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Thread: Star Trek RPG - Mission #7: "The War-Brotherhood of Irkhuit"

  1. #801
    Stegodon stolz's avatar
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    "By the harrowing of hell!" Bizhi again falls silent. Finally he shakes his head and says, "I really thought those things were equipped with better fail-safes."

    "You were saying?" he prompts Kylah. His mind mostly back onto consumables (what else could go wrong?), he adds, "And, may I get anyone a drink of water?"

  2. #802
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    The grating, grinding sound of the torpedo leaving its tube is like nothing Nia would expect from a shuttle as well-maintained and lovingly cared for as the Tesla. Those tubes are practically right out of the factory crates. She's disheartened to think of the shuttle so... cludgy. The equivalent of watching a graceful, fleet riding beast go lame.

    "Nice work, Lieutenant," she says to Booker as she crawls back to the open panel. "Quick on the trigger. Status on the port torpedo tube?"

    Bending until she's almost on her belly, Nia peers inside the open deck panel, checking the lines and circuitry connecting the two mini-warp cores of the port and starboard nacelles--well, when there were two to connect. With the damage thus far seemingly focused to the shuttle's undercarriage, her concern is that the fuel lines, both main and auxiliaries, might've taken the same hit. If her utility belt or tool kit has a scanner, she'll use that to assess the status.

    She tilts her face to look back up at the doctor, telling him quietly, "None for me right now, thanks. We're gonna have to be stingy with the water rations until we know what's what--and I need less of it than the rest of you, anyway."
    Last edited by SidonianGal; 24 Aug 2022 at 10:29 PM.

  3. #803
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    Onn sees that the lines and circuitry between the Tesla's two warp nacelles are intact. From the panel's readouts, it appears that the damage to the starboard nacelle is considerable but entirely outside. The Sidonian officer reluctantly concludes that, outside of a fully-equipped repair facility such as aboard the Yorktown or in a spacedock, it cannot be fixed. The port nacelle, on the other hand, checks out and appears serviceable.

  4. #804
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    For some reason it seems important, so Rangin makes a note of the quantum filament in his datapad. It is a rare enough anomaly, but knows it is not the time to be really thinking about it.

    Hopefully someone else will be able to figure out the means of propulsion to get the shuttle somewhere. To that end, Rangin brings up the charts to quickly figure out where the nearest habitable planet is where they might be able to get some assistance.

    Now that things have begun to settle slightly after the torpedo malfunction, he gets on with the more important task of working out how much life support they have and how long it is likely to last for.

  5. #805
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    Rangin knows from his earlier stellar cartography records check that there are four star systems along the shuttle's planned route to Cavinre VII. Two are in Federation territory, on just this side of the Neutral Zone between the Federation and the Romulan Star Empire. They have both been surveyed but are uninhabited and have no Class M worlds.

    Two systems are in unclaimed or independent territory, neither in the Federation nor the Empire. One has a Class L world, Ollos, and the other, almost twice as distant from the Tesla's expected route at its closest point of approach, has an M-class world, Grinden IV. Given what he's learned about the shuttle's damage, both to the warp drive and to LS, it appears to Rangin that only Ollos is reachable at this point, and even that might be a stretch. Cavinre VII itself is now definitely out of reach.

    See post 745.

  6. #806
    Stegodon stolz's avatar
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    As for keeping everyone alive long enough to get to Ollos or anywhere else, Bizhi tries to estimate the minimum they need to put into absolutely critical systems like temperature control and air scrubbing, the baseline being survival rather than comfort. When Nia is through with her inspection, he tells the Lieutenant in no uncertain terms what power budget they will need for life support even at the expense of warp drive and further communications attempts, taking into account hacks like using phaser power cells for emergency power, unorthodox use of auxiliary systems for life support, and anything else that came up during the previous discussion.

    A fell, weirdly hyper-rational part of his mind cannot help but wonder, if there was some sort of sabotage, on one hand that would account for the exploding torpedo, but why so crude a job that they had any warning at all, instead of being quietly vaporized, their atoms dispersed across space so as to read like an accident, assuming anyone was even able to find any traces?

    He has an urge to wash his face and take a drink of water but suppresses it, knowing that they have only just begun to stretch their resources.
    Last edited by stolz; 03 Sep 2022 at 12:12 PM.

  7. #807
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    Kylah, who shook her head when the doctor asked about water, rubs her hands together as they tremble from both anxiety and what she perceives as a decrease in temperature. It is not uncomfortable yet, but she does hope they will be able to maintain the current conditions for as long as possible.

    Watching the others--minus Ens. Rawlings, who at least has a reason for his inactivity--she feels about as useful as a Targ would be in their situation. Less so, actually; at least they would be able to eat the Targ.

    Her glance shifts from Dr. Mäkeläinen to Velir to Lt. Graham before landing on Mr. Rawlings. She suspects his emotions are similar to her own, except worsened by pain and the fact that normally his role is a highly active one. He will not have the experience of being... extraneous. She gives him a sympathetic smile before addressing everyone generally.

    "If anyone needs an extra pair of hands, or--anything--please let me know." Kylah looks briefly at the mission commander lying on the deck floor, her head stuck in to examine... whatever would be in an access panel in that area. She flushes at recognizing how little she remembers of the basic components of a shuttle as taught back in the Academy.

    "My hands are small," she adds, this time focusing on Lt. Onn. "If there is any need for crawling or reaching for something, I might help there. And I can fetch tools you might need, if you tell me where to find them."

  8. #808
    Ape must not kill ape! general_urko's avatar
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    Graham checks the status of the port torpedo tube, as well as all weapon and defensive systems - limited as they are on a shuttle -with an eye not just to determining if they can function, but also if they may have been deliberately sabotaged.

