Chapter 25 - The Roommate's Rubbing Off
“We’re not done yet.” Maybe they could bring the QSD’s heat sinks into play. They were rated to a much, much higher level than the deflector array’s. But how to—
That train of thought evaporated as the Tactical officer announced, “Captain, casualties are being reported on deck 22.”
The main deflector assembly. Damn it. “How serious?”
“No fatalities, but several crew members have been injured.”
“Alert Sickbay and tell them to prepare for incoming casualties,” Evan said. So much for suppressing the interference, he thought…
Her precious curls were a tattered mess, her hands criss-crossed with scrapes, scratches, and worse, to say nothing of being covered in sooty residue, and her uniform had clearly seen better days. A cooler head would reflect that detailed knowledge of the modified navigational deflector was in short supply, and that she ought to remember that. However, Celtic fury seemed to override all such things, and Stephanie Davies-Muir was not immune.
Before the doors had fully parted onto the Bridge, she was through them, angry diatribe along with. “Whaddarya, daft? Ye cannae overload th’ deflector withoot so much as a howdayadoo, now!” The brain remained locked out of its higher cognitive functions to the point that it didn’t quite realize that her lambasting wasn’t merely of the Operations Watch, as the Captain was standing with him, and a likely accessory to the crime. “Ye didnae mind th’ thermal warnings, exceeded limitations, and didnae communicate a word of it, noo, did ye? M’ operators cannae cut main pow’r if they dinnae ken wot ye’re tryin’ tae do, noo, can they?” At this point, she’d arrived at the OPS console, hands on her hips and toe tapping for the contrite responses she was most assuredly due.
Broadsided by the sudden tirade, the moment when Evan might’ve cut Davies-Muir off, or at least dampened her ire, before she said or did anything impolitic passed unseized. And as she stood there, foot tapping impetuously, his own annoyance rose, and he suddenly wondered why he should.
“Lieutenant,” he said, voice full of rebuke and loud enough for everyone on the bridge to hear. “My Ready Room. Lieutenant Xarbe, you too.” And with an instruction to the Tactical officer to update him with any news, Evan stepped past Davies-Muir and made his way to the Ready Room.
At the very least, she had his attention. It seemed, to Steffi, that he was going to prove to be of the type that would respond to the wrong aspects of this, but there was little she could do about that, save to try and keep the focus where it ought to be.
Evan sat himself stiffly in his chair. He didn’t wait for the doors to close. “Lieutenant, you do not come to the bridge and launch into a tirade against your fellow officers. Youespecially do not do it in the middle of a critical situation.” He wouldn’t shout – he didn’t believe in it and he didn’t think he was any good at it – but the harsh tone came surprisingly easily. “I don’t know what level of professionalism your previous superiors required of you, but on this ship, you will conduct yourself in a manner befitting your station. Is that understood?”
“So tha’s what you’re worried about, is it?” Disappointment hardly summed it up. “Faux decorum after ye’ve put three souls in medical, one serious. Disabled the Singularity drive, and were this,” she left a tiny gap between two fingers, “close to blowing the quantum matrix. This isn’ yesterday’s deflector. Ye may define professionalism as stiff behavior on th’ Bridge. I define it as knowin’ the systems, and including those that know th’ systems when ye dinnae have the kenning. But that’s fine. I’ll make sure th’ Petty Officer Sykes knows that I got a wee bit too upset on account o’ some mere second degree burns and toxic smoke inhalation if it makes y’ feel better.”
Evan wondered whether he’d ever been so self-righteously indignant as to entirely miss the point being made by a commanding officer. He hoped not. He did need to refocus, though. Not being accustomed to being harangued for failing in a plan while a crisis was still ongoing, he had obviously let his annoyance get the better of him.
