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Day 03 [0900 hrs.] Searchlights

Day 03 [0900 hrs.] Searchlights

[Ens. Irnashall “Shall” ch’Xinya | Auxiliary Deflector | Deck 12 | Vector 2 | USS Theurgy] attn: @CanadianVet

Crouched down in front of an open panel, Shall shifts a testing probe to another isolinear chip and studies the results with a small smile.  This should work after all.  It was still pretty early in the process, still just an idea, but Commander Martin had signed off on it.  The next step was to get the top brass to give their approval, then Shall can get working on the modifications.  The basics behind them were quite simple, the only major drawback was ship security, hence the need for the command staff to have their say.

The Andorian’s antenna swiveled towards the door a moment before it opened, giving him enough warning to get to his feet before the ship’s Executive Officer arrived.  Nodding his head in greeting, Shall straightened up to a mostly-attention pose.  “Good morning Commander.” the chan said in greeting.  Nodding at Commander Trent’s response, he stepped to one of the side consoles to bring up a few diagrams.

“I know we’re in a time crunch so I’ll get to the core of it.  To put it simply, I might have a way to detect any ships as they travel through the nebula.  Anywhere in the nebula.”

Re: Day 03 [0900 hrs.] Searchlights

Reply #1
[Cmdr Carrigan Trent | Auxiliary Deflector | Deck 12 | Vector 2 | USS Theurgy] attn: @chXinya

Commander Carrigan Trent knew about being busy, and given the circumstances he was certainly glad he had Jennifer Dewitt to help him deal with all the details of running Theurgy and everything about her.  And what had come up as a matter to address first thing in the morning had been one that had been kicked up to him by Lieutenant Commander Martin.  Granted, initially he had half-expected to have her report more trouble with her half-Klingon subordinate, but when he saw the synopsis of the project that had been sent his way, he was not simply relieved, but pleased. 

For Trent was always someone to appreciate initiative.  Especially when it had the potential to be a game-changing idea in their current tactical situation. 

Thus, he made his way into the control spaces for the Auxiliary Deflector, and immediately he was greeted by their Stellar Cartography and Astrometrics specialist, who approached the matter with no preambles whatsoever.  "Good morning, Ensign.  The brief I received from Commander Martin said as much.  Now, assume I have not heard anything about this project and have no idea what it could mean for us, and brief me.  As if you were briefing the Captain.  Because, in a sense, you are."

Re: Day 03 [0900 hrs.] Searchlights

Reply #2
[Ens. Irnashall "Shall" ch'Xinya | Auxiliary Deflector | Deck 12 | Vector 2 | USS Theurgy] attn: @CanadianVet

Briefing the Captain? Do all First Officers get egos that inflated? Shall wisely kept that to himself, instead he gestured to the diagram on the screen next to him.  “This could mean a lot for our situation Commander.  As you know, the nebula density severely limits the range of our passive sensors, so we won’t see anyone looking for us until they’re nearly on our heads, though that does work both ways.  We could use the actives to compensate, but if we do that everyone looking for us would see the pings and come with an armful of torpedos.  I’d been trying to think of a way to extend the range on the passives, and I remembered an oceanography experiment showcased during my third year at the Academy.”

On the screen, a large body of water with numerous moving bodies included a small vessel animated with a small light bubble.  “One of the other teams was working on a way to increase the efficiency of planetary surveys for Class O planets, something the massive oceans make quite difficult for similar reasons to our situation here.  What they came up with was a reapplication of an old aerospace testing technique to map out solid bodies as well as the approximate mass and profile of the fauna.”  On the screen, multiple cones swept through the water in a regular pattern.  “By measuring the currents with properly attuned beams the science vessel could extrapolate the topography as the fluids reacted with the undersea surface and the wakes of the biology would reveal a lot about them as well.”

Antenna quivering as the Andorian moved on to the most important part of his little presentation, he tried to hide his smile, old lectures about keeping proper decorum whispering in the back of his head.  Changing the display to a representation of the Theurgy in its currently separated status, the three vectors emitted similar cones, one from the deflector dish in their fore, and a second in the aft.  “With some minor modifications to all three main deflectors and the installation of a secondary emitter somewhere in the aft of each vector we can vastly improve our visibility here in the nebula.  Just like with water, we can watch for the wake of any ships that might be prowling around in here long before they reach us.”

