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Chapter 2.2

Posted on Wed May 10th, 2023 @ 11:30am by Willian Targaryen & Commander Ash Randall & Commander Nathan Hawkins & Lieutenant Paisley P'rar & Ensign Aqua Powers & Warrant Officer Harris Zim

2,620 words; about a 13 minute read

Mission: Remember Everything
Location: Briefing Room, USS Enterprise
Timeline: 3189-03-17, 08:45

Tahru, Captain of the Hekaran Starship Serova, sat steadily opposite Captain Willian Targaryen in the Briefing Room of the Starship Enterprise. She was poised, precise, calculating as she studied the crew of the Enterprise with scientific precision. That was, after all, her specialty. A Scientist by trade, she was one of the leading theorists into Warp Field Theory throughout the Federation. After the Burn decimated so many worlds, she was the leading theorist in the entire Federation.

Rising from her chair she stood statuesque on the opposite side, "Captain, according to our latest research, a dangerous reaction in this region of space has been occurring since the Burn disrupted subspace throughout our galaxy. If something isn't done soon our planet, if not this entire region, will become uninhabitable within the next generation."

Willian Targaryen shifted, uncomfortably, in his chair as he looked at the display graphic in the center of the Briefing Room. The display provided an overview of the Hekaras Corridor, a narrow region of space no wider than 12 light-years that was the only safe way of traversing the Hekaras Sector's tetryon fields. He sighed.

"I'm familiar with the Hekaras Corridor, Captain, my question is how has it become a threat to your world?"

The Hekaran typed on the display, "To better explain that I need to revisit the history even more than you may know. Centuries ago two Hekaran scientists discovered that cumulative exposure to warp fields was destabilizing the Corridor, which would eventually render our world uninhabitable. The Federation ignored their concerns until one of the scientists, Serova, destroyed her own vessel to cause a subspace rift."

"And the Federation Council implemented a speed limit on all vessels except in extreme emergencies," Willian interrupted. "It led to the development of Variable Geometry Warp Nacelles to help improve engine efficiency and negate the impact upon subspace caused by the nacelles."

"Good, you know your history," she sounded like a teacher politely scolding an unruly student. "The Variable Geometry Nacelles worked, for a time, and other technologies were brought into use that were even more advanced that were thought to protect subspace during transit. That was until the Burn. Let's see if your knowledge of the Burn is as complete," she typed on the screen next to her chair. "During the Burn most dilithium went inert, detonating every active warp core in known space, causing widespread death and destruction and the near-collapse of the United Federation of Planets." There was a bit of levity in her voice as she said the last part of her statement. A scary inflection that she may have not been opposed to the loss of the Federation, yet was asking for their help.

She returned to her seat, "The Burn, in short, didn't just destroy Warp Cores. It fundamentally altered subspace through the detonations, causing hundreds of thousands of microrifts. While most of these closed, some remained and continued to cause damage to the galaxy even today. Our corridor is one such example. The subspace damage is allowing tetryon radiation to escape into the Corridor itself. Our planet is at risk."

Paisley leaned forward in her chair to listen better. She nodded once. "I can see if there's anything my department can do to assist. Chief Science Officer P'rar," she said, pointing to herself. "Maybe some kind of shield system in the meantime, though??'' She sighed. She was tired today, and her brain was slow.

"Forgive me, Lieutenant, as I am one of the leading theorists on this topic within the former Federation," Tahru answered haughtily. "We have explored the potential to build a defensive shield, but that would fail to be a long-term solution. Our planet is already being affected. We have detected gravitational shifts throughout our system. If left unchecked our planet will be uninhabitable within a generation. Warp travel in this region must end. NOW!"

Paisley almost snapped back with her OWN credentials-she’d graduated top of her class with two degrees in chemistry and biology, but realized that she was just acting up because she was tired, and she REALLY didn’t feel like explaining herself to the Captain or Ramat. Instead, she smiled tightly. “Well. If I can help, myself and my team are glad to assist.”

Ash stared at Tahru for several seconds and then, slowly, nodded a few times as if in understanding of something, though what that understanding might be would be anyone's guess and then looked to Captain Targaryen. "Captain...permission to speak freely?" The Tuansee engineer asked, quietly.

The Captain nodded.

