USS Adelphi


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Post 48 - Nico's Choice

Posted on Mon Jul 20th, 2020 @ 6:01pm by Petty Officer 1st Class Qa'Val & Lieutenant Nico Oliveria & Ensign Sheldon Parsons

Mission: Episode 1 - The Metreon Paradox
Location: Main Engineering
Timeline: Immediately After Post 44 - What Fresh Hell - Concurrently with Post 47 - The Great Borg Reef

[Main Engineering]
[USS Adelphi]

The deep thrum of the warp core helped calm Nico after his dinner encounter with Counselor Babaca. He had come down straight from the lounge to find Petty Offer Qa'Val working on a sensor issue. Happy for the distraction, the engineer had immediately started helping her solve the problem.

"What's that, the twelfth diagnostic?" Nico asked, his brow furrowed. "It can't be broken, but these readings are obviously inaccurate. They simply can't exist."

The mostly-Klingon operations noncom nodded at the chief engineer's query, heavily thumbing the panel to bring up a larger display of the individual diagnostic. Since the decision to make use of the sole Underspace tunnel known to Task Force 38 to be an access point between the Nacene Reach and the Gradin Belt, several engineering and operations personnel had been required to perform extended duties across the Adelphi, even if that was limited to observation of various ship systems whilst they traversed the unique subspace network.

Needless to say, it had not been a straightforward affair thus far, but the limited journey had been manageable.

Until now.

"The readings are unclear," Qa'Val reported in her deep Klingon baritone, although any hint of the bluster she often portrayed was lost to a sense of concerned curiosity. She entered a few more commands into the PADD she was holding, bringing up further information from the Adelphi's sensor network. "The compression of this manifold of subspace is making it hard to determ..." She paused and looked to Lieutenant Oliveria. "Sir... I believe the compression is growing."

As Qa'Val entered a few more calculations, the visual interpretation of the subspace tunnel displayed it contracting and elongating in 'size'. Whilst projections of exact distance that would be travelled seemed to adjust to high factor, it also provided the impression that the Adelphi would not be able to complete the traversal, although the computer did not declare that supposed deduction. Simply; it looked like they would not fit.

Nico leaned over the Boatswain's shoulders to get a better look at the data when it suddenly clicked. "Normal space! Jesus, that's why the readings don't make sense. We are reading normal space, Qa'Val," the engineer exclaimed, realizing the imminent danger.

Qa'Val's eyes could be seen flicking back and forth as she rapidly tried to work out an appropriate response and means of dealing with the situation. A keen intellect hid behind her Klingon bravado. Her fingers flew over the console again as she replied.

"Lieutenant, if we-"

The duo's conversation ended as the Adelphi subspace equivalent of a sandbar, the starship's sudden stop sending the engineer headfirst into the master situation console. Nico opened his eyes and found himself on the floor covered in bits of exploded plastic. At first, he couldn't hear anything over the ringing in his ears, but as it faded, the blaring alert klaxons took its place. He turned to the warp core, seeing billowing white clouds pouring out. Getting to his feet, he yelled, "Coolant leak!" Stepping to the main console, as the Vegan reached for a respirator under the console, he saw Parsons, "Parsons, get those doors closed." As he slipped the device on, he called out, "Respirators!"

The young engineer -- one of the youngest onboard, in fact -- nodded slowly, bleary eyes focusing and unfocusing randomly. Parsons moved in a bit of a daze, blood trickling down from a gash across his right cheek. With a noticeable limp, the man moved himself to an equipment locker, extracting a respirator for himself as others joined him to grab their own. Hoisting the device up onto his face, he activated it and immediately stood a bit taller as normal breathing returned to him.

"Aye, sir, getting the doors," Parsons then nodded. If it weren't crunch time, his social awkwardness would probably get the better of him. That awkwardness was why Debbie had enlisted him for duty in Ten Forward, her thinking that increased social interactions might help him overcome such difficulties. But it turned out that the magic key to moving and interacting with purpose and resolve was a deadly emergency. His limp turned into positively dragging his left leg as Parsons finally reached the door controls. He'd been about to activate the doors until he realized something vital.

"Sir! There's...there's still people in there," he gasped, pointing to the upper level, which was fully engulfed in those billowing clouds coming off the warp core. "Mickens and Jahayney were running a diagnostic up there." Scanning his memory, Parsons realized those two weren't the only ones. "Kk'qloron, Yerin, and Bess were cleaning some of the plasma manifolds up there, too! If we close this door, they are dead." He let that thought hang in the air as he waited for orders from their almost-as-young Chief Engineer. "Orders, sir?" he gulped under his respirator, swallowing hard.

