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Power Fluctuations [PLOT]

Posted on Tue May 29th, 2018 @ 9:54am by Lieutenant Kedra Nema & Warrant Officer Arlan Harlan & Chief Warrant Officer (Grade 2) B'Rala Of House Seeth & Petty Officer 3rd Class Thomas Lopt & Petty Officer 2nd Class Fhiri
Edited on on Wed May 30th, 2018 @ 9:03pm

Mission: Mission 3: The Galilei Conundrum
Location: Galilei - Main Engineering
Timeline: 26 June, 2394 - 0730 Hours


Stepping off the shuttle into the darkened halls of the Galilei Nema switched her beacon on and swept it down the hall. This corridor was at least clear for the moment. They moved a little further down as the other crews to made room for them to exit the shuttle and Nema gathered her team.

"Alright, Engineers with me. We are headed to Main Engineering to get this bird moving. Any questions?"

Thomas raised a hand. "Chief, I mean. How long are we going to be in these suits? What if we have to... you know," he said, looking around from side to side. "Go."

Nema turned to look at the young engineer and was torn between smiling at him and frowning, which resulted in a rather odd combination of the two.

"Part of our goal is the get the ships systems functional so that won't be an issue, but I suppose in the worst case you can beam back to the Firebird. For future away missions though, make sure to go before hand. Anyone else?"

Fhiri cleared her throat. "I've got some of the system codes," she said in a hesitant voice. "They should speed things up."

Thomas turned and looked down at the new figure. "Who are you?" He asked.

"I'm Petty Officer Third Class Fhiri, computer systems specialist," Fhiri said.

"We don't have a computer specialist. I thought you were with the security team," Thomas replied.

Fhiri sighed. "I was reporting for duty when the distress call came in. Nobody had time for me. Kipp got me set up in my bunk and I've been in processing with the EMH, who, by the way, is a real grub worm. Anyway, the captain told me to catch up with you so here I am."

Nema recognized the name from the mountain of paperwork on her desk, but had assumed that in the haste to leave the station that she had been left behind.

"Welcome to the party Petty Officer. You're with me and Lopt then. Let's get moving."

It was at this moment that Harlan chimed in from his post on the Firebird. =^=Alright gang, keep me posted if you run across anything strange. I don't like you guys being over there any more than you do.=^= It was true, Harlan was very nervous about his ratings wandering hither and yon on a ship spinning itself apart. Nobody really ever signed up for such things.

Nema pulled up the schematics that they had, she still wasn't sure that they were fully accurate. Privately owned ships often went through all kinds of revisions that never got logged, but at least the basics were in place. She moved down the hall in the direction of Engineering with Lopt and Fhiri in tow.

"Alright you two, keep a scan running for any major problems we can find on the way, but remember that power is our first priority. Once we get to Engineering, Fhiri you will be with me at the main station by the warp core to see if we can get power up, Lopt you are to head directly to power systems control and start the process of dialing everything down to minimum. We don't want to overload anything. Inertial dampers are the first concern, thrusters immediately after. Let's give Ensign T'Sai something to work with."

Fhiri nodded as they walked. She found the swishing sound from her biosuit's legs rubbing together to be incredibly distracting. However, given the dark and frightening interior of the Galilei perhaps distraction wasn't all bad. "Ah, sir, my expertise is in computer systems. I'd like to use my tricorder to link up with the engineering console and make sure that nothing has been purposefully disabled before we proceed to a restart. If that's ok?" She said. swish-swish

Nema nodded, she made a mental note to review this one's file.

"Sounds good Petty Officer."

Thomas nodded."Roger that, chief." He'd rather be in the holodeck. He'd been planning another go at a horror holonovel but the Galilei was making him rethink that. As they turned a corner, heading towards a jeffries tube ladder, he practically tripped over a fallen crewmember. "Ah!" He screamed.

Nema hadn't made it that far from Lopt when she heard the scream, she wheeled around, drawing her phaser. She saw Lopt standing over a fallen crewman. She dropped her arm and holstered the phaser.

"Crewman, perhaps save the screaming for a more appropriate situation." She turned and motioned to Fhiri to follow her.