"Thank you, Captain." Ash replied and looked back to Captain Tahru. "Captain Tahru, I am Commander Ash Randall, the Chief Engineering Officer of this vessel and the designer of its propulsion system. Your assessment is that your planet has, perhaps, a generation before it is uninhabitable and continued warp travel through the corridor will shorten that time line, considerably, as any warp drive that traverses the area will draw any number of subspace anomalies to it and cause a rupture that will eat your planetary system without warning. My question to you, Captain, is what, in addition to the cessation of warp travel through the area, do you want? Cessation doesn't solve the problem. What is your plan?"

One of the other Hekarans interrupted, "I told you that they wouldn't listen to us, Commodore."

Tahru looked at the other, "Pabas, we talked about this."

"If something isn't done, our planet will become uninhabitable," she challenged. "Instead, they keep going back to why stopping travel through this region won't help. Just like the Federation Science Council, just like Starfleet, They argue that your research was only preliminary, incomplete, they're simply too worried about causing another Burn that they are too afraid to look at the truth before their eyes!"

"Pabas!" It was the only time that Tahru seemed to lose her calm and condescending demeanor. "Please, remember your place."

The younger Hekaran rose to her feet, "I do, ma'am. My place is to try to save my people, not pander to questions from people who will ignore your brilliance." She stormed off in a huff through the door and into the corridor.

Tahru looked at the third, "Anku go after her."

The Hekaran man nodded and followed behind Pabas silently.

"You will have to forgive the impatience of youth, Captain," the Hekaran Scientist said from her seat. She looked back at Commander Ash, "We will have to review the work already conducted on the subject, Commander, and revisit the possibility that Warp Travel throughout the galaxy will have to come to an end, or be restricted, otherwise we may unravel the entire structure of subspace itself."

Paisley sighed, but looked at Ash and then the Captain. "Sir? She might...she might be on to something. Before...everything happened, I was part of the Federation Science Council as part of my assignment on DS16. Radiation we give off IS impactful to non-gaseous planets. While I disagree that fully stopping ship passage is the right course of action, perhaps limiting airspace in the Quadrant to further-flung areas would help to mend fences for a bit while we figure something out? Is that even something that we can DO?" Law and Order out here, these days, was touch and go at best. "Maybe radio around, see what other Fed ships are in the area? I might be able to assist in finagling something with some of the alien species if I can figure out which ones were friendly with the Cardassians beforehand." Diplomacy wasn't the science officer's strongest point. "In the meantime, if yourself or Galatea could arrange a meeting with, Pabas...I'd be interested in reviewing any evidence she has about her claims." She hoped that didn't come off too bratty; she meant it more like they could bounce the data and solutions off of each other. Already, an idea was forming in her head.

"I appreciate the offer, Lieutenant, but," he looked back at the visitor, "I have serious qualms about this entire proposal that the Commodore has shared. She knows that issuing such a directive, especially in this post Burn reality, is next to impossible. Even if we agree to do as she says there is no way at all to ensure that any other group will abide by it. I'm certain that the Federation Science Council would have willingly reviewed your research had you shared it. You didn't have to attack us, especially as we were on a critical mission, to make your point."

Paisley simply nodded; it was as she'd figured.

The Commodore sighed and shook her head, "It's exactly as you said: Post-Burn resources are limited. It could take years for Starfleet to respond to our request and, even if a science ship would come and review our work, it would be impossible to determine if we even had that long. You were here and we saw our chance."

The Captain sighed, "You can rationalize your actions however you feel, Commodore, but for now I have other matters to attend to. You are welcome to stay aboard the Enterprise while repairs are being made and we research your claims. Exec, please arrange quarters for our guests. Chief Zim will be in charge of you while you're aboard my ship. I'd try to stay out of his way, but be sure he'll never be far from wherever you are."

"P'rar I'd like you and Ensign Powers to work together to start reviewing their research. Ash and Nathan you two will focus on repairs. I'd like Engines to be your priority. The people who were coming for the shuttle will be here soon. If we need to run I want the option."

Paisley nodded. "Aye, sir. I'll have a report ready for you as soon as possible." She said. She was very hesitant; the Hekaran science officer didn't seem too keen on hearing anything that Paisley might have to say. "I also have an idea for a possible mid-range solution, which I will send up for you to review after I review the data, sir."

