Agents of Calm
E2 P2 Prevent and Prepare for War
Location: USS Magellan; Ready Room
Timeline: MD00 || 1120
"I won't lie to you Tim, the last week I actually got to relax for what felt like the first time in months. The repairs were on target, and I got to not worry about everything for a change. I think I needed it, gave me a chance to recharge the batteries." He took another sip of his tea.
Tim stood next to the window, sipping some Oolong tea as he looked out into the starbase's harbor. The Captain's statement was not something he could relate too. As always, Tim dedicated himself to his work, specifically the repairs to the ship. It helped him keep his mind off his personal life, not to mention it gave him a chance to get settled within the red trim on his uniform.
"A chance to recharge the batteries is always good," Tim confirmed to the Captain. "It's good that the repair teams here at the Starbase are so efficient. Probably some of the best I've seen."
Terax nodded in reply. "Agreed. Some were based at Utopia Planitia, they were off-planet at the time, and then got spread around various repair facilities." He paused for a moment and remembered the tens of thousands who had perished in the incident. "Still, the final repairs are scheduled for this evening, so at oh-nine-hundred tomorrow, we are taking the ship on a quick shakedown run for a couple of days, along with some of the engineers. They have apparently tried some new repair techniques on some of the microfractures, and they want to see how they hold up."
Tim nodded. Microfractures were a nasty business. You couldn't just weld or patch the hull plating, nor could you simply recycle it. The microfracture often had to be removed by removing the plating itself, cut it into smaller pieces, and utilize it on smaller craft. This certainly didn't leave much options, especially when ships like the Magellan were far from home. "I'd like to see the paperwork on that work. Assuming it's something that can be done in the field, it could be a game-changer for long range or larger craft."
"I'll have them send you the specs on it. Apparently it's some new kind of nano-polymer that can be injected directly into the fracture, but it bonds the cells as a molecular level, making it as strong as a new plate." Another sip of tea. "Well, that's the theory anyway. They are leaving a few microfractures in non-essential sectors and reinforcing the shielding around those areas, just in case, so they can test it under actual ship running conditions."
"This is an unusual feeling, for sure," Tim said, looking back to the captain before sipping his tea. "On my last assignment, all we did was courier work. Travel here, deliver there. Aside from the Wi-u-kai and the subspace eddies, our last mission in the Expanse reminded me a lot of that. But this... I don't think I've ever been a part of a shakedown or trial run. Should be interesting."
"I've had a few runs like it, but never had any SFE members along to test their theories. I mean, as you said, it would be a game-changer. We wouldn't have spent the last eleven and a half weeks docked here, with the hull plates being fabricated and installed. They told me they think had this system been in use, seventy per cent of our hull repairs could have been completed before we even docked. Would have taken us down to about 3 and a half weeks. The nanopolymer takes around 6 hours to bond the hull plating together."
There was only response to that in Tim's mind, and it came out before he curb it. "I didn't realize that we had that many microfractures." He sipped his tea, and mentally reviewed Commander Harris' Engineering report. "Of course, it didn't help either that all of the stress points were at sensitive areas like the neck and nacelle struts. Still, 6 hours to bond the nanopolymer... that's impressive."
"Indeed. We evidently sustained a lot more damage than we had suspected. If it's a feasible solution, and we don't fall apart on the shakedown, they think it could be approved for fleet-wide implementation within the year. Of course, the ship falling apart is only one small potential problem." He went through the list of topics he had planned in his head. "Losing Chang hasn't helped. And I still have no idea why they transferred her away."
Tim shrugged. "From an Operational perspective, the fleet was caught with its pants down on this whole Alrakis thing. Latest scuttlebutt says that Starfleet's roughly understaffed by ten percent. Experienced officers are needed everywhere. I suppose we should be thankful they didn't yank away any more of the senior staff than they did."
"Agreed. It could have been much, much worse. And reading the various reports coming from the negotiations from Starfleet Command, it seems like we just seemed to just stumble into the middle of their arming, we could literally have caused an interstellar incident." The negotiations in question had only finished a few days ago, but there was at least a tentative agreement, which was still to be ratified. The Admiral at the negotiations, O'Connell if he recalled correctly, was sending their reports through to Command, and they were being filtered down to the CO's. With Magellan being involved, he had been sent some of the preliminary reports. "It's fortunate that we made it out with only the injuries we sustained." With an XO and several other officers and crew incapacitated, it was fortunate that no one was killed.
"I have a feeling we won't be so lucky next time," Tim admitted. "Then again, I doubt we'll be sent back into the Expanse, which will certainly keep us from running headlong into any more gravimetric oddities. I did forward all of our scans of the gravimetric anomalies to the starbase's analysts. If anyone can find a way to improve our sensors, it'll be them."
