The Matter of The Nacelle
E1 Only The Beginning
Location: USS Magellan; Engineering, Nacelles
Timeline: MD07 1030
Tim Parker stood at the pool table in engineering, carefully monitoring the progress of the combined engineering/operations effort to repair and fortify ship's systems before getting underway once more. The deflector grid had taken just a few minutes to modify. The structural integrity not that much longer.
What was the most troubling was the starboard nacelle. He was no warp field specialist, which was why he was not in the runabout directly overseeing those efforts. Until that team was done, they couldn't reinitialize the warp drive. The three hours he'd promised had nearly expired, and they weren't anywhere close to finishing. "Parker to Runabout Tongariro. What's your status?"
Ensign Kita tapped the controls. "This is Tongariro. The final warp coil has been patched up, and they are sealing up the outer nacelle casing as we speak." Though the nacelle casing had buckled during the initial encounter with the more intense gravimetric distortions, there was also some buckling along some of the warp coils themselves. Some of the work was fixed from the inside, with repair crews in EVA suits inside the nacelle itself. "Estimated time out here, barring any unforeseen issues, is maybe 15 minutes? Then we just need to replenish the plasma. Maybe 30 minutes total."
Tim frowned. Since coming aboard, he'd been fielding many gigantic projects, and so far, he'd missed the deadlines on each one. He did not like failure, especially on matters he could not control. "Tongariro, we're supposed to have all repairs completed in fifteen minutes, per the Captain's orders. Any way we can speed this up?"
"We are working as fast as we can Commander. We have already people on the inside doing the prep for the plasma replenishment. We can maybe shave 10 minutes? But that's dependent on those in the nacelle getting some extra help."
Timothy looked at the duty roster to see who might be available. Even though the entire staff had been called in, the ship only possessed so many warp field specialists. Untrained hands in this situation would only lengthen the process and possibly make things worse. "I'll grab a couple extra hands and head for the nacelle. Let's see if we can otherwise speed things up."
"Sounds like a plan Commander. Hopefully, we have no more... issues." He added.
The Ops chief drafted a couple petty officers who were on standby to power up the warp core and instructed them to follow him to the rear of the starship. There was no direct way to the nacelle via primary turbolift. Unfortunately, this involved a trek down a stretch of corridor along the aft of the vessel, then taking a dedicated lift to nacelle control. Along the way, he tapped his combadge and called out, "Parker to Captain Terax. We've experienced some minor delays. We should be operational in the next half hour." Tim hated that this was taking more time. However, he knew this couldn't simply be rushed. He'd try, but he'd maintain caution and safety over speed.
"Delays? Nothing too serious I hope?" He was aware of the incident with the Tongariro around an hour ago.
"Just going slower than I'd like, Captain," Parker confessed, leading the detail into the corridor. He too was well aware of the situation with the Tongariro. Had it not been for that incident, they might have been done by now. "The gravimetric distortions are still a bit unpredictable."
"That they are. Keep me informed, Terax out."
"Aye, Captain," Tim said, tapping his badge to close the channel. It wouldn't take long to reach the rear turbolift, but today this stretch of corridor seemed longer than it should have been.
"Kita to Parker. We are detecting another anomaly just off our aft port quarter. Any chance you can extend the shields around us for a few seconds. The runabout shields won't take another hit."
"I'm on my way to the nacelle, Lieutenant," Tim replied. "But I'll have someone work on it."
"Thanks. The sooner the better, it's going to get a little bumpy out here. Kita out."
Tim tapped his badge twice, once to close the current channel and again to open a new one. "Parker to Operations. Divert power from non-essential systems to the shields and extend and reinforce aft shields to cover our repair vessels." By now they reached the turbolift and entered it.
"Aye, Commander," came the response. A moment later, after the turbolift began to move, a confirmation came over the comm channel.
Tim opened a new channel to the runabout. "Parker to Kita. How's that?"
"Much smoother, thanks, Commander! We should be done in the next couple of minutes."
Tim arrived at the turbolift and stepped inside with his team. "Perfect," he replied over the comm as the car started to move. "We'll be at the ramscoop in just a minute. Keep at it."
"Will do Commander. Kita out."
Precisely thirty-eight seconds later, the dedicated lift arrived at the nacelle junction room, where Commander Parker and his team had to take a couple Jeffries ladders a couple stories higher. As soon as they arrived, he directed the staff to help where they could. Tim himself helped with the final moments of flushing the power transfer conduits and priming the ignition coils. Though warp power had been out for a short period of time, the field coils were still warm from prolonged use, and thankfully, forcefields kept the coils exposed to space and the radiation byproducts contained inside the nacelle and out of the working areas.
