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The Next Generation

Posted on Mon Feb 26th, 2018 @ 5:41am by Captain Alexander Kurtz

Mission: Earth
Location: Engineering, USS Valkyrie
Timeline: MD06 - 15:11hrs

It had been a long time now since engineering had been Alex Kurtz's domain on a Starship. He still considered himself an engineer at heart though and often felt at home in this part of the ship. As the doors slid open, he stepped through and took a moment to admire the warp core. It was, as always, impressive to behold. Pulsing with a blueish glow, quietly waiting to be out to use. Alex hoped that it wouldn't be long until he had a chance to put it through it's paces.

He walked towards the core, taking note of the workstations and crew members along the way. He stopped next to a young ensign who couldn't be long out of the academy. "How's my warp core Ensign?"

Joi jumped up from the console. It's innards and wires on both sides of it as she attempted to repair the damn thing.

"Oh... hey, Captain! I didn't know you were going to make a visit", she said as she placed a tool down on the flat surface and wiped her hand on a white cloth she had mounted to the side of her utility belt.

“Not to worry Ensign, it's nothing official, I just like to drop into engineering every once in a while. I started out in the department, so I feel at home down here.” The Captain explained. “Mechanical problems still make more sense to me than a lot of others. I try to get to know my ship as well as my crew. Ensign Templar tells me the port plasma relays tend to run hot, have you picked up on any of the ship's… quirks?”

“Well, now that you mentioned it, the lights tend to flicker on all of the forward turbolifts whenever they arrive on deck 2. The door to main engineering doesn’t open sometimes when someone steps up to it, and the ventilation system in my quarters always run cold air.”

She grabbed a data padd and typed away, “forgot to add that one to the list.”

“That's… certainly a lot of quirks.” Alex commented. The Valkyrie had been pressed into service on fairly short notice before it was assigned to Deep Space Twelve, and it was becoming clear that she could probably have done with some more time to prepare. Add to that the relatively unstable nature of the engineering department of late and it was a clear recipe for technical trouble.

“Assuming you've run diagnostics on the door sensors, there was a faulty run of ODN couplings a few years back that gave false positive feeds. The door might think it's opening when it isn't.” The Captain explained. “That might be worth looking into. You have my authorisation to requestion any parts or equipment you need to correct the rest of the faults while we're in Earth orbit.”

“Thank you, sir. These repairs are all on my list and I am getting to them as fast as possible. This console, I was working on just before you came in, was displaying ‘core eject’ on it all in yellow. Scared me half to death. But right now I am just running on a skeleton engineering crew. Hopefully we have some new engineering recruits coming on board now that we are in Earth’s orbit? Huh?”, she said as she nudged him.

“I'm certainly working on it Ensign.” Kurtz replied. “I'm trying to bring in the right candidate for chief engineer, that should give the department some stability. Until then, I'd like you to coordinate with Ensign Templar from ops on all the repairs and upgrades. Their department is a little better staffed and they should be able to help. Are you waiting on any parts or equipment I might be able to expedite?”

With a quirky quick move, from table top to arm stretched, much like in the old martial arts movies of the 70s-80s, a data padd is revealed providing a very long list of parts and equipment needed in Engineering.

"I had this ready for you in the event I ran into you. Otherwise it would have gone to Lieutenant Blackwater. Its a list of everything we need for offshore deployment..."

Suddenly a huge console crashed onto the floor from the above landing destroying it. Shaw pushed the CO slightly back but the drop was roughly 15 feet away and they were not in danger. The console caught fire and two engineers rushed over with small extinguishers putting the fire out. Shaw looked up and noticed Yokus, a brand new Petty Office Third Class engineer, not even two days out of the academy, with a wrench in hand. His clumsiness was deafening. It was the second console he has destroyed trying to repair it. The irony.

"Yokus! This is the second time! Whats going on?". she yelled at him from the ground level.

"Sorry, Ensign, it just fell!" he said in a quiet and embarrassed voice walking away from the edge.

Shaw turned back to the Captain.

"I apologize, Captain, we are all getting used to the new environment here.", she said in an identical embarrassing response.

Once the initial adrenaline surge had died down, Alex found himself dissecting the incident. The department should have had safety precautions in place that would have prevented an accident like that from even coming close to happening. The lack of oversight and the high staff turnover were surely both factors in the problem.

“That can't happen.” He said, gesturing towards the smouldering wreck of the console. “I want a full investigation on that. Once that's done, one senior representative from each shift will meet with the XO and review and restructure the safety procedures for the department.” If he couldn't bring in a new chief engineer before they left Earth, then they needed to be running themselves effectively and safely.

“Sir, I apologize. This was accident. Please, let me gather new safety procedures and meet with the XO myself. As the senior person engineering I can do this. Allow me the chance to fix this.”

“Never apologize for something isn't your fault Ensign. Especially not to the Captain.” He said quietly, so nobody else would overhear. The young engineer was keen, and seemingly eager to impress, which was a good sign. She might be in need of a little guidance for now, and the engineer is Alex wanted to help. “If you're going to volunteer for a project though, be my guest. Get one of the senior non-commissioned officers to work with you though. I'd like it done by the time we leave Earth.”

Joi let out a huge sigh and responded a quick, "Yes, sir. I will have it in the next 24-48 hours."

“All right, thank you Ensign.” The Captain replied. It was entirely possible that the Valkyrie wouldn't have a chief engineer for her trip out to Deep Space 12, and the young Ensign had just put herself in a position of responsibility in the meantime. He was impressed with her enthusiasm, tempered with some experience it could be the foundation of a good officer. “If there's anything else engineering needs, let me know.”

"Thank you for meeting me. I won't disappoint you, Captain." she said as she extended her hand in formal handshake.

“I'm sure you won't.” He replied as he shook her hand.


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