The conference room aboard the USS Hydra was abuzz with activity as the Senior Staff discussed the situation that had brought them into the space. The return of the ship’s First Officer and Chief Engineer had sparked the need for a meeting, and the ensuing descent into chaos was a result of their report. Most of the information on their current situation had been relayed by Commander Yuri, as she had been the one to work with the scientists on the surface to piece together the projections they had come up with at the beginning of the storm. Lieutenant Commander Brak had provided insight into the conditions of the bunker facility, which had been able to weather the storm rather admirably despite the damage to the colony above.
“Why don’t we simply leave the nebula while we have the chance?” Lieutenant Nieru asked, bringing the din of conversation to a halt.
“If we’d left a few hours ago, we could have made it,” Brak grunted from his seat, “But even pushing our engines harder than they’re rated for, we’d only manage to get caught up in the resurgence they’re predicting at the border. If we aren’t outright destroyed by it, we’d be crippled so badly that life support would give out before anyone could find us.”
“Then we must weather the storm here,” Lieutenant T’Rel said flatly.
“We’ve already explored that option,” the engineer turned to the Vulcan, “Trying to hunker down here in orbit will do us just as little good as the ships that got caught in it before.”
“Weren’t those ships old vessels with weak shields?” the Saurian asked.
“That they were. But being a new ship with overpowered shields doesn’t help us any better. The ion density numbers they managed to collect during the storm before their observation posts burned out suggest that our combat ready equipment would light up faster than if we were working with third rate equipment,” the Tellarite responded with a sour look.
“So we can’t run and we can’t weather the storm out here…” Captain Bastin said with a sigh, “What other options do we realistically have?”
“Take shelter,” Cmdr. Yuri said after a brief pause.
“Where could we take shelter?” Bastin asked, perplexed by his First Officer’s utterance.
“Mister Brak, those dampening fields you set up. Could they be used to set up a picket line around… say… the harbor?” Yuri ignored the Captain’s question to ask one of her own.
“What? You mean put up a ring of them around where we might set the ship down?” the engineer asked, already mulling the idea over in his head.
“That’s it exactly,” the woman nodded vigorously, “We could set up a sort of bunker of our own on the surface, and use it to keep the ship from taking the brunt of the ionic discharges.”
The Tellarite started to object to the idea, but stopped in mid-breath when he realized the idea wasn’t nearly as crazy as it sounded. He sank back into thought for a moment before taking up the PaDD that was sitting in front of him, working out some of the numbers he wasn’t able to in his head. A few tense moments passed, the entire room focused on the facial twitches and grunts issuing from the man.
“That can work…” he declared in a quiet voice before looking up, “It could work! There’s a harbor adjacent to the colony that has a rather convenient sheltered inlet. The ship would just barely fit, and we might knock a few boulders off doing it, but it’d work. We’d need the ship on the surface anyway, to replicate all the parts we need for the dampeners, but we’d have just enough time to make it happen before the storm came ripping through the system if we got to work within the hour.”
The eyes of the room shifted from the engineer to the Captain, who seemed just as impressed with the plan as everyone else had been. Landing a vessel that hadn’t been designed to do so was no small feat, but with little in the way of options and time being the greatest enemy of them all, rolling the dice was far more preferable to certain doom.
“Make the necessary preparations for landing the Hydra on the surface. Once you’re ready, I’ll take her down myself,” Bastin said after giving the plan all due consideration.
“Yourself?” Cmdr. Yuri asked with no small hint of skepticism in her voice.
“I took flight control as my Academy minor and I still keep up with it,” Bastin said with a smirk, “Besides, I would rather something go wrong while I’m behind the console so I can react right then rather than having to hope that our CONN officers have brushed up on their planetary descent qualifications.”
“Fair enough…” the First Officer muttered with a shrug, “Let’s get to work then, people.”
The Senior Staff hurried to their feet, filing out of the room to carry out the task of getting the ship ready to make planetfall. Once the room was empty save for the Captain and First Officer, Bastin turned to the woman with his arms folded in front of him.
“Do you think this will really work, Rena?” the man asked.
The question caught Yuri off guard and it took her a few moments to formulate a response. There had been a few instances when they had had conversations similar to the one they were now engaged in, and each time it hadn’t come from a place of doubt in judgment so much as a place of uncertainty in the odds actually being just high enough that success wasn’t an immediate impossibility.
“I don’t honestly know how it’s going to pan out, Jon, but it’s the best out of all the options that are already destined to end in the destruction of the ship. We at least know that the shelter on the surface can withstand the storm surges even without our intervention. Even if the dampening field doesn’t work as intended, we can always evacuate the crew into the bunker facility and wait out the storm. This gives us the highest chance for survival, even if it’s a huge gamble,” Yuri admitted with a resigned tone.
Bastin nodded and let out a long breath, “I suppose that’ll have to be good enough. Let’s get to work, Commander.”