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A Bridge So Far

Posted on Sun Jun 18th, 2023 @ 8:06am by Ensign Paisley F'rar & Major Cornelius Tremble
Edited on on Tue Jun 20th, 2023 @ 9:07pm

0 words; about a 1 minute read

Mission: Episode 14 - The Poseidon Adventure
Location: Holodeck 2 - Deck 5 - USS Pioneer
Timeline: MD009 1000 hrs


There were days he really wished he was still a happy Gunnery Sergeant, Neil mused as he watched the scroll on his contact’s HUD. He was currently linked into a holo-deck for the upcoming exercise. He was just running out of time and he was more or less counting on his officers not talking to one another about their experiences.

It wouldn’t matter too much, but he liked to keep them guessing.

That was part of the fun.

As he punched a few final commands into the wall unit, he took a few extra precautions to ensure his next contestant didn’t cheat. Or, in their parlance, get creative.

Engineers were tricksy.

He heard Paisley’s foot tread before he caught site of her rounding the corridor and he shut down the deck’s interface and leaned a casual shoulder against the wall, examining his finger nails.

Paisley had decided that learning Bridge stuff was a good idea since she was an assistant department head. Just in case, you know, of an emergency-she wouldn't accidentally drive the ship into the Sun or something. She'd managed to tug the old Cardassian shuttle she'd escaped in through space, though, so she couldn't be TOO terrible at it, right?! Until she'd taken gunfire and the whole thing was shot to hell. Oh, well. She didn't dwell-that had been a long time ago.

"Hello, Major. How are you today?" She asked. "What will we be doing?" She had no idea what to expect-she didn't interact much with the Marines-mostly by choice, but also circumstances. "Thank you for agreeing to help me."

"Why Ensign, I'm finer than a frog hair split nine ways,"Neil half drawled. "It's my pleasure to aid all of my officers in career and personal development exercises: also known as Fun and games," humor in his eyes. "Also known to Company grade officers as Piling On.. I hope you had a good breakfast and remember this scenario will have very little to do with Engineering problems but rather will be testing leadership and problem solving."

"Of course this session will be recorded with full bio and thermal sensor scans and there will be a debriefing after, just like away team missions. The Holo deck will be placing you aboard the Pioneer and a scenario will present itself. You are to work your way through that scenario to a logical, justifiable conclusion. If you break regs to accomplish something, you'll need to be able to justify it."

"Any questions?"

"What the hell is a frog hair?" She asked. She had no idea that Earth amphibians had hair!! "And ok, understood. I don't think that any rule-breaking is necessary; I really just want to be able to right a course if necessary so we don't, you know, fly INTO a Starbase or a Supernova." The bare minimum, to keep people alive. "I understand that several Starship captains have an Engineering background, Major, you might not make such quick judgements, even on a young officer!" She said. "I am Cardassian-well, HALF-Justifying things is in my DNA," she joked. "Let's get started." She didn't like to be idle; this Major Tremble was in for a surprise if he didn't think that she was capable.

Neil stared at the engineer as she prattled through what she thought she needed to say and decided to channel some of his inner gunnery sergeant. He took a half step closer and said in a steady, low and even voice. "Ensign. Despite your temporary posting as Chief Engineer, you do not impress me. You appear to be a good engineer as engineering hasn't blown up. Yet. But you've a long way to go before we really should be letting you run amok."

Frowning he said, "Apparently you misread the directives for this testing cycle. This is command fitness and leadership training. Not helm control. If you want to learn to drive a starship, or...how did you put it, ...Right a course... we'll see about sending you back to the Academy for branch training. Since the course objectives have been clearly defined and laid out and you've gotten to ask your question. The course starts now."

At his words, the door to the holo-deck cycled open and he watched her expectantly.

She settled in, but did not shut up. "Well, with due respect, Sir, you might want to have a review of your people, then, because as far as I am aware, I am only the ASSISTANT Chief Engineer, unless Lt. Dairi has had an accident or has become otherwise incapacitated in the past fifteen minutes," she said. "I am not here to impress anyone, either. I am here to learn something new so that I CAN be the Chief department head someday." Long, scaly fingers tapped a few buttons. "I am ready. What are your orders, sir?" She asked, her eyes trained on the screen.

"I am well aware of your current status aboard Pioneer, Assistant Chief Engineer F'rar," Neil said icily. "And don't hand me that With all due respect drahk. From reports I've read and what I'm seeing in your conduct, you're a xax'damned kid playing at being an officer. You're a gifted engineer but that'll only get you so far if you want a career in the Fleet. If you want to stay an officer and remain aboard this ship, don't get cute with me. Now. Get your ass in that holo deck. The SIM starts when you cycle in."

She simply shrugged. Elen would definitely hear about THIS. This is why Fleety's disliked the Marines. Still, she tapped in. "Computer, prepare training simulation for Ensign Paisley Yam F'rar, Assistant Chief Engineer and Damage Control Specialist," she said. The computer better not mess with her today, as it was wont to do at times. That's also why she hated them. They were touchy.

