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    Star Trek Online: Utopia Planitia Report

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    Pyriel32
    Director of Intelligence

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    Name: Pyriel Danto

    Star Trek Online: Utopia Planitia Report

    Post by Pyriel32 on Fri Oct 09, 2015 8:50 pm



    A growl of frustration echoed through the translucent walls of the design project room. Lieutenant Whetu’s PADD clattered off the table as she flung it with annoyance. She paced back and forth, her loose black hair’s disarray reflecting her unhappiness in a very human display of pique.

    “Another blown plasma manifold in the Hestia’s engine assembly! They’re going to bust me down to crewman and have me scrubbing the conduits at this rate,” Whetu said despondently.

    “They’re not going to bust you down. At least, not before the project ends,” said Elyos. Even with his most impassive voice, as he lounged back in his seat the bald Deltan couldn’t help but project the hint of a smirk in his comment. “After all, there’s still a little bit of time before launch of the prototype.”

    Whetu stopped and rolled her eyes for dramatic effect. “You could at least say something useful, Elyos,” she said. “Like ‘obviously there’s a defect in the ceramics manufacturing, which isn’t your fault, Whetu.’ Or ‘Maybe we should change the EPS resonant frequency, even though that means all of the components would no longer be interoperable and any repairs to the ship would have to be done at a starbase, thus destroying any long-range operational usage.’ Or ‘Let’s pack this one in for the day and go get some synthale.’”

    Elyos lazily reached out and pulled the discarded PADD closer. He glanced up at Whetu, whose Maori moko contorted her expression and turned her unhappy frown into something resembling an angry glower. “Try to contain yourself, Whetu,” he said. “Otherwise, you’re going to pop like one of these manifolds. Don’t let the pressure get to you.”

    “Easy for you to say,” replied Whetu. “You don’t have the entire power assembly riding on your work. You just have to install, check, rebuild. You aren’t responsible when the entire engine room floods with superheated plasma.”

    Elyos sighed and said, “I may only be an ensign, but this is my problem too. You need to figure out a way to fix the overpressure – yours and the EPS grid’s.” He dropped the PADD back to the table with a gesture of indifference.

    Whetu paused and exhaled with a long, slow breath. Too much pressure, of both kinds, she thought. Blowing off steam… letting it all out… Back home, on New Zealand, she would’ve gone for a walk along the beach, or perhaps taken the afternoon to construct a kite on a windy day. Up on Utopia Planitia, there wasn’t really room for that kind of relaxation, though the holodecks on Ares City were just a transporter beam away. Still, as she glanced out the window at the gantries and the superstructure of the Hestia, she felt for a moment like she was trying to cross that vast gulf of space by will alone.

    Funny, Whetu thought, I hate boating. Yet here I am making ships that sail the void. Her distaste for boating had long been a point of contention back home, but just because it was “traditional” didn’t mean that she had to adopt it. She’d spent many a day trying to improve on the simple wooden canoes that were her father’s pride and cultural touchstone, and now here she was in Starfleet doing the same thing to their giant ships. Every time she meddled with the old canoes it was with some device to modernize it or make it more efficient, and every time her father had just chuckled with his deep, powerful laugh and encouraged her to keep working. He’d enjoyed the simplicity of the simple wooden boats, without any additions or “modernizations.”

    Maybe that simple? Maybe…

    Whetu strode to one of the large transparent screens in the middle of the room. With a gesture she brought the focus to the ship’s EPS systems. “Wait,” she said, “We’ve been dealing with this in our typical high-tech plasma fashion. It’s generating massive amounts of energy to power the ship’s tactical systems and it’s blowing out the plasma conduits. But plasma is just ionized gas. What if we look at it like steam?”

    Elyos frowned and said, “I don’t follow.”

    “Old Earth wet-navy ships used to use steam power for propulsion. And if the steam power got overpressured, they would vent the excess steam. As the engineering improved they developed systems that would expel the steam automatically. Later it was replaced with other technologies… but that’s not important right now. We need to have some way to vent the pressure safely.”

