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Part of USS Mercy: Mission 1 – “Life as a House”

Death’s Dream

Command and Control
8.12.2400 @ 1230
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The whine of the transporter faded as Crawford spun around and found herself in a flashback to the early days of Starfleet.  The command and control center was unlike any of the earlier designs she had been familiar with.  It was so spartan, so clean, so…devoid of any kind of design.  Buttons, switches, and screens surrounded them on all sides in a long and wide rectangular room.  Carolyn put her hands to her side and swore, “The hell?”  She looked at O’Shea.  He held a tricorder in his hands with a similar look on his face.

O’Shea looked around him slowly as he glanced at the tricorder in his hand. He began to scan the room, looking for signs of the other members of the away team but found nothing. His other hand automatically slide to his side as he reached for the reassurance of his phasers but found nothing. At this, he glanced over at the engineer, “Well, this is damn odd,” he said as he gauged her reaction to the situation. It was such a new ship he only had a feel for a couple of the officers and one or two of the crew under him. “Looks like we are both missing a few items ensigns,” he said, nodding towards her belt.

The engineer looked at her utility belt and found the only thing that she had retained was a tricorder.  “I’m going to say it again.  What the hell?”  She tapped her commbadge, but there was no sound.  “Crawford to Sorek.”  Silence.  She tapped again.  “Crawford to Mercy.”  Nothing.

“I am getting very tired of these lack of coms, thought guess it isn’t surprising; away mission and all,” O’Shea said with a shrug as he quickly tapped his own commbadge to check for himself. As expected, he was answered with only silence. At that, he looked around and approached the nearest console, “Right out of a museum…” he muttered as he tapped a few buttons to see if there was any response. “You getting anything from these?”

Carolyn slipped out her tricorder and began to scan each ancient console as she went, “It’s…weird.  You look at them, and they seem to be in near perfect condition, but according to these readings… some things aren’t working.”  She nodded in his direction as he tapped the buttons and switches.

“You could say that again,” O’Shea remarked as he continued to examine the consoles 

She went around to each console as the security officer did his own cursory examination.  She circled back to him, “This station isn’t fully operational.  Like…certain systems and command functions are either disabled or downright disconnected…or something.  Trying to sort out what is what…is a little challenging with 200 years separating my academy training.”

“Not sure how much help I will be, sure I can Jerry rig a door override and such but will do what I can here.” O’Shea said as bend down to look at the wiring underneath one of the desks. “It occurs to me,” he said as he stood up, “we didn’t check the door…though given our luck…”

Crawford stared at him and sighed, “Rookies, the both of us.”  She walked up to the door and waited for it to open.  It didn’t.  There was, however, a voice.

“NO.  YOU MUST REVIVE US.”

Crawford jumped back.  It was the same voice from the shuttle bay. The same deep, bass-filled voice.

O’Shea spun around at the sound of the voice, “Fecking’ell” he said, his Irish accent cutting through more than normal. 

Carolyn grumbled, “Revive us?  What the hell does that mean?”  She looked up, waiting for an answer.

O’Shea snorted, “No idea, but I am not inclined to do anything a disembodied voice tells me in an abandoned 200-year-old station that has likely unleashed psychic attacks on several of the crew.” He said with anger in his voice before turning around slowly, “What are you? Why should we do anything, you ask?”

There was no answer, just the silent ambient noise of the command center.  Crawford chewed at her bottom lip, “OK, game theory time.”  She paced the command center as she spoke, “Whatever brought us here is probably the same weirdness that sent the signal…and did whatever it did to the Colorado.  Which would lead me to think they did something similar to this place or…whatever happened here is more advanced than the Colorado.”

“Makes sense; the signal was stronger here, originating from here from what we could tell. But whatever happened to the Colorado was not good, and assuming the same happened here. I do not think this thing will look out for out best interests,” O’Shea said before trailing off as he moved to examine the controls beside the door.

She snapped her fingers, “What’s the most important part of a starship or a station?”

“Depends really, but engineering and the command centre are the two critical locations for controlling either.” O’Shea remarked before turning around and looking at Crawford, “If that logic holds, maybe some of the other crew are in engineering; if we could get coms back up; if the hard wires aren’t broken, maybe we can figure a way out.”

Crawford thought on it for a moment, “Revive us.  Some of these consoles are not fully functional or tied correctly into the system.  Given the importance of engineering…I wonder if there’s a reason we were needed here in this room.  If things aren’t fully connected or powered…they need to be turned on.”  She grimaced, “Or revived.”

