really brings it to life, showing their determination and the gravity of the situation. Finally that uncertainty about the command team's fate? It's got me hooked. Can't wait to read how they pull through this!

    June 19, 2024
  • This chapter does an incredible job of plunging the reader right into the heart of the chaos in Engineering. You can almost feel the heat from the sparking consoles and hear the groans of the injured crew. It all certainly drew me in, enough to get grouchy at being interrupted while reading 🤣 The quick roll call and injury reports provide a concise picture of the crew's status, making the situation feel very real and urgent. Adrián's leadership shines through despite his serious injuries. His dedication to keeping the crew focused on the mission is admirable. You can really feel the weight on his shoulders, especially when he realizes he might have to step into a command role if the worst has happened to the bridge crew. I hope nothing…terminal…happened to them! I'm already attached to K’Nala! Overall, this chapter is packed with tension, action, and character development. Great job keeping the stakes high and the narrative engaging. I can't wait to read more! 😸

    June 24, 2024
  • I adore the chaos of this scene, and how the characters manage/ try to manage keeping their composure in such a setting. With the damage done to the ship, there is a palatable sense of danger which is so incredibly important in crafting such a scene and having characters react in a realistic manner. Great job on this one!

    July 12, 2024