<<OOC: This is the third installment of the series, if you'll recall, Mr. Neyes and T'Yleh (one of the Vulcans assigned to assist the Charon) are stuck in a turboshaft whilst Charon undergoes her overhaul. :) >>
=/\= Turboshaft 4-Alpha, 2 hours since collapse =/\=
Neyes rolled his eyes at the Vulcan woman. She'd been systematically shutting down every single attempt he'd made at conversation, productive suggestion, and brain-storming he'd made in the last two hours. To make matters worse he was beginning to get a massive headache. He suspected it was her dark, empty soul slowly sucking the life from his body. Alright, perhaps that was a little extravagant, but she was really a pissy little thing.
He shifted uncomfortably as he sat near the bottom of the turboshaft, on top of the brushed lift that had nearly scraped them off the walls. It hadn't taken him long to discover that the lift itself was a victim of a spontaneous malfunction. No one was inside, and it appeared that no one else had been injured. It would have been a terrible shame for him to die because a fucking turbolift went crazy, especially after all he'd been through already on this ship. Now it seemed the ship might kill him to spite itself, even though he saved her from being eaten alive by angry Romulans. To make matters worse, she'd locked him in an airtight and rapidly warming shaft of death with a cranky Vulcan female. Damn you, Charon, he thought. Damn. You.
"They're testing the stability of the energy supply lines. Without environmental controls in the turboshafts... which I ordered shutdown... we'll be engineer burgers in short order." He called up to her.
Well yes, that would explain why the temperature, if not the air in here was becoming almost tolerable. It did not explain what a burger was. However, T'Yleh had trained herself to not inundate outworlders with requests to clarify each and every metaphor or indigenous phrase as most turned out to be ridiculously nonsensical in any case
Canting her head thoughtfully, the Vulcan tried once more to reach out with her mind to any colleague nearby which was not made easier by the Trill's incessant chatter
Rather vexing, really, to be surrounded by her own race and not able to make oneself heard because those who would recognize her unique signature were running in silent mode as it were. And everyone else would have a hard time locating the origin of the telepathic distress signal. It was enough to warrant a colorful metaphor or two.
"Would it be possible to amplify your communications badge's signal?" Incredible that no one had noticed the Chief Engineer's disappearance as it was
T'Yleh gave the open panel before her nose a Look that by all rights should have made it try and disappear into the wall and tried to find a reason why the piece of optronic cable was … wiggling.
He shook his head. "We've been over this, internal sensors, communications, and all methods they'd use to get us out of here are currently offline. They're all on the bottom of the list, with the exception of internal sensors." He paused for a moment. "At least we have the comfort of knowing they'll know we're dead." A morbid smile made it's way over his face. Even now he found it funny that he was once again in this position.
"I was not suggesting an attempt to communicate with Charon."
Comfort? Once more she had the impression of being mercilessly teased, something a Vulcan will tolerate from family and close friends – very close – but hardly appreciate from strangers. Little enough she knew of Trill culture, but this statement did not fit the facts she knew and combined with the smile, … well, it was nigh insufferable. Or perhaps it was the smell that grated on her. The sudden urge to simply assault the turbolift walls with her bare hands and tear a hole into them reasserted itself. It might not get them anywhere, but it might make her … feel better.
Maintaining an expression of near perfect equanimity, T'Yleh peered down to where the Trill was sitting on top of the heap of twisted metal and repressed the urge to sneeze again. Her rosewood colored uniform covered in soot and other stains the origins of which she did not wish to ponder, she rather appeared like a disgruntled elf after an encounter with an angry chimney including pokers, but there was not one shiny hair on her head out of place.
"How long until sensors will be online?"
The heat was beginning to bother him. He pushed his head back against the turboshaft wall and sighed. Giving into her constant questions, he tried to think of how the staff would handle the repairs. Lieutenant Nealson had proven to be exceptionally helpful, if not rather curt, so his presence was bound to speed up the process. Landon had relieved crewman Gushly because of his too-frequent restroom breaks, and they had just finished re-coupling the power relays to the aft array...
