Part of USS Atlantis: Mission 6: Turbulent Waters and Bravo Fleet: The Stormbreaker Campaign

That bit you won’t like

USS Atlantis
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“So, you’re saying that a CME, six months ago is the cause for the storm to accelerate towards the system? How can a CME make a storm move faster?” Tikva asked after having had to wave her science officer into a seat, then get her to calm down and deliver her report.

“It hasn’t directly made the storm move faster,” Gabrielle reiterated. “The two CMEs in question were powerful. Extremely powerful. Would have caused a crisis months ago if they hit Highcroft or Stormlea powerful. But they didn’t. What they did was basically warp the magnetic bubble of the entire star system, which would have sorted itself out eventually.” She offered her padd once more. “It’s all here. The storm is going to start slowing down as it hits the more recent magnetic field lines, but by then it’ll be too late. Its energy will have been funnelled for the most part straight at Stormlea.”

“And Highcroft?”

Gabrielle shook her head. “Modelling shows it will be absolutely fine even without the umbrella towers. With them operating all they’ll get is some pretty lights in the night sky.”

“What can we do to help Stormlea?” Tikva asked, now concerned that her crew’s efforts the last few days have been made moot by historical events no one even thought about.

“I’ve got the team working on ideas, but I’m just not sure what we can do right now. But we’ve got to get to Stormlea, fast.”

“Agreed Lieutenant. Rrr, tell Velan either he or Maxwell have two minutes to get back to the ship, then we’re out of here. T’Val, set a course for Stormlea, full impulse as soon as it’s confirmed one of those two are aboard ship.”

“Aye ma’am,” came two answers.

“Gabrielle, I need a plan to get Stormlea back within what we thought would happen at a minimum. Whatever you need you can have it, understood?”

“Thank you, ma’am,” Gabrielle replied as she pushed herself up out of the seat. “I’ll have something by the time we get to Stormlea.”

While the trip at impulse would take three hours to complete, thanks to the subspace disruption of the storm preventing the use of the warp drive, it would be less the thirty minutes before Tikva called her senior officers to the conference to discuss the plan that was put before her not just by her Chief Science Officer, but her Assistance Chief Engineer as well.

“Thank you for joining us Doctor Terax,” Tikva greeted the last of their number to join them. “Lieutenants Camargo and Maxwell, the floor is yours.” With that, she turned to face the large monitor opposite the forward-facing windows.

“We’re proposing that we uh, well, we,” Gabrielle started, blushing slightly at the prospect of once again briefing the senior staff. With just a smile and a thumbs up from Tikva however, she straightened her back and started again. “We’re proposing that we take a page from mother nature’s own playbook.”

With a tap of the screen, Gabrielle brought up a simplified diagram consisting of Stormlea, the ion storm, magnetic field lines and the Atlantis itself. “We don’t begin to have the sort of energy a star would have, especially in relation to a CME. But what we do have is excessive energy in a localised form.”

Gérard, with a smile on his face, stepped forward to tap the screen himself, starting an animation. “Gabrielle’s people came up with the idea of releasing warp drive plasma around Stormlea starting about ten light seconds away from the planet in the direction of the storm. Well outside the strongest points of the planetary magnetic field and in space more dominated by the stellar magnetic field. And from what I’ve read basically just outside the puffed-up magnetosphere from the umbrella towers. While it dissipates it’ll basically work diversions into the stellar magnetic field.”

“Which,” Gabrielle took over, “will give the storm an easy path around the planet. Of course, in the face of the full storm this won’t stop it, but it’ll divert a considerable amount of the energy away from Stormlea and back into space on the other side of the planet where it’ll just keep going into the interstellar void.”

“How bad will it be on Stormlea then?” asked Rrr with a rumble in their voice that Tikva was associating more and more with contemplation. Reading him was difficult, so learning inflexions were just as important.

“Instead of the mid category three storm we’re currently predicting, we’re looking at very low two, maybe high one if we’re lucky,” Gabriella admitted. “But Gérard then came up with the other part of the plan. Tell them.”

“We part Atlantis right about here,” he said, dragging the silhouette of the ship into a spot between the storm and Stormlea on the diagram but which both Tikva and T’Val noticed was precariously close to the planet, sharing their concern with a glance at each other, “and fire up the main deflector in a fashion similar to the umbrella towers. With a few simple modifications we turn Atlantis into the biggest umbrella tower in the system, dial up the warp core to about say, warp two or three energy and dump it all right into the deflector and into the planet’s magnetosphere.”

“Committing Atlantis to stay on station until the storm passes,” Tikva said.

“Until the brunt of the storm passes,” Gabrielle corrected.

“Lieutenant Maxwell, I can not help but notice that you placed Atlantis very close to Stormlea on the diagram,” T’Val stated, a preface to her follow-up question. “What is your proposed orbital height in order to achieve the maximum effect?”

“Uh, yes, that bit you won’t like. We’re looking at just over a hundred kilometres,” he responded.

“A precise answer if you please, Lieutenant,” T’Val continued.

“One hundred and five kilometres above the planet’s surface.”

T’Val only nodded then looked to Tikva, again with characteristic Vulcan calm. “There will be no worries with this Captain. My only concern would be if the magnetosphere gets pushed in by the storm and this them imparts a force on Atlantis, we could find ourselves pushed into the atmosphere.”

“Well if that happens Lieutenant, you have my permission to take whatever actions you need to stop this ship from falling out of the sky,” Tikva said, then looked back to Gabrielle and Gérard. “Any other worries?”

“We’ll want to evacuate certain compartments of the ship while the main deflector is at full power to minimise radiation concerns, then follow-up with appropriate cleaning afterwards,” Gérard answered. “I’ll provide the affected areas to Rrr shortly and then ask Doctor Terax for radiation kits in case any mid-operation servicing is required.”

“I’d prefer not to have to deal with irradiated crew,” the doctor said. “Though if this works, I’m hoping my efforts can then be diverted to assisting planetside if required.”

“Of course Doctor. But before we start planning on how to help clean up on Stormlea, let’s make sure we have a Stormlea to clean up. You two,” she pointed to her officers giving the briefing, “make this happen. Rrr, give Maxwell whoever he needs and we actually happen to have aboard to make this work. Adelinde, keep trying to get a hold of someone on the ground so I can tell them the good news. Now shoo!” She waved them all out of the room and was left in the end with just Doctor Terax.

“I spoke with Hu,” she immediately defended herself.

“I know. You should still be on light duty,” the Edosian said from his seat. “This isn’t light duty.”

“Yes it is. I’m listening to plans, giving orders. Not doing the actual, well, doing.”

“Why is it that Captain’s are the most stubborn patients?” he asked.

“Because we’re all two meters tall and invincible,” she answered, then waved the stump of an arm she currently sported. “Present vulnerabilities aside that is.”

“Or heights,” Terax retorted. “We lack the parts needed aboard ship to fabricate a new prosthesis for you, after running an inventory. We’ll need to put into a starbase, preferably with decent medical facilities.”

“First thing after we solve this problem here, I promise.” The look she got from Terax could have withered a healthy biosphere. “Seriously, I do! It’s not even been a full day and this is already super annoying.”

With a ‘humpf’ Terax excused himself from the conference room, leaving Tivka to stare out the windows for a moment.

“Computer, start a new message to the Fantastic Four.” She waited for the confirmation beep before continuing. “Hey team, your girl Tikva again. So, we have a winner in the Shot by Their Own Security Team sweepstake. Let me tell you…”