Short Story Competition: Reunion on WeBB OOC Area
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The soft sounds of a ping from a nearby support system snapped Tanya out of her reverie and she blinked her grey flecked eyes several times to bring herself back to the here and now. A furtive glance across the lab found Lieutenant T'Fal hard at work over her own console.
Tanya sighed in relief for not having been caught daydreaming and glanced back down at her own boards which showed the diagnostic still running. One hand flicked a strand of her auburn hair over her ear as she sent a quick look to the status board which showed the running tally of the scan. Thirty anomalies still showed in the forward sensor array. Her brows furrowed and the young science officer sighed in frustration as she decided she was going to have to report this to her superior.
“Uh, Lieutenant T'Fal?” The young lieutenant junior officer spun in her chair to face the other officer across the room.
“Yes, Lieutenant?”The slightly older woman answered back as she looked over her shoulder, her raven black hair sweeping backwards as she did so.
“I still have those anomalous readings in the forward sensor array. Shall I alert Commander Aster in Engineering?” The young junior grade officer asked, as she anticipated the next course of action.
“Let your scan finish first and then, yes, do so.” The officer answered evenly though her own pointed brows moved slightly together. The only overt emotional sign that Tanya might ever see from the almost unflappable Vulcan Chief Science Officer.“If Engineering does not track down where these anomalous readings are coming from this ship will not launch in five weeks.” The Vulcan officer said levelly while she stated the obvious.
Which was slightly unusual Tanya thought, she had served with two other Vulcan officers and they had been much more taciturn then T'Fal was. But then perhaps Vulcans were like humans and not all the same. She shrugged inwardly to herself as she responded to the command.
After her scan had completed she contacted the Commander in Engineering and upon his request sent him her scan results. Her shift at an end she made her way with other crewmembers toward the shuttlebay and shuttles that would return them to the living quarters at the Utopia Planetia shipyards.
Entering her quarters the young science officer undid her uniform jacket and laid it across the chair as she headed for the com unit. The light was flashing indicating a recorded message.“Computer, play message.” She said as she stood and stretched her neck and then arched her back. She had been sitting working at the science station all day and it felt good to move around.
=^=Darling, its Mother. Dad and I were trying to get through to you and see if you were going to make it to the reunion in two weeks. Call me when you get in.=^= Her mother's voice filled the room and she smiled softly thinking of her folks. She had left them back on Earth where they lived in Canada. Dad was a professor at the University in Edmonton and Mom had been his researcher for forty years.
“Computer, connect return call.”
=^=Working.=^= Came the immediate response and within a few seconds the monitor blinked on with the Federation symbol and then her mother's matronly figure showed up in matching sweater and pant set. Her mostly greying red hair, hair that matched Tanya's in colour, was pulled back onto her neck in a rolled bun.
=^=Tanya, darling! Good to see you as always. You look tired, dear.=^= Came the warm voice that Tanya would always associate with home.
“I am fine, Mom. Just got off shift.” Tanya said as she slid into the chair at the desk and faced her mom.
=^=Well, I won't keep you too long. Aunt Denise wanted to know though if you could make the reunion or not. She is a big one for numbers and making sure things are just right.=^= Her mother said with a fond smile for her sister.
“Not unlike you either, Mom.” Tanya said with a wry smile. As a researcher her Mom was pretty insistent on the right facts for things. “I have spoken to Lieutenant T'Fal and submitted the request. I should hear back by tomorrow.” Tanya said before adding.”If nothing goes wrong with the preparations for the ship's launch, Captain Halloway has said that we were to all have furlough two weeks before launch. So we will be well rested for it.”
Her mother nodded in understanding.=^=Your father and I are looking forward to seeing you, dear. I know how hard you all have been working on that ship. It is wonderful work that your doing there.=^=Her Mother laughed softly.=^=Your father would agree if I could get him out of his books, but you know how he is.=^= She said with a short wave of her hand to indicate Tanya's absent Father.
Tanya smiled.”Yah, I know, Mom. Okay, I need to go get some supper. I will call you tomorrow night and let you know the decision.”
=^=Alright, dear. Enjoy your dinner and rest well. I'll talk to you tomorrow.=^= The older woman said and with a little wave the screen went dark and Tanya sat with a small smile on her face as she thought of her family back home.
Tanya had just climbed into bed that evening when suddenly the alarm sirens began to wail throughout the compound. A voice echoed over the com system and Tanya was startled to realize it was Captain Halloway's.
=^=All Melbourne personnel report to duty stations, all personnel report to duty stations!=^=
Tanya's eyes widened in shock for a moment. Never in all her time working on any of the ships in the shipyard had such a call gone out. She blinked quickly as she threw the covers back, stumbled across the room, and grabbed the uniform she had slipped out of earlier.
