Pottinger stared at Neva, who hadn’t moved. The others had shifted into action, but the Chief Engineer remained still. “Lieutenant? We’ve got a deck to clear.”
Neva nodded stiffly. “Yessir.” Her tone was clipped and emotionless. She gripped her phaser tightly as she adjusted the strap of her tool pack on her shoulder. “I’m at your disposal.”
Grace indicated her PADD, “Lieutenant Choi cleared you. That is what was reported, and that is what I accept. Shall we continue, please?”
“Yessir, he did. Thank you.” She lifted the phaser up then down to indicate the captain precede her, her posture stiff and correct. “As you lead, I will follow.”
The captain unholstered her phaser in one hand, a tricorder in the other. She took point with the Chief Engineer behind her. They moved slowly and carefully, checking each room, corner, and piece of the corridor as they went. They had found nothing of substance until they arrived at the door to main engineering. The lights and power systems remained in low power settings. Pottinger stepped to the door, and it slowly began to creak open. The overheads in the room flickered and then slowly began to power on. She moved to sweep the room and held her hand to stop Neva.
Neva stopped short at the motion, thanking the Powers That Be she didn’t bump into this woman. Despite herself, the Chief Engineer cocked her head to look past the woman’s shoulder. Neva’s nostrils flared, tasting the snap of electricity and tang of metal. Through the dim light, she could see the usual consoles, but less streamlined as her ship.
“There’s a body here…dead. It’s Claudia Naples. Whatever took her doesn’t look good.” She glanced around at the consoles, “See if you can get the main reactor online. It was a geothermal unit.”
Neva was knocked out of her hyper-focusing when she heard the word “dead.” A little bile rose in her mouth, causing her to frown and swallow hard. She tried to keep the action quiet, but it was unfortunately audible. Shaking her head quickly, she nodded and headed to the controls.
Setting her pack down and holstering her phaser, Neva set to work. Fingers flew over the screens and buttons, eyes glued to monitors for several minutes. With a low grumble, the engineer slid off the chair to the floor, wincing at the coolness on her back. She jerked a panel from the wall beside her, brows furrowed in concentration as she pulled wires and inspected the contents behind. Sitting up on an elbow, she toed for the strap of her kit and pulled it up to grab when close enough. She dropped it beside her and flipped it open, pulling tools and mumbling her distaste.
=^=Captain Pottinger, we found something in the meeting room. Looks like one of your team, a Mr. Jacob, left the observation post. I’ve sent you a copy of the audio file.=^=
Grace pulled up her PADD and listened to the file. Twice. She frowned and listened again. It wasn’t a complete file; she could tell from how it cut off. Had it been cut off on the station? Or had the crew of the Mercy done something? She momentarily mused and turned her attention back to Neva, “Status?”
Neva bounced a little where she lay, snapping a hand away to suck on a sparked finger for a couple of seconds. Gritting her teeth once she let go of her appendage, she rolled back and onto her elbows to look at the captain. “Got the unit running at 90% power, sir. I’ll have the rest of it chu-” she paused, a frown flittering across her lips. “I’ll have the systems fully powered in 10 minutes, maybe less.” Neva rocked back to her previous position, pushing in wires and snapping things back in the hole she’d made.
Once the panel was back in place, she grabbed her tools and swung herself into a sitting position. She carefully put her tools back where they belonged in her kit. With a click, she did a slight kip up and jumped back in another seat, and tapped the console with hard motions. With a last press, the systems hummed to life around them and made Neva utter a “yesss” that was louder than intended. Realizing how she sounded, she reddened and put a hand to her lips. “Excuse me, sir,” she uttered.
Grace remained impassive, “Apology accepted. Come with me; we need to meet with the rest of your peers.” Pottinger didn’t wait for Neva’s response and headed out the door with the chief engineer left blinking before skittering after the captain.