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What's Not to Like?

Posted on Thu Aug 26th, 2021 @ 12:00pm by Captain Nycolas Temple & Commander Owen Nash & Lieutenant Farizah Alani & Lieutenant Commander Mindo & Lieutenant James Smith & Ensign Aenardha Sh'vastarth

Mission: The Gauntlet
Location: Deck 2: Ready Room
Timeline: Soon After "A Fiery Idea"


Aenardha followed behind her boss, Lieutenant Smith, as they made their way to the Captain's Ready Room. She was still visibly excited to have the opportunity to detail her idea. LT Smith seemed to have liked the idea. After all, it could get them home at lot sooner than expected. How could the Commander or the Captain not enjoy it as well?

“Thank you for having me along, sir,” she said to Lieutenant Smith. “I am confident in my intel.”

James nodded as they walked to the Captain's office, “You're welcome Ensign. Your Intel is great and I’m sure the Captain and Commander will agree. I wanted you with me to explain it to them and to answer any questions that they may have.”

"I will, sir," she said. Aenardha sounded a little nervous about it all. So short was her time aboard the Pandora and already she was going to brief the Senior Officers on her own idea. She hoped she could keep her thoughts together enough to be coherent.

They approached the Captain's Ready Room, where Temple and Nash were already together. As the door chimed, Nyx was quickly tidying away the glasses of whiskey they had been drinking; a Captain's prerogative at the end of a hard week. Seeing that Nyx was busy finishing his glass, Commander Nash took the initiative to respond.

"Come in," he said. Upon hearing the doors swish open, he looked up to see both Lieutenant Smith and Ensign Sh'vastarth appear at the entrance. "James, Aenardha, what a pleasure to see you both. What can we do for you?" Owen asked, curious to know why they had paid a visit.

James walked in and smiled at his brother-in-law, “I’m hoping we aren’t interrupting anything sirs, but the Ensign presented a plan to me and I would like her to present the information to you both as well. Depending on what you think, we’d like you to share it with the Senior Officers”.

"Not at all," Nyx said jovially, "It's good to see you again Smith," He nodded to the Ensign, "And you, too, Sh'vastarth." Nyx moved around from his desk and leaned on the front side of it casually.

Owen stood up and directed them both to the seats across the right wall. "Of course, let's have a look at what you have," he said, looking at both James and Aenardha to see what she wanted to suggest as a plan. Owen was also happy to see her again, regardless of this being work or not.

There was an awkward moment as Commander Nash offered for them to sit. Aenardha, of course, wanted her superior officer and boss to sit before her, but Lieutenant Smith seemed to want the lady to sit first. Aenardha sensed the communal thoughts of them both and was the first to take her seat. Then, Lieutenant Smith. Finally, Commander Nash took the chair next to the desk. She used his vision to ensure she was looking Temple and Nash in the eyes. She used Lieutenant Smith’s vision to take in his features, dedicating his face to memory.

“Um, Commander, Captain,” she brought her specialised PADD up and tapped at it. The screen lit up and the braille subsided. Already, there was the image of the Pandora, seemingly, burning in space. Burning, but relatively undamaged. The ship was zipping through a dense area of gas spanning various colors of greens and dull reds. She spun the PADD around for Nash and Temple to see. “I did some analyses of the nebula standing between us and the exit of the Inconnu Expanse. This nebula is regarded as unnavigable and simply too dangerous to traverse. The various gases making up the nebula are, in fact, volatile. Using the holodeck, I created a simulation of this ship…the Pandora…navigating through at roughly four-tenths warp speed. At this speed, the Pandora will…um…produce enough drag…that is, friction between the hull and the dense gas…to heat the outer hull and, in return, ignite the gas. We will have to keep the shields down. Shields will only increase our size and will have to withstand constant bombardment of nebular gas. This will put an exponentially increased strain on the Warp Core.”

The Captain laughed under his breath, "Well, Mindo loves it when I break the ship." He said dryly. "How so?"

