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If it ain't broke, what's wrong with it [CD]

Posted on Mon Nov 23rd, 2020 @ 5:08pm by Captain Malcom Llwyedd & Lieutenant Jackson Smith & Lieutenant Commander Rhiana t'Aegis & Lieutenant JG Soto Gantt & Lieutenant JG Tybek & Warrant Officer Arlan Harlan

Mission: Mission 6: To Your Scattered Bodies Go
Location: Main Engineering
Timeline: 21 May, 2395 - 0900 Hours


Harlan and Gantt were wrapping up their project with the Romulan energy-stopper device when the captain informed them that the ship was heading towards a new planet in the aftermath of their recent skirmish. He wanted a full update on cloaking capabilities and what was going on with the new object that caused problems previously.

Harlan responded to the captain as he worked. =^=Sounds good, Captain. Gantt and I will have a report in front of you in the next standard hour. We are just wrapping up now. I'll get a rating started on the cloaking device in the meantime and see what's happening. Either I or Gantt will hop on after that to make sure it goes smoothly.=^=

=^=Anything else you might need right now?=^=

"I can think of a number of things. But I'll settle for knowing more about the cloaking device. It will help us not get blasted as we go poking around looking for Xavi. You and Lieutenant Soto keep me up to date. Llwyedd out," Malcom said.

"I have an idea, Chief. On the cloaking device, Lieutenant t'Aegis could fix anything even the least bit obvious. Problems I can't solve are usually easy to overlook or hard to find. Things are taken for granted. So, I want permission to tear this open a little more than usual," said Gantt.

"Do it," came the reply. "We're in a tight spot and we need every advantage we can get. If any egghead in Intel wants to fight, I'll deal with it. I've dealt with enough self-important people at this point and none of them can deal with my glare at full force."

After a moment Harlan heard a pop indicating a plate was free. "What are you seeing in there? Anything obvious leap out at you, Gantt?"

"No, but the obvious was already looked at." Gantt's mind was racing to collect every memory it held about Romulan technology, rumors, and schematics. He gave a mental sigh; there wasn't much. "It's a marvelous technology. See, the power cells are ingeniously connected to always provide an even load to the tetryon compositor. The field it creates is highly regular and difficult to detect."

"Figures," came the reply. Romulans are pretty handy with new technology so it doesn't surprise me their stuff is ingenious like that. I wish Starfleet was even half as elegant. We've been out here long enough. Heck, just look at our ships!"

Forty minutes later, Gantt had not found any problems. The PADD verified every component, connection, and signal as working well within normal parameters. He wouldn't bother checking again. There were no easy problems. "Uncle Mateo would tell me to tear it apart and put it back together so it ran faster. Of course, this isn't a hovercraft. What's wrong when everything is right and it still won't work?"

Pulling up the Chief Harlan's report on the recovered device, Gantt almost heard the gears in his head grinding away. "Chief, I have an idea. Romulan cloaking devices use a tetryon compositor, and tetryons only exist in subspace. We know the recovered device messes with subspace. I think that the energy burst used against us caused a tetryon leak in the cloaking device that normal sensors don't detect. The leaking tetryons think they're in regular space, becoming highly erratic and energized--unable to create a stable cloaking field."

"Hrmph," Harlan grunted. "I like that theory. Not sure how we test it with our equipment though. We'd either need to dramatically reconfigure some equipment or get into a specialized area capable of handling subspace work."

"Subspace weirdness is a bit beyond my comfort zone and if we break this we'll be in serious jeopardy with Lieutenant t'Aegis. I heard there's a new science guy, Trebek, and we could put our questions to him," said Gantt.

"Good idea. Go ahead and get both t'Aegis and Trebek on the horn while I get to work logging this in our records. We can't leave anything out until the eggheads really have a chance to study this thing."

=/\=Engineering to Lieutenant t'Aegis and Lieutenant Trebek. Gantt here. Please come to engineering as soon as possible.=/\=

Working on the bridge, finishing up some modifications for the ship's subspace scanning computers, Lt. Tybek heard the call and paused for just a moment, thinking the name sounded as familiar as it did foreign. Was there a Trebek on the ship? He continued working for several moments undisturbed before an Ensign working the Ops conn tapped him on the shoulder.

"I think they're talking about you," she said, casually.

Tybek shook his head, "But that's not my-" he began to reply before she cut him off.

"There's no Trebek on the ship either," she said with a shrug.

Pausing, perplexed, Tybek tapped on his comm badge.

=/\= "Acknowledged; I'll be in engineering in five. Try-bek - I mean, Tybek out."=/\=

And in those five minutes, the half-Klingon, half-Vulcan officer spent his entire time wondering how such a mistake could be made by the ship's officers. Surely it was but a simple, ignorant mistake.