Harlan popped in again. =^=Was that a scream? What's going on over there?=^=

Nema tapped her commbadge as she continued down the hall,

=^=Just a little oversharing. We have it under control now.=^=

=^=Sounds good.=^= replied Harlan. =^= You never know what lurks on wrecks. Too much we don't know about space yet. I don't want you folks turning into one of my sad stories like when I was back on the Ford in 2385. Guys were on an away mission fixing some mechanics on a dead ship, kinda like you are right now, but they sprung some sort of trap which flipped their insides out and then turned them avocado green. Made me get the heck of that ship the very next opportunity.=^=

"Sorry, ma'am," Thomas said, his face turning the color of a radish under the Vulcan sun. "It... I wasn't expecting that. I'll try harder."

Fhiri reached over and patted him on the arm. "Don't feel bad, I jump at all kinds of sounds. What we need is that Klingon. She's scary and we can get her to go first. Where is B'rala?"

"I am right here waiting for you special people to get serious and get to work." She said with pure hate for all of the banter. She was ready to get out of this damn suit. "We need to get this ball rolling."

Thomas jumped as the Klingon Master-At-Arms brushed past him. He couldn't wait to get to engineering where he could put his hands to work and stop making a fool out of himself. "Aye, Chief," he said in a much-too-high voice. He cleared his throat and spoke again as he followed in B'rala's wake. "Ready to get the ball rolling."

Fhiri's face contorted inside her helmet. She shuffled forward swish-swish. "What do rolling balls have to do with restarting the warp core?"

B'Rala was ready to retort but instead tried her best to control her rage and continue down the designated path. Some times she envied the Vulcan ability to ignore emotion. If she was able to do that, it would lessen the amount of homicidal thoughts she had per hour.

Engineering soon enough loomed ahead of them, the doors were closed, and a quick scan showed that the whole area was in lockdown. Nema found the control panel on the wall and gestured to Fhiri.

"Time to show us what you got, can you get us in?" Nema asked.

Fhiri nodded, her oversized helmet flopping against her face. She reached up and straightened it. Stupid lobes she thought. "Aye, ma'am. I can get us in," she said, moving up to the doorway. She pulled out her tricorder and ran it over the enclosure. "This is strange," Fhiri said. "The security lockdowns are in place. Its almost as if..."

From her belt she pulled off a long, thick black cord that ended in a magnetic clamp. She stuck it onto the wall near the access controls. It attached with a loud thunk. She had to squint a little in the dim lighting but Ferengi eyes were well suited to working in low light conditions. She attached the other end of the cord to the long narrow screen strapped to her left arm. She'd managed to keep the mobile computer console when she'd transferred onto the Firebird. She'd used it so often that it felt like another appendage.

"Wow," Lopt said, crowding in close. "Is that a T-972 Mark XI?"

Fhiri looked up at the eager human's face. "It is. Best piece of equipment I've ever worked on," she said and then turned back to the business at hand. Her fingers flew as she attempted to access the computer mainframe. It would have been the quickest solution but she ran into an immediate security lockout.

"Frinx," Fhiri muttered. "This is going to take me a minute, ma'am. Someone has purposefully has locked down the entire computer system."

Lopt leaned in to look over her shoulder. "Maybe you could access the root through one of the maintenance access points. Sometimes people leave them open."

Fhiri, without looking, reached up and pushed on Lopt's faceplate, forcing him back. "Don't tell me how to work, crewman. I've got this."

And she did. She knew that computer systems were a lot like people. You had to get to know them to understand them. Thankfully, the cruise liner was not a Starfleet vessel or the security would have been much more difficult. Instead, like a lot of the things on the ship, it was made to look good but didn't have a lot of substance.

There was a hiss and the main engineering door slid open. Fhiri turned around, a large smile on her face. "See, I told you..." she started to say and then the hum of a phaser filled the air. A bolt of bright orange ripped over Fhiri's head.

"You might have gotten the door open but I swear by all that you hold dear, if you come inside, I'm going to blast you! You're not taking my ship!" A voice boomed.

Nema dived to the side of the door as the phaser blast rocketed through the hall. She motioned for everyone to get back as she stuck her head just around the corner to see.

There was an older man, dressed in the uniform of the Galilei's crew. He was standing by the main console phaser in one hand, and something that she couldn't identify in the other. She glanced back into the hall at the crew around her. No one was injured that she could see, and they were all ducking back against the walls.

