Engine Room, U.S.S. Silverfin
Docking Berth Four, Star Station Freedom, Alpha Quadrant
Stardate: 54576.3 (July 30th, 2377)
Amorin missed the engine room. It had been his domain for many years before his unexpected promotion and in his hearts he knew it was where his true passion lay. When he had been Chief Engineer of the Silverfin
he was able to navigate through the room with his eyes shut and without using the echolocation sense Benzenite possessed, simply because he knew the place so well. He could have gone into any of the equipment lockers and find any tool in his sleep. Now though he needed to look for things.
His successor, Elak th’Shaan, has been his assistant for four years so he had known Amorin’s system and methodologies, but once he had taken charge of engineering the young Andorian had down what he could to make the department his own—just as Amorin had done from his predecessor. Though similar, th’Shaan’s organisation was different but no less effective, it just took a little time to get the hang of it.
“I’ve spoken with Syril up in impulse control,” th’Shaan was telling him, as they stood at the MSD looking at the technical diagram of the cutter, “and she has done a full purge and scrub down of the manifolds; with any luck that should be it.”
“I didn’t think you believed in ‘luck’, Elak.”
“Not usually,” he admitted his antennae curling slightly, a sign of his uncertainty, “but we’ve gone over the entire impulse drive and can’t find any sign of what caused that hiccup.”
Amorin scowled, still not convinced. When they had entered the Tamsen System on approach to Star Station Freedom, with the smuggler ship in tow, there was some kind of interruption to impulse engines, which had caused a twenty percent dip in power. Nothing life-threatening and the problem had lasted for only four-point-one seconds, but it was a technical anomaly that neither of them had liked.
“Syril did say that there wasn’t much work that needed doing—seeing as how the impulse drive had been involved in the overhaul in February. But there is nothing to explain the power drop—unless you subscribe to Pedro’s gremlin theory.”
The overhaul they had undergone at the beginning of the year had been fairly extensive, taking over two weeks to complete, and seen them missing out on the Talarian Incursion. Even with the entire crew pulling double shifts to get the work done, they had only been able to launch a day following the attack on the Talarian supply base in the Hedakas System but by then the Talarian advance had halted and the militia was in retreat. They hadn’t been able to do anything more than respond to ships in distress or escorting hospital ships. It was something that still stung for many onboard the Silverfin
, as all they had been able to do was listen to the reports coming in of the dozens of ships damaged or destroyed, the hundreds injured and killed, whilst they had been safe in dock.
“As much as I appreciate Crewman De La Cruz’s out of the box thinking, I’m not willing to chalk this up to mythical creatures just yet. Run a level four diagnostic on the entire impulse drive every shift, the last thing we need is for that to happen in combat.”
Th’Shaan nodded. “You got it, Commander.”
“Commander Amorin to the Bridge,”
Captain Leijten called through the intercom.
“On my way,” he replied to the CO then looked back at th’Shaan. “Keep me posted.”
“Don’t I always?” th’Shaan asked with a smirk.
Amorin headed up the ladder to the second level, paused for a moment to look back across the engine room then, with a sigh, headed through the exit. From deck six the trip through the drive section, umbilical neck and into the saucer was a short one. He used what time he had to shift his focus away from impulse driver coils and diagnostics, as he once again stepped into his role as XO. They had been briefed the day before on their next assignment, a routine patrol along the border in the Mudor Sector, which was one of the more remote areas within the Third Squadrons operational area. It was a sector that had been ignored during the Incursion, but during the brief Talarian-Orion conflict that had followed it had seen some of the fiercest fighting, so exactly what they might find was anyone’s guess.
Stepping out onto the Bridge, he quickly recalled the duty roster for their next patrol tour. In addition to the senior officers, there were three non-coms on duty: Petty Officers Sa’Qwa and Smith were at the aft console, whilst Crewman Blackwolf was at engineering.
Blackwolf looked up as he entered and gave him a friendly smile. “Good morning, Commander.”
“How are you, Claudia?” he asked, pausing beside her post for a moment.
“No complaints, sir.” She gestured to the console. “I’ve been alerted to the impulse diagnostics, would you like to monitor them from here?”
He shook his head. Blackwolf had joined his crew just a few months after his promotion, so he hadn’t vetted her personally, but what he’d seen of the young woman’s skill was impressive, so he had no problems leaving her where she was to keep an eye on things. “That won’t be necessary. But if anything strikes you as sohhs’pah
then let me know.”
Beneath his breather mask he smirked to himself. “It loses something in the translation.”
She smiled. “Got it.”
On his right he looked at Daezan, who flashed him a quick grin before looking back at his displays. Amorin headed towards the command arena, where Leijten sat, legs casually crossed and perusing a PADD. She glanced up as he approached.
“Is everything all shipshape down below?”
“Looks like. The impulse hiccup is still a mystery, but the manifolds have been scrubbed and Elak will continue to monitor. All other systems are in the green.”
Leijten nodded then handed him the PADD she’d been reading. “It’s the latest reports we have on the Mudor Sector. According to Intel it’s been pretty quiet these last couple of weeks. The Thunderbird
was the last cutter on patrol out here and they didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary either.”