    “Two things,” said Elyos as he leaned forward and raised his hands in a questioning gesture. “First, how do you get more plasma if you are always venting it when the pressure gets too high? And second, why do Human engineers always go back to Earth-historical ships? On Delta IV we don’t scatter our conversations with early social development or metaphors about the long-ago days when Deltas had hair.”

    Whetu waved her hand dismissively. “Don’t worry about it,” she said. “It’s just a comparison. We can vent the excess high-pressure plasma through the hazard emitters. And you know how to get more plasma – we just offset the dilithium matrix –“

    Elyos picked up on her excitement and stood from his chair, raising a hand in tandem with Whetu as he said, “—and we make the warp core inefficient enough to generate excess plasma to further feed the system! Oh, that’s rich. We use less refined technology to get the results we want. I like it.” He surveyed the schematics on the clear screen and tilted his head first to one side, then the other.

    After a moment, Elyos cleared his throat softly and said, “Lieutenant, won’t the plasma ejecta will be extremely volatile?”

    Whetu tapped on the PADD in her hand and sent the small display on it over to the main screen, bringing up the schematics of her unconventional design, and said, “That’s only a problem if you’re a hostile ship. If you’re an allied ship, the main deflector can treat the plasma just like ambient cosmic particles. We’re all on the same wavelength, after all. As long as the warp core has variable efficiency for its output, it can generate additional plasma as needed for the system, or it can be set to minimize plasma byproducts like a modern engine, and run as smoothly as we want.”

    “Well,” said Elyos as he straightened up, “If it functions, it’ll add some work to the construction of the dilithium matrix to give it variable efficiency, but it will shave a few days off the EPS system, which should be a time saver overall – and it will solve the problems with the power grid. Plus, it will make the gun jockeys in tactical extremely happy with this additional defense system.”

    “And that,” said Whetu with a grin, “is why I earned these.” She pointed at the moko kauae on her chin. “They don’t carve these symbols into just anyone with an engineering degree.” With a double-tap she brought up a computational interface to check some of her preliminary ideas. “We have all the pieces… Elyos, this looks doable. I think this is going to work!”

    The Deltan smiled in response to the wave of elation that came off Whetu and said, “Then I think it’s high time I added that useful suggestion you mentioned before: Let’s pack this one in and get some synthale.”

    Pyriel32
    Director of Intelligence

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    Name: Pyriel Danto

    Re: Star Trek Online: Utopia Planitia Report

    Post by Pyriel32 on Fri Oct 09, 2015 8:51 pm



    Elyos smelled the sweet potato fries at about the same time that he felt the approach of Whetu and her sense of general satisfaction. Since he was in the commissary, this wasn’t unexpected. At least her company was enjoyable. During the War, Klingons and Romulans had passed through the station for emergency repairs. Klingon aggression and Romulan overwrought emotion generally left him tired. His easygoing Deltan nature usually allowed him to soothe frayed nerves, and there certainly were a lot of those lately, but it drained him and cost him a great deal of his own personal calm. Of course, the commissary itself had the same translucent panels and smooth, softly-colored walls found all across Starfleet’s modern design. The aesthetic helped to evoke a high-tech sense of soothing placidity.

    “Hey, big brains, what’re you working on today?” Whetu said as she slid uninvited into a seat across from him at the table. She placed her tray in front and leisurely continued her sweet potato snack.

    Elyos was not especially fond of that nickname, but he figured that the best way to get past it was to move on. He tilted his hand and placed the PADD he’d been reading onto the table next to his own beverage. In his usual laconic tone he said, “Comparison specs for the dreadnought upgrades. Command’s a little worried about force parity and they want to make sure that we’re not going to lag behind in the postwar era.”

    Whetu let a dissatisfied snort through her nose. “Really? The Hestia is hot off the gantries and they still want more?”

    Elyos laced his fingers together and said, “They always want more, of course. The Federation’s been at war for some time now. Many of our senior officers were raised through the ranks on the back of that war. They’re used to seeing threats and enemies. Starfleet Command has made it clear that if another threat arrives, or if our alliance with the Republic and the Empire falls apart, we’re not caught behind the curve.”