  9. #809
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    Nia exhales in gratitude that the port nacelle is in good shape, if offline at the moment. Should she unlink them altogether? Avoid expending the resources required for the two systems to communicate with one another? It's doubtful it'd make much if any difference in how much fuel might be expended. But any scintilla of energy is precious.

    So what caused the systems to shut down like that? She's at a loss, and again she regrets not being able to view the outside of the shuttle. Whether it was an explosion, a bit of space debris, failing components--which Nia can't believe could be the case--finding the origin of impact or rupture or anything would be infinitely helpful.

    She hears Kylah's voice outside offering assistance. Glad to be hidden, Nia grimaces. Sure, if you can morph into an engineer--like I wanted in that seventh seat before your boss forced you on me--great. Otherwise, sit down and breathe less. Save it for the rest of us.

    She takes her own deep breath, which turns into a little cough. Her throat is swollen, seems like. Sure, why not add a cold to the heaping sundae of crap she's been served up? Then she straightens to look over at Kylah. Is there anything the girl can do using her skills? Not if Nia starts to steal parts from the communications system, which seems like the best option. Also the only one.

    Pushing up to a kneeling position, she inhales again, out of breath at the effort. Before she responds to Kylah, Dr. M. provides a solid account of what sort of resources they're working with, and she thanks him for his thoroughness. She points between him and Rangin. "You two should probably collaborate to concoct some strategies for keeping us stable as long as possible."

    She addresses the whole crew. "Here's the sitch. We've got one working nacelle, but the power's not getting to it. I have to cannibalize parts from the comm system. If there's anything that can be repurposed, we need to do so." Her gaze takes in Kylah. "Maybe you can figure out any leftover parts we should save if we want to keep our options open--at least for at least some kinda distress call."
    Last edited by SidonianGal; 03 Sep 2022 at 06:56 PM.

  10. #810
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    Kylah is sensitive enough to get the C.O.'s overall irritation at having been saddled with her. Indeed, it is probable the others who lack empathic senses could pick it up as well. Or perhaps not; Lt. Onn's tone was brusque but not... snide.

    She stands. "Yes, of course ma'am," she says softly.

  11. #811
    Oliphaunt SidonianGal's avatar
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    Steadying herself, Nia clambers to her feet and fights the same vertigo as before. The whole what the fuck happened to my shuttle? question nags at her. She mulls things over and grunts. Oh my brain's really on the blink. Check the activity logs, duh.

    "Okay, everyone. I'd like all of us to brainstorm everything that could've been responsible for this SNAFU. Speak up so everyone can hear you. Don't hold back: No idea is off the table, no matter how unlikely."

    She returns to focus on Kylah. The girl can probably check logs and records, if nothing else--sort of her area of expertise, such as it is. "I can't do everything at once, and I need to start dismantling things. But the answer to whatever went wrong might show up in our log buoy--it tracks a day's worth of the shuttle's activity and system checks. If something failed it might show up there. As would anything caused by the prison techies when they were thoughtfully tuning up the Tesla without my permission."

    She aims the next words at Booker. "What do you think? Can you work with her? I know you're not an engie, but you're more than equipped to identify suspicious activity as opposed to normal mechanical failure."

    Nia tells him and Kylah how and where to access the log buoy. * Then she heads aft to start digging into whatever shuttle systems that can be used to get the engine up and running.




    * - er, however and wherever that would be.

  12. #812
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    Dr. Mäkeläinen is no engineer, but he knows the limits of humanoid bodies. After swift but thoughtful study and then running simulations on his medical tricorder, he believes that, if LS is reduced to a bare minimum, and if communications, photon torpedo control and other now-nonessential systems are powered down entirely, with sensors also reduced to the minimum necessary simply to avoid hitting anything, the Tesla could probably reach Ollos using a single warp nacelle, if no further problems come to light. He can see no better alternative, other than the extremely remote possibility that the shuttle encounters a friendly ship along the way.

    Graham determines that torpedo control - of the shuttle's sole remaining weapon - and deflector shields, both navigational and defensive, are OK. He sees no sign of sabotage, but there was some strange kind of power surge that seemed to arm the first torpedo, without any command inputs to do so. It shouldn't have happened, given all the failsafes, and he cannot recall hearing of something like this ever happening before, but... clearly it did.

    The shuttle's very small log buoy, about the size of a tennis ball, has no transmitter and cannot move on its own. Onn knows that it continuously records the last 24 hours of the Tesla's log entries, hull and engine telemetry, sensor readings, navigational inputs and cabin audio/visual data. It has its own dedicated, and also small, control panel up along the port inner bulkhead of the shuttle, next to where Rawlings is now resting, as it happens. Onn points it out to Graham and Kylah.

    After troubleshooting aft, the Sidonian woman decides that a total manual shutdown of the starboard nacelle, the cannibalization of most communications components and a little creative reprogramming of the warp drive control and operating subsystem could be enough to bring the port nacelle online. In essence, she has to convince the shuttle that its own starboard nacelle, half of the warp drive architecture, never existed... or at least isn't there now. The port nacelle will not then be smoothly automatic in its operation, and will require someone to ride herd on it continuously, but she thinks it's doable. The shuttle could then, if all goes well, make maybe Warp 1.4.

    Maybe.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 04 Sep 2022 at 10:23 PM.

