Deep within the USS Hydra, Lieutenant Commander Brak and Lieutenant T’Rel each stood on opposing sides of the Master Engineering Console that sat in the center of the Main Engineering compartment. The pair were engrossed in reviewing data they had been forwarded regarding the Paulson Nebula’s ion storm activity, as well as the proposed methods of mitigating the damage the storms were noted to cause on unprepared vessels. The ship’s computer had been running simulations for well over an hour, and few of them showed much in the way of promise.
“I don’t like this,” Brak grumbled from his side of the console, “Most of the projections say we’re nothing more than an iron rod waiting for a lightning strike. Half the viable attenuations of the shields just make it worse rather than better.”
“Indeed,” T’Rel agreed, his brow furrowed slightly as he considered the information the computer had provided, “It would appear that our ship’s capabilities in combat have a severe drawback when it comes to weathering an ion storm surge. We would very likely need to completely reconfigure the shield generators to operate at a much lower output frequency to avoid them assisting in our destruction.”
“We don’t have that kind of time. We’re already halfway to the Nebula as it is, and once we do arrive, depending on what we find there, having weak shields will do us more harm than good in a fight,” the Tellarite pointed out with a sour look on his face.
“Our situation is indeed a tenuous one, given that we have very little information from which to draw from and rely upon. I have been able to confirm that other colonies have fallen out of communication with the Federation during this surge in storm activity. It may be that the level of development on the surface has yet to reach a point where their communications network is stable enough to transmit without interference,” the Vulcan pointed out.
“Would seem a whole lot more likely than us finding ourselves in the middle of a conflict,” Brak grunted.
“Perhaps our focus should be on developing ways to assist the colonists in protecting what they have already built on the surface from the storm’s incursion. I recall that there were devices that had been designed with that in mind,” T’Rel remarked, pulling up the files in question.
“What about contingency plans for us? Helping the people on the ground is all well and good, but it won’t do anyone any favors if we’re the unlucky ones that get hit and need to be saved,” the Tellarite remarked soberly.
“That would not be optimal, no…” the Vulcan said, withdrawing into his thoughts as he contemplated how best to tackle the issue at hand.
“How about we split the difference? You take a couple of my boys with you and work on setting up these dampeners or whatever they are, and I’ll grab some of your folks and put them to work figuring out what we can reasonably do in case we get caught without a way out. No sense in us wasting any more time than we have already,” Brak suggested.
“A prudent suggestion, Commander,” the Vulcan nodded, “I believe that will be the best delegation of resources and time. Shall we present our results to the Captain before we reach the colony?”
“Might as well,” the engineer shrugged, “I’m sure he won’t hate having more than one option open to him when the time comes to act.”
“Indeed. I will get to work in my own department and leave you to yours,” T’Rel said, giving the Tellarite a curt nod before heading out.
Meanwhile, in the Hydra’s Sickbay, Lieutenant Commander Tal was getting the medical staff ready to tackle anything that might be waiting for them. His staff was standing around him in a semi-circle as he relayed to them what the expectation was for their department once they arrived.
“We’ve been tasked with preparing for a mass casualty scenario when we get to the Lambda Puppis colony. The planet has been out of comms with the Federation for some time now, and there is a suspicion that something might have happened to the people on the ground. In the briefing the theory was that it might be raiders that have been active in other regions of the Paulson Nebula, but that very well might not be the case. Since we don’t have the luxury of knowing what’s actually going on, we’re going to have to plan for every possible medical emergency a burgeoning colony might encounter,” the Bajoran relayed to his staff.
“Should we make arrangements to deal with things like a pandemic or some manner of mass poisoning?” one of the nurses inquired.
“I think that wouldn’t be a terrible thing to look into having ample supplies on hand to combat,” Tal nodded in response.
“What about natural disaster aid? Should we look at gathering emergency rations in case their food supplies have been somehow cut off?” one of the physicians spoke up.
“Another good idea,” the Commander nodded, “The colony supposedly only has a few hundred people, so we shouldn’t need to replicate a whole lot of emergency rations to supplement what we already have on hand, but I’d say that’s another good area to focus on.”
“I heard the Paulson Nebula was experiencing some kind of freak storm activity,” one of the corpsmen offered, “Maybe instead of an attack, the planet was hit by some kind of electrical storm. Shouldn’t we think about ways to treat plasma burns in a large population?”
“Absolutely,” Tal said, looking at the corpsman, “We don’t have a lot of time to work on this, but these are all suggestions that could help us combat whatever it is we will actually be facing once we’re in orbit. Take the ideas your peers have been floating around just now and do what you can to act on them. If anyone comes up with something in the time between now and our arrival, act on your own initiative. Right now we can only be lazy with our preparations, which means we may still have to scramble even with all the good ideas people have already come up with. Do the best you can, people.”