By Tam Elton (as told by Rada Dengar)
After Shattered Harmony
-=Sickbay, USS Serendipity=-
After Shattered Harmony
-=Sickbay, USS Serendipity=-
It was an anxious moment in sickbay as Doctor McKay, Dane Cristiane, Lair Kellyn, Trev Sterling and the children all stood closely gather around the small screen as if it were a dying flickering flame that held their only hope of warmth. They had no way of knowing if their message had gotten through to Engineering let alone if anyone had seen it. For that matter they had no way of knowing if the recipient would have an opportunity to respond, or, given the infestation of enemy agents, if the message would have done anything more than to give their position away.
It hadn’t been long since the message was sent, merely seconds, but it was long enough that for better or worse they now knew it would have been received if it were ever to be.
“Do you think it worked?” Tam asked nervously, looking up at Lair Kellyn who had worked the controls.
Kellyn was about to answer when the question was answered for her.
“Something’s coming in,” she announced as her hands moved quickly to decrypt the data.
It was only a light encryption, indicative that the person who’d sent it hadn’t had much time, and so very soon the once apparently nonsensical text had been replaced with a few almost as incomprehensible words.
Cont fail ROMS. Dalton furrowed his brow.
“I think ya’ll might need to check your decryption algorithm. That makes about as much sense as drinking all a Klingon’s bloodwine then challenging him to a temper contest.”
“The decryption worked,” Trev answered as he stared at the words before him.
“Really?” Dalton asked sceptically. “Well I sure don’t recognise the language. What are Roms supposed to be?”
“R O M S,” Dane spelled the word out, recognising it from the academy. “It stands for required on my signal.”
“And the language is a little known and esoteric dialect known as Starfleet Engineer,” Kellyn finished. “Cont fail is short hand for containment failure. As in antimatter containment failure.”
A look passed between all but the two Engineers for whom this was new information. They all seemed to asking the same question silently but it was the second youngest among them who first spoke it aloud.
“Why would someone wish us to destroy the ship?” Arie asked uncertainly, having grown quite fond of this vessel and the people on it and so preferring that neither be put in any more danger than they had been already. Though she would be hesitant to admit it with all of her Vulcan training, she was also frightened for herself.
“Even rats will run from a burning building,” Trev observed. “In all the ways that matter corrupt, Starfleet officers are no different.”
“If they see the ship’s about to be destroyed then they’ll start transporting away,” Kellyn added to his thought in that way engineers tended to do with each other.
“Yeah, but if we can’t shut it down in time then we’ll all be killed.” Dane added without thinking.
The fact that there were children present here became suddenly much clearer to Dane with a look from Kellyn that told him he should stop speaking right now, though did so using an impressive array of Bajoran profanity. Though he was attempting to pretend it didn’t bother him, it was quite clear to the mother of a half Vulcan child that Tam had found that suggestion to be very worrying.
“That’s why we’re not taking any chances,” Kellyn answered firmly. “A simulated containment failure will do the job just as well.” She made a point of addressing this point towards Tam and Arie, though not necessarily to them because she did not wish to make them self-conscious. “The ship will be in no danger.”
Without realising it Tam very quickly nodded his approval of this suggestion, eliciting a slight smile from Dalton.
“Sounds to me like it’s a very good idea,” the hologram said. “What do we have to do?”
“The only two places you can activate a ship wide simulation are the bridge and main engineering,” Dane observed. “Neither is accessible right now.”
“When a simulation’s activated the main computer reroutes data from the auxiliary core in the place of sensors. It’s only two decks down. If I can get there I can set up a bypass manually,” Kellyn explained, already planning her route in her mind.
“Hey there, little lady,” McKay objected, a clear look of worry on his face. “Ya’ll ain’t exactly operating at recommended norms just yet. You shouldn’t be the one to do this.”
“He’s right,” Trev agreed. “I should be the one to go.”
“They won’t expect anyone to be in this area, at least no one conscious, so security will be minimal. The core is another story,” Dane observed, his tone reflecting a concern for fellow members of his crew that had been quite absent when he’d first come on board. “I’d better come with you.”
Kellyn was clearly quite ready to object to this suggestion but as she felt the coarseness air seemed to be taking when it passed through her lungs, and realised that without intending to do so she had leant her weight against the wall behind her to support herself during this conversation, she realised she was barely in any shape to argue about her right to be the one to go let alone to actually do it.
“Alright,” Kellyn agreed, as she tried to still the sudden dizziness her mind was insisting upon, though her reluctance was clear in her tone. “Well if we’re going to do this there’s no point waiting around.”