  13. #813
    Stegodon stolz's avatar
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    In response to part of Nia's speculation, Mäkeläinen says, "Ma'am, I can't help thinking, at least one or two things do not add up. If someone were trying to get rid of us and make it look like an accident, a torpedo malfunction is a good as way as any. It almost worked, if that is what it was. But anybody at the prison--- anybody who knew of our mission, for that matter--- would have known our prisoner was already delivered and that we were coming back empty-handed. And, the crash just before--- a saboteur would have just rigged the torpedo to blow; no need to get fancy. Whatever that was, either it was a mighty coincidence, or else not. We are naturally focused on the prison because that was our last port of call, but beyond them our sums will never add up because we do not know what the terms are in the first place.

    "No way to examine the torpedo (that would be the point of tampering with it), but as long as we are still more or less in one piece there is always a chance the logs might show something. What do we know about Ollos? We can't yet rule out that somebody wanted to force us there."
    Last edited by stolz; 05 Sep 2022 at 06:37 PM.

  14. #814
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    Kylah looks across at Ens. Rawlings--and then the panel Lt. Onn pointed out. She hesitates until Lt. Graham is nearer before glancing up at him. "I know very little about engineering other than the most basic information from the Academy," she says apologetically. "I might not recognize anything that is... amiss. I will await your direction."

  15. #815
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    Rangin starts going through a more detailed analysis of Life Support, how much can we drop the temperature, what can we do to preserve oxygen... and tries to see just how much can be eked out with their current supplies.

    Sitting back and thinking, he realises that getting to the planet is only half the issue, surviving once they get there is just as important. No point crash landing only to die of thirst or starvation.

    He passes the details across to Dr Mäkeläinen, “what do you think, what else can we sort out?” before turning to answer Lt Onn’s question.

    “Sorry Ma’am, the only thing that comes to mind is a Quantum filament for some reason, but it’s so rare as to be inexplicable and grasping at straws. I’d be happier if it had been something more mundane that that.”

  16. #816
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    Graham listens to the discussion, the ideas, and Nia's instructions.

    Before turning to the sensor log buoy with Kylah, he adds his readout: "Shields and the other torpedo check out. Damned if I know how it happened, but there was some weird power surge that primed the torpedo - it may be that's the culprit, but what it was it beyond some freak event--or a trap? No idea, and that torpedo should not have armed as a result."

    He sighs before approaching Kylah and the buoy, then answers her more quietly. "Well you're probably better at a computer console than I am, and four eyes are better than two, in any event..." He sighs again. "Especially when we're not sure what we're looking for..." He smiles grimly. "Anything weird, let's just say."

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    With a nod that hopefully seems confident, Kylah opens the panel to access the log. Does she download the data to the Tesla system, or is it already accessible by the shuttle's computer?

  18. #818
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    Dr. Mäkeläinen tells Lt. Rangin, "My calculations were based on the resources we have available on this shuttle, and on dree and tholing. And that was assuming nothing else goes wrong; if we lose warp drive completely, or the rest of our air--- well. But, you're right. Assuming we get to Ollos, and need to survive more than a few hours on our own... what information can you dig up on it? Atmospheric composition, surface temperatures and biomes, travellers' reports, anything.

    We need medical facilities, to contact the Fleet, supplies, and to make some repairs if possible, so ideally we try extra hard to head straight for the biggest city, starport, or population centre and not crash in the middle of a desert, as much as I could do with a nice walk. Or second-biggest."

  19. #819
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    Nia heads back to the deck panel to go forward with her plan to reroute the connections to and from the starboard nacelle. With the tools taken from the aft storage area, she gets on her belly once more, shuddering a bit as she feels the cold from the hull through her uniform and even her scales.

    After thanking the men for their reports--raising her eyebrows when Rangin mentions quantum filaments, and even repeating the term to make sure she heard correctly--she takes a deep breath and calls up through the open panel. "I agree, Doc." Except she's not sure she heard him right either--did he say 'dree and tholing'? What? Is this an Earth thing? She'd ask but there are probably more important things to worry about.

    "You're right," she continues, "that sabotage either before or after we dropped off Hutchinson makes little sense. Unless pure revenge against us for... something. The idea of forcing us to Ollos... huh. Your brain works twistily. I like that." She smiles to herself. He and Rangin will make a good team. "Regardless, I've never heard of a torpedo priming itself without someone's intervention. Doesn't sound like Book's familiar with it either."

    The questionable appropriateness (or lack of it) of using Booker's nickname casually doesn't even occur to her. Thinking of the power surge he mentioned makes her scowl even deeper. "Book... Rangin... did you already run a tricorder sensor sweep for anything attached to the hull outside? If not, Rangin should do so. The shuttle's small enough that your tricorder should be able to scan the whole thing." She grits her teeth. "Any other explosives ready to pop off, we'd better know about it fast."

    Nia grunts as she tugs on some wires. "Thing is, having torpedoes on a shuttle is irregular. Experimental, like a lot on the Tesla is. They wouldn't have known ahead of time we had such heavy weapons. It's been hush-hush on the Yorktown, even. The only ones who know what this girl's capable of are me, Cheverez, Vargas, and just a half-dozen Engineering crew."

    Except that we used one during the Klingon chase, so it's quite possible someone on the Bridge or even the Klingons overheard. Wincing at the thought, she resumes trying to make the port nacelle believe it's the only game in town, energywise.

    "Sabotage from our crew is something I don't wanna think about. Well I'll leave you to the whys and wherefores." Another Andyism; she smiles weakly to herself. Shit, my usual goodbye message might actually get read. "It'll help to know how this happened to make sure it doesn't repeat itself, so keep chugging away at the past and present. I'll focus on our future."

    Assuming they have one. Rangin's stats aren't comforting.

    The crew's doing what they can, and more than capable of figuring out what might have happened. Nia tries to focus on survival rather than detective work. On her part, she needs to extend the lifespan--or at least maintain--the l/s. And of course, to get the shuttle moving.

