USS Medea NCC-74796


Posted on Tue Jun 11th, 2019 @ 5:37pm by Lieutenant JG Jhena Mires

Earth, Oakland Fleet Yards 2384/04/13, 12:39

*Sound of door opening*

“Starboard nacelle’s energy output at 92,4%. Stabilizers functioning within safety parameters.”, the computer’s voice stated. “Computer, redirect power from secondary life-support through junction 3c and adjust the alignment of the starboard nacelle by .03 microns and rerun the analysis”, Jhena replied while lying head-first under one of the consoles in the holographic ship.

Lieutenant Kennith Na’thir stepped through the doors of the holodeck, finding himself in a workshop, much like the one he would find on the ground floor of the building. He looked around, impressed by the detail that was used creating this holographic copy. In the middle of the room he found one of their shuttles, or rather, a shuttle that was missing an entire front-end. He walked around the ship towards the entrance where he spotted a pair of legs sticking out from one of the consoles. A small grin appeared on this face; as if he found what he was looking for. He waited for a moment, expecting that his presence would be noted. Though when it seems that was not the case he decided to start the conversation: “I figured I would find you on the holodeck, Ensign Mires.”

Jhena was not surprised by the voice. Most of her colleagues knew where to find her, as she used this holodeck frequently for her work. And unfortunately they disturbed her more often then she cared for. Recognizing the voice of her commanding officer, the ensign replied while she continued tinkering: “Lieutenant Na’thir, sir. How can I help you today?”.

Kennith had been in charge of the Fleet Yard’s engineering department for almost eight years now. Most ensigns would have jumped up when they realized that it was him directing questions at them, but not Jhena. She was different and although he usually preferred that new recruits looked up to him, in a way he appreciated her deviant behavior. It was not that Jhena did not respect him; rather that she was the kind of person that did not like small talk. She seemed to consider it to be a pointless waste of time which distracted her from her work. And her work always seemed to take top priority. He smiled at his thoughts and continued: “Another stranded shuttle from the pilot training program, huh? How much does that make this month, four?”.

For a moment, Jhena considered getting up from her position and get out of the shuttle to speak to the lieutenant, as she realized that it was the “normal” thing to do as a Starfleet officer. But she really wanted to get this problem fixed and to do so she had to first reach the access node behind this panel, which was annoyingly stuck. She put her fingernails under the edge of the panel and as she attempted to pry it loose, she answered: “Actually, it’s the sixth if I recall correctly sir”.

As the lieutenant realized that Jhena would not come outside to speak to him he let out a small sigh and moved to the entrance of the shuttle, stepped in and continued: “Sometimes I wonder if anyone ever graduates that class, seeing the state of some of the ships when we get them. What happened to this one?”.

“Uhm”, came the muffled reply, followed by an “auch”, before Jhena replied: “I think lieutenant Beyett said one of his students hit a pylon during a navigation training down at the low altitude maneuvering course. He hit it with the port nacelle, lost balanced and went nose first into the next obstacle”.
The lieutenant waited for the rest of the reply, but as he realized by the silence following Jhena’s response that no further explanation of the situation would follow he lifted his hands to his head and ran them through his face. Although he really appreciated ensign Mires’ skills and did not mind that she was different than any regular recruit, speaking to her was sometimes a bit frustrating. He pouted his lips together, rolled his eyes for a moment and asked the question, which in his mind did not need asking, with a slight tone of both confusion and irritation in his voice: “Sounds like mostly structural damage. So why are you working on the holodeck version, rather than the real one?”.

Jhena, who completely missed any hints that came from the tone of questioning, stuck her head out from under the console for a second to grab a small wrench before ducking back in and started loosening a bolt on the adjacent panel. After a slight pause, she realized she hadn’t answered the question from her commanding officer: “Oh, sorry sir. Darell… uhm, I mean ensign Thoran, is working on that. I fixed the wiring of the controls, realigned the port nacelle and downloaded the logs of the incident for lieutenant Beyett. I then noticed that the…”, she halted for a moment before mumbling in an annoyed and louder tone: “why won’t you…ah, there we go”. Jhena crawled out from under the console, and put both the wrench and the panel cover down in her toolkit. As she looked up, she looked straight in the face of the lieutenant that had a questioning look on his face, as if waiting for something. It took her a second and then she realized that she had paused in the middle of her sentence… again. “Uhm, sorry..”, she stumbled on her words trying to recapture her train of thought. “Oh yeah, I noticed that the energy output for the starboard nacelle was down to 89% and the ship’s stabilizers were only working at 91% efficiency. So I came here to find what was wrong”, she answered hoping that this would satisfy as an answer.

