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The Drive Home

Posted on Tue Aug 1st, 2017 @ 11:33pm by Ensign Tu'Pari & Lieutenant Commander Christopher Dynehart & Lieutenant JG Naar Grehk & Ensign Ian Murphy & Commander Brooke Niamh & Lieutenant Anaya Chamling

Mission: Season One, Episode Two - Effigies of the Doomed
Location: Engineering Conference Room
Timeline: Current
Tags: Tu'Pari

As Anaya took the seat at the head of the table in the Engineering conference room, she found herself thinking about a story she had read as a child. It was about a swami traveling with a particularly acerbic British officer in the Hindu Kush during the twentieth century. In the story, the unlikely duo had 'teamed up' to save a small village. After having achieved their goal, the swami remarked that the British officer "had been a real blessing and, if the swami were lucky, he would never be blessed in such a way again."

Anaya felt that the Nomad had been equally "blessed", as the transit through null space had revealed more about how the Razzari Jump Drive operated, and perhaps how it should operate. Of course, the theory she, Commander Niamh and Ensign Murphy had arrived at only raised more questions. Hopefully, the officers from Nomad's scientific and technological contingents meeting here today could develop a strategy on how to start answering these questions.

Grehk walked in, carrying two cups and a PADD under his arm. The Tellarite walked up to the Chief Engineer and handed her one of the mugs. "Both of us have been up for a long time," he told her. "I thought some raktajino might wake us up. And this isn't no replicated dren either."

"Thank you, Lieutenant," Anaya said with a wan smile, gratefully taking a cup of the 'real stuff.' Anaya allowed herself a moment of just savoring the aroma of the Klingon brew before putting the cup down. "Status report?"

He sat down and took the PADD out from under his arm. "So the impulse engines are coming along well. I've been looking over the schematics for the Razzari drive and it still confuses since the day that the SCE installed it."

With a laugh, Anaya replied, "Theoretically, Lieutenant, I am one of the leading experts in the Federation on the jump drive that has landed us so ignominiously in this portion of space, and everything I could tell you about it would be mostly a WAG. But after this jump, I think there's a possibility we can discover how the jump drive works, and how it's supposed to work." Anaya drained her cup of raktajino in one swallow. "Let's get everyone here and we can outline what we know and what we'll need to do to discover more."

Brooke made her way through engineering, surveying various components. She watched as Chamling’s officers make repairs -they were an efficient team. Then, it was there, right in front of her: the jump drive. “Impressive.” -she remarked.

“Thank you m’am.” -a junior officer remarked.

A smile appeared on the commander’s face. “Not you, the Rizzari drive. Would you be so kind as to point me in the direction of the engineering conference room?”

The young officer pointed to a door literally right next to her, she felt a little embarrassed. “Would you like a tour sometime?” -the officer remarked, potentially pushing his luck.

“Can I get back to you?”

“Well, you’ll know where to find me.”

The commander shrugged off her rather unexpected encounter with one of Chamling’s men and made her way through the door to the conference room.

Behind her, one of the mates of the young officer in question opined, "Lieutenant Chamling is going to have words with you about that."

The young officer who had flirted with Brooke turned pale, but tried to keep up a stolid appearance. "How's she going to find out about it?"

His mate shrugged. "Don't know. But she always does. Like as not, she'll probably put Lieutenant Grehk on you."

The young officer in question blanched. For all his mannerisms, the Tellarite was first, last and foremost an engineer, and had no tolerance for any member of the Engineering department who didn't treat his duty with the same dedication. Particularly in the middle of an emergency.

"Yes, well, I was just being polite," the young officer managed to stutter out. "Anyway, I've got other things to do." With that, the flirtatious officer scurried away.

Brooke still had a smile on her face as she entered. “Tell me, Chamling, are all of your engineers so…forward?”

