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Engineers and Scientists, Oh My!

Posted on Sun Aug 6th, 2017 @ 1:49pm by HALP & Lieutenant Rhesha Th'Kharia & Lieutenant M'ndi M'rron & Lieutenant Laree Desai
Edited on on Sun Aug 6th, 2017 @ 7:39pm

Mission: Mission 2: Echoes of the Dominion
Location: Main Engineering
Timeline: 30 March, 2394 - 1130 Hours


Rhesha was starting to understand why it was that his predecessors complained so much about paperwork. The amount of it was truly staggering. Each time that he had cleared a PADD one of the engineers would come by with one or more PADDs that needed to be dealt with. A new PADD had just been left on his desk, and he had cleared another one when the doors to engineering opened and admitted Lieutenants M'rron and Desai.

"...seems to be functioning fine," M'ndi continued as the two science officers entered Engineering, "but I'd like to have the Cardassian engineers run a couple more tests, just in case." The young Caitian was getting used to having Lieutenant Desai here to direct her and provide feedback, and the two of them were developing an amicable working relationship, though M'ndi was never entirely without anxiety over her work.

"Good idea," Desai said. She looked around as she and M'rron entered Engineering and spotted a short-ish Andorian Lieutenant frowning at a PADD. Definitely Lieutenant Th'Kharia. She was going to walk up and introduce herself, but caught herself and thought she might give M'rron a little boost. She addressed her Assistant Chief: "Is that Lieutenant Th'Kharia?" she asked, nodding at the Andorian. "Would you introduce us?"

M'ndi nodded and walked up to Rhesha. "Good morning, Lieutenant," she greeted him. "I don't believe you've met the new CSO? This is Lieutenant Desai." She stepped aside to allow the two officers to meet one another.

Rhesha looked up at the two scientists. He stood and put his hand out for Desai.

"Lieutenant, nice to meet you." He turned back to M'ndi, "Any word on the paper yet?"

"I got it submitted for peer review last night," M'ndi responded, "so now we play the waiting game."

A shimmering blue forcefield sprang into existence over the main entrance to engineering. At the same time, the warp core flared as a massive amount of energy was drawn away. Above the three officer's heads, a foggy mist billowed out of the air ventilation system and began to settle to the floor.

Desai was about to ask about the paper they were writing when she saw the warp core flare. She turned toward the pulsing core, then swung immediately back to the Chief Engineer just as she smelled something sweet and soft in the air. She raised her hand in an instinctive gesture, to warn the others or shield herself, but it didn't matter. It was too late. Her knees buckled and her spine went limp and the last thing she thought before she slid to the floor was, "Trichloromethane. Good old fashioned chloroform..."

Rhesha saw the gas falling toward them and immediately started to check the environmental controls. He was about to ask the two scientists to help checking the systems when he started to feel drowsy. It was an immediate and unavoidable tiredness that settled into his bones. He shook his head and tried to refocus on the controls in front of him, but to no avail. The last thing that he saw was Engineering sliding sideways as he fell to the floor.

M'ndi had just enough time to begin panicking before the gas sapped her fearful energy away. She swayed on her feet, her normal Caitian agility nullified, and squeaked out the words "What's going..." Then she hit the floor and everything went black.

[Hours Later]

The next thing M'ndi knew was an incredibly loud pounding noise in the darkness. Wh-what is that?, she wondered through the pain. Oh. It's my head. She cracked her eyes open, then forced them shut again as the glaring blue light of the forcefield proved far too bright for her sensitive vision. This is ten times worse than the worst hangover I've ever had. M'ndi managed to start breathing deeply - an anxiety-relief strategy that worked surprisingly well for hangovers and chemical attacks. In, 1, 2, 3, out, 1, 2, 3. After a few minutes she tried opening her eyes again and was able to squint and blink the brightness and blurriness away. She took in her surroundings - Desai and Th'Karia on the floor, the room's power off, the forcefield preventing escape.

First things first - she rushed (well, crawled as fast as she could) to Rhesha's side and checked his vitals. Alive - whoever was responsible for the attack didn't want them dead for some reason. Or they just didn't have anything deadlier than chloroform on hand. Either way, gotta wake these two up. She knew better than to try just shaking them. Why did this have to happen in Engineering? In the science labs she could have whipped up some smelling salts. Instead, M'ndi thought back to her first aid training, and positioned the two officers appropriately for a safe recovery - heads supported, airways clear. Once they were stable, M'ndi sat - fell, more like - back onto the floor and held her still-pounding head, waiting for them to awaken.

In the dream Desai was having the Borg were squeezing her head in a vice waiting for it to pop but she couldn't scream because her mouth was filled with steel wool and her eyes were stapled shut. She thrashed in agony and it was the thrashing that finally woke her up, at least a little, at least enough for her ears to register a low crackling of static above a deep drumming, thrumming... the warp core. The warp core. Engineering. Firebird. A flare in the warp core, then a smell of soft and sweet... Chloroform. She had been knocked out.

She and the Chief Engineer and her assistant M'ndi M'rron had been gassed with chloroform. Desai's eyes were still glued shut and she didn't dare move her head because of the pressure of the vice, but her ears still worked and she knew how to listen. She recognized the breathing of the Andorian and the Caitian, and it sounded like M'rron was awake. She tried to swallow, failed, then tried again and this time succeeded. Her first attempt to speak also failed, but she finally was able to manage a half-croak, half-whisper, "M'rron..."

"Ah, you're awake!" M'ndi stood up too quickly and almost fell down again from dizziness. She grabbed some water from the dispenser and rushed back over to Desai to hold the cup up to her mouth. "H-Here, can you try to drink this?"

