A mirror shattered #35 - "What happened in Engineering?"


[Main Engineering]

When the yellow alert started up, Lt. Black felt a stab of fear for the first time since her earliest days as an engineer. Her superior had, at that time, quelled it by telling her that a ship under alert is rarely in a battle, a battle rarely involves a boarding party, and a boarding party rarely gets to Engineering. But last time this ship had gone on alert, all three things had happened. She took a deep breath, trying to quell the new fear in her own way. She'd been practicing her combat skills. If it came to that, she'd be better this time.. she hoped.

Of course, that kind of thing happened so seldom, it wouldn't possibly happen two times in a row, and so it didn't. Her first indicator that something was wrong happened when the ship lurched and the engine whine changed considerably. Everyone in Engineering was thrown back. Kitty hadn't been standing near a handhold and she hit her head against a nearby console. "What happened?" she called out, shaking her head to clear it. "Some sort of power fluctuation!" One of her engineers was already back at the console. "Engines are straining!" "At impulse? That's a bad sign..." She hurried to a nearby console. "Watch it, we're losing integrity..." A nearby console suddenly power-surged and exploded. In the midst of the sudden chaos, she got a message from the captain asking for more power to the shields, "Well, we sure don't have it to spare from the engine room," Kitty muttered as she started diverting power from secondary systems after closing the comm channel. "Watch the containment fields.. divert power if you have to. We've got to keep them..." And then the second energy surge hit.

Kitty would never be entirely sure what happened next. The deck heaved under her feet, and then everything was black. She heard an insistent voice. "Chief.. Chief..!" and opened her eyes. The warp core came into focus. She was lying on her back, looking up at it. Her eyes were drawn to a wisp of smoke coming from part of the plasma conduits directing power to the impulse drive. Then she became aware of the sound of an alarm no engineer ever wants to hear. She was on her feet in the next instance, stumbling to the nearest intact console. "Containment breach!" she called. "Lock it down! Yesterday!" Her terror drove her thoughts white-hot through her sluggish brain and she started punching in commands. "Re-initialize... redirect power..." One of the older engineers joined her and together they stabilized the containment fields. "Thank goodness we weren't at warp when That happened," Kitty said, just in time to hear another alarm go off, another one that no engineer wants to hear. She checked the radiation levels inside the room and turned pale.

Somehow, even then, she managed to keep her head. "Alright, guys, you know what that means, out with the hypos." It was a very basic inoculation kept ready in a compartment underneath one of the consoles... by no means a sure cure for radiation, but it was a good stop-gap measure, like the potassium-iodide pills they used to have in the time of nuclear reactors. She made sure that her whole team had taken theirs before injecting her own. Then she contacted the bridge and let them know they had a radiation problem. She knew she had to take the drive offline as soon as possible... as long as it was operational, they couldn't decontaminate Engineering, and as long as they were in a still-contaminated Engineering, the radiation would only make them sicker. Then she sent a quick notification to Sickbay so that they would know, when beaming anyone from Engineering, to set up containment there as well. By now, she was already starting to feel weary.

"Clear out, guys. Request transport to Sickbay. I'll take the engines down and come join you." Many of her engineers agreed and started contacting Sickbay. Some refused. "We're not getting out of here until you do, Chief." With her much-reduced team, Kitty retreated into her office, where at least the radiation levels were a little lower. While they were waiting out the next couple of minutes necessary to get the ship out of the anomaly, she started making plans. "Once we're allowed, we head out there and shut down the engines. You and you, start the decontamination procedure. You get the replacement parts.. and I'll be climbing up to start the repair. When we've made the repair, we're going to have to change the plasma mix. I can start on those equations now."

But it wasn't as easy as that. Kitty was already beginning to have some trouble concentrating, and two minutes wasn't enough time to finish the calculation. "Someone else is going to have to do this..." she said quietly, glancing around at her other engineers."And if the radiation is already affecting my higher math functions, nobody in here is going to get it done by the time we need it..." She frowned for a moment, contemplating the fact that the radiation damage was already affecting her body and mind. She spent just a moment to worry about what might happen to her, thinking momentarily about that one special person who was actually attracted, to Her.. and then her head cleared for a moment as she thought of him again. She grinned.

Kitty tapped up the requirements in a quick message and sent it to the Ops console, marking it Priority and feeling extremely thankful that she wasn't the only person who was good at plasma equations. She'd apologize for dumping that extra work on him later, if she made the repair before the radiation damage became irreversible. The message was sent just as the bridge contacted her and Petrova told her she could take the engines off-line. She took a deep breath, reading the radiation levels outside of the little office again, and nodded.

"Alright, here we go."


Posting from Chernobyl:

Lt. Kathleen Black Chief Engineer, USS Pegasus

(npc's handled by the same)