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Chapter 3.1

Posted on Fri May 26th, 2023 @ 11:52am by Lieutenant Commander Ialo Gojir & Commander Ash Randall

2,200 words; about a 11 minute read

Mission: Remember Everything
Location: Main Engineering, USS Enterprise
Timeline: 3189-03-17, 09:00

Still reeling from her run in with Minister Zehoi D'ian, Lieutenant Commander Ialo Gojir debated taking the rest of the day off, but she knew that was impossible. With the current crew status aboard the historic Starship Enterprise the Commander knew that her requests for leave would immediately be denied before she even asked. The Enterprise had been hit by a high capacity verteron pulse initiated by the Hekarans. The pulse had, subsequently, disabled all systems that utilized a subspace signal or transceiver assembly. Communications, defenses, propulsion, pretty much everything that was aboard the ship was in some way at risk from a verteron pulse.

As she walked through the room she was reminded of the gravity of their situation immediately as the Warp Cores were powered down, as dark as the space between the stars they powered the ship through. Secured inside isolated control rooms, there was something eerie about seeing the Enterprise's heart in such a state. It really made her feel sick to think about how they were so limited, so at risk, and how easily it had all happened. How easily a group of six had taken over their ship.

The Cardassian woman walked up to one of the control panels and saw that an Hekaran was standing there working. Approaching from nearby, the Lieutenant Commander crossed her arms, "Care to explain what you're doing there?"

Ehon looked over her shoulder at the Starfleet Officer before returning her eyes to the workstation, "This piece of shtel console barely wants to work. Why is your interface so old?"

"That piece of shtel is older than you are," Gojir explained, appreciating the use of a word from her native tongue. She laughed inwardly, "It's older than I am too. That didn't answer my question. What are you doing?"

"Right now I'm restoring your communications transceivers," the Hekaran informed as she typed on the console. "Provided I don't accidentally blow up this rust bucket since I'm unfamiliar with a nonprogrammable matter keyboard."

Ialo nodded, "You get used to it. Who gave you authority to be here though?"

"Your Captain," Ehon answered as she typed. "We're under orders to restore this ship. If we don't, well he doesn't let our research get investigated by the Federation Science Council. Your Chief thinks that the engines will be back online in an hour. I'm not as optimistic as she," the alien Engineer said as she checked a readout.

The Engineer looked at the engine core before them, taking note of the darkness still enveloping the entire core. "With all the damage that verteron pulses do it will take days to have the engines back at optimal levels." She leaned against the railing, "If we can ever get things back to normal that is."

The Hekaran sighed, "Predictable."

"Excuse me?" The Cardassian looked at the alien engineer.

"Your people are too busy thinking about yourselves than the bigger picture; of the reality of what we're facing out here." She looked at the Warp Core before her, "All you and your crew can think of is your engines, your crew, your ship, but you aren't looking at the big picture. You aren't looking at the reality of what we're facing out here. This engine you're so desperate to restore, it's killing you. It's killing me. It's killing everyone."

Ialo rolled her eyes, "Warp travel has existed since before the Federation was founded. The Vulcans were using it even before then. The Burn may've caused some bumps in the road we didn't anticipate, but nothing indicates that it's the end."

"I don't know why I'm bothering," the Hekaran said following a sigh. "It's clear you really don't believe us, our research. You don't want to listen, to see the truth. You're too busy hiding behind your own fear."

"Fear?" The Commander asked.

Ehon nodded, "You fear the unknown, Commander. It's quite obvious."

The Cardassian shook her head, "Guess I missed that in orientation for Starfleet. That whole to seek out new life and new civilizations bit must be for show."

"That's not what I meant. You fear losing what you have known. Warp Drive, for most, is a tool. For you it's a way of life. For you its an obsession, especially after the Burn. This ship and its stores, compared to most, are a dream. My people are showing you a nightmare and you can't cope. My team and I, Commodore Tahru's team," she corrected herself, "we've all devoted our lives to this. We're willing to die to save others. We swore an oath..."

"As have I," Gojir interjected.

The Hekaran shrugged, "Doesn't seem like it. Otherwise you'd be standing here helping me disassemble this Drive rather than restore it." She typed on the screen, "Don't worry though. I have bigger fish to fry than your ship, I need to Council to review this data because if we can stop Warp in this region we have to move on to our own people too."

"Don't you think that's a little too drastic? Your world is the only planet for light-years. If you destroy the Corridor and give up Warp you'll be isolated, cut off from the rest of the galaxy. Do you really think that's the best thing for you and your people in the long run?"

Ehon didn't hesitate, "Yes, and, if you would actually listen to us, you'd believe the same." She logged off of the console and left the engine room.

Ialo Gojir watched as the doors closed behind the Hekaran woman. She grinned, slightly, as she considered the argument Ehon had made. It almost reminded her of Gieji in some ways, the fire and passion, but there seemed to be more behind her words. She actually believed what she was saying and that made her far more dangerous than any could anticipate. There was nothing more dangerous than a wounded animal, and the Hekaran Team were truly dangerous guests.

Tapping her Tricom, "Gojir to Commander Ash. Can we talk, Commander?"

"Ash here. Certainly, commander." The Engineering Chief responded, after a few seconds. "I'm on my way down to main engineering now. I'll be there in a minute." She added.

"I'll be at the Master Situation Table when you get here," the Cardassian closed the channel and waited, knowing that this would be a truly interesting discussion.

