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Part of USS Odyssey: Between The Feathers Of Destiny and Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

Power Play

Vorash, Vorash system, Velorum Sector, Beta Quadrant
Stardate: 77365.3
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“Chief Engineer’s log supplemental. I’m leading an engineering team to the main powerplant for the settlement to determine what needs to be restored to get the planet’s weather control systems online, along with other essential systems.” 

The Oakhanger slowly landed just above the facility that the Odyssey crew had assisted with construction over a decade and a half ago. The rain continued to pelter down against the ground while a few thunderstorms could be heard overhead. There was nothing elaborate about the powerplant; it was a series of fusion reactors taken from ships the convoy the settlers had used. All of them were linked up to provide the support the settlers would need. Furthermore, the Odyssey had set up other energy sources nearby, including a nearby solar-panel farm. Together, the crew and refugees also built wind turbines. The plan had always been for the planet to be self-sufficient, while automated systems should have made the repairs to maintain the power systems. 

“Sir, what state are we expecting these reactors to be in?” Tierra asked as she finished packing the last of her kit into the backpack she had in between her knees. The Deltan senior assistant chief engineer zipped up the bag before throwing it around on her shoulders. “I read these reactors weren’t top of the range when installed.”

“No, they weren’t,” Hunsen confirmed as he adjusted his utility belt, “but they were built to last.”

  “Did you build them yourself, sir?” Cadet McCallister asked from where he stood at the rear of the cockpit. 

Though the cadet was still learning about engineering, Hunsen had requested to bring the captain’s son with him along with a couple of others who had shown real promise in their recent rotation in engineering. “No, I was part of the team under Lieutenant Commander Mett der Lek. He was the chief engineer when the ship was originally launched.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything about him, sir,” McCallister said as he placed his tricorder on his hip. “How long was his chief engineer?”

“Just over two years,” Hunsen said solemnly. “He was one hell of an engineer; he died during an away mission.”

McCallister was surprised to hear that and stumbled out his response. “I’m sorry, sir, I didn’t know.”

Hunsen could sense McCallister’s mental slapping of his face for his faux pas. “It’s okay, Alfie; I knew Mett very well; he taught me a lot during that time. He was a good friend who died saving not just me but several others.”

“Then we need to honour his memory by ensuring the work he did here remains working as long as he intended it to be,” Tierra said with a supportive smile.

Appreciating her sentiment, Hunsen smiled at her. “That we do.” He tugged his gloves and pulled the hood from his field coat over his head. “Everyone ready?”

The entire team answered with a range of affirmatives before the aft doors lowered and the security team assigned to protect them moved out first towards the gates of the powerplant. Rushing through the downfall, the Starfleet group made their way in and soon were inside what appeared to be a warehouse containing numerous reactors. Besides those holding phaser rifles, everyone else took out their tricorders to begin scanning the area. 

“Where are the maintenance crew?” McCallister asked aloud. 

“The captain reported that they fled after the first few quakes to be with their families. They’ve not returned since.” Tierra stated. 

Taking charge, Hunsen stepped forward as he continued to run his scans with his tricorder up in front of him. “It seems the structure is stable, so nothing will come toppling down on our heads.”

“That’s reassuring,” Tierra stated as she approached a nearby set of consoles. All of them showed a range of readings. “This all looks very messy.” She tapped a few buttons, and soon, she could see what the issues were. “Sir, it would appear we have a lot of work to do.”

“What do you mean, Tierra?” Hunsen asked as he made his way over to her side.

Pointing at the screen before them, she began to indicate what was wrong. “We have twelve reactors; eight of them are offline while the other four are disconnected to the power grid.”

“Is that a fail-safe system?” McCallister wondered aloud. “To prevent any overloads or meltdowns?”

Smirking at the cadet’s question, Hunsen confirmed he was correct. “Good work, cadet; you recognise safety in action.” He turned back to the controls. “When we built the powerplant, we had to ensure that if something was ever to go wrong, the reactors didn’t overload and explode. If more than half of the system goes offline for whatever reason, then the system automatically disconnects.”

“So why didn’t the powerplant staff just come back and turn everything back on?” The cadet asked.

