Episode 1: The Maelstrom Awaits
Timeline: Day 8 at 0830
It had been about long enough since Ekal had been told to review the propulsion systems with engineering that to hold it off any longer would be insubordinate. She'd memorized the changes reported, but there were nuances only an engineer could explain.
"Lieutenant CJ? Do you have a moment to review the changes made to the propulsion systems?" She poked her head into his office, a soft smile plastered on her face.
The smile was returned from a CJ reading a PADD enthusiastically. "Care for a Turkish coffee," CJ offered, pointing at a freshly brewed pot around which were three cups, two empty. "And how can I assist my favourite Cardassian today," he asked genially.
"A turkish coffee sounds delightful." She walked to the pot and poured herself a cup, "I need a brief rundown of the changes you've made to the propulsion systems, and potential issues the helm might face. I've read all your reports and work updates, but some nuance can be better conveyed in conversation. Is there anything that you want to emphasize?"
CJ sat for a second, enjoying the coffee. "Yes, there is," he said softly. "I've fitted new Driver Coil Assemblies. Repeat to your people that the DCAs might only be six point five metres long but they're important. We've scrubbed down the cast verterium cortenide nine-three-four to enhance the field effect and improve the plasma flow through the Vertical Exhaust Directors."
He looked up at her, not sure how much he was helping. "Nogura is going to handle lightly." He wondered if that was the right word. "She is going to feel very responsive, more like a ship half her mass. My pilotage experience is," he said with a wry smile, "rather limited, but you might want to run a holodeck simulation; I can input details of the modifications into the holodeck to make it realistic."
“Even as much as you’ve already said is very helpful for my team’s brief, and of course I’d like the specs for a simulation. I need to run training drills, they’d be most beneficial as accurate as possible.” She sat in the chair she was coming to think of as hers, despite knowing how many must sit there daily. “Do you know anything about the shuttle craft we’ve gotten to join our team, or do you think the cargo specialists would know more?”
She regretted being here solely for business, he looked tired. Or maybe some humans were always openly expressive.
He shook his head. "That's probably one for Ops," he muttered. "Certainly she will be able to talk you through what's been loaded onboard." He looked at the young Cardassian. "How are you, anyway?"
"I'm doing quite well, thank you for asking." she sipped the drink. Whatever is was, it had more caffiene than she expected and she let her eyes widen at the sensation. The flavor, which she noticed only after the initial shock had worn off, was rich and full and she found she enjoyed it. "How are you?"
A thinner smile. "You're almost present for the moment of truth, the minute when the Warp Core fires up." He made a grimace. "That is the intent, at least."
"You have some doubt that it will?" She hummed, pulling a leg up into the chair, "You've been working so hard, what could you have overlooked?"
"Oh," he said lightly yet reflectively, "nothing. But it is difficult to not feel slight trepidation." He frowned, as ever uncomfortable with the attention. "And, miracle of miracles," he said in a hushed, falsely reverential tone, "the holodeck nightmare is over. The Ancient West is safe, for now," he said conspiratorially.
"Oh, I should hope there's a good sheriff in town." Ekal grinned, enjoying the play in his tone, "I would love to stay and watch the ignition, but I have to go and investigate our support ships. As for the Ancient West, I'll have to investigate it myself. If you do investigate it for yourself later and want company, do let me know."
"D'you know," he said with a broad grin, "that sounds like fun."