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Square Peg, Round Hole

Posted on Tue Mar 2nd, 2021 @ 2:26am by Commander Cirila Ylvor & Captain Indrala Xerix & Lieutenant JG Alex Lockwood & Lieutenant Chase Thatch

Mission: Swarm
Location: Main Engineering, USS Royal Oak

Main Engineering on an Excelsior-class vessel was often a very exciting place to be. Even after “The Great Experiment” had failed, the sturdy platform offered by an Excelsior class was the go-to choice for testing new technologies.

Instead, the sight before Indrala Xerix was a pitiful one. Lights running on station-supplied power. Displays powered down. And worst of all, a large negative space where the beating heart of any starship ought to be. The warp core had been removed, leaving the vessel unable to even power her own life support for more than a few hours.

“We have our work cut out for us. This space was intended for a horizontally mounted warp reactor. The reactor we have is meant to be mounted vertically…I’m not going to ask if this can be done, because the answer has to be yes. So tell me how we are accommodating this new warp core?” Indrala asked the three officers standing nearby her.

Alex Lockwood stood there studying the space, not quite how he had envisaged the warp core of the ship he longed to serve aboard as an Ensign, but that was so long ago, as to the problem facing them with the new warp core for the Excelsior class he was at a bit of a loss as to how they might be able to fix this not so small dilemma.

Thatch stood for a moment, pondering of possible solutions. "Well, if it's built to be vertical and not horizontal your looking at a few options, none of which is easy but all possible in one way or another." He said as he started to walk around the room. "The issue you have with rotating one is that it can fluctuate the dilithium matrix. I have seen it done but... it's not a simple process." He turned to face the rest. "What I'm saying is I can do it but.. it's a risk. The main choice you have to make is fixing the ship to take a horizontal one, or rotating it."

Indrala glanced over at the as-yet unspoken Trill. “What do you think, Cirila?” She asked.

Commander Ylvor tugged at her utility coveralls, they were still stiff from the replicator and had not a single mark on them, and they were snug in the wrong places. She definitely had to wear it in. Each time she caught a glance of the red of this uniform it confused her.

She tuned into the conversation before her, hearing the discussion, "Well Captain, thankfully there is still the Warp core ejection tube which we can attempt to install a compressed warp core assembly. The real difficulty is jerry-rigging the core in such a way to be stable in combat and high warp.. a majority of the ejection tube will need to be stripped away to fit the new core."

Cirila continued, "I would imagine that we might be able to get up to Warp 7, possibly warp 9 for short bursts," she said, not sure to be conservative with her estimates, "With the compressed nature of the core, we may experience power issues."

Thatch shook his head. "I don't think we should risk it. Right now I know we want to get her up and running, but the risk of losing power in a fight for mid warp for that matter is too big, and if it doesn't have proper seals, it could risk something much worse. If we are going to do it right, do it right the first time." He said still staring at the void of where it should be, running measurements through his head. "It's ultimately your call, but shortcutting this I think will cause way more danger and issues later than it will be keeping her here until we can find a solution."

Indrala caught Cirila’s eye and arched a brow before replying. “I appreciate your point of view, Lieutenant. But Commander Ylvor was chief of shipyards here at Deep Space Twelve before either of us got here. To presume she would do anything with unwarranted risk would be blithely ignorant of her tenure.” Indrala chided good-naturedly.

Chase nodded. "Of course, I understand. I was just merely throwing in my thoughts. Better to voice any concerns than regret not speaking up later." He sat silently after that, internally chastising himself for finding it necessary to even approach the subject. Of course, they knew what they were doing.

Alex listened to the statements of both Thatch and Cirila "I agree with Thatch sir, we need to do this right the first time, we cannot afford to have warp core issues either at warp speed or in combat, this can be done but it needs to be planned out and done right," he said to Indrala.

Cirila folded her arms, "At this point in time Lieutenants we have to consider the bigger picture. If we had all the spare pieces we need, a properly fitted warp core for this type of ship, one that fits, one that allows for optimized power distribution and allowing for a stable warp field at higher velocities, then we wouldn't be in this position. Warp speed is one thing, maintaining inertial dampeners, life support, the deflector, shields, communications, weapons, replicators, all essential on their own. I am aware of the risks involved, I also have a duty to not just the ship and crew but the station and everything she protects."

"We don't have an ideal solution, not by a longshot. We will have to make do, if however you think that I will risk the safety of the ship or the station with subpar work you are mistaken, is that clear?" Cirila said, awaiting an answer.

"Understood sir," Alex replied for he agreed with Cirila on no subpar work but on making do he didn't see eye to eye with Cirila but he couldn't see any logical alternatives to their predicament, he had seen far too many disastrous results caused by subpar work enabling the Borg to overwhelm enemies and add the crews to the ranks.

Thatch didn't really know how else to respond to this. He had ran through most practical solutions he had. Of course being a danger to the crew was not an option. He was true to his mentality. "Those are the two best practical solutions I can think of sir. With all due respect, I'm working with what I have. I think both options are possible. But it all depends what your orders are. My job was to tell you what I think, and the risk involved. I meant no ill intention." He said as he was not sure how to fell. He wished he could help more but what else could he do.

"Now then, seeing as you don't like my suggestion, what do you suggest?" Cirila continued, hands now on her hips.

"I have no alternatives sir, but I don't think it is wise to work with whatever we happen to have on hand it is a potential recipe for disaster, but if its all we have, then its all we have," Alex admitted conceding defeat as graciously as he could.

Thatch sighed. "I was assigned here because I can basically make anything out of nothing..." He looked different than his normal cheery mood. His face went from smiling and happy to help to frustrated. "I'm not saying that these are the only options. I'm saying that these are the most reasonable. Unfortunately, we are in a bind which I'm sure your intelligence far outshines mine so you already knew that...if I have to work with what we have, I'll make it work or I won't. I will never risk the life of anyone from my own faults if humanly possible. I do not that arguing about it won't get the ship running any faster or any of us getting along." His hands were shaking, even with how bad they were belirnt way back when, and the work the medic had done a few hours ago, the veins could still be seen as he clenched his fist and let it go. "I'll do my best to help anyway I can as I always do. But please just..don't argue." He said as he turned away from the group to compose himself for a bit.

He needed some time alone. It was obvious he had been through a lot and he was working hard to get the ship running. He had obviously been working since he arrived. Always smiling and upbeat, happy to meet everyone. But something about them arguing had just rubbed his the wrong way.

“Alright. Lockwood, Thatch. You two come up with a proposal to install the new warp core and have it on Commander Ylvor’s desk by tomorrow mid-shift. And pull yourselves together. We’ve all worked hard, but when this ship launches we will all need to remember how to conduct ourselves. Understood?” The Captain asked flatly.

Thatch nodded slightly. "Aye aye. Captain" he said as he walked out of the room to go to engineering to work on a plan. He took a deep breath and relaxed himself. He felt a bit silly that he let the stress get to him so early. He chastised himself in his mind as you walked away from the group.

Alex nodded this would take some thinking to come up with a solution to installing the warp core, but he was certain that there had to be a way to do it, without endangering the ships and its crew.

Cirila looked after the young officers as they went about their work, her brow furrowed. She was hoping that the impact of the last few weeks was the reason for this behavior. Starfleet had been in a state of abundance and non-scarcity, now things had begun to change for the worse, it was testing people in unimaginable ways. Cirila made a mental note, picked up her PADD and continued working.


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