    Nia shuts up and saves her breath. She's been nattering away to buck herself up, but her own energy is flagging and the spinning feeling in her head is not helped by her current position.
    Last edited by SidonianGal; 07 Sep 2022 at 09:11 PM.

  20. #820
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    Rangin runs some figures and sees that, with LS reduced to a minimum - including O2 and internal temperature - the shuttle crew should be able to make it to Ollos with at least a three-hour safety margin at Warp 1.4.

    Kylah accesses the log, which is accessible by Tesla's onboard computer. Hull telemetry and local sensor readings became very odd at the instant the lights went out and the engines failed; she thinks there might be something to Rangin's quantum filament theory. The torpedo, she sees, armed itself within eight seconds of that event.

    Rawlings stirs himself and says, "Ollos is nonaligned, a pelagic planet, a waterworld with a bunch of islands. I visited once, years ago. There's one relatively large town and a scattering of smaller ones. It's a major cargo-transshipment hub for the sector. Definitely not a garden spot, but there's a shipyard and we should at least be able to make repairs there, for the right price."

  21. #821
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    Bizhi's comments interest Kylah, not the least of which due to some unfamiliar vocabulary. She makes a mental note to ask him later. As she reads through the log, a wrinkle appears above the bridge of her nose. "I... I do not know much about this... quantum filament phenomenon. There does not seem to be anything indicating human--that is, non-technical intervention." She glances up at Lt. Graham. "But that is your area. Do you see anything?"

  22. #822
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    Nia makes one last pass with a hyper-spanner to tighten the rearranged connections, aimed at keeping the port nacelle and its many operations self-contained rather than reliant or expending any energy on its effectively DOA starboard counterpart. Once that's taken care of, she'll get back to the helm to run a quick simulation to make sure. All the while she listens to the others' comments.

    By now she's almost dreading having to get to her feet--the expectation of experiencing yet another bout of dizziness. Wouldn't have to keep hopping up and down if she had a dedicated engineer to help her. Again irritation stirs at being stuck with dead weight, even if it's taking the compact form of a short Elasian girl.

    But Nia can't get what she can't have. Story of my life, she thinks darkly, and her mind courteously provides her painful images of her infants and her parents and Booker and... and any future, any purpose that remains to her existence. Stop being morose. What's done is done.

    And as the doctor told her, she is done.

    Shaking her head, she realizes she's not concentrating on the task at hand. Dizziness or not, she'll be happy to get back in her chair. In her current position, head almost buried inside the panel, she's feeling an unfamiliar sense of claustrophobia--the Tesla seems to be sucking her down with it. Her lungs are tight, too.

    Again she stands, a little warily. Same vertigo, but she's braced herself for it and doesn't stumble. "All right. Sounds like sabotage is out. Honestly, the cause of whatever-the-hell happened only matters as far as figuring out whether we can expect or avoid any more damage. Quantum filaments are incredibly rare, so if that's the cause, we're probably okay to go." Her impression of being sucked into the ship triggers a thought--the possibility of a gravimetric field, which she suggests to the others. "Either way, let's still get a scan of the hull. Probably nothing's attached to it, but it can't hurt."

    While walking down the aisle, Nia reiterates Rangin's findings about reaching Ollos at a slow but steady pace. As she passes Rawlings, she lays a gentle hand on his non-injured shoulder. "I'm impressed, Double-T. You missed your calling as a tour guide." Nia's tone and accompanying smile are affectionate, and unconsciously she transfers the look to Booker. "Water planet. Maybe a chance for some swimming."

    Back at the helm where she belongs, she begins running a 'dry test' to see how the impulse engine will work with the new single-nacelle setup. There'll likely be more adjustments to make elsewhere, but aside from life support, moving the shuttle is the biggest question mark.
    Last edited by choie; 10 Sep 2022 at 11:50 AM. Reason: Fixed quantum fissures to quantum filaments. Thanks chief!

  23. #823
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    The impulse engines seem unaffected, either by whatever affected the shuttle in the first place, or by Onn's work since. The port nacelle readings look surprisingly good.

  24. #824
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    Mäkeläinen looks at Rawlings appreciatively. A couple of abbreviated, out-of-date trip reports in the computer library was about what he had been expecting; first-hand experience is a stroke of unexpected luck. "So we know what to expect. Coming in like old salts, not looking like wide-eyed kids lost far from home, or too desperate, should go a long way to keeping that price down in the realm of vaguely reasonable. I hope. I also want to get you to a proper hospital."

    While it is possible to make one's way in the Federation core worlds and many beyond, especially as part of Starfleet, without much need to handle money, that is simply far from true everywhere in the galaxy. Something like repairing a damaged shuttle, he worries, might take a little more than pocket money, or a junior officer's promise. Yet they should be able to deal with it; the trick will be to make it to Ollos first.

    He looks at Nia, a little worried. While he has no doubt she would push herself to and beyond the limit uncomplainingly, he told her to get a lot of rest in the short term, and she has simply not had nearly enough. He is not quite ready to say anything, not while she is still working, but Lt. Graham had better be able to handle spelling her at the helm for a while.

    He asks Rangin, "These quantum filaments, they are a natural phenomenon? There isn't any chance of running into another one as soon as we start moving again, is there?"

  25. #825
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    Graham shakes his head in response to Kylah's question. "Hell of a thing, torpedo arming...I guess random cosmic phenomenon is as likely as anything else," he grumbles.

    He gives her an instinctive pat on the shoulder as he notices Nia returning to the helm and rises to join her: if Ollos is within reach, then it's down to the two of us handling the piloting and any threats that come along to get us there...

