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LtJG Lexil, Ens McKenzie, Ens t'Rehu & PO2 Ek - "Long Afloat on Shipless Ocean"

Posted on 2019-10-15 09:02 by Petty Officer 2nd Class Kennet Ek & Lieutenant JG Lexil & Ensign Liam McKenzie Ph.D. & Ensign Lia t'Rehu & Crewman Fearne Popples
Edited on on 2019-10-15 09:10

Mission: Whiskey in the Jar

The Joshua Norton was a very different place without main power. Energy from the various cores and generators in engineering were the lifeblood of the ship, they allowed her to function and without them she became simply a wedge of metal and other materials floating helpless, billions of kilometres from anything or anyone that could help, a sealed (hopefully) cask of alloy, the only shell protecting the crew from the infinite blackness outside. At least, this is what crewman Fearne Popples thought as she headed along the corridors of deck three with the combat medic Ensign Lia t’Rehu towards shuttle bay three and, luck withstanding, another med kit.

Fearne hadn’t said anything since the two of them had left P.O. Ek and Ensign McKenzie and this was a big departure for the nineteen-year-old who had a bit of a reputation for verbal diarrhoea. In this case though she had nothing really to say. It wasn’t a long journey on the small ship but the relative lack of lighting and information on the current situation gave plenty of time for her mind to run amok and play tricks.

Lia played the interaction between herself and P.O. Ek in her mind. Had see been too harsh? There were minor signs of concussion, but the woman was fairly lucid. Her treatment since entering Starfleet had been better than most of her former life in the Empire, but the nearly complete lack of respect for her experience as a doctor irritated her. Had the woman grown up with more Vulcan training and surroundings it might not be an issue, but she had powerful emotions and her passion could be an asset and liability. Forcing it from her mind, she concentrated on what was needed for the immediate future.

She could pilot a shuttle. Cross training was strong part of this crew's strength. "We could use the shuttle pod for more than just acquiring supplies." Lia said aloud, breaking the silence.

Fearne gave her a sideways look. She also could fly. That is, if you can call basic manoeuvring and engaging autopilot flying, but it was enough for the lowest level pilot qualification in Starfleet and, according to Starfleet intelligence enough for her to serve on the Joshua Norton effectively. All of that being true, Fearne supposed Lia's experience to be greater than her own, a supposition that probably made good sense.

"Yes ma'am, what did you have in mind ma'am?" she said flatly, her annoyance at Lia still present but hopefully not obvious in her voice.

Lia detected something but it was hidden, she ignored it as it was distraction from survival. "For starters, it would be operational. Unlike the place we are now. Escape would be possible though the idea of not helping our comrades is repugnant. What we need is information. If we can safely power up the shuttle we would have sensors and at least an idea of what we are up against. All of us." She added with emphasis.

Fearne nodded. It was a good idea, she had to admit and one she probably wouldn't have thought of herself. However, now the concept was out there in the ether she could devote it some brainpower.

"We could use the transporter! Like, not necessarily us, although we could if we wanted to. But like we could beam people places that they need to go or out of places if they are trapped? Or even reroute communications! Except I don't know how to do that. We could beam in an engineer who could do that? Or something?" She rambled. It was typical Fearne stream of consciousness but some of it might have merit.

"Yes, though at this point I am more concerned with communications and sensors. We are functionally deaf and blind at the moment. Do you know how to operate the transporter? I have never operated one." As the pair slipped into the shuttle bay door, the Type 9 shuttlecraft was there, like the ship, dark and lifeless.

They entered the cockpit together. "I am not worried about a pre-flight check. That would be a last resort. Our focus should be short range sensors." Lia offered.

"Well, we're not flying anywhere so that makes sense," Fearne agreed, taking a seat in the co-pilot's chair as Lia brought the shuttle's power online. "I can operate the transporter like on a basic level? So I know what to do if everything is normal, but if it goes weird… And of course point-to-point is harder, but only marginally. You need to establish the lock first, then transfer them into the pattern buffer then send it out again and reintegrate. It's easiest from transporter pad to transporter pad. That's like super easy…"

Movement on the reflected surface of the control panel caught Fearne's eye. Though marred slightly by the shine of the cockpit lights there was no mistaking the drops of liquid on the front screen of the shuttle, as if a rain cloud had taken residence in the shuttle bay and started a small downpour. Yet, just as quickly as her focus could be moved from the panel to the screen itself the droplets were gone.