Hunsen shrugged his shoulders. “There could be endless reasons for that, Alfie, be it they were trying to help elsewhere or who knows.” He finished assessing the damage and felt he knew what needed to be done. “Okay, this is the plan, people. Tierra, you and the others bring the eight offline reactors while Alfie and I work on the disconnected four. Questions?”

Everyone shook their heads before they split themselves up into two groups. 

Walking across the long corridor between various pipes and conduits lined the floor and walls, Hunsen and McCallister made their way to the first reactor along with Ensign Trexx. The Bolian security officer was in front of them both holding his phaser rifle up high as he continued to check for any security concerns. 

“So Alfie,” Hunsen said as he continued holding his tricorder up, scanning everything they passed, “how are you enjoying cadet life?”

McCallister nodded with some confidence. “It’s a lot of work, but is it sad to say I’m enjoying it?”

Appreciating the honesty and innocence of the captain’s son, Hunsen smiled at him, “It’s not sad at all, Alfie. If you’re enjoying it, that will only help you further. How’s it going with the other cadets?”

“It’s alright…” Alfie said slowly.

Sensing there was something more, Hunsen looked at the cadet. “There’s a but there.”

“Permission to speak freely?” McCallister asked the chief engineer. 

Hunsen nodded. “Sure.”

“I hate it when they think I get preferential treatment because my dad is the captain.” McCallister shared.

“Do you think you’re getting treated differently because you are the captain’s son?” Hunsen asked with care.

“Honestly?” 

“Honestly.”

“Yes.” McCallister said in a quieter voice. “And it’s all because of what happened in the Paulson Nebula and with my mother.”

As he said the last comment, they reached the first reactor they needed to work on. Hunsen looked at Trexx. “Ensign, check our perimeter and set up a few proximity scanners.” 

The Bolian nodded and moved away from Hunsen and McCallister. 

Hunsen turned back to McCallister and placed his hand on Alfie’s left shoulder. “Alf, listen to me; I understand what you’re saying. Growing up, my parents were pretty significant in Betazoid society. I hated being treated differently by my teachers. Still, when the Dominion invaded my homeworld and my parents fought for our freedom and gave their lives, I soon changed my entire perspective about that aspect of my family. Now don’t get me wrong, I wanted to run and hide from my heritage and everything that came with it. However, I learnt quickly that I should never allow anyone to let me feel bad for who my parents were.”

McCallister appreciated the advice. “Thank you, sir.”

“I know that may not sound enough to help you, but you’re in a unique position at the moment, Alfie. You get to learn a lot more than most first-year cadets will. Ignore the others because eventually, you will get the chance to go off and experience what else is out there for you as a cadet.”

“I know; it’s just hard being the only first-year cadet when the others don’t think I deserve to be there.” McCallister shared. “Plus, I’m expected to know what I want to do as my field of interest.”

Shaking his head, Hunsen disagreed with that last point. “No, you don’t; that’s the whole point of the first year. Look at me, I was initially the chief flight control officer, then became chief engineer, and now I’m the third officer of one of Starfleet’s most prolific and advanced ships in the fleet. You’ll find your niche, and everything else will eventually fall into place. In the meantime, use your position to your advantage and ignore the other cadets right now.”

“I just wish they understood what I knew,” McCallister said. “It’s just so much to comprehend.”

Hunsen agreed with him. “Yeah, time travel causes headaches, but the entire senior staff and the others that know are there to support you and everyone involved. So, until that time comes for you to do whatever you are meant to do in the future, enjoy the journey you’re on.”

“Thank you, sir,” McCallister replied with a slight smile. 

“Anytime, Alf, and don’t forget, your mother was one hell of an officer too,” Hunsen remarked. “She and your dad have worked hard to build a close community on the Odyssey, of which you are a lifetime member. So if any cadet gives you a hard time for being part of our family, just remember we have your back, and you just need to come and offload to one of us.”

His smile got wider as McCallister nodded with a bit more certainty. “I appreciate that; I suppose I’ve got Jorgeh who understands everything too.”

“That’s good,” Hunsen said. “He seems to be a good kid too, someone we need to recruit into Starfleet too.”

“Don’t worry, sir; I’m working on it,” McCallister replied with a much bigger grin. 