    Nia's comment brings him up short. Memories of meeting her. Those are fond on their own, but since all that's happened...

    "I, ah, hope the water's warm," he responds, initially to Nia, then throwing a glance at Rawlings.

  26. #826
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    Surprise lights Kylah's face when Lt. Graham pats her, and despite the unknown future and dangerous circumstances, his friendly, almost paternal gesture--casual as it is--radiates reassurance and even affection. She smiles her gratitude, but he has already moved to the front, as of course he should.

    She turns to the doctor. "Sir, is there anything I might do for Ens. Rawlings?" She looks over to her fellow ensign to include him in the request. "Or to... to help parcel out supplies, rations, water..." Her hand lifts futilely, these words having exhausted Kylah's knowledge of what needs to be done in such a situation.

    Turning to Velir, she adds intently, "Or research I could help you with, or... anything?" Give me something to do, she thinks, glancing around the small shuttle and wishing she could transmit the message to the entire crew. She probably could, at least one at a time, but for obvious reasons that is not an option.

    The possibility of being stuck here is terrifying and the others must feel this as well--but they do such good jobs of remaining staunch and stoic. Kylah feels the edginess, the tense undercurrent beneath all their bravery, and it's thrumming through her like an electric current. So instead of the entire crew, she focuses only on Velir, and very gently touches his wrist for the briefest of instants. If I do not keep occupied I shall fall apart. Can you sense this?

  27. #827
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    Nia eyes the numerous status lights across the helm. Whatever needs to be done to make sure functions are bypassing the starboard nacelle, she needs to do it. Although it seems like the port is doing a pretty good job on its own already. How is that possible? What did I miss?

    She catches a glimpse of Booker sitting beside her, and hears his comment. "Yeah, I'll be happy if anything's warmer than this," she murmurs absently. The temperature is increasingly uncomfortable. Her muscles are so taut they're sore, trying to guard against the little shudders running through her. Side-eyeing Booker, she tries to catch a glimpse of his own comfort level. Doesn't seem to be affected.

    Well, he's not cold-blooded. At least... not in that way.

    The bitter joke adds some mental levity, but she can't avoid the fact that the rest of the crew doesn't seem to be reacting the way she is to the changed atmosphere. Do they not notice?

    "First, Rangin, I’ve got the same question as the Doc. Anything you know about quantum filaments I’d better learn too. Next…” She'd rather not say anything, but... “ Is there an emergency blanket or a jacket back there?" She’s addressing Book, but then expands it to the crew at large. "You Class-M planet dwellers might not be affected but it's a little nippy for us Sidonians. Otherwise everyone take your seat and strap in. I want to see if we can get going without another lurch."

    Eyes on her panel again, Nia grits her jaw. The shuttle air's so damn cold and thin, it's as if she's climbed too high on a mountaintop without an air tank. And the dizziness. It's all unfamiliar and she's getting pissed off by her lamed Tesla and her own failing body.

    Then she registers Booker beside her again, and thinks of their time as a couple, and some unconscious string of logic links it all together to pair it with the physical issues she's been experiencing. And that's when Nia realizes with a sharp, painful thud of her heart against her ribs that... no. This isn't unfamiliar. This isn't unfamiliar at all.

    Gripping the sides of her chair for a second, Nia bends down to check another of the instrument gauges. But mostly it's an effort to prevent Booker or anyone else from seeing her face and the calculations desperately running through her cluttered mind.
    Last edited by SidonianGal; 12 Sep 2022 at 04:55 AM.

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    Nia's mention of "Class M planet dwellers" reminds him not just about the temperature, but her...special needs, atmosphere-wise.

    His concern is no less now than it was that night in her cabin.

    Graham leans in close and speaks as softly as he can, for Nia's ears only. "Lieut-- Nia...the, ah, cold, or the--air...is there anything the doc can do? Or--look, a phaser on minimum power and some hunk of metal on the shuttle...I could heat something up for warmth..."

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    Rawlings says thoughtfully, "Ollos definitely has seasons. Don't know what the weather there is now, though."

    The instrument gauges are all encouraging, Onn sees. She should be able to get the shuttle moving again very soon.

    Graham remembers that there are thin foil emergency blankets in the aft engineering compartment.

    Rangin can pass along what little he - or anyone - knows about quantum filaments. They are extremely rare, come and go unpredictably, can't be detected with typical Starfleet sensors, and are unlikely to pose a further threat to the Tesla... if that is indeed what the shuttle struck.


    https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Quantum_filament

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    Having passed on the information about the quantum filaments, Rangin goes back to doing what he has been asked and scanning further around the shuttle.

    Rangin listens to Rawlings details about the planet and then looks up any further details as best he can. Better to be as prepared as possible and find out what the Federation knows about the planet above and beyond.

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    Trusting the science officer's judgement that they will not instantly explode, at least due to quantum filaments (space travel and Starfleet service especially are never without peril, however, and Bizhi is philosophical about it), Bizhi turns back to the matter of survival. He says to Kylah, who seems to want to help, "See if you can find a blanket for Ens. Rawlings as well. It is important for him, especially, to stay warm. Life support is going to be minimal, so we can all expect to get quite miserable. Chilly, for sure, and it could get humid or stuffy. Carbon dioxide, that's really important; you can help keep an eye on the readings and alert me if it goes over 5000 parts per million."

    It is not something anyone normally pays attention to on a functioning vessel, but temperature control draws a surprisingly large amount of power. Bizhi is not yet chilled to the bone like Nia, but he can tell he will be if it gets much colder and does not keep moving around. He continues, assuming others are listening as well, "I don't want anyone getting dehydrated. If you get thirsty, take a drink. I doubt we will be sweating much, in any case. Food is a secondary priority, but we should see what we have left, plus the emergency rations. And when it is your turn to rest, grab a blanket and try to stay warm; don't tough it out."

