Literary Challenge #10 : Replicator Rations
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Join Date: Dec 2007
01-11-2012, 10:28 PM
“Where’s that torpedo?” Pii asked over his shoulder to his tactical officer.
“It’s coming, Pii,” Jorg cried out as a shower of sparks burst from the console behind her. The Klingon woman pounded on the console as if she can beat the computer into submission.
The bridge of the USS Copernicus was smoky, fires burned, consoles exploded, bulkheads and optical cable hung from the ceiling, and was on the verge of complete structural collapse. Another torpedo volley rocked the ship.
“We’ve got hull breaches!”
“Evacuate those areas,” Pii ordered as he picked himself off the floor and back into the chair.
“Got it!” Jorg exclaimed when the torpedo icon on her panel indicated that it was ready for one last ditch effort.
“Fire!” Pii announced as he rose from his seat and stared at the sputtering view screen. The torpedo appeared at the bottom of the screen and crawled toward the massive Breen Capital ship. Everyone on the Bridge held their breaths and watched it—silently urging it to find its target. As it approached their opponent, it grew smaller and smaller. Pii walked over to his helmsman and placed a hand on her shoulder and gave it a triumphant squeeze when the torpedo struck its target. The bridge exploded in gleeful cheers and shouts of joy.
“Captain …,” Goshen gasped from the Science station. “The torpedo did more than just disable the Breen ship. We’ve got secondary and tertiary explosions. Its warp core is going critical.”
“Evasive Maneuvers. Get us out of here,” Pii ordered.
“Aye, Captain,” Lorpa announced with a flurry of gestures across her console. Pii watched the slowly disintegrating ship creep away from the center of the view screen as the Copernicus came about.
“We’re not going to make it,” Goshen called out prophetically, just as the Capital ship erupted. Still within the expanse of the viewer, the ship disappeared in a blinding flash of light and fire. A massive shockwave followed on its heels.
“Brace for impact!” Pii cried out. It was too late. The ship rocked violently as it came in contact with the front. Sparks showered down from the ceiling as another bulkhead collapsed and landed across the captain’s chair, knocking it over. Panels cracked, consoles erupted, and crewmen were tossed around the bridge like rag dolls.
Pii found himself on the floor again. His palms hurt. He looked at them and found shards of broken glass and debris criss-crossing them with blood running down his arms. He tore the sleeves from his tattered uniform and wrapped his hands with it. He forced himself to his feet and took inventory of his bridge crew. “Report.”
From all around him, a cacophony of voices responded as the crew also found their feet and returned to their stations.
“I’m alright, Captain.”
“I’ve seen better days, but I’ll live.”
“I wish I had stayed on Risa …”
“Damage Report,” Pii ordered with a cough as the smoke began to irritate his eyes and tickle his throat. The sound of consoles being activated and status reports correlating on the shattered panels was the immediate response. “Is there something wrong with the Environmental systems?”
Finally, from the Ops station, Lt. Remmy Smith, began to detail the ship’s status. “Sir, we have hull breaches on decks 22 through 14, 10, 6, 4, and … 1? Emergency bulkheads have engaged and are holding, but power reserves are low. Warp drive is offline – structural damage to the … port nacelle. Engineering reports that once they get the engines back online, we shouldn't go faster than warp 3. Any faster, and the nacelle will break free from the ship, if we don’t blow up first. We’re leaking deuterium.”
“Is there any good news?” Pii asked.
“I’m afraid not, sir,” Smith continued. “Port side shield emitters are fried. The communications array is gone, and I mean that quiet literally. Life support is operating at 26% of efficiency. Sick Bay is reporting in with heavy casualties.”
“Thank you, Lt.”
“Captain, there’s more.”
“Send it to my Ready room. I’ll review it later.”
“Sir, that’s just the thing. You don’t have a Ready Room anymore.”
“The hull breach on Deck 1 …”
Pii slumped his shoulders and hung his head. He straightened up immediately and hoped no one noticed his momentary lax of concentration. His alcove was in his ready room. It had been almost 36 hours since he last regenerated and was beginning to feel fatigued. No rest for the weary, he thought to himself as he turned back to Lorpa at the helm. “We’re not going anywhere Ensign; report to the shuttle bay and take a shuttle back Defera.”