Neil wasn't surprised by the lack of courtesy out of the Ensign. She was going to end up being a project. But not today. As she cycled in, his HUD picked up the sequences and when the bulkhead door shut, he was cammed in to her SIM. He grinned as the holo-deck mirrored the door and corridore she had just exited and then strobe lights began flashing and the RED ALERT klaxon began sounding.

Tyler's voice came over the comm, ordering all crew to report to battle station and the corridor populated immediately with rushing crewmen.

Main Engineering. She could handle that. She stood in the holo-hallway, looking around to get her bearings for a moment. "F'rar, Turbolift 15B is non-functional. Get another teammate and go check it out," came the voice. Was it Elen? She didn't have time to check, and she didn't care. "Yes, ma'am", she said, stepping into her EV suit, just in case, and grabbing her toolkit before she hauled off for the Turbolift. It was in the same hallway, she knew. "Petty Officer Baker, let's go," she said as she ran. "Get a flashlight if you don't already have one," she ordered. Finally, she stopped in front of the lift, her tricorder out already. She did a quick scan.

The air within the corridor begins to superheat and more alarms sound as the lift doors abruptly crumble slightly and the ship. The whole ship without warning tilts violently on its X axis.

As the ship is hit by energy weapons, chaos ensues in the corridor. The shaking intensifies, and alarms blare throughout the area, adding to the sense of urgency.

Quickly regaining her composure, she assessed the situation. The nearby turbo lift is destroyed, and the tunnel leading to it requires significant repairs before it can be used again. She let out a sigh, but tapped her comms badge. It wasn't working. Oh, well. Quickly, she set up an emergency forcefield in this corridor.

She could radio back. ==/\==Forcefield set up in my corridor. I may need to go internally. F'rar out. ==/\==

With a sigh, she climbed into the now-unfunctional lift, opened a panel, and crawled inside. She could hear other panels opening above and below her; they had gone to an all-hands situation. After a moment, her Tricorder told her to go left, so she went that way, following the moronic beep-beep-beep noise the thing made as she found where the fire started. Faulty wiring in the ceiling's climate control system. Fantastic.

And gaping holes in the bulkheads everywhere. She'd start with the wiring fire before it got out of hand. Using a decoupler tool, she quickly cut the power supply to the wires, instantly putting the fire out. From the pocket of her uniform, she unearthed a yellow wire and a red one, replacing them quickly, and closing the panel back up. She burnt her hand in the process, though not terribly, and made a mental note to check into Medical later.

Heading back the way she'd come, she dropped into the car, and turned around. The entire internal corridor was missing, and she could see outside. Fun. With a quickness, she tapped her Comms again. ==/\==Replicate and transport me three Bulkhead A panels, oak, laminated. QUICKLY, I am open to the elements. And a partner, grab someone from Ops if we have to. As long as they can hold things, it can be the Captain for all I care!==/\== She had no idea what was going on elsewhere, but she knew she needed to stay as close inside the ship's main area as possible. The "a-ok" came back and a bit later, three panels appeared, along with Petty Officer Povis. It was times like that that she wished she were taller, but the two of them together should be fine. "Thank you, Povis," she said. The quiet Romulan nodded, but moved towards her. "Let's get this bulkhead closed up. We can fancy it up later but I'm going for Emergency Protocols now" The Romulan nodded again.

She extracted a drill from her tool kit, and Povis already had some screws on hand. Good. Quickly, she climbed onto a stool he'd brought-smart lad-and got to work, starting with the top left corner. Quickly but precisely, she made a series of five holes, where she attached the panel to the remaining bulkhead. After it was secured across the top, she let out a sigh of relief. She secured it along each side, while Povis had started on the middle panel, doing the same things she did. She moved on to the third and final panel, her pace quickening but remaining as calm as possible. The burn on her hand was steadily getting worse, but she didn't focus on it. The two worked silently, and after several minutes, she stepped back, and checked their work. "Good work, Povis. Let's get this door fixed." He nodded. Ma'am, I think we'll need more panels. She nodded. He went off to replicate a couple more as she measured and checked the database to make sure her measurements were correct. They were. Sometimes, even she made mistakes, but not today. Thankfully.

She helped the Petty Officer to haul the door panels to the car after stepping into the corridor. Again, they worked together, her on one side and him on the other. She wasn't as fast this time, due to the pain, but she was fighting through it, and soon, it was secured. It wasn't pretty, but it was safe and functional. She tapped her Comms badge. ==/\==Turner, do you have the computer system restored yet?==/\== He affirmed positively, and she smiled. "Alright, Petty Officer, let's test her out." They stepped inside. "Computer, next lift." A moment later, they were further in the same corridor, close to the Promenade area near the Bridge. "Excellent. Now, we do it again." The temperature had dropped a couple of degrees, letting her know that the fire suppression systems were back online and at least that was taken care of. She could focus on repairing holes in the bulkheads first, then double back for the wiring systems.