"You are a goddess," Desai replied as she eased herself into a sitting position against one of the consoles. The water revived her enough to take in her surroundings--the crackling blue force field, the still-unconscious Chief of Engineering, and M'rron's pale and worried face. "Thank you," she said. And then, "What happened?" She simultaneously tapped her comm badge, but nothing happened. She added, unnecessarily, "Comm's down?"

The low hum of Engineering, now with the subtle thrum of the warp core under power, was the first thing that Rhesha noticed. He started to turn over, but he didn't feel the familiar give of his bed. The floor, the hum. Where am I? He opened his eyes to see the floor of Engineering. The bright lights made his eyes sting. It took him almost a full minute to be able to start piecing together what had happened. As soon as he did he sat bolt upright. He narrowly avoided smacking his head into the console he had fallen against. The adrenaline was now coursing through him, and he jumped up to look at the console. There were forcefields in place all over the ship, although there was no structural damage, and they were at warp. Comms were down, and the rest of his engineers were somewhere other than here. He looked around to see the two scientists.

"We have to bring the ship to a stop. M'ndi, go to Warp Core Console 1; Desai, Station 7, over there." He pointed at the proper station.

"When I say, M'ndi increase the magnetic resonance on the deuterium injectors, Desai modulate the dilithium crystal matrix to a phase varience of .0003. I will increase antimatter flow by 0.0001 percent. That should destabilize the reaction just enough to have the computer shut down the core."

At least one of us regained their faculties right away, M'ndi thought as she went to the console as the engineer instructed. "I d-d-don't suppose either of you have any idea wh-what's happening?"

Desai answered M'rron with a curt, "Not yet." She stumbled to the console Rhesha indicated, and though it took her a moment to decipher what she was looking at she found the phase modulator for the dilithum crystals just as the Chief Engineer gave the signal. "Modulating the phase variance to point zero-zero-zero-three." The warp core sounded a low note of complaint then obediently shut down. And just like that, the ship was out of warp.

Desai leaned hard on the console as a wave of nausea hit her. She let her head fall forward and her vision narrowed, and in that pinprick of sensory input she saw something she thought at first must be a side-effect of the cholorform. Right there in the middle of the console a tiny Federation flag was waving, upside-down. She blinked hard, but when she opened her eyes again the flag was still there, along with a very soft, very subtle tapping--three short taps, then three long taps, then three short taps, pause, repeat. Desai recognized it immediately as an ancient distress call, but didn't know if the others would. She touched the upside-down flag and called to both Rhesha and M'ndi: "Guys, you should come take a look at this."

[o_o] Is Chief Th'Kharia here? I promise, I found all of the malware, sir.
[a_a] But yesterday WO Fantome installed an AI designed for ship raids. I tried my best, but I am just a data analyst.
[o_o] He is in mutiny! They locked everyone away behind forcefields, but a few of the crew have broken free.

Rhesha saw the familiar script scrolling across the screen and immediately jumped behind the console. Desai got out of his way because she had no idea what was going on and the Engineering Chief seemed to. But she was going to figure it out, and she looked over his shoulder as he typed into the console:

(0_0) HALP, we need you to do your best with the AI. Tell us how we can help and try to shut down the forcefields around engineering.
[o_o]7 Yes, Chief! I cannot drop the fields, but Max Tragar has opened many tunnels through the SciLab gateways. I can route access to Station 5.

Desai pounced fast as a hawk on Station 5. Sure enough, the SciLab system was being routed through the Engineering station. As soon as they got out of this she was going to have a serious sit-down with the ship's computer system, but in the meantime she located the tunnel that Max Tragar had cleared to drop the forcefields. She targeted a command script through it to the main door of Engineering, but when she tried to push the script through it hit a firewall of some sort. She pushed again, this time paying attention to where the resistance came from. The malware smelled Starfleet scripting. Desai thought about trying to brute-force hack the malware, but she wasn't sure she could do it, so she reached for a trick the captain of the Serenity had used once when they got into some very big trouble with some very nasty raiders. She wrapped the command script in code that made it smell like the malware program. It was ugly and offensive and vile, but it did the trick. She pushed again, and with a crackle and a hiss the blue forcefield went down. She swung the script around the circumference of Engineering, taking down the rest of the forcefieds on the other doors and the Jeffery tubes and the conduits. They were free.

Desai knew she should head for the bridge, but before she did, she pushed the script through the rest of the ship. Forcefields in the mess hall, sick bay, and at the airlocks went down. She initiated a ship-wide scan, and in the scattered areas that reported back it looked like her script had worked. The crew could move through the ship again. I'll have to talk to the captain about a commendation for Max, she thought.

The twin doors of Main Engineering slid apart. Outside, a line of blood ran down Chief of Boat Stephens nose from a gash over his eye. Red drops fell from the tip like a slow-leaking faucet, and a cadre of hard-faced enlisted followed him inside.


Lieutenant Rhesha Th'Kharia
Chief Engineering Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Lieutenant Laree Desai
Chief Science Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Lieutenant M'ndi M'rron
Assistant Chief Science Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Intelligence Analyst
NPC (by Yumi Han)
USS Firebird NCC-88298


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Comments (2)

By Lieutenant JG Luka Stern on Thu Aug 10th, 2017 @ 9:30pm

Wow! Way to be a hero, M'ndi! Also, I think I might have the same Borg nightmare now, after reading about Desai's. So creepy. If Max earned recognition for playing his "game" his mother is going to be speechless :D

By Lieutenant Commander Yumi Han on Sat Aug 12th, 2017 @ 10:24pm

GREAT descriptions, everyone, from the interpersonal stuff at the beginning to the Stowaways' arrival. Character, action, and relationships all found their place. I felt nervous when you all passed out!