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    In his tricorder scans, Rangin finds nothing unusual on or near the shuttle.

    There is relatively little in Federation records about Ollos, he sees, other than unremarkable survey and planetology data. It has apparently not been visited by a Starfleet ship in more than five years. The nonaligned waterworld is Class L, meaning it has a harsh climate but a breathable atmosphere. It has over 200 islands, the largest of which, Chebb, in the northern hemisphere, is about the size of Ireland. The largest settlement on the planet, Freetown, is on Chebb and has an estimated population of 70,000. It is, as Rawlings said, a major cargo-transshipment hub for the sector, and has a state-of-the-art shipyard. It would be within reach, if they chose to make a play for it, of either the Klingon or the Romulan empires, but for the moment at least, both seem content to let it maintain its tenuous independence. As to seasons, it is currently winter on Chebb.

    Despite the precautions he is advising, Dr. Mäkeläinen knows it would be very much be for the best if the Tesla's crew got out of the shuttle sooner rather than later.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 14 Sep 2022 at 11:43 PM. Reason: Fixed a name

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    Freezing--both metaphorically and (almost) literally--Nia closes her eyes while Booker speaks, her face turned aside. She swallows and does her best to collect herself. She's the commander of the shuttle and the mission, and if she's panicking, she's not doing right by her crew. Goddamn Booker for being perceptive and concerned.

    She’s as breezy as she can get while clenching her jaw trying not to chatter. "Clever, you, but we might need every phaser we've got--if not for weapons, then energy. One of the Enterprise's shuttles was stranded a few years ago, basically no power, definitely not enough to get them very far. The crew did some daisy-chaining of their phasers to squeeze out enough juice to push them out of orbit. Genius move. Enterprising, you might say," she adds, accompanying it with a weak chuckle.

    At last she’s ready to meet Booker's gaze with more confidence. "I'm fine. I started the mission with plenty of time before I need to get 'refreshed'--at least thirty hours before I should even start feeling any symptoms. We've barely spent, what, fourteen?"

    Nia casually pulls at the edge of her collar to show a hint of the silver chain necklace beneath. "Plus I've got my nebulizer. If I've seemed a little off, it's just that there's another... health issue... that's affecting me a little. But Dr. M.'s got that under control."

    Even as she's talking she's listening to Mäkeläinen's report and trying to understand the math, because what she just told Booker is absolutely true. It's only been slightly over a day since she returned to her cabin after that week of living on pure Bilitrium. She usually goes nearly 48 hours, sometimes even more, before needing to replenish herself.

    So why the hell does she feel exactly like she does the few times she's pushed herself too far past the deadline? Like she's choking on the very air she’s breathing?

    She forces herself to continue. “And this other issue’s probably why my ability to regulate my temperature’s a little compromised. So if you can find something like a blanket, that’d be fine. My uniform’s not so great at coverage. Clearly visual appeal trumped practicality for whichever letch of a Starfleet officer designed female uniforms. Then again, my fault I didn't go with the trouser version, like Collins. If only I wasn’t so vain about my legs.”

    Nia tries a smile. She really needs Booker to leave her side, because she really really needs to cough and gasp a little, and she refuses to do so in front of him. "Now go be a good boy and fetch."

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    Rangin realises that Kylah had asked him a question and that he is yet to respond to her.

    “Actually, I can think of one thing that would be highly useful for us all. As the planet is inhabited, and we are going to be limping its way, can you get in contact with it?”

    The fact she is the comms officer, well, she is the ideal person to reach out and ask for help. The shuttle is stable for the moment, time to think outside the tiny metal floating box they are currently in.

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    Kylah is buffeted by an array of information and emotion from multiple people--the emotions ranging from an alarming stab of panic to intense concern. Her instinct is to try and locate the sources, but she refocuses on the doctor, whose instructions must take priority.

    "Yes, sir, of course." She takes in the information about carbon dioxide monitoring and glances around for the environmental control panel, then the aft where the blanket must be. Before she heads off, she turns to Velir and takes in his suggestion about reaching out to Ollos.. "I will... try." Her doubt is evident in her tone, and in the examination of her own communications panel--and the mess left in the aft area by whatever Lt. Onn did to the shuttle's inner workings.

    "I had poor luck with the system before," she murmurs, "and the Lieutenant warned me she was taking parts from communications to repair the engines. Or... perhaps it was life support? I do not even know..." Kylah inhales deeply and tries to give Velir her most reassuring look. "But I will do my best."

    With a nod to both him and Dr. Mäkeläinen, she moves to seek out the blanket--or blankets, if there is a supply of more than one.

    Alone in the aft storage section, Kylah rubs her arms--feeling a little chilly herself back here. Maybe the temperature control system has been reduced to save energy for the occupied front section? As she opens different compartments, she frowns at the realization that Velir did not seem to 'hear' her silent question--at least, he did not react to it. Curious: Kylah's abilities should have made it possible to communicate with him, even without his own new senses.

    Perhaps he is immune to any unexpected external psi effects? He displayed extraordinary strength guarding against Fellim Palver's attempts at mind control back at OCIII; that was how Velir's power had first been displayed. Blocking such efforts might be one of the abilities developing from that strange Sakathian virus mutation.

    She shakes her head to file away the questions for later, and resumes searching.

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    Dr. Mäkeläinen concludes telling Nia sotto voce, "So, we'll be able to make the trip, barely, but, whatever magic you worked back there, we can't afford to stay here much longer. If we do not make way before too long, it will not be worth the bother.

