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Walk Among the Clouds

Posted on Sun Jun 6th, 2021 @ 4:58am by Captain Willian Targaryen & Captain Ryan Walsh & Captain Nathan Bishop & Commander Ash Randall & Commander Nathan Hawkins & Lieutenant Commander Patton O'Sullivan & Lieutenant Dylan Blake & Lieutenant Cyrus Marner & Bissiv th'Zaanaq

Mission: The Messenger
Location: Mess Hall, Starfleet One
Timeline: 0000-00-31, 08:30

Starship Log, Stardate Unknown: It has been a month, at least it feels like a month, since Starfleet One arrived in the future and tempers aboard the ship are getting frayed. We are still counting our dead, others evacuated, but there are still some that are just gone and we don't know what has become of them. With the reduced number of crew we've become highly dependent upon the automation systems, but they're overloaded more than they're functioning.

With our computer difficulties we have limited access to our computers and navigational functions. It's taken some doing, but we have found a nebula that has obscured us from sensors for at least now. It's given us some breathing room, but I fear that if we don't get things under control soon there may not be a Starfleet One left for much longer.





Captain Willian Targaryen stood at the window of the mess hall drinking his tea. He never imagined that he would adjust to not seeing stars streak by his ship, but the swirling dust and gases of the nebula were starting to grow on him. Their temporary home was eeriely beautiful and it was keeping them safe. In the month since they had arrived here they had seen a lot, but they had been targets just as their Andorian guest had suggested they would. Their dilithium stores made them a tempting target, but the rest of the ship was nearly in pieces.

He had long wondered exactly which nebula they were hiding in. With navigation interrupted because of the computer outages they had limited astronomical data and it wasn't like they could step up to the window with a sextant to figure out where they were. It really didn't make much sense either. The sensors were interrupted and clouded by a lot of interference - and not just from the nebula. If he had to bet he'd have guessed they were in the Paulson Nebula, but if could really be any number of them.

It was strange to see the Mess Hall so empty. With the temporal incursion they experienced the crew had been the most effected by everything. When the Wormhole effect took over they had ordered evacuation, but it was not complete when the convergence occurred. The transition didn't go easily. They had many deaths and injuries. The strange thing was that there were people that didn't seem to make the trip at all. The records indicated that they never left the ship, but they weren't here either. It made no sense.

Tugging on his uniform jacket, his stained uniform jacket, Willian wondered where the rest of the staff were. He had wanted to have a meeting to discuss their current status and the Mess Hall was the best place to do it. Leaning against the window he waited, hoping that they could get underway soon.

Cyrus walked in, hearing his own footsteps echo in the emptiness of the Mess Hall. He looked around and spotted Targaryen by the window. He moved over to where the Captain stood. "Nice light show out there don't you think?" giving an easy going smile. "How are you holding up?"

"We're surviving," the Captain answered knowing that Doctor Marner would pick up on the deflection. It was a true statement, but it wasn't the whole truth. So he threw in a bit more, "I'm getting used to the storm cloud we live in at least."

Marner raised an eyebrow in a manner like a Vulcan, then he chuckled. "Yes being used to dancing in your own rainstorm , one that you are familiar with can be somewhat of a comfort."

"I'm only happy when it rains, Doctor," Willian joked as he glanced at the thunderstorm of a cloud they hid in.

The Chief Engineer of SF1 entered the mess hall, a tri-corder in one hand, a PADD in the other and black bag held by her tail and wordlessly headed over to the general vicinity of the Captain and Lt Marner to take a seat. This was the norm, as of late, with Ash; silent, somewhat moody, totally focused and all business when there was a need to say anything at all. The signs were all there, for anyone who knew the Tuansee well, that she had gone looking for answers and didn't like the ones she'd found.

A gentle slap emitted from the ration pack as it struck the table beside Ash. This was then followed by the weary groan of Lieutenant Blake as he eased himself into the adjacent seat. He'd been working with Ash long enough to see this whole affair was taking its toll on her and the rest of the crew. It felt like they were clinging on by their fingernails right now and she was the glue that held them their, without her they'd quickly spiral into the unknown.