Now for the bad news.  “There is a downside however.”  Looking Commander Trent dead in the eye, Shall’s antenna drooped slightly.  “These are technically active sensors.  If the beams pass over a ship they’ll see it.  We can trade off beam width for scanning speed though, meaning it would take longer to finish a sweep of the nebula, but it would making it much more difficult for them to trace the sensor beams back to us.

Re: Day 03 [0900 hrs.] Searchlights

Reply #3
[Cmdr Carrigan Trent | Auxiliary Deflector | Deck 12 | Vector 2 | USS Theurgy] attn: @chXinya

One thing to be said about the Astrometrics officer, he knew how to open his briefing the right way.  Whether it was a result of his grasp of their tactical situation, or having found out Trent himself came from a tactical background, or just dumb luck, he had done it right for he had immediately captured his attention.  Actually, it turns out he had a better grasp of tactical concepts the XO had initially given him credit for.  Without the ability to raise shields that were suitable in battle without risking killing the crew through radiation poisoning, with phasers being strong contra-indicated, to include the bulk of her point-defence, and with their electronic warfare suite useless in this soup, Theurgy was at a far greater disadvantage than a much smaller starship would be if it came to combat within the nebula. 

And then, he explained what he meant.  Trent had made a name early in his career with sensor exploitation for tactical purposes, but he'd never considered using beam diffraction indices as a way to measure volumetric changes.  It was, he had to admit, a brilliant idea.  Even if it involved active scanning that could, as the Andorian put it, come back with a brace of torpedoes. 

"And you did this of your own initiative?  Excellent work, Ensign."  The praise was spoken quietly, but it certainly was genuine.  "Now, as you probably guessed I'm reticent at the idea of actively radiating our sensors while we're trying to pretend we're a hole in space.  We have a few of Lieutenant Tovarek's drones left; could you adapt them to provide the same coverage, have them transmit their findings to us in real-time, and create a program to integrate their take to provide a coherent sensor picture?  And, by that same token, could you come up with a completely passive way to detect incoming wakes?"

Re: Day 03 [0900 hrs.] Searchlights

Reply #4
[Ens. Irnashall "Shall" ch'Xinya | Auxiliary Deflector | Deck 12 | Vector 2 | USS Theurgy] @CanadianVet

Shall nodded in acknowledgement of Commander Trent’s praise, doing his best to keep to the proper decorum, but the antenna standing at full attention betrayed his excitement to anyone who knew the language.  It drooped a moment later though, and the Andorian couldn’t keep the look of sheepish confusion off of his face either.  “The drones?  I never thought of that…”

Thinking fast, he ran the emitter design in his head again.  “It should be possible, the aft emitter would need to be miniaturized first.  Then there’s the coordination subroutines…still possible.”  Straightening back up, “We can use the drones, yes Commander.  It would take more time to build the necessary components and install them.  By my projections we could have all three vectors set up by 1800 tonight, the drones would easily push that to 24 hours.  As for the passive sensors, the problem is the physics here in the nebula.  The increased density limits the range all on their own, then when you throw in the radiation it’s like trying to look at something through a meter of ice.”

It was a tough call, keep to the riskier plan that would put the ship herself in danger, but would be ready to go sooner, or play it safe with the sensors while risking getting caught by surprise.  Shall was glad it wasn’t his call to make, he still only had one pip, Commander Trent had three.  Whichever route was chosen Shall would follow, duty and honor required it.  But which one will it be?

Re: Day 03 [0900 hrs.] Searchlights

Reply #5
[Cmdr Carrigan Trent | Auxiliary Deflector | Deck 12 | Vector 2 | USS Theurgy] attn: @chXinya

The Executive Officer was known to be sparse with his praise.  But when he granted it, it was genuine.  And it would seem it was well-received enough.  However, the mention of the drones appeared to take the Andorian by surprise.  But Trent did not blame him for not having thought of them, and instead he raised a hand to forestall any further self-depreciation as he listened to the timelines he was being given.  As well as the issue with using a passive method to detect the wake a ship would make in the Nebula.  And it made sense, given what the Human knew of nebula fluid dynamics.

