Crisis on the Frontier 4X01
Location: Langley Station and USS Vancouver
Timeline: MD8 1630 Hours
"You see the damage report summary the Vancouver transmitted to the station's yard engineers?" Xynys asked. She walked alongside the Endeavour's new Chief Engineer toward the Vancouver's docking port. "It's going to take weeks to get her back to minimal operating levels."
"Only weeks?" Bill questioned with a grimace "Sounds optimistic. At best, I'd expect a month or two. Unless they've got some kind of miracle worker working on it."
"That's what I heard," Xynys hissed with a shrug. "I wonder how bad it's going to be on the inside."
"Well, I'll say one thing." Bill replied with a small grin "There's not going to be much for me to take apart."
They arrived at the docking collar where a stream of station personnel funneled their way into the Vancouver carrying all manner of equipment and components the steamrunner-class vessel needed. A few officers from the ship dotted the swarm of station personnel, evidenced by their dirty uniforms and haggard appearance. Xynys gestured for Bill to follow her, and she began to push through the crowd. "Make a hole!" She shouted.
Bill grimaced as he watched the ship's personnel vacate. Some showed signs of injury and scarring. Battle hardened, some would call it.
He called it mutilated.
"Run me through exactly what happened to the ship again." Bill said sombrely "I want to make sure I have the facts straight before I apologise for something that never happened."
"The Vancouver was escorting a convoy from Federation space to the Cardassian Union," Xynys explained. The crowd began to thin past the docking collar and entered the dark corridors of the ship. Lights and panels flickered intermittently, occasionally spraying sparks. "About a dozen small fighter craft attacked her with anti-matter weapons. Shields overloaded. Point-defense systems collapsed. The starboard warp engine was disabled. Impulse generators knocked offline. They let her drift while the pirates raided the convoy."
"Vultures." Bill grimaced "First things first, we'll need to evaluate the structural damage, make sure it's safe to keep teams onboard. Have any teams got on the outer hull to inspect it?"
"They started two hours ago, but, Bill, we're not here to fix her," She came to a stop and turned to face him. "It's not our job today."
"I know, I know." Bill replied, smiling sheepishly "Reflex, I guess."
Xynys regarded the human looking up at her and returned his smile with one of her own. "I used to know someone like you," She said, dropping her guard for a moment. "You remind me, for lack of a better word in English, of my husband."
"Why, was he a fleshy pink Human rather than big green and scaly too?" Bill quipped, quickly regaining his sense of humour.
"The latter, he was, after all, a handsome man," Xynys said. "Though you aren't too ugly for a mammal." She tried to bit back a hissing chuckle but it managed to escape.
"Charming." Bill rolled his eyes and grinned as he added "Godzilla."
"One of your most powerful demons," She said with a toothy smile. "He'd take it as a compliment, but what I mean to say is your want to fix things is what reminded me of him."
"Godzilla's not..." Bill began, rolling his eyes "Never mind. Let's just do what we're here to do and get out of here."
They continued down the Vancouver's corridors. The ship's single-hull design made for a long, uninterrupted walk from the docking port near the bow all the way to engineering in the ship's central-stern section. Along the way, the damage grew worse. Panels lay in broken bits on the floor. Cables hung from the ceiling and jutted from the bulkheads. The occasional containment field or emergency forcefield blocked their path and forced them to go around. Eventually they arrived at Main Engineering.
Unassuming double doors gave way to the ship's engine room. A small bank of consoles on the left and right opened up to a central chamber with an inert warp core. It reminded Xynys of a less-sophisticated Intrepid-class engineering room with its upper level and control alcoves to the left and right of the core. It lacked the space of its counterpart and the dizzying array of LCARS panels.
Scruff starship engineers mixed with yard engineers with unblemished jumpsuits. No doubt that would change soon. "Not as bad as I was expecting down here," She said, noting the few flickering consoles and minimal debris.
"How many casualties?" Bill questioned as he looked around the room.
"Three dead, four critically wounded, a dozen recovering on the station." The Chief Engineer of the Vancouver approached the unblemished officers clutching a spanner in one hand. She was a human woman with close-cut red hair and sharp green eyes. Grease and dried blood clung to her face. She wiped her forehead to clear the sweat, but only smeared more grease across it.
"You two from the Endeavour?"
"Yeah." Bill replied "I'm Lieutenant Bill Hendrix, Chief Engineer, and this is my Assistant Chief, Lieutenant Seltriss."
Xynys bobbed her head. "Pleasure to meet you, ma'am."
"Sure," She said, regarding the Gorn through narrow eyes before shaking her head. She didn't have the luxury of objecting to help from a Gorn in a Starfleet uniform. "Commander Harkins is fine. So, you here to help or get a damage report?"
"I'd love to say the former, but unfortunately, we're here for the report." Bill replied with a frown.
"Well, let's take the tour," She said with an exasperated sigh. "Anti-matter weapons struck the port nacelle strut and blew out the engine in the first volley." Harkins pushed past the pair and led them out of Engineering. "At first the attacks looked random, striking different sections and scattering fire across the hull. The power of their anti-matter weapons kept us off balance too long to realize they were targeting power distribution."
"They knew exactly where to hit you so that they'd hurt but not kill you." Bill said "Clever."
"And left with the rest of the convoy in ruins and the supplies tucked away safely into their cargo holds," Harkins added. They traveled through the Vancouver's darkened corridors passing work crews and broken equipment along the way. As they turned the corner, the Chief Engineer came to a halt. The familiar hum of a forcefield filled the air. Beyond the containment field was empty space.
Xynys let out a long, low hissing whistle. "This is almost fifteen meters across," She said, pointing to the next section of habitable corridor.
"Do we know how much anti-matter was in the warhead that caused this?" Bill asked, gazing out over the abyss.
"This wasn't a warhead," Harkins intoned. "It was an anti-matter energy weapon. Punched right through the shields."
"That's impossible..." Bill said, adding at impressive speed "Anti-matter doesn't function that way, shields are amongst the only things that would be able to tank anti-matter energy. With damage, sure, but it wouldn't be punched through. You cannot defy the laws of physics!"
Commander Harkins held up her hands. "I'm telling you what the sensor data reported and what the bridge crew described. This wasn't a warhead. We we found a few casing and remains in other sections, but at this site...nothing."
"Great." Bill said, rolling his eyes "So we're dealing with a weapon that defies the laws of physics..."
"Just figure it out, Lieutenant. My hands are full and my people exhausted." Harkin's eye twitched. "I lost two people in this section. Laws of physics didn't seem to give a damn about them."
"Right. Sorry." Bill said "We'll get to it. Thanks."
Harkins shook her head. "No, I'm sorry," She said with a heavy sigh. She rubbed the bridge of her nose. "Let me know what you find." Without waiting for a response, Harkins turned and left the Endeavour's engineers in the blasted corridor.
"How do you do in EVA?" Xynys asked, surveying the wreckage.
"I get space sick." Bill confessed with a slightly downtrodden look "This will not be fun..."
Lieutenant Jg William Hendrix
Lieutenant Jg Xynys Seltriss (pNPC Farragut)
Assistant Chief Engineer