"Commander," Anaya answered neutrally, rising to her feet and offering her hand. "Compared to the Marines the Li Wo hauled around during the Dominion War, this bunch is fairly harmless. Bark at them once and they'll scoot back."

“I’ll bear that in…” -she paused and then laughed; “My cousin Alyssa served aboard the Li Wo. She came back pregnant.”

There was a definite stiffening in Anaya's posture before she quietly replied, "I can imagine. The Li Wo was in the Seventh Fleet during the Dominion War. I suspect that there were a lot of pregnancies that can date back to the signing of the Treaty of Bajor. My ebullience with the war's end was such that I considered motherhood myself." Anaya shrugged. "Before your time, Commander."

Brooke lost her parents, brothers and sisters to the Dominion War -she quickly changed the topic of conversation.

“And it’s nice to see you again Mr. Grehk. How are you settling in?”

'Settle in'? Our ship is busted and we have to put the pieces back together. I'll 'settle' in when the situation is resolved." He sipped his Klingon coffee and looked at his PADD.

Brooke didn’t reply she simply raised an eyebrow, she was only being polite; Niamh was once warned about the Tellarites at The Academy, she wasn’t a fan of them when a group of them picked a fight on her and her class men at the Lunar Recreation Facility and she still wasn’t a fan of them now.

“So, is it just us, or are we expecting anyone else?” -she asked, taking a seat.

"Ensign Murphy should be here momen---...and here's Ensign Murphy now," Anaya finished as the Chief Science Officer entered the conference room.

Ian walked into the conference room, face pensive as he entered mathematical formulae into his PaDD and let the computer do all the heavy lifting on solving the equations. He likened his current mindset to being a contortionist trying to contract or expand their body into a fourth dimension without already knowing that they were already in one. "Everyone." He said by way of greeting, because everyone was everyone.

Ensign Tu'Pari had tried to distract herself with work. The prevailing mood aboard the ship was that of unease and impending doom, save a few exceptions. As she normally did, she internalized and amplified the emotions of those around her. Sifting through sensor scans was always a good way to clear her mind. She acknowledged the rest of the crew as she made her way to the conference room. "I was told I might be of use here?" she asked meekly.

"Have a seat, Ensign," Anaya said with a welcoming gesture. "Let me get a few things out of the way," the Chief Engineer added, hefting her PADD, "And we'll start shortly."

Grehk picked up his PADD and looked at it. He had a few ideas about improvements to the ship while they were making repairs. Of course, there were going to be members of the crew who didn't like his brand of humor or her Tellarite upbringing. He didn't care. He was here to serve in Starfleet.

"Well, Anaya, may I call you Anaya?" -Brooke asked, eager to get the briefing started.

"Of course, Commander," Anaya replied in a noncommittal voice, her eyes focused on what she was doing on her PADD.

"It's your briefing, but may I suggest we get some ideas flowing?" -Brooke noticed that the engineers were both drinking coffee, she gestured towards the replicator and asked if if Tu'Pari and Multon wanted one.

"Right now," Anaya began to the assembled officers, "Our primary goal is to get the Nomad as close as fully functional as possible. Between myself and Lieutenant Grehk, we're doing that."

Point of fact, Anaya thought, the Nomad was damn lucky to have Lieutenant Grehk on board. If Anaya was the best theoretical engineering mind on board (which some in Starfleet obviously believed, since they put her in her present position), Lieutenant Grehk was probably the best "nuts and bolts" engineer that Anaya had ever come across. Truth be told, Anaya had a soft spot when it come to Klingons and Tellarites. Others might hold certain prejudices because of the deportment of members of those species, but brusqueness aside, Anaya had always found Klingons and Tellarites to be the most reliable people she worked with.

"At some point, though, we're going to need to discuss how to get home. We're not talking decades or centuries, like the Voyager was expecting," Anaya continued, "But it is going to be years, unless we can get a handle on the Razzari Drive. Speaking of which, are you all familiar with the gravitron catapult the Voyager utilized on its return from the Delta Quadrant?"