"I'd give it another three hours. I honestly think we're going to have to find our own way out of here."
What was the Trill thinking she had been attempting to do all this time?
If this was how Yel-Halitra ran their ships it was no surprise they had to rebuild and repair all the time. Were the circumstances less unfortunate, T'Yleh might have found it fascinating.
Three hours. They'd be long dead by then. So …
There was the option of ripping out the cables and see if the conduit they were nestled in was wide enough to squeeze through. However, the engineer was rather broad shouldered and like as not would get stuck before he got anywhere.
The Vulcan stared at the offending cable and poked it like an inquisitive feline might swat at a feather dangling before its nose, a thoughtful frown creasing her elegantly slanted brows.
He closed his eyes, trying to think of some... passage or entrance. He hadn't had all that much time to familiarize himself with the finer details of the inner working of the ship yet. He'd spent far too much time trying to arrange a meeting with the Captain, or getting the ship back without half of it breaking off in the process. All the same, there were some material basics to starship construction that he was inherently knowledgeable about. Starships, even scientific cruisers like Intrepids or Lunas needed large conduits in the hull for passageways that weren't ever used by the crew. Jefferies tubes were one thing, but there were access shafts used only by the ships tubes and energy thoroughfares. They were... uncomfortable, to say the least, but if there were any in the tube above them they might be able to navigate out. Without a tricorder, though, it would be rough.
Neyes cringed as his arm flared up in pain for a moment. Through clenched teeth, he called back up to her. "You see any access hatches? Maybe something marked with yellow and green chevrons?"
"There are blue chevrons approximately twenty-one point four four meters above. Green chevrons appear to have been scratched and damaged by the turbolift's descent and are now half covered by debris, forty eight degrees off your left foot." That blinking cable seemed to have the rather irate Vulcan positively mesmerized. She had spoken without taking her eyes off it and was currently in the process of recalling any more odd symbols in the vicinity while the main part of her brain was busy complaining about the smell and wondering whether there was sufficient power in this blasted thing yet to cause a spike which might draw attention to them or whether the resulting explosion would reduce them to interesting blotches on the metal.
"There are no yellow chevrons in evidence, however with sufficient lighting it might be possible to determine the colour of the markings thirty-two point seven meters above."
At last the Vulcan deigned to favor the male sitting below with another glance and raised an eloquent brow "Which of course presents the issue of reaching any hatch when no ladder or obvious handhold is available."
Neyes' eyes looked from side to side. The woman's insanely calculative mind split the hairs of reasonable and annoying. Why did she have to provide him with the 'precise' measured distance for everything? He would have just said 'up there, and one above that', which would of course offend her need to quantify everything into some empirical unit. Landon sighed resignedly. "Well. With no hand holds, we'll just have to make some." He rummaged through the debris beneath him. Fortunately, the composition of the metal shards and fragments were just what he needed. "The turbolift system uses high energy magnetodynamic transfer fields to propel the pod up, down, across, and wherever... without it having to touch anything."
He'd gone from the cryptic to stating the obvious in two point seven seconds. Though one might qualify his earlier statement as blatantly obvious as well if one ignored the fact he failed to specify how they were going to make said handholds. In essence, T'Yleh's minutely canted head could be described as the Vulcan equivalent to 'Duh'.
He crawled over to a ripped open circuit panel along the wall. Hesitant to simply stick his hand into the fare, he took the microfilament out of his commbadge. With a satisfied grin, he eyed the tiny filament, then began working in the panel. The dimly lit circuits buzzed and clicked as Neyes unleashed his engineering skills upon them. Usually he didn't enjoy sitting at the bottom of any situation, but it was oddly rewarding to watch the smug Vulcan as she tried to figure out his plan.
Highly unusual. If not outright odd.