Ash approached the Master Situation Table, at a light trot, and nodded a greeting to Commander Gojir while she set the doctor bag, that passed for her engineering kit, on the edge of the table. The Tuansee engineer tilted her head a little, a curious expression on her face, while she regarded the Cardassian Engineer for a couple seconds in silence. "Is there something wrong? I mean, beyond the obvious?" She finally asked, and glanced around them into the, relatively, gloomy darkness. It was a light level that was, actually, preferred by Ash but wouldn't make satisfactory light levels for most others.

The Cardassian Engineer glanced up at the Chief Engineer, a simulation of the nearby subspace grid on the display console. She didn't hold anything back, "Did you know one of the Hekarans was down here?"

"I saw one on the way here." The Chief Engineer admitted. "The one called Ehon, I believe." She added, and tilted her head. "I take it that she was here in main engineering then and, possibly, up to mischief?" Ash asked, while she studied the simulation of nearby subspace and shook her head. "Subspace is the foundation of all that there is in physical space." She mused, quietly, to herself. "The Hekarans have good reason to be concerned but I fear they're too close to the problem to consider and, solve it, in a rational matter at this late date." She lamented and shrugged. "Our current situation being a, less than rational, act on their part." She added.

"Maybe," The Cardassian woman answered as she considered the Hekarans, "and maybe not." She knew that the Enterprise had not been fully integrated with the records and databases of the time, so she chose to share some news that she'd recently heard, "Subspace has been acting differently ever since the Burn, Commander. We've had several instances of ships lost, anomalies that couldn't be explained. Rumor has it that two lightyears of subspace near Gorn Territory recently imploded upon itself, effectively isolating them from the rest of the galaxy." Ialo sighed, "Could the Hekarans be right?" She walked toward the Core, staring at the darkened device that powered their flight. "Could the Burn have just been the start of the inevitable end of spaceflight?"

"Warp drive, Coaxial Drive and slipstream are dependent upon sub-space." Ash opined, quietly stating the obvious. "Let's assume that the burn has changed the, fundamental, nature of sub-space and that FTL, as we currently know it, may not be possible, eventually. Let us also assume that the Hekarans are correct in their insistence that continued use of warp will accelerate the degradation of sub-space in their immediate area and doom their planet and, ultimately, their race." Ash proposed, in her quiet, smooth, tone. "The former might be decades, centuries or millennia in the future. The latter, just on a, cursory, glance through of their data, is several months to several decades away. A fairly wide window of time but, imminent, if their data is to be taken at face value. There are ways to repair sub-space just as there are ways to form, shape and manipulate it as has been done in the case of the corridor itself. The thing is, the resources required to repair sub-space are beyond the capability of any, one, power in the galaxy, might be beyond the capability of all current powers combined and the time frame involved, well, it would be a generational endeavor. The Hekarans may well be doomed unless the most desperate and herculean of efforts was made to close the corridor and, this will sound impossible, move their star system within the corridor to a more stable location." The Tuansee Engineer explained while she continued to study the layout of local sub-space.

Ialo didn't like the sound of that. The T'Kon Empire had, at one time, the capability of moving stars but that was lost to the ages. All that remained of their knowledge was an octinary star system in the territories now belonging to the Emerald Chain, but even those claims were apocryphal. She knew of the Federation's one time effort to evacuate Romulan Territory out of fear of a supernova, but the Federation of today was incapable of mounting such a rescue of anyone. Starfleet was spread so thin in the galaxy it was just impossible.

"Even before the Burn we were facing the possibility of a future without Warp Drive. The Federation had been scrounging for Dilithium for decades before the Burn actually came and destroyed so much. Multiple efforts were launched to try to find an alternative propulsion, from Soliton Waves to the very Coaxial Drive that powers this ship. SB19 was close, but the Burn happened and many thought it was to blame." She had been rambling and she knew it. "Sorry, I know no one needs another history lesson."

Ash shook her head. "Oh, you're fine with the history lesson." Ash remarked and smiled. "I'm the chief curator of an historical artifact, after all, and a bit of a historical relic myself...if you know what I mean?" She added, with a wink. "With that said, the problems facing the Hekarans, while pressing, will have to take a back seat to the mess they've caused with our sub-space based systems. Now, it just so happens, that there can NOT be a single point of failure aboard a star ship and, in the case of the Coaxial Drive, that single point of failure would be yours truly and I had to come up with methods for others to manage the day-to-day operation of the drive in my absence. Hence the 2 minute presets for realigning the drive and other, canned, solutions to the more common issues that arise. Then there are the isolated, backup, control modules in the case that something scrambles the working modules, amongst other things and those things do not help us in this case but there is something for just such an occasion as this; A Super Cycle. The Hekarans have set a lockout but the lockouts can't be at a hardware's all black box." Ash explained while she opened her doctors' bag and dug out a case about the size of a cigar box and opened it to reveal dozens of positronic chips. "We Cycle all our systems, flatten them completely, do what's called a distributed reset. We start with Coaxial and navigation so, as the shepherd said to the other shepherd, we can get the flock out of here." She finished and nodded a couple times. "That's the plan, at least." She added, quietly.

"Then lets get to work on the museum piece, Chief," she said with a friendly smile that few would find comforting from a Cardassian.

Ash smiled in return and began removing an assortment of chips from the box. "Absolutely." She replied.


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