The door to engineering whoosed open before Tybek, who caught sight of Lt. Gantt and W.O. Harlan, who appeared amused.

"Lieutenant Gantt, Mr. Harlan" Tybek said, nodding to both of them in turn, "How may I be of assistance?"

Before either of the two engineers could reply, the doors opened again and the chief of security and tactical entered. "Lieutenants, Warrant Officer," she greeted with a curt nod at the three officers. "What is the matter?"

Harlan spoke up first. "That's a great question and we don't know. We've got a mysterious device on our hands that might have a subspace anomaly giving us trouble. We can't be sure, though, because we don't have the equipment or know-how to dig into this thing without permission. We were trying to get a report of what's going on inside this thing before we handed it off to intelligence but not luck."

"Does that about answer your questions? Anything I left out, Gantt?"

"No, Chief. The captain wants the cloaking device working as soon as possible. Everything I can test without digging into the,..." Gantt cleared his throat, conscious of the imposing presence of Rhiana. Better to choose words carefully. "That is, studying the tetryon subspace behavior requires expertise we've heard that you have, Lieutenant Trebek."

Pausing, momentarily unaware that he was the one being addressed, the half-Klingon, half-Vulcan officer let out an awkward cough and said, "It's... Tybek, but I have been studying subspace particle emissions for the last 72 hours. It's more as a means to detect an active cloak, but if I can get a good look at it I might be able to reverse engineer some sort of solution."

Rhiana was quietly wondering why she was called into this, since she was no engineer and never had been. Probably because they presumed that, as a Romulan, she knew everything about cloaking devices there was to know. Oh well. She remained silent for now, letting the other officers discuss possible solutions to their problem.

Harlan chose that moment to jump back into the conversation. "Thanks Tybek," came his reply. "We definitely need either another set of eyes on this to help determine what's going on or a thumbs up to keep digging into something that smarter people would rather look at first. I'd prefer to have both but I will take one."

He noticed that Rhiana was off to the side. He knew she wasn't an engineer but that didn't matter. "Lieutenant Commander, we called you down because you're security. This is technically stuff beyond what Gantt and I should be handling. We either need to hand stuff off to you so it can go to the shadowy folks in Intelligence or you're ok to keep tinkering. What are you thinking over in your corner?"

As the engineer directed his attention to the Firebird's second officer, Tybek pulled out his tricorder - freshly linked it to the ship's subspace emission scanners on a morning hunch - and stooping, bending, and kneeling all around the malfunctioning cloaking device. The half-Klingon, half-Vulcan officer hadn't expected to have the pleasure to work so close to an actual cloak, and synapses spurring excitement through his brain fired off for half-seconds as Tybek moved the tricorder about at the same time as he got up-close-and-personal with it. Near the bottom end of the cloak, the tricorder pinged suddenly.

"I'm reading an imbalance in the cloak's output of tetryons, tachyons and chronitons," Tybek stated, "When functioning, the cloak should only be generating tetryons and small amounts of chronitons, emitting a wave of tachyons when they de-cloak. It seems tetryons are passing through the compositor unfiltered. Being that they are passing through, the cloak might run and appear as if it is working and show us as much. But the heightened tachyonic presence suggests to me the cloak is also receiving a continuous disengage signal because, internally, it knows there's a problem."

"If you wanted to hand the repair of the cloaking device over to Intelligence, Warrant Officer, you should have contacted Lieutenant Jackson and not me," Rhiana chimed in again. "But this is neither the only nor the first cloaking device that has ever been installed on a Starship vessel, nor is it a new installation on the Firebird. I am therefore quite surprised that you seem to know nothing about it. As it is, what Lieutenant Tybek states sounds plausible enough." She could not be entirely certain, for she had not checked the output on the Lieutenant's tricorder, but the problem was not unheard of. "What solution do you suggest to solve the issue, Lieutenant Tybek?"

The scientist let out a small huff of annoyance, " not sure at this moment, Commander," he admitted, "The matrix used to run the cloak is indeed a baffling device to study up close." Tybek continued his inspection of the device from all angles, like an old mechanic waiting for the right line of sight to set off the lightbulb above his head. "Being subspace particles, we can't directly correlate where from or how they are leaking from the compositor. The whole device might need to be stripped bare and pieced back together in the hopes of discovering and patching the problem there. My only other thought would be to run the cloak and use the computers on the area surrounding the ship to figure out where the cloak is weak - but even then, we would have to back-trace the area of the ship to identify where the problem lies in the device. And at that point, we would most likely have to disassemble and reassemble it anyway." The Lt. gave his three shipmates a small shrug. That was the price to be paid, for using technology one wasn't entirely comfortable - or even familiar - with.

