SD241905.26 - Plot Log - Grey & De'Lenn - "Collision Alert" - part 3
The Sincerest Form of Flattery
=^= Engineering =^=
Ky'La De'Lenn had her hands full in engineering when the explosions hit. Scrambling her engineers she formed DC teams quickly and gave the order to fix fast and return once done. They had 30 minutes and she had to fix the 9 junctions that exploded and the added damage to bring back enough power for the thrusters to work.
Looking for Ens. Jason, she found him repairing a damaged ODN line to the main power console that was damaged. "Jason, grab your tool kit and let's go. Time is running and now I have 28 minutes to get enough power to the RCS thrusters to move the station or we all die. Com'on..", she said grabbing his arm as he picked up his kit and hauled ass out of engineering.
"I comply." said Jason, his deep voice edged with bronze. A metallic hand gripped the tool belt on the floor as De'Lenn dragged him away, while his human hand caught the other end and fixed the buckle in place with a *snikt*.
The ensign made quick time down the hall after De'Lenn, every other step clanking loudly as he increased power to his leg servos. Both eyes tracked his Commander as he struggled to keep up with the muscular half-Klingon, despite his mechanical enhancements.
Though, it had to be said, his robotic half was less of an enhancement than a hasty repair job. A crush injury years back, followed by risky surgery, had given Jason a dividing line down the middle of his body; splitting him into a fleshy half and a steel half. The graft job wasn't perfect, and most bosses turned him away due to his refuelling needs, but De'Lenn wasn't a stranger to being half-and-half.
She truly was the best boss he'd ever had, even if she did keep dragging him places.
"State your demands." he growled, wondering (not for the first time) if the surgeons had taken his speech databank from a borg drone.
"Jason it is not demands, oh nevermind, there are 9 power junctions", she said showing him on her PADD exactly where they were, "they have to be repaired in less that 30 minutes. I am not doing the math but we have no time for mistakes. Which one do we fix first?", she asked, as she grabbed his arm again dragging him with her.
Getting off the lift on the lower engineering deck, pulling Jason along with her. Stopping short of the first repair junction. "Jason this is the first one yes?", Ky'La asked.
"Objective verified." he remarked distractedly. Ahead, the glitter of a fire-suppression could be seen working overtime to keep the smouldering embers from bursting into flame and incincerating them both.
The heat was causing ripples in the air as they approached, with scorching from the initial blast marking the walls all around them. Some wall panels had been blown off entirely, and their twisted remnants had to be gingerly stepped over.
Jason's mechanical arm brushed a panel by accident, gaining a faint glow from the heat, and a chip in his mind quickly decided to shut off pain processing. Coolant hissed between the gaps in the arm's metal covering; efficiently cooling the abruptly-hot surface before the heat could move to his shoulder.
"Hazards in proximity." he cautioned her, gesturing to the concentration of heat shimmers around the mangled wreckage of the power junction ahead.
"Oh this will never do....we have to actually make a new power core! Not a warp one but a power core that we can use to channel plasma to power taps to the plasma converters to power the thrusters and we got 20 minutes to do it in. We need help, and a shit load of it too!", Ky'La said looking at Jason.
"De'Lenn to Marine division, I need your men to help in converting these crawl spaces to be used as power transfer conduits and we got 20 minutes to get it done. This is heavy labor and I need good people to lift and construct the power core", she stated.
At the nearest docking port, a thick crowd of men and women surged against the line of Starfleet personnel; Security and Marines standing shoulder-to-shoulder to keep the civilians in check. Behind them, a swift-flowing river of children hurried from a side-corridor into a docking hatch. On the other side sat an Akira-class starship, its power systems groaning with the effort of keeping the ship intact and in-position.
Beyond it, in the void of space, the black hole edged ever closer. With its primary power offline, the station's systems were being sustained by the meagre dribble fed to them by the damaged auxiliary network. What little could be spared from life support and structural integrity was being fed into the thrusters; barely enough to nudge the station into a spiral around the drain.
While this act was not enough to save them, the station's doom-spiral was buying the station's crew the time needed to evacuate children and a small fraction of the civilians onto the few ships that could survive this close to a black hole.
Naturally, it was distressing to many to learn that those closest to them were not going to be evacuated, and it was taking every able-bodied soul in uniform to keep the panicking mob from overrunning the docking ports.
There simply wasn't enough *space* to save them all.
Not that you could expect them to listen.
Marine Captain Domino, bleeding heavily from a wound on his forehead, heard the Chief Engineer's message over the comm in his ear. Despite the shouting and screaming, underlined by the calm tones from the children's shepherds, the message came through the marine's implant loud and clear.
