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Part of USS Sarek: An Appetite So Dangerous

Entr’acte

USS Brigadoon, Jefferies Tube One-Beta-Six
Stardate 78056.8
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Lieutenant Yuulik’s Assistant Chief Science Officer’s Log, Supplemental.

 

Our crew discovered the USS Brigadoon in the Typhon Expanse, emerging from a temporal vortex in the earliest days of 2401.  I found them exactly where I calculated I would.  

 

According to our records, the Walker-class starship was lost in the Federation-Klingon War of 2257.  The Brigadoon fell into a temporal inversion fold and her crew were transmuted into non-corporeal beings for most of that time.  Every seven years, they return to normal space in the Typhon Expanse for less than a week at a time, but they remain molecularly bonded to the vortex that took them.  In those few days, the vortex builds to a cascade effect on a quantum level and then steals them into the temporal inversion fold again.

 

I’ve seen the USS Brigadoon once before when I was serving my cadet cruise aboard the USS Dvorak.  I wasn’t able to save them seven years ago.  

 

I won’t make the same mistake again.  

 

Even if it’s the last thing I ever do.

 


 

Huddled together, shoulder to shoulder, Yuulik and Nova crawled through one of the Jeffries tubes that was nearest to the outer hull of the USS Brigadoon‘s saucer section.  In the cramped access tunnel, Nova dropped to lay on her stomach while Yuulik reached forward to pull open the next maintenance hatch.  They had pulled aside grating plates and service panels to put their hands on the ship systems inside.

“–After calibrating the biospectral scanner for over an hour,” Yuulik was saying with no small amusement, “Ensign Dolan tells me that he’s done it.  He cheers for himself; he demonstrates a traditional Zaldan victory dance.  He announces he’s found the first empirical proof that the yellow clay on Tenope is sentient.  Dolan demands that the Federation name the sentient clay after him.  He wants them called Dolanians!”

Yuulik could hardly get that word out through her laughter.  She shook her head at Nova and rolled her eyes.

“I won’t lie to you, Nova,” Yuulik said.  “When he handed me that scanner, I wish my eyes were holo-cameras.  You should have seen his face when I told him he was only detecting the bioelectric patterns of our away team.”

“Oh no!” Nova chimed in.

Yuulik snorted in delight: “He was crushed!  He begged and cried for me to show him how to calibrate the scanner properly.  None of the junior scientists could suitably adjust the equipment for sentient clay and I, for one, wasn’t going to do their jobs for them.  Captain Taes taught me better than that.”

Sounding puzzled, Nova asked, “You didn’t offer them any guidance?”

“No!” Yuulik cried out in another peal of laughter.  “I had biospectral scanners beamed down for all of them.  I ordered them to find the right bandwidth to study the clay and they failed for eleven hours.  Only after dark did they finally discover the frequency of the sentient clay’s bioelectric patterns.”

“You realise,” Nova said, “failure after that significant an investment can cause emotional injury.  Those feelings of helplessness and shame are going to stay with your team.  It could haunt them for years, Sootrah.”

Yuulik had opened her toolkit halfway and she froze what she was doing.

“Are you…” Yuulik asked, “Are you saying I’m a bad leader?”

Nova laughed out a single, satisfying, “Hah!”  She tacked on, “Christ no.  I didn’t learn anything until my operations manager got killed!  Anything meaningful I’ve learned, I’ve had to teach myself!”

Rolling onto her side, Yuulik lay on her shoulder and cradled the side of her own head in her hand.  Despite her toolkit being open and the maintenance hatches pulled aside, Yuulik only had eyes for Nova.

“Serving through war,” Yuulik gently asked, “it really made you stronger?”  The curiosity behind Yuulik’s question was palpable.  She had come of age under the shadow of the Dominion War.  As much as Yuulik had heard the stories, those realities of Starfleet’s sacrifices were still little more than stories to her.  Nova had lived it and breathed it for herself.

“Not the war,” Nova said.  Her lips twisted into an evasive smirk.  Her eyes darted away and Yuulik couldn’t suss out the meaning behind Nova’s reaction.  

That brief moment passed and Nova was chipper again, when she said, “I was born in Abiboo, the smallest domed city on Mars.  We’re a hardy people we are.”

Yuulik rolled onto her back.  She tapped a control on the overhead and another maintenance panel slid open.

Evasively, Yuulik said, “There’s something I should tell you, but I don’t know how.”

“Just say it,” Nova insisted.  “You do everything else.  That’s one of my favourite things about you.”

Yuulik raised her tricorder and she activated the scanners.  She thought if she acted nonchalantly, it would soften the blow.  She could will it to be nothing more than small talk; meaningless mess hall chatter.

“Mars is burning,” Yuulik said.

“What?” Nova scoffed.  It came out like a shriek.  She grabbed onto Yuulik’s shoulder and shook Yuulik roughly.

