Part of USS Denver: Mission 1: Flight of the Valkyries

Engineer, Heal Thyself

Main Engineering
May 6 2374 20:30
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Crewman Aoife Mckenzie yawned and rubbed the sleep from her eyes.  The ship was a mess no doubt about it, and they had a long road of repairs ahead of them, especially with the saucer section being completely uninhabitable. But one thing wasn’t their problem.  Deck 5 was beyond their ability to repair and that was one less thing to do.

As for herself… She was alive and upright.   That was about all the good she could say about the situation.  She had a rather deep cut over her right eye.  It wasn’t bleeding,  but it stung something fierce,  and she was pretty sure her right collar bone was broken.  She had fashioned a sling using the outer part of her uniform jacket,  and without it the pain was unbearable.

The coffee pot was boiling cheerfully on top of the survival camp stove.  She filled two cups with the black-brown liquid and approached Lt. Commander Lovecroft. He was hunched over a console and looked as tired as she felt. “Here you go, sir.”

Burkely accepted the mug from Aoife and took a hard draw from it, “Thank your crewman.”

Looking around he pulled out a flask, not that it really mattered much, and tipped its contents into the mug. He looked at Aoife and offered her the flask.

“It will help with the pain, and dull the senses some,” he stated as he continued to hold the flask out for her.

Aoife took the liquor sniffed it, and dumped it into her own cup, “I spent two years at the Academy before the war started,” she said, “My eighteen-year-old self would have never in her wildest dreams expected to be in a war let alone stranded on a half-dead ship stranded light-years from home.”

She absently handed the flask back to Burkely and sighed,  “When the war broke out I thought it was my duty to leave the Academy and enlist. We were needed now, not in two years right? I can’t help but wonder if that was a mistake now.”

Burkely slipped the flask back into the inside of his uniform before taking a sip of the spiked coffee. “You know I taught at the Academy,” he stated. He knew he needed to get her thinking about something else, rather than their current situation, for a moment.

She sipped the coffee and for a long moment, she didn’t say anything she just stared down at the dark liquid.  She didn’t like cream or sugar in it.  “You think they will get help?  Commander Cheon and Lieutenant Stephens I mean.  If I know some of the crew there’s already a pool on them making it to call for help and not getting caught by the Dominion.”

Burkely sat there in silence with her. He thought about their chances, both Cheon and Stephens, “If I know Cheon like I do, he didn’t become the Chief Tactical and Security Officer for his charming good looks alone. He is a tactician and one of the most fearless officers I know,” he stated as he looked up at McKenzie, “Trust me they will make it out and if I find out that someone bet against them I personally will make sure that those crew members are reduced in rank and placed in the brig for a month.” His voice was cold as he stated that. 

“This crew has enough on their mind than betting on the odds,” he said as he downed the rest of the now room-temperature coffee.

“Yes sir,” she said.  “You should get some sleep. We already have Commander Talon refusing to leave the battle bridge.  The chain of command needs to still function.  With Commander Kyo off the ship, I think that makes you the second in command.  The damage will still be here in the morning.”

Burkely looked at Aoife for a moment, “Crewmen, you do realize that you just had a bonified brainfart,” he stated as she kept his eyes locked on her’s “After all if it wasn’t for the fact that I value your opinions and wisdom I would have just reprimanded you for that comment, but alas you are correct. A little downtime couldn’t hurt and since I am acting XO I will be needed on the battle bridge more than here which means that you are now acting CEO,” he stated as he patted his sleeve pocket where he had tucked in her badge. He knew she still needed to believe that she earned the promotion and he would give her that time unless circumstances dictated otherwise.

“Brain fart sir?  I don’t believe so.” She frowned looking into her coffee.  “But, are you familiar with the phrase,  ‘physician, heal thyself? You are good to no one dead on your feet, and we need you.  I just graduated from basic a few months ago. I’m not leading an engineering department, let alone coordinating repairs of this magnitude.”

Leaning in close he whispered, “McKenzie, take a hard look around what’s left of Engineering,” he stated as he did the same. Most of what was left of his department were crewmen such as herself. However, none of them had the courage to do what she had done during her academy time, her two years’ worth of time. He knew that about his team, and though he valued each and every one of them, he knew that if push came to shove none of them would step up and take initiative like she had and come up with a plan to do something about their dire situation and the dire situation of the crew.

She shrugged,  “It just seemed logical to suggest that course. Anyone would have came up with it. I was just at the right place at the right time.”

“That is all that it takes sometimes, crewmen,” Lovecroft stated as he turned to exit. He stopped and looked over his shoulder. “Think about what I said just now crewmen.”

Aoife nodded, “I will.”