Trev nodded that he agreed with this suggestion and then Tam, who to this point had been content to be quiet, knew this was the moment where he had to make the brave offer or else he’d never forgive himself.
“How can I help?”
Trev quickly answered him in his most ‘Starfleet Officer’ tone.
“When we make the bypass there’ll be a momentary flash on one of the bridge terminals. We’ll need a distraction. I need you and Arie to remain here and assist Commander Lair and the Doctor with making one.”
Tam immediately stood much taller, eager to fulfil his duty to the best of his ability. He felt that he looked quite brave though deep down he didn’t feel brave at all. His mother and Rada were both so far away and neither could protect him now. As much as his Vulcan part told him it was only logical that he should acknowledge that it was a good thing they at least were out of danger, he was in his heart far more Betazoid and that half told him that he just wished they could all be together again. Still, he couldn’t let that show.
“I will do my part, sir,” Tam answered with all the confidence the child could muster and Trev nodded his approval.
“I’m sure that you will.” Trev looked up to the adult members of their group. “Now I think it’s time we do ours.”
“We’ll get you your distraction,” Kellyn confirmed, slightly proud of how well they were all working together. “However we can’t use the communicators. I’ll need to know now when you need it and for how long.”
Dane and Trev exchanged a glance, seeming to consider this together without the exchange of a word. It was almost enough to make Lair wonder if some sort of telepathic training wasn’t part of the secretive lessons that she was aware of Cristiane receiving from Keiran O’Sullivan among others. She really hoped that wasn’t the case, especially with the damage she may have done to those abilities with a bottle of pilsner once upon a time.
“Fifteen minutes and as long as you can give us,” Dane decided and Trev signalled that he agreed. They knew that if it took them much longer than that then it would mean they’d been forced into an engagement with the enemy. If that happened then there was no way they could keep their actions a secret for long. They had no doubt about how Brody would react if they were discovered. So they made their plan and they were sticking with it.
Seeing Dane as he was now Kellyn couldn’t help but want to smile at how far he really had come in so many ways. She didn’t smile though, as she wouldn’t want him knowing that just yet. Instead she simply nodded her head that she’d do what she could and then wished them, “Good luck.”
-=Several Minutes Later; Deck Seven, USS Serendipity=-
Just as they’d expected the area outside of sickbay had been unguarded and they’d been able to make their way through the Jeffries tubes down the two decks. However it was no sooner than they’d emerged onto this deck that they had it confirmed that their luck would not be so good here.
Immediately in the distance they heard voices; two to be exact, though their location was uncertain due to the ease with which any sound would be carried on the stillness of the air in these unnaturally empty halls. As least they didn't sound like they were approaching them.
As Trev very quietly clipped the access panel behind them back into place, Dane removed the tricorder he’d been able to acquire from sickbay from his belt.
The readings clearly indicated that aside from themselves there were only two lifesigns on the entire deck and rather than report that aloud he simply waited until Trev was done and handed him the tricorder so he could see them for himself.
“They must have evacuated the entire deck,” Trev speculated at a whisper. “Probably didn’t want to risk anyone getting access to weapons control.”
“Why would they bother?” Dane asked, equally quietly. “All weapons systems have been disabled.”
“Not according to this,” Trev observed as his readings focused in on the controls. “It looks like they’ve adjusted the ship’s weapons to counteract whatever they’ve been doing to disable the phasers. If I could find out how I might be able to bring some of the hand weapons back online.”
“We don’t have time,” Dane insisted, one of Keiran O’Sullivan’s more frequently repeated lessons being you should always assume you have less time than you think you do and never a second more than you know you do.
“We might if we split up,” Trev considered.
“No, we won’t.” Dane said more firmly, finding it strange to be insisting like this when Trev technically outranked him but also knowing that as an engineer Trev’s skills would have been with the technology whereas his own training was in keeping his fellow crewmembers alive. “Take a look at the scan of these halls.”
Trev pulled up the image on the screen before him, though with his photographic memory Dane had no need to look at it.
“The same hallway we’re in now meets with the one the two lifesigns are in at the entrance to the computer core. We can’t get around them. One of us will have to distract them for the other to get in.” Dane noted Trev was still wearing the extremely colourful Hawaiian shirt but managed to resist making a remark about how much more of a distraction Trev likely would be than him.
Tam Elton Civilian Crew
USS Serendipity NCC-2012
As told by Rada Dengar
USS Serendipity NCC-2012
As told by Rada Dengar