Jackson was sitting at his intel desk when a red light started flashing. With a few quick clicks, he brought up the reasoning for the flashing. “Dammit” Jackson cursed. Someone had opened up the cloaking device. It had to be Harlan or Gantt or more than likely both of them. Jackson knew the Captain wanted to get that device working, but that wasn’t SFI protocol. Jackson sighed. Jackson grabbed one of his black SFI encoded PADDS. One of the few devices that would connect with his secure server, and he started to download the schematics for the cloaking device. Once it was finished, Jackson grabbed the PADD and started to march off, somewhat leisurely, towards engineering.

After some time, Jackson arrived at engineering, he was a bit shocked to see Rhiana there, he nodded towards her, “Commander unless you feel the need to be here, I will take over this situation and deal with these two… three.” Jackson noticed Tybek was there as well. Jackson hid his irritation, they really had to make this difficult, didn’t they?

Rhiana was slightly surprised to see Smith arrive. But she returned his nod. "They are all yours, Lieutenant." With that, she turned around and left engineering.

After Rhiana left, Jackson glared at the three of them. He was irritated that he was in this situation and he let that show with anger pouring out at them, “I see you tried to circumvent me by having the Chief of Security present, did you think that was sufficient to allow you to start rifling through highly classified technology?” Jackson didn’t wait for them to respond. “Look, the schematics for that device does not belong in your reports, in your plans, or even in your measly heads. It belongs in devices like this!” Jackson holds up the black PADD device. “Highly secured devices to keep the mundanes, like you, from seeing this.” He marched towards Gantt, while he handed the PADD to Harlan. “Hold this, would you,” he mentioned to Harlan and then turned his attention back to Gantt. “Now I assume you are the one in charge here. I assume that you know that when a highly classified device, like the cloaking device, breaks down. Protocol is for me to commandeer it and store it in the SCIF, until we are able to return to SFI for repairs. Which means we would not be able to use it to go off on highly questionable rescue attempts,” Jackson stood within inches of Gantt. “So, I am going to ask you, Lieutenant. Is this cloaking device not operational?”

Gantt cleared his throat to give himself time to organize his response. The option Jackson had laid out was pretty obvious. "Our initial examination of the device lead us to incorrectly believe a malfunction had occurred. After further study the device and with the professional input of others, we absolutely conclude that the device is fully functional and operational to the objectives for which it is pursuant of..." Gantt paused, lost in his own attempt to sound more important. "The device is fully operational, Sir."

While Jackson was in the middle of yelling at the wrong person, Harlan took a peek at the PADD. It showed some designs he could barely comprehend. It left him somewhat in awe of what he and Gantt had been looking at for a while. He wanted nothing more than to step in and glare Jackson down, but the schematics were a little mesmerizing.

“Great!.” Jackson patted his friend on the back and then backed up slightly so as to not be all in his face and tapped his badge.
=/\= Captain, it appears that your engineers were mistaken. The cloaking device is fully operational because if it wasn’t, I would have to commandeer it. I am sure the engineers will give you a report shortly on how quickly they can have all the systems of the ship up and running. They just have a few extra schematics to go over. =/\=

Jackson turned towards and looked at both Harlan and Gantt, “Next time you want to do something stupid, contact me first.” With that, Jackson turned to storm out of engineering, but turned back, "Oh, and don't forget, if I ever get a chance to screw over Star Fleet or SFI, I am going to take it" Jackson flashed them a grin and then turned to head out leaving the PADD behind in Harlan's hands.

His face became much more serious as he made his way back to the SCIF. How he was going to explain the cloaking device alarm being triggered to SFI, he wasn’t sure, but hopefully, he could come up with something plausible. This combined with the Captain disobeying direct orders was going to look suspicious. Jackson sighed deeply as he returned to his SCIF.

"He's right, I would hate to be left out of anything like this." Gantt placed a palm against the device as though feeling a heartbeat. "Chief, permission to get this beautiful piece of 'environmental control' humming again?"

"Hmm?" Oh yes, do that," came Harlan's reply. "Go get that environmental stuff started and let me know if it gives you any trouble. I'm going to put this PADD in my office and secure it. Time to get back to business."

And with that, Harlan wandered off with thoughts of fantastic technology in his head and a mild suspicion of that Jackson fellow.


Captain Malcom Llwyedd
Commanding Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Lieutenant Commander Rhiana t'Aegis
Second Officer/Chief Security/Tactical Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Lieutenant Jackson Smith
Chief Intelligence Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298

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

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

Lieutenant JG Tybek
Temporal Mechanics and Anomalies
USS Firebird NCC-88298


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