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Cascading Failures [PLOT]

Posted on Mon Jun 17th, 2019 @ 8:20am by Commander Yumi Han & Lieutenant Cynfor Rees & Poc & Captain Malcom Llwyedd & Lieutenant JG Soto Gantt & Warrant Officer Arlan Harlan
Edited on on Thu Jun 27th, 2019 @ 8:57pm

Mission: Mission 5: Arising From the Ashes
Location: Tevok 2 - Ferengi Vessel
Timeline: 10 February, 2395 - 1830 Hours

[ON]

-Supernova in 48 Hours-

The shimmering beams from the Firebird's transporter faded, leaving the three Starfleet officers standing in the middle of the orange-red hued engineering section of the Ferengi ship. The general shape of the space was a large crescent, with the warp core directly in the middle, and the data consoles spread around the outside. As the two took in the grimy, dimly lit space, they noted the mechanical stench that pervaded the area and the fact that the core was stone cold.

"Who are you?!" A voice called out. "Pirates again? I thought Poc paid you!"

"Chief Harlan of the Firebird, here. Along with Lieutenants Gantt and Rees." Came Harlan's reply. "We are here to do some poking around because of some problems we're hearing about. Does that sound right?"

"Firebird? Never heard of it," the voice said. There was a clanking sound as something heavy hit the metal deck. "You can't be pirates because you aren't shooting and they always shoot first. And I know you aren't Ferengi because you haven't mentioned latinum. You must be hu-man from Staaarfleet," Nugg said and poked his head out from behind the console he was hiding behind.

The ship was in better shape than the shuttle Zulg had rented to he and Jackson. Gantt scanned the room, resting on the mazes of wiring, plates, conduits, and other bits that filled one end of the room. He struggled to make sense of what might work and what was junk. The longer he looked the more similar this ship appeared to the shuttle. "No wonder the ship's having problems. There's a lot here to fix, Chief."

An hefty Orion woman in a stained A-shirt walked up behind Nugg. She swung a large, greasy wrench up to rest on her shoulder like a Viking axe. The mousy Ferengi stepped out from behind the console at her arrival. Her biceps flexed as thick as his legs, and Nugg's ears crested an inch above where her pendulous breasts swung behind him. "These guys got a problem with our ship, boss?" she said in disarmingly dulcet tones.

Without a word Rees took the lay of the land and he did not like it. Ferengi were always up to something, however, it was their sworn duty to help all those in trouble. So he simply exhaled hard through his nose and smiled genially toward the Ferengi and the Orion. "Not at all, not at all. This is a fine ship that you have here. My friends and I were just wondering if this fine vessel needed assistance in repairs. Seems like she has been through the ringer and we would be happy to help her back on her feet." He spoke quickly in the method that Ferengi spoke and kept the smile on his face the whole time.

Harlan stayed quiet during this whole exchange while he let he subordinates take the lead. No sense in getting bogged down in the minor details of how crappy things looked at the moment. He watched Gantt handle the surly ship owners.

As Rees spoke, Gantt thought they would be lucky to get the cargo vessel back on its knees. Then again, a ship didn't have to look good to run great. He faced the Orion woman. "As my companion said, the ship looks like the ringer gave it a broadside. Not a bad ship just bad luck. We're hands that know N4 grade Romulan isolinear chips from the Cardassian C2-dual head knock-offs. So, what problem have you found already?"

Nugg waved at the Orion. Now that he was sure he was safe, something paramount to him at all times, he felt his confidence returning. "We don't have the resources of a Starfleet vessel. And there are only three of us engineers. Captain Poc refuses to spend good latinum on more staff, forcing us to practically live here. It isn't my fault that the warp core died," Nugg said. He gestured at the Orion. "She thinks it has something to do with the Plasma regulators but I think it is the deutranium feed. We haven't been able to figure it out."

A Ferengi entered the room, now full of people. He was carrying a wooden tray with a few empty glasses on top, and a bottle filled with a dark red liquid.

"Aye," he said with a breathless voice "Capt'n Poc thought you might be thirsty with all your work and the rest". He smiled.
He presented the tray and added "this is the finest wine from Melona IV. Year 2377. Not synthetic, no, no."
His smile became bigger as he continued "This is personal collection of the Capt'n, yes? He gives you a good price for it. Very cheap."

Cyn smiled broadly at the newcomer and held out his hand. "No thank you. Please inform the Captain that his offer is very generous, very generous indeed. But I could not in good conscious have a drink when there is work to be done." Rees turned toward Harlan. "Well Chief what do you think? Perhaps a divide and conquer method."

Harlan looked askance at the proffered bottle of wine. How odd it was that others thought to start drinking when work needed doing. He shook himself out of his brief haze and addressed everyone. "Alright, enough chit chat. We've been ordered aboard this rig to see what's happening and from what I can see, there's a decent amount being done. You've got the right idea, Rees. Spread out and find the fixes. I can already see one of those regulators has some unusual wear that is probably part of the issue. Let's get to it!"

Seeing that no one wanted to buy his beverage, the Ferengi left the room, disappointed not to get his commission.