"What the fuck…" She whispered.

Lia commented, "Not exactly concise terms Crewman Popples. Care to elaborate?" She concentrated on ship systems and scanning for the P.O. Ek and Ensign Mackenzie. She added, "if we can bring them in here, we improve our chances."

"Um… I just saw this really weird reflection in the console… It must have been a trick of the light?" Fearne mused as she slowly pressed some buttons on the console finding the transporter controls. She wasn't a particularly technical person, but she could easily regurgitate sequences that had been shown to her in the past and she was certified to use a transporter at the lowest level, similar to her piloting. Her skills for these systems weren't supposed to be utilised except in emergency situations and the mess they were in now certainly qualified as an emergency situation. Fearne just hadn't began to imagine she would be needing to recall these sequences quite so early in her Starfleet career.

As she went through the various options of the vaguely familiar but slightly different setup on the type-9 shuttle her mind began to wonder to what she had seen. Fearne wasn't prone to flights of fancy, imaginations or hallucinations. If she saw something, it was there. Except this time it obviously wasn't and that troubled her. It must have been something. She forced the mystery from her mind, it was irrelevant now. Transporter control located in the interface of the co-pilot's console Fearne began to run through the sequences in her head to make sure she could remember them properly.

"Muh?"

This was getting to be too much. Now she was hearing voices from outside of the shuttle, yet the shuttle bay doors couldn't have opened. She would have heard. With plenty of confused grumpiness she vacated her seat and stuck her head outside the door.

"All crew report to escape pods for evacuation, this is not a drill."

"Shit!"

In a flash she was back next to Lia.

"The evacuation alarm! We're abandoning ship? I've only been in Starfleet five minutes! Does this always happen? Oh shit what if somebody's still trapped? Like you and me can pull the doors open but some people can't!"

Lia heard the order. By then she had at least partial sensors. Her skills on non-medical consoles were rusty. She uttered an untranslated Romulan curse at her own incompetence. "There is a warp core breach in progress." She said in monotone. "Scanning for lifesigns. There are two crewmembers trapped near the bridge. Prepare for transport." Her fingers managing to send the coordinates to the transporter system without too much trouble.

"Okay okay okay…" Fearne said, psyching herself up for the task as she retook her seat. "Establishing a pattern lock… locked. Double check… Definitely doublecheck all the settings before… Energising…" Fearne moved the three bars up together and the familiar sound of the transporter activating behind her filled her ears. Not daring to turn and break her concentration she powered down again once the re-materialisation was complete. Only then did she dare to inspect the results.

The small multifunctional rear-section of the type-9 shuttle was suddenly filled. Brock Sampson lay unconscious across the width of the shuttle, a slightly startled Lieutenant Lexil had been in the middle of something and staggered briefly, propping herself up against the bulkhead that separated the rear section from the forward. Both of them were covered in debris.

"Oh my… thank you!" Lexil smiled to Lia and Fearne with huge relief. "We were in serious trouble there. Report?"

"A warp core breach is in progress. Your skills with the sensors would doubtlessly tell us more. Most of the crew are heading or in escape or shuttle pods. I am also detecting very unusual tachyon emissions. My science skills lie in other areas than yours sadly. If we live, I will rectify that failing." Lia offered.

Lexil nodded. Her mind was shifting from self-preservation and the preservation of Brock to more of the big picture. She was now in command of the next biggest asset the crew would have now the Joshua Norton appeared to be dead — a type nine shuttle. She stared blankly at the floor for a few moments, weighing her next course of action.

"Fearne," she said, looking up and fixing the crewman with a kind but intense attention. "Do you know how to operate the emergency bay door release?"

"Uhhhhh… No ma'am," Fearne replied, shaking her head.

