Location: In orbit of Jutus
Speed: Standard Orbit
Shields: Nominal
Hull: Nominal
Systems: All Systems Nominal

Bridging The Gap
Episode 11 - Family Matters
Stardate 73834.3
MD005 0900 hrs

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Posted on Tue Apr 7th, 2020 @ 12:09am by Captain Tyler Malbrooke & Lieutenant Elen Diari & Ensign Dana Wakefield
Edited on on Tue Apr 7th, 2020 @ 12:16am

Mission: Episode 9 - Empok's End
Location: Jefferies Tube J9 - Deck 11 - USS Pioneer
Timeline: MD005 0815 hrs

It could be said that one always found their feet in the heat of the moment, but at this moment Dana felt lost. As the previous Chief of Operations, she was accustomed to giving the orders, diverting resources and power as needed, but now...she swallowed hard, she was not accustomed to doing as she was told, she liked to feel needed, in control, but at this moment right here, right now she felt lost.

The ship had shaken violently, and Dana knew they were losing velocity, it was odd that one could accustomise to knowing when the ship was at warp or at impulse, but she felt the slowing inertia, they were taking a hammering and something was wrong, she could feel it. Engineering was simply around the corner, she could be there within minutes, she was certainly not needed on the bridge, she had lost right with her poor judgement and actions, months ago and Lieutenant ÓFlannagáin would have things under control. Pulling at her uniform, her mind was made up, Engineering it was.
-- Main Engineering, Five minutes later --

It had taken Dana longer than anticipated to reach Engineering, the route she had planned was blocked, l a panel had blown out or a conduit, but repair crews were already on it, she took an alternative route. Engineering was busy, people were running and shouting and in the commotion, she saw a familiar face, Lieutenant Diari. Truth be told, Dana didn't know her that well, that had a brief conversation when Dana came to bust balls about her Operations officers and the public display with one of her Engineers, but other than that, their paths hadn't crossed that much, and that was something Dana was destined to change, she needed to get to know the crew better, she needed to open up and not keep herself to herself, she had a lot to offer and deep down, she really was a kind compassionate soul.

"Where do you want me?" Dana shouted as she approached, although she wasn't an Engineer, surely they must be in need of a well-trained Operations Officer.

The Pioneer rocked and shook under the onslaught of weapons. Tyler sat in the command chair as console erupted behind him. Thankfully none of the bridge crew had been affected by the explosions. The Pioneer was holding together, barely but holding. On the main viewscreen, the fleet that had assembled could be seen ducking and weaving through the fire. The USS Tianjin was a hornets nest as her fighters launched and returned on a rotating basis. Tyler was thrown from his thoughts to the deck as the bridge rocked under a hail of fire from Empok Nor. "Diari this is the bridge I need engines back now. We are sitting duck..."

El spun on her heels, "Dana, hi, good, you're here. Grab a toolkit, there's a block somewhere between here and the nacelles stopping plasma getting from the core out. I'm trying the port side, you want to try starboard ?"

The Pioneer shook more violently than previously. Sparks flew from multiple consoles in Engineering as two engineers fell to the deck with plasma burns. The comm channel opened once more. "Frak Elen if we don't have some sort of engine in the next two minutes you are going to have to get out and push. For if you don't we will all be nothing but space dust. Get it DONE!" Tyler's voice crackled through the damaged comm before cutting off.

"YOU'VE GOT IMPULSE ! Warp in ten!" Diari yelled, clambering into the tube "Dave. Get up to the bridge and tell them!"

The situation had certainly taken a turn for the worse, but Dana was up for the challenge, she knew these Jefferies tubes like the back of her hand, after all, she had spent many an hour crawling through the tightly confined spaces.

"Starboard it is" she shouted as she grabbed a toolkit from a holder next to one of the consoles. The Captain was right, they would all be space dust if they couldn't get those engines running. "Race you," she said as she darted towards the Jefferies tubes access.

El was unnaturally serious, "Don't take any unnecessary risks. Don't have the time, or the people to carry your butt to sickbay if you get hurt."

"You've got it," she said acknowledging the unnecessary risks statement, but Elen had to know, every task had the potential for some risk. One person's personal safety was irrelevant when the whole ship was at risk. Clutching on tightly to the tool kit, she gave Elen one final smile, I'll contact you when I reach the Starboard nacelle.

El clambered up the strut to the port nacelle, stopping every few steps to check her arm, a nasty red scratch was forming on the inside of her forearm, weeping blood. no time to heal it she thought, as she squeezed her uniform onto it, hoping it would soak up the blood-sweat mix, wincing in pain.

There was no major damage as she got to the access port for the Bussard collector, so the problem was on Dana's side.

It was hot, sweaty and tighter than she liked, Dana had always thought that whoever had designed these places were really short and really thin, because they really were not practicable spaces for the average person, in fact, the cramped space made her think of her first shared apartment back in the academy, you weren't able to swing a cat in it but those were some of her happiest memories.