Kennith listened to the ensign’s reply, and while she was giving it had to bite back another small grin. Although this was exactly the ensign Mires he knew, always the perfectionist, HE was responsible for the work they did and sometime she had to be reminded of her priorities. But as he got to know her in the last few months, he realized that he had to do so in a slightly different way than normal. So he straightened his face and said: “Miss Mires, you know that almost all of the shuttles the academy uses are older types and they don’t function at peak efficiency, nor does anyone expect them to. Heck, that’s probably the reason junior pilots are allowed to fly them in the first place. If any of the vessels even gets close to the 90% efficiency, that would be considered to be outstanding.”

The ensign heard what the officer said, while she gazed at the floor. She was aware that in Starfleet, especially among the humans, it was consider polite to look each other in the eyes when having a conversation. Come to think of it, even among the Trill population it was a courteous gesture. She however had never found it comfortable to do so. And although she often tried, she couldn’t help but let her eyes stray to the floor. She understood the words of her senior officer and tried to bite her lip while he lectured her. She knew he did not try to do so, but that was how she experienced it anyway. When he finished, there was a small pause in the conversation. She knew she was supposed to say “yes, off course sir”, but just couldn’t get the words to pass her lips. “Actually sir, having followed the same course not that long ago, I have experienced those inefficiencies myself and found that although I myself was able to cope with the provided material, others in my class clearly struggled. It might be that providing less experienced flyers with better equipment would lessen their handicap and therefore lead to fewer incidents. Though I myself am I strong advocate to offering challenges to those still learning to achieve a steeper learning curve.”

The lengthy answer, and the realization that the ensign made a fair point, caught Lieutenant Na’thir a bit off guard. But although her logic was sound, he still had to make her aware of his point, which was that she should be focusing on the more pressing cases rather than tinkering with already functioning equipment. So he tried a different approach: “Ensign, did I not assign you to deal with the synchronization issue between the mooring beam and the docking clamp in ship bay 4”?

Jhena, again completely missing the point the lieutenant was trying to make, looked up from the floor and, with some reluctance, aimed them toward the officers’ face. “Yes sir, you did”.

There was a silence, in which Kennith allowed a small smile to show on his face. Partly because he thought he had made his point but also to try show to his ensign that she was not in trouble for getting distracted by the shuttle case. Especially since he knew how convincing lieutenant Beyett could be when he insisted he needed his shuttles back in the air “yesterday” for a new class of students.

Jhena expected a response from Lieutenant Na’thir regarding that particular assignment. Maybe he had remarks about her performance, either positive or negative, but none came. Being confused about the situation she decided the best thing to do was just ask: “have any new issues come up”?

“You mean that you found what the problem was?”, Kennith replied in a surprised tone.

“Yes sir, I found that when multiple mooring beams were activated at the same time, their individual efficiency would go down by approximately 1,2% per additional beam that would be used. As each bay uses three to eight beams at the same time and there are often multiple docks in use, you could imagine that could cause synchronization and stabilization issues”, she answered.

The officer looked at the Trill with a rather sheepish look on his face, not knowing how to reply to this.

Jhena tried again, afraid this was not the answer the lieutenant had been looking for: “I’m sorry sir. I sometimes ramble. I have found the issue, corrected it and updated the both the status logs and the case file this morning at 08:21. Have there been any new reports since then?”.
Kennith quickly gathered his thoughts. Although her performance was impressive, he again had failed to make his point which could undermine his position, so he made another attempt while ignoring her question: “And what about the communication delay that was brought to our attention in the briefing yesterday? Have you given that any thoughts?”.

The ensign frowned at this question. “Was this a test? Did she forget to update the logs? Or does he just want an update on my shift this morning?”, she thought. Not understanding the reason for this line of questioning she opted with the latter option. This was probably just his way to ask for an update on recent cases. “Yes sir, I have. I have made an analysis of the com-system and ran some tests by making and recording some calls. It took a bit of time, but I found that there was indeed a 0,8 second delay between the time a message was recorded by the computer and delivered to the intended recipient at certain times. I traced he issue to the universal translator. I found that the translators’ subroutine had insufficient access to the memory resources, causing the delay. I relayed the several non-essential routines in order to free up the required memory. I admit that I was only able to do a limited field test, as not many com-communication was occurring at 05:48, but the delay was down to 0,13 seconds when I ran the stress test which I designed.”, the ensign concluded.

“Oh”, was all the lieutenant was able to utter, when Jhena continued: “I also looked at the replicator issue you mentioned last night”.

“The replicator issue?”, Kennith asked. The Trill continued: “yes sir. While in line at the mess hall, I overheard you say to Lieutenant-Commander Locke that your food was not as hot as it should be”. The officer thought back to the night before. He had been behind the Lieutenant-Commander in line. They had spoken about Mexican’ food, specifically that he only enjoyed the local cuisine when it was made manually, because the replicator seemed to have trouble making it hot enough. By hot, he meant the amount of spices in the dish, not the temperature of the meal. He tried to correct the ensign: “That was a jo..”, but failed to do so as she continued: “You were right sir, I turns out that the replicator in the mess hall has a temperature difference of 0,3 degrees centigrade on all dishes. I traced the issue back to the refurbishment of the mess hall 6 years ago. It turns out that when they replaced the old replicator with the new type, they not think to replace the energy conductor. This older generation conductor could not handle the energy requirement of the new type of replicator which caused an energy deficiency of 0,877% for that specific replicator. I have replaced the conductor, updated the logs and send my report to the officer that was in charge of the refurbishment back in the days in the hope that he could check if the same error was made at different location”.