    Pointing with one of the sweet potato fries, Whetu said, “They’re not wrong. Anything could be next. Kelvans? We don’t know what happened to them after the Iconians moved to Andromeda. Metrons? They said they’d come back to check in on us. Excalbians? The whale probe that showed up in the late 23rd? All these species have really advanced powers and any of them could give us problems at any time. And that’s assuming that the Klingons don’t decide that now is the perfect time to bring the Federation to heel.”

    Elyos turned the PADD around and pushed it toward Whetu. He said, “Take a look for yourself. Personally, I think that is why diplomacy is important. Diplomacy and persuasion are skills, and they can be honed and improved, just like technology. Diplomacy is a better technology for dealing with such supra-advanced entities.”

    “In the meantime, though, tech parity at least keeps us from looking like prey to the Klingons. Diplomacy will let us be allies as long as our fleet doesn’t look like it’s ready to be rolled up and destroyed in a glorious battle,” Whetu said. With her free hand she scrolled through some of the PADD listings, checking the comparisons. After a few moments of highlights, she sighed in amazement and said, “This is a lot to take in. Dreadnought refits? Aren’t those ships already powerhouses? I’d think that it would be more effective to start with refits to the smaller vessels. Faster, less work, quicker to field.”

    “Consider the politics,” said Elyos. “The Klingons have to save face. They suffered terrible losses during the war, just like we did, and they have to present themselves as victors who are ready to roam the quadrant once more with the biggest, most dangerous ships in space. The Romulans don’t want to be victims of Klingon aggression, so they’re making sure that they can keep pace. It’s like bringing someone an intimacy ring back home: you never want to be seen bringing a smaller, less impressive ring to your lover than the one that your neighbor brought to his partner. Otherwise you might give the wrong idea about not caring as much.”

    “I’m… not sure I’m entirely comfortable thinking about starships like tokens of affection like that,” Whetu said, one unfinished fry halfway to her mouth. “This is more about who can wave the biggest stick.”

    “You should’ve done more comparative cultural studies,” Elyos replied casually. “It’s not my fault that Deltan courting rituals are a weak topic for you. Admittedly, we are quite a bit more sophisticated
    on that subject than Humans.”

    “We’re getting a little off-topic here,” Whetu said with a cough. “Look, we know that the Klingons and the Romulans are going for lots of systems improvements, making new command dreadnoughts to show off how their fleets are just fine and ready for anything, and please don’t look behind the curtain.”

    “Meanwhile,” said Elyos, “We have our own orders: Update the Galaxy dreadnought and make sure we don’t fall behind. Hence this capability comparison.”

    Whetu leaned back in her seat, still holding PADD in one hand and sweet potato fry in the other. “Isn’t that ship getting a little long in the tooth? I mean, the Andromeda-class is basically a huge overhaul for a Galaxy, as-is. And this is trying to extend that even further. Why not just improve the Odyssey?”

    “My guess is that Command has special plans for the Odyssey,” said Elyos, but with a demurring motion he added, “not that a minor ensign such as myself would be in those kinds of meetings. As for the Galaxy dreadnought, well, the Admiralty has spoken, and being an admiral has certain privileges.”

    “Hmm.” Whetu finished the fry in-hand and started concentrating more intently on the PADD. “So what’s your pie-in-the-sky?”

    “I already have a short list on the PADD there,” said Elyos. He stood slightly and leaned over the table, tapping the screen to bring up his notes.

    “Ah, right. Yamato-class dreadnought. Subsystem redundancies, sure, just staying on pace with the neighbors, tied into the weapons power systems. Command facilities – I guess if one of the Admirals wanted this ship, that makes sense, need a place to plant your flag. Significantly increased tactical capabilities. I guess for captains who like using kemocite weapons it’ll be serious. Replaced some of the engineering functionality with the new command arrays and general flag suite modules – kinda shooting for the moon?” Whetu said with a snort. “This is quite a laundry list of upgrades.”

