Posted on Sun May 8th, 2022 @ 5:47pm by Lieutenant Ken Kudo
Behind Enemy Lines
Location: USS Independence
Kudo was standing in his old familiar place at the pool table in main engineering. All he ever had to do was bring his eyes up from the table and there she was, the warp core. Currently, he had a flip top communicator in his left hand while his right waas tapping keys on the table and in the air on several holo-screens. "Talk to me, Nordeen."
Claire Nordeen, the ensign he had met a day before, was on deck 16, inside a crawlspace, monitoring a plasma manifold there. One that was taking the brunt for as a primary plasma exchanger since the external holo-emitters were a heavy drain on power. "Well, Sir, I can say that it is warmer than usual, but nothing too dras..." Her voice dropped off, then he could barely discern her saying "Wait a second", and then nothing.
"Nordeen? Ensign?" No answer so far. "Claire!" Ken said that a little louder. A couple of his people glanced his way and he gave them a shrug and waggled the comm in his hand. They understood and went back to work.
"I'm good, I'm good! Sorry, Sir. Something caught my eye." Nordeen didn't extrapolate as she focused on what she had seen. The internal panel was blinking amber in a few places but not red. That meant that temperatures had risen within the manifold but had not reached critical yet.
"Ensign," came Ken's voice. "I do not care for dramatic pauses." There was some miff in his tone.
Nordeen began to pull tools out of her engineers vest. "It's the neutrino imaging grid, Sir. The amount of power we're using for the mask is putting stress on systems not meant to do this."
An unfamiliar male voice sounded through the speaker from Claire's end. "We have four holodecks, Claire. All are shut down right now for power allocation. Shunt the cloak power through their ionic flux inhibitors and it should reduce the strain and temp of all systems involved. The holodecks don't have to be active for us to use them as a bypass."
Everything that had just been said as a response from this unknown male was exactly what Kudo was going to say just not exactly in that order. "Ensign, who is that?"
The young ensign in Science blue brought his hand up in a chopping gesture over his throat, shaking his head with a pleading gaze. A playful look came into her eyes as she looked at him and gave a shitty grin, still watching the fellow ensign as she said, "He would rather you not know, Sir."
His face dropped as he chuckled under his breath and shook his head, lip-syncing "you bitch".
Kudo never even skipped a beat. "I'm waiting, Ensign Nordeen."
Nordeen gave a sigh. "Fine, Sir. His name is Rockmand Dunbar. Ensign, and a basic science officer."
"A little above basic, Sir," added Dunbar, not able to stop himself before it popped out. "I know a little about a lot. Practical application, all that kinda stu..."
"Ensign Dunbar," interrupted Kudo. "I don't need your personnel file, this isn't a job interview. But, with that in mind, just what the hell are you doing in my crawl spaces?"
"Learning, Lieutenant Kudo." Even though Kudo couldn't see it, Rockmond grinned as he spoke. "This flying mobile home is many parts engineering and many parts science, all bound together. I figure learning more damage control never hurts."
Ken grinned on his end. "Alright. You two get that manifold under control and I'll inform the Bridge that our ruse will last a little longer." As he spoke to them Kudo was working with a team of three others to keep the warp signature looking like a quantum singularity than an actual warp core. Warbirds used mini black holes to power some of their more powerful vessels. So, not only did Independence have get dolled up on the outside, but Ken also had to keep her heart beat normal. "Kudo, out."
Once he closed the communicator Kudo sent a message to the Bridge and informed them that the emitters would hold out considerably longer.