For a moment, he considered his options.  "First of all, Ensign, you aren't a tactical officer, so I can't fault you for not thinking like one.  Now, given the risks with using your initial plan I will have to consult with the Captain about it.  So, in the meantime, you are to focus on the drones solution.  On my authority, you can get any manpower, computer support and replicator resources you need to make it happen.  I want them operational by 2000."

Re: Day 03 [0900 hrs.] Searchlights

Reply #6
[Ens. Irnashall "Shall" ch'Xinya | Auxiliary Deflector | Deck 12 | Vector 2 | USS Theurgy] attn: @CanadianVet

This time around, Shall managed to keep his shock under wraps when Commander Trent gave his deadline.  Just 11 hours?!  It’ll take at least half of that just to redesign the emitter and get enough built.  And that’s in addition to continuing with the full-sized emitters for the vectors since that hasn’t been actually cancelled. he objected in his head, wise enough to keep it there.  At least pulling extra manpower from around the ship would take a good bite out of that time, assuming he could pull enough people in the first place.  There were a lot of repairs that needed doing, and some others in the brass might have issue with an ensign in the science department suborning their people, even with the XO’s blessing.

“2000, yes sir.” Shall responded, nearly barking the line like he was back in boot.  “I’ll have the aft emitter design miniaturized as quickly as possible.  Areas I will require assistance will be drone coordination and installation.  The former is a little outside of my training and experience, the latter just a question of manpower.  If I may ask, how many drones survived the battle?”

Re: Day 03 [0900 hrs.] Searchlights

Reply #7
[Cmdr Carrigan Trent | Auxiliary Deflector | Deck 12 | Vector 2 | USS Theurgy] attn: @chXinya

Trent knew he was pushing the Ensign with his request to do what effectively would come up to a complete redesign of his initial plan.  But with the basic principles already in place, and it would be a fairly simple process to miniaturize the components to fit on a drone.  However, the Executive Officer had plenty of experience pushing people; not so much they would break, but enough to further expand their limits.  The Science department tended to be overlooked in high-intensity drills, but they were an asset, and Carrigan Trent knew how to get the most out of them. 

"This is your project, Mister ch'Xinya, and you are acting under my authority.  Draw any shuttlebay, fabrication and sensor maintenance personnel and resources you need to make it happen.  As for how many drones we have?  You're the project lead, it's entirely up to you to find out."  Trent then offered a hint of a smile.  Perhaps the Andorian was but an Ensign, and his professional development ought to be looked after directly by Lieutenant Commander Martin, but this was an opportunity, and he had not intention of wasting it.

 

Re: Day 03 [0900 hrs.] Searchlights

Reply #8
[Ens. Irnashall "Shall" ch'Xinya | Auxiliary Deflector | Deck 12 | Vector 2 | USS Theurgy] attn: @CanadianVet

Right, my job to do the research.  Project management 101.  “I’ll get right on it Commander.”  This was certainly not how Shall expected this meeting would go, and he was having a hard time keeping his antenna from twitching as a result.  He couldn’t quite figure out Commander Trent either.  While the Andorian certainly hadn’t had any reason to work with the human before (there was so much of a rank and position gap between them for such a professional pairing), he knew of Trent’s reputation as a hard-ass.  But here we has smiling, if only slightly.  True, the human had just completely rewritten Shall’s project within minutes of being pitched it, so maybe it was a touch of sadism?

Shall dismissed that thought out of hand.  Starfleeters weren’t sadists (at least without a parasite).  Trent was just driven to get things done, and he clearly appreciated a good idea when he heard it.  At least that’s what Shall convinced himself.  “I just need to close up here and let Commander Martin know I’ll be down in the hangar for the remainder of the day.  Thank you for listening and approving this project, even if it is different from what we originally envisioned.”

-FIN

 
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