Part of Starbase Bravo: 2401: Mission 1

A Much Needed Repair

Starbase Bravo
2401
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The doors to the lab opened, presenting the busy hub of fellow scientists. Joshua made his way to his station and noticed a small box sitting on top of a PADD. Setting the box on the table, he picked up the PADD.

“A messenger dropped that off the other day,” came the voice of Hifer Xott. “I think it’s a promotion,” the Bolian man said.

“That’s what it says here,” Joshua said absentmindedly while reading the PADD. “’ For meritorious service in the Paulson Nebula’s Ignaus Colony and successfully solving their famine crisis, we award you with the promotion to… Petty Officer First Class?!’ Wow.” He set the PADD down and open the box to reveal new pips. He replaced the ones on his uniform with the ones in the box. He set the box and PADD aside.

He glanced over to the enviro-capsule lying on the workstation. “I should probably get that repaired.” It was doubtful he’d need it any time soon, but it would be nice to remove the worry. Joshua grabbed some tools from the cabinet and took apart the main housing. He wrinkled his nose at the sight of a tube grub burnt on the wiring. “It looks like they got in through the intake venting.” He scraped it off with the tool he was using. Pressing the wiring to the power generator resulted in a crackle and pop of energy. Joshua cursed, shook his hand, and sucked on his thumb. “At this rate, I’m not going to have any fingers left.” He took a step back and looked at the wiring. It was quickly apparent this was beyond his skill set. He tapped his comm badge, “Bryant to Engineering,” A repair like this might be below their paygrade, but it couldn’t hurt to ask. 

It was an uncharacteristically slow day in engineering, believe it or not. Ethan sat at his console monitoring the air density of the cargo bay as it depressurized and re-pressurized, making sure the system was operating within normal parameters so as not to interfere with normal operations. Pretty much the most boring job you can imagine, because even if the system wasn’t operating correctly, an alarm would sound before crew members were allowed back into the bay. 

He knew there were going to be days like this working on a station versus onboard a starship, every once in a while you eventually get dealt a slow day in Starfleet. Just when he thought he might fall asleep at his station, Ethan noticed an unanswered communication come in from one of the science labs sitting in the queue. His imagination immediately went to work: maybe it was a huge catastrophe that would keep him occupied for days? Well, at least one could hope. 

Jumping at the opportunity to be anywhere else, he pressed a few commands and responded, “This is Ensign Hale in Engineering, go ahead.”

Joshua looked over the enviro-capsule, “I have a device that needs to be repaired. It’s not Starfleet issue, but a personal one. I’m not sure about the regulations with that. I can bring it by Engineering if you want to take a look at it.”

“Sure thing, happy to help! I’m in the engineering office on deck 223, bring it up here and I’ll have a look for you.” Ethan replied, tapping his comm badge and closing the channel. There probably was some kind of regulation in place about repairs on personal devices, but he felt like it was best to wait until he saw what it was before making any decisions. Besides, if he turned him down, what else would he do for the rest of his shift?

Scooping up the enviro-capsule, Joshua headed out of the lab. “Deck 223,” he said as he stepped into the turbolift. Stepping out, he entered the Engineering Office. “Excuse me, I spoke to an Ensign Hale about fixing a device of mine. Do you know where I can find him?” He said, walking up to the receptionist’s desk.

“Mr. Bryant, I presume?” He got up from the desk and extended his arm to shake hands, “Ensign Ethan Hale, nice to meet you.”

Shifting the capsule in his arms, he shook the proffered hand.

Ethan took a step back and examined the capsule under Bryant’s arm, “Well, what do we have here?” He motioned to Bryant with his arms as if asking to give the capsule to him, “May I?”

Joshua set the enviro-capsule on the table. “By all means,” he said with a gesture. “I was using it to transport a fragile plant, an Aurous carnivorous, to the base. It needs a high humid env- You know what? I’ll let you work.” Joshua took a step back, “I gave fixing it a go, but I’m sure I made it worse.”