“The whole planet?!?” Nova asked.

“The atmosphere is a flame,” Yuulik said matter-of-factly.  “Has been for years.”

Nova breathed out, “My parents…”

She barely got the words out when she rolled onto her back too.  She let her head sway back onto the grated deck of the Jeffries tube.  She took a breath.  She shook her head and Yuulik thought she saw tears welling in the corners of her eyes.

Darkly, Nova said, “Ugh, they were already dead anyway.  Everything keeps changing when I’m lost in the fold.  You’re all changing and growing while I’m trapped in stasis.  Without our science officer, the captain is relying on me–  Relying on me to save the crew, but I’m useless.  Your technology has outpaced me.  You have outpaced me, Sootrah.”

“Don’t say that,” Yuulik whispered.

“It’s true,” Nova said, resigned to their star-crossed fates.  “When I met you, I worried I was too old to catch your eye, but now I’m younger than you are.  No one else in the universe knows how awfully confusing that feels.  You’ve out-grown me.”

“Stop saying that,” Yuulik insisted.  “You’re going to save your crew.  You astound me, Nova.  You’re perfect; it’s your context that’s wrong.  As Captain Taes would say: we can’t expect the Edo to build a Heisenberg compensator, because they prefer to jog.  But they could build one if they were taught.”

Yuulik swiped through a couple of menu options on her tricorder and then she lay the device on her chest.  The tricorder projected a holographic schematic of a modified conformal transmission grid, built into a starship hull.

“Nova, you were the one,” Yuulik said, “who modified the Brigadoon’s deflector dish seven years ago to transmit a rudimentary subspace tensor matrix to disrupt the temporal vortex.  The Dvorak‘s Captain Sefton was foolish to think the Dvorak alone could project a sufficient subspace bubble to protect both ships.”

“It had to be generated by the Dvorak,” Nova shot back.  “Our deflector transmission grid couldn’t generate a subspace barrier to cut us off from our entanglement with the vortex.”

“Last Christmas, maybe,” Yuulik chimed in.  “This Christmas, I’ve designed modifications to your deflector shield systems that will trick your Walker-class systems into generating a type of subspace bubble we call a static warp shell.  It’s fortunate I had seven years.  It took some time for the Starfleet Corps of Engineers’ designs to catch up with my theories.  These schematics have been distributed to your engineering team.  The effects of the vortex won’t be able to touch you through this powerful a static warp shell.”

From her tool kit, Yuulik retrieved an ovoid-shaped subspace field distortion amplifier.  She presented it to Nova with a flourish of her hands.

Delighted, Nova asked, “You spent the past seven years designing all of that?  And here I didn’t get you anything for Christmas.”

Yuulik winked at Nova.

“You’re a time paradox,” Yuulik said wistfully. “That’s the only Christmas gift I need.”

“While you’re in a generous mood,” Nova said, “I’m going to need your help.  I’ve never installed a subspace field distortion amplifier into a graviton polarity source generator before.” –She waved a hand at the guts of the generator above them– “You’ve handed me a round peg to fit into a square hole.  Tell me, Yuulik, what would you use as an adaptor?”

“Whuh–” Yuulik breathed out and she glared at the fittings and housings of the generator above.  “I didn’t–” Yuulik started to say, and then she flailed, “I’m the big picture thinker.  There’s normally… ensigns around to worry about which isolinear chips fit into which slots…”

Awkwardly in the cramped tube, Nova pried open her own engineering kit and yanked out two adaptors, one in each hand.  She stuck her tongue out at Yuulik in a taunting expression and waved the two devices at her.

“I guess,” Nova said, “You better call me Lieutenant Ensign.”

Yuulik winced at Nova in discomfort, as she replayed their conversation in her head.  Even as she puzzled it out, Yuulik started to speak but fumbled with her words.

“You– you– you weren’t confused by the– by my schematics when I showed them to you in the research lab,” Yuulik realised it as she said it out loud.  “You didn’t really need me to explain it to you again.  You already saw the amplifiers weren’t going to fit?  Nova, why did you lie to me?”

Nova easily replied, “It feels good to give you a win.  I like the way it makes you smile.  You didn’t notice it when you were a cadet.”

Enraged, Yuulik growled, “Never do that again!” –She slapped her hand through the air, which snapped off the holographic projection– “Don’t you dare, Nova!  Don’t you dare patronize me!  Faking weakness is disgusting!”

“Okay, okay, Yuulik, I promise,” Nova insisted.  Her brown eyes glittered as she watched Yuulik intently.  She seemed to be waiting until Yuulik caught her breath and stopped frowning at her.

“What I can promise,” Nova equivocated, “is to never underestimate you again.”

Comments

  • Yuulik is a very complicated character and I think that's what I enjoy about her most. And her and Nova are very sweet. Enjoying this back and forth, exploring their boundaries and limits. It's wonderful work related flirting!

    April 16, 2023