Pii turned towards the irritating little Englishman. “What is it Lt. Smith?”
“The shuttle bay was targeted by the Breen. We can’t get the doors open.”
“Cut through them by hand if you have to, but I want a shuttle launched as quickly as possible.” Pii watched as Lt. Smith relayed the orders through his panel.
The ship was in bad shape. No warp drive, dwindling power reserves, and no way to communicate with Starfleet. This was not looking good. Pii quickly estimated that it would take the Copernicus 6 six weeks, 2 days, 18 hours, 47 minutes, and 23 seconds to reach Defera. He doubted that he or the crew would be around that long. The Copernicus had been assigned a patrol route – a quick jaunt through Defferi space. They left Defera with minimal supplies. They would be lucky to last a week with rationing.
“Are there any inhabitable planets, moons, or asteroids – anything nearby?
Goshen pulled up a star chart and studied it. “There’s a small M-class planet three light years from here. It’s uninhabited, but it has an abundance of resources, and edible plant and animal life. We will be able to wait for rescue or at least resupply our food and fuel reserves before heading to Defera.”
“Lorpa, set a course for that planet,” Pii ordered.
Lorpa nodded and took her seat. She laid in a course. “Warp engines are still offline.”
“Of course they are … Coordinate with Engineering. As soon as engines are back online, set a course for the planet, as quickly as our broken little ship can go.”
“Aye, Captain,” Lorpa replied. She rose from the conn, hurried to the turbolift, and stepped inside. “Engineering,” she said before the doors closed.
Pii turned to Jorg. “Can we launch a probe?”
Jorg growled. “The launchers are still offline. We had to launch that last torpedo manually. I can get one launched, but not from here.”
“Get on it, Jorg,” Pii ordered.
Jorg nodded and turned away from her console. She adjusted the fit of her prosthetic leg. It was uncomfortable, but she hadn’t selected this particular prosthetic for comfort. From mid-thigh to knee, the prosthetic limb resembled and functioned as any normal limb would. However, from the knee down, it tapered to a slender stump with a heavy metal stud that she wielded as a lethal weapon in hand to hand combat. It thudded against the deck as she made her way to the turbolift.
Pii turned to his science officer, “Goshen, I need you to cram a subspace transceiver into a type two probe. Do you think you can do it?”
Goshen thought about it for a moment, and nodded. “If I pull the sensor and propulsion packages from it, we’d have at least a subspace beacon. I can program it to transmit a weak distress call at best.”
“Do it. Include in the message where we are going. Hopefully, by the time we reach the planet, rescue will be waiting for us.”
Just as Jorg reached the turbolift, Lt. Smith cleared his throat and said, “Turbolifts just went offline.”
“BaQa,” Jorg mumbled under her breath and glared at Lt. Smith. She went over to an access panel, removed it, and exposed the Jeffery tube. “Don’t touch my leg …,” she threatened, still looking at Remmy, before kicking it off. He responded with a sarcastic smile as she crawled into the Jeffery tube and disappeared.
Goshen and Pii approached the open Jeffery tube. Goshen was about to follow Jorg, when Lt. Smith said with a cheshire grin, “The turbolifts are back online.”
Pii had seen this before. “Mr. Smith, are you trying to get your wife angry at you again?”
“Yes, Captain,” he said with a sly smile. He averted his eyes.
“This is not the time to spice things up in the bedroom.” Pii knew that they were trying to have children.
Pii shook his head and approached the turbolift. The doors opened. “If you need me, I’ll be in Engineering giving them a hand.” Before stepping inside, he asked, “Lt. Smith, are there any systems on this ship that are working?”
Lt. Remmy Smith replied, “Replicators, sir.”
A smile crossed Pii’s lips at the irony. “Too bad, we’re having emergency rations tonight and for the foreseeable future. Inform the crew that replicators will be off limits for the time being. We’re going to need them to stitch this ship back together again. He stepped inside. "Engineering," he ordered as the doors closed.