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Special Delivery: Engineering and Tactical [PLOT]

Posted on Sun May 13th, 2018 @ 5:42pm by Petty Officer 3rd Class Thomas Lopt & Lieutenant Commander Rhiana t'Aegis & Commander Yumi Han & Lieutenant JG Soto Gantt & Lieutenant Jackson Smith & Cadet Freshman Grade Gianna Djokovic & Ensign T'Sai & Chief Warrant Officer (Grade 2) B'Rala Of House Seeth

Mission: Mission 3: The Galilei Conundrum
Location: SS Galilei - Docking Port 1, Deck 3
Timeline: 26 June, 2394 - 0700 Hours


Jackson brushed his hand across the console. He could feel the hum of the power that flowed through the shuttle as it left the docking bay. He knew this shuttle, he could fly it with his eyes closed and half asleep. He knew its weaknesses its strengths. But, that was not going to be enough. The shuttle had been altered, they had attached the collar to aid in the landing. As he pulled away from the ship, Jackson rocked the shuttle slightly. He could definitely feel a difference, the power didn't flow through the same, the ship didn't glide through inky blackness of space the same. Jackson moved the shuttle away from the Firebird and set the shuttle on a course towards the Galilei. Jackson casually glanced around him at the several people with him on this ship. He really began to wish he had pushed to let him do this himself. His mind pictured the dangerous path to the Galilei. Sure, the mission depended on him being successful, but each person in this shuttle had handed over their lives to him. Despite all the rush of thoughts and feelings flowing through him Jackson put forth confidence, "Alright, everyone, buckle up. I am going to be doing some test maneuvers to get a feel for the difference this collar is making on flight controls." Jackson grinned a little as he gave everyone about one second before he jerked the controls and sent the shuttle 90 degrees and a spin.

Through the shuttle's front window, cyclonic pillars shunted ionized gas between the storm planes of the Badlands nebula, and the small black dot of the Galilei grew closer.

B'Rala had very little interaction with Jackson, or any non security crew, but she already didn't like him. He was hot headed and every mission he went on seemed like he made unnecessary risks. She was all about running head on into a battle but a true warrior did it with purpose not 'just cause'. The belts on her seat tightened as the shuttle banked back and forth. She would be glad when the landed.

Nema fiddled with her tricorder. Shuttle flights were not usually so interesting right out of the ship. She flipped open the tricorder and scanned the collar. She was sure that Jackson's scans were reporting the same thing, but to keep her busy she started reeling off the stats.

"Collar holding steady. A little shear stress on the port side that might be problematic if you pull that same move again, but the tolerance should hold while attached to the Galilei."

She hoped that at least part of Jackson was paying attention to her, but she wasn't sure. He seemed to be having fun.

Jackson noted what Nema said and it coincided with what he felt and saw from the readout. This was going to cause some problems. Those maneuvers were similar to what he needed to do to attach to the ship. Also, if this was causing problems with the collar it meant that it would be best not to test any more maneuvers. He couldn't afford for anything else to go wrong. He would just have to trust his instincts on this. "Well, I suppose that is enough fun for now." He looked over his shoulder grinning. Then turned his attention back to their flight towards the Galilei. "Ensign Tsai, could you route some power from the inertial dampeners to the port thrusters, that should help keep the collar stable through the maneuver we have to perform." He pressed a few more buttons, "Sorry folks, this is going to be a bumpier ride than original promised."

Lieutenant t'Aegis stared straight ahead during those 'necessary' manoeuvres. Her hands were lying lightly on the armrests. Not gripping and squeezing them at all. Right. She clenched her teeth, not because she felt ill, but because she had no patience for recklessly showing off and wasting time playing around while there were hopefully still people aboard the Galilei that could possibly be saved. She did not call Jackson out on his style of flying. Not yet anyway, for she hoped that he was the expert pilot he was supposed to be and did in fact realise the gravity of the situation.

