USS Omaha
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A Different Sort Of Housecall, Part Two

Posted on Mon Oct 12, 2020 @ 7:03pm by NPC CO Account & Lieutenant JG Jayden Bren & Ensign Zayde Bridger

Mission: Episode 1: The Milk Run
Location: SS Dandelion
Timeline: Mission Day 4 at 1515

When the repair team materialized, they found themselves in a combination transporter and cargo handling room. There were piles of equipment and boxes along two sides of the room, while on the third an exterior door was open and letting a cool breeze in. There was also a Trill woman, probably in her late fifties or early sixties going by the grey in her braided hair, waiting behind the control console.

"Gentlemen, welcome aboard the Dandelion," she said. "I'm Kalla Lar, ship's pilot. And captain. And also the chief engineer, at the moment."

Zayde looked around, he hadn't seen many freighters in his time, so he wasnt' sure what to expect. At least everything appeared to be clean and in decent repair. He didn't spot anything that looked hazardous at the moment, which he was taking as a good sign.

"Ensign Zayde Bridger," he said, extending his hand. 

Jayden was intrigued by the sight of another Trill.  While they were certainly not rare throughout the quadrant, he hadn't heard there were any on this particular planet, even if part of the survey team the others had encountered.  "You're a one person EBH, aren't you?" he joked.  "Jayden Bren." he added, introducing himself.

"So, what seems to be the problem ma'am?" Zayde asked.

"Very funny, lieutenant," Lar replied dryly. "Luckily I've got a problem with the ship's navigational systems and not some sort of humor emergency."

Jayden looked away from the Trill momentarily.  He hadn't been hitting his mark lately when it came to getting a laugh out of people.  He shrugged it off though, figuring she just wasn't that familiar with the Emergency Basic Hologram program that had been getting installed on cargo ships the past couple years.  For all he knew, the Dandelion was probably still utilizing solely two dimentional control interfaces.

"What exactly has the problem been?" Jayden asked.

"Follow me to the bridge and I'll show you," Lar said, waving for them to follow her toward a door opposite the transporter pad. The corridor beyond was very 60s in style, lots of beige, wood tones, and lilac carpetting. "So the ship's about twenty-five years old. Raven-class, pretty standard civilian expeditionary outfitting. Lots of storage space, bunk rooms, some labs, but the engines and other core systems are bog standard."

Zayde glanced around as they walked, making mental notes of the ship. He didn't have a lot of experience in this area, although he doubted the systems were more complicated than those on the Omaha. 

Jayden was only half listening to Lar as she lead them to the bridge.  The small Raven-class vessel reminded him of some of the transports he had trained in as a teenager when he was first learning to pilot.  It seemed fairly well maintained, but was certainly starting to show its age.

"Now, early this year we did finish a refit of some of the main systems, especially the computers, to allow better automation," Lar continued. "Including, yes, an EMH, although none of the other fancy new options. I didn't live this long by playing guinea pig for holo programmers."

They entered the bridge, such as it was. There was a single freestanding wrap-around console at the center, with a fancy leather-covered ergnomic chair sitting in the middle of it, plus a few secondary stations on the side walls. The view screen was currently showing a star chart.

"Apparently I wasn't cautious enough about not letting the upgrades go too far, because for the last few days the computer's been getting more and more unreliable." Lar point at the chart. "I don't know about you, but when I try to plot a course from here to Tellar, I don't expect to take detour all the way through the hellhole that's left of the Star Empire so that we can visit Qo'nos."

"That's right," Jayden responded, "Tellarites aren't too fond of Gagh, are they?" he said, forgetting their host didn't have a taste for his sense of humor.  

After a brief pause, Jayden gave a slight cough and continued, "Let's take a look at your navigational array though, shall we?"

"Gods save me from young officers," Lar grumbled. "Access panel's on the floor right ahead of the control console."

Zayde ignored the banter and decided on focusing on his work so that they could get the hell out of there. There was something unsettling about the ship, although he couldn't really put his finger on it it. He unslung his equipment bag and pried open the access panel. From there he grabbed his engineering tricorder and plugged it directly into the system.

Jayden knelt down next to Zayde to look into the opening in the floor while also being able to see at least part of the tricorder display.  Physically at least, the array seemed to be a standard civilian grade flight control array, and everything seemed to be attached correctly.  He reached down and gave a few of the conduits a push into the main body, just in case one of them were even slightly out of its correct position, but nothing budged.  He leaned back up and glanced towards the tricorder.  "You getting anything on there?"

With a pained expression, Lar said, "Lieutenant. I have been flying everything from starships to assault dropships since before you were probably born. Part of me flew jet aircraft when that was still new and exciting. I did check to make sure everything was plugged in. I even turned it on and off."

Jayden resisted the urge to roll his eyes at the comment.  The first rule of tech support going back generations was to double check the power and connection ports, but he had obviously gotten off on the wrong foot with the vessels commander and at least wanted to try avoiding further agrevating her.  He instead waited for Zaydes response.

"Physical connections check out," Zayde said. "Although the ports are a litte corroded. I need to run a diagnostic on the startup routine, give me a few."

