NCC-74705 (USS Bellerophon)
In formation with the fleet at Outpost Zeta-Thirteen.
Lieutenant Commander Taurik has made a full recovery and was released early this morning by the chief medical officer. Taurik has since arrived in engineering to lend his assistance to the Doctor and Leftenant Lawson, who are making outstanding progressing in bringing the ablative generators to realization.
Most of the morning has been spent in installing these generators and passing the technology to the rest of the fleet. It has been my understanding that their engineering departments are having a number of technical issues in bringing them online. Point in fact; our first test was also less than promising.
The Doctor's fingers moved across the console so fast that neither Commander Taurik nor Lieutenant Lawson could keep up with him. Even the computer appeared to lag behind the inputted commands upon the screen. The screen shifted back and forth so quick as to almost flash at them in slow stop-motion.
"The trick here is to couple the generators with the primary power node without overloading the circuit and tripping a breaker. If the breaker is tripped..." He trailed off unnecessary. "So, we tie in the secondary power wave guides into the system to allow for a power transfer in the event the primary power grid fails."
Taurik nodded. "Impressive work for someone with only thirty-six hours of training."
"Thanks, but we Time Lords can take in a lot of information very quickly," the Doctor replied. "I think that's got it. We can start testing the generators with this new configuration."
Both Taurik and Lawson moved to the main engineering console. "Running first test against the starboard primary generator, now."
"Power is being transferred to the generator, okay. No appreciable drop or break in the system, so far." Lawson brought up the grid's power output on the main screen near him and continued to keep an eye on it. "Generator is showing power status green."
"Reading green, here," confirmed Taurik. "Doctor?"
The Doctor nodded and said, "All right. According to Voyager's information, the deployment subroutine was an all or nothing build. So, we'll have to do this in a controlled fashion. I don't want to destroy a power node."
"Again," added Lawson and Taurik, nearly simultaneously.
"I'm sorry. Again," said the Doctor with a wince. "You had a spare node handy. In fact, you have several handy, just in case we blow out this one."
"In case you blow out this one," Lawson grinned as he spoke, unable to keep the humor from his tone.
The Doctor waved him off with his sonic screwdriver. "All right, all right. I didn't realize I was with the lot that didn't make mistakes. It's not easy translating your way of subverting physics to my way of subverting physics."
Lawson chuckled. "I'm sorry, Doctor. I couldn't resist." His expression grew serious as he reported. "'Kay. I think that's got it. Capacitors are now online; they're ready to process incoming power to hold the armor into place."
"I think we're almost there, then."
Taurik slapped his commbadge. "Engineering to Bridge. This is Commander Taurik. We are nearly ready for another test of the starboard primary generator."
"This is the captain," Magambo's voice resounded within the engineering compartment. "We are standing by. Better luck this time."
"Thank you, sir," Taurik replied. "I will keep this channel open for the duration." He turned to the Doctor and nodded his permission to proceed.
The Doctor did not respond. His hands continued to fly over the controls until he groaned, "This is infuriating. Enough with the hands-free, yeah?" He lifted his sonic screwdriver and aimed it at the LCARS display. Its high-pitched squeal started off at a normal level until the Doctor adjusted it. The squeal grew louder and then angrier; it bounced off the walls and a couple of officers held their ears, including Taurik. The screen shifted until it finally showed the words, "ABLATIVE GENERATOR STATUS: ARMED."
"All right, here," the Doctor grinned wide. "Deploy when ready, Commander."
Taurik looked up to speak to the intercom. "Bridge, we are engaging the deployment subroutine." He tapped once and then announced, "Deploying armor."
On the master systems display, the scene shifted to an exterior view provided by one of the neighboring starships. Along the starboard side of Bellerophon's saucer section, the generator bar glowed and sections of the armor appeared in place.
"So far, so good," Lawson said. "But can we go further than this, this time?"
Taurik added, "The power node appears to be stable this time, however."