She worked the PADD and zoomed out on the image. “You see, there will be a trail of fire in our wake stretching back for several thousand kilometers before dissipating and burning out. This idea of mine will not cause the nebula to burn out completely.” She paused and took a breath. “For the simulation, I increased the general density of the nebula by 5%. Even with that, the Pandora has endured and survived the simulation. The trail of fire behind us will keep any and all ships from following too closely. If they attempt to follow at a further distance, they too will be subject to this amount of friction. The aerodynamic design of the Pandora will allow us to maintain four-tenths warp speed. No other ship that we have encountered, whose design I loaded into the simulation, can traverse the nebula at this speed and survive. Our enemies simply cannot follow us. Any torpedo they fire will be destroyed by the trail of fire we leave behind. And we will be well outside of the range of their phasers within minutes of entering the nebula.”

"Surely we'd be noticed though?" Nyx asked, frowning, staring at the brightly burning Pandora hologram.

Aenardha actually looked between the three men, utilising their visions to ensure she looked them each in the eyes, understanding that doing so would keep their attentions. “Sure we will be giving away our position but communication is spotty at best for anyone trying to make contact to a ship on the other side. Going around and meeting us as we emerge will take any ship, even us, weeks. Going through this nebula at this speed will take us 9 days at most. 9 days of the crew working two twelve-hour shifts. We will need to re-purpose personnel, like transporter techs, operations crewmen, astrometric analysts, to Engineering because maintaining the stability of the Pandora will be a constant job for these 9 days.”

Nyx shifted as he leaned on the desk, trying to take in the information. He had questions, and doubts, but he still wanted to hear more. "This is a big ask for our Engineers." He said honestly.

“Um,” and Aenardha took another deep breath. In the time after she presented this to Lieutenant Smith and now, she did, in fact, speak with Engineering, going against Lieutenant Smith’s request that she do so after this meeting. Still, she decided it was best to out with it and face a reprimand later. “Before our meeting with you, sir, I did speak with Lieutenant Mindo regarding this idea of mine.” She could feel Lieutenant Smith’s eyes on her. She did not need to utilize his vision to know that. Aenardha, instead, focused solely on Nyx and Nash’s vision going between her and her PADD. “He believes that, using the cooling theory designed to complete the request on my quarters can be expanded, to a lesser degree, upon the inner hull plating of the Pandora, thus reducing the heat and the damage upon the outer hull by 50%.” Despite going against her boss’ orders, she could tell she had their attentions perked. “We could decidedly, increase speed to eight-tenths warp speed, thus reducing our travel time to 4, maybe 5, days.”

She could sense the thoughts of the senior officers; calculating, rethinking, doubting, hopeful, resisting, wanting.

“There will be constant turbulence,” she added. “Anyone looking out their window will see nothing but fire. Stress levels will elevate. The overall temperature inside the Pandora may rise. Counseling and recreation for the crew to decompress will be a premium. But we will be out of the Expanse, we will be home, far sooner than anyone can predict. I know it is against protocol for me to read minds without prior order or permission, but communal thoughts are just too powerful for me to constantly ignore. And the communal thoughts of the crew are of a desire to be home and away from the Inconnu Expanse as quickly as possible. When given a choice between a 5 day marathon of fire or weeks of possible enemy attack while we go around the nebula, I think the crew would vote for a 5 day marathon.” Aenardha felt the need to add, “this will work.”

The Captain took in a deep, long breath. "I'm going to need a second opinion." He admitted.

Sometime later, Lieutenant Mindo and the new Chief of Operations Lieutenant Alani were invited to the conversation. The plan was relayed again to the new attendants from the junior officer.

Temple sat back in his chair, looking over the PADD once more. "It sounds risky." Nyx spoke, "But your calculations are sound."

"It's downright crazy," Lieutenant Mindo said. "And our calculations are sound. Engineering and Ops will be working round the clock for five days, but it's better than everyone being a target for five weeks. And I'm confident my team's alterations to the hull will allow us to travel twice as fast, if you don't mind a little cold weather. I'm working with Ops to determine which systems would have to be altered as well."

James nodded, “I also thought what she was asking and showing me was also risky, but I have enough faith in our engineering team to know that they can pull it off. We would also pull anyone who has any engineering experience to help as well, all of us will need to help each other to get this ship through and keep sensors running at optimum levels. We don’t want any surprises once we exit the nebula. Her numbers impressed me so much that I felt we needed to bring this to everyone else.”