"A stationary platform created by an alien that Voyager encountered when investigating graviton fluctuations." Ian supplied, not even looking at his PaDD. "Fueled by a tetryon reactor that gave off similar readings as the Caretaker's array, it was capable of launching a ship hundreds of sectors in a fraction of the time it would take them to travel by conventional warp drives." He hesitated slightly, glancing over at Niamh, then continued. "There was a proposal in Starfleet's appropriations oversight committee to put research into them for rapid response missions, but right now, the fleet's a little more interested in re-creating the Quantum Slipstream Drive."

"I wouldn't put all of your latinum on the QSD, Ensign," Grehk told him. "Benamite crystals are difficult to find or even to replicate because of their unique lattice structure." The Tellarite looked at Lt. Chamling. "What about transwarp, ma'am? Could we make our own transwarp coil?"

"That would presuppose that there's a transwarp conduit here we could access," Anaya replied. "And even if there were, the Nomad couldn't handle the temporal and gravimetric stress of moving through a transwarp conduit."

“Based on information provided to me by Starfleet Intel, there are no transwarp conduits in this sector.” -Brooke remarked, “The nearest one being in Maelstrom Minor, some eleven thousand light years away.”

No one knew if the Borg had ever been active in 557-B, Anaya reflected, including Starfleet Intelligence, but it was a point that didn't need to be debated at the moment.

"Which leads us back to the Razzari drive. The prevailing theory prior to our jump was that the Razzari Drive was identical to the graviton catapult, but operating on a different scale," Anaya continued. "Therefore, it would only require a corresponding change in the strength of the gravitron pulses fired by our deflector dish to compensate for any 'disturbances'. Our present situation would tend to detract from the credence of the prevailing theory," Anaya said dryly.

Brooke studied several PaDD’s in front of her whilst Chamling and Murphy spoke -something had caught her eye however, Murphy had picked up on her thoughts prior to her having a chance to open her mouth.

"In addition, Ensign Murphy's initial reading upon the Nomad entering Null Space were inconsistent with those the Voyager brought back. And both Engineering and Science discovered unusual isotopes embedded in various locations of the Nomad after its transit. Which led us to an unusual conclusion."

"Yeah." Ian said, calling up an image of the Nomad's underlying superstructure and sending it to the main screen in the conference room. "I did a metallurgical analysis of the Nomad's superstructure before the jump and after, and upon discovering the isotopes, tracked the distribution pattern throughout the ship." He tapped a few icons on his PADD, overlaying the distribution pattern through the ship's superstructure.

Grehk's mouth fell open for an instant before it closed with a frown. "I guess it's a good idea that I'm not a theoretical engineer like you, Lieutenant."

"If it's any consolations to you, Lieutenant," Anaya told Grehk, "On days like today, I feel that I'm only theoretically an engineer. Nevertheless, the silver lining in the chaos caused by our jump is that we now have an idea on how the Razzari Jump Drive is supposed to work."

"The silver lining in the chaos caused by our jump is that we now have an idea on how the Razzari Jump Drive is supposed to work," Anaya announced.

"The theory we've come up with," Anaya continued, "Is that whoever created the Razzari Jump Drive utilized it to traverse a type of subspace corridor, not unlike the ones Voyager encountered on the Delta Quadrant, the ones utilized by..." Anaya checked her PADD before continuing "...the Turei. So instead of needing to fire gravitron pulses from the deflector to stabilize the transit, there would be something inherent in the structures of these subspace corridors that would stabilize the transit. Since the Nomad didn't use one of these these theoretical corridors when we engaged the jump drive, we're in the shape that we're in," Anaya concluded.

"So the question is, how do we go about finding these corridors?" Anaya asked.

