Literary Challenge #10 : Replicator Rations
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Old One Eye
01-21-2012, 01:21 AM
“Captain’s Log: Supplemental
Computer, set time limit to 10 minutes.
File Subject: Personal observations of Vice Admiral Markus Sheppard. Not for appending to official log.
This certainly could have gone better. Admittedly, things could be much worse. I have drafted the official report of events but I feel the need to just vent. I am squandering our most precious resource, energy, for this so I better damn well feel better after it… especially since I am using tonight’s meal ration for this report instead of my food.
I cannot believe how careless I was. I just got the Hagen retrofitted with all the very best technology and now half of it is scattered across the sector. This was meant to be a 3 hour cruise and instead “old one eye” is living up her name. Still, at least there is some small comfort in that I am in the Hagen. She is a lot larger than the Defiant retrofit I have been using until recently. I hope whoever is in the chair of the Relentless is fairing better than we are.
Note to self for future reference, assuming there is a future to reference: shakedown on not – make sure the vessel is fully stocked before leaving dock.
Second note to self: before jumping into what appears to be a fire fight make damn sure of what you are jumping into before attempting to render assistance. Now because of my misplaced sense of… of… I don’t know, call it honor, chivalry, nativity, stupidity, whatever… because of it; out of 200 crew, I have over 35 missing or dead and 87 near or totally incapacitated crew with all remaining 78 crew being walking wounded… including me. Literally everyone took a hit.
Third note to self: the newer the technology, the harder it is to replace in the field. These upgrades are actually hampering our repairs because no one has the parts or experience with them.
Fourth note to self: Short jaunts, such as a shake down, do not require slipstream to be tested. It takes you too far away from base too quickly.
I am so angry. And I know I am not alone. I think I learned some new Klingon swear words from Chief Engineer Vulkrath. A few of them were directed at me too. Ah… it was probably a fair call on her behalf. I am sitting here in the dark, shivering in the cold, half floating because we cut back on gravity and metaphorically kicking myself. 35 of my people are dead.
When that nacelle tore loose mid emergency slipstream it didn’t even have the decency to just fall off… Oh no! It had to twist and buckle first. It rammed straight into the damn main hull and then it proceeded to tear open multiple decks and only THEN did it sheer off. I lost over a dozen crew then and there with absolutely no chance of saving them. Of course, that dumped us out slipstream and into deep space. Sure, emergency slipstream, got us out that ambush and probably saved what is left of the ship and crew but still, we didn’t need that nacelle ripping off after the existing battle damage. The loss of those extra lives really hurts.
Good news: our ambushers have no idea where we are which is good since we are in no condition to fight. Bad news: no one else knows where we are either…. Except us and we are without comms and limping slowly to DS9.
Focus. The clock is ticking. If we don’t make it back the official report has everything you need. This is about how people are handling it… not the official stuff but the human element.
To recap: We have no warp, slipstream or transwarp. Impulse is sketchy at best. We took what we think was a torpedo straight into the flight deck (don't ask me how) - everything in there is a near total write off. Hull damage is extensive and even most of the escape pods are unsafe, destroyed or un-launchable. Power rationing and diversion is in place. This means that the replicators, when they are used, are primarily for replicating parts to hold us together. There is no point eating if the ship falls apart because we damn well can’t get out and walk.
Rule of thumb is you die in 3 minutes without air, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food. Admittedly, that is a human guide but it is good enough for generalization. We need what little the replicators can spare to generate life support in pretty much that order: Air, then water and lastly food.
I explained it to the crew. They all grudgingly understood the need for that order of rationing. That does not mean they liked it or me. In fact, explaining why some species of crew get more food or less food than others has proven to be much harder than I at first thought. Metabolisms differ and I don’t want my Klingon crew starving to death before my Vulcan crew. Still, maintaining order is proving to be a challenge. Logically it makes sense but I am starting to fear some Lord of Flies situation developing behind my back.
Realistically I had to tell them. It’s not like the crew would not have worked it out within a day. Still I think the right thing is to be honest up front.
Helm tells me that we are probably three to four weeks out from DS9. The exact time depends on how the Hagen holds together. We might not make it at all. At least we don’t have to deal with the Bad Lands. That would have been…. Umm… bad.
Doctor Rothchild tells me that apart from a handful of crew we could theoretically make a month without feeding anyone. Theoretically. It wouldn’t be smart though. Assuming everyone was supportive, and they wouldn’t be, our ability to actually hold the ship together would be significantly impaired and that would further imperil everyone. I consider that unacceptable so the alternative is rationing. At least no one seriously suggested we resort to cannibalism. I won’t have that. I even had to stop a few crew joking about it. Even jokes like that are unacceptable.
The Hagen is an escort. We don’t have those extensive resources of the Cruiser Classes nor the fancy labs of the Science Vessels. We were built for war and that really puts us on the back foot in this situation. We can’t even run guerilla tactics or live off the land. I can’t launch any small craft. Transporters are offline and the energy requirements make it out of the question anyway. Landing the Hagen could only happen if we wanted to make ourselves a shooting star and then a big crater.
So that leaves us here. Pushing the Hagen as fast as we can and dare. The last thing I need is for the deflector dish to fail and some speck of dust to finish us off.
Okay. Time for the upside.
The situation is grim but not beyond hope. We are relying on training and skill not blind luck. The crew is well trained. The ship is as tough as nails. We’ll get there. We will mourn and honor the dead. I have seen some unlikely crew raise to the occasion. When we get back, we’ll all be stronger and smarter for it. We have to be, or else all this work and those 35 lives will have been wasted.
Computer, end log and state elapsed time.”
The computer reported just over eight and half minutes. That left some of his ration unused. Not much but a little. Admiral Sheppard mulled options over. He knew what he really felt like. Let the diplomats have their tea and the engineers their Klingon coffee. He did the maths in his head. It should work.
“Computer, 10 year old port, one glass.”