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Somber News

Posted on 01 Sep 2016 @ 3:42am by Captain Harvey Geisler & Lieutenant Abbey Road & Ensign Kelly Khan

Mission: Click Three Times
Location: USS Chimera
Timeline: MD 7 || 0930 hours

Harvey actually wondered when it was the last time he did something like this.

His piloting skills were quite rusty, but how hard was it to fly a shuttlecraft. He'd selected the Edison, one of the Black Hawk's Type-18 Shuttlepods. While he would have preferred to have taken a runabout or something larger, the Chimera lacked a large enough shuttlebay to place several large shuttlecraft, especially since the shuttlebay was about to receive more traffic than it was designed for.

As easy as it would be to contact the ship and inform the Cadet in command the unfortunate news, Harvey had decided this was something he had to do himself. He did contact the Cadet and asked her to assemble the crew, at least all that were able, into the ship's largest compartment. As soon as he was on board, he expected the Cadet to escort him to that area so he could deliver his news.

Sitting behind the helm of a shuttle, however, was a unique experience. Sure he'd been in many over the course of his life, but his most haunted memories were always connected to one of these small craft. While this present experience certainly did not come close to those memories, it was still sobering all the same.

Captain Geisler eased the small shuttlepod into the Intrepid's aft shuttlebay and carefully navigated it to a quiet corner, out of the way and would still enable large traffic to flow in and out.

Upon getting the message from the Captain, Kelly wondered why she was calling the remaining crew of the Chimera together, but she did as she was told to do. In all, she gathered a grand total of thirty-four members of the ship who hadn't been too wounded to take to the Black Hawk and assembled everyone in the largest conference room.

After another search, she had also located Doctor Road at last after another search and approached the only person on the ship shorter than her. "Doctor Road, the Captain would like to see us all in Conference Hall," she said. "I need to meet him at the shuttle bay."

Abbey had been seeing to patients, trying to sort them into who should go back to the Black Hawk and who could stay here. So far, she was sending far more people back to the Black Hawk than she'd like, but she'd set the criteria before sorting through people and was really hesitant to change those criteria now.

She looked up when Khan told her to meet in the conference hall. "All right, I'll be there in five minutes," she replied, packing up her medkit and standing. She gave a few instructions to the nurses she'd found to assist her and then started off towards the conference room.

Once Kelly had seen the Doctor on her way, she headed down to the shuttlebay and came to attention as she saw the Type-18 shuttlepod come to a rest in an out of the way spot as it landed.

Harvey exited the rear hatch and spotted the Cadet at attention. The Captain only shook his head, both in amazement and amusement that the young woman still followed protocol to the letter. "At ease, Cadet," he told her as he approached. "Is everyone together?"

"Yes, Sir," Kelly responded as she moved to parade rest with her hands behind her back. "There's a total of thirty-four, not counting Doctor Road. I have them in Conference Hall, Captain Geisler."

He nodded in response. "Lead the way, Cadet." Under normal circumstances, he would have headed straight there without delay, but he didn't know Intrepids enough to know where he was going.

Kelly turned on a heel and led the way to the turbolift, proud that it was operational even if it was a bit sluggish still. When the Captain was aboard, she requested deck eight. "She's not much, Sir, but we managed to get the RCS thrusters online and active and we're working on restoring the sensors now."

Harvey didn't immediately reply, wondering if he should tell her privately what he was about to tell the crew of the ship. "We should close the distance between us and the Black Hawk then," he told her. "It'll make shuttle movement easier."

"It's not problem transporting them with shuttles, Sir," Kelly responded. "As soon as they're back on their feet and out of Black Hawk's Sickbay, we can get this back here and finish repairs faster."

"That's just it, Cadet," Harvey said with a sigh. "We're not going to continue repairs on the Chimera. We don't have the resources."

"But...we have the Cochrane and they're also an Intrepid, Sir," Kelly said. "I'm sure they can spare some resources that we need and we can get the Chimera back in shape in no time."

"What Chimera needs is two months in a drydock. Severe structure issues, collapsed warp field..." he voice trailed off, avoiding many of the hard facts. "Workbees can't repair a broken back this far away from a Starbase, and the only place Chimera can get the attention she needs is at Deep Space Eleven."

"That's only a few days away," Kelly pointed out. "We can easily tow it back between the tractor beams of the Cochrane and Chimera, couldn't we?" She didn't want to accept that her first 'command' was going to be scuttled and thought of every alternative.

"Deep Space Eleven is still controlled by the Consortium," Harvey reminded her. He turned to look at her, able to tell that she was taking this a bit personal. "I've run through scenarios with Commanders Teixeria and Bast. We don't have any other option than to scuttle the Chimera."

Scuttle, Kelly thought dismally as the Captain pronounced a death sentence on the Chimera. "Understood, Sir," she said quietly.

He didn't need to be a Betazoid to sense her disappointment. He placed a hand on her shoulder, just as he'd did on the shuttle an hour ago. "It's not your fault," he reminded her. "You did an excellent job, Cadet. There's nothing to be ashamed of."