"Engines won't take long, Captain. Our challenge will be getting the navigational systems sorted out but we'll get out of here, one way or the other." The Chief Engineer stated and looked to Hawkins. "A super cycle and distributed system reset way be our best bet to get the majority of system back online so we can, get out of Dodge, should the need arise." Ash suggested, quietly.

"Let's hope not," Hawkins nodded at Ash' explanation. The creative Engineer had a way to make him feel like a First Year Cadet with her boundless knowledge, it was a challenge to keep up at times.

Aqua had held her tongue, wanting so badly to say or do something to defend her Captain and crew, but thankfully adhering to the wise counsel of an old friend from before the Academy, and listened until the end.

"Aye, Captain. We'll get on in immediately," Aqua nodded sharply.

Tahru spoke up, "As you have agreed to review our research, I know exactly how our pulse affected your engine field coils. While I have no doubt that your Chief Engineer is one of the best in the business, it's not as easy a repair as she may believe. I offer my services to repair what we have damaged. With my help your ship could be operational in ten hours.

Willian looked at the Chief Engineer then back at the Scientist, "Because of your allegations and the impact they have upon the entire galaxy I'm willing to listen to a point. Let me be clear: my priority is to restore this ship, recover the missing information from that shuttle, and proceed back to the rendezvous with the rest of Starfleet." He looked at Ash, "I will leave the decision to accept your help up to my Chief Engineer. If she is agreeable to your support, I expect you to help us and not impede our efforts. If you cause trouble," he looked at Zim "I will leave that under the discretion of my Chief of Security. At minimum I'm pretty sure he'll lock you in the brig and maybe forget where he put the key. I don't think I'll correct him either." Willian was not happy about what they'd done to his ship. If they didn't potentially need their expertise he would have probably locked them up.

"The Warp Engine field coils have been polarized and the polarization needs to be dissipated." Ash stated. with a shrug. "Ten hours to correct that state would be ten times longer than it should take unless the molecular alignment needs to be corrected and the coils have to be, for lack of a better term, re-manufactured." She added, with a look to Captain Targaryen. "Primary propulsion will be available in an hour. I'll make an assessment of the engine field coils once primary propulsion is available and we'll do a super cycle and a distributed reset of primary systems to get them back online in the mean time. Expect short term outages and some system instability for 20-25 minutes after the distributed reset." She advised him and looked to Commodore Tahru. "Thank you for your insight." She said, with a little nod of her head. If the Enterprise was dependent upon warp drive for its primary propulsion they would, indeed, be stuck for at least ten hours but coaxial was horse of a different color. Ash was going to leave Commodore Tahru in the dark where the coaxial drive was concerned and let her wonder.

Commodore Tahru nodded, "If you feel that you can overcome our lockout without my assistance, Commander, then I welcome you to proceed without my services." She looked at Chief Zim, "I am ready to go to my cabin, Jailer."

Willian looked at Tahru, "When Lieutenant P'rar completes her evaluation of your research we will meet again. Until that time, I'm afraid you'll have to remain on Enterprise. Zim, please escort our 'guest' to her quarters, but post a guard at the entry to each of their cabins. I'd like you to join Galatea in the Shuttlebay following. They're bringing the shuttle aboard now."

Zim looked up from his console. This was one of the duties of Chief Security that he had forgotten about, babysitting potential problems. Without saying a word he stepped behind the Commodore and their aide. "Right this way to the turbolift and your quarters."

Aqua stood and walked over to the door to wait for Lieutenant P'rar.

Aqua was still seething at how the Hekaran had behaved, but the sensible part of her mind could see things from their point of view, and thus kept her more irrational side under control.

Paisley stood up. "As noted, sir, the report should be ready by end of business. If you need anything, I'll be in the labs instead of at my console-I think it's best to work from there, don't you think? In case I need to re-run testing or something!" She explained. "I'll also ask Lt. Povis to assist us both-he's good at data mining." Povis was her botanist, Romulan, calm, logical. Paisley had her eidetic memory, but sometimes got a bit into her own head to be categorical. "Are you ready, Ens. Powers?" Paisley asked the woman, before stepping into the hallway, and to the Turbolift.

Zim stepped into the turbolift with Tahru. Not a word was spoken between the two as the proceeded. However, a lot of thoughts ran through the Security Chief's head. Not the least of which was that life was certainly different and certainly not dull when you were an officer.


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