The Doctor's eyes darted about the status screen and he tapped the end of his sonic screwdriver against his side as he watched the plasma power nodes in the adjacent sections of the grid. "Power holding steady at ninety-eight percent efficiency. Looks like the additional power waveguides are helping to stabilize the grid with the new requirements from the generators. Let's see if they'll take a hit, now."
"Bridge, we're ready for the live fire test," Taurik intoned.
Magambo replied, "Stand by." Her voice became slightly muted as she spoke to the other vessel, "Bellerophon to Repulse, we are ready for the live fire test." There was silence, and then Magambo's voice returned. "Engineering, live fire in one minute."
"Engineering to all sections," Taurik announced on the shipwide address circuit, "Live fire test in sixty seconds. Brace for impact." The collision alarm sounded throughout the ship.
"The live fire test will consist of a ten-second burst of phaser fire. Should that be successful, it shall be followed by five shots from their phaser cannon," reminded Magambo from the bridge. "We will not test against torpedoes until the full armor is deployed."
The Doctor replied for everyone. "Ah, yes. Good idea, Captain. The detonation radius from the torpedoes might actually cause some damage."
"Forty-five seconds," said Taurik. "I am increasing power to the structural integrity field."
Lawson nodded and replied, "SIF output is now at full, sir. I think we're ready to take our lumps. Just a quick reminder: since we're allocating power to the new armor system, we will be unable to switch to conventional shielding."
"Acknowledged, Leftenant," Magambo said.
"Thirty seconds," Taurik continued his count.
The Doctor groped around the slick surface and then the sides of the console. He quickly looked around as though he lost something.
Lawson watched him move about the engineering area like a man missing his glasses, "Doctor?"
He snapped up and shot a quick question toward the lieutenant. "Yeah, who builds a starship like this and doesn't bother with handholds?"
"Fifteen seconds," was all Taurik said. "Brace for impact."
The Doctor raised his hands in exasperation. "How?"
Taurik did not respond, other than to place his hands atop the console he stood at as a means to answering the question. "Ten seconds. Nine..."
"You make do with what you have, Doctor," Lawson demonstrated the same.
"I take back what I said before. You people are brilliant in some areas, and dead stupid in others," the Doctor gripped the sides of the console below the systems display and held on tightly as Taurik reached five seconds and began to count toward one.
Then, nothing happened. No vibration, let alone trembling.
"Did the ship fire, yet?" asked Lawson.
Taurik responded, "Affirmative. The ten second burst has four seconds left."
The Doctor reported, "Armor integrity at one-hundred percent. Power waveguides show no loss in efficiency. No fluctuations in transfer." He turned to look at Taurik and Lawson with a big smile. "It worked!"
"Confirmed," agreed Taurik. "Bridge, we have a successful first test."
Magambo replied, "Acknowledged, Engineering. Outstanding work. We're moving to phase two of the test. Incoming cannon fire."
Again, there did not seem to be any impact. "Armor holding steady at one-zero-zero. Power is continuing to feed into the capacitors," said the Doctor in a distracted voice. "Uh oh..."
Lawson strode over toward the Doctor. "What's wrong?"
"Er, in my haste to get the system online, I think my sonic screwdriver might have fused the power connection to the generators," the Doctor placed a hand on his chin as he spoke. "I'm unable to test the failover mid-battle. It's locked to the primary grid, now."
"How long would it take to cut the connection?"
"I could do it right now, but then we'll have to go back to the beginning and fabricate a new power conduit for the generator."
Taurik added, "This is affecting only one generator. The others we will be sure to bring online in a more conventional manner."
"Yes, well..." The Doctor trailed his voice off and shot a glance toward the Vulcan. "Sorry."
Magambo noted, "Test complete. I would like a complete briefing from everyone in twenty minutes within the bridge lounge. Magambo, out."
Lawson whistled at the readouts. "You think Starfleet will let us keep this armor in place after we're done with the mission?"
"I presume not," Taurik told the young man simply. "You will excuse me for a moment." He walked away from the Doctor and Lieutenant Lawson, to a waiting Toshiko at a nearby console.
Toshiko glanced up at Taurik with a smile of relief. "I'm off the hook."
