Previous Next

Sight To The Blind

Posted on Oct 13, 2018 @ 8:04pm by Captain Michael Turlogh Kane
Edited on on Oct 13, 2018 @ 8:55pm

Mission: The Uncertainty Principle


(Continued from "A Difficult Choice")

Location: USS Phoenix, adrift
Stardate: [2.18]1013.1200
Scene: Jeffries tube -> primary sickbay - deck 12, saucer section

It had taken almost half an hour, but Kane and Bartlett had finally managed to work their way down through the eleven decks that separated the main bridge from sickbay. The turbolift system across the entire saucer section was still offline, necessitating the use of access tunnels and Jeffries tubes. Slowly, carefully, Dr. Bartlett had guided the woozy Kane down through the ship, arm under arm, on each rung of each ladder.

As they began their final descent, the hatch at the bottom opened. Weak light flooded the interior of the Jeffries tube, and someone stepped into the tunnel. Kane looked down to see who it was, but Dr. Bartlett's body was in the way. The older man, breathing heavily from his exertions, was peering down into the gloom.

"Who's there?" he called. "We need help up here?"

The figure below had been about to climb onto the ladder, but held back. A woman's voice answered. "This is Lieutenant Yu! Are you from the bridge?"

A measure of relief passed through Kane when he heard Jasmine's voice. Jake had survived - he and Sotaar were taking charge of the bridge - and now Jasmine was safe too. He opened his mouth to speak but Dr. Bartlett got there first.

"Yes! This is Doctor Bartlett! I have Captain Kane with me!"

"Understood!" Jasmine called back. "Keep coming!"

Bartlett tugged at Kane's leg. "Come on, Captain. Just a little farther."

Kane nodded. The dull ache in his head hadn't disappeared. Bartlett had been talking about a possible concussion, and Kane was wracking his brains trying to remember what that meant. He felt woozy, but not so bad that he couldn't hand onto a ladder and climb down it. He felt disjointed, but not so much that he couldn't follow a conversation and respond to instructions. He felt nauseous, but not so much that he felt about to throw up. He willed himself to focus, and continued climbing downward.

Jasmine was waiting for him at the bottom, and when he crawled through the hatch into sickbay he almost fell down. The SecTac helped him back to his feet. "You have a sizeable lump on the right side of your head, Captain," she said.

"It's a temporary sub-surface hematoma," explained Bartlett. "Nothing to worry about."

Sickbay was busy. It was a credit to the ship's medical staff that there was no chaos. There were several injured members of the crew receiving treatment, but all their injuries seemed superficial. Those who could walk were being patched up and sent back to work. Although there was minimal power, some portable generators were online and providing power to the biobeds where those with broken bones or head traumas were resting.

Bartlett directed Jasmine and Kane to a vacant biobed. "Sit down there, Captain. I'll be right with you."

Out of the gloom, the satanic visage of Doctor Suvek appeared. The Vulcan's impassive features belied the seriousness of the tone of his voice. "Doctor Bartlett, I presume?"

"Yes." Bartlett motioned towards Kane. "Subdermal cranial hematoma, possible concussion. I'll be right back."

Bartlett moved away and began talking to the other nurses and doctors in sickbay, trying to get a sense of what was happening. Suvek approached Kane and Jasmine and opened a medical tricorder. "Please remain still, Captain."

Kane ignored him and turned to Jasmine. "Were you in Engineering, Lieutenant? What happened down there?"

Jasmine shook her head. "I'm not sure, sir. Several injuries, five fatalities. The experiment went wrong. I brought Doctor Crow to sickbay - "

"She's here?" grated Kane. He lifted his head off the biobed but a wave of dizziness forced him back down again.

"Easy, Captain. She's in the next room." Jasmine gently kept her hand on Kane's shoulder, and he lay still. "When I left Engineering, they were dealing with a power spike in the warp core. I think it must have been resolved, though, because - well, we're still alive."