To Gantt's surprise he found himself relaxing in the restraints. Mentally, at least. His body strained against the forces on the shuttle. Jackson might sound like this was a game but he took this seriously. Gantt bit back a grunt as the shuttle suddenly heaved in the opposite direction it had been traveling. Maybe it was both.

T'Sai had grown accustom to the unique way in which her superior flew. She did not however understand the lengths that he went to. The maneuvers were ostensibly to check the connection of the collar, but they were just a little more than was necessary. She routed the power as requested and returned to her scans of the shuttle.

"Intertial dampers now at ninety percent efficiency. Thrusters are operating within tolerance."

The were getting close enough to the Galilei. It was time to start the manuevers. Jackson casually looked around at all the crew strapped in their seats. He glanced down at the straps that he had the crew install for both him and Tsai. It was unusual to have the pilots strapped in, it limited reach to some of the controls. Jackson leaned over to the ensign, "Time to strap in." As casually as possible, Jackson pulled up the straps over his shoulders and clamped them in place across his chest. Then very slowly he put the shuttle in an angled dive and started working a fairly large spiral, like wrapping the red ribbon around a candy cane. The spiral was large enough it didn't provide a lot of stress, but with each spiral Jackson tightened the controls and increased the pressure. They had to match the spiral of the Galilei perfectly.

"Lieutenant Soto, please keep an eye on the structure of the shuttle for me. Lieutenant Nema if that collar moves, I need to know." Jackson turned to his ensign and with as fake a grin he could muster he drastically increased their speed.

Gantt had subprocesses in place to quickly hack the intertial dampers to keep power to them at a maximum. This mission could tear the shuttle apart without giving maximum attention to the shuttle's structure, even if that meant everyone sweat a little more or had to breath a little harder. "Currently the shuttle is in great shape, Lieutenant. It's take the stress." Please take the stress, thought Gantt.

Jackson increased the speed of the shuttle and began to match the trajectory of the Galilei. The pressure on the shuttle increased as he tightened the spiral. This was going to be rough.

Nema watched the arch of the shuttle as it neared the Galilei. Closer and closer the spiral tightened. They were inches away now.

"Coming in on the docking hatch." She announced as they came in for a tight fit.


Something shuddered and the shuttle was thrown off course. Not much but enough that the collar smashed into the side of the cruise liner with enough force to sheer a panel clear from the liner. The shuttle bounced, and the collar did what it was designed to do, and in the worst way. It latched to the hull, right over the hatch, but the shuttle was now just out of its flight plan that the collar was tearing.

As Gantt's vision cleared he steadied himself on the console with both hands gripping the sides. The dampers should have absorbed more of the blow. "Jackson, some kind of massive field of particles seems to be causing the gravitational fields to fluctuate significantly. Most of the power is diverting to maintain structural integrity. If we don't detach from the ship, that collar is going to tear us apart."

"Detach, we will take another shot at it!" Jackson struggled as things got hairy. Jackson knew that the momentum they had was going to make this rough. He could feel the collar detach from the ship and knew immediately it was going to be worse than he thought. As the collar detached, with the momentum of the Galilei it sent the shuttle into a flat spin along with the sprial they were already doing.

"Ensign, I need more power to the port thrusters!" Jackson could feel the pressure of the G's increasing as the inertial dampeners started to fail. He wrestled with the shuttle trying with all his will to bring it back under control.

T'Sai added the power to the thrusters as requested and watched the sheer stress on the collar begin to rise. She tapped the controls needed to loose the collar.

"Collar detached." T'Sai announced matter of factly.

With the added power to the port thrusters Jackson fought to counteract the spin while maintaining the spiral and his position relative to the Galilei. As the G's blew past 5 it began to become increasingly tougher to move and his vision began to blur. Jackson felt a drip of blood from his nose. He had to gain control, he only had a few more seconds to do it before things would end in disaster.