"We have no interest in taking your ship!" Nema hollered back at the man, "We only want to help. The ship is on course for the Badlands, and without restoring power, it could get really bad in here."

A guttural laughter pelted out from the engineering section. "You think I'm going to betray Starfleet? I know you're Dominion spies! I'm reserving power so that you can't use it against me! I know my oath!" Another random bolt of phaser fire struck the ceiling. "Leave! I may be an engineer but I still qualified right!"

Fhiri crawled over to where Lieutenant Nema was, ignoring the motion to stay back. "Ma'am, I've tapped into the video feed from in there. Look," she said, holding up her arm screen. On it, the entire moderate sized space of the Galilei's main engineering was visible. The small warp drive was dark, clearly offline and behind it crouched an elderly human man dressed in the uniform of the cruise line crew. Just visible in the low emergency lighting were two other prone bodies.

Nema scanned the image, the man was the only figure moving, albeit not much. She flipped her tricorder open again and scanned inside engineering. The two bodies did not seem to register, but she couldn't rule out that they were in fact alive, and the mess of this disease was masking that. No explosive decompression then.

"See if you can tap into a lower sub-system to trigger some kind of alarm behind him." Nema said to Fhiri, hoping it would not come to shooting the man, he was after all just doing his job.

"Sir, we are in fact Starfleet officers." What was it she had heard about the delusional? Play into the delusion or not? She couldn't recall at the moment and made a choice.

"The Dominion ship was driven off. They were attempting to board when we arrived. You have done excellent work here to keep them from taking over the ship. We are here to help." She gestured to B'Rala to be ready to fire if she saw an opening.

Fhiri nodded and scooted back a meter so that she could focus on the task at hand. She had already managed to use the codes Lopt had gotten from the owners of the Galilei to get inside the engineering computer system but the old engineer had locked everything down and created some kind of nexus. She frowned, her teeth poking out of her bottom lip. She could tell that the whole system had been tied together with code that made it resemble a spider's web. Plucking at any of them the wrong way could send a warning about what she was doing.

"Very careful, Fhiri," she said to herself.

Lopt had essentially curled up into a ball as soon as the shooting had started. He peeked out and saw that the lieutenant had crept up to the door and was attempting to talk to the crazy man inside. Fhiri was tapping on her computer and B'rala... B'rala was creeping up on the other side of the door? I'm the only one not doing anything He thought. Then he started to crawl.

"You're starfleet?" The voice called back uncertainly. "Why... why didn't you come before? Where is the Enterprise?"

B'Rala could tell this man was very delusional. If he made it this hard to get in and he things the war is still going on it might be very difficult to reason with him. That is why she made her way very slowly into a better position to act if it was needed.

Nema had to actually think for a minute. She had no idea where the Enterprise was at the moment. She called back to the man,

"The Enterprise is near Deep Space Nine at the moment. We are the crew of the Firebird we were the closest ship when the distress call came in. It took us some time to make it here. What happened?" She didn't move, and motioned for B'Rala to stand down for the moment, if she could spare this guy she was going to.

B'Rala saw the hand gesture from Nema to slow. She did just that still trying to find the angle she wanted to be in to take this old man out if the chance raised. She had never been a fan of being on an away mission with a non security lead to it. It usually meant she was handicapped in what she could do.

"I don't know any Firebird," the man said in a low voice. "There was an explosion in cargo bay four. It got into the air recirculators. But... you should know that!" The man's voice rose. "I sent a message to the fleet!"

Fhiri finished setting up the alarm the lieutenant had requested. She glanced back at the small video feed and gasped. The man had some kind of trigger tapped to his hand. Fhiri accessed the internal sensors and then scooted back up next to Lieutenant Nema.

"Ma'am. I've got the alarm ready to go," she whispered. "But I think that gentleman has some kind of trigger switch attached to his hand. Look," she said, angling the screen so her superior could read it.

Nema looked over the video feed. She couldn't tell what the device was supposed to be, but it definitely didn't feel good. She turned back to look into Engineering, she still couldn't see the man from here.

"We got your message sir. I'm going to step into the hall now, ok?" She holstered her phaser and tricorder and held her hands out to her sides as she stood and took a careful step into the hall. She could now see him, crouched near the main console and holding a phaser in his left hand. His right was not currently visible.

"How about I come in and we take a look at what's going on?" Nema said as she took a step towards the door.

