Failure to Launch
Et Tu, Brute?
Location: Bridge, USS Kingdom
The Kingdom's bridge was aesthetically pleasing to say the least. The design was a mix of warm lights and burnished bronze, hexagons and soft browns. No angle too hard or light too bright and, much to Ro's pleasure, it gave no suggestion of being stark or antiseptic. This was a modern sailing vessel with metal as the new wood, the vast stars replacing the deep ocean. It suited her, she thought , as she looked around at the number of new faces on the bridge. She knew most of their names from the week spent fixing all of the last minute bugs that plagued the ship since arrival at the station, but there was still so much to learn about all of them. They were now her village, and this ship their home.
"Ladies and gentlemen," O'Touvelli began as she smiled at each of the faces that looked back at her. "I'm not the best at speeches as I'm sure some of you have discovered by now, but I wanted to say a few words before we officially headed out on our own. I've heard this speech given once before when I accompanied a new captain on his first trip out on a ship that seemed like it was held together with bailing wire and gum drops. I remember thinking that it was ostentatious to hear him string together a few words about far horizons and grand adventures and camaraderie and such because I wasn't yet a part of that whole that would grow into the crew as of yet."
"As an outsider it seemed almost cheesy to call upon these antiquated notions. Now that I'm older and I've grown out of being such a brat I can assure you, that what Captain Helmond had said was right. We are embarking on a quest into great unknown. We are currently just a group of strangers with a few shared goals to bring us together. In the beginning, we are all still very much individuals working together at a working model of a community. It takes time, hardship and trust to bring us together into anything more than that. A crew, a family: I'd be honored to call you both. And I look forward to beginning a the journey of a lifetime with you today." Ro took her seat after a moment, her excitement evident in her voice. "Lt. Stowe are all hands accounted for?"
"Aye, Captain, everyone is on board the crazy train," Stowe replied, grinning playfully from his XO chair. "We're all ready to strap in and get moving."
However polished Helmond had been, Ro was certainly not. "Lt. Samedi, are we cooking with fire?"
"Proverbially, yes. All systems green across the board, Ma'am." Hel was happy to resp -
*Bleep bleep bleep*.
"... Most. Systems. Ready across the board." she frowned, tapping in a few quick commands on her console, pausing a moment, then giving it a solid thwack on the side.
"All systems green. Ship's ready to go whenever."
"H'okay. Let's keep 'em green and carry on." The ensign sitting at science certainly wasn't Lt. Zanthi. Though she'd seen him in passing, the man's name was still something of a mystery to Ro. She hopped out of her chair and walked over to him offering out a hand as she approached. "Ensign fabulous beard over at the science station- I have no idea what your name is. It's important that I know your name as we're all in this together and we're sort of being historic here at least where we're concerned. Who are you?"
The young man at the board looked up abruptly and smiled sheepishly, "Oh... I'm Ensign Ricardo. All systems are looking good. We're good to go."
"Fantastic." Ro hurried back to her chair and had a seat again. "Dr. Shinawatra, does medical check out with all of the Ts crossed and Is dotted?"
"It's Figg. Again." Came the grumpy voice that responded to the medical hail. "Doctor S was transferred out about fifteen minutes ago along with a small number of the team. We're still within operating limits and ready to serve."
"Okay, thank you Doctor Figg.." Switching gears in her head, Ro was determined not to lose her momentum. "Lt. Cmdr. Stowe, is security ready to rock and roll?"
"I feel so special getting called on twice," Brenan teased looking over the panels next to his chair, with a boyish grin, "Yes ma'am, all decks are showing stowed and.... that's weird..." He cocked a head to the side, "I've got some odd reassignments going on... Sections four through ten on decks two, three, and four are devoid of crew," He said, curiously.
"Who authorized it?" Ro asked, furrowing her brow.
"Nothing on record... looks like it's just been an oversight that's gotten worse over time," He said, looking up with a shrug, "Probably nothing, ma'am, I'll take care of it. It's mostly non-critical systems up there anyway."
"Okay..." Ro said, making a mental note to check into it later. "Lt. Henshaw, are we ready?"
"Just tell me when to hit the big shiny button, bosslady. These engines are screaming to go," Kelly said, smiling broadly.
Finally Ro's eyes fell on the comm officer. "Lieutenant Kehoe, are we green for the go from the starbase?"
Kehoe had his earpiece shoved so far into his ear that it looked like it was going to give him brain damage. The noise from the consoles around him was almost deafening - he'd need to find a way to turn it down, or at least tuning it out. "We have clearance, Captain."
