SIM:Meanwhile, on the Mercury (Part 6)
The events in this SIM occurred on stardate 239107.26.
Meanwhile, on the Mercury (Part 6)
JP by Deliera and Rich
((Bridge, USS Mercury))
::They had all watched helplessly as the Mercury continued to unleash volley after volley unto the Icarus. Finally -- mercifully -- the whines of phasers and torpedoes stopped as the burning wreckage of the Steamrunner class ship listed dead in space, sparks shooting out from countless hull breaches along its saucer.::
Venroe: Gods give them mercy . . .
::Commander Mirza turned to Falls at tactical.::
Mirza: Life signs?
Falls: Systems still malfunctioning. If I were to guess, though, after a pounding like that?
::The Trill didn’t even supply his guess. In his own eyes? Probably fifty still remained alive. If they were lucky, a hundred. And to think that Falls was currently the one behind the Tactical console - if someone wanted to pin this on him, there wouldn’t be much saying that he didn’t do it.::
::The captain returned the grim look before turning back to her first officer.::
Mirza: We have to find a way to contact Starfleet. In the meantime, I want you to prepare away teams to transport over to the Icarus and assist any survivors--
::Mirza's words were cut off by the sudden lurching of the science vessel at it accelerated into high warp. She looked over at Jess Webber, manning helm/ops.::
Webber: We've jumped to warp 7, ma'am.
Mirza: I can see that...
Sanchez: =/\= Engineering to Bridge. I don’t know how the hell it happened, Captain, but the ship just fired up engines without so much as a press of a button. No command, no nothing. =/\=
Mirza: =/\= Disengage them, then. =/\=
Sanchez: =/\= We’re trying, sir! Nothing’s responding! =/\=
::The captain let out a short breath before returning to her first officer.::
Mirza: Mr. Evanston, would you be so kind as to get down there and help regain control of my ship?
Evanston: Aye, captain. ::He looked over to Falls, pointing.:: Lieutenant, you're with me. Maybe we can figure out what happened with those weapons systems as well.
Falls: Yes sir.
::After the two men had left, Jess turned back to the viewscreen, a worried look on her face. Where was this cursed ship taking them?::
::The two bridge officers arrived into a swarm of activity as gold collared personnel scurried about while Lieutenant Sanchez shouted from near the warp core.::
Sanchez: I don’t care if you have to blow off the damn nacelles! I want this ship back at a stand-still as soon as possible! We’ll deal with the repairs *later*!
::Evanston and Falls walked up to the chief engineer.::
Evanston: Lieutenant! Figured you could use a hand.
Falls: Or a new ship.
Sanchez: I could use *both* of those. We have no idea what the hell happened. Weapons systems, propulsion systems, command functions for just about everything - all of them are unresponsive and uncooperative.
Evanston: Do we have any clue as to the source of the problem?
Sanchez: I’ll find that out *after* I get everything back under the crew’s control.
::Nick chuckled to himself. Heh. Control. To have the ship under control means you’d have to harness the-
Falls: Weapons, propulsion, command functions? They’re all controlled by the main computer!
Sanchez: Of *course* they’re controlled by the main computer! What, have you been living under a *rock* for the last three hundred years?
Evanston: What are you getting at, Nick?
Falls: It’s the brain of the ship. You shut down the main computer, you shut down the malfunctioning systems.
Sanchez: Yeah, and you also shut down life support while you’re at it. Oh, and artificial gravity, shields, and just about everything else that’s vital to keeping you alive. Not to mention, we’re travelling at warp 7. You shut down the main computer during warp? I can’t even begin to tell you the consequences.
::Evanston nodded along with the chief engineer's skepticism. Virtually every component on a modern starship was linked to the main computer. Yet, in desperate times...::
Evanston: Is there a way we could isolate some systems during a shutdown? Keep life support running for instance but cut off the links to the propulsion system or the weapons?
Sanchez: I . . . ::she paused.:: If we hooked life support up to an external computer, it *might* work. I don’t even know if we have an external computer with the . . . ability to even power something bigger than a tricorder!
