Star Trek

USS Pioneer

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Ground Zero

Posted on Sun Dec 8th, 2019 @ 2:04pm by Captain Edmund Hawthorne

Mission: Mission 1: Caretaker
Location: Main Engineering
Timeline: MD 01 - 1446 hours. 3 minutes after the Incident.

Hawthorne’s ears were still ringing when he came to, and realised the distant blare of alarms was a lot closer than it felt. He didn’t know if he could taste metal or blood, but this became infinitely less of a consideration when he sat up to see the flashing alerts on the control panels in main engineering, and that none of his team were on their feet, all of them scattered and thrown to the deck. Some were picking themselves up, like him. Others stirred weakly.

Some weren’t moving.

He had to grab the edge of the plasma control console to pull himself to his feet, hoping rather than knowing he wasn’t too injured to stand and work. Something flared with pain in his flank, but between his throbbing skull and the fact his limbs obeyed him, he was both too relieved and in too much pain already to succumb. ‘Powell -’

He coughed, spat out a mouthful of blood, and looked around the scattered engineers. Powell was a crumpled heap by deuterium intake, Warski bent over him. And as he tried to figure out which of his team was up and ready, his console blared a sound at him again, and finally he had to focus his blurred vision to read.

Hawthorne swore. ‘I need someone reinforcing chamber integrity right now,’ he snapped, voice carrying across main engineering. Someone scuttled - Ensign Adler? - to obey, even as his fingers ran over his own control panel. ‘For some reason we’ve got tachyon particles flooding the core -’

‘On it!’ came Adler’s voice, distant through the ringing in his ears.

‘Sir -’ It was Warski, stood over Powell. ‘Sir, comms are down or sickbay’s not responding -’

‘Those are two very serious but very separate problems, Warski,’ Hawthorne said, not unsympathetic even as he carried on his own work. ‘Figure out which one it is for me while I stop a pending warp core breach. Adler, how’s that -’

‘Got it! But, Commander - tachyon levels are still too high -’

‘You stopped it from getting worse,’ Hawthorne said, and clicked his tongue. His voice had taken on a sing-song tone under stress. ‘Warski, get a medkit and see to Powell - Adler, we’ve got to decouple the dilithium matrix -’

‘I’ll need - I’m not rated to override the safeties on that -’

‘Swap consoles -’

‘Chief - chief -’

‘Warski! Medkit! Adler - cut the plasma flow, I’m decoupling the matrix - you there?’

‘On it, Commander - tachyon levels are subsiding -’


‘Got it, good work.’ Hawthorne clutched the console, letting out a deep breath as a Chief Engineer’s worst nightmare started to fade from before his eyes and the warp core stabilised. So he turned to the scattered mess that was a Chief Engineer’s second worst nightmare, of his battered and brutalised engine room and battered and brutalised team. ‘Warski!’

Warski had found a medkit and returned to Powell, but when he stood his face was sheet-white. ‘She’s dead, Chief.’

Hawthorne stared at him for a moment, and felt his right knee wobble. He scrubbed his face with a hand. ‘Okay. Right. Take that medkit. Get to everyone else. Adler. Let’s get comms working -’

‘I think comms were working,’ said Warski, voice wobbling. ‘I don’t think anyone in sickbay was answering.’

‘They must have their hands full,’ warbled Adler. ‘What happened? I was monitoring impulse engines for power spikes in case we hit a flare in the Badlands and then -’

‘Bridge notified us of the energy wave,’ Hawthorne recalled, as much for the benefit of his ringing skull as the simple process of putting events back together and seeing if anything new occurred to him. ‘Whatever it was, it must have hit us.’ He jabbed a finger at Warski - then hesitated, and turned to Adler. ‘Ensign. Take the medkit, patch people up for now. Warski, you’re on power control.’ He would have expected the more seasoned Warski to rise to the occasion better than fresh-out-of-the-Academy Adler, but the old hand was struggling and returning to familiar tasks might do see him doing a better job. ‘I want a full shut-down and reboot on non-essential systems right now, readings are going haywire. I’m on comms.’

Rather than trust his combadge, he went to the systems control panel along the entranceway to main engineering. The readings there showed very little was working properly, which was a small comfort. Better for comms to be non-functioning than for there to be nobody to answer.

Now he removed his combadge, patching it into the ship's systems to boost the power on its own hardware to try and raise someone. ‘Engineering to bridge, this is Chief Hawthorne. What’s - I’ve got dead and wounded down there and can’t raise sickbay. What’s going on?’

No answer. And for the moment Hawthorne wasn't sure if it was a failure of hardware or a failure of heartbeats.


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