Taking the PADD he quickly read over the reports and data, noting that all long-range scans of the space beyond the Federation boundary showed no unusual activity, just their Talarian counterparts and the occasional non-aligned ship going about its business—nothing suggesting illicit activity though. During the rest of his shift, Amorin would digest all the information carefully, but to a cursory glance it looked as though their patrol would be uneventful. However experience had taught him that it was on tours where all looked to be quiet that they needed to be the most vigilant.
He then looked at Leijten, who gave him a subtle nod.
Holding the PADD behind his back, he began their normal routine. “All stations report readiness.”
“Tactical sensors, defensive and offensive systems all operational,” stated Ling-Na immediately.
“Computer, communication and sensor systems on-line,” added Daezan.
“Navigational array and inertial dampeners check out, thrusters, impulse and warp ready at your discretion,” Llewellyn-Smyth reported.
“Environmental and power systems are at optimal,” said Blackwolf.
“All auxiliary and backup systems are fully functional,” Sa’Qwa finished off.
Leijten looked over to operations. “Commander, clear our departure with the Dockmaster.”
“Secure airlocks and clear all moorings,” Amorin addressed Blackwolf.
“The Dockmaster has cleared us.”
“Airlocks sealed and all moorings have been cleared.”
“Aft thrusters at one half, port and starboard at station keeping, then increase to two-thirds impulse once we’ve cleared Freedom,” ordered Leijten.
“Aye sir,” was Llewellyn-Smyth’s prompt response.
Even though each and every one of the Bridge crew knew what to do, the exercise for departing Star Station Freedom had become something of a ritual. Each of them had their part to play, as a way of helping them to hone their focus on what was ahead of them.
* * * * *
Administration Centre, Ocama City Station
In orbit of Ocampa V, Delta Quadrant
Two days had passed since the Ocampa had defeated the Kazon-Degra armada, a fact that Tanis was still having difficulty processing. They had actually won in a fight against eighty Kazon ships! He doubted there were many in the sector who could boast such a feat. But it wasn’t the time to be complacent, the rest of the Sect could warp in and seek revenge, or another could try and seize the planet for themselves. Given how unstable the Sects were it was best not to think they were safe just yet.
The City Station itself had come through the skirmish with some damage, but it was being seen to. The people were eager to see their home whole once again, so they had been working tirelessly since the battle. He had also dispatched some of his people to ensure the eight destroyers that sat in orbit were truly empty, and a few salvage teams into what was left of the Kazon ships.
All of the Ocampa on the planet were alright; fortunately the Kazon attack on the surface hadn’t lasted long enough to cause much damage to the subterranean city. Given the ferocity of their attack on the station, their own casualties were light—though there were one or two suffering ill effects after being so deep inside the minds of the aggressors, but that too would pass with meditation.
Over the last two days, he had had his crews keeping a close eye on the sensors—for all they knew what they had faced was just the first wave, sent in to soften them up and discover their tactics. But as the days passed he began to ease up a little, though ensured all on duty remained cautious. He was also telepathically calling out to Kes, who he hadn’t heard of since she had order them to stand down. Tanis suspected that after transporting over eight thousand men to the surface of Ocampa five, she had withdrawn once again to gather her strength.
He would give her time to recuperate, but her actions had left him with a lot of unanswered questions, first and foremost being, why did she want those ships left intact? That would have to wait until she returned, and he had more than enough to be doing in the mean time.
Looking down onto the planet, the origin of his species, he couldn’t help but feel a connection to the dusty world. Before Kes’ intervention, he had never given the world a second thought, seeing it as a primitive and backwards place, but after meeting some of the people and learning of what they had done for themselves over the last six years, he found a sense of pride grow within him. Despite all the differences between the two groups of Ocampa, they were more alike than he’d imagined. This of course led to debates and discussions about what they would do in the future. The planet was incapable of sustaining life on the surface, whilst the city was far from self-sufficient, barely able to feed the population let alone build a power plant. They were also defenceless; their very existence was at the whim of whoever was in control of the surface.
The station could stand guard over them, but even then it was just one facility and there were numerous hostile races nearby who would test their strength and resolve. The planet was rich in minerals, which made them a target—That could be why Kes wanted those ships?
he mused. The Ocampa could harness those resources and use them for trade, but the logistics of such were vast from learning how to use the Kazon ships, to forging trade agreements with other races.
Then there was the matter of all the developments the Ocampa on the station had over those in the city, from the strength of their mental abilities to the technology they had developed to extend their lifespan, all of which would be useful for those on the surface, but would take time to dispense among the population. He could only hope that before the next crisis emerged that they would have time to bring together the two distinct halves of the Ocampa, to merge them back into a single people. It would take time and involve a lot of hard work, but seeing as how the City Station was now in a geosynchronous orbit around their planet then it only made sense; his people had the technology whilst those of the surface were far greater in number.
“Administrator, can you come here a moment?” one of his aides asked.
Tanis gave a nod and turned towards the younger man, but before he even took a step he felt a familiar prickle in the back of his mind. It was a sensation he hadn’t felt for several days and now found it a strange feeling.
. She had returned.
* * * * *