Ensign Falt - I feel the need...

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Tom Cholewa

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Sep 2, 2021, 7:30:24 AM9/2/21
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((Auxiliary Cargo Bay 2, Deck 24, USS Juneau))

 

Tomas had volunteered to help the Captains test flight by finding a better way to integrate the sensor logs from the ship's test harness with the runabout that was going to monitor them. He knew about sensors but expected he’d be quickly out of his depth in engineering matters judging by the discussion the rest of the impromptu group were having.

 

Tomas kept listening to the conversation as he crossed to the console.

 

Quin: Sir, what’s your biggest concern prior to the test?

 

Oddas: I'm not entirely happy with the way the deuterium is buffered, it's only running at an efficiency of 95%. 

  

Qinn: If you recalibrate the plasma flow regulator for a slightly higher pass through speed, say by a percent or so, you should be able to up the efficiency by a few more percent.

 

Deveaux: I think that sounds correct, sir, but it would take a little time to complete the calibration.

 

There was a pause as the Captain considered this. Tomas pulled up the Juneau's sensor log interface and got to work.

 

Oddas: That's a possibility, though it would be cutting it close.  We could leave some deck plates of, it would buy us time.

 

Stelek: Agreed, we have until 1100 when our launch window opens, then our flight becomes a hazard to traffic in the system.

 

Tomas nodded to himself. That was more than enough time for his task.

 

Qinn: We can borrow some processor power from the main computer core, we’re not using much in dock.  I’ll set up a link. 

 

Silence fell for a few minutes as the team occupied themselves with their tasks.

 

((Short Time Skip))

 

Tomas had just about finished recalibrating the sensor interface between the runabout and the shuttle. He’d used an algorithm he’d had success with at the Academy. As part of his Anthropology finals he’d gone on an extended field trip to observe a pre-warp culture and had been frustrated by the poor data available. In his own time, and through a lot of trial and error, he had developed an algorithm to improve the camouflaged science stations link to the ground based sensor platforms. The algorithm had been successful, and the extra data had helped him top his class on that assignment. He hoped it would be effective in this setting as well.

 

He listened to the engineers again whilst he waited for the computer to upload his modifications.

 

Oddas: The deuterium is flowing nicely, what does the efficiency look like?

 

Qinn: It looks like you’re up to 98.5%.  It shouldn’t be hard to push it up above 99% once you’re back in.

 

Deveaux: That is a definite improvement

 

Oddas: Much better, especially for a first test.  Mister Falt, Stelek, how are the sensor modifications coming?

 

Stelek: We should be online in time, we can make final subspace links between the Runabout and the test platform en route.

 

Falt glanced down and checked the numbers on his console.

 

Falt: I have made a few modification that have improved the expected strength of the signal by 10%. We are at 98.1% now and it should be effective for a range of 10 AU’s. After that our data link will deteriorate rapidly.

 

Oddas: Understood.  There is one seat open in the test vehicle, during a race run it would be the navigator and engineering spot.  Hopefully I don't need it for this run, and it will be uncomfortable since we won't be relying on the pressure suits for backup - they will be our primary life support - but any takers for the spot?

 

Qinn: I’ll join Lieutenant Stelek on the runabout, I’ll patch in more sensor feeds from the Juneau’s lateral sensor array, should give us more resolution and data on your engine emissions

 

Tomas had expected Lieutenant Deveraux to volunteer for the engineering spot and was surprised when she stayed silent.

 

Falt: If there are no other takers I will join you sir. I’m good in an EV suit and can monitor the data link from the shuttle.

 

((Allahayer, Just Launched from the Juneau))

 

((Timeskip, 1100))

 

Tomas found himself sat in the rear seat of the Captain’s experimental shuttle. With his EV suit on there wasn’t much room at all. It made sense the Captain would have designed the ship’s interior to take up the bare minimum of space needed so there was more room for the required engineering.  He guessed she had used her own dimensions as a guide and was glad he was only a couple of inches taller than his CO.

 

Tomas familiarised himself with the interfaces he had access to as Oddas opened a channel to the authorities. As he was sat in the engineering seat there focus was on ship status and performance. Before they had left he had ensured the data link to the runabout was also accessible from his position.

 

Oddas: =/\= Captain Oddas aboard Test Platform NX-99801/X with new designation Allahayer to Lightside Flight control and Runabout Coho, we are away and ready to begin pre-flight checks. =/\=

 

Lightside Control: =/\= This is Lightside Control, proceed when ready. =/\=

 

The Captain was tapping on her control panel. Tomas felt, rather than heard, the rhythm through the crafts plating.  She was repeating a steady 'thump, thump, tap, tap, tap, tap, pause, repeat' sequence. Tomas wondered briefly if it had any significance.