"We don't want to be poking at subspace in the dark," Grehk said, working the problem over in his head. "I'd say run a multispacial scan... if our sensors were equipped to do that at the moment. Deploying probes to look for it might be a problem if some species encounters them and comes a'knocking on our hatches."

The Tellarite rubbed his furry chin, his mind in deep thought. "Where's a Vulcan with a genius solution when you need one?," he wondered, out loud.

Brooke laid out a set of PaDDs on the table. Tapping one of the controls, she transmitted several files to the briefing room display.

A security lock out appeared on the screen to which she entered a series of high level command codes.

The screen flickered, a lot of information flashed up on to the screen before she opened a file titled as 'Subspace Gateway.'

Ian cocked an eyebrow at Niamh, his lips forming a little scowl. He had browsed her personnel file, at least as much of it that he had access to with his meager clout, and now found his palms itching to wring her skinny little neck for withholding information.

"Shortly after the Rizzari Incident, I was tasked with working through the large quantities of data that we had garnered from the Rizzari vessel that appeared over Earth a year ago..." -Brooke stood up and made her way to the view screen.

"We learned that a Starfleet ship, the 22nd Century, Constitution-Class, USS Ariadne had encountered the Razzari and for reasons only known to the Ariadne's crew, their warp core ended up on the same ship that appeared above Earth."

Brooke paused for dramatic effect and to allow the officers assembled to take in what she and only a handful of people knew. "Whilst working the data that we had managed to obtain, we learnt that the Ariadne's core had been augmented to travel the void between our reality and another."
Again, pausing, she wanted to make sure the Tellarite was keeping up to speed.
"It took a few months of digging around the data files, but we actually managed to target the MIDAS Array over a region of space not too far from here that had what looked like a subspace aperture."
Zooming in on a fuzzy super long range scan, Brooke displayed a region of space twelve light years away from their current position.
"Using the sensor data from the MIDAS Array and from the data we've collected during our time here, I believe I've been able to extrapolate a possible network of subspace tunnels."

Brooke stopped. Had she given away too much classified information? Had she broken an order from her superiors? She turned to the resident 'Vulcan genius' as Ghrek so aptly put it and asked, "Tu'Pari; I believe that our efforts need to be focused here." -pointing at the monitor, "I need you to assess whether using these tunnels are a viable option."

Tu'Pari was intrigued by the idea of potential subspace tunnels. The concept wasn't unfamiliar to her, but she'd have to dig deep to see if there was a chance for the Nomad to use such a network in Sector 557-B. "Yes, Commander. I will begin working on our recent scans of the vicinity and cross-reference what information we currently have in our database."

"Interesting," Grehk said, looking at the data. "Are we using the same core or did we install what was Starfleet Engineering's best guess? Because the only reason that I can think of why we're here, bleeding our guts out into space, is because of the ship's configuration. This core was meant for a Constitution class ship. Nomad is heavier. Gravity and mass projections 'might' not have been worked into the calculations. But what do I know? I wasn't here for the installation."

He looked at Niamh and said," Thanks for sharing, Commander. This gives us some insight on fixing the problem."

Ian cleared his throat, resting an elbow on the table and his chin in the palm of his hand. "So, what I gather about all this is that the Razzari drive is mostly meant for traversing a stable subspace conduit that already exists, perhaps one that is laid down by a larger, specialised starship... Like a borer that creates a tunnel through the ground. It can open its own, like a... Like a gopher digging through loose dirt," He said, making digging motions with his free hand, "But the conduit won't be stable, and if the calculations are off, you're gonna end up somewhere you might not mean to have gone. Pismo beach and all the clams you can eat." He looked around the room again, his eyes falling a bit piercingly on Brooke. "But I have another concern. The isotopes embedded into the superstructure of the ship. The distribution pattern. It looks... organic. Like the root network of a tree, emanating from the Razarri drive."

"And that's what we need you guys to figure out, sadly that's as much information that we have." Brooke replied, somewhat awkwardly. The commander knew that this mission wasn't going to be easy. She knew that she wouldn't make many friends here, especially given the nature of her specific mission parameters laid out by Starfleet Command...