Nico had never before been in a situation where he had to abandon a crew member to death. His time on the Zhukov has been a cakewalk of transporting VIPs. He'd never even been in a non-simulated battle before coming to the Delta Quadrant. The Vegan had completed the bridge officer certification course, but at the end of the day, it was just a simulation. Only a moment passed as he glanced at the billowing coolant and back to Parsons. However, this was not a simulation, it was quite real, and he realized he was about to condemn five good people to death with just a few words, "Seal it, now."

With a few keystrokes, Parsons commanded the doors to seal. What have I done? he asked himself, heart exploding with grief over ensuring the deaths of his coworkers. He watched in agony as the doors slowly closed, sealing off the core and any chance those on the upper level would survive. In the sudden silence ensuing from the lack of the hissing clouds of coolant, the man slumped against the wall and allowed himself to slide to the floor. His bad leg was crumpled under him but he didn't give a damn. That, or he just didn't feel it. Parsons hugged his good knee and rocked back and forth -- a little kid not ready for the cold tragedies of the Delta Quadrant.

While Parsons executed his order, Nico dashed to the warp core controls. The engineer paused as the doors began to slide down, hoping he would see someone dash through, but none did. Momentarily frozen with grief, Nico was unable to keep tears from welling up in the corners of his eyes. The warble of an alarm on his panel brought him back to reality, and he managed to blink the tears away. Focusing on the board, he executed the emergency procedure for a warp core shutdown before the coolant leak could exacerbate the situation. With the process complete, he turned to see Parson crumpled on the floor, grief-stricken, but before he could even try to help the comm system activated.

"Bridge to Engineering. What's our status, Mr. Oliveria?"

Nico watched Parsons for a few moments, not trusting himself to respond immediately. Finally, the Chief Engineer managed to collect himself again and answered the Captain speaking through his respirator, "Not good captain, warp drive and main power are offline. We've had a coolant leak, but it is contained for the moment. We've lost several warp coils in the starboard nacelle, which caused a power overload event." Nico jumped, his attention momentarily diverted from the crumpled engineer, as a conduit behind him let out a dazzling array of sparks, "Stardrive computer core is offline, as well as both primary power couplings. The best we can do right now is half impulse and partial shields. Only the fusion reactors in the saucer section are operational." The engineer turned back to Parsons, who seemed oblivious to the world. Extreme guilt attempted to overwhelm the Vegan as he tried to tamp it down, "And Captain, we have five confirmed dead in Main Engineering due to the coolant leak."

"Understood, Chief. Please stay safe as best you can. Keep us appraised, Lieutenant. Bridge out," replied the Captain.

As soon as the link separated, Nico gingerly walked over to Ensign Parsons and knelt, "Parsons, why don't you go to Sickbay?" He looked around as other engineers were filtering through the door, reporting to their emergency stations, "We can handle it from here." Nico looked to his right, seeing the part Klingon operations officer for the first time since their impact, "Qa'Val assist Ensign Parsons to Sickbay."

"Aye, sir," Qa'Val said, with only a thin trickle of green blood swelling at the edge of her forehead's ridges. Based on the knock she received, she would have a black eye in the worst case scenario, but was otherwise unaffected - physically, at least.

It took several long moments for the Ensign's eyes to even flick to Oliveria -- several moments more for them to focus on the Chief and register what he was saying. But as he was helped up into a standing position, taking pressure off what was -- at this point -- probably a broken leg, Parsons looked squarely at his superior as if about to say something. Glazed eyes gave way to...blaming resolve? Anguished guilt? It was hard to say. But whatever thoughts were in Parsons' head suddenly shook themselves out as the young engineer winced in pain. Shifting himself more comfortably into the arms supporting him, Parsons simply nodded.

"Sickbay then. Aye, sir." He allowed himself to be led off, hobbling half under his own weight, half supported by his fellow colleague. But broken leg notwithstanding, it seemed the real injuries Parsons had sustained were not physical in nature. Under orders or not, he'd just killed five people. Turning to spare Oliveria one last, parting look, the comically awkward young man who usually couldn't string two sentences together seemed suddenly gone as doors hissed opened to swallow Parsons and his escort.

As soon as the doors slid shut the comm activated again, "Nico, get your people out of starboard impulse control. There's a cascading buildup in progress inside the plasma conduits that feed the containment fields. Once it goes, there won't be any protection from the impulse manifolds."

Timmoz's use of the Human's first name pulled him back to reality in a snap. Even as he slapped his combadge to reply to the Orion, his fingers were a blur on the console Parson's had manned, activating the evacuation alarms in impulse control. The same console that Nico had ordered Parson's to kill five good people with was now ironically being used to save five of his crew, "Thank you, Timmoz, We're on it."

A mission post by

Lieutenant Nico Oliveria
Chief Engineer

Boatswain First Class Qa'Val


Ensign Sheldon Parsons
Engineering Officer


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