    Elyos sat back down and said, “Even straightened out the phaser lance array.”

    Whetu chuckled and replied, “Of course. Priorities.” She passed the PADD back to Elyos. “So what are you going to say in your final report?”

    Elyos thought for a moment, then said, “I hope that we continue the fine Starfleet tradition of pursuing diplomacy. And if the diplomats don’t do so well, here’s the gunboat to go with it.”

    Pyriel32
    Director of Intelligence

    Fleet Rank : Fleet Admiral
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    Name: Pyriel Danto

    Re: Star Trek Online: Utopia Planitia Report

    Post by Pyriel32 on Fri Oct 09, 2015 8:52 pm

    Is it bad I REALLY like these

    Lastline
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    Re: Star Trek Online: Utopia Planitia Report

    Post by Lastline on Sat Oct 10, 2015 7:38 am

    Elyos smelled the sweet potato fries at about the same time that he felt the approach of Whetu and her sense of general satisfaction.

    She placed her tray in front and leisurely continued her sweet potato snack.

    It was bad to read this before breakfast.


    __________________________________________________________

    HareBrained
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    Re: Star Trek Online: Utopia Planitia Report

    Post by HareBrained on Wed Oct 14, 2015 4:33 pm

    Pyriel32 wrote:Is it bad I REALLY like these
    Not as far as I'm concerned, I like them too! really good writing. I'm with Elyos though - "we need a bigger warship in case the Metrons or someone like that show up"? What good is a warship going to do you against the Metrons? They were the ones who just made Enterprise's engines stop, cold, from warp 8, and then teleported Kirk off the bridge straight through the shields and onto some planet light-years away, and nobody has any idea how they did either of those things. I'm not sure that "more dakka" is really going to help much if they started throwing their weight around. (The others I don't know much about, I haven't seen those episodes, but I take it they come into the category of "THOSE entities".) The Iconians really were just beings with very, very superior firepower, but I'm not sure the same applies to all the others.


    __________________________________________________________

    Pyriel32
    Director of Intelligence

    Fleet Rank : Fleet Admiral
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    Number of posts : 4634
    Location : Serenity Station
    Ship Name : U.S.S. ACHERON
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    Fleet Division : Intel/Special Ops

    Main RP Character Profile
    Name: Pyriel Danto

    Re: Star Trek Online: Utopia Planitia Report

    Post by Pyriel32 on Fri Nov 06, 2015 7:45 pm



    With the warped and scarred plating stripped away and the aft assembly exposed to space, Defiant’s rear hull was little more than a skeleton of beams and plasma conduits. From a distance it looked like delicate wires wrapped into the approximate shape of the ship, like a holiday ornament.

    Lieutenant Whetu, clamped to one of the girders via magnetic boots and connected with a cord extending from her EV suit, felt like she was floating in a black ocean. The Defiant’s superstructure elements were a coral growth, wreathing her. Mars, below, was a patch of ruddy red sand in the depths. The shining stars, brilliant without the flickering of an atmosphere to distort them, were reflected pinpoints from glittery scales or particles of sand. Utopia Planitia, hanging above, orbiting Mars, was… well, it broke the illusion. A big catamaran crawling across the ocean while she floated beneath it, perhaps.

    Defiant had taken heavy damage during the defense of Earth at the end of the Iconian War. Pieces of the engine housing had been sliced apart by Herald beam weapons, and then the engines themselves had torn loose of the hull, in the nightmare scenario originally envisioned by Defiant’s designers over forty years before. The resulting battle damage had left the ship burning in orbit and when it was towed to Utopia Planitia for repairs, the whole engine room and aft section had to be opened to space, leaving the engineers to crawl over it in a vacuum.

