The turbolift ride to engineering was full of Harris tapping at his PADD, getting the updated status of their ship, and it wasn’t looking good. The door slowly opened, and he stalked down the corridor as damage control teams ran past him carrying various equipment. He could hear the engineering-specific klaxons and the computer warnings about the core’s condition as he rounded the corner and entered main engineering.
Chief Okada was at the master systems display table, and there were more blinking red marks than he had expected. She had a PADD in one hand, updating as she went, “Alverez, take Jamison here and find a way to get that junction back online. That’ll help us balance this thing out a little more.” The two officers took off at a run, and she handed the next team an assignment, “The coolant systems are acting slow – dig into the pieces of where they hit us and where that system connects.”
Harris gently approached, “Chief, how bad is it?” He could see the look on her face, and as a former Chief himself, it wasn’t good.
“It’s bad – we’re trying to make up for the systems that have been temporarily disabled, but there were a lot of those torpedoes flying at us. I can’t bring the core back online without some kind of stability.” Another alarm rang out across the room, and she gave an apologetic look as she dashed to the console, “Emerson! Get to deck 13 and shore up the EPS system in section 3!” The officer grabbed a kit and was off at a sprint while Okada returned to Harris, “We’re going to need some more bodies on this, sir.”
Ambrose tapped his badge, “Harris to Tir.”
=^=Go ahead, sir=^=
“I’m tasking you with working with Okada’s team to get the core under control and operational – get with her to see what she needs – extra hands and all.” Calog affirmed he was on his way, and Harris gave the chief engineer a nod, “Keep me in the loop.” He walked out, heading back to the bridge.
“This ship is going to fall apart, and we are all going to die.”
Calog ignored Tir inside his head as he walked with a PADD in hand, working through assigning every last operations officer and crew to meet him in engineering in the double. From his console on the bridge, he’d begun to appreciate how wrong things were going, and the red flashing signals were indicating they were going to need to stem the bleeding soon. He entered engineering and flagged down Okada, “Chief, I’ve got thirty of my team on their way…we’re working on getting a few more woken up help as well. What do you need from me?”
“Maybe an evacuation plan? Or a distress call?” He winced as Tir spoke a little louder in his head but kept his focus on Okada.
Okada didn’t notice as she wrestled with the PADD, “We’ve got coolant supply problems in the decks around us – part of the impacts put some of those systems offline. I need your people to problem solve – if we can get the coolant processing at full capacity, I can slowly bring the core back online to pressure test the rest of the systems.”
“Might be nice to be useful, even if it is the end of the world.”
Calog moved off and started examining the schematics. “You’ve gotten really pessimistic about everything lately, Tir…what the hell is up with you?” He whispered it even though most of the crew knew about his joined status.
Tir growled back, “I’m pessimistic for no reason? Never mind the powerful beings from a thousand years ago who nearly took over KIrk’s Enterprise. No, that’s definitely not it.”
The operations chief shook his head in response, “Look, you can be sarcastic, caustic, or even bombastic in my head, but we’re going to have a real problem if you’re gonna doom and gloom it.”
Tir feigned the feeling of being hurt in his head, and he rolled his eyes as she lamented, “Yea, it’s me. I’m the problem. Maybe you just need tougher skin, rookie.”
Calog spoke to her firmly, and he felt her shock ripple through his consciousness as he said, “I have a job to do on this ship, Tir. I have to believe that we can do the impossible on a regular basis. You casting this as the end of the world puts not just you and me in danger – it puts this entire crew at risk if I can’t do my job.”
She was uncharacteristically silent at that moment, and he waited her out until she finally, as exasperated as a trill symbiont could be, replied, “Fine. Let’s save the world and be the good guys.”
“Lieutenant?” A group of operations officers called out to him from across the room, and he motioned them over and began to walk them through the task at hand.
“This is…impressive craftsmanship.” T’saath was on the Cardassian bridge with Gul Hasara and the Beta away team. The ship was a Frankenstein, and you could see the lines where the ship had been welded together. They had expected to find it crudely held together and assembled, but what had become clear was the attention to the original aesthetic, with functionality being the foremost concern.
Hasara was shaking his head, “This ship was made to host a crew, Commander. They could have done what they did with the previous ship and your doppelganger…but I would surmise that they intended this ship to be crewed eventually. Which suggests that whatever other ships they may have…would be intended similarly.” He wondered further, “Why not crew the ship now?”
T’saath had hooked up a portable generator to what was the operation’s console and was slowly navigating the display, “I suspect it is the rare quality that the Arretans display as a weakness – hubris. They are incredibly powerful, and perhaps they expected us to shy away from this ship or even keep our distance to avoid conflict.” She tapped at the console, “There is an abundance of data. I will start the process of downloading it now.”
The Gul wandered around the command center under the watchful eye of the security team, “Hubris is one thing…but this is… unusually careless.” He pulled out his scanning device and walked from console to console, growing more concerned. The helm control station suddenly lit up, and he warned, “Commander, I think we need to get back to the ship.”
The Vulcan XO turned and saw what he was staring at, her eyebrows raised. She tapped her badge, “T’Saath to transporter room – requesting emergency transport.” They responded in the affirmative. The rest of the away team was pulled away in a burst of light, but she and the Gul remained. “Transporter room?”
=^=We’re having trouble locking onto your sign..*bbzz* =^= The channel cut out, and suddenly the entire ship powered on, and the screen showed the ship in motion.
Hasara jumped into the helm console, “No control – overrides are not working.”
T’saath stood motionless as the stars on the screen accelerated to warp speed, and she felt voices at the edge of her mind begin to whisper to her. “Gul, you need to incapacitate me. Now. The core of this ship is active…and I cannot be allowed to be affected.”
Hasara stared at her but stood, “I need a…,”
She tossed him her phaser, “It is locked on maximum stun. Please do it quickly. I am much stronger than you and cannot predict what will occur.”
She closed her eyes, and the Gul grumbled, “This has been the oddest mission.” He aimed and fired. T’saath collapsed to the ground in a heap. Hasara glanced around the bridge, “Cross that off the list of things I’ve always wanted to do. Now to figure out how to stop this thing.” He went to work, keeping an eye on the prone figure of the Mackenzie XO.