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A Quick Chat

Posted on Sun Oct 4th, 2020 @ 5:07am by Admiral Willian Targaryen & Commander Ash Randall

Mission: Exodus
Location: Saucer Engineering
Timeline: 2430-01-10, 17:30

Admiral William Teagarden stepped into the cavernous Saucer Engineering Chamber momentarily transfixed by the classic designs that he saw before him. When the Enterprise was designed all those years ago they had put a lot of focus on heritage, but very little of that extended inside the ship itself. Except for this room. The Saucer Engine Room was highly stylized toward the designs of the traditional Type 5 vessel. It was a large, open chamber dominated by a centralized Warp Core with dozens of workstations circling it. Even though he'd been in command of vessels for over 20 years now he still felt more at home here than anyone else.

"Thanks Dad," he mumbled to himself as he entered the room.

"Admiral on Deck," a crewman announced upon seeing him.

The Admiral nodded in respect, "As you were." He looked around at the gathered personnel as they went back to duty and looked for his Chief Engineer. William approached the Chief Engineer's Office for the Saucer. It wasn't an office in the traditional sense though. Instead it was a small alcove with a wall mounted workstation and another that looked inward toward the Core. A large replica of the Enterprise's Master Situation Display shone on the wall behind the stalwart Commander Ash Randall.

"How are things, Commander?"

The Chief Engineer of the USS Enterprise looked up at Admiral Teagarden, her green eyes and those ears that seemed to hear everything, focused on her commanding officer. "Everything is ship-shape, with the ship, Admiral." She replied, knowing that the Admiral didn't really come down to main engineering to ask how the ships systems were doing. He had that information at his fingertips, in real time, so Ash wondered what else might be on his mind. Ash was tough to read, unless you knew her well enough to pick up what her tail was doing and, at the moment, the five foot long, prehensile, appendage was completely still. A sure sign the Tuansee was deeply troubled by something.

"I've known you for a very long time, Commander. Your comment tells me that there's more to the story than we're ship shape," he said with a boyish smile betraying his El-Aurian heritage. In reality, if he were Human instead of just resembling one, he was over half a century old by their standards. "Something I need to know about?"

"Yeah..." Ash responded, with a couple, slow, nods and a quick glance past the Admiral at the Main Engineering space to assess what attention was being paid to their, short, conversation so far. "I, honestly, can't tell you. It defies words...and I know better than to try or sound like a babbling idiot." She added, after a couple seconds of thought. "But, with your El-Aurian heritage, I think I can show you." She added, and held out her right hand, palm up. "If you really want to know. Because, I know I don't" She finished.

This was frightening him more than he expected, "Commander, if there is something that could be a risk to this ship or the Federation I need to be made aware of it. What is going on?"

Commander Randall looked up at the Admiral for a few seconds and then slowly dropped her hand. "Okay, here's what is going on. As you might remember, we've been faced with the total destruction of the Federation by the forces of darkness on more than a few occasions." She stated, in as calm and professional a tone as she could muster. "End of days, super natural, good versus evil, light versus darkness, blow-up-a-star and remake a world in the past, or it is all over for everyone scenarios and their consequences..." She rattled off, quickly, and then stopped and took a deep, calming breath. "...sorry, I'm babbling, but darkness is getting ready to engulf everything. I felt it at 419 and I could see it in the Councilman these last, several, days. All of this...what's happening to the Dominion and their sudden appearance looking for an alliance and the immediate strife, turmoil, and division just the prospect has caused, is all tied together. I suspect the disappearance of the Spock has less to do with the Federation President than it does that Wraith Orb that was aboard. It's the key to unleashing chaos and setting the galaxy ablaze. Destroy the Federation and the galaxy goes to war...endless, war. That destruction is well under way and I fear we've been played, Admiral. That what we've done, and will do, is playing out as planned." The Engineer said, quietly and shrugged. "That's the gist of it." She added.