Rhiana's hands were still gripping the armrests of her chair, but even if she had wanted to unclasp then, she would not have succeeded. The force of multiple gravities pressed her into the cushioned seat and made breathing a real challenge. Her eyes, unlike those of some of her crewmates, were open, but she was not certain whether that was a good thing. Blinking was barely possible either and her eyeballs felt as if they were close to exploding from the almost unbearable pressure. She remembered a training at Starfleet Academy every student in her class had to go through, simply to demonstrate what a wonderful invention internal dampeners were: a huge centrifugue with an egg-shaped extension that was just large enough for one cadet at a time. Then, the pressure went up to three gravities. This felt a lot worse. Hopefully, Jackson would abort whatever he was doing before killing them all.

With one last attempt Jackson pushed the thrusters to their max and just as it seemed they might give up, a shudder went through the shuttle and the flat spin began to slow down. The pressure against the body and blood vessels lessened and blood flowed freely to his brain once again. Jackson's breathing settled and with grim determination he brought the ship in for another attempt. This time he overshot the target just barely and allowed the gravitational forces to pull him back, sliding the collar right into the docking clamp and merging the Titon and Galilei into one. Jackson stared speechless at the controls, not quite believing himself that they actually did it.

T'Sai took a few deep breaths to steady her breathing after the nearly uncontrolled spin and checked her panels.

"We have contact with the Galilei." Was all that she said as she started setting the shuttle controls to auto-control. She glanced over at Jackson and added,

"Excellent work sir."

Jackson nodded slightly and turned to face the ensign, "This was the easy part. You've got to get this whole ship under control." Jackson put his hand on her arm and looked her in the eye, "Be safe and smart about this. I need you to come back, I hate working the Gamma shift."

In the cargo area, vertical streaks of white painted in the forms of Commander Han and five more members of the engineering and security away teams. Strained by the rough docking, an EPS conduit blasted out a wall panel when the transport overloaded the tired system. Control circuits for the inertial dampers tripped and yanked them hard, forcing the XO to one knee and shoving the rest of the arrivals randomly about the cargo hold.

Security Crewman Gianna Djokovic closed her eyes during the swirling gravity. She hadn't had a lot of experience on shuttles and this particular malfunction was reminding her that eggs might not have been a good choice for breakfast that morning. Breath in through the nose. Exhale slowly through the mouth. Pause. Repeat.

Though normally not one to hold any acrobatics back since he was quite an acrobat himself, Lerant closed his eyes and held his breath in uncertainty. Roller-coasters never held any appeal to him, and even though there shouldn't be any G-forces insofar he knew--but then, what did he know?--he still felt like he might be thrown around as though he was on one.

Lerant jumped--literally--at the EPS explosion. He closed his eyes, fingers gripping tightly on the nearest grab bar. He tried to plant his feet firmly onto the deck but that didn't help in bracing himself. He felt his body twist into the officer behind him and he grunted. This isn't what I signed up for. He thought to himself, eyes still wrenched shut.

Thomas squeezed his eyes closed, trying to blot out the noise and sudden mounting g-forces. He felt a heavy weight pressing on his chest, as if a Klingon was pressing down on him with a massive foot. Idiot. You've never been stepped on by a Klingon he thought. "Is... this...normal?" He asked nobody in particular.

"I don't know," Lerant replied, keeping his eyes wrenched shut. "If this keeps up I'm going to be sick..."

Gia reached over to Lerant, who was standing next to her, and wrapped her gloved hand around his wrist. "Breathe," she reassured him quietly. "Concentrate on your breaths and block everything else out."

The touch of his comrade was comforting, it gave Lerant something to focus on instead. "Easy for you," he breathed as he started to count his breaths. "You're not fresh meat..." Still, he had the luck to have grown up with a telepathic mother so he had in fact learned to control his thoughts. "But I'll try.."

After barely setting foot on the Firebird long enough to be ordered to the transporter room, PO3 Fhiri kneeled clumsily in the whirling currents of gravity and crawled to the open wall panel. She pulled the inertial damper control board from its port, forcing the Titan to use the undamaged backup controls. Fhiri nodded to herself as normal gravity returned to the shuttle. Her first day and already things were getting interesting. She looked into the shuttle cabin and waggled the board in her hand. "Just a fried control board. We're on the first backup circuits now."