"Alright, I'll do it. Wait here. Lia, power up and get ready to manoeuvre." Lexil exited the shuttle quickly and wrenched open a panel on the sidewall of the tiny shuttle bay. Her physiology was in fight or flight and she made a quick job of the formidable release, twisting it hard and locking it in place before making extremely fast progress back to the shuttle's single rear door which was sealed in short order. Underneath them, after a count of fifteen from activation the gravity plating released the shuttle to float a few centimetres above the large circular shuttle bay doors which with a loud clank unsealed and slowly grumbled open, draining a portion of what was left of deck three's emergency power reserves and all of the atmosphere from shuttle bay three.

Lia helped Lexil back into the shuttle and guided her to the co-pilot seat. "Finishing pre-flight." That was something Lia could easily do. Without much room, she backed the shuttle out of the bay, and slowed the shuttle to a crawl. "Destination Sir?"

"I'm working on that," Lexil said, scrunching up her face in thought. "For now, Sampson could use your skills. I know he has a concussion and internal injuries that are beyond my capabilities. My medical tricorder was left behind when you beamed us out, there should be one in the emergency med kit in the rear section. I'll fly."

"Agreed Lieutenant." Ensign t'Rehu got up, retrieving the medkit from it's cubby hole. Her practiced hands and tricorder focused on the unconscious form at her front. A hypospray hissed then again as Lia injected a mixture of coagulants and a mild stimulant into the man. She manually opened his eyelid, searching for evidence of a brain bleed. Thankfully there was none.

Turning to Lt Lexil, the medical Ensign offered, "his concussion is not serious, but assessment of his neural functions will have to wait until he is conscious." She wanted to add if he regains consciousness, but there was no reason to not give them a bit of hope. She then added, "there is some internal bleeding in the abdomen. I would rather not have to do surgery here. I can stabilize him for the moment, but if the leak doesn't seal on it's own, I will have no choice."

While Lia had been working Lexil had started the shuttle on a course headed away from what was left of the Joshua Norton. As long as they were still within communications, transporter and sensor range there was no need to be physically close by and some distance would help them when the core went. Fearne watched the ship's chief scientist in a slight state of awe. The Denobulan was piloting the shuttle with her left hand, running various scans with her right hand, only one of which Fearne recognised and when Lia spoke to her she seemingly took in everything the medic said and was able to respond coherently while still doing two other things. What was more she was completely calm, totally in control, making command decisions every few seconds and was still kind and personable, even using their first names when those she addressed should never dare do the same in return. Fearne knew there was a large gap between the skill set of low-end non-com like her and a Starfleet officer but Lexil seemed to be something entirely different again.

Lexil had been immeasurably glad to be beamed out of what was increasingly looking like a hopeless situation. She had managed to stabilise Sampson with her emergency medical knowledge, but she wasn't convinced that moving him wouldn't kill him and it appeared communications and a site to site transport were going to be out of the question. Just as she was about to make the hard decision the transporter room was cut off by falling debris. Lexil may have been strong enough to pick up Sampson in a fireman's lift and with plenty of adrenaline, or whatever the Denobulan equivalent was, but try as she might she couldn't shift the pieces of bulkhead that blocked their way. Another hard decision had been in front of her. Could she save Sampson? Would dragging him down a Jeffries tube kill him? Would it kill her just by the time it took? Would she have time to abandon ship? That decision was taken from her too as the path to the Jeffries tube was also blocked, as the ship shuddered the inner ceiling buckled and trapped the pair in a space little larger than a coffin. Lexil had covered Sampson's body with her own and prayed to whatever higher powers may exist that the outer section of the ship's hull above didn't rupture too. It was as the familiar feeling of inevitability creeped into her heart, that same feeling she had experienced after the Borg drone had crushed her wrist and she started to bleed out months before, that Sampson had started to swim in blue light in front of her eyes and the next she knew was the inside of the shuttle and greeted the faces of Lia and Fearne signalling her escape and survival.

Lexil was glad not only to have found a medic but one with good combat experience like Lia. Hard decisions would be no trouble for this veteran of the Romulan military and Lexil had a feeling there will be plenty of hard decisions to come for the crew of the Joshua Norton.