Kane nodded. "Main computer's offline. Commander Crichton is on the bridge trying to establish command and control. You're not much use down here, Lieutenant - he could probably use your help."

"I was heading there before I met you," said Jasmine. "Captain, do they have any idea what we hit?"

Kane shook his head blearily. "I hope you can find out," he said, sagging back onto the bed. It crossed his mind to tell Jasmine, or Suvek - or anyone - about his odd experience in the ready room, but he discounted it. He had slammed his head against the wall scant moments before and his brain was not firing on all cylinders. It was probably an hallucination, not a premonition - a vision of fear instead of the future. He gave up thinking about it and the closed his eyes, the sounds of sickbay started to fade as he dozed off.

Jasmine glanced at Suvek. The Vulcan gave her a barely perceptible nod to let her know that he was in control of the situation. She took once last look around sickbay before heading to the access hatch again.


Scene: Main Engineering - deck 36, drive section

Lynette Ryan was doing her best to concentrate on the job, but that was proving difficult given the current circumstances. The sudden impact with whatever-it-was-that-had-crippled-the-ship had done a lot of damage, but there was a bizarre element to the whole thing that had left the engineers scratching their heads - as soon as they had stabilised the situation, that is.

She wondered if Mackie was alright. If he had been sleeping on her bed, then like as not the cat was fine, if a little roughed up. But if he had been perched up on something, or been wandering across the floor, then he might have been hurled into something hard enough to -

She forced herself not to think about it. There was work to do here, now. Half a dozen of her friends and team-mates were dead, the ship was listing, and the main computer was offline. Engineers trained for a multitude of emergency situations, and this was definitely one of them. No main computer meant no environment control - right now, the CO2 that everyone was exhaling was not being flushed out and recycled by the ship's atmosphere, meaning that the lethal gas was slowly but surely building up on every deck. The temperature was slowly dropping too - space was a frozen vacuum, and without an internal heat source, everyone aboard the Phoenix would slowly freeze and suffocate to death.

Commander Malin-Argo was tireless. Lynette watched the Grazerite move from console to systems display and back again, barking orders even as he stepped over the corpses of his crew. The medical team from sickbay, led by Ensign Rokossovsky, had arrived several minutes ago, and were tending to Doctor Eden while moving the fatalities out of the way.

For her part, Lynette was waiting for the imminent return of ships' sensors. Enough power was bouncing around in the ODN relay system to make use of, and offline did not mean destroyed. The Phoenix could be repowered if her main computer was rebooted, which was the primary focus of Malin-Argo and his team.

The Grazerite's bulk was underlit and shrouded in the gloom, but there was no mistaking his gruff, rasping voice. "Ensign Elgin, I told you to isolate the intermix chamber software thirty seconds ago! What is the delay?"

Across the open-plan deck of Main Engineering, Lynette saw Asta kneeling in the shadows beside the body of one of the other engineers - a young Asian man. She was trying to take his pulse, pressing her fingers against his throat and wrist. "It's Crewman Chen, sir! I think he might be - "

"You will carry out my orders immediately!" barked Malin-Argo, pointing a meaty-looking fist at her. He looked around at everyone. "We will all remain focused! We will stabilise our vessel so that we will give all of our shipmates the best chance at life! Is that understood!" It wasn't a question, it was a statement.

Asta left Ricky Chen where he lying and got to work. "Intermix chamber isolated, Commander!"

To Lynette's left, Jonathan Maynell's legs were sticking out of a bulkhead while he worked on the interior circuits. Kneeling beside him, Rebecca Rossi shone a handlight into the mess of isolinear chips and fiber optic wiring. She glanced up at Lynette. "Nearly there, ma'am."

Lynette nodded. She turned her attention back to her screen, locked in standby while Maynell ran a bypass. Several seconds ticked by, and then, in a flash of light that was quickly replaced by the LCARS symbol, her screen rebooted. From inside the bulkhead, Maynell gave a shout, his voice muffled by the transparisteel. "I think that's it!"