"Yes Commander. I'm dispatching forces to your position immediately!" he replied, raising his voice to be heard over the shouting of the crowd. A pair of younger men tried to shove their way past him while he was distracted, and a swift rifle-butt clubbed one to the ground, while the other slipped by, only to feel a stun-round fired into his back.
Children screamed as the man fell to the ground in front of them, only for the Captain to grab the fallen form and simply throw it on the ground next to his friend. Another round of stun-shots felled those attempting to take advantage of his distraction, but even this wasn't enough to slow the crowd for long.
"Captain Meitner! Status!" he shouted at his comm badge, firing another round at the bravest among the crowd, forcing the rest to back away.
"USS Kimble is loaded sir!" it replied in a woman's voice, "What are your orders?"
"Grab every marine you can find and assist Commander De'Lenn, immediately!"
"Yes sir!" she shouted back, a slight warble in the connection as the internal comm system started to feel the strain of the increased gravity.
Only a few moments later, a group of marines, led by Captain Meitner, sprinted around a corner near Commander De'Lenn; every man and woman panting heavily with the exertion of pegging it while in full armour.
Well, at least the Captain's forces were in armour. At the head of the pack, Captain Meitner was dressed in nothing but a green bikini and a rifle.
After all, you go to war in the pants you're in, not the pants you left beside your sun lounger in the holodeck.
"Commander! Captain Meitner, sir!" she announced with a salute, her troops clumping to a breathless halt behind her, while even more marines could be heard approaching in the distance.
"Great captain and thank you. We need to reinforce these corridors so they can withstand the plasma flow throught them to the main plasma magnetic converter so we can get enough power to.move the station into an orbit and I need it done in 15 minutes. My engineers will instruct your people on how to do it. We need to get the supplies up here PDQ and finished fast. Can you do it?", De'Lenn asked the captain now looking at the sea of green uniforms crowded into the corridor.
Jonathan came racing from the opposite direction finally. "Ky'La, we have all the materials needed only we need.....holy hanna......where did......Captain, glad your here we need your people to bring the stuff needed from the deck below, up to thos deck. You think it can be done asap?", he said.
"Yes Commander, Lieutenant." replied the Captain, coolly looking the latter in the eye. "Marines, on me." she stated, gesturing for the seniormost to join her. An instant later, the Captain was flanked by a cluster of green-shouldered Lieutenants.
"We're on lifting duty." she informed them, gesturing to the broken turbolift. "Dickens, take some men, climb down the shaft, and start ferrying materials. Rawlings and K'Thang, Attach your people to the shaft walls. Pass materials up, person to person. I'll take the rest and distribute the goods at this end. Oorah?"
"Then get to it."
A ruffle of brisk nods and barked orders saw over thirty personnel heading for the bent and blackened doors of the disabled turbolift. A Sergeant flicked calloused fingers through a set of quick commands, and two marines quickly took up position; wedging their fingers into the gap and forcing the doors apart with a stuttering squeal.
Three sets of four marines slung their rifles onto their backs and entered the shaft in pairs, climbing down the ladders inside. The gloom was oppressive and more than a little dangerous, so some marines took a moment to slap sticky flares onto the walls as they descended, which glowed brilliantly with green and red flames.
Eventually, two sets of gloves hands separated the door to the deck the engineering materials were on; and the men started to filter through the gap, helped from the shaft by their colleagues.
After a dozen had left the shaft at the other end, a brisk whistle drew the attention of those still en-route.
"Clip yourselves to the ladders, face outward, and prepare to relay goods." clipped Rawlings, a strong German accent lending weight to his authoritative tones. A clatter of clips later, and the shaft was lined with marines who no longer needed their hands to hold position, standing ready for Dickens' teams to begin.
For her part, Dickens spotted the first stack of hardware and pointed it out to her men. The line of marines grabbed a thick, heavy plate, and bent their legs to try to lift with their knees. One by one, the plates were removed from the pile and passed into the shaft. Inside the flare-lit gloom, the glinting sheets of metal were relayed up the line of marines clipped to the wall-ladders. Grunts and groans were the only sounds here, as everyone knew they lacked the time to complain.
Less than thirty seconds after Dickens had led her team down the shaft, plates began emerging from the door near Jonathan and J'Loni. Each one was passed to a marine on the deck, and leaned against a wall. After moments, the plate became a stack, and Marine Captain Meitner looked to the Commander to take it from here.
"Thank you Captain, now it you could have your people weld the plated together lining the length of these three corridors, I can get the rest of the engineering crew to work on setting up the magnetic power converters in place and hooked up to the power grid here so we can get some type of power to the thrusters and move this base before that thing out there tears us to shreads", Ky'La said.
"Yes Commander." replied the bikini-clad Marine Captain, her eyes darting sideways as more marines approached at speed. One of the fire teams was wearing armour, and this team stood out for two reasons. First, the fire team had five members instead of the typical four, and the other reason was the nature of the fifth member.