There was no discernible pattern to the Trill's behavior, and as for his poking and prodding … he did not really … oh, my. "I must point out that the attempt to …" ah. Too late. What was the human expression again? Out of the pan, into the drain?
Before Landon had a chance to say anything, a burst of sparks shot out of the panel. A dull throbbing sound resonated inside the tube, and he laughed out loud. Shaking a victorious fist up to T'Yleh, he shouted to the woman. "Haha! YES. With the maglift active..." he grabbed a piece of debris, holding it in his hand, "the metallic pieces of crap down here will suddenly become useful." First, he showed it to her, then Landon held it out towards the black and yellow strip of inlaid hull going up the height of the shaft. At first the metal did nothing, but as he slowly inched it closer, the hunk of metal yanked itself from Neyes' hold and slammed against the wall, held by an unseen force. He did it once more with another piece, and placed it a meter or two above the first.
"Yes, engineer Neyes." T'Yleh watched the man's antics with the air of a nanny whose little charge has just started feeding pieces of ham to the neighbor's Rottweiler. Any second now the big, goofy, daft animal would decide it wanted to play.
"They will become useful. They will also, with a 97.88 percent probability, become increasingly unstable." As if only too willing to prove the Vulcan right and terribly wrong at the same time, the shattered debris groaned but failed to do anything dramatic.
"I should also point out that the grate you are standing on is attempting to move. Have you calculated the minimum amount of power necessary for the 'junk' as you classified it to carry our weight?"
Landon was trying to listen but something suddenly bothered him. Being acutely aware of himself, his collar felt odd, and he was unable to ignore it. With a quick hand up to the fine uniform cloth around his neck, he felt a small hole. He raised an impressed eyebrow and leaned forward toward the maglift wall. Neyes whistled, distinctly disturbed and awed at the sight of his rank pip firmly attached to the wall. The magnetic field was obviously powerful, and enough to get the job done. Thankfully his armature was purposely designed not to be susceptible to these kinds of things. "I hope you're not wearing any magnetic jewelry, ma'am." He said.
If she did, she was not going to elaborate. Of course, if she had worn her … jewelry, it would by now be stuck to the maglift's wall, whether she was still attached to it or no, so the question seemed yet another example of pointless comments. "Jewelry is …" she had been about to say 'a safety hazard at work and therefore illogical' but the Trill who apparently loved the sound of his own voice echoing in their dungeon rudely interrupted once more. Dropping something heavy on his head became a most difficult urge to resist.
Instead, T'Yleh settled for a surprisingly forceful tug at the optronic cable which sparked and gave a rather satisfactory whine before coming loose. Now, then. Only a few more things to destroy and rip apart and she might actually fit into that narrow little passage. Sounded like a satisfying prospect. The destroying part.
Neyes eyed up at her as she tore away into the panel of circuits and optronic innards. He had to remind himself that desperate situations called for desperate measure, and taking her callous destruction of his ship's systems shouldn't be taken personally. Nevertheless, he felt like she was going at it with a wee bit too much enthusiasm. For a Vulcan, anyway. "See if you can get that hatch open, and I'll get to work on that handhold you mentioned."
The question 'Which one?' presented itself, but it was logical to assume he was referring to the one just barely visible in the dim light above. The closest one. T'Yleh should perhaps be mildly flattered that the engineer assumed she was familiar enough with the Luna-class to manipulate the locks with only a heap of junk at her disposal. Under the circumstance however the Vulcan barely managed to bite back a sharp comment in her native tongue and stared at the aforementioned junk which by rights should have withered and shrunk away under her glare.
"I should point out that even if I am able to release the locks we will still have to manually force the hatch open. Judging by its appearance it has not been accessed in at least two point three seven standard years" Not to mention it had not taken kindly to a falling turbolift mangling the walls on its way down.
Now … if one twisted the cable like this and then bridged that power conduit … perhaps not. Somewhere far off, the sound of an unpleasant overload echoed through empty maintenance shafts.