"Understood," Lexil responded to Lia. "He has a much better chance already being under your care." The impulse engines of the small shuttle wound down, they were now out of visual range with the ship, at least for the eyes of the four crew aboard. Lexil turned to look at Lia first and then Fearne who was still sat in the co-pilot's seat.

"Sensors show the remaining crew are either approaching or already in the escape pods, but they can't tell me who is injured. Do you two know of anyone else injured who is in need of a medic? Or anyone who was trapped?" She asked the two.

Lia responded. "P.O. Ek was in similar shape to our friend here but was lucid and conscious when we departed for the shuttle bay. She was with Ensign MacKenzie and the med kit. They were on deck three near the holodeck."

"Ek and McKenzie," Lexil repeated and with a nod turned back to the console in front of her. Her hands flew over the controls far faster than Fearne could follow and P.O. Ek's badge signal was pinpointed on deck three not too far from where Lia had said. From what Lexil could make out the two com badge signals were far closer than she would have expected, it looked as if her Language specialist was carrying Kenny.

"It looks like Ek is struggling. Let's bring them on-board." Lexil turned to Fearne. "I don't want to move Brock so you need to bring them in just behind the seats here." Lexil motioned to the space of around six feet by six feet immediately behind the two pilots' chairs.

"That's a point to point, right?" Fearne asked.

"It is," Lexil confirmed. "Set the coordinates for reintegration first as they are moving, pattern lock last, take your time, double check your work." She put a hand on Fearne's shoulder, much as it was distasteful to her Denobulan sensibilities it would help the young human's confidence, or so she thought. "You can do this, Fearne."

Fearne nodded, took a deep breath and buried her concentration into the console. She was the kind of person who talked herself through these processes, the words helped her focus.
"Ok, re-integration… re-integration… oh balls. Okay! Reintegration is… Set. Double check double check double check… Okay. Coordinates received… Pattern lock established… And checked. Energising!"

Liam's six foot two inch form appeared in the middle of the area behind the two pilots with a couple of inches clearance to the ceiling of the compact shuttle. In his arms was Petty Officer Ek who, now that she could see her in proper lighting looked worse than in the gloom of the Joshua Norton, or so thought Fearne who stood immediately that the transporter was powered down and helped Liam stay stable with his friend after the surprise transport.

The moment the transporter beam released Kenny, she convulsed and swallowed hard. Between the nausea from the concussion, being jostled by Liam running while holding her, and now the unexpected transport, it was only delaying the inevitable. She couldn't do anything but direct where it went and the options weren't good—down her and Liam's fronts, all over Fearne, or down Lexil's back and the back of the shuttle chair—in the snap decision she and Liam lost, and she turned toward him as the contents of her stomach returned the hard way.

Liam turned away as Kenny emptied the contents of her stomach all over the two of them. When she was done, he turned back to her with one eye closed and another squinting. “Feel better now?” he asked rhetorically with a smirk. “You did say you would get me back. Touché.” Other than smelling terrible and having a colorful athletic shirt, though, otherwise Liam looked fine.

He glanced around to see who was present and was glad to see Lieutenant Lexil and Fearne here. Ensign t’Rehu was also nearby, and it was good to have a doctor so close again. He looked to the combat medic for direction on where to lay Kenny down.

Lia went into action with no delay after the transporter sequence ended. She scanned Kenny concentrating on the cranium. Turning to her patient, she asked a series of questions about what Kenny was feeling. Then she checked her eyes and did a nuerological function test with Kenny's hand (asking her to squeeze her fingers, then holding her arms upright like a guard and asking Kenny to move them away with Kenny's forearms).

Liam stepped back to let Lia attend to Kenny and found himself standing right next to Fearne. “Oh, sorry,” he said to her, thinking that his clothing would be pretty offensive to be around right now. He took a few steps away and stood in the corner, keeping quiet to not interfere with Kenny’s treatment.

"Don't worry, Sir," Fearne replied with a corner smile, "even when injured Norton security's aim is still dead on target." She flashed him a cheeky grin. "Right Kenny?"