Taurik inclined his head once. "Indeed."
"And the transphasic torpedoes?" inquired the captain, as she, Martha, and Ursula strode down the corridor on deck eleven.
Ursula replied before Martha could, "We're not quite there, yet, Captain. But in this case, it's the conversion of enough torpedoes. Presently, we have less than five operational."
Off Magambo's raised eyebrow, Martha stepped into the conversation with, "There are fundamental differences in how the two torpedo systems function, sir. The payloads are a little trickier to manage within our quantum torpedo housings."
"How did Voyager manage?" asked Magambo.
"They replicated all-new housings and flight control systems," explained Ursula quickly. "It took them nearly two days to construct a functioning and combat-ready torpedo."
The captain frowned. "We don't have that kind of time. What options do we have under the current circumstances? Can the Doctor be of assistance?"
Martha and Ursula traded uneasy expressions. "The Doctor has been reluctant to assist us in any endeavor related to weaponry," Ursula noted, her eyes cast down to the deck. "I'm afraid he is most insistent on this point."
Magambo slowed before they reached engineering. "I see." She stopped altogether to prevent the door sensors from opening. "We shall have to carry on without him, then. I require those torpedoes online before our next encounter. That will be all, Mister Blake. Commander Jones, with me."
Ursula inclined her head respectfully before retreating, while the captain and executive officer entered the main engineering compartment. The compartment was abuzz with activity as the rest of the generators were being brought online.
Taurik noticed the captain's entry and met her before she crossed the threshold into the warp core chamber. "Captain, approximately forty-four percent of the ablative generators are online and ready. The Doctor has devised a most efficient method to installing them. We shall meet your deadline with more than enough time for testing."
Magambo eyed the chief engineering officer. "That is good news. Your tone suggests there is another side of the story."
The Vulcan placed his hands behind his back and gave a nearly-imperceptible expression of surprise at the captain's perspicacity. "Yes, sir. I do have a concern."
Martha asked, "You're referring to the shield generators?"
"Yes," Taurik lifted his hand and gestured toward his personal workstation. "If I may demonstrate?" When they assembled before the massive screen, he continued, "As we mentioned earlier today, the shield system will be offline."
Magambo shook her head. "That was... to be expected, Commander. I'm not sure what's changed."
"Apologies, Captain. When I say offline, I mean to say that we will not be able to use them as a backup defense system in a combat situation," Taurik said. He entered in a few commands and the display zoomed in on one of the modified ablative generators, alongside the shield generator. "The original requirement was to be able to disengage the ablative generators and switch to the conventional shield system quickly. However, the current power requirements of the ablative system make that impossible, without the risk of zero defenses for at least five to ten minutes."
Magambo paled. "That's completely unacceptable."
Taurik agreed with a simple nod. "Hence my concern."
"You mentioned earlier that we were using capacitors for the ablative systems; might we also use a capacitor system for the shield generators?" Martha wondered.
"We would require additional time to install said capacitors," replied the chief engineering officer stoically. "It is possible to do this with all engineering teams working toward this goal. We would need to place all other priorities on hold until it is completed."
Magambo sighed, through her nostrils. She considered the news carefully, but ultimately disagreed. "No, we will proceed with the ablative generators. Your priority will be to bring the transphasic torpedoes online as quickly as possible."
"Aye, sir," Taurik inclined his head briefly. "By your leave?"
"Of course." Magambo waited for the Vulcan to depart before spying the Doctor at the overhead engineering console usually used by the chief engineer. She looked up at him and called out, "Doctor, we appreciate your work on the armor system."
The Doctor peered down at the captain. "Don't mention it." He rested his arms against the railing and gestured around with his sonic screwdriver. "The armor is functioning as well as can be expected, with a few modifications by me."
Lawson added, "And a couple of blown capacitors."
The Doctor repeated sarcastically, "'And a couple of blown capacitors.' You're never going to let up, are you?"
Lawson chuckled and maintained his attention on his console, instead of replying.
Magambo ignored the banter by asking, "Doctor, might I come up and join you for a moment?"
