After Holograms from the Heavens
Rada had been assigned the relatively simple task of essentially converting a drill into a radio and he was glad for it. Though it would take weeks to transform the mining device to send audio waves he just needed to get it to reach someone somewhere something to do with Starfleet and then he could tap out a message in Morse code if need be. They had no sort of transceiver and so no way of confirming if anyone even heard them. The components did potentially exist to create one on this planet but if no one did hear them then knowing about it wouldn’t be much use to them anyway.
This all just proved a welcome but insufficient distraction for Rada from the reality of Kellyn’s condition. This was not the first time he’d seen her injured but this was the first time he’d had her blood literally on his hands.
As he and Hok held their torn off sleeves to the wound in a desperate attempt to slow the bleeding he just kept thinking that there was too much blood. He’d washed it off several times and had he not had this to do may very well have kept scrubbing to the point of drawing blood himself. He still felt it there which was a constant reminder that it was not inside Kellyn like it was supposed to be. He was an Engineer not a Doctor but he knew all too well that if you keep leaking fuel eventually the engine’s going to stall.
Sure Commander Blane had given her a top up but Rada just couldn’t see how it would be enough. They weren’t even the same species and as many commonalities as there may have been between humanoid life forms blood was just not something easily substituted. What if McKay were wrong about it and Kellyn’s body were simply going to reject the blood? It would be an internal war with Kellyn the one side sure to lose.
Dalton McKay may have been a doctor but he was also a hologram being projected by a technology they barely understood and trusting readings from a tricorder which could have been a thousand times distorted by residual radiations following the Romulan attack. Assuming that the mobile emitter even ran his programme in the way it was designed to be run by twenty-fourth century computers it still only took a single bit error to change a no to a yes and to change a life to a death.
He tried to put the thoughts out of his mind and reminded himself that a biological doctor was more likely to make a mistake through some flaw in their brain chemistry than a hologram was through some bug in their programming; especially when that hologram was programmed by Lair Kellyn. What he couldn’t put out of his mind was the fact that his hands were shaking and that even as he tried to slow his heart with deep breaths he was shuddering. He was starting to feel a numbness in his fingers and just felt he couldn’t do this as he near enough threw the drill onto the ground and took his head in his hands.
*Come on, Rada. We can do this,* he told himself, the term we being an appropriate form of address for how his mind had such little control over the finer functions of his body that it felt like they were separate entities fighting for supremacy with the only thing they could agree on being that they needed to get this done.
Footsteps were slowly approaching and he tried to calm himself as best he could. He reached into his pocket and removed one of those wonderful toffees. He’d never before found a wrapper so difficult to remove as he did with this one. It was so fiddly for some reason and his fingers kept missing the edges. Finally he managed to force the toffee out of the packaging and into his mouth as Dabin Reece arrived.
Just having something to chew did seem to slow his breathing markedly, but it did not return the colour to his face.
“So Danger, are we on the air yet?” Reece asked in his upbeat tone. Rada truly admired Reece’s ability to speak like that at a time like this. The enthusiastic, the confident, the upbeat; these were all safe confines Rada liked to retreat to in times when reality proved too much of a distraction but they actually seemed to come naturally to the Trill. He had so much respect for that in a time like this.
“Well, yes and no,” he said, standing up to face Reece and forcing on a casual tone. The tone was not enough to convince Reece that this was a casual matter for Rada.
“There something wrong with the drill?” he asked, although he had a feeling that the drill wasn’t where the problem truly lay.
“Ah well yes. It’s actually something I was hoping to get your expertise on,” he said, rubbing a hand along the back of his head although not understanding why. Realistically asking for Reece’s expertise was just his way of avoiding admitting that he didn’t know how to fix it.
“Go on…” said Reece wondering where he was going with this.
“Well I managed to easily convert it to send out a simple signal,” he replied, turning back to look down at and indicate the drill. “And it should have the range to make it to the nearest relay station but the problem is…” his hand went to the back of his neck again. “It’s not going to be quick.”
“How not quick are we talking about?” Reece asked, realising from the look that Rada was poorly concealing that it wasn’t going to be good.
“The reason it was so simple to convert is that this device generates subspace signals in the same crude way that people were doing centuries ago. Without access to modern components they’re only going to crawl along at the equivalent of Warp three. So unless a ship just happens to pass by and pick them up I’d estimate it’d take twenty-two hours before any one receives it and Starfleet can send someone.”
Neither of them needed to say it; Kellyn may not have that long.
“What about this?” Reece asked presenting Rada with his communicator hoping since it was a subspace communication device itself, albeit with a relatively limited range, that it contained what Rada needed.
Rada just shook his head and presented Reece with a mess of wires from his pocket that was once his own communicator “It’s not compatible. Nothing we have could handle this type of signal and for the life of me I…” Reece noted some anger in Rada’s voice “I can’t figure out how to adapt it.”
“What about our scanner thingy?” he asked.
“No, not even that’s compatible,” said Rada through clenched teeth as he tried to remove another toffee from his pocket but once again struggled with the wrapper. “I can’t figure out how to adapt in to anything we have without access to a replicator or weeks of work building something from scratch.” He still couldn’t remove the wrapper. “I can’t do anything for her.”
Most men would have thrown the damn toffee on the ground now for its stubbornness but Rada wasn’t most men. He slipped it back in his pocket, sighed and looked up at Dabin “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.”
“Turn it on.” Reece said simply as he reached down and picked up the device, realising he had no idea how Rada had intended it to operate he handed it over to him “The sooner we start sending the signal the sooner they receive it.”
Rada started pressing buttons on the device and asked, suppressing how very much angry in himself he was, “So, what do we do in the mean time? Just wait?”
“No. In the mean time you get working on that adapter,” Reece answered.
Rada shook his head, he should have thought of that. He was grateful that Dabin did so he thanked him.
“Don’t worry about it,” Reece replied calmly and admitted “It’s getting to all of us.”
Chief Engineering Officer
USS Serendipity NCC-2012