“Lieutenant, you seem to have picked me up wrong, so I’ll explain how the bridge of a starship works in life and death emergencies,” he said, tempering his tone lest any impression of anger lead to a further outburst. “When we are trying to save Starfleet personnel who are under attack, the Chief Engineer does not leave their station to launch a tirade against the bridge officers dealing with that situation and pull their attention away from it. If you have ideas to help, raise them, but if you only have complaints or criticisms to make, then you make them after the situation’s been resolved. To me.”
More softly, he added, “Unfortunately, some of our people suffered injuries because of our plan – Sickbay is seeing to them now – but it was in an attempt to save over a dozen lives while we still can.”
He was dead wrong, but Stephanie didn’t see any use in explaining that to him, as Rule One was basically that the Captain was always right, even when followed by plenty of diatribes about how you were supposed to keep him or her from doing the wrong thing. The actions on the Bridge were making the life and death emergency worse, and also breaking ship systems that would possibly be needed to respond to that emergency, to say nothing of causing life-threatening mayhem on board. The pair was monkeying with a system that they didn’t seem to fully understand, exacerbating the ship’s situation in the process.
Xarbe shifted uncomfortably, but he couldn’t tamp his conscience down. The Lieutenant was gunning at the Captain, and he felt he should diffuse the situation so they could get back to the trouble at hand. “I take responsibility.” Xarbe cut in where maybe he shouldn’t have. “I overrode the safety limits trying to retain our progress. I should have followed the procedure. Our away team is in a firefight, and I let the situation on the ground override my common sense. I should have consulted with Engineering, even if it meant losing the first tunnel to set up for another. Now we’ve got injured, system damage, and no anionized tunnel progress at all.”
No safeties? Well, that explained some of it. “Yes, Lieutenant, you should have, but the responsibility’s mine.” To Davies-Muir, he said, “Engineering will be brought in in future.”
Her point made, at least to a degree, Stephanie’s brain locked into the fact that there was some sort of project behind the catastrophe with the deflector. While she initially planned to see to repairs directly, there was also an operational piece to the goings-on. “Ye were, what? Tryin’ to use anions t’ pierce the interference?” It made sense, really. “But…”
“The field strength necessary is just too much load.” Obviously.
“Aye.” With a traditional deflector, they probably couldn’t even brute force through something like that, so a QSD-modified deflector didn’t stand a breath of a chance. “Ye’d need an array o’ transmitters… I’d think it would need four, but maybe three would do.”
“Well, we haven’t got four or even three full arrays, but there is a Romulan ship in-system with us.”
“An’ ye think they’d help you?” The way Stephanie asked was half incredulous and half hopeful. Maybe, here on the Bridge, they had better ideas about what their Vulcanoid neighbors were up to than they did in the bowels of the ship. “But even w’ that, I don’ see how you’d focus the beam enough.”
“We haven’t asked them to help. Maybe it’s worth asking.” Xarbe suggested.
Having forgotten her ire, LTJG Davies-Muir visibly calmed. Shrugging, Steffi remarked, “If they helped, it’d be a bonny way t’ show they mean no ‘arm… But, with only two ships, ye cannae establish a focused beam. We’d hav’t’ use shuttles and runabouts t’ compensate.” The geometry might be tricky, but they had a bona fide Vulcan, down in Engineering, who could handle that sort of thing. But for starters, they needed that other ship. Plan in place, her expression shifted to the Captain, for she figured that he, if he so desired, could possibly make that happen, if anyone could.
“Work on how to bring the auxiliary craft into the equation with just the Hiroshima,” Evan said. “If that Warbird deigns to show itself, we’ll ask for help, but we’ll need to work on the assumption that we’re in this on our own until then.”
“Aye, Captain,” Stephanie stated, mostly to go on record for having said those words. And, insofar as trying to find a way to puncture the interference with the ship and its assigned craft, she meant it. She liked challenges, and team projects, after all…
Joint Post by
CAPT Yearling, LT Xarbe (NPC by Briar) and LTJG Davies-Muir (NPC by Jenny)
USS Hiroshima (NCC-70157-B)