O’Shea frowned at that, “Cannot say I like the situation, but maybe it will be worth looking at these to see what we can figure out?” He wandered over to the nearest console, “You think we should try turning it off and on again?” he said with a smirk.

Carolyn sighed, “I’m not sure it’s that simple.  Whatever got us here…wants us to do something.  I’m guessing our crew is in the same position somewhere on this station.  It needs us all to do something for it.”  She shook her head, “I don’t know if what we’re going to do is going to be a good thing.” 

“I agree fully on with that statement, but as you said, it wants us for something. Maybe we need to just play along for a bit?” Placing his tricorder on the console, he began to scan the area to determine what exactly was wrong with the consoles. “Shall we see what we can do?” he said before opening the panel below the console, “Well, this is a bit of a mess; even I can tell that these wires and circuit boards are not connected correctly. Take a look.”

She walked over and took a look, “Lordy, that’s a hot mess.  Then that’s where we start.  Wires to boards first.  Then we see what’s missing next?”

“Sounds like a plan,” O’Shea said as he adjusted to get comfortable, and they began to work.

They worked slowly at first, trying to sort out what went to what.  With Crawford’s help and O’Shea’s focus, they worked their way through each panel, exchanging a few words as they began to get a sense of what each was looking for as they went.  Thirty minutes later, they had made it halfway around the room.

“This was never my strong suit, but this is kind of relaxing,” O’Shea remarked as he looked back at the half of the room they had fixed. He looked back at the mess of cables and frowned, “When we get down to it, this isn’t even to difficult; it’s almost like someone messed this up on purpose to make it look like a real challenge….”

The engineer wiped her brow, a quiet smile tugging at her lips, “It’s gonna sound strange, but this is why I became an engineer.  Fixing the little things, so the bigger picture worked better.  Ain’t no better feeling.”  She sighed, “Aside from the ‘I’ve got a bad feeling about this’ feeling that I’ve got.”

“That is an understatement; we needed to come to investigate this as something strange is happening, but from a safety standpoint, a few quantum torpedos would have put an end to his thing. Worried that it may start costing lives soon.” O’Shea said clearly, not too pleased with the situation or their relative helplessness.

Carolyn groused, “Let’s just get something done at least.”

They continued around the room and speed up as patterns within the jumble of wires became apparent. A quarter of an hour later, they finished, and Cynndle stood up and stretched, “Bloody kneeling on floors,” he groaned before stepping up to one of the consoles. He reached out to flick it on, then stopped. “We sure we want to do this? Could always try to work through the wired comms or force the door?”

Crawford shook her head as she ran her tricorder on each console, “Given the power, this station has had over us since we stepped aboard…anything we try is going to earn us some unpleasant consequences.”  She finished scanning, “I recognize giving this thing more power and more connections isn’t going to help protect us…but I know how to fix things.”

“I know what you mean, though right now I am thinking about the ship; if we power this up will we put them in danger?” O’Shea mused before continuing, “Though it was doing a good job at that already, with any luck, we will figure out how to stop it and get ourselves out of here.”

She held up the tricorder, “Everything’s reading connected and ready.  Just up to us to make the final connections.”

“Well then, let’s see what this thing has in store for us next,” O’Shea said as he began to step toward the final connections. “No time like the present,” he said and began to finish their work.

Crawford remained unmoving and clicked her tongue.  “You ever have a moment in your life you regret…and every so often it comes back to haunt you…like a dark ghost swimming around in your brain?”

Without looking back O’Shea shrugged, “Daily, daily,” he said with a low voice and absently moved one hand to his leg. “Part of the reason I am here, on the Mercy. But one must move forward…Done,” he remarked before turning to face her. “Why, what’s on your mind?”

Crawford stared at the console and then glanced at O’Shea, “Feels like this is one of those moments.”  She took a deep breath, “It’s a no-win scenario. They teach you, train you, and test you through them like crazy in the academy…because they know, you’ll face ‘em eventually.  That you’ll have to make some terrible call…or decide to let something terrible happen…because you have no choice.  It’s the place we all end up eventually – I’m not ignoring the truth.  I’m just having to reconcile myself with the reality that I’m making this decision so early in my career.”  She let out the breath slowly, “The longer we avoid it…, the worse the feeling gets.  The harder it becomes to push the button…or throw the switch.”  She stared down at the ancient console before her, “Let’s get this over with.”

She keyed in the commands.  Connected the systems and commands.  She sighed.  And clicked the station to full power and control.