"I know, Sir," she said looking up at the much taller Captain. "I guess I got attached to her and I know that I shouldn't have. Now to wait another dozen years to sit in the big chair again."

Harvey offered a small smile as the turbolift came to a stop. The doors opened and Harvey invited the Cadet to continue leading the way to the Conference Room, especially since he had no idea where he was going.

Kelly sighed and led the way down to the Conference Room and entered. "Captain on deck!" She barked and the remaining personnel came to weary attention before she went to take her place at the front of them and turned to face him. The news he was about to give them was going to be demoralizing, but she would back him.

Even though it had been years since Abbey had last heard that shouted anywhere, her body seemed to act on instinct and she came to attention. The bewildered looks on the faces around her indicated that they, too, had reacted without thinking. It was good to know their training was so complete.

"At ease," Harvey said, entering the room and taking a position in front of them. He eyed the thirty-four crewmembers carefully. Yesterday they'd met as enemies, and he certainly believed some of them still thought that he was. Still, he couldn't address that now.

"You know," Harvey began, looking over the thirty-four again. "I have a lot of respect for this ship and crew. Your training served you well, and I wish we could have met under different circumstances. I cannot speak for your Captain's actions, but I can tell you she died trying to use a Thalaron weapon against my ship, the Cochrane and your own."

He paused a beat to let that sink in. "When the Valdore exploded, we were treated to some sort of still unexplained shockwave that severely damaged all three ships. You have done a great job getting this ship back up and running, however, I'm afraid it just won't be enough. Chimera's back is broken, and only a spacedock can fix her. Unfortunately, that's just not going to happen. We'll be leaving the nebula at 1800 hours sharp. When we do, we'll be scuttling the Chimera."

An Engineer who looked like he hadn't slept for two days or changed his uniform in four stepped forward with an aggressive jut to his jaw and raw anger in his eyes. He took a breath and bunched and unbunched his fist, then he sighed and his shoulders slumped, his hands falling to his side. "The Captain's right," he said quietly. "Much as we don't know him from some PADDpusher in a backwater of the Beta Quadrant...the ship's broken." He looked at the young cadet who stood slightly forward of the others. "That young cadet has been coaxing, wheedling, cajoling and doing the job of a seasoned officer and putting her back into it with the rest of us....but it isn't enough. I'd love to say otherwise, but no amount of coaxing, wheedling and cajoling is going to bring this lady back to life short of a space dock."

Paula Fierri nodded emphatically. In the hours since she had met the Doctor and the Cadet, she had come to trust them. And if they trusted this Captain, then she did, too. Besides, Jaran was right; there was no way they were going to fix this tub.

Kelly turned to the Engineer who had been working relentlessly around the clocks and closed her eyes. "You're right, Lieutenant Jaran and you've done the work of a dozen people as well." She turned to look at the other officers and enlisted that she knew had considered the Engineer the unofficial senior officer on board despite her presence and assigned role. There were various, unhappy nods in his direction and various mutterings, but not descension. She turned back to Captain Geisler. "What are your orders, Sir?"

"We have a little more than eight hours to gut her," Harvey replied. "Biobeds, torpedoes, phaser emitters, sensor pallets, power relays... If we can remove it and carry it, we're going to take it with us. We'll also give you time to retrieve effects from your quarters. If you know someone who's stuck in sickbay, you're welcome to get into their quarters and get some of their items for them."

Kelly looked back at the assembled personnel and saw the looks of disappointment on their faces, some of whom looked almost defiant but quiet words were spoken to those few by others. "You heard Captain Geisler," she said. "Let's get moving. I want six teams of five formed. Pick a unit leader and a section. If something requires more than five people, we'll meet up at that area and do it together. I'll help wherever you need me the most." She paused and looked back at Captain Geisler. "Is there anything else, Sir?"

Though Abbey didn't actually belong to this ship, she felt a certain kinship to it. Still, she knew Captain Geisler was right. There was no way they could fix this ship. With a sigh, she turned her attention back to her Captain for final orders.

"And I'll be here as well," Harvey assured them. "Eight hours will go fast, and there are fifteen decks to cover. Let's get moving."

With that, the teams Kelly had asked for split up according to their department and usefulness and headed out to begin dissecting the ship. She looked back at him once with a sad smile, then headed off to help wherever she was needed.

Harvey nodded to the Cadet just before he was left alone in the Conference Room. He looked around with a sympathetic expression on his face. "I'm sorry..." he whispered to the soul of the Chimera, assuming it still had a heartbeat. "You deserved better."

After a curt nod, Harvey turned and left the conference room. So much time, so little to do. Harvey stopped, sighed and shook his head. Even though he had a solid couple hours of sleep, he could feel the fatigue and malnourishment eat away at him. Strike that, he thought. Reverse it.. Oh what he wouldn't do for a full night of sleep when this was over...


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