“Dynehart to Chamling” -The first officer’s voice cut through a momentary silence.
Anaya tapped her combadge, “Go ahead, commander.”
“Please report to my office.” -something was wrong
“I’m in the middle of a briefing commander.” -she was annoyed, Anaya finally felt as though they were making some headway.
“That’s an order lieutenant, on the double.”

With that the first office cut off the com link, leaving Anaya somewhat shocked by the manner in which the commander had spoken to her. Nonetheless, she wasn’t about to disobey an order.

“Would you like us to carry on Anaya, I can meet up with you later to fill you in?” -Brooke asked.

Chamling straightened her uniform and nodded, “Thank you.” -With that, the chief engineer made her way out of the room. As she approached the door, she took one last look at the display screen. The lattice work of subspace tunnels had certainly peaked her interest -she secretly couldn’t wait to get back to engineering. She tilted her head to one side and scrutinized the display, something had caught her eye. Anaya stood there for a second longer than comfort would have dictated, Brooke gave the engineer a look, a look as if to say, ‘Shouldn’t you be on your way?’

As Chamling made her way to the commander’s office, the others continued working…

"If were to locate any of these subspace conduits, I'd recommend launching a few probes," Grehk suggested. "I can modify their sensors to detect the properties of these conduits."

Ian looked at Grehk, his attention having been on the departing Anaya. He lowered his raised eyebrows, shrugged it off and nodded. "I'll send you the sensor data on the resonance patterns we read off the jump-drive when we fired it up. If these subspace conduits are the ones that the drive uses so we can see if the key we have matches the lock." He tapped his PaDD a few times, calling up the data from his anal-retentively ordered filing system and sent it to Grehk's workstation. "Done. So, Transwarp and QSD being off the table, it's looking like the Razzari drive is pretty much the best bet, short of the long way. I'll pull up what I can on the Graviton catapult..." He looked at Brooke and cleared his throat meaningfully. "On the off chance we come across the materials necessary to make one."

“I’ll take another look at the MIDAS data, see what I can find regarding resources for the catapult.” With that, Brooke decided to level with them. “I appreciate…” -she paused. She sounded too formal. She took a beat and started again, “I know that you guys are pissed at me. It doesn’t take a genius to work that out.” Damn, she thought, she sounded too defensive. But it was too late, the words had fallen out of her mouth. “I get that, I really do, but we’ve all got a job to do here and yes…” -she paused again, raising her hands, “…I get that yours would be a lot easier if I just threw a stack of classified PaDDs of data on the desk and tell you all to have at it, but I can’t. There’s too much at stake here.”
Ensuring that no one could interject, Brooke continued, “I promise, I truly promise to keep as many of you in the loop as possible…” -she sounded sincere, the tears forming in her eyes were testament to that. “…I…I…”
She couldn’t finish. Her voice had become hoarse. Brooke genuinely wished it had been her that the first officer had called out, not Chamling…

"Let's save the regrets for later, Commander," Grehk told her," and fix the problem at hand." He looked at everyone else. "Anyone have anything else to add?," he added, looking down at the information that Ensign Murphy shared with him.

Ian had watched Brooke work her way through her apology pitilessly, and was rather surprised that Grehk had let her off so easily. He'd been hoping for something truly tactless. But, hey, maybe Tellarites were as vulnerable to neoteny-induced oxytocin responses as humans. "I, uh... Don't forgive that easily. But, no, aside from saying something that'll make me laugh smugly all the way to the brig... I don't have anything to add."

Tu'Pari felt a growing sense of unease fill the room. Whether they displayed it outwardly or internalized their aprehensions, she could sense that some of her crewmates were very uneasy about the prospects of getting home. She could not pinpoint who felt what however, but the sense of despair was growing like a creeping fog.


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