Border Dispute, Part 4

Main Engineering, USS Nightingale
Romulan Neutral Zone
Stardate 66478.15

Commander Brighton approached engineering, unzipping his uniform jacket as he approached. The heat in the corridors was nearly unbearable. Turning the final corner, he raised his wrist light to see a few of the engineering staff on the outside of the door.

“Report?” he asked to anyone who would respond.

One of the officers who was leaning against the wall stood at attention, “Lieutenant N’Vol, sir. Warp core specialist. The air cycling system is currently down on this deck. We’re waiting for a repair team to fix it before we go back in. The heat from the damaged warp core is making it impossible to work. We took it offline, but it is still giving off considerable thermal heat.”

And just as quickly, the lights flickered, and Brighton could feel fresh air being pumped into the corridor as the temperature drop could be felt on his skin. “Back to work,” he joked to no amusement from the Vulcan.

Commander Brighton and the Nightingale engineering staff made their way into the ships unimpressive main engineering. “So what is the systems status?” Brighton asked as the rest of the engineering crew seemed uneasy and sombre. 

“Lieutenant Savrek, sir,” a female Andorian officer stepped forward. “There was some type of strike on main engineering. We’ve been down here with no situation report or ability to contact the bridge without sending someone up. Most of the engineering crew are gone, and the damage is extensive,” she said pointing to the master systems display of the ship blinking with alerts everywhere. “The warp core had to be taken offline for safety reasons. Life support is still functioning, but as you’ve found first hand, it isn’t in perfect condition, either. We have power surges across the ship that are blowing out power conduits and impacting nearly every secondary system. And if that weren’t enough, power reserves are low. Dangerously low.”

“The priority should be assessing any warp core damage, and getting it back online. That’ll solve our power issues, as well. Who is in charge here?” Brighton asked.

“All of the engineering leads are gone, sir. You’re in charge,” Savrek commented.

A soft sigh left Brighton’s lips. It wasn’t entirely unexpected, “Very well. Let’s break everyone up into teams. We have work to do.”

The teams were small, after all, there weren’t many left who weren’t injured by the volley thrown at them across the engineering section by the Warbird. They dispersed into the various remaining areas of engineering. 

There wasn’t much to see. Only a fraction of the panels were operational and even they were becoming difficult to use through risk of the panel shorting out or the constant flickering. Across engineering itself however, there were scorch marks from fires, collapsed supports and rubble strewn across the floor and on top of consoles.

Brighton assigned himself to investigating the safety systems. The console in question was barely functional, flickering in and out of life every second and a half or so, causing Brighton’s temples to begin to hurt after a few minutes of battling to read what was on the screen. He rubbed his eyes with his forefinger and thumb and sighed. This was going to take a lot longer than he’d like with a Warbird, no matter how disabled, sat just outside the hull.

Finally giving into his frustration, he hit the console with the side of his first, the console finally sustaining power. He laughed to himself, a little concussive re-calibration. While the console was alive again, what he was reading was less than desirable. A large portion of the readout was red. 

Brighton tapped his communicator, “Engineering to Captain Tannen.”

A moment later, Tannen responded, sounding a little like he was in a very small space. “Go ahead.”

“Captain, the damage is extensive. It’s going to take a bit of time to get back up and running, starting with safety systems, exterior plating and the core. Nothing particularly taxing, just time consuming,” Brighton paused, continuing to read the display in front of him.

Tannen’s breathing could be heard over the communicators. He must be EVA. What the hell is he doing? Brighton through to himself as he realised why the Captain sounded so strange. His thought interrupted by Tannen’s response.

“Understood, Chief. How long are we talking?”

“About 6 or 7 hours at least. It’s the best I can give you with what I’ve got, sir.”

“Let’s make it closer to the 6 rather than the 7. Tannen out.”

Brighton began resetting the safety systems, one by one. Reassuring mechanical and electronic noises came from the direction of the core before the console shorted out, sending a shower of sparks into the air and shocking Brighton’s finger tips.

“God dammit!” the Chief Engineer exclaimed, “N’Vol, can you get over here and help me get this console back up and running?”

The Vulcan engineer dutifully made his way over, “Commander, are you injured?”

“No, I’m fine. Let’s just get this bloody thing going again.”