    "Do whatever you have to do to get us under way, but--- please!--- once we are moving take the first watch off and rest, and try to stay as warm as you can."

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    There are eight emergency blankets in the aft storage compartment, one for each person in the standard complement of a Class-F shuttlecraft, and a spare.

    Kylah finds the Tesla's communications system is now completely dead.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 15 Sep 2022 at 10:38 PM.

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    Graham nodes and smiles at Nia's instruction--and has to resist the twitch of his hand that was otherwise going to lead to giving her arm a squeeze.

    He stands and steps toward the back of the cabin, looking for who's doing what and where emergency blankets are might be.

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    Graham finds the emergency blankets are now being distributed.

    As she completes her work the port nacelle readouts show all in the green, Onn sees. The navigational deflector also checks out, and forward sensors are at least good enough for proceeding at low warp speed.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 16 Sep 2022 at 11:19 PM.

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    Kylah keeps one blanket for herself, and distributes the others starting with Lt. Graham, whom she meets on her way back. "Here, sir," she says, meeting his gaze. Is he the one panicking? It seems unlike him, but he has a new family now and perhaps the thought of worrying them... or worse... is causing some agitation. But no, there is nothing quite so strong as panic in his demeanor.

    "Do you wish to bring one to Lt.Onn? The doctor wishes me to stay back here to monitor the air quality. There is nothing else for me to do, at present. I fear sending or receiving any messages is beyond our capabilities at present."

    This last remark she addresses to the others as well as Lt. Graham, including Velir in response to his request about contacting the planet. Kylah gives him his blanket, and the doctor his. Her sympathetic attention turns to Ens. Rawlings, and she shifts the remaining blankets in her arms. "Perhaps... perhaps you should have the extra one, as well? You are... larger..."

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    Nodding as the good doctor keeps her informed, Nia stares at the green lights in front of her, with no small sense of relief. The technical issues, life support stats have been battling for supremacy in her mind, but at least now she feels more control over the one domain in which she's always felt most comfortable.

    After trying to take in as much air as she can and coughing quietly, she gathers her stamina and sits back up at the helm. Her muscles are getting sore from how tightly she's pulling them to stop shaking. Book, hold me, please?

    The tiny plea, coming out of nowhere, irritates her. "I'll sleep when I know the Tesla can handle herself," she says shortly to Dr. Mäkeläinen, then looks back with a little more genuine gratitude and a lot less genuine reassurance. "I'm okay. Look, I'm certainly replaceable as a pilot if we've got nothing heavy thrown at us. But as far as techwise, monitoring the instruments and staying on top of them..." Her eyes hopefully scan the other crew, as if expecting Cheverez to manifest himself like a messiah from the storage area.

    Pragmatism returns when that miracle fails to show up. She continues dryly, "We're a little underweight there. Let's talk timing, specifically the worst-case scenario, Doc." She looks over to Rangin. "You too. Let's prep for disaster. At a stretch, how long do we have if everything goes wrong and the engines die?"

    She pauses. Most of what she's been doing, aside from repairing and replacing and re-inventing the Tesla's innards, involved adjusting the EPS network taps to ensure that as little plasma gets diverted to power any systems other than the warp coils. But she's still got some leeway; if the shuttle needs to go even faster, there's still room to do so.

    "And alternatively, how much time can we buy if we cut the temperature and life support to the bare minimum that we can handle?" We. That implies universal requirements for survival. Which, Nia knows all too well, is very much not the case.
    Last edited by SidonianGal; 18 Sep 2022 at 03:48 AM.

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    "Thank you, Mr. Kylah, I would" Graham says softly, trying to look reassuring. He shakes his head slightly. "A lot of things are out of the question at the moment--but most important of all, not propulsion."

    "Fear is not knowing what to do."

    The hardest nosed, most combat experienced officer Graham had ever served under had drilled that into every single one of his command--there's a million things to worry about and even more reason to panic when the chips are down. But they don't matter if you know what to do.

    He almost tries to explain, but then just nods and turns away.

    One: We're going to give getting to the planet our best shot.
    TwoL I'm going to give Nia a blanket.
    Three: See one.


    Without speaking to avoid interrupting Nia and the doctor, Graham drapes the blanket over Nia's shoulders ad the back of her chair, pulling the edges forward so they meet over her chest, to adjust as she sees fit--being careful to make sure his hands don't actually touch her breasts, something that at a different time, in a different place...

    But not here, not now, not anymore.

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    Mäkeläinen calls after Kylah, "Keep an eye on the concentration, but it will change gradually, so you need not stay glued to it. Just make a note of the levels periodically." Technical details of humanoid respiration, metabolism, and the long list of side effects they can expect come to mind automatically, but he does not launch into a lecture.

    That leaves Lt. Onn. Her irritation comes as no surprise. The patient is the best judge of how the patient is feeling and how far she can push herself, except when she is not. In her case, he has absolutely no doubt she will do her duty to the bitter end, no matter how bad things get. And he knows they need her. But, to be honest with himself, Nia is not looking her best. No one on board is. Should they pull through, and it will be a close thing, they will need her skills at the end of the journey at least as much as now. If she continues to burn the candle at both ends, where will that leave her?

    The worst-case scenario she, quite rightly, wants to be prepared for? "Lt. Rangin's travel-time calculation [how long was it?] was based on pulling Warp 1.4, and life support will be at bare minimum. If we don't make it? Another three hours, for sure. Beyond that, it's a race between lack of breathable air and hypothermia. They even share symptoms: drowsiness, confusion, decreased performance on all tasks. We could strip phasers for power cells, it seems, but that will not keep an entire shuttle heated for long, so if it comes to that we will freeze first."
    Last edited by stolz; 19 Sep 2022 at 07:32 PM.