"I saw that, thanks for doing it. They think they can make use of them, but it could take weeks. The sheer amount of raw data is keeping the scientists and analysts very busy, and also keeping them very happy." He let out a small laugh.
The new XO smirked and sipped his tea. "Nothing like a few teraquads of data to provide job security. So, when's this field testing and shakedown supposed to start?"
"Our scheduled departure is oh-nine-hundred hours. Gives me a few hours in the morning make sure everything is fine, and a few hours this evening to just relax. I'd encourage you to do the same, consider your evening a mini-R&R. With the political ramifications of the negotiations, who knows when we will get the time to just relax." Taking his XO's lead, he also took a sip of his tea.
Tim grunted. "Relax. That might as well be a four-letter word. If there's one thing I've learned in my career is that there's always work to be done." He sipped the remainder of his tea. "Though, exploring the starbase and really seeing what it has to offer would be a good idea. You never know what little nuances you can pick up in a place like this."
"Exactly. I hear they have some good social spaces. I know it's been a bit hectic the last few weeks, especially with you taking on the position of Executive Officer under less than ideal circumstances, but you have adjusted to the role fantastically, Commander. If anyone deserves to do as little as possible for at least one evening, out of the next few thousand, it's you." He smiled at Tim and raised his cup of tea to him. It not being a champagne glass, the effect wasn't exactly what he had wanted, but he hoped the meaning was not lost.
The human shook his head. He wasn't often one to respond to flattery, especially since he'd received more than a fair share of accolades throughout his career. Most efforts seemed to be hollow when compared to a father's acceptance and approval. "I'm still not sure what you see in me, Captain. But I'm glad I can be of assistance."
"I see a future Captain, Tim. But before I embarrass you further" he let out a small chuckle. "let's lighten the mood. For the time being, Lieutenant Kala is Acting Chief Sec-Tac. He, by his own admission, isn't ready for the position full time, but if you can get with him at some point, just touch base with him?"
"That I can do." He sipped his tea once more, then vacated his window perch. Tim selected one of the two chairs in front of the desk and sat down in it, placing his tea on the desk and picked up a padd he'd left behind. Displayed on it were all of the recent transfers and casualty reports. "Given that we'll be doing some testing, not having a dedicated Chief at the moment isn't a bad thing."
"No, it isn't. Fortunately, our immediate mission will require very little security or tactical presence, though I've said it many times in many lifetimes, never say never. Hopefully, though, it will pass with relatively little action, except for the Engineering Corp, where I would expect a flurry of activity." He let out a small chuckle.
"Remember when we thought the Inconnu Expanse mission would be a walk in the park?" Tim jokingly asked. "That said, I think we should rely heavily on Kala over the next few days. If nothing else, his involvement will assuage some fears in the department. Lets them know they're not ignored."
"I do. Go into the Expanse and alert our ships they needed to evacuate it. Just a simple mission, they said. How wrong they were. And agreed. Shows we have faith in him to run the department."
Tim was glad his Commanding Officer agreed. "What do you think Starfleet will have next for us? Big ship like ours isn't bound to stay on the sidelines for long."
"Honestly, I'm not too sure. I'd imagine something to do with this new Pact, for the reasons you said. But as to what specifically, I have no idea anymore. The Pact has sent ripples throughout the quadrant. Starfleet Command even doubled the border patrols in the areas around the Starbase. So we may well be doing border patrol."
The Executive Officer nodded his approval and sipped his tea. "I'm all for whatever keeps us moving. And, I think the crew will be too. There's been an air of uncertainty all throughout the ship since the Expanse. No one might know what's going on, but they sure don't like being stuck on the sidelines."
"Organise some combat drills, keep everyone on their toes. Emphasis on the Pact ships, and potential scenarios from border patrol. Might be a good practice." The Captain replied. Hopefully, the drills won't become a reality, but if there is one thing he remembered in all his lifetimes, there was an old Trill saying. Always expect the unexpected.
"A busy schedule it is then," Tim replied. "How long do you think we'll be in testing mode?"
"Hopefully not long. We are scheduled back in back here in four days, so I'm expecting new orders once we return."
Tim finished his tea and set the cup back on its saucer. "Four days. A walk in the park that is. I'll get with the department heads and plan accordingly. Anything else we need to worry about?"
"Probably a million things." He let out a chuckle. "But immediately, nothing springs to mind. Obviously, the fleet along the border are maintaining a higher level of readiness, but other than that it should be plain sailing." He replied.
The Executive Officer rose from his chair and took the liberty of recycling his cup and saucer in the replicator. "If that's the case, I'll get right to it all." There was, after all, no sense in dragging his feet on these matters. The crew needed something to look forward to, and now it was time to give it to them.