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Double Trouble

Posted on Tue Nov 9th, 2021 @ 4:42am by Captain Willian Targaryen & Commander Ash Randall

Mission: Short Treks
Location: Engineering, Starfleet One
Timeline: 0000-00-31, 11:00




Captain Willian Targaryen stepped into Main Engineering in the Stardrive Section of the ship and was still just as shocked by what he had seen. In the month since they got pulled into the future he'd tried to help as much as he could with repairs to the ship and the like, but rarely had he been to Engineering itself. In reality he could probably count the number of times on one hand. This was Commander Randall's domain and he really did not like to step on the toes of his Chief Engineer.

Willian had known Ash for a very long time and had seen her career blossom over the decade he had known her. From the moment she came aboard the Enterprise as Chief Engineer he had know that she was destined for greatness. She became first officer of the Pegasus for a time, but had returned to Engineering over the ages. He was happy to have her aboard though, despite the setback she'd experienced.

"Admiral?" The Kelpien interrupted as he saw the ship's commander enter the room.

"Just Captain for now, Lieutenant," he answered as he looked around the charred room. "Where is Commander Randall?"

He looked at the workstation, "I have been trying to restore full internal sensors. Let me check." The tall alien typed on the panel beneath the Master Situation Display. After a series of trilling beeps an indicator appeared on the screen identifying a location, only to blink out again. He sighed, "I'm sorry, Sir, but I can tell you she is on this deck."

"I can find her myself," the Captain answered. "As you were."

As the Lieutenant resumed his work, Willian started down the corridors toward the Chief Engineer's Office. There had been some minor modifications to the Engine Room since Ash had come back aboard. Originally, the Chief Engineer had a large office that featured a 14 person conference table, a work area, and a sitting area that she could use. Not long after though it was decided to convert two of the storage rooms to fit the needs of a conference room and office. The original room was made into a small lounge for the engineers to use.

Reaching the Chief's Office he saw that the doors were open. He knocked on the door frame, "Ash are you in here?"

The office of the chief engineer was a burnt out wreck with the charred remains of most of its furnishings pushed to one side of the office and out of the way to make room for a few chairs and a small table borrowed from an auxiliary mess. The chief engineer was perched on a bar stool in front of an old fashioned white board and, distractedly, waved Captain Targaryen in while she finished an equation with the squeak of a marker. "Right here, Captain. What can I do for you?" She asked, amiably. Behind the engineer, in the corner of the office, it looked like Ash had set up a make shift living area for herself, complete with a hammock slung as high off the floor as it could get.

Willian looked around the small office and its makeshift living space. "I was unaware that you'd moved in, Commander. I thought that we arranged for you to have one of the crew quarters on this deck?"

"We did." The Chief Engineer confirmed. "However, I can hang my hammock anywhere and hanging it here keeps me close. Besides, we both know I wouldn't spend 10 minutes a day in those quarters." She added, looking to the Captain now, marker still in her left hand.

"You may be right about that." Normally the Captain would have gone into a spiel about how Ash had an entire crew at her disposal that she could use to ensure that the ship was thriving in her absence, or at least until she was able to get back in an emergency. That was a luxury that they didn't have at this moment though. Engineering had been heavily impacted by whatever the Hell had happened to them. If not for the A500s that were brought online and the efforts of Ash and Blake the situation would probably be a lot different for all of them right now.

Targaryen leaned against the wall, carefully stopping himself from accidentally brushing against any of the controls on the interface. "I wanted to talk about our meeting earlier today. I already received your report about the ship, but I have a feeling you wanted to tell me something else."

The Chief Engineer stared at Captain Targaryen for a few seconds while she slowly put the cap back on her marker and set it in the tray of the white board. "I don't really want to tell you...I've held off saying anything or even hinting at the possibility of what I know happened." She told Willian, and indicated the white board. "Temporal mechanics...Quantum Duality...Sub-Quantum Uncertainty. On this board is, Basically, a snap shot of what happened to SF1 in the 9 seconds prior to our transit of the worm hole. It explains why we lost half our antimatter and why all the positronic systems, that were on line at the time, are flakey despite our best efforts to restore them and why so many of the crew just NOT here." Ash explained, with a look at the board and its maze of complex, exotic, expressions and equations. "For nine seconds, while trying to half the intermix on the coaxial core, I was, literally, side-by-side, with a quantum duplicate of myself and felt the quantum and temporal shift happen that ended up with us here and, more than likely, a duplicate of SF1 is still back in our time." She finished.

Willian let what his Chief Engineer suggested sink in, carefully studying the scenario in his head and analyzing it. While he was in Command he had started his career in the Engineering Division and studied subspace theory. Calling back through the years he recalled a case study he'd read in a subspace theory course involving the Federation Starship Voyager. While it was trapped in the Delta Quadrant it had entered into a plasma drift to avoid an enemy vessel and began to experience intense turbulence and... an unknown antimatter drain. He looked up at Ash, "Who all knows about this?"

"You're it. No one else knows, or suspects, a thing." She admitted and sighed. "There's something else you should know. I'm plugged in and I haven't been able to unplug which is why I am back to not really sleeping much. I guess there's something about being bombarded with high levels of chronitons that's had a physiological effect on me and I'm still saturated with them even though they dissipated through the rest of the ship when we did the coaxial jump."