Rhiana suppressed a sigh of relief and blinked several times for her vision to clear and her eyeballs to become properly lubricated again. She did not allow herself too much time for this, however, did not want to show her subordinates that the horrible approach manoeuvre had affected her, and unbuckled the straps still holding her in place. "Get suited up, all of you." She rose from the chair, glad to realise that she could do so with only feeling a little stiff. "While we are aboard the USS Galilei and until after thorough decontamination, you will not, under any circumstances, remove the EVA suits. Contamination means almost certain death." Rhiana looked at the newest member of the security team. "If you need help with the suit, crewman recruit, simply ask."

Fortunately this wasn't his first time in a suit, so Lerant shook his head. "Nah, I got this," he replied as he hoisted himself in the cumbersome suit. While it didn't feel comfortable, he didn't feel really hindered by it either.

"I've always wanted to see a luxury liner," Gia asided to Lerant as she secured herself in her suit. "No hot tub this visit, though." She then mouthed the words, 'Certain death.' to him, almost like an inside joke, echoing t'Aegis' ominous warning. Lastly, she secured the helmet over her head and locked the airtight gasket. She secured her side arm to the suit's magnetic holster and brought up the HUD that read external air quality and other stats before giving Rhiana a thumbs-up sign that she was ready to go.

"The death-virus sort of took the shine off seeing a luxury liner." Gantt was adjusting his suit, double-checking each seal even though the computer had already given it a green light. "Will we have security with us in engineering? What is the protocol if a suit fails?"

While she was putting on her own suit, Rhiana kept an eye on her team and how they handled the EVA suits. They all seemed to know what they were doing which was a relief. Nevertheless, once she had finished sealing her own helmet, she used the command functions in the suit to confirm that all were suited up properly, all seals tightened. Outwardly as calm as usual, she was still... not afraid. But worried. Her words about certain death had not been an empty threat. They were a fact until the medical department of the Firebird managed to find a cure to whatever was killing the cruiseship's passengers and crew. "In case of a suit malfunction, you will need to be isolated, possibly put in stasis, until a cure has been found."

"Well I hate to break this party up, but I got places to be," Jackson jumped up from his seat after removing the straps, "I hope you all enjoyed the fun-filled ride." He then worked his way back to the transporter pad as he passed by Gantt he turned to him, "Hey, as your superior said, don't take that off for any reason." He gave Gantt a very serious look, and then lightened it with a smile, "I need you coming back. I am going to get a complex if I lose another friend."

Clasping Jackson's shoulder over the thick suit, Gantt smiled back. The serious tone actually helped lighten his mood, yoking their worry for both of them to carry together. "You too. I'll buy you a drink when this is all done. Don't crash the Firebird before I get back."

Jackson chuckled and then continued to the transport pad. He took one look at the people in the shuttle, strapping on the cumbersome suits and checking their gear. Each in their own way preparing for what was to come. He had got them here, safely, but the danger was yet to come. "Good luck my friends, be safe." Jackson whispered. He tapped his badge, "Firebird One to beam back." Jackson shimmered and then vanished from the Titan.

Rhiana took another look around. "Chief Warrant Officer, you will accompany Lieutenant Nema and her team to engineering. Crewman Djokovic and Crewman Recruit Lerant, you will come with me. We will begin with securing the Sickbay and see whether we find any information about what has happened here in the logs once power has been re-established. If any survivor attacks or somehow threatens you, you have permission to incapacitate them. Crewman Djokovic and Chief Warrant Officer, you will take point leaving the shuttle."

Keith Potter skipped his ocean blue eyes between the commanding officers, unsure who to follow. As a star athlete and irresistible charmer growing up, Potter was used to being first pick for teams, not left off of them entirely.

"Relax, kid gorgeous. You're with me," Yumi said. "We'll get our ace pilot T'Sai to the bridge so she can float this boat out of the Badlands."