They went back to the original lift-this time, to clean up and repair the damage to the tunnel. This would only require patching, not a full replacement. Excellent. With a deft movement, she had a hard plastic sheet from the general replicator in the corridor in her hand. "OK, what I think we should do is just screw pieces like this into place, for now, and then once we're able to asses the damage that has occurred to the wood panels from the fire suppression system, we can go ahead and do a more through job then. Hopefully, we'll know that sooner rather than later." She was still calm-not much during actual work duties ruffled her feathers. It was OFF the clock that was the problem for her.

They worked quickly, Paisley issuing gentle but firm orders as they worked. "OK, Povis, I'll need you to replicate three two-by-five pieces-that's inches, not feet-and I'm going to continue drilling here," she said. They worked in tandem this way for the next hour, until the walls were patched to her satisfaction. She radioed back to the Engineering office. ==/\==F'rar and PO Povis are finished in this corridor, awaiting further reports and orders. ==/\==

The disconnected, holographic voice came through. ==/\==Good work. Stand by for reports.==/\==

She noticed the klaxons had quieted down. The alarm lights were still flashing but the cacophony of noise had ended. She helped Povis to clean up while they waited for further reports. "After we clean up from the repairs, we'll paint everything quickly, and then raise the shields." A quiet "yes, ma'am" came from the younger man.

A moment later, she was on her knees, painting the baseboards while Povis worked from the top down-they'd meet in the middle. It was both faster and more efficient to work as a team. Painting was mindless but necessary work, and while she worked, she let her mind wander a moment. When was this thing going to end? Would she pass? Not that she cared much, she was just an Ensign, and had plenty of years to improve, but she also wanted to get at least a passing score, just to prove herself. She STILL felt a bit like a little kid fiddling with old Earth electronics in her father's spare room.

She returned to present, their task finished. She used the PADD to lower the shield in the hallway, and marked this lift as out-of-order for at least 12 hours. People would just have to walk! "Let's clean up and get back to the office. I think we're all done. Do you have anything you'd like to double check, Petty Officer?" She wasn't above hearing things from those below her-the grunts were really the ones who did the day-to-day maintenance, she just oversaw it usually. She liked to get in there and get her hands dirty, though, so she knew about the same level of information that Povis did. He did a cursory scan of everything, and then assured her he was fine with signing off on this ticket.

The chronometer beeped with her "time up" signal, and she sat back.

Neil reviewed the results as the Deck reset itself and the doors cycled and he walked in to where Paisly was now seated. His HUD was running the base line results for him and he took up a parade rest stance, regarding her. After a few beats he said. "Passing grade, Ensign, but not by much. About what I expected, honestly. The computer gave you problems that you can expect to run into and you did well leading a team. The computer evolved the test into a Damage Control test which is something I don't like about it."

Crossing his arms he continued. "Had you actually reached your assigned battle station, you'd have been running all of Engineering, not just taking charge of a DC team. We touched on your actual posting and the tag of Acting, yeah? In the scenario, main Engineering was screwed. And the ship lost because some of our best talent was wasting her time patching holes. That could have been handed off."

"We need you thinking bigger picture, Ensign. As a Fleet officer your world is bigger than just the corridor you're in and holes that need fixing." He kept his expression neutral ass he asked, "Any comments?"

Paisley opened her mouth. Of COURSE she had comments. Anyone who spent any length of time with the Engineer knew she was a chatterer. "Thank you for the feedback, Sir. I appreciate it. I will practice those things. Can you recommend a few holosims I can use to do that?" She asked. She really DID want to learn things to be better at her job. "And I got it! Bigger picture, don't worry about the smaller things. Just make sure that the ship stays in the sky!" She nodded her understanding. She'd been taking notes, and good thing for HER, she had the Cardassian eidetic memory.

She was eager. Neil had to give her that. Now if they could just rein her in a little so she wasn't quite always so much herself, she might make a good officer. "Absolutely, Ensign. I'll forward notes through Lieutenant DIari, and I imagine she'll have Department Head modules for you to work though as well. The Command SIMS I'll send you though will be more whole ship centered. And my door is always open if you wish to discuss your career or if you need anything."

Finally with a slight smile, he said, "I know you have a multitude of others who you can speak to. But as XO...my position is unique. Good enough for today, Paisley. You're dismissed."

She nodded. "Thank you for your time, Sir. I will get with El-Lt. Diari on that after Shore Leave. I'll see you again soon!" She said, as she sailed out of the room. It had gone better than she'd hoped, but now she was hungry, and she made her way to the Mess Hall.

A Joint Post By

Ensign Paisley F'rar
Damage Control Specialist, USS Pioneer
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Major Cornelius Tremble
Executive Officer, USS Pioneer
Commanding Officer, The Cure
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