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A Dream Come Blue

Posted on Thu Aug 19th, 2021 @ 6:20pm by Lieutenant Farizah Alani & Lieutenant Commander Mindo

Mission: The Gauntlet
Timeline: current


It was early in Lieutenant Mindo's morning shift in Engineering. He'd read the reports of last night's shift and was pleased to see that the ship was healthy and ready to disembark at a moment's notice. They had been at Paradise Station for a few days, and with the Alrakis Pact chasing them down, it was unlikely they were going to stay for much longer. This meant soon they would be in the Rentara nebula. It was possible that they would be enacting Ensign Sh'vastarth's plan to navigate the Pandora through a very volatile corridor of the nebula that would require the ship to travel at sublight speed for four, perhaps five days. Before the order had even been given, Mindo had ordered his crew to get to work seeing how to make such a feat possible. It was clear that freezing the entire hull would be the most logical solution to a hugely illogical plan. Crewmen Zo and Greep were already hard at work at setting up Sh'vastarth's quarters with a sub-zero setting, a task that would be emulated around the ship if it succeeded.

Mindo's first objective then was to confer with Ops. He hadn't yet met the new Chief of Operations, and in fact knew nothing about them. He decided to head over to the department office itself, which was not far from Engineering.

Lieutenant Farizah Alani was in her quaint little office, her feet kicked up atop of her desk and reclined a bit in her chair. It was a hell of a lot more comfortable than her years of standing guard somewhere or manning the tactical station on her previous assignments. Of course, she had a bridge station too, but that one came with a lovely seat. Sure, it was not as comfortable as the one in her office but that was still a far cry above the stress put on her back standing for several hours at tactical aboard the USS Astraea.

The Bolian held a PaDD in one and while the slender fingers of her other were slipped through the handle of an orange mug and wrapped around it towards the bottom. The mug itself was still warm, the liquid inside still steaming and letting out a delightfully sweet and spicy aroma. She had an 'open door policy' quite literally. The woman had forced the door of her office open and manually disabled it from closing while she was occupying her office space. She hated the disruption of door chimes and the whole procedural 'enter' or 'come in' instead she liked people to just be caught off guard by rounding the corner and seeing her there.

And caught off guard Mindo was as he arrived. He activated his elevation device, two thin braces with small propulsion systems designed specifically to his weight, an invention of Mindo's own. His feet went up about two feet, making him fully visible to the Ops chief. He hovered to the edge of the entrance.

"Mmmm" she replied studying the other lieutenant. "I've been expecting to see you," she added with a chuckle as she sat the PaDD aside and took her feet off her desk, and straightened her posture, leaning forward in her comfy chair. "Hello there, Lieutenant Mindo," she said addressing him fully.

"I hope I'm not disturbing you, Lieutenant," Mindo said.

Farizah scoffed and smiled. "Only in the ways that I like to be disturbed which is taking me away from reading these damn reports," she replied with a sigh. "I swear there was not as much paperwork when I worked Tactical and Security. It was all rather straight forwards then. You only needed to really report incidents if mistakes were made, and my men did not make them."

"I do the same thing in Engineering," Mindo said. "If my staff are constantly writing a report, and if I have to read them all, nothing will get done. Only myself and the shift leaders make reports, and all of them are brief, including the ones I write for Commander Nash at the end of each day. We thrive on efficiency in the core, not protocol."

Farziah chuckled and took a sip from her vanilla chai latte. "You have it a busy easier than me," she replied and smiled at Mindo. "No offense intended, but Commander Nash was not the Chief Engineer before. He was the Chief Operations Officer, and that just makes things a little more tricky for me. I want to make sure I am not just doing my job well, but have the approval of my predecessor."

Mindo grinned and nodded. "I actually replaced our Chief Engineer on the Tornado after she was promoted to first officer." And I was sleeping with her, he decided not to add. Back then, reports had been the best part of the day.

"Well," Farizah replied with a smile. "Tickle me blue, you have more in common with my experience than I thought you did," she added with a chuckle. "I know that I have some big boots to fill if my predecessor progressed to be First Officer of the starship like yours did. I'm hoping that I don't stick out like a sore thumb, but that kind of comes with the whole Bolian and such. So, what brings you to my office today, Lieutenant Mindo?"