"Parker to Kita. Status report?" Tim asked as he moved towards the center control console, along with a Lieutenant Junior Grade assigned to monitor the nacelle.
"About 30 seconds Commander, and we are done. Just performing our final scans."
"Acknowledged," Tim responded as he started to prime the PTC injectors. Other crewmen were bombarding the warp coils with the cleaning system, removing any residue that might have collected while the warp drive was down. "We're ready for a warp drive cold start here."
As Will walked through the doors of main engineering he clearly heard the words 'Cold Start' and even though the situation was urgent he wasn't sure about jump starting the engines so quickly after they've just been repaired. Normally he would have been at the head of overseeing the repairs to the Magellan, but his quick bout of space sickness put him on his back for a few days. Yet he was kept updated by his Asst. Chief and also by Lt.Cmdr Parker. "Someone give me a update on the repairs, and where is Commander Parker?" he asked as he looked around. One of his engineering officers an young ensign who looked like he just graduated fresh out of high school. He looked over the reports from the various teams that were working on getting the warp engines repaired. "He's currently in the nacelle that they are repairing over seeing the repairs himself," he said as he handed another PADD to Will. "We are preparing to cold start the engines Commander."
"I wouldn't suggest a cold start for the warp drive," Will said as he walked over to his desk placing the PADD's on a nearby table. Which he slightly propped himself against still feeling a bit weak; but then again he forced himself to ignore the good doctor's over cautious spirit and stay put.
"Not after repairing the nacelles themselves, I would rather take it easy on them first; and also I'm not sure what the gravimetric forces in the area are going effect the engines themselves," he added as he walked over to the main display panel on the wall. Looking at the readouts for himself, and after looking at the reports, and with the engines still warm; the regulated warm up could be cut in half since the engines and the plasma were still warm. Will walked over to the engineering table and tapped a few buttons, entering in a few calculations. He figured what he was suggesting could work, without the strain being placed on the repaired nacelle. Tapping the comm badge on his chest he said
"Commander Harris to Commander Parker"
"I've been told by one of the engineers you wanted to try a cold start. I believe we can start the warp engines in less time than the traditional thirty minutes suggested by regulations. We can do it in half the time if we prime sequence the injector ports and with the engines still warm, it won't take them time at all to fire up. It's just me being a bit more cautious, considering we don't what else we might run into" he said.
Tim smiled, hearing the voice of the Chief Engineer. The Ops chief had taken the lead on the project simply because Commander Harris had been indisposed. "Whatever gets these engines up faster, Commander. We can't keep being sitting ducks next to gravity wells."
"Agreed," he said as he moved over towards the station right in front of the warp core and started inputting his command codes to unlock the injectors. "Jean!" he yelled out as his fingers moved over the four injectors ports opening them up slightly more than normal. "Enrich the deuterium intermix ratio by 2.3 percent, and then lets increase the output from the EPS conduits by another five percent; however I want you to increase the output every .5 percent every thirty second seconds," he said as he pulled away from the warp core and moved towards the intermix chamber and started configuring it for increased work load.
Seconds turned to minutes, and even though only six minutes had passed; it seemed as if it were hours and hours of work. The enrichment was looking good, and the minor power increases from the EPS conduits were done in stages to where the new repairs to the nacelle wouldn't overload the repairs done. "Commander Harris, injector ports have been primed, and enrichment and power transfer are at requested levels," Jean reported as he worked in between two different monitors. The engineering team had been working hard these past few hours with the repairs and now trying to fire up the engines without damaging them again.
"Alrighty then," said Will as he overlooked everything, they were now into their eighth minute and he was working as quick as possible.
"Kita to Parker and Harris, repairs are complete, birds are all docked. Everything can proceed when ready."
"Jean, lets fire up the engines," he said as he stood at the engineering pool hunched over looking at the warp nacelle read outs. A few moments later he watched the warp core and the clouds of matter and anti-matter begin to combine as the light pulses started down the core. The core was firing up slowly but it was now operating at forty four percent, he was hoping the enriched deuterium would keep the core from stalling out. "Tommy, increase the deuterium enrichment by .34 percent," he called out; and after the adjustments were made the core started increasing more and more. 60 percent, then 70 and then 85...and once the core reached 90 percent, Will threw open the injectors to full and watched the core fully come to life, along with the warp nacelles.
"Harris to Captain Terax, the Warp Core is at full power and warp engines are ready to go."
"This is Terax, excellent work Commander. My congratulations to your team. Terax Out."
From his vantage point in the nacelle, Tim could easily confirm that all was well. With the Chief Engineer back on duty, Tim relocated to the turbolift so he could start the journey back to the bridge. With this forced pit stop at an end, it was time to get back to the mission.