Lopt had moved to the other side of the door, next to B'rala, by low crawling across the corridor. His biosuit was now shiny, thanks to the incredible amount of whatever floor cleaner the Galilei's crew used. All the way across the floor, a crawl that had felt like it lasted a year, he'd kept expecting to be shot by the crazy man in the other room. He kept thinking of Sir Ronald, his favorite persona in his holonovels. Sir Ronald was a dashing, strong knight in the land of Kuthlay and Thomas often wished he was more like the character.

He gripped his phaser, the glove of the biosuit felt sticky on the weapon's grip and he had sweat pooling at the end of the fingertips. He watched the lieutenant step out. She's definitely crazier than Keys or Rhesha Thomas thought. He poked his head around just enough to see the man inside.

Thomas was not as smart as most of the crew. He'd failed to get into the academy, after all. And he wasn't as funny or charismatic either. He certainly wasn't athletic. But he was observant.

"Take a look. Take a look," the man said, his head weaving from side to side as if he were drunk. "Everyone always wants to look. To know. Asking questions. Just like the Dominion."

Something in the voice made the hair stand up on the back of Thomas' neck. He saw the muscles in the man's arm flex and he knew what was going to happen. He could see it. So he moved. Jumping past the Master-At-Arms. He did something.

The phaser strike would have hit Lieutenant Nema but Thomas' chunky form slammed into his superior, sending her crashing to the floor. I did i... he thought and then the phaser blast, heavy stun, slammed into him, almost picking him up and throwing him against the wood paneled wall opposite of the doorway. The engineering crewman slid down the paneling with a high squeal as the plastic from the suit clashed with the wood.

Fhiri's eyes went wide as she watched Lopt flop backwards against the wall. Her eyes moved to the lieutenant but Nema was already moving. I guess it's now or never she thought and triggered the alarm she'd worked to set up.

=^=Warning! Depressurization imminent! Evacuate this compartment=^= the computer called out. A red warning light lit up the interior of the engineering space and a klaxon whooped.

Once the alarm had sounded it had thrown the man's attention all around at the flashing lights. As he flailed about B'rala eye's caught a glimpse of a deadman's switch in his right hand. She was prepared to blast him from kingdom come, but with this new information it made her chose of action different. As he turned away trying to figure out what the alarm was all about B'Rala rushed at him as fast as he could in her suit. As he turned back her way she left her feet, lowered her head, and speared the old man to the floor with a hard thud. The force was so great of his head slamming the plating he seemed to be knocked out. B'Rala quickly reached for his hand hand kept the finger pressed to the trigger. "This scum is disarmed. I have the detonator. Someone figure out how to neutralize it!!" She said very forcefully.

Fhiri grinned as the Klingon warrior swept into the room and took out the deranged engineer. And then she looked down at her console, which was still tied into computer system.

"No, no, no," she said. "B'rala! That engineer was trickier than we thought. He rigged a sensor into that trigger that was biometric. It knows he isn't awake and it is triggering a warp core breach!" Fhiri scooched into a sitting position, her fingers flying as best as they could in the suit. She bared her teeth in frustration.

=^=Warp core breach in ten... nine... eight=^=

"I'm hacking into the root process. I'm going to block the countdown. But it won't be permanent!"

=^=Seven...six...five...four... Countdown suspended=^=

"Lieutenant Nema, you are going to have to stop the breach. The computer is attacking my code as a virus and I have to keep fighting it off," Fhiri said.

Nema was already in motion when Fhiri spoke. She sprinted to the warp console and began furiously tearing into subroutines. The man may have been ingenious, but he was also old school. The warp core had been set into a feedback loop. Each cycle of the matter anti-matter injectors would add a small instability into the core. Normally, small instabilities take long amounts of time to present, but with the injectors cycling at a rate of sixty cycles a second, they had no time. She bypassed the automated cycle and manually input a slower refresh rate.

"Lopt, I need you to go up to the second level and rebalance the matter/anti-matter injectors. The matter injector is forcing too much, and the anti-matter too little."

It was the smallest variance, each was off by a tiny fraction, she calculated a zero-zero-zero-zero-zero-zero-zero-zero-zero-one percent change, but warp cores were precision machines, and this imbalance could spell disaster.