    At the moment, Whetu was disentangling a massive chunk of mangled tritanium. When pieces of the superstructure bent under the immense energy output of directed beam weapons, sometimes the engineers couldn’t just hammer out the dents; they had to replace the pieces entirely. Normally this kind of work would be done remotely, via a workbee or even a robotic armature with a plasma cutter, but in this case a piece of the structure had wound up bent, melted, and entangled in the aft electroplasma junction. Yanking it out without a careful eye on the power levels could result in the Defiant losing its current trickle of auxiliary power, not to mention exploding. By and large, the chief of Utopia Planitia disliked explosions in the shipyards.

    “Still stable?” said Whetu.

    Over by the exposed electroplasma conduit, Ensign Elyos bobbed his helmeted head up and down, and his languid voice came back over her comm system. “Auxiliary power is at ten percent. Don’t worry about the junction. Though I still say we should’ve just shut down the entire aft power grid and connected the fore section to station power,” the Deltan mused.

    Whetu made a pfft sound into her helmet comm and said, “And have to spin everything up again and run an entire separate round of stress tests on the EPS grid? Or replace the entire thing if it decouples on power-down and goes to a plasma ground state that melts the whole power system? C’mon, we trained for this. A hot-swap now will save us two days of repair time and let us diagnose any other problems in the aft EPS system.” As she finished the sentence, she ignited her plasma cutter again and sheared away another chunk of stubborn tritanium. This piece disentangled from the mass of melted cable and she gave it a push upward, which caused it to float away from the hull of the Defiant. One of the non-sentient exocomps snagged the piece and hauled it back in the direction of material reclamation. Inside the EPS conduit, exposed to space, the bright contrails of green plasma mimicked the flicker of Whetu’s plasma cutter. The hull remained intact enough to keep the plasma from flaring outward, which was advantageous inasmuch as it prevented Whetu from being immediately disintegrated.

    “Got that one,” said Whetu through the comm. “I’m going to replace the access panel and then move to the next node. Computer, bring me a standard EPS access console, type 3.” She held up her hand, and within a few seconds one of the exocomps arrived bearing the requested component.

    At that same moment, the chief of Utopia Planitia was in a well-appointed office, drinking raktajino and poring over the horribly backed-up list of ship repair requests. It would take several seconds for the alert to reach the office and indicate that, much to the chief’s dismay, an explosion had in fact happened in the spacedock.

    “Elyos!” Whetu screamed into her comm. Her retaining cable had run to maximum length and then yanked her into a bizarre bouncing pattern at the end of its length, but Elyos was not so fortunate. His cable remained intact, but the piece of the hull to which it was attached had been blown clear by the sudden explosion of the EPS junction. The junior engineer was rapidly disappearing into the black, tumbling end over end. Shards of glass, plastic, and metal floated after him in a cloud of razor-edged debris.

    A tinny response, distorted by static and a high-pitched hum, came over Whetu’s comm. “This is unfortunate,” said Elyos laconically.

    Whetu jammed her combadge with her gloved hand. “Engineering to bridge! We have an emergency!”

    The response came almost instantly: “Kurland here. We felt that on the bridge. What’s going on back there? We still don’t have external sensors.”

    “We have an officer untethered! Repeat, officer untethered!” she shouted back. She grabbed her own tether line and started pulling herself back toward the hull.

    “Why isn’t he using the maneuvering thrusters?” came back Kurland’s incredulous query. “Can you get to him? We still don’t have transporters.”

    “I’m trying!” shouted Whetu. “Elyos! Can you use maneuvering thrusters?”

    Still tumbling end-over-end, Elyos flailed helplessly in his EV suit. “I… have a seal breach. I’m…”

    Whetu’s suit computer made an urgent beep to indicate that Elyos had lost consciousness, and the HUD on her helmet briefly popped up a warning. She tried to straighten herself relative to Defiant, and grabbed at her belt controls to activate her maneuvering thrusters. With a quick burst she sent herself flying back toward the hull.

    “Defiant to Utopia Planitia,” came Kurland’s voice over the comm channel. How can he be so calm? Whetu wondered. “We have an officer untethered, possibly unconscious. Can you get a transporter lock?”

    “Negative,” came back the voice of one of the many technicians aboard the orbital facility. “We’re reading energized plasma and unstable tetryon emissions all over the area. What the heck did you do out there?”