The Starfleet crew fanned out and started working on anything that didn't look right. Their efficiency surprised the ship's ordinary residents, who weren't used to the speed of other's work. After a while, things started to take shape until someone shouted out with a problem.

Rees had just finished re-calibrating the warp plasma coils when he heard someone call out for help. He jogged over. "What do you have?" He had some grease smeared on his uniform and sweat poured from his face. The work combined with the ambient temperature in the Ferengi vessel made it a bit uncomfortable for Rees taste.

Nugg looked at the Ops officer. "It's just like I said, we've got a problem with the deuterium feed. I think that it is blocked somehow. Someone is going to have to crawl into the Nagus Tubes and see what is going on," Nugg said and then gestured at his wide body. "There's no way I'm going to fit. It has to be one of you hu-mans."

Harlan snarled outwardly, but was otherwise pleased there were some decent Tubes on this boat. "Let me in there," he said. "I'll figure out what's blocking the deuterium."

Harlan stuffed himself inside and started to hunch-walk through things. Things were organized slightly differently, but one didn't spend as much time in Tubes as possible without identifying commonalities. After a while he came to where it made sense for the deuterium to come through. There appeared to be an object of some sort that had lights where an object shouldn't be. The lights weren't on, but Harlan was convinced that not only was the problem, but that the existing crew didn't know it was there. He exited with an unfurling as only he could pull off.

"This look like anything to anyone? It doesn't look like it's on, but here's the problem. Who wants to crack it open for a look?"

Rees smiled as he was pretty sure Harlan had just entered nirvana, a fresh set of tubes to explore. When Harlan emerged with this box. Rees walked over and eyed it. "I think I can crack it open and get a look at it. But first we have to make sure that forcefields are working on this ship. If this is something that was placed there it could be explosive or otherwise destructive."

"I'll create a temporary cell where you can work on it," said Gantt. He eyed the lump of metal with more than a little curiosity. "Everyone but Lieutenant Rees take a coupe steps back." When the space was clear, Gantt tapped on a damaged console. A circular hemisphere wrapped around Rees.

Cyn looked around as he hoped that he did not just volunteer to blow up. Cyn looked at the locking mechanisms and after a thorough examination which took minutes he figured out how they worked. "This is locked with a simple bifractal code. I am going to open it up and take a look." Rees hooked up a tricorder and began to work to crack the code. Within moments a small green light flashed first on the left side of the box and then on the right side. He opened the lid and was bathed in a greenish/orange light. Rees blanched pale for a second as he scanned it with his tricorder again. "I am not exactly sure what this is. However, I can tell two things the first is that it is safe at the moment. The second is that it was designed to increase the ship's speed while at warp. In the process, I think it damaged the main deuterium feed line."

Nugg stomped over to look at the device. "I didn't authorize that! How dare anyone mess with my engineering systems. Someone is going to pay good latinum over this," Nugg said and scowled at the large Orion. "Do we have a spare deuterium feed line in storage?"

The Orion woman nodded. Nugg sighed. "Well take one of these Starfleet types to the cargo hold and bring one back. I'm certainly not paid to do manual labor."

Her heavy brow folded in confusion. Nugg himself had ordered that part installed not ten deliveries ago. The tunnel had been cramped and steamier than a Risan sauna. Was he...he was. Lying on purpose. Her brow smoothed and she smiled like a cat with a bowl of milk. "It must be from that repair job Captain Poc contracted out back on DS9." She stood beside Nugg and smiled at her play in his game for a little too long. His eyelid twitched like an insect wing when he was about to blow a gasket. Hefting the wrench resting on her shoulder, she strode over to the slow-witted Starfleet engineers. "You! Follow me." She turned away and tromped towards the freight lift.

The Orion woman hadn't looked at anyone in particular. Gantt followed her. "I'll check it out, sir. I might get a sense of other problem areas." He wanted to see more of the ship. Like Zulg's ship there were nooks and bulges that gave it a look of having either no storage or lots of it, but no clear way to reach any of it. If Jackson ever needed to hide this was the kind of ship to hide on.

[OFF]

Warrant Officer Arlan Harlan
Chief Engineering Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298



Lieutenant Cynfor Rees
Chief Operations Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298



Lieutenant Junior Grade Soto Gantt
Assistant Chief Engineering Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298



Nugg
Ferengi Engineer
Ferenginar
(NPC by Llwyedd)

 

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Comments (1)

By Lieutenant JG Murril Na on Wed Jun 19th, 2019 @ 6:34pm

Favorite line: "Someone is going to have to crawl into the Nagus Tubes and see what is going on..."

Also, the pictures painted from the final paragraph was a close second.

More than most fiction, this story had many moments where the readers are invited to ask ourselves, "What would I do at that moment?" Then, a couple of paragraphs down, the readers get to find out if we were right or not.

ex. I totally missed the clues that the complimentary drinks weren't free, but I did correctly guess that whoever calls ignorance at an unauthorized modification is probably the same guy who had ordered and installed it. (In other words, it was an engaging read.)