Thomas groaned, still smarting from the phaser blast. Thankfully his suit had actually dispersed a large portion of the energy. He stood, head buzzing, and lumbered into engineering. He found the shiny ladder that led up to the second floor and quickly scurried upward. The matter/ anti-matter injectors control system was off to the side, below a large display of the warp core. Thomas could see right away that the warp core was out of balance. It reminded him of an old bike tire that was not in alignment.

His head was beginning to ache as he input the anti-matter controls that should bring things back into alignment. "I'm working on it now, ma'am," he said. "I think it is working."

Nema had reset the controls at the main console and was beginning to run a low level diagnostic of Engineering systems. She heard Lopt call, and double checked. The Matter/Anti-Matter mix was back to normal. She shut-down the breach that the old man had caused and began to slowly bring back each system in Engineering.

Turning to those assembled in Engineering, "Alright, let's do a full sweep of the systems. I don't want any surprises as we start reactivating things."

Fhiri walked up to B'rala, who was still holding the dead man's switch and gently pried it out of the Klingon's grip. "I'll just take this, ma'am. I'd like to run some scans on it to make sure there aren't any secondaries involved here. Great job! I like your moves," Fhiri said and then wandered over to an empty station and sat down. "I'll run a level four diagnostic on all of the computer cores. They're pretty small so it shouldn't take long, lieutenant."

Lopt leaned his head against the computer screen. "I'll... get right on it, ma'am. I'll do a check of the communications systems and set up a dedicated, secure connection to the Firebird. It should eliminate most of the interference from the Badlands."

Nema watched as a few of the basic systems started to blink back into green, but as she watched an uneasy feeling settled in her stomach.

"Alright, I want a full diagnostic. I know it will take a while, but we can't be too careful." She looked at the unconscious body of the old man, and then to the switch in Fhiri's hands. What else had he put in place? She wondered.

"Let's make sure that there aren't anymore surprises waiting in some subroutine."

Fhiri shuddered. She hated surprised and computer surprises were the worst. She turned back to the task at hand, determined not to let her new crew down.

[1000 Hours]

The diagnostics finished, Nema finally felt confident that the Galilei was fit to bring power back up. She began to tap at the controls to start feeding power back into the main systems.

"Nema to Yumi. Power is starting to come back up. Are you in position?"

=^=Nema! This is Han. We're ready on the bridge. Can you send some of that power our way? We've been drifting deeper into the Badlands since we got here. I'd like to know our heading so T'Sai can be ready to get us out of here the minute engines come online.=^=

Nema tapped her commbadge,

=^=Understood Commander. Starting to feed power now. Warp power, and navigation first, and the rest will follow.=^=

=^=Prioritize impulse engines over the warp core, if it's faster. I'd rather limp out of here now than make a hard jump to warp speed after a delay. Whatever gets us moving.=^=

Nema gritted her teeth, it was obvious, but she had missed it. =^= Understood sir.=^= She called back and tapped her commbadge to end the line.

Turning to look at her crew she nodded, and began to power up the ships systems.

The warp core began to glow and shift, the colors moving from a dull gray to a bright blue as the matter/anti-matter reaction began to power up. She walked to another console and pulled up the power distribution systems. Navigation and Conn first, and then each subsequent system started to flash green. The cruise liner was coming back to life.

Let's just hope this doesn't set anything off. Although she was sure that there were no engineering risks, the possibility that one of the delirious crew had set some trap elsewhere was still looming.


Lieutenant Kedra Nema
Chief Engineering Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298

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

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

Petty Officer 3rd Class Fhiri
Computer Systems Specialist
USS Firebird NCC-88298
NPC by Llwyedd


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Comments (2)

By Petty Officer 3rd Class Max Tragar on Thu May 31st, 2018 @ 9:47am

Hahaha I love that Harlan takes the opportunity to scare the heck out of everyone with an old story about a doomed repair crew. Hahahaha! That will help relax everyone for sure!

Lopt’s internal struggle was interesting to read and a nice contrast to the tension of “delusional passenger with a gun”

Lovely writing here also from B’rala and Fhirir. Nema has a nice directive control over the situation. Great job, all!

By Captain Malcom Llwyedd on Fri Jul 6th, 2018 @ 9:46am

Engineering might not get the flashy missions but this was very well written by all. I loved bringing Fhiri in. Nice work by Nema in not getting distracted from the mission. B'rala was a great addition to this team.