Mindo hovered a little more inside and approached the desk, putting on his best smile. "How would you feel about freezing the outer hull of the ship for, I dunno, four or five days, traveling at point-eight impulse, surrounded by fire and the threat of imminent death inside a hostile, unpredictable nebula?"

"Sounds like you know how to show a girl a damn good time,Lieutenant," replied Farizah. She was not sure what the man was exactly suggesting, but she was certainly intrigued. "Sounds like more action and excitement than I've had in a while."

Mindo grinned. "I find it hard to believe you have trouble finding action, Lieutenant," he remarked. "Must make you blue... I've got some quarters on Deck Six that'll make you shiver."

"I'm a sort of a tropical girl myself," she replied with a smile. "Do you mean startling?" she asked.

"I meant literally," Mindo added. "I have a team working on lowering an Aenar Ensign's quarters to sub-zero temperatures. Ensign Sh'vastarth is used to very cold climates and requires her cabin temp to be much lower than regulation. Crewmen Zo and Greep are devising a system that will maintain a freezing atmosphere without affecting the rest of the deck. We're looking to freeze the outer hull using that technology so we can fly into the Rentara nebula and take a much quicker path to Federation space. It'll take five days, and the ship will be surrounded by flames for the duration. If we succeed, we'll be able to dodge any enemies in the area and get back home in less than one-fifth of the time."

Farizah cocked her head a bit. She was not sure what to make of all of that, especially the descriptive details of a flaming starship in space. That one was of particular interest to her. Nevertheless, she was not one to turn down the excitement. "May I be of some assistance on this?" she asked genuinely wanting to lend a hand if she could. If not, she would have been content with observing.

"I hope so," Mindo said. "I could use another set of eyes and yours look terrific... Lieutenant."

"You have some game," the Bolian replied, taking especially note at the terrific adjectives. "I'll help you out on this, Lieutenant. Though you'll have to have lunch or dinner with me sometime."

"Of course," Mindo said as they departed her office. "Since we'll likely be working together quite a bit, it would be good for us to know each other a little better. I could even show you a few more of those games you mentioned... ever play 'Donkey Kong?'"

"The large gorilla who takes the princess from the small weird human with the bad mustache?" She nodded. "Yes, know of it. The gorilla has good taste though taking the princess like that was not tactically sound. He should have subdued her first."

"Spoken like an experienced security officer," Mindo said. "But an Ops officer should be more concerned with how to use the hammer."

"A good Ops Officer would ideally prevent a situation where a hammer is needed," she countered and smiled. "Sorry, when in doubt I'm still going to shoot my way out of situations."

"Ah," Mindo said with a sharp nod, as they entered the turbolift. "Deck Six," Mindo ordered the lift. "Galaga, then," he continued. "I'm afraid my job is closer to Tetris. Every time I put something together, it disappears and then I have to deal with the next misshapen piece that falls on me. Fortunately I'm really good at fitting things in tight places."

Farizah smiled. "Sometimes, incredible things come in small packages, and you never quite know until you open them up." The Bolian giggled a little. "I bet that comes in handy in the Jefferies tubes, Lieutenant."

Mindo smiled, then laughed. "I had a line there about feeling blue, but you lost me in the Jefferies tube."

"Bet you can hide pretty good and easily," she teased. "Maybe hide and seek would be a fun game...internal sensors not being used of course and no tricorder."

"Is there a reason I'd want to hide from you?" Mindo asked playfully.

"The anticipation of what happens if I find you perhaps?" She fired back seductively. "And I'm damn good at finding things, people especially" she added.

"Interesting," said Mindo. "I find you damn good as well, Lieutenant."

The turbolift doors opened and revealed a small corridor leading out to a long curved hallway containing several doors, most of them officer's quarters.

The Bolian allowed Mindo to have the lead, he was more familiar with the USS Pandora than she was. Additionally, this was more his territory than her own. She yielded to his experience in his natural habitat.

They came around the bend and a chill hit them both. A door a few meters away swished open and another blast of cold hit them. Crewman Zo stepped out dressed in thick warm clothing from head to toe.

"This is Crewman Zo," Mindo said, gesturing to the man whose only exposed feature was his eyes. Shortly after that a taller man emerged wearing a regular Starfleet uniform over what appeared to be blue fur. A yellow beak protruded from the being's face. "...and this," Mindo continued, "is Crewman Greep. Zo, Greep, this is Lieutenant Alant, our new Chief of Ops."

