Get Stacked or Get Clapped

Posted on 24 Apr 2023 @ 6:27am by Captain Kennedy Harper & Lieutenant Commander Daxton Tolland

1,077 words; about a 5 minute read

Mission: 2390
Location: Gamma Command Arm 1 Cargo Bays

"You know what I hate about being an engineer?" Dax muttered to Kennedy without looking up from his PADD. Even though Kennedy had had to assemble the cadets, brief them on their emergency orders, and then get them on task, Dax still had not arrived before she did. Coordinating the Wallenberg tugs into formation with hopes of stopping a runaway warship was a little more involved than he had made it out to be. Now, while waiting for the tugs to report they were in position, he was assisting the cargo bay reorganization as best he could while keeping a weather eye on his PADD. "Multitasking."

Kennedy looked toward Dax as he joined her and the cadets she'd gotten assembled. They'd all been briefed and were ready for a little hands on training, and it had the Dean of Education hoping they wouldn't need to get too hands on. "Well, I think multitasking can be found in all departments," she said. "However, I don't think engineering is for the faint of heart. It's why I never became one." And, she was former security.

"Chyeah, no doubt," Dax said with a grin that covered his eyeroll. In his view, engineering was endless multitasking, but he wasn't one to argue. He fixed his view back on his PADD. "The tugs are nearly in position and are standing by." He rested his PADD on his hip to assess the cargo bay. "As luck would have it, this station is fully outfitted with transporter platforms that can easily beam crates between skids and racking, but only the central floor transporter can beam crates between cargo bays in order to prevent ish from getting lost in the system. Mostly just your basic Tower of Hanoi deal, just with a countdown added."

"Should we start beaming things to other locations for the time being? I can only imagine we're going to have injured and angry Jem'Hadar appearing on board the station in no time, and I would much rather make sure they're confined," the Dean of Education said. "You know how the old saying goes... better safe than sorry."

At first Dax just shrugged, but then he said, "Well, I guess it depends how much buffer we want around the Jem'Hadar. If they get hostile and we gotta' seal the bay, what are we willing to leave sealed in with them?"

"To answer that question, we should figure out what's being stored here," Kennedy said, moving over to one of the consoles and moving her fingers over the display.

"According to the dock records, it's mostly spares for pieces that are resource-intensive for the industrial replicator," Dax said, quickly scanning it. "But... I'm seeing some oddball personal items that don't have content descriptions." He gave Kennedy a sketchy frown. "If the Jem'Hadar turn aggro and start thrashing stuff, we could get heat off anyone from merchants or crew to the admiral himself..." Trailing off, Dax made a silent "sooo..." gesture with his mouth.

Kennedy abandoned the console since Dax was able to tell her what was inside the crates being stored. Still... she wasn't exactly comfortable with the possibility of losing what was inside the crates being stored. "We have another option," she said, looking toward the Engineer. "And it's likely to be our safest bet for all of us and the Jem'Hadar. Once they're all beamed over, we can erect a force field around them."

"Oh, most definitely," Dax agreed. "I was hoping to have a better arrangement down here, but we don't really have the time to inspect crates to make Plan A happen. All we can be sure of is there shouldn't be anything hazardous. I guess Plan B is to use redundant shielding to make up for a full accounting and rearranging of our wares."

"It's safest for everything and everyone," the Captain said, looking toward the cadets that had been enlisted to help with their current orders. She could tell that a great deal of them were nervous. Kennedy was willing to be they had only ever heard of the Jem'Hadar by name, but now, there was a very good possibility they would be seeing them in person.

Dax closed out the inventory directory on his PADD with a swipe and returned to the Wallenberg formation display. "Looks like we're short on time. The first of the tugs are in primary position." Looking back at Kennedy, he said, "I guess we oughta' get those extra shields in place on the double. Any of your cadets specialized in portable shield installation by any chance?"

"I'm not so sure they've learned about that kind of thing in their studies just yet," she answered. "And I'm not going to pretend to know the first thing about it, but I'm good at taking direction if you're familiar with it and want to tell me what you need me to do. The cadets will also be able to help."

"Huh..." Dax chewed his lip. That made it a little more complicated. And they didn't even have a layout yet. "Let's start out by lining up the primary forcefield emitters every 10 meters to form a rough oval. Then we drop backup emitters in between them in an overlapping oval. If we do it right, the interference will create a makeshift multiphase effect, boosting the strength and endurance..." His smile brightened as a thought occurred to him. "You know, like a harmonic choir." He checked the chronometer again. "That'll have to do until we get some guidance from some med teams and we probably won't get that until we get confirmed casualties."

Kennedy couldn't even pretend to understand what Dax had just relayed to her, but she did know what a harmonic choir was. That was about it. Still, she and the cadets could take guidance pretty well, and he'd proven quite thorough in what he wanted. "Then, let's get this underway. I can't imagine we have much time," the Captain said as she nodded toward the cadets who were all too eager to help out. And, like them, Kennedy began to so as Dax wanted.

As Dax watched the cadets work, he gave a subdued smile of approval at the next generation of Starfleet performing above and beyond their training. Maybe it wasn't such a bad idea having them around. Maybe Starfleet was finally recovering from the hard hits of the past 20 years. And maybe it was time to report back to the Commodore.



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