"That's a very big gist," the Enterprise's Commander answered as he leaned against the bulkhead. He looked up at the Warp Core that hummed across from them and watched the rhythmic pulses as they converged in the central chamber. "So I have to ask a rather pointed question, Commander. Do you think that we're living through another end of days scenario now or do we still have time to turn things around?" He thought about his own experience with the darkness over the years. Nausea rose inside his stomach as he considered the prospects.

"I don't know." She answered, immediately, and looked around her. "I'm not plugged in, Admiral, and, I have to admit, I've enjoyed not knowing the possibilities." Ash explained, quietly, and looked up at the man. "I used to love knowing. I was like a little kid who knows a secret and, half nuts and insufferably confident in the knowing. Things just came to me and then, we did that thing we did in the place and, you know who, made an edit or two and half my life and career disappeared and, worse, happened to you. I had a single second of clarity where I saw it all happen and then was unplugged. It was terrifying, at first, but I think I'm better for it and I plug in, on occasion, Admiral just not for long. I'm afraid I won't be able to unplug after a while." Ash admitted, and shrugged. "In a more direct answer to your questions...my instincts tell me we're far removed from the field of action for a reason and we need to get back to the Alpha Quadrant as fast as possible if there's to be any chance, if one exists at all, at this time. If I plug in, maybe I'll see a possibility. Maybe, not. Just say the word and I'll do it."

"Let's err more on the side of caution and keep you away from 'plugging in' for now." He thought about the prospects. It had been a long time since he thought about the disasters of only five years ago as he watched the Starship Gettysburg disintegrate in orbit over the planet Sha Ka Ree at the center of the galaxy and his wife disappear in a flash of light. He thought of the twins, knowing they were fine, but couldn't help but think to the child they lost during the dark day. He paused a moment before speaking again, knowing full well that he had to be honest with his Chief Engineer. "But, and this is a very significant risk, if we come into danger again I may not have a choice but to ask you to take the chance and look toward this. Let's just hope it doesn't come that that."

"Okay Admiral." Ash responded, with a nod. "In the mean time, with your permission, I'd like to blow the dust off of Condition Black and enable Emergency Slip Stream 1 protocols in case we should need a quick exit." She suggested.

William was a bit surprised by the recommendation. It had been a long time since he'd heard anyone suggest that they use the Slipstream Drive aboard the ship. Probably a decade actually since they got the Coaxial Drive to work properly, "Would it be safe to do so? We haven't used that drive in a very long time."

"Safer than Coaxial Warp, actually. If we use the 'instability window' variant rather than 'zero instability' variant of Slip Stream then the processing we have aboard will more than suffice to let us make 10 minute transits of 50ly distance before we reach the window of instability in the transit. We just have to drop out before we reach instability and do a minor realignment of the warp core before we can continue." Ash explained. "Not trivial, but should only take 15 minutes before we can transit again." She added.

"Alright. Just don't blow up the ship in the process," he said with a grin. "Condition Black is authorized. Though, only if the Jem'Hadar turn against us instead of continuing to support our efforts. Unless you can figure out a way to get them to ride in the conduit with us without destabilizing it."

"It could be done but I would not care to try." Ash replied, with a little chuckle. "I was thinking we might need a fast exit but the Jem'Hadar are not what I'm concerned about." The engineer added. "We have a counter measure for Genesis but not for being outgunned." She finished and checked a few things on her console.

"We'll be ready...whatever it might be." Ash promised.

"We have to respect the fact that the Dominion vessel is traveling with us as an ally though, Commander," Teagarden reminded. "So we have to find a way to make sure that they remain safe should we come under attack from a superior force. So, work on an alternative to bring them safely with us." He smiled as he said it, but it was a stern reality for them that they had to find a way to work this out.

Ash nodded, "Understood, Admiral. It'll be a tight fit...kind of like getting a sumo wrestler into a leotard. Possible, but nobody really wants to try and do it. But, we can make it happen and survive the effort...once, for sure." She advised. "Hopefully, once will be enough." She added.

"I'm certain that you'll figure it out," he said with sincerity. After everything that they had all be through together he knew that his Chief Engineer was a Miracle Worker if there ever was one. "Keep me apprised."

"Will do, Admiral."

[END]

 

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