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Part of USS Cantabras: The Array and Bravo Fleet: The Lost Fleet

Dead in the Water

Bridge, USS Cantabras
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“Stand down from Red Alert,” Alex said and the ship returned to normal lighting, what was left of it anyway. He turned to Priam, “What do you mean our shields have failed?”

“What I mean,” Priam said, staring at the display in disbelief, “is they’re completely drained. The ship keeps attempting to cycle them back on, but there’s not enough power. It’s almost as if whatever hit us, drained the power from the entire shield system. I’ve never seen that before.”

“It turns out the Arcania Cluster was chock full of surprises,” Alex said wryly. “How far are we from the Array?”

Carter looked at his display, “At standard warp? A few hours.” He paused, I’m also reading some sluggish output from the port impulse engine.”

“Any Dominion ships out there?”

“Nothing that sensors are picking up,” Tani replied.

“Remember Commander, our sensors took a hit as well,” Priam warned.

“Carter, watch for Dominion ships. If you see any, you have full permission to take whatever defensive measures are needed. And if you see any Federation ships, send a distress beacon.”

“Where will you be?” Logan said, a hint of worry in his voice.

“The three of us will be doing repairs to get us up and running.”

“I’m not an engineer,” Tani protested.

“Today you are,” Alex fired back. “Logan would be a better choice, but his skills as a pilot are needed more right now. Priam, your priority is the shields. Tani and I will work on the sensors and engine.”

The three of them left the Bridge and headed into the turbolift. “All right, Priam you head to Engineering and run a full shield diagnostic.”

“We’ll also want to check the operability status of the deflector array. We won’t be able to warp without it,” Priam said.

“Good idea. I’ll head to deflector control. Tani, head to the computer core and check the overall system status.” The lift doors opened, “We all have our assignments, let’s get to it.” And the three of them went their separate ways.

Alex entered Deflector Control and ran a diagnostic. “The deflector array is only working at 48%,” Alex said, reading the results. “Not enough to automatically deactivate warp, but it’s not recommended. That’s a scary thought.” Alex’s combadge chirped. “Veva to Benson and Mear, the computer diagnostic says there’s a problem in the ‘power transfer conduit’.”

“It must have happened when we were hit by the lifeform, Priam said. “Resolving that will take care of our engine problem. I’m still working on the shield cycling issue. Commanders, you’ll have to address the power conduit.”

Alex pulled up a ship schematic and searched for the nearest access point. The Impulse Access Room, halfway through a Jefferies tube. “I can’t at this moment, the deflector array is still showing 48% efficiency.”

“That’s fine for now,” Priam replied. “It’s less of a priority than the engine.”

“You’re not afraid of getting a bit dirty, are you?” Tani teased.

“I’ll meet you at the entrance Commander. Keep working on the shields Priam. Benson out,” Alex tapped his combadge.

Carter to Benson, I’m getting a red light on the port impulse engine,” came the concerned voice of Logan.

“Shut it down,” Alex simply said.

Shut it down?”

“Commander Veva says there’s a problem with the power transfer conduit. We’re on our way to fix it.”

All right, Carter out.” And the link clicked off.

Alex walked out into the hallway and met Tani at the Jefferies tube. “I appreciate being called out, that was particularly nice.”

“I can’t be the only one getting dirty around here princess,” Tani replied. “Plus, they don’t make the Jefferies that small anymore.”

“This ship is an older design, so I’m pretty sure they’re still small.”

Tani opened the Jefferies tube hatch and gestured inside, “After you, your majesty.”

Alex entered the Jefferies tube and advanced down the corridor. Alex heard the hatch behind him slam closed. He stopped, “What was that?”

“I was closing the hatch. You really don’t do well in enclosed spaces, do you?”

Alex continued his advance, “As I said before, they aren’t my favorite.”

“According to the schematics, it should only be a couple of meters further,” Tani said.

As she said this, Alex called out, “Yeah, I see it just off to the left.” He activated the hatch and swung it open. Alex pushed himself into the room and stood aside for Tani to enter.

“Well this is cozy,” she said, stepping into the room.