She shimmied out of her sleep shirt and pulled the uniform back on. Then hurried over to her bed and looked under it for her boots. She stamped into them quickly and without a look in the mirror ran out of her quarters and toward the turbolift.
She wasn't the only one who waited for it, several other fellow officers stood impatiently as they all waited for it to appear. Low conversations echoed between them.
Pauls was asking Michaels.”Do you know what's going on?” Michaels shook his head.”I have never heard of one of these alerts called or a time when we were ordered back to the ships.” The other Ensign answered sounding just as worried.
An older Lieutenant came up with a stern look on his face.”Haven't you all been listening to the comnets?” He asked as he joined them.”There's a Borg cube coming in. They are scrambling a fleet of ships to meet it. I think the Melbourne's going to be called out.” He said as he jabbed at the call button again during the stunned silence.
The turbolift arrived and the Lieutenant order tersely,”Get in. Hurry, I don't think we have much time.” After they had all entered he stepped in himself and commanded the lift to the docking stage.
Ten minutes later Tanya exited the turbolift onto the Melbourne's science deck. Here, in what was usually a quiet corridor, crewmembers moved frantically about. She moved through them and entered the lab.
Lieutenant T'Fal was there and nodded curtly when Tanya entered. “Lieutenant junior grade Shubert, I leave you in charge of the lab. Concentrate on the sensors and keep them aligned as well as you can. We are going to need them.” T'Fal nodded to the two other science Ensigns who had entered behind Tanya. “You will have Ensign Michaels and Pauls to assist you. I will be on the bridge.” T'Fal turned to exit.
“Lieutenant!” Tanya said urgently as she took one step toward T'Fal. “Is it the Borg?” She asked as she tried to keep her voice even. She knew that her Vulcan superior would not accept any emotionalism.
“It is.” The other officer said briefly. If the older woman was afraid she, as a good Starfleet officer and Vulcan, showed none of it.
“The Melbourne isn't ready yet!” Tanya said and her eyes widened despite her attempt at self control.”So many systems are still down!”
“Man your station, Lieutenant!” The older woman said sternly as she nodded toward the Ensigns. Obviously indicating that Tanya was to see to her duty.
“Aye, sir.” Tanya said, feeling her cheeks burn with shame at the display she had fought so hard not to allow. The Vulcan officer slipped out of the lab door then, as she headed toward the bridge.
Tanya swallowed hard as she took a deep breath, trying to tamp down her fear as she faced the two Ensigns. “You heard her, gentlemen. Stations please. I want a status report.” She said as she moved over to her own station with the malfunctioning forward sensor array.
She sincerely hoped that Engineering had made some headway on the array, they were going to need it. Sitting at her station she keyed in her access code and typed in a request for a status report. While she waited for it to come in she glanced over at the Ensigns.
Michaels looked up first,”Long range sensors are performing at 82%, sir. There still seems to be some lag with the forward sensor array.”
Tanya nodded,”Yes, I am getting that too. Engineering probably hasn't worked out all the bugs yet. See if you can fine tune them at all.” She said calmly as if this wasn't going to be any concern.
Pauls looked up,”Short range sensors are at over 90% capacity so perhaps they will compensate. We're leaving space dock.” He reported.
Tanya returned her concentration to her station and prayed that the rest of the ship's systems were working as well.
It didn't seem to be that long before the alarm sirens began to blare in Tanya's first Red Alert aboard a starship. Being in a starship at warp hadn't been as exciting as Tanya had always thought it would be. Truly, she could tell no difference from it being at warp or being in space dock. Not down in the science lab at least. Perhaps the inertial dampers were a system that was working well, she thought wryly.
Suddenly the ship lurched and Tanya grabbed at her console in an effort to stay in her seat. She peered at the sensor array board before her and saw 40 ships lined up before a large anomalous red dot that could only be the Borg cube. Her heart pounded. They were engaging the Borg. Sweat broke out on her forehead as she rechecked the sensors.
So far the forward sensor array was still performing at previous capacity. She prayed it stayed there. She glanced toward her charges.
“Status report!” She called to be sure she wasn't missing out on something that she should know.
“Long range sensors still at 82%, sir.” Michaels reported promptly. His voice was calm and if he was worried about them going into combat he didn't show it.
Pauls looked back to his boards twice though before he said, “Short range sensors still at 90, sir.”
The ship lurched again and their screens all flickered. Suddenly they shorted out and Tanya was left looked at a blank screen.
She twirled in her chair to ask the men if they had lost their screens as well when suddenly there was a colossal noise and she was airborne. Vaguely, as she was flying across the room, she thought that it sounded like a tram wreck. Like the one she had been in when she was child.