Put simply, the fifth set of armor had no head inside the helmet.
"Thank you Corporal." said Captain Meitner. The Corporal nodded, pressing a control on his wrist-guard. Immediately, the empty suit of armor stopped mirroring his stance. It assumed the anatomical position and split open, waiting patiently for its new occupant.
Meitner climbed inside the thick shell of composites, padding, and circuits, and a moment later the buxom bikini girl was an armoured marine; to the quiet disappointment of the marines who thought their covert looks had gone unnoticed.
"Alright. We need to weld these panels onto the wall. Basic grid pattern, walls, floors, ceiling. We don't have welders, so use beam setting five to fuse the plating onto the deck. Overlap where there isn't an even fit. Remember to tear up the carpet first. Go." she commanded.
A cacauphony of beeps and chirps could be heard from two-dozen rifles and phasers as marines reconfigured their weapons. It wouldn't exactly be a clean weld, but right now they needed "fast" rather than "good". Tearing noises could be heard as the troops tore the carpet off of the mounting points, followed by a loud series of clangs as plates from the growing pile were slapped onto the floor.
Bright light shone forth from a dozen weapons as the assembled marines fired along the edges of the thick plating, fusing them onto the deck plating and wall plating. One pair of marines were using another pair as ladders while they attempted to fuse a sheet onto the ceiling; each pinning a plate in position with an armoured hand, with the other hand attempting to weld a neat line with a hand phaser.
With sparks raining down on them from all sides, Meitner decided to get involved. She grabbed a sheet of plating, moving quickly to avoid the next plate being dropped onto the pile. The stacks continued to grow, but as more and more Marines arrived to lend a hand with the welding, the plates didn't rest for long.
Each marine moved swiftly, in part due to the synchronised clocks in the HUDs of every helmet; telling them how long they had.
The yellow clock showed 11 minutes; the time till the station started breaking up.
The red clock showed 41 minutes; the time before everything exploded, or was crushed into oblivion.
As said clocks ticked down another minute, the flurry of hands moved faster, sweat pouring down a multitude of faces.
Ky'La and Johnathan began assembling the power converters and the magnetic constrictors while still other engineers put the two units together. These would go at the end of the corridors where the control power taps would channel the power to the thrusters needed to move the station. Time was ticking and the marines were working against the clock as well.
Plate after plate was welded, carpet ripped up, water canisters were provided by the galley as was food for those that needed it. It was a major effort on all those involved. With medics standing ready to do triage if it was needed, extra engineers to relieve those that were exhausted by the break-neck speed with which they worked. The same with the marines, it was a group effort to save the station from impending doom.
Three more minutes ticked off as the teams worked and sweated together. It was beginning to take shape and look like a huge power conduit, all three of them. By using the corridors, she could handle more raw power than the 9 smaller power conduits. With this much power, the thrusters would have enough power to move the station into an orbit and not enter the event horizon of the black hole.
Finally, the last few plates of metal emerged from the shaft, and marines started coming out of the hole. With the last sheets of metal being welded into place, Meitner signalled her people to begin leaving the area.
Since there were now metal sheets covering most of the doors, one enterprising marine had welded a handle into the back of the final plate, and left a gap in the plates covering the turbolift shaft. Marines who had just finished climbing out of the hole found themselves ordered back into it, funneling out of the corridor until only Meitner remained.
"Commander, the welding is complete." Meitner announced, gesturing to the gap in the metal plating. "Once your people are out, you can lift the last panel into place and weld it from the other side."
"Thankyou Major. When this is all said and done, drinks are on me", Ky'La said smiling widely.
"Jonathan grab your men and make sure there are no cracks. Get those power taps, constrictors where they ate supposed to go and fast. 10 minutes and counting. Its gonna take 5 minutes to get those RCS thrusters working. Jeezzz feel the station shaking? Time is clicking, move!", Ky'La said.
Jonathan grabbed his people and began the installations quickly. Ky'La took her teams and began the same process in the other corridor and Michael took the third team and likewise began the same process in the third corridor.
As they were finishing up, the station groaned and Ky'La felt the deck plates move slightly, " No time! Move! Get out and seal the corcorridors. Johnathan, notify the command center that they will have the RCS thrusters in 5 minutes", she hollered as she fired up the power cores and prayed.
Watching her panel, the power cores began to fire up and plasma was beginning to flow through the jury rigged corridors into the magnetic constrictors, through the power taps and to the RCS thrusters.
"Operations you got power to RCS thrusters move us the hell out of the way.", Ky'La yelled.
In Operations, the Vulcan manning the thrusters nodded as the message came through. With the timer counting down to seconds, the Ensign at the helm glanced up at the screen, and raised an eyebrow at the sight.