Indeed it was, Alex noted. The room could fit 3 people in total. Needless to say, it was cramped for the two of them. Alex moved to the panel and accessed the lockout controls. He tapped his combadge, “Benson to Carter, I’m taking the port impulse engine offline.”

It’s going to be hard to outrun anything dangerous with only one leg,” Carter warned.

“It’s going to be a tough letter for you to write to Commander Veva’s family regretting their loss.”

Good point. Let me know when you have it back online. Carter out.”

“Wait, I’m going in there?” Tani said.

“You have to; you’re smaller than I am,” Alex replied, typing in the command codes to deactivate the engine.

Tani narrowed her eyes, “This was your plan all along.”

“No, but it’s a logistic issue.” Alex watched as the lights on the power conduit corridor hatch turned from red to green. The locks on the hatch released.

“Yeah, right…” Tani said, opening the hatch.

Alex smiled, “Have fun, buttercup. I’ll guide you from here.”

Tani gave a noise of disgust, grabbed a tool kit, and disappeared into the tube.

I… think I made it to the reactor. Round room, looks like it might spin? Man, I hope it doesn’t,” Tani said over the room’s intercom.

Alex looked at the schematics, “It looks like it. Don’t worry, I won’t turn on the blender while you’re in it. Any structural damage?”

Funny… It looks like it opens a bit here.” A pause, “I don’t see any hull damage. It looks like the lifeform simply passed through the ship, a small victory. Oh..”


I’m guessing this isn’t supposed to be blackened.”

Alex pulled up a picture of the conduit. “No, it’s supposed to have yellow and white striations. And some blue connectors leading to the impulse exhaust.”

I’m not seeing that. It’s almost as if water was poured in here.”

Fantastic,” Alex said with a sigh. “You should have some pieces of conduit in your kit. I’ll walk you through the points to connect them. Alex looked at the schematics and relayed the information to Tani. Roughly 20 minutes later, the job was complete.

I have the last conduit attached. I also scraped a little of the blackened bits off. I’m coming back out.” Tani emerged from the Jefferies tube mostly covered in sweat and dirt. “You owe me.”

“Don’t pat yourself on the back just yet. We’ll have to see if it works.” Alex closed and sealed the power conduit hatch. “Bringing the engine online,” Alex typed in the command code to release the engine lockout. The lights on the hatch beeped rapidly and turned a solid red. Alex watched the screen with bated breath. “If I’m reading this right, it should be running.”

Nice job Commanders,” came Priam’s voice over the intercom. “I’m showing the engine is functional. It’s at 64% efficiency, but it’ll keep the ship moving. I’ll keep working on the shields.” And the channel clicked off.

“At least something went right,” Tani said.

“It’ll get us to the Array, but we’ll need to get it repaired when this is all over.”

“You always have to look a gift horse in the mouth,” Tani replied.

“I’m the commanding officer, Tani, I can’t afford the luxury of not doing it.” Alex tapped his combadge, “Carter, set a course for the Array.”

Not to question your authority or anything, but I’m showing the shields still aren’t operational.”

“Priam is still working on them. We’ll have to operate without them for the time being.”

“Sure, I’ll just ask the Dominion nicely to not shoot at us.”

“If that’s what it takes. Think of it as testing your piloting skills if they don’t listen.”

“Flattery is still getting you nowhere.”

“Set a course, Tani and I will be on the Bridge in 5. Benson out,” Alex tapped his badge to close the channel.

They both emerged out of the Jefferies tube and into the corridor. “I’m going to need a little longer than 5 minutes,” Tani said, brushing off her uniform.

“Grease monkey doesn’t look half bad on you,” Alex smirked. “All right, 10 minutes then. See you on the Bridge.” 


  • "'I’m not an engineer,' Tani protested. 'Today you are,' Alex fired back." Turning a highly accomplished scientist into an greasy engineer is the world's greatest insult, and I enjoyed how this undertone was stitched throughout the entire post. The scientist can delve into the deepest mysteries of the universe, but yet she can't lay a few pieces of conduit without guidance. And you do get a bit more messy in those Jeffries tubes than sitting pretty in a science lab. Such a solid character exploration.

    May 21, 2023