Vulcans do not say 'ooops'. They are however fully capable of thinking 'oh, dear'.
For two point seven seconds, T'Yleh considered the option of causing more havoc of this kind until even the half blind and deaf engineers on this ship would catch on and attempt to track the source. Considering their current predicament however, they would be 'burghers' before that happened. And while the Vulcan might possibly be able to squeeze into this tiny tunnel and rip at cables until she was able to reach questionable safety, she might as well try to stuff a Sehlat into a basket before wrestling the broad shouldered Trill in there. Damn.
Right. She hadn't tried that connection yet. Or perhaps the blue-ish, wriggling thing? She could be shorting out the last bit of light in here or make the magnets fail before she ever found the right one. Reasonably, she should proceed with caution. Logically, she should … just follow her gut.
T'Yleh's face betrayed nothing when a soft whine and click above followed another little explosion. But her eyes had the shine of a Le-Matya with fresh blood on its fangs.
Surprisingly enough, the Trill had already assembled what had to be the ugliest, most haphazard ladder in the history of spaceships, and was currently testing a piece of twisted metal for its ability to keep an engineer balancing above the shattered wreck that had been a turbolift cabin.
In a few minutes the two were able to move up and gain purchase against the hatch. Landon was admittedly unsure of the endeavor into the conduits of the ship, but really... there wasn't much else to do except hope for hope that someone discovered them before the temperature rose too high. Ideally, Landon could just sit there and wait for his ready and trusty team of underlings to save them, but this was not an ideal situation. No, him and the Vulcan woman were going to have to strive for a peaceful working relationship until either they were both killed inside the bowels of his own ship (a tragic irony), or they succeeded and broke free into normal areas. The almost unnoticed urge to simply beat T'Yleh over the head and leave her inside Charon, unable to find her way out was not lost on Landon. While he would never do such a terrible thing to another ally... he grinned morbidly at the thought.
"I don't suppose you could move a little faster, Ty-lee? Am I pronouncing that right, ma'am?"
"T'Yleh." the Vulcan stated firmly. Not that outworlders ever got it quite right, and most of her race bore the mangling of their names with stoic patience. But there were limits. Would he like it to be called L'aahn-donn? A slip in pronunciation and his name would mean 'Things you scrape off decks' which admittedly had some elegant irony to it.
"And I should point out that I am adjusting my speed to allow for your injury."
And to his lumbering about when the Vulcan could have scaled the wall with feline grace. But saying that out loud would be almost as rude as simply treating him as an inconvenient thing you climbed over.
Neyes grabbed the hatch with both hands and strained as he began to pull at it with the best strength he could muster, given his weakened condition. Since the Charon wasn't entirely brand new, this particular area of the ship hadn't been accessed in quite some time, and the seals were stubborn. The man gritted his teeth as his muscles tensed, a little sweat starting to show clearly on his brow. Groaning through his teeth, Landon could feel the hatch start to give way. "Almost... got... it..." A few more moments passed of Landon pulling, bearing through the pain of his irritated implant as he used it's enhancing ability to pry the door loose. Finally it popped off sending dusty and metallic debris glittering off of it. Neyes quickly dropped it however, when his hands started to feel incredibly hot. It tumbled the 20 meters or so to the bottom of the shaft.
"Fan-freaking tastic." Landon sighed. There was an obviously visible heat wave billowing from the air inside the newly opened porthole. Ripples of discomfort washed up and into the tube above them, and Landon's face betrayed his sudden dread of facing two hazards at once. A impetuous Vulcan, and heat. The difference in temperature was staggering, and it almost hurt his face to look inside. "No environmental controls. Excellent idea, Landon." He said to himself.
Males. Apparently some things held true across many species, and the ability to say and do nonsensical things was one of them. Then again, he seemed quite proud of himself for having pried the hatch loose when a person with superior strength and no damaged arm was standing by and twiddling her metaphorical thumbs. The heatwave however was not entirely unpleasant, adding to the ambient temperature that already was well within a Vulcan's comfort zone.