The denied tone from the computer snapped her attention back into the present. The hatch wouldn't open, she instinctively pressed the sequence again, but again the error tone filled the air. "Oh come on," she said as she gently felt the hatch with the back of her hand, it was warm and it certainly wasn't meant to be warm. She quickly reached for her com badge.

=/\= Wakefield to Diari, the problems definitely this side, I'm not even at the Bussard Collectors yet and the maintenance hatch to that section won't even open, coupled to that the hatch feels warm, I'd say we have damage this side, I'm going to use the manual override to open the hatch and make a dash through to the Bussard Collectors." =/\=

El responded =/\= Yeah, Rad detectors going up, not at dangerous cook-you levels yet, just watch your footing, OK ? If there's a plasma leak, leave it, we can work around it here. =/\=

Dana let out a sigh, today was not going as she expected. She slid open a panel, behind it was the manual release, entering a sequence on the control pad she reached and pulled on the manual handle. Suddenly the hatch opened with a woosh, a splurge of hot air hitting her instantaneously. Forcing the hatch the rest of the way, looking down the jefferies tube there was indeed a plasma leak, but now wasn't the time, all that mattered was getting warp back on, and the goal for that was in sight, the next hatch was just up ahead. She took a deep breath and pressed forward.

The heat was unbearable and she was sweating profusely, several relays had blown out, as well as an EPS conduit, no doubt the cause of the plasma leak. She quickly crawled forward, breathing through her nose, trying to ingest as little of the fumes as possible, but it was no good, she coughed and took in a large mouthful of air, and it burnt her throat, causing her to cough more, her eyes watering, but she had managed to reach the other end, beyond this hatch would be the junction room which would have a console and hopefully give her more information. 'Please, please work.' she said as she hit the padd expecting the hatch to firmly stay closed.

However, much to her surprise it opened without any resistance, she smiled and quickly exited to the control junction, closing the hatch behind her, she coughed loudly, her eyes streaming, but now was not the time, she stumbled over to the console in the wall, pressing several buttons she squinted at the data that was filling the screen, a smile crept across her face, getting the warp core online would be easy, she only needed to by-pass...then the smile slowly disappeared her face falling expressionless, the realisation of the situation and a secondary problem coming out of nowhere. The Radiometric converters had been destroyed, a normally painless procedure, they just needed to be replaced. However, to do that the warp core and impulse systems needed to be taken off-line and in the midst of battle, that wasn't possible.

The stark reality of the situation came from old saying from Spock, 'The needs of the many are greater than the needs of the few...or the one.' If the Radiometric converters were not replaced and the warp core was engaged, theta radiation would flood the entire ship. However, replacing them while active would seal the fate of the person carrying out the task, as they would receive a fatal dose of radiation.

Dana lifted her head, her brain processing the emotion, what a way for redemption, what a way to show the crew what they really did mean to her, couple that with the opportunity to save and the entire crew, compared to her recent actions of killing one. Resolute with her decision, she moved to the storage locker and opened it, a smile appeared as she reached in and ran her fingers over the two new shiny converters that were sat there before gently picking the first one up and placed it into the tool kit, before doing the same with the second.

It only took her a minute to crawl into the adjacent tube where the converters were housed, she had left the hatch open as she would need to quickly return to the console to complete the cycle and then divert and reroute the damage caused by the plasma to get the warp drive functional...she paused for a moment...would she have enough time.

"Computer, assume I was replacing the radiometric converters while the system was still active, based upon my height and weight, how long before I would lose consciousness."

A tone filled the momentary silence "Procedure is not recommended"

"Goddamit, I know it isn't recommended, disengage safety protocols."

"Warning, disengaging safety protocols presents an extreme risk of injury."

"Acknowledged, override safety protocols, authorisation Wakefield Gamma, Nine, Seven, Zero."

"Acknowledged, safety protocols have been disengaged."

"Good, now answer the bloody question based upon my height and weight, assume I was replacing the radiometric converters while the system was active, how long before I would lose consciousness after receiving a lethal dose of theta radiation." she snapped back, she needed to ensure that she had sufficient time...

"Six minutes, twelve seconds."

Dana paused for a moment, this was it, this was her final opportunity to back out, to change her mind. Once she opened this hatch and removed the converter there was no going back, her fate would be sealed, the ultimate sacrifice. Slowly she opened her toolkit and looked at the converters, for a second, time seemed to pause, the gravity of the actions she was about to take, her subconscious mind trying to talk her out of it, the sound of her father's voice. "I've got to dad, they are counting on me, and plus it would only have to be someone else, if not me, that's if they made it before the ship was destroyed, they needed warp and they needed it now.

"Computer, on my mark start a six-minute twelve-second count down, I only want an audio warning at one minute and then the ten-second final countdown."