Zo uncovered his mouth. "Nice to meet you, Lieutenant."

"Nice to meet you too Crewmen," she said to both of them. "I look forward to working with all of you aboard the Pandora. Lieutenant Mindo was telling me about one of your ambitious engineering endeavors."

Zo nodded. "Right now, we're trying to make these quarters a lower temperature than regulations allow for Ensign Sh'vastarth, our new Aenar officer. Part of our method is creating a shield around the quarters so the surrounding areas are unaffected by the cold."

"We plan to use a similar technique with navigating the ship through the unstable Rentara nebula," Mindo said, "in which the ship will be literally on fire for the duration of our journey through it, so the only damage will be simply cosmetic to some of the outer plating."

Zo nodded. "So far, our plan is working fine for Ensign Sh'vastarth's quarters, but we'll need significant help from Ops to implement the effect on the entire ship."

"It also means the outer portions of the ship will be extremely cold," Greep chimed in.

"We're hoping to be traveling at point-eight impulse, which should get us through the nebula in about five days," Mindo said, capping off the explanation. "What do you think?"

"Other than the fact that it's a ridiculous idea," Greep squawked.

Farizah looked at the squawking Greep. "Well, it is not your damn job to call out the ridiculous ideas, Crewman. It is your job to support Lieutenant Mindo and offer constructive criticism. 'Ridiculous is not constructive, it's just complaining. That's not doing anyone any favors" Farizah quipped and crossed her arms. "Now, I don't want to hear you belittle your Chief Engineer's ideas again. Critique them, improve them, but ultimately, you are carrying them out. So, what can we do to make this unconventional idea and a reality?"

Greep cocked his head and made a few clicking noises. "My apologies, ma'am. My comment was not intended as a complaint. I have full faith and confidence in Chief Mindo's orders."

Mindo cleared his throat. "Please excuse the Crewman's remark, Lieutenant. I'm sure he was simply referring to the plan being somewhat unorthodox. He will do better in the future when addressing a senior officer."

Greep made a throatal gasping sound before nodding his head to Lieutenant Alani.

"Aww that's adorable," Farizah said with a chuckle. "Apology accepted. I'm still new here, I didn't know you boys had that kind of relationship in Engineering."

"Getting back to the topic," Mindo said, "I believe this task will require a lot of manpower from both of our departments. We all need to know the specific systems that will be affected by such a dramatic cooling of the hull. We anticipate several parts of the ship will be at very low temperatures. I'd like to know which parts would be most at risk of damaging the ship and ways in which we can protect them."

"Well if I look bluer than normal, things went wrong," teased Farizah. "We have to be careful with the bio-neural gel packs, but I know you boys have probably already taken that into consideration when forming this plan. They are wonderful in what they do, but fickle and dainty."

"We have, but we need a few extra people working on that. I was hoping your department could lend us a hand," Mindo said. "By our calculations, they'll be in no real danger, and certainly won't run the risk of being overheated."

"Overheated, under heated, either or and those things are going to cause serious issues, but I am glad they were factored into the equation. I can spare you several of my finest" offered Farizah. "I'll make sure they know what the hell they are doing for all our sakes."

Greep squawked and addressed Mindo. "Chief, I believe Crewman Zo is better equipped than me to handle the freezing process. I believe I would be more useful assisting with the gel packs."

Mindo nodded. "Do it. Crewman Zo, how would you like to give Lieutenant Alani a crash course in freezing the ship?"

Zo grinned. "I'd love to, Chief. I think we're nearly done with Ensign Sh'vastarth's quarters, so it'll be pretty easy to explain."

"Excellent," Mindo said. "Lieutenant Alani, I leave you in the capable hands of Crewman Zo. And I look forward to dinner sometime in the near future." Behind them, Greep and Zo exchanged a brief, knowing glance.

"Good," Farizah replied. "My quarters tomorrow night, 1900 hours, casual or semi-formal...surprise me."

Mindo grinned and nodded. "I'll bring the tranya!"

Hmm thought Farizah. She had never had the pink-colored beverage before. "Sounds like a plan, Lieutenant Mindo" she added. Now, let's focus on these gel packs she thought to herself.


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