The Doctor gestured with a non-committal wave of his hand and turned back around to face the engineering console to await her ascension from the main engineering deck. When she closed the distance, he shot her an expectant look. "What can I do for you, Captain?"
"Doctor," she began in a lowered tone, "is there no way to see yourself toward assisting us with bringing our torpedoes online?"
"I'm afraid not. You will have to see to that on your own," he told her automatically. "I've already discussed this with Mister Taurik and I told him the same as I'm telling you: I don't oblige weapons."
"I'm quite firm on this stance and have been for many years," he cut her off. "I'll be happy to complete my work on your defensive systems."
Magambo sighed. "As you wish, Doctor. The admiral mentioned that you were rather stubborn in your convictions."
"I would hope we were all true to our convictions, otherwise we'd have to call them something else," the Doctor replied with a smile. Then, it dropped. "Wait a tick, what admiral?"
"That's classified, I'm sorry."
"I was told I held a high clearance level, Captain. Who is the admiral?"
Magambo shook her head. "I'm sorry, Doctor. The admiral asked me not to divulge that information to you. She said you would understand."
The Doctor stared at Magambo before understanding dawned upon his expression. "Right. Well, I'll find out sooner or later, I suppose. Anything else?"
The Captain took a step back. "I must be returning to the bridge." She climbed back down to the lower deck and gestured toward Taurik to join her in the corridor.
He walked in step behind her and asked, "Yes, Captain?"
Magambo turned immediately to face him as soon as the doors closed ans they were clear of the path. "Commander, I'm giving you a direct order. If you can reverse engineer any of the Doctor's work toward bringing those torpedoes online, then do it."
Taurik inclined his head once. "Aye, sir."
"What are you doing here, Ensign?"
Coralie looked up and into the face of her superior officer, Lieutenant Commander Blake. She shared in her look of surprise, as it was the first time prior to the Doctor's appearance aboard the ship that the commander showed her face within the cargo bay.
"Doing my job, sir," replied Coralie earnestly.
Blake gestured with her hand, and in her soprano voice, said, "Please do not trouble yourself, Ensign Picard. We will handle your duties for the time being. You're needed elsewhere."
"Indeed. The Doctor is requesting your presence in main engineering," Blake explained. "I'm to ensure your safe arrival."
An escort? Her brow furrowed slightly as she held the commander's gaze. "Sir, there's no need. I know the way."
Blake frowned, but ultimately relented. "Off you go, then."
Coralie handed over her PADD with the inventory reports to her relief, another young ensign with whom she had a passing acquaintance.
She exited the cargo bay and turned the corner toward the lift. While she awaited the next car to arrive, the doors at the cargo bay opened and Blake arrived, standing next to her.
"Sir..." Coralie began.
"I'm not escorting you, Ensign. I'm needed on the bridge," replied Blake. She kept her eyes on the doors ahead of her, and not on Coralie. "Though, I will say that I think you're still making a huge mistake."
Coralie turned to peer at her soon-to-be department head. "It's my mistake to make, sir."
"That it is." The tone of Blake's voice turned cold. An empty lift car arrived and admitted them both.
Coralie spoke after Blake did. "Main Engineering." She turned toward the other woman and asked, "Have I done something to offend you?"
The reply was less than convincing. "Not at all, Ensign."
"Glad to hear it," Coralie said, in no mood to play any games. "Then you'll have no problem treating me with a little more respect?"
Now, Blake looked at her. "I beg your pardon."
"You can beg, sir, but you won't get it."
"Ensign, in spite of your impending departure from the service, you're still wearing a single pip on your collar and I'm wearing two and half." Blake leaned forward to address her sternly. "Until such time that you're no longer wearing that uniform, I'll remind you of your place."
As main engineering was much closer to the cargo bay than the bridge, the doors parted on deck eleven to allow Coralie to exit. Before stepping out over lift car, Coralie reached up to her neck and pulled the lone gold-colored pip from her uniform's turtlenecked shirt and tossed it in Blake's direction.
"With all due respect, Leftenant Commander, sir, kindly shove this up your arse."