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Posted on Sep 20, 2017 @ 11:41pm by Lieutenant Tomas' Vukovic

Mission: The Romulan Way


(takes place between Ran's "Witnessing ..." and Shawn's "One Minute ...")


Stardate: [2.17]0920.1121
Scene: Bridge



His mind was full of stars.


He'd forgotten something. It was right on the tip of his tongue, but eluded him.


A heavy hand descended on his shoulder. The stars receded from him at near warp speed. It was an internal wrenching, a feeling that he'd been dragged bodily back from wherever he'd been. It was thoroughly unpleasant.

"Mr. Vukovic. Are you all right?"

Tomas' blinked open his eyes. And closed them again as his surroundings rushed in upon him. Again, he opened his eyes.

"Sir?" he asked.

ExO Jake Chrichton stood next to him at his station at the helm of the PHOENIX. His hand rested on his shoulder, a warm solidity in a very fluid environment.

"You look ... lost, Lieutenant. Are you fit for duty?"

Tomas' shook his head, hoping to clear his head.

"I'm ... I'm fit, sir. Just ... a little dazed."

"I'm not surprised," Jake smiled thinly. "That was an 'unusual' course you plotted. I honestly didn't know the ship could do that."

Tomas' forced his memory to the fore, recalled the speed of the maneuvering. Starship Dreadnoughts were not designed to move like fighter craft. But that's what had happened.

"Was anyone hurt," he asked, dreading the answer.

Chrichton shook his head.

"Surprisingly, no. And I have to wonder why."

Tomas' knew why. Tomas' knew all sorts of things. For about five seconds, he'd been the ship itself, lived a lifetime in that moment. At the onset of his run, he'd merged with the ship through his BORG implants. He hadn't made the same mistake he'd made earlier. He hadn't tried to access all systems. That's what had gotten everyone's attention before. This time, he'd confined himself to maneuvering and navigation and shields. That one lucky shot from a Romulan vessel had fed back through the system, and he was aware of the burn he'd taken across his back from that hit. His body was repairing itself even now. He opted not to mention that. He hadn't even bothered with the weapons. And one other thing.

"It was the SIF, sir." he answered.

"The Structural Integrity Field?" Jake asked, surprised.

Tomas' nodded.

"Yes, sir. Normally it's designed and used to strengthen the physical integrity of the ship itself during heavy maneuvers. But it also keeps all of us biologicals from becoming paste on the bulkheads when we jump to warp speed."

Chrichton smiled. An indulgent smile. He knew what the SIF was. He knew what it did. He had been an engineer a life time ago.

"What did you do, Mr. Vukovic?"

"I dialed up the SIF , sir."

"Dialed it up?"

"Yes, sir. I increased the general setting to nearly 100%. You'd never have noticed unless you tried to move."

Jake's mind flashed over the concept. The SIF was a tricky bit of engineering. It made FTL ships possible for manned flight. He really hadn't considered the idea of "dialing it up."

"That would ..." he began.

"Make it feel like you're swimming in jello, sir. But it would keep your insides where they're supposed to be, and your skin, too. But you'd have to try to move in order to notice it. Most of us were secured at stations, sir, doing as little as possible and trying to avoid going splat against some bulkhead."

Chrichton, spun about.

"Medical! Casualties?"

[[None, Bridge.]] the answer came back.

Tomas' almost smiled.

Jake turned back.

"Some real problems with that idea," he pointed out.

Tomas' nodded in acknowledgement.

"No way to turn it off," he said. "Nobody can move. But I didn't have to. I was merged with ship operations."

"And if you'd died?"

"Everybody else would have joined me soon enough. You can't breathe against that sort of field, either. The lungs can't expand or contract. The heart won't beat."

Jake rubbed his eyes with his fingers.

"Mr. Vukovic."


"When this is all over ... we need to talk. Seriously. Your initiative is both commendable ... and terrifying."

"Aye, sir." Tomas' nodded in agreement. "Oh, by the way," he asked, his brow furrowed. "Is there any functional AI aboard this vessel?"

That had come from way out in left field, Jake worried. For the moment he went with it.

"Just standard AI interface with certain systems. Nothing mission critical. Not since the Daystrom fiasco."

"Nothing sentient?"

"Absolutely," Jake reassured him.

Tomas' frowned. He personally knew of at least one sentient AI aboard a Starfleet vessel ... the USS PANDORA.

"Why?" Jake prodded when he didn't get any further response.

"Nothing," Tomas' replied, turning back to the standard helm interface. "Probably just a bug in the interface."

"Seriously, Lieutenant," Jake fixed him with a look. "You and I are going to have a long conversation ... very soon."

"Aye, sir," Tomas' agreed, going back to his ship handling duties.


NRPG: I've been wanting to explain just exactly what Tomas' did during that "Hail Mary" maneuver. He has a peculiar set of skills, but there are some real drawbacks to what he can do. And I wanted to lay some groundwork for something I've been thinking about and conversing with Jerome about.


Kenneth Field
writing for:

Lieutenant Tomas' Vukovic
Helm One


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