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Monotony...Or Not!

Posted on 04 Oct 2017 @ 2:34am by Lieutenant Callam Jaxer & Captain Harvey Geisler & Lieutenant Commander Terry Walsh & Lieutenant Gemma Alexander & Lieutenant JG Ian Beckett & Chief Petty Officer Odette Farrar

Mission: The Finnean Crisis
Location: Orbit
Timeline: MD6 1030hrs

Callam and Shamrock had just rotated back to the barn for a short break. While they were there, the maintenance crew rearmed their fighters. The crew checked the birds out and fixed anything they could repair quickly. Callam took the opportunity to stretch his legs and to check on the two pilots from Bravo Flight who had been forced to return to the barn because their fighters were shot up too bad to remain in the Black. One had minor burns and had been taken to Sick Bay for treatment. The other was fine. Satisfied that he'd done everything he had time to do, Callam decided they'd better get back out there. He looked around and found Shamrock chatting up a young deck crewman. Shamrock was young, but this kid was even younger. Apparently, Shamrock was a cougar in training.

"Hey, Shamrock!" he called out to his wing person. "Get his number already and get your ass back in your bird. We're heading out!"

Shamrock gave Callam an annoyed look, then turned to the kid and pulled him into a passionate kiss before the kid knew what was happening. After she broke the kiss, she whispered something in the young man's ear. Callam's sensitive Vulcanoid hearing picked up Shamrock's cabin number and a promise to perform a perfectly filthy sexual act with the kid if he was brave enough to come find her. Callam shook his head and, not for the first time since meeting Gemma, hoped that things worked out between them. He liked her, felt like he sort of clicked with her. That she was very attractive was a definite bonus. And, he admitted to himself, he could really use someone to be close with.

"What is that kid, seventeen?" Callam asked as he and Shamrock walked to their fighters.

"Don't worry, Boss," Shamrock replied. "He's legal...barely legal, but legal. I normally go for the more experienced partner, but sometimes I like 'em young and enthusiastic."

Callam grinned. "I suppose I can't argue with you there. Alright, see you in the Black."

The two pilots parted company and and climbed into their cockpits. Shortly thereafter, they were back in space keeping the peace between all of the parties.

"Shamrock, Jax," Callam said. "Follow me. We're going to make a loop around the station and survey the damage."

=^=Roger that, Jax,=^= Shamrock replied and moved in behind Callam.

The two fighters made few lazy loops around the station. At first, Callam saw only what he expected to see: damage consistent with both phaser and micro-torpedo fire from the Gryphons and phaser fire from the Blackhawk. Then he saw it. He almost didn't. Micro-torpedoes aren't very large compared to a space station. But, there it was. An unexploded micro-torpedo lodged in the station's hull.

=^=All Knights, be advised, there is unexploded ordinance in the hull of the station near my current location,=^= he said. =^=Blackhawk, Jax, there's a piece of unexploded ordinance from one of our fighters lodged in the hull of the station at my location. Advise you contact station RFN and warn them. If they already know about it, they'll be annoyed. If they don't, they'll be grateful. Sending sensor data to you now so they'll know where to find it.=^=

After a few moments, a response came through the comm channel. "Jax, Black Hawk. We've received your data. The station has indicated that there are no Operations or Engineers aboard. We'll have to take care of this ourselves." There was an audible click on the channel as it was muted. On the other side, the communications tech called for Chief Petty Officer Farrar to come review the data.

=^=Blackhawk, Jax, copy that,=^=Callam replied. =^=Push comes to shove, I can land and defuse it. Probably better if you send someone who's done this kind of thing more often than I have, but I do know how to do it if needs be. Might need someone to help talk me through the process, though, just to be safe. It's been a while.=^=

=^=Jax, Blackhawk=^=Farrar adjusted her position in her seat before she keyed up again =^=If possible, I need you to get closer to the microtorpedo. We can't tell by the data you've sent now if the outer layer of the torpedo is intact or not.=^=

=^=Blackhawk, Jax,=^= Callam replied. =^=Copy that. Shamrock, Jax, pull back away from the station while I go get a closer look at this thing.=^=

=^=No way, Boss,=^= Shamrock replied. =^=Where you go I go...except for the bathroom, cuz...ew.=^=

Callam shook his head.

=^=Shamrock, Jax,=^= Callam replied. =^=If you get yourself blown up, that poor boy back on the flight deck will die of unfulfilled desire. Beside, if you're next to me when I get blown up, you're not going to be able to rescue me because you'll get blown up, too. So, will you please wave off?=^=

There was a moment of silence, then...

