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Part of Starbase Bravo: Q3 2400

Outage

Upper Power Module, Starbase Bravo
July 2400
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From deep in the belly of the upper power module, Reactor Alpha, one of the beating hearts of Starbase Bravo, glowed defiantly at them.

‘Four reactors,’ hummed Hal Riggs, tapping his hyperspanner against his hand, ‘in twelve weeks.’

Liv Dutton scoffed. ‘Didn’t you hear? Command wants it done in ten.’

Ten?’ Riggs’s broad, honest features creased with an uncharacteristic frown. ‘All upgrades, all four M/AM reactors, in ten weeks? When’d that hot idea come up?’

‘It wasn’t formal.’ Dutton scratched his beard. ‘Captain Reyes came down. Friendly, cheerful, like he is. Like he’s asking us a favour.’

‘Aw, man. I like Reyes.’

‘Yeah, but you know he bypassed Sterling because the cap would have told him to dream on. Instead he passes the pressure down to us. The little guys.’

A pair of lieutenant commanders, seasoned engineers who’d had their hands on the guts of Bravo since it was built, were not normally the little guys. But they were the front line of this routine upgrade, the first since Bravo’s construction, powering down each matter/antimatter reactor in turn to conduct essential work.

‘If folks have heard it’s ten weeks,’ said Riggs uncertainly, ‘then they’re gonna hope it’s eight. And then every time they complain to Ops that the replicators are out on their section today, Ops is gonna say it’s our fault.’ It wasn’t the sense of responsibility that appeared to bother Riggs so much as the idea people might not like him.

‘Oh, Hal. Come on.’ Dutton looked up at him. ‘As if we’ll see anyone while we’re on outage.’

Despite it all, the big, personable engineer gave a huge grin. ‘I’ll see you, Liv. And we’ll see her.’ He waved a wide hand at Reactor Alpha as if it were a valued friend he was looking forward to spending time with, and not the adversary to be overcome as quickly as possible.

Reactor Alpha, with all its glowing and glowering, did not look enthused so much as defiant. 


‘Janssen!’ Admiral Belvedere had already summoned his flag aide with the call button, but circumstances demanded a little emphasis as the broad-shouldered officer entered his office, all eager expectation of important duties.

Instead, Belvedere leaned back in his tall desk chair and lifted his mug. ‘What is this?’

‘It’s a cup of tea, sir,’ said Janssen, and only then did he realise this was not a moment to be cute. Such moments were few and far between with Belvedere. ‘Is something the matter?’

‘If you were correct, nothing would be the matter.’ Belvedere set the cup down as if it were some sort of rodent that had inveigled its way into his sanctum. ‘If you were correct, I would be enjoying a delightful cup of Darjeeling. If you were correct, I would not instead have what could be described as a mug of tepid sludge.’

Understanding dawned. ‘I’m sorry, sir; outage has started on Reactor Alpha. We’re cycling power allocation on non-essential services; Captain Truman must have amended last night’s memo on Sector Alpha-Red’s status.’ But soon there was another frown from Janssen. ‘It shouldn’t have given you a cup at all.’

Belvedere drew a slow breath, and the pregnant silence was enough for Janssen to wonder if Starbase Bravo’s commander, outraged at an unresponsive replicator, had attempted to override it and learnt a bitter, sludgey lesson. ‘Make sure I have the latest update on power cycles.’

‘Yes, sir. Shall I ensure you have office space wherever the station has full power?’

‘Mn.’ Belvedere’s neutral noise was accompanied by a dissatisfied sweep of his gaze about the office, which had been perfectly calibrated to his preferences in all matters but tea. ‘That won’t be necessary.’

‘Yes, sir.’ Another pause, and Janssen braced. ‘I’ll go on a tea run to Brew.’

‘Excellent.’ Belvedere sank back in his chair and picked up the PADD with the morning briefings, and at once looked more satisfied with his lot in life. ‘See if they have any second flush in their Darjeeling.’ 


Starbase Bravo In-Play for Q3 2400

  • Routine upgrades to Bravo’s reactors are expected to last the rest of the quarter. While Bravo has multiple reactors and many redundancies, this has placed a significant burden on the starbase’s power resources. Engineering and Operations officers in particular are going to be working full-out to deal with the consequences for these weeks.
  • Power prioritisation means non-essential systems will be routinely down-powered during the period. This might mean replicators on a section being out, certain turbolift routes being out, some services being off. While Ops will communicate when this is planned to happen, not everyone will get every memo – and things might change last-minute.
  • Characters on Bravo might learn how to work around these inconveniences, or they might be taken aback by not being able to get their morning coffee in their usual place.
  • Essential or important systems shouldn’t drop out. If they do, something’s gone wrong and it should be fixed quickly. But the crew are under a major strain and sometimes things do go wrong.