 

Stelek: =/\= We are proceeding to checkpoint, Captain, proceed when ready. =/\=

 

Deveaux: =/\= Receiving data feeds from the engines, Captain. I will be monitoring the outputs and all of the data will be recorded for evaluation after the test flight. =/\=

 

Oddas: =/\= Beginning Phase 1 of test, you should be receiving telemetry. =/\=

 

Tomas heard a new voice on the comline, one he didn’t recognise.

 

Sival: =/\= Captain Oddas, this is Ensign Sival, a doctor aboard Juneau. I will be monitoring your biosigns as well from aboard the ship. =/\=

 

Somehow the fact someone was going to be monitoring his biosigns made Tomas feel less secure about their endeavor. He pushed the thought from his mind. Oddas began the startup sequence, and Tomas took that as his cue to complete the short checklist the captain had given him before departure. As he did a final check on the data link between the runabout and the shuttle he felt a slight hum as the Captain brought the main engines on line. Moving to the engineering screens there was a single amber light among the row of greens.

 

Falt: =/\= Sir, there’s an amber on emissions =/\=

 

Tomas saw the Captain’s head look down to check her own panel. At the same time the slight hum he had felt earlier became a low rumble in his seat.

 

Qinn: =/\= Captain, sensors are detecting an increase in neutrinos in your engine wash.  You’re about 2% above what is normal for an engine of your thrust profile.=/\=

 

Oddas: =/\= I see it, adjusting the intermix to compensate. =/\=

 

As the Captain worked the vibrations from the misalignment ceased and the low hum returned. The amber light in the engineering panel turned green.

 

Qinn: =/\= Neutrino emissions back within standard range.=/\=

 

Falt: =/\= All systems now show within parameters  =/\=

 

Any: =/\= Response =/\=

 

Oddas: =/\= Ready? =/\=

 

Qinn: =/\= Sensors are good for next phase =/\=

 

Falt: =/\= Ready sir =/\=

 

Any: =/\= Response =/\=

 

Tomas was pushed back into his seat as the Captain launched, letting out a loud laugh as she did so. Tomas hadn’t experienced acceleration like it without inertial dampeners. Despite the minor discomfort he realised he was grinning.

 

Deveaux: =/\=  Receiving data feeds. All inputs looking as expected, Captain. Showing a green board. =/\=

 

Oddas: :::chuckling:: =/\= Acknowledged Coho, remind me to add more padding to the seats for next time. =/\=

 

His back absolutely agreed with that suggestion.

 

Stelek: =/\= I will make note of it, Captain. =/\=

 

Oddas: =/\= Be sure you do.  Increasing throttle to 60% =/\=

 

Tomas let out an unexpected and involuntary whoop as he was pushed further back into his seat. The feeling of raw acceleration was exhilarating. Forcing himself to focus on the tasks the Captain had given him he checked his panels.

 

Falt: =/\= All systems remain within tolerance and the data link is at 97.6% strength  =/\=

 

Oddas: =/\= Distance to the Asteroid? =/\=

 

Qinn: =/\= Distance will be 7.5 AUs on my mark...3...2...1… Mark =/\=

 

Any: =/\= Response =/\=

 

Qinn: =/\= We have company, I believe.  I’m detecting what seems to be a small probe, running parallel to the Allahayer.  It’s trying, and failing, to match the Allahayer’s acceleration.=/\=

 

Tomas pulled up the external sensors.

 

Falt: =/\= I have it but I can’t make out much, the Allahayer’s sensors are optimized for navigation. I’m not picking up any life signs so a drone of some sort?  =/\=

 

Any: =/\= Response =/\=

 

There was a short pause.

 

Qinn: =/\= The top users of this kind of drone happen to be small, independent, mining concerns, and News Agencies.  If it can catch you, you might be in the news, Captain.=/\=

 

Any: =/\= Response =/\=

 

Qinn: =/\= The flight path of the probe is well clear of yours, Captain, they’re just looking, so far.  Would you like me to wave them off?=/\=

 

Tomas’ initial ambivalence to racing shuttles had been replaced by an adrenaline fueled desire to go even faster.

 

Falt: =/\= I say we give them a big show sir. Let’s show them what the Allahayer can really do =/\=

 

Oddas/Any: =/\=  Response =/\=

 

TAG/TBC

 

Ensign Tomas Falt

Science Officer

USS Juneau, NX-99801

J239807TF2

 

Sent from Mail for Windows

 

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