Yumi donned a HEPA-filtered helmet to hide her own frown of uncertainty. Dozens upon dozens of simulator hours were supposed to prepare her for this, but there was no reset button in reality. She focused on steady breathing and tried to blame the fluttering in her stomach on the brief gravitational malfunction that greeted her transport. The Galilei was a dead ship stricken with an unknown outbreak. Her job was easy. Stand behind the scientists and engineers and be congratulated for a successful mission when they worked their magic. Easy, right? Yet it feel like they were just so many bees flying into a smoke trap.

Gia gave Rhiana a sharp nod of understanding, a gesture that she realized was likely muted since she was wearing a helmet on her head; she hoped she didn't look too much like a bobble-headed doll. "Aye, sir," she answered softly into the suit's comms. Since their departure from the shuttle was more immediate, nervousness crept into her stomach like a dozen tiny butterflies. She moved toward her place at the ship's airlock and readied the phaser rifle with both hands.

B'Rala hated the suits and how it restricted her movement. They were better then some of the previous versions but still a pain. She went over and started to check the suit of Soto and Lopt. "Alright I will lead and clear things you guys stay close behind."

"However you want to play it," said Gantt. He noted that his guts were not completely knotted into a frozen mass. Months of physical risk and the presence of a six-foot Klingon warrior were helping him accept the real dangers of their missions. "Lopt, why don't you follow. I'll take up the rear."

Thomas nodded. "Yes, sir. I'll be right in front of you. So. You'll be right behind me. Yeah," Thomas stopped talking, trying not to think about how ridiculous he sounded.

Nema, now clad in the EVA suit that would keep them safe from whatever was affecting the ship, grabbed her kit and moved to the airlock.

Yumi and Potter gravitated to the engineers where Jackson's protege pilot T'Sai was waiting. "Lieutenant Nema, can you spare one of your engineers to come with us to the bridge?"

"Absolutely. Gantt, you're with Commander Han." Nema surveyed the rest of those in the shuttle and added, "Best of luck to all of you, see you on the other side." She double checked that everyone was in their suits and unlocked the airlock.

The airlock gave a sinister hiss as it opened to meet the darkened embarkation chamber of the yacht. In any other circumstances, the room would be filled with welcoming cruise ship staff, checking in smiling, happy vacationers and directing them further inward to the atrium and the guest suites beyond that. Now, there was nothing here. No lights, no hum of the warp drive, no soft, ambient music, and certainly no sign of a welcoming party. Gia stepped through first, sweeping the light attached to her rifle across the cool marble-like floors and expensive wood paneling of the walls as she stepped to the right to clear the room in standard formation.


Lieutenant Junior Grade Jackson Smith
Chief Flight Control Officer/Covert Operations Specialist
USS Firebird NCC-88298

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

Lieutenant Junior Grade Soto Gantt
Structural/Environmental Specialist
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Crewman Gianna Djokovic
Security Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Crewman Thomas Lopt
Communications Specialist
USS Firebird NCC-88298
NPC by Captain Llwyedd

Chief Warrant Officer B'rala of House Seeth
USS-Firebird NCC-88298
NPC by Charles Stephens

Ensign T'sai
Assistant Chief Flight Control Officer
USS-Firebird NCC-88298
NPC by Kedra Nema

Lieutenant Commander Yumi Han
Executive Officer/Chief Intelligence Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Lieutenant Kedra Nema
Chief Engineering Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Crewman Keith Potter
Security Officer

Crewman Lerant
Security Officer

Petty Officer 3rd Class Fhiri
Computer Systems Specialist


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Comments (2)

By Captain Malcom Llwyedd on Sat May 26th, 2018 @ 12:00pm

There's so much going on in this post! It does a great job of setting the atmosphere and showing how each character is feeling about their involvement.

By Petty Officer 3rd Class Max Tragar on Thu May 31st, 2018 @ 9:38am

Holy cow!!!! I love the interactions between characters in this post. My goodness!!!! Jackson and Gantt, B'rala, Rhiana and Gia, so many great little moments showing connections between characters, experience, and the situation.

Kieth Potter is now "Flash Gordon" in my head, haha, thanks Yumi.