Episode 5: The Adversary (Joint Mission)
Location: Ulysses Engineering
Timeline: MD120, 0815 Hours
Sparks showered the engineering bay of the mighty Galaxy-class starship, quickly accompanied by smoke and the occasional distressed cries of some of the facilities personnel. Officers desperately tried to pry open the doors to the corridor, to try and allow help to reach them, but were struggling. The emergency lights had kicked in upon the loss of main power and with the warp core offline, the room was darker than it had ever been. Couple all of that with the fact that communications were down across the ship, the situation was nothing short of an unexpected disaster and alpha shift had only begun an hour ago. Not the best of starts to the new day.
Huddled over a side console and chuntering away to himself, Commander Pennington desperately searched for clues, answers to the burning question that was sure to come his way soon; after such a successful first test, what the hell had happened second time around?
Elsewhere, Commander Millarini (defacto Chief Engineer at present) was busy trying to restore main power to the ship. Neither task for the new engineers was going well.
Suddenly, and without warning, the sound of movement from the large bay doors echoed around them and voice from beyond the bulkhead could be heard for the first time in what seemed like ages.
"Keep... pulling..." the familiar sound of the Captain's voice rang out, albeit apparently strained as he pulled on the door himself. Soon enough, with engineers on one side and three of the senior officers on the other, the large bay doors finally opened enough to grant the visitors entrance to the engineering bay. Drayton glanced at Bergen and Okan as they followed suit in squeezing through the gap and into the facility. With emergency lights activated, the Captain disabled the light beacons on his left wrist and lent against the pool table. "Report," he called out eventually as he gathered his breath.
Cordelia joined him at the pool table, hair and uniform thoroughly dishevelled as she gave her report. "Main power is down. Power grid on this deck is largely fried, with some exceptions. Communications are down, life support is at minimum power and we have no propulsion systems to speak of right now. Not even thrusters," she revealed through her glum expression.
"I'll see what I can do to lend a hand," Akaria spoke, the Cardassian placing a gentle, reassuring hand on the female engineers back before disappearing deeper into the engineering bay.
"What the hell happened?" Drayton queried, a mixture of frustration and confusion evident in his voice. "The first test went so well. What changed?"
It was a very good question and one that Millarini wished she could answer, but she couldn't. Shrugging, she looked towards Pennington who seemed to be in his own little world. "I wish I could tell you sir. Greg?" she called out to get the engineers attention.
"What?" he glanced around briefly and made eye contact with the female, who gestured towards the Captain with a nod, which caused him to step back from the console. "Oh, right. Yeah. It would seem there was a problem during the second Slipstream test," he revealed anxiously.
"No shit," the Captain scoffed with a shake of his head. "What 'problem' are we talking about?" Colby queried again, his voice sterner than before.
Pennington lowered his head and looked defeated. "I haven't been able to ascertain that fact yet sir," he told.
Drayton shook his head slowly and then looked at Lieutenant Bergen. "Eza, you showed you have a good grasp of this stuff. Lend the Commander a hand. I want answers," he instructed.
"Aye sir." He said to the Captain before moving to the station that was responsible for monitoring the slipstream sensors during the test.
"I'll be on the bridge if you need anything," Drayton called out before disappearing out of the hatch.
"I just don't understand it..." Gregory mused, his arms folded across his chest in frustration as he stared at the screen before him.
"Commander, come take a look at this." Eza shouted over the noise of Engineering. "I think I have an idea of what happened."
Gregory turned and let out a sigh of complete frustration. "I've been working on these systems for months Lieutenant. No disrespect, but if I can't figure it out, I don't see how a newly promoted scientist will have..." he trailed off as he came to a halt at the console where Bergen was stood and looked at him expectantly.
"Here, there was an unexpected increase in exotic particles once we entered the slipstream the second time. They built up inside the deflector front, like water behind a dam. When the pressure was too great for the deflector it caused the overload, travelling in slipstream without the deflector is responsible for most of the other damage." Eza said.
Pennington looked over the data from the Lieutenant and, eventually, let out a sigh and a nod of acknowledgement. "Okay. So, next question. Where the hell did they come from and how do we stop it happening again?"
"I don't know we'll have to review the sensor data in depth for that, I recommend we transfer it to the astrometric core and have a team go through it there. Focus our efforts here on repairs." Eza suggested.
“Go ahead,” Pennington nodded. “I’ll be here working on what repairs I can make,” he concluded. There were many repairs to complete, too. Thank fully, the fall out of slipstream hadn't destroyed them.
Lucky for them at least.