What a Drag
Aenardha was in Astrometrics primarily using her special PADD to create and adjust a holographic projection of the Expanse and surrounding areas. There were a few other lower ranked officers and enlisted in there performing their respective works. This gave Aenardha some public vision and awareness to ensure the holographic projection was accurate. She had the computer bring up and annotate the locations of starts, other planets, known locations of other ships friendly, enemy or otherwise.
Satisfied with the program, she tapped away at her PADD and the projection faded away, stored in the ship’s computer. With PADD in hand, Aenardha stepped away and ventured her way to the holodeck.
Entering, “Computer. Begin holoprogram ‘Sh’vastarth: The Voyage Home.’”
With no one else present, she could not see but did hear an affirmative bleep from the computer and the soft sounds of the holo emitters activating.
“Computer, open parameters. Created solid, heated masses in the locations of starts. Smaller, cooler masses for planets. Dense fog-like areas where the nebula and he expanse prove dense. Maintain proportions in regards to distance between points based on the scale of the space displayed.”
As she spoke, she could hear the holo emitters adjusting and applying her parameters as she continued.
“Highlight the location of the Pandora. Reposition the Pandora to the following coordinates.”
She brought up her PADD and felt along the braille. Aenardha swiped and tapped until she found what she was looking for; an area of a vast nebula made up of dense and volatile gases. It was ruled to be un-navigable.
“Computer, zoom in on this location. Maintain perspective on the Pandora as central point. Accelerate the Pandora to four-tenths light speed. Display telemetry on my PADD.”
After another bleep of affirmation, she read her PADD by dancing her fingers across the lit braille display. She could not see it, but the PADD told her all she needed to know. The speed at which the Pandora would travel through that area of the nebula was creating such drag on the ship, so much friction against the dense gases that they were igniting into flame in the Pandora’s wake. There was some flashes of flame coming off the Pandora’s hull and the hull did grow hot, but the telemetry displayed on Aenardha’s PADD showed the drag and heat tolerance were within maintainable proportions. Structural integrity was diminishing, but well inside acceptable levels. It was especially enough for Engineering, with additional assistance, to maintain.
Aenardha let the program continue, the Pandora speeding through the dense nebula, leaving a trail of fire behind, as she tapped at her commbadge. “Sh’vastarth to Lt. James. Can you join me on the holodeck please.”
James looked around the room as his staff continued to monitor reports that were coming in across the ship as well as running the continuous scans that monitored the space around them and he had made sure that long range sensors were running at peak efficiency. James looked up as the call came in to come to the holodeck. James headed toward the door of his office and hit his com badge as he headed out the door. “On my way Sh’vastarth.”
James arrived within a few minutes as the door opened he made his way inside and looked around at the program that was running. “What do we have, Ensign.” James said as he stopped next to her.
He could see, in the space before him, the Pandora zipping through the volatile gas as such speed that the ship’s hull was glowing a dull red, patches of gas sparked into flame resulting in a trail of fire behind the ship.
“I think I have a way to cut our trip shorter than expected, sir. This patch of nebula,” she tapped at her PADD and the scene zoomed out. Using his vision through telepathy, they could both see the trail of fire stretched behind the Pandora for thousands of kilometers. “This is ruled to be not navigable. Not at too high a speed that is. Otherwise it is simply too volatile. However, if we travel at about .4 the speed of light, the stress on the hull will be manageable. The friction due to the gas density will create a drag on the ship thus producing a trail of fire behind us. No ship can hope to follow us. To get around this patch of nebula will take two weeks at best and that is if we are not harassed in any way. Going through here,” she zoomed back in on the ship, “at .4 the speed of light, will take only a week. Maybe 8 days. Sure, we are giving away our position, but no one can follow, no torpedo can withstand the drag of the nebula and will succumb to the trail of fire if it does get into range. We will not be able to run with shields as that will put too much stress on the warp core and out power output.”
She turned to look at him. “ Sir,” she finished.
As he was still gazing upon a fiery Pandora, she used his area of awareness to approximate looking him in the eye if/when he turned to her. Aenardha hoped she did a good job and that her research had been adequate.
James looked over the information in front of him, she had done a lot of work and he was truly impressed. The only problem he was seeing is if it could be that simple. Almost anything could be waiting along that path hoping they would take a route like this. James turned to look at the Ensign, “I like the idea, but only issues is that we would be throwing up a red flair signaling our exact location. How will our shields hold up within the nebula and will we be able see if there is anything waiting for us when we leave the nebula I want nothing messing with our sensors that could risk the safety of the ship and it’s crew.”
“We will have to run without shields, sir. That amount of drag will put too much stress on the shields. It would be better to run without them and keep the hull polarized and take the brunt of the force. The Pandora will tolerate the drag, friction and heat. We can get engineering to make our probes more aerodynamic so they can pierce through the gas and go on ahead, scanning for other ships waiting for us. As long as we maintain constant observation of sensors and lend a few hands to help with engineering, because we will need it, I think we can get out of this situation and back into Federation space far faster than anyone is expecting.”
Aenardha wanted to tell him, again, that the Pandora would stand up to that amount of stress, but he could already see the simulation running adequately, so she kept quiet.
Nodding again he smiled, “it looks really good then Ensign. I trust your calculations and after all risk is part of being in Starfleet. Please make the necessary adjustments and let engineering know that we will need everything they can give us. Also I’ll authorize you to use the off duty personal to help in engineering as well. Please send this to the Captain and myself he may want to go over the plan in more detail..”.James looked at the Ensign this is great work Ensign, I can’t wait to see what else you come up with.
“Thank you, sir,” she said with a nod. She felt a sense of pride well within her. So new to the ship and already making strides. “I would feel more comfortable, sir, if you would take this to the Commander. I do not want him to think I am going over your head. Chain of Command and all. I can get with Engineering in the meantime. That is…unless you want me in there with you, with the Commander, sir,” she finished.
James smiled, “you can work with engineering after Ensign, I would like to have you with me when we talk to the commander. I believe that you have come up with a great Idea and would like you to explain it to him as well.”
Aenardha nodded her understanding. After deactivating the holoprogram, she followed after her lieutenant.