::Just then, the gruff Klingon of few words stepped forward into the conversation.::
Ba'roq: The lower sensor module.
Falls: What about it?
::The engineer crossed his arms, somewhat annoyed at having to explain.::
Ba'roq: It has an independent computer core. Currently configured for the observatory, but we could reconfigure it.
::Evanston looked at Sanchez to see what she thought.::
Sanchez:::with a sigh.:: We’ve run out of other options.
Evanston: All right, get to work on hooking up life support to the module.
::The officers quickly set to work on the modifications, and by the time the captain called over the comm, they were all set.::
Sanchez: =/\= We’re ready to disengage the main computer. =/\=
Mirza: =/\= Understood. =/\=
::Back on deck 1, Commander Mirza looked over to Ensign Hendricks.::
Mirza: A final attempt, ensign. Is the main computer responding to your commands?
::And one last time, the skittish science officer attempted to do a level three diagnostic on his console. The computer chirped back unhelpfully.::
Hendricks: Negative, ma’am.
Mirza: All right then. Computer, recognize command authorization Mirza-Tau-Beta-22.
Computer: Command authorization recognized. Commander Tara Mirza, commanding officer, USS Mercury.
::The other bridge crew watched their captain as she paused briefly. Would this work? It was their best shot.::
Mirza: Begin total system shutdown.
::The captain glanced over at Jess, perplexed.::
Webber: ...systems haven't responded yet.
Venroe: Maybe it requires time to process the command . . . ?
::The captain's doubtful look back at the counselor was interrupted suddenly by the dimming of the bridge lighting.::
Computer: Command authorization denied. Intruder alert.
Webber: What the...
Computer: Bridge module self-destruct systems activated. Zero second countdown.
::Kira held her breath, the fear very obvious in her eyes as a hundred thoughts raced through her mind. Had Mirza input the wrong codes? Could this have been averted? What did the crew do wrong to deserve this? Was this punishment for something? Was this targeting the Trill consellor? Targeting her for not having spoken to whom she used to call her other half? Kira didn’t want to die! She wanted to live! She wanted to go to back, fix the mistakes she’d made!
::Mirza didn't even get a chance to attempt an abort. The first set of self-destruct charges exploded, consuming the captain and Webber in a ball of flames. Ensign Hendricks was consumed next, trapped at the science station.::
::She wanted to run. She wanted to be in Tan’s arms one more time. To have said goodbye to him.::
::And then, she was alone. As the final breathing Bridge officer, her last sight was the viewscreen being blown out the front of the Bridge. It was a mere second before Akyra Venroe was hurtling out into space, the stars still streaking by at high warp. She wouldn’t live on through the Venroe symbiont. She wouldn’t have a next host to tell Tan what had happened, to tell him that she had loved him until her last day.::
Venroe: oO I’m sorry, Alleran. Oo
::For one brief moment, there was stunned silence. Commander Evanston yelled out in desperation.::
Evanston: =/\= Captain Mirza! Bridge! =/\=
::But there was no answer.::
Sanchez: The Bridge is *gone*, Commander.
::That was the harsh truth. There wasn’t much left of it, actually. It’d be a miracle if that turbolift hadn’t been flushed out the ship as well.::
Evanston: What. The. Hell. Happened?
Falls:::quietly.:: The computer happened.
::Nick's resolve was crumbling. It was as if the universe thought punching him in the gut every twenty-four hours was hilarious. First Casey and the divorce. Now the Mercury. More specifically, *Jess*. Jess, of whom he’d only known for a short time. Of whom cared listened, and even shared a *bed* with him.
::Why was life cruel?::
::But it seemed the Mercury wasn't done with them yet. A new alarm began ringing out.::
Ba'roq: Life support is failing across all decks.
Evanston: Didn't we isolate the sensor module computer core?
Sanchez: Apparently life support is only *working* in the sensor module. I guess in a way, it’s a small step in the direction we were headed.
Ba'roq: Sir, what are your orders?