=^=Jax, Shamrock,=^= Shamrock replied, moving beyond the docking ring. =^=Waving off now. Good luck, Boss.=^=

Callam didn't reply as he maneuvered his fighter in to get a closer look at the torpedo lodged in the hull of the station. As he got closer, he saw something, both on his sensors and with his eyes that made him cringe.

=^=Blackhawk, Jax,=^= he said. =^=Sending you updated sensor data now, both on the torpedo and something else I just discovered. This problem just got a whole lot bigger than one micro-torpedo. One of the station's torpedo turrets is below where the micro is lodged. I didn't recognize it before because one of the Knights must have hit it during the skirmish. It's all mangled. Anyway, and this is the really important part. My eyes and my sensors are telling me that little micro-torpedo is lodged in the magazine of that aforementioned mangled torpedo turret. If I'm reading this right, the magazine is at least half-full. If that little thing goes off and sets off those full-sized torpedoes, the resulting explosion is going to take this entire section of the station with it at minimum. So, whatever we're going to do, we might want to step up the time table.=^=

Farrar almost (but managed not to) curse on frequency. =^=Jax, Blackhawk, we have a problem. We're detecting a small fissure in the microtorpedo's casing. In addition, there is too much interference in the area to simply transport it out. Just too much --- =^= Erica shook her head, visibly frustrated, that there wasn't a simple solution to the problem. A solution yes, but not a simple one

Farrar turned around and began issuing instructions to her deckhands hovering about, before keying up. =^=Jax, Blackhawk. I'm going to have to do an EVA disarmament on the micro-torpedo. And I'm going to need someone to remain on station in your present position, so I can get feedback from your sensor suite. Will that be a problem, Jax?=^=

Callam frowned.

=^=Blackhawk, Jax,=^= he said. =^=Yeah, I can be your eyes. But you have to promise me someone will water my plants if you blow us both to smithereens. What's your ETA?=^=

=^=Jax, Blackhawk. I'll transport as close as I can to the microtorpedo in approximately three minutes. If things go awry, I'll try to give you as quick a heads up as I can.=^= A half smile graced Farrar's lips as she added =^=I have a black thumb, so I can't ask you to return the favor. Blackhawk out =^=

Farrar began stripping down in preparation for donning the EV suit brought in for her. When one of deckhands in the room appeared to be taking a little too much interest in her suiting up, she made a "turn around" motion with her finger, which the young man quickly obeyed.

"Archer to Jax, do you require assistance?" Archer asked from her station elsewhere on the field. Finally slow enough for the moment to follow up.

=^=Negative, Archer,=^= Callam replied. =^=As much as I enjoy your company, there's no sense in putting anyone else at risk. Unless Rocco objects, stay back. Bravo One to all Bravos, that goes for all of you. Pull way back. If it was just the micro-torpedo, this wouldn't be a terribly big deal. A small anti-matter explosion like that would cause a hull breach, but if you evacuated the area, it would be a manageable problem. In this case, it's an small anti-matter bomb pressed up against a magazine loaded with a bunch of much bigger antimatter bombs. If Chief Farrar screws this up, there's going to be a very big boom with lots of debris flying around and plenty of radiation. So everyone who doesn't have to be here, stay back. Rocco? Any objections to that plan?=^=

Archer acknowledged but kept her distance and station, hoping they all didn't survive battle just to get blown up in the aftermath.

"Not on my end, Jax," replied Terry. He chuckled into the comm, "Just don't scratch the paint on the Gyphon. It still has that new fighter smell."

"Not to worry, Bravo One," Farrar wryly observed, after materializing as close as possible to the the microtorpedo as she could get. "They don't allow noncoms to screw up that big. You've got to be at least a lieutenant before they let you create disasters like the one you're describing." As Farrar ambled closer, the readings she was getting from her suit's tricorder made her think she just might be getting a posthumous promotion if she got this wrong.

It could have been worse, Farrar reflected. They could have actually sent an officer to try to diffuse the microtorpedo. Probably one who thought himself an expert on everything, and knew just enough to get everyone around him killed.

Farrar knelt down by the microtorpedo, producing a small plasma torch. "I'm breaching the outer casing now Bravo One. Advise if you see a significant spike in radiation levels."

