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Stealth team at the ready

Posted on Wed Jun 1st, 2016 @ 10:11am by Lieutenant Samantha Winters & Captain Julius Whitlam

Mission: The Ties That Bind
Location: USS Manoora - Main Engineering
Timeline: [Backpost] - Before Senior Staff Briefing

"Don't tell me those panels have blown again, Blokowski?" The shouts of the chief engineer were instantly audible to the captain as soon a the doors to main engineering parted on his approach. "That's the third time we've replaced them this week!"

"It's Kowalski ma'am, and yes they've blown again. I've said it before and I'll say it again; no matter how many capacitors we jury rig in front of this thing, you can't make a twelve-series control panel work with a fifteen series sensor grid. The grid needs too much energy to it for the panel to handle the return."

"Yeah, yeah, I hear you," Winters answered, hands on her hips as she finished stalking across the room to stand next to the open panel, charred with the remains of multiple blown control panels. "Tell you what, let's get a stealth team together. See if the station's quartermaster would notice if we swapped out some of the junk he's giving us for the real thing they're running with over there."

"A stealth team, Lieutenant?" Captain Whitlam asked suddenly, having quietly made his way across the engine room to stand a couple of metres from the chief engineer.

"Yeah," Winters answered without missing a beat, turning to look at the captain over her shoulder. "Why, you volunteering, Captain? Your stealth walk could do with a bit of practice."

An amused smile broke out on the captain's face and he shook his head, "I'm afraid it was never very good to begin with. Instead of an infiltration team, why don't I just have a word with Admiral Gilhouly? He's a reasonable man and he knows the importance of not having a console explode in your face."

"Hmm... risky battle plan," Sam answered back, mocking a look of concentration on the tactics of getting new supplies. "But if you think the risk is worth it, Captain, I won't stand in your way. Our parts list would probably slow a stealth team down too much in either case." She shrugged, enjoying the little game, but returning to the real world for a moment. "We've managed to get most of the damage to the ship repaired now - minus painting the new hull plates to match the rest of the ship - but the replacement control panels the starbase are sending over to us are just way too outdated for our systems. The stuff they're giving us was designed for the old CFI warp cores. The TPG core Manoora is fitted with just puts out too much juice for them to handle."

Whitlam nodded and furrowed his brow, planning his conversation with the admiral - or, more likely, his chief of staff. Even though it seemed like a reasonable request, the flag staff would be coming from a position of needing to allocate not enough resources to too many ships, so he would need to be prepared for a robust discussion. His mind shifted gears. "He's going to ask me if we've thought about reducing the power output to the control panels," he said, picking what he thought would be the most obvious road block they'd throw up. "Have you?"

Sam shook her head. "The way this warp core is designed, the only way to reduce its output enough would restrict us to warp three. We've tried taking the damaged panels apart and swapping the higher grade components that still work over onto the new panels, but there just isn't enough compatibility between the two."

The captain stroked his chin, considering his forthcoming argument with the admiral. "So," he said, the plan forming neatly in his mind, "put simply, unless we replace them, we'll be limited to warp three or risk having consoles exploding in people's faces? If Admiral Gilhouly needs us to deploy anywhere quickly, he'll have to authorise the right control panels." He grinned and looked back at his chief engineer. "I think that's a winning argument, don't you?"

"Yeah, might be. But if it's all the same to you, I still like my stealth team approach," Sam replied, with a nonchalant shrug. "I'll keep them on standby just in case you don't make it back."

"Please do," Whitlam replied with a mock gravity in his voice. He shifted his gaze over to the thrumming warp core. "Is there anything else to report, Winters? We're heading back to the front, our girl has to be at her best."

"Well the good news is these new warp cores are tough bits of machinery. The ship's heart is purring just as strong as the day it was installed," the engineer answered, strolling absent-mindedly closer towards the core and looking up at its various glowing components or conduits. "Most of the damage we received was more superficial - damaged hull plating, blown out control panels, and some fried circuitry that runs them. The last of the new pieces of hull plating went on this morning, and I'm about to send Johnson out on a spacewalk to give the new plates a fresh lick of paint to match them up with the rest of the ship. The circuitry was easy too; we've got a huge stock of isolinear chips on hand; they just need the programming loaded on them and then to be swapped in. As soon as we get the new panels over here and installed, we'll be good to go."

The captain strolled along with the chief engineer, listening carefully to her report. "Very good," he said when she'd finished. "Repairs aside, what do you think of our ship? I'm sure you'll have gotten to know her pretty well in the time you've been here."

"The designers did a good job on her - she's definitely a new breed when compared with the other ships I've been working on over the years," Sam responded after a little thought. "The lack of saucer sep' solves a lot of issues, but creates some new ones at the same time. If the core starts going critical we don't have the option to evacuate to the saucer section anymore, so we're going to have to eject it, and pretty quick too. But the sleeker profile means our warp bubble is a lot smoother and easier to maintain. Overall, she's a pretty good ship, though I don't think I'll ever get used to being able to stand on the hangar deck and see space in both directions."

He smiled and nodded, understanding exactly what she meant. "Unsettling, isn't it?" The captain took one last look around main engineering. "Keep up the good work, Lieutenant," he said with a warm smile. "I'm sure the ship is in safe hands with you down here."

"Well, as long as I can keep that big lug Ferguson from trying to squeeze himself into the crawl spaces..." the engineer responded dryly.

Captain Julius Whitlam
Commanding Officer


Lieutenant Sam Winters
Chief Engineer
USS Manoora


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