Posted on Friday, 23 July 2021 - 10:58am by Captain Barret Stillwater & Lieutenant JG Jodon Joral & Lieutenant T'Lanna Vali & Lieutenant Ryan Rose MD & Lieutenant Alex Kingsley & Lieutenant Scarlet Rogers & Lieutenant JG Hayashi Hamura
Location: USS Standing Bear | Deck 01 | Briefing Room
Timeline: MD 6
It was the sixth day into their journey after having taken on additional supplies at the nearest starbase, and their voyage to the Beta Magellan system was still several days out. The use of the Standing Bear's Quantum Slipstream Drive had sheered days off their journey already, but the QSD was a delicate propulsion device, even more so than the fragile dylithium crystals that powered their warp core. It needed rest, pushed to its max already, Captain Stillwater was in agreement with their Chief Engineer to cut the QSD for the next several days to avoid a catastrophe.
Commander Soral was left on the Bridge as Officer of the Watch while Stillwater conducted a small briefing comprised of mostly the science department, but the nature of the situation necessitated the inclusion of Lieutenant Vali, Doctor Rose, and of course Ensign Hamura.
All parties had been seated and settled. Several with beverage within reach. Captain Stillwater opting for his go-to of a steaming mug of rooibos tea, a red herbal tea from Earth. "Ensign Hamura has cautioned of further use of the QSD for now. It cut a significant amount of time off our voyage, but we will be using tride and true dilithium powered engines from here onward" The Captain said nodding at the Chief Engineer.
"That's about right. We better be cautious they need some repairs and I can't push her more than she's already been pushed."
Stillwater gestured to the young Trill in the room. "Lieutenant Joral, however, has been working at the astrometrics station in the science lab, collaboratively with Lieutenant Harley in order to plot the most direct course. There's a bit of an issue."
"More than a bit," Jodon said. "This region of space we are coming up on is a navigational hazard. High warp speeds won't be advisable, Sir." The young officer looked at the Captain. "Long-range sensors have detected faint readings indicative of gravimetric distortions. My hypothesis is we're heading toward a massive dichromatic nebula or nebulae given the presumed berth."
Stillwater's nonchalant knowledge of stellar phenomenon was surface level. He looked towards Kingsley for a more in-depth explanation translated into layman's terms for the scientifically inept in the room. "Lieutenant?"
"Essentially it is a nebulae with the added bonus of gravimetric shear, which is bad for the ship, but also very bad for warp cores," Lieutenant Kingsley replied. "They have a tendency to destabilise the dilithium matrix. If we absolutely must pass through, we must do so cautiously and slowly. But we can make modifications to some of the class 4 probes to offer them some protection, they would let us map out the nebulae and at least find out what is in our path."
Jodon nodded in agreement with his boss' assessment. Kingsley knew her stuff and she knew her probes could do the job. "One hidden danger that we need to be cautious of is a subspace sinkhole Captain" the young man said. "They have a tendency to form in dichromatic nebulae, and once a starship gets sucked into one of those? Let's just say very few stsrships have ever escaped them."
Stillwater could not help but picture a Chinese finger trap, something easy to get into and extremely difficult to escape if you don't know how. He immediately looked to Lieutenant Vali. "T'Lanna, before we get too far ahead of ourselves cross check non-Federation databases such as anything shared with us from the Klingons, Gorn, or Vomnin. We may be lucky and they've traversed this region."
“Yes Sir” T’Lanna nodded and made a note on her PADD.
The Captain turned his chair slightly to the other side of the table. "Lieutenant Rogers, what potential modifications could be made to the ass four probes to prevent us losing them in a dichromatic nebula?" Stillwater inquired knowing Kingsley would appreciate not losing more probes unnecessarily.