    “It’s the cloaking device,” said Whetu. “When the aft EPS junction blew, it overloaded the cloak and it’s thrown out particle radiation. Stupid transporters never work when you need them, anyway.”

    Once again, Kurland’s voice cut through the chatter. “All right, what can we do? Can you lock onto his combadge and get to him with your suit thrusters? Can we send an exocomp to intercept and pick him up? How about a worker bee?”

    The technician at Utopia Planitia replied, “Exocomps will have trouble with all the debris and the radiation. They’re not shielded for high yields like that. Nearest workbee is at Akagi, three minutes away.”

    “He doesn’t have that much time,” said Whetu urgently. “And my readout says he’s too far for me to reach without untethering. We have to… I don’t know, scoop him up somehow.”

    “We can’t beam him and we can’t get anything through the debris quickly enough to catch him before he suffocates. Suggestions?” Whetu could hear the murmur of Kurland’s senior staff as they discussed possibilities, but time was running out.

    “How hard can this be?” shouted Whetu and winced as the echo inside her helmet painfully reverberated in her ears. “We have a dozen starships, an orbital facility, and the best engineers the Federation has trained! Do we have a shuttle?”

    “Negative,” said Kurland. “Our shuttles were offloaded when the aft section was removed.”

    Whetu bit her lip and looked around for something, anything, which she could use as a tool. After a moment she said, “Hang on. I’m going to try something crazy.”

    The trick about getting off a boat – which Whetu had done many times while sailing with her father, no matter how much she disliked boats in general – was that the boat would move backward as you tried to move forward when you attempted to get onto shore. If you didn’t tie up the boat, the boat would just push away in the water, you’d wind up standing still in the air, and you’d look funny for about half a second before falling in the water.

    Whetu grabbed hold of one of the spars of the ship as her maneuvering jets brought her in close. The impact was enough to shake her jaw and she tasted blood in her mouth. She turned sideways and brought her magnetic boots onto the hull and raced (as quickly as one can in magnetic boots) to the docking control panel on the exposed beam of the Defiant’s hull and slammed her hand down on the emergency release.

    The ship shifted as the gantries demagnetized and the holding clamps released. “Hang on,” said Whetu, “this ride is about to get really bumpy.”

    “What are you doing?” said Kurland. “We’re seeing release from moorings, but we don’t have engines and we barely have maneuvering thrusters. In the time it takes to turn around, we’ll lose your engineer.”

    “We’re not turning around,” said Whetu. “We’re scooping him up.” She shifted to the auxiliary control tap next to the docking panel and entered her engineering override codes for Defiant’s emergency access. The screen flashed red and she slapped the surface to confirm.

    As designed but never used in its initial development, the nose of the Defiant held a special payload of additional torpedoes, and the entire nose cone could be launched as a last-ditch weapon. The captains who’d commanded the ship had not used this feature, even in the Dominion War or the Iconian War, but for an engineer who’d been poring over the ship specs to make repairs and overhauls, it was a known quantity.

    Defiant lurched and, though Whetu couldn’t hear anything except a rumbling vibration conducted through her boots, the nose cone disconnected and launched. Without stabilizing engines, Defiant was propelled backward by physics. The ship, complete with its open and exposed engineering section, lurched into reverse from the force of the launch.

    Whetu hung on determinedly to the spars of the hull as the ship closed in on Elyos’ tumbling form. The exposed hull of the ship closed around him and as the unconscious Deltan bounced off one of the interior bulkheads, Whetu released her magnetic boots, maneuvered next to him with her suit thrusters, and scooped him up like picking up an unconscious swimmer from the ocean.

    “I have him,” she said triumphantly over the comm.

    “Glad to hear it,” said Kurland, with a trace of frustration in his voice. “Defiant to any nearby vessels. If anyone has an operational tractor beam, that would be… great.”

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    Re: Star Trek Online: Utopia Planitia Report

    Post by Sponsored content Today at 12:06 pm


      Current date/time is Thu Sep 29, 2016 12:06 pm