"And what if we find the calculations are incorrect? Do we have a... an 'emergency stop' procedure, so to speak?" Temple asked.

"If we stop," Mindo said, "that's the emergency. Captain, I'll be honest. This is a very dangerous plan. This ship has seen a good deal of wear and tear in the time we've been here. But the Pandora is not so fragile we can't stand a little heat. I think it's a lot better than a photon torpedo up the tailpipe. I can protect us from fire, just not enemy fire."

"I agree on that," Nyx nodded, "But I'm talking about contingency plans. What if we need to halt the maneuver in a hurry?"

Mindo shook his head. "We can't all-stop, sir. We'd have to exit the nebula first. But the only reason to stop is if engines are completely offline, and I won't let that happen."

Nyx gave a short shrug, "Then we'll have to travel as close to the edge of the nebula as possible. If we start getting into trouble, we can bail out. I trust your calculations but I need to have an escape plan just in case."

"If I can help from Ops, I think we can come up with something," Mindo said.

"We'll need to supplement Engineering crew with as many Ops and Science team members as possible." Nyx nodded, "So we're not completely exhausting Engineering."

“I can help,” Aenardha spoke up. “With permission, and as long as I am working with someone with engineering knowledge, I can use their knowledge telepathically to perform some tasks. That is,” and she looked to Lieutenant Smith, “unless I am needed in Intelligence.”

James shook his head, “No Ensign, Intelligence will be fine, we need you to help out in Engineering. I am also making anyone else that I have on my team available to assist in Engineering as well.” James looked over at the Captain.

Nyx turned to the Chief of Ops, "How about you, Lieutenant?"

Farizah shot a look at Mindo and smiled. "Lieutenant Mindo knows that I would be more than delighted to work with him and assist in any way that Operations can on this matter."

"Good." Nyx said firmly. "And as I said in our first meeting, please lean on Ensign Milkovich as well. He's really stood up of late. Now, Regarding the hull." Nyx continued, leaning over to look at the modelling again. "You said we'll be seeing nothing but fire out the windows? I don't like the effect that could have on the crew, it'll only add to the stress levels. We'll need to close all windows for the duration of the trip, especially on the Observation Lounges and the Eclipse bar."

“I agree Captain, but we may also need to have all counseling staff on hand as well, not being able to see out of the ship may affect our crew in various ways and we need counseling there to help take care of it.” James said before looking around the room again.

"Agreed." Nyx nodded, "Anything we can do to lessen the strain on the crew would be great. I'll speak with Lieutenant Kaleri."

The Captain's vision was trained on the image of the burning Pandora making its way through the nebula. Figures continued to scroll across the simulation, giving density levels, hull strain numbers, and - perhaps most importantly - travel distance. The possibility of being back in Federation territory in five days instead of weeks sounded too good to be true. And it was, because they would be putting the ship through considerable strain in order to achieve that goal. All they had to go on was the Ensign's calculations and the computer's simulations, and years of sitting in the Captain's chair had taught Nyx that nothing was ever guaranteed. Not even the best calculations.

But the choice was in front of them now, and the plan seemed to have the backing of the relevant department heads. Leaning back on the desk again, he shared a look with Commander Nash, a kind of non-verbal, non-telepathic conversation two colleagues can have after spending years serving together as CO and XO. There was a slight nod passed between them both.

Turning back to the others, Nyx clapped his hands together, "Alright, well let's keep working on the calculations and ensure we have everything figured out. If it still looks good, then we can proceed with this plan."

The Bolian Chief Operations Officer nodded. "It will," she said almost as if she could guarantee it. "You have the best crew in the fleet. This plan will look so good that you can hold it up against a scantly clothed Orion slave girl, and the plan would look more attractive."

Nyx blinked. "I... probably won't do that, but I admire your confidence." With a slight shake of his head, Nyx turned to the Intelligence officer. "Thank you, Ensign Sh'vastarth for coming up with this plan. It could very well see us home to safety in far, far less time. If it works, you will have the whole ship's deepest gratitude. I appreciate you taking the initiative and developing this idea so succinctly."

Aenardha looked back at herself through the eyes of the Captain and various others, all looking at her. “I thank you, sir. Just looking out for my crew.”

At this, Nyx smiled, "That you have, Ensign."



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