The Commanding Officer tugged on his uniform tunic at that announcement. The Chief Engineer being overwhelmed by Chroniton particles was not something that was easily taken. He crossed his arms, "You haven't been jumping through time other than that one time with the rest of us have you?"

Ash was silent for a few seconds while she thought about the question and whether anything she had experienced since being saturated with chronitons met the criteria and shook her head in the negative. "Nothing of that sort, so far." She replied, finally. "I am not in flux or experiencing any, physical, temporal regression or progression. Mostly, I'm working really hard not to answer questions before they're asked and just focus on the here and now but, even then, the here and now, is a bit blurry around the edges so, if you catch me staring at you for a few seconds its because I'm seeing multiple possibilities of you." The engineer explained and closed her eyes for a couple of seconds. "Anti-chronitons haven't helped." She added.

"That complicates things. With the timeline we've entered the ship is at incredible risk and, so far, we're fairly limited on our scientific front with personnel," the Captain said with a sigh. Normally the ship had all kinds of professionals aboard her that specialized in multiple disciplines. With the evacuation and the temporal voyage they undertook their skeleton crew had very little in the way of those specialists available.

"With the primary sickbay offline we're even more at risk at the moment." He considered his options, carefully weighing them. "I want you to prioritize getting the EMH program back online. Its database may be able to come up with something that we could use to try to get you stabilized. With the primary sickbay down I want you to use the clinic in the Security Compound. It makes the most sense because its not far from here and is operational."

Ash nodded. "Understood. It isn't an ideal situation if I'm having to focus to see the here and now. Normally, it would be the other way around...if you can call that normal." The engineer responded while she picked a PADD and counted, "Three...two...one..." before the screen lit up with a yellow warning and Ash tapped away at the PADD for a few seconds and then set it down. "Three seconds is how far forward I'm seeing things without actually focusing and it's been reliable, for the most part. Just, certain times, it shifts further out...five, six or even seven seconds and then I have to focus and, by the time I've focused, we're back inside that three second window of reliability." She explained, and rubbed her eyes. "But, I can't keep going like this or I'll be as nuts as I used to be." She added.

The Captain considered his next moves carefully. Ash being able to see a few seconds ahead was an advantage at this time, but not at the cost of his Chief Engineer's sanity. It was a case of the needs of the one outweighing the needs of the few. But, reality was something that he could not escape either. If he had to do so he would use this to protect the ship and crew.

"I'll get the EMH in the Security Sick Bay going and see what it can do for me. That EMH wasn't on line so at least I'll have a stable matrix to work from and can use the positronic components from my engineering AI to get it on line." She confirmed.

"I had gotten the LMH online for a time a month ago," Willian remembered. "Maybe go that route. Plus, Bones is a bit friendlier than the EMH."

Ash nodded. "Okay. I'll try to get the LMH going." She agreed while she studied the white board. "I was just exploring the possibility of temporally isolating the crew while doing a quantum/temporal reset of SF1 to its pre-wormhole state." The engineer explained. "The math says it is possible but..." And the Tuansee indicated a set of equations in red. "...but not, really, feasible with our current resources. It's a Catch-22. If we were completely operational with a full fuel load and had the combined power of both slipstream cores and the coaxial core at our disposal we could do it...maybe. With as screwed up as sub-space is it is a variable I can't account for completely." She announced, with a little chuckle.

"Perhaps we should hold off for now anyway," Targaryen answered. "With everything that this ship has been through I would prefer not to run the risk of any additional temporal incursions - even accidental ones."

Ash put on her utility belt in preparation to leave. "I'll go now, Captain. The sooner I get my little problem addressed or, at least, under full control the better." She replied, closed her eyes for a couple seconds, and opened them again. "The red PADD on the table has a couple of design proposals for a hyperspace transport system that we could implement with the materials on hand. We won't be able to transport anything living but either design will put a 200 isoton device into the engineering space of a hostile vessel and I don't think there's any way to defend against it. Also, when we lost the Spock I was tasked with engineering a quick escape method for President Gruzy and ended up outfitting one of our runabouts with slipstream. It was completely powered down when we transitioned so it should be operational if we power it up." She added while headed out the door and then paused at the door. "Oh, sorry Captain. Will there be anything else?" She asked.

"Its unfortunate that the Coaxial Drive isn't as easily replicated," Willian mused to the Engineer. They had had several discussions about which was the more effective propulsion unit, but Willian was set in his ways. Despite their still aging, the sensation that the travel was instantaneous and they couldn't take damage while in such a state was a really welcoming thing sometimes. "Good luck."

"Thank you, Captain." Ash replied, as she exited her office and then looked back over her shoulder. "Coaxial was my original plan and I have a scaled down, coaxial, drive system sitting in secure storage." She advised Captain Targaryen. "It just didn't fit and still be able to keep the phase cloak I installed so the President could get out of dodge without needing to open shuttle bay doors, lower shields and, of course, be seen." She added, with a wink as she headed off.

The Captain looked on as the Chief Engineer had stepped back out of the office. He had been impressed for a long time with Ash and her abilities to develop new equipment and technologies; however, sometimes he wondered just how she knew what they needed before the rest of them did. He was glad that she was on their side.


[Hold for right now]

 

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