"Eat something," Dylan pleaded at her softly nudging the packet closer. "Don't make me force feed you."

"You'd have to catch me first." Ash remarked as she set down the tricorder and PADD, picked up the ration pack and expertly popped it open with a flick of a finger. "Thanks for looking out for me, Dylan." She added and spared a glance at the PADD for a second or two. "I have answers." She noted with a gesture to the PADD. "No one is going to like them." she added and took a little bite of a protein bar.

Relieved Ash was tucking into the rations without argument. He'd expected her to protest but maybe with the rest of the weary crew arriving she decided this wasn't worth fighting. "I know you're skilled in looking after yourself and keeping the lights on. But like every other workaholic I've met you forgo nourishment or sleep," Dylan yawned as if on cue. "Be nice to have something a bit more plateable," he commented ripping open his own supply.

"Whatever nasties these answers are it's more than we hand a month ago," Dylan continued pouting slightly at his ration bar before finally taking a bite. His face creased in displeasure: "One day I might grow to like this stuff."

"I haven't been sleeping or eating much these days." Ash admitted as she watched Dylan take a bite of the ration bar. "They're a lot more palatable if used to supplement the caloric and nutritional content of actual food or you soak them in rum or brandy like an old-school fruit cake." She mused and took another bite of hers. "I had answers the day we got here." She added, as an aside. "Its just taken a month to establish those answers are correct."

"I don't suppose you had a secret stash of liquor?" Dylan asked chewing quickly to rid the taste. "I think we could all do with a pick me," he glanced around the near empty room gloomily. "Especially if what you say is true. None the less you'd better share with the others."

While they conversed softly Nathan Hawkins entered the mess hall and tried to ignore how cold and lonely the place now felt with so few of them. It wasn't easy though, the whole vessel felt like a shell of its former self. They'd be more personnel onboard while in dock than the current level and a whole lot safer. The swirling gasses of the nebula had allowed them to take stock but had not offered any answers. "Captain, Doctor," he acknowledged them both and pulled up a chair.

Patton walked into the mess hall, still reeling from all that had happened. With so much of his security personnel missing he hadn't wanted to leave his post but he knew this meeting was essential. "Captain." he spoke as he took a seat and nodded to the others. He hoped the others arrived quickly, he didn't want to be away from the bridge for too long.

Biss walked into the mess hall and cautiously looked at those who had gathered. He was unsure as to why he had been summoned to attend. He was on the defensive and wasn't used to being in that stance.

Cyrus looked over to where others were gathering. "Probably time to take a seat and find out what you have going through your mind, Captain."

Ash nodded to Hawkins and Patton as they came in then eyed Biss as he approached and moved her ears in a way that, if they were antennae, might have meant...relax.

Blake too eyed the Andorian suspiciously, after all he had taken shots at him when attempting to steal dilithium crystals from the storage. In a strange twist of fate Biss was now stranded here and maybe due to some either sweet or mean talking by Targaryen and his wife he was now assisting them. Didn't mean the Lieutenant was willing to trust him just yet.

The Commanding Officer of Starfleet One nodded, somewhat reluctantly, at the comment from the Doctor. There were several members of the Senior Staff that had yet to arrive and it made the Mess Hall feel even more like a ghost town. He placed the water pack on the smooth table and leaned against it, opting to get started rather than wait any longer.

"It's been a few days since we all had a chance to get together to discuss what's been going on aboard the ship so I figured it was time to meet to catch up. Hell, last time we talked we were still planning to head to Earth to reconnect with Starfleet Command," he looked at Biss, "look how that turned out. At least we were able to jump away before the Raiders could take out the engines permanently and steal our dilithium stores."

"Only just." Ash chimed in and glanced at the colorful swirls of the nebula out side the observation windows and shook her head. "I have answers to some of our questions about what happened to us..." She added, quietly.

"It's a mistake." Biss said quietly. Since the burn, Earth hadn't been heard from, just like most of the core Federation planets.

Ash looked to Biss. "About that, before the burn I mean...Was dilithium still being mined at that point or was it being manufactured or replicated?" She asked the Andorian. "The reason I ask is because, just prior to our going through the worm hole something setup a resonance field in the dilithium of our warp core that we couldn't isolate or dampen and we were forced to do a fast shut down before the crystals shattered. Not sure where the resonance came from but I am fairly certain that something like it is the source of the burn." The felinoid remarked.