Ethan smiled slightly as he moved towards the capsule and began examining it, “Ahh nonsense, my motto is once it’s broken, it’s impossible for it to get any worse until it’s fixed.” He pressed a few commands on the casing, opened the access port near the top of the capsule, and took a look inside, his eyes widening slightly and his smile slowly returning, “Hmm, I take that back. You may have made this worse, and that’s saying something because I’ve never seen what it looked like before.” 

He laughed as he grabbed a hyperspanner from the nearby workbench, then took a seat in front of the capsule, “Not to worry, I’ll have these circuits re-linked in no time.” As he started to work, Ethan decided to try and keep the conversation going, “So, plants, huh? What kind of plant were you transporting again?”

“An Aurous carnivorous. It’s a clipping from my father’s original plant,” Joshua looked at the ground. “It, like him, died years ago.” He smiled and looked up, “I think that’s what I like about plants. They can be clipped and transplanted and recreate a dead plant. So, in a way, the plant lives on. It’s a lot like children if you think about it.” He paused and watched Ethan work, “It’s certainly not the most valuable plant in my collection, but it has the most sentimental value.” Joshua pointed to the capsule. “I found some tube grubs in the wiring. It was something I used to keep the plant alive until I got into my lab.” 

Ethan smiled, “That’s an interesting take, I never thought of plants like that before, but it makes perfect sense in a way.” He continued to move the hyperspanner around the open circuit board as he spoke, “I’ve never been good with plants, they usually die if I just look in their general direction, so I try to stay away from them as much as possible.” He laughed a bit before going on, “Bring me any piece of equipment and chances are, I can fix it. Charge me with keeping a plant alive, I’ll fail every time.”

“It takes finesse; it’s an art as much as a science,” Joshua replied. “I think raising children would be easier,” he chuckled. “I had a friend who had a brown thumb too. I think there might be something hardy enough. ” Joshua thought a moment, “Ah yes, the Zamioculcas zamiifolia is pretty study. They aren’t the prettiest, but are difficult to kill.” He considered getting one for Ethan. “But I get having a straightforward problem to tackle. I’m not the best with equipment, clearly.” Joshua motioned to the mangled capsule. “So what about you? What do you do when you’re not repairing non-Starfleet equipment on company time?”

Ethan laughed as Joshua made the recommendation for the Zamioculcas zamiifolia, and then endorsed it, “Sounds like a good place to start, can work my way up to the prettier and more difficult ones later on.” He smiled a bit as he continued working on the capsule and listened to Joshua ask his next question, “Nothing too out of the ordinary, love to go on the occasional holodeck adventures and getting together with friends, you know, the mainstream stuff. I also got into Vulcan martial arts with a Vulcan friend of mine at the academy, I find it to be really… logical.” He smiled before returning his attention to the capsule.

“Are you referring to Suus Mahna? I’ve always found that interesting to watch. It’s less reactive than most martial arts. But it takes a lot to learn how to read opponents. I’m not sure I could mentally juggle that many balls in the air.”

“I’m surprised you’ve heard of it, actually,” Ethan remarked, his right eyebrow raising slightly, “It’s not something most people try to learn. I had the opportunity to visit my friend at the academy during one of his sparing matches and have been intrigued with it ever since. I practice a few times a week in the holodeck to keep myself sharp; I’ve been meaning to talk with some of the Vulcans on the station to see if any of them practice it either, always better to have a real-life partner to practice with.”

“Don’t get too excited,” Joshua said with a chuckle. “I’ve never tried to learn it. I’ve watched a few demonstrations at festivals and in school, but never looked too deeply into it.”

Ethan put the hyperspanner down on the table and closed the capsule up, then pressed the controls on the outside, watching the unit activate and come to life, “All fixed, good as new.” He smiled, patting the top of the capsule as he looked toward Joshua. 

Joshua whistled, “Wow, I’m impressed! I thought for sure I’d broken it beyond repair.” He lifted the capsule and gave it a once-over. “You even got rid of the burn smudges from overheating the control unit.” Joshua stood up, picked up the capsule, and put it under his arm. He shook Ethan’s hand, “Thanks for your help, I hope I can return the favor someday.”

“Anytime, glad I was able to help!” Ethan said with a grin, shaking Joshua’s hand. “Set me up with that unkillable plant and we’ll call it even.”