After closing the hatch to the navigational array, Jayden ran through some more options in his head.  "There's only so many systems that interact with the navigation system.  It's not the array... navigation to propulsion is one-way and read-only communication so it can't be anything in the engineering systems..."

"I haven't had reason to take her up," Lar commented, "but as far as I can tell the engines and powerplant themselves are fine. It's something here in the bridge."

"I'll try running a sweep through the main operating systems," Zayde said. He grabbed the portable terminal that they brought in the kit and glanced around for a auxillary systems jack. "Can I hook up over there?"

"Be my guest," Lar said. She gestured at Zayde and then Jayden. "So I get the tech boy here, but what's your deal?"

Zayde ignored her and plugged the terminal in. He sat cross-legged, with the terminal resting on his lap and started going through the start-up systems. Although not as fast as the computers on the Omaha, it was faster than he would have thought given the general age of the vessel. After bypassing the ships network protocols, he started running a diagnostic on the operating systems.

Jayden, who had sat down at the primary navigation console and was tapping in commands, looked up slightly.  "I'm the Omaha's flight control chief.  I'm guessing the Captain thought I could help since your problem is with your navigation system."

"Hmmm. I suppose that makes sense," Lar said. "I never spent much time on the bridge myself. Small craft were where the real excitement was."

Shaking his head, Jayden returned to the control console.  "The operating system isn't as responsive as I would have expected with an updated system.  Have you been noticing any lagging in other systems?"

"Holosuite's been a little slow to load, now that I think about it," Lar said after thinking it over. "It's mostly used for recreating dig sites, not really anything demanding. Last time I ran a combat sim there was some rendering glitches that I hadn't seen before."

Looking over to where Zayde was sitting.  "How's the main systems looking?  Have you run into anything odd?"

Zayde was only about a forth of the way through the operating system when Jayden asked. "Nothing yet, although you really should run diagnostics more frequently. You have all sorts of defragmented code running around in your OS."

"I do full maintenance checks every week while we're in the black," Lar protested. "Last one just a couple days before we made planetfall. And like I said, the entire system's new, the final post-installation check from Yoyodyne was barely two months ago."

"Yoyodyne needs to do a better job," Zayde responded. 

"I don't need a teenager to tell me what engineering companies to patronize," Lar said. "Their flight systems are top of the line. Maybe not as fancy as some of the stuff coming out of Pan-Andor Astronautics, but you can hit one of their impulse engines with a polaron beam and it'll keep working."

Zayde rolled his eyes, he had enough fo the attitude of pilot but decided to keep his mouth shut. The sooner that they found the problem the sooner that they could be back aboard the Omaha and far away from her and her ship.

"Honestly, I don't trust some of the newer avionics they're putting on Starfleet shuttles these days," Lar continued. "Not rugged enough. It's like they think you can just replicate more whenever you want so you may as well make them disposable. What models have you got? Not the Type-20s, I hope. I hear those look sleek but crumple up like paper if you give them a love tap."

Zayde frowned and choose not to engage her. Instead he went back to looking at the diagnostic lines of code that were flowing across his display. There was a section that was highlighted, Zayde stopped the scroll and tapped the screen, bringing up the affected system. 

"You're diagnostic is showing a 0.02 increase in temperature in your secondary processors," Zayde said, showing the display to both Jayden and Lar. 

"Back wall," Lar said. She led them to an access panel at the rear of the bridge and opened it up, exposing a bay of isolinear processors and a bioneural gel pack. The insides of the gel looked jello, if the jello was puke flavor. "Is it supposed to be that color?"

Zayde resisted the urge to say something sarcastic back and instead took out his tricorder. He was already pretty sure that the gel pack had an infection, hince its rather abyssmal color. A second later his instrument confirmed it.

"It has an infection," Zayde said. "A pretty bad one at that."

Jayden leaned in to get a closer look at the gel pack.  Its usual light blue was actually a shade he tended to enjoy, but the one they were looking at now was decidedly less appealing a color.  "Aside from the early to mid 70's when they were a pretty new technology, I haven't heard of gel packs going bad like this..." he trailed off.  While he had a high enough engineering qualification to work on most navigational systems, Jayden also never actually read any engineering journals after the academy, so he realized he probably wouldn't have heard about any issues if there had been any anyway.

"I was told it's a sealed unit good for thirty years," Lar agreed. "Guess we'll have to replace it with the spare."

"We should probably look at the spare too," Zayde suggested.

Lar shrugged. "Alright. This way."

The spare parts locker was near the rear of the ship, by engineering. Buried among various tools and pieces of equipment was a sealed container, which when cracked open revealed an inert and apparently fine gel pack.

"Maybe it was just a bad one from the factory," Lar said. "Or... sabotage at the factory. I always thought these things looked like changelings in a milk bag..."

"Better we inspect it before jumping to any conclusions," Zayde said. 

Lar shrugged. "You can take it for testing if you want. None of these dirt-grubbers I carry around are going to have a clue how to analyze it."

"Let's get it back to the ship," Zayde said, getting to his feet.

Jayden nodded.  "Sounds good to me.  I'm sure engineering will be interested in seeing what happened to this thing."

Lar shrugged more broadly. "Whatever. This sort of nonsense is why I left Starfleet. Thank you for your assistance, have a nice day."



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