"Waterhouse would accept nothing less," Kenny agreed weakly as she looked at Lia. "I'm fine ma'am, just need to not be jostled about so much for a bit. I swear I'm not going to fall asleep, and with a bit of luck, I'll be fine after some rest."

"I don't know how much you all know of our situation." Lexil spun the pilots' chair around and looked at the group, her tone suggesting anything other than listening was an extremely bad idea. "Therefore, while I have a few seconds to spare please listen carefully. The ship was attacked under cloak by a Romulan probe, the kind of which we have never seen before. We were able to destroy it but not without the Joshua Norton suffering critical damage. Warp core containment has been lost. The computer has estimated a time to breach but it's only a projection based on scan data." She swallowed and carried on speaking, her tone completely calm yet authoritative. "I am currently tracking every member of the crew and so far they are all alive. Three pods have already launched and the rest of the crew should be launching soon. I have designated this shuttle emergency rendezvous in line with standard emergency protocols. It is the most capable piece of technology the crew now has at their disposal therefore I will expect nothing but the best from all of you as the lives of the whole crew are now in our hands. Ensign t'Rehu is second-in-command as far as this shuttle is concerned. McKenzie, please take over from Fearne as co-pilot."

Lexil swung her chair around again and started to recheck her screens. "Well done on the transporter," she offered quietly as Fearne moved out of the way to let Liam take her place.

"Thank you ma'am." Fearne smiled and went to sit with Kenny and Brock in the rear section.

Liam had listened carefully to what was going on around him but stayed quiet. He smiled as pleasantly as he could back to Fearne in response to her observation. He also couldn’t help but pick up on Kenny’s private joke. If she had looked his way, she would have noticed him smirking in her direction. He then paid close attention to the Lieutenant’s report. When she had finished, Liam looked around for something to wipe off his shirt with, but there didn’t seem to be anything within reach that could help him.

With duty calling, he stepped forward to the co-pilot’s station, acknowledging her request with an “Aye, ma’am.” Once there, he silently began checking over the controls, including a review of the current state of the autopilot. “Ready,” he said, once he had reviewed the console and felt ready to take orders. While he was not a qualified helmsman, he had been cross-trained in the basics of shuttlecraft piloting at the Academy.

Lia ran through what the ranking officer had said. Would the Senate hate her so much that they would spend the resources on an experimental probe to kill her? It would be unwise to rule out the possibility, but thought it an illogical waste of resources. She shoved the thought elsewhere in her mind, concentrating on her patients.

Kenny settled in to wait in the back of the shuttle. As she was injured, she wouldn't be expected to do much at present, but that could change at any moment and resting while she had the chance was her best bet to make sure she stood a chance of being useful should she need to be. She looked over herself and winced as she got a whiff of the bile and half-digested food on her shirt. Shenoted that she'd lost her phaser but still had the tricorder in the pocket on what was left of her athletic pants. She plucked her combadge off her athletic shirt, then yanked the skirt off over her head—leaving herself in just a sports bra that was black with a neon rainbow down her back. After placing her badge on her sports bra, the shirt was wadded up with her offending bodily fluids at the center in an effort to minimize their stinking up the shuttle, then she slumped in place and just observed as she shoved the shirt under the bench for now.

As activity on the shuttle quietened and the small crew settled in, Lexil watched her sensor readouts showing on the outside none of the tension she felt inside. The countdown timer flicked from number to number at the top of her screen and she watched the last few blips denoting crewmembers heading for the escape pods. It was going to be close.

Come on... COME ON...!

=/\= End Mission Log =/\=

Lieutenant JG Lexil
Acting Chief Science Officer
USS Joshua Norton

Ensign Liam ‘Mac’ McKenzie
Linguist & Cultural Specialist
USS Joshua Norton

Ensign Lia t'Rehu
Combat Medic
USS Joshua Norton NCC-74819-A

PO2 Kennet Ek
Security Crewman
USS Joshua Norton

NPC by Jessica: Crewman Fearne M. Popples, Security Crewman

 

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