Marner had taken a seat and hearing the news his eyebrows raised. Questions tumbled their way through his mind but he put them on the backburner, deciding to hear more of what had been found out. He instead, pulled out his own ration bar and began eating it.

"Dilithium was still being mined. Nobody knows how or why the burn happened, any chances of finding out are very slim with a lack of ways to move across the galaxy." The Andorian replied speaking up.

"Unfortunately we don't have the luxury of worrying about the root cause of the Burn for now. Perhaps after we reconnect with Starfleet we can explore those questions, but until then we'll keep speculations to a minimum. With the difficulties we're experiencing with repairs and maintenance of the ship we're going to have to be careful out here." He picked up a PADD that was flickering from low energy, "We have barely a skeleton crew aboard and several departments have been nearly wiped out. The A500 robots and DOT-9s have been pushed to their limits to make up for the loss. How are things going?"

Ash finished taking a bite of the protein bar she was eating and chewed for a few seconds and swallowed. "We're still reallocating our, working, positronic processors but we're going to come up short for being fully operational even cannibalizing our support ships. The going is very slow because the quantum states of some of the processors is stable for short periods making the whole process rather slow. We lost half our anti-matter when we went through the worm hole so that is adding to our problems as well." She advised.

It made sense that the computers were having so much difficulty. With all of the subspace interference that they were encountering and the positronic chips utilizing subspace to an extent in their computations, they would be foggy. He had known of the loss of antimatter, roughly half of their complement of fuel, from an earlier conversation with the Engineer. He wondered what could have caused them to burn it up so quickly.

"I know that we're limited personnel wise, but you may ask whomever you want to help you with your efforts, Commander. How are repairs going to the port nacelle?"

"Repairs to the port nacelle are at a stand sill. It is operational but still two, full, degrees out of alignment with the starboard nacelle and center beam of SF1. Not an issue, normally, but a show stopper in our current state, power and processing, wise. We can get to warp but it will be all I can do to keep us at warp. I can correct the alignment problem if we dry dock for a time and, given the circumstances, I could make do using an asteroid as long it had a large enough mass. Otherwise, we solve our power and processing issues and can work around the nacelle being out of alignment." Ash reported.

He looked at his Acting Chief Medical Officer, "How are we doing with crew injuries and treatments?"

"It's been a touch and go situation, some difficulties have been present but we're managing. About all we can do is the best we can." Cyrus replied.

Awkwardly Hawkins shifted in his seat still a touch guilty he'd taken much of Marner's time and attention when he was injured during the transition into this new, terrible part place.

Cyrus glanced at Ash and murmured, "It was worth working on you."

Willian nodded. He had hoped to get the primary sickbay complex in the Stardrive Section back online for Lieutenant Marner to use, but for now they were only able to restore the Secondary Sickbay in the Saucer Module. For many medical officers it alone would be a dream to have, but the primary sickbay had everything that they could truly need. With the Federation gone and lawlessness the rule of the day he was afraid they were going to need it.

"With the amount of crew that we have lost there are significant impacts throughout the ship," the Captain informed as he set aside his PADD. "Most divisions have been decimated. As I just said with Commander Ash if you have any knowledge of medicine - even first aid - don't be afraid to offer your services."

"I have a Class One rating as a combat medic." Ash admitted to Marner, with a shrug. "I could chip in a couple hours a day."

"That would be fantastic." Marner responded with a smile. "I could use all the help I can get. And other eyes would be most appreciated in order to have a fresh perspective."

"It will be refreshing to be in sick bay and not be a patient." Ash assured him. "Happy to help." She added. Ash earned her rating aboard the Pasteur while acting as its fit and finish CEO and, as assignments allowed, maintained her certifications through the years. Getting the rating was in the spirit of making an effort to understand where the medical staff of the Pasteur were coming from with their, frankly, insane complaints about systems that were perfectly operational and it also helped in her efforts to integrate an auto-doc into her, instantly deployable, Tactical EVA suits. The CEO last recertified while XO of the Hippocrates nearly two years past.