The view was that of the black hole, vast and terrible, rising above the edge of the Versailles outer ring like some sort of dark sunrise. As he watched, the last few ships detached from the docks and flew past the viewscreen, laden with countless children. Their engines left a trail of plasma particles, as they fought to escape the gravity well that their smaller brethren had already fled.
"What are you waiting for!?" barked the General. "Fire the damn thrusters already!"
"Yes sir!" the Ensign replied, tapping out a rapid series of commands.
Outside, the dull red glow of the minimally-powered thrusters swelled into a brilliant glare. Plates were ripped off of the station as power was diverted from structural integrity, and those left onboard shivered with a sudden chill as life support was reduced to its most minimal levels.
Sonic showers turned off, not that anyone was using them. Lighting levels dropped to that of a dying glow-worm. Gravity was reduced to less than point-one G. Comms went offline. Life pods and shuttles were drained of power.
The *entire* station became one vectored projectile, soaring gloriously around the outer rim of the black hole's accretion disk, fighting hard against a gravity well so deep and savage that even a *planet* would have been ripped apart by it!
"Hah, she did it! I knew she'd do it! I'd kiss that half-Klingon if I didn't think she'd rip my head off. Status!?" shouted the General with glee, trying to make himself heard over the sound of rending metal as the station was forced far beyond approved limits.
"We're moving into a stable orbit sir, but we don't have power enough to break free!" replied a crewman, tapping frantically at a flickering console. "We should be able to redirect some power to structural integrity once we've finished reaching orbit sir, but the gravity will continue to affect systems, even if we can counter the worst of the shears with shields and inertial dampeners."
"So we're still stuck. Wonderful. Damn!" he cried out as a console exploded near him, casting burning sparks on his arm.
"It's the twenty-fifth century dammit, why do we not have fuses?!" he complained sarcastically, brushing the sparks off of his uniform.
"I'm, sorry, sir?" replied the crewman, uncertain as to what a fuse was.
"Nevermind. So, how long do we have once we reach orbit? Assuming the power and thrusters hold out!" the General asked, raising his voice over another set of rending screeches from his station.
"Hard to say sir! Weeks, I think! Maybe months, if we get supplies!"
"Good! That's...why are THINGS GETTING LOUDER!??" he shouted, as the sound of tearing metal got more and more unbearable.
"We're passing through a shear layer sir!" shouted the crewman. "I'm plotting an orbit just under it! Minimal turbulance, I hope..." he drifted off, focusing his Vulcan eyes on the readouts in concentration as he slightly adjusted their trajectory.
The floor underneath them shook violently as the station crossed a sharp gravitational shear, the force of the shear ringing the station like a bell. No, more like the ripples in a pond when hit with a rock. Waves of strain passed through the station, tearing connections, ripping struts, and knocking people on their backs.
The General stumbled slightly, but was able to keep his balance. After all, he smirked, it wouldn't look good if the CO got laid out flat by something so minor as a bla-
A chunk of metal, torn free from a joint in the ceiling, tumbled to the floor. It gleamed silver, a testament to the fact that this room was brand new. It even had that new-Ops-room smell.
The man it hit, Brigadier General Jonathan Grey, never even felt the blow. He went out like a light, slumping to the floor like a sack of potatoes. His eyes stared sightlessly into the distance, the light gone from them.
"Sir, we've entered a stable orbit!" shouted the crewman, turning from his console. "I've redirected some thruster energy to hull integrity, so we should be safe enough for now. I...General?" the man asked, confused. "Where did he go?" he asked another crewman.
"I dunno man, I....aw hell!" he cried, spotting the General's shoes poking out from behind a console.
"General? General!" shouted the second crewman, rushing over to the fallen flag officer. He reached to shake the man, then checked himself and remembered his training, instead tapping gently on the man's shoulders.
"GENERAL! CAN YOU HEAR ME?!" he boomed, pressing firmly. Others in Ops, sensing that the back hole was no longer an immediate threat, turned their attention to the fallen man.
"Is that the General..."
"What the hell..."
"Crewman Sharps to Medical! Sharps to medical!" the crewman shouted, tapping fruitlessly on his badge.
"Re-routing power to comms." said the Vulcan at the main console, freeing up enough power for priority calls.
"Medical here. We're kinda busy right now!" the comm replied, answering the crewman's buffered message.
"The General is down! I need emergency responders in Ops right now!"
"Understood! We're on our way!" the voice responded, followed by the little click as the channel closed.
By now half of Ops was clustered around, staring down in uncertainty.
"I've got a pulse! He's breathing!" the crewman cried, pushing down on the General's shoulders again.
"Come on General, wake up! Wake up dammit! You can't....you can't just leave us like this!"
"...Please wake up...."
=^= End of Log =^=
Brigadier General Jonathan Grey
Lieutenant Commannder Ky'La De'Lenn