Chuckling at that idea, Hunsen shook his head. “Just ensure you don’t let your godfather or Commander Duncan hear you say that.”

“Understood.”

“Right, let’s fix this powerplant,” Hunsen said after letting go of McCallister’s shoulder, and he started to show him what to do. “Hmm, that’s weird,” Hunsen said as he looked at the power connectors.

“Problem?” McCallister asked, wondering what the engineer was seeing. 

“Yeah, it would seem that the fail-safe emergency system didn’t activate as it was meant to. Instead, it looks like the power connectors have all been physically cut with a plasma torch.” Hunsen stated. 

“Why would they be physically cut?” McCallister questioned.

“I’m not sure, but from these readings, it would it was that which caused the entire powerplant to turn off.” Hunsen said. “I think the entire system was sabotaged.” 

“But why?” McCallister said as he examined the same screen that Hunsen was reading. 

“Trexx to Commander Hunsen, we have comp-” The Bolian security officer’s voice was stopped mid-sentence by something on the other end as the communication line went dead. 

Panic soon washed over Hunsen as he took out his phaser and gestured for McCallister to do the same. “Alf, stay close by me.” 

The young cadet nodded; his entire emotional output now overwhelmed Hunsen’s empathic abilities. Hunsen knew he was scared, which he understood; he put up a mental block before he called into Tierra. She didn’t answer. No one else on the other team responded either. In the back of his mind, he could sense another presence. It was a more prominent presence that was rushing toward him. Taking McCallister by the arm, he pushed him towards the exit of the building. “Alfie, it’s not safe in here. Get back to the Oakhanger and get back to the Odyssey. Get help!”

Before he could shove the cadet through the door, McCallister called out for him. “What are you going to do?”

“I’ll try to buy you time; just go!” Hunsen ordered him. 

McCallister frantically nodded as he ran out into the rain and towards their small craft. Turning back to whatever was coming towards him, Hunsen moved swiftly through the powerplant to where he had sent his other team. His grip on his phaser got tighter, but soon he stopped in his tracks as he found his missing officers. All of them were on their knees with their hands behind their heads. Surrounding them with disruptors in their hands were a group of Remans. 

“Tremt Hunsen. It’s been a long time.” spoke one of them.

Lowering his phaser, Hunsen knew who it was instantly. He recognised the voice and the telepathic connection almost immediately. “Veruk.” He grumbled before two Remans came over, took his weapon and proceeded to push him down to his knees. “What do you want?”

“My freedom.” The Reman man snarled back before approaching Hunsen and punching him directly in the stomach, forcing the chief engineer to topple over onto the floor and become unconscious.

Overhead the collective group of Remans and Starfleet officers heard the noise of the escaping runabout. 

“What was that?” Veruk asked the others.

“More than likely someone you will regret putting into danger,” Tierra said confidently. “Put it this way; the captain will be here soon enough.”

“I’m counting on it, lieutenant,” Veruk replied. “He can then deal with my demands.” The Reman leader then indicated for his comrades to pick their captives up off the floor. “But I plan to do it on my grounds.”

“What are you expecting from us?” Tierra asked as she was pushed up and along the corridor.

“As I told the good commander,” Veruk said, looking down at the chief engineer who two Remans were dragging, “My freedom and a chance to be seen as an equal for once.”

 As the group carried along the corridor, Tierra continued with her questioning. “We thought you were stuck underground when the mines collapsed?”

Veruk shook his head. “Not quite, lieutenant, but all will be revealed soon.” He gestured towards a massive hole in the ground. The Remans pushed the Starfleet officers towards the edge. He approached Tierra, who was now holding onto Hunsen. “But until then, the darkness is what you shall know for now.”

Tierra looked down at the hole; it was pitch black. At that moment, she thought about her family as she held onto Hunsen tightly. “If you kill us, you must realise there will be severe repercussions on you and your people. Starfleet won’t stand for it. Captain McCallister won’t stand for it.”

Veruk snorted at the Deltan’s attempt of trying to save her and her shipmates’ lives. “I feel like there’s an echo in this room. I’ll say it again; I’m counting on it.” He then shoved Tierra with all of his might into the pit below and was followed by his accomplice with the rest of the group. 

Within seconds they were gone.