Scarlet looked up. She hadn't been part of a meeting like this before but it was specific for science, of which she had some knowledge, albeit it tech. "I'm no expert in this, but I do know that we were toying with the idea of medical specific ships for aide missions. We needed to make them as sturdy and unbreakable as possible. We toyed with the idea of using trellium-D. But the funding got cut, as did the ability to source large quantities and the health and safety aspects made it difficult to find alternative funds. The material itself is near indestructible under conditions like the ones you're describing. It's dangerous to work with, mind. Especially for certain people on board if something were to go wrong." She scratched her head a moment, "not impossible to use it, just dangerous. We could also put a fail safe in, so at the point the probe believes it's getting too dangerous, it turns around. Like a dog whistle."
"I believe we have have some trellium-D, but not a lot of it aboard. It's in restrictive cargo if I remember correctly. Lieutenant Kolani had requested some of it and I approved it a while back. It is in its raw ore state in storage, but if we use it, it needs to be processed into liquid form and casted and coated immediately to be the hull casing for a probe" said Stillwater.
He shot a look over to Hamura. "Ensign, your people would be involved in the processing of that ore" the Captain said sternly. He was unsure how he felt about an ensign overseeing the use of trellium-D.
Hamura sighed. Hamura wasn't happy about this. "Yeah, so basically half my department will glow in the dark." Hamura sighed. "We need to take every precaution. I'll Volunteer so that one spot is filled and one team member won't have to be exposed."
"Trellium-D is extremely radioactive, difficult to work with, and beyond risky. Doctor Rose, what are the risks to the crew and what preemptive measures can we take?"
Ryan explained the precautions that would have to be taken for anybody in direct contact with the Trellium-D as well as the standard protocols for dealing with radioactive exposure. "It's risky, but with well managed protocols, it's doable."
Hearing the medical concerns raised and the potential precautions laid out for him, Stillwater looked at those present. "I know this is not ideal, but we need to go through this nebula, otherwise, we will be skirting around it at impulse speeds if we cannot use warp, and if this is as large as Lieutenant Joral is speculating that it may be..." he left that lingering. They knew what it meant. A lot of added time to their voyage.
Echoing concerns raised by Doctor Ryan Rose, Jodon spoke up. "We're going to want to keep any Vulcans, half, quarter, or otherwise that are aboard away from Trellium-D and I think I would recommend we use one of the cargo bays to construct a makeshift 24th-century version of a decontamination chamber for those working with the substance."
T’Lanna looked towards Jodon “That sounds like a good idea, Commander Soral, myself and any other Vulcan crew members would obviously have to keep away from the area.
Hamura sighed. "I see one problem in your plan," Hamura said to Jodon
Stillwater looked at his Chief Engineer. "What is the problem in his plan?"
"Your Vulcan first officer. He'll want to help and," Hamura's lips pressed together. "He knows what he's doing. I could use him...at least with this."
"Vulcan exposure to that stuff could cause serious damage," the Captain replied. "Sometimes, we have to protect Soral from Soral. I'm fine with him assisting, directing, and guiding, but he's doing it remotely."
"I can make that happen. A holo link of sorts."
“If you need extra hands I may be able to withstand limited exposure” T’Lanna offered a brief smile. “I’m only half Vulcan and I don’t suppress my emotions so I’d be able to last longer.”
Jodon squeaked out a sound before clearing his throat. "Very limited, ma'am," he said politely. "It isn't so much that exposure compromises a Vulcans choice to control emotions so much as it disrupts neural pathways and alters the brain of Vulcanoids. Yes, being half gives you a bit longer of a chance, but prolonged exposure could still lead to permanent psychosis or death."
Stillwater looked at T'Lanna. "Limited," he reminded her. "I've already dealt with you going extreme once. We don't need a reprise."
“Agreed Sir” T’Lanna nodded and smiled. “I’d like to get this inhibitor off sometime soon, I’m not aiming to blow my chances of that!”
"Noted," Stillwater replied with a nod. "Lieutenant Kingsley, you will oversee the modifications to the probes and work with everyone to the capacity that you can. Doctor Rose will ensure that safety protocols are being followed to the letter, and if anyone feels so much as light-headed, they are to immediately report it to Doctor Rose."
“Understood Sir” T’Lanna nodded.
"Yes sir," Kingsley nodded.
"Well then, let's get on it," he said with a little more pep in his voice than usual. "Dismissed people," he added and swiftly stood.