::Evanston glared back at the engineers, but he knew they were right to focus on what needed to be done. His job now was to ensure everyone that was left aboard stayed alive. They'd mourn their dead later.::
Evanston: =/\= Attention all decks! This is Commander Evanston! Evacuate to the lower sensor module! This is not a drill! =/\=
::More alarms rang out as the flood of personnel made their way to the corridors.::
Pok: Evacuate? What's going on, sir?
Romey: Pok, I really wouldn’t know, but we should move. Right now. Get all the seriously injured moving first. ::He was already off walking towards one of his more serious patients.:: Last one down there buys drinks when we get off this hell hole.
Pok: Yes, doctor.
::The Ferengi helped one of the nurses with one of the anti-grav stretchers, and despite the chaos in the corridors, the medical personnel managed to clear sickbay in under five minutes.::
::It was only as Pok was walking down the corridor though that he remembered he left behind his bio samples for his project. If life support was really failing, then they wouldn't survive alone outside of the lower sensor module either.::
::He reentered the dark, empty med bay and smiled when he found his samples waiting for him.::
Pok: There you are...
::Something caught his eyes, or rather his ears. It was subtle. He turned around though and just saw empty bio beds and the eerie yellow lighting coming from the blank monitors.::
Pok: Hello? Is someone still here?
::The poor Ferengi never saw her. There, standing behind him, was a blonde woman, green eyes striking - even in the dark of the Sick Bay - clad in a Starfleet uniform and a long field jacket, a little dirty down near her feet, as if she’d been walking in a desert of some kind. She didn’t hesitate in her strike. With trained skill, the woman hooked her hands on the short Ferengi’s head, twisting quickly, followed by the sound of a sickening ‘crack’.::
::The doctor's body slumped to the deck with a thud, the bio samples scattering in a mess over him. She calmly stepped over the corpse and took a glance around the empty med bay once more, tapping her combadge.::
Blake: =/\= Decks 2 through 6 secure, Captain. =/\=
::The last of the Mercury's crew huddled into the sensor module, the fresh air a welcome relief.::
Evanston: Is that everyone?
Falls: Without knowing exactly who was down in the first place? I can’t tell.
Evanston: Seal it then. For now.
::They slammed the hatch closed. Through a porthole in the hatch, they could see the dark corridors beyond, bathed in red emergency lighting.::
Evanston: Okay, we need to know what we've got to work with. Lieutenant Sanchez, is there anyway to reroute control of the ship from down here?
Sanchez: I wouldn’t recommend it. Even if we *did* manage to reroute control, there’s nothing saying we’ll actually have control. The sensor pod is *still* part of the Mercury. No offense, but I’m quite happy as a sitting duck. At least this way, I can see what’s coming.
::Evanston disagreed, but the crew were jostled then as the ship lurched back.::
Falls: What *now*?
Ba'roq: Warp systems have disengaged.
Evanston: This may be our chance. See if you can--
::The officers were shoved forward then as the duranium hull around them groaned. The first officer narrowly missed slamming his head into the bulkhead. A few others weren't so lucky.::
Evanston: I need eyes, people! What's going on out there?
Falls: It . . . ::he peered through the port hole:: looks as if the ship’s detached the sensor module . . .
Sanchez: You’re kidding me . . .
::The commander joined the others as they crowded around Nick to get a better view. Outside, the rest of the Mercury, freed from the module, slowly turned around, cast in a dark purple light reflecting off of wisps of gaseous clouds.::
::A horrible thought crossed Evanston's mind.::
Evanston: Nick, do we have shields on the module?
Falls: Shields? On a *sensor module*? If it were still attached to the ship, sure. By itself? Hell no - that’d be *logical*.
::A collective breath was held as the rest of the Mercury continued to head towards them. So this was it. Evanston put a hand on Sanchez's shoulder. At least they'd done their best.::
::And then, by the Mercies, the ship refrained from finishing them off. Instead, she suddenly launched into warp, leaving her stranded crew behind.::