=^=Bravo One copies,=^= Jax watched his sensors. =^=Careful, Chief. I'm getting a slight rise in radiation levels. Don't want to add an actual glow to go with that glowing personality of yours.=^=

"Matched only by your eloquence and elocution, Bravo One," Farrar replied dryly. When the Chief got the casing open, she cursed under her breath. "I'm going to need communications silence for a couple of minutes, Bravo One. Looking at the shape of the control assembly, I can't tell you why the warhead hasn't detonated already. I'm going to need to keep distractions to a minimum to make sure that state of affairs continues."

Callam was about to respond but stopped just before transmitting and chuckled, realizing how ironic replying to a request for radio silence. He sat back and waited for Farrar to do her thing.

There was nothing from the surface of the station for about five minutes before the Chief keyed up again. "The good news, Bravo One, is that, although I can't stop the warhead from detonating, I've adjusted the concavity of the reaction chamber so that instead of being spherical, the blast will be radiated out like an orthodrome. It's going to leave a nasty burn mark on the station's exterior, but that's about it. The bad news is that I literally have my finger on the triggering mechanism, and as soon as I let go, the warhead is going to go off, with me at the center of the orthodrome. And I don't know if I will have enough time to move far enough away from the warhead in time for a transporter lock. I have an idea, though, if I can get a patch through to the transporter room on Black Hawk."

=^=Copy that, Chief,=^=Jax responded. =^=Patching you through now. Blackhawk Transporter Room One, Jax. I have Chief Farrar on the line. She's going to need your help getting out of a very tight spot.=^=

"Understood," replied Lieutenant Beckett. "Standby." Ian got a target lock on the Chief. "Okay, Chief, all set here. But what makes this a very tight spot? Just in case I need to make some adjustments."

Farrar tried not to sigh. Officers. "Because the lock you have on me is not a true lock, Lieutenant," Farrar explained. "If I could have beamed on top of the microtorpedo, I would have. Instead, I had to be transported a short distance away from the target and then move to it. Now please pay attention, Lieutenant. I have adjusted the concavity of the reaction chamber so that when I release the trigger, there will be a short period where the radiation and other interference will decrease to the point that you can get a true lock on me. However, that short period is going to be followed by a large explosion, and I have no idea how short that short period will be. So I'm going to need you to act quickly. Any questions, sir?"

"I'm sorry, you lost me at 'Now please pay attention, Lieutenant.' But thank you for the information...Chief. I do greatly appreciate it. Especially, seeing as how I've been stuck all the way over here on the Black Hawk and not out there with you, knowing what was going on." He had dealt with people like that on the Chimera. And they ended up being Consortium. Go figure. Ian narrowed the annular confinement beam on the fighter Chief. "Only one question, Chief. "Do you want to be transported back to the flight deck with or without the EVA suit?"

"Alive would be preferable, Lieutenant." Chief Farrar said, shaking her head silently. "On the count of three, I'll release the trigger. Be ready to beam me out then."

"Understood," replied Ian. "On your mark."

"One...two...THREE!" And in that last syllable, Chief Farrar felt as if her entire life were condensed down to a single instant.

Ian smiled as his fingers flew across the console. "This is Transporter One, we have Chief Farrar."

Except they didn't. Nothing materialized on the transporter pad. Chief Farrar watched the beam surround her, but failed to dematerialize her. Well, all things considered, it wasn't a bad run, was her last thought before the warhead exploded. As predicted, the explosion went out in a great circle, leaving a huge discoloration on the side of the station, but doing little real damage. Except to one senior non-commissioned officer

As Callam heard them begin the countdown, he quickly pulled away. Farrar may have designed the blast to be two-dimensional, but that wouldn't stop the explosion from spaying radiation around. Making sure his shields were in place, he circled back to the blast site.

=^=Blackhawk, Jax. Did she make it out in time?=^=

Ian had been feverishly doing everything he could to save the Chief once he saw that he didn't have her after all. "I had her at first, Jax. But the matter stream started to dissipate. I did everything I know...but nothing materialized on the transporter pad. We lost Chief Farrar." He immediately notified the Bridge of the incident and shut down Transporter Room One. Protocol was to check everything from top to bottom. And he suspected that he would have to answer some questions. Ian didn't look forward to sitting down with Lieutenant Moreau and going over this.

Callam sighed. He scanned the area of the blast.

=^=Blackhawk, Jax. I confirm no lifesigns, no remains. Her plan worked, though. The hull of the station is pretty much intact. Sending you the scans now. The chief is...gone.=^=


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