Ro turned back to face Kelly, just a few hairs short of positively giddy. "Then take us out, Kelly, nice and easy."
"Taking us out, ma'am," Kelly replied, brightly.
"Station command, this is the Kingdom. Requesting permission to debark," Kelly said, opening a channel to docking control.
"Kingdom, this is Starbase 17. Permission granted. Detaching airlocks," A calm voice replied from the other side of the lines. Kelly smiled at that; the difference between controllers and pilots. The pilots always had the happy end, the going forth into adventures. For controllers, it was just another day at the office.
She didn't envy them that one bit.
Three clunks and Kelly's smile started fading. Her fingers worked over the conn as her brow furrowed, "Something's wrong with the last umbilical... It's not releasing. Let me try a manual--"
Kelly's words were cut off by a loud explosion and the Kingdom shaking in its berth. Kelly barely maintained her seat by holding on to her console, "The hell was that?!" She barked.
"Sensors indicate an explosion around the airlock!" Ensign Ricardo replied over the din of alarms. "I'm reading hull breeches on decks 2 through 4!" He said, urgently.
Hel looked up, startled. She'd been assured everything was fine! In fact, she'd doublechecked everyone's work herself! "Warning damage control. I recommend evacuating the area and making safe distance."
"No need," Brenan said, looking at the security display with a great deal of suspicion, his trademark grin missing from his face. "It was decks 2 through 4... sections four through ten... it's already empty. Anyway, all of the security bulkheads ship-wide are locking down automatically... we should be good," He explained, then added, a little dejectedly, "But we won't be launching any time soon."
"What the actual hell?" Ro uttered darkly, glancing around at the many consoles with blaring red lights glaring angrily around the room. Her own, was again, spouting kanji symbols. "H'okay. Henshaw, shut it down. Samedi- I need an update on how borked our ship is and how soon we can run with it. Kehoe- let 'em know that we're not going anywhere and find out what was up with that last docking clamp. Stowe- I want you to grab whoever you need to figure out what just happened. Bulkheads, explosions, crew migration: nic it. Go."
Kehoe was immediately back on his earpiece, transmitting the problem and sending the initial report coming through from the computer - all fairly standard - but there was a more detailed problem to deal with. "Kingdom to Dockmaster. We experienced an explosion in the final umbilical release, requesting telemetry from interior sensors."
"Preliminary diagnostics reveal the airlock is - .. well, gone. Sections are depressurized, some minor structural damage. The vacuum took care of the fires. The damage control party is on their way." Hel responded. "I can theoretically rig structural support forcefields and have us ready to move in ten minutes, but that's a stopgap fix. I'd need eyes on the damage before I can give you any more information on the actual damage."
"Going to be a problem getting there," Brenan replied, looking over his security panel. "The bulkheads on all decks are in lockdown status and aren't responsive," He explained, typing in his override code and frowning.
He looked up at Ro, "I'm locked out of the system."
Hel frowned. "So we are. This is ... new." she mused, tapping at her console in frustration. "Ok, new plan. We move the ship to a safe distance, I get a crew in EVA suits and I take them for a walk outside. Also - ... " She then hesitated trailing off.
"Good luck with that." Kehoe said, keeping his eyes firmly on his control panel. "I've sent the report coming in from the base across to you on the off chance it gives you something to go on."
"Wait..." Brenan zoomed in on a second of his security display. "I've got bulkheads opening and closing on deck... eleven... starting around section three and..." He trailed of, then stood and headed toward the turbolift, "Someone is heading toward engineering," He said, abruptly. "We have to go, NOW!" He said, sharply, pulling out his communicator, "Security do deck eleven, Main Engineering, ASAP," He said, slapping the button outside of the lift and frowning when it gave a negative sound.
He smacked it again, and frowned harder as it declined to comply again, "Hel? What's going on with the turbolifts?!" He asked, starting to sound concerned.
"Fuuu- ... dge." Hel started cursing but contained herself. "Sir, Captain, can I speak to the both of you in private please? ... In a hurry?"
"No time for that," Brenan replied, flatly. "I have a feeling we're in a _serious_ time crunch. What's going on?"
"In short, foul play. We're being actively sabotaged. Probably from within the ship, or at least from within the station. Probably going to need to roll back to a starfleet factory standard software suite. Set us back days." Hel replied, quick and concise. "I am convinced this is sabotage. Would stake my career on it."
"I agree," Brenan replied, looking to the CO, "I'm going to go through the tubes, unless you've got any objection, ma'am."
"Get to it. Keep me updated." Ro responded curtly.