"You had expected differently?"
No end to the illogic it seemed.
"I have learned that expectations only lead to more work. After you?" He grinned.
T'Yleh failed to see what could possibly be humorous about … well, anything in their current situation. But she nodded all the same and with a twist of her hip avoided touching the annoying male before she dove head first into the porthole.
It rather felt like the plains of Gol on a spring morning. Without the sand, which was some improvement. Even the smell wasn't quite so bad in here which did wonders for the migraine that was occupying more and more of her mental focus to remain subdued.
"How long until the ambient temperature will impede your functions, engineer Neyes?"
Now wouldn't that be precious if she would have to haul his bulk through the already narrow passageway. She'd rather drag a scrambling Sehlat up a hill.
"Are you examining my posterior?" not that he had much of a choice in views as it were. But Vulcans, especially irritated ones, can be times be a tad touchy, not to mention sense a lingering glance with alarming accuracy.
"You wish, sister." Landon scoffed. "I've been married seven times, four times to women and three more times AS a woman. I've seen it and I'm not impressed. I'm also technically engaged to a not-irritating human. A far more logical choice if I do say so myself." Of course, the Landon host was a bit friskier than many of the previous individuals Neyes had been a part of. "You do have a wonderfully shaped backside, though. You work out?"
Sister? And how could one be 'technically' engaged?
"If you are implying that your behavior patterns would not be well received by any other than an equally irrational individual, you are correct. It is a more reasonable choice." Married seven times indeed. One should assume that alone should give this male a shred of comprehension, though it apparently hadn't done anything for his manners. How could a being have such a wealth of experience and still act like an adolescent Sehlat?
"Vulcans do not 'work out', engineer Neyes. We do however exercise daily to remain in satisfactory condition and able to perform our duties in the expected manner."
Not to mention ingrained habits died hard on a planet where dying had for millennia been the swift result of not being fast and strong at all times. Vulcan was not a world that granted a lot of second chances. Perhaps that was why the human adage of 'try, try, try again …' had never really caught on. If at first you didn't succeed, chances were you never had to try again.
A dull hissing sound could be heard as Landon accidentally touched the tubing running along inside the incredibly tightly spaced corridor the two were worming their way though. He cringed and cursed quietly in Trill. "And I'll be just fine, Engineer T'Yleh. Trill might be a lush and vibrantly gorgeous world of forests and oceans, but I can take a little heat. By little, I also mean the 36 degree C temperature it's pushing in here."
Why did people always feel the need to point out the pleasant ecosystems of their homeworlds? Betimes one got the impression of a youngling taunting another with a shiny toy. Oh, look, I got a planet where it actually rains and lots of plants that won't kill you if you look at them the wrong way. All you got is a ball of sand with a bad attitude.
"It is of course fortuitous that you can 'take a little heat' as it were. However, your breathing and heart rate suggest considerable discomfort." Not to mention those colorful metaphors had been … vibrantly colorful. One didn't need to speak Trill to catch the meaning.
The Luna-class schematics scrolling past her mind's eye, T'Yleh crawled past another dirty and charred hatch. It was truly flying into the face of all probability that this assemblage of scrap metal wasn't yet coming apart at the seams. Thirty-five point three three more meters and they should … well, perhaps not. A mass of bent metal and broken power conduits blocked the Vulcan's path and she huffed in indignation. So much for the most promising exit from this claustrophobic, ill-smelling tube.
She turned to see what imprecisely witty comment the Starfleet engineer had to offer to their current situation, only to see him face down on the deck of the tube, breathing heavily.
Neyes felt like his body was evaporating. His skin was inconceivably hot to the touch, and to say his head felt flighty and light would have been an understatement. With a puff of air, he tried to say something.
"So… we can… *wheez*... I just…. …. yeah."
Then he passed out.
=/\= TBC... =/\=
Ens. Landon Neyes