Kennith was at a loss of words, which was something that rarely happened. He frowned and rubbed his hands through his face again, trying to come up with what to say next. “Honestly, I am impressed that you managed to detect such a small deviation in the temperature, especially since my experiences with humans and their eating palate are… well, not so… uhm… impress…sive”, she stumbled as she saw the lieutenant rub his face.
“What are you doing here?”, were his words as he removed his hands from his face. Jhena was confused. “Did he not ask the exact same thing when he entered?”, she thought. The lieutenant saw the confusion on her face and specified what he meant to ask: “What are you doing at this Fleet Yard, ensign?”.

Although this was indeed a different question, it did not make the ensign less confused. “Well… I was assigned here after my graduation from the academy”, she tried to answer the question.

“Yes, that I know, but why here, ensign”, he tried again sounding a little bit annoyed again, although maybe it was more a tone of desperation that showed in his tone of voice. Desperation because, despite how hard he tried, he just did not understand this woman.

“I… I guess it was because I requested the assignment”, she tried again. Though this still did not seem to be the answer the lieutenant was looking for, because he kept the questioning look on his face. “Uhm… I completed my internship here for the Engineering course in the curriculum”, she added with no obvious effect to clear up any confusion. “And… I did some voluntary work here, when I was younger”, was failed attempt number four. “…My family … lives close by…”, she mumbled while tears of desperation welled up in her eyes. “What did she have to say to satisfy him?”, she thought.

Kennith noticed the desperation in Jhena’s voice and expression. “Ensign Mires. I am trying to find out why you chose this assignment. Most people working here either don’t have the skills or the ambition to make a real difference within the federation. You don’t fit either category. You finish three times the amount of issues any of your colleague’s do, with way less experience I might add. You do so with more precision and substantial fewer resources required. You finished top of your class, by quite some margin, in the Engineering department. Honestly, I think your skills would be far better used on a space station, or starship, not on fixing 15 year old junk piles like this”, he said with a calm and almost sad tone in his voice. He kicked the holographic representation of the shuttle causing the loose hull plates to fall off, nearly hitting him on the foot. He sighed deep, realizing that for the first time in years he had admitted to himself that he himself was one of those Starfleet members that had lost motivation to achieve more.

“I…”, Jhena started when she realized the lieutenant had nothing more to say. He was looking at the floor, as she herself had earlier in the conversation when she did not know what to say. But at this point she did not know what to say either. She had thought about her reasons for being here at the Fleet Yards. This is what she knew, this is what she could count on… It was … home.

After a moment of silence from both of them, Kennith looked up. “So, have you had lunch?”, he asked trying to diffuse the awkward silence. “Uhm… I was going to get that after my shift”, she replied feeling a bit uncomfortable by the question. “Which ended 47 minutes ago…”, the lieutenant replied with a smile on his face, obviously getting over his earlier sadness.

“Uhm, yes… I guess”, she mumbled. “Let me just transfer my adjustments to the actual shuttlecraft. You go ahead, sir. I will catch up when I’m done.”, she said as she walked to the nearby console. “Okay”, Kennith said while he turned towards the door. “I’m looking forward to have a meal that’s actually at the correct temperature”, he said while a mischievous grin appeared on his face. He had hoped for a witty response to his comment but as he said the words “Computer, door” and left the holodeck, he realized that it would not come because Ensign Jhena Mires was different and he liked that about her.

Jhena pressed some buttons on the console and sighed. She would rather finish her work then go socialize. She found it difficult… and annoying… and exhausting. As she got ready to leave, the computer finished her analysis: “Starboard nacelle’s energy output at 87,8%. Stabilizers functioning within safety parameters.” “87,8%, she repeated , mostly to herself. But the computer replied: “affirmative”. “Computer, run a diagnostic of power junction 3-charlie”, she answered as she anxiously awaited the reply. “Power junction 3-charlie is functioning at 72.9%”, was the result she got. “Please specify any issues found”, Jhena tried. “Three power nodes out of 67 have failed, reducing the diverted power from the secondary system by 34%.”, the female voice said. “Aha”, Jhena said out loud while she made her way to the nearby spare parts locker. She grabbed the required parts, grabbed her wrench and crawled back under the console. She smiled as she mumbled out loud: “Now I’ve got you!”.



Tags: Communication, ship yard, graduation, first job, holo deck, Ensign, Engineering Assistent