Turning to Security matters, Willian pecked at the datapad, "How is your view of our Security situation, Commander?"

"As with most of the departments," Patton spoke up. I have lost a lot of people but we are managing to hold things together." He paused for a moment, collecting his thoughts. "We've been working long shifts to make certain the ship is protected. Luckily the station on the bridge is fully operational if we had to engage someone but how long it will hold with the quick patch job we did, I cannot promise." He looked at the captain. "I am working diligently to get things better as much as I can."

The Captain nodded, "With any luck we'll be able to maintain at least our defenses long enough to evade any dangerous threats. How long do you think our shields will hold out?"

“They won’t be able to take a prolonged beating.” Patton was straight forward in his reply. “I will continue to work on repairs but at this point we would want to either strike hard or avoid a heavy battle.”

"Mister Hawkins I know that you've had some struggles with the power grid. Have we been able to get power systems above 50%?" Willian asked hopeful.

"Only momentarily," Nathan sighed wishing he had better result to give. "The grid is still in a state of flux while we investigate the instability we're still averaging 46%."

He looked at Captain Bishop, "Have we been able to get back into the navigational computer? Or at least in the local sectors?"

Bishop gave a humorless laugh and a shake of his head. "As for the navigational computer, not yet Admiral at least not for a prolonged period. we need more power and right now we don't have it on a continuous basis. The local sectors show more promise and we should be able to have some information for you shortly." Bishop promised.

Listening to everything that they had said he let it all sink in. A month in they were no better than they had been the moment that they got here. The ship was in shambles, the crew decimated, and they were without port. Before he could stop himself, before his own internal controls could pull him back from the brink, he slammed his hand down with such force toward the table that the PADD he held shattered in half. The pieces rained down toward the carpet below.

He smirked for a moment as he looked at the remains, his thoughts momentarily thinking about how they weren't much different than the PADD. Broken and alone. Now he was back to business, looking around at the personnel gathered there. "When I had us parked in this nebula I thought that it would be a temporary safe haven for us, that we could get our repairs completed and then move on to try to reconnect with some semblance of normalcy. Instead its becoming our permanent address." He sighed as he looked at the window, "We've been here long enough. We have to get back into open space, find allies, find something other than death and destruction. We leave this damn cloud tomorrow."

The slapping fist of frustration symbolised how they must have all felt Nathan reflected having flinched at Will's action. They were going in circles just trying to get by without real progress and were in desperate need of a friendly port. Finding one however wasn't going to be easy thanks to Biss the ship had a giant target painted upon its hull.

"Works for me." Ash commented. The Tuansee didn't so much as flinch when Captain Targaryen shattered the PADD into a thousand pieces and had, almost casually, covered her ears just before he did. Ash now picked up her own PADD and offered it to the Captain. "I know what happened to our antimatter and missing crew." She told him, quietly, and waited for the man to take the PADD before she said anything more.

"I'm preferring to keep speculation to a minimum for now, Commander," Willian answered.

Marner gave a bit of a start, then he changed his focus towards Targaryen's hand. "Sir, is your hand alright?"

He rotated his hand before the Chief Medical Officer. Despite the impact of the device, which should have caused him some injury, his hands barely had a scratch on them. "I'm fine, Doctor, really."

Commander Randall, wordlessly, pulled back the offered PADD, tapped once, swiped to the left then tapped again and set the PADD on the table. The screen of the device now blank except for the star fleet emblem and a 'Tap to Begin' of a wiped unit.

Willian noted that the Chief Engineer had closed out the PADD. He was, however, still curious what she had to offer. He made a mental note to speak with her about the contents later. The Captain looked around the group, "Alright. Begin making final preparations. We leave tomorrow."

Marner gave a nod but also scrutinized Captain Targaryen show of his hand. He'd like a closer look at it to make sure he was okay. After all. it was his job to make certain all wounds were looked at. Even if it was a mere scratch. The only other response was to give the Captain an expression, indicating he'd be looking at the hand afterwards even if he had to chase the man down.

The Commanding Officer took a final look around the room and headed for his office.

 

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