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    Dr. Mäkeläinen is inclined to agree with Rangin's projections that, with LS reduced to a minimum - including O2 and internal temperature - the shuttle crew should be able to make it to Ollos in just over seven hours, with at least a three-hour safety margin, at Warp 1.4.

    Kylah sees that air quality is still within acceptable parameters.

  45. #845
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    Nia adds the latest estimate to the calculations dancing around in her brain. Seven hours. She swallows and stares at the miniature version of a nav panel. How much more distance does this detour put between them and the Yorktown? And, most pressingly, her full Bilitrium tanks?

    Uncertain if she can trust her ability to do even basic math right now, she asks the question aloud. "Does that add to our ETA of rendezvousing with the Yorktown? How fast can they get to us, if we're hobbled down there? Again, worst-case scenario."

    Seven hours, she repeats like a litany while doing her best to continue slow, measured breaths. Fortunately the others will be fine, at least as far as breathing and eating and sleeping. Whether there are any hostiles down there, who knows. But if Double-T went there for some vacation it's probably not too dangerous, unless things have changed drastically since then. From Rangin's report, doesn't sound like it.

    She's about to repeat her question when suddenly Booker is here, draping the aluminum blanket around her, practically tucking her in. Though his gesture is surely just friendly, nothing he wouldn't do for any other crewmate--with one or two exceptions--she closes her eyes for a second to absorb the tender emotions flooding through her.

    The nearness of his hands make the tense knot in her belly tighten, then relax. Without thinking she touches her fingertips to his wrist, both in gratitude and also because she's almost freezing and her stiff, numb fingers are drawn to his warmth.

    Then she draws away and her gaze flickers back to the nav screen. "Thanks," she says hoarsely before clearing her throat to project the command. "You--everyone--get in your seat. Time to move this tub, or at least make a test. Gonna initiate a thirty-second engine burn."

    Outdated tech-speak that lingers from Nia's airship days, but even with a plasma-based engine the principle's the same. Start reaction at the warp core, aim the plasma stream through the nacelles--no, just one nacelle--to the coils, start propulsion.

    A lot can go wrong in the process, especially after the Frankenstein monstrosity she's crafted with bits and pieces from other unrelated systems. She again addresses Booker and the others. "If anyone sees any indicator lights turning even just yellow for more than a couple seconds, let me know. Everyone okay to go?"

  46. #846
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    With little else for Rangin to do, he sits back with the blanket gratefully received from Kylah. If he was an engineer, no doubt he would be fixing the comms unit to try and send a signal, but that is a little bit beyond him, sensors being a little more in his field.

    He is going to have seven hours of little to do, so plenty of time to see if the sensors currently have any active component or if it is just passively receiving data. If it is, then there is a possibility to turn it into a transmitter with a message attached, but it depends on just how much it has been cannibalised to allow the propulsion to work.

    Acknowledging Lt Onn’s order, he braces until they are underway, and then, perhaps, keep busy during the longer trek across empty space.

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    Bizhi accepts his blanket gratefully. He, too, straps in following the order, and wraps the metallized blanket around himself.

    He does not know how long the Yorktown might take to divert to pick them up, but he imagines taking their chances on an inhabited world is much less a worst-case scenario than huddling together for warmth on a crippled shuttle, gasping for a breath of fresh air that never comes.

    He glances at Ens. Rawlings and the others, but there is not much he can do for them (especially Nia), medically speaking, to combat the chill, besides try to brew up some hot chocolate, or whatever can be found on board, after they are under way.

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    After reporting the CO2 status to Dr. Mäkeläinen, Kylah hesitates before taking a seat. There is definitely someone whose fear is as sharp and cold as an icicle. Since there is nothing to be gained by imposing on their privacy--and because Kylah does not want to dwell on the dire circumstances--she exercises some restraint and enfolds the blanket around her. She takes her seat, now by the environment control panel instead of where she has been sitting throughout this mission, straps in and braces herself.

    Brings up a point: what are the current seating arrangements for those of us in the back? Probably doesn't matter much, but if the trip is of any length I'd like to know whom Kylah can see/hear/talk to. I'd guess Bizhi would be close to Rawlings? Where would the various panels be again? Yes this is me being lazy for once and not running down a rabbit hole of TOS blueprints and ephemera.

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    Rawlings is seated in the back row, to port (left) as you face the stern (back) of the shuttle. Onn and Graham are sitting up front, of course, by the forward control consoles. Everyone else may be seated where they wish. There are no functional control panels near Kylah or anyone else aft, given Onn's cannibalizing work to get the warp drive back online and restore basic ship's functions.

    The Tesla's port nacelle starts up surprisingly smoothly, and the Sidonian pilot soon has the shuttle moving towards Ollos at Warp 1.4. An hour passes without any problems, and then two; she thinks she may even chance increasing the shuttle's speed a little more.

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    While the shuttle is moving steadily at warp towards it’s destination, Rangin starts looking at the comms issue. While the main sub-space communications have been destroyed or utilised in jury-rigging their propulsion, it’s not the only means of sending a message.

    Rangin checks to see if there is any active sensor scanning going on from the shuttle and failing that looking at the small shuttle probe to see what kind of communications relay it has for sending data to the shuttle.

    He is not expecting to make any long range calls to the Yorktown, but more of an emergency comms device when they come into close range of the Ollos and the crew needs to talk to any people on the planet. Just to let them know they are looking for assistance, not a danger to the planet and so on. Of course, the reverse is true and if they only have passive sensors, then at least he can bend his skill towards listening for any communication from the planet, which may be more useful if and when they get there.

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