Part of USS Cygnus: A Failure to Communicate

Ascension’s Descent

USS Ascension
Four weeks ago
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Erik Larsen sat up, choking on the acrid smoke that filled his lungs. He had been shaken back into consciousness by the rumbling of another explosion; mercifully, this one was further away than the one that had disabled the Ascension. He tried to stand, but his balance was severely compromised, and his vision was blurred. Instead, Erik paused and tried to remember what had occurred an indeterminate amount of time ago.

Ascension had been en route to training exercises with the remainder of the Fleet when a coolant failure in the secondary computer core had initiated a cascade failure. At first, Erik believed that they could contain the overload…but it had quickly spread, causing a large explosion that had knocked the ship out of warp and disabled main power. As his vision began to clear, Erik saw that the bridge was in flames and the emergency lighting cast an ominous red glow onto everything. He found the strength to stand, using the chair from Science I for support.

”Damage report!” he called out to nobody in particular.

Andy was still among the land of the living, just crumpled on the floor, the weave of the carpet rough against her cheek. Someone helped her to her feet slowly, waving them away, she looked at her console, gripping it tightly for extra support. Her uniform wrinkled, her hair bun had come partially undone. The readings were grim, red and black lozenges everywhere. 

“Main power and engines offline. Damage control reports fires on decks 15, 16, and 20. Residual power surge on interior surfaces throughout the ship. Casualties on on all decks. Auxiliary power is at 57 percent and falling. And one of the computer cores has suffered terminal fragmentation.” Andy coughed from the acrid smoke of nearby fires. Shiny space age materials were still flammable.  The emergency lighting gave her a deep red tan that made her looked like hel..

“But the warp core containment is stable as is life support. For now, sir.”

”Thank you, Ms. Robinson,” said Erik after another minor coughing fit. It appeared that he and Andy were the only Bridge crew that were not incapacitated…or dead. Erik knelt down next to E’Lor and checked her pulse; it was weak, but steady. The Klingon in her was probably what was keeping her alive. 

In the middle of the bridge, where the Command Chair has once been, stood only a pile of rubble. One of the support beams had collapsed. Jordyn was under there…but right now, Erik needed to prioritize the hundreds of lives remaining on the Ascension. Grief would have to wait. A classic case of the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. He returned to his duty station and examined the status board himself. Subspace communications were still online, but with the power surges and fluctuations in auxiliary power, heaven only knew for how long. Erik accessed the transciever array and spoke.

”This is the USS Ascension to any vessels within range,” he began. “We have suffered a major systems failure and require immediate assistance. Repeat, this is USS Ascension calling for immediate assistance from any vessels within range.” Erik programmed the message for automatic repeat every fifteen seconds…and prayed to God that somebody responded soon. 

Erik turned back toward the Ops console and took a few steps forward. “Robinson, it looks like its up to us to keep things running until help arrives. I need you to be up to the task.”

Andy’s eyes were wide, her pupils fixed as she stared at science officer outlining the gravity of their situation. Her hands and fingers gripped the console edges hard, giving her something hard and solid to hold on to.

“I’ll try.” what else could she say? Her throat felt parched like she was on a hike in the dunes back home and had run out of water. “Sir.”

Erik gave the younger woman a smile that he hoped was reassuring. “You’ll do fine, Ensign.” He stood up as straight as possible, pulling down the front of his uniform tunic  “Computer, this is the Chief Science Officer. Authorization code Larsen four six delta victor. Recognize.”

Voice print recognized,” stated the Computer in its cool, vaguely feminine monotone.

“I am assuming command of this vessel as of this moment as per Starfleet Regulation 19, Section C. Verify.”

The Computer chirped loudly. “Confirmed. Access to Command Functions granted.”

Peachy. Now all he had to do was not screw it up by getting the crew killed.

Andy swallowed hard and wiped her hands on her trousers to get rid of the sweat. “Okay.  Everything’s fine.” her voice betrayed her true feelings in the moment.

 

Lieutenant Commander Erik Larsen

USS Cygnus, Executive Officer

 

Ensign Andy Robinson

USS Cygnus, Assistant Chief Operations Officer