She slammed into on of the other consoles and slipped into darkness.
Tanya regained consciousness slowly, her first sensation was one of a great pain. She wasn't sure where at first but after a few seconds she realized it was her head and it radiated down into her neck.
The second thing she realized was that she was still breathing. It seemed to be a bit smoky, the air, and she could smell electrical wire smoke. But she was breathing.
The next thing she recognized was that she was prone on some sort of surface...probably the floor. But what floor and where? She asked herself. And what had happened to her? Slowly she tried to open her eyes but at first the pain was so overwhelming she thought she was going to vomit. With a groan she rolled over to her side and did just that. It made her head hurt even worse and she slowly slipped back into unconsciousness again.
The second time she awoke the pain didn't seem quite as severe. Regardless, she thought she'd better go slower. So she laid there for a time and listened. Did she hear anything? She heard a very faint whooshing noise and she decided it was probably the ship's recycler system. But usually one did not hear that much over the sounds of the consoles in the lab. The consoles were always working, doing some sort of scan or simulation.
Now she heard no reassuring pings or whirs from the machines. Very slowly she lifted her eyelids. She blinked once and at first she could see nothing. Then things began to lighten into a reddish haze. The emergency lighting was on.
Tanya blinked again as a bit of memory trickled to her. She was on the Melbourne, had to be. She was in the lab...with a couple of Ensigns. Michaels...and...another one.
“Hello..”She tried to say but it only came out in a whisper. She tried again a bit louder. It came out, but a bit raspy. There was no answer.
She blinked again, then it occurred to her...okay she was going to have to try and get up. Obviously they had been in some sort of emergency and the lab was empty. Perhaps everyone was elsewhere dealing with the emergency.
She took a deep, slow breath and it didn't make her head hurt any worse. She experimented and tried to move her head. As long as she was slow and deliberate it seemed bearable though her stomach did sort of feel iffy.
Okay, Tanya, you can do this! She said to herself and with another breath she rolled to one side. She had to stop a few times and let the pounding in her head eased but she finally made it over, almost entirely, onto one side. Almost to her stomach. She put her hands under her chest and rolled the rest of the way. She now faced the floor.
She took another deep breath and began to ease up, she pushed up with her arms and bent her legs. The pounding in her head increased and she had to pause and let it slow down before she continued. There, she was almost up...she reached up with one hand and grabbed the back of a chair. Gradually she worked herself to a standing position. So far so good. She hadn't thrown up again. Ugh. Good thing she couldn't see that.
She lifted her head, squinted a little from the pain, and looked around. No Ensigns in sight anywhere. She didn't see anything like blood except for the console she was standing near. That was where she must have hit her head.
Where were the Ensigns? She took a tentative step forward, and since that was successful she kept going toward the door. It was forced open. So Michaels and the other one must have forced it open to get out. Why hadn't they stayed to help her? Did they think she was dead? She didn't know.
She moved slowly and deliberately and made it out to the corridor. She held her head steady as if it was a piece of glass going to break. She could walk. She entered the corridor and looked both ways. Empty. Emergency lighting was on out here too. Should she try to contact someone? Did the comms work?
=^=Computer? Hello? Sickbay?=^= Her voice echoed eerily down the corridor and no response from the computer came her way. Okay, she guessed comms were out. She walked toward the turbolift. Oh great, if the doors had to be forced and the comms didn't work, would the turbolift work? Would she have to climb the shaft? Where should she go? Her head hurt...sickbay. Yes, she could head to sickbay. They would be able to help her and she would find answers there.
She finally reached the end of the corridor where the turbolift was and paused before the doors. Nothing happened, they didn't open automatically as they normally did once the system sensed that someone stood before them. She moved toward the control console and pushed the button.
Amazingly she heard the sound of the turbolift approaching. Great! They worked. She could get to sickbay. The car stopped at her deck but the door did not immediately open. Tanya frowned to herself and hit the button again. Nothing happened. Then she heard the strangest sound...a whirring type of sound. She frowned again. She had never heard anything like that before. Then she heard the sound of metal working against metal and suddenly the doors began to lurch open.
She sighed with relief and took a step forward about to call out to the engineers who were obviously inside. The doors suddenly sprang apart and at first she thought she must be hallucinating. A concussed dream caused by the blow to her head. That was it...yes. She blinked again but the figures that stepped toward her did not coalesce into Starfleet officers, engineers or not. No, they remained cold, dark and intimidating. She blinked again as her lungs filled with terrified air...air she could scream with, headache or no. Then she turned to run...but it was too late. She felt the cold, sharp pain of dual metal cylinders entering her neck.
Mother! Father! Her mind screamed. The reunion...she would never make it.