The computer signalled it understood her command with a single confirmation tone.

The USS Pioneer hung in space as she rolled and rocked with the onslaught of enemy fire. Phaser arcs lanced out from the ship in all directions. In some cases they were keeping enemies at bay and in others they hit their targets. It was as if the ship said just keep fighting, keep pushing. There just wasn't enough power in the impulse engines to get them clear. The Pioneer had to retreat to the edge of the battle in order to regroup and rejoin the fight. =/\=Engineering this is the Bridge. It is getting really crowded in my sky and I could use those warp engines. Anytime would be great...=/\= Tyler Malbrooke's voice dripped with sarcasm and he knew it, but he felt almost helpless.

"Computer, mark." she barked as she used every ouce of her energy to crawl from the Jefferies tube back to the junction. The computer gave her a confirmation tone, and Dana knew she had just over six minutes left to live.

Surprisingly the initial action hadn't hurt, there was no pain, no burning, no sensation at all. If she wasn't subconsciously aware that her internal organs were liquifying as she spoke then only the ensuring pain as her body shuts down would make her aware that anything was wrong.

Dana slumped over the console and pressed several buttons on the keypad, the newly installed converters cycled online and she bypassed the damage caused by the EPS conduit blowing out.

=/\= Wakefiled to Diari, you have warp power, but there was an unexpected problem. The radiometric converters had been destroyed and needed replacing before I could get warp back online, but don't worry...=/\= There was an eerie pause =/\= It's done...I'm done. =/\= she said as her breathing became a little more laboured.

=/\= Diari to bridge. You have warp, use it to tear those..... (she hesitated)... Just do them.=/\=

She knew Dana was nearly gone. El could feel it, making her way up the Jefferies tube, Elen stumbled and slipped, costing her seconds, getting to the hatch, fumbling to get it open, wishing she could just tear it open. The alarms blaring out were just noise at this point but she knew she was still minutes away and she pondered if she would make in time

-- Five Minutes Later - Buzzard Collectors, Main Junction --

Dana rolled onto her back, she was struggling to breathe and pain coursed through her entire body, her internal organs liquifying, the only blessing would be she would be unconscious shortly, the music she heard was getting louder, the sound of a hatch opening and a familiar voice shouting her name, the tone of the computer again filled the air.

"Warning, ten...nine...."

Elen was screaming her lungs out, "DANAAAA ! MOVE ! C'MON LOVE, DANA !" burning her hand on the edge of the hatch from the heat, pulling her self in the space.

Dana smiled, "Grandmama I did it, they are safe....but I'm scared." her eyes were fighting to stay open.

"Warning, five...four..."

El held Dana's arm, trying to pull Dana away from the leaking radiation, she couldn't feel the bones or muscles in Dana's arm , it was just liquid now. Any harder and she'll burst, Elen thought.

"I don't regret it, I...I..." her eyelids began to twitch as they slowed began to close, but it wasn't the darkness that came, a blinding white light, followed by a wave of familiar faces and the whisper of a distant voice.

"Come with me, my child, it's time for you to rest now."

A smile crept across her face, a peaceful expression, she grasped onto Elen hand with all her might.

"My God, it's beautiful...I....I"

El grasped back, "You're gonna be OK, Dana, We'll get you to sickbay, get you all healed up, honey, you and I, we're gonna be OK, Risa's not going to know what's hit it when we get there..." She trailed off, no longer being able to sense Dana's thoughts.


With that Dana's eye closed, her breathing began to slow and with a final breath her hand fell to her side, she looked at peace, a gentle soft smile on her face. She had made the ultimate sacrifice for her friends, for the crew, for the ship that was home and although her recent actions may have instilled doubt, her final actions had proved what they all really meant to her, they were not just friends and loved ones, they were a family and for a family, you would do anything.

The voice of Elen Diari called out through the comm, she had done it, she had restored the core. "Well I guess engineers really can be miracle workers. Ingrid get us out to the edge of the battle. We need to regroup and be ready for the final push." Tyler ordered as he sat and smirked in the center chair. The battle looked to be going their way, but at what cost. Tyler and the rest of the bridge were unaware of the ultimate cost that Dana paid in engineering.

Elen looked down at her friend, smiling, but passed, she knelt over and kissed Dana's forehead, quietly saying a prayer "usque ad suos Deo habeam ut proxima" she whispered. A tear falling on Dana's uniform.

A Joint Post By

Ensign Dana Wakefield
Operations Officer, USS Pioneer

Lieutenant Elen Diari
Chief Engineering Officer, USS Pioneer

Captain Tyler Malbrooke
Commanding Officer, USS Pioneer


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Comments (1)

By Warrant Officer Mira Jayna on Wed Apr 8th, 2020 @ 4:15am

Wow. That was beautifully written. A powerful post.