“The ‘Hole’ Perspective”
“Look my logical friend, for the tenth time you can’t do that”, enginering officer, Keith Valsner passionately exclaimed to the leader of a Vulcan repair team. A few feet away stood pilot Leon Athalla who was watching the spectacle while gently blowing on a hot cup of black coffee.
“Your logic escapes me Mr. Valsner. The Charon’s original design specifications clearly indicate that cross beam 2147-alpha is non-load bearing and will support the added weight while other repairs are made. Your resistance to our repair efforts is causing significant delays.”
“Technically you are correct Mr. S’Vhala. The original specifications for this class have been modified twice and in two years of service aboard the Charon I can tell you that Starfleet engineers made a number of omissions, mistakes, and flat out errors in specific areas. The hangar bay is a prime example of a last minute addition that was not properly integrated into the structural designs. As an exploration or science ship, we weren’t even supposed to have a full hangar, just a modest landing pad for a shuttle or two. Someone decided to bolt on an entire hangar deck, cut out some research labs and crew quarters and ram it in. So long as you don’t tinker with the design it is acceptable.”
The commander ran a quick hand through his hair. “They did a poor job documenting this area. With all the damage and that gaping hole over there we have some serious structural issues to address. Removing that beam could cause more of the deck to collapse. We need to carefully remove the debris, inspect the damage, and proceed with a repair plan methodically. I do not wish to see the deck flatten into a pancake.”
“A pancake sir? I am unfamiliar with that engineering term. Would you elaborate?”
Valsner rubbed his face which was several shades of darker red than it was a few minutes ago.
Nearby, Lt. Athalla sipped his coffee with an amused look as the engineer and Vulcan repair team argued over technical matters that were far above his pay grade. It was quite interesting to watch the crew interacting with a full Vulcan compliment of officers, crewmen, and repair technicians. The dynamic was nothing new aboard a starship, but such large numbers and the stress of certain jobs made specific interactions quite…interesting.
Hundreds of individuals were hard at work cleaning up the utter catastrophe that was the Charon’s main hangar bay. At its center lay a massive dark hole surrounded by pieces of sharp, protruding metal fragments. Adding to its imposing presence were dozens of smaller structural beams that protruded from the opening like a booby trapped pit filled with deadly, razor edged spikes. Surrounding the devastation was a ring of molten steel and metal since cooled, but frozen in time. Some areas of the deck looked like metallic ponds where the ripples never moved. Piles of debris littered the entire deck. Ash, soot, and burned insulation clung to every surface and everyone working in the area. Wrecked fighters lie like the dead after a battle. Some were simply shredded almost beyond recognition while others had been scattered to the corners of the giant room by the intensity of the explosions that had rocked the deck and reverberated throughout the ship.
Still, despite the carnage progress was being made. Crews were stacking wreckage and beaming it away. HAZMAT teams were scrubbing down areas contaminated by fuel and other such byproducts. Vulcan workers scrambled around everywhere like spiders and ants cleaning, inspecting, replacing, indentifying, cataloging, and doing a dozen other activities Athalla couldn’t begin to count. All in all it was quite the repair operation to witness.
“I tell you getting them to see reason sometimes is harder than reversing the spin of a planet”, a flustered Commander Valsner muttered stepping up next to Athalla and grabbing a cup of coffee from the nearby refreshments table. Taking a sip he continued. “Designing a hangar with flaws is not logical they said. How could this have occured they asked. How should I know? I didn’t build it. I just get to fix it when things go to hell and back around here. I swear if I find the sunnuva bitch who did this I’m gonna shove a spanner so far up their ass they’ll beg me to push them into one of the warp plasma streams to end their suffering!”
Athalla spewed a sip of coffee outwards into a fine spray before him upon hearing the engineer’s colorful comments. His coffee incident was followed by a bout of several coughs before he regained his composure.
“Are you ok there lieutenant”, Valsner asked.
“Coffee went down the wrong way”, Athalla hoarsely replied.
“Take it easy there partner. Plenty of coffee to go around.” Valsner dropped his cup into the trash. “Well I best get back out there before someone else decides to open the hangar door and suck us into space because it’s the logical thing to do. Catch you later lieutenant.”
Athalla waved as the engineer rushed back off after several vulcans operating a neaby lifter with a pile of heavy debris.
Something told Athalla he might have out stayed his welcome in the hangar for the time being. Short of hell freezing over he had no intentions of letting anyone know who it was that had managed to blow such a large hole in the center of the deck. He would have to keep that secret to himself quite possibly forever to avoid being strung up by a posse of incensed engineers in search of poetic justice. Engineers with technology as their allies could be very, very dangerous opponents. No amount of tactical explanation as to stopping, hindering, and/or harming the enemy would matter to a group of exhausted, over worked engineers on repair duties.
Athalla quietly headed for the exit. He still needed to submit a debriefing report on recent events, but he was a little hesitant now to describe everything in perfect detail. Memory could be a sometimes subjective and cloudy thing…could it not? Taking a nervous swallow of coffee the pilot set off to ‘revise’ his draft report to ‘clarify’ recent events, actions, and those involved.
== End ==
Lt. Leon Athalla
Pilot, USS Charon