"I'm online!" said Lynette, watching the screen as the LCARS software booted up. It started to look for a connection to the main computer, but Lynette intervened, inputting a series of code commands, directing the system to link to the ship's sensors instead. As Jonathan Maynell hauled himself out of the bulkhead, Malin-Argo came to Lynette's shoulder and observed her at work.

Power rushed through the ship's relay system, reactivating the computer sub-processor five decks down and the nearest sensor palette twenty-four decks above. Now Maynell was standing behind her too, but Lynette concentrated fiercely on restoring the sensor feed. Once it was confirmed that there was no exterior threat to she ship, all efforts could continue to restore interior power.

Lynette inputted the last command and touched the control to enable the sensors. Nothing happened, and her stomach sank. Behind her, Maynell swore aloud. Malin-Argo sighed in disappointment - a heavy, wheezing breath.

"Damage to the power network must be worse than we thought," said Maynell. "God help us, we might have to think about abandoning the - "

The words had no sooner left his mouth when Lynette's screen flashed - connection established. The sensor palette booted up and began to feed directly to her station. Amid the excited gasps of the other engineers, Lynette squinted and tried to make sense of the readings.

"I'm not an expert on this," said Lynette, "but it looks like our immediate location in space is empty." She held her finger up against the screen, brow furrowed as she tried to make sense of the sensor feed.

"You mean we didn't hit anything?" asked Maynell.

"Doesn't look like it," said Lynette. "Look. No debris, no other objects, no sign of another starship. There's just nothing."

"That's impossible!" exclaimed Maynell. "This ship collided with something!"

"Can the sensors check the exterior of the ship, Ensign?" asked Malin-Argo.

Lynette ran a command to isolate the exterior feed, but the remaining data was very scant. What remained, however, was amazing. "Commander," she said, "the sensors are not showing any exterior damage to the Phoenix. The drive section superstructure seems intact."

"And the saucer section?" asked Malin-Argo.

"That too. The data doesn't cover all of the ship but it looks like the hull is intact." Lynette turned to face her colleagues. "This doesn't make any sense."

Malin-Argo folded his massive arms and stroked his chin with one hand. "Yes. The damage that the Phoenix has sustained is consistent with a high-velocity impact, yet there is no exterior damage."

"Some kind of subspace phenomenon?" suggested Asta Elgin from across the room.

"Possible," nodded Malin-Argo, "but an impact with a cosmic string or quantum filament would have caused a physical hull breach. We must also remember that whatever we struck also caused a polarity shift in the warp core's containment field as well as rendering multiple systems offline. I have no knowledge of any subspace phenomenon capable of causing this kind of damage."

The engineers fell into a collective silence, processing what they had learned. All of them were thinking the same thing that Lynette was - Dr. Eden's propulsion experiment. Something had gone terribly wrong in the seconds before the collision, but Lynette didn't know what. None of them did, because the main computer had gone offline, taking the data with it. Still, there was some measure of relief that the hull was intact.

"Attention!" exclaimed Malin-Argo, turning to face everyone. "We are only getting started! Our hull is intact but our systems are still offline! I want us to concentrate on restoring internal communications and environment control!" He turned back to Lynette. "Download your data to a PADD and take it to the bridge. Whoever is in command up there needs to see it."

"The bridge?" Lynette said in surprise. "That's going to take - "

"At least an hour, probably longer," grated the Grazerite. "Nevertheless, get to it."

"Yes, Commander." Lynette looked around for the nearest access hatch. Climbing up fifty decks was going to be a monumental exercise but Malin-Argo was right - it had to be done. She picked up a PADD and connected it to her screen, mentally preparing herself for what she had to do.


NRPG: Nothing on the outside, all the damage on the inside whaaaaat?

Jerome McKee
the Soul of Captain Michael Turlogh Kane
Commanding Officer

"He speaks an infinite deal of nothing!'
- Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice", Act 1, Scene 1.117



Previous Next